Slavery on Trial: Law, Abolitionism, and Print Culture

By Jeannine Marie Delomnard | Go to book overview

4 TALKING LAWYERLIKE ABOUT LAW: Black Advocacy and My Bondage
and My Freedom

Upon the publication of his Narrative, Frederick Douglass boarded the steamship Cambria for an eighteen-month lecture tour of the British Isles. On 27 August 1845, the day before the Cambria docked in Liverpool, Douglass—who had spent the voyage segregated from first class— was invited to give his fellow voyagers a sample of his celebrated oratory. Soon after he began speaking, however, a small riot broke out, ending only when the captain threatened to put the rioters in irons.1 In subsequent accounts of the shipboard events, Douglass indicated that the riot began when he substituted his autobiographical testimony with a dramatic reading of Southern slave laws.2

Eight years later, in his only work of fiction, a novella based on the Creole case, Douglass would have his eponymous “Heroic Slave,” Madison Washington, proclaim in the midst of a slave ship uprising, “You cannot write the bloody laws of slavery on those restless billows. The ocean, if not the land, is free.”3 But the very different kind of shipboard rebellion prompted by Douglass's reading of “the bloody laws of slavery” on the Cambria illustrates the considerable hostility with which black advocacy had to contend in the antebellum period. For, as the discussion of the Cambria riot at the end of this chapter will address in greater detail, it was not Douglass's antislavery lecture itself that sparked the riot. When Douglass confined himself to reading passages from his Narrative, his antagonists limited themselves to verbal heckling; it was only when he began to read the slave code that they turned to violence.4 That nationalist display of violence, I suggest, vividly dramatized white Americans' widespread refusal (or incapacity) to conceptualize African Americans as active participants in civil society.5

A portent of the tremendous resistance that awaited those African Americans who, like Douglass, were determined to talk lawyerlike about law, the Cambria incident occurred just over two months after the nation's first black

-125-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Slavery on Trial: Law, Abolitionism, and Print Culture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I: Banditti and Desperadoes, Incendiaries and Traitors 33
  • 1: The Typographical Tribunal 35
  • 2: Precarious Evidence 71
  • Part II: At the Bar of Public Opinion 99
  • 3: Eyewitness to the Cruelty 101
  • 4: Talking Lawyerlike about Law 125
  • 5: Representing the Slave 151
  • 6: The South's Countersuit 177
  • Conclusion - All Done Brown at Last: Illustrating Harpers Ferry 199
  • Notes 223
  • Bibliography 277
  • Index 309
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 330

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.