Clattery MacHinery on Poetry

July 1, 2006

The Anti-Slavery Alphabet

Filed under: Uncategorized — Clattery MacHinery @ 2:45 am

* * * * *

“In the morning sow thy seed.”

* * * * *

Printed for the Anti-Slavery Fair.

Merrihew & Thompson, Printers, 7 Carter’s alley.

To Our Little Readers

        Listen, little children, all,
        Listen to our earnest call:
        You are very young, ’tis true,
        But there’s much that you can do.
        Even you can plead with men
        That they buy not slaves again,
        And that those they have may be
        Quickly set at liberty.
        They may hearken what _you_ say,
        Though from _us_ they turn away.
        Sometimes, when from school you walk,
        You can with your playmates talk,
        Tell them of the slave child’s fate,
        Motherless and desolate.
        And you can refuse to take
        Candy, sweetmeat, pie or cake,
        Saying “no”–unless ’tis free–
        “The slave shall not work for me.”
        Thus, dear little children, each
        May some useful lesson teach;
        Thus each one may help to free
        This fair land from slavery.


        A is an Abolitionist–
            A man who wants to free
        The wretched slave–and give to all
            An equal liberty.


        B is a Brother with a skin
            Of somewhat darker hue,
        But in our Heavenly Father’s sight,
            He is as dear as you.


        C is the Cotton-field, to which
            This injured brother’s driven,
        When, as the white-man’s _slave_, he toils,
            From early morn till even.


        D is the Driver, cold and stern,
            Who follows, whip in hand,
        To punish those who dare to rest,
            Or disobey command.


        E is the Eagle, soaring high;
            An emblem of the free;
        But while we chain our brother man,
            _Our_ type he cannot be.


        F is the heart-sick Fugitive,
            The slave who runs away,
        And travels through the dreary night,
            But hides himself by day.


        G is the Gong, whose rolling sound,
            Before the morning light,
        Calls up the little sleeping slave,
            To labor until night.


        H is the Hound his master trained,
            And called to scent the track
        Of the unhappy Fugitive,
            And bring him trembling back.


        I is the Infant, from the arms
            Of its fond mother torn,
        And, at a public auction, sold
            With horses, cows, and corn.


        J is the Jail, upon whose floor
            That wretched mother lay,
        Until her cruel master came,
            And carried her away.


        K is the Kidnapper, who stole
            That little child and mother–
        Shrieking, it clung around her, but
            He tore them from each other.


        L is the Lash, that brutally
            He swung around its head,
        Threatening that “if it cried again,
            He’d whip it till ’twas dead.”


        M is the Merchant of the north,
            Who buys what slaves produce–
        So they are stolen, whipped and worked,
            For his, and for our use.


        N is the Negro, rambling free
            In his far distant home,
        Delighting ‘neath the palm trees’ shade
            And cocoa-nut to roam.


        O is the Orange tree, that bloomed
            Beside his cabin door,
        When white men stole him from his home
            To see it never more.


        P is the Parent, sorrowing,
            And weeping all alone–
        The child he loved to lean upon,
            His only son, is gone!


        Q is the Quarter, where the slave
            On coarsest food is fed,
        And where, with toil and sorrow worn,
            He seeks his wretched bed.


        R is the “Rice-swamp, dank and lone,”
            Where, weary, day by day,
        He labors till the fever wastes
            His strength and life away.


        S is the Sugar, that the slave
            Is toiling hard to make,
        To put into your pie and tea,
            Your candy, and your cake.


        T is the rank Tobacco plant,
            Raised by slave labor too:
        A poisonous and nasty thing,
            For gentlemen to chew.


        U is for Upper Canada,
            Where the poor slave has found
        Rest after all his wanderings,
            For it is British ground!


        V is the Vessel, in whose dark,
            Noisome, and stifling hold,
        Hundreds of Africans are packed,
            Brought o’er the seas, and sold.


        W is the Whipping post,
            To which the slave is bound,
        While on his naked back, the lash
            Makes many a bleeding wound.


        X is for Xerxes, famed of yore;
            A warrior stern was he
        _He_ fought with swords; let truth and love
            _Our_ only weapons be.


        Y is for Youth–the time for all
            Bravely to war with sin;
        And think not it can ever be
            Too early to begin.


        Z is a Zealous man, sincere,
            Faithful, and just, and true;
        An earnest pleader for the slave–
            Will you not be so too?



Thanks to The Project Gutenberg


  1. My husband’s family had a slave called Malaky Edwards, an indian. Always wondered how he came to be owned by a couple living in Newbury, Ma.


    Comment by Micky — July 2, 2006 @ 1:32 am

  2. Interesting that even 160 years ago they knew tobacco was poisonous.

    Comment by Micky — July 2, 2006 @ 1:35 pm

  3. Hi Mick,

    Malaky Edwards. Sounds like a great guy, just from his name. Isn’t that something. Thanks for posting that.

    I wonder if the poem was written by a tobacco executive before all the lawsuits about knowing that cigarettes are bad for people.

    Studies show that more than heroin, alcohol and crack cocaine, cigarette smoking is the most difficult addiction to break. It is both extremely physical in that it alters the endocrine system such that the body requires what’s in it to function, and extremely psychological as a set of habits.


    Comment by Bud Bloom — July 3, 2006 @ 1:54 am

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