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ginnymc at Jul 21, 2021 03:15 PM


12 JULY 1891 457

The longest and most comprehensive of these interviews took place on 12 July
1891 when an unidentified black reporter for the New York World visited
Douglass’s Cedar Hill residence in Washington. New York Sun, 4, 10 July
1891; New York World, 4, 6 July 1891; Washington Post, 4 July 1891; New
York Age, 11 July 1891.

WASHINGTON, July 12.—United States Minister Frederick Douglass’s res-
idence in Port au Prince has not improved his health. His conversation is no
longer punctured with that vigor of voice with which all who have heard the
orator are familiar. He recognizes his want of physical stamina and is
impatient to leave Washington for Maine, where he expects to so renew his
health that if, at the expiration of sixty days, when his leave ends, he returns
to his post at Hayti, he will be equal to the performance of all the duties of
his office.^1^ It was evident, however, that his intellect has not suffered. It
still scintillated in a way to tax his languid tongue to give expression.

Driving through the spacious grounds of Mr. Douglass and around and
up the hill to its apex, upon which is perched his commodious residence, 1
found the Minister and Mrs. Douglass and a party of their friends upon the
lawn playing croquet. Recognizing me as I approached, Mr. Douglass
threw down his mallet and with a smile said: “Here comes one belonging to
the Third Estate and I suppose I must do him reverence. As he comes in the
name of THE WORLD I can say in all sincerity,” holding out his hand to
assist me from the wagon, “you are welcome. I have always found THE
WORLD truthful and uniformly just.”


As 1 reached the ground and was about to speak, Mr. Douglass placed
his hand upon my shoulder in the most familiar fashion, and stopped me.
“Wait,” he said. “One of the charges made against me is that I am inor-
dinately ambitious, and that l have not been satisfied to rest contented in the
enjoyment of such honors and emoluments as have already been conferred
upon me, and that I should not have accepted the mission to Hayti.

“Look about you,” continued Mr. Douglass, with a sweep of his hand,
pointing out the beauties of the rural scene which lay before us. Is it to have

1. Private correspondence reveals that both Douglass and his wife were in ill health at the time
oftheir return from Haiti. Both Douglasses, however, recovered quickly at their residence at Anacostia
in the District of Columbia and no trip to Maine is known to have taken place. Charles Still to Douglass,
4 July 1891, reel 6, frames 144—46, Ebenezer D. Bassett to Douglass, 14 July 1891, reel 6, frames
148—50, General Correspondence File, FD Papers. DLC.