Liberty-All Hail


Liberty—All Hail.

JOEL BARLOW, in the Eighth Book of his Columbiad, in view of American Slavery, puts some of the most withering words into the mouth of Old Atlas,—

“Great brother guardian of old Afric’s clime:”

“But thy proud sons, a strange, degenerate race,
Enslave my tribes, and each fair world disgrace,
Provoke wide vengeance on the lawless land,
The bolt ill-placed in thy forbearing hand.—
Enslave my tribes! then boast their cantons free,
Preach faith and justice, bend the sainted knee,
Invite all men their liberty to share,
Seek public peace, defy the assaults of war,
Plant, reap, consume, enjoy their fearless toil,
Tame their wild floods, to fatten still their soil,
Enrich all nations with their nurturing store,
And rake with venturous fluke each wondering shore.—
Enslave my tribes! what, half mankind imban,
Then read, expound, enforce the rights of man!
Prove plain and clear how nature’s hand of old
Cast all men equal in her human mold!
Their fibres, feelings, reasoning powers the same,
Like wants await them, like desires inflame.
Thro’ former times with learned book they tread,
Revise past ages and rejudge the dead,
Write, speak, avenge, for ancient sufferings feel,
Impale each tyrant on their pens of steel,
Declare how freemen can a world create,
And slaves and masters ruin every state.—
Enslave my tribes! and think, with dumb disdain,
To ‘scape this arm and prove my vengeance vain!”

Atlas, turned proslavery, goes on to speak of Americans in slavery in Algiers, and calls them—

“A few chained things that seem no longer men;
Thy sons, perchance!”

The slavery of Americans in chains in Barbary is but a moiety of the vengeance meditated:

“Nor shall these pangs atone the nation’s crime;
Far heavier vengeance, in the march of time,
Attends them still; if still they dare debase
And hold enthrall’d the millions of my race;
A vengeance that shall shake the world’s deep frame,
That heaven abhors, and hell might shrink to name.
Nature, long outraged, delves the crusted sphere,
And molds the mining mischief dark and drear;
Europa, too, the penal shock shall find,
The rude soul-selling monsters of mankind;

Crush your curst continent, and whirl on high
The vast avulsions vaulting thro’ the sky,”—

All that remains of what was once magnificent and glorious, is—

“A dim, lone island in the watery waste,
Mourns all his minor mountains wreck’d and hurl’d;
Stands the sad relic of a ruin’d world.”

Thus toned the Titan his tremendous knell.

NEW YORK, June 10, 1861.

Item Information help

  • Item ID
  • Genre
  • Illustrated
  • DCMI Type
    Still Image
  • Extent
    24 cm x 18.5 cm
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