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 260

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Page 260

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 260
lous. We were, apparently, on the verge of' civil war,
for South Carolina, on these hostile demonstrations, flew
to arms. It was expected generally that Mr. Calhoun
and .most of the South Carolina Delegation would be
arrested at Washington. But this was not done. A
debate, however, arose in the Senate bn the Bill em-
bracing the recommendations of the President—com-
monly called the Force Bill which will go down to
future times, and live, an imperishable monument of
the patriotism and courage, the wisdom and foresight,
the genius and eloquence of Mr. Calhoun. His speech
is not surpassed by any recorded in modern or in an-
cient times, not even by that of the great Athenian on
the Crown.
This debate can never be read without its being
seen, and felt, that Mr. Webster, his only opponent
worthy to be named, gifted, as he is universally ac-
knowledged to be, with talents of the highest order,
and remarkable even more for his power of reasoning
than for his brilliant declamation, was, on this memo-
rable occasion, a dwarf in a giant's grasp. He was
prostrated on every ground that he assumed. And if
logic, building on undoubted facts, can demonstrate
any moral proposition, then Mr. Calhoun made as clear
as mathemathical solution, his theory of our Govern-
ment and the right of each State to j udge of infrac-
tions of the Constitution, and to determine the mode
and measure of redress When the dust of ages shall
have covered alike the men, the passions, and the
interests of that day, this speech of Mr. Calhoun will
remain to posterity, not merely a triumphant vindica-
tion of the State of South Carolina, but a tower-light
to shed the brightest, purest, and truest rays upon the