Charles T. Torrey (American National Biography Online)

Scholarship
Harold D. Tallant. "Torrey, Charles Turner," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/15/15-00697.html.
Beginning with his editorship of the Massachusetts Abolitionist in 1838-1839, one of Torrey's principal interests was reform journalism. He served as editor of the Free American of Boston in 1841 and the Tocsin of Liberty of Albany, New York, in 1842-1843. He also served as a freelance reporter for several northern papers in 1841-1842. In his capacity as a reporter, in January 1842 Torrey attended the Slaveholders' Convention in Annapolis, Maryland, where he was arrested for refusing to leave a closed session of the meeting. Torrey's imprisonment lasted only six days, as prominent reformers and the Massachusetts delegation in Congress worked for his release.

Torrey's brief experience in a slaveholding state convinced him of the necessity of confronting slavery on its own ground. Leaving his family, in 1843 Torrey moved alone to Maryland in an effort to organize a formal system to help slaves escape. He claimed to have helped four hundred slaves escape, though this figure seems exaggerated. His activities were discovered in June 1844, and he was arrested. Many abolitionists hoped to turn the imprisoned Torrey into a martyr for the cause of freedom. The antislavery press carried stories of Torrey's mistreatment in prison, and abolitionists arranged the publication of his book, Home: The Pilgrim's Faith Revived (1845), written while he was in prison.
How to Cite This Page: "Charles T. Torrey (American National Biography Online)," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, https://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/index.php/node/20321.