The National Era
Unsigned Article
Washington, D.C.: 18 November 1852


  Our readers are perhaps aware that in certain States of the South there are Vigilance Committees, self-constituted, whose business it is to take care of the orthodoxy of the People on the subject of Slavery. They keep a watch on strangers, inspect new books, look after heretical papers, and in many other ways exercise a general overseership over their fellow-citizens. "Uncle Tom" has given these guardians against heresy any amount of trouble. We learn that in one of the principal cities of the South they at first attempted to interdict its circulation, but the thing would get out in spite of them. At last, making a virtue of necessity, they graciously granted permission to the bookstores to sell it, and forthwith flaming advertisements heralded its coming. One of the booksellers remarked, that the people were perfectly unaccountable; for, while they manifested a perfect rage for Uncle Tom's Cabin, they would hardly look at any of the works written to counteract its influence.