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 35

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Page 35

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 35
Failing as the Abolitionists must do in every ap-
peal to the slaveholder, let us see with what probabil-
ity of success they can call upon the Government' to
emancipate our negroes. There are about 2,300,000
slaves at this moment in the United States, and their
annual increase is about 60,000. Sir, even the British
Government did not dare to emancipate the slaves of
its enslaved west India subjects without some com-
pensation. They gave them about 60 per cent. of their
value. It could scarcely be expected that this Govern-
ment would undertake to free our slaves without pay-
ing for them. Their value, at x;400 average (and
they are now worth more than that), would amount
to upwards of nine hundred millions. The value of
their annual increase, alone, is twenty-four millions of
dollars ; so that to free them in one hundred years,
without the expense of taking them from the country,
would require an annual appropriation of between
thirty-three and thirty--four millions of dollars. The
thing is physically impossible.
But it is impossible for another reason : the ono- /
ment this House undertakes to legislate upon this sub-
ject, it dissolves the Union. Should it be my fortune
to have a seat upon this floor, I will abandon it the
instant the first decisive step is taken, looking towards
legislation on this subject. I will go home to preach,
and if I can, to practise disunion, and civil war, if needs
be. A revolution must ensue, and this Republic sink
in blood.
The only remaining chance for the Abolitionists to v
succeed in their nefarious schemes will be by appealing
to the slaves themselves ; and, say what they will, this
is the great object at which they aim. For this are