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 296

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Page 296

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 296
learned illustrations, but your very passions were en-
listed by the ardor and intenseness of his logic, and
you were carried unresistingly along, as well by the
force of your imagination as by the convictions of
your judgment. The power which he thus exercised
was so transcendent that, could he have seen and con-
versed with every individual in the Union, he would
have reigned supreme over public opinion.
The fame of Mr. Calhoun will rest chiefly on his
character as a Statesman. Posterity, with a knowledge
of events yet concealed from us, will analyse it closely.
It is believed that it will stand the most rigid
scrutiny.
So many qualifications are necessary to the forma-
tion of Statesmen, and so rare a combination of all the
highest moral and mental qualities is requisite to con-
stitute one of the first order, that they are usually
rated rather by degrees of ability, than by the pecu-
liarities of talent. Such peculiarities, however, do
exist, and so color their current opinions, that they are
in all countries classed, at least temporarily, according
to the domestic parties whose views they favor for the
time. In this country, where every thing is so new
and variable ; where not only our political institutions
are experimental, but our civilization has not attained
a permanent standard, there is great difficulty in
appropriating distinctive names to our Statesmen —a
difficulty enhanced by the fact that nearly or quite all
of our eminent men have, in the course of their
careers, radically changed some of their opinions ;
changes which, indeed, few of the great Statesmen of
any country, in the last eighty eventful years, have
escaped.