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Foreward and Preface

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The original book included the term "n1gger", which we have changed to "slave" on these pages. 

When Tom Sawyer was written, the term was neutral and perfectly acceptable to most people, black and white, as a derivative of the Spanish/Portuguese noun negro and the Latin adjective nigrum (black).

By the turn of the 20th century, however, it had become a pejorative word, and "coloured" became the socially acceptable norm. It is now extremely offensive and insulting, to the extent that its use in certain circumstances could lead to criminal proceedings.

Used in literature, such as Tom Sawyer, the characters are fictitious and no offence to the reader was intended. Nevertheless, we have decided to replace the word with "slave", simply to avoid the original word creeping into people's common vocabulary 

Call us over-sensitive, too politically correct, daft, or anything else, but this is our website and that's the decision we've made.

We have also made the decision not to change other potentially offensive terms, whether or not they were originally intended to offend. We offer our apologies to Native Americans and others who dislike references to "injun"; to the religious who feel "Lordy! Lordry!" is an inappropriate expletive; to vegetarians (and the religious) for references to bacon; to non-smokers; and so on.


Most of the adventures recorded in this book really occurred; one or two were experiences of my own, the rest those of boys who were schoolmates of mine. Huck Finn is drawn from life; Tom Sawyer also, but not from an individual – he is a combination of the characteristics of three boys whom I knew, and therefore belongs to the composite order of architecture.

The odd superstitions touched upon were all prevalent among children and slaves in the West at the period of this story – that is to say, thirty or forty years ago.

Although my book is intended mainly for the entertainment of boys and girls, I hope it will not be shunned by men and women on that account, for part of my plan has been to try to pleasantly remind adults of what they once were themselves, and of how they felt and thought and talked, and what queer enterprises they sometimes engaged in.



We've changed only the searchable text (that which can be indexed by Google and other search engines). We haven't changed the captions on the images (which are not indexed by search engines).

Note that not all instances of "slave" are replacement words; the word "slave" was already used extensively in the original version.


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