Official Organ of the T.S. Loyalty League
Vol. 4 - No. 19 November 1, 1924 Price Ninepence
The passing of one short year will bring us to the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Theosophical Society and the coming into being of the Theosophical movement for the 19th Century. Fifty years and more ago there was but one person in the world of the flesh who was fully seized of where the materialism of the years was leading; behind the veil there were Those who were only too fully aware of the baleful consequences that were likely to happen. So they sent to the Western World a Messenger, a Voice. The message was given in all its fullness, but those who heard it were too often concerned with things personal instead of with things eternal, and the result has been a series of poignant and often heart-breaking crises that have devastated the movement from time to time.
One outstanding feature of the closest possible survey of the Theosophical Movement is the consistency of the message brought by H.P. Blavatsky. A careful study of her writings from the preface to "Isis Unveiled" to the last article written for her magazine "Lucifer," brings home to the student the fact that here is someone with a vital message, a clear understanding of the most pressing problems of the age and of ages to come; and that in the expression of her message, notwithstanding what anyone, however closely associated with her may say, there was never any misunderstanding of her complete comprehension of the teaching to which the name of THEOSOPHY was given.
During, the lifetime of H.P.B. and to an incredible extent after her death, there grew in the minds of some of her associates the thought, fear or dread that she had not been in every way clear, consistent and honest. The enigmatic mystery of the personality known as H.P.B. has never been fully understood; her spiritual greatness and her closeness to the Masters had been such as to rouse the worse elements in the natures of many who were subconsciously filled with envy at her spiritual possessions, not realizing that they would be permitted to own just such possessions were they as heartwhole, as loyal, and as trustworthy as she. Today, when she is becoming more and more hidden by the clouds of adulation that have been offered up to her so-called "successors," when there are few who really understood how absolutely unique was her mission and her message, it is well to recall that she was the messenger of the White Lodge for the nineteenth century. In consequence; she could have no successor, nor could her message be added to or taken from. When the awakened student takes the trouble to compare the enormous mass of ephemeral rubbish, to which the name of "theosophic literature" is given by its perpetrators, with "Isis" or The Secret Doctrine, he finds inconsistencies leaping at him from every page - inconsistencies not only to be found by comparison with the Blavatsky writings, but which are inherent in these lesser writings themselves.
It was not always that those who have carried the Theosophical movement out into the wilderness were unable to see the truth and to express it. Like a voice from another age are the words of Annie Besant, quoted with full recognition of its value from Lucifer, for October, 1891: "Theosophists have it in charge not to whittle away the Secret Doctrine for the safe of propitiating the Christian churches that have forgotten Christ, any more than they may whittle it away for the sake of propitiating Materialistic Science. Steadily, calmly, without anger, but also without fear, they must stand by the Secret Doctrine as she gave it. . . ." Earlier in the same article Mrs. Besant assures the reader that with additional learning students may verify some of the elementary portions of the teaching, adding at the same time: "Only, none of us has any right to put forward his own views as `Theosophy,' in conflict with hers, for all that we know of Theosophy comes from her." If only Mrs. Besant had been wise enough and strong enough to remain true to this attitude! But it was not to be; led astray by false prophets, by self-seekers, by deluded "clairvoyants" and psychics, she wavered in her allegiance to H.P.B., and followed her blind leaders into the ditch.
It is round her, and her leadership, following on this primary disloyalty, that every subsequent crisis has arisen; times without number have the fragments of the seamless vesture been scattered in vulgar struggles for supremacy in which these rags were necessary as trappings. So, today, there are a score at least of "Theosophical Societies," all with the same objects, all inspired from the same source, all accepting as the basis of their organization the writings and inspiration of H.P. Blavatsky. The best-known and most successful, from a worldly point of view, is the one presided over by Mrs. Besant; but even this is filled with the constant sound of internal dissension, and the average life of any of its members is under seven years (this last fact being pointed out recently in the magazine published by another Theosophical body). It is useless to look for any help to this Society, as it is enmeshed in innumerable activities that are either not related to Theosophy or are in direct contradiction to it. But that the seamless vesture of Theosophy can be rewoven should not be impossible for those who are in earnest in desiring to see the Theosophical movement restored to the position it occupied at the departure of Blavatsky. A recent suggestion was put forward by a highly-placed European Theosophist, in a letter to the late T.H. Martyn, that a World-Federation of the various Independent Theosophical Societies should be aimed at, and, if possible, put into operation.
Although Dawn is not directly connected with these independent movements, and prides itself on its connection with the Theosophical Society, it welcomes warmly this suggestion and speeds it on its way. Sooner or later there will be the necessity for a strong leadership in the T.S., and if there is a vitalized and properly organized body to take up the work of Theosophy when the decease of Mrs. Besant and Mr. Leadbeater makes the break-up of the T.S. inevitable, it may happen that instead of chaos there will be order; the work of the Masters will go on steadily; the spread of Theosophy will be undisturbed. Moreover, the many earnest workers who are outside the various movements might be tempted to come back in.
While such an organization must be free from hampering rules and overwhelming red-tape, it should be clearly understood that for it to be of any real use in the world - an organization, indeed, through which the power of the White Lodge could flow, for the healing of the nations - it must accept as fundamental the following conceptions, not in the least in a dogmatic way, but as a preliminary to further work: - That the Masters exist, and that Theosophy, as outlined by H.P.B., and none other, is Their teaching, given to the world in sufficient measure to last for the present century until another Messenger comes from Them; that H.P. Blavatsky was Their authorized Messenger, and that from the time of her death communication directly with Them practically ceased and will not be resumed until 1975; that the writings of H.P.B. represent the repository of all the teachings given out by the Masters, and that in The Secret Doctrine in particular will be found the Occult Teachings for the world in general for the present century; that any other literature is to be judged by a comparison with these Teachings, even a book such as The Mahatma Letters, being used in conjunction with The Secret Doctrine, and that where there are any differences the Teachings stand as the final exposition.
It is realized that there will be raised the cry that this is introducing dogmatism of the rankest kind. A deeper consideration will, it is thought, show that this is not so. Either the Masters exist and H.P.B. was Their messenger, giving for Them the teachings that They desired the world to possess, or she was utterly fraudulent. There can be no middle way; H.P.B. was not genuine at some times and untrustworthy at others. Either she was what she purported herself to be or she was not. In the latter case the sooner the whole movement disintegrates the better; its dead corpse cannot be destroyed too soon. On the other hand, if she was
the Messenger, the sooner we get back to her line of activity, her line of teaching, the study of what she wrote, the better for all concerned.
So the suggestion is given to the world that an international federation is possible. If it so happens that a demand for a discussion on the subject arises, Dawn will gladly find space. Copies of this issue will be sent to all who may feel disposed to consider the matter, and a covering letter will invite their attention to this article. Then a further suggestion in regard to the actual organizing will be offered through the same medium - Dawn.
IN MEMORIAM - T.H.M., 9th October, 1924.
Unto each man his handiwork, unto each his crown,
The just Fate gives;
Whoso takes the world's life on him, and his own lays down,
He, dying so, lives.
Whoso bears the whole heaviness of the wronged world's weight,
And puts it by,
It is well with him suffering, though he face man's fate,
How should he die?
Seeing death has no part in him any more, no power,
Upon his head,
He has bought his eternity with a little hour
And is not dead.
For an hour, if ye look for him, he is no more found,
For one hour's space;
Then ye lift up your eyes to him, and behold him crowned,
A deathless face.
On the mountains of memory, by the world's well springs,
In all men's eyes,
Where the light of the life of him is on all past things,
Death only dies!
- A. C. Swinburne: Super flumina Babylonis
It is with the most profound regret that Dawn has to state the passing of Mr. T.H. Martyn, President of The Independent Theosophical Society and a world-figure in the Theosophical movement. This event took place on Thursday, October 9th, at Ipoh, Federated Malay States, whither Mr. Martyn had gone on business connected with some of the many financial ventures with which he was connected. He had left Sydney on August 2nd, and anticipated being away for a period of three months; it has been decreed, however, that his body shall remain there for all time while his freed spirit goes to the rest he has so richly earned.
Thomas Hammond Martyn was one of the original band of persons who were attracted to Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, President-Founder of the Theosophical Society, on the occasion of his first visit to Australia in 1891. The Colonel had, as was his custom in those days, inserted an advertisement in the Sydney press inviting interested persons to call upon him at his hotel, and to this invitation Mr. Martyn was one of those who responded. The result was the foundation of the Sydney Lodge, the Charter of which was sealed at Adyar on July 16th, 1891. The friendship that immediately manifested itself between Col. Olcott and Mr. Martyn remained unbroken until the death of the former in 1907. It was a strange coincidence that to Mr. Martyn fell the duty of handing to the Colonel the cablegram containing the utterly unexpected news of the passing of H.P. Blavatsky - a strange coincidence in view of some happenings to be chronicled later.
The cablegram in question arrived as Colonel Olcott was lecturing in the Protestant Hall, and it shows the spirit of the time that, despite this devastating information, the actual formation of the Sydney Lodge was undertaken one day later, for at the Empire Hotel, on May 10th, 1891, the Lodge came into being. There are still one or two of the original members living.
From its inception Mr. Martyn was one of the most devoted workers and most loyal supporters. The Lodge passed through many vicissitudes in those early days, and it was only by the generous help - in time, work and money - given by "T.H.," as he soon became affectionately known, that it survived. The intense propaganda then instituted has never been allowed to cease.
In 1893 a call was sent to Mrs. Cooper-Oakley to come to the assistance of the new movement in Australia, and the lectures which this lady delivered in Sydney were largely attended. This, indeed, was the beginning of the real work of making Theosophy known to Australians. The Sydney Lodge in particular began to expand, and at the instigation and through the assistance of Mr. Martyn, commodious premises were secured at 42 Margaret Street, which remained the headquarters of the Lodge, and later of the Australian Section until 1908. It is an open secret now that on many occasions the rent of these premises was paid out of Mr. Martyn's unfailing pocket when funds were just about at vanishing point.
At Margaret Street, Mr. Martyn took a leading part in welcoming to Australia distinguished visitors who came to assist the movement. In 1894 there came Mrs. Besant on her first visit; in 1895, Constance, Countess Wachtmeister; in 1896 arrived Mr. John C. Staples as first General Secretary; in 1900 came the much-loved Miss Lilian Edger; and in 1905 the first appearance of Mr. C.W. Leadbeater. In many cases the hospitality of Mr. Martyn and his gracious and beautiful wife, at their home, "St. Michael's," Raymond Road, Neutral Bay, was extended to these visitors, who found an inspiration in the sweeping vistas of sea and sky from the balconies of this hospitable home, which has some of the finest views obtainable of Sydney Harbor. Scattered over the far parts of the earth are those who recall with pleasure, untouched with any sadness, the gracious welcome that met them at "St. Michael's" portals.
The propaganda that was instituted has never failed; although many difficulties were encountered the Lodge was able to present a speaker for every Sunday night until 1917, when the influenza epidemic was countered by public measures which compulsorily prohibited public meetings for several weeks. The removal of this embargo saw the resumption of the Lodge work, and this has not ceased since. In the early days, and especially following the Judge Secession, which rent the Lodge here as the movement was rent elsewhere, much of the lecturing fell upon Mr. Martyn; his style became more fluent with the years of experience, and for many years he was regarded as the foremost exponent of Theosophy from the public platform in Australia. At his instigation a rich and splendidly controlled Library - in two sections, Lending and Reference - was built up, and he remained an assiduous student throughout his life; even when he was leaving on the voyage from which there was to be no return, he carried with him a careful selection of books for study. In connection with the Lodge much humanitarian work was done; some of its members were instrumental in inaugurating the movement which grew into the Civil Ambulance Brigade of Sydney; others have interested themselves in Cremation and other such objects.
In 1908 a great development of the work led to the purchase of a commodious property in Phillip Street, which became the headquarters of the Lodge (and the Section), after a suitable hall had been erected. These premises were pleasant and convenient until further expansion of the work proved them to be inadequate, and in 1914 the property was sold. The site of the King's Hall was acquired in Hunter Street, and this splendid property erected and taken possession of in 1916. When it is recalled that this was the middle period of the world war, when construction charges were sky-rocketing and materials most difficult to be obtained, it will be realized how great was the task that had to be carried through to completion. In addition to his splendid optimism, Mr. Martyn was fortunate in obtaining the co-operation and support of several members - notably Mr. Edgar Eberle - who believed equally in the future of the Theosophical movement and the vision possessed by Mr. Martyn, so that all difficulties were overcome. The Australian Convention of 1916, convened at Easter, held some of its meetings in the Lodge Room, but delay in the completion of the larger hall prevented it being utilized until some weeks later.
By this time the Lodge had readied the proud position of being the largest individual lodge in the world - its membership then approaching 500, with several subsidiary lodges in the suburbs. It was a united and most harmonious meeting-place, and visiting Theosophists from all over the world passed through, carrying away with them hints and echoes of its vitality and activities. It was only later that it was to become a new Kurukshetra, where friends on both sides found it necessary to participate in bitter internecine strife. And behind all its activities, always courteous, always helpful, always per-
sonally engaged in so opening up some new avenue of work, was Thomas Hammond Martyn.
Nor was all of his work made visible. Behind the cover of the Esoteric Section was another field of activity that was unsuspected save by those directly concerned. For thirty years Mr. Martyn was Corresponding Secretary for Australia, (and New Zealand, also, for many years), and Personal Representative of the Outer Head - Mrs. Besant. Of his devoted work in this regard the story cannot be told in full or openly; it may be placed on record, however, that here, as elsewhere, he devoted time and money unsparingly. In printing E.S. matter, in stationery, in writing articles, in a voluminous correspondence with E.S. students scattered over the globe, every letter he received being replied to, and in attending E.S. groups with a message of stimulation and devotion, he spent himself without any personal regard. When Mrs. Besant reached the point of exciting such acute antagonism in the British Government that she was sent into internment - "An Old Lady on a Hilltop" was the way in which the London Daily Mail referred to this incident - Mr. Martyn immediately took over the issue of all E.S. matter, edited the E.S. Bulletin and other press duties, to her entire satisfaction. While he himself was personally devoted to Mrs. Besant, he discouraged anything like personality-worship. Having committed himself to her support, his attitude was that of Cicero, who is reported as saying that he would rather be wrong with Plato than right with a lesser man; but this attitude was not to be maintained when what to his vision seemed to be a wrong move on the part of Mrs. Besant. To those who knew him intimately it became more and more apparent that he was gradually drawing away from this attitude of mind; finally the weight of evidence that even in her E.S. work Mrs. Besant was no longer trustworthy, forced itself upon him in such fashion that he penned to her the now famous letter of May 20th, 1921, in which he asked for information, consideration and guidance. The result of this letter made Theosophical history.
It should be made clear that this letter was written under circumstances that require to be mentioned in detail. Questions arose on which Mr. Martyn felt that he required direct guidance; it is an open secret that one of these was the amount of recognition that was to be granted to the flock of "Initiates" which Mr. Leadbeater was unloading upon the T.S. So he wrote to Mrs. Besant in terms that intimated his unhappy frame of mind, and putting forward questions which indicated all too plainly that he was by no means satisfied as to Mr. Leadbeater's bona fides. The reply to this was a brief intimation that he was relieved of his duties as Corresponding Secretary, and a request that he should hand over everything to Mr. Leadbeater. In an E.S. document, Mrs. Besant intimated that Mr. Leadbeater's high occult rank was such that he was most suited to have this official position; but in her letter to Mr. Martyn she made it clear that she was making the change because they - Mr. Martyn and herself - were no longer in harmony on certain questions, but rather on opposite sides. Naturally Mr. Martyn was somewhat astonished at her attitude, because never in the whole course of their previous co-operation and work had any such differences made an appearance. So, in order that the ground might be cleared for all time, he put his doubts and difficulties in the form of a letter - the letter which, without his knowledge or consent, was made public in the United States of America. The circumstances under which the letter was actually made public are still unknown; on the other hand, it can now be stated that Mr. Martyn did everything in his power, by cable and otherwise, to prevent a confidential document being given to the world. In passing, it may be said that this attitude was typical of Mr. Martyn; he was keen to see the Theosophical Society settle its affairs internally and present a united front to the world. He insisted that the primary object of the organization was to teach Theosophy, and that the discussion of personal faults or predilections was not in its best interests. It is necessary, therefore, to emphasize the fact that Mr. Martyn was not privy in any way to the publicity that ensued. Of Mr. Martyr's utter uprightness of character this letter is ample witness.
As the outcome of this trouble, there was the formation of the organization known as The T.S. Loyalty League. Although more or less fully cognizant of its work, and in sympathy with its objects, Mr. Martyn was not at any time a member. The organization was formed in August, 1921, and in the following November the first number of Dawn was issued. The result, as far as the Sydney Lodge was concerned, was to split the Lodge into two clearly-defined parties: those who accepted the leadership of Mrs. Besant and the endorsement which she had given to Mr. Leadbeater, and those who were no longer satisfied with her leadership in its entirety and who were quite satisfied that the conduct, ideas, teachings and practices of Mr. Leadbeater demanded some sort of defense or investigation.
Events followed with great rapidity: these have been so fully covered in Dawn that there is nothing to be gained in reviewing them in detail. Be it sufficient to say that the activities of Mr. Leadbeater in connection with the Liberal Catholic Church, the Order of the Star in the East, and in other movements, had seriously compromised the neutrality of the T.S. and done inestimable damage
in other directions. The disharmony grew and developed; the Convention of 1922 was made the final breaking point. A resolution of confidence in Mr. Leadbeater was drawn up under the direction of Mr. Jinarajadasa, and used as a direct challenge to the members of the T.S. Loyalty League. In the discussion which resulted, Mr. Martyn ranged himself strongly on the side of the Leaguers, and with those members whose names were known as having voted against the resolution, was eventually expelled from the Society.
It is well known that Mr. Leadbeater was guilty of a particularly mean and untruthful slander in connection with this Convention resolution. As the result of its publication, action was taken by the Trustees of the King's Hall to cancel the tenancy of the secret Esoteric Section, in respect to the rooms which it occupied. This latter action was deeply resented by Mrs. Besant, who arrived in Australia in May of that year. Finding that she was unable to mold the Sydney Lodge in its entirety to her will and desire, she ordered out all her E.S. members to form a new Lodge. Then followed a bitter fight in the Section to have the Sydney Lodge expelled; by deliberate distortion and by misleading resolutions the then General Secretary of the Australian Section obtained, by a small majority, the necessary authority to request Mrs. Besant to cancel the Charter of the Lodge. This action she was only too ready to do, and finally an intimation came from Adyar that the Charter had been withdrawn.
To preserve the Lodge and to ensure the continuity of the true Theosophical tradition, Mr. Martyn threw all his organizing power and ability into what was incorporated and registered as The Independent Theosophical Society. To this new organization the Sydney Lodge turned and became the first Lodge to be chartered under it. Its work continues, and the last official act of Mr. Martyn in Australia was the presentation of its Charter to the Blavatsky Lodge of Brisbane - this Lodge being the second to draw a Charter from The Independent Theosophical Society.
As a business man, Mr. Martyn was known throughout Australia, and had many connections abroad. In connection with these interests he made many trips to Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. He was a member of the Sydney Stock Exchange for thirty-five years, and his business partner was recently the elected president of that body. In conversation recently, this gentleman was heard to say that for twenty-eight years he had been associated with Mr. Martyn; that he had never once heard him use strong language; that he had never seen him give way to a display of temper, never once heard him raise his voice. Moreover (he said), his strongest word of abjuration was "Botheration"; his greatest exclamation "Good Heavens!" Surely this is a fine record. To his intimate friends Mr. Martyn displayed a character worthy of all emulation; his love nature was fully developed, and he had never a harsh word for anyone. Even when the bitterness of the fighting in connection with the Sydney Lodge was at its height, he was never heard to express anything concerning his opponents other than in the most kindly terms.
His generosity to the Theosophical movement was fully recognized only by those who knew how continuously he replenished an empty exchequer and the amount of his benefactions. It is well known that during his thirty-three years' membership his benefactions amounted to at least half that number of thousands of pounds, and probably half as much again. To what extent the T.S. benefited outside the land of his adoption is a matter for conjecture. His donations to the E.S., in addition, probably represented a very large amount. Books, lantern slides, pictures, anything that was of service or adornment, was generously granted. But best of all was his constant courtesy, his genial manner, and his perfect command of suitable speech. His lectures were full of deep insight and lit by flashes of humor, his E.S. talks displayed a familiarity with spiritual things that is the mark - or one of the marks - of the true Occultist. Not for nothing did Mrs. Besant in a happier moment describe him, in Bhagavad Gita language, as "a perfect embodiment of skill in action." His devotion to Theosophy was the measure of his devotion to its leaders until the relentless logic of his acute mind showed him that this leadership was bound to bring partial, if not complete, destruction, and then his action was to try and save the inevitable result. Comparing Mr. Martyn with Mr. Leadbeater, there could be no hesitation in the hearts and minds of those who knew them both intimately as to whom the most trust might worthily be given.
This, then, is the man who has been called home. It is known to many that if there had been any room for bitterness in T.H. Martyn it would have shown itself when he learned, as he did from time to time, of the utterly untrue things said by those who no longer saw eye to eye with him; suggestions and innuendoes that he was an occult failure, that he had passed under malign influences, that his personality had been abandoned by his Higher Self (for there were many such things said, and they came not only to us in many forms, but to him personally in their most malignant form); but no single hint or echo of any such bitterness ever passed his lips. We have it from those who are closest to him, who were in contact daily, that he was never heard to say anything that even suggested how these things must have stung. Many of those
who were most deeply obligated to him, for mental inspiration and spiritual help as well as for financial assistance, were those who were heard to say these things. Yet such was their innate belief that one member at least of the Society from which he had been expelled came to him for advice and financial assistance in time of crisis. Dawn feels that now that he is no longer here to reply to such calumnies there will be a recrudescence of them and denies them in advance. The present writers were with him on the morning of August 2nd, when he left for the East, and can bear witness to the fact that although he was tired in body and in mind as the result of long endeavors for Theosophy and in connection with his business, he was never brighter intellectually nor more wholehearted for all things spiritual. So it is that he has passed on in the full plenitude of his powers, and goes to a rich reward. He carried his sixty-four years lightly, although the intestinal trouble that caused his death was of long standing.
Dawn is grateful for this opportunity of bearing witness to a great man and a great Theosophist. There will be for many of its readers a great sense of personal loss; there is a blank that no one else can ever fill. Yet there must be no mourning and no regrets; he would be the first to insist that now is an occasion wherein we can demonstrate the faith that is in us. The best way of showing appreciation for his life is to dedicate ourselves to carry on his work, by endeavoring to fill the space he leaves, by working more steadily than ever at such work as he had not time to finish. His monument is seen in the splendid building in Hunter Street, the Headquarters of The Independent Theosophical Society, which bears witness to his optimism and his genius; his wider work is found in the lives in many parts of the world, to which he brought a richer conception of life, an added inspiration, and a deeper realization of the things of the spirit.
The world of life takes no cognizance of death: day follows day, and the world's business goes on. So it is the intention of those associated with the work, which Mr. Martyn was so largely concerned in inaugurating to "carry on." It is still possible that the work may develop into a wide international movement, and so vindicate the strong allegiance to H.P. Blavatsky that was the underlying factor in all his endeavors. In accordance with her wish and instruction, every possible endeavor must be made to preserve the movement until the coming of the next Messenger in 1975. In consequence, it should be the endeavor of all those who are working on "independent" lines to co-operate into a world-federation, and Dawn would be glad to see this ideal taken up as one form of memorial to one who fought the fight and kept the faith. For him Death is indeed swallowed up in victory, and for us who remain a harvest white and ready for the harvesters.
T.H. Martyn: A Personal Sketch
By L. Ingamells
If, as has been said, the measure of esteem and affection in which a man is held by his fellows is indicated by the manner in which they refer to him (inferring that a man who is always spoken of as Mr. -- , may be esteemed, but not loved), then the late Thomas Hammond Martyr may at once be classed with H.P.B. and her associates. Indeed, more people knew whom was meant by "T.H." than what those initials stood for!
As a comprehensive biography of T.H. Martyn would necessitate the writing of the history of the T.S. in Australasia - and in other places as well - and also the history of many chapters in the commercial history of Sydney, it must be understood that the following is merely intended to be what it claims - a personal appreciation, and no more.
Some day, perhaps, the larger history may be written, but that task is not to be lightly attempted. The ramifications of Mr. Martyn's business and private interests were so great that it is well-nigh hopeless to mention any subject with which he was not familiar. With him in the room, conversation would include many widely diverse subjects, and would range from mining to farming, from irrigation methods in different parts of the world to occultism, and he could talk on each and all subjects as one who did not draw his knowledge from books, but as one who knew from first-hand knowledge.
"T.H." was the second son of the late W.H. Martyn, head of an old Cornish family, and was born in Finchley (London) in the year 1860. According to his elder brother, his boyhood already showed him as one destined to lead and direct
others, and "Tom" was invariably the leading spirit in all games and exploits.
Coming to Australia as a young man in 1884, he, in turn, tried various forms of occupation, and finally commenced in business for himself at Goulburn, where he married Miss Alice Furner. His sojourn there, brief as it was, gave him some organizing opportunities, and his most notable achievement was his work in organizing his fellow-traders and their subsequent adoption of the weekly half-holiday, now universally established throughout Australia. However, Goulburn did not offer sufficient scope to a man of his outstanding ability, and after three years he came to Sydney, with the intention of reading for the Bar.
But about this time occurred the great mining boom in silver, and commerce lured "T.H." away from the law, and he became a member of the Stock Exchange in 1889. Here again his originality soon brought him to the fore, and his successful introduction of the dredging process into gold and tin mining established his reputation. Also, in addition, when the boom of '99 was followed by a period of acute financial depression, his name became synonymous with stability and absolute honesty, which qualities were, of course, predominant in his character.
It was about the time of his going on 'Change that he first came into contact with Theosophy. He soon became prominent in the work, and he acted as chief of staff to Mrs. Besant when she made her first trip to Australia in 1894. It was his influence that later kept the T.S. in Sydney from breaking away with W.Q. Judge, when the latter seceded, taking the greater part of the American Section with him.
The next few years must have been very busy ones for Mr. Martyn, as his expert knowledge in mining affairs led him into many obscure corners of the world, examining new concessions, etc., and his absorbing interest in Theosophical matters more than occupied his spare time.
In those days the T.S. was housed in a couple of rooms in Bond Street. Later on a move was made to Wynyard Square, then to larger premises in Spring Street, where Mrs. Besant found them when she came again in 1908. On that occasion Mrs. Besant spoke to members in the rooms of the Employers' Federation in Pitt Street, and her public lectures were delivered in the old Centenary Hall, in York Street, and the Concordia Hall in Elizabeth Street.
Mrs. Martyn died in 1899, and in 1901 Mr. Martyn married again, his wife being the daughter of Mr. H.F. Shorter. Mrs. Martyn soon proved herself to he a most valuable addition to the Theosophical ranks, and, if the material success of the Society in Sydney was due to the financial acumen of Mr. Martyn, the harmonious interior working of the Lodge must be laid largely to the credit of his wife. And here it may not be out of place to estimate - as far as such services may be estimated - the value of Mr. Martyn's association with the Sydney Lodge. Owing to his intense dislike of publicity in any shape or form, it has never been possible to do this before, but a conservative estimate of the sum total of his financial support of the T.S., from first to last, would be somewhere in the neighborhood of L25,000. And if one could estimate the additional value of the time he spent in working for the Society, represented, say, in the amount he would have received in directors' fees had the T.S. been a business concern, this sum could be doubled, and still leave a wide margin.
"T.H." was a man of many parts, and because of his powers of concentration, expert in all. This concentration was of a quality to produce results, whether it was applied to a business problem or a game of billiards.
Mr. Martyn was good at games of any description. Cricket was, perhaps, his favorite, and whether watching a game on the Sydney Cricket Ground or playing himself, he showed a close grasp of the more intricate points. Croquet, tennis, golf, or billiards or chess, he knew them all, and he rapidly acquired the correct technique in each, and was never to be regarded lightly as an opponent. But in spite of the enthusiasm with which he invested everything he did, his power of concentration was never so apparent as when he was engaged on some Theosophical work. Then was he literally oblivious to all else, and it was apparent to all that his faculties were entirely one-pointed when the welfare of the Theosophical movement was concerned.
If "T.H." could be said to have a failing, it was the divine one of trusting others overmuch. Critical enough up to a point, when his trust was once given he would not listen to any warnings. This is not the time to deal with the effect of his greatest disappointment - the shattering of his implicit faith in the honesty of purpose behind the government of the T.S. - one would need vitriol with which to write about that devastating betrayal, but one word may not be amiss.
Much arrant nonsense has been disseminated concerning his alleged "bitterness and vindictiveness" regarding the shameful treatment meted out to him by those in whom he trusted, but this may be dismissed as propaganda, and nothing more.
In 1920 resentment in his mind was apparent, but it was the impersonal resentment of a leader who found his colleagues disloyal to the common cause. And again in 1922, after Mrs. Besant's amazing behavior in Sydney, he was, for a time, like an
artist who has witnessed his life-work suddenly destroyed by a capricious child. But these were only temporary checks. His indomitable courage, and his profound conviction that his Master's work was not to be abandoned under any circumstances, led at once to the formation of The Independent T.S., which now becomes his legacy to the Theosophical movement,
During recent years Mr. Martyn's business interests led him into many obscure corners of the globe, and he left his work on the Exchange itself to his partner. Once last year he had occasion to go on 'Change, and later told his friends in great glee that the doorkeeper had questioned his entrance, as he did not know him.
It was on one of these business trips to Malaya that the end came, "T.H." could never understand that at sixty he could not do as much as he did when he was younger, and he was always overstraining his heart in consequence.
He left Sydney in the "Marella" on August 2nd, accompanied by his eldest daughter, and while at Ipoh, Malaya, was seized with a recurrence of an old ailment.
Details as yet are lacking, but from the cabled reports it is obvious that the local surgeons decided to risk the effect of an operation, but the shock to the heart was too great, and Mr. Martyn never rallied,
And so passes a pioneer.
"T.H.M." as I Knew Him
By J. M. Prentice
It is nearly twenty years since I first heard the name of T.H. Martyn, and over fifteen since I first met him. I recall vividly his appearance then, an appearance changed but little with the passage of the years. His hair was thinning a little, but the heavy moustache he wore then was still full and dark. I recall his quiet charm of manner, deliberately used to set a shy country boy at ease; nor shall I ever forget his quizzical glance when I rose to speak for the first time as a Theosophist amongst Theosophists in convention assembled. For "T.H." (which I was only able to bring myself to use to him personally many years later) possessed that perfect courtesy that allowed the most intimate conversation, and yet prevented any undue presumption. I have always considered that this courtesy is one of the outward and visible evidences of that inward and spiritual state of mind called Occultism, although I know from personal experience how sadly it is lacking in some who go self-styled as such.
For several years I met Mr. Martyn only at conventions. In the period 1910-1915 I attended all the Australian conventions as a delegate of the Melbourne Lodge, visiting in that period Adelaide, Sydney, and Hobart. As far as I can remember (and I write this far from any records), he was present at all except Hobart, when he was away in Siberia. And he was always the most important person. His fertile mind and powers of organization, as well as the deference paid to him by reason of his position as head of the E.S. in Australia, demanded a hearing, while his previous record of accomplishment commanded respect.
Frequently we came into conflict - the conflict of my youthful enthusiasm against his mature experience - and on the few occasions when I carried the Convention with me, it usually proved that he was right, although he was always in the background to prevent disaster or to turn defeat into triumph.
It was not until 1919 (when I was en route for Europe and America) that I enjoyed the gracious and untrammeled hospitality of his beautiful home at Neutral Bay. After dinner we walked on the verandah that commands so magnificent a view of Sydney Harbor, fairy-like and jeweled with the still lights of the shore, and the colored, moving lights of hosts of ferry-boats, with the perfume of many flowers mingling with the clean scent of a cigar (which I smoked, let me say), and opened our hearts to each other.
For the passing years had somewhat divided us. In 1912 I was already perturbed and uneasy as to the trend of the Society's activities; by 1914 in open antagonism to the present leaders. In 1912 I had been suspended from the E.S. in "T.H.'s" absence; on his return, after triumphantly vindicating myself and being restored to full participation, I resigned. In the July number of Theosophy in Australia, for 1914, I published an article dealing with the position as I saw it; to this Mr. Martyn appended a reply, which crushed me personally but did not touch the circumstances. The relentless logic of things, however, steadily brought him closer to my own view, and as we walked up and down the verandah (just five years ago) we found how much nearer we were than we had hitherto suspected.
I was again his guest in 1921, on my return from
America. Then we exchanged various documents, pooled information, and discussed plans of action. Both of us were keen to see the T.S. reformed from within, without any public display of antagonism; but both determined to rid the T.S. of the enormous and growing incubus of psychism, spurious occultism, still more spurious churchianity and questionable morals. I think I may say that it was at this time that materials which I had collected years earlier finally completed the case which Mr. Martyn had been building up, and which is set out so powerfully in his famous letter to Mrs. Besant.
During the stormy period of the 1922 Convention I stayed at his home. On the Sunday evening preceding Mr. Jinarajadasa's lecture, Mr. Spurgeon Medhurst acquainted me with the fact that it was proposed to challenge the situation and the Convention with a resolution of confidence in favor of C.W. Leadbeater, and that this gentleman would be present. I immediately crossed the harbor to Neutral Bay to put the position to Mr. Martyn, as many of the delegates who were in opposition to C.W. Leadbeater had already left for their homes. I found him playing billiards with Mr. Studd, President of the Melbourne Lodge. A conference was called in my room, and Mr. Martyn, Mr. Loris Ingamells, and myself discussed the position. It was agreed to accept the challenge and fight the resolution. Finally Mr. Studd was called in, advised of the position, and shown some of the evidence I proposed to use in opposing the resolution. He was so impressed by the way in which we three put the matter before him that he volunteered to go to Mr. Jinarajadasa and ask him to cancel the proposed resolution. If necessary, he said, he would go to Mr. Leadbeater personally. He saw Mr. Jinarajadasa on the Monday morning, but reported to us that the Vice-President was determined to push the resolution. It is ancient history, already on record, as to the way in which I was muzzled in regard to the evidence which I tried to submit. But of all the exciting happenings of that memorable morning nothing is so clearly recalled as Mr. Martyn standing on a table or a seat denouncing Mr. Leadbeater's association with Mr. Wedgwood, while Mr. Jinarajadasa vainly hammered on his table and screamed for silence.
Twice since then have I been Mr. Martyn's guest. In 1923 we discussed for hours the policy of The Independent Theosophical Society, and 1924, just prior to his departure for the East, we resumed the discussion. He was full of plans for an extension of the movement, full of hope and enthusiasm, now cut down and buried in a far city.
The I.T.S. has lost a capable and devoted leader; I have lost a good friend. It has been my good fortune to meet many persons highly placed in the T.S. to have known most of those still living who were in close touch with H.P. Blavatsky; it has been given to me to contribute in a very small measure to Theosophical history, and I desire to place on record that it is my considered opinion that of all those who have worked for Theosophy, the place that T.H. Martyn will ultimately occupy is next in order to, and but very little below, that of William Q. Judge.
- The Theosophical Society and Liberal Catholic Church. Testimony of the Camera
It was the original intention of Dawn to publish the photograph reproduced herewith without comment. Taken during the visit of Mrs. Besant to Australia in June, 1922, it has been kept as secret as possible by the L.C.C. authorities, and copies have only been issued to trusted individuals. As it vindicates so much that has been said in Dawn from time to time in regard to the connection between the Theosophical Society and the Liberal Catholic Church, no apology for its reproduction is needed. Moreover, as many of the persons in the picture are earnest and wholehearted supporters of leaders who have themselves wickedly led them astray, no complete key is given; where, however, there is a connection with the Theosophical Society that is inimical to that body, we are presenting the names to the world. In the second front row the names are as follows: - left to right: Father Branscombe, Father Spurgeon Medhurst, Father Burt, Father Keith Dear, Venerable Jinarajadasa, Bishop Leadbeater, Mrs. Besant, D.L., P.T.S., Bishop Mazel, Father Short, Father Williams, M.C., and Bishop Thompson.
Missing the acolytes, banner-bearers, incense wavers, or whatever they are, in the row behind will be found (fifth from the end, left to right) Father Morton Tweedie, Father Warner, Father Cramp,
[[ Photo here]]
Father van der Leeuw, LL.D., Father Cooper, with Mr. George Chappel (Hon. Lecturer for the Theosophical Society in Australia), ninth from the left in the back row.
It is an interesting study to consider the positions in the Theosophical world occupied by some of those named. In the first place, practically every person in the group belongs to the T.S., and all the priests and nearly every adult is a member of the Secret Section of the Theosophical Society known as the E.S. The complete identity of both organizations, notwithstanding the frenzied statements by Mrs. Besant and others, is proved beyond question. Of the actual priests, it may be said that Mr. Burt is an Executive Committee member of the Blavatsky Lodge (Sydney), Mr. Dear is late Secretary of the Hobart Lodge (Tasmania), Mr. Jinarajadasa is Vice-President of the Theosophical Society, acting "Outer-Head" of the E.S., and the voice of Mr. Leadbeater in the world, a recognized Buddhist with power to administer Pansil; Mr. Leadbeater is not only "Presiding Bishop'' since J.I. Wedgwood went under mysterious eclipse, but is head of the E.S. in Australia, a Protector of the Order of the Star in the East, head of the Co-Masonic organization in Australasia, and a Theosophic oracle generally. Mrs. Besant is too well known to require comment. "Bishop" Mazel is at present fostering the church in Holland; he came to Australia in the capacity of Private Secretary to Mr. Leadbeater, and deputized for him in regard to lecturing. Mr. Short was President of the Wellington (N.Z.) Lodge of the T.S., while "Bishop" Thompson occupies in New Zealand a position comparable with that of Mr. Leadbeater in Australia. He is General Secretary of the Theosophical Society, head of the E.S., while his Co-Masonic and Star in the East degrees are not specified in any reference book available to Dawn.
Nor does this exhaust the galaxy of talent. Out of consideration for the boys concerned, Dawn is not publishing their names, but the lad in mufti on the extreme right of the picture is claimed by "Bishop" Leadbeater to be both King Arthur of the Round Table and S. Francis of Assisi redivivius. On the left of Father Tweedie is S. Anthony, of Padua. S. Bernard, of Clairvaux, is unaccountably missing from the photograph.
In regard to the picture, which, as stated above, has been closely guarded, Dawn feels that it is necessary to state that it is published by the cooperation of one of the persons to whom the original copies were given. Although its publication will probably mean setting in motion a fresh heresy-hunt, we may say in advance that nothing will be gained thereby. If any of Dawn's readers desire copies we shall be glad to supply them on receipt of cost and postage. But we don't imagine anyone will!
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