The Liberator
Boston: 23 January 1857

From the Louisville (Ky.) Journal.


  When Mrs. Stowe's 'Uncle Tom' passed through its multifarious editions, we hoped that the appetite for such publications would be completely satiated. It did not then seem possible that another anti-slavery novel could be written, which would possess originality and be equal to the Stowe's production. We were mistaken. The thirst for such publications is perhaps greater at the present moment than ever before, and the 'Autobiography of a Female Slave,' just published by Redfield, shows that there is yet a deeper depth of anti-slavery fiction to which the authoress of Uncle Tom's Cabin had not attained, and that it is possible to produce an anti-slavery novel of infinitely greater merit as a literary production and of vastly deeper infamy as a total misrepresentation of African slavery in the South than anything that has yet been published.

  The 'Autobiography of a Female Salve' is published anonymously, but it is evidently the work of a female writer, and the dialogues in the negro dialect are far more true to nature than any we have yet seen. The writer displays an unusual accuracy of knowledge of the dispositions of our slaves, but falls into the same error committed by all the anti-slavery authors. The negroes are made for the most part types of moral excellence and physical beauty. They are represented generally as saints and angels, while the whites, except the abolition emissaries, are painted blacker than the devil himself in wanton cruelty, selfishness, and depravity.

  The great demerit of this, as well as all other publications of this character, is the selection of isolated cases of cruelty in the South, instances which are as truly condemned by the great mass of slave-holders as by the negrophilists of the North, and the classification of all such outrages to constitute a picture of Southern slave life. This is as infamously unjust as it would be for us to select incidents from among the outcasts of society in New York, the vilest characters in the most miserable dens of the 'Five Points,' and represent them as types of social life in the Northern States.

  The tone of this book is exceedingly objectionable; it is filled with the foulest abolitionism that has ever been uttered. It contains the concentrated fanaticism of Garrison and Beecher and Phillips and Fred. Douglass, but the story itself is full of thrilling interest and artistic finish. It is the production of a practised pen. It abounds in beautiful thoughts and highly poetic expressions. Considered merely as a literary production, independent of its gross misrepresentations, false theories, and most disgusting ultra anti-slavery aspirations, it evinces a high order of talent and literary genius. We much regret to witness such a perversion of ability. We are pained to see a great genius thus grovelling in the mire of fanaticism, and soiling its brilliant plumage with the filth of ultra abolitionism.

  There are incidents interwoven in the story which will be recognized by many of our readers as exaggerated statements of events that have transpired in our own city within a few years past; and the descriptions of some of the minor personages introduced, although greatly distorted and perverted, are evidently intended for some who have been and others who yet are residents of this city.

  This book will doubtless have even a greater run than any of its predecessors. It will be read at the North and in England because it panders, more than any other book that has yet been published, to the anti-slavery prejudices which are there epidemic. It will be read in the South to see how much more slanderous a publication than Mrs. Stowe's 'Uncle Tom' can possibly be conceived.

  It is only to be regretted that the writer has made it so fascinating that every one will want to read it, but while its readers will be charmed with the highly artistic performance and the literary excellence of the story, they cannot fail to be thoroughly disgusted with the effort to represent its details as a picture of slave life in the South.