In the beginning Spiritism found a resistance in England that rightfully
surprised us. We cannot say that, like everywhere else, it has found isolated
support but its progress was infinitely slower than in France. Would
it be the case, as some have claimed, that the English, colder, more positive
and less enthusiastic than us, are less carried away by imagination?
Would they be less attracted to the supernatural? If that were the case,
we should be surprised and with more reason that Spiritism has had its
main focus in the United States, where the positivism of material interests
rules completely. Wouldn’t it be more rational that it had appeared in
Germany, but at the same time, doesn’t it seem that Russia takes the lead
as the classical land of legends?
The opposition found by Spiritism in England has nothing to do with
the national character but with the influence of religious ideas of certain
dominating sects, more strictly attached to the letter than to the spirit of
their dogmas. They were shaken by a doctrine that at first sight, seemed
to be contrary to their beliefs. However, this could not have lasted long in
the minds of a critical, enlightened nation, where free examination finds
no obstruction and the freedom of assembly is an absolute right. They
had to surrender before the evidence of facts. Well then, it was precisely
because the English have judged and appreciated it cold-bloodedly and
without enthusiasm that they have understood its full reach.
When the fundamental truth was observed, that spiritist ideas are
founded on Christian ideas and far from contradicting, they continue to
corroborate, explain to one another, completely satisfy religious scruples;
having accommodated the conscience, there was nothing else opposed
to the progress of the new ideas, which propagated with incredible speed
in that country. There as elsewhere, it is still in the enlightened echelon
of society that the larger number of followers and most zealous adepts
are found. This is an irrefutable argument, which cannot be disputed.
Mediums multiply and numerous centers are created, to which high clergy
members associate themselves, openly proclaiming their convictions.
Will the adversaries say that the fever of the supernatural has triumphed
over the English composure? Be it as it will, there is a notorious fact: their
ranks get enlightened daily, despite their sarcasm.
The development of the spiritist ideas in England gave rise to specialized
publications. They now have a very interesting monthly periodical
published in London since May 1st under the title: The Spiritual Magazine,
from which we extracted the report below.