Southworth and Hawes, Harriet Beecher Stowe, ca. 1852
The National Era, June 5, 1851: Uncle Tom’s Cabin, ch. 1
Josiah Henson, Engraving from Harper’s Weekly, April 21, 1877
Metcalf and Weldon, Josiah Henson, Cabinet Card, 1877.
Cover of the 1853 “Illustrated Edition” of Uncle Tom’s Cabin (with 117 engravings by Hammatt Billings)
Hammatt Billings, “The Mother’s Struggle,” The Illustrated Uncle Tom’s Cabin, 1853
“My vocation is simply that of painter, and my object will be to hold up in the most lifelike and graphic manner possible slavery, its reverses, changes, and the negro character, which I have had ample opportunity for studying. There is no arguing with pictures, and everybody is impressed with them, whether they mean to be or not.” Stowe to Gamaliel Bailey, 1851
At this table was seated Uncle Tom, Mr. Shelby’s best hand, who, as he is to be the hero of our story, we must daguerreotype for our readers. Ch. 4: “An Evening with Uncle Tom”
“See here, now,” St Clare said, drawing an elegant velvet case out of his pocket, and opening it, “here’s a present I got for you in New York.” It was a daguerreotype, clear and soft as an engraving, representing Eva and her father sitting hand in hand. Marie looked at it with a dissatisfied air. “What made you sit in such an awkward position?” she said. “Well, the position may be a matter of opinion; but what do you think of the likeness?” “If you don’t think anything of my opinion in one case, I suppose you wouldn’t in another,” she said, shutting the case. “Come now, what do you think of the likeness? “It’s very inconsiderate of you, St. Clare, to insist on my talking and looking at things. I’ve been lying all day with a sick headache. Ch. 15
But what can individual do? Of that, every individual can judge. There is one thing that every individual can do,--they can see to it that they feel right. An atmosphere of sympathetic influence encircles every human being; and the man or woman who feels strongly, healthily and justly, on the great interests of humanity, is a constant benefactor to the human race. See, then, to your sympathies in this matter! Are they in harmony with the sympathies of Christ? Or are they swayed and perverted by the sophistries of worldly policy?
Mrs. Bird: You ought to be ashamed, John. It’s a shameful, wicked, abominable law, and I’ll break it the first time I get a chance. Mr. Bird: But Mary, just listen to me. Your feelings are all quite right, dear, and interesting, and I love you for them; but we mustn’t suffer our feelings to run away with our judgment; you must consider it’s a matter of private feelings---there are great public interests involved. Mrs. Bird: Now, John, I don’t know anything about politics, but I can read my Bible; and there I see that I must feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the desolate; and that Bible I mean to follow. Mr. Bird: But in cases where your doing so would involve a great public evil— Mrs. Bird: Obeying God never brings on public evils. I know it can’t. It’s always safest, all round, to do as He bids us.”
It’s undoubtedly the intention of Providence that the African race should be servants,--kept in a low condition,” said a grave-looking gentleman in black, a clergyman, seated by the cabin door. “’Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be,’ the scripture says.” A Tall, slender young man, with a fact expressive of great feeling and intelligence, here broke in, and repeated the words, “’All things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them.’ I suppose,” he added, “that is scripture, as much as ‘Cursed by Canaan.’” Ch. 12
Southern Response to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, 1 (27 proslavery novels responding to Stowe’s novel)
Tom and Eva in an arbor. “Tom, there ‘tis. There’s a sea of glass mingled with fire.” (Rev. 15) Tom sings: “Bright angels should convey me home, / To the new Jerusalem.” Eva: “Where is New Jerusalem?” Tom: “Up in the clouds.” Eva: “Then I think I see it. Look in those clouds! They look like great gates of pearl (Rev. 21). Tom: sing about the “spirits bright, all robed in spotless white.” “Tom, I’ve seen them.” Tom had no doubt at all. ch. 22
“This is an age of the world when nations are trembling and convulsed. A mighty influence is abroad, surging and heaving the world, as with an earthquake. And is America safe? Every nation that carries in its bosom great and unredressed injustice has in it the elements of this last convulsion.