Re Leadbeater in Brazil
Feb 06, 2007 03:35 AM
by Mark Jaqua
Re: Leadbeater in Brazil
I think with his phoney Brazil
auto-biography CWL was just warming up
for his "Lives of Alcyone," - more comic
book past-life biography. As they say,
every dollar lie is based on 10 cents
of truth, and maybe the guy really was
in Brazil for the "10 cents" part.
"The Elder Brother" was one of the most
valuable theosophical books of the last
quarter of the century, and really was
the death-knell for taking CWL serious,
except for people who have something
wrong with them. ("Ingratitude is not one
of our vices" writes one of the Teacher's
in the MLs. One might weigh this statement
with ULT LA's refusal to even answer Tillet
about archive research.)
Of course there are quite a few who
get interested in CWL's adolescent fairy-tales
and psychic adventures, and later
graduate into Blavatsky theosophy.
Oliveira, I think, is also the main guy
at the Australian TS Campbell Research
Library, isn't he? Although a CWL priest,
strangely one of the only people who ever
thanked me for sending them an archive
CD of Theosophical material (with plenty
of critical material on pseudo-theosophy.)
Geoffrey Hodson also tried to do a face-
saving CWL biography as Oliveira plans.
MKR said that HPB was referred to
in a "Simpson's" TV episode, which I would
have liked to see. In the short-lived
series "Young Indiana Jones", CWL, Besant
and Krisnamurti were featured some years
back, with Besant as the well-meaning fool,
and Leadbeater as the manipulating Svengali.
About 15 years ago I tried to donate
to the local Toledo Library "The Elder
Brother" and also about a half dozen
Theosophical books, which didn't appear
in circulation. I asked one of the assistant
directors what happened to the books,
which disturbed her. The next time I went
to the library a security guard followed
me around. 'Also got a note from someone
saying that EB didn't get on the shelves
because it "was not well-written." I
guess the guy meant that it shouldn't
have been written about at all! ha Also
one of the old dessicated librarians
walked up to me, nodded, and turned
around and picked up imaginary lint
off the carpet, showing me his opinion
to my face I suppose. Toledo used to
have an active theosophical group in
the first part of the century, and still
had a lot of theosophical books in stock,
including CWL's, which I used to check
references in "Theosophy vs. Neo-Theosophy."
Eventually they put a Purucker book and
Mundy one in circulation.
On the other hand, a local university
library had a worn-out SD on the shelves,
so I sent a new one, and actually got a
note from one of the directors thanking
me. Another local small town, the only
local one with a jewish community, was
also glad to have Judge's "Ocean."
- jake j.
>4. Leadbeater in Brazil
Posted by: "email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Sat Feb 3, 2007 9:03 pm ((PST))
>Readers may be interested in a posting on another site by Pedro
Oliveira, TS employee and Liberal Catholic bishop:
>For the past three years I have been collecting material for a short
biography of C. W. Leadbeater. My intention is not to contradict
existing biographies about him but to present important aspects of his life and
work based on documentary evidence.
>One of the many controversial aspects of his life is his claim that he
went with his family to Brazil in 1858. Because no evidence was thought
to exist to substantiate such a claim it was branded a 'fraud' and a
'lie'. Until now.
>In a memo in the Archives at Adyar, C. Jinarajadasa stated that CWL's
family went to Brazil in 1858 and that his father, Charles Leadbeater,
worked in the Bahia and San Francisco Railway. On the basis of the
above information, last year I requested that a TS member in Salvador, Bahia
(north-east of Brazil), conduct research at the Historical Archive of
Salvador. He later informed me that nothing had been found under that
name (Charles Leadbeater).
>I was therefore quite surprised, to say the least, the day before
yesterday when I received a telephone call from Ricardo Lindemann,
National President of the TS in Brazil, informing me that during the TS
summer school held in Salvador last week he had visited the Historical
Archive to do further research. Going through several heavy and thick
leather-bound old books, he came across a ship manifesto of foreigners
entering Brazil on 30th May 1858. The sixth name on the list reads
"Charles Leadbeater". On the same line it is stated that he came with
his family. The Archive is now in the process of issuing official
certification of the above information.
>Both the certificate and photographic reproduction of the relevant page
will be posted on a website dedicated to CWL's life and work which is
presently under construction.
>With best wishes and warm regards to all of you,
>Leadbeater’s story about his alleged time in Brazil (circa 1858- circa
1862) is found in “Saved by a Ghost. A True Story of an Adventure in
Brazil, Near Bahia, 1861-2” published in “The Theosophist” (1911),
subsequently published as an off-print edited and annotated by
Jinarajadasa (1911) with the title Saved by a Ghost. A True Record of
Adventure in Brazil, Near Bahia, 1861-1862, of Charles Leadbeater
(Senior), Charles Webster Leadbeater, and Gerald Leadbeater, and then
included in a collection of Leadbeater’s short stories, The Perfume of
Egypt (1911). Presumably, if it was not “A True Record”, Leadbeater had
every opportunity correct it, or at least to prevent the second edition
(1912) being published. The published account can be supplemented by
notes left by Jinarajadasa and A.J. Hamerster in the TS archives at Adyar.
Jinarajadasa also undertook research in Brazil in an attempt to confirm
the details, but did not report any success.
>The essential claims made by Leadbeater were that he and his family
were in Brazil between 1858-62: the story in “Saved by a Ghost” allegedly
occurs in 1861-2, biographical notes made by A.J. Hamerster and
corrected by Leadbeater record the family being in Brazil from around 1858 to
1862, and a “Memo for a Biography of C.W.L.” written by Jinarajadasa on the
basis of information given to him by However, no standard history of Brazil includes any reference to
uprisings in Brazil,
>Leadbeater claimed that he and his father were involved in a
“rebellion” led by a “General Martinez”. Leadbeater’s brother, Gerald, was murdered
by the rebels. Leadbeater’s father joined the army in fighting the rebels,
and Leadbeater (aged either 15 by his account or 8 according to his
birth certificate) went with his father and the army to capture Martinez.
Leadbeater and his father were awarded decorations by the government
for his services to Brazil.
>Leadbeater states that the family went to Brazil in 1858 and returned
to London in 1862. Leadbeater claimed that his father was the “leading
director” (in other sources, “chairman”) of a railway company (which
Leadbeater did not identify but which Jinarajadasa, from his research
in Brazil, claimed was The State of Bahia South Western Railway Company).
Leadbeater’s father must moved from being a “book keeper” (1854
baptismal record of his son) to “railway clerk” (1861 census) to “leading
director” or “chairman” (for the adventures in Brazil) to “book-keeper for a
railway company” (1862 death certificate).
>That Leadbeater and his family went to Brazil may or may not have been
a “fraud” or a “lie”. If Pedro can provide evidence that they were in
Brazil, this will indeed be interesting. He will then only have to deal
with “fraud” or “lie” of Leadbeater’s claims of what happened there –
and, alas, the ongoing fraud or lie of his birth date.
>Dr Gregory Tillett
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