Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 3: No 2) >> ''South Carolina in the Revolution'': The Charleston Series with an Addendum to the Manuscript >> Page 1

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Speech | 1995
Transcription "South Carolina in the Revolution": The Charleston Series
with an Addendum to the Manuscript

Miriam J. Shillingsburg

One of the accusations leveled against Simms by the New York press
during his Northern tour in 1856 was that his lecture "South Carolina in the
Revolution" had avoided any mention of the institution of slavery. For example,
the Tribune charged that Simms had made "no mention whatever of her negroes,
who, after all, were her greatest drawback." The paper continued,

This is the more noticeable . . . since it was this particular
drawback of Slavery, alluded to in the speech of Mr. Sumner,
which drew down upon him the ferocious attack of Bully Brooks
. . . to which Mr. Simms also saw fit to allude . . . in terms
reproachful to Mr. Sumner, and, we must be allowed to say, very
little creditable either to the head, the heart, or the taste of Simms.
(New York Tribune, 24 November 1856)

Stung by the failure of the tour, Simms prepared a series of three lectures
for the edification of native Charlestonians. Originally scheduled for late
January, Simms's health forced their postponement until 25 and 27 May, and 1
June 1857. Delivered to a small but "fit and appreciative audience" that gave
"intense and rapt attention," the first was newly written for the occasion. In
"The Social Moral," a 46-page manuscript, Simms described how "the South had
always left herself to be delineated, socially, politically and morally, by her
enemies," according to The Mercury.2 Its follow-up lecture, the 60-page
manuscript "Antagonisms of the Social Moral North and South" was also a new
composition in which Simms warned his fellow Southerners of the hostility
generated by the popular press in New York State.' The audience was larger,
no doubt because of the previous good reportage, and the lecture was judged
"more pointed, comprehensive, and interesting" than the first. The lecturer used
"particularly happy . . . illustrations" and the "manner and delivery were
characterized by an earnest and animated bearing, which added much force and
power to the sentiments advanced. "4 For the second lecture The Mercury
editorially praised Simms, because "our Southern statesmen have gathered from
his historic pages their most full and conclusive arguments for the defense of a
people basely and slanderously assailed."' As far as I can tell, both lectures
(which still remain only in manuscript) were delivered only this once - at
Hibernian Hall in Charleston on 25 and 27 May as the first and second in a series
of three performances designed especially for the occasion.
Simms's final lecture for this Charleston audience was a repetition of
"South Carolina in the Revolution," noted by The Courier as being "his words,