Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 7: No 2) >> Nationalism, History, and Moral Progress in Simms's Earliest Writings >> Page 15

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Secondary Scholarship | 1999
Transcription what is called the genius of place." This "genius of place," or what Simms later
referred to as Genius Loci, was the "power of natural scenery to retain, keep alive
and impart something of the spirit of departed deeds, which occurred in the vicinity,
and to rekindle the ardour of virtuous action, and the admiration of noble conduct for
time immemorial." The mysterious power which constituted a site's genius of place,
or Genius Loci, had the capacity to make the reflective passerby who paused to linger
sensible to "moral beauty." If any place in Charleston possessed genius of place,
surely it was Fort Moultrie, which had been sanctified by the blood of patriots and
martyrs contending for liberty. "[L]et us listen to the genius of that place," Crafts
encouraged his audience, "as it recalls the triumph of Carolina and the valour of
Moultrie."12
Simms would have completely agreed. It was just such lessons as the self-
less valor of General Moultrie and his band of patriots that he hoped to teach his
readers. By enlivening his history with his art, Simms tried to make the moral
lessons of the past as real for his readers as they were for him when he visited
Sullivan's Island.


























12 William Crafts, "Address delivered June 28th, 1825, before the Palmetto Society, in
commemoration of the defence of the Palmetto Fort, on Sullivan's Island (28 June
1776)," in A Selection, in Prose and Poetry, from the Miscellaneous Writings of the Late
William Crafts (Charleston: C.C. Sebring and J.S. Burges, 1828), 72.
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