To the Editor of the Spiritual Scientist:
Dear Sir,—In advices just received from St. Petersburg, I am requested to translate and forward to the Scientist for publication, the protest of the Honorable Alexander Aksakoff, Imperial Counsellor of State, against the course of the professors of the university respecting the spiritualistic investigation. The document appears, in Russian, in the “Vedomostji,” the official journal of St. Petersburg. This generous, high-minded, courageous gentleman has done the possible, and even the impossible, in order to open the spiritual eyes of those incurable moles who fear the daylight of truth as the burglar fears the policeman’s “bull’s eye.”
The heartfelt thanks and gratitude of every Spiritualist ought to be forwarded to this noble defender of the cause, who regretted neither his time, trouble nor money to help the propagation of the truth.
H. P. Blavatsky,
New York, April 19th, 1876.
[Note: here followed H.P.B.’s translation of A. N. Aksakoff’s letter of protest, from which we make the following selections:]
According to my promise to the Commission to help them in extending their invitations to mediums, I have neglected no effort to the accomplishment of the said purpose. Nevertheless but few mediums have shown any desire to come to Russia, and those who did were unsuitable for a preliminary examination, as their mediumistical powers were not of a nature to afford any chance to investigate physical phenomena. Finally, and for reasons previously detailed to the commission, I concluded to bring with me from England the two Petty boys. The mediumistic powers of these boys proved too weak, not only for them to be tested by a committee but even at private séances in my own house. Having obtained no manifestations worthy of any attention at all—as already published by me—at the committee’s investigation, after four séances I declined to waste any more of its time in investigating the Petty boys.
Immediately after that, on the 15th of December last, Professor Mendeleyeff delivered his lecture on Spiritism. The haste exhibited by him on this occasion, the precipitancy with which the failures of the four séances were reviewed, when the Scientific Commission had just adopted a resolution to make not less than forty experimental examinations, did not agree, in my opinion, with the impartial and serious character which we have the right to expect in a truly scientific investigation. This lecture did not appear in print, and it was therefore impossible to either reply to its errors or to point out its one-sidedness. But in what was declared by Mr. Mendeleyeff, the attitude of the commission toward the object of their examination was very clearly defined. Prof. Mendeleyeff—at whose suggestion the commission was organized, and under whose direction it acted—openly avowed himself an enemy of Spiritualism. The commission, acting in unity with Mr. Mendeleyeff, was evidently anxious that the results of its further investigations should prove as fruitless as the results of the first four séances with the Petty boys. The difficulties in the way of obtaining an impartial examination multiplied tenfold; and for my part I felt fully that it would be useless for me to attempt any further assistance to the commission. . . . [etc. etc. etc.] . . .
In conclusion I beg leave to add that so long as the commission hold to the policy of flatly denying the phenomena, and see in them only charlatanry, they will neither attain to the object of their researches which was sketched in the first offer made by Mr. Mendeleyeff, nor will they satisfy those who certify to the existence of such manifestations. The committee forgets that the mediumistic power has its origin, force and support in domestic circles and in their own experiments against which the policy of negation and fraud is powerless. Such questions which have attained a social importance, cannot be solved by negation and an ignorance of them. Let Science and knowledge be on the side of the negators and skeptics, but upon the other side we have the conviction in the reality of facts; which conviction we have obtained by the evidence of our senses and by reason.
St. Petersburg, March 4th, 1876.
[Note: Aksakoff’s letter can be read in full here.]
[Note: at the same time as the above appeared in the Spiritual Scientist, the following appeared in the Banner of Light.]