Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XIII: How the Strife Began >> Page 126

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription I26JOSCELYN
Drayton turned to Fletchall, and he too answered cavalierly.
"The truth is, Mr. Drayton," said he, "this is no lawful muster,
and it was only to comply with your request that I issued any sum-
mons at all. It is optional with the men whether they want to hear
political discourses."
"But the orders of the Council of Safety, Colonel Fletchall, these
are imperative. Your commission, sir."
Cunningham and Kirkland both answered, in very nearly the same
language, saying :
"Our commissions are from the King. We recognize no Committee
of Safety here."
But we need not dwell upon these preliminaries, which Drayton
judiciously shortened as much as possible, proceeding to the main
business of addressing the audience, however small, which had assem-
bled. He spread before them the "articles of association," which they
were solicited to sign. He proceeded to expatiate upon the uses and
absolute necessity of such articles, and this necessarily conducted him
to the principal subjects of difficulty and discussion : the false relations
existing between the crown and the colonies. In this discussion he
arrayed before the assembly the leading tenets of republican liberty,
which have been subsequently relied on in the assertion of the inde-
pendence of the colonies. He showed that the colonies were able to
go alone; that their numbers were quite sufficient to support the
fabric of the State; that their people possessed the necessary quali-
fications of morality, knowledge and intellect for self-government;
that, whenever this condition should be reached by any people, there
was neither right nor reason in the claim of any foreign or remote
nation to govern them from abroad; that any people submitting to
such usurpation were only fit to be enslaved; were slaves already, in
spirit, and must sink into a condition of slavery; that the rule of
right and reason required that all governments, to be safe and benz-
ficial, must exist only by the consent of the people to be governed;
that, to be taxed without representation, was the perfection of tyr-
anny, constituting the very worst feature of that oriental despotism
which placed a province at the mercy of a foreign satrap, with the
wholesale privilege of plunder for himself and master, &c.
We need not pursue these details, or indicate the several points
made by the speaker. Ninety years of experience as independent