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 2

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Page 2

Speech | 1995
Transcription 2
the veritable ones, which roused the ire of the Northron to the pitch of
discourtesy."' However, in the Charleston rendition, in which "he enchained the
attention of his large audience of mingled intelligence and beauty, " Simms made
a long and important addendum to the lecture he had read in New York State six
months earlier.
The manuscript fragment labeled by Simms "NOTE FOR PAGE 19 --"
has been housed as a "miscellaneous" manuscript int he Charles Carroll Simms
Collection. Identified herein for the first time, this "note" belongs to "South
Carolina in the Revolution" as printed in Letters III. The manuscript comprises
10 pages on white laid paper, written on the rectos only, in brown ink, now faded
after 140 years. The text should have been printed on page 532.3 of the Letters,
after the word "conflict!" which appears on page 19 of the lecture manuscript
where is interlined the word "note." The content of the "note for page 19" is
clearly an aside or addendum that answers the main faults charged by the
Northern press against Simms's failure to discuss slavery. Excerpts from the
manuscript, identified for the first time as belonging to "South Carolina in the
Revolution" and printed below, indicate Simms's main points of response.' The
aside begins:

Here, my friends, I must interpolate a note, in order that my
grouping of the events shall be so complete as to enable each of
you, at any time, to be prepared, with the proper argument to meet
the slanders of the enemy. I told you, in a previous lecture, that
my forbearance to refer to the subject of slavery, in any lecture at
the north of the career in Carolina in the Revolution, had been
made the subject of new misrepresentation.

This newly-identified manuscript, which Simms must have thought
ephemeral, allows its author to reveal his attitude toward the strengths,
weaknesses, and loyalty of the slaves more candidly than other documents he
composed for publication or for a hostile lecture audience. It is important
because it refutes the Northern press's allegations that Simms was afraid to tackl
the issue of slavery because it was a witness to South Carolina's moral and
physical decrepitude. And finally, the manuscript may suggest the Southerner's
gentlemanly reluctance to make odious comparisons. Although Simms did refer
to population numbers, land mass, and emigrant status, "South Carolina in the
Revolution" as read in New York did not draw contrasts in degrees of patriotism
between the North and South. This document, on the other hand, shows
forthrightly Simms's sense of the superiority of Southern patriotism, of the
fraudulent offers for Northern armies to defend the Southern colonies, and of the
confidence placed by masters in the slaves to execute their prescribed (but
limited) service in wartime. Excerpts from the manuscript illustrate these themes.