Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina >> Speech Delivered at Barnwell C.H., S.C., October 29, 1858 >> Page 326

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 326

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 326
it had long fulfilled its mission ; it had calmed the
troubled waters for a time ; it was obsolete until the
annexation of Texas, when we acceded to the demand
to extend it through the northern deserts of that State.
But when California came California that should have
been and may yet be a slave State and we demanded
to extend that line to the Pacific and thus secure for
the South a portion of the magnificent territory pur-
chased in great part by her blood and treasure, it was
refused. Then that line was blotted out everywhere
and forever. To repeal it was a mere formality. The
Supreme Court has recently pronounced it unconstitu-
tional, and so the repeal was in no respect of any im-
But this bill, with these two features, neither of them
of any practical importance, magnified and exagger-
ated by orators and newspapers into a great Southern
victory, led the South into the delusion that Kansas
might be made a slave 'State, and induced it to join in
a false and useless issue, which has kept the whole
country in turmoil for the last four years, and gave
fresh life and vigor to the Abolition party.
Through the most disgusting as well as tragic scenes
of fraud and force, the Territory of Kansas at length
came before Congress for admission as a State, with
what is known as the Lecompton Constitution, em-
bodying slavery among its provisions. But at the same
time the Convention, by an ordinance, demanded of
the United States some twenty-three millions of acres
of land, instead of the four millions usually allowed
to new States containing public lands. It was almost
certain that a majority of the people of Kansas were
opposed to this constitution, but would not vote on it ;