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 218

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Page 218

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 218
ideas of the present and the past, and developed the
tendencies of men's minds in their varying but unre-
mitted efforts to penetrate the future. But here, as in
common history, we find, apart from revelation, but
little new in modern times. The philosophers of
antiquity made the first charts of the human mind,
and so complete were they, that all inquirers since
have been mainly guided by them. The great Sen-
sual school, which has prevailed so extensively for
the last century and a half, and of which Locke
is called the founder, may be referred directly to
Aristotle, who first boldly taught that all our know-
ledge comes through the senses. All other schools
that deserve the name, are based on one portion or
another of the ideal philosophy of Plato. All philo-
sophic theories, even the wildest and most delusive
broodings of the imagination, if made by subtle
reasoning to assume a consistent shape, are replete
with interest and instruction, since they teach the
illusions of the ages and the races, and exhibit to us
the weakness and blindness of our nature, and the
absurdities to which we are forever prone. But the
two great schools of the Lyceum and Academy were
founded on imperishable elements in human nature ;
and, until the second advent shall shed perfect light,
they will after all the wheat is separated from the
chaff after the momentous truths of Revelation and
the mighty facts which time developes, shall have been
recorded over the acknowledged errors of philosophy
still, as they have so long done, divide between them
a vast, unknown, and deeply interesting realm, through
which all must travel, as all have travelled, to whom
have been given reason, feeling, and imagination.