• John Brown's Secret Six Member Theodore Parker: "The arc of the moral universe is long, but bends towards justice"

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    THEODORE PARKER (1810-1860) was a Massachusetts based transcendentalist and reforming minister of the Unitarian Church, but his most significant contribution was likely being a member of the Secret Six, a group of men who helped finance John Brown’s raid on the federal armory at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, in October 1859. Several members of the Secret Six fled to avoid arrest after Brown’s failed raid. Parker was already in Italy, a guest of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

     

    Many considered Brown a terrorist and many have considered him insane. After his arrest, Parker wrote a public letter, “John Brown’s Expedition Reviewed,” arguing for the right of slaves to kill their masters and defending Brown’s actions.

     

    Parker created many quotes used by activists, such as Martin Luther King, Jr.  One of the most notable was “The arch of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”  

     

    One-page, 7 ¾ x 9 ¾ ALS, Boston, May 9, 1854, to Mr. Baker, signed Theo. Parker, and reading, “I had a very friendly letter from your Father inviting me to share your possibilities [?] in my visit to N.Y. But alas, a death has occurred among my friends which prevents my going to N.Y...so I must lose the pleasure I had hoped for in seeing your other friends. With the kindest regards to all believe me...”

     

    Very nice letter, inset within a larger border. Light toning.

     

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