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Frederick Douglass to Amy Post, January 31, 1860



[n.p.] [January 1860.]

I have therefore been compelled to do a good deal of preparatory work—in the way of making appointments. I find my war views decidedly objected to by my old Garrisonian friends in England.1Upon arriving in England, Douglass discovered that English Garrisonians were far less ad-
miring of John Brown and less forgiving of the use of violence than their American counterparts.
Although most English commentators were willing to accept that Brown and his associates had acted out of the “best of motives,” the raid itself was characterized as “rash,” and there was a general sense of “regret” that Brown and his men had “resorted to those measures which they did to break down the strong hold of oppression.” Even the sympathetic London Enquirer, as reported in the Liberator, argued that such “fruitless risings” would serve only to make conditions worse for the slaves and that Harpers Ferry was “but an insignificant incident in the history of the great social struggle.” Far harsher in its analysis was the Friends Review (whose opinion was endorsed by the Anti-Slavery Reporter), which not only “most profoundly deplore[d] the occurrence,” but took the view that even leaving aside the “immorality of the proceeding, the prospect of success was so utterly hopeless as to induce the belief that the principal actors must have been labouring under a species of insanity, or the blindest fanaticism.” Friends Review, 29 October 1859; Leeds Mercury, 29 November 1859; BFASR, new ser., 7:272 (1 December 1859); Lib., 9 December 1859; Seymour Drescher, “Servile Insurrection and John Brown’s Body in Europe,” in His Soul Goes Marching On: Responses to John Brown and the Harpers Ferry Raid, ed. Paul Finkelman (Charlottesville, 1995), 272-79, 293.
This is the more


ridiculous Since the Garrisonians in America are So deeply interested in the whole Brown invasion now.2In the immediate aftermath of the Harpers Ferry Raid, American Garrisonians were quick to distance themselves from the operation. While praising John Brown for his “display of courage and resolute opposition to deadly odds,” and acknowledging that the American Anti-Slavery Society was “in a sense... the occasion of the affair,” in late October the National Anti-Slavery Standard was adamant that such attempts “at arousing an insurrection of the slaves” were “expressly excluded” from the society’s constitution. It further argued that such actions as Brown had undertaken were in essence a “waste of the lives of brave men,” which not only had “no reasonable chance of delivering the slaves .. . [but would] only make their present condition worse than it was before.” That same month, in the Liberator, William Lloyd Garrison characterized the raid as a “well-intended but sadly misguided effort.” By December, however, John Brown had been fully embraced by Garrison and his allies, who proclaimed him to be a “hero, saint [and] martyr.” Indeed, speaking at a gathering of the American Anti-Slavery Society in Boston on the day of Brown’s execution (2 December 1859), Garrison went so far as to state that although he remained “‘a peace man—an ultra peace man,” he was now “prepared to say success to every slave insurrection [in] the South, and in every slave country.” Lib., 28 October, 9, 16 December 1859; NASS, 29 October 1859; Charles Joyner, “ 'Guilty of the Holiest Crime’: The Passion of John Brown,” in Finkelman, His Soul Goes Marching On, 314-16. I have no doubt, that Dear Isaac—your husband, stands his ground well on the peace question3No source on Isaac Post’s opinions regarding the Harpers Ferry Raid has been located. Possibly he expressed them directly to Douglass while assisting his flight to Rochester to prevent arrest by federal authorities. As Douglass implies, leading Garrisonians had wavered in their support of nonresistance by making public remarks praising John Brown after the raid. McFeely, Frederick Douglass, 200; Paul Finkelman, “Manufacturing Martyrdom: The Antislavery Response to John Brown’s Raid,” in Finkelman, His Soul Goes Marching On, 42, 59-61; DAB, 15:117.—amid all the war like utterances of his Garrison friends.
I have not yet found time, though I have often had the inclination to write to our Mutual friend Mrs G.4Possibly Eliza Bottum Galusha (1796-1884), widow of the Baptist minister and abolitionist
Reverend Elon Galusha (1790-1856). A native of Shaftsbury, Vermont, Eliza Bottum married Elon Galusha, son of two-time governor of Vermont Jonas Galusha, in 1814. Between 1815 and 1841, she accompanied her husband as he served a series of pastorates across western New York, including ones in Whitesboro, Perry, and Rochester, before finally settling in Lockport. Sharing her husband’s abolitionist beliefs, Eliza Galusha was active in several antislavery organizations, including both the Female Anti-Slavery Society and the Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society. Indeed, she was one of the cofounders of the Rochester Female Anti-Slavery Society and served as its leader for several years. 1860 U.S. Census, New York, Niagara County, 298; Rebekah Deal Oliver, The Bottum (Longbottom) Family Album: An Historical and Biographical Genealogy of the Descendants of Daniel (—1732) and Elizabeth (Lamb) Longbottom of Norwich, Connecticut (Denver, Colo., 1970), 259-61; Hewitt, Women’s Activism and Social Change, 56-57, 104-05, 111, 152
She must be much engaged just now with the movements of the American Anti Slavery Society in Western New York. I desire to be very cordially remembered to William Hallowell5Arriving in Rochester in 1841, William R. Hallowell (1816-82) ran a woolen mill and leather
business. The husband of Mary Hallowell, he was a member of the Western New York Anti-Slavery Society, and of the board of education in Rochester. Peck, History of Rochester, 2:1243-44; Hewitt, Women’s Activism and Social Change, 61.
and Mary—his wife.6Mary Hallowell (1823-1913) was the daughter of Isaac Post and his first wife, Hannah.
Mary and her husband, William, were numbered among Douglass’s circle of friends in Rochester and actively participated in the Western New York Anti-Slavery Society. She was also a member of local temperance and women’s rights organizations, and she acted as an agent for the National Anti-Slavery Standard in 1865. Hewitt, Women’s Activism and Social Change, 61, 131, 163, 209-10.
It was very kind of him to make me a call when at the bridge.7The time and place of this meeting cannot be determined with any accuracy. Hallowell might
have encountered Douglass at one of bridges over the Genesee River in or near Rochester while the latter was fleeing the city to safety in Canada in the company of Amy and Isaac Post. Hallowell also might have met Douglass somewhere in Canada West before he departed for Great Britain, as at least two other Rochester friends had. Douglass to Amy Post, 27 October 1859, Amy Post Papers, NRU; McFeely, Frederick Douglass, 200, 202.
The Sight of him was very refreshing to me—and look back to the time Spent there all the more pleasantly because his visit to me.
You would have smiled if you had been in Leeds a few Evenings ago8Sarah Remond and Douglass spoke at the Young Men’s Anti-Slavery Society annual meeting in Leeds, England, on 22 December 1859. Douglass Papers, ser. 1, 3:xxxi.—when Sarah Remond9Born in Salem (Essex County), Massachusetts, Sarah Parker Remond (c. 1815-1894) was the sixth of seven children born to the free blacks John and Nancy (Lennox) Remond and the sister of the well-known abolitionist speaker Charles Lennox Remond. Her family owned and operated hair salons and a catering business in Salem. She went to both public and private schools, attended Bedford College for Ladies (London, England) from 1859 to 1861, and earned her doctor of medicine in 1871 at Ospedale di Santa Maria Nuova in Florence, Italy. Raised in an abolitionist family, Sarah Remond was an antislavery activist, often joining her brother on his lecture tours. She sat on the Finance Committee of the Salem Female Anti-Slavery Society and was a spokesperson at antislavery meetings throughout the northeastern United States. In 1853, Remond was denied a seat while attending a production of Don Pasquale at the Howard Athenaeum in New York, even though she had purchased a ticket. An agent of the company and a police officer physically ejected her, pushing her down a staircase. Remond sued the owners, claiming assault and equal rights for persons of color. Remond won her case in court, and the defendants were fined. In 1858, Remond sailed for England, where she lectured for two years on the abolishment of slavery. While there, she applied for a visa so that she could visit France and Italy, but the embassy denied her request, presuming that black people were not citizens of the United States. Remond remonstrated with the officials, but was unable to obtain the necessary papers. She eventually procured a visa from a British foreign secretary. Remond, who visited Italy several times while living in England, applied to a medical school in Florence at the age of forty-two. After graduation, she remained in Italy and practiced medicine until her death in 1894, Lib., 29 March 1844, 13 May 1853, 19 December 1856, 24 July 1857, 18 September 1857; Boston Daily Advertiser, 17 February 1857; Dorothy B. Porter, “Sarah Parker Remond, Abolitionist and Physician,” JNH, 20:287-93 (July 1935); NAW, 3:136-37.and Caroline her Sister10Caroline L. Remond Putnam (c. 1821-87), the sister of Sarah Parker Remond and Charles Lennox Remond, was the third of seven children born to John and Nancy (Lennox) Remond. Born in Vermont, Caroline owned a barbershop in Salem and was active in the antislavery movement. She held a number of offices in anti-slavery societies in the Northeast and sometimes lectured with her brother and sister. She was also on the Executive Committee of the Massachusetts Suffrage Association. It is unknown when she died, but letters of administration for the estate of Caroline Putnam were filed in Essex County Probate Court on 7 September 1887. 1860 U.S. Census, Massachusetts, Middlesex County, 67; Lib., 29 March 1844, 14 March 1845, 5, 26 June 1846, 13 February 1857; Boston Investigator, 20 April 1853; New Hampshire Statesman, 23 April 1853, 14 May 1853; Lowell Daily Citizens and News, 30 January 1873; Boston Daily Advertiser, 7 September 1887.
—and my self appeared upon the Same anti slavery platform—I think it must have been imbarrassing11Sarah Parker Remond had been generally well received by British audiences during her abolitionist speaking tour of Great Britain. The source of her embarrassment, if indeed it occurred, perhaps came from sharing a stage with the better-known Douglass, who had been publicly excommunicated from the Garrisonian abolitionist ranks, with which she was affiliated. Taylor, British and American Abolitionists, 440; Porter, “Sarah Parker Remond,” 290-92. to Miss Sarah—though she did not rebel—We both spoke—She with her accustomed Calmness—and I—whatever you please. The audience was much pleased with the two blacks from America [.]
I am now stopping with a family of much intelligence, wealth and refinements. The Lady of the House12Jane Martha Forster (1821-99) was born in Laleham on Thames, Middlesex, London, to Dr. Thomas Arnold and Mary Penrose. She married William E. Forster, chief secretary for Ireland in William Gladstone’s cabinet, who was disowned for marrying her outside the Quaker meeting. They had no children of their own, but adopted the four orphaned offspring of her brother, William D. Arnold, who took Arnold-Forster as their surname. Friends’ Intelligencer, 56:631 (August 1899); Friends’ Intelligencer, 56:858 (November 1899); Lionell Cresswell, “The Arnolds of Rugby,” Genealogical Magazine: A Journal of Family History, Heraldry, and Pedigrees, 5:61 (June 1901); DNB, 1:61-62. is the daughter of the celebrated Dr Arnold13Born at West Cowes on the Isle of Wight, Thomas Arnold (1795-1842) was educated privately until he entered Warminster School in Wiltshire in 1803. He transferred to Winchester School in 1807 and entered Oxford University in 1811. A bright and articulate student, he graduated in 1817 and was ordained a deacon at Oxford in 1818, but suffered some religious doubt that kept him from taking orders. Arnold married Mary Penrose (1791-1873), the youngest daughter of the Reverend John Penrose, in 1820 and established a school in Laleham. He left Laleham in 1827 to assume the position of headmaster at Rugby School, mostly because it provided more money. Rugby was in a state of decline, but Arnold turned the school’s lackluster performance around, requiring regular examinations and pupil reports. The curriculum centered on the classics, discipline, and high moral standards. Arnold occasionally supplemented his income by publishing his historical, political, and religious writings, the most notable being some articles on Roman history that were later published in a two-volume collection. He was appointed Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford in 1841. Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, The Life and Correspondence of Thomas Arnold, 2 vols. (New York, 1844-45). and her husband Mr W. H. Forster14William Edward Forster (1818-86), a woolen manufacturer and reformer from Bradford, England, was educated in Quaker schools. As an active lecturer in Bradford and Leeds after the early 1840s, he urged the adoption of free-trade principles, a compromise with British Chartists, the reform of Parliament, and the worldwide abolition of slavery. In 1859 he narrowly missed election to Parliament as a Liberal, but two years later secured a seat, which he held until his death. Over his long legislative career, Forster became increasingly conservative, as illustrated by his later stands on educational reform and on the suppression of the Land League in Ireland. DNB, 7:465-71. is the Son—of the Forsters15Born at Tottenham, Middlesex, William Forster (1784-1854) was trained to be a land surveyor. In 1806, he began devoting all his time to the Society of Friends ministry. He married Anna Hanbury Buxton (1784-1855), the sister of Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, first baronet and antislavery activist, in 1816. Douglass refers to his second of three voyages to the United States, which was made in response to the secession in 1843 of approximately 2,000 antislavery Quakers from the Indiana Yearly Meeting of Friends. The seceders established the Indiana Yearly Meeting of Anti-Slavery Friends and sent an epistle via Arnold Buffum to the London Yearly Meeting, praying for recognition on the grounds that they were simply obeying English admonitions to American Friends over the years not to relax their antislavery efforts. London Quakers ignored both this letter and a second letter sent in 1844. Responding to a letter sent in 1845, the London Yearly Meeting of 1845 entreated the seceders to return to their parent body and appointed a delegation to carry the message to Indiana and mediate between the rival factions. The deputation, which consisted of William Forster, Josiah Forster, George Stacey, and John Allen, in the winter of 1845-46 visited almost every settlement of antislavery seceders in a vain attempt to persuade them to “return to meet with those from whom they had withdrawn.” In their report of 1846, the members of the deputation endorsed the decision of the London Yearly Meeting to recognize the Indiana Yearly Meeting of Friends and not its antislavery rival. Only a few British Quakers, such as the abolitionists Richard Webb, Joseph Sturge, and William and Robert Smeal, supported the claims of the Indiana seceders. Benjamin Seebohm, ed., Memoirs of William Forster, 2 vols. (London, 1865), 2:193-206; Walter Edgerton, A History of the Separation in Indiana Yearly Meeting of Friends ... in the Winter of 1842 and 1843, on the Anti-Slavery Question (Cincinnati, 1856), 92-99, 208-16, 337-52; Thomas E. Drake, Quakers and Slavery in America (Gloucester, Mass., 1965), 164-65, 167-68; C. Duncan Rice, “The Scottish Factor in the Fight against American Slavery, 1830-1870” (Ph.D. diss., University of Edinburgh, 1969), 252-72. who came over to America to heal the difficulties among friends at Richmond Indiana. Mr Forster the Son is not now a quaker—but is quite a military. I was out with him Yesterday Shooting at a mark. He is a capital Shot and is prepared to defend his country from the French—and from any body Else who may be desposed to make an attack. I found my old friend Julia16Julia Griffiths (Crofts). quite glad, of course to See me—and what was of equal importance, her husband17Henry O. Crofts. too, Theirs is one of my homes while I stay in England—Indeed it is my main home—though I have many homes here—where I am regarded and cared for—The life however is high—full of intelligence, taste and dignity—and is at Sometimes a trifle more reserved, than I like. But you know that I am so amiable that people will sometimes allow me a little more freedom—than they allow to most men. I sometimes make even the dignified quakers to laugh—and feel funny just like other people, which you know is very unfavorable to stiffness. I should like to know that you get these flying lines and for this purpose—& you will write to me—Care of Rev. R. L. Carpenter18Russell Lant Carpenter

Halifax Yorkshire

ALS: Post Family Papers, NRU.


I am under the necessity of making all my Correspondents pay double postage for I cannot in the present Condition of funds do else.
Remember me kindly to Mrs G. and all inquiring friends yours Truly and affectionately


[P.S.] Give my love to Isaac—and tell him that he is always affectionately

I wish you all a most happy New year Excuse this miserable Scrawl—

F. D.

ALS: Post Family Papers, NRU.


6. Mary Hallowell (1823-1913) was the daughter of Isaac Post and his first wife, Hannah.

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Douglass, Frederick, 1818-1895


January 31, 1860


Yale University Press 2018



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