Amy Post to Frederick Douglass, February 2, 1850
AMY POST TO FREDERICK DOUGLASS
Rochester, [N.Y.] 2 Feb[ruary] 1850.
Will my friend Frederick Douglass explain what necesity there was of giving so discourageing an account of the Rochester Fair,1The Rochester Anti-Slavery Fair took place from 23 to 26 January 1850 at Minerva Hall. NS, 25 January 1850. in the North Star just recieved,2Douglass published a terse report of the Rochester fair in the 1 February 1850 issue of the North Star, in which he wrote, “While in a ﬁnancial point of view the Fair must be considered a failure, we are sorry to say, that morally, it has been far from successful. This is to be deeply regretted, and the more so, because a few devoted friends in this city have been laboring industriously to make it a successful effort in both ways.” Douglass also published a letter in the same issue of the North Star from a supporter of the Rochester fair who condemned several aspects of the fair, including the “extravagance” of the celebration, the lottery, and the late hour of the banquet, “especially of the character of the one got up on this occasion.” that we came very far short of realizing in a pecuneary point of view what we wished is true, yet we would not dispise even the sum of one hundred dollars,3Revenue from the Rochester Anti-Slavery Fair came to $220. After expenses, the profit amounted to $117, causing Douglass to deem the endeavor a failure. He underscored this assessment by publishing a report of the proceeds of the Boston Anti-Slavery Fair, which amounted to $3,300, just beneath his account of the Rochester Fair. NS, 25 January, 1 February 1850; Hewitt, Women's Activism and Social Change, 143. but rejoice to have it to add to other hundred’s that have been raised and used in the cause, during the past year, and in point of morals, I believe we have no reason to conclude, that because some rudeness appeared among a group of boys one evening, the whole tendency was immoral, was it nothing that one hundred people, of all classes and colours sat down to one table, and the most perfect decorum and order prevailed, to my views and feelings of equality, it was exceedingly gratifying and for our cause in Rochester a glorious achievment, I thought.
Dost thou really wish to bring thy Western New York friends4Post probably specifically refers to the Western New York Anti-Slavery Society, members of which organized the Rochester fair, as well as to other contributors from the region. NS, 25 January 1850. into disgrace, and turn all donations in another direction, if so, then thou has done the deed. As much as I have valued and relied upon this branch of Anti Slavery effort for keeping the cause alive amongst us, and obtaining the means for agitating the public mind, I should never advocate another Fair did I think its tendency immoral.
Thy soarly agrieved friend
[P.S.] I know this is a poor market but I know too that is is very bad polacy for a person to destroy the inﬂuence and character of his friends at home[.] The[e] knows that the Star has been my Idol, and I could not see its idolized Ed. destroy its home without the most poignant grief. If the[e] knew what a baby I feel like in
deigning to differ from thee, the[e] would understand and Whenever I am obliged to do so, I think thee would pitty me.
ALS: Post Family Papers, NRU.