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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Francis Ellingwood Abbot, romantic.

Okay, Unitarian Universalist history buffs and seminarians, remember Francis Ellingwood Abbot? If you've read Stow Persons's Free Religion: An American Faith, you know a lot about his science-minded, radical Transcendentalism and about his efforts in the founding of the Free Religious Association and about his rather discouraging efforts to wean two congregations from their Unitarianism. Ah, but that's only half the man. Until yesterday morning, when WBUR broadcast a little Valentine's Day profile of his recently discovered love letters and diaries, I did not know that he was also a dyed-in-the-wool romantic and suicide! He drank poison on the tenth anniversary of his wife's death — at her grave, no less. Listen, and weep.

Copyright © 2005 by Philocrites | Posted 15 February 2005 at 8:39 AM

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February 16, 2005 05:01 PM | Permalink for this comment

So, I was discussing UU history with my pastor last night after an exciting Worship Committee meeting, and I happened to mention this post about F. E. Abbot, and his romantic suicide. I had gotten as far as "Not only was he a Transcendentalist, but he was also a..." when she interrupted.

"Nut!" she stated, emphatically.

I gave her a little hurt-puppy look and said, "No, he wasn't. Our denomination doesn't have any of those."

"The nice think about being a minister in this denomination is that we have such a long and consistent tradition to inspire us. It's comforting to feel a connection with the past," she replied.

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