Stephen Pearl Andrews

On this date in 1812, abolitionist Stephen Pearl Andrews was born in Massachusetts. His father was a Baptist minister. Andrews was educated at Amherst, studied law in Louisiana, and moved with his bride to Houston, Texas, with the intent to work to make Texas a "free" (antislavery) state. In 1843, the outspoken abolitionist was mobbed and barely escaped the state with his life. Andrews lectured against slavery in England, seeking help from the British Antislavery Society. By 1847, he had moved to New York where he became an expert in phonography. Reputedly studying more than 30 languages, Andrews was considered the leading Chinese scholar in the United States, and published "Discoveries in Chinese" in 1854. According to freethought biographer Samuel Putnam, Andrews proposed a "unity of law in the universe," a principle he felt applied to science, philosophy and language. Accordingly, Andrews invented a universal language, "Alwato." The prolific tract writer, whose diverse subjects ranged from "Love, Marriage and Divorce" to "Ideological Etymology," was a regular contributor to the leading freethought newspaper, The Truth Seeker. D. 1886.

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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