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Printed by J.H. Tobitt, 9 Spruce st


Such is the very high esteem which is entertained for the memory of
DAVID WALKER, and so general is the desire to preserve his
"Appeal," that the subscriber has undertaken, and performed the task
of re-publication, with a brief notice of his life, having procured
permission from his widow, Mrs. Dewson.

The work is valuable, because it was among the first, and was actually
the boldest and most direct appeal in behalf of freedom, which was
made in the early part of the Anti-Slavery Reformation. When the
history of the emancipation of the bondmen of America shall be
written, whatever name shall be placed first on the list of heroes,
that of the author of the Appeal will not be second.

_Troy, N.Y., April 12, 1848._




It is generally the desire of the reader of any intellectual
production, to know something of the character and the life of the
author. The character of _David Walker_ is indicated in his writings.
In regard to his life, but a few materials can be gathered; but what
is known of him, furnishes proof to the opinion which the friends of
man have formed of him--that he possessed a noble and a courageous
spirit, and that he was ardently attached to the cause of liberty.

Mr. Walker was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, Sept. 28, 1785. His
mother was a free woman, and his father was a slave. His innate hatred
to slavery was very early developed. When yet a boy, he declared that
the slaveholding South was not the place for him. His soul became so
indignant at the wrongs which his father and his kindred bore, that he
determined to find some portion of his country where he would see less
to harrow up his soul. Said he, "If I remain in this bloody land, I
will not live long. As true as God reigns, I will be avenged for the
sorrow which my people have suffered. This is not the place for
me--no, no. I must leave this part of the country. It will be a great
trial for me to live on the same soil where so many men are in
slavery; certainly I cannot remain where I must hear their chains
continually, and where I must encounter the insults of their
hypocritical enslaver. Go, I must."

The youthful Walker embraced his mother, and received a mother's
blessings, and turned his back upon North Carolina. His father died a
few months before his birth; and it is a remarkable coincidence, that
the son of the subject of this Memoir, was a posthumous child.

After leaving home, David Walker travelled rapidly towards the North,
shaking off the dust of his feet, and breathing curses upon the system
of human slavery, America's darling institution. As might be expected,
he met with trials during his journey; and at last he reached Boston,
Mass., where he took up his permanent residence. There he applied
himself to study, and soon learned to read and write, in order that he
might contribute something to the cause of humanity. Mr. Walker, like
most of reformers, was a poor man--he lived poor, and died poor.

In 1827 be entered into the clothing business in Brattle street, in
which he prospered; and had it not been for his great liberality and
hospitality, he would have become wealthy. In 1828, he married Miss
Eliza ----. He was emphatically a self-made man, and he spent all his
leisure moments in the cultivation of his mind. Before the
Anti-Slavery Reformation had assumed a form, he was ardently engaged
in the work. His hands were always open to contribute to the wants of
the fugitive. His house was the shelter and the home of the poor and
needy. Mr. Walker is known principally by his "APPEAL," but it was in
his private walks, and by his unceasing labors in the cause of
freedom, that he has made his memory sacred.

With an overflowing heart, he published his "Appeal" in 1829. This
little book produced more commotion among slaveholders than any volume
of its size that was ever issued from an American press. They saw that
it was a bold attack upon their idolatry, and that too by a black man
who once lived among them. It was merely a smooth stone which this
David took up, yet it terrified a host of Goliaths. When the fame of
this book reached the South, the poor, cowardly, pusillanimous
tyrants, grew pale behind their cotton bags, and armed themselves to
the teeth. They set watches to look after their happy and contented
slaves. The Governor of GEORGIA wrote to the Hon. Harrison Grey Otis,
the Mayor of Boston, requesting him to suppress the Appeal. His Honor
replied to the Southern Censor, that he had no power nor disposition
to hinder Mr. Walker from pursuing a lawful course in the utterance of
his thoughts. A company of Georgia men then bound themselves by an
oath, that they would eat as little as possible until they had killed
the youthful author. They also offered a reward of a thousand dollars
for his head, and ten times as much for the live Walker. His consort,
with the solicitude of an affectionate wife, together with some
friends, advised him to go to Canada, lest he should be abducted.
Walker said that he had nothing to fear from such a pack of coward
blood-hounds; but if he did go, he would hurl back such thunder across
the great lakes, that would cause them to tremble in their strong
holds. Said he, "I will stand my ground. _Somebody must die in this
cause._ I may be doomed to the stake and the fire, or to the scaffold
tree, but it is not in me to falter if I can promote the work of
emancipation." He did not leave the country, but was soon laid in the
grave. It was the opinion of many that he was hurried out of life by
the means of poison, but whether this was the case or not, the writer
is not prepared to affirm.

He had many enemies, and not a few were his brethren whose cause he
espoused. They said that he went too far, and was making trouble. So
the Jews spoke of Moses. They valued the flesh-pots of Egypt more than
the milk and honey of Canaan. He died 1830 in Bridge street, at the
hopeful and enthusiastic age of 34 years. His ruling passion blazed up
in the hour of death, and threw an indescribable grandeur over the
last dark scene. The heroic young man passed away without a struggle,
and a few weeping friends

"Saw in death his eyelids close,
Calmly, as to a night's repose,
Like flowers at set of sun."

The personal appearance of Mr. Walker was prepossessing, being six
feet in height, slender and well proportioned. His hair was loose, and
his complexion was dark. His son, the only child he left, is now 18
years of age, and is said to resemble his father; he now resides at
Charlestown, Mass., with his mother, Mrs. Dewson. Mr. Walker was a
faithful member of the Methodist Church at Boston, whose pastor is the
venerable father Snowden.

The reader thus has a brief notice of the life and character of David










_Written in Boston, in the State of Massachusetts, Sept. 28, 1829._






_My dearly beloved Brethren and Fellow Citizens:_

Having travelled over a considerable portion of these United States,
and having, in the course of my travels taken the most accurate
observations of things as they exist--the result of my observations
has warranted the full and unshakened conviction, that we, (colored
people of these United States) are the most degraded, wretched, and
abject set of beings that ever lived since the world began, and I pray
God, that none like us ever may live again until time shall be no
more. They tell us of the Israelites in Egypt, the Helots in Sparta,
and of the Roman Slaves, which last, were made up from almost every
nation under heaven, whose sufferings under those ancient and heathen
nations were, in comparison with ours, under this enlightened and
christian nation, no more than a cypher--or in other words, those
heathen nations of antiquity, had but little more among them than the
name and form of slavery, while wretchedness and endless miseries were
reserved, apparently in a phial, to be poured out upon our fathers,
ourselves and our children by _christian_ Americans!

These positions, I shall endeavour, by the help of the Lord, to
demonstrate in the course of this _appeal_, to the satisfaction of the
most incredulous mind--and may God Almighty who is the father of our
Lord Jesus Christ, open your hearts to understand and believe the

The _causes_, my brethren, which produce our wretchedness and
miseries, are so very numerous and aggravating, that I believe the pen
only of a Josephus or a Plutarch, can well enumerate and explain them.
Upon subjects, then, of such incomprehensible magnitude, so
impenetrable, and so notorious, I shall be obliged to omit a large
class of, and content myself with giving you an exposition of a few of
those, which do indeed rage to such an alarming pitch, that they
cannot but be a perpetual source of terror and dismay to every
reflecting mind.

I am fully aware, in making this appeal to my much afflicted and
suffering brethren, that I shall not only be assailed by those whose
greatest earthly desires are, to keep us in abject ignorance and
wretchedness, and who are of the firm conviction that heaven has
designed us and our children to be slaves and _beasts of burden_ to
them and their children.--I say, I do not only expect to be held up to
the public as an ignorant, impudent and restless disturber of the
public peace, by such avaricious creatures, as well as a mover of
insubordination--and perhaps put in prison or to death, for giving a
superficial exposition of our miseries, and exposing tyrants.

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