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 49

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Page 49

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 49
their feelings insulted, their rights assaulted, and the
falsest calumnies of themselves and those they repre-
sent thrown on them daily, and perpetuated to their
posterity, and all the world, among the archives of
the Union. Is this demanding anything unreasonable,
unjust, unkind ? Sir, we cannot endure it. If these
things are to be permited here you drive us from your
councils. Let the consequences rest on you.
But, Mr. Speaker, even if this House should refuse
to receive these petitions, I am not one of those who
permits himself to trust that the conflict will be at an
end. No, sir, we shall still have to meet it elsewhere,
We will meet it. It is our inevitable destiny to meet
it in whatever shape it comes, or to whatever extrem-
ity it may go. Our State Legislatures will have to
pass laws regulating our police with a strict hand.
They will have to pass and to enforce laws prohibiting
the circulation of incendiary pamphlets through the
mail within their limits. We may have to adopt an
entire non-intercourse with the free States, and finally,
Sir, we may have to dissolve this Union. From none
of these measures can we shrink as circumstances may
make them necessary. Our last thought will be to
give up our Institutions. We were born and bred
under them, and will maintain them or die in their
defence. And I warn the Abolitionists, ignorant, _in-
fatuated barbarians as they are, that if chance shall
throw any of them into our hands he may expect a
FELON'S DEATH. No human law, no human influence
can arrest his fate. The superhuman instinct of self-
preservation, the indignant feelings of an outraged
people, to whose hearth-stones he is seeking to carry
death and desolation, pronounce his doom ; and if we