Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 6, Supplement >> 101a The Editors of the Charleston Mercury >> Page 24

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Correspondence | U of South Carolina P | 2012
Transcription 24 THE SIMMS LETTERS
[February 21, 1841] To the Editors of the Mercury
Your kind and indulgent criticism upon "The Kinsmen," contained in your journal of last Saturday, is such as I could have no cause of quarrel with, even if the amour propre in my case were more active than it is. But, suffer me to suggest, as a more generous, and in fact, more just, mode of accounting for some of the blunders now charged upon the author, the fact, that the proof sheets were not submitted to him, and no opportunity was allowed him for their revision, prior to the publication of the work. Publishers, it must be remembered, are a very arbitrary sort of people, and have their own ways and times of doing business; with which an author is not often permitted to have any concern. The novel which should have been published in December last, was delayed in consequence of the temporary miscarriage of the MS—a portion of which, in the meantime, most probably made the tour of Canada. The publishers deemed it necessary, in order to the completion of their previous arrangements, to issue the work as soon after the MS. had been received, as possible; and the advantage of reading the proof sheets in person—so important at all times to an author, were lost to him in the present instance. The volumes will be found, accordingly, clouded with errors, many of which are scarcely less monstrous than the one which you have particularly designated and dwelt upon. Oblige me, by supposing that the author, in describing the catastrophe at the close of the first volume, in the passage at arms between the brothers, instead of the word "heart" wrote the word "breast,"—by which simple substitution, the difficulty ceases, and that he never contemplated—even in the case of an outlaw so obnoxious as the Chief of the Black Riders, to precipitate the

'In publishing this letter in the Mercury of Feb. 24, 1841, the editors comment: "We know not if the following communication was intended for the public eye by the respected writer—but we will so consider it, as its publication will tend to do him justice, and can do him no harm." We want to thank Professor James E. Kibler, Jr., of the University of Georgia for bringing this letter to our attention.