Frederick Douglass in Ireland


Over at the blog of the Society for U.S. Intellectual History,  Andy Seal explains what happened to abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass when he spoke in Ireland shortly after the publication of his memoir, The Life and Narrative of Frederick Douglass.

Here is a taste:

While sailing from Boston to Ireland in 1845, Frederick Douglass found himself the subject of a great deal of attention. Some of it was kind, if a bit insistent, even invasive. Douglass was on board as a fugitive; the publication of his Narrative earlier that year had brought him not only considerable notoriety in the States but very real danger, as the book’s candid inclusions of real names and details left no doubt about his status as a former enslaved person and alerted his former enslaver–and any other interested parties–to his presence in Massachusetts. Many passengers, discovering these facts, begged Douglass to tell him his whole story. When Douglass demurred, they pressed the captain of the ship to request an impromptu lecture on the quarter deck.

A newspaper account of Douglass’s first speech in Ireland relays what happened next:

Read the rest here.