Antislavery: The Crusade for Freedom in America

By Dwight Lowell Dumond | Go to book overview

Chapter 32
GENERAL LITERATURE

The antislavery publications included principally books, pamphlets, tracts, broadsides, and newspapers, of which there are in all several thousand titles. These were published by a great many people in a great many places.

Birney probably was about right in saying there were "upwards of a hundred" antislavery newspapers in 1839, but the list of important papers -- permanent, well edited, influential -- extending through the foundation years 1828 to 1840 was not large. There were not more than a dozen papers, nor more than a dozen editors in all, but every one of the editors made a singular contribution to the cause. Birney himself founded and edited the Philanthropist at New Richmond and Cincinnati in January 1836. Gamaliel Bailey joined him the following May. Bailey, son of a Methodist preacher of New Jersey, was both a physician and school teacher before he identified himself with the Lane Seminary rebels and taught during their period of informal study after they withdrew from Lane and before they went to Oberlin. He became editor of the paper when Birney went to New York in September 1837 as corresponding secretary of the American AntiSlavery Society. When the Tappans, through the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, established the National Era in Washington, D. C., in 1847, Bailey was selected as editor because of his literary ability, fair-minded tolerance, good business judgment, and integrity. He continued in that post until his death in 1859.

Bailey brought in as his associate editor Daniel Reaves Goodloe, a native North Carolinian, who had left his state because of opposition to slavery. Goodloe succeeded to the editorship when Bailey died. Goodloe was a close friend of Horace Greeley , wrote extensively for the Tribune, and was active in Lincoln's emancipation program. Bailey also associated John Greenleaf Whittier with the Era as corresponding editor, and first published Uncle Tom's Cabin, written by the wife of his old associate at Lane Seminary. He published, both at Cincinnati and at Washington, D. C., a long series of specially written articles on various aspects of the slavery question under the general title of Facts for the People. The Philanthropist was the official organ of the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society.1 The Anti-Slavery Bugle was founded at New Lisbon, Ohio, in June 1845, by B. S. Jones and his wife, Elizabeth H. Jones, and was edited by them until 1849, then by Marius Robinson at Salem, Ohio, until 1861. It was the organ of the state society after the Philanthropist, but by that time antislavery effort was concentrated in the Liberty Party, and the Bugle and those people still active in the society were Garrisonians.

A second key journalistic pilgrimage, beginning in the critical period and moving through all phases of the movement, was that of William Goodell. He was a native of New York, a man of extraordinary literary talent, an earnest and kindly humanitarian, and, like Birney, deeply concerned with the constitutional crisis of his time. He left a short business career in 1826 to become editor of the Investigator and General Intelligencer in Providence, Rhode Island. This general reform journal was combined with the NationalPhilanthropist

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