Manuscript Preface to French Edition (1852)
Harriet Beecher Stowe
The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center: All Rights Reserved

Preface to the French Edition

  The Author of the work has been requested to preface the French Edition with a few words.

  In the Author's own country the work had a special & local errand & object. But [CANCELLED: be] deeper than that local & temporary design of the book lies another applicable to all countries & all times

  In the history of Uncle Tom we have the history of the relation of the human Soul, it itself poor helpless & defenceless to that divine Redeemer by whom it becomes powerful glorious & divine. [CANCELLED: As] Jesus Christ was born in a stable, & cradled in a manger, [CANCELLED: as he] he came not of the great the rich & the powerful but of the poor & lowly—[CANCELLED: yet he was the mighty God—the Everlasting Father. Thus did he] Thus by one significant act proclaiming to all ages his brotherhood with man, [INSERTED: in his lowest estate] & his determination by that brotherhood, to restore man to God. —That no man might be deemed so poor & so low as to be beneath the reach of his majesty he was born in the lowest poverty & deepest humiliation—That he might might still farther show his love for that class on which the foot of human scorn has always trod, he chose


the apostles who were to spread his gospel, not among the learned, or powerful or influential of his times—he chose the despised publican, the simple fisherman So says St Paul "ye see your calling brethren that not many rich, not many mighty not many noble are called, but God hath chosen the weak things of this world to confound those which are mighty—& base things of the world yea and things that are not to bring to naught the things that are

  This story is to show how Jesus Christ who liveth & was dead, & now is alive & forever more, still has a brothers love for the poor & lowly—& that no man can sink so low as that Jesus Christ will not stoop to take his hand

  Who so low, who so poor who so despised as the poor American slave. The law almost denies his existence as a person & regards him for the most part as less than a man—a mere thing the property of another The law forbids him to read, or write, to hold property, to make contract, or even to form a legal marriage—it takes from him all legal right to the wife of his bosom the children of his body he can "do nothing possess nothing acquire nothing but what must belong to his master"—Yet even to this slave


Jesus Christ stoops from where he sits at the right hand of the father—& says— Fear not thou whom man despiseth for I am thy brother—Fear not for I have redeemed thee I have called thee by thy name—Thou art mine!

  This poor slave, thro the teachings of Jesus, and a simple faith in him gains a steadiness a patience a fortitude a calmness in reverses, an [CANCELLED: joy] [INSERTED: enduring peace] in the deepest tribulations —[CANCELLED: a joy & triumph] which the highest philosopher might envy— He that is born of God overcometh the world—who shall seperate him from the love of Christ—shall tribulation or persecution or distress, or famine or nakedness or peril or sword—Nay in all these things he is more than than conqueror thro Him that loveth.— The living Jesus, it is said hath ascended on high, & led captivity captive & giveth gifts unto men—And what gifts Christ can give to the poorest the most illiterate the power to overcome all the sorrows of life, by a spirit of steady love & patient prayer—he gives the power to overcome hatred by love, & evil with good & thro every assault of mans cruelty & injustice to maintain unbroken peace by maintaining unbroken love. Christ gives the power


to the soul to rise above threats & fear & bodily torture—& to face death with calmness rather than to betray a good cause—& Christ at last—turns [CANCELLED: darkness] [INSERTED: the last night,] into day & the dark & horrible gates of the grave—into the portals of eternal glory.

  Oh ye who read remember that he saith I am he that liveth & was dead—& behold I am alive forever more—

  In On the right hand of the Father in the splendeurs of that light which no man can approach unto—sits now he that was cradled in the manger—Amid the songs and adorations of eternity that brothers heart still throbs for us,—& no one is so poor—no one so lowly that his wrongs are not Christs wrongs & his sorrows Christs sorrows—Wherever a human [INSERTED: heart] is [CANCELLED: has] crushed, wherever the foot of pride treads down the lowly—& the tears & blood of the poor fall unregarded—He regardeth it, & it is treasured up for a future account— A day of reckoning is coming & the year of his redeemed is in his heart