Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVII / How the Bilious Orator Essayed >> Page 389

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE BILIOUS ESSAYIST. 389
spirit with which they will seize upon any opportunity of obtaining
redress and remedy for the evils and injuries of which they com-
plain. Let North and South consider, and be wise in season.
The usual caprice in the destiny of nations precipitates catastro-
phes which men may lament but never repair ; and one of the
most dangerous of the errors which prevail among the people of
the North, is their obstinate faith in the integrity of the Union.
It is a faith against which all histories, in all periods, bear the
most unvarying testimony testimony which we should be au-
thorized to disregard and reject, only when we shall be able to
assure ourselves that we have stronger claims, by reason of our
greater virtues, upon the protecting care of God, than any of
the myriad generations by which we have been preceded. But,
to the essay of our orator, which, though extempore, was deliv-
ered as rapidly as an oration memorized ; not as if read simply,
but with the freedom of one who declaims passionately, in hot
blood, and with the bold impetuous action of a fiery soul, in
which the long-fettered torrents have at length broken all their
barriers, and are dashing headlong, in foam and fury, over the
still resisting but incapable rock.
Yes, soft-heads ! soft-heads ! That is the word�soft-heads !
But there is hope, even for a soft-head !"" We should only be indulging in one of the commonest of all
truisms, were we to protest that there is no such thing as unmixed
evil in the world ; and all the philosophy may be compassed in
a nut-shell, which chuckles over the ' ill wind that blows nobody
good.' It will suffice if we insist that our bitter is, frequently,
the wholesome medicine whose benefit is in the future ; and what
we regard as the mishap of the day, and lament accordingly,
becomes to our great surprise, the parent of a necessity that
leads to most pleasant and profitable results. To bring our max-
ims to bear upon our present topic, we have but to remark, that
the cholera, which devastated the cities of the North last summer,
and the abolition mania, which is destined to root them out,
and raze them utterly from the face of the earth, if not season-
ably arrested,�have proved, in some degree, highly serviceable,
if not saving influences, for the people of the South. Ilow
many thousand of our wandering idlers, our absentees who peri-
odically crave a wearisome pilgrimage to northern regions, in-