June 29, 2012
Marie Lozito is a Registered Nurse, Licensed Massage Therapist, wife, mother, grandmother and life-long conservative. She wrote a text on medical massage and taught at New York College of Health Professions.
Interested in, and observing politics since 1960, she
ran for elected office in 2010.
A Dangerous and Difficult Birth
All of us learned in grade school that the United States of America has a birthday. It is July 4th. This year our country celebrates its 236th birthday. Most people will have the day off from work, many will barbeque or picnic during the day and watch fireworks during the evening. I wonder how many of us will give any thought to the actual founding of our country and what our Founders risked on the United States birthday and during the following
The 13 colonies here in America were subject to England. Loyalty to the Crown was required. To rebel against the Crown was treason, an act punishable by hanging. The authorities would then have a traitors body drawn and quartered and the remains burned. Finally, the ashes would be scattered to the winds. No final resting place, no gravestone, no memorial
- the traitor who rebelled would have none of these.
In 1776, England was the most powerful country in the world. The British army was well trained, well equipped and experienced. The British navy ruled the seas. England was rich and had great resources. On the other hand, the 13 colonies did not have an army or a navy. The colonies resources could not compare to Englands. According to several sources I have read, about
a third of the colonists were loyal to the British crown, another third were not really involved in the struggle either way and the final
third wanted to be independent of Englands rule. The chances of having a successful rebellion were not good.
Despite the great risk, 56 men had the courage to sign the Declaration of Independence. With few exceptions these were successful men with substantial property and families. They were judges, lawyers, merchants, landowners, farmers, doctors, ministers and politicians. They had an economic security that few people had in that era. Each one stood to lose more than he would gain in a rebellion. It was the principle, not the profit, which inspired these men. They firmly and passionately believed in their cause
- liberty for all.
Even before the list of signers was published, the British had declared the members of the Congress guilty of treason. The British attempts to capture them were relentless and brutal.
The home and estates of Francis Lewis were plundered and destroyed. His wife was taken captive and treated brutally. She later died from the effects of her abuse.
William Floyd, his wife and children managed to escape. They lived for
seven years as refugees without any income. When they finally returned home, it was totally ruined.
Philip Livingstone and his family also had to escape. All his holdings were confiscated by the British.
Louis Morris had all his properties taken and was prevented from seeing his home and family for seven years.
The British soldiers trampled and burned the College of New Jersey because the President, John Witherspoon, had signed the Declaration of Independence.
Richard Stockton evacuated his wife and children to stay with friends. A Tory sympathizer betrayed him. He was captured and brutally beaten then deliberately starved. An invalid when he was finally released, he returned home to find it looted and his family forced to live off charity.
George Clymer and his family escaped but the British completely destroyed their property.
William Ellery saw his property and home burned to the ground.
Edward Rutledge, Arthur Middleton and Thomas Heyward Jr. were all captured by the British and treated very badly. Once exchanged after the war, they found the British had completely devastated their land and estates.
Robert Morris ran through his fortune, and almost dried up his credit, while trying to help support the Continental Army and fill General Washingtons requests. He lost 150 ships at sea supplying arms and provisions.
The British had barracked their soldiers in Thomas Nelsons house. He, himself, fired the cannon to destroy his home (and the British). He further pledged his estates to raise $2 million for the Revolutionary cause. After the war, the peacetime Congress refused to honor the debts and Thomas died in poverty.
John Hart was driven into hiding in the woods when he attempted to return to see his dying wife. The British soldiers destroyed his homestead and farm while his wife was in bed dying. When he was finally able to sneak home, his wife had already died and was buried. All 13 of his children had been taken. He never saw them again!
Abraham Clark had two sons in the Revolutionary Army. They were captured and imprisoned on the British prison ship Jersey in New York Harbor. (11,000 American captives died on that ship!) Clarks sons were treated especially badly one was placed in solitary confinement and given no food. Shortly before the war ended, the British offered his sons lives if he would change sides and come out in favor of the King and against the revolution. He said No. I cannot imagine a more difficult, anguishing decision to have to make!
Of those 56 men, nine died of wounds or hardships during the war, five were imprisoned and tortured,
two wives were brutally treated, numerous children were killed or disappeared, all were driven from their homes, 12 lost their homes, 17 lost everything they owned. These brave men swore to each other their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. In the ensuing struggle many lost their lives, more lost their fortunes but not one lost his sacred honor.
God bless those honorable and dedicated men. We should be grateful for what they were willing to risk, and what they were willing to suffer, so that our country could be born and dedicated to the principle of liberty for the individual!