Gerald Massey: a biography - Chapter 6.

TRING: History About Library Contact TRING: Home

Up Poetry Prose Reviews News Reports Miscellanea Site Search


[Back to Chapter 5]



[1870 - 1874]

To act according to conscience and speak according to knowledge, never ceasing to consider what we can do for the service of others, is the one duty which a future life, if it comes, will not contradict.

(George Jacob Holyoake)

Since Massey's remarriage in 1868, three daughters had been born.  Hesper Carmina Emilia on 9 May 1869, Maybyrn Adelaide on 30 March 1870, and Evelyn on 2 February 1871.  Financially more solvent at that time, he was able to employ a nursemaid as well as a housekeeper to ensure satisfactory provision for the family while he was away on his lecture tours.  These were now extended to the summer, as well as continuing through the winter months.  On Friday, 28 July 1871, a conversazione was held at St. George's Hall, Langham Place, to mark a farewell meeting and presentation in honour of a valiant crusader and Spiritualist speaker, Mrs Emma Hardinge Britten, who was leaving for a lecture tour in America.  The hall, seating some 900, was nearly filled, with Gerald Massey known as an experienced lecturer and now an avowed Spiritualist, taking the chair.  Representing the Spiritualists of England, Massey gave a general appreciative address on their behalf.[1]  In his own address, Massey referred to Spiritualistic phenomena in general, comparing the effects of orthodox belief with those of the Spiritualistic philosophy:

I find the mass of so-called religious people don't want to believe in the spirit-world save in the abstract or otherwise than as an article of their creed.  They accept a sort of belief in it, on authority—a grim necessity; it's best to believe, in case it does exist after all; but they give the lie to that belief, in their lives, and in presence of such facts as we place before them.  Our orthodox spiritual teachers have arrested and made permanent the passing figure, and permitted the eternal essence of the meaning to escape.  They have deified the symbol on earth instead of the God in heaven. They have taken hold of Christ by the dead hand and lost sight of the living Lord … [2]

    The address was enthusiastically received, and in a letter sent the following day from Marie Sinclair, the Countess de Pomar who was shortly to become Countess of Caithness, she hoped that the address would receive eventual publication.  The following year Massey did expand the address into a small book Concerning Spiritualism, published by James Burns.  Burns was a well known Spiritualist lecturer and publisher, based at 1 Wellington Road, Camberwell before he moved to his Spiritual Institution at 15 Southampton Row, in 1869.  He advertised phrenological classes, held receptions every Monday evening, and published the weekly Medium and Daybreak and monthly Human Nature.  A large ‘Progressive Library’ was available on the premises for the loan of books by subscription to members.  Massey became a frequent visitor to the establishment, where his 'breezy personality' diffused an atmosphere of energy whenever he called.  Concerning Spiritualism is stated in some biographical references as having been withdrawn by the author.  Although not withdrawn as a publication, many of the opinions to which Massey then subscribed were to change radically during the following ten to twelve years and he did not have it reprinted. (See fn 8.)  In the book he admitted having read very little Spiritualistic literature, save in the first instance William White's Swedenborg: His Life and Writings.  His conclusions were based purely on personal experience and were, so far as he knew, original.  Some Swedenborgian metaphysical ideas are inherent in the book, particularly the idea that all force, including life, is of spiritual origin.  But Massey was attempting to separate orthodox doctrinal theology from what he regarded as a reality that, he said, resulted deductively from observable Spiritualistic phenomena.  While accepting Darwin's theory of man's origin and believing that we have ascended physically from lower forms of creation, he considered the cause to be spiritual, and endeavoured to make this more easily understood by what he termed ‘plain speaking’.  The 'here and now' of eternity, which he stressed so often in his lectures, indicated his belief in the individual continuity of spiritual life:

The other world is something to be believed in so long as it is afar off, but to be doubted and rejected if it chance to draw near. It is distance that lends enchantment to their view. Many good people appear to think that we must wait until death before we can get at the spirit-world; as though we could only touch bottom by grave-digging! We are in spirit-world from birth, not merely after death; we are immortal now if ever, and must be dwellers in eternity, which is Here and Now, however we close our eyes to it, and be self-shut out of it … Our lost darlings have not gone off from us like an escape of gas, as so many seem to imagine … Here are our clergy asserting Sunday after Sunday, in the name of God, any number of things which any number of listeners do not believe, only they have heard them repeated till past all power of impinging - things which they themselves do not believe if they ever come to question their own souls. . . Spiritualism will also destroy that belief in the eternity of punishment

    There had been considerable appreciation for Massey's address given at the conversazione the previous year.  Consequently he was invited to present a series of four lectures on Spiritualism at St. George's Hall, Langham Place, commencing in May, 1872 (each being reported in Medium & Daybreak).  The committee of invitation included Sir William Dunbar, Sir Charles Isham, Cromwell Varley FRS, William Crookes FRS, H. D. Jencken, Barrister, George Harris, Vice-President of the Anthropological Institute, Thomas Shorter, and William White the Swedenborg biographer.  Tennyson was sent details, but was unable to attend, writing to Massey on the 7 May:

My dear Mr Massey
If I were in or near London I would come & hear you myself; for I have read your little book more than once & got others to read it, and should like doubtless to hear your viva vox on the same topic
… [3]

    Massey's first lecture on 12 May was on the facts of his own experiences together with various theories of the alleged phenomena.[4]  The two hour lecture was well received by a full hall, among whom was Professor Blackie, who briefly mentioned the lecture in a letter:

In the (Sunday) afternoon we heard Gerald Massey give the first of a series of lectures on Spiritualism, to a crowded audience, full of the most strange, odd, and inexplicable stories about the spirits that made revelations to that Fairy called his wife … [5]

    Following on his personal experiences of which he gave accounts during the lecture, Massey compared the theories of Serjeant Cox's ‘psychic force’ with Dr William Carpenter's ‘unconscious cerebration’, or unconscious muscular movement.  This latter had been promulgated in Carpenter's article on electrobiology and mesmerism, and Massey could accept neither of those theories.[6]  It had not been discovered at that time that some apparently paranormal physical phenomena unconnected with muscular action could be produced solely by the individual, or groups of individuals.  The daily press kept silent on the lecture, apart from the Globe which considered it facetiously amusing, and ended by saying:

Trashy ghost stories might have been all very well when Mr Massey wielded the pitchfork; but to hear them soberly delivered in terse, vigorous English, and with the racy, humorous good sense which is characteristic of his style, suggests the idea of a man of real intellectual power degenerated into a hopeless craze.[7]

    Massey's second lecture on 19 May was lengthily titled ‘Concerning a Spirit World revealed to the Natural World by means of Objective Manifestations; with a New Theory of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil’.  He commenced by mentioning the two theories of man's origin; one assumed that he was struck off perfect from the mint of creation, stamped with the image of God, the other that he was developed from the animal kingdom, and is gradually approximating the divine image.  Early man first became aware of a spiritual world and of man's fate after death by visible phenomenal demonstration in the form of spiritual apparitions.  He then went on to examine forms of worship showing that they were the result of objective experiences, not of metaphysical deductions.

    The third lecture on 26 May indicated the direction his views were taking him. In ‘The Birth, Life, Miracles, and Character of Jesus Christ Re-viewed from a Fresh Standpoint’, he said that the only position theologians were able to maintain was in trying to keep the rest of the world as ignorant as themselves.  They still threatened us with everlasting punishment if we did not believe.  Had they been present when Jesus performed his miracles, they would not have believed in them any more than they believe in spiritual manifestations today.  Christ's Messiahship, miracles, resurrection and divinity were mentioned in the lecture as being necessary to awaken humanity to the sense of immortal welfare, not to create immortal life in man, since it was already there.

    His concluding lecture the following Sunday to a moderately large audience, was ‘Christianity as hitherto interpreted; a Second Advent in Spiritualism’, in which he compared Spiritualistic beliefs with those of orthodox Christianity.  He considered that the Christian world had cultivated the greatest fear of death, which to it was like taking a step in the dark.  But with the assurance of immortality being a fact, the Spiritualist could walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and find that death was but a shadow of life's presence.  He could ask ‘Is this the bugbear that has frightened so many?’  For that series of lectures Massey received £25. 4s. (Medium & Daybreak, 7 June, 1872).

    Now almost completely dependent on lecturing for his living, he again issued a prospectus for the forthcoming winter season.  These nineteen lectures were the same as for the previous winter of 1871-72, including Pre-Raphaelitism, Tennyson, Burns, Shakespeare, Swedenborg, Lamb and Thomas Hood.  But he now included a special course of four, the lectures he had delivered recently, concerned more specifically with Spiritualism.  Prior to the London lectures he had many connections with Young Men's Christian Associations.  They considered his poetry particularly pious, and had been booking him on a regular basis for some seventy to eighty lectures during the winter months.  Following his avowal of Spiritualism he had offers of only seven.  Some fifteen years after publication of Concerning Spiritualism, his researches into Christian origins led him to admit that apart from his Spiritualistic concepts, the position which he had held at that time based partly on orthodox theological doctrine, had been incorrect.[8]  That statement, had it been made earlier, would certainly have severed completely all his links with the YMCA's.

    The amount of interest engendered in Spiritualism in the 1860s led to the whole subject being investigated by the secular London Dialectical Society, based then at 1, Adam Street, Adelphi, in the Strand.  This society was very prestigious and included Charles Bradlaugh among its founder members.  Its prospectus, issued around 1867, asserted that:

Freedom of speech and thought are, not less than personal freedom, the natural birthright of all mankind.  To refrain from uttering opinions because they are unpopular, betokens a certain amount of mental cowardice … In the London Dialectical Society, however, not only will no person suffer obloquy on account of any opinion he may entertain or express, but he will be encouraged to lay before his fellow-members the fullest exposition of his views

    It carried on the tradition of the London Debating Society, commenced in 1834 by John Stuart Mill, the lectures being notable for cross examination of the speakers, allowed from the floor.  Such subjects as ‘Cremation’, ‘Chastity’, and ‘Marriage’ were debated, many of the lecturers, like Annie Besant and George Bernard Shaw, gaining fame over the years.[9]  In January 1869 the society resolved to appoint a committee under the presidency of Sir John Lubbock MP, to investigate the phenomena alleged to be Spiritual manifestations, and to report thereon.  They did not make it their brief to report on Spiritualism as a creed or philosophy.  The opinions of the press prior to the investigation were highly negative: that no such phenomena as alleged occurred at all; that the alleged phenomena were the result of imposture or delusion or both; that the phenomena that occurred were explicable by natural causes, and that Spiritualists as a body shrank from any investigation.[10]

    The thirty-six member committee commenced by inviting oral and written evidence, then divided themselves into six sub-committees, meeting at 4, Fitzroy Square, to investigate experimentally.  Numerous séances were held, with and without well-known mediums, many at private residences of committee members to preclude the possibility of pre-arranged mechanisms or contrivances.  Some were held with D. D. Home in the presence of Lord Lindsay and Lord Adare, together with society committee members.  Oral evidence was given by thirty-three people, including Lord Northwick, Cromwell Varley, Thomas Shorter, Lord Lindsay and D. D. Home, with written evidence supplied by some thirty persons, including Lord Lytton, Professor Tyndall, Alfred Russel Wallace and Camille Flammarion.  A letter from Dr William Carpenter dated December 24 1869 included a long extract from his theory of ‘Unconscious Cerebration.’  Gerald Massey's affidavit for the Lyon v. Home suit was cited, together with a testimony of Professor De Morgan.  Professor Huxley was invited to serve, but declined, saying that he had no time, and no interest in the subject.  Phenomena experienced by the subcommittees included varied sounds apparently proceeding from furniture, floors and walls, movement of heavy bodies without mechanical contrivance or adequate exertion of muscular force, and answers and communications regarding questions asked at the time.  Other phenomena given in evidence recorded levitation, the appearance of hands and human figures, red hot coals applied to hands and head without pain or scorching, and trance-speaking.

    After two years, the society produced its report in July, 1870.  They commented that they were almost wholly unsuccessful in obtaining evidence from those who attributed the phenomena to fraud or delusion.  Summarising the reports of the sub-committees, they concluded that the testimony of witnesses was supported by reports of the sub-committees, and there was absence of proof of imposture or delusion as regards a large portion of the phenomena.  The exceptional character of the phenomena was noted, as was the world-wide influence of a belief in supernatural origin, for which no philosophical explanation had been determined.  They considered it necessary therefore, to state their conviction that the subject was worthy of more serious attention and careful investigation than it had hitherto received.[11]

    Following publication of the report, the press were varied in their opinion.  Some made misquotations and misrepresentation, while others had a more courteous and tempered response than before the report was issued.  Even the American Catholic World went so far as to agree with the three hypotheses existing to account for the phenomena: unconscious cerebration expressing itself in unconscious muscular action, psychic force, and spirits.  But concerning the latter, it said, account had to be taken into the church notion of magic and direct diabolical interference.

    Distribution of the report, which contained press opinions, ensured that the inclusion of the subject in Massey's lecture tours would at least receive a more enquiring response.  Since 1858 he had been considering the possibility of an American tour, mentioning this at the time to James Fields, the senior partner of Ticknor and Fields of Boston who had published his poetical works, but this had been negated by his wife's illness.  Now, he began again to make more definite plans in this direction while continuing his tours throughout England and Scotland.  That winter he visited Durham, Barnard Castle, Bishop Auckland, Darlington and Halifax.  Returning to Barnard Castle for a further two lectures on his Spiritualistic theme, an attempt was made to get him out of town before completing his engagement.  However, due to an enthusiastic circle of friends, the pastor of the Free Christian Church, Joseph Lee, let him deliver his lecture from the pulpit:

“On the 6th and 7th instant Mr. Gerald Massey delivered two lectures, on Spiritualism to large and intelligent audiences at Barnard Castle; the subject was handled in a masterly style, orthodox theology was fought on its own ground, several ministers were there to hear it, and such was the artillery brought against the old creeds that the most independent thinkers declare that its foundations are terribly shaken; raving priests and foaming bigots raised such an uproar with the old cry, "the church is in danger;" and an attempt was made to get Mr. Massey out of the town before completing his engagement.  This his friends would not submit to, but the Free Christian Church was placed at his service, and a large audience listened to him with great interest for one hour and forty minutes.  The subject was, "The Birth, Life, and Death of Jesus," and again old orthodoxy fell in for a most fearful lashing; he set forth Jesus as an ever-living and spiritual presence which has given encouragement to free and independent thinkers.  A few séances have been held, and striking manifestations realised.  I would recommend all who wish to study this important subject to listen to Mr. Massey's lecture on the person of Jesus from a new standpoint.” (Medium and Daybreak 22 Nov. 1872.)

    The Reverend H. Kendall of Darlington commented despairingly that the churches seemed to be in low water at present, referring to Massey as a certain individual who had been lecturing last week in Darlington and other places on Spiritualism, and he was amused at that gentleman's curious statements and beliefs.[12]  Due to inclement weather and the proximity to Christmas, his Halifax lecture was poorly attended.  Additionally, the Spiritualists in that town were divided in opinion, and even got up a Sunday opposition meeting.[13]

    In Middlesbrough his lecture for the Philosophical Society was by contrast well attended, and received with repeated salvos of applause.  The local Gazette gave a favourable report, together with a leader giving fair comment on Spiritualism.  Strangely, as Massey was at that time a supporter of a number of Swedenborg's ideas that were presented in his Arcana Coelestia, it was reported that the Swedenborgians were arranging for a lecturer to visit Middlesbrough to offset Mr Massey's teachings.[14]  But Spiritualism was the sole reason for their refusal to accept Massey's ideas.  They considered that the spiritual experiences of Swedenborg between 1845-1849 might seem to countenance the séances of mediums.  A Swedenborgian later confirmed this view, stating that Swedenborg's ‘admission into the spiritual world, however, is no justification of admission by self-seeking, and the dangers of so doing Swedenborg points out.  Therefore the New Church is opposed to Modern Spiritualism.’[15]

    The fairly sedate internal progress of Spiritualism received rather unwelcome news in January 1872 which, fortunately for them, remained mostly confined within its own ranks.  Mrs Victoria Woodhull, a slim fiery American Spiritualist with firm religious visionary beliefs, had stated her open support for free love and the abolition of the marriage system.  Resolute in her opinions of female social reform, she had also strong political aspirations which gained her support from, among others, the National Women's Suffrage Association.  A correspondent to the Medium and Daybreak suggested that free love had a Biblical origin, when the Lord appointed Gabriel to infringe upon the marital rights of Joseph, and render the first-born of Mary an adulterous progeny.  Predictably, this assertion produced a lively response from readers of the paper.  Massey, who had not completely severed his roots of orthodoxy at that time, wrote:

That letter in your last number called the ‘Parentage of Jesus, and Freelove,’ must have given some of your readers a ‘scunner’.  To me it was like a cast-up gobbit of the gross nastiness that used to be dished by the Atheists …  What had it to do with Spiritualism? … The spirit of it was sensual; the intent was obscene; the language loathsome … a leering, tongue-lolling gust of carrion enjoyment

    The editor tried to steer a middle course in defending his decision to publish.  Admitting that the act as narrated by the correspondent was unwarrantable, although an absurd myth, he considered that it was best to face and deal with the issues rather than behave like an ostrich.  To Massey's remark about the Atheists, he wrote, ‘Thank God for them!  Had it not been for their self-denying labours, where would have been the position of liberty of speech to-day?’[16]

    In the same period of 1872 Massey had obtained almost 100 subscribers that would be necessary to make his book on Shakespeare a viable proposition for reprinting in a limited edition.  One supplemental chapter was added, being essentially a refutation of criticism received from Mr Chasles, since his original publication.  In a letter he wondered how best to get his new edition before the public, saying, 'I sent one Copy only for review and that to the Athenæum and had it returned with the regret that they did not review 2nd Edns … ’[17]  However, James Burns arranged for a review in his journal Human Nature that, perhaps expectedly, gave favourable mention to Massey's vigour of mind, while at the same time he was ‘breathing a poet's warmth of feeling’ and ‘throwing a vivid light on the court-life in the days of Queen Elizabeth’.[18]

    Soon after publication, Massey's American agents wrote to inform him that tour plans had been finalised.  He completed his spring lecture tour and prepared to leave England in the autumn.

    The disunity between religion and science had become increasingly obvious since the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species in 1858, and his Descent of Man in 1871.  Attempts to reconcile the two apparent opposites were of particular interest to Americans following a tour made the previous year by Professor John Tyndall, scientist, natural philosopher and Superintendent of the Royal Institution.  It was anticipated that Massey, coming also from England, would develop the subject.  Prior to leaving, Massey suffered considerable apprehension, having risked his future finances on the tour being successful.  In addition, his wife was in the last stages of pregnancy, giving birth to Elsie on 13 November.  Departing from Liverpool on the s.s. Calabria on 23 September 1873, he arrived in New York anticipating that his first lectures would be in Boston.  However, due to a misunderstanding with his agent he found that he had been replaced for that course.  This compelled him to wait six weeks before proceeding to Boston, while the agent made hasty plans for some interim lectures in New York.

    Anxious to continue with and enlarge upon Tyndall's theme, most of the New York papers and journals prepared articles giving an account of Massey's life and earlier literary works.  But in spite of the publicity, he received no formal meeting of welcome as he had hoped.  In addition, he considered that the lecture bureau had failed him due to their interest in him being limited to ten per cent.  Consequently, he decided to make his own lecture arrangements for the rest of the tour, with the assistance of James Fields, the publisher, who would provide names to whom he could send circulars.[19]  In reply to the Golden Age, which had mentioned him as being a representative of the English Spiritualists, Massey stated that he no more represented that body here in America than he would represent when he returned home the latest uterine manifestation of Spiritualism—or phalliculture—which were the peculiar products of America.  He preferred to remain an outsider, representing only his own experience as a literary man who includes the subject in his lectures.  He referred to an article in the Galaxy Magazine for October 1866 which dismissed his book on Shakespeare's Sonnets by saying, ‘He declares, and even perhaps believes that every section in this ponderous and wearisome volume was directly revealed to him by the spirit of Shakspeare!’  ‘Unfortunately,’ Massey commented, ‘we are not going to get our work so easily done for us as that would imply!’[20]

On 4 October Whitelaw Reid, the proprietor and editor-in-chief of the New York Tribune, invited Massey to attend the first seasonal Saturday meeting of the literary Lotos Club, of which he was president. Charles Bradlaugh was also invited as a speaker, prior to his journey to Boston. Bradlaugh had left England for a lecturing tour on 6 September, two weeks earlier than Massey, also with some apprehension. In his case, this was due to an insulting notice by the London correspondent to the Boston Pilot, who had referred to him as:

A creature six feet high, twenty inches broad, and about twelve thousand feet of impudence. He keeps a den in a hole-in-the-wall here, dignified by the title of the ‘Hall of Science’, in which he holds forth Sunday after Sunday to a mob of ruffians whose sole hope after death is immediate annihilation …  The Pilot, if it can do nothing else, can warn our people from laying hands upon this uneducated ruffian.

This was added to by the Boston Advertiser, which said:

In England … practical politicians among the advanced liberal party avoid him as honest men avoid a felon, as virtuous women avoid a prostitute.[21]

    Massey, although not heralded by adverse comments, said he expected that he would, on account of his connection with Spiritualism, be the object within a few months of much obloquy at the hands of the American press, but he only asked for fair play.[22]  He did not suspect that a comment by Bradlaugh on an incident that occurred many years previously would also be remembered in some detail by a newspaper reporter in New York.

    Following his first lecture at the Steinway Hall on 3 October, Bradlaugh gave an interview which included ‘A Reminiscence of Gerald Massey’.  The reporter, who signed herself ‘Theo’ asked Bradlaugh if he and Massey had ever met.  Apart from the Lotos Club reception, Bradlaugh said he had not met with Massey since ‘That memorable night when you and I went to hear a lecture on Co-operation by a gentleman named Cooper.  Since then Gerald Massey rather fights shy of me.’  The reporter confirmed that she did remember the incident.  This ‘incident’ was then given with, apparently, some bias:

A gentleman named Walter Cooper, who was Manager of the Co-operative Tailors' Association introduced into the Society, in the capacity of clerk, a young man who was not a tailor, and therefore, not a member, at a stated salary.  This was a direct and flagrant violation of the rules and by-laws of the Association, which declared that no one but a member could fill any office in the concern.  The main body of tailors rebelled, and demanded the instant dismissal of Gerald Massey.  A war ensued, which ended in the discharge of one or two of the most efficient and active members of the Society by Walter Cooper, who, in some hocus-pocus way, got the sceptre of power into his own hands, and kept his favourite in office … It was while this furore was at its height, that Cooper advertised a lecture on ‘Co-operation’ at the Hall of Science, City Road, London; and Charles Bradlaugh, then a young man, almost unknown, who was intimate with the discharged tailors, was appointed to attend the lecture, and, at the close, put a few questions to the lecturer, while the others should be stationed in different parts of the hall, to rise, banquo-like, and confront him, to his dismay and final confusion, when his replies should warrant them in doing so.  Cooper was completely misled by Bradlaugh's youth and innocent appearance, though he showed considerable surprise and some embarrassment at the tendency of the questions put, and soon found that he was indeed stepping among hornets.  Gerald Massey, who was on the platform, with his new-made wife, came to the rescue of his superior, but only added fuel to the flames.  The excitement ran high, and noise predominated, and at one time there were fears of a general melee, in the midst of which Mrs Massey rushed to her husband, encircling him with her arms, and was finally borne from the hall in a swooning condition.  Cooper confounded!  Massey annihilated!  Bradlaugh triumphant! and the discharged avenged!  Oh! what a merry time we had going home from the Hall … [23] [Appendix B gives Massey's account of the Working Tailor's Association.]

    Massey's first lecture in New York was held in the Unity Chapel, 128th Street, Harlem, on 26 October.  'Why does not God kill the Devil?', although heavily laden with myth lore, was basically practical.  Still suffering from the effects of two colds, which he thought were due to the peculiar mode of ventilating his room at Delmonico's Hotel, Massey spoke with a slightly husky voice, with great rapidity and nervous energy.[24]  Making no attempt at oratory, he spoke directly and sincerely in presenting his convictions.  Why, he asked, if God is the superior being, does he permit the Evil One to upset his divine arrangements?  He had searched through the ancient mythologies to ferret out the authorship of this same Devil which theology insists on keeping alive as a main part of its machinery.  He demonstrated that much of what is accepted by mankind in general as ‘revelation’, is nothing more than inverted mythology.

    Following his second lecture in Association Hall the following day on ‘A Spirit World Revealed to the Natural World’, he was referred to as being earnest and sincere, with an enthusiastic temperament and original thought.  He proclaimed that Spiritualism as he understood it, not its vagaries or follies but its philosophy and facts, was a New World's gift that amply repaid all that America had ever received from the Old World.  Mentioning the opposition's cry of hallucination, ‘Blessings,’ he said, ‘upon that word; it constituted the sceptics whole book of revelation.’  He had no fear for Darwin's theory, comparing that with man's evolution of his spiritual nature.[25]  At Princeton, his intended visit was opposed by the faculty, who had heard of his opinions on the new theology.  In spite of this restraint the students arranged for him to lecture in the Methodist chapel on 20 November.  During his lecture on Charles Lamb, he deliberately made reference to the persecuting influence of the old theology and, on leaving, inscribed some verse to the professors on the subject, in a college album:

You had the power, and you and yours
Upon me slammed some outer doors;
But if you look you'll see, and start
To find me in the student's heart
… [26]

    From New York he went on to Philadelphia, giving a lecture on ‘Hood’, on 25 November at the Horticultural Hall.  As with his portrait of Lamb, he noted the lights and shadows of Hood's mental moods.  He contrasted his wit and pathos with his poetry and puns, even while living within the sight of death for years.[27]  Continuing via Buffalo, he delivered his lecture on the ‘Devil’ at the Mercantile Library Hall, St. Louis.  This was not appreciated by the editor of the St. Louis Central Baptist, who wrote with passion, ‘… the devil never would insult an intelligent audience with the stuff that passed for literature in Mercantile Library Hall last week.  He is too much of a gentleman.’[28]

    Massey's next venue was in Chicago.  As part of the ‘Star’ lecture course, he was booked at the Kingsbury Music Hall for 9 December.  Despite a considerable amount of advertising by his agents, his lecture on ‘Charles Lamb’ was attended by two-thirds of empty chairs—the equivalent amount of applause being given to an introduction by the Star orchestra.  After that preamble, Massey came in by a side entrance appearing unusually nervous, and immediately commenced his lecture.  The reporter did not consider Massey either handsome or to have an intellectual appearance, observing his thin moustache and side-whiskers, with hair parted in the middle.  The lecture itself was well appreciated, the critical reporter referring to Massey's considerable imitative ability and versatility of expression.  But he noted also the occasional omission of an aspirate, and pronunciation of ‘unctious’ for ‘unctuous’, twice.  He had a very rapid delivery which tended to puzzle the audience until they became attuned to it.  Also in the audience were ‘Theo’ and some of her friends, of whose presence Massey was probably aware and fearful they would make another disruption.  ‘Theo’ was Richard Carlile's youngest daughter, Theophilia.  Charles Bradlaugh had been friendly with Carlile's widow, her son and two daughters, whom he first met in 1848.  After the lecture when Massey was met in the lobby, he still appeared very nervous and indifferent.  ‘Theo’ referred to one person being present whom he barely acknowledged, as 'One who had assisted him in his early days' and ‘from whose house his first poems were published,—who had waited with the most delightful anticipations for his visit to Chicago … ’[29]

    The comments on Massey's elocution were reinforced in a lecture report on ‘Jesus’ which he gave at the West Side Opera House on 14 December.  He was again accused of being extremely rapid in speech and, in addition, making some comments which were too flippant.[30]  For his next lecture arranged by the Free Religious Society, General Israel Stiles, lawyer and anti-slavery orator, presided.  In his opening address, he referred to Massey as an enemy of opposition and wrong, and one of the distinguished visiting English lecturers among his countrymen Thackeray, Dickens and Tyndall.  During his lecture ‘Christ, a Medium’, Massey announced Christ as the greatest Spiritualist of all time, but pronounced his disbelief in the doctrine of the Trinity.  Even this comment was well received by the audience.  His second lecture the following day on ‘Why does not God kill the Devil?’ was advertised as free, and additional to an already prepared schedule.  The arrangements for this were made by the chairman of the Chicago Philosophical Society, the Reverend Hiram Washington Thomas.  Due to the unorthodoxy of the Chicago lectures, the Trustees of the Chicago Methodist Church who had let their building to the Society for that lecture, made a protest.  The executive committee of the Philosophical Society replied, saying that they recognised the Church's right and duty to protest against the improper use of the church property; but ‘In the case of Gerald Massey's lecture, we did not use our usual caution in ascertaining the character of it; and are equally free to say that, had we been aware of its character, we should have declined it.’[31]  Hiram Thomas was later tried for heresy in 1881, and accused then of bringing the liberal-minded Massey to Chicago.[32] Despite the strong reservations of the Philosophical Society, the editor of the Religio-Philosophical Journal was pleased with a personal meeting with Massey, in which Massey aroused his interest in spirit communion, and took uncompromising grounds concerning the status of the religious systems of the time.

    On arriving in Boston for his own organized series of lectures, he was greeted by his friends James and Annie Fields.  Feeling more at ease with the New Englanders, he was able to relax and make further friendly contacts.  The poet John Greenleaf Whittier appreciated Massey's humane idealism, the two of them meeting at Whittier's home at Amesbury, where Massey's poems remain in Whittier's study.  It is possible also, but not recorded, that he met Harney, who had moved to America in 1863 and was living then in Boston.

    Massey opened his series of four weekly lectures to the Music Hall Spiritualist Society, Boston on 4 January 1874.  Having had to alter his plans on his arrival in New York, he said in a letter to James Fields, ‘I have to begin as in New York with the despised Spiritualism in default of anything else.’[33]  Music Hall had a large capacity, and was the theatre where Queen Victoria's Prince Edward (Bertie) was welcomed with a music festival by some 1,200 school children during a tour in 1860.[34]

    Improved health and greater confidence showed in his first lecture ‘Why am I a Spiritualist?’ which was heartily appreciated, the Boston Post noting his clear, full voice, his fluently expressed ideas and eloquent delivery.  The Banner of Light of 10 January reported the lecture very adequately.  Henry Wilson, USA. Vice-President, the scientist Professor J. Buchanan and William Claflin, ex-Governor of Massachusetts were present for his second lecture, ‘An Inquiry Concerning a Spirit World … ’[35]  The third lecture on Jesus Christ was equally well received.  The fourth and last lecture, (with singing by a choice choir) on ‘Why Does not God Kill the Devil?’ had been commended previously by the Chicago Religio-Philosophical Journal as ‘replete with evidence of the mythological origin of the basis of all religions … ’ and ‘was one of the most masterly and exhaustive lectures ever delivered before a Chicago audience.’

Gerald Massey. A Cabinet photo.

    On 17 January the Franklin Typographical Society held its semi-centennial anniversary incorporating the one hundred and sixty-eighth anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Franklin, at the Odd Fellows' Building, 515 Tremont Street.  Having a membership of over one hundred and fifty, the society accepted all types of employment connected with the printing trade.  Charitable to its members, it also served their literary interests with a library of two thousand books.  At the meeting musical entertainment was provided, and speeches following regular toasts were given by a number of invited guests of honour.  These included Governor Washburn, E. B. Haskell, editor of the Boston Herald, Charles Slack, editor of the Commonwealth, W. H. Cundy, president of the society, and others, with of course, Gerald Massey.  The Society claimed Massey as one of their craft, said the president, because at the age of twenty-one he was the editor of a newspaper.  Responding to great applause, Massey said he had been allowed twenty minutes, but feared that once on his feet he would speak for the whole evening.  He continued, adding elements of his social gospel in his speech which he thought the audience would appreciate:

I am pleased that the first public social reception given to me in Boston should have come from the working-men.  I was born among the workers, and to them I belong.  At the present time I am associated with a subject that is tabooed and unfashionable—so much so that only a single preliminary word of welcome was given to me by the Boston press.  It has always been my fate to stand on the weaker and unpopular side, and it is so still.  But, gentlemen, I can assure you it was the side that came uppermost and was the stronger in the end, and I do not doubt it will be so with this much despised subject of Spiritualism … None but the despised Spiritualists invited me to speak in Boston … But I do not wish to increase the consciousness of those who have such a dislike to Spiritualism by making them feel it is a case of ‘like me, like my dog’ … I have been toasted again and again as a poet of the people and the poet of the poor.  The effect on my mind is very curious.  It appears as though I had come to America to discover myself … I was here for weeks without being conscious of my nationality.  The man I see reflected in the mirror is the boy of twenty-five years ago who sang the songs of love, and labour's chivalry.  But all I care for now is to get something done—help on the living deed rather than set words to music … I maintain that the first practical attempt at practical Christianity is the co-operation of capital and labour and the unification of these interests in one.  No rise in the rate of wages will ever solve the problem.  It is merely out of one pocket as soon as it is in the other, so long as prices rise all round the income of the worker … I am not here to empty the butter-boat down your backs, in return for the dinner you have given me, but Hawthorne once said, ‘all Englishmen were detestable in the lump, but individually he liked every one of them.’  Perhaps if you didn't lump us so much, you may come to like us more … If I should serve only as the smallest thread in knitting the universal tie … I shall be prouder of that than of all my poetry.

    Letters from supporters were read out, including one from John Greenleaf Whittier, the poet and champion of emancipation, who wrote that illness kept him from the dinner.  But he would be glad to see his place filled by a gentleman well and honourably known on both sides of the Atlantic, Gerald Massey, of England.[36]

    During his speech Massey had told how he had met dainty ladies, who looked as though they had just come through a shower of jewels, congratulate him on his poem 'Little Willie'.  They were so innocent of the fact that ‘poor little Willie’ was one of his brother's children who had died a cruel death in a workhouse, and was buried in its grave.

In the day we wandered foodless,
    Little Willie cried for bread;
In the night we wandered homeless,
    Little Willie cried for bed.
Parted at the Workhouse door,
    Not a word we said:
Ah, so tired was poor Willie,
    And so sweetly sleep the dead.
'T was in the dead of winter
    We laid him in the earth;
The world brought in the New Year,
    On a tide of mirth.
But, for lost little Willie,
    Not a tear we crave;
Cold and Hunger cannot wake him,
    In his Workhouse Grave. . .

    On completion of his first Boston lecture series, Massey sent a triumphant telegram to Whitelaw Reid at the New York Tribune office saying, ‘I concluded my course yesterday in Boston with an audience of two thousand people.’[37]

    Massey was always ready to champion a cause or person that was generally unpopular or that he thought deserved social recognition at the time.  He had written ‘To a Worker and Sufferer for Humanity’ in 1850 in praise of the Rev. Maurice, when Maurice was being persecuted at King's College, from which he was expelled in 1853 on account of his opinions.[38]  It was revised later as ‘Maurice and the Bigots’.[39]  Florence Nightingale's valiant work in the Crimea was saluted sentimentally in a section of ‘Glimpses of the War’ in Craigcrook Castle, and reprinted later as ‘Our English Nightingale’.[40]  In a twenty-four stanza poem he had made an appreciation of W. M. Thackeray (‘William Makepeace Thackeray’) on the occasion of his death in 1863.  Thackeray had attended a number of D. D. Home's seances and, while editing the Cornhill Magazine, had endorsed an article ‘Stranger than Fiction’ in the edition of August 1860.  Robert Bell was the anonymous author, and gave an account of Home's levitational powers.  Thackeray was attacked for publishing the article, and the magazine suffered a sharp decline in circulation.

    One of the many people with whom Massey had come into contact during his tour was Colonel John Hay.  He was an editorial writer on the New York Tribune, and had been assistant secretary to President Lincoln.  A composer of ballads, his poems Little Breeches, and Other Pieces which he wrote in 1871, were better known by name than its poetical content.  As a mark of respect Massey composed a special poem to him for his wedding day, 8 January 1874, and wrote asking Reid to publish it verbatim in that particular issue of the Tribune.  Unfortunately, some pretentious over-effulgence at times made Massey's personalised poems incredibly mediocre:


I said, when I crossed the ocean
    You had bridged in your own arch way,
'Twas worth while, I have a notion,
    If only to meet John Hay!

Just long enough have you tarried,
    And this is your wedding day!
God double your life, when married,
    And treble your luck, John Hay!

May heart in heart together
    Make honey-moon all the way
And bring you the heavenliest weather
    Through the long voyage, John Hay!

I can't speak one of the speeches,
    But I send you a greeting, and pray,
For lots of 'Little Breeches'
    'Hell-to-split' round you, John Hay!

    The poem was not appreciated by Whitelaw Reid, who wrote on the letter:

Dear Hu[——]d. This seems to me infernally bad. What do you say? W. R.
Disgusting! J. H.

The poem was not published.

    From Boston, Massey went on to Poughkeepsie, where he lectured at Vassar College on 8 January on ‘A plea for reality, or the story of the English Pre-Raphaelites’.  He had developed this theme to become one of his favourite subjects, and it was by then firmly established in his lecture series.  The Pre-Raphaelites, formed in 1848 as a ‘Brotherhood’ against the Royal Academy's control over British art, included D. G. Rossetti, John Millais and Holman Hunt.  They considered that there should be a reform in art and realism, with observation and feeling expressed by aesthetic techniques.  This idea was demonstrated also in their poetry, where sincerity and descriptiveness of emotions earned them the name given to them by Robert Buchanan, of ‘The Fleshly School’.  Buchanan had called their Journal the Germ ‘an unwholesome periodical’ and in a reply to Rossetti's spirited response referred to some of his ‘unsavoury’ poems as ‘flooded with sensualism’.[42]  In his lecture Massey referred to their intent of reform as to do ‘anything to avoid repeating the simpering imbecilities of the drawing-room ideal of unmeaning prettiness’, and that they ‘made war on the critical canons laid down by Sir Joshua Reynolds’.  They were true to nature, he said, and the only means of approaching the ideal is through the real.  He included also some remarks with a Spiritualistic theme.[43]  The president of the college later wrote to Massey that:

Whatever differences of opinion there might be … [and differences there were] in regard to the main doctrine of the lecture, or some of the opinions incidentally indicated, all agreed that it was an admirable exhibition of the fundamental idea of this interesting movement in art, and a forcible presentation of the arguments in its behalf … [44]

    Massey returned to Chicago at the beginning of February, where he repeated his lecture on the ‘Devil’ at Grow's Opera Hall on 15 February.  This was the lecture that had so annoyed the Methodist Church Block the previous December.  But the press were favourably disposed towards his nonconformism, one paper, the Chicago Daily Times, comparing Massey's scholarly effort with some previous Sunday speakers.  Dr Cheney (Baptist) had been abstruse, sonorous and somnolent.  Dr Thomas had speculated on an intermediate state between death and the resurrection, which was just exactly as demonstrable, curious and instructive as would be a speculation as to whether the inhabitants of Neptune break their boiled eggs at the small or big end.  The paper admitted that Chicago had thousands of people who never enter a church; while they wish for food, they are given a doctrinal stone; they wish to know how to live, and are told only how to die.  Unorthodoxy was ‘a protest against a social condition in which oppression, poverty, misrule, suffering, are rampant everywhere, and the only remedy offered is such a misty one as is promised in some future state of everlasting psalm singing and praise … ’[45]

    From Rand's Hall, Troy, Massey went on to the Pacific coast to a full house of three thousand at Platt's Hall, San Francisco, on 15 April.  His second lecture the following evening on ‘The Coming Religion’ contained ‘some of his strongest passages—for the utterance of which a couple of centuries ago he would reverently have been burned—and were warmly applauded, though not by many persons.’[46]  Via the Melodion Hall, Cincinnati, at the end of April, he returned finally to Music Hall, Boston, on Sunday, 3 May for a lecture on ‘The Serpent Symbol: its Spiritual and Physical Significance’.  There was a large attendance, many people coming in by train on Saturday to listen to ‘the people's poet, whose soul goes out with wonderful power to the hearts of the oppressed’.[47]  For his farewell lecture on 10 May, ‘The Coming Religion’ included the necessity of having women as positive partners in family life.  He summarised his hopes of the future for a purer, more practical Christianity based, as he continually advocated, on Spiritualistic and socialistic ideals without orthodox theology:

Men have believed there must be a physical resurrection, otherwise the damned could not gnash their poor teeth in eternal torment.  Men believe they ought not to bow down before any graven image, who all the week go down and grovel in the dust on all fours in front of one that twinkles golden and winks … having on it the image of the queen or president stamped on the current coin of the realm.  If you were one of the elect, having been saved through believing in Adam's sin then, according to Mr Spurgeon, you can expect the entertainment of seeing those other poor, damned souls whose veins are roads for the feet of pain to travel in, and every nerve is a string on which the devil shall for ever play his diabolical tune of hell's unutterable torment.  And as the song of the ransomed was singing, word would come that your father was among the damned, and you would sing all the louder; or that several of your little ones were in hell, and your hallelujahs would be redoubled … The only final reality is a communicating consciousness … The highest form of visitation from the living God is not found by the bended knees of contemplative piety, but by the weary feet of active charity.[48]

    During the lecture Massey mentioned that while he was in America he had sat with a medium who produced on a photograph the likeness of his dead daughter, Marian.  This was probably the psychic photographer William H. Mumler of Boston who, in 1861 when an amateur, had developed a self-portrait photo which showed standing next to him, the likeness of a cousin who had died twelve years earlier.  Mumler was investigated, and caused great interest and controversy, fraud being undetected.[49]  Nevertheless, he was accused on one occasion of deception, but acquitted following a trial in 1869.[50]

    While he was on tour Massey had been told of another instance, similar to John Plummer, where he had inspired self-help.  A poor emigrant Scotsman's son in Wisconsin who, twenty years earlier while farming two hundred acres single handed, had received his lunch of buckwheat cakes wrapped in a page of the New York Tribune.  The review of Massey's Poems and Ballads together with the biographical sketch was printed on that page.  Reading that account of Massey's early life influenced the man to educate himself, following which he obtained a literary post involved with the promotion of education.[51]  Massey was very pleased that his own example of Samuel Smiles' Self Help had produced at least two known positive results.

    His tour completed, and having made $3,000 from his American venture, Massey left New York on the 16th May on the s.s. Java.  During his absence his mother, aged 77 years, had died of heart disease and bronchitis on 8th January at Clement's Yard, Akeman Street, Tring.  Her husband would survive her by six years, in a state of continual poverty.

    Throughout his more recent lecture courses when dealing with a greater number of Spiritualistic and universal religious themes, Massey was compelled to make increasing reference to source material with their apparent analogies and divisions.  In common with most youthful radicals he had read the works of Paine, Voltaire, Volney, and the critical exegesis of gospel history serialised by Thomas Cooper in his Journal.  Under the general term ‘Freethought’, which included Spiritualism, the more recent lectures and writings of the Reverend Charles Voysey of the Independent Theistic Church, Swallow Street, Piccadilly, together with the atheist Charles Bradlaugh and secularist George Jacob Holyoake, had brought to many a greater awareness of historical and theological division.[52]  To Massey, acceptance of the syncretisation of science and deism without the tenets of orthodox theology appeared as no problem, and his lectures in that aspect, apart from his strong individual presentation, were not new.  The possibility of a personal relationship with God, as defined theistically, was supplanted by Massey in the form of the Spiritualistic belief of survival and communication of post-mortem personality.  However, his assertion of Spiritualism as being fundamental to both science and deism was original, and unacceptable to his otherwise more numerous secular supporters.

    The atheists gave no credence to supernatural theories, hence could not accept Spiritualism.  They were unable to believe in the reality of any God manufactured by the world's religionists, which must be something outside, distinct from, and superior to everything.  No human being could therefore have any rational idea of it, or could even comprehend it.

    The secularists, not necessarily denying the doctrine of a life beyond the grave, provable theologically only after death, based their beliefs upon the observance of life, of which the practical problems could be solved here and now for the happiness of humanity.  They considered that this itself provided a moral code, ‘the good of others’.  The existence of a personal God was not in general acceptance, although they would not have the arrogance of divine knowledge to deny it.[53]

    Following his return to England in 1874, Massey issued in July a list of twelve lectures he was prepared to deliver during the coming winter season. These contained nothing new, as he was then commencing more extensive research into mythological and religious origins that he hoped eventually to publish in book form. He planned that the summer months would be occupied with this, and he requested a rapid renewal of his British Museum library ticket.[54]

    Also during that month, large newspaper headlines announced the ‘North London Railway Murder’.  On the evening of 9 July, Thomas Briggs, a banking-house clerk was found on the railway line between Bow and Hackney Wick stations, dying shortly after without regaining consciousness.  He had sustained bodily injuries that were due to his fall, as well as head wounds that were consistent with blows from a blunt instrument.  Although robbed of his watch and chain, sovereigns and other valuable items had not been taken.  Suspicion fell on Franz Muller, an out of work German tailor, who had been planning after two years in England, to travel on to America.  Shortly after the incident it was confirmed that Muller had taken a boat to America, where he was arrested and brought back to England.  In his possession he had Briggs' watch which, he stated later, he had purchased from a man at the docks, and a hat, also thought to have belonged to Briggs.  His own hat was found in the train compartment.  The trial commenced at the Old Bailey on 27 October on complex evidence that was largely circumstantial and often conflicting in cross-examination.[55]  One witness who knew Briggs, stated that he saw two men in the open-seated compartment with Briggs at Bow station, where he entered the train in another carriage, though could not recognise Muller as one of the men.  He had spoken to Briggs, who had replied.  On the final day of the trial on the 29 October, and after fifteen minutes deliberation by the jury, Muller was found guilty of murder.

    At the time of the trial, Massey and his wife who were experimenting with a form of planchette writing, obtained a message purporting to be from the deceased Briggs, which stated ‘Muller not guilty; robbery, not murder’.  This surprised Massey, and induced him to look carefully into the evidence.  Not finding the case conclusive, he wrote a long letter to eight daily papers which, he considered, was the best piece of logical reasoning he had achieved up to that time.[56]  The letter was published only by the Daily News, Massey taking the position that robbery was the motive for the attack.  He thought also, mentioning other evidence, that Briggs had tried to escape after exchanging blows with Muller, by leaving the carriage by the footboard and attempting to get into the next compartment.  During this manœuvre he fell and his head was struck by the buffer of the next carriage.  Under these circumstances, a conviction of manslaughter would have been more appropriate.[57]

Muller was hanged by public execution on 14 November in front of Newgate gaol. Intense pressure by clergy had been put on him to confess to the murder, although he admitted only to committing robbery. At the last minute on the scaffold, following a conversation, the German minister in attendance announced triumphantly that Muller had confessed by saying, ‘I have done it, and no one else.’ The whole scene was viewed with enjoyment and regarded as entertainment by an unruly crowd who were jesting, making obscene jokes and mocking the clergyman's prayers. Appeals for clemency, and doubts over some of the evidence that Massey had brought to public attention following the trial, were disregarded.

[Chapter 7]



In Human Nature, Vol. 5, Aug. 1871, 420.


Medium and Daybreak, 4 Aug. 1871, 247-51.


Ms. University of Texas. Although Tennyson had extended an invitation for Massey to visit him at his home on the Isle of Wight, he had never managed to get there. The two did eventually meet in London while Tennyson was on a visit to his doctor.


Spiritualist, 15 May 1872, 36. Human Nature, May 1872. Medium and Daybreak, for 1872 (the editions for 29 March, 112-113; 17 May 1872, 177-79, 182-3; 24 May, 189-191; 31 May, 201-202; 7 June, 213-215; 218.)


Walker, A. (ed.), Letters of John Stuart Blackie (London, Blackwood, 1909), 211. Blackie retained an interest in the subject, attending a séance with a number of other notable persons at the home of Professor Gregory's widow, in 1877. Cited in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's History of Spiritualism 2 vols (London, Doran, 1926), 2, 47-48.


Quarterly Review, Oct. 1853.


Globe, 13 May 1872, 3.


Medium and Daybreak, 26 Nov. 1886, 756.


In Davies, Charles, Heterodox London 2 vols. (London, Tinsley Bros., 1874), 1, 137-267.


As cited in Medium and Daybreak, 10 Jan. 1873, 17.


Report on Spiritualism of the Committee of the London Dialectical Society, together with the evidence, oral and written (London, Longmans, 1871. Abridged ed. Burns, 1873).


Medium and Daybreak, 1 Nov. 1872, 430. 15 Nov. 1872, 452. 22 Nov. 1872, 460.


Ibid. 3 Jan. 1873, 5.


Ibid. Cited 31 Jan. 1873, 57.


From a lecture given under the auspices of the Swedenborg Lecture Bureau, New Jerusalem Church, 16 Dec. 1883. Cited in Banner of Light, 22 Dec. 1883, 4.


A biographic sketch of Mrs Woodhull reprinted in Human Nature, 6, (Jan. 1872), 22-42. Relevant correspondence in the Medium and Daybreak is in the issues of 1872, 2 Feb. 40-41. 16 Feb. 58. 23 Feb. 66. 1 Mar. 78-79 (Massey's letter). 8 Mar. 91. 22 Mar. 103.


Trinity College, Cambridge. 209.c.85.158. Add. Mss. 75/67. Addressee unnamed.


Human Nature, 6, (April 1872), 209-14).


Ms. The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


Cited in Banner of Light, 8 Nov. 1873.


Bonner, Hypatia Bradlaugh, Charles Bradlaugh. A Record of his Life and Work (London, Unwin, 1908), 380-1


Cited in Medium and Daybreak, 31 Nov. 1873, 497.


Chicago Daily Tribune, 28 Dec. 1873, 11.  See also Charles Bradlaugh, op. cit., vol. 1, 9-19 and 388 for Bradlaugh's relationship with Carlile's family. The incident is unrecorded in this or Headingley's biography, and untraced in the Northern Star or Reynolds's Weekly Newspaper of that time. Bradlaugh's interview with ‘Theo’ is not mentioned in his letters to the National Reformer.


Medium and Daybreak, 19 December, 1873, 602. Ms. The Library of Congress.


New York Times, 28 Oct. 1873.


New York Daily Graphic, 22 Nov. 1873.


Ibid. 28 Nov. 1873.


Cited in Banner of Light, 3 Jan. 1874.


Chicago Daily Tribune, 10 Dec. 1873. This was probably W. J. Linton, who moved to America in 1867. Whilst Massey was at Brantwood, in 1860, W.J. Linton was his landlord.


Ibid. 15 Dec. 1873.


Spiritualist, 13 Feb. 1874, 84.


Hawley, Charles, ‘Gerald Massey and America’ in Church History, 8, 4, 362-3.


Ms. The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


Roby, Kinley, The King, the Press and the People (London, Barrie & Jenkins, 1975), 81-82.


Banner of Light, 17 Jan. 1874. Lecture report pp. 1-2.


Boston Daily Advertiser, 19 Jan. 1874. Also the Banner of Light, 24 Jan. 1874.


In the Library of Congress.


Christian Socialist, 1, 16.


My Lyrical Life, 2, 78-79.


Ibid. 365-67.


Library of Congress.


The Fleshly School of Poetry (London, Strahan, 1872), 58.


New York Daily Tribune, 9 Jan. 1874, 2.


Cited in Banner of Light, 14 Feb. 1874.


Editorial article in the Chicago Daily Times, 17 Feb. 1874, and reprinted in Human Nature, 8, (May 1874), 238-9.


Daily Evening Bulletin, 16 Apr. 1874 and Daily Morning Call, 18 Apr. 1874. Cited in Banner of Light, 2 May 1874 and Medium and Daybreak, 15 May 1874, 314.


A nearly complete report of the lecture was given in the Banner of Light, 9 May 1874 and reprinted in Human Nature, 8, (July 1874), 301-12.


Banner of Light, 16 May 1874, 7-8. Also Cincinnati Commercial, 1 May 1874.


Permutt, Cyril. Photographing the Spirit World. Images from Beyond the Spectrum (London, Aquarian Press, 1988), 12-14.


Spiritual Magazine, Jun. 1869, 245-66.


Banner of Light, 14 Jan. 1874.


Reverend Charles Voysey (1828-1912), a founder of the Cremation Society, was convicted of heresy in 1869. An account is given in M.D. Conway's The Voysey Case (London, Scott, 1871).


‘Secularism and Secularism,’ in Heterodox London. Op. cit.


Medium and Daybreak, 31 July 1874, 484. British Library Add. Ms. 45748.f.12.


Daily News, 28 Oct. 1874, 2-3. 29 Oct., 2-3. Verdict, 31 Oct., 2-3.


Medium and Daybreak, 17 May 1872, 178.


Daily News, 10 Nov. 1874, 3. See letters in 11 Nov., 2. Execution, 15 Nov., 5-6.  A detailed background and account of this alleged murder is given in 'Mr Briggs' Hat. A sensational account of Britain's first railway murder' by Kate Colquhoun (Little, Brown, London 2011).  See p. 275-6 for a theory similar to Massey's, but no direct citation is given.