The Second Annual Convention of the European Section of the Theosophical Society was a most successful affair, and from beginning to end all went smoothly, as befits a Society taking Universal Brotherhood for its first object. Spain was first in the field with her delegate, Bro. Jose Xifre, a faithful friend and pupil of H. P. Blavatsky, who watched always with deep interest the work carried on upon Spanish soil by him and his brother-in-arms, Francisco Montoliu. Then came delegates from France, Bro. Coulomb, better known as Amaravella, with Bros. Tasset and Vescop. Next from Holland a group of five, Bros. Fricke and Meuleman, and Mesdames de Neufville, Meuleman and Windust. Germany sent Bros. Leiningen and Eckstein; Scotland, Bro. Brodie Innes; Ireland, Bros. Dick and Dunlop; England, Bros. Pattinson, Firth, Duncan, Thomas, Barron, Dr. King, Mrs. Londini, and many another, and so the numbers grew and grew till the St. John's Wood colony scarcely knew itself amid the Babel of foreign tongues. The President-Elect, William Q. Judge, was a prominent figure, now in one group, now in another, always welcomed warmly wherever he stopped to chat over the affairs of the Society he has served so long and so faithfully.
On Thursday morning the first meeting of the Convention was held; the General Secretary, G. R. S. Mead, calling it to order at 10:15 a.m. It met in the Blavatsky Hall at Avenue Road, and familiar faces -- Countess Wachtmeister, William Kingsland, Mrs. Cooper Oakley, Miss Cooper, Herbert Burrows, R. Machell, Walter Old and others -- were seen on every hand. W. Q. Judge was unanimously voted to the chair, when the roll-call of Lodges had been read, and G. R. S. Mead, W. R. Old, and J. Ablett were appointed Secretaries of the Convention. The minutes of the last Convention were taken as read, and then the Chairman delivered an earnest opening address, recalling the memory of H. P. B., and speaking of the work done by Colonel Olcott, the President-Founder, "work that no one else had done" and to be ever held in grateful remembrance in the Society. He also read a telegram from Colonel Olcott, wishing success to the Convention, and a letter of greeting from the American Section, as follows:
THE AMERICAN SECTION T.S. TO THE EUROPEAN SECTION T.S.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The American Section of our Society sends you through my hands its fraternal greetings. More now than ever does our Society, ramifying over the entire globe, need within its borders strong endeavour, high aspiration, solidarity, cooperation, brotherliness. This is not because strife and ambition are among us, but because we have now come to a point where our movement, led so long by our heroic H.P.B., commands the attention of the world, and it has ever been that whenever a society commands the gaze of the world it needs strength to push forward, aspiration to inspire, solidarity to resist, and brotherliness to give comfort to its members. This Section then once more assures you of its cooperation by hand and heart, of its loyalty to our cause, of its aim to so work that when the next messenger shall come from the great Brotherhood he or she shall find the materials ready, the ranks in order, the center on guard to preserve whatever small nucleus of brotherhood we shall be so fortunate as to have created.
At our Convention in April last we asked you to unite with us in a request to Colonel Olcott to revoke his resignation. This we did in candour and friendship, leaving it to you to decide your course. We recollected what was so often and so truly said by H. P. Blavatsky, that this organization, unique in the century, partook of the life of its parents. One of them is Colonel Olcott. It would be disloyal to our ideals to hurry in accepting his resignation even though we knew that we might get on without his presence at the head. And if he should hold to his determination our loving request would fill his remaining years with pleasing remembrances of his brothers without a trace of bitterness.
The three great continents of Asia, Europe and America hold the three children who compose our family, each different from the other, but none the less necessary to the work. Toleration will prevent dissension, leading surely to the hour when the West and East shall grasp hands with complete understanding. The Oriental may be dreamy, the European conservative, and the American crude and radical, but each can give the other what that other has not. Let us then strive toward the acquiring of the desire to have such toleration and cooperation as shall make certain the creation of the nucleus so necessary to success.
In America the work goes on steadily. The recent purchase of an establishment in New York City for headquarters was a necessity of the hour. Its uses and benefits are at once apparent, and that it will increase our usefulness cannot be doubted. This has left us in debt, but the donations received from all quarters will in time clear that off. It is owned by the Aryan T. S., which is an incorporated legal body, able to hold property and take bequests. It could not be the property of the Section by law, because every State in America is sovereign, and there is no provision in out federal statutes for a federal corporation. But none the less does the Aryan T.S. deem itself morally a trustee, although it has the legal title alone and also the sole management of the place.
Another thing accomplished by this Section, doubtless also something you will yet do, is the putting in the field with money subscribed by the Pacific Coast Branches of a regular lecturer, who travels over that coast visiting and helping Branches, and lecturing also to the public. This has already created much attention from the press, and has resulted in new activity. Other lecturers will in time cover the vast area of the United States. It is an important work and may be regarded as a sort of sending forth of apostles. But we should never allow it to degenerate into a race for money or for the establishment of creed.
Theosophy and the Society have at last made themselves universally, if even as yet superficially felt and recognized in our land, as also in yours. The future is in our hands and it ever grows out of, and is built upon, the present; shall that not be full of the energy in endeavor, which H. P. B. so long exemplified in Europe and India, and Colonel Olcott in the Orient?
Our best wishes, our fraternal sympathies are with you in your deliberations.
For the American Section T. S., The Executive CommitteeWILLIAM Q. JUDGE, General Secretary
Will you permit me to correct the statement of Mr. J. R. Perry in your issue of the 3rd that Madame Blavatsky appointed as her "successor" Mr. Henry R. Foulke, and "guaranteed" to him the "allegiance" of the "higher spiritual intelligences and forces"? As one of Madame Blavatsky's oldest and most intimate friends, connected with her most closely in the foundation and work of the Theosophical Society, and familiar with her teachings, purposes, ideas, forecasts, I am in a position to assure both Mr. Perry and the public that there is not an atom of foundation for the statement quoted.
Madame Blavatsky has no "successor," could have none, never contemplated, selected, or notified one. Her work and her status were unique. Whether or not her genuineness as a spiritual teacher be admitted matters not: she believed it to be so, and all who enjoyed her confidence will unite with me in the assertion that she never even hinted at "succession," "allegiance," or "guarantee." Even if a successor was possible, Mr. Foulke could not be he. He is not a member of the Theosophical Society, does not accept its and her teachings, had a very slight and brief acquaintance with her, and pretends to no interest in her views, life, or mission. Of her actual estimate of him I have ample knowledge.
But anyhow, no "guaranteeing of allegiance of spiritual forces" is practicable by anyone. Knowledge of and control over the higher potencies in Nature comes only by individual attainment through long discipline and conquest. It can no more be transferred than can a knowledge of Greek, of chemistry, psychology, or of medicine. If a person moves on a lofty level, it is because he worked his way there. This is as true in spiritual things as in mental. When Mr. Foulke produces a work like Isis Unveiled or The Secret Doctrine, he may be cited as H. P. B.'s intellectual peer; when he imparts such impulsion as does The Voice of the Silence, he may be recognized as her spiritual equal; when he adds to these an utter consecration to the work of the T. S. as his life-long mission, he may participate in such "succession" as the case admits. But it will not be through alleged precipitated pictures and imagined astral shapes. The effect of these on Theosophy, whereof Mr. Perry inquires, may be stated in one word -- nothing.
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE
Gen. Sec'y. American Sec.
Will you allow a word -- my last -- respecting the Foulke claim to succeed Mme. Blavatsky, as I see Mr. Perry is perhaps laboring under a misapprehension as to the position assumed by me about this ludicrous affair.
First.If Mr. Foulke or Mr. Perry, or either, has precipitated pictures of Mme. Blavatsky produced since her demise, they are welcome to them, and, it being no concern of ours, Theosophists will hardly deny the assertions of these gentlemen in that regard. Precipitations are not uncommon, but are no evidence of anything whatever save the power to precipitate and the fact of precipitation. Spiritualists have always asserted that their mediums could procure these things. Chemists also can precipitate substances out of the air. So this point is wide of the Society and its work.
Second.As I said in my previous letter, when Mr. Foulke, or any one, indeed, proves by his work and attainments that he is as great as Mme. Blavatsky, every one will at once recognize that fact. But irresponsible mediumship, or what we call astral intoxication, will not prove those attainments nor constitute that work.
Third.Mme. Blavatsky was Corresponding Secretary of the Theosophical Society, and its Constitution years ago provided that that office, out of compliment to her, should become extinct upon her death. She has passed away from this sphere, and hence the office of Corresponding Secretary is extinct. The Society will hardly hurry to revive it for the sake of one who is not a member of the body and who has never thrown any particular glory upon it. Scarcely either because he is a medium -- and not even a good one -- who prates of receiving messages from beyond the grave assumed to be from Mme. Blavatsky. He may assert that he has baskets full of letters from Mme. Blavatsky written before her death, and we are not interested either to deny the assertion or to desire to see the documents.
Fourth.The Theosophical Society is a body governed by Rules embodied in its Constitution. Its officers are elected by votes, and not by the production of precipitated letters or pictures of any sort. It generally elects those who do its work, and not outsiders who masquerade as recipients of directions from the abode of departed souls. It is not likely to request proposed officers to produce documents, whether in ink, in oils, or in pastel, brought forth at mediumistic seances before the wondering eyes of untrained witnesses. And as it now has Branches in every country on this earth, Mr. Foulke, an ex-member wholly untrained in its executive work and out of sympathy with its true mission, will evince more effrontery than he ever has before if he shall present himself for the suffrages of the members of a Society in which he is not even enrolled.
Fifth.Mr. Foulke's possession of any number of letters written to him by Mme. Blavatsky prior to her demise, offering him "leadership" or "succession," might please and interest himself, but can have no other effect on the corporate body of the Society. Let him preserve them or otherwise as he may see fit; they are utterly without bearing or even authority, and if in existence would only serve to show that she in her lifetime may have given him a chance to do earnest sincere work for a Society she had at heart, and that he neglected the opportunity, passing his time in idle, fantastic day-dreams.
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE
Gen. Sec'y. American Sec.
From Lucifer, March, 1892, pp. 82-83; Lucifer, August, 1892, pp. 509-10.