[Lucifer, Vol. IV, No. 22, June, 1889, pp. 326-328]
“Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot
That it do singe yourself.”
—SHAKESPEARE [Henry VIII, Act I. Sc. i, 140-41].
“He who tells a lie, is not sensible how great a task he undertakes, for he must be forced to invent twenty more to maintain that one.”
Grotesque contrasts and paradoxes are the very pith of our age. We might, therefore, permitting ourselves for once to follow suit, publish under the above title certain very untheosophical activities. But we prefer to leave the pages of our Lucifer untainted with the recital of untheosophical backbiting, malicious calumnies and attempts to ruin our character. Those who would learn our answer (and that of trustworthy witnesses) to the slanders that find such a ready hospitality in a spiritual organ of America, are invited to turn to Light of June 1st, and June 8th, 1889.
All attacks would have been ignored and never mentioned could they, without danger to the Theosophical Society, but be relegated by us to that common pit of oblivion, in which crawl and hiss, struggling to come to light, all the venomous monsters bred by calumny, envy, hatred and revenge—most of them the progeny, alas, of those who, once upon a time, took pride in calling themselves, Theosophists (!!).
The old truism, that they whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad, is once more vindicated. Calumnies are effective only on the condition that they should not be so
*[From Miscellanies in Prose and Verse, London, 1727, Vol. II, p. 345.—Compiler.]
readily refuted. It is easy enough to bear false witness against one who is unable to establish an undeniable alibi. It is as easy, for a traducer to charge a person with having said or done that or the other, at a date when the accused and the accuser were both in the same country, if not in the same town. The credibility and likelihood of such accusations become, however, rather shaky if the accused party can furnish precise dates—awkward things to deal with—corroborated by numbers of persons to the effect that at the date mentioned he was 10,000 miles away, and did not even hold any correspondence with the accusing party. “One lie must be thatched with another, or truth will soon rain through,” says a proverb.
The London Light, always fair to all, was forced to publish—or rather to republish from the Chicago Religio-Philosophical Journal—a very strange letter. We may even say two letters in one, as the reader will see for himself. We call it “strange” because it is so transparent in its animus, so very imprudent and so easily refuted that both the writers—intellectual, and hoary with life-experience as they really are—seem to give themselves entirely away for a mere song, for the pleasure, one would almost say, of inflicting an ugly scratch, whether it reaches the person aimed at, or simply produces a commotion among the innocent and the credulous ones who believe all they read. So evident are the motives of this joint production—spite and revenge—that, were we certain that no true theosophist would be thereby affected, we would have never gone out of our way to refute the silly invention. It seems almost undignified to even notice it, but truth had to be shown at all costs.
We wonder, when our Theosophists and public will have read, in Light of June 8th, our several answers, what will remain of Dr. Coues’ denunciation of one who had never at any time been anything else than a true friend and defender of his? The “hoax” with which Dr. Coues charges Mme. B. in his letter thus returns home, part and parcel, to roost with the learned President of the Gnostic T.S. of Washington. May it do him good!
An American paper makes a great fuss over the reception made to Dr. Coues in New York by various people,
theosophists and others, who in the words of one of the daily papers, “united to honour him [Dr. Coues] as a theosophist and a scientist.”
As a Scientist, the Society and the public cannot honour the Smithsonian Professor too much; but as a THEOSOPHIST—Heaven save the mark!! Dr. Coues is a very eminent, world-known naturalist and ornithologist. But why should he, for all that, behave with his brother theosophists as if the latter were no better than geese, and try to stuff them as he does? There is a line of demarcation that has to be drawn somewhere.
And now we have a few more words to say to a Weekly in America. For years the R.-P. Journal assumed the monopoly of denouncing and attacking us in almost every issue, and for years we have ignored it and kept silent. But for once, a month or so ago, we raised a mild protest in Lucifer, simply remarking that our contemporary of Chicago repeated “unverified cackle.” At this the R.-P. J., feeling very indignant, replies: “The JOURNAL does not repeat ‘unverified cackle,’ and unlike the Tartarian termagant has ‘discretion’ enough not to juggle.”
Don’t you “repeat unverified cackle” dear old Journal? And what do you call the lying Billingsgate of W. Emmette Coleman, and above all your “Coues-Collins” letter, reprinted in Light, and answered in its number of June the 8th of last week? Or perhaps, you think the name “cackle” too mild and would like to replace it with the term “malicious slander”? So be it. As to your having “discretion enough not to juggle,” no one has ever thought of accusing you of it. But you have constantly charged the same upon the “Tartarian termagant,” and this without the slightest shadow of real proof. This is neither “religious” nor “philosophical.”
Esoteric Buddhism is decidedly on the brain of our journalists. This is what we read in the Times of the 8th instant Take out the qualification, and you will have some truth in this:—
ESOTERIC BUDDHISM IN JAPAN.—Colonel Olcott, whose connection with “Esoteric Buddhism” is well known, is at present making a tour in Japan. He has been well received by the Buddhist priesthood, and is delivering lectures all over the country, advising the people to maintain
the principles of the Buddhist faith and not to change for western doctrines of any kind. At a lecture in Tokyo on the necessity of a religious basis for education, he began by comparing the free and upright bearing of the Japanese with that of the natives of India, who seemed to have lost the sentiment of nationality. Living in an atmosphere of disregard, if not contempt, for their old traditions and customs, taught to value only foreign systems and philosophies, the Indian spirit of patriotism and independence had been numbed. Their men had become submissive and cringing. But the Japanese bore themselves as free men, and in congratulating them heartily upon it, Colonel Olcott called upon them not to prostrate themselves at the shrine of foreign civilization. He added that the Theosophical Society had done much in India and Ceylon to direct men’s attention to the faith of their forefathers and to the past of their country, and he warned his hearers not to judge Western civilization by its superficial aspects, for beneath these lay enormous misery and distress.
Colonel H. S. Olcott is decidedly a Buddhist of the Southern school, and a very convinced and earnest one; but why should the Times make of him a follower of Mr. Sinnett’s Esoteric Buddhism instead of Gautama the Buddha’s Dharma? This is a trifle, however, and the above extract does give some faint idea of the really great work which our President has been doing in Japan. Of course a Times writer cannot be expected to fully understand what Col. Olcott’s real mission has been, and he forgets entirely to mention that the main idea was to weld together the Buddhists of India and Japan by showing them that the true fundamental character underlying all the Buddhist religious schools is the same, and by making Theosophy the connecting link. In a letter just received from Col. Olcott he says that he has delivered 49 lectures, and expects before he leaves to give a dozen more—that his travels have extended over 900 miles of territory, and that his addresses have caused a deep and permanent excitement. The students of the Tokyo Imperial University Higher Schools of the Metropolis have formed a Young Men’s Buddhist Association à la the Y.M.C. Associations of the West. Several magazines have sprung up, and to his horror, one is called Olcotti!
Our President will probably reach England in August, and during September and October he hopes to take a lecturing tour in England and Ireland. The arrangements for this will soon be commenced, and much assistance can be
given by Theosophists in various parts of the country, who will kindly send information to Herbert Coryn, Secretary of Theosophical Lecturing Society, 7, Duke Street, Adelphi, London, W. C., as to the opportunities of obtaining halls (with terms, etc.) in towns where audiences are likely to take interest in the subject of Theosophy.