Poems Written During the Progress of the Abolition Question In the United States/To Gov. M'Duffie


'The patriarchal institution of slavery.'—Gov. M'Duffie.

King of Carolina!—hail!
Last champion of Oppression's battle!
Lord of rice-tierce and cotton-bale!
Of sugar-box and human cattle!
Around thy temples, green and dark,
Thy own tobacco-wreath reposes—
Thyself, a brother Patriarch
Of Isaac, Abraham, and Moses!

Why not?—Their household rule is thine—
Like theirs, thy bondmen feel its rigor;
And thine, perchance, as concubine,
Some swarthy prototype of Hagar.
Why not?—Like those good men of old,
The priesthood is thy chosen station;
Like them thou payest thy rites to gold—
And Aaron's calf of Nullification.

All fair and softly!—Must we then,
From Ruin's open jaws to save us,
Upon our own free working men
Confer a master's special favors?
Whips for the back—chains for the heels—
Hooks for the nostrils of Democracy,
Before it spurns as well as feels
The riding of the Aristocracy!

Ho—fishermen of Marblehead!—
Ho—Lynn cordwainers, leave your leather,
And wear the yoke in kindness made,
And clank your needful chains together!
Let Lowell mills their thousands yield,
Down let the rough Vermonter hasten,
Down from the workshop and the field,
And thank us for each chain we fasten.

Slaves in the rugged Yankee land?
I tell thee, Carolinian, never!
Our rocky hills and iron strand
Are free, and shall be free forever.
The surf shall wear that strand away,
Our granite hills in dust shall moulder,
Ere Slavery's hateful yoke shall lay
Unbroken, on a Yankee's shoulder!

No—George M'Duffie!—keep thy words
For the mail plunderers of thy city,
Whose robber-right is in their swords;
For recreant Priest and Lynch-Committee!
Go, point thee to the cannon's mouth,
And swear its brazen lips are better,
To guard 'the interests of the South,'
Than parchment scroll, of Charter's letter.[1]

We fear not.—Steams which brawl most loud
Along their course, are oftenest shallow;
And loudest to a doubting crowd
The coward publishes his valor.
Thy courage has at least been shown
In many a bloodless southern quarrel,
Facing, with hartshorn and cologne,
For Georgian's harmless pistol-barrel.[2]

No, Southron! not in Yankee land
Will threats, like thine, a fear awaken—
Her men, who on their charter stand
For truth and right, may not be shaken.
Still shall that truth assail thine ear—
Each breeze, from Northern mountains flowing,
The tones of Liberty shall bear—
God's 'free incendiaries' going!

We give thee joy!—thy name is heard
With reverence on the Neva's borders;
And 'turban'd Turk' and Poland's lord,
And Metternich, are thy applauders.
Go—if thou lov'st such fame, and share
The mad Ephesian's base example—
The holy bands of Union tear,
And clap the torch to Freedom's temple!

Do this—Heaven's frown—thy country's curse—
Guilt's fiery torture ever burning—
The quenchless thirst of Tantalus,
And Ixion's wheel forever turning—
A name, for which 'the pain'dest fiend
Below' his own would barter never,—
These shall be thine unto the end—
Thy damning heritage forever!

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  1. See Speech of Gov. M'D. to an artillery company in Charleston, S.C.
  2. Most of our readers will recollect the 'chivalrous' affair between M'Duffie and Col. Cummings, of Georgia, some years ago, in which the parties fortified themselves with spirits of hartshorn and Eau de Cologne.