Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina >> Speech on the Admission of Kansas, Under the Lecompton Constitution, Delivered in the Senate of the United States, March 4, 1858 >> Page 318

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Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 318
ever enjoyed upon the face of the earth. Society
precedes government ; creates it, and ought to control
it ; but as far as we can look back in historic times
we find the case different ; for government is no sooner
created than it becomes too strong for society, and
shapes and moulds, as well as controls it. In later
centuries the progress of civilization and of intelli-
gence has made the divergence so great as to produce
civil wars and revolutions ; and it is nothing now but
the want of harmony between governments and soci-
eties which occasions all the uneasiness and trouble
and terror that we see abroad. It was this that
brought on the American Revolution. We threw off
a Government not adapted to our social system, and
made one for ourselves. The question is, how far have
we succeeded ? The South, so far as that is concerned,
is satisfied, harmonious, and prosperous, but demands
to be let alone.
In all social systems there must be a class to do
the menial duties, to perform the drudgery of life.
That is, a class requiring but a low order of intellect
and but little skill. Its requisites are vigor, docility,
fidelity. Such a class you must have, or you would
not have that other class which leads progress, civiliza-
tion, and refinement. It constitutes the very_ mud-s ll
of society and of political government ; and you might
as well attempt to build a house in the air, as to build
either the one or the other, except on this mud-sill.
Fortunately for the South, she found a race adapted
to that purpose to her hand. A race inferior to her
own, but eminently qualified in temper, in vigor, in
docility, in capacity to stand the climate, to answer all
her purposes We use them for our purpose, and call