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Status: Needs Review

FREDERICK DOUGLASS TO GERRIT SMITH

Rochester[, N.Y.] 19 June 1863.
MY DEAR FRIEND:
My best thanks for your kind note and a check for twenty dollars. I have by
the same mail, a call from our common friend Mr Stearns1 to Philadelphia.
He now holds a commission not from Massachusetts but from the United
States giving him the whole United States as his field for recruiting pur-
poses.2 The work is not to my taste—and I had enough of it while recruit-
ing for Massachusetts: Nevertheless as this is not a time to be governed by
one’s taste—I shall probably go soon into the work again. I have read your
speech at Utica3—which so pleased your old enemies and distressed some
of your old friends. I see nothing but sound wisdom in all its conclusions.
It was the word for you to say. I have endeavoured on sundry occasions to
say in a feebler way about the same thing. I see no hope for the American
slave outside the salvation of the Country. Rebellion is the greatest enemy
both of the slave and the Country—and the highest service which can be
done the slave is to put down the rebellion. Successful rebellion is now
our greatest danger—and to arrest overwhelm and annihilate the rebellion
our first and highest duty. I have, held since I received your views of the
Constitution of the United States—believed that the Emancipation of the
slaves is far more certain and speedy within than out of the union—hence
if the question were—between a union peace—leaving slavery still exist-
ing in some of the states—and imposing no new conditions—on the one
hand—and protracted war with al its perils and terrible consequences to
individuals and the Nation on the other—I should side with the former.
The day that sees the rebellion killed will see slavery as good as dead in
the United States. Hence, with you, I say put down the rebellion, first—
second and third—for with that goes down Slavery. No power can protract
the life of slavery when the ten thousand agonies of this terrible war shall
confront and shake their gory locks at the old Monster.

Thus far I am not ashamed of the part the colored troops have borne
in this war. Lewis my son is now in Florada.4 My son Charles reports to
Col. Hallowell5 of the Mass. 55th6 next week—

Col. Miller7 will have told you how grandly the 54th went off to their
work.8 He took marked interest in the regiment—as indeed did all the best
of Boston.

I am Dear friend, Truly and gratefully yours

FREDK DOUGLASS—

Y7271-Douglass_9780300218305.indb 402 1/26/18 9:41 AM

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