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The Slave’s Appeal (Poem)

In June of 1821, the first issue of The Genius of Universal Emancipation, one of the nation’s first anti-slavery newspapers,  was created. Unlike later papers, The Genius promoted the idea of gradual emancipation.

Opposition arose to the printing, as its founder, Benjamin Lundy made no effort reconciliate slaveholders or spare their feelings.

Other opponents of slavery rallied around the paper, presenting “an untempered condemnation of slavery scarcely exceeded in severity by that of their successors.

William Lloyd Garrison, who had been converted to abolitionism by one of Lundy’s northern speaking tours, initially shared Lundy’s gradualist views, but, while working for the Genius, he became convinced of the need to demand immediate and complete emancipation.

Despite their differences, Garrison commonly reprinted poems and other items from The Genius in the The Liberator, the newspaper he eventually founded.  The Liberator and its message of immediate emancipation went on to become the nation’s preeminent abolitionist publication.

THE SLAVE’S APPEAL

Christian mother, when thy prayer
Trembles on the twilight air,
And thou askest God to keep,
In their waking and their sleep,
Those whose love is more to thee
Than the wealth of land or sea,
Think of those who wildly mourn
For the loved ones from them torn!Christian daughter; sister, wife!
Ye who wear a guarded life—
Ye whose bliss hangs not, like mine,
On a tyrant’s word or sign,
Will ye hear, with careless eye,
Of the wild despairing cry,
Rising up from human hearts,
As their latest bliss departs?

Blest ones! whom no hands on earth,
Dare to wrench from home and hearth,
Ye whose hearts are sheltered well
By affection’s holy spell,
Oh forget not those, for whom
Life is nought but changeless gloom,
O’er whose days of cheerless sorrow,
Hope may paint no brighter morrow!

AGNES.

 

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