Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina >> Letter to the Free Church of Glasgow, on the Subject of Slavery >> Page 106

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Page 106

Correspondence | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 106
his pardon from the non•slav eholding States of this
Union ; and to perceive that his sentence was com-
mented on, not only by the English newspapers, but
in the English House of Lords. The latest, and I trust
the last communication to me on the subject, is your
memorial.
The interference of foreigners, or any person
beyond our boundaries, in the execution of the munic-
ipal laws of a sovereign State, even if in respectful
terms, is certainly a violation of all propriety and
courtesy ; and if carried to any extent, must become
wholly intolerable. I pass that by, however. The
law under which Brown was convicted, was enacted
during our colonial existence, and is emphatically
British law. It is also a good law. I pardoned him,
not because I disapproved the law, but because I did
not think he violated it. It would be the most absurd
thing in the world to recognize by law a system of
domestic slavery, and yet allow every one to free, not
merely his own slaves, but those of his neighbor, when-
ever instigated to do so by his own notions of pro-
priety, his interest, or his caprice. What sort of
security would we have for property held on such
terms as these ? You cannot but perceive, that to per-
mit others to take our slaves from us at pleasure with
impunity, would amount to a total abolition of slavery.
There would be no real difference between this, and
allowing the slaves to go free themselves. Your Pres-
bytery, and all the petitioners for Brown, and agitators
of his case, must have seen the matter in this light ;
and it is attributing to us but a small share of common
sense, to suppose that we would not take the same view
of it ourselves.