The Buffalo Commercial Advertiser

Sixth National Convention of Spiritualists, Buffalo, New York, August 31-September 2.

“The Spiritual Convention,” The Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, August 31, 1869.

The Sixth Annual National Convention of Spiritualists assembled at Liedertafel Hall this forenoon.  Delegates were in attendance from several different States, in the number of over one hundred, and more were to arrive.  We were unable to procure a list of the delegates for this issue, but will give the names tomorrow.

Nothing beyond organization and arranging preliminary matters was done this forenoon.

Col. D. M. Fox, of California, is President; H. F. Child, of Philadelphia, Secretary; and George A. Bacon, of Boston, Assistant Secretary.  The Presidents of the several State Associations are Vice-Presidents, ex-officio.

Among the delegates is a large number of ladies.  The convention will, it is supposed, remain in session for four days.

It is anticipated that considerable interest and vim will be imparted to its deliberations, through the efforts of what are denominated the “Orderly Spiritualists,” who profess to be opposed to “free love” and all that sort of thing, you know.

We will give whatever of general interest attaches to the proceedings.

“The Spiritual Convention,” The Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, September 1, 1869.

The Convention had three sessions yesterday, but not much in way of business was accomplished.  In the forenoon, after an address of welcome to the officers, delegates and friends, by Mr. S. H. Wortman, of Buffalo, the list of delegates was called, and the following found to be present:

NEW YORK: New York City—Dr. R. F. Hallock, Charles Partridge.
Buffalo—W. H. Cheney, Samuel H. Wortman, Lester Brooks, Mrs. Mary Lane, B. P. Froggert.
Rochester—P. J. Clum, Emily Beebe, Mrs. Sarah Burtis, David Lester, A. L. Nash, Mrs. Amy Post, Mrs. Mary Parkhurst.
Albany—James McClure, John Brown.
North Collins—George W. Taylor.
Byron—J. W. Seaver.
Location not announced—Mr. Young.
White Plains—Miss Nettie Colburn Maynard.
Troy—Benjamin Starbuck, Elisha Waters.
Le Roy—S. Chamberlain.
Springville—Robert Dygert.
Conesus—Joseph Alger.

PENNSYLVANIA: Philadelphia—Henry T. Child, Mrs. Ellen M. Child, Alice Tyson, Damon Y. Kilgore, Caroline A. Grimes, Isabella Hooper, Fred Gourlay, Susan Baker, Peter Beitel, Eliza Beitel, Mary Beans, Horace N. Richards.

MARYLAND: Levi Weaver, John Fritz, Jacob Weaver, Isaac Corbett, Mrs. Jane Bay, William Masson, John W. Weaver.

MASSACHUSETTS: Boston—H. B. Storer, James S. Whitney, A. E. Carpenter, A. C. Robinson, Mrs. Louise L. Bacon, George A. Bacon, Cephas B. Lynn.

VERMONT: D. P. Wilder.

OHIO: Cleveland—George Rose.
Toledo—Oliver Stephens.
Painesville—Judge Harris.
Oberlin—J. M. Hall.
Andover—John Keen.
Farmington—A. A. Wheelock.
Ashley—E. S. Wheeler.
Clyde—A. B. French.

ILLINOIS: Chicago—W. F. Jamieson.
South Pass—Warren Chase.
Monmouth—James S. Loveland.
Location not given—Chauncey C. Miller, Emily R. Miller.

Kalamazoo—Dorus M. Fox, E. Whipple, Sarah A. Horton.
Sturgis—J. G. Wait.
Port Huron—D. B. Harrington.
Hillsdale—Mrs. E. Stafford Samm.

WISCONSIN: H. S. Brown, T. W. Deering, A. J. Deering, M.D.

INDIANA: James K. Bailey, Eli F. Brown, Amelia Willard, Eugenia L. Morse, Marcus S. Ward.

NEW JERSEY: Levi K. Coonley, James G. Fish.

KANSAS: F. P. Baker.

After arranging some preliminary matters, the Convention adjourned till


The attendance in the afternoon was considerably larger than in the morning.  There were old young ladies, and young old ladies, gentlemen with long hair and flowing beards, and gentlemen with curiously cut shirt collars—all earnest believers in the new philosophy.

The Convention was called to order at twenty minutes to three o’clock, and the session opened with music and singing, Mrs. Wood, of this city, presiding at the organ.

Next came a recitation by Mr. Fred Gourlay.  He recited a poem entitled, “Life,” which, it was announced, was given to the world through the mediumship of Miss Lizzie Doten, by the spirit of the late W. Shakespeare, Esq., of Stratford-upon-Avon.  This poem was in answer to a previous production of Mr. S., as originally spoken by the nephew of the Queen of Denmark, and its tenor was such as plainly to indicate that the opinions of the author had undergone a radical change.  Perhaps no better evidence of the truth of this could be given than the bare mention of the fact, that in the very outset of his recent poem of “Life,” Mr. Shakespeare positively asserts that, “To be, or not to be,” is not the question!  In support of the views now entertained by the eminent author, he quotes largely from his own previous writings, and the words of Hamlet, Brutus, Shylock, and other well known individuals, are mixed and jumbled together in a most ingenious way.  Mr. Gourlay read with “good accent and good discretion,” but it was suggested by a gentleman at our elbow that his “Life” was too long, and should have gone “to the barber’s,” with the beards of some of the brethren present.

At the conclusion of the recitation, the standing committees were announced as follows:


Resolutions—Messrs. S. A. Horton, Eli F. Brown, Levi Weaver, H. S. Brown, D. Y. Kilgore, C. B. Lynn, J. G. Wait, Mrs. S. E. Warner, E. S. Wheeler, L. K. Coonley, J. W. Seaver, D. P. Wilder.

Education—J. G. Wait, Amelia Willard, M. Masson, A. J. Deering, Carrie S. Burnham, A. E. Carpenter, E. Porter, M. F. Jamieson, A. A. Wheelock, S. H. Wortman, D. P. Wilder.

Revision of Constitution—D. B. Harrington, James K. Bailey, John Fritz, Dean Clark, Caroline A. Grimes, George A. Bacon, F. P. Baker, J. S. Loveland, Milo Harris, J. G. Fish, P. J. Clamm, D. P. Wilder.

Business—D. Y. Kilgore, J. S. Loveland, Mrs. S. A. Burtis, J. G. Wait, John Fritz.

The Board of Trustees had not quite finished their annual report, and they retired to the committee room for the purpose of completing the same.  A Vice President was called to the chair, and an interchange of opinion among the delegates was indulged in during the absence of the trustees.

Some of the brothers evinced a slight disposition to be belligerent, and brother Kilgore appeared to be spoiling for a fight with somebody, though in justice to him it should be stated that he didn’t seem at all particular in regard to his opponent.  He didn’t want any personalities, and when he indulged in them, he desired to have it understood that he was only in fun.  He hadn’t any faith in Christianity, and struck out right and left at the “Christian Churches.”  He wanted Spiritualists to lift up every degraded soul, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, &c.  Brother Kilgore talked loud and long, and at the close was emphatically applauded.

Bro. Carpenter, of Massachusetts made a moving speech, and, like Mr. Thomas Gradgrind, wanted facts.  Bro. C. was also encored.

Mrs. Warner, of Ill., was the next speaker.  She went against monopolies, and proposed to educate children in the proper manner.  She wanted spiritualists to be men and women of backbone.  Mrs. W. is a nervous little lady, appears to be terribly in earnest, and has “the gift o’ gab wery gallopin’.”  If we were her husband we’d take particular care to be in early nights, for if her talent and energies should ever happen to take the direction of a curtain lecture, we feel confident we’d never be able to make a single point in the game.

The Trustees now re-appeared and presented their report, which was read, accepted, and referred to the Appropriate Committee.

The hours for the sessions of the Convention were fixed as follows, viz: from 9 to 12 A. M., from 2 to 5:30 P. M., and from 9 to the hour of adjournment in the evening.

Bro. W. Chase moved that a committee consisting of one from each State be appointed to nominate officers of the Association for the ensuing year, but subsequently withdrew it to save the Convention the infliction of a speech, as he remarked, from Bro. Kilgore, who was just bringing his guns to bear.

The committees retired for consultation, and the Convention shortly after adjourned till


The Convention assembled at eight o’clock and was called to order by the President, who announced the appointment of the following committee on Finance, viz: H. D. Fitzgerald, D. M. Pratt, and J. S. Young.

Music by the choir followed, after which Miss Nettie Pease recited an “inspirational poem.”

Miss Pease was followed by Mrs. Warner, who made another impassioned speech on the absorbing subject of spiritualism.  She wanted schools established for the education of children in the spiritual faith; she wanted the spiritual press sustained, and spiritual works furnished at rates which would place them within the reach of all, &c., &c.

It was here stated that Mr. Wheeler, who was to have delivered an “inspirational poem,” was indisposed, and would not be heard from until this evening.

Miss Nettie Pease again came forward and favored the audience with another “inspirational poem,” as we are told.  We could not catch the words distinctly, on account of the noise kicked up by the Liedertafels, who were singing like all possessed, in the room beneath—but from what we were enabled to hear, we gathered that the poem favored organization and unity among Spiritualists, and was opposed to individuality.  By way of illustration, inquiry was made as to where the ocean would find itself, in case every individual drop of water should go off on its own hook?  Nobody could guess the conundrum, and the Convention adjourned.


The convention assembled at nine o’clock, this morning, the hall being well filled.

The exercises were opened with the singing of “Wait, my Little One, Wait,” by Prof. Blackmar, of Chicago.

This was followed by an “Invocation” from Mrs. Warren.

The President returned thanks for the good order which prevailed yesterday, and expressed the hope that it would continue throughout the sitting of the convention.

Mr. Chase moved that the election of officers be made the special order for 11 o’clock.  Laid on the table.

Mr. Bacon, from the committee on the revision of the Constitution, made a report, which it was decided to discuss and adopt article by article.

The first article designating the Association as “The American Association of Spiritualists,” was adopted.

Discussion upon other portions of the report followed, in which Mr. Kilgore took a prominent part.  He was several times called to order by different delegates, on the grounds that he was not speaking to the question before the house, and that his remarks were personal.

Mr. Kilgore grew emphatic.  He wished it to be distinctly understood that he was a tough customer, that he knew his rights, and knowing, dared and intended to maintain them, and didn’t propose to be called to order by the brethren.

Mr. J. K. Bailey rose to a personal explanation, and replied to the remarks of Mr. Kilgore.

Several other gentlemen spoke, when Mr. Chase expressed the opinion that there should be more business and less talking.  He called for the previous question—whatever that may have been—and it was put.

At eleven o’clock the report of the committee on the revision of the Constitution was still under discussion.

“The Spiritual Convention. The Second Day—Constitution and By-Laws—Election of Officers, etc.,” The Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, September 2, 1869.

The afternoon session of the Spiritual Convention in this city opened with the further discussion of the constitution as revised by the committee, and each article was duly considered.  After the opinions of different members had been fully ventilated, a vote was taken on the adoption of the whole, which resulted strongly in the affirmative.  The articles and sections, as amended, are as follows:

[. . .]

The convention next proceeded to the election of officers for the ensuing year.  The ballot resulted in the election of Hon. J. G. Wait, of Michigan, a gentleman who is strongly devoted to the philosophy, and an ardent worker in the cause, as President.  The President-elect was introduced to the convention by Col. Fox, retiring President, with very complimentary remarks, and expressions of good will.  Mr. Wait replied to such remarks, and addressed the convention to the effect that he should be untiring in his efforts to fill the official position to which he had been elected, in a satisfactory manner.  A vote of thanks was tendered Col. Fox for the faithful discharge of the duties of his position.

On ballot, Mr. Henry T. Child, of Philadelphia, was re-elected Secretary, and Levi Weaver, of Illinois, Treasurer.

The convention then adjourned until half past seven o’clock in the evening.


Previous to the regular order of exercises of the evening, Mr. John B. Still, of New York, addressed the audience.  Mr. Still is a colored man, and is inclined to the opinion that he has been selected to reform the Church of his race.  After very earnest remarks by that gentleman, he wound up by quietly stating that he was in need of money to carry out his mission, and he appealed to the audience to contribute such aid.  It very suddenly occurred to the presiding officers, that the speaker’s time was up, and he retired from the stage, and was still again.

The regular exercises opened with singing by the choir.  After which an “invocation” was delivered by Mrs. Woodruff, of New York.

Mr. Loveland, President of the Illinois State Association, addressed the convention on the “Mission of Spiritualism,” in a very elaborate and forcible manner.  His remarks were warmly applauded.

Following Mr. Loveland’s remarks, came singing by Mr. Blackmar, of Chicago, after which Mrs. S. A. Norton discussed Spiritualism, inclining to the opinion that it was a religion of the emotions, and not so much of reason.

Mr. Wheeler then drew in inspiration, and recited about fifteen verses of poetry on the subject “The Universal Religion,” which had been selected by him from a number proposed.

The session was concluded by a benediction pronounced by Mr. Van Amee.

The following additional delegates presented their credentials during the day: David W. Allen, Willis Gardner, Dr. Samuel J. Avery, J. W. Van Namee, Charles B. Thompson, Clara A. Robinson, John R. Robinson, Samuel J. Avery, Olive L. Avery, Eliza A. Spencer and Isaac Palmer.


The Convention assembled this morning at nine o’clock.  The exercises began with singing by the choir, after which came an invocation by Mrs. Nettie Colburn Maynard.

Messrs. D. M. Fox and J. S. Loveland were elected Trustees of the Association for the ensuing year, vice John C. Dexter and Warren Chase, whose term of office had expired.

The Treasurer, Mr. M. B. Dyott, made his report, by which it appears that $2,621.13 had been received during the year, of which $2,589.05 had been expended.

Mr. Eli F. Brown, of Indiana, made an offer to the Association of the free use of a hall at Richmond, Ind., for the holding of the next Annual Convention.  It was recommended that the offer be accepted.

The Committee on Education made their report, recommending the establishment of a practical or general system of education; that the Children’s Progressive Lyceum receive particular care; that a change in the books used in the primary and other departments be made, and that means be taken to educate those who desire to become public exponents of Spiritualism.

After considerable speechifying had been indulged in on the subject of education, the report of the Committee was passed.

At the time our reporter was obliged to leave, a series of resolutions were receiving the attention and votes of the meeting.

The questions of woman’s suffrage, the Indian question, etc., were also under consideration.  It was expected that the Convention would adjourn shortly after twelve o’clock.

This afternoon the Children’s Progressive Lyceum Convention will be held at the hall (Liedertafel), commencing at two o’clock.

This evening a grand excursion of the Spiritualists will take place on the Ivanhoe.  A merry time is anticipated.

“The Spiritual Convention. Adoption of a Platform—Adjournment,” The Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, September 3, 1869.

The “Platform” of the American Association of Spiritualists, which was under consideration by the Convention at the time our report closed yesterday, and which was finally adopted, will be found below.  It will be seen that the fraternity are opposed to the recognition by the Constitution of the United States of “any particular God, Bible or Saviour;” that they are opposed to the enforcement of the observance of any day as a Sabbath; that they regard Spiritualism as a religion embracing universal truths, taking away the fear of death, &c.; that they are opposed to capital punishment; that they desire an improvement in the condition of workingmen and women; that they are against war, and chewing tobacco and drinking; that they go for woman’s rights; that they favor the taxation of church property; and that they approve the appointment of Quakers to conduct Indian affairs, &c.:

Resolved, That the rights of minorities are in no wise compromised by the acts of majorities, and therefore all resolutions of this Convention embodying a declaration of principles or purposes, are to be interpreted as the responsible opinions of those who only vote in the affirmative.

Resolved, That we recognize the necessity of the entire separation of religious creeds from political organizations, and that we will oppose by our voices and our votes the engrafting upon the Constitution of these United States the recognition of an particular God, Bible, or Saviour, and that all attempts to do this by any convention or ecclesiastical combination should be denounced by every lover of religious liberty.

Resolved, That all legislative enactments by any Government for enforcing the observance of any day as a Sabbath or sacred day, are a palpable violation of the United States Constitution and the rights of man, and should be expunged from our statute books.

Resolved, That Spiritualism is a religious eclecticism embracing universal truth; that it includes all the facts and phenomena of nature, and interprets them to human consciousness; that as a demonstration it takes away the fear of death, adds new significance to the present life, and presents to the world the only system of religion compatible with the facts of human history and the principles of science.

Resolved, That all punishment of crime which does not aim at the security of society, reparation for the injury done, and the reformation of the criminal, is wrong in principle and pernicious in practice: hence the death penalty being destructive of each of these ends, should be abolished, and that houses of correction and hospitals, instead of prisons, should be established for those unable to govern themselves.

Resolved, That we deeply sympathize with the new labor movement, and that we will heartily co-operate with those who are striving to lessen the burdens of the working men and women of the country, and to adjust properly the relations between labor and capital.

Resolved, That we deplore the universal spirit of war, the alarming increase of intemperance, including the use of tobacco, intoxicating drinks and the practical disregard of the laws of life and health, and that we will co-operate with any and all agencies to promote temperance, purity, peace and universal charity and love.

Resolved, That the age demands the individualization of women, politically, religiously and socially; and therefore demands her thorough and practical enfranchisement.

Resolved, That the property owned by all ecclesiastical and other associations, should be taxed the same as that of individuals—to prevent the establishment of an untaxed monopoly, which may hereafter overthrow the best institutions of the country, and prove, as in times past, destructive to civil and religious freedom.

Resolved, That recognizing the difficulties connected with Indian affairs of the United States Government, we heartily approve of the selection of men for agents whose avowed peace principles are significant of the purpose of the administration to secure protection to the whites and justice to the Indians, without the exercise of a barbarity equal to that of the savages we seek to civilize.  And that we deem it the duty of the Government, while restricting the Indians to their reservations, to furnish them facilities for such agricultural and other pursuits of civilized life as may be adapted to their condition—thus developing these hostile red men into peaceable tax-paying citizens.

Resolved, That we extend our thanks to the Pennsylvania railroad from Philadelphia, the Northern Central from Baltimore and the Philadelphia & Erie, for having given free return passes to such delegates as have paid full fare coming to the convention; to those hospitable citizens of Buffalo who have generously entertained as many delegates as their circumstances would admit; to the representatives of the daily press of this city for their fair and manly reporting of our proceedings; to the choir for their sweet music; to Dr. H. T. Child and George A. Bacon for the faithful discharge of their duties as secretaries; and to our retiring President, Col. Dorus M. Fox, for the able and impartial manner in which he has presided over our deliberations.

A motion to amend the resolution of thanks so as to include the Buffalo Spiritual Society, occasioned quite a sharp discussion.  The irrepressible brother Kilgore opposed the amendment, and stated his conviction, that hey hadn’t done as well as they might have done.  Remarks were made by several parties, and the amendment was finally carried, with but one dissenting voice—that of brother Kilgore.

After a few words from the outgoing and incoming Presidents, music and singing by the choir, and a benediction by Mrs. Maynard, the convention adjourned sine die.

In the afternoon the Children’s Lyceum—which bears the same relation to the Society that Church Sunday Schools do the Church—assembled in the Hall.

It was decided, after due consideration, to accept a proposition from the American Association of Spiritualists to merge the Lyceum Association with it.  The Association had another session in the evening, but nothing of general interest was done, the attendance being slim, as most of the delegates had gone to the excursion.

It is no more than justice to our Spiritualistic friends to say that their deliberations in convention were conducted with all decorum.  Those who had reason to anticipate a “ruction” or “scrimmage” between portions of the body entertaining different views, were disappointed.  A tendency to conciliation prevailed, and nothing occurred seriously to disturb the harmony of the gathering.  Among the delegates were many persons of fine ability, and the speaking would compare favorably with that generally heard at the sessions of religious bodies.


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