Manuscript Letter
Harriet Beecher Stowe
24 May 1856

Boston May 24 '56

  Lady Hatherton

Dear Madam

  This will introduce to all my friends, Mr. & Mrs. Webb, in whose success in your country I am greatly interested.

  Mrs. Webb is the daughter of a fugitive slave who secured her liberty by heroic effort before her birth. She was born in New Bedford, New England, and was subsequently sent to Cuba, where she passed the earlier years of her life in a convent. Having been endowed with an extraordinary genius for education she was induced to try the profession of a dramatic Reader and her success in this line is attested by hundreds of notices written by some of the most competent critics in this country. Her success has been so great that even Pro-Slavery Lyceums have broken through the prejudices of colour so far as to solicit her assistance in their courses. The season for readings having terminated in this country, she is induced to try success in England. Her reading of Uncle Tom's Cabin — which I dramatized expressly for


her — has been pronounced unequaled.

  Mr. Webb also is a gentleman of talent and cultivation, and any assistance in kindness you may render them will be well bestowed as her success will benefit the Antislavery Cause by showing the talent which lies concealed in the race which she represents. And I take the greatest interest in their success both from personal friendship and for this reason. I feel the deepest interest in her success.

  Every new development of a talent or a prowess in this much depressed people is a new argument for us & helps the struggle in the right direction.

  From my knowledge of your interest in every good work I feel a confidence that you will if possible extend your patronage to these people, and I am sure that you cannot but be both surprised and gratified should you hear her.

Very truly yours,

H. B. Stowe


  Mr. Longfellow has been much pleased with Mrs. Webb's reading of his new poem — Hiawatha.