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 178

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Page 178

Correspondence | John F. Trow & Co.; The Reprint Company | 1866, 1978
Transcription 178
when property in land was acknowledged. We might
infer that God had authorised it. But we are not
reduced to inference or conjecture. At the hazard of
fatiguing you by repetition, I will again refer you to
the ordinances of the Scriptures. Innumerable in-
stances might be quoted where God has given and
commanded men to assume dominion over their fellow
men. But one will suffice. In the twenty-fifth chap-
ter of Leviticus you will find Domestic Slavery—pre-
cisely such as is maintained at this day in these States
--ordained and established by God, in language which
I defy you to pervert so as to leave a doubt on any
honest mind that this institution was founded by Him,
and decreed to be perpetual. I quote the words :
Leviticus, xxv. 44 : "Both thy Bondmen, and thy
Bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the
Heathen [Africans] that are round about you ; of them
ye shall buy Bondmen and Bondmaids."
45 : "Moreover of the children of the strangers
that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and
of their families that are with you which they begat in
your land; [dcscendants of Africans ?] and they shall
be your possession."
46 : " And ye shall take them as an inheritance for
your children after you, to inherit themfor a possession.
THEY SHALL BE YOUR BONDMEN FOREVER."
What human Legislature could make a decree
more full and explicit than this ? What Court of Law
or Chancery could defeat a title to a slave couched in
terms so clear and complete as these ? And this is the
Law of God, whom you pretend to worship, while you
denounce and traduce us for respecting it.
It seems scarcely credible, but the fact is so, that