P. 5: Mrs. Cora L. V. Hatch, . . . if we may believe all the accounts we have read of her, is one of the most remarkable women the world has ever produced. She is seventeen years old, of medium height, delicately formed and possessed of an ethereal beauty which may not at once attract but enlist the admiration of the beholder by its deep absorbing spiritualle. In ordinary circumstances she is simple and childlike to a charming degree, but on the stage, when laboring under what she believes to be the spirit agency, her flights of eloquence are bold, lofty, sublime, and beautiful beyond description.
Having never attended school since she was ten years of age, it cannot be supposed that her education is of the most thorough character; nevertheless, she will discouse by the hour upon the most profound sciences, never lacking a word, never making a mistake, and never repeating what she has said before.
"Believe what you will of Mrs. Hatch's source of inspiration," says the editor of the Home Journal [N. P. Willis], "whether she speaks her own thoughts, or those of other spirits -- it is as nearly supernatural eloquence as the most hesitating faith could reasonably require. I am, perhaps, from long study and practice, as good a judge of fitness in the use of language as most men; and, in a full hour of close attention, I could detect no word that could be altered for the better -- none indeed (and this surprised me still more) which was not used with strict fidelity to its derivative meaning. The practiced scholarship which this last point usually requires, and the curiously unhesitating and confident fluency with which the beautiful language was delivered, was critically wonderful. It would have astonished me in an extempore speech by the most accomplished orator in the world."
Philosphers have heard her with astonishment, and orators have listened to her declamations with boundless enthusiasm. She has carried New Yorkers by storm, and every one of her lectures in that city have been attended by wondering thousands; and frequently the streets have been thronged a whole square with persons eager but unable to obtain admittance. The New York journals have devoted whole pages to minute descriptions of her personal appearance, and elaborate reports of her addresses. Such is the new divinity -- the "bright particular star"1 now shining in the spiritual firmament, whom our citizens are to have an opportunity of seeing, hearing and judging for themselves.
P. 5: The distinguished trance speaker, delivered two very remarkable lectures in Boston last week, on Tuesday and Friday evenings. The subject on Friday was the Millenium, as spoken of in the Scriptures. Her treatment of it was both beautiful and wonderful. Opportunity was afforded all who chose to put questions on any topic to the speaker, and we looked, but in vain, for some of our Harvard friends to come forward with their posers. If they really and seriously are persuaded that Spiritualism is such a wild delusion, destroying the souls of men and corrupting the morals of women, they owe it to their position and influence in society to embrace so good an opportunity to expose this wicked delusion. But they do no such thing. They stand off and rail at us, thanking God that they "are not as other men are."2 And the good spiritual work continues.
P. 5: Gentlemen: -- That believers in spiritual intercourse are rapidly multiplying in this country is apparent to all. Many of their doctrines you have attempted, in your pulpits, to overthrow or bring into disrepute.
That you may have a fair opportunity of showing the grounds of your opposition before both its believers and disbelievers, I will procure a suitable hall in this city, and duly notify the public, and all [that] you [are] to discuss with Mrs. Cora L. V. Hatch, any theological question which you believe to be controverted by those entertained by Spiritualists, altenating speeches of equal duration.
I shall not allow Mrs.Hatch to discuss with any clergyman who has not sufficient good sense to retain the equinamity of his temper and sustain the character of a gentleman throughout the debate. With this exception, any one of the clerical fraternity, or doctors of divinity, who wish to overthrow Spiritualism by fair and honorable means, can address me, care of Bela Marsh, No. 14 Broomfield St., Boston, and I will wait upon him that all suitable and necessary preliminary arrangements may be completed. Respectfully,
B. F. Hatch, M.D.
Boston, November 2, 1857
P. 5: Mrs. Cora L. V. Hatch, the noted Trance Medium, lectured in Cambridgeport, at Washington Hall, Sunday afternoon and evening, Nov. 1st. The afternoon discourse was on the subject -- Autumn and its Suggestions. In the evening the subject was selected by a Committee chosen by the audience -- as follows: Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might, for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge nor wisdom, in the grave whither thou goest. Eccles. 9, 10.3
The subject was finely and ably treated, the text taken literally, the point turned that truly there was no knowledge, device, nor wisdom in the grave -- but beyond, whither the spirit of man goeth, and not his body. After the lecture, Professor Felton [Corneilius Conway Felton, Elliott Professor of Greek Literature, Harvard University, one of those to speak out publicly against Spiritualism] arose and made some remarks nearly as follows:
"It is well known I have no confidence in the spiritual idea; I have written against it and talked against it. The discourse which I have listened this evening is most truly a Christian one, and sets forth in the most beautiful and sublime manner the teachings of our holy religion. I cannot recognize it as a fact that Webster will come through a medium and utter language such as I have heard reputed [sic] to him. I cannot believe that Isaac Newton would come through a medium and be unable to spell his name properly. If I were Isaac Newton I would communicate through that medium, (here pointing directly to Mrs. Hatch.) I would be happy to see you go about the world disseminating the beautiful doctrine advanced tonight."
He seemed much affected, and evidently the lecture made some forcible impression upon his mind.
Dr. Hatch made some remarks relative to mediumship, stating that the spirits in one sense, were compelled to submit to the natural conditions of earthly organisms, and could not convey the ideas with force and language much beyond the natural, not necessarily developed capacities of the medium through which they communicate.
P. 5: Mrs. Hatch spoke in Newburyport Tuesday and Wednesday evenings of last week to large audiences. The Newburyport Herald alludes to her lectures in the following manner:
Mrs. Hatch, the Spiritualist, closed her lectures or experiments, on Wednesday evening, and met with complete success. There was no failure in any thing she attempted, no hesitation in answering any question upon any subject, and all answers were satisfactory to the persons submitting the questions. It only remains to know by what means she speaks and acts. To say that she does it of herself, is to invest her with understanding, information, cultivation and taste, possessed by no person that we have ever seen or heard of, while it is obvious to every one that she is not above ordinary intellects, and her years preclude the possibility of her being conversant with all the topoics that come before her. First, it is noticeable that her use of language is most perfect. All that N. P. Willis said of her was proved here. The closest observation of the best scholars in town, did not discover the misuse of a single word; and her utterance was as beautiful and perfect as the language. Each meeting was opened and closed with prayer, and we never before heard such prayers -- so simple, so beautiful, so earnest, so spiritual. Next, the selection of topics forbade every possibility of collusion or fraud. She did not propose to lecture upon any certain subject, but at the opening of each meeting the audience were called upon to select a committee, and that committee could submit any topic, scientific, religious, or political; and upon that she agreed to speak; and upon such she did speak with great eloquence and great wisdom. On the first evening they asked her to discourse upon spiritual mediumship. On the second they submitted two questions; first, the distinctive of physiological, intellectual and psychological character of the African race; and second, the history and philosophy of the vertebral theory of the skeleton, and its application to science. To show the fairness of the transaction, she asked to audience to choose which they would hear discussed, and they took the former.
What could be more fair? There was no arrangement between the committee and the speaker, for nobody knew who the committee were to be, and least of all, what question they would select. But whatever the question, though it might such that not one in a hundred of the audience were capable of investigating, she goes on though she had studied the matter for a life-time. She commenced with the African race from their origin, denying that they had a common parentage with the whites, and followed them down, distinguishing between them and the ancient Egyptians, and giving their habits of life and characteristics of mind and modes of worship, with as much ability as Prof. Felton, or Agassiz, or any of the philosophers who have opposed Spiritualism have exhibited. Now we will not say that there is not a man, and never was a man, who could upon one minute's notice, lecture upon any subject that could be named, and do it with the facility and learning and beauty displayed by Mrs. Hatch, but we have never heard of that person, and know not where he can be found. But she went further. After the address, she was ready to give any explanations, and to remove any doubts that might hang about the meaning of her words; and we are satisfied, and we believe that nine in ten at least of all who heard her were satisfied, that she was not in a natural state. We are driven to this conclusion, or we must admit, what appears to be more questionable, that mentally she is superior to any other person. If not in a normal condition, then by what influence does she speak? She claims it is a spiritual power. If she is not right, by what power is it? If we deny her affirmation, we feel bound to give some other explanation more rational, and that explanation we have not. The blind man in olden times, refused to say by what power his blindness had been healed, but the fact he asserted, that whereas he was blind he could see; and that is all he have to say about it; the facts are as we have stated, and five hundred persons each evening were witnesses thereto, but by what influence they were so, we leave to each person to say for himself.
P. 5: On Friday evening of last week, Mrs. Cora L. V. Hatch gave an audience to the public and such persons as were inclined to propound questions to be answered by the intelligences that spoke through her. The assembly was quite a large one . . . .
Many of the questions put by persons in the room were calculated, either in themselves or the proper answers they provoked, to excite the sense of the ludicrous; and these were received with such a spirit accordingly. Some persons had a decided inclination to casuistry, and the answers their interrogatories received were exactly adapted to the needs of the case. . . . Mrs. Hatch's explanations of many texts of the Bible, that have been for years wrested from their true and natural meaning for the support of religious reforms, catechisms, and creeds, was entirely satisfactory to every enlightened and liberal mind.
P. 4: We have just finished reading one page and a half of the Lynn Bay State, which contains a report of the meeting at Lynn, appointed for a discussion between Mrs. Hatch, under the guidance of the spirits who control her, and any gentleman at Lynn who chose to discuss questions of science with them.
We think the meeting was a failure on both sides, so far as any result was attained. And this failure may be ascribed to the utter lack of shrewdness exhibited by the committee, and the opponents of the medium. If they were candid in the expression of a desire to test the spirits, they lacked the shrewdness to put them to the test.
The subject proposed for discussion was "The Pythagean Proposition." This the spirits understood to be his moral teachings, and asked if that was the correct construction. The committee refused to answer definitely their question, arguing that they ought to have read the minds of the committee, and to have known what proposition it was to which they referred.
Spirits may read minds, but are they bound to at all times? If the test required had been on the question whether the spirits controlling could read the minds of the committee, and they had asked them that question, that point of the test would have failed. . . . It appears to us that the same insignificant quibbling, the same straining at a gnat which has always been exhibited on the part of the opponents of spiritualism, characterised the persons figuring on this occasion. Had the proposition been stated fully and clearly, and the spirits had failed to discuss it properly, then their competency must have been tested, and they proved unable to cope with the question. Instead of this, the committee allowed the spirits to speak upon their own understanding of the matter, . . . the remarks being very proper and to the point, as an opening.
What was then done? Did any gentleman reply, continuing the discussion? Not at all; but announcement was made that the spirits had failed to understand the question.
. . . .
Much valuable time was lost in ridicule, laughter, bestowing of invective; but one gentleman on the Committee, Rev. Mr. Shackford, seemed to have any just conception of what it was their duty to do -- discuss upon the ground they had allowed the spirits to take. And he was choked off, swallowed up in the sea of folly which surrounded him, and did not attempt, himself, to carry out the discussion and obtain the victory. Much that was said on the occasion by Mrs.Hatch's opponents, was entirely unbecoming, puerile, calculated to develope [sic] no good, and disgraceful to the city of Lynn. Several men gravely advocated their right to say anything they pleased, because they had paid ninepence at the door . . . .
Alonzo Lewis next attempted to test the spirits, by propounding two questions in mathematics, which, according to established opinions, were incorrectly answered. According to the report, the questions and answers were as follows:
Alonzo Lewis -- I wish to ask, simply, if in mathematics, there be a possibility of any two lines continuing to approach each other without the possibility of those two lines ever meeting?
The Medium commenced what seemed to be an explanation or elucidation, but Mr.Lewish interrupted, saying that all he wanted was a simple yes, or no.
"No, then," said the Medium.
Mr. Lewis -- I wish to ask whether, if I give you a line across a circle, directly through the centre, you can tell me what the circumference would be? Or, to make it plainer, if the diameter of a water bucket be one foot, can you tell be how much it is round? It is a very simple thing; ladies can understand it.
The Medium -- Yes.
Mr. Lewis -- Now, I wish the audience to know she has answered both questions incorrectly. (Laughter and applause.) I am satisfied now. (Renewed laughter.) Any boy who has been to a good grammar school, who has studied mathematics, could have answered those questions correctly; and this is all within the subject presented by the Committee, and which the lady has not touched at all.
. . . .
Mrs. H. answered contrary to Mr.Lewis's understanding, and he had an opportunity to prove the spirits did know more or less than the schoolboy, or Mr. Lewis even, by discussing the point with them, and compelling them, by exercise of a spirit of honest criticism and inquiry, to have given their reason for answering as they did. We say a capital opportunity was again lost to prove Mrs. Hatch's controlling spirits wise spirits or imbeciles. So far as Spiritualism is concerned, we should have been satisfied in either event, for Spiritualism does not rest upon Trance Speaking in public, or Mrs. Hatch, entirely.4
. . . .
Last Friday evening, at the "Meionaon" in this city, Mrs.H. Underwent another examination on mathematical and chemical subjects; and although there was more of that decorum and fairness, a lamentable want of which was exhibited at Lynn, yet there was not enough attempt to draw out the spirits. Mrs. H. answered some of the questions proposed to her in a manner at variance with all our experience -- totally wrong, if human wisdom is authority; but the persons propounding the questions accepted the answers, without once asking for the cause of the difference in opinion between controlling spirits and human authorities. . . . There is an homeopathic possibility5 that man may learn something more than he yet knows, on all these subjects. There were many persons who went away from the Friday evening meeting, convinced that Mrs. H. answered all questions properly, and to the satisfaction of the scientific minds there. Had the points of difference been stated, and discussion ensued, this would not have been the case.
Undoubtedly a public hall, with the variety of mind attending such a meeting, is not the best position in which to place the Trance Medium of our day, with the highest powers of any we know of. We are better pleased with the moral teachings given through Mrs. Hatch, than with any display of power she has given outside of them. The beauty of her language and the purity of her doctrine will do good wherever she speaks.
P. 5: We regret the necessity of informing our readers that Mrs. Hatch, whose indisposition on last Sabbath prevented her fulfilling her engagement to lecture at Music Hall, still remains at Salem quite unwell, and as the Doctor has sent for her wardrobe, it may be concluded that she will not be in condition to favor us with her proposed lecture for some days.
P. 5: I wish to inform my friends in Boston, that Mrs. Hatch, having recovered from her short but severe illness, will speak in the Meionaon (Tremont Temple) on Tuesday evening of this week, Dec. 22 [sic], at 7 1/2 o'clock. It will be remembered by those who heard in [the] Music Hall on the "Love of the Beautiful," that the controlling intelligence stated that they [sic] wished to deliver a discourse on "The Moral and Religious Nature of Man." This will be the subject for Tuesday evening.
This will be the last time Mrs. H. will speak in Massachusetts for the present, as we leave for New York the next morning, (Wednesday,) where we shall tarry the remainder of the winter.