The Indiana Radical and the Richmond (Indiana) Telegram.

Seventh annual convention of the National Convention of Spiritualists:  September 19-22, 1870.  Lyceum Hall, Richmond, Indiana

The Indiana Radical (Richmond, Ind.), Thursday, September 22, 1870:

National Convention of Spiritualists.

    The seventh annual session of this organization is sitting in Lyceum Hall this week.  The first meeting was held on Monday evening [September 19].  It was opened by music, followed by an invocation from Addie Ballou.  Addresses were delivered by Mrs. Colby of Indiana, Mrs. H. F. M. Brown, of Chicago and for California, Dr. Henry T. Childs of Philadelphia, and Dr. Bailey of Wisconsin.  After music, the meeting was closed with an invocation from Nettie Pease of Michigan, associate editor of the Present Age.
    The first regular session convened on Tuesday morning [September 20].  Hon. J. G. Wait, editor of the Sturgis Journal, Mich., president of the organization in the chair.  Dr. Childs secretary.  The credentials of delegates were examined and reported upon.  Committees on Business, Education, Resolutions, and Amendments to the Constitution, were created.  The Board of Trustees made their annual report of the transactions during the past year.  Closing invocation by Miss Pease.
    Afternoon Session—The Business Committee announced programme for the day.  A conference meeting was then had for an hour, and short speeches were made by Dr. Childs, Moses Hull of Indiana, C. B. Lynn of Boston and correspondent of the Banner of Light, Mrs. H. F. M. Brown, D. W. Hull, and others.  The committee on Constitutional Amendments made a report through its chairman, Col. Fox, editor of the Present Age.  The report was discussed and referred back to the committee for revision.
    Mrs. S. E. Warner than spoke for half an hour, upon the duty and necessity of actively engaging in prison reformer and all other reforms for the prevention of crimes and pauperism.  Session closed by invocation from Mrs. Ballou.
    Tuesday Evening—A largely attended evening session was addressed by Addie Ballou and Moses Hull.  The lady was earnest in her advocacy of efforts for the lifting up of the degraded and the amelioration of the suffering.  Mr. Hull reviewed the history and growth of Spiritualism, and the work it is doing.
    Wednesday [September 21]—Conference for one hour; Reports from various committees; Election of officers.  The afternoon session was devoted to discussing Lyceum work.  On last evening was an exhibition by the Richmond Lyceum.  The sessions continue to-day.

The Indiana Radical (Richmond, Ind.), Thursday, September 29, 1870:

National Convention of Spiritualists.

    The Convention continued its sessions during Wednesday and Thursday [September 21-22].  On Wednesday an election was held, resulting as follows: President, Mrs. Hannah F. M. Brown, of Chicago; Secretary, Dr. Henry T. Childs, of Philadelphia; and two members of the Board of Trustees, Mrs. Agnes Cook, of Richmond, and George A. Bacon, of Mass.  The other officers hold over.  Mrs. Brown accepted the office as a recognition of the equality of her sex.  The
    By the Progressive Lyceum of Richmond, on Wednesday everning was a pleasing and creditable affair.  The programme was composed of music, singing, declamations, and tableaux.  The exercises by the Gymnastic class, and the closing performance—“Angel March”—were received with much satisfaction.  The first hour of the
Thursday Morning Session
    Was devoted to a conference meeting.  During this hour, a delegate from a Shaker community in Ohio, gave an account of their belief and practice.  Moses Hull in a few remarks upon “physical manifestations” took occasion to say that all mediums should be made to prove their authenticity before they receive recognition as such, for the people are often imposed upon by imposters and humbuggers.  This led to an excited discussion, in which C. B. Lynn and some others supported the position taken by Mr. Hull.  George A. Bacon called the attention of the Convention to the publications of the “Liberal Tract Society,” and the conference closed.
    A series of resolutions were adopted without much discussion, as they seemed to meet the approbation of the Convention.  They were in substance as follows: Affirmation of faith in the Spiritual Philosophy; advising proper encouragement of mediums and lecturers; condemning unhealthy manners of dress and living; advocating Peace principles; the political equality of women; the freedom of labor; opposed discouraging immigration; opposed the compulsory reading of the Bible in the public schools; endorsing and recommending the Progressive Lyceum; returning thanks to the citizens of Richmond and to the railroad companies.
Afternoon Session.
    Miss Nettie Pease discoursed for an hour.  The Committee on Education made a lengthy report, and advised the formation of a stock company to raise funds to found an industrial school under the patronage of the Spiritualists of America.  The proposition of a gentleman of New Jersey was presented, proposing to give land in that State worth $25,000, provided the Spiritualists would raise an equal sum in money.  A Board of Directors was created to solicit stock for the enterprise, and a committee of three was appointed to examine the land, its title, etc.
    The Business Committee, to whom was referred the challenge from Rev. George C. Haddock to debate Spiritualism with him) reported that it was not in the province of the Convention to accept such challenge, but advised all lecturers and speakers to hold themselves ready to meet any respectable opponent who should make application to them.  The committee on amendments to the Constitution reported some amendments, which were adopted.  After some miscellaneous business, the convention adjourned.
Evening Session.
    On Thursday evening [September 22], the last meeting was held.  The time was devoted to ten minute speeches from delegates.  After music by the choir, Dr. Childs took the stand and delivered some of the best remarks made during the Convention.  Moses Hull followed, and C. B. Lynn made a few pertinent remarks.  A Shaker spoke very sensibly upon the education and training of children.  Mrs. Brown, Kersey Graves and several others also spoke.
The Convention Summed-Up.
    The principal achievements were the steps taken towards the establishment of a school, and the efforts for better organization throughout the country.  Two deficiencies were noticable.  One, the small number of delegates for a national convention, and second, the absence of the great lights of the faith—the men and women of national reputation as Spiritualists.  Those in attendance appeared, most of them, earnest workers, and the sessions were marked by harmony.

The Richmond (Indiana) Telegram, Friday, September 23, 1870:

The National Spiritual Convention.

    The convention of the national spiritualists’ Association opened in this city, at Lyceum Hall, last Monday evening [September 19], with a preliminary meeting, in which several speakers participated.  There was good singing by a choir of young ladies and gentlemen, under the efficient leadership of Warren Harris, Esq.  Miss Addie Ballou invoked the divine blessing on the proceedings of the convention, and short addresses were delivered by Mrs. Colby, Mrs. Brown, of California, Dr. Childs, of Philadelphia, and Dr. Bailey, of Minnesota.  Wednesday, the second day, the Secretary read a corrected list of the delegates.  A letter was read from Prof. J. M. Peebles, which was ordered to be entered on the minutes of the Association.  A letter from Rev. Mr. Haddock, any authorized exponent of the subject.  The letter was referred to the business committee.  Mrs. Brown gave an account of her visit to the Pacific coast.  Mrs. Moliere took the platform and submitted to the spirit influence.  Tuesday evening addresses were delivered by Miss Ballou and Mr. Hull.  Wednesday was mostly devoted to the discussion of the Lyceum and election of officers.  The officers elect are as follows: President, Hannah F. Brown; Vice-President, H. T. Childs; Trustees, George A. Bacon, of Mass., and Mrs. Agnes Cook, of Ind.  Wednesday evening the Progressive Lyceum gave an entertainment.  The exercises were varied with music, declamations, tableaux, &c.

    The spiritualistic people who held a national convention at Lyceum Hall, this week, seem to be waging war on the world, the flesh and the devil, in a peculiar way.  One of their speakers spoke very approvingly of “free love,” and another lauded to the skies the inventor of easy divorces, Mr. Robert Dale Owen.  Others were alarmed at the general prevalence of the Bible, which contains the basis of the only pure doctrines the spiritualists teach.  Others groaned over the tyranny of orthodoxy, the bigotry of the churches, and the uncharitableness of society.  “There is not,” said Miss Ballou, “a man or woman that has ever committed a crime but that circumstances compelled them to do it.”  Of course she is opposed to punishment of any kind, for what sane person would punish a man for doing something he could not help?  We dare say that in the whole national convention there were not two persons who agree upon any one thing as relating to the bettering of mankind.  Many of them, no doubt, are well meaning people and their indictment of the church and society is not without grains of truth.  But their proposed cures, so far as we could comprehend them, are infinitely worse than the disease, and their methods are as little calculated to accomplish reform, as spiritual food is to take the place of bread and butter.

The Richmond (Indiana) Telegram, Friday, September 30, 1870:

A Word from Miss Ballou.

Editor Richmond Telegram—Dear Sir:  Your last issue contains an editorial which served to unmistakenly throw down the gauntlet for some explanation, by its deliberate misrepresentation of the proceedings fo the national convention of spiritualists, just held in your city, that in justice to the delegates, and more especially to the resident spiritualists, who will be most effected, (if any are), by the comments of the local press, do I fell called upon to reply, inasmuch as mine was the only name among the members around which the criticisms seemed to culminate.  First, allowing me, with others, to wonder what peculiar spirit of enterprise controls the Richmond press, that it should be so indifferent to the deliberations of a national convention, claiming reform for its basis, and holding a three days session in your city, that it should send no representative to report proceedings or resolutions, but only at its close to accept the brief summing up of a critic too apparently prejudiced for denial, and who is self-acknowledged unable to “comprehend the gist of the movement,” and yet vain enough to suppose his own decisions will meet the approval of the readers of the Telegram.  And to query, also, if the same apathy, with the ungenerous criticisms, would have been manifest had a convention been held under the auspices of the Young Men’s Christian Association, even had it been but a state or county convention with any popular name attached.  Is it any marvel that some “complain of the uncharitableness of society,” when we have the evidence so plainly visible in the article itself?  Wherein it says, that “one of their speakers,” (meaning myself, a none spoke freely of it but me), “spoke approvingly of free love.”  This without qualification, conveying the idea to your readcers, who were not present, that all the world, or our opponents are pleased to class under that title, was approved of by the members of that convention, at least endorsed by the speaker; and which every one present, the writer of the article, (if he was), included, well know to be a perversion of the sense conveyed; especially considering the strong appeal in behalf of virtue and morality that preceded the remarks on free love, and the earnest request that they should not be misconstrued, as indeed there could be nothing objectionable in the remarks when coupled with the others, even to the most fastidious, except through a wanton and dishonroable prevarication?  And here it seems necessary to exercise a little of that charity toward that class of newspaper men, who are compelled, by that force of circumstances spoken of, to sacrifice principle, to pander to public caprice, and which makes it expedient to equivocate, to meet the demands of the popular mind; and which force of circumstances alluded to, by the way, as the impetus of result, can be so readily substantiated by every reasoning mind, it is to be hoped that the writer is gifted with too much good sense to make himself further ridiculous by attempting to deny.  But to his assumption that as I believe in this, that I am “of course opposed to punishment of any kind,” I would refer him to that sentiment embraced in the expresssion, that penalties are the effects of laws broken, and it is right that we suffer when we violate a law calculated for our preservation and protection.  Thus we learn the nature of the law, and its demands upon us, a “circumstance may thrust the flames against me, another may impel me to thrust my hand into the flames, each is a violation of self preservation, and each brings the penalty, through which a lesson is gained of infinite value.  And we ourselves must pay our own penalties for every violation.  No one else can pay them for us.  What greater incentive to living right, except the inducement of being rewarded for our good?  Again, who among us can say, that have had smoother lines of life, less tried, less tempted, that with the same organism, same surroundings and propensities, we might not have been in the place of the criminal to-day?  Then can there be danger in too much charity?  As to “lauding Robert Dale Owen,” in connection with divorces,” no one mentioned the thought; but as a man, a noble worker in all reformatory movements, I think there are others outside the spiritualistic ranks, willing to render honor where honor is due, and none, so far as I am able to learn, can question his respectability or honor as a gentleman.  If, however, Mr. Owen has been the inventor of a law that is oppressive to the people of Indiana, I think that as soon as a sufficient number can become more influential than he, that they can have that law repealed, if they choose to do so.  As to the convention being “alarmed at the general prevalence of the Bible,” &c., nothing more was said than had before been said in connection with its use in the public schools, in Cincinnati and elsewhere, by those who were neither spiritualists, infidels, nor fanatics.  Again the writer says: “We dare say that in the whole national convention, there were not two persons who agree upon any one thing as to the bettering of mankind;” from which daring we prefer to judge that he has founded his presumption on hearsay, rather than to think him stupid enough, having been present, not to have comprehended the central idea, or wanton enough to have made a statement so void of truth; hence beg leave to say, that on the main questions at issue, the majority were agreed, among which were the necessity of the education of all classes, equality of rights, encouragement of labor, and general reform, the substance of which will be forwarded you for an early publication.  The critical writer, although giving us credit for being “many of us good meaning people,” still affects that contempt of one dealing with inferiors, and with an air of one who stoops to say “you should be thankful for a rebuke from me,” proceeds to “lay out” the advocates of a subject and philosophy which a better judgment would have convinced him he knew nothing of, and have waived him into silence, or compelled him to deal justly or impartially by those who better understand.
        Addie L. Ballou.

    In another column of this paper appears a communication from Miss Ballou to whose speech at the late national convention of Spiritualists we alluded last week.  As to the enterprise of the Richmond press we have only to say, that a representative of this paper attended the convention, most of the time, and we did our best to get a copy of the resolutions before going to press.  Had the convention been that of the Young Men’s Christian Association, or any other association, we should have given it just as much space in our paper as the proceedings deserved, and no more.  We are not the exponents of any doxy.

    We give Miss Ballou the benefit of her explanation.  We had merely taken her at her word.  The fact, however, that she spoke highly of virtue, and all that, does not go far toward clearing up the matter.  There are few persons so bad that they do not in some way do reverence to virtue.  We believe the genuine free lovers claim to be laboring wholly in the interest of virtue.  They propose to cultivate virtue by throwing down all bars and putting men and women solely on their good conduct—which would no doubt work beautifully if men were all Josephs and women all angels.  There are good men, no doubt, who entertain very erroneous beliefs which to them are harmless, but which, when imbibed and put in practice by society in general, become very pernicious.  Reformers that plead the cause of virtue are as thick as blackberries.  Hence results and not protestations must be looked to.  The interests of society are paramount to those of any set of individuals.  We care little what individuals believe so they do not injure society.  To talk of virtue and reform in one breath and in the next applaud men who have done more to corrupt society than any others is worse than nonsense.  There is good reason to suspect the reformer of being a humbug who proposes to begin his work by tearing down the safeguards which wise and virtuous men have established after centuries of study and investigation.  And there is still greater reason to suspect him if his efforts are accompanied by palpable impositions and hocus pocus performances such as were practiced on the platform at Lyceum Hall last week.

    It is impossible to believe that genuine reformers would countenance such humbugs as the spirit photograph and spirit-writing-on-the-arm performances.  And yet these things were gravely tolerated on the platform at the late national convention of spiritualists in this city.  True, one man had the hardihood to protest against the writing performance, and to expose the trick in the presence of the audience.  But that was all.  The woman who bared her arm was absent when the trick was exposed, and we doubt not she will play the same thing again at the next convention she attends.  The spirit-photograph swindle has been so long and often exposed that there cannot be an intelligent photographer in the country who does not understand it.  Why then was it permitted to be palmed off on a Richmond audience without protest?  Certainly it cannot be expected that spiritualism will do a very large proselyting business among sensible and candid people so long as such things are practiced in the national conventions of the association.  If there is any thing in it worth developing we would advise the association to shake off, as quickly as possible, the brazen faced women who exhibit their pin-scratched arms, and the hocus-pocus gentlemen who pretend to take spirit photographs.

    “Spiritualism is a humbug,” says the Rev. Lewis Andrews, of Connecticut, “and I will have nothing to do with it.”  Mr. Andrews became a convert to spiritualism, last winter, under the “preaching” of Moses Hull, who was in attendance at the convention in this city last week, and his early apostacy will doubtless be a surprise tot hat gentleman.  Mr. Andrews was well known in Western Connecticut, as an eloquent preacher and a gentleman of rare scholarly attainments, and we opine that his renunciation of spiritualism will not be without effect in that community.


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