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 345

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Page 345

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 345
and controlling influences of modern civilizAtion ; and
who is not now prepared to maintain it at every
hazard. Such have been for us the happy results of
this abolition discussion. So far, our gain has been
immense from this contest, savage and malignant as it
has been. Nay, we have solved already the question
of emancipation by this re-examination and explosion
of the false theories of religion, philanthropy and
political economy which embarrassed our fathers in
their day. With our convictions and our strength,
emancipation here is simply an impossibility to man,
whether by persuasion, purchase or coercion. The
rock of Gibraltar does not stand so firm on its base as
our slave system. For a quarter of a century it has
borne the brunt of a hurricane as fierce and pitiless as
ever raged. At the North and in Europe they cried
" havoc," and let loose upon us all the dogs of war.
And how stands it now ? Why, in this identical
quarter of a century our slaves have doubled in num-
bers, and each slave has more than doubled in value.
The very negro who, as a prime laborer, would have
brought four hundred dollars in 1828, would now,
with thirty more years upon him, sell for eight hun-
dred dollars. What does all this mean ? Why, that
for ourselves we have settled this question of emancipa-
tion against all the world, in theory and practice, and
the world must accept our solution. The only inquiry
is, how long this new found superstition will survive,
and how far it may carry its votaries elsewhere ?
What changes in production, in commerce, society or
government, it may effect ? For production, commerce,
society and government, must yield and change
whenever they come in contact with the great funda-