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 180

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Page 180

Correspondence | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 180
by Christianity," any more than slavery can be by
your party. Although Christ came "not to destroy
but fulfil the Law," he nevertheless did formally
abrogate some of the ordinances promulgated. by
Moses, and all such as were at war with his mission of
" peace and good will on earth." He "specifically"
annuls, for instance, one " barbarous custom " sanc-
tioned by those ordinances, where he says : " ye have
heard that it bath been said, an eye for an eye and a
tooth for a tooth ; but I say unto you that ye resist
not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on the right
cheek. turn him the other, also." Now,, in the time of
Christ, it was usual for masters to put their slaves to
death on the slightest provocation. They even killed
and cut them up to feed their fishes. He was un-
doubtedly aware of these things, as well as of the
Law and Commandment I have quoted. He could
only have been restrained from denouncing them, as
he did the " lex talionis," because be knew that, in
despite of these barbarities, the institution of slavery
was at the bottom a sound and wholesome as well as
lawful one. Certain it is, that in His wisdom and
purity he did not see proper to interfere with it. In
your wisdom, however, you make the sacrilegious at-
tempt to overthrow it.
You quote the denunciation of Tyre and Sidon,
and say that " the chief reason given by the Prophet
Joel for their destruction, was, that they were notori-
ous beyond all others for carrying on the Slave Trade."
I am afraid you think we have no Bibles in the slave
States, or that we are unable to read them. I cannot
otherwise account for your making this reference, un-
less indeed your own reading is confined to an expur-