Thomas Troward (1847-1916)
Thomas Troward was Her
Majesty's Assistant Commissioner and later Divisional Judge of the North Indian
Punjab from 1869 until his retirement in 1896. It is this later period for
which he is best remembered and most celebrated; in it he was at last able
to devote himself to his great interest in metaphysical and esoteric studies.
The most notable results
were a few small volumes that have had a profound effect on the development
of spiritual metaphysics, in particular that of the the New Thought Movement,
of which the teaching known as Science of Mind is Troward's most direct legacy.
He was a much influential figure in the development of Ernest Holmes' Religious
Science/Science of Mind organization due to the impact his philosophy had
on Holmes, and Troward's teachings are regularly taught in Science of Mind
Thomas Troward was born
in Punjab, India, in 1847 of British parents, Albany and Frederica Troward.
His father was a full colonel in the Indian Army. He was brought back to England
to attend school and in 1865, at the age of 18, he graduated from college
with gold medal honors in literature. He then decided to study Law, although
at heart he always considered himself an artist and a painter.
At age 22, in 1869, he
returned to India and took the difficult Indian Civil Service Examination.
One of the subjects was metaphysics and Troward surprised everyone with his
answers because of their originality. He became an assistant commissioner
and was quickly promoted to Divisional Judge in the Punjab, where he served
for the next 25 years.
In India, he married his
first wife. Together, they had three children. He married a second time after
his first wife died and had three more children. His second wife, Sarah Ann,
helped in the publishing of his works after his death. In the forward to a
publication entitled, Troward's Comments On The Psalms, Annie Troward writes:
"When he retired from the Bengal Civil Service in 1896, he decided to devote
himself to three objects -- the study of the Bible, writing his books, and
painting pictures... He believed that the solution to all our problems was
there (in the Bible) for those who read and meditated with minds at one with
Troward's favorite hobby
was painting. He had won several prizes for art in India. After he retired
from Civil Service, he returned to England in 1902, at the age of 55, intending
to devote himself to his painting, as well as writing. He had already thoroughly
digested all of the sacred books of the oriental religions and they had certainly
influenced his spiritual ideas. It is said that at one time a vision came
to him about the development of a system of philosophy that gave peace of
mind and the practical results of physical health and happiness to the individual.
People described him as
a kind and understanding man, simple and natural in manner, but personally
boring as a speaker. He was considered a very precise and proper Englishman.
His two daughters were born of his second wife and he was fond of playing
practical jokes with his family. While in India, he learned the language of
the country. He studied all of the bibles of the world, including the Koran,
Hindu scriptures and books of Raja Yoga. His studies in original Hebrew provided
the foundation for his book, Bible Mystery and Bible Meaning.
Shortly after returning
to England, Troward begin to write for the New Thought Expressions publication.
He had already developed, in some detail, his philosophy of Mental Science
when he was accidentally introduced to the "Higher Thought Center" of London
through a Mrs. Alice Callow, who happened to meet him in a London tea room.
This group immediately recognized him as an extremely articulate and learned
individual. He was invited to give a series of lectures and in 1904 delivered
his famous Edinburgh lectures at Queens Gate in Edinburgh, Scotland. These
lectures were given to a very small but appreciative group of persons. However,
it is said that even this captive, willing audience hardly understood what
he was saying.
Still, Troward’s genius
did not go unrecognized. The philosopher William James characterized Troward’s
Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science as "far and away the ablest statement
of philosophy I have met, beautiful in its sustained clearness of thought
and style, a really classic statement."
His writing is a combination
of intuitive oriental mysticism filtered into a Western pedantic writing style.
It is said that reading Troward is difficult. Actually, if we read Troward
slowly and deliberately we will discover that he is very clear and concise.
The secret of understanding Troward is to understand his major premises, then
how he logically argues from those premises. This is typical of the Western
Troward was a major influence
on the works of Ernest Holmes, Frederick Bailes, Joseph Murphy and Emmett
Fox, and has been quoted by numerous other writers.
It must be remembered
in reading Troward that he was a product of his time. His books use scientific
jargon that was present around 1900. He was raised in the Church of England
and had read the Bible daily from boyhood. Therefore, his books, especially
Bible Mystery and Bible Meaning have a clear Christian bent.
On May 16, 1916, at the
age of 69, Thomas Troward passed from this plane. He will be recognized in
history as a contributing influence to Religious Science, the New Thought
Movement in the United States and Great Britain, and also, to some extent,
to the more liberal ideas of the Church of England.