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 169

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Page 169

Correspondence | John F. Trow & Co.; The Reprint Company | 1866, 1978
Transcription 169
the " free" States, or to the western wilderness, mak-
ing their tracks by their depredations and their corpses.
Many would roam wild in our "Big woods." Many
more would seek the recesses of our swamps for secure
covert. Few, very few of them could be prevailed on
to do a stroke of work, none to labor continuously,
while a head of cattle, sheep or swine could be found
in our ranges, or an ear of corn nodded in our aban-
doned fields. These exhausted, our folds and poultry
yards, barns and store-houses would become their prey.
Finally, our scattered dwellings would be plundered,
perhaps fired and the inmates murdered. How long
do you suppose that we could bear these things ? How
long would it be before we should sleep with rifles at
our bedside, and never move without one in our hands ?
This work once begun, let the story of our British
ancestors and the aborigines of this country tell the
sequel. Far more rapid however, would be the catas-
trophe. " Ere many moons went by," the African
race would be exterminated, or reduced again to sla-
very, their ranks recruited, after your example, by
fresh " Emigrants" from their father land.
Is timely preparation and gradual emancipation
suggested to avert these horrible consequences ?
I
thought your experience in the west Indies had at
least done so much as to explode that idea. If it
failed there, much more would it fail here, where the
two races, approximating to equality in numbers, are
daily and hourly in the closest contact. Give room
for but a single spark of real jealousy to be kindled
between them, and the explosion would be instanta-
neous and universal. It is the most fatal of all fal-
lacies to suppose that these two races can exist to-