Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter X >> Page 170

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Page 170

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 170 SOUTHWARD HO !
abandonment of habits which are grateful to the virtues, and
which maintain in him the essentials of all high character
dignity and reverence."" But there must be an end to all this hospitality. The south-
ern planter is not prosperous. His fields are failing him�his
staples are no longer valuable."
Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof. Give us time.
Let time answer your prophecy ; for it is prediction�not argu-
ment, not fact which you assert. There is no need that his
hospitality should be at an end. It only needs that it should
be more discriminating, and that the southern planter should
steadily close his door against those who come to eat his bread
only to denounce the manner in which it is made, and to sleep
securely beneath his roof only to leave curses rather than prayers
behind them. He must only be sure that his guest, when a
stranger, is a gentleman and an honest man ; and he will prob-
ably, with this modification of his hospitality, never be wanting
in the necessary means for satisfying it.
But, touching his prosperity, I hold it to be the greatest
mistake in the world�examining things by just and intrinsic
laws�to suppose that lie is not prosperous. The southern
planter does not derive from his labors so large a money income
as he formerly did, when the culture of his great staple was
comparatively in few hands. It is something different, certainly,
to receive twenty cents instead of one hundred for long cottons,
and six cents instead of thirty for short. But, in fact, the dif-
ference does not substantially affect his prosperity, if he be not
already in debt. In the period of high prices for his staples, he
could readily abandon farming culture to his less prosperous
neighbors, leaving it to other states to supply his grain, his for-
age, his vegetables, his cattle, mules, and horses, for which he
could well afford to pay from the excess of his income. But
with his resources reduced, his policy necessarily changes, and
is changing hourly, in recognition of new laws and new necessi-
ties. This change effected, his property will continue as before,
though actually no great amount of money passes through his
hands. His fields, that were failing him when he addressed
them wholly to the culture of a single staple, are recovering,
now that he alternates his crops, and economizes, prepares, and