[Lucifer, Vol. V, No. 30, February, 1890, pp. 517-518]
In the Supplement to The Theosophist of January, 1890 (p. lxxv) its subscribers will read with amusement, and Theosophists, with pain and disgust, a personal—very untheosophical and undignified—attack made by one officer of the T.S. on another officer of the same. It is headed “Muddled Rule-Makers,” and its editorial (?) remarks are directed against a good Theosophist and a personal friend, who has all our gratitude and esteem for the unselfish work done by him for the good of the cause. His crime in the sight of the acting editor consists, it appears, in his having failed to express himself in the “Constitution and Bylaws” of the “Blavatsky Branch” of the Theosophical Society at Washington (U.S.A.) according to the personal hobby of the writer at Adyar.
Now, if the terms used by our Washington Brother, such as “International Theosophical Society,” “Chief President” and “Chief Corresponding Secretary” are not absolutely correct and official, then, and at any rate—
(1) It is no business of the “acting” editor of The Theosophist to take a President and officers of a Branch Society to task for it—least of all in a public magazine. The President-Founder would alone have such a right; and when (or if) using it, he would certainly have the requisite tact and delicacy not to snub a respected member and a good Brother Theosophist—publicly.
(2) Such harsh expressions as “foolishness” and “tomfoolery” and “absurdities” when used in our chief theosophical magazine and coming from the Headquarters of the T.S.—especially if applied to a Brother-Member—are not only objectionable on account of their offensive character, but detrimental and dangerous to the T.S. They lower the magazine to the level of a scurrilous Methodist Weekly and give the right to our opponents to add to the scoffing
epithets of “Mutual Admiration Society” given to our Body, that of “Mutual Detraction and Vilification Brotherhood.” On lave son linge sale en famille—is a wise advice.
Such sentences as—“We ask . . . . . the meaning of this ‘tomfoolery,’ “ and “We call upon Mr. W. Q. Judge” . . . . . etc., may sound very grandiloquent, but the real point is, has any “We,” apart from the President, the right to “ask,” or “call upon” any officer of the T.S. publicly and in such a tone? I, for one, and in the name of the Theosophists of the British Section of the T.S. protest against and deny the “We” any such privilege.
Since the offensive remarks have been made in one theosophical periodical, I feel it my bounden duty to protest against them as publicly in another theosophical magazine. It is, I say, my bounden (and very painful) duty, and for the following reasons:
a) I am the founder and was the editor of The Theosophist for several years—Colonel Olcott having consented to act in my place only pro tem.
(b) Together with my beloved colleague and co-worker, H. S. Olcott, we are to this day the sole proprietors of that magazine, and therefore must feel responsible for all that appears in it.
(c) I have a voice and many other rights in the management of the T.S. and its magazine, which even its present irrepressible acting editor would hardly take upon himself to question or deny.
In view of this, and the foregoing, I feel it my first duty to offer public apologies and sincere regrets to our esteemed Brother, the President of the Washington “Blavatsky Theosophical Society”—for this unjust and unbrotherly attack upon himself, in which apologies Col. H. S. Olcott would be certain to join were he still in London.
Personally, moreover, I ask him to overlook the rude criticism of the acting editor of our Journal, as the extremely debilitating climate of India, with its Madras heat and scorching sun may, very likely, have had something to do with it, thus entitling the writer to our pity.
Fortunately the President will, by this time, have reached Adyar, and he will, I am sure, put an end at once to these mischievous and undignified attacks on Brother-Theosophists by his acting editor.
Brighton (England), Feb. 1890.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.