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 185

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Page 185

Correspondence | John F. Trow & Co.; The Reprint Company | 1866, 1978
Transcription 185
their families in what comfort they are able? The
efforts of mere physical labor seldom suffice to provide
more than a livelihood. And it is a well known and
shocking fact, that while few operatives in Great
Britain succeed in securing a comfortable living, the
greater part drag out a miserable existence, and sink
at last under absolute want. Of what avail is it that
you go through the form of paying them a pittance of
what you call " wages," when you do not, in return for
their services, allow them what alone they ask and
have a just right to demand enough to feed, clothe
and lodge them, in health and sickness, with reasonable
comfort. Though we do not give " wages" in money,
we do this for our slaves, and they are therefore better
rewarded than. yours. It is the prevailing vice and
error of the age, and one from which the Abolitionists,
with all their saintly pretensions, are far from being
free, to bring everything to the standard of money.
You make gold and silver the great test of happiness.
The American slave must be wretched indeed, because
he is not compensated for his services in cash. It is
altogether praiseworthy to pay the laborer a shilling
a day and let him starve on it. To supply all his
wants abundantly, and at all times, yet withhold from
him money, is among " the most reprobated crimes."
The fact cannot be denied, that the mere laborer is
now, and always has been, everywhere that barbarism
has ceased, enslaved. Among the innovations of
modern times following " the decay of villeinage," has
been the creation of a new system of slavery. The primi-
tive and patriarchal, which may also be called the
sacred and natural system, in which the laborer is
under the personal control of a fellow-being, endowed