Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter XXXVII: Picture of Lynch-Law >> Page 314

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Page 314

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription was not even present on the occasion, but he was not the less
guilty, the deed was not the less executed by him."
How ! speak !"" He was the most guilty. The mere instruments of the
crime the miserable, and howling, and servile wretches, who
would have maimed and mangled a creature formed in their
own, not less than in the image of God, were not the criminals;
but he who set them on, he whose daily language was that of
malignant scorn and hostility, he was its .author, he was the
doer of the deed, and to him I looked for vengeance."
But how know you that he set them on ? Did you hear?"
Oh, Miss Berkeley, I say not that he told them, ' Go, now,
and do this deed ;' I know not that he did ; but had not Max
Mellichampe pronounced me deserving of Lynching, had he
not said that I was a tory, and that tar and feathers were the
proper desert of the tory, had he not approved of those tor-
tures, and of others which degrade humanity, the torture of
the rail, the suffocation of the horse-pond, would these
wretches, think you, who take their color and their thoughts
always from the superior, would they have been prompted, by
their own thoughts, to such a crime ? No ! they were prompted
by him. He approved the deed, he smiled upon its atrocities,
and he perished in consequence. Hence my hate to him and
his, and it is the hatred of justice which pursues even to the
third and fourth generations; for crimes and their penalties,
like diseases, are entailed to son and to son's son, all guilty,
and all doomed, alike. Hence it is, that I am. a tory. Hence
it is, that I lift the sword, unsparingly to the last, against the
wretches who taught me in that night of terror, of blistering
agony, of manhood's shame, and a suffering worse infinitely
than death, of what nature was that boon of liberty which
they promised, and which it was in the power of such monsters
to bestow. Can you wonder now, Miss Berkeley, not that I am
what I am, but that I am not worse ? You can not. I were
either more or less than human to be other than I am. Whe-
ther these things may excuse 'my conduct, I do not now ask;
all that I may claim from you is, that you will, at least, spare
your sarcasms in future upon what you are pleased to call the
unnatural warfare which I wage against my countrymen."