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 284

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Page 284

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 284
the almost total exclusion of all other business. Early
in the last Session it came up on the proposition to
admit California into the Union. A band of adven-
turers having assembled in that distant region in un-
known numbers, and, to a great extent, of unknown
origin scarcely any with legal titles to lands, and still
fewer with fixed residences after calling a Conven-
tion without proper authority, formed a government
and demanded admission, as a Sovereign State, into
the Union, with boundaries embracing the whole Paci-
fic Coast to Oregon, and a Constitution, which, for the
express purpose of securing the support of the non-
Slaveholding majority, prohibited Slavery.
Mr. Calhoun's health, which had been failing
rapidly for a few years past, had at length become so
feeble that it was evident to his friends he could not
long survive ; and during the previous summer it was
considered scarcely possible that he could return again
to Washington. To almost any other man it would
have been impossible. But when he saw the great
battle which he had so long led had reached, as he
believed, its final crisis ; and that the fate of his coun-
try hung on the momentous movement which was
about to be made, he discarded all thoughts of self-
preservation, and hastened to the field, resolved to
spend his last breath in striking one more blow for the
great cause of the Souththe cause of Justice and of
the Constitution.
Arrived at Washington, his health was so feeble
that he was soon compelled to remain most of his
time at his lodgings, and went only occasionally to the
Senate. In the mean while the conflict went fiercely
on ; and numerous plans for adjusting it were set