LIST OF THE HON. REV. OWEN LOVEJOY'S MAJOR SPEECHES
AND WRITINGS FROM 1841 TO 1864
Edited by the Rev. William F. Moore
The Lovejoy Society
- In 1838: Owen and his brother Joseph wrote the Memoir of the Rev. Elijah
P. Lovejoy: who was murdered in the Defense of the Liberty of the Press at
Alton, Illinois, Nov. 7, 1837. The book was written in the style of the
Roman historian Sallust, who told biography primarily in the person's own
words. The Lovejoy's quoted letters and newspaper articles extensively with
some narration. However the closing section (page 338) entitled, "To the Citizens
of Alton" ending with by "An American Citizen" was clearly written by Owen.
"You cannot bury his shed blood in the earth--it will have voice--it will
plead louder than a thousand presses. From its every drop will spring an army
of living antagonists…. Vengeance belongs to another hour and a mightier hand….Surrender
yourselves to the justice of your country. Atone for your great wickedness
by furnishing to your country the only use of which you are longer susceptible,
a practical and fearful warning. Commending you to this and to deep repentance
before that Power which can pardon the penitent, and still maintain the majesty
of laws, I take by leave of you in commiseration and sorrow."
- July 16, 1841: An open letter of the Rock River Congregational Association
of Illinois to the Church in Scotland. "We believe there is a redeeming spirit
in the church of the living God; that it is already awakening from its slumbers
and will ere long speak in a voice not to be disregarded, and exert an influence
that will not be resisted" The Genius of Liberty, July 16. 1841.
January 1842: Sermon on Supremacy
of the Divine Law - "the right and duty of violating human laws when they
conflict with the Divine…Blessings on the heads of those who help God's outcasts…If
there is any part of the Constitution or any law of Illinois that requires us
to break the laws of God, then I call upon you my brethren to come and help
me trample them in the dust." Western Citizen September 13, 1843
- March 26, 1842: Pastoral letter to Rock River Congregational Association
- "See to it beloved brethren, that you carry - we do not say your abolition,
but your religion to the polls." Genius of Liberty, March 26, 1842.
- July 31, 1842: Sermon on Religion and Politics - The text was from II Samuel
23:3. "He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God… Whatever
the Bible, reason, justice and humanity requires of law makers… they require
of every elector." Western Citizen January 20, 1843.
- August 30, 1843: At the National Liberty Party Convention in Buffalo. Lovejoy
urged, "the necessity of taking true democratic ground, not in the abstract
merely, but practically." The Christian Freeman, September 7, 1843.
- September 7, 1843: William Burliegh's description of Lovejoy's speech at
the Buffalo Convention. "Mr. Lovejoy's remarks were listened to with intense
interest…especially when he described his kneeling by the side of his murdered
brother, and before God, and in the presence of the dead, dedicating his life
to the cause of the enslaved, and come weal or woe, come life or death, he
was determined, by the help of God to fulfill his vow." The Christian
Freeman September 7, 1843.
- September 14, 1843: Returning from the Liberty Party Convention in Buffalo.
"It was a great, grand and glorious convention.… Abolitionist ho! To the rescue…pray,
toil, give, distribute tracts, lecture, preach, get subscribers to the Citizen,
move, renovate the state.
- July, 1844: Sermon on "For the love of Christ constraineth… that one died
for all without regard to person, age, rank, color, country or condition."
The Lovejoy Papers, Clements Library, University of Michigan.
- June, 1846: Stump speech in Chicago at Northwestern Convention of the Liberty
Party - "Where did that weak and puny being get the power to keep in subjection
those stout, athletic men? …from us!" The Liberty Tree, June 1846.
- June 1846: Speech in Chicago at Northwestern Convention of the Liberty
Party - "If this Liberty Party must be about a narrow party policy or be removed,
let it gather about it this drapery of death and descend into its grave without
the hope of resurrection." The Liberty Tree June 1846.
- October 26, 1846: Lovejoy gave 50 speeches in Massachusetts on behalf of
the Liberty Party in the fall of 1846, this report of one in Lowell is the
only fragment we have of that period. The Whig editor of the Lowell Daily
Chronicle wrote, "We listened to an address at the City Hall by Rev.
Owen Lovejoy of Illinois, a brother of the brave Lovejoy who was slain by
the mob at Alton. He is a very good speaker, and we should think a tolerably
honest man, though it was difficult to reconcile some of his statements."
Lovejoy criticized both national parties as being pro-slavery. This seemed
unfair to the editor for Massachusetts does not agreed with its national leaders
any more than the Rev. Lovejoy agreed with his national Liberty Party candidate's
position on anticlericalism. Lowell Daily Chronicle, October 26,
- December 9, 1847: Comments on his speech at the last National Convention
of the Liberty Party at Buffalo. "Lovejoy spoke next. He contended that the
Liberty Party was and ever has been considered a permanent party. He combated
the idea that there were differences in the path. There might be in form--in
time--in ideas of expediency, but all were agreed upon the principles advocated
by Mr. Smith. He spoke at much length." "Others thought Mr. Lovejoy, in a
felicitous manner, replied to Mr. Smith, though some thought his admission
were too great." Western Citizen December 9, 1847.
- April 18, 1848 on the Illinois Black Laws. "We should never once cherish
the idea of transcending a law though it be oppressive, when it does not force
us from what plain common sense teaches us to be our duty to God and to man."
Western Citizen April 18, 1848.
- July 18, 1848: Answers to questions raised in the Aurora Guardian
concerning political issues other than the one idea of politically supporting
only those committed to divorcing government and slavery, such as free trade,
land for homesteaders, harbour and river improvements, and direct election
of President. This is a major shift from Liberty Party to Free Soil platform
before the Free Soil Convention. Western Citizen, July 18, 1848.
- August 22, 1848: In a letter to the Western Citizen he enthusiastically
endorsed the Free Soil Convention. "The principles laid down in their resolutions
which were adopted by the Convention, everyone will recognize as substantially
the principles we have always advocated…. It was a political Pentecost where
more than three times three thousand received the baptism of Liberty."
- January 1850: Sermon on The Morning cometh - "The great germinal principle
of the gospel manifests itself in the various benevolent and reforming movements
of the day." The Lovejoy Papers. Clements Library, University of Michigan.
- October 26, 1854: Campaigning for State Legislature from Bureau County
at Nepasset. "He spoke at some length of the charcteristic principles of the
Republican Party. Said, it was not the elevation of men, or a party, merely,
that we are striving to advance, but principle, the first great axiom of liberty,
and the equality of all…He gave a succinct account of the outrages in Kansas…He
said he would tell the foreigners present, his views on the alien laws, he
considred the present law as sufficient, and if elelcted, and the matter should
come up to extend it, he should vote against it.
- January 11, 1855: Speech in the Springfield State Legislature on a bill
providing for the repeal of all laws disqualifying colored persons from testifying
in courts of justice. "I did expect the House would treat the subject courteously,
I am sorry to be disappointed in my anticipations. But if this bill and kindred
subjects …are to be thrust out of the House ceremoniously, nay, almost contemptuously,
then I will tell the gentleman, it will occupy a great deal of the time of
the House." Free West, February 1, 1855.
- February 6, 1855: Speech in the Springfield
State Legislature - "No Power on earth has a right to make a man a slave.
Some may ask if this be the case, why do you not go for abolishing slavery
in all the states… I do not go for it because I have not the power… but we
have the power to abolish the spread of slavery in the territories…but we
have the power to do it in the territories, as they are under the exclusive
jurisdiction of us the people of the United States." Free West, April
- February 22, 1856: Opening
prayer at the first National Meeting of the Republican Party. "…Wilt thou
remove from office the President of these United States who has proved recreant
and treacherous to the high trusts committed to his care. And wilt Thou move
upon the hearts of the People to elect one to fill the Executive chair who
will administer the Government in accordance with the great principles of
Justice, Truth and Freedom…Save them (the people of Kansas) from violence
and bloodshed; and enable them if driven to extremity to defend their hoes
and our common heritage of freedom."
- February 22, 1856: Speech at the first National Meeting of the Republican
Party to plan National Convention - "A Divine Power ruling over all things…
a higher power than that created by demagogues… And it was this doctrine of
the immortality of the soul that lay at the foundation of abolitionism…. The
mission of the Pilgrim Fathers was to exhibit the practicality of a Church
without a Bishop and a State without a King… and the Declaration of Independence
asserted these truths." The New York Tribune, March 16, 1856.
- May 29, 1856: Speech at the Bloomington Anti-Nebraska Convention that organized
to become the Republican Party in Illinois. (Like Lincoln's speech of that
occasion, Lovejoy's speech is also unrecorded. There is great debate on the
importance of these speeches. Without both of them the development of the
Republican Party in Illinois would have been doubtful at that time.) Mr. J.
O. Cunningham said of the Lovejoy speech, "He carried the audience with him.
He broke down much unreasonable prejudice against himself and secured for
himself a hearing before an audience in Illinois without danger of insult…"Transactions,
McLean County Historical Society, Vol. III, p.174.
- December 21, 1857: Treasury Note Bill Speech - Congress - printed by Buell
and Blanchard Printers 1858. "How much is to be used to force, at the point
of bayonet, upon the people of Kansas a government for which every person
in the United States knows they never voted" (i.e. Lecompton Constitution).
Congressional Globe December 21, 1857.
- February 17, 1858: Speech on Human Beings Not Property. Congress - reprinted
by Buell and Blanchard. "The President and Chief Justice by new, unheard of,
and most unwarrantable interpretations of the Constitution are endeavoring
to enthrone and nationalize slavery… And all this on the false, outrageous
and impious argument that human beings are property. Again I meet this doctrine
and spurn it. Congressional Globe, February 17, 1858.
- May 27, 1858: Remarks in Congress on Agricultural Committee Room. "Downin
the Agriculture Committee room, at one end is a representation of Old Put
leaving his plow… but there is not a single picture to represent maize… it
should have been represented in its different stages." Congressional Globe,
May 27, 1858.
- June 30, 1858: Remarks at Joliet Nominating Convention for 3rd
Congressional District where he was unanimously nominated for a second term.
"Now I am asked if I am for Abraham Lincoln - I am for him because he is a
true hearted man and come what may, unterrified by power, unseduced by ambition,
he will remain true to the principles for which the Republican Party was organized."
Special edition of the Bureau County Republican, July 1858. Lovejoy
sent the full copy from the newspaper to Lincoln.
- July 5, 1858: Bryant's Grove, Princeton speech on National Sabbath - "I
do not wish to have it understood that because we are great and prosperous,
that therefore we are released from moral obligation as a people. The more
wealth, intellect and power an individual has the more obligations rest upon
him." Bureau County Republican, July 22, 1858.
- August 21, 1858: Following the first Lincoln-Douglas debate at Ottawa-
one of his typical speeches - Comment from the Chicago Press and Tribune,
"Fifteen Hundred persons loudly called for Lovejoy… mounting the steps of
the Court House, he divested himself of his cravat and collar and went at
it… I never listened to a speech so full of eloquence and power." Chicago
Press & Tribune, August 26, 1858.
- August 27, 1858: After the Second Lincoln-Douglas Debate at Freeport Lovejoy
delivered a scathing phillipic against Douglas and the Fugitive Slave Law.
Benjamin Shaw reported that Lovejoy was not in a pleasant humor because "Douglas
with a sneer had classed Lincoln as a Lovejoy Abolitionist in a manner intimating
that the latter was of the radical class…. Taking the Pythagorean idea of
transmigration, he had the soul of Douglas turned into a savage bloodhound
on the track of a slave escaping from bondage. A man innocent of crime, only
a polar star as a guide to a freedom justly his, the man-greyhound in hot
pursuit, lapping the mire by the wayside to quench his hellish thirst for
blood. The cubless tigress raging in the jungle for her slaughtered offspring
is touching sympathy compared with the man who would hunt down an innocent
being that he might enslave." Transactions, MacLean County Historical Society
Vol. III, pages 70-71.
- February 21, 1859: Speech on the Fanaticism of the Democratic Party -Congress,
reprinted by Buell and Blanchard Printers 1860. "But the strongest and most
impious phase of this fanaticism is that it claims the sanction of the Bible
for American slavery." Congressional Globe, February 21, 1859.
- May 25, 1859: Speech to Mount Vernon Association in Princeton, Illinois
at Presbyterian Church on George Washington as the "tout ensemble." "It is
the singleness and purity of his patriotism - his self abnegation that form
the basis of his enduring fame." Bureau County Republican June 6,
- October 1859: an Agricultural Poem delivered before the Bureau County Agricultural
Society - reprinted by the Bureau County Republican in 1862 (20 pages).
"… owner and tiller of his loved freehold he laughs of fear, and cannot be
controlled. Knows no dependence, save upon his God, bows to no scepter, cowers
at no one's nod."
- April 5, 1860: Speech on Barbarism of Slavery. Congress - This is his most
widely circulated speech in at least 55 newspapers because of the subject
matter and the shoving and shouting match in the chamber of the House of Representatives.
"Slaveholding has been justly designated as the sum of all villainy… It has
the violence of robbery, the blood and cruelty of piracy; it has the offensive
and brutal lusts of polygamy… with aggravations that neither one of these
crimes ever knew or dreamed of." Bureau County Republican, April
- July 20, 1860: A political stump speech for Lincoln and Republicans (Having
a safe district and encouragement of the party to go into southern Illinois,
Lovejoy made over 100 speeches). There are reports of many of these speeches
being well received, and well attended with up to 10,000, 15,000, and 20,000.
The Alton speech is remembered more for an absence of any statement of his
brother's murder till the end of the speech when he says, "This is not the
time or the place to speak of my brother or of the cause for which he died.
Enough that he lives, a dear and sacred memory in the hearts of those he left
behind. As for his cause, time will vindicate that, as surely as God lives
and reigns." The Patriot of Carrollton, Illinois, July 25, 1910.
- October 15, 1860: Wigwam Speech in Chicago with 30,000 in attendance (probably
typical of other stump speeches). "The Republicans would give the settler
a homestead upon any of the unoccupied public lands. The Democratic Party
says: "you may have any lands that are left after they have been offered for
sale. After the capitalists have entered what they wish, -- after the speculators
have taken the lion's share, then you may have the refuse…" The Press
& Tribune of Chicago, October 16, 1860.
- January 23, 1861: State of the Union - Congress, reprinted H. Polkinhorn,
Washington D.C. "It is said that our President elect is for compromise. This
I do not, cannot and never will believe, until I have it from his own lips
or his own acts. I know he has too much regard for the common appellation
by which is familiarly known, of "Honest Old Abe" ever to believe that he
will betray the principles of the Republican Party, which were made distinctly
and squarely in the last campaign, of inflexible, unalterable opposition to
the extension of human slavery." The Congressional Globe, January
- Late 1861: in Chicago rallying troops. "So far as the question of argument
is concerned, it has been exhausted. A son does not argue or appeal to decide
as to the propriety of killing the assassin of his mother; neither do the
sons of the republic need long-winded arguments to induce them to put down
this accursed rebellion. We want men, not speeches; men with muskets in their
hands, not hurrahs from their throats. I have but little reputation as a conservative
man, so far as I have been informed. Some people go so far as to say I am
slightly tinctured with fanaticism in my views of the slavery question. For
myself, I claim to be a sort of an anointed prophet of the Lord. I have faith
in God, and next to Him, in the American people." Politics and Politicians
of Illinois From 1856-1884 by D.W. Lusk.
- March 1862: Remarks on his bill to Abolish Slavery in the District of Columbia.
The Congressional Globe, March 1862.
- June 12, 1862: Cooper Union Speech where William Cullen Bryant introduced
him. Published in the New York Tribune. "If the President does not
believe all I do, I believe all he does… If he does not drive as fast as I
would, he is on the right road, and it is only a matter of time." New
York Times, June 13, 1862.
- November 19, 1862: Victory
speeech in Princeton, Illinois, after being elected to his fourth term
in Congress in a bitter battle after his Third Congressional District boundaries
had been changed. "I am too old a man, if not too good a Christian and patriot,
to harbour feelings of malice and revenge… I have lived long enough to know
that these sentiments and evil passions hurt their subjects more than their
objects." Geneseo Republic, November 9, 1862.
- March 1863: Remarks on the Negro Soldier's Bill. Congress. The Congressional
Globe, Februray 3, 1863.
- April 24, 1863: Owen Lovejoy's famous response to Senator Crittenden's
speech enticing President Lincoln to have a hands off policy on slavery thus
saving his country and earning himself a "niche in the temple of fame, a niche
near to Washington." Lovejoy responded the next day: "I too have a niche for
Abraham Lincoln; but it is in Freedom's holy Fane, and not in the blood-besmirched
temple of human bondage; …Let Abraham Lincoln make himself, as I trust he
will, the emancipator, the liberator, as he has the opportunity of doing,
and his name shall not only be enrolled in this earthly temple, but it will
be traced on the living stones of that temple which rears itself amid the
throne and hierarchies of heaven…" The Congressional Globe, April
- November 5, 1863: Speech at the Chicago Metropolitan Hall to The NorthWestern
Fair organized by women for the benefit of sick and wounded soldiers through
the U.S. Sanitary Commission. "Do not let any power from earth or from beneath
the earth alienate your attachment or weaken your confidence in the President…
Ladies of the NorthWest of America, I do not say, 'May God Bless you,' but
I say, 'God will bless you.'" Chicago Tribune, November 6, 1863.
- November 26, 1863: Speech on Thanksgiving Day 1863 at the Hampshire Colony
Congregational Church, Princeton, Illinois. "If their theory (of state suicide)
is true and they have actually succeeded as sovereign states in transferring
their allegiance, then we are fighting not to subdue a rebellion, but to re-annex
a foreign nation. But such is not the case; we are fighting to compel them
to remain in the Union and return to their allegiance; and we have no right
to punish loyal men for the crimes of the disloyal." Bureau County Republican,
December 3, 1863.
- November 26, 1863: Thanksgiving Prayer
at Owen Lovejoy's church, Hampshire Colony Congregational Church. "… Our
Father, thou has had a controversy with us on this subject. In as much as
we have not proclaimed liberty throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants
thereof, when thou didst proclaim liberty to us, we feel that thy judgments
are upon us, and justly we are suffering for disregarding thy commands…We
thank thee that thy chastening hand has been so far recognized by the people
of the United States…. We pray thee to guide us and give us the victory."
Bureau County Republican, August 4, 1864.
- December 26, 1863: Speech at the New City Hall in Portland, Maine. He announced
that he was about to introduce a bill in Congress that would "decree freeing
every slave in the land." He announced his belief that Abraham Lincoln would
be reelected next year. The Daily Press, Portland, Maine. December
- May 5, 1864: last public words of Lovejoy who died March 11, 1864. In a
letter to his good friend Gov. John Andrew of Massachusetts, written by another's
hand he said, "Do you know that I am hoping that when slavery has been swept
away, for a revival of religion, pure and undefiled, which will be eminently
practical, and the cause that knows not it, will search it out and instead
of expending its energies on theologies and creed and rubrics, it shall go
around, like its divine author, healing the sick, cleansing lepers, giving
eyes to the blind, ears to the deaf and charity to all." Bureau County
Republican, May 5, 1864 from the Boston Transcript.
- The Congressional Globe has numerous references on line to other
Lovejoy speeches and comments made in the House of Representative from 1857