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 223

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 223

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 223
It is no paradox to say that permanence that perma-
nence which is created by a just, and wholesome and
somewhat stringent restraint of action--is the starting
point of genuine progress, national and individual, and
marks every footprint in the true line of march. That
too restless spirit, which, in our day, sends almost half
mankind roving to and fro upon the earth, and is
breeding rash and rapid change through all its bor.
ders, can scarcely be the Spirit of Progress. If God,
in his providence, intends it to prevail, it would rather
seem that He means it as the instrument for breaking
up the superstructure of our present civilization, as
He did that of antiquity, to establish a broader and
purer system in His own good time.
The practical man—who is, on the other hand,
with no uncommon inconsistency, held up to admira-
tion—is the type not merely of permanence, but of
absolute fixidity. The truly practical man is undoubt-
edly the greatest of all men. To thorough knowledge
he adds well directed enterprise ; and works earnestly,
manfully, and hopefully, for high and noble ends, with
little thought of consequences to himself. He seeks
no selfish reward, and immediate and personal success
are no necessities to him. Socrates was a practical
man, though he failed in his time to crush the Soph-
ists, and forfeited his life by his attempt to overthrow
the popular superstitions of Athens. Archimedes was
a practical man, though he could not save Syracuse,
and was slain while solving a problem amid the sack
of the city. Galileo was a practical man, though im-
prisoned and persecuted for his discoveries, and com-
pelled to renounce them. Bacon, too, was a practical
man, though he fell from his high office and threw