Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina >> Two Letters on the Subject of Slavery in the United States, Addressed to Thomas Clarkson, Esq. >> Page 115

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Page 115

Correspondence | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 115
ments it has occasioned for sixty years past, I may not
be able to present much that will be new to you.
Nor ought I to indulge the hope of materially affecting
the opinions you have so long cherished, and so zeal-
ously promulgated. Still, time and experience have
developed ' facts, constantly furnishing fresh tests to
opinions formed sixty years since, and continually
placing this great question in points of view, which
could scarcely occur to the most consumate intellect
even a quarter of a century ago ; and which may not
have occurred yet to those whose previous convictions,
prejudices and habits of thought have thoroughly and
permanently biassed them to one fixed way of looking
at the matter ; while there are peculiarities in the
operation of every social system, and special local as
well as moral causes materially affecting it, which no
one, placed at the distance you are from us, can fully
comprehend or properly appreciate. Besides, it may
be possibly, a novelty to you to encounter one who
conscientiously believes the Domestic Slavery of these
States to be not only an inexorable necessity for the
present, but a moral and humane institution, produc-
tive of the greatest political and social advantages, and
who is disposed, as I am, to defend it on these grounds.
I do not propose, however, to defend the African
Slave Trade. That is no longer a question. Doubt-
less great evils arise from it as it has been, and is now
conducted : unnecessary wars and cruel kidnapping in
Africa ; the most shocking barbarities in the Middle
Passage ; and perhaps a less humane system of slavery
in countries continually supplied with fresh laborers at a
cheap rate. The evils of it, however, it may be fairly
presumed, are greatly exaggerated. And if I might