The Religio-Philosophical Journal, September 27.

American Spiritualist Association meeting at Lake Pleasant.

A faction of conservative spiritualists made a short-lived effort to organize a national organization after the demise of the American Association of Spiritualists.  The new organization was promoted by the Religio-Philosophical Journal, but the Banner of Light not only refused to promote it, but refused even to condone it.—JB

American Spiritualist Association.
Report of the Proceedings of the Annual Meeting
Holden on the Grounds of the New England Spiritualists Camp Meeting Association
at Lake Pleasant Camp, Montague, Mass., August 21st, 22nd and 23rd, 1884.

In pursuance of a call issued by Hon. John G. Jackson of Hockessin, Del., President of the American Spiritualist Association, the annual meeting opened Thursday morning, Aug. 21st, at Lake Pleasant Camp, Montague, Mass.  After a song by the Amphion Glee Club of Troy, N. Y., Dr. Jos. Beals, President of the New England Spiritualist Camp Meeting Association, introduced Mr. Jackson by saying:  “Many of you are aware that this morning and Friday and Saturday mornings have been set apart for the meetings of the American Spiritualist Association.  The President of this Association is Mr. J. G. Jackson of Hockessin, Del., a gentleman who early came from the Quakers into the Spiritualist ranks, and has been a Spiritualist more than thirty years.  He is an able writer, and his articles, published far and wide, have proved of great interest.  It is not to form an association that we have come here, but to continue and perfect the one organized last year.  I have the pleasure of introducing to the audience Hon. J. G. Jackson of Hockessin, Del.”


Ladies and Gentlemen:—I am happy to appear before you, but propose to say very little.  My only object shall be to make a brief statement, for the benefit of those not already informed, of the initiatory steps taken in inaugurating the American Spiritualist Association.  Many have thought that it is of entirely an ephemeral character, originating at Sturgis, Mich., about a year ago; but it had its inception before that.  Though the need of organization was widely felt, the immediate impulse of the present movement may be said to have been occasioned by an able address by Dr. A. B. Spinney of Detroit, Mich., published in the Religio-Philosophical Journal of December 17th, 1881, on “Constructive and Destructive Spiritualism,” which resulted in April, 1882, in the issuing of the Call which I will read:


We the undersigned, believers in a spiritual philosophy and lovers of truth and progress, deem that the time has come to make an effort to organize upon a scientific, philosophical, rational, moral and pure social basis.  For the purpose of furthering said object, if feasible, we would advise the calling of a National Convention, either at Cleveland or Detroit, May 30th and 31st, 1882.

I will also quote a part of what Dr. Spinney published in connection with this Call, as it will aid in an understanding of the motives of those who co-operated in the subsequent proceedings:

Will all spiritual papers and journals throughout the United States, please publish this Call, and either criticise or commend the same as they see fit; also all persons interested in Spiritualism please do the same?

The time may not have come for Spiritualists to organize, but the time has arrived to make an effort, for before us in the future is a coalescence of all that is grand, true and elevating in Spiritualism, in organic work by its believers; or their absorption by the churches of the day, which are slowly expanding and receiving our ideas.  Friends, will you rally, act and save your jewels and redeem your beautiful philosophy from all that selfishness and ignorance have place around it?  Protect mediumship, but make fraud a crime.  On the one hand we have ecclesiasticism, dogmatism, and church power, on the other, cheerless, cold, Godless materialism, tearing down, but building no new temple where man’s religious, spiritual and social nature can be fed.  The time has come to build a highway for ourselves and others to walk in, and thus through progress attract the good and spiritual minded to us.

The final result of this Call was a National Conference at Detroit, October 27-29th, 1882, at which a respectable number of representative Spiritualists from different sections of the country, were in attendance.  A larger number who could not attend, sent letters of encouragement with promises of co-operation in future work.  Among the other work of this Conference, was the appointment of a standing committee with instructions to call a National Convention in May, 1883, or about that time, to meet at such place as said committee should select.  This committee selected Sturgis, Michigan, as the place, and June 15th, 16th and 17th, 1883, as the time for holding the Conference, and it was held accordingly.  At this


a permanent national organization was formed and named American Spiritualist Association.  A Declaration of Principles, Constitution and By-laws were adopted, and officers elected.

It has been the endeavor of its officers and members to make the aims of the Association as well known as possible; but still they are not as well known as they ought to be, or as they will be in another year.  The quite extensive correspondence which I have carried on, has been encouraging and indicates a rapidly growing desire on the part of Spiritualists for general organization.  Let us hope, although the fruit may not thus far appear magnificent, that seed has been sown which will bear good fruit.  Time will show that the character of this Association is not ephemeral, and that organization will strengthen and purify Spiritualism and render it a lasting power for good.  Owing to my somewhat delicate health I will invite Mr. Newman Weeks, of Vermont, and an officer of the A. S. A., to read the Constitution and Declaration of Principles.

Mr. John C. Bundy moved that in the absence of the secretary and treasure, Mr. David Jones of Utica, N. Y., editor and publisher of the Olive Branch, be appointed secretary pro tem and Dr. E. M. Ripley of Unionville, Conn., treasurer pro tem.  The motion was seconded by Dr. Beals and unanimously carried.

Mr. Weeks then read the Constitution and Declaration of Principles.

Mr. Bundy then referred to the discussion of the subject of Organization at Lake Pleasant last year and the desire then manifested to affiliate with the association formed at Sturgis.  He spoke of the need of increasing the membership of the organization by a judicious solicitation of desirable persons to join, and to better effect this, he moved that a committee on membership be appointed and offered the following names:  Mrs. David Jones, Utica, N. Y.; Mrs. Lita Barney Sayles, Killingly, Conn.; Mrs. Maud E. Lord, Chicago, Ill.; Mrs. M. H. Fletcher, Lowell, Mass.; Mrs. Sue B. Fales, Boston, Mass.; Mr. W. W. Currier, Haverhill, Mass.; Mr. Charles T. Hudson, Detroit, Mich.; Dr. W. B. Mills, Saratoga, N. Y.; Dr. Joseph H. Beals, Denver, Col., and Mr. John Winslow, Bristol, Conn.  The motion was adopted.

[Other speakers:  Judge A. H. Dailey of Brooklyn, Dr. J. K. Bailey, Mrs. Charles Dawbarn of New York, Mrs. John Winslow of Connecticut, Mr. W. W. Currier, Mrs. Sue B. Fales, Mrs. L. B. Sayles, and Miss A. M. Beecher of Brooklyn, and Mr. J. Clegg Wright of England, Mrs. M. H. Flether of Lowell, Mass, Mrs. Maud E. Lord, Mrs. Hudson Tuttle.]


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