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Broadside entitled 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'


The first verse begins: 'I'm thinking of poor Uncle Tom, / So generous, kind, and brave; / The white man came when he was young, / And claim'd him as his slave.' A woodcut illustration has been included at the top of the sheet showing four scantily-clad figures in a clearing. There are no publication details given, but this is one of two songs - printed by James Lindsay - on this sheet.

This song is based on the character of Uncle Tom, taken from Harriet Beecher Stowe's famous and controverisal book, 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' (1852). Although Beecher Stowe has since been criticised for her patronising portrayal of black Americans, the publication of 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' helped to advance the anti-slavery cause greatly. This particular broadside ends on a rousing note asking the question, 'Shall he who is but man himself, / Enslave his fellow man? / Then all united be, / To give to each other a brother's hand, / And set the black man free.'

Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, to be read unfolded. They carried public information such as proclamations as well as ballads and news of the day. Cheaply available, they were sold on the streets by pedlars and chapmen. Broadsides offer a valuable insight into many aspects of the society they were published in, and the National Library of Scotland holds over 250,000 of them.

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Probable period of publication: 1852-1859   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(052)
Broadside entitled 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'
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