IN his report in the SENTINEL for June our correspondent from the Philadelphia National Reform Convention, made a remark which lets considerable light upon the National Reform method of getting the names of so many eminent men in its list of vice-presidents. It has been a puzzle to some of these gentlemen, whom they run as their vice-presidents, to know how they ever became vice-presidents of an association whose objects they utterly oppose. The following sentence reveals the secret:—
“The motion was made and supported that all those citizens of Philadelphia whose names were attached to the call for the convention, should be made vice-presidents of the association, when, without discussion, it was put and unanimously carried. By this simple act, and without the consent of the persons concerned, seventy-eight new officers were elected.”
Now everybody knows that it is the easiest thing in the world to get names, and the names of eminent men too, signed to a petition or call for a convention or public meeting to consider important questions. Men will sign such a call without even fairly looking at it, much less reading and considering it. So the National Reformers circulate a “Call for a National Conference on the Christian Principles of Civil Government,” and get a large number of signatures to it. That is a most innocent-looking thing; who would not sign it? And in the circular sent out it is distinctly stated that “the sessions of the Conference will be distinct from the sessions of the National Reform Association.” That makes doubly innocent the “Call for a Conference.” But, lo! at one of the sessions of the association, all who signed the call for the conference are at one swoop made vice-presidents of the National Reform Association; and henceforth those names, whether their owners be living or dead, will be made to do service for all they are worth in behalf of National Reform and as officers of its association.
More than this, the National Reform managers know that not all of those gentlemen are in favor of the object of the association. In the circular before referred to, it is plainly stated that—
“Some of the signatures of citizens concurring in the ‘Call for the National Conference’ are those of persons who … have not yet been convinced of the necessity for the proposed Christian amendment to the National Constitution. An eminent representative of this class is found in Bishop O. W. Whitaker, of the diocese of Pennsylvania.”
And yet Bishop O. W. Whitaker, with all the rest of these gentlemen “who have not yet been convinced,” is now a vice-president, in eminent standing, of the association whose sole purpose is to secure just such an amendment. That is to say, they are all vice-presidents of an association whose sole object is to do a thing of the necessity of which they have not yet been convinced.
In 1872 the National Reformers played this same trick on Marshall Jewell. They got his signature to a call for a convention, and then swung him in as a vice-president of the association. But Mr. Jewell issued a circular in which he said:—
“Such action on the part of the association was entirely unwarranted, and, so far from consenting to it, I desire that my name be stricken from the list. I should have refused my name had I received notice of it. After giving the matter considerable thought, I am entirely opposed to the movement, and the objects sought to be accomplished by it, believing that it is impracticable and uncalled for. If the people at large do not acknowledge in their actions the divine authority, it is worse than useless to attempt a national acknowledgement.”
Such, therefore, is the National Reform method of securing such abundance of eminent “names of men” as vice-presidents to their association. And it is in perfect keeping with other of the methods which they employ to make their movement a success. Anything for influence seems to be their motto.
A. T. J.