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A[bner] H. Francis to Frederick Douglass, July 22, 1855


LETTER FROM A. H. Francis.

Portland, O. T. July 22, 1855

DEAR FREDERICK:—In my last, two weeks
ago, I stated what I had seen. In the hurry of
business I omitted inclosing the ten dollars.
I now inclose you twelve and one half dollars
$2.50 for the Paper—ten dollars for a donation
for the benefit of the Paper.

I have nothing important to relate since my
last, except a [flare?] up this morning with the
County Assessor.

The law of the Territory levys a tax on
stock in trade, money, &c., of [1/2?] per cent, which
makes it very heavy on large mercantile houses.
The Assessor newly appointed demands on oath
the value of your effects.

The law of the Territory forbids my oath on
account of complexion. In compliance with
this outrageous law I refused to swear to my
amount of capitol. The Assessor has taken
issue, and no doubt it will end in a law suit; the
fine for refusing to swear is $20. I have con-
cluded not to tamely submit to witnessing this
outrage on my rights without testing the le-
gality thereof.

Look for a moment at the detestable princi-
ple here involved. Outrages, insults, or abuse,
may be practiced upon me, and I have no oath
to defend myself. When taxation, without
representation is levied
upon me, then my oath
is good in order that a heavier tax may be col-
lected from me.

Never, no never will I open my lips in solemn
vows, to such injustice, short of investigation
before a higher tribunal than petty officers.

I remain yours as ever.



Francis, Abner Hunt (1813-1872)




A[bner] H. Francis to Frederick Douglass. PLSr: Frederick DouglassP, 31 August 1855. Criticizes an Oregon law requiring him to pay taxes, even though they do not accept his oath because he is black.


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


Frederick Douglass' Paper



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Frederick Douglass' Paper