by Ronald A. Hughes
I established the Phineas Parkhurst Quimby web site at http://www.ppquimby.com on March 7, 2002, or ten years ago this month. On our tenth anniversary, it seems appropriate to pause and reflect on the original intention and to express my most heartfelt thanks and appreciation for all of the assistance, guidance and sharing that makes the resource center a valuable research tool for anyone who might be studying the life and science of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby.
My original intention has always been, and will always be, to provide historically accurate and well-documented Quimby related materials. I personally believe that Phineas Quimby deserves nothing less than the accurate preservation of his writings so they will be available for present and future generations.
Since the launch of this web site, I have personally collected and digitalized the complete collections of the Phineas Quimby materials from the Library of Congress; Boston University; Harvard University; the Quimby family collection at the Belfast, Maine Historical Society and Museum; and so much more. With just a few clicks of a mouse button on my computer, I can pull up digital images of every copy of the handwritten Quimby articles for comparison.
I have also personally digitalized the major previous publications of Quimby’s writings and can see every comma, quotation mark, parentheses, and grammatical word change made by previous editors of his writings.
In the course of my research work, I rediscovered 37 additional unpublished articles or pieces by P. P. Quimby and in 2009, set about publishing a new volume of his writings. Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond is now available from the PPQ Resource Center and through most major Internet booksellers. I believe it is unparalleled in size, scope, organization, documentation, and historical accuracy.
You may be asking why all of this discussion of historical accuracy is important, and I thought I would share a recent example.
A friend had been reviewing the article, "The Subject of Prayer," found page 96 of Erroll S. Collie's 1980 book, Quimby's Science of Happiness. This particular article is under the title of “Prayer I,” and is located on page 447 in our book. The reader had noticed major discrepancies in the two published versions of this particular article, and this is where historical research comes into play.
Erroll Stafford Collie, who is primarily known within the sphere of Quimby studies for being the first person to realize that in addition to the published Quimby writings, there were many unpublished writings preserved in the Library of Congress. That is, Horatio W. Dresser did not publish these particular articles in his 1921 book, The Quimby Manuscripts. Collie set about transcribing these articles or pieces, and then self-published them as The Science of Health and Happiness by P. P. Quimby, in 1940.
I examined these two versions of the article side-by-side, and sure enough, beginning with the third sentence of the article, there was a major discrepancy. The sentence is longer in our book and says, “A phenomenon can be produced in the same way that is brought about by mesmerism, and the world is put in possession of a fact but no knowledge, for there is no knowledge in the church prayer.”
In Collie’s version of this article, the same sentence is, “A phenomenon can be produced in the same way that it is brought about by mesmerism, but there is no knowledge in the church prayer.”
As you can see, the words, “and the world is put in possession of a fact but no knowledge,” have been removed from the sentence, and the word “for” has been changed to the word “but.”
With this information at hand, I began to dig through the original handwritten documents. I located one copy of this article in the Library of Congress collection; there are five copies in the Boston University collection; and two additional copies in the Harvard University collection. This totals eight handwritten copies of this particular article.
All eight handwritten copies have the longer version of this particular sentence and clearly, Collie’s version differs from the original documents. Now I could have stopped my research at this point, but something told me to dig a little deeper.
Erroll Collie’s transcription work focused on the unpublished writings, and it dawned on me that for the previously published Quimby writings, he relied on Horatio W. Dresser’s 1921 book, The Quimby Manuscripts. Sure enough, you can find this altered article on page 205 in both editions of The Quimby Manuscripts under the title of “Prayer, I.” Evidently, Collie copied this article from Dresser without checking it against the original handwritten documents for accuracy.
In some instances, Dresser used the literary three-dot ellipsis to signify the omission of original text, but he did not adhere to this practice consistently. My friend had located an undocumented editorial deletion and what we have here is a case of interpretive editing. In fairness to Dresser, I would hasten to point out the Quimby writings are repetitive, and in his capacity as editor, it is his job to edit.
My own preference as a serious Quimby student is to study his writings, and therefore the spiritual science expressed through the man Quimby, as historically recorded. After all, the placement of a single comma can change the meaning of an entire sentence.
This particular piece of history is Quimby’s history, and through careful examination, we can find some historical truth. Now if you have studied Quimby’s science, you know that he describes “truth” as one of the living principles or attributes of God.
In this very same article under discussion, he writes, “To worship God is to worship Him in Spirit and in truth, for He is in the truth but not in the error. Our reward is in our act and if we act rightly and honestly, we get the reward. If we act selfishly we get the reward also.”
As the Phineas Parkhurst Quimby Resource Center moves into its eleventh year on the Internet, I would like to reaffirm my commitment to the exploration and dissemination of historically accurate information as it pertains to Phineas Parkhurst Quimby.
by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Man's misery always arises from some error that is admitted as true. We confound our fears with the idea feared and place the evil in the thing seen or believed. Here is a great error, for we never see that which we are afraid of. Suppose, for instance, we see a wild animal lying down in the forest. Not knowing what it is, we are afraid, lest it be a bear or a catamount. This doubt is what makes our fear or torment. If we knew that the animal was securely chained, that knowledge would banish our fears.
Man is constantly tormented through fear of death. We may say we do not believe in the destruction of ourselves, but everything shows us that our lives are destroyed by this king of terrors. Now if it were possible to convince man that the life that can be destroyed is life only because his ignorance and fears make it so, he would then look about to see how he can save himself from the death he so much fears. At night he lies down and goes to sleep. In the morning he rises from the dead or the idea that he lived in eight hours before. Night and day are emblems of man's existence. When man is in doubt, he is in the darkness that he has been warned of.
All men must pass through this purgatory before they can awake to the light of wisdom. In passing through the night of error, shadows appear and the mind is disturbed and anxious for the light of day. In the daytime, we call ourselves awake, but we are just as much asleep to the light of wisdom as in the night. It, however, makes a difference in the ideas we fear. In the day or light of health, the ideas of disease are not near us; but in the night of trouble, we fear the darkness lest we should never again behold the light. These fears arise from our education and they are based on the fear of death, but let death be destroyed by destroying the belief in the evils that lead to it, then it is robbed of its terror. Men are in the dark about death and in this darkness Jesus appeared and brought the light of life.
It is the common opinion that Jesus came to convince man of another world, but this cannot be so for he never proved it. A scientific analysis of the scriptures will reveal the mission of Jesus. He came into the world as a saviour to save man from error and not from truth. Their religion had taught them to believe in another world. He saw the misery it wrought on the people and he made war against it. He saw that, like a serpent, it wound itself around the life of man, running its poisonous fangs through every act. Jesus was mortal like any other man, but Christ was wisdom manifested through Jesus, which could destroy the serpent by binding him with the cords of wisdom in man's own belief so that he could not deceive the people again. This was Jesus' mission: to save man from the devil and teach him to destroy all evil. Christ often comes in the form of some good Samaritan and saves man from the power of the devil. He is the creature of man's belief and he is found in priestcraft and its followers. The church has always fought Christ or science. Their offering of prayers can never take away pain or sin.
Source: Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond, beginning on page 382.
The Kindle version of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond is now available through the Amazon web site here.
The most comprehensive Quimby publication that has ever been published, is now at the incredibly low price of $9.99! If you already have a Kindle account, you can click on this link — make your purchase — and be reading your very own copy of this book in 60 seconds or less!
Don't have a Kindle? Amazon has free reading apps for your Web Browser; iPhone; Windows PC; Mac; BlackBerry; iPad; Android; and Windows Phone 7. Visit the Amazon web site here for more information.
The printed paperback edition continues to be available from the Resource Center as well as most of the major on-line booksellers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
The hardcover limited edition continues to be available exclusively from the Phineas Parkhurst Quimby Resource Center.
The "Comments and Reviews" page is here.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012, marks the 10th anniversary of the Phineas Parkhurst Quimby Resource Center.
Without a doubt, I am the most frequent user or visitor to this web site and have personally funded it for the past 10 years. It came into being because I grew weary of reading “opinions” and misinformation about Phineas P. Quimby, and I wanted to share accurate information with anyone who might also want to study his writings.
I would like to extend my personal "thank you" and gratitude for your emails, book purchases, advice and critiques in the past 10 years. If the information on this web site has been helpful for you as well, please stop by our sales pages at Amazon, Facebook, etc., and click on the “like” button! Or, please leave a comment or book review!
As a side-note in case you are interested in Civil War history, this month, the Belfast Historical Society and Museum has a special video presentation on a flag quilt that came into their possession last March. There is a Quimby connection to this bed quilt. Phineas and Susannah Quimby’s daughter Augusta worked on making this quilt in 1864. Augusta (Quimby) Frederick wrote and delivered a speech before the Unitarian Alliance in 1917, entitled, “Recollections of the Civil War,” and talked about this very quilt. Here is an extract from Augusta's presentation:
“As a diversion from real work it was proposed to make a Flag Bed Quilt for a hospital. Preparations were made at once, a committee was chosen to purchase the materials, and at a meeting at the Unitarian Parsonage the quilt was designed, cut and prepared for willing hands to finish. It was of good size, made like a flag with a red and white border. The names of all the members were written in the white stripes, appropriate mottoes were in every star and where some pun or play upon the Union Officers names could be made, it was quickly incorporated. The idea was like this: a hard resting place for the rebels—“General Pillow”. A bus to the rebel progress, “General Gates”. The writing was all done by Mrs. John W. Quimby whose fine penmanship is still remembered. When the quilt was finished and ready for the quilting we were invited to the house of Hon. N. Abbott and a picnic supper was served, to which the young men were invited. The quilt was finished during the afternoon, and was displayed in the dining room and was much admired. The following week it was sent to Washington by express, accompanied by a letter from our President Miss Isabella Johnson...”
I watched the free video presentation in its entirety on the Museum’s web site last night and found it to be most informative! The Belfast Historical Society and Museum’s web site is here: http://www.belfastmuseum.org
In Wisdom, Love and Light,
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