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 297

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Page 297

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 297
Coming into the public councils at a period when
twenty years of successful experiment had, it was
thought, fully tested our Federal Constitution, and
established the permanence of the Federal Govern-
ment—when a vigorous effort to convert it into a cen-
tral despotism had been signally defeated, and all sec-
tional jealousies and apprehensions had been lulled,
Mr. Calhoun devoted himself wholly, and enthusiasti-
cally, to the grand purpose of developing all the
mighty resources of his country, and raising her to
the highest pitch of prosperity and greatness. His
views were large far reaching noble. And his mea-
sures were in full accordance with them. Whenever
in war or in peace, an exigency occurred, his active
and inventive genius promptly suggested a provision
for it, always ample, and usually the best- that could
be adopted. Whenever favoring circumstances in-
vited a forward movement, or a wider exertion of
energy, he was ever ready with plans, thoroughly
digested, and fully adapted to accomplish all the ends
in view. While close in his calculations, and careful
of details, there was nothing low or narrow in any
thing he ever proposed. He had an ineffable scorn
for whatever was mean or contracted in legislation ;
and having an abiding confidence, not only in truth
and justice, but in the power of reason, and the capa-
city of the people to appreciate what was right and
comprehend the arguments in favor of it, he never for
a moment yielded to the current popular opinion, when
it differed from his own. He expected to restrain it
by his logic, and ultimately reverse it by the benefits
his measures would confer. As a progressive States-
man, leading ardently, during the first part of his