ABOLITIONISTS IN THE WHITEHOUSE:
NARRATION OF WHEN PRESIDENT LINCOLN WOULD MEET THE
FAMOUS ABOLITIONIST FREDERICK DOUGLASS:
Many colored people in
Washington, and large numbers had desired to attend
the levee, but orders were issued not to admit them.
A gentleman, a member of Congress, on his way to the
White House, recognized Mr. Frederick Douglas, the
eloquent colored orator, on the outskirts of the
'How do you do, Mr. Douglas? A fearful jam to-night.
You are going in, of course?'
'No -- that is, no to your last question.'
'Not going in to shake the President by the hand!
'The best reason in the world. Strict orders have
been issued not to admit people of color.'
'It is a shame, Mr. Douglas, that you should thus be
placed under ban. Never mind; wait here, and I will
see what can be done.'
The gentleman entered the White House, and working
his way by the President, asked permission to
introduce Mr. Douglas to him.
'Certainly,' said Mr. Lincoln. 'Bring Mr. Douglas
in, by all means. I shall be glad to meet him.'
The gentleman returned, and soon Mr. Douglas stood
face to face with the President. Mr. Lincoln pressed
his hand warmly, saying: 'Mr. Douglas, I am glad to
meet you. I have long admired your course, and I
value your opinions highly.'
Mr. Douglas was very proud of the manner in which
Mr. Lincoln received him. On leaving the White House
he came to a friend's house where a reception was
being held, and he related the incident with great
pleasure to myself and others.
On the Monday following the reception at the White
House, everybody was busy preparing for the grand
ball to come off that night. I was in Mrs. Lincoln's
room the greater portion of the day. While dressing
her that night, the President came in, and I
remarked to him how much Mr. Douglas had been
pleased on the night he was presented to Mr.
Lincoln. Mrs. L. at once turned to her husband with
the inquiry, 'Father, why was not Mr. Douglas
introduced to me?'
'I do not know. I thought he was presented.'
'But he was not.'
'It must have been an oversight then, mother; I am
sorry you did not meet him.'
I finished dressing her for the ball, and
accompanied her to the door. She was dressed
magnificently, and entered the ballroom leaning on
the arm of Senator Sumner, a gentleman that she very
much admired. Mr. Lincoln walked into the ballroom
accompanied by two gentlemen. This ball closed the
season. It was the last time that the President and
his wife ever appeared in public.'
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