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 38

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Page 38

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 38
and' features of his African descendants. The hand of
fate has united his color and his destiny. Man cannot
separate what God hath joined.
But, Mr. Speaker, admitting for a moment that
the Abolitionist could accomplish all his objects.
Suppose the bonds of the slave were broken peace-
fully, and he was turned loose to choose his life and
occupation on the face of the earth, what would prob-
ably be his actual state ? Sir, we have some experi-
ence on this subject. I hold in my hand a paper con-
taining an account of the situation of a colony of free
blacks in Brown county, in Ohio, which I ask permis-
sion for the Clerk to read.
From the Cincinnati Gazette.
" Some forty miles from Cincinnati, to the East, are two settlements of free negroes�probably near a thousand�men, women and children, of the true ebony color ; with a very little mixture of the mahogany or lighter shades. The negroes own the land occupied by them, but without the power to sell. Each family has a small farm. They are emancipated slaves, and these lands were purchased expressly for them, and parcelled out among them about fifteen years ago.
" Their lands are not of the best quality of Ohio lands ; but, by good management could be made very good�they are particularly well adapted to grass, either meadow or pasture.
" Having been formerly slaves and compelled to work, one would sup-pose they ought to have industrious habits. They have had every inducement to industry and good conduct held out to them. The experiment was to test the merits of the negro race under the most favorable circumstances for success.
" Has this experiment succeeded ? No it has not. In all Ohio, can any white settlement be found equally wretched, equally unproductive ?
" Farms given to them fifteen years ago, instead of being well improved, and the timber preserved for farming, have been sadly managed�small, awkward clearings, and those not in grass, but exhausted and worn out in corn crops�the timber greatly destroyed�wretched log houses, with mud floors ; with chimneys of mud and wood�with little timber for further farming.