Elijah Lovejoy Papers Series 1 Letters
Illinois State Historical Library

Letter from Elijah Lovejoy to Joseph Lovejoy, July 30, 1836

Letter 9 of 11
from the Memoir of the Reverend E. P. Lovejoy, pp. 181-183

Elijah Lovejoy Letters


Alton, (Illinois,) July 30th, 1836

Dear Brother Joseph,

By the Alton Telegraph, which I send you today, you will learn that I have had the honour of being mobbed at last. I have been expecting the catastrophe for some time, and now it has come.

The "Observer" will have informed you of the immediate cause of the outrage. Because I dared to comment upon the charge of Judge Lawless--an article so fraught with mischief and falsehood; the mob, which I chose to call his officials, tore down my office. What a comment upon the freedom of our institutions!

The act was the more mean and dastardly, inasmuch as I had previously determined to remove the office of the "Observer" to this place, and had made all my arrangements accordingly, and had so stated in the number of the paper issued previous to the act of the mob.

You will also see that on my arrival here, a few miscreants undertook to follow the example of St. Louis, and so demolished what was left of the printing office. However, they met with but little countenance here. Thus the whole of the "St. Louis Observer" is destroyed. Not, however, until by the influence it has exerted, it has paid for itself, as I think. It has kindled up a fire in Missouri, that will never go out, until Popery and Slavery are extinct. And, moreover, I hope its very death will tell with effect upon the cause of human rights and religious liberty.

Tell my dear mother, that I am no whit discouraged. I feel myself standing on the broad basis of eternal justice, and so long as I stand there, full well do I know, that all the hosts of hell cannot prevail against me. I have found God a very present help in this my time of need. He has gloriously fulfilled his promises, and held me up, so that I have been astonished at the little effect produced upon my feelings by these outrages. But I determined when He carried me through last fall, that I would never again distrust Him.

Though cast down, I am not destroyed, nor in the least discouraged; and am now busily engaged in endeavouring to make arrangements for starting the "Observer" again. I think I shall succeed. I do believe the Lord has yet a work for me to do in contending with his enemies, and the enemies of humanity. I have got the harness on, and I do not intend to lay it off, except at His command.

What is said in the resolutions at the public meeting here about Abolitionism, and all that , is all for effect. I told them, and told the truth, that I did not come here to establish an Abolition paper, and that in the sense they understood it, I was no Abolitionist, but that I was the uncompromising enemy of Slavery, and so expected to live, and so to die.

My health is good, and so is John's. My dear wife is sick with a fever, but I think she is recovering. The babe is well. Give my love to all. Tell sister Sarah I wish she would write to me. Tell all to write. I am so very busy that I can write no more.

Your affectionate brother,

Elijah P. Lovejoy

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