Published by The Blavatsky Archives Online.  Online Edition copyright 2000.

Madame Coulomb v. Madame Blavatsky.

by Emma Coulomb

[Reprinted from The Madras Mail, April 22, 1885, p. 5.]

We have received the following letter from Madame Coulomb: ---

After the publication of the Blavatsky correspondence in the Christian College Magazine and in my pamphlet, I was publicly charged with forging these letters by almost all Theosophists who wrote to the papers on the subject.  The world was informed also that Mme. Blavatsky was coming out to India to prosecute me.  I waited for the result, but it was all smoke, no fire.  A Committee of Investigation was appointed by the Theosophical Society to enquire into the whole matter, and they advised Mme. Blavatsky not to prosecute.  She was, I have no doubt, very glad of this advice, for if they had advised her to prosecute, she would never have dared to do so.  When the pamphlet issued by this Committee was published it was found that they defended Mme. Blavatsky against all charge of fraud, and reiterated their charges against me.  I determined therefore to bring the question of the genuineness of the letters before a Court of law by my own action.  I was advised that this could be done by prosecuting any of those Theosophists who had charged me with forging them.  Several friends offered (as I had nothing of my own) to help me to meet the expenses of this prosecution.  I therefore instructed Messrs. Barclay and Morgan to proceed against General Morgan, of Octacamund, as he had been the most forward in charging me with crime.  As a preliminary measure Messrs. Barclay and Morgan wrote to General Morgan on March 25th, threatening him with criminal proceedings, should he fail to make an apology before April 2nd, for the language he had used against me in certain published letters, etc.  General Morgan replied in a letter, dated Octacamund, March 31st, declining to apologize.  Meanwhile Mme. Blavatsky had suddenly determined to return to Europe, and those who were interested in her movements were surprised to learn, that she had embarked with Miss Flynn on board the S.S. Tibre on April 2nd.  Am I not justified in saying that Mme. Blavatsky ran away from a case in which she knew she would be one of the chief witnesses?
But what had brought the Theosophical Society to such a pass, that they let her go?  It is an open secret, (having been proclaimed in the Graphic and other newspapers) that on the first publication of the letters, the Psychical Society determined to send out a competent man to investigate the whole question.  In consequence of this Mr. R. Hodgson, of St. John’s College, Cambridge, arrived here, towards the end of December, and for two months was engaged in exhaustive investigations in Madras and Bombay, with what result, no doubt Mr. Hodgson will himself say very soon; but I may at least say this much, that largely through his efforts the guilt of Madame Blavatsky was so clearly demonstrated, even to the blind eyes of the chief men of the Society, that when things became serious, and there was a probability of prosecution, they insisted on her breaking her connection with the Society, and leaving the country at once.  When Colonel Olcott is challenged with these facts --- for facts they are --- by the Editor of the Christian College Magazine, he leaves the Recording Secretary to defend the position under the doubtful protection of the word “incorrect.”  The truth is unpalatable, and their lips will not utter it.  Nevertheless, it remains true, and they know it.

This fact alters my position entirely.  I should be quite prepared to go on with the prosecution of General Morgan, but cui bono?  The position which I wished to carry is already evacuated.  Further, those kind friends who promised me support, do not wish me to go on, and I am bound to listen to them, for I have no means of my own.  They say: “Your chief witness, Madame Blavatsky, has bolted; without her General Morgan could not prove his case, and the verdict must be given in your favour.  But what is the use of getting such an ex parte verdict?  Nobody wants to fine General Morgan.  The only value of the case at all would be to test the genuineness of the letters, and this cannot be effectually done if the Theosophists will not contest the case --- which they cannot do without Madame Blavatsky.  Further, by their action --- now known to all the world --- they have given up their defence.  It is ungenerous as well as useless to kick a fallen foe."  Of course I must take this good advice.  I have therefore instructed Messrs. Barclay and Morgan to drop the case.  I have no wish to aggravate the position of those who are already sufferers, but as for months I have smarted under cruel, unjust aspersions I have at least a right to such a vindication as the publication of this letter can give me.  I only ask the public to remember that I have fulfilled the promise made in the preface to my pamphlet --- “I will not run away” from any investigation.

St. Thome, 21st April.

E. Coulomb.


For background information on the Blavatsky-Coulomb letters, consult the
following two sources:

(1)  Obituary: The "Hodgson Report" on Madame Blavatsky by Walter A. Carrithers, Jr. See Section II:  The "Blavatsky-Coulomb Correspondence."

(2)  H. P. Blavatsky and the SPR by Vernon Harrison.  See Part 1: "J'Accuse: An Examination of the Hodgson Report of 1885," section titled:  "The Blavatsky-Coulomb Letters."