Sought-after ALS, one page, 5.75 x 9.25, September 14, 1894. Letter to Dr. Hightower Theodore Kealing, the president of Paul Quinn College in Waco, Texas, in full: “How immensely persistent you are! I highly appreciated the feeling that prompted the first letter inviting me to attend the contemplated Exposition in Waco, and I certainly appreciated the feeling that dictated your letter now before me. He would be an intensely ambitious and self-conscious man, eaten up with ideas of his own importance who would be made to feel by such a letter vastly overrated. I am honored beyond measure by this additional invitation—and yet I must decline. In his answers to the British cons: who are here to interview us on our Lynching practices, the Governor of Texas has done honor to his state and shown himself to be the Noblest Roman of them all. Hating Lynch Law as we all profess to do, we should welcome with open arms every lawful influence to put an end to it. My hands are full of work. Hence I cannot come to you.” In fine condition. Accompanied by the original mailing envelope, addressed in Douglass’s own hand.
The last published essay of Douglass’s lifetime, ‘Lynch Law in the South’ was featured in the July 1892 issue of The North American review. In the article Douglass makes plain his revulsion to the cruelty of lynching, but conversely condemns the act by its simply being administered beyond the boundaries of law, asserting that the ‘Lynch Law violates all of those merciful maxims of law and order which experience has shown to be wise and necessary for the protection of liberty, the security of the citizen, and the maintenance of justice for the whole people.’ The “contemplated Exposition” Douglass was unable to attend was assuredly the premiere of the Texas Cotton Palace in Waco, Texas, an exhibition which ran from November 8th to December 6th, and included a parade, agricultural exhibit, amusement area, orators, and musicians. Douglass would pass away at his home in Washington D.C. on February 20, 1895, just five months after penning this letter.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.