General Cass On Uncle Tom
From the Worcester Spy.
Scarcely a day passes, without showing us how inconsiderate Mrs. Stowe has been in the publication of 'Uncle Tom's Cabin.' The work has certainly been premature, and its popularity is all a mistake. She ought to have had a certificate from some medical faculty, testifying that her imagination was not distempered, before she attempted to dip pen in ink, or to write even the name of Uncle Tom. She ought, in the next place, to have received the authority and approval of at twelve Southern doctors of divinity, before she adventured to make one statement of fact, in her book, in relation to slavery; for, of course, Southern doctors of divinity know all about the 'divine institution,' and how could Mrs. Stowe know?
In the third place, she ought to have remembered that there are certain respectable old nanny-goats in the Senate of the United States, whose nerves cannot very well sustain such violent shocks as have been administered to them through the 'spiritual medium' of Uncle Tom. Mrs. Stowe ought to have recollected that General Cass was sitting in the senatorial tower, keeping watch over his darling palladium of the Union, slavery, and that when she galvanized the fist of Legree, she brought an instrument into play which was to deal a death-blow at the 'peculiar institution,' and to administer a 'side winder' to the 'Senator who ought to be President.' Mrs. Stowe certainly did not calculate the amount of nervous shakes, and starts, and winks, and blinks, which the spirit of Uncle Tom would produce amongst these sensitive creatures, 'the nationals,' or she never would have perpetrated the cruelty of calling such a spirit from the shades of Kentucky. She did not calculate upon the number and profundity of the critics, as well as imitators, who should arise to contest the palm with her, or she would have shrunk from provoking the fury of curs, as numerous and as violent as Actaeon's dogs.
Our neighbor, the AEgis, in last Wednesday's paper, after speaking approvingly of General Cass, for rebuking what it terms the 'new outbreak of benevolence of the English women, which seems to be awakened by Mrs. Stowe's novel,' quotes from the late speech of the General, the following profound, delicate, and we should say, rather indirect criticism upon Mrs. Stowe's revolutionary book:—
'And I think that publications originated in a distempered imagination, or something worse, giving the most exaggerated description of the sufferings of slavery, and thus exciting false impressions, both at home and abroad, should be discountenanced by every true American.'
Now, if Mrs. Stowe had been of the same profundity of temperament with the great Michi-gander, and if she had studied in his school of ideas, she probably never would have possessed a 'distempered imagination,' though she certainly might have understood what the General calls 'something worse.' She would have known practically, perhaps, what 'sordid motives' are. She might have been able to look upon man-stealing as a 'divine practice,' and man-hunting as the new order of republican chivalry. But Mrs. Stowe was not brought up under the 'blessed influences' of General Cass, and so we have 'Uncle Tom,' and General Cass has a fit of poor, petty critical spleen.—Go on, thou spirit of 'Uncle Tom,' and bring blood into the hearts and shame to the cheeks of Hunkers and Doughfaces, if such things are possible! Books that come from distempered imaginations never disturb such heavy men as the Senator from Michigan, and we look upon his invective as a powerful testimony in favor of Uncle Tom's truth to nature, and faithfulness to fact.