Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 6, Supplement >> 933a William James Rivers >> Page 199

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Page 199

Correspondence | U of South Carolina P | 2012
Transcription JUNE 1859 199 933a : To WILLIAM JAMES RIVERS'
Charleston, S. C. June 13. 1859. My dear Mr. Rivers.
Your kind estimate of my volume, of course gave me the greatest satisfaction; for you are one of the few, whom I know, capable of following me along the route which I pursued.' You, perhaps, better than most persons, know the embarrassments of such a study, and have grasped, as well as this may be done, the whole extent of the province. You know its element; and had you pursued a department such as mine, you would probably have seen, with me, what are its susceptibilities. In this latter respect, my success has chiefly lain. I flatter myself that I have been the first to reveal the latent and romantic uses which lay in the soil. But I must not insist on these matters. It is enough if I congratulate myself on the favorable opinion of one so well knowing & ably judging as yourself. As far as I can hear, the book finds general approbation, though not because of the characteristics which specially commend it to you. Only as a story. In regard to yourself, let me say to you—do not suffer yourself to be discouraged. Your error has been in addressing yourself exclusively to a community which has neither the courage, the independence or the knowledge necessary to create public opinion. Here, we are mere provincials. Address yourself to the foreign, though it even be the hostile tribunal, and you will compel a secondary & reflective sentiment at home in your favour. As for giving umbrage in this or that quarter, if you suffer this to daunt you, you will never do any thing. Success, itself, will always offend somebody. Merit is always offensive to some nostrils. If I had been governed by what is called opinion here, I should never have gone beyond my first publication. Nay, if I had listened to those who claimed to be friends, my first page had been my last; I should never have published any thing. Your first work is excellent of its kind; more thorough than any thing in relation to the period chosen for
933a
At the top of this letter someone (doubtless Rivers) has written "Confidential."'The Cassique of Kiawah was published in May. See note 137, May 23, 1859 (930).