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 214

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Page 214

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 214
more. And here opens a chapter, which, perhaps
above all others, requires the attention of those who
who would fully understand our present condition.
Religion has exercised more influence over the tempo-
ral affairs of man than all other causes combined, and,
since the foundation of Christianity, no event has had
greater influence on civilization than the Reformation.
For more than a century after it broke out, religious
wars and controversies assaulted every tradition and
opinion, and shook every institution of the times.
And from these wars and controversies, sprung mod-
ern civil liberty ; all sides contributing in turn to its
development. Suarez boldly announced the Jefferso-
nian creed, that all men were born equal, and that all
political power was derived from the people. Bu-
chanan, anticipating Locke, declared that government
was founded on a voluntary compact ; and honest John
Bodin, as far in advance of Priestly and Bentham as
he was elevated above the whole utilitarian school,
proclaimed that the object of political association was
the greatest good of the whole. These doctrines, pro-
mulgated before Bacon's era, first took deepest root in
England, and soon bred that terrible conflict, in which,
for a time, the people trod rough shod upon kings and
nobles ; and finally ended in making Great Britain
what she is to our day, a Republic, governed under
'Monarchical forms. Our American forefathers left
the old world in the very heat of this great struggle,
and brought with them those religious and political
principles, which have contributed much, very much
more than any physical philosophy, or utilitarian code,
to make us what we are.
But the earnest inquirer into our present state of