Harriet Beecher Stowe.

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LIFE OF



HARRIET BEECHER STOWE



COMPILED FROM



i^cr Letters anD Sloimtate



BY HER SON

CHARLES EDWARD STOWE







BOSTON AND NEW YORK

HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY

<2T&e tfiti£r£i&e pregs, <JTambriDge

1891




1889,

Bi CUAKLES E. STOWE.



All rights reserved.



The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mass., U. S. A.
Electrotyped and Printed by II. 0. Houghton & Co.



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INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT.



I desire to express my thanks here to Harper &
Brothers, of New York, for permission to use letters
already published in the " Autobiography and Corre-
spondence of Lyman Beecher." I have availed myself
freely of this permission in chapters i. and iii. In
chapter xx. I have given letters already published in
the "Life of George Eliot," by Mr. Cross; but in
every instance I have copied from the original MSS.
and not from the published work. In conclusion, I
desire to express my indebtedness to Mr. Kirk Mun-
roe, who has been my co-laborer in the work of com-
pilation.

CHARLES E. STOWE.

Hartford, September 30, 1889.



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I.

CHILDHOOD 1811-1824.

Death of her Mother. — First Journey from Home. — Life
at Nut Plains. — School Days and Hours with Favorite
Authors. — The New Mother. — Litchfield Academy and
its Influence. — First Literary Efforts. — A Remarkable
Composition. — Goes to Hartford 1

CHAPTER II.
SCHOOL DAYS IN HARTFORD, 1824-1832.

Miss Catherine Beecher. — Professor Fisher. — The Wreck
of the Albion and Death of Professor Fisher. — " The
Minister's Wooing." — Miss Catherine Beecher's Spirit-
ual History. — Mrs. Stowe's Recollections of her School
Days in Hartford. — Her Conversion. — Unites with the
First Church in Hartford. — Her Doubts and Subsequent
Religious Development. — Her Final Peace . . .22

CHAPTER III.

CINCINNATI, 1832-1836.

Dr. Beecher called to Cincinnati. — The Westward Jour-
ney. — First Letter from Home. — Description of Wal-
nut Hills. — Starting a New School. — Inward Glimpses.

— The Semi-Colon Club. — Early Impressions of Slavery.

— A Journey to the East. — Thoughts aroused by First
Visit to Niagara. — Marriage to Professor Stowe . . 53



VI CONTENTS.

CHAPTER IV.

EARLY MARRIED LIFE, 1836-1840.

Professor Stowe's Interest in Popular Education. — His
Departure for Europe. — Slavery Riots in Cincinnati. —
Birth of Twin Daughters. — Professor Stowe's Return
and Visit to Columbus. — Domestic Trials. — Aiding a
Fugitive Slave. — Authorship under Difficulties. — A
Beecher Round Robin 78

CHAPTER V.

POVERTY AND SICKNESS, 1840-1850.

Famine in Cincinnati. — Summer at the East. — Plans for
Literary Work. — Experience on a Railroad. — Death of
her Brother George. — Sickness and Despair. — A Jour-
ney in Search of Health. — Goes to Brattleboro' Wa-
ter-cure. — Troubles at Lane Seminary. — Cholera in Cin-
cinnati. — Death of Youngest Child. — Determined to
leave the West 100

CHAPTER VI.

REMOVAL TO BRUNSWICK, 1850-1852.

Mrs. Stowe's Remarks on Writing and Understanding Bi-
ography. — Their Appropriateness to her own Biography.

— Reasons for Professor Stowe's leaving Cincinnati. —
Mrs. Stowe's Journey to Brooklyn. — Her Brother's Suc-
cess as a Minister. — Letters from Hartford and Bos-
ton. — Arrives in Brunswick. — History of the Slavery
Agitation. — Practical Working of the Fugitive Slave
Law. — Mrs. Edward Beecher's Letter to Mrs. Stowe and
its Effect. — Domestic Trials. — Begins to write "Uncle
Tom's Cabin " as a Serial for the " National Era." — Let-
ter to Frederick Douglass. — " Uncle Tom's Cabin " a
Work of Religious Emotion 126

• CHAPTER VII.

UNCLE TOM'S CABIN, 1852.

"Uncle Tom's Cabin" as a Serial in the "National Era."

— An Offer for its Publication in Book Form. — Will it



CONTENTS. vii

be a Success ? — An Unprecedented Circulation. — Con-
gratulatory Messages. — Kind Words from Abroad. —
Mrs. Stowe to the Earl of Carlisle. — Letters from and
to Lord Shaftesbury. — Correspondence with Arthur
Helps 156

CHAPTER VIII.

FIRST TRIP TO EUROPE, 1853.

The Edmondsons. — Buying Slaves to set them Free. — Jenny
Lind. — Professor Stowe is called to Andqver. — Fitting
up the New Home. — The " Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin." —
"Uncle To m" Abroad. — How it was Publish ed in Eng-
land. — Preface to the European Edition. — The~Book in
France. — In Germany. — A Greeting from Charles Kings-
ley. — Preparing to visit Scotland. — Letter to Mrs. Pol-
len 178

CHAPTER IX.

SUNNY MEMORIES, 1853.

Crossing the Atlantic. — Arrival in England. — Reception
in Liverpool. — Welcome to Scotland. — A Glasgow Tea-
Party. — Edinburgh Hospitality. — Aberdeen. — Dundee
and Birmingham. — Joseph Sturge. — Elihu Burritt. — Lon-
don. — The Lord Mayor's Dinner. — Charles Dickens and
his Wife 205

CHAPTER X.

FROM OVER THE SEA, 1853.

The Earl of Carlisle — Arthur Helps. — The Duke and
Duchess of Argyll. — Martin Farquhar Tupper. — A Mem-
orable Meeting at Stafford House. — Macaulay and Dean
Milman. — Windsor Castle. — Professor Stowe returns to
America. — Mrs. Stowe on the Continent. — Impressions of
Paris. — En Route to Switzerland and Germany. — Back
to England. — Homeward Bound 228

CHAPTER XL

HOME AGAIN, 1853-1856.

Anti-Slavery Work. — Stirring Times in the United States.
— Address to the Ladies of Glasgow. — Appeal to the



viii CONTEXTS.

Women of America. — Correspondence with William Lloyd
Garrison. — Tin: Writing of " Dred." — Farewell Letter

FROM GEORGIANA MAY. — SECOND VOYAGE TO ENGLAND . . 250

CHAPTER XII.

DRED, 1856.

Second Visit to England. — A Glimpse at the Queen. — The
Duke of Argyll and Inverary. — Early Correspondence
with Lady Byron. — Dunrobin Castle and its Inmates. — A
Visit to Stoke Park. — Lord Dufferin. — Charles Kings-
ley at Home. — Paris Revisited. — Madame Mohl's Recep-
tions 270

CHAPTER XIII.

OLD SCENES REVISITED, 1856.

En Route to Rome. — Trials of Travel. — A Midnight Arri-
val and an Inhospitable Reception. — Glories of the
Eternal City. — Naples and Vesuvius. — Venice. — Holy
Week in Rome. — Return to England. — Letter from Har-
riet Martineau on " Dred." — A Word from Mr. Prescott
on "Dred." — Farewell to Lady Byron .... 294

CHAPTER XIV.

THE MINISTER'S WOOING, 1857-1859.

Death of Mrs. Stowe's Oldest Son. — Letter to the Duchess
of Sutherland. — Letter to her Daughters in Paris. —
Letter to her Sister Catherine. — Visit to Brunswick and
Orr's Island. — Writes " The Minister's Wooing " and
"The Pearl of Orr's Island." — Mr. Whittier's Comments.
— Mr. Lowell on "The Minister's Wooing." — Letter to
Mrs. Stowe from Mr. Lowell. — John Ruskin on " The Min-
ister's Wooing." — A Year of Sadness. — Letter to Lady
Byron. — Letter to her Daughter. — Departure for Eu-
rope 31j

CHAPTER XV.

THE THIRD TRIP TO EUROPE, 1859.

Third Visit to Europe. — Lady Byron on " The Minister's
Wooing." — Some Foreign People and Things as they Ap-
peared to Professor Stowe. — A Winter in Italy. — Things



CONTENTS. ix

Unseen and Unrevealed. — Speculations concerning Spir-
itualism. — John Ruskin. — Mrs. Browning. — The Return
to America. — Letters to Dr. Holmes 343

CHAPTER XVI.

THE CIVIL WAR, 1860-1865.

The Outbreak of Civil War. — Mrs. Stowe's Son enlists. —
Thanksgiving Day in Washington. — The Proclamation of
Emancipation. — Rejoicings in Boston. — Fred Stowe at
Gettysburg. — Leaving Andover and Settling in Hart-
ford. — A Reply to the Women of England. — Letters
from John Bright, Archbishop Whately, and Nathaniel
Hawthorne 363

CHAPTER XVII.

FLORIDA, 1865-1869.

Letter to Duchess of Argyll. — Mrs. Stowe desires to have
a Home at the South. — Florida the best Field for Doing
Good. — She Buys a Place at Mandarin. — A Charming
Winter Residence. — "Palmetto Leaves." — Easter Sun-
day at Mandarin. — Correspondence with Dr. Holmes. —
" Poganuc People." — Receptions in New Orleans and
Tallahassee. — Last Winter at Mandarin .... 395

CHAPTER XVIII.

OLDTOWN FOLKS, 1869.

Professor Stowe the Original of "Harry" in " Oldtown
Folks." — Professor Stowe's Letter to George Eliot. —
Her Remarks on the Same. — Professor Stowe's Narra-
tive of his Youthful Adventures in the World of Spir-
its. — Professor Stowe's Influence on Mrs. Stowe's Lit-
erary Life. — George Eliot on " Oldtown Folks " . . 419

CHAPTER XIX.

THE BYRON CONTROVERSY, 1869-1870.

Mrs. Stowe's Statement of her own Case. — The Circum-
stances UNDER WHICH SHE FIRST MET LADY BYRON. — LET-
TERS to Lady Byron. — Letter to Dr. Holmes when about
to publish " The True Story of Lady Byron's Life " in
the " Atlantic." — Dr. Holmes's Reply. — The Conclusion
of the Matter 445



x CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XX.

GEORGE ELIOT.

Correspondence with George Eliot. — George Eliot's
First Impressions of Mrs. Stowe. — Mrs. Stowe's Letter
to Mrs. Follen. — George Eliot's Letter to Mrs.
Stowe. — Mrs. Stowe's Reply. — Life in Florida. — Rob-
ert Dale Owen and Modern Spiritualism. — George
Eliot's Letter on the Phenomena of Spiritualism. — Mrs.
Stowe's Description of Scenery in Florida. — Mrs. Stowe

CONCERNING " MlDDLEMARCH." — GEORGE ElTOT TO MRS.

Stowe during Rev. H. W. Beecher's Trial. — Mrs. Stowe
concerning her llfe experience with her brother, h. w.
Beecher, and his Trial. — Mrs. Lewes' Last Letter to
Mrs. Stowe. — Diverse Mental Characteristics of these
Two Women. — Mrs. Stowe's Final Estimate of Modern
Spiritualism 459

CHAPTER XXL

CLOSING SCENES, 1870-1889.

Literary Labors. — Complete List of Published Books. —
First Reading Tour. — Peeps Behind the Curtain. — Some
New England Cities. — A Letter from Maine. — Pleasant
and Unpleasant Readings. — Second Tour. — A Western
Journey. — Visit to Old Scenes. — Celebration of Seven-
tieth Birthday. — Congratulatory Poems from Mr.
Whittier and Dr. Holmes. — Last Words .... 489




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



PAGE

Portrait of Mrs. Stowe. From a crayon by Richmond, made in

England in 1853 ....... Frontispiece

Silver Inkstand presented to Mrs. Stowe by her English

Admirers in 1853 ........ xi

Portrait of Mrs. Stowe's Grandmother, Roxanna Foote.

From a miniature painted on ivory by her daughter, Mrs.

Lyman Beecher ......... 6

Birthplace at Litchfield, Conn.* 10

Portrait of Catherine E. Beecher. From a photograph taken

in 1875 30

The Home at Walnut Hills, Cincinnati* . . . .56
Portrait of Henry Ward Beecher. From a photograph by

Rockwood, in 1884 130

Manuscript Page of " Uncle Tom's Cabin " (fac-simile) . 1G0

The Andover Home. From a painting by F. Rondel, in 1800,

owned by Mrs. H. F. Allen 180

* From recent photographs and from views in the Autobiography of Lyman Beecher, pub-
lished by Messrs. Harper & Brothers.



Xll



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



Portrait of Lyman Beecher, at the Age of Eighty-Seven.

From a painting owned by the Boston Congregational Club . 264

Portrait ok the Duchess ok Sutherland. From an engraving

presented to Mrs. Stowe 318

The Old Home at Hartford . 374

The Home at Mandarin, Florida 402

Portrait of Calvin Ellis Stowe. From a photograph taken in

1882 422

Portrait of Mrs. Stowe. From a photograph by Ritz and Hast-
ings, in 1884 470

The Later Hartford Home .... . 508



LIFE AND LETTERS



OF



HARRIET BEECHER STOWE.



CHAPTER I.

CHILDHOOD, 1811-1824.

Death of her Mother. — First Journey from Home. — Life at
Not Plains. — School Days and Hours with Favorite Au-
thors. — The New Mother. — Litchfield Academy and it-
Influence. — First Literary Efforts. — A Remarkable Com-
position. — Goes to Hartford.

Harriet Beecher (Stowej was born June 11,
1811, in the characteristic New England town of Litch-
field, Conn. Her father was the Rev. Dr. Lyman
Beecher, a distinguished Calvinistic divine, her mother
Roxanna Foote, his first wife. The little new-comer
was ushered into a household of happy, healthy chil-
dren, and found five brothers and sisters awaiting her.
The eldest was Catherine, born September 6, 1800.
Following her were two sturdy boys, William and Ed-
ward ; then came Mary, then George, and at last Har-
riet. Another little Harriet born three years before
had died when only one month old, and the fourth
daughter was named, in memory of this sister, Harriet
Elizabeth Beecher. Just two years after Harriet was
born, in the same month, another brother, Henry Ward,



Z CHILDHOOD.

was welcomed to the family circle, and after him came
Charles, the last of Roxanna Beecher's children.

The first memorable incident of Harriet's life was the
death of her mother, which occurred when she was four
years old, and which ever afterwards remained with
her as the tenderest, saddest, and most sacred memory
of her childhood. Mrs. Stowe's recollections of her
mother are found in a letter to her brother Charles, af-
terwards published in the " Autobiography and Corre-
spondence of Lyman Beecher." She says : —

" I was between three and four years of age when
our mother died, and my personal recollections of her
are therefore but few. But the deep interest and
veneration that she inspired in all who knew her were
such that during all my childhood I was constantly
hearing her spoken of, and from one friend or another
some incident or anecdote of her life was constantly
being impressed upon me.

" Mother was one of those strong, restful, yet widely
sympathetic natures in whom all around seemed to find
comfort and repose. The communion between her and
my father was a peculiar one. It was an intimacy
throughout the whole range of their being. There
was no human mind in whose decisions he had greater
confidence. Both intellectually and morally he re-
garded her as the better and stronger portion of him-
self, and I remember hearing him say that after her
death his first sensation was a sort of terror, like that
of a child suddenly shut out alone in the dark.

" In my own childhood only two incidents of my
mother twinkle like rays through the darkness. One
was of our all running and dancing out before her



HER MOTHER. 6

from the nursery to the sitting-room one Sabbath morn-
ing, and her pleasant voice saying after us, ' Remember
the Sabbath clay to keep it holy, children.'

" Another remembrance is this : mother was an en-
thusiastic horticulturist in all the small ways that lim-
ited means allowed. Her brother John in New York
had just sent her a small parcel of fine tulip-bulbs.
I remember rummaging these out of an obscure corner
of the nursery one day when she was gone out, and •
being strongly seized with the idea that they were good
to eat, using all the little English I then possessed to
persuade my brothers that these were onions such as
grown people ate and would be very nice for us. So
we fell to and devoured the whole, and I recollect being
somewhat disappointed in the odd sweetish taste, and
thinking that onions were not so nice as I had supposed.
Then mother's serene face appeared at the nursery door
and we all ran towards her, telling with one voice of
our discovery and achievement. We had found a bag
of onions and had eaten them all up.

" Also I remember that there was not even a mo-
mentary expression of impatience, but that she sat down
and said, ' My dear children, what you have clone
makes mamma very sorry. Those were not onions but
roots of beautiful flowers, and if you had let them
alone we should have next summer in the garden great
beautiful red and yellow flowers such as you never saw.'
I remember how drooping and dispirited we all grew
at this picture, and how sadly we regarded the empty
paper bag.

" Then I have a recollection of her reading aloud to
the children Miss Edge worth's ' Frank,' which had just



4 CHILDHOOD.

come out, I believe, and was exciting a good deal of
attention among the educational circles of Litchfield.
After that came a time when every one said she was
sick, and I used to be permitted to go once a day into
her room, where she sat bolstered up in bed. I have a
vision of a very fair face with a bright red spot on each
cheek and her quiet smile. I remember dreaming one
night that mamma had got well, . and of waking with
*loud transports of joy that were hushed down by some
one who came into the room. My dream was indeed a
true one. She was forever well.

" Then came the funeral. Henry was too little to
go. I can see his golden curls and little black frock
as he frolicked in the sun like a kitten, full of ignorant

" I recollect the mourning dresses, the tears of the
older children, the walking to the burial-ground, and
somebody's speaking at the grave. Then all was closed,
and we little ones, to whom it was so confused, asked
where, she was gone and would she never come back.

" They told us at one time that she had been laid in
the ground, and at another that she had gone to heaven.
Thereupon Henry, putting the two things together, re-
solved to dig through the ground and go to heaven to
find her ; for being discovered under sister Catherine's
window one morning digging with great zeal and ear-
nestness, she called to him to know what he was doing.
Lifting his curly head, he answered with great sim-
plicity, i Why, I 'm going to heaven to find mamma.'

" Although our mother's bodily presence thus disap-
peared from our circle, I think her memory and example
had more influence in moulding her family, in deterring



AUNT HARRIET FOOTE. 5

from evil and exciting to good, than the living presence
of many mothers. It was a memory that met us every-
where, for every person in the town, from the highest
to the lowest, seemed to have been so impressed by her
character and life that they constantly reflected some
portion of it back upon us.

" The passage in ' Uncle Tom ' where Augustine St.
Clare describes his mother's influence is a simple repro-
duction of my own mother's influence as it has always
been felt in her family."

Of his deceased wife Dr. Beecher said : " Few women
have attained to more remarkable piety. Her faith was
strong and her prayer prevailing. It was her wish that
all her sons should devote themselves to the ministry,
and to it she consecrated them with fervent prayer.
Her prayers have been heard. All her sons have been
converted and are now, according to her wish, min-
isters of Christ."

Such was Roxanna Beecher, whose influence upon
her four-year-old daughter was strong enough to mould
the whole after-life of the author of " Uncle Tom's
Cabin." After the mother's death the Litchfield home
was such a sad, lonely place for the child that her aunt,
Harriet Foote, took her away for a long visit at her
grandmother's at Nut Plains, near Guilford, Conn., the
first journey from home the little one had ever made.
Of this visit Mrs. Stowe herself says : —

" Among my earliest recollections are those of a visit
to Nut Plains immediately after my mother's death.
Aunt Harriet Foote, who was with mother during all
her last sickness, took me home to stay with her. At
the close of what seemed to me a long day's ride we



b CHILDHOOD.

arrived after dark at a lonely little white farmhouse,
and were ushered into a large parlor where a cheerful
wood tire was crackling. I was placed in the arms of
an old lady, who held me close and wept silently, a
thing- at which I marveled, for my great loss was al-
ready faded from my childish mind.

" I remember being put to bed by my aunt in a large
room, on one side of which stood the bed appropriated
to her and me, and on the other that of my grand-
mother. My aunt IJarriet was no common character.
A more energetic human being never undertook the
education of a child. Her ideas of education were
those of a vigorous English woman of the old school.
She believed in the Church, and had she been born
under that regime would have believed in the king
stoutly, although being of the generation following the
Revolution she was a not less stanch supporter of the
Declaration of Independence.

" According" to her views little girls were to be taught
to move very gently, to speak softly and prettily, to say
6 yes ma'am,' and ' no ma'am,' never to tear their clothes,
to sew, to knit at regular hours, to go to church on
Sunday and make all the responses, and to come home
and be catechised.

" During these catechisings she used to place my
little cousin Mary and myself bolt upright at her knee,
while black Dinah and Harry, the bound boy, were
ranged at a respectful distance behind us ; for Aunt
Harriet always impressed it upon her servants ' to order
themselves lowly and reverently to all their betters,' a
portion of the Church catechism that always pleased
me, particularly when applied to them, as it insured




%if




'/'//' I >/////// . //"/'//'.



HOURS WITH THE CATECHISM. 7

tlieir calling me ' Miss Harriet,' and treating me frith a
degree of consideration such as I never enjoyed in the
more democratic circle at home. I became proficient
in the Church catechism, and gave my aunt great satis-
faction by the old-fashioned gravity and steadiness with
which I learned to repeat it.

" As my father was a Congregational minister, I be-
lieve Aunt Harriet, though the highest of High Church
women, felt some scruples as to whether it was desirable
that my religious education should be entirely out of
the sphere of my birth. Therefore when this cate-
chetical exercise was finished she would say, ' Now,
niece, you have to learn another catechism, because
your father is a Presbyterian minister,' — and then she
would endeavor to make me commit to memory the As-
sembly catechism.

" At this lengthening of exercise I secretly mur-
mured. I was rather pleased at the first question in
the Church catechism, which is certainly quite on the
level of any child's understanding, — ' What is your
name ? ' It was such an easy good start, I could say
it so loud and clear, and I was accustomed to compare
it with the first question in the Primer, ' What is the
chief end of man ? ' as vastly more difficult for me to
answer. In fact, between my aunt's secret unbelief
and my own childish impatience of too much catechism,
the matter was indefinitely postponed after a few inef-
fectual attempts, and I was overjoyed to hear her an-
nounce privately to grandmother that she thought it
would be time enough for Harriet to learn the Presby-
terian catechism when she went home."

Mingled with this superabundance of catechism and



8 CHILDHOOD.

plentiful needlework the child was treated to copious
extracts from Lowth's Isaiah, Buchanan's Researches
in Asia, Bishop Heber's Life, and Dr. Johnson's Works,
which, after her Bible and Prayer Book, were her
grandmother's favorite reading*. Harriet does not seem
to have fully appreciated these ; but she did enjoy her
grandmother's comments upon their biblical readings.
Among the Evangelists especially was the old lady per-
fectly at home, and her idea of each of the apostles was
so distinct and dramatic that she spoke of them as of
familiar acquaintances. She would, for instance, always
smile indulgently at Peter's remarks and say, " There
he is again, now ; that 's just like Peter. He 's always
so ready to put in."

It must have been during this winter spent at Nut
Plains, amid such surroundings, that Harriet began
committing to memory that wonderful assortment of
hymns, poems, and scriptural passages from which in
after years she quoted so readily and effectively, for
her sister Catherine, in writing of her the following
November, says : —

" Harriet is a very good girl. She has been to school
all this summer, and has learned to read very fluently.
She has committed to memory twenty-seven hymns and
two long chapters in the Bible. She has a remarkably
retentive memory and will make a very good scholar."

At this time the child was five years old, and a regu-
lar attendant at " Ma'am Kilbourne's " school on West
Street, to which she walked every day hand in hand
with her chubby, rosy-faced, bare-footed, four-year-old
brother, Henry Ward. With the ability to read ger-
minated the intense literary longing that was to be hers



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