Into the lives of most of us there will come at some time or other an epoch when the struggling but vague aspirations of our higher nature will pause in their aimless and indefinite wanderings, and, focused as it were by some strong attraction, concentrate themselves into definite intention and persistent effort. All down the line of history men and women are found of such strong personality that, like great magnets, they have drawn about themselves the scattered and diverse forces of a multitude, and, mobilizing into one great strong mass the various qualities, temperaments and characteristics of many minds, have thus been enabled to lead an assault upon some stronghold of Nature, whether it be in politics, sociology or commerce. Such a one was Wm. Q. Judge.
That Wm. Q. Judge was great among the leaders of men was conceded by those who knew him best while he lived, but now that he is dead and a gradual realization of his accomplished work comes upon us, his grand soul looms up as one with whom we may have walked, but whom alas we little knew indeed.
Men have led armies to conquest and been worshiped by their followers for their skill and success in shedding life. Men have built up nations, founded governments or opened up new regions to the influence of civilization, and have been justly commended and honored therefor. Writers of prose and sweet singers in song have won our admiration and our plaudits, and the discoveries and adaptations of science, challenge no less our gratitude and support: but he who would call men away from their pursuit of greed and gain to the contemplation and consideration of internal being and eternal life, seldom has more than his labor for his pains, and thus it was with Judge. Yet strangely now that he is dead there come from thousands of hearts attestations of deep grief and sense of loss unmistakably as sincere as they are rare. He was indeed more to us than we thought.
I knew him with some degree of intimacy for the past eight years, meeting him often and under varied conditions, and never for one moment on any occasion did he fail to command my respect and affection, and that I should have had the privilege of his acquaintance I hold a debt to Karma. A good homely face and unpretentious manner, a loving disposition, full of kindliness and honest friendship, went with such strong common sense and knowledge of affairs that his coming was always a pleasure and his stay a delight. The children hung about him fondly as he would sit after dinner and draw them pictures, for he was handy with the pencil.
Judge’s work while connected with Europe and Asia of course had especially to do with America, and though the Headquarters of the Theosophical Society remained for a long time in India, it is easily apparent that America was to be the scene of the greatest development of the Theosophic movement. Years ago Judge told me that the Headquarters would eventually be in New York.
Following the course of events during the past three years, including the reorganization of the Society in April, 1895, under the title of The Theosophical Society in America and culminating in Mr. Judge’s death, we cannot but be conscious of a mysterious guidance of no ordinary wisdom, nor need it be wondered that now when the great leader has gone, and it might be expected that despair and inaction should seize upon the members of the Society, the very contrary effect has ensued and from every quarter come renewed protestations of loyalty and devotion to the objects of the Theosophic movement with the most vigorous determination to carry them out, and never since my connection with the Society have I seen such force, such vigor, such activity.
And more: though he whom we knew as Wm. Q. Judge has in the course of all nature laid down the outer body with which he worked, even as a workman puts aside a worn-out tool, think not that this great movement, of which the T.S. is but the outward expression, is left for one day without competent leadership and control. That the masterful intelligences heretofore acknowledged are still in command, certain and positive assurance has come to those whose duty it will be to carry on the management and direction of the Society. To these latter I urge my brother members to extend all possible aid, moral, mental, and physical, for their labor and their sacrifice must be their only reward.