Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Author's Advertisement >> Page 7

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
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less by the poet than the painter not less by the novelist of real life that the romancer who seeks only for extraordinary material.
But it is not merely as an artist that the historical novelist
is to regulate his performances. He is required to have regard to those moral objects which should be in the eye of the painter also�though not to the same extent since both these arts, along with those of poetry and the drama, are never so legitimately exercised as when they aim to refine the manners, soften the heart, and elevate the general standards of society and man. To paint morally, the historic novelist must paint truly ; and vice was never yet painted truly, that it did not revolt the mind. One error of our time is, not to paint it truly. If we tell of the thousand crimes, we dwell with such emphasis upon the solitary virtue, that they only serve as a shadowy foil to its exceeding loveliness and light. It is curious to perceive how completely this sort of error has found its way into all our habits, not merely those of thought and taste, but those of expression. With what tenderness, nowadays, we speak of every form of vice ! A .drunkard, unless he
� is very poor and destitute, is seldom or never called a drunkard : he is only a little excited. A deba.uchee and gambler is simply a gay man ; and a forger for millions is only guilty of a sad mistake. We become wonderfully soon reconciled to vice, when we mince the epithets which we apply to it : the vice soon ceases to be held such when we call it by a milder name.
The low characters predominate in the Partisan," and they predominate in all warfare, and. in all times of warfare, foreign and domestic. They predominate in all inbodied armies that the world has ever known. War itself is a vice, though sometimes an unavoidable one. The novelist would not draw truly, according to the facts, if he did not show that there are but few men calculated, by ability and force of character, to lead the many; and this truth is of universal application. It belongs to the million always, and will apply to every existing nation on the surface of the globe.
The question which propriety may ask, having the good of