D. M. Bennett

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DeRobigne Mortimer Bennett
D. M. Bennett.png
Born December 23, 1818
Springfield, New York
Died December 6, 1882
Manhattan
Occupation Freethought writer, journalist
Tomb in Brooklyn

DeRobigne Mortimer Bennett (December 23, 1818 – December 6, 1882), best known as D. M. Bennett was the founder and publisher of Truth Seeker, a radical freethought and reform American periodical.[1]

Biography[edit]

Bennett was a devout member of the Shakers for 13 years before evolving into a "freethinker", founding the Truth Seeker newspaper in 1873.[2] In 1878, Bennett wrote that "Jesuism", rather than Pauline Christianity, was the gospel taught by Peter, John and James.[3]

On 1 September 1873, D.M. and M.W. Bennett released the first tabloid edition of Truth Seeker. Its masthead announced its purpose as follows:
"Devoted to: science, morals, free thought, free discussions, liberalism, sexual equality, labor reform, progression, free education and whatever tends to elevate and emancipate the human race."
"Opposed to: priestcraft, ecclesiasticism, dogmas, creeds, false theology, superstition, bigotry, ignorance, monopolies, aristocracies, privileged classes, tyranny, oppression, and everything that degrades or burdens mankind mentally or physically." [4] Truth Seeker was extreme for its times, and it persists to this day though in self-resuscitating form. D.M. Bennett is interred at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. His monument, erected by his fellow freethinkers, is covered with his statements.

Bennett was the subject of the biography D. M. Bennett: The Truth Seeker (2006) by Roderick Bradford and a 2009 documentary.[5]

Obscenity prosecution[edit]

United States Postal Inspector Anthony Comstock had Bennett arrested on December 10, 1878, for mailing Cupid's Yokes, a free-love pamphlet. Bennett was prosecuted, subjected to a widely publicized trial, and imprisoned in the Albany Penitentiary for thirteen months, in which his health greatly suffered. Despite a strong campaign in his favor for President Rutherford B. Hayes to pardon him, Hayes declined, pardoning the actual author (Ezra Heywood) instead.[6]

Publications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery: New York's Buried Treasure by Jeffrey I. Richman
  1. ^ "D. M. Bennett". findagrave.com.
  2. ^ Roderick Bradford. "D. M. Bennett".
  3. ^ D. M. Bennett. The Champions of the Church: Their crimes and persecutions. p. 84. The Progress of Jesuism
  4. ^ Truth Seeker. "Truth Seeker Journal". ISSN 0041-3712.
  5. ^ "Truth Seeker D. M. Bennett".
  6. ^ D. M. Bennett Pardon Campaign, Church and State UK

Further reading[edit]

  • Bradford, Roderick (2006). D. M. Bennett: The Truth Seeker (New York: Prometheus Books). ISBN 1-59102-430-7
  • Jacoby, Susan (2004). Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism (New York: Metropolitan Books). ISBN 0-8050-7442-2

External links[edit]