Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter V: Gathering of the Clans >> Page 54

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription 54JOSCELYN
cool. Browne alternated between sneer and suggestion, and furnished
sometimes the goad, where the father furnished the persuasion.
Between the two, the young lawyer was ill at ease. His counte-
nance was very pale, but his lips were compressed, and he seemed
resolved, at all events, to go through with his task with all the
strength that he could command.
It was little thought by any of the other parties present that there
could be found anybody who would be bold enough to reply to
Drayton. His reputation as an orator would naturally discourage
disputation, while the friends and the supporters of the movement
party were quite too numerous to suffer any reply to be of much
avail in arresting it.
And so stood the parties when Drayton rose to speak.
Drayton was an accomplished speaker not a Cicero, nor yet a
Demosthenes, but copious like the former, with less of the poet and
more of the statistician and politician. His manner was easy and
graceful, quite natural, and singularly sweet and persuasive. There
was a gentle soliciting in his voice, which, soft and musical, was yet
strong and clear. His eye possessed the same sort of soliciting
expression, which won that of the listener, without his consciousness.
Voice and eye consorting, the matter of deep interest, and logically
presented, the orator won completely the attention of his auditory.
He proceeded to show what were the true relations between the
Crown and the Colonies; what were the rights of the people under
the British Constitution; in what manner these rights had been in-
vaded, and what would be the dangers to American and even British
liberty, if the aggressions of Parliament and the Crown were per-
mitted to continue and to grow.
To this period, none of the politicians, taking up this argument,
had gone beyond the expression of a purpose to have the popular
grievances redressed. There was no suggestion of independence.
That was a bird to be hatched from the gradual growth of the egg
of strife and revolution. The American statesmen were to move
cautiously, and rather let events grow, naturally, than suggest the
form, character, or extent to which the progress was to conduct.
Results were not to be named or predicted, lest men should recoil
from those preliminary steps which yet, as is the case in all revolu-
tions, could only reach one terminus.