The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Leavitt, Joshua
LEAVITT, Joshua, an American journalist, born in Heath, Mass., Sept. 8, 1794, died in Brooklyn, N. Y., Jan. 16, 1873. He graduated at Yale college in 1810, and, after teaching in Wethersfield, Conn., studied law in Northampton, Mass., was admitted to the bar in 1819, and in 1821 began to practise in Putney, Vt. In 1823 he commenced the study of theology at New Haven, and in 1825 was ordained pastor in Stratford, Conn. The same year he wrote for the “Christian Spectator” a series of articles against slavery. In 1828 he removed to New York to become secretary of the seamen's friend society. In 1831 he became editor and proprietor of the “New York Evangelist,” founded to advocate the new school opinion in regard to revivals; and he reported for this journal the lectures of the Rev. Charles G. Finney, which were republished in England and translated into French and Welsh. The views advocated in the “Evangelist” led to the formation of the New School Presbyterian church in 1837. He aided in organizing the New York anti-slavery society in 1833, and was a member of its executive committee, as well as of that of the national anti-slavery society in which it was merged. He was one of the leading abolitionists who were obliged to fly for a time from the city to escape mob violence. In 1837 he became editor of the “Emancipator,” which he removed to Boston in 1841. He there also issued the “Daily Chronicle,” the earliest daily anti-slavery paper. From 1840 he endeavored to form an anti-slavery party, and he was the chairman of the national committee of the liberty party from 1844 to 1847, and supported their nominees for the presidency in 1844, 1848, and 1852. In 1848 he became managing editor of the “Independent” newspaper, for which he continued to write until a few days before his death. In 1819 he organized in Heath, Mass., the earliest Sunday school in that part of the country. He was the first lecturer sent out by the American temperance society, and delivered the first temperance lecture ever given in New Haven. He edited a series of school readers which were largely used, and the “Christian Lyre,” the first hymn book published in America with the notes attached.