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HARRIET BEECHER STOWE.

We have no new information to communicate to the reader respecting the history of Mrs. Stowe, neither do we hope to make any profound criticisms upon her remarkable volume, and yet we cannot, in such a series of sketches as this, wholly pass her by. And so, though hundreds, here and in Europe, have written about her, praised her, blamed her, criticised her great work with acuteness, we will venture to make her the subject of an article.

Mrs. Stowe was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, and is a little more than forty years of age. She received an excellent education and a great deal of energy of character from her parents. They removed to Boston when she was young, and there she enjoyed very superior advantages in the pursuit of knowledge. She commenced her career of usefulness as an assistant teacher in the female school of an elder sister in Boston. Her father subsequently went to the west, to preside over Lane Seminary, and Mrs. Stowe, with her sister, went to Cincinnati, where they opened a school for the education of young ladies. Lane Seminary is near Cincinnati, and in the

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course of a few years, which were devoted to teaching, Harriet Beecher was sought and won by Calvin E. Stowe, professor of biblical literature in the seminary, and one of the most accomplished scholars in the country. The married couple took up their residence in one of the buildings connected with the seminary, and devoted to the use of the professors. For a long term of years this was the home of Mr. and Mrs. Stowe. It is not necessary for us to give a history of the anti-slavery excitement which at one time threatened to ruin Lane Seminary. It is well known that Cincinnati was for a long time the theater of violent agitation upon the question of negro slavery. In and around it the bitterest, the most unprincipled enemies of anti-slavery doctrines livedand also the warmest and most courageous advocates of liberty for all men. For years, to be an abolitionist in Cincinnati, was to be scorned, hissed at, and threatened with death. Mob law set aside the constitution, and screamed out threats of vengeance upon meek, Christ-like men, who, with a courage exceedingly rare at this day, asserted the truth, that “all men should be free.” Anti-slavery presses were destroyed again and again, and the buildings of Lane Seminary were often in imminent danger of being destroyed, because of the anti-slavery reputation of its scholars and professors. Mrs. Stowe could not well fail to see the inherent wickedness of an institu

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tion which could only be defended by drunken mobs with brick-bats and tar and feathers.

The diabolical persecution of the abolitionists won them many warm friends, and sympathy for their principles grew rapidly in thousands of hearts. Situated as Cincinnati is, the friends of the slave in its vicinity soon found that they could show their love for him in a more excellent way than by talking. Poor fugitives from oppression were constantly crossing the Ohio river, and the abolitionists banded together and built an “underground railroad” to Canada. Mrs. Stowe could not, if she had wished, escape from a knowledge of the negro character. She was often appealed to by some weary, half-starved, lashed, slave-mother for food and shelter. She saw time after time the shy, painful look of the fugitivem. witnessed his joy at escape, or his sorrow at the thought of loved ones left behind in bondage. In the course of many years she gained, not only a knowledge of negro character, but of the terrible atrocities which are perpetrated upon slaves by brutal masters. She also had opportunities for knowing the character of slave-holders and slave-catchers, for hundreds of them were at any time to be found and met in Cincinnati. There are many who wonder how Mrs. Stowe could gain the knowledge of negro character, and of the character of men like Tom Loker and Mr. Shelby, so abundantly displayed in her

story. We certainly cannot be surprised that an exceedingly observing woman, after a residence of fifteen or twenty years in a city commanding the trade of slave states, and through which thousands of slaves escaped during that time, should learn the character of the slaves and their owners and catchers. Besides, Mrs. Stowe made several visits into the neighboring slave states, and became acquainted with slave-masters and mistresses—had opportunities to see the peculiar institution at home, and its effects upon society. For years she calmed her fervid spirit, and kept to herself her thoughts upon the great iniquity. But the tears of the panting fugitive, the thrilling stories of hair-breadth escapes, were never forgotten by her; they were all in her heart. At length with her husband she returned to the east.

The congress of the United States saw fit, at the bidding of the slave-power, to make every man in the free states a slave-catcher. The scenes which followed the enactment of that terrible law caused the story of Uncle Tom's Cabin to be written. Night after night Mrs. Stowe wept bitter tears over them, and. she resolved to write a story of slavery : the world knows the rest.

Of Mrs. Stowe's personal appearance we have little to say. We think no one could mistake her for an ordinary woman. There is a look of conscious power in her face. There is strength of character

expressed in it. She is not a beautiful womnan, and yet her eyes are not often surpassed in beauty. They are dark and dreamy, and look as if some sorrowful scene ever haunted her brain. In dress she is very plain and homely; in manners gentle, without a particle of false gentility.

Previous to commencing in the National Era her great story of Uncle Tom, Mrs. Stowe had written comparatively brief sketches and tales, which were gathered into a little volume entitled “The Mayflower,” a quaint and exceedingly appropriate name. Those who have read the little book could not have been surprised when they read her subsequent and more popular volume. For, though the brevity of the little stories and sketches in the earlier volume precluded the possibility of eminent success in the portraiture of individuals, or of great popularity for the book, yet they were executed with wonderful skill. To us, after a fresh reading of the volume, with our eyes yet wet with tears of sympathy, and our sides not yet done aching with laughter, Uncle Tom seems no marvelous advance upon the Mayflower. The one was fragmentary—the other whole, complete. There are passages in the first, almost or quite equal to anything in the last. There are stories, though short, which are told most admirably. In them we see Mrs. Stowe's wonderful skill at sketching character. She describes the old Puritan in such a vivid style,

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