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 248

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Page 248

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 248
conduct its affairs with due efficiency. It was in vain
that three different Secretaries were in succession at
its head during the war, and a fourth appointed at its
close. When Mr. Calhoun took charge of it, nearly
three years after, he found unsettled accounts to the
amount of forty millions, and the greatest confusion in
every branch. In a remarkably short period he in-
troduced a perfect organization, in which all the details
were so thoroughly and judiciously systematized, that
no material changes have been made to this day. He
reduced the unsettled accounts to a few millions, which
were not susceptible of liquidation, and, against inces-
sant. and powerful opposition, curtailed the discre-
tionary expenses nearly one half, while, at the same
time, the efficiency of the army was greatly increased,
and his own popularity in it grew with every reform,
and to the last day of his administration.
Many of Mr. Calhoun's best friends had advised
him not to accept this appointment. They knew
the apparently insuperable difficulties of reorganizing
that Department, which had baffled so many able men.
They thought that his mind was of a cast too abstract
and metaphysical to cope with the practical details of
the Military System, and were apprehensive lest his
brilliant reputation might be clouded. They did not
remember that if real genius is not universal, both war
and politics are but the concretes of Philosophy that,
in ancient times; these pursuits were almost invariably
united ; that the greatest of metaphysicians was the
founder of the science of Politics, and trained the
greatest warrior of antiquity ; that Bacon presided in
the House of Lords ; that Carnot " organized victory ; "
that, in short, though politicians and soldiers may