The Slave’s Friend, #3 (July 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 and is available digitally as part of the American Antiquarian Society Historical Periodicals; 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 book on the back cover had already made an appearance in issue #2.) The Slave’s Friend is an inviting little pocketful, 4.5 by 2.75 inches. Two page numbers on each page indicate that each volume was continuously paginated.

Slave’s Friend #3 has the distinction of being one of the triggers of an ugly incident in Charleston, South Carolina, on 29 July 1835. When abolitionist periodicals addressed to Southerners arrived at the Charleston post office, the postmaster set them aside and alerted citizens who removed the offending periodicals and burned them, along with effigies of abolitionists. Eager not to have a similar demonstration in a hair-trigger city, a month later a group in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, destroyed abolitionist periodicals—including issues of The Slave’s Friend—passing through that port.

Illustrations weren’t the only parts recycled: “The Boy and the Dog” had appeared in a slightly different version in issue two. The first two stanzas of “The Poor Mother” appeared—with the same illustration—in issue 11.

The illustrations in my copy were hand-colored by an earlier owner. The sometimes-creative punctuation hasn’t been standardized.

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

[cover p. 2; inside front cover]


The brig Enterprise, Capt. Smith, belongs to the port of New York. She was lately chartered or hired, to go around to Washington city, and take 78 slaves to Charleston, S. C. But they could not get there. After being tossed about by winds and waves a long time, the brig put into the Island of Bermuda, in the West Indies, in distress. There are no slaves there now; and the people set all slaves free as soon as they come there. So the judge sent a constable on board the brig to bring all the men, women, and children, to the Court House. There he told them they might be all free if they had a mind to! They were all very joyful. There were some little boys among them not six years old. They had been stolen from their parents and brothers and sisters. The judge spoke kindly to them, and almost cried himself to see such little orphans, away from home, and in a strange land. What do you think these little boys were stolen for? I will tell you; because wicked men will buy them for slaves. That’s all. But God loves black children as well as he does white children, and better too if they are not so naughty.

[p. 1; p. 25]



NO. 3.

two small slave girls

There are two little girls in New-York city, who were brought there lately from Africa. It is thought they were stolen. Capt. Caleb Miller, of Bedford, Mass. brought them in the Brig America, from Angola. He was

p. 2; p. 26

taken to the Court, and said the children were given to him, and he thought they would be better off here than in Africa. But slavers always talk so. The Judge took the girls away from him, and they were put into the Alms House. As they were getting sick, a kind lady in Broadway sent for them, and they are now at her house.

Yesterday I called to see them. They are pretty children—very black—and seem to love each other, though they do not appear to be sisters. They cannot talk as we do. They call themselves Joggy and Lorina. Joggy seems to be about eight years old, and Lorina about six. On board the brig the sailors taught them to swear, and they could say “don’t bother me.” But the kind lady, at whose house they are, is teaching them to speak as we do, to sew, and to do house-work. She says they are neat, learn fast, sing, and run about quite merrily.

Capt. Miller will be tried for piracy.

p. 3; p. 27

If found guilty, he will be hung. But I do not see but those wicked men, who buy and sell little children in this country, are as bad as pirates.


a woman kneels on shore

“HELP! oh, help! thou God of Christians!

Save a mother from despair;

Cruel white-men steal my[ ]children,

God of Christians! hear my prayer.

From my arms by force they’re rended,

Sailors drag them to the sea—

Yonder ship at anchor riding,

Swift will carry them away.

p. 4; p. 32

There my son lies pale and bleeding;

Fast with cords his hands are bound;

See the tyrants, how they scourge him;

See his side a reeking wound.

See his little sister by him,

Quaking, trembling, how she lies!

Drops of blood her face besprinkle—

Tears of anguish fill her eyes.

Now they tear her brother from her;

Down below the deck he’s thrown:

Stiff with beating—through fear silent,

Save a single, death-like groan.

Hear the little daughter begging,

“Take me, white men, for your own;

Spare! Oh, spare my darling brother!

He’s my mother’s only son.

“See upon the shore she’s raving:

Down she falls upon the sands—

Now she tears her flesh with madness,

Now she prays with lifted hands.

“I am young, and strong, and hardy:

He’s a sick and feeble boy—

Take me, whip me, chain me, starve me,

All my life I’ll toil with joy.

“Christians, who’s the God you worship?

Is he cruel, fierce, or good?

p. 5; p. 33

Does he take delight in mercy,

Or in spilling human blood?

“Ah! my poor distracted mother!

Hear her scream upon the shore.”

Down the savage captain struck her

Lifeless on the vessel’s floor.

Up his sails he quickly hoisted,

To the ocean bent his way;

Headlong plung’d the raving mother,

From a rock into the sea.



There was a little boy who was blind. And there was an Asylum for blind children in Boston. A rich man made a present of it to the directors. And the Legislature gave six thousand dollars a year on condition that twenty poor blind children should be taken care of there. One day a little boy was brought to the Asylum, and his friends wanted them to take him, and bring him up. But the directors would not do it. Why so? I will tell you. It was because he was a colored boy! His mother had been

p. 6; p. 34

telling him how happy the children were in the Asylum; that they learned to read with their finger ends; and that they played together every day. “O, mother,” said he, “do let me go there.” She told him, “but they said they would have nothing to do with a boy that was black.” So the little fellow had to go back again, crying all the way. Poor boy! And don’t you think it was all because God had not made his skin white? Now would Jesus Christ have turned this dear boy away so? I know he would not.



Elizabeth. Did you ever hear of a little colored boy who was taken out of school in this city, and carried to prison?

Mary[.] No. What did they do that for?

Elizabeth. I will tell you. He, and his parents, had been slaves. His father had run away, and took Henry

p. 7; p. 35

with him. Mr. Wright went to the prison to see them. He asked the judge to let him take Henry home with him.

Mary. Did he let him go?

Elizabeth. Yes, but he made Mr. Wright promise to bring him back next day. Poor Henry was so afraid that he could hardly fall asleep. He would speak out in his dreams, “I wont go. I wont go.”

Mary. O, he is the boy so many children gave their pennies to have set free. Isn’t he?

Elizabeth. Yes, Mary. He is free now, and at school in the country somewhere. Instead of being brought up like a beast, he will, I hope, be a good scholar, and perhaps, a minister! An’t you glad, sister Mary?



William. Isn’t it a wicked thing to keep slaves?

p. 8; p. 36

Ann. Yes, very wicked. And people are beginning to think so.

William. What does the Bible say about it?

Ann. God “hath made of one blood all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth.” “God is no respecter of persons.” “He that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.”

William. I long to see all slaves free; to have the children attend Sabbath schools; to have them taught to read, write, and cipher. What a joyful time that will be, Ann! Then there will be no slaves in this free country, and all can sing, “Hail Columbia, happy land.”



Perhaps some of our little readers will say, when they read about the poor slaves, what can we do? I will tell you, dear child, what you can do

p. 9; p. 37

for the poor slaves. A few months ago some children in Providence asked their parents to let them meet together. They agreed to spend one afternoon every week in earning money to assist their brothers and sisters who are in slavery. They asked their friends to give them some pieces of silk and velvet to make up into pin cushions, and work bags. Some of the largest girls made bead chains. The smallest wound the sewing silk. And one read from the Slave’s Friend, and Anti-Slavery Record, while the rest were working.

Now, dear children, cannot you do as these young misses have done? By putting the money you earn into the Anti-Slavery treasury, books can be printed, and agents paid. Thus the people can be taught how wicked a thing Slavery is. This will be the way to make them willing to give it up. Now you see that by working for the slaves you can wipe away

p. 10; p. 38

their tears, and enable them to bless God for their freedom.



Two or three years ago three little children were lost in Canada. One of them was a grandchild of A. Bates, Esq. A letter was lately received from Mr. Bates, saying that one of the wanderers has found his way back to his dear parents! He is now ten years old, and he has told where the other two are. They are alive, he says, and well. Here is the little boy’s own story.

“Soon after we lost our way the Indians caught us. They took us to their camp. Last summer a party of Indians took me with them a hunting. They built up a fire in the woods, and left me there with a dog. As they staid a long time, and I was hungry, I set out for the camp. I could not find it, and walked about two days and nights in the woods. The third

p. 11; p. 39

day I lay down, very tired, by the side of a log. The dog kept with me all the time, and kept off wild beasts. When he saw me so tired, lying down by the log, he barked! A kind Indian heard me, and came to me, gave me some food, and then took me to my father and mother.”

When this story was told, a party of gentlemen s[e]t out in pursuit of the other two children; and we hope they have found them, and brought them back from the Indians to their parents.

Now see the difference. Little colored children are caught by white men, and sold into Slavery, every day, and no party of gentlemen has ever set out to bring them back to their parents. Why is this? Poor colored boys and girls feel as well as white children do. Their parents feel too[.] And GOD feels for them. Now why do not wicked slavers feel? Are they not wicked men? Is not Satan their

p. 12; p. 40

father? The Bible says “He that committeth sin is of the dvil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning.” But will wicked Slavers never feel? Ah! yes. But when? AT THE JUDGMENT BAR OF JESUS CHRIST.



A boy, named Thomas Brown, who is about 8 years old was brought before the Police Court, a day or two since, charged with taking a horse and cart from near Spring street Market. He has been up twice before for stealing. When asked questions on the subject he said, “I could not live without stealing.” So rum-sellers talk, and so do those who buy and sell little boys and girls. “I could not live without doing so.” Will this excuse answer at the bar of God? I don’t think it will.

p. 13; p. 41


a white woman accosts a black girl

A little coloured girl, whose name was Julia, lived in the Missionary house in Africa. She had been a Heathen child, and was taken to bring up, by the Missionaries. One day a wicked woman asked her to go and steal some soap, and bring it to her without any body knowing it. Little Julia knew it was a sin to steal, and she did not wish to do it. Her conscience told her it would be very wicked. And she had been taught never to do any thing when conscience said, that is wrong. So Julia looked at the woman who told her to

p. 14; p. 42

steal and try to hide it, and said to her, “But what shall I say when God speaks to me about stealing? And if I burn in hell, what shall I do?” She had in her mind a verse she had read in the Bible—“Thou, God, seest me.”

This wicked woman, who wanted Julia to steal and lie, was not a missionary’s wife, I dare say. Who she was I do not know, but the child must have made her feel ashamed of her wicked conduct. This story was taken from one of the pretty books published by the American Tract Society, near the Anti-Slavery office, in Nassau-street.



A gentleman, who had been to the West Indies, told a story about a little negro boy and a dog. He said we might be sure it was true, for he saw with his own eyes what I am now going to tell you. The ship had just got out of the harbor of St. Thomas,

p. 15; p. 43

on a passage to the island of St. Croix.* The captain sent the boy to the top of the mast to fetch down the flag: in untying it he lost his hold and fell into the sea. He called out for help; but our barbarous captain would not let the boat put off to his assistance: however, a Spanish dog of the captain’s, (a great favorite,) 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, when, fearing he might lose his dog, he ordered out the boat; but, as soon as the poor boy came on board, he beat him most shockingly for losing his flag.

What a cruel man! How much better that dog was than his master! This wicked captain did not mind what the Bible says, Thou shalt love him as thyself, Lev. xix. 34. He would not like to have had one of his children treated

* These words are also spelled, my child, Santa Cruz.

p. 16; p. 44

so. And why should a colored boy be treated worse than a white boy? I dare say this captain thought the poor negro boy might as well be drowned as not. He thought the dog of more value than the little boy! Probably he would not have given even his canary bird to have saved his life. How differently Jesus felt from this wicked captain.


Receive my body, pretty bed;

Soft pillow, O receive my head;

And thanks, my parents kind,

Those comforts who for me provide;

Their precepts still shall be my guide,

Their love I’ll keep in mind.

My hours mispent this day I rue,

My good things done how very few!

Forgive my faults, O Lord!

This night, if in thy grace I rest,

To-morrow I may rise refresh’d,

To keep thy holy word.

[cover p. 3; inside back cover]


Here in the wiry prison, where I sing,

And think of sweet green woods, and long to fly;

Unable once to stretch my feeble wing,

Or wave my feathers in the clear blue sky.

Oh, how I long to stretch my weary wing,

And fly away as far as eye can see;

And from the topmost bough, where Robin sings,

Pour my wild songs, and be as gay as he.

Why was I taken from the waving nest?

From flow’ry fields, wide woods, and hedges green;

Torn from my tender mother’s downy breast,

In this sad prison-house to die unseen!

Kind mistress, come, with gentle, pitying hand,

Unbar my prison door and set me free;

Then on the white thorn bush I’ll take my stand,

And sing sweet songs to freedom and to thee.

[cover p. 4; back cover]


Stolen Children, … 1

The Poor Mother, … 3

The Little Blind Boy, … 5

Henry Scott, … 6

Little Dialogue, … 7

What can we do, … 8

Lost Children Found, … 10

A Common Excuse, … 12

Little Julia, […] 13

The Boy and the Dog, […] 14

On going to bed at night, […] 16

a book

Come ye children, hearken unto me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.

For I give you good doctrine; forsake ye not my law.

Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go. Keep her, for she is thy life.

Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.

Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.

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