HARRIET BEECHER STOWE
Cabin, December 19, 1853.
DEAR SIR,—AFTER SEEING YOU, I enjoyed the pleasure of a personal interview with Mr. Douglass, and I feel bound in justice to say that the impression was far more satisfactory than I had anticipated.
There did not appear to be any deep underlying stratum of bitterness; he did not seem to me malignant or revengeful. I think it was only a temporary excitement and one which he will outgrow.
I was much gratified with the growth and development both of his mind and heart. I am satisfied that his change of sentiment was not a mere political one but a genuine growth of his own conviction. A vigorous reflective mind like his cast among those who nourish these new sentiments is naturally led to modified views.
At all events, he holds no opinion which he cannot defend, with a variety of richness of thought and expression and an aptness of illustration which shows it to be a growth from the soil of his own mind with a living root, and not a twig broken off other men’s thoughts and stuck down to subserve a temporary purpose.
His plans for the elevation of his own race are manly, sensible, comprehensive; he has evidently observed closely and thought deeply and will, I trust, act efficiently.
You speak of him as an apostate. I cannot but regard this language as unjustly severe. Why is he any more to be called an apostate for having spoken ill-tempered things of former friends than they for having spoken severely and cruelly as they have of him? Where is this work of excommunication to end? Is there but one true anti-slavery church and all others infidels? Who shall declare which it is? I feel bound to remonstrate with this—for the same reason that I do with slavery—because I think it an injustice. I must say still