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 116

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Page 116

Correspondence | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 116
judge of the truth of transactions stated as occurring
in this trade, by that of those reported as transpiring
among us, I should not hesitate to say, that a large
proportion of the stories in circulation are unfounded,
and most of the remainder highly colored.
On the passage of the Act of Parliament pro-
hibiting this trade to British subjects rests what you
esteem the glory of your life. It required twenty
years of arduous agitation, and the intervening ex-
traordinary political events, to convince your country-
men, and among the rest your pious King, of the
expediency of the measure ; and it is but just to say,
that no one individual rendered more essential service
to the cause than you did. In reflecting on the subject,
you cannot but often ask yourself : What after all has
been accomplished ; how much human suffering has
been averted ; how many human beings have been
rescued from transatlantic slavery ? And on the
answers you can give these questions, must in a great
measure, I presume, depend the happiness of your life.
In framing them, how frequently must you be re-
minded of the remark of Mr. Grosvenor, in one of the
early debates upon the subject, which I believe you
have yourself recorded, " that he had twenty objec-
tions to the abolition of the Slave Trade : the first
was, that it was impossible the rest he need not give."
Can you say to yourself, or to the world, that this first
objection of Mr. Grosvenor has been yet confuted. It
was estimated at the commencement of your agitation
in 1787, that forty-five thousand Africans were an-
nually transported to America and the West Indies.
And the mortality of the Middle Passage, computed
by some at 5, is now admitted not to have exceeded 9