The Slave’s Friend, #10 (1836)

For something not trying to be, The Slave’s Friend is remarkably difficult to find. The magazine — published by the American Anti-Slavery Society — 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.

This monthly magazine contained poetry and articles that were pro-Christianity and anti-slavery. This little beauty is presented here in its entirety. The first illustration was hand-colored by an earlier admirer. It’s a wonderful little pocket-sized magazine, 4.5 by 2.75 inches. Two page numbers on each page indicate that each volume was continuously paginated.

The wood cut illustrating “A Slave Ship,” on page 14, was used to illustrate “Address to the Ocean" in Youth’s Cabinet (8 August 1839, p. 127). The Fountain, advertised below, is also referred to in an article in the magazine’s last issue.

The front cover for 1836 featured a white man teaching young black boys to read.

[cover p. 2; inside front cover]

THE BUTTERFLY. The Butterfly, an idle thing, Nor honey makes, nor yet can sing, Like to the bee and bird; Nor does it like the prudent ant, Lay up the grain for times of want A wise and cautious hoard. My youth is but a summer’s day, Then like the bee and ant, I’ll lay A story of learning by; And though from flow’r to flow’r I rose, My stock of wisdom I’ll improve, Nor be a Butterfly.


Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise; which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her foot in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? When wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of thy hands to sleep—So shall thy poverty come as one that traveleth, and thy want as an armed man.

[p. 1]

NO. X.
illus of black girl praying


Poor little slave! to thee was given

Thy simple, earnest trust in Heaven.

Pour out thy griefs to God above!

He hears thee with a Father’s love.

p. 2


As the Rev. Dr. E. was going down the Ohio river in a steamboat, he saw nine colored women sitting upon a bench, and each one had a baby in her arms! He asked some one about it, and learned that a slave-buyer had bought these women, torn them away from their husbands and other children, and was taking them down to the sugar plantations in the state of Louisiana. How much weeping there must have been when those poor women were dragged away from their dear friends—never, never to see them any more! Who will not pity the poor slaves?



Do not ever say slave-owner, but slave-holder. No man owns a man. The laws of man say a person can own a fellow-being, but the laws of God do not say so. We must not break the laws of man, nor teach others to do so, but no law obliges me to say slave-owner, and I do not mean to do it any more.

p. 3


Behold the fowls of the air! Consider the lilies of the field! Matt. vi, 26, 30.

And shall the fowls be daily fed by thee?

And wilt thou clothe the lilies, and not me?

Begone, distrust! I shall be daily fed,

While lilies flourish, and while birds are fed.



Found in Mary Walton’s work-box, after the decease of Stephen Ricks, who died at the Shelter for colored Orphans,* in the 2d month, 1832.

Mary, once I feared to go

From a world of care and woe;

But thou taught me how to die—

How to fix my hopes on high;

Bade my childish fears depart,

And revived my trembling heart;

Told me in a heavenly land,

With a chosen seraph band,

I should join in singing praise,

And my feeble anthems raise.

Yes! thou taught a little child,

With affection meek and mild,

That his home was far above,

In a land of peace and love;

Told me Jesus sweetly smiled

On a humble, sable child.

* This Shelter for Colored Orphans is in Philadelphia. Some account of it was given in the Slave’s friend No. 7. It was built by the Society of Friends.

p. 4

Oh then, dearest Mary, still

With thy kind, persuasive skill,

Lead a little orphan band

To this bright, celestial land,

Where the colored people share

In redeeming mercy fair.

In that holy, heavenly spot,

Jesus says, “Forbid them not;

Suffer them to come to me,

They shall of my goodness see.”

And when Mary’s glass is run,

When her work on earth is done,

Here a little ransomed band

Shall before her joyful stand,

Welcome to a land of love,

To a “shelter” far above,

Where no little orphan’s tear

Shall distress a heart sincere;

Where no parting funeral knell

Shall a long, sad farewell tell.

Oh then, dearest Mary, stay—

Teach the orphans how to pray;

Lead them all to Jesus fair,

Make them thy peculiar care—

Bid their infant hearts arise,

Lead them to the blissful skies.



When Mr. Burkhardt, the celebrated traveller, was going through the interior

p. 5

of Abyssinia, he met a girl going to market with a basket of eggs. The moment she saw him, she screamed, “How ugly! How ugly!” In her terror, she dropped the basket, broke her eggs, and then ran away.

The girl had never before seen a white man, and his countenance appeared frightful to her.

Perhaps some will consider this a strange and silly prejudice; but it is no more strange and silly, than our own prejudice against a brown face, or a black one, merely because it is unlike our own.



John Woolman, a good man, who lived in old times, and was a strong abolitionist, tells the following story of himself: “A thing remarkable in my childhood was, that once, going to a neighbor’s house, I saw on the way, a robin sitting on her nest, and as I came near, she went off; but, having young

p. 6

ones, she flew about, and with any cries, expressed her concern for them. I stood and threw stones at her, till one striking her, she fell down dead. At first, I was pleased with the exploit; but after a few minutes, I was seized with horror, at having in a sportive way, killed an innocent creature, while she was careful for her young. I beheld her lying dead, and thought these young ones, for which she was so careful, must now perish for want of their dam to nourish them; and after some painful considerations on the subject, I climbed up the tree, took all the young birds and killed them; supposing that better than to leave them to pine away and die miserably; and I believed, in this case, that scripture proverb was fulfilled, “The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” I then went on my errand; but for some hours could think of little else but the cruelties I had committed, and was much troubled. Thus He, whose tender mercies are over all his works, hath placed

p. 7

a principle in the human mind, which incites to exercise goodness toward every living creature; and this being singly attended to, people become tender-hearted and sympathizing; but being frequently rejected, the mind becomes shut up in a contrary disposition.”



Alfred. What is the difference, Mr. Sherwood, between a thief and a robber? said Alfred to his teacher.

Mr. Sherwood. A thief is one that takes what is not his own by stealth, that is, secretly. A robber is one that plunders by force.

Alfred. The robber then runs more danger than the thief, does he not, sir?

Mr. S. Certainly. He risks more personal danger.

Alfred. Then it is meaner and more cowardly, to be a thief than a robber, I should think.

Mr. S. It doubtless is; but both are

p. 8

great crimes—against the laws of God and man.

Alfred. Is a slave-holder a thief or a robber?

Mr. S. Both, I think. He takes men, women, and children, by stealth, and by force. In Exodus 21 : 16, it is said, “And he that stealeth a man and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.” Man-stealing, in those days, you see, was considered a very great crime. The apostle Paul, in 1 Tim. 1 : 10, says, “The Law is made for men-stealers.” Stealers of men are all those who bring off slaves or freemen, and keep, sell, or buy them. Bishop Horsely said, “We have reason to conclude, from the mention made of ‘slave-traders’ or ’men-stealers’ by the apostle Paul, that if any of them should ever find their way to heaven, they must go thither in company with murderers and parricides.”*

* A parricide is a murderer of a father.

p. 9


A man that was hung for committing some great crime, said, when he came to the gallows, that his first offence was stealing a pin! Little boy—remember that stealing a pin is taking the first step towards the gallows! The French call it, Le premier pas. Take care of the First Step in vice, my dear boy. When tempted to sin, say with the youthful Joseph, How shall I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?



Dear white young master, I pray,

What your poor black boy aims to say.

I often wonder why should be

Such difference betwixt you and me;

For I’m as tall and strong as you,

And many things as well can do;

Have hands and feet, can run and walk,

Can feel and see, can hear and talk.

’Tis true I am not nice of speech;

For who poor simple black will teach?

For me to labor, dig and hoe,

Is all that I am like to know;

p. 10

But you have teachers every day,

And much you learn, at least you may;

They teach you to be good and wise,

But my had lot this boon denies.

Dear, good young master, pray attend;

You can poor friendless black befriend;

Neglected, ignorant, and rude,

I fain would learn, would fain be good;

Oh teach me part of what you know,

You will not lose what you bestow;

And if a slave I still must be,

Oh let my mind at least be free.

I heard your kind mamma one day

A little lesson bid you say;

She bid you fix it in your heart,

Nor ever from its law depart;

“Be you to others kind and true,

As you’d have others be to you.”

As you repeated what she taught,

My ear, my heart, the lesson caught;

And will he make this rule his guide?

“He will—he must”—my heart replied;

And oh! what joy to all my race,

When all of his this rule embrace!

Now, dear young master, what would you,

Were our lots changed, wish me to do?

W. M.

p. 11


On one memorable New-Year’s day, when Isabella was a child of eight years, she presented Rose a changeable silk dress. It was a fine affair, and Rose was pleased and grateful.

“Now,” said Isabella, “you are as grand and as happy as any lady in the land—are you not, Rose?”

“Happy!” echoed Rose, her countenance changing; “I may seem so—but since I came to a thinking age, I never had one happy hour, or minute, Miss


“Oh, Rose, Rose! Why not, for pity’s sake?”

“I am a slave.”

“Pshaw, Rosy dear! is that all? I thought you were in earnest;[”] and she added in an expostulary tone, “Are not papa and mamma ever so kind to you? and do not Herbert and I love you next best to them?”

“Yes, and that lightens the yoke; but still it is a yoke, and it galls. I can

p. 12

be bought and sold like cattle. I would die to-morrow to be free to-day. Oh, free breath is good—free breath is good!” She uttered this with closed teeth, and tears rolling down her cheeks.—Miss Sedgwick.



Benjamin. Was Washington a slave-holder, Papa?

Mr. Durfy. Yes, he was. But he knew it was not right to hold men as property.

Benj. I read in Washington’s Will that he gave a good many slaves their freedom at his death.

Mr. D. He did so, and it would have been better if he had let them go free in his lifetime.

Benj. Is it a good excuse, father, for any one to say, “Washington was a slave-holder.”

Mr. D. By no means. A person might as well attempt to justify drunkenness by saying, Governor A. drank

p. 13

brandy. There, my son, read what Washington himself, said of slavery.

Benj. [Reads in Sparks’s edition of Washington’s Papers.] “I can only say, that there is not a man living, who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it, (slavery).” Letter to Robert Morris. “Your late purchase of an estate in the colony of Cayenne, with a view of emancipating the slaves on it, is a generous and noble proof of your humanity. Would to God a like spirit might diffuse itself generally into the minds of the people of this country.”—Letter to the Marquis de Lafayette. “I never mean, unless some particular circumstance should compel me to it, to possess another slave by purchase, it being among my first wishes to see some plan adopted, by which slavery in this country may be abolished by law.”—Letter to John F. Mercer.

p. 14

illus of whites throwing Africans off a ship


Oh! I have done a cursed deed,

The wretched man replies,

And night and day, and every where,

’Tis still before my eyes.

I sailed on board a guinea-man,

And to the slave-coast went,

Would that the sea had swallowed me,

When I was innocent!

* A sailor was seen on his knees, crying and groaning, and confessing to God that he had been to the African coast for slaves.

p. 15

And we took in our cargo there,

Three hundred negro slaves;

And we sailed onward merrily,

Over the ocean waves.

One woman, sulkier than the rest,

Would still refuse her food—

Hark! hark! e’en now I hear her cries!

I see her in her blood!

They flung her overboard—poor wretch,

She rested from her pain;

But when, O when! O blessed God,

Shall I have rest again?

From the Juvenile Poems for the use of Free American Children, of every complexion. By W. L. G.



Just published, a beautiful little book, entitledThe Fountain, for every day in the year.” Against each day there is a text of scripture, and an anti-slavery sentiment. It is ornamented with a handsome engraving,—a kneeling slave, done by Patrick Reason, a colored young man of the City of New-York.

Children! Ask your fathers to go to

p. 15

Mr. John S. Taylor’s bookstore, Brick Church Chapel, opposite the City Hall, or to the Anti-Slavery Office, and buy The Fountain. Price, 18 ¾ cents. I will give you a specimen of it.

January 19. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye, separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing. 2. Cor. 6 : 17.

I knew a young lady, who read Clarkson’s History of the slave-trade, when she was seven years old, and could never after be persuaded to eat, drink, or wear, any thing produced by slave-labor. Would that abolitionists of maturer years might copy the example!

20. The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy; yea, they ahve oppressed the stranger wrongfully. Ezek. 22 : 29.

When at the judgment God shall call,

Where is thy brother?—say,

What mean ye to the Judge of all

To answer on that day.

E. L. Follen.

[cover p. 3; inside back cover]


Thus speaks the lord of Hosts. Execute true judgment, and show mercy and compassion every man to his brother. Oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart. Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy.

Go, like the blessed Savior, feed the poor,

And carry comfort to the sick man’s door;

Pity the widow, be the orphan’s friend,

And, if you cannot give them, freely lend.

Think of your heavenly Father’s love to you,

And imitate that love in all you do;

Mercy shall then your youthful steps attend,

And from the stings of death your soul defend.

For you the poor man’s prayers shall reach to heaven,

And blessings in return to you be given;

And when the righteous judge from heaven descends,

Before the world he’ll own you for his friends.

[cover p. 4; back cover]


The Praying Child, … 1

The Nine Mothers, … 2

Slave-Holder, … 2

Trust in God, … 3

Stephen to Mary, … 3

Prejudice against Color, … 4

John Woolman, … 5

Thief and Robber, … 7

The Little Thief, … 9

Slave-boy to his Master’s Son, … 8 [sic]

Rose and Miss Belle, … 11

Washington.—A dialogue, … 12

A Slave-Ship, … 14

New Book.—The Fountain, … 15


a black boy reads to a white man
Receive instruction and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.

Oh, happy is the child that hears

Instruction’s faithful voice;

And who celestial wisdom makes

His early, only choice.

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