Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina >> An Oration on the Life, Character, and Services of John Caldwell Calhoun, Delivered on the 21st November 1850, in Charleston, S.C., at the Request of the City Council >> Page 233

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 233

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 233
tal as the Spirit which has returned to God. How he
performed his part on earth it is ours now to consider.
And drying our unavailing tears, and burying, for the
moment, in the deepest recesses of our bosoms, the
love and reverence we bore him, it is our duty to ana-
lyze his life with the strict impartiality of a distant
posterity ; and to bring the thoughts and actions he
left behind him to the great standard of eternal Truth,
that we may render complete justice to him, and
gather for ourselves and our children the full measure
of the lessons which he taught. The living Man
scorned fulsome adulation ; and his living Spirit, if
permitted to hover over us now, and to hear our voices
and perceive the pulsations of our hearts, will accept
no offering that cannot bear the scrutiny of Time and
the severest test of Truth.
Mr. Calhoun was born in the backwoods of South
Carolina, near the close of the Revolutionary War.
His early nurture was in the wilderness, and during
the heroic age of the Republic. In youth he imbibed
but a scant portion of the lore of books, but his con-
verse with the volume of Nature was unlimited ; and
in the field and forest, by the stream and by the fire-
side, he was in constant intercourse with those rough
but high-strung men, who had challenged oppression
at its first step, and were fresh from the battles in
which they had won their liberties with their swords.
His father, too, was a wise and strong man. For
thirty years in the councils of the State, he was as
familiar with the strifes of . politics, as of arms. In his
rude way he penetrated to fundamentals discovered
that the true foundation of government is the welfare
of the governed ; denounced its excessive action ; and