Wlliam Gilmore Simms
South-Carolina in the Revolutionary War >> South-Carolina in the Revolution >> Page 6

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Reviews/Essays | Walker & James, Publishers | 1853
silence and obscurity ;--making the grandson blush for the
secret of an ancestor, for whom he can probably offer no ex-
cuse ; exposing the descendants to the finger-pointing malice
of envious and slander-loving contemporaries, and stirring
anew, for the disquiet of an innocent. generation, all the feuds
and heartburnings of the past ! Could the loyalists be shown,
generally, as in the instance of Count Rumford, and a few
others, as endowed equally with virtues and talents ; resolving
conscientiously, and achieving bravely—neither dishonouring
their principles by a timid shrinking from responsibility, nor
staining their valour by brutality and a wolfish appetite for
blood ;—we should read the history with interest, and remem-
ber the subject with respect. Such a record as that of old
Curwen, made by himself, in his misery and exile, would al-
ways prove useful to the student, agreeable to the reader, and
not injurious to the reputation of its subject ;—but such a
mere catalogue as that which we owe to the laborious and
pains-taking Mr. Sabine—such a wretched skeleton of facts,
so little vital or valuable—can have no other effect than that
of mortifying thousands of the living,—the mistakes and mis-
deeds of whose ancestors, they had fondly fancied, would
have been allowed to rest secure under the sheltering maxim,
which commands us to speak nothing of the dead that shall
not be grateful to their memories. But these meagre memo-
rials revive simply the odium of the position in which the
subject stood, without offering any details by which his de-
fence might be urged, or his character vindicated, in his vir-
tues and achievements. What he was or aimed to be—what
he wrought or suffered—all is wanting to the history, except
the simple fact of the false position by which he incurred the
hatred of contemporaries and the scorn of posterity. His
position is, at once, ridiculous and odious--a sort of moral scarecrow, hung up to grinning infamy, without being permit-