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 127

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Page 127

Correspondence | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 127
meat is in the hands of a numerical majority ; and it is
hardly necessary to say that in every part of the world
more than half the people are ignorant and poor.
Though no one can look upon poverty as a crime, and
we do not generally here regard it as any objection to
a man in his individual capacity, still it must be admit-
ted that it is a wretched and insecure government which
is administered by its most ignorant citizens, and those
who have the least at stake under it. Though intelli-
gence and wealth have great influence here as every-
where in keeping in check reckless and unenlightened
numbers, yet it is evident to close observers, if not to
all, that these are rapidly usurping all power in the
non-slave-holding States, and threaten a fearful crisis
in Republican institutions there at no remote period.
In the slave.holding States, however, nearly one-half
of the whole population, and those the poorest and most
ignorant, have no political influence whatever, because
they are slaves. Of the other half a large proportion
are both educated and independent in their circum-
stances ; while those who unfortunately are not so, being
still elevated far above the mass, are higher toned and
more deeply interested in preserving a stable and well
ordered Government, than the same class in any other
country. Hence, slavery is truly the " corner stone "
and foundation of every well-designed and durable
" Republican edifice."
With us every citizen is concerned in the mainten-
ance of order, and in promoting honesty and industry
among those of the lowest class who are our slaves ;
and our habitual vigilance renders standing armies,
whether of soldiers or policemen, entirely unnecessary.
Small guards in our cities, and occasional patrols in the