Feb 25, 2021 - Sale 2559

Sale 2559 - Lot 23

Price Realized: $ 112,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 20,000 - $ 30,000
RECRUITING HELP FOR HIS PAPER AFTER SCHISM WITH GARRISON DOUGLASS, FREDERICK. Autograph Letter Signed, to Sallie Holley ("Dear Sally"), explaining that he learned from her letter to Julia [Griffiths?] that she was to graduate [from Oberlin College] and begin advocating for Garrisonian abolitionists, suggesting that she might be wiser to join the cause of the Liberty Party abolitionists, and offering her a job at his newspaper. 2 pages, 4to, written on the recto and verso of a single sheet, pale blue paper; folds. "'North Star' office" [Rochester], 8 August 1851

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"From some cause, I know not what, I have never before ventured to pen a line to you. There has always seemed an impediment between us, and yet I do not know the hour since I first saw you in the old 'Post Office' at Buffalo in which I have not treasured you in my soul a true and dear friend.
"I am moved to write you now, by the information conveyed in your letter to my friend Julia. I learn from that letter that you are to graduate soon, that you have decided to enter the lecturing field and that you have actually arranged to appear for the first three months under the banner of the Garrisonians.
"I know too much of the noble fidelity of the Garrisonians to express much regret at your decision and yet . . . you could have made a wiser and a better decision. . . .
"Your views and principles as I understand them harmonize with the 'Liberty Party'. . . . If I am correct in this, I have a proposition to make. You Dear Sally are a well informed abolitionist. All that I have seen from your pen has impressed me happily. . . . To be concise, I have work for you Dear Sally--a work as noble as any beneath the sky--and one in which I believe you will be sustained . . . and at the same time do a great work for the cause of human freedom. You know I have a large weekly paper . . . . Now I want more talent in the paper and I want more subscribers to the paper in order to get more talent. You can help me in both particulars . . . . You know I am no scholar. You know too that all that I am, I have made myself and that it is somewhat important that my hands be held up at this time. Now . . . I ask you to come to the help, bring your natural endowments, your education, your deep convictions, your noble seal . . . .
"I am authorised . . . to offer you a sallery [sic] equal to five hundred dollars a year, if you will become a contributor to the columns of my papers and will act as lecturing agent in this state and obtain subscribers for the paper."
In May 1851, at a meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society, Douglass shocked his fellow abolitionists by declaring that he had come to recognize that the U.S. Constitution--properly understood--is incompatible with slavery, and consequently, that he would henceforth advocate to bring about that understanding in people and to support the political institutions that are founded on that document. This was shocking, because the Garrisonians believed that the Constitution and related institutions were irredeemably poisoned, and that participation in the political system could only serve to entrench slavery further. This marked not only a turning point in Douglass's career, but also a significant diminution in the recently dwindling influence of the Garrisonians. A few months prior to the writing of this letter, Douglass had merged his North Star paper with the Liberty Party Paper to form Frederick Douglass' Paper, permanently leaving behind his association with Garrisonian abolitionism.