Wlliam Gilmore Simms
South-Carolina in the Revolutionary War >> South-Carolina in the Revolution >> Page 3

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Reviews/Essays | Walker & James, Publishers | 1853
America were, very few of them, distinguished by remarkable
endowments. Individually, they were not calculated to com-
pel consideration in any period, and still less in such stormy
times as always wreck the smaller craft of mediocrity. But
few of them, either by reason of their achievements or abili-
ties, can lay claim to the honours of biography; and the
misfortunes of still fewer deserve to be regarded, apart from
the errors and offences in which they originated mostly.
Many of them, doubtless, were very worthy people ; such peo-
ple as make the average of good citizens in a quiet, peace-lov-
ing community, and in periods of national repose. Some of
them had respectable talents, which would have been valua-
ble in smooth-sailing times ; and a fair proportion of them
were probably governed, in their adherence to the crown, by
scruples and principles which must always commend them to
the respect, if not the sympathies, of all justly-minded per-
sons. But, saying this, we have said all. We have enume-
rated the several classes among them, which deserve tolera-
tion in the opinions of posterity. It is only toleration, indeed,
that may be demanded, by even-handed justice, in behalf of
the greater number. Praise is out of the question ; and pity
can only be challenged for those who suffered and sorrowed,
without having striven, when the struggle' would only have
elevated the loyalty of the individual, at the expense of all
social and human feeling. We do not find, as we cast our
eyes, curiously, over the long array of names in this catalogue
of the American Loyalists, that any of them ever attained to
any very high distinctions, either in a civil or military capa-
city. One of them, only, appears to have acquired position in
Europe, as a man of science ; and but one or two more, prior
to the_ revolution, had done themselves honour by their colo-
nial services, chiefly upon the frontiers. A few of them, in-
deed, proved themselves clever and active officers of militia