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try, which I did — going to Canada. Governor Wise in the meantime, being
advised that I had left Rochester for the State of Michigan, made requisition
on the governor of that State for my surrender to Virginia.

The following letter from Governor Wise to President James Buchanan
(which since the war was sent me by B. J. Lossing, the historian,) will show
by what means the governor of Virginia meant to get me in his power, and
that my apprehensions of arrest were not altogether groundless:


"RICHMOND, VA., NOV. 13, 1859.

''To His Excellency, James Buchanan, President of the United States, and to
the Honorable Postmaster-General of the United States:

"GENTLEMEN — I have infomation such as has caused me, upon proper
affidavits, to make requisition upon the Executive of Michigan for the delivery
up of the person of Frederick Douglass, a negro man, supposed now to
be in Michigan, charged with murder, robbery, and inciting servile insurrection
in the State of Virginia. My agents for the arrest and reclamation of the
person so charged are Benjamin M. Morris and William N. Kelly. The latter
has the requisition, and will wait on you to the end of obtaining nominal
authority as post-office agents. They need be very secreti,e in this matter.
and some pretext for traveling through the dangerous section for the execution
of the laws in this behalf, and some protection against obtrusive, unruly,
or lawless violence. If it be proper so to do, will the postmaster-general be
pleased to give to Mr. Kelly, for each of these men, a permit and authority to
act as detectives for the post-office department, without pay, but to pass and
repass without question, delay or hindrance?

"Respectfully submitted by your obedient servant.


There is no reason to doubt that James Buchanan afforded Governor
Wise all the aid and cooperation for which he was asked. I have been
informed that several United States marshals were in Rochester in search of
me within six hours after my departure. I do not know that I can do better at
this stage of my story than to insert the following letter, written by me to the
Rochester Democrat and American:

"CANADA WEST, Oct. 31st, 1859.


"I notice that the telegraph makes Mr. Cook (one of the unfortunate
insurgents at Harper's Ferry, and now a prisoner in the hands of the thing

Notes and Questions

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Italicization needed on lines 16, 17 &43.