Lovejoy founds the Observer
In March 1832, after experiencing a religious reawakening, Elijah Lovejoy enrolled at Princeton Seminary. He decided the Times didn't meet the needs of his new-found faith. He completed his seminary studies in a record 13 months. After spending a few months in Rhode Island and New York. Elijah Lovejoy returned to St. Louis at the request of Christian business who had wanted to start a newspaper that would promote "religion, morality and education."
After 10 days, Elijah Lovejoy printed the first edition of the Observer. The first issues concerned basically religious issues; "Original Sin," "The Missionary Enterprise." "Report of the Fourth Annual Meeting of the Illinois Sunday School Union," and smaller news items about religious activity around the nation With the Observer, Elijah Lovejoy found a forum to express his Christian beliefs, and at the same time, a way in which he could affect public opinion through Journalism. At first, Elijah Lovejoy showed little interest in the slavery issue.
What seems to have prompted Elijah Lovejoy's first strong stand was a statement in the newspaper he formerly owned, the St. Louis Times calling for mob action against a woman who started a Sunday school for slaves. While Elijah Lovejoy was not an abolitionist at this point, he sided with the need to educate slaves: "Bind their bodies in whatever chains you please . . . they have souls as precious as those of their master." This marks the beginning of his moral passion against slavery. It is clear Elijah Lovejoy realized the fundamental immorality of slavery and its contradiction to Christian ethics.
In the beginning, Elijah Lovejoy avoided a radical stand. Instead of associating with the abolitionists, who called for an immediate end to slavery, Lovejoy sided with those who wanted a slow transition. A few months A few months before is marriage to Celia Ann French, on March 4, 1835, Elijah Lovejoy attended a meeting of the Presbyterian Synod of Missouri and was among a minority of evangelists who publicly supported freedom os slaves. At the same time, his newspaper was talking in plainer language with almost every issue. Slavery was a controversial issue, especially in Missouri, which was a slave state.
Slowly, pressure mounted for Elijah Lovejoy to ease up on the slavery issue. One of the top officers of the First Presbyterian Church in St. Louis frequently visited Lovejoy during the summer following his marriage and urged him to stop writing about slavery. He said that Elijah Lovejoy was in real danger of action by a mob.
The murder of Francis McIntosh, a free Negro, prompted Elijah Lovejoy to intensify his arguments against slavery. McIntosh had been arrested unfairly and then burned to death by mob hysteria. Lovejoy was deeply moved and depressed by all this: “We stood and gazed for a moment or two upon the blackened and mutilated trunk—for that was all which remained—of McIntosh before us, and as we turned away, in bitterness of heart we prayed that we might not love.” In the next issue of the Observer, Elijah Lovejoy referred to the job action as “"savage barbarity.” In a bizarre set of events, Judge Lawless, who presided over the murder proceedings of McIntosh, told the murder proceedings of McIntosh, told the grand jury not find anyone guilty of the McIntosh slaying, and then he proceeded to blame Elijah Lovejoy for what happened.
This event unquestionably changed Elijah Lovejoy's courses. He responded as one would expect. He said eh would rather “be changed to the same tree as McIntosh and share his fate" than to accept the ideas of Lawless. Elijah Lovejoy went on to say that the answer to jobs is to enforce the laws—until then mobs will continue to "destroy, plunder and burn.” Between irritating the job members—which were a majority of the citizens—and various religious groups, Elijah Lovejoy had angered almost every powerful group and person in St. Louis. Because of fear or mob action, particularly to his wife and newborn son, Elijah Lovejoy decided to move the Observer to Alton.
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