Woodhull & Claflins Weekly (New York), April 5.

“Proceedings of the National Convention of Liberalists and Spiritualists, Which Met at Cleveland, O., Feb. 19, 1873.”


Editors Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly:

Dear Sisters—I am instructed by the Cleveland Convention to furnish you with a synopsis of their work to reach the people through the press; after which the proceedings are to be published in full, containing Constitution and other papers, in pamphlet form, and supplied to those who may desire it for the sum of 25 cents, which will be ready in about three months.

Very truly yours,
J. W. Evarts, Secretary
Centralia, Ill., March 1, 1873

First Day—Feb. 19.

The Convention met pursuant to the advertised Call at 10 o’clock A. M., at Temperance Hall, Cleveland, O., and was called to order by J. W. Evarts.  Mr. W. W. Van Druver, of Cleveland, was elected President pro tem; R. P. Wilson, of Morrisania, N. Y., Vice-President; and J. W. Evarts, of Centralia, Ill., Secretary.

Mr. J. W. Evarts stated the objects of the Convention, briefly reviewing the needs of social reconstruction and claiming that practical work would involve a large amount of capital, and that said capital could not be moved in that direction without a safe investment upon an effective plan; that no chimerical scheme would be entertained by the business people of this country; that the joint-stock basis was the only one, in this selfish age of the world, that could be entered upon with safety; that this basis renders exact justice to all persons, doing away with the wage system, and the demands of human selfhood would therein be wholly satisfied.  He then read the Call of the Convention, stating that one of its prime objects was the emancipation of womanhood of humanity and the installment of the human race into a condition where there is no undue prominence of either sex above the other, either in fact or expression; that he finds the human family governed by a male government, worshiping a male God, fettered by male institutions throughout the world; and that age after age has rolled on, enveloped in the same male panoply.  He claimed that science is the only true redeemer of humanity, that to sustain an equitable duality throughout the domains of matter and spirit, and unfolded the harmonious blending of the material and spiritual foundations of the universe.

Mr. Evarts then read letters from both sexes supporting the purposes of the Convention, emanation from persons in various quarters of the United States, pledging not only money but labor in the great movement of co-operative life and industry.

Mr. R. P. Wilson, of Morrisania, N. Y., said:

“Respected Friends—You meet under circumstances of peculiar importance in the annals of the world.  In the quietude of nations industry is marching to the front, calling out to know the causes of war, famine, pestilence and disease, and asking why prisons, asylums and courts of injustice are eating out our subsistence and spreading far and wide want, vice and crime.  It asks for the remedy without avail, until the voice of inspiration comes upon us.  We are assembled here to consider the utility of forming Unitary Homes, upon a system in advance of the isolated, wasteful methods of the present, and to perfect, if possible, a plan upon which humanity can work to freedom, moral, social, financial, religious and political.  In your deliberations let order and system by studied; let the spirit of brotherly and sisterly love prevail.  Let us remember that we are attended by hosts of unseen helpers, who are on the spiritual side of existence, but whose untiring labors are with us to erect a temple of Wisdom and Love, and to banish want, to promote peace and to insure harmony and happiness to humanity.”

The balance of the day was spent in reading letters from friends at a distance, making acquaintance and listening to addresses.

Second Day—Feb. 20.

On motion, R. H. Winslow, of Chicago, was elected permanent President of the Convention; J. C. Saxton, Vice-President; and J. W. Evarts, Secretary.

The various Committees were appointed, and the forenoon spent in readings letters and addresses from friends who could not attend; among them a valuable document from and signed by E. V. Wilson, Henry T. Child, John M. Spear, George D. Henk and twenty-five other earnest workers.  Another valuable paper from the pen of George D. Henk was read.  The Convention is invited to hold its next meeting in Philadelphia.

A valuable paper was read from George W. Gore, President, Harmonial Community, of Lamoille, Marshall County, Iowa; also one from Mr. E. V. Boissiere and E. P. Grant, of Williamsburgh, Ks.  All the letters and documents were referred to the Committee of Printing to appear in pamphlet form at an early day, together with a full report of the Convention.

2 o’clock P. M.—Mr. Ira Potter, of Chicago, spoke at length upon the subject of education; claimed that every attempt of government to work up industrial education had proved a failure, and that it must work itself up by self-sustaining, self-governing, industrial colleges; did not complain of human selfishness—it is a divine principle, and we must provide for it.

Mrs. M. B. Lane, Samuel Ware and N. E. Marcy spoke with great zeal as old soldiers in the cause of co-operative industry and social reform.

Third Day—Feb. 21.

Reports of Committees were presented and accepted, and the Convention resolved to go into general discussion of the merits and demerits of co-operative industry.

Mr. R. P. Wilson took the floor and dwelt at length upon the utility and beneficence of the joint-stock plan; considered it the only plan that could command the wealth of the world to the use of ameliorating the present condition of humanity.

Dr. A. Underhill, brother of the late venerable and sainted Samuel Underhill, dwelt at length and with great power of logic upon the communistic order of association, and believed that a community of goods with the only true road to millennial life.

“Greek meets Greek!” and sharp debate prevailed some three hours between the contending elements, to find respite only in a motion to adjourn for dinner.

1:30 P. M.—The Communists renew the contest, and it is with the most persistent efforts that the stock co-operators obtain the floor.  Ten minutes’ “innings” was resorted to, and the fight was more evenly balanced.

Mr. Evarts rises to a point of order, and claims that the Convention was called in the interest of co-operative industry, ostensibly and declaredly upon the joint-stock basis, with the full intent and purpose of “uniting upon some definite plan,” and not to waste time in presenting the effete and threadbare vagaries of Communism.  He moved that the Convention enter upon its legitimate work, and take up the report of the Committee on Organization.  Motion carried.

The Constitution and By-Laws, as presented by the committee, was then taken up, read, discussed, amended and adopted seriatim.

Fourth Day—Feb. 22.

The forenoon was spent in making amendments to By-Laws, general discussion, etc.

1:30 P. M.—Report of Committee on Locations was taken up.

Mr. Evarts reported H. J. Loring, P. O. Box 2492, St. Louis, Mo., has a farm in Southwest Missouri of 300 acres and buildings for fifty inmates.  L. Bush, Jamestown, Fentress Co., Tenn., has 1,000 acres and large house; will put it all in as stock.  G. W. Gore, Lamoille, Marshall Co., Iowa is well started.  E. P. Grant, Williamsburgh, Ks., 3,000 acres, has vast buildings in process of erection—silk factory.  Luther Clough, Skiddy, Kans., 20,000 acres, not yet purchased.  R. P. Wilson, Morrisania, N. Y., favors Centralia, Ill., and J. W. Evarts favors the latter place as a desirable location, and hopes that Unitary Homes will spring up in every village and hamlet throughout the world, with good homes and good living with one-half the amount of labor now performed by the industrial classes.

The following resolutions were offered and passed:

1. Resolved, That the Constitution and By-Laws which this Convention has adopted is offered as a form for the guidance of local organizations.

2. Resolved, That this Convention resolve itself into and be known by the name and title of the American Congress of Social Science.

3. Resolved, That the next annual meeting of this, the American Congress of Social Science, take place in Philadelphia, Pa., on the twenty-second day of February, 1874.

On motion, Mr. John W. Evarts, of Centralia, Ill., was elected President and Secretary ex-officio; Mr. R. P. Wilson Vice-President; and Dr. Henry T. Child, of Philadelphia, Pa., Treasurer of the American Congress of Social Science for the coming year.

4. Resolved, That a National Committee on Correspondence be and is hereby appointed for their respective localities, as follows:

New York City, T. C. Leland, 970 Sixth avenue.
Philadelphia, Pa., Dr. H. T. Child, 534 Race street.
Boston, Mass., John Orvis.
Washington, D. C., Alfred Cridge.
Chicago, Ill., R. H. Winslow, 154 Warren avenue.
St. Louis, Mo., H. J. Loring, Box 2492.
Milwaukee, Wis., Mrs. A. B. Severance.
San Diego, Cal., Mrs. H. F. M. Brown.
Mound City, Kan., Joel Moody.
Cleveland, O., Fanny Wilson, 34 Cheschire street.
Morrisania, N. Y., R. P. Wilson.
Centralia, Ill., J. W. Evarts.

At Large—Addie L. Ballou, Moses Hull, Jenny Leys.

5. Resolved, That the American Congress of Social Science appoint the following-named persons to act as a Board of Counselors, and invite their acceptance:

Henry Ward Beecher
Victoria C. Woodhull
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Mary F. Davis
Stephen Pearl Andrews
Susan B. Anthony
Samuel B. Brittan
Mary A. Leland
A. E. Newton
Isabella Beecher Hooker
E. V. Wilson
Paulina Wright Davis
Henry T. Child
Addie L. Ballou
Josiah Warren
Annie Dickenson
Wendell Phillips
Emma Hardinge
Thomas W. Higginson
Lizzie Doten
Andrew Jackson Davis
Tennie C. Claflin
Warren Chase
Elizabeth Cady Stanton

The following resolutions were offered and unanimously adopted:

6. Resolved, That Victoria C. Woodhull, Tennie C. Claflin, and others who have suffered with them, for advocating the principles of universal and exact justice, and for rebuking hypocrisy, deserve the thanks of American citizens.

7. Resolved, That this Convention is pleased to censure the United States and local authorities of New York city for their aggressions upon the freedom of the press in the case of the suppression of Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly, as, by so doing, it becomes a precedent upon which to base a general abridgment of American liberty.

On motion, J. W. Evarts was appointed a Committee on Printing.

After further discussion upon the subject of location, the Convention adjourned sine die.

R. H. Winslow, Pres. Con.
John W. Evarts, Secretary.


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