To the Editor of the New York Times:
The Time’s notice of the life and work of the late Charles Johnston, intended as it was for the general public, of necessity spoke of the debt to which Western scholarship owes to his translations from the Eastern Scriptures, rather than of the deeper debt which is recognized by the few for whom he wrote of the inner interpretation of those Scriptures, and of their personal application in daily life. As president of the New York branch of the Theosophical Society, I should like to supplement your notice in this particular, and especially to correct what I fear may be a misleading inference from your statement that Mr. Johnston “was at one time connected with the theosophical movement.”
The facts are that he joined the Theosophical Society early in 1885; that he remained an active member throughout his life and that he was chairman of its executive committee to the day of his death, having served in that capacity for nearly thirty years. He knew Mme. Blavatsky intimately and trusted her absolutely throughout his life. In 1888 he married Mme. Blavatsky’s neice, Vera Jelihovsky, who died several years ago in New York. Both he and his wife were devoted friends and admirers of William Q. Judge. Mr. Johnston deplored the perversions of theosophy introduced by Mrs. Annie Besant, Leadbeater and others, and did his utmost to counteract the effects of their propaganda.
He was a keen lover of nature, an ornithologist and member of the Linnaean Society, and an ethnologist of standing. He is a great loss, not only to his friends and fellow-students, but to the intellectual and spiritual life of the country.
Henry Bedinger Mitchell,
New York, Oct. 17, 1931