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 32

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Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription J/
been able to observe other states of society abroad, we
see nothing to invite us to exchange our own ; but on
the contrary, everything to induce us to prefer it
above all others.
As to our fears, I know it has been said by a dis-
tinguished Virginian, and quoted on this floor, " that
the fire-bell in Richmond never rings at night, but the
mother presses her infant more closely to her breast
in dread of servile insurrection." Sir, it is all a flourish.
There may be nervous men and timid women, whose
imaginations are haunted with unwonted fears among
us, as there are all communities on earth, but in no
part of the world have men of ordinary firmness, less
fear of danger from their operatives than we have.
The fires which in a few years have desolated Norman-
dy and Anjou, the great machine-burning in the heart
of England, the bloody and eternal struggles of the
Irish Catholics, and the mobs which for some years
past have figured in our Northern ' States, burning con-
vents, tearing down houses, spreading dismay and ruin
through their cities, and even taking life, are appro-
priate illustrations of the peace and security of a com-
munity whose laborers are all called free. On - the
other hand, during the two hundred years that slavery
has existed in this country, there has, I believe, been
but one serious insurrection, and that one very limited
in its extent.
The appeal, however, to our interest, is that which
might appear to promise much success, for whatever it
is the interest of a community to do, that (sooner or
later) it will be sure to do. If you will look over the
world, you will find that in all those countries where
slavery has been found unprofitable, it has been abol-