Frederick Douglass Amy Post, October 20, 1850
FREDERICK DOUGLASS TO AMY POST
Worcester, [Mass] 20 Oct[ober] 1850.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
You are now, doubtless enjoying the society of our little circle at our Sunday meeting.1Douglass perhaps refers to meetings of the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Sewing Circle, which met at the Posts’ home from time to time. NS, 3 October 1850. I am at the House of a member of the society of friends—Effingham Capron.2Effingham L. Capron (1791—1859), a Quaker cloth manufacturer in Worcester, Massachusetts, was an active Garrisonian abolitionist. He served as a vice president of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society for many years and, in 1851, presided over a Worcester celebration marking the anniversary of emancipation in the West Indies. NS, 18 February 1848; Washington (D.C.) National Era,14 August 1851; 1850 U.S. Census, Massachusetts, Worcester County, Worcester, 367; Garrison and Garrison, William Lloyd Garrison, 1:398. They have gone to meeting[.] J. C. Hathaway3Joseph C. Hathaway. has also gone. I am here alone. And in this moment of repose—I wish to breathe a word to you—a word of friendship—a word of which I know you well enough, to know, that you will be pleased to receive. I am happy to state that my health is good and my spirit is Right. I spoke in this city last night, at Brinley Hall,4Douglass spoke at an antislavery fair held at Brinley Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts, on 19 October 1850. NS, 31 October 1850. before the audience assembled at antislavery fair, held for the benifet of the American Antislavery Society. The audience was large—and listened with earnest attention. The F. Slave Bill5The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. has made a deep sensation here—and it is universally determened that no slave shall be taken from Worcester. I have been to New Bedford and Nantucket since I spoke in Faneuil Hall.6On 14 October 1850 Douglass spoke at a meeting held by the “Citizens of Boston” at Faneuil Hall in opposition to the recently passed Fugitive Slave Law. During the following four days, he appeared before crowds at New Bedford and Nantucket, arriving in Worcester on 19 October. Lib., 14 October 1850; NS, 24 October 1850.We have collected in these places—about one hundred and thirty dollars. We are to lecture here this Evening and hope to do more for our imprisoned Brother.7Together with Joseph C. Hathaway, Douglass spoke at an antislavery meeting in Worcester’s City Hall on 20 October 1850. Both speakers called for contributions from the audience to assist William L. Chaplin, who was imprisoned in Washington, D.C., for aiding fugitive slaves. NS, 31 October 1850. Saw Mr. Garrison yesterday, had a long and friendly talk with him. We said nothing about the “Star—” but about matters and things in general and about George Thompson in particular. George Thompson is really coming and is now on his way[.]8George Thompson was scheduled to sail for the United States from Liverpool on 19 October 1850. On 1 November 1850 the Liberator announced that Thompson had indeed reached Boston safely. He was to start from Liverpool yesterday—on the steam ship Canada.9The Canada was a steamship operated by the British Cunard Steam-Ship Company between 1848 and 1867. C[harles] R[obert] Vernon Gibbs, British Passenger Liners 0f the Five Oceans: A Record of the British Passenger Lines and Their Liners from 1838 to the Present Day (London, 1963), 173, 185–86. Now Dear Amy, George Thompson must come to Rochester. He must come this winter. Rochester must not escape him.10During his tour of the United States, Thompson spoke at Rochester’s Corinthian Hall in mid-March 1851. NS, 20 March 1851. But George Thompson though a member of the British parliament is a poor man and will need money to sustain him. He might have been a wealthy man—his talents might have made him so. He could have sold him self for gold—but he has chosen to take up the cause of the poor—to plead the cause of the humble—and of consequence to share the poverty of the humble. Mr. Thompson will need funds to sustain his family while he is travelling in this country and giving
the cause of the slave the benifit of his matchless eloquence. Now I want Rochester to have a share in him. Rochester must feel that she is doing her part towards upholding the hands of our beloved transatlantic Brother. This I think quite a suitable matter to bring before our little band in Rochester. I know their generosity—and will trust the result. Our old—sometimes friend Charles Lenox Remond is now really married and no mistake. He has got the prize for which he has been running—and a noble one it is. Mrs. Casey11From 1826 to 1848, before marrying Charles Lenox Remond, Amy Matilda Williams was married to Joseph R. Cassey (1789—1848), a Garrisonian abolitionist from the French West Indies. Merrill and Ruchames, Garrison Letters, 3:344n; Ripley, Black Abolitionist Papers, 3:89—90n. is as you have often heard me say a very noble woman. I know not how far she will adopt Remond’s feelings towards me—but I fear she will not feel any warmer towards the “North Star” on account of her marriage[.] Such is life. I have met since I came here many old and dear Friends—Some fugitives too from the neighborhood where I formerly resided. You would have been glad to have witnessed the cordiality of of these meetings. Upon the whole my visit to the East thus far has been of a very pleasant descreption. The women’s rights convention is looked forward to with much interest. I wish you could attend it. I shall be on hand if nothing happens. I am to lecture here this Evening and shall go to Leominster from here & shall return here from Leominster to attend the meeting.12Following two appearances in Worcester on 19 and 20 October, Douglass spoke in Leominster, Massachusetts, on 21 October. His schedule returned him to Worcester for the Women’s Rights Convention at Brinley Hall on 23 and 24 October. Two days later he spoke in Lawrence and then appeared before a crowd in Lowell on 27 October. NS, 15 November 1850. Please write to me at Lowell. I am to be there one week from this day.
Make my warm remembrance to Mr. Post,13Isaac Post. Mary and William Hallowell and believe me your ever faithful Friend.
ALS: Post Family Papers, NRU.