In a sharply pointed set piece, Stowe portrays Reverend Marvyn as someone who seems never to have considered the idea that his enslaved servant Candace would want her freedom -- until, that is, a visiting Dr. Samuel Hopkins (based on the actual, early-abolitionist theologian (1721-1803) and author of the 1776 pamphlet, A Dialogue Concerning the Slavery of the Africans) asks her opinion on the matter. “Why, to be sure I should!” replies Candace. To his credit, Reverend Marvyn frees her immediately. Not so easily enlightened are those who found justification for slavery in the Bible, arguing that “these poor creatures” were better off here than had they remained in Africa. “Here they can hear the gospel and have some chance of salvation,” ship-owner and slave trader Simeon Brown (a Moses Brown stand-in) avers when he is challenged by Dr. Hopkins.
Just as she had for Uncle Tom's Cabin, Mrs. Stowe went on a European book tour for The Minister's Wooing, accompanied by Reverend Stowe. It must have been a respite from life in Andover. The Stowes were not having an easy time of it at the seminary, according to an article published in 2006 by historian Kimberly Van Esveld Adams in the journal Religion and Literature.* Researching documents suppressed by Andover archivists and by the Stowe family as well until the 1920s , Adams learned that Reverend Stowe “quarreled constantly with faculty members, particularly Edwards Amasa Park, and the Board of Trustees over the seminary curriculum, specifically, the time given to [Jonathan] Edwardsean theology rather than to the Bible."*
Reverend Stowe's teaching methods were also criticized, according to Adams. “He was told by a powerful trustee, John Taylor, that his teaching was too often ‘meager & defective, and that his and his family’s conduct was insupportable," she writes. "In Mr. Stowe’s account of the conversation, ‘My wife (he said) was a dreamy, secluded woman, living in a world of her own and setting herself above her neighbors; my daughters extravagant, dressy, talkative, addicted to practices which were matters of scandalous remark, & occasioning the inquiry among strangers… whether such things could be tolerated here.’”
Adams mentions that after publication of U.T.C., the Stowe' book tour in Europe provoked “jealousy and hostility” on campus, and that it escalated with the tour for The Minister’s Wooing. But one has to wonder if the subject matter of Wooing stoked the flames of their resentment and ire even more. Most sources I have read say the Stowes left Andover in 1864 of their own volition, but according to Adams there is evidence in the correspondence she read that Reverend Stow was dismissed. "These quarrels, along with the perceived misbehavior of Mr. Stowe’s wife and daughters, led to his forced resignation — which Stowe scholars have not reported, for both the family and the Board obscured the evidence."
I do wish I could read the documents for myself, but when I asked current P.A. archivist Paige Roberts for them, she couldn't locate them in the file that Adams had cited.
* See Kimberly Van Esveld Adams, “Family Influences on The Minister’s Wooing and Oldtown Folks: Henry Ward Beecher and Calvin Stowe,” Religion & Literature, Vol. 38, No. 4 (Winter 2006): 27-61.