This is particularly true of many people who lay claim to the 1734 Tradition. Recently an acquaintance forwarded me a post that someone had made to a "Traditional Witchcraft" mailing list. In this post the person said "I mean this as no disrespect to Joe Wilson and his friends and/or followers. But if you want to read the Cochrane letters do so on this site: [URL deleted]. The Metista/1734 site has made some changes to the original letters." Naturally the writer signed it with one of those pseudonyms that people use when they don't have the courage of their convictions.
What a stupid statement. In the first place I don't have, want or need followers. I am not now, nor have I ever been, trying to build a 1734 empire with myself as its pope. It is because of those who ARE trying to do that, that I make the material available to everyone here so that sincere researchers can make up their own minds about it.
In the second place NO ONE has the ORIGINAL letters that Roy sent to me. Here is the reason for that.
My correspondence with Roy Bowers alias Robert Cochrane began when he sent me a letter in December of 1965 and ended about 6 months later. Roy wrote to me on different kinds of paper. Sometimes it was an "Air Letter" (a single sheet cut and folded so that an envelope was not necessary, designed for Air Mail post to countries overseas). Sometimes it was on onionskin paper, and sometimes it was on other odd sized paper. In order to keep the letters in a notebook so they would be easier to read I retyped them all on standard 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper. In those days copy machines were rare, difficult to get to, and expensive for a low ranking enlisted man in the Air Force.
When I wrote to people I would often retype parts of letters or entire letters and send them to my correspondents. I typed copies of the entire set of letters several times between 1966 and 1970. In 1970, while in England, Norman Gills loaned me the letters and papers that Roy had left with him. A friend of mine, Reg Hinchliffe, photographed those letters and papers and made copies on cheap photographic paper for me. After I got them I again made typewritten copies of the entire set, though I was able to manage to sneek a photocopy of the drawings that Roy had included. Again over the next couple of years I retyped the entire set more than once, and pasted copies of the drawings in the appropriate places.
After my first wife and I separated in early 1973 she burned all of the papers that I had left in the house. Those papers included precious correspondance I had with several people, and all of the original material from Roy Bowers. The only thing that remains of them was the typewritten copy that I had taken with me.
What I have placed on this web page is as close to true and exact copies of the original material that exists. Yes, there are altered versions out there somewhere. Sometimes I edited things before sharing them with others. Sometimes other people edited them after they got them. But the copies that are on this site now are NOT EDITED.
What others have provided on their website are NOT photocopies of the originals, but are either photocopies of copies that I gave to them, or photocopies of copies that they got from someone else. They definitely may contain errors. They were not complete.
Naturally I'm not speaking about the letters from Roy to Bill Gray. I cannot speak for the authenticity of them. I leave that up to others.
Joseph B Wilson
1734 is a Craft tradition which I established in the United States during the late 1960's and early 1970's. In its essence, it contains the teachings given to me by three sources. The first of these is a person who I will call Sean, who was my first teacher and who grounded me in the oral traditions of his family. Later I engaged in correspondence with Roy Bowers (alias Robert Cochrane) who, with Sean's approval and guidance, supplemented those initial teachings. The third source of inspiration and personal guidance was Ruth Wynn-Owen, the matriarch of the Plant Bran. Sean provided the basis, Roy provided some magical and mystical clarification, and Ruth provided a seasonal construct.
Although the name I've used for this tradition, "1734", was inspired by Roy Bowers, he is not the founder of the 1734 tradition. Roy was knowingly teaching me that which would supplement the training that Sean had begun with me. Roy did not call his tradition "1734" but rather "The Clan of Tubal Cain" and although he used some elements from that tradition to illustrate some things to me, his intention was never to teach me that way but rather to help me to understand that which I already had. The Clan of Tubal Cain has a different orientation and practices, as it should.
Over the past 30 years several people have obtained some of the material contained in this booklet.. Many of them, once they got the written material, chose to ignore the purpose and context for which it was developed, and instead ran off with it, hoarding it like some prized secret, deluding themselves by thinking that because they had these writings they were now "authentic witches". They refused to stay around and to learn the oral tradition which this was meant to supplement, or to understand the training that goes along with it.
As a result, there are now many sincere people out there who have fragments, partial copies, and in some cases, edited copies of these letters. Still other versions have had material added to them, some of it completely fraudulent.
This booklet contains the complete, unedited and unmodified "1734" letters, related published and unpublished articles, and various annotations and explanations. In order to prevent further fraud, abuse, and misrepresentation, we are making these materials available to everyone interested in the mysteries of 1734. If an article or letter is not in this booklet, it is not part of the original written tradition of "1734" but something else, perhaps legitimate in its own right, perhaps not. Consider your sources, and the motives of those who would try to tell you otherwise.
This booklet should never be kept secret.