Frederick Douglass letter to Anne Dugdale

In December 1848, Frederick Douglass wrote to Quaker abolitionist Ruth Dugdale, thanking her for her letter of support and encouragement for Douglass’ newspaper, the North Star. By the date of this letter, Ruth and husband Joseph Dugdale had moved from Ohio to Chester, Pennsylvania. Years of turmoil over the Dugdale’s ardent abolitionist and women’s suffrage activities had made some of their Ohio Quakers uncomfortable. Frederick Douglass, however, was a strong supporter of the Dugdales.

Rochester – 15th Dec. 1848

My Dear Friend:

            Your words of kindly greeting have come safely to hand, – and I wish it were in my power, to make such a response to it, as its loving and sisterly spirit deserves. In the process of public engagements by which I am ever surrounded I find it difficult to write letters to many dear friends whose communion would always afford me happiness.

                        I feel greatly pleased with your kind expressions and aspirations for the “North Star.” The paper should have a risen among you, but for the “green eyed monster” jealously – which even has a place among those from whom better things ought to have been expected. It may all however turn out for the best. Though my bodily presence is not in the North Start shines there as well as upon New York. – and I believe there is as many readers of it in that state as in this. Your reference to the malign prejudice acknowledge man and respect him in our all wise Creator may see fit to send him in the world.

                        My Dear sister, what a work is before us how much remains to be done in this cause – and kindred ones – how much faith in the truth we do nee, to battle against the allied hosts of wrong every where developed. The land staggers with treachery and ruinous disorders” and power put must be the element which shall restore it to peace, health and order. My Dear sister – your sympathy and aid is gratefully appreciated by me although I seldom see you. I received a copy of the proceedings of your meeting at Green Plain and Hope that I shall to give some extracts from when to the readers of the North Star

                        With best love to yourself and Dear Husband. I am most sincerely yours,

                                                                                                Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass 1848 letter to Anne Dugdale, courtesy of Swarthmore Quaker History Museum