The National Archives provides historical documents online for researching United States International Relations with Haiti, including this letter from Frederick Douglass, accepting the Appointment as U.S. Minister to Haiti, June 25, 1889.

Frederick was appointed by the Harrison administration when he was seventy-two years old. He was very optimistic of his appointment:

In due course Douglass was officially presented to General

Louis Mondestin Florvil Hyppolite, the new President, who

offered generous homage to the new minister’s eminence as a

Negro and as an American. Douglass replied in a vein of

Nineteenth Century optimism which reads sadly against the

background of our world today:

“Happily, too, the spirit of the age powerfully assists ill

establishing a sentiment of universal brotherhood. Art, sci-

ence, discovery and invention have gone forward with such

speed as almost to transcend our ability to keep pace with

them. Steam, electricity and enterprise are linking together all

the oceans, islands, capes and continents, disclosing more and

more the common interests and interdependence of nations.

“The growing commerce and intercommunication of vari-

ous nationalities, so important to the dissemination of know\Tl-

edge, to the enlargement of human sympathies, and to the

extinction of hurtful prejudices import no menace to the

autonomy of nations, but develop opportunities for the ex-

ercise of a generous spirit of forbearance and concession,

favorable to peace and fraternal relations between them.


“In this beneficent tendency of our times, I assure Your

Excellency that the President of the United States desires for

the Republic of Haiti the fullest participation.

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