Published by Blavatsky Study Center. Online Edition copyright 2004.
Dr. Elliott Coues in His Letters
Some of His Letters to H. P.
|1726 N. Street, Washington, D.C.,
Dec. 25, 1888.
The compliments of the Christian season to the most magnificent heathen and greatest woman on earth, the Lady Blavatsky, from her humble admirer! So the Secret Doctrine is out - and its wisdom no longer a secret - but do you know, I have yet to see a copy though Mrs. Coues subscribed and sent the money long ago, and I also ordered another copy through Redway. How is this thus? Whenever the precious volumes do come, we shall have a rich treat and your slave will take pleasure in giving you some good reviews which may in some measure offset those of the other kind you are pretty sure to get. But you are cruel - or is it only forgetful - for never yet has a word of all my Theosophical writing been honored with a word of recognition in "Lucifer." I am doing more for your Cause in America than any other man except Olcott ever did and have means of doing it that no other man in America possesses. Witness the enclosed, which please take the trouble to read. How we wish you had been present! I have lately given a letter of introduction to your royal Highness to Judge * * * of New York, whom please receive graciously and send what is left of him after the impressive interview by express back to his wife, C. O. D. They are both great social powers in New York, who can do your Cause much good, and will do so. I want you, also, in your own interest, to pay special attention to anything that comes to you from the pen of Mrs. * * *, of Washington, enthusiastic and devoted theosophist, (2d degree) eager to serve you in every way. I think she has a matter of importance to communicate to you soon. Is your "first born," the meek Hibernian Judge still with your majesty? Give my love to him and say, I dont get up very early, but I stay up very late. I am glad you made it all right with your psychologized baby Olcott when he was with you, * * Those Jesuit knaves have had the world in a sling long enough - time for some of the rest of us to have a chance! [prophetic word.]
And after all, dear H. P. B., I am really very fond and very proud of you, and admire your genius as only a man of genius can.(1) So heres my blessing, and all good wishes, for the greatest woman of this age, who is born to redeem her times*, and go down to everlasting historical fame.
Ever yours, still in the psychic Maelstrom,
Darius Hystaspes II.
|1726 N. St., Washington, D.C., April 16, 1889.|
Dear Madame Blavatsky:
I have your cablegram (2), and should be pleased to receive your address to read at the Chicago Convention on the 28th of June if I go there, which, however, is at present doubtful. Mr. Judge has not confided to me any of his plans or purposes for that occasion, and I am entirely in the dark respecting the Convention.
I must now inform you of some other things, to which I beg to call your serious attention, as your action may very decidedly affect the future of your T. S. in America. You appear to have been misinformed or uninformed respecting the Gnostic and its Branches, as well as my own work in your behalf. Both in numbers and in quality of its membership, the Gnostic is unquestionably the leading Branch of the T. S. in the country. Its members are for the most part of a high, refined, educated and influential class in society, in science, and before the world, and most of them are indefatigable in working for the cause to which your own great and noble life is devoted. I am satisfied that, if you would do your part to give my Gnostics their just dues and recognition, they and I can lift theosophy clear of the mud which has been thrown upon it and set your own self in a proper light before the world. (3) We all feel keenly the abuse and persecution to which you have been subjected, and anxious to do you full justice and honor. (4) But they are unanimously dissatisfied with the way the society is run at present, and they wonder where your INTUITION can be, that you fail to see where your obvious advantage lies, in not strengthening and holding up the hands of their representative man. [Dr. Coues. Ed.] They are accustomed to deal in large measures in worldly affairs, and will deal with Theosophy in no other way. For example, it was decided to make a demonstration in New York next week, and a full rich programme has been arranged which will be applauded to the echo throughout the United States so far as command of the resources of the press can effect that result. Besides the secret meetings of the Gnostic T. S. and its various ramifications (5), there will be a series of receptions, banquets and other entertainments. I presume you have received cards to Judge -----s reception, for which 1,000 invitations have issued. I shall give a public lecture, and at least a dozen professional journalists are engaged to write up our affairs to any extent that may be desired. I send you a few of the preliminary clips, to show you how we do things, and what may be expected of the whole affair. (6) Be wise now and be warned in time [our italics Ed.]: you are a very great woman, who should be quick to see that this is no ordinary occasion. I tell you frankly, it is possible that all this prestige, social and personal and professional influence, scientific attainment, and public interest, can be thrown on the side of the T.S., as at present constituted, or can be switched off on a new track aside from the old lines. If you cannot SEE this, and understand it, and act accordingly, there is nothing more for me to say, and I must presume that you do not care for my people. Judge and I came to a fair understanding once, and I was carrying out our agreement in good faith, and all was smooth, when something or other, affecting the questions of the Presidency, interfered; and since then there has been nothing but friction and misunderstanding in the "Esoteric" T. S. - which you know consisted of yourself, myself and Judge: and your issue of a new and different "esoteric" manifesto did not mend matters. Now be wise and POLITIC: the state of the T. S. on May 1st [which would be just after the Convention election. Ed.] will decide the whole case respecting my Gnostics - that is, whether they remain under your care and powerful protection, or ----- well, my Dear Madame, you may finish the sentence - or rather, let the Masters whom we serve [what impudent desecration. Ed.] signify their will and pleasure. Then I shall know exactly what to expect and how to act. ------- The T. S. in America is at present a HEADLESS monstrosity: it must have a visible, official head to represent its real, invisible source. You know whom the majority of the F. T. S. have desired to put forward as their representative theosophist in America. It is only necessary for you to cable the Chicago Convention, to elect him president. Weigh these words well; pause, consider, reflect and ACT. "If twere well done, twere well done quickly."
With assurance of personal regard and well-wishing,
Your sincere and candid friend,
Washington, April 17th.
Dear H. P. B.
I wrote you yesterday a somewhat formal and very important letter, to which I hope you will give quick and ready attention. It occurs to me in thinking of it, that you might have supposed by "President" I meant President of the T. S. Nothing of the sort - that is Olcott, and I am glad it is he. I meant President or presiding officer of the American Section only. The American genius cant do anything without a "president" - you understand! I want to have a quiet pleasant chat with you, about several things I didnt put in my more formal letter. In the first place, do you know you are getting great discredit in this country and for what do you suppose? For being jealous of me! Can you imagine such flapdoodle? You are not moved by abuse, but you want to know how people think and what they say, and a great many are talking loudly and wildly, that your silence respecting my books in the "Secret Doctrine," and the absence of my name from "Lucifer" (as well as from The Path) means that you are afraid of my growing power, and will brook no rival so dangerously near the papal throne of theosophy. What nonsense! Bosh! I know you better than that! But people are mostly fools, and they will talk, you know. As you say, half of them in the T. S. are making fools of the other half, and half are making fools of themselves, and universal brotherhood makes a universal row, and their staple diet is the noses and ears of each other which they chew off. There is another queer thing. You have somehow got it stuck in your mind, that I put in the Chicago Tribune last year a caricature of the master K. H. I had nothing whatever to do with the article, which was merely a newspaper skit, and the lithographed effusion was no more a Mahatmic document than this letter. It was simply a piece of newspaper wit.
* * * * *
Judge is a good fellow, and means well, and I like him for many things, especially his devotion to you and the masters and their Cause; but dabbling in occultism, especially on a Mahatmic altitude is dangerous except to an Adept!! I am the humble servant of my Mahatma, whose name you learned in the secret lodge of the Initiates in London and Elberfeld, and scenes which Sinnett has immortalized in "Karma". Thanks to you, I first became fully aware of his existence, his power, and his methods of making his will known to me and others. I trust your Master and mine are friends; for as you obey the voice of the Silence when he speaks, so do I hasten to do the will of him who speaks in the same mandatory terms to me. I heard the well-known tones last night, as I flung myself on my weary couch after finishing the lecture I shall deliver next week in New York; and no doubt a like voice has often reached your highest and best senses. My Master tells me that every chivalrous sentiment of manhood should make me eager to defend and help a woman who has been sadly persecuted because misunderstood - and I shall do so, for that real woman - much as I may be forced, sometimes, to differ with and even seem harsh towards, some of the lower planes of existence which enter into the composition of so great-and-rare a soul as H. P. B. This from her best and truest friend, known in a former incarnation as
The Tribune letter referred to has a letter printed in Chicago after the Convention in 1888, and pretending to be from a Mahatma to Dr. Coues. [Ed.]
MADAME BLAVATSKYS REPLY.
17 Lansdowne Road, Holland Park, April 30th, 1889.
Dear Dr. Coues:
I have received your two letters and read them as they stand and also between the lines and therefore I mean to be as frank with you as you are frank with me. I will take your two letters point by point.
1. No one has talked to me about the Gnostic T. S. nor do I know anything of it - therefore I could not be misinformed. It may be "unquestionably the leading Branch of the T. S." in America. But as I never heard of it, I repeat, for either good or bad, I am quite in the dark as to what it may have achieved. If you will tell me what it has done I shall be very much obliged to you. You speak of its members being "highly refined, educated and influential in science and before the world. Now we have in England such highly scientific men as * * * * and others and dozens of lords and lordlings, and yet the T. S. would be just as well off without them for they are like the goats which give neither milk nor wool. But you say that they "are indefatigable in working for our cause." If they do, please let me know how or what. For I cannot mention your Gnostic Society without knowing anything of its doings. You speak of "lifting Theosophy and myself clear out of the mud which has been thrown at us." Now let me tell you, my dear Doctor, that there seems to be a curious law which turns the mud thrown at the Society into additional strength. As to the mire thrown at me, it is long ago that I became invulnerable. Not that I do not thank you for your very kind words, which I appreciate at their full value, but simply that you should know that I have finally given up all my personality and do not care for what people say.
2. You say that they (I suppose the members of the G. T. S.) are unanimously dissatisfied with the way the T. S. is at present conducted and they wonder where my intuition can be. What has my intuition or my humble personality to do with the American Branches or Section. They are all autonomous and any interference on my part will give them the right to send me to the devil. But, even supposing that I had any such influence, which I have not, your saying that they (your members) will deal with Theosophy in no other way than in large measures as they do in worldly affairs, why dont they do it and what need have they of my sanction? You speak of the secret meetings of the G. T. S. and its various ramifications, I answer: I never knew the G. T. S. had any "Secret meetings" nor have I ever heard of its "ramifications". Three persons from Washington have written to me quite the contrary saying that the Gnostic T. S. was quite inactive and quasi-dead, though its president was renowned for his balls and parties and generous hospitality. But my dear doctor this is not Theosophical work. Moreover * * * from * * * wrote me a very pathetic letter complaining that though belonging to my Esoteric Section, having been initiated by you and having received a letter of sanction from Master to whom she had pledged herself, she had never received any teaching I had to answer the truth. I said to her she did not belong to my Esoteric Section. * * I added that even you did not belong to it and that I had never heard that either of our two Masters had any knowledge of her. What that Esoteric Society may be into which you initiated her, I have no idea, and now since we speak of it let me tell you plainly that you who go against my Esoteric Section have no idea of it. The esoteric instructions I give are plain sound occultism with no phenomena or Masters behind the back (as I have enough of desecrating Their names). These instructions whether they emanate from a person besmeared with mud or glorified into a saint - it does not matter - they are genuine, bona fide occult knowledge of Eastern science which I alone can give. None of them pay one penny except postage and many of them not even that. So it is not a speculation; to certain devoted disciples here it costs hundreds of pounds a year to prepare and send all these hand-done MSS. instructions. My position in the E. S. is impregnable.
3. You tell me to be wise and warned in time - now what can you mean? What is that I cannot "see," and why cannot you understand that I have neither influence, power, concern, nor anything to do with the American Section at large - except with a few devoted Theosophists of whom I am sure. You reproach me with not caring for your people. How can I care for those whom I dont know at all, never having had any communication with them.
4. Speaking of Judge and the "fair understanding you once had with him," you seem to make me responsible for the subsequent developments. But who ever asked you to quarrel with him. In those days I wrote to about 50 Theosophists asking them to select you as a President, and they all turned back on me and declined. Some of your best friends did so - if you want to know. This is why I washed my hands of the whole thing, and got mad with Judge and you for putting me in such a position. * * * * The Masters did not undertake to influence all the Theosophists to select you - and if they wont elect you what can I do? I repeat they are perfectly autonomous and they know it. As to the Esoteric T. S. which you proposed should consist of yourself, Judge and me, I considered it at an end the moment the whole thing fell through. How could I give it any real seriousness when you were always heaping coals on Judges head, besides which, were you elected President of the American Section, Judge would still be above you in authority as Vice-President of the whole T. S. and the designated successor to Olcott as President, when the Colonel dies. This was settled unanimously by the whole Indian Convention and all the Branches and there is no getting over it. Therefore when having threatened me with all kinds of things if I am not wise and politic, you add, that I know whom the majority of the F. T. S. have desired to put forward as their representative Theosophist in America, I regret to say that I do know that it is not you, whoever it may be, as I have their letters to prove. And I add that I am sorry to find you saying that at present the T. S. is a headless monstrosity in America, and if it is so, I cannot help it. They all say that you are too despotic to be their head - almost all are of this opinion.
This is the end of your formal and very important letter. Let me answer you a few words as to the second.
1. Again you speak about my making you President of the Section. Would you have me go against Olcott, the Council, the Parent Society, quarrel with him forever and make a fool of myself, for this I would surely do without helping you in the least. The American Theosophists would not elect you, and Olcott would never ratify my nomination of you.
2. You speak of fools saying that I am jealous of you. No, "I cannot imagine such flapdoodle." They are idiots and I do not see why I should pay attention to them. Your friend Bundy in his R. P. J. has made me also jealous of Hiram Butler, I see. What can be better than that and you are in good company! They talk of my silence as to your books in the S. D. What does this mean? I have never read any of your occult books except the Bijou edition nor do I know that you have written any. Is it from that or from Biogen, that I should have quoted? The latter did not come into the subject. In "Lucifer?" Did you ever send me any articles? No I never received any papers where you wrote till last month, and as soon as I got your papers in pamphlet form I spoke about it. And even that I did for the sake of your wife whom I so sincerely love, because that lecture was an old one. Well, if people will talk, let them talk. For those who say this cannot be simply fools, as you say, they must be incurable idiots; and there are charges which do shoot beyond the mark.
3. If you had nothing to do with the Chicago Tribune article (tho you must have influence with your own nephew) then why did not you contradict it, then and there?
4. I know nothing about the number of messages you may have received from Masters through Judge, whom I would never believe capable of it, or any one else. Once Mahatma K. H. and my Master say they did not emanate from them, I am bound to believe what they say; and therefore must suppose such messages either tricks made by chelas or pure frauds. I myself have lost several friends and the Society good members, by such fraudulent letters through Eglinton, in which my signature and that of the Masters was magnificently forged and I was held responsible for it. C. C. Massey was deceived thus and left the Society because of it. It was just such a loss here as it would be if you left. I became the personal scape-goat, but the Society was not even moved by it. Therefore I do not see why you should not publish them, if it amuses you. If you say that they are forgeries, I shall not deny it; if you say that they come from Masters, I shall repudiate it. You speak of my seals on these letters; but you forget that on the Tribune supposed, K. H. letter, which you call a newspaper skit, there was a poor imitation of my seal. Where did they get this? From Judge, from me or from you? It could hardly have been any except one of us three, as there are not many people who know about this ring of mine. Your wise advice that such Mahatma messages should be confined to one channel, "the only genuine and original H. P. B. your friend," was anticipated by Mahatma K. H. in so many words. Then why do you kick against that? You speak of your Mahatma, why dont you send letters in his name instead of in those of my Master and Mahatma K. H. That would settle all the difficulties and there would be no quarrel. His name? I really forgot it! The Secret Lodge of the Initiates in London and Elberfeld? I have never heard of them. What you have learned through me, I know, and do not want to know beyond. You may obey or disobey your Master as much as you like, if you know him to exist outside of your psychic visions. As to mine, every man devoid of all psychic powers can see him, since he is a living man. I wish he could be yours, for then, my dearest Dr. you would be spiritually a better man and a less sceptical one than you are.
You speak of your eagerness "to defend and help a woman who has been sadly persecuted, because misunderstood." Permit me to say to you for the last time that no bitterest enemy of mine has ever misunderstood me as you do.
To close, as a friend, the husband of a woman whom I love and respect, you can get almost anything from me (except treachery to the Masters and the Society); as the extra intelligent man you are, with all your ability and wonderful knowledge of women in general, you will not move me by either threats, sweet irony, or Parthian arrows, because I am not "a woman in general." And also because I have become of late a dead body, dead to outside influence, dead to love or hatred, to praise or blame, and that the few years, or perhaps days that I have to live, I have determined to devote to the service of my chief divine Master, the God within me, and my terrestrial or earthly Master, who is beyond the Himalayas.
Work for the Society and show me that you can do it good, real good, and my life will be at your service. Go on flapdoodling, attempting to play with me as a cat plays with a mouse and the latter will prove too strong for you. There is a story about a free thinking hero, or perhaps a President of the U. S. whom Satan would not have in Hell and therefore gave him a box of matches and some coals, asking him to go and make a hell of his own. Why dont you take my advice and expand the Gnostic all over the States? Nobody prevent you, for you are autonomous. Do it and I will support you in "Lucifer" and elsewhere, if I know what you are about. But believe me, do not touch at the T. S., "headless monstrosity" though it may be in your eyes, for that monstrosity may yet become your Frankenstein, junior. You have tried it two years ago and you saw that you could do nothing. You can create lots of scandal, turn against Judge and myself and the whole Society; but believe me even were you to upset a few fellows, you will never upset the Society, or even give it severe shaking. A Persian proverb says: "He who spits against the wind, receives it back in his face." Better swim with than against the tide.
And now shall we remain friends, or shall I close my heart against you? Choose. I received your letters to day, the 30th, the Convention is at an end, therefore I can help you in nothing.
My best love to Mrs. Coues, if she will accept it.
Ever yours and sincerely,
H. P. Blavatsky.
A CONFESSION ABOUT THE "TRIBUNE" FRAUDULENT LETTER.
Smithsonian Institution, May 21, 1888.
My Dear Judge:
I think that on reflection you will find yourself a little hasty in pitching into me about that "Tribune" matter. * * * * * Now I saw that letter of which you complain fall down from the air over a persons head, precisely in the same manner as you have seen a like letter fall - one, of which we have since heard a good deal. The writing on one side was in that peculiar hand which I have learned to recognize in several expressions of the will of the Blessed Masters which you have been good enough to send me * * * The writing on the other side must have been subsequently precipitated and the seal affixed. * * If K. H. had not wished about 75,000 persons to be advised of the mode in which he brought about the Convention in Chicago he could easily have dematerialized the document * * It was clearly the will of the Brotherhood that the T. S. should be thus broadly advertised - and no doubt it would also be by the will of the same august personages, if the "Religio" for example should contain some day a column or two explaining the delicate and mysterious manner in which rice-paper communications are "precipitated" out of the Akasa. * *
Washington, D. C., 1726 N. St., June 11, 88.
But now comes another trouble. It appears, and not from "Coues brain," but from a much more material and very likely much stupider source, that you have been opposing my long standing candidacy for the Esoteric presidency, in order to keep the ostensible control of T. S. in your own hand and make yourself the real or actual head of the concern in America, leaving me only as a figure head; and I am referred to all and any newspaper reports which emanate from the Aryan or yourself, as carefully suppressing or at least not putting forward my name, &c.
* * * * *
["D. H." means Darius Hystaspes, the signature on most of his letters. In the above and other letters, he plainly admits that he sent to the Chicago Tribune the pretended precipitated letter which, to Mme. Blavatsky, he denies all knowledge of. Ed.]
Washington, 1726 N. St., Jan 16, 89.
If you were as particular to defer to the P. P. in public as you are scrupulous in doing it in private, in your letters to me, the complexion of affairs would greatly improve. So far as I can see, you have directed all your energies to create the general impression, particularly among the Theosophic idiots, that you are the President and the leader of the Theosophical movement in this Country. So it invariably appeared in the N. Y. papers, whenever you can get a green reporter by the ear. Of course I am not the man to stand any such nonsense, and you need not be surprised at any position you see me publicly taking presently and holding to assert my proper prerogatives. Then we shall see who is President, and any body shall be welcome to the buckers and kickers who dont like it, dont know what to do, and havent sense enough to be told.
Yours for Mahatmic missives, (several of which you have sent me).
Victoria Hotel, N. Y, April 26, 1889.
If you have been watching the papers, you know already how theosophy has shown up here during the past few days. I enclose a sample, of probably several hundred articles and shorter notices, and the visit has been a round of applause from first to last. [The "round of applause" was the fulsome personal praise of himself, by himself. - Ed.] * * *
It is of course quite out of the question for me to think of representing the Gnostic at this convention, - though I still indulge the hope that you may be able to give a turn to affairs for the better.
[As H. P. Blavatsky had refused to telegraph to the Convention to violate its Constitution by electing a president, it was "out of the question" for Dr. Coues to go there. - Ed.]
1726 N. Street, Washington, D. C., May 19, 1889.
My Dear Sir:
You evidently labor under a misunderstanding, which a few words of mine may clear up. In the first place, kindly take with large allowance everything you see about me in the newspapers that is not over my own name. That disposes of the "Esoteric" matter: for the "Esoteric T. S." is simply Madame Blavatskys latest joke, half-seriously put forth to galvanize, if possible, into new life her now moribund, long famous, original hoax. Is this "plain everyday English"? Next, should you doubt anything I say, put this letter quietly away in your desk; and remain where you are, till you have satisfied yourself. To this end you have only to act thus: 1. Believe in the blessed Mahatmas and love and serve them: which being interpreted means: Believe in Blavatsky, and obey her. [Compare E. C.s letters to her supra. - Ed.] 2. Abuse the writer of this letter in any way your taste and ingenuity may suggest: which being interpreted means, that you know scientific psychic research is fatal to all fakes and fakirs. * * * *
I hardly know how this letter will strike you now; but I suspect that, in the course of time, you will come to regard it as one of the most friendly and valuable suggestions you ever received.
With regard, yours truly,
* * * Esq., New York.
We have on hand a large collection of letters from Dr. Coues to other persons, but forbear at present, as the foregoing appear to uncover the real basis, animus and meaning of the two recent attacks by Dr. Coues upon the Theosophical Cause and the woman of whom he is "very fond and proud," and whom "every chivalrous sentiment of manhood should make him eager to defend." Faugh!
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE.
New York, June 14, 1889.
(1) The italics are ours.
(2) This was a cablegram informing him that she had sent by Dr. Keightley her Convention address and that Dr. Coues might read it.
(3) It is an interesting fact, that the Gnostic numbers about 30 members and for two years has paid no dues in America and has never done any work except such as it found in the newspaper articles glorifying Dr. Coues. [Ed.]
(4) Another fact is, that none of these "Gnostics" have taken the trouble to vindicate or justify Madame Blavatsky when the newspapers, and especially the Religio-Philosophical Journal, have published scandalous lies about her. [Ed.]
(5) "Various ramifications" means single individual members of it. [Ed.]
(6) This great theosophical affair consisted of a reception in a residence in West 46th street near 7th avenue to Dr. Coues, and his lecture in a small dancing academy in 5th avenue called "Cartiers Hall," followed by what is called "a syndicate letter" written by a lady, sent under contract to about 100 papers on the same day, and containing nothing but fulsome praise of Dr. Coues, his good looks and "leonine poses." These were justified, for he has good looks. [Ed.]