Frederick Douglass Gerrit Smith, June 18, 1851
FREDERICK DOUGLASS TO GERRIT SMITH
Rochester, [N.Y.] 18 June 1851.
Gerrit Smith Esq.
MY DEAR SIR,
I send you the last “North Star” with many imperfections. The printers in my office, have had much additional work to do this week, to prepare for the new paper. Have I rightly comprehended your argument—to which I allude in my reply to the “Free man”?1Douglass published an editorial reply to an article in another abolitionist paper, the Pennsylvania Freeman. The Freeman article criticized Douglass for changing his position on the proslavery nature of the U.S. Constitution. In spring 1851 Douglass openly embraced the position of Gerrit Smith and other politically minded abolitionists who viewed the Constitution as a tool to be employed by abolitionists. This move widened the schism between Douglass and the Garrisonians, who rejected political means in abolitionism. PaF, 5 June 1851; NS, 12 June 1851; Martin, Mind of Frederick Douglass, 36–39. You see he has attempted to annihilate me with your thunder!
You will find, friend [W]ard’s reply to my letter to him—within.2The last issue of the North Star appeared on 12 June 1851 and did not include a response from Samuel Ringgold Ward. No letters could be located to confirm the correspondence that Douglass mentions in his letter to Smith.
I shall send a letter immediately to our friend John Thomas—calling
him at once to his post of Labor. God grant that the fruit of our union may prove a blessing to the slave—and to suffering man every where—and of every grade.
Yours most truly
ALS: Gerrit Smith Papers, NSyU.