Horace Seaver

On this date in 1810, Horace Seaver was born in Boston. At age 28, he became a compositor at The Boston Investigator and learned the craft of printing. Seaver also began writing editorials under the name "Z." The Investigator had been launched in 1830 by Abner Kneeland as a weekly, becoming the most effective and prominent freethought newspaper in the U.S., continuously published until 1904 when it merged with The Truth Seeker. When Kneeland, who had been prosecuted for blasphemy more than once, resigned, Seaver was selected to become its editor.

He edited the paper for the next half-century, promoting freethought, the working class and other secular reforms. He wrote Occasional Thoughts of Horace Seaver from Fifty Years of Free Thinking (1888). When his freethinking wife died, Seaver held a "social funeral," an innovative model of the modern secular memorial service. When Seaver himself died, his funeral oration was given by the great 19th-century freethinker Robert G. Ingersoll. D. 1889.

“We have secured some political freedom — I mean for such of us as have white complexions and are sound in the faith — but with regard to mental freedom, we are to the present hour almost literally in bondage to this potent spell, Authority. Men and women really dare not think for themselves, because they are fearful of some book or some church, some sect or some creed, that stands in the way.”

—Remarks by Seaver at the Free Convention in Rutland, Vermont (July 21, 1858)

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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