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Frederick Douglass George Thompson, February 18, 1860



N[ew] Castle [up]on Tyne[, Eng.] 18 Feb[ruary] 1860.
My kind friend Ellen Richardson1Ellen Richardson (1808—96) was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. She dedicated herself to the education of working-class girls, holding supervisory posts at both the Royal Jubilee School for Girls and St. Mary’s School. In 1846, she joined her sister-in-law Anna Atkins Richardson in providing the money to purchase Douglass’s freedom from Thomas Auld. Anna Atkins Richardson (1806-92) of Newcastle-upon-Tyne married Ellen Richardson’s brother, Henry Richardson, in 1833. A Quaker, she was active in several reform causes but was particularly dedicated to antislavery activism. A member of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, she alienated British Garrisonians by continuing to support Douglass after he had severed ties with Garrison. With her husband, she helped lead the free produce movement (a boycott of goods derived from slave labor) of the 1850s in England; she was responsible for securing the black lecturers Henry Bibb and Henry Highland Garnet to publicize the cause. From 1851 to 1854, the Richardsons published The Slave, a penny newssheet promoting the free produce movement. [Mary C. Pumphrey], Ellen Richardson: In Memoriam, 1808-1896 (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1896); R. J. M. Blackett, Building an Antislavery Wall: Black Americans in the Atlantic Abolitionist Movement, 1830-1860 (Baton Rouge, La., 1983), 120, 122, 134; Temperley, British Antislavery, 245. assures me that you would not object to getting a line from me, and although I had about made up my mind that writing would be of no value or interest to you without my first Seeing you—I yet take pleasure in complying with the wish of one who ts a friend to me and “how much more to thee.”2Perhaps an adaptation of Phil. 1:16.

I have many things to Say to you—Dear George Thompson—many things to ask and many things to explain—but laying aside all these till we meet—as I do most confidently hope we Shall meet,—allow me to express my great pleasure in learning that your natural force has so far returned to you and your freinds are So true to[]you that you are again able to be Seen and heard on the Subject of Slavery and to plead the Cause now and always dear to your heart.
From my heart I thank you for your noble words in speaking of me to the people of New Castle upon Tyne3On 8 February 1860 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, George Thompson delivered a lecture in which he supported the Garrisonian view of the Constitution of the United States as a proslavery document. Thompson described Garrison and his followers as a “non-political party” because their beliefs prohibited them from voting for a candidate who would then take an oath of office vowing to uphold a constitution they did not support. “Lecture by George Thompson, Esq.,” London Emancipation Committee’s Tracts, No. 5 (London, 1860), 5.—I was very glad to know from your


friend Ellen Richardson that you believed that all would be right should we meet and Speak together.
Until then don-t hold me as an enimy.—


ALS: Frederick Douglass Papers, NRU.


Douglass, Frederick, 1818-1895




Yale University Press 2018



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