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Frederick Douglass John Bailey, January 23, 1844


FREDERICK DOUGLASS TO JOHN BAILEY1John Bailey (1788–1883), a watchmaker and jeweler, was a Quaker and longtime abolitionist in the New Bedford area. In 1843 he served as vice president of the Bristol County Anti-Slavery Society, and in the 1850s as the vice president of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society. In 1854 Bailey and other New Bedford abolitionists launched two antislavery newspapers, the Pathfinder and the People’s Press. Lib., 16 June 1843; Frederick Douglass, “Reminiscences,” Cosmopolitan, 7:378 (August 1889); Leonard Bolies Ellis, History of New Bedford and Its Vicinity, 1602—1892 (Syracuse, N.Y., 1892), 527–28; Merrill and Ruchames, Garrison Letters, 3:274–75.

Lynn, [Mass.] 23 January 1844.


Yours of 17eth2Bailey’s letter to Douglass has not been located. reached me on the 19eth. Numerous engagements, must be my only apology for not having replied to it before.

The subject of which you write, I had supposed to be settled long ago, and not having changed my mind with it. Its details as a consequence have passed from me, and I am left with but a dim recollection of the leading facts in the case[.] I shall not therefore speak at large of the subject. But will


reply to that part of your letter in which Mr. Paul C. Howard3Paul C. Howard (1819–48), a tailor in New Bedford, Massachusetts, was the grandson of Captain Paul Cuffe, a well-to-do mariner, and the son of Ruth Cuffe and Alexander Howard, a prosperous trader in his own right. Paul C. Howard was not only a prominent member of the local black community, out he also participated in the antislavery movement as a speaker, organizer, and fundraiser. Lib., 21 June, 27 September 1839, 6 August 1844; Grover, Fugitive’s Gibraltar, 46, 88, 126, 139. is represented as saying, ‘That there had been raised in other places and paid to me about —$60—for the purpose of defraying a part of the expence,’ & that I told him so. Now Sir, this statement as it stands here, I unhesitatingly pronounce untrue. However unintentional it may be, on the part of him that uttered it, I never collected a single cent for the special porpose of defraying the expence of carriing on the litigation in question.4In February 1842, on the Taunton and New Bedford Railroad, a racially prejudiced conductor attempted to eject Shadrach Howard and Jeremiah Burke Sanderson, two New Bedford blacks, from their seats while they were traveling home from Taunton. A tussle with railroad employees ensued, and Howard felt it necessary to defend himself with his knife. They were later arrested and tried in Bristol County courts, but the resolution of the trial is unknown. Lib., 18 Febuary 1842; Grover, Fugitive's Gibraltar, 174–75.

What I told Mr. Howard was in substance this[.] “As Mr. Collins5John A. Collins. had given some assurance of aid, he would doubtless be able to do so, as I had resently collected about $60 and put into his hands.[”] I am astonished at the ingratitude of Mr. Shadrack Howard,6Shadrach Howard (c. 1817–73), the brother of Paul C. Howard, lived in New Bedford and worked as a sailmaker. Shadrach was active in the antislavery movement. Like a number of other free blacks from New Bedford, including James B. Sanderson, he moved to California by the time of the Civil War, becoming a primary supporter of the Pacific Appeal, that state's black newspaper. Lib., 21 June 1839; Grover, Fugitive's Gibraltar, 139, 269, 276. as well as at the course pursued By Mr. P. C. Howard.

In great haste, I am dear Sir very Respectfully yours—


ALS: Simon Grate Coliection, PHi.


Douglass, Frederick (1818–1895)




Yale University Press 2009



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