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 107

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Page 107

Correspondence | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 107
Whether death should be inflicted for such an
offence is another question. We have modified in a
great degree the sanguinary code of law left us by our
British ancestors ; but we have not gone the length to
which some philosophers, both here and in your coun-
try, would have all governments to go of abolishing
the punishment of death. Nor do I believe the suc-
cess your government has met with in endeavoring to
diminish crime by abolishing this punishment in so
many cases, will encourage them to press the matter
much farther at this time. Considering the value of
a slave ; the facility of seducing him from his owner ;
the evil influence which frequent seduction might
exercise on an institution, the destruction of which
must speedily and inevitably strike from the roll of
civilized States nearly the whole slaveholding section
of this country, as it has already done St. Domingo
and Jamaica ; and the enthusiastic and reckless enemies
of this institution by whom we are surrounded, it
seems to me that if any offence affecting property
merits death, this is one.
Your memorial, like all that have been sent to me,
denounces slavery in the severest terms ; as " traversing
every law of nature, and violating the most sacred
domestic relations, and the primary rights of man."
You and your Presbytery are Christians. You profess
to believe, and no doubt do believe, that the laws laid
down in the Old and New Testaments for the govern-
ment of man, in his moral, social and political relations,
were all the direct revelation of God himself. Does it
never occur to you, that in anathematizing slavery, you
deny this divine sanction of those laws, and repudiate
both Christ and Moses ; or charge God with downright