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 286

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 286

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 286
if something decisive was not now done to arrest it
the South would be forced to choose between Eman-
cipation and Secession." He denounced the childish
idea of preserving the Union by continually crying
" Union ! Union ! the glorious Union ! " and expressed
his conviction that there was no other way to save it,
but by an amendment to the Constitution, " which
would restore to the South in substance the power she
possessed of protecting herself, before the equilibrium
between the two sections was destroyed by the action
of the Government."
No speech ever pronounced in Congress produced a
more profound sensation there and in the country than
this did. The deep and incalculable importance of the
questions in issue ; and the fact that this was generally
regarded as the last effort of an illustrious statesman,
who had, for almost half a century, led in the councils
of the Confederacy, scarcely heightened the intensity
of the interest created by the novel and startling, yet
sound and prophetic views which had been developed
with a force and clearness rarely equalled. Mr. Cal-
houn, himself, intended it rather as a preliminary
speech. He still hoped that he could, by his iron will,
baffle and repel the advances of disease, and that God
would spare him to consummate this last task. Ile
had only laid down his groundwork, and reserved am-
ple materials for reply, after `all had exhibited their
positions, and his had been sufficiently attacked. He
did not even announce what amendments to the Con-
stitution he intended to propose. Whatever they
were—for he afterwards said that several were neces-
sary--the suggestion of them manifested his undimin-
ished anxiety for the preservation of a Constitutional