Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XIII: How the Strife Began >> Page 128

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Page 128

Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription I28JOSCELYN
"Ay, Browne! You hardly thought it possible that the Browne
could be made so suddenly so fair ! This is the magic power of
Liberty. Go below seek out the `Liberty Boys' of the heroic Cap-
tain Hamilton, and get yourselves a liberty cap such as mine, and the
clothing of charity which Liberty is to confer, in such a beautiful and
close-fitting uniform as mine! Ay, they will make you a fit-out for
freedom which shall last something longer than any British uniform ! "
"This is a shocking spectacle ! " exclaimed Drayton, with disgust
and horror.
"A shocking spectacle ! Ha! ha! ha! That you should say it! What!
You do not find it beautiful, even though put on in the name of
Liberty? I say it is a beautiful sight, to charm all lovers of the fine
fresh doctrine of the rights of men and the blessings of free govern-
ment. It is the form which charity takes, my brethren, when it
preaches philanthropy, and confers liberty as a blessing and a right
by the hands of violence!"
And the madman�deliberate as death schooled his mind to its
purpose, and with a savage concentration of his will, sported with his
own loathsome appearance held up his tarred hands to the audience
threw open the ragged vestments from his bosom�exhibited the
clotted masses of tar and feathers upon neck and breast, and, baring
his shoulders, displayed the swollen and bloated marks which had
been left upon them by the scourge, still raw in many places, with
the clotted gore caked along the edges of the wounds.
"Who could have done this?" exclaimed Drayton, with a feeling
of mixed loathing and pity, which he did not struggle to conceal.
"Who!" shouted the victim. "Do you dare to ask? Your creatures!
the commissioned creatures of your Council of Safety the 'Lib-
erty Boys' of your great hero, Captain Hamilton, of Augusta, having
special license in the name of the rights of man of the new Goddess
of Freedom, whom you would raise to silence all freedom of speech,
where it happens to conflict with your purposes."
"False, sir false as hell ! "
"What! dare you deny these wounds these beautiful scars in the
flesh, written by the scourge in blood! Do you mean to say that I
have put them there with my own hands? Do you dare deny this
beautiful handiwork of these troopers of Hamilton?"