Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 3: No 1) >> An Unpublished Letter of 1862 from Simms to W. J. Rivers >> Page 2

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Correspondence | 1995
Transcription 2
concerning death and the grief and suffering of a bereaved parent. Also
significant are his comments here upon the War, which had begun hardly more
than a year earlier, upon his perceptive early assessment of the Northern attitude
towards South Carolina, and upon the reasons for the state's failure to fortify
Charleston in timely fashion.'



Woodlands. Friday Mg. [Morning]

Professor W. J. Rivers.

My dear Professor.

Absence for a week in Charleston has caused me to
defer acknowledgement of your very kind letters I sincerely sorrow with you at
your sad bereavement, of which, till I got your letter, I had not heard.' Had I
been informed, I should not have trespassed just then upon your attention to my
purely selfish commission. I will not attempt to offer you consolation. There is
no consolation save in the very effect of affliction upon your heart. As this feels
the bruise, it gives forth an aura of its own which purifies & strengthens---
strengthening even as it purifies. If the lesson teaches us humility, & checks the
human disposition to make idols of its earthly possessions, the end of God is
reached, & the Sacred bitter does its wholesome work upon the Soul. May you
grow strong from humiliation, and rise from your knees to a new meekness of the
Spirit!---Thanks for your kind offer touching my Library, of which I may avail
myself, after duly watching the progress of Events. The lateness of the Season
seems to hold forth some promise that whatever the Enemy may do against
Charleston, he will hardly, if successful, attempt to penetrate the interior till coo
weather. But I do not see that he need take Charleston, or that we need despair.
If we do, it should be that sort of despair which sustains courage, and makes of
the mortal struggle an immortal triumph. Our people, by this time, have a
sufficient knowledge of what the tender mercies of the Yankees are, and of what
they will be, in the case of South Carolina, should we be so terribly deserted by
God as to fall into their power. Vae Victis,' will be their cry if they can wave
sword & halter over us. From all that I can see & hear, Charleston will be
defended to the last, and with all the terrible energies of men who have no
alternative in submission. But for our miserable defensiveness of character, our
lack of industry & energy, our want of ingenuity and neglect of mechanical aids,
& our dreadful habit of procrastination, Charleston would now be impregnable
to all their efforts. I repeat, I see no reason to despair either of ourselves, our
cause or the favor of God. But, even as you say, it is only the part of prudence
to set one's house in order, & prepare for what may happen. As, therefore,
events ripen, I shall proceed, if I deem it necessary, to avail myself of your aid
& of the refuge offered for my library in the college---at least I shall endeavor
in this way to save a portion, the most valuable, of the collection.---Touching the