The Slave’s Friend, #38 (1839)

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. The last issue is presented here in its entirety. It lacks its front cover, which probably showed an allegorical figure of Freedom on the front and perhaps had a poem or illustration on the inside front cover. The sun-yellow covers were numbered; the inside back is cover page 3, and the very back cover is cover page 4. 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.

Vol. IV. No. II. Whole No. 38.


My little readers have heard a great deal about mobs, and some of them have seen mobs. They have taken place in a great many places during the last four years, and they have done much mischief. They have broken into dwelling houses, into churches, into schoolhouses; they have burned furniture, anti-slavery books and pamphlets, and buildings; they have broken windows, cut off horses’ tails, thrown stones and bricks and eggs at abolitionists; and they have burnt, drowned and shot men!

On the next page is a picture of a mob. See how wickedly they behave, how much like evil spirits. Satan himself seems to be at the head of them, and the mob act like his dutiful child- [the word is unfinished; evidently it is “children”]

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The Mob.

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A mob can be got up in various ways. The “abolition mobs,” as our enemies call them, have usually been got up in some such way as this.

Some editor of a newspaper tells lies about the abolitionists; calls them fanatics, enemies to their country, incendiaries; says they wish to dissolve the union of the United States; tells stories about white people and colored people walking together, sitting together in the churches, or at anti-slavery meetings, and that they intend to marry each other. They point out some anti-slavery meetings, say it ought not to be held, that if it should be broken up by a mob it would be serving the abolitionists right, though they hope no injury would be done to them.

Then some of the ministers preach against the abolitionists, and tell their hearers that abolition injures religion, and is a very wrong thing.

Parents, after reading the newspapers, or hearing such preaching, go home and

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talk before their families, saying many bitter things against the abolitionists, that they ought to be mobbed or hung, or tarred and feathered. When their neighbors come in they tell them a great many falsehoods about abolitionists.

Presently the grogshops are full of people drinking rum, smoking segars, swearing, and talking against abolitionists. And when night comes, these drunkards sally out, go through the streets shouting, attack the houses of abolitionists or the colored people.

This is the way to get up a mob. It has been tried in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Utica, Alton, and many other places.



The last great mob we have heard of was in Philadelphia. I will tell you something about it. The abolitionists in that city, together with some other friends of free discussion, agreed to build a large and elegant building, to be called

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the “Pennsylvania Hall.” There they intended to hold temperance, peace, anti-slavery and other meetings. Well, this building was finished on the 12th day of May, 1838. The abolitionists were rejoiced at it. They felt that the time had come in Philadelphia, for them to be bold in speaking for the poor slaves.

On looking into the little book called “The Fountain,” under the date of May 12th, I find the following verse and sentiment for that day:

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of … love. 2 Tim. 1: 7.

At one time I thought this system would be overthrown in blood; but a hope gleams across my mind, that our blood will be spilt, instead of the slaveholders’; that our lives may be taken, and theirs spared.

Angelina Emily Grimke

On Monday May 14th, the Hall was opened and dedicated. An oration was delivered on Liberty, by David Paul Brown, Esq.

“In all things that have beauty, there is nothing to man more comely than Liberty.”


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There was also an address on Temperance, and several anti-slavery speeches. The women held their yearly anti-slavery convention likewise in the Hall. Some of them were colored women, and they sat and walked with the white women. It was soon noised all over the city, that white and black people were walking side by side in the streets! A hue and cry was raised; a thousand lies were circulated; people drank, swore and got angry. When night came, the men and boys that were bent on mischief, gathered around the hall, threw stones at the windows, and shouted with all their might. When the meeting broke up, they threw stones at the ladies as they left the Hall to go to their homes.

The mayor of the city, John Swift, did nothing to prevent the mischief. If he had been resolute, if he had gone to the place with all the constables, and been determined that the peace should be kept, the mob would have been afraid,

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But he acted as if he did not care if they did destroy the Hall.

The mob threatened to come again the next evening, and do more mischief. The mayor then went to the abolitionists, and persuaded them not to hold their meeting, but give the keys of the Hall to him. He took the keys, held them up to the mob, made a speech, and bade them good night. After he was out of sight, they got axes, and clubs and stones, and broke into the building. In the first place they opened the doors of the Depository, and took the antislavery pamphlets and books, and carried them into the street. Some were trampled in the mud, some were burned, and a great many were taken away to be read.

The mob then got some shavings out of the cellar, and carried them into the middle of the Hall, put the benches upon them, and then set fire to them! In a short time, the building was all on fire. The bells rang, the people ran, the engines rattled over the pavements, and

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the whole city was illuminated. In an hour or two the beautiful Pennsylvania Hall was burned up!

But the city or county of Philadelphia will have to pay for it. A year or two ago, after the riots in that city, which alarmed the people greatly, the legislature made a law that if property should be destroyed by another mob in Philadelphia, the people should pay for it. So the mob it seems, destroyed their own property when they burned Philadelphia Hall. What fools! But a mob is a monster that has no brains.

The next night the mob went to burn the “Orphan’s Asylum,” a handsome new brick building. It was lately built for colored orphans. But after it was in a blaze, the good people assembled and put out the fire. In Slave’s Friend No. 7, you can read an account of the Shelter for Colored Orphans. The Society that owned that building, had just built the new house about which I was

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telling you, but had not yet moved into it.

On looking into “The Fountain” again, and reading the texts and sentiments for the days when the meetings were held in Philadelphia, and the mob was making such an uproar, I have been struck with surprise at seeing how apt they are.

On the 14th of May, Mr. Brown delivered his oration on Liberty in the morning, in the afternoon the Lyceum had a meeting, and Mr. Hunt made an address on Temperance in the evening.

14. Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another; love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous. 1 Pet. 3: 8.

Has not our mighty Maker, God,

Made all the nations of one blood?

Who is he dares this truth dispute,

And sink his brother to a brute?

On the 15th Lewis C. Gunn, Charles C. Burleigh, Alvan Stewart, Esq. and William Lloyd Garrison, delivered addresses; and a dedicatory Poem read by John G. Whittier, was read by Charles C.

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Burleigh. The Lyceum had a meeting. The Women’s Convention had two meetings.

15. If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. John 7: 37.

When he in lowly prayer would bend

Before an Everlasting Friend;

Learn how to reach those mansions blest,

Where even he at length may rest;

By a stern master’s jealous pride,

This blessing too may be denied—

He may forbid his care-worn slave

To look for hope beyond the grave.

The Congress of the United States passed a law on this day, 1820, declaring the Slave-trade PIRACY.

On the 16th Mr. Stewart and Mr. Garrison spoke again. There was also a Free Labor Convention held this day. The State Anti-Slavery Society held a meeting. A public meeting was held in the evening. Mr. Garrison, Mrs. Weld, and others made addresses.

16. No man having put his hand to the plough and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. Luke 9: 62.

’Twere base to sacrifice the truth, to save

Our names from foul reproach—our bodies from the grave.

W. L. Garrison.

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On the 17th the Women’s Convention held meetings in the hall, forenoon and afternoon. In the evening the building was set on fire.

17. When they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and behold the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. Matt. 8: 32.

It is important that principles should be established in the mind; especially in this age, when so few are able to distinguish between right and wrong—when a spirit is abroad, that would grieve over the emancipation of a man from a legion of devils, if it were the means of destroying a herd of swine.—

Professor Gregg.

allegorical figure with a shield

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When, for some little insult given,

My angry passions rise;

I’ll think how Jesus came from heaven,

And bore his injuries.

He was insulted every day,

Though all his words were kind;

But nothing men could do or say

Disturbed his heavenly mind.

Not all the wicked scoffs he heard

Against the truths he taught,

Excited one reviling word,

Or one revengeful thought.

And when upon the cross he bled,

With all his foes in view;

“Father forgive their sin” he said;

“They know not what they.”

Dear Jesus, may I learn of thee

My temper to amend;

But speak the pardoning word for me

Whenever I offend.

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Four little children who were slaves in Twiggs County, State of Georgia, were lately killed, by the falling of a bank in a gully, where they were at play. The newspaper called “The Federal Union” says very coolly, they were the property of a Mr. Solomons, whose loss by their death, is estimated at fifteen hundred or two thousand dollars!” Oh Shame!!



At the island of Majaica are schools of this name. At one of them they made a collection among the children for missionary purposes. The little sums which they gave was so much more than was expected, that Mr. Trew asked how they got their money. The children said they earned it by teaching the men and women to read after they had finish-

* These schools are named after a benevolent man, whose name was Mico, who left a large sum of money for the support of the schools.

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ed their day’s work. Nearly every child taught his parent, or uncle, or neighbor, or grandfather and grandmother. The gift book of the British Bible Society, containing the New Testament and Psalms, was very useful to them, and made them very desirous to learning to read. What a happy thing it would be if the American Bible Society should send a gift book to every family of slaves in this country!



Many of the colored people love to be instructed. At first it seems hard, but when they find they are really learning, they feel great encouragement to study. In a Sunday School in this city, there were two little girls who were twins. They looked alike and dressed alike. You could scarcely tell them apart. Their grandmother used to bring them to the school. After a while she went to Newark on a visit, and when Saturday came, the good old woman brought her little grand children in on purpose to at-

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tend Sunday School the next day. As soon as the school opened in she came, leading one little girl with each hand. The grandmother and little girls smiled, and looked pleased. Was not this a pretty sight?



A woman who was a slave in the state of Alabama, and now lives in this city, has earned and laid by eighty-three dollars in a little more than a year! She has good wages, spends but little, and saves all she can. She belongs to a church, gives six dollars a year towards the support of public worship, and yet has contrived to lay up so much. She has a husband in slavery, and wants to get money enough to purchase his freedom, and then buy a small house in the country. I wonder if women like her cannot support themselves if made free, and there are many such in slavery.

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In No. 35 of the Slave’s Friend there was an account of Hyænas in Africa seizing and carrying off little children. A colored man of Pennsylvania, in an oration in honor of an abolitionist, who had died a little time before, called the men who try to catch the poor fugitives, and take them back to slavery, human hyænas. What a just title!

Mr. Merrit, a police officer in the city of New-York, said he could make fifteen hundred dollars a year by taking up fugitives, but it was a “mean business, and he would have nothing to do with it.” He had no desire to act like a hyæna it seems. Satan goes round like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour. Kidnappers act like him. They are his own children. How mean to assist a slaveholder in hunting up poor men, women and children, who have done nothing worse than to flee from slavery!

[inside back cover; cover p. 3]


I pity the poor little slave,

Who labors hard through all the day—

And has no one,

When day is done,

To teach his youthful heart to pray.

No words of love—no fond embrace—

No smiles from parents kind and dear;

No tears are shed

Around his bed,

When fevers rage, and death is near.

None feel for him when heavy chains

Are fastened to his tender limb:

No pitying eyes—

No sympathies—

No prayers are raised to heaven for him.

But I will pity the poor slave,

And pray that he may soon be free;

That he at last,

When days are past,

In heaven may have his liberty.

[back cover; cover p. 4]


Mobs, … 1

How to get up a Mob, … 3

Mob in Philadelphia, … 4

Against Anger and Impatience, … 12

“Property.” … 13

The Mico Schools, … 13

Pretty Sight, … 14

Supporting one’s Self, … 15

Human Hyænas, … 16

woodcut of roses

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