MYSTERIOUS FORCES BEHIND THE UNITED STATES
Manly P. Hall
December 1, 1940
The theater of world affairs has remained approximately the same during the last three months. The remarks we made earlier concerning the effort of several nations to gain balance of power is beginning to show itself rather clearly. This balancing of power is essential to the continuance of European civilization. At the moment we have a picture of Benito Mussolini hanging in the balance. He is in the position where he would very much rather hear nothing more about European politics, and as the result of the indecision in his mind the possibility of the rearrangement of European nations seem to be increasing.
The picture will remain approximately the same with a gradual and continuous diminution of the probabilities of an Axis victory. The moment which might have assured Adolph Hitler a conquest of Europe has passed. He is no longer in a position to continue his previous course. There is a tide in the affairs of man, and Adolph Hitler missed the boat. The tide was the evacuation of Dunkirk. If Adolph Hitler had been in a position to follow immediately across the Channel he might have conquered England, but the affair is now bogged down with every day the Central Powers coming into a more precarious situation. Therefore the world and those who are experts in world affairs have already conceded a great probability of victory to the so-called Democratic Powers. Adolph Hitler’s stars were very favorable during the Spring and Summer months, but from the middle of September on they have been less favorable, and this is certainly evident in his affairs. He has been far less successful from a diplomatic and military standpoint than in the Spring months, and it is not likely his stars will ascend again in the immediate future.
Speaking about the unusual development of world affairs, we had quite a bit of contact in New York with the Greek Colony. For the moment, the Greeks are in “high G”, especially in centers where Greeks are quits numerous. They feel their nation is emerging and in this recent activity they have recaptured a little of the glory of antiquity that the Romans took away from them two thousand years ago. You know, if you look back far enough in history, you find a few grudges that need to be worked off, and if you look back far enough in the lives of average people you will find a few grudges that need working off, or they think so, whatever we do, we are always getting even with someone all the way trough life. The Greeks feel the Roman Empire played a scurvy trick on then some twenty centuries ago, and now is the opportunity to prove that the Roman Empire has not the same stamina the Greek State has. So the Greeks are mighty happy about the whole affair, feeling convinced they are going to be the new liberators of a new social order in Europe. Of course the area of the Balkan States, together with the proximity of Greece and Turkey, that area has always been one of the most dangerous and difficult states from a political standpoint. The Balkans are a sort of state of Maine. Whatever happens down there influences the affairs of the rest of the civilized world.
An interesting point that was made during the late Fall in connection with the Greeks has a bearing on the subject of the morning, that is, a series of researches made by a group of Greek scientists and scholars into the story of Christopher Columbus. As you probably know, the story of Columbus is one of the very mysterious parts of history. Of course, everyone knows about the famous legend of his sitting on the dock looking across the horizon, and his standing the egg on end before the incredulous Professors; but who was Christopher Columbus? What was the reel story behind his search for the new world? What were the visions that inspired this mysterious man? History does not record the date of his birth, history records very little about him. In fact, the historical outlines of Columbus are almost as vague as the outlines of Shakespeare, and certainly the stories we get from history concerning Columbus are exceedingly mythological.
These scholars, being of Greek background and origin, have been working along very strange lines of research. They have decided the actual background of Christopher Columbus was Grecian, and, of course, being Greeks, that was a terrible discovery for them! It broke their hearts! But they have persisted in their efforts and built up a very interesting case. The signatures of Columbus that exist include two Greek Cabbalistic figures. He wrote his name in an extraordinary manner, very such as though it were some kind of an occult cipher. Be was supposed to have bean a student of the Cabbala and had a very strange background.
This research is very painstakingly done and is quite accurate. It shows the family of Christopher Columbus came from one of the Greek Islands and migrated into Europe where his father finally settled in Spain. Here the young man was brought up and his name was changed, which was common with Greeks of that time, because of the difficulty of pronouncing his name. From the origin of the Greek form, Nicolai Yipsalanti, this name has been preserved in the old records, and it is quite easy and reasonable to believe from the Greek story that the real inspiration behind the voyage of Columbus was Plato’s account of the “New Atlantis” with which the young man was acquainted and which is regarded as the basis of his geographical search.
You must remember also that long prior to the rest of Europe Greece had a thorough and real knowledge of the spherical shape of the earth. While Persia and Turkey were still quite convinced the earth was shaped like a dinner plate, the Greek philosopher had already proved it was a spherical form. Euclid proved that it was round and estimated its diameter and circumference. Numerous ancient Greeks six centuries before Christ became convinced the world was a sphere, and were thoroughly acquainted with the fact that there were continents on the opposite side of the world. In a little known part of the “Lives of Plutarch”, there is an account of the Greeks coming to the New World and sailing down the St. Lawrence River, which must have occurred at least 1200 years before Columbus’s voyage. The Greeks and Egyptians on one side, and China on the other, were thoroughly aware of this continent. In fact, there is evidence of both colonizing at a very early time.
The Greeks living quietly in their own country, quite isolated from the rest of the world, had preserved the Platonic and Aristotelean records for many centuries before the rest of Europe knew they existed. All through the Dark Ages, up to and into the Renaissance, there had been no contact between Greece and the learning of the rest of Europe. Consequently this wandering Prince, settling in a far land, brought with him a number of records and traditions quite strange to these people with whom he came in contact, and it was from this circumstance apparently that the development of the theory of another nation in the West came into ascendancy. Columbus was quits certain there was a continent between Europe and Asia, but he did not believe he was in a position to prove the geographical significance of this country to these people. However he was able to prove conclusively what could be done with this continent to make it important to the Princes of Medieval Europe in a mercantile way, therefore he advanced the opinion that by traveling West a short trade route could be established to the Far East.
This was important. All Christendom was engaged in trade with the Far East. They desired the spices, silks and wealth of India, so by advancing the theory of this trade route he was able to create a financial interest in his project which by simple exploration he could not have produced. So the Princes being animated by the desire to increase their own wealth, and convinced of the possibility of a short trade route to Asia, Columbus, being familiar with the Platonic accounts and records of the spherical form of the earth, undertook this voyage. The research in this field is very interesting. It helps to correct a number of misconceptions that have been part of the life and study of most school children.
Let us pause for a moment and consider something else that is very intriguing. As you probably know, in ancient times it was customary to assign a Guardian Spirit, a God or Goddess as the ruler over nations, communities, cities and tribes. Each community, each nation, each city had its patron guardian whose altars and temples stood in the midst of that community. This patron divinity was honored as the genius or spiritual guardian of that community. It was also believed that communities came into existence, races came into existence to fulfill a peculiar destiny, that all people had a reason for being, and that it was the duty of a nation, as the duty of an individual, to improve along the lines of its destiny until it fulfilled that destiny and consummated the reason for its own existence. Thus Alexandria had its Seraphis, Ephesus had its Diana, and Athens had its Athene. All of the cities of the ancient world had their guardian spirits and these guardian spirits protected and guarded the destinies of these people.
This is important to us because in the study of the history and development of our out nation, as in the case of nearly all nations, there is evidence we have been a marvelously guided and protected people. In our modern times we would say this is due to either good management or good fortune, but the Ancients would have believed it was because the guardian spirits guided and protected them. In our modern life we de not believe in guardian spirits over nations, but at the same time we cannot deny that Providence, or whatever we care to call it, has on many occasions miraculously protected our people and nation for some purpose and some reason we do not know.
What is that purpose? What is the reason behind the formulation of this nation? What is the spiritual destiny we are created to fulfill? We do not know with certainty all the details of our national life, but we are aware from the most ancient times this continent was regarded as significant for some specific reason. There can be no question the Ancients regarded this nation as part of the lost Empire of Atlantis. They regarded it furthermore as a land set apart. The Spanish people of early times, the Basques and many other tribes of Europe declared somewhere in the West was a paradisical world, it was the abode of the spirits. In Europe it was regarded as the “New Atlantis”, regarded as the Island of the Blessed, the place where Spirits went after death to dwell together in Peace. In Asia it was regarded as the abode of the Blessed Souls. Among all ancient people there was a peculiar association between the idea of the West and the idea of Heaven itself. Even in our popular parlance when we say someone dies they “go West.” Why we pick that location no one knows. Why not say they go North or East? We associate the West with the Lands or Islands Of the Blessed, and have for many centuries in our mythical and legendary lore.
We also know very early in the history of the people of the world efforts were made to create patterns of ideal civilizations. The Neo-Platonists produced Platonopolis. We know it as Utopia. They called this the City of Wisdom, Platonopolis, named for the philosopher Plato. The Emperor of Rome was ready and willing to assign these people a physical site for the development of Platonopolis but the patricians were afraid of a Utopia as they always have been, and even in our present world we are afraid someone else will proceed along lines more ethical than our own, in fulfillment of certain spiritual ideals of mankind. So the effort to create a physical Platonopolis failed, but the Greek philosophers did not give up the idea.
On the basis of Platonopolis came later Moore’s Utopia, which was derived from the Greek account, which in turn was taken from Plato’s record. Then Lord Bacon had his “New Atlantis”, and Bellamy his “Looking Backward”, all these books relate to the idea of an ideal commonwealth, and from the earliest times the ideal commonwealth has been associated with a New Continent, a new land to be discovered. Bacon’s “New Atlantis” is typical. In an effort to go around the Horn the ship was wrecked and blown from its course until it came to a continent far from Europe and Asia, a continent which was unquestionably America where the ship discovers the social commonwealth of “New Atlantis”, a great civilization, flourishing nobly and magnificently on this new continent without any of the sins or evils normal flesh is heir to.
Where did Bacon get that story? Did he invent it or was he speaking the literal truth? It is quite possible that Francis Bacon was with Francis Drake on his famous voyage of discovery. If this is true it explains the story. Sir Francis Drake, among others, is unquestionably known to have visited some of the cities in the Central American areas. At the beginning of the 17th century these cities still retained part of the lost grandeur which they had enjoyed prior to the coming of the Spaniards. We know there flourished in Central America a thousand years ago the nearest thing to a Utopia that ever existed on the face of this earth. We know for example that while Europe was in a condition of complete ignorance and benightedness, a great civilization was flourishing in this country, flourishing five hundred years without war, flourishing without any monetary medium of exchange of any kind, without any industries such as we know, flourishing entirely on a cooperative plan, a people of a very wise and very brilliant race, a people whose advancement in astrology and astronomy was astonishing, a people who dwelt together in peace and security in a communal existence and elected their own rulers by democratic means; they were masters of the art of architecture, cultivated plants and flowers, were peace loving, were great builders in stone, marble and plaster, and were inventors of the highest degree.
If Francis Bacon visited the ruins of this civilization in the closing years of the 16th century, he might have secured some of the old records that remained intact at that time, and from the then current legends for the foundation for his great philosophic empire. This empire did exist on the American continent and seemingly has been connected with the destiny of this race.
The American Indian, the North American Indian, is a very extraordinary man. Only a remnant of this tribe remains today. While he is numerically strong in this country, he has lost much of his individuality. As an individual he has assumed more and mare of the customs and traditions of his surrounding people, but the Indian himself belongs to a very interesting and very important order. We have to remember it was the great American Indian Manabozho prior to the coming of Christopher Columbus who actually created the political theory which we know as the League of Nations. The “League of the Five Nations” of the tribe of the Iroquois was the original League of Nations created for the purpose of arbitrating inter-tribal law. While the tribes of American Indians were scattered throughout the nation in a nomadic condition, they were curiously bound together and, until stimulated by exterior conditions, such as the invasion of the white race, there was comparatively little warfare among the better Indian tribes. There was also a tremendous amount of inter-tribal relationship and understanding in governing the habits and traditions of these tribes. There were some very important laws regarding these traditions in relationship with each other. The Indians were a very advanced people. It was the great Manabozho who brought together the Chiefs of the Five Nations, later Seven Nations, and formed the Great League of Peace. According to the League and its covenants, these tribes, when dissension arose between them, were to sit in council at a certain meeting place and there, without bloodshed, these councillors were to settle the difficulties of the tribes and to establish inter-tribal laws and govern all tribes with peace, with the understanding they would all unite against anyone that broke the League.
In this primitive way the League of the Iroquois gave rise to our present theory of the League of Nations and the idea of The Hague, the only difference between the two institutions being the Indians kept theirs and we did not, but they had different motives underlying their philosophy of life. To them spiritual truths were vital and important and we are much more interested in industrialism. If we were as true to our ideals as we are to our industries, we would be a very much better people in this country.
So it is quite probable, and in fact it is known to be true, that in the thousand years prior to the so-called discovery of America records were going back to Europe of this continent that lay beyond the sea. The Norse people had visited this continent under Lief Ericsson, others had traveled throughout the new world. The Chinese had been landing missionaries on our Pacific Coast for centuries, so there was substantial evidence that a continent did exist.
That they believed the ocean came to an abrupt end at a cliff and fell off into space was not true. Even the superstitions of the Dark Ages did not give serious contemplation to such a juvenile idea, and interesting old maps of this time, the pre-Columbus period, show the world coming to an end somewhere out in space, but each of these maps, or most of them at least, carry a picture of a mysterious continent lying beyond Europe. This continent was not mapped, but it was definitely indicated. The old maps did not indicate the Atlantic Ocean and nothing in it. The maps all indicated a great body of land in the Atlantic area. Most of the map makers tried to draw a picture of Atlantis and put it out there. It was the lack of real ambition on the part of mercantile Europe that prevented contact between the two empires. It was probably very fortunate as it preserved the isolation of this land until the real reason for our coming into existence could be thoroughly formulated.
Of course the usual motives were behind the development of our continent, the one motive which is so often behind human activity,-avarice. We sometimes do a great many good and noble things but we do not get any credit for them because our motives are bad. We did a tremendous job when we developed this country, but most of the developers had in mind only profit, therefore they did not gain the greatest personal satisfaction for the things they did, yet out of the peculiar complex of avarice has arisen a new world that is destined for something higher than avarice, so our lower natures become a means of promoting our higher ideals, not by direction, but by indirection.
Knowing the motives of conquest and enrichment lying behind the development of this country, we must still realize the motives resulted in a great release for a spirit moving in Europe, Where are the roots of American civilization? The roots of American civilization go back to Egypt. They go back to the beginning of those historical records in which we find non-conformity. Among the Egyptians were the priests who went into the desert in the wilderness and built themselves huts because they refused to agree to what they regarded as the perversion of state religion. They refused to use state religion as a means of exploiting the people. With these priests went out small communities of conscientious objectors to ail the perversion of the national life of Egypt. Some believed that the Pharaohs should not have divine power; some objected to the economic structure; some to the social order, and these objectors with the objecting priests formed a community and lived in voluntary exile and tried to practice certain virtues they regarded as essential.
A similar condition developed among the Greeks. Schools like the school of Pythagoras represent conscientious objectors to the perversion of the time in which these people dwelt. They were demands for larger opportunities, larger spheres of action, demands for personal liberty, for freedom of thought and religious belief. Later we find the Roman Empire extending itself to dominate the world, but in the Roman Empire there were also numerous communities of voluntary exiles. In addition to the Roman Empire there were various social and religious reformers. We find the same thing among the Jews. The Therapeutics, the Essenes, the Nazarenes were groups of people who broke away, who refused to agree, refused to conform, demanding a higher and better standard of living.
Down through the Dark Ages of European history there were always these communities that broke away. Some became heretical sects, that is, they were anathematized by the church as being servants of Satan simply because they wanted a different viewpoint on life. They did not accept the old interpretation, so the state and church both stigmatized them with their anathema. So several of these groups have failed to be remembered for what they were, great political and social reformers, and are regarded as religious heretics. Primarily they were sociological. They intended to represent the dissatisfaction of man with existing institutions. They were called heretics because most of the old institutions were regarded as divine and if you resisted the King you attacked the Gods.
Out of these various heretical sects there came a great group of mystical organizations, such as the Illuminati, the Rosicrucians, the Therapeutics, the Freemasons. These groups were not essentially religious groups, they were sociological groups, but out of them came religious groups such as the Alchemists and the Cabbalists. These people had sociological and political reforms they were working with. This is inconsistent With the general beliefs and opinions on these matters, but I believe they will prove to be true. Far example, we know the medieval Freemasons wore working toward a Platonic Empire. They were not builders in a material or physical sense, but in a sociological sad philosophical sense. The same is true of the Rosicrucians. They were really not great religious adepts and mystics, they were merely political reformers determined to release Europe from ignorance, superstition and fear. These various groups with their increasing number of orders, brought down on their heads the animosity of the church and state, not because they were heretics, but because they were definitely political nonconformists. The crime against the Templars was the crime of sedition against the state. Their crime against the state of Rome was not because they belonged to another belief, because Rome already had twenty religions within its boundaries and another would not have made any difference, but because they made definite attempts to destroy the Roman Empire. It has been declared and proved that the early Christians tried to take the life of the Emperor, preached sedition and tried to overthrow the government. It was for those reasons the early Christians were persecuted and not because of the religious beliefs, because the Christians had arisen from certain sects among the Jews who were trying to do the same thing in Syria. They were definitely a sociological group.
These attempts to break down corrupt political systems have continued since man evolved far enough to have a political system. The best thing we have done with political systems is to corrupt them, and we have had corrupt political systems from the beginning. So down to the beginning of our national history lie thousands of years of human rebellion against what they regarded as corrupt social orders. Man was searching not for a Kingdom of Heaven but to bring heaven down to earth and create an order in which men might live together more happily, peacefully and securely than before.
This is the real background behind the story of the founding of this country and all great civilizations of the world. All civilizations are the result of rebellion against existing orders. Whether it is the French state, or the German state, or the Russian state, India, China, Japan, all nations came into existence as the result of a desire to reform previous existing corruption. A nation is a new vehicle for the development of a new political idea. It is created by idealists and buried by philosophers in the end because no nation can remain without its own corrections being in turn corrupted, and out of every order of corruption rise new impulses toward new national ideals.
There are two kinds of nations, one in which the nation is part of a race, the other in which the nation is a polyglot of races. An example of nation as part of race is Japan where we find nearly all the Japanese people are really of the same stem. Another nation that is part of race is China, although to a less degree due to the efforts of the Mongols and Tartars, but Spain, for example, is largely a nation of race. Opposed to these would be a nation like Russia which has over a hundred races within its own national boundaries. Or a small nation like Switzerland etch has several nations within its national boundaries. Curiously enough the nation which is more polyglot than any other is Germany which has over twenty races within its own national boundaries. One of the most polyglot of all nations is the United States which contains blood strains from most of the nations of the world. A nation which is composed of race is nearly always ultimately reabsorbed in race. Any new race, or new nation rises in a polyglot state; that is, a new race blood coming into existence is always born of an older nation that is composed of a mixed racial background. In other words, to give life there must be a union of opposites, and a polyglot people produce the necessary composite and complexes from which a new racial and national stock may be produced. Therefore out of a dozen or twenty nations mingling together in the camaraderie of existence, we are producing a new race. Races are being built out of polyglot nations and one of the next races to be produced will be produced out of our nation. The two great nations likely to produce new races are Russia and United States. From both of them may be expected new racial stems.
Now to return to another part of our consideration, realizing by legend, myth and allegory that the world for more than 2000 years has looked to the West for a land of fulfillment, it is not surprising this archetype, this pattern, already existing in Space should have resulted in a nation such as we have. Great minds are behind every step of our national existence. We cannot write the true history of the United States. We have not yet written the true history of any great nation because all nations have been vehicles for great evolutionary motion. Each has been protected in a curious way for the fulfillment of national destiny. Having fulfilled that destiny, the nation gradually disappears. There is no probability and no reason to suppose the United States has reached the climax of its national destiny. We still have to give new life and new purpose to the world. The development of national destiny over a period of centuries is really a picture worthy of our observation and consideration.
Let us note in passing a few of the episodes which indicate a definite presence of mysterious forces in the life of our nation. If we had existed nationally two thousand years ago, these incidents would have become part of the national mythology. Tablets would have been set up in the Temples of the Gods to bear witness to these incidents and they would have become part of the state religion, but as in our modern world we have no state religion, these become isolated incidents of greatest importance and significance in themselves, but comparatively unknown. We only know them as evidence of fortuitous circumstances in highly critical tines.
I think the first thing we should mention is the peculiar circumstances recorded in connection with Christopher Columbus. Whether the fact he was a Grecian or not can be proved, although there is evidence he probably was a Grecian, he was known as a young man as a disciple, scholar and follower of a very learned man. The name of this learned man has not survived. We do not know who he was. He was a mysterious person, likened to a magician, someone the whole world feared; therefore, he must have been a very intelligent man. This mysterious man was behind Columbus pushed him forward, convinced him of the desirability of making that famous voyage. This mysterious man was also on the ship with him, and when he reached this country the mysterious man left the boat and remained in America and was never heard of again. From what we learn concerning this man, he seems to have been a Cabbalist or a mystic of some kind. Possibly he was the person who was intended to bring this new continent into tangible existence for the people of Europe, but certainly there was attendant upon the discovery a great deal of appropriate mystery, secrecy and strange circumstances.
Another interesting and important episode is the curious trick played by history in the matter of Americus Vespucius. There is a belief our country received its name from Americus Vespucius. There was never such a man, the real man who made the voyage was Alberico Vespuzio being an entirely different name, which by the wildest stretch of the imagination could not have been turned into America, so this changes and spoils the childhood myth, the myth of how our nation got its name.
The real origin of the word is Amarrika, which means the “open door” or “welcome”, a sort of “welcome mat” in effect. It was the American Indian ward for”welcome” which meant to open the hut door so you could call. The door was opened to friends and closed to enemies, therefore the “open door” was a welcome for receiving in friendship. How often in the centuries that followed have we thought of America as the “open door”, How many thousands of hopeless, helpless people have come here in hope of finding the open door. Probably we are more proud than anything else in our lives that we have received the downtrodden of the world, the hopeless and helpless. This is perfectly consistent with the original meaning of the word. Thousand of people have found America the open door, and it is very much more imperative I think that we should know the origin of that word than we should believe it was the first name of some explorer, because in its true meaning it is not only the name of our nation, but it stands definitely for that for which our nation stands, the policy of receiving unto ourselves the stranger from afar and giving him a chance to be welcomed by our open door.
Interesting also is the development of this nation under the direction of Lord Bacon. Lord Bacon was so brilliant a personality, and his mental abilities were so vast, no one needs to explain or describe them. Possibly one of the most interesting ideas in connection with this thought is that the only postage stamp bearing the portrait of Lord Bacon was that issued by Newfoundland, and it states under the portrait, “The organizer and colonizer of the new world.” In other words, the man who set down and patterned the entire program of the colonization of America was Lord Bacon.
Lord Bacon had one of the noblest intellects the world has ever produced. He was a true descendant of the immortal Plato. In fact he was described in his own time as the Brahman of the West, the great beacon of his state. So we can find a philosophic link between what was accomplished in this country and the world plan. From his “New Atlantis” we know Lord Bacon was a sociologist, that he had a great vision of the political future of this nation and the political future of Europe. We know that because of this vision he was disgraced and imprisoned, that he was literally and actually “framed” by his political enemies, but in spite of this his King recognized the genius of the man, he pardoned him utterly, declaring he was the finest thinker and scholar, one of the richest jewels Great Britain ever produced, and it was this man who had the idea of the social commonwealth of this nation who was given the actual task of parcelling out this land. He divided it among the politicians of England, dividing it among those families he knew or believed to have a greater probability of returns of integrity, scholarship, justice and the highest social ideology. Step by step this nation has proceeded through the hands of people of recognized spiritual intelligence.
Another interesting and important personality in connection with the formation of our nation is Dr. Benjamin Franklin so often regarded as America’s first civilized human being. The story of Benjamin Franklin visiting Philadelphia with a bundle under each arm is well known. He has been associated with scholarship, was really a man of great international knowledge. He was the only American of his time who had any scientific and literary standing in Europe. For him Europe turned out one of its greatest gala festivities it has ever been the opportunity for an American to enjoy. The Court of France received him and conferred honor upon him. Benjamin Franklin was in every respect a great scholar, he was more than a great scholar, he was a great human being, and his personal contact in connection with occult matters is so well known they hardly need to be mentioned. Benjamin Franklin was definitely one of the esoteric bands which has bound the world together since the time of its beginning. More than that, Benjamin Franklin was a means of bringing certain esoteric groups and personalities to America. He was a great and personal friend of Antoine Mesmer, Cagliostro, and he knew St. Germain, and with three men like that at his elbow, three extraordinary men in every sense of the word, we can estimate the influence which he wielded in politics and diplomacy. We can estimate the country had extraordinary spiritual guidance during the period of his activity.
His friendship with Washington resulted in the episode I have described before and quoted in one of my books, the true origin of the flag of this country. The flag had its true origin in the heraldic arms of George Washington. The flag was not designed by Betsy Ross, much as we mould like to give Betsy credit for it. The flag was designed by a mysterious Professor who was a friend of both Washington and Franklin and was designed according to the terms of astrology. While he was designing it this man lived in the same house with Washington and Franklin and was received with greatest humility by both of them. On one occasion Washington held open a door for this man to enter, and both Washington and Franklin stepped back and let this little man go in first. Who this man was no one ever found out. There are abundant records of his existence. He was always accompanied by his mysterious box filled with old papers, colored charts and strange magical formulae. In describing the flag which he designed for Washington and the committee, he declared it was related to the destiny of this nation, and this nation had a destiny under the stars which inevitably would be fulfilled.
Of similar interest and significance is the incident described at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It is known definitely that a man who was never seen before or afterward arose and made an impassioned speech concerning the future of the nation. This was one of the most powerful factors in causing the establishment of the original thirteen Colonies as a free and independent nation. After signing the Declaration, the signers turned to congratulate this man. He was gone, the doors were securely looked, and no one had come or gone. This account is contained in an old book in the Congressional Library. It is very rare and this incident is not usually quoted to school children. It might be better if the school children and young people knew mare of these things. It might be better if we all of us realized we had a destiny, why we are here and the purpose of our existence here as a people. It might be very much better for all of us if we were like the Ancients who saw in all the things that affect our national life the presence of the Gods and a destiny or purpose, instead of shrugging our shoulders and saying, “A very interesting coincidence”. Great nations are not built up on coincidences but upon values that underlie certain coincidences. After the passing of Washington our national existence follows on with reasonable accuracy and with no great upset until the problem of the Civil War arose.
Then it was we produced another strange character, Abraham Lincoln, a man who was strange in every sense of the word, a man whose life and actions were extraordinary, a constant source of wonderment to those who knew him. Abraham Lincoln, to those who knew him back in the country where he was born, was always a man of mystery. With the aid of the Chicago Historical Society, I carried out an interesting research in the life of Lincoln and found out a number of interesting things.
In the first place, the old timers who lived in that part of the country declared the night Lincoln was born was one of the strangest nights any of them had ever experienced, In fact, for seventy-five years after the birth of Lincoln that night was the basis of time calculation in the lives of the mountain people. They would say it was twelve, fifteen or fifty years after that night, not because Lincoln was born at that time but because of the night itself and the conditions which existed. He was born at night, or in the early morning, following a terrific storm, but the storm was different from anything these hill people new anything about. The only way they could describe it was a terrific storm was coming up. The storm was so great its actual coming was preceded by a tremendous electrical disturbance that f11ed the air. Some of you may have seen a terrific storm gathering, and that zero moment before it breaks when all nature hangs in a mysterious silence. Everyone began to close the shutters and drive in the stock, or something of that kind, because they knew something of great importance was going to occur.
That is what happened. There came the zero moment of great silence, it seemed as though all the elements were going to be released together, but that silence remained throughout all the night and the storm did not break. The earth was felled with a greenish color. It was a storm petrified or crystallized, atmospheric stone and never broke to form. They had never seen anything like it before. There were hours of absolutely dead silence with not even a twig moving. The people being superstitious said some strange omen was portended. The storm hung on through the night and when the morning came it gradually disappeared. The cattle and all the animals showed great terror, and the people were uneasy and upset, and in the morning, just before church, the baby came, Nancy Hanks’ baby.
The next thing the people tell down in that country was that the Lincoln family was queer. Of course, that is a pretty good sign. They said Nancy Hanks and her husband were not just ordinary folks. Looking back some of the old-timers, in their nineties, described little episodes relating to that conclusion. For instance, Nancy Hanks was not a good church going woman! Bad! Another thing, they insisted on cooking on Sunday! Bad! Then also they used herbs and simples for healing, and when anyone was sick, they nearly always sent for Nancy Hanks because she had a way with her. She was almost a witch in the neighborhood, one of these old people often referred to in old European stories as the “old widow”, with strange powers to read the future.
There was something queer about Nancy. No one could just say what it was, but when young Abe grew up and was not just like other people it was decided whatever it was he had inherited it. It was a foregone conclusion among people of that country that Abe would never amount to anything because he was a slow poke. Instead of taking care of the one-hundred sixty acres he would stand around, look at the sky and chew a straw. He was also addicted to book-learning. That was a bad sign! There was a proverb among those hill people, those who read too meet would never do anything. If you had a big farm you took care of it, you did not read. Not only that, Abe talked to himself. That was very bad! People waking in the forest would hear a conversation going on, they would wander over to see what was happening and it was Abe talking to himself. Others said they saw him looking in a steam of water for three or four hours without moving, that was queer! He didn’t like church very much either.
Then as he grew older it was agreed there was so much that was queer about Abe it would be better for him to move out of the community because he was corrupting them. They said he possessed the peculiar qualities of his mother, among others, the ability to read people’s minds. He knew what was going on before it happened, in other words he was queer. He possessed a sixth sense. Also he could work a divining rod. He could find water! That was bad! There are still two or three wells which he found with a divining rod. So it was agreed when he was leaving the community that really it was better for all concerned because he broke the traditions of that little village.
When he was finally elected President and made his last speech at Springfield he told them he was not coming back. He knew what was going to happen to him. All through his life he had knowledge of events before they occurred. After Ann Rutledge’s death he talked to her, another thing that was held against him. On several occasions be was found in conversation with the atmosphere talking to her. He saw her, no one else did. Bad! Everyone felt it was something he sort of inherited, but these older folks now gone but before they passed on had received the story from their parents, almost unanimously agreed there is no reasonable doubt Abe Lincoln was what we would call today a mystic, although that name was not known at that time. He definitely felt himself possessed of a purpose, of a destiny, that had to be fulfilled, that he was a person of destiny and everything he did contributed to the fulfillment of that destiny. Certainly up to the present time he was one of the most mystical of our American leaders.
After he reached the White House we have proof he became an ardent spiritualist, actually held seances in the White House and talked with his mother and Ann Rutledge. We know he had a way of anticipating the results of his legislation during the Civil War. He knew the outcome of the battles long before they were reported and confirmed, and he was either elated or depressed according to what he knew, and later his attitude was justified. He knew he was going to be assassinated and made no effort to prevent it. A previous attempt to assassinate him had failed. On the night before he went to the theater his wife begged him not to go because she had had a vision of him lying on the sofa, dead. Before he was shot he had a peculiar chill, and the man who was his body guard was called away by a curious series of circumstances and left him, Which was the only time it ever occurred. It seemed all destiny worked together to produce that consequence which apparently was necessary for national security and existence.
After the passing of Lincoln the country passed through a period of security from which it emerged into the tragedy of the World War. The World War produced a series of mysterious personalities in connection with our life. Possibly one of the most interesting of these was Col. House, a man of whom more will be known as history brings him into better perspective. We are a little too close now. There are too many people living to make the study successful. A hundred years from now we shall know mare than we do now concerning the playing out of our national destiny during the World War period.
It is a strange thing, but coming down to a time as recent as our last election, it is a rather strange thing that at this particular time certain factors should emerge again in our national life. We have just elected a Vice President whom we know to be interested in metaphysical matters. In fact, I have heard it rumored, although it is just a rumor and I have not been able to confirm it, Mr. Wallace either was or is a member of the National Theosophical Society. This is interesting at this time. If it is true it shows mysticism coming into Leadership in this country which may have an important bearing upon the nation at this critical times.
Another thing that is very interesting, something I would not have believed if it had not been brought definitely to my attention, something that seemed almost impossible, but something that is possible but not probable. During a political campaign we think only of physical affairs. After his defeat Mr. Wilkie made a speech to some of his friends and workers. I do not believe the speech was broadcast out here, it was only on local stations. On this one occasion he made a statement which seemed to me quite extraordinary. I would like to know more about it, but these things occur so rapidly during election. Just one word that he spoke indicated something that may be present in the lives of many of our public people but we do not know about it because these people must not admit too much interest in mystical things. But Mr. Wilkie in a brief speech addressed to his workers said, “Well, we have done the best we could, we have put up a good fight, I guess it was our karma we should lose.” That one word “karma” was interesting. Was it merely a word he had heard, or did he inadvertently use a term with which he was familiar. This may not mean anything, but it may mean the man is a student of these subjects. We never know where these people will appear or who they are, but we do know there is an element of mysticism present in the development of nations. It is generally obscured by the more obvious, materialistic factors, but it is always present in critical times, such as we are going through now.
So the presence of the old religious beliefs, the presence of the old Gods may be more or less assumed, and it may be taken almost for granted the life of our national civilization is moving forward not by the great impulses of the people themselves, but by the impulses of a few contributed tea those people. The French Revolution was the result of the actual revolt of a few aristocrats against their own tyranny, although it was attributed to another class of people. It is never the unintelligent majority who make reforms, but the intelligent minority who inspire them. It is adequate leadership back of the masses and it never rises by accident.
What is the reasonable probability of the destiny of a nation such as ours? For what was it brought into existence? I think that destiny involves a definite problem we have had since the beginning. In the old days when the Colonies were new a number of men gathered down on what is now Wall Street and created the stock exchange. From that time on the stock exchange has been the axis of our national existence, it has been the pulse point of our daily theory of life. Of all the civilizations which have existed we have been the most involved in the theory of money and industrial and economic power of any nation, therefore, there lies our problem, the one we must solve as a people. We have to solve the problem of social existence in the terms of correcting the great faults which have arisen through the misuse of money. As Bacon pointed out, this civilization was created for the purpose of establishing a social commonwealth. The work we have to do before our national task is completed is to create a system under which human beings can life constructively, without fear of want or war.
Now that is not being to be easy. It is not going to be done in a year, or in fifty years. It is a task that involves the destiny of a nation over a great period of time. It is not going to be accomplished easily. It will require 500 years to work out that mystery, because the number of factors involved in the problem makes it inevitable anything precipitous would only result in ruin, but that is our work. Our work is to master the concept of economics, master the medium of exchange. We have to reorient a world of spiritual realities on the physical plane. That is what we must definitely contribute to progress. We are going to be the parents of a new race and that race is going to live in a better world because of the reason that we will bring it about.
Our work is to discover the solution to the problem of economic survival, if necessary change the entire theory of economics, not in a minute not in a year but in a great period of time because until the problem of economics is solved, and solved permanently, the inducement for avarice, war and power cannot be regarded as removed. As long as it is a problem of economics, as long as possessions dominate human thought, we will have war, crime and suffering. Our nation will probably ultimately inherit the job Great Britain has had for so many years, policing the world. We are coming gradually into world power. Possibly a step to that direction will be the amalgamation of all English speaking people. Maybe a hundred years from now the British Empire and the American continent will be one people. If so, it will represent the most powerful union on the earth’s surface. Its powers will be exceeded only by its obligation, because it unquestionably will have an opportunity in its growth and development to become the guardian and protector of all the nations of the world.
If the United States can proceed constructively, we can become the most powerful force toward the perpetuation of these ideals the world has ever known, but if we cannot rise to this opportunity, like all other nations that have failed, we will disappear into the limbo and another race and nation will arise and carry on to the end that is inevitable, namely, that all men shall dwell together in peace. The achievement of that end will depend upon whether we make use of the divine opportunity that is offered to us. The work must be done. Who is going to do that work depends upon who recognizes the work and sets to work upon it.
Out of the confusion of existing conditions in the uncertainty of our times, there is every evidence an arrangement is being made by which our destiny and the destiny of the world is being brought definitely and clearly under the law, and we shall perceive with greatest clarity the need for our collective existence, and each of us while we are here is responsible to do what he can to forward the destiny of the whole by making his own, constructive contribution however small it may be to the general good of the state of which he is a part. This is his state duty and it is a realization of his responsibility as an individual that will ultimately result in the national realization of its duty as a state, as a nation, to the whole world. All these matters are worthy of our consideration and we hope you will think about them.
Los Angeles, California.
Notes on lecture by MANLY P. HALL.
December 1, 1940.