Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 6, Supplement >> 30a The Editor of the Southern Literary Journal >> Page 294

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Page 294

Correspondence | U of South Carolina P | 2012
Transcription 294 THE SIMMS LETTERS
whose editor, of course, has strictly eschewed every thing like puffing, in his criticisms. The Knickerbocker has a good deal of merit quite as much, we think, in some departments, as one half of the English monthlies. Its criticisms are usually more indulgent than any other, and its editors have distinctly set forth their determination to pursue an indulgent course towards the infant literature of this country, as it is supposed by them to labor under some disadvantages in a comparison with European literature, which they have set forth, and upon which we may speak hereafter. Call it puffing, or what you will, they declare the determination to praise and en-courage the young beginner if he shows signs of merit, whatever may be his deficiencies.* Still they do not keep silence on the subject of these deficiencies. They point them out unhesitatingly, though gently, and dwell upon them tenderly, without exhibiting any malignant pleasure in irritating or giving pain while doing so. Certainly, there is charity, a Christian virtue, if not criticism, in a course like this.
The Knickerbocker has been guilty of one of the practices, (since discontinued, however) which the editor of the journal deprecates
men. One of them, Willis Gaylord Clark, now of Philadelphia, is known as the author of "The Spirit of Life," an anniversary Poem, prettily conceived and very gracefully put together.
9. In 1837 Samuel Daly Langtree (1811–1842) and his brother-in-law John L. O'Sullivan (1813–1595) founded the influential United States Magazine and Democratic Review.
10. Timothy Flint (1780-1840).
11. Clement Massillon Edson (1811-1853), Lewis Gaylord Clark (1808-1873), and his twin brother, Willis Gaylord Clark (1808-1841), were prominent magazine editors and authors.
*[Simms's footnote] A rule laid down by Pope would seem to be their assumed motto. The rule is a wholesome one, and may be read with interest by the least fallible critic:
"In every work regard the writer's end,
Since none can compass more than they intend; And if the means be just, the conduct true, Applause, in spite of trivial faults, is due."
The critic owes this to justice—and more. He is bound to point out faults—if his discrimination is adequate to such a duty; and, if not, he had better go through a course of Pope's Essay on his own art.