Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina >> Speech on the Justice of Receiving Petitions for the Abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia >> Page 19

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 19

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 19
Mr. Speaker, I object to the reception of these pe-
titions, in the next place, because they are sent here by
persons who are pursuing a systematic plan of opera-
tions, intended to subvert the institutions of the South,
and which, if carried into effect, must desolate the
fairest portion of America, and dissolve in blood the
bonds of this Confederacy. It has been said upon this
floor, that the Abolitionists of the North are very few
in number, and of so little influence as to be unworthy
of our attention. It has been said here, on the other
hand, that they constitute a majority north of Mason
and Dixon's line, and that their influence is "tremen-
dous." Amid this conflicting testimony, permit me to
call the attention of the House to some important facts
connected with the subject.
It will be recollected that during this session, in
consequence of the course which has been taken in the
matter, on but a single day has an opportunity occur-
red for a free presentation of petitions of the character
of that before us. On that day, although it could not
have been expected that the occasion would occur,
fifty-eight of these petitions were presented´┐Ża number
considerably larger than the average number presented
during the last four sessions. These petitions are sign-
ed by between seven and eight thousand persons, male
and female ; some of them signing as representatives of
large Societies. I have been informed that three hun-
dred petitions of this kind have been forwarded to
Congress, and I do not doubt the fact. If they are as
numerously signed, we shall have the names of some
forty thousand persons petitioning Congress at this
session to abolish Slavery and the Slave-trade in the