Friendship album of Amy Matilda Cassey, a middle-class African American woman active in the anti-slavery movement and African American cultural community, containing contributions dating from 1833 until 1856. Contains original and transcribed poems, prose, and essays on topics including slavery, womanhood, religion, friendship, female refinement, death, and love. Also contains drawings, watercolors, and gouaches of flowers and a New York residential street scene. Contributors, many women of the African American elite community, are prestigious reformers and abolitionists active in the anti-slavery, intelligentsia, and cultural community of the antebellum North including Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and Baltimore.
Contains the following contributions: entry by African American abolitionist Frederick Douglass, dated Philadelphia 1850, about his "coarse" contribution in an album of "refined" entries; an original sonnet, "Fallen Bird," and essay, "The Abolition Cause," by anti-slavery activist, author, and editor, William Lloyd Garrison, dated Philadelphia 1833; floral watercolors and calligraphed poems by Philadelphia Quaker activist, educator, and artist Sarah Mapps Douglass; essay, "Moral Reform," dated Philadelphia 1834, by Harrisburg businessman and activist William Whipper; calligraphed version of Washington Irving’s poem, "The Wife," by New York African American engraver Patrick Henry Reason dated New York 1839; poem about "Friendship" dated 1837 by anti-slavery activist and gentleman, Robert Purvis; prose on faith penned in 1853 by women right’s activist and abolitionist Lucy Stone; floral watercolors, poems and prose on friendship, womanhood, abolition, and remembrance by Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society associates Margaretta Forten, Mary Forten, Sarah Forten Purvis, Rebecca Buffum, Susan C. Wright, and Hannah L. Stickney; memorials to his deceased wife and daughter by Baltimore African Methodist Episcopal Bishop Daniel Alexander Payne written in 1849; and an essay by abolitionist Reverend Isiah George DeGrasse dated Bridgewater 1836. Additional contributions by Baltimore gentlewoman and anti-slavery activist Emily Willson; anti-slavery activist Ann Warren Weston; Philadelphia barber and activist John Chew; abolitionist James Miller M’Kim; University of Glasgow trained activist James McCune Smith; Boston reformer Wendell Phillips; C.L.R., possibly Charles L. Reason, abolitionist and brother of engraver Patrick Henry Reason; A.W.H., possibly Quaker abolitionist Anna W. Hopper, and E.G., possibly Quaker abolitionist Elizabeth Garrigues.
Original and Selected Poetry &c. Amy Matilda Cassey.
Preface to the album.
Readers! within these folds you’ll find
Effusions various as the wind,
From numerous prolific brains,
In sorrowful and merry strains.
This little book, in prose or rhyme,
Is meant to cheat old father Time,
And so a tedious hour beguiles,
With poetry in every style.
Now, reader, as you find delight
In scanning over what others write
‘Tis hoped, in gratitude alone,
You’ll add a tribute of you own,
And thus, with our choice peice [sic] at least
Enrich this mental pic-nic feast.
“A token of love from me, to thee.”
L. M. Douglass
My heart is lonely as a mateless bird,
Where melody no more shall charm the ear;
Once high above earth’s tallest mounts its soar’d,
Rejoicing in its unrestrained career:
It nestled in the downy clouds at even,
And wooed a brilliant star, that warmed
With such expressive notes, the drowsy heaven,
All thrilling with delight, forgot its nest.
But now it mutely broods in solemn sadness-
Soiled is its plumage - broken are its wings-
Nor shall bright Spring call forth its wonted gladness,
Nor joyous Summer soothe its sufferings:-
The fowler [underlined] Disappointment [/underlined] (roo the day!)
Hath taken fatal aim, and seized it as his prey.
W. L. G.
Philadelphia, April 18, 1833.
When Eve bought wo to all mankind
Old Adam called her wo-man;
But when she woo’d with love so kind,
He then pronounced her woo-man.
But now with folly and with pride,
Their husbands keenly trimming,
The ladies are so full of whims,
THe people call the, whim-men.
To the lost One From Goethe
And now thou art no longer near!
From me O dearest, thou art flown!
Nor rings in my accustomed ear
A single word-a single tone.
As when, at morn, the wandered eye,
Pierces the air in vain to see
Where, hidden in the deep blue sky,
High up the lark goes singing free-
To wanders anxiously, my gaze,
Piercing the vale[sic], the bush, the grave,
On thee, still call my frequent lay:
O, come to me again dear love.
[January?] 18 J. Chew
I love a flower! it ever brings
A warmth of feeling to my heart,
Unlike those gay and gilded things
That flatter coldly, coldly, past.
But flowers! Oh they are eloquent
They speak where lips would still be dumb
When by the hand of friendship sent,
Her piece inter[illegible] they came.
L. M. Douglass
“Friendship! to thee unsullied joy belongs;
Joys that bless [illegible] Heaven’s immortal throng.
In those bright realms so rich in every joy;
That hope herself would not the bless annoy;
For hope where [illegible] she comes however fair;
Still fear the attendant of her path is these,
Angelic hosts affection rapture prove;
And holy [illegible] tell their mutual love,
Fair Friendship binds the whole celestial frame.
For love in Heaven and Friendship are the same.”
The Abolition Cause.
If ever there was a cause which established the disinterestedness, integrity and courage of its advocates, it is the cause of abolition in the United States. They who are contending for the immediate abolition of slavery,- the destruction of its friend and ally, the American Colonization Society,- and the bestowed of equal rights and privileges upon the whole colored population,- well knew what would be the consequences of their advocacy to themselves. They knew that slander would blacken their characters with infamy; that their rebukes and entreaties would be received with ridicule, anger and reproach; that persecution would assail them on the right hand and on the left; that the dungeon would yawn for their bodies; that the dagger of the assassin would gleam behind them; that the arm of power would be raised to crush them to the earth; that they would be branded as disturbers of the peace, as fanatics, madmen and incendiaries; that the heal of friendship would be lifted against them,
[Page 11 verso]
and love be turned into hatred, and confidence into suspicion, and respect into derision; that their worldly interests would be jeoparded [sic], and the honors and emoluments of office be withheld from their enjoyment. Knowing all this, still they dared all things, in order to save their country, and abolish the bloody system of slavery. Will the base and the servile accuse them of being actuated by a hope of reward? - Reward! It is the reward which calumny gives to virtue; the reward which selfishness bestows upon benevolence; but nothing of worldly applause, or promotion, or fame. Yet they have a reward - and who will blame them for coveting it? It is the gratitude of the suffering and the oppressed - the approbation of a good conscience - the blessing of the Most High. To deter such souls from their purposes, or vanquish them in combat, is as impossible as to stop the rush of the ocean when the fierce Spirit of the storm rides upon its mountain billows.
O, the loftiness of that spirit which animates them! It towers above the Alps - it pierces beyond the clouds. O, the intensity of that flame of brotherly love which burns within their breasts! It never can burn out, nor can many waters extinguish it. O, the stability of that faith which sustains them under all their toils and trials! It is firmer than the
Foundations of the earth - it is strong as the throne of God. O, the generous daring of that moral principle which inspires their hearts and governs their actions! Neither reproach nor persecution - neither wealth nor power - neither bolts nor bars - neither the gibbes nor the stake, shall be able to subdue it. They will not fail in strength, or faith, or courage, or zeal, or action. Lous as the tempest of opposition may rage around them, above it shall their rallying cry be heard in the thunder tone of heaven. Dark as their pathway may be, it shall blaze with the light of truth in their possession. Numberless as may be the enemies who surround them, they will not retreat from the field for He who is mightier than legions for men and devils is the Captain of their salvation, and will give them the victory.
Wm. Lloyd Garrison.
Philadelphia, April 18, 1833
Thank God! The [underlined] mind [/underlined] while reasons’ left,
Can ne’er of freedom be bereft.
And we have that written.
Which tells us, [underlined] all [/underlined] the same were made,
For [underlined] all [/underlined] the ransom hath been paid,
By [underlined] One [/underlined] who knew no sin.
The [underlined] body [/underlined] here, may be in chains.
Be racked, with cruel, torturing, pains.
But freedom, still we find.
For [underlined] Christ [/underlined] hath dies, to set us free,
From sin, the worst of slavery,
And give us [underlined] peace of mind [/underlined].
New York. May 23rd 1833.
“Forget me not”! - how sweet the token,
When early hours have faded long,
And hopes, as well as hearts are broken,
To know they still exist in song!
Thus, may the exile fondly dream of
Many a drear and transient ray
And watchful memory catch a gleam
Each colouring of a by-gone day.
What tho’ the wave with ceaseless motion
Protracts the union of our lot:-
Our Hope’s the rook, which stems Time;s scorn;
Our Love’s the flower, “Forget me not.” M F.
Behold these Children at their play!
Lovelier than summer flowers,
Bright as the smiling face of day
And active as the hours.
Tell me your name, dear little child,
Tell me your brother’s too,
Those gentle one’s with feature’s [sic] mild,
Hearts innocent, and true:-
My name is Joseph. Alfred his,
And Peter, is this little boy;
We are our Mother’s greatest bliss:-
Our Father’s dearest joy.
O happy Parent’s! lead them in
The path-way [sic] to shun the haunts of sin,
In God (ever) to trust.
April 1833 Charles
“Long, long be my heart with your memory fill’d [sic]!-
Like this vase, in which roses have once been distill’d [sic]-
You may break, you may ruin the vase if you will;
But the scent of the roses will hang round it still.
My prayer for thee dearest, is warm from the heart,
Unmingled with flattery - unsullied by art,
Tis the first fervent wishes I’ve traced on this page,
May they ever attend thee, in youth and in age.
I pray that thy pathway on earth may be bright,
With Love for thy motto, and Hope for thy light;
That the sunshine of bliss, that now ‘lumines [sic] thy face,
To the sad tear of sorrow may never give place.
That the tide of affection, unsullied may flow,
Through the heart of thy Husband, in weal and woe;
As when first at the altar, he gave thee his heart;
From the love he then pledg’d [sic], may he never depart.
May those sweet buds of promise who sport as thy knee.
Be all that a Mother could wish them to be;
And these [strikethrough] [illegible] [/strikethrough] loved one, who twine themselves close round the heart,
From the counsels of virtue, may never depart.
Philad May 10th 1833. S. L. Forten.
You ask me on this page to write
A [underlined] copy [/underlined] of my heart for you,
But thoughts and words have fled to night.
Be sure, the [underlined] original [/underlined] is true.
Susan C Wright
Nov. 7.th 1833.
Selected by [illegible] Affectionate [illegible]
The Bloom of Age.
A good woman never grows old. Years may pass over her head, but of benevolence and virtue dwell in her heart, she is as cheerful as when the spring of life first opened upon her [illegible].- When we look upon a good woman we never think of her age. She looks as charming as when the rose of youth bloomed on her cheek. That rose had not faded yet, it will never fade. In her family she is the life and delight. In her neighborhood she is the friend and blue factor. In the Church, the devout worshipper and the exemplary Christian, who does not respect and love the woman who has passed her days in acts of kindness and mercy. Who had been the friend of man and God, whose whole life has been a scene of [illegible] and love a devotion to truth and religion? We respect such a woman cannot grow old, she will always be fresh and busy but in spirit and active in humble deed of mercy and benevolence. If the young lady wished to retain the bloom and beauty of youth, let her love truth and virtue and to the dose of life she will retain the so feelings which now make life appear a garden of [illegible fresh and new. [illegible]
There is a charm in this name which defies the ingenuity of man to define; who but had felt its genial influence? Who, but loves to live, and think, and dwell upon the happiness it affords? The World indeed would be all “void and chaos,“ where it not for this holiest of principles.
To cherish the higher and nobler feeling of which our nature is susceptible; is sound philosophy. That man is stoically is blind, or something worse who admits the sociability of our nature, yet estranges himself from the tender embraces of Friendship.
Good wives to snails should be akin -
Always their houses keep within
But not to carry Fashion’s hacks,
All they are worth upon their backs
Good wives like city clocks should chime
Be regular and keep in time
But not like city clocks aloud
Be heard by all the vulgar [around?].
Good wives like echoes still should do
Speak but when they are spoken to;
But not like echoes most absurd
Have for ever [sic] the last word.
“Oh! In our sterner manhood, when no ray
Of earlier sunshine glimmers on our way,
When girl with sins and sorrows, and the toil
Of cares which rear the bosom that they soil;
Oh! if there be in retrospection’s chain
One link that knits us with young dreams again,
One thought so sweet we scarcely dare to muse
On all the hoarded raptures it reviews,
Which seems each constant in its backward range
The heart to soften, and its ties to change;
And every spring in unison to move,
It is the [underlined] memory of a mother’s love [/underlined].”
No marvel woman should love flowers, they bear
So much fanciful similitude
To her own history; like herself repaying
With such sweet interest all the cherishing
That calls their beauty or their sweetness forth;
And like her too- dying beneath neglect.
Selected by L. M. Douglass.
The Wife by Washington Irving
New York [Jan?] 1839 [BHR?]
As the vine which has
Long turned its graceful
Foliage about the oak and
Been lifted by it in sunshine will when
The hardy plant is rifted
By the thunderbolt cling around it with its carressing [sic] tendrils and