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 264

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Page 264

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 2 64
whelming and arrogant majority---in the teeth of de-
clarations but a few months old —a full surrender of a
formal and peculiarly solemn act of Congress.
Mr. Calhoun had now wholly devoted himself to
the reformation of the Federal Government, and its
first great step accomplished--although the struggle
had so completely isolated him, that, out of the South
Carolina delegation, he had scarcely a supporter in
either House of Congress he moved onward in his
course, unbent and undismayed. His personal fortunes
were apparently forever shipwrecked,
" But he beat the surges under him, And rode upon their backs."
His broad vision swept the whole circle of the politi-
cal system, and he noted every plague-spot of corrup-
tion on it. He made a powerful attack on Executive
patronage in a Report to the Senate, of which an
immense number of copies were printed by that body.
He struck a fatal blow at Executive usurpation, by
demonstrating that all the discretionary powers are
vested in Congress, and that the other Departments
can do nothing " necessary and proper to carry out"
their constitutional powers, without the previous sanc-
tion of the law. He kept a steady eye on the Surplus
Revenue, which, from various causes, accumulated be-
yond all expectation, notwithstanding the reduction of
duties under the Compromise Act. As this Surplus
must now be temporary, he thought it better to divide
it among the States, than to keep it as a permanent
fund, or to waste it in profligate and corrupting expen-
ditures. It was a cordial maxim with him to keep
the Government poor. History shows that the most