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 228

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Page 228

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 228
many days. The age which gives birth to the lar-
gest number of such men is always the most enlight-
ened, and the age in which the highest reverence and
most intelligent obedience is accorded to them, al-
ways advances most rapidly in the career of improve-
And let not the ambitious aspirant to enrol himself
with this illustrious band, to fill the throne which
learning " setteth up in the spirits and souls of men,"
and wield its absolute power, be checked, however
humble he may be, however unlikely to attain wealth
or office, or secure homage as a practical man or man
of action, by any fear that true knowledge can be sti-
fled, overshadowed, or compelled to involuntary bar-
renness. Whenever or wherever men meet to delib-
erate or act, the trained intellect will always master.
But for the most sensitive and modest, who seek re-
tirement, there is another and a greater resource. The
public press, accessible to all, will enable him, from
the depths of solitude, to speak trumpet-tongued to
the four corners of the earth. No matter how he
may be situated if he has facts that will bear scru-
tiny, if he has thoughts that burn, if he is sure he has
a call to teach the press is a tripod from which he
may give utterance to his oracles, and if there be
truth in them, the world and future ages will accept
it. It is not Commerce that is King, nor Manufac-
tures, nor Cotton, nor any single Art or Science, any
more than those who wear the baubles-crowns. Know-
ledge is Sovereign, and the Press is the royal seat on
which she sits, a sceptred Monarch. From this she
rules public opinion, and finally gives laws alike to
prince and people laws framed by men of letters ;