(To the tune of “Old Hundred”)

Bob Dyer—tenor; Cathy Barton—alto; Dave Para—bass; Lisa Redfern—soprano

Anti-slavery sentiment in the North grew steadily after 1815 and became more militant in 1831 with the founding of William Lloyd Garrison's newspaper, “The Liberator,” and Nat Turner's slave insurrection. As more and more voices joined the Abolitionist chorus, including the famous Hutchison Family Singers, songs and poems began to be written to support the movement. The words to this song were set to the tune of the popular Protestant hymn known as “Old Hundred.” It is here sung in the Shape Note singing school style using a seven-shape system we learned from the 1867 New Harp of Columbia.

We ask not that the slave should lie
As lies his master at his ease,
Beneath a silken canopy
Or in the shade of blooming trees.

We ask not “eye for eye” that all
Who forge the chain and ply the whip
Should feel their torture; while the thrall
Should wield the scourge of mastership.

We mourn not that the man should toil
'Tis nature's need, 'tis God's decree;
But let the hand that tills the soil
Be, like the wind that fans it, free.

© Big Canoe Records, 1993