from Frederick Douglass' Paper
Unsigned Reprint
22 October 1852


  A singular effort is now in progress to make money out of the popularity of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and withal, a little capital for the "patriarchal institution," by getting up a rival book, called "Life at the South; or, Uncle Tom's Cabin as it is." By W. L. G. Smith, of Buffalo.

  Some of our readers may think the book worth its money cost, especially as they want to see what can be said in defence of slavery and in counteraction of the real "Uncle Tom." Now as we have no sympathy with this effort, but a decidedly strong sympathy the other way, we venture to suggest that Mr. Smith's book is not worth the money it costs, and to back up our suggestion by the brief and pointed criticism of the N. Y. Tribune, as follows:—-Oberlin Evangelist.

  "A more remarkable instance of asinine pretension than the announcement of this insipid volume as the counterpart to 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' has never fallen under our notice. Put forth with a view of extenuating Slavery by faithful pictures of Southern life, its object is defeated by the wretched manner of its execution. The story is improbable in the highest degree—the plot is awkwardly managed—the descriptions of nature are artificial and tame—no interest is awakened in the characters portrayed—an excess of the negro dialect vulgarises the conversations—and an air of elaborate heaviness pervades the volume. If the picturesque side of slavery has no more attractions than are here described, the friends of the peculiar institution would be wise in avoiding all attempts to make it the subject of literary art. [Compared to] Mrs. Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Log Cabin," this production of Mr. W. L. G. Smith suggests a lively image of the celebrated Mrs. Partington sweeping out the Atlantic Ocean with her broom."