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 132

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Page 132

Correspondence | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 132
A few States have failed to pay some instalments of
interest. The extraordinary financial difficulties which
occurred a few years ago account for it. Time will set
all things right again. Every dollar of both principal
and interest owed by any State, North our South, will
be ultimately paid ; unless the abolition of slavery over-
whelms us all in one common ruin. But have no
other nations failed to pay ? When were the French
assignats redeemed ? How much interest did your
National Bank pay on its immense circulation from
1797 to 1821, during which period that circulation
was inconvertible, and for the time repudiated 2 How
much of your National Debt has been incurred for
money borrowed to meet the interest on it ; thus avoid-
ing delinquency in detail, by ensuring inevitable bank-
ruptcy and repudiation in the end ? And what sort
of operation was that by which your present ministry
recently expunged a handsome amount of that debt by
substituting, through a process just not compulsory,
one species of security for another ? I am well aware
that the faults of others do not excuse our own ; but
when failings are charged to slavery, which are shown
to occur to equal extent where it does not exist, surely
slavery must be acquitted of the accusation.
It is roundly asserted, that we are not so well edu-
cated nor so religious here as elsewhere. I will not go
into tedious statistical statements on these subjects.
Nor have I, to tell the truth, much confidence in the
details of what are commonly set forth as statistics.
As to education, you will probably admit that slave-
holders should have more leisure for mental culture
than most people. And I believe it is charged against
them that they are peculiarly fond of power, and am-