London: John Cassell, 1851.
Illustrated by George Cruikshank. First English edition. Finely bound by Morrell in full tan calf with five raised bands to spine, boards and spine decorated in gilt with gilt turn-ins, blue-gray endpapers. A near fine copy with sunning to spine and a touch of rubbing to extremities, a few faint scratches to boards and offsetting from turn-ins to endpapers, previous owner's gift inscription to first free leaf. Overall, a bright, clean copy in a beautiful calf binding. Uncle Tom's Cabin is an anti-slavery novel, published in the years leading up to the American Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. Originally issued serially from June 5, 1851-April 1, 1852 in the American abolitionist periodical The National Era, the novel features the fictional protagonists Tom and Eliza, two African-American slaves attempting to preserve their families in the face of abuse and oppression. Tom, the titular character, is a religious man and chooses to work within the system to ensure his family's protection. Eliza, alternatively, flees from her imprisoners, escaping to freedom in Canada. The book was inspired by the newly heightened restrictions on escaped slaves in the North; the Compromise of 1850 demanded increased enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law, which took hefty fines from anyone who failed to return an escaped slave to their "master". Throughout the text, Stowe preaches her own Christian beliefs in encouragement of compassion, mercy, and forgiveness as solutions for slavery. First published in book form on March 20, 1852 in Boston, Uncle Tom's Cabin was an instant bestseller, and was issued in a British edition in the same year. This edition, illustrated by George Cruikshank, was released just weeks later.