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Biography Of Elijah Parish Lovejoy Essay

1588 words - 6 pages

Biography of Elijah Parish Lovejoy

Elijah Parish Lovejoy -was born in Albion, Maine, November 9, 1802. He
graduated from Waterville College (now Colby College) in 1826 and came
to St. Louis as a school teacher.

In 1831 he joined the First Presbyterian Church, decided to become a
minister, and returned to the East to study at Princeton Theological
Seminary. He was licensed to preach in April, 1833, by the Second
Presbytery of Philadelphia. He was ordained by the Presbytery of St.
Louis in 1834 and was elected its Moderator in 1835. In St. Louis he
was pastor of the Des Peres Presbyterian Church (the "Old Meeting
House"). He published a religious newspaper, The St. Louis Observer,
and began to advocate the abolition of slavery. Despite the bitter
feeling against him., Lovejoy persisted in arguing the fights of
freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom from slavery.
After seeing a slave, Francis J. McIntosh, burned at the stake, his
editorials became so strident against slavery that he became an object
of hatred by both Southerners and slave-holders. His press was wrecked
by a mob in July, 1836, and he moved to Alton in the free State of

In Alton, Lovejoy became the Stated Clerk of the Presbytery in 1837
and the first pastor of the present College Avenue Presbyterian
Church. He actively supported the organization of the Ant-slavery
Society of Illinois which enraged the Alton citizens. He continued
writing and publishing the Alton Observer even after three presses had
been destroyed and thrown into the Mississippi River.

On the historic night of November 7, 1837, a group of 20 Lovejoy
supporters joined him at the Godfrey & Gilman warehouse to guard a new
press until it could be installed at the Observer. As the crowd grew
outside, excitement and tension mounted. Soon the pro-slavery mob
began hurling rocks at the warehouse windows. The defenders retaliated
by bombarding the crowd with a supply of earthenware pots found in the
warehouse. Then came an exchange of gunfire. Alton's mayor tried in
vain to persuade the defenders inside to abandon the press. They stood
fast. One of the mob climbed a ladder to try to set fire to the roof
of the building. Lovejoy and one of his supporters darted into the
darkness to over-turn the ladder, for they knew they would be doomed if a fire was
set. But again a volunteer mounted the ladder to try to ignite the
roof with a smoking pot of pitch. As Lovejoy assisted Royal Weller in
putting out the fire on the roof of the building, Lovejoy received a
blast from a double-barreled shotgun. Five of the bullets fatally
struck Lovejoy. He died in the arms of his friend Thaddeus Hurlbut.
The mob cheered and said all in the building should die. Amos Roff
tried to calm the mob and was shot in the ankle. Defenders of the
press then...

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