a hapless mother, a defenseless child


Chain Link FenceJust substitute “fugitive” for “immigrant”….

What a situation, now, for a patriotic senator, that had been all the week before spurring up the legislature of his native State to pass more stringent resolutions against escaping fugitives, their harbourers and abettors!

Our good senator in his native State had not been exceeded by any of his brethren at Washington, in the sort of eloquence which has won for them immortal renown!

How sublimely he had sat with his hands in his pockets, and scouted all sentimental weakness of those who would put the welfare of a few miserable fugitives before great state interests!

He was as bold as a lion about it, and “mightily convinced” not only himself, but everybody that heard him; — but then his idea of a fugitive was only an idea of the letters that spell the word– The magic of the real presence of distress, –the imploring human eye, the frail, trembling human hand, the despairing appeal of helpless agony, — these he had never tried. He had never thought that a fugitive might be a hapless mother, a defenseless child….

Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1851