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 213

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Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 213
ing and religion. It is an invaluable lesson to us a
lesson which even to this day has not been fully
learned in Europe that this same Feudal system
slowly and naturally as it had been builded up, rich
as were its fruits, indestructible as seemed the well
wrought chain, which, stretching from prince to peas-
ant, and penetrating all intermediate ranks, bound the
whole structure of society in links of solid iron fell
beneath the bloodless blows of a despised Bourgeasie.
Two centuries of fanatical crusading had loosened
many rivets, by sweeping off the flower of its chiv-
alry ; while the new and vast channels of commerce
which those crusades opened and put in motion, and
the golden flood of inestimable learning which poured
in through them from the wise, old, superannuated
East, awakened the middle classes to a knowledge of
their rights, and gave them strength to strike these
blows. And then commenced afresh the struggle and
the movement, into which new and potent elements
were introduced. The strife of knowledge was min-
gled with the strife of arms, and commerce and art
unfurled their standards in the field. Schools, col-
leges and universities soon flourished, and broad and
stable monarchies were founded. Philosophy and let-
ters, inventions and discoveries, manufactures and
trade, sound governments and the refining arts, all ad-
vanced, side by side, in the great march of progress.
Religion lagged behind. The illustrious foster-mother
saw all her glorious children pass before her, till Lu-
ther rose and broke the fetters that impeded her. The
clogging abuses of the Old Church were in a measure
reformed, and a New Church sprang into existence,
which has proved the prolific parent of a hundred