Answer questions about the reading.
QUESTION SET #1 (a through d) • Throughout this course, any question set not attempted receives a grade of zero. In addition, any response not presented as a complete sentence receives a grade of zero, even if the content it contains is correct. Points are deducted for incorrect grammar and confusing expression. Carefully proof-read your work before submitting it.
The Douglass and O’Connell module consists of three public speeches and a personal letter. Of the four artifacts, the last is the co-called Cincinnati Address: a speech delivered in Dublin, capital of Ireland, in 1843 by the lawyer-turned-politician Daniel O’Connell. At that time, not only was O’Connell Ireland’s leading public figure, he was (arguably) the world’s foremost anti-slavery advocate.
O’Connell was the principal reason for Fredrick Douglass’s choosing Ireland for a self-imposed exile from the United States, which began in 1845, after Douglass’s controversial biographical work, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, appeared. While residing in Ireland, Douglass, a former slave, created the remainder of our module’s assigned works: a speech delivered in Cork, a city in the south of Ireland; a speech delivered in Belfast, a city in the north of Ireland; and a letter written to William Lloyd Garrison, a white abolitionist in Massachusetts.
We begin with Douglass’s Cork speech, which the Cork Examiner newspaper reported in full in its edition of October 27, 1845. (1.a) According to Douglass, what argument do slaveholders offer most frequently “in support of the slave system”? Douglass identifies slavery not just as a socioeconomic issue, but a moral one, too — specifically, a matter inimical to Christianity. (1.b) What image, having to do with blood, does he present of “advocates” of slavery who also deem themselves “professors” (i.e. followers) of Christianity? (1.c) Why, in Douglass’s opinion, does the “question of slavery” belong “to … Irishmen”? (1.d) In 1770, what law was passed in our State of Georgia, as well as South Carolina and Virginia?
QUESTION SET #2 (a through d) • (2.a) For what reason did a passenger on board the vessel called Cambria (the Latin-language name for the country of Wales) declare “[d]own with the [n-word]” in reference to Douglass?
Frederick Douglass discusses a “little misunderstanding” between him and a reporter for an Irish newspaper called The Constitution. (2.b) Why did the reporter’s characterization of Douglass as “a fine young Negro” — intended as a compliment — rub the American the wrong way?
Having praised a Dubliner, James Haughton, a prominent merchant and abolitionist, for always inquiring of Americans whether or not they endorse slavery, Douglass moves to the matter of slaves’ feelings (or sentiment). (2.c) What, according to Douglass, was the “black man” Maddison Washington’s motivation for leaving Canada, a British territory without slavery? By the way, in 1853, some years after the speech you are reading, Douglass wrote a novella (or short novel), The Heroic Slave, based on the adventures of Maddison (also spelled Madison) Washington.
To conclude his Cork speech, Douglass names two individuals — clergymen called Garrett and Wright — as examples of intelligent and cultured blacks without “European blood.” Responding to applause, he then makes one more point. (2.d) What does Douglass invite Irish “ladies” to do?
QUESTION SET #3 (a through c) • This question set begins our focus on Douglass’s Belfast speech, which was reprinted in the December 9, 1845, editions of that city’s Banner of Ulster and Belfast Northern Whig newspapers. (3.a) In America, what occurrence prompted “the Anti-Slavery society” to send Douglass on a speaking tour “through the New England States”? (3.b) Why did Douglass “[resolve] … to publish a narrative” with details of his experiences as a slave? That work, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, first appeared in 1845 (the same year as the Cork and Belfast addresses you are reading). It became a bestseller. (3.c) Why did Douglass decide to “[venture] across the wave [the North Atlantic Ocean] to tread the sacred soil of the Emerald Isle [Ireland]”?
QUESTION SET #4 (a through d) • (4.a) What, according to Douglass, do slaveholders most “dread or avoid”? (4.b) What role did Mr. Gough — an Irishman “of gigantic size” — play in the disturbance on board the Cambria? (4.c) How do the members of Douglass’s Belfast audience respond to his presentation of the threat that Gough uttered?
(4.d) To which “tender ties” does Douglass refer; and is what befalls those “tender ties” an inherent element of how slavery operates or just an unintended by-product of slavery?
QUESTION SET #5 (a and b) • (5.a) In Douglass’s view, what is necessary for “[t]he system of slavery” to be “sustained”? Having praised the English abolitionists William Wilberforce, Thomas Clarkson, and Joseph Sturge, Douglass proceeds to laud the Irish lawyer and politician Daniel O’Connell for his “sturdy and wholesale denunciations of slavery.” (In another venue Douglass wrote, “No transatlantic statesman bore a testimony more marked and telling against the crime and curse of slavery than did Daniel O’Connell.”)
(5.b) What does Douglass advocate that pro-slavery Americans should do with the star-spangled banner?
QUESTION SET #6 (a through c) • This question set concerns Douglass’s letter, sent from Ireland in 1846, to William Lloyd Garrison, a leading white abolitionist, based in Massachusetts. Douglass’s time in Ireland coincided with the Great Hunger: the wholesale failure of the potato crop between 1845 and 1849. One to one-and-a-half million people died from starvation and hunger-related diseases; and at least a million additional people emigrated, with millions more following suit in the post-Great Hunger years. In the letter you are reading, Douglass asks Garrison to publish details about “the misery and wretchedness of the Irish people” in his anti-slavery newspaper, The Liberator. (6.a) During a six-week stay in Dublin, why did Douglass “[dread] to go out of the house”? (6.b) Of his experiences in Dublin, which “spectacle … affected [Douglass] most”?
(6.c) When corresponding with Garrison, what does Douglass observe about, first, the “Irish hut” and, second, the “intemperance” he witnesses in Ireland? Offer a single sentence, using your own words, about each matter (for a total of two sentences).
QUESTION SET #7 (a through c) • All remaining questions center on O’Connell’s Cincinnati Address. Let us begin by considering some background data. In 1829, Daniel O’Connell achieved his goal of Catholic Emancipation: the granting of considerable religious freedom to the Roman Catholics of Ireland and Britain. As a result, O’Connell gained such monikers as the Emancipator and the Liberator. Next, he turned his attention to the matter of repealing the Act of Union, which had terminated the Dublin-based Irish parliament and placed Irish affairs under the control of the London-based United Kingdom parliament (known as Westminster).
Coming into force on January 1, 1801, the Act of Union created a new nation — the United Kingdom — by combining Great Britain (i.e. England, Wales, and Scotland) and Ireland. To separate Ireland from the UK and restore the Irish parliament, O’Connell founded an organization called the Repeal Association, based on popular mass political activism, always non-violent in character. Branches of the Repeal Association emerged not just in Ireland, but also among Irish-emigrant communities worldwide — including Savannah, Georgia, and Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Cincinnati branch of the Repeal Association wished to remit a financial contribution to the organization’s Dublin headquarters, but the offer came with a demand that the Association record in its minutes a detailed “apology for” (that is, defense of) “negro slavery in the American States.” Although located in Ohio, which was not a slave state, the city of Cincinnati all but borders — and, thus, was economically dependent on — the northern portion of the slave state of Kentucky. The demand by the Cincinnati Repeal branch of his Association incensed O’Connell, who composed an official written response. The letter was mailed to Cincinnati, but O’Connell also read it aloud, before a large gathering of the public and the press, during an October 11, 1843, meeting at the Corn Exchange Rooms, a large assembly hall in Dublin.
Known as the Cincinnati Address, this letter-cum-speech is considered one of the most important anti-slavery arguments ever presented, not just because of O’Connell’s status in the international abolitionist movement but also because it labels slavery in the Southern US as a crime — “the most hideous crime that has ever stained humanity” — and the region’s slave-owners (who largely thought themselves good Christians) as criminals.
(7.a) On page 11, what does O’Connell ask concerning the “Irish heart” that he assumes resides in the Irish-American members of the Cincinnati Repeal Association? (7.b) Why does O’Connell invoke the members’ “mothers” and “sisters”?
O’Connell brings up Lord Morpeth, the reform-minded eldest son of a British earl. For six years, beginning in 1835, he served as Chief Secretary for Ireland, one of the most senior British administrative positions in the colony of Ireland. O’Connell extols him as “the best friend … that Ireland or the Irish ever knew” among “the Saxon [English] race.” (7.c) What is Lord Morpeth’s opinion of “the poorer classes of the Irish,” and what is his opinion of “the Irish in America”?
QUESTION SET #8 (a through d) • O’Connell expresses incredulity that whites in the American South criminalize the education of blacks. To illustrate the “butaliz[ing]” nature of slavery, he invokes the case of John Adams. (8.a) What color was Adams; where and by whom was he enslaved; and what observations were made about him after his “liberation”?
O’Connell addresses — and refutes — the contention that whites and blacks cannot exist “on equal terms” in a state or polity. (8.b) Which British colony in the Western Hemisphere (i.e. the Americas) does O’Connell cite as an instance of “the two races [being] on a perfect equality in point of law”?
O’Connell discusses the “Emancipation,” by which he means the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, passed by the UK parliament (Westminster) and applied across the British Empire. (8.c) What does O’Connell opine about the financial “compensation” made available under that piece of legislation?
Having dismissed as specious the argument that Abolitionists excite salves into disobedience and even revolt, O’Connell proceeds to invoke a social theory advanced by the English social theorist Jeremy Bentham. O’Connell argues that if Southern American blacks were granted “personal Liberty,” then one of Bentham’s maxims or assertions would be realized. (8.d) What is that maxim?
QUESTION SET #9 (a and b) • (9.a) What argument endorsed by members of the Cincinnati Repeal Association causes O’Connell to “disclaim [them] as countrymen” (i.e. as fellow Irishmen)? (9.b) Which country among “all the nations on the earth” was first to “abolish the dealing in slaves”?
QUESTION SET #10 (a through d) • O’Connell presents a multi-part action plan that he wishes the members of the Cincinnati Repeal Association to adopt. (10.a) What is the sixth item on his list? (10.b) What have “Scotch and French philosophers [scientists] … proved by many years of experimentation”? (10.c) According to O’Connell, what “class” among Abolitionists is “most intolerant,” especially as regards Catholics and the Irish? (10.d) What is the “Irish name” of the slaveholder from whom “the girl Lavinia” escaped?