MR. “JOSEPH WALLACE”
—No names—but one having been mentioned in the article “Western ‘Adepts’ and Eastern Theosophists”; and positively not one word of an insulting character directly relating to the “hierophant” or the “Lady Magnetist” having found room in it, or the writer’s thought—unless, indeed, to question the fitness of blending the study of divine mysteries, with a whiskey-distilling apparatus, and advertisements of a commercial character, becomes synonymous with defaming characters—we do not know that we ought to apologize to Mr. Wallace at all. Least of all to the extent of inflicting upon our subscribers and members nearly 3000 words or four columns of prose of an unexceptionably unrefined character, peppered, in addition to it, with glaring misconceptions and most ridiculously incorrect statements. That sentence alone in his letter which openly taxes us with being:
Glad indeed to exchange the commercial standing of your (our) Journal which does not even inculcate teetotalism for that of my still
—would be sufficient to call forth protests and indignant answers from a number of our members. Our correspondent, though a “hierophant” himself—one who develops seership and initiates others into the mysteries of spiritual clairvoyance—has failed, we see, to discover that the Founders of the Theosophical Society are strict and uncompromising teetotalers; and that, with the exception of a few Englishmen, all of its members are pledged to total abstinence from anything like wine or even beer, let alone liquor; and that they are most of them, strict vegetarians. We regret to find him committing such a serious blunder.
Another just as amusing a mistake, considering it comes to us from that part of London which professes itself, and pretends to be regarded as the very hot bed of clairvoyance, mysticism, intuitional perception and “Soul” and “Christ-States”—whatever the latter may mean—and which, nevertheless, shows clearly its professors failing to comprehend correctly the meaning of even that which any profane mortal would see, is discovered in the following passage of our correspondent’s letter:
. . . “J. K.” whom you charge in the Spiritualist—under the idea that he belonged to your own secret Fraternity [?!]—with being a traitor to his Theosophical Oath in writing so openly that which you till then considered was sacred and known only to the Theosophic sworn members [! ! !], was not accused then of knowing little on occult matters, but rather as knowing too much. There was evidence then of “Homeric laughter”; but now he is credited by you as knowing the A. B. C. of the subject, etc. etc.
Truly—rem acu tetigisti! Every word in the above is a misconceived and disfigured notion. We never, for one moment—since the appearance of “J. K.’s” first article, “An Adept on the Occult Brothers,” in the Spiritualist (June 24), and directed against our Society—mistook him for a member of our “secret Fraternity”; nor could we so mistake him, as the same mail that brought that article brought us letters from several Theosophists informing us what and who he was—that very “pretentious writer.” Let any man with a sufficiently clear head, on a forenoon, turning to our only letter in the Spiritualist in 1881 (namely, that of August 12), read the lines, which have now led Mr. Wallace into such a funny blunder, and then judge whether there is one word in it which could lead to such a supposition. Not only has “J. K.” ever failed to show to us any sign of “knowing too much” on Occult matters (with which we are concerned) but he has constantly proved to the whole of our Society that he knew nothing whatever of either its objects and aims, its organization or its studies. And it is precisely such an assurance on our part, that made us reply in answer to his ignorant assertion that “the very first psychical and physical principles of true Theosophy
and Occult science are quite unknown to and unpracticed by its members,” the following:
“How does he know? Did the Theosophists take him into their confidence? And if he knows something of the British Theosophical Society (does this imply that he belongs to their Society?) what can he know of those in India? If he belongs to any of them, then does he play false to the whole body and is a traitor? And if he does not, what has he to say of its practitioners, since they (the Branch Societies) are secret bodies?”*
And it would be sufficient, we should say, to glance at the reasons given by us further on, in the same article, for our rejecting him absolutely as an initiated “adept,” to prevent anyone, let alone a “Hierophant,” from being led into such an absurd mistake. As to there being “no evidence then of Homeric laughter” at J. K.’s letters, Mr. Wallace errs very sorely again. From the first to the last, those articles provoked the greatest merriment among the Anglo-Indians. No one could read them—especially the one entitled “Information for Theosophists, from an adept” in which he so naïvely boasts of his “high calibre” as a “literary” man and mixes up in such an absurdly ridiculous way the Arya Samaj and the Theosophical Society (another proof of his clairvoyant powers)—without being seized with a fit of inextinguishable laughter. So much so, indeed, that during “the ‘J. K.’ period in the Spiritualist,” (as somebody called it) a gentleman of Simla, of high official standing, and of as high and universally recognized ability, offered to bet that those letters of “J. K.’s” would turn out some day a mere “hoax,” a purposely put-up humoristic joke, to find out whether any Theosophist would be fool enough to accept them seriously; for, he added, “it is absolutely incredible that any man in his right senses should so boast, or write about himself such absurdly panegyrical and bombastic eulogies.”
The third mistake—and a very serious one—in Mr. Wallace’s letter, is what he pleases to view as “an unfounded and unwarranted insinuation.” The “insinuation” is alleged to be contained in the following sentence in our article
* [See p. 265 in Volume III of the present series.—Compiler.]
“Western ‘Adepts’ and Eastern Theosophists” (November Theosophist) — “A gifted lady magnetist’s work — the legitimate wife, we are told, of his (J. K.’s) Hierophant-Initiator, though we never heard yet of a practising Hierophant-Magician who was married, etc.” This is all that we have “dared to pen.” Were we wrongly informed, or is it a crime to mention legitimate wives? Who, but a man capable of discovering filth where there is positively none, would ever imagine that anything but that which was clearly stated, was meant? To hint at any other implication or the least intention on our part to throw doubt on the legality of the said marriage, is to utter an outrageous lie. We doubted, and now doubt, and will doubt forever, and not only doubt, but positively deny, that one married and the father of a family, can ever be a practical adept, least of all a “Hierophant,” all the Flammels and Böhmes and Co., notwithstanding. Mr. Wallace believes in, practices to a certain point, and teaches Western occultism. We believe in, practice also to a certain point, and learn, never having pretended to “teach” Eastern Occultism. Our paths diverge widely and we need not be elbowing each other on our way to the ABSOLUTE. Let Western Adepts and Hierophants leave us strictly alone, and not pretend to speak of, and insult what they do not know, and we will never pronounce their names whether orally or in print.
Therefore, we refuse room to Mr. Wallace’s letter likewise. Although far more decent than that of his pupil, it is yet sufficiently rude to authorize us to refuse it space. The said gentleman is at liberty to publish his denunciations in a pamphlet form or otherwise and give them as wide a circulation as he thinks proper; or, better still, he might incorporate it within the forthcoming grand work by the modern “Adept” to be called A History of Mystic Philosophy, a book—as he modestly tells us—which is sure “to stand the criticism of ages.” As the author thereof is sure to use in it the same refined phraseology as we find in his language whenever directed against “Spiritual Snobbery,” and the “talking Theosophists,” Mr. Wallace’s article will find itself in good company. The more so, as
we are threateningly promised in it by “J. K.” a chapter “specially provided” for our “non-total oblivion,” and that of our “unwashed Isis in rags.”
We part with Mr. Wallace, without the slightest ill-feeling on our part as he has evidently misconceived the situation from first to last. We only regret to find a gentleman apparently so full of sterling learning and knowledge so evidently destitute of good education and manners, as to have actually written the letter under review.
To MISS CHANDOS LEIGH HUNT (Mrs. Wallace)”.—We beg to convey our respectful regards to this lady and to acknowledge receipt of a voluminous paper from her pen, purporting to be a reply to “those sentences, which refer to her, contained in the article entitled ‘Western “Adepts” and Eastern Theosophists’.” We have read the reply with pleasure and found it as dignified, ladylike, good-natured and witty, as the three above noticed, are undignified, and vindictive, and in one case—indecent and silly. Therefore, and notwithstanding the rather misconceived attitude adopted by Mrs. Wallace, considering we have not named her in our article, and referred but to what was—in our mind and to the majority of our readers—a pure abstraction—we are ready, now that we do know her, to offer her our sincere apology and to express regret at having included in it “those sentences which refer to her” since they seem to have given her offense though none at all was meant to be offered by the writer, to either Miss Chandos Leigh Hunt, or Mrs. Wallace. We regret the more to find her unacquainted with the Mahayana philosophy. For, were she but as familiar with it as she seems to be with Epictetus—“after whom she has named her boy”—and had she made of the former as well as of the latter her “textbook,” owing to the lucid exposition in that philosophy, of the close connection which exists between every cause and
effect, she might apprehend our meaning at once. As such is not the case though—(unless indeed the omniscient “J.K.” rushes into explaining and teaching the public this philosophy as well as he does esoteric Buddhism)—we will add a few words more just to explain to Mrs. Wallace why we do not give room to her reply.
Maintaining still, as we do, our undeniable right to have published our November article as an elucidation of the unprovoked and incessant attacks of her husband’s pupil upon us—though the said article may have contained unnecessary personalities provoked by indignation—we would yet be glad, in atonement for the latter, to publish her paper in extenso. It was already in the hands of the printer, when in addition to her husband’s and his “EPOPT’S” letters we received four more papers as lengthy and as explicit as her own. It would appear as if the tornado of indignation raised by our article was happily limited to—with one solitary exception, namely, Mr. Barnes Austin—and raged entirely within the family circle of the persons alluded to in our article. As if in answer to the threats and denunciations contained in Mr. Wallace’s and his pupil’s letters, both of whom expatiate in them upon the “various scandalous stories”—slanders and malicious inventions set afloat about us by numerous known and unknown enemies (whose utterances our correspondents show themselves but too ready to accept as gospel truths), we have before us no less than four lengthy papers from London approving our article, and full of quite the reverse of what one might be inclined to view as complimentary to either the “Hierophant,” or the “Adept.” Apparently there is a latet anguis in herba for every hapless occultist, not for the Theosophists alone. A far less charitable view is taken of, and worse slanders repeated in them about the above-named persons than were ever invented for the personal and special annihilation of our humble self. Hence, in justice to ourselves, were we to publish Mr. and Mrs. Wallace’s articles, we would have to publish side by side those of their detractors; and this is what we would never do. Whatever the indecent means other people may resort to, we at least, will never use such
base weapons—not even against our enemies. We may become guilty—we are not perfect—of a desire to wound them in their vanity, never in their honour; and, while freely using ridicule as our weapon to silence them, whenever they seek to destroy us with their insults and denunciations, we would blush to repeat even to a friend—let alone to threaten to publish them in a book or a journal—that which, so long as it is not positively proved to be the truth and nothing but the truth, we regard as a shameful and scandalous gossip, the venomous spittle of the “snake hidden in the grass . . .”
Thus reiterating our expressions of regret personally to Miss Chandos Leigh Hunt (Mrs. Wallace) of whom we have never heard the slightest evil report from any trustworthy quarters, but the reverse from our two friends, we close the subject altogether. We mean no more to allow our columns to be disgraced with such polemics. Our esteemed contemporary, the Psychological Review, recently protested against our prolonging the “castigation,” as “there is more serious work to be done.” We concur; and were but the insignificant individuals “J. K.” and Madame Blavatsky alone concerned, it would be an impertinence to keep them at the front. But as the defense of our Society, which represents—however imperfectly—India, or rather the Orient, was and is a “serious work”; and as silence is often mistaken for weakness—we had to find room for the above “Answers to our Correspondents.” They need trouble themselves no more: we have settled our accounts.