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 276

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Page 276

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 276
extensive provisions for its vigorous prosecution. Mr.
Calhoun did not hesitate to take his stand against the
war. He condemned the invasion of disputed terri-
tory ; but as it had been done and battles fought, he
was for voting such supplies as would enable our army
to maintain its position, and without recognizing a state
of war, to renew negotiations. But he stood alone
literally alone abandoned by all parties in the Sen-
ate. Vet he did not waver. He knew that peace was
the fundamental policy of our country. That war was
disastrous to all its real interests, and was only to be
waged to maintain that most vital of all interests-its
honor. And that could never be involved in a contest
with so weak a power as Mexico. He saw, too, that
all his hopes of reforming the Government and resus-
citating the Constitution must vanish when the sword
was drawn. Other fatal consequences were also appar-
ent to his keen vision. But he could not see all. No
human sagacity could penetrate them then, or can pen-
etrate them now. Mr. Calhoun declared that though
he foresaw much evil, for the first time in his whole
public life, he could not form a rational conjecture of
the end that an impenetrable curtain had fallen be-
twixt him and the future. For the first time, too, he
was sunk in gloom. And that great heart, which had
never before felt fear, was stricken with terror almost
with despair. Hostilities were carried on with vigor.
Victory crowned every effort of our arms ; and an im-
perishable wreath of military glory was won for our
flag South Carolina contributing some of the bright-
est and most unfading flowers. Mr. Calhoun steadily
interposed, on every opportune occasion, to arrest the
progress of the war, brilliant as it was ; and hailed