Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 6, Supplement >> Front Matter >> Introduction

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Introduction

Correspondence | U of South Carolina P | 2012
Transcription xxxviii THE SIMMS LETTERS
Georgia. The problems of a southern writer with a northern publisher become abundantly clear with the fear of manuscripts going astray and, when actually lost, whole chapters of a book having to be rewritten; the decisions on when to publish a book, under what title, and in what form; and proof failing to reach the author in time for correction. In the letters to Mrs. Griffin we get a picture of Simms giving advice on starting and maintaining a periodical in the South, an almost impossible task. Simms warned that there will be a scarcity of manuscripts, subscribers will be difficult to obtain and more difficult to keep, and the magazine will inevitably fail, as almost all southern periodicals have failed, largely because the people of the South have little "intellectual appetite."
Except for an occasional flicker of optimism, this last theme is one frequently touched upon in the letters in this volume. In undertaking the editorship of the Magnolia, Simms wrote to Richard Henry Wilde on August 11, 1842: "You will do me the favor to believe that in consenting to conduct a periodical, I am not governed by pecuniary considerations. I do not expect to make but to lose money by the process. But I feel every day, more & more, the humiliating relation in which the South stands to the North, and the gross injustice which naturally results from such relation. To change this in some [degre]e is my object, and for which I make some sacrifices." And in the hope that Charles Etienne Arthur Gayarre would write for his Southern Quarterly Review, he wrote to him on May 17, 1849: "You will readily concur with me upon the necessity of securing for the South an organ of opinion. Until this is done, we can never have a literature, & scarcely a character." His Magnolia and his Southern and Western Monthly Magazine and Review had already joined those southern periodicals that had sunk "into that gloomy receptacle of the `lost and abused things of earth"' (a prediction he had made for southern periodicals in his letter to Philip Coleman Pendleton of December 1, 1840). The Southern Quarterly Review was shortly to follow, and in 1857 Simms wrote in a review of William James Rivers's A Sketch of the History of South Carolina to the Close of the Proprietary Government by the Revolution of 1719 that it is the duty of southerners "to find fitting recompense for those who write your histories, and, at great self-sacrifice, with-