Francis Barry to Frederick Douglass, March 17, 1854
LETTER FROM FRANCIS BARRY.
BERLIN, Erie Co., Ohio.
BRO. DOUGLASS:—I have read your arti-
cle in relation to Lucy Stone, and her course
at Musical Fund Hall, and also Charles L.
Reason's letter on the same subject. I heart-
ily endorse every word, both of the article and
the letter. Having thus unqualifiedly en-
dorsed your doctrine, allow me to say a few
words in regard to its application. For you are
aware that you do not merely contend for cer-
tain action in certain cases, but that you assert
a principle, that demands application through-
out the whole sphere of our activities. First,
let me say that the man or woman cannot
be found who does make such application of
it; and for this simple reason, there are
none so infallible, so supremely wise and
good, so discerning and so just, as to recog-
nize and honor all their obligaitons. One
man is awake to one truth, and one set of
obligations, and another to another.
Now, what is the principle, upon which
your whole argument is based? Manifest-
ly this—that one truth must not be sacrificed
for the benefit of another. TRUTH IS ONE.
This great fact, this sublime and supremely
important truth, most reformers (to say
nothing of the "rest of mankind") have
yet to learn. Lucy Stone lost sight of it,
when she consented to speak in a hall from
which colored people had been
excluded.—She thought to build up one truth, while
another, by her permission, was being tram-
pled in the dust. Vain thought!
"But suppose ye that," Lucy Stone "is a
sinner above other" reformers? "I tell you
nay." Did you, my brother, ever take part
in a meeting or convention, in which one class
of community (the class who do not usually
dress in "male costume") were not expect-
ed to take part, from whose committees
&c., they were carefully excluded? Did you
ever speak in a church, on any subject, from
which any other person wishing to speak on
another subject would be excluded? I
take it for granted that it is so no worse to
shut a man out of your house, than to admit
him and then thrust a gag in his mouth!
I presume you frequently lecture on anti-
slavery in houses that would be closed against
an avowed Infidel or Spiritualist. I do not
know that you would do any of these things
but if you would not, you are more consis-
tent than a great many other very good men.