“Peace with Honor” or “A Scientific Frontier”
The Path, July, 1889
The PATH has never been a controversial magazine, and does not intend to be. But it cannot in justice to its readers fail to notice the recent exposures, in the Religio-Philosophical Journal, of self-confessed lying, jealousy, and violation of confidential relations. These are shown forth in the letters of Mabel Collins and Dr. Coues about Light on the Path, and later by the extremely vulgar Chicagoan wit of an article giving the confidential papers of the Esoteric Section of the T.S. “Peace with honor” has become impossible, and the lines that demark the frontier between true theosophists and those who are in the Society for gain or glory must be drawn.
The course of the Religio-Philosophical matters not. Its editor is a Chicagoan who will fight when his property is in any way attacked, and having shot off the missiles furnished by two recreant theosophists, will probably not soon indulge in similar work. But the others must continue if they are not exceptions to the rules that govern in similar cases. Dr. Coues, a president of a T.S. Branch, chairman at one General Convention, Mabel Collins, late joint editor of Lucifer with H. P. Blavatsky, are now, quite evidently, embarked on a campaign designed to bully and injure an old and dying woman. Both, actuated by similar motives of jealousy, present a sad spectacle. Dr. Coues, after losing the management of the old Board of Control, begs and implores Mme. Blavatsky for two years to make him President of the Society which he had ever injured by his presence; failing in this struggle, he casts about him for means of injuring her who had no power to raise to the head of our Society a man who had done nothing to deserve it. The heavy guns hurt none but the conspirators, for the explosion serves but to tear off the masks they held between theosophists and themselves, revealing them as moved solely by disappointed vanity and jealousy, while Light on the Path remains a gem as before and the Esoteric Section proceeds with its work.
The issue raised by the Religio-Philosophical Journal is a false one. It is, that H. P. Blavatsky has attempted to coerce the press. It also thinks that an Esoteric Section of the T.S. is wrong and unjustifiable. Inasmuch as the editor of that Journal joined the T.S. in 1885, and the upper and other Sections of the T.S. have always been in existence embracing many members, it is rather late for him to propose an amendment, 1 and it was improper to remain in the T.S. and attack its organization.
As long ago as 1881 the R. P. Journal printed articles by W. E. Coleman attacking the personal character of H. P. Blavatsky and the T.S. in general. To these the editor of THE PATH replied, but the reply was not printed; and the Journal has ever since been admitting similar scurrilous articles to Coleman’s first. Without orders or suggestions all fair men, let alone theosophists, should have hastened to reply. Doubtless silence made the Editor think the attacks were justified The press must have lately acquired the right to dictate to bodies of men and women that they shall not follow a common policy of rebuking caluminators and denouncing slanders: but we have yet to hear that the press has any such prerogative.
This whole trouble started in the Religio is but a tempest in a teapot. What if such a circular as he prints was sent in the Esoteric Section, or if a pledge was signed? Every one has a right to join such a body and to sign a pledge; and the Religio, or any other paper, has no right to object. Many of these journalists who object to these things are Knights Templar who take most binding oaths; perhaps the Editor of the Religio is one; we should like to ask, if he does not object; and if the published oath of that body is the correct one, perhaps he can explain how his present attitude is consistent with that oath, or maybe American civilization permits some fine distinctions not admitted by us.
“A scientific frontier” must be drawn. Theosophists who supinely sit down inactive while fellow theosophists are slandered and the cause itself dragged through the mud by scoffers, are only paper and straw theosophists: the mildew of self will destroy the paper, and the straw will be blown away by the wind, and those others who, while in the T.S., try to exalt themselves and misrepresent the Society are much less theosophists.
Yet all these things will do the Society good, and will tend to separate the wheat from the chaff in readiness for the closing cycle.
1. In the Supplement to the June Theosophist, 1881, the other sections are mentioned.