Freedom To The Slaves
Title:Freedom to the Slaves
Author:G. G. N.
Date:October 5th 1861
Keywords:domesticity, slavery, war
We know relatively little about “G.G.N.”, the author of this poem, although they did produce original poetry specifically for the Accrington Guardian, which perhaps suggests he or she was a local resident. This poem makes no reference to the increasing employment crisis for cotton workers in Lancashire, although this was beginning to become apparent by the autumn of 1861 when the poem was published. Instead, “G.G.N.” focuses on the potential positive outcomes of the American Civil War for the enslaved people of the States, and, in the final stanza, seems to urge British intervention to the end of emancipation. The poem uses imagery common to abolitionist discourse in Britain. The third stanza evokes the famous Josiah Wedgewood image of the kneeling slave asking “Am I not a man and a brother?”, as well as appealing to the much-lauded domestic values of the Victorian era. The following stanza condemns slavery as both unnatural and irreligious. Though explicitly commenting on American affairs from a British perspective, the author does not mention the connections between the American plantations and the local cotton industry. . – RM RM.