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 137

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Page 137

Correspondence | John F. Trow & Co.; The Reprint Company | 1866, 1978
Transcription 137
ever, are grossly and atrociously exaggerated. No au
thority divine or human has. yet been found sufficient
to arrest all such irregularities among men. But it is
a known fact, that they are perpetrated here, for the
most part, in the cities. Very few mulattoes are rear-
ed on our plantations. In the cities a large proportion
of the inhabitants do not own slaves. A still larger
proportion are natives of the North or foreigners.
They should share, and justly, too, an equal part in this
sin with the slave-holders. Facts cannot be ascertain-
ed, or I doubt not it would appear that they are the
chief offenders. If the truth be otherwise, then persons
from abroad have stronger prejudices against the
African race than we have. Be this as it may, it is
well known that this. intercourse is regarded in our so-
ciety as highly disreputable. If carried on habitually
it seriously affects a man's standing, so far as it is
known ; and he who takes a colored mistress with
rare and extraordinary exceptions loses caste at once.
You will say that one exception should damn our whole
country. How much less criminal is it to take a white
mistress ? In your eyes it should be at least an equal
offence. Yet look around you at home, from the cot-
tage to the throne, and count how many mistresses are
kept in unblushing notoriety, without any loss of caste.
Such cases are almost unknown here, and down even
to the lowest walks of life it is almost invariably fatal
to a man's position and prospects to keep a mistress
openly, whether white or black. What Miss Martin-
eau relates of a young man's purchasing a colored con-
cubine from a lady and avowing his designs, is too ab-
surd even for contradiction. No person would dare to
allude to such a subject in such a manner to any decent