Sue Young Histories

Edward Maitland 1824 - 1897

January 16, 2009

Edward Maitland 1824 - 1897 was an English humanitarian writer.

Edward Maitland and Anna Bonus Kingsford left the Theosophical Society to found the Hermetic Society in Britain for the study of mystical Christianity in 1884 (, where members of the Golden Dawn often lectured. Edward William Berridge joined the Golden Dawn in 1889.

Edward Maitland was a friend of Thomas Carlyle, Carl Herman Vetterling, and James John Garth Wilkinson

In his book Anna Kingsford, Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophists, Edward Maitland writes:

It now appeared that there was a coincidence which consisted in the fact that, about a couple of years after the commencement of our [Anna Bonus Kingsford’s and Edward Maitland’s] collaboration, the purpose of which had proved to be the restoration of the esoteric philosophy or Theosophy of the West, and the interpretation thereby of the Christian and kindred religions, a like collaboration, also between a woman and a man, had been commenced, having a similar object in regard to the esoteric philosophy or Theosophy of the East, and both parties had [until] now been working on lines thus parallel in complete ignorance of each other’s existence.

And while, moreover, our knowledges were derived directly from celestial sources, the hierarchy of the Church Invisible in the holy heavens, theirs claimed as their source certain ancient lodges of Adepts said to inhabit the inaccessible heights of the Thibetan Himalayas, an order of men credited with the possession of knowledges and powers which constituted them beings apart and worthy of divine honours.

Edward Maitland was born at Ipswich and was educated at Caius College, Cambridge.

The son of Charles David Maitland, perpetual curate of St James’s Chapel, Brighton, he was intended for the Church, but his religious views did not permit him to take holy orders.

For some years he lived abroad, first in California and then as a commissioner of Crown lands in Australia.

After his return to England in 1857 he took up an advanced humanitarian position, and claimed to have acquired a new sense by which be was able to discern the spiritual condition of other people.

He was associated with Anna Bonus Kingsford, one of the first female British physicians and supporter of women’s rights, animal rights, vegetarianism and, who, besides being one of the pioneers of higher education for women, had become a devotee of mystical theosophy; with her he brought out Keys of the Creeds (1875), The Perfect Way: or the Finding of Christ (1882), and founded the Hermetic Society in 1884.

After her death he founded the Esoteric Christian Union in 1891 [Anna Bonus Kingsford, Edward Maitland, The Credo of Christendom, and Other Addresses and Essays on Esoteric Christianity, (1916, reprinted by Kessinger Publishing, 1994). Pages 58 and 63], and wrote her _Life and Letters _(1896).


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