Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter VII >> Page 107

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Page 107

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription VIRGINIA POLITICS. 107
The mention of Virginia recalls one of the most interesting of
our state histories. It is the pride of Virginia to have been one
of the maternal states of this country. She shares this distinction
with Massachusetts and the Carolinas. I do not mean to say,
simply, that her sons have contributed to form the population of
other states. It is in the formation of their character that she
has been conspicuous. She has given tone and opinion to the
new communities that have arisen along her frontier. She has
equally influenced their social habits and courage. It would be
a pleasant study, for the social philosopher, to inquire into the
degree in which she has done this. It is enough that I suggest
the inquiry."
What a misfortune to Virginia that she is so near to the Dis-
trict of Columbia."
And that she has given five presidents to the confederacy."
Yes ! this effect is to make office a natural craving ; while,
it is thought that every male-child born since the days of Mon-
roe, is born with a sort of natural instinct for, and a right to the
presidency."" Yet, how curious now-a-days are the materiel for a presi-
dent !"
Curious, indeed ! yet this would be no great evil this
change in the sort of clay supposed essential for the manufac-
ture--if states preserved their integrity, their principles and
pride, with their passion. But we grow flexible in moral in pro-
portion to our appetites, and one who is constantly hungering
will never scruple at any sort of food. The eagle descends to
the garbage of the kite, and the race who once wrought their
gods out of marble, soon content themselves with very rude im-
itations in putty."
They need not be imitations either. We have reached that
condition when it is no longer held essential, the counsel of Ham-
let to his mother, ' assume a virtue if you have it not.' It is not
only no longer held essential to keep up the appearances of
truth and patriotism, but one is apt to be laughed at for his
pains. Even to seem patriotic at Washington is held to be a
gratuitous greenness."
Let us not speak of it. How much more grateful is it to
look back to the rough, wild, half savage, but brave and honest