Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 16: No 1) >> Simms as ''Nemo'': The Rediscovered Letters to the Charleston Mercury >> Page 13

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 13

Correspondence | [1860]
Transcription this country, he has maintained his reputation, oratorically and poetically;
though his preference for the French, as his favorite medium of utterance,
must tend greatly to impair his chances of popularity out of his own State.
And we confess we think him in en-or, even on grounds of propriety, in thus
refusing to employ the vernacular. He may think it patriotic, as a Creole, in
thus asserting the ancient language of the former people, but, by this, he
necessarily confines himself to a mere parish, when, assuming the religious
purpose which his subjects always declare, and the merits of his expositions,
his duty and pleasure should be found equally in seeking the largest
audiences; and there is no reason why he should not do so, writing equally
well in English and in French. We have but to add that his subjects are
mostly religious and patriotic.
A brochure of fifty pages, from the press of CROCKER and
BREWSTER, Boston, is entitled "The Union," the object of which is to re-
inspire, if possible, among the insane people of the North, the wholesome
counsels of Washington; to base the Union upon sympathies and brotherly
affections, not less than upon the Constitution, justice, mutual rights and
mutual respect. To enforce these lessons, the anonymous author of this
volume writes a goodly number of heroic lines, very well and sometimes
forcibly versified; musical throughout, and fanciful; the fancy making
picturesque the thought, and the thought being such as would naturally arise
in any contemplative mind, from the survey of our present condition as a
Confederacy of sister States; where all is brutal incendiarism, insolence and
assault, on the one hand; all meek submission and placid forbearance, on the
other; where one section is all concentrated, led by the Furies, crying
havoc, and ready to slip the dogs of war; and the other patiently argues the
question; folding its hands with a sort of whining prayer, that the foes who
have picked our pockets, and kicked us so long, will at length see the
impropriety of such conduct, and be merciful; leaving off kicking, and
turning towards us with hypocritical face and slavering embrace! Of course,
no pen of poet, if dipped in demoniac fires; or assuming a benignant
aspect plucked from the wing of an angel and dipped in the glories of
setting suns would forcibly or adequately depict the condition of the
country! And though we find this poem really poetical, and full of fancy, and
occasionally of force, still it falls utterly short of any true delineations of the
strife of sections, which involves brawls in Congress; brutal bitterness of
epithet; incendiarism in Virginia and bloodshed; and the poisoning of wells
and fountains in Texas, from which the women and children take their
thirst; to say nothing of the house and city burning! Until the poets of the
North can rise to a full description of the diabolical in the conduct of the
Northern people in their relations with the South, they will fall short of all
effective satire in handling this most fertile topic. The strain here is too
temperate. In ordinary cases it would be thought warm and vigorous; but