Reply: Resignation of Presidency, T.S. by Col Olcott
The Path, March, 1892
The following correspondence sufficiently explains itself. It is inserted here in order that American members generally may be in possession of the information. It will be remembered that Col. Olcott determined to resign some time ago, but was induced to alter his decision and to take a vacation in order to restore his health. But although the rest did him good we were all sorry to see, even so lately as when he visited America in 1891, that traces of old troubles remained, and at the 16th Annual Convention he again said that he could not do the work he used to do. So, feeling that the Society is firmly established, he now resigns official position. He will continue to reside in India and do literary work for the Society’s benefit, and no doubt will aid his successor very much in placing the Adyar Oriental Library on a better footing than ever. At the April Convention in Chicago resolutions will probably be passed upon the matter, and will include the expression of our high appreciation of his long services. By some it is proposed to suggest at that meeting that the American Section desires him to have at Adyar a free life-residence. This would be fitting.
ADYAR, INDIA, 21 January, 1892.
To the Vice-President of the Tluosophical Society;
DEAR SIR AND BROTHER,
Theosophy having been placed by recent events upon a footing of power and stability, and my continuance in office being no longer essential to the safety of the Society, I have obtained permission to carry out the wish—expressed by me in the convention of 1886 and reiterated in that of 1890—and retire from the Presidency. My health is now too uncertain for me to count upon having the ability to travel and work as I have done until now, in fact, I am at this moment under medical treatment and have had to cancel engagements for a tour to Arakan, Bengal, and elsewhere. I therefore resume my liberty of action to devote myself to certain literary work for the benefit of the movement, long since planned and which none can do save myself. In the ordinary course of nature the young replace the old, and I consider it more loyal to the Society to take myself into retirement, with all my faults and experience, than to selfishly linger on in office and perhaps obstruct better plans and men than myself. The Society is the life of my life, and so long as I live shall have the benefit of my counsel when asked.
In parting with my dear colleagues, I beg them to regard me, not as a person worthy of honor, but only as a sinful man, erring often but always trying to work his way upward and to help his fellowmen.
The Society has now within it a robust life that can only be destroyed by an incapacity for management with which nobody would venture to charge its leaders. Into their faithful hands I now entrust it, and shall be ready to withdraw by the first of May, or sooner if the Council shall arrange to take over the Society’s property and manage the duties of the President.
Office Vice-Pres. T. S. 132 Nassau St., New York, Feb. 22, 1892.
To Col. Henry S. Olcott, President T. S.
DEAR SIR AND BROTHER,
I beg to acknowledge the receipt, on the evening of the 19th of February, 1892, of your resignation of the office of President of the Theosophical Society, to take effect on the first of May, 1892, or sooner if the Council shall arrange to take the property of the Society and manage the duties of the President, as you find that the precarious state of your health and your advancing years will not permit you to travel and work as in the past. Having received this from you it is my duty, as Vice-President, to notify the various sections of the Society of the fact of your resignation and of its cause. This I will do at once.
Most undoubtedly they will feel with me the deepest regret that your arduous labors for the Society during its whole history from the very first have at last had such effect, and, coupled with the natural advance of age, have compelled you to carry out the wish for retirement which you expressed in 1886 and repeated in 1890. When your friends and colleagues urgently asked you at the latter date to reconsider it, we well knew of the inroads upon your health made by your work, and yet hoped that a long vacation shortened, in fact, by Madame Blavatsky’s death—might restore it.
This hope has failed, yet the Sections of the Society will however rejoice when they read that you, in tendering your resignation of your official position, and in declaring continued loyalty to the movement-which indeed none could doubt,-assure us that the Society shall have as long as you live the benefit of your counsel when asked. Of this we shall as a body most surely avail ourselves, for otherwise we would be shown incapable of valuing history, as well as ungrateful to one who so long has carried the banner of Theosophy in the thickest of the fight.
With assurance of universal sympathy from the American Section.
I am, my dear colleague,
Your friend and brother,
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE,