AFA of PA ACTION ALERT
July 2, 2021
“Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” – Patrick Henry
Some thoughts as we approach our nation’s birthday:
July 4, 1776 – a bold step against tyranny. The Founding Fathers struggled to do the right thing when it came to their response to England’s increasing demands on the colonies. In the Declaration of Independence, they very meticulously listed the wrongs King George had perpetuated against the colonies. They did not approach war with the greatest super power of the world lightly. What happened to the signers of that document?
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War. They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. What kind of men were they?
- Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
- Thomas McKean was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
- Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Ellery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
- At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr. noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
- Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
- John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later, he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.
- Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.
Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more.
Benjamin Franklin said, “”Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Do you agree? Take time this weekend to read the Declaration of Independence.