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 288

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Page 288

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 288
" spiders' webs," if they do not continually draw their
vital breath from the same living source. For more
than twenty years the Federal Constitution has been a
dead letter, or a snare to the minority. It has, for
that length of time, had no material influence in main-
taining the Union of these States. They have been
held together by habit ; by the recollections of the past,
and a common reverence for the patriots and heroes of
the Revolution ; by the ties of political parties, of re-
ligious sects, and business intercourse. But the events
of these twenty years, and mainly the developments of
Abolitionism, have clearly revealed to us that we have
at least two separate, distinct, and in some essential
points, antagonistic social systems, whose differences
can never be reconciled and subjected to one equal and
just Government, unless our respective industrial inter-
ests are left free from every shackle, and the fell spirit
of Abolitionism crushed and entirely eradicated. Many
of the cords which once bound these two systems to-
gether have been, as Mr. Calhoun pointed out in his
last speech, already snapped asunder. The religious
bonds have been nearly all ruptured ; party ties are
going fast ; those of business are seriously endangered.
It-is vain to hope to preserve the Union by any com-
mon sentiment of reverence for the past, or even by
amending the Constitution, unless these severed chains
can be relinked together, and that brotherly love which
mingled the blood of our fathers in the battle fields of
the Revolution can be restored, by providential inter-
position, to its ancient fervor. It is, however, the prov-
ince and the sacred duty of the statesman, whatever
may be the ultimate result, to point out the diseases of
the Constitution and the Government, and to propose