Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina >> Speech on the Relations of the States, Delivered in the Senate of the United States, May 21, 1860 >> Page 360

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Page 360

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 360
It is wisely conceded, or. by a successful rebellion, it is
conquered by the colonies, and each becomes sove-
reign. Such, I take it, has been the almost unvarying
history of the origin and progress of human association
and political organization.
Thus the thirteen colonies, which became the United
States of America in 1787, were planted long previ-
ously by Great Britain. In 1776, they severally pro-
claimed themselves to be sovereign and independent
States. Great Britain refused to concede to their de-
mands; but after a long and bloody war, they achieved
their independence, and were acknowledged as sove-
reign States.
When the present constitutional Union was estab-
lished, many States were entitled, by charters and
grants from the former mother country, to large areas
of territory still wild and unpeopled. These they all
surrendered to the new General Government, for the
purpose, mainly, of creating a fund to pay off the war
debt of the Revolution. Subsequently we have ac-
quired by purchase, Louisiana and Florida ; by annexa-
tion, Texas ; and by conquest and purchase our Pacific
coast. To every one of these large acquisitions, every
inch of which, Texas excepted, became the common
property of each and all of the States of whom the
General Government was the trustee large numbers
of our citizens flocked, seeking to better their fortunes,
not only unrestrained, but very rightly encouraged,
by this Government. By the Constitution of the
United States, Congress was empowered " to dispose
of and make all needful rules and regulations respect-
ing the territory and other property of the United
States." This was a very vague and indefinite grant