Frederick Douglass to Richard D. Webb, February 10, 1846
FREDERICK DOUGLASS TO RICHARD D. WEBB
Dundee, [Scot.] 10 Feb[ruary] 1846.
We held a very good meeting here last night,1On 9 February 1846, Douglass spoke about the moral evils of slavery at McGavin’s Chapel in Tay Square in Dundee, Scotland. Dundee Courier, 10 February 1846. crowed to overﬂowing with a people whose inﬂuence cannot but be felt by the free church. Our faithful dealing with this church has at length had the effect to compel them to a defence of their conduct. They have until a few days since affected to dispise our effort, deeming this the best mode of silencing and defeating our exposures. They now see we are not to be put down by such cunning. Their Newspaper the The Dundee—“Warder’2James McCosh edited the Dundee Northern Warder, a Free Church organ, from 1841 to 1847. The Dundee Courier characterized McCosh, who referred to abolitionists as “hired bravoes,” as having “staked his Christianity—his morals—his character as a journalist—his power as an intellectualist—on the Free Church’s innocence in taking slave money.” McCosh countered that the Courier had “Jesuited desperately, and tortured Scripture cruelly, to prove the innocence of the Free Church in the matter of the slave-money.” Dundee Courier, 10 February 1846; R. M. Cowan, The Newspaper in Scotland: A Study of Its First Expansion, 1815–1860 (Glasgow, Scot., 1946), 50–51. has attempted to ward off our blows, by attacking us personally, denouncing us as strangers unknown, to respectable people in this country, but unfortunately for purpose they say in the next place we are in the pay of the establishment sent for and hired by them. Thus they give us a good reputation by associating us with persons against whose moral characters, they dare not uttur a single word. The agitation goes nobly on—all this region is in a ferment[.] The very boys in the street are singing out “Send back that money.[”] I am informed this morning by the Dundee ‘courier’ that the St. Perter’s session—have unanimusly recommended the sending back the money.3The Dundee Courier reported, “There can be no doubt that the dollars must be sent back, and the sooner the better. The leaven is already fermenting, as we understand St. Peter’s session have unanimously agreed to recommend the adoption of such a course, and this is but a slight evidence of the almost universal feeling entertained by the members and adherents of the Free Church on the subject.” Dundee Courier, 10 February 1846. I meet many free church people, who are anxcious to have the money sent back. I am cirtain that the people are right on this point & if the money is not sent back it will be the fault of their leaders. We shall continue with unabatd zeal to sound the alarm. The people shall be informed. James4James N. Buffum. and myself leave here at
one O’clock to Day for Arbroth5Douglass and Buffum spoke in Arbroath on Tuesday, February 10. Arbroath Guide, 14 February 1846. where we hold a meeting this Evening[.] There to the people are wide awake. This battleing is rather unfavorable to the sale of my book—but the cause first every thing else afterwards.
My kind regards to Mrs. W6Hannah Waring Webb. and all inquiring Friends, yours truly
P.S. I have seen the new portrait. It has its faults—but I’ll try no more—it must answer. You will probably get it as soon as you get this. You will confer a favor—by sending a copy of the book containing it—as soon as bound—to our mutual Friends Misses Jennings7Charlotte, Helen, Isabel, and Jane Jennings.—Cork.
ALS: Anti-Slavery Collection, MB. PLSr: Foner, Life and Writings, 5:21–22. PLeSr: Foner, Life and Writings, 1:137–38; Taylor, British and American Abolitionists, 251.