Northampton [Massachusetts]: John Metcalf, 1838. BARBER, woodcut. Wraps. [CHAPBOOK] [RELIGION] [RELIGIOCENTRISM] [ETHNOCENTRISM]. [John Warner ?] BARBER, woodcut.
Cover title: Hymns for Children, Northampton: J.H. Butler No date [1838-1850].
24mo (5 1/4” x 3”); 24pp; yellow wrappers with a decorative border surrounding the lettering and a vignette of 3 children with a dog and cart on the front, the rear features a vignette of a man and young boy in a dooryard; publisher’s string binding; woodcut fp titled “Going to Church” and signed “Barber”; Vignette of three children kneeling in prayer on the title page; 2 alphabets and numbers printed inside a border on the title page verso; small woodcut illustrations throughout; light wear and hand soiling, light foxing throughout; very good. OCLC does not locate copies with Butler’s wrapper. Very good. Item #1819
Sixteen unnumbered rhyming hymns without musical notation follow the page of printed alphabets and numbers. These appear to be poems not to be sung but to be read as prayers at the day’s beginning or end. Most have common sentiments of thanksgiving, request for blessing and protection, and a desire to do good and please God.
There are two that point to the religiocentrism and ethnocentrism of mid-19th century America. In “A Child’s Hymn of Praise” the verses read
I thank the goodness and the grace
Which on my birth have smil’d,
And made me, in these Christian days,
A free and happy child.
I was not born as thousands are,
Where God was never known;
And taught to pray a useless prayer,
To blocks of wood and stone.
I was not born a little slave,
To labor in the sun,
And wish I were but in the grave,
And all my labor done!
I was not born without a home,
Or in some broken shed;
A gypsy baby taught to roam,
And steal my daily bread.
My God, I thank thee, who has plann’d
A better lot for me,
And plac’d me in this happy land,
And where I hear of thee.
The first two stanzas of “God every where” read
God made the world—in every land
His love and power abound;
All are protected by his hand,
As well as Christian ground.
The Indian hut, and English cot,
Alike in his care must own;
Though savage nations know him not,
But worship wood and stone.
Published or reissued by J.H. [Jonathan Hunt] Butler along with the Metcalf imprint between 1838 as stated by Metcalf, and Butler’s move to Philadelphia in 1850.