The National Era
Unsigned Article
Washington, D.C.: 12 May 1853



  The Richmond (Va.) Examiner begins to think that Uncle Tom's Cabin may, after all, answer a very important purpose. It scorns the idea that it can produce any effect on American Slavery, because the general dogma about equality of rights has no significance in regard to the white and black races, although true enough in all other applications. Speaking of the wonderful circulation of the book, it says—

  "Such a fact cannot be accounted for, either on the literary pretensions of the book itself, or on the Abolitionist idea of an active hostility to negro slavery. A more probable explanation is, that the people of Europe see themselves and their rulers in the slaves and their masters, and give to the book a political significance which feeds the flame that smoulders in the breast of the oppressed millions. The press is not free there; no book advocating the general dogmas (all true enough, if the distinction between the black and white races was out of the question) in Mrs. Stowe's novel, could be written by an European, without incurring severe penalties; and that fact gives spice to the allegory which they make of Tom's Cabin. The book will never have any effect on Slavery in the United States, because it is all nonsense, so far as negroes and Caucasians are concerned; but it may, in the manner we have stated, produce a very distinct and decided effect upon affairs in Europe."

  Very good. A book which, it enemies being judges, helps the circulation of the Bible in France, and strikes a decisive blow at Tyranny in Europe, cannot be the "foolish fiction" which the Examiner affects to consider it.