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 341

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Page 341

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 341
of carrying the alternate biennial elections, as she has
just done always leaving it to the democracy to carry
that which makes the President.
But I am making mere assertions. Allow me,
then, to refer to facts to show the past power of the
South in this Union, and the present state of the
great questions in which she is most deeply interested.
When, thirty years ago, we began this arduous conflict
for the constitutional reform of this government and
the security of the South, the South herself was
thoroughly divided. The tariff, the bank, the internal
improvement system, nay, even abolition itself, all had
the sanction of a large number of our most prominent
Southern men. If they did not all originate, they
were all resuscitated, in that era of infatuation, when
a southern President proclaimed that we were "all
federalists, all republicans ; " when Southern Statesmen
sneered at State rights, and the Constitution became
for the time a dead letter.
The tariff of 1828 levied average duties of more
than forty per cent. on all of our imports. By the
tariff of 1857 the average of duties was reduced below
twenty per cent. We have accomplished that much ;
and, besides, the principle of free trade is pretty
generally conceded now throughout the Union. It
cannot be denied that this is a great success. I think
the duties should be reduced still lower; and parti-
cularly that the discriminations against the agricultural
interests should be abolished. But it is supposed that
there will be a demand for their increase at the next
session. If so, it will of course be resisted, and I trust
successfully. Free trade is the test, the touchstone of
free government, as monopoly is of despotism. I have