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T.S. true early history

Oct 31, 2006 01:11 AM
by ek_carl

The following article is from THE PATH, May, 1895, and probably 
written by W.Q.J. Today's consequences are worth thinking of for 


The Path, May 1895, pp. 55-60



These facts are extracted from a paper prepared for the Convention 
at Boston in April, 1895. The historical documents and records used 
in the preparation of the matter are: the original minutes of the 
T.S.; the original constitution; the record published in India, 
Europe and America from time to time; Old Diary Leaves - not 
considered however as wholly reliable – original documents drawn up 
and signed as far back as between 1875 and 1878.

1.	At a meeting held in the room of H.P. Blavatsky, 46 Irving 
Place, New York City, September 7, 1875, it was agreed to form a 
Society for the purpose of Occult Study. Upon motion of William Q. 
Judge, Henry S. Olcott was elected Chairman of this meeting, and 
upon motion of H.S. Olcott, William Q. Judge was elected Secretary 
of the same. Adjourned to September 8, 1875. This is asserted as the 
facts by those who were present.
2.	Pursuant to adjournment, a meeting was held at the same 
place September 8, 1875. It is with this meeting that the minute 
book begins. Upon motion of William Q. Judge it was voted that H.S. 
Olcott take Chair, and upon motion it was voted that William Q. 
Judge act as Secretary. Upon request of the Chair, sixteen persons 
handed their names to the Secretary, as agreeing to found and belong 
to such a society. A committee of four, including the Chairman, was 
appointed "to draft a constitution and by-laws and to report the 
same at the next meeting". Adjourned to Monday, September 13, 1875, 
at the same place.
3.	Pursuant to adjournment, a meeting was held September 13, 
1875. H.S. Olcott acted as Chairman and C. Sotheran as Secretary. 
The Committee on "Preämble and By-laws" reported progress. It was 
resolved that the name of the Society be "The Theosophical Society". 
The Chair appointed a committee to select meeting room. "Several new 
members were nominated and upon motion those persons were added to 
the list of Founders". The meeting adjourned subject to the call to 
list of the Chair.
4.	Pursuant to notice dated at New York, October 13, 1875, 
signed Henry S. Olcott, President pro tem., a meeting was held at 
206 West 38th street, October 16, 1875, "to organize and elect 
officers". Eighteen persons were present. The report of the 
Committee on "Preämble and By-laws" was laid on the table and 
ordered printed. The meeting adjourned to October 30, 1875, at the 
same place. H.S. Olcott was Chairman, and J.S. Cobb Secretary.
5.	October 30, 1875, the Society met pursuant to adjournment. 
Mott Memorial Hall, 64 Madison Avenue, New York City, was selected 
as the Society's meeting place. By-laws were adopted, but with the 
proviso that the "Preämble" should be revised by a committee and 
then published as the "Preämble of the Society". Officers were 
elected as follows: President, Henry S. Olcott; Vice-President, Dr. 
S. Pancoast and G.H. Felt; Corresponding Secretary, Mme. H.P. 
Blavatsky; Recording Secretary, John Storer Cobb; Treasurer, Henry 
J. Newton; Librarian, Charles Sotheran; Councillors, Rev. J.H. 
Wiggin, R.B. Westbrook, LL.D., Mrs. Emma Hardinge Britten, C.E. 
Simmons, M.D. and Herbert D. Monachesi; Counsel to the Society, 
William Q. Judge. Adjourned to November 17, 1875.
6.	The Society met in Mott Memorial Hall, November 17, 1875, 
pursuant to adjournment. The President read an address and after 
that the transaction of business, adjourned to December 15, 1875.
7.	It is probable that Col. Olcott selected this as the date of 
organization, because of his inaugural address, but it is not 
correct, and he had no authority to do so. About this time members 
fell away and there was no quorum.
8.	 A few odd meetings were held until 1878. The minute book 
was mislaid. Resolutions were made by two or three persons writing 
them out and declaring them passed.
9.	In the year 1878 H.P. Blavatsky and H.S. Olcott were 
appointed a "Committee of the Theosophical Society" to visit foreign 
countries and report. The Theosophist for October, 1879, vol. i, No. 
I, p. I, first item, says: "For the convenience of future reference, 
it may as well be stated here that the Committee, sent to India by 
the Theosophical Society, sailed from New York December 17, 1878, 
and landed at Bombay, February 16, 1879, having passed two weeks in 
London on the way". In the Theosophist for January, 1880, vol. i, p. 
95, Col. Olcott says he "came to India with two English colleagues 
and their learned Corresponding Secretary, Madame Blavatsky. They 
came only expecting to study Eastern Religion and Yoga Vidya and 
report their discoveries to the Western Theosophist", which were the 
Society in New York, consisting of over forty members at the time.
10.	Before the departure of their Committee to foreign 
countries, the Theosophical Society elected General A. Doubleday as 
President pro tem., to serve during the absence of the President. 
This election of President pro. tem. was never revoked; nor was the 
appointment of this Committee. On arrival in India H.S. Olcott had 
their picture taken and sent to America endorsed by him "The 
Delegation to India".
11.	Meeting of the Theosophical Society were held at New York 
for some years after departure of the Committee, and were presided 
over by General Doubleday and William Q. Judge.
12.	From October 30, 1875, December, 1878, all alterations of 
the By-laws were made in regular and formal manner, by the Society 
in New York.
13.	These By-laws provided that new members could not be elected 
until after thirty days consideration of their application.
14.	The original organization was kept up at New York certainly 
until after January 1, 1882.
15.	What purported to be "Revised Rules of the Theosophical 
Society" were adopted at Bombay in October, 1879, by a body which 
called itself the "General Council of the Theosophical Society", but 
had no legal existence whatever. There was published in the 
Theosophist for April, 1880 (vol.i, p. 179): "The Theosophical 
Society or Universal Brotherhood. Principles, Rules, and By-laws as 
revised in General Council, at the meeting held at the palace of 
H.H. the Maharajah of Vizianagram, Benares, 17th December, 1879". To 
this was subjoined the statement: "Revised and ratified by the 
Society, at Bombay, February the 26th and 28th, 1880. – Attest: 
Kharsedji N. Seervai, Joint Recording Secretary". This meeting at 
Benares was merely one held by H.S. Olcott without notice and was 
irregular. It was here that Col. Olcott worked out the resolution 
that declared him President for life, The original Constitution 
fixed his term at one year and was never amended. The so-called 
ratification at Bombay was irregular and amounted to nothing.
16.	None of the admissions to membership nor any alterations of 
the By-laws adopted at the instigation of the Committee sent to 
foreign lands were in accordance with the By-laws of the 
Theosophical Society in force at the time. The legal By-laws were 
adopted by a vote of the Society in New York and could only be 
changed by a like vote. None of these alterations of the By-laws 
were ever submitted to the Society in New York and that Society 
never voted on any of them.
17.	From December, 1878, down to present time, various sets 
of "Rules", "By-laws", and "Constitutions" have been promulgated by 
alleged "General Councils", but none of them have ever been adopted 
in accordance with the only By-laws of any validity.
18.	No laps of time, no passive assent, and no active assent 
given in ignorance of the legal status of the case, would confer any 
validity upon the otherwise illegal acts of the President or of the 
Committee to foreign lands or those claming to act through or under 
them, or either of them.
19.	 Up to 1880 members were admitted to the Society in New York 
in accordance with the By-laws.
20.	Before H.S. Olcott and H.P. Blavatsky went to India the name 
of the Society was altered in New York, in the manner which 
prevailed after members had dropped off, to "The Theosophical 
Society of the Arya Samaj of Arya Vart". This made it a Branch of 
the Arya Vart, over which Dyanand presided. Diplomas were printed 
thus and issued as late as September, 1878, with Dyanand's name and 
seal printed on them.
21.	In India, again, Col. Olcott, in the same manner as before, 
altered the name of the Society back to the old style by striking 
off "of Arya Samaj of Arya Vart". If the Society properly voted to 
change in New York to Arya Samaj, it certainly never voted to 
22.	Before the departure to India in 1878 the Recording 
Secretary was sent to London to form the British Theosophical 
Society. Hi did this and Dr. Wyld presided over that for a time. 
This body finally became, it asserted, the "London Lodge", now 
controlled by MR. Sinnett.
23.	The London Lodge has always claimed to be autonomous, has 
continued its work, always claiming to be perfectly independent of 
the President, the parent Society, the Section in which it is, the 
Constitution, and all and every person and body whatever. This 
anomalous position has been always recognized and permitted by the 
President, and also by the European Section in which that Lodge is. 
This is finally exhibited in the letter from the Lodge, found in the 
Proceedings of that Section for 1894.
24.	 When H.P.B. for the last time settled in Europe, she 
autonomously, independently, and at the request of the Europeans 
(except the London Lodge), founded "The Theosophical Society in 
Europe", of which she was President. After she hade made her 
declaration, Col. Olcott issued a paper so as to seem to approve of 
what had been done. On these was built up the present European 
25.	An examination of the records from the beginning to the end 
of 1893 shows that there is no record whatever of the election of 
William Q. Judge as Vice-President of the T.S. In July, 1894, at 
London, Col. Olcott and the Indian General Secretary upon William Q. 
Judge's raising the point, decided that they would assert that the 
record was defective and could be cured by stating the fact that 
such Vice-President had been elected in India many years before, and 
it was so ordered in Council. But as the meeting at with said 
elected took place – if it ever did – was not one participated in by 
those who could bind the whole Society, and as the teal T.S. existed 
in New York, if anywhere, it follows that William Q. Judge was not 
regularly elected Vice-President. 
	The following by Col. H.S. Olcott occurs in a letter from 
him to W.Q. Judge, dated May 17th, 1893: "If you want separate T.S. 
Societies made out of Sections, have them by all means: I offered 
this years ago to H.P.B., and even to A.P.S[innett]".
	In July, 1894, at London, he enunciated the same idea and 
plan to W.Q. Judge and Dr. Buck, after the dismissal of the 
26.	From a consideration of the above statement of facts it 
follows that:
(a) The present existing so-called "General Council of the 
Theosophical Society" was merely a de facto status and not a legal 
one, as it has grown out of and upon wholly illegal proceedings.
(b) The By-laws adopted October 30th, 1875, and such amendments 
thereto as were made according to the terms of those By-laws, are 
the only legal ones at present in force and the only ones having any 
validity whatever.
(c) The Theosophical Society formed at New York in 1875, never had 
any legal existence outside of the United Stated and cannot have 
except upon amendment of the By-laws.
(d) The Theosophical Society was founded at New York, September 8, 
1875, by some eighteen persons, and there was no such Society 
founded November 17, 1875, that being simply the date upon which the 
President delivered his inaugural address.
(e) The present existing so-called "Theosophical Society and 
Universal Brotherhood", with its officers and "General Council", has 
no legal connection with "The Theosophical Society" founded at New 
York, September 8, 1875.
(f) The authority of the so-called "General Council of the 
Theosophical Society and Universal Brotherhood" over members, 
Branches, and Sections, who have submitted to it in ignorance of the 
real facts in the case, existe inly so long as its authority is no 
called in question, but when so called in question it ceases to have 
any lawful authority whatever.
	NOTE. A diploma made and issued in due form in 1883 to a 
member in St. Louis, was signed by Gen. Doubleday as President pro 
tem., and William Q. Judge as Recording Secretary. This shows the 
Society as then active in New York. We will print next month a 
reproduction of this diploma. 

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