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Periodical: Pacific Liberal

Summary: From Pat Deveney's database:

Pacific Liberal.
A Journal of Free Inquiry.
No Crescent -- No Cross / The Absolute Secularization of the State is the Hope of the Nation: Mental Liberty is its Chief Corner Stone / The only journal on the Pacific coast devoted to free thought, radical reform and the secularization of the State
1875--1877? Monthy
San Francisco, CA.
Editor: A.J. Boyer, editor and proprietor.
1/1, December 1875.
8 pp., $1.00 year.

This was a "progressive" "free-thought" journal published in San Francisco in the same period as its contemporary radical journals, The Dawn, Common Sense, The Philomathean and William Rhodes's slightly earlier The True Californian, at the peak of the flirtation of reform and spiritualism. Andrew Jackson Boyer (1839-1924) was not a spiritualist but was active in circles where practically everyone else was: he was the Western Agent of Woodhull & Claflin's Weekly, chair of the executive committee of National Liberal League, and active with spiritualists in every reform effort of the period. The Banner of Light, Religio-Philosophical Journal and Hull's Crucible and others noticed the appearance of this journal and later carried its advertisements. From his birth in a log cabin in Pennsylvania, he had gone to Dayton, Ohio, and began the first of the 17 newspapers and journals he published over his life: the "Workman's Appeal," which was soon superceded by "Woman's Advocate," a very influential woman's rights paper which carried frequent discussion of spiritualism and to which Annie Denton Cridge and other spiritualists contributed. Eliza Boardman Burns (Burnz), Boyer's assistant editor, went on to publish (as Burnz & Co.) Parkhurst's seminal Diana: A Psycho-Fyziological Essay on Sexual Relations for Married Men and Women (1895). D.M. Bennett said of Boyer "In theology Mr. Boyer claims to be a Hylotheist; in science, a Materialist; in Morals, a Utilitarian, and in religion a most positive and confirmed Infidel."

This attitude caused him to cast a critical eye on the vagaries of current spiritualism: "New phase follows new phase in Spiritualism. 'Occultism' and 'Elementaryism' are among the latest. Then 'Materialization' followed; then the actual taking casts of spirits in plaster of Paris. But the grand culmination of the nonsense is the very latest feature of it, as indicated by Mrs. Hardinge in her experience with spiritual lovers, as actual and real as though in the body. Well, now we are prepared for anything!" Despite this jaundiced view Boyer professed an open mind: "Of Spiritualism, we have seen a great deal, but not yet enough to convince us, or convert us to its claims." The pages of this journal were open to articles on spirituaism and to contributions by A. Van Der Naillen, a contributing editor, who went on in 1877 to become one of Emma Hardinge Britten's (unsuccessful) occult students. As she wrote in Two Worlds in 1891, in a review of his On the Heights of Himalay:

"This gentleman being desirous to learn more of REAL OCCULT power than the superficies of modern spiritualism displayed, bowed his head, already laurelled with scientific renown, to become one of a secret, elect, and private class, who, under the leadership of the present writer and Editor of this paper, was permitted by the powers that be--in earth as in the higher worlds--to demonstrate the difficulties, almost the impossibilities of human beings living, acting, and serving in this world, from obtaining and practically putting into action TRUE OCCULT POWERS. In the brief series of experiments, inaugurated byMrs. Hardinge Britten, Professor Van der Naillen was one of the chosen few to whom the failure of PRACTICAL OCCULTISM amongst busy, work-a-day Western peoples, was demonstrated."

The journal claimed a circulation of 1,500-3,000, which seems unlikely. It was still being advertised in mid-1877.

Issues:Pacific Liberal V1 N1 Dec 1875
Pacific Liberal V1 N2 Jan 1876

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