8
Nantucket

FREDERICK called it his "holiday." Alone, away from his wife and two infant children, from the preachers, from the neighbors who, with some skepticism, had been watching him edging into his new calling, Frederick Douglass was on the steam packet to Nantucket. Once again he was crossing a beautifully shored stretch of coastal water, headed for a new beginning. Moving from the heat of town out into the glare that lay over the water, he sat on the deck, leaning into any breeze that reached him from the sea. His holiday was not solely hedonistic; it had to have moral purpose, and it surely did. He was on his way to a well-advertised camp meeting, one at which the business would be not the salvation of individual souls, but the rescue from slavery of people like him.

The Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society was conducting a great midsummer meeting in one of the strongholds of abolition, the beautiful island of Nantucket. Its port, also called Nantucket, was a startlingly big and busy city, where great whaling fortunes had been made; the streets were gaudy with prosperity. As visitors left the dock and turned up Main Street, they passed the handsome brick customhouse, and walking up the steep first reach of the street, encountered the formidable Pacific Bank, standing guard over the splendid accounts of the shipowners who lived over its right shoulder on the hill behind. These brick mansions faced the street with a fresh and handsome dignity unsurpassed anywhere in America and allowed their proud owners to survey, from upstairs windows, the energetic harbor and the broad reaches of sea beyond.

Frederick Douglass, of course, had not come as a chance visitor. Nantucket, long the home of Quakers committed to the antislavery cause,

-86-

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Frederick Douglass
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Frederick Douglass *
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xi
  • 1: Tuckahoe 3
  • 2: Wye House 11
  • 3: Fells Point 26
  • 4: St. Michaels 40
  • 5: The Freeland Farm 49
  • 6: Baltimore 58
  • 7: New Bedford 74
  • 8: Nantucket 86
  • 9: Lynn 91
  • 10: Pendleton 104
  • 11: Cork 119
  • 12: Edinburgh 131
  • 13: 4 Alexander Street 146
  • 14: 25 Buffalo Street 163
  • 15: South Avenue 183
  • 16: Tremont Street 201
  • 17: Fort Wagner 217
  • 18: Philadelphia 238
  • 19: Mount Vernon 253
  • 20: Kansas 265
  • 21: 1507 Pennsylvania Avenue 274
  • 22: Uniontown 291
  • 23: Niagara Falls 305
  • 24: Africa 324
  • 25: Port-Au-Prince 334
  • 26: Môle St. Nicolas 346
  • 27: Chicago 359
  • 28: Cedar Hill 375
  • 29: Chesapeake Bay 384
  • Notes 387
  • Bibliography 421
  • Acknowledgments 437
  • Index 443
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