Who was Emma Hardinge Britten?

Emma Floyd was born in London, England in 1823. Her father Ebenezer, who was a schoolteacher, died in 1834 when Emma was eleven years old. She grew up supporting herself and her family as a musician, trained as an opera singer and began a stage career

In August 1855 she went to America to work as an actress at the Broadway Theatre. The following year Emma began her development as a medium, holding public séances and giving music lessons in the rooms of the ‘Society for the Diffusion of Spiritual Knowledge’ in New York. 

On 5th July 1857 Emma gave her debut lecture at Troy, New York. Her platform trance work followed.  Emma became a prolific writer, producing valuable histories of the early Spiritualist movement.  On 11th October 1870 she married William Britten. 

On 30th April 1871, at Cleveland Hall, London, Emma delivered a lecture to a packed audience and during this lecture she delivered the basis of the Seven Principles. Later modified, they became an integral part of the constitution of the Spiritualists’ National Union.  

Emma toured and lectured over the United States and Canada and in 1878 toured Australia and New Zealand. 

In 1887 she co-founded the ‘Two Worlds’ journal, which she edited for five years. 

She also co-wrote the British Lyceum Manual with H.A. Kersey and Alfred Kitson.

Emma Hardinge died in Manchester, England in 1899.


The Seven Principles and the Laying of the Oldham Spiritual Temple Corner Stones

The laying of the oldham spiritual temple cornerstones is well known to SNU Spiritualists, especially those who have completed our educational courses. It was here, at the laying of the first foundation stone, that Emma Hardinge Britten read a paper titled, “What has Spiritualism taught, and what good has it done for Humanity?” It contained twelve short statements, the last one being a summary of her creeds/principles:

I believe in the Fatherhood of God,
The Brotherhood of Man,
The immortality of the Soul,
Personal Responsibility,
Compensation and Retribution hereafter for all the good or evil deeds done here,
And a path of eternal progress open to every human soul that wills to tread it by the path of eternal good.

Over the many years of Emma’s work as one of the finest pioneers in the Spiritualist movement she had developed a set of principles which she stated were given her through her mediumship by the spirits. Up until this time they had varied in their numbers and wording. A copy of the paper was laid within the foundation. At this time the long struggle for a national organisation to unite Spiritualism across the country was picking up momentum.

The Seven Principles today

  1. The Fatherhood of God  
  2. The Brotherhood of Man 
  3. The Communion of Spirits and the Ministry of Angels
  4. The Continuous Existence of the Human Soul
  5. Personal Responsibility  
  6. Compensation and Retribution Hereafter for all the Good and Evil Deeds done on Earth  
  7. Eternal Progress open to every Human Soul