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 148

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 148

Correspondence | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 148
ire ; nor did Solomon in his wisdom dream that he was
counselling parents to debase their offspring, when he
exhorted them not spoil the child by sparing the rod.
Pardon me for recurring to the now exploded ethics of
the Bible. Custom, which, you will perhaps agree,
makes most things in this world good or evil, has re-
moved all infamy from the punishment of the lash to
the slave. Your blood boils at the recital of stripes
inflicted on a man ; and you think you should be fren-
zied to see your own `child flogged. Yet see how com-
pletely this is ideal, arising from the fashions of society.
You doubtless submitted to the rod yourself, in other
years, when the smart was perhaps as severe as it would
be now ; and you have never been guilty of the folly
of revenging yourself on the preceptor who in the plen-
itude of his " irresponsible power " thought proper to
chastise your son. So it is with the -negro, and the
negro father.
As to chains and .irons, they are rarely used ; never,
I believe, except in cases of running away. You will
admit that if we pretend to own slaves they must not
be permitted to abscond whenever they see fit ; and
that if nothing else will prevent it these means must
be resorted to. See the inhumanity necessarily arising
from slavery, you will exclaim. Are such restraints
imposed on no other class of people given no more of-
fence ? Look to your army and navy. If your seamen,
impressed from their peaceful occupations, and your
soldiers, recruited at the gin shops both of them as
much kidnapped as the most unsuspecting victim of the
Slave Trade, and doomed to a far more wretched fate
if these men manifest a propensity to desert, the
heaviest manacles are their mildest punishment: it is