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Book of the week — The Oasis

“To suppose that slavery can long continue in this country, when other nations shall have freed themselves from the foulest stain which ever polluted humanity, is to contemplate a period when the United States will become a nuisance upon earth, and an object of derision to the whole world.”

The Oasis
Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880), ed.
Boston: B. C. Bacon, 1834
First edition
E449 C535 1834

Lydia Maria Child was a poet, novelist, author of domestic advice books, and many abolitionist pieces. The Oasis is a gift book including stories, poems and articles all related to the antislavery cause. The collection was edited by Child, who wrote most of the pieces.

The title of this compilation is the title of a story by Child, reviewed favorably by William Lloyd Garrison, but which is not included in this collection.

Introduced to reform issues by her husband, an attorney, Child fought for Indian’s rights and women’s rights, but believed that women’s equality could not be dealt with fully before slavery was abolished. She sympathized with John Brown, but she did not believe that violence was an acceptable means toward abolition. In the preface to this collection she wrote, “The attempt to excite prejudice against Anti-Slavery Societies, by representing them as violent and blood-thirsty, reminds me of the Roman persecutors, who first dressed Christian converts in the skins of wild beasts, and then set the dogs upon them.” She later edited the autobiography of former slave Harriet Jacobs and The Freedman’s Book for the education of newly freed slaves.

For all this, today she is best known for her poem, “Over the River and Through the Woods.”

Illustrated with an engraved frontispiece, vignette title-page, nine engraved plates, and woodcut vignettes within text.

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