The Great Revolution in Pitcairn 349
and a voice and a power in decreeing the destinies of your sister-sovereignties of the world?"
Speeches like this produced an effect by and by. Citizens began to feel the English yoke; they did not know exactly how or whereabouts they felt it, but they were perfectly certain they did feel it. They got to grumbling a good deal, and chafing under their chains, and .longing for relief and release. They presently fell to hating the English flag, that sign and symbol of their nation's degradation; they ceased to glance up at it as they passed the capitol, but averted their eyes and grated their teeth; and one morning, when it was found trampled into the mud at the foot of the staff, they left it there, and no man put his hand to it to hoist it again. A certain thing which was sure to happen sooner or later happened now. Some of the chief citizens went to the magistrate by night, and said:
" We can endure this hated tyranny no longer. How can we cast it off?"
" By a coup d'etat."
" A coup d'etat. It is like this: everything is got ready, and at the appointed moment I, as the official head of the nation, publicly and solemnly proclaim its independence, and absolve it from allegiance to any and all other oowers whatsoever."
"That sounds simple and easy. We can do that right away. Then what will be the next thing to do?"
" Seize all the defenses and public properties of all kinds, establish martial law, put the army and navy on a war footing, and proclaim the empire!"
This fine program dazzled these innocents. They said:
" This is grand — this is splendid; but will not England resist?"
" Let her. This rock is a Gibraltar."