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

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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 27 of 28)
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tyranny by that cold hand now paralyzed by the assas-
sin's steel. And there are the fragments of the press,
your own mighty engine of mental warfare, the palladium
of liberty's self, stained with his blood so fresh and warm.
And forget not his unexpiated shade yet hovers among
you. But return, now, resume your pens, arouse the
great and guilty nation from its extreme and passive tor-
pidity, till it shake off that inexplicable stupor of oppres-


sion which has fallen upon it — or prepare yourselves to
be slaves. Nay, rather let your bodies, like that of
Lovejoy's, be laid among the fragments of the press, than
that the dark spirit of Slavery should be permitted to en-
ter the sacred precincts of the temple of liberty.

And ye American mothers, ye daughters of the revo-
lutionary worthies, come and weep over the untimely
fate of the son of that New England mother who, when
she learned that her son had been slain for the cause of
truth, nobly exclaimed : It is well ; I had rather my son
should have fallen a martyr to his cause than that he
should have proved recreant to his principles. A mother
well worthy of such a son ! Mingle your tears with those
of that mother, and those of the bereaved widow and
the orphan. Press more closely to your hearts those
babes you so much love ; but, remember, God only knows
whether they shall be such orphans, and yourselves such
widows. But, still with their daily nourishment let them
receive the elements of purest patriotism, of holiest free-
dom. Let their infant lips early learn to whisper Love-
joy — Lovejoy and the freedom of the press. Tell them
full oft the horrid tragedy of Alton. And when they go
forth into the world bid them return, having valiantly
maintained the liberty of thought, or with a mother's
blessing lay their bodies beside the illustrious Lovejoy.

But, ye slaveholders of the south, go now, and see a
noble-hearted American slain at your bidding ! Who will
restore to your country another Lovejoy, the meek, the
dignified, the unyielding friends of the liberties of your
nation ? Why did you command it ? What was his
fault ? Was it not the defence of those principles, ye
degenerate sons of noble fathers, for which your own
Henry and your own Jefferson eloquently plead, and your
own Marion and your own Washington exposed their


bosoms to the Briton's bayonet ? See now the legitimate
fruits of the damnable tree of involuntary servitude plant-
ed by your ancestry, and which your own hands have so
long, and so assiduously cultivated. You have brought
innocent blood upon this nation. See your own hands
red with a brother's gore ; fratricides that ye are. Has-
ten now to the city of refuge ere the avenger of blood
overtake you. Let your penitential tears timely evince
your sorrow, that your murderous stain may be blotted
out. Bring forth fruits meet for repentance, by breaking
every yoke and letting the oppressed go free.

And thou city of destruction— for henceforth, Alton,
shalt thou thus be known — come, come and behold the
victim of your murderous spite. Look, ye men of Alton,
on that gory form. See, ye cruel ministers of death, the
uncompromising, the illustrious defender of freedom of
thought stretched at your feet, yet noble in death, and
your unhallowed hands dripping with his blood. What
was your price, ye mercenaries in murder, that ye stain-
ed the American soil with blood as rich, as pure, as ever
traitorous British steel caused to flow on Bunker Hill 1
What was your price, that ye wounded liberty in the
house of her friends ; that ye plunged your dagger to
the heart of the incarnation of the rights of mind ? Af-
fect not to despise this deed ; ye have done it, and the
civilized world will hold you responsible for the assassi-
nation of Elijah P. Lovejoy. The sword of human jus-
tice, drunk with the innocent blood shed in your streets,
may slumber over you, but eternal justice only delays
awhile to make your damnation surer. Aye, even now,
barbarous men that ye are, the lightnings of your own
reason consume you. Wherever ye go, in whatever
ye engage, the avenger of blood haunts your guilty
souls. Not the hoarse laugh of your forced jests, not


the gloom of sullen silence, not the darkness of the
midnight hour can shut out from your sight the murdered
Lovejoy :

" An inward day that never sets,
Glares round your souls and mocks your closing eyelids,"

ever revealing the form of the man of God ye slew.



We take this note from an account of the trials, now in
press, of those defending-, and those who attacked the ware-
house on the night of the 7th of November. John M. Krum,
Mayor, was called and sworn. He was requested to give a
connected account of all the disturbances, from the formation
of the city government. After detailing the events which
transpired on the evening of the 30th of October, at which
time President Beecher preached, he proceeds :

Subsequently to this, I was frequently called upon by Mr.
Lovejoy, (now deceased.) Mr. Tanner, Roff, and others, and
my opinion asked in regard to the propriety and expediency of
organizing an armed force. I remarked that at present there
was no organized militia force in the city, and no force upon
v/hich I could depend upon in an emergency. They thought of
forming a military company, and they asked me, if in case they did,
I would head it. I told them I could not, that my official situ-
ation was such as would render it impossible. Mr. Lovejoy, in
particular, called repeatedly upon me, and said, that I ought to
command a military force. I told him I could not consent to
do so : that I never should do so unless it became necessary
for the protection of the laws. We had repeated conversa-
tions upon this subject, I repeatedly and I believe always told
Mr. Lovejoy that it was within the province of any citizens to
organize such force, if they deemed it necessary they could do
it, if they pleased, at any time. Mr. Lovejoy stated to me,
that they wished to organize their company under my sanction
in an official capacity, and asked me, if I would give such sanc-
tion. I told him that I could not ; and explained to him the
reason why I should feel bound to withhold it. I told him what
the provisions of the law, in regard to the formation of such
companies, were : explained to him the mode of proceeding,
necessary to be followed in the organization of their company.

NOTE. 373

Subsequently to this, I loaned my law books to some one
who I understood was to join the company.

Mr. Gilman, in an interview shortly after, told me that they
had organized a company, and had put themselves under the
command of Wm. Harned ; he tendered me the services of the
compan}", and said, that they would at all times hold themselves
in readiness to obey any command I might issue. I replied,
again thanking him for his readiness to act, so often expressed,
and told him whenever the time should come, in which I should
think the occasion would warrant me to call for their services,
I should unhesitatingly do it.

On the night of the sixth, or rather on the morning of the
seventh of November last, at about three o'clock, Mr. Gilman
and Mr. RojfF came to my room and called me up. They stated
that the press was coming — that the boat was in sight, coming
up the river, and that Mr. Moore was upon the boat and had
charge of the press ; that arrangements had been made to
have it safely landed and stored that right, and they requested
me to go down, and be present at its landing ; so that, in case
of difficulty or disturbance, I might be there to suppress it. I
got up, dressed as- quickly as I could, and went down to the
river. I stood at Mr. Gilman's warehouse while the boat was
Hearing, and till she landed. I did not go on board, I think.
The hands of the boat put the press on shore, and removed it
into the warehouse. I think I did not have conversation with
any one but Mr. Gilman at this time. After the press was
stored, I went up into the warehouse. I found some twenty or
thirty people assembled : they were all armed, and again offer-
ed me their services in aid of the laws. I told them, as I had
repeatedly before, that at the time I did not see any occasion
for their services, but that if occasion should arise, when their
services should be needed by me, I should not only call for but
should expect to receive their assistance. On the sixth, Mr.
Gilman called upon me at my office, he mtroduced, as matter
of consideration, the subject of the rights of citizens to defend
their property. We had a long conversation, I gave him my
opinion upon the subject, I think I read the law, and explained
to him its pruiciples, I do not know whether he asked my ad-

374 NOTE.

vice as mayor, as lawyer, or as a friend and citizen. I did not
consider that I was then advising him as Mayor. In the course
of our conversation we spoke of our municipal regulations, I
told him I thought they were exceedingly deficient, and I be-
lieve I mentioned in what particulars. He asked me if I would
appoint special constables, said he apprehended danger to his
property. I told him that I had no authority to make any such
appointment, that I would cheerfully do all I could, — ^that the
Council would meet that day, and that at their meeting I would
lay the whole matter before them. When the Council met, I
did make the application, but I did not recommend in terms
the appointment of such officers. I left the whole matter to
the action of the Board. I was absent at the next meeting of
the Council, when the records were read or I should have no-
ticed the mistake in the record, and had it corrected.

On the evening of the 7th of November last, Mr. Oilman
and Mr. Chappell called at my office. They told me they ap-
prehended an attack would be made upon the warehouse, as
they had understood the mob were determined to destroy the
press ; that a number of armed men had assembled and were
then in the building for the purpose of defending it ; and that
they had come to the resolution of remaining there, and de-
fending it at all hazards. They asked me what I thought of
their determination. They spoke of the rumors they had
heard in regard to the determination of the mob to destroy the
press. At that time, aU was quiet in the city, so far as I know,
and I had but a little while before been in the streets, and ob-
served nothing which led me to suppose an attack was medita-
ted. I did not believe an attack would be made. I had exerted
myself that day, as much as I was able, and had endeavoured
to get all the information which was possible. People seemed
to shun me, and were very reluctant to communicate with
me at all, and I could succeed in getting no information, which
should have induced me to believe any design to destroy the
press was meditated. Mr. Gilman asked me what I thought
of the armed men who were in the building, remaining there
for the purpose of defending their property. I told him, in
my opinion they had an undoubted right to be there ; that they
might rightfully remain there, and that they would be justified

NOTE. 375

in defending" their property, I did not understand them as
making- this application for advice to me, as Mayor. Mr. Gil-
man stated to me that they were well prepared with arms, —
that they should remain there during the night, — that they
were fully determined to defend the press, and the building, —
and that if the attack, which they apprehended, was made,
they wished it to be understood that their services would be
ready to execute any order they might receive from any civil
officer. I replied to them, that, if the emergency should re-
quire the aid of armed men, I should not hesitate a moment in
commanding- the men who were assembled there to suppress
the riot, but that I should be the sole judge of such an emer-
gency. He repeatedly asked me what 1 thought of their be-
ing there. I never ordered any man to repair to the ware-
house ; but in every instance, I was informed that they had
already repaired there. Mr. Oilman repeatedly told me, that
all he desu'ed was to act under the authority of law, and the
civil officers. After Mr. Oilman left, 1 remained in my office
till between nine and ten o'clock. I stepped in to Dr. Hart's
office at that time, and while I was there, I heard a number of
people passing by. There were from fifteen to twenty. Im-
mediately came down stairs. I recognized two of the crowd ;
one of them had a gun. I got my overcoat, prepared myself,
returned to the street, but saw no one. I came down to Mr.
Robbms' office, — sent for Judge Martin and other civil officers^
and waited some time for them to come — Mr. Robbins and my-
self finally started together. As I was going down the stairs
1 heard two reports from fire-arms, — from the sound, I thought
they were pistols, — the reports seemed to be low, I soon heard
another which I took to be a gun. I hastened up, and soon
saw people carrying a man, — it was Bishop. I stepped up to
them and asked if any one was hurt, — they replied yes, one of
our men was shot — I asked if he was much hurt, — they said
they thought not. They seemed much excited, — I endeavour-
ed to persuade them to disperse — a crowd gathered round me ;
I addressed them, and used all the means in my power to in-
duce them to disperse. I asked them what they intended to do.
They said they were determined to have the press. Some one
proposed that I should let those inside the warehouse know that

376 NOTE.

they wanted the press ; that they would have it at all events,
and said, they would retire while I went in and communicated
their determination. I acceded, supposing that if we could
once get them scattered, the excitement would subside and we
could then control them. They retired, and I went to the
warehouse. Mr. Gilman opened the door, and let me (with
Mr. Robbins and I beheve Mr. West also,) in. He, Mr. Gil-
man, asked me how many outside were injured, if any. I told
him there was but one injured, so far as I knew, — that there
were but few outside. I then told Mr. Gilman what the mob
said they wanted, and the determination they had expressed ;
and I also stated my impression, that, when I went out, we
could control them. I staid in the warehouse some time pur-
posely, longer than I otherwise should, in order that the ex-
citement should subside, as I had no doubt it would.

While in the warehouse, I went up on to the second floor.
I saw there, Gilman, Lovejoy, Walworth, Long, and (I think, but
am not positive,) Hurlbut, and some others. I think I saw some
arms about the walls. Gilman, Long, and Lovejoy, had guns
in their hands. Gilman told me that two or three guns had
been fired from the house. Deacon Long asked me if they
were justified. I replied most certainly, I thought they were.
My impression was that we should be able to quell any further
disturbance, when we went out ; and I so expressed myself. I
had no idea any further attack would be made.

Question by W. S. Gilman. — On the night of the 6th when
I called you up, and you went down to the warehouse, did you
not go into the building before the press was landed 1

Answer. — Yes, I beheve I did, I think I did.

Question. — Did you not ask me to go out, and did I not go
out and stand by your side on the wharf at the time the press
was landed 1

Answer. — Yes, you did.

Question. — When the press was landing, did I not ask you
to go down and receive it, and did you not say that as I was the
owner, I had better go down and receive it, and you would be
by my side ]

Answer.-^Thero was a proposition of that kind made, and I

NOTE. 377

believe I made it. I thought as you owned it, you ought to be
there to receive it when it was landed.

Question. — Did you not tell us we had better not leave the
warehouse, not even to go to our meals, without some being-
there to guard it 1

Ansiver. — I think I told you, you had better keep a guard
there, or something to that effect.

Question. — Did I not seem anxious to know what to do 1

Answer. — You did : you appeared anxious that whatever was
done should be done under the sanction of the civil authority.

Question. — What course did you say you should take in case
the press should be attacked ]

Answer. — I told you that if there was any danger that the
people should attack the press, I should order them to desist,
and should warn them of the serious consequences which would
follow any attempt on their part to disturb or destroy the press.

Question. — Did you not say that if the press was attacked,
you should first order the mob to desist, and that if they per-
sisted you should then order us to fire ?

Answer. — I believe I did, I said I should if it became ne-

Question. — Did you not at this time consider you appeared
there as Mayor.

Answer. — I did. I once agreed in one of the interviews I
had with Mr. Oilman, to appoint Captain Harned a special
constable at his (Mr. Gilman's) request ; but afterw-ards, upon
examination, I found I had no authority to make such appoint-
ment. I did not consider the armed force at the church, or at
the landing of the press, as organized under my authority.

I have lived in the city for nearly five years. Godfrey and
Oilman built the warehouse which was attacked ; it has been
in their possession ever since I have known the place.

I heard no noise in the warehouse, on the night of the 7th.
I saw but few persons there, I saw Mr. Oilman first, on the
lower floor ; I saw Mr. Long, Lovejoy, and Hurlbut, and I pre-
sume others, but do not recollect who.

I know Mr. Oilman to be an orderly citizen. I gave no or-
ders while I was in the building, either to Oilman or any
one else restraining them from firing, or doing any thing else.

378 NOTE.

I saw no occasion for doing so. I thought they had a right to do
as they were doing. When I went out I commanded the people
assembled there to disperse. Had I seen any thing riotous on
the part of those in the warehouse, I should have ordered them
to desist, I should have commanded them to disperse. When
I first went up, the front of the store had been broken m. Some
shot struck my hat while I was addressing tlie crowd. The
guns were fired outside the building, and I thought from the
south-east corner of the warehouse ; there were three guns
fired at the people who were raising the ladder to the ware-
house. I supposed the sliot which reached me was fired at
them ; and I afterwards ascertained that I stood about in the

The two first discharges were from the outside, and they
were the first which were fired, I think.

Question by Defendant'' s Counsel. From all the circumstan-
stances in the case, have you any doubt that Mr. Oilman in
what he did, supposed he had your sanction 1

Answer. — From all the circumstances, I am induced to be-
Keve that Mr. Oilman supposed he was acting under my au-
thority. While I was in the storehouse some conversation
took place about the right which a man had to defend his pro-
perty. I uniformly told them that they had a riglit to be there.
I told them they were justified in defending their property, but I
told them so as a lawyer. "Wliile I was in the warehouse, I
told them if they were out of doors, I should command their
aid in suppressing the riot, but that I could not command them
while they remained there.

Cross examined. While I was in the building, I gave no
directions to those inside as to the mode of resistance tliey
should adopt. I considered that they acted upon their own re-
sponsibility, but I gave them my legal opinion. I took the
message which the mob requested me to take, and commuiii-
cated it to those inside. I told them that the mob swore they
would have the press at all hazards. Oilman replied, that they
had resdved to defend the press at the risk of their lives, and
that they could not give it up. I saw Oilman, Lovejoy, Hurl-
but, and Long, and I recollect of no others now whom I saw
with guns.

NOTE. 379

In my remarks to the mob, I returned the language of Gil-
man ; I spoke to them of the dangers they were in, the laws
they were violating, and the penalties they were incurring by
the breach of those laws.

Question by Linder for Govermnent. — Did Mr. Gilman ever
tell you what principles that press was intended to advocate ]

Ansicer. — I do not think he ever did. He once told me that it
was not determined whether the press should be established
here, or at some other place.

I do not know that I ever heard Gilman say any thing about
keeping Mr. Lovejoy here, or persuading him to go off.

I never did confer upon those who were inside any anthority
to assemble ; or give them any order to fire upon the people
outside. I endeavoured in the interviews I had with Mr. Gil-
man to explain to him the law.

Question by Linder for Government. — Did j'-ou ever state to
Mr. Gilman that he could not resort to violence, unless under
the direction of an officer of the law 1

Answer. — I do not think I ever did. I told him that every man
had a right to defend his person and property, and to use violence
if it was necessary, and that each man must judge of his extremity.
I repeatedly stated to him, that whenever a case presented itself,
when I thought the emergency required it, I should not hesitate
to call upon those men, or any other, to aid ms in maintaining
order ; but, I thought it must be an extreme case wliich would
justify such a course. I advised Mr. Gibian, in case of any
disturbance, to address the crowd in the first place ; I thought
he took a correct view of the matter. I told him what course
I should probably take if I was placed in a similar situation ;
but in all instances I advised him as a friend, and a citizen, and
not as an officer. I might have been desired to remain in the
building, at the time I VvCnt in. I think I was, and that I re-
plied that I could have more influence v/ith the crowd out of
doors. At the time I addressed the crowd, after I came out of
the v/arehouse, I think I stated to them, that unless they dis-
persed they would be fired upon by those in the budding. If
I recollect right, the mob made no reply. They advised me to
get out of the way and go home.

Question by Defendant's Counsel. — At the time you stated

380 NOTE..

to Mr. Oilman and others, that if they were outside you should
command them to aid you, was any proposition made by any
one for them to go out 1

Answer.— There was no proposition made by them, or to
them, to go out of doors. They expressed their readiness to
obey any orders I might give them.

Question by hinder for Govermnent. — Did you give them any
orders 1

Ansicer. — I did not.



Grandfather — Parents — Extracts from funeral sermon of
father, 13


Birth — Early and ardent desire for knowledge — Sports —
Seeks a public education — Enters College — Poetry while
there — Graduates — Poem, 17


Leaves for the West — Poetry — " Farewell" — ''Wanderer," 27

Arrives at St. Louis— Letter to Parents — Deep conviction
of sin — Account of conversion — Determines to prepare for the
ministry — Letter from Parents, , . . • , 32


Arrives at Princeton — Letters to Parents — To Brothers
and Sisters, .47


Returns to the West — Becomes Editor of the St. Louis
Observer — First article — Extracts from paper — " What is
Truth V' — " The past year" — " Faith"—" Conversion of the
world" — " Europe" — Sickness — "Vain Philosophy" — "Vani-
ty of man" — "Sir Isaac Newton"— Sabbath at "Apple Creek," 67


Further extracts — " Transubstantiation" — "Nunneries"
" Why discuss the subject of Popery V — "St. Louis Argus," 103


Views on immediate Abolition—" Slavery"— Letter from
the Editor of the Observer, c 117


Marriage — Note of Publishers of the Observer — Of Pro-
prietors — Letter from the same to the Editor — Resolutions of
the citizens of St. Louis — Appeal to fellow-citizens . 133



Letters to Brother — To Mother— To Archibald Gamble,
Esq. — Burning of Mcintosh — Charge of Judge Lawless —
Removal of the Observer to Alton, 155


Arrivalat Alton— Mob— Letter to Brother— To Mother-
Extracts from the Observer while at Alton — "The bubble
burst" — "To Rev, Asa Cummings" — "Amalgamation" —

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 27

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 27 of 28)