A correspondent calls our attention to the paragraph on p. 66 of the pamphlet, Hints on Esoteric Theosophy, in which a person not mentioned by name is made to say that he came out to India with us, but “never heard a hint of the Brothers,” until afterwards, and asks us to explain. We cannot identify the person meant by the author of the pamphlet, and hence conclude that he is purely imaginary—an effigy set up to hang an explanation upon. For nothing is more certain than that we spoke—too freely as they think—of the “BROTHERS” and their powers long before leaving America. In fact, Col. Olcott mentioned both in public lectures at New York and Boston in the hearing of large audiences. However, let us set the question at rest once for all by republishing from a London journal (the Spiritualist, for June 28, 1878) a most convincing testimony by an unimpeachable witness. The writer of the letter below was His Serene Highness the late Prince Emil von Sayn-Wittgenstein, A.D.C. of His Majesty the late Czar of Russia, and one of the earliest (and most earnestly interested) members of the Theosophical Society. That a nobleman of such exalted rank should have so openly acknowledged the protecting guardianship of our BROTHERS, was certainly a proof of great moral courage, while his known character for personal devotion to the truth lends an especial weight to his testimony. It is the most usual of things for our Asiatic friends in writing to us to bespeak the “blessing” of the Mahatmas. This results from the surviving tradition of such personal interpositions, handed down from a hoary antiquity. This letter of Prince Wittgenstein ought to strike Europeans as a fact going to show that this inherited belief is not altogether baseless. We shall be more than satisfied if at the same time it does not prompt many of them—and many others who are not Europeans—to demand that the “blessing” may also be extended to them. It is only too common for persons who have never done one thing to entitle them to the slightest consideration by an adept, to put in a claim that their diseases shall be miraculously cured, their fortunes bettered, or their idle curiosity satisfied, as the price of their allegiance to the cause of Theosophy. Such persons were never taught, or at least never heeded, the time-honoured maxim of Occult Science, “First Deserve, then Desire.”

[Here followed Prince Wittgenstein’s letter, which can be read in full here]