I (together with the Bulletin) have watched, with deep concern, the distress being wrought in our midst by spiritualism, during the past week or two; I (like the Bulletin) have done all I could to crush out the destroyer; I have published full reports of the seances of the so called "Friends of Progress," and the Bulletin has left out three columns of printed paragraphs pasted together by its New York correspondent to make room for a report of the spiritualist Laura Cuppy's lecture and I have followed in the Bulletin's wake and shouted every few days "Another Victim of the Wretched Delusion called Spiritualism!" and like that paper, have stated the number of persons it took to hold him and where his mother resided.
In some instances which have come under my notice, these symptoms are peculiarly sad. How touching it was, on Monday evening, in the Board of Supervisors - a body which should be a concentration of the wisdom and intellect of the city - to see Supervisor McCoppin, bereft of his accustomed sprightliness, and subdued, subjugated by spiritualism, rise in his place, and with bowed head, and stooping body, and frightened eyes peering from under overhanging brows, ejaculate in sepulchral tones:
FEE - FAW - FUM!
Great Heavens! to hear him say that and then sit down with the air of a man who has settled a mooted question forever, and done the work in a solid, substantial manner.
And it touched me to the very heart to see the Mayor of the city - a man of commanding presence and solemn demeanor - get up and repeat the following, as if it were a part of a litany:
Three blind mice,
See - how they - run.
The farmer's wife,
She cut off their tails
With the carving knife,
See - how - they run."
He then sat down and leaned his face in his hands, and Dr. Rowell got
up and said:
"Spiritual department - paid spiritual department, when I was a Republican I poisoned rebels - now I am a Democrat, I poison Republicans. Woe, woe, woe, unto the traducers of the new light! woe, woe, woe, to the enemies of the new light! woe, woe, woe, unto them that hear the Cuppy and the Foye and the ministering spirits that fan us with invisible wings as they sweep by, and whisper eternal truths in our ears - woe, woe, woe!"
"Woe-haw, woe-haw, woe-haw-Buck You Duke!" said Mr. Ashbury, impressively.
Mr. McCoppin (counting on his fingers) - One ery - o'ery - ickery - Ann; fillisy, fallallacy, Nicholas John; queevy, quavy, English navy - stinklum, stanklum, Buck. Alas, my poor, poor country."
Mr. Shrader said, with deep feeling, but without gesticulation or straining after effect:
"Let dogs delight to bark and bite,
For 'tis their nature thus -
Your little hands were never made
To tear out each other's eyes with."
My eyes filled with tears to see this body of really able men driveling in this foolish way, and as I walked sadly out, I said "This is more spiritualism; the Bulletin and I will soon have to record the departure of the Board of Supervisors for Stockton. Poor creatures - to have kept out of the asylum on one pretext or another so long, and then to fall at last through so weak a thing as spiritualism."
[reprinted The Washoe Giant in San Francisco, edited by Franklin Walker (George Fields, 1938), pp. 129-131 reprinting the Golden Era, FEB. 18, 1866.]
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