Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 6, Supplement >> 824a Sigourney Webster Fay >> Page 166

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 166

Correspondence | U of South Carolina P | 2012
Transcription 166 THE SIMMS LETTERS 824a : TO SIGOURNEY WEBSTER FAY'
New York: 4th. Nov. [1856]2
Sigoumey W. Fay, Esq. Dear Sir.
Mr. Redfield hands me your note, representing the Mercantile Library Association, & I hasten to say that my single lectures are on the following subjects:
"South Carolina in the Revolution"'
824a
'Fay (1836–1908) was born in Boston and died in New York City. He was involved in the dry goods trade for over forty years and was one of the escorts of the first regiment of black troops to march through New York City after the draft riots of 1863. He was a member of the New York City Chamber of Commerce and was on the Board of Directors of the Hanover National Bank and the Citizen's Savings Bank. He was also a charter member of the Union League Club. See his obituary in the New York Times of June 2, 1908. We are indebted to Douglas MacDonald, Manuscript Assistant of Special Collections, Muger Memorial Library, Boston University, for this and other information concerning Fay and Simms' plan to lecture in Boston.
'Dated by Simms' plan to lecture before the Mercantile Library Association of Boston. Fay, as secretary of the lecture committee, invited Simms to lecture, and Justus Starr Redfield wrote to Fay on Oct. 23: "Your favor of the 20th addressed to W. Gilmore Simms Esq was received this morning. Mr Simms will be most happy to appear as a Lecturer before a Boston audience. He will be at the north all Nov. Dec & Jan—has quite a number of appointments already and on looking over his programme I find it will suit him best to be with you between Dec 19th and Jan 7—if you can arrange it so it will accommodate his other engagements." (Original in the archives of the Mercantile Lihran' Association, Mugar Memorial Library, Boston University.)
The Mercantile Library Association of Boston was established in 1820 as an agent in the self-culture movement, and by the 1840s it had risen to a high place in the intellectual and social life of Boston. The Mercantile Library Association's lecture series featured such distinguished men as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Horace Greeley, Henry Ward Beecher, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Herman Melville.
'On Sept. 20, 1856 (820), Simms wrote to Marcus Claudius Marcellus Hammond: "I do not know what the papers have said of my Lectures or Lecturing,
. but l am drudging upon my Northern course, & am nearly exhausted. I have just finished one to be delivered in Boston, on 'South Carolina in the Revolution.'—lf they will listen to me!" This lecture (printed in The Letters of William Gilmore Simms, Ill, 521–549) is for the most part an answer to that portion of a speech delivered in the Senate on June 2S, 1854, by Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, who, provoked by Senator Andrew Pickens Butler's remark that the independence of America . . . was won by the arms and treasure . . . of slave-holding communities," attempted to prove by copious quotation from contemporaries as well as historians "the small contributions of men and the military weakness of the Southern States, particularly of South Carolina, as compared with the Northern States." Simms' defense of South Carolina's conduct during the