PERSONAL—We have been refreshed by reading some very bitter attacks upon us personally, in some of the agitation newspapers, on account of the opinions expressed in our last number in a review of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Some of these very journals were loud in their praise when we engaged Grace Greenwood, J. R. Lowell, Doctor Elder, and other Northern contributors in the midst of a very fierce sectional excitement. It was their bull then—and we have to say, that no other feeling than that of a just independence in the management of a business in which we give every man and woman the whole worth of their money, shall ever influence our determination as long as we shall live, let the storm blow high or low.
Does it ever strike these persons that their intolerance of every opinion that does not fully chime in with their abstract theories, is very unreasonable and impertinent? That there is a slavery more ignoble than that of the body, and that the man who has not the courage to speak and write what he thinks is just and true, is already fettered with bonds more potent than those of any other slave, negro or white! We have a supreme contempt for the praise or censure of any man whose soul is so sordid that he cannot appreciate the discussion of any subject without a calculation of interest, whether in pence or popularity. When we fail to feel the courage to do our whole duty, as we understand it, we shall advertise for a conscience-keeper. In the meanwhile we repeat, that Mrs. Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin is a BAD BOOK! It gives an unfair and untrue picture of Southern life. It is badly constructed, badly timed, and made for a bad purpose! The work has been successful pecuniarily—but there is such a thing as "blood money" speedily gained for nefarious doings. Mrs. Stowe, it is said, has already received $20,000 as her share of the profits from her publishers. Are the wounds inflicted upon our common country paid for with so small a sum in gold? Our Consul, Mr. Kinney, tells us that the book has aroused, in Italy, the most vehement indignation against Americans. The same is true in other countries. But the work is a mere distortion of facts—a stupendous lie—and therefore we cannot admit its merit and join its mob of admirers. It is no more a true picture of life in the South, than Jack Sheppard is a true picture of the hale and honest John Bull—yet we learn that one publisher in this country has made his thousands by the sale of that most despicable novel. Uncle Tom has served its purpose—it has made an excitement—and money! but we must be excused from falling down and worshiping so false and mean a thing. We must be excused, too, from pinning our faith to the sleeves of the army of European critics cited by the Hartford Republican and kindred prints. Are they honest? Capable we know many of them to be of judging of what is before their eyes, only. Indeed, we should never have noticed the work at all, but that a strong effort has been made to cram English insolence down our critical throat, as the honest judgement of superior minds—to palm off the greedy slander as the proper opinion of very proper persons.
We are malicious enough to ask the Hartford Republican one question—for where there is so much smoke there must be some fire—How many free negroes have you educated and employed in your office to give force and point to your professions of good-will to the race?
Mr. Fred. Douglass has read our article "with disgust," and says it may be accounted for thus: "We hate niggerism!" He is mistaken. We have taught blacks in Sunday-school for years, as a duty. We rather like Fred. himself—and so far as by study, industry and an honest life he sets an example moral and intellectual to his race—we respect him; but we hate the present negro literature—especially that of Fred.'s, which by abusing the white, is intended to elevate the black man—and all that class of miserable writing which may be denominated the spurious scripture of the "Mad Apostles"—of men working by fear and not by love—assuming the attitude of lofty moral teachers; as if they were Perfected Saints, were thoroughly purified from earthly sin and stain, and were authorized to talk down to their fellows,as anointed Prophets; while the very bitterness and rancor shown in their writings, and their almost infernal rage for making money out of moral questions, prove them to be fully as much the children of Satan as any they rebuke. We never knew a convert in constant fear of brimstone, worth a fig as a practical working Christian; nor do we believe that a solitary Southern man has been abused or frightened into freeing a negro. That is our opinion, and Fred. may take it for what it is worth, while we assure him that we are in our "sober senses," and intend to remain so until the Schuylkill dries.
As to Mrs. Swisshelm, who seems to wish us to lose all of our Northern subscribers—we have it in our power to make that good lady feel amiable; we have gained over three thousand subscribers—four-fifths of them from north of Mason and Dickson's line—since we issued the February number.
Mrs. Swisshelm knows as well, nay, better, than we can tell her that the strong, money-making side for a publisher now, is the anti-slavery side. Yet we should scorn ourself, and our Country, did we feel that a question of dollars could affect us in the independent discussion of a great public question; and, that the vast public of readers North of Mason and Dixon's line have so lost the very virtue of the blood of their forefathers, that free discussion is to be drowned by the cry of, "Stop your periodical, and die in the ditch!" Yet if there is any meaning in the threat of this dear Madam and her worthy compeers; such is precisely the action they wish to urge upon free readers. Pshaw! we could teach the whole tribe of proscriptive fanatics the A B C of the art of making converts.
Another considerate and wise agitator tells us, with very surprising gravity, that we should not have published the article "in the edition intended for Northern circulation!" The conception of such treachery should entitle the man, whose property it is, to a laurel wreath from the Duchess of Sutherland and her fair coterie of hypocritical intermeddlers.
But not to particularize the many assaults which have been made upon us
with appeals to Northern men to withdraw from the support of the Magazine,
we now tell the whole fraternity of proscriptives that we are not to be gagged
or coughed down. We feel nothing but unutterable contempt and scorn for the
whole class of liberty people (falsely so named) whose
ideas of liberty
consist in allowing nobody to live who expresses sentiments adverse to their notions. They would introduce a code of violence and hang every man to the lantern who dared speak a word, or write a line that had not previously been pronounced by them good doctrine. For one we hurl defiance in their teeth, and ask them to do their bravest! We ask no terms from their impudent writers or their speculating lecturers, for their vocation is—to make money!
When other Northern publishers and editors become such moral cowards that fear of losing fanatical Northern support shall cause them to be silent upon great public questions, Death will have already entered the house—the master will be defunct—they should put crape upon the door—bury the newspaper and magazine, and let petticoats rampant usurp the forum and dictate laws. When public sentiment reaches that point we shall sink our subscription-books in the Delaware, and go back to the saw and the jack-plane, a free spoken mechanic, but not a gagged editor.
In the meanwhile, we care as little for the hornets we have roused as for the gnats in the air, and shall go on editing Graham's Magazine in our own free and independent way, with the full assurance of very ample support, so long as we publish a magazine that has opinions of its own to provoke hostile criticism or ensure friendly. To all valiant MacDuffs, who write for praise and dollars, we say "Lay on!"—if you will only spend a little of your money in helping to raise the condition of the free negroes of the North, we shall bear your abuse patiently and try to think you sincere!
Come! whilst we are in the humor, we will give you a chance. We will pay into the hands of Charles S. Boker, Esq., President of the Girard Bank, the sum of one thousand dollars, to be devoted to the founding of a College in the county of Philadelphia, for the education of free black youth of superior promise: provided, three hundred out of so many thousand abolitionists, who are to be taken from Graham, will each subscribe the same amount, and pay, for the same purpose, the cash into the hands of the gentleman named.
"FRIENDS OF THE BLACK MAN!"—Face the music!
GEO. R. GRAHAM.