1858 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Elizabeth Margaret Chandler

Charles D. Cleveland, in Compendium of American Literature (1858) 233-34.



This beautiful poet and prose writer, the last years of whose short life were devoted to the cause of humanity, was born at Centre, near Wilmington, Delaware, on the 24th of December, 1807. She had the misfortune to lose both her parents at an early age, and she was placed wider the care of her grandmother, Elizabeth Evans, of Philadelphia, and there attended school till she was thirteen or fourteen. She early gave evidence of remarkable talent, and before she left school. some of her pieces were very much admired, and sought after. At the age of sixteen, she began to write for the press, and her pieces were extensively copied but what brought her especially into notice was her poem entitled The Slave Ship, written when she was but eighteen, and which gained for her the prize offered by the publishers of The Casket, a monthly magazine. This led to her acquaintance with Mr. Benjamin Lundy, then editor of The Genius of Universal Emancipation; published at Baltimore, to which paper, from that time, she became a frequent contributor. She was now acknowledged as one of the most accomplished and powerful female writers of her time, and most of her writings thenceforward were devoted to the cause of Emancipation. "It is not enough to say that her productions were chaste, eloquent, and classical. Her language was appropriate, her reasoning clear, her deductions logical, and her conclusions impressive and convincing. Her appeals were tender, persuasive, and heart-reaching while the strength and cogency of her arguments rendered them incontrovertible. She was the first American female author that ever made the Abolition of Slavery the principal theme of her active exertions."

Miss Chandler continued to reside in Philadelphia till 1830, when she removed with her aunt and brother to Tecumsch, Lenawee County, Michigan, about sixty miles southwest of Detroit. Here, at her home called "Hazlebank," on the banks of the river Raisin, which has been appropriately called "classic ground," she continued to write and labor in the cause of the oppressed, till 1834, when she was attacked, by a remittent fever, which terminated in her death on the second of November of that year. Never did the grave close over a purer spirit, nor one more fully sensible of a strict accountability for the right employment of every talent.