Burritt, Elihu

Burritt, Elihu (often styled " The Learned Blacksmith "), a distinguished philologist and philanthropist, was born at New Britain, Conn., Dec. 8,1811. His father was a shoemaker, and had in all ten children, of whom Elihu was the youngest. He was sent to the public school, and, although apprenticed to a blacksmith, had already acquired a taste for reading in his brother's school. After ending his apprenticeship, he studied, and acquired' something of Latin, French, and mathematics; but at the end of six months returned to the anvil and forge, learning the Greek grammar during the intervals of labor. He obtained some knowledge of Hebrew; and, to secure at once blacksmith's work and books, he removed to Worcester, Mass., where he studied and toiled intensely. A translation which he made from the German happening to fall under the eye of governor Everett, secured him public notice; and, though still working at his forge, he edited a monthly magazine (The Literary Gemini) for one year (1839). In 1840 he began to accept engagements as a lecturer. In the Eclectic Review he printed translations from the 'Icelandic Sagas, and papers from the Samaritan, Arabic, .and Hebrew, while he went on adding to his stock of languages. Always interested in philanthropic and social reforms and progress, and particularly in the propagation of the principles of peace, Mr. Burritt began in .1844, at Worcester, the publication of a newspaper called The Christian Citizen. From the office of this journal he also issued a series of tracts, entitled Olive Leaves. 'He became very earnest in his devotion to the cause of - peace, and devised a mutual system of addresses in its behalf between England and America. He also circulated among travellers a periodical tract, entitled The -Bond of Brotherhood. In 1846. he was both proprietor :and editor of The Peace Advocate. In the same year he went to England, where he was hospitably received by men of opinions similar to his own. He lectured, wrote for Douglas Jerrold's Weekly Newspaper, printed and circulated tracts, and in 1852 began the distribution of a series of friendly addresses," from Englishmen, through different parts of France. In all the European Peace Congresses he took a prominent part. For several years he occupied the position of United States -Consul at Birmingham. After a residence abroad of nearly twenty-five years, he returned to the United States. He always maintained his interest in the different matters to which he had devoted his life, and continued to write and lecture publicly upon them. He resided at New Britain until his death, March 6, 1879. Of his numerous writings and orations, many of them fugitively printed, we mention only, as published in book form, Sparks from the Anvil (1848):- Miscellaneous Writings (1850):-Olive Leaves (1853):-Thoughts and Things at Home and Abroad (1854):-A Walk from John O' Groat's to Land's End (1855):-Lectures and Speeches (1869). His is another added to the names of those men of nature, energy, and irrepressible aspirations who have pursued knowledge and attained it under early difficulties. See N. Y. Tribune, March 7, 1869; Allibone, Diet. of Brit. and Amer. Authors, s.v.; Duyckinck, Cyclop. of Amer. Literature, ii, 430.

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