Rogue Valley Freethinkers
Also see our Socialists, Beesons and W. J. Dean.
For the Boston Investigator.
Adaptations.MR. EDITOR:--Not long ago an argument, written by Dr. Hammett [physician George A. Hammett of Providence, Rhode Island], in reply to Mr. Salyards, appeared in the Investigator, to which I call the especial attention of your readers. It is as follows: "Adaptation, uncaused by intelligence, must have always existed, upon the Deist's own showing; since God must in his nature be adapted to act upon matter." Having thus proved that adaptation has always existed, uncaused by intelligence, he concludes--"Therefore, there is no God."
The fallacy of the above reasoning consists in the non-distribution of the middle term (adaptation). The meaning is that some adaptations are uncaused and eternal; not that all are, for the adaptation of the eye to the nature of light is not eternal. Geology shows a period when no SUCH adaptations existed, and the atmosphere existed prior to the lungs of man, or the wings of birds, and children are born every day with eyes adapted to the light and feet adapted to go upon the earth's surface, who had no existence six years ago. These are but recent examples of adaptation as well as the race itself.
Let us then reduce the above argument to the regular form, and see if it will fall asunder, or cohere together.
Major premise--Some adaptations are eternal and uncaused by intelligence;
Minor premise--The human eye, or hand, or leg, or foot, is an example of adaptation;
Conclusion--Therefore the adaptation of the eye, hand, foot, &c., was uncaused by intelligence.
The conclusion does not follow necessarily from the premises; the term (adaptation) being applied only to a part of the predicate.
Here is a similar example of "non-distribution" (and as an argument equally conclusive as the above), viz.:
Some men have but one eye--Major.Now, there are uncaused adaptations in the universe. Example--Space is adapted to contain matter; this is an example of eternal uncaused adaptation. Again--God's intelligence is ADAPTED to organize matter; this also is another example of uncaused adaptation. But does it follow that any other example which caprice may select is also equally eternal and UNCAUSED? Does it follow that the eye is also an eternal uncaused adaptation?
A.B. is a man--Minor.
Therefore, N.B. has but one eye--Conclusion.
But perhaps the writer only intended to insist that all natural adaptations are uncaused by intelligence, since many of them are not eternal, and many of them have a cause. This is narrowing down the issue wonderfully! and putting only the naked question of intelligence under debate. The proposition would stand thus: "All natural adaptations are uncaused by intelligence." Now what proof has ever yet been offered to establish this affirmative? One, two, or three examples of uncaused adaptation shed no light upon it, since a cause is admitted. No example of eternal adaptation will establish it, since it is admitted that these adaptations are not eternal (at least many of them). The only proof admissible would be to adduce examples of adaptations, HAVING A CAUSE, BUT NOT AN INTELLIGENT CAUSE. Give us the examples and we yield. To assert that the eye or hand is such an example is a plain petitio principii, or assumption of the point in debate. The point made by Mr. Salyards is about this, namely: The steel trap and the lion's jaws are both mechanical adaptations, and the end or use of each is to CATCH AND HOLD; this end or use was designed in case of the trap. Were not the lion's jaws also designed to catch and hold? But the trap is a mental conception, suggested to man by the lion's jaws. Are not the lion's jaws also the result of mental conception, or of God?
Some adaptations impress the causality of man with the idea of cause, while other adaptations do not thus impress our minds. The adaptation of space to matter raises no idea, conception, feeling, or sentiment of a cause; while all mechanical arrangements, as well as some other arrangements, do thus impress the mind. All such adaptations as produce the notion of an intelligent cause HAVE also an intelligent cause, so far as experience has discovered their causes.
Yours, truly, HIRAM COLVER.
Rogue River Valley, Oregon Territory, April, 1856.
Boston Investigator, June 18, 1856, pages 1-2 The motto of the Investigator was "Devoted to the Development and Promotion of Universal Mental Liberty."
For the Boston Investigator.
Adaptation.MR. EDITOR:--There are as vague ideas in the world concerning the word "reason," as the word "adaptation." As an example, take the following from Dr. Hammett:
"Some men cannot leap the ocean";
A is a man;
Therefore, A cannot leap the ocean.
This, says Dr. Hammett, is "correct reasoning," although not in "FORM" a regular syllogism. Doubtless the conclusion (that A cannot leap the ocean) is true; but does that truth follow necessarily from the premise? If not, though the conclusion be true, the reasoning is false.
Here is a similar example:
Some men are Atheists (major),
Dr. Hammett is a man (minor),
Therefore, Dr. Hammett is an Atheist (conclusion).
Here the conclusion (that Dr. H. is an Atheist), although true, does in no way follow from the premise, and as an example of reasoning, is unsound. Again:
Some adaptations are uncaused by intelligence;
The eye is an example of adaptation;
Therefore, the eye is uncaused by intelligence.
This last is what Dr. Hammett calls "correct reasoning," although it lacks the "regular form." If this last is "correct reasoning," then also is the syllogism preceding it, concerning Dr. Hammett's Atheism. Dr. Hammett, I make no objection to your syllogism on account of "form"; the objection is, it cannot be made to wear the "regular form." All correct reasoning, however elliptically expressed, may and will reduce to the "regular form"--that is, to a syllogism in which the conclusion flows necessarily from the premise.
Now the Doctor's major premise will always be, "Some adaptations are uncaused by intelligence"--a proposition in which the predicate is affirmed of only a part of the subject. He will not say all adaptations are uncaused by intelligence, since water and carding mills rise up to confront such a proposition. Nothing is proved, therefore, by combining his major and minor premise. And, though the world and its multiplied adaptations possibly may have no intelligent author, still such a conclusion does in no way follow from Dr. Hammett's premise.
But, since the Dr. denies the reality of time, space, and "extended substance," he is perhaps beyond the arm of help, and with all my sympathy for him, I can do nothing. Permit me, however, to call his attention to the following consideration: Space is exquisitely adapted to contain the globe; now why confound this adaptation, which exists of eternal necessity, with other adaptations, which do not strike the mind as of necessary existence? The cow's udder, to me, seems intended as a reservoir for holding milk, the milk seems intended as food for the young animal, the teat intended for the calf to suck, and the hole in the teat for the milk to pass out of. I have an intuitive and abiding impression that design has been employed in this arrangement of matter, and how does Dr. Hammett relieve this impression? Why, thus: "Intelligence (that is God's intelligence) is exquisitely adapted to organize matter according to your own admission," "and this adaptation had no intelligent cause," and if one adaptation exist without an intelligent cause, why not the cow's udder exist without an intelligent cause?
The reasoning would then stand thus (and the Dr. says it is correct reasoning):
Some adaptations are uncaused by intelligence;
A spinning-jack is an example of adaptation;
Therefore, why is not a spinning-jack uncaused by intelligence?
This, as an example of reasoning, is the same MENTAL PROCESS as that concerning the cow. We happen to know, that when applied to the spinning-jack, it does not conduct us to the truth. Why, then, rely upon it to conduct us to truth in the far more complicated and surpassing mechanism in Nature?
MY OWN CREED.Article 1st. Space and matter are eternal.
2nd. Matter is of different kinds and qualities.
3rd. Matter from all eternity had different qualities.
4th. Intelligence is a quality of one of the kinds of matter.
5th. Intelligent matter now exists.
6th. Intelligent matter has always existed.
7th. If there ever was a time when no intelligence existed in the universe, then no intelligence had existed.
Still, believing in the reality of time, space, matter, extended substance, and Deity as intelligent matter, I remain a Deist, and think as the force of reason constrains me.
HIRAM COLVER.,Rogue River Valley, Sept. 1, 1856.
Boston Investigator, November 19, 1856, page 1
For the Boston Investigator.
Adaptation."For if the most admirable adaptation which is attributed to a supposed Deity, does not indicate that he was produced by a designing cause, how utterly, how grossly absurd it is to infer that such a cause is indicated by the adaptation of a bird, a quadruped, or a man!"--[Dr. Hammett, Boston Investigator, Volume XXVI., No. 12. |
The above intended argument is fraught with its own refutation, concealed, wrapped up, and implied. Let us see--"For if the most exquisite adaptation which is attributed to a supposed Deity [which adaptation by reason of its eternity can have no cause] does not indicate that he was produced by a designing cause, how utterly, how grossly absurd it is to infer that such a cause is indicated by the adaptation of a bird, a quadruped, or a man [all of which last mentioned adaptations are not eternal (like the other), and therefore have some cause or other]."
The words in brackets are, of course, our own, and are used merely to bring to view that which is necessarily implied, though which might, if not expressed, be overlooked. Yet when thus filled up, the quotation, as an argument, loses its whole force. But Dr. Hammett admits that adaptations exist without an intelligent cause. I will therefore assume that a God, "exquisitely adapted," &c., does, or may exist, upon HIS own principle. His gun shoots one way as well as the other.
Now, to argue that "Because eternal adaptations have no intelligent cause, therefore some of those adaptations that are not eternal have, likewise, no intelligent cause," is as though one should argue that, "because a horse wears hair, so does a gander"; or, as though Dr. Hammett should contend that Russell's threshing machine had no intelligent author, "because some eternal adaptations exist which have no intelligent authors, and which, from the nature of the case, could not have an author." Now the adaptation of space to matter is eternal, and could, therefore, have no cause; while the adaptation of man and beast is but recent (at least is conceded to have a beginning), and therefore a cause exists.
I have shown, in a previous article, that Dr. Hammett's argument cannot be reduced to a regular syllogism, to which form all valid arguments may.
The trouble with Atheism is, it cannot account for the origin of organized beings, plants, and animals. If the series of human beings does not extend back ad infinitum, then man originated "somehow." Indeed, geology shows a time prior to which man did not exist. Man, then, appeared by a miracle--that is, he came without the intervention of a pair of progenitors, as he now "comes."
Granting the eternity of matter, and the eternity of all its known laws and properties, still the Atheist cannot get along; he must have organized beings to start with--to breed from. Give him these, and he then can account for their INCREASE; but their origin is incomprehensible.
We know of the existence of only a little more than fifty elementary substances. Chemistry acquaints us with their properties, and also the nature of the known "imponderable agents." But these, none of them, have ever been observed to combine spontaneously and of their own inherent affinity into the form of a man, a cat, or a rhinoceros of one or two horns. A man must have more credulity than I have, to believe that the KNOWN forms of matter have inherent tendencies to combine into the form of an elephant or the seed of a "cocklebur." HIRAM COLVER.
Rogue River Valley (Oregon), March, 1857.
Boston Investigator, May 20, 1857, page 1
For the Boston Investigator.
Reply to Dr. Hammett's Article of Oct. 25, 1856."It is generally admitted," says Dr. H., "that in most cases syllogisms are useless." Answer--True; no one insists that an argument should always be stated in the syllogistic form; but everyone acquainted with the laws of mind knows that in all cases, when we reason in the strict sense of that term, the mental process which takes place, when expressed in words, is a syllogism. (See Whately's Logic.)
Again--"That and the other stone fell, when unsupported. Therefore so will all stones fall when unsupported." This, says Dr. H., is the "Baconian method of reasoning by induction." Answer--There is no "Baconian method of reasoning" as distinguished from other "methods," as is supposed. The process of the mind is the same in every case of pure reasoning. Example--In every case where Dr. H. has reasoned, in the strict sense of the term, his mind (though he may not have noticed) passed through the following process, viz.
"Nothing which exhibits adaptation alone can indicate a designing cause (major premise),
The works of Nature exhibit adaptation alone (minor premise),
Therefore, they cannot indicate an intelligent cause," (conclusion).
Now, leave out either one of the premises, and you prove nothing. In the above syllogism, Dr. H. reasons correctly; that is, if you grant his major and minor, you cannot avoid the conclusion. But it so happens (as in most of Dr. H.'s arguments) that in the syllogism before us, both premises are false. Take the minor for example--"The works of Nature exhibit adaptation alone"--do they not also resemble the works of man? I do not insist that the resemblance is perfect out and out, neither does a beaver's dam nor a bird's nest resemble the works of man completely in every point throughout, but so nearly that none can doubt (though he never heard of a beaver) that the dam under examination is the work of intelligence: though he may doubt as to what GRADE of intellect to refer it.
Do not the jaws of the carnivora resemble in structure and arrangement, in a high degree, the steel trap? Does not the hook upon the bat's wing resemble a fireman's hook? If man's works resemble those of Nature, surely those of Nature resemble those of man.
Again, Dr. H. says of a machine--"We infer design not on account of adaptation alone, but because it differs from the works of Nature and thus resembles those of man." It seems then that adaptation alone, nor its resemblance to man's works alone, do the business for the Dr., but both combined! You do then give some weight to adaptation alone? Who does Dr. H. mean by the pronoun "we" in the above sentence? Not H. Colver? I protest; the remark does not apply to me. I infer intelligence, in such a case, from the order and arrangement of the parts of the machine, because experience has taught me that intelligence alone is capable of producing complicated order,* and this conclusion I have derived by that "BACONIAN METHOD" the Dr. spoke of.
Secondly, I refer the machine to the class of human contrivances, from those characteristics peculiar to the works of man. Thus, the beaver's dam, I refer, 1st, to intelligence, from its order and arrangement; the tops of the trees being all downstream, and the limbs bracing in the mud, the roots make the dam, leaves stop the crevices, and mud seals the whole.
2ndly, it must be referred to a grade of intellect inferior to man; because it lacks the peculiar characteristics which distinguish the works of that creature. So also, in regard to Nature's works, order and mechanism. Experience refers to intelligence. (Please remember that "Baconian method"--experience of "part of the facts.")
3rdly, it must be referred to an order of intellect superior to man, because it is manufactured in a manner above man's comprehension, just as a mill is made in a manner above the comprehension of a beaver.
Thus we see, 1st, order and arrangement is the peculiar offspring of intelligence; 2nd, each grade of intelligence leaves its own peculiar marks upon its work, by which we can distinguish its grade. Thus, the beaver leaves the marks of his teeth; man leaves the "score marks" and "juggles," while Deity works in a way as incomprehensible to us as the distiller's art of making whiskey is to a baboon or a wildcat.
Mr. Editor, I would gladly point out the egregious blunders into which Dr. Hammett has fallen, in supposing that Bacon had discovered a DIFFERENT way of reasoning from Plato or Socrates! There is nothing of it.
Bacon taught the folly of supposing or expecting to advance in the knowledge of Nature by pure reasoning unaided by experiment and observation. Bacon's "method" led him to believe in God.
HIRAM COLVER.Rogue River Valley (Oregon), May 1, 1857.
*I am not bound to maintain that everything in Nature evinces design; far from it.
Boston Investigator, June 10, 1857, page 1
For the Boston Investigator.
Adaptation.MR. EDITOR:--Any given conclusion may be traced back through the successive premises, and no conclusion can depend upon an infinite number of preceding premises. In mathematics we can trace any conclusion back to ultimate axioms, which are the foundations of our conclusions. These axioms, then, are not conclusions, as they do not follow from anything preceding. That "the whole is greater than its part" is not a conclusion, as Dr. Hammett would seem to intimate. In philosophy, these ultimate premises are not always self-evident, as in mathematics; and we should not call them conclusions, because they are not proved, but granted. For example, the maxim that "Nature will remain uniform in her operations" is the ultimate major premise upon which all philosophy rests. Yet it cannot be PROVED in any sense of that term; it is merely a postulate, or judgment, founded upon experience, yet not known by experience; we know absolutely nothing but the past by experience.
Dr. H. seems to use the term "reason" to signify indiscriminately any act of intelligence. Experience informs us that Nature has been uniform in her operations for an indefinite period, and we expect she will so continue. We do not know she will; nor can we prove it. Indeed, if Atheism be true, Nature does NOT work in a uniform manner. She once produced man without a union of the sexes! She does so, however, no more! Philosophy then, at best, is as uncertain in her deductions as Nature is uncertain in her operations. I repeat, then, that the uniformity of Nature's actions in the FUTURE is not provable, Atheism being judge. A hog has observed, or experienced, that his owner feeds him in the morning "uniformly," and he expects it again. But can he prove it? Just as easily as man can prove the future by the past. This judgment of the hog may have been based upon an induction of facts, extending perhaps through a hog's long lifetime--he always was fed at that time. This hog "reasoned" (Dr. H. would say) "according to the inductive method"--"the Baconian method." That "the stone will fall" (although we do not doubt it) is not provable; and therefore not (as the Dr. asserts) a "conclusion " of reasoning, or from reasoning, but a mere postulatum or ultimate premise. If, however, the Dr. will call it a "conclusion," he of course can use that term in as many senses as he pleases. Thus he may say, if he likes, that "that hog 'reasoned by induction,' and drew his 'conclusion' logically." We prefer, however, to use terms in a fixed sense where that can be done.
I have shown, in a previous communication, that if "induction" be an infallible method, or any method at all, of reasoning (as Dr. H. mistakenly supposes), that it would prove our major premise, and thus lay a sure foundation for Deism. All mechanism, where we have come to know its cause, is found to be the work of mind. Combining this with the fact that Nature's works do exhibit order and arrangement, Deism follows. But the fact that past experience has found mechanism universally the effect of mind does not prove that all mechanisms will, when their cause is revealed, be found the result of intelligence. The premise that "all mechanism, wherever found, is the work of mind," is not a "conclusion" from reasoning: but is itself the very postulate from which our conclusions flow; it cannot be proved to a mind in which causality predominates. There will be no doubt of its truth. To a mind, in which that power is wanting, mechanism does not, nor cannot raise the idea of a cause.
True, indeed, is it, that experience always has found order to be the work of mind, in all cases where the cause has come to our knowledge. But it is not this experience alone that makes us feel that such must necessarily be the case. The feeling is intuitive, where there is causality, and not so when that organ is defective. But what higher proof can there be (if there can be any) that Nature's mechanisms are the work of mind, than the simple fact that an organ exists which by virtue of its nature causes this feeling of causation spontaneously to arise?
Mr. Editor, should the coppers always turn up "heads" for every throw that you can make in a year, I apprehend you would be intuitively impressed that an invisible intelligent cause guided the "luck"; or should you want a stronger case, if the letters of the alphabet should spell out your name, when "ruffled" and thrown out, a hundred times going, you would feel what is called an "intuition" that the cause was intelligent and unseen. Call it, however, if you choose, a conclusion of, or from reasoning; pray, what premises was it derived from? All you can say is, "chance cannot do all this." But PROVE that chance or accident did not do it. You can give me no proof, only the simple fact that you are constituted so to feel. This example will serve to explain what is meant by intuitive impressions. But why should the conviction seize us that there was an unseen mind guiding the coppers? You might say, "experience taught you" that intellect alone was adequate to such a result, and that you "reasoned from experience." Have it so, then. So then do I reason (if you will) that intelligence alone is adequate to the arrangements which I see in Nature.
The spelling out of your name by accident--letters all right side up--in line, &c., &c.--presents a more difficult problem than the arrangement of the parts of your body. An unthinking cause produces an Atheist--"right side up"--in line--teeth mash together, eyes adjusted upon the known (though long unknown) principles of optics--eyes at the top--feet at bottom--a hinge at the knee, a ball and socket where rotatorial motion is wanted, &c. Why, Sir, it seems, when all is enumerated, that the spelling of a name by a chance throw is not a "patching!"
Atheism, says George Combe, is the result of a peculiar defect, or minus development of causality. The truth of this I do not vouch; but true it is, that Cook found the New Hollanders without any ideas of an intelligent Providence, and phrenology shows that they rank lowest in this part of the brain.
HIRAM COLVER.Rogue River Valley (Oregon), May 22, 1857.
Boston Investigator, July 15, 1857, page 1
For the Boston Investigator.
Miracles.MR. EDITOR:--Belief, I find, is not under the control of the will. I had resolved, like yourself, not to believe that a table was ever moved, except by mechanical force. But I see so many statements of such facts having occurred, and see so many persons who say they have seen the like, that I find myself believing notwithstanding my natural skepticism. But what if tables do dance and cut up shines--what then? It only shows that we have made one more discovery in natural science, viz., that the will-influence can be made to operate beyond the circumference of the magnet; and when the phenomena of table-moving becomes as common as the phenomena of the common magnet, it will then be no more miraculous. And a certain amount of testimony, from a credible source, will convince a person who is ignorant of the fact of table-moving, just as easily as one who is ignorant of the common magnet. Had both been discovered at the same time, the public would have been as incredulous of the one as the other; and, as there are no known principles by which to account for table-moving, so also there are no known principles which will explain the phenomena of the common magnet.
If anybody has discovered WHY the common magnet attracts steel, let him show how the thing is done! Table-tipping is "incredible" simply because of its newness. When we say--"Such and such a thing is contrary to Nature's laws," all we can reasonably mean is, that it is not in conformity with our past experience. When we get to know each and all the laws of Nature, we will then be able to decide whether a particular story is false or true. There can nothing happen contrary to Nature's laws; yet many things may occur which are not in conformity to our limited KNOWLEDGE of Nature's laws. A more extensive acquaintance with Nature would have led the Islander to understand and believe that water becomes so hard that elephants could walk upon its surface. As it was, however, this fact, when stated, was contrary to his experience of Nature's law. A miracle is only something out of the line of general experience. Thus the miraculous conception of Christ was out of the line of common experience. Man first came into being in a way not in conformity to our present general experience.
Mr. Editor, has man already reached the ultimatum of knowledge? Who believes so? If not now at the end of his rope, tell when, if you can, he will arrive at the end of discovery? Why not then just say at once that we have lately made one of those new discoveries, viz., that the will-influence may act beyond the limits of the body? Now, if the thoughts of one person may become known to another by some other means than light or sound, this too should be classed, not as a falsehood, but as a new step in Nature's secrets. And if Nature keeps on and continues to yield her secrets, why despair of at length proving the humbug of the soul's existence? Hume's old argument was that "it is much more common for man to lie than for tables to 'tip'"--that is quite true; but its force as an argument is at an end. It was much more common for men to lie than new continents to be discovered, but the continent is discovered notwithstanding; and so, also, do the tables tip. When spirit communication is fully proven, we will then just simply class it along with its fellows, and call it a new discovery; but we say it is not proven yet to our satisfaction. There is not one fact in Spiritualism but may be accounted for without supposing that man has any conscious existence beyond this life. What if a table does move? Does that prove that immortal spirits of the dead exist? What if the answers are intelligent? Does that prove that the intelligence manifested is due to none but the departed? What if the fiddles do play without a visible performer? Does that show that living men do not do it in some unknown way?
I acknowledge that the playing of a harp without mechanical force is strange indeed; but it is just as easy to conceive that the spirit which plays it is in the flesh, as that it is out of the flesh; and why not refer it to an intelligent cause, known to exist, than to a like cause, not known to exist? Man, we know, exists: Spirits we do not know to exist. Nevertheless, if the phenomena could not be accounted for upon any other hypothesis, then we, of course, would receive the spirit theory.
HIRAM COLVERRogue River Valley (Oregon), July 1st, 1857.
Boston Investigator, August 26, 1857, page 1
For the Boston Investigator.
Phrenology.MR. EDITOR:--Philosophers are well agreed that a certain configuration of brain is constantly attended with certain peculiar mental characteristics; that the absence of certain portions of brain is always attended by absence of certain mental qualities, and the presence of certain portions always attended with certain mental qualities--hence we call this constant coincidence a law of Nature. Up to this point, all observers are agreed. But now the questions arise, 1st, do these constantly attendant phenomena stand in the relation of cause and effect? and if so, 2ndly, which is the efficient cause? 1st, is the organ of cautiousness in the living brain and the corresponding function related as cause and effect? 2nd, if so, is the presence of this organ the efficient cause of terror, fear, and circumspection? Upon this most vital point hinges great and important issues. Let us first place upon the record, following each other, the opinions of O. S. Fowler and Geo. Combe--the latter acknowledged to be the greatest of living philosophers:
"The organs of acquisitiveness, destructiveness, &c., are only instruments of the corresponding propensities, and not the propensities themselves, nor the CAUSES of them; and their development is in a great degree the EFFECT and not the cause of the exercise of the corresponding passions; hence very large acquisitiveness, destructiveness, instead of urging their possessors to theft and violence, are merely instruments by means of which these vicious passions are exercised."--[Practical Phrenology by O. S. Fowler, page 385.
"The leading fact, then, which arrests our attention in this inquiry is that every crime proceeds from some abuse of some faculty or other; and the question immediately arises, whence originates the tendency to abuse? Phrenology enables us to answer, from three sources. 1st, from particular organs being too large, and spontaneously active; 2nd, from great excitement produced by external causes, or 3rd, from ignorance of what are uses and what are abuses of the faculties."--[Combe's Constitution of Man, page 295.
Here we see, while Mr. Fowler is stoutly maintaining that "very large" animal organs have no tendency to even "URGE" their possessor to abuse them, Mr. Combe is maintaining that the tendency to abuse them originates in their being unduly developed; but let us contrast their views a little farther:
"And size of these organs shows only how much their guilty possessor has chosen to exercise the corresponding propensities. The size of an organ, then, does not cause the strength of the corresponding propensity, but is itself caused by the strength of the passion. It is true, indeed, that when an organ is very large, the corresponding faculty is spontaneously the more powerful and well nigh uncontrollable; but the guilty individual had no right thus to indulge the passion and thereby enlarge the organ. The same principle, reversed, applies to the small organs. When a given organ, say conscientiousness or veneration, is small, this deficiency shows, not that the individual cannot be just or worship his Maker, but simply that he has not been and done so."--[Pract. Phrenology by O. S. Fowler, p. 389.
"The moral and intellectual powers next demand, what is the cause of particular organs being too large and active in individuals? Phrenology, for answer, points to the law of hereditary descent, by which the organs most energetic in parents determine those which shall predominate in the child. Intellect then infers that, according to this view, certain individuals are unfortunate at birth, in having received organs from their parents so ill proportioned that abuse of them is almost an inevitable consequence if they are left to the sole guidance of their own suggestions. Phrenology replies that the fact appears to be exactly so. Moreover, intellect perceives, and the moral sentiments acknowledge, that these causes exist independently of the will of the offender. The criminal is not the cause of the unfortunate preponderance of the animal organs in his own brain."--[Combe's Constitution of Man, p. 296.
Here we see while Mr. Fowler maintains that the "guilty" individual is the "guilty" cause of the spontaneous activity and great size of his animal organs, Mr. Combe maintains the exact opposite. Mr. Editor, it is a sad commentary upon the fallibility of human reason to witness such conflicting opinions by those who pretend to be the true expounders of the book of Nature to mankind! Mr. Fowler tells us, in his chapter on "Causality," that the only cause of failure in not arriving at true conclusions is the want of sufficient data or from feebleness of the organ of causality. Now, either himself or Mr. Combe has "feeble" causality, or else there is not sufficient data to enable one to arrive only at conjectural opinions in relation to the points in dispute between them, himself being judge. When Mr. Fowler says that "a deficient organ of conscientiousness shows not that the individual cannot be honest, but simply that he has not been and done so," and by parity of reasoning that "defective reasoning organs show not that the individual cannot be a good reasoner, but simply that he HAS not been and done so," he leaves me no room only to suspect that his causality is not as strong as it might be!
The fallacy of petitio principii lurks through all that Mr. Fowler has ever written upon moral philosophy. For example, take the following: "If an individual wish to reduce the size of an organ, let him cease to exercise the corresponding faculties, and it will be done; let the blacksmith swing up in a sling his hand which he has made strong by exercise, and it will soon dwindle away." (Ph. p. 339.) Here are two points covertly assumed: 1st, that an individual in whom the animal organs entirely predominate can "cease" and choose to cease to exercise them from an act of free will. Now this is the very point in dispute, and which he all the while pretends to be establishing! Combe says, "Predominant animal organs will not guide themselves to virtue, and the directing power then must be supplied by other minds," 2nd, it is covertly assumed that an abstract entity called mind exists; that this mind has a free will power; that the organs are the mere "instruments" of this mind; that this free-will mind can exercise any organ of the brain at pleasure, or let it alone, just as a carpenter uses his adz, or a blacksmith his right arm; that the same relation exists between this mind's free will as exists between our will and the voluntary muscles. What a tissue of assumptions! If the chances of his being wrong in his conclusions be in proportion to the joint product of his doubtful premises, there are some 700 chances of his being: wrong to 1 of being right!
Let us see. Mr. Fowler says, "Sir, if you wish to "reduce the inordinate size of your organ of 'love of life,' just cease to exercise its functions; cease to care anything about your life, and the organ will soon dwindle away!" Mr. Editor, is not such philosophy what you sometimes call "twaddle"? "If you wish to lessen your inordinate 'bump' of caution, cease being terrified at approaching danger, and the organ will soon grow smaller!" If you wish to diminish your combativeness and destructiveness, cease to get angry when a fellow spits in your face! In maintaining this doctrine, that the will bears to the animal organs the same relation that it does to the voluntary muscles, Mr. Fowler has evidently got the cart before the horse.
If this hypothesis of Mr. Fowler is true, that the organs are, in a true and proper sense, only INSTRUMENTS, then the mind or will acts first, and the brain is acted upon by the will power. When I lift a hoe, I move before the hoe; and if this figure or relation is the same as that subsisting between the supposed mind and brain, then mind first moves, and then communicates this motion to the organs. Thus mind is supposed to act independent of brain, and on the brain; but it is said, "Mind cannot act without brain in this life." Again, if the mind possesses this free will power of suspending the action of the organs, what evidence have we that the best developed brains will not yet turn out in the end the worst of characters? How do we know but the free will powers of the individuals will not "cease" to exercise their highly developed moral organs, and let them all "dwindle away" like a blacksmith's arm in a "sling"? and what assurance does Mr. Fowler's hypothesis give us that he himself will not, by his free will power, obtain lodgings in Sing Sing or Auburn? None whatever. His will, being free, is governed by no law of Nature in its determinations, and is, therefore, no longer within the sphere or range of causality.
How, I ask, can causality predict the course which a being will choose, if that being's choice is governed by no law? (Deity himself is governed by the eternal laws of his own essence and nature.) Again, what assurance does Mr. Fowler's hypothesis give us that those old and inveterate criminals, which Mr. Combe pronounced to be incorrigible, will not, by an act of volition or free will, so "dwindle" down their great animal organs and increase their moral organs, that they will become patterns of piety in--"a very short time"? I ask, who knows, since Mr. F. declares, on page 390, that "they are as free to cultivate one organ as another, and perfectly free to cultivate any organ to any desirable extent?"
Mr. Editor, as I write from a great distance, please insert the whole of this much too long communication. My intention is simply to call the attention of philosophers to an important question, and to prevent science from becoming corrupted by false dogmas.
HIRAM COLVER.Rogue River Valley (Oregon), Aug. 1st, 1857.
Boston Investigator, September 16, 1857, page 1
For the Boston Investigator.
Adaptation.MR. EDITOR:--All I intended at the outset was to show that the conclusion of Dr. Hammett, that "no Deity exists," did not follow from his premises. Dr. Hammett commits the fallacy of assuming as demonstrated, "that no Deity exists," merely because he is able to show that a certain argument, used to prove God's existence, is fallacious! Because "adaptation alone" does not prove a Deity, "therefore no Deity exists"! Would he deny the truth of a proposition merely because he sees that someone's argument in support of that proposition is fallacious?
(Reply to Dr. Hammett's Article of July 15.)
Deists do not maintain that "adaptation alone" proves a Deity. On the contrary, they say that the eternal adaptations of space and matter, as well as the eternal adaptations of God and matter, do not and cannot indicate a designing cause. The Dr.'s syllogism is at last before your readers:
Major--"If one admitted instance of regular adaptation had no designing cause, it cannot be inferred that the world and its inhabitants were formed by design from the fact alone that their structure exhibits regular adaptation;
Minor--But (whether a Deity exists or not) some admitted instance of regular adaptation had no designing cause--
Conclusion--Therefore, it cannot be inferred that the world and its inhabitants were formed by design from the fact alone that their structure exhibits regular adaptation."
Now, instead of the conclusion here expressed, the Dr. dexterously substitutes another, viz., "Therefore no Deity exists." Let us take a similar syllogism, viz.--
Major--"If one admitted instance of an animal exists without a liver, it cannot be inferred that the lion has a liver from the 'fact alone' that he is an animal;
Minor--But one animal is admitted as existing without a liver--
Conclusion--Therefore, it cannot be inferred that the lion has a liver from the 'fact alone' that he is an animal."
Now, suppose that, instead of the conclusion here expressed, another and different one had been artfully submitted, viz., "Therefore, the lion has no liver"? This would be doing just what Dr. Hammett has done in the syllogism he has placed before your readers.
Now, is it not plain that the admission, that the bear has no liver, does not necessarily involve the admission that the lion may have no liver, only from him who should infer or contend so "from the fact alone" that the lion was an animal?
He who contends that "adaptation alone" proves a Deity stands confuted whenever he admits that some, or one, adaptation exists without design; yet he, who so refutes his opponent, does not thereby prove that "no Deity exists."
Now mark! We do not infer that goats ruminate from the "fact alone" that they are animals.
So, neither do we infer that the knee joint was designed to bend, from the "fact alone" that it exhibits adaptation.
We infer that the goat ruminates from the fact that it belongs to the class of horned animals.
We infer that the knee was designed to bend, from the fact that we are able to refer it to the class of mechanical arrangements.
Oh! but says the Dr., "This is virtually to infer design from its adaptation alone." Not so; no more than the inference that an animal ruminates from the fact that it wears horns "is virtually to infer" the same from the fact that it is an animal only.
Dr. Hammett grants not one "fact alone," but two, viz., 1st, Man had a cause; 2nd, His structure exhibits adaptation.
Now is this not sufficient to establish Deism? I know, indeed, that some Deists have used the word "adaptation" in a careless and indefinite manner; and if I should say that man must have had a cause, from the fact that his structure exhibited adaptation, the Dr. would reply--"You admit that some adaptations are eternal," "therefore man is eternal"; and this conclusion would be just as fairly proven, and in the same manner, as the one that "no Deity exists." Thus, the Dr. can prove, out of a man's own admissions, that man is eternal, and yet he don't feel like receiving the conclusion as a truth.
But Deists do infer that man had a beginning, and an intelligent cause, from the mechanical arrangement of his structure. The Dr. replies that this is "virtually" to infer from adaptation "alone." This constitutes his constant blunder. True is it, that all mechanical arrangements are adaptations, but all adaptations are not mechanical arrangements. All goats are animals, but all animals are not goats. He who infers a quality from the fact that A is a goat, does not do so from the fact that A is an animal. So, he who infers from mechanism does not do so from the fact that mechanism ts adaptation.
The Dr. has it this way: "He who infers a quality of a goat, infers from an animal, because a goat is an animal." "He who infers from mechanism, infers from adaptation, because mechanism is adaptation." It is not the fact that goats are animals only, or that mechanisms are adaptations only, that the respective inferences are drawn from.
Thus, Mr. Editor, have I trailed this wary skeptic through all his winding labyrinths. His logic bears not the test of scientific analysis. But why, after all, have I not a right to use his admissions against himself, as well as he my admissions against myself? He admits that man had a beginning and a cause, viz., old "regular adaptation," and he likewise admits that our structure exhibits adaptation.
Well, are not here two important premises conceded? and does he who argues from both of them, infer from adaptation "alone"? Now, if Deists had admitted that some adaptations had non-intelligent causes, the Dr. would have had them fast; but, as it happens, the eternal adaptations, admitted by Deists, have no cause by hypothesis.
But the Dr. said, "The works of Nature exhibit adaptation alone." True, the works of Nature all exhibit adaptation, and also the things adapted; so does a certain enclosure contain only animals; but remember, that the word "animal" includes both frogs and lizards.
But Dr. Hammett is author of another syllogism, besides the famous one above considered. It is as follows:
Major--"No one can infer an intelligent cause from the fact that the works of Nature exhibit adaptation only;
Minor--The works of Nature exhibit adaptation only--
Conclusion--Therefore, no one can infer that the works of Nature have an intelligent cause."
Here follows a similar syllogism:
Major--No one can infer that a hole can be bored, from the fact that his "kit" exhibits implements only;
Minor--The "kit" of a mechanic exhibits implements only--
Conclusion--Therefore, no mechanic can infer that a hole can be bored.
Both these syllogisms look specious at first sight. The answer is, to the first, that the term "adaptation" includes mechanism, order, and a host of other species, from which intelligence is inferred. The answer to the second is, that the word "implement" embraces bits, gouges, and augers, by either of which a mechanic can easily make a hole.
We now give Dr. Hammett over to hardness of heart and reprobacy of mind.
HIRAM COLVER.Rogue River Valley (Oregon), Sept. 1st, 1857.
Boston Investigator, December 2, 1857, page 1
For the Boston Investigator.
Adaptation.MR. EDITOR:--In maintaining that the human mind is so constituted as to believe that "like causes will produce like effects under like circumstances," and that "peculiar arrangements of matter are the effects of mind," we do not wish to be understood as maintaining that these maxims are true simply from the fact that they are universally believed. Neither do we insist that there is a material "extended" universe simply because such is the universal belief of mankind. The earth was once believed to be a flat plane, around which the sun and stars revolved, but this universal belief did not prove that it was flat. Does the fact that "man is constantly liable to err in his conclusions," in the least shake Dr. Hammett's confidence in that particular maxim, which asserts "that like causes will produce like effects"? if so, why does he quote this maxim so often? According to Dr. H., this maxim is as much a "conclusion" of or from reasoning as any other conclusion; and if so, then, according to Dr. H., it may be erroneous.
(Reply to Dr. Hammett's Articles of Aug. 12 and 19.)
Now, while he maintains it to be a "conclusion" of reason, I, on the contrary, maintain that it lies at the foundation of all reasoning; and that we cannot begin to reason until we first assume the truth of this maxim as a premise; that, therefore, the maxim itself is not a conclusion derived from reasoning, but an ultimate judgment, derived from "simple perception" or comparison of facts. This distinction is of vital importance, and should be borne in mind. By the phrase "ultimate judgment," is not meant a self-evident judgment, as Dr. H. mistakenly supposes. There are no self-evident judgments outside of mathematics, except those which relate to facts immediately perceived by the senses. Even the proposition that "a stone, under given circumstances, will fall," is, according to Dr. H., "a conclusion": and if so, not self-evident, unless there be such a thing as a "self-evident conclusion"! Dr. Hammett alleges that I "cannot sustain the position" that the proposition, which alleges that mechanism must have an intelligent author, "is a self-evident proposition." I did not call it "self-evident," but "ultimate." But why call upon a man to prove that a certain proposition is self-evident? Whoever was able to prove that which is self-evident? Dr. Hammett has strange ideas indeed!
We maintain, then, that the maxims that "like causes under like circumstances will produce like effects," and "mechanism has an intelligent author," are elementary judgments, derived immediately from an induction of facts. By which phrase (induction of facts) is meant the act of bringing in, one by one, of examples to warrant our laying down the premises (not "conclusion") of our argument. Even Atheists boast that Deists "cannot prove by argument that the mechanical arrangement of the human frame is the effect of design," and this is quite true. We cannot prove by argument our major and ultimate premise, that "all mechanism is of design," because it is an ultimate premise, derived from (if not innate) immediate comparison of facts. There are no other more elementary premises back of it, and standing between it and simple facts. Now, if this maxim is not an ultimate judgment, derived immediately from facts, then it is a "conclusion," true or false, derived from premises, true or false, which lie between it and facts; and if so, where are those premises, and what are they? I fail to discover any.
All writers upon natural theology take the premises for granted, and content themselves with merely establishing the "minor" premise, that "Nature does exhibit examples of mechanism." Paley's reason, why that watch had not "lain there forever," was that it was a mechanized substance; taking it entirely for granted (as he had to) that mechanism, if established, was sufficient. Indeed, I have shown, by the example of the "coppers" and letters, that the mind is so constituted as to grant that certain peculiar arrangements of matter are due only to intelligence, and that this peculiar arrangement is the highest and only evidence of the fact.
Now we have before explained that the term "mechanism" is not of as extensive signification as the term "adaptation," and, therefore, that one can maintain that "all mechanism is of intelligence," and deny that "all adaptations are of intelligence"; just as one can admit that "all animals are not web-footed," and still maintain that "all ducks are web-footed"; and it would be futile to reply that "a duck is merely an animal." Yet Dr. H. attempts what is equally absurd: he replies that mechanism is "merely adaptation," and that we are "VIRTUALLY" predicating intelligence of adaptation! Dr. Hammett's argument, then, launched against adaptation, hits no one, unless he is weak enough to maintain that "ALL adaptation is due to design"--a proposition we have expressly denied.
[Concluded next week.]
HIRAM COLVER.Rogue River Valley (Oregon), Oct, 15, 1857.
Boston Investigator, January 6, 1858, page 1
For the Boston Investigator.
(Reply to Dr. Hammett's Articles of Aug. 12 and 19.)
(Concluded.)Dr. Hammett makes frequent reference to the maxim that "like effects must have like causes," yet entirely rejects its application when he is bound, as a disputant, to admit its full force, for he expressly says, "Nature SEEMS to act as though she were intelligent"--that is, in other words, "These effects are SIMILAR to the effects of intelligence." Why not then admit that their cause is intelligent, as the maxim requires? He has admitted all that the most strenuous Deist ever attempted to prove, namely, that there "SEEMS" to be an intelligent cause in Nature.
But Dr. H. insists that the true interpretation of this maxim requires that the Deity be an organized being, possessing eyes, mouth, nose, hands, and stomach, for, says he, if the Deity had not these, "how could he invent their organs?" Let us see. When Dr. H. hears a familiar tune, and no visible performer (as LaRoy Sunderland alleges), does this maxim require that the cause be flesh and blood? If not, then in what sense does the maxim require similarity of cause? Simply, I apprehend, that the cause be real and sufficiently intelligent.
Dr. Hammett, in assuming that consciousness in man is the effect of organization, and that therefore, from analogy, the same must be true of the Deity, is treading upon doubtful ground. If consciousness be the direct sequence of organization, why are we not conscious in sound sleep? Organization is not destroyed by sleep. Yet, according to Dr. H., the cause (organization) remains, but the effect (consciousness) ceases! If mind be a substance, then its elements are eternal, and Deity, being eternal by hypothesis, never "BECAME" conscious of his own existence.
Dr. Hammett is like one who, being driven from the open ground, plunges into a thicket so dense that neither pursuer nor pursued can tell where he is drifting--he plunges into the profound mysteries of mind and its phenomena, where the wise and foolish are alike bewildered. I have all along admitted that adaptation is eternal in the universe, that iron, from its greater density, is adapted to cut wood, when properly wrought into shape--that space is "adapted" to contain matter, not that mind is "adapted" to produce organization. But these admissions do not entitle Dr. Hammett to assume that the inherent properties of unconscious matter are such as at least to "become conscious of its own existence."
Dr. Hammett has been forced to lay down his proposition with a material qualification; he now says, "Nature is constant within certain moderate limits"--this is all we ask. But Dr. Hammett has settled it that man came originally from an egg, and he quotes the maxim ("every living being came from an egg"). The plain version of this is that matter had an eternal inherent tendency to combine spontaneously into two eggs about the same time, one in close proximity to the other; the one containing the rudiments of a man, and the other the rudiments (precious rudiments) of a woman. Then unthinking old adaptation took care that these eggs were not allowed to become "addled." No doubt adaptation labeled them, "Right side up with care"--and finally they were "hatched" (bless that day!).
Now, Mr. Editor, if this tendency was "inherent" in matter, it is still inherent. Why not look with hope and confidence for more eggs, then, in due season? An account was given not long since in the Investigator, of the finding of the fossil remains of two enormous egg shells upon the island of Madagascar, not referable to any known species. May not these shells have once contained the rudiments of the human race? If Dr. Hammett is right--they may.
But Dr. H. insists that, since the proximate cause of man and animals (pro-creation) is the action of non-intelligent matter, so also, "by analogy," their prime cause must be non-intelligent. This is about as philosophical as to urge that, since the proximate cause of motion in a boat is non-intelligent elastic steam, therefore boat, machinery, and all, are the result of non-intelligent forces! But the position (that if the proximate cause be non-intelligent, so also must the prime cause), proves too much, for the immediate cause of a watch is an intelligent being, so also must its prime cause be intelligent, by the Doctor's own rule.
According to Dr. Hammett, the prime cause of a watch or will is the "non-intelligent, non-ordial, eternal adaptation inherent in matter." This formed man, and man made the watch! Thus when the proximate cause (man) is intelligent, the prime cause is "non-intelligent adaptation." But when the proximate cause (procreation) is non-intelligent, the prime cause is non-intelligent also! Thus he virtually denies all analogy between proximate and primeval causes, and can claim nothing from his supposed analogy.
HIRAM COLVER.Rogue River Valley (Oregon), Oct. 15, 1857.
Boston Investigator, January 13, 1858, page 1
P. J. Ryan, Jacksonville (Oregon), sends the following kind letter:
"Enclosed are five dollars for the Editor of the Investigator, Mr. Seaver. I wish they were five hundred, and they would be, only that I have other duties to perform. 1 also send to friend Seaver my warmest regards. P. J. RYAN."
[We are exceedingly obliged to our very kind friend for his liberal donation and generous wishes. He has our warmest thanks, together with the hope that he may live as long and be just as happy, prosperous, and rich, as he wants to be.--ED. INV.]
Boston Investigator, July 30, 1862, page 6
LIFE AND HAPPINESS.--Mr. Editor:--It appears to be the law of our being that of necessity we must think and act in direct proportion as we are endowed with mental and physical energy, or suffer the penalty. If those energies are properly directed, happiness, peace of mind, and the esteem of all who know us must and will be the consequence. But if improperly directed, the sad reverse must and will be the result. Therefore, we had all better pause and well examine the motives that direct us, if malevolent or benevolent, just or unjust, selfish or unselfish noble or ignoble.
P.J.R. [Patrick J. Ryan]Jacksonville, Oregon, Nov. 15, 1862.
Boston Investigator, January 7, 1863, page 5
OLD FRIENDS MENDUM & CO.--Again I send my annual remittance for the good old paper. I don't know but I am a little behind time, but hereafter will try to be more punctual. Please credit for five dollars (money order) and send a receipt.
We were pleasantly entertained by five lectures from our friend Underwood, which have stirred up a great commotion among the church members, who denounce him and us as OUTCASTS of society. But when he comes back next spring, as promised, he will meet with a heartier welcome than ever before. Hoping good success to you and the good cause,
I remain yours, W. BEESON.
Ashland (Oregon), Nov. 19, 1871.
Boston Investigator, December 13, 1871, page 6
For the Boston Investigator.
Organization.MR. EDITOR:--After reading a letter from your correspondent "T.R.W.," under date of Oct. 8, where he speaks rather in opposition to the popular idea of organization, and being a little noisily inclined, I beg leave to make a few remarks, as the subject is of vital importance to, at least, the thinking part of humanity. We are glad to see the question agitated, as it is liable to draw out new and valuable ideas.
Liberals are all aiming at the same object, but the trouble is, they differ so widely in regard to the manner of attaining it. Reason suggests to me that cooperation and organization are both necessary in order to secure the success of any party, whether political, sectarian, or otherwise. We know the impossibility of controlling either national or social affairs without strict adherence to law and usage. We have numbers, but lack organization to effect a unity of sentiment. Our friend "T. R. W." thinks that too much diversity of opinion exists in the ranks of Freethought to permit a submission to such arbitrary rules and by-laws as are necessary in establishing such societies. I would say to that, let us not claim persons as Liberals who are too subtle to submit to the rules and regulations of good society. We will admit the Free Religionist, the Spiritualist, and the Infidel entertain various ideas, though after all they differ only on minor points of interest. Members of the same church today vary vastly farther on some things than many of the classes above-named, still they are ready and willing to unite on the most important objects; in most cases their individuality is not so strongly developed as to destroy their best interests.
It is intimated by some writers that cooperation is the easiest means of operation; but I would say, without organization it can never be the most effective. The history of the past teaches this plainly on every page. Permanent organization will be established in every district sooner or later, and I would recommend the sooner the better. The Liberal Club of Portland (Oregon), though of recent origin, has a large membership, and is doing a good work. This shows us what we can do provided we are willing to try. Let us follow their example everywhere; unite for the purpose of working for the common good of all. If we are a free people, let us be free in mind as well as in body. Nature never designed intelligent beings to humble themselves to any false creeds. Mythology, theology, or superstition of any kind, as such, was framed by designing men and perpetuated by priests and bigots, who maintain the grandest style, at the expense of their poor, deluded followers.
It is now time that men should discard their old ideas brought on from the influence of early education, think for themselves, and strive for objects nobler, higher, and more beneficial to their own happiness and the welfare of humanity in general. To this end we earnestly advocate the importance of organization. J. Q. LATTA.
Ashland (Oregon), Nov. 17, 1876.
Boston Investigator, December 13, 1876, page 2
Written for The Watchman.The fact that Women have, by a law of Nature, an equal share in the production of our Race, is a proof of their natural right to an equal share in its national, as well as in its family government.
BANE OF LIFE.
It is because men have monopolized this right of Women, that, today, our nation suffers, like a family bereaved of its mother.
It is not in the masculine nature to know all the details that are needful to sustain the weak, and relieve the suffering, neither have men the same amount of intuitive forethought to provide for emergencies.
Another fact stares us in the face--
Our barns are full; we have cattle upon a thousand hills; we have millions scattered over the country, with hundreds of tons of silver and gold coin in our national vaults.
We have also forests to clear; swamps to drain; roads to make, with abundance of work of every description, and ample means for all the people to live in comfort.
But, with all these, we have pining want filling our insane asylums, pauper houses, and prisons--moneyless tramps on every road, and thieves in all the walks of life, so that life and property is everywhere in peril.
Ten years ago, Wendell Phillips said:
"Unjust monopoly of the rightful homes of the Indians, has caused the slaughter of a million people, and the cost of a thousand million dollars."
This fact, in connection with our late civil (horrible) war, proclaims the curse of monopoly; and the very graves of our buried soldiers, show us the need of our mothers in the council chambers of our nation.
We had six candidates for President of the United States--yet, only one of three was likely to have been elected.
Blaine goes for protective tariff, which means monopoly for a few and poverty for the many.
Cleveland is for free trade, without one word for free Women; or for the means by which the working chaps may enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuits of happiness; or for the protection of the Indians from lawless outrage.
Butler is thorough in his anti-monopoly--he recognizes the equal rights of all Mankind, and will sustain the noble sentiments uttered by Thomas Paine--Author hero:
"The World is my Country, all men are my Brothers--to do good, is my Religion."
JOHN BEESON.Talent, Oregon.
The Watchman, Chicago, December 1884, page 2
Written for The Watchman.
VIVISECTION.I have read in THE WATCHMAN of August 1884 about the skinning and cutting up of living animals by Anatomists.
HORROR OF HORRORS.
And, that 40,000 dogs, cats, horses, and other animals are thus tortured, annually, in Europe, and a great many in America.
The question arises--is this wholesale cruelty necessary for Science?
I do not hesitate to say, NO.
For none ought to be Physicians or Surgeons, but natural experts in Psychometry, and Clairvoyance who can see, at a glance, what needs to be done, and how to do it, with sympathies so acute that they will not occasion suffering, nor even witness it--only to give relief.
No human being can deliberately torture a brute without blunting his moral senses, and utterly unfitting him for the right treatment of the human sick.
Even butchers, who kill animals for food, without needless torture, are, by common consent, regarded as having lost the finer feelings of manhood, hence, in England, no butcher is allowed to sit on a jury trial.
.And in Japan, all of that vocation are obliged to live in a separate street in their respective cities.
It is a well-known fact, that after young students have become accustomed to dissect the quivering, living flesh of brutes, they acquire a relish to show their skill on humans, and thus make many victims for premature graves, or, to hop about on wooden legs--who, but for Professional vanity, might be, today, alive and well.
Physiology, and the laws of life and health, together with the everyday social duties, should be a part of common school education, so simplified that all could understand them.
Sickness would, then, be rare; crimes would cease; Surgeons and Armies would not be needed: police and prisons might be given up.
The first step for this result is a more practical observance of the rule--to do unto others (even brutes), as we would have them do unto us--every act of our lives should be squared by this rule.
Then, the question would not be, how can I make the most money--but, how can I do the most good?
Mothers, as well as fathers, would, then, wield their gentle, loving influence in the Nation's government, as well as in the family: and every one would fill the right place for which Nature had prepared them.
Thus, the horror of horrors--Vivisection--with the proclivities for cruelty and murder, which its practice begets, would be known only as appendages of the Dark Ages of the Past.
Oh! that woman, with more tender and purer instincts, would protest against cruelty to brutes, as a sure means to lessen the pains which manv of them are made to feel--the world would be better for it.
JOHN BEESON.Talent, Oregon.
The Watchman, Chicago, July 1885, page 3
Editor Lucifer: I admire the fearless criticism by E. C. Walker in the Truth Seeker on Arthur Abbott. I like to see such sneaking servitude to the Church denounced and honor given to whom honor is due.
Wishing you success in your battle for freedom of thought and action, I remain,
Yours respectfully,"Letters from Friends," Lucifer, the Light Bearer, Valley Falls, Kansas, June 10, 1887, page 4
WM. H. BREESE.
TALENT, Ore., Nov. 30th, 1887.EDITOR REVIEW:--When living in Iowa I was a subscriber of your paper for several years and since coming to this state I still have been a reader of it through the courtesy of Mr. R. Waters of your county who sends the Review to his daughter, Miss Waters, who is a member of my family. Of all county papers the Review has always been my favorite, because the spirit of liberality and fairness pervaded its columns. Many times when I read one of your advanced articles I have said "Hurrah for Burdick; he is making the world better,"
But, when you write on anarchy must say I do not agree with your definition; you simply give the definition of all government worshipers which is not correct. The true meaning of anarchy is self-government; to do without law; because you are not in need of law, you do right for right's sake.
Do you, Mr. Editor, believe the law makes people better? If you do you ought to be in favor of prohibition. Almost all governmentalists contend that we have a right to punish an individual for its effect on some other individual as a deterrent of crime. The prohibitory liquor laws, for instance, are enacted and men are punished for selling liquor, not because liquor selling is of itself a crime, but to prevent, crimes that are supposed to follow the drinking of liquor.
You say, "Anarchy is the law of mob violence and force and means only the survival of the strongest." Not true. An anarchist cannot steal the property of another, for the moment he attempts to do so he repudiates his anarchism and becomes a believer in government. No laws are needed to restrain or punish the anarchist. The restraint is for archist, not anarchist. When you say "Anarchy is only the survival of the strongest, without regard to law or justice," I say your god, "majority," is nothing but despotism. You must admit that it is not the majority that always or generally needs protection. Where the minority, the individual, tramples once upon the rights of the many the many trample a thousand times upon the rights of the minority, the rights of the individual. History confronts us on every side with the proof that the majority on all questions of reform was mistaken. Read the life of Jesus, Luther and the hero of our revolutionary war, John Brown, who [was] hung for an unpopular cause by the majority. It is the few always who are more nearly right and whose shoulders push slowly forward the car of progress.
Now, in regard to those seven condemned and murdered Chicago anarchists, which caused yon to write the article, I would say: They died for the emancipation of "wage slavery," as much as John Brown died for the emancipation of "chattel slavery." It was a battle between an unscrupulous, monopolistic press against anarchy. On one side, wealth, religion and respectability; on the other, the dissatisfied working men of the country. The real issue, if those men were guilty or not of the crime of throwing bombs, was lost sight of. The court decided you are guilty, because Wealth said hang them, that our property may be secure. Religion said, hang them, they are infidels. Respectability said, hang them, because we want no agitation, we want no change. In five years from now the people will look on the execution of these anarchists as a judicial murder.
In conclusion I would say, anarchy stands for liberty in its fullest, broadest sense. If you cannot live a moral life without a political idol, anarchy does not take your political gods away from you; simply do like those people who worship theological idols, pay for the fun out of your own pockets and do not force us to support your political idols and we will not object to your unsocial amusement.
Yours for liberty,Postville Review, Postville, Iowa, December 17, 1887, page 2
WM. H. BREESE.
Elmina's Dime Roll of Honor.
Lucifer the Light Bearer, Valley Falls, Kansas, March 2, 1888, page 2
EDITORS LUCIFER: The anniversary of the birthday of Thomas Paine was observed by the progressive Liberals of this place. The exercises consisted of singing by the U.M.L. choir, short speeches, select reading and a poem written for the occasion by Miss Rosetta Waters in honor of Thomas Paine.
The hall was tastefully decorated with mottoes in evergreens and flowers and the Secretary was instructed to send a notice of the meeting to the Liberal papers.
WM. H. BREESE, Sec. U.M.L. Ass'n.Lucifer the Light Bearer, Valley Falls, Kansas, March 16, 1888, page 4
Talent, Jackson Co. Oregon.
Old Events and Recent Occurrences.To the Editor of The Better Way.
About thirty-two years ago, while the subscriber was on the jury during court week at Jacksonville, Oregon, a man [James Lupton] came into the room and said: "There is a camp of redskins below here. I have put them off their guard by assuring them that the whites want peace and will not again disturb them.
"Now I propose that we organize three companies to surround them and make a clean finish of the whole lot at once."
A Methodist quarterly meeting was held on the day before the contemplated massacre, Elder Wilbur presided; an appeal to the moral sense of the people was made during the love feast in behalf of the Indians, which had such an effect upon Elder Wilbur that he could not rest until he got the appointment of an Indian Agency, which he held with honor and great usefulness for nearly thirty years. In answer to a letter from him I went to Salem last December. But I was too late, for I met this funeral procession in the street, and I only saw his good old face as I stood by his coffin in the church.
Recently a trance medium, who knew nothing of Elder Wilbur or of the event described, wrote the following letter.
FATHER BEESON:--I was sorry that you did not come sooner. I wanted to talk with you about your work. I saw you stand at the head of my coffin, but I could not speak to you; I shall now help you from spirit life, all I can.
WILBUR.Two days subsequently, I was at the house of a family who are not believers in Spiritualism, but to the surprise of all present, the lady of the house became controlled to write the following letter without knowing what she had written until it was read.
FATHER BEESON:--We advise you to make your will, for if you continue to use your brain as you are now, your will [will] be easily broken; and your life work would end in disappointment to you. Make your will and have it properly witnessed, then treat yourself to an entire rest from mental labor, and we will do our best to magnetize your brain so that you may live to see, while in the body, some of the reward which your work merits.
Your difficulty is inactivity of a part of your brain through overwork. We insist upon entire rest.
DR. ROSS.As I have no income and not a dollar at command, the will must be of what I may get, which is an encouraging hint of success.
Dr. Ross informs me that he became acquainted with me twenty years ago, and that he is a kinsman of John Ross, who was President of the Cherokee Indians. I did not know him.
JOHN BEESON.TALENT, Oregon, April 28, 1888.
The Better Way, Cincinnati, May 19, 1888, page 2
In his "News and Notes,"' in Freethought, S. P. Putnam relates how Miss Rosetta Waters, of Talent, Oregon, was "by the logic of a majority," voted out of her position as a teacher in the public schools, because of her Freethinking opinions, whereupon she "opened a voluntary secular school of her own, which has been so well patronized that the public school has hauled its colors down, and the law of attraction has prevailed over the power of the sword." Good! But suppose that the power that wields the sword had forbidden the establishment of "voluntary" schools, what then? Would not independence of thought have been rendered much more difficult? Would not emulation have been made almost impossible? As it is, must not Miss Waters and her friends not only pay all the expenses of their voluntary school but also help pay those of the public school in which she is not allowed to teach because she has opinions of her own which she has the courage and honesty to express? And this is the work of the state; this is its justice; this its protection of the weak! But when we come to the carrying of the mails we find that emulation is killed by a prohibitory tariff upon all mail carried by private parties. In the issuance of money we find competition prevented and monopoly made inevitable by another prohibitory tariff (tax), this time upon banks of issue.. These are greater evils, even, than that of which Miss Waters was the victim, and for the reason that a way out was left partly open for her. Will not Mr. Putnam occasionally say a word in his own bright, breezy way against these two government-created and -protected monopolies, that of the currency and that of the mail carrying business?
Fair Play, Valley Falls, Kansas, July 7, 1888, page 3
Lois Waisbrooker has gone to Talent, Oregon, for the rest and recuperation she so much needs. Her active brain and sensitive nature have caused her to work and suffer through the conditions that appealed to her sympathies until the vital forces of life were unable to supply the demand upon them in support of the physical, and unless rest and relaxation came, prostration must ensue. The change, we trust, will do much to restore and give her new inspiration to work for the emancipation of the people from wage slavery and the powers of superstition.
"Dove Notes," The Carrier Dove, San Francisco, March 16, 1889, page 175
A Voice from Oregon.Mr. Harman, Dear Friend:--The following resolution was passed at the 41st anniversary of Modern Spiritualism by the First Spiritualist Society of Southern Oregon in their meeting on March 31st, 1889.
WHEREAS, It is only an act of justice to those reform journals that stand in the picket line and have to bear the opposition of bigotry and persecution, that those people who have outgrown the old and are in sympathy with the new ideas should sustain those "Light-bearers," therefore
Resolved: That we, as a society, endorse the course of LUCIFER, THE LIGHT BEARER as a journal of social, political, and especially on sex reform, and give it all the financial aid we can.
WM. H. BREESE, Sec.Talent, Oregon.
Lucifer the Light Bearer, Valley Falls, Kansas, April 12, 1889, page 3
EDITOR CARRIER DOVE: As so many will want your space for reports, I will say but little. The Southern Oregon Spiritualist Association met at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Paine, in the suburbs of Ashland, and had a general good time, physically and spiritually. Friends were present from Medford, Talent and other points, and in the joy of knowing that friends from the spirit side of life are with us, those here who are suffering for the truth's sake were not forgotten.
The noticeable feature of the meeting was a resolution of sympathy with, and a pledge to assist as far as possible the editors of Lucifer, Valley Falls, Kan., in their struggle against Comstockism, to wit, the freedom of the presss against Christian censorship. The case of these men was presented by Wm. H. Breeze of Talent, and heartily responded to by others, Mrs. Breese pointing out the fact that they were indicted and must be tried under the charge of sending obscene literature through the mails, because they had defended the rights of women against the claims of legal brutes called husbands, brutish men whose treatment of wives was slow murder.
These men published an account of a crime against a wife; the man being the legal owner, the law cannot punish him, but the advocates of said law are trying to put these men in prison for telling of and condemning such crimes against women. We are glad to see this one protest of a Spiritualist society against this type of encroachment upon our liberties. These men, one a Spiritualist, the other a materialist, have incurred the hate of a few bigots in Valley Falls for their bold arraignment of churchism, and this is the real animus of the prosecution. These imprisoned, and some other editor who dares to think will be the next arraigned. If Spiritualists and Liberals everywhere would send out a united protest against all such attempts to muzzle the press, it might help to check the onslaught of those who are determined to rule or ruin.
These men used only the necessary language to point out the crime. Is this a crime worthy of imprisonment?
LOIS WAISBROOKER.The Carrier Dove, San Francisco, April 13, 1889, page 235
Endorsement and Criticism.I have followed the different views of your correspondents on Sexual Science with interest. I do think that the publication of those outrages which are perpetrated on woman under our present marriage laws will do a vast amount of good, and open the eyes of those who dare think and are not dead to all human feelings.
I do not agree with the majority of your correspondents that the "root of all evil" is contained in our present marriage laws. I look on life as a great school wherein the good and bad is needed for growth, is needed as an object lesson for all, for teacher and pupil. Three-fourths of our people reason with their stomachs and can and will only be educated and evoluted out of their present routine of eating and sleeping through the force of circumstances, through necessity. I know of what I speak. I have pointed out to my neighbors the evils of society which makes slaves, cowards and tyrants of the majority, but they cannot understand. I have kept up this agitation about four years and I begin to see some change. Circumstances are in my favor. Hard times, monopoly, low wages and the struggle for existence become harder day by day. They begin to see the coils of the monster which manifests itself in authority and has its origin in the animal in men. I can get them to read our progressive papers and tracts and a change is coming, and I have great hopes for the future.
If we had the power to remove all obnoxious laws, we would do only harm to those who believe in them, and would destroy one of the most powerful levers of progress we now wield. We do not fight any imaginary evil and wrong, but that which causes anguish and suffering to humanity. There is only one remedy. Improve the mental and moral nature of man by agitation or education; point out the foul spots in our social, political and religious life; let people judge if they call that tree good which bears such fruit as crime, misery and degradation, and whenever I have me with one who has had his perception cleared, has been persecuted and suffered from this fruit of the tree of evil such a one will listen and believe me.
In conclusion I would say, we must deal with causes if we want to remove the effects. All the manifold evils of society can be traced to men--to the individual--elevate the individual and society will raise itself above the present low level and break the chains of ignorance and superstition which now bind both men and women.
Yours for liberty,Talent, Ore., 1-21-'90.
WM. H. BREESE.
Lucifer the Light Bearer, Valley Falls, Kansas, February 7, 1890, page 3
REBELLION GOING ON.
TALENT, Oregon, March 21, 290 [sic*].DEAR BRO. HARMAN: I presume you are overrun with letters and I have not written you for that reason, but since the clouds are thickening I feel that it is our duty to help you hold up your hands as the hands of Moses of old were held up, which I now proceed to do in two ways, first by telling you that you have the full sympathy of this family and more especially the women, that is, myself and sister, for we know full well that it is our battle you are fighting, and if human sympathy is any help to you, you must certainly have ours; then I shall send you a little money by P.O. order. It is not much but we hope to send more if we have any crops this year, and as you would rather send out literature for the money I will tell you what I want (list enclosed). I sent to you for "Prodigal Daughter" one year ago, I was almost afraid to lend it around but did, and the outcome is that it traveled till it was almost worn out, then a lady patched it together and begged me to let her have it to send to friends in the Willamette Valley and gave me ten cents to get another one for her. All the LUCIFERs I hand around to those that are liberal enough to receive them, and to those that I know would burn them if I handed them to them in person I enclose it in a wrapper, take it to another town and mail it, for I have learned that people will read things they receive at the P.O. that they would burn if an outspoken Freethinker handed the same to them. We never destroy a LUCIFER and never keep them, only long enough to read them.
I wonder if your critics think that such evils as O'Neill describes will get any better by being safely covered up? The safer they are covered up in the dark the longer will they exist. If you could hear the way women are talking perhaps you do, but I mean women that are uneducated and have never read anything on social reform. I wish you could hear some that come to talk with myself and sister, and--thanks to LUCIFER and its contributors, for it is there we get most of the knowledge that we divide with them--if you could hear those poor women, some of them can scarcely read, you would rejoice at the rebellion that is going on against these abuses.
ELIZABETH BREESE.Lucifer the Light Bearer, Valley Falls, Kansas, April 11, 1890, page 3. The Light Bearer numbered years beginning with 1600 A.D.
Wm. H. Breese, of Talent, Ore., writes: "Your paper is progressive, clean, and an honor to our cause. Your articles on 'Romanism' are timely and an eye-opener to those who think nothing is to fear from the Roman ecclesiastical machine."
E. E. Deming, of Ashland, Ore., writes: "I like the tone of the paper; enjoy its instructive spirit."
"The Voices," Progressive Thinker, Chicago, January 3, 1891, page 3
Portland, Ore.I have just closed a series of five meetings in Ashland, Oregon, and the success was such that it seems a duty to report it to the world of Spiritualists though your much-read BETTER WAY.
Bro. Wm. H. Breese, of Talent, Ore., I believe, is the secretary of the society at Ashland. He invited and engaged me to stop there on my way to Portland and deliver three lectures. When the three lectures were delivered the demand for more was greater than it was for the first three. The audiences were large from first to last.
I introduced Mrs. Hull's song card, and with Miss Walters [sic--Rosetta Waters?] to play and Mrs. Breese to lead the singing, the music went off splendidly; the first two or three songs the audience did not take hold so thoroughly; they seemed afraid some trap was to be sprung on them. They soon got over that and took hold as though it had been their own revival meeting.
I stopped at the pleasant home of Mr. and Mrs. Paine and their son and daughter, Cliff and Grace. It is seldom one finds a family such a perfect unit in spiritual things as the Paines, of Ashland, or the Breeses, of Talent.
Although the society is small, numbering, perhaps, only twenty-five members, it put its hand into its own pocket and paid all the bills. I could not make its members consent to have even one collection taken. "This is our treat," said they, and they did it up in good shape.
Ashland is a nice village in Rogue River Valley, about halfway between San Francisco and Portland. The climate and soil are all that could be wished for, being in a small valley and entirely surrounded by mountains, it is, of course, quite isolated from every other place.
Dr. Schlesinger has been to Ashland twice; his knock-down tests probably did much toward filling the Opera House for me.
The Spiritualists of Ashland will welcome any first-class lecturer or medium who chooses to go that way. They prefer that fraudulent mediums, and lecturers who have no message for the people, would "pass by on the other side."
I am now in Portland, where I am to resume the work Mrs. Hull and I laid down nearly two months since.
I understand that Dr. J. H. Randall, of Chicago, is coming this way. Also that Mrs. Aldrich, Fresno, Cal., will make a spring and summer trip through here; and, since arriving here today I learn that Dr. N. F. Ravelin, of San Francisco, is thinking of turning his steps this way.
THE BETTER WAY is taken quite extensively through this country. I hear none but good words concerning it. I am sorry to learn that your correspondent "Y" is quite ill and has gone up to Seattle for his health.
To all appearances winter is over. The grass can never be more green than it is today.The Liberals are going to celebrate Thomas Paine's birthday on the 37th inst. in this city. I am to be one of the speakers on that occasion. I will let you know how the celebration goes off.
My address for a month at least will be Portland. Oregon.
MOSES HULL.The Better Way, Cincinnati, February 7, 1891, page 5
WOMAN'S FRIEND: Mrs. Breese wrote to you sometime since to send on LUCIFER, it is a most welcome guest here, not because we delight in hearing of such outrageous wrongs done under the cloak of marriage or anything else but because we know the devil is here and the sooner it is generally known the sooner we will be from under the burden we as women are under now. We are glad that you are still a free man and hope against the time does come for the trial that those justice doers (in name only) will understand from both men and women that they have a serious case on hand.
We think Voltairine de Cleyre knows what to say and how to say it, but it would not be surprising to hear of her arrest any time. She presents things to think of as they should be, and the sooner we as people see and think aright the sooner will light come.
Many of our public lecturers are but stumbling blocks to their hearers, and I often think that if they cannot present a better example in their lives they had better not pose as teachers; but such obstacles are ever in the path of progress. While we build one part of the temple of Liberty we destroy another.
We earnestly hope you will be left at the post to keep LUCIFER's flag flying.
ROSETTA WATERS.Lucifer the Light Bearer, Valley Falls, Kansas, June 26, 1891, page 3
Talent, Oregon, June, '91
Friend Breese thinks (see Various Voices) [below] that "so long as production and distribution are controlled for private gain liberty is a mockery, sexual freedom a farce and all our work in that line a waste of time," and adds, "the most determined opposition will be encountered when we teach the economic question." The simple fact that men have been sent to prison whose only fault is the persistence with which they urge attention to the sex question, whereas no one has yet been imprisoned because he "touched the economic question," would seem to show that our esteemed contributor is in the wrong. Those who now control production and distribution of commodities fear nothing so much as the agitation of questions relating to maternity and heredity, that is to say, questions regarding the production of human beings. They care but little about politics so long as the supply of contented or gullible slaves is not cut off, but they know full well that sex reform means interference with this supply; and hence their unrelenting opposition.
Lucifer the Light Bearer, Valley Falls, Kansas, February 26, 1892, page 2
As yet I have been unable to see my way clear in regard to woman's freedom except by a change in our economic system. History proves it. On every side we see the tyrant to be the one which controls the bread and butter question. A new tyrant is added--the one that controls the means of distribution. So long as production and distribution are controlled for private gain liberty is a mockery, sexual freedom a farce and all our work in that line a waste of time. It is of the utmost importance to rally all our forces and make a main assault on the enemy's line at those two points, and you will find that the most determined opposition will be encountered when we touch the economic question.
Now I do not wish you to understand that because I think the economic question the root question we should let others alone and confine ourselves entirely to this main question. Evolution teaches us that we must progress all along the line of human needs and wants. To take any other view would be narrow. But I believe that all the wrongs, oppression and tyranny which we see manifested in everyday life are the result of our cutthroat dog-eat-dog competitive system. Some of the extremists in LUCIFER lay all the woes and ills of human life to our compulsory marriage laws. Yes, they are bad enough, but such laws would not last 24 hours if property rights were not back of them. The greatest champion of woman's freedom is democratic socialism. Let us gain that. Let us gain equality, by destroying the wage system, and then we will see light ahead. We see the dawn of a new civilization in the great combinations what are causing such uneasiness to those who cannot see that trusts and combines are the logical development of the joint stock company, and all laws to bolster up the present antiquated competitive system will be abortive and end in failure. Steam and electricity have sounded the death knell of competition, and a lover of humanity will regret to see the specter of want and hunger banished from the earth.
WM. H. BREESE.Talent, Ore., Jan. 12, '92.
Lucifer the Light Bearer, Valley Falls, Kansas, February 26, 1892, page 3
Friend Breese thinks (see Various Voices [above]) that "so long as production and distribution are controlled for private gain liberty is a mockery, sexual freedom a farce and all our work in that line a waste of time," and adds, "the most determined opposition will be encountered when we teach the economic question." The simple fact that men have been sent to prison whose only fault is the persistence with which they urge attention to the sex question, whereas no one has yet been imprisoned because he "touched the economic question," would seem to show that our esteemed contributor is in the wrong. Those who now control production and distribution of commodities fear nothing so much as the agitation of questions relating to maternity and heredity, that is to say, questions regarding the production of human beings. They care but little about politics so long as the supply of contented or gullible slaves is not cut off, but they know full well that sex reform means interference with this supply; and hence their unrelenting opposition.
Lucifer the Light Bearer, Valley Falls, Kansas, February 26, 1892, page 2
Worth a Year's Subscription.
TO YOUR EDITOR.--THE PROGRESSIVE THINKER is always interesting, but the last number is worth a year's subscription.
W. H. BREESE.Talent, Ore.
Yes, there are many single numbers of THE PROGRESSIVE THINKER which are worth at least one dollar. Every Spiritualist in the United States should try to extend our circulation, and thereby enrich the people, for certainly anyone who reads the paper is made wealthy intellectually.
Progressive Thinker, Chicago, December 3, 1892, page 4
LETTER FROM OREGON.
PORTLAND, Oregon, Dec. 7, 1892.MR. W. N. BURDICK: Dear Sir:--I am a stranger to you in person but not in kindred thoughts. Though I am away where the grand Pacific surges, and the towering old mountain peaks are kissed till they blush like crimson by the grand old luminary each eve, yet the REVIEW is a welcome visitor each week, for the things of home ever touch the tender chord of a wanderer. But what called me to feel closer now than ever before was your editorial on Thanksgiving. The universal humanitarian spirit shines from it. It glows with a feeling of brotherhood. It is synonymous with Goethe's Hermann when he said:
"Can that man be deemed worthy,But how can we be thankful to a God or man when we read of the poor in our large cities, where wealth is banked by the millions by part of our people (or family), and others lying freezing and starved in the streets. The New York Sun said only a short time since that "an old cast-iron stove, bedstead, two tubs, three chairs, roll of carpet, wash boiler, old clock and pine bench were thrown out at 332 East Thirty-Sixth Street, and an old woman followed and sat on them--they were all she had from six o'clock on Friday night until four o'clock Saturday night, and was then carried by a renter into her house." What becomes of those people? The police returns for the year tell the story: 88,152 arrests; 24,350 females. Lodges were furnished a total of 126,380. The homeless lodgers being 68,854 males and 57,426 females. See the amount of crimes we are responsible for: 492 unknowns were in the potter's field during the year, 93 were picked up in the streets. Deaths by poison, 39; by pistol, 61; by hanging, 30; by gas, 19; jumping from buildings, 4; by stabbing themselves, 20. "The rest by living in dens, slums, penitentiaries, etc. Under such conditions should we be thankful that we live in America or anywhere else? Why can we not practicalize the grand old foundation principles, "that all men are created equal," and should we not as a whole enjoy life, liberty and. happiness, instead of this physical and moral annihilation? Oh, for the "voices in the air" and body to work in harmony and make a heaven on earth, and make it here and now. Hoping these feeble, appreciative words from a stranger will cheer you on I am,
who doth in good and ill fortune
Think alone of himself, and know not
the secret of sharing
Sorrows and joys with others, and
feel no longing to do so?"
Very respectfully,NOTE.--We don't know whether the above was intended for publication or not but we assume the responsibility of publishing it, as it is a well-written letter and there is nothing of a private character about it. The wish for universal harmony, happiness and heaven on earth is commendable, but we shall never realize it on this earth unless that mythical period, the millennium, shall dawn upon it sometime during the cycles yet to be; neither shall we ever see the time when all will be above want and no one know the pangs of hunger. It was the curse of the fall that in the sweat of the face man should eat bread, and it is only the few that have been given sufficient foresight and financial ability to amass wealth. "The poor we have always with us," and shall have until the end. Ours be it to relieve it to the extent of our ability as the Son of Man did while on earth, and our duty will have been performed when we seek to lift up the fallen and attempt to "pour the balm of consolation into the wounded heart." But we will desist before we run these remarks into a "Sunday Night." We shall be glad to hear from our correspondent again.
Postville Review, Postville, Iowa, December 17, 1892, page 2
JACKSONVILLE, OR.--Through the influence of Judge Webster, the Courthouse was secured for lecture, and the speaker was introduced to prominent people. Lecture well attended, and reported by the Times, the paper having largest circulation in Southern Oregon.A Quiz meeting was held, and attended by many who expressed decided interest in Theosophy. Among those present were Judge Webster, Prosecuting Attorney Harry Benson, and other prominent lawyers.
----MEDFORD, OR.--The Opera House and advertising for the lecture here were furnished by prominent citizens. A good audience was the result, and most of them remained for the informal Quiz held immediately afterwards. The Mayor of the city introduced himself and others, expressed himself as having been greatly instructed, and extended a cordial invitation to the lecturer to soon revisit Medford. The interest in Theosophy at Medford may be accounted for, in part, by reason of good T.S. work having been done by Bro. Dr. E. Kirschgessner, who was formerly President of Varuna T.S., at Bridgeport, Conn., and who now resides at Medford. Bro. K. thinks prospects for a branch in this place are good.
----ON SEPT. 9TH, a general lecture was given in Ashland, Or., in Granite Hall, to fair audience. The usual Quiz was held after the address, to which most of the audience remained. A "learned Orientalist" was present, and attempted to show the absurdities of Theosophy by relating Eastern allegories, and interpreting them in the usual dead letter way. When the speaker explained the true meaning,and showed that they were identical with the teachings of Jesus, a new light was thrown upon so-called myths. The audience was quick to see the points, and manifested approval by applause. The lecture at Ashland closed the Oregon tour, which has yielded good results. Fifteen towns were visited, and seventeen lectures given.
The Pacific Theosophist, San Francisco, October 1893, pages 47-48
Reforms Must Go Hand in Hand.DEAR BRO. HARMAN: Our subscription to the LIGHT BEARER expired some time ago, and we enclose $2.00 to be applied for one year's subscription to one of the best papers which make their weekly visits to our house. We should have remitted long ago but are very busy attending from three to four meetings every week--Alliance and People's Party meetings. The masses can be induced to attend those meetings, and a true reformer will always drop a word for the cause LUCIFER champions so bravely.
It is true, only free mothers will produce a harmonious and well-balanced offspring, but it is also true as long as children are born by accident that mothers and fathers who suffer and are crushed through our unjust social and economic system--that they will impress a hatred for the present existing conditions on their unborn offspring, which will make the flame of liberty mount sky-high and will illuminate the whole world and make every tyrant tremble.
Political, social and religious equality is a farce, a sham, as long as we have economic dependence on a few men who now control money, land, transportation and the tools of production. Solve the economic question, loosen the grip of the bandits who control the physical necessities, and then we will see the true individual develop as never before in human history. Not before that time comes will noble, grand men and women go hand in hand to the land of freedom.
Yes, Bro. Harman, the space occupied in LUCIFER's columns for the ventilation of financial problems is not wasted. Go on with your work of education; humanity is hungry for radical food; the thinkers are multiplying and their thoughts receive respectful attention from those who only delighted to vilify and scorn them a few years ago. This is true in both physical and psychic investigation.
The paper now opened in LUCIFER on "Sex Ethics," by S. C. Campbell, is in the right direction. The altitude held up to man is high. But in that direction we find the "Coming Man." The coming man will be strongly magnetic, strong in passion, but reason will control all. Yours for progress,
WM. H. BREESE AND FAMILY.Talent, Ore., 11-30-'93.
Lucifer the Light Bearer, Valley Falls, Kansas, December 8, 1893, page 3
BRO. HARMAN:--Enclosed find order of one dollar which apply on subscription account. Your struggle is hard enough and I ought to help more, but times are very close, and just now I subscribed and paid for the Arena, 20th Century, Coming Nation, The Road, People's Party Post, Firebrand, Progressive Thinker, Light of Truth and more to follow. We all have our trials. "Whom the lord loveth he chastenth" is true. Soul growth comes only through pain, sorrow and suffering. To live in ease and only for bodily self-gratification is death to soul growth. The great I and me--all stomach and brain behind the ears--must be evoluted into the heart region and top brain. To make the condition for such growth constitutes the true reformer. Economic reform is the keynote; it will open the doors of liberty to both men and women.
Ever yours, WM. H. BREESE.
Talent, Ore., 2-22-95.
Lucifer the Light Bearer, Valley Falls, Kansas, March 15, 1895, page 3
Medford, Oregon.--Dr. E. Kirchgessner, formerly of the Bridgeport, Conn. branch, but now a resident of Medford, arranged for lectures by Dr. Griffiths there, which were given Sept. 27th and 28th. A member of the State Legislature joined the T.S. [Theosophical Society], and a study class was formed which is hoped will ultimate in a branch. T.S. books were ordered and a course of study outlined.
"Pacific Coast Lecturer's Movements," The Pacific Theosophist, San Francisco, December-January 1895-96, page 80
"Keep Within the Law."The following letter from an old-time friend and faithful helper is typical of much of the advice and counsel sent me, with most of which counsel I most heartily agree:
BY M. H.
"I am glad that you are free from the clutches of the bigots. I do not know if it will pay to give such tyrants another chance to incarcerate you again. I think you can do more good by keeping 'within the laws,' even if they are unjust.
"Conditions under which we live today are the natural result of the past, and we are laying the foundation for higher conditions for tomorrow. Such is evolution. Let us do the best we can; be true to ourselves; have toleration and charity for all; for such only constitute the true reformer.
""Enclosed find order for two dollars for Lucifer.
W. H. BREESE."Lucifer the Light Bearer, Valley Falls, Kansas, April 17, 1896, page 2
FRED MERRICK'S WEDDING.Last Thursday the first spiritual wedding in Sacramento took place at the Corson residence, 909 Tenth Street.
Park City Man Married at Sacramento, Cal.
The contracting parties were Fred G. Merrick, a well-to-do mining man from Utah, and Miss Rosetta Waters, a school teacher from Oregon.
The marriage was conducted by Dr. Alice Tobias, an ordained minister of the Independent Free Thought Bible Spiritualistic Society of San Francisco.
The bride wore lilac-colored silk, with pearls and white roses. The groom was attired in a suit of black broadcloth, with white satin vest.
The attire worn on the eventful occasion was intended to typify the purity and spiritual exaltation of the relation upon which the parties had entered.
Dr. Tobias was very impressive in the marriage ceremony, and after pronouncing them husband and wife, said, in part: "Life itself is the tribute that love brings. The royal gift.of this bride is her name to the prince of her choice. It is the tribute of love and literary attainments placed in the hand of genius, and with it she brings a heart of devotion."
She pledged them not "to obey," but to be faithful to each other.
The young couple left by the evening train for San Francisco, where they will spend a day or two before leaving for their home at Park City, Utah.--Sacramento Bee.
Salt Lake Tribune, June 23, 1896, page 3
A western subscriber writes, "A Condition and Its Cause" in [the] Nov. 13 issue is true. The commercial standard by which mediumship is gauged is responsible for the jealousy and slander among mediums. Every phase of life is gauged by this standard. Will it pay? How many dollars are in it? Such is the expression we hear on all sides. True art, true inspiration, true and pure phenomena cannot be given as long as everything is judged by the "golden calf."—William H. Breese
"Editorial Notes," Light of Truth, Columbus, Ohio, December 11, 1897, page 9
J.K.--Rock Point, Ore.--We agree with you that we would like to see the JOURNAL in every household, and know you will do your part toward putting it there. You have a strong motive-mental temperament, are a vigorous thinker, and an active worker. You make the sparks fly when you take hold of anything, and are as crisp as the frost in winter. You are a keen observer of men and things, and know how to count up the cost of material and lay out money to advantage; you do not waste and squander anything, and are a thoroughly good business man; you could import goods to advantage. It is doubtful whether men will allow you much peace and quiet, for they will be sure to beset your path with requests for advice in public affairs and political matters, hence it will not be surprising if you have your hands doubly full. You have much versatility and talent. If you have never had a full delineation you should do so, for your character is worth recording.
"To New Subscribers: Character Sketches from Photographs," The Phrenological Journal and Phrenological Magazine, New York, March 1900, page 98
Mrs. Martha J. Hosmer, Rock Point, Oregon, says: It is my whole soul's wish to make a true statement of the great good that I and my two daughters received from the treatments of Helen Wilmans Post. I had been sick for years with very weak bowels, weak back, lame arm, with almost constant fever in my head and neck. Medicine gave me no relief. In two months the healing power of Mrs. Helen Wilmans Post has worked wonders with me and my children.
"Sworn Testimonials of Cures, or of Benefits Received Through Mental Power Exercised by Helen Wilmans Post, Seabreeze, Florida," The Wonders of Thought Force, no publisher indicated, circa 1901, pages 28-29
"Enclosed find $1.00 for subscription to THE NAUTILUS, which is my inspiration on a cloudy day; my medicine, which saves doctor's bills; and helps me to cheer my friends, which is best of all." H. S. Evans, Ashland, Ore
"Individualisms," The Nautilus, Holyoke, Massachusetts, March 1901, page 3
Ashland, Oregon, Sept. 30, 1901.Mr. James E. Hughes:
Dear Friend--I am more than glad to become a member of your Library. The Blade has been more than interesting for some time.
Dr. Wilson is showing up the work of the officers of the A.S.U. [American Secular Union], which is to his credit. I have thought for some time there was something they did not care for others to know. I think we should have another Union, with a new name, with Dr. Wilson at the helm, for he is sure the man to build up the cause. He has proven himself honest and sincere in the work. I have received three letters from Reichwald. I did not remit. I think they have had all they should have, never to have done any good for the cause. With best wishes for the Blade and its workers, I am,
Yours for truth,"Correspondence," Blue Grass Blade, Lexington, Kentucky, October 27, 1901, page 7
MRS. A. DEPEATT.
THE MADDOCK-HOOVER DISCUSSION.Editor Free Thought magazine:
BY W. J. DEAN.
I was much interested in Harry Hoover's letter to John Maddock, in [the] February number of the Magazine. I have not seen the article of Mr. Maddock in the Adept, but presume that the ground is covered in the reply to Mr. Hoover. I was not a little surprised to read in that, reply statements as follows: "Evolution is not the result of differentiation, but forms are evolved and differentiated by the Great Dynamis." "It is absolutely true that the Great Dynamis reigns in every organism." "Forms are evolved and dissolved; the Great Dynamis cannot be." "Environment cannot change species."
Mr. Maddock takes nature for his authority rather than Darwin, Haeckel, etc. Now, while I advocate taking truth for authority, instead of authority for truth, yet from the vast amount of evidence presented by these great investigators that changes in environment do result in modifications of forms, I supposed the question was settled.
I was under the impression that evolutionists in general agree that modifications in form and function in animal organisms are, for the most part, brought about by changes in modes of life, and that changes in modes of life mainly result from changes in their environments, as, for instance, the slow transformation of gill-breathing into lung-breathing fishes, resulting from the gradual drying up of shallow lakes. I supposed, also, that evidence was lacking to support the theory of special creations.
Mr. Maddock places an intelligent creative force in matter. If this force created matter it must have been outside of, and entirely separate from, matter before it created it, so the theory is practically the same as that of an intelligent creative power that has always resided outside of matter. In other words, the Great Dynamis and the Great I Am of our orthodox friends are practically identical.
It always seemed to me that the theory of creation either falls short or overreaches--proves too little or too much. It is utterly inconceivable that a designer could come into being spontaneously, therefore a designer necessitates a previous designer, this a previous one, and so on, requiring an infinite number of designers.
One would naturally look for evidence of unlimited wisdom and goodness in all the works of a creator. Now, when we note the fact that a large portion of animal organisms but serve the purpose of food for other forms of animal life--created to be devoured--it is easy to conclude that something is wrong somewhere. Mr. Maddock would, I should judge, have his Great Dynamis bring into being a new form of animal life or plant whenever in his or its judgment such a new creation was necessary. Now, I would respectfully ask if there was ever a time when botflies, fleas, rattlesnakes, tarantulas, deadly microbes and poisonous plants were needed in the economy of earthly affairs?
Then how does Mr. Maddock account for the presence of rudimentary organs found in nearly every animal organism? .Naturalists regard these alone as affording ample evidences of the truth of evolution.
Fishes in the Mammoth Cave have eyes partially atrophied, and it is a only a question of time when every vestige of visual organs will be eliminated. Is not this the result of changes in environment?
Surely, if the Great Dynamis "evolved and differentiated" the different forms, he would not be so unwise as to permit the retaining of useless organs, thus subjecting the new organism to the trouble of carrying about parts that serve no purpose.
Really, creation on the "evolution and differentiation'' plan, i.e., giving an organism a start and then letting these processes get in their work, generally advancing, but now and then retrograding, would not, it seems to me, be the system adopted by a wise being.
I candidly confess that I can see no design or purpose in nature. To my mind the evidence is conclusive that changes in the forms and functions of animal organisms are, for the most part, the result of external causes, according to the general laws of nature, some of which are not understood, but irrespectively of any design or purpose whatever.
I am aware that some able writers do not consider the word cause exactly the term to use in this connection, but I can see no objection to it, especially if used in a passive sense. The question is, whether changed surroundings cause or result in a modification of organisms. In the case of fishes in slowly drying ponds, it is evident that an increased amount of air being admitted into the gill cavities would cause a gradual modification in these organs to adapt them to the new conditions, as much so as that a hot climate tends to change the color of the skin, thus rendering it less affected by a burning sun.
In the "struggle for existence'' on the survival of the fittest theory, those organs that are the best fitted to endure some change of condition survive, while others perish. There are found instances in which the fittest for the new conditions would not be the fittest had the conditions remained unchanged.
In any case we can say that it is generally due to the changed environment that the modified organisms exist.
The survival of the fittest theory may be briefly stated as follows: There are marked differences in individuals of the same species; no two are alike. If a change in external conditions arise, those individuals that are the best fitted survive, and the others go to the wall.
As Huxley puts it: "Cats exist not in order to catch mice well, but because they can catch mice well."' In other words, mice coming into existence resulted in the evolution of organic forms fitted to catch and subsist on mice; but any design or purpose back of it all is not apparent, i.e., to me.
Mr. Maddock's theory seems to be that the Great Dynamis always existed, or, perhaps, was self-created. He is, I presume, aware that like theories are held regarding the Great I Am, so it is difficult to see that his Great Dynamis is any improvement on our old conceptions--simply a change of terms. It is to be regretted that Mr. Maddock did not offer us a brand-new, up-to-date First Cause--with all modern improvements.
I sincerely hope and believe that Bro. Maddock will consider this a friendly criticism of his theory. A little wholesome swapping of views is a help all around. I have greatly admired his articles in the Free Thought magazine and hope he will come again and often. Also with him I feel grateful to Mr. Green for granting space for such interchange of views.
Talent, Oregon.Free Thought, Chicago, April 1902, pages 231-233. John Maddock replied in the May 1902 issue, pages 276-279.
In [the] June Nautilus I referred to Guy Stone of Ashland, Ore., as a credit to the ranks of vegetarians. In a recent letter he says: "We have one of the finest and strongest little girls you ever saw for two and a half years, and no meat food flows in her veins. We are often complimented as being such a healthy-looking family. No one need talk meat to us." Guy Stone took to "grass" to keep himself from dying of consumption. Just now he lives by consumption of Southern Oregon peaches, the finest in the world.
"Briefs," The Nautilus, Holyoke, Massachusetts, September 1902, page 6
OREGON WOMAN ABOUT MAY COLLINS.
Ashland, Ore., Nov. 9, '02.Mr. Hughes:
I would be glad to get you up a club of five or more here. I have often asked men that I thought were good freethinkers and not afraid of public opinion, as I thought, to subscribe for the Blade.
Some would say they did not like the paper--that it was too radical for them, or they did not like Bro. Moore, but I shall keep on trying.
I enclose a clipping from the San Francisco Examiner for Bro. Moore to write up, as I think there is nobody else can do justice to the case.
You remember how the church people wrote up the death of May Collins and Putnam--now is a chance to get even with them.
Yours for the cause,
MRS. A. DEPEATT.
----Comment--The clipping enclosed is about Rev. Rabe and his assistant pastor, Miss Augusta Busch, both found dead in the church in each other's embrace.
Of the coroner's jury of six in their case, three said it was a punishment of God for their wickedness, and the officers of the church were not willing to have Rabe's funeral service conducted in the church.
In the case of Miss May L. Collins and Putnam the civil officers reported that it was from accidental asphyxiation, as did also a physician sent from Kentucky to investigate the case.
I do not remember that anybody said there was anything criminal connected with the deaths of Miss Collins and Putnam except one preacher of Lexington, who does not rank among the first-class preachers of the city.
Blue Grass Blade, Lexington, Kentucky, November 23, 1902, page 3
DON'T STOP MY BLADE.
Ashland, Ore., Nov. 25, 1902.Brothers Moore and Hughes:
Dear Sirs--Don't stop my Blade, for I shall take it as long as I can read and raise the price.
Count on me for a bunch of "Dog Fennel." You are doing a grand work, and as long as I can I will contribute to you and others in the cause of truth and justice.
H. S. Evans, of Ashland, Ore., writes that "Father Waters," a Catholic priest, has left his church, and gone to Oakland, Cal., to study for the Congregational ministry. Even such a change is preferable to remaining in the darkness of Romanism. Having cast off the tolls of the Romish octopus, there is hope that he may yet outgrow the straitjacket of Congregational orthodoxy and escape into the broad fields, green pastures, running streams and azure skies of sunny Spiritualism.
"Healing Illumination," Progressive Thinker, Chicago, March 25, 1903, page 5
Mrs. A. D. Platt, Ashland.
Mrs. S. M. Pefferle, Ontario.
W. J. Dean, Talent.
Honorary Vice Presidents of National Liberal Party, Blue Grass Blade, Lexington, Kentucky, June 21, 1903, page 8
Mrs. Sarah E. Richards, Ashland, Ore.
Wm. M. Richards, Ashland, Ore.
"Blade's Club," Blue Grass Blade, Lexington, Kentucky, July 19, 1903, page 6
Mrs. A. De Peatt, of Ashland, Ore., writes:
. . . "I have received several copies of HIGHER SCIENCE and I think it is fine. I find some things in it that I wish every thinking person in the world could enjoy reading. . . . I hope to hear that you will not discontinue, and hope to send some subscribers and a dollar sometimes to help the cause along. As you say, we should be able to support one paper on the coast to fight for the taxation of church property."
"Comments," Higher Science, Los Angeles, December 1903, page 14
Ashland, Ore.--Please find enclosed $2.25 for Blade for next year and Dog Fennel in the Orient--twenty-five cents being for postage on the book. Please put me down for Dr. [J. B.] Wilson's Rome book. I know it will be great. I do enjoy his writings so much. His letters to the Blade from the different cities he visited in the month of October are just great. I think that as a descriptive writer he is as good as Samuel P. Putnam was. I once thought Putnam had not an equal along that line. I am like Miss L. M. Gibson; I want to know if there is no way to recover Girard College from the Christians. I think that is one of the first things that should be done for the cause. It is our duty to join hands and make the fight for it. Would it take too much money, as most of us are poor, and the ones who have do not care about such things? I hope to be able to give to [the] Rome Congress fund. With best wishes for the Blade family, I am yours.--MRS. A. DEPEATT.
----Ashland, Ore.--Enclosed please find $1 to continue the Blade that never gets dull. I found two new subscribers at 50 cents each, but could not make it five, so, for the present, I cannot make up the club. It is encouraging, indeed, to witness the increase of freethought. I believe there are twenty Liberals now where there was one four years ago in Southern Oregon. Please find stamps to cover mailing of Dog Fennel that never was pleasant to me until it came from the Orient. Now if you will send me [Grier] Kidder's Virgin Mary, "The Crimes of Preachers" and the Holy Bible in a Nutshell, with the bill, I will remit by return mail. Kind wishes to you and Bro. Hughes and all the staff.--WM. M. RICHARDS.
"Short Letters," Blue Grass Blade, Lexington, Kentucky, December 20, 1903, page 4
Ashland, Ore.--I will take one of friend Wilson's books, for I regard him as one of the ablest and purest men that has ever taken the platform, and I would like to see him President; but believe that Socialism is going to succeed Republicanism. Its rapid growth is surprising to some and alarming to those in power, and endorsed by all fair-minded people.--Wm. M. RICHARDS.
Blue Grass Blade, Lexington, Kentucky, March 27, 1904, page 4
History S.O. Spiritual Society.I have been requested to write a short history for publication of the factors which contributed to the organization of the First Spiritual Society of Southern Oregon. At this time, when "Memorial Hall" is completed, and the event of dedication on April 2, 1905, to the cause of Spiritualism will be celebrated, this explanation will give the facts and also be a kind remembrance to two of Jackson County's old citizens.
Mr. and Mrs. John Holton were early pioneers to the Pacific Coast. They came to Jackson County when the red men still laid claim to Rogue River Valley as a hunting ground. My acquaintance with Mr. Holton dates back about twenty years, and I soon found that he held (then to me) peculiar views about the future life. Mr. and Mrs. Holton were Spiritualists, and their knowledge of Spiritualism dated back to the Rochester rappings on March 31, 1848. They often told me, when they "passed over," as they called it, all their property should be donated to the promulgation of Spiritualism, and a hall with free rostrum for both men and women was their ideal.
Others favorable to organization were Mr. and Mrs. L. E. Payne, of Ashland, also Mrs. M. J. Hockersmith, and on Nov. 24, 1888, we met at the farm home of John Holton, on Wagner Creek. I called the meeting to order, stated the object of this preliminary meeting, and John Holton was called to act as chairman and myself as secretary. Mr. and Mrs. John Holton again expressed their desire to give to an incorporated society which was legally organized under the laws of the state of Oregon, all their property, real and personal, and proposed that we incorporate under the name "The First Spiritual Society of Southern Oregon."
Committee on incorporation, constitution and by-laws--Mrs. L. E. Payne, Mrs. M. J. Hockersmith and Wm. H. Breese, to report at the meeting to be held on Dec. 20, 1888, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Breese, to form a permanent organization.
On Dec. 20, 1888, a permanent organization was perfected, and the following constitution adopted:
----Whereas, Experience has shown that knowledge can be more rapidly acquired by combination of effort than singly, we, whose names are hereto annexed, have agreed to form an association to be known as the First Spiritual Society of Southern Oregon, and for its better government do hereby establish the following constitution:
ARTICLE I.Section 1. The name, style and title of this Association shall be the First Spiritual Society of Southern Oregon, and our aim and object are set forth in the following declarations:
ARTICLE II.Section 1. We believe that there is a spirit world and that mankind in the way of evolutionary and progressive soul unfoldment do retain their individuality after that change takes place known as death; and we believe that if we observe certain psychological conditions, soul aspirations and sympathies, we may become connected with and receive communications and light by influx from such spirit world and they can return and communicate with us.
Section 2. We believe that the truth will never suffer by investigation; therefore, in order to get the best and most thorough information on all subjects we hereby declare that our rostrum and platform is free to all. Nobody shall be debarred from expressing his or her honest opinion on account of race, color, religion or sex.
Section 3. We believe that mere physical phenomena will not spiritualize mankind, and may be produced independently of the moral qualities of the medium, but that the higher phases of mediumship, consisting of the currents of inspirational speakers and writers, are dependent for their moral value and force upon the purity of the instrument through which they are transmitted, and consequently we hold all mediums or teachers who act in that capacity before the world to strict accountability for their moral conduct while acting in such capacity.
Section 4. We believe that "morality" is a relative term and progressive as humanity, and therefore this society will not prescribe special rules of moral conduct, leaving that to the individual conscience of its members.
Signed by J. Holton, Mrs. H. C. Holton, R. T. Young, Mrs. A. E. Young, L. E. Payne, Mrs. L. E. Payne, Mrs. M. J. Hockersmith, Mrs. S. A. Morton, Mrs. M. J. Sherman, E. C. Payne, Miss A. J. Payne, Miss E. R. Young, J. B. Plummer, William H. Breese, H. C. Stock.
----Trustees elected for one year--R. T. Young, Medford; Mrs. L. E. Payne, Mrs. M. J. Hockersmith, Ashland; John Holton, W. H. Breese, Talent.
Officers--R. T. Young, president; Mrs. L. E. Payne, vice president; Wm. H. Breese, secretary-treasurer.
Since organization the society held regular quarterly meetings for social and intellectual purposes, whenever convenient. Mediums for physical phenomena have at different times served the society and presented tangible proof to the physical senses, that the ego, the intellectual, rational soul, survives the physical dissolution of the body. The philosophy of Spiritualism has been presented by able exponents of national reputation.
The present board of trustees looks to the inauguration of a policy so that all prominent speakers and mediums of national reputation will stop at Ashland.
The society at present has 57 members and many sympathizers, and we hope with regular Sunday meetings and a lyceum for children in our new hall we shall soon double our membership.
Spiritualism is not an obscure belief today. The phenomena are subject to scientific demonstration. The proof to the physical senses of men, of a future life, rest on the phenomena of Spiritualism. Scientists and scholars recognize this and are investigating. Every day some prominent one steps into our ranks. The daily papers are publishing fair and exhaustive reports of our meetings.
The philosophy of materialism, that all living organisms, together with intelligence and love, are expressions and developments of physical laws and forces, will soon be laid on the musty shelves. Spiritual philosophy and phenomena have accepted the challenge; this intellectual battle has got to be fought out between the agnostic scientist and the Spiritualist. The orthodox church lives only on tradition, and does not count in this contest and in this age of critical investigation. The age of "I believe" is past. It has fulfilled its mission and served its purpose. This age demands facts, and proof of the immortality of men. Spiritualism has the facts and proof, and courts investigation. Only on these lines can the church add "knowledge to their faith" and confidently meet the future, realizing that man has only one life and it belongs to two worlds.
W. H. BREESE,
Secretary 1st S. S. of S. Ore.
J. E. SMITH, President.
Ashland Tidings, March 30, 1905, page 1
Our next stop was at Medford, Oregon, where we held two public meetings and organized a nice little society. The Spiritualists saw the need of organization and have taken hold of the work with energy. We will hear more from these good people, for they have been waiting for this opportunity to get to work in the proper way.
At Ashland, Oregon we found a fine society doing splendid work. One of the brothers (whose name we cannot recall) gave about $5000.00 to the society to be used in building a temple. He has since passed to the better life. The society has just completed a building costing $8000. The hall is up one flight of stairs and is a splendid place to hold meetings. The society has rented the store on the first floor, the offices on the second floor and the hall for the use of lodges, reserving it for Sunday for their own meetings. The rent amounts to nearly $1,200,000 per year, which will soon pay the three thousand dollars indebtedness, after which the society will have all of the rent to support their meetings.
It is one of the most businesslike moves that we have come in contact with for some time. It will help to make this society permanent. Moses Hull dedicated this temple March 31st. We had the honor of holding the first Spiritualist meeting in this lovely hall, and our prayer is that every society in the land may have such a place of meeting.
Spiritualists! ponder over this thing, and build your own halls. You can do as these people have done and make your cause self-supporting in many places. We left these people just about ready to charter their society with the state association. We feel sure that when the society next meets their application for a charter will be ordered.
E. W. Sprague and Wife, "Missionaries Report," The Sunflower, Lily Dale, New York, April 8, 1905, page 8
WM. H. BREESE, Talent, Ore.--Enclosed find $1, which apply to expenses in your present fight for keeping out of the clutches of the postal inquisition. Would it not be well to quit harping on the "Right to be born well" and change it to ""Right to be married well?" Physical materialism and materialistic theology have promulgated theories of sex, love and marriage which tend to make of the union of men and women only acts of nutrition and reproduction. The effort of LUCIFER for women's equality and freedom in all relations meets my hearty approval. Its puny efforts to throw discredit on legal marriage I do not endorse. I admit there is plenty to improve in our present legal marriage code, still it is the best the race has so far developed, and as soon as the forces for religious, social and economic reforms become conscious this will be attained. I wish to say that the root of all matrimonial unhappiness lies outside and prior to legal marriage. The man and woman married by nature laws will not condemn the legal code; it is only those whom nature divorces who will rebel against the legal code. Whenever we teach and raise the ideal of marriage to nature's standard, two human beings attuned physically, mentally and spiritually on the same key of vibration, we have the perfect marriage, and in such the "right to be born well" is safeguarded. Hoping you will come out all right in your present trial.
Lucifer the Light Bearer, Valley Falls, Kansas, October 29, 1905, pages 6-7
HAS AMERICA THE BEST MARRIAGE LAWS?In No. 1051 W. H. Breese says: "I admit there is plenty to improve in our present legal marriage code, still it is the best the race has so far developed." What constitutes a good marriage code, if such a thing there be, is a matter of opinion, but Mr. Breese approves of "women's equality and freedom," so I presume he would test a marriage code by that standard. Let us apply his test to the facts.
Lucifer the Light Bearer, Valley Falls, Kansas, November 23, 1905, page 3
By A. J. AVERELL, Medford, Ore.:
Now keen to flagellate the meaner self,Placate the inevitable in the death of self and your life will be sweet and good--your passing well earned.
For good that might be done?
To choose the ill, and live and do,
And leave undone the good that should be done:
A cross in Life is this, to thee,
And there, thou shalt accursed be!
How keen to flagellate the Better self,
For good that can be done!
As the winter of your soul's life is come, the product--one of the ideal or "Son" of your mentality must needs arise and shine; this is no hardship--the best that is within you will say: "I am well pleased."
Suggestion: The New Psychology Magazine for Thinkers, Chicago, February 1, 1906, page 809
From an Old Worker.
Ashland, Oregon, Jas. E. Hughes--"A Trip to Rome" by Dr. Wilson received. You will please find enclosed $1.15 for book and postage, as I don't think it just to you to let you pay the postage. I have not read very much of it yet, but from what I know of the Doctor's writing, I will get my money's worth of information. I think he is the finest descriptive writer we have.
I was sorry to hear of the death of C. C. Moore; did not agree with him in much of his writing, but there was one thing that I did admire, and that was [that] he could not be intimidated. Wishing for you everlasting success in the cause.--MRS. A. DEPEATT.
Blue Grass Blade, Lexington, Kentucky, August 12, 1906, page 7
Mrs. Annie Sprague Smith says, "It has been my privilege to have the four greatest teachers (I think) in the world: Mr. Aaron Crane, Miss Lucy McGee, Mrs. Militz and Mrs. Hopkins." As all four of these teachers are absolute in their message, any student who has studied with them, or any one of them, can judge the nature of the course which Mrs. Smith will give. Her text book will be Resumé by Mrs. Emma Curtis Hopkins, it being an epitome of a course of "Christian Mysticism," which Mrs. Hopkins has recently published.
Mrs. Smith is a quiet, unpretentious messenger of Truth, who, nevertheless, has done much teaching in the Northwest. In Medford, Ore., she was at the founding of the Home of Truth in conjunction with Mrs. Frank Andrews. In Seattle, she taught classes and worked a while with Mrs. Agnes Galer. In Spokane, she taught several months at the Church of the Truth, of which Dr. Albert Grier is pastor.
It is hoped by your Editor that everyone, who can, will attend Mrs. Smith's course.
"Interesting Data About the July Teachers," The Master Mind, Los Angeles, June 1915, page 102
Ralph E. Packard, R.R. No. 1, Talent, Oregon
"State Representatives of the [Karma and Reincarnation] Legion," Reincarnation, Chicago, May 1924, page 351
Bloom, Rev. Minnie, 119 S. Ivy St., Medford. Ore. Pastor; Minister; Lecturer; Soc. of Psychic Research (Medford).
Bloom, Rev. Minnie, 119 S. Ivy St., Medford. Ore. Pastor; N.F.S.S. Church No. 44.
Hoffman, Bertha, 203 Liberty Bldg., Medford, Oregon. Pres. and Organizer, Society of Psychic Research (Medford).
William C. Hartmann, ed., Hartmann's International Directory of Psychic Science and Spiritualism, Jamaica, New York, 1931, page 13
Society of Psychic Research, 203 Liberty Bldg., Medford, Oregon. President and organizer, Bertha Hoffman; pastor, medium and lecturer, Minnie Bloom.
William C. Hartmann, ed., Hartmann's International Directory of Psychic Science and Spiritualism, Jamaica, New York, 1931, page 83
The ability of animals to see in the dark is credited by man to some mysterious physical "sixth" sense not enjoyed by him. I believe that this is a wrong assumption, and I base my belief upon a close study of horses, dogs and cats over a period of sixty years, and also upon the fact that while I yet retained the psychic powers with which I was born, or until about my eighteenth year, I was able to see my way on the darkest night with my spiritual eyes. In my mind there is no doubt that the animals have this spiritual vision throughout their physical lives. There is no moral code for them to violate, and they live their lives in close accord with Nature's laws.
As a boy cowpuncher in Colorado I often contacted spiritual people, and my horse and my dog saw them and responded to their caresses with every evidence of pleasure. On some occasions my dog, Don, aroused me from slumber by barking at the presence of spiritual people when no physical persons were near.
Several cats at the home ranch exhibited the same power to see spiritual persons and respond to their touch. And there was one in particular, my especial pet, Lady Gwendolina, Helene Cleopatra Sally Anne Catt, who never failed to meet me a mile or more from the home ranch and ride home on my shoulders. No matter from what direction I came, nor how dark the night, nor how adverse the wind, she met me with a yowl of pleasure and purred the latest cat gossip in my ears on the home stretch. On some occasions several of us would approach from different angles at the same time, but she always came directly to me. One night she came directly against a howling snow blizzard.
I contend that spiritual vision is the only logical answer.
Ambro S. ParkJacksonville, Oregon
The Philosophy of Individual Life, Hollywood, California, January-February 1940, page 192
Chapel of the Star Announces Services
The Rev. Marie Headlee, founder and pastor of the Metaphysical Church and Seminary Inc., 89 Janney Lane, Medford, has announced that services will be held at the Chapel of theStar, the mother church, Sunday at 7:30 p.m.
Prior to the service a short dedication of the opening of church will be held in the memory of the late Walter Wheiden. Mrs. Headlee will speak on "The Mystical You."
Services will be held twice weekly on Sunday and Thursday evenings.
Mrs. Headlee, a native of Oregon, attended schools in Phoenix, Medford and Portland. Her grandfather was the late Rev. George Hoxie, pioneer Rogue Valley minister.
The public is invited to attend the opening services.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 16, 1960, page 15
The Rev. Elvina Colburn, who was pastor of the successful Concord Mission some years ago in San Diego, California, is making plans for the opening of a Spiritualist Church in Medford, Oregon. This beautiful city of 26,000 does not
now have such a church, and many requests for one have been received by Rev. Colburn and her active band of workers. To this end, Rev. Colburn has opened an unfoldment class, preparing students for church work.
During the past three years, Mr. and Rev. Colburn have traveled a great deal, spending almost a year in the state of Utah. They then decided to move to Oregon, and open a church conducted along the same lines as the Concord Mission in San Diego. This new church, when opened, will be chartered by the National Spiritualist Association, from whom Rev. Colburn will receive her ordination. This will be the second N.S.A. church in the State of Oregon.
On May 7th, 1961, the Rev. Clyde Dibble, National Lyceum Superintendent, N.S.A., visited Rev. Colburn and her group, staying overnight in order to help them formulate their plans for the new church. The group is already raising money by holding rummage sales, making various articles for future sales, and
through study, preparing themselves for the work that lies ahead.
Elvina Colburn, sidebar to "Psychic Phenomena Can Be Dangerous," Chimes, Brea, California, July 1961, page 17
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE"I would like to get the record straightened out in your Sept.-Oct. Journal, in the Prophecy Corner article, attributed to Associates Cooper and Ferguson, concerning the 'Eclipse of the Sun on the Autumnal Equinox.' This article happens to be identical to an article especially written for our magazine, 'Starcraft,' by Terra Misslich, see Summer issue. Now we have no objection to reprints from our magazine but we find it difficult to see why the author got no credit and Cooper and Ferguson did. Perhaps you will see that a correction is made in your next issue."
Marianne Francis, Dr. Sp. Sc.Journal of Borderland Research, Vista, California, January-February 1969, page 30
Rte. 2, Box 572-J
SOLAR LIGHT CENTER
Central Point, Oregon 97501 [sic]
Last revised June 26, 2021