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A[bner] H. Francis to Frederick Douglass, July 9, 1855


PORTLAND, July 9, 1855

DEAR DOUGLASS:–– I feel to rebuke myself for
the long intervals between my communicating.
Much has transpired in the past year that you
should have been made acquainted, that would
be unimportant now to relate. I promise, for
the future, more attention.

I find much in this new country to admire,
and much to deplore. The state of society, ag-
riculture, and the mechanical arts, are working
out, in their varied departments, all that can be
desired to make a community prosperous and
happy. I must also admit the climate more
preferable to that of the cold regions of West-
ern New York. Although we are passing thro'
the ordeal of reversion in trade, depression in
the money market, and the like, yet from what
I can learn of the money market, state of trade,
and the high prices for the commodities of life,
in the Atlantic States, we are to have the ad-
vantage. While labor has fallen to one and
two dollars per day, thousands of tons of flour
are passing through our hands at $2 25 and
$2 50 per 100 lbs. These are some of the
things to admire. On the other hand, it is
sickening to see and know that the great battle
for freedom has just commenced in this terri-

The elections recently passed were the most
exciting since her admission. The so-called
Democracy, and the Know Nothings joined, are
here. The latter were shamefully defeated. (I
have no cause to regret this unless we can look
to them in a different light to what they repre-
sent themselves in various portions of the
Union.) General Joseph Lane has been re-
turned to Congress by a large majority over
ex-Governor Gains, formerly of Kentucky.

The slavery party now have the ascendency
in Oregon. They have, for their apostle, Dala-
zon Smith, who at one time figured largely in
the States as a Methodist preacher, under
Polk's Administration. To get rid of him, was
given sealed documents, and sent on an errand
he knew not what, to Central America. Noth-
ing more under that Administration was heard
of him. He finally appeared in this territory
as "envoy extraordinary," to make laws for
this people. Last winter, in the Legislature, he
distinguished himself as one of the servile tools
of the slave oligarchy, boldly taking the
ground to make this a slave territory, succeeded
in passing a new law that colored people should
not settle in the territory.

The result of these proceedings has aroused
the friends of freedom. A grand Convention
will be held in October, at the Capitol, (Cor-
valles,) preparatory to spreading the doctrine
throughout the territory. It will be a hard
contest. More than one half of the population
are the lower order of Missourians.

The Fourth passed off quite patriotic. More
lies were told about the freedom of this great
Republic than can be repented of by the re-
turn of the next grand jubilee. The U. S.
War Steamer Massachusetts was laying at an-
chor in our river early on the morning of the
Fourth. The flags of all nations were run up.
The reverberatory sound of her heavy guns echo-
ing through the mountains, made it look war-
like. Would to God it had been in defence of
liberty. I am pleased to see, through your pa-
per, that the Anniversaries of the National In-
dustrial Movements, and others, show visible
signs of progress in the right direction. God
speed you on to victory. Permit me to join
heart and hand with



Francis, Abner Hunt (1813-1872)




A[bner] H. Francis to Frederick Douglass. PLSr: Frederick DouglassP, 24 August 1855. Describes his move to Portland, Oregon, and the political climate there.


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


Frederick Douglass' Paper, 24 August 1855



Publication Status



Frederick Douglass' Paper