North Collins Friends of Human Progress
“Meeting at North Collins,” Religio-Philosophical Journal, September 30, 1871.

The Friends of Human Progress met annually.  It was a group that broke away from the Hicksite Quakers.  The original meetings were in the town of Waterloo, but a second group began to gather annually in North Collins as well.  This group was more explicitly focused on spiritualism, although it still had a general Reformist agenda.—JB

Friends of Human Progress (North Collins), Meetings, 1855-1930s, by Christopher Densmore


The Sixteenth Annual Meeting of the
Friends of Human Progress, at North Collins, N. Y.,
Friday Morning, Aug. 25th, 1871.

The congregation was called together by music and song.

The anniversary meeting was opened by Mr. Levi Brown, Chairman of the Business Committee.

G. W. Taylor was appointed President, and Sarah S. Tousey Secretary of the meeting.

Bro. Taylor took the stand and addressed a few kind words of greeting to all.

Giles B. Stebbins next addressed the audience.  He spoke with enthusiasm of the great influence our meeting had had in the past all over the country.  He had heard it mentioned as far west as the Mississippi; east to Cape Cod and Bangor, Maine; and south to Washington.  With words of encouragement to those who sustain the meeting, he gave place to Mr. William Lloyd, of Philadelphia, a Quaker, whose soul has been opened to receive these beautiful truths.

In the afternoon the meeting opened with music, followed by remarks from Mr. Lloyd.


Lecture by Lyman C. Howe.  Subject of discourse, “Have faith in one another.”  He held that this faith should belong to the inner man’ that underneath the external manifestations of impurity and crime, there still lives the great divine that sooner or later will come forth.  He spoke of the necessity of self control—“that we should first conquer the evil within our own natures, then strive to conquer others by the same law.”

Closed with a beautiful and expressive poem.

After some business arrangements, Mr. G. B. Stebbins made some remarks in regard to the punishment of criminals, saying “that our prisons should be reormatory asylums, under the management of the noblest types of men, and the sweetest developments of womanhood.”

The session closed with song—“True Heroism.”

Saturday morning the rain prevented the session expected.

In the afternoon the meeting opened with music.

Business arrangements occupied a few moments, after which Mrs. Watson, of Titusville, was announced.  She opened with a beautiful invocation.  Subject of discourse, “Divine Motherhood.”  I will not attempt to give even an outline of the soul-stirring discourse, knowing I could not do it justice.  Suffice it to say, no woman could listen without higher, holier aspirations stealing into her soul, and no man without a deeper appreciation of true womanhood.

After a short conference, the meeting adjourned with music from the choir.

Sunday afternoon the session opened by conference, participated in by Messrs. William Lloyd, Giles B. Stebbins and others, Bro. Stebbins reading some of his “Scriptures.”

Music by B. A. Beal and Miss Cady—“Will you Come to Meet me, Darling?”

Adjourned for one hour.

The session re-organized with music, after which a lecture was delivered by Lyman C. Howe.  Subject—“The Lessons of Fatherhood.”  Taken in connection with Mrs. Watson’s discourse on Saturday, nothing could have been more appropriate.  He claimed that as in the past the world had gone to one extreme by assigning to man the whole power and responsibility of governing the universe, so reformers of the present day have gone to the opposite extreme by making the mother alone responsible for her offspring, and thus controlling the destinies of nations.  He took the intermediate ground, claiming that man and woman are equal, and according to each alike the responsibility and the glory of their achievements.

After a few remarks by Brother Taylor and Mrs. Watson in regard to the discourse, the choir sang a “Thanksgiving Anthem,” which was followed by a discourse from Mrs. Watson on “The Science of Spiritualism.”  The subject was handled in a masterly manner, her arguments striking against the temple of old Theology with such force as to cause her walls to crumble, and rearing in its stead the temple of eternal truth.

By request, Brother Taylor related his experience in Moravia a few weeks since, in so touching a manner as to bring tears to every eye.  Among his closing remarks he said “that beliefs and theories were of no value, only as they sank deep into the soul and were manifest in our daily lives.”

The meeting closed with music from the choir.

Despite the rain which fell in torrents during the forenoon, and continued in lesser quantity through the day, the hall was filled with attentive listeners.

SARAH S. TOUSEY, Secretary.


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