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 150

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Page 150

Correspondence | John F. Trow & Co.; The Reprint Company | 1866, 1978
Transcription 150
mane ? If slavery were not in question you would doubt-
less say ours is mistaken lenity. Perhaps it often is ;
and slaves too lightly dealt with sometimes grow daring.
Occasionally, though rarely, and almost always in con-
sequence of excessive indulgence, an individual rebels.
This is the highest crime he can commit. It is treason.
It strikes at the root of our whole system. His life is
justly forfeited, though it is never intentionally taken,
unless after trial in our public Courts. Sometimes,
however, in capturing, or in self defence, he is unfortu-
nately killed. A legal investigation always follows.
But, terminate as it may, the Abolitionists raise a hue
and cry, and another " shocking case " is held up to the
indignation of the world by tender-hearted male and
female Philanthropists, who would have thought all
right had the master's throat been cut, and would have
triumphed in it.
I cannot go into a.detailed comparison between the
penalties inflicted on a slave in our Patriarchal Courts,
and those of the Courts of Sessions to which freemen
are sentenced in all civilized nations ; but I know well
that if there is any fault in our criminal code, it is that
of excessive mildness.
Perhaps a few general facts will best illustrate the
treatment this race receives at our hands. It is ac-
knowledged that it increases at least as rapidly as the
white. I believe it is an established law, that popu-
lation thrives in proportion to its comforts. But when
it is considered that these people are not recruited by
immigration from abroad as the whites are, and that
they are usually settled on our richest and least healthy
lands, the fact of their equal comparative increase and
greater longevity, outweighs a thousand Abolition false-