Nathaniel Peabody Rogers

nathaniel peabody rogers


Nathaniel Rogers was a radical abolitionist from New Hampshire. From 1835-1846 he published The Herald of Freedom in Concord, NH.. He was born in Plymouth NH in 1794, went to Dartmouth, and practiced law for twenty years. A brilliant if eccentric stylist of occasional prose, his pen was alternately scathing and lyrical. He was among the most radical proponents of a set of early-nineteenth-century liberatory reforms, including anti-slavery, antinomian protestant Christianity, anarchism, pacifism, Indian rights, economic justice, and total abstention from alcohol.

Men better be without tongues and organs and powers, than not use them sovereignly. If it be not safe to entrust self-government of speech to mankind, there had better not be any mankind. Slavery is worse than non-existence. A society involving it is worse than none. The earth had better go unpeopled than inhabited by vassals.
Nathaniel Peobody Rogers, from the essay "Speech"

Of Mr. Rogers, as a writer, I need say little. He sets down things just as he sees and feels them; using words not because others do, or do not use them, but because they are just the medium - the atmosphere - through which others can see what he is looking at, just as he sees it. In one word, his style is his own, and nobody's else. Transparency, purity, simplicity, earnestness and force will be seen to characterize whatever he writes; and when the reader has finished one of his paragraphs, the last question that he will ask himself will be, "Well, now, what does all that mean?"
Jno. Pierpont

When, on a certain occasion, one said to him, 'Why do you go about as you do, agitating the community on the subject of abolition? Jesus Christ never preached abolitionism:' he replied, 'Sir, I have two answers to your appeal to Jesus Christ. First, I deny your proposition, that he never preached abolition. That single precept of his 'Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them' reduced to practice, would abolish slavery over the whole earth in twenty-four hours. That is my first answer. I deny your proposition. Secondly, granting your proposition to be true, and admitting what I deny, that Jesus Christ did not preach the abolition of slavery, then I say, 'he didn't do his duty.'
Henry David Thoreau


This site aims to start publishing his writings and writings about him.

writings of nathaniel rogers

reply to a correspondent a classic statement of rogers' individualism and commitment to basic humanity


from 1838: the unconstitutionality of slavery

the anti-slavery movement, an amazingly radical essay from 1845

the great question of the age

tilling the ground

cobbett's american gardener


rhode island meeting (with a portrait of frederick douglass)




church and state


the rights of animals



ichabod bartlett - osceola, an essay on indian rights


from the national anti-slavery standard: colored convention


it rains

ground birds

the amistad

an address to the concord (nh) female anti-slavery society (from cornell university library, samuel j. may anti-slavery collection)

letters from the old man of the mountain, odd and humorous observations by a new hampshire natural landmark, now collapsed, from horace greeley's new york tribune

writings about nathaniel rogers

chapter on rogers from lewis perry's radical abolitionism: anarchy and the government of god in antislavery thought

sketch from parker pillsbury's acts of the anti-slavery apostles

biographical sketch by jno. pierpont

henry david thoreau on the herald of freedom

john greenleaf whittier on nathaniel rogers

crispin sartwell: non-resistance, abolitionism, and anarchism


the antislavery literature project

samuel j. may anti-slavery collection, cornell university