Essay on Man – Alexander Pope
(A section of Popes’ “Essay on Man”
A favorite of George Fitzhughs’

“Whether with reason or with instinct blest,
All enjoy that power that suits them best;
Order is Heaven’s first law, and this confessed,
Some are, and must be greater than the rest—
More rich, more wise; but who infers from hence
That such are happier, shocks all common sense.
Heaven to mankind impartial, we confess,
If all are equal in their happiness;
But mutual wants this happiness increase,
All nature’s difference, keeps all nature’s peace:
Condition, circumstance, is not the thing;
Bliss is the same, in subject, or in king!”

John Brown
– P. H. Matthews

“Oh, there is great news come from Charlestown,
‘Tis all about the hanging of old John Brown;
He tried all his best to set the niggers free,
And for it he had to hang upon the gallows’ tree.

It happened at Harper’s Ferry, as you already know,
He tried all his best but he found it was no go;
He gave to the niggers spears, pistols and guns,
And in the struggle he lost his two sons.

So, all you, old men, who wish to set the niggers free,
Just think of John Brown and the gallows’ tree;
And oh ye, abolitionists, before it is too late,
Think of John Brown and of his sad fate.”

The Fate of Old John Brown
– Unknown

“John Brown, unfortunate John Brown,
You to a jail was sent
For tampering with slaves, John
And with a bad intent:
You lately had your trial, John,
They found you guilty, very,
With learning Niggers how to shoot,
And take old Harper’s Ferry.

John Brown, unfortunate John Brown,
You reached the foot at last;
Your time upon this earth, John,
Is closing round you fast;
If the Niggers had been free, John,
What would they get to do!
They know when they are well off,
And now they laugh at you.”

Who will Care for Niggers Now?
– Unknown, 1866

“Listen to me plantation niggers,
While I in this mud hole lie,
Though I feel starvation’s vigors,
Let me say a word and die.
Niggers, does this look like freedom,
I can’t see it any how;
Blacks are fools, and white folks lead ’em,
But who cares for niggers now?

look here niggers; I am dying,
See the death-sweat on my brow;
This is freedom; no use crying:
Who will care for niggers now?

Some say niggers are as good as white folks,
Gizzard foot, and Ebo shin; Don’t believe it;
tis a tight joke; Handsome, but you can’t come in;
Well, you Lived on the old plantation,
Earning with a sweating-brow,
Plenty of clothes, and plenty of rations,
But who cares for niggers now?

White folks say they give freedom,
What they give us is all in my eye;
Free to suffer, free to languish,
Free to starve and free to die;
No potatoes. corn cake; bacon.
We must to starvation bow,
If this is freedom l was mistaken,
But who cares for niggers now?”

Carpert Bagger’s Hymn
– Unknown, 1868

From New Hampshire’s green mountains,
From old Nantucket’s strand,
From Lake Ontario’s fountains,
And Huron’s golden sand ;
From old Wisconsin River,
And famed Iowa’s plains,
We’re coming to deliver
This State to negro chains.

We love the spicy breezes
That blow from Afric’s shore
A scent that so well pleases,
Who would not thirst for more
Thick lips and coal-black faces,
The gifts of God are shown,
We’ll take these dusky races,
And mingle with our own.

They Tell Me I am Free
– A Freedman, 1866

“I’m wand’ring now from town to town,
Oppress’d with care and woe,
‘nd not one generous friend I meet,
No matter where I go;
The cold blast of the winter, too,
Preys heavily on me,
While all who meet we cry aloud—
“Rejoice! for you are free.”

This piercing northern winter blast,
My life blood chills within,
And I am starving in the streets
Where none will let me in;
They tell me they are friends of mine,
That I a man must be;
That I should never more repine,
Since they have set me free.

I left my sunny Southern home,
To seek the promis’d land,
Where Boston is from off the sea,
By icy breezes fann’d;
In vain I ask for bread—in vain
I plead imploringly;
Both black and white, my misery mock
By shouting “you are free.”

They say that I no longer am The slave
of master’s will;
That he can’t sell my wife or child
Nor any of us kill:
Kind christian friends, though good you are,
Yet I can’t agree,
That I much better off am now,
Ev’n though a man and free;

A man and free—a wasting man,
From all save hunger free,
And though my children are not sold,
From them I have to flee,
What matters it, free or slave,
If we must parted be?
I could not stay to see them starve,
And this my friends call “free.”

Kind Heaven look down upon me,
And send me back, again,
To that fair sunny Southern land,
Where no one asks in vain,
When e’en slavery better is,
Than freedom here to me,
For there men are not fed on words,
Nor scorn’d in slavery.”

On Being Brought from Africa to America
– Phillis Wheatley, 1773

‘Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there’s a God, that there’s a Saviour too:
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.
Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
“Their colour is a diabolic die.”
Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain,
May be refin’d, and join th’ angelic train.

The Negro’s Character
– John Saffin, 1701.

“Cowardly and cruel are those blacks innate,
prone to revenge, imp of inveterate hate.
He that exasperates them, soon espies
mischief and murder in their very eyes.
Libidinous, deceitful, false and rude,
the spume issue of ingratitude.
The premises considered, all may tell,
how near good Joseph they are parallel.”

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