Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on the Immediate Need

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on the Immediate Need is a letter written by Arthur Conan Doyle first published in Light on 10 may 1919.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on the Immediate Need

Light (10 may 1919, p. 149)

Sir, —

I have recently addressed 20,000 people upon the subject of psychic religion, and altogether since my travels began 50,000 would be a moderate estimate. Wales, the North of England and how Scotland are all ripe for a big forward movement.

The weak point is London, and this weakness is due to want of central organisation which in turn is due to weakness in finance. To take an example: if I want to approach any large town in the provinces, I simply communicate with the local secretary, who hires the hail, organises the meeting, and all is simple. If, however, I wish to speak in the heart of the Empire, there is no such simple approach. The suburbs have often arrangements like the provincial towns, but there is no organising secretary or other official whose duty it is to make programmes for London as a whole. If, for example, I were to take the Queen’s Hall for a Sunday, if it were available, the whole organisation of the enterprise as well as the work would fall upon my shoulders. This is simply due to the poverty of the central body, who have not been able to afford such an official, though he is absolutely necessary for the movement. The world is waiting for the message, and we must bend all our energies to getting it across.

My suggestion is that such an organising agent be found for the society. If others will aid me in the enterprise I will guarantee from my lectures a part of his salary every year. Surely the thousands who have gained priceless consolation through this movement will not grudge a few pounds for what is vital.

One most important duty which would fall upon him would be the supervision of the distribution of our literature. This should pay its own way handsomely when once it is organised. Glasgow alone sold £200 worth of books and pamphlets last year. When folk go out from a lecture they are in the mood to know more, but with the general boycott which exists, they cannot get the material and it passes from their minds. When a tableful of books lies at the exit they buy most readily, and what they buy is a permanent thing in their families and leads to the complete comprehension of the truth. So far as I can see, there is no supervision of this all important matter. As to the training and segregation of mediums, that also is a most pressing need, but will be easier as the general movement increases.

It is wonderful to see how ripe the harvest is all over the country — but we must rise to the height of the occasion.

Yours sincerely,

Arthur Conan Doyle.