The Yemassee

By William Gilmore Simms; Alexander Cowie | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVII

"Have a keen eye awake — sleep not, but hold
A perilous watch to-night. There is an hour
Shall come, will try the stoutest of ye all."

" I SAY it again, Captain Harrison — fortunate is it for mankind, fortunate and thrice happy — Mr. Matthews, you will be pleased to respond to the sentiment — thrice fortunate, I say, is it for mankind — Richard Grimstead, this idea is one highly important to your class, and you will give it every attention — thrice fortunate for mankind that there are some spirits in the world, some noble spirits, whom no fear, no danger, not even the dread of death, can discourage or deter in their labours for the good of the people. Who nobly array themselves against injustice, who lift up the banners of truth, and, filled to overflowing with the love of their kindred, who yield up nothing of man's right to exaction and tyranny, but, shouting their defiance to the last, fear not to embrace the stake of martyrdom in the perpetuation of an immortal principle. Yes, captain — "

The audience began to scatter.

"What, — will you not hear? — Mr. Matthews, venerable sir, — Master Grayson, Master Walter Grayson, I say — and you, Richard Grimstead — will nobody hear? — thus it is, — the blind and insensible mass! — they take the safety and the service, but forget the benefactor. It is enough to make the patriot renounce his nature, and leave them to their fate."

" You had better go now, doctor, and see poor Murray, instead of standing here making speeches about nothing. Talk of the good of the people, indeed, and leave the sick man without physic till this time of day."

" You are right in that, Master Grayson, though scarcely respectful. It concerns the popular welfare, certainly, that men should not fall victims to disease; but you must understand, Master Grayson, that even to this broad and general principle, there are some obvious exceptions. One may and must, now and then, be sacrificed for the good of many — though to confess a truth, this can scarcely be an admitted principle, if such a sacrifice may tend in any way to affect the paramount question of the soul's immortal happiness or pain. I have strong doubts whethera man should be hung at all. For, if it happen that he be a badman, to hang him is to precipitate him into that awful abidingplace, to which each successive generation may be supposed tohave contributed in liberal proportion; and if he should have seenthe error of his ways, and repented, he ceases to be a bad man, andshould not be hung at all. But, poor Murray, as you remind me,ought to be physicked — these cursed fevers hang on a man, asthat sooty-lipped fellow Grimstead says, in a speech, uncouth ashimself, like 'death to a dead negro.' The only God to be wor­shipped in this region, take my word for it, Master Grayson, isthat heathen God, Mercury. He is the true friend of the people,and as such I worship him. Captain Harrison — the man is deaf.Ah, Mr. Matthews — deaf, too! Farewell, Master Grayson, or doyou ride towards Gibbons'? He turns a deaf ear also. Humannature — human nature! I do hate to ride by myself."

-133-

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The Yemassee
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • American Fiction Series *
  • The Yemassee *
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations vii
  • Introduction ix
  • A Simms Chronology xxxvi
  • Selected Bibliography xxxvii
  • The Yemassee Uprising xlii
  • Note on the Text *
  • To Professor Samuel Henry Dickson, M.D., of South Carolina 3
  • Chapter I 9
  • Chapter II 15
  • Chapter III 21
  • Chapter IV 28
  • Chapter V 34
  • Chapter VI 43
  • Chapter VII 51
  • Chapter VIII 65
  • Chapter IX 74
  • Chapter X 81
  • Chapter XI 91
  • Chapter XII 98
  • Chapter XIII 105
  • Chapter XIV 113
  • Chapter XV 118
  • Chapter XVI 123
  • Chapter XVII 133
  • Chapter XVIII 139
  • Chapter XIX 146
  • Chapter XX 151
  • Chapter XXI 159
  • Chapter XXII 165
  • Chapter XXIII 173
  • Chapter XXIV 182
  • Chapter XXV 188
  • Chapter XXVI 201
  • Chapter XXVII 210
  • Chapter XXVIII 215
  • Chapter XXIX 222
  • Chapter XXX 229
  • Chapter XXXI 235
  • Chapter XXXII 243
  • Chapter XXXIII 249
  • Chapter XXXIV 255
  • Chapter XXXV 265
  • Chapter XXXVI 271
  • Chapter XXXVII 276
  • Chapter XXXVIII 283
  • Chapter Xxxix 295
  • Chapter XL 300
  • Chapter XLI 307
  • Chapter XLII 314
  • Chapter XLIII 322
  • Chapter XLIV 329
  • Chapter XLV 336
  • Chapter XLVI 345
  • Chapter XLVII 355
  • Chapter XLVIII 363
  • Chapter Xlix 375
  • Chapter L 382
  • Chapter LI 389
  • Chapter LII 396
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