Blavatsky C.W. V, p. 45, 46
(part of the article "Theosophy and Spiritism", a translation of "Theosophie et Spiritsme", Bulletin Mensuel de la Société Scientifique d'Études Psychologiques, Paris, 15 juillet, 1883, pp. 129-151)
It is ... an error to say:
"According to the Theosophists no one reincarnates on earth except children who die young and congenial idiots," for the sentence being incomplete, does not tell everything. The difference between the souls mentioned above and those of people in general is that the former incarnate immediately, because neither the infants nor the idiots, being irresponsible for their actions, are able to receive either reward or punishment. Failures of nature - they begin a new life immediately; while reincarnations in general take place after rather long periods passed in the intermediate and invisible spheres. So that if a Spiritualist-Theosophist tells an Occultist-Theosophist that he is a reincarnation of Louis XV, or that Mrs. X is a reincarnation of Joan of Arc, the Occultist would answer that according to his doctrine it is impossible. It is quite possible that he might be a reincarnation of Sesostris or of Semiramis, but the time period that has passed since the death of Louis XV and even Joan of Arc is too short according to our calculations, which are mathematically correct. Should we be thoroughly ostracized if we were to say that the souls of idiots and extremely young children (dying before the age of personal consciousness) are the exact parallels to those who are annihilated? Can the personalities of the infants and the idiots leave a greater trace on the monadic memory with which they have not been able to become united, than those of the souls of marked animal tendencies who have also, though not more than the former, failed to become assimilated therein? In both cases the final result is the same. The sixth element or the spiritual Ego which has not had either the time or the possibility to unite with the lower principles in the cases of the idiot and the infant, has had the time but not the possibility to accomplish that union in the case of the totally depraved person. Now it is not that the "spiritual Ego is dissipated and ceases to exist," as it seems to say, but really does not, in Fragments No. I. This was immediately elucidated in The Theosophist. It would be absurd to say that something which is immortal in its essence can be dissipated or cease to be. The spiritual Ego is dissociated from the lower elements and, following its divine monad - the seventh element, disappears in the case of the utterly vicious man and ceases to exist for him, for the personal and physical man as well as for the astral man. As for the latter, once being depraved, whether it belong to an idiot or to a Newton, if it has failed to grasp, or has lost the Ariadne's thread which must lead it through the labyrinth of matter into the regions of eternal light - it must disappear.
Thus this personal astral man (or the fourth and fifth principles) whether it disappears into an immediate reincarnation, or is annihilated, drops from the number of the individual existences which are to the monad equivalent to days passed by an individual - a series of recollections, some fresh and eternal in our memory, others forgotten and dead, never to revive. To say of the Occultists, as Mr. Rosen does, that they are selfishly occupied in their own salvation, that they condemn "the majority of mankind to destruction" like the Christians "who doom them to the flames of hell" - is unjust and untrue, since with the Occultists, forgetfulness of one's self is the very greatest virtue. It is rather the Spiritists who would doom the divine monad to a terrible torment, to the perpetual recollection of one or more shameful or criminal existences, filled with earthly and gross experiences, without the smallest ray of spirituality to enlighten them. Moreover would it not be a horrible punishment to bedeck it with all the personalities that it had to endure, during its long terrestrial journey, instead of merely preserving the acquisitions which enriched it during those previous existences and which have made of it a complete being, a glorious and spiritual unity!