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LIFE OF JOHN C. CALHOUN.

CHAPTER 1.

Roman Virtue and Integrity-Often paralleled in America-Character

of Mr. Calhoun-His Reputation-Attachment of the People of South Carolina to him-Influence-Ancestors-His Father-Characteristic Traits-His Birth.

When Brennus, the Gallic chieftain, and the dark and uncouth, but stalwart and intrepid warriors, whom he led forth from their transalpine homes down upon the fair and fertile plains of Italy, entered the gates of the Eternal City,—and their startling cry of “ Væ victis!-woe to the conquered!-awoke a thousand echoes in her ancient streets and thoroughfares, in her palaces and her temples,-her defeated soldiery and her affrighted inhabitants fled for refuge to the Capitoline Hill, “that high place where Rome embraced her heroes.” But some few of the nobler spirits of the republic, reverencing the memories of the past, cherishing its patriotic impulses, and practicing its virtues, remained in the Forum, and seated in their curule chairs, fearlessly and calmly awaited the approach of

the enemy.

Rude and unpolished as were the invaders, though

reckless of danger and indifferent to peril, they were instantly struck with astonishment at this exhibition of firmness and devotion, of patriotism and virtue ; and they regarded with awe, the sublime majesty of the countenances in which dignity and determination were so nobly blended. These Romans were the types of a once numerous class, whose character has been held in admiration for ages, in every clime and among every people to whom their history is known.

Roman virtue—that virtue which constituted the bright peculiar trait of statesmen, and soldiers, and citizens, in the earlier and purer days of republican simplicity, and whose light, though shorn of many of its beams, was not wholly lost amid the glory and splendor of the Empire, till the throne of the Cæsars had crumbled into dust-the virtue thus exemplified and thus ennobled in Rome, has been often paralleled, if not surpassed, in the great republic of the West. While we have in some degree imitated her form of government, , we have also copied the traits of character which rendered her distinguished men so famous; and it is justly esteemed no small praise among us, to be commended for the possession and practice of Roman virtue and Roman integrity. It is, too, a fit subject for congratulation, that our country, though so young in years, has produced so many men deservedly entitled to this high distinction: they have not appeared only once in a generation or an age, but like the branches of the golden tree which opened the portals of the lower world, when one is torn away another is not wanting, * --when

Primo avulso non deficit alter
Aurous

Virgil. Ainside i 148.

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