Palmer, Elihu

Palmer, Elihu an American Rationalist, who flourished near the close of tie last century, was graduated at Dartmouth College in 1787. He was the head of the Columbian Illuminati, a deistical company at New York, established about 1801, consisting of ninety-five members. Its professed aim was to promote "moral science," against religious and political imposture. The Temple of Reason was a weekly paper, of which the principal editor was one Driscoll, an Irishman, who had been a Romish priest, and who removed with his paper to Philadelphia. Mr. Palmer delivered lectures on deism, or preached against Christianity. But, according to Mr. Cheetham, he was, "in the small circle of his Church, more priestly, more fulminating," than Laud and Gardiner of England; "professing to adore reason, he was in a rage if anybody reasoned with him." He was blind from his youth. He died at Philadelphia in March, 1806. He published an Oration, July 4, 1797 The

Principles of Nature (1802). Comp. Francis, Old New York (1858), p. 134- 137; see Alien, Biog. Dict. s.v.

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