Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XV / The Ship of Fire >> Page 334

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Page 334

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 334 SOUTHWARD HO
The danger seems to be that he will leave just such an in-
scription upon his monument as the Hon. Mr. Custis of the East-
ern Shore."
There was a pause.
No story to-night ?" inquired one of the party.
By the way, yes� and our friend here from North Carolina,
has been appointed to deliver it."
With a thousand excuses and apologies, some stammering and
much confusion, our fiery little companion commenced his task,
in a legend of the North Carolina shore, which he entitled
THE SHIP OF FIRE.
THE State of North Carolina, the assumed poverty of which in
material resources, and in mind, has been a little too much dwelt
upon by some portions of this company, is, nevertheless, quite
as rich, in all respects, as any of her sister states. Her deficiency
seems to lie in her want of a seaport of capacity equal to her
product, and in the lack of a population sufficiently dense for her
territorial magnitude. We may never be able to supply the
one deficiency, except possibly by railroads which shall give us
the free use of the harbors of our sister states; but the latter
will be developed on a magnificent scale, so soon as the population shall become sufficiently dense for the due exploration and
working of our soil. Our productions, as the case stands, must
now amount to fully eight millions, sent to market along
shore. And this, be it remembered, is pretty much a sur-
plus production. As an agricultural community, North Carolina
supports herself apart from what she sells. Of the morals of the
people of our State, I have only to say, that they shrink from
comparison with none. We do no startling things, but we rob
no exchequers. We attempt no wonderful works, but we repudi-
ate none of our debts. In brief, we owe no debts. There is no
State in the Union quite so independent as North Carolina. You
may smile at her simplicity, but you must respect her honesty.
You may see something green in her eye, but nothing jaundiced.
If goaded by no wild ambition, she is troubled with no excess
of bile. IIer brains may never set rivers on fire, but they are
sure not to blow up her locomotive.
But, even in enterprises, such as are so largely assumed to be