William Henry Channing

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William Henry Channing

Birthplace: Boston, MA, United States
Death: December 23, 1884 (74)
Immediate Family:

Son of Prof. Walter Channing, M.D. and Barbara Higginson Channing
Brother of William Ellery Channing, Poet; Barbara Channing; Mary Channing and Lucy Channing

Occupation: Unitarian clergyman, writer and philosopher
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About William Henry Channing


William Henry Channing (May 25, 1810 – December 23, 1884) was an American Unitarian clergyman, writer and philosopher.


   * 1 Biography
   * 2 Larger works
   * 3 Literature
   * 4 See also
   * 5 Notes
   * 6 External links


William Henry Channing was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Channing's father died when he was an infant, and responsibility for the young man's education was assumed by his uncle, William Ellery Channing, the pre-eminent Unitarian theologian of the early nineteenth century. The younger William graduated from Harvard College in 1829 and from Harvard Divinity School in 1833. He was ordained and installed over the Unitarian church in Cincinnati in 1835. He became warmly interested in the schemes of Charles Fourier and others for social reorganization. He moved to Boston about 1847, afterward to Rochester, New York and to New York City, where, both as preacher and editor, he became a leader in a movement of Christian socialism.[1] As an early supporter of the socialistic movement in this country, he was editor of the Present, the Spirit of the Age and the Harbinger. In 1848 he presided over The Religious Union of Associationists in Boston, a socialist group which included many members of the Brook Farm commune. In 1857, he succeeded James Martineau as minister of the Hope Street Unitarian Chapel, Liverpool, England. At the commencement of the American Civil War, he returned (1862) and took charge of the Unitarian church in Washington, D. C. William Henry Channing, along with the younger Ellery Channing, was a Transcendentalist. He was a prolific writer, contributing to the North American Review, the Dial, the Christian Examiner, and other serials, a member of the Transcendental Club, and corresponded with Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Among his inspirational writings, one piece, his "Symphony", is well-known:

   To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common -- this is my symphony.

Channing was, in 1863 and 1864, the Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives. He died in London.

Larger works

   * A translation of Jouffroy's Ethics (1840)
   * Memoir of [his uncle] William Ellery Channing (three volumes, 1848)
   * Memoir of [his cousin] the Rev. James H. Perkins (1851)
   * Memoir of Margaret Fuller Ossoli (in conjunction with Emerson and J. F. Clarke (1852)


   * For his Life consult O. B. Frothingham (Boston, 1886)

See also

   * Normal School for Colored Girls


  1. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg "Channing, William Ellery". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. 1900. 

External links

   * William Henry Channing from the Transcendentalism Web
   * Channing, William Henry Entry in The American Cyclopaedia, edited by George Ripley, Charles A. (Charles Anderson) Dana; D. Appleton & Company; Google Books

Source: downloaded 2010 from Wikipedia.

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William Henry Channing's Timeline

May 25, 1810
Boston, MA, United States
December 23, 1884
Age 74