Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVII / How the Bilious Orator Essayed >> Page 392

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 392 SOUTHWARD Ho !
erty was to undergo general distribution in equal shares. Every
man, it was argued, had a natural right to a farmstead, and a
poultry-yard ; as every woman, not wholly past bearing, had a
right to a husband. The old Fatroons of Albany were not per-
mitted to rent, but must sell their lands, at prices prescribed by
the buyer, or the tenant. Debtors liquidated their bonds in the
blood of their creditors. The law of divorce gave every sort
of liberty to wife and husband. The wife, if she did not avail
herself of the extreme privileges accorded to her by this benev-
olent enactment, was, at all events, allowed to keep her own
purse, and to spend her money, however viciously, without ac-
counting to her lord. If he was lord, she was lady. She was
not simply his master, but her own ; and a precious household
they made of it between them. Churches multiplied, mostly, at
the very moment when a restless and powerful party�avowedly
hostile to all religion was denouncing and striving to abolish
the Sabbath itself, as immoral, and in conflict with the privileges
of labor and the citizen.
" In this universal disorder in laws and morals � this confusion
of society, worse confounded every day in its general aspects
so wonderfully like those which, in France, preceded, and prop-
erly paved the way for, a purging reign of terror all the usual
amenities and courtesies were fairly at an end, even in those
places, hotels and haunts of summer festivity, in which decency
and policy, if not charity and good-will to men, requires that
everything should be foreborne, of manner or remark, that might
be offensive to any sensibilities. But the cloud and blindness
which everywhere overspread society, was a madness too sweep-
ing to forbear any subject, in which envy, malice, conceit, and
a peevish discontent, could find exercise at the expense of one's
neighbor. In destroying, at home, the securities of religion, the
domestic peace of families, the inviolability of the laws, the guar-
antees of the creditor nay, taking his life, as that of an inso-
lent, when he presumed to urge his bond these reckless incen-
diaries (like the French, exactly) must carry their beautiful sys-
tem to the hearts of other communities. They are by no means
selfish. They must share their admirable blessings with others
nay, force them, even against their desires, to partake of their
drunken mixtures. No situation, accordingly, is sacred from