Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 7: No 1) >> Simms and Major Henry >> Page 8

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Page 8

Secondary Scholarship | 1999
Transcription these, dated 21 August 1847, and sent from Spartanburg Court House, Simms
I have been speaking with Dawkins and Henry in this place with
regard to you, and it is apparent to me that the only thing that
disturbs them, in regard to you, is a secret doubt how far you are
destined to interfere with Butler's reelection. They did not say this
openly, but I could not forbear inferring it from their indirections.
It was clear to me that you did not suffer in their regards from any
excess of sympathy which they felt for any Columbian. (Letters, 2:
Simms's concern here is for the political well-being of Hammond, his
long-time friend, confidant, and former governor of South Carolina who had
urged Simms to run for the South Carolina House of Representatives (Guilds,
Simms 114). Although Simms had been defeated for reelection in 1846, Henry
still served the Spartanburg District in the House of Representatives, and Dawkins
(Thomas Dawkins of Unionville, South Carolina, and a political ally of Major
Henry) seemed to distrust James Hammond whom they thought might try to
prevent the reelection of the candidate they favored, A. P. Butler, to the United
States Senate. In 1846, Simms had hoped to persuade Hammond to come out of
retirement and to run for the Senate seat himself, but he declined and subsequently
Butler was elected. Even though in 1847 Henry and Dawkins saw Hammond as a
viable threat to Butler should Hammond become a candidate in the senatorial
race, Butler was reelected in 1848 (Wakelyn 104). This letter seems to imply that
Simms actually talked to Henry during his Spartanburg sojourn, perhaps at about
the time he was in route to the Balsam Range for a hunting trip.
The second of his two letters to Hammond, dated 30 November 1847,
written after Simms had been in Columbia to address the railroad schemes,
including the act to authorize the formation of the Spartanburg and Union
Railroad Company (Letters, 2: 377), Simms also candidly discusses with his
friend Henry's politics. In it, Simms writes: "Henry (J. E.) would have supported
Manning for Gov., but for this attempt in behalf of Simons" (Letters, 2: 378). In
a footnote to this letter, the editors point out that Simons is James Simons, a
Charleston lawyer and member of the State House of Representatives with whom
Simms had served in 1844-1846 and that Manning is John Laurence Manning, the
son of former South Carolina governor Richard Irvine Manning. John Manning
was subsequently elected governor of South Carolina himself in 1852 (see note