The Slave’s Friend, #2 (June 1835)

Published by the American Anti-Slavery Society, The Slave’s Friend had a spotty distribution: few were sold, but copies were mailed to selected individuals or scattered through public places to be read. (See John R. Edson’s essay on the magazine in Children’s Periodicals of the United States for more information.) The magazine was microfilmed in 1978 by Greenwood Press; the issue here is presented in its entirety.

This monthly magazine contained poetry and articles that were pro-Christianity and anti-slavery, with two or three woodcuts per issue. Illustrations are fairly generic and sometimes were used in several issues. The Slave’s Friend is an inviting little pocketful, 4.5 by 2.75 inches.

Issue #2 reinforced themes featured in almost every issue, especially the parallels young readers could draw between their lives and those of the slaves. The “Child’s Creed” explores the racism many whites expressed openly; “How Children Become Slaves” and “The Poor Innocents” encouraged young readers to empathize with other children. The paragraph describing the purpose of the magazine appeared in several issues the first year. This issue had an unusual number of illustrations: four, instead of the usual two or three.

Since few readers actually subscribed to the Friend and thus wouldn’t read every issue, editors were able to reuse illustrations and pieces. The illustration of the bible on page 11 appeared in issue 3, where “The Little Sailor” became “The Boy and the Dog.”

These issues of the Friend were continuously paginated; each page included the page number for that issue (1-16) and the page number for that volume. I’ve included both, separated by a semi-colon. Thus, this issue begins with page 1 of the issue, and page 13 of the volume (issue 1 of the Friend had only 12 pages).

The front cover for 1835 featured a white man teaching young black boys to read.

[cover p. 2; inside front cover]


I believe that God is my Father: that he is the Father of all the colored boys and girls: that we are made of the same blood; that we are in the eyes of God brothers and sisters: that God loves a colored child as well as he does a white child. I believe that Jesus came into the world to save sinners: that black people are not greater sinners than white people: and that all will go to heaven, if they repent, believe in the Savior, and love their neighbor. I believe that in heaven all people, white and black, will sit together in heavenly places. I believe that it is wrong to make colored people sit in a corner in the house of God, as if they were not fit to worship God in the same seats with their white fellow sinners. I believe that a person does not love God who hates his brother. I believe that it is right to be kind to the poor slaves, to pray for them, and to try to persuade slaveholders to give them their liberty: that it is right to say that slavery is a dreadful sin, and that it is very wicked to buy and sell men, women, and children. I believe that it is wicked to have hard feelings toward any colored people, to abuse them, or to wish them any hurt.

[p. 1; p. 13]


NO. 2.

a chained slave woman kneels beneath a palm tree

O my great massa in heaven,

Pity me, and bless my children.

p. 2; p. 14


In Brazil there are slave markets. And they have jails there to put poor negroes in to keep them from running away. Mr. Walsh says that he saw several little boys at one of the iron-barred windows. They crowded around the window to look out, and see the people, and the birds, and the animals. But they did not quarrel. They seemed to love one another. This pleased Mr. Walsh, and he used to take cake and fruit to them when he went that way. One of the little fellows would reach out his arm and take what was put into his hand; and the others waited patiently for their share. They did not snatch the cake or fruit, or try to get more than their part. Mr. Walsh says, “The child to whom I happened to give them took them so gently, looked so thankfully, and distributed them so generously, that I could not help thinking that God

p. 3; p. 15

had given them kinder hearts than white children to make up for their darker skin.”


A white man, whose name was Lorenzo, once teased a poor colored man, whose name was Mungo.

Lorenzo. Here, Mungo, said he, look at this apple, and then look at that chestnut.

Mungo. I do Massa; I see them.

Lorenzo. Well, this apple is the white man, and that chestnut is the negro.

Mungo. O, Massa, what you say is true. The chestnut has a dark skin, just like poor black man. But its kernel is all white, and sweet. The apple, though it looks so pretty, has many little black grains at the heart.

Now little boys and girls can’t be abolitionists until they get rid of all those black grains in their hearts.

p. 4; p. 16

And they can’t be good while they have such wicked hearts. Jesus will not love them who hate the poor negro, or hate God.


One day as President Washington was walking down Market Street, in Philadelphia, with a friend, he met a colored man, who made a bow to him. Washington politely bowed to him. What! said his proud friend, Do you bow to a negro? “To be sure I do,” said Washington; “do you think I would not be as polite as a black man?” I have heard it said that President Washington always bowed to every one that bowed to him; and he would be as civil to a poor man as to the mayor of a city. Let every little boy, who reads this story, say to himself, I’ll try to be as polite as Washington. THe little girls may say so too if they will. I want all of them to be

p. 5; p. 17

as kind and as polite to colored people as they are to white people. God, you know, has ma[d]e both of one blood. And the Bible says, He is no respecter of persons.


John. Mother, I like that hymn, “I was not born a little slave,” but do you think those little boys in my Slave’s Friend were born slaves?

Mother. Probably they were, my dear.

John. But why are these little boys slaves more than I?

Mother. They are black.

John. Black! Well, I wonder what color my skin is.

Mother. It is called white.

John. O that is the reason they are slaves; just because they are black. I do not want all black boys to be slaves.

Mother. All are not slaves.

p. 6; p. 18

John. But, mother, were the slaves always born slaves?

Mother. No: in the first place they were stolen.

John. O dear, dear, I thought it was very wicked to steal even a pin, and do they steal children? Where do they get them, and how? Do tell me, mother.

Mother. From Africa. I will tell you a story about three children that were stolen.

John. O do mother, and I will be a good boy, and sit very still.

Mother. These three children lived with their father and mother, in Africa, about a mile from the sea side. They were as free as the little birds whose voices they heard from the topmost boughs of the cocoa tree; they loved dearly to run in the woods, chase butterflies, gather wild flowers, and dress themselves with the palm leafs. One day their mother sent them to get some

p. 7; p. 19

yams, (like our potatoes;) they took their baskets and went, little thinking they were to see their parents no more. As they were digging yams, the youngest boy looked up and said, “O sister, what is that?” She replied, “I do not know,” for she had never seen a white man before. The men showed them beads and other trinkets. While the children were looking at them, these men-thieves came behind them and stuck plasters over their mouths. Then they caught them up and ran with them to the boat, that soon took them to the horrid slave ship.

John. O how very wicked, but could not the children cry?

Mother. No, because their mouths were covered with the plasters.

John. Mother, I did not think it possible for any one to be so cruel?

Mother. Yes, my son, the love of money makes men so. Do you remember that good Mary Ann who used to live with us?

p. 8; p. 20

John. Yes, indeed I do.

Mother. Well, one of these boys was her father. How much he suffered in the slave ship, and after he got to America, I must tell you some other time.

illus of the Liberty Bell


If you have ever been in the city of Philadelphia, you have, I suppose, seen the old State House in Chestnut Street. In this building is Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed. In the tower is a famous bell. It weighs 2300 pounds. It was rung when the Declaration was read

p. 9; p. 21

in the State-house yard in 1776. It has been rung every year since on Washington’s birth day, 22d Feb., and on the 4th of July. When the bell was made, the following words were put upon it, and they are there now: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, and to all the inhabitants thereof.” But the people will not mind the bell, for liberty is not proclaimed to all the inhabitants of the land. The poor slaves are inhabitants, and they have no liberty. But they will have it. That Liberty Bell may proclaim it. O, that I may live to see that day!


The slaves at first were stolen from Africa.—They were brought across the ocean in ships, four thousand miles. Because the traders wanted to bring as many, and get as much money as they could, they crowded men and

p. 10; p. 22

women and little children, as thick as they could sit, in a dark place called the hold, where a child coudl hardly stand up straight. And then, if they were at sea a long time, there would not be bread and water enough. Then the wicked men would throw part of the slaves into the sea. How horrible to be put down in such a place, kept half starved, and thirsty, and crowded in with the sick, the dying, and the dead! Then to think of the dear friends left in Africa, never to see them any more, and being sold like cattle in the slave market.

Some people say the poor slaves don’t mind all this much more than cattle do. But it can’t be so. None love thier friends better than the poor slaves, and none feel more when they are hurt. A gentleman who was lately in Brazil, went to the slave market there. He saw hundreds of slaves who had just been brought from Africa.

p. 11; p. 23

He says they looked as if they would die of broken hearts. Many had been known to kill themselves the first chance they got. He saw a woman run away from her master, and throw herself right into the sea. She thought it better to die than to be a slave.

This horrid trade is against the law now. But it goes on. Why is this? I will tell you.—Because as long as people buy and sell slaves in America, they will steal them from Africa.

a book lies open on a closed bible

The Negro Boy’s Petition.

There is a book, I’ve heard them say,

Which says ‘Thou shalt not work nor play,

On God Almighty’s holy day.’

On Sundays, then, oh! let me look

In God Almighty’s holy book!

p. 12; p. 24

This book, to which you oft appeal,

Does thus the will of God reveal;

Thou shalt not murder, lie, nor steal.

Then let your little negro look

In God Almighty’s holy book!

Dear master, you have been to me

As good and kind as man can be,

And many such with joy I see:

Then let your little slave boy look

In God Almighty’s holy book!

But, oh! before I’m grown a man,

I pray, in one thing mend your plan,

And give us all you safely can.

I’m sure you will, if you’ll but look

In God Almighty’s holy book!

The stripes, ’tis said, that Jesus bore,

Could I but read his sufferings sore,

Would make mine lighter than before:

Yes, every sorrow I could brook,

By studying God Almighty’s book!

I’m told, this book so wise and good,

Has made it fully understood,

God made all nations of one blood.

If this be true, I then may meet

My master at my Saviour’s feet.

p. 13; p. 25


Not very long ago, a Southern slaver, that is a man who gets a living by buying and selling poor slaves, came to the State of Kentucky. He bought a woman who had a nursing baby. It was a little boy, only three months old. The slaver did not want to buy the baby, nor was he willing to have it go with its mother. The master said he would keep the child. So they parted them. The mother was driven away, and sent down the river, to one of the states at the South. She grew sick—very sick. What become of the little baby I do not know.

During the last winter, at the town of Nashville, Kentucky, a slaver was driving a number of slaves down to the side of the river, to put them on board a steam boat that was going to the city of New Orleans. There was among them a mother, who had an infant only ten months old, to carry

p. 14; p. 26

in her arms. The baby was so heavy that its mother could not keep up with the rest. The slaver waited till she came up to where he was standing. He then tore the child from its mother’s arms, and handed it to a person who stood by, saying, “I’ll make a present of this little negro to you.” O, how that poor mother felt to be thus torn away from her darling baby!

God told the prophet to tell the Jews that he would punish them because they filled the place with the blood of the innocents. If you will open your bible, Jeremiah 19th chap. 4th verse, and 2d chapter, 34th verse, you can read what God said. Will he not punish America if we do not repent?


A gentleman, who went to the West Indies a few years ago, was an eye witness of the fact I am going to tell. Just as the vessel got out of the har-

p. 15; p. 27

bor of St. Thomas, on our passage to the island of St. Croix, the captain sent a little negro boy to the top of the mast to fetch down the flag. While he was trying to untie it he lost his hold, and the poor boy fell into the sea. He cried out, “help, help!” The cruel captain would not let the boat put off to pick him up. But a Spanish dog of the captain’s, which was a great pet on board, seeing the poor little negro in the water, jumped overboard, and laid hold of the boy’s arm. The captain called the dog several times, but he would not come. Fearing he should lose his dog, he ordered the sailors to get out his boat, and the little slave and the dog were brought on board. As soon as the captain got hold of the poor boy, he beat him dreadfully for losing his flag! What a wicked man to think the life of a dog worth more than the life of a boy. And what a good dog to be more kind than his master.

p. 16; p. 28


A great many years ago an African Princess went down to a river to bathe. As she looked into the river, she saw a little basket among the flags by the bank. She sent her maid to fetch it. When she took the basket she saw a little baby in it. The poor thing cried, and the princess pitied him. She said, this is the infant of one of my father’s slaves. She sent for a nurse, and said, “Take this child away, and nurse it, and I will pay thee thy wages.”

As soon as the little boy could run alone, the princess took him into her father’s palace. She adopted him as her son, and educated him. He grew up to be a man. He grew up to be a man. His name was Moses. It was he that led the Israelites through the Red Sea.

Now, was not she a good princess? Why don’t ladies in slave states be as kind toward the infants of slaves? Why don’t they teach them to read? Why do they beat them?

[cover p. 3; inside back cover]


O God! Hear my prayer. I come unto thee in the name of thy dear Son, and ask thee to hear me for his sake. I pray for the poor slve. He is in chains, they whip him, they sell his little babe. Dear Lord, pity the slave. Do pity him. All men were made by Thee. They are made of one blood. O, then, my dear Father in Heaven, let the slaves go free. Do not let wicked men whip them so. Do not let them sell their children. But make men willing to be kind to the poor slaves, to teach them to read the Bible, and to do to them as they would wish to be done unto. O Lord, I pray, too, for the souls of the slaves. Jesus Christ has died for the whole world. Many of the slaves do not love Thee. If they do not repent they will be lost. O then, have pity on their souls. Let them not be slaves to sin and Satan. Deliver them, O God. Bring the body and the soul into liberty. May they all be freemen in Christ Jesus. May all the little children be lambs of Jesus’ flock. Take them into thy arms, dear Saviour. Hear my prayer, O Lord; hear me, I pray thee, and answer my petitions, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

[cover p. 4; back cover]


The Little Prisoners, … 14

The Apple and the Chestnut, … 15

Washington, … 16

How Children become Slaves, … 17

The Liberty Bell, … 20

About the Slave Trade, … 21

The Negro’s Petition, … 23

The Poor Innocents, … 25

The Little Sailor, … 26

The African Princess, … 28

slave kneels and lifts chained hands to heaven

From a Missouri Paper.

“For sale, CHEEP FOR CASH, a black woman, who is an excellent Servant, being a good cook; together with TWO CHILDREN, one a GIRL, between 8 and 9 years old, and the other a BOY, between 2 and 3.”—Has God bid you buy and sell us?


The Slave’s Friend is printed for children. The editor wants to have them love the poor slaves. He has tried to write this little book so that very young children can understand it. It is hoped that all the little boys and girls in the land may read it.

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