Uncle Tom’s Cabin

by: Harriet Beecher Stowe

Important Quotations Explained

3. “Mas’r, if you was sick, or in trouble, or dying, and I could save ye, I’d give ye my heart’s blood; and, if taking every drop of blood in this poor old body would save your precious soul, I’d give ’em freely, as the Lord gave his for me. Oh, Mas’r! don’t bring this great sin on your soul! It will hurt you more than’t will me! Do the worst you can, my troubles’ll be over soon; but, if ye don’t repent, yours won’t never end!”

Tom speaks these words to Legree in Chapter XL as he pleads not to be beaten for refusing to divulge information about Cassy’s escape. Tom urges Legree to reconsider, not for Tom’s sake, but for Legree’s. Tom explains that his own “troubles” will soon end (i.e., he will die and go to paradise), but the damage Legree does to his own soul will lead to his eternal damnation. The quote reveals the extent of Tom’s piety and selflessness. Threatened with pain and death by a man who oppresses and torments him, Tom’s first thought is for his oppressor’s soul. He even tells Legree that he would give his “heart’s blood” to save him. In these lines and elsewhere, Tom seems to prove the validity of the Christian injunction to “love thy enemy.” Because he continues to love Legree, Tom ultimately defeats him, even in death.