Dr Zillmann and the Pious Press - His Opinion of Spiritualists, Orthodoxy and Persecution
This article is beleived to have been published C May, 1907, after Dr Zillmann was refused the right to be registered as a marriage celebrant.
His Opinion of Spiritualists.
Orthodoxy and Persecution.
Dr. Zillmann, who was for many years the pastor of the Unitarian Church, Liverpool street, has been before the public considerably of late in connection with his unsuccessful attempts to have his registration as a minister licensed to solemnise marriages renewed. His failure in this respect has given tongue to his enemies, and the doctor finds himself compelled to hit back at some of his one-time friends. The following letter republished from the Melbourne "Herald" is interesting, as he therein neatly thrusts at the Christian Charity of a pious Victorian paper, "The Southern Cross":-
So much notoriety has been given to a recent case in which I was concerned, and a particularly spiteful and fiendish attack has been forwarded to me, which was published in the "Southern Cross," that I will venture to ask "The Herald," from which I received so many favours in years past, to insert the enclosed, as my reply to the religious editor of the "Southern Cross."
Many of my old Victorian friends will, I hope, not think that I have become the degenerate scoundrel which the unco guid, and the pious and reverend editors of the religious press, and, in some instances, of the conservative and conventional press, have represented me to be.
To the Editor of the "Southern Cross,"
per favour the Melbourne "Evening Herald."
Sir, - In a cutting from the "Southern Cross," which a friend placed in my hands a few days ago, you applaud the action of the Chief Justice of this State in refusing a mandamus to me to compel the Registrar-General to license me as a minister of religion. With the action of the Chief Justice (the decision was given on purely technical grounds) I have nothing now to do, but with the spirit and substance of your par. I might have much to say. I have lived well into my sixties, and have spent forty years of that time as a minister of religion, during which time I have contributed articles and reports of my services and lectures to the "Southern Cross," so I ought to be known by your paper, and there might be no necessity for writing of me as "one Zillmann, a spiritist." I might write of "one Fitchett" or "one Clarke" with as good a grace. Indeed, if you will permit me to say, who was once minister in charge of St. John's, Melbourne, and acting archdeacon (of Hamilton), in the Ballarat diocese, who was the chosen preacher for the centenary celebration of Sunday schools in Melbourne, and the preacher at the consecration of the Old Cathedral at Ballarat, that I have a right to expect that you will write more truthfully about me than you have done, if not more respectfully. I never was "a spiritist," as you allege, and only occupied the chair at a Spiritualists' Association in Sydney for a few Sundays, for which I have received only indifference and ingratitude from spiritualists. My experience of spiritualists beyond this has been next to nil, and I have received very unpleasant impressions from the juggleries of some and the inane stupidities of others.
And the worst of all is that, though I risked my reputation, lost my means of livelihood at the age of 64, and exposed myself to endless slanders from a simple desire to investigate. I have been forced to the conclusion that frauds, humbugs, and dupes make up the greater proportion of these persons, and that nearly all the mediums I have met are conscious humbugs and hypocrites. And yet, I believe there is something in the phenomena, and am anxious to find out what it is. Please, however, do not put me down as a spiritist.
Allow me to add that I never conducted a marriage bureau in the proper sense of the term. Many of the regular Protestant churches in Sydney are more marriage bureaus than ever my house was. But then - Yes, let me say it, a profession of orthodoxy will cloak all delinquencies, while diverge from orthodoxy, and you will be persecuted to the very death. - I am, etc.,
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