QUAKER-ROOTS-L ArchivesArchiver > QUAKER-ROOTS > 1998-09 > 0905958862
Subject: Re: Benjamin Lundy
Date: Wed, 16 Sep 1998 08:14:22 -0700
A request came across the list from Georgia...I don't have her address
so I will post this to the list..and who knows it might help someone
>Benjamin Lundy was an editor of a publication of The Genius of Univeral >Emancipation, there was an edition published in Philadelphia ca >1825-1835 can any
>one help me learn more about this paper, it's staff, locations
>Thanks for any help or lead that any one might offer
This is taken from "The LUNDY Family and their descendants of whatsoever
surname with a Biographical Sketch of Benjamin LUNDY" by William Clinton
Armstrong, A.M. 1902. It starts on p 349..what I've copied here is on
page 355-378.. I haven't copied all, I copied what Georgia was asking
about..Hope this isn't too long for you...I had a hard time stoping,
finding it interesting..
"...A local newspaper, The PHILANTHROPIST, had recently been established
at Mt Pleasant, and the proprietor, Charles Osborne, opened the columns
of his paper for the discussion of slavery. [Benjamin] Lundy saw here an
opportunity to aid the anti-slavery cause. He selected articles where
ever he could find them and had them published in the PHILANTROPIST. As
soon as he gained confidence in the tone of the paper, he began to
canvass his neighborhood for subscribers. Whenever the editor opened
[Benjamin] Lundys's letters he found therin anti-slavery clippings and
the names of some new subscribers and a few lines written by [Benjamin]
Lundy himself; All these were duly appreciated, for Lundy's comments
began to appear among the editorial paragraphs.
It was not long before [Benjamin] Lundy received an invitation to assist
in editing the paper. He was surprised; and mistrusting his own ability,
he hesitated. The invitation being repeated, he consented to try, and
son his articles appeared regularly on the editorial page. He still
plied his saddler's toos and talked harness to his customers; but his
mind was 10 miles away in the office of the PHILANTROPIST. He was
invited to become a partner in the printing business and to come to Mt
Pleasant and take charge of the office. He decided to accept the offer
and proceeded at once to close out his harness-business. He discharged
his journeymen; and thinking that the best market would be on the
western frontier, he took a load of finished articles to Missouri to
sell the rest of his stock and put it in a boat and started down the
Ohio river, his apprentice boys plying their trade in the boat while he
In going up the Mississippi river against the current, the boys had to
lay aside their aprons and pull at the oars; On reaching St. Louis he
was unable to dispose of his merchandise, for a fincncial depression had
swept over the country. Unwilling to sacrifice his property, he rented a
couple of rooms boarded himself and his boys and opened a harness store.
It was an unfortunate venture; business tragnation grew worse and worse.
He stayed one year hoping in vain for better times and then sold out at
a heavy loss. But it had been a year of excitement and intellectual
activity for [Benjamin] Lundy. Missouri was knocking at the door for
admission to the Union; and the great fight was on as to whether she
should brought in free or slave. [Benjamin] Lundy spent every spare
monent he had in exposing the evils of slavery in numerous original
articles which he contributed to the newpapers of Missouri and Illinois.
Saddened by defeat, and after a year's absence [Benjamin] Lundy started
for home. 600 miles away, afoot in the winter time.
For a year and a half [Benjamin] Lundy had directed all his business
affairs with the idea of becoming the editor of the PHILANTHROPIST and
of making it the medium of his attact on slavery; but during his absence
the newspaper had changed hands, and now the door is closed against him
and he cannot speak his views freely through its columns even as a
correspondent. [Benjamin] Lundy rose to the occasion.
He decided to establish a periodical of his own and do it at once and he
did. He wrote a prospectus and had it printed and circulated it. He
obtained six subscribers; and on the strength of this he prepared his
material and in Jan 1821, he issued No 1 of Volume 1 of "THE GENIUS OF
UNIVERSAL EMANCIPATION" This is believed to have been the first
newspaper in America, perhaps in the world, devoted exclusively or even
mainly to abolitionism. It was a deminutive publication. It was 9 1/4
inches long and 5 1/4 inches wide, with two columns of printed matter on
[Benjamin] Lundy moved his family from St. Clairsville to Mt Pleasant,
and here the first number of the GENIUS was printed for him at the
office of the PHILANTROPIST; but the next seven numbers were printed for
him at Stubenville, a town twenty miles away. Every month [Benjamin]
Lundy walked to that village for his papers and carried them home on his
It was impossible for this condition of affairs to continue long. But
THE GENIUS OF UNIVERAL EMANCIPATION was to live. There came a change.
Only eight numbers were published in Ohio; the next numbers were to be
published in Tennessee.
An anti-slavery paper called the EMANCIPATOR had been established by
Elihu Embree at Jonesborough in Eastern Tennessee. Embree died in a few
months and his friends did not know how to dispose of the office and its
Hearing of [Benjamin] Lundy's struggle to found an anti-slavery paper,
they wrote to him inviting him to come and see the establishment with a
view to purchase. [Benjamin] Lundy went to Jonesborough, a journey of
800 miles, and examined the printer's outfit.
Here was an opportunity to secure for his young peridoical a permanent
home where under one rood he could write his editorial and so all his
own work in composition and printing. He rented the establishment,
brought his family to Jonesborough and dwelt there nearly three years.
Without ever having served an hour's apprenticeship, he took his place
at the composing desk; thertofore he had been only editor and
proprietor, now he comes also typesetter and printer. Here 35 numbers of
the GENIUS, 9 to 43 were published.
It was impssible to treat effectively of the evils of the slave system
in the midst of which he was living without stirring up at time
considerable bad blood. One one occasion two slaveholders endeavored to
force him to retrace certain statements he had made in the GENIUS. They
invited him into a private room and then set upon him with clubs. He
suffered but he would not yield and finally released by outsiders who
heard the disturbance.
While in Tennessee he made one trip to Philadelphia, traveling in all
nearly 1,200 miles on horseback in the winter time, to attend the
American Convention for the Abolition of Slavery. He was the only
anti-slavery paper in the United States; and during this visit to the
East, he decided to remove his papter to some city on the Atlantic
seaboard, hoping thereby to extend the sphere of its influence. On
returning to Tennessee he made arragements at once to transfer the
GENIUS to the city of Baltimore.
Having disposed of his printing office in the summer of 1824, he bids
farewell to his wife and children and starts afoot for Baltimore. But he
does not take the direct route. He visits kinsmen in southwestern
Virginia and in North Carolina.
This journey of Lundy's is memorable as winessing the inauguration of a
new form of anti-slavery work; I refer to the system of public lectures"
On page 377.."During the winter of 1835-6 [Benjamin] Lundy contibuted a
serier of articles on Texas and Mexico to the columns of the NATIONAL
GAZETTE of Philadelphia. on Aug 3, 1836 he commenced a new anti-slavery
paper in Philadelphia; it was a weekly called the NATIONAL ENQUIRER. He
also publihed the GENIUS every month. he issued both papers as sole
proprietor regularly until the 3rd week in March 1837, on which date he
enterd into an agreement with the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society
wherebythe Society assumed the financial responsibility for the
publication of the ENQUIRER, which was to become the offical organ of
the Society. [Benjamin] Lundy retaining the editorship. This arrangement
continued until March 9, 1838, just one year.
Then an entire change of program was made. The Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery
Society took the ENQUIRER, changed its name to the PENNSYLVANIA FREEMAN
and secured the services of John Greenlead Whittier as editor.
Thus relieved of editorial reponsibility, [Benjamin] Lundy planned to
begin life anew; he would go west, buy a home and gather his children
around him, equip an office and resume the publication of the GENIUS.
Such were his plans, but he did ot start west at once. He lingered,
desiring to attend a series of abolition meeings which were to be held
in Philadelphia the middle of May.
One of the difficulties encounted by the anti-slavery reformers was the
impossibility of renting public halls in which to hold their meetings.
To remedy this, the abolitionists of Pennsylvania had decided to buy a
lot in Philadelphia and erect on it a building dedicated to Freedom and
the Rights of Man. They raised $30,000.00; and their edifce, named
Pennsylvania Hall, was opened for meeting on May 14, 1838. The
Anti-Slavery Convention of American Woman, an organization which
Benjamin Lundy had been very active in promoting, held there its annual
meeting. Public meetings were held for three days.
This gatering of abolition agitors caused great excitement in the city.
On the evening of the 17th John Swift, the mayor of Philadelphia, went
to the managers of the hall and requested them not to hold any evening
session lest they should endanger the safety of the building. To this
they agreed; and to him they surrendered the keys. The mayor made a
speech to the mob which had gathered on the street in front of the hall,
advising them to go home and go to bed as he intended to do.
But the mob remained and becoming bolder, soon burst open the doors and
set fire to the hall, the police making little if any resistance. When
the fireman arrived the mob would not allow them to save the hall but
complelled them by threats to confine their efforts to protecting the
In the anti-slavery office in this hall, [Benjamin] Lundy had collected
all the property which he intended to take west with him, including the
most of his private journals and complete sets of the GENIUS.
Everything was burned.... The next morning [Benjamin] Lundy wrote to a
friend and announced his loss, closing his letter in these words; "My
papers, books, clothes---everything of value (except my journal in
Mexico, etc) are all, all gone---a total sacrice on the alter of
Universal Emancipation. They have not yet got my conscience, they have
not yet taken my heart, and until they rob me of these, they can not
prevent me from pleading the cause of the suffering slave. I am not
disheartened, though everyting of earthly value (in the shape of
property) is lost. We shall assuredly triumph yet"..these words vibrate
with the unconquerable spirit of the man and of his cause. Gazing on the
blackened and smoking walls of Pennsylvania hall, impoverished, homeless
and with the wild jeering of the mob yet ringing in his ears, he breadks
forth into exclamation of victory.--"we shall assuredly triumph yet"
The prophecy came true, the cause did triumph, but for Benjamin Lundy
himself the close of life was not far off......."
Wilma Fleming Haynes
There was an edition published in Philadelphia ca 1825-1835. Can anyone
> >me learn more about this paper, its staff, locations and history?
> >Thanks for any help or leads that anyone might offer.