Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 6, Supplement >> 1253a John Esten Cooke >> Page 253

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Page 253

Correspondence | U of South Carolina P | 2012
Transcription JUNE 1867 253
mission & Shipping merchant." Have the Bill sent, at Colporteur prices—remember that—and the draft for the money shall be sent to you, as soon as the books are recieved. It will be so much cash in your pocket. Do not delay, but write & send promptly.' I have neither health nor leisure to write you more. I have just got back from the plantation & elswhere, & am hors de combat from a wretched catarrh, besides finding my desk covered with letters, all of which say work, and many of which cry, as the voice to John in Patmos—"Write."
Adios. Yours
W. Gilmore Simms.

but the intense malignity, which has blackened every page with a slander, and pointed every paragraph with a lie.
"But the venom is baffled by the unmitigated dullness of the volume. It consists of a long string of lugubrious dialogues between very silly or very stupid people; only spiced by the malignity which poisons all its pages. There is no story, no art, no invention. There is no decent characterization. The heroine (Miss RAVENEL) is a silly and vulgar chit, who is converted from secession to loyalty, by appetite rather than argument; her father is a raving and ridiculous blockhead; one of her lovers is a blackguard, the other a snob; which is being a peg or two below the English standard of snobbism. Briefly, with the exception of a good masculine style, and a smart epigrammatic facility in rounding a period with a sting, the book is wholly without merit. As a work of art in fiction, it is bald, utterly and below criticism; as a narrative, pretending to facts, it is as false in its design throughout, as an ingenious malice and a viperous hate could make it, in the hands of one whose morals suggest no scruples when slandering a whole people, either for the gratification of a passion, or the earning of a penny. Why such books should be put forth now, with what object and to what good end, it is difficult to conceive. They are in direct conflict with the avowed desire of the Northern people to conciliate rather than to stab or wound. They are in conflict with the avowed policy of the Government, they are in conflict with the needs as well as the morals of society, and they are utterly damnable in the sight of Christianity. In such publications as this, the press becomes a panderer either to the greed of gain, or to the roused malignity of individual hate, which is too strong equally for public policy or private morals. We trust that the HOLMES' Book Store will keep its counters unpolluted with all such writings."'Cooke sent Simms' letter to his New York publisher, E. B. Treat on July 11: "The within note from my friend Mr Simms is sent as connected with 'W. of G.' I do not feel myself at liberty to adopt Mr Simms' suggestion—and only forward his note to show that copies could be sold in Charleston, and for your information." Treat replied: "We have sent Mr Simms a case of 22 books & requested him to recommend the right man as an agent." (Original in the Clifton Waller Barrett Library, University of Virginia Library)
'Revelation, L:10.