Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BENNETT, De Robigne Mortimer, freethinker, born in Springfield, New York, 23 December 1818; died in New York City, 6 Dec, 1882. He received a common-school education at Cooperstown, New York, and in September 1833, became a Shaker and settled in New Lebanon, New York, where he remained for thirteen years, studying and practicing medicine. In 1846 he, with several others, decided to leave the community, and subsequently was engaged in business pursuits. Later he became an outspoken freethinker, and in 1873 established "The Truth-Seeker," in which he combated with vigor what he considered the errors of orthodox theology. From 1877 until his death he was persecuted for his radical opinions. He was arrested three times, and for a year was confined in the Albany penitentiary, having been convicted of selling an obscene book. A petition bearing 200,000 names, and asking for his release, was sent to President Hayes, who failed to act on it. The freethinkers of the United States erected a fine monument to his memory in Greenwood cemetery. He published numerous works, among which were "The World's Sages, Thinkers, and Reformers" (New York, 1876) ; "Champions of the Church" (1880)" "The Gods and Religions of Ancient and Modern Times" (1881) ; "From Behind the Bars" (1881) *the last two were written in prison; "An Infidel Abroad" (1881) ; and "A Truth-Seeker Around the World" (4 vols., 1882).
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