Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XII: The Fugitive >> Page 118

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription I18JOSCELYN
force in the immediate neighborhood of Augusta. He was well pro-
vided with British commissions, in blank, his own already having
been filled out with the rank of Major. Arms and ammunition were
to be supplied by Lord Campbell, through various media, and Alison
had already in possession a goodly handful of British gold for the
better persuasion of reluctant understandings. Already had he tried
the efficacy of this latter influence, and it was not long ere he had
nightly visitors at the Sand Hills, of that rank and vile, who are quite
willing that Mammon should for them represent the cause of the
better Deities.
But while the loyalists were thus active, showing energy and deter-
mination, if not good conduct, it must not be supposed that the revo-
lutionists were idle. Drayton and his associates had done what they
could, by argument and persuasion, at various places of importance in
the highland region. They had met their opponents in argument, at
numerous gatherings of the people and the militia had, perhaps,
worsted them in the discussion, as at Augusta, but without obtaining
any substantial conquests in their change of feeling or opinion. The
argument, to have been successful with these people, should have
been addressed to their feelings and sympathies, and a' due regard to
the proper conciliation of these, was the great necessity when dealing
with a people jealous of the social superiority of the low countrymen,
and with their self-esteem perpetually irritated by the very efforts of
the Commissioners to persuade and teach. This argued for the as-
sumption of superiority, on the part of the revolutionary leaders from
below; and, when the proof of this intellectual and social superiority
became sufficiently evident, in the numerous discussions which took
place at their assemblages, the soreness which vexed self-esteem
spread and grew into a sort of moral gangrene, which penetrated to
the core. Perhaps, too, some mistakes of Drayton and the other
Commissioners contributed to the partial failure of their mission of
persuasion. They discriminated unwisely between the local factions
and their leaders, among several of whom there had been long and
bitter feuds, engendered by the old conflicts between the Regulators
and the Scovilites, and unwisely, in some instances, they gave their
preferences prematurely to inferior men, when the same preferences
would have secured the abler. In the business of conferring commis-
sions, also, certain injurious mistakes were made, by which militia