Maintain the Right

Image from The Conservative Reader website.

From the Essex Gazette

“THE BILL OF ABOMINATIONS.”

Lines written on the passage of Pinckney’s Resolutions in the House of Representatives, and of Calhoun’s Bill of Abominations in the Senate of the U.S.

Now by our father’s ashes! — where’s the spirit
Of the true hearted and the unshackled gone?
Sons of old freemen, do we but inherit
Their NAMES alone?

Is the old Pilgrim spirit quenched within us?
Stoops the proud manhood of our souls so low,
That Mammon’s lure or Party’s wile can win us,
To silence now?

No — when our land to ruin’s brink is verging,
In God’s name, let us speak, while there is time!
Now when the padlocks for our lips are forging,
SILENCE IS CRIME.

What! shall we henceforth humbly ask as favors
Rights all our own! — in madness shall we barter
For treacherous peace, the freedom nature gave us,
God and our Charter?

Here shall the statesman seek the free to fetter?
Here Lynch law light its horrid fires on high!
And in the church, their proud and skilled abettor
Make truth a lie?

Torture the pages of the hallowed Bible
To sanction crime and robbery, and blood,
And, in oppression’s hateful service, libel
Both man and God!

Shall our New England stand erect no longer,
But stoop in chains upon her downward way,
Thicker to gather on her limbs and stronger
Day after day?

Oh no! methinks from all her wild green mountains —
From valleys where her slumbering fathers lie —
From her blue rivers and her welling fountains,
And clear, cold sky!

From her rough coast and isles, which hungry ocean
Gnaws with his surges — from the fisher’s skiff
With white sail swaying to the billow’s motion
Round rock and cliff —

From the free fire-side of her unbought farmer —
From her free laborer at his loom and wheel;
From the brown smith-shop, where beneath the hammer,
Rings the red steel!

From each and all, if God hath not forsaken
Our land, and left us to an evil choice,
Loud as the summer thunder-bolt shall waken
A PEOPLE’S VOICE!

Startling and stern! the northern winds shall bear it
Over Potomac to St. Mary’s wave;
And buried Freedom shall awake to hear it
Within her grave,

Oh — let that voice go forth — the bondman sighing
By Santee’s wave — in Mississippi cane,
Shall feel the hope within his bosom dying,
Revive again.

Let it go forth! The millions who are gazing
Sadly upon us from afar, shall smile,
And unto God devout thanksgiving raising,
Bless us the while.

Oh, for your ancient freedom, pure and holy,
For the deliverance of a groaning earth,
For the wronged captive, bleeding, crushed, and lowly,
Let it go forth!

Sons of the best of fathers, will ye falter
With all they left ye perilled and at stake?
Ho — once again on freedom’s holy altar
The fires awake!

Prayer — strengthened for the trial, come together,
Put on the harness for the moral fight.
And with the blessing of your Heavenly Father,
MAINTAIN THE RIGHT.

Alton Observer (Alton, Illinois) Mar 9, 1837

The Alton Observer did not publish the name of the author, John Greenleaf Whittier, but I found the same poem, slightly revised,  published later in a few  books.

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