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 212

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Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 212
If he cannot trace the long wanderings of the grim
Teuton, from his Bactrian cradle, through the deep
forests and shaking morasses of the North, to the mo-
ment when he burst from darkness upon astonished
Europe, he may, at least, take him up from the time
when Alaric led him to the sack of Rome, overturned
the decayed civilization of antiquity and rescued
Christianity from a race, which, having failed to de-
stroy it by persecution, would have entombed it with
itself. Here commences modern history and Teutonic
ascendency, though four dark and agonizing centuries
elapsed before their birth can be said to have been
fully accomplished ; centuries of incessant action and
experiment, in which a grand and terrible philosophy
was at work whose crucibles were heated by human
passions, whose universal solvent was human blood,
and whose mortua capites were the wreck of thrones
and dynasties. If little that was great or lasting was
established in this period, much was tried, and the re-
sults, both good and evil, contributed invaluable expe-
rience. The broader and milder light of the civiliza-
tion to which he gave consistency, shines upon the
era of the gigantic Charlemagne ; and we clearly per-
ceive that, when his powerful arm was withdrawn
from it, the great experiment of Teutonic Monarchy
failed in the hands of his successors, overwhelmed by
the Feudal spirit of our ancestors. That spirit had
yet to accomplish its mission of consecrating the he-
reditary principle, on the basis of indefeasible fealty,
and compensating protection, from generation to gen-
eration, of the rulers and the ruled ; and to foster still
further, a lofty sense of personal dignity and honor,
while it promoted patriotism, social sympathy, learn-