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 40

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Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 40
Are the people of the north prepared to restore to
them two-fifths of their rights of voters, and place their
political power on an equality with their own ? Are
we prepared to see them mingling in our legislation ?
Is any portion of this country prepared to see them
enter these halls and take their seats by our sides, in
perfect equality with the white representatives of the
Anglo-Saxon race to see them fill that chair to see
them placed at the heads of your Departments ; or to
see perhaps some Toussaint, or Boyer, grasp the Pres-
idential wreath and wield the destinies of this great
Republic ? From such a picture I turn with irrepress-
ible disgust.
But, Sir, no such consequences as either of these
views exhibit can take place with us. There is no
such thing as gradual emancipation, even if we were
to consent to it. Those who know the negro character
cannot doubt, what the recent experiments in the
West. Indies fully prove, that the first step you take
towards emancipation bursts at once and forever the
social ties of the slave. In our country, where the
two classes of population are so nearly equal, such a
state of things as now exists in Jamaica would not last
v a day an hour. Sir, any species of emancipation
with us would be followed instantly by civil war be-
tween the whites and the blacks. A bloody, exter-
minating war, the result of which could not be doubt-
ful, although it would be accompanied with horrors
such as history has not recorded. The blacks would
be annihilated, or once more subjugated and reduced
to slavery. Such a catastrophe would be inevitable.
Permit me now, Sir, for a moment to look into the
causes of this vast and dangerous excitement, for it is