Saturday, April 18, 2009

The South's Greatest 19th Century Author on the Slave Trade

From "Willam Gilmore Simms" by William Trent, Page 262

On February 20,1861... — he (Simms) referred as follows to the question of restricting the slave-trade: " We ought to frame no organic law touching the slave-trade. We may express a sentiment, if you please; but no law. Either negro slavery is a beneficent, merciful, God-chartered institution, or it is not. If beneficent, why limit it? Is it better for the negro to be a barbarian and savage in his own country, than to work out his deliverance [sic] in this ? If better, why be at the pains to cast censure on the morale of the institution ? Regulate the trade, but do not abolish."

In the same letter he asks why the three-fifths rule in regard to the representation of slaves should be adopted, — "a rule forced upon us by a people about to abandon slavery, and, in surrendering to which, we gave them the power to conquer us," — except to conciliate border States like Maryland and Missouri, which will soon hold the relation toward the cotton States, if the latter induce them to enter the new confederacy, which the North formerly held towards the South."

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