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 211

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Page 211

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 211
planned fortifications of the Scioto valley, both of
which mark a degree of progress, to which the red
man has never yet attained.
But still the diligent student will find more in the
authentic annals of man kind than a single life can
compass. And if we desire to continue to go forward
in the career of improvement if we even desire to
remain stationary where we are nay, if we do not
desire to retrograde, the whole intellect of our time
should be earnestly directed and incessantly stimulated
to study the present and the future in the past ; and
to search through all its broad fields after knowledge,
as after hidden treasure.
What is most desired by man is power. " I am
famished," said Jason of Pherae, " for want of empire."
Such, no doubt, has been the secret feeling of every
human heart certainly, of every elevated soul. This
it is that drives us onward in our various pursuits. But
men for the most part follow shadows. The only real
and substantial power, is the power of knowledge.
He who famishes for empire let him grasp at that.
And if he would build for himself a pyramid for fu-
ture ages to behold, he must be sure to lay its foun-
dations upon history history in the broad sense of
Bacon.
I have already indicated that even the useful arts
have a history, reaching back far beyond the era of
this great philosopher, under the shadow of whose
perverted reputation drivelling utilitarianism seeks a
refuge. But whoever would analyze the framework
of modern society, and the political and religious ele-
ments which are its pillars, must study the history of
events of the acts and institutions of our ancestors.