1840. Item #90349
HATFIELD, EDWIN F[RANCIS], compiler. FREEDOM'S LYRE: OR, PSALMS, HYMNS, AND SACRED SONGS, FOR THE SLAVE AND HIS FRIENDS. New York: S. W. Benedict, 1840. First edition. 291 hymns from various sources with metre abbreviations only, no musical notation, and (usually) attributions. 28mo., vi, 265 pp. Brown cloth stamped in gilt and blind. Pencil ownership on first blank recto: "L. C. Stetson's Book 1840." Cloth sunned; corners, spine heel and crown bumped, small stain to front board at bottom edge; text tight and complete with moderate foxing, several pages with chipped corners, no loss of text; very good condition overall. In his Preface to this pocket-sized work, Hatfield notes that it was commissioned by the Executive Committee of the American Anti-Slavery Society and that he had felt free to edit, alter or adapt the chosen hymns so as to further "the holy cause of Emancipation." Sources include the Psalms, anonymous verses from other publications, contributions from poets and abolitionists such as Miss [Elizabeth M.] Chandler (no. 202), Mrs. [Maria Weston] Chapman (no. 201), John Greenleaf Whittier (nos. 204 & 211), half of William Lloyd Garrison's Anti-Slavery Hymns, as well as 24 hymns by Hatfield himself. The Table of Contents divides the hymns into sections: The Cries of the Slave To God; To Man; The Slave Comforted; The Slave Exhorted to Patience and Hope; The Rights of the Slave; Appeals in Behalf of the Slave; Slaveholders Admonished; The Friends of the Slave Encouraged; The Friends of the Slave Assembled; Emancipation; Thanksgiving and Praise; Dismissions; Doxologies; with an Index of First Lines at the end (pp. 255-265). Edwin Francis Hatfield (American, 1807 - 1883), was a distinguished Presbyterian pastor and ecclesiastical administrator, and a hymnologist with deep knowledge of the form. "[O]f the complete corpus of antislavery song and hymnbooks, Freedom's Lyre was the most reverent and well wrought. Freedom's Lyre was the only authentic hymnal solely devoted to abolition of the African slave trade. Because the volume amassed a diversity of hymns and psalms theologically categorized in a well-delineated table of contents, it is a paramount source for the theological study of American abolitionism." - Jon Michael Spencer, Protest & Praise, pp. 40-41. Refere.