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 250

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Page 250

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 250
its close, that party was dissolved, and the very name
of Federalist almost universally repudiated. The check
of opposition removed, the Republican party—with
but few exceptions fell headlong into the very slough
in which their adversaries had foundered. They had
everything in their own hands, and "feeling power
they forgot right." A new party in the mean time
grew up, which afterwards assumed the name of
" National Republican," and more recently of " Whig,"
absorbing most of the old Federalists, and a portion
of the old Republicans. Of this party was Mr. Adams
a converted Federalist who was elected President
in 1824, by the House of Representatives, through the
instrumentality of Mr. Clay, who became his Secretary
of State. The manner of Mr. Adams' election ; the
extreme Federal doctrines of his first Message ; al,d,
above all, perhaps, the exigencies of opposition,
awakened the genuine Republicans to some conscious-
ness of their great and long cherished errors. They
united on General Jackson as their candidate for the
Presidency. Their manifestoes breathed the true
spirit of the Republicanism of '98 ; and the Constitution
became apparently the favorite study of those who
had come into public life subsequently to that period.
Mr. Calhoun, it is said, avowed that, until this time,
he had never fully analyzed and understood the Con-
stitution. This may be readily believed, without re-
ferring to the instances already mentioned, in which
he had departed from it. He had always been, up to
that period, in the majority. Majorities do not rely
on Constitutions. Their reliance' is on numbers and
the strong arm. It is not to be expected of them
to study, and it seems to be almost impossible for them