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 153

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Page 153

Correspondence | John F. Trow & Co.; The Reprint Company | 1866, 1978
Transcription 153
opportunities of attending worship that the whites
have, and besides, special occasions for themselves
exclusively, which they prefer. In many places not
so accessible to clergymen in ordinary, missionaries
are sent, and mainly supported by their masters, for
the particular benefit of the slaves. There are none, I
imagine, who may not, if they like, hear the Gospel
preached at least once a month most of them twice a
month and very many every week. In our thinly set-
tled country the whites fare no better. But in addition
to this, on plantations of any size the slaves who have
joined the church are formed into a class, at the head
of which is placed one of their number, acting as dea-
con or leader, who is also sometimes a licensed preacher.
This class assembles for religious exercises weekly,
semi-weekly, or oftener, if the members choose. In
some parts, also, Sunday schools for blacks are estab-
lished, and Bible classes are orally instructed by dis-
creet and pious persons. Now where will you find a
laboring population possessed of greater religious ad-
vantages than these ? Not in London, I am sure,
where it is known that your churches, chapels, and
religious meeting houses of all sorts, cannot contain
one-half of the inhabitants.
I have admitted, without hesitation, what it, would
be untrue and profitless to deny, that slaveholders
are responsible to the world for the humane treat-
ment of the fellow-beings whom God has placed in
their hands. I think it would be only fair for you to
admit, what is equally undeniable, that every man in
independent circumstances, all the world over, and
every Government, is to the same extent responsible to
the whole human family for the condition of the poor