Ye have conquered us, oh brothers!
Though not on the battle-field;
For our hearts are taken captive
By the generous aid ye yield.
Ye had heard of our poor workmen,
Their starving babes and wives;
Of their patient, brave endurance,
Though famine waste their lives;
Of their homes, once filled with comforts,
Now stripped to the bare wall—
For their hands can find no labor—
And yet pitying heard their call;
And ye felt they were your brothers—
For both boast the same descent
From the stern, unbending Britons,
Long by Roman yoke unbent;
From the indomitable Vikings,
Claiming empire of the sea;
From the proud and valiant Normans,
And from merchants, brave and free;
We speak the self-same language,
Red the same historic page—
Both are proud of our old poets,
And old writers, learned and sage.
Be there no more strife between us,
Causing misery and tears,
But the strife of loving brothers,
In the blessed coming years;
The kind strife of loving brothers,
How to do each other good,
Leaving other States the glory
dearly bought by woe and blood!
What a noble, great example
All nations then will see,
When America and Britain,
The nations of the free,--
All old jealousies forgotten,--
Honor each other’s worth;
And in small things though they differ,
Yet agree to bless God’s earth!


Author:Jane Ashby

Publication:The Liberator

Published in:

Date:January 30th 1863

Keywords:relief, war


This poem is by the British Quaker and abolitionist writer, Jane Ashby, real name Anna Gardner (1816-1901). Published in a major American abolitionist outlet, the poem illustrates popular feeling (in Britain and America) that aid given by the Union to Lancashire workers suffering from the effects of the Cotton Famine should encourage closer ties between the two countries, after the tensions of the Trent Affair and its aftermath in the earlier part of the Civil War. It is also the case that American aid (most visibly in the form of the aid-ship, the celebrated ‘Griswold’) for a crisis caused by its cotton blockade offered the hand of friendship based on that disputed area of trade specifically, and played to abolitionist sympathies prevalent in many parts of Britain.