Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter V: Gathering of the Clans >> Page 55

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription JOSCELYN55
Drayton was thus cautious in his speech, and studiously disclaimed
anything beyond the purpose to obtain redress of grievances, and
security for the Colonies under the Crown, the Constitution, and
their several charters, against the invasion of all these by an usurp-
ing Parliament, or faction.
The orator led his audience with him to this extent. There were
no dissenting voices. The applause was frequent, especially where
some strong epigrammatic phrase was employed to round happily a
paragraph with the assertion of the people's rights. Even the party
headed by old Dunbar and Browne listened with patience, and to
this period felt that there had been nothing said to which legitimate
objection could be taken.
There was a brief pause, in which the speaker seemed to be gather-
ing himself up for more impressive matters. He resumed:
"Thus have I shown you, my countrymen, the relations which, at
present, exist between the Government of Great Britain and the
people of these Colonies. You have seen what are the wrongs under
which we live, and the rights for which a brave people ought to be
willing to die. Let me now say to you that we can repel these
wrongs, and can maintain these rights, if we are only true to our-
selves and to one another. A people is never so sure of their liber-
ties as when deeply impressed with an earnest love of their country.
And this is our country not to be yielded to the spoiler; not to be
robbed of its profits or possessions by any foreign government; to
be ruled by, and among ourselves, and for the benefit of our own
children. If it be not so if a foreign and remote government is to
interpose, and with insolent strength to stretch its gigantic arms over
three thousand miles of sea, to tear away our harvests when the fields
are golden with the grain, the produce of our own labor, of what
avail is our labor? of what hopes or securities are we possessed for
our children? What country can we call our own, and what the use
to labor, or indeed to live? Better, far better, that we should fold
our hands, abandon our fields to naked fallow, and depart from a
region which is not only unblessed by security, but in which our only
inheritance is shame."
"Better fight ! " cried a sturdy voice from the crowd, and there
was a clash and clattering of sabres.
"Aye, better fight ! " was the echo from a hundred voices.