Skip to main content

Communipaw [James McCune Smith] to Frederick Douglass, November 28, 1853


From our New York Correspondent.

NEW YORK, NOV. 28, 1853

MR. EDITOR:—Our National Council met
promptly on the 23d; members residing
thirteen hundred miles apart, coming to-
gether with the regularity of British mail
steamers. Honr to Illinois! The noble
sons were on hand, as fresh and vigorous as
if they had simply crossed a short ferry.—Old Massachusetts and the Key Stone State
were fully represented; and Rhode Island
sent down her foremost man in George T.
Downing. There was earnest Gerry Beman,
too, from Connecticut. And although last,
determined not to be least, came the Buck-
eye boy, or as they call him the "little

You was sadly missed, Mr. Editor, and, of
course, in the distribution of labor, they
have given you the pack-horse share. You
deserve it, sir; you originated the Indus-
trial School, and now you must go to work
and found it.

You will see the proceedings at large,
when it suits the Secretary to send you a
copy; but you cannot see the fine time, vig-
orous spirit, the harmony and determination
to work, which marked this, the first meet-
ing of the National Council: excepting the
last afternoon session, when there was but
one dissenting voice, the gentleman from
Ohio, who wished the Council to undo all it
had done, and then sit still and telegraph
you (who, he assured us, could come) or
John I. Gaines, of Ohio. This was cool, in
a gentleman who arrived twenty-four hours
after the time appointed. The same gentle-
man also moved that we should call a Nation-
al Convention in 1854, to amend the Consti-


tution, and do nothing else. The motion
was not seconded. He assured the Council
that Ohio hung back in the traces; and the
Council seemed to think so too. Stephen
Smith said bluntly, that she might hang

Now, you see, Mr. Editor, if you had been
as mum about your correspondents' names,
as somebody else is about Spectator, I might
tell you some good things about the Council.
Illinois is splendidly organized and goes in
heartily for the general good.

Old St. Phillip's seems to spruce up since
her admission into the Diocesan Union. A
lady who was present on Thanksgiving morn-
ing, (not Charlotte K——. Now, do, Mr. Ed-
itor, if you have any regard for me, send
word who Charlotte K. is. Mr. Communi-
paw, the best and gentlest of vrows?, torments
me to death, saying, "here, Lotty, feed the
baby," "there, Lotty, sew that skirt," and
for the first time in my life, I am teazed,)
told me that the officiating minister gave a
sermon that made her blood tingle, till she
almost spake "right out in meetin'." It was
a Thanksgiving sermon, in which he called
upon his hearers to bless and glorify the
"freedom of our free land;" he dwelt long
and minutely on the sufferings of the English
poor, and factory, and mine-workers, when
he called slaves, ten thousands times worse
off than our brethern at the South. He
spoke of slavery, "drawing it mild," and
hoped the blot might be wiped our in a few
short years, &c., &c

It is said that the vote of New York and
Brooklyn, for the State Council, is so large,
that the inspectors have not yet had time to
count them. Yours,



Communipaw [James McCune Smith]




Communipaw [James McCune Smith] to Frederick Douglass. PLSr: Frederick DouglassP, 2 December 1853. Describes the meeting of the National Council of black leaders held in Chicago on 23 November.


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


Frederick Douglass' Paper



Publication Status



Frederick Douglass' Paper