The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Fourth Annual National Convention of Spiritualists, Cleveland, Ohio, September 3-6.


“Fourth Annual Convention of the Spiritualists,” The Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 3, 1867

Large Attendance—Action on the Death of John Pierpont.

    The fourth annual Convention of the Spiritualists of the United States, assembled at Brainard’s Hall, at 10 o’clock this forenoon, pursuant to the adjournment of the Providence convention, held in August, 1866.  Delegates were present from every State in the Union, except California, and one or two of the Southern States, to the number of 300 or 400.
    President Newman Weeks, of the Providence Convention, called the Convention to order, and was elected temporary Chairman.  Dr. Henry T. Child, of Philadelphia, acted as Secretary pro tem, in the absence of Doctor Rowland, of the District of Columbia, the former Secretary.

    Among the most prominent delegates were Dr. Henry T. Child, of Philadelphia, Dr. Davis of New York; Isaac Rehn, and M. B. Dyott, of Philadelphia; Dr. Hallock, of New York; Warren Chase, New York; Washington A. Danskin, of Baltimore, Chairman of the Business Committee, last year; the Rev. J. M. Peebles and L. B. Wilson, editors of the Banner of Light, published at Boston, Miss C. H. Stillman, M. D., of Whitewater, Wis., Mary Severance of Milwaukee; Louise Whittier, Milwaukee; H. F. M. Brown, Chicago; Mrs. Stewart, Brodhead, Wis.; Mary Davis, New York; Mrs. Fuller, Chicago; Mrs. Stevens, Vineland, N. J.; Mrs. Thompson, of Cleveland; Mrs. Hazen, of Lansing, Mich.; and Mrs. Franklin, New York.

    A head of Christ, painted by N. B. Starr of Cincinnati, last month, in a trance state, was prominently exhibited on the stage Mr. Starr completed the drawing and painting in four hours.
    A prominent delegate told us that the Convention would probably sit four days, and that Spiritualism, and all scientific, moral and philanthropic subjects would be discussed, but denied that any time or attention would be devoted to free loveism.
    After the names of the Committee on Credentials, and permanent organization consisting of one from each State represented to the Convention had been handed in, Mr. J. M. Peebles offered and read the following preamble and resolutions, which were unanimously adopted.
    Whereas, One of the prominent features of the last National Convention, held in Providence, was the farewell address of its President, the venerable John Pierpont, an octogenarian, but an able and fearless advocate of the truths and principles which we are endeavoring to present to the world; and
    Whereas, In a few days after his memorable labors with us on that occasion the angel of death loosened the bonds of materiality and let his spirit free, therefore
    Resolved, That in the life and resurrection of this noble man we recognize a beautiful evidence of the value of our principles; and, while we realize that his “memory,” like that “of the blessed,” we feel that his example is valuable to us, and that his labors in all the great reforms for which his noble soul was fitted into will be continued with the same characteristic earnestness which marked his career in the life, and with more power to accomplish the good to which he aspired.
    Resolved, That an opportunity now be offered for remarks in reference to our risen and sainted brother, and that a Committee be appointed to prepare a memorial to be published in the proceedings of this convention.
    Remarks eulogistic of the deceased were then made by Messrs. Child, Jocelyn, and John M. Spear.

Adjourned till afternoon.

“Spiritualism at Brainard’s Hall,” The Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 4, 1867.

The Convention—Further Proceedings.


The following Committees were announced:

     On Credentials—A. N. Fleming, F. Taber, A. A. Wheelock, A. C. Robinson, James First, Mrs. O. Stevens, F. L. Wadsworth, Warren Chase, Mrs. Mary M. Baily, M. B. Dyott, R. Brown, L. T. Whittier and Mrs. A. C. Wilhelm.
     On Business—Newman Weeks, Charles A. Fenn, James Cooper, B. R. Pratt, E. S. Wheeler, Joon Frost, J. G. Fish, J. B. Harrison, S. J. Finney, L. K. Joslyn, M. B. Dyott, D. M. Fox, Mrs. L. R. Stuart and Mrs. A. C. Wilhelm.
     On Finance—Miss Sarah Cook, Miss M. E. Hurlbut, William Rose, George A. Bacon, Isaac Corbett, J. Orvis, E. V. Wilson, D. Glover, Seth Simmons, D. Dake, Mrs. J. D. Cowell, M. W. Stewart and Mrs. A. C. Wilhelm.
     Resolutions—Charles A. Fenn, Moses Hull, A. B. French, L. B. Wilson, W. A. Danskin, Mrs. C. A. R. Poore, Mrs. H. F. M. Brown, A. G. Davis, J. H. W. Toohey, Mrs. C. A. Grimes, J. M. Peebles, H. S. Brown, and Mrs. A. C. Wilhelm.
     Mr. Dyott, from the Committee on Permanent Organization reported, in part, as follows, which was received and adopted:

President—Isaac Rehn, Philadelphia.
Secretary—H. T. Child, Philadelphia.
Treasurer—L. K. Joslyn, Providence, R. I.

Thanks were voted the retiring President, Newman Weeks, of Rutland, Vermont.


     The Convention re-assembled at 7:30 o’clock, and was largely attended.  After the minutes of the previous meeting had been read, remarks were listened to from Mr. Finney, Mrs. Davis, Dr. Halleck, of New York; E. S. Wheeler, of Boston; and Mr. Dewey.  Mr. W. R. Joslyn, of Geneva, N. Y., had vigorously opposed Mr. Wheeler’s occupying the stand, for some reason or other, and shouted to the Chair to forbid his speaking.  The warlike Joslyn was over-ruled, however; but when Mr. Dewey was recognized by the Chairman, as the next speaker, Joslyn was again on his feet, claiming his right to the floor; but Dewey proceeded.  Joslyn attempted to follow Dewey, but the Chair would not recognize him, and adjourned the meeting, amid great confusion.


     The convention re-assembled at 9 o’clock this morning, immediately after which the Committee on Resolutions presented, and read, their report.  A discussion of the report, consumed the time of the forenoon session.  The resolution of Mr. E. Wilson, of Illinois, limiting speeches on business to ten minutes, and the readers of essays to twenty minutes, proved quite a bomb shell in the Convention.
     It seems that at the last Annual Convention of Spiritualists, held at Providence, R. I., in August, 1866, several gentlemen were appointed to prepare essays on various subjects, to be read at the Convention now in session.  Dr. Halleck and Mr. Loveland were among those who had prepared essays.  The effect of Mr. Wilson’s resolution would be to shut off the essays, as their authors would not like to commence reading productions that would probably take up an hour or so in their perusal, and be compelled to sit down after scarcely getting more than started.  Hence the discussions of the resolution was vehement and even angry.  The feeling of the Western delegates seemed to be, that the Spiritualists had progressed since the holding of their last Convention, and that listening to set speeches and essays, prepared for this gathering, by members of the Providence meeting, would not redound to the good of the Society.
     This afternoon, there will be a discussion of the interests and principles of the Children’s Progressive Lyceum.
     Dr. Halleck, of New York; Mrs. Wilhelm, of Philadelphia, and J. S. Loveland, will deliver addresses this evening.
     A number of Shakers, of both sexes, were present from Warrensville, agreeably on invitation, and occupied seats on the stage.

“The Spiritualists,” The Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 5, 1867

Their National Convention at Brainard’s Hall—The Resolutions, Etc.

     The following report of the Committee on Resolutions was read yesterday, by Chairman Toohey:

     Whereas, In a recent number of the Banner [of Light] there was an address to the citizens of the United States by the Third National Convention of Spiritualists, in which there occurred the following language: “Before we, as Spiritualists, will consent to have the infallibility of the Bible, the deity of Jesus, and the political authority of these quondam friends of God crammed down on our souls as part of the Constitution of our Republic, we will fight till the buzzards are gorged with the spoils,” and of this we will give all timely and simple notice; therefore,
     Resolved, That the above declaration, misrepresents the Spiritualists of the country, who are law abiding citizens, and will not inaugurate rebellion and civil war because of obnoxious amendments to the Constitution by the requisite two-thirds vote of the country; and after the experience of rebellion—the blood and suffering which we have witnessed for the last few years—it illy becomes us as good citizens and pretended reformers, to threaten the wickedness of war as a remedy for grievances, real or imaginary.
     Resolved, That we recognize it to be a truth that one of the first great principles of reform is to correct by form; therefore we urge upon all friends of progress everywhere the necessity of a better understanding of the laws which govern reproduction in the human family, physically and mentally, and that we hereby recognize teachers of these principles as co-workers, and that we aid and encourage by every means in our power those who are engaged in this work.
     Whereas, We deem it just and fit to put ourselves on the record, and thereby give our influence for the right and vital questions of the day, and since we believe that only in practical appreciation of the great principles of justice and freedom, conduct of private and public affairs is safety, strength, beauty, peace and true life for individual or nation; therefore,
     Resolved, That we urge all to work faithfully and persistently for human rights, for the use of the ballot and the other privileges of citizenship in a free government, impartially to all, women as well as men.
     Whereas, The Philosophy of Spiritualism embraces within its range every movement tending towards the elevation and reformation of mankind; and
     Whereas, Crime, sickness, suffering and poverty are visible throughout the length and breadth of American society, destroying alike the hopes and happiness of mankind, be it therefore,
     Resolved, That we, the Spiritualists of the United States of America, in National Convention assembled, do recommend to all the other societies within the jurisdiction of this Convention, and to Spiritualists everywhere, the organization of Moral Police Societies in their respective cities, towns, and neighborhoods, whose especial objects shall be,
     1st. To search out and relieve the poor and needy, no matter what their creed, belief or opinion.
     2d. To search out those who may be suffering from sickness in their special locality, and extend to them sympathy and aid in their misfortunes.
     3d. To search out and reclaim fallen and misdirected men and women, and work together in every practical way to promote health, temperance, virtue, fraternal love and the practical reformation of society.
     The Convention immediately divided itself into two factions, in its discussion of the first resolution, which was charged to the muzzle with inflamable material.  One faction was for war; the other for peace; and their “debates” were long, fierce, and without any definite result.
     In the afternoon, the Children’s Progressive Lyceum claimed the attention of the delegates.
     Doctor Halleck, of N. Y., read a carefully prepared essay on the present interests and future hopes of Spiritualists, in the evening; and was followed by Miss Wilhelm in a spirited address.


     The friends of the Lyceum met early in the morning to devise a plan, in accordance with the proposition made by Mr. Dyott, yesterday, for the better government of the Lyceum.  At 10 o’clock the convention assembled.  A song by Mrs. Forbes, entitled, “Over the River,” and the reading of a letter from Alfred H. Love, of Philadelphia, counselling brotherly love, were the opening features.
     The Chair announced the following as a committee to carry into operation the proposed change in Lyceum ceremonies:

Michael B. Dyott, Penn.
Mary F. Davis, N. J.
J. M. Peebles, Mich.
L. B. Wilson, Mass.
Newman Weeks, Vt.
Mrs. Wilhelm, Kansas
Isaac Corbett, Md.
C. A. Fenn, Mo.
Mrs. M. M. Bailey, R. I.
Hudson Tuttle, Ohio
F. L. Wadsworth, Ill.
S. J. Finney, N. Y.
Mrs. L. B. Sayles, Conn.
Bernard Shalff, Me.
Amelia Brown, Ind.
J. H. Moore, Wis.

     Another quarrel ensued, over the report of the Business Committee, the discussion of the Lyceum question being assigned for the afternoon session.  E. V. Wilson opened fire against that arrangement.  He believed enough had been said on the subject; that the interests of the adults should not be monopolized by attention to the interests of the children.  D. J. Mandell followed, charging the Eastern delegations with attempting to run the Convention in advance, as had been intimated by a Boston paper when it said, six months before the Convention, what would be done.
     J. G. Fish, a member of the Business Committee, said he was between two fires—the Convention and those who had prepared essays—the first wanting no set speeches, the other to read their essays which had been carefully prepared.
     Mr. Wilson—Obey the Convention.  [Cheers.]
     Mr. Joslyn spoke next, and was followed by Mr. Wheeler, of Boston, who said there were two things the matter with him: he was a member of the Business Committee and from Boston.  If the Convention did not like the situation, as presented by the Committee, he advised it to re-commit the report, and the Committee would doctor it to suit circumstances.
     Mr. Dyott argued that the claims of the Lyceum had thus far been ignored.  The gap between the Lyceum and Church was becoming wider every day.  And he gave the Convention warning that if the interests of the children could not receive more attention then he would see that they got their rights in some other places.
     Mr. Wilson, of Illinois, conceived the speaker had made a personal attack on him, and arose to a personal explanation.  The speaker refused to yield the floor and the Chair decided Mr. Wilson to be out of order.  After a sharp discussion, in which several persons participated without the consent of either the Chair or speaker, Mr. Dyott was allowed to proceed.  The whole report was finally re-committed to the Committee, covered by several layers of amendments, none of which were regarded as being in order by the Chair.
     After being absent a few moments, the Committee returned with a report, and, instead of retreating, merely changed the names, giving some of the disaffected persons a place in the programme.
    Mr. John Arvas [sic, Orvis], of New York, read the following “Propositions,” in spite of a good deal of vigorous opposition:
     I. The inherent rights of all men and all women are equal, and should be maintained though all existing institutions be overthrown.
     II. Every person, man and woman, has a right to his or her opinions upon all matters pertaining to the interests and the progress of mankind, and whosoever would deny or in any way limit or abridge its exercise is a tyrant, and deserves the condemnation of all free and noble souls.
     III. Spiritualism cannot have any foreign or side issues, all that concerns man being embraced in its broad and beautiful things, therefore.
     IV. Spiritualists are, by their religion, committed to universal righteousness, and are bound in loyalty to their faith, both as individuals and as a people, to work unitedly for the reformation of the political, religions and social institutions of the world.  Acting from these convictions, this Convention does now proceed to organise a new political platform, the main purpose of which shall be
     1. To secure equal rights to all persons, irrespective of class, complexion, sex or race.
     2. To secure to the poorer classes a more thorough and complete education and at cheaper rates than is now to be obtained, and to help them to cheap and productive lands at desirable locations, whereto some of the millions the Old World may come and enjoy the advantages of our free institutions.
     3. To secure to the laboring classes just and equitable compensation for their labor, in connection with landed interests and other capital.
     4. To secure for woman equal opportunities of employment, and the same compensation for her skill and labor as is awarded to the opposite sex.
     5. To reduce the expenses of State and National governments, and to elect honest men and women to office in the place of merely crafty politicians.
     6. To extend the term of office of the President of the United States to five, seven or twelve years, and limiting him to one term, thus avoiding frequent political agitations, giving him more time to understand and perform the duties of his office, and requiring greater care in electing an honest, faithful and capable incumbent.
     7. To encourage the construction of broad national roads for emigrants and freight, to secure also the use of the more important existing roads and canals at cheaper rates, to buy and manage all telegraphs including the Atlantic and submarine cables, for the people’s and the nation’s use, and to establish free trade with all nations.
     V. This Convention recommends that the friends of progress should separate themselves from all religious organizations and party associations, which are not universal in their aims, liberal in their action, and progressive in their tendencies; and that they unite themselves to and co-operate with individuals and associations who seek to establish a new and better social order.
     VI. This Convention recommends the efficient encouragement and support of such publications, as are catholic in spirit and broad in philosophy; and which espouse sincerely and boldly the principles and worth of co-operation, and the beneficial association of interests which so eminently characterize the age.
     VII. This Convention proclaims its earnest desire to promote reconciliation and harmony between States and Nations, to the end that war may be deemed as inexpedient in action as it is cruel in spirit, and urges the settlement of State and International disputes, by arbitration rather than the sword, thus causing the disbanding of armies and navies, and the saving of treasure and life, for the uses of a humane and just civilization.
     VIII. That a Committee of seven delegates be appointed to whom the 5th proposition be committed with instructions to make an early but full report to the Convention.

     Referred to the Business Committee.
     The discussion on resolutions being in order, all those reported by the committee the second day were taken up and adopted, with the exception of the one which was laid on the table.  They were adopted without much discussion, and by large majorities.  Other resolutions were reported by the committee, but no final action was taken on any of them.  Adjourned till 2 ½ o’clock P. M.

“The Spiritualist Convention,” The Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 6, 1867

Proceedings Yesterday Afternoon and To-Day.

     The Convention was opened by singing yesterday afternoon.  The principle topic discussed with the subject of Children’s Progressive Lyceums.  Remarks were made by Andrew Jackson Davis, Mr. Burtis, of Rochester, N. Y., and Warren Chase, of New York City.
     The Committee on Badges made a report, setting forth the propriety of inaugurating a society, to be designated the “United Order of Eternal Progress,” and this committee was appointed to decide upon a badge to be worn by all members, designating them as the elect.  The emblem is intended to be worn as a breast-pin, stud, or locket, by “Spiritualists,” members of the “Children’s Progressive Lyceum,” “Eternal Progressionists,” and liberal thinkers, who believe in a continuous progressive life beyond the confines of earthly existence.  For those who are not members of the Lyceum, the emblem would be a disc of silver, about three-fourths of an inch diameter, the lower half burnished or dead white silver, upon which a golden sun is represented as rising out of and above the clouds, surmounted with the motto “Progressive” occupying the centre of an arch, either end of which rest upon a cluster of stars.  For those who desire to be recognized as members of the “Children’s Progressive Lyceum,” a golden target is placed upon the clouds, with the inscription “Lyceum” upon it, and upon the staff beneath the target is the American Flag.
     After the Chairman had explained and significance of the badge, it was moved and carried that the report be adopted.
     Speaking on the main topic—Children’s Lyceums—then re-commenced, and was participated in by Messrs. Wilson, Peebles, Rhodes, Haughton, and a young man from Corry, Pa., who thought the European sovereigns would shake in their shoes, when they heard of the establishment of the Lyceums.
     Mr. Loveland, Secretary of the Convention, made a few remarks, and introduced the following resolution, which was adopted:

     Resolved, That while we think the financial interests of the Lyceums and Societies should be kept separate, yet we deprecate in the strongest manner, any conflict or division of feeling and effort between them.

     After more speeches from Mr. Joslyn, Rev. J. G. Fish, of New Jersey, and Dr. Dunn, of Indiana, and a song by Dr. Lawrence, of New Jersey—its author—the Convention adjourned.
     The Hall was densely crowded in the evening.  J. S. Loveland, of Boston, spoke upon the “Spiritual Idea of Man and his Relations.”  Dr. H. T. Child, of Philadelphia, upon the “Religious Aspect of the Spiritual Movement;” Mrs. Dr. Stillman, of Wisconsin, upon “Woman and the Dress Reform,” and Hudson Tuttle read a “Spiritual” poem.
     The Convention re-assembled at 9 o’clock this morning, and consumed the time from the opening hour till 10 o’clock, in conference business.  In conference there arose a pretty hot discussion on the question of a broad, liberal platform, on which all progressive reformers could stand.  There is in the Convention a few delegates, with E. V. Wilson for their leader, who advocate a “Distinctive Spiritual Organization,” excluding all who don not take that name.  A large majority of the Convention do not accept this sectarian view, inasmuch as the call for the Convention was not made, they assume, in that spirit.
     At 10 o’clock the regular session for the discussion of the resolutions that had been already accepted, but upon which no definite action had been taken, commenced.  The debate was mainly borne by Andrew Jackson Davis, J. M. Peebles, Isaac Rehn, J. O. Barrett, and Messrs. Finney and Wilson.
     The convention adjourned at 12 o’clock, till half past two o’clock P. M., at which time the reports of the Committees, and miscellaneous matters would be in order.
     An adjournment sine die will be effected at the close of this evening’s session.  The session will be devoted to essays and addresses.

“Convention of Spiritualists,” The Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 7, 1867

Fourth and Last Day.
The Resolutions.
Startling Report of the Committee on “Spiritual Phenomena and Manifestations.”
Its Effect, Etc.

     Yesterday forenoon, in the Convention of Spiritualists, Mr. Toohey offered the following resolutions, which would close the labors of the Resolution Committee, and form a part of the platform of the Convention:

     Whereas, Spiritualism has become a power in the land, and may be deemed the great growing religious idea of the country; and
     Whereas, It is well to revert to the time of small beginnings and hold in remembrance the first pioneers in this spirit movement; therefore,
     Resolved, That this Convention recommend to all State conventions and local societies to make the time of the first Rochester Rappings a sort of anniversary day, the services of each day being conducted in each locality as may be deemed most practicable.
     Resolved, That this Convention receives with much satisfaction the numerous evidences that Spiritualism is taking strong hold of the hearts and understandings of the friends of Spiritualism in the old world.
     Resolved, That in the opinion of this Convention it is the duty of the people of the United States to so amend the Constitution of the United States as to secure to every intelligent sane adult person, regardless of sex, color or nationality, the power to exercise the elective franchise.
     Whereas, The fashionable dress of woman is not adapted to her physical needs, is productive of suffering, disease and death, and
     Whereas, Men are able to adapt their dress to their needs, therefore,
     Resolved, That it is the duty of woman to so reform her dress as to adapt it to her physical needs, instead of deforming herself by trying to adapt herself to a fashionable dress, and that it is the duty of all true men and women to mutually sustain her in that reform.
     Resolved, That the Indians are the original possessors and inheriters of the Western Continent, which the whites have cruelly and unjustly usurped, and that it is our duty in the last hour of their extremity to endeavor to secure for them a perpetual home reserved on the Continent under Constitutional law, that shall remain inviolate for all time, with the end in view to establish peace that shall guarantee to them an equal chance in the race of nationalities to stand or fall under the fostering of a more natural civilization.
     Resolved, That the policy of the Government in waging an exterminating war upon the Western tribes of Indians merits our firm and unqualified condemnation, assured as we are that said war is without just cause and is, on the part of the Indians, the legitimate result of a long series of injuries and trespasses upon their natural rights as members of a common brotherhood.
     Resolved, That this Convention, recognizing the permanency and force of early religious impressions and the importance of keeping the minds of our children and youth untrammeled theologically do earnestly recommend to the spiritualists of America the institution known as the Children’s Lyceum and ask them to sustain it by their sympathy and means until the development of their philosophy shall enable them to mature a more efficient means of education.
     Resolved, That we recognize in the Lyceum Banner [edited by H. F. M. Brown] a new ally in the work of Reform, and that we sustain it with our sympathy and purses.
     Resolved, That we recommend that all spiritualists and believers in practical Religion everywhere should visit those who are in prison and minister to them by showing that we have earnest sympathy for the unfortunate erring guilty and that we urge this the more because ministers and members of the so-called “Evangelical” churches may early visit the jails and similar institutions.

     The above were adopted.
     In the afternoon, the following additional resolutions were adopted after a lively debate:

     Whereas, The Lyceum interests are of such vast importance in the work of progress; and
     Whereas, An interchange of views with regard to the management and various exercises connected with this great educational movement; therefore
     Resolved, That the Convention recommend the establishment of a Lyceum Statistical Bureau for the purpose of interchanging thoughts relative to this work and that we recommend the Lyceum Banner as the organ of that Bureau.
     Resolved, That we will do what we can in all cases to better our inter-individual and international difficulties on the principal that man’s right to life as well as to live is self evident and inalienable, and that we, Spiritualists, will each honor ourselves and our profession by suffering rather than inflicting suffering, by dying rather than by killing, and that in all our relations with those who, in our view, wrong us, we will try to overcome them by returning good for evil.
     Whereas, Mediumship is a natural function of the human organization, and
     Whereas, That class of persons possessing the faculty in a developed form are subject to the denunciation of skeptics and churchmen; therefore,
     Resolved, That it is the duty of all Spiritualists to lend their aid and support to all mediums until proved unworthy of such support by some misdemeanor or deception.
     Resolved, That the essays that have not been read before the Convention be referred to the Committee on Publishing, to be included in the published proceedings of this Convention.
     Resolved, That the rights of children are at the foundation of other rights.  Among other inalienable rights we recognize the right of every child to a natural and truthful education.  As the basis of true education is the natural method of spelling words by sound, by which children instinctively and rapidly learn to read and write, and are saved from the painful and distorted check to the reasoning powers imposed by the popular school system, whereby their memories are crammed with absurdities, and to this end we recommend the adoption of a “phonetic alphabet” and the “object lesson” plan of imparting instruction.
     Whereas, Spiritualism embraces the entire range of human relations and interest in the scope of investigation and action; therefore,
     Resolved, That the phenomena and inspirational, the physical, intellectual and spiritual departments of human life and procedure, and each and all are recognized as proper (because natural) means to the grand end of higher and yet higher truth each in its legitimate function of faithful and truthful expression.
     Resolved, That while we would not underrate any and all truthful phenomena, we unhesitatingly declare that, in order to be useful they should involve and inspire practical action in every day life, and upon all questions of human interests.
     Resolved, That in the opinion of this Convention it is the duty of the people of the United States to so amend the Constitution of the United States as to secure to every intelligent, sane, adult, regardless of sex, color, or nationality the power to exercise the elective franchise.
     Whereas, Conjecture has circulated the wildest and most extreme conclusions as to the number of Spiritualists in the United States, the Westminster Review estimates the number at from 10,000 to 300,000, while Judge Edmond and the statisticians of the Roman Catholic Church extended their estimate by making it 11,000,000; therefore,
     Resolved, That the Fourth National Convention appoint a committee of five to collect such facts and figures of Spiritualism in the nation as will authorize a reliable estimate of our numbers, and give the figures for the societies, lyceums, speakers and mediums, with such additional information as will make our statistics comprehensible and reliable.
     Resolved, That this Convention hails with satisfaction the progress of Spiritualism throughout the world, and recommends the appointment of a committee at this time, whose duty it shall be to correspond with the leading friends of Progress and Spiritualism in Europe with a view of co-operation in the work of promoting an international circulation of the literature of Spiritualism and to encourage international missionary labors; and to correspond with eminent spiritualists abroad in reference to a World’s Conference to be held in London, May 1868.
     A report on the subject of labor was read by J. S. Loveland, Chairman of a Committee appointed at the last National Convention.
     The report of the Committee appointed to draft a Pierpont memorial, was read by the Secretary.
     The following list of Vice Presidents was presented and adopted by the Convention:

     Maine, Horatio Alden; New Hampshire, Frank Chase; Vermont, Daniel P. Wilder; Massachusetts, William White; Connecticut, A. T. Foss; Rhode Island, Emanuel Searle; New York, Warren Chase; New Jersey, Andrew Jackson Davis; Pennsylvania, Alfred H. Justis; Delaware, Thomas Garrett; Maryland, Jacob Weaver; Alabama, C. J. McIntyre; Texas, B. C. Murray; Louisiana, Col. N. W. Daniels; Indiana, Moses Hull; Ohio, Hudson Tuttle; Nebraska, Mrs. D. C. Sutphen; Illinois, William F. Norris; Wisconsin, Mrs. Mary Severance; Michigan, John C. Dexter; Missouri, Charles A. Fenn; California, Mrs. Laura Cuppy; District of Columbia, Julius H. Abbott; Kentucky, Henry Turner; Tennessee, J. E. Manning; Kansas, N. J. Miller.

     F. L. Wadsworth, Chairman of the Committee appointed at the last Convention to investigation the subject of “Spiritual Phenomena and Manifestation,” then read the following report:

     Report of the committee on Spiritual Phenomena, appointed by the Third National Convention of Spiritualists held in Providence, R. I., August, 1866, to the Fourth National Convention, held in Cleveland, Ohio, September, 1867:

Members of the Fourth National Convention:

Brothers and Sisters—During the session of the Third National Convention in August, 1866, the following preamble and resolutions were unanimously adopted, viz.:
     Whereas, We have in this country a revival of phenomena now known as the “Spiritual Phenomena;” and
     Whereas, They appear in their present aspects so complicated with vital human relations and experiences that they are rendered difficult to define and state with exactness or certainty; and
     Whereas, In the promulgation of the spiritual philosophy and the founding of institutions for its practical application, it is required that facts be clearly presented and laws understood—that nothing shall be supposed or admitted on appearances; therefore,
     Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed by the President, whose duty it shall be to examine the said spiritual phenomena in their physical and psychological characteristics, and report to the next National Convention of Spiritualists—
     First—the different phases of phenomena.
     Second—Do all manifestations called spiritual proceed from spirits?
     Third—What proportion of said manifestations probably originate with spirits, and what part can be accounted for by any other causes?  And such other statistical matter as may contribute to the better definition of our relation in life.
     Accordingly, the following named persons were appointed said committee, viz: F. L. Wadsworth, M. B. Dyott, J. S. Loveland, W. A. Danskin, and Mrs. E. C. Clark, and, in the discharge of their duties, they beg leave to offer the following for your consideration:
     First—The forms of phenomena are so various and so intimate that we deem it at present impracticable to state more than general divisions under which they may be considered: viz: the Physical and Psychological—the former relating to all those manifestations which appeal to the senses for approval, the latter to those which employ the brain, as in the “trance,” “semi-trance,” and the more indefinite “influence” or “impression.”
     Concerning physical manifestations, we beg leave to say, we have sought for and embraced every opportunity to investigate and inform ourselves concerning them during the past year.  Some opportunities have been cheerfully afforded us, others were refused.  Aside from this we have severally, for a period varying from ten to seventeen years, made this matter a subject of observation and inquiry, and during that time have met with much that commends itself to reason and demonstrated itself intelligently to be the manifestations of disembodied spirits, but a far greater proportion of what has been represented as such has been proved to be the deceptive tricks of imposters, palmed off upon the community as genuine spirit manifestations.  And the experiences of the past year, incident to the more special attention and investigation it has received at our hands, have served to confirm our previous convictions.
     These remarks are mainly applicable to the Dark Circle impostors, the Davenports, Fays, Eddies, Ferrrises, Church, Miss Van Wie, and others, who pretend to do physical impossibilities, claiming that Spirits do them, while they give no proof of what they assert.  After a diligent and careful investigation of the subject, we are irresistibly forced to the conclusion that darkness is not a necessary condition for physical manifestations, but that it is a condition assumed and insisted upon by tricksters, having no other use than to afford opportunities for deception.  We therefore recommend that all Spiritualists and others discountenance dark circles, for under any circumstances they afford no reliable proof of spirit existence, presence or communion, and must, even if they were genuine, be of such doubtful character as to be of no practical value, whilst there are thousands of Incontestable proofs, that admit of no doubt, or other solution, than the one to which they are referred.
     In criticizing these impositions, we are not denouncing mediums, but vagabonds who profane the sacred name of mediumship.  We are defending true mediums and endeavoring to rid our glorious cause of the stigma these pretenders are endeavoring to fasten upon it.  We believe in physical manifestations, and esteem them as essential to the cause and the dissemination of Spiritualism as the alphabet to the English language.  They are the stepping stones to an appreciation of higher phases of manifestation; they constitute the bridge over which a large majority of the Spiritualists have passed from the Atheism of uncertainty to a knowledge of immortality.  We believe that disembodied spirits can do all that is possible for embodied spirits to do; they can and do rap, and move ponderable bodies, and thereby communicate, proving their identity by intelligent references; but we do not know or believe that they can do that which transcends human possibility.  We have no proof that they can create an dissolve instantaneously bodies and clothing, a fac simile of those they used on the earth; that they create or dissolve, as is claimed, flowers, iron rings, hair, ropes, etc., or put twenty-seven hands at one time through an opening six or seven inches in diameter, sufficient only to admit the passage of five or six; in a word, that they can do physical impossibilities.  These are the claims of the persons we have named, and the allegations of those whom they have deceived, but for which they give no proof.  But proofs of their tricks and deceptions are abundant and indisputable; they have been detected and exposed in their jugglery so often and so thoroughly that it would seem to be superfluous to refer to them, or to attempt to prove that what they are palming off upon the credulous as spirit manifestations are not spirit manifestations at all.
     What evidence do the Davenports offer that the hands they show through the opening in their cabinet are not their own hands?  It all turns on this point: They are tied, as they say, so that they cannot untie themselves, which is not true, for we have demonstrated hundreds of times that it is impossible to tie them so that they cannot untie themselves when tied with anything that they will allow themselves to be tied with.  Concerning these things we thank God and the angels that the sun of reason is rising, and with its penetrating rays melting away these dark delusions, and that ere long we shall have a clear sky, and Spiritualism will stand forth with her garments purified of all these excrescences, and become the welcomed and honored visitant of every earthly household.
     The psychological division of our subject is more intricate, less susceptible of final demonstration, yet more fruitful in suggestion.  The fact of the very intimate relation of mind to mind, and the consequent trenching of one upon another, is beginning to be realized by the few, if not by the many, until few, if any, of us can say we are alone and act independently of others.  Society seems like the most sensitively attuned harp—the vibrations of one chord thrills all the rest to action, and a discord causes agony to tremble over the whole instrument.  Again, in the evolution of human nature, new faculties and functions of the soul seem to spring into expression and use, as Clairvoyance, Clairaudience and Psychometry.  These seem to be as independent of circumstances in their realm of operation as are seeing, hearing and feeling, as commonly understood, and as much the functions of the body.  Because of certain constitutional affinities, all these phases or physical phenomena appear simultaneously with the modern spiritual manifestation, and, for the same reasons, they are difficult of distinction, one from another.
     The psychological medium is peculiarly, aye, strangely situated.  More sensitive than the harp, he, or she, stands, as it were, between two worlds, subject to the influences of each; sometimes the merest tool of circumstance or design; sometimes resisting and combating both, thus rendering it evident beyond question that in considering this phase of mediumship we must, at least, observe four causes for phenomena.
     1st.  Every person asserts his or her existence, inevitably, more or less, characterizing in a proportionate degree every communication transmitted, whether from a spirit to a mortal, or from a mortal to a mortal.
     2d.  Every person’s associates or circumstances tend to give direction to his or her thought or speech, sometimes gaining the mastery and carrying one far beyond his usual orbit, or even beyond his convictions of right.
     3d.  The interposition of disembodied spirits, who by some process, probably similar to that of the mesmeric operator, overshadows the personality of the medium for the purpose of representing themselves.
     First.  The main independent action of the inner life, as in “Independent Clairvoyance,” etc. Under these heads we have observed first, that the [     ] of the [     ] he expects, often, indeed nearly always appears in communications.  The ignorance of mediums characterizes their statements, when “ancient authority,” viz.: “Daniel Webster” reportedly essays to correct mistakes in his Dictionary.  Scores of “spirits” claim to have lived in such or such a locality, and that their friends are there now, when no such persons are or have been there, and many other similar discrepancies.  The prejudices of the mediums, for or against any peculiar views, color their speech, viz.: Henry Clay is an anti-slavery or pro-slavery man, according to the medium; Mr. Lincoln, through a Texan rebel, deplores the part he played in “wronging” the Southern people, and announces himself in agony for his misdeeds.
 Second.  Very often the desires of persons seeking communications distort into falsehood statements made, and lead to huge mistakes, e.g., Behind the “missions” prophesied for persons treasure digging, and other wild projects, which are but a reflex of the ambitious seeker’s own mind.
     Third.  Besides all this contradiction, in the experiences of Spiritualism, comes evidence as absolute as any which the human mind comprehends, of spirit existence and intercourse.  If two pianos, in two adjoining rooms, are tuned precisely to the same key, the chords sounded upon either will awake in the other an exact response; so with souls in the two worlds; and our communion is complete and reliable only in proportion as there is an accord of sympathy and purpose between us.
     Fourth.  We understand that Clairvoyance, Clairaudience, or Psychometry, are not necessarily produced by spirit-interposition at all, but are integral soul faculties; that their operations are not spirit-communications though they are spiritual and independent of the senses, and often more reliable than any other means of gaining intelligence concerning the spiritual world.
     In the opinion of your Committee, what at present passes for spirit communion among the people is a mixed, and for the most part unanalyzed mass, composed of the parts above imperfectly defined, rendering the identity of spirit presence very uncertain, and the attainment of truth by investigation almost impossible of access, until many of our best men and women turn from the whole subject bewildered and discouraged.  We recommend on the part of Spiritualists greater care and scrutiny in this department of Spiritualism.  Justice to mediums demands it; justice to the public requires that we do all in our power to render definite the presentation of these spiritual experiences.  If they are the wealth of the century let us with one accord render them in their clearest and most cheerful health-giving aspects.  Many, if not all, the disorderly manifestations your committee deem wholly unspirited, having their origin in half controlled, diseased nerves, poor digestion, torpid liver, and general discord of mind and body.
     In closing our report we wish to urge upon all persons the greatest caution in receiving appearances for facts.  We cannot suppose that a majority of the phenomena under consideration are projected and directed by spirits, but rather that while there is abundant evidence, direct and collateral, of spirit control, the other causes, enumerated enter largely into their production.
     Allow us to say, in conclusion, that we submit this report, conscious of its many imperfections, and that we deem it but a suggestion of a great work that lies before the order-loving spiritualists of the country.
F. L. Wadsworth.
J. S. Loveland.
E. C. Clark.
M. B. Dyott.

     The excitement and turmoil that followed the reading of the report beggar description.  A few moved its adoption, but the motion was lost by a tremendous majority, amid cries of “thank God!”  A motion to print the report separately, and one to incorporate it with the regular proceedings, were lost.  Some more wrangling ensued, after which the Convention adjourned till evening.
    The evening session was a stormy one and closed with an adjournment sine die, at 10 o’clock.


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