“Reply to the Attack on Madame Blavatsky”
The Golden Gate, San Francisco, June 22, 1889
EDITOR OF GOLDEN GATE:
In view of the Coues-Collins attack upon Theosophy and Mme. Blavatsky, I wish to say: I have read, and do now hold, a number of letters written by Dr. Coues to Madame Blavatsky, during the past two years, in which that gentleman entreats and urges Madame Blavatsky to have him made President of the Theosophical Society in America. This correspondence includes such requests from a member of his family and also letters from himself to Col. Olcott and others, preferring the same urgent demand. Their dates cover a period of time during which Professor Coues has said, written and published that he was then the President of the said Society, which statement was utterly false as his own letters and the records of the society prove. Madame Blavatsky and the General Secretary made, in ’87, an attempt to have Dr. Coues elected to this position, but they were met with indignant refusals, based upon the career and private character of Dr. Coues; these written refusals include those of his personal friends, who considered him unfit for the place, in view of the ethical teachings of Theosophy. Undeterred by this rebuff, Dr. Coues still pressed his request upon Madame Blavatsky, finally bullying and threatening the desperately sick woman with personal scandal and enmity if she did not accede, and also calling her the greatest woman on earth, as so seen by himself, “the greatest man,” and that he believed in her most fully.
Madame Blavatsky replied that the Branches were autonomous, and that she had no authority to force a President upon them and could not do it. Disregarding this constitutional fact, Dr. Coues wrote and cabled her during the convention of last April, insisting and threatening still more strongly. The convention having closed without making him President, Dr. Coues fulfils his threats by his conspiracy with Miss Mabel Collins. Copies of all Madame Blavatsky’s replies to Dr. Coues were made at the time by her secretary, and are included in the correspondence covering all of the above points. There are, moreover, a number of other letters of Dr. Coues contradicting one another, stating facts known to be utterly false, as many witnesses and I can prove, and threatening other parties.
As regards Miss Collins, I also state that this lady received in London during March and April, a serious official rebuke for grave cause, in the Theosophical Society. Up to this time she had always declared her theosophical writings to be inspired by an adept known to her and to other members of English lodges, but not an Oriental adept.
This statement she has written and made verbally to me and to others known to me, besides printing its substance in each of her theosophical books. It was not until after the said rebuke and dismissal for most serious cause, and not until after Dr. Coues’ final threats had been firmly withstood by Madame Blavatsky, that the two persons above named united to slander Madame Blavatsky, and a traitor in America aided in the plot. Although Madame Blavatsky was in India at the time Miss Collins says she “begged and implored her” to write to Dr. Coues that Light on the Path was inspired, and although Miss Collins could not have “taken the letter to her” (Madame B.) as the latter was 7,000 miles away, yet these two conspirators against the society and Madame Blavatsky, have deliberately contradicted all their previous statements frequently and fully made, verbally and in writing, at various times and places during several years past, in the hope of punishing the woman who withstood their unjust demands or punished their breach of faith and pledge.
The above correspondence, in the shape of letters from both conspirators, copies of Madame Blavatsky’s replies and other documents, can be seen at the Path office, 21 Park Row, New York, on application by any trustworthy person, and will probably be published in due course. It gives the lie direct to almost every utterance of Dr. Coues regarding his relations with the Theosophical Society, whether made to reporters or others, makes his motives of enmity clear, and shows his word to be utterly worthless.
While I deeply regret this public exposure, good faith towards Madame Blavatsky, to fellow Theosophists and the world at large, impell me to make this statement, sustained entirely by the letters of the parties named, upon which simple but overwhelming proof we rest our case.
Perfidy, disappointed vanity and defeated ambition may hurt individuals but cannot harm the Society.
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE, F.T.S.
NEW YORK CITY, June 7, 1889