[Note: The following collection includes various writings on “The Judge Case,” the Vice-Presidency and the Resolution of Autonomy of “The Theosophical Society in America.” These documents span from March, 1894 to August, 1895. Though not all of what follows came from the pen of Mr. Judge, all is relevant and shed light on that which he did compose.—ED.]
Report of Proceedings Eighth Annual Convention
W. Q. JUDGE: As a member of the Council of the Theosophical Society, as a question of privilege, I beg to bring before you another matter which I have been requested to do in order to get the opinion of the Section. On the twelfth of March I received the following letter:
144 MADISON AVENUE
NEW YORK, March 12, 1894
To William Q. Judge, Esq.
Gen’l Sec’y, American Section T.S.
DEAR SIR AND BROTHER: I desire to submit the following statement of facts for your consideration and opinion as a member of the Council of T.S.
A member, in good standing, of the T.S. has, at various times and until quite recently, sent me letters and messages which purport to emanate from one of the Masters spoken of by H. P. Blavatsky and supposed to be interested in the welfare of the said Society. In these letters and messages there is no attempt to imitate the supposed handwriting of the Master nor to convey any idea of so-called precipitation, but one letter is signed with the name, in full, of the Master whose message it purports to be, and others, whether signed or not, contain internal evidence that they are accepted as emanating from the same high source.
It has been suggested to me that a committee should be appointed to inquire into this matter on charges to be made that the sending of messages purporting to come from a Master, or Masters, is untheosophical, or that the proper officers of the T.S. should consider the matter to the same end.
I have replied that I consider this a matter into which a committee of the T.S. may not properly inquire; that I do not, for a moment, entertain the idea that it may be brought within the jurisdiction of the Society under any clause of its Constitution; that it can rightly be regarded as a matter between individuals only; that any such inquiry or determination of such a subject would only tend to raise a dogma in the Society, and, furthermore, that it seems desirable that some official statement of a general character should be made defining the Society’s position on questions of this nature.
ELLIOTT B. PAGE, F.T.S.
THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, AMERICAN SECTION
GENERAL SECRETARY’S OFFICE
144 MADISON AVENUE
NEW YORK, March 14,1894
To Elliott B. Page, Esq.
DEAR SIR AND BROTHER: I have your letter of 12th inst. informing me that a member of the T.S. (whose name you have privately given me) has sent you at various times “letters and messages which purport to emanate from one of the Masters spoken of by H. P. Blavatsky and supposed to be interested in the welfare of the said Society, and that one of the letters is signed with the name in full of the Master whose message it purports to be, but that in the letters there is no attempt to imitate the supposed handwriting of the Masters, etc.” and asking me officially whether a committee could be properly appointed to consider the matter on the ground that such actions by said member are untheosophical. This could only be considered by the Society acting through a committee on the ground of being an offence under the Constitution of the T.S.; it is also a matter which should first be submitted to the Council and the President; it is competent in my opinion for you to raise the question as one of information, asking for a decision or opinion from the proper officers or Council. I shall therefore give you my opinion officially and then forward, the same to the President and the Council. My opinion is:
First: The matter stated is not one which the Society or its officers can consider; it stands on the same ground as the affirmation of a member that he or she has seen or heard of or from a Mahatma. On this see the public utterances of the President, Colonel Olcott; also those of Mrs. Besant; and the late publication by Mr. Sinnett, President of the London Lodge, to the effect that what he (Mr. Sinnett) published was directly from said Mahatma. These are not offences in the T.S. for the reason that cognizable offences are these: Slander of members; violation of the T.S. neutrality on questions of legislation, politics, religion, caste, and social rules; violation of the rule that we have no dogma by proclaiming a dogma or belief as that of the T.S.; willfully hurting the religious feelings of members at a meeting of Branch or Section; conviction of crime under the law of the land, and the like. In no place are the Mahatma, their powers, existence, or functions mentioned. It is solely and simply a personal matter whether one shall or shall not affirm he has messages from the Mahatma; it is also a personal matter whether other members shall or shall not believe him.
Second: It would be a violation of the Constitution to decide either negatively or affirmatively under the official shield of a T.S. Committee whether a person had or had not a message from the Mahatma, and to consider the facts cited by you would involve preliminarily that affirmative or negative. The Society would thus through its Committee fix a dogma one way or the other; either the dogma that Mahatmas exist and may be heard from, or the opposite dogmatic statement that such Mahatmas do not exist.
On this I beg to refer you to the official statement by the President in his Executive Notice of May 27, 1893 respecting the T.S. Congress at the Parliament of said:
Of course it is to be distinctly understood that nothing shall be said or done by any delegate or committee of the Society to identify it, as a body, with any special form of religion, creed, sect, or any religious or ethical teacher or leader; our duty being to affirm and defend its perfect corporate neutrality in these matters.
This goes directly to the point, and was meant, as intimated to me by the President, to cover precisely the existence of the Mahatmas under the word “teacher” and to prevent any fixing of the T.S. to H. P. Blavatsky by means of the use of the word “leader.” Hence we have in advance the decision in general of the President, in which the other members of the Council will concur, as I now do in advance.
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE
Gen’l Sec’y Am. Sec. and
Member of T.S. Council
I have sent this to London to the Indian and European Secretaries, and have received a reply that it will be submitted to the Council, and I now present it to this Convention.
On motion the report was received and committed to the Committee on Resolutions.
MR. JUDGE: I received from Col. Olcott a letter addressed to me as General Secretary informing me that he had suspended me as Vice-President, and requesting me as General Secretary to notify the Convention of his action, which I do now.
20 March, 1894
To the General Secretary Am. Sec. T.S.
DEAR SIR AND BROTHER: In compliance with Section 3 of Article VI of the Revised Rules, I enclose herewith a copy of certain charges preferred against Mr. William Q. Judge, Vice President T.S. and General Secretary of the American Section, by Mrs. Annie Besant, F.T.S.; which charges will be laid before a Judicial Committee, to be convened at our London Headquarters on the 27th June next, for the consideration and disposal of the same, as provided for in the Section of the Article above specified.
Upon receipt of this you will kindly take the orders of your Executive Committee for the nomination of two members of the said Judicial Committee, to sit as representatives of the American Section, and consider and dispose of the charges.
H. S. OLCOTT
President Theosophical Society
20th March, 1894
To William Q. Judge, Esq., Vice President T.S.
DEAR SIR AND BROTHER: As required by the provisions of Article VI of our Revised Rules, I herewith enclose for your information and action a copy of certain charges preferred against you by Mrs. Annie Besant, F.T.S., and notify you that for their consideration and disposal a Judicial Committee will be convened at our London Headquarters on the 27th June next. I have to request that you will nominate to me the two additional members of the Committee whom you wish to sit and adjudge the case as your personal representatives.
As the accused party you will, of course, be debarred from sitting and voting in the Committee either as Vice President T.S. or General Secretary of the American Section; but you are entitled to enjoy the full opportunity to disprove the charges brought against you.
Pending the decision of the Judicial Committee, I hereby suspend you from the office of Vice President T.S. as required by our Revised Rules.
I am, Sir, fraternally yours,
H. S. OLCOTT
President Theosophical Society
Suspension of Vice-President
WHEREAS: The American Section is officially informed that the Vice-President has been officially notified that Col. Olcott, the President, has suspended the Vice-President, pending his trial for alleged “misusing of Mahatmas’ names and handwriting,”
RESOLVED: That this Convention, after careful deliberation, finds that such suspension of the Vice-President is without the slightest warrant in the Constitution and altogether transcends the discretionary power given the President by the, Constitution, and is therefore null and void.
RESOLVED: That this Section, in Convention assembled, hereby expresses its unqualified protest against the said illegal action by the President of the Society, and can see no necessity for such action, and that even did the Constitution contain any provision for a suspension such action would be wholly needless and unbrotherly, inasmuch as, by the Constitution, the Vice-President has no duties or power save in case of death, resignation, or accusation of the President.
Colonel E. T. Blackmer asked for a rising vote, and it being so ordered the motion was carried. On motion it was then put to those members present who were not delegates, and they all rose affirmatively. Nays called for and none responded.
Dr. Anderson then moved the following:
WHEREAS, many members of the Theosophical Society, including the late Madame Blavatsky, Col. Olcott, W. Q. Judge, Mrs. Annie Besant, A. P. Sinnett, and others, have at various times and places expressed their belief in the existence of certain Mahatmas or Masters, and have claimed to be in communication with the same; and
WHEREAS, the President, Col. Olcott, at the request of one of the members, Mrs. Annie Besant, has recently demanded an official investigation by means of a judicial Committee of the Theosophical Society, to decide whether or not Wm. Q. Judge is in communication with the said Mahatmas, and whether or not the said Wm. Q. Judge has “misused the names and handwriting of the said Mahatmas”; and
WHEREAS, under the Constitution and Rules of the Theosophical Society it is declared that the Society, as such, is not responsible for the personal opinions of its Fellows, nor for any expression thereof, and that no Fellow, Officer, or Council of the Theosophical Society, or of any Section or Branch thereof, shall promulgate or maintain any doctrine, dogma, or belief as being that advanced or advocated by the Society [Art. XIII]; and the President having officially and Constitutionally in his executive order of May 27th, 1893, relative to the World’s Religious Parliament, declared this neutrality, especially in these words:
“Of course it is to be distinctly understood that nothing shall be said or done by any Delegate or Committee of the Society to identify it as a Body with any special form of religion, creed, sect, or any religious or ethical teacher or leader; our duty being to affirm and defend its perfect corporate neutrality in these matters.”
RESOLVED: That, in the opinion of this Convention, the action of the President, Col. Olcott, in calling such Judicial Committee to consider said charge was uncalled for, unconstitutional, illegal, and improper.
RESOLVED: That this Convention hereby cordially endorses the interpretation of the Rules and Constitution of the T.S. recently expressed in a circular to members signed by the General Secretaries of the European and Indian Sections, and in the private circular of March 15th, 1894, issued by William Q. Judge.
RESOLVED: That this Convention hereby reaffirms the entire freedom of the platform of the T.S. and the religious and other opinions of its members, which entitles all and any of them to claim to be in communication with, to receive letters from, or to act as agents for, those above referred to as Mahatmas or Masters; or, on the other hand, to express disbelief in the proper title of any member to make such claim or claims or disbelief in the existence of said Mahatma.
RESOLVED: That this Convention declares its unswerving belief in the integrity and uprightness of the Vice-President of the T.S., Wm. Q. Judge, and expresses to him the most cordial thanks of the Section for his unrecompensed and self-sacrificing years of labor on behalf of the T.S. as a whole.
On motion of Dr. W. E. Copeland the motion was carried unanimously. Dr. Anderson then moved:
WHEREAS: This Section regards official investigation into the existence and methods of Mahatmas, and a dogmatic verdict rendered upon such investigation, as not only illegal under the Constitution but impossible in the absence of more profound knowledge of the science of Occultism, and, therefore, absurd in the present instance, although such inquiry and investigation are always proper privileges of individual members as such, therefore
RESOLVED, That, if in the face of this protest and opinion of this Section, there is to be an investigation to decide whether or not William Q. Judge is or was in communication with said Mahatmas, and whether or not he has “misused the names and handwriting of said Mahatmas,” or whether or not pretended or real communications or orders from said alleged Mahatmas have been issued or given out by him, then, in the opinion of this Section, an investigation should also be had to decide whether or not Col. Olcott, A. P. Sinnett, Annie Besant, and others have had, given, or promulgated such or any communication from the Mahatmas, whether real or pretended; and that they be required to show evidence of the possession of a commission from said Mahatmas, and of the truthfulness of their claims as heretofore frequently made and announced by them in public.
RESOLVED: That, in the opinion of this Section, only a Body of Mahatmas ,appearing at the Sessions of the Committee could decide whether or not any communication was or is a genuine or fraudulent Mahatmic message.
Mr. Evan Williams then moved that the resolutions be considered now and voted on, which being seconded was carried.
Discussion was called for, and several said it had been discussed and decided for weeks and the question was demanded.
The motion on the resolutions was then put and carried unanimously.
A collection for expenses was made, and the first session adjourned.
NEW YORK, April 4, 1894
To the American Section T.S. in Convention:
Col. H. S. Olcott, the President of the Society, notifies me that he is requested to have an investigation through a committee under Article 6 of the Revised Rules, into the charge that I have “misused the names and handwritings of the Mahatmas.” The President has addressed me as Vice-President, and “charges” under Article 6 refer to that officer, but I refuse to accept these charges as against the Vice-President, and now act thereon as an individual member of the Society.
No specifications accompany this notice, which was received from him March 10, 1894; but he has telegraphed me that he will fix the 27th of June next for the sittings of the proposed committee in London. If any specifications do arrive before this is laid before you I may annex them thereto; and I make this communication now in advance, as there is no need to wait to take action after your adjournment; hence I leave the matter with you to take such action as is right and proper under the circumstances and the Rules.
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE
Charges Against William Q. Judge
144 MADISON AVENUE
NEW YORK, March 15,1894
To all Members of the Theosophical Society:
It is disagreeable to talk much of oneself, but sometimes it is necessary, and in this case it has been made a necessity by the action of others, as also by the existence of many vague and suppressed rumors which have been flying about in quarters not public but sufficiently active to compel action on my part. Hence I now make known in advance that which has been spoken obscurely for some time, and which is now before me officially from the President, Co!. H. S. Olcott, to the end that all members of the Society and friends of my own in all parts of the world shall be in possession of facts so that surprise and perhaps confusion may be prevented.
The assertion is made in India that I have been guilty of “misuse of the names and handwriting of the Mahatmas,” and this has been officially communicated to the President, who, writing from Agra, India, under date of February 7th (received here March 10th, 1894), says an investigation is demanded through an official inquiry by means of a committee into the matter of your alleged misuse of the Mahatmas names and handwriting.
Conceiving himself required and authorized to take action, the President proceeds thus:
By virtue of the discretionary powers given me in Article 6 of the Revised Rules, I place before you the following options:
1. To retire from all offices held by you in the Theosophical Society, and leave me to make a merely general public explanation, or
2. To have a Judicial Committee convened as provided in Art. 6 § 3 of the Revised Rules, and make public the whole of the proceedings in detail.
In either alternative, you will observe, a public explanation is found necessary: in the one case general; in the other, to be full and covering all the details.
He then ends by proposing two code words for an immediate reply “first,” to mean That I resign, and “second,” that I demand a committee.
On March 10th, I cabled him as follows:
Charge absolutely false. You can take what proceedings you see fit; going [to] London [in] July.
The reason for not using his word “second” will later on be made clear.
The charge is made against me as Vice-President: I have replied as an individual and shall so continue, inasmuch as in my capacity of Vice-President my duties are nominal, have once been exercised by communicating to the Society, as required by the Constitution, the resignation of the President, and once by acting for the President at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago. The only charges that could be made against the Vice-President would be those of failing to perform his duties, or misusing the office when there were any duties attached to it. On the face of this very vague charge, then, it is evident that there is nothing in it relating to the official Vice-President.
Inasmuch as I was the first presiding officer of the Theosophical Society at its preliminary meeting in September, 1875, and its first Secretary at such meeting; that I was not only H. P. Blavatsky’s intimate friend and direct pupil but that I have been conspicuous as an upholder of Theosophical doctrine, as also an upholder, with many other friends in every part of the globe, of H. P. Blavatsky’s good name, high motive, and great powers against the ridicule of the world and much opposition from certain members of the Society she founded; that I have been elected to succeed Col. Olcott as President of the Society and have been officially declared his successor by him; it is important and imperative that I should make this matter public, and I now do so, and state my unqualified, explicit, exhaustive denial of the said charge, asserting most unreservedly that it has absolutely no foundation.
Under the Constitution the President is directed to call a Judicial Committee to consider charges. The committee is to consist of the members of the General Council, who are now the President, the three General Secretaries, and the Vice-President. In this case, one member of the Council could not sit, being the General Secretary of American Section, Vice-President, and the accused. The person charged has the right to nominate two additional members on the Committee, and each of the Sections two. This would call for eleven members. The accused person has the right to fix the place of trial. When the President calls the committee, I shall fix on London as the place for its meeting, as I am going to attend the European Section Convention next July.
Hence I shall request the American Section Convention in April to make selection in advance of the two members from this Section, either by then naming them or by empowering the Executive Committee to do so whenever the official notice comes to the Section from the President. It is certainly useless to wait the long time required by the distance of India from here, inasmuch as it is perfectly evident that the Committee will be convened by the President. Perhaps when the Committee is convened I shall, for the first time, have particulars as to persons, dates, and the like of the charges made, none of which up to this time I have had except in the form of rumor.
More acutely than any personal grievance, do I feel the probability of a deplorable influence being at first exercised on the Theosophical movement by the making of these charges. I do not think it will have a lasting effect for injury. The rumors to which I have referred have been used by the enemies of the Society to show, if possible, dissension among us and to found a charge of rottenness; they have printed the matter in a scandalous form in both Europe and America, pretending that in my official and private capacities I am in the habit of sending alleged “Mahatma messages,” and then they added ribald jokes of their own. This I have not hitherto noticed, because all members know that the correspondence and work of the Society are open to all and entirely devoid of the elements alleged to exist by these opponents; we are all perfectly aware that our strength lies in our devotion and constant work. The present situation will therefore result in clearing the air and consolidating our ranks in all directions.
As to my failure to cable the word “second,” meaning “I demand a Committee.” The reason is not that an investigation is avoided. Such an investigation will not be avoided. But on constitutional and executive principle I shall object from beginning to end to any committee of the Theosophical Society considering any charge against any person which involves an inquiry and decision as to the existence, names, powers, functions, or methods of the “Mahatmas or Masters.” I shall do this for the protection of the Theosophical Society now and hereafter, regardless of the result to myself. The Society has no dogma as to the existence of such Masters; but the deliberations of an official committee of the Society on such a question, and that is the first inquiry and decision necessarily beginning such a deliberation, would mean that the Theosophical Society after over nineteen years of unsectarian work is determined to settle this dogma and affix it to the Constitution of the Society. To this I will never consent, but shall object, and shall charge the Committee itself with a violation of the Constitution if it decides the question of the existence of the “Masters” or Mahatmas; if it should affirm the “Masters'” existence it will violate the law; if it should deny Their existence a like violation will result; both decisions would affirm a dogma, and the negative decision would in addition violate that provision of our law, in Art. XIII, Revised Rules, which makes it an offense to “willfully offend the religious feelings of any Fellow” of the Society, inasmuch as the belief so negatived is religiously held by many hundreds of the Fellows of the Society. I intend to try once for all to definitely have settled this important question, and to procure an official decision affirming now and forever the freedom of our Society.
Hence the President’s alternatives, offered as above, are mistakes, and are the initial steps to the promulgation of the dogma of belief in the “Masters.” The first alternative is furthermore a judgment in advance, ridiculous in itself, yet serious as emanating from our highest official. It precludes him from sitting on the Committee, and that point also I shall raise before the Committee. The whole proposal he makes brings up serious and complicated questions of occultism touching upon the matter of the existence, powers, functions, and methods of those “Masters” in whom many Theosophists believe but as to whom the Theosophical Society is perfectly agnostic and neutral as an organized body. For that reason no one in official position ever thought of making a public matter of the many assertions made here and there by members of the Society, that they individually communicated with beings whom they called “Masters, Mahatmas,” nor of the assertions publicly made by prominent members that certain philosophical statements recently published in our literature were directly from the very “Masters” referred to by Col. Olcott, although these statements contradicted others made by H. P. Blavatsky on the declared authority of the same “Masters.”
On all these grounds, then, I shall object to a Theosophical Society Committee, while of course there will never be any objection from me to a proper investigation by a body of persons who know enough of Occultism as well as of Theosophy to understandingly inquire into these matters.
But some of you may wonder if all this leaves in doubt the question whether I believe in the “Masters.” I believe the Masters exist, that They actually help the T.S. Cause, that They energize and make fruitful the work of all sincere members; all this I can say to myself I know, but to prove objectively to another that such beings exist is impossible now so far as my intelligence can perceive. “Letters from Mahatmas” prove nothing at all except to the recipient, and then only when in his inner nature is the standard of proof and the power of judgment. Precipitation does not prove Mahatmas, for the reason that mere mediums and non-mahatmas can make precipitations. This I have always asserted. By one’s soul alone can this matter be judged, and only by his work and acts can one judge at first as to whether any other person is an agent of the Masters; by following the course prescribed in all ages the inner faculties may be awakened so as to furnish the true confirmatory evidence. I have not lost any of my belief in these beings, but more than ever believe in Their existence and in Their help and care to and over our Society’s work.
Finally I may say that my personal belief in Mahatmas is based on even stronger evidence than Theosophical arguments or the experience of others. As is known to some Theosophists, I have not been entirely without guidance and help from these exalted friends of the T.S. The form which the whole matter has taken now compels me to say what I have never before said publicly, namely, that not only have I received direct communications from Masters during and since the life of H. P. Blavatsky, but that I have on certain occasions repeated such to certain persons for their own guidance, and also that I have guided some of my own work under suggestions from the same sources, though without mentioning the fact.
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE
Convention Reports of
the T.S. American Section
April 22-23′, 1894
William Q. Judge’s Statement at the European Convention
Read by himself
Since March last charges have been going round the world against me to which the name of Annie Besant has been attached, without her consent as she now says, that I have been guilty of forging the names and handwritings of the Mahatmas and of misusing the said names and handwritings. The charge has also arisen that I suppressed the name of Annie Besant as mover in the matter from fear of the same. All this has been causing great trouble and working injury to all concerned, that is, to all our members. It is now time that this should be put an end to once for all, if possible.
I now state as follows:
1. I left the name of Annie Besant out of my published circular by request of my friends in the T.S. then near me, so as to save her and leave it to others to put her name to the charge. It now appears that if I had so put her name it would have run counter to her present statement.
2. I repeat my denial of the said rumored charges of forging the said names and handwritings of the Mahatmas or of misusing the same.
3. I admit that I have received and delivered messages from the Mahatmas and assert their genuineness.
4. I say that I have heard and do hear from the Mahatmas, and that I am an agent of the Mahatmas; but I deny that I have ever sought to induce that belief in others, and this is the first time to my knowledge that I have ever made the claim now made. I am pressed into the place where I must make it. My desire and effort have been to distract attention from such an idea as related to me. But I have no desire to make the claim, which I repudiate, that I am the only channel for communication with Masters; and it is my opinion that such communication is open to any human being who by endeavoring to serve mankind affords the necessary conditions.
5. Whatever messages from the Mahatmas have been delivered by me as such—and they are extremely few—I now declare were and are genuine messages from the Mahatmas so far as my knowledge extends; they were obtained through me, but as to how they were obtained or produced I cannot state. But I can now again say, as I have said publicly before, and as was said by H. P. Blavatsky so often that I have always thought it common knowledge among studious Theosophists, that precripitation of words or messages is of no consequence and constitutes no proof of connection with Mahatmas; it is only phenomenal and not of the slightest value.
6. So far as methods are concerned for the reception and delivery of messages from the Masters, they are many. My own methods may disagree from the views of others, and I acknowledge their right to criticise them if they choose; but I deny the right of any one to say that they know or can prove the ungenuineness of such messages to or through me unless they are able to see on that plane. I can only say that I have done my best to report—in the few instances when I have done it at all—correctly and truthfully such messages as I think I have received for transmission, and never to my knowledge have I tried therewith to deceive any person or persons whatsoever.
7. And I say that in 1893 the Master sent me a message in which he thanked me for all my work and exertions in the Theosophical field and expressed satisfaction therewith, ending with sage advice to guard me against the failings and follies of my lower nature; that message Mrs. Besant unreservedly admits.
8. Lastly, and only because of absurd statements made and circulated, I willingly say that which I never denied, that I am a human being full of error, liable to mistake, not infallible, but just the same as any other human being like to myself or of the class of human beings to which I belong. And I freely, fully, and sincerely forgive anyone who may be thought to have injured or tried to injure me. To which I sign my name.
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE
Mr. B. Keightley then arose and offered the following resolutions:
Resolved: That this meeting accepts with pleasure the adjustment arrived at by Annie Besant and William Q. Judge as a final settlement of matters pending hitherto between them as prosecutor and defendant with the hope that it may be thus buried and forgotten and:
Resolved: That we will join hands with them to further the Cause of genuine Brotherhood in which we all believe.
These were seconded by J. D. Buck.
Col. H. S. Olcott, acting as chairman, then put the Resolutions to the meeting, which crowded the hall, and they were carried unanimously with loud applause.
Path, August, 1894
The Charges Against William Q. Judge [I]
EDITOR Irish Theosophist:
The matter of charges against me seems not yet to be at an end, as I am informed that The Westminster Gazette has made a long story of the whole thing, as it was once before given in California and other places, and has added to it various falsifications of fact. All this has led some European members of the T.S. to say that they think I should make a reply and explanation. One would suppose that the legal maxim that a man is called innocent until he is proven guilty is but a form in England, and that a man’s friends are not obliged to defend him when accused until he has made all his proofs.
All I have to say for the present is this: that at the proper time and place I will have to say what I wish and find right and proper. Let us wait until all the innuendos, charges and accusations are fully presented. One who knows, as I do, that he is guided and helped by the Masters, knows also that there is a time and a place for everything, and is able to bide his time. That is what I am doing. When the true moment comes I will be able to speak, and then facts and circumstances will join in speaking for me.
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE
New York, Nov. 20th, 1894
The Irish Theosophist
December 15, 1894
An Old Message from the Master
The following message was not among those which Mrs. Besant intended to use against me—because it was not known to the prosecutors—in the recent proceedings, which never should have been begun because unconstitutional. I obtained it Nov. 1st, 1891, in the distant State of Wyoming, U.S. It reads:
We sent him to London and made him stay so long in order to lay down currents which have since operated, for inasmuch as “sacred names” were assailed long ago the present reaction in England more than counterbalances the assault on us which you so much deplore. But the only thing we deplore is the sorrow of the world, which can only be cut off by the philosophy you were such a potent factor in bringing to the West, and which now other disciples are promulgating also. This is the age of the common people although you may not agree—but so it is—and as we see forces at work and gathering by you unseen, we must commend all efforts that give wide-spread notice to even one word of the philosophy.
This is meant for A.P.S. Have you the courage to send it.
[Signed by M.]
I had the courage, copied it at the time it was received, and sent the original to Mr. Sinnett by mail from Wyoming. He must have received it, because otherwise it would have come back to me in accordance with directions on the envelope. If there ever was a genuine message this is one. It refers to the great public excitement in England, about that time, about Theosophy, in the course of which the “sacred names” of the Masters were mentioned. The person referred to as being in London “to lay down currents” is myself. I invite the attention of the prosecutors to this message.
Very probably Mr. Sinnett will not contest the genuineness of the message, because he sent me, nearly about that time, a letter from himself addressed to the Master, requesting me to transmit it and procure the answer, if any. Many of us—those who accept the above as genuine—will find it of interest, seeing that it confirms what several hold, that this is the era of the masses, and that Master has more interest in efforts for their good than on the progress of any particular person or class.
Being under no obligation to secrecy I cannot be blamed for giving out the foregoing facts at this time, when I am attacked at every point; it will certainly derogate nothing from Mr. Sinnett’s standing to admit the fact of his believing, at the time mentioned, that I could transmit a request or letter to the Master.
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE
The Irish Theosophist
February 15, 1895
The Charges Against William Q. Judge [II]
EDITOR Irish Theosophist:
A long and sustained attack has been made on me and charges have been brought forward by Mrs. Besant, and in The Westminster Gazette, which it is thought I should reply to more fully than I have as yet. A very good and decisive reason exists for my not making that full reply and explanation, and it is time Theosophist should know it. It is as follows:
I have not been furnished with copies of the documentary evidence by which the charges are said to be supported. These documents—being letters written by myself and some of them ten years old—have been in the possession of Mrs. Besant from about February, 1894, to July 19th, 1894, and open enemies of mine have been allowed to make copies of them, and also to take facsimiles, but they have been kept from me, although I have demanded and should have them. It must be obvious to all fair-minded persons that it is impossible for me to make a full and definite reply to charges without having certified copies of those documents.
I arrived in London July 4th, 1894, and constantly, each day, asked for the copies and for an inspection of the papers. Mrs. Besant promised both, but never performed her promise. The proceedings and the Convention closed July 13th, and for six days thereafter I daily asked for the copies and inspection, getting the same promise with the same failure, until July 19th, when I peremptorily demanded them. Mrs. Besant then said she had just given them to Colonel Olcott, to whom I at once applied. He said he had sent them all to India. I at once told this to Mrs. Besant, saying I would give the facts to the daily papers, whereupon she went to Colonel Olcott, who said he had made a mistake as they were in his box. He then—I being in a hurry to leave from Liverpool on the 21st—let me hastily see the papers in Dr. Buck’s presence, promising to send me copies. I had time to copy only two or three short letters. He has never fulfilled that promise.
These facts the members should know, as they ought at last to understand the animus under the prosecution. I shall not reply until I have full certified copies. It would seem that I am in this matter entitled to as much opportunity and consideration as my open enemies have had.
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE
New York, Jan. 25th, 1895
The Irish Theosophist
February 15, 1895
The Persecution of William Q. Judge
The Object in View
The design from the beginning was to get me out of the way to the Presidency of the T.S. Mrs. Besant was to demand my resignation, after that Col. Olcott was to resign his office, then Mrs. Besant was to be nominated as President; Vice-Presidency probably to go to Bert. Keightley, though on that the outer proofs are not yet definite. In London last July Mrs. Besant said several times that the object of the proceeding was to prevent my succeeding to the Presidency. But here are a few samples from her letters.
Calcutta, Jan. 11, 1894. You must resign the outer headship (of E.S.T.) held jointly with myself, or the evidence which goes to prove the wrong done must be laid before a committee of T.S. . . . And you must resign the position of President-elect.
Delhi, Feb. 14, 1894. He [Chakravarti] endorsed the idea that I should take sole charge of the School. . . . Indeed, he told me last summer [about Aug., 1893.—J.] that it had to be so presently.
Agra, Feb. 8, 1894. As you know, I refused the offer to nominate me as President; since then I have been told [by whom?—J.] “not to oppose,” so I remain passive and wait.
Feb. 14, 1894. That you had made an intellectual blunder, misled by a high example. [This means H.P.B.] . . . would not take the Presidency at any price. If I have to, pity me. [Italics are mine.—J.]
In July she told me the first day, as explaining the sentence above quoted about a “higher example” and another, that I was “largely a victim,” that her theory was first, that H.P.B. had committed several frauds for good ends and made bogus messages; second, that I was misled by her example; and third, that H.P.B. had given me permission to do such acts. She then asked me to confess thus and that would clear up all. I peremptorily denied such a horrible lie, and warned her that everywhere I would resist such attack on H.P.B. These are facts, and the real issue is around H.P.B.
Some European Lodges, and the Indian Section, have asked me to resign as Vice-President. I have refused and shall refuse. The attempt to force me by saying “all honorable men resign when attacked” is silly nonsense. No office in T.S. has any attraction for me, but I will not be forced. An “Anniversary Meeting” in India, with no power, and being, in fact, only an extra meeting of the Indian Section, passed resolutions asking my resignation. To that I replied that I do not recognize either the meeting or the resolutions. T.S. Anniversary Meetings are unknown to our Constitution.
Why No Explanation Yet
By reading the Vice-President’s letter to the European General Secretary printed hereunder, members will see that I cannot make any explanation without copies of my letters and alleged memoranda. In addition, I find that some of the documents have up to this day been kept back from me, so that I have not seen them at all. It is quite true that Mrs. Besant gave me a copy of her proposed statement as prosecutor; but that contained only references and a few garbled extracts; and besides, it did not cover the items they have since added to the number.
The Path, March, 1895
Letter to European General Secretary
144 Madison Avenue
New York, January 25, 1895
GEORGE R. S. MEAD, Esq.
Gen’l Sec’y European Section T.S.
SIR and BROTHER:—I have received some seven requests by resolution from Branches and Centers of your Section to the effect, (a) that I should resign the office of Vice-President of the T.S., (b) that i should answer charges published against me by a paper inimical to the T.S. or give reasons for not replying, (c) that I should offer myself for trial on said charges; and I have also read the full publications of these requests and other matter connected therewith in the Vahan. I now beg to ask you to act as the proper official channel for the general reply to those requests, and to inform your Executive Committee also.
First. I am amazed at the undue, precipitate, and untheosophical haste displayed in the requests to me to reply to the public attack made on me before I could have time to do so or had refused, when the slightest reflection would show I could not possibly reply in such a hurry, and when a true brotherly feeling would seem to require that before making the demands, means should be taken to discover whether I had an intention to reply or explain. The Barcelona Lodge, however, asked you to inquire of me whether the charges made in said paper were true or not. Please let them know that I again say the charges are absolutely false.
Second. When the Judicial Commitee met in July and when thereafter Mrs. Besant, as prosecutor, publicly assented, in apparent good faith, to a general resolution declaring the matter closed and dropped, she was then in possession of all the alleged evidence now in her possession. Inasmuch as her name and her opinions have been used in a part of the above-mentioned correspondence, as some sort of proof of something. I draw your Lodges’ attention to the fact that she had in her possession all said evidence at the time when she, as your public leader, publicly assented to two statements and a solemn resolution closing the matter passed at your Convention. It now appears that some Lodges desire to nullify and override that action; hence either (a) the resolution was not passed in good faith, or (b) it was procurred through hoodwinking and deceiving the Convention. If you and those Lodges say that they did not have the said alleged evidence, and would not have passed the resolution had you possessed the said alleged evidence, then their present desire to avoid the resolution—for that is what the requests indicate—is due to a feeling that you were hoodwinkied into passing it. This being so, I must refer you to Mrs. Besant, for I had no part whatever in proposing, forwarding, or passing the resolution.
Third. In reply to the request that I shall resign the office of Vice-President, please say that I am obliged to refuse the request. If it is proper I should now resign, it was just as much so in July when your leading prosecutors had all the alleged evidence in their possession. I regard resignation as evidence of guilt. If I resigned that office I could not be in any way tried on any charges, and very soon after a resignation the same persons might say I resigned to evade responsibility.
Fourth. I have replied to the public newspaper in the only way it deserves. I have still under consideration a full reply to the T.S. respecting the real charges, but I refuse to be hurried until the right time, for the cogent reasons given below. And as I have seen that new misstatements of fact and charges are being circulated against me by F.T.S. who are keeping up this disgraceful pursuit, I have additional reasons for waiting until all possible innuendos and distortions shall have come forth, even were I now fully prepared to reply.
I cannot make a proper reply to the charges until I have in my possession a copy of the documentary evidence which it was, or is, proposed to use in support of the charges. These documents consist of various letters of mine on which are memoranda not in my handwriting. Some of them are letters written over ten years ago. They have been deliberately kept away from me, although open enemies have been given and allowed to take complete copies and facsimilies. No fair person would ask that I should answer without them.
I arrived in London July 5th, 1894, and at once demanded, first, copies of letters, and second, an inspection of all the evidence. Mrs. Besant promised these, but did not perform. The Council met informally on July 6, when I again demanded the evidence and received the same promise as before with the same failure to perform. July 7th the formal meeting of the Council took place. The same demand was again made with the same result. Each day until the second day before departure I made the request and met the same promise followed by failure to perform. The Judicial Committee met and I then made the same demand, and at the meeting Mrs. Besant and others said, “Oh, of course Mr. Judge should have copies of the proposed evidence.” But the papers were neither copied nor shown me up to July 19th, almost a week after Convention, and when I was packing my trunk. All this time until the 19th, Mrs. Besant had the papers. On the 19th I formally and peremptorily demanded them. She said she had given them to Col. Olcott, who said they had been just sent off to the mail to go to India; this I repeated to Mrs. Besant and said I would publish the fact to the public. She hastened to Col. Olcott and he said he had made a mistake, as the papers were in his travelling case. He then, in Dr. Buck’s presence, in a great hurry, as I sailed on the 21st, allowed me a hasty look at the papers on July 19th, I taking a copy of one or two short ones. But several being lengthy, and especially the one by which they hoped to destroy my general credibility, I could not copy them. Col. Olcott then promised to send copies; Mrs. Besant declared herself quit of the matter. Up to this date the promises made have not been fulfilled. I am without copies of the documents on which the charges are based.
Mrs. Besant, as prosecutor, never fulfilled her promise nor her duty. I then believed and still believe that they never intended to give me copies nor to permit inspection but hoped to hurry me into a trial unprepared in every respect. These facts, with the fact that they allowed Mr. Old to copy everything, will throw some light on the matter and on the opinions of the parties. I shall certainly not reply until I have before me the documentary evidence or copies and know the precise offenses with which I am charged. This is common justice.
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE
The Path, March, 1895
The Vahan, March 1, 1895
A Further Communication from Mr. Judge
February 23rd, 1895
On January 25th, I sent to you as General Secretary of your Section, a general letter replying to several communications from some of your Lodges, so that you, as the proper officer, might communicate it. But instead of pursuing the impartial course as required by your office, you have taken up the position of prosecutor, attorney, and pleader against me, making a long argumentative reply, full of assertions and conclusions of your own, and signed officially, so that you might print it, as you say, with my letter, in THE VAHAN.
Your rights and duties as General Secretary do not require nor permit such action; all that you had the right to do was to promulgate my letter or refuse to do so, but you have now made your office a partisan one in this matter, using it improperly for partisan ends.
I do not intend to controvert your intemperate letter, but I ask that this be published so that some at least of your misleading statements may be corrected.
You say that “in July you (I) argued that the charges did not lie against you (me) as Vice-President, and now you argue the exact contrary.” This is an untruth as well as absurd. I have made no such contradictory statements.
You refer me to the fact that Mrs. Besant sent me a copy of what she meant to say to the Committee, and you attempt to make it appear that that very amateur attempt at a legal brief contained the testimony and the documents I require. It did not and does not. I have it. It is a special plea full of distortions, devoid of evidence, containing scraps of documents, devoid of documents referred to, and wholly incompetent. Mrs. Besant’s intentions as to what she would say, do not settle matters. And to give instances: her statement did not contain the message I sent Col. Olcott about his resignation, nor the letter relied on to sustain a charge of forgery. Furthermore, I am entitled to have the entire contents of letters used in evidence, though she sought to introduce disjointed scraps only.
You say I demanded that my letters be handed over to my possession. This I could have done but did not. Very true, I may have privately asked Col. Olcott to give me my old letters written to H.P.B., he to keep copies, as I had both moral and legal right. But it is useless for you and others to try to obscure the fact that no inspection of the documents was given me until July 19th, nearly six days after the Convention, and that no copies have been given; and you yourself heard Mrs. Besant promise in Committee the copies to me, and Mr. Burrows say, “Of course Mr. Judge should have copies.”
Lastly, the charges have been extended far beyond those got up by Mrs. Besant, and after all the publicity due to enemies, it seems untheosophical to read your words in which you say that you will take steps so that all may know what the charges are. Do you intend to circulate anew the Westminster Gazette’s book?
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE
The Vahan, April 1, 1895
“The Judge Case”
Final Refusal to Give Copies of Documents to Accused
In order to give the prosecutors every opportunity I wrote in February to Colonel Olcott, asking again for copies of the written documents in his possession forming the basis of Mrs. Besant’s charges, and reminded him of his promise at London last July to send me the copies. While doubtful as to the result, I thought that perhaps he would see the propriety and wisdom of giving me the copies. But it is now quite evident that no intention ever existed to deal fairly. He replies under date of Feb. 26th, 1895, as follows:
My Dear Judge,
. . . I don’t know where you get your law from, but hang me if I ever heard of an accused who has been furnished with a copy of the charges pending against him, expecting that the documentary proofs in the hands of the prosecuting attorney shall be given him before the issue is on for trial. . . . I have given copies to nobody; Old’s copies were taken by him before the action began and while he was the custodian [italics mine.—J.] of the documents prior to their coming into my possession. He had no right to take them or to use them How many duplicates he may have made and given out I cannot imagine. . . . H.S.O.
The law requires inspection and copies of letter if demanded by the accused; Theosophy and brotherhood would not require less than the law.
It is singular that Mr. Old was the “custodian before” Olcott got the letters, when many of them were letters to Olcott himself. This part of the letter is, of course, untrue—to call a spade by its name. He calmly admits that Old as an enemy was allowed to take copies—Olcott having handed the originals over to Old out of his despatch box—and shows he does not care really how many duplicates were made. But the accused cannot have the copies.
It may be that as Olcott is coming to London this summer “to settle the Judge case,” as he says himself, he is keeping the copies from me because of some new campaign he is aiding the virulent prosecutors to begin.
The Theosophical Society has become, in Europe and India, a detective bureau, an organization for assaults on character, for punishments, and has ceased to be a portion of the real theosophical movement.
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE
The Irish Theosophist, May 15, 1895
Ninth Annual Convention
At Bostom, April 28-29, 1895
A reception was given to the delegates on Saturday evening, the 27th, at the Headquarters, 24 Mt. Vernon street. The hall was perfectly crammed with delegates and visitors for three hours. There were music and recitations, with refreshments afterwards.
First Session of Convention
Delegates assembled at the hall at Headquarters before 10 in the morning. There were so many delegates and credentials to attend to, the meeting was not called to order until 10:25a.m. by William Q. Judge as General Secretary, who called for nomination of temporary Chairman. Dr. A. P. Buchman was elected to that office, with C. F. Wright and J. H. Fussell as Secretaries. A credential committee was appointed. The list of delegates was called, and all went smoothly until Willamette T.S. was reached when a protest was lodged against Dr. La Pierre casting its votes. This was signed by the majority of members of the Branch on the ground that the Doctor did not represent their views. The protest was afterwards upheld. Dr. J. D. Buck was elected permanent Chairman. The order of business was then carried.
Dr. A. Keightley from London was then admitted with the right to speak, as delegate from several European Lodges about six in all. A letter from the Secretary of the European Section was read, saying that Section would not send any delegate. Claude Wright read special greetings from Australian members.
Dr. Keightley then was given the platform amid immense and continuous applause. He read thirteen greetings from Sweden, Ireland, London, Helsmgborg, Southport, Bristol, Brixton, Bow, Austria, and Holland. He read a long, interesting, and witty letter from Dr. F. Hartmann, which was listened to with interest. A little dispute arose here, it being proposed to print the letter in the Proceedings. On this there were speeches, but at request of W. Q. Judge, it was ordered not to be printed.
The General Secretary’s report was then partly read by him, and allowed on file as printed. After that Mrs. A. L. Cleather, of London, was admitted to the Convention and made a few remarks. The Treasurer here read his report, which was referred to a Committee, and was approved. Two hundred dollars were then voted to Dr. A. Griffiths, Pacific Coast Lecturer, for his expenses in representing numerous Californian Branches at this Convention; and $100 were appropriated to the Pacific Coast Lecturing Fund.
At 12:30 Mr. C. A. Griscom Jr. presented from the Committee resolutions declaring the autonomy of the American Branches under the name of
“The Theosophical Society in America”
These were read, and when the resolution declaring William Q. Judge President for life the most intense excitement and enthusiasm prevailed for several minutes. There was cheering and then the whole roomfull of delegates and visitors rose en masse howling and clapping and stamping. The Chairman could not stop this. At last they quieted down and proceeded with the business of moving the resolutions. They were laid over to the afternoon session. Following are the resolutions in full:
WHEREAS, the growth of the Theosophical Movement has been phenomenal in America and in its origin, aim, and method of work is unlike any movement of modern times, and
WHEREAS, the different forms of organization through which the body known as “The Theosophical Society” has passed since the year 1878 were solely the result of growth, and not the result of votes, and were thus adopted from time to time to suit the exigencies of the moment and have been merely de facto and not de jure, and
WHEREAS, on the other hand, the confederated Branches in America were regularly organized in 1886, and
WHEREAS, we have outgrown the present form of organization of the Theosophical Society, and
WHEREAS, the duties pertaining to the general offices of the said Theosophical Society have not been essential to the real work of any Section or to the Movement as a whole, its federal and general officers residing at remote distances from each other and being necessarily unfamiliar with the exact conditions and needs of Sections other than their own, and
WHEREAS, a federation of all the Branches of the world is not essential to the real work of any Section or to the Theosophical Movement as a whole, and
WHEREAS, conditions contrary to the principle of Universal Brotherhood have arisen within the Theosophical Society which would prove fatal to the continued existence of said Movement; therefore be it
RESOLVED: First, that the American Section, consisting of Branches of the Theosophical Society in America, in convention assembled, hereby assumes and declares its entire autonomy and that it shall be called from and after this date “The Theosophical Society in America”.
Second, that the administration of its affairs shall be provided for, defined, and be under a Constitution and By-laws. which shall in any case provide tor the fol1owing:
(a) A Federation of Branches for the purpose of the formation of a nucleus of Universal Brotherhood without any distinctions whatever. this being its principle aim and and object; its subsidiary objects being the study of ancient and modern religions, sciences, and philosophies; the declaration of the importance of such study; and the investigation of the unexplained laws of nature and the psychical powers latent in man.
(b) That William Q. Judge shall be President for life, with power to nominate his succeasor; and a Vice-President, Treasurer, and Executive Committee, elected yearly.
(c) Autonomy for Branches in local affairs.
(d) A yearly Convention with equitable representation.
(e) Territorial Committees for propaganda, without power to legislate.
(f) The declaration that every member has the right to believe or disbelieve in any religious system or philosophy consistent with Universal Brotherhood and declare such belief or disbelief, without affecting his standing as a member of this Society, each being required to show that tolerance for the opinions of others which he expects for his own.
RESOLVED, that until the final adoption of a Constitution and By-laws the President is empowered to issue charters and diplomas for this Society.
RESOLVED, that the Branches in America shall retain their present charters, the President being directed to endorse them as valid under the Constitution within a period to be defined.
RESOLVED, that the books, records, lists, monies, funds, and property of every kind belonging to us as the American Section of the Theosophical Society be and hereby are turned over to and declared to belong to the Theosophical Society in America, their custodian to be William Q. Judge; but all members of the present federation not wishing to continue their membership under the new name shall on demand be entitled to their per capita share of said monies and funds.
RESOLVED, that until the said Constitution is written and adopted the affairs of the Theosophical Society in America shall be administered under the Constitution of the American Section of the Theosophical Society, where that does not conflict with the above preamble and resolutions, and wherever such conflict occurs the said Constitution is hereby repealed, but all provisions relative to the Theosophical work and propaganda shal1 stand valid.
RESOLVED, that the Theosophical Society of America hereby recognizes the long and efficient services rendered to the Theosophical Movement by Col. H. S. Olcott and that to him belongs the unique and honorary title of President-Founder of the Theosophical Society, and that, as in the case of H.P.B. as Corresponding Secretary, he can have no successor in that office.
RESOLVED, that the permanent organization of this Convention remain as, and is hereby declared to be, the permanent organization of the First Annual Convention of the Theosophical Society in America.
RESOLVED, that al1 Branches of the Theosophical Society in America that do not vote for the autonomy of this Society may ratify the action of this Convention within three months from this date and such ratification shall constitute such Branches members of said Society.
Second Session, April 28th, 3 P.M.
The members assembled early, Dr. Buck in the chair. After preliminary business the important resolutions on autonomy were then brought up for discussion. L. F. Wade, of Boston, read a historical sketch showing that the whole organization of the T.S. is a de facto one and not really the original T.S. This was taken from the records of the movement. It was received with loud applause, as was also what Mr. Griscom read next, being extracts from H.P.B.’s writings regarding William Q. Judge. Others also spoke. At 12 minutes past 4, Mr. A. Fullerton took the floor against the resolutions and spoke for half-an-hour. He was listened to with attention, and interrupted often with laughter and applause. He concluded by asserting that the proposed change was only a personal matter around Mr. Judge, and that if they would only wait a month they would have all the evidence to prove him guilty. He was followed by Dr. La Pierre who also opposed the resolutions on the same grounds. Mr. Spencer opposed Mr. Fullerton and said: “This occasion is the birth of the real Theosophical Society.” Dr. La Pierre read a protest gotten up by some people in the West only ninety in number; he also said that no matter what we did the American section would still go on and grow. Several other persons spoke; the Chair called for complete discussion, and said that all opposed should be allowed to speak fully. The voting then proceeded, the ayes and noes being called for. Ten votes were recorded against the resolutions and one hundred and ninety one in favor. At this point great enthusiasm prevailed, many delegates jumping to their feet and waving hands and handkerchiefs, some shouting and others throwing up hats.
Adjourned to 10 a. m. the 29th.
Vote on Resolutions-General Result
Affirmative votes ……………………………………….. 191
Negative ………………………………………………….. 10
Total number of votes ………………………………….. 201
Branches represented ………………………………….. 90
Branch negatives …………………………………….. 4 1-7
Affirmative Councillors …………………………………. 17
Negative Councillors …………………………………….. 2
Treasurer negative ……………………………………….. 1
Secretary affirmative …………………………………….. 1
Third (Public) Session
This was held at Horticultural Hall, on Tremont Street, at 8 p.m on Sunday. The Hall was filled to the door with a very attentive and intellectual looking audience. Dr. Buck opened the meeting and was followed by William Q. Judge, Dr. Buchmann, Dr. Keightley, Mrs. A. L. Cleather, Dr. A. Griffiths, Dr. Anderson and Claude Falls Wright.
Fourth Session, April 29th.
The Monday morning session opened at 10:15 a. m., Dr. Buck, chairman. The hall was as full as before. A large basket of flowers was on the desk for the President, presented by members, and afterward became the centre of excitement. Mrs. Keightley spoke first for the purpose of replying to some points raised by Mr. Fullerton and gave reasons for the action taken. Her views were endorsed by loud applause. Mr. A. H. Spencer then offered a proclamation which was adopted. It asserts fraternal feelings and sympathy for all members and organizations except in government, and it also asks for correspondence and cooperation. This was passed.
The New Constitution was then reported and adopted section by section, after most thorough discussion. at 11:32 a. m. By-Laws were then considered. Some discussion arose as to seal to be used. The old one was adopted and it was clearly shown that the motto so often used was not ever legally adopted. It was then decided that the official seal should not have a motto, but that members could use one as they pleased. The Chair then read cable greeting from Ireland:
“Irish T.S. sends fraternal greeting to the American Branches in Convention.”
William Q. Judge took charge of the Convention at this point, it being 12:32, amid cheers and applause. He called for nomination for VicePresident. Unanimously Dr. J. D. Buck was nominated and elected. The election was received with cheers. The following were then elected:
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE: Dr. A. P. Buchmann, Elliott B. Page, H. T. Patterson, C. A. Griscom, Jr., F. I. Blodgett, Dr. J. A. Anderson.
TREASURER: E. Aug. Neresheimer, New York.
Dr. Buchmann proposed to change the date of Convention to September, but it was not adopted. Washington T.S. sent an invitation to go there for next year which was received with thanks. Votes of thanks were then passed to the New England Branches, the Press and others.
Convention adjourned sine die at 12:50.
A photograph was then taken of the Convention by flash light, and another one, in the street, of all delegates.
Explanation by William Q. Judge of Charges about Messages
The Hall was filled again at 3:30 by delegates and members to listen to a written explanation of the charges against William Q. Judge of forging “Mahatma messages.” Mr. Judge said his health would not permit him to read the paper himself but that Dr. Keightley would do it for him, adding that the explanation had been purposely kept back until the final action of the Convention should be known. Dr. Keightley then read the paper, which occupied one hour and an half, to an audience which paid the deepest attention.
The six charges made by Mrs. Besant were given in full and answered seriatim. Mr. Judge declared various messages and memoranda to be genuine, except one. He went into the question of the real reason for Olcott’s resignation, showing that Mrs. Besant was the person most involved in the demand for that, and then, referring to the “poison interview message,” showed that charges of that sort had been circulated against Olcott in London and not by Mr. Judge, and that the message was the beginning of an attempt to clear up the matter in his mind. Other matters, not in the Besant charges, were also answered. At the conclusion of the reading there was long and loud applause, after which it was moved and carried:
“That the meeting considered the explanation perfectly satisfactory, but that, so far as those present were concerned, it was entirely unnecessary.”
Many delegates remained until late trains and attended a private meeting. This Convention was the largest and most earnest ever held here. It will stand in the history of the Theosophical movement as a most important gathering. It was marked throughout by calmness, kindness, justice and unanimity.
Report of Proceedings Ninth Annual Convention
(From the Gen’l Sec’y’s Report)
. . . It is now my duty to officially report to you what has taken place and been done in the matter of the charges made against me as Vice-President, and which you considered last April. Generally I can say that the resolutions you passed were in substance carried out. Although every member knows the fact, yet I must report that your delegate proceeded to the Committee of Inquiry at London, and the said Committee sat after the T.S. Council held a session. At that meeting of the Council it was decided that it would be a breach of the Constitution and of the neutrality of the T.S. to try the question raised, because involving the existence or non-existence of Mahatmas, and that I could not be tried by the Committee because that can only deal with the Vice-President for acts done as such. The Committee followed the decision of the President and Council. The total expense of the Committee, counting the distances travelled from India and America and the time lost, must have run up into the thousands. The whole proceeding, as well as some other matter, was printed in a pamphlet entitled by Col. Olcott himself The Neutrality of the Theosophical Society, and that has been circulated all over the Section. Statements were made at the local Convention by Mrs. Besant and by me, and a resolution to close the whole matter was passed, and these were included in the pamphlet. This was intended in good faith to stop the whole thing in the T.S., but almost the next day Mrs. Besant issued a circular to the world, sending it to all the London papers, entitled Occultism and Truth, as a direct attack on me, asserting that the doctrine of “the end justifies the means” must not be allowed to prevail in the T.S., though she did not name me. Since then she has admitted that it was intended for me. With such a spirit, and after such an immediate going back upon a solemn resolution declaring the matter closed, it was plain that the matter was not closed.
Shortly afterwards The Westminster Gazette reopened the whole matter with additional and elaborate charges of fraud and duplicity in the matter of messages from Masters, and this was immediately seized upon by prominent English members, by Mrs. Besant and B. Keightley, as a reason for reopening the disgraceful persecution of a fellow-member. Since then the attacks have been incessant, and the end and purport of them all was to secure a vacancy in the Vice-Presidency. Mrs. Besant and B. Keightley attended Indian meetings and, proposing and seconding, had carried a set of resolutions reiterating charges and requesting the President to demand my resignation as Vice-President. In passing I may say that a so-called Anniversary meeting, which is unknown to the Constitution and without power of any sort, was held at the same time at Adyar and passed the same sort of resolutions. It was an illegal action. It is necessary to refer to this because in public reports prominence has been given to this Anniversary—meeting resolution, and a report asserted that one E. M. Sasseville was a delegate from this Section. No delegate or representative was sent to the meeting, and all such claims are false. They have been apparently made to try and cause it to appear that a supposed American delegate did not speak well of the Vice-President. I think it is prejudicial, not to say unconstitutional, to allow our members in all parts to suppose that these voluntary meetings at Adyar are legal. There has been too much ignoring of the Constitution. It is for this Section to consider these points. The July decisions showed that the great Committee—our largest—should never have been called together at all. Attention to the Constitution would have resulted in an immediate decision by the President that no Committee could be called, but that the accused should be tried before his Branch.
And, again, I beg to point out to you that the Constitution recognizes no such office as Federal Correspondent, and gives no power to the President to create any office. The President has promulgated (July or August last) an order creating the office of “Federal Correspondent,” and has appointed thereto Mrs. I. Cooper-Oakley, and has printed the name of office and officer among the list of T.S. officials. This is absolutely illegal. I will frankly say that I am personally exceedingly fatigued with these constant breaches—for I consider it a breach to have allowed the Judicial Committee to be called at all—and some sort of end must be put to this kind of thing one way or another.
Some European Lodges passed resolutions asking me to resign until full explanation and clearance were made. This, it seems, is a sort of English custom, but it certainly is not American. To these and the President I have replied, refusing to resign the Vice-Presidency. And to the newspaper attack I have made a provisional and partial reply, as much as such a lying and sensational paper deserved. In my official answer to the letter of the General Secretary of the European Section conveying to me such expressions as had reached his office, I drew attention to the fact that I could not reply properly without documents or copies of them, as all the charges are based on documents: that I did not have such copies; and that Mrs. Besant and Col. Olcott had kept from me both inspection and copies of the documents during the whole time I was in London, until July 19th, when they allowed a hasty glance—about thirteen days after the Inquiry had closed. I made a hasty copy of a few short documents, but long letters to H.P.B., to Damodar, and to Col. Olcott—all included in the matter—I could not copy. And aside from that, I am entitled to certified copies. Again, several items of charges are made, the documents regarding which I have never seen. Before the Inquiry, at it, and after, I demanded copies. Mrs. Besant promised and failed; when she had delivered back the papers to Col. Olcott she could give none. Col. Olcott promised to furnish them. I demanded them as long ago as when the charges were first sent to me from India. Up to this writing I am not in possession of these needful copies. If they are furnished me before the sitting of this Convention I shall be able to make an explanation. Otherwise I cannot say whether or not such could be made save of same of the cases, thus leaving the matter incomplete; and this would be unsatisfactory. But I have an explanation, and I renew my declaration of innocence of the offenses charged. As I have said in Landon and since, the messages I delivered, privately, are genuine messages from the Master, procured through me as the channel, and that the basis of the attack an me is unbelief in my being a channel. The abject in view in beginning the proceedings was, as is proved by the prosecutor’s own letters, to procure my resignation of the office of Vice-President and the supposed (but non-existent) office of Successor to the Presidency. . . .
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE
Convention Reports of
The Theosophical Society
April 28-29, 1895
Farewell Remarks of Mr. Judge on the Vice-Presidency
(Copy of a letter from Mr. Judge to Col. Olcott)
Last June and July I laid before you the point that I was never elected Vice-President of the “Theosophical Society,” consequently that office was then known to you to be vacant. The decision then arrived at by you, Mr. Bertram Keightley, and Mr. George R.S. Mead that I was Vice-President was invalid, of no effect, and quite contrary to the fact. The original notification to the public that my name was attached to the office was merely a notice of your selection, without the authority of the Society you are the President-Founder of, and without any election by a competent, regular and representative convention of that Society. I also informed you in July that no notice was ever given to me of the said invalid selection.
A long and bitter fight has been waged by Mrs. Annie Besant and others, one of the objects of which is to compel me to resign the said office which I do not hold. I have refused to accede to their requests, and would refuse even did I hold that I was legally the Vice-President.
But as I have worked a long time with you in the cause of Theosophy, and am with you one of those who helped H.P.B. to start the American movement in 1875, as I would aid you in all proper ways, and since I hear that you are to be in London this summer to “settle the Judge case,” as you have proclaimed, I now beg to again point out to you that I do not hold and never have held the office of Vice-President of any Theosophical Society of which I am a member, and that you can consider this as my declaration that I cannot and will not oppose you filling the said so-called office in any way you may see fit, either arbitrarily or other wise.
While on this point I would say to you, that my signing my name hitherto as “Vice-President” was in ignorance of the important facts since ascertained, showing conclusively the de facto character of the act. Should you ask why then I raised the objection so long ago as July, I reply that the Master whom you think I do not hear from directed me to do so, and at that time I found only the fact of non-election in support of it.
(Signed) William Q. Judge
The Vahan, June 1, 1895
The Irish Theosophist, June 15, 1895
Letter To European Convention
Following is a copy of a letter from the Executive Committee to be read at the following European Convention on July 4th:
From the Theosophical Society in America to the European Theosophists, in Convention Assembled as, “The European Section of the Theosophical Society.”
BROTHERS and SISTERS:—We send you our fraternal greeting, and fullest sympathy in all works sincerely sought to be performed for the good of Humanity. Separated though we are from you by very great distance we are none the less certain that you and we, as well as all other congregations of people who love Brotherhood, are parts of that great whole denominated The Theosophical Movement, which began far back in the night of Time and has since been moving through many and various peoples, places and environments. that grand work does not depend upon forms, ceremonies, particular persons or set organizations,—”Its unity throughout the world does not consist in the existence and action of any single organization, but depends upon the similarity of work and aspiration of those in the world who are working for it.” Hence organizations of the theosophists must vary and change in accordance with place, time, exigency and people. To hold that in and by a sole organization for the whole world is the only way to work would be boyish in conception and not in accord with experience or nature’s law.
Recognizing the foregoing, we, who were once the body called the America Section of the T.S., resolved to make our organization, or merely outer form for government and administration, entirely free and independent of all others; but retained our theosophical ideals, aspirations, aims and objects, continuing to be a part of the theosophical movement. This change was an inevitable one, and perhaps will ere long be made also by you as well as by others. It has been and will be forced, as it were, by nature itself under the sway of the irresistible law of human development and progress.
But while the change would have been made before many years by us as an inevitable and logical development, we have to admit that it was hastened by reason of what we considered to be strife, bitterness and anger existing in other Sections of the theosophical world which were preventing us from doing our best work in the field assigned to us by Karma. In order to more quickly free ourself from these obstructions we made the change in this, instead of in some later year. It is, then, a mere matter of government and has nothing to do with theosophical propaganda or ethics, except that it will enable us to do more and better work.
Therefore we come to you as fellow-students and workers in the field of theosophical effort, and holding out the hand of fellowship we again declare the complete unity of all theosophical workers in every part of the world. This you surely cannot and will not reject from heated, rashly-conceived counsels, or from personalities indulged in by anyone, or from any cause whatever. To reject the proffer would mean that you reject and nullify the principle of Universal Brotherhood upon which alone all true theosophical work is based. And we could not indulge in those reflections nor put forward that reason but for the knowledge that certain persons of weight and prominence in your ranks have given utterance hastily to expressions of pleasure that our change of government above referred to has freed them from nearly every one of the thousands of earnest, studious and enthusiastic workers in our American group of Theosophical Societies. This injudicious and untheosophical attitude we cannot attribute to the whole or to any majority of your workers.
Let us then press forward together in the great work of the real Theosophical Movement which is aided by working organizations, but is above them all. Together we can devise more and better ways for spreading the light of truth through all the earth. Mutually assisting and encouraging one another we may learn how to put Theosophy into practice so as to be able to teach and enforce it by example to others. We will then each and all be members of that Universal Lodge of Free and Independent Theosophists which embraces every friend of the human race. And to all this we beg your corporate official answer for our more definite and certain information, and to the end that this and your favorable reply may remain as evidence and monuments between us.
(signed) WILLIAM Q. JUDGE
ELLIOT B. PAGE
C.A. GRISCOM, Jr.
JEROME A. ANDERSON
FRANK I. BLODGETT
Members of the Executive Committee
Path, July, 1895
The Theosophical Society in Europe
In last month’s issue we published a copy of the kindly and courteous letter of greeting from the Executive Committee of the Theosophical Society in America to the European Theosophists assembling in Convention on July 4th. We have now to inform our readers that by a majority vote of the delegates and proxies at that convention this letter was laid on the table, after a speech by Mrs. Annie Besant in which she declared it a personal attack on herself and an insult to those upholding her. While strongly deprecating such a unfortunate action, and lamenting deeply that in the name of “Theosophy” any gathering of persons should ever have permitted personality and suspicion thus to override justice and judgement, nevertheless, to all upholders of high theosophic principles, it must be a source of reassurance that the inspiration of the unseen powers behind the Movement has not been entirely clouded in some quarters, when we add that fully half the hall arose and protested against the purblind and fanatical attitude that had brought about the repudiation of a document intended to draw harmoniously together for the greater advancement of our cause all workers in the Movement. Step by step have those who sacrifice the highest theosophical principles to personal attacks on their fellow students, descended the scale or discernment; hour by hour their position has been made more fatally clear; and now finally, in an unguarded moment, they stand self-confessed, their attitude made plain that all who have eyes to see can perceive the unveiled truth. Further comment is out of place; we would fain have made workers of all, have united all in the work, and made this great Movement an undivided Power—differing for different places in external organization, yet one and undivided in Spirit. But some have temporarily placed themselves outside its pale; though members of the “Theosophical Society,” by this very vote they account themselves non-Theosophists.
The Path, August, 1895