Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 6, Supplement >> 110a Sarah Lawrence Drew Griffin >> Page 29

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Correspondence | U of South Carolina P | 2012
Transcription JUNE 1841 29
for two large works to be finished this summer;6 and to coerce the imagination is to destroy it. The task of inventing against the desire is unfavorable to the author and would be productive of discreditable performances. If I feel the impulse I will obey it and you shall have the fruits. But my daily tasks must now be resumed; and I have written so many small stories that I should really be at a loss for a topic. If the scheme, the groundwork, the agents were suggested to me,—if I had any clue to them, there would perhaps be little difficulty. Recollect, even Shakspeare, with all his invention, stole all his plots—his stories ready made to his hands. I fancied, when I sent you Oakatibbe, that I was actually sendg. you one of my best labors—not as a story perhaps, but as comprising a very bold, original philosophical argument, on a subject, of all others, the most vital to the interests and feelings of the South. The grave questions with regard to the Indian & negro races, I sought to discuss in a style equally fanciful & philosophic, and I am pleased to think that there is a gradual & not slow rising of the public mind in our country to the comprehension of these subjects.' You are right in the de-termination to pursue your way as Editress, alone. I did not suppose that Neal was associated with you. I only thought that you might be blinded to his rashness by his real ability—that you might not know his proverbial indiscretion of character.8 I am pleased to percieve the solemnity with which you address yourself to your task. Without a stem resoluteness nothing of any value has ever yet been done. That you will do well, & prosper, I not only sincerely wish, but sincerely believe—always with the one reservation, however, against any hopes of extravagant success in the South, unless you do what has never yet [been] done by Southern Editors—secure a
6By Aug. 16 Confession; OT, the Blind Heart, 2 vols. (Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard, 1841), was finished and Simms was already at work on Beauchampe. See letter to Lawson of that date (115).
"'Oakatibbe, or the Chocktaw Sampson; an Indian Sketch" was published in the second and third numbers of the Family Companion (see note 16, Sept. 8, 1841 [116a)). Simms had written the tale (originally called "Slim Sampson") for the Magnolia (see letter to Lawson of Feb. 24, 1841 [102]). An earlier version had been published in the Southern Literary Gazette, I (Sept. 1828), 142-149.
'John Neal (see note 170, Dec. 13, 1843 [186]), Simms' acquaintance and correspondent, was notorious for his erratic and quarrelsome nature. He was a frequent contributor to the Family Companion.