Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter X >> Page 172

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Page 172

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 172 SOUTHWARD HO !
But in the southern states, where the public works are few, the
public buildings humble, and the cities of difficult growth or of
stagnating condition, the great body of the people�nay, all
the people, bond and free�live in the enjoyment of plenty
always, and, in most cases, of a wondrous degree of comfort.
To illustrate this more completely by parallels : Great
Britain and France are, of course, immeasurably superior, not
only to the southern states of the Union, but to all, the stares,
North and South, in the wonders of art, the great thoroughfares,
the noble buildings, and the gigantic cities. These are errone-
ously assumed to be the proofs of prosperity in a nation, when it
is somewhat doubtful if they can be even regarded as just proofs
of its civilization. But, in Great Britain and France, millions
rise every morning, in doubt where they shall procure the daily
bread which shall satisfy the hunger of nature through the next
twelve hours. No such apprehension ever troubles the citizen
of the rural districts of the South. Rich and poor, black and
white, bond and free, are all superior to this torturing anxiety;
and the beggar, who in the great cities of Europe and America
is as frequent as their posts, is scarcely ever to be seen, even, in
a southern city�and then he is chiefly from a northern city,
whence he flies to a region, of the hospitality of which (in spite
of its failing fortunes) some vague rumors have reached his ears.
He flies from the proud and prosperous cities of the North, seek-
ing his bread at the hands of a people whom you profess to
despise for their decline."
With these convictions, why do you repine and complain ?"
I do neither. To do either is unmanly. That the southern
people do complain, more than is proper and needful, is surely a
something to be regretted; since he who pauses to complain
will probably never overtake his flying prosperity. But, that
there should be gloom and despondency is but natural with a
people who, without positively suffering in fortune or comfort, are
yet compelled, by large transitions of fortune, to contrast their
present with their past. It is not that we are ruined now, but
that we, remember how fortunate we were before. If we com-
pare ourselves with other people, and not with ourselves, we
shall probably congratulate ourselves rather than complain."
With your views, you are then satisfied that your people