On The Slave Trade
by Elisha Thornton

(abridged version by Doug Sinclair)

unabridged version

Come feeling heart, and view the tragic scene,
Come view the massacre, on Africk's shore,
A scene of blood, shed by uninjure'd men by men who worship at the shrine of gain...
Most horrible the havock made of men, detested more by how much these profess
the sacred name, the name of him who bled for sinful man, not causing men to bleed.

What but the charms of gold, alluring wealth?
What but a loss to every sense of good?
What but some Demon from the lowest pit could stimulate the noble mind of man to deeds so black...
To kidnap little children as they pass,
or while the sultry hours by them are spent in pretty prattel by some golden brook, or in some cooling bower...
snatched away by tiger-hearted men, no more to see nor ever more embrace parental arms! Nor parents them enjoy;
but pine away their days with thoughts of woe they're destin'd to

Among thy many crimes, Oh Christendom, not one more complicated, one more black than this

See captur'd wretches, marched now along toward the ship, nor dare they turn an eye
to bid farewel their country or their friends, but hastened...on board the stifeling bark,
where close confin'd beneath the deck they're bound, midst noxious stench - where many pine and die!
Parents compell'd must quit their golden coast, rent from their babes -
husband and wife must part and bid adieu - heart broken, sighs ascend!

How wish'd for now, the stroke of death implor'd

That king of terrors to the human breast is now most sought - no remedy but this to free from bonds,
free from the galling yoke

See black despair - the swollen breast ascends on deck and resolute to end his woe,
plunges humself into the watery main!

Nor does he dread at all the grim jaw'd shark, but meets of choice the monster's deadly fangs
The few poor drooping souls who reach the Isles are like the beasts of burthen,
scourged on, in hunger, thirst and toil, 'till death release!

In vain our States shall hail the youthful morn of peaceful independence in our land
'till Africk's sons to liberty restor'd.

May ruling powers...unite... and let the captive free - then peace shall flow.

God bless our States

Unite them in a band.

go to Elisha Thornton's biography

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all text and photographs © 1998-2006 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted