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 243

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Page 243

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription Z43
ment to carry on Internal Improvements. But, if his
opinions may be inferred from those of his most intim-
ate and confidential friends from the celebrated
Message of Mr. Monroe in 1823, and the equally
celebrated speech of Mr. McDuffie shortly after it
must be conceded that, at that time, he believed the
power of the Government to lay taxes, and appropri-
ate the proceeds, was limited only by the inj unction
that they should be applied to the " common defence
and general welfare." This doctrine, in every way so
fatal in our political system, has since received its
severest blows from his hands ; and, in 1838, he
declared that one of the most essential steps to be
taken, in order to restore our Government to its original
purity then the great and sole object of his political
life was to "put a final stop to Internal Improve-
ments by Congress."
With the Session of 1816–17 closed Mr. Calhoun's
services in the House of Representatives. Here also
terminated an epoch in his career ns a Statesman. He
had more than fulfilled the high expectations enter-
tained of him when he entered Congress. His repu-
tation for talent had increased with every intellectual
effort he had made. And his ability—now universally
admitted to be of the very highest order his well-
tried patriotism, his unflinching moral courage, the
loftiness and liberality of all his views and sentiments,
and the immaculate purity of his life, gave him a
position in the public councils and in the opinion of
the country, second to no one of that illustrious band
whom the greatest crisis in affairs since the revolution
--"the second war of Independence" had brought
upon the stage.