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 225

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 225

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 225
prey to conquest, and is at length perishing miserably
under a foreign yoke. China has been for ages ab-
sorbing the precious metals of the world in exchange
for luxuries that have been consumed ; is the most
populous now, and was once the most advanced nation
of the earth. But China has been conquered too, is
now insulted and trampled on within her own borders
~y invaders from the antipodes, and has made little or
no progress for thousands of years. For its individ-
ual possessor wealth will secure comfort, will com-
mand the limited service of others, may win admira-
tion from the weak, and may purchase the homage of
parasites and flatterers. But all this confers no real
power and little happiness, since it scarcely compen-
sates for the cares and anxieties which riches impose,
and the envy and hostility which they provoke.
Wealth, as an instrument in the grasp of genius, learn-
ing and enterprise, may be made the means of accom-
plishing wonders. It may give vast power, and be-
come a most effective agent in promoting the welfare
and improvement of mankind. But then all that is
achieved by it, must be referred directly to the wis-
dom which controls and designates its uses. In this
the actual power resides, and no rational happiness
can be derived from any other than a wise employ-
ment of wealth.
Bacon said that " men in great places were thrice
servants : servants of the State, servants of fame, and
servants of the people," and moreover that " the ri-
sing into place is laborious, the standing slippery, and
the downfall a regress, or an eclipse at least." These
are truths familiar to observers in all times, and per-
haps more frequently exemplified in our own than any