Thomas Jefferson Papers

Edward Postlethwayt Page to Thomas Jefferson, 18 February 1821

From Edward Postlethwayt Page

Marietta, Ohio. Feb. 18th 1821—

If our post-master is not a perjured man, you will have received two letters from me, & this, in the hope that he does his duty, is my third. I shall find him out if he is true or false to me—He may think to do Jehovah a service by obstructing me in this or in other ways with his tongue of contempt. But had he more sense, more education, and less pride and bigotry—better for him.—He, being a mason may conclude as Herod did, that spiritual murder of the spiritual Baptist should the rather be religiously adhered to for his oath’s sake—But Blue-beard awaits the righteous judgment of Pluto—Blind Homer sung the lost Helen—Blind milton the lost paradise, & blind Sampson now sings lost magic—The trinity of Jehovah may not only be exemplified in the Sun, his light, his heat1 But in Being, Power, Motion.2—Sir, Light is continually developing light to my mind—& something whispers me that Franklin discovered more than his magic square of squares & circle of circles but that in the same heaven-born spirit that popery forbade the reading of the Scriptures, has masonry, which is perverted & most carnal Geometry & Astronomy, as opposed to spiritual Astronomy & communicative love,—purchased up his sublimest discoveries, & so, in the old hellish spirit of avarice fraudulently pilfered the light which is the property of the commonwealth.—Sir, 18 months ago when I was a blind aristocrat, I detested your name as Satan in human form. So much for king-craft.—Now—the scales are off, and in my estimation there lives not in the world a more sublime philosopher than yourself,—connected with your station.3 Sir—I revere, I venerate the name of Jefferson, & I weep to think that time has smitten you, and that before Universal masonry & sympathetic union prevails, & opposites subside into eternal calm and the tin and the copper becomes brass—& water mixes and is a level, and the fire harmonizes into fire—& the whole world is leavened into light, & in some sublime manner concavity reciprocates convexity—& the images of the dead are restored by energy of the living by the strength as of a chain cable, each man a link.—I say, that ere the Tree of Nebuchadnezzar be plucked from the ground of avarice, by Urim & Thummim lights and perfections—that tree whose roots are pride, whose trunk is ambition, whose branches are worldly lusts, whose fruit are gold, silver, copper & even Licurgus’s iron coin, whose leaves are bank-paper—yea, before you can see realized those sacred rights recognized in that magna charta, the constitution—the same birth—the same death & end therefore the same rights—Ah, before the tree of life with 12 fruits, 7 of which are the 7 eyes of Jehovah, namely, Being, Power, Motion, Knowledge, Wisdom, Light, Love4 & 5 are the wintry months of man or his right hand five fingers or wise virgins of agency obeying the 7 sockets or cavities of his head—namely Perception, Reception, Retention, Cogitation, Perfection5 you will have gone to hell, for hell is only the grave or darkness, and is a relative word, as the opposite of light; to that bourne whence no traveller returns.6 Sir, I believe in universal salvation—Sir the Holy Scriptures from beginning to end are one entire allegory, and may I be eternally tormented in calvinistic hell-fire hotter than that which dear heaven born Calvin tortured poor Servetus 2 hours in, if the knowledge of God & the spirit of Jehovah did not indite them.7 Masonry is the only true platform—God is a mason but as his light shines equally upon every object as he is diffusive—as he says more blessed to give than to receive—so do we indeed find that there is no true joy but in communicating—hence my love for you—for the world is beyond my love for any copy-right—& I impart, before I even8 digest my matter—eager for the welfare of the whole—aware that fragments are not parts—that Captain Cook was a broken God when his flesh was separated—Jehovah has but one eternal channel—& that is Order.—You never answer me perhaps for your oath’s sake—Who made you a slave?—Why any exclusive rights?

I hope to see you before long.—[. . .] [s]hall proclaim the opened books after the order of Melc[hize]dek

 36 angles or 2 pillars of Jacob

West variation is really accounted for

36 angles or 2 pillars of Esau9

Jarchin or Jachin is hebrew for the moon—11 days difference between a lunar & a solar year—& the glorious 12 between a lunar & Sidereal year—The 6000 years perhaps are come & the day of judgment begun last year with the Inquisition

 Peale’s Allegorical court of death will prove a court of life to us
Blessed be Jefferson for encouraging it

 & 19 is the golden number

Make[. . .] [. . .]ly all equal in this form10—& you find 2 systems beyond the Solar & wonderful mysteries of the Mosaic pavement &a & the 12—& the trinity Surround the outer circle by the Leviathan of Truth

I could tell you of a thousand other facts hid even from your masonic research, because in your lodge the word is lost.11 Aaron’s breast-plate is melted at the mint of avarice.12 The letter this covers—I had no need to send—I forward it for your information—See how rapidly we halcyons move—How different—how incorrect my definition of Urim & Thummim there—You oath masons have long enough crucified the light & Geometry to Kings Priests & yourselves—Expand you must—You are Sampson, Jerico, Noah, Sodom, Absalom, Nathan’s David, Goliah, the prodigal son

RC (DLC); damaged at seal; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqre Late President of the U. States Montecello Varginia,” with “Charlottsville” added in an unidentified hand; franked; postmarked Marietta, 21 Feb.; endorsed by TJ as a letter from “Page” received 3 Mar. 1821, with his additional notation: “insane,” and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure not found.

the spiritual baptist was the biblical John the Baptist, beheaded by order of Herod Antipas (Matthew 14.1–12; Mark 6.16–29). tree of nebuchadnezzar: In the Bible, the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar dreamed of the felling of a great tree, which the prophet Daniel interpreted as foreshadowing that king’s temporary downfall (Daniel 4). According to Plutarch, Lycurgus replaced all the gold and silver currency in Sparta with heavy and essentially worthless iron coin (Plutarch, Lycurgus, book 9, in Plutarch’s Lives, trans. Bernadotte Perrin, Loeb Classical Library [1914–26; undated reprint], 1:228–31). Biblical references to the tree of life with 12 fruits and 7 eyes of jehovah are in Revelation 22.2 and 5.6, respectively. In the Bible Jesus told the parable of five wise virgins who were able to attend a wedding banquet because they carried enough lamp oil to last until the bridegroom’s arrival (Matthew 25.1–13).

that bourne whence no traveller returns is taken from William Shakespeare, Hamlet, act 3, scene 1. Saint Paul relayed Jesus’s message that it is more blessed to give than to receive in Acts 20.35. On a voyage to the Hawaiian Islands in 1779, Captain James Cook was reportedly believed at first to be a god by the Hawaiians, but they later killed him and his flesh was separated from his bones according to ceremonial custom (ODNB description begins H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison, eds., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, 60 vols. description ends ). In Hebrews chapter 7 Jesus is said to be “a priest for ever after the order of melchizedek,” and Freemasons associate Melchizedek with the order of High Priesthood (Albert G. Mackey, An Encyclopædia of Freemasonry [1874], 496).

The story of Jacob’s ladder (depicted in the drawing beneath the name of esau) is in Genesis 28, where Jacob dreams of a ladder reaching from earth to heaven. In Christian millennial theory the Second Coming of Christ and Judgment Day were anticipated 6000 years after the earth’s creation (Stephen D. O’Leary, Arguing the Apocalypse: A Theory of Millennial Rhetoric [1994], 120–1). The Temple of Solomon was believed to have been decorated with a mosaic pavement, which masonic lodges sometimes replicate with black-and-white stone flooring (Mackey, Encyclopædia of Freemasonry, 510). The biblical parable of the prodigal son is in Luke 15.

1Beneath his underscoring, Page numbered these phrases 1 through 3.

2Beneath his underscoring, Page numbered these words 1 through 3.

3Omitted period at right margin editorially supplied.

4Beneath his underscoring, Page numbered these words 1 through 7.

5Beneath his underscoring, Page numbered these words 1 through 5.

6Omitted period at right margin editorially supplied.

7Omitted period at right margin editorially supplied.

8Word interlined.

9Text in graphic beneath reads “earth Jacob’s ladder heaven Straits of white cliff Dover Of Babelmandeb or present Christendom Pillar of water Of Gibraltar Pillar of fire.”

10Text in center of adjacent graphic reads “Solar System.”

11Omitted period at right margin editorially supplied.

12Omitted period at right margin editorially supplied.

Index Entries

  • Aaron (Hebrew priest; Moses’s brother) search
  • Absalom (Old Testament figure) search
  • astrology; and cosmology search
  • Bible; Acts referenced search
  • Bible; Daniel referenced search
  • Bible; Genesis referenced search
  • Bible; Hebrews referenced search
  • Bible; Luke referenced search
  • Bible; Mark referenced search
  • Bible; Matthew referenced search
  • Bible; Revelation referenced search
  • Bluebeard (fictional character) search
  • Calvin, John; as religious leader search
  • Catholicism; and ecclesiastical authority search
  • Christianity; and E. P. Page’s cosmology search
  • Christianity; and millenarianism search
  • Cook, James (English explorer); death of search
  • cosmology; of E. P. Page search
  • David, king of Israel search
  • Esau (Old Testament figure) search
  • Franklin, Benjamin; magic circles and squares of search
  • Freemasonry; and cosmology search
  • Goliath (Old Testament figure) search
  • Helen of Troy (mythological character) search
  • Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee search
  • Homer; blindness of search
  • Jacob (Old Testament figure) search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; correspondents described by TJ as insane search
  • John the Baptist, Saint search
  • law; Magna Carta search
  • Lives (Plutarch) search
  • Lycurgus (Spartan lawgiver) search
  • Marietta, Ohio; post office at search
  • Melchizedek (Old Testament figure) search
  • mental illness; correspondents described by TJ as insane search
  • Milton, John; blindness of search
  • Milton, John; Paradise Lost search
  • Nathan (Hebrew prophet) search
  • Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon; mentioned search
  • Noah (Old Testament patriarch) search
  • numerology; and cosmology search
  • Page, Edward Postlethwayt; letters from search
  • Page, Edward Postlethwayt; regarded as insane by TJ search
  • Page, Edward Postlethwayt; worldview of search
  • paintings; by Rembrandt Peale search
  • Paradise Lost (J. Milton) search
  • Peale, Rembrandt; The Court of Death search
  • Plutarch; Lives search
  • Pluto (Roman deity) search
  • Samson (Old Testament figure) search
  • Serveto (Servetus), Miguel; execution of search
  • Shakespeare, William; Hamletreferenced search
  • The Court of Death (R. Peale) search