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 337

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Page 337

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 337
France, I have no doubt, would gladly see us take this
burthen on our back, if we would secure for them
their debts and a neutral route across the Isthmus.
Such a route we must have for ourselves, and that is
all we have to do with them. If we cannot get it by
negotiation or purchase, we must seize and hold it by
force of arms. The law of nations would justify it,
and it is absolutely necessary for our Pacific relations.
The present condition of - those unhappy States is
certainly deplorable, but the good God holds them in
the hollow of his hand, and will work out their proper
destinies.
We might expand the area of slavery by acquiring
Cuba, where African slavery is already established.
Mr. Calhoun, however, from whose matured opinions,
whether on constitutional principles or southern policy,
it will rarely be found safe to depart, said that Cuba
was " forbidden fruit" to us, unless plucked in an
exigency of war. There is no reasonable ground to
suppose that we can acquire it in any other way ; and
the war that will open to us such an occasion will be
great and general, and bring about results that the
keenest intellect cannot now anticipate. But if we
had Cuba, we could not make more than two or three
slave States there, which would not restore the equili-
brium of the North and South ; while, with the African
slave trade closed, and her only resort for slaves to
this continent, she would, besides crushing out our
whole sugar culture by her competition, afford in a
few years a market for all the slaves in Missouri,
Kentucky and Maryland. She is, notwithstanding the
exorbitant taxes imposed on her, capable now of ab-
sorbing the annual increase of all the slaves on this