Henry Rhodes Morgan

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General Morgan

Major-General Henry Rhodes Morgan was an early Anglo-Indian member of the Theosophical Society, who had retired from the British Army. He and his wife were staunch friends of the Founders and defended H. P. Blavatsky during the controversy started by the Coulomb conspiracy. NOTE: The 1938 Theosophical Yearbook lists the general under the name Rhodes E. Morgan.

Personal life and career

The Major-General and Mrs. Morgan lived at Ootacamund, a hill station where he was one of the first English settlers in 1845. Their home was called "The Retreat."[1] He worked for the English Government in India as a Forest Officer and Inspector and wrote a book entitled Forestry in Southern India encouraging forest conservation. Mrs. E. H. Morgan "studied scientific agriculture and was responsible for introduction into Ooctacamund of Australian Eucalyptus, Assam tea plant, and to a great extent the cinchona."[2] The couple had eight children, of whom only three survived to 1938.[3] The general died in June, 1909.[4]

Theosophical Society involvement

In the summer of 1883 Mme. Blavatsky and Col. Olcott stayed with the Morgans for a short vacation in the benign climate of the Nilgiri Hills. Agriculture was an interest that Col. Olcott held in common with the Morgans. HPB wrote to Alfred Percy Sinnett:

I am at the Morgans. General and Generaless, six daughters and two sons with four sons-in-law constitute the family of the most terrible atheists and the most flapdoodlish or the most kind Spiritualists. Such care, such kindness and regards for my venerable self that I feel ashamed...[5]

The general was the President of the local Doddabeta Theosophical Society.

During the Coulomb controversy, a letter was published in the Madras Christian College Magazine purportedly written by Mme. Blavatsky to Emma Coulomb, mentioning a visit of the General to Madras. Morgan demanded an opportunity to examine the original letter, and then published a letter in the Madras Mail stating in strongest terms that the HPB letter was determined to be a forgery by three experts.[6]

Writings

  • Forestry in Southern India.
  • Reply to a Report of an Examination by J. D. B. Gribble. 2nd ed. Ootacamund: Observer's Press, 1884. 21 pages. The British Library has two copies.[7]

Notes

  1. Virginia Hanson, Masters and Men: the Human Story of the Mahatma Letters (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980), 179.
  2. "Morgan, Mrs. E. H.," 'The Theosophical Year Book, 1938. Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 202.
  3. 1938 Year Book, 202.
  4. 1938 Year Book, 202.
  5. H. P. Blavatsky, The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett and Miscellaneous Letters (London: T. Fisher Unwin Ltd., 1925), ???. A. T. Barker, editor.
  6. Vallah Bulla statement dated September 21, 1884. Adyar Committee Report, 1885, 133-134. As presented in Michael Gomes, "The Coulomb Case" Theosophical History Occasional Papers Volume X (Fullerton, California: Theosophical History, 2005) 47.
  7. Boris de Zirkoff letter to British Museum Department of Printed Books (predecessor to British Library). July 16, 1955. Boris de Zirkoff Papers. Records Series 22. Theosophical Society in America Archives.