This week in history: Uncle Tom’s Cabin

This week in 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe published her anti-slavery novel, UNCLE TOM’S CABIN. Beecher Stowe was a teacher at Hartford Female Seminary in Connecticut. She originally published her most famous work as a 40-week serial in “The National Era,” an abolitionist periodical. Publisher John Jewett saw potential and proposed that Stowe turn the serial story into a book. He had good reason. The story was so popular that, if the magazine ever published without a new chapter, it received multiple protest letters. So Beecher Stowe published. She sold 3,000 copies the first day, and UNCLE TOM’S CABINE soon sold out of its first print-run. The novel ultimately became the second best selling book in the United States for the entire of the 19th Century, just behind the Bible. Continue reading “This week in history: Uncle Tom’s Cabin”

Britain Does Something Noble

Commodore Sir George Ralph Collier, Baronet, commander of the West Africa Squadron from 1818 to 1821
Sir George Ralph Collier, Baronet, Commodore of the West Africa Squadron from 1818 to 1821

In 1807, the British Parliament outlawed the slave trade. Then the government did something truly unusual—possibly with no precedent. It spent military resources solely for the sake of other people. The Royal Navy assigned a squadron to patrol the coast of West Africa, hunting for slave ships—a.k.a. pirates—to make sure no one else captured and transported human beings. By 1860, the West Africa Squadron had captured 1,600 slavers and freed about 150,000 people. Continue reading “Britain Does Something Noble”