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

  1. 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."
  2. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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, 1846.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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."
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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 5, 1855.
  18. 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."
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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, 1859.
  30. 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."
  31. 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 26, 1860.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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 23, 1861.
  35. 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.
  36. March 1862: Remarks on his bill to Abolish Slavery in the District of Columbia. The Congressional Globe, March 1862.

  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. March 1863: Remarks on the Negro Soldier's Bill. Congress. The Congressional Globe, Februray 3, 1863.
  40. 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 24, 1863.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. 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 28, 1863.
  45. 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.
  46. The Congressional Globe has numerous references on line to other Lovejoy speeches and comments made in the House of Representative from 1857 to 1864.