William Ellery Channing

William Ellery Channing, 1780–1842, American Unitarian minister and author, b. Newport, R.I. At 23 he was ordained minister of the Federal St. Congregational Church in Boston, where he served until his death. He was a leader among those who were turning from Calvinism, and his sermon at Jared Sparks's ordination in Baltimore (1819) earned him the name "the apostle of Unitarianism." In 1820 he organized the Berry St. Conference of Ministers, which in 1825 formed the American Unitarian Association. Channing's plea was for humanitarianism and tolerance in religion rather than for a new creed. Not only a great preacher but a lucid writer, Channing influenced many American authors, including Emerson and other transcendentalists and Holmes and Bryant. Channing was not by nature a controversialist and never allied himself with the abolitionists, but his writings on slavery helped prepare for emancipation. In his denunciations of war, his discussion of labor problems, and his views on education, he was ahead of his time. His works (6 vol., 1841–43) passed through many editions.

See his Life … with Extracts from His Correspondence (ed. by W. H. Channing, 3 vol., 1848); biographies by J. W. Chadwick (1903), M. H. Rice (1961), and J. Mendelsohn (1971); R. L. Patterson, The Philosophy of William Ellery Channing (1952, repr. 1972).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

William Ellery Channing: Selected Writings
David Robinson.
Paulist Press, 1985
FREE! A Selection from the Works of William E. Channing, D.D
William E. Channing.
American Unitarian Association, 1855
The Philosophy of William Ellery Channing
Robert Leet Patterson.
Bookman Associates, 1952
Thoreau, the Poet Naturalist: With Memorial Verses
William Ellery Channing; F. B. Sanborn.
Biblo and Tannen, 1966
Providence and Love: Studies in Wordsworth, Channing, Myers, George Eliot, and Ruskin
John Beer.
Clarendon Press, 1998
Basic Sources of the Judaeo-Christian Tradition
Fred Berthold Jr.; Alan W. Carlsten; Klaus Penzel.
Prentice Hall, 1962
The Achievement of American Criticism: Representative Selections from Three Hundred Years of American Criticism
Clarence Arthur Brown.
Ronald Press, 1954
Librarian’s tip: "Remarks on National Literature (1830)" by William E. Channing begins on p. 126
American Philosophic Addresses, 1700-1900
Joseph L. Blau.
Columbia University Press, 1946
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 21 "William Ellery Channing"
The Romantic Revolution in America: 1800-1860
Vernon Louis Parrington.
Harcourt Brace and Company, 1927
Librarian’s tip: "William Ellery Channing" begins on p. 328
American Philosophy
Ralph B. Winn.
Philosophical Library, 1955
Librarian’s tip: "William Ellery Channing" begins on p. 247
The Character of God: Recovering the Lost Literary Power of American Protestantism
Thomas E. Jenkins.
Oxford University Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Three "Serenity and Torment: William Ellery Channing, Edwards A. Park, Charles Hodge, and Archibald Alexander Hodge"
Who Were the Evangelicals?: Conservative and Liberal Identity in the Unitarian Controversy in Boston, 1804-1833
Cayton, Mary Kupiec.
Journal of Social History, Vol. 31, No. 1, Winter 1997
FREE! William Ellery Channing: Minister of Religion
John White Chadwick.
Houghton Mifflin, 1903
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