Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 6, Supplement >> 62a Hugh Swinton Legare >> Page 7

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Correspondence | U of South Carolina P | 2012
Transcription JANUARY 1838 7
Perhaps, after all, you will be compelled to propose a restoration of the District of Columbia to the original proprietors—thus re-moving the only legitimate bone of contention. They may have the stones of the Capitol for hauling. I am almost persuaded—and I believe I speak for many of our old friends,—that it may be the wisest course to submit to Congress the inquiry, as to what pro-portion of the stock in trade they will give as our going quietly out of the concern. The recommendation of a Commission, seriously to examine into the relative claims to profit and stock, of the slave & non slave holding states, will have an effect upon the latter infinitely beyond any arguments upon the abstract question which the best of us could furnish. As to a dissolution of the Union, I do not much fear it,—and still less should I be apprehensive of its effects upon Southern interests & securities. These states could not be long apart, and mutual necessities which make the inevitable will, and best for us the judgments of the majority would soon bring them together again. The abolitionists are of that green-eyed breed that left England quarreling with their neighbours and with themselves—that quarreled with the Quakers and the witches,—and
on the gentleman from Vermont to ponder well on his course before he ventured to proceed." When Slade attempted to continue with the reading of a paper on slavery in Virginia, the southern delegations walked out to meet in the room of the Committee for the District of Columbia.
The Charleston Courier of Dec. 25 reports Slade's speech and Legare's interruption. A letter in the Courier of Jan. 1 signed "Barnwell" (Simms?) commends the southerners in Congress for their stand against abolitionists, and on Jan. 4 the Courier quotes the Washington correspondent of the Philadelphia Inquirer on "the glorious appeal, recently made by our distinguished and eloquent Representative, in Congress, in behalf of the rights of the South and the duration of the Union, against the criminal fanaticism of their abolition foes": "By permission of Mr. Slade, Mr. Legare indulged a copious flood of remarks, mild, warm, yet persuasive, in themselves, and calculated in an eminent degree, to reach the hearts of all. In the name of God Almighty, in the name of our common country, in the united names of Justice and Mercy, in the name of all that is pure above, and rational below, by all that was sacred and holy, by all that is held dear to man, or worthy of the adoration of the angels, he begged, implored, conjured, the gentleman from Vermont, to abandon the speech he had commenced, and then suffer peace to be restored to the councils of our beloved country.
"Such a burst of passion, such a storm of eloquence, never before escaped the lips of mortal man. St. Augustine at Rome, St. Paul in the pulpit, Brutus before the people, or Marc Anthony in the Market place in the city of the Cesars, in their proudest days—never appeared so imposing and attractive as did Mr. Legare to-day, and the eloquence of the man will never be erased from the tablets of my memory."