Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XIII / The Oration of the Green-Spectacled Alabamian >> Page 247

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Page 247

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE ORATION. 247
thus prepared myself for the occasion, and I'll let you know I
am not the man to prepare myself for nothing. Either you
must hear me, or you must fight me. Let me know your reso-
lution. If I do not begin upon you all, I shall certainly begin
upon some one of you, and I don't know but that Texan shall
be my first customer, as being the first to disturb the business
of the day. An audible snort from the blanket was the only
answer from that quarter ; while the cry of� " An orator !
an orator !" from all parts of the ship, pacified our belligerent
He began accordingly.
" Shipmates or Fellow- Citizens : We are told by good author-
ity that no man is to be pronounced fortunate so long as he
lives, since every moment of life is subject to caprices which
may reverse his condition, and render your congratulations
fraudulent and offensive. The same rules, for the same reason,
should be adopted in regard to nations, and no eulogy should
be spoken upon their institutions, until they have ceased to
exist. It would accordingly be much easier for me to dilate
upon the good fortune of Copan and Palenque than upon any
other countries, since they will never more suffer from invasion,
and the scandalous chronicle of their private lives is totally lost
to a prying posterity.
" In regard to our country, what would you have me say ? Am
I summoned to the tribune to deal in the miserable follies and
falsehoods which now pervade the land ? At this moment, from
every city, and state, and village, and town and hamlet in the
Union, ascends one common voice of self-delusion and deception.
You hear, on all hands, a general congratulation of themselves
and one another, about our peace, and prosperity and harmony.
About our prosperity a great deal may be said honestly, if not
about its honesty. Never did a people so easily and excellently
clothe and feed themselves. Our ancestors were very poor
devils, compared to ourselves, in respect to their acquisitions.
Their very best luxuries are not now to be enumerated, except
among our meanest and commonest possessions ; and, without