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 171

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Page 171

Correspondence | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 171
ophy, religion, government, science, arts, commerce,
nothing that has been is to be allowed to be. Conser-
vatism in any form is scoffed at. The slightest taint
of it is fatal. Where will all this end ? If you can
tolerate one ancient maxim let it be that the best cri-
terion of the future is the past. That, if anything, will
give .a clue. And, looking back only through your
time, what was the earliest feat of this same Transcen-
dentalism ? '1 he rays of the new Moral Drummond
Light were first concentrated to a focus at Paris, to
illuminate the Universe. In a twinkling it consumed
the political, religious, and social systems of France.
It could not be extinguished there until literally
drowned in blood. And then from its ashes rose that
supernatural man, who for twenty years kept affrighted
Europe in convulsions. Since that time its scattered
beams, refracted by broader surfaces, have nevertheless
continued to scathe wherever they have fallen. What
political structure, what religious creed, but has felt
the galvanic shock, and even now trembles to its foun-
dations ? Mankind, still horror-stricken by the catas-
trophe of France, have shrunk from rash experiments
upon social systems. But they have been practicing
in the East, around the Mediterranean, and through
the West India Islands. And growing confident, a
portion of them seem desperately bent on kindling
the all-devouring flame in the bosom of our land. Let
it once again blaze up to heaven and another cycle of
blood and devastation will dawn upon the world. For
our own sake, and for the sake of those infatuated men
who are madly driving on the conflagration ; for the
sake of human nature, we are called on to- strain every
nerve to arrest it. And be assured our efforts will be