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 281

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Page 281

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 281
entire emancipation of all the African race in the
United States, without removal and without compen-
sation to their owners, since removal or compensation
are known to be utterly impossible. They proclaimed
that by the laws of nature all men are free and equal ;
and that African Slavery is a social and political evil,
and a deadly sin against God. Mr. Calhoun con-
tended that, if our Slavery was a social evil and sin,
we alone would be the sufferers and should be allowed
to deal with it ourselves. Politically he claimed for
it only the fulfilment of the solemn guaranties of the
Constitution. But he thought it could not be a sin,
since God had expressly ordained it ; nor an evil, since
both the white and black races had improved in
every point of view under the system. He scouted the
idea of natural freedom and equality. Men were born
helpless, and owed life, liberty and everything to
those who nurtured them. A state of complete natu-
ral liberty was inconceivable. Even the wildest sav-
ages placed severe restraints upon it. And so far
from men being created equal, no two men, and in
fact no two things, were ever yet created precisely
equal. Inequality is the fundamental law of nature,
and hence alone the harmony of the universe. But
it was useless to attempt to reason with enthusiastic
Abolitionists, or with the masses of the non-Slave-
holders, equally bigoted in their abstract notions of
morality, freedom and equality. It was still more
useless to attempt to reason with politicians who ex-
isted only in the breath of such a people. A majority
influenced by such ideas, and led on, some by a fanat-
ical zeal to enforce what they believed to be truth,
others by the love of power, and all by the hope of