Chapter 18 — Authorship of Science and Health

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1     THE following statement, which was published in
       the Sentinel of December 1, 1906, exactly defin-
3     ing her relations with the Rev. James Henry Wiggin of
       Boston, was made by Mrs. Eddy in refutation of allega-
       tions in the public press to the effect that Mr. Wiggin
6     had a share in the authorship of “Science and Health
       with Key to the Scriptures.”


9     It is a great mistake to say that I employed the Rev.
       James Henry Wiggin to correct my diction. It was for
       no such purpose. I engaged Mr. Wiggin so as to avail
12    myself of his criticisms of my statement of Christian
       Science, which criticisms would enable me to explain
       more clearly the points that might seem ambiguous to
15    the reader.

       Mr. Calvin A. Frye copied my writings, and he will tell
       you that Mr. Wiggin left my diction quite out of the
18    question, sometimes saying, “I wouldn’t express it that
       way.” He often dissented from what I had written,
       but I quieted him by quoting corroborative texts of
21    Scripture.

       My diction, as used in explaining Christian Science, has
       been called original. The liberty that I have taken with

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1     capitalization, in order to express the “new tongue,” has
       well-nigh constituted a new style of language. In almost
3     every case where Mr. Wiggin added words, I have erased
       them in my revisions.

       Mr. Wiggin was not my proofreader for my book
6     “Miscellaneous Writings,” and for only two of my books.
       I especially employed him on “Science and Health with
       Key to the Scriptures,” because at that date some critics
9     declared that my book was as ungrammatical as it was
       misleading. I availed myself of the name of the former
       proofreader for the University Press, Cambridge, to
12    defend my grammatical construction, and confidently
       awaited the years to declare the moral and spiritual
       effect upon the age of “Science and Health with Key
15    to the Scriptures.”

       I invited Mr. Wiggin to visit one of my classes in the
       Massachusetts Metaphysical College, and he consented
18    on condition that I should not ask him any questions.
       I agreed not to question him just so long as he refrained
       from questioning me. He held himself well in check
21    until I began my attack on agnosticism. As I pro-
       ceeded, Mr. Wiggin manifested more and more agita-
       tion, until he could control himself no longer and,
24    addressing me, burst out with:

       “How do you know that there ever was such a man as
       Christ Jesus?”

27    He would have continued with a long argument,
       framed from his ample fund of historical knowledge,
       but I stopped him.

30    “Now, Mr. Wiggin,” I said, “you have broken our
       agreement. I do not find my authority for Christian
       Science in history, but in revelation. If there had never

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1     existed such a person as the Galilean Prophet, it would
       make no difference to me. I should still know that
3     God’s spiritual ideal is the only real man in His image
       and likeness.”

       My saying touched him, and I heard nothing further
6     from him in the class, though afterwards he wrote a
       kind little pamphlet, signed “Phare Pleigh.”

       I hold the late Mr. Wiggin in loving, grateful memory
9     for his high-principled character and well-equipped


12    The following letters from students of Mrs. Eddy
       confirm her statement regarding the work which the
       Rev. Mr. Wiggin did for her, and also indicate what he
15    himself thought of that work and of Mrs. Eddy: —

       My Dear Teacher: — I am conversant with some facts
       which perhaps have not come under the observation of
18    many of your students, and considering the questions
       which have recently appeared, it may interest you to be
       advised that I have this information. On the tenth day of
21    January, 1887, I entered your Primary class at Boston.
       A few days later, in conversation with you about the
       preparation of a theme, you suggested that I call on the
24    late J. Henry Wiggin to assist me in analyzing and arrang-
       ing the topics, which I did about the twentieth of the
       above-named month. These dates are very well fixed in
27    my memory, as I considered the time an important one
       in my experience, and do so still. I also recall very
       plainly the conversation with you in general as regards
30    Mr. Wiggin. You told me that he had done some literary

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1     work for you and that he was a fine literary student and
       a good proofreader.

3     Upon calling on Mr. Wiggin, I presented my matter for
       a theme to him, and he readily consented to assist me,
       which he did. He also seemed very much pleased to
6     converse about you and your work, and I found that his
       statement of what he had done for you exactly agreed
       with what you had told me. He also expressed himself
9     freely as to his high regard for you as a Christian lady,
       as an author, and as a student of ability. Mr. Wiggin
       spoke of “Science and Health with Key to the Scrip-
12    tures” as being a very unique book, and seemed quite
       proud of his having had something to do with some
       editions. He always spoke of you as the author of this
15    book and the author of all your works. Mr. Wiggin
       did not claim to be a Christian Scientist, but was in
       a measure in sympathy with the movement, although
18    he did not endorse all the statements in your textbook;
       but his tendency was friendly.

       I called on Mr. Wiggin several times while I was in your
21    Primary class at the time above referred to, and several
       times subsequent thereto, and he always referred to you as
       the author of your works and spoke of your ability without
24    any hesitation or restriction. Our conversations were at
       times somewhat long and went into matters of detail
       regarding your work, and I am of the opinion that he
27    was proud of his acquaintance with you.

       I saw Mr. Wiggin several times after the class closed,
       and the last conversation I had with him was at the
30    time of the dedication of the first Mother Church edifice
       in 1895. I met him in the vestibule of the church
       and he spoke in a very animated manner of your

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1     grand demonstration in building this church for your
       followers. He seemed very proud to think that he had
3     been in a way connected with your work, but he always
       referred to you as the one who had accomplished this
       great work.

6     My recollections of Mr. Wiggin place him as one
       of your devoted and faithful friends, one who knew
       who and what you are, also your position as regards
9     your published works; and he always gave you that
       position without any restriction. I believe that Mr.
       Wiggin was an honest man and that he told the same
12    story to every one with whom he had occasion to talk,
       so I cannot believe that he has ever said anything
       whatever of you and your relations to your published
15    works differing from what he talked so freely in my

       There is nothing in the circumstances which have
18    arisen recently, and the manner in which the statements
       have been made, to change my opinion one iota in this

21    It will soon be twenty years since I first saw you and
       entered your class. During that time, from my connec-
       tion with the church, the Publishing Society, and my
24    many conversations with you, my personal knowledge of
       the authorship of your works is conclusive to me in every
       detail, and I am very glad that I was among your early
27    students and have had this experience and know of my
       own personal knowledge what has transpired during the
       past twenty years.

30    I am also pleased to have had conversations with
       people who knew you years before I did, and who have
       told me of their knowledge of your work.

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1     It is not long since I met a lady who lived in Lynn,
       and she told me she knew you when you were writing
3     Science and Health, and that she had seen the manu-
       script. These are facts which cannot be controverted
       and they must stand.

6             Your affectionate student,

       BOSTON, MASS., November 21, 1906

9     My Beloved Teacher: — I have just read your state-
       ment correcting mistakes widely published about the
       Rev. James H. Wiggin’s work for and attitude towards
12    you; also Mr. Edward P. Bates’ letter to you on the
       same subject; which reminds me of a conversation I
       had with Mr. Wiggin on Thanksgiving Day twenty
15    years ago, when a friend and I were the guests invited
       to dine with the Wiggin family.

       I had seen you the day before at the Metaphysical
18    College and received your permission to enter the next
       Primary class (Jan. 10, 1887). During the evening my
       friend spoke of my journeying from the far South, and
21    waiting months in Boston on the bare hope of a few
       days’ instruction by Mrs. Eddy in Christian Science.
       She and Mrs. Wiggin seemed inclined to banter me on
24    such enthusiasm, but Mr. Wiggin kindly helped me by
       advancing many good points in the Science, which were
       so clearly stated that I was surprised when he told me
27    he was not a Christian Scientist.

       Seeing my great interest in the subject, he told me
       of his acquaintance with you and spoke earnestly and
30    beautifully of you and your work. The exact words I
       do not recall, but the impression he left with me was

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1     entirely in accordance with what Mr. Bates has so well
       written in the above-mentioned letter. Before we left
3     that evening, Mr. Wiggin gave me a pamphlet entitled
       “Christian Science and the Bible,” by “Phare Pleigh,”
       which he said he had written in answer to an unfair
6     criticism of you and your book by some minister in the
       far West. I have his little book yet. How long must it
       be before the people find out that you have so identified
9     yourself with the truth by loving it and living it that you
       are not going to lie about anything nor willingly leave
       any false impression.

12    In loving gratitude for your living witness to Truth
       and Love,


       December 4, 1906

       Beloved Teacher: — My heart has been too full to tell
18    you in words all that your wonderful life and sacrifice
       means to me. Neither do I now feel at all equal to ex-
       pressing the crowding thoughts of gratitude and praise
21    to God for giving this age such a Leader and teacher to
       reveal to us His way. Your crowning triumph over error
       and sin, which we have so recently witnessed, in blessing
24    those who would destroy you if God did not hold you up
       by the right hand of His righteousness, should mean to
       your older students much that they may not have been
27    able to appreciate in times past.

       I wonder if you will remember that Mr. Snider and
       myself boarded in the home of the late Rev. J. Henry
30    Wiggin during the time of our studying in the second
       class with you — the Normal class in the fall of 1887?
       We were at that time some eight days in Mr. and Mrs.

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1     Wiggin’s home. He often spoke his thoughts freely
       about you and your work, especially your book Science
3     and Health. Mr. Wiggin had somewhat of a thought
       of contempt for the unlearned, and he scorned the sug-
       gestion that Mr. Quimby had given you any idea for
6     your book, as he said you and your ideas were too
       much alike for the book to have come from any one but
       yourself. He often said you were so original and so
9     very decided that no one could be of much service to
       you, and he often hinted that he thought he could give
       a clearer nomenclature for Science and Health. I re-
12    member telling you of this, and you explained how long
       you had waited on the Lord to have those very terms
       revealed to you.

15    I am very sure that neither Mr. Wiggin nor his esti-
       mable wife had any other thought but that you were
       the author of your book, and were he here to-day he
18    would be too honorable to allow the thought to go out
       that he had helped you write it. He certainly never
       gave us the impression that he thought you needed
21    help, for we always thought that Mr. Wiggin regarded
       you as quite his literary equal, and was gratified and
       pleased in numbering you among his literary friends.
24    Everything he said conveyed this impression to us —
       that he regarded you as entirely unique and original.
       He told us laughingly why he accepted your invitation
27    to sit through your class. He said he wanted to see if
       there was one woman under the sun who could keep to
       her text. When we asked him if he found you could do
30    so, he replied “Yes,” and said that no man could have
       done so any better.

       Both Mr. and Mrs. Wiggin frequently mentioned

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1     many kindnesses you had shown them, and spoke of
       one especial day when amidst all your duties you per-
3     sonally called to inquire of his welfare (he had been
       ill) and to leave luscious hothouse fruit. One thing
       more, that I think will amuse you: Mr. Wiggin was
6     very much troubled that you had bought your house
       on Commonwealth Avenue, as he was very sure Back
       Bay property would never be worth what you then
9     paid for it. He regarded the old part of Boston in
       which he lived as having a greater future than the new
       Back Bay.

12    Years ago I offered my services to you in any capacity
       in which I could serve you, and my desire has never
       changed. Command me at any time, in any way, beloved
15    Leader.

       With increasing love and gratitude, ever faithfully your

18                       CARRIE HARVEY SNIDER

       NEW YORK, N. Y.,
       December 7, 1906

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Love is the liberator.