As reported in the Baltimore Sun.


Frederick Douglass was introduced by Dr. Brown as the champion of liberty the first of American Orators and a son of Maryland. He is a resident of New York but he ought to be with them and work with them and they intended to have him back with them.

Mr. Douglass said he had often appeared before the American people as a slave and sometimes as a fugitive slave, but always as an advocate for the slave. To him this day was the day of all days. He was permitted to appear before them in the more dignified, the more elevated character of an American citizen. Thirty five years ago it was his lot to be a slave in Talbot county working side by side with slaves on a plantation. He remembered that he always looked forward with yearning to the time when Maryland should not contain a slave. Uneducated as he was he knew enough of logic of events, of the sense right and wrong that the day would come when not a chain should clank nor fetter gall, nor whip crack over a slave. The change is amazing, when he remembers how slavery was interwoven with everything civil, political social and ecclesiastical in this State. He remembers that he and his fellow slaves desired to talk about emancipation, but were prevented by the presence of the overseer. They invented a vocabulary of their own so that they would not be understood as saying anything but the most harmless things. They were talking of liberty, in fact they were the original abolitionists. The old aunty would ask a slave, "Sonny do you see anything of the pig's foot coming?" That was the way we talked about emancipation To-day we have but two of three chief things. The first thing the negro got was the cartridge box, next was the ballot-box. Some of our friends who now advocate it hardly saw it three years ago, but at last they were convinced. The next box, without which the cartridge-box and ballot-box is insufficient, is the jury box. We are in a country which, while the negro hating element sits in the jury box the negro is not protected. We want the jury box for ourselves and our white follow-citizens, for no one is hurt by justice. He then explained the purport of the fifteenth amendment, and said that here- after the black man will have no excuse, as formerly, for ignorance, or poverty or destitution. The fifteenth amendment has deprived them of all the apologies and excuses which formerly existed. We must stand up and be responsible to our fellow-citizens as independent men. We are to instruct ourselves as to men and measures and take nobody or thing on trust. Mr. Douglass asked them if they remembered which party emancipated them? [There were responses of "The republican party," and several persons responded "The democratic," which occasioned some amusement.] Mr. Douglass continued. The democratic party is the old party that for forty years stood between themselves and liberty.

He pleaded guilty to the charge of running away from Maryland but it was not from Maryland he ran away. He loved Maryland, its waters, its fertile fields in Talbot county its fishing grounds and everything in it except slavery. It was slavery he ran away from He felt a little mean about it to go away with out bidding them good bye. The truth was he was afraid aid to bid them good bye for fear they would not let him go. He had some religious scruples also. He used to pray that God would release him from slavery but God did not begin to hear his prayers until he began to run.

Forty years ago he saw Austin Woolfolk on horseback, with about forty negroes he was going to ship to the South. That made him hate slavery. When he went North he resolved that any power he possessed should be devoted to the abolition of slavery and the enfranchisement of his race, and he has endeavored to perform faith fully his pledge, and whatever that remains to him of life shall go in the same direction. They were not indebted to Maryland for their liberty, but to the United States. Will you be as good masters to yourselves as your old masters were? Will you get up as early in the morning? Will you work as hard for yourselves as you did for your masters? Will you dream as well and be as sober and as temperate?

Some people say the negroes will die out. He replies to them that if two hundred and fifty years of slavery could not kill them, liberty can not. It is argued against us that we are incapable of educating our minds. We have got the cartridge box and the ballot box but the knowledge box is wanting. Are you going to educate your sons and daughters? We want our children to do better than we do and have done. The Baltimore that he knew fifty years ago was a two-story Baltimore, now it is a five story Baltimore. We want our children to add a story to their height every generation.

Mr. Douglass said he was no orator or great champion of liberty as announced. It was only because it was unusual to hear a black man talk that they called him so. No one knew better than he that it was not so. But he did not "let on." He don't mind telling them so now. The orators that are to come after us in this country will do great things. We have now a future and everything is possible - now we have a future. You will never, any of you, be an independent voter in your life, until you get some money in your pocket. A colored man was once advised to "vote where he could get his potatoes." Colored men like other men are apt to be grateful and men will court you on the score of interest.

As reported in the Baltimore American.


Mr. Creswell's speech, which was repeatedly cheered, was followed by music from the band. Frederick Douglass Esq, was then introduced by Dr. Brown, who spoke of him as a son of Maryland who should now be working among us, and he believed he soon would be.

Mr. Douglass said that during the last thirty years he had often appeared before the people as a slave, sometimes as a fugitive slave, but always in behalf of the slave. But to-day he was permitted to appear before them as an American citizen. How grea t the change. Thirty five years ago he was working as a slave in Talbot county, and looked forward even then that there would some time come a day when not a fetter should clank or a whip crack over the backs of his fellow men. That day has come at last. When we remember how slavery was interlinked with all our institutions, it is amazing that today we witness this demonstration. When toiling on the plantation we slaves desired to talk of emancipation, but there stood the overseer and a word would ensure a flogging. To talk about emancipation without being discovered we invented a vocabulary, and when the over seer thought we were talking of the most simple thing we were really speaking of emancipation, but in a way that was Greek to them. [Laughter and a pplause.] The negro has now got the three belongings of American freedom. First the cartridge box, for when he got the eagle on his button and the musket on his shoulder he was free. Next came the ballot box, some of its most earnest advocates now hardly saw it three years ago, but we'll forgive them now. Next we want the jury box. [Applause.] While the negro-hating element sits in the jury box the colored man's welfare is insecure and we demand that he be represented in the halls of justice. Nobody will be injured by justice. The Fifteenth Amendment means that hereafter the black man is to have no excuse for ignorance, poverty or destitution. Our excuse for such in the past is swept away from us by the Fifteenth Amendment. We are to stand up and be resp onsible for our own existence, we must be independent men and citizens - we are to know our friends and equally to know our enemies and take none in trust. When a friend performs a good act or an enemy a malicious act towards us are we not to remember the m? [Cries of "Yes!"] I love my friends and remember my enemies. I remember that party that for forty years has been endeavoring to enslave us and crush us and I want you to remember that party at the ballot box. [Applause.] What party is that? [Cries of " Democratic!"] Do you remember the party that, when the Democrats endeavored to overthrow the Government, stepped between the Government and its blows? Then let us give three cheers for the Republican party! [Enthusiastic Cheers.] I see you are all right h ere, and I am not afraid to have election day come around. [Applause.] I loved everything of Maryland except slavery -- it was that I ran away from thirty two years ago. I felt a little mean however, and only did not stop to tell them goodbye because I wa s afraid they would not let me go. I found that God never began to hear my prayers for liberty until I began to run. Then you ought to have seen the dust rise behind me in answer to prayer. [Applause.]

Forty years ago I sat on Kennard's wharf, at the foot of Philpot street and I saw men and women chained and put on ship to go to New Orleans. I then resolved that whatever power I had should be devoted to the freeing of my race. For thirty years in the midst of all opposition, I have endeavored to fulfil my pledge. I am here today to pledge myself that whatever remains to me of life shall go in the same direction. Possibly I ought to be in Maryland, but the time has come when the black man owes nothing to States. You are not indebted to Maryland for the fra nchise. The old ideas of State sovereignty have been abolished by the war. We have now a common country and a common legislature - there are no States but the United States. All that any man can ask of another is that he do his best for the whole country. Will you be as good masters to yourselves as your masters were to you? [Cries of better!] Will you work as hard for yourselves as you did for your masters? [Cries of yes!] Will you be as sober and temperate now as you were before? [Renewed cries of yes!] I believe you but some affect not to. They believe that you will die out like the Indian, that you cannot exist in competition with the white men. Well if two centuries and a half of slavery, the whip, prisons, and the abolition of the marriage relation could not kill you then liberty will not. [Applause.] Educate your sons and daughters, send them to school and show that besides the cartridge box, the ballot box, and the jury box, you have also the knowledge box. Build on for those who come after you. I am no orator. The orators who are to come up in the hereafter from the colored race will throw me and Langston far into the background. We have a future, everything is possible to us. Get education and get money in your pocket, and save it, for without it you will never be an independent voter.

See it in context.
See it in context.