Boston, May 20, 1859
From the New York Evening Post.
The Oberlin Rescue.
‘Simeon Bushnell was convicted at Cleveland, Ohio, of the crime of aiding John, an alleged slave, to escape through Ohio to Canada, and to regain his freedom.’
Where is the charter freedom gave
To lands where speeds Ohio’s flood,
Which guarded from the foot of slave
The soil once wet with patriot blood?
Was it for this our fathers bled,
And left their graves as patriot mounds –
From trans-atlantic masters fled,
Here trembling crouch like whining hounds?
Is it a crime on freedom’s soil
To aid the man who would be free?
Shall we denounce far distant spoil,
Ourselves hunt men to slavery?
Ye pilgrims to Old England’s Tower,
Who freeze before the axe and wheel –
Rude relics now of brutal power –
The dungeon, screw, judicial steel:
Go to your own proud prairie home,
Your home of boasted liberty!
And, standing ‘neath the heaven’s broad dome,
See bloodier tools of tyranny.
The soulless judge, indictments, law,
Inventions framed with cunning skill –
Far deadlier than the links which gnaw
And chafe the freeman’s tameless will.
The plains that ‘neath free armies shook
Are now the hunting-grounds for men;
Unchained the flowers, the wind, the brook -
There men are forced to slaves again.
Oh, men! Roll back this cursed tide;
Assert the manhood God once gave;
Stand on free ground, its crown and pride;
Be something more than Slavery’s slave!
All honor to that hero band!
Your thorny crown is rosy bright;
With Hampden, Sydney, now ye stand,
Judicial martyrs to the right.
New Your, April 28, 1859. J.D.S.