Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 7: No 2) >> A New Simms Letter of 1867 >> Page 4

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Page 4

Correspondence | 1999
Transcription Charleston, July 2, 1867.
Mrs. E. A. C. Shedden.
My dear Madam.
I have your letter of June---and the enclosure of $1. This I
shall dispose of promptly as you direct. It is difficult to explain the
miserable condition of this country, or give you any adequate idea
of its distress. Enough that one half of the population are always
now on the eve of starvation. If you will only keep in mind that the
Labour & Capital of the South were blended, and that both have
been destroyed; that the Labour will not work & that there is no
capital left; that nobody has any money; that the crops utterly
failed last year, & no planter had any produce to sell; that money
can only be borrowed at an interest, varying between 3 & 5 per
cent per month; that, in order to get this money even at these
exorbitant rates, the planter is required to mortgage not only the
growing crop but the land itself; you will readily conceive that the
country is irretrievably ruined, doomed without hope of
redemption, and without any prospect in the future. The politics of
the country, even were there any hopes of a return in some degree,
of pecuniary prosperity, would suffice to kill them, and nothing
now remains to our people, but turbid lives in desolation, to end at
last in a general massacre. Enough on this head. You need not
doubt that Mr. Martin and Mr. Hallenquist are both ruined. This
is the universal history with few exceptions. If your Mr. Martin be
the gentleman I suspect, Mr. Robert Martin, of Barnwell, he was
before the war a man of wealth with a fine plantation & a new and
splendid dwelling. The dwelling was destroyed like every other fine
one in the track of Sherman's army. He has little left but his land
and his manhood. These gentlemen would no doubt be pleased to
hear from you. Of the distress prevailing here no language can
give you an adequate idea. Believe the worst. There is no
exaggeration in any of the accounts you hear. Very truly and
respectfullyYour obt. servant
W. Gilmore Simms