« PreviousContinue »
ment. Mr. McKinley was the most popular man between the idle holders of idle capital and the strug. among the Republicans, and everybody three months gling masses, who produce the wealth and pay the ago in the Republican party prophesied his election. taxes of the country, and, my friends, it is simply a How is it to-day? Why, that man who used to boast question that we shall decide, upon which side shall that he looked like Napoleon—that man shudders the Democratic party fight ? to-day when he thinks that he was nominated on the Upon the side of the idle holders of idle capital, anniversary of the battle of Waterloo.
or upon the side of the struggling masses? That is Not only that, but as he listens he can hear with the question that the party must answer first, and ever-increasing distinctness the sound of the waves then it must be answered by each individual here as they beat upon the lonely shores of St. Helena. after. The sympathies of the Democratic party, as
Why this change ? Ah, my friends, is not the described by the platform, are on the side of the change evident to any one who will look at the mat struggling masses, who have ever been the founda ter? It is no private character, however pure, no tion of the Democratic party. personal popularity, however great, that can protect There are two ideas of government. There are from the avenging wrath of an indignant people the those who believe that if you just legislate to make man who will either declare that he is in favor of the well-to do prosperous that their prosperity will fastening the gold standard upon this people, or who leak through on those below. The Democratic idea is willing to surrender the right of self-government has been that if you legislate to make the masses and place legislative control in the hands of foreign prosperous their prosperity will find its way up and potentates and powers.
through every class and rest upon it. We go forth confident that we shall win. Why? You come to us and tell us that the great cities Because upon the paramount issue in this campaign are in favor of the gold standard. I tell you that there is not a spot of ground upon which the enemy the great cities rest upon these broad and fertile will dare to challenge battle. Why, if they tell us prairies. Burn down your cities and leave our farms that the gold standard is a good thing we point to and your cities will spring up again as if by magic. their platform and tell them that their platform But destroy our farms and the grass will grow in pledges the party to get rid of a gold standard and the streets of every city in this country. substitute bimetallism. If the gold standard is a My friends, we shall declare that this nation is good thing why try to get rid of it? If the gold able to legislate for its own people on every question, standard-and I might call your attention to the fact without waiting for the aid or consent of any other that some of the very people who are in this conven. nation on earth--and upon that issue we expect to tion to-day and who tell you that you ought to de carry every single state in this Union. clare in favor of bimetallism, and thereby declare I shall not slander the fair state of Massachusetts that the gold standard is wrong, and that the prin. nor the state of New York by saying that when its ciple of bimetallism is better--these very people four citizens are confronted with the proposition, Is this months ago were open and avowed advocates of the nation able to attend to its own business ?-I will gold standard and telling us that we could not legis not slander either one by saying that the people of late two metals together even with all the world. those states will declare our heipless impotency as a
I want to suggest this truth, that if the gold stand nation to attend to our own business. It is the issue ard is a good thing we ought to declare in favor of of 1776 over again. Our ancestors, when but three its retention and not in favor of abandoning it; and millions, had the courage to declare their political if the gold standard is a bad thing why should we independence of every other nation upon earth. Shall wait until some other nations are willing to help us we, their descendants, when we have grown to to let go ?
seventy millions, declare that we are less independHere is the line of battle. We care not upon which ent than our forefathers ? No, my friends, it will issue they force the fight. We are prepared to meet never be the judgment of this people. Therefore, them on either issue or on both. If they tell us we care not upon what lines the battle is fought. If that the gold standard is the standard of civilization they say bimetallism is good, but we cannot have it we reply to them that this, the most enlightened of till some nation helps us, we reply that, instead all the nations of the earth, has never declared for a of having a gold standard because England has, we gold standard, and both the parties this year are shall restore bimetallism, and then let England declaring against it. If the gold standard is the have bimetallism because the United States has. standard of civilization, why, my friends, should we if they dare to come out and in the open defend not have it? So if they come to meet us on that we the gold standard as a good thing. we shall fight can present the history of our nation. More than them to the uttermost, having behind us the producthat. We can tell them this, that they will search ing masses of this nation and the world. Having the pages of history in vain to find a single instance behind us the commercial interests and the laboring in which the common people of any land have ever interests and all the toiling masses, we shall answer declared themselves in favor of a gold standard. their demands for a gold standard by saying to They can find where the holders of fixed invest them, you shall not press down upon the brow of ments have.
labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify Mr. Carlisle said in 1878 that this was a struggle mankind upon a cross of gold.
'HE greatest of American women, -Harriet call one illustration which had occurred only a few
Beecher Stowe," were the recent words of years previous to their departure from Andover. Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, who would probably stand She had been called to Boston one day on business. next in order for a claim to that superlative title. So Making her preparations hurriedly, she bade the thoroughly have Uncle Tom, Topsy, Eva and Legree household farewell, and rushed to the station, only become ingrained in the material of our home life, to see the train go out as she arrived. There was home thoughts, our everyday quotations and points nothing to do but to return home and wait patiently of view, and so quiet have been the later flickering for the next train ; but wishing not to be disturbed, days of the ardent soul who flamed forth into that she quietly opened a side door and crept noiselessly up mighty tract,—that it requires some conscious read the staircase leading to her own room, sitting down justment of perspective to realize that the life which passed away on July 1 belonged to the most notable woman the new world has produced -and if one were to say the most notable woman whom the cen. tury has produced, it would be difficult to object with specific instances. Mrs. Stowe has spent the last years of her life in Hartford, in a retirement em. phasized by frequent feeble or almost eclipsed men tal conditions. A few days before her death she celebrated her eighty-fifth birthday, for she was born at Litchfield, Conn., in 1811 and not in 1812, as most of the cyclopedias and other authorities have it.
From her earliest childhood she was surrounded by an atmosphere of ethical discussion and moral earnestness that was quick to tako on the reforming zeal. Her father was the Rev. Lyman Beecher, and five of her brothers, besides the famous Henry Ward, were members of the ministry. She was an imaginative and amiable child, who read voraciously of the great classic romances, for which she found time after the demands of such questions as “ Can the immortality of the soul be proved by the light of nature,” which, at the age of twelve, this very young theologue answered in the negative in a school composition. At fifteen she was one of the assistant teachers in the seminary at Hartford, where her sister Catherine was principal.
In 1832, when the Rev. Lyman Beecher became President of Lane Theological Seminary, Harriet went with him to Cincinnati, and four years later became the wife of Professor Stowe. This gentle
HARRIET BEECHER STOWE IK 1853. man had the most marked influence on her work. One year after “Uncle Tom's Cabin was published. He is described as a typical figure of the German professor, and his appearance did not belie him, by her writing table in the window. She had been for in one of her gossipy letters Mrs. Stowe re. seated about half an hour when Professor Stowe proaches him with being in the act of reading came in, looked about him with a preoccupied air. “ Faust” for the “nine hundred and ninety-ninth but did not speak to her. She thought his behavior time" Mrs. Stowe had no special sympathies strange, and amused herself by watching him ; at with these German studies, but he stood with her last the situation became so extraordinary that she for knowledge, exact, certain knowledge ; and she began to laugh. “Why,' he exclaimed, with a most depended on him for those attainments which her astonished air, “is that you ? I thought it was one of burning zeal and sympathetic heart left her little my visions ! energy for. Professor Stowe was not by any means Mrs. Stowe seems to have profited by both the a mere Casaubon. In fact, he was a man who very strength and the weakness of her spouse. In a letter literally saw visions. Mrs. Fields tells a story illus. to the lady who tells this anecdote,, she speaks of trating this peculiar power he possessed of seeing reading one of her just finished stories to the pro. persons who could not be perceived by others; visions fessor, who “knew everything." “ Though one may 80 distinct that it was impossible for him at times think a husband a partial judge, yet mine is so nerto distinguish between the real and unreal. “I re. vous and so afraid of being bored that I feel as if it
were something to hold him; and he likes it,-is quite wakeful, so to speak,about it." Professor Stowe accompanied his wife to their Florida home, which they visited during many winters following 1867,
threatened by rioters who sympathized with the Southerners. Her life-long friend, Dr. Gamaliel Bailey, was the proprietor of an anti-slavery paper in the city on the Ohio, and the mobs did not neglect his office on their rounds. One of her early griefs had been the sale, as part of the assets of a Kentucky estate, of a little colored boy who had been a loved pupil of hers. She had enlisted her sympathies, too, strongly in behalf of one of her family servants, whose husband was a slave, but who would not break his promise to his Southern master when allowed to visit the North, on parole, as it were.
These details of Mrs. Stowe's acquaintance with and interest in matters of slavery agitation are especially referred to because they had a direct and all-powerful effect on the production of her great story, the most famous and widely known book ever written in America and probably the most universally read secular volume that has ever been given to the world. It was in 1850, when Mrs. Stowe and her husband removed to New Brunswick, Me., that her enthusiasm in the cause of abolition rose to fever heat with the fresh agitation of the runaway slave question. A great many good people favoring abolition had considered that whatever might be their private views, the South should be left to work out its own salvation in the matter of the slave. holding custom, but as soon as the Dred Scott case and the Fugitive Slave law had made it obligatory for people outside the limits of slave-holding states to return runaways, the great problem assumed a new aspect. Mrs. Stowe herself in the fierce controversy which took place between Northern and Southern sympathizers over questions of veracity in the scenes described in “Uncle Tom's Cabin," published a “ Key” to the book, which gave chapter and verse for each challenged incident in the story. It is said that she had read an account of the actual escape of a slave woman with her child across the ice in the Ohio river in an anti-slavery magazine. The scene of Uncle Tom's death, in which the pathos and dramatic force of the story arrives at a crisis, came to her mind during the communion service in church in New Brunswick. She went home and im. mediately wrote out the chapter with such effective truth as to capture completely the sympathies of her children. The story was offered to the National Era, an anti-slavery paper of Washington, D. C., published by her old friend Dr. Bailey. It came out in weekly installments, and was enthusiastically received from the first, but, of course, it could have but a limited circulation in that form. It is said that Tichnor & Fields declined to publish the book. A Mr. Jewett finally undertook to launch it. and on March 20, 1852, the story appeared in book form. It immediately attained such a tremendous success as no work of fiction has seen before or since. In a few days 10,000 were sold, and within a year over 300,000 were needed to supply the demand. Eight great presses were kept constantly at work.
Nor was the stupendous popularity of the story at
and preached there in a little church built by the authoress from the proceeds of some readings given in the North from her own works. He died twelve years ago.
In Cincinnati Mrs. Stowe fell also under the influence of events, which, from the standpoint of the world's gain from her, were more important in her life than the marriage. In that city in the years preceding 1850 she became zealously interested in the conditions of slavery which led up to the great crisis of '60. She studied the facts connected with the slave-holding state and the ugly sectional problems they gave rise to, with eagerness and thoroughness. She already took an active part in the anti-slavery agitation, and her Cincinnati house was offered as a refuge for the fugitive slaves until Lane Seminary itself was
all confined to the special interest of the critical faith, and a concentration of interest amounting to moment. It is still read in scores of different lan genius to the task of summing up in this tale all guages. The British Museum contains translations the oppression of a system thoroughly hateful and in twenty distinct tongues, and in each of these evil to her. there are many different versions, for instance, In one sense Mrs. Stowe was not inexperienced. ten in French, nine in German and six in Spanish. She had been writing frequently before the appearIn the short space of eight months twelve different ance of “Uncle Tom's Cabin," and for a generation shilling editions appeared in England and the total after it she continued to produce stories with such number of English editions was forty. Mr. Low regularity as her health would allow. She was, too, of Sampson Low & Co. estimated some years ago that the number circulated in Great Britain and its colonies was a million and a half. For the serial rights of the story Mrs. Stowe received only $300, and she was very well satisfied with that. But within four months after its publication in book form, this quiet little woman, the wife of a country professor, found her royalties yielding $10,000.
Many other quotations of figures could be made illustrating the unexampled avidity with which this story was read by all classes of society in nearly every part of the world. A different sort of tribute to the power of its simple pathos, its charming characterization, effective grouping and noble sincerity is shown in the famous people who at once hastened to array themselves under the banner of Mrs. Stowe's friendship. Charles Kingsley, George Sand, Frederica Bremer, George Eliot, Charles Dickens, Macaulay and many other people were proud to know the author of “Uncle Tom's Cabin.” The last named wrote to her in 1856 : “I have just returned from Italy, where your name seems to throw that of all other writers in the shade. There is no place where Uncle Tom (transformed into Il Zil Tom) is not to be found. “When the little Yankee woman went to Europe in 1853 she was greeted with one continuous ovation. Each town visited devoted itself to the task of giving her the handsomest reception in its power, and the best and least accessible houses of English society were thrown open to her. Ever since, one of the noticeable features of the pretty little Hartford home has been a bracelet made to simulate the shackles of a slave, certain of the links bearing the dates of the British abolition of the slave trade in the West
MRS. STOWE IN 1870. Indies. This was presented to Mrs. Stowe by the Duchess of Sutherland, and the remaining links a woman of culture and breadth. When this is said, have been successively adorned with the dates which however, it remains true that her literary work, made the landınarks in American emancipation. whether in the masterpieco or in the much less
In a very unique degree the factors of heredity, significant publications, was not formed at all from of environment and of opportunity, upon which any conscientious or coinprehensive study of the M. Taine lays so much stress in the determination best models, nor was the style of “Uncle Tom's of literary achievennents, are apparent and em. Cabin” or any of her stories by any means irrephatic in the creation of Mrs. Stowe's masterpiece. proachable. She read largely, but so chiefly for The Puritan blood and home, the clerical family, the ideas embodied, that little attention was left for the atmosphere of evangelical thought and discus the art of style. sion, the imminence of the huge wrong of slavery, The best commentary on those not infrequent the opportunity of a practically unworked field, and criticisms of “Uncle Tom's Cabin ” which question a race of creatures almost as new to literature as were its literary art, is found in the words of George Cooper's Indians,-gave this modest, inexperienced, Sand, who said: "If its judges, possessed with the retiring woman of forty her equipment. All these, love of what they call artistic work, find unskillful however, would have been as naught if she had not treatment in the book, look well at them to see if brought a tender and sympathetic heart, a mighty their eyes are dry when they are reading this or that
chapter. I cannot say that Mrs. Stowe has talent as should be in the first place, as a noble tract,-not one understands it in the world of letters, but she
only is the question of its æsthetic value answered, has genius, as the world manifestly feels the need but also the still more disturbing query concerning of genius; the genius of goodness, not that of the the fairness of its attitude toward the South and world of letters, but of the saint."
the slave holders. If one were to judge it as a novel, Mrs. Stowe was always the first to deny that the aiming above all to reflect truly the typical slave great triumph of the book came as a result of its life of the Southern states and give a universal literary art. Indeed, she went further, and with picture of plantation scenes, one would be forced almost mystical literalness insisted that she herself
to side at many points with the objections of offended was not the author of the story, but that it was im Southerners. And Mrs. Stowe's Key” would posed upon her. In her introduction to the illus
have but little final value in any defense of the trated edition she says: “The story might less be realism of the novel. But taking it in its true sigsaid to have been composed by her than iinposed nificance and purposes as the splendid sermon of a
The book insisted upon getting itself zealous preacher, a magnificent appeal to the hearts into being and would take no denial.” Mrs. Annie of the world against such monstrous results of Fields tells a story which shows how this idea slavery as have undeniably characterized every slave. maintained its force with Mrs. Stowe even when holding community, it would be difficult to call it almost all other ideas had left the poor tired brain. unjust. From Mrs. Stowe's point of view, the “ The sense that a great work had been accom institution of slavery was as weak as its weakest plished through her only made her more humble, point, and the Southerners are one in admitting that and her shy, absent-minded ways were continually she described neither the best nor the worst of the throwing her admirers into confusion. Late in life slave-holders in the character of Legree. (when her failing powers made it impossible for her Mrs. Stowe produced a great quantity of writing to speak as one living in a world which she seemed
of a very varied character during her forty years of to have left far behind) she was accosted, I was literary activity. There is no single fragment which told, in the garden of her country retreat, in the intrinsically deserves mention beside her mastertwilight one evening, by a good old retired sea piece. Yet, as an observer of the quiet village captain who was her neighbor for the time. “When
characters, the homely scenes, the meagre social I was younger,' said he respectfully, holding his hat
atmosphere, and the mild humor of such Down East in his hand while he spoke, 'I read with a great deal communities as she was thoroughly familiar with, of satisfaction and instruction “'Uncle Tom's Cabin.":
she was a very worthy and significant forerunner of The story impressed me very much, and I am happy the school of writers of whom to-day Miss Wilkins to shake hands with you, Mrs. Stowe, who wrote is a chief exponent. “Old Town Folks is probably it.' 'I did not write it,' answered the white-haired
the most pleasant of the books of this class; “ The old lady gently, as she shook the captain's hand. Minister's Wooing” has,power and such great pathos *You didn't ?'he ejaculated in amazement. “Why, which one would expect of the author of “Uncle who did, then ?' 'God wrote it,' she replied sim. Tom's Cabin." More nearly along the lines of the ply. 'I merely did His dictation.' 'Amen,' said the greater story is the effort which followed it in 1866– captain reverently, as he walked thoughtfully away. “Dred," a tale of the Dismal Swamp. These three
It was this zeal of the inissionary and the prophet volumes are clearly Mrs. Stowe's best works, after which clearly inspired the work,
-a spirit which we “ Uncle Tom's Cabin." There are numbers of have attempted to account for by explaining the children's stories, a volume of religious verse, facts of Mrs. Stowe's parentage, surroundings and another of ethical essays, some very worthy “ House training This preacher spirit was indeed strong and Home Papers" published in the Atlantic, within her. Mrs. Fields says that the authoress biographical essays entitled “Men of Our Time," found it necessary to spur herself up before the sec and a small group of novels which were busied with ond of the readings from her own works, for in the a well meaning attempt on the bettering of social first she had not been able to hold her audience
Perhaps a more acute judgment than the as she wished. She called me into her bedroom, writer's might ascribe a greater comparative dewhere we stood before the mirror, with her short gree of merit to these scattered writings. Certain gray hair, which usually lay in soft curls around it is that if they were measured by their success, her brow, brushed erect and standing stimy. “Look greater praise should be due them. So late as 1870 a here, my dear,' she said; 'I am exactly like my story from Mrs. Stowe's pen, “Little Pussy Willow,” father, Dr. Lyman Beecher, when he was going to began with an edition of 20,000, an almost unheard. preach.' And she held up her finger warningly. An of figure in the publishing business. hour later, when I sat in the ante-room waiting for The three pictures of Mrs. Stowe published here the moment of her appearance to arrive, I could show her in her most attractive moods at three widely feel the power surging up within her; I knew she separated periods of her life. She was blessed with was armed for a good fight."
a very wir ing personality, and was a charming When “Uncle Tom's Cabin" is considered as it talker.