Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Curiosity From the Baltimore Sun, June 6, 1843

AN OUTRAGE -- The Boston Post says that George Latimer and Frederick Douglass, formerly slaves, and Charles Lennox Redmond, a negro citizen of Salem, are on the committee appointed to wait on President Tyler, during his visit to Boston, to request him to emancipate his slaves. It is to be hoped that the Bostonians will allow no such outrage to be perpetrated.

This is not a particularly interesting news item. George Latimer and Frederick Douglass were, indeed formerly slaves. In fact, by law, Douglass himself was still a slave since the U.S. Constitution protected masters' ownership in their slave property through the Fugitive Slave Clause. Charles Lennox Remond -- not "Redmond" -- was probably more famous than Douglass at this point, being the premier black abolitionist speaker. Tyler did not bring any of his slaves to Boston in order to avoid just such a confrontation.

Note the date of the item: June 6, 1843. Note also the location of the publication: Baltimore, Maryland. Douglass had run away from that city only four years and nine months earlier (almost to the day). He did not published his Narrative, in which he identified details of his life as a slave, until May 1845, almost two years after this item appeared in the Sun. Do you think that the editors of the Sun yet knew that he had been Frederick Bailey, the enslaved caulker living in ship carpenter Hugh Auld's house?

Not an important point, but a curiosity that I came across in my research nonetheless.

No comments:

Post a Comment