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 251

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Page 251

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 251
to comprehend Constitutions, the express purpose of
which is to limit their power, and hedge in their privi-
leges. It is minorities who look closely into Constitu-
tions, for they are their shield and tower of safety.
Mr. Calhoun had, doubtless, read the Constitution
attentively, and masterdd its general principles. But
there were parts he had not scrutinized, and a deep
and vital spirit running through the whole, which he
had never yet imbibed, nor had any of- the younger
men up to that period. In fact, a new kind of con-
stitutional questions now arose or rather the progress
of events had developed new and deeply important
bearings in old questions. It now became manifest,
for the first time since the Constitution had gone into
operation, that it might be so construed as to oppress
and ruin one section, for the benefit of another. And
it was also clearly seen that the South was the doomed
section, and that the chief instrument of destruction
was a Protective Tariff.
It was well known that Mr. Hamilton, as early as
1791, had with great power advocated the protection
of manufactures, and that duties had been imposed
with that view ; but they were so extremely moderate
as to be of little benefit to that interest, and caused no
alarm in others. The duties had been increased under
every subsequent administration, for the sake of rev-
enue, and had been doubled during the war. When,
in 1816, it became necessary to reduce the war duties,
the question arose to what extent they were to be
retained for the protection of manufactures, and some
of them were adjusted d for that purpose, at a high
comparative rate, as I have already stated. These
duties were increased in 1820 ; and, in 1824, the