Will you permit me to correct the statement of Mr. J. R. Perry in your issue of the 3rd that Madame Blavatsky appointed as her “successor” Mr. Henry R. Foulke, and “guaranteed” to him the “allegiance” of the “higher spiritual intelligences and forces”? As one of Madame Blavatsky’s oldest and most intimate friends, connected with her most closely in the foundation and work of the Theosophical Society, and familiar with her teachings, purposes, ideas, forecasts, I am in a position to assure both Mr. Perry and the public that there is not an atom of foundation for the statement quoted.
Madame Blavatsky has no “successor,” could have none, never contemplated, selected, or notified one. Her work and her status were unique. Whether or not her genuineness as a spiritual teacher be admitted matters not: she believed it to be so, and all who enjoyed her confidence will unite with me in the assertion that she never even hinted at “succession,” “allegiance,” or “guarantee.” Even if a successor was possible, Mr. Foulke could not be he. He is not a member of the Theosophical Society, does not accept its and her teachings, had a very slight and brief acquaintance with her, and pretends to no interest in her views, life, or mission. Of her actual estimate of him I have ample knowledge.
But anyhow, no “guaranteeing of allegiance of spiritual forces” is practicable by anyone. Knowledge of and control over the higher potencies in Nature comes only by individual attainment through long discipline and conquest. It can no more be transferred than can a knowledge of Greek, of chemistry, psychology, or of medicine. If a person moves on a lofty level, it is because he worked his way there. This is as true in spiritual things as in mental. When Mr. Foulke produces a work like Isis Unveiled or The Secret Doctrine, he may be cited as H. P. B.’s intellectual peer; when he imparts such impulsion as does The Voice of the Silence, he may be recognized as her spiritual equal; when he adds to these an utter consecration to the work of the T. S. as his life-long mission, he may participate in such “succession” as the case admits. But it will not be through alleged precipitated pictures and imagined astral shapes. The effect of these on Theosophy, whereof Mr. Perry inquires, may be stated in one word—nothing.
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE
Gen. Sec’y. American Sec.
Will you allow a word—my last—respecting the Foulke claim to succeed Mme. Blavatsky, as I see Mr. Perry is perhaps laboring under a misapprehension as to the position assumed by me about this ludicrous affair.
First. If Mr. Foulke or Mr. Perry, or either, has precipitated pictures of Mme. Blavatsky produced since her demise, they are welcome to them, and, it being no concern of ours, Theosophists will hardly deny the assertions of these gentlemen in that regard. Precipitations are not uncommon, but are no evidence of anything whatever save the power to precipitate and the fact of precipitation. Spiritualists have always asserted that their mediums could procure these things. Chemists also can precipitate substances out of the air. So this point is wide of the Society and its work.
Second. As I said in my previous letter, when Mr. Foulke, or any one, indeed, proves by his work and attainments that he is as great as Mme. Blavatsky, every one will at once recognize that fact. But irresponsible mediumship, or what we call astral intoxication, will not prove those attainments nor constitute that work.
Third. Mme. Blavatsky was Corresponding Secretary of the Theosophical Society, and its Constitution years ago provided that that office, out of compliment to her, should become extinct upon her death. She has passed away from this sphere, and hence the office of Corresponding Secretary is extinct. The Society will hardly hurry to revive it for the sake of one who is not a member of the body and who has never thrown any particular glory upon it. Scarcely either because he is a medium—and not even a good one—who prates of receiving messages from beyond the grave assumed to be from Mme. Blavatsky. He may assert that he has baskets full of letters from Mme. Blavatsky written before her death, and we are not interested either to deny the assertion or to desire to see the documents.
Fourth. The Theosophical Society is a body governed by Rules embodied in its Constitution. Its officers are elected by votes, and not by the production of precipitated letters or pictures of any sort. It generally elects those who do its work, and not outsiders who masquerade as recipients of directions from the abode of departed souls. It is not likely to request proposed officers to produce documents, whether in ink, in oils, or in pastel, brought forth at mediumistic seances before the wondering eyes of untrained witnesses. And as it now has Branches in every country on this earth, Mr. Foulke, an ex-member wholly untrained in its executive work and out of sympathy with its true mission, will evince more effrontery than he ever has before if he shall present himself for the suffrages of the members of a Society in which he is not even enrolled.
Fifth. Mr. Foulke’s possession of any number of letters written to him by Mme. Blavatsky prior to her demise, offering him “leadership” or “succession,” might please and interest himself, but can have no other effect on the corporate body of the Society. Let him preserve them or otherwise as he may see fit; they are utterly without bearing or even authority, and if in existence would only serve to show that she in her lifetime may have given him a chance to do earnest sincere work for a Society she had at heart, and that he neglected the opportunity, passing his time in idle, fantastic day-dreams.
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE
Gen. Sec’y. American Sec.
[Note: these two letters were published in full in Lucifer Magazine, as the NY Times did not give space to them, but included only a short notice thus: “William Q. Judge, Secretary of the Theosophical Society, writes a denial of the statement made by J. R. Perry in a Philadelphia dispatch published in The Times yesterday that Mme. Blavatsky appointed Henry B. Foulke as her successor.” (NY Times, Feb 5, 1892)]