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 247

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Page 247

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 247
destined, that in the universal confusion, and the burn-
ing glow of his broad patriotism, so fanned by current
events, he should fail to look at the sectional bearing
of propositions, or even of constitutional constructions.
'No man not one in our wide confederacy North or
South foresaw what was coming out of the convul-
sions of the war, and the measures adopted to ease
down the country to a state of peace, and prepare her
for a prosperous career, under circumstances so greatly
different as were those of 1815—17 from any she had
yet encountered. Carpings and croakings there were,
of course, and prophecies of evil in abundance. But
the results baffled all predictions : or at least verified
so little of what any had foretold, as .to place the
wisest seer on no higher tripod than that of a lucky
fortune-teller. Mr. Calhoun never croaked or carped.
And if he erred in straying from the narrow, but only
true path of rigid constitutional construction, he may
well be forgiven for following precedents that were
almost consecrated the examples of nearly all with
whom he acted and the impulses of a generous; con-
fiding, and wide-extended love of country.
Soon after Mr. Monroe's accession to the Presidency,
Mr. Calhoun received the appointment of Secretary
of War, and took his seat in the Cabinet in December,
1817, where he remained until March, 182 5. This
period embraced the second epoch of his career. The
future biographer will find in it much that will be
interesting to relate, but, on an occasion like this, it
may be passed over without any minute examination.
From the commencement of the war it had been
discovered that the internal organization of the War
Department was so defective, that it was impossible to