Skip to main content

George Armstrong to Frederick Douglass, January 17, 1847



Bristol, [Eng.]1The placeline of this letter also includes “11, Clinton-vale.” 17 Jan[uary] 1847.


It gives me unfeigned satisfaction to be enabled, by the kind aid of some friends in Bristol2Although the city had a history of heavy investments in and trade with slaveholders in the British West Indies, Bristol, in southwestern England, developed into a center of Garrisonian abolitionism. Douglass delivered popular lectures there in 1846. He made friends with sympathetic Quakers and Unitarians from there, including the Unitarian minister John B. Estlin and his daughter Mary, Unitarian minister George Armstrong, and Russell and Mary Carpenter, who raised funds for Douglass. Douglass Papers, ser. 1, 1:341–52, 380. and its neighborhood, to place in your hands. a testimony which they trust it will give you pleasure to receive—not for its value, which is small, but as an earnest of the deep interest they take in the cause you plead, and of their sense of the ability, straitforwardness and devotion with which it is sustained by you.

The offering which we beg you to accept, consists of a silver inkstand,


and a purse containing eighteen sovereigns—the residue, after payment for that article, of small collections, suggested and commenced at my house, among a few friends who had met to consult, in another capacity, for the interests of the slave, and in aid of the more general efforts for the undoing of the heavy burdens, and letting the oppressed go free.

At the time this offering was thought of, you were a slave. We rejoice in the fact that, by the generosity of other friends in England, you are now, in form, as you were already in spirit and in right, a freeman; and feel assured, that while safety has been extended to yourself, your services will not be lessened in behalf of your less happy brethren, in the power of the ruthless oppressor.

May God bless you, and all who labor with you, in every righteous effort for the benefit of the poor people! And may He graciously hasten the day when the name of slave will be as unknown and abhorred in the republic of the United States, as in the free monarchy of the mother land.

Believe me, dear sir, with best wishes, Faithfully ever yours,


PLSr: Lib., 19 March 1847. Reprinted from Westchester (N.Y.) Spy. Reprinted from Bristol Mercury.3The Liberator indicated that it was quoting an article from the Westchester Spy, which in turn reported that it was reproducing an article from the Bristol Mercury. The editions of the Spy and the Mercury containing this article have not been located.


January 17, 1847


Publication Status