Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina >> Speech Delivered at Barnwell C.H., S.C., October 29, 1858 >> Page 325

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Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 325
time of the session, and produced such great excitement
throughout the country--I allude to the Kansas ques-
tion. And as no exception has been taken, so far as I
know, to any act of mine, save my course on that, I
will take this occasion to give my views in full upon it.
When, four years ago, the Kansas and Nebraska act
was passed, giving governments to those Territories, I
was, like most of you, a private citizen. I was earnestly
engaged in renovating old lands, and creating new out
of morasses hitherto impenetrable, and I had as little
desire or expectation of ever again taking a part in
public affairs, as the least ambitious of you here present.
I made up my mind that this bill was fraught with de-
lusion and trouble to the South, and so expressed my-
self on all suitable occasions.
The bill had two leading features in it. It enacted
that every Territory, in forming its constitution for
the purpose of applying for admission into the Union,
should have the right to establish its own organic or
constitutional laws, and come in with its own institu-
tions, with the single condition that they should be re-
publican. Why, unless our constitution is mere waste
paper, all our institutions shams, and our theory of self-
government a fallacy, this principle and privilege is
their essence lies at the bottom of the whole, and
constitutes the corner-stone. It is the very right for
which our fathers fought and made a revolution. I
might not have refused to reaffirm it, but it was super-
erogatory ; it might well weaken the whole structure
of the Government to dig up, for the mere purpose of
verification, its foundation.
The other feature of the bill was the repeal of the
Missouri Compromise line. That was already repealed ;