The Word (Princeton, Mass.), August:2-3

The Union Reform League, Second Annual Convention

The Union Reform League.

The Second Annual Convention of the Union Reform League met in the Town Hall, Princeton, Mass., July 4th, 5th and 6th, Stephen Pearl Andrews presiding.  Delegates were present from Boston, New York, Vineland, N. J., Philadelphia and other distant and nearer localities.  E. H. Heywood presented the following resolutions:

1. Resolved: That, since life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are inalienable rights, the claims to the means of life, viz., Inspiration, Self-Rule, Land, Exchange cannot be restricted without disaster; that we favor the abolition of property in land which begets rent, of credit monopoly which make usury possible, and of that sustaining source of political fraud, industrial subjection and social antagonism—compulsive taxation.

2. Resolved: That, since the right of each person to do what she or he wishes, provided they invade not the equal right of others to do the same is the spiritual basis of Socialism, all efforts to restrict that right, or to fix the basis of order or progress outside of Personal Sovereignty, invade essential Liberty and hinder the beneficent tendency of Nature to disclose in the freedom of one the harmony of all souls; that while we give all due credit to the philosophy of association and cooperative endeavor, to-day as heretofore, the world advances chiefly through Individual Initiative, Voluntary Enterprise which unites all by continually giving each Personality back to itself.

3. Resolved: That while we rejoice in Suffragism which is the political expression of Woman’s desire to be mistress of her own person and destiny; in Greenbackism which is the political outcome of the old, world-wide struggle for industrial and commercial equity; in Temperancism which seeks sobriety in personal demeanor; in Trades-Unionism which voices the protest of plundered, suffering and dumb millions of the wage class; in Liberalism which is an out-cry against ecclesiastical Nescience and superstitious savagery; and in Spiritualism which brings life and immortality to light through positive evidence of immaterial intelligence—we would blend all these progressive aspirations in united effort to Repeal restrictions on Enterprise, in order that the grand old phrase of Daniel Webster, “Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable,” hitherto a political aphorism merely, may, in the Nature of things, manifest Spiritual Power.

4. Resolved: That we favor cooperative effort for the immediate and unconditional Repeal of the Comstock Statutes which supervise opinions and impose a censorship of the Press in behalf of superstitious intolerance; of men’s laws making reading the Bible in Public Schools compulsive, thereby perverting youth to sustain sectarian bigotry; and of men’s laws licensing or prohibiting the sale of ardent spirits which invade liberty and hinder effort to remove the causes of intemperance.

5. Resolved: That we invite the institution of Union Reform Leagues in every accessible locality to voice progressive tendencies, promote mutual improvement and, rescuing it from the repressive torture now accepted as law-and-order, place human Society under the guidance of intelligently conscientious foresight.

Mrs. Tillotson offered the following:

Whereas the influence and cooperation of woman are necessities in the measures and leagues for the achievement of liberty, therefore,

Resolved: That it is the duty of man on the liberal platform to advocate those necessities, to invite her cooperation, and to declare his readiness to sustain her in the change of customs, the disregard of sham respectability which will enable her to grasp and maintain personal and general freedom.

Resolved: That since her physical bondage to pernicious fashions in dress disqualify her in strength and patriotism for acting truly and aiding man to act nobly, destroys health, deranges parentage, and works general demoralization, we fearlessly and publicly denounce such fashions, the known obstacles to progress, and encourage her to adopt styles favorable to integral growth and power to attain and perpetuate life’s best boon, Liberty.

Mr. Andrews offered the following:

1. Resolved: That Unity in Diversity being the great law of universal things, it is obvious that Reformers of all schools are, to an immense extent, frittering and wasting their strength and combined efforts on the world by illustrating the principle of Diversity merely, in the different special organizations, for special ends, without at the same time illustrating the principle of Unity by affiliation with some general, centering and representative institution; which like the clearing house among the banks shall be especially engaged in examining, adjusting, and to the highest possible extent reconciling their differences, so far at least as to render the specialties cooperative despite of their divergency.

2. Resolved: That the Pantarchy being an institution of long standing proposing to serve precisely this purpose as Head Centre of the entire reformatory world, so far and so fast as its guidance shall be deemed desirable by other and more special reformatory movements, it is recommended to all such special enterprises to examine the claims of the Pantarchy and to decide whether their own objects might not be better subserved by affiliating themselves with that Institution.

3. Resolved: That the Union Reform League having been proposed and accepted in that sense, will hereafter act as a recognized branch of the Pantarchy, or The Universal Directory of Reforms.

Mr. Andrews explained the philosophy of association as indicated in the above resolutions, saying reformers have been like a bag of crabs, all clawing at each other, never able to arrange any comfortable neighborhood or cooperation; but they are preparing now, seemingly, to be able to adjust themselves; every earnest endeavor is worthy; bigotry itself is love of truth uninformed by the intellect.

Mrs. Mary E. Tillotson of N. J. spoke on “Our Liberties and How to Achieve Them;” T. C. Leland of N. Y. on “Social Evolution;” J. H. Swain of Boston on “Sexology;” A. D. Wheeler of Westford, Mass., on “The Objects of Socialism;” David Wilder of Boston on “Money and Banking;” Josephine R. Stone, A. H. Wood, Angela T. Heywood, Henry Appleton, E. B. McKenzie, Mrs. S. L. Chappelle, Dr. B. M. Lawrence, Lyman A. Wiley of Medfield, Mass., E. H. Heywood and others addressed the Convention.  Though it was his first attempt at public speaking, Mr. Wiley’s address deeply interested the audience who wished to ordain him to go forth at once and proclaim the Labor-Reform gospel; a rough-hewn farmer, his tall, angular figure and awkward originality remind one of Abraham Lincoln while his fire, force and sincere power bespeak a Yankee Kearney.  The addresses of other speakers were admirable, the nine sessions of the Convention being filled with earnest and instructive teaching.

The following were elected officers for the ensuing year: President, Stephen Pearl Andrews of New York; Vice Presidents, Parker Pillsbury, N. H.; Anna M. Middlebrook, Martha Williams, Conn.; S. A. Vibbert, Vt.; John Orvis, E. B. McKenzie, M. A. Warren, L. A. Wiley, Mass.; John M. Spear, Jay Chaapel, Penn.; Prof. A. L. Rawson, Mary A. Leland, Eliza F. Spencer, N. Y.; Mary E. Tillotson, Ellen B. Harmon, N. J.; George C. Waite, Me.; L. K. Joslin, Mrs. E. M. Bolles, R. I.  Secretaries, E. H. Heywood, T. C. Leland.  Treasurer, Henry N. Stone, Boston.

Executive Committee, Josephine R. Stone, Angela T. Heywood, Henry Appleton, A. H. Wood, Mary S. Dike, A. D. Wheeler, E. H. Heywood.

Committee on the Press, T. C. Leland, Josephine R. Stone, Angela T. Heywood, Henry Appleton, Lucy M. Tilton, Josephine S. Tilton, J. Flora Tilton and Vesta V. Heywood worked for Finance, while the Tiltons, Mary S. Dike, Mattie Dike and Dr. Swain served efficiently in entertaining guests at Mountain Home.  With those already mentioned, Miss Wiley of Hudson, C. B. Longley of Lunenbergh: Mr. and Mrs. C. J. Nourse of Shrewsbury; N. L. Cook, John D. Washburn, Messers. Bullock, Gooch, Hildreth and Phelan of Worcester; S. C. Hunt of Boston; Mr. Clapp of Providence, R. I.; Mr. and Mrs. William S. Everett, Abel Bartlett, Elisha A. Mirick, Mr. and Mrs. E. W. Stuart of East Princeton and many others attended.

Messages were received from L. K. Joslin, Dr. E. B. Foote, Lucy N. Colman, E. M. F. Denton, Isabella Smith, May Peterson, Maria L. Follet, C. L. James, George F. Train, Frank Howard, Henry George, J. K. Ingalls, Mrs. A. P. Joyce, W. G. H. Smart, D. M. Bennett, A. L. Rawson, C. M. A. Twitchell, Mrs. S. A. Vibbert, J. H. Cook, J. J. Gurney, Dr. C. A. VanCoit, A. J. Grover, Mrs. John Mulliken, Dr. R. D. Goodwin, George C. Waite, E. C. Walker and Mary A. Cutler.  Especial thanks are due “Mind and Matter,” “The Investigator,” “The Banner of Light,” “The Commoner” and other papers for friendly notices.  An abstract report of the Convention will probably be published in pamphlet form.

By the adoption of Mr. Andrews’ resolutions the League becomes an Individual-Sovereign Auxiliary of the Pantarchy.  Mrs. Tillotson’s views of Dress Reform, not being approved by all, her resolutions stand as her individual opinions, as do Mr. Heywood’s, though the League goes with him for the removal of restrictions to this extent, viz.: Repeal of Comstock Laws; 2nd, Repeal of laws making Bible-Reading compulsive in the public schools; 3rd, Political Enfranchisement of Woman; 4th, Abolition of poll tax pre-requisites for voting.  Mrs. Stone, who represented the 4th Mass. Congressional District in the Chicago Greenback Convention, and Dr. B. M. Lawrence the prominent physiological and money reform lecturer, gave interesting reports from their respective fields of activity.  Composed of Personal Workers in special departments of progressive Enterprise, the League, voicing the confluent energy of many forces, enjoys the discriminating assistance which life-long service in union-reform philosophy enables Mr. Andrews to bring to its Presidency.  Invigorated by new inspirations, and refreshed by a brief sojourn in a delightful Health Resort, which is also a Stamping-Ground of Ideas, the members of this very successful Convention departed in the hope of growing and more and more notable gatherings from year to year.

The first copy of the new edition of Cupid’s Yokes just published we [Ezra Hervey Heywood] presented “To Stephen Pearl Andrews, Pantarch, from E. H. H. ‘Crab.’”  In behalf of the “crabs” we wish to say that Mr. A. seems not to discern either the nature or drift of the spiritual forces which animate reformers; in twenty years reform service we never have “clawed” at other reformers, but, working in the very heart of things, we have promoted Unity all the more effectually because we have always favored Liberty.  Intensely Individual, unable to organize themselves generally, Spiritualists are yet the greatest living reformatory power simply because, instinctively and inspirationally, they incarnate Liberty and illustrate Unity through the irresistible attraction of mutual faith and work.  In reformers, growers, the personal and associative realities of life reappear while organization is a serviceable instrumentality, a mode of expressing power, to be used or discarded as the nature and purpose of the work at hand require.  But Mr. A. (who is the only man living large enough to be on both sides of an issue at the same time and equally right), also says that reformers are crabs out of the bag, applying his former statement to the old order from which they escaped!


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