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Frederick Douglass to George Armstrong, September 3, 1846



Bristol, [Eng.] 3 September 1846.

The Rev. George Armstrong,



Yours of last evening1George Armstrong’s 2 September 1846 letter to Douglass appears in this volume. is before me, but being just now about leaving town and greatly hurried,2After delivering a speech in Bristol, England, Douglass traveled to Sheffield, where he spoke to an audience in the Friends’ Meeting House on 11 September 1846. NASS, 1 October 1846; Douglass Papers, ser. 1, 1:381, 398—99 I am unable to make it such a response—in explanation of the remarks to which you refer—as I should certainly have done in other circumstances. Suffice it to say, that I fully admit the truths of your statements, respecting the anti-slavery character of Unitarian ministers in the United States. But allow me to remind you, that it is very difficult in a meeting, like that of last night, to do full justice to the friends of the anti-slavery cause, or the enemies of that cause, by a statement of all the facts connected with the one or the other. In saying last night that the Unitarian communion conferred no reputation upon those who partook of it, I meant nothing more than I thought I fully explained on the spot—that Unitarians endorsed no man’s character as a Christian by admitting him to the communion table, but left every one to decide for himself as to his qualification to partake of that ordinance. Believe me nothing was further from my intention than to treat with derision your terms of communion.

I am, dear sir, very sincerely yours,


PLSr: Bristol Mercury and Western Counties Advertiser, 12 September 1846. Reprinted in London Inquirer, 26 September 1846; NASS, 22 October 1846.


September 3, 1846


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