Joseph C. (Joseph Cammet) Lovejoy.

Memoir of the Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy; who was murdered in defence of the liberty of the press, at Alton, Illinois, Nov. 7, 1837 online

. (page 23 of 28)
Online LibraryJoseph C. (Joseph Cammet) LovejoyMemoir of the Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy; who was murdered in defence of the liberty of the press, at Alton, Illinois, Nov. 7, 1837 → online text (page 23 of 28)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

minister of the Gospel ; a bold, uncompromising enemy
of oppression in all its forms ; a self-sacrificing friend
and defender of civil and religious liberty, of truth and
righteousness, whose name and whose virtues deserve to
be embalmed in the memory of every friend of God and



In pursuance of a notice previously given, a public
meeting was holden at the North Church, on the evening
of the 30th of November, 1837, for the discussion of reso-
lutions expressive of the sentiments of our citizens, rela-
tive to the assassination of the Rev. E. P. Lovejoy. The
Hon. Alfred .Johnson being chosen chairman, and B. P.
Field, Jr., secretary. The following resolutions were
reported by a committee, discussed and unanimously

Resolved, That in pursuance of the public notice
which called this meeting, we have assembled, not as
men of any party, civil or religious, but on the broad
ground of American citizenship, to pass resolutions in
regard to the topics specified, as truth and the good of
our country may in our estimation demand.

That the Rev. E. P. Lovejoy, a highly respected
citizen, recently of this state, who was on the 7th inst.
assassinated by a mob at Alton, in Illinois, in conse-
quence of an attempt on his part to protect his property,
liberty, and life, when no legal protection could be obtain-
ed — ^has fallen a martyr in defence of rights which are
guaranteed to every freeman by the constitutions of the
general and state governments ; rights of which our
country has made her highest boast, and which are dear
to every American citizen.


Meeting of AboUtionists, December 13th, 1837
Resolved, That this meeting and the people throughout
this land, have a vital and solemn interest in the death of
the Rev. E. P. Lovejoy, late Editor of the "Alton Ob-
server," who has fallen by the hands of our countrymen,


in defence of the liberty of the press, in one of the non-
slaveholding states of this republic.

That on the citizens of influence and office in Alton —
on " the property and standing" of that bloody little city,
and not on the poor, infuriated and drunken mob who
were their instruments, rests immediately before God
and impartial human judgment, the guilt of this riot and

That the only preventive of these mobs w^hich now out-
rage the whole land, and threaten to prostrate all law and
security at their ruffian feet, is in the prevalence and tri-
umph of anti-slavery principles — in other words — the
Abolition of Slavery.


Resolved, That we consider the conduct of the Attor-
ney-General, of the state of Illinois, at a meeting a few
days previous to the murder, in stating publicly that Mr,
Lovejoy, would be killed within two weeks, worthy of
the frowns of an injured community.

That, as application was made by Mr. Lovejoy to the
Common Council of Alton, to defend his person and pro-
perty from violence, the Council by refusing to comply
with his request, well knowing the imminent danger to
which he was exposed, are guilty of his blood.


At a public meeting of citizens in the Congregational
meeting-house, December 14th, 1837.

Resolved, That we commend the decision, firmness,
and courage of the Rev. E. P. Lovejoy in his endeavours
to establish and sustain a free religious press at Alton, Illi-
nois ; — who, though deserted by the civil powers, which,
by the constitution and laws of the state, and by solemn


oaths, were pledged for his protection, yet, not actino- for
himself merely, but in behalf of insulted humanity, and
the liberty of speech and of the press, and in behalf of
posterity, — nobly withstood unrighteous and murderous
violence, and died a martyr to the holy cause of right,
and truth, and freedom.


That in the destruction of the " Alton Observer," the
freedom of conscience and of religious opinion was
assailed, and that it specially behooves the pulpit and
the PRESS to lift up their voices in vindication and defence
of that freedom, and against any attempt to infringe its
full exercise.

That in the opinion of this meeting, the blood of E. P.
Lovejoy is no less an offering in behalf of the constitu-
tional rights of American freemen, than it is in behalf of
the enslaved.


Resolved, That our beloved brother, the late E. P,
Lovejoy, in laying down his life in vindication of his just
rights, has become a martyr not only to the doctrines of
Aholition, but to the principles of law and order ; and
that the blow aimed at him in the destruction of his life
and property, has struck at the liberties and rights of
every American citizen, and of every human being.

That the persevering determination of Mr. Lovejoy to
publish his paper at Alton, his exposure of property and
life, and firm resistance even unto death, of the outrageous
and murderous attempts to destroy his press, so far from
a spirit of obstinacy and reckless defiance, was the result
of a duty which he owed to the principles of liberty, the
rights of conscience, and the freedom of the press, and
should be honoured and revered by every Christian and




That we view the Rev. Mr. Lovejoy, who lately fell
at Alton, Illinois, without reference to the particular
cause in which he was engaged, as a martyr to the great
and inestimable rights of the freedom of the press, and
freedom of discussion.


Resolved, That we have every reason to believe that
had the citizens of Alton been faithful in sustaining the
laws of the land, and in frowning upon the conduct of
those who destroyed the press of Mr. Lovejoy, the blood
of that good man would not, as it now does, cry to Hea-
ven for vengeance, on those who have been accessary to
his death.

That the much lamented Lovejoy, in asserting his
imdoubted and constitutional right, the right of enjoying
and protecting life, liberty, and property, in refusing to
yield to the threatening dictation of a blood-thirsty mob,
thereby sacrificing his life as a martyr in the holy cause
of Abolition, deserves a name to be held in everlasting


That the martyrdom of the Rev. Mr. Lovejoy, had no
other provocation than his untiring zeal in attempting to
continue a religious newspaper, whose columns were
open to the free discussion of the great principles of
freedom embodied in the declaration of independence.

That all those citizens, whether in the editorial chair
or elsewhere, who persist in representing his death as the
consequence of the rash attempt on his part, to establish
an Abolition paper on the frontier of Slavery, are either
wilfully ignorant, or wickedly perverse.



Public meeting, November 23d, at the Rev. Theodore
S. Wright's Church.

Resolved, That we most cordially respond to the feel-
ings and views embodied in the proceedings of the Ex-
ecutive Committee of Am. A. S. Society, touching the de-
liberate and brutal murder of the Rev. Elijah P. Love-
joy, who gave up his life on the 7th of November, in sus-
taining the liberty of the press and the holy principles of
Abolition, to which he was honoured of God to become
the first Martyr in this nation.

That in common with the friends of law, order, and
oppressed humanity of our nation, we solemnly deplore
and mourn the loss of this holy and able advocate of the
rights of man, and express our deep and heartfelt sympa-
thy for his heroic wife, who has been thus painfully be-
reaved of a kind and faithful husband ; and implore the
blessings of the God of the oppressed, to descend upon
her, and her dear fatherless children.


At a large public meeting of the citizens of the
Northern Liberties, held on the evening of the 27th in-
stant, at the Temperance Hall, in pursuance of a call of
the committee of arrangement of a former meeting, held
for the purpose of expressing and making known their
sentiments in relation to the late murder of the Rev. E.
P. Lovejoy, at Alton, Illinois, for the great crime of
maintaining his rights as an American citizen^ and also
for the purpose of expressing their opinions in relation
to the right oi free discussion, and the liberty of the

After an address by Judge Price, it was unanimously
Resolved J That the right of free discussion, though


guaranteed, was not conferred by our constitution and
laws of our country, but that it is the gift of God, and
inherent in our moral nature, and therefore a right which
human government cannot take away.

That the exercise of the right of free discussion is
essential to the maintenance and security of our other
rights ; and that without this, other rights would be of
little value.

That, should the public apathy continue to give tole-
ration and immunity to mobs, while their fury is directed
against the advocates of human rights, we must not be
surprised when artful demagogues shall mount the whirl-
wind and direct the storm, against the property, the peace,
and the lives of other portions of the community.


That so long as the right of a citizen to defend his
property, himself, and his country, shall be acknowledg-
ed, so long ought the noble daring of E. P. Lovejoy, and
the " sublimity of his heroism,*' to awaken universal ad-
miration, and elicit universal applause.

That duty to his country, duty to the cause of liberty,
required that Mr. Lovejoy should stand thus firmly upon
his inalienable rights, and in yielding up his life in obe-
dience to that duty, is and ought of right to be, honoured
as a martyr in the cause of the human race.


Resolved^ That it is the imperious duty of all who
would cherish our free institutions to discountenance in
a becoming manner the high handed act of violence and

That Mr. Lovejoy laid down his life in a cause worthy
of so noble a sacrifice, the cause of free discussion, of
human rights, and the freedom of the press.


That his name should ever be held in remembrance as
the heroic friend and devoted advocate of those free in-
stitutions, which the patriots of the Revolution, like him,
freely laid down their lives to establish and maintain.


This meeting, convened without distinction of sect or
party, having had a statement of the late riot at Alton,
Illinois, laid before it, deems it advisable that an expres-
sion of abhorrence should be set forth, and that its hum-
ble voice should constitute one item in the strong efibrt
now being made to arouse the sleepers, (if it be not too

Resolved, That to withhold a decided expression of
disapprobation regarding the Alton tragedy, is virtually
giving it our sanction.

That we pledge ourselves to each other and to the
community, to spare no exertions, to protect men in their
rights when pursuing lawful vocations, and to vindicate
the supremacy of the laws.

That when an individual or a community announces
the expectation of a mob, it virtually invites one ; and
that there has rarely been a riot in our country in which
the instigators and actors were the same persons. " The
people wdll be excited." " We shall be unable to prevent
violen.ce," with similar expressions, are significant, and
seldom fail to produce that excitement and its concomi-
tants, w^hich they cunningly and hypocritically depre-

That the " compromise" meeting at Alton, together with
the course of the Mayor and other civil authorities, had
the direct tendency adverted to in the last resolution.

That before we will tamely submit to have our lips sealed
at the bidding of raobocratic despotism, we will suffer our
bodies to be immolated on the spot upon which we may


perish contending for our rights, and our name to be en-
rolled with that of E. P. Lovejoy, as martyrs to the
cause of law, of liberty, and of free discussion.


The blood of Mr. Lovejoy, we believe, lies at the
door of civil authority. They have slept for weeks and
months over the heating volcano, and they knew they
were doing this ; and they, we believe, were rather will-
ing it should be so. We believe Mr. Lovejoy has fallen
a sacrifice to liberty, and that the xoice of his blood will
only be appeased by the triumph of this principle. And
we can cheerfully add, in the language of a cotempo-
rary, " Thus died the first martyr in the cause of Aboli-
tionism. Long will his name be used as a talisman in
that cause, and the mention of it will infuse new vigour
into its swelling ranks, and incite its votaries to renew-
ed action and fresh energies, until every fetter is sunder-
ed, and every chain broken. May God hasten the day."
Maine Wesleyan Journal.

The hand so often raised to bless, lies powerless ; the
lips which moved in prayer, will move no more — his spirit,
so gentle, yet so firm, is happy with its God. His af-
fectionate wife, who so lately perilled her life in defend-
ing his, was by the last accounts still insensible — his
children are fatherless, and their mother a widow. Who
would say the work of the murderer is incomplete ?
They desired to silence him, and he is dead — and the
press they feared is destroyed. And yet, though Love-
joy has earned the crown of martyrdom, and been taken
from among us, he speaketh, and in a voice of thunder
that shall penetrate where his living voice would never
have been heard — and move thousands of hearts which


his arguments never could have moved. — Maine, Port-
land Transcript

Mr. Lovejoy was educated in this vicinity, and was
regarded as a young man of great promise. This idea
of mobbing and killing people to stop the freedom of
speech and of the press, will never do in this age and
country. — Gospel Banner.

The curse of God be on the heads of the infernal
mob. This will do more for the Abolition cause, than
could a score of presses and a hundred missionaries.
Lovejoy was a native of Albion, Maine. He has died a
martyr in the cause of liberty of speech and the press. —
Belfast Journal.

A martyred Lovejoy has unloosed the tongues of
thousands, and compelled them to speak out for God and
their country. That oppressed portion of our fellow-
men, however degraded by the awful curse of Slavery,
for whom he laboured, have, by his martyrdom and death,
gained a phalanx of firm and decided friends. Instead,
then, of being .disheartened, let the friends of freedom
and the press arise from their lethargy ; let them urge
with ten-fold more earnestness the cause of their coun-
trymen in chains — let the pulpit lift up its voice — let
the fervent orisons of all the professed followers of Him
who " went about doing good," ascend on high — let every
one who fears God and loves man, be filled with a new,
a reanimating impulse to press forward in the cause of
freedom, until every chain is broken ; and soon shall we
see the oppressed delivered out of the hand of the spoiler,
and our country saved from a fearful destiny. — Maine,
Eastern Baptist.

The civil authorities, to their deep disgrace, did not
attempt to shield this freeman, battling to protect the
freedom of speech, of the press, and of all the sacred


rights secured to the citizens by the constitution of these
United States. Lovejoy was a man of talents, piety, and
worth, whose untimely fate v/ill not only be mourned by
all who knew and honoured him, but it will long be
mourned by all who cleave to the freedom of speech, and
of the press, as the sheet anchor of our liberties. — Neio
Hampshire Courier.

It is not merely for the murder of E. P. Lovejoy as a
man, the image of God smitten down by the hand of
fierce wrath, that we should mourn and cry aloud — but
for the deadly blow struck at liberty, as impersonated
in that man, for the violence done to democratic and
Christian principle, for the outrage committed against
rights, inalienable and immutable, the birth-right and
possession of every human being. Not only has a min-
ister of the gospel been martyred for attempting, in
meekness and firmness, to obey the departing command
of the Saviour — " Go ye into all the world and preach
the gospel to every creature''^ — but the dearest and holiest
right which all ministers possess — freedom of speech —
has been assailed. Not only has an editor been mur-
dered for publishing his opinions, but the press through-
out the country has had an outrage committed on it, and
the rights which every editor possesses have been rudely
and ruthlessly violated. — New Hampshire, Herald of

The refusal of the civil authorities to extend efficient
protection to Mr. Lovejoy, while it was well known by
those authorities that his life was sought, and in immi-
nent danger, day after day, and week after week ; the
Attorney-General of the state having himself declared,
a short time previous to the actual accomplishment of
the tragical event, that Mr. Lovejoy would be destroyed
in less than a fortnight — the neglect, as far as we have


heard, in the same authorities, since the commission of
the bloody deed, to take any measures for bringing the
murderers to justice — the wicked hardihood of some
public journals in excusing the murderous mob from
blame, and casting the responsibility and guilt altogether
upon the innocent, butchered victim — the slight manner
in which many others pass over the subject, some being
quite dumb in relation thereto — the extensive insensi-
bility of our citizens, and even of some, if not many pro-
fessed Christians, even ministers — all these circum-
stances, and more circumstances than these, indicate a
danger that this nation will not, by thorough repent-
ance, and by executing justice upon the guilty, put away
that BLOOD GUILTINESS with which, in the sight of the
just Judge of all the earth, it is now so deeply stained. —
New Hampshire^ Morning Star.

He died in defence of what should ever be dear to
American citizens, the right of free discussion, subject
to the law — but in a portion of our land, the law has no
restraint. We hope the murderers will yet be identified
and punished. It should be remembered, that Bishop
was killed previously by a random shot from the castle
— every man's house is his own castle — and that no re
sistance with fire-arms was made, until the mob had
broken the windows of the building, fired into it, and at-
tempted to set it on fire. Had half a dozen been killed,
and the mob so dispersed, it would have been perfectly
justifiable, and far better than that one man should have
lost his life in defence of his property, and constitutional
rights. — New Hampshire Keene Sentinel.

In the main, the tone of the press betokens a sound
and healthy state of public feeling. In some few in-
stances the comments of editors have been little short of
cold blooded apology for the murderers. If we mistake


not, tliis offering of blood upon the altar of free discus-
sion, will arouse the nation to a just sense of its hitherto
criminal indifference and apathy on this subject, and lead
to an assertion of the right, thus smitten down by mob
violence, that shall forever place it beyond question. — -
Vermont Argus.

Thus has fallen — in the very place to which he was
invited — unprotected by " the friends of free discussion''^
— in a free state, the first martyr to the cause of human-
ity. The theatre of murders, of bloody and outrageous
deeds of infamy, has been transferred from Vicksburg
to Alton. Let this place be forever remembered — let its
name be written in the catalogue of all that is execrable
— let the emigrant avoid it as he values his liberty — let
him pass by on the other side of this Sodom of the West,
lest, if he should tarry in it, the wrath of insulted heaven
in fire and water, should descend and destroy the place,
with its wicked, pusillanimous, and shameless inhabit-
ants, who, like base cowards, permitted the murder of
one of their fellow-citizens. There can be no excuse
offered on their part. Their duty was plain — they should
have armed themselves, rallied in support of the Mayor,
and shot down, without ceremony, the first and every in-
vader of the rights of citizenship. — Vermont Caledonian.

The murdered Lovejoy died, a Martyr to the free-
dom OF THE PRESS. It was a noble cause. Looking
upon him as a freeman, bravel}' labouring for the right ;
as a patriot, taking his own life in his hands, as of less
consequence than the establishment of one of the dearest
and most precious blessings of our free constitution, we
would embalm his memory, and plant the emblem of im-
mortality to grow above his grave.

As a patriot, a lover of the constitution and laws of
his country, and the rights of freemen, his name should


be written beside those venerable compeers who have
battled with the minions of corrupt power, and the doc-
trines of man's inferiority.

Why was it that Lovejoy was left to struggle alone
for a common rij/lit ? Where were the executors of the
law ? Where the Common Council of Alton, and es-
pecially the Mayor, its chief executive officer ? The
official station of the Mayor, made it his duty to exert
himself to the utmost in calling out the moral and physi-
cal force of the city, to suppress every outbreak. He
should have aroused the Common Council, and when
hints of slaughter were openly proclaimed, and deeply
muttered, he should have prepared himself for a vigorous
defence — more — he should have carried the war into
Africa, and seized the cold-blooded villains, who were
daily threatening to trample, rough shod, upon the rights
of property and life. A noble-hearted freeman should
have been protected in the assertion and exercise of his
rights. But where do we find the Mayor, with the robes
of his official station ? and how employed ? Doing the
bidding of an unlawful mob — the obedient messenger,
the pliant servant, the supple attorney for the destroyers,
to demand of a free citizen a surrender of property, of
liberty and principle, or be murdered on the spot ! How
his craven heart and his degraded station, and violated
oath of office, must have blanched his cheek with the
mantle of shame and disgrace, when, in return to such a
demand, he received the spirit stirring and noble reply,
that they had assembled to protect their property against
lawless molence, and were determined to do so. A Mayor,
with a little of the good old blood of our revolutionary
fathers, would sooner have breasted the storm by a rally
among the police, and his chosen friends, and laid his


body upon the threshhold of the store, and died like a
patriot in defence of law and liberty.

Let him occupy the niche to which fame now points !
— Vermont, Brattlehorough PhcEnix.

We have to record this week one of the most atrocious
^nd cold-blooded murders ever committed. Rev. E. P.
Lovejoy, late Editor of the " Alton (Illinois) Observer"
— a man alike distinguished for his piety, and for his
devotion to the sacred cause of liberty — has been mur-
dered by a brutal mob. No crime is charged against
him — no palliation for this monstrous outrage is to be
given — unless lirmly and fearlessly to advocate the sa-
cred cause of the oppressed, is a crime worthy of death,
or an excuse for the shedding of human blood ! He has
fallen a martyr in the cause of freedom — a victim of the
accursed system of Slavery. To shed his blood, slave-
holders, or their emissaries, invaded the limits, disturbed
the peace, and violated the laws of a free state ; and we
fear these assassins have also succeeded in making their
escape, and found a sanctuary in the slave state of Mis-
souri. It would only be carrying out the spirit of this
atrocious act, should the government of Missouri refuse
any aid in arresting the perpetrators. But we shall see.
— Vermont Watchman.

Incarnate fiends and assassins have robbed a wife of a
husband, children of a father, and society of a pure
minded man ; for what ? Because he stood under a
shield of the constitution, and defended the liberty of the
press. A glorious cause to die in ! Let his memory be

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 23 25 26 27 28

Online LibraryJoseph C. (Joseph Cammet) LovejoyMemoir of the Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy; who was murdered in defence of the liberty of the press, at Alton, Illinois, Nov. 7, 1837 → online text (page 23 of 28)