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Cosmopolite to Frederick Douglass, March 3, 1855


F.D.P. 16 March, 1855 p.1 c.2-3

Colorphobia is fast abating in our Island
City, as a brief account of the doings of the
present week will show.

On Monday evening, C. W. Elliott, Esq.,
delivered a lecture before the New York Li-
brary Association, in the hall of the Mercan-
tile Library, late Astor Place Opera House,
on the life and character of Toussaint
L'Overture, the black hero of St. Domingo.
The lecture was a masterly production, evinc-
ing much care and laborious study. A small
but intelligent audience listened attentively
to the thrilling account of the perils and vi-
cissitudes of the noble negro. His rise from
slavery, to lead the armies and rule the coun-
cils of the black Republic—his patriotism,
his devotion to his country, his abnegation of
even paternal ties, his abduction, his exile
and melancholy death, were all truthfully
portrayed, bringing into striking constrast the
virtues and heroism of the brave black with
the treachery and cruelty of Abbott's idol,
the monster Napoleon.

The feature of the evening, however, was
the audience—small but intelligent and an
equal admixture of black and white. Side
by side sat they—no shrinking of the aris-
tocratic white lady from companionship with
the black one. The white philanthropist,
Peter Cooper, sought an introduction to the
black savan, Dr. J. W. C. Pennington

Tuesday evening the concluding lecture of
the anti-slavery course was delivered by that
devoted friend of the slave Wm. Lloyd Gar-
rison; and here was another mingling of the
races, Saxon and African in close proximity.
A large audience honored the man and the
occasion; and frequent bursts of applause
testified their appreciation of the scathing
review which the orator gave of Gen. Sam.
Houston's slavery speech in Boston. He
struck down the famous Indio-Anglo Saxon
President hunter with his own tomahawk,
and tore the scalp from his head with his own
knife. However much I may differ with Mr.
Garrison on certain points, which I do most
widely, I will ever honor him for his persist-
ent advocacy of universal, unconditional

Wednesday evening I went to the new
Opera House, Academy of Music, Irving
Place. La Favorita was the Opera—Vestuali,
Lovini and Bachali the principal performers.
There is not much prejudice against color
among the upper Ten. Colorphobia is on
the move "above Bleecker." The Academy
of music is the resort of wealth and fashion
—the aristocratic place of amusement—but
here Democracy prevails: no "negro pew,"
no place for "respectable persons of color;"
the black amateur of music takes his seat
beside the white professor of la belle science.
The limits of my purse and modesty took
me into the amphitheatre or gallery, but I saw
a colored gentleman seated in the boxes.

Thursday evening the Black Swan (Miss
E. T. Greenfield) gave a concert at the Tab-
ernacle, assisted by a colored gentleman of
rare musical abilities. From his appearance,
I should suppose he was an Africo-American,
but he is called, for effect, Indian Mario.—
The concert was well attended, and the ar-
tists gave unbounded satisfaction. Here al-
so the prevailing feature was a mixing up of


F.D.P. 16 March, 1855 p.1 c. 2-3

colors—ebony and topaz in equal propor-
tions. The audience was composed of the
elite of both classes; and our ladies vied with
their fairer neighbors—if not in richness of
attire, at least in neatness of apparel, cor-
rectness of deportment and personal attrac-

Friday, Anthony Burns arrived in this city
in company with Rev. Mr. Grimes, of Bos-
ton, who went to Baltimore to purchase
Burns, for whose freedom he paid $1,300.—
A meeting was held that evening in Dr. Pen-
nington's Church, to congratulate Burns on
his restoration to liberty. Mr. Burns gave a
succinct account of his escape from slavery,
his re-capture in Boston, his return to Vir-
ginia, his imprisonment and suffering in Nor-
folk and Richmond, his sale to Mr. McDon-
ald of North Carolina, and his final redemp-
tion through the instrumentality of Mr.
Grimes. In consequence of sufficient notice
not having been given, the audience was
small, probably not over one hundred per-
sons; but here, too, was a beautiful illustra-
tion of my proposition, that colorphobia is
abating; although in a colored church, and
the object of the meeting more particularly
interesting to colored people, the audience
consisted of as many white persons as col-

Saturday evening the Black Swan gave an-
other concert at the Tabernacle. The audi-
ence was larger, and the diversity of colors
as great as at her first concert.

Miss Greenfield is truly a wonderful sing-
er; she possess a flexibility of voice un-
equalled in the musical world, compassing, it
is said, thirty-one clear notes. The Swan
has no particular forte, but her singing
embraces all styles of music. She sings with
equal facility the simple Ballad and the sci-
entific Bravura; the Sacred Anthems of
Handel and the elaborate Cantatas of Bellini
are given by her with like sweetness and
power. Her range of voice includes Bass,
Baritone, Tenor, Contralto and Soprano.—
She was repeatedly encored. Indian Mario
also acquitted himself admirably. He sings
with much sweetness and feeling, but is, evi-
dently, unaccustomed to public singing; his
voice is a rich, full tenor, not powerful, but
very melodious. He was encored in a Solo
from the Crown Diamonds, and gave us in-
stead a beautiful gem from Fry's Leonora.

Thus, you see, art knows no distinction of
color, science recognizes no prejudice, edu-
cation and wealth are the ladders by which
we must rise, the weapons with which we
can assail and conquer the demons, slavery
and prejudice.

NEW YORK, March 3, '55




March 3, 1855


Cosmopolite to Frederick Douglass. PLSr: Frederick DouglassP, 16 March 1855. Comments on lectures before the New York Library Association by C. W. Elliott and William Lloyd Garrison.


This document was calendared in the published volume and has not been published in full before.


Frederick Douglass' Paper (Rochester, N.Y.) 1851-18??



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