Harriet Beecher Stowe

Harriet Beecher
Stowe
1811
1896

American Author and Abolitionist, known best for "Uncle Tom's Cabin"

Author Quotes

Do you say that the people of the free state have nothing to do with it, and can do nothing? Would to God this were true! But it is not true. The people of the free states have defended, encouraged, and participated; and are more guilty for it, before God, than the South, in that they have not the apology of education or custom. If the mothers of the free states had all felt as they should, in times past, the sons of the free states would not have been the holders, and, proverbially, the hardest masters of slaves; the sons of the free states would not have connived at the extension of slavery, in our national body; the sons of the free states would not, as they do, trade the souls and bodies of men as an equivalent to money, in their mercantile dealings. There are multitudes of slaves temporarily owned, and sold again, by merchants in northern cities; and shall the whole guilt or obloquy of slavery fall only on the South? Northern men, northern mothers, northern Christians, have something more to do than denounce their brethren at the South; they have to look to the evil among themselves.

Have not many of us, in the weary way of life, felt, in some hours, how far easier it were to die than to live? The martyr, when faced even by a death of bodily anguish and horror, finds in the very terror of his doom a strong stimulant and tonic. There is a vivid excitement, a thrill and fervor, which may carry through any crisis of suffering that is the birth-hour of eternal glory and rest. But to live, — to wear on, day after day, of mean, bitter, low, harassing servitude, every nerve dampened and depressed, every power of feeling gradually smothered, — this long and wasting heart-martyrdom, this slow, daily bleeding away of the inward life, drop by drop, hour after hour, — this is the true searching test of what there may be in man or woman.

I jest wish I know'd whar to find Him, said the woman.

I'm your church now!

And, perhaps, among us may be found generous spirits, who do not estimate honour and justice by dollars and cents.

Don't call me poor fellow! I have been poor fellow; but that's all past and gone, now. I'm right in the door, going into glory! O, Mas'r George! Heaven has come! I've got the victory!--the Lord Jesus has given it to me! Glory be to His name!

He was called a good fellow, — only a little lumpish, — and as he was brave and faithful, he rose in time to be a shipmaster. But when came the business of making money, the aptitude for accumulating, George found himself distanced by many a one with not half his general powers. What shall a man do with a sublime tier of moral faculties, when the most profitable business out of his port is the slave-trade? So it was in Newport in those days. George's first voyage was on a slaver, and he wished himself dead many a time before it was over, — and ever after would talk like a man beside himself, if the subject was named. He declared that the gold made in it was distilled from human blood, from mothers' tears, from the agonies and dying groans of gasping, suffocating men and women, and that it would sear and blister the soul of him that touched it; in short, he talked as whole-souled, unpractical fellows are apt to talk about what respectable people sometimes do. Nobody had ever instructed him that a slaveship, with a procession of expectant sharks in its wake, is a missionary institution, by which closely. packed heathens are brought over to enjoy the light of the Gospel. So, though George was acknowledged to be a good fellow, and honest as the noon-mark on the kitchen floor, he let slip so many chances of making money as seriously to compromise his reputation among thriving folks. He was wastefully generous — insisted on treating every poor dog that came in his way, in any foreign port, as a brother — absolutely refused to be party in cheating or deceiving the heathen on any shore, or in skin of any color — and also took pains, as far as in him lay, to spoil any bargains which any of his subordinates founded on the ignorance or weakness of his fellow-men. So he made voyage after voyage, and gained only his wages and the reputation among his employers of an incorruptibly honest fellow.

I long to put the experience of fifty years at once into your young lives, to give you at once the key to that treasure chamber every gem of which has cost me tears and struggles and prayers, but you must work for these inward treasures yourselves.

In all ranks of life the human heart yearns for the beautiful; and the beautiful things that God makes are his gift to all alike.

Between the mysteries of death and life Thou standest, loving, guiding,— not explaining; we ask, and Thou art silent,— yet we gaze, and our charmed hearts forget their drear complaining; no crushing fate, no stony destiny! Thou Lamb that hast been slain, we rest in Thee.

Even in this world they will have their judgment day; and their names, which went down in the dust like a gallant banner trodden in the mire, shall rise again all glorious in the sight of nations.

Her face was round and rosy, with a healthful downy softness, suggestive of a ripe peach. Her hair, partially silvered by age, was parted smoothly back from a high placed forehead, on which time had written no inscription, except peace on earth, good will to men, and beneath shone a large pair of clear, honest, loving brown eyes; you only needed to look straight into them, to feel that you saw to the bottom of a heart as good and true as ever throbbed in woman's bosom. So much has been said and sung of beautiful young girls, why doesn't somebody wake up to the beauty of old women?

I looks like gwine to heaven, an't thar where white folks is gwine? S'pose they'd have me thar? I'd rather go to torment, and get away from Mas'r and Missis. I had so.

In how many families do you hear the legend that all the goodness and graces of the living are nothing to the peculiar charms of one who is not. It is as if heaven had an especial band of angels, whose office it was to sojourn for a season here, and endear to them the wayward human heart, that they might bear it upward with them in their homeward flight. When you see that deep, spiritual light in the eye,---when the little soul reveals itself in words sweeter and wiser than the ordinary words of children,---hope not to retain that child, for the seal of heaven is on it, and the light of immortality looks out from its eyes.

But I want it done now, said Miss Ophelia.

Everyone confesses in the abstract that exertion which brings out all the powers of body and mind is the best thing for us all; but practically most people do all they can to get rid of it, and as a general rule nobody does much more than circumstances drive them to do.

Her form was the perfection of childish beauty, without its usual chubbiness and squareness of outline. There was about it an undulating and aerial grace, such as one might dream of for some mythic and allegorical being. Her face was remarkable less for its perfect beauty of feature than for a singular and dreamy earnestness of expression, which made the ideal start when they looked at her, and by which the dullest and most literal were impressed, without exactly knowing why.

I make no manner of doubt that you threw a very diamond of truth at me, though you see it hit me so directly in the face that it wasn't exactly appreciated, at first.

In lecturing on cookery, as on house-building, I divide the subject into, not four, but five grand elements: first, Bread; second, Butter; third, Meat; fourth, Vegetables; and fifth, Tea — by which I mean, generically, all sorts of warm, comfortable drinks served out in teacups, whether they be called tea, coffee, chocolate, broma, or what not. I affirm that, if these five departments are all perfect, the great ends of domestic cookery are answered, so far as the comfort and well-being of life are concerned.

A day of grace is yet held out to us. Both North and South have been guilty before God; and the Christian church has a heavy account to answer. Not by combining together, to protect injustice and cruelty, and making a common capital of sin, is this Union to be saved, — but by repentance, justice and mercy; for, not surer is the eternal law by which the millstone sinks in the ocean, than that stronger law, by which injustice and cruelty shall bring on nations the wrath of Almighty God!

But it is often those who have least of all in this life whom He chooseth for the kingdom. Put thy trust in Him and no matter what befalls thee here, He will make all right hereafter.

Fanaticism is governed by imagination rather than judgment.

Here, you rascal, you make believe to be so pious,--didn't you never hear, out of your Bible, 'Servants, obey yer masters'? An't I yer master? Didn't I pay down twelve hundred dollars, cash, for all there is inside yer old cussed black shell? An't yer mine, now, body and soul?

I no more thought of style or literary excellence than the mother who rushes into the street and cries for help to save her children from a burning house, thinks of the teachings of the rhetorician or the elocutionist.

In the gates of eternity, the black hand and the white hand hold each other with an equal clasp.

Author Picture
First Name
Harriet Beecher
Last Name
Stowe
Birth Date
1811
Death Date
1896
Bio

American Author and Abolitionist, known best for "Uncle Tom's Cabin"