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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1891, by
FUNK & WAGNALLS,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington, D. C.
The invitation to write this life was readily accepted, partly because I hoped it would in some degree reduce the color-prejudice, with other prejudices also, and partly because I have always felt an admiration for Mr. Douglass, which has increased as I have come to know him thoroughly. His consent was cordially given in a letter, where he says: “If you can say anything of me that the public does not already know, by all means tell it.
I am sure you cannot say anything of me which will not be pretty strongly colored, but go ahead.” Shortly before departing to Hayti he was kind enough to answer many questions which I put to him in his house, on Cedar Hill, and to relate anecdotes which will be new to my readers. He also lent me ten of his unpublished lectures, and so many other manuscripts and rare pamphlets, that I have been able not only to mention, but to quote more than a hundred works by an author not admitted to a place among the forty-six thousand writers of English enrolled by Allibone.
The list of published speeches, etc., in the Appendix has been made as complete as possible by inquiry in various directions. Much valuable information was obtained from Mr. Frederick Douglass, Jr., whose
scrap-books gave me abundance of material about the later years of his father's life. By far the most difficult part of my
work has been that relating to the decade just before the war; and here I was greatly aided and encouraged by the letters of reminiscences contributed by Miss Sallie Holley, Mrs. Lucy N. Colman, and another lady who knew Mr. Douglass in Rochester. For these and other extraordinary opportunities I am very grateful.
More generally known sources of information, like the files of the “ Liberator," have, of course, been examined thoroughly. Among the most valuable of books to me has been the “Life of Garrison,” by his sons, who kindly supplied advance sheets and permitted me to make copious extracts. This favor I should have been glad to repay more fully, but unfortunately there were some serious wifferences of opinion between their hero and mine, under circumstances now but little known to readers generally. Here it becomes my plain duty to try and vindicate Douglass, even at the expense of a great philanthropist whom all delight to honor. Desire to do sufficient justice to important questions has suggested some comments on the Harper's Ferry tragedy, socialism, and the Southern problem ; but it did not seem necessary to do more than give the orator's views about prohibition, the tariff, and the merits of various candidates for President; and I hope I have not shown myself too party-colored.
F. M. H.