Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter VI: Walter Dunbar >> Page 61

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription JOSCELYN61
of his voice and manner, he appeared to think that he moved upon
sure ground.
One of the points which Drayton had urged in his speech, and
which had made a great impression upon the crowd, was that in which
he had charged upon Stuart and Cameron a design to bring down the
red men of the interior upon the frontier colonists; providing them
with arms and ammunition, and organizing them, on the side of the
Crown, in anticipation of a war which was thus seemingly premedi-
tated.
This was just one of those charges to arouse all the apprehensions
of the people, and to provoke them to a wild excitement, acting upon
their opinions through their fears, and exciting their passions in behalf
of those abstract principles which the great body of a people scarcely
ever grasp except through the medium of their passions. The charge
was dreaded by Cameron, and we have seen how brutally it had been
denied by Browne when advanced by Drayton, and what had been
the result to himself of that denial. It was essential that young
Dunbar should combat this charge also; and, on the strength of the
solemn denials made him by Cameron himself, he boldly challenged
Drayton to produce the proofs which he had alleged to be in the
possession of the Committee of Safety, in relation to the accusation.
"Such a charge," he said, "so discreditable to an officer of the
Crown, so shocking to humanity, so justly calculated to arouse to
passionate fury the whole of the people, should not be made in
wantonness, and without the most conclusive evidence. It cannot be
true, and I appeal to the honorable Commissioner from Charleston
to produce his proofs on the spot, or at once atone, by a frank con-
fession of error, for this most cruel assault upon the fair fame of men
who bear his Majesty's commission. I pause for a reply."
"And you shall have it," answered Drayton promptly, rising in
the carriage, and drawing a packet of papers from his pocket. He
added :
"And when you, sir, shall know me better nay, sir, when you
shall the better know what the honorable statesman, or the orator,
owes to himself, you will see that it cannot be possible that he shall
wantonly, and without proper authority of proof, assail the character
of any person, whether he be the official or the humble citizen!"