Narrative of the life of frederick douglass, an american slave

NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS,

AN AMERICAN SLAVE

WRITTEN BY HIMSELF

PREFACE

In the month of August, 1841, I attended an antislavery convention in
Nantucket, at which it was my happiness to become acquainted with
FREDERICK DOUGLASS, the writer of the following Narrative. He was a
Stranger to nearly every member of that body; but, having recently made
His escape from the southern prison-house of bondage, and feeling his
Curiosity excited to ascertain the principles and measures of the
Abolitionists,-of whom he had heard a somewhat vague description while he
Was a slave,-he was induced to give his attendance, on the occasion
Alluded to, though at that time a resident in New Bedford.
Fortunate, most fortunate occurrence!-fortunate for the millions of
His manacled brethren, yet panting for deliverance from their awful
Thraldom!-fortunate for the cause of negro emancipation, and of universal

/> Liberty!-fortunate for the land of his birth, which he has already done so
Much to save and bless! – fortunate for a large circle of friends and
Acquaintances, whose sympathy and affection he has strongly secured by the
Many sufferings he has endured, by his virtuous traits of character, by
His ever-abiding remembrance of those who are in bonds, as being bound
With them!-fortunate for the multitudes, in various parts of our republic,
Whose minds he has enlightened on the subject of slavery, and who have
Been melted to tears by his pathos, or roused to virtuous indignation by
His stirring eloquence against the enslavers of men!-fortunate for
Himself, as it at once brought him into the field of public usefulness,
“gave the world assurance of a MAN,” quickened the slumbering energies of
His soul, and consecrated him to the great work of breaking the rod of the
Oppressor, and letting the oppressed go free!
I shall never forget his first speech at the convention-the
Extraordinary emotion it excited in my own mind-the powerful impression it
Created upon a crowded auditory, completely taken by surprise-the applause
Which followed from the beginning to the end of his felicitous remarks. I
Think I never hated slavery so intensely as at that moment; certainly, my
Perception of the enormous outrage which is inflicted by it, on the
Godlike nature of its victims, was rendered far more clear than ever.
There stood one, in physical proportion and stature commanding and
Exact-in intellect richly endowed-in natural eloquence a prodigy-in soul
Manifestly “created but a little lower than the angels”-yet a slave, ay, a
Fugitive slave,-trembling for his safety, hardly daring to believe that on
The American soil, a single white person could be found who would befriend
Him at all hazards, for the love of God and humanity! Capable of high
Attainments as an intellectual and moral being-needing nothing but a
Comparatively small amount of cultivation to make him an ornament to
Society and a blessing to his race-by the law of the land, by the voice of
The people, by the terms of the slave code, he was only a piece of
Property, a beast of burden, a chattel personal, nevertheless!
A beloved friend from New Bedford prevailed on Mr. DOUGLASS to
Address the convention: He came forward to the platform with a hesitancy
And embarrassment, necessarily the attendants of a sensitive mind in such
A novel position.