Journey home

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Samuel Cunard, Canadian founder of the famous shipping company, was forced to issue a public apology when, on his journey home, Douglass was denied the first-class berth he had paid for

Samuel Cunard, Canadian founder of the famous shipping company, was forced to issue a public apology when, on his journey home, Douglass was denied the first-class berth he had paid for

Douglass spent four months in Ireland, giving talks in Dublin, Wexford, Cork, Limerick and Belfast. He crossed over to Britain in early January 1846, speaking to crowds of thousands, dining with statesmen and even contemplating moving his family over permanently. The great success of this leg of the tour, combined with continued worldwide sales of his Narrative (French, Dutch and German translations all coming into print), ensured that Douglass returned to America in April 1847 as an icon of international standing. He was also, much more importantly, a free man, a group of anti-slavery campaigners in Newcastle having raised the £150 (just over $700 at the time) needed to secure his manumission from his owner, Thomas Auld. Travelling once more on board the Cambria, Douglass was denied the first-class berth he had paid for by the Liverpool agent. He wrote a letter to The Times, condemning his treatment and declaring that ‘the British public will pronounce a just verdict on such proceedings’. His cause was taken up by a number of leading newspapers, and Samuel Cunard, the Canadian founder of the famous shipping company, was forced to issue a public apology.

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