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Southern Heritage <br>News and Views: Harriet Stowe, the Novelist - Spiritualist - and Abolitionist

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Harriet Stowe, the Novelist - Spiritualist - and Abolitionist

by Joan Hough

Abolitionists may have decided that the Invasion of the South in 1861 was to free the slaves, but everyone else on the planet knew this was not so-------because:

On March 2,1861m two days before Lincoln’s inauguration as President, the U.S. Senate passed a proposed constitutional amendment--: No Amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of the State.” The U.S. House of Representatives passed the amendment on February 28, 1861.

Two days later, in his first inaugural address, Lincoln promised several times that he had no intention to interfere with Southern slavery and that even if he did, it would be unconstitutional to do so. H e also pledged his support for this amendment, announcing to the world that “holding such a provision [the legality of slavery]to be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable” ( p. 24 Thomas J. DiLorenzo. Lincoln Unmasked.)


Fascinating information has been revealed in Demastus’ News & Views about Harriet Beecher Stowe of Brunswick, Maine. Now I will be forced to take a look at Uncle Tom's Cabin, because I have only read excerpts from the book and synopses. I did not remember that Simon Legree was a damned Yankee. That shocks me. And no matter if Stowe did speak a bit negatively about Northern slave owners---her book was considered to be a direct attack on the South. Proof of this lies in the words of Abe Lincoln spoken to Stowe, according to the woman’s relative, Charles Edward Stowe on page 203 in his book, Harriet Beecher Stowe, The Story of her Life. 1911. . These words were quoted in Wikipedia the free encyclopedia-: “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war! –Lincoln was said to have remarked upon meeting her in person.

Do you remember the poem about Simon Legree? Stowe had a character by that name in her novel---said to be a real person living in the South—but evidently, a Yankee person. The poem entitled “Simon Legree” was a hot number in oratorical contests when I was young. We were taught it was a poem about a Southerner's named Simon who specialized in cruelty to helpless black folks.

There was more than one version of the poem. Vachel Lindsay is credited with writing the following words:

by Vachel Lindsay

Legree's big house was white and green.

His cotton-fields were the best to be seen.

He had strong horses and opulent cattle,

And bloodhounds bold, with chains that would rattle.

His garret was full of curious things:

Books of magic, bags of fold,

and rabbits' feet on long twine strings,

But he went down to the Devil.

Legree, he sported a brass-buttoned coat,

A snake-skin necktie, a blood-red shirt.

Legree, he had a beard like a goat,

And a thick hairy neck, and eyes like dirt.

His puffed-out cheeks were fish-belly white,

he had great long teeth, and an appetite.

He ate raw meat, "most every meal,

And rolled his eyes till the cat would squeal.

His fist was an enormous size

To mash poor niggers that told him lies:

He was surely a witch-man in disguise.

but he went down to the Devil.

He wore hip-boots, and would wade all day

To capture his slaves that had fled away.

but he went down to the Devil.

He beat poor Uncle Tom to death

Who prayed for Legree with his last breath.

Then Uncle Tom to Eva flew,

To the high sanctoriums bright and new;

And Simon Legree stared up beneath,

And cracked his heels and ground his teeth:

and went down to the Devil.

He crossed the yard in the storm and gloom;

He went into his grand front room.

He said, "I killed him, and I don't care."

He kicked a hound, he gave a swear;

he tightened his belt, he took a lamp,

Went down cellar to the webs and damp.

there in the middle of the moldy floor

He heaved up a slab; he found a door--

And went down to the Devil.

His lamp blew out, but his eyes burned bright.

Simon Legree stepped down all night--

Down, down to the Devil.

Simon Legree he reached the place,

he saw one half of the human race,

he saw the Devil on a wide green throne,

Gnawing the meat from a big ham-bone,

And he said to Mister Devil:

"I see that you have much to eat--

A red ham-bone is surely sweet,

I see that you have lion's feet;

I see your frame is fat and fine,

I see you drink your poison wine--

Blood and burning turpentine."

And the Devil said to Simon Legree:

"I like your style, so wicked and free,

Come sit and share my throne with me,

And let us bark and revel."

And there they sit and gnash their teeth,

And each one wears a hop-vine wreath.

They are matching pennies and shooting craps,

They are playing poker and taking naps.

And old Legree is fat and fine:

He eats the fire, he drinks the wine--

Blood and burning turpentine--

Down, down with the Devil;

Down, down with the Devil;

Down, down with the Devil.

Author Frank Conner tells us (p. 82) in his wonderful tome of a book, The South Under Siege:

"Abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe of Brunswick, Maine bought a copy of Slavery As It Is and used it as her primary source for writing Uncle Tom's Cabin (her only contact with real live slaves and the South had occurred during one four-day visit to Kentucky), Published as a book in 1852, Uncle Tom's Cabin was a propaganda novel par excellence; in five years it sold an unprecedented 500,000 copies. It did more to create sympathy for the high-minded noble slaves, condemn the slave-owners as sinners, and legitimize the abolitionist cause in the minds of Northerners than any other activity ever conducted by the liberal abolitionist. The net effect of all the Northern liberal propaganda combined was devastating."

Conner explains ( p. 80-81) how the North's Transcendentalists and other abolitionists wallowed in filthy politics by using horrendously immoral tactics to further their ideological war against the white South. One Transcendentalist by name of Theodore Weld (a former Congregationalist minister) discovered a New York company that sold old Southern newspapers as scrap paper. Weld bought the papers by the bale and siphoned through over 20,000 of them [probably covering many years in time] until he found some occasional atrocity stories of a Southerner mistreating a slave. He gathered those articles together and combined them in a book which he entitled SLAVERY AS IT IS-- so readers could know what was the "every day, routine" treatment of slaves by their cruel owners in the South." Weld's book sold 100,000 copies. How clever it was to find some outrageous exceptions to the rule and claim it as the norm!

The tactics of the anti-Southerner, so far to the left Northerners was to depict Southerners as starving their slaves, clothing them in rags, beating them non-stop and working them all to death. (as if men who, routinely, treated their horses so tenderly, would endanger the health of an even more expensive slave.)

The Northeastern journalists and intellectuals had a field day unleashing in print their virulent hate they felt toward what they considered, the "snooty" Southern aristocrats. (How the Southern farmers would have laughed had they known themselves so considered.) The Northern publications characterized all Southerners as just a bunch of degenerates, as lazy, dirty, illiterate, cruel, cowardly, immoral sadistic, miscegenation indulgent, and drunken no counts--and of course, as greatly inferior to the vastly morally superior Northerners. The propaganda being spat out by the Eastern-establishment folks of that time was something that Karl Marx would have found most pleasing, and probably did. Many of the journalists were, after all, Marxists. (Walter Kennedy and Al Benson, Jr. Red Republicans and Lincoln's Marxists)


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