After Persecuting William Q. Judge in the 1890s,
Mrs. Besant Makes Compliments to Him in 1909
William Q. Judge
A 2011 Editorial Commentary:
The story of Mrs. Annie Besant’s statements with regard to William Judge is indeed remarkable. In her “Watch-Tower” column at “Lucifer” magazine for May 1892, she was happy to declare that William Judge would be the next international president of the Theosophical Society. By then, Henry S. Olcott had announced his retirement. William Judge was the vice-president, and Annie Besant wrote:
“It is clear that Bro. Judge will be the next president, whether now or at some future date, but whether he will take office at once or not will remain doubtful for some months.”
One month later, on her “Watch-Tower” for June 1892, Mrs. Besant announced Judge’s visit to
with enthusiastic words: England
“William Q. Judge, one of H.P. Blavatsky’s oldest and most trusted friends, will be among us in English soil once more. As has already been shown by the votes of the Theosophical Society, he is to be the Society’s next president, and if the past may count for anything in judging of the future, no hands could be found to which to confide its destinies more loyal, more strong, and more true.”
In the following year, Annie Besant had not turned yet against Judge and the original teachings of theosophy. Therefore she made these apparently sincere compliments to Mr. Judge in the April 1893 edition of “Lucifer”, pp. 89-90:
“… I want to place on record here my testimony to the splendid work done in
America by the Vice-President of our Society,
the General Secretary of the [ ]
Section, William Q. Judge. H.P.B. knew
well what she was doing when she chose that strong quiet man to be her second
self in America, to inspire all the workers there with the spirit of his
intense devotion and unconquerable courage. In him is the rare conjunction of
the business qualities of the skilful organizer, and the mystical insight of
the Occultist - a combination, I often think, painful enough to its possessor
with the shock of the two currents tossing the physical life into turbulence,
but priceless in its utility to the movement. For he guides it with the strong
hand of the practical leader, thus gaining for it the respect of the outer
world; while he is its life and heart in the region where lie hidden the real
sources of energy. For out of the inner belief of members of the T.S. in the
reality of spiritual forces springs the activity seen by the outer world, and
our Brother’s unshakable faith in the MASTERS and in Their care for the
movement is a constant encouragement and inspiration to all who work with him.” USA
However, in June 1894 Annie Besant joined Mr. Alfred Sinnett’s mediumnistic sessions of “talks” with imaginary Masters, at the London Lodge of the TS.
Alfred Sinnett had started promoting those false contacts with Masters during HPB’s life. Mrs. Besant was perfectly aware of that, since the fact was well-known at the time and she had been an H.P.B. student for a couple of years.
Sinnett reports about Besant’s adherence to his séances in his Autobiography, which Adyar leaders have since then tried to keep in oblivion, but could never deny. He writes:
“Perhaps Mrs. Besant’s regard for Leadbeater may be explained in this way. She had been admitted by her own request to the meetings of our London Lodge group in June 1894. Up to that time her psychic faculties had not developed. Leadbeater was one of the most important elements in our group.  (….) I think the close relationship that grew between him and Mrs. Besant (…) did much to stimulate the development of her faculties.”
A few months after starting to talk to false masters, instead of repenting and confessing her own forgeries, Annie Besant preferred to accuse Mr. Judge of “forging false contacts with Masters” and started a “Case” against him. The paradoxical action was unethical, but produced results. Previously, it had been convenient for her political career to make compliments to William Q. Judge. Now her colleagues were spreading rumours against him and she could gain much more power by speaking ill of Judge.
Having suddenly changed from one extreme to the other, Mrs. Besant wrote in May 1895:
“It is of the first importance to show that honest men cannot continue to work with Mr. Judge, unless they are prepared to be betrayed behind their backs in the work of the Society, and that Mr. Judge’s own conduct, and his continued deceptions, force us, however, reluctantly, to say: ‘Mr. Judge must be expelled from the Society, for his methods are dishonest and he corrupts his fellow-workers’. Unless
America saves us from the necessity of demanding
his expulsion, by seceding from the parent Society, Europe must endorse the
demand for expulsion coming from India
and Australasia”. 
In this way Mrs. Besant caused the division of the movement, while successfully gaining the worldwide political control of the Society. At the same time she abandoned the original teachings of theosophy, favoring illusory forms of clairvoyance instead.
Led by her own Karma, Mrs. Besant felt it was not enough to have imaginary contacts with HPB’s Masters within the limits of the séances organized by Mr. Sinnett. She soon started talking in intimate terms also to the “King of the World”, the “Manu” and “Lord Christ”, among other products of her imagination. Mary Lutyens’ books describe the process in detail, including the parody of the return of Jesus “Krishnamurti” Christ.
After having conquered complete political power, Annie Besant saw no further reason to slander Mr. William Judge. She could then once more admit that Judge was indeed a great theosophist.
She therefore wrote the following article, and published it in “The Theosophist”, Adyar, June 1909, pp. 351-354, under the title of “Theosophical Worthies - William Quan Judge”. While we add four footnotes to clarify some aspects of the article, the reader will see that in 1909 Mrs. Besant again describes Judge as a true theosophist and a great leader.
(Carlos Cardoso Aveline)
 The word “Lucifer” means “Light-Bringer”. It is an ancient name for the “morning star”, planet Venus. The term has been distorted since the Middle Ages by ill-advised theologians.
 Charles Leadbeater ceased to be a probationary chela of the Masters before returning from Asia to
. He was therefore never admitted to
HPB’s London , as long as she lived. When he
went back to Esoteric School ,
in the 1880s, he joined the rival “inner
circle” of the London Lodge, presided by Mr. Sinnett. London
 “Autobiography of Alfred Percy Sinnett”, published in full for the first time, Theosophical History Centre, London, 1986, 58 pages, with 7 extra pages with an addendum entitled “At a Later Date”. See p. 48. In his biographical text on Mr. Sinnett, Leadbeater expressly states he considers those mediumnistic sessions were authentic. He had to say that, since he took part in them and learned his “clairvoyance” in them. (“Theosophical Worthies - Alfred P. Sinnett”, an article by C. W. Leadbeater, in “The Theosophist”, Adyar, July 1909, see especially the last lines of p. 490 and the first lines of page 491.)
 From Besant’s “Watch-Tower” column at “Lucifer” magazine, April 1895, pp. 182-183. Right after these words there is an official note signed by Annie Besant and G.R.S. Mead emphatically proposing Mr. Judge’s formal expulsion from the Society.
Theosophical Worthies - William Quan Judge
The third name which rises before the mind when one thinks of the founding of the Theosophical Society, after those of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and Henry Steele Olcott, is that of William Quan Judge, one of its Vice-Presidents.
Others went before him in this office, but they left little impress upon it. In the earliest Bye-Laws, printed in October, 1875, we read: President, Henry S. Olcott. Vice-Presidents, S. Pancoast, M.D., George Henry Felt. Corresponding Secretary, H.P. Blavatsky. Recording secretary, John Storer Cobb. After the names of Treasurer, Librarian, and Councillors: Counsel to the Society, William Q. Judge. A little later, these first two Vice-Presidents vanish, and in 1880 General Abner Doubleday is made Vice-President, and is so notified form India; but none of these became well-known to the Society at large, while, out of that first New York group which stood round its cradle, the name of the young and then unnoticed lawyer rises up clear and distinct as one of the great workers and leaders in the movement which has since become world-wide.
his Karma led him to America,
and there, he tells us, “in 1874, in the City of , I first met H.P.B. in this life. By
her request, sent through Coronel H.S. Olcott, the call was made in her rooms
in New York Irving Place…
It was her eye that attracted me, the eye of one whom I must have known in
lives long passed away. She looked at me in recognition at that first hour, and
never since has that look changed… It was teacher and pupil, elder brother and
younger, both bent on the one single end, but she with the power and the
knowledge that belong but to lions and sages.”
He was beside H.P.B. through those early days, saw the exercise of her wonderful powers, and shared in the founding of the Theosophical Society. And throughout the remainder of her life on earth, the friendship remained unbroken, and during the later years she regarded him as her one hope in
declaring that if the American members rejected him she would break of all
relations with them, and know them no more. America
After the departure from
of the two Founders, the
interest for a time died down, and W.Q. Judge through one of those terrible
times of struggle and inner desolation, of gloom within and disappointment
without, which are the destiny of all elect souls. Spiritual and Intuitional,
he was also extraordinarily capable as an organiser and a leader. But those
qualities at first lay hidden, for there was naught to organize or to lead. He
would go and “hold a meeting by himself” week after week, holding the lonely
citadel for the coming days. Gradually a few gathered round him, and the days
of solitary working passed away for ever. He travelled over to Europe and knit
closer his tie with H.P.B.; went on to America - at the time of the Coulomb
conspiracy - and took an active part there in the defence of the Society. His
return to India
marked the beginning of the upward arc of the Society there. America
Then came the revelation of what was hidden under the reserved demeanor of the young lawyer: an unquenchable energy, a profound devotion, an indomitable will. And these were held together by a single aim - the spreading of the truths of Theosophy, the building of an organization which should scatter the seed over the land. During the succeeding years, aided by a band of willing and capable workers, whom he inspired with his own fiery zeal - Mr. Fullerton, Dr. Buck, Mr. Neresheimer, Mr. Spencer, Mrs. J. Campbell Ver-Planck - he built up a strong and admirably equipped Section, and made it the instrument that was needed for the work. He founded the magazine called “The Path”, one of the most remarkable of theosophical journals, and in this appeared some of the most admirable articles which have seen the light, the best being from his own pen and from that of his most devoted disciple, Jasper Niemand. He wrote a few vigorous and lucid books, which are still sought after in the Society.
While at the height of his power and his usefulness came the cloud which enshrouded the last years of his life. Between the President of the Society and himself had appeared an ever-widening gulf, and at last the President-having gathered a mass of evidence against him, charging him with the misuse of the Mahatmas names and handwriting-deputed Mrs. Annie Besant to draw up the case and lay it before himself, the General Council and a Judicial Committee. Mr. Judge successfully defended himself on the grounds: 1st, that he, as Vice-President, could not be tried on such a charge; the General Council, on the motion of Messrs. Keightley and Mead, on the July 7th, 1894, decided that the point was well taken; 2nd, that any official decision involving the question of the existence or non-existence of Mahatmas would jeopardize the neutrality of the Society on matters of opinion. The Judicial Committee, on June 10th, followed the decision of the General Council on the first point, and refused, on the 2nd, to consider the charge at all, as to do so “would be a violation of the spirit of neutrality and the unsectarian nature and constitution of the Society.”
Mr. Judge thus, in his own defence, established for the future the full liberty of members of the Theosophical Society, and members have been left to guard themselves, by the exercise of their own intelligence and conscience, on all matters of opinion and all claims to superphysical authority. Some members, alarmed for the morality of the Society under such conditions of freedom, brought forward a proposal for Mr. Judge’s expulsion, on the ground of forgery, at the subsequent Anniversary Meeting at Adyar, but it was defeated by the interposition of Mrs. Besant, and no evil results have followed. 
In April, 1895, the great Theosophist made a fatal blunder; he seceded from the Theosophical Society,  leading almost the whole American Section with him, and reorganizing it under the title of “The Theosophical Society in
old name for all Sections. Most, though not all, of his colleagues went with
him, and only a few scattered Lodges remained to carry on the charter of the
Section. Unfortunately for the future of the movement he had built up, Mr.
Judge did not long survive to guide it. 
His health, long undermined by persistent dengue fever, was further
assailed by serious lung trouble, and he gradually sank, passing away on March
21st, 1896, at about 9 a.m. America
His real work, the spread of Theosophy in
splendidly performed, and his memory remains as a lasting inspiration. His
strength has passed back into the Theosophical Society, which has nearly
regained in America
the point of numbers and influence at which he left it. Most of his colleagues
have separated themselves from the leader he chose when his insight was clouded
by physical disease, and remain as an independent organization, loyal to his
memory. But he himself has come back into the ranks in which for long years he
worked so nobly. The error has worked itself out in the vanishing away of the
great organization he left, which is now confined to a few scattered places. America
The good remains as a ever-potent force, incarnating itself is the spreading society which represents Theosophy in
the ill be forgotten, and let only the good survive, for William Quan Judge
must ever have his place among Theosophical Worthies. America
 This statement is false. Annie Besant herself directed the political campaign and accusations against Judge, and formally proposed his expulsion from the Society, as shown in the “2011 Editorial Commentary” that precedes the present text. (CCA)
 In fact, Mrs. Besant decidedly celebrated what she called the “secession” of the North-American Theosophists who were loyal to HPB and to the original teachings of theosophy. Besant wrote in 1895, regarding the separation: “No solution could have been better for the T.S., however sad we may feel for those who have cut themselves off from the Society…”. If there were no separation, Besant had declared she would provoke Mr. Judge’s formal expulsion. (“Lucifer”, May 1895, p. 184.) (CCA)
 Suffering the unfair persecution organized by Mrs. Besant certainly did not help Mr. Judge’s health. We have another example of this kind of event in the history of the movement. Precisely one decade earlier, in 1884-1885, H.P. Blavatsky’s health had been severely impaired by the slanders against her. But then Annie Besant had not joined the movement yet. (CCA)
 In fact, it is perhaps not a coincidence that this article by Mrs. Besant was published in June 1909, a few months after the foundation of the United Lodge of Theosophists in
. Being an astute politician, Mrs. Besant might
have sensed that the foundation of the U.L.T. announced the beginning of a
change in the karmic tide. It was time, then, to write something on Mr.
Judge. On the other hand, Mrs. Besant
seems to be implying in her article that a majority of ill-advised people can replace
truth just because they are a vast majority. They can’t. Illusion may win in the short term but it is
doomed to defeat, and truth prevails sooner or later. (CCA) Los Angeles
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