Joshua P. Blanchard Collected Papers
Held at: Swarthmore College Peace Collection [Contact Us]500 College Avenue, Swarthmore 19081-1399
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Joshua Pollard Blanchard was born in 1782. He was a wealthy bookkeeper and merchant from Boston. His "Quaker" principles led him into being an important nineteenth century peace leader (and abolitionist). Blanchard was an absolute pacifist who believed that all war was un-Christian. He declared himself a conscientious objector during the war of 1812, and was tried in New York. He joined the Massachusetts Peace Society in 1816 and was very active for many years in the American Peace Society [APSl]. He served in the latter as director (1831-1843), executive committee member (1837-1847, 1849-1850), recording secretary (1840-1841), treasurer and general agent (1841-1847), treasurer and stationary agent (1843-1844), vice president (1847-1850, 1856-1857), and assistant editor of Advocate of Peace. When William Ladd died in 1841, Blanchard personally took on the annual $500 deficit of the APS until he resigned his role there in May 1846. He also helped finance the New England Non-Resistance Society. He was a member of the League of Universal Brotherhood, and helped organize the Universal Peace Society (which later became the Universal Peace Union, where he served as chair for a time).
Blanchard was a close friend of Elihu Burritt, another ardent peace advocate and reformer. Blanchard helped organize peace congresses with Burritt and with Amasa Walker. At the congresses they promoted the idea of a Congress of Nations to which would be referred all controversies between nations for final adjudication. Blanchard maintained his nonresistance stance during the Civil War, and pleaded for a negotiated peace between North and South. His articles appeared often during the war. Elihu Burritt wrote during the same period: "I feel I have gone as far as I could, without exposing myself to arrest, in opposing the war; I feel powerless and alone. Dear old Father Blanchard stands strong as a mountain of iron, and I hope there are a few scattered through the country who hold steadfastly to our principles." Blanchard began to feel that the peace movement since its beginnings in 1815 had been incorrect in its focus; that instead of first trying to change the minds of the government, it should animate the people so that large groups would refuse to fight out of a genuine conviction of the wrongness of all war. Only thus would the government take notice and cease armed conflict.
Materials include a leatherbound scrapbook spanning the years 1819-1868 and containing published writings and a handwritten manuscript executive on the reserve sides of 1851-era geological survey maps of coastal regions of the US. Materials are on pacifism or anti-slavery.
The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is not the official repository for the papers of this individual.
Acquisitions information is unknown.
Processed by Anne M. Yoder, Archivist, February 1998.
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Contents of Scrapbook
written on section of 1851 map of U.S. coastal survey