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If not true that wisdom sprang perfect from the forehead of Jove, it is true that emergencies bring forth strong characters, and that crises under Divine Providence largely determine who shall be the teachers and leaders of men.
It is with considerable diffidence that I submit this book of biography to the public, knowing that other veteran workers in the line of the spiritual philosophy and reform were more closely connected with the details of this eventful life than myself. His first choice for this biographical writing was the erudite author, Prof. S. B. Brittan, of New York; and the second was that able writer, A. E. Newton, of New England, both of whom have ascended to the higher courts of immortality.
It was in the spring of 1896, when writing medical correspondence in the Doctor's study, that he came to my side, laid his hand trustingly on my shoulder, and said, “You must write the story of my life.” I was overwhelmed with surprise and foreboding! I protested I was unfit for such a task; but as gracefully as promptly, he overruled my objections.
My love for and interest in the man are certainly sufficient to inspire an earnest and faithful effort, but the execution of the work is somewhat embarrassed in two important particulars,--first, on account of a partial lack of proper material covering a period of several years, when the Doctor's sanitarium was burned, together with his fine library and other valuable documents relating to his personal history; and second, my own labors during the past thirty years have not been in sufficiently close touch with my friend's daily life and work to generate that perfect familiarity essential to a faithful portrayal
of this worker and his magnificent work for humanity. True, I have been acquainted and more or less familiar with my hero for the last thirty-five or forty years; have spent months at a time under his hospitable roof, and occasionally acted as amanuensis in his literary labors; but our labors for the most part have been distributed in widely different fields.
The biography of Dr. Peebles published in 1878, and written by his personal friend, Rev. J. O. Barrett, is almost the sole source of material accessible to me down to 1871, and I here acknowledge to having made quite a free use of the text from the “Spiritual Pilgrim," after smoothing down the eccentricities of style — especially covering the period from 1861 to 1871.
The career which I have here endeavored to delineate has been almost an exceptionally brilliant one, and although the setting forth of this has been imperfectly done, still, on account of the charm and stateliness which have uniformly attached to Dr. Peebles's public and private life, many readers will certainly be attracted to these pages.
The major portion of this biographical sketch was written in the summer of 1896, while the three concluding chapters were added in the autumn of 1898 and spring of 1899. It is sent forth with the prayer that it may become an inspiration and example to young men and young women, who, standing on the threshold of life's activities, behold the possibilities which hope, fortitude, and unwearied industry will enable them to achieve.
EDWARD WHIPPLE. Lakeside, California.
April 21, 1899.
LINEAGE AND BIRTH
As breaks the gold sunlight — when heroes and sages
Were coming and going like meteors in space,-
And love warmed to birth in the glow of thy face:
The peace of the New Time o’erarches our fears;
The Sun of the New Time is gilding the years.
The mist of the ocean, the spray of the fountain,
The vine on the hillside, the moss on the shrine,
All turn to a glory that symboleth thine;
That ever uplifted a spirit from woe,
- James G. Clark.
Whatever may be the original source of that quality in man known as Personal Character, it is an undeniable fact that the strain of blood derived from our ancestors, and the immediate physical environment in which we were cradled, are important factors, having a large share in the subsequent life and activities of the individual. In outward form and feature, in personal traits, and in the various peculiarities of genius and disposition, we copy after our ancestors. Each individual is a link in an extended chain of causes, and these causes are intimately associated with the macrocosmic mechanism. If we knew how to properly interpret the cosmic laws as they declare themselves in the microcosm, or universe of
man, we should be able to read the promise that is potential in child as soon as it is born. We should see foreshadowed — as did the ancient psycho-astronomers — the part which the newcomer is destined to play on the stage of life, and so be able to intelligently supplement and fortify that mission with a corresponding preparation and discipline.
It is always interesting to study the history of families that have produced distinguished persons, and to trace the influences that have resulted in the formation of organic peculiarities, moral powers, and intellectual attainments. The elements that enter into remarkable characters are often discernible in their remote ancestors; or they may be traced to a combination of physical forces, mental faculties, and temperamental conditions, resulting from the intermingling of blood of different families in the marriage relation. But it must be conceded that, as a rule, when such combinations are fortunately expressed in the production of an individual that is generously endowed, it is rather the result of accident than of either a recognition of physical and psychological laws, or of any accurate knowledge of a profound and intricate subject. Hitherto, our presence has scarcely darkened the vestibule of that temple of mystery in which the subtile principles and essential elements of individual life are blended, the character of nations fashioned, and the history of races determined.
Peebles is a Scotch name, traceable back to the seventh century. In the eleventh century the name was one of the most distinguished in the north of Europe. Scotch blood and Scotch energy have made their impress upon the historic annals of Britain and America. The Peebles clan displayed a marked predisposition to medicine and theology. They nearly all run now to doctors or preachers. A Scotch colony of sturdy citizens settled on the northern bank of the Tweed, inland from the sea, and twenty-two miles south from the beautiful city of Edinburgh. The town of Peebles, the ancestral family home, is at present the county town of Peeblesshire. The situation is elevated and picturesque, and the