The National Era
Unsigned Article
Washington, D.C.: 7 July 1853


  A correspondent of the Kentucky (Covington) Flag, censures its editor for a somewhat favorable notice of Uncle Tom's Cabin. The editor defends himself, and alleges that "her work is intended as a persuasive appeal to the slaveholder himself, and it is couched in the eloquent, earnest, penetrating, yet respectful language of an American lady"—that it is neither just nor manly for an American gentleman "to heap harsh and contemptuous epithets upon one of their country-women who ventures to reason with them upon a subject of national interest"—that Mrs. Stowe has not "cited England as an example of National perfection," and that she should not be made responsible for England's crimes. He adds:

  "But if our correspondent will turn again to Mrs. Stowe's book, he will discover that England has not escaped her lash; she speaks cuttingly of the partition of Poland and the oppression of Ireland. To be definite, if "Americus" will turn to page seventeen and volume two of Uncle Tom's Cabin, also page 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, he will observe that by comparison drawn between English and American slavery, the former is pronounced the harsher and the more unjust."

  The Sunny South, published at Jacksonville, Ala., asserts that it is the only business of the National Era to "traduce the fair fame of the Southern portion of this great and mighty republic;" and says its tales of detraction "have found ready listeners among the mongrel population of the North." We fear the Sunny South has not learned to "conquer its prejudices."

  A correspondent of the Daily Delta, at New Orleans, who signs himself "Precaution'" advises the School Board to examine the teachers, from principles to primaries on the subject of slavery; and proposes, as a test, the question, What do you think of Uncle Tom's Cabin?

  A correspondent of the Crescent pertinently proposes, that—

  "If the teachers are to be examined as to their soundness on the slavery question, why not also ascertain what their views are with regard to the Maine Liquor Law, Woman's Rights, Bloomerism, and all the other isms so prevalent at the North? If those questions cannot be satisfactorily settled by ordinary means, would it not be a good precaution to establish a system of espionage? Surely, nothing should be neglected to insure our youth from the danger to be apprehended from improper influence."

  He thinks that "Mrs. Stowe's may do mischief in the North; in the South, it is harmless. It would not, of course, do to place it in the hands of the slave population, too many of whom are improperly and unwisely taught to read and write; but there is no reason why it should not be read by their masters."

  The Charleston Southern Standard notices a memorial to the city council, against the bill pending before them "to prevent slaves and free persons of color from riding about or through the city, or any part thereof, in any carriage or other vehicle, or on horseback, except such as are in attendance on the persons or families of their owners, employers, or guardians; and except, also, such as have a written permit from their owners, employers, or guardians."

  The Standard thinks the necessity for such an ordinance should be clearly apparent before any such action should be taken. He adds: "A requirement that I shall give my slave a ticket before I can send him on horseback to my farm, or to the post office, or for the doctor; or that a free colored person must have a ticket before he can drive his cart to market, or his hack to the boat landing, would be like a gnat in the eye—more annoying than useful."

  The Newberry (South Carolina) Sentinel is disgusted with the oft-repeated mention of the name of Mrs. Stowe. He says:

  "It is with extreme reluctance that we even now soil our paper with her loathsome name, and we do it only that we may call attention to the excellent article in relation to her, which we have selected from the Philadelphia Presbyterian. We have another object in view: it is to request our brethren of the press at the South to sedulously exclude in future from their columns, every article that makes the remotest allusion to Uncle Tom Beecher Stowe."

  The Presbyterian must feel highly honored by the approval of its Southern endorser. The Sentinel beseeches his brethren of the press in this wise; "Don't minister at her altars any more." We fear the Sentinel's effort to stop agitation will not be successful, especially when his neighbor of the Fairfield Herald gives place to such articles as the following:

  MESSRS. EDITORS: Have you seen the Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin? If not, you will be surprised when I tell you that it consists not, as we had reason to expect, in a revelation of the horrid facts upon which we had been led to believe that popular fiction was founded, but in a simple collection of advertisements for runaways, sales of negroes, cases of real or supposed cruelty, &c.

  Your own excellent sheet comes in for a share of Mrs. Stowe's notice, and your able Commissioner in Equity, Major W.R.R., as well as your sheriff, Captain R.E.E., occupy conspicuous place in its pages.

  By the by, I am surprised at the denunciation heaped upon Uncle Tom's Cabin by the press of the South. For us, who sincerely desire a dissolution of the Union, it is a perfect Godsend—worth more than all the political speeches and calculations of the value of the Union, which have been or ever will be published. For one, as a Southern man, I rejoice at the run it has had; and let a few more such be published, and all the "soft sawder" of Yankeedom, with all the crystal palaces of New York, and other wretched humbugs and devices, designed to tickle the South into good humor and submission, will not be able to close the gulf they will open up between the oppressive North and the lamb-like South. Go on, Mrs. Stowe; your mission is a high and holy one; let not the favors of Yankeedom, or the denunciations of the South, deter you from your purpose. Whether true or false, your words widen the breach between us, and may you live to see the "physic work," until this accursed Union shall be severed in twain—until a "great gulf" more insuperable than that which separated Dives and Lazarus, shall separate us from thee and thine, is the honest prayer of every true patriot, every man who loves his home, the sunny South, and her cherished institutions.—A SOUTHERNER.

  "A Southerner" may live long enough to discover that Hate is a bad counsellor.

  A correspondent of the Nashville Union and American rejoices that Mr. F. Hagan, bookseller at that city, promptly returned to the publishers an invoice of the Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin, which had been sent to him for sale; but in the midst of his rejoicings, he finds cause for lamentation. He says: "The time has been, when the South was ready to revolt at the prospect of having such works as these circulated here; yet now the matter excites little or no attention." And asks: 'How is that men who came here to circulate such works in the past, were glad to escape upon almost any terms; yet now the public sentiment is dead to efforts, which may, unless checked bring ruin upon this division of the Union? Who does not see in this world-wide crusade against the South, that, unless she arouses herself, her fate for evil is sealed?"

  We add a letter from Louisville, Kentucky, which will be read with interest. There is progress at the South. Let us rejoice that the era of prejudice and bitterness is passing away, and that men can now talk on the subject of slavery with candor, and without losing their reason.


  To the Editor of the National Era: Some years since I was a subscriber to the Era; I then resided in Glasgow, Kentucky; I then did, and still feel an abiding interest for our slave population; and that interest has been awakened afresh by the works of Mrs. Stowe, that are extensively read even in Kentucky, and I think will effect great good. They reach probably many thousands in the South heretofore beyond such reading.

  I send you a daily Louisville Journal of this date, giving very coolly, as a piece of news (and without remarks of disapprobation,) notice of the killing, by a slave-hunter, in Adams county, Mississippi, of a negro slave, who was a runaway, found in a cave* that appeared to be a den, though it does not say that he resisted or ran. What a crying shame to our common country, that, under such circumstances, a jury empanelled in that case should have found it to be "justifiable homicide!"

  Born and raised in Kentucky, my attachments are very strong to my native State; but I am strongly inclined to go with my family to a free state. Negro influence is very deleterious upon children.

  Emancipation has here still many friends. I have most earnestly hoped to see some step taken by which slavery would finally be abolished in Kentucky. And although things now look gloomy enough, I am sure that the public are becoming constantly more enlightened and elevated, and that this abomination cannot stand up against the sentiment of the world to come.

W. G.