Quotes from “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”

By | September 14, 2005

(St. Clare talking about northerner’s feelings towards blacks)
“You would think no harm in caressing a large dog, even if he was black, but a creature that can think, and reason, and feel, and is immortal, you shudder at; confess it cousin. I know the feeling among some of you northerns well enough. Not that there is a particle of virtue in our not having it; but custom with us does what Christianity ought to do,—obliterates the feeling of personal prejudice. I have often noticed, in my travels north, how much stronger this was with you than with us. You loathe them as you would a snake or a toad, yet you are indignant at their wrongs. You would not have them abused; but you don’t want to have anything to do with them yourselves. You would send them to Africa, out of your sight and smell, and then send a missionary or two to so up all the self-denial of elevating them compendiously.” (Uncle Tom’s Cabin, p.154)

(St. Clare in a conversation where it’s been suggested that the bible supports slavery.)
“If I was to say anything on this slavery matter, I would say out, fair and square, ‘We’re in for it; we’ve got ’em, and mean to keep ’em,—it’s for our convenience and our interest;’ for that’s the long and short of it;—that’s just the whole of what all this sanctified stuff amounts to after all; and I think that it would be intelligible to everybody everywhere.”

“This religious talk on such matters,—why don’t they carry it on a little further, and show the beauty, in it’s season, of a fellow’s taking a glass too much, and sitting a little too late over his cards, and various providential arrangements of that sort, which are pretty frequent among us young men;—we’d like to hear that those things are right and godly, too.”

“…The whole framework of society, both in Europe and America, is made up of various things which will not stand the scrutiny of any very ideal standard of morality. It’s pretty generally understood that men don’t aspire after the absolute right, but only to do about as well as the rest of the world. Now when anyone speaks up, like a man, and says slavery is necessary to us, we can’t get along without it, we should be beggared if we give it up, and, of course, we mean to hold onto it,—this is strong, clear, well defined language; it has the respectability of truth to it; and if we may judge by their practice, the majority of the world will bear us out in it. But when he begins to put on a long face, and snuffle, and quote scripture, I incline to think he isn’t much better than he should be.”

“Suppose that something should bring down the price of cotton once and forever, and make the whole slave property a drug in the market, don’t you think we should soon have another version of the Scripture doctrine? What a flood of light would pour into the church, all at once, and how immediately it would be discovered that everything in the Bible and reason went the other way!”

(Uncle Tom’s Cabin, p. 158-159)

Currently Reading
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
By Harriet Beecher Stowe

Share Button

Thank you for subscribing to my weekly digest email! Please check your inbox in order to confirm your subscription. If you don’t receive the confirmation email, check your spam folder. You may add DLWebster@DL-Webster.com to your address book in order to prevent my emails from being marked as spam.

  • Ron_Juan

    how fitting…take away the whole context of slavery, and it speaks for today

  • Augustine St. Clare is, in my opinion, the most interesting character in the book, and my favorite. Ironically, in contrast to his name, he doesn’t claim Christianity, and yet he seems to be the most honest chracter, and he seems “get it” more then anyone in the book, save possibly for Eva and later Tom, though they more practice it fully rather than understand it in great depth.

    • Ron_Juan

      indeed. I need to read that book. I tried to find it when I was at half price books today…