The Acquisitions Table: Dialogue on Slavery

A very rare self-published collection of poems by Holmes, a farmer in Greene County, OH east of Dayton. Most of the poems are short and predominantly religious in theme. Preceding these is Holmes’s 20-page “Dialogue on Slavery,” which offers an unusual poetic recapitulation of the religious, economic, and political arguments for and against slavery. Firmly in the antislavery camp, Holmes concludes that gradual emancipation is the most workable solution:

            “Why not this plan adopt through all the nation;

            There’s no mistake—the north would lend a helping hand

            To colonize, and with the funds of Uncle Sam,

            You shall receive from individual donations,

            A sum all sufficient for to rid the nation

            Of all your slaves …”

Published by

David Whitesell

Curator of Books, American Antiquarian Society

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