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B. F. Remington to Frederick Douglass, January 8, 1852


Letter from B. F. Remington.

F———, Jan. 8th, 1852

Dear Douglass: Living away here, where we have but three mails a week, and have to go six miles to mill, it cannot be expected I should know much that is going on out in the great world; but from what I do learn of matters and things there, I should think there was a great stir about something, and I see in my "newspaper," frequent mention of a certain GOV. KOSSUTH, from the other side of the big waters; I conclude, therefore, he is kicking up this mighty dust. Well, now what is it all about? Why from "Castle Garden," off to Washington, then to Baltimore, Annapolis, Cincinnati and all around, such a noise? If this excitement was evil, I should suppose some "Vandal" spirit had found our happy glave, and even our noble, free country, and waged "actual war" with virtue and virtue's God; but as the great in Church and State so universally join in the hurra, it cannot be that. If I get a right view of things, they have, in the Governor's country, had a squabble, and the Russian Bear came growling around and parted them; but the Governor thinks there was not fair play, and he is now trying to get this great, glorious, free, independent, noble, magnanimous, woman-whipping Government of this "Republic," to set things right and tell the old Russian fellow to stop his growling and mind his own business and let every nation "manage its own domestic concerns." Well, perhaps he will mind (for we are placed to watch over the nations) and perhaps not. But if we only try to scare him, still we shall prove we are as "good as we are great." But to be serious, for this is a serious matter, if he is the man for the age, the world, orator, apostle of the nations, an embodiment of freedom, the second Cyrus, the political Messiah of this


generation, or everything below God himself, as some seem to intimate, or if a tithe of what Grace Greenwood says of him in the National Era, Dec., 20th, 1852, be true, if even the corresponding editor of your most excellent paper is correct, the Nation and the world should listen, and listening lift up an unending Amen! Gov. Kossuth comes here with no claim upon us but as the oracle of freedom, the exile of European oppression, and to conquer the prejudices of this people against a great principle of humanity and National Law, and to give to our country her place among the nations of the world, while he provided for the deliverance of his own. No man has ever produced so decided and blessed impressions on the country as Kossuth. Within eighteen hundred years no man has so gloriously moved such immense masses of mankind in the right direction; so says J. T. Is this so? J. T. thinks so. For I should sooner expect to see the Ghost of Martin Luther kissing the toe of the Pope of Rome, than find J. T. bewildered in a great popular bustle. I ask again, are these things so? Does J. T. allude to his defined position, "every nation has a sovereign right to dispose of its own domestic concerns," or is his own unqualified assertion resting on his reply to the "forged letter" in Philadelphia? If I am not blind, or "befogged," at least, about the reverse of that whole paragraph will be true, unless the over-ruling hand of Heaven prevent. If I am not greatly mistaken, Eld. J. R. Johnson and Prof. Wm. G. Allen, in your paper of Jan. 1, 1852, understand better the "signs of this time." My deliberate opinion is, (opinion of course,) unless God over-rule it and "cause it to praise him," and thus promote that "great principle," in spite of Gov. Kossuth's intention, it will be the


heaviest weight now pressing on the gory heart of any colored man, both bond and nominally free. Until I see the first evidence that his mission is anything more than "class" liberty, I must think so. Where, from the first utterance on our shores, to his last expression, has he said what we might not expect of Clay, Foote, and that lowest of all traitors to his race, Daniel Webster? It is high time for philanthropists to understand there are more things on Earth, at least, than some men have dreamed of in their philosophy. If men or women are disposed to help him to power and balls, that is their concern; they have the responsibility. But where the true friend of freedom can discover hope for our country, or the oppressed of our land, from anything by him yet done or said, I can't divine. Why, to me, his whole course is to bolster up such men as Rynders, of infamous memory, and those D. D.'s who "teach rebellion against the Lord," and heartless demagogues who for office and gain would traffic in the heartstrings of that race.

What fulsome praise! What loathsome adulation! We could expect no more from the "father" of flattery himself. Does he know the men he so lauds? Does he know that among them are men who have spent an ignominious life in forging chains for crushed humanity? Whose hands are red with the blood of Lovejoy, a Torrey, and if Heaven had not have interfered, they now even would have been murdering the Christiana heroes. His reference to the Mexican war and the "bloody men" of this nation too; such expressions better befit a harangue at some great war dance, than an orator before an assembly of refined, "Republican" ladies and gentlemen. I would sooner go to some Southern "witch," to raise John C. Calhoun to preach liberty, than depend on Kossuth's influence, in behalf of suffering, bleeding, outraged humanity. John Randolph was a saint to him.


He can't say to the pander doughfaces, of the professed "Free State." I envy neither the head nor heart of that man from the North, who comes here to defend "slavery." He had more sympathy for his man Juno, than Kossuth has expressed for all the millions, in this "mighty free Republic," groaning in their chains. He must be sensible too, that every dollar he receives South cost the sweat of a slave, and perhaps the blood of some "whipped" woman. Shall we hear the praise of Soldiers,* because they indignantly threw back to Gorgey his price of treachery, while the Idol of those same soldiers, whose bare name like a charm, brings back ebbing hope to their "Fatherland," is receiving from the polluted hands of those more guilty even than Haynau, the unrequited toil of women, sweating and panting, in a cotton field or cane brake, or wading and choking in a rice swamp, the wail of whose helpless infant tells her of the sting of the asp.—Why, the very viands he eat at the Babalonish "feast," yes the wine (for I suppose it was "cold water" toast) was mingled, with the tears of a slave's anguish, if on the walls of that dining hall, the part of a man's hand was not seen writing, let him remember, it is written, "He did," then and there, partake of the "price of blood" and "praise the God of this nation."


Must this country be kept in a stupefying excitement, to divert the mind from the great interests of humanity, its moral interests and relations, and prevent the public con[s]cience doing its work, in applying the principles, which lie at the foundation of all practical religion, to the heart of the people? The influence from Europe, is lke the Siroco, sweeping its deadly miasma, and scattering, as from "Pandora's Box," moral disease and death through the land, while the clanking of slavery's chains and the unceasing sighs of the nominally "free," are drowned in the intoxicating frenzy, kept alive by the ministry and professed christian church. - Fanny Elssler the dancer, then Jenny Lind the Swedish singer, Gov. or "President" Kossuth, too, the political "Messiah," with the gentler breezes, keep the moral political atmosphere in ceaseless commotion.—And for what? to "scatter arrows, firebrands and death," from the Theatre. To fill the coffers of the wholesale and retail dealers in immortality, and arouse the latent war spirit, and prepare us to crush Cuba, Mexico, South America and accomplish the "destiny" of this "Mighty Republic," and finally to break down the walls of the "City of Refuge," (Canada) and secure the undisputed reign of "Republican" despotism in the Western World, laying broad and firm the foundation of that "Free Government," the "corner stone" of which, is interminable bondage to one sixth of its native born citizens, dooming them and their posterity during all coming time, to a state, an hour of which is worse to be endured than ages of the oppression our fathers resisted.

Yours for the human race.

B. F. Remington.


Remington, B. F.




B. F. Remington to Frederick Douglass. PLSr: Frederick Douglass' Paper, 19 February 1852. Denounces treatment of Louis Kossuth as hero of liberty.


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