The Patent Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin;
or, Mrs. Stowe in England
– A Lady in New-York, 1853
Hast not the wisdom of a God—
“Who bends the Heavens’ with a nod!”
Divided well the race of man,
And giv’n to each allotted span?
To some He gave the kingly wand;
On others he hath set a brand,
And mark’d them as the sons of toil,
Giv’n manly strength to till the soil;
And had not sinful man transgress’d
Fair nature’s laws—they still had bless’d
Their native soil—and o’er it trod,
A happy race—Yet mark’d of God!
Who, in His wise unerring love,
Hath done all well—below—above!
Hath giv’n His laws distinct and clear;
And made each happy in their sphere.
Shall earth presume to change Thy plan,
Remove a stain Thou’st set on man!
And raise degraded race to be,
Equal to those that image Thee?
The stain is not confin’d to skin,
But penetrates deep—deep within—
Till in the heart and mind is seen,
But little light to intervene:
“Bring on a level!”—is the cry,
Of those who in the race descry
Some magic charm, that’s hid—alas!
From those who have not magic glass—
From those who have not taste to love,
The Ebon skin, with wool above,
” Bring on a level!”—’Tis easy done—
They soon will see the laurels won,
To deck the wool and tainted skin,
If they continue in the din
Of cursing, and like madmen rave,
They’ll bring the nation to a grave;
On which a slave may dance and sing,
From lowest grade that earth can bring!
Who is the slave? Not those who’re sold
For certain price in change of gold;
Not those who own a master’s hand,
Or on the auction-block doth stand;
You ask of them, would you be free?
Or would you change your skin with me?
“Oh no! Me’s happy—dat’s enough!
We hear much ’bout your freedom stuff;
But some we know dat’s gib’n free,
Dat would be grand to be like me;
But massas will not hab ’em back;
Yah! Yah! so den dey hab to track!”
But some there are that’s been decoy’d
By those who’ve meddled and destroy’d
A happiness that few doth know,
In freedom’s land with brow of snow!
Slavery—is but a name that’s given,
Where not a link in chain is riv’n;
By whom fair freedom’s better known,
Than those who’ve seeds of discord sown;
Ah—Slave! How oft I’ve crav’d thy lot,
When plac’d in some Elysian spot,
With friend to watch—Not master!—No!
Not deer more free than thou could’st go;
With heart as light and buoyant mind,
As feather floating on the wind!
Happy! For God hath instinct giv’n,
To lead thee to thy lower heaven;
Where in thy fancy thou wilt greet
Thy kindred gone, on gold’n street;
With silver slippers—dress to compare,
Through gates of pearl to enter there!
Like Indian race—If I will dare—
To such inferior class compare,
A race that far our own outvies—
In powers superior—none denies!
Will take his gun and hunting-spear,
And faithful dog his way to cheer;
Till he shall reach the favor’d land,
Where he will meet his warrior band!!
So each expect in world of bliss,
To enjoy what best they’ve lov’d in this!
Is’t slavery? Ah! Withhold the name—
It is not—cannot be the same!
The better name Protection give
A system that will ever live;
While wild fanatics rave and rend,
And call themselves the slave’s best friend;
They talk of something—know not what;
For all the knowledge they have got,
Has been from whom, for love of pelf,
Would make a slave and sell himself!
He lectures long, and raves aloud—
And calls upon promiscuous crowd
To lend him aid—the slave set free.
Behold! The slave to mammon—he!
He gathers gold and silver pence,
For pleading long in slave’s defence;
He pockets it—well satisfied—
“Cost but a lie-I’m glad I tried!”
While some will find, in “Uncle Tom,”
A subject good to build upon;
But show an “Uncle Tom,” and then,
I will believe that one has been;
A case like “Uncle Tom’s”—might be—
But when a thing like that I see,
Or appertaining thereunto,
I’ll then believe as many do,
That owning and protecting slave,
Is greatest sin this side the grave!
Who is the slave? Again I ask—
Is’t he performs a daily task,
And then retires without a care?
And who’s been taught to send a pray’r
To Him, who’s ear is ope to all—
The king—the slave—-and childhood’s call!
To writer fair—much praise is due—
To fiction giv’n appearance true;
At first—created “Uncle Tom,”
And built his “Cabin”—and then from
His clanking chains to forge a “Key,”
And open all the mystery!
Oh! Writer fair—I’d ask of thee,
Did’st thou but think to forge a “Key”
Of patent form, to fit and turn
In many locks, that thou might’st learn
The misery of the slave—indeed!
Then write—”that those who run may read!”
While honor’d in a foreign land,
Do not forget the slavish band
That groans beneath oppression’s rod—
Knows nothing of a living God!
Those whom His hand hath made to be,
Equal to any of the high degree:
Can’st thou unlock or help to save,
The miner from a living grave?
Draw from the bowels of the earth,
All those who have not from their birth,
Seen light of day, or known of aught
But slavish labor’s bitter draught?
Or open wide the granary door,
To feed the wretched starving poor,
Who toil from morning light to eve,
Without one moment’s short reprieve;
Then crawl into a straw-worn bed,
For sustenance! a crust of bread!
Then others taking up the space,
Vacated by the care-worn race,
To labor on till morning’s beam
Gives them a short and fitful dream,
On thorny pillows where they lay,
And sleep beneath the noontide ray:
Ah! such a slav’ry, the Most High
Will stamp as one of deepest dye!
Who are these slaves to misery bound?
Are they vile culprits, who’ve been found
Guilty of crime, outlaws austere,
That they must suffer thus severe?
Or do you find the hoary head
Repose on thorny, care-worn bed?
Or even man mature in years,
That rests on pillow steep’d in tears!
Nay! None of these. Ye stars turn pale
While I unfold the horrid tale!
‘Tis childhood—infancy!—that toils,
To load a treasury with spoils!
Sweet innocence—that angels love,
And all their sighs will waft above;
Will bear unto the living throne,
The briny tear and bitter groan!
Ah “Uncle Tom”—thou ne’er did’st know
Of such a tale of sin and woe!
Thou dost not claim to e’er have heard,
Abuse to child by deed or word!
Oh! freer far in mind and frame,
Than those who would their owners blame;
As free as wild bird—happy ever!
There’s nought from thee thy joys to sever—
Forever bounding in thy glee—
Creator of our “Uncle Tom,”
I pray thee draw a lesson from
The suff’rings that you there behold,
And forge the “Key” that will unfold,
What foreign slav’ry is, and how,
For fear of man, they cringing bow;
Of their own race in native land,
Are held in bondage by a band—
A hard aristocratic clique,
Who “grind the faces of the weak!”
If you but had an ebon friend,
With duke and duchess to attend—
With menials white—a nation’s wreck!
The royal chariot to bedeck—
They then could ride in triumph there,
Nor beggar’s bones or necks need spare!
And now, my friend, beware, I pray!
You must remember well the day,
When Dickens visited our shore;
A Mrs. Trollope and some more—
That honor’d were on every side,
That thickly pour’d from far and wide;
Till like a set of apes and goats,
Or certain biped that e’er floats,
On glassy surface gabbling loud,
Our people all did gape and crowd!
What did they get in turn I say,
Did they receive in honor, pay?
They all receive’d as ‘hap you will,
A hearty brush from sland’rous quill!
They meet you with a smiling lip,
But give your back a snarling grip?
If I may my opinion give,
I in a land of freedom live—
Had “Uncle Tom” not known a spice,
Of slander work’d in very nice—
I rather think they ne’er had call’d,
For you to come to be extol’d:
If talent is the pow’rful charm,
That’s giv’n to thee reception warm;
If they will come across the sea,
With many more they’ll charmed be;
If subject—”Uncle Tom,” I mean—
They think a great and mighty theme—
Just stay at home—our land’s bereft!
There’s not an “Uncle Tom” here left!
Few suff’rers here as they would see,
But those they’ve scuff’d across the sea;
Or those who’ve burst the slavish band,
And fled with speed to freedom’s land!
If not enough can there be found,
That’s ever been to beggary bound—
Poor Erin—bleeding, groaning long,
Will give a chorus to the song;
That better claims a kindly thought,
From those who have to misery brought
Their land—whose galled spirits feel,
In heart and soul the clanking steel!
The body’s nought, it is the soul,
That cannot yield to man’s control;
The body in bondage may be found—
The soaring spirit—never bound!