John Weiss, 1818 - 1879

John Weiss was a Unitarian minister, the primary biographer of Theodore Parker, and a prolific contributor to the Christian Examiner, the Radical, and the Atlantic Monthly.  He was a member of Amos Bronson Alcott's Town and Country Club and helped found the Free Religious Association in 1867.
Weiss has been written about as follows by Octavius Brooks Frothingham, the first historian of American Transcendentalism.
Earlier mention should have been made of John Weiss, who wrote philosophical articles thirty years ago, that won encomiums from the most competent judges--a student at Heidelberg, a scholar of Kant, and an admirer of his system.  He too has a paper on "Religion and Science," in the volume of "Freedom and Fellowship," which will convince the most skeptical that the days of Transcendentalism are not numbered; a man of insight; poetical, according to Emerson's definition; supremely intellectual, capable of treading, with steady step, the hair lines of thought; a poet too, as verses in the "Radical" bear witness.  The Philosophical and Æsthetic Letters and Essays of Schiller were presented to the American public by his hand.  He wrote the preface to the American edition of Smith's Memoir of Fichte.  The "Boston Quarterly," the "Massachusetts Quarterly," the "Christian Examiner," the "Radical," were illuminated by his brilliant thoughts on subjects of religious philosophy.  The volume entitled "American Religion," published in 1871, shows the power of the spiritual philosophy to extract noble meanings from the circumstances of the New World.  Weiss treads the border-land between religion and science, recognizing the claims of both, and bringing to their adjustment as fine intellectual scales as any of his contemporaries.  His method is peculiar to himself; his is not the exulting mood of Emerson, or the defiant mood of Wasson; it is purely poetic, imaginative.  The doctrine of the divine immanence is glorious in his eyes; the faith in personal immortality is taken into the inner citadel of metaphysics, where Parker seldom penetrated.
These men, Weiss and Wasson and Higginson, nursed in the transcendental school, thoroughly imbued with its principles, committed to them, wedded to them by the conflicts they waged in their defence when they were assailed by literalists, dogmatists, and formalists, look out now upon the advancing ranks of the new materialism as the holders of a royal fortress looked out on a host of insurgents; as the king and queen of France looked out on the revolution from the palace at Versailles: the onset of the new era they instinctively dread, feeling that dignity, princeliness, and spiritual worth are at stake.  They will fight admirably to the last; but should they be defeated, it is yet possible that the revolution may bring compensations to humanity, which will make good the overthrow of their "diademed towers."