Wlliam Gilmore Simms
South-Carolina in the Revolutionary War >> South-Carolina in the Revolution >> Page 45

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Page 45

Reviews/Essays | Walker & James, Publishers | 1853
be considered as the cradle of the revolution. There were
some, indeed, in the higher ranks, and here and there a young
man of decent breeding, in the capacity of an aid-de-camp or
brigade major ; but anything above the condition of a clown,
in the regiments we came in contact with, was truly a rarity.
Was it that the cause was only popular among the yeoman-
ry ? [Greene and .others show that the yeomanry made it
profitable enough to find it popular, but it was only while
selling to the soldiery, not in harnessing themselves.] Was it
that men of fortune and condition there, as in other parts of
the continent, though evidently most interested in a contest
whose object was to rescue American property from the grasp
of British avidity, were willing to devolve the fighting upon
the poorer and humbler classes ? Was it, in short, that they
held the language of the world, and said
" Let the gull'd fools the toils of war subdue, Where bleed the many to enrich the few I"
Or was it, that that simple way of thinking, and ill appre-
ci ition of military talent, which had made a drivelling deacon,
(General Ward,) second in command, was then prevalent
among them ? Whatever was the reason, New England was
far behind the other provinces in the display of an ardent un-
equivocal zeal for the cause, in the quality of her officers ; and,
notwithstanding that she has since shown herself more pro-
lific of liberal, well-informed, exigent men, than any other
part of the Union, her soldiery, at the time I am speaking of,
was contemptible in the extreme."
The truth is, governed always by a selfishness of the most
exclusive, narrow-minded and exacting character, New Eng-
land lost all interest and sympathy in the revolutionary strug-
gle, as soon as the enemy were withdrawn to another quar-
ter. She had long before shown a disposition to avoid all
sacrifices, and her enthusiasm was entirely exhausted by the
demonstrations of her Stark and Putnam. The war which
was provoked by herself was by no means grateful to her in-
terests, which were entirely commercial ; and the departure of
the British from her own homes, left her free to prosecute her