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St Clare is a really good man, but he's lacking in faith and makes poor decisions. Tom saved his daughter, and thus took on a special place in St Clare's heart. The two talked, they learned to be friends, but Tom's faith and his willingness to share his faith never transcended the boundaries between the two. Had St Clare every really believed in anything, even himself, he could have set an example by freeing Tom immediately instead of making a promise he wouldn't be alive to keep.
Uncle Tom's Cabin