According to William Ellery Channing National Literature Includes

According to William Ellery Channing National Literature Includes.

American Unitarian clergyman (1780–1842)

William Ellery Channing

Born (1780-04-07)vii April 1780

Newport, Rhode Island, U.S.

Died 2 October 1842(1842-ten-02)
(aged 62)

Old Bennington, Vermont, U.Due south.

Resting place Mount Auburn Cemetery Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
Teaching Harvard University
Occupation Unitarian preacher
Parent(s) William Channing
Lucy Ellery
Relatives William Ellery (gramps)
William Francis Channing (son)
William Ellery Channing (nephew)
William Henry Channing (nephew)
Appletons' Channing William Ellery signature.jpg

Reverend William Ellery Channing
past Gilbert Charles Stuart, c. 1815. Oil on canvas. Housed at De Young Museum.

William Ellery Channing
(Apr vii, 1780 – October ii, 1842) was the foremost Unitarian preacher in the Usa in the early nineteenth century and, along with Andrews Norton (1786–1853), one of Unitarianism’due south leading theologians. Channing was known for his articulate and impassioned sermons and public speeches, and as a prominent thinker in the liberal theology of the mean solar day. His organized religion and thought were amidst the primary influences on the New England Transcendentalists although he never countenanced their views, which he saw as extreme. His espousal of the developing philosophy and theology of Unitarianism was displayed especially in his “Baltimore Sermon”[1]
of May5, 1819, given at the ordination of the theologian and educator Jared Sparks (1789–1866) as the first minister of the newly organized First Independent Church of Baltimore.

Life and piece of work


Early life


Channing, the son of William Channing and Lucy Ellery, was born Apr7, 1780, in Newport, Rhode Island. He was a grandson of William Ellery (1727–1820), a signer of the United states Declaration of Independence, Deputy Governor of Rhode Island, Chief Justice, and influential citizen. Equally a kid, he was cared for by the formerly enslaved woman Duchess Quamino, who later influenced his views on abolitionism.[2]
He became a New England liberal, rejecting the Calvinist doctrines of total depravity and divine ballot.

Channing enrolled at Harvard Higher at a troubled time, peculiarly because of the recent French Revolution. He later wrote of these years:

College was never in a worse state than when I entered it. Society was passing through a most critical phase. The French Revolution had diseased the imagination and unsettled the understanding of men everywhere. The old foundations of social order, loyalty, tradition, addiction, reverence for antiquity, were everywhere shaken, if not subverted. The authority of the past was gone.[3]

Graduating kickoff in his class in 1798, he was elected kickoff speaker though he was prohibited by the Harvard College faculty from mentioning the Revolution and other political subjects in his address.[3]

Every bit theologian


In opposition to traditional American Calvinist orthodoxy, Channing preferred a gentle, loving relationship with God. He opposed Calvinism for

… proclaiming a God who is to be dreaded. We are told to love and imitate God, but also that God does things we would consider near cruel in any human parent, “were he to bring his children into life totally depraved and then to pursue them with countless punishment”

Channing 1957: 56.[four]

Channing’due south inner struggle continued through two years during which he lived in Richmond, Virginia, working every bit a tutor for David Meade Randolph. He came to his definitive organized religion only through much spiritual turmoil and difficulty. Channing was called equally pastor of the Federal Street Church in Boston in 1803, where he remained for the rest of his life. He lived through the increasing tension between religious liberals and conservatives and took a moderate position, rejecting the extremes of both groups. In 1809 he was elected a Swain of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[five]

In 1815 Channing engaged in a noted controversy on the principles of Unitarianism with Samuel Worcester, (1770–1821).[half-dozen]
A review of a pamphlet on American Unitarianism (American Unitarianism; or a Brief History of the Progress and Nowadays Land of the Unitarian Churches of America), attributed to Jeremiah Evarts, was published in
The Panoplist
in June 1815. Channing objected to the way Unitarians in the The states were portrayed in the review. Worcester replied to this objection, and an substitution of pamphlets followed.[7]

Notwithstanding his moderate position, Channing later became the main spokesman and interpreter of Unitarianism, after 16 years at Boston’s Federal Street Church. He was invited to come s again to Maryland to preach the ordination sermon of the future noted educator and theologian Jared Sparks (1789–1866), the first minister (1819–1823) called to the newly organized congregation (1817) in Baltimore known as the Kickoff Independent Church of Baltimore (located at West Franklin and North Charles Streets, in a landmark two-year-old construction designed past noted French émigré architect J. Maximilian 1000. Godefroy), afterwards known, after a merger with 2nd Universalist Church in 1935, as the Outset Unitarian Church of Baltimore (Unitarian and Universalist), which was forever later known as “The Baltimore Sermon”.[1]
The sermon, or address, was given on Wednesday, May5, 1819, and was entitled “Unitarian Christianity”. In information technology, he explicated the distinctive tenets of the developing Unitarian motility, one of which was the rejection of the Trinity. Other important tenets were the belief in homo goodness and the subjection of theological ideas to the light of reason. (The anniversary of the accost is celebrated and observed annually by the Maryland churches of the Unitarian Universalist Association and its Joseph Priestley District as “Marriage Sunday”, with occasional ecumenical guests from other Christian bodies.)

In 1828 he gave another famous ordination sermon, entitled “Likeness to God”. The idea of the human potential to exist like God, which Channing advocated as grounded firmly in scripture, was seen as heretical by the Calvinist religious institution of his day. It is in this address that Channing first advocated the possibility for revelation through reason rather than solely from Scripture.
American Philosophy: An Encyclopedia
classes him equally ane of several figures who “took a more pantheist or pandeist approach past rejecting views of God equally separate from the world.”[8]

Even at the terminate of his life he adhered to the non-Socinian conventionalities in the preexistence of Christ:

I have ever inclined to the doctrine of the preexistence of Christ, though am not insensible to the weight of your objections

Boston, March 31, 1832[9]

Afterwards years


In afterwards years Channing addressed the topic of slavery although he was never an ardent abolitionist. Channing wrote a book in 1835 entitled
Channing has, withal, been described as a romantic racist.[11]
He held a mutual American conventionalities near the inferiority of African people and slaves and held a belief that once freed, Africans would need overseers. The overseers (largely quondam slave masters) were necessary because the slaves would lapse into laziness. Furthermore, he did not bring together the abolitionist motion considering he did non agree with their style of conducting themselves, and he felt that voluntary associations limited a person’s autonomy. Therefore, he oftentimes chose to remain carve up from organizations and reform movements. This middle position characterized his mental attitude almost most questions although his eloquence and strong influence on the religious world incurred the enmity of many extremists. Channing had an enormous influence over the religious (and social) life of New England, and America, in the nineteenth century.

Toward the stop of his life Channing embraced immediate abolition. His evolving view of abolitionism was fostered by the success of British abolitionism in the British W Indies in 1834 and the absence of the expected social and economic upheaval in the mail-emancipated Caribbean.

In 1837, Channing published a pamphlet, in the class of an open letter to Senator Henry Clay, opposing the annexation of Texas, arguing that the revolution at that place was “criminal.”[12]

Channing wrote extensively well-nigh the emerging new national literature of the Usa, saying that national literature is “the expression of a nation’s listen in writing”, and “the concentration of intellect for the purpose of spreading itself away and multiplying its energy”.[13]



Channing died in Old Bennington, Vermont, where a cenotaph is placed in his memory. He is buried in Mountain Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts.[xiv]



Statue in Touro Park

Channing Memorial Church building

  • In 1880, a young Unitarian government minister in Newport, Charles Timothy Brooks, published a biography,
    William Ellery Channing, A Centennial Memory.
  • The Channing Memorial Church building[15]
    was built in Newport, Rhode Island in 1880 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth.
  • In 1885 the Channing School For Girls opened in London, primarily for the daughters of British Unitarian ministers.
  • A bronze statue of Channing by William Clark Noble was erected in 1892 in Newport’s Touro Park beyond from the Channing Memorial Church building.
  • A bronze statue of Channing by Herbert Adams was erected in 1903 on the edge of the Boston Public Garden, at Arlington St. and Boylston St. It stands across the street from the Arlington Street Church that he served (and from the Federal Street Church).
  • A portrait of him also hangs in the foyer of the Showtime Unitarian Church of Baltimore (Unitarian and Universalist) at North Charles and Due west Franklin Streets in Baltimore, Maryland, along with the aforementioned “Spousal relationship Sunday” annual celebration services in May.[
    commendation needed
  • Channing had a profound impact on the Transcendentalism movement though he never officially subscribed to its views. Withal, two of Channing’s nephews, Ellery Channing (1818–1901) and William Henry Channing (1810–1884), became prominent members of the motion.[
    citation needed

Image gallery


Come across as well


  • Federal Street Church (Boston)
  • William Francis Channing, his son



  1. ^



    “American Unitarian Briefing”.
    Unitarian Christianity
    . Retrieved
    13 February

  2. ^

    Mendelsohn, Jack (1971).
    Channing: The Reluctant Radical. Piffling, Brown & Co. p. 209. ISBN0-933-840-28-four.

  3. ^



    Broaddus, Dorothy C.
    Genteel Rhetoric: Writing High Culture in Nineteenth-Century Boston. Columbia, Southward Carolina: University of South Carolina, 1999: 22. ISBN 1-57003-244-0.

  4. ^

    Channing, William Ellery. “The Moral Argument Against Calvinism”. pp. 39–59 in
    Unitarian Christianity and Other Essays. Edited by Irving H. Bartlett. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill; 1957 [1820]. Cited in Finlan, Stephen. “Jesus in Atonement Theories”. In
    The Blackwell Companion to Jesus. Edited by Delbert Burkett. London: Blackwell; 2010: 21.

  5. ^

    “Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter C”
    (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved
    September 9,

  6. ^

    Wilson, J. Chiliad.; Fiske, J., eds. (1889).
    “Worcester, Noah, clergyman”.
    Appletons’ Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.

  7. ^

    Harris Elwood Starr (1936). “Worcester, Samuel”.
    Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Charles Scribner’due south Sons.

  8. ^

    John Lachs and Robert Talisse (2007).
    American Philosophy: An Encyclopedia. p. 310. ISBN978-0415939263.

  9. ^

    Memoir of William Ellery Channing: with extracts from his correspondence, Volume2 p.416

  10. ^


  11. ^

    Blackness Abolitionism: A Quest for Human Dignity, Beverly Eileen Mitchell, pp. 133–38

  12. ^

    Channing, William Ellery (1837).
    A letter to the Hon. Henry Dirt, on the looting of Texas to the Us. Boston: James Munroe and Company. pp. 7–10. Retrieved
    26 Feb

  13. ^

    Remarks on National Literature

  14. ^

    Mount Auburn Cemetery

  15. ^

    Channing Memorial Church

Farther reading


  • Amy Kittelstrom,
    The Religion of Democracy: Seven Liberals and the American Moral Tradition.
    New York: Penguin, 2015.
  • Prescott Browning Wintersteen,
    Christology in American Unitarianism: An Anthology of Outstanding Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Unitarian Theologians, with Commentary.
    Boston: The Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship, 1977.

External links


  • Channing biography at the Unitarian Universalist Clan
  • Channing Memorial Church in Newport, Rhode Island
  • Beginning Unitarian Church of Baltimore (Unitarian and Universalist).
  • Works by William Ellery Channing at Project Gutenberg
  • Works by or about William Ellery Channing at Cyberspace Archive
  • Making of America due east-texts of Channing’s collected works
  • Online works by Channing, including “Self-Civilization,” and “Likeness to God”
  • The personal papers including manuscripts, of William Ellery Channing along with papers related to his work at Federal Street Church building (now known every bit Arlington Street Church) are in the Harvard Divinity School Library at Harvard Divinity Schoolhouse in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • Portrait at National Portrait Gallery

According to William Ellery Channing National Literature Includes