The Independent
"An American in the East"
New York: 28 April 1853

Uncle Tom in India.


  MESSRS. EDITORS:—I am now reading Uncle Tom's Cabin. It has been in my possession forty-eight hours, and with what leisure I could obtain from ordinary labors and duties, I have reached the conclusion of the 37th chapter, where George, his wife Eliza, and son Harry have reached safely to the blessed shores of Canada! I have never estimated Canada as now, and never felt the burning shame of slavery resting upon my native land as at this moment, and my feeling is, Oh my God, when shall this curse be removed, and American truly become, what she now professes to be, a land of freedom! Oh will not every Christian, every friend of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Man of Calvary, the Friend of Sinners—He who hears the cries of the oppressed and the sighs of the enslaved—will not every one in America, whether in free or slave states, who has any real love or sympathy with the Man of Sorrows, pray and do what he or she can to remove from the land this system, which places irresponsible power over human bodies and souls in the hands of such a wretch, such a fiend as Simon Legree!

  Evening, 11 o'clock.—I have finished the book. And what a book! I never read its like. I have wept, and been melted, and then, in spite of myself, in the midst of it, laughed aloud. Again the cold chills have run over me and the blood has seemed almost to congeal in my veins. Never shall I forget this volume to my dying day, and shall I not hate American slavery more than before, and be more inclined to "remember them that are in bonds as bound with them"! God helping me, I shall.

  If I might be allowed to make one criticism, or rather a suggestion in regard to the book, it would be this, that the last chapter, the 44th, be transferred to the beginning, all of it except the appeal, that being quite in place where it is. It seems to me that were the statement relative to the general authenticity of the narrative placed at the beginning of the book, it would not a little increase the interest with which the volume is perused, and would also be much more likely—to use the touching language of the angelic Eva—"to sink into one's heart." However, this is not a great matter—may be done or not—the book is one and the thoughts the same. Again I say, what a book! And how it is being read the world over. India is a quiet, unenergetic, drowsy sort of a country, as compared with England and America, yet the fame of the book has been here several months, and now the book itself is here, and is being read in Calcutta, "the City of Palaces," and in Madras, that great city, and among the spicy groves of Ceylon. It is truly, as it is said, a world-read-book. And it is doing a great work too, I trust, for the more than three millions of slaves in the United States. Are not the almost one thousand copies which have been sold on almost every weekday in the United States, since the book was first printed in March last, doing missionary work there in behalf of the oppressed? Are not the nearly one half million copies that have been sold in England, concentrating the prayers, energies, and efforts of all the good and benevolent in that land, to help America in her great work of freeing herself from this fearful iniquity, which England humbly acknowledges she "introduced, nay compelled the adoption of, in those mighty colonies"? And can boasting America much longer shut her ears to the calls of humanity and the world, and persist in this dreadful evil, which involves, in multitudes of cases, the loss of everything worth living for in this world, and comes almost, as in the case of Cassy, to preclude all hope for the next? Oh, may God help free America, help all Christians to do their duty in regard to this matter, and may the American flag, which except this one deep dark stain, is the fairest that floats in all the winds of heaven, soon float over no human being chattelized and sold in the marketplace, but only over the free, the FREE! the FREE!!

Yours sincerely,