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 274

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Page 274

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 274
tary, but offered and urged on him an Embassy to
England, to continue that negotiation. But believing
his post of duty was, if anywhere, on this side of the
Atlantic, he declined the Embassy, and returned once
more to his Plantation.
In the hands of Mr. Calhoun's successor, the Oregon
negotiations completely failed. The President was
pledged by his party to claim the whole of the Terri-
tory, and the fulfilment of that pledge was now de-
manded. Should Congress sustain the claim, war was
inevitable, and, as the Republican Party had majorities
in both Houses, there seemed to be no escape. The
whole country became alarmed. In this exciting crisis,
the eyes of all parties, all interests, all classes, were
turned instinctively to Mr. Calhoun the pilot who
had weathered so many storms the sagacious and pa-
triotic Statesman who had been found equal to every
emergency. His return to the Federal Councils was
called for from every quarter, and his successor in the
Senate, Judge Huger, with a rare magnanimity, offered
to give way for him. There was no resisting such ap-
peals, and Mr. Calhoun returned to Washington late
in December, 1846. When he took his seat, it was so
fully understood that the Executive, backed by a ma-
jority in Congress, was resolved to assert our right to
the whole of Oregon, and to attempt to take immedi-
ate possession of it, that the Opposition was paralyzed
in despair. He did not lose a moment in taking a
clear, decided, and open stand against the Administra-
tion he had contributed so largely to bring into power.
He rallied the dispirited Opposition, composed chiefly
of Whigs, with whom he had lately been so violently
contending. He appealed to the country against the