In Frederick Douglass's "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?", he states,
"I scout the idea that the question of the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of slavery is not a question for the people. I hold that every American citizen has a fight to form an opinion of the constitution, and to propagate that opinion, and to use all honorable means to make his opinion the prevailing one."
None of the dictionary definitions of "scout" that I found seem to be straightforwardly applicable, so I'm having trouble parsing these lines. The phrase
"the question of the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of slavery is not a question for the people"
seems to contradict the idea that
"every American citizen has a fight to form an opinion of the constitution, and to propagate that opinion".
How should "scout the idea" be interpreted?
Is he considering the idea and then rejecting it? Or is he testing out the idea, describing it to his audience, and in the process making some distinction between a question for the people and a question for the individual? Something else?
Edit: After some searching, I found that in a different speech, Douglass states
Now, the Fugitive Slave Act notoriously violates both these provisions at once. It scouts the idea of a trial by jury.
and in another,
I deny and utterly scout the idea, that there is now, properly speaking, any such thing as a negro problem before the American people.
Which makes me think that "scout" is being used in a negative sense--perhaps something along the lines of "reject"?
I'm still unsure about the specific meaning of "scout" intended here, however.