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Andrew B. Slater to Frederick Douglass, March 14, 1852


Canandaigua, March 14, 1852.

Dear Sir:—There are times when one cannot pick up a paper of any name, religion, or politics, without seeing at the first glance something respecting our future course, in the career marked out for us.

Now in all the [illegible] that I have seen, I see nothing that looks to me really practical. Send the Africans back to Africa, seems to be the order of the day. Shall we look at it a moment? who are they? is it the free colored people of all shades? or is it the real Africans only? If the former, why, then, in Africa. As it is here, there would be the same mixed multitude even as the old song has it "from snowy white to sooty"—that is, supposing the thing possible.

But to look at the inconsistency, to say nothing of the iniquity, of sending native born Americans, with English, French, Scotch, Dutch, Irish blood in their veins. "back to Africa." But if the latter class, why then the same checkered scene remains here.—But that is not the plan. It is what is generally called the colored people—that means all who have one drop of African blood in their veins. Now Sir, if a separation of the two races, must take place, then let a separation take place, hold them to their "pound of flesh," let none but Africans go, and when there, let them (if they remember American chains) see to it that they admit not one drop of that blood that has proved such a bitter, such an everlasting damning curse to them upon their soul. Then let such disposition be made of the mongrels, as Governors, Secretaries of State, and great Statesmen, may make. I have been called an accomodating man when taken collectively, but when taken separately, (and an analytical process is the only one that I will agree to,) I doubt it with all of my accomodation my Scotch blood would agree to be sent in exile to Africa, even to accomodate so worthy a firm as my African Blood, Washington Hunt, &. Co.

But Sir, I am aware that "between the two stools I should come to the ground." or rather in the water, but let justice be done though the Heavens come to the ground.— But my Albany partner says the two races must sooner or later be separated. Then, let it be done sooner, let us know the worst.—Send the African to Africa. Let the natives (for I suppose they claim nativity, although some of them are somewhat bleached) remain here, and scatter the mongrels all the way along, according to their grade, from shore to shore, and that will occupy every inch of the distance from one continent to the other; therefore we can join hands from New York to Liberia. That will be about as much of a "separation" as you and I shall ever see—really children's play in parliament. But if newspapers are to be relied on that admonition that we find an Holy Writ, that dust must return to dust, is likely to be verified, whether in Clay, or some other dust, and an other eminent worthy, lest he should return to dust, seem irreclaimably bent upon not exactly embalming but picking himself, that though dead, his body shall still be. I am aware, Sir, of the undue length of this letter, but it is wholly at your disposal. Condense, extract, withhold, or publish, as you please, without fear of offending.

Yours truly for the cause,

A. B. S.


Slater, Andrew B.




Andrew B. Slater to Frederick Douglass. PLIr: Frederick Douglass' Paper, 25 March 1852. Criticizes colonization.


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