New England Spiritualists’ Association

List of Officers, and Address to the Public; Organized at Boston, November 1854.


Officers of the Association

Allen Putnam, Esq., Roxbury, Mass.

Vice Presidents.
Hon. J. F. Simmons, Providence, R. I.
Alvin Adams, Boston, Mass.
Benjamin Kingsbury, Jr., Esq., Portland, Me.
Harrison Bliss, Worcester, Mass.
E. Mattocks, M. D., Lyndon, Vt.
J. Seymour Brown, Hartford, Ct.
Rufus Elmer, Springfield, Mass.
Robert Wilson, Esq., Keene, N. H.
B. C. Harris, Fiskeville, R. I.
Jonathan Bean, Montville, Me.
Joseph Cram, Hampton Falls, N. H.
Ward Cheney, Manchester, Ct.
Rev. Adin Ballou, Hopedale, Mass.
Rev. Daniel F. Goddard, Boston, Mass.

Recording Secretary.
C. P. Weeks, Boston, Mass., (9 Court Street)

Corresponding Secretaries.
A. E. Newton, Boston, Mass., (5 Washington Street.)
John S. Adams, Chelsea, Mass., (or 115 Washington Street, Boston.)
Rev. Henry J. Hudson, Chelsea, Mass.

Jonathan Brown, Jr., Boston, Mass.

Phineas E. Gay, Boston, Mass.
H. F. Gardner, M. D., Boston, Mass.
Alfred B. Hall, Boston, Mass.
Luther Parks, Boston, Mass.
Charles Foster, Charlestown, Mass.
Jonathan Buffum, Lynn, Mass.
John Baker, Bingham, Mass.
Caleb Eddy, Boston, Mass.
George Darracott, Boston, Ms.
Edward Haynes, Dedham, Ms.
Horace B. Wilbur, Boston, Ms.
John S. Rogers, Boston, Mass.
James Swan, Boston, Mass.

Committee on Membership.
Albert Bingham, Esq., Boston, Mass.
A. B. Child, M. D., Boston, Mass.
John Rogers, Roxbury, Mass.
Bela Marsh, Boston, Mass.
Rev. Herman Snow, Boston, Mass.


Citizens of New England:

It is computed that nearly Two Millions of people in our nation, together with hundreds of thousands in other lands, are already believers in Spiritualism.  No less than twelve or fourteen periodicals are devoted to the publication of its phenomena and the dissemination of its principles.  Nearly each succeeding week brings, through the press, some new books treating exclusively upon this subject.  Every day, and much more than daily, lectures upon Spiritualism are given in the presence of audiences quite respectable as to both numbers and character.  Circles are held by day and by night in nearly every city, town and village throughout our country.

Belief that spirits speak intelligibly to man is already working widely and deeply; it is fast gaining power for either good or evil.  It asks, and it may well claim, attention from every considerate mind.  It is in our midst; it is at work among us.  Is it a friend or is it a foe to man?  Examine it; try it; learn its nature; learn its purposes; learn its effects; and when well informed, answer the question, and shape your treatment of the subject.  Such is the call to every influential mind.  And the call is for prompt action.  Resistance (if resistance be called for) must be speedy or it will be useless.  Soon the strange faith will have grown too strong to be resisted.  Already it makes itself the companion of the farmer in his fields—the mechanic in his workshop—the sailor in cabin or forecastle—the judge on his bench—the senator on his legislative chair—the clergyman in his desk—the philosopher in his study; it goes with man through all his varied walks in life, and it nestles fondly with woman, whether in the kitchen, the nursery or the parlor.  Nor is it a mere companion—it assumes to be teacher and helper—it tells of matters beyond death and the grave, and concerns itself with things of deep and universal interest.  It gains a ready hearing, and sows its seed of truth or of error, of fact or of delusion, on many a fertile spot.  Its words are already moulding the condition of millions of immortal souls, not while they shall dwell in the body merely, but after they shall have gone to the invisible mansions in the Father’s house.  Things material also are made its topics; it out-travels the astronomer in his remotest journeyings to suns and systems in the distant heavens; it scans the composition of the planets and descries their vegetation and their various inhabitants with a minuteness which the most powerful telescope fails to furnish in the observatories of science.  The chemist’s laboratory never reaches such thorough analyses of matter as the teachers in Spiritualism are daily describing.  Statements are made which more than hint at such knowledge of the properties of matter, as will help man in all the daily avocations of life; such as will aid the agriculturist, the machinist, the mechanic: such as will lessen our toils and improve our modes of life.  These new teachers pass beyond the bounds which have hedged in, not the astronomer alone, but the geologist, the mineralogist, the chemist, the physiologist—the man of any and every science.  Statements are made about properties in matter which have escaped man’s detection—but which, when described, can be used by him.  The finer properties of his own organs are set forth, and he is taught how to turn them to advantage in the preservation or restoration of health.  It is not the future and distant alone that the clairvoyants are describing; but the near and the present also.  This earth, and all things upon it, are being analysed and unfolded and made of higher use.  These statements hint at some few of the teachings which are working their way into thousands of minds, where they will effect changes for better or for worse.

But there is something more than teaching.  Spiritualism works.  The sick and feeble feel its touch, and are healed or strengthened, in numberless cases; and this, not by miracle, but by the use of natural means, under the direction of an eye that looks through the human organism, sees the difficulty, and sees where and how to apply the remedy.  And beside the curing of disease, we have “signs;” ours, too, is a generation seeking after signs; and we have them in the movements of tables and chairs by invisible power—in the music from pianos, drums and trumpets, where no visible performer is near—in audible voices—in distinct vision of the departed, and in many other ways.  All these things must indicate that the public mind will be roused to observation, and that it will receive these wonderful words and works as being in fact what they claim to be, unless some other producing cause can be demonstrated.  Here is the world’s work.  The phenomena, many of them at least, are generally admitted.  They claim to be the work of spirits; and such claim must stand good, unless the world can show some other adequate and probable agent.  To show such an agent is the duty of every one who apprehends harm from Spiritualism.

We who now unite to form an association, are firmly persuaded that the spirits of the departed come to us; that they write and speak for our instruction and improvement.  We believe that they work in harmony with God’s universal laws; in harmony with his kind designs; and that, in lending our aid to this cause, we are co-workers with the All-merciful One, and with his good angels.

Such is our faith.  Therefore, if there be anything of manhood in us, sneers and scoffs and ridicule are not the instruments that will be likely to change or stay our course.  Facts and sound argument we think we can give for the faith that is in us; and we trust that we shall be ready to admit the fair and full force of all facts and sound argument that shall be brought to bear against our belief.  But those who would shake our faith are asked to discover, and distinctly describe and define, some other power than spirits which can cause all the varied, wonderful phenomena of Spiritualism.  Faraday, Rogers, Dods, Beecher, and others, have tried—and, if they have satisfied themselves, they obviously have failed to satisfy the great mass of reasoning and thinking minds.  Their several efforts are so far failures as that they cannot be called successes.  Time is strengthening the claims of the spirits.  Their powers are confessedly adequate to the works performed; while their opponents fail to show any other adequate power.  All such failures imply difficulties; and repeated failures give suspicion of impossibility.  The foundations of Spiritualism stand as yet unimpaired by the efforts that have been made to shatter them.  Still, however, we would invite to new efforts in the same direction, provided they be manly and honest.  If we are in error, we must become sufferers.  For our own good, as well as for the good of the world, we ask for the most extensive and thorough investigation that can be given.  True, we should be sorry to let go our hold upon a faith that throws so much pleasant light upon both the present and the future world; that is so full of consolation in hours of bereavement; so full of power to substitute joy for sorrow; so beautiful in its revelations of the Heavenly Father’s works and laws; so emphatic in its declarations that we all must reap that which we sow; so cheering in its exhortations to duty; so clear in its justifications of the ways of God to man.  We should be sorry to part with this elevating and purifying Faith—and yet, if it be error, if facts and logic can prove it unsound, we hope to be ready to exchange it for something true and therefore good.

But while others are urged to investigate, we, who have passed beyond disturbing doubts, feel a call upon us to prepare for some systematic course of effort to disseminate the truths which we value.  Association is the customary and therefore almost the necessary step.  We therefore associate; not that we fail to see that association may tend to sink the individual—to lessen his personal efforts—and dispose him to follow where others lead, rather than judge for himself.  But though there be dangers, there are benefits also; and it should be our purpose to shun the former while we avail ourselves of the latter.

Perhaps we shall find but little to do at present in our associated capacity.  Spiritualism has sprung up—an infant giant—and in less than seven years has made its power felt in all parts of the civilized world.  This it has done by its own inherent energies.  Unaided by associations, but availing itself of individuals, it has pushed its way to the homes and hearts of millions.

And yet we may by our association be instrumental in spreading knowledge of what the wonderful child has done and is doing; and thus perhaps we may prepare the way for his more ready reception and more beneficent action among individuals and private circles.  It is obvious that the efficient actors—the moving powers—are hidden from most of us.  We should be no more than humble co-workers with the unseen.  Our province is to follow, rather than to lead; to execute, rather than to plan.  At present, perhaps, we may think it best to do little more than put ourselves in readiness for calls that may come to us from the yet silent future.  But should we be thus passive, we may yet accomplish something—perhaps much.  The world does not understand Spiritualism, and ignorantly makes it imply much that has no necessary or natural connection with it.  The ultra doctrines and plans of any who profess belief in Spiritualism, are regarded as the outgrowth of that belief.  As well might these ultraisms and eccentricities be charged to Christianity, for the same agitators are believers in Christianity also.  The fruits of our creed, the earliest of them, have yet scarcely matured—while the later have not been fairly formed.  Their quality we argue from the wisdom and beneficence of the God who sows the seed.  Where He is sower, we feel that it is safe and wise to admit the seed into the grounds which He has allotted to each of us.  Our creed is simple.  Spirits do communicate with man—that is the creed.  The legitimate consequences of belief in that single fact, are all that can be chargeable upon Spiritualism.  All else that Spiritualists may believe and do, belongs to them as individuals, and not necessarily as Spiritualists.  We seem to be saying but little; yet it may be no small matter to utter unitedly the five simply words—Spirits do communicate with man.  Such utterance implies the facts that we disclaim connection with any sect, party, or ism; that we are only young disciples in a new school, waiting for more knowledge and education before we are fitted to plan and execute new schemes for the world’s good; that we would be patient learners from intelligences of greater experience and wisdom than we now possess.  There may seem to be, and there is, much of the world’s impurity floating on the waters of Spiritualism—but its action is superficial and does not destroy the pearls which are imbedded at the bottom.  Those pearls—the affectionate appeals; the wise counsels; the cheering descriptions of the spirit-world; the unfoldings and extension of human science; the exposition of the laws of both physical and moral health—these and other similar pearls are rich enough to compensate for the disagreeableness of the obloquy that follows the divers in this sea.

Spirits do communicate with mortals.  Perhaps they always have been our guardians and helpers; we doubt not that they have; but now they have learned to be our teachers.  Is it indeed so?  Does the disencumbered spirit indeed come to our firesides and our closets, freighted with the wisdom of a higher sphere?  Can we sit as learners at the feet of aged travellers returning from beyond the hidden bourne, and listen to their tales of love, purity and bliss?  Our ears have heard them; our hearts have been filled by them with holy aspirations; their words have made life’s pathway brighter; and thrown around its close a winning halo of light.

Calmly but firmly we would put ourselves in readiness to help extend a faith that opens the doors of immortality to the skeptic; that gives new life and strength to the believer; that sees departed friends stretching down the helping hand to bear us onward and upward to plains of clearer light and higher joys—and it is in such a work, men and women of New England, that we ask your co-operation.  “A wide door is opened unto us, and effectual, but there are many adversaries.”


[ Ephemera Home] [ Spiritualist Listings ]