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 149

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Page 149

Correspondence | John F. Trow & Co.; The Reprint Company | 1866, 1978
Transcription 149
most commonly death, after summary trial. But armies
and navies you say are indispensable, and must be kept
up at every sacrifice. I answer that they are no more
indispensable, than slavery is to us and to you ; for
you have enough of it in your country, though the form
and name differ from ours.
Depend upon it that many things, and in regard to
our slaves most things, which appear revolting at a
distance, and to slight reflection, would on a nearer
view and impartial comparison with the customs and
conduct of the rest of mankind strike you in a very
different light. Remember that on our estates we dis-
pense with the whole machinery of public police and
public Courts of Justice. Thus we try, decide and ex-
ecute the sentences, in thousands of cases, which in
other countries would go into the Courts. Hence, most
of the acts of our alleged cruelty, which have any foun-
dation in truth. Whether our P4triarchal mode of
administering justice is less humane than the Assizes
can only be determined by careful inquiry and com-
parison. But this is never done by the Abolitionists.
All our punishments are the outrages of " irresponsible
power." If a man steals a pig in England he is trans-
ported—torn from wife, children, parents and sent to
the Antipodes, infamous and an outcast forever, though
probably he took from the superabundance of his
neighbor to save the lives of his famishing little ones.
If one of our well-fed negroes, merely for the sake of
fresh meat, steals a pig, he gets perhaps forty stripes.
If one of your Cottagers breaks into another's house,
he is hung for burglary. If a slave does the same here,
a few lashes, or it may be a few hours in the stocks,
settles the matter. Are our Courts or yours the most h u -