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Frederick Douglass Gerrit Smith, October 21, 1852



Chittenango Falls, [N.Y.] 21 Oct[ober 1852].

Gerrit Smith Esq.


I have commenced to work in your district.1Between 5 and 14 October, Douglass attended eighteen meetings in twelve towns in Tompkins County, New York, and for the remainder of the month campaigned closer to Smith’s home region near Peterboro. FDP, 29 October 1852; Douglass Papers, ser. 1, 2:397. I spoke at Fenner last night instead of Peterboro’2The itineraries for Douglass’s speaking engagements in Frederick Douglass’ Paper leave a gap of ten days between 14 October and 24 October 1852. FDP, 17 September, 15, 29 October 1852.—and stopt for the night at the house of my friend Nourse3Possibly Lysander Nourse (1816–92), a wagonmaker in Chittenango Falls, New York. Boyd’s New York State Directory, 1872 (Utica, N.Y., 1872), 99. at this place, instead of Mr. Miller’s.4Charles Dudley Miller (c. 1816–?) married Smith’s only surviving daughter, Elizabeth, a reformer and women’s rights activist, in 1843. He supported his father-in-law during the Jerry Rescue by disposing of incriminating evidence and later defended Smith when he was implicated in John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage, History of Woman Suffrage (New York, 1881), 469–71; Harlow, Gerrit Smith, 43, 408, 415–16, 483. I am cheated out of Peterboro this time. I may have done more good by this arrangementhbut I am sure, I have not enjoyed myself any better in Fenner than I should have done at the good house of Mr & Mrs Miller.

Since writing the above—I have been to Chittennango—and held a


small meeting in the Methodist meeting house. If you are elected to Congress, I fear, it will be without the aid of Chittenango.

I hold a meeting here this thursday night and I have the promise of a fine audience.

I have now held a good meeting[.] The people say they are going to vote for Gerrit Smith—and say he shall be elected. This however, I deem unreasonable. How can not such a thing be? Oh! if it could only be so, the cup of my joy would be full. It is too good to be true, yet I am the only man whom I have heard speak despairinglym—even in private about the matter.

22nd October—Syracuse—

I came here from New Boston—whence I went through a rain storm to meet my appointment—“got there and found none, and could get none in such weather. Deeming it out of my power to attend the meeting at Bridgeport, on Saturday, and that at Phenix on Sunday, I came here to day to get to the Latter place.

I hear that Giddings5Joshua Reed Giddings (1795–1864), a radical abolitionist and congressman from Ohio, was first elected to the House of Representatives as a Whig in 1838. He vigorously opposed the “gag rule,” the annexation of Texas, and the Mexican–American War. In 1842 Giddings received a congressional censure for his actions during negotiations with Great Britain over the Creole affair. While negotiations were under way, he introduced resolutions supporting the right of mutiny for slaves aboard the British ship. In 1848 Giddings left the Whig party to join the Free Soilers‘, then allied himself with the Republicans after the Kansas-Nebraska Act. In late October 1852 Giddings came to New York, where he joined Douglass in the campaign to elect Smith to Congress. FDP, 29 October 1852; Stewart, Joshua R. Giddings; BDAC, 1450; ACAB, 4:478. is coming to give you lift.

Very truly and affectionately—


ALS: Gerrit Smith Papers, NSyU.


Douglass, Frederick (1818–1895)


October 21, 1852


Yale University Press 2009



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