Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina >> Explanatory Notes >> Page 381

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 381

Documents | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription EXPLANATORY NOTES 381
305.17 "the Senator from New York": William H. Seward, Re-
publican and leading spokesman for the free-soil position.
307.28 "Ajax Telamon" : One of the Greek heroes at the siege of
Troy. After the death of Achilles, Ajax and Odysseus com-
peted for Achilles' armor. When he lost, Ajax in a rage
slaughtered a flock of sheep, then killed himself in shame. In
this case, Hammond suggests, Douglas is competing with
Buchanan for the Presidential nomination.
308.17 "General Lane's lambs!": The forces of James Henry
Lane, an anti-slavery leader in the Kansas guerrilla war.
308.18 "Colonel Kirke": Percy Kirke (1646?-1691), notorious for
his cruelty to prisoners in the suppression of the Monmouth
308.26 "other side of the Chamber": The Republicans.
310.19 "they intended to reconstruct the Supreme Court":
Seward had suggested this on March 3 in a speech attacking
the Dred Scott decision.
312.30 "second war of independence": The War of 1812.
317.7 "Until lately the Bank of England was king": Ham-
mond refers to the panic of 1857 during which many American
banks and mercantile houses had folded and the Bank of
England had saved itself by issuing two million pounds in
notes unbacked by the necessary reserves.
318.1-2 "Society precedes government" : An echo of the open-
ing passage of Calhoun's "A Disquisition on Government."
319.2-3 "lex naturae est": Literally: "is the law of nature."
320.22 "Mr. Wilson": Henry Wilson, Senator from Massachu-
setts and later Vice-President under Grant, a leading Repub-
lican who had begun life as a laborer.
320.31 "Mendoza and Torquemada" : Major figures of the Span-
ish Inquisition.


323.2-3 "the people of Barnwell" : In accordance with custom-
ary South Carolina usage, Hammond means the people of
Barnwell District, not just the town of Barnwell Court House.
323.5-6 "stirring times, when, a quarter of a century ago, I so
often spoke to you here": That is, during the Nullification
325.33 "Missouri Compromise line": Congress in 1820 had ex-
cluded slavery from the territories north of 36°30' . That pro-
vision had applied specifically to the Louisiana Purchase, not
to later acquisitions of territory.