“The great idea of the gospel is, that Christ must rule the whole man, in all his life, all his relations, all his duties."




Charles T. Torrey, an influential opponent of slavery, created the first successful route on the Underground Railroad and personally rescued about 400 slaves. Torrey formed the Liberty Party, which focused on abolition, and worked closely with free blacks to free hundreds of slaves. 


While studying at Andover Theological Seminary, anti-slavery was a common topic of discussion, and Torrey joined the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, which was led by William Lloyd Garrison. Torrey became devoted to anti-slavery work. When the society’s mission shifted its focus from solely anti-slavery efforts, Torrey formed the New Organization, which involved more activism and strong political efforts to end slavery. Torrey also founded the Liberty Party, a political party devoted exclusively to abolition. 


In 1841, Torrey became a reporter for a few abolitionist newspapers in Washington, DC. Torrey began attending black churches and getting to know abolitionist Congress members. Torrey worked with a free black American, Thomas Smallwood, to create a highly-organized route on the Underground Railroad, which ran from Washington, DC to Albany, New York. Torrey recruited slaves to transport to the north and send to freedom, often working with 15 to 20 people at one time. Torrey and Smallwood ultimately freed about 400 slaves before being forced to move north at the threat of being arrested. 


When Torrey returned to Washington to free slaves, he was caught and arrested. He died in prison in 1846 from tuberculosis. However, his legacy lived on to empower many others in the anti-slavery battle.


While attending a revival meeting, Torrey committed his life to Jesus. After this, Torrey decided to pursue further education at Andover Theological Seminary to become a pastor. He was well educated in the Christian faith, and he was a faithful Christian who believed in God’s will and fought to support it. 


In his book, “Home, or the Pilgrim’s Faith Revived,” Torrey wrote, “The great idea of the gospel is, that Christ must rule the whole man, in all his life, all his relations, all his duties. It is not the Christian’s aim to govern his affections, only, or his conduct in private life alone, or his public action merely, by the laws of the Bible. Each and all, from his birth till he enters the Permanent Life before him, are to be governed by the word of God.”

Charles Turner Torrey

Charles Turner Torrey

Charles T. Torrey, 1813-1846) monument Artist: Joseph and Thomas Crew

Charles Turner Torrey

Charles Turner Torrey

A sketch of Torrey, c. 1840, from Memoir of Rev. Charles T. Torrey, Author: Joseph P. Lovejoy