Professor Stowe and His Family Leave Cincinnati and Return to Brunswick, Maine. The Period of Greatest Excitement over the Amendment to the Fugitive Slave Law. Mrs. Stowe's Feeling that New Englanders in General, Needed as Exposition of Slavery as It Prevailed in Social Detail. Her Inspiration for Her Great Work Received at the Communion Table in the Little Church at Brunswick. The Death of Uncle Tom. The First Scene Written. Her Domestic Situation. Family Cares and Delicate Health. Her Literary Methods. The Moral Courage in View of the Sufferings of Abolitionists. Publication in Weekly Installments in the National Era.
AFTER a residence of seventeen years in Cincinnati, as Professor of Biblical Literature at Lane Seminary, Calvin E. Stowe resigned the chair and returned to New England. He was influenced in this change by ill health, finding it impossible to longer endure the rigors of the climate at Cincinnati. He immediately received the appointment of Divinity Professor at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.
It was in the Fall of 1850, at the period of the greatest excitement
over the act of' September 18, which amended, and to a considerable
extent superceded, the less effective
Fugitive Slave Law. This measure, to which Webster consented in his celebrated speech of the 7th of March, was particularly humiliating to the North, making at the behest of the Southern masters a slave catcher of every freeman.
This Bill not only made it a penal offense to aid or harbor slaves who had escaped to the free states, but enforced their seizure, demanding under severe enactments their return to their former masters, to be followed by a life of bondage under, if possible, increased miseries. While at Brunswick, Mrs. Stowe was in constant communication with Dr. Edward Beecher and his wife in Boston, who wrote her from day to day of the terror and despair, the law and its enforcement, had occasioned to industrious, worthy colored people, who had escaped from the South and had for some time lived in peace and security in that city. She heard of midnight captures; of the seizure of defenceless women on the street, or while going about their household duties; the abduction of little children at play or on their way to or from school; of families broken up and fleeing in the dead of winter to the ice-bound shores of Canada. And what was to her and is still to succeeding generations, inexplicable and dreadful, was the apathy of the mass of the usually right minded, just and conscientious New England people, on the subject. In New England, as at the West, the Abolitionists were a despised band, with comparatively few adherents, and subject to the contempt of the self-denominated "best society."
There were a few strong voices in the pulpit, that denounced the institution, but to her excited mind the church and the world appeared to join hands against the oppressed.
In Oct., 1887, George W. Cable gave the Congregational Club of New York City a talk on "Cobwebs in the Church." "Speaking as a Southerner," he said, "I do believe we have to thank the Protestant Church of America for the was that drenched our land in blood, for it fell into condoning conventional sin and into approval of a national crime."
This denunciation is doubtless unjust to the many conscientious Christians who hesitated not upon the desirableness of abolition, but were sadly troubled to know how to bring it about. It was not that they were apathetic, as the history of the church militant will show, but only that seeing all sides of the controversy they appreciated the risks incident to a violent disregard of constitutional law. It should not be forgotten that in 1818, the Presbyterian General Assembly passed stringent resolutions against slavery, but in 1837 slavery found many apologists in the Southern bodies on account of commercial influence. As is well known, the institution had then become so utterly abhorrent to the Presbyterians of the North, particularly in New York State, there was a division, which separated the Southern brethren from their remonstrating friends, who were almost a solid body in the North. But in spite of the earnest objection of many Christian people, the nation still presented to the world the sorry spectacle of a Christian republic upholding slavery.
And now it seemed as if the system heretofore confined to the
Southern states, was gathering itself for irruption into new fields,
preparing to extend its folds all over the North and West, and overlap
and choke the dearest principles of free society. With growing
astonishment and distress Mrs. Stowe heard on all sides, from humane
tian people, that slavery was a constitutional right, and that opposition to it was treason, and endangered the national Union. Under this conviction, she saw many earnest and tender-hearted Christian people close their eyes, ears, and hearts to the harrowing details of its practical workings, silence all discussion of its wrongs, and act as in duty bound to assist the slave owners to recover their property. She felt that these good people could not know what slavery way. They had no comprehension of the thing they were tolerating.
It was impossible for Harriet Beecher Stowe, so born, so reared, and so married, not to have been opposed to slavery. With her family and friends, like Webster, Sumner and Emerson, she at first advocated the purchase of the slaves and gradual emancipation, but the encroachments of the slave power in the passage of the Fugitive Slave Bill in 1850, opened her eyes, and she became aggressive in her opposition. Hers was not alone the objection of the eminent politicians, whose jurisprudence controlled their feelings, that slavery was detrimental to the progress of the nation; nor that of the great transcendentalist, who based his opposition on the fact, that it degraded the manhood of men.
She saw the question in its various relations and fully comprehended
its complex aspects, but her heart was greater than her head. The
woes, the terror, the suffering of human beings, roused her to action
even while ulterior reasoning seemed to counsel patience. It was not
that she failed to comprehend the political situation; it was the
justice, pity, and righteous indignation rose above, and made them
secondary. She had an innate appreciation of how far nobler it was to
maintain the right than to defer to unjust
established laws. She placed her feet upon the rock which upheld Epictetus when he wrote, "It is better by agreeing with truth to conquer opinion, than by agreeing with opinion to conquer truth," and she gave Americans the credit of assuming, that if they could see slavery as it existed they would rise for its extermination.
Dr. Gamelial Bailey, who had been driven from Cincinnati under such aggravating circumstances some years before, had in 1847 established a journal, "The National Era," at Washington, D. C., which became one of the leading organs of the anti-slavery party. He was a man of literary predilections and was wise enough to secure for his magazine the influence of the best writers. He had associated with himself as assistant or corresponding editor, John G. Whittier, a young man who had served his apprenticeship in the poet's corner of Garrison's "Free Press," in Thayer's Philadelphia "Gazette," and as editor of the "American Manufacturer," and the "Gazette" of Haverhill, Mass. He had suffered for his opinions as expressed in "The Liberator," and spoken in ringing tones in his poems, which are properly called "Voices of Freedom," in several Journals and at all needful times. In the first volumes of "The National Era," may be found many of his grandest poems, and also the poems of the Cary sisters, Lucy Larcom, and the bright and witty articles of Grace Greenwood, whom Dr. Bailey had early called to his aid.
In perusing this magazine. Mrs. Stowe noticed the incident of a slave
woman escaping with her child across the floating ice of the river,
from Kentucky into Ohio, and it became the first salient point of her
great work and is seen in the history of Eliza. She began to meditate
over a possible story that should graphically set forth the bare ugliness, and repulsive features of the system of negro slavery. The black husband who remained in Kentucky, going back and forth on parole and remaining in bondage rather than forfeit his word of honor to his master, suggested the character of Uncle Tom. Once suggested, the scenes of the story began rapidly to form in her mind, and as they are prone to do in the practical forces of energetic character, emotions and impressions instantly crystalized into ideas and opinions. The whole wonderful scheme was defined, before the author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin " put her pen to paper. She has related that the closing scene, the death of Uncle Tom, came to her as a material vision while sitting at the Communion one Sunday in the little church at Brunswick. She was perfectly overcome by it, and could scarcely restrain the violent emotion that sprang into tears and shook her frame. She was carried out of herself.
Aristotle wrote, " No great genius was ever without some mixture of
madness, nor can anything grand or superior be spoken except by the
agitated soul." It was the fire of outraged feeling which inspired
this memorable work. She hastened home and wrote, and, her husband
being away, she read it aloud to her older children. Her burning
sentences so touched their young hearts that they wept with her, and
cried out that slavery was the most accursed thing in the world. Some
days afterwards Professor Stowe, having returned, was passing through
her room, and noticing many sheets of closely written paper upon his
wife's table, he took them up and began to read. His casual curiosity
soon merged into interest and deepened into astonishment. He sought
his wife with words of enthusi-
astic praise and said, "You can make something out of this."
"I mean to," was the quiet reply of his wife.
From this time on, Harriet Beecher Stowe was possessed by the theme; it dominated all other concerns, and held her a willing captive until it was done. She said to the writer a year or two before her death, "I did not think of doing a great thing, I did not want to be famous. It came upon me and I did as I must, perforce, wrote it out, but I was only as the pen in the hands of God. What there is good and powerful in it came from Him. I was merely the instrument. It is strange that He should have chosen me, hampered and bound down as I was with feeble health and family cares. But I had to do it."
A glance at her domestic situation may give an idea of what it was
to undertake the writing of a book at this time. Mrs. Stowe was the
mother of six children, the youngest of whom, now the Rev. Charles E.
Stowe, pastor of the Windsor Avenue Congregational Church, of
Hartford, Conn., was then a babe of a few months. He was born in the
spring of 1851, and it was during the following summer and fall that
this great labor was performed. Mrs. Stowe, in addition to her own
little flock, had a number of pupils whom she had taken into her
family, and her father, the Rev. Lyman Beecher, had come on from
Cincinnati, and was occupied with the revision and publication of one
of his books, and he and his step-daughter, Mrs. Laura Dickinson, who
acted as his amanuensis, became members of the Stowe household.
Catering to and caring for the comfort of this large family, which
comprised more than a dozen members, of all ages, from the venerable
his tiny, helpless grandson, would seem to be quite enough for one frail little woman to do. In her position as Professor's wife there were also various duties as hostess and entertainer constantly incumbent upon her, but she was not discouraged. Her vocation was upon her and most nobly she assumed it. She has said, "I knew my work must be done, my children cared for, dinner prepared and put upon the table and a thousand and one things seen to, but this was always uppermost in my mind, and it got itself done, somehow."
Scenes, incidents and conversations rushed upon her with such vivid clearness and strength that they could not be denied. During her varied domestic and maternal duties, the idea ran on, an undercurrent of logical argument illustrated with suggestive incidents, and she could hardly wait to get at her pen and fix it upon paper, as she sat with her portfolio on her knee by the kitchen fire, in the moments snatched from her domestic duties.
Harriet Beecher Stowe had none of the dependence upon small accessories, which was a peculiarity of authors as great as Wordsworth, who when writing, habitually fingered the button of his coat; Ben Johnson, who inhaled clouds of his beloved snuff, and Schiller, who could not get inspiration without the aroma of half-decayed apples which he kept in the drawer of his desk, to the discomfiture of his friend Goethe, who was made extremely ill when once attempting to write thereon.
Her theme was sufficient stimulus, and no particular conditions were
necessary to the easy working of her mind. A friend who had an
intimate knowledge of her literary methods recently said to the writer
concerning the author
of Uncle Tom's Cabin. "When the inspiration came and she was in the midst of a thrilling or pathetic scene, she sat with her MSS. on her knee and wrote, no matter what were the distractions." This power of self-withdrawal is a rare gift even among the greatest of novelists. Silence, comfort, and seclusion are the indispensable conditions for most writers. As Lowell says:
"Thy work unfinished, bolt and bar thy door;
"The book," as Professor Stowe once said, "was written in sorrow, in sadness, and obscurity, with no expectation of reward save in the prayers of the poor, and with a heart almost broken in view of the sufferings which it describes and the still greater suffering which it dared not describe."
When two or three chapters were written, Mrs. Stowe sent a letter
to Dr. Bailey of the National Era, telling
him she had projected a story which might run through several numbers
of the paper, and offering it to him if he desired it. He instantly
applied for it and the weekly installments were started. The
story and her duty
on this subject were so much more real and imperative to her than any
other things in life, that the copy was always ready for the
typesetters. In shaping her material Mrs. Stowe had but one object;
to show the system of slavery as it existed. No idea of sensational
success would permit her to exaggerate or pervert facts. She had,
however, the tact to perceive that its presentation in unrelieved
gloom of sadness, would not command readers. She therefore summoned
all her experience of the wit and drollery of the African race, at the
same time developing a sincere desire to show that the evils of
slavery were the natural outgrowth of a bad system
which retaliated upon its victims, and its administrators, many of whom were not to blame, with almost equally baleful force.
Mrs. Stowe knew what she was braving. Public opinion had long before
made itself unpleasantly emphatic in personal attacks upon the persons
of women who had the temerity to harbor anti-slavery views. Almost
twenty years before, the distinguished Englishwoman, Harriet Martineau
who had committed herself to anti-slavery principles in her book
"Demerara," and, against her wishes found herself forced by
circumstances to avow her settled aversion to it during the early part
of her visit to Boston, became subject not only to annoyance and
insult, in free, Puritan New England, on this account, but had been
the object of obscene abuse in newspapers and pamphlets. Mrs. Stowe
knew that Miss Martineau's expressed desire to view the institution of
slavery as it existed in the United States had aroused such feeling
against her, that traveling became a peril, and her entertainers in
various cities were jeopardized by her presence. In the ferment in
which society was then working, she ran the risk of personal violence
and endured a large share of the virulent abuse which everywhere fell
upon the Abolitionists. Mrs. Stowe knew of the public hatred of this
Englishwoman who had dared to say, in recounting her experience in
this country, "I was not then aware of the extent to which all but
virtuous are found possible between the whites and blacks, nor how
unions, to which the religious and civil sanctions of marriage are
alone wanting, take place wherever there are masters and slaves,
throughout the country. When I did
become aware of this I always knew how to stop the hypocritical talk against 'amalgamation.'"
Americans would not stand this sort of meddling in their political and social affairs, and when displeased they had proved they knew well how to punish the offender. The fact that an Abolitionist was a woman, did not protect her from the fury of the chivalric southerners and their northern sympathizers. Letters threatening to "cut out her tongue and cast it on a dung hill," to hang her, and to commit her to imprisonment and disgrace, assailed Miss Martineau. Abuse of her ran through almost every paper in the Union, and a certain sheet of New York, published an article so filthy that it will not bear mention. She was represented as a hired agent, and floggings, tar and feathers, and other receptions then popular in the hospitable South, were promised her. On more than one occasion she found herself surrounded by an infuriated mob.
Maria Weston Chapman had also been subject to similar outrageous treatment on account of her expression of antislavery opinions.
Mrs. Follen was another social martyr to the cause.
The brave, sweet, gentle Quakeress, Lucretia Mott, had at this same period addressed a meeting of anti-slavery women, with the house surrounded by rioters, and brickbats frequently crashing through the windows. She had walked the streets of Boston threatened with instant death, pressed upon and jostled by a crowd of howling ruffians, and preserved her gentle dignity even amid a shower of eggs and other offensive missiles.
Many of the eminent scholars and thinkers of the country, though
occupying a position which made violence impos-
sible, had revealed themselves no less clearly upon the question. As a class, the literati of Boston and Cambridge sneered at the controversy as "low," and too utterly repugnant to fine feeling to be touched upon by cultured persons. "Edward Everett, the man of letters par excellence," says Harriet Martineau, was " burning incense to the South, insulting the Abolitionists because they were few and weak." Boston had seen Garrison flying through the streets in imminent peril of the hot tar barrel that was making ready for him. The controversy had branded Wendell Phillips and Theodore D. Weld as fanatics; it had aroused the whole country and " put Boston in an uproar," and now this brave woman under the stress of indignation and righteous feeling at the probable extension of slavery, was about to throw herself into the breach, with the prospect that her small personality might in consequence, forever sink in ignominy and public scorn.
While it is true that names that now are honored, such as Garrison,
Whittier, Phillips, Emerson, Gerret Smith, Edmund Quincy, Theodore
Parker, Sumner, Baird, Lucy Stone and Sallie Holley, were enrolled as
Abolitionists, the solid phalanx of society in Boston, (with but few
exceptions) the bench, the bar, the clergy, merchants, bankers,
politicians and the " best citizens " generally, felt the utmost scorn
and detestation for these advocates of philanthropy and justice. No
one of the present generation can have a realization of the
manifestations of contempt which every where met the Free-Soilers and
Abolitionists. In the words of an observer, "Phillip's oratory and
Whittier's poetry were mere whispers against a hurricane." It was a
curious fact, though one not unparalleled in the history of' reforms,
that the people who raised their voices against a tolerated wrong, became the objects of the hate and derision of the community. At this epoch it really appeared to many easy-going, good people of the country that Abolitionism, and not slavery, was the sum of all villainies.
But all these considerations weighed as nothing, before Mrs. Stowe's sense of justice and her calm intention to uphold the right at any peril. She had never considered expediency as distinguished from justice, and the fact that society now gave it the preference, was no concern of hers. Her husband nobly upheld her, and the story went on, and speedily began to be heard from. The little woman, wife of Professor Stowe in the plain house up at Brunswick, performed her household duties, nursed her baby, trained her inefficient servants, taught her scholars, ministered to her husband, entered into his life's work with an intelligent sympathy and appreciation which were a rare inspiration to him, and wrote the weekly installments of what in spite of all critical and literary estimates, stands to-day as the greatest American novel.
It seems from all personal testimony to have been an inspiration, the action of a mind of which complete possession has been taken by internal influences. The theme held her as the ancient mariner held the wedding guest. She however, reinforced her writing by facts from various sources outside of her own experience, visited Boston, went to the anti-slavery rooms, culled from Theodore D. Weld's "Slavery As It Is," and the lives of Josiah Henson and Lewis Clark, circumstances of both of whose experiences are interwoven in the characters of Uncle Tom and George Harris.
Goethe says that "a great poet must be a citizen of his age as well as of his country. The power which was inherited from the father of the Beecher family and has always been observed in his children, of discovering and espousing the best interests of the hour, made Mrs. Stowe especially fortunate in the period of this writing. The first wave of furious resistance to the idea of abolition had subsided, and now that the waters were swiftly receding and gathering for greater strength to engulf the commonwealth, she threw her work upon the incoming tide, and by its force it was cast upon solid ground, where it rested as firm and incontestable as the rocks themselves. The tale which the writer thought would run through a few numbers, continued on through months, and as scene after scene unfolded, and the picture, dark and flashing with lurid light unrolled, messages, and letters came from the little band of sympathizers who read the paper, and rumors began to get abroad that a strange and powerful story was coming out, and the subscription to the Era was largely increased thereby.
While "Uncle Tom's Cabin " was in course of publication in the
Era Mrs. Stowe proposed its publication in
book form, to Messrs. Phillips aud Sampson of Boston. They
respectfully declined the proposition, but about that time a young
Boston publisher, Mr. John P. Jewett, recognizing its strength and
possible future as a bone of contention, made overtures to her for its
publication. He remarked to Prof. Stowe that in his opinion it would
bring his wife "something handsome." Upon hearing this Mrs. Stowe
replied, with a twinkle in her eyes, she hoped it would enough to
purchase what she had not had for
a long time, a new silk dress. Mr. Jewett reminded her that it was an unpopular subject, and while a small volume might sell, he should not feel warranted in bringing out a large work. Mrs. Stowe tersely answered that he must act his own judgment in the matter, that she could not abridge or curtail her work. That the story made itself and when it was finished, she would stop.
In view of the impression made by this book and the resultant popularity which crowned its author as the most honorably famous American woman, it will be well to examine "Uncle Tom's Cabin" with the reader, and if possible, place ourselves back thirty-seven years, and try to realize what the message was to that age, and thus appreciate its courage and persuasive force in relation to public opinion.
"Uncle Tom's Cabin " was not written like any other successful story that the world ever saw; it had no re-writing, scarcely a revision; it was dashed off at white heat, and sent forthwith to the printer. No wonder that its unities were not perfectly preserved. Rather, is it not a marvel that it came forth free from the little slips and oversights, which the greatest novelists have had to confess? As for instance when Thackeray having killed off a character in one number of his serial publication of a novel, unconcernedly continued his conversation in the next, and under similar conditions Mr. Hardy after bringing a person to the summit of a hill, in the next installment of the story incontinently started him up again.
Let us take it for granted that every reader, certainly every
American reader, has read "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and only ask that he
will go again cursorily over its pages
with us. Let us notice how the characters, waiting for no introduction or explanation, enter upon the stage and by their words explain themselves as no description could do. Within ten lines the attention is arrested, opinion challenged, and the tolerated usages of the slave trade vividly portrayed and held up to the broad light of common sense and decency.
Haley, the type and epitome of all slave traders, earns hearty detestation in his earliest remarks. He is instantly seen to be a man whose flesh has hardened to leather under the unnatural circulation of the salts of cruelty and avarice through his veins, a man alive to nothing but trade and profit, cool and unhesitating and unrelenting as the grave, who would have sold his own mother at a percentage.
Mr. Shelby appears a refined and merciful man, one of the slave
owners who were born to the system and who suffered from its moral
workings in degree, as did his unconscious chattels, who lived under
an uneasy dread of things that were permitted by it, though not
inflicted by him. A picture is drawn of the fairest side of
slave-holding as it existed in Kentucky and had been witnessed by the
author. The good-humored indulgence of some masters and mistresses, of
which the Shelbys stand the personified embodiment, with yet the awful
contingencies which constantly waited upon pecuniary embarrassment or
the death of the owner, are shown in all the fairness of the writer's
honesty and the cruel ghastliness of truth. The brooding portentous
shadow of a law which regarded all these human beings with beating
hearts and loving affections as so many heads of plantation stock
belonging to their mas-
ter, is seen darkly hanging over what had been so often falsely defended, as "a patriarchal institution."
The conversation of the two men, so full of highly charged meaning, gives in few words, a strong outline of the thing the author means to attack.
The irruption of bright-eyed, glossy-haired, little Jim Crow, his childish antics and amusing imitations of various plantation characters; the entrance of his mother, the beautiful yellow girl Eliza, who is looking, for the child, the trader's offer to buy the lad, overheard by the mother, and her distress and appeal to her mistress, rapidly lead the reader into the intense story and fasten the interest, which never flags to the end.
The character of' George Harris, Eliza's husband, a bright, talented mulatto "boy," who was a valued hand upon a neighboring plantation, has become an overseer in a bagging factory, and subsequently invented a machine for the cleaning of the hemp, is like most of the other characters, drawn from life and facts, and, it is needless to say, was a revelation to northern readers, unaccustomed to regard negro slaves as having souls and minds and intellectual faculties worthy of respect. The original of the character was an ex-slave, who for six years was an inmate of the house of a family connection of the author, Deacon Safford, of Cambridgeport, Massachusetts. He ran away from his masters in 1840.
The exhibition of the jealousy of the master which induces him to
degrade George to the most menial farm work, embittering his life,
arousing deep and ineradicable hatred for the man and the institution
which made such injustice possible, quickly follows, and the strange
takes deeper significance in every line. The flight of George inevitably ensues upon this unbearable treatment.
Mrs. Shelby is moved by her own religious convictions, her uneasiness as to the right of slave- holding and her sympathy with Eliza, to remonstrate with her husband, and their conversation brings out in strong effect the circumstances which may occur to all slave-holders, enforcing the sale of their people. In making this point the author dealt a heavy blow at the stronghold of the system, and powerfully refuted the assertions of Southerners, that things had been exaggerated by abolition fanatics.
The fact that a slave could not be married—that the most sacred of all ties, even though solemnized by a clergyman and witnessed by master, mistress and friends, might be ruptured any day at the whim of the owner, the husband forced to take another mate or live in bestial polygamy, the wife given to any man her owner selected, or reduced to a life of shame as the mistress of any uxorious white man who chose to buy her—is developed with power, and the world began to see slavery as it was in social detail.
Palpable truth waits on all the author's situations and common sense proved her standpoint to be the right one.
In chapter four we are introduced to Uncle Tom's cabin, and receive a bright picture of it, overrun with scarlet begonia and a native multiflora rose, entwisting and interlacing until scarcely a vestige of the rough logs was to be seen.
Here is Aunt Chloe, the reigning queen of the culinary department of
"the house," as the master's dwelling was called. Poor, faithful,
kind, sensitive, brave Aunt Chloe,
with her "round, black, shining face, which suggested that it might have been washed over with the white of eggs like one of her own tea rusks."
Here too is Uncle Tom, Mr. Shelby's best hand, large, broad-chested, powerfully made, with a full, glossy, black face, in whose truly African features, shine grave happiness and steady common sense, combined with an air of benevolence, self respect and dignity, which characterizes all that he says and does. His earnest attempts to learn to read and write under the tuition of young master George Shelby; the sympathetic interest of Aunt Chloe in the matter of education, which was quite foreign to her useful lore; the rollicking of the children on the floor and their subsequent sitting down to a feast of Aunt Chloe's delicious batter cakes, fills out the picture of plantation life which comes upon the canvas. A dark and sorrowful picture it is, but illumined with high lights and bits of warm color which give it a richness, a brilliancy, evolved from startling contrasts which takes the senses by storm, and carries feeling captive.
The chapter ends with a graphic delineation of a religious meeting of the plantation negroes—a scene then new and strange to readers who had no knowledge of Southern life, but which has since become so familiar through the scattering of the freed slaves over the country and the dramatic representations of this peculiar phase of religious manifestation. It has however, never been equalled in verbal description, especially in the tender respect with which the author illustrates the force and effect of Uncle Tom's prayers.
While the meeting is going on in the cabin, Uncle Tom
is sold to Haley, the slave trader, to enable Mr. Shelby to pay his debts!
Eliza, finding that her child has also been sold, resolves to fly, and if possible, reach Canada. She makes ready at night and appears at the door of Uncle Tom's cabin, to bid them farewell. The dramatic situation—the black man with the candle, Aunt Chloe stricken with sympathy and terror at her own misfortune, Eliza, clasping her sleeping boy to her breast, wildly saying her few words of adieu and hastening away into the darkness—is familiar to the whole reading world. The flight of Eliza with her child has become a classic in every country of this round earth. Who shall describe it better or more tersely than the author's burning words, every sentence of which quivers with high wrought sensibility? Millions of readers have followed the slave girl fleeing with her babe, tens of thousands of play-goers have felt their heart beats lessen in painful suspense as her shivering form has been seen flying across the treacherous cakes of floating ice which covered the river between her and freedom, and have burst into tumultuous applause and weeping, as with one last frenzied leap she has reached the shore and thanked God for safety!