An Age of Compromise and Crises, 1820-60


James Freeman Clarke (1810-1888) "The compromises & slavery": manuscript, undated.

Clarke was a Unitarian minister who attended Harvard College and studied at the Harvard Divinity School. While a minister in Louisville, Kentucky in the 1830s, he became editor of the Western Messenger and began publishing his antislavery views. At that time, he did not support immediate emancipation. Returning to Boston in 1840, he became a friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson, a member of the Transcendentalist Club, and throughout the 1840s was an ardent social activist and antislavery advocate. Initially viewing William Lloyd Garrison as a violent fanatic, he changed his mind as he began working with Boston abolitionists. In time Clarke declared slavery a violation of the tenets of Unitarianism.

MS Am 1569.8 (317) – Gift of Eliot C. Clarke, 1968.