To the Mob-Defying Abolitionists.

O, noble men and women,
With hearts as brave as true,
Ye quailed not at the tumult
Of the rude, misguided crew!
Warm hearts in our old England,
And eyes that shed glad tears,
Read how dear but unbeheld ones,
And friends unseen for years,--
Trusting in God and duty,
Duty to the oppressed,
From city, town and village,
From the east, north, and west,--
Disciples like their Master,
Met in his name to show
A brother’s tender pity
For the slave’s helpless woe.
“It was sublime,” dear cousin,
To see, like thee, the young,
The aged, like thy father,
The learned, the wise, the strong—
Sit calmly through the tumult
Of that base, yelling crowd;--
We honor such in every land;--
Their courage makes us proud.

Title:To the Mob-Defying Abolitionists.

Author:Jane Ashby

Publication:The Liberator

Published in:

Date:April 5th 1861

Keywords:religion, slavery


This poem by the British Quaker and abolitionist writer Jane Ashby (real name Anna Gardner 1816-1901), adds to international pressure for the cause of abolition and suggests a universal moral imperative. Ashby was a prominent contributor to the abolitionist northern Liberator newspaper, and often commented on areas where there was international co-operation, such as American aid for victims of the Cotton Famine (see ‘Lines’ and ‘The Lancashire Operative’). At this point just before the outbreak of the American Civil War this kind of poetry’s expression of popular opinion was a contributing factor to international discourse. – SR