Uncle Tom's Cabin
by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Senator and Mrs. Bird
Senator and Mrs. Bird live in the free state of Ohio, through which fugitive slaves often passed on their way to Canada. Senator Bird helps pass the Fugitive Slave Act, which makes assisting runaway slaves a crime. However, when a real woman – Eliza – comes to his door with her child needing help and protection, his compassion overcomes his political maneuvering.
Mrs. Bird, a kind woman who believes it is her Christian duty to help anyone in need, gently assists the Senator to understand why the Fugitive Slave Act is morally wrong. She is extremely grateful that his heart is better than his head, because she could not be married to a man who would turn away a woman trying to save her child. Mrs. Bird’s sympathies for Eliza are further aroused because Mrs. Bird’s young son died recently. In this, Mrs. Bird is a stand-in for Stowe herself, who felt greater sympathy for the plight of slave mothers because she lost a child.