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The Slaveholders Rebellion


An antislavery long poem published at the conclusion of the Civil War by David Plumb. Digitized by the Antislavery Literature Project.


David Henry Plumb (1818-1887) was a minister, journalist, and Liberty Party activist in western New York State.  He established the Wesleyan Methodist newspaper in Utica, New York in 1842.  His published works, most quite brief, include Man, A Poem Delivered at the Commencement of the Wesleyan University (1840); The True Heirs of the Abrahamic Inheritance; or, Jewish Restoration Disproved (1843); The New Earth (1843); Holiness: The Way to the Divine Presence (1850); and Citizenship and Suffrage: The Power and the Duty of Congress to Enfranchise the Nation (1868).

The long poem, composed of seventeen 10-line stanzas rhyming on alternate lines, was written at the conclusion of the Civil War.  It specifies the cause of the war as slavery (stanzas 2-4) and the liberation of slaves as victorious war policy (stanzas 6-8).  The recent assassination of Lincoln, in the poet’s opinion, illustrates the depths to which defeated slavery will sink (stanzas 11-12).  Plumb calls for rejecting pleas for mercy for the rebels (stanza 14), and demands banishment or execution for captured Confederate criminals (stanzas 15-16).  The final stanza (17) voices a vision of justice, human rights for “every race” (line 164), peace, and freedom.

- Joe Lockard