Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina >> An Oration Delivered Before the Two Societies of the South Carolina College, on the 4th of Dec., 1849 >> Page 205

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Page 205

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 205
may, for the most part, readily tell who made this
discovery, who was the author of that invention ; but
when we are asked what has brought the mind of
the Caucasian race to its present high condition what
will keep it where it is—what will advance it still
further in its glorious career ; when these searching
and necessary questions, on whose answers depend the
whole solution of the great problem of human pro-
gress, are propounded, we cannot but see how puerile
and absurd it would be to say, it is Physical and
Experimental Philosophy —a philosophy essentially
inert and dead itself, as matter, until life has been
breathed into it by the cultivated intellect and refined
imagination.
If we should say that it has taken all the past to
make the present, we should state but the simple
truth, and fall short of the whole truth if we said any
thing less. It has required every event of the past,
every teaching of philosophy in all its forms every
discovery of science, every work of art every exper-
iment whether in physics or morals, in politics or re-
ligion, on individuals or societies to bring our race
to its present improved and enlightened condition.
Whatever men have done or spoken in the whole tide
of time has produced effects, great or small, good or
evil, which have contributed to bring about the exist-
ing state of things, in the midst of which it has been
our fortune to be placed.
In looking back over the vast field through which
the human family have made (heir long and moment-
ous pilgrimage, it would be impossible to say that
any incident of it could have happened otherwise than
it did, without affecting us. If the route had been