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 340

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Page 340

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
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But it is said that with a fixed and overwhelming
free State majority against us in this Union, we must,
in spite of all our natural advantages, dissolve the
connection to insure our present safety and accomplish
our proper destiny. Perhaps so. But permit me to
suggest, not yet. The dissolution of the Union is an
alternative that we have always at command, and for
which we should be ever ready; but a peaceful, pros-
perous and powerful people may not challenge Fate a
day too soon. The question still remains, can the free
States be brought to concur permanently in any line
of policy that will subvert the Constitution, and
seriously damage the South in this confederacy ? I do
not believe that they can. Reckless as is political
ambition, and insane as fanaticism ever is, I have no
idea that the free States can be consolidated on the
wild project of ruling the slaveholders by mere brute
numbers, either through the ballot-box or by force of
arms ; whether to emancipate our slaves, or strip us of
the fruits of their labor; or to govern us with the
mildness and paternal care due to inferiors. The ner-
vous in the South, and the abolition demagogues of
the North, may believe it. But when it comes to the
actual test, if neither sober sense nor patriotism should
prevail, the sense of danger and the love of cotton and
tobacco would, with our northern brethren, in every
crisis over-ride their love of negroes. On this I think
you may depend, despite the insolent boasts of the
abolitionists of what they will do when they get the
government in their hands. The North has only to
be made clearly sensible how far she can go, and what
the South will not submit to. She will not trespass
beyond that, but will content herself with the glory