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Chapter I. The Imprint of Abolitionism WHEN McClure's Magazine was founded in 1893, it was staffed to a great extent by graduates of Knox College lo­ cated in Galesburg, Illinois. The two dozen Knox alumni who edited, sold, and financed McClure's carried to the New York publishing world many of the reform traditions of the Great Revival. All of this was consistent with the aims of Rev. George Washington Gale, who founded Knox on the Illinois prairie in 1837. Thus evangelical Christianity— although greatly modified—with its injunctions to trans­ form an evil world, helped to provide the purpose, tech­ nique, and content of many of the progressive reforms championed by the muckraking movement in alater era. George Washington Gale was a mild-mannered, unob­ trusive Presbyterian preacher in western New York's "burned-over district" in 1821, when his quiet, doctrinal preaching surprisingly led to the conversion of Charles G. Finney, a rather notorious young lawyer.1 Finney himself, turned evangelist, shortly afterwards converted the youth­ ful Theodore Dwight Weld, a student at Hamilton Col­ lege. The Great Revival commenced with these three men guiding it towards a wide area of humanitarian reform. Peripheral to the movement'scentral principles of "abolition and temperance" were such diverse sentiments as sabbath observance, feminism, and anti-Masonism.2 The need for ministers with the proper zeal and values to spread the faith became so acute that Gale resigned his pastorate and founded the Oneida Institute in New York, a manual labor school, to instruct the "called."3 The immediate success of the Oneida Institute led to the founding of Oberlin and iWhitney R. Cross, The Burned-over District (New York, 1950), 152. 2 Ibid.., 226. 3See Alice Felt Tyler, Freedom's Ferment (New York, 1944), 491-93. I M P R I N T O F A B O L I T I O N I S M Knox Colleges, the former by Finney and Weld, the latter by Gale, where the principle of manual labor was applied.4 The dedicated men and women who came to the unset­ tled plains of Illinois at the insistence of Gale to found a college and a community were grounded in religious en­ thusiasm and believed in an educated elect. They also shared a common distaste for human bondage. Benjamin Lundy edited his Genius of Universal Emancipation in the neighboring county, and Owen Lovejoy, brother of the mur­ dered Elijah P. Lovejoy, lived a few miles away at Prince­ ton, called in Congress the "greatest Negro stealing town in the west."5 Galesburg, founded around Knox College, became in time "probably the principal Underground Railroad sta­ tion in Illinois," and a hotbed of abolitionist activity.6 The Galesburg home of Edward Beecher, one of the famous chil­ dren of Lyman Beecher of Lane Seminary, was one of the locality's more notorious refuges for runaway slaves.7 Eventually Edward Beecher became a trustee of Knox, and his brother, Charles, became a professor of rhetoric. The col­ lege served as a meeting ground for New England and Mid­ western emancipators. Such abolitionists as William Lloyd Garrison, Henry Ward Beecher, John P. Hale, Cassius M. Clay, Theodore Parker, and Wendell Phillips received an enthusiastic welcome when they visited and lectured at Knox.8 The early settlers were humble families who lived peace­ ably with the Illinois Indians and dreamed of Calvin's experiment at Geneva. A feminist reformer characterized them as walking under the "sun of reform."9 Successively 4 See Hermann R. Muelder, Fighters for Freedom (New York, 1959), 1-62. 0 Bureau County Republican, Jan. 2, >868. β Muelder, Fighters for Freedom, 191. 7 Earnest Elmo Calkins, They Broke the Prairie (New York, 1937), i8off. Calkins later supervised the advertising of both McClure's and the American Magazine. 8 Muelder, Fighters for Freedom, 341. 8 Ibid., 335. I M P R I N T O F A B O L I T I O N I S M the Liberty Party, the Free Soil Party, and the Republican Party found militant leaders and supporters in the com­ munity. In 1843 'he first president of Knox, Hiram H. Kel­ logg, served as one of the nine delegates from the United States to the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London, and in 1845 he was succeeded in office by Jonathan Blanchard, a nationally known abolitionist who later founded Wheaton College.10 Galesburg was committed to militant reform long before the Baptists and Methodists split in 1845...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781400872305
MARC Record
OCLC
614006860
Pages
360
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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