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Frederick Douglass Harriet Beecher Stowe, March 8, 1853

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FREDERICK DOUGLASS TO HARRIET BEECHER STOWE*Harriet Elizabeth Beecher Stowe (1811-96), the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) and a member of the outspoken Beecher family, began writing early in life and pioneered the use of slang and regional dialects in her works. Although Uncle Tom’s Cabin remains the most famous of Stowe’s writings, she published a number of novels that were widely read in the nineteenth century, including a second novel on slavery, Dred (1855). Stowe never spoke publicly on behalf of abolition, but her name was one of those most closely associated with the cause because of the overwhelming international popularity of these novels. She and Douglass continued to correspond after this letter, meeting for the first time in 1853. Although he criticized her for advocating colonization and for failing to donate proceeds from Uncle Tom’s Cabin to the antislavery cause, to which she responded with a less than enlightened attitude, she defended him against Garrison. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Life of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Compiled from her Letters and Journals by her Son, Charles Edward Stowe, ed. Charles Edward Stowe (Boston, 1890); idem, Life and Letters of Harriet Beecher Stowe, ed. Annie Fields (Boston, 1897); Catherine Gilbertson, Harriet Beecher Stowe (New York, 1937); Joan D. Hedrick, Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Life (New York, 1994); Forrest Wilson, Crusader in Crinoline: The Life of Harriet Beecher Stowe (New York, 1941).

Rochester, [N.Y.] 8 March 1853.

MRS. H. B. STOWE.

MY DEAR MRS. STOWE:—
You kindly informed me, when at your house, a fortnight ago,2Douglass reported on his visit to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s home in Andover, Massachusetts, sometime in February 1853, in an editorial entitled, “A Day and a Night in ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’,” FDP, 4 March 1853; Robert S. Levine, Martin Delany, Frederick Douglass, and the Politics of Representative Identity (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1997), 77-78. that you
designed to do something which should permanently contribute to the
improvement and elevation of the free colored people in the United States.
You especially expressed an interest in such of this class as had become
free by their own exertions, and desired most of all to be of service to
them. In what manner, and by what means, you can assist this class most
successfully, is the subject upon which you have done me the honor to ask
my opinion.

Begging you to excuse the unavoidable delay,3In a different editorial on 4 March 1853, Douglass reported that he had been traveling for the past six weeks throughout central and eastern New York with the black abolitionists Stephen Myers, James Wesley Loguen, and Solomon Northrup. FDP, 4 March 1853.
I will now most gladly
comply with your request, but before doing so, I desire to express, dear
Madam, my deep sense of the value of the services which you have al-
ready rendered my afflicted and persecuted people, by the publication of
your inimitable book on the subject of slavery.4Harriet Beecher Stowe began writing the first installments of what was to become Uncle Tom’s Cabin in March 1851. The fictionalized account of slavery and the Underground Railroad was initially serialized in the Washington (D.C.) National Era from June 1851 through April 1852. Appearing in book form the next year as Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life among the Lowly, the novel quickly achieved international success. About three hundred thousand copies were sold in America during the first year, and English sales ultimately exceeded one and a half million. Uncle Tom’s Cabin was the first American novel to sell more than a million copies. Its success generated further interest in the antislavery movement in the North, while it deepened alienation in the South. Many blacks and abolitionists qualified their praise for the book because of their disapproval of Stowe’s advocacy of colonization. Claire Parfait, The Publishing History of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” 1852-2002 (Aldershot, Hampshire, Eng., 2007), 67-89, 203-06; Marie Caskey, Chariot of Fire: Religion and the Beecher Family (New Haven, Conn., 1978), 3-33, 169-207; Wilson, Crusader in Crinoline, 283-98. That contribution to our
bleeding cause, alone, involves us in a debt of gratitude which cannot
be measured; and your resolution to make other exertions on our behalf
excites in me emotions and sentiments, which I scarcely need try to give
forth in words. Suffice it to say, that I believe you have the blessings of

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your enslaved countrymen and countrywomen; and the still higher reward
which comes to the soul in the smiles of our merciful Heavenly father,
whose ear is ever open to the cries of the oppressed.

With such sentiments, dear Madam, I will at once proceed to lay be-
fore you, in as few words as the nature of the case will allow, my humble
views in the premises. First of all, let me briefly state the nature of the
disease, before I undertake to prescribe the remedy. Three things are no-
toriously true of us, as a people. These are POVERTY, IGNORANCE and DEG-
RADATION. Of course there are exceptions to this general statement: but
these are so few as only to prove its essential truthfulness. I shall not stop
here to inquire minutely into the causes. It is enough that we shall agree
upon the character of the evil, whose existence we deplore, and upon some
plan for its removal.

I assert, then, that poverty, ignorance and degradation are the combined evils; or, in other words, these constitute the social disease of the
free colored people in the United States.

To deliver them from this triple malady, is to improve and elevate
them, by which I mean simply to put them on an equal footing with their
white fellow-countrymen in the sacred right to “Life, Liberty and the pur-
suit of happiness.”5Douglass refers to the Declaration of Independence, but the phrase “pursuit of happiness” dates back to John Locke’s An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1693). John Locke, The Philosophical Works of John Locke, ed. J. A. St. John, 2 vols. (London, 1894), 2:391-93. I am for no fancied or artificial elevation, but only ask
fair play.—How shall this be obtained? I answer, first, not by establishing
for our use high schools and colleges. Such institutions are, in my judg-
ment, beyond our immediate occasions, and are not adapted to our present
most pressing wants. High schools and colleges are excellent institutions,
and will, in due season, be greatly subservient to our progress; but they
are the result, as well as they are the demand of a point of progress, which
we, as a people, have not yet attained. Accustomed, as we have been, to
the rougher and harder modes of living, and of gaining a livelihood, we
cannot, and we ought not to hope that, in a single leap from our low con-
dition, we can reach that of Ministers, Lawyers, Doctors, Editors, Mer-
chants
, &c. These will, doubtless, be attained by us; but this will only be,
when we have patiently and laboriously, and I may add, successfully mas-
tered and passed through the intermediate gradations of agriculture and
the mechanic arts. Besides, there are (and perhaps this is a better reason
for my view of the case) numerous institutions of learning in this country,
already thrown open to colored youth. To my thinking, there are quite as
many facilities now afforded to the colored people,6Most Northern public and private schools in the 1850s either excluded black students or segregated them in inferior facilities; however, a small but growing number of entrepreneurial schools for African Americans had been founded to compensate for this shortage of educational opportunities. Beginning with Alexander Twilight at Middlebury College in 1823, a few African Americans attended and even received degrees from Northern colleges. Leonard P. Curry, The Free Black in Urban America, 1800—1850 (Chicago, 1981), 147-73. as they can spare the
time, from the sterner duties of life, to avail themselves of. In their present condition of poverty, they cannot spare their sons and daughters two

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or three years at boarding schools or colleges, to say nothing of finding
the means to sustain them while at such institutions. I take it, therefore,
that we are well provided for in this respect; and that it may be fairly in-
ferred from the past that the facilities for our education, so far as schools
and colleges in the Free States are concerned, will increase quite in pro-
portion with our future wants. Colleges have been open to colored youth
in this country during the last dozen years. Yet few, comparatively, have
acquired a classical education; and even this few have found themselves
educated far above a living condition, there being no methods by which
they could turn their learning to account. Several of this latter class have
entered the ministry, but you need not be told that an educated people is
needed to sustain an educated ministry;—There must be a certain amount
of cultivation among the people to sustain such a ministry. At present,
we have not that cultivation amongst us; and therefore, we value, in the
preacher, strong lungs, rather than high learning. I do not say that edu-
cated ministers are not needed amongst us. Far from it! I wish there were
more of them; but to increase their number is not the largest benefit you
can bestow upon us.

You, dear Madam, can help the masses.—You can do something for
the thousands; and by lifting these from the depths of poverty and igno-
rance, you can make an educated ministry and an educated class possible.
In the present circumstances, prejudice is a bar to the educated black min-
ister among the whites; and ignorance is a bar to him among the blacks.

We have now two or three colored lawyers in this country;7A small number of blacks had been admitted to the bar in the United States by the time of Douglass’s 1853 letter to Harriet Beecher Stowe. Douglass was likely aware of Macon Bolling Allen, the first black lawyer in the United States, who was admitted to the state bar of Maine in 1844 and moved the next year to Boston, Massachusetts, to practice law in Suffolk County. Robert Morris, mentioned in Frederick Douglass’ Paper, was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1847 and worked for thirty-five years as a lawyer in Suffolk County, where he became well known as a representative for local blacks and Irish immigrants. Douglass was also familiar with John Mercer Langston. The son of a white slaveholding planter and an emancipated black—Native American, Langston entered the state bar of Ohio in 1854 and spent much of his life advocating for civil rights, most notably during Reconstruction. Two other black attorneys, Jonathan Jasper Wright and Edward Garrison Draper, practiced law before the Civil War. Wright, who studied law before the Civil War in Montrose, Pennsylvania, was not officially admitted to the state’s bar until 1865, primarily because of racial prejudice. Draper worked as a teacher in Baltimore before being admitted to the Maryland bar in 1857, albeit with the understanding that he would practice law only in Liberia. New York Emancipator, 17 May 1838; Lib., 9 May 1845; FDP, 13 May 1852; J. Clay Smith, Jr., Emancipation: The Making of the Black Lawyer, 1844-1944 (Philadelphia, 1993), 152-53, 163-64, 407-09; Walter J. Leonard, “The Development of the Black Bar,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 407:134—43 (May 1973); ANB, 1:335-36; 13:164-66; 15:913-14; 24:34-35. and I
rejoice in the fact; for it affords very gratifying evidence of our progress.
Yet it must be confessed that, in point of success, our lawyers are as great
failures as are our ministers. White people will not employ them to the
obvious embarrassment of their causes, and the blacks, taking their cue
from the whites, have not sufficient confidence in their abilities to employ
them. Hence, educated colored men, among the colored people, are at
a very great discount. It would seem that education and emigration go
together with us; for as soon as a man rises amongst us, capable, by his
genius and learning, to us great service, just so soon as he finds that he can
serve himself better by going elsewhere. In proof of this, I might instance
the Russwurms8John Brown Russwurm (1799-1851) was the coeditor of Freedom’s Journal, the first black-owned, black-operated newspaper in the United States. After graduating in 1826 from Bowdoin College in Maine, he met Samuel Cornish and began Freedom’s Journal. In his native New York City, Russwurm was highly regarded within his community. While working as coeditor, he taught at a free evening school in New York City. Believing that blacks should take the lead in uplifting their own people, Russwurm saw colonization in Liberia as the best option for blacks to improve their status. In 1829 he left the Freedom’s Journal and migrated to the colony of Liberia. Frankie Hutton, Early Black Press in America, 1827 to 1860 (Westport, Conn., 1993), 4-7, 123-24; ANB, 19:117-18.—the Garnetts9Born a slave in Kent County, Maryland, Henry Highland Garnet (1815-82) fled north with his parents in 1824. He attended the African Free School in New York City, the Noyes Academy in Canaan, New Hampshire, and the Oneida Institute in Whitesboro, New York. Garnet was one of the founders of the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society and a stump speaker for the Liberty party. Licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Troy in 1842, Garnet went to Jamaica in 1852 as a missionary of the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland. An early proponent of black immigration to Africa and founder of the African Civilization Society, Garnet, in his appeal sanctioning slave uprisings before a National Negro Convention in Buffalo, New York, in August 1843, praised Madison Washington. After the Civil War, Garnet was president of Avery College in Pittsburgh and U.S. minister to Liberia (1881-82). Joel Schor, Henry Highland Garnet: A Voice of Black Radicalism in the Nineteenth Century (Westport, Conn., 1977); Dorothy Sterling, ed., Speak Out in Thunder Tones: Letters and Other Writings by Black Northerners, 1787-1865 (1973; New York, 1998), 376; Quarles, Black Abolitionists, 68, 185, 216-17, 226-27; ANB, 8:735-36.
—the Wards10Samuel Ringgold Ward.—the Crummells11Raised and educated in New York, Alexander Crummell (1819-98) became an Episcopal
priest, an active member of the American Anti-Slavery Society, and a contributor to the Colored American. He believed that black people should develop and support separate organizations that focused on the specific interests of African Americans. Although Crummell opposed the American Colonization Society, for which Douglass praised him, he later supported black immigration to Africa after spending twenty years in Liberia, 1850-70. He and Douglass differed on some issues, including what type of education was most useful for black people, the importance of racial difference, and the legacy of slavery in the years after the Civil War. William H. Ferris, Alexander Crummell: An Apostle of Negro Culture (1920; New York, 1969); Wilson Jeremiah Moses, Alexander Crummell: A Study of Civilization and Discontent (New York, 1989); Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston, eds., Dictionary of American Negro Biography (New York, 1982), 145-47; ANB, 5:820-22.
and others—all men of superior ability and attainments, and capable of removing mountains of prejudice against their race, by their simple presence in this country; but these gentlemen, finding themselves embarrassed here by the peculiar disadvantages to which I have referred—disadvantages in

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part growing out of their education—being repelled by ignorance on the
one hand, and prejudice on the other, and having no taste to continue a
contest against such odds, they have sought more congenial climes, where
they can live more peaceable and quiet lives. I regret their election—but I
cannot blame them; for, with an equal amount of education, and the hard
lot which was theirs, I might follow their example.

But, again, it has been said that the colored people must become
farmers—that they must go on the land, in order to their elevation. Hence,
many benevolent people are contributing the necessary funds to purchase
land in Canada,12Fugitive slaves from the United States began to settle in Upper Canada in the early 1820s. There they formed their own communities, including Amherstburg, Ontario, and Wilberforce. Although not restricted legally, the fugitives were not welcomed by most white Canadians. In the 1840s, the situation of the Canadian black communities worsened. Many fugitives fled to Canada West, greatly increasing the black population there and intensifying the negative reaction of whites. Black settlements such as Dawn, patterned on the Wilberforce settlement, struggled financially to survive. Black settlers in Dawn and other communities faced inflated land prices, mismanagement, and economic distress. Jason H. Silverman, Unwelcome Guests: Canada West’s Response to American Fugitive Slaves, 1800—1865 (Millwood, N.Y., 1985), 21-22, 53-64; Pease and Pease, Black Utopia, 63-70.
and elsewhere, for them.—The prince of good men,
Gerrit Smith, has given away thousands of acres to colored men in this
State, thinking, doubtless, that in so doing he was conferring a blessing
upon them.13In 1847 Gerrit Smith donated 140,000 acres of land in upstate New York to be granted in parcels to three thousand African American citizens of New York. Spread between Franklin and Essex counties, the parcels consisted of marginal farmland, but offered an opportunity for independence that many eagerly embraced. Smith’s generosity was lauded at black conventions across the region. NS, 3 December 1847, 7 January, 18, 25 February 1848, 12 January 1849.
Now, while I do not undervalue the efforts which have been
made, and are still being made in this direction, yet I must say that I have
far less confidence in such efforts, than I have in the benevolence which
prompts them. Agricultural pursuits are not, as I think, suited to our con-
dition. The reason of this is not to be found so much in the occupation,
(for it is a noble and enobling one,) as in the people themselves. That is
only a remedy, which can be applied to the case; and the difficulty in the
agricultural pursuits as a remedy for the evils of poverty and ignorance
amongst us, is that it cannot, for various reasons, be applied.

We cannot apply it, because it is almost impossible to get colored men
to go on the land. From some cause or other, (perhaps the adage that mis-
ery loves company14English use of the proverb “misery loves company” began around 1349, but the phrase is also attributed to ancient writers such as Sophocles (around 408 B.C.E.). Christine Ammer, The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms (New York, 1997), 422. will explain,) colored people will congregate in the
large towns and cities; and they will endure any amount of hardship and
privation rather than separate and go into the country. Again, very few
have the means to set up for themselves, or to get where they could do so.

Another consideration against expending energy in this direction is
our want of self- reliance. Slavery, more than all things else, robs its vic-
tims of self-reliance. To go into the western wilderness, and there to lay
the foundation of future society, requires more of that important quality
than a life of slavery has left us. This may sound strange to you, coming,
as it does, from a colored man; but I am dealing with facts; and those never
accommodate themselves to the feelings or wishes of any. They don’t ask,
but take leave to be. It is a fact then, and not less so because I wish it were
otherwise, that the colored people are wanting in self-reliance—too fond
of society—too eager for immediate results—and too little skilled in me-
chanics or husbandry to attempt to overcome the wilderness; at least, until
they have overcome obstacles less formidable.—Therefore I look to other

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means than agricultural pursuits for the elevation and improvement of
colored people. Of course, I allege this of the many. There are exceptions.
Individuals amongst us, with commendable zeal, industry, perseverance
and self reliance, have found, and are finding, in agricultural pursuits, the
means of supporting, improving and educating their families.

The plan which I contemplate will, (if carried into effect,) greatly
increase the number of this class—since it will prepare others to meet the
rugged duties which a pioneer agricultural condition must impose upon
all who take it upon them. What I propose is intended simply to prepare
men for the work of getting an honest living—not out of dishonest men—
but out of an honest earth.

Again, there is little reason to hope that any considerable number of
the free colored people will ever be induced to leave this country, even
if such a thing were desirable. The black man, (un-like the Indian,) loves
civilization. He does not make very great progress in civilization himself,
but he likes to be in the midst of it, and prefers to share its most galling
evils, to encountering barbarism. Then the love of the country—the dread
of isolation—the lack of adventurous spirit—and the thought of seeming
to desert their “brethren in bonds,” are a powerful and perpetual check
upon all schemes of colonization, which look to the removal of the col-
ored people, without the slaves. The truth is, dear Madam, we are here,
and here we are likely to remain. Individuals emigrate—nations never.
We have grown up with this Republic; and I see nothing in our character,
or even in the character of the American people, as yet, which compels
the belief that we must leave the United States. If, then, we are to remain
here, the question for the wise and good is precisely that you have sub-
mitted to me—and that which I fear I have been, perhaps, too slow in
answering—namely, what can be done to improve the condition of the
free colored people of the United States? The plan which I humbly submit
in answer to this inquiry, (and in the hope that it may find favor with you,
dear Madam, and with the many friends of humanity who honor, love, and
co-operate with you,) is the establishment in Rochester, N. Y.—or in some
other part of the United States, equally favorable to such an enterprise—
of an INDUSTRIAL COLLEGE, in which shall be taught several important
branches of the mechanic arts. This college to be open to colored youth.
I will pass over, for the present, the details of such an institution as that I
propose. It is not worth while that I should dwell upon these at all. Once
convinced that something of the sort is needed, and the organizing power
will be forthcoming. It is the peculiarity of your favored race that they

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can always do what they think necessary to be done. I can safely trust all
details to yourself, and to the wise and good people whom you represent
in the interest you take in my oppressed fellow-countrymen.

Never having myself had a day’s schooling all my life, I may not be
expected to be able to map out the details of a plan so comprehensive as
that involved in the idea of a college. I repeat then, I leave the organization
and administration to the superior wisdom of yourself and the friends that
second your noble efforts. The argument in favor of an Industrial Col-
lege, (a college to be conducted by the best men, and the best workmen,
which the mechanic arts can afford—a College where colored youth can
be instructed to use their hands, as well as their heads—where they can
be put in possession of the means of getting a living—whether their lot
in after life may be cast among civilized or uncivilized men—whether
they choose to stay here, or prefer to return to the land of their fathers,) is
briefly this—prejudice against the free colored people in the United States
has shown itself nowhere so invincible as among mechanics. The farmer
and the professional man cherish no feeling so bitter as that cherished
by these. The latter would starve us out of the country entirely. At this
moment, I can more easily get my son15Douglass had three sons, Lewis Henry Douglass (1840-1908), Frederick Douglass, Jr. 1842—92), and Charles Remond Douglass (1844-1920). Lewis was born in New Bedford, and his brothers in Lynn. All three attended school in Rochester, where they also worked in their father’s newspaper office. During the Civil War, Lewis and Charles enlisted in the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry, rising to the rank of sergeant. Lewis and Frederick Jr., eventually became printers, although they suffered racial discrimination. Indeed, Lewis was able to find employment at the Government Printing Office only through his father’s connections. Frederick Jr. became an editor and writer. Charles, named for Charles Lenox Remond, worked for the federal government as a clerk in the Freedmen’s Bureau and in the Treasury Department, and as consul in Santo Domingo. NASS, 22 May 1869; Rochester Union and Advertiser, 6 August 1869; Rochester Democrat and American, 5 November 1870; Detroit Plaindealer, 12 August 1892; William S. McFeely, Frederick Douglass (New York, 1991), 81, 97, 103, 230, 235, 239, 248-49, 257-58, 271-72, 306, 342, 372. into a lawyer’s office, to study
law, than I can into a blacksmith’s shop, to blow the bellows, and to wield
the sledgehammer. Denied the means of learning useful trades, we are
pressed into the narrowest limits to obtain a livelihood. In times past we
have been the hewers of wood and the drawers of water16Josh. 9:21. for American
society, and we once enjoyed a monopoly in menial employments, but this
is so no longer—even these employments are rapidly passing away out of
our hands. The fact is, (every day begins with the lesson, and ends with
the lesson,) that colored men must learn trades—must find new employ-
ments, new modes of usefulness to society—or that they must decay un-
der the pressing wants to which their condition is rapidly bringing them.

We must become mechanics—we must build, as well as live in
houses—we must make, as well as use furniture—we must construct
bridges, as well as pass over them—before we can properly live, or be re-
spected by our fellow men. We need mechanics, as well as ministers. We
need workers in iron[,] wood, clay, and in leather. We have orators, authors
and other professio[illegible] [illegible]; but these reach only a certain [il-
legible] [illegible] get respect for our race in certain select ways. To live
here as we ought, we must fasten ourselves to our countrymen through
their every day and cardinal wants. We must not only be able to black
boots, but to make them. At present, we are unknown in the Northern

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States, as mechanics. We give no proof of genius or skill at the County,
the State, or the National Fairs. We are unknown at any of the great ex-
hibitions of the industry of our fellow-citizens—and being unknown, we
are unconsidered.

The fact that we make no show of our ability, is held conclusive of
our inability to make any. Hence, all the indifference and contempt, with
which incapacity is regarded, fall upon us, and that too, when we have had
no means of disproving the injurious opinion of our natural inferiority. I
have, during the last dozen years, denied, before the Americans, that we
are an inferior race. But this has been done by arguments, based upon
admitted principles, rather than by the presentation of facts. Now, firmly
believing, as I do, that there are skill, invention power, industry, and real
mechanical genius among the colored people, which will bear favorable
testimony for them, and which only need the means to develop them, I am
decidedly in favor of the establishment of such a college as I have men-
tioned. The benefits of such an institution would not be confined to the
Northern States, nor to the free colored people: they would extend over
the whole Union. The slave, not less than the freeman, would be benefitted
by such an institution. It must be confessed that the most powerful argu-
ment, now used by the Southern slave-holder—and the one most soothing
to his conscience—is, that derived from the low condition of the free col-
ored people at the North. I have long felt that too little attention has been
given, by our truest friends, in this country, to removing this stumbling
block out of the way of the slave’s liberation.

The most telling, the most killing refutation of slavery, is the presen-
tation of an industrious, enterprising, upright, thrifty and intelligent free
black population. Such a population, I believe, would rise in the Northern
States, under the fostering care of such a College as that supposed.

To show that we are capable of becoming mechanics, I might adduce
any amount of testimony; but dear Madam, I need not ring the changes on
such a proposition.—There is no question in the mind of any unprejudiced
person, that the negro is capable of making a good mechanic. Indeed even
those who cherish the bitterest feelings towards us have admitted that the
apprehension that negroes might be employed in their stead, dictated the
policy of excluding them from trades altogether; but I will not dwell upon
this point, as I fear I have already trespassed too long upon your precious
time, and written more than I ought to expect you to read.

Allow me to say, in conclusion, that I believe every intelligent colored
man in America will approve and rejoice at the establishment of some

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such institution as that now suggested. There are many respectable col-
ored men, fathers of large families, having boys nearly grown up, whose
minds are tossed by day and by night, with the anxious enquiry, what
shall I do with my boys? Such an institution would meet the wants of such
persons. Then, too, the establishment of such an institution would be in
character with the eminently practical philanthropy of your transatlantic
friends.17Stowe's was an international best seller. In April 1853, Stowe undertook the first of several tours of Great Britain that increased the sales of there to much more than a million copies. Her book influenced for a half a million women in the British Isles to sign a petition on behalf of the American slaves. A "Penny Offering," ultimately totaling over $20,000, was collected for Stowe in Britain for use in the antislavery cause. Hedrick, Harriet Beecher Stowe, 232-51; Levine, Representative Identity, 75-78, 87-89.
—America could scarcely object to it, as an attempt to agitate the
public mind on the subject of slavery, or to “dissolve the Union.” It could
not be tortured into a cause for hard words by the American people: but
the noble and good of all classes would see in the effort an excellent mo-
tive, a benevolent object, temperately, wisely, and practically manifested.

Wishing you, dear Madam, renewed health, a pleasant passage and
safe return to your native land,

I am, most truly, your grateful friend,

FREDERICK DOUGLASS.

PLSr: FDP, 2 December 1853.

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Creator

Douglass, Frederick, 1818-1895

Date

March 8, 1853

Publisher

Yale University Press 2018

Collection

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

Type

Letters

Publication Status

Published