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My Bondage and My Freedom, My Bondage and My Freedom

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sustain; for, besides awakening something like a national
interest in me, and securing me an audience, it brought out
counter statements, and threw the blame upon themselves, which
they had sought to fasten upon me and the gallant captain of the
ship.

Some notion may be formed of the difference in my feelings and
circumstances, while abroad, from the following extract from one
of a series of letters addressed by me to Mr. Garrison, and
published in the _Liberator_. It was written on the first day of
January, 1846:

MY DEAR FRIEND GARRISON: Up to this time, I have given no direct
expression of the views, feelings, and opinions which I have
formed, respecting the character and condition of the people of
this land. I have refrained thus, purposely. I wish to speak
advisedly, and in order to do this, I have waited till, I trust,
experience has brought my opinions to an intelligent maturity. I
have been thus careful, not because I think what I say will have
much effect in shaping the opinions of the world, but because
whatever of influence I may possess, whether little or much, I
wish it to go in the right direction, and according to truth. I
hardly need say that, in speaking of Ireland, I shall be
influenced by no prejudices in favor of America. I think my
circumstances all forbid that. I have no end to serve, no creed
to uphold, no government to defend; and as to nation, I belong to
none. I have no protection at home, or resting-place abroad.
The land of my birth welcomes me to her shores only as a slave,
and spurns with contempt the idea of treating me differently; so
that I am an outcast from the society of my childhood, and an
outlaw in the <287 LETTER TO GARRISON>land of my birth. "I am a
stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were."
That men should be patriotic, is to me perfectly natural; and as
a philosophical fact, I am able to give it an _intellectual_
recognition. But no further can I go. If ever I had any
patriotism, or any capacity for the feeling, it was whipped out
of me long since, by the lash of the American soul-drivers.

In thinking of America, I sometimes find myself admiring her
bright blue sky, her grand old woods, her fertile fields, her
beautiful rivers, her mighty lakes, and star-crowned mountains.
But my rapture is soon checked, my joy is soon turned to
mourning. When I remember that all is cursed with the infernal
spirit of slaveholding, robbery, and wrong; when I remember that
with the waters of her noblest rivers, the tears of my brethren
are borne to the ocean, disregarded and forgotten, and that her
most fertile fields drink daily of the warm blood of my outraged
sisters; I am filled with unutterable loathing, and led to
reproach myself that anything could fall from my lips in praise
of such a land. America will not allow her children to love her.
She seems bent on compelling those who would be her warmest
friends, to be her worst enemies. May God give her repentance,
before it is too late, is the ardent prayer of my heart. I will
continue to pray, labor, and wait, believing that she cannot
always be insensible to the dictates of justice, or deaf to the
voice of humanity.

My opportunities for learning the character and condition of the
people of this land have been very great. I have traveled alm@@
@@om the Hill of Howth to the Giant's Causeway, and from the
Giant's Causway, to Cape Clear. During these travels, I have met
with much in the chara@@ and condition of the people to approve,
and much to condemn; much that @@thrilled me with pleasure, and
very much that has filled me with pain. I @@ @@t, in this
letter, attempt to give any description of those scenes which
have given me pain. This I will do hereafter. I have enough,
and more than your subscribers will be disposed to read at one
time, of the bright side of the picture. I can truly say, I have
spent some of the happiest moments of my life since landing in
this country. I seem to have undergone a transformation. I live
a new life. The warm and generous cooperation extended to me by
the friends of my despised race; the prompt and liberal manner
with which the press has rendered me its aid; the glorious
enthusiasm with which thousands have flocked to hear the cruel
wrongs of my down-trodden and long-enslaved fellow-countrymen
portrayed; the deep sympathy for the slave, and the strong
abhorrence of the slaveholder, everywhere evinced; the cordiality
with which members and ministers of various religious bodies, and
of various shades of religious opinion, have embraced me, and
lent me their aid; the kind of hospitality constantly proffered
to me by persons of the highest rank in society; the spirit of
freedom that seems to animate all with whom I come in contact,
and the entire absence of everything that looked like prejudice
against me, on account of the color of my skin--contrasted so
strongly with my long and bitter experience in the United States,
that I look with wonder and amazement on the transition. In the
southern part of the United States, I was a slave, thought of
<288>and spoken of as property; in the language of the LAW,
"_held, taken, reputed, and adjudged to be a chattel in the hands
of my owners and possessors, and their executors, administrators,
and assigns, to all intents, constructions, and purposes
whatsoever_." (Brev. Digest, 224). In the northern states, a
fugitive slave, liable to be hunted at any moment, like a felon,
and to be hurled into the terrible jaws of slavery--doomed by an
inveterate prejudice against color to insult and outrage on every
hand (Massachusetts out of the question)--denied the privileges
and courtesies common to others in the use of the most humble
means of conveyance--shut out from the cabins on steamboats--
refused admission to respectable hotels--caricatured, scorned,
scoffed, mocked, and maltreated with impunity by any one (no
matter how black his heart), so he has a white skin. But now
behold the change! Eleven days and a half gone, and I have
crossed three thousand miles of the perilous deep. Instead of a
democratic government, I am under a monarchical government.
Instead of the bright, blue sky of America, I am covered with the
soft, grey fog of the Emerald Isle. I breathe, and lo! the
chattel becomes a man. I gaze around in vain for one who will
question my equal humanity, claim me as his slave, or offer me an
insult. I employ a cab--I am seated beside white people--I reach
the hotel--I enter the same door--I am shown into the same
parlor--I dine at the same table and no one is offended. No
delicate nose grows deformed in my presence. I find no
difficulty here in obtaining admission into any place of worship,
instruction, or amusement, on equal terms with people as white as
any I ever saw in the United States. I meet nothing to remind me
of my complexion. I find myself regarded and treated at every
turn with the kindness and deference paid to white people. When
I go to church, I am met by no upturned nose and scornful lip to
tell me, "_We don't allow niggers in here_!"

I remember, about two years ago, there was in Boston, near the
south-west corner of Boston Common, a menagerie. I had long
desired to see such a collection as I understood was being
exhibited there. Never having had an opportunity while a slave,
I resolved to seize this, my first, since my escape. I went, and
as I approached the entrance to gain admission, I was met and
told by the door-keeper, in a harsh and contemptuous tone, "_We
don't allow niggers in here_." I also remember attending a
revival meeting in the Rev. Henry Jackson's meeting-house, at New
Bedford, and going up the broad aisle to find a seat, I was met
by a good deacon, who told me, in a pious tone, "_We don't allow
niggers in here_!" Soon after my arrival in New Bedford, from
the south, I had a strong desire to attend the Lyceum, but was
told, "_They don't allow niggers in here_!" While passing from
New York to Boston, on the steamer Massachusetts, on the night of
the 9th of December, 1843, when chilled almost through with the
cold, I went into the cabin to get a little warm. I was soon
touched upon the shoulder, and told, "_We don't allow niggers in
here_!" On arriving in Boston, from an anti-slavery tour, hungry
and tired, I went into an eating-house, near my friend, Mr.
Campbell's to get some refreshments. I was met by a lad in a
white apron, "_We don't allow niggers in here_!" <289 TIME AND
LABORS ABROAD>A week or two before leaving the United States, I
had a meeting appointed at Weymouth, the home of that glorious
band of true abolitionists, the Weston family, and others. On
attempting to take a seat in the omnibus to that place, I was
told by the driver (and I never shall forget his fiendish hate).
"_I don't allow niggers in here_!" Thank heaven for the respite
I now enjoy! I had been in Dublin but a few days, when a
gentleman of great respectability kindly offered to conduct me
through all the public buildings of that beautiful city; and a
little afterward, I found myself dining with the lord mayor of
Dublin. What a pity there was not some American democratic
Christian at the door of his splendid mansion, to bark out at my
approach, "_They don't allow niggers in here_!" The truth is,
the people here know nothing of the republican Negro hate
prevalent in our glorious land. They measure and esteem men
according to their moral and intellectual worth, and not
according to the color of their skin. Whatever may be said of
the aristocracies here, there is none based on the color of a
man's skin. This species of aristocracy belongs preeminently to
"the land of the free, and the home of the brave." I have never
found it abroad, in any but Americans. It sticks to them
wherever they go. They find it almost as hard to get rid of, as
to get rid of their skins.

The second day after my arrival at Liverpool, in company with my
friend, Buffum, and several other friends, I went to Eaton Hall,
the residence of the Marquis of Westminster, one of the most
splendid buildings in England. On approaching the door, I found
several of our American passengers, who came out with us in the
"Cambria," waiting for admission, as but one party was allowed in
the house at a time. We all had to wait till the company within
came out. And of all the faces, expressive of chagrin, those of
the Americans were preeminent. They looked as sour as vinegar,
and as bitter as gall, when they found I was to be admitted on
equal terms with themselves. When the door was opened, I walked
in, on an equal footing with my white fellow-citizens, and from
all I could see, I had as much attention paid me by the servants
that showed us through the house, as any with a paler skin. As I
walked through the building, the statuary did not fall down, the
pictures did not leap from their places, the doors did not refuse
to open, and the servants did not say, "_We don't allow niggers
in here_!"

A happy new-year to you, and all the friends of freedom.

My time and labors, while abroad were divided between England,
Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Upon this experience alone, I
might write a book twice the size of this, _My Bondage and My
Freedom_. I visited and lectured in nearly all the large towns
and cities in the United Kingdom, and enjoyed many favorable
opportunities for observation and information. But books on
England are abundant, and the public may, therefore, dismiss any
fear that I am meditating another infliction in that line;
<290>though, in truth, I should like much to write a book on
those countries, if for nothing else, to make grateful mention of
the many dear friends, whose benevolent actions toward me are
ineffaceably stamped upon my memory, and warmly treasured in my
heart. To these friends I owe my freedom in the United States.
On their own motion, without any solicitation from me (Mrs. Henry
Richardson, a clever lady, remarkable for her devotion to every
good work, taking the lead), they raised a fund sufficient to
purchase my freedom, and actually paid it over, and placed the
papers[8] of my manumission in my hands, before

[8] The following is a copy of these curious papers, both of my
transfer from Thomas to Hugh Auld, and from Hugh to myself:

"Know all men by these Presents, That I, Thomas Auld, of Talbot
county, and state of Maryland, for and in consideration of the
sum of one hundred dollars, current money, to me paid by Hugh
Auld, of the city of Baltimore, in the said state, at and before
the sealing and delivery of these presents, the receipt whereof,
I, the said Thomas Auld, do hereby acknowledge, have granted,
bargained, and sold, and by these presents do grant, bargain, and
sell unto the said Hugh Auld, his executors, administrators, and
assigns, ONE NEGRO MAN, by the name of FREDERICK BAILY, or
DOUGLASS, as he callls{sic} himself--he is now about twenty-eight
years of age--to have and to hold the said negro man for life.
And I, the said Thomas Auld, for myself my heirs, executors, and
administrators, all and singular, the said FREDERICK BAILY
_alias_ DOUGLASS, unto the said Hugh Auld, his executors,
administrators, and assigns against me, the said Thomas Auld, my
executors, and administrators, and against ali and every other
person or persons whatsoever, shall and will warrant and forever
defend by these presents. In witness whereof, I set my hand and
seal, this thirteenth day of November, eighteen hundred and
forty-six. THOMAS
AULD

"Signed, sealed, and delivered in presence of Wrightson Jones.
"JOHN C. LEAS.

The authenticity of this bill of sale is attested by N.
Harrington, a justice of the peace of the state of Maryland, and
for the county of Talbot, dated same day as above.

"To all whom it may concern: Be it known, that I, Hugh Auld, of
the city of Baltimore, in Baltimore county, in the state of
Maryland, for divers good causes and considerations, me thereunto
moving, have released from slavery, liberated, manumitted, and
set free, and by these presents do hereby release from slavery,
liberate, manumit, and set free, MY NEGRO MAN, named FREDERICK
BAILY, otherwise called DOUGLASS, being of the age of twenty-
eight years, or thereabouts, and able to work and gain a
sufficient livelihood and maintenance; and him the said negro man
named FREDERICK BAILY, otherwise called FREDERICK DOUGLASS, I do
declare to be henceforth free, manumitted, and discharged from
all manner of servitude to me, my executors, and administrators
forever.

"In witness whereof, I, the said Hugh Auld, have hereunto set my
hand and seal the fifth of December, in the year one thousand
eight hundred and forty-six.
Hugh Auld

"Sealed and delivered in presence of T. Hanson Belt.
"JAMES N. S. T. WRIGHT"

<291 FREEDOM PURCHASED>they would tolerate the idea of my
returning to this, my native country. To this commercial
transaction I owe my exemption from the democratic operation of
the Fugitive Slave Bill of 1850. But for this, I might at any
time become a victim of this most cruel and scandalous enactment,
and be doomed to end my life, as I began it, a slave. The sum
paid for my freedom was one hundred and fifty pounds sterling.

Some of my uncompromising anti-slavery friends in this country
failed to see the wisdom of this arrangement, and were not
pleased that I consented to it, even by my silence. They thought
it a violation of anti-slavery principles--conceding a right of
property in man--and a wasteful expenditure of money. On the
other hand, viewing it simply in the light of a ransom, or as
money extorted by a robber, and my liberty of more value than one
hundred and fifty pounds sterling, I could not see either a
violation of the laws of morality, or those of economy, in the
transaction.

It is true, I was not in the possession of my claimants, and
could have easily remained in England, for the same friends who
had so generously purchased my freedom, would have assisted me in
establishing myself in that country. To this, however, I could
not consent. I felt that I had a duty to perform--and that was,
to labor and suffer with the oppressed in my native land.
Considering, therefore, all the circumstances--the fugitive slave
bill included--I think the very best thing was done in letting
Master Hugh have the hundred and fifty pounds sterling, and
leaving me free to return to my appropriate field of labor. Had
I been a private person, having no other relations or duties than
those of a personal and family nature, I should never have
consented to the payment of so large a sum for the privilege of
living securely under our glorious republican form of government.
I could have remained in England, or have gone to some other
country; and perhaps I could even have lived unobserved in this.
But to this I could not consent. I had already become
some<292>what notorious, and withal quite as unpopular as
notorious; and I was, therefore, much exposed to arrest and
recapture.

The main object to which my labors in Great Britain were
directed, was the concentration of the moral and religious
sentiment of its people against American slavery. England is
often charged with having established slavery in the United
States, and if there were no other justification than this, for
appealing to her people to lend their moral aid for the abolition
of slavery, I should be justified. My speeches in Great Britain
were wholly extemporaneous, and I may not always have been so
guarded in my expressions, as I otherwise should have been. I
was ten years younger then than now, and only seven years from
slavery. I cannot give the reader a better idea of the nature of
my discourses, than by republishing one of them, delivered in
Finsbury chapel, London, to an audience of about two thousand
persons, and which was published in the _London Universe_, at the
time.[9]

Those in the United States who may regard this speech as being
harsh in its spirit and unjust in its statements, because
delivered before an audience supposed to be anti-republican in
their principles and feelings, may view the matter differently,
when they learn that the case supposed did not exist. It so
happened that the great mass of the people in England who
attended and patronized my anti-slavery meetings, were, in truth,
about as good republicans as the mass of Americans, and with this
decided advantage over the latter--they are lovers of
republicanism for all men, for black men as well as for white
men. They are the people who sympathize with Louis Kossuth and
Mazzini, and with the oppressed and enslaved, of every color and
nation, the world over. They constitute the democratic element
in British politics, and are as much opposed to the union of
church and state as we, in America, are to such an union. At the
meeting where this speech was delivered, Joseph Sturge--a world-
wide philan

[9] See Appendix to this volume, page 317.

<293 ENGLISH REPUBLICANS>thropist, and a member of the society of
Friends--presided, and addressed the meeting. George William
Alexander, another Friend, who has spent more than an
Ameriacn{sic} fortune in promoting the anti-slavery cause in
different sections of the world, was on the platform; and also
Dr. Campbell (now of the _British Banner_) who combines all the
humane tenderness of Melanchthon, with the directness and
boldness of Luther. He is in the very front ranks of non-
conformists, and looks with no unfriendly eye upon America.
George Thompson, too, was there; and America will yet own that he
did a true man's work in relighting the rapidly dying-out fire of
true republicanism in the American heart, and be ashamed of the
treatment he met at her hands. Coming generations in this
country will applaud the spirit of this much abused republican
friend of freedom. There were others of note seated on the
platform, who would gladly ingraft upon English institutions all
that is purely republican in the institutions of America.
Nothing, therefore, must be set down against this speech on the
score that it was delivered in the presence of those who cannot
appreciate the many excellent things belonging to our system of
government, and with a view to stir up prejudice against
republican institutions.

Again, let it also be remembered--for it is the simple truth--
that neither in this speech, nor in any other which I delivered
in England, did I ever allow myself to address Englishmen as
against Americans. I took my stand on the high ground of human
brotherhood, and spoke to Englishmen as men, in behalf of men.
Slavery is a crime, not against Englishmen, but against God, and
all the members of the human family; and it belongs to the whole
human family to seek its suppression. In a letter to Mr.
Greeley, of the New York Tribune, written while abroad, I said:

I am, nevertheless aware that the wisdom of exposing the sins of
one nation in the ear of another, has been seriously questioned
by good and clear-sighted people, both on this and on your side
of the Atlantic. And the <294>thought is not without weight on
my own mind. I am satisfied that there are many evils which can
be best removed by confining our efforts to the immediate
locality where such evils exist. This, however, is by no means
the case with the system of slavery. It is such a giant sin--
such a monstrous aggregation of iniquity--so hardening to the
human heart--so destructive to the moral sense, and so well
calculated to beget a character, in every one around it,
favorable to its own continuance,--that I feel not only at
liberty, but abundantly justified, in appealing to the whole
world to aid in its removal.

But, even if I had--as has been often charged--labored to bring
American institutions generally into disrepute, and had not
confined my labors strictly within the limits of humanity and
morality, I should not have been without illustrious examples to
support me. Driven into semi-exile by civil and barbarous laws,
and by a system which cannot be thought of without a shudder, I
was fully justified in turning, if possible, the tide of the
moral universe against the heaven-daring outrage.

Four circumstances greatly assisted me in getting the question of
American slavery before the British public. First, the mob on
board the "Cambria," already referred to, which was a sort of
national announcement of my arrival in England. Secondly, the
highly reprehensible course pursued by the Free Church of
Scotland, in soliciting, receiving, and retaining money in its
sustentation fund for supporting the gospel in Scotland, which
was evidently the ill-gotten gain of slaveholders and slave-
traders. Third, the great Evangelical Alliance--or rather the
attempt to form such an alliance, which should include
slaveholders of a certain description--added immensely to the
interest felt in the slavery question. About the same time,
there was the World's Temperance Convention, where I had the
misfortune to come in collision with sundry American doctors of
divinity--Dr. Cox among the number--with whom I had a small
controversy.

It has happened to me--as it has happened to most other men
engaged in a good cause--often to be more indebted to my enemies
than to my own skill or to the assistance of my friends, for
whatever success has attended my labors. Great surprise was <295
FREE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND>expressed by American newspapers, north
and south, during my stay in Great Britain, that a person so
illiterate and insignificant as myself could awaken an interest
so marked in England. These papers were not the only parties
surprised. I was myself not far behind them in surprise. But
the very contempt and scorn, the systematic and extravagant
disparagement of which I was the object, served, perhaps, to
magnify my few merits, and to render me of some account, whether
deserving or not. A man is sometimes made great, by the
greatness of the abuse a portion of mankind may think proper to
heap upon him. Whether I was of as much consequence as the
English papers made me out to be, or not, it was easily seen, in
England, that I could not be the ignorant and worthless creature,
some of the American papers would have them believe I was. Men,
in their senses, do not take bowie-knives to kill mosquitoes, nor
pistols to shoot flies; and the American passengers who thought
proper to get up a mob to silence me, on board the "Cambria,"
took the most effective method of telling the British public that
I had something to say.

But to the second circumstance, namely, the position of the Free
Church of Scotland, with the great Doctors Chalmers, Cunningham,
and Candlish at its head. That church, with its leaders, put it
out of the power of the Scotch people to ask the old question,
which we in the north have often most wickedly asked--"_What have
we to do with slavery_?" That church had taken the price of
blood into its treasury, with which to build _free_ churches, and
to pay _free_ church ministers for preaching the gospel; and,
worse still, when honest John Murray, of Bowlien Bay--now gone to
his reward in heaven--with William Smeal, Andrew Paton, Frederick
Card, and other sterling anti-slavery men in Glasgow, denounced
the transaction as disgraceful and shocking to the religious
sentiment of Scotland, this church, through its leading divines,
instead of repenting and seeking to mend the mistake into which
it had fallen, made it a flagrant sin, by undertaking to defend,
in the name of God and the bible, the principle not only <296>of
taking the money of slave-dealers to build churches, but of
holding fellowship with the holders and traffickers in human
flesh. This, the reader will see, brought up the whole question
of slavery, and opened the way to its full discussion, without
any agency of mine. I have never seen a people more deeply moved
than were the people of Scotland, on this very question. Public
meeting succeeded public meeting. Speech after speech, pamphlet
after pamphlet, editorial after editorial, sermon after sermon,
soon lashed the conscientious Scotch people into a perfect
_furore_. "SEND BACK THE MONEY!" was indignantly cried out, from
Greenock to Edinburgh, and from Edinburgh to Aberdeen. George
Thompson, of London, Henry C. Wright, of the United States, James
N. Buffum, of Lynn, Massachusetts, and myself were on the anti-
slavery side; and Doctors Chalmers, Cunningham, and Candlish on
the other. In a conflict where the latter could have had even
the show of right, the truth, in our hands as against them, must
have been driven to the wall; and while I believe we were able to
carry the conscience of the country against the action of the
Free Church, the battle, it must be confessed, was a hard-fought
one. Abler defenders of the doctrine of fellowshiping
slaveholders as christians, have not been met with. In defending
this doctrine, it was necessary to deny that slavery is a sin.
If driven from this position, they were compelled to deny that
slaveholders were responsible for the sin; and if driven from
both these positions, they must deny that it is a sin in such a
sense, and that slaveholders are sinners in such a sense, as to
make it wrong, in the circumstances in which they were placed, to
recognize them as Christians. Dr. Cunningham was the most
powerful debater on the slavery side of the question; Mr.
Thompson was the ablest on the anti-slavery side. A scene
occurred between these two men, a parallel to which I think I
never witnessed before, and I know I never have since. The scene
was caused by a single exclamation on the part of Mr. Thompson.

The general assembly of the Free Church was in progress at <297
THE DEBATE>Cannon Mills, Edinburgh. The building would hold
about twenty-five hundred persons; and on this occasion it was
densely packed, notice having been given that Doctors Cunningham
and Candlish would speak, that day, in defense of the relations
of the Free Church of Scotland to slavery in America. Messrs.
Thompson, Buffum, myself, and a few anti-slavery friends,
attended, but sat at such a distance, and in such a position,
that, perhaps we were not observed from the platform. The
excitement was intense, having been greatly increased by a series
of meetings held by Messrs. Thompson, Wright, Buffum, and myself,
in the most splendid hall in that most beautiful city, just
previous to the meetings of the general assembly. "SEND BACK THE
MONEY!" stared at us from every street corner; "SEND BACK THE
MONEY!" in large capitals, adorned the broad flags of the
pavement; "SEND BACK THE MONEY!" was the chorus of the popular
street songs; "SEND BACK THE MONEY!" was the heading of leading
editorials in the daily newspapers. This day, at Cannon Mills,
the great doctors of the church were to give an answer to this
loud and stern demand. Men of all parties and all sects were
most eager to hear. Something great was expected. The occasion
was great, the men great, and great speeches were expected from
them.

In addition to the outside pressure upon Doctors Cunningham and
Candlish, there was wavering in their own ranks. The conscience
of the church itself was not at ease. A dissatisfaction with the
position of the church touching slavery, was sensibly manifest
among the members, and something must be done to counteract this
untoward influence. The great Dr. Chalmers was in feeble health,
at the time. His most potent eloquence could not now be summoned
to Cannon Mills, as formerly. He whose voice was able to rend
asunder and dash down the granite walls of the established church
of Scotland, and to lead a host in solemn procession from it, as
from a doomed city, was now old and enfeebled. Besides, he had
said his word on this very question; and his word had not
silenced the clamor without, nor stilled <298>the anxious
heavings within. The occasion was momentous, and felt to be so.
The church was in a perilous condition. A change of some sort
must take place in her condition, or she must go to pieces. To
stand where she did, was impossible. The whole weight of the
matter fell on Cunningham and Candlish. No shoulders in the
church were broader than theirs; and I must say, badly as I
detest the principles laid down and defended by them, I was
compelled to acknowledge the vast mental endowments of the men.
Cunningham rose; and his rising was the signal for almost
tumultous applause. You will say this was scarcely in keeping
with the solemnity of the occasion, but to me it served to
increase its grandeur and gravity. The applause, though
tumultuous, was not joyous. It seemed to me, as it thundered up
from the vast audience, like the fall of an immense shaft, flung
from shoulders already galled by its crushing weight. It was
like saying, "Doctor, we have borne this burden long enough, and
willingly fling it upon you. Since it was you who brought it
upon us, take it now, and do what you will with it, for we are
too weary to bear it.{no close "}

Doctor Cunningham proceeded with his speech, abounding in logic,
learning, and eloquence, and apparently bearing down all
opposition; but at the moment--the fatal moment--when he was just
bringing all his arguments to a point, and that point being, that
neither Jesus Christ nor his holy apostles regarded slaveholding
as a sin, George Thompson, in a clear, sonorous, but rebuking
voice, broke the deep stillness of the audience, exclaiming,
HEAR! HEAR! HEAR! The effect of this simple and common
exclamation is almost incredible. It was as if a granite wall
had been suddenly flung up against the advancing current of a
mighty river. For a moment, speaker and audience were brought to
a dead silence. Both the doctor and his hearers seemed appalled
by the audacity, as well as the fitness of the rebuke. At length
a shout went up to the cry of "_Put him out_!" Happily, no one
attempted to execute this cowardly order, and the doctor
proceeded with his discourse. Not, however, as before, did the
<299 COLLISION WITH DR. COX>learned doctor proceed. The
exclamation of Thompson must have reechoed itself a thousand
times in his memory, during the remainder of his speech, for the
doctor never recovered from the blow.

The deed was done, however; the pillars of the church--_the
proud, Free Church of Scotland_--were committed and the humility
of repentance was absent. The Free Church held on to the blood-
stained money, and continued to justify itself in its position--
and of course to apologize for slavery--and does so till this
day. She lost a glorious opportunity for giving her voice, her
vote, and her example to the cause of humanity; and to-day she is
staggering under the curse of the enslaved, whose blood is in her
skirts. The people of Scotland are, to this day, deeply grieved
at the course pursued by the Free Church, and would hail, as a
relief from a deep and blighting shame, the "sending back the
money" to the slaveholders from whom it was gathered.

One good result followed the conduct of the Free Church; it
furnished an occasion for making the people of Scotland
thoroughly acquainted with the character of slavery, and for
arraying against the system the moral and religious sentiment of
that country. Therefore, while we did not succeed in
accomplishing the specific object of our mission, namely--procure
the sending back of the money--we were amply justified by the
good which really did result from our labors.

Next comes the Evangelical Alliance. This was an attempt to form
a union of all evangelical Christians throughout the world.
Sixty or seventy American divines attended, and some of them went
there merely to weave a world-wide garment with which to clothe
evangelical slaveholders. Foremost among these divines, was the
Rev. Samuel Hanson Cox, moderator of the New School Presbyterian
General Assembly. He and his friends spared no pains to secure a
platform broad enough to hold American slaveholders, and in this
partly succeeded. But the question of slavery is too large a
question to be finally disposed of, even by the <300>Evangelical
Alliance. We appealed from the judgment of the Alliance, to the
judgment of the people of Great Britain, and with the happiest
effect. This controversy with the Alliance might be made the
subject of extended remark, but I must forbear, except to say,
that this effort to shield the Christian character of
slaveholders greatly served to open a way to the British ear for
anti-slavery discussion, and that it was well improved.

The fourth and last circumstance that assisted me in getting
before the British public, was an attempt on the part of certain
doctors of divinity to silence me on the platform of the World's
Temperance Convention. Here I was brought into point blank
collison with Rev. Dr. Cox, who made me the subject not only of
bitter remark in the convention, but also of a long denunciatory
letter published in the New York Evangelist and other American
papers. I replied to the doctor as well as I could, and was
successful in getting a respectful hearing before the British
public, who are by nature and practice ardent lovers of fair
play, especially in a conflict between the weak and the strong.

Thus did circumstances favor me, and favor the cause of which I
strove to be the advocate. After such distinguished notice, the
public in both countries was compelled to attach some importance
to my labors. By the very ill usage I received at the hands of
Dr. Cox and his party, by the mob on board the "Cambria," by the
attacks made upon me in the American newspapers, and by the
aspersions cast upon me through the organs of the Free Church of
Scotland, I became one of that class of men, who, for the moment,
at least, "have greatness forced upon them." People became the
more anxious to hear for themselves, and to judge for themselves,
of the truth which I had to unfold. While, therefore, it is by
no means easy for a stranger to get fairly before the British
public, it was my lot to accomplish it in the easiest manner
possible.

Having continued in Great Britain and Ireland nearly two years,
and being about to return to America--not as I left it, a <301
THE PRESS A MEANS OF REMOVING PREJUDICES>slave, but a freeman--
leading friends of the cause of emancipation in that country
intimated their intention to make me a testimonial, not only on
grounds of personal regard to myself, but also to the cause to
which they were so ardently devoted. How far any such thing
could have succeeded, I do not know; but many reasons led me to
prefer that my friends should simply give me the means of
obtaining a printing press and printing materials, to enable me
to start a paper, devoted to the interests of my enslaved and
oppressed people. I told them that perhaps the greatest
hinderance to the adoption of abolition principles by the people
of the United States, was the low estimate, everywhere in that
country, placed upon the Negro, as a man; that because of his
assumed natural inferiority, people reconciled themselves to his
enslavement and oppression, as things inevitable, if not
desirable. The grand thing to be done, therefore, was to change
the estimation in which the colored people of the United States
were held; to remove the prejudice which depreciated and
depressed them; to prove them worthy of a higher consideration;
to disprove their alleged inferiority, and demonstrate their
capacity for a more exalted civilization than slavery and
prejudice had assigned to them. I further stated, that, in my
judgment, a tolerably well conducted press, in the hands of
persons of the despised race, by calling out the mental energies
of the race itself; by making them acquainted with their own
latent powers; by enkindling among them the hope that for them
there is a future; by developing their moral power; by combining
and reflecting their talents--would prove a most powerful means
of removing prejudice, and of awakening an interest in them. I
further informed them--and at that time the statement was true--
that there was not, in the United States, a single newspaper
regularly published by the colored people; that many attempts had
been made to establish such papers; but that, up to that time,
they had all failed. These views I laid before my friends. The
result was, nearly two thousand five hundred dollars were
speed<302>ily raised toward starting my paper. For this prompt
and generous assistance, rendered upon my bare suggestion,
without any personal efforts on my part, I shall never cease to
feel deeply grateful; and the thought of fulfilling the noble
expectations of the dear friends who gave me this evidence of
their confidence, will never cease to be a motive for persevering
exertion.

Proposing to leave England, and turning my face toward America,
in the spring of 1847, I was met, on the threshold, with
something which painfully reminded me of the kind of life which
awaited me in my native land. For the first time in the many
months spent abroad, I was met with proscription on account of my
color. A few weeks before departing from England, while in
London, I was careful to purchase a ticket, and secure a berth
for returning home, in the "Cambria"--the steamer in which I left
the United States--paying therefor the round sum of forty pounds
and nineteen shillings sterling. This was first cabin fare. But
on going aboard the Cambria, I found that the Liverpool agent had
ordered my berth to be given to another, and had forbidden my
entering the saloon! This contemptible conduct met with stern
rebuke from the British press. For, upon the point of leaving
England, I took occasion to expose the disgusting tyranny, in the
columns of the London _Times_. That journal, and other leading
journals throughout the United Kingdom, held up the outrage to
unmitigated condemnation. So good an opportunity for calling out
a full expression of British sentiment on the subject, had not
before occurred, and it was most fully embraced. The result was,
that Mr. Cunard came out in a letter to the public journals,
assuring them of his regret at the outrage, and promising that
the like should never occur again on board his steamers; and the
like, we believe, has never since occurred on board the
steamships of the Cunard line.

It is not very pleasant to be made the subject of such insults;
but if all such necessarily resulted as this one did, I should be
very happy to bear, patiently, many more than I have borne, of
<303 THE STING OF INSULT>the same sort. Albeit, the lash of
proscription, to a man accustomed to equal social position, even
for a time, as I was, has a sting for the soul hardly less severe
than that which bites the flesh and draws the blood from the back
of the plantation slave. It was rather hard, after having
enjoyed nearly two years of equal social privileges in England,
often dining with gentlemen of great literary, social, political,
and religious eminence never, during the whole time, having met
with a single word, look, or gesture, which gave me the slightest
reason to think my color was an offense to anybody--now to be
cooped up in the stern of the "Cambria," and denied the right to
enter the saloon, lest my dark presence should be deemed an
offense to some of my democratic fellow-passengers. The reader
will easily imagine what must have been my feelings.

CHAPTER XXV
_Various Incidents_

NEWSPAPER ENTERPRISE--UNEXPECTED OPPOSITION--THE OBJECTIONS TO
IT--THEIR PLAUSIBILITY ADMITTED--MOTIVES FOR COMING TO
ROCHESTER--DISCIPLE OF MR. GARRISON--CHANGE OF OPINION--CAUSES
LEADING TO IT--THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE CHANGE--PREJUDICE AGAINST
COLOR--AMUSING CONDESCENSION--"JIM CROW CARS"--COLLISIONS WITH
CONDUCTORS AND BRAKEMEN--TRAINS ORDERED NOT TO STOP AT LYNN--
AMUSING DOMESTIC SCENE--SEPARATE TABLES FOR MASTER AND MAN--
PREJUDICE UNNATURAL--ILLUSTRATIONS--IN HIGH COMPANY--ELEVATION OF
THE FREE PEOPLE OF COLOR--PLEDGE FOR THE FUTURE.

I have now given the reader an imperfect sketch of nine years'
experience in freedom--three years as a common laborer on the
wharves of New Bedford, four years as a lecturer in New England,
and two years of semi-exile in Great Britain and Ireland. A
single ray of light remains to be flung upon my life during the
last eight years, and my story will be done.

A trial awaited me on my return from England to the United
States, for which I was but very imperfectly prepared. My plans
for my then future usefulness as an anti-slavery advocate were
all settled. My friends in England had resolved to raise a given
sum to purchase for me a press and printing materials; and I
already saw myself wielding my pen, as well as my voice, in the
great work of renovating the public mind, and building up a
public sentiment which should, at least, send slavery and
oppression to the grave, and restore to "liberty and the pursuit
of happiness" the people with whom I had suffered, both as a <305
OBJECTIONS TO MY NEWSPAPER ENTERPRISE>slave and as a freeman.
Intimation had reached my friends in Boston of what I intended to
do, before my arrival, and I was prepared to find them favorably
disposed toward my much cherished enterprise. In this I was
mistaken. I found them very earnestly opposed to the idea of my
starting a paper, and for several reasons. First, the paper was
not needed; secondly, it would interfere with my usefulness as a
lecturer; thirdly, I was better fitted to speak than to write;
fourthly, the paper could not succeed. This opposition, from a
quarter so highly esteemed, and to which I had been accustomed to
look for advice and direction, caused me not only to hesitate,
but inclined me to abandon the enterprise. All previous attempts
to establish such a journal having failed, I felt that probably I
should but add another to the list of failures, and thus
contribute another proof of the mental and moral deficiencies of
my race. Very much that was said to me in respect to my
imperfect literary acquirements, I felt to be most painfully
true. The unsuccessful projectors of all the previous colored
newspapers were my superiors in point of education, and if they
failed, how could I hope for success? Yet I did hope for
success, and persisted in the undertaking. Some of my English
friends greatly encouraged me to go forward, and I shall never
cease to be grateful for their words of cheer and generous deeds.

I can easily pardon those who have denounced me as ambitious and
presumptuous, in view of my persistence in this enterprise. I
was but nine years from slavery. In point of mental experience,
I was but nine years old. That one, in such circumstances,
should aspire to establish a printing press, among an educated
people, might well be considered, if not ambitious, quite silly.
My American friends looked at me with astonishment! "A wood-
sawyer" offering himself to the public as an editor! A slave,
brought up in the very depths of ignorance, assuming to instruct
the highly civilized people of the north in the principles of
liberty, justice, and humanity! The thing looked absurd.
Nevertheless, I per<306>severed. I felt that the want of
education, great as it was, could be overcome by study, and that
knowledge would come by experience; and further (which was
perhaps the most controlling consideration). I thought that an
intelligent public, knowing my early history, would easily pardon
a large share of the deficiencies which I was sure that my paper
would exhibit. The most distressing thing, however, was the
offense which I was about to give my Boston friends, by what
seemed to them a reckless disregard of their sage advice. I am
not sure that I was not under the influence of something like a
slavish adoration of my Boston friends, and I labored hard to
convince them of the wisdom of my undertaking, but without
success. Indeed, I never expect to succeed, although time has
answered all their original objections. The paper has been
successful. It is a large sheet, costing eighty dollars per
week--has three thousand subscribers--has been published
regularly nearly eight years--and bids fair to stand eight years
longer. At any rate, the eight years to come are as full of
promise as were the eight that are past.

It is not to be concealed, however, that the maintenance of such
a journal, under the circumstances, has been a work of much
difficulty; and could all the perplexity, anxiety, and trouble
attending it, have been clearly foreseen, I might have shrunk
from the undertaking. As it is, I rejoice in having engaged in
the enterprise, and count it joy to have been able to suffer, in
many ways, for its success, and for the success of the cause to
which it has been faithfully devoted. I look upon the time,
money, and labor bestowed upon it, as being amply rewarded, in
the development of my own mental and moral energies, and in the
corresponding development of my deeply injured and oppressed
people.

From motives of peace, instead of issuing my paper in Boston,
among my New England friends, I came to Rochester, western New
York, among strangers, where the circulation of my paper could
not interfere with the local circulation of the _Liberator_ and
the _Standard;_ for at that time I was, on the anti-slavery
question, <307 CHANGE OF VIEWS>a faithful disciple of William
Lloyd Garrison, and fully committed to his doctrine touching the
pro-slavery character of the constitution of the United States,
and the _non-voting principle_, of which he is the known and
distinguished advocate. With Mr. Garrison, I held it to be the
first duty of the non-slaveholding states to dissolve the union
with the slaveholding states; and hence my cry, like his, was,
"No union with slaveholders." With these views, I came into
western New York; and during the first four years of my labor
here, I advocated them with pen and tongue, according to the best
of my ability.

About four years ago, upon a reconsideration of the whole
subject, I became convinced that there was no necessity for
dissolving the "union between the northern and southern states;"
that to seek this dissolution was no part of my duty as an
abolitionist; that to abstain from voting, was to refuse to
exercise a legitimate and powerful means for abolishing slavery;
and that the constitution of the United States not only contained
no guarantees in favor of slavery, but, on the contrary, it is,
in its letter and spirit, an anti-slavery instrument, demanding
the abolition of slavery as a condition of its own existence, as
the supreme law of the land.

Here was a radical change in my opinions, and in the action
logically resulting from that change. To those with whom I had
been in agreement and in sympathy, I was now in opposition. What
they held to be a great and important truth, I now looked upon as
a dangerous error. A very painful, and yet a very natural, thing
now happened. Those who could not see any honest reasons for
changing their views, as I had done, could not easily see any
such reasons for my change, and the common punishment of
apostates was mine.

The opinions first entertained were naturally derived and
honestly entertained, and I trust that my present opinions have
the same claims to respect. Brought directly, when I escaped
from slavery, into contact with a class of abolitionists
regarding the <308>constitution as a slaveholding instrument, and
finding their views supported by the united and entire history of
every department of the government, it is not strange that I
assumed the constitution to be just what their interpretation
made it. I was bound, not only by their superior knowledge, to
take their opinions as the true ones, in respect to the subject,
but also because I had no means of showing their unsoundness.
But for the responsibility of conducting a public journal, and
the necessity imposed upon me of meeting opposite views from
abolitionists in this state, I should in all probability have
remained as firm in my disunion views as any other disciple of
William Lloyd Garrison.

My new circumstances compelled me to re-think the whole subject,
and to study, with some care, not only the just and proper rules
of legal interpretation, but the origin, design, nature, rights,
powers, and duties of civil government, and also the relations
which human beings sustain to it. By such a course of thought
and reading, I was conducted to the conclusion that the
constitution of the United States--inaugurated "to form a more
perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity,
provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and
secure the blessing of liberty"--could not well have been
designed at the same time to maintain and perpetuate a system of
rapine and murder, like slavery; especially, as not one word can
be found in the constitution to authorize such a belief. Then,
again, if the declared purposes of an instrument are to govern
the meaning of all its parts and details, as they clearly should,
the constitution of our country is our warrant for the abolition
of slavery in every state in the American Union. I mean,
however, not to argue, but simply to state my views. It would
require very many pages of a volume like this, to set forth the
arguments demonstrating the unconstitutionality and the complete
illegality of slavery in our land; and as my experience, and not
my arguments, is within the scope and contemplation of this
volume, I omit the latter and proceed with the former.
<309 THE JIM CROW CAR>

I will now ask the kind reader to go back a little in my story,
while I bring up a thread left behind for convenience sake, but
which, small as it is, cannot be properly omitted altogether; and
that thread is American prejudice against color, and its varied
illustrations in my own experience.

When I first went among the abolitionists of New England, and
began to travel, I found this prejudice very strong and very
annoying. The abolitionists themselves were not entirely free
from it, and I could see that they were nobly struggling against
it. In their eagerness, sometimes, to show their contempt for
the feeling, they proved that they had not entirely recovered
from it; often illustrating the saying, in their conduct, that a
man may "stand up so straight as to lean backward." When it was
said to me, "Mr. Douglass, I will walk to meeting with you; I am
not afraid of a black man," I could not help thinking--seeing
nothing very frightful in my appearance--"And why should you be?"
The children at the north had all been educated to believe that
if they were bad, the old _black_ man--not the old _devil_--would
get them; and it was evidence of some courage, for any so
educated to get the better of their fears.

The custom of providing separate cars for the accommodation of
colored travelers, was established on nearly all the railroads of
New England, a dozen years ago. Regarding this custom as
fostering the spirit of caste, I made it a rule to seat myself in
the cars for the accommodation of passengers generally. Thus
seated, I was sure to be called upon to betake myself to the
"_Jim Crow car_." Refusing to obey, I was often dragged out of
my seat, beaten, and severely bruised, by conductors and
brakemen. Attempting to start from Lynn, one day, for
Newburyport, on the Eastern railroad, I went, as my custom was,
into one of the best railroad carriages on the road. The seats
were very luxuriant and beautiful. I was soon waited upon by the
conductor, and ordered out; whereupon I demanded the reason for
my invidious removal. After a good deal of parleying, I was told
that it was because I <310>was black. This I denied, and
appealed to the company to sustain my denial; but they were
evidently unwilling to commit themselves, on a point so delicate,
and requiring such nice powers of discrimination, for they
remained as dumb as death. I was soon waited on by half a dozen
fellows of the baser sort (just such as would volunteer to take a
bull-dog out of a meeting-house in time of public worship), and
told that I must move out of that seat, and if I did not, they
would drag me out. I refused to move, and they clutched me,
head, neck, and shoulders. But, in anticipation of the
stretching to which I was about to be subjected, I had interwoven
myself among the seats. In dragging me out, on this occasion, it
must have cost the company twenty-five or thirty dollars, for I
tore up seats and all. So great was the excitement in Lynn, on
the subject, that the superintendent, Mr. Stephen A. Chase,
ordered the trains to run through Lynn without stopping, while I
remained in that town; and this ridiculous farce was enacted.
For several days the trains went dashing through Lynn without
stopping. At the same time that they excluded a free colored man
from their cars, this same company allowed slaves, in company
with their masters and mistresses, to ride unmolested.

After many battles with the railroad conductors, and being
roughly handled in not a few instances, proscription was at last
abandoned; and the "Jim Crow car"--set up for the degradation of
colored people--is nowhere found in New England. This result was
not brought about without the intervention of the people, and the
threatened enactment of a law compelling railroad companies to
respect the rights of travelers. Hon. Charles Francis Adams
performed signal service in the Massachusetts legislature, in
bringing this reformation; and to him the colored citizens of
that state are deeply indebted.

Although often annoyed, and sometimes outraged, by this prejudice
against color, I am indebted to it for many passages of quiet
amusement. A half-cured subject of it is sometimes driven into
awkward straits, especially if he happens to get a genuine
specimen of the race into his house.
<311 AMUSING SCENE>

In the summer of 1843, I was traveling and lecturing, in company
with William A. White, Esq., through the state of Indiana. Anti-
slavery friends were not very abundant in Indiana, at that time,
and beds were not more plentiful than friends. We often slept
out, in preference to sleeping in the houses, at some points. At
the close of one of our meetings, we were invited home with a
kindly-disposed old farmer, who, in the generous enthusiasm of
the moment, seemed to have forgotten that he had but one spare
bed, and that his guests were an ill-matched pair. All went on
pretty well, till near bed time, when signs of uneasiness began
to show themselves, among the unsophisticated sons and daughters.
White is remarkably fine looking, and very evidently a born
gentleman; the idea of putting us in the same bed was hardly to
be tolerated; and yet, there we were, and but the one bed for us,
and that, by the way, was in the same room occupied by the other
members of the family. White, as well as I, perceived the
difficulty, for yonder slept the old folks, there the sons, and a
little farther along slept the daughters; and but one other bed
remained. Who should have this bed, was the puzzling question.
There was some whispering between the old folks, some confused
looks among the young, as the time for going to bed approached.
After witnessing the confusion as long as I liked, I relieved the
kindly-disposed family by playfully saying, "Friend White, having
got entirely rid of my prejudice against color, I think, as a
proof of it, I must allow you to sleep with me to-night." White
kept up the joke, by seeming to esteem himself the favored party,
and thus the difficulty was removed. If we went to a hotel, and
called for dinner, the landlord was sure to set one table for
White and another for me, always taking him to be master, and me
the servant. Large eyes were generally made when the order was
given to remove the dishes from my table to that of White's. In
those days, it was thought strange that a white man and a colored
man could dine peaceably at the same table, and in some parts the
strangeness of such a sight has not entirely subsided.

Some people will have it that there is a natural, an inherent,
and <312>an invincible repugnance in the breast of the white race
toward dark-colored people; and some very intelligent colored men
think that their proscription is owing solely to the color which
nature has given them. They hold that they are rated according
to their color, and that it is impossible for white people ever
to look upon dark races of men, or men belonging to the African
race, with other than feelings of aversion. My experience, both
serious and mirthful, combats this conclusion. Leaving out of
sight, for a moment, grave facts, to this point, I will state one
or two, which illustrate a very interesting feature of American
character as well as American prejudice. Riding from Boston to
Albany, a few years ago, I found myself in a large car, well
filled with passengers. The seat next to me was about the only
vacant one. At every stopping place we took in new passengers,
all of whom, on reaching the seat next to me, cast a disdainful
glance upon it, and passed to another car, leaving me in the full
enjoyment of a hole form. For a time, I did not know but that my
riding there was prejudicial to the interest of the railroad
company. A circumstance occurred, however, which gave me an
elevated position at once. Among the passengers on this train
was Gov. George N. Briggs. I was not acquainted with him, and
had no idea that I was known to him, however, I was, for upon
observing me, the governor left his place, and making his way
toward me, respectfully asked the privilege of a seat by my side;
and upon introducing himself, we entered into a conversation very
pleasant and instructive to me. The despised seat now became
honored. His excellency had removed all the prejudice against
sitting by the side of a Negro; and upon his leaving it, as he
did, on reaching Pittsfield, there were at least one dozen
applicants for the place. The governor had, without changing my
skin a single shade, made the place respectable which before was
despicable.

A similar incident happened to me once on the Boston and New
Bedford railroad, and the leading party to it has since been
governor of the state of Massachusetts. I allude to Col. John
Henry <313 AN INCIDENT>Clifford. Lest the reader may fancy I am
aiming to elevate myself, by claiming too much intimacy with
great men, I must state that my only acquaintance with Col.
Clifford was formed while I was _his hired servant_, during the
first winter of my escape from slavery. I owe it him to say,
that in that relation I found him always kind and gentlemanly.
But to the incident. I entered a car at Boston, for New Bedford,
which, with the exception of a single seat was full, and found I
must occupy this, or stand up, during the journey. Having no
mind to do this, I stepped up to the man having the next seat,
and who had a few parcels on the seat, and gently asked leave to
take a seat by his side. My fellow-passenger gave me a look made
up of reproach and indignation, and asked me why I should come to
that particular seat. I assured him, in the gentlest manner,
that of all others this was the seat for me. Finding that I was
actually about to sit down, he sang out, "O! stop, stop! and let
me get out!" Suiting the action to the word, up the agitated man
got, and sauntered to the other end of the car, and was compelled
to stand for most of the way thereafter. Halfway to New Bedford,
or more, Col. Clifford, recognizing me, left his seat, and not
having seen me before since I had ceased to wait on him (in
everything except hard arguments against his pro-slavery
position), apparently forgetful of his rank, manifested, in
greeting me, something of the feeling of an old friend. This
demonstration was not lost on the gentleman whose dignity I had,
an hour before, most seriously offended. Col. Clifford was known
to be about the most aristocratic gentleman in Bristol county;
and it was evidently thought that I must be somebody, else I
should not have been thus noticed, by a person so distinguished.
Sure enough, after Col. Clifford left me, I found myself
surrounded with friends; and among the number, my offended friend
stood nearest, and with an apology for his rudeness, which I
could not resist, although it was one of the lamest ever offered.
With such facts as these before me--and I have many of them--I am
inclined to think that pride and fashion have much to do with
<314>the treatment commonly extended to colored people in the
United States. I once heard a very plain man say (and he was
cross-eyed, and awkwardly flung together in other respects) that
he should be a handsome man when public opinion shall be changed.

Since I have been editing and publishing a journal devoted to the
cause of liberty and progress, I have had my mind more directed
to the condition and circumstances of the free colored people
than when I was the agent of an abolition society. The result
has been a corresponding change in the disposition of my time and
labors. I have felt it to be a part of my mission--under a
gracious Providence to impress my sable brothers in this country
with the conviction that, notwithstanding the ten thousand
discouragements and the powerful hinderances, which beset their
existence in this country--notwithstanding the blood-written
history of Africa, and her children, from whom we have descended,
or the clouds and darkness (whose stillness and gloom are made
only more awful by wrathful thunder and lightning) now
overshadowing them--progress is yet possible, and bright skies
shall yet shine upon their pathway; and that "Ethiopia shall yet
reach forth her hand unto God."

Believing that one of the best means of emancipating the slaves
of the south is to improve and elevate the character of the free
colored people of the north I shall labor in the future, as I
have labored in the past, to promote the moral, social,
religious, and intellectual elevation of the free colored people;
never forgetting my own humble orgin{sic}, nor refusing, while
Heaven lends me ability, to use my voice, my pen, or my vote, to
advocate the great and primary work of the universal and
unconditional emancipation of my entire race.

APPENDIX
_Containing Extracts from
Speeches, etc._

RECEPTION SPEECH[10]
_At Finsbury Chapel, Moorfields, England, May 12, 1846_

Mr. Douglass rose amid loud cheers, and said: I feel exceedingly
glad of the opportunity now afforded me of presenting the claims
of my brethren in bonds in the United States, to so many in
London and from various parts of Britain, who have assembled here
on the present occasion. I have nothing to commend me to your
consideration in the way of learning, nothing in the way of
education, to entitle me to your attention; and you are aware
that slavery is a very bad school for rearing teachers of
morality and religion. Twenty-one years of my life have been
spent in slavery--personal slavery--surrounded by degrading
influences, such as can exist nowhere beyond the pale of slavery;
and it will not be strange, if under such circumstances, I should
betray, in what I have to say to you, a deficiency of that
refinement which is seldom or ever found, except among persons
that have experienced superior advantages to those which I have
enjoyed. But I will take it for granted that you know something
about the degrading influences of slavery, and that you will not
expect great things from me this evening, but simply such facts
as I may be able to advance immediately in connection with my own
experience of slavery.

Now, what is this system of slavery? This is the subject of my
lecture this evening--what is the character of this institution?
I am about to answer the inquiry, what is American slavery? I do
this the more readily, since I have found persons in this country
who have identified the term slavery with that which I think it
is not, and in some instances, I have feared, in so doing, have
rather (unwittingly, I know) detracted much from the horror with
which the term slavery is contemplated. It is com-

[10] Mr. Douglass' published speeches alone, would fill two
volumes of the size of this. Our space will only permit the
insertion of the extracts which follow; and which, for
originality of thought, beauty and force of expression, and for
impassioned, indignatory eloquence, have seldom been equaled.

<318>mon in this country to distinguish every bad thing by the
name of slavery. Intemperance is slavery; to be deprived of the
right to vote is slavery, says one; to have to work hard is
slavery, says another; and I do not know but that if we should
let them go on, they would say that to eat when we are hungry, to
walk when we desire to have exercise, or to minister to our
necessities, or have necessities at all, is slavery. I do not
wish for a moment to detract from the horror with which the evil
of intemperance is contemplated--not at all; nor do I wish to
throw the slightest obstruction in the way of any political
freedom that any class of persons in this country may desire to
obtain. But I am here to say that I think the term slavery is
sometimes abused by identifying it with that which it is not.
Slavery in the United States is the granting of that power by
which one man exercises and enforces a right of property in the
body and soul of another. The condition of a slave is simply
that of the brute beast. He is a piece of property--a marketable
commodity, in the language of the law, to be bought or sold at
the will and caprice of the master who claims him to be his
property; he is spoken of, thought of, and treated as property.
His own good, his conscience, his intellect, his affections, are
all set aside by the master. The will and the wishes of the
master are the law of the slave. He is as much a piece of
property as a horse. If he is fed, he is fed because he is
property. If he is clothed, it is with a view to the increase of
his value as property. Whatever of comfort is necessary to him
for his body or soul that is inconsistent with his being
property, is carefully wrested from him, not only by public
opinion, but by the law of the country. He is carefully deprived
of everything that tends in the slightest degree to detract from
his value as property. He is deprived of education. God has
given him an intellect; the slaveholder declares it shall not be
cultivated. If his moral perception leads him in a course
contrary to his value as property, the slaveholder declares he
shall not exercise it. The marriage institution cannot exist
among slaves, and one-sixth of the population of democratic
America is denied its privileges by the law of the land. What is
to be thought of a nation boasting of its liberty, boasting of
its humanity, boasting of its Christianity, boasting of its love
of justice and purity, and yet having within its own borders
three millions of persons denied by law the right of marriage?--
what must be the condition of that people? I need not lift up
the veil by giving you any experience of my own. Every one that
can put two ideas together, must see the most fearful results
from such a state of things as I have just mentioned. If any of
these three millions find for themselves companions, and prove
themselves honest, upright, virtuous persons to each other, yet
in these <319>cases--few as I am bound to confess they are--the
virtuous live in constant apprehension of being torn asunder by
the merciless men-stealers that claim them as their property.
This is American slavery; no marriage--no education--the light of
the gospel shut out from the dark mind of the bondman--and he
forbidden by law to learn to read. If a mother shall teach her
children to read, the law in Louisiana proclaims that she may be
hanged by the neck. If the father attempt to give his son a
knowledge of letters, he may be punished by the whip in one
instance, and in another be killed, at the discretion of the
court. Three millions of people shut out from the light of
knowledge! It is easy for you to conceive the evil that must
result from such a state of things.

I now come to the physical evils of slavery. I do not wish to
dwell at length upon these, but it seems right to speak of them,
not so much to influence your minds on this question, as to let
the slaveholders of America know that the curtain which conceals
their crimes is being lifted abroad; that we are opening the dark
cell, and leading the people into the horrible recesses of what
they are pleased to call their domestic institution. We want
them to know that a knowledge of their whippings, their
scourgings, their brandings, their chainings, is not confined to
their plantations, but that some Negro of theirs has broken loose
from his chains--has burst through the dark incrustation of
slavery, and is now exposing their deeds of deep damnation to the
gaze of the christian people of England.

The slaveholders resort to all kinds of cruelty. If I were
disposed, I have matter enough to interest you on this question
for five or six evenings, but I will not dwell at length upon
these cruelties. Suffice it to say, that all of the peculiar
modes of torture that were resorted to in the West India islands,
are resorted to, I believe, even more frequently, in the United
States of America. Starvation, the bloody whip, the chain, the
gag, the thumb-screw, cat-hauling, the cat-o'-nine-tails, the
dungeon, the blood-hound, are all in requisition to keep the
slave in his condition as a slave in the United States. If any
one has a doubt upon this point, I would ask him to read the
chapter on slavery in Dickens's _Notes on America_. If any man
has a doubt upon it, I have here the "testimony of a thousand
witnesses," which I can give at any length, all going to prove
the truth of my statement. The blood-hound is regularly trained
in the United States, and advertisements are to be found in the
southern papers of the Union, from persons advertising themselves
as blood-hound trainers, and offering to hunt down slaves at
fifteen dollars a piece, recommending their hounds as the
fleetest in the neighborhood, never known to fail.
Adver<320>tisements are from time to time inserted, stating that
slaves have escaped with iron collars about their necks, with
bands of iron about their feet, marked with the lash, branded
with red-hot irons, the initials of their master's name burned
into their flesh; and the masters advertise the fact of their
being thus branded with their own signature, thereby proving to
the world, that, however damning it may appear to non-slavers,
such practices are not regarded discreditable among the
slaveholders themselves. Why, I believe if a man should brand
his horse in this country--burn the initials of his name into any
of his cattle, and publish the ferocious deed here--that the
united execrations of Christians in Britain would descend upon
him. Yet in the United States, human beings are thus branded.
As Whittier says--
. . . _Our countrymen in chains,
The whip on woman's shrinking flesh,
Our soil yet reddening with the stains
Caught from her scourgings warm and fresh_.

The slave-dealer boldly publishes his infamous acts to the world.
Of all things that have been said of slavery to which exception
has been taken by slaveholders, this, the charge of cruelty,
stands foremost, and yet there is no charge capable of clearer
demonstration, than that of the most barbarous inhumanity on the
part of the slaveholders toward their slaves. And all this is
necessary; it is necessary to resort to these cruelties, in order
to _make the slave a slave_, and to _keep him a slave_. Why, my
experience all goes to prove the truth of what you will call a
marvelous proposition, that the better you treat a slave, the
more you destroy his value _as a slave_, and enhance the
probability of his eluding the grasp of the slaveholder; the more
kindly you treat him, the more wretched you make him, while you
keep him in the condition of a slave. My experience, I say,
confirms the truth of this proposition. When I was treated
exceedingly ill; when my back was being scourged daily; when I
was whipped within an inch of my life--_life_ was all I cared
for. "Spare my life," was my continual prayer. When I was
looking for the blow about to be inflicted upon my head, I was
not thinking of my liberty; it was my life. But, as soon as the
blow was not to be feared, then came the longing for liberty. If
a slave has a bad master, his ambition is to get a better; when
he gets a better, he aspires to have the best; and when he gets
the best, he aspires to be his own master. But the slave must be
brutalized to keep him as a slave. The slaveholder feels this
necessity. I admit this necessity. If it be right to hold
slaves at all, it is right to hold <321>them in the only way in
which they can be held; and this can be done only by shutting out
the light of education from their minds, and brutalizing their
persons. The whip, the chain, the gag, the thumb-screw, the
blood-hound, the stocks, and all the other bloody paraphernalia
of the slave system, are indispensably necessary to the relation
of master and slave. The slave must be subjected to these, or he
ceases to be a slave. Let him know that the whip is burned; that
the fetters have been turned to some useful and profitable
employment; that the chain is no longer for his limbs; that the
blood-hound is no longer to be put upon his track; that his
master's authority over him is no longer to be enforced by taking
his life--and immediately he walks out from the house of bondage
and asserts his freedom as a man. The slaveholder finds it
necessary to have these implements to keep the slave in bondage;
finds it necessary to be able to say, "Unless you do so and so;
unless you do as I bid you--I will take away your life!"

Some of the most awful scenes of cruelty are constantly taking
place in the middle states of the Union. We have in those states
what are called the slave-breeding states. Allow me to speak
plainly. Although it is harrowing to your feelings, it is
necessary that the facts of the case should be stated. We have
in the United States slave-breeding states. The very state from
which the minister from our court to yours comes, is one of these
states--Maryland, where men, women, and children are reared for
the market, just as horses, sheep, and swine are raised for the
market. Slave-rearing is there looked upon as a legitimate
trade; the law sanctions it, public opinion upholds it, the
church does not condemn it. It goes on in all its bloody
horrors, sustained by the auctioneer's block. If you would see
the cruelties of this system, hear the following narrative. Not
long since the following scene occurred. A slave-woman and a
slaveman had united themselves as man and wife in the absence of
any law to protect them as man and wife. They had lived together
by the permission, not by right, of their master, and they had
reared a family. The master found it expedient, and for his
interest, to sell them. He did not ask them their wishes in
regard to the matter at all; they were not consulted. The man
and woman were brought to the auctioneer's block, under the sound
of the hammer. The cry was raised, "Here goes; who bids cash?"
Think of it--a man and wife to be sold! The woman was placed on
the auctioneer's block; her limbs, as is customary, were brutally
exposed to the purchasers, who examined her with all the freedom
with which they would examine a horse. There stood the husband,
powerless; no right to his wife; the master's right preeminent.
She was sold. He was next <322>brought to the auctioneer's
block. His eyes followed his wife in the distance; and he looked
beseechingly, imploringly, to the man that had bought his wife,
to buy him also. But he was at length bid off to another person.
He was about to be separated forever from her he loved. No word
of his, no work of his, could save him from this separation. He
asked permission of his new master to go and take the hand of his
wife at parting. It was denied him. In the agony of his soul he
rushed from the man who had just bought him, that he might take a
farewell of his wife; but his way was obstructed, he was struck
over the head with a loaded whip, and was held for a moment; but
his agony was too great. When he was let go, he fell a corpse at
the feet of his master. His heart was broken. Such scenes are
the everyday fruits of American slavery. Some two years since,
the Hon. Seth. M. Gates, an anti-slavery gentleman of the state
of New York, a representative in the congress of the United
States, told me he saw with his own eyes the following
circumstances. In the national District of Columbia, over which
the star-spangled emblem is constantly waving, where orators are
ever holding forth on the subject of American liberty, American
democracy, American republicanism, there are two slave prisons.
When going across a bridge, leading to one of these prisons, he
saw a young woman run out, bare-footed and bare-headed, and with
very little clothing on. She was running with all speed to the
bridge he was approaching. His eye was fixed upon her, and he
stopped to see what was the matter. He had not paused long
before he saw three men run out after her. He now knew what the
nature of the case was; a slave escaping from her chains--a young
woman, a sister--escaping from the bondage in which she had been
held. She made her way to the bridge, but had not reached, ere
from the Virginia side there came two slaveholders. As soon as
they saw them, her pursuers called out, "Stop her!" True to
their Virginian instincts, they came to the rescue of their
brother kidnappers, across the bridge. The poor girl now saw
that there was no chance for her. It was a trying time. She
knew if she went back, she must be a slave forever--she must be
dragged down to the scenes of pollution which the slaveholders
continually provide for most of the poor, sinking, wretched young
women, whom they call their property. She formed her resolution;
and just as those who were about to take her, were going to put
hands upon her, to drag her back, she leaped over the balustrades
of the bridge, and down she went to rise no more. She chose
death, rather than to go back into the hands of those christian
slaveholders from whom she had escaped.

Can it be possible that such things as these exist in the United
States? <323>Are not these the exceptions? Are any such scenes
as this general? Are not such deeds condemned by the law and
denounced by public opinion? Let me read to you a few of the
laws of the slaveholding states of America. I think no better
exposure of slavery can be made than is made by the laws of the
states in which slavery exists. I prefer reading the laws to
making any statement in confirmation of what I have said myself;
for the slaveholders cannot object to this testimony, since it is
the calm, the cool, the deliberate enactment of their wisest
heads, of their most clear-sighted, their own constituted
representatives. "If more than seven slaves together are found
in any road without a white person, twenty lashes a piece; for
visiting a plantation without a written pass, ten lashes; for
letting loose a boat from where it is made fast, thirty-nine
lashes for the first offense; and for the second, shall have cut
off from his head one ear; for keeping or carrying a club,
thirty-nine lashes; for having any article for sale, without a
ticket from his master, ten lashes; for traveling in any other
than the most usual and accustomed road, when going alone to any
place, forty lashes; for traveling in the night without a pass,
forty lashes." I am afraid you do not understand the awful
character of these lashes. You must bring it before your mind.
A human being in a perfect state of nudity, tied hand and foot to
a stake, and a strong man standing behind with a heavy whip,
knotted at the end, each blow cutting into the flesh, and leaving
the warm blood dripping to the feet; and for these trifles. "For
being found in another person's negro-quarters, forty lashes; for
hunting with dogs in the woods, thirty lashes; for being on
horseback without the written permission of his master, twenty-
five lashes; for riding or going abroad in the night, or riding
horses in the day time, without leave, a slave may be whipped,
cropped, or branded in the cheek with the letter R. or otherwise
punished, such punishment not extending to life, or so as to
render him unfit for labor." The laws referred to, may be found
by consulting _Brevard's Digest; Haywood's Manual; Virginia
Revised Code; Prince's Digest; Missouri Laws; Mississippi Revised
Code_. A man, for going to visit his brethren, without the
permission of his master--and in many instances he may not have
that permission; his master, from caprice or other reasons, may
not be willing to allow it--may be caught on his way, dragged to
a post, the branding-iron heated, and the name of his master or
the letter R branded into his cheek or on his forehead. They
treat slaves thus, on the principle that they must punish for
light offenses, in order to prevent the commission of larger
ones. I wish you to mark that in the single state of Virginia
there are seventy-one crimes for which a colored man may be
executed; while there are only three of <324>these crimes, which,
when committed by a white man, will subject him to that
punishment. There are many of these crimes which if the white
man did not commit, he would be regarded as a scoundrel and a
coward. In the state of Maryland, there is a law to this effect:
that if a slave shall strike his master, he may be hanged, his
head severed from his body, his body quartered, and his head and
quarters set up in the most prominent places in the neighborhood.
If a colored woman, in the defense of her own virtue, in defense
of her own person, should shield herself from the brutal attacks
of her tyrannical master, or make the slightest resistance, she
may be killed on the spot. No law whatever will bring the guilty
man to justice for the crime.

But you will ask me, can these things be possible in a land
professing Christianity? Yes, they are so; and this is not the
worst. No; a darker feature is yet to be presented than the mere
existence of these facts. I have to inform you that the religion
of the southern states, at this time, is the great supporter, the
great sanctioner of the bloody atrocities to which I have
referred. While America is printing tracts and bibles; sending
missionaries abroad to convert the heathen; expending her money
in various ways for the promotion of the gospel in foreign
lands--the slave not only lies forgotten, uncared for, but is
trampled under foot by the very churches of the land. What have
we in America? Why, we have slavery made part of the religion of
the land. Yes, the pulpit there stands up as the great defender
of this cursed _institution_, as it is called. Ministers of
religion come forward and torture the hallowed pages of inspired
wisdom to sanction the bloody deed. They stand forth as the
foremost, the strongest defenders of this "institution." As a
proof of this, I need not do more than state the general fact,
that slavery has existed under the droppings of the sanctuary of
the south for the last two hundred years, and there has not been
any war between the _religion_ and the _slavery_ of the south.
Whips, chains, gags, and thumb-screws have all lain under the
droppings of the sanctuary, and instead of rusting from off the
limbs of the bondman, those droppings have served to preserve
them in all their strength. Instead of preaching the gospel
against this tyranny, rebuke, and wrong, ministers of religion
have sought, by all and every means, to throw in the back-ground
whatever in the bible could be construed into opposition to
slavery, and to bring forward that which they could torture into
its support. This I conceive to be the darkest feature of
slavery, and the most difficult to attack, because it is
identified with religion, and exposes those who denounce it to
the charge of infidelity. Yes, those with whom I have been
laboring, namely, the old <325>organization anti-slavery society
of America, have been again and again stigmatized as infidels,
and for what reason? Why, solely in consequence of the
faithfulness of their attacks upon the slaveholding religion of
the southern states, and the northern religion that sympathizes
with it. I have found it difficult to speak on this matter
without persons coming forward and saying, "Douglass, are you not
afraid of injuring the cause of Christ? You do not desire to do
so, we know; but are you not undermining religion?" This has
been said to me again and again, even since I came to this
country, but I cannot be induced to leave off these exposures. I
love the religion of our blessed Savior. I love that religion
that comes from above, in the "wisdom of God, which is first
pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of
mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
I love that religion that sends its votaries to bind up the
wounds of him that has fallen among thieves. I love that
religion that makes it the duty of its disciples to visit the
father less and the widow in their affliction. I love that
religion that is based upon the glorious principle, of love to
God and love to man; which makes its followers do unto others as
they themselves would be done by. If you demand liberty to
yourself, it says, grant it to your neighbors. If you claim a
right to think for yourself, it says, allow your neighbors the
same right. If you claim to act for yourself, it says, allow
your neighbors the same right. It is because I love this
religion that I hate the slaveholding, the woman-whipping, the
mind-darkening, the soul-destroying religion that exists in the
southern states of America. It is because I regard the one as
good, and pure, and holy, that I cannot but regard the other as
bad, corrupt, and wicked. Loving the one I must hate the other;
holding to the one I must reject the other.

I may be asked, why I am so anxious to bring this subject before
the British public--why I do not confine my efforts to the United
States? My answer is, first, that slavery is the common enemy of
mankind, and all mankind should be made acquainted with its
abominable character. My next answer is, that the slave is a
man, and, as such, is entitled to your sympathy as a brother.
All the feelings, all the susceptibilities, all the capacities,
which you have, he has. He is a part of the human family. He
has been the prey--the common prey--of Christendom for the last
three hundred years, and it is but right, it is but just, it is
but proper, that his wrongs should be known throughout the world.
I have another reason for bringing this matter before the British
public, and it is this: slavery is a system of wrong, so blinding
to all around, so hardening to the heart, so corrupting to the
morals, so deleterious to religion, so <326>sapping to all the
principles of justice in its immediate vicinity, that the
community surrounding it lack the moral stamina necessary to its
removal. It is a system of such gigantic evil, so strong, so
overwhelming in its power, that no one nation is equal to its
removal. It requires the humanity of Christianity, the morality
of the world to remove it. Hence, I call upon the people of
Britain to look at this matter, and to exert the influence I am
about to show they possess, for the removal of slavery from
America. I can appeal to them, as strongly by their regard for
the slaveholder as for the slave, to labor in this cause. I am
here, because you have an influence on America that no other
nation can have. You have been drawn together by the power of
steam to a marvelous extent; the distance between London and
Boston is now reduced to some twelve or fourteen days, so that
the denunciations against slavery, uttered in London this week,
may be heard in a fortnight in the streets of Boston, and
reverberating amidst the hills of Massachusetts. There is
nothing said here against slavery that will not be recorded in
the United States. I am here, also, because the slaveholders do
not want me to be here; they would rather that I were not here.
I have adopted a maxim laid down by Napoleon, never to occupy
ground which the enemy would like me to occupy. The slaveholders
would much rather have me, if I will denounce slavery, denounce
it in the northern states, where their friends and supporters
are, who will stand by and mob me for denouncing it. They feel
something as the man felt, when he uttered his prayer, in which
he made out a most horrible case for himself, and one of his
neighbors touched him and said, "My friend, I always had the
opinion of you that you have now expressed for yourself--that you
are a very great sinner." Coming from himself, it was all very
well, but coming from a stranger it was rather cutting. The
slaveholders felt that when slavery was denounced among
themselves, it was not so bad; but let one of the slaves get
loose, let him summon the people of Britain, and make known to
them the conduct of the slaveholders toward their slaves, and it
cuts them to the quick, and produces a sensation such as would be
produced by nothing else. The power I exert now is something
like the power that is exerted by the man at the end of the
lever; my influence now is just in proportion to the distance
that I am from the United States. My exposure of slavery abroad
will tell more upon the hearts and consciences of slaveholders,
than if I was attacking them in America; for almost every paper
that I now receive from the United States, comes teeming with
statements about this fugitive Negro, calling him a "glib-tongued
scoundrel," and saying that he is running out against the
institutions and people of America. I deny the charge that I am
saying a word against the institutions of America, <327>or the
people, as such. What I have to say is against slavery and
slaveholders. I feel at liberty to speak on this subject. I
have on my back the marks of the lash; I have four sisters and
one brother now under the galling chain. I feel it my duty to
cry aloud and spare not. I am not averse to having the good
opinion of my fellow creatures. I am not averse to being kindly
regarded by all men; but I am bound, even at the hazard of making
a large class of religionists in this country hate me, oppose me,
and malign me as they have done--I am bound by the prayers, and
tears, and entreaties of three millions of kneeling bondsmen, to
have no compromise with men who are in any shape or form
connected with the slaveholders of America. I expose slavery in
this country, because to expose it is to kill it. Slavery is one
of those monsters of darkness to whom the light of truth is
death. Expose slavery, and it dies. Light is to slavery what
the heat of the sun is to the root of a tree; it must die under
it. All the slaveholder asks of me is silence. He does not ask
me to go abroad and preach _in favor_ of slavery; he does not ask
any one to do that. He would not say that slavery is a good
thing, but the best under the circumstances. The slaveholders
want total darkness on the subject. They want the hatchway shut
down, that the monster may crawl in his den of darkness, crushing
human hopes and happiness, destroying the bondman at will, and
having no one to reprove or rebuke him. Slavery shrinks from the
light; it hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest its
deeds should be reproved. To tear off the mask from this
abominable system, to expose it to the light of heaven, aye, to
the heat of the sun, that it may burn and wither it out of
existence, is my object in coming to this country. I want the
slaveholder surrounded, as by a wall of anti-slavery fire, so
that he may see the condemnation of himself and his system
glaring down in letters of light. I want him to feel that he has
no sympathy in England, Scotland, or Ireland; that he has none in
Canada, none in Mexico, none among the poor wild Indians; that
the voice of the civilized, aye, and savage world is against him.
I would have condemnation blaze down upon him in every direction,
till, stunned and overwhelmed with shame and confusion, he is
compelled to let go the grasp he holds upon the persons of his
victims, and restore them to their long-lost rights.

_Dr. Campbell's Reply_

From Rev. Dr. Campbell's brilliant reply we extract the
following: FREDERICK DOUGLASS, the beast of burden," the portion
of "goods and chattels," the representative of three millions of
men, has been raised <328>up! Shall I say the _man?_ If there
is a man on earth, he is a man. My blood boiled within me when I
heard his address tonight, and thought that he had left behind
him three millions of such men.

We must see more of this man; we must have more of this man. One
would have taken a voyage round the globe some forty years back--
especially since the introduction of steam--to have heard such an
exposure of slavery from the lips of a slave. It will be an era
in the individual history of the present assembly. Our
children--our boys and girls--I have tonight seen the delightful
sympathy of their hearts evinced by their heaving breasts, while
their eyes sparkled with wonder and admiration, that this black
man--this slave--had so much logic, so much wit, so much fancy,
so much eloquence. He was something more than a man, according
to their little notions. Then, I say, we must hear him again.
We have got a purpose to accomplish. He has appealed to the
pulpit of England. The English pulpit is with him. He has
appealed to the press of England; the press of England is
conducted by English hearts, and that press will do him justice.
About ten days hence, and his second master, who may well prize
"such a piece of goods," will have the pleasure of reading his
burning words, and his first master will bless himself that he
has got quit of him. We have to create public opinion, or
rather, not to create it, for it is created already; but we have
to foster it; and when tonight I heard those magnificent words--
the words of Curran, by which my heart, from boyhood, has
ofttimes been deeply moved--I rejoice to think that they embody
an instinct of an Englishman's nature. I heard, with
inexpressible delight, how they told on this mighty mass of the
citizens of the metropolis.

Britain has now no slaves; we can therefore talk to the other
nations now, as we could not have talked a dozen years ago. I
want the whole of the London ministry to meet Douglass. For as
his appeal is to England, and throughout England, I should
rejoice in the idea of churchmen and dissenters merging all
sectional distinctions in this cause. Let us have a public
breakfast. Let the ministers meet him; let them hear him; let
them grasp his hand; and let him enlist their sympathies on
behalf of the slave. Let him inspire them with abhorrence of the
man-stealer--the slaveholder. No slaveholding American shall
ever my cross my door. No slaveholding or slavery-supporting
minister shall ever pollute my pulpit. While I have a tongue to
speak, or a hand to write, I will, to the utmost of my power,
oppose these slaveholding men. We must have Douglass amongst us
to aid in fostering public opinion.

The great conflict with slavery must now take place in America;
and <329>while they are adding other slave states to the Union,
our business is to step forward and help the abolitionists there.
It is a pleasing circumstance that such a body of men has risen
in America, and whilst we hurl our thunders against her slavers,
let us make a distinction between those who advocate slavery and
those who oppose it. George Thompson has been there. This man,
Frederick Douglass, has been there, and has been compelled to
flee. I wish, when he first set foot on our shores, he had made
a solemn vow, and said, "Now that I am free, and in the sanctuary
of freedom, I will never return till I have seen the emancipation
of my country completed." He wants to surround these men, the
slaveholders, as by a wall of fire; and he himself may do much
toward kindling it. Let him travel over the island--east, west,
north, and south--everywhere diffusing knowledge and awakening
principle, till the whole nation become a body of petitioners to
America. He will, he must, do it. He must for a season make
England his home. He must send for his wife. He must send for
his children. I want to see the sons and daughters of such a
sire. We, too, must do something for him and them worthy of the
English name. I do not like the idea of a man of such mental
dimensions, such moral courage, and all but incomparable talent,
having his own small wants, and the wants of a distant wife and
children, supplied by the poor profits of his publication, the
sketch of his life. Let the pamphlet be bought by tens of
thousands. But we will do something more for him, shall we not?

It only remains that we pass a resolution of thanks to Frederick
Douglass, the slave that was, the man that is! He that was
covered with chains, and that is now being covered with glory,
and whom we will send back a gentleman.

LETTER TO HIS OLD MASTER.[11]
_To My Old Master, Thomas Auld_

SIR--The long and intimate, though by no means friendly, relation
which unhappily subsisted between you and myself, leads me to
hope that you will easily account for the great liberty which I
now take in addressing you in this open and public manner. The
same fact may remove any disagreeable surprise which you may
experience on again finding your name coupled with mine, in any
other way than in an advertisement, accurately describing my
person, and offering a large sum for my arrest. In thus dragging
you again before the public, I am aware that I shall subject
myself to no inconsiderable amount of censure. I shall probably
be charged with an unwarrantable, if not a wanton and reckless
disregard of the rights and properties of private life. There
are those north as well as south who entertain a much higher
respect for rights which are merely conventional, than they do
for rights which are personal and essential. Not a few there are
in our country, who, while they have no scruples against robbing
the laborer of the hard earned results of his patient industry,
will be shocked by the extremely indelicate manner of bringing
your name before the public. Believing this to be the case, and
wishing to meet every reasonable or plausible objection to my
conduct, I will frankly state the ground upon which I justfy{sic}
myself in this instance, as well as on former occasions when I
have thought proper to mention your name in public. All will
agree that a man guilty of theft, robbery, or murder, has
forfeited the right to concealment and private life; that the
community have a right to subject such persons to the most
complete exposure. However much they may desire retirement, and
aim to conceal themselves and their movements from the popular
gaze, the public have a right to ferret them out, and bring their
conduct before

[11] It is not often that chattels address their owners. The
following letter is unique; and probably the only specimen of the
kind extant. It was written while in England.

<331>the proper tribunals of the country for investigation. Sir,
you will undoubtedly make the proper application of these
generally admitted principles, and will easily see the light in
which you are regarded by me; I will not therefore manifest ill
temper, by calling you hard names. I know you to be a man of
some intelligence, and can readily determine the precise estimate
which I entertain of your character. I may therefore indulge in
language which may seem to others indirect and ambiguous, and yet
be quite well understood by yourself.

I have selected this day on which to address you, because it is
the anniversary of my emancipation; and knowing no better way, I
am led to this as the best mode of celebrating that truly
important events. Just ten years ago this beautiful September
morning, yon bright sun beheld me a slave--a poor degraded
chattel--trembling at the sound of your voice, lamenting that I
was a man, and wishing myself a brute. The hopes which I had
treasured up for weeks of a safe and successful escape from your
grasp, were powerfully confronted at this last hour by dark
clouds of doubt and fear, making my person shake and my bosom to
heave with the heavy contest between hope and fear. I have no
words to describe to you the deep agony of soul which I
experienced on that never-to-be-forgotten morning--for I left by
daylight. I was making a leap in the dark. The probabilities,
so far as I could by reason determine them, were stoutly against
the undertaking. The preliminaries and precautions I had adopted
previously, all worked badly. I was like one going to war
without weapons--ten chances of defeat to one of victory. One in
whom I had confided, and one who had promised me assistance,
appalled by fear at the trial hour, deserted me, thus leaving the
responsibility of success or failure solely with myself. You,
sir, can never know my feelings. As I look back to them, I can
scarcely realize that I have passed through a scene so trying.
Trying, however, as they were, and gloomy as was the prospect,
thanks be to the Most High, who is ever the God of the oppressed,
at the moment which was to determine my whole earthly career, His
grace was sufficient; my mind was made up. I embraced the golden
opportunity, took the morning tide at the flood, and a free man,
young, active, and strong, is the result.

I have often thought I should like to explain to you the grounds
upon which I have justified myself in running away from you. I
am almost ashamed to do so now, for by this time you may have
discovered them yourself. I will, however, glance at them. When
yet but a child about six years old, I imbibed the determination
to run away. The very first mental <332>effort that I now
remember on my part, was an attempt to solve the mystery--why am
I a slave? and with this question my youthful mind was troubled
for many days, pressing upon me more heavily at times than
others. When I saw the slave-driver whip a slave-woman, cut the
blood out of her neck, and heard her piteous cries, I went away
into the corner of the fence, wept and pondered over the mystery.
I had, through some medium, I know not what, got some idea of
God, the Creator of all mankind, the black and the white, and
that he had made the blacks to serve the whites as slaves. How
he could do this and be _good_, I could not tell. I was not
satisfied with this theory, which made God responsible for
slavery, for it pained me greatly, and I have wept over it long
and often. At one time, your first wife, Mrs. Lucretia, heard me
sighing and saw me shedding tears, and asked of me the matter,
but I was afraid to tell her. I was puzzled with this question,
till one night while sitting in the kitchen, I heard some of the
old slaves talking of their parents having been stolen from
Africa by white men, and were sold here as slaves. The whole
mystery was solved at once. Very soon after this, my Aunt Jinny
and Uncle Noah ran away, and the great noise made about it by
your father-in-law, made me for the first time acquainted with
the fact, that there were free states as well as slave states.
From that time, I resolved that I would some day run away. The
morality of the act I dispose of as follows: I am myself; you
are yourself; we are two distinct persons, equal persons. What
you are, I am. You are a man, and so am I. God created both,
and made us separate beings. I am not by nature bond to you, or
you to me. Nature does not make your existence depend upon me,
or mine to depend upon yours. I cannot walk upon your legs, or
you upon mine. I cannot breathe for you, or you for me; I must
breathe for myself, and you for yourself. We are distinct
persons, and are each equally provided with faculties necessary
to our individual existence. In leaving you, I took nothing but
what belonged to me, and in no way lessened your means for
obtaining an _honest_ living. Your faculties remained yours, and
mine became useful to their rightful owner. I therefore see no
wrong in any part of the transaction. It is true, I went off
secretly; but that was more your fault than mine. Had I let you
into the secret, you would have defeated the enterprise entirely;
but for this, I should have been really glad to have made you
acquainted with my intentions to leave.

You may perhaps want to know how I like my present condition. I
am free to say, I greatly prefer it to that which I occupied in
Maryland. I am, however, by no means prejudiced against the
state as such. Its geography, climate, fertility, and products,
are such as to make it a very <333>desirable abode for any man;
and but for the existence of slavery there, it is not impossible
that I might again take up my abode in that state. It is not
that I love Maryland less, but freedom more. You will be
surprised to learn that people at the north labor under the
strange delusion that if the slaves were emancipated at the
south, they would flock to the north. So far from this being the
case, in that event, you would see many old and familiar faces
back again to the south. The fact is, there are few here who
would not return to the south in the event of emancipation. We
want to live in the land of our birth, and to lay our bones by
the side of our fathers; and nothing short of an intense love of
personal freedom keeps us from the south. For the sake of this,
most of us would live on a crust of bread and a cup of cold
water.

Since I left you, I have had a rich experience. I have occupied
stations which I never dreamed of when a slave. Three out of the
ten years since I left you, I spent as a common laborer on the
wharves of New Bedford, Massachusetts. It was there I earned my
first free dollar. It was mine. I could spend it as I pleased.
I could buy hams or herring with it, without asking any odds of
anybody. That was a precious dollar to me. You remember when I
used to make seven, or eight, or even nine dollars a week in
Baltimore, you would take every cent of it from me every Saturday
night, saying that I belonged to you, and my earnings also. I
never liked this conduct on your part--to say the best, I thought
it a little mean. I would not have served you so. But let that
pass. I was a little awkward about counting money in New England
fashion when I first landed in New Bedford. I came near
betraying myself several times. I caught myself saying phip, for
fourpence; and at one time a man actually charged me with being a
runaway, whereupon I was silly enough to become one by running
away from him, for I was greatly afraid he might adopt measures
to get me again into slavery, a condition I then dreaded more
than death.

I soon learned, however, to count money, as well as to make it,
and got on swimmingly. I married soon after leaving you; in
fact, I was engaged to be married before I left you; and instead
of finding my companion a burden, she was truly a helpmate. She
went to live at service, and I to work on the wharf, and though
we toiled hard the first winter, we never lived more happily.
After remaining in New Bedford for three years, I met with
William Lloyd Garrison, a person of whom you have _possibly_
heard, as he is pretty generally known among slaveholders. He
put it into my head that I might make myself serviceable to the
cause of the slave, by devoting a portion of my time to telling
my own sorrows, and those of other slaves, which had come under
my observation. This <334>was the commencement of a higher state
of existence than any to which I had ever aspired. I was thrown
into society the most pure, enlightened, and benevolent, that the
country affords. Among these I have never forgotten you, but
have invariably made you the topic of conversation--thus giving
you all the notoriety I could do. I need not tell you that the
opinion formed of you in these circles is far from being
favorable. They have little respect for your honesty, and less
for your religion.

But I was going on to relate to you something of my interesting
experience. I had not long enjoyed the excellent society to
which I have referred, before the light of its excellence exerted
a beneficial influence on my mind and heart. Much of my early
dislike of white persons was removed, and their manners, habits,
and customs, so entirely unlike what I had been used to in the
kitchen-quarters on the plantations of the south, fairly charmed
me, and gave me a strong disrelish for the coarse and degrading
customs of my former condition. I therefore made an effort so to
improve my mind and deportment, as to be somewhat fitted to the
station to which I seemed almost providentially called. The
transition from degradation to respectability was indeed great,
and to get from one to the other without carrying some marks of
one's former condition, is truly a difficult matter. I would not
have you think that I am now entirely clear of all plantation
peculiarities, but my friends here, while they entertain the
strongest dislike to them, regard me with that charity to which
my past life somewhat entitles me, so that my condition in this
respect is exceedingly pleasant. So far as my domestic affairs
are concerned, I can boast of as comfortable a dwelling as your
own. I have an industrious and neat companion, and four dear
children--the oldest a girl of nine years, and three fine boys,
the oldest eight, the next six, and the youngest four years old.
The three oldest are now going regularly to school--two can read
and write, and the other can spell, with tolerable correctness,
words of two syllables. Dear fellows! they are all in
comfortable beds, and are sound asleep, perfectly secure under my
own roof. There are no slaveholders here to rend my heart by
snatching them from my arms, or blast a mother's dearest hopes by
tearing them from her bosom. These dear children are ours--not
to work up into rice, sugar, and tobacco, but to watch over,
regard, and protect, and to rear them up in the nurture and
admonition of the gospel--to train them up in the paths of wisdom
and virtue, and, as far as we can, to make them useful to the
world and to themselves. Oh! sir, a slaveholder never appears to
me so completely an agent of hell, as when I think of and look
upon my dear children. It is then that my feelings rise above my
control. I meant to have said more with respect to my own
prosperity and happiness, but thoughts and feel<335>ings which
this recital has quickened, unfit me to proceed further in that
direction. The grim horrors of slavery rise in all their ghastly
terror before me; the wails of millions pierce my heart and chill
my blood. I remember the chain, the gag, the bloody whip; the
death-like gloom overshadowing the broken spirit of the fettered
bondman; the appalling liability of his being torn away from wife
and children, and sold like a beast in the market. Say not that
this is a picture of fancy. You well know that I wear stripes on
my back, inflicted by your direction; and that you, while we were
brothers in the same church, caused this right hand, with which I
am now penning this letter, to be closely tied to my left, and my
person dragged, at the pistol's mouth, fifteen miles, from the
Bay Side to Easton, to be sold like a beast in the market, for
the alleged crime of intending to escape from your possession.
All this, and more, you remember, and know to be perfectly true,
not only of yourself, but of nearly all of the slaveholders
around you.

At this moment, you are probably the guilty holder of at least
three of my own dear sisters, and my only brother, in bondage.
These you regard as your property. They are recorded on your
ledger, or perhaps have been sold to human flesh-mongers, with a
view to filling our own ever-hungry purse. Sir, I desire to know
how and where these dear sisters are. Have you sold them? or are
they still in your possession? What has become of them? are they
living or dead? And my dear old grandmother, whom you turned out
like an old horse to die in the woods--is she still alive? Write
and let me know all about them. If my grandmother be still
alive, she is of no service to you, for by this time she must be
nearly eighty years old--too old to be cared for by one to whom
she has ceased to be of service; send her to me at Rochester, or
bring her to Philadelphia, and it shall be the crowning happiness
of my life to take care of her in her old age. Oh! she was to me
a mother and a father, so far as hard toil for my comfort could
make her such. Send me my grandmother! that I may watch over and
take care of her in her old age. And my sisters--let me know all
about them. I would write to them, and learn all I want to know
of them, without disturbing you in any way, but that, through
your unrighteous conduct, they have been entirely deprived of the
power to read and write. You have kept them in utter ignorance,
and have therefore robbed them of the sweet enjoyments of writing
or receiving letters from absent friends and relatives. Your
wickedness and cruelty, committed in this respect on your fellow-
creatures, are greater than all the stripes you have laid upon my
back or theirs. It is an outrage upon the soul, a war upon the
immortal spirit, and one for which you must give account at the

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