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 48

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 48

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription J
they urge here this slang about the right of petition,
and the freedom of speech and of the press, as though
any one here had the remotest desire to curtail them.
When Tappan and Garrison, and Gerrit Smith, and
such as they are, use this cant, I understand them :
they wish to inflame the popular passions by false ap-
peals to popular rights. But when such men as the
gentlemen from Massachusetts (Messrs. Adams and
Cushing), and the gentleman from New York (Mr.
Granger), who favored us the other day with eulogiums
on certain Abolitionists, introduce it on this floor, I do
not--yes, I do understand them. But I will not press
that point, for I wish to connect this question with no
political intrigues or discussions.
I will say frankly that I do not believe we shall be
able to obtain the passage of such laws as I have allud-
ed to in any non-slaveholding States. Sir, there is not
a man of any note, or at least of any political aspiration,
who will dare to make such propositions. He would
be prostrated, and forever. He would. be covered with
a mountain of public odium under which he could
never rise again. And I want no stronger evidence of
the true state of public sentiment in those States than
this single fact.
What, Sir, does the South ask next ? She asks, and
this at least she has a right to demand, that these pe-
titions be not received here and recorded on your jour-
nals. This House at least ought to be a sanctuary, into
which no such topic should be allowed to enter. Rep-
resentatives from every section of the Republic ought
to be permitted to come here faithfully to perform
their duties to their constituents and their country,
without being subjected to these incendiary attacks