Nov 07, 2017 - Sale 2461

Sale 2461 - Lot 13

Price Realized: $ 8,125
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 3,000 - $ 4,000
"THE CALL TO HAYTI . . . CAME AS A SURPRISE" DOUGLASS, FREDERICK. Autograph Letter Signed, to abolitionist Elizabeth Buffum Chace ("Dear Mrs. Chace"), discussing his appointment as U.S. Minister to Haiti. 1 page, 8vo, with integral blank, "Cedar Hill" stationery; faint uneven toning overall, horizontal folds. Washington, 24 September 1889

Additional Details

"The call to Hayti, though long expected, after all came as a surprise and found me in need of so much preparation as to compell me to give up my much desired trip to the east. I wanted much before leaving home for Hayti to see once more a few of my old and dear friends in New England, but this is now out of the question. I hope however to assist in the celebration of your eighty fifth anniversary. I am glad to observe that you still write with a firm hand. Mrs. Douglass joins me in love to you and yours."
In late June of 1889, President Benjamin Harrison appointed Douglass U.S. Ambassador to Haiti ("Minister Resident and Consul General"), a position Douglass hoped would be an opportunity to improve the lives of Haitians and African-Americans. Harrison's administration, however, was primarily interested in obtaining concessions of territory from Haiti in order to establish a military presence there. When Douglass's negotiations for cession of the port of Môle-Saint-Nicolas made no progress, a white military officer, Rear Admiral Bancroft Gherardi, was authorized to take over negotiations on behalf of the U.S. Gherardi claimed that Haiti was obligated to cede the port, in exchange for the favor of having overthrown Haiti's former President François Denys Légitime and supporting the sitting president, Florvil Hyppolite. Douglass could not support what he saw as the racist and imperialist tactics of the U.S. in Haiti, and less than two years after accepting his commission, he resigned it.