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me with a letter of recollections, which has direct reference to this period :
“My intimate acquaintance with Frederick Douglass commenced in 1853; and, if we except the following year, 1854, continued until the close of the war. Mr. Douglass was entirely disfellowshiped by the Garrisonian party soon after his return from England; the establishing of a paper published and edited by him, somehow, did not meet with Mr. Garrison's approval ; and never did any party follow its leader more closely than the Garrisonians followed him. Mr. Garrison did not allow a difference of opinion; in his eyes such difference was not possible in a true Abolitionist. The bitterness engendered by this division had a marked effect upon Mr. Douglass's disposition; he is a man of very strong feeling; and he had been petted and almost owned by the prominent members of that class of Abolitionists. To find himself treated as though he had been false to his race, because he had broken loose from leading strings, and chose to work in his own way, was very hard; but he was equal to the situation, though his spirit was somewhat embittered.
“There was in one of those years, when the Unitarian Society in Rochester was without a settled pastor, an attempt to hold a series of Sunday meetings by one of the agents of the Abolitionists. Mr. Douglass did not attend these Sunday meetings; and we all knew that his absence was a great loss, as his popularity was such, that his presence, if advertised, would always insure a large audience; but he had a personal grievance with the getter-up of these meetings, and was in no mood to go. A murder had been committed some little time previous; and the guilty man (not a man in age), was condemned to the gallows. Some of us, wholly opposed to capital punishment, concluded to call a public meeting, and try to act upon the people by the presence of extenuating circumstances, which were many, so as to get our petition, for a change to imprisonment for life, largely signed. I went to Mr. Douglass, and succeeded in getting his name to the call, and a promise that he
would attend. Our advertisement was followed by a call of the largest kind to the people to go and take the meeting from the callers, and prevent any presentation of sympathy with a murderer. We, the callers of the meeting, came together at the hour and succeeded in appointing the officers, making Mr. Douglass president, when the house filled with a mob of men so violent that it seemed as though there might be murder there. Frederick Douglass then and there showed himself a man of almost superhuman power. His loud but melodious voice rose above the wild howl of those enraged men, and quieted them for some few moments (they would hear no other one), though they frequently threw at him the most insulting epithets; but they had come to break up the meeting and they succeeded. The Mayor, instead of protecting the meeting, ordered the lights in the hall put out and the meeting proper to disperse. Thus was free speech protected in those proslavery days; but good came to Mr. Douglass through that disgraceful mob. His name (that had been ignored for some years) found its way into the · Liberator' and 'Anti-Slavery Standard' in words that gave him true honor; and many old friends forgot their animosity and greeted him as of old.
" Mr. Douglass had a fund of humor that, whatever the emergency, he could call upon; and he had a kind of venom so cruel, that I would feel for my bitterest enemy that was being stung by it.
He was once invited to speak in a village west of Rochester, the place a Baptist church. After he had ascended the pulpit, the deacon of the church went to him and told him. There was an unpleasant rumor abroad in that region concerning him, that he ought to clear up.' Mr. Douglass asked to be informed what it was, and the deacon said . It is that you have married a white wife !' So when Mr. Douglass rose, he repeated what the deacon had told him and proceeded to 'clear it up.' He said he had been invited to give an anti-slavery lecture there, and had come prepared to do so; and he could not see in what way the color of his wife affected the subject. If his wife had chosen to marry him, he being colored, it was her business. The
audience at this point were very sure that they would hear the confession from his own lips, that his wife was white. They were all excitement. · Now,' said Mr. Douglass, · If my wife could see, she could not help knowing that I was not a white man; and yet she married me. Pray tell me what has her color to do with a lecture against slavery?' So he tantalized his audience with the subject till they supposed his next utterance would be an announcement that his wife was white, and then he would return to the subject and argue it out again, showing that his color, or that of his wife, had nothing to do with the subject that he came to discuss. At length, after the large audience wearied of the delay, Mr. Douglass decided that the color of his wife was not the business of the meeting, and dropped it without telling them; and so they supposed his wife was white. The truth was, she was black as night; but the audience forgot to be angry as they listened to his lecture, so thrilling, so grand that even our Wendell Phillips, silvertongued and graceful beyond description, the World's Orator, could not more than equal it.
“I have heard Mr. Douglass tell a story in which his color was no longer of any use. Said he, ‘I used to find myself favored with a double seat in the cars, very convenient when one is traveling at night; but recently I had an all-night ride before me, and prepared my bag for a pillow, covered my head with my shawl, and was about falling to sleep; when some one shook me, saying at the same time, “ Move along and give me a seat.” I roused myself, took my cap as well as my shawl from my head, so that my hair would be observable, thinking that would be sufficient to insure me my resting place; but a more severe shaking came and a peremptory command to move and give up one seat. Then I said very meekly . I am a nigger.' Go to
with your nigger, move along and give me a seat !" • So,' said he, ‘My color is no longer of any use.'
Another lady answered my questions thus:
“I wish I had more facts of Frederick Douglass's life than I
have. I knew him when he had just escaped from slavery, in Syracuse, where he first attracted immensely as a speaker. He was full of wit, humor, and satire, somewhat bitter at times, of commanding presence, and a magnificent voice, unsurpassed as an orator, especially when a little bit angry. “One with God is a majority,' was said by him after a taunt from an opponent on the weakness of numbers and power of the Abolitionists. You know he went to England, and was bought and presented to himself by the English people. He was converted from the Garrisonians to the political party of anti-slavery by Gerrit Smith, who was always a firm friend. His recent autobiography will give you all the information there is about his public career, written in excellent taste. The paper you speak of I tried to subscribe for, but, owing to bad arrangements in the office, did not succeed. In fact, he was not methodical, or very practical. Susan B. Anthony used to say, 'He had a great deal of uncommon sense, but his wife more than her share of common sense.' Nothing that he has ever done or said is more admirable than the respect he always showed her, and his undeviating exaction of the same from others. She was an excellent house-wife and manager. I have been to his house in Rochester, saw her and the children. They are more like their mother as I remember them. The daughter, Rose, married a fugitive slave. A younger daughter died broken hearted during the John Brown raid; her father being obliged to fly to Europe, you remember, and Brown himself, who had been at his house, and to whom the child had become much attached, being hung, and the illustrated papers being scattered about so excited the child, that she drooped and died; and he had only the grave to look upon when he returned. Douglass is a man of great natural refinement, perhaps from his white father, perhaps from a freak of nature. I think very little of heredity myself. Certainly the best in society and in life was what he liked best, and was always seeking. I think many colored people did not feel fully assured of his friendship to them, which was a great mistake. The wholesome truths he uttered seemed harsh, but he was and is a true friend to his race.”
A pathetic circumstance about his child's grave is mentioned by Miss Holley, in the valuable letter from which I make another extract. The lines, there quoted from Campbell, are given precisely as they were afterward written out by Mr. Douglass, who has improved them greatly.
“ Years went by, and the next meeting I recall with this heroic fugitive slave, whose romantic fortunes are indeed a miracle, was in the city of Rochester. He had a respectable residence in spacious grounds in the country, near the beautiful Mount Hope. I called on Mr. D. and his family whenever I visited Mount Hope, and well remember the tidiness and taste of the little parlor, the quiet, handsome library, with its attractive books and pictures—his daughters, Rosa, an intelligent schoolgirl, and the gentle, darling, little Anna, with her winning, modest shyness, but happy to trust the friendly face of the lady who held her small, soft, velvety hand kindly, while talking with her father and mother. Perhaps these were rare occasions to the little girl, for we never met any white lady caller ; and the social isolation of Mr. Douglass—man of genius as he was, of distinguished presence and gracious manners, fit to adorn any circle-must have been torture. He told us sadly once, • I live the life of a hermit here in Rochester. Illustrious strangers, like James Russell Lowell and Frederika Bremer, traveling through Rochester, always called on Douglass, but Rochester people didn't. He was fortunate in the comfort of his home, made so by the nice and able house-keeping of Mrs. Douglass, who kept an inviting table, and the wardrobe of her family neat and presentable. She was ever attentive to warding off attacks of colds and rheumatism with warm changes of clothing for Mr. D., at home and on his travels. But the anti-slavery families of Rochester, who formed, in those days, a superior and attractive circle (that included the Rev. Wm. H. Channing, and the new university professors), held shy from incurring popular odium by asking a black man to their social even