Friday, May 13, 2011

Mt. Auburn - Charles Turner Torrey

This small, unassuming stone set in the middle of the intersection of Fir and Spruce avenues tells a very large tale.

Ch's. T. Torrey.
Born at Scituate Nov. 21 1813,
Graduated at Yale College Aug. 1833.
Ordained at Providence March 1837
Arrested at Baltimore June 24, 1844.
Died in the Penitentiary of that city May 9, 1846.

The friends of the
American Slave
erect this stone
in his memory,
a martyr for Liberty

"It is better to die in prison with the peace of God in our breasts, than to live in freedom
with a polluted conscience."

Torrey's Letter, Feb 7, 1846

Long before the Freedom Riders of the 1960s hit the Deep southern US in busses, there were abolitionists like Torrey who also pursued the cause of Freedom at the risk of their own life. According to his epitaph:

"Charles Turner Torrey was arrested for aiding slaves to regain their Liberty. For this humane act he was indicted as a Criminal, convicted by the Baltimore City Court and sentenced to the
Penitentiary for six years.

While on his death bed he was refused a pardon by the Governor of Maryland, and died on consumption after two years confinement, a victim of his sufferings."

"Where NOW beneath
his burthen
The toiling slave
is driven.
Where now a tyrant's
is offered up
to heaven.
THERE shall his praise
be spoken,
redeemed from
falsehood's ban.
When the fetters shall
be broken,
And the slave shall
be a MAN."

It is unknown where Torrey's body actually lies today.

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