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 246

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Page 246

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 246
war with England : these were the great and deeply
interesting subjects which absorbed men's minds and
colored all their political opinions. The Constitution
was overlooked and violated by both parties ; and I
believe it may be said that on ,no question of a con-
stitutional character were party lines stringently drawn,
after the election of Mr. Jefferson. Mr. Monroe de-
clared, on his accession, that we were " all Federalists
all Republicans."
It was under these circumstances, and at a period
when, above all others, an ardent and patriotic mind
would be least disposed to contemplate sectional inter-
ests, or stickle about constitutional scruples, that Mr.
Calhoun entered Congress. It was then, indeed, the
imperative duty of the patriot to discard all mere sec-
tional considerations ; and, perhaps, to give the most
liberal construction to the Constitution, to enable the
ship of State to meet and ride out the storms which
threatened to engulph it. The difficulties were im-
mense. Mr. Calhoun, placed at once in a high and
responsible. position, and taking, as was said at the
time, " the war upon his shoulders," was absorbed
during his first three sessions, in devising measures to
meet its pressing exigencies ; and, during the last
three, in endeavoring to dissipate its injurious effects
upon the currency, commerce and industry of the
country. And, considering the history of the past :
the conduct of parties on internal constitutional ques-
tions : the habitual disregard of strict construction by
the Republican leaders : the acquiescence of older and
very able men of all sections in the constitutionality
of the Bank, the Tariff and Internal Improvements, it
is not at all to be wondered at, nor to be severely con-