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 255

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Page 255

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 255
Glorious and not bootless struggle. The Constitution
has not been purified. It never will be ; but its
principles have been made immortal, and will survive
and flourish, though it shall, itself, be torn to atoms
and given to the winds.
The magnitude of Mr. Calhoun's sacrifice may be
more readily appreciated than the difficulties of his
undertaking. The diseases of the body politic had not
only become deeply seated, but were complicated and
peculiar. At the bottom was the now established
doctrine that the majority had the unquestionable and
the indefeasible right to place its own construction on
the Constitution. On this arose not only the Tariff,
but the Internal Improvement System, which had
completely triumphed. Immense sums, the proceeds
of high duties, were annually appropriated for the
benefit of the Tariff States ; while the United States
Bank, by its control over the government funds, con-
centrated the exchanges at the North, and made the
protected section the heart of the financial system of
the Union. Thus was formed a combination of sec-
tional interests, sustained by a sectional majority under
a corrupted Constitution, all bearing with fatal and
relentless aim on the devoted South, while behind
them another question, purely sectional, and having
nearly the same geographical lines, was easily to be
discerned, rearing its monstrous crest, and portending
dangers in comparison with which all others sunk to
insignificance. Among a homogeneous people, majori-
ties and minorities frequently change places. Indeed,
it is natural, and, where discussion and free action are
allowed, it is inevitable that they should. But, where
they are sectional, even more than where they are