AT the Lakeside National Reform Convention, the following question was asked:—
“Does your movement not appeal more exclusively to the educated classes than to all classes in general?”
The question was answered by both Dr. McAllister and “Secretary” Coleman. Dr. McAllister’s answer we shall notice at another time. Mr. Coleman’s answer was this:—
“It is true our movement in the past has had a great deal more head than body.”
It is so seldom that we find a National Reform expression with which we can agree heartily, unreservedly, and without any if’s or but’s, that we hasten to give to this statement our unqualified indorsement. We perfectly agree with it. It is true. It is as full of truth as an egg is full of meat. The National Reform movement in the past, and from its very beginning, has had a great deal more head than body. We not only perfectly agree with Mr. Coleman’s statement, and give it our unqualified indorsement, but we feel disposed just now, for the sake of the cause, to emphasize the fact somewhat by giving some proofs in its support.
It is well known that the National Reform Association has had for years, and has now, a string of vice-presidents numbering about one hundred and twenty—this year they number one hundred and twenty-two. Those who have ever seen the list know that, with but two exceptions, it is made up of titled names to the fullest extent that titles can be obtained; such as Rev.; Rev. D. D.; and Rev. D. D. LL.D.; Right Rev. D. D.; and Right Rev. D. D. LL.D.; Rev. Bishop; Rev. D. D. Bishop; and Right Rev. D. D. Bishop Rev. Professor; and Rev. D. D. Professor; Rev. President; and Rev. D. P. President; President D. D.; President D. D. LL.D.; President Ph. D. LL.D.; and President W. C. T. U.: Hon.; Hon. Ex-Governor; and His Excellency Governor: Col.; Brev’t Brig.-Gen.; etc., etc., ad nauseam.
All this is generally known, but it is not generally known that nobody knows whether the one-half of these people are in favor of National Reform or not. The National Reformers themselves do not know whether all the men whose names they publish as vice-presidents, are in favor of National Reform or not. No, there are some of them of whom they do not know whether they have been dead or alive for the last five years. We know that they are not all citizens of the United States, and that they do not all even live in the United States. We know that they are not all in favor of National Reform.
We know that in the very latest published list of their vice-presidents they have the name of a man who is a bishop of the Church of England in Canada, and has been for five years. Yet all these years the National Reformers have run his name as a vice-president of their association, calling for an Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and still do so! Of this we have the written evidence. Will the National Reform gentlemen please tell us what a Canadian bishop can have to do with amending the Constitution of the United States?
We know that they have run for five years or more the names of men as vice-presidents representing certain States, while those men have not lived in those States at all in all that time. Of this also we have the written evidence.
We know that in their latest published list they have the name of one man at least who is openly opposed to the whole National Reform movement. We are not at liberty to print the gentleman’s name (he is a clergy-man to whose name the title of “D. D.” is annexed), but we may insert some of his words on this point; it throws some light upon the National Reform method of getting so many and such distinguished names in their list of vice-presidents. He says: “I was placed there [among these vice-presidents] evidently as a mere figure-head, never having done, or been asked to do, anything to further its objects. Some months ago I was written to, and asked if I had any objections to my name being retained on the list, and if I did not answer silence would be taken for consent. From sheer indifference I did not answer.”
And that is how this gentleman’s name remains on the list of vice-presidents of the National Reform Association. How it got there in the first place he does not know. But they got his name and made him a Vice-president, and then asked him whether his name might be “retained” and “silence” would give “consent.” Out of “sheer indifference” he kept “silence,” and so he is still a vice-president of the National Reform Association. If he had been dead it would have been all the same, because then there would have been “silence,” and silence would have given “consent,” and so, even though dead, he would yet have been a vice-president, in good standing no doubt, of the National Reform Association.
Indeed, just such a thing as this was stated in the Pittsburg Convention last May. One of the secretaries said they ought to revise their list of vice-presidents, because a number of names that had been on the list for several years were of men who were dead, and he thought those names ought to be dropped. As long as it is only the name that is used, anyhow, we see no use in dropping the name just because they find out that the man is dead. The name of the Right Rev. John Smith, D. D., LL.D., Ph. D., President of a Female Institute in a place where there is no such institution, is of just as weighty importance after he is dead as before. And as the influence of his name is all that is asked of a vice-president of the National Reform Association, the name can be used just as well after he is dead as when he is alive. As our correspondent further says, “As it seems that names and not active co-workers is all that is cared for …. this holding on to men, dead or alive, is doubtless true of others in the list.
And that is how so large and influential a list of vice-presidents of the National Association is kept up. And these facts, for they are facts, serve to illustrate and to emphasize Mr. Coleman’s statement that the National Reform “movement in the past has had a great deal more head than body.” Yes, indeed, a great deal more. But we are perfectly assured that it will not be always thus. With the immense bids that the National Reformers are making for the alliance of Rome, we are fully persuaded that they will yet gain the active, abiding efforts of Rome exerted in behalf of a national religion here. Then their movement, so far as they are concerned, will change ends, and in the proportion will have “a great deal” more tail than body—unless indeed they then become incorporated into, and a part of, the great body of Rome itself.
That Mr. “Secretary” Coleman’s statement may state the exact truth a little more exactly, we propose an amendment so that the statement shall read as follows:—
“It is true our [National Reform] movement in the past has had a great deal more head than body, and the head itself has been a great deal more figure-head than anything else.”
That is the exact truth in the case according to the facts. We have more to say on this but haven’t space just now.
A. T. J.