Frederick Douglass: Freedom's Voice, 1818-1845

By Gregory P. Lampe | Go to book overview

Appendix D
The Progress of the Cause: An Address Delivered in Norristown, Pennsylvania: 12 August 1844

FREDERICK DOUGLASS SAID he was always ready to speak on slavery, and added, in reply to some one who desired to have his name and that of the preceding speaker [ James N. Buffum] announced, that he was afraid we cared too much to know who it is that speaks, instead of weighing well what was said. He was accustomed to meetings where it was not decided who should speak, but where any one might speak on any proposition, either in favor or against it, and bear his testimony by voting or in any other way. He did not find fault with the proceedings of the Society in declaring who should and who should not be members, but he did not feel so much at home in such meetings. This, however, should not prevent his speaking. He was there as an abolitionist, and as a slave, for whose redemption abolitionists were toiling, and he felt it to be a duty and a privilege to testify in behalf of anti-slavery, and to strive to warm the hearts of all who were laboring to promote the spread of its principles.

To him, there was no more deeply interesting time in the history of the anti-slavery cause than the present. We were receiving intelligence from all parts of the growth of the cause, and he had listened to the soul-stirring report [of the Executive Committee of the Eastern Pennsylvania Antislavery Society] we had just heard read, and rejoiced in the evidences it presented of the progress of anti-slavery in this quarter. It has advanced rapidly in Massachusetts, and, in fact, throughout New England, but abolitionists here have as much reason to congratulate themselves, as we have there. Although he had been here but a short time, he had seen a great improvement since he was last among us, and he felt cheered and encouraged by it. Colored people in New England are much better treated than

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