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 122

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 122

Correspondence | John F. Trow & Co.; The Reprint Company | 1866, 1978
Transcription 122
the otherwise irresistible conclusion, that slavery was
thus ordained by God, by declaring that the word
" slave " is riot used here, and is not to be found in the
Bible. And I have seen many learned dissertations
on this point from Abolition pens. It is well known
that both the Hebrew and Greek words translated "ser-
vant " in the Scriptures, mean also and most usually
" slave." The use of the one word instead of the other
was a mere matter of taste with the Translators of the
Bible, as it has been with all the commentators and
religious writers ; the latter of whom have I believe
for the most part adopted the term " slave," or used
both terms indiscriminately. If, then, these He-
brew and Greek words include the idea of both sys-
tems of servitude, the conditional and unconditional,
they should, as the major includes the minor proposi-
tion, be always translated "slaves," unless the sense of
the whole text forbids it. The real question, then, is,
what idea is intended to be conveyed by the words
used in the commandment quoted ? And it is clear to
my mind that as no limitation is affixed to them,
and the express intention was to secure to mankind
the peaceful enjoyment of every species of property,
the terms " Men servants and Maid servants " in-
clude all classes of servants, and establish a lawful, ex-
clusive' and indefeasible interest equally in the " He-
brew Brother who shall go out in the seventh year "
and " the yearly hired servant," and those " purchased
from the Heathen round about," and were to be " Bond-
men forever," as the property of their fellow mane
You cannot deny that there were among the He-
brews " Bond-men forever." You cannot deny that
God especially authorized his chosen people to purchase