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The voice of freedom. [volume] : (Montpelier, Vt.) 1839-1848
Alternative Titles:
  • Voice
  • Voice of freedom
Place of publication:
Montpelier, Vt.
Geographic coverage:
  • Brandon, Rutland, Vermont  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
  • Montpelier, Washington, Vermont  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Dates of publication:
  • Began January 5, 1839; ceased with volume 10, number 11 (August 30, 1848).
  • English
  • Antislavery movements--Vermont--Newspapers.
  • Antislavery movements.--fast--(OCoLC)fst00810800
  • Brandon (Vt.)--Newspapers.
  • Montpelier (Vt.)--Newspapers.
  • Vermont--Brandon.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01214455
  • Vermont--Montpelier.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01208013
  • Vermont--Newspapers.
  • Vermont.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204305
  • "Published under the sanction of the Vermont Anti-Slavery Society," masthead, <January 19, 1839-December 28, 1839>
  • "The inviolability of individual rights is the only security of public liberty," masthead, <June 29, 1843>-October 21, 1847.
  • Anti-slavery. Cf. Child, H. Gazetteer ... of Rutland, Vt.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Volume 1, number 3 (January 19, 1839).
  • Editors: C.L. Knapp, <1839-1841>; C.C. Burleigh <June 1842>-June 27, 1843; J. Holcomb <June 29, 1843>-1848.
  • Latest issue consulted: Volume 10, number 11 (August 30, 1848).
  • Publishers: J. Holcomb <June 29, 1843>-1848; W.C. Conant, 1848.
sn 84022687
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The voice of freedom. [volume] January 19, 1839 , Image 1


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The Voice of Freedom

In 1839, the Vermont Anti-Slavery Society established a four-page weekly, the Voice of Freedom, to communicate with its members and to spread the word about the importance of ending slavery. The paper’s original publishers, Joseph Poland and Emery A. Allen, departed after the first year, and the society’s executive committee provided oversight until 1843, when Jedidiah Holcomb assumed control. The first two editors were well-known antislavery activists. Chauncey L. Knapp, a political reformer and former editor of the anti-Masonic State Journal, edited the Voice from 1839 until the end of 1841. After a hiatus during the first six months of 1842, Charles C. Burleigh, an antislavery agent, lecturer and journalist, edited the paper until the end of June 1843.

Jedidiah Holcomb was a blacksmith who was active in the Vermont Anti-Slavery Society. He began his involvement with the paper as a member of the society’s executive committee, and apparently assumed the duties of publisher at the same time that Burleigh became the editor. When Burleigh returned to Pennsylvania in 1843, Holcomb relocated the paper from Montpelier to his hometown of Brandon. The Concord, New Hampshire, antislavery paper, the Herald of Freedom, welcomed “the sturdy blacksmith” and predicted that as an editor, Holcomb “will strike when the iron is hot.” In Brandon, Holcomb initially shared space and printing equipment with the Vermont Telegraph, which evolved from a Baptist paper into a platform for a variety of radical reforms under Orson S. Murray. Holcomb joined forces with David S. Murray, Orson’s brother, to publish and print the Voice until they ended their partnership in 1844. Holcomb served as publisher and editor, with periodic editorial assistance from William G. Brown, until 1848.

Although only the first volume survives from the years when Knapp and Burleigh edited the paper, the extant issues and Voice of Freedom articles reprinted in other antislavery papers indicate that the Voice included speeches; minutes of national, state, and local antislavery meetings; editorials and correspondence; event announcements; reports on slavery; updates on political and legislative actions; and literary selections with antislavery themes. While much of the content was generated locally, articles were also reprinted from exchange newspapers. Holcomb expanded the content to cover other reform concerns, as well as the development of internal improvements and industry in Vermont. The Voice supported Vermont’s antislavery Liberty Party until 1845, when Holcomb announced that the paper would discontinue support for a single party. In 1846, several Vermont newspapers remarked on the Voice’s support for Whig candidates.

In June 1848, Holcomb announced that he was taking a leave of absence because of financial problems, and in July, William C. Conant became the editor and publisher of the Voice. In September, Conant changed the paper’s name to the Vermont Union Whig. The new name demonstrated Conant’s intention to publish a paper that would promote Whig principles and “a spirit of conciliation and harmony” rather than the “factious radicalism” that he associated with the Voice of Freedom.

Provided by: University of Vermont