Status: Needs Review


Rochester[, N.Y.] 4 Oct[ober] [1859.]2
My heart tells me that you are too noble to treat with indifference the
request I am about to make. It is twenty years Since I ran[]away from
you,3 or rather not from you but from Slavery, and Since then I have often
felt a Strong desire to hold a little correspondence with you and to learn
Something of the position and prospects of your dear children4—They
were dear to me—and are Still—indeed I feel nothing but kindness for
you all—I love you, but hate Slavery. Now my dear Sir, will you favor me
by dropping me a line, telling me in what year I came to live with you in
Aliceanna st5 the year the Frigate was built by Mr. Beacham6—The in-
formation is not for publication—and Shall not be published— We are all
hastening where all distinctions are ended, kindness to the humblest will
not be unrewarded[.]

Perhaps you have heard that I have Seen Miss Amanda7 that was, Mrs
Sears that is, and was treated kindly Such is the fact, Gladly would I see
you and Mrs. Auld—or Miss Sopha as I used to call her.8

I could have lived with you during life in freedom though I ran[]away
from you so uncerimoniously, I did not know how Soon I might be sold.
But I hate to talk about that. A line from you will find me Addressed
Fredk Douglass Rochester N. York.

I am dear Sir very truly yours.


ALS: Hall Collection, MdAHR.

1. Born in Talbot County, Maryland, Hugh Auld, Jr., (1799-1861) moved to Baltimore as a
young man. There, with his wife Sophia Keithley, he worked as a ship’s carpenter, master shipbuilder,
shipyard foreman, and occasionally as a magistrate. Between 1826 and 1833, and again between 1836
and 1838, Douglass lived and worked in their household, lent to them by his owner, Hugh’s brother
Thomas. In 1845, incensed by Douglass’s depiction of his family in the Narrative, Hugh Auld bought
Douglass from Thomas Auld. According to the Pennsylvania Freeman, Auld was determined to
reenslave Douglass and “place him in the cotton fields of the South” if the fugitive ever returned to
the United States. In 1846 the British abolitionists Anna and Ellen Richardson raised $711.66 (£150
sterling) from British reformers and offered to buy Douglass’s freedom from Auld. Auld agreed to the
sale and signed the manumission papers that made Douglass a free man. Walter Lourie to Ellis Gray
Loring, 15 December 1846, reel 1, frame 644; Benjamin F. Auld to Douglass, 11, 27 September 1891,
reel 6, frames 240-41, 257-58; Douglass to Benjamin F. Auld, 16 September 1891, reel 6, frames
246-47; J. C. Schaffer to Helen Pitts Douglass, 21 October 1896, reel 8, frames 92—93, all in General
Correspondence File, FD Papers, DLC; Talbot County Records, V.60, 35-36, MdTCH (a copy is
found on reel 1, frames 637-39, FD Papers, DLC); Hugh Auld Family Genealogical Chart, prepared

Y7271-Douglass_9780300218305.indb 275 1/26/18 9:41 AM

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