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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous Sarah Knowles Bolton

Harriet Beecher Stowe

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In ten days, ten thousand copies had been sold. Eight presses were run day and night to supply the demand. Thirty different editions appeared in London in six months. Six theatres in that great city were playing it at one time. Over three hundred thousand copies were sold in less than a year.

Letters poured in upon Mrs. Stowe from all parts of the world. Prince Albert sent his hearty thanks. Dickens said, "Your book is worthy of any head and any heart that ever inspired a book." Kingsley wrote, "It is perfect." The noble Earl of Shaftesbury wrote, "None but a Christian believer could have produced such a book as yours, which has absolutely startled the whole world.... I live in hope--God grant it may rise to faith!--that this system is drawing to a close. It seems as though our Lord had sent out this book as the messenger before His face to prepare His way before Him." He wrote out an address of sympathy "From the women of England to the women of America," to which were appended the signatures of 562,448 women. These were in twenty-six folio volumes, bound in morocco, with the American eagle on the back of each, the whole in a solid oak case, sent to the care of Mrs. Stowe.

The learned reviews gave long notices of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Blackwood said, "There are scenes and touches in this book which no living writer that we know can surpass, and perhaps none can equal." George Eliot wrote her beautiful letters.

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How the heart of Lyman Beecher must have been gladdened by this wonderful success of his daughter! How Roxana Beecher must have looked down from heaven, and smiled that never-to-be-forgotten smile! How Harriet Beecher Stowe herself must have thanked God for this unexpected fulness of blessing! Thousands of dollars were soon paid to her as her share of the profits from the sale of the book. How restful it must have seemed to the tired, over-worked woman, to have more than enough for daily needs!

The following year, 1853, Professor Stowe and his now famous wife decided to cross the ocean for needed rest. What was their astonishment, to be welcomed by immense public meetings in Liverpool, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee; indeed, in every city which they visited. People in the towns stopped her carriage, to fill it with flowers. Boys ran along the streets, shouting, "That's her--see the courls!" A penny offering was made her, given by people of all ranks, consisting of one thousand golden sovereigns on a beautiful silver salver. When the committee having the matter in charge visited one little cottage, they found only a blind woman, and said, "She will feel no interest, as she cannot read the book."

"Indeed," said the old lady, "if I cannot read, my son has read it to me, and I've got my penny saved to give."

The beautiful Duchess of Sutherland entertained Mrs. Stowe at her house, where she met Lord Palmerston, the Duke of Argyle, Macaulay, Gladstone, and others. The duchess gave her a solid gold bracelet in the form of a slave's shackle, with the words, "We trust it is a memorial of a chain that is soon to be broken." On one link was the date of the abolition of the slave trade, March 25, 1807, and of slavery in the English territories, Aug. 1, 1834. On the other links are now engraved the dates of Emancipation in the District of Columbia; President Lincoln's proclamation abolishing slavery in the States in rebellion, Jan. 1, 1863; and finally, on the clasp, the date of the Constitutional amendment, abolishing slavery forever in the United States. Only a decade after Uncle Tom's Cabin was written, and nearly all this accomplished! Who could have believed it possible?

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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous
Sarah Knowles Bolton

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