The Abolitionists eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 198 pages of information about The Abolitionists.

On another occasion the writer was present when the friends of the lecturer undertook to convey him to a place of safety.  They formed a circle about him and moved away while the mob followed, hurling eggs and clods and sticks and whatever else came handy.  We kept quietly on our way until we reached a place in the road that had been freshly graveled, and where the surface was covered with stones just suited to our use.  Here we halted, and, with rocks in hand, formed a line of battle.  It took only one volley to put the enemy to rout, and we had no further trouble.

At last, after several men had been prevented from speaking in our village, the services of a female lecturer were secured.  The question then was, whether the mob would be so ungallant as to disturb a woman.  The matter was settled by the rowdies on that occasion being more than usually demonstrative.  The lecturer showed great courage and presence of mind.  She closed the meeting in due form, and then walked calmly through the noisy throng that gave her no personal molestation or insult.  Deliberately she proceeded to a place of safety—­and then went into hysterics.

Finding that it was impossible to hold undisturbed public meetings, the Abolitionists adopted a plan of operations that was altogether successful.  They met in their several homes, taking them in order, and there the subject they were interested in was uninterruptedly discussed.  Intelligent opponents of their views were invited to attend, and frequently did so.  So warm were the discussions that arose that the meetings sometimes lasted for entire days, and conversions were not unusual.

It was in one of these neighborhood gatherings that the writer first became an active Anti-Slavery worker.  He had memorized one of Daniel O’Connell’s philippics against American slavery, and, being given the opportunity, declaimed it with much earnestness.  After that he was invited to all the meetings, and had on hand a stock of selections for delivery, his favorite being Whittier’s Slave Mother’s Lament over the Loss of Her Daughters

      “Gone, gone—­sold and gone
       To the rice swamp dank and lone,
    Where the slave whip ceaseless swings,
    Where the noisome insect stings;
    Where the fever demon strews
    Poison with the falling dews;
    Where the sickly sunbeams glare
    Through the hot and misty air. 
       Gone, gone—­sold and gone
       To the rice swamp dank and lone,
       From Virginia’s hills and waters—­
       Woe is me my stolen daughters!”

It was marvelous how little damage all the mobs effected.  Lovejoy of Illinois was killed—­a great loss—­and occasionally an Abolitionist lecturer got a bloody nose or a sore shin.  Professor Hudson, of Oberlin College, used to say that the injury he most feared was to his clothes.  He carried with him what he called “a storm suit,” which he wore at evening meetings.  It showed many marks of battle.

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The Abolitionists from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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