This edition of Frederick Douglass's Narrative provides for the first time a definitive critical text. After critical reading and collation of potentially authoritative editions and impressions of the Narrative and analysis of external evidence, a copy-text has been carefully selected and emended in an effort to reflect Frederick Douglass's authorial intention. A four-part textual apparatus (Textual Notes, List of Emendations, Historical Collation, and Line-End Hyphenation) that documents the editor's choices and much of the data that informed them has been appended. To simplify both reading and quoting the text, a clear-text approach has been taken that relegates all editorial intervention to the appendix. In keeping with the desire to preserve the work as Douglass envisioned it, the text is unmodernized.
The first step in our work on the Narrative was to discover as much as possible about its somewhat complicated publication history. To develop a textual lineage, we searched extensively for texts and historical evidence and subsequently sight collated each potentially authoritative edition against the copy-text four times. In Douglass's lifetime the Narrative was published in four English-language editions as well being translated into Dutch and French.1Levensverhaal van Fredehk Douglass, een' gewezen' slaaf (door hem zelven geschreven); Uit het Engelsch (Rotterdam: H. A. Kramers, 1846); Vie de Frederic Douglass, esclave americain. ecrite par lui-meme. traduite de I'anglais par S.-K. Parkes (Paris: Pagnerre, 1848). The foreign-language editions are irrelevant to our effort to produce a critical text and may safely be set aside. Of the four English-language editions, the first was published in Boston and the other three in Great Britain, where Douglass sold copies of the Narrative for living expenses during his 1845-47 sojourn.
The first edition (B), published in Boston by the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, entails seven essentially identical impressions printed between 1845 and 1853.2 The title pages of the impressions, with the exception of the publication year, are identical. The information on the title page of the first impression is as follows: Narrative / of the / Life / of / Frederick Douglass, / an / American Slave. / Written by Himself. / Boston / Published at the AntiSlavery Office, / No. 25 Cornhill / 1845. 87 William Lloyd Garrison probably edited it, with Douglass maintaining authorial control. B's main text of 125 pages (including an eight-page polemic against religious hypocrisy on the slavery issue that Douglass offered as an "Appendix") is fronted by a "Preface" of ten pages written by Garrison and a "Letter from Wendell Phillips, Esq.," which runs nearly four pages. The second edition, which was self-published with full authorial control and printed in Dublin by Irish abolitionist Richard D. Webb, consists of two printings, the second of which
underwent significant revision. Published in late 1845 shortly after Douglass arrived in Dublin, the original printing (Dl)3The title page of the first impression of the Dublin edition differs somewhat from the title page of the Boston edition. It arrays, the title a bit differently and contains eight lines from a poem by John Green Leaf Whittier: Narrative of the Life / of / Frederick Douglass, / an / American Slave. / Written by Himself. / What, ho!—our countrymen in chains! /The whip on women's shrinking flesh! / Our soil still reddening with the stains, / Caught from her scourging, warm and fresh! / What! mothers from their children riven1 / What! God's, own image bought, and sold! / Americans to market driven, / And barter'd, as the brute, for gold! — Whittier / Dublin: / Webb and Chapman, GT. Brunswick-Street. / 1845. contained various alterations that include the addition of a preface written by Douglass, extensive changes in spelling and punctuation, new end matter (an endorsement of the work of the American Anti-Slavery Society headed "To the Friends of the Slave" and "Critical Notices'* culled from American papers), and approximately sixty mostly minor substantive changes., The second printing (D2),4The title page of the second impression of the Dublin edition differs from the title page of the first impression (see previous note) in two conventional ways: (1) after the lines from Whittier, the words "Second Dublin. Edition" appear, and (2) the year of publication is printed as "1846." which Webb printed in February 1846, under went additional revision: more spelling and punctuation changes appeared; two paragraphs were added to the preface Douglass had written for the first printing; new end mailer was attached, (the "Critical Notices" section was enlarged, and a published Setter "refuting" some aspects of the Narrative by American A. C. C. Thompson was included with a response by Douglass); and about thirty changes in wording, most of them insignificant, were made. A third edition became necessary when Douglass hired a different printer, abolitionist and Chartist Joseph Barker, of Wortley. near Leeds, England, to replenish his supply of copies of the Narrative.5Douglass wrote Barker a letter dated 22 September (no indication of year, but undoubtedly 1846) in which he informed him that he had "just entered into an agreement'" with an engraver to have 2,500 copies of his portrait printed, 2,000 of which he would send to Barker within two weeks for use in "the forthcoming edition of my Narrative." (General Correspondence File, reel 8, frames 589-90, FD Papers, DLC). This is the only known correspondence between Douglass and Barker during the weeks before Barker's printing of the Narrative. Douglass's letter clearly implies a prior arrangement with Barker and gives the two impressions of the English edition (E1 and E2) an aura of potential authority. Unfortunately, there appears to be no evidence to help us estimate the amount and type of involvement Douglass may have had in the editing of E1. The first (E1) of two printings in this edition (the only one overseen by Barker) was published in the fall of 1846.6The title page of E1 is identical to the title pages of the two Dublin impressions with regard to the arraying of title and author information and the lines from Whittier (see notes 3 and 4). Following the Whittier lines, the E1 title page contains the following lines: Third English Edition / Wortley, near Leeds: Printed by Joseph Barker / 1846.
It should be noted that this edition was labeled by Barker the third English edition. Perhaps the best explanation is that Barker counted the two Dublin impressions as "'English editions,'" making his the third. We have found no evidence of English editions published prior to E1. The extent of Douglass's oversight of Barker's work is problematical, but in view of his lecturing schedule the scrutiny probably was
not close. Barker set the new edition from D2 but incorporated spelling, punctuation, and minor substantive alterations. The most obvious change appears in the end matter, which was expanded by thirty-two pages to include a text of a speech that Douglass had delivered in Finsbury Chapel in London on 22 May 1846. The second printing of the third edition (E2) appeared in 1847,7The title page of E2 is identical to the E1 title page (see previous note) through the "Third English Edition." line. The subsequent lines are as follows: London; / R. Yorke Clarke and Co., / Successors to Harvey and Darton, / 55, Gracechurch Street / MDCCCXLVII. probably after Douglass had embarked for the United States in April. A London printing firm, identified on the title page as R. Yorke Clarke and Co., printed the text without alteration from the plates that Barker had used. A fourth edition (L) was published in London in 1852 by the firm of "Somers & Isaac."8The title page of the last edition of the Narrative, the London edition (L), is arrayed like all of the other British editions through the Whittier lines (see note 3). The next lines are as follows: Sixth Edition / London: / Somers & Isaac, 67, Houndsditch / MDCCCLII.
This edition is identified on its title page as the sixth edition. The printer probably counted the American edition, the two impressions of the Dublin edition, and the two impressions of the English edition as five editions and so numbered his the sixth. This edition, which was set from E without correction of its obvious compositorial errors, is devoid of authority.
This overview makes it clear that only the Boston and Dublin editions possess established authority. Our attention in this introduction will be directed mainly toward the two authoritative editions, but the substantive variants in all four of the English-language editions are reported in the historical collation apparatus.
When Douglass's home in Rochester, New York, burned in 1872, his manuscripts of the Narrative as well as any printer's copies that he may have retained were lost. Lacking prepublication forms of the text, therefore, we have chosen the first edition (B) of the Narrative as the copy-text. B is the appropriate copy-text because it undoubtedly retains more of the accidentals of Douglass's lost manuscript than do the other texts over which he exercised authorial control. That B retains more of Douglass's accidentals than either Dl, D2, or E may be concluded on the general principle that each succeeding editorial processing of the work would inevitably insinuate an additional set of compositorial errors and unauthorized editorial alterations into the text. The Narrative text, as an American work passing through the hands of British editors and compositors, was particularly vulnerable to progressive corruption of its spelling and punctuation.
The case for B is strengthened by the fact that many of the changes in both accidentals and substantives in Dl and D2, and in accidentals in E (which adds no significant substantive variants to those found in D2, on which it is based), were adaptations to a literary and cultural milieu other than the one within which Douglass originally wrote. Although alterations in the authoritative British editions have been carefully considered, we have rejected those that seem incompatible with Douglass's fundamental goal of effectively presenting the story of his
slavery experience to American readers, who constituted his original and primary audience. Both our selection of B as copy-text and our decision-making about potential emendations have been significantly controlled by the position that Douglass's "authorial intent" should be interpreted to refer to his strategic approach to the American, as opposed to the British, public.
Like most autobiographers, Douglass served a complex of purposes and needs in the telling of his story. He claims to have written the Narrative, however, as a rhetorical response to a situation that threatened his antislavery career. His career was at first energized and then threatened, ironically, by northerners' response to the quickness of mind, command of language, and poise that characterized his public speaking. By mid-1844, that platform virtuosity had begun to seem to an increasing number of nonabolitionists lobe inconsistent with his claim to be a selfeducated fugitive slave. Stalwart Philadelphia abolitionist J. Miller McKim, for instance, included a note of alarm in a letter to Garrison after hearing Douglass speak in his home city on 17 August 1844. McKim noted that "many persons in the audience seemed unable to credit the statements which he gave of himself, and could not believe that he was actually a slave. How a man, only six years out of bondage, and who had never gone to school a day in his life, could speak with such eloquence—with such precision of language and power of thought—they were utterly at a loss to devise"9J. Miller McKim to William Lloyd Garrison, 18 August 1844, in Lib., 30 August 1844. When he wrote his second autobiography, My Bondage and My Freedom, in 1855, Douglass recalled that by violating the unflattering stereotype of fugitive slaves subscribed to by many northerners and by being reluctant to provide details about his twenty years in slavery, he had put himself "in a pretty fair way to be denounced as an imposter."10Frederick Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom (New York, 1855), 362.
In the fall of 1842 Douglass moved his pregnant wife, Anna, and his three children from New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he had lived since his escape from Baltimore in 1838, to Lynn, a town just north of Boston. Living in the environs of Boston, the capital of Garrisonian abolitionism, facilitated Douglass's association with Garrison and Wendell Phillips, his mentors, and provided assurance that his family would be watched after during his frequent absences from home. The most urgent motive for the move, however, probably was the sense that he needed an even safer haven as he wrote an autobiography whose publication could put at risk his freedom and his family's safety. Despite the risks involved, he could no longer avoid revealing the details of his experience in slavery, including the name that he had discarded shortly after reaching the North and the identities of his various masters.
Through the fall, winter, and early spring of 1844-45, Douglass limited his lecturing mainly to eastern Massachusetts in order to make sufficient time for his writing project. He apparently finished writing the body of the manuscript in mid-
April. He dated completion of the "Appendix" as 28 April,11Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (Boston, 1845), 125. but a comment by Wendell Phillips in the "Letter" that he contributed to the Narrative's front matter suggests that Douglass had finished the body of the manuscript at least two weeks earlier. In the letter, which he dated 22 April, Phillips emphasized that he had managed to remain ignorant of dangerous information about Douglass's past "till the other day when you read me your memoirs."12Wendell Phillips, "Letter from Wendell Phillips, Esq.," ibid., xv. The mid-April estimate also is supported by the 1 May date on the ten-page "Preface" that Garrison contributed;13William Lloyd Garrison, "Preface," ibid., xii. he must have had possession of a copy of the manuscript long enough to have assimilated it thoroughly before writing the preface. By 1 May, Garrison was probably well along in the process of editing the manuscript for publication.
In mid-May Garrison announced in the Liberator that the "long desired Narrative is now presented to the public, in a neat volume occupying 125 pages. . . . The edition is going off rapidly." Garrison included a few excerpts in his announcement and promised more in future issues in the hope that they would "serve to excite a lively desire in all quarters to possess a copy of this extraordinary volume. It is for sale at 25 Cornhill. Price 50 cents. Accompanying it is a finely executed and admirable likeness of the author."14Lib., 23 May 1845.
Garrison's appreciation for the "neatness" of the volume and the quality of Douglass's portrait probably reflects his personal involvement in the publication process. Although the nature and extent of Garrison's participation cannot be determined from the sparse documentary evidence bearing on the publication of B, it stands to reason that as the acknowledged leader of the Massachusetts AntiSlavery Society (the publisher of record), as a journal editor and expert printer, and as Douglass's discoverer and mentor, Garrison would almost certainly have taken it upon himself to see to it that the volume was carefully edited and printed. Garrison implies in his preface, however, that he (or whoever functioned as editor) took a minimalist approach to altering the manuscript. He declared that Douglass had "very properly chosen to write his own Narrative, in his own style, and according to the best of his ability, rather than to employ someone else. It is, therefore," affirmed Garrison, "entirely his own production."15Garrison, "Preface" to the Narrative, viii. Garrison referred specifically to Douglass's independence in developing the manuscript, but he would not have emphasized that it was "entirely" Douglass's own work if he or a colleague were making, or expected to make, substantive editorial alterations of any significance.
The initial impression of B did in fact "go off rapidly," as Garrison had said, and in late June a second printing, a "cheap" or paperbound version selling for
twenty-five cents, was issued.16Lib., 20 June 1845. According to Douglass, about 4,500 copies of the Narrative had been sold by the time he sailed for Great Britain on 16 August.17Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (Dublin, 1845), iii. By mid-September a third printing, bound again in paper, was "for sale at the AntiSlavery office."18Lib., 19 September 1845. As 1845 ended, a fourth printing, paperbound, was coming to market.19Ibid., .2 January 1846. Hardbound printings were issued in 1846, 1847, and 1849, and another paperbound printing appeared in 1853.
Copies of B representing the initial printing (May 1845) and the 1846, 1847, 1849. and 1853 impressions were machine collated in an effort to discover alterations in either accidentals or substantives. The collation indicates that no plate changes occurred. The variants, which consist of the loss of letters and punctuation marks, occur at the beginning or ending of lines and are concentrated at the corners of the pages. Variation of this sort is attributable to significant deterioration of the plates.20The machine collation was conducted by Professor Noel Polk, University of Southern Mississippi.
In mid-August 1845, approximately three months after the successful launching of B. Douglass, now known to be the former Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, look precaution against being captured and returned to Maryland by sailing for Great Britain in the company of James N. Buffum, a fellow Lynn abolitionist, and the Hutchinsons. a family of antisiavery singers. Only three days after disembarking in Liverpool on 27 August, Douglass and Buffum sailed across the Irish Sea to Dublin, where they were to be house guests of Richard D. Webb, a prominent abolitionist printer and journal editor who had arranged with Douglass to print line Narrative.21Douglass-to Garrison, 1 September 1845, in Lib., 26 September 1845. Because most of Douglass's income in Britain was to be derived from selling; the Narrative at his speaking engagements, revising the book for British consumption and getting it printed were the most urgent items on his agenda. He lectured in Dublin and its environs before D1 was printed, but he could not launch his lour of Ireland, Scotland, and England until copies of the new British edition were in hand.22Douglass to Garrison, 16 September 1845, in ibid., 10 October 1845; Douglass to Richard D. Webb, 20 January 1846, Anti-Slavery Collection, MB.
Webb and Douglass negotiated an agreement whereby Webb would print two thousand copies for a set price plus shipping costs. Webb invested none of his own money in the new edition and so had no financial interest in the number of copies sold, Functioning merely as printer of Dl rather than as its publisher (despite the "Dublin: Webb and Chapman, Gt. Brunswick-Street" imprint on the title page), Webb assumed little responsibility for marketing and distribution. Rather than
binding all two thousand copies at once, he agreed to bind and ship copies to Douglass as needed, and he sent copies to a few British abolitionists who volunteered to sell the book in their home communities.23Douglass to Webb, 7, 22 December 1845, 2 March, 20 April 1846, all in the Anti-Slavery Collection, MB.
Webb printed Dl in late September, less than a month after Douglass had become his house guest.24Douglass to Garrison, 29 September 1845, in Lib., 24 October 1845. He obviously set it from B, deviating from its lineation and pagination only as necessary to absorb the longer substantive alterations. Changes were made in the front and end matter and in the form and content of the main text. Garrison's "Preface" was retitled "Preface to the American Edition" so that Douglass could appropriate "Preface" as the heading for his new two-page introduction, which he inserted ahead of Garrison's piece; the diatribe against American churches for supporting slavery that had been headed "Appendix" in B was now more accurately labeled "Postscript"; a call "To the Friends of the Slave" to support the American Anti-Slavery Society, particularly by sending likely items to Boston for sale in the society's annual bazaar, was placed after the Postscript; and five eulogistic "Critical Notices" from American papers concluded the volume. The new edition contained nearly 350 changes in spelling and punctuation. A distinctively British look was given to Dl by the fifty changes from American to British spelling forms that affected about seventeen word families. "Inquiries" became "enquiries"; "labor" became "labour"; "trousers" became "trowsers"; "color" became "colour"; and "connection" became "connexion." Syntax and rhythm were significantly affected by a myriad of punctuational alterations, especially the deletion of nearly 150 commas and the insertion of 50 others.
Nearly all of the approximately sixty language changes involved only one to three words and were relatively inconsequential. Three substantive changes, however, appear to be aimed at reducing the likelihood that British readers would take offense at Douglass's pointed rebukes of religious hypocrisy. For instance, in B he had written of being "filled with unutterable loathing" when contemplating "the religious pomp and show, together with the horrible circumstances, which every where surround me," but for Dl (and retained in D2 and E) he revised the last phrase to read: "which coexist in the Slave States."25Narrative (Boston, 1845), 119; Narrative (Dublin, 1845), 119. The revision seems designed to locate the disgusting hypocrisy unambiguously in the American South or at least on the other side of the Atlantic. In a second passage in B he climaxed a description of the symbiotic relationship between slave dealers and southern preachers by exclaiming, "Here we have religion and robbery the allies of each other—devils dressed in angels' robes, and hell presenting the semblence of paradise." Although in the context "here" represents a metaphysical rather than a geographical nexus, and despite the fact that if it were geographical it could only refer to the southern
region of Douglass's native country, he sought to revise away any possible ambiguity. Instead of "Here we have religion and robbery the allies of each other—" British readers of Dl (and of D2 and E) found 'There we behold religion and robbery the allies of each other—,"26Narrative (Boston, 1845), 119; Narrative (Dublin, 1845), 119. The third alteration in this vein consisted of the excision of the last three pages from B's Appendix. In the excised material Douglass presented a fourteen-stanza poem entitled simply "A Parody" that he attributed to a northern Methodist preacher of an earlier generation who had sought to capture the true essence of southern religion and culture as he had experienced it. The first stanza suggests the flavor of the entire poem: "Come, saints and sinners, hear me tell / How pious priests whip Jack and Nell, / And women buy and children sell, / And preach all sinners down to hell, / And sing of heavenly union." Offense might be taken less to the poem itself than to the implications of Douglass's remark that the "religion of the south" (which the poem depicted "without caricature or the slightest exaggeration") was, "by communion and fellowship, the religion of the north." This line of reasoning could easily be extended to suggest that the morally contaminated religion of the United States was, by communion and fellowship, the religion of Ireland, Scotland, and England.27Narrative (Boston, 1845), 119; Narrative (Dublin, 1845), 119.
Douglass seems to have reluctantly made these alterations in Dl after prodding from Webb, who began to apply the pressure after Douglass's criticism of American churches in his early speeches in Dublin created an uproar among the Methodists and Friends.28Dublin Evening Packet, 11 September 1845, in Lib.. 17 October, 1845; Webb to Garrison, 2 October 1845, in ibid., 24 October 1845; John B. Estlin to Webb, 5 November 1845, in Clare Taylor, British and American Abolitionists: An Episode in Transatlantic Understanding (Edinburgh, 1974), 240-41. When the Friends locked Douglass out of their building, Webb, himself a former Quaker, defended him in a public letter (cosigned by his brother Thomas) in which he charged some among the Friends with being unable to bear "any thing in the slightest degree insinuating that [they] have not done their duty in the Anti-Slavery cause." Webb explicitly supported Douglass's criticism of British and American churches,29Richard D. Webb and James Webb, 'To the Members of the Society of Friends in Dublin," 17 September 1845, in Lib., 24 October 1845. but he apparently urged Douglass in private to use less acerbic language in discussing the issue. Webb, in what he euphemistically referred to as "one or two cautionary hints as to his demeanour," probably suggested that Douglass's sarcastic attacks were gratuitous in Dublin and offensive to the sensibilities of Irish Christians.30Ibid. Also see John B. Estlin to Webb, 5, 13 November 1845, in ibid., 240-42.
Living under the same roof during the monthlong development of Dl gave Douglass and Webb an unusual opportunity to collaborate, but we know little of it except for their mutual dislike. Webb consistently praised Douglass in the letters he
wrote to Garrison for publication in the Liberator, but in private correspondence Webb characterized Douglass as insufferably vain, self-serving, and hypersensitive to criticism, albeit unusually effective on the platform.31Webb to Maria Weston Chapman, 16 November 1845, Webb to Edmund Quincy, 2 February 1846, Webb to Maria Weston Chapman, 26 February, 16 May 1846, all in Taylor, British and American Abolitionists, 183, 249-50, 253-54, 259-60. The letters that Douglass wrote to Webb after leaving Dublin in early October have, in turn, an air of irritation about them. Douglass's letters, both in tone and in content, provide important insights into his collaboration with Webb on D2 that are also generally applicable to their work on Dl. (Unfortunately, we are bereft of the letters written by Webb to Douglass.)
Douglass's correspondence to Webb reveals that while he weighed and sometimes accepted Webb's advice, he managed the project and made the final decisions. Douglass intensely disliked the first portrait prepared for D2 despite Webb's contrary opinion and insisted with considerable feeling on having a second one made.32Douglass to Webb, (n.d., probably mid-January) 1846, Anti-Slavery Collection, MB. He approved Webb's proposal that slightly shorter pages be used in D2, but he made his approval contingent: if the change threatened to affect the printing schedule adversely, Webb was to "get it out in the old form," which he did. In the same letter, written from Perth, Scotland, on 20 January 1846, Douglass chided Webb for not sending the three hundred copies of Dl that he had ordered the previous week, reminding him that he was "dependent on it for all my support in this country." Piqued at occasionally having to do without copies to sell at his meetings, Douglass prescribed a solution: "When the next edition is published, I w ish you to have it bound up at once, so that I may not have to wait, as I have had to do for the last edition."33Douglass to Webb, 20 January 1846, Anti-Slavery Collection, MB. Not altogether satisfied with the quality of the paper Webb had used for the first impression, Douglass instructed him to use paper at least as good and if possible better for D2. When Webb questioned the inclusion of testimonial letters written by two Belfast clergymen, Douglass asserted his authority, insisting curtly that the letters be inserted in D2, and, if possible, in the thousand remaining unbound copies of Dl. He even charged Webb with demonstrating "the spirit of bigotry and sectarianism, in his opposition to the letters."34Douglass to Webb, 24 December 1845, Douglass to Webb, [n.d., probably mid-January] 1846, Anti-Slavery Collection, MB.
The most important line in the Douglass-to-Webb correspondence occurs in a letter written in Glasgow in mid-January 1846, about a month before Webb would print D2. Douglass began the letter with a tantalizingly brief passage that apparently confirmed his willingness to hear Webb's advice regarding the text of the Narrative as well as suggestions regarding the portrait, paper, testimonial letters, and the like. After acknowledging receipt of "the Books" and "your letter of the 10th. ultimo," Douglass informed Webb that "I have adopted your advice as to how
I might correct and amend the narrative."35Douglass to Webb, |n.d., probably mid-January) 1846, Anti-Slavery Collection, MB. Lacking Webb's letter, we can only infer from internal evidence what he advised, but it is noteworthy that Douglass labeled the proposed changes as "corrections" and "amendments." To Douglass in this context "correcting" the Narrative probably meant ridding the text of mistakes in either form or content, and "amending" likely referred to making additional changes that promised to enhance the effectiveness of the book in the British environment.
Douglass and Webb made more than fifty changes in punctuation and spelling, most of them probably in their "corrections" category. The changes in accidentals are largely routine, but one set of spelling alterations is intriguing: in four instances D2 changed DTs "colour" back to B's "color," and in each context Douglass used the word to refer to race. In each of the three other spelling changes in D2 in which the issue was American versus British form, the predictable direction of change is American to British. We will not attempt to explicate a rationale for the "colour"to-"color" anomaly, but three inferences seem warranted: (1) the four changes, which violate an established pattern of alteration, were deliberate corrections; (2) Douglass, rather than Webb or an Irish compositor, made the changes; and (3) Douglass apparently scrutinized and controlled all aspects of the publication of D1 and D2 (as he must have also of B).
On the "amending" side, Douglass added two paragraphs to the preface that he had written for Dl and retitled it "Preface to the Second Dublin Edition." In the second of the paragraphs, Douglass urged readers to attend to a new "Appendix" (the original appendix was now more appropriately headed "Postscript," as it also had been in Dl), which reprinted, along with Douglass's response, a published attack on the reliability of the Narrative by an American named A. C. C. Thompson. Douglass also doubled the number of eulogistic reviews of the Narrative in the "Critical Notices" section of the end matter, adding six British reviews to the five from American publications that had appeared in Dl, including the two letters from Belfast ministers that Webb had discouraged. Douglass also revised the text of the Narrative, making upward of thirty substantive changes. Only four of these changes involve more than three words, ranging in length from the addition of an eight-word phrase to the reworking of a passage of several sentences. Two of the longer alterations might have resulted from Webb's advice: one limits alleged lawlessness to "the bounds of the slave states,"36Narrative(Boston, 1845), 96. and the other appears to recast a sexual reference to make it more palatable to British taste.37Ibid., 62-63.
In the latter half of February 1846, after the sometimes contentious give-and take reflected in Douglass's letters, Webb printed D2 in a run of two thousand
copies.38Webb to Maria Weston Chapman, 26 February 1846, in Taylor, British and American Abolitionists, 253-54. After Douglass received his first batch of the new printing he managed a mild compliment, writing to Webb, "I have received the books—and am pleased
with them."39Douglass to Webb, 29 March 1846, Anti-Slavery Collection, MB. Dl and D2 possess obvious authority, but evidence supporting El and E2 is scanty and support for L probably does not exist. D's substantive variants, therefore, have been adopted where no compelling reason for rejection was discovered. Some of the adopted variants are indifferent, whereas others correct compositorial errors and other kinds of mistakes and Haws, improve readability, and increase the precision, accuracy, or clarity of the diction. A significant minority of the variants in D1 and D2, however, have been rejected for a variety of reasons: (1) some adapt the text to the British audience and away from the primary American context; (2) some are distinctly inferior to the copy-text readings; and (3) some that would otherwise have been adopted were essentially refused by Douglass in the process of writing My Bondage and My Freedom, his second autobiography, in 1855.
Although Bondage and Freedom (published only two years after the last printing of B) is not a mere expansion of the Narrative, it contains many passages drawn from it, some unaltered or nearly so and others revised to some extent. Because the two autobiographies are, indeed, separate though related works, we have not emended B simply to incorporate alterations that appear in correlative passages. Rather, we compared substantive alterations in Dl and D2 with correlative passages in Bondage and Freedom in order to analyze the decisions Douglass made when once again presenting his story to American readers. Where Douglass chose to substitute a Dublin-edition variant for a reading in B in a correlative passage in Bondage and Freedom, he definitively confirmed, in our view, his preference for the variant. Where he chose to include the reading in B or to freshly revise the B reading, the Dublin-edition variant is considered to have been rejected by Douglass himself.
William Lloyd Garrison noted in his "Preface" to the Narrative that Douglass had "chosen to write his own Narrative, in his own style, and according to the best of his ability, rather than to employ some one else." Our hope is that this edition restores the Narrative to a state that approximates as closely as possible what Douglass envisioned for it.