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Mrs. HARRIET BEECHER STOWE, born at Lichfield, in the United States, in the year 1812, is the second daughter of Dr. Lyman Beecher, pastor of a Presbyterian church in Cincinnati. She is a person of middle stature, and with little pretension to any other personal beauty than that which homely, motherly benevolence, and eyes radiant with the fires of intelligence, unite to confer. Educated at Boston, she acquired all the accomplishments most in favour with her sex, and much of the learning usually reserved to the other. She thus became competent at an early age to undertake the duties of governess, and rendered her elder sister Catherine important service in the management of a flourishing ladies' school established by the latter-resigning her duties, at length, upon contracting yet higher ones by her marriage with the Rev. Calvin Stowe, professor of Biblical literature in the seminary of which her father was then president.

Blessed by a numerous family, the domestic life of Mrs. Stowe has been attended by an equable, quiet happiness not too common even in the homes of pastors' wives. Not that the noon of her day has been all sunshine. Clouds have intervened, of duration and darkness which any bereaved mother who may read these pages needs no aid to comprehend. Six of Mrs. Stowe's children are, however, still living, and much or her time has been devoted to their education

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But, a strong-hearted, deep-souled woman, daughter, wife, and sister of a Christian pastor, the serene happiness of home could never confer on her immunity from pain while the victims of so terrible a system as slavery shivered at her door. There are hearts which are not all contained in themselves whose chords put forth delicate shoots and fibres into the hearts of all humanity, instantly and painfully responsive to the sorrow of all. Such a heart has Mrs. Stowe; and, a bereaved mother, stricken by the hand of a God who chasteneth in mercy, her own grief shrouded not from her eyes the greater grief of ten thousand mothers, bereaved by the hands of men with an eye to cotton-crops for the Manchester, and “fancy articles” for the New Orleans markets. For years and years the contrasted cruelties and sufferings which peculiarly belong to the “peculiar institution”—with that fearful degradation, moral and mental, too deep to be felt by the sufferers—pressed upon her all-womanly sympathies; until the Fugitive Slave Law climaxed her emotions, and forced them into expression. Then appeared “Uncle Tom's Cabin.”

A brief history of the book is thus given in a letter addressed to a member of the firm which issues this volume :

You wish to know the history of the book. For eighteen years previous to 1850 we lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, within sight of Kentucky, a border slave-state. We formed acquaintances in Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, and other slave-states, and became exceedingly interested in the blacks. For most of the eighteen years we lived in the West, our domestic helps consisted principally of liberated slaves. Thus Mrs. Stowe became acquainted with their language, manners, character, habits, etc.

“ About the time of her return to New England, in 1850, the odious and cruel Fugitive Slave Law was passed by the United States Congress. This law distressed Mrs. Stowe beyond

She could scarcely sleep at night; so pained was sho



vii when she thought of the wrongs and sufferings of the slaves. For the relief of her over-burdened spirit, she determined to write a few articles illustrating by narrative the cruelties of slavery and the slave-laws; the first she wrote was the 'Death of Uncle Tom.' She had engaged herself as contributor to the National Era, a weekly anti-slavery paper, published at our seat of government, Washington, in the District of Columbia. She concluded to begin a narrative, and write up to Uncle Tom's Death, for that paper.

* Thus circumstanced, she commenced writing early in the summer of 1851, and gave à chapter or two a week to the Era, till the whole was completed in March, 1852. Some of the chapters were written in my study at the College, a few at the house of Mr. Professor Repton (a neighbour and friend of ours) some of them over the cooking-stove in the kitchen, while directing a very poor cook in the preparation of dinner; but most of them at the table in the school-room, with the children round her, and read to them as each chapter was completed, amid their tears and sobs, and smiles and shouts.

“ In February, 1852, Messrs. Jewett and Co., of Boston, put it to press in book-form, and on the 20th of March it was published. It went like wild-fire. More than 5000 copies were sold the first week; about 110,000 were sold the first six months; and at this date (Nov. 15, 1852), Messrs. Jewett have sold nearly 150,000 copies. The edition was published in two volumes. The history of the work in England, France, and Germany, you know as well as I do."

The above short history of the book may not be capable of increasing our admiration of “Uncle Tom's Cabin,” but it certainly must add very considerably to our admiration of the strength and breadth of its author's mind. By very force of contrast we are reminded of Tom Moore, who found it necessary to convert his study into an Eastern bazaar, hung with orient draperies and furnished with a hundred barbarous trifles, to

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