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 36

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Page 36

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 36
all their meetings, publications, lectures, and missions ;
to excite a servile insurrection, and, in the language of
the miscreant Thompson, to " teach the slave to cut his
master's throat." This will be no easy task. Sir, it is
a proverb, that no human being is perfectly contented
with his lot, and it may be true that some strolling
emissary may extract, occasionally, complaints from
Southern slaves and spread them before the world.
1 But such instances are rare. As a class, I say it boldly,
there is not a happier, more contented race upon the
face of the earth than our slaves. I have been born
and brought up in the midst of them, and so far as my
knowledge and experience extend, I should say they
have every reason to be happy. Lightly tasked, well
clothed, well fed far better than the free laborers of
any country in the world, our own and those perhaps
of the other States of this confederacy alone excepted
their lives and persons protected by the law, all
their sufferings alleviated by the kindest and most
interested care, and their domestic affections cherished
and maintained at least so far as I have known, with
conscientious delicacy.
A gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. ADAMS) has
introduced upon this floor the abolition cant of wives
and husbands, parents and children, torn from each
other's arms, and separated forever. Such scenes but
rarely, very rarely happen. I do not believe such
separations are near so common among slaves, as di-
vorces are among white persons where they can be
with much facility obtained. I am very sure that
children and parents do not so often part, as in the
ordinary course of emigration in this country they do
among the freest and proudest of our land. Sir, our