previous next


Though the cars (compared with our Eastern ones) look as if they were made a century ago, and are quite uncomfortable, yet the ride was far from being irksome, on account of the all-pervading beauty and opulence of the country through which we passed, so far as a fine soil and natural scenery are concerned. We passed through the counties of Philadelphia, Chester, Lancaster, and a portion of Dauphin, and, through the whole distance, saw but a single spot that reminded us of our rocky New England. Arriving at 3 o'clock, we found at the depot,1 awaiting our coming, Dr. Rutherford, an old subscriber to the2 Liberator, and his sister-in-law, Agnes Crane, both of them true and faithful to the anti-slavery cause in the midst of a perverse and prejudiced people; and also several of our colored friends,3 with one of whom (Mr. Wolf, an intelligent and worthy man) Douglass went home, having previously engaged to do so; while I went with Dr. Rutherford, and received a cordial welcome from his estimable lady.

The Court House had been obtained for us for Saturday and4 Sunday evenings. Hitherto, nearly all the anti-slavery lecturers have failed to gather any considerable number together; but, on this occasion, we had the room filled, some of the most respectable citizens being present. At an early period of the evening, before the services commenced, it was evident that mischief was brewing and an explosion would ultimately follow. I first addressed the meeting, and was listened to, not only without molestation, but with marked attention and respect, though my remarks were stringent, and my accusations severe. As soon, however, as Douglass rose to speak, the spirit of rowdyism began to show itself outside of the building, around the door and windows. It was the first time that a ‘nigger’ had attempted to address the people of Harrisburg in public, and it was regarded by the mob as an act of unparalleled audacity. They knew nothing at all of Douglass, except that he was a ‘nigger.’ They came equipped with rotten eggs and brickbats, firecrackers, and other missiles, and made use of them somewhat freely—breaking panes of glass, and soiling the clothes of some who were struck by the eggs. One of these bespattered my head and back somewhat freely. Of course there was a great deal of yelling and shouting, and of violent exclamation—such as, ‘Out with the damned nigger,’ etc., etc. The audience at first manifested considerable alarm, but I was enabled to obtain a silent hearing for a few moments, when I told the meeting that if this was a specimen of Harrisburg decorum

1 Aug. 7.

2 W. W. Rutherford.

3 Lib. 17.122.

4 Aug. 7, 8.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
W. W. Rutherford (3)
Frederick Douglass (3)
Aug (2)
Wolf (1)
W. L. G. Lib (1)
Agnes Crane (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: