Lecture Tours

Lecture Tours

“Liberal Publications,” “Home Prospects,” “Progress of Liberal Opinions.” The Correspondent, 4:9, 11-12, 16, 18 (Sept. 20, Oct. 4-11, Nov. 8, 22, 1828): 143-44, 174-75, 211, 268-71, 302-04. These articles are made up of reports of Benjamin Offen’s lecture tour through the northern and western parts of New York. Also featured is an address delivered by Offen in Utica.

Abner Kneeland. “[Lecture] Tour of the Editor.” The Boston Investigator, 281-285 (Aug. 12- Sept. 9, 1836). This is a series of letters chronicling Kneeland’s tour through the state of New York, with stops in, among other places, Skaneateles, Auburn, Seneca Falls, Waterloo, Geneva, Canandaigua, and Rochester.

“To the Friends of Free Enquiry.” Cleveland Liberalist, 1:1 (Sept. 10, 1836): 7. Underhill states that he has decided to publish a liberal paper since “there is not a liberal weekly west of Rochester,” and pledges to secure subscribers by lecturing throughout upstate New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois.

“Western Tour.” Cleveland Liberalist, 1:1-3, 5-6, 8, 10 (Sept. 10- Oct. 1, 15-22, Nov. 5, 19, 1836): 8, 12, 20-21, 35, 41-42, 58, 74

“Missionaries – Mr. Delazon Smith – The Watchman.” The Beacon (New Series), 1:13 (Feb. 15, 1840): 103-04. This article features extracts from a letter from Delazon Smith in which he advocates the employment of liberal missionaries to “extend the patronage of liberal papers; promote the spread of liberal intelligence . . . . [and] give boldness, energy, confidence and rapidity to the liberal public pulse; effect and cement the union of friends, and finally, obtain the requisite means for the establishment of the proposed [liberal] institution.”

“Missionary Objects.” The Beacon (New Series), 1:19 (Mar. 28, 1840): 151-52. Vale identifies the following as objects of a traveling liberal missionary: deliver liberal lectures, promote subscriptions to the U.S. Moral and Philosophical Society, promote the sale of liberal books and subscriptions to liberal papers, and assist in organizing libraries.

“Appointment of a Missionary or Traveling Liberal Lecturer.” The Beacon (New Series), 1:24 (May 2, 1840): 192. This is an announcement of Delazon Smith’s appointment as traveling lecturer and agent by the U.S. Moral and Philosophical Society.

“Mr. Del. Smith’s First Missionary Letter – His Success.” The Beacon (New Series), 1:31 (June 20): 247-48. Smith reports on his activities in Buffalo and Pittsburgh.

“Mr. Del. Smith’s Tour.” The Beacon (New Series), 1:34 (July 11, 1840): 271-72. Smith reports that his health is poor and details his travel plans through Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois and Michigan.

“Complete Success of Mr. Smith’s Mission.” The Beacon (New Series), 1:35 (July 18, 1841): 278-79. Smith reports his activities in Mt. Eaton, Canal Dover, Columbus, Springfield, and Dayton .

“Letter from Delazon Smith.” The Beacon (New Series), 1:40 (Aug. 22, 1840): 317-19. Reprinted from the Boston Investigator, Delazon provides an account of probable numbers of free enquirers in the cities he has visited. Delazon reports “tens of thousands of skeptics and liberalists throughout the western country.”

“Letter from Delazon Smith.” The Beacon (New Series), 1:41 (Aug. 29, 1840): 325-27. Smith reports on delivering lectures in Ohio, meeting William S. Bailey, the death of his son, being sick with cholera, and the upcoming annual convention of the U.S. Moral and Philosophical Society.

G.V. “Our Projected Journey through the State of New- York.” The Beacon (New Series), 2:44 (Sept. 18, 1841): 352.

The Editor’s Tour.” The Beacon (New Series), 2:48-51, 3:1-2 (Oct. 16-Nov. 6, Nov. 20-27, 1841): 384, 391-92, 400, 407-08, 7-8, 12. Vale reports on his activities in Hudson, Albany, Saratoga, Utica, Syracuse, Auburn, Sing Sing prison, Rochester, Pittsburgh, and reports delivering lectures on the following topics: astronomy and its application to revelation, ancient superstitions and modern science, life and writings of Thomas Paine, geology, and physiology.

Gilbert Vale. “Editor’s Tour.” The Beacon (Third Series), 2:28, 30-31 (May 25, June 8-15, 1844): 223-24, 237-39, 246-47. Vale reports on his tour through New London, Worcester, Boston and Newburyport to introduce his globe and transparent sphere.

“Mr. B. Offen.” The Beacon (Third Series), 2:45 (Sept. 21, 1844): 360. Offen details his stop in Haverstraw, New York.

Gilbert Vale. “Our Second Recent Tour to the East.” The Beacon (Third Series), 2:42 (Aug. 31, 1844): 329. Vale reports on his trip to New Haven where he delivered four lectures on astronomy, illustrated by Russell’s planetarium and his globe and sphere.

“Mr. Offen’s Tour.” The Beacon (Third Series), 2:48 (Oct. 12, 1844): 383. Vale provides a brief account of Offen’s visit to Union Springs, N.Y.. There is also a letter from Charles Farnham, “a medical man,” reporting that Offen’s health is poor and his recommendation that Offen terminate his tour.

Elijah Woodworth. “Journal of a Western Liberal Lecturer.” The Boston Investigator, 914-16, 918-20, 923, 925, 932, 939, 943, 945, 948 (Nov. 29- Dec. 13, 27, 1848; Jan. 3- 10, 31, Feb. 14, Apr. 4, May 23, June 20, July 4, 25 1849). Woodworth states that his “object is to give a general view of our cause in the various localities I visit, and also some of the circumstances that occur to me in my enterprise as a Liberal Lecturer.” This series of letters documents his journey through Ohio and Michigan, while the circumstances he confronts include everything from mobs with eggs and death threats to “fair and manly discussions” with the clergy concerning the authenticity of the bible.

G.V. “Tales of a Liberal Missionary, Founded on Facts.” Independent Beacon, 1:4, 7, 10, 13 (Sept., Nov., Dec., 1849; Feb. 1850): 120-22, 213-17, 312-14, 400-06.  Under this title appear tales from Vale’s liberal lecturing tour during the summer of 1841.

Elijah Woodworth. “Journal of a Western Liberal Lecturer.” The Boston Investigator, 1047-49, 1053, 1057, 1060, 1065-71, 1087, 1090, 1093, 1097, 1104, 1108, 1115, 1122, 1157, 1160 (June 18- July 2, 30, Aug. 27, Sept. 17, Oct. 22- Dec. 3, 1851; Mar. 24, Apr. 14, May 5, June 2, July 21, Aug. 18, Oct. 6, Nov. 24, 1852; July 27, Aug. 17, 1853). Under this title appears 23 letters documenting Woodworth’s travels mostly through towns in Ohio, from Akron, Ashfield and Benton to Salem, Shelby and Sullivan. The last two letters cover his travels in parts of Wisconsin.

“Joseph Barker’s Lectures,” “Letters from Joseph Barker,” and “Joseph Barker’s Letters.” The Boston Investigator, 1267-68, 1274, 1278, 1290, 1295, 1306 (Sept. 5-12, Oct. 24, Nov. 21, 1855; Feb. 13, Mar. 19, June 4, 1856). Barker reports on lectures delivered in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, New York and Nebraska on the bible, the law of progress, Jesus and the French Revolution.

“A Letter from Joseph Barker.” The Boston Investigator, 1425, 1432, 1436, 1446-47, 1450, 1454 (Sept. 15, Nov. 3, Dec. 1, 1858; Feb. 9-16, Mar. 9, Apr. 6, 1859). Barker reports on his lectures in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia on topics such as temperance, social progress, the bible question, and the French Revolution. Lecturing in Pen Yan, New York on “What can you give us in exchange for the Bible?” Barker answered, “better instructions in matters of science, better principles of Government, better laws for the State, better rules of conduct for private and social life, better histories, better examples, and better domestic and civil institutions.” Barker concludes his letter, “Religion is doomed. It depends for its existence on ignorance and credulity, and both are rapidly diminishing. Never did science advance or spread so rapidly as now; and its advance or spread are the destruction of religious faith.”

“Letter from Joseph Barker.” The Boston Investigator, 1466, 1481, 1494 (June 29, Oct. 12, 1859; Jan. 11, 1860): 73, 197, 301. Barker reports on lectures in Indiana, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island and comments on how he has “met with quite a number of intelligent, kind, and very agreeable friends. This wandering missionary life, after all, is not without its pleasures. It is rather annoying to meet with so much meanness from ignorant, self-conceited bigots, and to be abused eternally by the interested or misguided advocates of superstition; and it is no light matter to have to forego so often and so long the dear delights of home; but the hearty welcome, the kind attentions, and the cheerful co-operation of friends, together with the success of one’s labors, make these trials tolerable.”

Joseph Treat. “Report of Labor.” The Boston Investigator, 1544 (Dec. 26, 1860): 283. Treat reports delivering sixteen lectures in school-houses in the vicinity of Factoryville, New York. Treat notes that he challenges his audience to discuss the following questions, which he takes the affirmative on: “Is the Bible good for nothing? and “Is the Bible an infinite curse to mankind?”

Joseph Treat. “Report of Labor.” The Boston Investigator, 1553-54 (Feb. 27-Mar. 6, 1861): 353-54, 361-62. Treat provides accounts of his lectures and debates in Halsey Valley, Pen Yan, Italy Hill, Warsaw, Bradford Hollow, Hammondsport and Savona, New York.

Stephen J.W. Tabor. “Infidel Lectures.” The Boston Investigator, 1570 (June 26, 1861): 73. Tabor provides accounts of his lectures, debates and “liberal conventions” held in Dubuque, Olive and Rochester, Iowa and Como and Oregon, Illinois.

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