American Association of Spiritualists

Henry T. Child, M. D., “American Association. Official Report of the Eighth National Convention of the American Association of Spiritualists; Held at Troy, N. Y., September 12th, 13th, and 14th, 1871,” Religio-Philosophical Journal (Chicago), September 30, 1871.

Minutes of the First Day; Report of the Board; Address to the Association from the Utah Spiritual Movement.


Tuesday Morning Session.

Hannah F. M. Brown, the President, called the meeting to order, and made a brief address.

On Motion of Dr. J. K. Bailey, a committee of five were appointed to examine the credentials of the delegates. They reported the following list:

New Hampshire: Lora S. Craig.

Vermont: Newman Weeks, Royal B. Roundey, Sabine Scott, Betsey C. Sparhawk.

Massachusetts: Henry S. Williams, George A. Bacon, Heman B. Storer, Henry F. Gardner, N. Frank White, John Wetherbee, Freeman J. Gurney, Aaron S. Hayward, Abbie S. Burnham, Harvey Lyman, D. Nelson Ford, Mary A. Sanborn, Mary R. Hubbard, Mable S. Hoadley, Sarah G. Todd, Amasa C. Robinson, Alonzo H. Kendall, William H. Hasting, Mr. E. W. Dickenson, Edward S. Wheeler, Sarah D. Wheeler, William A. Dunklee, Sarah Floyd, Samuel Carter, Calvin Haskell, Moses Dow.

Connecticut: Anna M. Middlebrook, Sophronia E. Warner, E. Anna Hinman.

Rhode Island: Franklin Hacker.

New York: Peter I. Clum, Emily J. Beebe, Lester Brooks, Carrie Hazen, Cornelia H. Maynard, Mr. J. M. Chaplin, Elizabeth Loper, Mr. A. C. English, John W. Seaver, William H. Palmer, George W. Taylor, Honorable John W. Edmonds, Laura Edwards, Dr. Robert T. Hallock, Mr. D. R. Palmer, Mr. P. E. Farnsworth, Charles Partridge, James N. Mansfield, Dr. Henry Slade, Isaac Allen, Mr. E. Gregory, William H. Palmer, Mr. E. N. Palmer, John R. Pierce, John Austin, Jessie Brown, H. L. Barnes, J. E. Briggs, Emma J. Bullene, J. M. Brophy, Elias F. Rogers, Benjamin Starbuck, Elisha Waters, Bennett G. Barlo, Alexander McCoy, Henry L. Barnet, Thomas G. White, A. V. Spaulding, John Moore, Rawson M. Hawkins, Ira Carpenter, A. E. Tilden, Mrs. Little, Mrs. Buck, Maria Ramsdell, Dr. J. Barter, Eli Clark, Mrs. Clark, D. Durtis, S. C. Cuyler, L. C. Miller, Frank Sisson, Mary I. Sisson, L. C. Ditson, L. E. Frame, Francis Kingsman, Charlotte Ives, Drucilla Chapel, Henry Fitzgerald.

New Jersey: Susan C. Waters, Levi K. Coonley, Peter G. Good, David W. Allen, Grover S. Stewart, George H. Haskell, M. D., Stacy Taylor, Charles M. Gould, Delia R. Gould, Jenny Dixon.

Pennsylvania: George D. Gleason, Alice Tyson, Mary A. Stretch, Ellen M. Child, Henry T. Child, M. D., Elizabeth Beale, Anna Lowene, Sarah A. Anthony, Charles Baker, Elizabeth Doll, Elizabeth Bayley, James Edwards, M. D., John Jefferson Reilly.

Maryland: John Frist, Moses Hull, Rachel Walcott, John H. Weaver, Edwin G. Granville, Anna McClellan, Amelia McClellan, Levi Weaver, Jacob Weaver.

Delaware: Robert L. Smith.

Ohio: Addison A. Wheelock, Cephas B. Lynn, Oliver Stevens, Nancy F. Stevens.

Indiana: Daniel W. Hull, Eli F. Brown, James K. Bailey, M. D.

Illinois: Charles W. Bowen, Lou H. Kimball, Abbie W. Baker, Abbie K. Spencer, Mrs. Eaton, William Norris, Hannah F. M. Brown, Dorus M. Fox, Nettie M. Pease.

Kentucky: Levi Dinkelspiel.

Territory of Columbia, B. A.: Wilson Millar.

Missouri: Mary Phelps.

On motion of George A. Bacon, a committee of five were appointed as a Business Committee: Benjamin Starbuck, Amasa C. Robinson, Dr. Edwards, Sophronia E. Warner, and Rachel Walcott.

On motion, the delegates for each state were requested to present the names of one person for each of the following committees: One on Finance, one on Resolutions, one on Lyceums.

Eighth Annual Report of the Board of the American Association of Spiritualists.

The time for the assembling of our Annual Convention calls for the Report upon the condition of our cause.

Twenty-four years ago the Spiritualism was almost unknown; now it is a household word, familiar to millions, looked upon, it is true, in different light according to the condition of the observer; and perhaps there is no better measure of man’s condition than the appreciation he has of spiritual things.

In this view, it is gratifying to know that Spiritualism has claimed the attention of mankind more extensively, in the same length of time, than any other system which was ever presented to humanity.

Its acceptance has been unparalleled, and the bold demand for full and free investigation, which it has ever presented, has awakened an amount of inquiry which increases with every succeeding year.

For a time, men were content to sneer at and ridicule it, but as a natural consequence of its rapid progress, and through the constant presentation of its claims, these attacks, which were only those of the bigot and coward, became less frequent. Men and women in all ranks and conditions in society, found an wakening interest in this subject. Its continued demands for investigation have spread over all lands, and in almost every country there have been intelligent men and women free enough to examine into its merits, and whenever they have done this with a spirit of candor and justice, the result has been an acceptance of the fundamental principles of this grand Philosophy and Religion, that man is now a spirit; and, by virtue of his being a spirit is immortal; and, that this life is continuous and unbroken.

These facts have been established by abundant evidence, physical and mental, which has come to mankind from those who have gone into the spirit world; and we rejoice to know that these manifestations are increasing, and becoming more positive and satisfactory.

The universal demand of humanity, is to know what is man’s destiny, and every fact in relation to this is of vast importance. How best to promote the spread of these vital truths, demands earnest consideration; the tendency of the age is toward individualism.

Arbitrary organizations are passing away, and many of those who find themselves released from the bondage of sectarian organizations and dogmatic rule, are not willing to enter into any organization that shall in the least trammel their free spirits.

Spiritualists have come out of all the different sects, and especially from the great unchurched family. Those who have left the church unsatisfied because it did not supply that substantial food for which their souls hungered, or those who have never been in these folds, furnish a very large proportion of the Spiritualistic ranks.

Many who were formerly open and avowed Materialists, are now among our numbers, as earnest and intelligent workers, and these, together with those who have not found that rest in the church which their souls demanded, have swelled our numbers to millions. Under these circumstances it is not possible we could form any very binding organization, nor is this at all desirable.

All that is needed is hearty and earnest co-operation in such good works as we can agree upon.

This association has struggled with many difficulties, still keeping in view the great object of its formation—that of establishing a central point around which other organizations might revolve with greater freedom and power than they could alone—a link to bind all the associations of the land into closer relations, without infringing upon the liberties of any. If this were carried out, our annual gatherings would become grand social and spiritual reunions, in which we should meet in fraternal relations, and strengthen each other for the practical work which lies before us.

The missionary labor can be accomplished better and more economically by the State organizations and local societies, wherever these exist. There are many localities, however, in which if we had the funds we could do a valuable missionary work.

The great cause in which we are engaged, and to which we are devoting the best energies of our lives, is not dependent alone upon the efforts of associations, or of individuals in this sphere. It originated in the spiritual world. Spirits are the architects, and we are but day-laborers, carrying the materials to the great temple which is being erected. We are to do a portion of the work which they cannot do. That the work is going on in every direction is evident. The facts and principles of Spiritualism are being spread broadcast over all lands. The invisible forces of the interior world are working everywhere; mankind are being moulded and turned into channels of which they had no consciousness, and in most instances they are ignorant of the causes which are producing these results. Thus is humanity growing more spiritual, and even those who are opposed to Spiritualism, or who may have heard very little of it, are experiencing these elevating and refining influences, and while they may be disposed to deny or repel all the manifestations which underlie our faith and philosophy, nevertheless they cannot possibly escape the effects. The crude and mathematical dogmas of theology are being softened and melted away and the people are demanding the bread of life and the waters of spiritual truth.

The growth of humanity must be seen from a spiritual stand-point to be properly realized. Mankind treasure up their tenderest feelings, and cover them from the rude gaze of the world, and often among the people there is much that is beautiful and attractive, and it is encouraging, both to spirits and mortals, to know that there is a steady progress in the race. However much there is to discourage us upon the external plane, there is a constant advance on the spiritual. Men are growing better and wiser every day, and the time is coming when they shall more effectually break the shell of selfishness, and go forth free.

The object of the spirits is to speak the truth to the people, knowing that it cannot be lost—that the utterance of any truth always affects the world. Let us, therefore, in our co-operation with the angel world go forth uttering the truths that are revealed to us—send them forth upon the wings of the wind, knowing that they will not return void.

During the past two months we have engaged the services of Eli F. Brown for the purpose of establishing lyceums and societies. His report is herewith appended.

We recommend that the subject of education and the children’s progressive lyceums receive the careful and deliberate consideration of this association, and we trust that means will be devised for the more energetic prosecution of this work.

By the Treasurer’s report it will be seen that,

He has received . . . . . . . . . .  $108.23

We have expended . . . . . . . . $84.33

Leaving a balance of . . . . . . . $23.90

The terms of office of Almon B. French and Robert T. Hallock expire at this time.

At a meeting of the Board held at Cleveland, Ohio, November 23d, 1870, J. S. Loveland of Ohio, offered in writing his resignation as a member of the Board, and Mrs. Susan C. Waters, of Bordentown, N. J., was elected by ballot for the unexpired term of J. S. Loveland.

At a meeting of the Board, held in New York City, May 10th, 1871, the resignation of Dorus M. Fox as Trustee, was presented by the President, and on motion it was accepted, and Edward S. Wheeler elected by ballot for the unexpired term of Dorus M. Fox.

Signed on behalf of the Board of Trustees:

Henry T. Child, M. D., Secretary.

The following address was read and directed to be placed on the annals of the association:

At a public meeting of the members of the Utah Spiritual Movement, held at their new hall, the “Liberal Institute,” on the evening of Sunday, the 27th of August, it was unanimously resolved that they be represented by letter at the forthcoming National Convention of Spiritualists to be held in Troy, State of New York, on September 12th, 1871.


The Utah Spiritual movement to the National Convention of Spiritualists, greeting: The members and friends of this association, recognizing it as an out-growth of the Great common Spiritualistic Dispensation, by which those belonging to the higher sphere of humanity are awakening communication between themselves and every portion of mankind in mortality, send to the Spiritualists of the whole nation through their representatives in convention assembled expressions of love, fellowship, and co-labor-ship in the great cause.

The Utah Spiritual Movement publicly commenced to work in October, 1869. From its earliest inception it has had innumerable difficulties to contend with in the way of fanaticism and priestly power. Unlike movements started by the spirit world elsewhere, it has had to adapt itself to the mental growth of the people and travel up with them the widest expression of expansive thought. In this upward struggle it has manifested many phases of growth and development, both in the ideas it has propagated and in regard to its mode of action.

A people steeped in the idea of the necessity of divine leadership, and the greatest advocates of the doctrine of priestly organization that the world possesses, had to be gradually lifted up to a sense of the right of the human soul to judge of everything human or divine for itself. Hence, the spirit world counselled the temporary institution of an intermediate system—a species of stepping-stone to greater liberties—organized in the outset much in the external form of the Mormon priesthood, but minus its claims to arbitrary authority, or interference with temporalities. This form, as anticipated and provided for, was speedily outgrown, but the principles taught in connection with the organization being as high and broad as the most advanced conceptions of the Spiritual philosophy, have been expanding in their power and influence until to-day, as daring in thought as any in the world, and mentally and spiritually on a level with the rest of their brethren and sisters of the Spiritualistic world, the band of Utah Spiritualists, by this mode present themselves in your convention, claiming brotherhood and fellowship at your hands, and desiring to work with you in the common cause of human progress. The Utah Movement, which now for the first time represents itself in your councils, was planned in the spirit spheres for the three-fold purpose of breaking down the one-man power existing in Utah, throwing open the country to the march of civilization and developing its wealth and resources for the benefit of the nation, and at one and the same time for the greater and nobler object of bringing the creed-bound inhabitants of this Territory into communication with the light and intelligence of the higher life. By the agencies raised up by the spirit world for this purpose, in spite of the ban and the anathemas of the Church, hundreds of the Church have been emancipated from the one-man power, and the spirit of the system broken. A free press has been established, and the mineral development of the Territory worked up; while on the Spiritualistic side hundreds have been made believers in the great truth of Spiritual communication, and a constantly increasing awakening of the minds of thousands.

These are some of the things which a Spiritual movement has given birth to, and they may furnish an answer to the question, “What of practical utility has Spiritualism accomplished?” If nowhere else, an illustration of its ability to deal practically with religious, political, and even financial evils, may be found here, where a representative of the Great Union Pacific Railroad declared to his company that the Tribune (the organ of the movement) had done more to develop the mineral resources of the country, encourage immigration, and increase the trade of the Great Railroad, than all other agencies in Utah put together. These points are referred to in a gratulation of the Great Spiritualistic Cause, to which the Utah Movement stands but as one of a thousand centres of action, and as a prophecy of what the agency of the leading minds of the other world will yet accomplish for mankind at large. The Utah movement is, we believe, destined to grow into one of the largest centres of Spiritualistic power. It has commenced among a purely inspirational people. A larger number of mediumistic persons in proportion to the population can be found congregated in Utah than in any other part of the world. The doctrine of revelation and angelic intercourse has gathered them together, and for its realization they sigh day by day. It will take but the breaking of their mental bonds to constitute them the most earnest Spiritualistic people of the age. Accustomed to mission the world for the propagation of the doctrine of revelation and inspiration sustained only by the faintest manifestations of spiritual power, what will they not do in behalf of the same immortal truths when intercommunication with the upper life becomes, as Spiritualism will yet make it, a tangible fact of their everyday lives?

As fast as opportunities offer and wisdom dictates, your best mediums and speakers should come here. A great field for their labors will be found as soon as sufficient openings for their support present themselves.

Not less than fifty thousand dollars having been expended by the Spiritualists of the Utah movement in sustaining a press, holding meetings, and building a large hall, dedicated from its inception to unlimited truth, and performing such missionary labor as has been possible, together with heavy responsibilities constantly upon us, prevent us from immediately procuring such aid as we need. The Utah Spiritualists will always welcome their brethren and sisters from any part of the world. With them they testify to the truth of intercommunication with the immortal dead—the grandest truth of this or any previous age—a truth which solves the mystery of the past and present, unlocks the future to our anxious gaze, and reveals the grand progress of our common humanity beyond and this side of the grave—opens a portal through which the garnered wisdom of unnumbered ages, and the sweet sentiments of higher planes of life and action can be transmitted to humanity below—a truth more potent with the human heart, a greater evangelizer of the life, a weightier iconoclast of error, than all other truths put together. In the words of that great truth they greet that vast and ever-increasing army whose destiny it is to lift up the panoply of death which over-hangs the world, and bring life and immortality to light.

Signed on behalf of the Utah Spiritual Movement,
W. S. Godbe.
Mary Godbe.

And one hundred and fifty-eight other Spiritualists of Utah.


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