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 333

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Page 333

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 333
among the States. Let her stay out. I am opposed
to her coming in before she has the requisite popula-
tion ; not because she will be a free State, but because
I fully approved of the prohibitory clause of the con-
ference bill, and for that reason voted against the
admission- of Oregon. Unless in exceptional cases,
such as that of Kansas was last winter, I do not think
that a State should be admitted with less population
than would entitle her to a member of the House. It
is not just to the other States, and is not consonant
with the theory of our government.
But I will not detain you longer with what belongs
to the past. The present and the future are what con-
cerns us most. You desire to know my opinion of the
course the South should pursue under existing circum-
stances. I will give you frankly and fully the results
of my observation and reflection on this all-important
point.
The first question is, do the people of the South
consider the present union of these States as an evil
in itself, and a thing that it is desirable we should get
rid of under all circumstances? There are some, I
know, who do. But I am satisfied that an overwhelm-
ing majority of the South would, if assured that this
government was hereafter to be conducted on the true
principles and construction of the Constitution, de-
cidedly prefer to remain in the Union, rather than
incur the unknown costs and hazards of setting up a
separate government. I think I state what is true'
when I say that, after all the bitterness that has char-
acterized our long warfare, the great body of the
southern people do not seek disunion, and will not
seek it as a primary object, however promptly they
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