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Abner H. Francis to Frederick Douglass, June 9, 1851


Letter from Abner H. Francis - on the eve of leaving for California.

Buffalo, June 9, 1851.

Mr. F. Douglass:--I purposed for some time past, to give you a lengthy letter upon the various topics now interesting, and upon which the weal or woe of this country's destiny depends. But my dear sir, that midnight prowler who is ever ready to stealthly arrogate to itself so many of our precious hours, (Procrastination,) has brought me so near the very of my departure, that I must reluctantly forego the intention, for the present at least, and make it up from that far off region to which I purpose in a day or two to embark.

There is no pleasure in the thought, or desire to the performance of such a journey, so far from the land of my nativity, and relinquishment of family and friends. Amid all the trying scenes of life to which Colored Americans are subject by the heartless doings of our law givers, home is still dear; here and there a kind friend or relation is near to us, and fastens our affections to the hallowed spot - home. I feel that I go away for wise and important purposes; not only as regards my own welfare, but the welfare of our people. We are weak and defenceless. Weak, because we lack that stability of character, soundness of mind and general experience, from the want of education. Defenceless, because we are poor, and remain so, for the want of sufficient ambition and go-aheaditiveness to place ourselves in a proper attitude of resistance. The idea is this, the colored people must come out of the strongholds of oppression, and iniquity of cities; and like white men, go out into the country, and remotest corners of the Globe, if need be, and improve their condition by obtaining the necessary perquisites referred to above, if they expect to see the desires of their hearts realized. It is vain and futile to suppose it can be brought about in any other way. We must have one intelligent and wealthy foothold. When equal in this respect we can, by right and with confidence, demand all things equal.

I am happy to find this great truth gaining friends. The enterprise of the colored people the past year, is truly gratifying. Every day brings some intelligence of some of them removing to the west, or Canada, yea and to California, to better their condition. It is so far from being seldom, that we hear of many returning from the far off regions of the Pacific, and by their enterprize, come laden with the rich treasures of that country. But I must close. God grant you may keep your foothold already so firmly established, and continue to wage war upon our enemies. And since the Constitution has appeared to you in a new light, you will be able to wield a more powerful influence. My prayer is that you may live to witness the consummation of this great struggle, to behold all men free.

Ever yours,



Francis, Abner H.




Abner H. Francis to Frederick Douglass. PLSr: NS, 12 June 1851. Describes conditions of blacks in Buffalo.


This document was calendared in the published volume and has not been published in full before.


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