American Prejudice Against Color: An Address Delivered in Cork, Ireland, 23 October 1845
AMERICAN PREJUDICE AGAINST COLOR: AN ADDRESS DELIVERED IN CORK, IRELAND, 23 OCTOBER 1845
Cork Examiner, 27 October 1845. Other texts in British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Reporter, ser. 1, 6 : 212 (12 November 1845), misdated 20 October 1845; National Anti-Slavery Standard, 27 November 1845.
Cork’s Imperial Hotel was the scene of a major address by Douglass on 23 October 1845. With the aid of the Cork Anti-Slavery Society and the Cork Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society, the meeting had received considerable advance publicity. On the eve of the address, the Cork Examiner touted the event as a unique opportunity "to see how the gifts of nature can triumph over the most disheartening circumstances." The same newspaper later reported that the hotel’s Great Room was thronged on the day of Douglass's speech by a "most respectable and attentive audience," including alderman Thomas Lyons, who presided. Douglass used the occasion to refute doctrines of black racial inferiority and to condemn American color prejudice. Cork Examiner, 22 October 1845.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,——There is perhaps no argument more frequently resorted to by the Slaveholders in support of the slave system, than the inferiority of the slave. This is the burden of all their defence of the institution of slavery, "the negro is degraded—he is ignorant, he is inferior—and therefore 'tis right to enslave him." A distinguished divine,1Douglass was probably referring to the Reverend Orville Dewey. lately travelled in these countries—stung to shame for the humanity of his country, instead of confessing its sin before God
and the Universe, adduced the pitiful argument for slavery of inferiority of our race. What if we are inferior? Is it a valid reason for making slaves of us? for robbing us of our dearest rights? Can there be any reason found in moral or religious philosophy, justifying the enslaving of any class of beings, merely on the ground of their inferiority—intellectual, moral, or religious? If we search the words of inspired wisdom, we shall ﬁnd that the strong are to bear the inﬁrmities of the weak,—teaching the wise the duty of instructing the ignorant; and if we consult the better feelings of humanity, we ﬁnd all hearts on the side of the weak, the feeble, the distressed, and the outraged.
In no sound philosophy can slavery be justiﬁed. 'Tis at war with the best feelings of the human heart. 'Tis at war with Christianity. Wherever we ﬁnd an individual justify[ing] slavery on such a pretext you will ﬁnd him also justifying the slavery of any human beings on the earth. 'Tis the old argument on the part of tyrants. Tyrants have ever justiﬁed their tyranny by arguing on the inferiority of their victims. The Slavery of only part or portion of the human family, is a matter of interest to every member of the human family; slavery being the enemy of all mankind. I wish it distinctly to be understood that this is no feeling of merely intellectual interest, but 'tis also a matter of moral interest to you; since the morals it produces affect all men alike. I speak to Christian men and Christian women. The glory of Christianity is to be defended, to be maintained, but how, Mr. President, I ask, is Christianity to be defended and maintained if its professors—if those who stand forth as its advocates—are found with their hands dripping with the blood of their brethren? Why is Christianity to be maintained, if Christians stand by and see men, made in the image of God, considered as things—mere pieces of property?
In the name of Christianity, I demand that the people of these countries be interested in the question of slavery! In vain may the slaveowner tell you it is no concern of yours. Mr. President, it belongs to the whole nation of America; and to the Irishmen, not because they are Irish, but because they are MEN. Slavery is so gigantic that it cannot be coped with by one nation.—Hence I would have the intelligence and humanity of the entire people of Ireland against that infamous system.
I plead here for man. Notwithstanding our inferiority we have all the feelings common to humanity. I will grant frankly, I must grant, that the Negroes in America are inferior to the Whites. But why are they so? is
another question—and a question to which I will call your attention for a few moments—The people of America deprive us of every privilege—they turn round and taunt us with our inferiority!—they stand upon our necks, they impudently taunt us, and ask the question, why we don’t stand up erect? they tie our feet, and ask us why we don't run? that is the position of America in the present time, the laws forbid education, the mother must not teach her child the letters of the Lord’s prayer; and then while this unfortunate state of things exist they turn round and ask, why we are not moral and intelligent; and tell us, because we are not, that they have the right to enslave [us]. Now let me read a few of the laws of that democratic country, not that I have anything against democracy. I am not here to call in question the propriety, or impropriety of a democratic government or to say anything in favor of any kind of government. I am here but to urge the right of every man to his own body, to his own hand and to his own heart (applause).
Mr. President, I shall give you a few specimens of these laws. In South Carolina in 1770, this law was passed. "Whereas the teaching of slaves to write is sometimes connected with inconvenience, be it enacted that every person who shall teach a slave to write, for every such offence shall forfeit the penalty of £100." Mark, we are an inferior race, morally and intellectually. Hence 'tis right to enslave us. The same hypocrites make laws to prevent our improvement. In Georgia in 1770 similar laws were passed; and in Virginia. South Carolina, in 1800, passed the following—that the assemblage of slaves and Mulattos for the purpose of instruction may be dissolved.2Douglass summarizes the laws as they appear in George M. Stroud, A Sketch of the Laws Relating to Slavery in the Several States of the United States of America (Philadelphia, 1827), 88–89. (2) In Louisiana the penalty of [for?] teaching a black in a Sunday school is, for the ﬁrst offence500 dollars ﬁne, for the second death. This is in America, a Christian country, a democratic, a republican country, the land of the free, the home of the brave—the nation that waged the seven years warfare to get rid of a three-penny tea tax, and pledged itself to the declaration that all men are born free and equal, making it at the same time a penalty punishable with death for the second offense to teach a slave his letters.
Now I will brieﬂy tell you what past during my voyage to this country which will illustrate the feelings of our people towards the black man. In taking up one of your papers this morning I saw an extract from
the New York Herald3Douglass refers to an editorial in the New York Herald, 27 September 1845, which observed that when "a negro named Douglass" started to speak in abusive tones about America and Americans, "there arose a general uproar." He is about to narrate one of the most publicized events of his ﬁrst trip to the British Isles. It took place on 27 August 1845, the day before the Cambria, a wooden paddle steamer of the Cunard Line, docked in Liverpool, England. Shortly after the champagne dinner traditionally held at the end of a sea voyage, many of the Cambria’s ninety-ﬁve passengers were on the promenade deck trying to clear their heads of the brandy and wine that had been consumed in toasts to the captain, when the event took place. See Douglass to Garrison, 1 September 1845, in Lib, 26 September 1845; Douglass to Thurlow Weed, 1 December 1845, in NASS, 15 January 1846; Douglass, Bondage and Freedom, 367-68, 380-81; idem, Life and Times, 259-61; "A pro-slavery American" to Boston Times, in Lib, 3 October 1845; Judson Hutchinson to Lynn (Mass.) Pioneer, in Lib, 10 October 1845; New York Herald, 1 December 1845; John Wallace Hutchinson, The Story of the Hutchinsons, 2 vols. (Boston, 1896), 1 : 144-46; George D. Warburton, Hochelaga; or, England in the New World, 2 vols. (London, 1847), 2: 358-62; James E. Alexander, L’Acadie; or, Seven Years’ Exploration in British America, 2 vols. (London, 1849), 2: 258-62; F. Lawrence Babcock, Spanning the Atlantic (New York, 1931), 125-26.) by Gordon Bennett,4Founder, publisher, and editor of the New York Herald, James Gordon Bennett (1795—1872] was a chief ﬁgure in the rise of American popular journalism. Born in Scotland and educated for the Catholic priesthood, Bennett emigrated to Nova Scotia in 1819 and shortly afterward settled in Boston, where he clerked in a publishing ﬁrm. In 1822 he moved to New York City and began his long career in journalism. From 1826 to 1829 he was the associate editor and Washington correspondent of the New York Examiner. Three years later he was the associate editor of James Watson Webb's Morning Courier and New York Enquirer. After a few unsuccessful efforts to become a publisher and editor in his own right, Bennett established the Herald in 1835, which was issued daily at one cent a copy. Although not the ﬁrst entrant in the ﬁeld of "penny-press" journalism, Bennett's Herald was the ﬁrst major success at the business. He frequently ridiculed abolitionists, who retaliated in kind. On 7 August 1843 Bennett went to the Corn Exchange in Dublin to hear Daniel O’Connell speak. When told that Bennett was in the audience, O'Connell denounced Bennett as "one of the conductors of one of the vilest gazettes ever published by infamous publishers." Bennett’s Opposition to Repeal agitation in Ireland heightened the antagonism between the two men. [1. C. Pray], Memoirs of James Gordon Bennett and His Times (New York, 1855), 331-45; Oliver Carlson, The Man Who Made the News (New York, 1942); Don C. Seitz, The James Gordon Bennetts, Father and Son: Proprietors of the New York Herald (Indianapolis, 1928), 110-18; Lawrence J. McCaffrey, Daniel O’Connell and the Repeal Year (Lexington, Ky, 1966), 76n; DAB, 2 : 195-99. one of the greatest slave haters in the world. It relates that a remarkable occurrence took place in the Cambria during its passage to England:—"A coloured slave named Douglas[s] is said to have spoken on anti-Slavery, and that a row took place in consequence." You may have occasion to hear more of the New York Herald. The editor was over here some time ago, at the Conciliation-hall, and Mr. O’Connell denounced him in round terms.
Now the circumstance to which this refers is as follows—I took passage at Boston, or rather my friend Mr. Buffum,5Protesting the discriminatory treatment accorded Douglass, James Buffum also took passage in the steerage compartment of the Cambria. Hutchinson, Story of the Hutchinsons, 1 : 145. the gentleman who
lived in the same town with me, went to Boston from Lynn to learn if I could have a cabin passage on board the vessel. He was answered that I could not, that it would give offence to the majority of the American passengers. Well, I was compelled to take a steerage passage, good enough for me. I suffered no inconvenience from the place—I kept myself in the forecastle cabin, and walked about on the forward deck.6Douglass later recalled that after two days at sea "one part of the ship was about as free to me as another" and that he visited the ﬁrst-class section of the vessel at the invitation of his fellow passengers, who often called on him in the steerage compartment. Though Douglass's visits to the upper decks were infrequent, they antagonized some of the Americans on board, who were already somewhat put out with the antislavery singing of the Hutchinsons. Douglass. Bondage and Freedom, 366-67; Douglass to Garrison, 1 September 1845, in Lib, 26 September 1845; Lib, 3 October 1845; Alexander, L'Acadie. 2 : 262. Walking about there from day to day my presence soon excited the interest of the persons on the quarter deck, and my character and situation were made known to several gentlemen of distinction7Douglass’s fellow passengers included Sir Edmund Grattan, the British Vice Consul; Antonio G. Vega, the Spanish Consul; Samuel B. Ruggles, a New York ﬁnancier and railroad promoter; Frederick Widder, Chief Commissioner of the Canada Land Company; Sir James E. Alexander, English traveler and explorer; the Right Reverend Francis Norbert Blanchet, Catholic bishop of Oregon; and Gen. Rufus Welch, a circus owner. For a passenger list of the Cambria, see Boston Evening Transcript, 16 August 1845. See also, Alexander, L'Acadie, 2 : 259—60; D. G. Brinton Thompson, Ruggles of New York: A Life of Samuel B. Ruggles (New York, 1846), 42-43; George L. Chindahl, A History of the Circus in America (Caldwell, Idaho, 1959), 37-41; Letitia M. Lyons, Francis Norbert Blanchet and the Founding of the Oregon Missions (Washington, D.C., 1940), 158-59. on board, some of whom became interested in me.
In four or ﬁve days I was very well known to the passengers, and there was quite a curiosity to hear me speak on the subject of slavery—l did not feel at liberty to go on the quarter deck—the Captain at last invited me to address the passengers on slavery.8The captain of the Cambria was Charles H. E. Judkins (1811-76), who was the ﬁrst commodore of the Cunard Line and among the ﬁrst civilian pilots to be awarded a commission in the Royal Navy Reserve. By the time he retired in 1871 he had commanded many of the Cunard Line’s record-breaking steamers and had made more than 500 transatlantic voyages without serious mishap. Douglass spoke at the invitation of Judkins, who had earlier been approached by Buffum, the Hutchinsons, and some English passengers recently made familiar with Douglass's Narrative. Captain Judkins had the steward ring the bell on the promenade deck, told the passengers that Douglass was going to make a few remarks on American slavery, and advised those who did not wish to hear him to go below. A few of the American passengers retired to the saloon in order “to take into consideration the propriety of expressing our feelings in some proper way, that the public might know the respect, or want of respect, paid to Americans on board this steamer." But more of them apparently remained topside and kept up such a loud grumbling that the Hutchinsons had to silence the crowd with an abolitionist melody in order that the meeting might begin. New York Herald, 1 December 1845; Douglass to Garrison, 1 September 1845, in Lib, 26 September 1845; James Croil, Steam Navigation and its Relation to the Commerce of Canada and the United States (Toronto, 1898), 86-87; Henry Fry, The History of North Atiantic Steam Navigation (London, 1896), 105, 126; Frank C. Bowen, A Century of Atlantic Travel, 1830-1930 (London, ), 60, 85-86, 103-06; Babcock, Spanning the Atlantic, 84-85, 103, 121; Warburton, Hochelaga, 2 : 359; Hutchinson, Story of the Hutchinsons, 1 :145.(8) I consented—commenced—but soon observed a determination on the part of some half a dozen to prevent my speaking, who I found were slave owners. I had not uttered more than a sentence before up started a man from
Connecticut,9The “man from Connecticut” was J. Hazard, who listed himself on the ship's manifest as being from New Haven. Not much can be learned of him except that he was a Baptist and had lived for many years in Georgia. Douglass to Garrison, 1 September 1845, in Lib, 26 September 1845; Judson Hutchinson to Lynn (Mass.) Pioneer, in Lib., 10 October 1845; Boston Evening Transcript, 16 August 1845; New York Herald, 1 December 1845. and said "that’s a lie." I proceeded without taking notice of him, then shaking his ﬁst he said, again—that’s a lie. Some said I should not speak, others that I should—I wanted to inform the English, Scotch and Irish on board on Slavery—I told them blacks were not considered human beings in America. Up started a slave-owner from Cuba10The only passenger on the Cambria who listed a Cuban address was J. C. Burnham of Matanzas province, one of the major sugar-growing centers on the island. Boston Evening Transcript, 16 August 1845.—"Oh," said he, "I wish I had you in Cuba." Well, said I, ladies and gentlemen, since what I have said has been pronounced lies, I will read not what I have written but what the southern legislators themselves have written—I mean the law. I proceeded to read—this raised a general clamour, for they did not wish the laws exposed.11Douglass began by reading the slave laws of Georgia, presumably from Stroud, Laws Relating to Slavery. J. Hazzard was the ﬁrst to object. "It was enough to be compelled to hear him, as a mouth-piece of the captain, insult Americans with his remarks," the Connecticut man reportedly said of Douglass, "but if he had any State laws to read, to read them, and not attempt to palm off any of his abolition tracts as the laws of Georgia or any other State." Hazzard added that he had lived in Georgia long enough to become "well acquainted with her laws," and to know that Douglass "was not reading any of them." New York Herald, 1 December 1845. They hated facts, they knew that the people of these countries who were on the deck would draw their own references from them.
Here a general hurry ensued—"Down with the nigger," said one—"he shan’t speak" said another. I sat with my arms folded, feeling no way anxious for my fate. I never saw a more barefaced attempt to put down the freedom of speech than upon this occasion. Now came the Captain12Captain Judkins was taking a nap in his cabin, recovering from the banquet in his honor, when the disturbance broke out. New York Herald. 1 December 1845; Hutchinson, Story of the Hutchinsons. 1 : 146.—he was met by one of the other party, who put out his
ﬁst at him—the Captain knocked him down—instead of his bowie, the fallen man drew out his card crying 'I’ll meet you at Liverpool."13Douglass subsequently identiﬁed Captain Judkins‘s assailant as a New Orleans slaveholder. Another account has the New Orleans man boasting that he "owned a hundred and thirty niggers." This slaveholder may have been Jno. Phillippi, the only passenger on board who gave his address as New Orleans. Phillippi may also have been the master of a ship in the China trade, since an English passenger remembered such a man from New Orleans on board but thought he fought Douglass, not Judkins. Judson Hutchinson to Lynn (Mass) Pioneer, in Lib., 10 October 1845; Boston Evening Transcript, 16 August 1845; Warburton, Hochelago, 2 : 359. Well, said the Captain, "and I‘ll meet you." The Captain restored order, and proceeded to speak. "I have done all I could from the commencement of the voyage to make the voyage agreeable to all. We have had a little of everything on board. We have had all sorts of discussions, religious, moral and political, we have had singing and dancing, everything that we could have, except an anti-slavery speech, and since there was a number of ladies and gentlemen interested in Mr. Douglass, I requested him to speak. Now, those who are not desirous to hear him, let them go to another part of the vessel. Gentlemen," he said, "you have behaved derogatory to the character of gentlemen and Christians.14Judson Hutchinson left a fuller account of Captain Judkins's censure of the riotous passengers: "Gentlemen—I was once the owner of two hundred slaves. If I had them now, 1 should not be obliged to follow the sea. But they were liberated, and it was right. Frederick Douglass may speak. I am captain of this ship." Judson Hutchinson to Lynn (Mass) Pioneer, in Lib., 10 October 1845; Hutchinson, Story of the Hutchinsons, 1 : 146. Mr. Douglas[s], "said he, "go on, pitch into them like bricks!" (Laughter.) However, the excitement was such that I was not allowed to go on. The agitation however did not cease, for the question was discussed, to the moment we landed at Liverpool. The Captain threatened the disturbers with putting them in irons if they did not become quiet15Captain Judkins ordered the boatswain to call the watch and have three pairs of irons ready at a moment’s warning, telling the rioters in the meantime that he did not "care a d——n" for them, and advising Douglass to "leave the deck and his hearers." Douglass took the advice, for things had gotten out of hand. Some of the passengers wanted to "throw the d—n nigger overboard." Two Englishmen on board later said that only the nearness of English law prevented bloodshed and loss of life. After Douglass’s departure, the passengers broke up into small groups of ﬁst-shaking antagonists, each hotly refusing to stand for this or that outrage. The rest of the evening was passed in "explanations and excitement." On the return voyage to the United States, Captain Judkins was still telling American passengers that he "did not care a d——n for them." His outspokenness won him praise from the antislavery press, scorn from the proslavery press, and apparently a mild rebuke from his employers. Judson Hutchinson to Lynn (Mass.) Pioneer, in Lib., 10 October 1845; New York Herald, 27 September, 6 October, 1 December 1845; Warburton, Hochelaga, 2 : 360-62; Hutchinson, Story of the Hutchinsons, 1 : 145-57; Alexander, L'Acadie, 2 : 262; Glasgow Emancipation Society, Minute Books, 4 : 282, Mitchel Library, Glasgow, Scotland.—these men
disliked the irons—were quieted by the threat; yet this infamous class have put the irons on the black. (Mr. Douglass showed the slave-irons to the meeting.)
Now that I am alluding to papers, allow me to say that there has been a little misunderstanding between myself and the Reporter of one of your papers. I am glad to have an opportunity of making an explanation respecting the matter. I believe the name of the paper is the Constitution. The ﬁrst meeting, which was held in the Court-house, was reported, and the Reporter took occasion to speak of me as a ﬁne young Negro. Well, that is the mode of advertising in our country a slave for sale. I took occasion to allude to the apparent sweeping manner in which I was spoken of; but I ﬁnd from information which I have received that the gentleman who wrote it had no intention to sneer or speak slightingly of me or the Negro race at all. I am glad to know it.
This simple meeting gathered together to-day, may do something towards freeing the bondsman. Every true word spoken, every right aim levelled against slavery in this land will effect wonders in the destiny of the black slave in America. They will be free only by the combined inﬂuence of the Christian world. They can’t be free otherwise. America has not sufﬁcient moral stamina in herself to emancipate the slave unassisted by the world.
My friends, you yourselves can cheer the heart of the slave by making every pro-slavery man feel the strength of your opposition to slavery. I have had an excellent illustration of this put into my hands by a friend recently—a letter from Mr. Haughton16Born in Carlow and educated at Kildare, Ireland, James Haughton (1795—1873) settled in Dublin, Ireland, in 1817 as a corn and ﬂour factor in partnership with his brother. Active in a variety of reform movements, he persistently wrote about abolitionism, paciﬁsm, capital punishment, and educational reform. He is best remembered as a temperance reformer, prominent in appeals for total abstinence and restrictions on the sale of intoxicants. He became a vegetarian in 1846 and was later president of the Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom. An admirer of Daniel O’Connell, Haughton supported the Irish Repeal movement. He was instrumental in the founding of the Dublin Mechanics’ Institute and successfully campaigned to have Dublin’s zoological and botanical gardens remain open on Sunday afternoons for the beneﬁt of working class families. Born and educated as a Quaker, he died a Unitarian, having joined that denomination in 1834. Webb, CIB, 246, 487; DNB, 9: 168. of Dublin, in which he exposes the conduct of a Minister of the Unitarian denomination who ventured across here, the Rev. W. Parkman.17The Unitarian minister in question was the Reverend Doctor Francis Parkman (1788-1852), not W. Parkman. Son of an eminent merchant, Parkman was born in Boston, studied at Harvard, and was pastor of the New North Church in Boston from 1813 to 1849. Father of the historian Francis Parkman, he belonged to many religious, benevolent, and educational organizations, serving for a while as an Overseer of Harvard College, where he had founded a Professorship of Pulpit Eloquence and Pastoral Care. Parkman was among those Unitarian ministers whose afﬁliation with the American Colonization Society outraged Garrisonian abolitionists. During Parkman's travels in Great Britain in 1845, Haughton sought an interview with him and warned Irish Unitarians not to be "bamboozled" by this "pro-slavery" clergyman from America. When Parkman arrived in Dublin, Haughton told him he was invited to dinner provided he was a genuine abolitionist. The American eschewed that label but said he was a "true lover of liberty" and could therefore accept Haughton's hospitality. Douglass relies on Haughton's account of his dinner interview with Parkman, as reported in Haughton’s letter to the London Inquirer, 30 August 1845. Parkman averred that Haughton's account was unjust and explained that he refrained from preaching abolitionism because there were "other topics . . . more needed" and "more useful to his hearers." Parkman felt that his trip to the British Isles had passed agreeably, despite abolitionist attempts to hold him to account for his silence on slavery. Lib., 26 September, 24, 31 October, 28 November 1845; Samuel A. Eliot, ed., Heralds of a Liberal Faith, 3 vols. (Boston, 1910), 1 : 111-18: Conrad Wright, The Liberal Christians: Essays on American Unitarian History (Boston, 1970), 65; Henry D. Sedgwick, Francis Parkman (New York, 1904), 17-48.- That gentleman wished
an introduction to Mr. Haughton, and sought an interview with him, but Mr. Haughton ﬁrst enquired, "was he an abolitionist?" "I am not an abolitionist in the sense of the term that is understood in our country. Abolitionism is a party-man and I am not one in the party sense." "Sir, would you preach against slavery in your pulpit?"—No, Sir. I would not, it would injure my inﬂuence with my congregation, ’twould offend some of my members. I am bound not to introduce anything that would be offensive,"—that is, in other words, I am not sent by God to preach, i am sent by my congregation.
My friends, there are charges brought against coloured men not alone of intellectual inferiority, but of want of affection for each other. I do know that their affections are exceedingly strong. Why, but a short time ago we had a glorious illustration of affection in the heart of a black man—Maddison Washington, he has made some noise in the world by that act of his, it has been made the ground of some diplomacy:—he ﬂed from Virginia for his freedom—he ran from American republican slavery, to monarchical liberty, and preferred the one decidedly to the other—he left his wife and little ones in slavery—he made up his mind to leave them, for he felt that in Virginia he was always subject to be removed from them; he ran off to Canada, he was there for two years, but there in misery; for his wife was perpetually before him, he said within himself—l can't be free while my wife's a slave. He left Canada to make an effort to save his wife and children, he arrived at Troy where he met with Mr. Garrett; a highly intellectual black man, who admonished [him] not to go, it would be perfectly fruitless. He went on however to Virginia where he was immediately taken, put with
a gang of slaves on board the brig Creole, destined for Southern America. After being out nine days, he could sometimes see the iron-hearted owners contemplating joyfully the amount of money they should gain by reaching the market before it was glutted.
On the 9th day Maddison Washington succeeded in getting off his irons, and reaching his head above the hatchway he seemed inspired with the love of freedom, with the determination to get it or die in the attempt. As he came to the resolution he darted out of the hatchway, seized a handspike, felled the Captain—and found himself with his companions masters of the ship. He saved a sufﬁcient number of the lives of those who governed the ship to reach the British Islands; there they were emancipated.18Washington’s role in the mutiny aboard the Creole inspired Douglass's novella "The Heroic Slave" written in 1853. The Creole was carrying 135 slaves, 8 crewmen, 5 sailors, 6 white passengers, and a shipment of tobacco from Hampton Roads, Virginia, to New Orleans when, on 7 November 1841, mutiny led by Washington, erupted during the eleventh, not the ninth, day of her voyage. Though only nineteen slaves followed Washington’s lead, they wounded the captain, killed one white man, and easily overpowered the crew, who ran for the rigging when the battle intensiﬁed. The crew convinced the mutineers that the ship lacked sufﬁcient provisions for a voyage to Liberia. The new command, aware that British authorities had freed a cargo of slaves which had shipwrecked near Abaco Island in the Bahamas the year before, agreed to make the two-day sail to Nassau. On 12 November the British government, ignoring the recommendation of the American consul, freed all the slaves not involved in the mutiny and jailed the nineteen mutineers. Southern congressmen, fearful for the security of the coastal slave trade, demanded either the return of the mutineers or reparations. In 1842 disagreement over the Creole incident not only threatened an Anglo-American settlement of Oregon and Maine boundary disputes but also hindered agreement on measures for the joint suppression of the Atlantic slave trade. The Webster-Ashbutton treaty of 1842 did not resolve the Creole controversy or the problem of slave mutinies. The Nassau attorney general freed the nineteen mutineers in 1842, and in 1855 an Anglo-American claims commission awarded $110,330 to the owners of the freed slaves. After his emancipation, Madison Washington apparently dropped out of recorded history. Howard Jones, "The Peculiar Institution and National Honor: The Case of the Creole Slave Revolt," Civil War History, 21 :28-50 (March 1975); Senate Documents, 27 Cong, 2d sess., ser. 396, 2 (no. 51): 1-46; "Madison Washington: Another Chapter in His History," reprinted in Lib., 10 June 1842. See also Frederick Douglass, "The Heroic Slave," Autographs for Freedom, ed. Julia W. Grifﬁths (Rochester, N.Y., 1853), 174 -233; Wilbur Devereaux Jones, "The Inﬂuence of Slavery on the Webster-Ashburton Negotiations," JSH, 20 : 48-58 (February 1956); DNB, 1 : 1110-11. This soon was found out at the other side of the Atlantic and our Congress was thrown into an uproar that Maddison Washington had in imitation of George Washington gained liberty. They branded him as being a thief, robber and murderer; they insisted on the British Government giving him back. The British Lion refused to send the bondsmen back. They did send Lord Ashburton as politely as possible to tell them that they were not to be the mere watchdogs of American slaveowners; and Washington with his 130 brethren are free. We are
branded as not loving our brother and race. Why did Maddison Washington leave Canada where he might be free, and run the risk of going to Virginia? It has been said that it is none but those persons who have a mixture of European blood who distinguish themselves. This is not true. I know that the most intellectual and moral colored man that is now in our country is a man in whose veins no European blood courses— 'tis the Rev. Mr. Garrett19Douglass actually refers to the Reverend Henry Highland Garnet (1815—82), who said he was the grandson of a Mandingo chief. Born a slave in Kent County, Maryland. Garnet ﬂed North with his parents in 1824. He attended the African Free School in New York City, the Noyes Academy in Canaan, New Hampshire, and the Oneida Institute in Whitesboro, New York. Garnet was one of the founders of the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society and a stump speaker for the Liberty party. Licensed to preach by the presbytery of Troy in 1842. Garnet went to Jamaica in 1852 as a missionary of the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland. An early proponent of black emigration to Africa and founder of the African Civilization Society, Garnet, in his appeal for slave uprisings before a National Negro Convention in Buffalo, New York, in August 1843, praised Madison Washington. After the Civil War, Garnet was president of Avery College in Pittsburgh and United States minister to Liberia (1881-82). Joel Schor, Henry Highland Garnet: A Voice of Black Radicalism in the Nineteenth Century (Westport, Conn. , 1977); Dorothy Sterling, ed., Speak Out in Thunder Tones: Letters and Other Writings by Black Northerners, 1787-1865 (Garden City, N.Y., 1973), 376; Quarles, Black Abolitionists, 68, 185, 216-17 226-27; Alexander Crummell, "Eulogium on Henry Highland Garnet, D.D.," Africa and America: Addresses and Discourses (Miami, Fla., 1969), 271-305; Washington (D.C.) People's Advocate, 8 March 1882; New Jersey Sentinel, 18 March 1882. and there is the Rev. Theodore Wright*Theodore Sedgwick Wright (1797-1847), a graduate of the Princeton Theological Seminary, succeeded Henry Highland Garnet as pastor of Shiloh Presbyterian Church in New York City and later served as moderator of the Third Presbytery of New York. He helped found the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society in 1840 and served on the executive committee of the American Missionary Association. He was later active in the Liberty party and the movement to repeal property qualifications for black voters in New York state., New York Evangelist, 1 April 1847: Washington (D.C.) National Era, 8 April 1847; Carter G. Woodson, ed., Negro Orators and Their Orations (Washington. D.C., 1925), 85-86; Quarles, Black Abolitionists, 45, 46, 68, 80, 171-72, 184-85; Sterling, Speak Out in Thunder Tones, 383.— people who have no taint of European blood, yet they are as respectable and intelligent, they possess as elegant manners as I see among almost any class of people. Indeed my friends those very Americans are indebted to us for their own liberty at the present time, the ﬁrst blood that gushed at Lexington, at the battle ﬁeld of Worcester, and Bunker Hill (applause).21About 5000 Negroes, both slave and free, and mostly northern, served in the patriot army. Prince Estabrook (or Easterbrook) was among the ﬁrst Americans to be wounded in the ﬁght at Lexington. Peter Salem (?-1816}, alias Salem Middleux, an emancipated slave of Framingham, Massachusetts, fought at Lexington and Concord before distinguishing himself at Bunker Hill. Benjamin Quarles, The Negro in the American Revolution (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1961), 9-11; Robert Ewell Greene, Black Defenders of America, 1775-1973 (Chicago, 1974), 9-20. General Jackson has to own that he owes his farm on the banks of the Mobile to the strong hand of the Negro. I could read you
General Jackson’s own account of the services of the blacks to him, and after having done this, the base ingrates enslave us.22Two battalions and several smaller units of black soldiers, largely composed of slaves and free men of color from New Orleans, served with Gen. Andrew Jackson’s army in the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812. Shortly after the decisive battle of 8 January 1815, Jackson publicly acknowledged that the "colored volunteers have not disappointed the hopes that were formed of their courage and perseverance in the performance of their duty." Roland C. McConnell, Negro Troops of Antebellum Louisiana: A History of the Battalion of Free Men of Color (Baton Rouge, 1968), 56-91; Franklin, From Slavery to Freedom, 125; Ira Berlin, Slaves without Masters: The Free Negro in the Antebellum South (New York, 1974), 125-30; Baltimore Niles' Weekly Register, 25 February 1815. Mr. Douglas[s] here sat down amidst the warmest applause of the meeting.
Mr. Douglas[s] again rose and said—I ought to have stated that there is held annually in the city of Boston an anti-slavery bazaar23Held from 1834 through 1857 during the Christmas holidays, the Boston Anti-Slavery Bazaar was one of the most important sources of ﬁnancial support for Garrisonian abolitionists. The annual fair, largely the work of Maria Weston Chapman and the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society, sold articles contributed by American, British, and Irish women reformers and featured addresses by prominent abolitionists. The bazaar 's receipts rose from $300 in 1834 to $3700 in 1845. The bazaar of 1856 raised a record $5250. Receipts fell abruptly the following year, however, and in 1858 the bazaar was discontinued in favor of a National Anti-Slavery Subscription Anniversary, held annually until 1865. Merrill, Against Wind and Tide, 196-98, 359n. the proceeds of which are appropriated to printing anti-slavery truth—sending the light of anti-slavery truth into the community; and that there are ladies, English, Irish and Scotch, who are interested in that bazaar, and send annual contributions to it in the shape of needle-work, painting, &c. Any such contributions will be thankfully received. Whatever is done, every stitch that is taken—every motion made with the paint brush, has a treble value on our side of the Atlantic. We are made to know that there are hearts beating in unison with our own. We hold up those little works of art that are presented at the fair, as incentives to industry on the part of our own peeple. True to their noble natures as women they ask—
"While woman's heart is bleeding
Shall woman’s voice be hushed."24Douglass quotes from the fourth stanza of Elizabeth Margaret Chandler, "Patriotism and Sympathy," in Maria W. Chapman, ed., Songs of the Free, and Hymns of Christian Freedom (Boston, 1836), 28.
I wish just to say to persons desirous of contributing to this Bazaar in Cork, that they can do so by forwarding their contributions to the Misses Jennings,25The sisters Charlotte, Helen, Isabel, and Jane Jennings were active in the efforts of the Cork Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society to raise contributions for the Boston Anti-Slavery Bazaar. Isabel Jennings was cosecretary of the Society and later supported Douglass's newspapers through contributions to the Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Bazaar. Ellen M. Oldham, "Irish Support of the Abolitionist Movement," MB, "Quarterly," 10: 175-80 (October 1958]; Jane Jennings et al. to Maria W. Chapman, 1 December 1841, Isabel Jennings to Maria W. Chapman, n.d., in Taylor, British and American Abolitionists, 158, 243-44; Douglass, Life and Times, 584. Brown-Street, before the 23rd of next month.