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 177

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Page 177

Correspondence | John F. Trow & Co.; The Reprint Company | 1866, 1978
Transcription becomes a putrid mass. Domestic slavery is not so
universally understood, nor can it make such a direct
appeal to individuals or society beyond its pale. Here,
prejudice and passion have room to 'sport at the ex-
pense of others. They may be excited and urged to
dangerous action, remote from the victims they mark
out. They may, as they have done, effect great mis-
chief; but they cannot be made to maintain, in the
long run, dominion over reason and common sense, nor
ultimately put down what God has ordained.
You deny, however, that slavery is sanctioned by
God, and your chief argument is that when he gave to
Adam dominion over the fruits of the earth and the
animal creation he stopped there. "He never gave
him any further right over his fellow men." You
restrict the descendants of Adam to a very short list
of rights and powers, duties and responsibilities, if
you limit them solely to those conferred and enjoined
in the first chapter of Genesis. It is very obvious
that in this narrative of the creation Moses did not
have it in view to record any part of the Law in-
tended for the government of man in his social or
political state. Eve was not yet created ; the expul-
sion had not taken place ; Cain was unborn ; and no
allusion whatever is made to the manifold decrees of
God to which these events gave rise. The only serious
answer this argument deserves, to say what is so mani-
festly true, that God's not expressly giving to Adam
" any right over his fellow men" by no means ex-
cluded Him from conferring that right on his descend-
ants; which he in fact did. We know that Abraham,
the chosen one of God, exercised it and held property
in his fellow man, and even anterior to the period