[1856 Autograph Letter Signed Encouraging Spiritualism by New York Jurist John W. Edmonds; accompanied by a Similar 1856 Manuscript].
“Take a moment & see what else can be the object of the mighty work of communicating with the dead now just opening to our view…”
Unusual 1856 autograph letter signed by New York reformer, attorney, retired jurist and avowed spiritualist John W. Edmonds (1799–1874) encouraging one J.S. Noble, Esq. to cast aside his doubts and become a spiritualist:
The doubts you entertained were very reasonable & proper ... but the Truth could remove them. Give the Truth a fair chance & it will be most certain to demonstrate itself in this matter, beyond the possibility of cavil. Such is is my experience over 5 years of investigation, & such will be yours, if you persevere. But in the meantime, cui bono? to what end is it all? Surely something more than merely gratifying curiosity… What is that something but the elevation of our fellow men? To effect that, we must be free – be free ourselves & make others free – not merely free from material bondage, but the material – free to receive the truth all the relations of life, in private life, free from the shackles of conventionalism & fashion – in public life, free from the bondage of party ties, which make others think for us – in our moral life, free from early superstitions & bigotry which, in spite of ourselves, guide & govern so many of our thoughts. What say you to this? Are you willing to submit in such an army & fight such a battle for the emancipation of man? Such is, in my view, the contest before us. ...There will be then before you something more than merely running after mediums and attending circles. They are but the A.B.C. of the matter & when they are learned, then will come the reading in the great book of nature and of revelation, which will elevate man to his true position. Do you deemed me extravagant in all this? Take a moment & see what else can be the object of the mighty work of communicating with the dead now just opening to our view.
“Edmonds had for some years conducted investigations in the subject of spiritualism. In 1853, becoming convinced that the living could communicate with the dead, he openly announced his belief, and, in collaboration with Dr. [George T.] Dexter, published Spiritualism, a work which provoked much comment, though the honesty of his convictions was never impugned.” (DAB)
Accompanying Edmonds’ letter is a brief, half-page autograph note signed (possibly a draft) written in pencil that same year and also discussing conversion to spiritualism. Signed “J.S.” and possibly written by J.S. Noble, Esq., the letter may be written to an artist:
Welcome my beloved friend and let me give you joy joy unspeakable joy in the accomplishment of your hearts wishes, we told you you should succeed and you have, now your next step is to bring Mr. Banks into our fold he must become a spiritualist you can convince him of its truth, do your duty, we have done ours…and again let me say I sincerely congratulate you on the result (known to you all along) of this – storming of Sebastopol.
That last part may be a reference to a painting. Curiously, following the note (or draft) is a list of all eight paintings installed (some quite recently) in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, from 1819–1824 and 1840-1855.
An unusual pair of ante-bellum manuscript communications advocating for spiritualism.
Description: [1856 Autograph Letter Signed Encouraging Spiritualism by New York Jurist John W. Edmonds; accompanied by a Similar 1856 Manuscript].
[New York. February 12, 1856]. pp. ALS. 8vo. Bifolium. Folds; very good. [sold with:] a small folio-sized bifolium, further folded to create eight panels, with pencil manuscript including an ANS, or draft of same, dated February 5, 1856; some soling to outside panels; very good.