Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter I: Introductory — The Where and When >> Page 5

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription JOSCELYN5
ince of Cutachifiqui�a province of which the Uchees are supposed
to have constituted the largest element.
Musing or conversing upon these old dramas in our New World,
the transition was at once natural and easy to times less remote,
and, indeed, in some instances, within the memories of living men,
and to events of more recent experience, occurring in the same
neighborhood.
We lingered naturally over the revolutionary period, and over
the facts in several cases, of persons, still well remembered as actors,
on one side or the other, during the period which is said to have
tried men's souls, as if all periods did not try the souls of men,
when these are fit for any trial.
The absolute in history and the old local tradition gave us food
for reflection and discussion, and little snatches of anecdote, dimly
remembered details of domestic strife and excitement, brought up
the names of the Hammonds, the Cummings, McCoys, Joscelyns, the
Conynghams, the Alexanders, the Hamiltons, the Coopers, Brownes,
Griersons, and many others, who had conspicuously figured on this
scene of action some ninety years ago, and of whose habits, charac-
teristics and performances much was still remembered by my two
friends, and subsequently by others whom I sought for information.
Yes, on these very sand-hills, nearly on the same spot where we
sate together, on that pleasant summer afternoon, smoking our cigars
and quaffing our Rhenish, there opened certain tragedies of passion-
ate local interest, blending, here and there, with the grand drama
of the American Revolution, then at the beginning of its action.
Here, nearly on the very spot occupied by the fine mansion of
our host, stood a modest cottage, some ninety years ago, which
occupied one of the few in the precinct the very centre of a pretty
little farmstead, under good cultivation; and, from the shelter of
this cottage, and under the shadow of these great trees, a group had
gathered, ninety years ago, to discuss the prospects and probabilities
of war to open all the fiery seals of civil feud and persecution, and
plan those enterprises of peril which were destined to cover the land
with fire, and drain thousands of its bravest hearts of the life-blood
which makes States famous.