By H.S. Olcott (Published in 1918)
TO me, one of the most picturesque, impressive and admirable characters in modern history is the wonder-worker whose name heads this article. The world does not see him as a recluse of the desert or the jungle, unwashed, wrinkled, hairy and clothed in rags, living apart from his fellow men and devoid of human sympathies; but as one who amid the splendour of the most brilliant European courts, equalled the greatest of the personages who move across the canvas of history. He towered above them all -- kings, nobles, philosophers, statesmen and men of letters, in the majesty of his personal character, the nobility of his ideals and motives, the consistency of his acts and the profundity of his knowledge, not only of the mysteries of Nature, but also of the literature of all peoples and epochs. By reading all I could find about him, including the instructive articles of Mrs Cooper-Oakley in The Theosophical Review (Vol 21 and 22) I have come to love as well as to admire him; to love him as did H.P.B. ; and for the same reason --- that he was a messenger and agent of the White Lodge, accomplishing his mission with unselfish loyalty and doing all that lay within man’s power to benefit others.
The recent reading of a biographical memoir under the form of an historical romance, of the famous “Souvenirs” of the Baron de Gleichen; of an interesting article in Vol 6 of Le Lotus Bleu; of the article on the Count in the Encyclopedia Britannica and other publications, has freshened up all my memories of what I had heard about him, and, more important still, has persuaded me of his identity with one of the most charming of the Unseen Personages who stood behind the masque of H.P.B. during the writing of Isis Unveiled. The more I think of it, the more fully am I persuaded of the truth of this surmise.
Before going into these details, however, it will be well just simply to say that one day, in the eighteenth century, he appeared in France under the name above given. It is said that he had taken it from an estate bought by him in the Tyrol. Mrs Cooper-Oakley gives, on the authority of Mme D’Adhémar, a list of the different names under which this maker of epochs had been known, from the year 1710 to 1822. I cite the following: Marquis de Montferrat, Comte Bellamarre, Chevalier Schoening, Chevalier Weldon, Comte Soltikoff, Graf Tzarogy, Prinz Ragoczy, and finally, Saint-Germain, Mrs Cooper-Oakley, with the help of friends, made an industrious search in the libraries of the British Museum and in those of several European kingdoms. She patiently collated from various sources bits of history which go to identify the great Count with the personages known under these different titles. But it is conceded by all who have written about him that the real secret of his birth and nationality was never discovered; all the labours of the police authorities of different countries resulted only in failure. Another fact of great interest is that no crime nor criminal intention nor deception was ever proved against him; his character was unblemished, his aims always noble. Though living in luxury and seemingly possessed of boundless wealth, no one could ever learn whence his money came; he kept no bank account, received no cash remittances, enjoyed no pension from any government, refused every offer of presents and benefits made him by King Louis XV, and other sovereigns, and yet his generosity was princely. To the poor and miserable, the sick and the oppressed, he was an incarnate Providence ; among other public benefactions, he founded a hospital in Paris, and possibly others elsewhere.
Grim, in his celebrated “Correspondance Litteraire,” which is described by the Encyc Brit, as “the most valuable of existing records of any important literary period,” affirms that St- Germain was “the man of the best parts he had ever seen”. He knew all languages, all history, all transcendental science; took no present nor patronage, refused all offers of such, gave lavishly, founded hospitals, and worked ever and always unflaggingly for the benefit of the race. One would think that such a man might have been spared by the slanderer and calumniator, yet he was not; while yet living and since his death (or disappearance, rather) the vilest insults have been showered upon his memory. Says the Encyc Brit, he was “a celebrated adventurer of the eighteenth century who by the assertion of his discovery of some extraordinary secrets of nature exercised considerable influence at several European Courts. . . .It was commonly stated that he obtained his money from discharging the functions of spy to one of the European Courts.”
The identical opinion of him is echoed by Bouilferet in his Dictionnaire d’Histoire et de Geographie, and by various other writers.
We have various descriptions of the personal appearance of Count St-Germain, and although they differ somewhat in details, yet all describe him as a man in radiant health, and of unflagging courtesy and good humour. His manners were the perfection of refinement and grace. He seems to have been a remarkable linguist, speaking fluently and usually without foreign accent the current languages of Europe. One writer, signing himself Jean Léclaireur, says in an interesting article on “Le Secret du Comte de Saint-Germain,” in the Lotus Bleu, Vol VI, 314-319, that he was familiar with French, English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Russian, Danish, Swedish and many oriental dialects. His accomplishments in this latter respect supply one of the points of resemblance which are so striking between himself and H.P.B. For His Highness the late Prince Emil de Sayn-Wittgenstein, A.D.C. to the Emperor Nicholas and an early member of our Society, wrote me once that when he knew H.P.B. at Tiflis, she was famed for her ability to speak most of the languages of the Caucasus — Georgian, Mingrelian, Abhasian, etc., while we ourselves have seen her producing literature of a superior class in Russian, French and English. But the more one reads about Saint-Germain and knows about H.P.B. the more numerous and striking are the resemblances between the two great occultists. Mrs Cooper-Oakley in her careful compilation says (Theos. Rev Vol XXI, p 428): “It was almost universally accorded that he had a charming grace and courtliness of manner. He displayed, moreover, in society a great variety of gifts, played several musical instruments excellently, and sometimes showed faculties and powers which bordered on the mysterious and incomprehensible. For example, one day he had dictated to him the first twenty verses of a poem, and wrote them simultaneously with both hands on two separate sheets of paper -- no one present could distinguish one sheet from the other.”
Mr. Léclaireur, in the article above noticed, has summarized many points about Count St-Germain which corroborate the foregoing and seem to be carefully compiled from the literature of the subject. He says that: “His beauty was remarkable and his manners splendid; he had an extraordinary talent for elocution, a marvelous education and erudition. . . . An accomplished musician, he played on all instruments, but was particularly fond of the violin; he made it vibrate so divinely that two persons who heard him and afterwards the famous Italian master, Paganini, placed the two artists on the same level.” Here we recall the superb facility of H.P.B. as a pianist, her butterfly-like touch, her improvisatorial faculty and her knowledge of technique. Baron Gleichen quotes him as saying: “You do not know what you are talking about; only I can discuss the matter, which I have exhausted, as I have music, which I abandoned because I was unable to go any farther in it.” The Baron was invited to his house with the ostensible object of examining some very valuable paintings, and the Baron says that “he kept his word, for the paintings which he showed me had the character of singularity or of perfection, which made them more interesting than many pictures of the first rank, especially a holy family of Murillo which equalled in beauty that of Raphael at Versailles; but he showed me much more than that, viz., a quantity of gems, especially of diamonds, of surprising colour, size, and perfection. I thought I was looking at the treasures of the Wonderful Lamp. There were among others an opal of monstrous size and a white sapphire as large as an egg, which paled by its brilliancy that of all the stones that I placed beside it for comparison. I dare to profess to be a connoisseur in jewels, and I declare that the eye could not discover the least reason to doubt the fineness of these stones, the more so since they were not mounted.”
Many years ago my sister, Mrs Mitchell, feeling indignant at the base slanders that were being circulated against H.P.B. and myself, and wishing to place on record some of the facts that came under her own notice while occupying, with her husband and children, a flat in the same building as ourselves, published in a London journal an article in which the following incident among others is given: “ One day she said she would show me some pretty things; and going to a small chest of drawers that stood beneath one of the windows, she took from them many pieces of superb jewelry; brooches, lockets, bracelets and rings, that were ablaze with all kinds of precious stones, diamonds, rubies, sapphires, etc. I held and examined them, but on asking to see them the next day I found only empty drawers.” My sister thought they must have been worth a great many thousands of dollars. Now as I happened to know that H.P.B. had no such collection of precious stones nor even a small portion of them, my only possible inference is that she had played on my sister’s sight one of those optical illusions which she described as psychological tricks. I am inclined to believe that St-Germain did the same to Baron Gleichen. True, these wonder workers can at their pleasure turn such an illusion into a reality and make the gems solid and permanent. Take, for instance, my “rose-ring” (see O.D.L., I 96) which she first made to leap out of a rose which I was holding in my hand, and, eighteen months later, while my sister held it, caused three small diamonds to be set in the gold in the form of a triangle. Many persons in different countries have seen this ring, and some have seen me write with it on glass, thus proving the stones to be genuine diamonds. The ring is still in my possession, and during the intervening thirty years has not changed its character at all. Moreover, there are the cases of her duplication of a yellow diamond for Mrs Sinnett at Simla, of sapphires for Mrs Carmichael and other friends at different places, her making her mystic seal-ring, now in Mrs Besant’s possession, by rubbing between her hands my own intaglio seal-ring; and the hybrid silver sugar-tongs, and, first and last, many articles of metal and stone which, having been duly described in my O.D.L., need not be here recapitulated. The reader will see that the respective phenomena of St-Germain and H.P.B. complement and corroborate each other, and that they go to show that among the branches of occult science that are familiar to adepts and their advanced pupils, is to be included an intimate knowledge of and control over the mineral kingdom. St-Germain told somebody that he had learnt from an old Hindu Brahmin how to “revive” pure carbon, that is to say to transmute it into diamond; and Kenneth Mackenzie is quoted as saying (in his Royal Masonic Cyclopedia, p 644): “In 1780, during his visit to the French ambassador to the Hague, he smashed with a hammer a superb diamond which he had produced by alchemical means; the mate to it, also made by him, he had sold to a jeweler, for the price of 5.500 louis d’or.”
We have nothing in any of these accounts going to show whether any of the gems made by him remained solid or whether they dissolved back into the astral matter out of which they had been composed, except in the specific cases where a gem had been given to some individual, or in that where one had been sold to a jeweler. To me it is unthinkable that he should have sold the diamond for the sake of raising 5,500 louis, for the fact of his having apparently unlimited command of money shows that he could not have needed so small a sum.
We have spoken above of the dissolution of a gem magically created. If the reader will refer to O.D.L., I, 197 and 198, he will see that the first picture of “Chevalier Louis,” precipitated by H.P.B. on a certain evening, had faded out by the next morning, but that when she again caused it to appear, at Mr. Judge’s request, she had “fixed” it so that it remains unchanged to the present time of writing. My explanation of that is that it depended entirely upon the adept operator whether he should make a fugitive precipitation of the thought-picture, leaving it to be acted upon and dissipated by the attraction of space, or on making the deposit of pigment, cut off the current which connected it with space and so leaving it a permanent pigmentary deposit on the paper or other surface. In fact I strongly advise anyone who wants to get at the mysteries of Count St-Germain, Cagliostro and other wonder-workers, to read in connection with them the various accounts of H.P.B’s phenomena which have been published by credible witnesses. Take for example the quotation made by Mrs Cooper-Oakley from the “Souvenirs de Marie-Antoinette.” by the Countess d’Adhémar, who had been an intimate friend of the Queen and who died in 1822. She is giving an interesting account of an interview between Her Majesty, the Count de Maurepas, herself and St-Germain. The last-named had paid Mme D’Adhémar a visit of momentous importance to the Royal family and to France, had departed and the minister, M. de. Maurepas, had come in and was slandering St-Germain outrageously, calling him a rogue and a charlatan. Just as he had said that he would send him to the Bastille, the door opened and St-Germain entered, to the consternation of M. de Maurepas and the great surprise of the Countess. Stepping majestically up to the Minister, St-Germain warned him that he was ruining both monarchy and kingdom by his incapacity and stubborn vanity, and ended with these words: “Expect no homage from posterity, frivolous and incapable Minister! You will be ranked among those who cause the ruin of empires.” . . . “M. De Saint-Germain, having spoken thus without taking breath, turned towards the door again, shut it and disappeared. . . All efforts to find the Count failed,” Compare this with the several disappearances of H.P.B. in and near Karli Caves and elsewhere, and see how the two agents of the Brotherhood employed identical means for making themselves invisible at the critical moment.
He kept house sumptuously and accepted invitations to dinner from kings and other important persons, but always with the understanding that he should not be expected to eat or drink with the company; and, in fact, he never did, giving as his excuse that he was obliged to follow a special and very strict regimen. It was said that he kept his body strong, young and healthy by taking elixirs and essences, the composition of which he kept secret; it is alleged that his visible diet was only what we might call oatmeal porridge, and that also was prepared by himself. M. Léclaireur says that he “often retired very late, but was never exhausted; he took great precautions against the cold. He often threw himself into a lethargic condition which lasted from thirty to fifty hours, and during which his body seemed as if dead. Then he reawakened, refreshed and rejuvenated and invigorated by this magical repose, and stupefied those present by relating all important things that had passed in the city or in public affairs during the interval. His prophecies as well as his foresight never failed.”
This recalls the story told by Collin de Planey (Dictionnaire Infernal, Vol II, 223) about Pythagoras who, on returning from his journeyings on the astral plane “knew perfectly all that had happened on earth during his absence”.
To continue our comparison of the two “messengers,” friends and co-workers, we see that H.P.B. did not confine herself to porridge or even a non-flesh diet, but, like the Count, she too would fall into these states of lethargy when she was oblivious to surrounding things, but would come back full of her experiences during the interval of her temporary physical abstraction. In the first Vol of O.D.L. these “brown study” states are described, as also the changes in her moods and manners as one Master after another came “on guard”. It is also recorded how the new entity coming in had to pick up out of the brain of the body the register of what had just been transpiring; sometimes making palpable mistakes. Unfortunately we have no record of the effect produced on St-Germain by suddenly awaking him out of this recuperative trance condition, probably because he always took precautions against such a thing happening; but in the case of H.P.B. I have described the great shock that she experienced when suddenly and unexpectedly dragged back into physical consciousness; more than once she held my hand against her heart to let me feel it beating like a trip-hammer, and she told me that, under certain circumstances, such a thing might be fatal. I am not alluding to those cases where she would leave her body for one or more hours to be worked by one or other of the Masters who were superintending the production of Isis Unveiled, but only to those brief withdrawals from the external to the internal plane of consciousness.
In another point there was a great difference between the two messengers. St-Germain would, very often, when the conversation turned upon any given epoch of the past, describe what had happened as though he had been present, and, as Baron Gleichen tells us, “would depict the most trifling circumstances, the manners and gestures of the speakers, even the room and the place in it they had occupied, with a detail and vivacity which made one think that one was listening to a man who had really been present . . . He knew, in general, history minutely, and drew up mental pictures and scenes so naturally represented, that never had any eye-witness spoken of a recent adventure as did he of those of the past centuries.” The revelations of psychometry have made it perfectly easy for us to understand how a man of St-Germain’s evident adeptship could recall out of the “galleries of the astral light the incidents of any given historical epoch, even to the details of house construction, furnishing and decoration, and the appearance, actions, speech and gestures of the inhabitants; and by spreading out his observations like a spider’s web in different directions, get at any facts going on. Without having been incarnate at that remote time, he would thus make himself in very truth an eye-and ear-witness of the period in question.” Such is the splendid potentiality of Buchanan’s epoch-making discovery. Do we not find in Denton’s Soul of Things scores of cases where trained psychometers did this very thing? And if the members of Denton’s family could do so much without previous occult training, why should not so grandiose a being as St-Germain have been able to do much more?
We have seen above that he persistently mystified those inquisitive persons of all ranks — royal, noble and plebeian — who tried to penetrate the secret of his birth, country and age. Have we not also seen H.P.B. playing the same trick on her troublesome inquisitors? Sometimes she would say that she was eighty years old, sometimes that she was born in the eighteenth century, and we have on record the testimony of a newspaper correspondent who, after watching her throughout the evening, said and wrote that she seemed at one moment an old woman and at the next a young girl, while more than one person saw her physical appearance change from one to the other sex. Then we have the case where, when she and I were alone in the room of our “Lamasery” at New York, she attracted my attention and I saw rise out of her body that of a Master with his Indian complexion and black hair, thus for the moment extinguishing the woman of Caucasian type, blue eyes and light hair, who sat before me.
Léclaireur says, in proof of the Count’s prodigious memory, that “he could repeat exactly and word for word the contents of a newspaper which he had skimmed over several days before; he could write with both hands at once; with the right a poem, with the left a diplomatic paper, often of the greatest importance. Many living witnesses could, at the beginning of this century (18th), corroborate these marvelous faculties. He read, without opening them, closed letters, and even before they had been handed him.” Here, again, we are made to recall the feats of the same sort which H.P.B. did in the presence of witnesses, myself included. She, too, would not only read closed letters before touching them, but also pick up a pencil and write their contents, as in the cases of Mr. Massey and others at New York, and that of the Australian Professor Smith at Bombay, which latter was interesting. One morning Damodar received four letters by one post, which contained Mahâtmic writing, as we found on opening them. They were from four widely separated places and all post-marked. I handed the whole mail to Prof. Smith, with the remark that we often found such writings inside our mail correspondence, and asked him first to kindly examine each cover to see whether there were any signs of its having been tampered with. On his returning them to me with the statement that all were perfectly satisfactory, so far as could be seen, I asked H.P.B. to lay them against her forehead and see if she could find any Mahâtmic message in either of them. She did so with the first few that came to hand, and said that in two there was such writing. She then read the messages clairvoyantly and I requested Prof. Smith to open them himself. After again closely scrutinizing them, he cut open the covers, and we all saw and read the messages exactly as H.P.B. had deciphered them by clairvoyant sight.
A form of phenomenon, however, which we do not find recorded of St-Germain, was that of the interception of letters in the post, which in my opinion is among the most remarkable things that I ever witnessed. The whole story is told in O.D.L., First Series, pp 35, 36, 37, but it may be summarized in a few words. I had come over from New York to Philadelphia on a visit to H.P.B., as I was giving myself a short rest after seeing Eddy’s book, People from the Other World, out of the press. Intending to stay only two or three days and not knowing what my Philadelphia address would be, I had left no instructions for the forwarding of my postal matter; but finding that she insisted on my making a longer visit, I went to the Philadelphia Post Office, gave the address of her house and asked that if anything came for me, it should be sent there. I was expecting nothing, but somehow or other I was impelled to do as I did. That very afternoon, letters from South America, Europe and some of the Western States of the Union were delivered at the house by the postman, H.P.B’s house address being written in lead pencil on each cover. But, and this is what gives the stamp of evidential value to the phenomenon, the New York address was not crossed off, nor did the post-mark of the New York Post Office appear on the backs of the covers, as proof that they had reached the destination intended by my several correspondents. Anybody with the least knowledge of postal matters will see the great importance of these details. Now, on opening the letters which came to me in this fashion during my fortnights visit to my colleague, I found inside many of them, if not all, something written in the same handwriting as that in letters I had received in New York from the Masters, the writing having been made either in the margins or any other blank space left by the writers. The things written were either some comments on the character or motives of the writer, or matters of general purport as regards my occult studies.
The histories of the times all speak of St-Germain and of the important part played by him in current politics of more than one reign. Thus he is said to have had much to do with the accession of the Empress Catherine to the throne of Russia. He was the intimate friend of Frederick the Great of Prussia, of Louis XV of France, of the Landgraf von Hessen, and of various princes and other great nobles. For many years he occupied a great place in the public thought of various courts and nations, but, of a sudden, in the year 1783, he disappeared from public view with the same mystery attending his exit from the scene as attended his appearance. We have no record whatever of his fate, beyond the statement of his friend, the Prince of Hesse Cassel, that he died in 1783, while making some chemical experiments in Eckrenford, near Schleswig. There is absolutely no historical record of the last illness or death of this man who, for many years, agitated the courts of Europe, nor one word about the disposal of the alleged colossal fortune, in gems and gold, that he had always with him. As Léclaireur says: “A man who had so brilliant a career cannot be extinguished so suddenly as to fall into oblivion.”
Moreover, as the same author says: “It is reported that he had a very important interview with the Empress of Russia in 1785 or 1786. It is related that he appeared to the Princess de Lamballe when she was before the revolutionary tribunal, shortly before they cut off her head, and to the mistress of Louis XV, Jeanne Dubarry, while she was awaiting the fatal stroke, in 1793. The Countess d’Adhémar, who died in 1822, left a manuscript note, of date May 12, 1821, and fastened with a pin to the original MS., in which she says that she saw M. de Saint-Germain several times after 1793, viz., at the assassination of the Queen (Oct 16, 1793); the 18th Brumaire (Nov 9th, 1799); the day following the death of the Duke d’Enghien (1804); in the month of January, 1813; and on the eve of the murder of the Duke de Berri (1820). “It is to be observed in this connection that these later visits to his friend, the Countess, after his disappearance from Hesse Cassel and his supposed death, may have been made in the same way as that of a Master to myself at New York --- in the projected astral body; for we have, in Mrs Cooper-Oakley’s article, a quotation from Grafer’s “Memoirs,” the statement that St-Germain told him and Baron Linden that he should disappear from Europe at about the end of the 18 century, and betake himself to the region of the Himalayas, adding: “I will rest; I must rest. Exactly in eighty-five years will people again set eyes on me. Farewell, I love you.” The date of this interview may be deduced approximately from another article in the same volume, where it is said: “St-Germain was in the year 1788, or 1789, or 1790, in Vienna, where we had the never-to-be-forgotten honour of meeting him.” If we take the first date, then eighty-five years would bring us to 1873, when H.P.B. came to New York to find me; if the second, then the eighty-five years would coincide with our meeting at Chittenden; if the third, that marks the date of the foundation of the Theosophical Society and the commencement of the writing of Isis Unveiled, in which work, as above stated, I am persuaded that St-Germain was one of the collaborators.
I have thus very briefly, yet in good faith, traced the connection between these two mysterious personages, St-Germain and H. P. Blavatsky, messengers and agents of the White Lodge, as I believe. The one was sent to help in directing the convergent lines of karma that were to bring about the political cataclysm of the 18thcentury with all its appalling consequences, to let loose the moral cyclone which was to purify the social atmosphere of the world; the other came at a time when materialism was to meet its Waterloo and the new reign of spiritual high-thinking was to be ushered in through the agency of our Society.
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