Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XVI: Foot Prints >> Page 158

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription 158JOSCELYN
that his chief associates are the men, Joscelyn, that brigand Hamilton
he is no better than a brigand and that arch-rebel, Hammond, of
Snow Hill. From such associates, what can you expect? You say that
he is indecisive of character?"
"No! I meant not exactly that. He is, I may say, as yet undecided
in his opinions that is to say, he has not yet made up his mind upon
the argument, and believes that there are certain inherent rights in
the colonies, as colonies, and in the people themselves, and that, in
some measure, the crown and Parliament have been the aggressors."
"And who is to decide between them? That is the very plea of the
rebels. Be sure that, with these notions, if he still remains undecided,
he will not remain so long if he continues to associate with these men.
You must separate him from their malign counsels. You must give
him safer associates. In the highland country, associating with Came-
ron, Kirkland, the Cunninghams, Pearis, Fletchall, and our other
leaders of the back settlements, most of whom are British, they will
bring him right. Send him off to Kirkland with despatches. Take
care to write nothing that would commit yourself or the cause."
"What, sir! Do you think that my son would basely steal my
secrets?"
"By no means, sir. But he may lose his despatches. They may be
stolen, or taken from him by the way"
"True�true!"
"And you know that, while in his present state of mind, we cannot
trust him with our pass-words, our secrets cannot tell him who are
the friends to be trusted on the route must simply indicate the
route, and leave him to his own prudence. I can communicate with
Kirkland, and put him in possession of the facts of the case, and of
your objects in so disposing of your son. You have one good plea for
sending him away in the necessity of changing the air for his more
rapid recovery; another in the necessity of sending your despatches
by a safe hand; and if his sister should accompany him, it would not
be amiss. There, among our friends, and where we are strong, your
family would have much better securities than here, where, I am
sorry to say it, we are rather feeble. Should your commission reach
you also, it is very certain that your chief employment, for a season
at least, would be in that quarter."