01/02/10 09:59 Filed in: advertisement
The London Dialectical Society was established in 1867. According to Answers.com, it was:
A British professional association that in the late 1800s investigated the phenomena of Spiritualism. Established in 1867, the London Dialectical Society was a highly regarded association of professional individuals. With the appearance and popularity of Spiritualism in England, the society resolved on January 26, 1869, "to investigate the phenomena alleged to be Spiritual Manifestations, and to report thereon." A committee was convened on which 33 members were appointed: H. G. Atkinson, G. Wheatley Bennett, J. S. Bergheim, Charles Bradlaugh (later a famous atheist leader), G. Fenton Cameron, George Cary, E. W. Cox, Rev. C. Maurice Davies, D. H. Dyte, Mrs. D. H. Dyte, James Edmunds, Mrs. James Edmunds, James Gannon, Grattan Geary, William B. Gower, Robert Hannah, Jenner Gale Hillier, Mrs. J. G. Hillier, Henry Jeffery, H. D. Jencken, Albert Kisch, J. H. Levy, Joseph Maurice, Isaac L. Meyers, B. M. Moss, Robert Quelch, Thomas Reed, G. Russel Roberts, W. H. Sweepstone, William Volckman, Alfred Russel Wallace (later a famous psychic researcher), Josiah Webber, and Horace S. Yeomans. Thomas H. Huxley and George Henry Lewes were both invited but refused, Huxley stating that even "supposing the phenomena to be genuine, they do not interest me."
Of course, CB was already a “famous atheist leader.” Interesting group of names, though. I should probably look at them more closely.
Based on these ads from the London Examiner of 1871 and 1872, it seems Bradlaugh was looking to shift their focus, away from spiritualism and toward politics and religious controversy. But he remained active in the society, even when it was pursuing spirits and holding seances. The authorized biographies (Headingley and Bradlaugh-Bonner) mention the society as a place where CB lectured, and particularly where Prince Jerome Napoleon went to see him speak, leading to their meeting and friendship.