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'But,' says this writer, 'if you are inclined to pay compliments to an administration, which we do not complain of,' (meaning the Marquis of Rockingham's at the repeal of the Stamp Act) 'it is very unfair in you to withhold them from that prince, by whose NOD ALONE they were permitted to do anything.' this is toryism with a witness! Here is idolatry even without a mask: And he who can calmly hear, and digest such doctrine, hath forfeited his claim to rationality an apostate from the order of manhood; and ought to be considered as one, who hath, not only given up the proper dignity of a man, but sunk himself beneath the rank of animals, and contemptibly crawl through the world like a worm.
The Sons of Liberty & John Wilkes
In many descriptions of the early years prior to the American Revolution, I found references to secretive groups called "Sons of Liberty", which spontaneously, and independently organized throughout the colonies, in response to abuses to liberty by agents of the Crown..
I did extensive keyword searches for `Sons of Liberty', before there was an internet, at the Savannah Public Library and what follows are my findings and how it relates to the Internet today.
. The 'Sons of Liberty' were a secret society, with many members of influence, one of whom was Paul Revere, in Boston. The Boston Sons of Liberty would meet in the `Long Room' above a tavern called `The Dragon', which had a copperplate of a dragon on its sign out front, that had turned, as copper does, green with age and corrosion, and was known to its patrons as "the Green Dragon". It was in this long room, above the Green Dragon, that the various protests and demonstrations in Boston were planned, including the throwing some tea in Boston Harbor.
John Hancock, shipper, and rum smuggler, was the financier, an who at the direction of Boston's tax collector, Samuel Adams, financed the protests and activities of the early Patriots. John Hancock had such a nice signature because he signed it so many times on bills of lading..
The `hero' of the Sons of Liberty, was a Member of the British minority party at the time, one John Wilkes, son of a distiller, who published a political rag called `The North Briton' His newsletter was a barb in the side of the king as well as his lackey in Parliament, Lord Bute. In the 45th issue of this newsletter, John Wilkes, said that
"A man is a sovereign unto himself, and (thus) may only be ruled by his own consent"
John Wilkes was most popular, with the people, and was elected Lord Mayor of London at one point. He was the champion of the Colonies in England, and could be considered one the first English `populist'. The phrase "sons of Liberty' was first used by a member of the minority party who had fought side by side with the colonists in the French & Indian War, in defense of some onerous action by the majority party, and knew the tenacity and determination of the colonists, and said something similar to
" Do not underestimate these `sons of liberty' in America.."
Reading these populist writings, in his home north of London, in the early 1760's, that said that elected officials should truly represent the interests of `the body of the people', was a man named Thomas Pain. When Thomas Pain came to America, and began his writings, he signed his name with a flourish that was misunderstood by the Americans to be an `e', and tiring of correcting people, he began for the sake of brevity, to call himself Thomas `Paine'.
A hundred years later, one newspaper account at the time said that the man who shot President Lincoln, jumped from the balcony onto the stage, and yelled his name (a moniker)
"John Wilkes Bute", which was interpreted to have something to do with John Wilkes and Lord Bute. A reporter got it wrong, and now history calls him `Booth...' This was fascinating, as well as puzzling, that so little of this story of the roots of liberty are taught in the American Public School system...I consider this `lost knowledge'. Knowledge I now feel is essential for the maintenance of that Liberty that our forefathers sought in coming to this `New World'.
The Sons of Liberty begin to dedicate Trees of Liberty It was these trees, used by citizenry, for communication, that became the subject of near-reverence, and dedication in the name of Liberty. Silas Downer, member of the Sons of Liberty of Rhode Island, said the following, at a dedication of a Tree of Liberty, in 1766.
Note well the line containing the phrase `under trees and in the wilderness', it was this line that made me realize, what `Liberty' really means.
At a dedication of a Tree of Liberty in 1766...Silas Downer said:
"We do therefore, in the name and behalf of all the true SONS of LIBERTY in America, Great Britain, Corsica, Ireland or wheresoever they are dispersed throughout the world, dedicate and solemnly devote this tree to be a TREE of LIBERTY.
----May all our councils and deliberations under its venerable branches be guided by wisdome, and directed to the support and maintenance of that liberty, which our forefathers sought out and found under trees and and in the wilderness.
---May it long flourish, and may the SONS of LIBERTY often repair hither, to confirm and strengthen each other. --When they look towards the sacred ELM, may they be penetrated with a sense of duty to themselves, their country, and their posterity:
----And may they, like the house of David, grow stronger and stronger, while their enemies, like the house of Saul, grow weaker and weaker. AMEN
The Stamp Tax The stamp tax was a cleverly designed tax, that required that a `stamp' be purchased, and affixed to all documents, newspapers, bills of laden, court decrees, and posters etc. It was a nominal tax, but one of its intents, was to end `anonymous' postings upon these trees at the center of communities, and to suppress criticism of the government. This tax was never allowed to be implemented, as it was the resulting uproar that ensued throughout the colonies, that created American Revolution -- as coopers, smithies, cabinet makers, men who worked with their hands, joined together, in small groups, independently, to oppose despotic, tyrannical rule..
Local, community posting trees, were quickly dedicated by citizenry, with much fanfare and ceremony, as TREES of LIBERTY, and festooned with imagery, - A boot, with a devil effigy climbing out, was the symbol for Lord Bute, - the King's agent in the House of Commons, who led the effort to tax and discipline the `Colonies' in opposition to minority leader and `populist', John Wilkes, the champion of the Americans.The number `45', in celebration of the 45th issue of John Wilkes North Briton. The phrase "Liberty & Property", used by John Wilkes, was chanted by crowds in, while protesting his imprisonment in England for his outspoken statements about the inalienable rights of man. A tarred and feathered effigy of the local `Stamp Tax collector' And "Long Live John Wilkes!!