The National Anti-Slavery Standard
Unsigned Reprint
New York: 9 December 1852

"The Cabin and Parlour"

  MR. T. B. PETERSON, 97 and 98 Chesnut street, Philadelphia, has sent us a copy of "The Cabin and Parlour," by J. Thornton Randolph—a work of fiction designed as an antidote to "Uncle Tom's Cabin," and superior to it as a nouvelette. Indeed, the author evinces descriptive powers almost equal to those of Dickens; and seldom have we read a more moving and exciting story. Between "Uncle Tom" and "The Cabin and the Parlour," so far as we have had an opportunity to judge of the former, we think the Southern side has much the best of it; but still it may well be doubted whether this mode of warfare is likely to result in the end advantageously to the South. The teeming press and thousand industrious professional writers of the North, who are watching argus-eyed for every opportunity to get up a saleable book, seem to hold out but an unequal race in any appeal to the prejudices of mankind, through works of fiction, on the subject of African Slavery. The publisher, in his printed circular, accompanying this copy of "The Cabin and Parlour," says, "Fiction must be undermined by Fiction." We do not suppose he means to lay this down as a general proposition; for, if so, there would certainly be no further use for truth. The most persevering and ingenious liar would bear away the palm. But granting he only means to say, that fictious sketches of Southern life and institutions, by Abolitionists, whose ignorance of the subject is aided by a sordid and malevolent purpose, a prurient imagination and a lying pen, must be met by Southern men in works of a similar character, designed to dispel prejudice, why, then, it seems to us, he has devolved upon the South a task to which we must bring comparatively inadequate appliances and an immense disparity in the number of work-men. The North, too, would get ahead of us in the use of bad material, and a much more latitudinous resort to fiction; and, after all, what one fact would be established in the controversy? It may, indeed, be very desirable to combat and dispel prejudice, but that which can be successfully reached by these myths of the fancy, is not probably of a very inveterate or dangerous character.

  On the whole, therefore, although regarding Mr. Randolph's work as much more than a counter-blast to "Uncle Tom's Cabin," we are sorry the latter was not suffered to tumble down of its own rottenness. We are annoyed by the fact that it has called forth so much notice from Southern men; for nothing can satisfy the scamps who pander by their tracts to the Abolition sentiment of the North, so much as any evidence that they are setting the South in a fume.

  A most unpleasant odour already pervades "Uncle Tom's Cabin," to Northern noses at all sensitive.

  Most intelligent persons there appear to regard it as a mere pander to ignorance and prejudice, and the correspondence between the authoress, her brother, and the Rev. Dr. Parker, establishes that the former do not feel inclined to confine their fictions altogether to the subject of Slavery. She slandered Dr. P., a most estimable preacher, in her "Cabin," and when induced, at last, by threat of persecution, to [illegible] has been guilty of the small additional trespass of putting and publishing Dr. Parker's name to a note professing satisfaction, which he never wrote, signed, nor authorized to be signed. It is a most extraordinary transaction considering the parties, and the guilt of it is not mitigated by the ostentatiously pious style of the Rev. H. W. Beecher's (the brother's) appeal to the public, to believe him, against Dr. P's statement of the contrary, that the signature was authorized. Now, a genuine Uncle Tom might occasionally mistake Massa's hen-coop for his own, and perfume his cabin with the savory odour of meat to which he had not taken care to establish a legal title; but no Uncle Tom would say grace over a stolen joint, or be caught in such a scrape at that which calls forth the extraordinary piety of his exponents.—The (Tallahassee) Florida Sentinel.