You are viewing the archived content of Scholarly Editing, Volumes 33 – 38 issued between 2012 and 2017. Go to the new site.

Scholarly Editing

The Annual of the Association for Documentary Editing

2013, Volume 34

"Will not these days be by thy poets sung": Poems of the Anglo-African and National Anti-Slavery Standard, 1863–1864

Edited by Elizabeth Lorang and R. J. Weir
page 1 page 2 page 3 page 4
Complete Issue: The Anglo-African (6 February 1864)
J. R., Jr., "The Union" The Anglo-African (6 February 1864): [1]View Poem Image
Full size in new window


            Air—"Life let us cherish."[2]
There's union of waters and union of lands— There's union of hearts and there's union of hands— There's union in heaven, there's union on earth, This glorious union that gave us our birth.
Chorus—Sing, Hallelujah! There's union below and there's union above, Sing, Hallelujah! The Union, the Union we love.
The American Union, at home and abroad, Respected and honored, beloved and adored; Though severed by traitors, 'tis only to be United more truly, the land of the free.
Chorus—Sing, Hallelujah, etc.
The night of war seems dark and long, And enemies standing thick and strong, But Union men, ye cannot fail, Your cause is just, and must prevail.
Chorus—Sing, Hallelujah! etc.
Then grasp your arms, men, for the fight; Strike for your freedom and the right; The Union—let your motto be; Your watchword—Justice, Liberty.
Chorus—Sing, Hallelujah! etc.


  1. John Randolph, Jr. (1827–1890?). Randolph was born into slavery near Washington, North Carolina; freedom arrived with the Union Army (David S. Cecelski, The Fire of Freedom: Abraham Galloway and the Slaves' Civil War [Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012], 74, 245 n46). Sidney Andrews described him as "a carpenter by trade and teacher by profession, radical in desire, but conservative in action, longing for much, but content to make haste slowly" (Andrews, The South since the War: As Shown by Fourteen Weeks of Travel and Observation in Georgia and the Carolinas [Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1866], 125). He worked closely with Abraham Galloway and other black activists in the region.
    One of New Bern's political leaders, Randolph was elected secretary of the State Equal Rights League in 1865 (Minutes of the Freedmen's Convention, Held in the City of Raleigh [Raleigh, NC: Standard Book and Job Office, 1866], 20). In October 1866 circumstances prevented Randolph from attending the convention—and the league's first annual meeting—but he wrote a letter urging delegates to discuss the education, political rights, and "laboring interests" of "our people" (20). He advised his associates to "show yourselves 'as harmless as doves, but as wise as serpents,' to the end that we all may be benefitted, and peace and good-will prevail" (20).
    Go back
  2. A popular tune, which some publishers attributed to Mozart. It circulated in the United States throughout the first half of the nineteenth century.Go back
  3. A Union-occupied town on the Pamlico River, north of New Bern, North Carolina. General Ambrose Burnside seized Washington in March 1862 as part of a larger operation against important coastal locations. Like other occupied towns, Washington attracted a population of freedpeople from the surrounding areas. Vincent Colyer, former superintendent of the poor in the Department of North Carolina, estimated that there were 1,500 freedpeople at Washington, Hatteras, Carolina, and Beaufort in mid-1862 (Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation 1861–1867, ed. Ira Berlin, et al. [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990], series 1, 2:123).
    It is important to note that Anglo-African editor Robert Hamilton was at this time touring the occupied South (while his brother Thomas managed the paper). Hamilton left New York on September 17, 1863, and moved to Norfolk, Virginia, after spending two months in the region of Washington, D.C Between mid-November 1863 and late January 1864, he visited civilian communities and military camps in Virginia and North Carolina, and sent regular letters back to the Anglo-African. New Year's Eve saw him at New Bern, North Carolina (Anglo-African, January 16, 1864, [1]).
    Hamilton probably met John Randolph, Jr. when he visited Washington in December 1863 (Anglo-African, January 16, 1864, [1–2]). He certainly spent time with Randolph's colleague Abraham H. Galloway. Anglo-African readers who did not recognize Randolph could use "Washington, N.C." to situate the text as a variety of "Southern correspondence"—all of which furthered Hamilton's aim to unite African Americans north and south via the Anglo-African. As Debra Jackson has argued, Hamilton worked to establish his newspaper as "a critical conduit linking the free people of the North to the freemen and freedpeople of the Union-occupied areas of the Upper South during a revolutionary moment in time" (Debra Jackson, "A Black Journalist in Civil War Virginia: Robert Hamilton and the Anglo-African," Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 116 [2008]: 66).
    Go back