“Oh what a transition it was to be changed from the state of a slave to that of a free man!” Frederick Douglass’s Journey from Slavery to Limerick

 

Frederick Douglass.
Frederick Douglass.

By Liam Hogan

 

The negro enters upon slavery as soon as he is born, nay, he may have been   purchased in the womb, and have begun his slavery before he began his existence.

– Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1840)

 

  Advert: Negro Dogs – The undersigned [William Gambrel], having bought the entire      pack of negro dogs (of the Hays and Allen stock), he now proposes to catch runaway negroes. His charges will be three dollars per day for hunting, and fifteen   dollars for catching a runway. He resides three and half miles north of Livingston, near the lower Jones Bluff Road.

– Appeared in an Alabama newspaper, 6th November 1845[1]

 

He was originally named Frederick Bailey. He was born into slavery in the state of Maryland in 1818. His mother was a slave and this meant that, by law, all the children that she bore were the property of her owner. He never knew who his father was; although a young Frederick heard rumours that it was in fact his own master. This was a known practice among slave owners. As the Atlantic slave trade was now illegal, the forced breeding and rape of slaves by their owners made the “gratification of their wicked desires profitable as well as pleasurable.”[2]

Frederick Douglass was taken from his mother shortly after he was born.

As it was a slave breeding practice in Maryland “to part [slave] children from their mothers at a very early age” Frederick was taken from his mother’s arms soon after he was born.[3]He only met his mother four or fives times in his life and he did not recollect ever seeing her “by the light of day.” He was not informed when she became ill and was not allowed to be with her as she died, nor attend her burial. She died a stranger to him.

He was never told his birthday. He was not a human being in the eyes of the state but property. A pencil, a notebook, a negro. Slaves had no rights nor representation, their past, present & future – mind, body & soul  – were consigned to a form of servile oblivion. He was moved around like chattel between multiple owners and he witnessed his own siblings being sold away to different plantations.

 The Spark

At the age of twelve he was taught the alphabet by Sophia Auld, the wife of his Master, Hugh Auld. When Hugh Auld found out he was furious; he castigated Sophia that it was against the law to educate slaves and he rationalised it thus;

 

If you give a nigger an inch, he will take an ell.  A nigger should know nothing but to obey his master – to do as he is told to do. Learning would spoil the best nigger in the world. Now, if you teach that nigger [pointing at Douglass] how to read, there would be no keeping him. It would forever unfit him to be a slave…[..] it would make    him discontented and unhappy.[4]

This was a revelation for Douglass. Auld had articulated the system used by slaveowners to maintain their plantations (by controlling their slaves) as well as the racist ideology that was slavery’s foundation. From then on Douglass was determined to learn how to read and he succeeded by asking local white children to help him as well as observing how the people around him wrote. Around this time he obtained a copy of The Columbian Orator which included a famous speech by Curran on the “genius of universal emancipation” and another speech which called for Catholic emancipation.

These works refined Douglass’s views on slavery, human rights and social justice. The more he read the more he despised his owners who he now judged as “a band of successful robbers” who had “stolen us from our homes, and in a strange land reduced us to slavery.”[5] By 1833 Douglass was teaching other slaves on the plantation to read. When caught, he was rented out to a “slave breaker” who frequently beat him and whipped him.

In 1838 Douglass escaped slavery and fled to New York

Douglass, who could take no more, decided to fight back and succeeded in getting the upper hand in a physical struggle. The “slave breaker”, protecting his pride and reputation, did not tell anyone what happened nor did he attempt to punish Douglass. In 1838 Douglass eventually escaped his enslavement (using the identification papers of a free black sailor) and fled to New York.Caution

There he stayed with abolitionists, and married Anna Murray, a free black, who was working as a housekeeper. They moved to New Bedford and were helped by Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Johnson who covered their traveling expenses. It was Nathan Johnson who suggested that Frederick change his surname to “Douglas” after a character in Walter Scott’s poem “The Lady in the Lake.” Due to the Fugitive slave laws, Douglass was at risk of being abducted at any point and returned to his owner.

Changing one’s name was just one way of trying to avoid capture. For the next three years Douglass worked at the docks, and it was there that he experienced organised racism when a group of dock workers refused to work with him on account of the colour of his skin. This was a chilling precursor for what was to come post-emancipation.

From the 1840s he became one of the most prominent anti-slavery activists in America

After encouragement, he subscribed to William Lloyd Garrison’s newspaper The Liberator. Reading this anti-slavery newspaper inspired and enthralled Douglass, he felt that his “soul was set all on fire.” On the 11th August 1841 he attended an anti-slavery gathering at Nantucket and delivered a speech about his experiences as a slave. There was no turning back from this point on. Garrison, impressed by Douglass’s performance, hired him as a lecturer for the American Anti-Slavery Society, and for the next three years he toured the country, railing against the institution of slavery. These lecture tours were far from safe, on one occasion in Indiana he was attacked by a mob and his hand was broken.

In 1845 he published his memoir, the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. The book was immensely popular, but due to his now elevated public profile, the risk of Douglass being renditioned had increased. It was felt that the most prudent decision was for Douglass to go on an anti-slavery tour in Ireland and Britain. This would keep him safe for an interim period as well as increasing anti-slavery sentiment in the British Isles.

Douglass was also weary from the constant struggle and he wrote to Garrison after landing in Ireland that “one of my objects in coming [to Europe] was to get a little repose, that I might return home refreshed and strengthened, ready to be able to join you vigorously in the prosecution of our holy cause.”[6]

 

Douglass and Ireland

Frederick Douglass encountered Irishmen (or their words) at various points in his life and some of these encounters were especially influential. He recounted how the transatlantic publication of Daniel O’Connell’s anti-slavery speeches “made American slavery shake to its centre” and how he once heard his master curse him “and therefore I loved him.”[7]

Frederick Douglass was an admirer of Daniel O’Connell who was an ardent opponent of slavery.

When walking on the Wharf at Baltimore he saw two Irishmen “unloading a scow of stone” and he helped them complete the job. Afterwards one of the men asked if Douglass was a slave for life. When Douglass confirmed this the man was “deeply affected” and turned to his friend and said “that it was pity that so fine a fellow as [Douglass] should be a slave for life..it was a shame to hold [him].” They both urged Douglass to escape North, to be free. Douglass retrospectively revealed that this conversation gave him further impetus to escape.

He arrived in Dublin in the Autumn of 1845 and was hosted by members the Hibernian Anti-Slavery Society, namely James Haughton, Richard Allen and Richard D. Webb. Webb, a publisher, was chosen by Douglass to print copies of the Narrative and also to organise a series of anti-slavery lectures across Ireland. All 2000 copies of the first run of the Dublin edition of the Narrative had sold out by the close of 1845.[8]

Douglass lectured to acclaim in Dublin and Cork, befriending both his hero Daniel O’Connell and Father Mathew in the process, before visiting Limerick in November 1845. Douglass stayed in Limerick for two weeks, lodging with the Fisher family in Lifford House. The Fisher’s, who were related to Richard Webb, were founding members of the Limerick Anti-Slavery Society. Douglass struck up a lifelong friendship with Rebecca and Susanna Fisher, both of whom were most active in Limerick in the cause of abolitionism.

Douglass landed in Dublin in 1845 and went on a lecture tour of various cities.

Despite being hosted by a Quaker family, Douglass was not booked to speak at the Quaker Meeting House in Limerick. This may have been a preemptive action by Webb in response to the controversy in Dublin where the Quakers withdrew permission for Douglass to lecture in their hall after he spoke of his previous owner, who was a Methodist. They put the possibility of offending local Methodists ahead of the truth of Frederick Douglass’s life. This was a reminder of how anti-slavery advocacy was not a singular object even within the Quaker community.

Instead the Independent Chapel on Bedford Row was the venue for both of Frederick Douglass’s lectures in Limerick City. The Congregational Minister in charge of the Independent Chapel in 1845 was Rev. John De Kewer Williams. De Kewer Williams, who was the same age as Douglass, hailed from the parish of Hackney in Middlesex and was a graduate of the reputable dissenting academy at Highbury College in London. This college had a long anti-slavery tradition. De Kewer Williams had accepted an invitation from the Irish Evangelical Society to visit Ireland and he began his mission in Limerick in 1844.[9]

 

Douglass lectures in Limerick

 

Limerick in the 1820s.
Limerick in the 1820s.

At eight o’clock on Monday the 10th November 1845, Frederick Douglass delivered a graphic address about the treatment of slaves in the United States to a rapt Limerick audience in the Independent Chapel. In the chair was Benjamin Fisher and he introduced Douglass to the large crowd which represented “all classes and parties” with the Limerick Reporter noting that “there was a large number of females present.”

Douglass began his lecture with a call for decorum. He had received enthusiastic applause as he took the podium and in response said  “that he had no desire for any demonstrations of applause, and, considering the sacred character of the building in which they were assembled, he would prefer being allowed to proceed without them, as he was anxious not to give offense.”

 

Douglas told an audience in Limerick that Irish rhetoric about the ‘slavery’ imposed on Ireland by Britain was mere metaphor compared to the reality of slavery in America.

His speech this night pulled no punches. He immediately tackled the assertion he oft heard in Ireland, that the Irish were “slaves” under the Act of Union or “slaves” because they had been dispossessed of land, evicted or discriminated against. He said

 If slavery existed in Ireland, it ought to put down, and the generous in the land ought  to rise and scatter its fragments to the winds (loud cheers).  But there was nothing like American slavery on the soil on which I now stand. Negro slavery consisted  not in taking away a man’s property, but in making property of him..[10]

 

Explaining how slave owners controlled the life of the slave in it’s entirety – from the food it ate, clothes it wore, whether it could speak, how much work it should do, how and by how much it should be punished, who it should marry or breed with – he asked the crowd

 could the most inferior person in this country be so treated by the highest? If any      man exists in Ireland who would so treat another, may the combined execrations of humanity fall upon him.

Douglass then turned his attention to foreign apologists for slavery, singling out the British geologist, Sir Charles Lyell. Lyell published a book in 1845 about his travels through North America wherein he wrote that the slaves he saw were happy in their station. Lyell had been hosted by plantation owners, coming to the dubious conclusion that slaves were in a good position in society as they had a “monopoly of the labour market; the planters being bound to clothe and feed them.”

He also refuted the common claim that slaves were “better fed than a large part of the labouring class of Europe” which unwittingly confirmed  that slaves were treated the same as livestock.[11] Douglass dismissed Lyell’s naivety with some humour, asking the Limerick audience “was it not to be presumed that the wolf would say that the lamb loved to be eaten up by him?…thus even geologists were led astray.”

Douglass next read out a list of slave laws that existed in the slave holding states, explaining that these laws were protected under the constitution and thus “there was no one spot in all America upon which I can stand free.” The core of his speech attacked the hypocrisy of the U.S. to vaunt noble ideas such as liberty or freedom while a “bastard republicanism enslaved one-sixth of the population.”

From the national to the local, Douglass turned his ire towards a Blackface actor named Bateman, exclaiming that he was “sorry to find one of these apes of the negro had been recently encouraged in Limerick.”

Douglass condemned ‘blackface’ minstrel shows, some of which had taken place recently in Limerick.

Minstrel shows from the U.S. were popular in Ireland at this time yet it is not quantifiable what impression this left in the minds of those who witnessed such performances. Academics disagree over this impact; Riach argues that the failure of Irish abolitionists to condemn the minstrel shows was a factor as Irish immigrants carried these racial prejudices across the Atlantic.[12] Sweeney questions how many Irish attended these shows to be of any significance, while also pointing to the Limerick Reporter’s defence of Bateman, who argue that his portrayal of the “debased slave” is one that would invoke sympathy in the audience rather than contempt.[13]

There were unique aspects to this speech. He revealed that an Irishman named Gough saved his life on board the Cambria. A group of slaveholders on the ship had threatened to throw Douglass overboard but Gough defended Douglass telling the belligerents that “two might play at that game.” When the audience heard this detail they cheered loudly, and Douglass riding this wave of enthusiasm, then called for “three cheers for Old Ireland!”

As he neared the end of his speech he engaging in a form of grotesque theatre by brandishing a selection of implements that were previously used to torture slaves. Douglass rarely resorted to such methods, so perhaps this was a calculated response to Bateman’s blackface antics. This “performance” contrasted with his initial call for respect to be shown for the venue, yet fits in with the Christian reverence to sacrifice in the iconography of the crucified and lanced Christ.

He closed his speech by showing a variety of implements used to torture slaves.

The first item, he explained to the (now gasping) audience, was an iron collar which was “taken from the neck of a young woman who had escaped from Mobile..It had worn into her neck that her blood and flesh were found on it.” This caused a sensation in the crowd.

He then produced a set of leg irons which were used to chain feet of a slave together, followed by a pair of hand-cuffs taken from a fugitive slave. Douglass said that “he knew this man well” and that he had broken his wrist trying to break free of his chains, finally finding refuge in Canada where “he enjoyed that liberty under a monarchial government which he looked for in vain in his own land under a boasted democracy.”

Douglass, a gifted orator, then turned the audience’s attention from the zenith of their engagement back to their own responsibilities and identity by reciting a fragment of a famous speech by one his Irish heroes, John Philpott Curran. In 1793 Curran defended the United Irishman, Archibald Hamilton Rowan (accused of seditious libel) and during the proceedings coined the phrase “universal emancipation.”[14] The symbolism of a former slave quoting these same words on Irish soil, during O’Connell’s Repeal of the Union campaign, was surely acknowledged by those present.

As applause followed he pulled their minds back again to the gruesome reality of chattel slavery, displaying a “horrid whip which was made of cow hide, and whose lashes were as hard as horn.” He told how the blood was clotted with blood when he first got it. In a rare reference to the torture of his disabled cousin Hester, Douglass described in gory detail how his master, Thomas Auld

[tied] up a young woman eighteen years of age, and beat her with that identical whip until the blood ran down her back.—And the wretch accompanied the whipping with a quotation from Scripture, “He that knew his master’s will, and did it not, shall receive many strips”

There were cries of “horrible!!” from the shocked audience. The lecture had lasted over ninety minutes and Douglass promised the crowd that he would continue his “exposure of slavery” at the same venue in two days.  The Limerick Reporter observed that the crowd left the Independent Chapel that night “incensed against the infernal traffic in human blood and flesh.”

 

Douglass’s Second Lecture in Limerick

 

Frederick Douglass lectured for a second time at the Independent Chapel on the 12th November. No record of this lecture remains but we know that the theme was the role religion played in sustaining slavery in the United States. Douglass claimed that without the support of the churches slavery “would have been long since abolished by the people.”[15]

He produced a selection of newspapers which showed how the “churches, in their corporate capacity, were slaveholders, and so were the Bishops and clergymen.” The Reporter claims that Douglass made particular reference to Methodists, Congregationalists and Presbyterians as being “guilty of the crime.” He said that while Catholics were as guilty individually, they were less guilty corporately, as “they alone of all other religions put the slave and master on the same level at the communion table and in the house of worship.”

 

Anti-Slavery Soiree at the Philosophical Rooms

 

The final public appearance of Frederick Douglass in Limerick was at an Anti-Slavery soiree held at the Philosophical Rooms on Glentworth Street on the 21st November.[16]

A large crowd of over 400 people were present, including the Mayor of Limerick, Francis P. Russell. Both the Limerick Reporter and a friend of Jane Jennings (Rebecca or Susanna Fisher) record that is was attended by the ”most respectable” people of Limerick.[17] The crowd mingled, enjoying the refreshments on offer, while St. John’s Temperance Band played “several beautiful airs.”

 

For Douglass’ third lecture in Limerick, over 400 people including the Mayor of the city attended.

The Mayor announced that he was proud to preside at such a soiree which did “honour to a man that came amongst them from America and who was once a slave, but is now a free man.” He offered a toast to the health of the Queen and a toast to the health of their guest “Mr. Frederick Douglass.” Douglass rose from his seat to loud cheering and addressed the crowd.

He said that he was in the habit of meeting with such an assembly but that he “was never more delighted than at the present moment.” He then referred to the role Ireland’s representatives played, as part of the Union Kingdom, in freeing the 800,000 slaves in the British West Indies in 1833, that “the people of this country had done something for them.” Indeed there were Irishmen in the Royal Navy struggling to suppress the Atlantic slave trade in 1845.

The “Chattel Becomes a Man”

As Douglass continued his speech, he reminded the audience that if he were on American soil, he would be his master’s property, liable to be sold at any time as a piece of merchandise, but “thank God, it was not so in this land.” Interestingly, he then remarked that he was “happy to see that not only the humble classes of Limerick recognised him, but its wealth and respectability.” This suggests that the working class of the city had attended his lectures. Then Douglass revealed that he now felt transformed from a slave into a man.

 Oh what a transition it was to be changed from the state of a slave to that of a free man! Really when [I think] of my former condition and [my] present I am puzzled to    know whether Frederick Douglass then, was the same Frederick Douglass now. [I] can hardly believe how my proud spirit could ever be bound in chains.

 

He also expressed his appreciation to the people of Limerick for their hospitality.

 [I] found freedom and a welcome to speak against slavery in Dublin, Wexford,   Waterford, and Cork, and though last, not least, in Limerick. Whether at home or   abroad, [I will] never forget the very kind manner [I] was received in Limerick.

 

The Mayor thanked Douglass, adding “this, the country of my birth, was always for freedom and I know of no country so opposed to slavery as Ireland.” Rev. John Brahan, (P.P. of St. Mary’s) said that he was grateful to hear Douglass for the first time and as he looked around the hall he noticed that there were many different denominations, “and also some of my own creed [Roman Catholic], all engaged in denouncing slavery.” In reference to Catholic Emancipation he said “[We] have been slaves ourselves, we are no longer slaves but [we] sympathise with the enslaved of every creed, and clime, and hue.” Before the soiree ended a relaxed Frederick Douglass “sang a beautiful sentimental air.”

 A Man of One Idea?

Limerick Workhouse in 1841.
Limerick Workhouse in 1841.

Frederick Douglass was acutely aware of the lamentable state of the poor in Ireland at this time. During his visit to Limerick there was an outbreak of typhus fever which claimed many lives. While most of the deaths were inevitably from the poorer parts of the city, it also claimed the life of the physician (and former Mayor of Limerick) Sir Richard Franklin.[22] There were 1,168 paupers in the Limerick Workhouse, and this number was growing each week.[23] This poverty that he witnessed shocked him so much that it stayed with him all of his life. But a question needs to be asked, did he speak out against this while touring Ireland?

The Great Famine was beginning as Douglass toured Ireland, he had little to say about it.

Douglass had admitted that his primary mission in Ireland was to increase support for the anti-slavery cause. He wrote to Webb from Limerick, stating that he did not wish to tour alongside the social reformer Henry C. Wright as he believed it would harm his campaign by distracting from the anti-slavery theme. At this juncture he saw himself as a “man of one idea.”[24] He was careful not to offend his audiences in Ireland.

He aligned himself with popular sentiment, supported Repeal, Temperance and downplayed the role of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in the U.S. in sustaining slavery. Yet in private he mocked the hypocrisy of those in positions of influence and power who oversaw such rampant destitution. Three months after his visit to Limerick, Douglass wrote a letter to Garrison from Scotland which targeted those in Ireland who argue about the minutiae of religious doctrine while their fellow beings starve in the streets,

 Where is your religion that takes care for the poor?—for the widow and      fatherless—where are its votaries?—what are they doing? The answer to this would be, if properly given, wasting their energies in useless debate on hollow creeds and points of doctrine, which, when settled, neither make    one hair white nor black. In conversation with some who were such rigid adherents         to their faith that they would scarce be seen in company with those who differed        from them in any point of their creed, I have heard them quote the text in palliation             of their neglect, “The poor shall not cease out of the land”![25]

 

Influenced by the universalism of O’Connell and jolted by the poverty all around, Douglass confided to Garrison that he saw “much here to remind me of my former condition, and I confess I should be ashamed to lift up my voice against American slavery, but that I know the cause of humanity is one the world over.”[26]

But he did not express these thoughts publicly during his time in Ireland. Some historians have judged him for this but others are more sympathetic. McFeely argues that Douglass’s feelings were genuine, but if “he had pity, he had no cure.”[27] Soskis concurs adding that Douglass’s “reluctance to embrace working-class reform does not imply a narrow-minded callousness, but an understanding of the power, and the limits, of his own celebrity.”[28]

Douglass was compelled to respond to the frequent comparison that was made between chattel slavery and the desperate lot of the Irish peasantry. This forced him to explain the meaning of chattel slavery to audiences, which naturally emphasised the differences between the two, rather than any commonalities.

It’s also understandable that many in Ireland would be comfortable with describing their situation as “slavery”; it was a favoured piece of hyperbole used by Irish patriots since the first plantations. Daniel O’Connell also made such allusions (e.g. “I am a slave”) and his younger, less progressive self went further in 1809 when he attacked the British establishment for ignoring the oppression of Irish Catholics while “they moistened with their tears the sable savages of Africa.”[29] O’Connell’s observation that “the petitions of Negroes were countenanced, and their objects promoted..but [our] cause was vilified” previewed the future rage of John Mitchel.

 

Postscript: With friends like these..

A further criticism of Douglass it is that he did not empathise with Father Theobald Mathew’s similarly difficult position when he visited the U.S. in 1849. Fr. Mathew, the “Apostle of Temperance” who has a bridge named in his honour in Limerick City, was also a self-described “man of one idea” and despite signing the famous anti-slavery Address in 1841, refused to denounce slavery during his American tour, believing, like Douglass, that it would harm his primary mission.

Douglass criticised temperance activist Fr. Theobald Mathew for not attacking slavery on a visit to America in 1849 but was himself open to criticism for not speaking about poverty in Ireland.

This decision shocked abolitionists in Ireland and the U.S., including Douglass, who took personally the pledge from Fr. Mathew in Cork. He was scathing in his criticism. He wrote that he felt “grieved, humbled and mortified” by Fr. Mathew’s decision to ignore slavery and “wondered how being a Catholic priest should inhibit him from denouncing the sin of slavery as much as the sin of intemperance.” Douglass felt it was his duty to “denounce and expose the conduct of Father Mathew.”[30]

Douglass, who had declared in Limerick that his “mission was purely an anti-slavery one” was unwilling to afford the same latitude to Fr. Mathew.[31] Fr. Mathew, knowing that he would be attacked, further distanced himself from his former abolitionist friends by invoking Scripture to defend his neutral position. In Ireland, Richard Webb was livid.

Webb, a great admirer of Fr. Mathew’s temperance campaign, had now lost respect for him but his wife Hannah Webb was uncomfortable with the attacks on the famous priest and wondered what good could come of it. She acknowledged that Garrison was right in principle to condemn Father Mathew in the press, yet because of Mathew’s poor health and advanced age, she wished “to see the man handled more gently.”[32] The remarkable abolitionist Asenath Nicholson, (who had travelled around Ireland – alone – feeding the masses during the Famine) was a close friend of the Webb’s. She also sympathised with Father Mathew’s predicament. The historian Maureen Murphy explains that

 both had to compromise in order to do their work in a cultural setting other than their      own. Nicholson had to put her suspicion of Catholics aside to aid the poor; Father  Mathew had to set the cause of abolitionism aside to pursue the cause of      temperance.[33]

Yet, Douglass raised a salient point. His mission was to highlight the complete lack of freedom and dehumanisation that existed under slavery, whereas Father Mathew wished to address the abuse or misuse of this freedom. The only way for a slave to be free was to flee, an act which broke the law and risked life and limb.

Whereas a person that took Father Mathew’s temperance pledge was exercising a free choice, determining, as is their birthright, their future behaviour. While there can be an equivocation of Douglass’s and Mathew’s motivations, there can be no equivocation of their causes. At risk of sounding Garrisonian, little honour can be found in pointing towards a movement like temperance as a justification for being an apologist for chattel slavery.

 

 References

 

[1]          Livingston County (Alabama), Whig, 16th November 1845

[2]          Douglass, Frederick (1851), Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave. Written by himself. (6 ed.). London: H.G. Collins. p. 11

[3]          ibid. pg. 10

[4]          ibid. pg. 35

[5]          ibid. pg. 41

[6]          Frederick Douglass in Ireland: the Dublin Edition of his Narrative, Patricia J. Ferreira, New Hibernia Review, Vol. 5 (1), Spring 2001, pp. 53

[7]          Frederick Douglass, “I Am Here to Spread Light on American Slavery: An address Delivered in Cork, Ireland, on 14 October 1845,” The Frederick Douglass Speeches, 1841-1846.

[8]          Ferreira, p.58

[9]          John De Kewer Williams, Charlotte C. Williams, The minister’s wife and my own, a memorial of Mrs. J. De K. Williams (London, 1856), p. 58 – Limerick City was his first post as a minister, and he held a deep affection for the city long after he left. He often wrote to his wife about how kindly he was treated by the locals during his three years preaching in Limerick.

[10]         Limerick Reporter, 11th November 1845

[11]         Sir Charles Lyell, Travels in North America; with geological observations on the United States, Canada, and Nova Scotia (London 1845), p. 169

[12]         Douglas C. Riach, ‘Blacks and Blackface on the Irish Stage 1830-60’, Journal of American Studies, Vol. 7, No. 3, p. 231

[13]         Fionnghuala Sweeney, Frederick Douglass and the Atlantic World (Liverpool 2010), p. 109

[14]         John Philpott Curran, Speeches of the Right Honourable John Philpot Curran …: On the Late Very Interesting Trials (London 1815), pp. 169-171

[15]         Limerick Reporter, 14th November 1845

[16]         Limerick Reporter, 25th November 1845

[17]         Letter from Jane Jennings to Maria West Chapman, Boston Public Library, 26th November 1845

[18]         Index of 19th Century Naval Vessels, Cygnet, 1840, URL: http://www.pbenyon.plus.com/18-1900/C/01243.html (Accessed 10th January 2014)

[19]         Mary Wills, The Royal Navy and the suppression of the Atlantic slave trade. c. 1807-1867: anti-slavery, empire and identity, Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hull. (June 2012)

[20]         Freeman’s Journal, 10th October 1845

[21]         Private Donations to Ireland during An Gorta Mór, Christine Kinealy, Seanchas Ardmhacha: Journal of the Armagh Diocesan Historical Society, Vol. 17 (2), 1998, pg. 118

[22]         Limerick Chronicle, 11th October 1845

[23]         Ciarán Ó Murchadha, ‘Limerick Union Workhouse during the Great Famine’, Old Limerick Journal, Vol. 32 Famine Edition (1995), p. 39

[24]         Frederick Douglass to Richard D. Webb, 10th November 1845

[25]         Frederick Douglass to William Lloyd Garrison, 26th February 1846

[26]         ibid.

[27]         William S. Feely, Frederick Douglass (New York 1990), p. 126

[28]         Benjamin Soskis, Heroic Exile: The Transatlantic Development of Frederick Douglass 1845-1847 (Yale 1998), http://www.yale.edu/glc/soskis/fr-1.htm

[29]           Freeman’s Journal, 27th May 1809

[30]         Colm Kerrigan, ‘Irish Temperance and US Anti-Slavery: Father Mathew and the Abolitionists’, History Workshop Journal pp. 105-119.

[31]         Richard Bradbury, ‘Douglass and the Chartists’, Liberating Sojourn: Frederick Douglass & Transatlantic Reform (Atlanta 1999), ed (s), Alan J. Rice, Martin Crawford,  p. 173

[32]         Hannah Webb to Anne Warren Weston, BPL, 4th November 1849

[33]         Asenath Nicholson, Annals of the Famine in Ireland (Dublin 1998) Maureen Murphy (ed.), p. 229

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