The Quimby Manuscripts
Phineas Parker Quimby

(Edited H. W. Dresser, 1921)

Phineas Parkhurst Quimby


AFTER Dr. Quimby's death, Mrs. Eddy continued to teach the new ideas and methods, as one of his followers until the period of her more public work. She lived in Stoughton, Mass., 1868-70, where she left a manuscript known as "Extracts from P. P. Quimby's Writings," on which she based her teachings. (A part of the Ms., with a facsimile showing emendations in Mrs. Eddy's hand, was published in the New York Times, July 10, 1904, with a "deadly parallel" showing Quimby's teachings and those of Mrs. Eddy in "Science and Health.") In 1872, while teaching in Lynn, Mass., Mrs. Eddy claimed this Ms. as her own, and in this and other writings she gradually changed the terminology so that it bore less resemblance to Quimby's. After publishing "Science and Health," in 1875, she put forward progressive claims as discoverer and founder. In her "Metaphysical College," in Boston, Mrs. Eddy began in 1882 to have trouble with her students, who criticized her teaching and disputed her claims.

One of these students, Mr. E. J. Arens, learned from Mr. J. A. Dresser, October, 1882, that the methods and ideas claimed as hers by right of "revelation" were derived from Dr. Quimby. Arens gave full credit to Quimby and claimed the right to publish the new ideas without giving credit to Christian Science, but was sued by Mrs. Eddy for plagiarism. The suit was won, Sept. 24, 1883, by Mrs. Eddy, because Arens could not persuade George Quimby to let him take the Quimby Mss. into court. Meanwhile, the controversy in the press was begun, Feb., 1883, by "A. O.," in a letter to the editor of the Boston Post, entitled "The Founder of the Mental Method of Treating Disease," in which the facts, acquired from Mr. Dresser, were accurately stated.

1883. Feb. 19. "E. G.," ostensibly a sometime patient of Dr. Quimby's but in reality a publicist for Mrs. Eddy, writes a letter to the Post, representing Quimby as a mere "mesmerist" and trickster.

1883. Feb. 23. Mr. Dresser refutes these statements and puts Quimby's work in its true light.

1883. March 7. Mrs. Eddy writes to the Post over her own signature, trying to meet Mr. Dresser's reply by introducing irrelevant subjects. 1884. The scene of the controversy is changed to Hartford, Conn.; in the Hartford Times Mr. Dresser recounts the true history of Quimby's discovery and practice.

1885. Mrs. Eddy collects her "facts" in "Historical Sketch of Metaphysical Healing," Boston, pub. by the author; tries to show that Quimby was a mere mesmerist: alleges that she left Mss. with him in 1862.

1887. By request, Mr. Dresser gives lecture in Boston entitled "The True History of Mental Science," quotes from a Ms. by Quimby, explains the ideas and methods to show that they involve neither mesmerism nor manipulation, reads Mrs. Eddy's articles, verses and letter showing her loyalty to Quimby during his life-time. This lecture, published in pamphlet form by the author, Boston, 1887, becomes basis of true history everywhere; revised, with additions, by H. W. Dresser, Boston, 1899.

1887. June. Having no answer to the "True History," Mrs. Eddy makes a general denial and adds further fuel to the controversial fires in "Mind-Healing History," in the Christian Science Journal.

1888. March. George Quimby writes about his father's life and work, in New England Magazine, showing how Dr. Quimby changed from mesmerism and discovered mental healing.

1888. Mr. A. J. Swarts visits Boston, Portland and Belfast, learns the facts at first hand from Mr. Dresser and Mr. George Quimby, and publishes his findings in various issues of the Mental Science Magazine, Chicago.

1895. In "The Philosophy of P. P. Quimby," Boston, Geo. H. Ellis, Mrs. Annetta G. Dresser, Dr.

Quimby's patient 1862, newspaper excerpts concerning Quimby's work and brief quotations from the Mss. are published.

1899. Mr. Septimus J. Hanna, publicist, summarizes Mrs. Eddy's side of the case in "Christian Science History," Boston, Christian Science Pub. Co.

1899. May. H. W. Dresser publishes in The Arena, the facts about Mrs. Eddy's indebtedness to Dr. Quimby, also portions of Mrs. Eddy's letters; Mrs. Woodbury, former student under Mrs. Eddy, puts the latter's statements in Portland papers, 1862, in deadly parallel with those in Mrs. Eddy's article in the Christian Science Journal, June, 1887.

1902. Another publicist, Alfred Farlow, issues "Christian Science: Historical Facts," in which the usual claims are made without any examination of the true history.

1907. Miss Georgine Milmine, after painstaking research, publishes in McClure's Magazine accurate life of Mrs. Eddy, which appears in book form as "The Life of Mary Baker G. Eddy," New York, Doubleday Page and Co., 1909. Miss Milmine carefully traces history of Quimby's Ms., "Questions and Answers," showing how it has been modified by Mrs. Eddy in her "Science of Man," and "Science and Health."

1907. Miss Sybil Wilbur, writer, undertakes to prepare an offsetting "Life" without inquiring into the truth of the "facts" put at her disposal. The result is seen in Human Life, Boston, April, 1907, which contains a sensational report of an interview with George Quimby, trying to discredit him and doubting the authenticity of the Quimby Mss. These statements somewhat modified in "Life of Mary Baker Eddy," New York, The Concord Pub. Co., 1908.

1907. The controversy is taken up by various clergymen, including Lyman P. Powell, "Christian Science, the Faith and its Founder," New York, Putman's Sons, 1907, and James H. Snowden, "The Truth about Christian Science," Philadelphia, The Westminister Press, 1920, in which the facts are impartially stated.

1921. The publication of "The Quimby Manuscripts" and a review in the Springfield Republican called forth a letter from Clifford P. Smith, which appeared in the Springfield Republican of September, 29, 1921.

After the publication of portions of the Quimby Ms., with facsimiles and the deadly parallel, in the New York Times, July 10, 1904, conclusively establishing the original source, Miss Milmine, who had thoroughly investigated the subject, wrote to George Quimby, Oct. 27, 1905, as follows:

"It is quite true that she (Mrs. Eddy) did use your father's Ms. entitled 'Questions and Answers' to teach from in the beginning. In fact, she used nothing else for many years, and hired a student to make copies of it for the use of each pupil. I have photographs of one of these copies, and have seen several of them belonging to early pupils who have kept them and who showed them to me. With the change of a word here and there, it is exactly your father's Ms. This manuscript of your father's was used largely to form a chapter called 'Recapitulation' in 'Science and Health' in later years; but with each new edition it was revised until the present chapter of that title is a long way off from the original. Nevertheless this is the only chapter in her book from which her students are taught in classes, today. The course in C. S. consists of a series of talks on this one chapter, which is elucidated and explained to the class. So everybody who is learning C. S. healing today is learning the essential truth almost directly from your father's old manuscript, as in the beginning. The rest of C. S. and all the objectionable part is simply 'frills' added by Mrs. Eddy. Of course she has used your father's ideas and many of his phrases all through the book.... The Ms. you sent [printed above, Chap. XIII.] is almost word for word, as you have seen, like the one she used to teach from."

Even Miss Wilbur, in her "interview" with Mrs. Crosby, of Waterville, as reported in Human Life, March, 1907, puts in as fact that "Mrs. Patterson spent most of her time reducing to writing the remembered sayings of Quimby," while living with Mrs. Crosby.

Turning once more to one who knew the whole history of the production of the Quimby Mss. from within. In a letter dated Belfast, Me., Nov. 11th, 1901, to one of his many inquiring correspondents, George Quimby says: "As far as the book, 'Science and Health,' is concerned, Mrs. Eddy had no access to father's Mss. [Save 'Questions and Answers'] when she wrote it, but that she did have a very full knowledge of his ideas and beliefs is also true. The religion which she teaches certainly is hers, for which I cannot be too thankful; for I should be loath to go down to my grave feeling that my father was in any way connected with 'Christian Science.' That she got her inspiration and idea from father is beyond question. In other words, had there been no Dr. Quimby there would have been no Mrs. Eddy. Father claimed to believe, and taught and practiced his belief, that disease was a mental condition and was an invention of man ... while he held strong views, and acknowledged God as first Cause - and no one ever believed in God and Jesus more than he - he differed entirely as to the Bible, and interpreted it in a way entirely with himself. In curing the sick [conventional] religion played no part. There were no prayers, there was no asking assistance from God or any other divinity. He cured by his wisdom. ... Don't confuse his method of healing with Mrs. Eddy's Christian Science, so far as her religious teachings go. Disease as a mental condition caused by error or beliefs, and capable of being cured mentally without medicine or appliances or applications - these ideas are embodied in Mrs. Eddy's book - she certainly heard father teach years before she wrote her book.

While under his care, off and on for several years, she became deeply interested in his theory of disease and its cure. She heard many of his essays read; wrote many herself which she submitted to him for inspection and correction. But she never left any of hers with him, and never bad any of his, to more than look at. [*1] She had the opportunity to copy some, and possibly did. After she left his care, she delivered some lectures on his method of healing ... Up to the time of his death, no one could have been more loyal to father than she. She gave him full credit for curing her and teaching her the very ideas she later had revealed to her from Heaven.

"Now a word about that great court decision. One E. J. Arens, of Boston, made a statement which he could not prove, that Mrs. Eddy got her ideas from father, and that his writings and Mss. would prove it. He went into court and could not prove what he said, and now Mrs. Eddy and her adherents claim that because he could not prove that there were such Mss., that there are none! I would not allow him to use the Mss. in court, and consequently he could not prove what he said." [*2]

Writing to another man, George Quimby said in part:

"The basis of the whole misunderstanding has been that everything that has emanated from the Eddy side has been taken for God's truth, and everything that has been stated in opposition to her has been pronounced and believed to be lies. By assuming all she has said as true, on the start, it doesn't leave much for the other side.

"To begin with, you must understand that I was with my father during the term he was in Portland, and had bad an intimate personal acquaintance extending over two or more years with Mrs. Eddy (then Mrs. Patterson). I am not stating hearsay, but personal knowledge. As I was father's clerk, bookkeeper and sec'y, and as it was the wish of his life that I take his place and carry on his work, I ought to know what he believed and claimed, and how he treated the sick, and what he wanted me to learn. I have a package of Mrs. Eddy's letters to my father, covering a period from 1862 to 1864... . In all her letters she gives him full credit for discovering and reducing mental healing to a science... . This Mrs. Patterson knew, and this she learned from him, not as a student receiving a regular course as she taught in her college, but by sitting in his room, talking with him, reading his Mss., copying some of them, writing some herself and reading them to him for his criticism. In that sense she and many others of his patients were his pupils, in the same way that the disciples were pupils of Jesus. I have heard him talk hours and hours, week in and week out, when she was present, listening and asking questions. After these talks he would put on paper in the shape of an essay or conversation what subject his talk bad covered. These writings we would then copy into blank books.... Five or six were written before Mrs. Patterson came to Portland.

"Now, I have had since the article appeared in The Times several letters from Mr. Wentworth, who claims to have the document from which The Times gave extracts. I wrote him and asked him to give me the 'Questions and Answers' of which there purported to be fifteen, and also the beginning of the 'Answers.' He did so. I have in my possession the original of these questions and answers.

"Mrs. Eddy did live in Stoughton. She did board with those people. And it does not seem possible nor probable to me that they would absolutely lie about this matter - I mean as to where they obtained the paper. If they did not get it from Mrs. Eddy, where did it come from? They never saw father, and father wrote the original article, and I have it before me now, and it is dated Portland, Feb. 1862 ...

"If he was a mesmerist or spiritualist, what did he write that for? And why did he say in his Circular to the Sick, which he issued from 1860 to 1865, 'I give no medicine and make no outward applications. I tell the patient his feelings, and my explanation is the cure'? Why did he do this? Because that was his method and no one knew it better than Mrs. Eddy.

"In your statement of Mrs. Eddy's offer to print father's writings, if any such existed, and because her offer was not accepted it proved there were no such writings, you did not give her whole offer which was, 'provided' she first be allowed to examine them and see if they were not some she left with him! Just think of it! my letting her, or any one else, have Mss. I knew were father's because I saw him write them, and copied many of them myself, to see if she didn't write them and leave them with him."

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* 1. That is, Vol. I, loaned her by Mr. Dresser, as already stated.

* 2. [Mr. Quimby did not loan his father's manuscripts to Mr. Arens because he was not in a position financially to engage in a suit. Moreover, he was naturally and rightly asked why he should take part in a suit to establish what was true? Dr. Quimby had taught that truth could take care of itself, when the time came. His son believed that his father 's rights would be established when the time should come to publish the Mss. Finally, Mr. Arens had made unwarranted statements to the effect that Dr. Quimby was not only the originator of mental healing and the terminology of Christian mental healing and Christian Science; and that what Mrs. Eddy used was the essential terminology, the methods, and the reasonings which establish the principle that "all causation is mental" in the origination and cure of disease.]

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