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 151

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Page 151

Correspondence | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 151
hoods, in favor of the leniency and providence of our
management of them. It is also admitted that there
are incomparably fewer cases of insanity and suicide
among them than among the whites. The fact is, that
among the slaves of the African race these things are
almost wholly unknown. However frequent suicide
may have been among those brought from Africa, I can
say that in my time I cannot remember to have known
or heard of a single instance of deliberate self-destruc-
tion, and but one of suicide at all. As to insanity, I
have seen but one permanent case of it, and that twenty
years ago. It cannot be doubted that among three
millions of people there must be some insane and some
suicides ; but I will venture to say that more cases of
both occur annually among every hundred thousand
of the population of Great Britain than among all our
slaves. Can it be possible, then, that they exist in that
state of abject misery, goaded by constant injuries, out-
raged in their affections and worn down with hard-
ships, which the Abolitionists depict, and so many ig-
norant and thoughtless persons religiously believe ?
With regard to the separation of husbands and
wives, parents and children, nothing can be more un-
true than the inferences drawn from what is so con-
stantly harped on by Abolitionists. Some painful in-
stances perhaps may occur. Very few that can be pre-
vented. It is and it always has been an object of prime
consideration with our slaveh olders to keep families
together. Negroes are themselves both perverse and
comparatively indifferent about this matter. It is a
singular trait, that they almost invariably prefer form-
ing connections with slaves belonging to other masters,
and at some distance. It is therefore impossible to