Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XIII: How the Strife Began >> Page 124

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription 124JOSCELYN
sleep, but speaking at intervals, in passionate bursts, which seemed
quite sufficient to awaken any sleeper. But they had no such effect
on him. He slept on, not quietly, it is true, but no doubt with un-
broken slumbers, till broad daylight.
The morrow had come !
Somehow, Browne had obtained information, somewhere on his
upward route, that this day was destined to be an eventful one among
parties in this region. It was one of the strongholds of the disaffected
men of the highlands. Here, Col. Fletchall had command, and his
regiment of militia was one of imposing character; at once formidable
in numbers, and, from the general ignorance of the foreign popula-
tion, easily accessible to the arts of designing leaders, and, in some
considerable degree, the loyalist leaders of this precinct were men of
ability and character. Fletchall had popularity, but was feeble; but
the Cunninghams, the Kirklands, the Pearises, the Robinsons, were
all shrewd, hardy and energetic men, of strong fiery passions, a
stubborn will, with some intelligence, and adroit managers of men.
These, stimulated and supported by such persons as Stuart and Cam-
eron, who were royal officials, and their subordinates, McLaurin,
McLean and Mins, all of whom were Scotchmen, felt themselves
confident of strength and in full command of the situation. Fletchall
they used as a tool, and they shaped his purposes and governed all
his proceedings. This day was assigned for bringing together all the
leaders, with the militia of the precinct, for a meeting with Drayton
and his brother Commissioners, who were to argue for them the
existing relations between the crown and the colony, exhibit and en-
force the alleged aggressions of the former, show and urge the rights
of the latter, and persuade the people generally, if so they might, to
subscribe to certain articles of "association," by which, in the end, to
coerce the government of Great Britain into a recognition of the
popular rights, and the surrender of all those claims of the crown
which were denounced by the Congress as usurpations.
Fletchall could not well deny to the Commissioners the assemblage
of the militia; he was temporizing with them, and, accordingly, he
issued his orders for the gathering to the several captains of his regi-
ment. But as the argument had been already prejudged by the loyal-
ist leaders, and as they were quite unwilling that their people should
be exposed to the persuasions of Drayton, or the effects of his oratory