Letter to Gerrit Smith (June 4, 1851)

Frederick Douglass

Citation Information:  Frederick Douglass, Rochester, June 4, 1851, Letter. To Gerrit Smith. Foner, Philip (ed). Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass. New York: International Publishers, 1950. Vol. V, p. 186.

Frederick Douglass

Rochester, June 4th 1851

To Gerrit Smith

My Dear Sir:

  1. Mr. Thomas has almost signified his consent to the “union.” He is only inflexible on one point, to wit place of publication. I have sent him a letter, giving reasons for establishing the new paper here, and expect soon to have an answer favorable to that proposition. The “union” I now consider a fixed fact. I have no word from Brother Ward since I wrote to you last. He will, I am sure, come out on the right side, and form a strong force in the new team.
  2. The paper must appear as early as the first of July. It should come forth with all the marks of strength, which can be given it. Your own highly valued name must not be wanting on the first sheet. Thomas and Ward and (I) myself, must come forth in our best clothes, and look as trim as any three officers in the French army. There must be nothing clumsy, hasty or awkward in our debut.
  3. The paper must be clean, white and strong. The ink pure, black and glossy. The matter must be arranged with taste, skill and order, and our columns must be free from all typographical, grammatical, orthographical, and rhetorical errors and blunders.
  4. The matter shall be such as shall secure the approval of your discriminating judgement.
  5. To the necessary preliminary work. The new type should be bought at once. The new paper engaged at once. I ask for two hundred dollars from you to begin with, the rest I will raise myself.

Most truly and gratefully yours,

Frederick Douglass

Gerrit Smith Papers, George Arents Research Library, Syracuse University