Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter X >> Page 167

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Page 167

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription CITY AND COUNTRY LIFE. 167
wheat-crops, and raised to a value ranging from fifteen to sev-
enty-five dollars per acre. Thirty bushels of wheat have been
raised to the acre, on tracts which have been thrown out as bar-
ren. A like history belongs to North and South Carolina, where
similar ignorance of farming, and of agricultural implements,
similar coarseness and clumsiness in the cultivation of the soil,
have led to similar results the disparaged value of the lands,
their abandonment, and the neglect and dilapidation of towns
and houses."
You simply know nothing about the matter," said one of the
party sharply in reply or rather, you know just enough of the
truth to involve yourself in a monstrous error. I too have trav-
elled in the regions of which you speak, and can venture to say
something on the subject, which has its bright as well as gloomy
aspects. It is not all gloomy, though it is seldom that the hur-
rying traveller sees or suspects any other. That you see few
or no towns, and that these look desolate, are the natural effects
of the life of a people purely agricultural. The southern people
do not live in towns if they can avoid them. The culture and
command of extensive tracts of land and forest give them a
distaste to city life, where they feel restrained by a sense of
confinement, and by manners of artificial character ´┐Ża rigid
conventionalism imposing fetters upon that ease and freedom of
bearing which belongs to the forest population. Besides, pub-
lic opinion in the South is unfriendly to the growth of large
cities, which many of their leading minds hold to be always of
the most mischievous moral tendency as, indeed, the North
begins also to discover. Mr. Jefferson pronounced them the
sinks and sewers of the commonwealth, to be tolerated only as
among the dirty national necessities; and the instincts of the
great body of the agricultural population have led them rightly
in the same direction. They have learned to doubt the whole-
someness of the atmosphere of city life. Regarding towns as
the mere agencies of the producer, they do not desire to see
them absorbing a larger population than is necessary to the
actual business which they have to perform.
You, at the North, on the contrary, look to your flourishing
towns, your fine houses, great masses of brick and stone, with
thousands jostling in the thoroughfares, as proofs of prosperity