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Jun 16, 1996 06:12 PM
by Alan


This is the first part of the REPLY mentioned in CWL03a.TXT, and may end
up as three, rather than two files.  Mead and his colleagues had a great
deal to say ...

[Footnotes in the original have been incorporated in the text in square

Alan Bain

{bold, underlined}: To the Members of the Theosophical Society:
   For Private circulation among members only.{end bold, etc.}




Of November, 1908

Printed by E.E.MARSDEN, Carr Street, Manchester; and Published by
   Selwood Place, Onslow Gardens, London.S.W.


At a representative meeting of many of the older and well-known
   members or the Theosophical Society, held in London, on November
   13th, the present situation with regard to the Leadbeater Case
   was fully discussed. The President's Letter in answer to the
   request of the Convention of the British Section that she should
   take steps to put an end to the scandalous state of affairs
   which now obtains in the Society, was carefully considered. In
   view of the fact that she refuses to take any steps, but on the
   contrary would welcome the reinstatement of Mr. Leadbeater, and
   that, too, without the public repudiation which she promised
   should be exacted of him, it was decided that a Reply to Mrs.
   Besant's Letter should be issued, and Miss Edith Ward, Mr. Mead,
   Mr. Kingsland, and Mr. Herbert Burrows were appointed a
   Committee to draw up the Reply.


The recent Letter of Mrs. Besant, as President of the Theosophical
   Society, which has been sent to all the members of this Section
   (and also to all the other Sections of the Society), purports to
   be her reply to an earnest appeal, by the British Section in
   Convention assembled, to the members of the Theosophical
   Society, and especially to the President and members of the
   General Council - to unite in putting an end to the scandalous
   state of affairs which now exists in the Society with regard to
   what is known as the Leadbeater teaching, so that the
   repudiation by the Society of this pernicious teaching may be
   unequivocal and final.

By formal direction of the Convention (held in London, July 4 and
   5, 1908), a Special Report of the resolutions and of the
   proceedings which led up to them (including a full statement of
   the facts which necessitated the appeal and the debate on the
   subject) was prepared, by a Special Committee (whom the
   Convention unanimously appointed), to be issued to the members
   of the Section. This Committee consisted of Miss Edith Ward,
   Messrs.  G.R.S.Mead, Herbert Whyte, Herbert Burrows, and Mrs.
   Sharpe, General Secretary of the Section. An account of the
   proceedings of the Committee will be found in The Vahan of
   October, 1908.



This Report, which was duly prepared and passed by the whole
   Committee, has been suppressed by the General Secretary, who has
   been supported by a majority of the Executive Committee - nine
   to five.

The nine are: Miss Bright, Miss Green, Mrs. Larmuth, Mr. Leo, Miss
   Mallet, Mr. Hodgson Smith, Mr. Wedgwood, Mr. Whyte, and Mrs.
   Sharpe. (Mrs. Sharpe did not vote on the actual resolution
   supporting her action, but voted on all other resolutions in the
   same sense.)

The five are: Mr. Burrows, Mr. Glass, Mr. Kingsland, Mr. Mead, and
   Miss Ward.

Against this solid majority the minority who have endeavoured to
   carry out the wishes of the Convention have been powerless.
   This policy of suppression has been vigorously maintained; and
   now, more than four and a ha1f months after the Convention, the
   members are still in ignorance of these important proceedings.
   In spite of a resolution unanimously passed at the Convention
   that The Vahan, the sectional organ, should be open to the
   free discussion of all matters of interest to the Section, Mrs.
   Sharpe refused to print even the following document:

The Report of the Debate, for which two additional sessions of the
   recent Convention of the British Section of the Theosophical
   Society were required, and which culminated in the passing of
   two very important Resolutions, has now been agreed to
   unanimously by the Special Committee appointed by the Convention
   to prepare it for publication.

The General Secretary, however, refuses to publish the document,
   and is supported in her refusal by a majority of the Executive
   Committee. We, the undersigned members of the Special Committee
   (of five), are prepared to carry out the instructions of the
   General Council in Convention duly assembled.

The official means of issuing the Report, however having been
   denied us, we now apply directly to the members of the Section
   for the necessary funds and addresses (which may be sent to any
   of the undersigned), in order that we may carry out the
   imperative duty of acquainting the Section with the present
   grave state of affairs.


It has thus been deliberately rendered impossible for the facts of
   the case to be placed before the members. And now with only Mrs.
   Besant's letter before them, the members are being urged to sign
   a petition for Mr. Leadbeater's reinstatement. [Mr. Burrows and
   Mr.Mead have now printed their speeches themselves in a pamphlet,
   and copies may be obtained from them.]

Even in Mrs. Besant's Letter, which has gone out to the whole
   Society, as well as to the members of this Section, the very
   resolution on which she bases that reply, is not given, and it
   was only at the last moment that the General Secretary of this
   Section found herself compelled to enclose the bare text of that
   resolution with Mrs. Besant's Letter as sent out to the Section.
   [And yet Mrs. Besant (p. 3) claims that she is submitting "the
   whole case to the judgment of the Theosophical Society."]

Even when this opportunity arose Mrs. Sharpe has still suppressed
   the following two very important decisions of the Convention.

By 33 votes to 31 the Convention rejected an amendment, moved by
   Mrs. Sharpe, and seconded by Mr. Ernest Wood (of Manchester):

Welcoming the President's policy of collaboration with Mr. C. W.
   Leadbeater in any work which he is willing to do for the

This amendment was rejected on its merits before the debate on the
   Van Hook-Leadbeater resolution (moved as an amendment to Mr.
   Dunlop's resolution) took place. After the protracted debate
   which resulted in the carrying of this resolution, Mr. Bell (of
   Harrogate) moved, and Mr. Wilkinson (of Nottingham) seconded:

That this Convention looks on the teaching given by C. W.
   Leadbeater to certain boys as wholly evil, and hereby expresses
   its judgment on this matter.

This was carried nem. con.

The Van Hook-Leadbeater resolution was carried by 38 votes to 4
   (all the latter cast by one Belgian delegate), 22 declining to
   vote, This resolution, moved in the form of an amendment, was as

This Convention of the British Section of the Theosophical Society
   while affirming its loyalty to the first Object of the Society -
   namely, "to form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of
   humanity" - strongly protests against evoking the sentiment of
   brotherhood to countenance what is wrong.

Whereas Dr. Weller van Hook, the present General Secretary of the
   American Section, and so a member of the General Council of the
   Theosophical Society, in a recent Open Letter which he has
   subsequently stated to have been "dictated verbatim by one of
   the Masters," has publicly claimed that the corrupting
   practices, the teaching of which determined the resignation of
   Mr. C.W. Leadbeater, are the high doctrine of Theosophy and the
   "precursor of its introduction into the thought of the outer

This Convention declares its abhorrence of such practice, and, in
   view of the incalculable harm to Theosophy and of the disgrace
   which this teaching must inevitably bring upon the Society
   earnestly calls upon all its members, especially the President
   and members of the General Council, to unite in putting an end
   to the present scandalous state of affairs, so that the
   repudiation by the Society of this pernicious teaching may be
   unequivocal and final.

Moved by Herbert Burrows; seconded by G.R.S. Mead; supported by A.
   P. Sinnett C.J. Barker, J.S. Brown, Dr. C.G. Currie, H. R. Hogg,
   B. Keightley, W. Kingsland, W. Scott-Elliot, W. Theobald, B. G.
   Theobald, L. Wallace, C. B. Wheeler, H.L. Shindler, A.P.
   Cattanach, Dr. A. King, Baker Hudson, W.H. Thomas, A.B. Green,
   J.M. Watkins, E.E. Marsden, H.E. Nichol, by the delegates of the
   London and Blavatsky Lodges, and by many others.

Immediately after the vote was taken Miss Dupuis, of the H.P.B.
   Lodge, read the following declaration, in which the majority of
   the representatives who had declined to vote joined by standing
   with her:

We cannot vote for this amendment as it is worded. We will not vote
   against it as it involves so much. We stand and hereby proclaim
   that we utterly condemn the practices alluded to, but refuse to
   condemn any individual.

Reply to the President's Letter.

This serious and earnest appeal to safeguard the good name of the
   Society and to assist in preserving Theosophy from harm, the
   President now rejects with all her strength. Mrs. Besant's reply
   takes the form of special pleading in defence of Mr. Leadbeater;
   she withdraws her former unequivocal condemnation of his
   teaching and substitutes for it equivocal phrases; humbly
   apologises to him; and finally invites the Society to vote for
   Mr. Leadbeater's triumphant reinstatement without further

The change in Mrs. Besant's attitude is amazing, but still more
   astonishing is her forgetfulness of her emphatic pledges given
   to the Society at the time of her election to the Presidency.
Scanned and uploaded by Alan Bain
Ancient Wisdom for a New Age

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