[Editorial Note: This introduction was written for the 151st anniversary [of her birth] edition of The Life Work of Cora L. V. Richmond, by H. D. Barrett. The first edition was published in Chicago in 1895. This edition, presumably published in 1991, is available through the National Spiritualist Association of Churches, an organization founded by Cora Richmond. The introduction offers a synopsis of Barrett's work, although it does contain two paragraphs dealing with Cora's marriage to Benjamin Franklin Hatch. This was a subject Barrett avoided altogether. Neither Barrett nor the author of his introduction dealt with her other marriages before her final one, to William Richmond. As sources of historical information, neither Barrett nor the author of this Introduction, are reliable. The introduction, for example, claims that her divorce petition against Hatch was granted "instantly." Nonetheless, both possess the merit of passing along the "official" version of her life, i.e., the story as she wished it told.]
INTRODUCTION: CORA L. V. SCOTT RICHMOND
While the work of our pioneer teachers was keenly appreciated by their associates, their value was not realized until they had passed from the earthly scene. Such is the case of Cora Richmond, whose silver-tongued oratory and whose remarkable Trance Mediumship has never been equaled. Her keen appreciation for the need of a National Organization resulted in the formation of that Organization in 1893. Her soul teachings brought many masterminds intoSpiritualism at the turn of the nineteenth century; her missionary work was of measureless value. The sweetness of her nature and the spirituality she expressed personally, were qualities never to be forgotten by her associates.
Cora Scott was born on April 21, 1840 near Cuba, New York and was the daughter of David W. and Lodencia Butterfield Scott.
The interesting background of this marvelous child medium prepared the way for her mediumship and the naturalness of its acceptance. Her father was an independent in religious views, and in his younger days, had read the works of Thomas Paine, which left a lasting impression upon his mind. He was a searcher for truth in all directions, and was willing to receive it from any and all sources.
The mother was of a religious turn of mind, her parents being strict Presbyterians, but she too, was a truth seeker and her religious opinions had been materially modified when Cora's wonderful mediumship was first discovered. Therefore, she was prepared to receive the teachings of the Spirit World and made no opposition to the manifestation when they appeared in their home. The atmosphere of the Scott home was entirely free from the teachings of orthodoxy before Spiritualism came to it; therefore Cora's mind had not been biased by dogmatic theology.
Mr. Scott was delighted to be the father of a daughter and wanted her named for her mother, Lodencia Veronica, a name which the mother disliked and one over which Cora maintained a silence during her lifetime. Finally the attending physician, a Dr. Washborne, took a hand in the matter. Since the baby girl was born with a "veil" and such physical attribute was believed to confer special powers, why not call the baby Cora; which translated means poetess ,priestess and counselor, a woman of wisdom with powers as a SEERESS.
The father allowed the name Cora to precede the names he had chosen, but insisted that the child be christened Cora Lodencia Veronica Scott. Thus she was known from childhood as Cora L. V., a name she was known by all through her long lifetime and which identified her work to her thousands of listeners as well as in the affection of her closest friends.
Mr. Scott endeavored to keep pace with the leading reforms of the times. An avid reader, he had spent the long evenings prior to Cora's birth reading aloud to his wife. Through the writings of the Rev. Hosea Ballou, he became interested in the Universalist religion. Through this process he became interested in the "Hopedale Colony" which had been founded in 1841 by the Rev. Adin Ballou, a close relative of Hosea Ballou. The Colony was located at Milford, Mass. and its teachings were directly connected with the ethical and religious teachings of Modern Spiritualism.
The interest, which David Scott had developed in the Ballou Movement, caused the Scott family to move to Hopedale in the winter of 1851. The life at Hopedale was fraught with many new experiences. Many other families had joined with Mr. Ballou on his farm and the co-operative plan of economic security waned, rather than grew, because of the limited space. Mr. Scott was a firm believer in the activities of Mr. Ballou, but he determined to move to another place because he could see there was insufficient living space for the growing colony. In the late autumn of 1851, the Scott family moved to Waterloo, Wisconsin, there, to form a branch of the Hopedale Colony.
During that winter an event occurred, that was to make a complete change in their lives. This event was the advent of Cora's Mediumship. From the very first, Mr. Scott accepted the wonderful teachings that fell from his daughter's lips. The first eleven years of Cora's life had been quite uneventful. Sensitive in nature, she spent much of her time alone, reading such children's books as were available. The outstanding feature of her earlier years was the fact that there were no spiritual nor psychic experiences in her life, nor is there any evidence to show that her parents were aware of the psychic experiences of the Fox children, living some hundred miles away.
If she knew of the Fox sisters, it could only have been as a casual reference. She had no idea that she was exemplifying Spiritualism by her demonstration. Her mediumship had developed quite simply. She had not studied nor sought it. She was bewildered by it, as were her parents and she had no conception of its meaning to the world. The first visitation came in the early Fall while she was sitting in the garden arbor preparing a composition for school. She apparently fell asleep and upon waking, noted that her slate was covered with writing in an unknown hand. Laughingly, she accused her schoolmates of writing on her slate while she slept, which they of course denied. A few days later the same phenomena occurred while she was alone. Her schoolmates came to accept the strange happenings as children will and finally made a game of it and asked Cora to do their schoolwork for them while she slept. When her parents heard of this strange happening, they could scarcely believe their ears.
One day, the mother sat sewing while Cora sat on a stool at her feet. Suddenly the child fainted and the mother applied restoratives, but to no avail. The poor mother was distracted, but noticing that the child's right hand and arm were twitching, and remembering the slate and the game played by the children, she brought a slate and pencil and immediately Cora began to write out messages from family and friends, many of whom Cora had never heard of and who had been in Spirit many years. From then on, her development was rapid and instead of writing her messages, she began to deliver them in a low guttural voice. Her platform appearance followed and she became the wonder of the country around.
Before this time, the Scott family had no interest in Spiritualism. Its rapid growth had not attracted their attention. David Scott had attended a "Spiritual" meeting while he was in Hopedale, but it did not impress him and was soon forgotten. When the remarkable gifts of his daughter were demonstrated to him so conclusively, he wrote Rev. Ballou that he had at last found something of "Good foundation" and that he would return to his former home at Cuba, New York and devote his life to this "New Revelation".
Here, we must set out an incident which occurred at Hopedale and which had a lasting effect upon Cora's life. Rev. Ballou had a son, Adin Augustus, a brilliant student at Harvard. His father had hopes that he too, would become a Clergyman. Some eight years older than Cora, he was visiting his father in the Autumn of 1850 and while walking through the woods came upon a small girl picking late berries. He spoke to the child but she became terrified and ran screaming to her mother. She said that his eyes had a strange effect upon her and seemed to look right through her. Neither Cora nor her parents could fathom this strange effect he had upon her, but she purposely avoided young Adin Ballou and never saw him again. But what a strange part he was to play in the life of the "Child Wonder".
Mediumship was developed by other members of Cora's family; her mother became a medium as well as her aunts Olive, Catherine and Cordelia and her Uncle Edwin. The whole family was converted to Spiritualism by her teachings. Her grandmother Scott had been a medium, but her powers had not been understood in her time. She would be told in dreams what to do and would awaken her husband in the night and many times traveled great distances to heal the sick.
A cousin Eliza Butterfield and her husband John Hammond had ten children and when the Fox knockings occurred and excitement ran high over this event; they were only one of the families who sat in circles and prayed for manifestations to occur. The family moved to Pennsylvania where there was no known psychic phenomena but interest was fanned into flame by a visit to the home by a cousin Lodencia, Cora's mother.
During her stay, the family and a few friends organized a spiritual circle and through patience and love, two young mediums were developed. The little circle of faithful souls was named by the spirit guides "Rose of the Wilderness." This name was appropriate as the Hammond family was the only one within a radius of hundreds of miles who had any interest in Spiritualism or who had openly continued their investigations despite the growing unpopularity caused by the orthodox clergy.
The greatest sorrow that came to Adin Ballou was the death of his son Augustus. The son was in Boston studying for the Ministry so that he might aid his father in the Hopedale Colony, when he passed into spirit. But while the father grieved for the loss of his son, a strange and wonderful thing was happening in far away Wisconsin. Four days after the passing of Augustus and long before the tidings could have reached Wisconsin; Cora Scott was entranced by Augustus Ballou. He had been deeply interested in the reforms of the day and was an enthusiastic Spiritualist; after passing to the Spirit World, he desired to continue his work from that side of life. He was taken to the Scott home in Wisconsin, by a spirit guide, who told him he was to control the daughter. He said; "I was requested by friends and relatives, who were in spirit life to give my aid in developing her powers and shielding her from the throng of spirit influences that were so anxious to communicate that they perhaps might do her some injury, as they did not know much of the power of control."
"I soon discovered that these were higher guides, guardian spirits of the medium, who knew her power, and had requested my presence there to be their spirit instrument in controlling this child. I very reluctantly undertook this task. I had been in spirit life but a few days, when this request came to me and it was undertaking a most solemn responsibility. I knew, it is true, of this method of communication between the spirit world and yours; I knew somewhat of the import it conveyed to humanity, but I had very little knowledge of the laws of psychology, and of the influence necessary to be adapted to the frail instrumentality that I was called upon to control. However, I was told that I would not be alone in my control, but that there were others in command and that I would be enabled to gain knowledge of spirit life, and to impart knowledge to others. I hailed with delight the idea of being useful to my fellow beings; I hailed with delight the idea of receiving additional knowledge of spirit life, but I shrank from controlling an organism, from taking possession of a human life, in any way personal views or merely stating the thoughts of others.
Cora had a German Physician with her for about four years, during which period many remarkable cures were made, through her organism. Great care had been exercised by the spirit guides through the years of growth and in order that there would be no interference in their work, they directed Cora to cease attending school when she was only twelve years of age. Another helper from spirit who came to assist Cora was a little Indian girl known as "Shenandoah" but later called "Ouina." Shenandoah was her father's name as well as the tribe to which they belonged and the valley where they live. She became known as "Shannie" and she said that Ouina was the name given to her by her mother when she entered her sphere of spirit life. Spirit Ballou said that her work was greater than his, as she was far above him in the scale of progression.
Cora's public platform work began when she was eleven years of age, but it was not until she was fifteen that her actual spiritual teaching before large audiences began. It was announced that there were twelve spirits, having different gifts or phases of knowledge, who would speak as the occasion demanded on scientific, philosophical, historical, political or other topics chosen by or adapted to the audiences. The great variety and range of topics called forth very often the combined knowledge of the entire band around her. In nearly all of the large cities, the committees chosen were always composed of the most scholarly men known to the public. They generally selected a topic which they deemed most difficult for any speaker to discuss, with which to confound the young girl to whom it was given. Many interesting incidents are told of how those who came would chuckle over their great skill and ingenuity in devising difficult questions; and to their great chagrin when they listened to the ease with which she treated their problems. Many topics were presented which were so profoundly discussed through her instrumentality, that even those professional persons admitted they could do no better; many with tears in their eyes humbly confessed their astonishment in hearing such amazing lectures through the lips of a child.
She spent nearly all of 1852 in Wisconsin, but the year of 1853 brought a great change in her life; her beloved father passed away and for a period of a year she was quite inactive, except for occasional appearances in Fredonia and Dunkirk, New York. Finally she was invited to lecture exclusively in Buffalo N.Y. where she shared the platform with Thomas Gales Foster, one of the most gifted orators in Spiritualism. It must have been quite a sight to see a child of fourteen years acting in the capacity of Pastor of a large and constantly increasing Society. She remained in Buffalo for two years and the interest created did much to cement the growing popularity of Spiritualism in that city, which became one of the largest Spiritualist centers, per capita, in the world.
In 1854, Professor J. J. Mapes of New York City came to Buffalo to pursue his investigations of the Spiritual phenomena. He attended the morning circle, and later was asked by Ouina if he would speak at the afternoon meeting, to which he replied, "Yes, if you will control your medium, and let me give the subject that she shall speak upon." He fell into the very trap that Ouina desired, since it was the tests of tests that the spirits wanted to give him. The hall was packed; Cora took the platform and after the choir had sung, came forward with her countenance so illuminated by the light of the spirit that all beholders were struck with admiration. Prof. Mapes spoke the two words, "Primary Rocks." After the lecture, the control called upon the professor to speak upon the same subject. He came to the platform and with tears in his eyes, said, "I am a college educated man, and have been all my life an investigator of scientific subjects and associated with scientific men, but I stand here this afternoon dumb before this young girl."
Demands upon her time made it imperative that she leave Buffalo and go on tour. Finally Horace H. Day, Editor of The Christian Spiritualist, a popular periodical of the day, arranged for her to come to New York City. It was in the rooms of The Christian Spiritualist that she met Katie Fox who had been engaged by the year to give sittings and messages to all who came, free of charge. Here also, she met Emma Hardinge Britten who had a music conservatory in the same building. With Cora as her inspiration, she soon began her own brilliant career in Spiritualism.
Cora stayed in New York for more than two years. Meetings were held in Union Hall, near Wall Street and attracted huge throngs of people. In her audiences were such people as Judge [John Worth] Edmonds, Horace Greeley, Prof. Mapes and Robert Hare.
It was in this period of her life that one of Cora's dear friends, Mrs. C. A. Coleman of Mount Vernon, New York, states that Cora was directed to her by the spirit guides who had persuaded her that she needed a change in home relations. She was ill and the Doctors were concerned that she might have an abscess on the lungs. She cared for her until Cora recovered her health. This would be also the period in her life that Emma Hardinge Britten writes of Cora: "She was a young country girl who, at fifteen years of age, had been discovered by Prof. Mapes of New York, to be one of the finest trance mediums of the day. By aid of some other distinguished scientists, this young girl was introduced to the public of New York, where her wonderful trance addresses astonished and delighted all that heard them. Pretty soon this young and beautiful girl being, of course, a highly susceptible psychological subject, was found by an old, crafty and experienced magnetiser over fifty years old and was coaxed into becoming his wife by promising to manage her affairs so that she could become wealthy. This man took her from place to place, charging exorbitant prices for the "show", but keeping her so hard at work that the poor girl was frequently compelledto appear in public when she was fairly sinking with fatigue and illness. She could not have been more than sixteen at this time.
Whether this man had any legal right or not to the title of Doctor which he assumed, certain it was known in New York that he was a man of notoriously bad character. Soon after her unfortunate marriage, reports began to be circulated of his brutal treatment of the young wife. While Dr. William Britten, who later became the husband of Emma Hardinge, was in the reading room of a hotel in New Haven, Conn., he heard a female voice pleading for help. Upon enquiry, he found a young girl pleading for permission to stay that night and for protection against a brutal husband from whom she had just escaped, and from whose violence she feared that her life was in danger. He found this lovely young girl to be Mrs. Cora Hatch, the wife of the 'Spiritualist Showman,' as he was called. He urged that she be given the protection and shelter asked for.
The wrongs, cruelty and privations to which the young wife had been subjected, aroused public indignation to such an extent that Prof. Mapes, Judge Edmonds, Drs. Gray and Hallock and several other leading Spiritualists, insisted that she be placed under proper protection and then summoned the husband to appear in the Divorce Court. There were so many witnesses of ill usage, that a divorce was granted instantly, and Hatch was branded for a brute and charlatan.
He was still in possession of many thousands of dollars that Cora had earned and he tried to get revenge on all of Spiritualism by writing, publishing and sending all over the world, pamphlets that defamed the whole phenomena of Spiritualism.
This could account for the spirit guides sending her to Mrs. Coleman. It must have been a sad thing for one so young to be placed in the position of a celebrity; missing the guiding hand of her wise and loving father, it is not hard to see how Mr. Hatch could so easily influence her as to get control of her affairs by promising her guidance and direction.
After more than two years in New York City, she accepted a call to Baltimore, Maryland. Her audience there consisted of Judges, Lawyers, Teachers, Scientists and also many Naval Officers. They were not Spiritualists but they were forced to admit that they had no one who could cope with this young girl of sixteen. She parried their every question with intellectual brilliance, lecturing upon such subjects as Astronomy, Political Science, Religion, Philosophy, History and especially upon the burning question of Slavery, with an intelligence which astounded leaders and teachers in such fields.
During her stay in Baltimore, she visited Boston and interested William Lloyd Garrison, who became her staunch admirer and friend, in the subject of Spiritualism. She visited Philadelphia and surrounding cities with increasing success. One subject was entitled, "The Antiquity of the World As Proved by the Discoveries of Geology; its Consistence as a Science, with Biblical
Cora Scott was the close friend of Nettie Colburn Maynard, the author of "Was Abraham Lincoln A Spiritualist?" In fulfillment of a friendship of over thirty years and a long existing pledge, she was called upon to officiate at funeral services for Mrs. Maynard on June 30, 1892. Here she said that Mrs. Maynard had understated rather than overstated the facts in her book concerning the interviews that President Lincoln had with the Spirit World through Nettie Colburn.
Answering a call from the Spiritualists of England, she made her first trip to that country in 1873, arriving on a beautiful Spring day. Any feeling of loneliness in a strange new country was quickly dispelled; although she had no personal acquaintance with English Spiritualists, she found she was no stranger to them. Dr. J. M. Peebles had praised her work during his tour of Britain and Emma Hardinge Britten had described the wonderful Psychic ability that she possessed.
Spiritualism was comparatively new in England and there was much prejudice and criticism emanating from the Orthodox Church. Her first lecture, "The Link Between Science and Spiritualism," created a furor of excitement. Her experiences had always been to see her audiences grow in size and this experience was repeated in her new field. Soon some of England's finest thinkers were in attendance, among them Stanton Moses, William Oxley, George Thompson and John Bright, whose friendship for America in the dark days of the rebellion is a matter of history. Also in attendance was one American, the distinguished Robert Dale Owen, holder of many positions in the United States Government. His great service to our Cause is well known wherever Spiritualism is mentioned. His great book, Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World, is a living monument to his memory. The inspiration back of this book is his many experiences with Cora L. V., of whom he wrote, "We have not among the women of America any more enlightened, or more judicial, or more eloquent of the principles of what, in modern phrase, is termed Spiritualism, than this lady and I am sure that those who have thought deeply upon this subject will be much gratified instudying her marvelous psychic attributes."
The original tour was scheduled to last six months, but because of the interest and enthusiasm aroused, Cora stayed for two full years. During this time she visited every city in England and Scotland; while she met with uniform success in her work yet she had some adverse experiences. For instance, while in Leeds, a worthy Presbyterian Divine accused her of memorizing her lectures. She allowed him to choose a lecture subject after the audience had gathered and he chose "Sight, the Relationship of the Optic Nerve upon the Retina of the Eye and the Human Brain." The lecture that followed lasted for an hour. Of perfect scientific content, with no hesitency and in exemplary English, her oratory brought the audience to its feet, cheering wildly. The abashed clergyman hastily left the hall.
In Manchester, a young boy presented himself to Cora and made the startling statement that he was able to talk while he was asleep and begged for the chance to prove his claim. The privilege was granted; thus was Wilberforce Juvenal Colville introduced to the world of Spiritualism. His tremendous contribution to our movement remains in effect to this day. For many years Cora L. V. Richmond and W. J. Colville were contemporary laborers in Spiritualism and their work supplemented each other on many occasions.
Cora's remarkable work did much to establish the excellent organization for Spiritualism in the United Kingdom today. Her personal popularity and the respect that her inspiration demanded, her power to hear, her occasional startling physical phenomena, all placed her in the foreground of Spiritualist leaders and her position is still unchallenged. She made three trips to Britain, all with equal success. In 1873 to 1878 she was principally engaged in her Spirit work, but her last visit was in the nature of a honeymoon for she had met and married William Richmond.
Mr. Richmond was a well-balanced, honest, earnest and sincere individual. He became a very important factor in Cora's life and her work. He stood between her and the shafts of malice, envy and other unpleasant things that come into a worker's life. He understood and entered into the spirit of the work of her guides and teachers.
Cora entered the field of literature early, being but eighteen years of age when she published her first volume comprising some twenty-five class lectures and their accompanying poems. After her marriage to Mr. Richmond, he became so interested in her work that he gave up his lucrative business life, became proficient in shorthand and the art of printing and proceeded to print and publish her weekly class lessons so that all of her students might have the benefit of her lessons in printed form. Valuable literature was thus given to the world, much of it still extant. Modes of travel were much slower in those days and the many who could be reached through the printed word far outreached the comparative few that could sit with her in person.
Her first volume, published in 1858, contained a dissertation on the Gyroscope, and almost unknown and certainly not easily understood principle of the mechanical world. Her second, published in 1859, contained a lecture on the "Sciences and their Philosophy." This book reveals that the Spirit Guides were versed in all the Sciences and the History of the Christian Religion, Ancient History, mental and moral Philosophy. Her literary style was terse and vigorous, abounding in rare epigrams; she makes her readers "think."
In 1871 her famous poem, "Hesperia" was published. This poem, a book of some 250 pages, was dedicated to the future world Republic and the future Brotherhood of the World. It attracted the attention of the scholars and statesmen of the nation and it became very popular. It was allegorical in content, the characters presented in the style of Greek Mythology. It describes the coming Federation of the World, with the ultimate universality of people and the positive application of the "Golden Rule." In it were predictions of world wars and the ultimate fall of European Governments; the apparent loss of culture and morality; the growth of materialism and finally the corrective method for recovery by the growth of understanding of Spirit. In reading the book, one would almost think that the author was describing the trend of the present times from observation. Hesperia, a beautiful woman, (in reality the Spirit of Liberty) having traveled over the World, unites with Justice to find a Haven of Hope in America. These are some of the lines written in 1871:
Europe shall feel my breath, ere while
She loathes me and my children,
But she waits until slow tyranny
Unlocks the gates.
Sandaled with plumes of thought,
Her spirit sent its living form
Across the continent,
A thousand leagues, on its
Great purpose bent.
Another gem of thought from the lips of Hesperia:
"Matter reveals God's form, but Truth reveals His Soul."
The book was dedicated to Wendell Phillips, a long time friend of Cora's. The book is now a classic and is practically, if not entirely unavailable.
Cora published two other major works, one of them Scientific and Philosophical in content, Phycosophy and the other, The Soul in Human Embodiments. Phycosophy is divided into eight chapters, each of which deal with different types of life, foods; their value; and the various things pertaining to a thorough understanding of the human organism. The second volume makes a correlative application of Spiritual and Mental attributes. Some one has said of Spinoza that his premises in Philosophy being granted, his conclusions must inevitably be granted. The same thing might be said of the Guides of Cora L. V. Richmond.
In the winter of 1892-3 she wrote a book of fiction, Zulieka which was published as a serial in the Progressive Thinker of that year. It is said that she wrote in the trance state, and that she never read or saw this work until some years after it was published. Her small but interesting work, My Eighteen Days in the Spirit World is a beautiful description of her experiences while Ouina occupied her physical body.
She also wrote Ouina's Canoe for the Children's Lyceum on her last visit to England. The delightful stories of "Rosy Toes" and "Joe, the Hunchback" are beautiful and would be of great value in stimulating our youth and educating them in the meaning and value of Spiritual work.
Cora's Chicago Pastorate extended over a period of fifty years; more than half of her public life. Her work was doubly important, since because of its location, Chicago was easily accessible to all parts of the United States. From the end of her first visit to England until the end of her earthly life, she was Pastor of the First Spiritualist Society of Chicago, sometimes referred to as the Church of the Soul, since it was here that the Soul Teachings were given, which are recorded in Psychopaphy. During her Pastorate, it is estimated that she gave 2,500 lectures, which does not include her Class work, her writings and the usual duties required of a Pastor.
As part of her Class work, Cora developed her now famous "Presentation of Spiritualism," which she delivered before the Congress of Religions held in Chicago in 1893. This is a masterful presentation based upon the three aspects of Spiritualism; Science, Philosophy and Religion, and it focused the attention of the religious world upon Spiritualism, with each section being presented separately. It remains the finest explanation of Spiritualism extant and the value of this treatise grows with the years. The presentation was given during the same year that our Organization was formed and it is the basis of our Declaration of Principles. The Board of Directors of the Congress of Religion would not permit the Presentation to be included in the first report of the Congress. It was restored at a later date and is now a matter of record of the proceedings.
At the Constitutional Convention of the National Spiritualist Association, Cora L. V. Richmond was a delegate and was elected to the office of Vice-President by acclamation, an office she held for five consecutive years. It was she--in conjunction with Harrison D. Barrett who--planned our National Spiritualist Association, and her lectures, for many years a necessary part of the N.S.A. Conventions; her last Convention lecture being given in Rochester, New York in 1915.
On January 3, 1923, in her eighty-third year at her home in Chicago, Cora Richmond peacefully passed to the Spirit World to join those who had ministered to her and through her for so many years.
Her silver tongued oratory has never been equaled; her clear demonstration of trance psychic power never matched. She lived Spirit, expressed Spirit and her life was dedicated to Spirit. Some one has written, that in the development of every new discovery, one and one alone, is gifted to demonstrate that interpretation. If this be true, surely in the Cause of Modern Spiritualism no other name shines so brightly as that of Cora L. V. Richmond.
Birthday Poem By Ouina
The day being the birthday of Mrs. Richmond, one of the audience sent up the subject,
"Our Pastor's Birthday."
In a little valley among the hills--
Hills that reached up almost to the sky,
Watered by many dancing rills,
With groves and meadows sloping by,
And flowers that in the wildwood grew,
And birds that came at the springtime's call,
A little child met the earthly view.
O'er canopied by the sky was all
That held the message pure and sweet,
When time at last the child should greet.
A little later the lips were made
To speak the words of truth and love
Where e'er the visions were o'er laid
Until then, with what might never move
The lips of men and woman to prayer,
For the fear of God was lurking there.
But when the message of love came forth,
The little girl gave truths in speech
Beyond what human thought could prove,
Beyond what her tender years could reach.
Many listened and understood,
And thought the way and teaching good.
So as she, year by year, went forth,
And the message grew as her life grew,
The words were filled with beauty and worth
And made human hearts uplift to the view
Of a God of Love and not of Hate;
A new and wondrous world it did create.
Father and mother, and friends drew near,
And men of Science, of learning and art,
Wondering what their ears could hear,
That the lips of a little girl could impart;
And, when from out the realms of love
The ministrations came, more wise
Than her years in feebleness could prove
They listened and looked with great surprise.
And--you know the rest: The years went on and on:
No limit to the message was given,
Because the stream that fell upon
And through her brain was born of heaven.
The tokens of love, and power, and truth,
Were given from loving hearts the while:
Many pitied and scorned her youth,
And the words given, some thought, to Beguile,
As being the words of Satan, whose power
Held souls in evil thralldom that hour.
But never a word of scorn or pride,
And never a thought of hatred or blame,
Could touch the heart of the little child;
She went on and on, until the flame
Of the light of truth and love went forth,
And was known to many people of Earth.
You have known that child; years have gone on,
And the ripened fruitage is here today;
Your lives these teachings have shone upon,
They have lightened your burdens, brightened you way;
And the great truths given, by God in love,
To every clime and people of earth
Have now, in this later time, power to move,
And bring knowledge of its glad rebirth.
Thus are you rejoicing here today;
Because you love her, we understand,
You love the truth that has lighted your way,
And you love the touch of the unseen hand,
And, that the Angel of Truth the Dark Earth
Awakens to the knowledge of Higher Birth.
Many are there that were here sometime;
One by one they have crossed behind the screen
And veil that divide you from the sublime
Way of God. It is most kind, tho' unseen,
That this veil is extended; that in the dark
You sometimes seem to be walking alone,
But if you ever for their dear voices hark,
You will hear the loved, the familiar tone.
More are there whose faces once here were seen,
Than on this side of the narrow stream called death,
The congregation from time to time has been
Diminished; there 'tis added to; as in a breath
It will almost seem but a moment of time
'Till you also will pass to that height sublime.
And the congregation, as of yore,
Will gather around 'neath the light of love
That has taught and led them years before;
And those who in the unseen realm still move,
Bless the day and the hour when was given
The little child to them, an instrument
By which to show the power from heaven
That can unto earth be sent.
Who now even as an instrument doth stand
With human heart and affection deep;
Loving your tender clasp of hand,
And loving your hearts of love to keep;
But well aware that the truths that are given
Are not of hers, but of the Love of Heaven.
--Anniversary of the Birthday of Mrs. Cora L. V. Richmond
Chicago, Sunday, April 21, 1901