Douglass in Scotland

Here you can learn about the 1846 visit to Scotland by the anti-slavery campaigner Frederick Douglass, drawing on research for this book, published in November 2018.

Engraving of Frederick Douglass on the lecture platform, c1846
‘Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave, denouncing slaveholders and their religious abettors’ from The Uncle Tom’s Cabin Almanack; or, Abolitionist Memento for 1853 (London: 1852) (detail)

Resources here include pages on

There is also

  • a detailed itinerary, listing all Douglass’ known speaking engagements, and
  • a log of recent efforts to enhance public awareness of Scotland’s historical connections to the Atlantic slavery system and the struggle for black emancipation.

In the course of 2019, transcriptions of all the newspaper reports of Douglass’ speeches were added, supported by contextual introductions and editorial annotations.

4 comments on “Douglass in Scotland

    • Alasdair Pettinger says:

      Full details of the book here: here with a link through to the publisher’s website. It is certainly listed on Amazon and many other online bookstores.

  • Do you know if there is any record of author George MacDonald having attended any of Douglass’ lectures? I ask because they both used the phrase “fair play” quite often (speaking of different things), but I thought maybe one had had an influence on the other. Just curious. Thanks.

    • Alasdair Pettinger says:

      I think the only way of establishing if MacDonald attended any of the lectures would be by perusing his private papers (diaries, letters), if they exist for the period. MacDonald was only 22 in 1846 and just out of university, so was probably not notable enough for his presence at a meeting to have been noted, say, in the newspapers. As for ‘fair play’, it was a very common expression (try a search for the phrase in Google Books for the 19th century) and I wouldn’t have thought it counted as credible evidence of influence of the one over the other.


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