Early blogging

The American experiment with liberty has been under fire since its creation.  The following is an excerpt from a curious little pre-Civil War publication called "Stephen H. Branch's Alligator." Mr. Branch announces that he has reluctantly concluded he must leave his homeland, in view of the alarming political developments. After a lot of fire and brimstone, he suddenly closes in a calmer mood:
Go on, then, ye fanatics and devils of all sections, to your hearts' content, in your apostacy to the living and departed patriots of your distracted and divided country. Stop not until your wives and children run wild through streets and fields of blood, and this whole land is a pile of bleeding and burning ruins. Go on ye incarnate fiends in your bloody enterprise, until the mounds of your fathers are divested of their fragrant verdure, and are trampled by foreign marauders, who wildly gloat over your impending suicide. An irresistible horde of demagogues and vampires, and fanatics and lunatics, are at the throats of the American patriots, and threaten them with strangulation and utter annihilation. Go on, then, ye demons of hell, and tear to fragments the glorious Constitution that was created by Washington, Greene, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Warren, Franklin, Adams, Lafayette and Kosciusko, and nobly defended by Jackson, Perry, Taylor, Webster, Clay, Calhoun, Harrison, Grogan, Decatur, (and the living Scott), whose sighs and tears, and expiring energies, were consecrated to its eternal duration. Go on, then, ye slimy vultures, in your ruthless desecration of their graves, until despotic soldiers line our streets and frontiers, and stab the patriots who breathe the enchanting word of liberty. Go on, I say, in your inhuman sacrilege, but I will fly to Switzerland, in whose deep mountain glades I will strive to efface that I was born and reared among the gang of consummate fools and knaves who now level their rifles at the race of noble birds that have graced the American skies for nearly a hundred years. Go on, then, ye dastard traitors, in your bloody demolition, but I will go and live and die in the land of William Tell, whose fair posterity evince a purer fidelity to their remotest ancestors, than those pernicious monsters whose infernal madness will soon surrender the bones of Washington and Jackson to the despots of Europe, whose shafts they foiled, until they went down, with tottering footsteps, into their immortal graves. Farewell, then, ye crazy parricides--farewell, ye Burrs and Arnolds--and when you have consigned your deluded countrymen to all the horrors of anarchy and eternal despotism, think of the humble admonitions of one who, rather than behold the downfall of his beautiful and glorious country, sought peace, and succor, and a mausoleum in the mountains of Switzerland, once traversed by William Tell and his gallant archers, who created a love of liberty that has survived the flight of centuries, and which can never be subdued by foes without, nor fools within, her borders. In my voluntary exile, I will implore God to visit you with His displeasure, through the withering curses of your children, and their posterity to the remotest age, for destroying the liberties of their country, which you should bequeathe to them as they came to you from your illustrious fathers, whose sacred and silent ashes you dare not visit and contemplate at this fearful crisis, amid the pure and tranquil solitudes of the patriotic dead lest the memory of their heroic deeds and sacrifice should remind you of your hellish treason, and paralyze your hearts, and smite your worthless bodies to the dust, and consign your pallid livers to undying torture. Although these admonitions are inscribed in tones of burning scorn, yet they emanate from a bosom that glows with love for my bewildered countrymen. And my last request is, that every patriotic father will gather his little flock around him at evening shades, and read this parting admonition in a clear and feeling voice, and then kneel before the God of nations, and implore Him to preserve their liberties, with a blessing on the humble author of this production, in his unhappy seclusion in a distant land. I would write more, but gushing tears blind my vision, and swell my heart with dying emotions.
Stephen H. Branch. 
New York, May 30, 1856
Later, he offers this theory of his fiery nature:
And if, in the morning of life, we do not reflect Vesuvius in our eyes, and belch lava and brimstone from our mouths, we seldom effect much in the great scuffle of life, and go down to our graves with Miss Nancy inscribed at the head and tail of our grassy mounds.
Man, like a horse, must have mettle, and plenty of it, with an immense bottom, or he cannot expect to contend with the fiery steeds of the turf and the forum. And, above all, a man must have a crop or two of worms at 40. All men have more worms in their bellies than they are aware of, (or their physicians, either,) and some have quarts.


Grim said...

"Affectionately" is a nice touch.

Texan99 said...

That was my favorite part, too.