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 145

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Page 145

Correspondence | John F. Trow & Co.; The Reprint Company | 1866, 1978
Transcription 145
of the most ardent philanthropists ; and the greatest
progressive amelioration of the system has been effected.
You yourself acknowledge that in the early part of
your career you were exceedingly anxious for the
immediate abolition of the Slave Trade, lest those
engaged in it should so mitigate its evils as to destroy
the force of your arguments and facts. The improve-
ment you then dreaded has gone on steadily here, and
would doubtless have taken place in the Slave Trade
but for the measures adopted to suppress it.
Of late years we have been not only annoyed, but
greatly embarrassed in this matter, by the Abolition-
ists. We have been compelled to curtail some
privileges ; we have been debarred from granting new
ones. In the face of discussions which airn at loosen-
ing all ties between master and slave, we have in some
measure to abandon our efforts to attach them to us
and control them through their affections and pride.
We have to rely more and more on the power of fear.
We must in all our intercourse with them assert and
maintain strict mastery, and impress it on them that
they are Slaves. This is painful to us, and certainly
no present advantage to them. But it is the direct
consequence of the Abolition agitation. We are deter-
mined to continue Masters, and to do so we have to draw
the rein tighter and tighter day by day to be assured
that we hold them in complete check. How far this
process will go on depends wholly and solely on the
Abolitionists. When they desist we can relax. We
may not before. I do not mean by all this to say that
we are in a state of actual alarm and fear of our slaves ;
but under existing circumstances we should be ineffably
stupid not to increase our vigilance and strengthen our