The Murder of Reverend Elijah Parish Lovejoy
Madison County ILGenWeb Coordinator - Beverly Bauser
"He died a martyr on the altar of American Liberty"
Offsite link: "The Alton Trials" (book)
WHO WAS ELIJAH PARISH LOVEJOY?
Elijah Parish Lovejoy (November 9, 1802 - November 7, 1837) was an American Presbyterian minister, journalist and newspaper editor who was murdered by a mob in Alton, Illinois for his abolitionist views. He had a deep religious upbringing, as his father was a Congregational minister and his mother a devout Christian. He attended Waterville College in his home state of Maine, and graduated at the top of his class, with first class honors. Afterwards, he traveled to Illinois, and after realizing that the area was largely unsettled, he moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 1827. There, Lovejoy worked as an editor of an anti-Jacksonian newspaper and ran a school. Five years later, influenced by the Revivalist movement, he decided to become a preacher. He attended the Princeton Theological Seminary and became an ordained Presbyterian preacher. Once he returned to St. Louis, he set up a church and became the editor of a weekly religious newspaper, the St. Louis Observer. He wrote a number of editorials, critical of other religions and slavery. In May 1836, he was run out of town by his opponents after he chastised Judge Luke E. Lawless, who had chosen not to charge individuals linked to a mob lynching of a free black man.
Lovejoy moved to Alton, Illinois, where he became editor of the Alton Observer. On three occasions, his printing press was destroyed by pro-slavery factions who wanted to stop him from publishing his abolitionist views. On November 7, 1837, a pro slavery mob approached a warehouse belonging to merchant Winthrop Gilman that held Lovejoy's fourth printing press. Lovejoy and his supporters exchanged gunfire with the mob. The leaders of the mob decided to burn down Gilman's warehouse, so they got a ladder and set it alongside the building. They attempted to climb the ladder to set fire to the warehouse's wooden roof, but Lovejoy and one of his supporters stopped them. After the mob set up their ladder along the side of the building for a second time, Lovejoy went outside to intervene, but he was promptly shot four times with a shotgun, dying on the spot. Lovejoy was hailed as a martyr by abolitionists across the country, and he has since been immortalized through the naming of monuments or buildings in his honor. His brother, Owen, subsequently entered politics and became the leader of the Illinois abolitionists. Lovejoy also had a cousin, Nathan A. Farwell, who served as a U.S. Senator from Maine.
The following series of events will take you through Lovejoy's arrival in Alton and the first publication of the Alton Observer, to the eventual murder of Lovejoy. You will discover that Lovejoy, following his removal from St. Louis, made a promise to Alton officials that he would not publish abolitionist views. This is a promise he did not keep. Even though Illinois was a non-slave holding state, and most residents were sympathetic to the slaves, Lovejoy's rhetoric incensed Altonians. They believed that each state had the right to decide on the subject of slavery. Anger grew. Threats were made. Pleas went out for calm, but to no avail. Lovejoy's press was thrown into the Mississippi River three times. The fourth time a new press arrived, a mob gathered around the warehouse on November 7, 1837. Lovejoy life was ended.
ALTON'S NEW PUBLICATION - THE OBSERVER - EDITED BY REV.
ELIJAH P. LOVEJOY
Source: Alton Telegraph, September 21, 1836
We omitted to mention last week the appearance, in this place [Alton], of the "Alton Observer," edited by Rev. Mr. Lovejoy. The paper is much enlarged from its former size, and otherwise greatly improved. Mr. Lovejoy has had many difficulties to encounter since he relinquished his "Observer" in St. Louis, and having now made his re-appearance, we hope he will receive, as he deserves, a liberal patronage.
ANTI-ABOLITION MEETING HELD AT ALTON MARKET HOUSE
Source: Alton Telegraph, July 19, 1837
Pursuant to public notice, a large and respectable concourse of the citizens of Alton assembled at the Market House early yesterday evening, in order to take into consideration the course pursued by the Rev. E. P. Lovejoy, in the publication and dissemination of the highly odious doctrines of modern Abolitionism, and the more to allay the spirit of an insulted people, which seemed brewing like a cloud, and darkening our social atmosphere. Although the combination of wealth, interest, and moral power were assiduously brought to bear upon the community in order to deter them from such a course, in boldly expressing their free and unbiased opinions on a subject of so delicate a nature, yet like men born to live and die, untrammeled by party, unseduced by mercenary motives, they met as freemen, determined to oppose, in a manly manner, and by a spirited resistance, the odious doctrine of modern misrule, which has stole on this community in direct violation of a sacred pledge.
The meeting was organized by calling to the chair, Dr. Halderman, and appointing J. P. Jordan, Secretary. The object of the meeting then being stated, on motion a committee of three was appointed to draw up resolutions. Whereupon, J. A. Townsend, Dr. H. Beall, and S. L. Miller were appointed. The committee, after retiring for a short time, returned and recommended to the meeting the following preamble, &c., which were unanimously adopted:
Whereas, The citizens of Alton are called upon a second time to express their disapproval of the course pursued by the Rev. E. P. Lovejoy, Editor of the Alton Observer, in publishing and promulgating the doctrines of Abolitionism, and that too in violation of a solemn pledge, voluntarily given by him at a former meeting of the citizens of Alton, when an exile he sought their protection, that he would not interfere with the question of Abolitionism in any way whatever, and that his intention alone was to publish a religious journal.
And whereas, On the strength of that pledge, and in full confidence that he would, as a clergyman of his profession, hold it sacred, we welcomed him as an acquisition to our place. But now finding much to our mortification, that he has wantenly violated his pledge, and introduced into the columns of his paper, Abolition doctrines of a most inflammatory character, and continues without regard in his solemn assertion to do so, which we as citizens of a State untrammeled with slavery, deem to be improper and highly impolitic to agitate among us, as we can derive no benefit from it whatever, but on the contrary, much injury and damage, by eliciting from our sister States, a feeling towards us highly injurious to our community.
1st. Resolved, That the Rev. E. P. Lovejoy has again taken up and advocated the principles of Abolitionism through his paper, the Observer, contrary to the disposition and will of a majority of the citizens of Alton, and in direct violation of a sacred pledge and assurance that this paper, when established in Alton, should not be devoted to Abolitionism.
2d. Resolved, That we disapprove of the course of the Observer in publishing any articles favorable to Abolitionism, and that we censure Mr. Lovejoy in permitting such publications to appear in his paper, when a pledge of assurance has been given to this community, by him, that such doctrines should not be advocated.
3d. Resolved, That a committee of five citizens be appointed by this meeting to wait upon and confer with Mr. Lovejoy, and ascertain from him, whether he intends in future to diseminate through the columns of the Observer, the doctrines of Abolitionism, and report the result of their conference to the public.
After the committee had read the preparatory preamble and resolutions, they were submitted to the meeting and warmly welcomes - upon which it was moved that the President appoint the committee - when the following persons were designated: D. K. Hart, L. J. Clawson, Col. N. Buckmaster, B. I. Gilman, Col. A. Olney, and Dr. J. A. Halderman, by request. After which Col. A. Botkin arose and making some pertinent preliminary remarks, offered the following resolution, which was cordially adopted:
Resolved, That we, as citizens of Alton, are aware that the Rev. E. P. Lovejoy still persists to publish an Abolition paper to the injury of the community at large, and as we deprecate all violence of mobs, we now call on him, by our committee, and politely request a discontinuance of the publication of his incendiary doctrines, which alone have a tendency to disturb the quiet of our citizens and neighbors.
Mr. Murdoch then arose, and after some beautiful and happy explanatory remarks, setting forth in a clear light, his reasons relative to the introduction of the two following resolutions, offered them for reception.
Resolved, That Congress while in session acts in a two-fold capacity: 1st. As the general representative of the people of the whole union, and as such has full power to legislate upon subjects regarding the general interest. 2d. As the immediate legislators over the private rights of the people of the District of Columbia - rights in which they are solely interested; and while legislating upon these rights, as faithful legislators, no regard should be paid to petitions emanating from other sources.
Resolved, That it is an impertinent interference with the rights of others, to petition Congress to pass a law, not asked for by those over whom it is intended to operate.
The resolutions thus being submitted, the Secretary here left his seat, and offered the following resolution:
Resolved, That in the opinion of this meeting, modern Abolitionism in any shape or form is a bold and daring usurpation of the principle of right, unwarranted by the constitution, and an unjustifiable interference with the domestic relations of the south, which neither religion nor humanity sanction.
Here Mr. Jordon made some allusion to the principle upon which our social edifice rested - the situation of the several States at that time who acted in their sovereign capacity, and the subsequent adjudication of Congress, upon this question - the rights guaranteed to the south and slave holding States; and concluded by submitting the resolution as above read - which was received; whereupon, on motion, Mr. J. A. Townsend was called to the chair; whereupon, Dr. Halderman offering the four following resolutions, said briefly, he was glad to see such a spirit of independence in Alton - he was cheered to know he was not alone on this question - that the slave holding States yet had friends even in a non-slave holding State, to feel the wrongs and avenge the cause - he was moved to say, the liberty of our forefathers had given us the liberty of speech - and continuing, he added, it was our duty and our high privilege to act and speak on all questions touching this great commonwealth. Whereupon, the resolutions being read, after some amendments by Messrs. Howard and Clifford, were unanimously adopted.
Resolved, That the recommendation in an editorial article of the "Observer," of a division in all the religious denominations on the sole ground of slavery, is in our opinion destructive of the best interest of Christianity, and an unwarrantable assumption of arbitrary prerogative.
Resolved, That the immediate emancipation of the entire slave population, with their admittance to all the privileges, suffrages, offices, immunities, and preferments, civil political and religious, in common with ourselves, constitutes the doctrine of modern Abolitionism.
Resolved, That while we disapprove the doctrine of modern Abolitionism, we abhor and deprecate the evil of slavery, and are ready and willing at any time, to give our influence and our money to promote any system of emancipation, that will better the condition of that oppressed race of the human family, that is agreeable to the slave holding States.
Resolved, That all the presses in the West and South, North and East, friendly to the cause of colonization or gradual emancipation, in order to ameliorate the condition and freedom of the African race, are hereby requested to publish the foregoing protest and resolutions against the misrule of modern Abolitionism.
Whereupon, on motion of B. Clifford, Esq., it was:
Resolved, That the Secretary prepare the proceedings of the meeting for publication, and notify the committee to wait on Mr. Lovejoy, after presenting them with a copy of the proceedings. Upon which an adjournment was moved and adopted, and the citizens retired in much harmony and good felling, to be again convened at the call of the committee.
J. A. Halderman, Chairman. J. P. Jordon, Secretary. July 11, 1837.
LETTER TO REV. ELIJAH P. LOVEJOY AND HIS REPLY
Source: Alton Telegraph, August 16, 1837
The correspondence below would have been laid before the public sooner, but for the difficulty of getting a meeting of the committee:
"Alton, July 24, 1837
To the Rev. E. P. Lovejoy:
Dear Sir - In the proceedings of a public meeting of the citizens of Alton, a copy of which is here with transmitted to you, you will find the following resolutions:
Resolved, That a committee of five citizens be appointed by this meeting to wait upon and confer with Mr. Lovejoy, and ascertain whether he intends to disseminate through the columns of the Observer, the doctrine of abolitionism, and report the result of their conference to the public.
Whereupon, on motion, B. K. Hart, L. J. Clawson, Col. N. Buckmaster, B. I. Gilman, Col. A. Olney, and Dr. J. A. Halderman were appointed said committee.
The committee have thought it most advisable to address to you the proceedings themselves, instead of any written statement of their own. The views and feelings by which the citizens were actuated, and their wishes and expectations, are set forth with sufficient clearness in their reported proceedings, to which we respectfully invite your attention, with the utmost deference to your feelings as a man, and your rights as a citizen. We respectfully request that you will at your earliest convenience, answer the inquiries embodied in the above resolution, so that we may report the same to the public in the discharge of our duty. Nothing but the importance of the question which the meeting was called to consider, and the dangers which its unwise agitation threatens, not only to the community, but to the whole country, could have induced us to take the step we have. With the wish that your answer may be dictated in wisdom, and prove such as will be satisfactory to the community, we subscribe ourselves with respect.
Your obedient servants, B. K. Hart, L. J. Clawson, N. Buckmaster, A. Olney, John A. Halderman.
LOVEJOY'S LETTER IN RESPONSE TO THE COMMITTEE
Alton, July 26, 1837
To Messrs. B. K. Hart, L. J. Clawson, N. Buckmaster, A. Olney, and John A. Halderman
I have this day received through the Post Office a communication signed by yourselves and addresses to me, enclosing a printed copy of the proceedings had at a public meeting held in this place on the 10th inst., to which proceedings you invite my attention.
Before replying more immediately to your communication, permit me to express my gratification at the kind and courteous terms in which it is made. In this respect it gives me pleasure to say, your letter is all I could desire. Be pleased, gentlemen, to accept my thanks. If, therefore, my answer be not such, in some respects, as you might perhaps wish, I beg you will not attribute it to any want of respect to yourselves as individuals, or to your opinions on the principal subject of your communication.
You will, therefore, permit me to say, that with the most respectful feelings towards you individually, I cannot consent, in this answer, to recognize you as the official organ of a public meeting convened to discuss the question, whether certain sentiments should or should not be discussed in the public newspaper of which I am the editor. By doing so, I should virtually admit that the liberty of the press and freedom of speech, were rightfully subject to other supervision and control, than those of the land. But this I cannot admit. On the contrary, in the language of one of the speakers at the meeting, I believe that the liberty of our forefathers has given us the liberty of speech, and that it is 'our duty and our high privilege to act and speak on all questions touching this great commonwealth.' I am happy, gentlemen, in being able heartily to concur in the above sentiments, which I perceive were uttered by one of your own members, and in which I cannot doubt, you all agree. I would only add, that I consider this 'liberty' was ascertained, but never originaled by our forefathers. It comes to us, as I conceive, from our Maker, and is in its nature invaluable, belonging to man as man.
Believing, therefore, that everything having a tendency to bring this right into jeopardy, is eminently dangerous as a precedent, I cannot admit that it can be called in question by any man or body of men, or that they can, with any propriety, question me as to my exercise of it. Gentlemen, I have confidence, that you will, upon reflection, agree with me in this view of the case, and will consequently appreciate, with justice, my motives in declining to receive your communication, as from the official organ of the meeting to which you refer.
But as individuals whom I highly respect, permit me to say to you that it is very far from my intention to do anything calculated to bring on an 'unwise agitation,' of the subject of slavery in this community. It is a subject that, as I apprehend, must be discussed, must be agitated. All virulence and intemperance of language, I should conceive to be 'unwise agitation.' It shall be my aim to resort and provoke to neither. I hope to discuss the overwhelmingly important subject of slavery, with the freedom of a republican and the meekness of a Christian. If I fail in either respect, I beg that you will attribute it, gentlemen, to that imperfection which attends us all in the performance of our best purposes.
Permit me respectfully, to refer you to an editorial article in the "Alton Observer" of the 20th instant, headed "What are the sentiments of Anti-Slavery men?" for the full expression of my views and principles on the subject of slavery. If these views can be shown to be erroneous, I hold myself ready to reject them, and if you, or either of you, or any of my fellow citizens deem them, and feel able to demonstrate them to be unsound, or of dangerous tendency, you and they are cordially invited to make use of the columns of the "Observer" for that purpose.
With much respect, Your friend and fellow citizen,
Elijah P. Lovejoy
MADISON COUNTY ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY CONSTITUTION
(The following article appeared directly below Rev. Lovejoy's letter above, shown above)
Source: Alton Telegraph, August 16, 1837
The following is the Preamble and the leading Article in the Constitution, together with the Resolutions adopted by the Madison County Anti-Slavery Society, at its formation in Upper Alton, on Saturday the 5th inst.:
Whereas, we believe the system of Slavery as it exists in the United States to be an institution of cruelty, injustice, and inhumanity, a system glaringly, and utterly opposed to the whole genius and spirit of Christianity; and whereas, its existence in this country is utterly incompatible with those natural rights, which as a nation we have declared belong alike to all men, and which no power, save that which gave, can justly take away; and that, having been thus rendered inalienable, whatever laws are made to estrange them are unjust, oppressive, and contrary to the will of God, and ought consequently to be abrogated without delay. Therefore, we feel ourselves called upon as men, as American citizens, and especially as Christians, to exhort whatever we may have of influence, in the love and fear of God, to do away this evil from among us; and that we may act the more efficiently, we agree to associate ourselves together, and to adopt, and abide by the following Constitution. The leading article as mentioned above is given only.
Article 4. The object of this Society shall be, peaceably, lawfully, constitutionally, by moral means and those only, to secure the immediate emancipation of the slaves of our country from the thralldom in which they have so long suffered; and to restore to them those domestic, and social rights, which have been most wrongfully and unrighteously taken from them - the rights of parents to their children, of men to their wives; and also to prevent eighty thousands of human beings, who according to the voice of nature and our own declarations, are born free, from being annually doomed from their very birth to hopeless bondage.
Resolved, That the holding human beings as property, the buying and selling them as such, is at all times, and under all circumstances, a sin, contrary to the laws of God, to justice and humanity.
Resolved, That the modern doctrine of expediency, which is that we should not brave public opinion, in endeavoring to do away established customs, and oppressive and unjust laws, tends to evil, and finds no countenance in the practice of Christ and his apostles.
Resolved, That we have a right, conferred by our Creator and guaranteed by the Constitution of our country, to act upon public opinion, in regard to subjects of general welfare, by the speaking, writing, printing, or publication of our thoughts; and whoever endeavors by threats, violence, or injury, to prevent the free exercise of this right, aims a fatal, and treacherous blow at one of the dearest and most salutary rights of American citizens, and that our duty to defend it is even more imperative and sacred than was our fathers to secure it.
Resolved, That the reception of Texas as an integral part of the United States, would be a virtual approval of Slavery, on which account, as well as for other reasons, it ought to be opposed by every patriot and Christian, and especially by the free States.
Resolved, That we regard the internal Slave trade of this country, by which no less than one hundred and twenty thousand men, women and children are torn from their homes, and carried to a distant market annually, as no less sinful than the foreign traffic in "homes and sinews," which, by all Christendom, has been denounced as piracy.
Resolved, That we cordially approve of the proposition to form a State Anti-Slavery Society.
Resolved, That we recommend to the State Anti-Slavery Society, when formed, to establish a paper devoted to the cause of immediate emancipation, to be conducted under the auspices of the said Society.
The following resolutions were adopted.
Resolved, That the churches in this State are bound by the law of love, and especially by the precept not to suffer sin to a brother, to bear their testimony against the sin of Slavery as it exists in the church in this and in some of our sister states, and to proclaim to them and the world that we will not participate in this, their guilt.
Resolved, That we will hold a monthly meeting for prayer to Almighty God, that he will grant a speedy deliverance to the Slave, and repentance and forgiveness to their oppressors.
Resolved, That the resort to violence in order to suppress the discussion of Anti-slavery principles, which has so generally been adopted by their opponents in this country, we consider as an admission that their principles are incapable of refutation by argument.
Resolved, That we consider it the solemn duty of every Christian and every American patriot not to remain neutral in the mighty struggle now going on in this country, between the spirit of slavery and the spirit of freedom, inasmuch as we believe the dearest interests of religion and humanity are involved in this struggle.
The committee appointed for the purpose reported the following list as officers of the Society, which was adopted.
Rev. H. Loomis, President; Enoch Long and C. W. Hunter, Vice Presidents; Owen Lovejoy, Secretary; J. S. Clark, Treasurer; George Kimball, J. Gorden, James Carponier, Directors.
On motion, voted that the Rev. H. Loomis be invited to deliver an address to the next meeting of the Society. Voted that when we adjourn, we adjourn to meet a week from Tuesday next (the 15th inst.) at the Presbyterian Church, Upper Alton. Voted that the proceedings of this meeting signed by the Chairman and Secretary, together with the Constitution and Resolutions be published in the Spectator, Telegraph, Pioneer, and Observer.
Voted to adjourn. Hubbel Loomis, Chairman; Owen Lovejoy (brother to Elijah P. Lovejoy), Secretary.
Upper Alton, August 5, 1837
THE SLAVERY QUESTION (From the Alton Telegraph Editors)
Source: Alton Telegraph, August 16, 1837
Having, in compliance with the request of the Abolition Society of this County, given an abstract from their late proceedings a place in our present number, we deem it expedient, once for all, to make known explicitly the course which we intend to pursue in cases of this kind; as well for the purpose of setting forth the ground on which we actually stand, as to prevent fruitless applications from any quarter for the admission of prohibited articles into our columns. In the first place, then, we shall observe that we deem the proceedings of any public meetings, or assemblage of citizens, whatever may be its object, entitled to admission into newspapers, as a matter of courtesy, if not of indisputable right, unless couched in improper language. Their publication seems entirely proper, not only because the voice of the people, when speaking in a collective capacity, should always have a hearing; but also, because those who may be opposed to the course pursued or recommended, ought to be made publicly acquainted with it, in order to enable them, should they deem it expedient, to adopt such measures as may appear necessary to counteract it. On this ground, we have uniformly, when thereto requested, published the proceedings of any public meeting of our fellow citizens, whether we approve of its object or not. But we acknowledge no such obligation towards private individuals. The right of an Editor to admit or reject all communications, on any subject whatever, which may be offered for insertion in the paper under his control, we hold to be unlimited and absolute, in the fullest sense of the term; and believe that he is responsible to none, but his own conscience, and the bar of public opinion, for the correctness of his decisions. In applying this fundamental rule to the Abolition question, we may observe, in the second place, that being fully persuaded that the discussion of it, at least during the prevalence of the present excitement, can be productive of nothing but unmingled evil, it will, on no account whatever, be allowed in any shape through our columns. The proceedings of public meetings, if not objectionable on the score of length or language, will always be cheerfully admitted; but the door will be kept steadily and rigorously closed against any allusion to the subject in any other way.
CHARLES HOWARD MAKE A CORRECTION
Source: Alton Telegraph, August 23, 1837
Fellow Citizens: Permit me to address a few lines to you, for the purpose of correcting an erroneous impression which I have been informed is bearing on the minds of some of my friends with regard to my views of Abolitionism. I have been informed that some persons charge me of being an Abolitionist. This charge I most unhesitatingly deny; and I believe that all my conduct, as well as my language, relative to Abolitionism, will fully support my denial. For, in the first place, none can say that I have ever attended an Abolition meeting either in this or any other place. I did not even attend the meeting held here on the occasion of Mr. Lovejoy's press being thrown into the river, when he first landed in Alton, because I was opposed to the course pursued by the Abolitionists; and in the second place, being thus opposed, in principle, to the course pursued by the Abolitionists, I cannot believe that my language has been so contrary to my principles as to cause any person honestly and truly to say that he believes me to be an Abolitionist. So far from this being the case, I have had many warm and unhappy debates with some of my friends on the subject of Abolitionism - they defending and I opposing it. This I can prove to the satisfaction of all, should it be deemed necessary, and I pledge my word to do so if properly required. It is with regret that I have had to trouble you with these remarks; and were it not that I am announced as a candidate for the office of Mayor of our city, I should not have taken the liberty thus to address you. With much respect, I subscribe myself, Your fellow citizen, Charles Howard
ALTON OBSERVER OFFICE BROKEN INTO - PRESS DESTROYED
Source: Alton Telegraph, August 23, 1837
We are deeply concerned to state that the office of the Alton Observer, in this city [Alton], was entered into by a number of persons on Monday evening last; and its presses, type, and other materials taken down, broken, and thrown into the street. As no opposition was made to the proceedings of those engaged in this business, no personal injury was sustained by anyone, with the exception of a respectable citizen who was knocked down by a volley of stones directed against the building in which the office was kept. Deeming it probable that this transaction will undergo a legal investigation, we forbear all further details for the present.
STOREHOUSE OF GERRY & WELLER ROBBED - PRESS BROKEN AND THROWN
Source: Alton Telegraph, September 27, 1837
We deeply regret to be obliged to record the perpetration of another act of lawless violence in this city. Between the hours of eleven and twelve o'clock on the night of the 21st inst., the storehouse of Messrs. Gerry & Weller, on Second street [Broadway], was forcibly entered by twenty or thirty persons who proceeded forthwith to carry off a box, containing a press intended for the republication of the Alton Observer, which had been received a few hours before; and after totally destroying it, together with its contents, threw the fragments into the river. The business was dispatched with so much expedition, that although the Mayor was immediately sent for and repaired to the spot with all practicable speed, the work of destruction was nevertheless completed before his arrival. Sundry boxes of type procured for the same purpose, and deposited in the same place, with the exception of one which has disappeared, were not molested; either because the individuals engaged in the transaction did not wish to destroy them, or were deterred by the appearance of the Mayor. Being decidedly opposed to violence, in any case, we need hardly say that we consider these proceedings as deserving of the strongest reprobation. However worthy of censure the Abolitionists may be for persisting in the propagation of their tenets at a time so unpropitious to calm and dispassionate investigation as the present, and however much they may injure the interests of this growing City by thus making it, as it were, the focus of their operations, we are fully persuaded that these repeated attempts to put them down by force must inevitably be productive of far greater and more deplorable evils than these they are intended to prevent. One wrong never can justify another; and violence never should be tolerated in a country of laws and equal rights. We are gratified to learn that a large number of our most respectable and influential citizens are about organizing themselves as a City guard, with a view of tendering their services to the Mayor, in order to enable him promptly to put down all future attempts to disturb the public peace, let them proceed from what quarter they may.
Source: Alton Telegraph, September 27, 1837
Whereas, on the night of the 21st inst., several persons unlawfully, forcibly and maliciously broke open and entered the store of Messrs. Gerry & Weller, in said city [Alton], forcibly and maliciously took a printing press, types, and other apparatus there from, and broke and destroyed the same. In pursuance of the powers vested in me by the Common Council of the City of Alton, a reward of One Hundred Dollars will be paid for the apprehension and conviction of either or all of the offenders; Provided such persons be delivered to the civil authorities of said city.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the seal of said city, this 22d day of September, A. D. 1837. John M. Krum, Mayor.
LOVEJOY AND WIFE ATTACKED BY MOB IN ST. CHARLES
Source: Alton Telegraph, October 4, 1837
To the Publishers of the Telegraph:
Gentlemen - As I know by experience that a thousand rumors and exaggerations will be immediately set afloat in the community respecting the recent outrage at St. Charles, I must ask of you the favor to insert in your columns a brief narrative of the particulars of the case. I will confine myself entirely to a simple statement of the facts, leaving every reader to make his own comments and reflections.
On Wednesday last (the 27th ult.) I went over to St. Charles [Missouri] for the purpose of bringing home my wife, who, in ill health and with a sick child, had been spending a few weeks at her mother's, who resides in St. Charles. It was my intention to have returned the next day in the stage, but finding my wife's health unable to endure the journey, I concluded to wait till the next stage (Monday). Accordingly, I did so. On Sabbath, at the request of the Rev. Mr. Campbell, the Presbyterian minister of St. Charles, I preached for him in the forenoon and at night, he himself preaching in the afternoon. Just previous to my leaving the church, after the services were over at night, the following note was slipped into my hand: "Mr. Lovejoy, Be watchful as you come from church tonight. A Friend."
I showed the note to Mr. Campbell, who asked me to go home with him. I declined, however, and walked home to my mother-in-law's in company with Mr. Campbell and Mr. Copes, a deacon of the church. It was but a short distance, and nothing occurred to excite any storm. Mr. Campbell went in with me. This was about nine o'clock. Brother Campbell and myself sat conversing together till near ten o'clock, when a knocking was heard at the foot of the stairs - the room in which the family lived being in the second story. I took a candle and went to the door at the head of the stairs, to ascertain who was there; when the inquiry was made, "Is Mr. Lovejoy in?" I answered, "Yes." "We want to see him," was the rejoinder; and immediately a man by the name of -------- [left blank in the newspaper], and another from Mississippi, whose name I did not learn, rushed through the door where I stood and seized each by the coat collar, while the platform at the head of the stairs was filled by the mobites.
The only individuals in the house were the Rev. Mr. Campbell, my wife, her mother and sister, and myself. They doubtless expected to find only myself and the three females in the house. My wife, who was lying down in another room, hearing the knocking, came to the head of the stairs, just as it was filled by the assailants. She had to rush through them to get into the room where I was, which she did, and succeeded in reaching me, not, however, until the fellow from Mississippi had drawn his dirk upon her. Her only reply was to strike him in the face with her hand - a blow which more than one of the mobites received in their attempts to force me from the room - she meanwhile clinging to me, or throwing herself before me, among the infuriated assailants, with a self-abandoning fortitude and devotion which a woman and a wife only can feel. Induced, principally, by her efforts, the mob let me go and left the room. As soon as the door was shut upon them, Mrs. Lovejoy fainted. I carried her immediately into another room and laid her on the bed. She recovered only to relapse into alarming hysteric fits, and while in this condition, I was endeavoring to soothe her fears, the mob returned with augmented numbers and fury. Regardless of her heart-rending shrieks, they laid hold of me to drag me from the room, and would have done so had not W. M. Campbell, Esq., come to my rescue, and assisted me in freeing myself again from their grasp.
This state of things continued nearly two hours, the mob retiring for a few moments to the grog shop, and then returning to the assault with redoubled fury. It was their expressed determination to take my life, or as one of them, with horrid oaths, expressed it, they "wanted my blood and would have it." At length, one of them, ----------- [left blank], came up into the room with a written demand that I should leave the town by ten o'clock next morning. I sent them a reply that I should leave in the morning before nine. This pacified them for a time. But having received their potations of whisky, then again returned. By this time their drunken madness had reached such a height, that my friends despaired of defending me. Yielding, therefore, to their solicitations, and especially to the entreaties of my wife, though much against my own inclinations, I left the house, at a moment when the vigilance of the watching mob was relaxed, and thanks to a Guardian Providence, escaped unharmed.
Signed by Elijah P. Lovejoy
THE TELEGRAPH TAKES A POSITION AFTER RECEIVING THREATENING
Source: Alton Telegraph, October 11, 1837
It appears that the brief notice taken in our paper of the 27th ult. of the demolition of a press, intended for the revival of the Alton Observer, together with the few remarks which we then deemed it our duty to make on a certain communication forwarded from this city to the Editor of the New York Plain Dealer, have given offense to at least two individuals, each of whom has addressed as a letter full of bitter denunciation and complaint. In the first, which bears the signature of "One Who Knows," and is evidently written in a disguised hand, we are required to offer an "apology" to "those gentlemen who think fit to stop the course of Abolition in this place," for the "harsh language" we employed towards them when speaking of their proceedings, and emphatically "warned" that, if we repeat the offense, our "press shall follow the course of the other." "Silence - complete, grave-like silence" - according to our correspondent, affording "the only safety for presses or persons."
In the second, to which is affixed the name of a citizen of Alton, with whom we have no personal acquaintance, and which reiterates and justifies, with many additions, all the injurious imputations against the inhabitants of this town contained in the communication to the Plain Dealer, we are audaciously charged, as "a guardian of the public morals - a watchman on the walls of our city" - with having failed "to use the influence which our position gives," so "as to allay excitements, calm the passions, and shield the innocent from the ruthless hand of violence." The author takes it for granted that we must have been aware, for weeks before the attack was made, of the intended destruction of the Observer office; and colors into an elaborate argument for the purpose of showing that we not only neglected to raise our voice against it before hand, but also, after the commission of the act, to denounce the perpetrators in terms sufficiently expressive of the indignation which every independent man should feel at the atrocity of their conduct.
Whether these letters were intended for publication, with a view to compel us, in self-defense, to open our columns to the discussion of a question foreign to our purpose, and with which we have repeatedly declared we are determined to have nothing to do; or merely designed to influence our future course by secretly presenting to our mind the motives which the writers were conscious would operate with the greatest effort on their own, we neither know nor care. In either case, both of our correspondents might have saved themselves the trouble of addressing us; as neither the empty swaggering of the one, nor the sophistical ranting of the other, will induce us to move one inch from the ground which we have taken. We may, however, remark in relation to the first communication - which was received a few days before the appearance of our last number - that it would have been treated with contemptuous indifference, had not the receipt of the second - which reached us on Wednesday afternoon, and which, bearing a real name, seemed, from that cause alone, to have some claim on our attention - prompted us to include both in a passing notice; not so much for the purpose of giving a serious reply to either, as in order to explain more fully than we have hitherto done, the position which we mean to occupy, so long as we shall have the honor of conducting a public journal.
In the first place, we ought, perhaps, to observe that whether the letters in question were intended for publication or not, we cannot give either of them a place in our columns; not only because we might, in that case, be tempted to speak of the respective writers in terms not altogether consistent with self-respect, but chiefly because we are fully persuaded that their appearance, even without comment, would aggravate the feverishness of an excitement, which we firmly hope and believe will speedily subside, provided nothing be said or done to keep it in existence. We deem it the duty of every good citizen, at all times, and more especially when unusual agitation prevails, not only to be particularly careful to observe the laws himself, but also scrupulously to abstain from saying or doing anything which may lead to their violation by others. If he act otherwise, no matter from what motive, he becomes, to a certain extent, identified with the offenders; and if any outrage ensue, he cannot be held altogether guiltless. Had this salutary maxim been kept in view by either of the parties to the late proceedings, we should have been spared the mortification of recording them, as well as the labor of penning this explanatory article.
Inasmuch, however, as it may be the opinion of some, that we ought to give more specific answers to the charges preferred against us in the letters above referred to, we may observe, by way of reply to "One Who Knows," that being wholly unconscious of having used "harsh language" towards the persons of whom he speaks, we shall offer neither him nor them any "apology" for anything we may heretofore have said in relation to their proceedings; and that we shall not be deterred, by the fear of any injury, either to our property or our person, from condemning a resort to violence, be its object what it may. If we are compelled to choose between the licentiousness of the press, and its suppression, either by the edict of an absolute Monarch or by brutal force, we shall not hesitate in preferring the former; in the full persuasion, that in a free country, among an intelligent and high-minded people, the evils arising from that source, deplorable as they are, cannot be compared with those which must inevitably proceed from the other. For the former, a sure remedy may be found in a correct and enlightened public sentiment. The latter, on the contrary, is fatal to liberty itself; and if allowed to obtain the ascendency, must soon involve the most invaluable rights of the citizens, as well as our Republican institutions, in one common ruin.
With regard to the strictures of our second correspondent, it may be remarked that as we most certainly did not anticipate that force would be resorted to for the purpose of preventing the dissemination of the doctrines set forth in the Alton Observer, we are not conscious of any neglect of duty for having failed to give warning of the contemplated assault. It is true that soon after our arrival in this city, we became sensible that some dissatisfaction existed with the Editor of the above paper, on account of his Anti-Slavery publications, But, as we had no thought that this feeling would manifest itself in any act of violence, and knowing personally nothing about what seemed to be the chief cause of the excitement - the alleged violation of a solemn pledge, said to have been previously given by the gentleman in question - we deemed it neither right nor becoming to interfere, or meddle in any way with matters which concerned us not. It is, indeed, most probable that had we said anything at all on the subject, we should have been considered as an impudent busy-body; and that instead of restoring peace between the two parties, we might have incurred the hostility of both, and aggravated the mischief which we were seeking to prevent, by increasing their mutual animosity. Such, at any rate, has been frequently the case with those who volunteer their good offices in settling disputes among their neighbors.
But, how was it, we may very properly ask, with our accuser. He is, if we are not mistaken, an old resident of this place, and more or less acquainted with every one of its inhabitants, as well as perfectly familiar with the causes which have led to the perpetration of the act of which he speaks with so much bitterness. We, on the contrary, are almost a total stranger here, and have no knowledge, except from common report - which, in this as well as in most cases, is extremely vague and unsatisfactory - either of the persons concerned in the late outrage or of the circumstances in which it originated. If, therefore, we are guilty of a palpable neglect of duty, because we did not sound the tocsin [bell] of alarm, and warn the public of the approach of a danger which we did not and could not foresee, what degree of censure does he deserve, who according to his own written declarations, perceived in "the attacks of the Spectator," "the Market house meeting" - "the report of their committee" - and "the wicked threatenings and misrepresentations that were made to keep up the excitement" - sure indications of the coming storm, and yet did nothing either to avert or to resist its fury? Did he then warn his Abolition friends to desist from a course calculated to involve their property, and perhaps their lives, in imminent peril? Did he charge the public authorities to be vigilant and active in the performance of their duties as conservators of the peace, in order to prevent the perpetration of any act of violence? Did he invoke, either personally or through the newspapers, the aid of all sober-minded people, for the purpose of putting down every movement calculated to disturb the tranquility of our growing city, and injure or destroy its reputation abroad? If he did none of these things, but on the contrary "looked on and said nothing," although, according to his own admissions, fully aware of all that was in contemplation, we think an impartial community will agree with us in the opinion, that he must possess a more than ordinary share of impertinence in attempting to transfer the odium which he most certainly should bear from his own shoulders to ours. But let that pass.
Our position, at this time, is a very plain one, although by no means free from difficulties. In our Editorial capacity, we know of only two parties in these United States - those who support the existing Administration of the general government, and their opponents. On the success of the latter, we conscientiously believe that not only the prosperity and happiness of this great people, but also the perpetuity of our Republican institutions essentially depend. To contribute our feeble aid towards the accomplishment of this paramount object is, and shall continue to be, our sole and single aim. Such being the case, we cannot allow our attention to be called off from the great end we have in view, by subjects of minor importance. We are convicted that an editor cannot take an active part in any of the controversies on local or sectional matters, which are constantly arising in a country like ours, without incurring the hazard of deeply injuring the cause with which he stands connected. For this reason only, and not, as one of our correspondents basely and falsely insinuates, for the ignoble purpose of avoiding danger, we neither can nor will in any way whatever, interfere in the contest between the Abolitionists and their adversaries. We shall leave them, at all times, to settle their differences among themselves as they may think best, taking care, whenever we shall have occasion to notice their proceedings, to deal justly and impartially by all of them, approving where we can, censuring where we must, and always lending our influence to the preservation of good order and the support of the laws.
There are some who seem to imagine that an Editor should always be mounted on his War Horse, ready like another Don Quixote, to charge every wind will which may happen to attract his notice. Such, however, is not our opinion. Any responsibility, which properly belongs to our position, we shall always promptly and cheerfully assume, let it come in what shape it may. Farther than this, however, we do not intend to go. If, therefore, any man or act of men, absurdly choose to involve themselves into difficulty, either by attempting to brave public opinion or by taking the laws into their own hands, no matter from what motive, they need not expect that we shall go out of our way, and leave our appropriate sphere of action, either to watch over their safety or fight their battles. Should any injury befall them, we shall doubtless regret it; but we cannot consent to be held responsible for the consequences of their own acts, or to aid them in turning the evils which they may draw upon themselves into a profitable speculation. This is the ground on which we stand - this the position which we occupy - not only in relation to Abolitionism and its various ramifications, but also with regard to every other subject of controversy, not immediately connected with the great question at issue between the two parties into which the American people are now unhappily divided.
We never have expected to be fortunate enough to give entire satisfaction to every one of our readers; not even to all of those whose political opinions do not essentially differ from our own. The minds of men are so constituted, that it is impossible that they should all think alike on any one subject, even when honestly seeking to ascertain the truth, and to divest themselves of all prejudices and partialities. It is not, therefore, surprising that our course in relation to the exciting scenes recently enacted here, should have given offense to some of the most zealous among those who participated therein. We firmly believe, however, that a large majority of those engaged on either side, as well as the citizens of Alton generally, must, on reflection, be persuaded that the rule which we have adopted is the only proper one, and that we cannot depart from it without a violation of the high moral and political obligations which an individual situated as we are, owes to the community of which he is a member. Such, at least, are our honest convictions, and such the course which we are resolved to pursue. If, as we hope, the people of this city, after making a reasonable allowance for human frailty and short-sightedness - from which we do not claim to be exempt - shall deem our views to be in the main correct, they will doubtless sustain us. If otherwise, they have the same liberty to withdraw their support from this establishment, which we have of seeking another location, so soon as it shall appear that our labors among them are unacceptable. We have done with the subject.
[Note: The owners/editors of The Alton Telegraph at this time were John Bailhache and Lawson A. Parks (founder).]
ALTON CITIZEN PLEADS FOR CALM AND RULE OF LAW
Source: Alton Telegraph, October 18, 1837
Fellow Citizens - But lately the name of Alton stood high in view of the whole land. The inhabitant of your city, in traversing the Atlantic states, found himself an object of interest, and his little infant town a subject of remark, inquiry, and admiration. This, I have had opportunity to know, while in the course of a somewhat extended tour through the older portion of our country. The word "Alton," written on my baggage many a time, called around me my fellow travelers, and the people among whom I passed to talk of the town which in its youth - its very infancy indeed - was acquiring so desirable a reputation. I must confess, that my heart glowed with pleasure as I heard the frequent commendation of distant strangers.
And what was it that distinguished Alton thus? It was not its greatness - its enterprise - its business - its warehouses - nor even the rapidity of growth. In all these particulars but the last, St. Louis was fully equal; in most of them, far superior. Having many years start, the latter sat in the pride of wealth and urban dignity, when Alton was struggling for existence. She smiled in contempt at what she called the silly thought of rivalry. Her long rows of warehouses and streets of merchandise, in defiance to the efforts of a few young men to build a commercial town on the banks of the same magnificent river, within scarcely more than twenty miles. And yet Alton was armed with respect - almost with reverence - while St. Louis was scarcely mentioned.
In regard to magnitude and enterprise and rapid growth, Chicago was superior to Alton; and her local situation such as to excite even deeper interest; and yet it was to a citizen of Alton a gratifying fact that the latter occupied a higher station in the public view. In short, though the whole West, and especially Illinois and her towns, awaked the eager attention of the thinking and intelligent at the East, it required not the feeling of partiality which I readily confess to have been mine, in order to perceive that Alton was a kind of favorite abroad.
I ask again, why did Alton stand this prominent - and without hesitation answer. It was her high moral character. In every other respect she had competitors fully her equal - in this, none. At an early stage in her existence - at the very outset indeed - her citizens stood up in support of those eternal principles which will sustain towns, cities, empires; and without which they must sooner or later fall. The world knew, so far as the world had heard of her, that Alton was distinguished for that noble philanthropy which stretches beyond the border of her own town plat; which embraces other people, other nations, in her plans of beneficence, and which recognizes all men as brothers of the same family, and entitled to her sympathy and aid. The world knew, too, that the inhabitants of Alton were, and were expected to continue to be freemen. Here was the grand distinction between Alton and her wealthy neighbor. Other points of difference could be modified or disregarded, but this was supposed to be of so fixed a character, and was deemed so essential to permanent prosperity, that capital and enterprise and business flowed in until the insignificant little upstart began to turn into a magnitude which alarmed and provoked her older sister.
Fellow-citizens, look at the foundation on which the prosperity of your town was built. If you will keep up this grand distinctive mark, see, known and felt by all observers, your city will rise and spread and shine and last, when all the institutions of vice and injustice shall be shaken to pieces. But, if you strike this flag, your hopes of future greatness will be blown away and disappear. Public confidence will be lost; and with public confidence, business, immigration, wealth will cease. If you wish Alton to become a city of rioters, then let their well-known morals and principles rule, and let discussion be forcibly put down. But, if you wish to bear the reputation of a moral, honest, free people, rise in the majesty of order, justice and truth, and stop these violent proceedings.
A single fact will show that my position is sound. A leading political paper of New York - the organ of the real democracy, as they deem themselves the Loco-Focus, as they are called, - a paper and a party which are assuming a most imposing attitude in the country, contains the account of the destruction of the office of the Observer, in which the writer states "that the place is under the control of a mob." He advises immigrants to avoid Alton. The Editor of a religious paper, not Abolitionist, but opposed to them [the New York Observer] and having a wider circulation probably than any other paper in the United States, save one, adds: "We hope they will, till the punishment of the rioters shall show that the reign of law is restored."
Thus, fellow-citizens, you may see what effect this course of proceeding will have on Alton. The feeling is general; it is strong and deep. If the people of Alton allow the mob to prevail in this case, property of every kind will be depreciated in value one-third, if not one-half, within six months, from this cause alone.
Signed "One of You."
LESSON TO THE RIOTERS FROM NASHVILLE
Source: Alton Telegraph, October 25, 1837
We learn from the late Nashville papers that a certain Amos Moody, who is represented as a citizen of Illinois, recovered $2,000 damages at the late term of the United States Circuit Court for the District of Tennessee, against sundry individuals who, under the pretense that he was an Abolitionist and a negro-stealer, seized him without legal process in September 1835; and after subjecting him to a mock trial before Judge Lynch, in which he was found guilty, branded him on the face and gave him one hundred lashes with a cow-skin. In the course of the investigation which occupied several days, the defendants attempted to prove, in mitigation of damages, that Moody was a man of infamous character; that the charges originally exhibited against him were susceptible of proof; and that the punishment inflicted upon him was necessary to the safety of the country. This kind of evidence was, however, overruled by the court, on the ground that if the above individual had committed any offense, he should have been proceeded against under the authority of, and in accordance with, the provisions of the statute; and that "every blessing and every advantage - life, liberty, safety, and the right of property - all depend exclusively upon civil government, and the proper administration of the laws of the country." It is to be hoped that the verdict in this case will have a salutary effect in checking the propenalty to violence, which has recently manifested itself in various places, and brought reproach upon our Republican institutions.
ALTON AFRICAN COLONIZATION SOCIETY FORMED
Source: Alton Telegraph, November 1, 1837
A public meeting having been called by a number of citizens of Upper and Lower Alton and Middletown and vicinity, it was held in the Presbyterian house of worship, Upper Alton, Tuesday evening, Oct. 21. The house, which is a large one, was crowded to overflowing with gentlemen and ladies. The meeting was organized by calling Dr. H. F. Edwards to the chair, and appointing Dr. H. K. Lathey Secretary. The following resolutions were moved, seconde3d and unanimously adopted. On motion of the Hon. Cyrus Edwards -
Resolved, That the plan of providing for the removal to the coast of Africa, with their own consent, of such persons of color as are already free, or of such others as the humanity of individuals, and the laws of the different States, may hereafter liberate, recommends itself to the cordial support of every patriot, Christian and philanthropists.
On motion of the Rev. Mr. Parker, lately from New Orleans -
Resolved, That African colonization is worthy of the patronage of every American citizen; because it tends to unite men in all sections of our country in philanthropic feelings; because it creates feelings of respect for the colored race; and because it is pre-eminently a practical scheme of benevolence.
On motion of the Rev. J. M. Peck -
Regarding the involuntary and hereditary slavery of the African race as a violation of the principles of the Bible, and of the inalienable rights of man; as a fruited source of unhappiness to all parties concerned; as tending to deprive the slave of many of the rights, privileges and enjoyments of individual, domestic and social life; to destroy the bonds of the parental, fraternal, community relations; as tending to produce alienation of feeling, discord and disunion betwixt the different States, and as a moral and national evil, deeply deplored by the most distinguished statesmen, patriots and philanthropists of our country, Therefore -
Resolved, That we regard the project of African colonization as a benevolent project, brought about by Divine Providence, and well calculated to remove the most formidable obstruction in the way of the emancipation of slaves; provide for the elevation of the free people of color, who may be disposed to emigrate; and to induce slave holders to listen to the arguments, imbibe the principles, and co-operate in the labors of the friends of the African race.
Resolved, That while we regard the constitutional and legal question of slavery as being under the exclusive jurisdiction of the slave holding States, we hold ourselves in readiness, as the friends of humanity, to co-operate by our prayers, labors, and contributions, with our brethren in those States in the removal of slavery by emancipation, and providing an asylum for the emancipation, where they and their posterity can enjoy all the religious, civil, social, and individual rights and privileges of a free people.
Resolved, That we deplore exceedingly the hostility that has been manifested, and the prejudices excited against the project of African colonization; the unchristian and abustre epithets against the slave holding community; the assumption that a class of the community are the friends of the slave, and of his emancipation, except those who approve of the measures, and unite with the modern anti-slavery conventions and societies; and we recommend the citizens of this State, and especially the free people of color, who live amongst us, to make themselves acquainted with the principles and progress of African colonization, and the present condition and prospects of the colonies in Liberia.
Resolved, That it be recommended to the life members of the Illinois State Colonization Society to take measures to revive that society, and to arrange for a public meeting for the purpose, to be held at Springfield, at such times as they may deem expedient.
Other resolutions were adopted as follows -
Resolved, That the citizens of our State be invited to form Colonization Societies in each principal town and county.
Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be published in the Western Pioneer, the Telegraph, and the Spectator.
The meeting was addressed with great effect by Messrs. Edwards, Parker, and Peck. Rev. Mr. Dogan proposed not to make a speech, but to "gather up the fragments," by proposing the form of a Constitution for a Society, and a subscription for the object. The Constitution was adopted, and a subscription raised amounting to almost $150. The officers of the Society are: B. I. Gilman, Esq., President; Dr. B. F. Edwards, John Hogan, and C. W. Hunter, Vice-Presidents; Dr. B. K. Lathey, Secretary; S. Griggs, Treasurer; Dr. P. W. Randle, Rev. Aaron Trabee, Rev. E. Rodgers, Enoch Long, Esq., and Elias Hibbard, Esq., Managers.
(The Telegraph also published the Constitution of the Alton Colonization Society, and the Illinois Abolition Convention was held in Upper Alton on October 27, 1837.)
CITIZENS MEETING REGARDING LOVEJOY AND THE ABOLITION QUESTION
Lovejoy Gives a Speech
Held on November 2, 1837
Source: Alton Telegraph, November 8, 1837
At a large and respectable meeting of the citizens of the City of Alton, held at the counting-room of Messrs. John Hogan & Co., on Thursday afternoon, November 2, 1837, Samuel G. Bailey, Esq., was called to the Chair, and William F. D'Wolf appointed Secretary. Mr. Hogan then announced the object of the meeting to be, to take into consideration the present excited state of public sentiment in this city, growing out of the discussion of the Abolition question; and to endeavor to find some common ground on which both parties might meet for the restoration of harmony and good fellowship by mutual concession - expressing a fervent wish that so desirable an object might be carried into effect. He was followed by the Rev. Edward Deecher of Jacksonville, who stated that the proposal of such a meeting had originated from Mr. Hogan, and that it had been deemed advisable by him and by Mr. Gilman that the following resolutions should be laid before the meeting for their consideration.
Resolved, That the free communication of thoughts and opinions is one of the invaluable rights of man; and that every citizen may freely speak, write and print on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty.
Resolved, That the abuse of this right is the only legal ground for restraining its use.
Revolved, That the question of abuse must be decided solely by a regular civil court, and in accordance with the law; and not by an irresponsible and unorganized portion of the community, be it great or small.
Resolved, For restraining what the law will not reach, we are to depend solely on argument and moral means, aided by the controlling influences of the spirit of God; and that these means, appropriately used, furnish a simple defense against all ultimate prevalence of false principles and unhealthy excitement.
Resolved, That where discussion is free and unrestrained, and proper means are used, the triumph of the truth is certain; and that with the triumph of truth, the return of peace is sure; but that all attempts to check or prohibit discussion will cause a daily increase of excitement, until such checks or prohibitions are removed.
Resolved, That our maintenance of these principles should be independent of all regard to persons or sentiments.
Resolved, That we are more especially called on to maintain them in ruse of unpopular sentiments or persons; as in no other cases will any effort to maintain them be needed.
Resolved, That these principles demand the protection of the Editor and of the press of the Alton Observer, on grounds of principle solely, and altogether disconnected with approbation of his sentiments, personal character, or course as Editor of the paper.
Resolved, That on these grounds alone, and irrespective of all political, moral, or religious differences, but solely as American citizens, from a sacred regard to the great principles of civil society, to the welfare of our country, to the reputation and honor of our city, to our own dearest rights and privileges, and those of our children, we will protect the press, the property, and the Editor of the Alton Observer; and maintain him in the free exercise of his rights, to print and publish whatever he pleases, in obedience to the supreme laws of the land, and under the guidance and direction of the constituted civil authorities, he being responsible for the abuse of this liberty only to the laws of the land.
The meeting was then addressed at some length by Mr. Linder, in opposition to the resolutions; after which Mr. Hayden moved that the resolutions be laid on the table. At the suggestion of Mr. Hogan and Col. Botkin, this motion was subsequently withdrawn by the mover; when Mr. Hogan moved that the resolutions be referred to a committee, with instructions to report at an adjourned meeting. This motion was agreed to; and, it being ordered that said committee should consist of seven gentlemen, to be nominated by the Chair, the Hon. Cyrus Edwards and Messrs. John Hogan, Stephen Griggs, U. F. Linder, H. G. Van Wagenen, Thomas G. Hawley, and Winthrop S. Gilman were appointed. Mr. Linder then offered the following resolution; which was agreed to:
Resolved, unanimously, by this meeting, That in the interim between the adjournment and reassembling hereof, if any infraction of the peace be attempted by any party or set of men in this community, we will aid to the utmost of our power in the maintenance of the laws.
The meeting then adjourned to meet at the courtroom on Friday the 3d inst., at two o'clock p.m.
Friday, November 3, 2 o'clock p.m.:
The citizens met, pursuant to adjournment; and the meeting being called to order by the Chairman, Mr. Linder offered the following resolution, which was unanimously agreed to without debate:
Resolved, That this meeting shall be composed exclusively of the citizens of Madison county; and that it is reiterated that none others shall vote or take part in the discussion of any subject that may be offered for their consideration; but all persons in attendance, other than citizens, will consider themselves as welcome spectators.
The Hon. Cyrus Edwards, from the committee appointed at the previous meeting, then made the following report; which was read:
"The committee appointed to take under consideration certain resolutions submitted at our last meeting beg leave to report that they have given to those resolutions a deliberate and candid examinations, and are constrained to say that, however they may approve their general spirit, they do not consider them, as a whole, suited to the exigency which has called together the citizens of Alton. It is notorious that fearful excitements have grown out of collisions of sentiment between two great parties on the subject, and that these excitements have led to excesses on both sides deeply to be deplored. Too much of crimination and recrimination have been indulged. On the one hand, the anti-abolitionists have been charged with a heartless cruelty; a reckless disregard of the rights of men, and an insidious design under the deceptive pretexts to perpetuate the foul stain of slavery. They have been loaded with muny of must opprobrious epithets such as pirates, _______, &c. On the other hand, the abolitionists have been too indiscriminately denounced as violent disturbers of the good order of society, willfully incendiary and disorganizing in their spirit, _______ prompting servile insurrections, and traitorously encouraging infractions of the constitution, lending to disunion, violence and bloodshed. These uncharitable impeachments of motives have led to an app___lting crisis, demanding of every good citizen the exertion of his utmost endurance to arrest all acts of violence and to restore harmony to our once peaceful and prosperous, but now distracted city. It is not to be disguised that parties are now organizing and arming for a conflict, which may terminate in a train of mournful consequences. Under such circumstances, have we been convened. And your committee are satisfied that nothing short of a generous forbearance, a mild spirit of convolution, and a yielding compromise of conflicting claims, can compose the elements of discord and restore quiet to this agitated community. They are therefore, forced to regard the resolutions under consideration as failing short of the great end in view; as demanding too much of concession on the one side, without equivalent concession on the other. Neither party can be expected to yield everything, and to acknowledge themselves exclusively in the wrong. In this there is no compromise. There must be a mutual sacrifice of prejudices, opinions and interests, to accomplish the desired reconciliation - such a sacrifice as led to the adoption of the great charter of American freedom which has secured to ourselves, and which promises a continuance to our posterity, of the blessed fruits of peace, prosperity and union. Whilst, therefore, we fully and freely recognize the justness of the principles engrafted upon our constitution, that the free communication of thoughts and opinions is one of the invaluable rights of man, and that every citizen may freely speak, write and print on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty; that the abuse of this right is the only legal ground for restraining its use; that the question of abuse must be decided solely by a regular civil court, and in accordance with the law, and not by an irresponsible and unorganized portion of the community, be it great or small - your committee would with earnest importunity, urge as a means of allaying the acrimony of party strife, the unanimous adoption of the following preamble and resolutions:
Whereas, it is of the utmost importance that peace, harmony, order, and a due regard to law should be restored to our distracted community; and whereas, in all cases of conflicting opinions about rights and privileges, each party should yield something in the spirit and ____ of compromise; Therefore,
Resolved, That a strong confidence is entertained that our citizens will abstain from all undue excitements, discountenance every act of violence to person or property, and cherish a sacred regard for the great principles contained in our Bill of Rights.
Resolved, That it is apparent to all good citizens, that the exigencies of the place require a course of moderation in relation to the discussion of principles in themselves decided right, and of the highest importance; and that it is no less a dictate of duty than expediency, to adopt such a course in the present crisis.
Resolved, That so far as your committee have possessed the means of ascertaining the sense of the community, in relation to the establishment of a religious newspaper, such a _______ would, at a suitable time, and under the influence of judicious proprietors and editors, contribute to the cause of religion and good citizenship, and promote the prosperity of the city and country.
Resolved, That while there appears to be no disposition to prevent the liberty of free discussion, through the medium of the press or otherwise, as a general thing, it is desired a matter indispensable to the peace and harmony of this community that the labors and influence of the late Editor of the Observer be no longer identified with any newspaper establishment in this city.
Resolved, That whereas it has come to the knowledge of your committee, that the late Editor of the Observer has voluntarily proposed to the proprietors and stockholders of the Alton Observer, to relinquish his interest and connection with that paper, if, in the opinion of his friends, that course were expedient; your committee consider that such a course would highly contribute to the peace and harmony of the place, and indicate on the part of the friends of the Observer a disposition to do all in their power to restore the city to its accustomed harmony and quiet.
Resolved, That we would not be understood as reflecting in the slightest degree upon the private character or motives of the late Editor of the Alton Observer, by anything contained in the foregoing resolutions."
Mr. Linder then took to the floor, in support and explanation of the views taken by the committee, and urged the adoption of the resolutions reported by them with must earnestness. When he closed his remarks, Winthrop S. Gilman, Esq., one of the committee, handed the following protest against some of the sentiments expressed in the report; which he desired should be made a part of the record of the meeting: W. S. Gilman, from the committee, protested against so much of the report as is contained in the resolutions; alleging it as his opinion, that the rigid enforcement of the law would prove the only sure protection of the rights of citizens, and the only safe remedy for similar excitements in future.
The Rev. E. P. Lovejoy, Editor of the Observer, here addressed the meeting at some length, in a speech declaratory of his right, under the Constitution of this State, to print and publish his opinions, and of his determination to stand on this right, and abide the consequences, under a solemn sense of duty.
He was followed by Mr. Hogan, who took a wholly different view of the subject; and contended that it was the duty of Mr. Lovejoy, as a Christian and patriot, to abstain from the exercise of some of his abstract rights under existing circumstances. In the course of his remarks, the former referred to the pledge said to have been publicly given by the latter, when he first came to Alton; and observed that at that time he most certainly did understand Mr. Lovejoy to say, that inasmuch as he had left a slave-holding State, and had come to reside in a free State, he did not conceive it his duty to advocate the cause of emancipation, and did not intend doing so.
The Rev. E. W. Graves then rose in explanation; and asked Mr. Hogan whether Mr. Lovejoy did not, at the time referred to, distinctly state that he yielded none of his rights, to discuss any subject which he saw it. Mr. Hogan replying in the affirmative, Mr. Graves proceeded to remark that when Mr. Lovejoy arrived in this city, he entertained the views attributed to him by the gentleman who had just taken his seat; that a change had subsequently taken place in his opinions, and that at a certain meeting of the friends of the Observe, he (Mr. Lovejoy) had made known this alteration in his sentiments, and asked advice whether it was best to come out in public on the subject. That, under the circumstances of the case, it was deemed most proper to let the paper go on - there then being an excitement in the public mind. Mr. Graves next alluded to the present excited state of the popular feeling, and said that the friends of the Observer had lately received communications from all parts of the country, and even from Kentucky, Missouri, and Mississippi, urging the necessity of reestablishing the press.
Mr. Linder followed in reply, and said he now understood the whole matter. It was a question, whether the interest and feelings of the citizens of Alton should be consulted; or whether we were to be dictated to by foreigners, who cared nothing but for the gratification of their own inclinations, and the establishment of certain abstract principles, which no one, as a general thing, ever thought of questioning. He concluded his remarks by offering the following resolution:
Resolved, That the discussion of the doctrines of immediate abolitionism, as they have been discussed in the columns of the Alton Observer, would be destructive of the peace and harmony of the citizens of Alton, and that, therefore, we cannot recommend the reestablishment of that paper, or any other of a similar character, and conducted with a like spirit.
The resolution having been read, Mr. Edwards rose and expressed the hope that its adoption would not be pressed at this moment. He dwelt with great earnestness and effect on the importance of calmness in our deliberations; and trusted that the present meeting would be productive of good to the community. The resolution was then laid on the table.
Judge Hawley then made a few very eloquent and appropriate remarks, on the subject for which this meeting had been called; and concluded by offering the following preamble and resolution, which were read and laid on the table for the present.
"Whereas, great and general excitement has for some time past prevailed with the people of the city of Alton, in relation to the publication of the doctrines of abolition, as promulgated by Mr. E. P. Lovejoy, in a paper called the Alton Observer; and whereas, as a consequences of that excitement, personal violence has been resorted to in the destruction of said press; Therefore,
Resolved, That whilst we decidedly disapprove of the doctrines, as put forth by the said Lovejoy, as subversive of the great principles of our union, and of the prosperity of our young and growing city, we at the same time as decidedly disapprove of all unlawful violence."
The question on agreeing to the report of the committee was then called for; and on motion of Mr. Hogan, the resolutions being taken up separately, were severally disposed of as follows: Resolution 1, 2, and 4 were agreed to unanimously; and resolutions 3, 5, and 6 were stricken out. The report, as amended, was then agreed to.
The resolution offered by Mr. Linder, and laid on the table, was then taken up, and agreed to as was ___ that subsequently introduced by Judge Hawley, after striking out the preamble from the latter.
Mr. John Krum then offered the following resolution; which was also agree to:
"Resolved, That as citizens of Alton, and the friends of order, peace, and constitutional law, we regret that persons and editors from abroad have seen proper to interest themselves so conspicuously in the discussion and agitation of a question in which our city is made the principal theater."
The meeting then adjourned, sine die. Samuel G. Bailey, Chairman. W. F. D'Wolf, Secretary.
THE MURDER OF REV. ELIJAH P. LOVEJOY – November 7, 1837
Written by Mayor John M. Krum, November 8, 1837
Source: Alton Telegraph, November 15, 1837
In order that the public mind may be correctly informed of the lamentable and fatal tragedy that was enacted in our city on the night of the 7th instant, and with a view of preventing and correcting distorted statement of the proceedings of the mob and those persons against whom the attack was directed, I deem it incumbent on me and proper, that I should present in my official capacity a plain statement of all the facts connected with the unhappy excitement that has so long agitated the peace and tranquility of the citizens of Alton. Without recurring to the causes or results of previous excitements in reference to the "Alton Observer" press, and its final destruction, I shall confine my statement to the last and most melancholy occurrence which has befallen our city.
For several days past it had been announced and generally believed that a printing press was hourly expected to be landed at our wharf. It had also been the current rumor that this press was intended for the re-establishment of the Alton Observer. The circulation of these rumors produced no small degree of excitement among those who had taken a decided stand against the abolition sentiments that were understood to have been disseminated through the columns of the Observer. Various reports of a threatening character against the landing of the press were in circulation, which led the friends of the Observer and its Editor to make preparations to defend the press, in case any violence should lie offered by those opposed to the publication of that paper.
On Tuesday, about three o'clock in the morning, I was called from my lodgings and informed that the press had arrived at the wharf, and that my official interference was desired. I immediately repaired to the wharf, and remained there until the press was landed and stored in the warehouse of Messrs. Godfrey, Gilman & Co. There were no indications of violence of resistance on the part of anyone at that time. The arrival of the "abolition press" (as it was called) was generally known to the early part of that day, which served to re-kindle the excitement. Representation was made to the Common Council of the threatening reports which were in circulation. The Common Council did not, however, deem it necessary to take any action on the subject. Gentlemen directly interested in protecting the press from mob violence deemed it expedient to guard the warehouse with men and arms, in readiness to resist violence, if any should be offered.
During the early part of the night of Tuesday, it was reported through the city that there were from 30 to 40 armed men on guard within the warehouse. About 10 o'clock at night, 20 or 30 persons appeared at the south end of the warehouse, and gave some indications of an attack. Mr. W. S. Gilman, from the third story of the warehouse, addressed those without, and urged them to desist, and at the same time informed them that the persons within the warehouse were prepared, and should endeavor to defend their property; and that serious consequences might ensue. Those without demanded the press, and said they would not be satisfied until it was destroyed; and said they did not wish to injure any person or other property, but insisted on having the press. To which Mr. Gilman replied, that the press could not be given up. The persons outside then repaired to the north end of the warehouse, and attacked the building by throwing stones &c., and continued their violence for 15 or 20 minutes, when a gun was fired from one of the windows of the warehouse, and a man named Lyman Bishop was mortally wounded. He was carried to a surgeon's office, and the mob withdrew and dispersed, with the exception of a small number.
Upon the first indication of disturbance, I called on the civil authorities most convenient, and repaired with all dispatch to the scene of action. By this time, the firing from the warehouse and the consequent death of one of their number (Bishop died soon after he received the shot), had greatly increased the excitement, and added to the numbers of the mob. Owing to the late hour of the night, but few citizens were present at the onset, except those engaged in the contest. Consequently, the civil authorities could do but little towards dispersing the mob, except by persuasion.
Gilman-Godfrey Warehouse Where Lovejoy Was Murdered
A large number of people soon collected around me. I was requested to go to the warehouse and state to those within that those outside had resolved to destroy the press, and that they would not desist until they had accomplished their object; that all would retire until I should return; which request was made by acclamation, and all soon retired to await my return. I was replied to by those within the warehouse that they had assembled there to protect their property against lawless violence, and that they were determined to do so. The mob began again to assemble with increased numbers, and with guns and weapons of different kinds. I addressed the multitude and commanded them to desist and disperse; to which they listened attentively and respectfully, but to no purpose. A rush was now made to the warehouse, with the cry of "Fire the house!" "Burn them out!" &c.
The firing soon became fearful and dangerous between the contending parties - so much so that the further interposition on the part of the civil authorities and citizens was believed altogether inadequate and hazardous in the extreme. No means were at my control, or that of any other officer present, by which the mob could be dispersed and the loss of life and the shedding of blood prevented. Scenes of the most daring recklessness, and infuriated madness, followed each other in quick succession. The building was surrounded and the inmates were threatened with extermination and death in the most frightful form imaginable. Every means of escape by flight were cut off. The scene now became one of most appalling and heart-rending interest! Fifteen or twenty citizens, among whom were some of our most worthy and enterprising, were, apparently, doomed to an unenviable and inevitable death if the flames continued.
About the time the fire was communicated to the building, Rev. E. P. Lovejoy (late Editor of the Observer), received four balls in his breast, near the door of the warehouse, and fell a corpse in a few seconds; two others from the warehouse were severely wounded. Several persons engaged in the attack were severely wounded; the wounds, however, are not considered dangerous. The contest had been raging for an hour or more, when those in the warehouse, by some means (the exact manner it was done I have not been able to ascertain) intimated that they would abandon the house and the press, provided they were permitted to depart unmolested. The doors were soon thrown open, and those within retreated down Front street. Several guns were fired upon them while retreating, and one individual had a narrow escape - a ball passed through his coat near his shoulder. A large number of persons now rushed into the warehouse, threw the press upon the wharf, where it was broken in pieces and thrown into the river. The fire in the roof of the warehouse was extinguished by a spectator, who deserves great praise for his courageous interference, and but little damage was done by it to the building. No disposition seemed to be manifested to destroy any other property in the warehouse. Without further attempts of violence, the mob now dispersed, and no further open indications of disorder or violence have been manifested.
The foregoing is stated on what I consider undoubted authority, and mostly from my own personal knowledge. Signed by John M. Krum, Mayor.
THE BURIAL OF LOVEJOY
(As printed in the Alton Observer from the Cincinnati Journal, December 28, 1837, written by Rev. Thaddeus B. Hurlbut)
The next morning, after Mr. Lovejoy's death, his remains were removed, by a few of his friends, from the warehouse in which he died, to his family. It was manifest, as the hearse moved through the street, that the malignity of his enemies, not satisfied by having spilled his heart's blood, still burned against him. I myself saw their sneers, and overheard some of their profane jests. One who was known to have taken a conspicuous part in the tragedy remarked, that "if he had a fife, he would play the dead-march for him." The next morning, his friends assembled and quietly deposited his remains in the narrow house of the tomb [Lovejoy was buried in the Alton City Cemetery, between two oak trees, with the head to the north and the foot to the south. A piece of board, a little larger than an ordinary shingle, with his initials carved on, served as his headstone]. There were no public exercises except a prayer at his funeral, it being deemed that silence was the most expressive sermon for the occasion. He is now where the wicked cease from troubling, and where the weary are at rest. He rests from his labors, and his works will follow him.
There is now comparative quietness in our city. The mob, having triumphed over the laws, have undisputed control. No steps have yet been taken to arrest the offenders, although they are well known. Indeed, they boast openly in the streets of their deeds of valor. Report says, there has been quite a contention between two or three of the leaders, as to who was entitled to the honor of shooting Lovejoy. There is, probably, no city on the civilized globe, there, when the evidence of guilt is so abundant, and so palpable, no efforts would be made to bring the offenders to justice. The magistrates who are not in the interest of the mob, feel, like all the rest of us, that they are at their mercy.
[NOTE: William "Scotch" Johnston, a colored man, helped to bury Rev. Lovejoy. He received five dollars for the burial and work at a later date, from Thomas Dimmock. Johnston was born in Scotland, and was a stone mason. It was he who helped Dimmock find Lovejoy's unmarked grave in 1864, 27 years after the burial. The grave was in a part of the cemetery where a roadway passed over it, and vehicles passing in and out of the cemetery were going over the unmarked grave. Johnson pointed out the grave, and Mr. Dimmock had the bones exhumed, had them re-interred where they are now. Dimmock set up over the grave the marble scroll stone which still marks it.]
THE TELEGRAPH SPEAKS OUT
Alton Telegraph, November 29, 1837
The Editor of the Galena Gazelle, in order probably to give additional point to the censure he bestows on the St. Louis and Alton papers, for the course pursued by them in relation in the late unhappy occurrence in this City [Alton], having taken occasion to observe that "one of the Editors" of the Telegraph was a member of "the same religious society with Mr. Lovejoy," &c., it seems due to truth and justice to say that the gentleman alluded to (L. A. Parks) has nothing to do with the Editorial department of this paper, which is controlled exclusively by J. Bailhache. How far the opinion is correct, that "the blood of Mr. Lovejoy never would have cried from the ground" had either of the journals published at St. Louis or Alton "sternly, firmly, yet soberly depicted the enormity of violence," is known only to the Omniscient God; and it savors somewhat of presumption in any individual, and especially one residing at a considerable distance from the place where the melancholy event occurred, and who knows nothing of the incidents connected with it, except from report, to undertake to say how it might have been prevented.
So far as we are concerned, our conscience acquits us from all blame in this matter. We never have hesitated, on every suitable occasion, to deprecate a resort to violence; or failed to do all in our power to lead the Abolitionists and their opponents to respect each other's prejudices and opinions, as well as to abstain from whatever appeared calculated to add to the then prevailing excitement. Whether this has always been done in a proper spirit, however, is not for us to decide. But the fact that we have incurred the displeasure and resentment of some, because we spoke of the first outrage, is language which they deemed "harsh and insulting," and of others, because we did not notice it in terms of sufficient severity, justifies the belief that we have pursued the only proper course, and that, had we acted differently, we might have been instrumental in increasing the horrors of the late catastrophe, instead of preventing its occurrence. Such, at least, is our candid and deliberate opinion.
THE LATE TRAGEDY
Alton Telegraph, November 29, 1837
We have been requested, by gentlemen whom we highly esteem, to extract from a number of our exchange papers, sundry articles in relation to the lamentable occurrence of the night of the 7th instant; but, after due reflection, the conviction has been forced upon us, that a compliance with this request on our part would be productive of no benefit to the public. The extracts in question materially differ from each other; not only in their statement of the facts which they profess to relate, but also, in the view which they take of the melancholy transaction itself.
Their re-publication here, instead of throwing additional light on the subject, would, therefore, lend only to involve it in still greater obscurity; and probably to prolong, or revive, the now subsiding excitement. Besides, were we to open our columns to articles of this cast, we should thereby incur an implied obligation to give equal publicity to any other sentiment of the affair, however objectionable, which might be presented for insertion.
Under this view of the matter, we are persuaded that our true course is to let the subject rest for the present, with the single remark that, so far as our observation has extended, public opinion, although unquestionably opposed to the proceedings of the Abolitionists, still more decidedly and unequivocally condemns the violence repeatedly offered to their persons and their property, and more especially the bloody scene of the 7th inst., which is everywhere strongly and indignantly reprobated.
If, however, it should appear necessary to the cause of truth to give a more particular account of what took place than is contained in that statement of the Mayor [John Krum] - which, from the relation in which this gentleman stood with the two hostile parties at the time of the catastrophe, his official character, and well established reputation as a man of honor and integrity, together with the fact that he witnessed almost every incident connected with the sad affair, is doubtless entitled to implicit credit, as far as it goes - we would respectfully suggest the appointment of a committee of judicious and impartial citizens, for the purpose of drawing up a fair and accurate report of all the circumstances connected with this unhappy event, for general circulation. A statement so prepared, and made public, would doubtless soon supersede the widely erroneous accounts which have gone abroad; and if it should not save our fellow-citizens and municipal authorities from reproach, it might perhaps satisfy reasonable men that our community in general have been more unfortunate than criminal, by showing that much of the mischief which has been perpetrated here owes its origin to a combination of unfavorable circumstances, rather than to premeditation, and the prevalence amongst us of an intolerant and persecuting spirit.
We merely throw this out as a hint, to be acted upon or not, as shall be thought best for the reputation of our growing city, and the fair fame of her enterprising and public-spirited inhabitants.
THE ALTON OBSERVER SPEAKS OUT ONCE AGAIN
Thursday, December 28, 1837/No. 148 Main St., Cincinnati
Elisha W. Chester, Editor and Publisher
After a long and painful silence, the cause of which our readers but too well know, the Alton Observer once more makes its appearance. The hand that threw a brilliant light over its pages no longer wields the editorial pen. The mind that teemed with thought, the heart that sowed with love, the soul that communed with God in the arduous work of conducting this paper, devoted to the cause of religion and benevolence; no more shall enliven us with the scintillations of genius. Cut off in the midst of his years and usefulness by the violent hands of those for whom he prayed and whom he would gladly have blessed. Elijah P. Lovejoy has gone, early, but ready, to his reward. We contemplate him now a purified spirit of light and love, dwelling in the glorious presence of Him in whose service he lived and died. He apprehends the violence there. "There the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary are at rest."
The Alton Observer, then, has changed. It falls into other hands, and is to receive the impress of its character from other minds. How far this change, wrought by its enemies, may affect the opinions promulged [made known] by it, we leave to be discovered by the result. Our object now is simply to account for the fact that a paper belonging to Alton should be printed in Cincinnati.
And here we remark, that it is not because we recognize the right in any man or body of men, except the editor, to direct or control the movements of this paper, or any other. We plant our feet upon the Constitution of our country, and upon the indefeasible rights which pervade all earthly constitutions; and maintain that any power which abridges or interferes with the free expression of opinion on matters of public interest, whether that power is wielded by a despot or a multitude, is tyranny; and as citizens of what is called a free republic we protest, and shall continue to protest, against its exercise.
It is not, therefore, because we intent to yield to any expertise on the subject. We here reassert our claim, not to the privilege, but the right of uttering our sentiments on all subjects, freely, and in all places. That claim is now reasserted, and the charge is registered against Alton before the world, and before the Court of Heaven, to which we appeal, that sacred, precious rights have been wrested from us by violence and blood.
Until Alton shall "come to herself" and see the injustice done to her citizens, and the citizens of the state; or at least discover the fatal effects of this suicidal act upon her own interests; we must be content to procure the printing of the Observer from other places. The thousands who have subscribed for the paper must not be denied their rights on account of the folly and madness of one little community.
Perhaps it may be thought that we are unjust to the citizens of Alton, generally, in the charge which we bring against Alton as a community, for the outrage upon the office of this paper and its lamented editor. We mean not to do injustice to any; and whenever the city of Alton shall prove that she is not accountable for the crime, we shall take great satisfaction in recording and publishing the vindication. We need not remind the sagacious reader that this proof must be found in acts performed ____ [unreadable], not only to the mobs, but to the date of this article.
As a vindication of the course pursued hitherto by the editor of this paper, we give numerous extracts from various journals of the day, expressing the public sentiment of the nation. It is consoling, indeed, in the midst of our deep affliction, to have such abundant testimony from all parts and all parties in favor of the course which has been pursued in the efforts to re-establish the Observer in the place where a mob had destroyed the office. It is extensively seen and fully recognized that the gist of the struggle on our part was not abolitionism against anti-abolitionism, but the freedom of the press against mob tyranny. The question to be settled, was Whether an American citizen might be allowed to speak as a freeman. He asserted this right - and for this he died. Such is the verdict of the public through the land. The exceptions are few and of little weight. (The foregoing articles were furnished from Alton).
THE LIFE OF REVEREND ELIJAH P. LOVEJOY
(The following notice of the late editor of the Observer has been kindly prepared by one of our friends.)
Rev. Elijah Parish Lovejoy was a native of Albion, in Maine, and was the son of Rev. Daniel Lovejoy, a Congregational minister. He was born Nov. 9th, 1802, and would have been 35 years old the morning that he was buried. He graduated with honor at Waterville College, and soon after emigrated to Missouri, where for several years he taught school. He then became editor of the St. Louis Times, a political paper, advocating the election of Henry Clay to the Presidency, in which he showed talents of the first order. His mental powers were superior, especially in the study of languages, in the acquisition of which he had a remarkable facility, which, if he had devoted himself to the department of learning, would have made him one of the first linguists of the country. During the few first years of his residence at St. Louis, he was destitute of vital piety, though not a confirmed infidel.
During a revival of religion in that place in 1832, he was converted, and soon abandoning his profession, he studied divinity at Princeton, where he was licensed to preach. Being earnestly invited by some friends of religion in St. Louis, to edit the "St. Louis Observer," he consented, and arrived Nov. 11th, 1833, and soon commenced its publication. His course as an editor was marked with great boldness and a firm adherence to what he considered the course of duty. He soon became in developing the character of Romanism and so fearlessly disclosed its abomination as to excite the hatred of many of the Catholics in that city. Especially after the consecration of their Cathedral, in which the troops and the flag of the United States were engaged, his bold rebukes excited the bitter hostility of the Catholic populace. He was denounced as an Abolitionist, and his office was entered and his types destroyed. His powerful and patriotic appeal to the public produced a reaction in his favor. He was at this time a Colonizationist, and strongly opposed to the Abolition societies and presses, and rebuked them with great plainness. But when the murder of McIntosh, a colored man, who was burned to death by the mob took place, and the charge of Judge Lawless was published, the severity of his rebuke so exasperated the mob, that they attacked and destroyed his office. He then removed his paper to Alton. Previous, however, to his going there, he had a meeting with a number of citizens in which he explained his course to them. When questioned as to his course in reference to slavery, he said that in his opinion it was a subject that ought faithfully to be discussed in our religious and political Journals, and as an editor he should never relinquish his right to discuss that or any other subject as he might think it his duty to do so. "I do not know," said he, "that I shall feel it my duty to discuss it here as fully as at St. Louis. There, where its enormities were constantly before me, I felt bound to life up my voice against it. This I claim as my Constitutional right - a right which I shall never relinquish to any man or body of men. To discuss the subject of slavery is not the object of my paper, except as a great moral subject in connection with others. My object is to publish a religious journal, which shall be instructive and profitable to my fellow citizens. As to the subjects I shall discuss and the manner of doing them, I shall ever claim the right of determining for myself, always accepting counsel from others with thankfulness."
The night after the press was landed, it was destroyed, having been left on the bank of the river during the night. A public meeting of the citizens was then called to express their sentiments on this outrage, at which they took a noble stand that raised the reputation of Alton abroad as a law-abiding city. At this meeting, Mr. Lovejoy reiterated in substance the remarks just quoted. He said he did not come there for the purpose of publishing an abolition paper, but one strictly religious in which he claimed the right to discuss any subject, always holding himself responsible to the laws of his country. He did not ask the citizens of Alton to grant him the right to publish such a paper or any other. He claimed this as the right of an American citizen. It has been stated by some of the abettors of the mob that Lovejoy violated a pledge made to the citizens, by becoming avowedly the supported of abolition doctrines, but though he was not an Abolitionist when he commenced publishing at Alton, yet he never pledged himself not to discuss the subject of slavery, but avowed his right and intention to do it. The statement that he pledged himself not to do so is extremely improbable in itself considered as well as contrary to the recollection of many who heard him. Lovejoy was not a man to promise that he would not discuss any subject, and especially a subject whose evils he had so long seen, and for speaking of which he had been driven by violence from his former home. The paper was immediately published, the title being changed from St. Louis to Alton Observer. The progressing interest felt by Lovejoy in the subject of slavery, although he had not yet united himself as a member with any anti-slavery or abolition society, yet was so strongly expressed in his paper as to lead to its destruction by a mob on the 22d of Aug. 1837. Soon after this he openly avowed his adherence to the cause of Immediate Abolition, and issued a call for a convention for the organization of a state Anti-slavery society.
On the 26th of Oct. the Convention assembled at Upper Alton. A large number of persons not friendly to the object of the call came in, professing to adopt the sentiments of the call and enrolled themselves as members and succeeded in passing resolutions in opposition to the intentions of those who called the meeting. At this meeting, U. F. Linder, Esq. and Rev. John Hogan, a Methodist minister, took very prominent parts and succeeded in their underhanded and dishonorable designs. The next day however, the friends of the Abolition cause met at the house of Rev. T. B. Hurlbut and about sixty delegates being present, they organized a state Society and elected their officers.
On the following Sabbath, President Beecher preached in both towns with great plainness and effect on the subject of slavery. On Monday 30th, several members of the convention, and some of the principle citizens of Alton, met in the store of Alexander and Co. to consult on the expediency of establishing the press again in Alton and defending it. After much deliberation, it was advised that Mr. Lovejoy go on and re-establish the press, and that it was the duty of the friends of free discussion to stand to the last in his defense. This was the uniform counsel of the friends of order to the last.
THE ALTON TRAGEDY
(as printed in the Alton Observer from the Cincinnati Journal, December 28, 1837, written by Rev. T. B Hurlbut)
The following account of the late scene at Alton is reported from the Cincinnati Journal, and is made up by extracts from letters, the first bearing date November 8th. Other information corroborates the account which is more particular in its details, than any other, that has been given to the public.
My Dear Brother Chester,
I take up my pen to address you under peculiarly solemn circumstances. I have just returned from viewing the lifeless corpse of two of our citizens, and from the bedsides of two others who were wounded. Of the two former, our brother Lovejoy was one, and of the latter, our mutual and worthy friend Mr. Roff. Yes, Lovejoy has fallen a victim to the violence of a band of armed ruffians, fallen nobly too, in defense of these inalienable rights which were given to him by God, and guaranteed to him by the Constitution.
I grieve and am mortified when I say it, in such scenes have been acted ever in Alton without the last week, as would disgrace any town on the coast of Algiers. Steam boats have been boarded indiscriminately by armed ruffians. Traveler's goods and boxes of furniture have been seized and broken open, in quest of printing presses, and their persons and lives have been threatened, for remonstrating against, scenes similar to this have been acted over on almost every boat that has touched our shores within the last week or ten days.
On Monday night, the obnoxious press, so long looked for arrived. Its friends had taken the precaution to have it landed late in the night, when it was supposed a mob would hardly be raised. They took the further precaution to have about 50 armed men secreted in the wareroom, ready for the service of the Mayor, at any moment. While the press was landing, the spies of the enemy were seen lurking about, and the sound of their horn was raised, shrill and long. But whether the enemies of peace and order were buried too deep in the arms of Bacchus and sleep, or whether they feared the formidable preparations that were made to receive them I know not. There were no further molestation than the throwing of a stone or two, while the press was removed into the wareroom of Messrs. Godfrey, Gilman & Co. Things remained quiet yesterday, saving the threats and imprecations that were heard along the street, against Mr. Lovejoy and the press. Mr. L's life was threatened openly and repeatedly. Soon after dark, there were unwonted gatherings in certain coffee houses. Here the spirit of vengeance which had been ranking in their breasts, was excited to desperation by spirit behind the counter. By about 10 o'clock, they were prepared for the work.
Accordingly, they repaired to the warehouse of Godfrey, Gilman & Co. They commenced the attack by hurling volleys of stones through the windows and doors. Mr. W. S. Gilman appeared in the door of the 2d story, and addressed the mob in his peculiarly kind and impressive manner. He earnestly and affectionately advised them to desist from violence; told them the property was left with him on storage; that he was bound to protect it. Assured them that nobody in the building had any ill will against any of them, and that they should all deprecate doing any of them, any injury. At the same time, he assured them that the press would not be delivered up, but that he and his associates would defend it at the risk and sacrifice of their lives. He was answered by a fresh volley of stones. Those inside then disposed of themselves at the different doors and windows, and prepared to defend it to the last. They all agreed that no gun should be fired till the doors were burst open, or till there was some firing from without. Volley after volley of stones were hurled into the windows and against the doors, then a gun was fired into the window from the mob. Presently a 2d gun was fired. The balls were heard to whistle thro' the window, but neither of them did any injury. At this juncture one of the party within, with the consent, and by the advice of the rest, leveled his gun upon the mob. One man fell mortally wounded. His associates took him up and carried him away to a physician, and the mob dispersed. The young man died in about half an hour. The mobites have today taken a great deal of pains to send abroad the impression that this young man was a stranger, and was present only as a spectator and took no part in the riot. But I have ascertained that there is no truth in this statement. He was a carpenter by trade, and was at work yesterday for Mr. Roff, and was heard repeatedly to boast during the day, of the part he intended to act last night. I have just been told also by a very respectable citizen, that he saw him just before he was shot, very actively engaged in throwing stones into the windows. I learn that his name was Bishop, recently from Genossee Co., New York.
In about an hour after the mob had had time to revive their spirits, and recruit their courage in the aforesaid coffee house, they returned with increased numbers, and armed with guns and muskets, &c. and recommenced the attack with renewed violence. They formed on the east side of the store, where there are no doors or windows and occasionally a fire was given from each party. Whisky was brought and distributed profusely among them, and all were exhorted to be "good men and true." Occasionally, one of the mob was heard to sing out "if any more guns and whiskey is wanted, away to the French Coffee House." Baffled in the attempt to gain admittance into the store by the doors and windows, they resolved unanimously, with a shout which cleft the air, to fire the building, and "shoot every damned abolitionist in it, as they should attempt to escape." Accordingly, a ladder was made, and combustibles prepared, and a man ascended to the roof. Presently it was in a blaze. Meantime, the company within sent out a detachment of 4 or 5 of their number to prevent it. Mr. Lovejoy was one of the number. The man on the ladder was fired at, and wounded. Just about this time, Mr. Lovejoy was deliberately aimed at by a man who stood a few yards from him, and shot down. He jumped up after he was shot, went into the counting room exclaiming, "I am shot, I am a dead man," and fell down and expired in a few minutes. Those within perceiving the building on fire and that it, together with its valuable contents, must inevitably be destroyed, and the press which they were defending with it, proposed to capitulate. They were assured by those without, that if they would withdraw from the building and leave their arms behind them, not one of them should be molested. They accordingly left the building, and as they were going out of the door and turning the corner, almost every one of them was fired at. Mr. Roff received a ball in one of his legs; his clothes were perforated with several holes, and one shot entered his nose near his eye, which bled profusely. Mr. Weller, of the firm of Gerry & Weller, received a ball in his leg, but it is thought the bone is not fractured. Several others have their clothes perforated with balls. They were pursued and fired after in every direction, till none of them could be found. The mob then entered unmolested, threw out the press and demolished it.
At about 2 o'clock, they dispersed. It is said several of the mobites were seriously wounded. There were 18 men in the building, with about 36 stand of arms, besides small arms. They were not desirous of destroying life, or they might have shot down 50 of the rioters as easily as one. The Mayor was heard to express the opinion today that there were of the rioters from 150 to 200 of whom from 50 to 80 were armed. Our young and worthy Mayor exerted himself, and did what he could to disperse the mob. But his kind admonitions were only returned by curses. A certain grog-seller in town stood a short distance from the Mayor and vociferated [speak or cry out loudly] that "if any one of their number was arrested by the civil authorities, he was authorized to say, he should be rescued by force and arms." What is civil authority here! and what can civil authority do!
The immediate cause which emboldened the mob was the same here as that which preceded the famous riots of your own peaceful city. A public meeting was got up and resolutions were passed, not driving Mr. Lovejoy from the city, but just strong enough to excite and embolden the mob to do it. The late Attorney General of our goodly State took a very conspicuous part in this meeting. He came out in an inflammatory speech in which he abused, by every epithet he could command, Mr. Lovejoy and his associates, and the ministers of religion generally. He denounced Mr. L. at one time as a very wicked fellow, at another as a fanatic who was utterly beside himself and ought to be taken care of. But he did not yet hand him over to the tender mercies of the mob. O no! I will testify for him, that he said expressly that "he would not advise that individuals, property, or person be sacrificed until the peace of the city required it." But at the same time, he plainly intimated by the turn of his eye, and the peculiar expression of his countenance, that that time was not far distant. A reverend clergyman of our city followed in a speech in which he attempted to explain the doctrine of expediency, reminded the meeting that St. Paul's friends thought it expedient on one occasion to let him down in a basket from the wall and let him go. Whatever may have been the intention of the speaker, it was manifest that the audience were willing to construe it as a good precedent for them to dispose of Mr. Lovejoy.
The next morning, after Mr. Lovejoy's death, his remains were removed, by a few of his friends, from the warehouse in which he died, to his family. It was manifest, as the hearse moved through the street, that the malignity of his enemies, not satisfied by having spilled his heart's blood, still burned against him. I myself saw their sneers, and overheard some of their profane jests. One who was known to have taken a conspicuous part in the tragedy remarked, that "if he had a fife, he would play the dead-march for him." The next morning, his friends assembled and quietly deposited his remains in the narrow house of the tomb. There were no public exercises except a prayer at his funeral, it being deemed that silence was the most expressive sermon for the occasion. He is now where the wicked cease from troubling, and where the weary are at rest. He rests from his labors, and his works will follow him.
There is now comparative quietness in our city. The mob, having triumphed over the laws, have undisputed control. No steps have yet been taken to arrest the offenders, although they are well known. Indeed, they boast openly in the streets of their deeds of valor. Report says, there has been quite a contention between two or three of the leaders, as to who was entitled to the honor of shooting Lovejoy. There is, probably, no city on the civilized globe, there, when the evidence of guilt is so abundant, and so palpable, no efforts would be made to bring the offenders to justice. The magistrates who are not in the interest of the mob, feel, like all the rest of us, that they are at their mercy.
Source: Alton Telegraph, January 10, 1838
The trial of J. M. Rock, one of the individuals engaged in the destruction of the Alton Observer press on the 21st of August last, came on before the Municipal Court of this city on the morning of the 4th inst. After spending two entire days in the examination of witnesses, and hearing the arguments of counsel, the case was submitted to the jury on the evening of the 5th. On the following morning, at the opening of the court, the jury, by their foreman, Stephen Griggs, Esq., handed the Clerk a scaled letter, the purport of which was that they had agreed to disagree. The court having expressed the opinion that such a verdict was improper, and refused to receive it, the foreman rose and stated that the jury voted 11 to 1; and that there was no hope of their agreeing, unless the court would instruct them on a certain point. To do this, the Judge observed that he had no objection, provided the parties would consent; and the City Attorney and the counsel for the defendant, having consulted together, agreed that the Court might answer any questions from the jury. Mr. Waples, one of the jury, then inquired whether the court believed that it had jurisdiction in this case. The Judge replied that he most clearly thought it had not. Mr. Waples then expressed himself satisfied, and the jury, having withdrawn for a few moments, returned a special verdict, to the effect that the defendant was guilty of the various charges preferred against him, but that under the indictment, they must return him not guilty. In order that the opinion of the court, on the question of jurisdiction, and the consequent finding of the jury, maybe understood, it is perhaps proper to remark that the offense charged in the indictment was committed on the 21st of August , and that the new organization of Alton, as a City, did not take place until the 2d of September following. Counsel for the prosecution, R. B. Murdock, City Attorney, and Edward Keating, Esquires; for the defense, U. F. Linder and A. W. Jones, Esquires.
THE RIOT TRIAL
Source: Alton Telegraph, January 24, 1838
Contrary to general expectation, the persons recently indicted for having participated in the fatal riot of the 7th of November were brought to trial on Wednesday and Friday of last week, and severally acquitted - the assailants and defendants being tried on different days. Our business engagements having put it out of our power to attend in either case, we are indebted for the following brief notices of both trials to the politeness of two gentlemen present, who have kindly furnished them at our request:
"On Wednesday last our city court was occupied from half past 9 in the morning until 10 at night, in the trial of the cause of the People vs. Enoch Long, T. B. Hurlburt, William Harned, George H. Walworth, A. B. Roff, Winthrop S. Gilman, James Morse Jr., George H. Whitney, John S. Noble, Henry Tanner, Royal Weller, and Reuben Gerry, upon an indictment for a riot on the memorable night of the 7th November last, in defending a printing press then in the possession of Godfrey, Gilman & Co. The indictment contained two counts; one of which charged the defendants with resisting an attack made by certain persons unknown to destroy a printing press, the property of Godfrey & Gilman, and then being in their possession; the other count charged the defendants with unlawfully defending a certain warehouse - being the property of Godfrey & Gilman - against an attempt by certain persons to force open and enter the same. Mr. Davis, one of the counsel for Mr. Gilman, moved for a separate trial as to Mr. Gilman, which, after much argument, was granted, upon the condition that the other eleven defendants should stipulate to be tried jointly. At this stage of the cause, a petition signed by some 60 citizens was presented to the court, praying that the Hon. U. F. Linder, Attorney General of the State, might be permitted to assist the City Attorney in the prosecution of the indictment. The court, in answer to the petition, remarked that it was wholly without its province to interfere with the subject matter of the petition; inasmuch as the City Attorney alone could say who should and who should not assist him; and consequently, the court, in discharge of its duty, and with all respect for the petitioners, would be compelled to deny the request; but that the Attorney General could appear to the cause, if the counsel for the people and the defendant should so consent. Mr. Davis then arose, and stated in the court that neither Mr. Gilman or his counsel had any objection whatever to the Attorney General's appearing on behalf of the People. The City Attorney consenting, Mr. Linder appeared in all of the prosecution.
A jury was without much difficulty impaneled, and the prosecution proceeded in the examination of the testimony, which developed most clearly this whole transaction from its origin down to its lamentable termination. One of the witnesses, on the part of the prosecution, H. H. West, Esq., stated that early in the evening, about dark, a person called upon him and informed him that a mob was to be gotten up that night, with a view of destroying the press then in the warehouse of Godfrey, Gilman & Co., and that the assailants had determined to obtain the press and destroy it, either by burning the warehouse or blowing it up; that the person giving him the information urged him to go and see Mr. Gilman and inform him of the fact; that he, in company with E. Keating, Esq., did repair to the warehouse of Mr. Gilman, where he found a number of individuals assembled, all of whom were armed with muskets and that he there stated to Mr. Gilman what he had been told, and the rumor that was current through the town; that Mr. Gilman expressed great astonishment at the information and could not credit it; and said he did not expect any attack would be made that evening. Mr. West also stated that this attack commenced on the outside, by throwing a volley of stones at the windows and doors, and that two guns were fired from the outside previous to any guns being fired from within. Mr. Keating corroborated in every respect the testimony of Mr. West, and also testified that the firing of guns commenced on the outside, and at the time the first attack was made upon the building. All the witnesses agreed in this particular; and the Mayor of the city, in his testimony, stated that he saw the assailants when they first went to the warehouse, many of whom were picking up stones as they proceeded towards it, and that one man had a gun. There was one other witness, besides the Mayor, called on behalf of the defendant, who corroborated the statement of the witnesses on the part of the prosecution, as to the attack first being made on the outside with stones and firearms, and who stated further that he was one of the individuals in the building who had repaired there with a view of defending it; that it was well understood and agreed among them that they were in no case to act except upon the defensive; and that a resort to firearms was not to be unless driven to it in the preservation of their lives. He further stated that they all supposed they were acting under the authority of the Mayor.
The above is the substance of the testimony both on the part of the prosecution and the defense, and which will serve to give the public some idea of the acts developed in the cause, until they shall be enabled to see a minute statement of the whole trial which we are informed is now preparing - a gentleman having taken full notes for that purpose - and which will be published in pamphlet form as soon as the circumstance will admit of it. The counsel for the defendant then proposed to submit the case without argument to the jury, which being objected to on the part of the prosecution, it was summed up by F. B. Murdock, City Attorney, Samuel G. Bailey, and E. F. Linder, Attorney General, Esq., on the part of the prosecution, and by George T. M. Davis and Alfred Cowles, Esq., on the part of the defendant. No instructions being asked for by either side, the cause was submitted after the argument of counsel without any instructions from his honor the Judge, to the jury; who, after an absence of ten minutes, returned into court their verdict of not guilty. The next morning the City Attorney entered a Nulle Prosequi as to the other eleven defendants."
"On Friday the 19th of January, there came on for trial in the Municipal Court of this city, the case of the people against Frederick Drucher, William Carr, James M. Hock, David Butler, Horace Beall, Levi Palmer, ____ Nutter, _______ Jennings, and others. Two of the defendants had left the city; the others came in voluntarily, and entered the plea of not guilty. The indictment was for riot, and charged that the defendants, on the 7th of November, with force and arms, ____sly, and riotously entered the warehouse of Benjamin Godfrey & Winthrop S. Gilman, and forcibly broke and destroyed a printing press, then and there being, the proper goods and _______ of Godfrey and Gilman, contrary to the statute in such case made and provided, ____ in ______ had been found against Winthrop S. Gilman and others, who had ____lered the said warehouse to defend the press from threatened destruction by the job without. That indictment was tried on Wednesday the 17th day of January, which trial resulted in the acquittal of Mr. Gilman, who was tried separately; after which the City Attorney dismissed the prosecution as to the other defendants, jointly indicted with him. This trial having led in an examination of the whole case, as well of those assaulting the warehouse, as of those defending it, the members of the jury of the regular panel had formed opinions in relation to the matter, so as to disqualify themselves. It therefore became necessary to select a new jury from the bystanders, for the purpose of trying the last case.
On the part of the people, it was proved that the press had arrived by steamboat a day or two previous to the 7th of November, consigned to Mr. A. B. Huff, but was landed at Messrs. Godfrey & Gilman's warehouse, where it was stored; that said warehouse was built by those gentlemen in 1812, and has been since that time owned and occupied by them, as forwarding and commission merchants; that on the afternoon of November 7th, one of the defendants had told the witness (H. H. West, Esq.) that the boys were going to attack the warehouse, and that it would be either blown up or burned, unless the press was given up; and that some of the defendants were in the company of about twenty-five, that formed a line from a certain grocery, swearing that they would have the press at all hazards. It was also proved that two guns or pistols were fired from the outside of the warehouse at those within; that showers of stones were discharged against the front of the building, by which the windows were demolished; that during the attack a man named Bishop was shot from the inside of the warehouse; that some of the defendants were seen carrying away his body, observing that one of their men had been wounded; that Mr. Gilman addressed the crowd from the third story of the building, requesting them to desist, and stating that he was defending his property, which he felt it his duty to do at the risk of his life; that he was replied to by cue of the defendants, as spokesman for the rest, who observed they were determined to destroy the press, if it cost them their lives.
It was also proved by the Mayor and S. W. Robbins, a Justice of the Peace, that they identified several of the defendants with arms in their hands, declaring that they would have the press; that a man was seen going towards the warehouse, with fire in his hands, swearing that he would burn down the building; that a ladder was set up against the side, and the fire actually communicated to the roof; that at this time Mr. West went in with the Mayor, to propose a capitulation, by which it was stipulated that if those inside would leave the warehouse, and give up the press, they should not be injured and no other property, except the press, molested; that the building was accordingly abandoned by Mr. Gilman and its other defenders, as the only means left them to prevent its destruction, and that of their own lives; that they were fired upon by some of the crowd as they retreated; that upon their leaving the warehouse, it was immediately entered by some of the defendants and others; that the press was thrown out and demolished with a sledge hammer, &c.
This constitutes the sum of the evidence on the part of the prosecution. On the part of the defendants, it was proved by Mr. Gilman that he was not the owner of the press, and had no further interest in it than the liability of himself and portuer for its safe-keeping. After argument by counsel, the case was submitted to the jury, who returned a verdict of not guilty. Counsel for the people, F. B. Murdock, City Attorney, and Alfred Coules, Esquires; for the defense, U. F. Linder, Esq., Attorney General."
THE COST OF THE FREEDOM OF THE PRESS
Source: Alton Telegraph, February 7, 1838
We are gratified to learn that a worthy editor in a neighboring county, who has recently lost three or four subscribers in consequence of his refusal to open his columns to the discussion of the Abolition question, has been amply remunerated by the accession of fifty new names to his list - twenty-six of which are from the city [Alton]. It is almost as great an infraction of the real freedom of the press, to withdraw the needful support from a newspaper, when no fault can be justly alleged against it except the straight forwardness and independence of its course as to destroy the materials with which it is printed; and those who place a just estimate on this great palladium of our liberties are not less bound to sustain it in the one case than in the other. We offer these remarks at this time, because having offended in the same way with our respected contemporary, we have been subjected to a similar punishment, but in a far greater degree; and are desirous of affording those who approve of the stand which a deep sense of the duty which we owe to our party, and still more to our country, has induced us to take, with regard to the highly exciting subject referred to, a favorable opportunity for procuring as a few hundred good subscribers in the place of the fifty whom we have lost. We may possibly get along with the present number, but if it were doubled or trebled, we should be better enabled to serve the cause in which we are engaged than we may otherwise have it in our power to do.
THE LATE RIOT TRIALS
Source: Alton Telegraph, March 7, 1838
As it appears from an article in a late number of the Cincinnati Gazette, that its Editor is somewhat surprised that after the trial of one of the individuals charged with a participation in the riots which occurred in this city towards the close of the last year, had resulted in the discharge of the accused on the ground that the court had no jurisdiction of the case, other persons were subsequently brought before the same tribunal to answer to a similar charge, we deem it proper to state that the trials in question were for different offenses. The first was for the attack on the Alton Observer office on the 21st of September, before the organization of our city government; the last for the fatal affair of the 7th of November following. The question of jurisdiction was not raised in the latter case. We are unable, from our own personal knowledge, to assign the reasons which induced the jury, impaneled to try the individuals indicted for the attack on the warehouse of Messrs. Godfrey, Gilman & Co., to return a verdict of not guilty - circumstances, unnecessary to be stated here, having put it entirely out of our power to witness the proceedings. According to common report, however, the evidence, although conclusive as to the general facts, was insufficient to trace the offenses charged in the indictment clearly up to any of the defendants then at the bar. To this cause, and not to any want of diligence on the part of the prosecution, or to any undue desire on the part of the jury to screen the supposed offenders from merited punishment, is the acquittal of the latter generally attributed. It is understood that a full report of the trial, prepared by a gentleman of the Alton bar, will soon make its appearance in pamphlet form.
THE ALTONIAN EXPRESSES SYMPATHY FOR MISFORTUNES OF THE
Source: Alton Telegraph, March 21, 1838
A new weekly paper, bearing the above title, made its appearance in this city on Wednesday of last week. It is published by Messrs. Parks & Breath, and presents a handsome appearance. So far as it shall be found to support the real interests of this city, the state, and the Union generally, we hope it will meet all desirable encouragement. We take this fitting occasion to return our acknowledgments to the editors for the kind sympathy which they have been pleased to express for our "misfortunes," in the loss of a few of our Abolition subscribers; and as we are unwilling to permit any obligation whatever to remain unrequited, when it is in our power to cancel it, we beg leave to condone with our worthy neighbors, on account of the rejection of their paper by a number of the Whigs to whom it was sent. Although gratified at the patronage of the Abolitionists, when voluntarily and unconditionally tendered, and ready at all times to render them full and impartial justice, we nevertheless freely admit that inasmuch as we do not concur in their peculiar views, we have no better claim on their support as a party than our friends of the Altonian have on that of the Whigs; and most certainly have no right "to compel" them to take our paper, "whether they will or no." In this respect, the two publications stand on equal ground; with this trifling difference, that the Telegraph fights openly, under its own colors, without profession to be what it is not. So far as the regret expressed by our neighbors, that there should be, in this city, an Editor whose course, in relation to the fatal affair of the 7th of November last, "required explanation," may be intended or considered as a reflection upon us, we deem it proper to observe, once for all, that during the entire period of our connection with the senior publisher of the Altonian, no Editorial article on the exciting subject of Abolition and the matters connected with it ever appeared in the Telegraph, without having been previously submitted to his perusal, and obtained his express sanction. If, therefore, too much has been said, he is not less to blame than we are for having failed to interpose his veto; if too little, he is equally consurable for having neglected to supply the deficiency.
ALTON TELEGRAPH TO MOVE INTO OLD OBSERVER OFFICE
Source: Alton Telegraph, April 4, 1838
The office of the Alton Telegraph will be removed, in the course of a few days, to the room formerly occupied by the Observer office, in the stone building near Piasa creek bridge on Second street [Broadway], where all orders in the printing line will be thankfully received and promptly executed.
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
Source: Alton Telegraph, June 19, 1841
[In an article address to the St. Louis Pennant (newspaper), the Alton Telegraph wrote the following in response to the Pennant saying that the Lovejoy Riot was caused by "foreign influence," and that Alton was "ill-fated." The Telegraph maintained that both statements were false, and those statements made by the Pennant were done through sheer ignorance or with the base design of willfully and intentionally misrepresenting Alton and its citizens:
"We assert, that no place, in proportion to its number of inhabitants on either the Mississippi or Ohio, has been more free from foreigners than has Alton. We assert farther, that the foreigners that have come among us have behaved much more like Christians and good citizens than the Native Americans (meaning those born in America) of St. Louis. And we farther assert that, in the Lovejoy riot - as we shall prove from the record - not a foreigner had anything to do with it. Now for the facts: By a reference to the records of the Municipal Court of the term of January 1838, it will be found that two indictments were preferred against twenty-three citizens of this place, as being concerned in the Lovejoy transaction; twelve of whom were indicted for defending the press in a 'violent and tumultuous manner,' and eleven for a riot in breaking open the store of Godfrey, Gilman, & Co. The names of the twelve persons were: Winthrop S. Gilman, Enoch Long, Amos B. Roff, George H. Walworth, George H. Whitney, William Harned, John S. Noble, James Morse, Jr., Henry Tanner, Royal Weller, Reuben Gerry, and Thaddeus B. Hurlburt. The names of the eleven were: John Solomon, Levi Palmer, Horace Beall, Josiah Mitter, Jacob Smith, David Butler, William Carr, James M. Rock, James Jennings, Solomon Morgan, and Frederick Bruchy. Each and every one of whom, in both indictments, were native born Americans. The traverse jury who tried Mr. Gilman (a nolle prosequi having been subsequently entered against the other eleven indicted with him) were, James S. Stone, Timothy Terrell, Stephen Griggs, E. Cuck, George Alcorn, Peter Whitaker, Horace Buffum, Sutton Johnson, Washington Libbey, George L. Ward, Anthony Olney, and Jacob Rice; they are each and all native-born Americans; and - as they should have done - acquitted Mr. Gilman. The traverse jury, who tried the eleven charged with being the immediate actors in the job, were: Timothy Terrell, J. P. Ash, William G. Gaskins, George Alcorn, John Clark, William S. Hankinson, R. P. Todd, A. Botkin, S. H. Wheeler, Daniel Carter, S. W. Hamilton, and Walter Lachelle; eleven of whom were native born Americans, and one, a naturalized citizen; who also acquitted the defendants. It will thus be seen that, out of the 23 persons indicted, and the 24 jurors who tried them, there was but one foreigner, and he was among the jurors, and accepted without objection from either side. Where then is the charge of the Pennant, that 'it was the infamous and traitorous adherents of Daniel O'Connell and foreign abolitionism, which caused the fatal Lovejoy riot!' It falls to the ground, and leaves the author of the column without a resting place for the sole of his foot.
But let us see if our other assertion is true - that the foreigners who have come among us (in Alton) have behaved much more like Christians and good citizens than the native Americans of St. Louis. During the nine years we have lived in Alton, the only offense of aggravated enormity that has been committed is the Lovejoy affair, to which we have before fully alluded. Now, how stands the account with St. Louis during the same period of time? The first case, within our recollection - and the recital of which will shock the moral sensibility of every good citizen of every land and every clime - was the wresting of a Negro from the hands of the law, in the broad gaze of day, by a lawless mob, and in the presence of a countless multitude, binding him to a faggot, and consuming him to death by a slow fire, with more than heathenish barbarity. Who, would we ask, were the leaders and actors of that scene, Mr. Pennant? Were they foreigners, or were they native Americans? Deny it if you can, that they were native born Americans, and that your courts of justice winked at this atrocious offense against the laws of God and man; and that, unlike Alton, they refused even to give the offenders the form of a trial!"
FINDING LOVEJOY GRAVE
Source: Memoranda of the Experience, Labors, and Travels of a Universalist Preacher By George Rogers; 1845
"Finding that I could not reach Princeton in time for my appointment, I got into another boat and went up the river to Alton, Ill. where I remained until the following Wednesday with J. P. Owen of the Upper village, in whom and his wife I found a brother and sister indeed. Alton occupies a high and very broken site on the east shore of the Mississippi about two miles above the mouth of the Missouri: it is doubtless a busy but very unsightly place its buildings are devoid of elegance its main business street is narrow and in wet seasons excessively miry. Upper Alton is distant from Lower about three miles. A Baptist College is there located, it is a massive fabric of brick in a better style of architecture than college buildings usually exhibit. I read while at Alton the life of Lovejoy, who some years ago was killed by a mob at that place on account of his persevering advocacy of negro emancipation. It was a misfortune for the memory of Lovejoy a misfortune for the cause to which he was a martyr that he died with arms in his hands [weapons], and if public report belie him not with the blood of one of his murderers on his skirts, it had been better for him to die praying for his murderers in imitation of his Lord rather than in resisting unto blood; nevertheless, I deny not that his course was justifiable on legal and even on simply moral grounds. In company with Mr. Owen I visited the burial ground in which he was interred. It is large, and has once been well enclosed, but the paling is now in a ruinous state; the yard is much overrun with scrub oak bushes. The stone slabs and monuments are broken and lie strewn about, and the whole scene is adapted to bring to the meditative heart the chilling truth that the dead soon lose their places in the remembrance of the living. Among other ruins I noticed a beautiful obelisk lying prostrate and broken - it was evident that some vandal agency had been employed in effecting such dilapidations and to me it is a mystery how surviving friends, after testifying their respect by the erection of costly tombs and columns, should suffer the sacred precincts to be thus desecrated for lack of a little cost or care to keep up the enclosure. It was with some difficulty we were enabled to identify Lovejoy's grave - the memoir describes it as lying between two oak trees with the head to the north and the foot to the south. We at length turned over a decayed piece of board on which we found his initials - this was the head board of Lovejoy's grave! It is little larger than an ordinary shingle - the letters on it will soon be obliterated, and then as no mound or other token distinguishes the spot as a grave. It will be hard to designate the spot where sleeps the martyred Lovejoy! Alas, for him, if worldly ambition was his object he hath his reward."
ABOLITIONISTS AGAINST ALTON FOR THE MURDER OF LOVEJOY
From Editors J. Bailhache and G. T. M. Davis
Source: Alton Telegraph, June 28, 1845
Prompted by a strong and imperative sense of the duty we owe, not only as conductors of a public press, but as citizens of the community among whom we live, we feel constrained to allude to the past and present condition of Alton, with a view of exposing what we have for a long time believed existed - a most unholy crusade against this city and its future prosperity. In doing this, we are actuated by the single purpose of disabusing the public mind, and settling the occurrences to which we shall be compelled to allude, fairly and impartially before the public. Far from us be the desire or design either to awaken prejudices at home, which by the lapse of time may have to a great extent subsided, or to furnish any ground or cause for renewed excitement. But, believing the evil to which we allude requires an immediate remedy, and that this remedy can be applied only by the exercise of the utmost candor, we shall discharge what we believe to be our duty, unpleasant as may prove the result of our undertaking. All we ask it the patient hearing of our readers, and their fair and impartial judgment upon that hearing.
From the year 1832, when we first became a resident of Alton, down to 1838, there was no place in the West that advanced with greater rapidity, or bid more fair to become an important point. Of the common desolation that was visited, as it were, upon the whole nation, in consequence of the abuse of the credit system, and the rapid and unprecedented revulsion in the commercial affairs of the Union, Alton, of course, received its share, though its effect upon us was no greater at the time than was experienced by a thousand other towns or cities in all sections of our country. Other places, however, have since that period gradually recovered from the shock, and prosperity and enterprise returned to their people, while we, who possess far greater local advantages than any other community near us, except St. Louis, have remained nearly in status quo.
For this unnatural, and to many unaccountable, state of things, there must be some cause. To us it appears evident that this cause is to be found in the fact that a systematized attack upon Alton has been kept up throughout the United States by the Abolitionists, as a sect, whose united influence has at all times, and under all circumstances, been exerted to prevent emigration to, and oppose the prosperity of, this place. We are assured of this, not only by the uniform practice of the Abolition paper at Chicago, as well as other journals of the same stamp throughout the Union, of denouncing Alton as the "city of blood" - her citizens as "mobocrats and murderers," and holding up the place as one that was to be avoided as a pestilence; but also, from the fast that scarcely a day passes in which we do not hear of, or meet with, those who have been deterred from coming to Alton by the most gross and basely wicked misrepresentation, as to the health of the city, the character of its citizens, and their regard for law and order. In nine cases out of ten, these misrepresentations, upon steamboats, in the streets, or wherever they may occur, are traced directly to Abolitionists; and so frequently has this been noticed, not only by the writer, but by other citizens, that the conclusion is both rational and irresistible that this continued tirade of abuse and vituperation is the result of design, and not of accident.
It may be asked why the Abolitionists should pursue this course towards Alton? We reply, for the obvious reason of keeping up excitement, and by pointing to this place as having ceased to improve since the melancholy catastrophe in 1837 [the murder of Elijah Lovejoy], use that circumstance as an evidence of the holiness of the Abolition cause, and the displeasure of Heaven against its opposers. In this we cannot be mistaken. Facts within our knowledge substantiate it beyond controversy. The rehearsal of a few of them will satisfy the most skeptical. When a prominent ultra-Abolitionist of this city was inquired of by one of our citizens, why they held their late Convention in this place, "Oh!" says he, "excitement! excitement!" When, by the advice of a celebrated physician, the widow of the lamented Lovejoy, who life was almost despaired of, was urged to go for a season out of the United States until her constitution and nervous system could to some extent be healed, the Abolitionists objected to it. The heartless ground of their objection was that her presence was necessary in different sections of the country to keep up excitement - to fan the flames of fanaticism and to advance their cause. So, during the sitting of their recent Convention here - notwithstanding the doors of some of our citizens were thrown open to them and that too by those who abhorred their doctrines - a resolution was introduced to the effect that "they thanked God an Abolition meeting could be held in Alton without their being mobbed!" It is true, through the effort of one of our citizens who repelled the insult thus offered, and subsequently withdrew from their association, the resolution was voted down. Yet, the design of it was the same as in the previous instances enumerated - "excitement - excitement." Without excitement, Abolitionism, like its prototype, Anti-Masonry, would long since have expended itself by its own fury, and if the causes of excitement among its votaries were removed, their dissolution as a sect would soon follow.
Thus, we think, it is rationally accounted for, why Alton, being unfortunately connected with the death of Mr. Lovejoy, should be made the target at which the Abolitionists throughout the land so unceasingly fire. But this is not the worst. While the Abolitionists, from the motives above set forth, do all in their power against this place, the citizens of Slaveholding states are prejudiced against us through the groundless apprehension that Alton is the head and front of Abolitionism in this State. Than this, nothing is farther from the truth. There are not to exceed a dozen Abolitionists that we know of in Alton - most or all of whom are law-abiding citizens, who would scorn to sustain their principles by any illegal or other improper means - and of that number, several, we learn, have withdrawn since the meeting of their late Convention. We trust, therefore, that the public mind will become disabused in regard to this city, and all we desire it that those who have any idea of settling here, will rather come and examine for themselves, than to take the misrepresentations of those who are constantly vilifying the place for the basest and most selfish purposes. If strangers hear Alton denounced, just let them put the inquiry to the calumniator - "Are you not an Anti-Slavery man?" and see what would be the reply. In our opinion, in twenty-nine cases out of thirty, they would either get no reply at all, or it would be in the affirmative.
We cannot, in justice to the subject, close our remarks on this point without alluding to a fact connected with the tragical affair of November 1837, which is not, we presume, generally known, and which came within the personal knowledge of the Senior Editor. A few evenings before the fatal riot, just one week if recollection is not at fault, Mr. Lovejoy called at the office and inquired of Mr. Bailhache whether a short communication could appear in the Telegraph, which was to be issued early the ensuing morning. Upon being told that it was too late, as the paper was then ready for the press, the former remarked that he thought when the Editor had examined the article, he would not hesitate to give it a place, even at the expense of a little extra trouble, and immediately submitted it to his inspection. It was found to be a Card from Mr. Lovejoy, stating in substance that he was weary of contention, and that, in order to contribute all in his power to the restoration of harmony and good feeling among the community, he had determined to discontinue his connection with the Alton Observer. Being fully persuaded that the publication of the article would, if anything could, allay the then prevailing excitement, the Editor handed it to the foreman of the office, the late Mr. William A. Beaty, with directions to make room for it. But before it was all in type, a leading Abolitionist then in this city, whose name will be given if required, called for it, stating that "the friends" wished to see it before it appeared in the Telegraph, and declaring that it should be returned in a few minutes. On the faith of this promise, and the supposition from the known intimacy of the gentleman who gave it with Mr. Lovejoy, that the application was made with the approbation of the writer, it was unhesitatingly complied with. What disposition was made of "the peace offering" in question, we know not. After waiting for its expected return as long as it was practicable, the paper was finally issued without it. The sequel was soon afterwards written in letters of blood, and an intelligent and impartial community, after the perusal of this "plain, unvarnished tale," can be at no loss to judge whose hands the purple stream has stained.
A few words, in relation to the health of Alton, and we shall take leave of the subject. It will, we think, be admitted that to resolve a doubt or settle a disputed point, one single fact, well established, is worth more than one hundred speculative theories. Let the salubrity of our city, then, be subjected to this test, and show what is the result. In the first place, although our location at one of the most frequented points on the east bank of the Mississippi, necessarily exposes us to the visits of persons peculiarly liable to disease, our bills of mortality from year to year will compare not unfavorably with those of any other town of the same size in any part of the Union. Further, one of the Editors has been a citizen of Alton for the space of eight years and upwards. During the whole of this period, no member of his family has been afflicted by serious disease. On the contrary, their general health has uniformly been decidedly better than it ever was before, during the same length of time, although residing in places reputed to be quite healthy. The other Editor has resided here upwards of thirteen years, and his experience, as to the health of Alton, is the same as expressed above. The local advantages of Alton may be spoken of in a future number.
MONUMENT TO LOVEJOY
The New York Times, December 3, 1856
The Alton Courier has the following: "We learn from J. A. Miller that he has been employed by a Committee living in various parts of the State, to furnish plans of a monument to be erected in our City Cemetery to the memory of Rev. E. P. Lovejoy, who fell a martyr to free speech, in this city, in November 1837. Two plans have been drawn - one is for a monument 100 feet high, pyramidal in form, 7 feet in diameter to the top, 12 feet in diameter at the base, standing on a platform 40 feet in diameter, and 4 feet high. It is to be of Illinois stone, with marble slabs inserted at the base for inscriptions. Such a monument will cost, as estimated, $8,000. Another plan has been prepared of a monument 75 feet high, of pyramidal shape, built of blocks two feet thick, and from four to eight feet long, similar in other respects to the first named. The cost of such a monument is estimated at $6,000. The Committee is to meet at Washington, D. C. early next Winter, to decide upon a plan and other preliminaries.
RECOUNTING OF THE MURDER OF REV. E. P. LOVEJOY (as written in
the Daily Standard, Syracuse, New York, April 11, 1860),
Following the Statements of His Brother, Owen Lovejoy
In the speech which created so much excitement in the House of Representatives last Thursday, Mr. [Owen] Lovejoy, of Illinois, is reported to have said: "You shed the blood of my brother twenty years ago, and now I am here, free to speak my mind." The Cleveland Herald give an explanation of this language in the following account of the murder of Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy, at Alton, Illinois, in the year 1837:
The Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy was the editor of the Alton Observer, an anti-slavery paper, printed at Alton, Illinois right over the river from Missouri.
The press of the Observer was three times destroyed by a mob; the last time on November 7th, 1837, at which time Mr. Lovejoy was killed. On the night of the 7th, a mob collected around the warehouse in which the press was - it having arrived by the river the day before - and threatened violence if it was not delivered up to them. Mr. Lovejoy and a number of friends were in the warehouse and prepared to defend the press. The mob were told from the warehouse that the press would not be given up, and the mob commenced the attack.
A shot fired from the building took fatal effect on one of the mob, named Lyman Bishop, and the mob for a time withdrew. They, however, rallied again with increased force and set the warehouse on fire. Then, to escape death by burning, the inmates were forced to leave, and in doing so the Rev. Mr. Lovejoy, at the door of the building, received four balls in the breast, and fell a corpse. The mob bro't out the press, and having smashed it, threw the pieces in the river.
That is the outline of the affair. The mob was from the Missouri side, and the whole outrage perpetrated under the lead and direction of slavery. The thrilling effect of Mr. Owen Lovejoy's remarks to Mr. Clark, of Missouri, can be better seen in the full glare of the history of that Alton outrage, and hence we have looked up and revived the important facts.
The blood of Lovejoy stained the name of Alton for many years - for its municipal authorities were powerless before the demand of slavery, and that city, to this day, has not recovered from the blow the death of that man gave her.
The Utica Morning Herald, New York, September 22, 1862
Dr. Thomas Mordecai Hope, of Alton, Illinois, who boasts that he was the man who shot the anti-slavery martyr, Lovejoy, was arrested a few weeks since for using treasonable language.
LOVEJOY MONUMENT ASSOCIATION
Source: Alton Telegraph, December 9, 1864
With gratification, we find that an association is organized at Alton to raise a monument to the martyr Lovejoy. This work is scarcely more due to the memory of Lovejoy, than to Alton and to the better spirit of the age. The Alton Telegraph well says that the murder of Lovejoy was a crime for which the spirit of that time, rather than the citizens of Alton, should be held responsible. The erection of a monument to Lovejoy will be an appropriate expression of the wonderfully changed state of public opinion since he was sacrificed by it, and the initiation of this by Alton cannot fail to reflect well upon the credit of that city.
We insert below a few articles taken from different papers in reference to the steps which have been taken in Alton, with a view of erecting a monument to the lamented Lovejoy. We regret that there is a disposition manifested by one of these papers to denounce in severe terms the perpetrators of that outrage. We hope that all such feelings may be suppressed in the future, as many of those who are now most vehement in their condemnation of that act, if they had lived here at that time, would probably have aided and abetted the rioters. At any rate, it is true, that nineteen-twentieths of the people of the country at that day were more in sympathy with his murderers than with Lovejoy. We say this, not for the purpose of blaming anyone, but because the truth of history demands it at our hands, although we at the time were numbered with the few friends who then sympathized with him in contest for the right of free speech, subject alone to the Constitution and laws of this country. We had better, therefore, take it for granted that the lamentable event was the result of a false education, hastened on by excited feeling and prejudice, rather than a deliberate and intelligent intention to murder one of the most conscientious, devoted, and brave men which our country has furnished. Let all crimination and recrimination, therefore, cease, while we all unite, so far as we now can, to repair the wrong which has been done by those who had received less light on that subject, than we now possess.
From the St. Louis Coniral Christian Advocate:
We are glad to see the citizens of Alton are making efforts to erect a monument to that most excellent man, Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy. We hope they will succeed. The whole people ought to unite in it, and if the men who are yet stained with his blood live, they ought to give, perchance God’s curse may be averted by earnest penitence. We believe the Almighty has visited upon the city and the guilty parties His displeasure, and it is fitting that something be done to avert his wrath, and honor a good man whom wicked hands most cruelly murdered. Such is Divine justice and retribution. The children honor the men whom the fathers put to death. Historic justice, we believe, ought to be vindicated and the memory of the wicked held up to the public execration. American history has enough shames blackening its pages, let vile men be warned. Justice will raise monuments to the martyrs of liberty, and pronounce anathemas [curses] on the heads of her betrayers.
From the Springfield Journal:
All friends of true liberty will rejoice to learn that the citizens of Alton are taking steps towards the erection of a monument to the memory of Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy, who was murdered by the pro-slavery mob in that city in 1837. Mr. Lovejoy fell a victim to the fiendish malignity of a class of men who, for the last few months, have been claiming to be the especial defenders of freedom of speech and of the press, so far as they can be subverted to the interests of treason and rebellion, simply because he desired to exercise that freedom on the side of liberty and humanity. His murder cast a dark and indelible stain upon the escutcheon of our State. Now that the principles for which Lovejoy yielded up his life have triumphed, it is appropriate that some such recognition of his services should be made, and that Alton should, where he suffered, take the initiative in the matter.
PLANS FOR A MONUMENT
Skaneateles Democrat, New York, January 19, 1865
A meeting has been held at Alton, Illinois, to take measures for erecting a monument to Elijah P. Lovejoy, the first American martyr in the cause of liberty.
LET THE FOUL STAIN ON THE CITY OF ALTON BE WIPED OUT
Source: Alton Telegraph, October 11, 1867
Our city has unquestionably suffered very much from the fact that the Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy was murdered by a mob within its limits. Whether the odium brought upon it by that foul act of a drunken and infuriated mob, is just or unjust, it is not necessary at this time that we should stop to discuss. It is enough for us to know that hundreds have been deterred from settling here from that circumstance alone. Strange as it may appear, this lamentable and unfortunate event has operated to the prejudice of our place both in the North and the South. In corroboration of this statement, we will relate an occurrence which took place under our own observation in the city of Peoria, in the year 1842.
We were visiting at the house of a personal friend in that city, whom we had not seen since the death of Lovejoy, and almost the first words with which we were greeted were, "Oh! How can you live in Alton, where the mob spirit rules without let or hindrance, and where a devoted Minister of the Gospel was murdered for doing his duty, by pleading the cause of the poor and oppressed?"
This question and exclamation brought the blood to our cheek, but we made the best defense we could under the circumstances. But our humiliation and chagrin was still further to be put to the test on the same evening. For we had hardly recovered from the reproach cast upon us by our Peoria friend, when another acquaintance of the family arrived from Wheeling, Virginia. He was an intelligent and polite gentleman, and prided himself on being a descendant from one of the first families of the Old Dominion.
In the course of the conversation, the name of Alton was mentioned, as our place of residence, when he, with the manifestation of a good deal of feeling and surprise, remarked that it was very strange indeed how any good citizen could consent to live in a city which was under the influence and control of a set of fanatical and turbulent abolitionists, who were turning the world upside down by their continual agitation of the subject of slavery. This, coming so closely upon the heels of the other, was rather more than our warm Southern blood could stand, and we retorted in a way which our Virginia friend had not the slightest difficulty in understanding.
We have simply referred to this circumstance to show how Alton has been regarded abroad on account of this unfortunate occurrence. But all of our citizens who have mingled much with the people abroad, are well aware of how the place is looked upon by those at a distance. So strong has been this feeling, that persons traveling up the river in years past, have positively refused to land on our wharf because they regarded it as stained with the blood of an innocent and conscientious man; and this feeling has influenced people from the South as well as those from the North.
We have always contended that this prejudice against the place was grossly unjust; and that the people of Alton were no more inimical to free discussion, or to the abolition of slavery, than hundreds of other places in the West were at that time. It was after the murder of Lovejoy that the press of the "Philanthropist" - an Anti-Slavery paper, published by Garniel Bailey, who afterwards conducted the National __ro in Washington City - was thrown into the river at Cincinnati; and William Lloyd Garrison was dragged through the streets of Boston with a rope around his neck, and whose life was only saved by the city authorities rescuing and confining him in jail until the mob dispersed. Then why should Alton be made the scapegoat to bear off the sins of the entire nation and age. Cincinnati and Boston were equally guilty with Alton, and under the same circumstances would have murdered Bailey and Garrison, with as little hesitation as Lovejoy was in this city.
But the experience of thirty years has convinced us that it is no use to argue against prejudice; and as this foul stain is upon us, and its baneful influence is still operating to our disadvantage, the practical question for the present inhabitants of Alton to settle is, how can this reproach be best removed, and the good name of the place be restored? We know of but one way in which this can be done, and that is by erecting a monument over the remains of Mr. Lovejoy. So far as the citizens of this place are concerned, we believe this might have been accomplished many years ago, but circumstances, not necessary to be mentioned here, deterred his friends from making the attempt. But now these obstacles are removed, and the country is rejoicing over the freedom of the last slave in the land, it is fitting and proper that the project should be undertaken in earnest, and carried forward to completion without unnecessary delay. It is a duty the citizens of this place owe, no less to him whom they intend to honor thereby, than to themselves and the city of their adoption. But this is no mere local matter, but one in which every lover of the freedom of the press, of the rights of man, and of the free institutions of our country should feel a deep interest. The work, however, must be commenced at home.
In view of these facts, an organization has been formed in this city, of which our readers have already been informed, and within the next few days an application will be made for subscriptions to erect the monument. It is the intention to get a few thousand dollars subscribed here, as an earnest that the work is to be done, after which an invitation will be extended to all persons throughout the country who feel interested in the erection of a suitable monument over the remains of one who did more to promote the cause of Anti-Slavery by his death than any other man in the country has by his life, to contribute to the enterprise. We hope the response will be liberal and worthy of this great and free people, and of him who sacrificed his life in behalf of the freedom of the press.
[The Lovejoy Monument was erected in Alton in 1897.]
HENRY TANNER – DEFENDER OF LOVEJOY
Tanner, The Evening Courier, Buffalo, New York, March 23, 1874
The possessor of the patent on the celebrated "Tanner brake" was formerly a well-known citizen of Alton, Illinois. He was one of Lovejoy's defenders, was in the building the night when the gentleman fell a victim of mob violence. Mr. Tanner now resides in Buffalo, New York.
Tanner, The Evening Courier, Buffalo, New York, January 21, 1875
Mr. Henry Tanner was residing in Alton, Ill. in 1837, when the early abolitionist, E. P. Lovejoy, was killed, and was one of the twelve men indicted for defending him against the mob.
GODFREY AND GILMAN WAREHOUSE
Alton Telegraph, August 1, 1878
Godfrey and Gilman, in whose store Elijah P. Lovejoy was murdered in 1837, erected the two fine residences on the southeast corner of Third and Market Streets, and resided there at the time of the great tragedy. This property was purchased by Hon. George T. Brown in 1839, and afterwards passed into the possession of his sister, Mrs. Child.
THE LOVEJOY MONUMENT ASSOCIATION
Source: Alton Telegraph, September 26, 1878
Hon. Horace White, Chairman of the Lovejoy Monument Committee, has appointed three members of that organization as a sub-committee to raise funds for and complete the erection of a stone wall around the circular lot donated by the Alton Cemetery as a site for the proposed Lovejoy monument. The Lovejoy Monument Committee was appointed at the Abolition re-union held at Chicago in 1874. Owing to the hard times the committee have deemed it inexpedient as yet to attempt to raise funds for the erection of a monument, but design making a general effort in that direction in the near future. Meanwhile, the Cemetery Association, having donated a beautiful lot for the proposed monument, and it being deemed judicious to surround the site with a stone wall, to prevent the erosion resulting from heavy rains, Mr. White has appointed Thomas Dimmock of St. Louis; General Beem of Chicago; and W. T. Norton of Alton, as a sub-committee to attend to this work. Their authority and appeal for means to complete the work assigned them, will be found on the local page of this paper. The design is to surround the lot with a substantial wall: remove the remains of Lovejoy to the new site (if there be no objection thereto), transfer the present tablet erected by Mr. Dimmock, and beautify the lot to the best advantage the means contributed will permit. The improvement will be made with a view to the future erection of a monument, and yet be complete and permanent in itself should the desired consummation be long delayed. The amount needed to build the wall is estimated at $400, and something more will be required to beautify the site. This small sum, for so laudable an object, ought to be raised promptly and without difficulty. The lot is directly opposite the south entrance to the cemetery, the most elevated point on the ground, overlooking the river. To improve this lot in the manner proposed would be a general benefit to the cemetery, one which every lot owner is interested in seeing accomplished. This effort to do tardy justice to the memory of the heroic martyr, who died in this city in defense of freedom and the liberty of speech, is one in which our citizens should feel a peculiar interest. It commends itself. We feel that no appeal is necessary, further than the above plain statement of what is proposed to be done at present. Now let all act.
DID WHISKEY HELP TO MURDER LOVEJOY?
Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, February 26, 1886
To the Editor of the Telegraph:
Your Fosterburg correspondent reports a debate at some schoolhouse on the amusing question as to the ownership of a pumpkin, which grew in one man's field, while the plant had its origin on the land of another man. This brought up recollections of debates held between forty and fifty years ago in the Smooth Prairie brick schoolhouse, which stood half a mile north of the present town of Fosterburg. Not long after the death of Mr. Lovejoy, on one occasion the question was on the evils of slavery and whiskey - which was the greater? At that time there was a saloon in Alton on the right-hand side of the street, looking up the hill toward Sempletown, at or near the corner of Third Street. In the discussion referred to, Mr. Ross Houk was one of the speakers. Mr. Houk was an active, enterprising business man, and was often in Alton, and perhaps there was no man in Smooth Prairie that would be more likely to ascertain and understand all the facts in connection with the Lovejoy mob than Mr. Houk. In his speech on the occasion referred to, he made the following statements:
That the mob that murdered Lovejoy organized in the saloon referred to (he called its name). That they prepared themselves, made themselves drunk enough for the deed by drinking whiskey, and that they proceeded from that saloon to the warehouse - and that "whiskey had as much to do with the murder of Lovejoy as slavery had. Of course, things said in a debate of that kind are not always as reliable as history ought to be, but from the ability of Mr. Houk to get at the facts, from the directness of his statements and from the fact that they were not called in question, I have always associated that saloon and whiskey with the martyrdom of Mr. Lovejoy. No doubt there are a good many persons who know where this mob organized and whether the liquor traffic helped to place that stain on our young State or not. To this day I have neither read nor heard any statements that I can now recall that contradicted Mr. Houk's statements, hence the question: Did whiskey help to murder Lovejoy? Signed by T. A. Eaton, DuQuoin, February 1886.
DURING A MAYORAL SPEECH UPON THE DEDICATION OF THE ALTON
Alton Daily Telegraph, May 1, 1894
“Here on this sacred spot, where the martyr to the cause of liberty fell, where for a quarter of a century we as a people have done public penance for this great crime, until millions of slaves were set free, until in truth and in fact, 'We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are free and equal.' Although no fitting monument marks the spot where Lovejoy lies, yet long after the brass has melted and the marble has crumbled to dust, and the canvas faded, aye, the stars shine, will the name of Lovejoy live on this historic spot. Let us pledge ourselves to a higher plan of citizenship, to our country and our God.”
LOVEJOY MONUMENT SEALED - TIME CAPSULE ENCLOSED
Alton Evening Telegraph, Friday, June 30, 1899
The Lovejoy monument was completed today by the directors of the Lovejoy Monument Association, who witnessed the placing in the monument the sealed box containing the records of Lovejoy's life, his martyrdom, the work of building the monument, and copies of current newspapers, with relics and other things that may be interesting to the curious mind hundreds of years hence. The formality of sealing the monument took place at 10 o'clock this morning. The directors were present and with them was Hon. Thomas Dimmock, St. Louis, who has always been one of the most interested in all things pertaining to Lovejoy and was an active member of the board of directors. On the north face of the square granite pedestal of the monument was left an opening about one foot square. Into this the box was put and sealed with stone and cement. Over the seal was placed a bronze plate suitably inscribed, and the monument was finished. Hon. Thomas Dimmock made a brief and eloquent address. To the directors he said that they have the personal thanks of himself for what they had done to honor the memory of the great martyr, Lovejoy. In the main the monument's erection is due to their efforts and the business-like way in which they have conducted the affairs of the association. Their connection with it would be a memory and a pleasant recollection for them and their children. For himself, the speaker said, he is now far down the sunset slope of life's hill, but nothing that he had done in all his career in public life could give him the gratification that the memory of his connection with the monument, to perpetuate the memory of the great Lovejoy, gives him and he considers it the crowning achievement of his public life. Mr. Dimmock's address was impromptu, but was delivered with his characteristic eloquence that gave it all the fire of a polished speech. Remaining in the treasury is $500. The association voted to turn the monument over to the cemetery board, and also voted to have the monument repointed. The balance of the fund on hand was ordered to be turned over to the cemetery board for the purpose of caring for the monument. The following is a list of the books, pamphlets and documents deposited in the Lovejoy monument this morning:
Pamphlet with report of dedication ceremonies on November 8, 1897
Program of exercises
Pamphlet - Speech of Lt. Governor Northcott
Music of dedication hymn, composed by Prof. W. D. Armstrong
Book, Memoir of the Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy by Joseph C. and Owen Lovejoy, published 1888, contributed by Hon. Thomas Dimmock
Copy "Alton Observer," August 3, 1837, Lovejoy's paper, contributed by Monticello Seminary
Pamphlet - corner stone laying of First Presbyterian Church, July 5, 1897, with reference to Rev. E. P. Lovejoy, moderator of Alton Presbytery in 1837
Circular address to the public issued by reorganized association June 26th, 1895
Circular address by the association to the General Assembly of Illinois issued 1895
Circular to the press, issued 1895
Pamphlet - proceedings of the city council, February 12, 1895, with action of council in regard to monument to Lovejoy
Engrossed copy of proceedings of legislature relative to appropriation of $25,000 for Lovejoy monument. Complete history of bill on its passage through the Senate and House, with vote for and against, and list of members of both houses, engrossed for the association by S. L. Spear of the Secretary of State's office.
Letters from members of the Lovejoy family: A. P. Lovejoy, Janesville, Wisconsin; Mrs. Emma Lovejoy Ladd, Osceola Mills, Wisconsin; Mrs. Caro Lovejoy Andrews, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts; Mrs. Julia Lovejoy King, Osceola Mills, Wisconsin; E. P. Lovejoy, Princeton, Illinois; Ida T. Lovejoy, Chicago, Illinois.
List of contributors to monument fund and financial statement
Book, "Alton Trials" report of the trials of the defenders of the press and their assailants, reported by William S. Lincoln, contributed by Hon. Thomas Dimmock
Book, "Martyrdom of Lovejoy," by Henry Tanner
Pamphlet - "Lecture on Early Reminiscences of Alton" by Hon. Joseph Brown of St. Louis
Pamphlet - Hon. Thomas Dimmock's lecture on Lovejoy in Unity church, St. Louis, March 14, 1888
Sketch of Benjamin Lundy, abolition hero and martyr, with references to Lovejoy
Papers of Lovejoy Monument Association of 1867, list of members and contributors
Papers of Lovejoy Monument Association organized 1886, reorganized 1895, incorporators, in 1886 - W. A. Haskell, H. R. Phinney, H. G. McPike, I. H. Kelley, N. J. McCracken, J. H. Yager, W. Thornton; Directors - e. P. Wade, J. E. Hayner, Thomas Dimmock, W. A. Haskell, Rev. J. P. Johnson, G. D. Hayden, D. R. Sparks, J. J. Brenholt, Rev. J. A. Scarritt, O. H. Hapgood, William Armstrong, I. H. Kelley, E. Guelich, H. Watson, William Ashton
Package of extracts from many newspapers commenting on the monument project.
Current copies of local newspapers - Alton Evening Telegraph, November 8, 1897; Alton Daily Sentinel-Democrat, Alton Daily Republican, Alton Banner.
Program of Lovejoy memorial meeting at Oak Park Illinois, November 7, 1897.
Letters from anti-slavery leaders: Benjamin Harrison, ex-President, U.S.; Lieutenant Governor W. A. Northcott; Hon. Joseph Brown, St. Louis, Missouri; George T. Newhall, Lynn, Massachusetts; W. E. Barnes, Saratoga, New York; Willis Fletcher Johnson, N. Y. Tribune; C. W. Caines, Manchester, Missouri; M. L. Worcester, Kingston, Illinois; E. W. Clarke, Kirkwood, Missouri; Mrs. G. W. Ogilvie, Des Moines, Iowa; Dr. Samuel Willard, Chicago, Illinois; Henry O. Merriam, Major General U. S. A.
WILL VISIT LOVEJOY'S TOMB
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 7, 1901
Elijah P. Lovejoy Camp, Sons of Veterans of St. Louis, will come to Alton Sunday to make their annual pilgrimage to the tomb of Elijah P. Lovejoy, in whose honor the camp is named. An address will be delivered by Rev. J. R. Clemens of the A. M. E. Church.
NEW INSCRIPTION ON LOVEJOY MONUMENT
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 14, 1901
The Lovejoy monument association has accepted an offer of Col. J. S. Culver of Springfield, the builder of the monument in Alton, erected by the State of Illinois and the citizens of Alton to the memory of Lovejoy, and two new inscriptions will be placed upon the exedra wall or upon the tripod pedestals of the base of the monument. The two inscriptions were suggested by Col. Culver. One is taken from the dedicatory address delivered when the monument was completed, and is as follows:
"Here is historic old Alton - Alton that slew him and Alton that defended him, Alton, whose people today with one heart and one mind pluck from oblivion this wreath of immortality and place it around the memory of Lovejoy. Lovejoy and Alton. Names as inseparable and as dear to the people of Illinois as those of Lincoln and Springfield, Grant and Galena."
The other new inscription is by Thomas Davis, the Irish patriot, and is as follows:
"Whether on the scaffold high, or in the battle's van, The fittest place for man to die, Is where he dies for man."
The inscriptions will be carved on the monument next week.
JOHN WESLEY HARNED DIES - WAS EYEWITNESS TO LOVEJOY TRAGEDY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 28, 1904
John Wesley Harned, aged 85 years, an eyewitness of the Lovejoy tragedy at Alton, November 7, 1837, died at his country home west of Greenville, Sunday morning. Mr. Harned was born in Red River county, Texas, January 26, 1819, and moved with his parents to Alton in 1833. He "way-billed" Daniel Webster from Alton to Carlinville, when Webster was making his canvass for the nomination for President. In 1838 he moved to Bond county, and has resided there continuously. In 1840 he cast his first vote for Harrison at Pocahontas, Bond county, and for fifty consecutive years he voted the Republican ticket at that place, never missing an election, national, state or county. Mr. Harned has many times given a graphic account of the killing of Elijah P. Lovejoy at Alton, of which he was an eyewitness. His father, Capt. William Harned, was the owner of the old Mansion House, still standing in Alton. He was one of the defenders of Lovejoy, and was standing by his side when he fell.
DISCOVERY OF HISTORIC OLD PAINTING REPRESENTS THE SCENE AT
THE ASSASSINATION OF LOVEJOY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 24, 1904
The Telegraph has acquired a fine old painting representing the scene at the assassination of Elijah P. Lovejoy, November 7, 1837, which will hereafter adorn the walls of the Telegraph office. From an artistic point of view, the picture is not remarkable, but it is the original painting, supposed to have been made shortly after the Alton riots, representing the attack on the building in which Lovejoy was killed. The picture is a very crude representation of the killing and was done by some person not highly gifted in an artistic way. The only picture known of this historic occurrence is the one in the possession of the Telegraph. It was the property of the late Jerry Still, and since his death was found under a heap of rubbish in an attic at his home. The painting is still bright.
SCULPTOR WHO DESIGNED LOVEJOY MONUMENT LOSES FINGERS IN
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 20, 1904
Mr. Robert P. Bringhurst, the St. Louis sculptor and the designer of the Lovejoy monument at Alton, suffered a very serious accident Sunday morning by which he has lost the first joints of the last two fingers of his left hand, and he narrowly escaped losing some of his other fingers. The accident occurred as Mr. Bringhurst was going to Grafton from Chautauqua to work on his boat, "Camilda," which is being overhauled and equipped with a new engine. As he was standing in the door of a coach in the train, the door swung shut on Mr. Bringhurst's left hand, which was pressing against the jam of the door, and the third and fourth fingers of his left hand were very badly crushed and it was necessary to amputate them. The accident is serious because Mr. Bringhurst uses his fingers in making models of his sculptures before they are cast. Had he lost the first or second fingers, the loss would have been much worse than it is. Mr. Bringhurst's family have been spending the season at Chautauqua in their cottage.
REV. EDWARD BEECHER WROTE BOOK IN 1838
"NARRATIVE OF RIOTS AT ALTON IN CONNECTION WITH THE DEATH OF REV. ELIJAH P. LOVEJOY"
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 11, 1906
Engineer George Dickson is in possession of a book published in 1838 by George Holton at Alton, and written by Rev. Edward Beecher, then president of Illinois College, entitled "Narrative of Riots at Alton in Connection With the Death of Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy." In the book he tells how a letter of his advocating the admission of others than ministers and church members to an anti-slavery convention and published in the Alton Telegraph, and how this letter caused the convention to get into the hands of the Philistines later. "Free inquiry" was the slogan at the convention, and "free inquiry" was choked off by the following: "Resolved. That we adopt resolutions without discussion." The entire book contains matter calculated to show that Lovejoy was not a leader or starter of any of the movements made at that time - movements which afterwards caused the overthrow of slavery, but that rather he was forced by his friends to take positions he did. He favored a delaying policy, according to Mr. Beecher, but when he did begin he was earnest, fearless, unconquerable. "Had the riot been under Nero, Mr. Lovejoy might reasonably have fled. That bloody tyrant made no pretensions to reason, or to the fear of God. But has a Christian nation sunk so low that in the midst of laws, churches and most sacred guarantees made for the express purpose of defending the rights of speech; and to be maintained and administered by Christian men - will they require a citizen at the bidding of an infuriated mob sacrifice conscience, abandon every right and seek safety in inglorious flight? For refusing to do this, Mr. Lovejoy is stigmatized as stubborn, dogmatical, rash and imprudent. Had Mr. Lovejoy been intemperate in his use of language, it would not have furnished an excuse for such proceedings. But he was not. His exposition of views was marked by calm, temperate kind and dignified language. It indicated the spirit of a man unwilling to provoke, and anxious only to convince. I fearlessly say that from one article on slavery in the journal of the Colonization Society, which I have now in my eye. I can select more severity of language on the subject of slavery than Mr. Lovejoy ever wrote." The book is yellow with age, but is in good condition otherwise and is filled with interesting matter.
DELAPLAIN, ELIZABETH - FRIEND OF LOVEJOY DIES
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 22, 1906
Mrs. Elizabeth Delaplain, who claims to have been a personal friend both of Elijah P. Lovejoy and of Black Hawk, the celebrated Indian Chief, died Monday morning at 8:30 o'clock at her home in Godfrey township. She was 95 years of age, and had spent almost her entire life in Alton and vicinity. The greater part of her life she spent in Godfrey township, neighboring Alton. The most remarkable fact about Mrs. Delaplain was that she retained her bodily strength and all her faculties until the very last, only when death dimmed her eyes so she could not see and dulled her ear so she could not hear the words of her children and friends, shortly before dissolution. Her stories of her childhood and young womanhood were intensely interesting. Among the prominent residents of Alton today are men who have passed the seventies and of whom Mrs. Delaplain always enjoyed telling that she used to hold them in her arms when they were infants. The president of an Alton bank, now past seventy-two, was a guest at Mrs. Delaplain wedding, she told him, as an infant in arms. It is also related of Mrs. Delaplain that until a few weeks ago she was able to be around, and that last summer she insisted upon milking her favorite cow, although she had plenty of help on the place, and she could complete the milking as soon as a person much younger than herself. She was a native of Tennessee, and was born in 1811. She came to Alton at the time the Indian tribes in Tennessee and Kentucky were transferred from there to the western reservations. Her uncle was Indian agent in Tennessee, and through the acquaintance she formed with Indian ways and customs, she made many fast friends among them. Among the most distinguished of her friends was Black Hawk, who was a frequent visitor at her home, as he was a strong friend of her husband. Elijah P. Lovejoy, shortly after coming to Alton, boarded with the family of the uncle of Mrs. Delaplains, Andrew Miller, who was a proprietor of the old Alton House in the early days of Alton, and it was in the Alton House that she was married. Mrs. Delaplain had many interesting reminiscences of the early days, and her mind was stored with entertaining facts which she enjoyed relating until she was taken with her last illness. She had been failing slightly in strength until September 8, when for the first time she failed to rise from her bed, but she regained her strength slightly afterward. Her last illness was of one month's duration. Mrs. Delaplain leaves four children, Samuel Delaplain of St. Louis, Mrs. A. F. Rodgers of Upper Alton, Mrs. H. H. Stookey and Miss Rebecca Delaplain of Godfrey, who lived with their mother. She leaves grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 24, 1906
It is believed that Mrs. Elizabeth Delaplain, who died Monday and will be buried tomorrow afternoon at 1:30 o'clock at Godfrey, was the last survivor of the personal acquaintances of Elijah P. Lovejoy. Mrs. Delaplain said that he was a man of great power of eloquence, and that his prayers as he knelt in his room at the Alton House where he boarded, were so eloquent that when Lovejoy's time for devotions came, the servants in the hotel would steal to his door, remove their shoes so they could not be heard, and they would stand outside listening to the preacher editor as he offered his prayers inside, imploring Divine guidance in his work, although unconscious of the fact that he was being listened to by an audience outside drawn there by the power of his eloquence. The funeral service tomorrow will be conducted by Rev. J. A. Scarritt, whom Mrs. Delaplain frequently reminded that she had carried him in her arms when he was a baby.
DEFENDER OF LOVEJOY PRESS (REV. THADDEUS HURLBURT) OLD
HOMESTEAD TO BE PUT ON MARKET
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 12, 1907
Col. A. M. Jackson and Major George D. Eaton have bought from Mrs. C. H. Evans of New York, a daughter of Rev. Thaddeus B. Hurlbut, the old homestead of Rev. Hurlbut. Around this home many historic memories cling. Rev. Hurlbut was a Congregational clergyman in Upper Alton, and he was a friend and associate and a defender of Lovejoy. He also contributed some important historical facts concerning the events at the time of the killing of Lovejoy. Col. Jackson and Maj. Eaton intend to open a street through the tract, which consists of four acres, and will lay out the property into lots and put them on the market.
THOMAS DIMMOCK - WHO RESCUED LOVEJOY'S GRAVE FROM OBLIVION -
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 19, 1909
Thomas Dimmock, aged 79, died Thursday at St. John's hospital in St. Louis, at 4:30 o'clock, after a long illness. The funeral will be held tomorrow afternoon at 2 o'clock from the home of his daughter, Mrs. Jacob Wead, in Alton. In the death of Mr. Dimmock there was closed a life that had been full of interest in public affairs. Mr. Dimmock was a writer of much note, he had filled editorial positions on the two St. Louis morning papers, and his views and comments on current events frequently appeared in the St. Louis papers. He was a speaker of considerable ability, and his services were frequently sought for public occasions. Perhaps the most important fact about Mr. Dimmock's life was his interest in Elijah Parish Lovejoy, which led him to rescue from oblivion the grave of Lovejoy in the City Cemetery. It was by him the little marble scroll in the cemetery was set up over Lovejoy's grave, bearing the inscription in Latin which translated reads: "Here Lies Lovejoy, Spare now the Dead." The grave was known to none but "Scotch" Johnson, an old negro who lived in Alton many years and who helped bury Lovejoy. Mr. Dimmock, through the aid of Johnson, located the grave. It was a part of the cemetery where a roadway passed over it and vehicles passing in and out of the cemetery were going over the unmarked grave. Johnson pointed out the place, and Mr. Dimmock had the bones exhumed, 27 years after they had been buried, and he had them reinterred where they are now. He set up over the grave the marble scroll stone which still marks it, while a stately and costly monument to the south commemorates the work and principles of Lovejoy. At the dedication of the monument, Mr. Dimmock made an address in Temple Theatre. Mr. Dimmock was the son of Elijah L. Dimmock. He was engaged in business with his father in Alton before going to St. Louis. The declining years of Mr. Dimmock were marked with much suffering, and he had been in very bad condition for several years. The only surviving member of Mr. Dimmock's family is Mrs. Theo B. Wead, wife of Jacob Wead, of this city. Mr. Dimmock's services to Abraham Lincoln in 1860 were esteemed highly both by his party and the President. He also gave his services freely in 1861 and 1867 to the Union cause and stirred the patriotism of the people by his eloquent addresses. Mr. Dimmock was editor of the Alton Democrat during the Civil War.
1837 NEWSPAPER ON DISPLAY -
"DISCREET" SILENCE OF NEWSPAPER REGARDING LOVEJOY TRAGEDY EXPLAINED - APOLOGY ISSUED
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 28, 1911
Gates-Clark Dry Goods Co. have on exhibition at their store a copy of the Alton Telegraph of November 29, 1837. The owner of the paper requested that his name be kept private by the firm, for what reason is not explained. The paper is in excellent state of preservation, and looks as if it had been printed only a few days before. The person in whose keeping it was must have taken good care of it, and for many years the paper must have remained untouched by anyone, as it is not at all worn. The quality of the white paper used in those days was much better than that any newspaper used now, and it is very doubtful that in almost 75 years a copy of a paper of today would be safe to handle, if it was to be preserved intact. Among the names of advertisers appearing in the old sheet are names which are familiar to many through the names being borne by their descendants still living in Alton, but they are few. The issue following soon after the killing of Lovejoy in Alton, which occurred November 7, contains an editorial apologizing for the lack of comment on the tragic event of a few weeks before. It developed that the friend of Lovejoy who was on the paper was not entrusted with expressing the paper's sentiments. The newspaper, in common with other people who had witnessed the result of indulging in free speech in those days, preserved a discreet silence, or appeared in an apologetic way. The Lovejoy tragedy had evidently inspired the people with the belief that free speech at that time was not the part of wisdom, and free speech and liberty of the press was very much curtailed. The paper will be on exhibition for a few days in the store of Gates-Clark on Third street, in the carpet store windows. The Telegraph will be 75 years of age next January, and this issue referred to was printed during the first year of the paper, but it appears as Volume 2, the newspaper volumes then running for a period of six months instead of a year. [See newspaper article dated November 29, 1837]
FOUND HISTORIC PIECE OF STONE BELONGED TO LOVEJOY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 12, 1912
Workmen excavating for the new engines of the Sparks mills on the riverfront reached to the level of the old riverbed this morning. They found a valuable relic at the depth of eighteen feet, which is a portion of the imposing stone [a flat, hard surface upon which pages printed from hot metal are imposed] of the Alton Observer, Elijah P. Lovejoy's paper. The stone is a fragment with a surface that shows the marks of the forms as they rested on the marble in making up the forms for the press. The stone was examined by a number of old printers who were asked if they knew what use the stone had been devoted to. They looked over the surface and with one accord pronounced it a piece of an imposing stone. "See," said one, "the marks where the forms have been repeatedly drawn across its surface, the marks of the make up." For years there has been a desire on the part of many who were interested in the remnants of the Lovejoy printing outfit, which was known to rest on the old riverbed, to make excavations to recover as much as possible. Recently, excavations have been in progress on the riverfront at the Sparks mill in carrying out some projects for improving the motive power of the mill. There is added interest in the find in that the piece of stone was found near the place where the Godfrey & Gilman warehouse stood at the time of the Lovejoy killing in 1837. The building was an old stone structure, a crude painting of which, made many years ago by some unknown artist, hangs in the Telegraph office today. The warehouse stood on the side of the Sparks mill, according to old timers whose recollections go back to the days of the building. There is little doubt that when the Lovejoy printing outfit was stored in the building on the night of the killing, when Lovejoy and his friends were defending the property, that this marble slab, smooth on two sides and deeply scarred by the movement of the forms over it as they would be moved about by the workmen on the paper, was thrown into what was then the riverbed. There the stones were buried deep. Gradually the river covered the stone over with deposits of various kinds and the riverbank receded southward as continued filling went on. Now the Sparks company is digging a deep ditch to carry lines of pipe out to the river, and in so doing undoubtedly uncovered the imposing stone. Whether there are any more fragments of the stone and of machinery thereabouts, remains for further investigation to reveal. Piling was encountered by the workmen when they reached a depth close to the old riverbed that was used in the years past as posts to tie steamboat cables to. A few years ago a former resident of Alton showed Charles Donnelly the position of the Lovejoy press as it lay in the river, the top of it exposed during low water. He was employed in the old mills and he often stood at the upper windows gazing upon the projecting portions of the press. He pointed out the exact spot, so well was it stamped upon his memory. This was at a point at the second track south of the mills, and where the excavations are now being made, as closely as Mr. Donnelly recollects. This establishes closely the position as is related by all the old citizens who were familiar with the facts surrounding the distinction of the Observer's press by the mob.
Source: Alton Telegraph, September 19, 1912
In speaking of the many historical articles on exhibition oat Edwardsville this week, the Intelligencer says: "To many, the most interesting single article in the collection is the square piano once owned by Elijah P. Lovejoy, of Alton. After his death his widow made her home with the family of Jesse Walton, very close friends of Lovejoy. The piano passed into their possession and at Mr. Walton's death, it was sold among other effects of his at auction, where it became the property of W. C. Flagg of Moro. This was early in the 70s or late in the 60s. It is now in the possession of Mrs. E. L. Gillham of Wanda."
IS IT LOVEJOY'S OLD PRESS? LARGE CAST IRON FRAME DISCOVERED
AT SPARKS MILL
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 13, 1915
Doug Sparks believes he has found a piece of Lovejoy's old printing press in a fifteen-foot-deep excavation at the southwest corner of the Sparks Mill building, where room is being made to put in a concrete pier to carry grain scales and an unloading device. The Sparks mill is on the site of the old Godfrey & Gilman warehouse, where Lovejoy was killed in 1837. Several years ago, a marble slab reputed to be the imposing stone that Lovejoy would have used, or did use, was found. Now there has appeared down in the soil there a heavy frame of cast iron, which some believe was part of the old Washington hand press that was thrown into the river over seventy-seven years ago. George S. Milnor gave orders to have the piece of iron completely removed from the hole, and efforts will be made to get it out and complete the investigation as to whether the iron is really part of the historic old printing press which a mob made away with. It is impossible to know definitely what the iron frame belonged to, as so much of it is buried in the earth that has been filled in around the place, no one could establish just what the frame came from. The iron is so deep in the ground it must have been buried many years ago. The corner of the mill building foundation comes squarely up against the frame and it is near the bottom of the foundation that the iron frame first appears.
LOVEJOY PRESS SUSPECT HOISTED
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 14, 1915
A cast iron frame, weighing close to a half ton, was lifted this morning from the excavation at the southwest corner of the Sparks Milling Co., and after it was raised from the ground the conviction became strong that the frame must be part of the printing press of Elijah P. Lovejoy. The frame is shaped similar to the upright part of the frame that carried the screws which were operated by a lever and which caused the pressure to be applied that did the printing. The press that Lovejoy had was one of the old-fashioned hand type, and the frame found today might easily have served as the frame of such a machine. It is shaped like the outline of a bell, the bottom being straight across and would have held the bed on which the forms would be imposed. There is no exact reproduction of the Lovejoy press, but it is supposed to have resembled closely other presses of its time. The place where this frame was found was so deep in the earth that it could not have been put where it was in recent years. It rested on bedrock and against the foundation of the mill. It required much effort to get it with a block and tackle, seven men being required to lift and carry it. The frame has been partially cleaned, and later will be cleaned more thoroughly. On the top is a place where a nameplate undoubtedly was at one time, some copper pins which probably served to hold the nameplate in place still being in their positions. The nameplate which would have settled forever what the machine was, is missing. The iron frame will be kept until a further investigation can be made.
RELATIVE OF LOVEJOY VISITS ALTON - SEES OLD PRESS
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 3, 1915
Alton today had as a visitor a Miss Lovejoy, a relative of Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy. She came here to see the old printing press frame which was recovered at the Sparks mill some time ago, and which is believed to be a part of the press that was wrecked the night that Lovejoy was assassinated by a member of a mob in1837. Miss Lovejoy called on E. P. Wade, president of the Alton National Bank. He is the oldest living native of Alton, and he undoubtedly has the best knowledge of old-time places and institutions in Alton. Mr. Wade took Miss Lovejoy, who is a grandniece of the Martyr Lovejoy, for a tour of Alton. She visited the old Presbyterian Church in Upper Alton where Lovejoy preached. She saw also the monument and she was shown other objects of interest about the city connected with the death of the Abolitionist editor. Miss Lovejoy said that she was much interested in what she saw. At the Sparks mill it is held certain that the large iron frame is part of an old printing press. An investigation was made and many experts throughout the country have pronounced the casting part of an old printing press, such as was used about eighty years ago. Miss Lovejoy is from Jackrabbit, Arizona. She had read in the papers of the finding of the press, and as she was going through Alton she stopped over to take a look at the curio.
MARKING SPOT OF LOVEJOY ASSASSINATION
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 28, 1918
As part of the Sparks Milling Co. contribution to the Illinois centennial celebration, a bronze tablet has been erected on the southwest corner of the mill building on the river front, marking the spot where the assassination of Elijah P. Lovejoy occurred, November 7, 1837. The tablet is inscribed as follows: "This tablet marks the scene of the tragic death at the hands of a pro-slavery mob on Nov. 7, 1837, of Elijah Parish Lovejoy, who gave his life for liberty of thought, for liberty of speech, for liberty of press, and for liberty for man. Placed in commemoration of his heroism by the Sparks Milling Co." In addition to the bronze tablet, the Sparks Milling Co. will have erected on a granite base, and suitably inscribed, the remnant of the old printing press which the mob was seeking to destroy and which Lovejoy died to defend. The rusty main frame of the old hand press on which the Alton Observer was to be printed was dug up at the southwest corner of the mill building a few years ago, 18 feet under ground, when excavation was being made for the foundations of new scales on which to weigh wheat. The explanation of the frame of the printing press being there is that the press, after the killing of Lovejoy, was dragged from the warehouse of Godfrey & Gilham, which stood on the site where the old mill building stands, and was thrown into the river. The river at that time extended further inland. What was deep water in 1837 when the riot occurred is dry land, and the river bank is far to the south of where it was over 80 years ago. The plan of the Sparks Milling Co. is to set this frame of the press on a granite base, permanently fixed, and to have it on the lot at the front of the office of the milling company. There is a possibility the warehouse may have extended very close to where the office of the milling company now stands. In the Illinois Centennial observance many historic spots will be marked, but there will be none marked that will carry any greater human interest than this the Sparks Milling Co. is marking. The discovery of the old frame of the Lovejoy press was quite by accident. It followed discovery of some marble slabs which were first supposed to be tombstones, but which are now believed to have been the marble imposing stones Lovejoy intended to set up in the Observer office. In those days spoiled tombstones were often smoothed on one side and used for imposing stones in newspaper offices, and now, since the discovery of the old press frame so close by, it is practically certain the marble slabs found first, and sledged to pieces by workmen who were digging a deep trench there, were the Lovejoy imposing stones.
CONTRACT FOR LOVEJOY PRESS PEDESTAL
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 2, 1918
The Sparks Milling Co. today closed a contract with Arthur Dixon for building a granite pedestal on which to mount the piece of the Lovejoy press which was discovered several years ago at the corner of the mill building, deep in the ground. The order has been given for the granite that will enter into the structure, and as soon as it arrives here the work of setting it up will be undertaken and completed with dispatch. A bronze tablet will be suspended from the iron frame of the old printing press, which will tell what it is. The press is one of the most interesting of historic relics and will be put in the open, at the corner of the lot where the Sparks office building stands. The officers of the Sparks Milling Co. anticipate that this relic will thereupon become the shrine to be visited by many who value the right of free speech and liberty of the press, as it was this particular printing press, by its very destruction, became the seed from which grew a great public sentiment that the freedom of the press should not be infringed.
SETTING UP LOVEJOY PRESS FRAME
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 17, 1918
Work of erecting the granite mounting for the frame of the old press of Elijah Parish Lovejoy was started Monday by Arthur Dixon, who is working under supervision of James M. Maupin. The old cast iron frame, it will be recalled, was excavated from a great depth at the southwest corner of the Sparks mill building on the river front. It was there that the Godfrey & Gilman warehouse stood, and it was from this warehouse the press was taken and smashed and dumped into the river by the mob after they had assassinated Lovejoy. This old press has great sentimental value because it was in its defense that Lovejoy, the first martyr to the cause of freedom of the press, lost his life at the hands of a mob at Alton, November 7, 1837. The frame of the press was dug up a few years ago while excavation was being made to install foundations for a heavy track scale. Where the press was found is far from the river now, but in olden days the water was deep enough there to afford a good landing place for steamboats. The relic is to be mounted on a granite base from which rise two short columns and between which the frame of the press is to be swung. On the press frame a tablet will be placed to tell the passerby what the relic is. The Sparks Milling Co. has already set up a tablet on its mill building to mark the spot where Lovejoy lost his life. The mounting of the relic will make of it a very interesting feature of the Alton centennial celebration.
BRICK OF LOVEJOY HOME IS GIVEN TO TELEGRAPH
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 7, 1922
A brick from the foundation of the old Lovejoy home at Albion, Me., has been presented to the Telegraph by Captain C. S. Porter of the Western Military Academy. The brick is on display in the Telegraph window. The home in Maine housed Elijah P. Lovejoy was the earlier advocates for emancipation of slaves in this country, who was killed by a mob in Alton for his activities against slavery. He published at Alton "The Observer." The brick is of the old-fashioned hand-made type. It is of an unusually hard substance, when compared with present-day brick. It is wedge shaped. One corner has been broken off.
OLD SHOTGUN KILLED LOVEJOY COMES TO LIGHT
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 16, 1922
A treasured firearm of the nineteenth century was presented this week to Daniel J. Murphy of Elsah, who for many years has been identified with the affairs of Madison and Jersey Counties, having served as President of the National Bank of Jerseyville for a number of years, and also as President of a Granite City bank. The firearm is claimed to be the gun which was used in Alton on November 7th, 1837, by the person who shot and killed Elijah Parish Lovejoy while he was defending his fourth printing press from a mob of St. Louis pro-slavery advocates. The gun which is claimed to have caused Lovejoy's death, is a double-barreled shotgun, nearly five feet in length. It was made by Parker & Field of London, England. The gun for many years was possessed by the late George W. Burke of Jerseyville, a pioneer of Jersey County. Burke, during the Civil War, was a "station keeper" in Jersey County of what was termed the "underground railroad." Fleeing slaves from the South, most of whom were on their way to Canada, would stop in Jerseyville and were cared for by Burke until an opportune moment when they could be sent on to the next station with provisions to last during the journey. It is said that this gun was obtained by one of the guards keeping watch over the warehouse containing Lovejoy's press, and that later the gun was given to Burke, who was one of the well-known men throughout this section of the country. The relic, which is now 85 years old, was presented to Mr. Murphy this week by Mrs. Jennie Kingsley, a step-daughter of the late George W. Burke. A piece of Lovejoy's printing press which was thrown into river at Alton in the early thirties, is mounted in front of the Sparks Mill office.
CITY CEMETERY BOARD TO GIVE MONUMENT SITE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 19, 1923
The trustees of the Alton City Cemetery held a meeting last evening to pass upon the question of making a deed to the lot on which the Lovejoy monument stands, vesting the title to the lot and monument in the State of Illinois. Records of the cemetery association do not show that the title to the property was ever vested in the state. If the cemetery trustees will deed the lot on which the monument stands to the state of Illinois, the state government will take hold of the monument and look after repairs and keep the monument in good condition. The state gave $25,000 to the monument to be added to what the citizens of Alton give and since then has done nothing to it. The monument is in need of repairs. The cemetery association is without the necessary funds to maintain the monument and the result is no repairs have been made.
STONE FROM LOVEJOY HOME TO BE ACCEPTED
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 22, 1923
On the morning of May 30th, Decoration Day, there will be a short ceremony at the Sparks Milling Co. office grounds that will be of interest to those interested in history. On that morning a large stone from the home of Elijah P. Lovejoy, a stone from the home where he lived and played as a boy, will be set beside the relic of the Lovejoy printing press in the Sparks Milling Co. office yard. This stone was brought back to Alton by Capt. Sumner Porter of the Western Military Academy, who was visiting at Albion, Me., last summer. He presented it to the Rotary Club and on May 30th at 9 o'clock in the morning a service will be held where the stone is set and the Rotary Club will present the stone to the Madison County Historical Society, the president of that society, W. D. Armstrong, receiving it. It was thought best to place the historical stone close to the Lovejoy press relic where it will be accessible to view of many who may be interested. Persons who are interested in Lovejoy are invited to attend this service on Decoration Day morning at 9:00 o'clock at the Sparks Milling Co. office.