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 147

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Page 147

Correspondence | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 147
Abolitionists. It would be disgusting and of little
avail. I know nothing of them. I have seen nothing
like them, though born and bred here, and have rarely
heard of anything at all to be compared with them.
Permit me to say that I think most of your facts must
have been drawn from the West Indies, where un-
doubtedly slaves were treated much more harshly than
with us. This was owing to a variety of causes, which
might, if necessary, be stated. One was that they had
at first to deal more extensively with barbarians fresh
from the wilds of Africa ; another, and a leading one,
the absenteeism of Proprietors. Agents are always
more unfeeling than owners, whether placed over
West Indian or American slaves, or Irish tenantry.
We feel this evil greatly even here. You describe
the use of thumb screws as one mode of punishment
among us. I doubt if a thumb screw can be found in
America.. I never saw or heard of one in this country.
Stocks are rarely used by private individuals, and con-
finement still more seldom ; though both are common
punishments for whites, all the world over. I think
they should be more frequently resorted to with slaves,
as substitutes for flogging, which I consider the most
injurious and least efficacious mode of punishing them
for serious offences. It is not degrading and, unless
excessive, occasions little pain. You may be a little
astonished, after all the flourishes that have been made
about " cart whips,"&c., when I say flogging is not the
most degrading punishment in the world. It may be
so to a white man in most countries, but how is it to
the white boy ? That necessary coadjutor of the
school-master the " birch " is never thought to have
rendered infamous the unfortunate victim of pedagogue