The Quotable Hacker

Nineteenth-century journalist Jeremiah Hacker wrote and edited a weekly newspaper for over 20 years, and is best discovered through his own words.


You can read full issues of the Pleasure Boat and the Chariot of Wisdom and Love online.


Below is a selection of Hacker quotes, grouped by subject.

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On religion:

“Would it not be more acceptable to God, for man to spend money in purchasing wood for the poor, than to pay it for what are called Church organs?... Would it not be a more acceptable act of Christianity to build a house for a poor family, or to provide a lot of land for their use, than to build a Church tower?”

-The Pleasure Boat, Apr. 1, 1845.


"I'll sail in my Boat in this old coat,​

And sink or float, without a groat,

From priestly rags, or bishop-bags,

Or mission fares or baby-wares,

Or borrowed prayers 'said out by rote'"

-The Pleasure Boat, June 2, 1845


"I wish to be informed whether, amongst all the meeting houses, and public buildings of this city - any house, hall or room, is free for honest people - who desire the reform of mankind, and the spread of the gospel of Christ, to appoint and hold meetings on the first day of the week, called Sabbath, for high and low, rich and poor, black and white, honest and good, together with publicans and sinners, and all who need salvation from error and sin - to assemble to seek truth, enquire the way to Zion, and worship God, free from every trammel or sect or party? If so, please forward the info to the office of the Pleasure Boat."

-The Pleasure Boat, July 28, 1845

"[Will a rich person make available a] hall, or room, for meetings, where inebriates can be collected together, and means used to reform them... Give us some kind of answer. I wish to see a free meeting - free from politics and priest craft, and every ism, held early in the morning on the first day of the week, before a single glass of spirit is drawn."

-The Pleasure Boat, Sept. 8, 1845

"Some say that all, at Gabriel's call,

Will enter perfect bliss,

Others declare we have no share,

In any world but this.

Some say a few, with hearts made new,

With God, in love, will dwell,

And all the rest, (though some lived best)

Will squirm in endless --.

But as for me, my creed must be -

'Perform your duty here.

And then when death demands your breath, You'll have no cause to fear.'

So while I stay, I'll work and play

With this old trusty pen,

And strength I'll give, while yet I live

To aid my fellow men."

-"My Age and Creed", undated poem, transcribed from a handwritten copy book of Jeremiah Hacker (Controllers' Copy Book No. 2)

Maine Historical Society holdings

On government:

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“What do I care which party a man belongs to? If people will dabble in filth they will find no lack of it in either party.

"The Boat owns no distinction of sect nor party, and recognizes no national bounds but claims the whole universe as its nation; and would rejoice to see every party division, political and religious swept from the earth.”

-The Pleasure Boat, Sept. 12, 1846.


“There are two kingdoms or principles which are directory opposite to each other, in spirit and in practice. One is the kingdom or principle of love, and rules its subjects by convincement and persuasion. It teaches us what is evil and what is good, and saves the erring. The other is the kingdom of force, and labors to overcome evil by evil, and destroys, crushes, and ruins.

“No man can belong to both of these kingdoms at the same time. If he is a nonresistant and a peace man, he cannot willingly move a finger to aid the government of force, he can neither vote for nor hold office under such a government, but must leave it to those who are in and of the world.”

-Hacker’s Pleasure Boat, Sept. 1867.

On walking the city to distribute papers:​

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"I have frequently entered grog shops, and sold and given papers to inebriates, and placed some in the pockets of those who were intoxicated."

-The Pleasure Boat, July 21, 1845

"I have just met a boy leading a blind man. I could not do justice to my feelings​ without following him and obtaining his name - Wm. Chick, of Limington - and shall send him a paper for free. Those who pay a dollar per year, or two or more cents per copy, afford the means of giving other copies to the poor, as the little profit on their papers are thus disposed of."

-The Pleasure Boat, Aug. 4, 1845