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Sale 38 Lot 439

FREDERICK DOUGLASS(1817 - 1895) Black-American reformer born a slave, Douglass was instrumental in the creation of the Union Negro regiments which fought with great distinction during the war. Historically-important A.L.S. "Frederick Douglass" on his Cedar Hill letterhead, 1p. 8vo., Sept. 24, 1889 to Elizabeth Buffum Chace (1806-1899), an influential Quaker abolitionist and activist whose home had been a "stop" on the Underground Railroad. Chace and Douglass were close friends and correspondents. Douglass writes of his appointment as Minister Resident and Consul General to Haiti. In part: "...The call to Hayti, though long expected after all came as a surprise and found me in need of so much preparation , as to compel me to give up my much desired trip to the east. I wanted much before leaving home for Hayti to see once more a few of my old and dear friends in New England, but this is now out of the question. I hope however to assist in the celebration of your eighty fifth anniversary. I am glad to observe that you still write with a fine hand. Mrs. Douglass joins me in love to you and yours...". Douglass arrived in Port-au-Prince in time to witness the resolution of an episode of civil conflict in Haiti. General Florvil Hyppolite, supported by the Americans, had just emerged victorious over General F.D. Légitime, who had the support of France. On two occasions, the American Navy had entered Haitian waters to intimidate the partisans of Légitime. At first, the Haitians were suspicious of Douglass who, as secretary of President Grant's 1871 diplomatic mission, had visited the Dominican Republic and advised on its annexation by the United States. Despite the fears and suspicions held about Douglass among Haitian leaders, however, the U.S. diplomat, escorted by former U.S. Minister Ebenezer Bassett, now his assistant and translator, and his second wife of five years, Helen Pitts (who also happened to be white), fit well into Haitian society. Douglass remained in Haiti for two years, returning to the United States in 1891. Inspired by his surroundings and by the high price paid by the Haiti's revolutionaries for the sake of freedom, Douglass left a lasting appreciation of his love and respect for Haiti in his poem "Until She Spoke". Even more important was a powerful speech Douglass gave to open the Haitian Pavilion at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago on Jan. 2, 1893: "We should not forget that the freedom you and I enjoy today, is largely due to the brave stand taken by the black sons of Haiti ninety years ago...striking for their freedom, they struck for the freedom of every black man in the world". Light toning at margins, else very good.
Estimate $ 12,000-15,000

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