The Clay Compromise Measures
by John C. Calhoun
March 4, 1850
This is among John C. Calhoun's most famous speeches. He was too ill to deliver it himself, so it was read by another senator with Calhoun present in the Senate Chamber. Calhoun, so ill he had to be helped out of the Chamber after the speech by two of his friends, died on March 31, 1850.
I have, senators, believed from the first that the agitation of the subject of slavery would, if not prevented by some timely and effective measure, end in disunion. Entertaining this opinion, I have, on all proper occasions, endeavored to call the attention of both the two great parties which divided the country to adopt some measure to prevent so great a disaster, but without success. The agitation has been permitted to proceed with almost no attempt to resist it, until it has reached a point when it can no longer be disguised or denied that the Union is in danger. You have thus had forced upon you the greatest and gravest question that can ever come under your consideration: How can the Union be preserved?
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