Skip to main content

Amyntas to Frederick Douglass, March 30, 1854


ELMIRA, March 30th, 1854.
DEAR DOUGLASS:—Having looked in vain in your paper to see borders of the State spoken of, and having despaired of finding anything, I have concluded that the city of the Southern tier should be heard, although I have to be the medium of her expression. Elmira is, as you probably know, about to become united to the Capital of the Key-Stone State by Railroad, which, I suppose will give us an opportunity of becoming bet-ter acquainted with the antics of a portion of Southern chivalry. Our people here are beginning to awake to a knowledge of their true position.
Since the Convention of the Union Coun-cil met here, there has been an increading desire to think and act. The Committee here have aranged to have a series of week-ly meetings for the purpose of aiding as much as possible in carrying out the designs of the National Council, the first of which is to be held to-morrow evening. The peo-ple seem to think that the saying that

"He who would be free,
Himself must strike the blow,"

is too true to be left undeeded longer. We hail with joy the preceedings of the citizens of Milwaukee, and were preparing to raise the shout of victory with Auburn. But by some better management; we were not al-lowed the occasion; we trust it is better so. As to the condition of the people here, I may, is none better suited do not, give you an iten, in my next.
However, I will say that the desire for obtaining education is increasng; there is a school here established for grown and aged persons, which is independent of other common schools, and is not prescriptive in its origin or principles. Although the village has been passed by most Anti-Slavery Lecturors, yet there is a growing Anti-Slavery sentiment here. And there is sufficient space, and need of it. The mechanics here, although not as much inclined to proscription as in many other places, have enough of the spirit of cast to be somewhat opposed to colored mechanics. There are no men of notoriety here, seeking for the Presidential chair, although a sister village has one who voted for the infamous Fugitive Bill; and who, if he was in the Senate now, would, I doubt not, be one of Arnold Douglas' body-guard to protect the Nebraska Bill, from the attacks of those whose consciences caused them to protest against its passage.
This is a place where the spirit of Colonization has not many out spoken friends, although I doubt not, there are many who have the spirit in their hearts. Believing as we do, that "God helps those who help themselves," we trust that the plans made by the Council, a part of which is noticed in you paper last week, may be carried out and result in lasting good for our race; we wait with patience for the good time coming when we shall be able to point to an Industrial School, and also look upon the handiwork of many of those who may attend it.
Our number here is over 400 I think, and still increasing, many of whom reside in their own houses, and a few of them cultivate the soil, thus adding to the strength and charac-ter of the people. All that we ask is an open field and fair play. Where is Communipaw, pouring over some dusty book to bring forth new facts in aid of the amelioration of the condition of his race. Trusting that with my next I may be able to send you some subscribers, I must close after having taken this much space in your paper,
Yours for the Cause,




March 30, 1854


Amyntas to Frederick Douglass. PLSr: Frederick DouglassP, 7 April 1854. Reports on the growing antislavery sentiments in Elmira, New York.


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



Publication Status