Published by The Blavatsky Archives Online.  Online Edition copyright 1999.




[Charles Sotheran on Madame Blavatsky]

(Reprinted from The Banner of Light (Boston), January 15, 1876, p. 5 )


To the Editor of the Banner of Light:

 Sir --- As I have been much annoyed by inquiries and statements concerning my connection with the Theosophical Society, I wish it to be distinctly understood that I have no longer anything whatever to do with that organization.  The Society accepted my resignation of fellowship at its last meeting, January 5th.

It has been asserted that I have left the Theosophical Society through “lack of moral courage.”  Those who know me well cannot but be aware that such a statement is utterly false, and that my real reasons for taking the step are because I am confident the pretensions of the Society are fallacious; further, that the position taken by the President in his inaugural address, and the expressions of other members, are of such a character as to only render the body ridiculous in the estimation of all thinking persons.

I would not thus trouble your readers with matters of a personal nature, but I consider it a duty to myself and friends to do so, because, in consequence of having recently recommended acquaintances and others not to join the Society, the Corresponding Secretary, Madame Blavatsky, has in a letter dated the 8th inst., and written on official paper --- whether by order of the Society or not, it is immaterial --- threatened me as “one who should be and will be proceeded against in such a way as to prevent his attempting or doing further harm.”

Madame Blavatsky may have occult powers of an extraordinary character; but after intimate knowledge of her for a considerable period, I can affirm that in my humble opinion she possesses NONE WHATEVER, notwithstanding she may have psychologized herself and her champions into believing so, and therefore her threats fall on me with as little effect as

“The wind which passeth idly by.”

I would advise her, instead of abusing those who, like myself, are struggling for the Highest Truth, and detest imposture of any kind, to content herself with combating those with whom she has a real cause of grievance, as appears from the following extract in a communication from her to The Spiritual Scientist of January 6th:

“Whatever objection any one may have to me on account of country, religion, occult study, rudeness of speech, cigarette smoking, or any other peculiarity, my record in connection with Spiritualism for long years does not show me as making money by it, or gaining any other advantage direct or indirect.  On the contrary: those who have met me in all parts of the world (which I have circumnavigated three times) will testify that I have given thousands of dollars, imperiled my life, defied the Catholic Church, where it required more courage to do so than the Spiritualists seem to show about encountering Elementaries, and in camp and court, on the sea, in the desert, in civilized and savage countries, I have been, from first to last, the friend and champion of mediums.  I have done more.  I have often taken the last dollar out of my pocket and even necessary clothes off my back to relieve their necessities.

“And how do you think I have been rewarded?  By honors, emoluments, and social position?  Have I charged a fee for imparting to the public or individuals what little knowledge I have gathered in my travels and studies?  Let those who have patronized our principal mediums answer.  I have been slandered in the most shameful way, and the most unblushing lies circulated about my character and antecedents by the very mediums whom I have been defending at the risk of being taken for their confederate when their tricks have been detected.  What has happened in American cities is no worse nor different from what has befallen me in Europe, Asia, and Africa.  I have been injured temporarily in the eyes of good and pure men and women, by the libels of mediums whom I never saw, and who never were in the same city with me at the same time --- of mediums who made me the heroine of shameful histories whose action was alleged to have occurred when I was in another part of the world, far away from the face of a white man.  Ingratitude and injustice have been my portion since I had first to do with spiritual mediums.  I have met here with few exceptions, but very, very few.”

I regret that any individual with the experience gained from travel, and the literary capabilities which every one who knows Madame Blavatsky must acknowledge she has acquired, has so heavy a cross to bear.  I trust she will successfully disprove these calumnies, and having done so, will learn to be less impulsive, and give credit for at least honesty of purpose to those who may disagree with herself or the Theosophical Society.  Yours faithfully,

CHARLES SOTHERAN.

Office of the “American Bibliopolist,”
84 Nassau street, New York, January 10, 1876.