Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 6, Supplement >> 119(1a) Sarah Lawrence Drew Griffin >> Page 36

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Correspondence | U of South Carolina P | 2012
Transcription 36 THE SIMMS LETTERS
very little more of that, to edit your Companion with satisfactory success. At all events do not weaken yourself by a premature distrust of your own ability. One thing alone should make you confident. There is precious little ability in any editorial department, in any of the established monthlies. What is the Messenger's, the Knickerbocker's, which are considered among the best? The one is a blank, the other is a petit maitre' in the literary lounge of a monstrous petty circle.' In the competition, at least, which you are to meet, there is nothing to alarm you. But I trust you will work out your editorials without regard to the doings of your bretheren. The standards of composition should be intrinsic. The ideal of one's own mind should be the highest & the best.
I should prefer that the sonnets should go together. They were meant as a sort of family group.4 I am very sorry that Oakatibbe does not please you, the more particularly as just now I am over head & ears in labor and can do nothing out of the traces. You are aware that the story was meant to be subservient to the argument. Perhaps a brief note to this effect would be of service.' At all events you promised me a proof of it. Do let me have two impressions sent by different mails—so that if one sh'd fail, we should still be tolerably sure of the other. Touching the price of these contributions I can say nothing. I leave this matter entirely to yourself for the present. I should be better pleased that you should determine their value for yourself. This will depend on the degree of patronage you recieve. At all events I am willing that it should be so, in respect to


'Simms wrote petit mastier, but since no such word as mastier exists in either French or English, we have emended petit masher to petit maitre (a fop).
'At this time the Southern Literary Messenger was edited by Thomas Willis White and Matthew Fontaine Maury, the Knickerbocker (with which Simms was not on good terms) by Lewis Gaylord Clark and Willis Gaylord Clark.
'See note 9, Sept. 8, 1841 (116a).
'In writing about "Oakatibbe" in the "Editorial Department" of the number for Nov. 15 (I, 128), Mrs. Griffin uses Simms' own words in his letter to her of June 8 (110a): "This article is to be regarded, not so much for its interest as a story, 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 and Negro races—in a style equally fanciful and philosophic. The gradual and not slow rising of the public mind to the comprehension of and interest in these subjects, seems to require an occasional article of the kind."