Complicity, How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery, by Anne Farrow, Joel Lang, and Jenifer Frank of The Hartford Courant – A Comprehensive Review by Gene Kizer, Jr., Part Fourteen, Chapter Eight: Hated Heroes, Part Two

A Comprehensive Review of
COMPLICITY
How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery
by Anne Farrow, Joel Lang, and Jenifer Frank
of The Hartford Courant
Part Fourteen
Chapter Eight: Hated Heroes
Part Two
by Gene Kizer, Jr.
_The_Pro-Slavery_Riot_on_November_7_1837_Death_of_Rev_E_P_Lovejoy--Alton-Illinois-Wikimedia-Commons-59K

At the end of this article beneath the notes I have cited is "Actual Citation from Book," Complicity's notes from Chapter Eight. The picture comes from Wikimedia Commons.

ABOLITIONIST ELIJAH P. LOVEJOY WAS KILLED BY A MOB in Lincoln's Illinois twenty-four years before the War Between the States.

He had been a "schoolteacher and minister from Maine" educated "at Colby College and Princeton" who early on was more concerned about "the evils of blasphemy and drinking" than slavery.1 In those years, he was living in St. Louis, Missouri and described himself as: not in favor of immediate emancipation, and not an abolitionist.

That changed in April, 1836 when Lovejoy saw the charred remains of a free black man, Francis McIntosh, "a porter on a ship docked in St. Louis," who had been drinking and killed a policeman after an altercation following a fight between two whites.2

McIntosh had been taken to jail but a mob formed that night and came for him. The sheriff "fled, leaving McIntosh alone and locked in a cell." The mob

broke in, carried McIntosh to a locust tree on the commons, and tied him to the tree with a chain. Rails, planking, and wood shavings were piled around his legs. Some of the wood was wet, chosen so it would not burn too quickly.3

An "elderly black man was given 75 cents to keep the fire burning through the night."4

The next day Minister Lovejoy "went to the scene" and a few days later, on May 5, 1836, the headline of his newspaper, the Observer, was: "Awful Murder and Savage Barbarity." In the article he wrote:

'We stood and gazed for a moment or two upon the blackened and mutilated trunk---for that was all which remained---of McIntosh before us, and as we turned away, in bitterness of heart, we prayed that we might not live.'5

Lovejoy did not question McIntosh's guilt but did not like the mob violence.

A judge whose name was "Luke Lawless," believe it or not, was in charge of an investigation and blamed violent black men and "publications like the Observer." Nobody was charged.6

Lovejoy was converted and "began his campaign, calling for the emancipation of all enslaved people, and despite growing public outrage, he would not stop."7

St. Louis was a "booming frontier town" and Missouri was a slave state, one of six slave states that would later fight for the Union the entire war.

There was much strong Confederate support in Missouri and duel governments; and Missouri was represented in the Confederate Congress, and had a star in the Confederate flag, but did not secede.

Lincoln and the North were glad to have six slave states fight for them. Three of those Union slave states still had slavery months after the war ended. Those three did not end slavery until the Thirteenth Amendment kicked in, in December, 1865.

The six Union slave states prove the war was not fought over slavery. If it was, the North would have abolished slavery in the Union slave states immediately but they did the opposite. They supported the Corwin Amendment, which left black people in slavery forever, even beyond the reach of Congress, in the places where slavery already existed. Illinois was one of the five Union states ratifying the Corwin Amendment before the war made it moot.

The other Union slave states besides Missouri, were Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and West Virginia, which came into the Union as a slave state, ironically, within weeks of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.

The owners of the Observer had asked Lovejoy to stop his antislavery rants but he refused. After several attacks on his home and offices, the owners encouraged him to move "his family and the newspaper across the Mississippi River to Alton, in the free state of Illinois" which he did. He arrived with his family safely but while the Observer's press was on the docks "a small group crossed the river from St. Louis and dumped it into the river."8

A "former sea captain from Massachusetts spearheaded the effort to replace the press."9

There is a bit of farce in a sea captain from Massachusetts helping to replace Lovejoy's abolitionist press at a time when Boston, Massachusetts was one of the largest slave trading ports on the planet along with New York, and Portland in Lovejoy's home state of Maine. All were carrying on a vigorous illegal slave trade and still making huge fortunes as they had when the slave trade was legal.

W.E.B. Du Bois writes in The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade to the United States of America, 1638-1870:

'The number of persons engaged in the slave-trade, and the amount of capital embarked in it, exceed our powers of calculation. The city of New York has been until of late [1862] the principal port of the world for this infamous commerce; although the cities of Portland and Boston are only second to her in that distinction. Slave dealers added largely to the wealth of our commercial metropolis; they contributed liberally to the treasuries of political organizations, and their bank accounts were largely depleted to carry elections in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.'10

The above quotation refers to 1862, which was a year into the War Between the States, and 54 years after the slave trade was outlawed by the United States Constitution.

Subscriptions to the Observer increased and Lovejoy received money from other abolitionists around the country. He was now a full-fledged radical abolitionist:

He sent letters to leading newspapers throughout the United States asking for their positions on slavery, then published their answers with his own critical commentary. He published a passionate letter he had written in the voice of a slave. He attacked Alton's Fourth of July festivities with a bitter editorial that anticipated Frederick Douglass's famous address, 15 years later, "What to a Slave Is the Fourth of July?" He editorialized against the slave trade in Washington, D.C., saying that slavery in the nation's capital made every man a slaveholder. He became secretary of a local antislavery group, and he proposed establishing an antislavery society in Illinois. A rumor circulated that from his pulpit one Sunday he had sworn that if his wife died, he would 'marry a black woman before Saturday.'11

What is missing from a virtue-signaling abolitionist like Elijah Lovejoy is a realistic plan to end slavery. Even Lincoln admitted he did not know how to end slavery at that time.

Northern states purported to phaseout slavery with gradual, compensated emancipation but most Northern slaves were sold back into slavery in the South just as they were to be freed, such as before the slave's 21st birthday. This is a disgraceful but absolute fact. Alexis de Tocqueville joked that Northerners did not end slavery. They just changed the slave's master from a Northern to a Southern one.

The 1830s was a time of violence against abolitionists who were denounced as "'amalgamationists, dupes, fanatics, foreign agents, and incendiaries,'" according to Leonard L. Richards, "author of a study of antiabolitionist mob action in Jacksonian America."12

William Lloyd Garrison "was dragged through Boston at the end of a rope" in 1835. He luckily was rescued by some individuals and put in jail for the night for his own protection.13

Alton, Illinois was in a financial crisis in 1837 but Lovejoy showed no sympathy for them. He charged them with being speculators and said we have "'become a nation of gamblers.'" Other publications editorialized against Lovejoy.14

On September 5, 1837 Lovejoy wrote to his mother that "'my press has again been mobbed down.'"15

Before dawn on November 7, 1837 "a new press for the Observer arrived on the steamboat Missouri Fulton." It was guarded as "it was hoisted to the top floor of a stone warehouse."16

That night "about 60 volunteers again guarded the warehouse" but things were quiet so most left after a while.17

At 10 p.m. the mob arrived: "'We want that printing press!'"

The mob threw rocks and battered the warehouse door. Many were drunk and firing guns. A man was killed which added to the mob's fury.18

A "makeshift" ladder outside the warehouse allowed James Rock to climb and "set fire to the wooden roof" with flaming pitch. As it burned

Lovejoy and Royal Weller ran from the building and aimed up at Rock, but Dr. Thomas Hope and Dr. Horace Beale, covered by darkness, had perfect sight of the open door, and they shot both.19

Weller survived but "Lovejoy took five bullets, including three in his chest and one in his stomach. He staggered back into the warehouse and fell dead at the feet of his defenders."20

The fire was put out and the press pushed into the street and destroyed.

By the wee hours, the crowd was mostly gone, and at daylight, Lovejoy's dead body was carried home in a wagon that was mocked by bystanders the whole way.

Two days later, at age 34, Lovejoy was "buried in Alton between two oak trees. A cold, heavy rain fell on the small group that gathered for the funeral."21

 

Next Week:
A Comprehensive Review of
COMPLICITY
How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery
by Anne Farrow, Joel Lang, and Jenifer Frank
of The Hartford Courant
Part Fifteen
Chapter Eight: Hated Heroes
Part Three

(Click Here to go to last week's blog article:

Complicity, How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery, by Anne Farrow, Joel Lang, and Jenifer Frank of The Hartford Courant - A Comprehensive Review by Gene Kizer, Jr., Part Thirteen, Chapter Eight: Hated Heroes, Part One)

 

NOTES:
(Scroll down for:
Complicity, Actual Citation from Book)

1 Anne Farrow, Joel Lang, and Jenifer Frank, Complicity, How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery (New York: Ballantine Books, Copyright 2005 by The Hartford Courant Company), 163.

2 Farrow, Lang, Frank, Complicity, 164.

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid.

6 Farrow, Lang, Frank, Complicity, 165.

7 Ibid.

8 Ibid.

9 Ibid.

10 W.E.B. Du Bois, The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade to the United States of America, 1638-1870 (New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1896), 179. Du Bois is quoting the Continental Monthly, January, 1862, p. 87, the article "The Slave-Trade in New York."

11 Farrow, Lang, Frank, Complicity, 166.

12 Ibid.

13 Ibid.

14 Farrow, Lang, Frank, Complicity, 167.

15 Ibid.

16 Ibid.

17 Ibid.

18 Ibid.

19 Farrow, Lang, Frank, Complicity, 168.

20 Ibid.

21 Farrow, Lang, Frank, Complicity, 169.

 

Complicity,
Actual Citation from Book

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2 Comments

    • David,

      Good to hear from you!

      I have been buried but will get back to regular posts in two weeks.

      Getting ready to publish a great new book by Michael Bradley.

      All the best to you!

      Gene

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