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


William Henry Channing was born in Boston, Massachusettsmarker. 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 Collegemarker in 1829 and from Harvard Divinity Schoolmarker in 1833. He was ordained and installed over the Unitarian church in Cincinnatimarker 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 Yorkmarker and to New York Citymarker, where, both as preacher and editor, he became a leader in a movement of Christian socialism. 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 Farmmarker commune. In 1857, he succeeded James Martineau as minister of the Hope Street Unitarian Chapel, Liverpoolmarker, Englandmarker. At the commencement of the American Civil War, he returned (1862) and took charge of the Unitarian church in Washington, D.marker C.marker 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 Londonmarker.

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