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JOHN C. CALHOUN was born in Abbeville District, South Carolina, March 18, 1782. Until his twentieth year, his education was pursued under peculiar difficulties, a village academy, fifty miles distant from his home--which he attended but a short time—and a circulating library of no great extent, being the main sources. And yet, it is not improbable, that the authors he met with in this humble library, such as Rollins, Robertson, Voltaire, and Locke, had not a little to do with forming that severe, critical, and logical development of mind which so strongly marked him in after life; and it is quite certain that from his father's lips he received the substance, at least, of those peculiar political views, which afterwards he so sedulously and ably elaborated in the halls of Congress.
In 1802 he entered Yale College. He afterwards studied Jaw at Litchfield, and was admitted to the bar in 1807. He entered public life in 1808, as a member of the South Carolina Legislature, and three years afterwards was elected to the National House of Representatives. His public stations were both many and distinguished, comprehending those of Secretary of War and of State, Vice-President and Senator. The latter he held at the time of his death, which occurred at Washington, March 31, 1850.
“In his personal character, Calhoun was of great purity and simplicity. His mode of life on his plantation at Fort
imple and unostentatious, but ever warmhearted and hospitable."*
“I have known no man who wasted less of life in what is called recreation, or employed less of it in any pursuit not connected with the immediate discharge of his duty.
* Duyckinck's Cyclopædia of American Literature.
He seemed to have no recreation but the pleasure of con versation with his friends.
“His eloquence was part of his intellectual character. It was plain, strong, terse, condensed, concise; sometimes impassioned, still always severe. Rejecting ornament, not often seeking far for illustration, his power consisted in the plainness of his propositions, in the closeness of his logic, and in the earnestness and energy of his manner."'* AN EXTRACT OF A SPEECH ON THE OREGON BILL.
DELIVERED IN THE SENATE, JUNE 27, 1848. SOCIETY can no more exist without government, in one form or another, than man without society. It is the political, then, which includes the social, that is his natural state. It is the one for which his Creator formed him, into which he is impelled irresistibly, and in which only his race can exist, and all his faculties be fully developed. Such being the case, it follows that any, the worst form of government, is better than anarchy; and that individual liberty, or freedom, must be subordinate to whatever power may be necessary to protect society against anarchy within or destruction from without; for the safety and well-being of society are as paramount to individual liberty, as the safety and well-being of the race is to that of individuals; and, in the same proportion, the power necessary for the safety of society is paramount to individual liberty.
On the contrary, government has no right to control individual liberty beyond what is necessary to the safety and well-being of society. Such is the boundary which separates the power of government and the liberty of the citizen, or subject, in the political state, which, as I have shown, is the natural state of man,the only one in which his race can exist, and the one in which he is born, lives, and dies.
It follows, from all this, that the quantum of power on the part of the government, and of liberty on that of individuals, instead of being equal in all cases, must, necessarily, be very unequal among different people, according to their different conditions. For, just in proportion as a people are ignorant, stupid, debased, corrupt, exposed to violence within and danger without, the power necessary for government to possess, in order to preserve
* Daniel Webster, in the Senate, April 1, 1850.
society against anarchy and destruction, becomes greater and greater, and individual liberty less and less, until the lowest condition is reached, when absolute and despotic power becomes necessary on the part of the government, and individual liberty extinct.
So, on the contrary, just as a people rise in the scale of intelligence, virtue, and patriotism, and the more perfectly they be. come acquainted with the nature of government, the ends for which it was ordered, and how it ought to be administered, and the less the tendency to violence and disorder within and danger from abroad, the power necessary for government becomes less and less, and individual liberty greater and greater. Instead, then, of all men having the same right to liberty and equality, as is claimed by those who hold that they are all born free and equal, liberty is the noble and highest reward bestowed on mental and moral development, combined with favorable circumstances. Instead, then, of liberty and equality being born with man,-instead of all men, and all classes and descriptions, being equally entitled to them,--they are high prizes to be pon; and are, in their most perfect state, not only the highest rprovard that can be bestowed on our race, but the most difficult to be won, and when won, the most difficult to be preserved.
Ralph WALDO EMERSON was born in Boston, May 25th 1803. He was educated at Harvard College, where he took his degree in 1821. At an early age, having turned his attention to divinity, he became pastor of a Unitarian congregation in Boston. This sphere of activity, however, he shortly afterward exchanged for the more congenial one of literature, and removed to Concord, where he has since resided.
From the date of his first work until now, Emerson's activity as essayist, lecturer, and poet has been unremitting, and its products now lie open both to the American and the English publics in the following volumes :
Natur^,* published in 1839. Essays and Lectures (first series), published in 1841. Essays and Lectures (second series), published in 1844. Poems, published in 1847. Representative Men, published in 1850. English Traits, published in 1856. The Conduct of Life, published in 1860. May Day, and other Poems, published in 1867. Society and Solitude, published in 1870. A New Volume of Essays, published in 1871. Parnassus : A Selection of Poems from many Years' Reading, (1871). Letters and Sociul Aims (1876).
Surely no American writer, if indeed any English, has dourished, concerning whose works there exists such a latitude of opinion among critics, as there does concerning Emerson's./ “A more independent and original thinker," says one review,t "can nowhere in this age be found;" while by another f his fancies are described as mere typographical tricks, as "tumid epithets which arrest the attention by their strangeness, not by the appositeness," and he is
* Now, with other pieces, called Miscellaneous.
| London Athenæum.
accused of introducing foreign idioms merely to display scholarship
His doctrines of life are regarded with like extreme views. While by one class they are avowed to be the purest emanations of an enlightened and truly philosophical mind attempered by a gentle and philanthropic spirit; in a word, the rarest joint products of human reason, instinct, and experience; by another class* they are pronounced "not true," and "as destitute of authority as his poetry is of life, and his philosophy of wisdom."
Perhaps as fair an estimate of Emerson's ability in regard both to style and sentiment as has yet been made, is that of an American critic,† which we here quote. “Whoever turns to Emerson's Essays for a system, a code, or even a set of definite principles, will be disappointed. The chief good thus far achieved by this class of thinkers has been negative; they have emancipated many minds from the thraldom of local prejudices and prescriptive opinion, but have failed to reveal any positive and satisfactory truth unknown before.
Emerson has an inventive fancy; he knows how to clothe truisms in startling costume; he evolves beautiful or apt figures and apophthegms that strike at first, but when contemplated, prove, as has been said, usually either true and not new, or new and not true./His volumes, however, are suggestive, tersely, and often gracefully written; they are thoughtful, observant, and speculative, and indicate a philosophic taste rather than power. As contributions tu American literature, they have the merit of a spirit, beauty, and reflective tone previously almost undiscoverable in the didactic writings of the country.”
(AN ABRIDGMENT OF CHAPTER III. OF NATURE.) FIRST, the simple perception of natural forms is a delight. TC * British Quarterly Review.
+ H. T. Tuckerman