OLD DIARY LEAVES, Vol. IV
by Henry Steel Olcott
EDITOR'S PREFACE TO FIRST EDITION
IT is six years since the Third Series of OLD DIARY LEAVES appeared in book form, and it is nine years since the contents of the present volume were published in the pages of the Theosophist. The author passed over in 1907, and, as all who knew him well are aware, the publication of the whole of this "true history of the Theosophical Society" was a matter that lay near his heart. There still remains sufficient material to fill one, if not two, additional volumes, and it is hoped this will appear in due course, for the longer the lapse of time that separates the present membership of the Theosophical Society from its early history, the more important it is that the facts should be placed on record. For the earlier part of the story, relating to America and India, there was no living authority so well able to bear witness to the facts as the late Co-Founder of the Society. In this present volume, however, we traverse a period when, owing to the world-wide spread of the organisation, the touch of the President with the whole of the Society was not so close, and maybe there are those well qualified to write of the development of different Sections, who could effectively supplement the present history so far as their own
vi OLD DIARY LEAVES
country is concerned. But such sectional or national histories remain to be written, and in meantime the record of Colonel Olcott is here to read—“and inwardly digest”.
The volume before us deals with some five years during which the writer travelled all round the world, visiting Japan twice, Europe twice, Ceylon several times; Australia, America, Burma each once, besides, making long lecturing tours in India. These were years which saw the advent of Mrs. Besant—the present President—to the Theosophical Society, and witnessed the death of Madame Blavatsky, and of her learned Hindu colleague, T. Subba Row. Work on behalf of Buddhst Unity occupied much of the writer's time and energy in his Eastern travels, while, in the West, he devoted a good deal of attention to the study of hypnotism, both in Paris and Nancy. Many useful notes on this subject are embodied in these pages.
No revision of the "Leaves" as they originally appeared has been attempted. The Editor's work is confined to one or two explanatory notes, and the correction of typographical and a few other obvious errors.