from Frederick Douglass' Paper
"John" (Reprinted Article)
22 October 1852


From the Independent.

NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 18, 1852.

  GENTLEMEN:—-When Uncle Tom's Cabin was first issued it was predicted in your paper that it would be read in New Orleans, and it has indeed found its way here, and numbers of our citizens have, as with avidity they perused its deeply interesting narratives, been alternately moved to tears, or convulsed with laughter.

  I sent to New York for the book, and when I carried it home and laid it upon the table, it was taken up and read by a young Southern friend then present who has trafficked in slaves; and he soon remarked, "this description is true to life; the writer must have had some personal experience of slavery." He asked and obtained the first loan of the book. Since then it has been going the rounds, and before one is through, it is engaged by another.

  Our papers occasionally copy notices of the work, such as the extent of the sales, the profits of the author, &c., but I have seen only one notice upon the merits of the book, and that was in the Bulletin, whose editor pronounced it "a pack of lies." But I will venture the assertion, that he never read the book, and probably never saw it. My own view is, that Mrs. Stowe has presented the institution of slavery in too favorable a light. As to the truthfulness of the barbarities she described, abundant confirmation may be had by any one who will take the trouble to collect the facts.

  This very day a southern lady, a slave holder, detailed to me scenes of cruelty she had witnessed, equaling in attrocity the worst representation in Uncle Tom's Cabin.

  To-day I saw at a bookstore a handbill of a new work, entitled "Life in the South, a Companion to Uncle Tom's Cabin," and inquired if they had Uncle Tom's Cabin, also for sale, but they had not. The Bulletin announces this work, and promises an extended notice. But it will not do. No book can be made to take the place of Uncle Tom's Cabin. People will read it, and as its keys are touched, conscience and the heart will give forth sweetly responsive notes.