Published by Blavatsky Study Center. Online Edition copyright 2003.
Judge's Death and the Tingley "Successorship"
[This material was first published in the book titled The Theosophical Movement 1875-1925:
A History and a Survey. (First edition, 1925), Chapter XXXV, pp. 653-688.
This history was written by the Editors of the magazine Theosophy (Los Angeles, California).]
After the British Convention in July, 1895, all hopes necessarily vanished, whether of official affiliation or of fraternal emulation between the two societies. Colonel Olcott, Mrs. Besant, Mr. Sinnett, and their supporters entered on an active campaign in England, Europe, India, and Australia, and the membership in their society was largely augmented during the years immediately following the split in the parent Society. Their followers in America., few in number, rallied around the efforts of Mr. Fullerton to revive the "American Section," but those efforts were futile for the most part until subsequent to the dissensions in the T.S. in A., a year and a half after the death of Mr. Judge.
The newly organized "Theosophical Society in America," free from dissentient elements, continued to follow the same lines of propaganda as had characterized its activities from its original inception in 1887 as the democratic "American Section." In affiliation with the T.S. in A. was the "Theosophical Society in England," comprising about a third of the British Theosophists who had "bolted" from the British Convention in July, 1895. Besides these, a considerable number of individual members on the Continent, and a few members in Australia adhered to the same program of teaching and of practice.
The "Esoteric Section" of the T.S. in A. continued with the original Instructions, pledge, and conduct as maintained by H.P.B. The "Esoteric Section" inaugurated by Mrs. Besant was required to sign a new "pledge"; additional "instructions" were sent out, among them Mrs. Besant's version of the troubles in the
"School"; and, for the first time in the history of the E.S., members were given for study the writings of Mrs. Besant and of Mr. Leadbeater as of equal authenticity and value with the writings of H.P.B. In 1897 the spurious "Third Volume" of the "Secret Doctrine" was issued, containing the garbled reprint of the original Preliminary Memorandum and Instructions of H.P.B. to the E.S.T. May 14, 1899, Mrs. Besant withdrew all the original papers and pledges of the School. Since that time the E.S.T. in the Besant fragment of the original T.S. and E.S. has gradually departed from the lines originally laid down by H.P.B., until only the forms remain. The writings and examples of the "Successor" and her satellites have been studied and emulated to the gradual extinction of the original message of Theosophy recorded by H.P.B. This successful and unnoticed substitution was facilitated by the misfortunes which befell the T.S. in A. within less than one year after the separation.
From the autumn of 1893, when the attacks upon him became virulent, Mr. Judge's health slowly gave way. At the time of the Boston Convention in April, 1895, his condition was such that he was able to take but little active part in the proceedings. By October of that year his condition had grown so alarming that at the insistence of friends and physicians he went to Carolina in a vain endeavor to recuperate. This proving of no avail and it becoming increasingly evident that his life could not be prolonged, he returned North by slow stages, spending a fortnight at Cincinnati with Dr. J.D. Buck and other well-known, Theosophists. He reached New York City early in February and from then on rapidly declined. Mr. Judge died on Saturday, March 21, 1896, a little less than a year after the separation.
Nothing in Theosophical history has been more obscured and therefore more misunderstood than the series of events immediately following the death of Mr. Judge. In the same way that Mrs. Besant has been accepted and followed in the largest of the existing Theosophical Societies as the "Successor" of H.P.B., so in the other
of the two fragments of the parent association was Mrs. Tingley accepted and followed as the "Successor" of Mr. Judge and, through him, of H.P.B. as well. For more than a quarter of a century these two rivals to the mantle and the prestige of the Messenger and her Colleague have filled the world with their claims and assertions. From each of the original fragments numerous defections have inevitably occurred, in each case consisting of some new claimant to "messages from the Masters" with his devoted adherents. All trace back to one and the same basic idea - that of "apostolic succession" - the fecund source of all the sects and sectarianism into which has split up and degenerated every great religion, although each of them was originally, like the message and the mission of H.P.B. herself, a periodic public manifestation of the undying Theosophical Movement.
It is not to be presumed that the great bulk of the membership had at any time any knowledge of their own, whether of the Occult nature and status of H.P.B. and Mr. Judge, or of any of the numerous others, Mrs. Besant and Mrs. Tingley among them, who at one time and another have claimed "apostolic succession" and to deliver "messages." Yet the members of the T.S. in A. accepted, as greedily and as readily, the Tingley claim of successorship as had been done before them by those who accepted Mrs. Besant in the same role.
Mr. Judge dead, all was confusion and uncertainty among the rank and file of the membership of the Society and of its E.S.T. Some sort of announcement was eagerly looked forward to that should clear the way to the unbroken continuance of the School, the Society, and their common activities. On Friday, March 27, a brief notice announced a "General Meeting of the E.S.T." at the Headquarters, 144 Madison Avenue, New York City, for the following Sunday, March 29, at noon. As many near-by members as possible attended this meeting and were passive participants in what took place. A prepared one-page announcement was read by Mr. E.T. Hargrove as part of the proceedings and this,
stamped with the same date as the meeting, was immediately afterwards mailed to all members of the E.S.T. in the United States and throughout the world. This announcement, headed "strictly private and confidential," reads in full:
"Brothers and Sisters: We have been earnestly considering the future of the E.S.T. and its government, during the examination of our elder brother W.Q. Judge's private papers. These papers already show that the future of the School was not left to chance, nor to our mere judgment. They contain astonishing revelations concerning our late Outer Head and definitely prove that he was far greater than superficially appeared. We think it right to inform you at once of this fact, and that his position in the Lodge was higher and his connection with Masters far more intimate and constant than was generally supposed by most members of the School. His papers further show that he did not stand alone in the work, but that, unseen and unknown to all but the very few, he had assistance right at hand, and that he left this assistance behind him, not withdrawn by his death. In regard to this matter we must ask you for the present to remember that even as he trusted us, so you must trust us. But we shall issue a further communication as soon as possible, proving from his own papers the correctness of all that is written above.
Fraternally and faithfully yours,"
This announcement was signed, in order, by E.T. Hargrove, Jas. M. Pryse, Joseph H. Fussell, H.T. Patterson, Claude Falls Wright, Genevieve Ludlow Griscom, C.A. Griscom, Jr., and E. Aug. Neresheimer - all well-known members then residing in and near New York City, all active in the Aryan Lodge, the T.S. in A., the E.S.T., the conduct of The Path, and the other work centering at the headquarters.
There is no record that any of the members receiving this announcement examined it rigidly for its concordance with or application of the writings and example of H.P.B. and Mr. Judge. No one seems to have inquired how any "private papers" could "definitely prove" that Judge was an "elder brother," his "position in the Lodge" and his "connection with Masters far more intimate and constant," so that "he was far greater than superficially appeared." No one seems to have asked himself or others whether the public work and writings of Mr. Judge for twenty years were not the real evidence of his true nature, rather than any post mortem claims made by others, ostensibly on his behalf, regardless of any or all "private papers" alleged to bolster them. Nor did any one question the further assertion that "unseen and unknown to all but the very few" Mr. Judge had left "assistance behind him, not withdrawn by his death." No one inquired how, if this "assistance" had been "unseen and unknown to all but the very few" before his death, it was to be "definitely proved" after his decease. On the contrary, the membership awaited eagerly and with the "trust" called for, the "further communication proving from his own papers the correctness of all" the astounding claims made in the communication of March 29.
That communication was followed within the week by a nineteen-page pamphlet, also "strictly private and confidential," which was mailed to all members. It is dated April 3, 1896, and contains an address to the members, signed by the same names as the announcement of March 29, together with what is declared to be "a verbatim report of a general E.S.T. meeting held in New York at Headquarters on Sunday, March 29, at 12:30 P.M." The address proceeds:
"This is done according to the directions of the late Outer Head, William Q. Judge. The papers left by him provided for the future management of the School by the present Outer Head, a Council, and an Advisory Council in Europe. The Outer Head is known to and is in
communication with the Council, but, according to direction and for reasons in part explained in the report of the above mentioned E.S.T. meeting, the name and identity of W.Q. Judge's occult heir and successor is to remain unknown to the members in general for one year. Speculations as to who this Outer Head may be are useless and will prove injurious if indulged in. Both the name and person are practically unknown in the Theosophical Society, having been confided by Mr. Judge to but a very few chosen and trusted friends. Needless to say, the Outer Head is not among those named as being on the Council.
"The Council consists of the undersigned and other members to be added as soon as they have been communicated with.
"The Advisory Council in Europe remains the same as heretofore."
Although it is declared that all this is done "according to the directions of the late Outer Head, William Q. Judge," neither then nor thereafter were those "directions" reproduced or made accessible for examination. Although it is declared that "the papers left by him provided for the present Outer Head, a Council, and an Advisory Council in Europe" to manage the School, those "papers" were never exhibited for their authenticity to be inspected. These "instructions" and these "private papers" alleged to have been "left" by Mr. Judge, by virtue of which the membership accepted Mrs. Tingley as "the occult heir and successor" appointed by Mr. Judge, are directly and irreconcilably in contradiction, not only to the whole teaching of Theosophy and to H.P.B.'s specific statement in "Isis Unveiled" (Volume 2, p. 544), that "apostolic succession is a gross and palpable fraud," but, as well, in complete antithesis to Mr. Judge's own statements and arguments in the Foulke's case, as quoted in full in Chapter XXIII herein.
After this saddling upon Mr. Judge of responsibility for the claims thus asserted, the address proceeds:
"We are further directed to say to you that:
"'By raising themselves to the point of Trust and Intuition, expected by the Master, which enables them to take the present pledge, members are actually advancing towards real Initiation; they are once more 'reborn,' their past is left behind and they begin to receive The New Light That Has Gone Out From The Lodge.'"
There can be no doubt that the foregoing was intended to be construed, and was construed by the members as a "message from the Master" - presumably received through the "occult heir and successor." A still more significant index of the pressure brought to bear on the members and of the real basis of the whole affair is contained in the next succeeding paragraph, which runs:
"We have only to add to the statements made by us at the E.S.T. meeting, minutes of which are enclosed, that individually and unitedly we have continued to receive unmistakable proof that the Outer Head appointed by W.Q. Judge is in direct communication with Masters, with H.P.B. and with the 'luminous youth' or 'Rajah,' as that Adept has been variously named. This latter fact depends solely upon our most solemn testimony, but those who knew and trusted W.Q. Judge should take his decision as final and sufficient in itself."
The only way these "Council" members whose signatures attest this notable address could have unmistakable proof of superphysical "messages" would be, according to the teachings of Theosophy, by their being themselves either accepted chelas or Adepts. But since their "sol-
emn testimony" relates exclusively to "direct communication with Masters, H.P.B., and Judge" on the part of the new "Outer Head," it must follow that their "unmistakable proof" rested on "messages" 'received through Mrs. Tingley. Their "solemn testimony" is mere hearsay and possesses the same degree of validity as the "testimony" to any other "communicating spirit" through any medium or psychic. But the expression used, "we have continued to receive unmistakable proof," is vitally telltale when weighed with the rest of the pretended "evidence" of Mr. Judge's "instructions" and "private papers." The phrase shows that the "unmistakable proofs" trace back in their origin, not to anything left in writing by W.Q. Judge, but to bogus "messages from the Master" received through the same source or sources as the "messages" read to the general E.S.T. meeting of March 29. To those "messages" we shall soon come.
The address which prefaces the pamphlet of April 3, 1896, is immediately followed by the printed text of the "Minutes" of the E.S.T. meeting. The minutes begin with a statement by Mr. E.T. Hargrove. After calling for the assent of all present to absolute privacy regarding the proceedings, Mr. Hargrove read the text of the one-page announcement which we have already given. As "evidence" of the "correctness of the statements made" in that announcement, Mr. Hargrove then read what he declared to be "passages from the Chief's diary and from other papers that he has left behind which were not written for the benefit of others, but for his own use, and have all the more significance on that account."
These "extracts" are all, allegedly, from the "Master," and dated November and December, 1894. The "messages" given are all trivial in the extreme and appear to relate entirely to the bitter controversy raging at that time over the charges made by Mrs. Besant against Mr. Judge. There is in them nothing of philosophy or ethics, nothing of reference to events then pending, not well known to hundreds of others besides the "Master" and Mr. Judge; nothing not already public at
the time of their date and on record for years before. This set of "extracts" covers slightly less than two printed pages and is referred to by Mr. Hargrove as "proving our Chief's constant intercourse with Masters." In themselves they contain no intimation of "Mr. Judge's occult heir and successor." That they were inserted merely to set up the "constant intercourse with Masters" as a background for what was coming, is clearly indicated by Mr. Hargrove's next remarks:
"Now in regard to the assistance which he received - assistance from a living person, I am going to speak of this person, but not by name. I will call that person 'Promise.' That is not the real name; it is simply invented by myself, and whether it is a man, woman, or child, or merely a voice in the air, matters not in the least therefore I will speak of that person as 'he.'"
After this preface there follow nearly six pages of further "extracts," accompanied with running comments by Mr. Hargrove. The first is an alleged "message" from H.P.B., dated January 3, 1895. This "message," Mr. Hargrove declared, was part of one from which "extracts" had been read at the time to an E.S. meeting and also sent to London to the "Advisory Council." Mr. Hargrove in presenting his extracts from this message, said: "they contain important references" to "Promise." A quotation will serve to illustrate the "importance" of this and the other messages alleged to be from Mr. Judge's "occult diary." Thus:
"Our dear chela, you have at last found your fellow chela, who was one of ours years ago, consecrated to the work then, and now by the Master's will brought face to face with you.... As your light shines into 'Promise's' soul, fears will disappear as the dew before the sun.
"The forces are out and annihilation is the only thing that can interfere. 'Promise' should have been in place with us at the beginning, but for
your folly and his lack of trust in the Master. Let me tell you some of the things I Have learned since I absented myself from the outer world. Many of the problems of life that should have been solved if we had been more together have come up before me and I have learned much. I am, next to the America work, interested in Spain. Ireland can take care of itself. In the pine woods I have found a Lodge which I knew something of before I went away. There seven chelas and the light they show that some day will be better known, I will describe to you at our next meeting. There is much connected with it that can be used for irradiating forces in this country, for there is a subtle connection. Be sure that at our next meeting this is not forgotten. Slowly the light from this Lodge is being thrown over Spain, and I see that from the old corpse of bigotry, superstition and credulity will be reared a temple of light which will unite its forces with that of America and Ireland, and from these three points I know that humanity shall be saved. This battle of light and darkness in our midst seems but small when I view the work before us, and the ends and prospects of our work shall stem the tide of this cruel and unworthy persecution. Under all of it, over it all, is the Master's hand; be sure that all is well for thee.
This is our centre here in America illuminated by the Lodge and protected by love. Send 'Promise' out, but not yet; you can make what you will of 'Promise,' for the truthfulness of spirit and devotion to us that are there will make it a good instrument. But keep it well in the background. In outer work 'Promise' is our mystery."
The foregoing "message" is followed by others of similar flavor. One from H.P.B. supposed to be dated
April 3, 1895, puts into her mouth the following, called by Mr. Hargrove "most weighty and momentous":
"How I yearn for the day when I can come myself and work. It is being put off by all this strife and bitterness. I will come, as I said, through 'Promise.' Every day they keep this up is another day of delay for that event.
"Had both ("Rajah" and "Promise") been free, you well, and ye met at the time I said, more and more wonderful phenomena would have happened than did with me."
The final "message" read by Mr. Hargrove to the meeting and given in the "minutes" in the pamphlet of April 3, is another "communication" declared to be from H.P.B. to Mr. Judge, apparently early in 1895:
"... your faculties begin to swell and a part of the connection is made. The moon and the place and water and 'Promise' helped us.... When anything pushes you ahead it does the same for 'Promise' ...
"A year and over of probation was given by Master to those who do so madly try to destroy his work and his chela, yet they turn not from their evil ways.
"'Promise' through his hands will do some of my best work."
It is impossible to believe that any one soever could have treated these "messages" seriously on any theory of their inherent worth. Solely on the assumption that they were "phenomenal," were from the "Master," and from the discarnate H.P.B., does it seem possible that any one could give them a moment's respectful attention. But to regard them from that point of view is to do violence to all the Messages received from those very Masters through H.P.B. herself while she was alive - is to ignore and cast aside the repeated injunctions of Judge himself. Philosophy and moral worth, not phenomena, had been insistently held forth as the
sole and only criterion of right judgment on any and all "messages" and conduct. Some light on the glamour enveloping these "messages" with a fictitious and phenomenal importance is thrown by Mr. Hargrove's closing remarks, after the reading of the "messages":
"This clearly shows that our only chance for the future lies in our trust in this light from the Lodge which is within us all, but which must also have a special centre of action to focus and distribute its rays....
"Trust is our only salvation, but reason alone should show us that he could not have left that body if he had not had an occult heir and successor to take his place, for that is the law in the Lodge. This occult heir is the link between ourselves and him, and so on from the Rajah to H.P.B., to Masters and to the great Lodge. There must be that link; his papers showed us where to find it; we have found it, have tested it and verified it beyond all question, individually and unitedly."
These are the "proofs" that the circular of March 29 so positively informed the membership would be supplied them - "proofs" that were so "unmistakable" to Mr. Hargrove and his associates; yet "trust" and still more "trust" was affirmed by Mr. Hargrove as "our only chance for the future," as "our only salvation." Mr. Hargrove's closing remarks clearly show, clearly prove, not the claimed "successorship," but the attitude and state of mind with which he and his fellows approached their "examination." Their logic was: "Mr. Judge must have left a successor. He could not die without an occult heir. There must be a link. Where shall we find it? How shall we test it? By the philosophy of Theosophy, by the past statements of H.P.B. and Judge? No, by "messages" from him, from H.P.B., from Masters, through his "occult heir." With such an attitude of mind, with such ideas of Theosophy, of Masters, of what was to be looked for, it was
inevitable that they should find what they were looking for, receive the anticipated "messages," believe them, and accept as Mr. Judge's chosen Successor the one through whom they got their "confirmation," and should "continue to receive unmistakable proof."
After Mr. Hargrove's repeated positive assertions, one after another of the "Council" which sat with him upon the platform at the meeting of March 29, 1896, added his "solemn testimony" to the truth of what Mr. Hargrove had said. These statements are all reproduced verbatim in the pamphlet of April 3. Mr. Pryse said:
"We cannot be too careful of our words. So the little I have to say I have written down, simply for the sake of clearness. I endorse what Mr. Hargrove has said to you. And I wish to reiterate his request that in this critical time you should give us your confidence and unwavering support. Our position is not one to be envied. For myself I am here for only one reason: because our Chief desired it."
Mr. J.H. Fussell followed Mr. Pryse and declared:
"I wish first to say that I know of my own knowledge that what our Brother Ernest T. Hargrove has stated is true; that our Chief, the Rajah, is with us, and that he has not left us by the death of his worn-out body. But since the death of that body he has been, and is now, with us and the whole School, and he is still working along the same lines that he has worked hitherto; and will continue to so work and to lead us."
Mr. H.T. Patterson was as emphatic as those who preceded him:
"I realize the solemnity of this occasion. I realize the tremendous importance of the step we have taken. Were I doubtful I should not dare take the responsibility I have. I have no doubts. My certainty is due partly to knowledge held
in common with these others; partly to my own independent knowledge; and partly to the writings of William Q. Judge which I myself have seen."
Mr. Claude Falls Wright spoke at some length and in his remarks will be found the unconscious disclosure of the source of the Tingley claim of successorship. Mr. Wright said:
"... what we are saying is in corroboration of the statements and documents laid before you by Mr. Hargrove...
"For myself I will say that I have always believed and trusted in the aid of Higher Powers and the Masters, and I knew we should not be deserted. But a few weeks before the late body of the Rajah passed away I confess I became troubled a little about the future; such periods of gloom and darkness come to all. And then I received, no matter in what way, a message which at once removed all doubt and depression, and which I showed to many members present...
"I met this Chela - 'Promise' - several times in 1894 and 1895. Mr. Judge introduced me at a meeting of the Aryan T.S. in 1894, saying to me beforehand: 'Here is some one I want you to look at closely; it is a particular person.' He afterwards told me that 'Promise' frequently was in touch with the Lodge. Later he sent me to a house where 'Promise' was staying, and there this chela went into a trance and told me much of the future...
"That we would not be deserted all of you must have felt sure. It is this trust ... that has continued our school under the direct protection of the Masters and the Lodge. We on this platform have in the last few days had marvelous proofs of this."
It should be self-evident that if Mr. Judge had had anything to do with selecting his alleged successor, he would not have left the students dependent upon "messages," either before or after his death, which they would have no means of verifying, nor upon the verbal say-so of any, but would have left clear, indisputable evidence, in his own physical handwriting of his own opinion and advice. H.P.B. left no "successor," but she assuredly did leave abundant record in her own handwriting of how she regarded the various students, notably Mrs. Besant and Mr. Judge. That many came to regard Mrs. Besant as her successor was certainly no fault of H.P.B.'s, but due to Mrs. Besant's self-assertions and the natural credulity and misconceptions of human beings. It can be observed by any one who reads closely the assertions in the circular of March 29, and its "proof" in the pamphlet of April 3, 1896, that in no place is the specific statement made that any of the alleged "proofs" were in Mr. Judge's own handwriting. His "private papers" are freely spoken of, his "occult diary," his "instructions for the future management of the School" - but that is all. If Mr. Judge had himself left any such "unmistakable proofs," would not the "Council" and Mrs. Tingley have been first and foremost in proclaiming the fact and inviting the fullest and most rigid inspection of the alleged documents? The inference is irresistible. The surety is made doubly sure by the fact that from that day to this not one of those "private papers," or "instructions," or the "occult diary" has ever been produced. The weakness of Mr. Wright's statement of his conversations with Mr. Judge becomes the more evident the more it is examined from various aspects. If he had known since 1894 that Mrs. Tingley or "Promise" was in "communication with Masters," was a true "chela," was "frequently in touch with the Lodge" - was, in short, to be Mr. Judge's "successor" - why was he "troubled" just before Mr. Judge's death? If he received the "message" of which he spoke that "at once removed all doubt and depression," then it is evident that his "certainty" about "Promise" was not
due to anything Mr. Judge had previously said to him about her. It seems not to have occurred to him or to any of the others that if Mr. Judge were, in fact, an "elder brother" in "high standing" with the "Lodge," an "adept," perhaps Mr. Judge himself was able to see "much of the future" and was giving Mr. Wright an occult hint to put him on his guard against the future "successor" claim. If it were Mr. Judge who sent him later to see Mrs. Tingley, and if, as Mr. Wright says, she "went into a trance," it only shows Mrs. Tingley to have been a medium, or "sensitive," not a chela. "Mediumship," wrote H.P.B. in "Isis Unveiled" (Volume 2, p. 588) "is the opposite of adeptship. And as to Mr. Wright's closing line as quoted, it is to be remarked that neither he nor any of the others went into any details on the "marvelous proofs" they had "continued to receive" after Mr. Judge's death.
Mrs. G.L. Griscom followed Mr. Wright in the meeting and said: "I wish most earnestly and emphatically to corroborate everything that has been said by Mr. Hargrove."
Her husband, Mr. C.A. Griscom, Jr., next stated:
"I have nothing to add to what has already been said except that I have followed step by step all that has led up to this meeting. And I bear my testimony to the absolute truthfulness of what has been said."
Mr. Neresheimer was the last to give his "solemn testimony." He said:
"I have a few remarks to make with regard to the Outer Head or chela of whom you have heard. Mr. Judge several years ago put me into communication with that person, and I think it is my duty to inform you of the fact. As you have heard, you will be made acquainted with the person after the expiration of one year."
Mr. Neresheimer then read a "communication from the Masters," which he said he had received "through
this person" in March, 1895, assumedly in regard to the Boston Convention. Its last sentence is telltale. It reads: "Under no circumstances must Mr. Judge know of this." There is no doubt - since they both admitted it - that Mr. Neresheimer and Mr. Wright had been in the habit of "consulting" Mrs. Tingley, believed in her "powers," and accepted as "messages from the Masters" communications received through her, a year or more before Mr. Judge's death. Yet their "pledge" in the E.S.T. and the "Rules" of the "School," both absolutely forbade such intercourse. Like many another, they "wandered from the discipline" and inevitably reaped the consequences. To what state Mr. Neresheimer and the others had come in the few days following Mr. Judge's death is shown by Mr. Neresheimer's concluding remarks:
"It is the desire of the Rajah that those people who are on this platform, and others who have also been named by the Rajah are to be the Council of this movement in America. We are to receive our instructions, whatever there be, from the Outer Head, with whom, as I previously stated, I am acquainted and so are the others."
From all the foregoing it must be clear that the general membership not only had no knowledge of their own in regard to the "Successor," nor any means of verifying the alleged "proofs," even had such opportunity been afforded them, for the "unmistakable proofs" were all phenomenal and hung on "messages" from H.P.B. and "Masters." Equally must it be apparent that the membership relied wholly and absolutely on the "solemn testimony" of these eight witnesses and their direct assertions that all this was but carrying out Mr. Judge's directions. Those witnesses were all well-known Theosophists, all with good reputations, manifestly sincere in their point-blank declarations; hence their testimony as to super-mundane facts was accepted as unquestioningly as it might have been regarding the most ordinary everyday occurrences.
This brings the inquiry straight home to the eight witnesses themselves. The mass of the membership relied on them and their oaths. What did they rely on? The answer must be: On Mrs. Tingley and on "messages" received through her, not on any documents in the handwriting of William Q. Judge. Mr. Neresheimer and Mr. Wright, on their own confession, and the others by their indirect statements, showed they had attended seances with Mrs. Tingley before Mr. Judge's death, and certainly afterwards when all their "marvelous proofs" were received.
A reading of the pamphlet of April 3 makes clear that some sort of consultations had been going on prior to the meeting of Sunday, March 29. What were they, and what reasons for secrecy and silence regarding them? No faintest intimation was suffered to leak out as to what took place in the interval between Mr. Judge's death, March 21, and the meeting of March 29, save and except the assertion that "we have been examining Mr. Judge's private papers." What were the facts thus kept purposely obscured?
This much is known: Almost at once after the funeral services, Messrs. Neresheimer and Griscom invaded the privacy of Mrs. Judge's grief and asked and obtained from her the keys to Mr. Judge's desk and to the safety-deposit box in which Mr. Judge kept his personal papers. Later on, when Mrs. Judge visited the headquarters she found no private papers of Mr. Judge in his desk, and on going to the safety-deposit box, found it absolutely empty. What became of those papers? They have never been produced to this day.
Next, it is known that Mr. Neresheimer went to Mrs. Tingley for "advice and instruction." That he received both abundantly is shown by the sequel - a sequel not disclosed for two years and then unwittingly as to its implications and bearings on the "successorship" claim. Mr. Neresheimer summoned to a private meeting at Mrs. Tingley's house on Thursday evening, March 26, the witnesses whose testimony the members afterwards relied on. There they were "told" by Mrs. Tingley that Mr.
Judge had "told" her in conversation in 1895 to appoint them as her "Council" in case of his death! On the strength of Mrs. Tingley's own rendition of this alleged "conversation" with Mr. Judge in 1895, and on the "messages" produced, assumedly from "H.P.B." and "the Masters," rests the whole myth that Mr. Judge appointed "Promise" his "occult heir and successor." The much-proclaimed and never-produced "private papers of Mr. Judge" bear a rather remarkable likeness to "private notes" of Mrs. Tingley.
It is from these "private notes" of Mrs. Tingley and other matter in The Searchlight for April, 1898, and Mr. Hargrove's admissions which drew them forth, that the final light is shed on the mysteries leading up to the E. S.T. meeting of March 29, 1896, and the pamphlet of April 3 following. The Searchlight itself was a rabidly pro-Tingley publication issued at irregular intervals during the throes of the fierce struggle that ensued in 1898 between Mrs. Tingley's supporters and those of Mr. Hargrove. To appreciate the bearings of The Searchlight revelations it is necessary to sketch briefly the intervening events.
The pamphlet of April 3, 1896, was followed at the end of April by the annual Convention of the T.S. in A. The active and controlling factor in the Society at large was, of course, the E.S.T. When the Convention met at New York City, it was already an open secret that "Promise" was Mrs. Tingley. On her "suggestion" Mr. Hargrove was enthusiastically elected President of the T.S. in A. He appointed Mr. Fussell as his private secretary and took charge of the editorial conduct of The Path, whose name had meantime been changed to Theosophy. Mr. Wright "called to more important work" as the private secretary of the "successor" to Mr. Judge, addressed the Convention and informed it that "the Masters" were "preparing to found a School for the Revival of the Lost Mysteries of Antiquity." Mrs. Tingley addressed the Convention on the same subject. Amidst unbounded enthusiasm a subscription list was opened for this "School" and a large sum quickly raised
Following the Convention, on May 14, a "strictly private and confidential" circular was sent to all E.S.T. members and entitled "An Urgent Appeal." They were informed that a "Crusade has been directed by the Master," and all were urged to contribute. The circular included the following gem of inanity from the new "Outer Head":
"Today the needs of humanity are embodied in one great call: 'Oh God, my God, is there no help for us?' All people should heed the call of the Master and help to belt the world within the compass of the 'cable tow' of the crusaders, for in their force is a quality of the 'golden promise' - the Light of the Lodge. It will radiate throughout the world, and with the aid of the widow's mite will make perfect the Master's plan."
This appeal of the "golden 'Promise' - "the Light of the Lodge" was joyfully responded to by the membership. Many thousands of dollars were raised and the "Crusaders," headed by Mrs. Tingley, prepared to carry the "message" around the world. Great meetings were held in Boston and New York City. Speeches were made, greetings were read from many noted Theosophists. By the middle of June, when the "Crusaders" departed for Europe on the first stage of their journey round the globe, Mrs. Tingley, whose "successorship" had meantime been publicly announced, was universally regarded by leaders and rank-and-file alike as the "Agent of the Masters." This feeling had been greatly strengthened by a seven-page circular issued in the E.S.T., written by Mr. Hargrove and sent out "with the consent and approval of the Council" on May 17, 1896. It was entitled "An Occultist's Life," and purported to give "certain facts" in the life of the new "Outer Head," - "facts," says Mr. Hargrove, "which were well known to Judge during his lifetime." Mr. Judge's name thus having been lugged in to support his theme, Mr. Hargrove proceeds to tell of the "voices" and the "strange
spirit" which accompanied "Promise" during her childhood; of her "fiery devotion to humanity"; of her being "at last allowed by the Master to separate herself from her [first] husband and to return to her father's home"; of her having been "directed to marry her present husband, on an unusual basis," after "throwing aside many more advantageous offers"; of her then becoming "more fully conscious of her true occult position"; of her using "her power as a psychometer"; of Mr. Judge's "approval of this work." Mr. Hargrove then declares that Mr. Judge told him that this "work" had been "carried on by Master's direction and under Master's supervision." Mr. Hargrove told how 'Promise' has suffered as very few have suffered," and concluded his panegyric:
"'Promise' reached Theosophy by degrees, and in the process of reaching it underwent a training and preparation even more rigid and comprehensive than that experienced by either H.P.B. or W.Q.J. Always guided by the Master, every event in her life had a meaning and a purpose: When the 'moment of consummation' came, several years ago, known and recognized by Mr. Judge, the meaning and the purpose became clear at last....
"Let us all bear this warning in mind: 'Do not let us in any way throw the slightest obstacle in the path of our chosen leader. If we do, we shall regret it.'"
In prefacing this remarkable contribution Mr. Hargrove assured the members that it was sent out "unknown to the O[uter] H[ead]," and that the members "should use great discrimination in giving out the facts it contains." Those "facts" are unaccompanied by names, dates, verifiable references of any kind, and from first to last are such as could only have emanated from "Promise" herself.
Coincident with Mr. Hargrove's circular letter of May 17 to the E.S.T., there appeared in the New York
Tribune of May 18, an article of more than two full columns disclosing Mrs. Tingley's identity as the "Successor," and containing a long authorized "interview" with her. Under date of May 21, another "strictly private and confidential" circular was sent out to all members of the E.S.T., containing a "warning" against the "Black Powers"; a disclosure of "Promise's" identity as Mrs. Tingley, and enclosing a copy of the Tribune article.
Mr. Hargrove and Mr. Wright accompanied Mrs. Tingley on her "Crusade" from New York around the world. Mrs. Alice L. Cleather joined the party in Europe. From the departure in June, 1896, till the return to San Francisco in February, 1897, Mr. Hargrove kept Theosophy supplied with a monthly report of the wonders of the "Crusade." Mr. Fussell, Mr. Neresheimer, and others continued the propaganda in the United States. An E.S.T. circular was sent out, dated July 12, 1896, and signed "The Council," containing the text of a "message from H.P.B." received by the "Crusaders" in mid-ocean on June 15. During the eight months of the "Crusade" the pages of Theosophy witnessed from month to month the highly colored pictures painted for the edification and encouragement of the membership. On the return to America the "cornerstone" of the "School for the Revival of the Lost Mysteries of Antiquity" was laid with great eclat by Mrs. Tingley and her aides at Point Loma, near San Diego, California. "Warnings" were issued in E.S.T. circulars dated January 21, and May 4, 1897, of attacks upon the "Outer Head" and the "work." During the summer of 1897 the campaign of laudation of Mrs. Tingley as "successor" of Mr. Judge and as "Leader of the Theosophical Movement throughout the world," had reached the point where all lesser lights were eclipsed or shone as mere satellites.
Mr. Hargrove, despite his chief and most prominent part in these pyrotechnics, and in spite of being the President of the T.S.A. and editor of Theosophy would seem to have reached the conclusion that his role of Warwick, the King-maker, had been played entirely too successfully.
He found that Mr. Neresheimer as co-legatee of the publishing business under the will of Mr. Judge was disposed to overrule him in the editorial conduct of Theosophy. In the disputes which ensued, Mr. Hargrove, finding himself powerless, resigned the Presidency of the T.S. in A. and the conduct of Theosophy. Mutual felicitations were published, but the actual cause of controversy kept secret, as was the dissension between Mr. Neresheimer and "Jasper Niemand" - Mrs. Keightley - the other legatee. In the E.S.T. however, a circular was sent out, dated September 3, 1897. It was signed by Mrs. Tingley, and contains the admission that it was she who had "suggested" Mr. Hargrove for President in the first place, because, she said: "I knew at that crisis he was the only available man to fill the place." This circular was quickly followed by two additional communications to the E.S.T., both dated September 13, 1897, and both signed by Mrs. Tingley. As subsequently became clear, both these pamphlets were preparatory for the open battle which followed a little later. One of the pamphlets related to "The International Brotherhood League," organized by Mrs. Tingley immediately after the return from the "Crusade." The other was entitled "The Theosophical Movement." These were followed by the correspondence between Mr. Neresheimer and Mrs. Keightley, over the publishing business. Mrs. Keightley espoused the cause of Mr. Hargrove and Mr. Neresheimer was determined to support the cause of Mrs. Tingley. In November, Dr. Keightley resigned the Presidency of the affiliated Theosophical Society in England and the Presidency of the English E.S.T. "Council," without assigning any reasons.
By January, 1898, the internal rivalry had become so high-pitched that its echoes began to reach the ears of the general membership both of the T.S. in A., and of the E.S.T. On January 3, 1898, a highly laudatory pamphlet was distributed to the membership, recounting in detail the "great works" accomplished by Mrs. Tingley. It was signed by Mr. Fussell and others and was sent out "unofficially." This was followed by the perfecting
of plans at a private conference held at Mrs. Tingley's home early in January for the organization of the "Universal Brotherhood" and the mergence in it of the T.S. in A. at the forthcoming annual Convention. This meeting was not made known at the time, but public official notice was sent out that the Convention would be held on February 18, 1898, at Chicago, instead of at the end of April, as had been the invariable custom from the beginning.
The proponents of Mr. Hargrove had meantime been active and vigilant. A circular was sent out by them, signed by Mrs. Keightley among others, and dated January 17, 1898, asking for signatures and support to elect Mr. Hargrove President at the coming Convention. As Mr. Neresheimer's name was proposed for Treasurer and as the circular proposed to create the old title of Corresponding Secretary and elect Mrs. Tingley to that office, the move was well calculated to appeal to peace-loving members. The pro-Tingley faction countered with a circular signed by Mr. Neresheimer as President of the T.S. in A., disavowing any connection with the scheme and calling for support of Mrs. Tingley. The Hargrove supporters re-issued their circular with a "Note" signed by Mr. A.H. Spencer and dated January 23, disclaiming any intention in the original circular of the 17th to make it appear that Mrs. Tingley was enlisted with the scheme. Another circular - undated - followed from the Hargrove faction declaring that "serious and obvious defects exist in the management of the Society" and, without naming her, arguing against the overwhelming authority exercised by Mrs. Tingley. This was followed by an E.S.T. circular issued by Mrs. Tingley, in which she tells the members:
"I have evidence from one or two places of absolute disloyalty to the Master and the School. Plans in embryo, indicating proposed action, which would be detrimental to the interests of the Theosophical Society, have come into my hands."
After invoking the names of H.P.B. and Mr. Judge, Mrs. Tingley gives the E.S.T. members the intimation of the program prepared for the Convention on February 18, in these words:
"Look for instructions which will open the door to those who wish to avail themselves of the opportunities of the new cycle, to be mailed on February 18, 1898, to Presidents of E.S.T. Groups for distribution to each Member."
The instructions referred to were duly distributed and advised the members of a New Lodge being formed under her direction, "to be the Guardians of the E.S.T.," and containing the usual warning against the "few who are working adversely at the present time to the interests of the School." She adds the significant words:
"When the report of the Convention of the Theosophical Society in America at Chicago shall have reached you, you will then better understand the deeper significance of one door closing and the other opening."
The Convention of the T.S. in A. duly met at Chicago on February 18, 1898. There was a large and enthusiastic attendance of delegates and visitors. There were placed in the hands of the delegates prepared and printed Resolutions, a Preamble and Constitution of the "Universal Brotherhood," and a "Proclamation to the Members of the Theosophical Society in America, by Katherine A. Tingley." Willingly, and with little short of unanimity, the Convention adopted the Resolutions, which provided for the turning over of the T.S. in A. to the "Universal Brotherhood" organization, and its future conduct as a department of that institution and under its Constitution. The Constitution of the "Universal Brotherhood" provided for various officers and a "Cabinet." Mrs. Tingley was constituted its "Leader and Official Head," and the same of the T.S. in A. department. Under the Constitution of both, as presented
and adopted, all final authority vested in Mrs. Tingley. No action of any kind could be valid if disapproved of by her, and any action taken by her as "Leader and Official Head" was incontestable. It was provided that this "Constitution" might be amended by a two-thirds vote at any "Congress" of the organization, but such congress could be called only by the "Leader and Official Head," and "no amendment shall be of force until approved by the Leader and Official Head." Mrs. Tingley had the right to appoint or remove at pleasure any and all Officers, and supreme control over all Branches and Lodges coming under the new organization.
The Hargrove band of followers, few in number, met in another hall after the Tingley program was adopted by the Convention. Mr. Spencer presided and resolutions protesting against the action of the Convention were adopted. The meeting then proceeded to hold a "convention" of its own. Resolutions were passed affirming that the action of the Chicago Convention was illegal; electing Mr. Spencer acting President, appointing an Executive Committee, and reaffirming the Constitution of the T.S. in A. as originally adopted at Boston in April, 1895.
Thereafter an active and violent battle was waged to gain the adherence of the members of the T.S. in A. and of the E.S.T. - on the one hand by Mrs. Tingley's "Universal Brotherhood," and on the other by the Hargrove-faction. More than 95 per cent of the membership accepted the action of the Chicago Convention. In all, some 200 members out of approximately 6,000 followed Mr. Hargrove and his associates. During the excitement which followed the Chicago Convention Mr. Hargrove issued a twenty-seven-page pamphlet entitled "E.S.T.," which was mailed to as many members as possible. It was dated March 1, 1898.
This "E.S.T." pamphlet of Mr. Hargrove's is, perhaps, the most remarkable of all the remarkable utterances put afloat by him during the entire period from the death of Mr. Judge onwards. It is in the form of "Minutes" of an "E.S.T. meeting" called by Mr. Har-
grove at Chicago in the late afternoon of February 19, following the Chicago Convention and the dissentient meeting held by the "bolters" from the action taken by that Convention. At this meeting Mr. Hargrove read to those who answered his call, a series of letters addressed by him to Mrs. Tingley at various dates from January 19, 1898 up to and including noon of the date of the meeting - February 19. The pamphlet contains the full text of these letters, plus bracketed comments added by Mr. Hargrove, and containing also other letters addressed by him to Mrs. Tingley subsequent to the Convention and up to February 25, 1898. There can be no dispute regarding these letters, as they were published by Mr. Hargrove himself. In them he incidentally makes the most astonishing admissions as to the course of events immediately following Mr. Judge's death. If the reader will refer to the statements of Mr. Hargrove at the meeting of March 29, and those contained in the circulars of that date and of April 3, 1896, as given earlier in the present chapter, and compare them with the statements made in his letters to Mrs. Tingley as given in his "E.S.T." pamphlet of March 1, 1898, the nature of the fraud perpetrated on the membership in declaring Mrs. Tingley to have been the successor appointed by Mr. Judge, becomes at once apparent. For in his letter to Mrs. Tingley dated January 30, 1898, he says:
"Now, my dear friend, you have made an awful mess of it - that is the simple truth. You were run in as O(uter) H(ead) as the only person in sight who was ready to hand at the time. We were all of us heartily glad to welcome you, for you solved the problem which confronted us - who was to be O.H.; you were a sort of neutral centre around which we could congregate. And most of us fairly yelled with delight, for you solved our difficulty and we had ample proofs that some members of the Lodge were working through you and that you had high and rare mediumistic and psychic gifts and that you were
a disciple of the Lodge. So things went swimmingly for a time.
"Our enthusiasm and anxiety to see all go well carried some of us too far - carried me too far to the extent of... leading me to use my personal influence with people to get them to accept you as O.H. I thought it was for the good of the work, but since then I have learned better."
In the course of his bracketed comments Mr. Hargrove refers to the original Minutes of the "Council" meeting at Mrs. Tingley's home following the death of Mr. Judge. This does not refer to the "general E.S.T. Meeting" of March 29, 1896, but to the secret gathering at Mrs. Tingley's home on Thursday evening, March 26, 1896. Mr. Hargrove quotes from page 2 of those Minutes: "After some speculation we finally, through E.T.H(argrove) were told that the Outer Head was Purple (Mrs. Tingley)." Mr. Hargrove adds a further reference to page 54 of the Minutes to show that it was through him that the other members of the Council "first heard of" Mrs. Tingley as the "Outer Head." His comments also show that a revised version of the original minutes of this meeting was later prepared at Mrs. Tingley's direction. Neither the "original" nor the "revised" version of what took place at that meeting has ever been made public, though Mr. Hargrove claimed in his comments that a certified copy of the original Minutes and the original of the revised version were in his possession.
That Mr. Hargrove, as well as Mrs. Tingley, had "high and rare mediumistic and psychic gifts" is indicated throughout his letters, for he tells Mrs. Tingley: "It is by Master's order that I write you"; "by order of the Master you have ceased to be the Outer Head of the E.S.T. in the interior and true sense"; "The Outer Head to follow you has already been appointed by the Master."
The circulation of Mr. Hargrove's pamphlet, the legal proceedings begun by him and his associates to test the
validity of the action of the Chicago Convention, and the revival of the old Theosophical Forum; with its first number dated February, 1898, containing an account of the Chicago proceedings and the efforts of the "bolters" to continue on the old lines - all these were met by vigorous efforts on the part of the pro-Tingley majority. By the middle of April the first number of The Searchlight; to which we have referred, was out with forty large pages of fine print in an endeavor to counteract the feared effects of the Hargrove revelations. The combined matter of both sides, when sifted and related to the proceedings made public immediately after the death of Mr. Judge in the circulars of March 29 and April 3, 1896, establishes beyond all question that Mrs. Tingley's "successorship" was due, and due only, to the "messages" obtained by virtue of the "high and rare mediumistic and psychic gifts" of Mrs. Tingley, Mr. Hargrove, Mr. Wright, and others - "messages" from "Masters," from the dead H.P.B. and the dead W.Q. Judge - not to any "appointment" made by the living William Q. Judge in his own physical handwriting.
Completely inoculated with the virus of "apostolic succession," both the fragments of the parent Theosophical Society rapidly degenerated. To do more than sketch briefly the successive steps of that degeneracy would serve no useful purpose and would itself be foreign to the enduring work of the Movement.
After the Convention at Chicago in 1898 Mrs. Tingley carried with her, practically in toto, the American Theosophists. Her "Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society" soon removed its "international headquarters" to Point Loma, near San Diego, California. Disintegration began almost immediately. Silently, as disillusionment set in, the membership began to lapse, and within a few years the "society" became a mere "colony." Of the more than six thousand members of the T.S. in A. in 1896, less than as many hundred now regard the decaying stump at Point Loma as the Theosophical tree. Mr. Hargrove and his group of recalcitrants fared no
better. Imbued with the same basic ideas, they substituted their revived "Theosophical Society in America" as the "successor" of the parent organization. In 1908 the name was changed to that of "The Theosophical Society." It has its own "chelas," its own "esoteric school," its own "messages from the Masters," and has become a mild and respectable Theosophical Episcopalianism, with particular emphasis on "the Master Jesus" and the "theosophy" of the "saints" of Catholic history. Its American membership has never exceeded from two to three hundred and its membership abroad has never been more than a handful.
Another offshoot of the break-up was the "Temple of the People." This began early in 1899 with a circular issued from Syracuse, New York, and signed by Dr. W.H. Dower and Frances J. Myers. Its particular "chela" was Mrs. Francis A. La Due, and her "messages from the Masters," given out under the pseudonym of "Blue Star," were its inspiration until her death in 1923. "The Temple" achieved a considerable following for several years. Many "Squares" (Branches) were established by ex-members of the "T.S. in A.," and the "Universal Brotherhood." Early in the present century Mrs. La Due was "ordered" to establish a "colony" at Halcyon, California. As other "initiates" offered new "messages from the Masters," the "Temple" became less and less frequented, and of this "successorship" but a forlorn remnant remains, as at Point Loma - sad relic of the collapse of the American fragment of the old Third Section.
"The Theosophical Society of New York" is still another attempt to resuscitate the work of the Third Section. This also began in 1899 and grew out of the long connection with Mr. Judge of Dr. J.H. Salisbury. Dr. Salisbury, with Mr. Donald Nicholson, managing editor of the New York Tribune, another early friend of H.P.B. and Mr. Judge, and Mr. Harold W. Percival, then a young man, gathered around them a small group. With this group became partly affiliated Dr. Alexander Wilder and Mrs. Laura Langford (Mrs. Laura Holloway), one
of the "chela" authors of "Man: Fragments of Forgotten History." The work of this society was continued for many years, but its vitality was never great and it was subject to the same basic defects as the better known survivors of the old American Section. It has been practically dormant for years since the discontinuance of its organ, The Word, published by Mr. Percival.
Dr. J.D. Buck, one of the best known of the original generation of Theosophical students, a firm supporter of H.P.B. and Mr. Judge, and author of several books, was Vice-President of the T.S. in A. at the time of Mr. Judge's death. He, like the rest, accepted the Tingley "successorship" and was active in her support for two years. After the Chicago Convention in 1898, he followed Mr. Hargrove in secession from the action taken at that Convention. After a short adhesion to Mr. Hargrove's T.S. in A., Dr. Buck was attracted by Mrs. La Due's claims and joined the "Temple of the People." When "the T.K " - Richardson - and Mrs. Huntley began their "Great Work," the claims of "the T.K." to represent "the Masters" and to afford a "scientific formula" for "adeptship," presented an irresistible lure to Dr. Buck. He became one of the most ardent devotees of "the T. K." and did his utmost to secure the adhesion of his old time Theosophical associates to the new "messenger of the Masters." The fraud and exposure of "the T.K." broke his heart and Dr. Buck did not long survive.
Another Theosophist of the first generation, Mrs. Alice L. Cleather, accepted as unquestioningly as did the others Mrs. Tingley's "successorship." For two years Mrs. Cleather was one of the most ardent and active supporters of Mrs. Tingley. She quietly dropped out in 1899. In later years she gathered a group of "pupils" to whom she imparted her own version of Theosophical history and teachings. After traveling on the Continent from place to place she finally removed to India. When the dissensions regarding Mr. Leadbeater became once more acute in Mrs. Besant's society a few years ago, Mrs. Cleather emerged from the obscurity of her own "esoteric" retreat and work. Taking advantage of the
occasion she wrote two booklets, ostensibly in "defense" of H.P.B. against the "successorship" and conduct of Mrs. Besant. In the course of these booklets Mrs. Cleather declared that Mr. Judge, not she and her one-time associates, had been deluded and dominated by Mrs. Tingley. Her declarations to that effect have been as readily and as unquestioningly accepted by many as her declarations to the contrary were formerly taken at face value. A Blavatsky Association was formed by followers of Mrs. Cleather to "perpetuate the memory and work" of H.P.B., to which members of Mrs. Besant's society are denied entrance.
Turning to the other fragment of the parent T.S. - that which adhered to Col. Olcott and Mrs. Besant after the split of 1895 - it has, by contrast to the mutilated and dying skandhas of the old "American Section," achieved a far longer life and a far greater utilitarian success, with a correspondingly greater degradation of the original Objects and teachings enunciated by H.P.B. Various contributory factors have brought this about. In the beginning the great prestige and tradition attached to Col. Olcott as the President-Founder of the parent T.S. caused the whole of the Indian and Australasian membership to remain loyal to the fragment headed by him. In Great Britain, on the Continent, and, to a small extent, in the United States, the ability and reputation of Mrs. Besant, the secondary but powerful influence of Mr. Sinnett and other well-known writers and leaders, coupled with the fact that the Besant-Olcott wing were the accusers and not the accused, gave an initial great advantage before the public. The dogma of "successorship" can be applied equally to organizations as to persons, and many who might have remained indifferent to Mrs. Besant's own claims as "successor to H.P.B.," were undoubtedly influenced by the name "The Theosophical Society" and the venerable President-Founder's connection with it. The death of Mr. Judge in less than a year after the split left Col. Olcott for eleven years in the unique position of sole survivor of the original Three Founders of the parent T.S. and this was fully exploited.
The dissensions which almost at once sprang up among the survivors of the American fragment and the speedy collapse of the spectacular performances staged by Mrs. Tingley and her competitors for the mantle of Mr. Judge, left the Besant-Olcott combination with no real rival in the "successorship" role. In the summer of 1899, Mrs. Besant withdrew the pledge, memorandum, and instructions of H.P.B. and substituted a new "pledge" for her "esoteric" students. This was followed by "studies" and "instructions" of her own, and by the circulation in her "School" of the "clairvoyant investigations" of Mr. Leadbeater and herself which were later published as "Occult Chemistry." Mrs. Besant, Mr. Leadbeater, and Mr. Sinnett, along with a host of lesser lights, fed and fostered that hunger for the mysterious, the abnormal, and the "occult" which H.P.B. and Mr. Judge had so resolutely and so continually opposed and warned against. The "E.S.T.," which controlled absolutely the exoteric Society, speedily became a "hall of Occultism" and a "factory for the manufacture of initiates" - the very thing that the veritable Mahatmas had so insistently discountenanced in Their letters to Mr. Sinnett in 1880-82; letters whose complete text is now available to all students in "The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett."
In 1906 charges of infamous conduct and teaching to boys confided to his care were brought against Mr. Leadbeater. An inquiry into the matter was held by Col. Olcott at London. Mr. Leadbeater admitted the charges and resigned from the Society. Colonel Olcott, who had meantime come to distrust Mrs. Besant, had regarded Mr. Leadbeater as the "agent of the Masters," and the disclosures made undoubtedly hastened his death, which occurred early in 1907. Mr. Chakravarti and others had endeavored to procure the endorsement by Col. Olcott of Bertram Keightley to succeed to the Presidency, while those devoted to Mrs. Besant had done the same in her behalf. The mentally enfeebled and physically dying President-Founder was beset in this way till his parting moment. Immediately following his death
Mrs. Besant, on the strength of her own "visions" and the "clairvoyant" witness of Mrs. Marie Russak (Mrs. Hotchener), and Miss Renda, declared that the "Masters" had visited the headquarters and "impressed" her to be the "Successor" of Col. Olcott as she was already the "Successor" of H.P.B. These "Adyar manifestations" raised a great furore throughout the Society. Mr. Sinnett declared them to be anything but what they were claimed to be. Mr. Mead revolted. Even Mr. Fullerton rebelled. A great war of claims pro and con set in. Mrs. Besant, ever master of the strategy of partisan politics, issued a booklet, "H.P.B. and the Masters of the Wisdom." Ostensibly a "defense" of H.P.B. against the Coulomb-S.P.R. charges of more than twenty years earlier, it was in reality a clever move to picture Mrs. Besant in the frame of H.P.B. 's martyrdom, as its opening paragraphs abundantly testify. Mrs. Besant was overwhelmingly voted for by the members who believed her to have been "appointed by the Master."
Mrs. Besant at once began a campaign for the restoration of the repute of her colleague Mr. Leadbeater. He was soon invited to return to the Society and in the years that have gone on has become increasingly the "power behind the throne" in Mrs. Besant's Society. In due course came the "coming Christ" revelation, the order of the "Star in the East" to herald "His coming," and a long succession of adjunct and affiliated orders, organizations, and movements by Mrs. Besant and Mr. Leadbeater. Chief among these was the "Liberal Catholic Church." A quarrel broke out between Mrs. Besant and the father of "Krishnamurti," the assumed probable "vehicle" of the "Incarnation," over Mr. Leadbeater's influence on this Hindu boy. The series of incidents in connection with the "coming Christ" claims have led to increasing extravagances and increasing disturbances in Mrs. Besant's Society. In the thirty years of its history the lapses and withdrawals from Mrs. Besant's Society have been enormous. Only the most strenuous propagation of one new "revelation" after another and the pandering to the thirst for "occult preferment" have enabled
it so far to withstand the immense drain of its losses which for more than twenty years have averaged annually some 15 per cent of the membership. Between the "coming Christ," the "Liberal Catholic Church," and the "Occultism" strenuously advocated by Mrs. Besant and Mr. Leadbeater and their imitators, the gulf that separates this fragment of the parent T.S. from the teachings of H.P.B. and Mr. Judge has grown so wide and deep that "Neo-theosophy" has been to all intents and purposes entirely substituted for the Theosophy recorded by H.P.B. as the Message of the Lodge of Masters. Not only has the Society itself become the reverse of the parent association whose name it bears, but the numerous segmentations from it have departed as widely from the original teachings and the original impulse of the Theosophical Movement.
Amongst these fractionations probably the most extensive was that due to Dr. Rudolph Steiner. Originally General Secretary of the German Section of Mrs. Besant's Society, his ability, his personal purity and earnestness, and his writings built up for him a very strong following. As his revelations of "Occultism" conflicted at many points with Mrs. Besant's inspiration, friction soon developed and with her usual methods Mrs. Besant set about forcing him into exile. Practically the entire German membership and many others throughout Europe followed Dr. Steiner when he organized his "Anthroposophical Society" which still numbers a very large membership and which depends entirely upon Dr. Steiner's "Occult" communications and instructions.
Mrs. Besant and Mr. Sinnett composed their differences over the "Adyar manifestations" and Mr. Sinnett accepted Mrs. Besant's invitation to resume the Vice-Presidency of her Society in which he remained till his death - as pathetic a figure as was Col. Olcott during his declining years.
Miss Mabel Collins was also sought out and invited back to membership in Mrs. Besant's Society. She, however, remained connected with it but a few years, and thereafter made various attempts to regain something
of the prestige she enjoyed prior to the Coues-Collins attack on H.P.B. but with scant success.
Mr. Geo. R.S. Mead, after following Mrs. Besant's flag in the "case against W.Q. Judge," remained her devoted assistant till the death of the President-Founder and the "Adyar manifestations." He parted from her at that time, subsequently established "The Quest Society" and has since devoted his energies to it and its publication, The Quest. His society has gained a considerable and highly respectable membership, mostly in Great Britain, and is devoted almost entirely to comparative religions and psychical research.
Mr. Max Heindel, originally a member of Mrs. Besant's Society and a lecturer in its American Section, became interested early in Dr. Steiner's writings. After a due season of "initiation," Mr. Heindel blossomed forth on his own account with a "Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception" and a "Rosicrucian" society. He established "headquarters" at Oceanside, California, and built up a flourishing association with numerous members throughout the world. Since his death the activities of this society have been directed by his wife, who survives him.
Aside from the foregoing, literally scores of "occult," "fraternal," "mystical," and "New Thought" groups and small followings have been established with varying appeals and fortunes, by ex-members of the old Theosophical Society and by renegade members of its Esoteric Section. Today it is a rare city indeed in Europe or America which is not the seat of from one to a dozen of these "successors" to the spoils of the Third Section of the Theosophical Movement.
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"William Q. Judge and Katherine Tingley" series of articles