An introduction to the defence of Abner Kneeland, charged with blasphemy; before the municipal court in Boston, Mass. Abner Kneeland.
An introduction to the defence of Abner Kneeland, charged with blasphemy; before the municipal court in Boston, Mass
An introduction to the defence of Abner Kneeland, charged with blasphemy; before the municipal court in Boston, Mass
An introduction to the defence of Abner Kneeland, charged with blasphemy; before the municipal court in Boston, Mass

Channing, Alcott, Garrison, and Emerson, petitioners

An introduction to the defence of Abner Kneeland, charged with blasphemy; before the municipal court in Boston, Mass

Boston: printed for the publisher, 1834. 12mo, pp. 43, [1]; bound with: Dunlap, Andrew. A Speech Delivered Before the Municipal Court of the City of Boston, in Defence of Abner Kneeland, on an Indictment for Blasphemy. Boston: Printed for the publisher, 1834. Pp. 132 (lacking the gathering for pp. 25-36 with a contemporary manuscript note on top margin "here is a loss of 12 pages, through the carelessness of the binder"); contemporary blue paper wrappers, 6 pages bound in back with newspaper clippings presenting the argument of Charles G. Greene defending his decision as juror tipped in. Ex-library, with call number on upper wrapper and residue of bookplate on upper cover; very good. Kneeland (1774-1847), a Universalist clergyman and antitheist, "became leader of a group known as the First Society of Free Enquirers, lectured frequently on Rationalism, and in 1831 began to expound his pantheistic views in the Boston Investigator, probably the first Rationalist journal in the United States. In the first issue of Dec. 20, 1833, he used language and illustrative material which led to his indictment for publishing 'a certain scandalous, impious, obscene, blasphemous and profane libel of and concerning God.' Tried in January 1834, he was convicted, but appealed. In two further trials the juries disagreed, but conviction was again secured at the fourth trial, November term, 1835. The appeal was postponed from term to term until 1838, when James T. Austin, attorney-general of Massachusetts, obtained a confirmation of the judgement, and sentence of sixty days was pronounced ... [A] petition for pardon was signed by William Ellery Channing ... A. Bronson Alcott ... Theodore Parker ... William Lloyd Garrison, and Ralph Waldo Emerson ... The committee took no action, however, and the sentence was enforced" (DAB). Kneeland would be the last American imprisoned for Blasphemy. In the spring of 1839, some months after his release from jail, Kneeland emigrated to Iowa, to the utopian colony which he named Salubria, founded in the name of the First Society of Free Enquirers. Item #54537

Price: $350.00

See all items in Americana, Language, Theology
See all items by