Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter II: Malcontents in Council >> Page 21

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription J'OSCELYN2I
His sobs at length silenced this passionate appeal. He clung
about the neck of the youth, while the tears flowed freely from
his eyes. The youth swayed to and fro under his own emotions;
and at length, with the most mournful tones, and with the saddest
emphasis, he replied :
"Oh! my father, you have prevailed. I will speak as you desire;
but you know not what you have done. I foresee all the mischief
which must follow. I will combat every suggestion which may
seem to lead to disaffection and war; but I will enter into no
argument upon the abstract principles now asserted in this issue.
The policy is one thing, but the principle another. I may combat
the one, but you must leave me to be silent on the other. I cannot
speak what I know not to be the truth. The time will come when
it will assert itself, and when no man will dare to question. Plead
as you will, with blind loyalty, which sees a divine right in the
crown which I see only in the people assert as you may, and
believe, if you will, in the right of a foreign power to rule, accord-
ing to its pleasure, over other States three thousand miles away,
but the claim involves a falsehood and must, if permitted, result
only in a despotism. I have no such loyalty as you. I do not
pretend to it, and cannot, even though your agonies force me to
be silent where my conscience might compel me to cry aloud. But
I will argue for the patient waiting of our people, for their con-
tinued endurance; for their avoidance of all occasions of strife and
commotion; in the one hope that temperance and moderation may
quiet passion, smooth the way to wisdom, and so procure them
justice in the end. This is all that I can promise. And even this
will work mischief to my own hopes. It will place me in apparent
antagonism with my people, in whom are all my hopes, and who
possess all my sympathies. It will, besides, be of little use. It will
do no good; arrest no passion; above all, offer no check to that
popular movement which lies in the very nature of things, and
which must grow finally into an impetus which will prove irresistible,
no matter what the odds. Remember my words, gentlemen. The
very course which some of you are now taking, asserting everything
for the crown, denying everything to the people, and preparing
even for their destruction, rather than abandon a solitary prejudice