Stephen Pearl Andrews

On this date in 1812, abolitionist Stephen Pearl Andrews was born in Templeton, Mass., the youngest of eight children of a Baptist minister and his wife. Andrews was educated at Amherst, studied law in Louisiana and moved with his bride to Houston with the intent to work to make Texas a “free” (anti-slavery) state. In 1843 he was mobbed and barely escaped with his life. He lectured against slavery in England, seeking help from the British Anti-slavery 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 U.S. 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 SeekerHe was also the author of several books on labor and wage theory and individualist anarchism. (D. 1886)

Freedom From Religion Foundation