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Charles Durkee to Frederick Douglass, November 8, 1851


Letter from Hon. Charles Durkee.

Frederick Douglass: Dear Sir:—I have noticed in some of the public journals of the day, that I was honored by the Liberty Party Convention held at Buffalo, in receiving the nomination for the office of Vice President of the United States. I have since been expecting an official communication from some officer of committee of that Convention, to whom I might reply: but, from the time that has since elapsed, I presume no such formality was intended to be observed. I shall therefore; feel exceedingly obliged to you if you will permit me to occupy a small space in your columns for the purpose of communicating to the Liberty Party, the reasons why I think it my duty to decline the acceptance of this nomination.

First.—It is not from any disparity of views, for I believe with a few exceptions, our opinions harmonize, on what should be the character of our laws, (both Federal and State,) and officers of Government; but from a sincere desire not to take any step that might in any way prevent what I fondly hope may take place, namely: a union of the Free Soil and Liberty Parties. The alarming condition in which the country is now placed by the enemies of constitutional liberty, renders it highly important that all true friends of civil liberty, should be united in one solid phalanx to resist the tyranny and despotism that tend to the entire overthrow of the liberties of the Republic.

The sordid and servile spirit that seems to govern the leaders of the two old parties, in their encroachments on State rights, and in the doctrines recently proclaimed of constructive treason, is drawing off the spurious members of the Free Soil Party, and, I trust, drawing many honest hearts from the people, into our ranks.

Second.—I have been appointed one of the delegates of this State, to the National Free Soil Convention, to be held in 1852. If permitted to attend, I shall use my best exertions to secure the nomination of such candidates as will be entitled to the confidence and support of all true friends of liberty, without regard to present political organizations.

The fact that I hold this appointment and read it before my name was brought before the Buffalo Convention, is another circumstance, going to show the propriety of withholding my name from the distinguished position assigned it by the Convention.

In pursuing this course, it is a matter of considerable satisfaction to me, to know that I am imposing no additional labor on the friends of the Liberty Party, in case of failure to unite as above stated, inasmuch as the distinguished gentleman chosen to head their National Ticket, also declines the use of his name. In conclusion, I beg leave to express my unfeigned thanks to the Convention, for this mark of respect and confidence.

Charles Durkee.

Kenasha, Nov. 8th, 1851.


Durkee, Charles




Charles Durkee to Frederick Douglass. PLSr: Frederick Douglass' Paper, 13 November 1851. Declines Liberty party’s nomination for vice president.


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


Frederick Douglass' Paper



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Frederick Douglass' Paper