Skip to main content

Alpha to Frederick Douglass, September 14, 1853



ROCHESTER, Sept. 14, 1853.

DEAR DOUGLASS:—I perceive you contin-
ue to be attacked with most unaccountable
asperity by the Liberator, Standard, and
Pennsylvania Freeman. Although the last
two have published long and windy articles
against you, yet the points which they raise
are utterly insignificant. They say you have
attacked George Thompson with bitterness
and malignity, but they utterly fail in thier
proof. When George Thompson saw fit to
attack and misrepresent the Liberty Party
three thousand miles off, where there was no
one present capable of correcting his mis-
representations, you saw proper to do it, and
to show his inconsistency by avoiding a colli-
sion with that party while here, and by his
readiness to receive money from them for his
anti-slavery labors. They do not, like kind-
hearted friends, endeavor to show you that
you are wrong, but utter denunciations,
loud and long. This course will not suit a
discriminating public. They must put forth
something more than long-winded and vapid

Your opponents profess to think it strange
that any man can consistently use his politi-
cal franchise, because, in their opinion, the
United States Constitution is not, in all re-
spects, right. With a "turkey-cock strut,"
they would ride roughshod over the whole of
us for modestly differing in opinion with
them. George Thomoson was elected to the
British Parliament, took the oath of office
under a Constitution, recognizing a queen as
sovereign—a union of church and State—a forced maintenance of the clergy—the law
of primogeniture, &c., &c. Yet his course is
highly approved by these pugnacious non-re
. He approves them and they approve
him. There seems to be a mutual agree-
ment; "you tickle me, and I'll tickle you."

Now this course to sensible men seems su-
premely ridiculous. It is too childish and
puerile for men of as much capacity as Phil-
lips and Garrison to put forth their efforts to
support such airy nothings.

It appears to me, my friend, that you have
given great offence, because you saw what
every candid man could not help seeing, and
because you dared to express it, that Horace
Mann was completely triumphant in his con-
troversy with Wendell Phillips. Wendell
should have had a little more regard for his
dignity before he commenced his attacks.—After he is "used up," it does not appear
well to fall back sullenly on his dignity. He
should have thought of it at an earlier peri-
od, and saved himself from much vexation of
spirit. An able man, placing himself in a
false position, and using all his power to sup-
port it, is like Polyphemus in the fable,
strong, but blind.





September 14, 1853


Alpha to Frederick Douglass. PLSr: Frederick DouglassP, 16 September 1853. Takes issue with the treatment Douglass received from Garrison-affiliated newspapers; approves of his criticism of George Thompson.


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


Frederick Douglass' Paper (Rochester, N.Y.) 1851-18??



Publication Status