Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XIII: How the Strife Began >> Page 132

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription 132JOSCELYN
"Hold me not back, friend!" quoth Browne to Cunningham.
"Rath not the time come? Is not the victim delivered into our hands,
and may we not execute judgment upon him? It is the judgment of
the Lord!"
"Aye ! " cried Kirkland. "He is the proper victim ! He is the man
the orator, the great leader, and arch-traitor among the rebels. He
is the proper victim for the sacrifice. It is not the hounds that run
down the game, but the cunning hunter who sets them on. It were
something gained if we only cut the tongue of treason ! I ask for
nothing but his tongue ! "
He freed himself from Robinson, and resolutely advanced towards
the Commissioners. Browne, at the same moment, shook himself free
from the grasp of Cunningham. These, with several others, now
grappled with the two once more. Browne apostrophised the crowd,
in that half biblical phraseology which he had imbibed, no doubt,
from his old Covenanter origin. He had evidently come to regard
himself, in his insanity, as one chosen to minister at the altar of
sacrifice.
"Yes! now is the time, my people!�now is the accepted time!
The Lord hath delivered the enemy into our hands. He hath come to
judgment of his own free will. Here is the proper altar of sacrifice,
and the victim stands before us. Let us hew him down, even where
he stands. Now is the time to wash out our own sins in the blood of
the traitor. I have a two-fold commission for the sacrifice. The Lord
commands that we put away the evil doer from among us the
Belial, who, with smooth and serpent tongue, would persuade us
anew to pluck and eat of the forbidden fruit; and I have the war-
ranty, besides, from our sovereign lord, the King of Britain. Look
and read, my brethren!�and see that you no longer vainly oppose
yourselves to the judgment of your heavenly and your earthly
sovereign."
He drew from his tattered garments, as he spoke, a sheet of parch-
ment, with heavy seal, which the nearer bystanders soon perceived to
be a formal commission, creating and constituting Thomas Browne as
a colonel of colonial infantry, in the service of his Britannic Majesty,
signed by Lord William Campbell, Governor of South Carolina.
"Behold, I say ! " he continued; "and read your warranty for what
you do in mine. Let there be no surprise, for the Great Jehovah�