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Life of Harriet Beecher Stowe
Chapter VII: Uncle Tom's Cabin, 1852.

by Harriet Beecher Stowe

The wonderful story that was begun in the "National Era," June 5, 1851, and was announced to run for about three months, was not completed in that paper until April 1, 1852. It had been contemplated as a mere magazine tale of perhaps a dozen chapters, but once begun it could no more be controlled than the waters of the swollen Mississippi, bursting through a crevasse in its levees. The intense interest excited by the story, the demands made upon the author for more facts, the unmeasured words of encouragement to keep on in her good work that poured in from all sides, and above all the ever- growing conviction that she had been intrusted with a great and holy mission, compelled her to keep on until the humble tale had assumed the proportions of a volume prepared to stand among the most notable books in the world. As Mrs. Stowe has since repeatedly said, "I could not control the story; it wrote itself;" or "I the author of 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'? No, indeed. The Lord himself wrote it, and I was but the humblest of instruments in his hand. To Him alone should be given all the praise."

Although the publication of the "National Era" has been long since suspended, the journal was in those days one of decided literary merit and importance. On its title-page, with the name of Dr. Gamaliel Bailey as editor, appeared that of John Greenleaf Whittier as corresponding editor. In its columns Mrs. Southworth made her first literary venture, while Alice and Phoebe Gary, Grace Greenwood, and a host of other well-known names were published with that of Mrs. Stowe, which appeared last of all in its prospectus for 1851.

Before the conclusion of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" Mrs. Stowe had so far outstripped her contemporaries that her work was pronounced by competent judges to be the most powerful production ever contributed to the magazine literature of this country, and she stood in the foremost rank of American writers.

After finishing her story Mrs. Stowe penned the following appeal to its more youthful readers, and its serial publication was concluded:--

"The author of 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' must now take leave of a wide circle of friends whose faces she has never seen, but whose sympathies coming to her from afar have stimulated and cheered her in her work.

"The thought of the pleasant family circles that she has been meeting in spirit week after week has been a constant refreshment to her, and she cannot leave them without a farewell.

"In particular the dear children who have followed her story have her warmest love. Dear children, you will soon be men and women, and I hope that you will learn from this story always to remember and pity the poor and oppressed. When you grow up, show your pity by doing all you can for them. Never, if you can help it, let a colored child be shut out from school or treated with neglect and contempt on account of his color. Remember the sweet example of little Eva, and try to feel the same regard for all that she did. Then, when you grow up, I hope the foolish and unchristian prejudice against people merely on account of their complexion will be done away with.

"Farewell, dear children, until we meet again."

With the completion of the story the editor of the "Era" wrote: "Mrs. Stowe has at last brought her great work to a close. We do not recollect any production of an American writer that has excited more general and profound interest."

For the story as a serial the author received $300. In the mean time, however, it had attracted the attention of Mr. John P. Jewett, a Boston publisher, who promptly made overtures for its publication in book form. He offered Mr. and Mrs. Stowe a half share in the profits, provided they would share with him the expense of publication. This was refused by Professor Stowe, who said he was altogether too poor to assume any such risk; and the agreement finally made was that the author should receive a ten per cent royalty upon all sales.

Mrs. Stowe had no reason to hope for any large pecuniary gain from this publication, for it was practically her first book. To be sure, she had, in 1832, prepared a small school geography for a Western publisher, and ten years later the Harpers had brought out her "Mayflower." Still, neither of these had been sufficiently remunerative to cause her to regard literary work as a money-making business, and in regard to this new contract she writes: "I did not know until a week afterward precisely what terms Mr. Stowe had made, and I did not care. I had the most perfect indifference to the bargain."

The agreement was signed March 13, 1852, and, as by arrangement with the "National Era" the book publication of the story was authorized before its completion as a serial, the first edition of five thousand copies was issued on the twentieth of the same month.

In looking over the first semi-annual statement presented by her publishers we find Mrs. Stowe charged, a few days before the date of publication of her book, with "one copy U. T. C. cloth $.56," and this was the first copy of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" ever sold in book form. Five days earlier we find her charged with one copy of Horace Mann's speeches. In writing of this critical period of her life Mrs. Stowe says:--

"After sending the last proof-sheet to the office I sat alone reading Horace Mann's eloquent plea for these young men and women, then about to be consigned to the slave warehouse of Bruin & Hill in Alexandria, Va.,--a plea impassioned, eloquent, but vain, as all other pleas on that side had ever proved in all courts hitherto. It seemed that there was no hope, that nobody would hear, nobody would read, nobody pity; that this frightful system, that had already pursued its victims into the free States, might at last even threaten them in Canada." [Footnote: Introduction to Illustrated Edition of Uncle Tom, p. xiii. (Houghton, Osgood & Co., 1879.)]

Filled with this fear, she determined to do all that one woman might to enlist the sympathies of England for the cause, and to avert, even as a remote contingency, the closing of Canada as a haven of refuge for the oppressed. To this end she at once wrote letters to Prince Albert, to the Duke of Argyll, to the Earls of Carlisle and Shaftesbury, to Macaulay, Dickens, and others whom she knew to be interested in the cause of anti-slavery. These she ordered to be sent to their several addresses, accompanied by the very earliest copies of her book that should be printed.

Then, having done what she could, and committed the result to God, she calmly turned her attention to other affairs.

In the mean time the fears of the author as to whether or not her book would be read were quickly dispelled. Three thousand copies were sold the very first day, a second edition was issued the following week, a third on the 1st of April, and within a year one hundred and twenty editions, or over three hundred thousand copies of the book, had been issued and sold in this country. Almost in a day the poor professor's wife had become the most talked-of woman in the world, her influence for good was spreading to its remotest corners, and henceforth she was to be a public character, whose every movement would be watched with interest, and whose every word would be quoted. The long, weary struggle with poverty was to be hers no longer; for, in seeking to aid the oppressed, she had also so aided herself that within four months from the time her book was published it had yielded her $10,000 in royalties.

Now letters regarding the wonderful book, and expressing all shades of opinion concerning it, began to pour in upon the author. Her lifelong friend, whose words we have already so often quoted, wrote:--

"I sat up last night until long after one o'clock reading and finishing 'Uncle Tom's Cabin.' I could not leave it any more than I could have left a dying child, nor could I restrain an almost hysterical sobbing for an hour after I laid my head upon my pillow. I thought I was a thorough-going abolitionist before, but your book has awakened so strong a feeling of indignation and of compassion that I never seem to have had any feeling on this subject until now."

The poet Longfellow wrote:--

I congratulate you most cordially upon the immense success and influence of "Uncle Tom's Cabin." It is one of the greatest triumphs recorded in literary history, to say nothing of the higher triumph of its moral effect.

With great regard, and friendly remembrance to Mr. Stowe, I remain,

Yours most truly,

HENRY W. LONGFELLOW.

Whittier wrote to Garrison:--

"What a glorious work Harriet Beecher Stowe has wrought. Thanks for the Fugitive Slave Law! Better would it be for slavery if that law had never been enacted; for it gave occasion for 'Uncle Tom's Cabin.'"

Garrison wrote to Mrs. Stowe:--

"I estimate the value of anti-slavery writing by the abuse it brings. Now all the defenders of slavery have let me alone and are abusing you."

To Mrs. Stowe, Whittier wrote:--

Ten thousand thanks for thy immortal book. My young friend Mary Irving (of the "Era") writes me that she has been reading it to some twenty young ladies, daughters of Louisiana slaveholders, near New Orleans, and amid the scenes described in it, and that they, with one accord, pronounce it true.

Truly thy friend,

JOHN G. WHITTIER.

>From Thomas Wentworth Higginson came the following:--

To have written at once the most powerful of contemporary fiction and the most efficient of anti-slavery tracts is a double triumph in literature and philanthropy, to which this country has heretofore seen no parallel.

Yours respectfully and gratefully,

T. W. HIGGINSON.

A few days after the publication of the book, Mrs. Stowe, writing from Boston to her husband in Brunswick, says: "I have been in such a whirl ever since I have been here. I found business prosperous. Jewett animated. He has been to Washington and conversed with all the leading senators, Northern and Southern. Seward told him it was the greatest book of the times, or something of that sort, and he and Sumner went around with him to recommend it to Southern men and get them to read it."

It is true that with these congratulatory and commendatory letters came hosts of others, threatening and insulting, from the Haleys and Legrees of the country.

Of them Mrs. Stowe said: "They were so curiously compounded of blasphemy, cruelty, and obscenity, that their like could only be expressed by John Bunyan's account of the speech of Apollyon: 'He spake as a dragon.'"

A correspondent of the "National Era" wrote: "'Uncle Tom's Cabin' is denounced by time-serving preachers as a meretricious work. Will you not come out in defense of it and roll back the tide of vituperation?"

To this the editor answered: "We should as soon think of coming out in defense of Shakespeare."

Several attempts were made in the South to write books controverting "Uncle Tom's Cabin," and showing a much brighter side of the slavery question, but they all fell flat and were left unread. Of one of them, a clergyman of Charleston, S.C., wrote in a private letter:--

"I have read two columns in the 'Southern Press' of Mrs. Eastman's 'Aunt Phillis' Cabin, or Southern Life as it is,' with the remarks of the editor. I have no comment to make on it, as that is done by itself. The editor might have saved himself being writ down an ass by the public if he had withheld his nonsense. If the two columns are a fair specimen of Mrs. Eastman's book, I pity her attempt and her name as an author."

In due time Mrs. Stowe began to receive answers to the letters she had forwarded with copies of her book to prominent men in England, and these were without exception flattering and encouraging. Through his private secretary Prince Albert acknowledged with thanks the receipt of his copy, and promised to read it. Succeeding mails brought scores of letters from English men of letters and statesmen. Lord Carlisle wrote:--

"I return my deep and solemn thanks to Almighty God who has led and enabled you to write such a book. I do feel indeed the most thorough assurance that in his good Providence such a book cannot have been written in vain. I have long felt that slavery is by far the topping question of the world and age we live in, including all that is most thrilling in heroism and most touching in distress; in short, the real epic of the universe. The self-interest of the parties most nearly concerned on the one hand, the apathy and ignorance of unconcerned observers on the other, have left these august pretensions to drop very much out of sight. Hence my rejoicing that a writer has appeared who will be read and must be felt, and that happen what may to the transactions of slavery they will no longer be suppressed."

To this letter, of which but an extract has been given, Mrs. Stowe sent the following reply:--

MY LORD,--It is not with the common pleasure of gratified authorship that I say how much I am gratified by the receipt of your very kind communication with regard to my humble efforts in the cause of humanity. The subject is one so grave, so awful--the success of what I have written has been so singular and so unexpected--that I can scarce retain a self-consciousness and am constrained to look upon it all as the work of a Higher Power, who, when He pleases, can accomplish his results by the feeblest instruments. I am glad of anything which gives notoriety to the book, because it is a plea for the dumb and the helpless! I am glad particularly of notoriety in England because I see with what daily increasing power England's opinion is to act on this country. No one can tell but a native born here by what an infinite complexity of ties, nerves, and ligaments this terrible evil is bound in one body politic; how the slightest touch upon it causes even the free States to thrill and shiver, what a terribly corrupting and tempting power it has upon the conscience and moral sentiment even of a free community. Nobody can tell the thousand ways in which by trade, by family affinity, or by political expediency, the free part of our country is constantly tempted to complicity with the slaveholding part. It is a terrible thing to become used to hearing the enormities of slavery, to hear of things day after day that one would think the sun should hide his face from, and yet, to get used to them, to discusss them coolly, to dismiss them coolly. For example, the sale of intelligent, handsome colored females for vile purposes, facts of the most public nature, have made this a perfectly understood matter in our Northern States. I have now, myself, under charge and educating, two girls of whose character any mother might be proud, who have actually been rescued from this sale in the New Orleans market.

I desire to inclose a tract [Footnote: Afterwards embodied in the Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin.] in which I sketched down a few incidents in the history of the family to which these girls belong; it will show more than words can the kind of incident to which I allude. The tract is not a published document, only printed to assist me in raising money, and it would not, at present, be for the good of the parties to have it published even in England.

But though these things are known in the free States, and other things, if possible, worse, yet there is a terrible deadness of moral sense. They are known by clergymen who yet would not on any account so far commit themselves as to preach on the evils of slavery, or pray for the slaves in their pulpits. They are known by politicians who yet give their votes for slavery extension and perpetuation.

This year both our great leading parties voted to suppress all agitation of the subject, and in both those parties were men who knew personally facts of slavery and the internal slave-trade that one would think no man could ever forget. Men united in pledging themselves to the Fugitive Slave Law, who yet would tell you in private conversation that it was an abomination, and who do not hesitate to say, that as a matter of practice they always help the fugitive because they can't do otherwise.

The moral effect of this constant insincerity, the moral effect of witnessing and becoming accustomed to the most appalling forms of crime and oppression, is to me the most awful and distressing part of the subject. Nothing makes me feel it so painfully as to see with how much more keenness the English feel the disclosures of my book than the Americans. I myself am blunted by use--by seeing, touching, handling the details. In dealing even for the ransom of slaves, in learning market prices of men, women, and children, I feel that I acquire a horrible familiarity with evil.

Here, then, the great, wise, and powerful mind of England, if she will but fully master the subject, may greatly help us. Hers is the same kind of mind as our own, but disembarrassed from our temptations and unnerved by the thousands of influences that blind and deaden us. There is a healthful vivacity of moral feeling on this subject that must electrify our paralyzed vitality. For this reason, therefore, I rejoice when I see minds like your lordship's turning to this subject; and I feel an intensity of emotion, as if I could say, Do not for Christ's sake let go; you know not what you may do.

Your lordship will permit me to send you two of the most characteristic documents of the present struggle, written by two men who are, in their way, as eloquent for the slave as Chatham was for us in our hour of need.

I am now preparing some additional notes to my book, in which I shall further confirm what I have said by facts and statistics, and in particular by extracts from the codes of slaveholding States, and the records of their courts. These are documents that cannot be disputed, and I pray your lordship to give them your attention. No disconnected facts can be so terrible as these legal decisions. They will soon appear in England.

It is so far from being irrelevant for England to notice slavery that I already see indications that this subject, on both sides, is yet to be presented there, and the battle fought on English ground. I see that my friend the South Carolinian gentleman has sent to "Fraser's Magazine" an article, before published in this country, on "Uncle Tom's Cabin." The article in the London "Times" was eagerly reprinted in this country, was issued as a tract and sold by the hundred, headed, "What they think of 'Uncle Tom' in England." If I mistake not, a strong effort will be made to pervert the public mind of England, and to do away the impression which the book has left.

For a time after it was issued it seemed to go by acclamation. From quarters the most unexpected, from all political parties, came an almost unbroken chorus of approbation. I was very much surprised, knowing the explosive nature of the subject. It was not till the sale had run to over a hundred thousand copies that reaction began, and the reaction was led off by the London "Times." Instantly, as by a preconcerted signal, all papers of a certain class began to abuse; and some who had at first issued articles entirely commendatory, now issued others equally depreciatory. Religious papers, notably the "New York Observer," came out and denounced the book as anti- Christian, anti-evangelical, resorting even to personal slander on the author as a means of diverting attention from the work.

All this has a meaning, but I think it comes too late. I can think of no reason why it was not tried sooner, excepting that God had intended that the cause should have a hearing. It is strange that they should have waited so long for the political effect of a book which they might have foreseen at first; but not strange that they should, now they do see what it is doing, attempt to root it up.

The effects of the book so far have been, I think, these: 1st. To soften and moderate the bitterness of feeling in extreme abolitionists. 2d. To convert to abolitionist views many whom this same bitterness had repelled. 3d. To inspire the free colored people with self-respect, hope, and confidence. 4th. To inspire universally through the country a kindlier feeling toward the negro race.

It was unfortunate for the cause of freedom that the first agitators of this subject were of that class which your lordship describes in your note as "well-meaning men." I speak sadly of their faults, for they were men of noble hearts. "But oppression maketh a wise man mad" and they spoke and did many things in the frenzy of outraged humanity that repelled sympathy and threw multitudes off to a hopeless distance. It is mournful to think of all the absurdities that have been said and done in the name and for the sake of this holy cause, that have so long and so fatally retarded it.

I confess that I expected for myself nothing but abuse from extreme abolitionists, especially as I dared to name a forbidden shibboleth, "Liberia," and the fact that the wildest and extremest abolitionists united with the coldest conservatives, at first, to welcome and advance the book is a thing that I have never ceased to wonder at.

I have written this long letter because I am extremely desirous that some leading minds in England should know how we stand. The subject is now on trial at the bar of a civilized world--a Christian world! and I feel sure that God has not ordered this without a design. Yours for the cause,

HARRIET BEECHER STOWE.

In December the Earl of Shaftesbury wrote to Mrs. Stowe:--

MADAM,-It is very possible that the writer of this letter may be wholly unknown to you. But whether my name be familiar to your ears, or whether you now read it for the first time, I cannot refrain from expressing to you the deep gratitude that I feel to Almighty God who has inspired both your heart and your head in the composition of "Uncle Tom's Cabin." None but a Christian believer could have produced such a book as yours, which has absolutely startled the whole world, and impressed many thousands by revelations of cruelty and sin that give us an idea of what would be the uncontrolled dominion of Satan on this fallen earth.

To this letter Mrs. Stowe replied as follows:--

ANDOVER, January 6, 1853.

To THE EARL OF SHAFTESBURY:

My Lord,-The few lines I have received from you are a comfort and an encouragement to me, feeble as I now am in health, and pressed oftentimes with sorrowful thoughts.

It is a comfort to know that in other lands there are those who feel as we feel, and who are looking with simplicity to the gospel of Jesus, and prayerfully hoping his final coming.

My lord, before you wrote me I read with deep emotion your letter to the ladies of England, and subsequently the noble address of the Duchess of Sutherland, and I could not but feel that such movements, originating in such a quarter, prompted by a spirit so devout and benevolent, were truly of God, and must result in a blessing to the world.

I grieve to see that both in England and this country there are those who are entirely incapable of appreciating the Christian and truly friendly feeling that prompted this movement, and that there are even those who meet it with coarse personalities such as I had not thought possible in an English or American paper.

When I wrote my work it was in simplicity and in the love of Christ, and if I felt anything that seemed to me like a call to undertake it, it was this, that I had a true heart of love for the Southern people, a feeling appreciation of their trials, and a sincere admiration of their many excellent traits, and that I thus felt, I think, must appear to every impartial reader of the work.

It was my hope that a book so kindly intended, so favorable in many respects, might be permitted free circulation among them, and that the gentle voice of Eva and the manly generosity of St. Clare might be allowed to say those things of the system which would be invidious in any other form.

At first the book seemed to go by acclamation; the South did not condemn, and the North was loud and unanimous in praise; not a dissenting voice was raised; to my astonishment everybody praised. But when the book circulated so widely and began to penetrate the Southern States, when it began to be perceived how powerfully it affected every mind that read it, there came on a reaction.

Answers, pamphlets, newspaper attacks came thick and fast, and certain Northern papers, religious,--so called,--turned and began to denounce the work as unchristian, heretical, etc. The reason of all this is that it has been seen that the book has a direct tendency to do what it was written for,--to awaken conscience in the slaveholding States and lead to emancipation.

Now there is nothing that Southern political leaders and capitalists so dread as anti-slavery feeling among themselves. All the force of lynch law is employed to smother discussion and blind conscience on this question. The question is not allowed to be discussed, and he who sells a book or publishes a tract makes himself liable to fine and imprisonment.

My book is, therefore, as much under an interdict in some parts of the South as the Bible is in Italy. It is not allowed in the bookstores, and the greater part of the people hear of it and me only through grossly caricatured representations in the papers, with garbled extracts from the book.

A cousin residing in Georgia this winter says that the prejudice against my name is so strong that she dares not have it appear on the outside of her letters, and that very amiable and excellent people have asked her if such as I could be received into reputable society at the North.

Under these circumstances, it is a matter of particular regret that the "New York Observer," an old and long-established religious paper in the United States, extensively read at the South, should have come out in such a bitter and unscrupulous style of attack as even to induce some Southern papers, with a generosity one often finds at the South, to protest against it.

That they should use their Christian character and the sacred name of Christ still further to blind the minds and strengthen the prejudices of their Southern brethren is to me a matter of deepest sorrow. All those things, of course, cannot touch me in my private capacity, sheltered as I am by a happy home and very warm friends. I only grieve for it as a dishonor to Christ and a real injustice to many noble- minded people at the South, who, if they were allowed quietly and dispassionately to hear and judge, might be led to the best results.

But, my lord, all this only shows us how strong is the interest we touch. All the wealth of America may be said to be interested in it. And, if I may judge from the furious and bitter tone of some English papers, they also have some sensitive connection with the evil.

I trust that those noble and gentle ladies of England who have in so good a spirit expressed their views of the question will not be discouraged by the strong abuse that will follow. England is doing us good. We need the vitality of a disinterested country to warm our torpid and benumbed public sentiment.

Nay, the storm of feeling which the book raises in Italy, Germany, and France is all good, though truly 'tis painful for us Americans to bear. The fact is, we have become used to this frightful evil, and we need the public sentiment of the world to help us.

I am now writing a work to be called "Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin." It contains, in an undeniable form, the facts which corroborate all that I have said. One third of it is taken up with judicial records of trials and decisions, and with statute law. It is a most fearful story, my lord,---I can truly say that I write with life-blood, but as called of God. I give in my evidence, and I hope that England may so fix the attention of the world on the facts of which I am the unwilling publisher, that the Southern States may be compelled to notice what hitherto they have denied and ignored. If they call the fiction dreadful, what will they say of the fact, where I cannot deny, suppress, or color? But it is God's will that it must be told, and I am the unwilling agent.

This coming month of April, my husband and myself expect to sail for England on the invitation of the Anti-Slavery Society of the Ladies and Gentlemen of Glasgow, to confer with friends there.

There are points where English people can do much good; there are also points where what they seek to do may be made more efficient by a little communion with those who know the feelings and habits of our countrymen: but I am persuaded that England can do much for us.

My lord, they greatly mistake who see, in this movement of English Christians for the abolition of slavery, signs of disunion between the nations. It is the purest and best proof of friendship England has ever shown us, and will, I am confident, be so received. I earnestly trust that all who have begun to take in hand the cause will be in nothing daunted, but persevere to the end; for though everything else be against us, Christ is certainly on our side and He must at last prevail, and it will be done, "not by might, nor by power, but by His Spirit." Yours in Christian sincerity, H. B. STOWE.

Mrs. Stowe also received a letter from Arthur Helps [Footnote: Author of Spanish Conquest in America.--ED.] Accompanying a review of her work written by himself and published in "Fraser's Magazine." In his letter Mr. Helps took exception to the comparison instituted in "Uncle Tom's Cabin" between the working-classes of England and the slaves of America. In her answer to this criticism and complaint Mrs. Stowe says:--

MR. ARTHUR HELPS: My dear Sir,--I cannot but say I am greatly obliged to you for the kind opinions expressed in your letter. On one point, however, it appears that my book has not faithfully represented to you the feelings of my heart. I mean in relation to the English nation as a nation. You will notice that the remarks on that subject occur in the dramatic part of the book, in the mouth of an intelligent Southerner. As a fair-minded person, bound to state for both sides all that could be said in the person of St. Clare, the best that could be said on that point, and what I know is in fact constantly reiterated, namely, that the laboring class of the South are in many respects, as to physical comfort, in a better condition than the poor of England.

This is the slaveholder's stereotyped apology,--a defense it cannot be, unless two wrongs make one right.

It is generally supposed among us that this estimate of the relative condition of the slaves and the poor of England is correct, and we base our ideas on reports made in Parliament and various documentary evidence; also such sketches as "London Labor and London Poor," which have been widely circulated among us. The inference, however, which we of the freedom party draw from it, is not that the slave is, on the whole, in the best condition because of this striking difference; that in America the slave has not a recognized human character in law, has not even an existence, whereas in England the law recognizes and protects the meanest subject, in theory always, and in fact to a certain extent. A prince of the blood could not strike the meanest laborer without a liability to prosecution, in theory at least, and that is something. In America any man may strike any slave he meets, and if the master does not choose to notice it, he has no redress.

I do not suppose human nature to be widely different in England and America. In both countries, when any class holds power and wealth by institutions which in the long run bring misery on lower classes, they are very unwilling still to part with that wealth and power. They are unwilling to be convinced that it is their duty, and unwilling to do it if they are. It is always so everywhere; it is not English nature or American nature, but human nature. We have seen in England the battle for popular rights fought step by step with as determined a resistance from parties in possession as the slaveholder offers in America.

There was the same kind of resistance in certain quarters there to the laws restricting the employing of young children eighteen hours a day in factories, as there is here to the anti-slavery effort.

Again, in England as in America, there are, in those very classes whose interests are most invaded by what are called popular rights, some of the most determined supporters of them, and here I think that the balance preponderates in favor of England. I think there are more of the high nobility of England who are friends of the common people and willing to help the cause of human progress, irrespective of its influence on their own interests, than there are those of a similar class among slaveholding aristocracy, though even that class is not without such men. But I am far from having any of that senseless prejudice against the English nation as a nation which, greatly to my regret, I observe sometimes in America. It is a relic of barbarism for two such nations as England and America to cherish any such unworthy prejudice.

For my own part, I am proud to be of English blood; and though I do not think England's national course faultless, and though I think many of her institutions and arrangements capable of much revision and improvement, yet my heart warms to her as, on the whole, the strongest, greatest, and best nation on earth. Have not England and America one blood, one language, one literature, and a glorious literature it is! Are not Milton and Shakespeare, and all the wise and brave and good of old, common to us both, and should there be anything but cordiality between countries that have so glorious an inheritance in common? If there is, it will be elsewhere than in hearts like mine.

Sincerely yours, H. B. STOWE.
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