DOUGLASS TO SAMUEL J. MAY, 28 JANUARY 1863 385
ciation in Washington, D.C.DM, 5:773-74 (January 1863), 5:804 (March 1863); Julia A. Wilbur to
E[dwin] M. Stanton, 24 March 1863, in The Civil War and Reconstruction: A Documentary Reader,
ed. Stanley Harrold (Malden, Mass., 2008), 134-36; Carol Faulkner, Women’s Radical Reconstruc-
tion: The Freedmen’s Aid Movement (Philadelphia, 2004), 15-17, 85, 91.
3. Charles C. Leigh (1812-95) was a merchant, politician, and Methodist Episcopal clergy-
man. He was born in Philadelphia, but his family soon after relocated to New York, where he was
orphaned at the age of twelve. Leigh lived in New York City and then moved to Brooklyn, where he
worked as a merchant. In the 1850s he joined the temperance movement, and was elected president
of the City Temperance Alliance. Leigh was elected on a temperance ticket to the New York state
legislature from the Seventh Assembly District. When the slavery question began to dominate all
political issues in the mid-1850s, Leigh joined the Republican party and attended the 1856 national
convention, which nominated John C. Frémont for president. During the Civil War, Leigh became
increasingly concerned with race relations and the future of the slaves in the United States. Sympa-
thetic to the plight of slaves escaping to Union army lines, he called on others who felt similarly to
attend a 22 February 1862 meeting at the Cooper Institute in New York City. This meeting led to the
formation of the National Freedmen’s Relief Association, and Leigh was chosen chairman of the ex-
ecutive committee. The association’s objective, with support from the government, was to treat blacks
as free men, offering education and financial support until they were able to provide for themselves.
The government gave the association permission to take possession of abandoned plantations in the
South and direct the work of freedmen there. In addition, the association established schools in oc-
cupied Southern areas, employing hundreds of teachers throughout the war. Leigh traveled to Europe
to raise funds for the association and met with great success. Upon returning from Europe in 1867, he
applied to the New York state legislature for the right to secure a cable line from New York to France.
Permission granted, he traveled back to Europe, formed a company with a capital of $5 million, and
successfully laid a cable from France to New York. In 1872, Leigh left the Republican party for the
Prohibition party and ran for New York governor (1872) and mayor of Brooklyn (1881) on that ticket.
“Charles C. Leigh," National Magazine: A Monthly Journal of American History, 19:406, 413-19
(April-May 1894); G. K. Eggleston, “The Work of Relief Societies during the Civil War," JNH,
14:277 (July 1929); Ripley, Black Abolitionist Papers, 1: 553.
4. Douglass failed to acknowledge the contribution from Samuel J. May in the erratically pub-
lished lists of donors in Douglass’ Monthly.
5. In January 1863, Douglass traveled west on a speaking tour. On 19 January, he delivered the
address “Truth and Error” at Metropolitan Hall in Chicago, Illinois. In a letter to Gerrit Smith dated
28 January, Douglass reported that he had just returned to Rochester from a two-week lecture tour in
Chicago and “other places in the west” and was scheduled to speak in Buffalo, New York, the follow-
ing evening. Douglass continued his lecturing into February 1863, speaking in Connecticut at some
point during this time. Although he did not mention the specific date he would speak in Connecticut,
he was most likely there sometime during the first week of February, since he spoke at the Cooper
Institute in New York City on 6 February, the first Friday of that month. Chicago Tribune, 19 Janu-
ary 1863; New York Times, 5 February 1863; DM, 5:793 (February 1863); Douglass to Gerrit Smith,
28 January 1863, Gerrit Smith Papers, NSyU; Douglass Papers, ser. 1, 3: xxxiv-xxxv.
Y7271-Douglass_9780300218305.indb 385 1/26/18 9:41 AM
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