From Pat Deveney's database:
Monthly Horoscope, Prophetic Messenger and Weather Guide, The.
A caustic review in the Philadelphia Public Ledger for June 5, 1838, calls this "an impudent attempt to pick pockets by appeals to credulity," and reminds Raphael that "the whole business of fortune telling is an offense against the laws of Pennsylvania." The June issue contained "a discourse on the Harmony of Astrology, Phrenology and Physiognomy; also, much useful matter, all of which is founded on nature."
This journal and the other journals Hague produced over the next 20 years may for convenience be called Hague's Horoscope, the common thread that runs through the titles of Hague's seven or eight journals and almanacs. Thomas Hague called himself "the First United States Astrologer," which was a fairly accurate claim if earlier almanacs are ignored. He certainly published the first astrological journal in the United States, antedating Mark Broughton's Monthly Horoscope by a decade. Hague (1798, Lancashire - 1876, Philadelphia) is little known. What little information there is of Hague's early life comes primarily from a response by the editor of The Sphinx to a query received about Hague. Her information came from a friend who had collected some 50 issues of Hague's journals, dating from May 1838 to October 1856. Hague, in this account, was an English weaver who lost his wife and children and then moved to America in 1832 (arriving, he noted in one of the journals, on March 9, 1832, at 7:30 p.m.) where he pursued his trade until crippled by rheumatism. On May 8, 1837, at 1.30 p.m., he notes that he took up astrology, which "he had studied a little in England." He gives no details of his introduction to astrology, but was certainly familiar with the work of "Raphael" (whose name he assumed for this journal) and "Zadkiel," which he often referred to in his journals. On August 11, 1837, he first advertised his services, in the Philadelphia Public Ledger:
"Astrology. -- T. Hague, Student in Psychic and Astrology . . . . Friends of the astral art may consult him at all hours of the day or evening; and where also, the public may consult Mrs. A. Goodfellow, of Manchester, England, one of the best Seers in Europe. This lady will convince any modern sceptic of the truth of Astral influence. The Stars will tell the most prosperous course to those who desire to know the issue of any lawful project, or business -- the prospect of gain, or loss, Marriage, Voyages, or Journeys, &c. The whole being founded upon the strictest philosophical principles, and established by certain fixed laws."
The first issue of his first journal appeared in May 1838 with 12 pages. Over the next 35 years, until in 1875 at the age of 77 Hague petitioned for admission to the Philadelphia almshouse, he attracted little public attention or interest -- though not for want of trying. He elbowed through the crowd gathered to see Charles Dickens off for England in order to hand the author a copy of his horoscope (Dickens was born with "Venus Rising" and was partial to the ladies). He wrote letters to Abraham Lincoln (saying that he understood that Lincoln might have been too busy to reply to his earlier letter, and enclosing clippings of successful forecasts), predicted the outcome of local elections, appeared in the Philadelphia directories in the early 1840s as a "Planet Reader," and in January 1840 began an ill-starred weekly column in a Philadelphia paper on horoscopes and weather predictions, with a recitation of his successful predictions (probably reprinted as a pamphlet). This brought him to the attention of Edgar Allen Poe, who wrote a long article in Alexander's Weekly Messenger entitled "A Charlatan! Weather Prophet, Star Reader, &c. Fortune Teller."
"This Hague, then, is a ‘fortune teller,' one of that hopeful class who get their living by impositions. His fortune telling powers are, we suppose, equal to his capacity for predicting the state of the weather . . . ." There follows a list of Hague's daily weather prognostications placed in conjunction to the actual weather on that day. "Blunder upon blunder marks the entire catalogue."
Other newspapers took up the hunt, concluding that Hague's horoscopes were "decidedly humbuguous." By the late 1840s and early 1850s, the astrology business in Philadelphia was booming, at least in the number of its professors, with Mark Broughton (on whose relationship with Hague see the note under Monthly Star and American Horoscope), Madam Craven, Mr. and Mrs. Van Horn, C.W. Roback, and others, offering their services to the public, competing for a market that had long been Hague's alone. Roback (on whom see the note under C.W. Roback's Astrological Almanac) led the pack and was so successful that, as Hague related in his pamphlet Junius Unmasked (1851), an entrepreneur with a bfine understanding of the astrology business, approached Hague with a lucrative offer: He would advance Hague $5,000 (at 6% per month) to set him up in an apartment in Center City, allow him to "make a respectable, a genteel appearance when in the public streets" and acquire an "Eastern Magi" outfit suitable for impressing those who consulted him, and distribute "advertisements, puffs, &c., in the different city and distant newspapers, as Roback has done for the past two or three years." "Take the course of Roback in reference to advertising, &c.; subsidize the entire press of the country, and our fortune will at once be made." In exchange, Hague was to agree to stop seeing clients for free, pay the entrepreneur the interest on the loan, and pocket half of the net proceeds (estimated at $10,000 a year). Hague thought this was nefarious, and refused, and added insult to injury by publishing another pamphlet (Exposition of C.W. Roback: Alias C.W. Hufeland, in Philadelphia, and William Williams, alias Billy the Sweede, in Baltimore, 1851), setting out the details of Roback's speckled past and many aliases.
The journals followed a pattern: items of general interest (astrology and music, animal magnetism, Lieutenant Morrison, R.N., on mesmerizing, "Astrological Martyrs," maxims for life, Napoleon's horoscope, etc.) combined with brief expositions of aspects of astrology and regular "The Voice of the Stars" and "Good and Evil Days" and "Weather Guide" for a particular month. As late as 1867 the newspapers carried the announcement of the re-appearance of the Horoscope (for July), but there is no indication it ever appeared. The journals were published in fits and starts under a kaleidoscope of names over the years whenever Hague had the wherewithal to put them out:
The Monthly Horoscope, Prophetic Messenger and Weather Guide (1838)
Monthly Horoscope and Farmer's and Shipmaster's Guide: Containing Predictions of the Weather, for . . ., and a Table of Days to be Elected for the Commencement of any undertaking or Enterprise 1838?-1839?)
Monthly Weather Guide (1839-1841)
The Horoscope (1/1-10, November 1840-August 1841)
The United States Horoscope and Meteorologist (October 1841 -)
Astrologer's Horoscope (April 1843)
United States Horoscope and Scientific and Literary Messenger (July 1844-December 1844)
Hague's Horoscope and Scientific Prophetic Messenger / Hague's Horoscope and Monthly Miscellany of Astrology, Astronomy, Phrenology, Meteorology, &c. (January 1845 – May 1848, intermittent)
Hague's Christian Almanac, Being the Herald of Astrology, and Ephemeris of the Planets' Longitude, &c. For 1846: Comprising a Variety of Useful Matter; with Predictions of the Weather, and Warlike Events, that Will Occur in Each Month During the Year. Illustrated with Music (annual, 1845 for 1846)
Historical Society of Pennsylvania; LOC; BL; University Library of Greifswald; University of London.
|Issues:||Hague's Horoscope N2-3 Feb-Mar 1846|