Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina >> Front Matter >> Introduction

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Introduction

Documents | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription INTRODUCTION
The only thing lacking in the selection here reprinted for
a display of Hammond's full range is one of his essays or
orations on agriculture. Perhaps the best example is his
address in 1849 at the first state fair of South Carolina,
which combines a celebration of the soil with a candid
examination of the socioeconomic prospects of the
state.5 But the compiler of Selections from the Letters
and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of
South Carolina decided, wisely no doubt, that the
oration was just a bit too narrow in interest for a collec-
tion that was designed to include the cream of Hammond's
public papers.6
And who was this judicious compiler?
The facts of the original editing and publication of
this volume are not certain, but there is good reason to
believe that William Gilmore Simms, prolific man of
letters and close friend of Hammond, was involved. In a
letter of 1862 to John Reuben Thompson, the Richmond
editor, Simms proposed publication of a volume of
Hammond's papers as part of a projected "Library of
the Confederate States" and commented, "I am now
revising Hammond's Essays & Speeches for the press."
The format of the volume in hand resembled the format
Simms planned for the abortive patriotic library de-
scribed in that letter.?
Early in 1865, two months after Hammond's death,
Simms wrote to Hammond's son Harry. (Harry
Hammond was the "H. H." whose initials were affixed
to the biographical sketch which accompanied this
volume.) He would gladly assist in collecting good
examples of James H. Hammond's personal corre-
spondence, Simms said, "whenever the family shall
deem it a proper time to prepare an additional volume."
In regard to such private papers, Simms added that "we
should reserve his correspondence for some future