Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina >> Speech on the Relations of the States, Delivered in the Senate of the United States, May 21, 1860 >> Page 362

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Page 362

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 362
It is said here, by those who advocate this extra-
ordinary doctrine, that adventurers going, for instance,
to Pike's Peak, Nevada, or Arizona, and organizing
for themselves provisional governments, without recog-
nition from this government, would not be entitled to
the rights of sovereigns. To this the Senator from
Mississippi (Mr. Davis) very pointedly and justly an-
swered, that perhaps they were the very people who,
from the absolute necessity of the case, would be justi-
fied in exercising, for a time, sovereign power. And I
will add, that if they could sustain themselves in their
organization against all attacks, they would become
permanently and rightfully sovereign. But that gangs
of adventurers, intruding into a domain that belongs
to others, squatting on its choicest lands, and when
increased to such numbers that they can no longer
keep the peace among themselves, petitioning then to
the agent of the true owners of the soil, and receiving,
at the owners' charge and cost, ample protection, should
immediately thereafter proceed to exercise the high
and supreme sovereign right of deciding what is and
what is not property on that domain, and exercise it in
a way to exclude the people of nearly half the States
from their own Territory, is as monstrous as it is absurd.
It is a proposition not merely anomalous in every fea-
ture, not only unknown to history, but utterly opposed
to truth, to reason, to justice, to honor, and to common
honesty. It is called " squatter sovereignty." The name
describes it. It can never achieve a more respectable
I have endeavored to show, rather by statement
than by argument, that our territorial organizations--'
called governments by courtesy, but which really are