CWL Birth Certificate

CWL’s parents Marriage Certificate

CWL passport photo page

CWL’s letter of resignation from the TS

CWL’s handwritten note

HPB’s New Year greetings to CWL. Her message reads: ‘To my friend and brother, Ch. Leadbeater, and Indo-Ceylon Trimurti, generally. Happy New Year 1891 from their sincerely loving, old HPB.’

CWL’s declaration to the Church of England

CWL’s License as Assistant Stipendiary Curate

Mary Weeks Burnett’s letter of apology to CWL

CWL’s Certificate of Ordination as a Deacon

CWL’s Certificate of Ordination to Priesthood

Chicago, September 1904: (Left to right) E. W. Dennis, C. Jinarajadasa, Robert Dennis (standing), Frank F. Knothe, C. W. Leadbeater, Donald Dennis (at front) and Basil Hodgson-Smith

Douglas Pettit was one of the boys at the centre of the 1906 accusations against C. W. Leadbeater. Above is the facsimile of the Last Will and Testament of Douglas’ father, Frederick William Pettit, dated 10 November 1903, constituting and appointing CWL as his sole executor and guardian of his son, Douglas William Lawrence Pettit. CWL’s middle name is mentioned as ‘William’ instead of Webster, which is the correct one.

Facsimile of the Last Will and Testament of Emmeline Pettit, Douglas Pettit’s mother

Facsimile of H. P. Blavatsky’s letter to CWL, dated 22 February 1887. The name ‘Bowaji’ mentioned in the second part of the letter is sometimes spelled ‘Bawajee’ and refers to a probationary chela sent to Europe to help HPB in her work. He later on turned against her and the TS. The initials ‘P.G.’ at the end of the letter may indicate the expression ‘Personal God’ as the Vishishtadvaita school admits that notion. The transcription of the letter is given below.


                                                                                                             Ostende  Feb 22 1887

My dear Mr Leadbeater

 I send this article to your care lest Mr C. Oakley should not be at home. Please show it to Subba Row before it goes into print. I would not publish any thing that would displease him. But there is a row, already in London and sure to be one in America. I have two letters already, when hardly three days ago the Theosophist came in. They write to me “Subba R. has then gone against you? He is rejecting the old doctrine? Is he still a Theosophist this, that, and the other. The fact is that his Lecture which is admirable is spoiled with these unnecessary remarks. He had a perfect right to say so. But why print it and create new complications? I know he believes as we do, but he has always objected against the form and I say so. I would not for the world have it said as they do that he contradicts himself and is inconsistent etc etc. for he is the Indian and Western glory of the Society.

 Bowaji when he read the Lecture is said to have jumped for joy and exclaimed Ah thanks to goodness! There’s Subba Row at last coming against the [undecipherable words] He hates me bitterly and so does Mohini, it appears tho heaven knows I have never done anything to deserve their ingratitude not only hatred.

 Ah my dear friend, it is hard times all round. The Society will have its pralaya one day through these two Hindus. I hear Mohini preaching Visishtadwaitism in America; a P. G. and trying to enroll Judge!!!


Dick Clarke’s written testimony about C. W. Leadbeater

As is widely known, Dick Balfour-Clarke was closely associated with C. W. Leadbeater from 1909 until his passing in 1934. Before he passed away at Adyar in 1980, Balfour-Clarke wanted to leave his own written testimony about CWL’s integrity in view of the ongoing accusations against him. We include below the transcription of his statement, the facsimile of which is reproduced above. 

Concerning Mr (Bishop) C. W. Leadbeater

     I am 91 years of age, and one of the few living people who knew Col. Olcott, A.B. and C.W.L., on this 2nd of June 1976 and before I die I have to place on record that being fully aware, since early boyhood at Boarding School and afterwards, of the various sexual happenings which can occur between boys and boys, men and boys, girls and girls as well as between males and femails [sic] I am not a virginal innocent regarding such matters and consequently I could not be easily deceived.

     I therefore state that during my long and intimate association with C.W.L. in India, Australia and the UK and with all the young people who were placed in his care I have never seen or heard anything which would give support to the lying insinuations made about him by Mrs Katherin [sic] Tingley and many others, some of them who had never met him. I always found his influence to be one of upliftment towards self-control and freedom from undue sensuality of any kind. Krishnamurti and his brother and other boys who had been under C.W.L.’s care and instruction signed statements to the Sydney Police, Australia to the same effect, as has been stated by Mary Lutyens in her book “The Years of Awakening, Krishnamurti”.

                                                                                                     R. Balfour-Clarke



CWL’s letter from ‘exile’ to Fritz Kunz

Fritz Kunz in his younger years

CWL in 1905

   Fritz Kunz and his family were associated with C. W. Leadbeater since the early 1900s. He travelled extensively with him and had a close understanding of the events that led to his resignation from the TS in 1906. In the following letter to Kunz, CWL touches upon some of the underlying issues of that crisis. Fritz Kunz had the intention of writing a biography of CWL and communicated that intention to John Coats, who would later become the President of the TS. That project, however, never materialized.

   CWL’s letter, whose transcription is posted below, is unique in many ways. It shows how busy he was in ‘exile’, writing books and answering a massive correspondence. But it also shows his reverie while referring to his world wide lecture tour for the TS some years earlier and how he missed his dear friends.


                                   Permanent address: −   10 East Parade, Harrogate, England

                                                                                                     August 14th 1906

My dear Fritz,

  I am still unfortunately without my typewriter so you will have to endure a manuscript letter. It is a first rate idea that you should write to Basil, and he forward the letters to me, because then you will not have to write the same thing twice. I am very glad that you are strong and well after all the strain of the tour around the world. As to your plans for the future, it seems to me a mistake to give up the idea of the English University degree; if one may be allowed to put it plainly, you are altogether too good to let yourself sink into the ordinary worldly money-making life. But of course on this point you must take the advice of your father and sister. Anyhow, keep in touch with us and write often.

  I do not entirely agree with Raja’s [C. Jinarājadāsa] sudden collapse but he must do as he thinks best. If it rested with us to bring the matter up at the Convention we might well let it alone, but Fullerton in his abominable circular asks the Convention to support resolutions ratifying his insane and wicked action; so the question must arise and surely no unprejudiced person will take his side. I shall be much disappointed in “the land of the free” if it does not justify its name by condemning persecution and declining to be bullied: and my hope is that every one on our side will be at the Convention, and will vote straight. They cannot reinstate me as a member, whatever they vote; but they can change all the committee except poor old Fullerton and they ought to do so. Mrs. Besant’s opinion is a mistake, but it applies only to the original question, not to the action of the committee, to which she objects as much as we do. It seems from what you say that Mr. Little joins the persecutors for which I am sorry; he ought to know me better. Remember: the original question is not now at issue; that chapter closed with my resignation; what is left is the conduct of the committee, which it insists that the Convention shall ratify: and if it does it proves that opinion is not free in the Society, which is a serious position to take.

  I am interested in what you say about Howard [Maguire] for I have never received one word from him since all this began and I do not know how he stands so far as the physical plane is concerned. I thought he was probably their “fourth boy”, who certainly declines to commit himself to anything; but I also thought he must be the boy to whom the alleged cipher letter was written, because so far as I know only those who were at Newton knew the cipher. Yet that does not square with his saying that he “told the old hens nothing”; can they have stolen the letter from him, he having previously boasted of and explained the cipher? Of course with their usual unfairness they have never let me see that letter or a copy of it, and have left me to guess to what boy it was addressed.

  As to myself, I am living very quietly, and happily enough, except that naturally I miss my beloved Secretaries at every turn. You see during that long tour we grew so much to be one family that it is difficult and painful to readjust oneself to utter loneliness. Whenever I see an interesting ruin or a beautiful bit of landscape my instinctive thought is “I must bring Basil and Fritz to see that”: and I have to make a distinct effort to bring myself to realize that the possibility of my having that pleasure is infinitesimal! Naturally also I think often of the tour for every article about me reminds me of it. Just think! The suit I am wearing we bought at Adyar, my shoes at Brisbane (soled in India) my socks are from Newton Highlands, my shirt from Whiteaway Laidlaw at Rangoon, my spectacles from Buffalo, my watch from “five grateful American Theosophists” (everyone of whom has since forgotten his gratitude), my hat from Launceston, Tasmania, my black alpaca coat from Vancouver, my back brush from Ridgewood, New Jersey, my giant pencil from the Hunts piano at Melbourne, my big lens from Mrs. Balch, my spring-balance from Chicago, my little cushion also from Chicago, with a cover made for it by Mrs. Pettit; my umbrella had a new handle put to it at Seattle and I am constantly wearing a cap that has seen all the oceans of the world. There is a pocket-book from Harrogate, and a little sword-toothpick that you made for me out of sandalwood. Can you wonder that my thoughts go back into that vivid past? Still I must also say that every day a thought of relief comes over me “no lecture tonight”; and I should gladly try to do something at “The Hidden Side” [The Hidden Side of Things] if it were not for the masses of letters. But it is not easy to work all alone. I am sure the quiet time has done me good in certain ways; you remember how nervous I became towards the end of the time, easily irritated by trifles; I have absolutely not felt impatient for months for there are no trains or post to catch, and nothing matters anymore! The peace is delightful, but it is a wrench to be separated like this; it is only half a life without my dearest friends, but it is a tranquil half! And what would happen if I met with an accident or fell ill, is a matter I resolutely put aside. It is a useful interlude, and if will only allow me to write those two books [The Hidden Side of Things and The Inner Life] I shall be thankful for it. Mrs. Besant has made a suggestion as to my going to Japan and working there; I shall find out more about it. But I think, so far as I can see, you may take it that I shall not make any big move for some months.

  You see I am only suffering under a gross misconstruction of motive, just as Madame Blavatsky and Mrs. Besant have done. Colonel Olcott himself drew up for me at my request the form of resignation, stating that I withdrew “in order to save the Society from embarrassment”. I wrote afterwards asking him to include that form in his Executive Notice, but I suppose it was too late. Well, here is a regular chatty letter, just as though we had been talking. All good go with you. With kindest regards to the family and very much love to yourself

                                                                                       I am ever

                                                                                           Yours most affectionately

                                                                                                 C. W. Leadbeater


New Jersey, USA, 1904. CWL with a group of American members, including Alexander Fullerton, General Secretary of the TS in America at that time, Kate B. Davis, Henry Hotchener, Basil Hodgson-Smith (from England) , Mrs Knothe, Aleck Knothe and Frank R. Knothe (with Helen in his arms; she would later be one of the pupils of CWL at The Manor in Sydney.)

Monthly members’ meeting of the Order of the Star in the East and friends, held at The Manor, Mosman, Sydney, February 1923.


The Mahatmas visit Col. Olcott during his last days

(From The Theosophist, February 1907. For the historical background of this article see the Bio page.)

Colonel Olcott’s Last Days

Pedro Oliveira


The last year of Col. Olcott’s life saw the Theosophical Society engulfed by a serious crisis. On 16 May 1906 he had presided over the Advisory Board meeting in London which considered charges brought against C. W. Leadbeater regarding advice he had given to boys about to reach puberty. At the end of a very turbulent meeting, Col. Olcott decided to accept the resignation of Mr Leadbeater. This, however, did not put an end to the crisis and open letters, both against and in favour of Mr Leadbeater, were doing the rounds in the theosophical world.

Soon after the London meeting, the President-Founder went to Paris, where he attended the First International Congress of the Society, which was a great success. He was not at all well at that time, suffering from gout in his right hand. From Europe he went to America, having visited England and Belgium on the way. In Boston he found his books in the Public Library, including a copy of his Inaugural Address. He lectured in Holyoke on the “Dangers of Psychism”. The controversy surrounding the Leadbeater case was still raging and causing him much stress.

In New York he issued an “Executive Notice” cancelling the diploma of Mr C. Jinarajadasa because of his defence of Mr Leadbeater. On his way to Genoa, he had a serious accident on board in which he fell injuring his right knee and getting severe bruises. He had to be carried ashore and taken to the hospital. On his way back to Adyar he stopped at Colombo where many of his friends came to see him.

At the 1906 International Convention at Adyar Annie Besant gave a series of lectures on “The Wisdom of the Upanishads”. Although Col. Olcott was too weak he was carried from his bedroom to the headquarters Hall and attended the opening of the Convention. Mrs Besant read his Presidential Address. By that time, Mrs Besant was very well known as a truly dedicated Theosophist and outstanding orator, and already perceived by many as the natural successor to the President-Founder.

From their statements of that period, it is clear that both Col. Olcott and Mrs Besant strongly disagreed with the advice given by Mr Leadbeater to some of the boys under his care, although they never doubted his integrity as a person. A dilemma occupied Col. Olcott’s mind: Mrs Besant seemed to be his natural successor but there was opposition to her from several quarters in view of her previous association with Mr Leadbeater. At this point a series of extraordinary events, documented in his Diaries, helped to clear the doubts in the President-Founder’s mind.

In the entry of his Diary for 4th January 1907, he says: “Health still improving. Drive. Dr. says I must be in bed two months yet. Am much troubled in mind about my successor. There seems some fault to find about everyone – some drawback. Annie seems about the only one, but am afraid of her E.S. work. The Masters must settle it.” It is important to consider here that Col. Olcott had disagreed with HPB herself about the formation of the Esoteric Section and only changed his mind when he received a letter from the Master, which materialized phenomenically in his cabin on his way to London in 1888.

In the entry for the next day, 5th January, he recorded: “Was troubled about my successor and had thought to take a vote of the Sections about A.B. At 8.30 p.m. both Mahatma M. and K.H. came, and told me to appoint Annie Besant as she was the best fitted for the office. Ria [Marie Russak] and Mina [Col. Olcott’s nurse] were present. … So the matter is settled. Shall inform Sections.”

Later on, when it was brought to his attention that under the Rules of the TS he could not appoint a successor but only nominate one, he corrected his earlier letter to the Sections of the Society, and nominated Annie Besant as a candidate to the Presidency of the Society.  She would later on be elected President by an overwhelming majority.

On the 11th January Colonel Olcott’s Diary records: “Health not so good. The Mahatmas M. and K.H. visited Col. Olcott and told him he must write C.W.L. and tell him that he made too much haste in deciding the case in London. He said it should not have been made public.” Col. Olcott not only did write to Mr Leadbeater but also wrote an article for The Theosophist (February 1907) which contains aspects of his interview with the Mahatmas.

There were strong reactions in some quarters regarding the events at Adyar, which were labeled by some as ‘Adyar manifestations’. There were also suggestions that the visitations by the Mahatmas were a product of Miss Marie Russak’s ‘psychic’ nature. But a question comes to mind at this point. Col. Olcott had been visited by the two Mahatmas before. He had been chosen by them together with HPB to form the Theosophical Society. Would they withdraw their guidance at a time the Society was in deep turmoil and the President-Founder was about to die? Let us revisit two occasions in which, according to him, the Mahatmas paid him a visit.

During the New York days, when he and HPB lived in the ‘Lamasery’, the headquarters of the TS at that time, he described a remarkable visit:

I was quietly reading, with all my attention centered on my book. Nothing in the evening’s incidents had prepared me for seeing an adept in his astral body; I had not wished for it, tried to conjure it up in my fancy, nor in the least expected it. All at once, as I read with my shoulder a little turned from the door, there came a gleam of something white in the right-hand corner of my eye; I turned my head, dropped my book in astonishment, and saw towering above me in his great stature an Oriental clad in white garments, and wearing a head-cloth or turban of amber-striped fabric, hand-embroidered in yellow floss-silk. Long raven hair hung from under his turban to the shoulders; his black beard, parted vertically on the chin in the Rajput fashion, was twisted up at the ends and carried over the ears; his eyes were alive with soul-fire; eyes which were at once benignant and piercing in glance; the eyes of a mentor and a judge, but softened by the love of a father who gazes on a son needing counsel and guidance. 1

In November 1883, Col. Olcott was visiting Lahore, then located in India. The following is his description of his unexpected visitor:

I was sleeping in my tent, the night of the 19th, when I rushed back towards external consciousness on feeling a hand laid on me. The camp being on the open plain, and beyond the protection of the Lahore Police, my first animal instinct was to protect myself from a possible religious fanatical assassin, so I clutched the stranger by the upper arms, and asked him in Hindustani who he was and what he wanted. It was all done in an instant, and I held the man tight, as one would who might be attacked the next moment and have to defend his life. But the next instant a kind, sweet voice said: “Do you not know me? Do you not remember me?” It was the voice of the Master K.H. A swift revulsion of feeling came over me, I relaxed my hold on his arms, joined my palms in reverential salutation, and wanted to jump out of bed to show him respect. But his hand and voice stayed me, and after a few sentences had been exchanged, he took my left hand in his, gathered the fingers of his right into the palm, and stood quiet beside my cot, from which I could see his divinely benignant face by the light of the lamp that burned on a packing-case at his back. 2

The Masters had indicated in their letters that Col. Olcott was not free from limitations and that he had made mistakes. But the following passage from a letter by Mahatma K.H. illustrates well their attitude towards him:

Colonel Olcott is doubtless “out of time with the feelings of English people” of both classes; but nevertheless more in tune with us than either. Him we can trust under all circumstances, and his faithful service is pledged to us come well, come ill. My dear Brother, my voice is the echo of impartial justice. Where can we find an equal devotion? He is one who never questions, but obeys; who may make innumerable mistakes out of excessive zeal but never is unwilling to repair his fault even at the cost of the greatest self-humiliation; who esteems the sacrifice of comfort and even life something to be cheerfully risked whenever necessary; who will eat any food, or even go without; sleep on any bed, work in any place, fraternise with any outcast, endure any privation for the cause. . . . 3

The above quotes clearly indicate that the Masters who had inspired the foundation of the Theosophical Society would not withdraw their guidance from the President-Founder at an hour of deep crisis and danger for the Society’s continued existence. But perhaps the defining element in all these dramatic developments was Col. Olcott’s profound and unselfish dedication to what the Society stood for. His words at his Inaugural Address, on 17th November 1875, speak for themselves:

For, if I understand the spirit of this Society, it consecrates itself to the intrepid and conscientious study of truth, and binds itself, individually as collectively, to suffer nothing to stand in the way.  As for me – poor, weak man, honoured far beyond my deserts in my election to this place of honor and of danger – I can only say that, come well, come ill, my heart, my soul, my mind, and my strength are pledged to this cause, and I shall stand fast while I have a breath of life in me, though all others shall retire and leave me to stand alone. 4

He did not stand alone. Other dedicated members continued his work and made the Theosophical Society a force for good in the world. Through its agency dozens of thousands of people in several continents came into contact with Theosophy, the Wisdom Religion, the ‘cornerstone of the future religions of humanity.’ But Col. Olcott would have another special visit before shedding the mortal coil that clothed an invincible Soul, the Soul of a great and devoted servant of humanity. The entry for 3rd February 1907 in his Diary, recorded by Miss Marie Russak, says:

The Masters all four came this a.m., and told Col. his work was over. They thanked him for his loyalty and work in Their interests. He was overcome with joyful emotion, jumped from his bed and prostrated himself at Their feet. He took A.B. and myself in his arms, blessed us, and begged us to carry on his work. 5

Col. Henry Steel Olcott passed away at 7 a.m. on 17th February 1907. His body was carried to the Convention Hall at 1.30 p.m., where a beautiful service was held at 3.30 p.m. The cremation was held at 4 p.m. On the following day, at 6.30 a.m., Col. Olcott’s ashes were carried to the sea, and thrown upon the waves.



    1. The brief overview of the crisis given here is based on Josephine Ransom’s A Short History of the Theosophical Society, Theosophical Publishing House, Madras, 1938.

    2. See Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, First Series, edited by C. Jinarajadasa, letter 19.

    3. Olcott, Henry S., Old Diary Leaves, First Series, TPH Madras, 1974, p. 379.

    4. op. cit., Third Series, pp. 37-8

    5. The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett in chronological sequence, edited by Vicente Hao Chin, Jr, The Theosophical Publishing House, Metro Manila, 1993, p. 17.


A 1906 Letter from William Pettit to Alexander Fullerton


Frederick William Pettit was the father of Douglas Pettit, one of the boys at the centre of the 1906 scandal involving CWL. Below is the transcript of a copy of his letter addressed to Alexander Fullerton, General Secretary of the American Section at that time. Fullerton was one of the co-signatories of the 25 January 1906 letter to Annie Besant which presented the charges against CWL. In some communications by officers of the American Section during that time the expression “X.” was used to indicate C. W. Leadbeater.

In his letter Pettit draws attention to another – and so far not sufficiently explored – aspect of the crisis: the influence of certain individuals, outside the Theosophical Society, who were demonstrably against Besant and Leadbeater and who may have influenced the case against the latter. It is possible that the expression “your superiors”, used repeatedly by Pettit in his letter to Fullerton, refers to this outside influence.

William Pettit’s letter becomes all the more relevant when we eventually consider, in a future posting, the ‘Cipher Letter’ and its background.

The expression “in the East” in the third paragraph refers to the east coast of the United States, as the headquarters of the American Section were located in New York.




621 Jervis St.

Vancouver, B.C.

June 16, 1906.

Mr Alexander Fullerton,

General Secretary American Section TS

New York.


Dear Mr Fullerton,

Your letter of June 9th is before me. So far as we are concerned, the X. matter resolves itself into two parts: The first deals with the question of the manner of handling it as it relates to us as factors in the case, if not members, but on this point you may wish to split hairs about our dues not being paid, and perhaps it may be ruled that we were out of the Society.

The second deals with the charges brought against C.W.L. and while the British Executive has seen fit to practically expel him, I, for one, have no intention of accepting his decision as a basis for judging the matter at issue for the very good reason that as so much has been accepted on mere hearsay evidence – mere gossip – it is quite possible that other matters of a far more vital nature have been accepted on much about the same authority. I shall therefore reserve judgment until I have the evidence that Douglas is about to give coupled with such explanations I may receive from other sources.

Looking at this question at long range and perhaps more judgment than seems to have been displayed in the East, it proves to me four things:

    1. That you and “your superiors” have demonstrated yourselves as absolutely incompetent (cruelly so, I think) to handle so enormous a case as this one against X. has shown itself to be, for you are charging this man with the blackest crime it is possible for a human being to commit — and you do this with a lightheartedness that is appalling.

    2. That either you or “your superiors” have been guilty of a shameful breach of confidence in disclosing the contents of certain communications of X. and AB.

    3. That as you admit (and Mrs Dennis the same) that you have been guided in our case by absolute irresponsible statements regarding our attitude towards a matter of which we were absolutely ignorant — mere gossip in fact emanating in Toronto (we can put our hands on the member at short notice) carried by another member we know well to Chicago and there embellished as we find it when the cry was started.

    4. That in the wild desire to maintain your position towards X. you and “your superiors” lost all balance and were carried away on currents without a tittle of calm judgment essential, nay vital, in common fairness to one accused of the blackest of crimes.

Let it be understood that I am not dealing in this letter with the merits of the case against X. That I shall take up in another communication. What I want to know now is this: from whom did you hear this story that we were aware of all this X. matter? Will you give the name and ask the member where he or she got the information from and trace this thing to its source. I haven’t a doubt where it will land you. It is a very strange thing that X. should have mentioned about “my family”, when, as a matter of fact from the time he left this city, in Sept. three years ago, I have not had more than six or eight letters from him, and inasmuch as this question was never dreamed of, how could he write about us in that strain? I should immensely like to see that letter. If Mr L. ever wrote to you that he “had talked with us about his prescription for boy” and “that we approved of it”, it is an infamous lie.  Nothing has ever been said to us by anyone.

Who told you “months ago that Mrs Pettit had stated that she knew of some prescription given by [sic] P. (Douglas) by Mr L., that she did not understand its precise nature, but that it was practiced by P. in the bath, and that she had entire confidence in any teaching Mr L. might give and was perfectly willing for P. to follow it.”

The member who told you so is an absolute liar. Neither myself nor Mrs Pettit would have countenanced for one minute such a practice, and had we known of it, we would certainly have raised the question with Mr L. at once.

We are entitled to know who gave you this information, for it is infamous gossip – vile – slanderous – one can hardly find epithets strong enough to characterize such conduct. And yet you and your superiors swallow all this on mere hearsay.

It is rather late in the day to be amazed; it was your place to find out if the statements were true before you proceeded in the mad fashion that has characterized the late proceedings against X. One might hunt far and wide for a case where a tribunal sat and judged a man very largely on to say the least untrustworthy evidence.

You say: “The circular did not mention P. or any particular boy or give any clue to identity.”

Who are these boys who have been ruined? I demand to know where they are, where they live, in order that I may communicate with their parents to find out if all this that has been said about them is true. And inasmuch as Douglas is probably the most conspicuous one, how comes it that no inquiries were ever made of him, for his evidence had some value.

In the following paragraph you give the American Section away somewhat by saying that the circular was issued because Mr C. Jinarajadasa was circulating through the Section what was not a correct account and striving to create a faction. I have before me your letter of May 24 to C.J., also a copy of his letter to you under date May 28. They neither of them tend to make your position very clear, and rather confirm what otherwise I might have thought hastily penned, when I wrote that you and the sedition were burning to win the day “at all costs”, and to do this it was considered wiser to leave the Pettit’s alone.

Now, Mr Fullerton, you seem rather elated over the idea that this matter has at last gone to the press — as if it reflected lustre on the T.S. to have had presumably within its fold another Oscar Wilde of whom it has purged itself as soon as he was discovered. Do you really imagine that the world will applaud this as being anything wonderful? I should feel inclined to say that the T.S. is not much of a proposition if it breeds these kind of individuals.

In your communication of May 24 to C.J., you say:

“I have had a letter from the great man, most kind and generous and affectionate”, and after explaining that it was the intention of the Committee to have X. resign and give out the following to the press:

“It is understood that Mr L. intends to devote himself to literature in retirement.”

“This would take the edge off the resignation”, say you, and you wind up in this fashion:

“You are entirely right, I am confident in saying that the Master will not cast the great man off. I believe this as emphatically as you do. But I think you err in supposing either that They disfavour that action taken by the Executive Committee, or that They have failed to give distinct approval thereto.”

And this is the man who 8 days previous to the writing of this letter was practically expelled as being immoral, vile, double dealing, deceitful and a liar, and against whom it has been stated, in fact in your circular insinuated, that there is a sodomy charge preferred in both Europe and India. Perhaps you will rise to explain your position in this matter. It is up to you and every member who took part in the recent howl against C.W.L.

A copy of this letter is to be sent to the Secretary of the British Executive. Whether I find personally that C.W.L. has wronged my son and has deserved what has been meeted out to him or whether I decide otherwise, will not alter the absolute necessity in the cause of Justice that the disgraceful methods adopted on this side to foment an antagonism against Mr L. shall be made known, and I do not hesitate to say that, in my opinion, a severe censure should be passed on the American Section by the British Executive Committee in view of the really startling revelations that will come to them through this communication.

So far as the decision of the British Executive is concerned, personally I am of the opinion that no woman should have sat on so momentous an issue. I do not admit the possibility of any woman approaching a case of this kind, fraught with such tremendous issues, nor of her ability to bring that fine poise to bear on a decision of this nature.

As I have said, I am not attempting to whitewash X. If there is anyone in the wide world who should be “boiling over with righteous indignation”, It should be I, — the father of one of the ruined boys. Thanks however to the Theosophical teaching, I am able to approach the matter with calm and some poise — strangely absent I am sorry to say — in the many whom I had hitherto regarded as members of light and leading of this Society.

                                                               Yours very truly

                                                                                   Wm. Pettit.


Copyright © 2011 Pedro Oliveira

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