F. Colburn (Francis Colburn) Adams.

Uncle Tom at home. A review of the reviewers and repudiators of Uncle Tom's cabin by Mrs. Stowe online

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Online LibraryF. Colburn (Francis Colburn) AdamsUncle Tom at home. A review of the reviewers and repudiators of Uncle Tom's cabin by Mrs. Stowe → online text (page 1 of 7)
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18 53.


Entered according to Act of Conjrresf, in the year ISj... )iy


In the Clerk's Office" of the District Court for the Eastern Distu; t of


^cj iU ^

Stereotyped by S l o T E & M o o N E v, Philadcli.bia.



ITiirlr Conrs Cnbin




TVe tare taken np the book upon its merits in an-
swer to those who have preceded us upon its demerits.
"We have viewed its spirit and intention at variance with
its violent adversaries, and we know there are many
good Southerners who do not differ with our opinions,
and who would fain see the c-ankering evil removed.
In their hands lies the remedy ; and if they will but ap-
ply it, they can disarm their enemies. The point is
there ; and while the many happy associarions which
undoubtedly exist between master and servant should
be properiy valued, the imperfections and miseries of
an institution, that weighs heavy in the balance of a
great coimtry, should not be buried under their mantle.
There are many phases in the institution, and we shall
endeavour to give those phases impartially in a forth-
coming work. The Southerner knows, and acknow-
ledges the evil which is upon him — and if he will, he can
do more to stay the bad master's cruelty than all the
force of organised bodies at a distance. In our c-om-



parisons we hire not wandered fir away from the
homes of the reviewers who have prece-lad us, and
have onlv cited sneh instances as mnst be faynili a r to
them, and to which we have calle»d the attention of onr
brethera of the press, while at the sjuth. We give
the &eis with a knowledge that no fiction, however
great the scope of imagination may l-e. can ont-gUre
the reality in its dark phase, pictmred by the Anthor.

r. C. .U)AX3^



That book of books, that has passed the ordeal
of all scribblers, from the lordly down to the
penny-a-liner, still continues unharmed. It has
afforded many themes for little genius, and great
points for great men, who have poured out their
vehemence against it only to give it greater pre-
eminence. And now that Southern criticism has
exhausted itself, ceased its struggles, and yielded
its force to Northern champions, who out-southern
Southerners in the front rank of the pro-slavery
charge. From the sagacious political reviewer,
who has heaped his vengeance upon its pilgrim
head, it has passed to the more amiable mcmtli-
lits, who have hitherto contented themselves with

8 Uncle Tom AT Home.

pleasant musings, and governed their modesty to
please fair ladies. These latter, with Godey and
Graham's goodly numbers combined, have assumed
the sponsorship, and aspire to do for the South
what the South will not do for herself— uphold the
wrongs of slavery. Their motive is their own —
we shall pass it, and if their hopes be realized,
let us trust the recompense will be applied to a
good cause. Since it is so, we claim a right to
make a few remarks from a home source — a sim-
ple, comparative review, which can neither offend
nor injure a good cause.

But let us ask : why has South Carolina shown
such manifold earnestness in her rebukes against
a " Yankee Woman's" little book ? Her sensitive
chivalry seems shocked ; the theory of her fortunes
is told; truth is uncomfortable, and her slave
philosophy quails beneath its influence. Her
best panegyrists have come forth to preserve her
honour, disclosing the secret of making base spirits
noble, and with singularly potent and persuasive
sunny effusions, plead the intensity of love for
truth. Are they sincere ?

Poor "Uncle Tom," like a pilgrim on his weary
way, still continues through Christendom. What

Uncle Tom AT Home. 9

a lie-reading world tliis of ours must be, if South-
ern statements be true !

-But if South Carolina criticism be true, why
not give it to us by a rule of consistency ? not
by that vain flourish that would encircle wrong
with an excessive brightness, and make South Ca-
rolina the principality of the South.

The criminal trembles when truth is deposed
against him— so it is with those who oppose the
material subject of this book, reviewing it upon
technicalities instead of principle, and thus South
Carolina, more sickly than her sisters, calls loudest
for a physician.

The truth lays prostrate at her own door, and
her defenders make her wrongs right with the
beauty of abstractions, rather than acknowledge
the evil, and create justice the guardian of power.
The simple truth has found its way, amid her ham-
pered necessities, to the very fountain of material
wrong, kindling the inventive ambition of her va-
liant sons ; and unblushing in that shame which
sets the moralist and philanthropist at defiance,
they come forward to the world to tell it of pious
slavery and its joys.

If slavery be full of joy and piety, why nurture

10 U X C L E T M A T II M E.

that spirit, so manifestly your ovm, tliat would
plunge a dagger to the heart of him who dare
speak liberty in your streets? These loud accla-
mations, *' soundings of joy," ^'beauties of truth,"
and domestic homilies, cannot awaken the sympa-
thy of common sense, much less the confidence of
those -S-ho have been casual sojourners in the

But it may be asked, why do we take up the
book ?

We answer, because we have witnessed the ma-
nifest workings of that peculiar institution — seen
the different phases of Southern life, and watched
them in their changing attitudes. And while do-
ing this, it was the fortune of our misfortunes to
be placed where we could witness the misery, woe,
suffering and brutality of the slave system. Yea —
not only the miseries of the slave system itself,
but the dissolute and degraded condition which it
entailed upon the poor, labouring whites. The
primrose of a name has done much for the South,
and yet all is not substance that glitters there ;
the legends of her shaded bowers, vast plantations,
noble hearted planters with human wealth in store,
are things that have lived in a name and die in
the shadow.

Uncle Tom AT Home. n

To South Carolina they are like the golden
dreamof her Southern Congress, and /.„/p,ized
cq„a„,„.,ty-things lost in their o.n existence.
True generosity and hospitality have their founda-
tions at home ; and it becomes us to inquire how
far we must credit the grandeur of those noble
charactensties to those who would starve a human
bemg at home-estrange the last stage of spent
l.fe-measure his peck of corn with mathematical
exactness, and quibble over his task to sound a
name abroad. Men who mount upon the higher
>-puIse of popular ascendency must maintait it
byjust.ce and right; they must second their pro-
testations with the patriotism of justice in its mo-
ral and legal qualifications; they must first re-
eogn,ze the things that are arou.^ them, callin.
'or the good will of man to man. The dav has
passed when men could mount some high-born pn.-
naele, and sound their stentorious voices in behalf
of the moral grandeur of an institution, when its
hideous vices stared them in the face at every
turn. Such soundings have become inefl-ectual,
then- misconstructions too glaring; and the motive
too boldly outlined to need a delineator. But we
''■'" '''''="^« t''o»e things in their proper places.

12 U N C L i: T u M A 1 11 u M t .


'i'lif viviJ recollection of many happy associa-
tions at the Soutl), the frientl»hip wo have met,
the kindness of those who knew us through strange
vicibaiiutles, anil our well known position, cou-
strainti us to touch many thin<;s as lightly a« pos-
sible, and to pay due deference to the fine-strung
sensibilities of our brethren. We take up the sub-
ject of the book in adiuiraiiun of its truthful de-
lineation of a species of Southern life, and the
spirit of its intention, to point those who have
gone before us, especially W. liilmore Simum,
Esq., to faets which are Bceminglj overlookeii.
Let us /i<7>«f it was not intentional, nor shared fur
the hope of gain or fame.

The question is, r/i<; book ; the ** Yankee Wo-
man's'' book — its truth or falsehood.

Christendom has passed judgment upon it, and
South Carolina has reputliated it. Her chival-
rous sons, from the poet and play-frri/rr to the
wayfaring scribbler, who throws his mite into the
hopper to decorate the columns of " the Court-
have volunteered their energy, fervor and wi^dom
to thwart the influence of a *' Yankee Woman's"
little book. There is a fanciful pleasure in cher-
ishing these domestic oir>iirii)i:p, harmless abroad,

Uncli: Tum at Home. 13

ami so in keeping with those spirit-burning toasts
at home, that they become the best and most val-
uable advertisements of the book. They carry
the feelings of a vigorous minority into tlie keen
senses of the di.stant observer, showing that the
truth must be strong against a selfish institution,
\Nlicn so much fiery opposition is marshalled to
1 epel such a small messenger.

Many of these liamiless, little flashes of the
brain are beneath criticism, for they neither im-
part character, regard truth, nor plead the honest
Southerner's cause.

licforc wo take up Mr. Simms' ^'Southern
\iew," we must give a passing notice of that
tiovcl and particular point in a work — well di-
gested in South Carolina — entitled, ''Slavery in
".he Southern States," the accredited production

*.f a Mr. P , a member of the legal profession

in Charleston, claiming caste in the higher walk.

AVe will not charge ^Ir. 1* witli want of

forbearance in his mission, nor lack of profound
devotion to his cause — for in these Mr. Simms
would have added consistency to his review liad
he copied his moderation. But unfortunately for
the genius of Mr. ]' , he has shown the com-


14 Uncle T u m a t 11 o Ji e .

plex nature of his subject to be so great that he is
troubled to find a beginning, and stop at the end-
ing. Enjoining many good things upon an incu-
rious and forbearing pubhc, he seems to forget
that in displaying the beauty of am table weakness
the object of the book is lost upon the mind of
the general reader, and that which he intended
for force is taken for speculation. The rea

will ask us, What is Mr. P 's object ;

It is to in-ove that slavery enforces ChiisUauiiy
—in other words, that it is a divine transcendent.
Vuth his ascetic mode of reasoning, he has not
classified the sources from which he has drawn
his result, nor given us the difi'erence between the
established morale of true Christianity, and the
Christianity of usage made to conserve obedience.
Nor has he descended to the latent power which
holds the absolute force and intention of his own
involuntary Christianity. The Southerner tells
you 'twere well to Christianize his property be-
cause of its value, and as a better means of sub-
jection. At the same time he tells you the chui
is all humbug, and holding .absolute power ovc
the material object, he becomes the self-appointed
apostle of its Christian virtues. Accordinr - to Mr.


TJ N C L E T M A T II M E . 15

P 's dictum the whole force of this species

of Christianity is dependent upon the moral char-
ncter of the slaveholder ; yet he has not given us
the quality of tliat morality, which, according to
his own arguments, is to become the great regula-
tor of his divine institution. We have no inclina-
tion to question the scale of morality with South-
erners, nor its influence upon the slave, who, by
necessity, studies his master's nature, and fre-
quently copies his vices ; but the proof ogainst

Mr. P 's doctrine is too deeply founded in

national sense to need any further strength of

Nor do we want their mathematical and meta-
physical conclusions, because there is a more sim-
ple mode of testing them ; yet we are at a loss

to know how Mr. P , with his own private

knowledge, could have arrived at such Christian
conclusions, unless he has fallen into those by-gone
errors of a forced theology, overlooking the truth
of practical results, illustrated at his ovm door.

In all our intercourse with Southerners, we
never heard one claim moral caste for the institu-
tion of slavery ; but not unfrequently have we
heard them denounce instances of outrage upon

16 Uncle Tom AT Home.

chastity, sustained in the rights of the master,
and beyond the remedy of laws made to govern
the outraged. With our knowledge of social life
in Charleston, we feel no hesitation in saying,

that Mr. P 's erudition in behalf of the divine

precepts of slavery will prove as novel to Southern
readers, as it will be forcible to those of more
Northern sensibility. But the reader must re-
member that the quality, depth, and attributes of
Christianity, according to the rule of progress,
lire at the present day measured by a scale of
locality. That which is made the medium of an
accommodating morality in Charleston, would be
rejected as unwholesome by the sterner judgment
of the New Englander.

Upon these considerations, we can be charitable

with Mr. P , and attribute his singular errors

to the fact of having founded the sliding-scale of
his Christian conclusions upon the texture of this
species of morality — a morality opening a grand
arena for the pleasures of those who wish to enjoy.
It was fortunate for the author that his book came
out at an unfortunate time, otherwise his reputa-
tion for literary pursuits would have reflected upon
his legal abilities: vet there is nothing without

Uncle Tom at Home. 17

its consolation, and Mr. P has his in a know-
ledge of his book being a book for Jiome, and not
for the critical observation of a reading public in
this enlightened age. He has lost the medium
which enlists the confidence of the common reader,
in trying to bury the issue of natural law with the
beauties of his pen ; a fault much in vogue by
those who consider themselves polished writers.

Had he traced the effect of a small minority
governing a majority, he would have qualified his
moral disclosures, and made a small exception for
those evils which must naturally arise from the force
of power necessary to subject one to the will of the
other. Or if he had treasured his divine disco-
veries, contrasted them with the prospect of that
majority being held in an absolute and abject con-
dition, subject to the good or bad traits of the
master's character — his positive will — changing
fortunes, and those unforeseen events which have
brought so many poor wretches into the hands of
t^^rants, he would have added force and consis-
tency to his book, strengthening the better divi-
sion of his cause. His efforts might have pro-
mised something in the future, instead of burden-
ing his logic with the beauties of slave-life. His

18 Uncle Tom AT Home.

generosity would have had life, and he, with some
plausibility, claimed a hopeful diffusion of spirit-
ual life for his slave, and made the common reader
hclieve there was truth in it.

Our object being to notice the book upon one
point only — the only one upon which it claims
attention, we shall give Mr. P a simple con-
trast, leaving the reader to draw his own conclu-
sions. It is a simple and singular process of test-
ing Mr. P -'s logic, but having lived in his

own neio-hbourhood we will invite him to its stand-
ard of morality.

Will you go with us into the innumerable by-
ways of your " sunny city ?" They are lined with
little cottages, inhabited by semi-saxon females,
whose flaxen-headed children know a father — not
to recognise him as such, but to fear him. "We
will enter together ! The picture around us is
full of measured humbleness — shall we ask the
unhappy woman who prides in being the mistress
of a gentleman, who is her ^'friend f No, we
will not ask her, for custom has made it a social
generality — we hnoiv ! Let us trace him to his
mansion, because they are things of common life.
He has a pretty family there, and they go to

Uncle Tom at Home. 19

church every Sunday. Certainly ! there's no get-
ting over that — and papa goes too^ puts on one
of the very best faces for Christian modesty, opens
the prayer book for dear wife, pats the little legi-
timates on the head, and reminds them of their
duty to the good parson's sermon. While this
very necessary species of puritanism is manifest-
ing itself below, his pensive mistress sits in the
gallery, enjoying the sovereign contemplation of
her own feelings. Around her, are those little,
interesting intermixtures, doubted and disowned,
peeking over the railing at " daddy below,'' like
as many ferrets motioning about a stone wall : but
they must not insinuate with their fingers.

There is a wide difference between the quantity
and quality of Christianity ; and the latter should
be well judged before the former is credited.

We are treading on delicate ground ; but must

invite Mr. P to go further with us, and be a

missionary among the specimens.

Which way will you go — east, west, north or
south ? We are now in the centre of the city,
and the course is immaterial. The same prospect
is before us in every street, lane, and alley, and
on the nech Here are the demonstrators — you


20 Uncle T o im a t II o .^i e .

know tliem, and you must not shut your eyes,
nor feel about for Christianity. Well ! we'll
step into Old Ned Johnson's on the neck. It is
a miserable rookery, but an average sample of
those '''•all around toiun' — not excepting those
attached to several princely dwellings. Don't
stop at the door, because it '' a'nt so neat as your
own little place." Sit down on that primitive
box by the fire-place. Yes, that's well ; put your
handkerchief over it. ^'Ncd don't keep things
the nicest," nor does *' old Misses lef ' um nuf to
hab' chare fo gemmen." Ned's simple story is a
counterpart of what could be told by thousands in
your city — at least, seven-tenths of the coloured
population of your city.

Ned is one of the cleverest "old nifro^ers"
about ; black as a crow, honest as any nigger,
'-''for all niggers 'II steal,'' and has always worked
just like a nigger. His wencli, old Mumma, is
as motherly an old " thing" as you ever did see,
and a Christian at that. Yes, just as sound as a
nutmeg in her belief, and thinks she'll go to hea-
ven just as "straight as white folks." Y^ou must
see her, and learn from her the very best original
ideas of Christianity; give ear to her simple

U N C L E T M A T II M E . 21

dialogue — and if you comprehend her logic, it
may assist in propping up your new system of
Christianity — founded upon the slave law. Ned
will go and bring her in.

Three young imps, as " black as vengeance,"
half naked, and as dirty as wharf-rats, come
scampering into the house — perfect pictures of
Old Ned. They rumage about the house, and in
the old basket where Ned keeps his "nigger fod-
der, " to find some corn cake. But da's nofin
da', no corn to make im wid." Its scratch-
ing times with Ned ; he's been laid up nearly a
week with a lame arm, his time is running on,

and that old widow A m would grind his

marrow bones for the wages.

You say : — " Well — we — know ; there's a good
many hard cases about town — and especially these
foreigners that buy slaves to profit by their in-
crease, selling their own children in the market.
But — good Lord, it would'nt do to be everlast-
ingly bothering yer head about the troubles be-
tween niggers and their masters. Its infernal
unpopular ; you'd get yourself into a pretty fix
about town."

Ned has returned, and with an humble suavity,

22 U N C L E T I\I A T H M E .

informs us that Mumma " come fo' soon." She's
got some work at fifty cents a day, which will help
to pay old Misses for Ned's time. Let us ask
Ned a few questions.

" How old are you, Ned ?"
" Ha ! hah! ! ha-e ! ! ! Why Massa, hard fo1i
tell dat. Spose I's 'bout sixty som 'ow. Old
Miss say 't'ant so by good pile. Lor, Ned know
what Old Miss up to. Can't wuk no how, Massa,
like when I out on old Massa plantation ; old Miss
know dat, ' but no' Icf im gone ; drive old Ned
jus so yet."

" Where do you work, Ned ?"
• *' I stows cotton on de waf; I'ze fus rate at
dat; gets dollar and seven pence a day."

" How much a month do you give old Missis
for your time — clear share ?"

"Why Lor, Massa, dat 'quire some calatin.
WHien old Massa lib' an I cumes down to wuk
ater all done gone on plantation, den I pays old
Massa twenty dollars ebey mont. Old Massa
good old boss ; when Ned did im up right, gin
um dollar now and den !"

" We don't care about that ; we want to know
what you pay now !"

Uncle Tom at Home. 23

" Well, old Massa die — good old soul ; you

now'd him Mass P , dat you did. Den Massa

Genl. Hamilton cum cecutor ob de state ; he no'd
I 'warnt right, an 'e jus make old Miss content
ersef wid sixteen dollars."

^' Do you support your "wife and family with
the balance ?"

" Sartin — must do dat, an old Miss such
straight Christian make Ned gib for'h dollars fo
church ebe year. Old Miss look right sharp fo'
cash. Put em-up in jail once, den send em to wok-
ouse, and give em hinger cus lef wages run pass
one week ! Lor, Massa, Old Ned seen some ard
time in is life — tell you dat. But my old woman
gals got fuss rate friends — help some, old 3Iiss
knoiv dat."

" Ah ! how's that ? What's the difference
between your children and her children ?"

" Whew ! mighty site massa, you know dat.
Doiit take no losopher what own slaves to reckon !"

" How long have you been married, Ned?"

"Massa, jus long nuf 't hab dem tree," point-
ing to the woolly-headed imps who had huddled
into the fire place. " Old woman hab two ' hn(/Jit
gaV fo I marry her !" he continues with emphasis.

24 U N C L E T M A T H M E .

3^es! she was a widow when you married
her : — ****.

" Massa, I sees yes green, 'aint liv souf long no
how. Old Massa know all bout dem gal. He
says gwine to lef 'em free when 'e die ; but
Buchra very unsartin, an 'e don knovr if 'e die
wen he gwine to. Old Miss watch dat an put em
fo'h true. Boff on em be mighty likely gals.''

"Well, Ned, where is Nancy now?"

*' Lor, Massa, you knows ; her friend keep big
store on de Bay (street next the wharves). " Da
'ant no bigger geman den he bout town."

" Did he buy her from old Missis ?"

*' He did dat — gin her nine hundred dollar.
Nancy got right smart boy now, jus as bright as
you is, Massa.''

"Misses always goes to church — does she Ned ?"

" Yah ! yah ! ! yah ! 1 1 she what do dat ; neber
hear church bell ring widout see old Misses gwine."

" Honest Christian I What a pleasure there is
in faith,'' thought we.

"Did she ever sell you, Ned?"

" Old Missis get strange bout two year ater old
Massa die, and sell mo way down Christ Parish
— get right good heap for mc den. But lor, Mas-

Uncle TomatHome« 25

sa, dej work nigger down da anyhow, and don't
gin notin to eat nohow. It aint no way to make
nigger wuk so. No bacon to grese 'e troat wid,
and stick de lash to 'e back so ! I mose dead in
two years, and beg old Miss to buy me back, cos I
warn't wuf much nohow."

" What did they feed you on, Ned, and what were
your Christian principles ?"

" Just what all Massa's gib nigger down yon-
der — peck corn every week — nofin else. Massa
how I gwine to be Christian? No lef em read —
no Church, and Massa Carl say work for sef on
Sunday, get bacon. Massa take 'e dog an go
hunt Sunday. Nigger work 'e own patch for get
bacon and lasses. Mighty few planters what gib
nigger bacon down Christ Parish."

<'Could'nt you steal, Ned?"

"Why, Massa, jes foce to dat— do I warnt
Christian. Buckra man say all nigger steal —
spose I jes' well own him. But Massa, nigger
don't steal wus den Buckra gin him same chance
for nuff to eat. But 'e mighty dangerous business
fo' nigger. We tefe Massa Genl. Quattlebum hog
down swamp one night. Massa Genl. hear de
sarpent squeal, an cum wid 'e gun. Whiz ! ziz ! !

26 Uncle Tom at Home.

ziz ! ! ! de way he shoot 'em wid 'e double barrel
mose kill Jef an rae — den old Massa buck de
whole on us next mornin. Lor, I beg old Miss take

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Online LibraryF. Colburn (Francis Colburn) AdamsUncle Tom at home. A review of the reviewers and repudiators of Uncle Tom's cabin by Mrs. Stowe → online text (page 1 of 7)