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 207

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Page 207

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 207
permitted to do so, comprehend ourselves our civili-
zation and our mission. Yet, to fulfil that mission, we
must not only know the past, but we must judge it.
We must mark its errors and its follies, its crimes and
wickedness. We must note where philosophy has
gone astray ; where superstition has betrayed its vota-
ries ; where ambition, bigotry, and ignorance have shed
their blights ; where that wholesome restraint, without
which genuine liberty cannot exist, has been perverted
into oppression, and where that just resistance to
wrongs, which is the inherent right of all, has degen-
erated into factious warfare and ended in anarchy and
ruin. And we must also ascertain what pursuits have
most promoted the enlightened happiness and welfare
of mankind.
Having thus armed ourselves with genuine knowl-
edge, and learned these great and all important les-
sons from the past, we may be prepared to determine
what our real state of progress is, and what shall be
done to carry onward the mighty cause of civilization.
And we cannot fail to perceive at once, and to denounce
the shallow falsehood of those vulgar and narrow, but
too common notions of utility, which, overlooking the
great essential truths that man has passions as well as
wants sentiments and reason as well as appetites and
muscles attribute our present civilization to physical
and experimental philosophy and inductive reasoning
on their results, and teach that the highest objects of
life, the most important duties to posterity are fulfilled
by constructing steam engines, and railroads, and elec-
tric telegraphs. If, indeed, we are constrained to ad-
mit induction and experimental philosophy to be of
paramount importance, it will be as applied on a high-