in a form that brought it home to the common people, there has been no work in the English
language so extensively read.
The author's name became at once a cynosure the world over.
When Henry Ward Beecher
, the writer's distinguished brother, delivered his first lecture in England
, he was introduced to the audience by the chairman as the Reverend Henry Ward Beecher Stowe
The way in which the idea of writing the book came to the author was significant of the will that produced it. A lady friend wrote Mrs. Stowe
a letter in which she said, “If I could use a pen as you can, I would write something that would make the whole nation feel what an accursed thing slavery is.”
When the letter reached its destination, and Mrs. Stowe
came to the passage above quoted, as the story is told by a friend who was present, she sprang to her feet, crushed the letter in her hand in the intensity of her feeling, and with an expression on her face of the utmost determination, exclaimed, “If I live, I will write something that will do that thing.”
The circumstances under which she executed her great task would ordinarily be looked upon as altogether prohibitory.
She was the wife of a poor minister and school-teacher.
To eke out the family income she took boarders.
She had five children of her own, who were too young to be of any material assistance, and, in addition, she occasionally harbored a waif that besought her protection when fleeing from slavery.
Necessarily the most of her time was spent in the kitchen.