Wlliam Gilmore Simms
South-Carolina in the Revolutionary War >> South-Carolina in the Revolution >> Page 8

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Page 8

Reviews/Essays | Walker & James, Publishers | 1853
haps, could not be expected to have. Generally speaking,
the conscientious men of this party were fettered in their opin-
ions, rather by their habits than their principles. These were
mostly persons of advanced age. Habits, indeed, with the
aged, are apt always to rise into the rank and importance of
principles. The better minded, and the more honest, among
the loyalists, obeyed the laws of routine and safe precedent,
in the course which they pursued, as harmonizing better with
that selfish reluctance to strive and struggle, which is the nat-
ural infirmity of advancing years. Lacking this selfish bias,
they lacked, equally, those motives of personal ambition,
which, in the case of persons of distinguished talent, among
the natives, taught the individual to look at the established
condition of things through media, derived rather from what
is essential to the hopes and claims of the future, than from
what belongs to the inherent ill the past. You will scarcely
be able to detach, from the long catalogue of loyalist names
in our possession, any single history, the materials of which,
however well elaborated, could be pursued with interest
through the pages-of a single duodecimo. There is no long
array of mutually depending events, -and no striking transac-
tion--unless in the case of Benedict Arnold--in the life of
any one, whose name we may now recall, that would repay
the reader, or justify the biographer; for g oping through the
sheets of such a volume. Where the exception is found to
the general proposition, it has been already acknowledged,
and the life has been already written.
In thus generalizing, however, we are not to understood as
objecting to such a small body of biography, as, selecting from the mass, shall unfold us the lives of such of the loyalists a4,
by their known virtues, and unquestionable performances,
might be worthy of perusal, and would do credit to their
memories. These may and should be written, if only for the