Douglass in Philadelphia

February 9, 1855

A letter to Garrison, comes from “R.T.”, in Philadelphia.  It comments on the oratorical power of Douglass, and cites parts of the speech in which Douglass says that some Abolitionists “claim that the principles which underlie the Anti-Slavery movement were discovered by Mr. Garrison, and his coadjutors.”   The writer says that Douglass spent part of this three hour speech denouncing the lie  the claim. The writer indicates that he had to leave the meeting before the speech was concluded, “But I am told, by one who listened to the whole of it, that throughout he (Douglass) sustained his reputation as an ingenious traducer and base calumniator.  He repeated all the stale cant and twaddle about the Anti-Sabbath and Anti-Bible character of Mr. Garrison and his friends, and intimated that, under the garb of Humanity, they were endeavoring to uproot Christianity! –thus appealing to the lowest sectarian prejudices of his audience  He asserted ‘that the old basis of Anti-Slavery action, that the slave was a man and a brother, and that we should feel for him as bound with him, was laid aside for political catchwords, such as “Down with the Constitution,” and “No Union with Slaveholders!”

The Editor places a pointed finger at this response:  “A colored friend, of great respectability in Philadelphia, referring to Mr. Douglass’s venomous lectures in that city, says, ‘Allow me to say, that the disaffected to our cause, and its advocates, in Philadelphia, are a mere fraction.  The respect, gratitude and confidence of the great body of our people are with you. How could it be otherwise?'”