James Madison Bell

Abolition of Slavery in District of Columbia

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Thank God! from our old ensign
Is erased one mark of shame,
Which leaves one less to rapine,
One less to blight our fame.
For two and sixty summers
Has our broad escutcheon waved,
Amid the ceaseless murmurs
And wails of the enslaved;
But in the blest hereafter
Shall our oft afflicted ears,
Be solaced with bright laughter,
With gladsome praise and cheers.
For freedom's altar's basis
More permanent shall be,
When rid the gaunt embraces
Of fell barbarity.


If Congress hath the power
To expel from ten miles square
The Goliath of the hour,
And charge the tainted air
With the pure breath of freedom,
As to baffle all return,
Should they not e'en from Sodom,
The vaunted monster, spurn?
Roaring like distant waters,
Which no power can repress,
Up from ten thousand quarters
Comes the responsive yes!
Yes! yes; our nation's banner
We should purge from all its stains,
Nor yield to might nor manner,
Till Right triumphant reigns.

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James Madison Bell