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 187

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Page 187

Correspondence | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 187
some of the results that would follow from breaking
the bonds of so many human beings now peacefully
and happily linked into our social system. The tragic
horrors, the decay and ruin that would for years, per-
haps for ages, brood over our land, if it could be
accomplished, I will not attempt to portray. But do
you fancy the blight would, in such an event, come to
us alone ? The diminution of the sugar crop of the
West Indies affected Great Britain only, and there
chiefly the poor. It was a matter of no moment to
Capital, that Labor should have one comfort less. Yet
it has forced a reduction. of the British duty on sugar.
Who can estimate the consequences that must follow
the annihilation of the cotton crop of the slave-holding
States ? I do not undervalue the importance of other
articles of commerce, but no calamity could befall the
world at all comparable to the sudden loss of two
millions of bales of coon annually. From the deserts
of Africa to the Siberian wilds from Greenland to
the Chinese Wall, there is not a spot of earth but
would feel the sensation. The Factories of Europe
would fall with a concussion that would shake down
castles, palaces and even thrones ; while the " purse-
proud, elbowing insolence" of our Northern monopo-
list would disappear forever under the smooth speech
of the peddler, scouring our frontiers for a livelihood,
or the bluff vulgarity of the South Sea whaler, fol-
lowing the harpoon amid storms and shoals. Doubt-
less the Abolitionists think we could grow cotton
without slaves, or that at worst the reduction of the
crop would be moderate and temporary. Such gross
delusions show how profoundly ignorant they are of
our condition here.