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 168

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Page 168

Correspondence | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 168
jured Africa ;" but, while agreeing with Lord Stowell
that " villeinage decayed," and admitting that Slavery
might do so also, I think I am fully justified by passed
and passing events in saying as Mr. Grosveno1' said of
the Slave Trade, that its abolition is " impossible."
You are greatly mistaken, however, if you think
that the consequences of emancipation here, would be
similar and no more injurious than those which fol-
lowed from it in your little sea-girt West India Islands,
where nearly all were blacks. The system of slavery
is not in " decay" with us. It flourishes in full and
growing vigor. Our country is boundless in extent.
Dotted here and there with villages and fields, it is
for the most part covered with immense forests and
swamps of almost unknown size. In such a country,
with a people so restless as ours, communicating of
course some of that spirit to their domestics, can you
conceive that anything short of the power of the
master over the slave, could confine the African race,
notoriously idle and improvident, to labor on our
plantations ? Break this bond, but for a day, and these
plantations will be solitudes. The negro loves change,
novelty and sensual excitements of all kinds, when
awake. "Reason and order," of which Mr. WILBER-
FORCE said "liberty was the child," do not character-
ize him. Released from his present obligations his
first impulse would be to go somewhere. And here
no natural boundaries would restrain him. At first they
would all seek the towns, and rapidly accumulate in
squalid groups upon their outskirts. Driven thence
by the " armed police " which would immediately
spring into existence, they would scatter in all direc-
tions. Some bodies of them might wander towards