American Abolitionists and Antislavery Activists:
Conscience of the Nation

Updated April 4, 2021

l to r: Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips

Encyclopedia of Slavery and Abolition in the United States - R

RAND, Asa, 1783-1871, Lowell, Massachusetts, abolitionist, clergyman, editor.  Vice president, 1833-1835, and founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS), December 1833. 

(Abolitionist, Vol. I, No. XII, December, 1833; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, p. 168)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

RAND, Asa, clergynian, b. in Rindge, N.H., 6 Aug., 1783; d. in Ashburnham, Mass., 24 Aug., 1871. He was graduated at Dartmouth in 1806, and ordained as a minister of the Congregational church in January, 1809. After a pastorate of thirteen years' duration at Gorham, Me., he edited the “Christian Mirror” at Portland, Me., in 1822-'5, afterward conducted the “Recorder” and the “Youth's Companion” at Boston, and in 1833 established a book-store and printing-office at Lowell. He published the “Observer” at this place, lectured against slavery, and was then pastor of churches at Pompey and Peterborough, N. Y. He published “Teacher's Manual for Teaching in English Grammar” (Boston, 1832), and “The Slave-Catcher caught in the Meshes of the Eternal Law” (Cleveland 1852). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 168.


RANDALL, Alexander, 1819-1872, Ames, New York, jurist, lawyer, abolitionist.  Sixth Governor of Wisconsin, 1858-1861.  Advocate for Black voting rights.  Raised troops for Union Army.  Postmaster General, 1866-1869.

(Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 1, p. 344)


RANDOLPH, Thomas Jefferson, 1792-1875, anti-slavery advocate, Virginia, grandson of President Thomas Jefferson.  Co-founded Manumission Society of Tennessee in 1815 with Charles Osborne. 

(Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 41, 496; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 173-174; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 1, p. 369)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

RANDOLPH, Thomas Jefferson, b. at Monticello, 12 Sept., 1792; d. at Edge Hill, Albemarle co., Va., 8 Oct., 1875, was Thomas Jefferson's oldest grandson, and was described by his grandfather as “the staff of his old age.” When six years of age he used to walk five miles to an “old-field school,” so called, and used to say that he had a watch in his pocket before he had shoes on his feet. He went to school in Philadelphia at fifteen, and afterward in Charlottesville. Va. In 1824 he married Jane Hollins, daughter of Gov. Wilson Cary Nicholas. After the sale of Jefferson's property, debts to the extent of $40,000 remained, and these were paid by Randolph out of regard for his grandfather's honor. He also supported and educated his brothers and sisters. He had been appointed literary executor of Jefferson, and in 1829 published the “Life and Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson” (4 vols., Boston). Being in the Virginia legislature at the time of the Southampton negro insurrection in 1832, he introduced a bill for emancipation on what was called the “post-natal” plan, originally suggested by Jefferson. This was necessarily postponed to the following session, and then failed through the resentment excited by the harangues of George Thompson, who was regarded as an “abolition emissary” from Great Britain. Randolph was an eminent financier, and secured the passage of a tax-bill through the Virginia legislature in 1842 which placed the state finances on a sound basis. He wrote an able pamphlet, entitled “Sixty Years' Reminiscences of the Currency of the United States,” a copy of which was presented to every member of the legislature. It is still a document of historical interest. In 1851-'2 he was in the convention that revised the Virginia constitution. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 173-174.     


RANKIN, John, 1793-1886, New York, clergyman, author, abolitionist leader.  Executive Committee, vice president, 1833-1835, and Treasurer, 1836-1840, of the American Anti-Slavery Society.  Anti-slavery agent.  Kentucky Abolition Society.  Wrote Letters on American Slavery in 1833.  Son-in-law of abolitionist Samuel Doak (1749-1830).  Pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Ripley, Ohio. Had and protected fugitive slaves in his home.  Rankin wrote:  “I consider involuntary slavery a never-failing fountain of the grossest immorality, and one of the deepest sources of human misery; it hangs like the mantle of night over our republic, and shrouds its rising glories.  I sincerely pity the man who tinges his hand in the unhallowed thing that is fraught with the tears, and sweat, and groans, and blood of hapless millions of innocent, unoffending people…  It is considered a crime for him [the slave] to aspire above the rank of the groveling beast.  He must content himself with being bought and sold, and driven in chains from State to State, as a capricious avarice may dictate.” 

(Dumond, 1961, pp. 90, 91, 95, 134-136, 178, 186, 348; Filler, 1960, pp. 17-18, 74, 261; Pease, 1965, pp. 73n, 102; Hegedorn, 2002; Rodriguez, 2007, p. 42; Sorin, 1971, pp. 87-88, 118-123; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, p. 180; The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. II. New York: James T. White, 1892, p. 320; Hinks, Peter P., & John R. McKivigan, Eds., Encyclopedia of Antislavery and Abolition.  Westport, Connecticut, Greenwood, 2007, Vol. 2, pp. 563-564)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

RANKIN, John, clergyman, b. near Dandridge, Jefferson co., Tenn., 4 Feb., 1793; d. in Ironton, Ohio, 18 March, 1886. From 1817 till 1821 he was pastor of two Presbyterian churches in Carlisle, Ky., and about 1818 founded an anti-slavery society. Removing to Ripley, Ohio, he was pastor of the 1st and 2d Presbyterian churches for forty-four years. He joined the Garrison anti-slavery movement, and was mobbed for his views more than twenty times. About 1824 he addressed letters to his brother in Middlebrook, Va., dissuading him from slave-holding, which were published in Ripley, in the “Liberator,” in 1832, and afterward in book-form in Boston and Newburyport, and ran through many editions. He assisted Eliza and her child, the originals of those characters in “Uncle Tom's Cabin,” to escape. He founded the American reform book and tract society of Cincinnati, and was the author of several books, including “The Covenant of Grace” (Pittsburg, 1869). See his life entitled “The Soldier, the Battle, and the Victory,” by Rev. Andrew Ritchie (Cincinnati, 1876). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 180.


RANTOUL, Robert, Jr., 1805-1852, statesman, reformer, lawyer, writer, publisher, industrialist, U.S. Congressman.  Democratic and Free Soil Member of the U.S. House of Representatives.  Served one term, December 1851-1852.  Strong opponent of slavery and the Fugitive Slave laws.  Opposed extension of slavery into the new territories.  Served as defense counsel for escaped slave Thomas Simms in Massachusetts State Court. 

(Appletons’, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 182-183; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 1, p. 381)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

RANTOUL, Robert, statesman, b. in Beverly, Mass., 13 Aug., 1805; d. in Washington, D. C., 7 Aug., 1852, was graduated at Harvard in 1826, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1829, and began practice in Salem, but transferred his practice in 1830 to South Reading, Mass. In 1832 he removed to Gloucester. He was elected to the legislature in 1834, serving four years, and assuming at once a position as a leader of the Jacksonian Democracy, in which interest he established at Gloucester a weekly journal. In the legislature he formed a friendship with John G. Whittier, who wrote a poem in his memory. He sat upon the first commission to revise the laws of Massachusetts, and was an active member of the judiciary committee. He interested himself in the establishment of lyceums. In 1836-'8 he represented the state in the first board of directors of the Western railroad, and in 1837 became a member of the Massachusetts board of education. In 1839 he established himself in Boston, and in 1840 he appeared in defence of the Journeymen bootmakers' organization, indicted for a conspiracy to raise wages, and procured their discharge on the ground that a combination of individuals to effect, by means not unlawful, that which each might legally do, was not a criminal conspiracy. He defended in Rhode Island two persons indicted for complicity in the Dorr rebellion of 1842, Daniel Webster being the opposing counsel. He was appointed U. S. district attorney for Massachusetts in 1845, and held that office till 1849, when he resigned. He delivered in April, 1850, at Concord the address in commemoration of the outbreak of the Revolution. In 1850 he was the organizer and a corporator of the Illinois Central railroad. Daniel Webster having withdrawn from the senate in 1850, on being appointed secretary of state, and having been succeeded by Robert C. Winthrop, Mr. Rantoul was elected, serving nine days. He was chosen as an opponent of the extension of slavery by a coalition of Democrats and Free-soilers to the National house of representatives, and served from 1 Dec., 1851, till his death. In 1852 he was refused a seat in the National Democratic convention on the ground that he and his constituents were disfranchised by their attitude toward slavery. He was an advocate of various reforms, and delivered lectures and speeches on the subject of educational advancement, several of which were published, and while a member of the Massachusetts legislature prepared a report in favor of the abolition of the death-penalty that was long quoted by the opponents of capital punishment. He took a prominent part in the agitation against the fugitive-slave law. As counsel in 1851 for Thomas Simms, the first escaped slave delivered up by Massachusetts, he took the ground that slavery was a state institution, and that the general government had no power to return fugitives from justice, or runaway apprentices or slaves, but that such extradition was a matter for arrangement between the states. He lent his voice and pen to the movement against the use of stimulants, but protested against prohibitory legislation as an in vasion of private rights. After leaving the legislature, where the variety of his learning, the power of his eloquence, ancl his ardent convictions against the protection of native industry and other enlargements of the sphere of government, and in favor of educational and moral reforms had attracted attention, he became a favorite lecturer and political speaker throughout New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. He edited a “Workingmen's Library,” that was issued by the lyceums and two series of a “Common School Library” that was published under the sanction of the Massachusetts board of education. See his “Memoirs, Speeches, and Writings,” edited by Luther Hamilton (Boston, 1854). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 182-183.  


RAPP, Willhelm, 1828-1907, Germany, newspaper editor.  Editor of the anti-slavery newspaper, Der Wecker.  He published in Baltimore, Maryland, supporting the Republican Party. 

(Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 1, p. 383)


RAWLE, William, 1759-1836, lawyer, educator, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  President of the Free Produce Society of Pennsylvania, 1826.  President of the Pennsylvania Abolition society, founded 1775, 1787.  Member and president of the Maryland Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, 1818-1836.  In 1808, argued in State Supreme Court against the constitutionality of slavery.  Appointed U.S. District Attorney in Pennsylvania in 1791. 

(Basker, 2005, pp. 92, 102, 223, 224-225, 227, 239; Bruns, 1977, p. 514; Drake, 1950, p. 118; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, p. 189; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 1, p. 400)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

RAWLE, William, lawyer, b. in Philadelphia, 28 April, 1759; d. there, 12 April, 1836, was educated at the Friends' academy, and was yet a student when the war for independence was begun. His immediate relatives and connections were loyalists. On the evacuation of Philadelphia by the British, young Rawle accompanied his step-father, Samuel Shoemaker, who had been one of the civil magistrates of the city under Howe, to New York, and there began the study of the law. Mr. Rawle completed his studies in the Middle Temple, London, and returned to Philadelphia, where, in 1783, be was admitted to the bar. In 1791 he was appointed by President Washington U. S. district attorney for Pennsylvania. By direction of the president, Mr. Rawle accompanied the U. S. district judge and the military on the western expedition in 1794, and it became his duty to prosecute the offenders after the insurrections in that year and in 1798 had been put down. In 1792 be was offered by the president the office of judge of the U. S. district court for Pennsvlvania, but declined it on account of his youth and professional prospects. He was for many years the attorney and counsel for the Bank of the United States. From 1786 till his death he was a member of the American philosophical society, and for twenty years he was one of its councillors. In 1789 he was chosen to the assembly. He was one of the original members of the Society for political inquiries, founded by Franklin, whieh held its weekly meetings at his house. From 1796 till his death he was a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania. He was the chancellor of the Associated members of the bar of Philadelphia, and when, in 1827, this in stitution was merged in the Law association of Philadelphia, he became chancellor of the latter in 1822, and held the office till his death. He was chosen the first vice-president of the Law academy, was one of the founders of the Historical society of Pennsylvania in 1824, and its first president. He was also a member of the Agricultural, Humane, Linnaean, and Abolition societies, and was long president of the latter. For many years he was secretary and afterward a director of the Library company of Philadelphia. In 1830 he was appointed, with Thomas I. Wharton and Joel Jones, to revise the civil code of Pennsylvania, and he was the principal author of the reports of the commission, the results of whose labors are embodied in statutes that still remain in force. Among his published writings are “An Address before the Philadelphia Society for promoting Agriculture” (Philadelphia, 1819); “Two Addresses to the Associated Members of the Bar of Philadelphia” (1824); “A View of the Constitution of the United States” (1825); and “The Study of the Law” (1832). To the literature of the Historical society he contributed a “Vindication of the Rev. Mr. Heckewelder’s ‘History of the Indian Nations,’” a “Biographical Sketch of Sir William Keith,” and “A Sketch of the Life of Thomas Mifflin.” He left various manuscripts on theological matters, among them an “Essay on Angelic Influences,” and an argument on the evidences of Christianity. He was a fine classical scholar. He translated from the Greek the “Phaedo” of Plato, adding thereto a commentary thereon. These “would in themselves alone,” according to David Paul Brown, “suffice to protect his name against oblivion.” He received the degree of LL. D. from Princeton in 1827, and from Dartmouth in 1828. See a sketch of him by Thomas I. Wharton (Philadelphia, 1840). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 189.   


RAY, Charles Bennett, 1807-1886, New York, New York, African American, journalist, educator, clergyman, abolitionist leader.  American Missionary Association (AMA).  Newspaper owner and editor, The Colored American.  African American.  Member of the anti-slavery Liberty Party.  Executive Committee, American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society (AFAAS), 1847-1851, 1853-1855, Recording Secretary, 1849-1855.  One of the first African Americans to participate in abolitionist party on a national level.  Member and activist with the Underground Railroad.  Co-founder and director, New York Vigilance Committee, which aided and protected fugitive slaves.  Member of the American Anti-Slavery Society.

(Blue, 2005, p. 98; Dumond, 1961, pp. 268, 330, 333; Mabee, 1970, pp. 58, 59, 62, 95-97, 111, 134, 146, 181, 338, 339, 415n14; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 48, 166; Sernett, 2002, pp. 64, 116, 132, 199, 201; Sorin, 1971, pp. 93-94; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 1, p. 403; Annals of Congress; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 18, p. 201; Gates, Henry Louis, Jr., & Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, eds. African American National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2013, Vol. 9, p. 353)


READ, James, abolitionist, founding member, Electing Committee, Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 1787

(Appletons’, 1888, Vol. V; Basker, 2005, pp. 92, 102; Nathan, 1991)


REALF, Richard, 1834-1878, abolitionist, poet.  Early follower of radical abolitionist John Brown. 

(Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 1, p. 434)


REDPATH, James, 1833-1891, author, journalist, editor, abolitionist leader.  New York Tribune. Interviewed enslaved individuals in the South and reported on conditions of slavery in the South.  Published his interviews with enslaved individuals in book, The Roving Editor: or, Talks with Slaves.  Redpath became a friend of militant abolitionist John Brown.  He later wrote, The Public Life of John Brown (1859).  

(Horner, 1926; Rodriguez, 2007, p. 358; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, p. 206; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 1, p. 443; American Reformers: An H.W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary, New York, 1985, pp. 681-682; Annals of Congress; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 18, p. 257; Hinks, Peter P., & John R. McKivigan, Eds., Encyclopedia of Antislavery and Abolition.  Westport, Connecticut, Greenwood, 2007, Vol. 2, pp. 567-568)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

REDPATH, James, author, b. in Berwick-on-Tweed, Scotland, 24 Aug., 1833. He emigrated with his parents to Michigan. At the age of eighteen years he came to New York, and since then he has mainly devoted himself to journalism. At the age of nineteen he became an editor of the New York “Tribune,” and soon afterward he formed a resolution to visit the southern states in order to witness for himself the conditions and effects of slavery. He not only visited the plantations of slave-owners as a guest, but went on foot through the southern seaboard states. In the course of his long journey he slept frequently in slave-cabins, and visited the religious gatherings and merry-makings where the negroes consorted. Although at that period it was social outlawry to speak the truth about slavery, he did not hesitate to do so, and he consequently became noted as a fiery Abolitionist. In 1855 he becarne the Knnsas correspondent of the St. Louis “Democrat.” He took an active part in the events of that time, and in 1859 made two visits to Hayti. During the second one he was appointed by President Geffrard commissioner of emigration in the United States. Immediately upon his return home, Mr. Redpath fqunded the Haytian bureau of emigration in Boston and New York, and several thousand negroes availed themselves of it. In connection with the Haytian bureau Mr. Redpath established a weekly newspaper called “Pine and Palm,” in which were advocated the emigration movement and the general interests of the African race in this country. He was also appointed Haytian consul in Philadelphia and then joint commissioner to the United States, and was largely instrumental in procuring recognition of Haytian independence. He was with the armies of Gen. William T. Sherman and Gen. George H. Thomas during the civil war, and subsequently with Gen. Quincy A. Gillmore in Charleston. At the latter place he was appointed superintendent of education, organized the school system of South Carolina, and founded the Colored orphan asylum at Charleston. In 1868 he established the Boston lyceum bureau, and subsequently Redpath's lecture bureau. In 1881 he went to Ireland, partly to recruit his health and partly to describe the famine district for the New York “Tribune.” On his return in the following year he made a tour of the United States and Canada, lecturing on Irish subjects, and in the same year founded a newspaper called “Redpath's Weekly,” devoted to the Irish cause. In 1886 he became an editor of the “North American Review.” Besides contributions to the newspapers, magazines, and reviews, he has published “Hand-Book to Kansas” (New York, 1859); “The Roving Editor” (1859); “Echoes of Harper's Ferry” (Boston, 1860); “Southern Notes” (1860); “Guide to Hayti” (1860); “The John Brown Invasion” (1860); “Life of John Brown” (1860); “John Brown, the Hero” (London, 1862); and “Talks about Ireland” (New York, 1881). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 206.


REED, Joseph, 1741-1785, statesman, political leader, lawyer, soldier, jurist, abolitionist.  Member of the Continental Congress.  President, Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania.  Co-founder, University of Pennsylvania.  Proposed gradual abolition of slavery. 

(Appletons’, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 208-209; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 1, p. 451)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

REED, Joseph, statesman, b. in Trenton, N. J., 27 Aug., 1741; d. in Philadelphia, Pa., 5 March, 1785. He was graduated at Princeton in 1757, and then studying law with Robert Stockton, was admitted to the bar in 1763, after which he spent two years as a law student in the Middle Temple, London. On his return in 1765 he followed his profession in Trenton, and in 1767 was appointed deputy secretary of New Jersey, but in 1770 he went again to England, where he married Esther De Berdt, daughter of Dennis De Derdt (q. v.), agent of Massachusetts. He returned to this country in October, and settled in Philadelphia, where he followed his profession with success. He took an active part in the popular movements in Pennsylvania, was confidential correspondent of Lord Dartmouth, who was then colonial secretary, and strove to persuade the ministry to measures of moderation. He was appointed a member of the committee of correspondence for Philadelphia in November, 1774, and in January, 1775, was president of the 2d Provincial congress. On the formation of the Pennsylvania associated militia after the battle of Lexington, he was chosen lieutenant-colonel, and, when George Washington was appointed to the command of the American forces, Mr. Reed left his practice in Philadelphia to become Gen. Washington's military secretary. As he had been educated to the orderly and methodical transaction of business, and was a ready writer, there is no doubt that the opening of books of record, preparing forms, directing correspondence, composing legal and state papers, and establishing the general rules and etiquette of headquarters, can be traced principally to him. In October, 1775, he returned to Philadelphia, and in January, 1776, he was chosen member of the assembly, although at the time he was acting chairman of the committee of safety. He was appointed on 5 June adjutant-general of the American army, with the rank of colonel, and was exceedingly active in the campaign that terminated with the battle of Long Island. Admiral Howe, who reached New York in July, 1776, was charged, as special commissioner, with opening negotiations with the Americans, and under a flag of truce a meeting took place, at which Col. Reed represented Gen. Washington, but, the communication from the British admiral being addressed to “George Washington, Esquire,” he declined to receive it. In 1777, on Washington's solicitation, he was appointed brigadier-general and tendered command of all the American cavalry, and meanwhile, on 20 March, 1777, he was appointed first chief justice of Pennsylvania under the new constitution; but he declined both of these offices, preferring to remain attached to Washington's headquarters as a volunteer aide without rank or pay, in which capacity he served with credit at the battles of Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth. In September, 1777, he was elected to the Continental congress, but continued with the army and was again chosen in December. He declined the commissionership of Indian affairs in November, 1778, but accepted the chairmanship of a committee to confer with Washington concerning the management of the ensuing campaign, to concert measures for the greatest efficiency of the army. The city of Philadelphia, in October, 1777, elected him to the assembly, and the county made him a member of the council; but he declined the former election. In December, 1778, he was chosen president of the supreme executive council of Pennsylvania, and he was continued in that office for three years. During his administration he aided in founding the University of Pennsylvania, and favored the gradual abolition of slavery and the doing away with the proprietary powers of the Penn family. While Benedict Arnold (q. v.) was in command of Philadelphia, after the evacuation by the British, he was led into extravagances that resulted in his being tried by court-martial. In the presentation of the charges Gov. Reed, as president of the council, took an active part, and so incurred the odium of the friends of Arnold. After the failure of the British peace commissioners to treat with congress, at tempts were made to bribe high officials, and, among others, Gov. Reed was approached and offered £10,000, together with any office in the colonies in his majesty's gift. His reply was: “I am not worth purchasing, but, such as I am, the king of Great Britain is not rich enough to do it.” In 1780 he was invested with extraordinary powers, and largely through his influence the disaffection of the Pennsylvania line in the army was suppressed. He resumed the practice of his profession in 1781, and was appointed by congress one of the commission to settle the dispute between the states of Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Failing health led to his visiting England in 1784, hoping that a sea-voyage would restore him; but he returned in a few months, and died soon afterward. Meanwhile he had been chosen to congress, but he never took his seat. Gov. Reed was charged with meditating a treacherous abandonment of the American cause, and a determination to go over to the British, and George Bancroft in his history introduced the statement on what appeared to be reliable testimony. A bitter controversy ensued, in which William B. Reed (q. v.) took part, and it was ultimately shown that he had been confounded with Col. Charles Read (q. v.). He published “Remarks on Gov. Johnstone's Speech in Parliament” (Philadelphia, 1779), and “Remarks on a Late Publication in the ‘Independent Gazetteer,’ with an Address to the People of Pennsvlvania” (1783). The latter elicited “A Reply” by John Cadwalader. See “Life of Joseph Reed,” by Henry Reed, in Sparks's “American Biography” (Boston, 1846), and “Life and Correspondence of Joseph Reed,” by his grandson, William B. Reed (2 vols., Philadelphia, 1847).  Appletons’ Cyclopædia of American Biography, 1888.


REEDER, Andrew Horatio, 1807-1864, territorial governor of Kansas Territory, anti-slavery political leader, removed from office by President Franklin Pierce for not enforcing pro-slavery laws; elected territorial representative October 9, 1855 

(Dumond, 1961, p. 331; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 32, 45, 436-437; Wilson, pp. 467, 469, 470, 476, 493; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 211-212; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 1, p. 462; Annals of Congress; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 18, p. 284)


Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

REEDER, Andrew Horatio, governor of Kansas, b. in Easton, Pa., 6 Aug., 1807; d. there, 5 July, 1864. He spent the greater part of his life in Easton, Pa., where he practised law, and was a Democratic politician, but declined office till 1854, when he was appointed the first governor of Kansas. Gov. Reeder had come to the territory a firm Democrat, but the conduct of the “border ruffians” shook his partisanship. He prescribed distinct and rigid rules for the conduct of the next legislature, which, it was then believed, would determine whether Kansas would become a free or a slave state. But all his precautions came to naught. On 30 March, 1855, 5,000 Missourians took possession of nearly every election-district in the territory. Of the total number of votes cast 1,410 were found to be legal and 4,908 illegal, 5,427 were given to the pro-slavery and 791 to the free-state candidates. But on 6 April, 1855, Gov. Reeder issued certificates of election to all but one third of the claimants, and the returns in these cases he rejected on account of palpable defects in the papers. As a lawyer he recognized that he had the power to question the legality of the election of the several claimants only in those cases where there were protests lodged, or where there were palpable defects in the retμrns. Notices were sent throughout the territory that protests would be received and considered, and the time for filing protests was extended so that facilities might be given for a full hearing of both sides. In nearly two thirds of the returns there were no protests or official notice of frauds, and the papers were on their face regular. In the opinion of Gov. Reeder, this precluded him from withholding certificates, and he accordingly issued them, notwithstanding his personal belief that the claimants had nearly all been fraudulently elected. His contention always was that any other course would have been revolutionary. This action endowed the notoriously illegal legislature with technical authority, and a few weeks later, when Gov. Reeder went to Washington, D. C., to invoke the help of the administration, the attorney-general refused to prosecute, as Reeder's own certificate pronounced the elections true. One of the first official acts of this legislature was to draw up a memorial to the president requesting Gov. Reeder’s removal, but before its bearer reached Washington the governor was dismissed by President Pierce. He then became a resident of Lawrence, Kan., where the free-state movement began. Its citizens held a convention at Big Springs, a few miles west of that town, on 5 Sept., 1855. Gov. Reeder wrote the resolutions, addressed the convention, and received their nomination, by acclamation, for the post of territorial delegate to congress. These resolutions declared that “we will endure no longer the tyrannical enactments of the bogus legislature, will resist them to a bloody issue,” and recommended the “formation of volunteer companies and the procurement of arms.” On 9 Oct., at a separate election, Mr. Reeder was again chosen delegate to congress. Under the newly framed territorial constitution, which was known as the Topeka constitution, a legislature formed of the free-state party, 15 July, 1856, elected him, with James H. Lane, to the U. S. senate, which choice congress refused to recognize, and neither senator took his seat. At the beginning of the civil war he and Gen. Nathaniel Lyon were the first brigadier-generals that were appointed by President Lincoln. But Mr. Reeder declined, on the plea that he was too far advanced in life to accept high office in a new profession. He returned to Easton, Pa., where he resided until his death. See “Life of Abraham Lincoln,” by John G. Nicolay and John Hay. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 211-212.


REMOND, Charles Lenox, 1810-1873, free African American, Boston, Massachusetts, orator, abolitionist leader.  Member, 1849-1860, Vice President, and delegate of the American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS).  Member of the Executive Committee, 1843-1848, and a Manager, 1848-1853, AASS.  He attended the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London in 1840.  Agent for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society.  First Black abolitionist employed as spokesman in anti-slavery cause (in 1838).  Recruited African American soldiers for the Union Army. 

(Dumond, 1961, p. 331; Leeman, pp. 302-310; Mabee, 1970, pp. 61, 64, 103, 104, 106, 122, 124, 131, 157, 161, 173, 177, 180, 252, 254, 258, 261, 264, 294, 320, 322-324, 335, 373; Pease, 1965, pp. 314, 335-342; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 32, 45, 436-437; Wheaton, 1996; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 1, p. 499; Annals of Congress; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 18, p. 335; Gates, Henry Louis, Jr., & Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, eds. African American National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2013, Vol. 9, p. 404)


REMOND, Sarah Parker, 1826-1894, African American, abolitionist, orator, women’s rights activist, physician,  friend of abolitionist Abby Kelley.  Sister to Charles Lenox Remond. 

(Wheaton, 1996; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 1, p. 499; American Reformers: An H.W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary, New York, 1985, pp. 686-687; Annals of Congress; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 18, p. 337; Gates, Henry Louis, Jr., & Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, eds. African American National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2013, Vol. 9, p. 406)





THE Federalist party of 1787-1788 was not the same as the Federalists of 1791: the former embraced all those who desired to save the country from the chaos of the government under the Articles of Confederation; the latter included those who supported Hamilton in his plans for conducting the affairs of the country. Many who acted with Hamilton in 1788 were not with him three years later; but this does not mean that if the old problems had to be faced again such men would be opposed to their former position. The problems of 1791 were new problems; they had to do, not with union or chaos, but with two clearly defined lines of internal policy.

After the completion of the ratification of the Constitution in 1788, anti-Federalism died, because its raison d'etre was gone. Although a few threats were made later to dissolve the union, notably by Massachusetts when it seemed that assumption was defeated, such a policy received no serious support from any considerable number of men. In the first Congress there was not more than a handful of members who had been anti - Federalists. 1 Those who had supported that cause now attached themselves to one or the other of two new parties, most of them joining the Republican organization.

Thomas Jefferson was well adapted to head a militant democracy. His mental qualities were those which gave him mastery of the art of leading the people. He was intelligent, quick -witted, shrewd, imaginative, suspicious of despotism, and prejudiced. He was unawed by superior rank. He was a patient, skillful, and undiscouraged organizer of party, and a sagacious observer of the trend of public opinion. His very faults served to strengthen him for the political task which he was to assume. Had he possessed self-restraint and broad-mindedness he would hardly have been a popular leader in the conditions which surrounded him. He had an appreciation of literature, architecture, and science unusual in the New World, and thus gave to his political activity the crown of being a man of culture.

His task was a plain one. At bottom he proposed to build a democracy. Hamilton had rested his plan of government on the influence of the upper classes, a thing not difficult in England, where suffrage was restricted; but in a country which had a widely extended popular suffrage, only the effort to rouse the people was necessary in order to overthrow class influence. Thus reasoned Jefferson, and with

1 Madison, Writings (Congress ed.), I., 459; Jefferson, Writings (Ford's ed.), VI., 3.

wisdom. His new party was at first called "Democratic " and " Republican," but through the partiality of his followers for French republicanism, the latter term was permanently adopted.

The methods by which the Republican leaders sought to rouse the people were not always becoming; but it may be asserted that the appeals of their opponents were but little more temperate. It was the old story of popular agitation, a fight between the "people” and the "aristocracy"; and in the end it fulfilled all the hopes of those who planned it. Popular feeling against England, gratitude towards France, love of state autonomy, dislike of Tories, prejudice against monarchy and wealth, impatience of high taxes, jealousy of section against section, and whatever other thing could serve a turn with the people, all were marshalled in support of the Republican cause. During the revolutionary period party feeling had worked itself out on the Tories; now there sprang up rivalries little less severe between the two parties striving for political mastery in the independent nation.

Jefferson and his associates were honest. If they adopted methods unworthy of intellectual men, it was because they thought them justifiable under the circumstances. Their party was a great machine in which were many parts. Jefferson was not responsible for everything that a Republican editor might say, although his sense of party expediency might well tell him that he ought not to repudiate the rash utterance of a subordinate which would not have been approved by him in the first instance.

The Republicans were especially strong in the south, where society was divided between a small number of great planters and a much larger group of small farmers. The former were usually Federalists; but the latter were Republicans, although with them there might act many people of means, who from one or another motive preferred to identify themselves with that party. To the rural south, which had little in common with the commercial and manufacturing north, Hamilton's splendid system was a matter of indifference. Moreover, this part of the south, which is to say the majority of it, was Arcadian; and when was Arcady practical or modern? To these people it seemed that speculators and banks and protected manufactures were snares and delusions. They did not think that money could be rightfully gained through the rise in the prices of government bonds and bank stock. They decried the whole class of speculators in securities, although there was hardly a public man in the south who was not concerned, frequently through government favor, in speculations in land, the only other great commodity of uncertain and changing value.

Madison's split with Hamilton, which has already been mentioned, opened the way for the unification of Virginia; for to the young leader came the bulk of the old anti-Federalists and many of the Federalists. Jefferson gave his influence also. The one stalwart anti-Federalist who would not co-operate was Patrick Henry, Madison's old antagonist, although Jefferson tried to bring him into the combination. 1 He hated the secretary of state savagely; and he was growing rich. It was as natural for him to readjust his party affiliation under new conditions as for Madison to do so. He remained neutral for some time, but in his last years he became an avowed Federalist.

The Republican leaders were early made to feel the necessity of the support of the press. Most of the papers were in the interest of the townspeople, or Federalists. John Fenno, editor of the United States Gazette, had been early taken under Hamilton's protection,2 and followed the capital from New York to Philadelphia. To counteract his influence, Madison, Henry Lee, and Aaron Burr concerned themselves. Philip Freneau, one of the best known of the poets pf the day, a native American of French descent, and a strong Republican, was in 1790 working on a New York paper, but he formed a purpose of setting up a newspaper of his own, perhaps in New Jersey. The three politicians mentioned had known Freneau at Princeton, when all were students there. They suggested his name to Jefferson, who agreed to give him the position of translating clerk in the department of state. The salary was only two hundred and fifty dollars, but it did not require all the services of the recipient; and Jefferson thought that it might be

1 Henry, Henry, II., 549.

2 King, Life and Correspondence of King, I., 357, 502.

something of an inducement to get Freneau to set up his proposed paper in Philadelphia. He offered to give certain favors, also, in regard to priority of news, derived from his foreign dispatches, and Freneau accepted the proposition. 1

In the autumn of 1791 the poet-politician was in Philadelphia and made his bow to the public as editor of the National Gazette, probably the most biting critic of public men and policies then existing in the United States. In poetry and in prose, with satire and with invective, he penetrated every weak point in the armor of the Federalists.

His regular weekly diversion was roasting Hamilton. Even Washington and Mrs. Washington suffered from his criticism. He objected to the monarchial ways of the president and to the court splendor which Mrs. President displayed. He was noisy, but powerful. His enemies called him a "barking cur," and they poured contempt on him and his whole tribe. Their disdain he returned with the good measure of the plebeian who feels the boot of the aristocrat. Jefferson saw the violent spirit which was springing up, and disapproved of it, but he was too wise to attempt to check it.2

The two parties were now fairly launched, and they did not fail to find matter over which they could

1 Madison, Writings (Congress ed.), I., 369; Jefferson, Writings (Ford's ed.), V., 336; Randall, Jefferson, II., 74.

2 Foreman, Activity of Philip Freneau Political (Johns Hopkins University Studies, XX.), 492-500.  

dispute. The two Adamses, father and son, gave the occasion to one noticeable controversy. The French Revolution gave a decided stimulus to republicanism in America, and to check this tendency John Adams, then in England, wrote The Essays of Davila, a heavy discussion of the principles of government, advocating a government in which the enlightened classes should have the greatest influence. The book aroused much criticism from Adams's opponents, and he was pronounced an aristocrat and finally a "monocrat." His championship of titles as necessary in order to secure respect for the government was taken as proving the same tendency.

Republicanism was speedily put to the proof of public discussion. In 1791, Thomas Paine wrote his Rights of Man, in reply to Burke's Reflections on the French Revolution. He published it in England, and for doing so was declared an outlaw by the English courts. In reply to Paine's theories came a piece signed "Publicola," in style so much like "Davila" that the public concluded that it was from the same pen. Adams denied the authorship, and it was afterwards learned that the article was by his son, John Quincy Adams.

Meanwhile some Republicans in Philadelphia decided to bring out an American edition of Paine's pamphlet. Jefferson had a copy of the English edition in his possession, and on request sent it to the publisher, with a note explaining his action. He went further by remarking that he was glad to see that Paine was going to be placed before the American public, and that something ought to be done to counteract some of the doctrines which were being advocated in recent writings by persons in high places, a plain reference to " Publicola.'' The publisher, probably contrary to Jefferson's expectations or wishes, used this letter as an introduction to his book. Adams took the matter seriously, and nothing that Jefferson could say would satisfy him. It was long before the two men resumed cordial relations. The most important effect was the impression that the incident made on the public, by calling attention to a hitherto undiscovered division in the administration, and the tendency was to put the secretary of state at the head of the new party.

Another occasion of the appearance of party strife was the apportionment bill, made necessary by the census of 1790. A bill was brought in to allow one representative in Congress for every thirty thousand inhabitants. After it had passed the House, November 24, q91, it was found that it would leave unrepresented certain large fractions in the north and none in the south. The Senate voted for a rival bill which gave representatives to the large fractions, and this led to the charge that the north got more than its share. The measure passed both Houses, but Washington, after careful consideration, vetoed it on constitutional grounds. A new measure was then adopted providing one representative for every thirty-three thousand. The extreme Federalists found satisfaction in the fact that at last it was proved that the president could veto a bill.

Relations between Jefferson and Hamilton by the spring of 1792 had become so strained that the inevitable outbreak was impending. Neither could disguise the distrust he felt for the other, and both participated in many little differences in the cabinet meetings. Hamilton was impetuous and disdained concealment, and the biting paragraphs of Freneau led him to move first. In July, 1792, a short letter signed "T. L." appeared in Fenno's paper, charging that Freneau was given government employment in order that he might the better abuse the administration. Freneau brusquely denied the charge, and countered by the hint that Fenno's government printing was more of a bonus than his own paltry salary. Then came a reply signed "An American," in which the attack against Freneau was repeated with considerable temper, and it was plainly charged that Jefferson had used his government patronage to support a political organ. Both of these letters were written by Hamilton, a proof that he had concluded that the time had come for an open rupture. Possibly the object for which he fought was to bring Washington over completely to the Federalist ranks ; for Freneau's scurrilous attacks aroused the anger of the president, and if it could be made to appear that Jefferson supported Freneau, might it not weaken the confidence of Washington in the secretary of state? 1

The controversy ran its course Jefferson, according to his custom, remained silent; but numerous faithful adherents fought in his behalf. Aside from its political significance, the incident serves to illustrate the futility of Washington's plan for a bipartisan cabinet. It was to the credit of Jefferson that he saw the anomaly of his position and early proposed to retire from office. 

Washington, however, was bent on maintaining the existing arrangement as long as possible. He believed that each month it continued more power was secured for the "experiment" of the new government. Before the explosion just mentioned he had seen the estrangement and planned to remedy it. Arriving at Mount Vernon in July, 1792, he talked freely with his neighbors, George Mason and others, about the situation, and from them he received a catalogue of the grievances of the discontented against Hamilton, a paper really drawn up by Jefferson. Washington sent it to Hamilton and asked him to reply to it.2 This happened four days after the publication of the "T. L." letter, and it is not probable that it was related to the Freneau matter. Hamilton's reply justified himself against Jefferson.

1 Foreman, Political Activity of Philip Freneau (Johns Hopkins University Studies, XX.), 43-63.

2 Jefferson, Writings (Ford's ed.), VI., 101; Hamilton, Works (Hamilton's ed.), TV., 303; Washington, Writings (Ford's ed.), XII., 147.  

Then the president wrote to both of the secretaries, with the plain purport of bringing about a reconciliation between them. Each responded by throwing the blame on the other. Jefferson offered to resign, and Hamilton suggested that both should quit the cabinet. But it was harmony and not a rupture in the government that Washington wanted, and the proffered resignations were not accepted. During the following autumn and winter there was no open conflict, but the spring of 1793 at once brought the question of neutrality, which made it impossible for things to go on in the old way.

A financial crisis which came early in 1792 was another source of political strength for the Republicans. Capitalists, enriched by dealing in government securities, were so infatuated that speculation became an epidemic. During 1791, United States bonds, stock in the bank, and other securities were steadily bid up, while hundreds of rash projects were launched by an enthusiastic public. Hamilton observed the process with dismay. He knew that the bubble must burst, and he feared that it would injure both the newly established bank and the public credit. He gave warning to some of the leaders of the movement, but without avail.1 In the first months of the year the market turned. Cries of distress rose from those who saw ruin staring them in the face. Hamilton vainly tried to turn aside the danger by buying bonds from the public and thus

1 Hamilton, Works (Hamilton's ed.), V., 478.

relieving the money market. With the resources at hand he could do little. In two or three weeks stock in the bank fell from 120 to 74, and six-per-cent government bonds dropped from 130 to , 106.1

One of the worst sufferers was William Duer, formerly an assistant in the treasury department, but since 1790 the head of the column of Midas. He now found himself in a debtor's prison, from which he was said to have issued threats of terrible revelations if some people who had money did not secure his release. From the horde of speculators, great and small, and from the public generally, there now came a torrent of criticism for all who had been connected with the recent bubble. Hamilton was unjustly accused of some mysterious connection with its projectors. Many people would not believe in his innocence, and his opponents used the occasion to heap opprobrium on him and his financial system.

To these events bearing on the development of parties must be added the political significance of St. Clair's defeat.2 This lamentable and inexcusable affair brought discredit to the American arms, in a region where they ought to have been easily successful. The Republicans did not hesitate to demand a congressional investigation, which the Federalists could not refuse. It acquitted St. Clair of blame; but Washington demanded his resignation,

1 Hamilton, Works (Hamilton's ed.), V., 477, 480, 491, 498, 501, 502, 505. 2 See below, p. 63.

an action which only half relieved the hot indignation of the country.

From the preceding sketch of political conditions in 1792 may be seen the hopes and chances with which the Republicans entered the first presidential campaign they ever waged. Their hopes were so good that the Federalists felt much anxiety. If Washington would not stand for re-election, what could they hope under a leader like Adams, or any other prominent Federalist. Could Washington be persuaded to become a candidate? It was known that he had declared against a second term, and in the spring of 1792 he was considering the preparation of a farewell address like that which he issued four years later. To the first advances of Hamilton and others he returned a refusal. He consulted with his friends. Jefferson, divided between his political views and his friendship for his chief, J hesitated to give an answer, probably intending to get the counsel of his friends; but he soon realized the extent of the demand for Washington, and he added his opinion to that of the other leaders, that the ' president should accept another term. Although he was longing for rest and retirement, Washington consented. He later had many opportunities to desire that his decision had been otherwise.

The result of the election of 1792 was certain after the second term had been decided upon. The Republicans contented themselves with trying to defeat Adams by bringing out George Clinton, of

New York; but Adams had 77 votes and his opponent only 50. In the congressional elections they had better success, securing a majority of the House of Representatives which sat from 1793 to 1795. To have won fifty votes for Clinton in an election which was overshadowed by the name of Washington was no mean achievement for a party which had just been organized. Much of this result was due to the excellent local organization which Jefferson and his followers in Congress had planned in the beginning of the campaign. From now on they were able to carry on an agitation which could reach every part of the country.1

1 Illustrative extracts from writers of the time may be found in Hart, Am. Hist. told by Contemporaries, III., §§ 83-91.

Source:  Bassett, John Spencer, The Federalist System. In Hart, Albert Bushnell, ed., The American Nation: A History, Vol. 11, 42-55. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1906.



Chapter: “Origin of the Republican Party,” by Henry Wilson, in History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, 1872:

The determined purpose of the Slave Power to make slavery the predominating national interest was never more clearly revealed than by the proposed repeal of the Missouri compromise. This was a deliberate and direct assault upon freedom. Many, indeed, under the pleas of fraternity and loyalty to the Union, palliated and apologized for this breach of faith ; but the numbers were increasing every hour, as the struggle progressed, who could no longer be deceived by the* hollow pretences. They could not close their eyes to the dangers of the country, and they were compelled to disavow what was so manifestly wrong, and to disconnect themselves from men and parties who were making so little concealment of their nefarious purposes and of their utter profligacy of principle.

Pulpits and presses which had been dumb, or had spoken evasively and with slight fealty to truth, gave forth no uncertain sound. Calm argumentation, appeals to conscience, warnings, and dissuasions from the impending crime against liberty, were to be heard on every side. To the utterances of the sacred desk were added the action of ecclesiastical bodies, contributions to the press, and petitions to State legislature and to Congress. The antislavery and Free Soil journals entered earnestly upon the work of indoctrinating and impressing the popular mind and heart. In arousing the people, they strove to convince them that so long as a national party had a Southern wing it could never be trusted on any point in which the interests of slavery were involved, and concerning which the wishes of slaveholders had been clearly pronounced. The religious press, too, joined in the general pro test, and substituted a more earnest tone for the too languid and equivocal utterances hitherto deemed all that prudence or policy would allow. Foremost was the New York “Independent." Conducted with signal ability, it did much to disseminate right views, change the current of public sentiment, and place Christian men where they should always have been in active sympathy with those who were doing battle against the giant wrong of the nation.

The political press of the North still clung, very generally at least, to the parties of which its respective journals were the recognized organs; but there were some exceptions. The New York " Evening Post " had been an able advocate of the Free Soil cause of 1848, but had joined in the " Barnburner " defection and rendered important aid in the election of Franklin Pierce. But the Kansas-Nebraska act was more than it could accept, much less advocate. It therefore joined in the general protest against the measure, and became a very effective agent in the development of that popular sentiment which rendered the Republican Party a possibility. The New York "Tribune" took the lead, though at the outset Mr. Greeley was hopeless, and seemed disinclined to enter upon the contest. So often defeated by Northern defection therein, he distrusted Congress; nor had he faith that the people would reverse the verdict of their representatives. He told his associates he would not restrain them, but, as for himself, he had no heart for the strife. They were more hopeful; and Richard Hildreth, the historian, Charles A. Dana, a veteran journalist, James S. Pike, and other able writers, opened and continued an unrelenting and powerful opposition in its columns, and did very much to rally and reassure the friends of freedom and to nerve them for the fight. Even Mr. Greeley himself became inspired by the growing enthusiasm, and some of the most trenchant and telling articles were from his practiced and powerful pen.

These discussions from pulpit, platform, and press, all pointed to political action as the only adequate remedy. In the Northern States there were Abolitionists, Free-Soilers, antislavery Whigs, anti-Nebraska Democrats, and antislavery members of the American party, which had just come into existence. Many of these sought help, and thought they saw how help could be secured, through existing organizations, and they clung with tenacity to them; but, as the conflict progressed, large and increasing numbers saw that no help could be reasonably hoped for but through the formation of a new party that could act without the embarrassment of a Southern wing. But the formation of a national and successful party from materials afforded by the disintegration of hitherto hos tile organizations was a work of great delicacy and difficulty. Such a party could not be made; it must grow out of the elements already existing. It must be born of the nation's necessities and of its longings for relief from the weakness, or wickedness, of existing organizations.

The mode of organizing this new party of freedom varied according to the varying circumstances of different localities and the convictions of different men. In some sections a local election afforded the opportunity and the demand for inaugurating a movement that increasing numbers saw to be both necessary and impending. Such an opportunity and demand were furnished in New Hampshire by the death of Mr. Atherton, member of the United States Senate, which occurred in November, 1853. As his successor was to be chosen by the legislature to be elected in the following March, an active canvass sprang up during the month of February and the early weeks of the month in which the election occurred, in which the leading men of the State and of several of the neigh boring States took part. Strenuous efforts were made to com bine the Free-Soilers, Whigs, and anti-Nebraska Democrats in some common action; and these efforts were so far successful as to prevent the election of a Democrat, although they failed to elect their candidate. It was, however, the beginning of a process by the operation of which the majority of the State became Republican in fact and name, and sent John P. Hale to the Senate, in 1855, to fill Mr. Atherton's term, and James Bell for the full term. Mr. Wilson of Massachusetts canvassed the State for several weeks, advocating a fusion, into one organization, of the opponents of the repeal of the Missouri prohibition.

But one of the earliest, if not the earliest, of the movements that contemplated definite action and the formation of a new party, was made in Ripon, Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, in the early months of 1854. In consequence of a very thorough canvass, conference, and general comparison of views, inaugurated by A. E. Bovey, a prominent member of the Whig party, among the Whigs, Free-Soilers, and Democrats of that town ship, a call was issued, signed by himself, representing the Whigs, Mr. Bowen, representing the Democrats, and Mr. Baker, representing the Free-Soilers, for a public meeting to consider the grave issues which were assuming an aspect of such alarming importance. The meeting was held on the last of February, in the Congregational church. It was largely at tended by persons of both sexes from the town and surrounding country. It was a meeting solely for the discussion of principles and comparison of views. Among the speakers was Professor Daniels, who subsequently, as a resident of Virginia and editor of the Richmond “State Journal," maintained and advocated with distinguished zeal the views and principles then enunciated. The burden and drift of the speeches were the hopeless subserviency of the national parties to the behests of the slaveholders, the necessity of abandoning them, and the proposed policy of constructing a party from the materials thus set at liberty, with such as could be persuaded to leave the Democratic Party for a similar purpose. A resolution was adopted that, if the Nebraska bill, then pending, should pass, they would “throw old party organizations to the winds, and organize a new party on the sole issue of the non-extension of slavery."

A second meeting was held on the 20th of March, for the purpose of organization and for the adoption of such preliminary measures as the inauguration of the new party required. By formal vote the town committees of the Whig and Free Soil parties were dissolved, and a committee of five, consisting of three Whigs, one Free-Soiler, and one Democrat, was chosen. “The work done on that evening," says Mr. Bovey, “was fully accepted by the Whig and Free Soil parties of all this section immediately; and very soon -- that is to say, in a few months -- by those parties throughout the entire State." A State convention was held in July, by which the organization of the party was perfected for the State, a majority of the delegation was secured for the next Congress, and a Free-Soiler, Charles Durkee, was elected to the Senate of the United States. At the meeting of the 20th of March, Mr. Bovey, though stating his belief that the party should and probably would take the name of “Republican," advised against such a christening at that time and by that small local body of men. He, however, wrote to the editor of the New York “Tribune," suggesting the name, giving his reasons therefor, and requesting him, if his views corresponded with his own, to call the attention of his readers to it in the columns of his paper. Thus early did the men of that frontier town inaugurate a movement which was destined to sweep and control the nation, and which did sweep the country, and change entirely the policy of the government. Whether there was or was not in this general uprising any local action which antedated it, few will question the propriety of his language who took the initiative when he says: " The actors in this remote little eddy of politics thought at the time that they were making a bit of history by that solitary tallow candle in the little white school-house on the prairie; and whether ever recognized and published or not, they think so still."

But that “little eddy “on that far-off margin was only one of many similar demonstrations, -- signs of a turn of the tide in the great sea of American politics. In Washington, on the morning after the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, there was a meeting of some thirty members of the House at the rooms of Thomas D. Eliot and Edward Dickinson, of Massachusetts, called at the instance of Israel Washburn, of Maine, for consultation in regard to the course to be adopted in the exigencies of the case. The hopelessness of any further at tempts through existing organizations was generally admitted; though a few still counselled adherence to the Whig party, in the expectation of securing its aid for freedom. But most present had become convinced that in a new party alone lay any reasonable hope of successful resistance to the continued aggressions of the arrogant and triumphant Slave Power. The name “Republican " was suggested, discussed, and finally agreed upon as appropriate for the new organization.

In pursuance of the same object and in harmony with these suggestions, Mr. Washburn addressed a public meeting in Bangor, in which he spoke of “this great consideration that now overrides all the old party divisions and effete organizations of the country." “Every true Republican," he said, " must take the place, if not the name, of that wise conservative party, whose aim and purpose were the welfare of the whole Union and the stainless honor of the American name." Alluding to this Washington meeting, on another occasion, he attributed much of the first and moving impulse that led to it to Dr. Bailey, editor of the " National Era," of whom he says that he " strove incessantly to bring members of different parties to act together in opposition to the Nebraska iniquity" ; and that, " after the purpose to form such a party had been arrived at, there was no one present who did not feel that the measure was only carrying out the policy of which Dr. Bailey had been the earliest, the ablest, and the most influential advocate."

On the 8th of June, 1854, there was held a State convention of the Whig party of Vermont. The spirit of the meeting was strongly antislavery, and the purpose to dissolve all connection with the slavery propagandists and the politicians and parties they controlled was unmistakable. The seventh and eighth resolutions of the platform, drawn by E. P. Walton, afterward member of Congress, invited " the freemen of Vermont " and " the people of all the other States who are dis posed to resist the encroachments and the extension of slavery "to co-operate for that purpose, and, "in case a national convention shall be called "for that purpose, "to send dele gates thereto." A State ticket in harmony with these sentiments was put in nomination.

On the 16th of the same month, a call was issued for a mass convention of "all persons who are in favor of resisting by all constitutional means the usurpations of the propagandists of slavery." This convention met on the 13th of July. Resolutions identical in spirit and aim with those of the June convention were adopted, one of which closed with these words: “We propose, and respectfully recommend to the friends of freedom in other States, to co-operate and be known as Re publicans." A delegation to a national convention, if one should be held, was appointed, consisting of one Free-Soiler, three Whigs, and one antislavery Democrat. A State ticket was nominated; but, the State committees of the parties being empowered "to fill vacancies," a fusion ticket was made up and chosen by little less than two thirds of all the votes cast at the election, and a legislature was elected which sent Jacob Collamer, an anti-slavery Whig, and Lawrence L. Brainard, a Free-Soiler, to the United States Senate.

But, whatever suggestions others may have made, or whatever action may have been taken elsewhere, to Michigan be longs the honor of being the first State to form and christen the Republican Party. More than three months before the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, the Free Soil convention had adopted a mixed ticket, made up of Free-Soilers and Whig in order that there might be a combination of the antislavery elements of the State. Immediately on the passage of the Nebraska bill, Joseph Warren, editor of the Detroit " Tribune," entered upon a course of measures that resulted in bringing the Whig and Free Soil parties together, not by a mere coalition of the two, but by a fusion of the elements of which the two were composed. In his own language, he “took ground in favor of disbanding the Whig and Free Soil parties, and oi the organization of a new party, composed of all the opponent of slavery extension. Among the first steps taken was withdrawal of the Free Soil ticket. This having been effected, a call for a mass convention was issued, signed by more than ten thousand names. This convention met on the 6th of July and was largely attended. A platform, drawn up by Jacob M. Howard, afterward United States Senator, was adopted, not only opposing the extension of slavery, but declaring for its abolition in the District of Columbia. The report also proposed the name of “Republican “for the new party, which was adopted by the convention. Kinsley S. Bingham was nominated for governor, and was triumphantly elected; and Michigan, thus early to enter the ranks of the Republican Party, has remained steadfast to its then publicly avowed principles and faith.

On the 13th of the same month, a convention was held at Columbus, Ohio. The call was addressed to those in favor of “breaking the chains now forging to bind the nation to the car of American slavery." It was largely attended, and its proceedings inaugurated a canvass of the State, which resulted in the election of an anti-Nebraska delegation to Congress by more than seventy thousand majority. On the same day, a similar convention was held in Indiana, at which speeches were made by Henry S. Lane, Henry L. Ellsworth, and Schuyler Colfax. Similar results followed. The elections of the following autumn were carried by the friends of freedom, and the permanent organization of the party was assured.

In New York, the Whigs held a convention early in the summer, under the lead of Mr. Seward and Thurlow Weed, adopted a series of resolutions, and also nominated a ticket in decided opposition to the Nebraska policy. On the 17th of August, an anti-Nebraska convention was held at Saratoga. Resolutions were introduced by Mr. Greeley indorsing the policy of those States which had already taken steps toward the formation of a new party; but without action thereon the convention adjourned, to meet on the 26th of September at Auburn. At this adjourned meeting a proposition to form a new party was introduced; but, though debated, it was not adopted. The Whigs having by their platform and ticket put themselves in substantial accord with the sentiments of the convention, it was deemed expedient to retain the Whig organization and to contest the election under its auspices. The ticket was successful, and Myron H. Clark and Henry J. Raymond were elected governor and lieutenant-governor.

Immediately after the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, a large and enthusiastic State convention of the Free Soil party was held in Boston, at which addresses were made by Giddings, Hale, Andrew, and others. Its spirit and purpose were well expressed by Mr. Wilson. “If there is," he said,” a ' forlorn hope ' to be led, we will lead it, and others may take and wear the honors. But we go with none who do not wear our principles upon their foreheads, and have them engraved on their hearts."

During the subsequent weeks, there were many conferences and attempts to unite the leaders and members of the Whig and Democratic parties in the proposed combination against the Slave Power, but with indifferent success, the Whigs preferring to retain their organization intact, and professing to believe that slavery could be more effectively opposed by it than by that proposed. But a convention met in Worcester on the 20th of July. Judge Oliver B. Morris was made president, an organization was effected, the name “Republican " accepted, and a platform, reported by Seth Webb, Jr., was adopted. A State convention of delegates was held at Worcester on the 7th of September. The venerable Robert Rantoul presided. A series of resolutions was reported by John I. Baker, and an elaborate and eloquent address was made by Mr. Sumner. Mr. Wilson, who had been the Free Soil candidate the previous year, was nominated for governor ; and Increase Sumner, up to that time a member of the Democratic party, was nominated for lieutenant-governor. In these conventions no prominent Whigs or Democrats took part, and few members of those par ties were present. Being composed mainly of Free-Soilers, the Whig and Democratic presses naturally united in pronouncing “fusion “a failure. They referred to the fact that the leading men in one or both of the conventions were Jackson, Bird, Keyes, Andrew, Webb, Swift, Wilson, and Sumner, as evidence that the new party was only the old Free Soil party under another name. This failure of the attempted fusion, through the persistent purpose of leading Whigs to adhere to their organization, was recognized by thousands of antislavery men who saw that the demolition of the Whig and Democratic par ties by the American party might produce a political chaos out of which a new and better creation might soon spring. They therefore united or co-operated with that organization, and gave their support to- it, joined in the election of members of Congress and the legislature, and so impressed their policy on the legislation of the State as to draw from Theodore Parker the declaration that the legislature of that year was " the strong est antislavery legislative body that had ever assembled in the country."

Though the Republican Party was not immediately organized in all the free States, its spirit inspired and its ideas largely pervaded the North. Within one year eleven Republican Senators were elected and fifteen States had secured anti-Nebraska majorities. Out of one hundred and forty-two Northern members of the House, one hundred and twenty were opposed to the iniquitous measure. They were in sufficient numbers not only to control the election of Speaker, but they were able, by a majority of fifteen, to declare that, " in the opinion of this House, the repeal of the Missouri compromise of 1820, prohibiting slavery north of 36 30' was an example of useless and factious agitation of the slavery question, unwise and unjust to the American people."

Several States which had failed to organize a Republican party in 1854 did so in 1855. It was in that year that Ohio came into line, by completing a Republican organization and putting in nomination Salmon P. Chase and Thomas H. Ford for governor and lieutenant-governor. Conservative Whigs and proslavery “Americans” supported ex-Governor Trimble, and did what they could to defeat the Republican ticket; but it was carried by nearly fifteen thousand majority.

The Republicans of Pennsylvania held a convention at Pittsburg on the 5th of September. Judge William Jessup was president, and Alexander K. McClure was chairman of the committee on resolutions. Eloquent speeches were made by John A. Bingham, Mr. Giddings, and Lewis D. Campbell of Ohio, and by Allison and Howe of Pennsylvania. Letters were received from Wilmot, Hale, B. F. Butler of New York, and Wilson of Massachusetts. " Pennsylvania," wrote the latter, ",holds in her hand the result of the election of 1856; if she stands firm, that year will witness the complete overthrow of the Slave Power of the South and the servile power of the North." Passmore Williamson, then imprisoned by Judge Kane, was nominated as canal commissioner. Many Whigs and “Americans," however, refused to act with the Re publicans, and he was withdrawn, and another was nominated who received the support of Whigs, “Americans," and Republicans. But the change did not effect the result, for the Democracy carried the State by a decisive majority.

When the American National Council was disrupted in 1855, another effort was made in Massachusetts to attract to the Republican Party the men of antislavery tendencies of that broken organization and of other parties. On the 16th of August, a meeting without distinction of party was held at Chapman Hall in Boston. John Z. Goodrich presided. A committee, on motion of Samuel Bowles, was chosen to pre pare a plan of practical action. George Bliss, Moses Kimball, Franklin Dexter, William Bingham, members of the Whig party, and Dana, Adams, Park, Walker, Wilson, Keyes, Stephen C. Phillips, and John L. Swift, Republicans, made brief, conciliatory, and eloquent speeches. The aged, venerable, and venerated Lyman Beecher uttered a few words of hope, trust, and confidence. On the 30th of August, there was a meeting of conference committees in Boston. It represented the American party, the “Know Somethings," an antislavery organization which had held a national convention at Cleve land in June, and a committee representing the Chapman Hall meeting. A proposition made by Charles Allen was sent by the Chapman Hall committee to the other committees, proposing a call for a union convention to form a new political party. Robert B. Hall suggesting that they were not there to make conditions but to conclude arrangements, a resolution was returned to the Chapman Hall committee to the effect that they were ready to co-operate in calling a State convention without distinction of party, with “the view of placing Massachusetts in sympathy and connection with the great Republican movement now in progress." After debate this resolution was laid upon the table, and a simple resolve was passed, proposed by Mr. Bowles, inviting the committee to a conference. This invitation was accepted, the conference was held, and a committee of twenty-six was appointed to call a State convention, at the head of which was placed the venerable Samuel Hoar. In pursuance of a call made by this committee, indorsed by eminent citizens of all parties, a State convention was held at Worcester on the 20th of September. P. Emory Aldrich called the convention to order. Nathaniel P. Banks presided, and, on taking the chair, expressed “sympathy with its objects and fidelity to its acts." Richard H. Dana, Jr., chairman of the committee on the platform, reported an admirable address to the people of the State, and a series of resolutions. There was a sharp contest between the supporters of Governor Henry J. Gardner and the friends of a new candidate. After an excited and somewhat angry debate, Julius Rockwell, a member of the Whig party, was nominated for governor by the small majority of thirteen. Although the American supporters of Governor Gardner had joined in the call of the convention and had participated in its proceedings, they were not satisfied with the result. An American State convention was called, Governor Gardner was nominated and elected, and the Republicans of Massachusetts were a second time defeated.

In New York two conventions were held on the 26th of September at Syracuse, for the purpose of organizing a Republican party, which had not been done the previous year, on account of the action of the Whigs, and the plea that the people were not yet ready. Reuben E. Fenton presided, and Joseph Blunt was chairman of a committee of conference with the Whig convention. That convention, under the lead of John A. King and Edwin D. Morgan, afterward Republican governors, adopted antislavery resolutions, united with the Republican convention, and formed a union ticket at the head of which was placed the name of Preston King. But the conservative and “silver gray” Whigs refused their support. Many anti-Nebraska Democrats voted for what was known as the “soft " ticket, although the convention of that section of the party, composed largely of those who had voted for Van Buren in 1848, had failed to condemn in fitting terms the repeal of the Missouri compromise. Under these untoward circumstances the Republican ticket was defeated by the ticket headed by John T. Headley, and supported by the proslavery “Americans” and “silver gray " Whigs.

The sudden and simultaneous uprising and action of the people of the free States in 1854, in consequence of the repeal of the Missouri compromise, under the common designation of " anti-Nebraska," had, for the moment, rather the character of a temporary combination for a specific purpose than a permanent organization, based on a general agreement and looking forward to continued association, though it led, and was an important step, in that direction. It was a combination of Free-Soilers, Republicans, “Americans," old Whigs and Democrats, who were indignant at the removal of the ancient “landmarks of freedom." For the time they were united in their object to oppose and rebuke the administration for this breach of faith. In some of the States this battle was fought under the lead of the Whigs, in others under that of the rising American organization, and in others with those who had just assumed the name of Republicans. But in the next year, when the effort was made to define more clearly the principles and perfect more fully the organization of this new party of freedom, thousands who had voted in 1854 under these various names and organizations, and with different motives, for its principles, refused to follow its lead and to be called by its name. In consequence, there was a real or seeming reaction, and some States, which had thus condemned the faithless administration of Franklin Pierce, failed, that year, to give Republican majorities.

Source:  Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2.  Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, 406-418.





Chapter: “Escape and Capture of the Pearl.-- Riotous Proceedings --.Debates In Congress.-- Trial of Drayton,” by Henry Wilson, in History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, 1872:

Eighteen hundred and forty eight was the “year of revolutions.'' A tidal wave of thought and feeling passed over. Europe, toppling thrones, sweeping away dynasties, and unsettling the political and social institutions of the people. France was, especially disturbed. Its king was deposed and driven into exile, and the house of Orleans ceased to be one of the reigning families of the Continent. Though the fulfilment did not come up to the promise, nor answer· the sanguine expectations generated by the revolution, yet for the time being a republican government was organized, and France took her place among the democracies of the earth.

This country shared largely in the enthusiasm of the hour. Meetings and resolutions of congratulation proclaimed the general rejoicing; .and nowhere were these demonstrations more noisy and extravagant than at the seat of government. Early in April, President Polk sent a message to Congress announcing the event, and affirming that “the world has seldom witnessed a more interesting and sublime spectacle than tire peaceful rising of the French people, resolved to secure for themselves enlarged liberty." On the same day a series of resolutions was introduced into the House expressing satisfaction that "the sentiment of self-government is commending itself to the favorable consideration of the more intelligent" of the nations; announcing " the hope that downtrodden humanity may succeed in breaking down all forms of tyranny and oppression “; tendering their warmest sympathies to the people of France and Italy in their present struggle. Mr. Ashmun of Massachusetts offered, as an amendment, that "we especially see an encouraging earnest of their success in ·the decree which pledges the government of France to early measures for the immediate emancipation of all slaves in the colonies." Mr. Schenck of Ohio offered, as an amendment -to the amendment, the words "recognizing, as we do, that there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude."

On these resolutions and amendments there were several eloquent speeches, too jubilant, indeed, over what had transpired, and too extravagant in the anticipations expressed for the future, revealing, as they did, what is now patent to every beholder, that none at that time fully appreciated the real power of despotism in either hemisphere, the tenacity of its hold, or the terrible struggle that would be required for its overthrow. “It is," said Mr. McClernand of Illinois, " the triumph of liberty over tyranny, of truth over error, of humanity over inhumanity,…the enunciation that the time is rapidly approaching when in Europe military force must bow to moral force, when kings must bow to the supreme majesty of the people, when the masses of Europe have on1y to will it to be free."

"I solemnly believe," said Mr. Hilliard of Alabama, "that the time has come when kingcraft has lost its hold upon the human mind. The world is waking from its deep slumber, and mankind begin to see that the right to govern belongs not to crowned kings, but to the great masses." And yet, great as were his gratulations over the alleged downfall of kingcraft, he was not prepared to recognize the abstract doctrine of human equality, or to welcome the elevation of man as man. He even expressed the apprehension that " the fraternity which has been adopted may not be consistent with well-regulated liberty; it may be the dream of idealists, and not the conception of philosophical statesmen," while he regretfully alluded to Mr. Ashmun's amendment as something foreign, "as a matter which does not belong to it." He also volunteered the somewhat defiant assertion that there was everywhere at the South a purpose to maintain the claim of the masters on their slaves "with a courage and firmness which nothing can intimidate or shake."

With like inconsistency Mr. Haskell of Tennessee, while asserting that the kingdoms of Europe " were upheaving beneath the throb of liberty which was animating the bosoms of the people," and " that it was from this country that they had caught the flame," declared that he was "sick and tired of this continual thrusting in this subject of slavery," which was calculated " to stop the progress of freedom, to injure this government itself, and put out this light toward which with hope were turned the eyes of the downtrodden world."

The few antislavery men in Congress bravely defended their principles; nor did they fail to point out the glaring inconsistency of singing paens over the triumph of freedom in  Europe, and at the same time avowing a persistent determination to perpetuate a far more despotic and hopeless tyranny here. Mr. Giddings, noting the inconsistency, exclaimed: “Look from that window, and there you will see a slave-pen, whose gloomy walls in mute but eloquent terms proclaim the hypocrisy of the deed!” And all this, he reminded the House, is sustained by laws enacted by Congress. “Will not the French cast back all such pretended sympathy with abhorrence? Will they not look with disgust on such deception and hypocrisy, when they see a nation of slave-dealers tendering their sympathy to a free people? "

In the debate on similar resolutions, unanimously adopted by the Senate, 'Mr. Hale, sharing in the general enthusiasm, though, as the event proved, speaking too despairingly of his own nation and too hopefully of those across the water, gave expression to both his hopes and fears. " I have sometimes thought," he said,” in dwelling upon the history of this Republic, that I had seen indications, fearful and fatal, that we were departing from the faith of our fathers; 'that, instead of being true to the first principles of human ,liberty which we have proclaimed, we were cutting 1oose from them ; that the illustration we were about to give of "the capability of man for 'Self-government was -to be the same as that of other nations 'which had gone before us, and that, after our failure, the hopes of freedom would indeed be extinguished forever. But in the dawning of this revolution in France I behold the sun of hope again arise, his beams of golden light streaming along the eastern horizon. I am now inspired by the hope that, even if we fail here, if Liberty should be driven from this her chosen asylum, the divine principle would still live, and would find a sanctuary among the people of another land; that when Our history should  have been written, -and our tale told, with its sad moral of our faithlessness to liberty, boasting of our love of freedom while we listened unmoved to the clanking of chains and the wail of the bondmen, even then, in a continent of the Old World, light would be seen arising out of darkness, life out of death, and hope out of despair."

A municipal celebration of the event in Washington, embracing noisy outdoor demonstrations, a torchlight-procession, the illumination of the houses of the President and the heads of the departments, also afforded occasion for extravagant utterances. '" Indeed;" said Horace Mann, '' stormy eloquence rushed forth from the capital of the nation, like winds from the cave of Aeolus, and roared and roared till all but the dead must have heard it. ''

Among the rhapsodists of that occasion was Senator "Foote from Mississippi. Alluding to the events in Europe, he said, " The glorious work which has been ·so well begun canno.t possibly fail of complete accomplishment. The age of tyrants and slavery is rapidly drawing to ·a close. The happy period; to be signalized by the universal emancipation of man from the "fetters of civil oppression, and the recognition in all countries of the great principles of popular sovereignty, equality, and brotherhood, are at this moment visibly commencing." Such language from such a man, in such a presence, sufficiently singular in itself, was afterward rendered more noteworthy by a subsequent fact, --that, when repeated before a Washington court by Mr. Mann, as counsel for Drayton and Sayer's, in their trial for the abduction of slaves, the eloquent advocate was checked by the presiding judge because it was '' inflammatory," and because, the latter said, "we have institutions that may be endangered by it."

Source:  Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2.  Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, 87-91.


RHODES, Samuel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Society of Friends (Orthodox), Quakers, supported Free Labor cause, in 1844, founded the Free Produce Association of Friends of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.

(Drake, 1950, pp. 172-173, 181; Mabee, 1970, pp. 142, 202, 239, 355, 363)


RICE, Reverend David, 1733-1816, Hancock County, Virginia, abolitionist, educator, clergyman.  Presbyterian Church of Danville, Kentucky.  Co-founder of Hampden-Sydney College and Transylvania University.  Member of the Kentucky Abolition Society.  Opponent of slavery.  Wrote speech, “Slavery Inconsistent with Justice and Good Policy.”  Rice wrote: “A slave is a human creature made by law the property of another human creature, and reduced by mere power to an absolute, unconditional subjection to his will…  A slave claims his freedom; he pleads that he is a man, that he was by nature free, that he has not forfeited his freedom, nor relinquished it… His being long deprived of this right, by force or fraud, does not annihilate it; it remains; it is still his right… If my definition of a slave is true, he is a rational creature reduced by the power of legislation to the state of a brute, and thereby deprived of every privilege of humanity… that he may minister to the ease, luxury, lust, pride, or avarice of another, no better than himself… a free moral agent, legally deprived of free agency, and obliged to act according to the will of another free agent of the same species; and yet he is accountable to his Creator for the use he makes of his own free agency.” 

(Appletons’, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 233-234; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 1, p. 537; Dumond, 1961, pp. 90, 134-135; Locke, 1901, pp. 90, 117f, 166, 170, 183, 186; Martin, 1918; Sorin, 1971, p. 39; Annals of Congress; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 18, p. 407)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

RICE, David, clergyman, b. in Hanover county, Va., 29 Dec., 1733; d. in Green county, Ky., 18 June, 1816. He was graduated at Princeton in 1761, studied theology, was licensed to preach in 1762, and was installed as pastor of the Presbyterian church at Hanover, Va., in December, 1763. At the end of five years he resigned on account of dissensions among the church-members, and three years later he took charge of three congregations in the new settlements of Bedford county, Va., where he labored with success during the period of the Revolution. When Kentucky was opened to settlement he visited that country in October, 1783, removed thither with his family, and in 1784 organized in Mercer county the first religious congregation in Kentucky, and opened in his house the earliest school. He was the organizer and the chairman of a conference that was held in 1785 for the purpose of instituting a regular organization of the Presbyterian church in the new territory, and the principal founder of Transylvania academy, which developed into Transylvania university. He was a member of the convention that framed a state constitution in 1792. In 1798 he removed to Green county. His wife, Mary, was a daughter of Rev. Samuel Blair. He published an “Essay on Baptism” (Baltimore, 1789); a “Lecture on Divine Decrees” (1791); “Slavery Inconsistent with Justice and Policy” (1792); “An Epistle to the Citizens of Kentucky Professing Christianity, those that Are or Have Been Denominated Presbyterians” (1805); and “A Second Epistle to the Presbyterians of Kentucky,” warning them against the  errors of the day (1808); also “A Kentucky Protest against Slavery” (New York, 1812).  Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 233-234. 


ROBERTS, Anthony Ellmaker, 1803-1885, Pennsylvania, abolitionist.  U.S. Marshal.  Two-term Member of Congress from the Ninth District of Pennsylvania, 1855-1859.  Republican leader in Republican Party in Pennsylvania.  Opposed slavery.  Roberts was supported by Congressional leader Thaddeus Stevens. 

(Herringshaw, 1902; Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-1949)


ROBERTS, Benjamin Franklin, 1814-1881, African American, abolitionist, printer, journalist, newspaper publisher, opposed colonization.  Published the Anti-Slavery Herald in Boston, Massachusetts.

(Gates, Henry Louis, Jr., & Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, eds. African American National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2013, Vol. 9, p. 481)


ROBERTS, Jonathan Manning, 1771-1854, Upper Merion County, Pennsylvania, U.S. Senator, U.S. Congressman, opponent of slavery.  Called for the prohibition of slavery from Missouri in the Senate.

(Appletons’, 1888, Vol. V, p. 274; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 1, p. 9)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

ROBERTS, Jonathan Manning, investigator, b. in Montgomery county, Pa., 7 Dec., 1821; d. in Burlington, N. J., 28 Feb., 1888, studied law, was admitted to the bar at Norristown, Pa., in 1850, and practised his profession for about a year, but abandoned it and engaged in commercial pursuits. These proving financially successful, he found time to gratify his desire for metaphysical investigations. He also took an interest in politics, being an enthusiastic Whig and strongly opposed to slavery. He was a delegate to the Free-soil convention at Buffalo, N. Y., that nominated Martin Van Buren for president in 1848, and subsequently canvassed New Jersey for that candidate. When the so-called spiritual manifestations at Rochester, N. Y., first attracted public attention, Mr. Roberts earnestly protested against the possibility of their having a supernatural origin. After several years of patient inquiry he came to the conclusion that they were facts that could be explained on scientific principles and resulted from the operation of natural causes. This conviction led to his establishing an organ of the new faith at Philadelphia in 1878 under the title of “Mind and Matter.” His fearless advocacy of his peculiar views involved him in litigation and caused his imprisonment. Finding the publication of a journal too great a tax on his resources, he abandoned it, and devoted the rest of his life to study and authorship. Among his manuscript, of which he left a large amount, is “A Life of Apollonius of Tyana” and “A History of the Christian Religion,” which he completed just before his death.  Appletons’ Cyclopædia of American Biography, 1888.


ROBINSON, Charles, 1818-1894, territorial governor, Kansas, member Free Soil Anti-Slavery Party, 1855 

(Rodriguez, 2007, p. 58; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, p. 283; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 2, p. 34; Annals of Congress; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 18, p. 641)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

ROBINSON, Charles, governor of Kansas, b. in Hardwick, Mass., 21 July, 1818. He was educated at Hadley and Amherst academies and at Amherst college, but was compelled by illness to leave in his second year. He studied medicine at Woodstock. Vt., and at Pittsfield, Mass., where he received his degree in 1843, and practised at Belchertown, Springfield, and Fitchburg, Mass., till 1849, when he went to California by the overland route. He edited a daily paper in Sacramento called the “Settler's and Miner's Tribune” in 1850, took an active part in the riots of 1850 as an upholder of squatter sovereignty, was seriously wounded, and, while under indictment for conspiracy and murder, was elected to the legislature. He was subsequently discharged by the court without trial. On his return to Massachusetts in 1852 he conducted in Fitchburg a weekly paper called the “News” till June, 1854, when he went to Kansas as confidential agent of the New England emigrants' aid society, and settled in Lawrence. He became the leader of the Free-state party, and was made chairman of its executive committee and commanderin-chief of the Kansas volunteers. He was a member of the Topeka convention that adopted a free-state constitution in 1855, and under it was elected governor in 1856. He was arrested for treason and usurpation of office, and on his trial on the latter charge was acquitted by the jury. He was elected again by the Free-state party in 1858, and for the third time in 1859, under the Wyandotte constitution, and entered on his term of two years on the admission of Kansas to the Union in January, 1861. He organized most of the Kansas regiments for the civil war. He afterward served one term as representative and two terms as senator in the legislature, and in 1882 was again a candidate for governor. In 1887 he became superintendent of Haskell institute in Lawrence. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 283.


ROBINSON, Marius R., 1806-1876, Mt. Pleasant, Ohio, abolitionist.  Alumnus of Lane University.  Editor of The Ohio Anti-Slavery Bugle, 1849-18??.  The newspaper was the official organ of the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society.  Worked with Augustus Wattles to set up schools for free Blacks.  Worked with abolitionist James G. Birney in editing Philanthropist.  Manager, American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS), 1840-1843.  Antislavery agent. 

(Dumond, 1961, pp. 160, 164, 174, 185, 220, 264)


ROCK, John Stewart, 1826-1866, African American, activist, lawyer, physician, dentist, supporter of abolition movement.  Member of the Boston Vigilance Committee, which opposed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.  Opposed colonization.  Recruited soldiers for US colored regiments.

(Gates, Henry Louis, Jr., & Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, eds. African American National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2013, Vol. 9, p. 545)


RODNEY, Caesar Augustus, 1772-1824, Delaware, statesman, lawyer, diplomat.  U.S. Congressman, 1803-1805.  Later, Attorney General of the United States under Presidents Jefferson and Madison.  Rodney wrote:  “When we shall proclaim to every stranger and sojourner, the moment he sets his foot on American earth, the ground on which he stands is holy and consecrated by the genius of universal emancipation.  No matter in what language his doom may have been pronounced; no matter what complexion, incompatible with freedom, an Indian or an African sun may have burnt upon him; no matter in what disastrous battle his liberty may have been cloven down; no matter with what solemnities he may have been devoted on the altar of slavery; the first moment he touches the sacred soil of America, the altar and the god shall sink together in the dust; his soul shall walk abroad in her own majesty; his body shall swell beyond the measure of his chains, which burst from around him, and he shall stand redeemed, regenerated, and disenthralled by the great genius of universal emancipation.” 

(Appletons’, 1888, Vol. V, p. 300; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 2, p. 82; Dumond, 1961, pp. 83-84; Annals of Congress; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 18, p. 735)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

RODNEY, Caesar Augustus, statesman, b. in Dover, Del., 4 Jan., 1772; d. in Buenos Ayres, South America, 10 June, 1824, was graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1789, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1793, and practised at Wilmington, Del. He was elected to congress from Delaware as a Democrat, serving from 17 Oct., 1803, till 3 March, 1805, was a member of the committee of ways and means, and one of the managers in the impeachment of Judge Samuel Chase. In 1807 he was appointed by President Jefferson attorney-general of the United States, which place he resigned in 1811. During the war with Great Britain in 1812 he commanded a rifle corps in Wilmington which was afterward changed to a light artillery company, which did good service on the frontiers of Canada. In 1813 he was a member of the Delaware committee of safety. He was defeated for congress and in 1815 was state senator from New Castle county. In 1817 he was sent to South America by President Monroe as one of the commissioners to investigate and report upon the propriety of recognizing the independence of the Spanish-American republics, which course he strongly advocated on his return to Washington. In 1820 he was re-elected to congress, and in 1822 be became a member of the U.S. senate, being the first Democrat that had a seat in that body from Delaware. He served till 27 Jan., 1823, when he was appointed minister to the United provinces of La Plata. With John Graham he published “Reports on the Present State of the United Provinces of South America” (London, 1819). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 300.


ROGERS, Elymas Payson, 1815-1861, African American, clergyman, poet, missionary, educator, prominent abolitionist.  Wrote anti-slavery satires, “A Poem on the Fugitive Slave Law,” and “The Repeal of the Missouri Compromise Considered,” 1856.

(Gates, Henry Louis, Jr., & Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, eds. African American National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2013, Vol. 9, p. 554)


ROGERS, William, 1751-1824, Pennsylvania, abolitionist leader, clergyman, educator, College of Philadelphia, Committee of Twenty-Four/Committee of Education, Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery (PAS), president of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, 1790, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

(Basker, 2005, pp. 223, 239n11; Locke, 1901, pp. 91, 168; Nash, 1991, p. 129)


ROLLINS, James Sidney, 1812-1888, lawyer, soldier.  Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Missouri.  After Mexican War (1846), opposed extension of slavery into the new territories.  Served as Congressman July 1861-March 1865.  Voted for Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery.

(Appletons’, 1888, Vol., V, p. 313; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 2, p. 121; Annals of Congress; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 18, p. 788; Congressional Globe)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

ROLLINS, James Sidney, lawyer, b. in Richmond, Madison co., Ky., 19 April, 1812; d. near Columbia, Mo., 9 Jan., 1888. After graduation at the University of Indiana in 1830 and at the law-school of Transylvania university, Ky., in 1834, he practised law in Boone county, Mo. He served on the staff of Gen. Richard Gentry during the Black Hawk war, and in 1836 became an editor of the Columbia “Patriot,” a Whig journal. From 1838 till 1844, and again in 1854-'6, he served in the Missouri house of representatives, and he was a member of the state senate from 1846 till 1850, boldly opposing the extension of slavery into the territories. He was defeated as the Whig candidate for governor in 1848 and 1857. Mr. Rollins was a delegate to the Baltimore convention of 1844, which nominated Henry Clay for president, and was active in the canvass that followed. He was elected to congress as a Conservative, taking his seat in the special session that was called by President Lincoln, serving from 4 July, 1861, till 3 March, 1865. In 1862 he introduced a bill to aid in the construction of a railroad and telegraph line from the Missouri river to the Pacific, which, with a few amendments, became a law in July, 1862, and under its provisions the Union Pacific, Central Pacific, and Kansas Pacific railroads were built. He voted for the adoption of the thirteenth amendment to the constitution, although at the time he was one of the largest slave-owners in Boone county. He was a delegate to the Phila delphia Union convention in 1866, and in that year served again in the legislature of Missouri, where he introduced and secured the passage of a bill to establish a normal department in the state university. He was appointed a director of the Union Pacific railroad company, but resigned, and again served in the state senate, introducing a bill to establish an agricultural and mechanical college. He was also the author of many important measures that were passed by the legislature to advance the interests of the state university, and from 1869 till 1887 was president of its board of curators, which in 1872 declared him “Pater Universitatis Missouriensis.” Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 313.   


ROOT, David, 1790-1873, Dover, New Hampshire, clergyman, abolitionist.  Manager, American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS), 1835-1840. 

(Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, p. 319)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

ROOT, David, clergyman b. in Pomfret, Vt., in 1790; d. in Chicago, Ill., 30 Aug., 1873. He was graduated at Middlebury in 1816, entered the ministry, and was pastor successively of Presbyterian churches in Georgia and Cincinnati, Ohio, and of the Congregational church in Dover, N. H. In the latter city he identified himself with the Anti-slavery party, which he served with such devotion that he suffered persecution both there and in Waterbury, Conn., whence he subsequently removed. He then held pastorates in Guilford and New Haven, Conn., till 1852, when he retired. He gave $10,000 to endow a professorship in Beloit college, Wis., $20,000 to Yale theological seminary, and $5,000 to the American missionary society. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 319.


ROOT, Joseph Pomeroy, 1826-1885, physician, politician, diplomat, abolitionist.  Joined a company of emigrants (the Beecher Bible and Rifle Company) in Kansas in 1856.  Chairman of the Free State Executive Committee.  Leader of the Kansas Free State movement.  Elected to Territorial State Senate under the Topeka Convention.  Later elected Lieutenant Governor of Kansas. 

(Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 1, p. 150)


ROSE, Ernestine Louise, 1810-1892, born in Russia Poland as Ernestine Louise Polowsky.  Feminist and women’s rights activist, abolitionist.  Lectured on abolition, women’s rights/suffrage/human rights/equality.  Married to Robert Owen. 

(Kolmerten, 1999)


ROSS, Edmund Gibson, 1826-1907, U.S. Senator.  Editor, Kansas Tribune, Free State Newspaper. 

(Appletons’, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 327-328; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 2, p. 175; Annals of Congress; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 18, p. 905)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

ROSS, Edmund Gibson, senator, b. in Ashland, Ohio, 7 Dec., 1826. He was apprenticed at an early age to a printer, received a limited education, and in 1847 removed to Wisconsin, where he was employed in the office of the Milwaukee “Sentinel” for four years. He went to Kansas in 1856, was a member of the Kansas constitutional convention in 1859, and served in the legislature until 1861. He was also editor of the Kansas “State Record” and the Kansas “Tribune,” which was the only Free-state paper in the territory at that time, the others having been destroyed. In 1862 he enlisted in the National army as a private, and in 1865 became major. On his return to Kansas, after the war, he was appointed to succeed James H. Lane in the U. S. senate, and was elected to fill out the term, serving from 25 July, 1866, till 4 March, 1871. He voted against the impeachment of President Johnson, thus offending the Republican party, with which he had always acted, and was charged with having adopted this course from mercenary and corrupt motives. After his term ended he returned to Kansas, united with the Democratic party, and was defeated as their candidate for governor in 1880. In 1882 he removed to New Mexico, where he published a newspaper, and in May, 1885, was appointed by President Cleveland governor of that territory. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 327-328.     


ROSS, James, 1762-1847, U.S. Senator, lawyer, helped escaped slaves whom he represented in Philadelphia. 

(Appletons’, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 329; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 2, p. 178; “Port Folio,” Philadelphia, PA, 1816; Annals of Congress; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 18, p. 914)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

ROSS, James, senator, b. in York county, Pa., 12 July, 1762; d. in Alleghany City, Pa., 27 Nov., 1847. He entered the school of the Rev. Dr. John McMillan and accepted the post of teacher of Latin. In 1782 Mr. Ross became a student at law, was admitted to the bar in 1784, went to Washington, Pa., where he practised until in 1795 he removed to Pittsburg. In 1789 Mr. Ross was elected a member of the convention to frame a new constitution for the state. The ability that he displayed in this body gave him a reputation which, with his fame as an orator and lawyer, secured his election to the U. S. senate, in April, 1794, for the unexpired term, ending 3 March. 1797, of Albert Gallatin, who had been thrown out because he had not been for nine years a citizen, as required by the constitution. In 1797 he was again elected to succeed himself. To Senator Ross undoubtedly belongs the chief credit of the peaceful ending of the whiskey insurrection. On 17 July, 1794, Gen. Neville, the chief excise officer, was attacked, and his house and other property were destroyed. At a tumultuous meeting of the people at Washington, Pa., a rally of armed men was called, to be held on 1 Aug., at Braddock's Field. Mr. Ross, in a powerful speech, alone opposed the will of an excited populace. He was told that he had that day destroyed all chances of future political preferment, but, nothing daunted, he attended the Braddock's Field meeting and also that of the delegates from western Pennsylvania and Virginia, at Parkinson's Ferry. By his personal appeals and arguments a party was formed, which, if not very numerous, included many citizens of note, several of whom had been active on the other side. While he was at Parkinson's Ferry a messenger from the capital brought Senator Ross the information that he had been appointed by Washington the chief of a commission to compose the insurrection. Senator Ross more than prepared the way for his colleagues, and the insurrection was virtually at an end before they joined him. Mr. Ross had been for several years intimate with Gen. Washington, being consulted as counsel, and now, at the president's request, became his attorney in fact for the sole management of his large estates in western Pennsylvania. While still in the senate, he was nominated, in 1799, as governor of the state. The nomination was esteemed to be equivalent to an election, but Mr. Ross refused to canvass the state in his own behalf and was defeated. At the next election Mr. Ross was again nominated and was again unsuccessful. The same disposition to defend the right, regardless of personal consequences, that had induced him, as a boy at Dr. McMillan's school, to volunteer against marauding Indians, that had separated him from friends and neighbors during the whiskey war, that in the senate had urged war against Spain to protect the mouths of the Mississippi for the use of the west, induced him to befriend the cause of a party of friendless negro slaves who had escaped from their masters and found refuge in Philadelphia. Impassioned oratory gained the case. The “Port Folio,” published in Philadelphia in 1816, says that Mr. Ross received the thanks of the Abolition society; but the generous act diminished his popularity. In 1808, for the third time, he was nominated for governor, and was again unsuccessful. With this election the power of the Federalists in Pennsylvania was broken, and with it the political life of Mr. Ross came to an end. He declined to connect himself with other parties; only as a Federalist would he hold public office. Except a short sketch in the “Port Folio” for 1816, there is no published life of James Ross, and even that in great measure consists of extracts from his speeches. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 329.


RUBY, George Thompson, 1841-1882, African American, politician, journalist, editor, abolitionist. Writer, editor, Kansas Anti-Slavery publication, Crusader of Freedom.  Correspondent for William Lloyd Garrison’s Anti-Slavery Standard. Wrote biography of militant abolitionist John Brown.

(Gates, Henry Louis, Jr., & Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, eds. African American National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2013, Vol. 9, p. 606)


RUGGLES, David, 1810-1849, New York, free African American, journalist, publisher, editor, anti-slavery activist and abolitionist leader.  Agent for Emancipator and Journal of Public Morals of the American Anti-Slavery Society.  Founded Mirror of Liberty, first Black magazine.  Active in the New York Committee of Vigilance and the Underground Railroad, which aided fugitive slaves.  Advocate of Free Produce movement.  Wrote pamphlet, “The Extinguisher.”  Contributed articles to abolitionist newspapers, The Emancipator and The Liberator

(Dumond, 1961, p. 340; Hodges, 2010; Mabee, 1970, pp. 84-85, 107-108, 113-114, 278, 285, 397n1, 398n20, 415n16; Rodriguez, 2007, p. 45; Sorin, 1971, pp. 34, 84n, 87, 113; Gates, Henry Louis, Jr., & Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, eds. African American National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2013, Vol. 9, p. 624; Hinks, Peter P., & John R. McKivigan, Eds., Encyclopedia of Antislavery and Abolition.  Westport, Connecticut, Greenwood, 2007, Vol. 2, pp. 584-585)


RUSH, Benjamin, Dr., 1746-1813, Pennsylvania, founding father of the United States, physician, author, humanitarian, educator, opponent of slavery.  Active in the Pennsylvania Society for the Promotion of the Abolition of Slavery (Pennsylvania Abolition Society).  Wrote “An Address to the Inhabitants of the British Settlements in America Upon Slave Keeping,” an anti-slavery pamphlet published in 1773.  Secretary and member of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, 1787.  Rush wrote: “Slavery is so foreign to the human mind, that the moral faculties, as well as those of the understanding are debased, and rendered torpid by it.  All of the vices which are charged upon the negroes in the southern colonies and West Indies… are the genuine offspring of slavery, and serve as an argument to prove they [African Americans] were not intended by Providence for it.”  

(Basker, 2005, pp. 33, 80, 81, 92, 101, 217, 223-228, 240, 308, 316; Brodsky, 2004; Bruns, 1977, pp. 79, 224-246, 269, 304-306, 325, 358, 376, 384, 491, 510, 514; Drake, 1950, pp. 85, 94, 115, 119; Dumond, 1961, pp. 20, 52-53, 87; Locke, 1901, pp. 48, 52, 55, 56, 58, 59, 62; Mabee, 1970, p. 270; Nash, 1990; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 21, 25-26, 156, 253, 456; Zilversmit, 1967, pp. 90, 94-95, 169, 224-225; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, p. 349; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 2, p. 227; American Reformers: An H.W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary, New York, 1985, pp. 707-710; Annals of Congress; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 19, p. 72; Hinks, Peter P., & John R. McKivigan, Eds., Encyclopedia of Antislavery and Abolition.  Westport, Connecticut, Greenwood, 2007, Vol. 2, pp. 585-586)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

RUSH, Benjamin, signer of the Declaration of Independence, b. in Byberry township, Pa., 24 Dec., 1745; d. in Philadelphia, 19 April, 1813. His ancestor, John, who was a captain of horse in Cromwell's army, emigrated to this country in 1683, and left a large number of descendants. Benjamin's father died when the son was six years old. His earliest instructor was his uncle, Rev. Samuel Finley, subsequently president of Princeton, who prepared him for that college. He was graduated in 1760, and subsequently in the medical department of the University of Edinburgh in 1768, after studying under Dr. John Redman, of Philadelphia. He also attended medical lectures in England and in Paris, where he enjoyed the friendship of Benjamin Franklin, who advanced the means of paying his expenses. In August, 1769, he retumed to the United States and settled in Philadelphia, where he was elected professor of chemistry in the City medical college. In 1771 he published essays on slavery, temperance, and health, and in 1774 he delivered the annual oration before the Philosophical society on the “Natural History of Medicine among the Indians of North America.” He early engaged in pre-Revolutionary movements, and wrote constantly for the press on colonial rights. He was a member of the provincial conference of Pennsylvania, and chairman of the committee that reported that it had become expedient for congress to declare independence, and surgeon to the Pennsylvania navy from 17 Sept., 1775, to 1 July, 1776. He was then elected to the latter body, and on 4 July, 1776, signed the declaration. He married Julia, a daughter of Richard Stockton, the same year, was appointed surgeon-general of the middle department in April, 1777, and in July became physician-general. Although in constant attendance on the wounded in the battles of Trenton, Princeton, the Brandy wine, Germantown, and in the sickness at Valley Forge, he found time to write four long public letters to the people of Pennsylvania, in which he commented severely on the articles of confederation of 1776, and urged a revision on the ground of the dangers of giving legislative powers to a single house. In February, 1778, he resigned his military office on account of wrongs that had been done to the soldiers in regard to the hospital stores, and a coldness between himself and Gen. Washington, but, though he was without means at that time, he refused all compensation for his service in the army. He then returned to Philadelphia, resumed his practice and duties as professor, and for twenty-nine years was surgeon to the Pennsylvania hospital, and port physician to Philadelphia in 1790-'3. He was a founder of Dickinson college and the Philadelphia dispensary, and was largely interested in the establishment of public schools, concerning which he published an address, and in the founding of the College of physicians, of which he was one of the first censors. He was a member of the State convention that ratified the constitution of the United States in 1787, and of that for forming a state constitution in the same year, in which he endeavored to procure the incorporation of his views on public schools, and a penal code on which he had previously written essays. After that service he retired from political life. While in occupation of the chair of chemistry in Philadelphia medical college, he was elected to that of the theory and practice of medicine, to which was added the professorship of the institutes and practice of medicine and clinical practice in 1791, and that of the practice of physic in 1797, all of which he held until his death. During the epidemic of yellow fever in 1793 he rendered good service, visiting from 100 to 120 patients daily, but his bold and original practice made him enemies, and a paper edited by William Cobbett, called “Peter Porcupine’s Gazette,” was so violent in its attacks upon him that it was prosecuted, and a jury rendered a verdict of $5,000 damages, which Dr. Rush distributed among the poor. His practice during the epidemic convinced him that yellow fever is not contagious, and he was the first to proclaim that the disease is indigenous. From 1799 till his death he was treasurer of the U. S. mint. “His name,” says Dr. Thomas Young, “was familiar to the medical world as the Sydenham of America. His accurate observations and correct discrimination of epidemic diseases well entitled him to this distinction, while in the original energy of his reasoning he far exceeded his prototype.” He was a member of nearly every medical, literary, and benevolent institution in this country, and of many foreign societies, and for his replies to their queries on the subject of yellow fever received a medal from the king of Prussia in 1805, and gifts medal from the king of Prussia in 1805, and gifts from other crowned heads. He succeeded Benjamin Franklin as president of the Pennsylvania society for the abolition of slavery, was president of the Philadelphia medical society, vice-president and a founder of the Philadelphia Bible society, advocating the use of the Scriptures as a textbook in the public schools, an originator of the American philosophical society, of which he was a vice-president in 1799-1800. He taught, more clearly than any other physician of his day, to distinguish diseases and their effects, gave great impulse to the study of medicine in this country, and made Philadelphia the centre of that scienec in the United States, more than 2,250 students having attended his lectures during his professorship in the Medical college of Philadelphia. Yale gave him the degree of LL. D. in 1812. His publications include “Medical Inquiries and Observations” (5 vols., Philadelphia, 1789-'98; 3d ed., 4 vols., 1809); “Essays, Literary, Moral, and Philosophical” (1798; 2d ed., 1806); “Sixteen Introductory Lectures” (1811); and “Diseases of the Mind” (1812; 5th ed., 1835). He also edited several medical works. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 349.

Biography from National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans:

BENJAMIN RUSH was born on his father's farm, in Byberry township, Philadelphia county, on the 24th day of December, 1745. His great-grandfather, John Rush, commanded a troop of horse in the army of Oliver Cromwell, and on the restoration of the monarchy, emigrated to Pennsylvania, .in 1683. He had been personally known to the Protector. One day, seeing his horse come into the camp without him, Cromwell supposed he had been killed, and lamented him, by saying "he had not left a better officer behind him." The Bible, watch, and sword, which he owned, are still in the possession of his descendants in Pennsylvania. He settled on the farm already mentioned, and died at the age of about eighty. No lengthened account of the parentage of Dr. Rush, is deemed necessary to a brief narrative like the present. His ancestors were plain and peaceful farmers, known in their neighborhood for their integrity and industry. Having lost his father, John Rush, in his early childhood, the care of his education devolved upon his mother, whose strength of mind and good principles proved fully adequate to the trust. His veneration for this parent knew no intermission during her long life. She died under his roof at the age of eighty; and of the illustrious individuals whom she lived to see that, roof often shelter, none received from its owner more constant kindness and scrupulous attention than herself. To the judicious care she bestowed on him in his youth, he always attributed the useful aims and the many blessings of his life. Having been taught by her the rudiments of the English language, she sent him, at the age of nine years, to a grammar-school at Nottingham, in Maryland, at that time under the direction of her sister's husband, the Rev. Dr. Findley, afterwards president of the college at Princeton, in New Jersey. Here lie rapidly advanced in the studies prescribed to him; and from the pious precepts and example of his instructor, and, perhaps, the primitive innocence of the secluded country in which he lived, he imbibed in childhood that veneration for religion which he cherished to the end of his days.

Having finished his preparatory course of the Latin and Greek languages, he was sent in the fourteenth year of his age to Princeton college, then under the presidency of the Rev. Mr. Davies, a man distinguished for his piety and uncommon eloquence. He received at this institution the degree of Bachelor of Arts, in 1760, before he had completed his fifteenth year. He next commenced the study of medicine in Philadelphia, under the direction of Dr. John Redman, an eminent physician, who was a kind and useful instructor to him, and whose attention he requited by faithful and untiring service. He relates, himself, that during the whole of the six years of his pupilage under Dr. Redman, he could enumerate not more than two days of interruption from business. This was an earnest of that regularity and indefatigable application which characterized his whole life. During the period of his apprenticeship, he studied with eager attention the writings of Hippocrates, Sydenham, and Boerhave, and translated the aphorisms of the former, from Greek into English. He also began to keep a note-book of remarkable occurrences, the plan of which he afterwards improved and continued through life. From a part of this record, written in the seventeenth year of his age, is derived the only account of the yellow fever, as it appeared in Philadelphia, in 1762, which has descended to posterity.

In 1766, having passed through the elementary studies in medicine, and being intent on acquiring further advantages for his destined profession, he \vent to Edinburgh, at that time the most esteemed medical school of Europe, where, after attending for two years the pnblic lectures and hospitals in that capital, he received the degree of Doctor of Medicine. His thesis, by the custom of the school, was written in the Latin language, and its title was " De concoctione ciborum in ventriculo." He adventured, in his own person, several experiments in support of his arguments, both revolting and perilous. These arguments displayed abilities rare even among the distinguished pupils and rivals by whom he was surrounded. The style was correct and elegant; Dr. Ramsay,1 who was among the best classical scholars of our country, and who knew Dr. Rush well, says, of this thesis, that " it was written in classical Latin," and adds, " I have reason to believe without the help of a grinder, (teachers of Latin, then frequently employed for such purposes,) for it bears the characteristic marks of the peculiar style of its author." We are somewhat minute on this point, because it is connected with another, often referred to in Dr. Rush's history-his alleged disparagement of the learned languages. He ranked them among the general accomplishments of a liberal education; and having, according to his ingenious and forcible essay upon the subject, spent too many years in their acquisition, he continued in after life his familiarity with them, perhaps from the desire, by which he happily says in the same essay men are sometimes influenced, of reviving, by reading the classics, the agreeable ideas of the early and innocent part of their lives. Dr. Rush's objections to the engrossing instruction of youth in the Latin and Greek languages, have been often and elaborately questioned; but whilst his arguments upon the subject continue to be read, their vigor, and fertility in illustration, will always be impressive to the candid, if they convince not the opposing reader.

1In the present sketch of the life of Dr. Rush, we are indebted to Dr. Ramsay's Eulogium upon him, as well as to the memoir of him in the Biography of the signers to the Declaration of Independence, for various details which those excellent productions have made familiar to the public; in several instances, the phraseology of their recitals has been necessarily and willingly adopted.

Whilst a student at Edinburgh, Dr. Rush was commissioned by the trustees of Princeton college, to negotiate with Dr. "Witherspoon, of Paisley, in Scotland, his ·acceptance of the presidency of their institution. His efforts and address in the fulfilment of this trust, were successful; he gained in Dr. Witherspoon a constant friend, and for the college, the advantage of a principal eminent in science and literature. He was, whilst in Scotland, ardent in his pursuit of knowledge; and was careful and fortunate in making friends, who improved his mind, and strengthened his virtues. An accidental acquaintance, formed whilst attending the same medical class with the eldest son of the earl of Leven, made him an approved intimate in the family of that pious and respected peer. The letters written in after years by this individual and the different members of his family to Dr. Rush, prove the uncommon and affectionate impression he made upon them. We allude to this intimacy, because, though anticipating a little the order of our narrative, it is connected with an interesting incident in the life of Dr. Rush. It happened to him a few years after, and during the war of the American revolution, to recognize among the British officers slain on the battle-field at Princeton, the dead body of one of the sons of this earl of Leven, the Honorable Captain William Leslie, who, in common with his elder brother, had shared Dr. Rush's fond regard whilst at Edinburgh. On the person of the deceased officer was found a letter to Dr. Rush, who, being then in the medical staff of General Washington, was the first to discover his deceased friend among the slaughtered of the vanquished enemy. Dr. Rush had Captain Leslie's remains conveyed to Pluckamin, in New Jersey; where he gave them an honorable grave and a recording tomb. A few years ago, a friend of the family of this officer came to this country, on purpose to erect a befitting monument to his memory; "but when he reached his grave, he saw," says a modern British publication, wherein further interesting details of the occurrence are given, that ''the work was already done. Believing that no monument he could erect, no honors he could pay, would be equal to those rendered by the spontaneous act of a generous foe-nothing remained but to drop a tear to the memory of the unfortunate Leslie, and another of gratitude to his generous eulogist."

From Edinburgh, Dr. Rush went to London, where he passed the winter of 1768, attending the hospitals and medical lectures of that metropolis. Dr. Letsome of Great Britain, in his "Recollections of Dr. Rush," relates an anecdote of him whilst in London, which is creditable to his fervor of patriotism and vigor of speech; it is in the following words: " At that time there was generating great commotion in the American colonies, and a disposition to revolt from the mother country was very generally manifested. In London, several disputing societies were formed for the discussion of the question of the propriety of American resistance. A political orator warmly inveighed against the spirit of what was deemed rebellion, and observed, that "if the Americans possessed cannon, they had not even a ball to fire." These reflections called up Dr. Rush, (then a student of medicine in London,) who said in his reply, that "if the Americans possessed no cannon balls, they could supply the deficiency by digging up the skulls of those ancestors who had courted expatriation from the old hemisphere, under the vivid hope of enjoying more ample freedom in the new."

The succeeding summer he devoted to his improvement in Paris, and returned, in the autumn of the same year, to his native country. He fixed his residence at Philadelphia, and at once began the practice of his profession, where he was soon established in business as a physician. 

In 1769, he was elected professor of chemistry in the college of Philadelphia. In 1789, he succeeded in the same institution to the chair of the theory and practice of medicine; vacated by the death of Dr. John Morgan. In 1791, the college having been elevated to the University of Pennsylvania, he was elected in this latter establishment professor of the institutes and practice of medicine and of clinical practice. In 1796, he received, on the resignation of Dr. Kuhn, the additional professorship of the practice of physic, which he held with the two preceding branches, though they required much laborious application, until the end of his life.

As a lecturer, Dr. Rush's manner was most agreeable and impressive. His talent for public speaking enabled him, by frequent extemporaneous elucidation, to relieve and enliven the details of the science which he taught. His lectures were nightly retouched and enhanced from the full stores of his observation and retentive memory. The zealous student hung on his accents whilst he spoke; 1and the loiterer was accustomed to watch for his varieties, his fervor, and his persuasiveness. When Dr. Rush began to lecture in the University of Pennsylvania, his medical class in that institution consisted of about twenty students: in the winter of 1812-13, at the last course he delivered, they amounted to four hundred and thirty. It is estimated that during his life he had given instruction to more than two thousand pupils, who propagated his principles and improvements in the science of medicine throughout the United States, and, in a few instances, to South America, the West Indies, and Europe. He was for many years one of the physicians of the Pennsylvania hospital, and contributed much to the usefulness of that institution, by his wise suggestions and ardent exertions in its behalf.

The medical career of Dr. Rush was like that of other successful practitioners, until the appearance of the yellow fever in Philadelphia, in 1793. This event exhibits the most busy scene of his professional life; by its trials, he acquired his most valuable reputation. This disease, as we have already remarked, appeared in Philadelphia, in 1762, and returned after a lapse of thirty-one years with frightful violence and fatality. It commenced the first week in August, and ended towards the close of October. The city was deserted by nearly all those whom wealth or health enabled to flee. The rank grass sprung up from the untrodden pavements; and the dying crawled from their sick-beds, and breathed their last in vain implorations after their abandoning kindred and friends. Dr. Rush was among those who staid to witness and to help in this awful calamity; and in one of the volumes of his lectures, has given a deeply interesting account of it. At one time, when not less than six thousand persons were prostrated with the disease, three practitioners only remained to administer to their necessities. From the 8th to the 15th of September, he visited and prescribed for about one hundred and twenty patients daily. His house was thronged by multitudes imploring his assistance. He was constrained by more pressing duty to fly himself from many of these, and even to drive through the streets with such speed as might secure him from interruption, or place him beyond the cries of his wretched petitioners. His sense of duty, his charity, and the force of that precept which he often used to inculcate in his lectures, "to dispute every inch of ground with death," were the incentives to his fearless conduct during that memorable pestilence. Had the love of pecuniary gain actuated him, the wealth he might have amassed from known instances of its offers, is almost incalculable. An opulent citizen tendered him a deed for one of his best houses in Market street, if he would attend his son who was lying ill. A captain of a vessel once took from his purse twenty pounds, offering them to him if he would pay his wife a single visit. A patient whom he had cured, directed, in his first feelings of gratitude, his desk to be opened, in which large sums were heaped, requesting that he would take a part or, if he pleased, the whole as his compensation. It need scarcely be added, that where it was in his power to attend the patient, he would only receive his regular professional charge. When the illustrious Zimmerman heard of the services of Dr. Rush during the yellow fever of '93, he wrote to a friend this enthusiastic praise: "Sa conduite a merite que non seulement la ville de Philadelphie, mais l'lmmanite entiere, lui eleve une statue." But Dr. Rush, himself, artlessly gave the best encomium on his services at this period, in a dream. Its moral makes it worthy of record, and calls to mind the classic authority of the divine origin of such visions. He was attacked with this same epidemic, and his life was despaired of; he providentially recovered, and whilst convalescent, told a friend who was watching at his bedside, that he thought in the sleep from which he had just awoke, a vast crowd of persons assembled before his front door, and besought him to come and visit their respective sick friends. True to his impressions from previous and trying days, he dreamed that he resisted their intreaties, and somewhat impatiently was about to turn from them and hurry into his carriage, when a poor woman ran forward to him, and, with outstretched hands, said, "O doctor! don't turn away from the poor! You were doomed to die of the yellow fever; but the prayers of the poor were heard by heaven, and have saved your life!" This dream may have increased his fondness for Boerhave's immortal sentiment, that "the poor were his best patients, for God was their paymaster."

The services of Dr. Rush, before and during the war of the revolution, were conspicuous and valuable. He wrote indefatigably in favor of American independence; and, along with John Adams, he persuaded Thomas Paine to undertake with his pen the defence of the colonies. He suggested to Paine the words "Common Sense," as the title of his first political paper. In June, 1776, he was a member of the provincial conference which met in Philadelphia, and on the 23d of that month moved the appointment of a committee to draft an address expressive of the sense of the conference respecting the independence, of the American colonies. Dr. Rush, who, with James Smith and Thomas McKean, had been appointed for this purpose, the next day reported a declaration, which was adopted in the conference, and presented to the American congress the day after. This declaration, similar even in its phraseology, anticipated almost the whole of the Declaration of Independence. It may be found, together with the preceding facts, in the first volume of the Journal of the house of representatives of Pennsylvania. Immediately after this, he was chosen a member of the American congress of '76, and on the 4th day of July, in that year, signed the memorable charter of his country's freedom.

In 1777, he was appointed for the middle department, physician-general of the military hospitals; and, as such, attended his wounded countrymen at the battles of Princeton and Brandywine. In 1787, he was a member of the convention of Pennsylvania for the adoption of the federal constitution. In a letter to a friend in a distant state, dated in October of the same year, he says, "The new federal government will be adopted by our state. It is a masterpiece of human wisdom, and happily accommodated to the present state of society. I now look forward to a golden age. The new constitution realizes every hope of the patriot, and rewards every toil of the hero. My fellow-citizens insist on putting me in the state convention, which will meet on the last Tuesday in next month. Will my mind bear such numerous, complicated, and opposite studies and occupations? I love my country ardently, and have not been idle in promoting her interests during the session of the convention. Every thing published in all our papers, except 'The Foreign Spectator,' during the whole summer, was the effusion of my federal principles. Since the convention has risen, I have been followed by many writers who have great merit. I enclose you some of my paragraphs from Hall and Seller's paper, to be republished in your state." When this convention adjourned, and the plan of the federal constitution was published, he was actively engaged at frequent meetings with the members of the legislature, in fixing the outlines of a new form of state government. 

After the establishment of the federal government, he withdrew altogether from public life and political occupations; devoting himself exclusively to the duties of his profession, its cheerful studies, and its social services. Although the history of his country, and the brief allusion we have made to it, enroll Dr. Rush amongst its pure and efficient patriots, it is as a skilful, humane, and accomplished healer of diseases, that he is to this day most vividly remembered; it is as a medical and moral writer, who so often "adorned" what he "touched," that his memory comes frequently and gratefully to an after age.

Dr. Rush was a public writer for forty-nine years, from the nineteenth to the sixty-eighth year of his age and a public teacher of medicine, from the age of twenty-four, to the end of his life. The brief limit of his present biography, allows but a general notice of the system of medicine which he taught. It differed materially from those of Hoffman, Cullen, and Brown. His chief medical principle was to attend to the state of the system, under every circumstance of age, idiosyncrasy, epidemic, and climate, and prescribe accordingly. He rejected the nosological classification of diseases, upon the ground that they comprehended under their nomenclature an aggregate of variable phenomena, for which remedies varying according to the symptoms of the patient, rather than uniform· rules of practice, were to be preferred. He was assured of the efficacy of this system, by an experience, which, in extensive and successful contention with disease, could not have been surpassed. Time, with its proverbial discernment, has adopted his improvements in medicine as familiar truths, and rewards him who taught them with its lasting honor. He also first believed in and promulgated the domestic origin of the yellow fever, a doctrine greatly opposed by his medical contemporaries, and the community in which he lived. Time, in this instance also, has affixed to his opinion the seal of its practical truth. Dr. Chirvin, who, by the direction of the French government, lately collected the opinions of the medical profession in America as to the contagion of the yellow fever, ascertained the ratio of non-contagionists to be five hundred and sixty-seven, to twenty-eight contagionists.

The space allotted to the present biographical notice of Dr. Rush, will not allow a full enumeration of his printed works. The principal of these are, Medical Inquiries and Observations, in four volumes; a volume of Essays, literary, moral, and philosophical; a volume of Lectures, introductory, for the most part, to his course of lectures on the institutes and practice of medicine. He wrote an Inquiry into the effect of public punishments upon criminals and upon society; and soon afterwards, an Essay on the consistency of capital punishments with reason and revelation. His "Inquiry into the effects of ardent spirits upon the body and mind,': is written with all the force of his genius and knowledge. It was published in the form of a pamphlet, and distributed gratuitously among the poor. "Except,'' says one of his biographers, "Dr. Franklin's Way to Wealth, no small publication ever had a more extensive circulation, or did more good." His Essay on the influence of physical causes on the moral faculty, "has been,'' says the same authority, "universally admired as one of the most profound productions of modern times." The last work of Dr. Rush was "Medical Inquiries and Observations upon the Diseases of the Mind," "which," it has been said, " were all his other writings lost, would keep alive the memory of his usefulness." It has been pronounced at once a metaphysical treatise on human understanding; a physiological theory of organic and thinking life; a book of the best maxims to promote wisdom and happiness; in fine, a collection of classical, polite, poetical, and sound literature." He received, during his life, various testimonials of his meritorious services. The board of health of Philadelphia, gave him a massive piece of plate for his gratuitous attendance on the poor, during the epidemic of 1793. In 1805, he received from the king of Prussia a gold medal· for his replies to queries on the yellow fever. In 1807, the queen of Etruria presented him with a similar medal for a paper upon the same subject, written at her request. In 1811, he received a diamond ring of great value from the emperor of Russia, as a proof of that monarch's estimation of his medical character and writings. Through the cordiality of a friend, the latter gift was noticed with approbation in the newspapers of the day, and it is remembered that its notoriety gave positive annoyance to the honored and modest subject of it. He was a member of many foreign literary and scientific societies; and for the last sixteen years of his life, was treasurer of the mint of the United States.

Dr. Rush's social qualities were founded in the kindness of his heart, and brightene4 by the polish that his intellect was constantly receiving. The sick found in him their friend and enlivener, as well as their physician. Superior minds sought him for pleasure and for profit. And at the mind of his inferiors, he hesitated not to knock for admission; for all of these, he believed, had something within, however small, that was worth his surveying. He was prompt to discern and assist the efforts of struggling merit, and was emphatically the friend of young men. His religious principles were practical and fervent, they were fostered by the purity and humility of his heart, in deeds of kindness and "good will to men," and in unabating reverence to the word and the ministers of God. To a friend who once asked him if he was not almost tired of promoting new societies he replied, "there is one more I wish to see established, and that is a Bible society." The term was practically unknown in this country, when he thus used it.

In January, 1776, he was married to Julia, the eldest daughter of Richard Stockton, of New Jersey, a member of the American congress of that year. The father and son-in-law were soon doubly united by the enduring national instrument to which they both set their names. Of this marriage, a widow and large family survived him,

Dr. Rush, in person, was above the. middle size, slender, and well proportioned. His forehead was prominent and finely shaped, his eyes blue and very expressive; the rest of his features were regular and comely. All his biographers have described his appearance as dignified and pleasing.

In the undiminished vigor of his mental faculties, in the fullest season of his activity, prosperity, and value, he was seized with an epidemic, termed typhus fever, then prevalent in Philadelphia, and died in that city, after a few days' illness, on the 19th of April, 1813, in the sixty-ninth year of his age. The community regretted his death as a public and serious, loss; and the poor-they who had always been his care, and whom he remembered in his dying words expressed into his house to touch his coffin ere it was laid in the earth. He was buried in Christ's Church graveyard; and with an imagination that foresaw so much, he has, in one of his lectures, spoken prophetically of his own tomb. "Medicine without principles," says he, "is a humble art, and a degrading profession. It reduces the physician to a level with the cook and the nurse, who administer to the appetites and the weakness of sick people. But directed by principles, it imparts the highest elevation to the intellectual and moral condition of man. In spite, therefore, of the obloquy with which they have been treated, let us resolve to cultivate them as long as we live. This, gentlemen, is my determination as long as I am able to totter to this chair; and if a tombstone be afforded after my death to rescue my humble name for a few years from oblivion, I ask no further addition to it, than that I was an advocate for principles in medicine.'" His wish has been fulfilled. A few months ago, the writer of the foregoing sketch saw on Dr. Rush's plain and grass-trodden tomb, the words of this desired "addition," traced by the pencil of some unknown pupil, friend, or admirer.

Source: Longacre, James B. & James Herring, National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans.  Philadelphia: American Academy of Fine Arts, 1834-1839


RUSH, Richard, 1780-1859, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, statesman, diplomat, lawyer.  Founding member, 1816, and Vice-President, 1833-1840, of the American Colonization Society.  Son of abolitionist Benjamin Rush. 

(Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, p. 350; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 2, p. 231; Staudenraus, P. J. The African Colonization Movement, 1816-1865. New York: Columbia University Press, 1961, p. 30)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

RUSH, Richard, statesman. b. in Philadelphia, 29 Aug., 1780; d. there, 30 July, 1859, was graduated at Princeton in 1797, and admitted to the bar of Philadelphia in 1800, and early in his career won distinction by his defence of William Duane, editor of the “Aurora,” on a charge of libelling Gov. Thomas McKean. He became solicitor of the guardians of the poor of Philadelphia in 1810, and attorney-general of Pennsylvania in 1811, comptroller of the U. S. treasury in November of the same year, and in 1814-'17 was U. S. attorney-general. He became temporary U. S. secretary of state in 1817, and was then appointed minister to England, where he remained till 1825, negotiating several important treaties, especially that of 1818 with Lord Castlereagh respecting the fisheries, the north west boundary-line, conflicting claims beyond the Rocky mountains, and the slaves of American citizens that were carried off on British ships, contrary to the treaty of Ghent. He was recalled in 1825 to accept the portfolio of the treasury which had been offered him by President Adams, and in 1828 he was a candidate for the vice-presidency on the ticket with Mr. Adams. In 1829 he negotiated in Holland a loan for the corporations of Washington, Georgetown, D. C., and Alexandria, Va. He was a commissioner to adjust a boundary dispute between Ohio and Michigan in 1835, and in 1836 was appointed by President Jackson a commissioner to obtain the legacy of James Smithson (q. v.), which he left to found the Smithsonian institution. The case was then pending in the English chancery court, and in August, 1838, Mr. Rush returned with the amount, $508,318.46. He was minister to France in 1847-'51, and in 1848 was the first of the ministers at that court to recognize the new republic, acting in advance of instruction from his government. Mr. Rush began his literary career in 1812, when he was a member of the Madison cabinet, by writing vigorous articles in defence of the second war with England. His relations with John Quincy Adams were intimate, and affected his whole career. He became an anti-Mason in 1831, in 1834 wrote a powerful report against the Bank of the United States, and ever afterward co-operated with the Democratic party. He was a member of the American philosophical society. His publications include “Codification of the Laws of the United States” (5 vols., Philadelphia, 1815); “Narrative of a Residence at the Court of London from 1817 till 1825” (London, 1833); a second volume of the same work, “Comprising Incidents, Official and Personal, from 1819 till 1825” (1845; 3d ed., under the title of the “Court of London from 1819 till 1825, with Notes by the Author's Nephew,” 1873); “Washington in Domestic Life,” which consists of personal letters from Washington to his private secretary, Col. Tobias Lear, and some personal recollections (1857); and a volume of “Occasional Productions, Political, Diplomatic, and Miscellaneous, including a Glance at the Court and Government of Louis Philippe, and the French Revolution of 1848,” published by his sons (1860). Appletons’ Cyclopædia of American Biography, 1888.


RUSSWURM, John Brown, 1799-1851, African American, anti-slavery newspaper editor.  Co-editor of Freedom’s Journal, with Samuel Cornish.  Became senior editor in 1827.  Freedom’s Journal was the first newspaper in the United States to be owned, edited and published by African Americans.  Later, editor of Rights of All.  Governor of Maryland in Liberia, the colony of the Maryland State Colonization Society. 

(Campbell, 1971, pp. 50-52, 90-91, 114, 122-125, 127-130, 132-134, 136-137, 141-145, 152, 165; Dumond, 1961, p. 329; Sagarin, 1970; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 2, p. 253; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 19, p. 117.)


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