Published by Blavatsky Study Center. Online Edition copyright 2003.
Mr. Fussell Explains
by Joseph H. Fussell
[Reprinted from The Canadian Theosophist (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada), January 15, 1933,
pp. 353-356. See the Editorial Note by Albert E.S. Smythe referring to this article.]
In your issue of May, 1932, you published an article entitled Mr. Judge's Alleged Diary, signed A.E.S.S. Therein you quoted the following statement recently circulated by Mr. E.A. Neresheimer concerning certain 'messages and quotations' which appeared in the E.S.T. Circular of April 3, 1896:
"these alleged 'messages and quotations' attributed to Mr. Judge could only have been concocted by Mrs. Tingley, assisted by Mr. Hargrove and Mr. J.H. Fussell, who alone were closely associated with Mrs. Tingley at Headquarters at that time, and who, with her, drafted all the communications that then went out from Headquarters. I refer particularly to these 'messages and quotations' declared by Mr. Hargrove, on pp. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 of the pamphlet, to have been received by Mr. Judge through 'Promise' from H.P.B. and entered by him in his 'diary'. Furthermore, I desire to say that both the one-page circular, dated with a stamp, March 29th, 1896, and the pamphlet dated April 3rd, 1896, were never approved by me and were sent out without my knowledge and never seen by me until after they were in general circulation among the members of the Esoteric Section."
Your own comment on the above statement by Mr. Neresheimer, as published in The Canadian Theosophist, was, in part, as follows:
"This is pretty conclusive that the whole theory of Leadership which resulted so disastrously for the Theosophical Society in America was cooked up by her who was most interested, and two assistants both of whom are living, and who can now make what explanations they please."
Being one of those charged by Mr. Neresheimer with having 'concocted' certain 'messages and quotations', which charge you published with the additional charge that I was one of those who 'cooked up' a certain theory distasteful to you based thereon as part of a 'conspiracy', as you call it elsewhere in your article, I have consulted competent legal counsel with regard to the above charges made by Mr. Neresheimer and yourself and published in The Canadian Theosophist, and I am advised that the statements published are in law distinctly libelous.
However, rather than bring discredit upon the cause of Theosophy and Brotherhood by instituting legal proceedings against Mr. Neresheimer, or yourself, or The Canadian Theosophist, I have decided to submit the facts to the judgment of right-minded Theosophists and to posterity, being confident of what that judgment will be. After you have read what I shall now place before you, I reply upon your own so oft-repeated expressions of devotion to Theosophy and to the Cause of Truth, not only to publish this letter but also specifically to withdraw your own charges, and in this way, as far as possible, to undo the wrong that you have done, not so much to myself, but to those who have accepted your and Mr. Neresheimer's erroneous conclusions as statements of fact.
On May 24, 1932, I wrote you a preliminary statement, which was afterward published in The Canadian Theosophist. At that time I had had no opportunity of going through the old files at our Headquarters in search of the original 'messages and quotations' in the handwriting of William Q. Judge, which I had been accused by Mr. Neresheimer and yourself of having assisted in 'concocting'. But I then informed you that there were other diaries left by William Q. Judge than the one which was in the possession of Mr. Neresheimer, the latter having been placed in his hands in my presence by Katherine Tingley as a mark of her trust and confidence in him, for his study and perusal, but in no sense given to him, as it at that time belonged and still does belong to the archives of the Theosophical Society with International Headquarters at Point Loma.
However, knowing full well that the 'messages and quotations' cited by Mr. Hargrove in the E.S.T. Circular of April 3rd, 1896, were actually quoted from originals in William Q. Judge's own handwriting, and having myself seen them on more than one occasion, I was perfectly confident that they would be found. My confidence has been fully justified in the fact that they have now all been found and are now in my custody here at our temporary International Headquarters at Oakley House, Bromley Common, Kent, England, and may be seen by any responsible Theosophist who cares to make an appointment with me for that purpose. For purposes of emphasis I hereby repeat that at the present time I have in my possession the originals in Mr. Judge's handwriting of every one of the 'messages and quotations' referred to by Mr. Neresheimer in his 'Some Reminiscences of William Q. Judge', page 10, as appearing 'on pp. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 of the pamphlet', i.e. the E.S.T. Circular dated April 3rd, 1896, which 'messages and quotations' Mr. Neresheimer declares "could only have been concocted by Mrs. Tingley, assisted by Mr. Hargrove and Mr. J.H. Fussell."
At this point I call attention to the historic fact that in that same pamphlet there appears a verbatim report of the remarks made by Mr. Neresheimer himself at the meeting which it records, in which remarks Mr. Neresheimer generally addresses everything there done and ends with this specific approval thereof:
"I corroborate everything that has been said by Mr. Hargrove. I was present when the papers of Mr. Judge were examined, and I have seen all the documents to which he referred."
Mr. Neresheimer was then in the prime of life and certainly in the full possession of his faculties. For thirty-six years he allowed the E.S.T. report of April 3, 1896, including all the 'messages and quotations' therein cited by Mr. Hargrove, and his published corroboration thereof, to go unchallenged.
Moreover, the statement made by Mr. Hargrove in square brackets on page 12 of the E.S.T. circular of April 3, 1896: "I have made two or three additions to the verbatim report of my remarks at his meeting, consisting of further messages and quotations from Mr. Judge's diary", proves Mr. Hargrove's good faith, but does not justify Mr. Neresheimer's statement made thirty-six years later: that both the one page circular, dated with a stamp, March 29th, 1896, and the pamphlet dated April 3rd, 1896, were never approved by me," even though his name appears as one of the responsible publishers of both of them.
The fact is that 'the one-page circular, dated with a stamp, March 29th, 1896', was read at the meeting reported in 'the pamphlet dated April 3rd, 1896'' and whether Mr. Neresheimer had before that time actually seen or not seen that 'one-page circular' is beside the mark; for he then heard it read by Mr. Hargrove, as proven by the report itself and substantiated by my own memory. The same evidence proves that, excepting the 'two or three additions' confessedly made by Mr. Hargrove, all the 'messages and quotations' now repudiated by Mr. Neresheimer were also read in Mr. Neresheimer's presence and endorsed by him as proven by his own words spoken at that time.
Moreover, the most lengthy of these 'extracts and quotations' forgotten by Mr. Neresheimer during the course of thirty-six years, was referred to by Mr. Hargrove at the meeting reported in the pamphlet dated April 3rd, 1896, in the following words:
"In a long message received by him" (W.Q. Judge) "from H.P.B. . . ., extracts from which were read at a general E.S.T. meeting in New York about a year ago, these being at the same time sent to the Advisory Council in London, there are some important references to this chela:"
The message referred to was then read by Mr. Hargrove and afterwards published in the above-mentioned pamphlet of April 3rd, 1896. It is one of the 'messages and quotations' which Mr. Neresheimer specifically charges "could only have been concocted by Mrs. Tingley, assisted by Mr. Hargrove and Mr. J.H. Fussell". But the original of this long message, which was 'sent to the Advisory Council in London,' in William Q. Judge's own handwritings, together with a covering letter, also in Mr. Judge's own handwriting, and addressed to Dr. A. Keightley, is also in our archives. And not only was this read at the meeting reported in the April 3rd, 1896, circular above mentioned, at which meeting Mr. Neresheimer was present and spoke as already described, but, as Mr. Hargrove stated, extracts from it had been read at an E.S.T. meeting in New York about a year earlier; and I have reason to believe, for such is my own recollection, that Mr. Neresheimer was also present at that earlier meeting. Furthermore, to my certain knowledge, Mr. Judge was in the habit of showing to Mr. Neresheimer and other members of the E.S.T. Council in New York any official communication which he might be sending to the E.S.T. Councillors in England. Mr. Neresheimer therefore cannot disclaim knowledge of this, although it is quite possible, as indeed I think is the fact, that his memory has failed him in respect to it. The statements contained in this message are among the most significant of all the 'messages and quotations' under consideration.
After I had found a few of the originals of the 'messages and quotations', but before I had found them all, as I now have, I invited Mr. Neresheimer to come to see these few at the International Headquarters of our Society at Point Loma which he did on August 25 1932, accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Emily Lemke-Neresheimer. There, in the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Oluf Tyberg, and Captain John R. Beaver, I showed Mr. Neresheimer some of these originals, and, in response to my direct question as to whether he was satisfied that these original 'messages and quotations' were in Mr. Judge's handwriting, he answered that he was so satisfied. I then asked him to make a written statement to that effect, and , in the presence of those just named, including his wife, he said he would so so. On that occasion I also showed him other Judge Diaries, all of which he declared to be in the handwriting of William Q. Judge.
Ina letter to me dated September 6th, 1932, Mr.Neresheimer said among other things:
"Frankly, I am somewhat in a quandary as to how to formulate the statement which I promised to make and send to you".
Since that time, having come to Europe in the middle of September, I have been in correspondence with Mr. Neresheimer, relying upon his word that he would make the promised retraction. In his latest communication, dated November 16th, 1932, addressed to Mr. Oluf Tyberg, who has been representing me in this correspondence, Mr. Neresheimer writes, after quoting the passage from his 'Reminiscences' which contain his libelous charges:
"It would appear that the word 'concoct' , used by me in the above-quoted paragraph, and objected to by Mr. Fussell, was ill chosen, since it can be interpreted in various ways, and hence my meaning misunderstood. But I can only repeat that all the statements made in my 'Reminiscences of William Q. Judge' were conscientiously made by me; that no libel or censure of anyone was intended by me, and that I solely and only desired to give the facts as known by me. If Mr. Fussell or anyone else mentioned in my 'Reminiscences' possesses other or additional facts, by all means let him, or them, do as I have done - make them public, together with the supporting evidence."
I shall not do as Mr. Neresheimer has done; for he did not confine himself to facts, but gratuitously libeled three of his former Theosophical co-workers and associates, one of whom, a woman, Katharine Tingley, now dead and unable to speak in her own defence, he addressed as late as August 23, 1925, as 'Dear Leader and friend', writing to her the following over his own signature:
"One thing, to be sure, stands always uppermost in my mind, namely, that my esteem and reverence for you never diminishes for the constancy of your good example is to me a perennial inspiration. I have seen many ups and downs during my long years of association with you, and saw your virile and victorious in most difficult situations, but of all the triumphs that you have recorded, your unwavering consistency in the ideals of Theosophy and the practicability with which you upheld them, was the best."
In conclusion, I repeat, that it is not my intention to institute legal proceedings, but I leave the matter to the judgment of right-minded Theosophists and those who shall follow after.
Joseph H. Fussell.
Oakley House, Bromley Common,
Kent, England, Dec, 12, 1932.
Return to Table of Contents of H.N. Stoke's
"William Q. Judge and Katherine Tingley" series of articles