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 209

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Page 209

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 209
ages which have preceded it is, that, while probably
no individual may have greater capacity and knowl-
edge than many of his predecessors, more minds are
actively engaged in penetrating all the mysteries of
creation, and ransacking all the archives of the past ;
while the facilities for disseminating knowledge which
have never existed to any thing like the same extent
before, and which we owe to various discoveries in
the useful arts, spread it with unparalleled rapidity
throughout the world. It strikes everywhere almost
at the same time. Its effects are visible at once. No
longer the night-blooming plant, which produces its
blossom but once an age knowledge now vegetates
like the orange in its genial climes, to which spring-
time and autumn, flowers and fruits are ever present
together. Thus action and re-action are almost instant-
aneous. Only two centuries ago, it required a thirty
years' war to settle the religious and territorial dis-
putes of a single empire. But we have ourselves just
seen all Europe rise in arms ; every government men-
aced, many shaken to the centre, some overthrown ;
and peace and order again apparently established
within the space of twenty months. So swift has
been the communication of intelligence that the peo-
ple of two hemispheres have been actual spectators of
the fields of conflict, and the public opinion of both
has been heard and felt amid the storm of battle.
And the combatants themselves on every side, not
only thus influenced, but guided by the light of all
the experience of other days, have promptly decided
where to concede and how far to resist. How long
this storm, which rose with bodings as terrific as any
that has ever broken on the repose of man, is destined