News and Wisdom from Douglass & Delaney’s The North Star

Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was born into slavery at Tuckahoe, Maryland, escaped in 1838, and safely reached New Bedford, Mass. There he worked three years as a daily laborer on the wharves and in 1841 became a lecturer on slavery. In 1845, afraid of again being placed in bondage, he fled to England. Friends furnished Douglass with enough money to purchase his freedom and to establish himself in the publishing business.

In 1847, with Douglass and M.R. Delaney as editors, The North Star was established: “…It has long been our anxious wish to see, in this slave-holding, slave-trading, and negro-hating land, a printing-press and paper, permanently established, under the complete control and direction of the immediate victims of slavery and oppression…” 


Trust not to uncertain riches, but prepare yourself for every emergency in life. Learn to work, and not to be dependant upon servants to make your bread, sweep your floors and darn your own stockings. Above all things, do not esteem too lightly those honorable young men who sustain themselves and their aged parents by the work of their hands, while you care for and receive into your company those lazy, idle popinjays who never lift a finger to help themselves as long as they can keep body and soul together, and get sufficient to live in fashion.

If you are wise you will look at the subject as we do – and when you are old enough to become wives, you will prefer the honest mechanic, with not a cent to commence life, to the fashionable loafer, with a capital of ten thousand dollars. Whenever we her remarked, “Such a young lady has married a fortune,” we always tremble for her future prosperity. Riches left to children by wealthy parents often turn a curse instead of a blessing.

Young women, remember this; and instead of sounding the purses of your lovers, and examining the cuts of their coats, look into their habits and their hearts. Mark if they trade, and can depend upon themselves; see if they have minds which will lead them to look above a butterfly existence.

Talk not of the beautiful clear skin, and the soft, delicate hand – the splendid form and the fine appearance of the young gentlemen. Let not these foolish considerations engross your thoughts.


A great change has come over the Press in Berlin. Being now free, they are very interesting, a surprising trait in them. News boys for the first time appear in the streets, and scatter the pages of intelligence over the city.

The press once free, the rights of the people are soon established.


The newspaper is a law-book for the ignorant, a sermon for the thoughtless, a library for the poor; it may stimulate the most indifferent, and instruct the most learned.


We have read nothing about the revolution so exceedingly French as the following incident, narrated in a letter from Paris, written by a lady:

“I am told that in the midst of the rush of the people into the palace of the Tuileries when they were so much excited, that on entering the saloon of the Queen, they found a piano, and that they forced a young man to sit down and play for them, and they all went to dancing the polka. This is so French that I can believe it without any trouble.”


Some philosopher has remarked, that every animal, when dressed in human apparel, resembles mankind very strikingly in features.

Put a frock, bonnet and spectacles on a pig, and it looks like an old woman of eighty. A bull dressed in an overcoat would resemble a lawyer. Tie a few ribbons round a cat, put a fan in its paw, and a boarding miss is represented. A cockrel in uniform is a general to the life. A hedgehog looks like a miser. Dress a monkey in a frock-coat, cut off his tail, trim his whiskers, and you have a city dandy.

Donkeys resemble a good many person.

Source: The North Star – May 5, 1848

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