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Horatio W. Foster to Frederick Douglass and Martin R. Delany, February 18, 1848


HORATIO W. FOSTER1A mulatto barber in Lowell, Massachusetts, Horatio W. Foster (1816–?) was an active Garrisonian abolitionist in the 1840s. He served as the North Star's Lowell agent until 1851, when he moved to Pawtucket, Rhode Island. There, he supported Douglass’s efforts to establish a black industrial college. FDP, 28 April 1854; 1850 US. Census, Massachusetts, Middlesex County, Lowell, 328; Ripley, Black Abolitionist Papers, 3:386–87n. TO FREDERICK DOUGLASS AND MARTIN R. DELANY

Lowell, [Mass.] 18 February 1848.


I fully concur with friend David Ruggles, of Northampton, in what he says of the North Star, in his letter to you a short time since; and the last sentence I would reiterate—“Let him who would be a slave refuse to support your paper.”2On 1 January 1848 David Ruggles sent a letter to Douglass and Martin R. Delany, which was published in the North Star on 25 January 1848 and contained the quotation that Foster uses to conclude this letter. Ruggles’s letter appears in this volume. NS, 28 January 1848. There is much meaning in that sentence. Who that has lived in our country, and has felt the cruel shafts of prejudice, and been shut out from society, and been denied the privileges of education, and felt his manhood insulted every hour, because of his color, does not feel himself enslaved? The peculiar auspices under which your press has been established, and the high-souled and magnanimous purpose of our friends, both in this country and Europe, to establish it for the elevation of the colored men of the North, and the freedom of the slave at the South, supersedes all necessity for the establishment of any similar press, by our colored friends in this country; and all of them who have a spark of genius or of freedom to fire their souls, cannot help, I think, reciprocating such a favor. Of those whose rights have never been fully obtained, but may be by the assertion of them, through this press of trans-Atlantic beneficence, who will not subscribe for the North Star?

I have for a long time subscribed for the Liberator, and shall continue to do so, so long as it continues to sustain the high moral principle it always has sustained. But my conscience would condemn me, if I were not giving equal support to the North Star.

The prejudices of the American people can never be dissipated by docility or appeals to their sympathy, but by absolute merit alone of the colored people. It is business qualification, professional skill, enterprise, perseverance, and high moral principle, which will command the respect of our enemies. The enterprise of a colored man is less appreciated than that of a white man; but it is nevertheless true, that such enterprise wherever found, will force itself upon their recognition.

In haste, I must conclude, by saying of the North Star, “Let him who would be a slave refuse to sustain it.”

Yours for the progress of human Freedom,


P.S. Enclosed are the names of some subscribers. I shall ere long send you


PLSr: NS, 3 March 1848.


February 18, 1848


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