TO THEOSOPHISTS AND MEN OF HONOUR
[The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A.. P. Sinnett, pp. 136-139]
[In his Incidents in the Life of Madame Blavatsky (London: George Redway, 1886), A. P. Sinnett, writing on the subject of H.P.B.’s reaction to Richard Hodgson’s slanderous Report, says (p. 304): “The letters, memoranda, and protests on which she wasted her energies during this memorable fortnight were few, if any, of a kind that would have helped a cold and unsympathetic public to understand the truth of things, and it is not worth while to resuscitate them here. I induced her to tone down one protest into a presentable shape for insertion in a pamphlet I issued in the latter part of January (1886), and for the rest, few but her most intimate friends would correctly appreciate their fire and fury. . . .”
Evidently, the statement reproduced below is the protest spoken of by Sinnett, before it was “toned down.” It was originally published with the above title in The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett (New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1924), pp. 136-139. It was written by H.P.B. on or about January 1st, 1886, as it is directly connected with her letter to A. P. Sinnett bearing this date and dealing with Hodgson’s Report just then received by her.
Immediately following it, we publish the “toned down” version, reproduced from A. P. Sinnett’s pamphlet entitled The “Occult World Phenomena” and the Society for Psychical Research (London: George Redway, 1886. 60 pages).––Compiler.]
The long threatened report by Hodgson—the agent sent in 1884 by the S.P.R. to India to investigate certain phenomena alleged by the Coulombs to have been fraudulently produced by them at the instigation of the undersigned, who was directly and indirectly connected with such occult occurrences—has come out.
The undersigned denies most solemnly the charges brought forward in the said Report against her, in addition to which—an implied fraud throughout—she is called in it more than once “forger” and a “Russian Spy.”
There is not in that voluminous report one single charge that could stand a legal investigation and be shown correct. All in it is personal inference, hypothesis and unwarranted assumptions and conclusions. Every sentence in it is arbitrary and libellous in the extreme, according to law—brutal and calumniating, in the sight of every unprejudiced witness acquainted with the facts that preceded the investigation and led to the Report. Only a few of the phenomena, those with which the Coulombs were well acquainted—are given in it in a distorted way, so as to meet the theory of Deception. The two thirds of the phenomena brought forward by the Theosophists, the most important as the most unanswerable are silently skipped over. Only, and in case they should be some day placed before the public as a counterproof—the witnesses to such are pelted with mud before hand, and an attempt is made to show them untrustworthy.
The said Hodgson had come to India as a friend; he was received as one, lived in the greatest intimacy with those he now accuses of confederacy and lying. None, during the time he lived at Adyar regarded by all as a perfectly honourable man, had the remotest conception that much that was said by him in private conversations, every idle word that no one thought at the time of weighing, would be later on made public, another sense given to it, and that his words would be made use of against the Society. Every facility was given to him for investigation—nothing concealed from him, as everyone felt and knew himself quite innocent of the absurd charges made. All this is now taken advantage of, and presented in an unfavourable light before the public.
CONSIDERING ALL THIS, and that the said Hodgson and whoever may have sanctioned his indelicate proceedings and urged, or helped him on, has—
(1) Given out in his Report nought but the evidence of malevolently disposed witnesses—bitter enemies for years; gossips, and long standing falsehoods invented by the Coulombs and his own personal inferences and made up theories; and that on the other hand he has unjustly
suppressed every title of evidence in my favour and where he could not make away with such testimony he has invariably tried to represent my witnesses and defenders as either dupes or confederates.
(2) That besides the Coulomb letters, the full authorship of which I deny as I did on the day of their appearance, not one of which, moreover, was I permitted to see in the original; that besides these I say—(a) a number of private letters or passages therefrom, isolated, and therefore liable to any construction—are published, such publication being actionable by law;
(3) That a slip from a MS page, confessedly stolen, by the woman Coulomb from my writing desk years ago; evidently the translation from some passage in a Russian Daily, a number of articles from which I have been translating for the Pioneer, asked to do so by Mr. Sinnett in 1881-2-3. That again, that isolated fragment (not my composition evidently, as the quotation mark at the end of it happily left––shows) is reproduced with the manifest intention of throwing a vile suspicion upon me as being a “Russian Spy.”
(4) That the said Hodgson and his employers know the position I am in (having been repeatedly told the reasons why I could not prosecute the Coulombs, reasons known as well to every theosophist and that I am not ashamed to confess); and that knowing this—i.e. that I am utterly helpless and defenceless in England and India as a hated Russian and as a hated theosophist—they did not hesitate to take advantage of their position to dishonour with the utmost impunity a woman by branding her as a spy and a forger.
(5) Considering also, that if I am unable to prove the reality of the phenomena produced in any Court of law, no more can Hodgson & Co. prove their unreality otherwise than on circumstantial evidence and their own prejudged ideas; but that the charge of my ever being a Spy could, on the other hand, be easily shown groundless, false and libellous; they still support their malicious allegations—just because they can do so with perfect impunity and that it suits them at the present moment, when all England rises
against and suspects Russia—as nothing can ruin me more efficiently in public opinion; this special charge, moreover, being the only one that could prove an anchor of salvation for their Report, as a motive had to be given for a series of frauds and deception covering ten years of incessant labour, poverty, struggles at the expense of health and the last money we had. Considering all this, and much more, what is the conclusion an honest man can arrive at, who, acquainted with the real facts, reads their Report? Assuredly the following: the accusations, all Mr. Hodgson’s cleverness notwithstanding, could not stand unless a logical motive could be found for such disgusting dishonourable course as the one I am charged with. The true motive—publicly and openly professed gave the lie to all such accusations; it weakened thoroughly if it did not destroy utterly the filthy charges. Why not present those charges in a light that best calculated to have them accepted without one word of protest by the public in general? This could be perpetrated with impunity and it only ruins me for life alone. It only shuts the doors before me, back to my home where I thought of dying in peace knowing I had done my duty the best I could. What does it matter to the Honourable professors at Cambridge that an old Russian woman has not but one course opened to her: to die a disgraced beggar, far from all she loves and cares for in this life, so long as they can satisfy their spite and punish those who refused to recognise in Mr. Hodgson, an infallible expert and in themselves as infallible leaders in things psychic and phenomenal. Well they have probably done all this: let them triumph in their iniquity.
This is an action that every honest man or woman must and will regard as simply infamous.
Thus, considering finally, !that if the Report is an alleged expression of the writer’s great integrity, of his mistaken, yet sincere and honest views (which I now deny), that it might have been published in toto in order to set off his extraordinary acuteness and still lose nothing in strength of deduction and inferences if
the direct charge of forgery and spying—(the terms “forger” and “spy”) had been even laid aside; but that it was not done for reasons above given, and the libellous and incriminating terms are there published for the whole world to see and accept; considering all this I, the undersigned, now call upon every truth and justice loving Englishman and Englishwoman in the United Kingdom of Great Britain—whose righteous laws command to regard as innocent even a criminal before he is found by that law “guilty”—to show to me reasons why the said Hodgson and his employers should not be proclaimed publicly and in print by me as having been guilty of a mean, cowardly, base and a brutal action; one to stoop to which no gentleman, no honest man of even an average honourability would ever stoop to, in view of the existing circumstances.
In view of all the above I pray the London Lodge Theosophical Society to permit the undersigned, putting the present in a more grammatical and documentary form, to print and publish it and send it to every theosophist throughout the world; also to have the same published in The Theosophist.
So long as I have not broken altogether from the Theosophical Society and am connected with it; so long as any of my actions can by reacting upon it hurt the Cause or one of the Societies, I shall take no action that is not sanctioned by all the Councils. But if this is refused to me and I have to go about to the end of my life with the triple brand of Fraud, Forger and Spy upon me like a female Cain, helpless and powerless to even prove that the latter accusation is an infamous, uncalled for lie and a calumny, then it will remain for me but to take another course from which there will be no more return possible.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.