RUSH INTRODUCTION: My father, Rush H. Limbaugh, Jr., delivered this oft-requested address locally a number of times, but it had never before appeared in print until it was published in The Limbaugh Letter. My dad was renowned for his oratory skills and for his original mind; this speech is, I think, a superb demonstration of both. I will always be grateful to him for instilling in me a passion for the ideas and lives of America's Founders, as well as a deep appreciation for the inspirational power of words, which you will see evidenced here:
"Our Lives, Our Fortunes, Our Sacred Honor"
It was a glorious morning. The sun was shining and the wind was from the Southeast. Up especially early, a tall bony, redheaded young Virginian found time to buy a new thermometer, for which he paid three pounds, fifteen shillings. He also bought gloves for Martha, his wife, who was ill at home.
Thomas Jefferson arrived early at the statehouse. The temperature was 72.5 degrees and the horseflies weren't nearly so bad at that hour. It was a lovely room, very large, with gleaming white walls. The chairs were comfortable. Facing the single door were two brass fireplaces, but they would not be used today.
The moment the door was shut, and it was always kept locked, the room became an oven. The tall windows were shut, so that loud quarreling voices could not be heard by passersby. Small openings atop the windows allowed a slight stir of air, and also a large number of horseflies. Jefferson records that "the horseflies were dexterous in finding necks, and the silk of stockings was nothing to them." All discussing was punctuated by the slap of hands on necks.
On the wall at the back, facing the president's desk, was a panoply -- consisting of a drum, swords, and banners seized from Fort Ticonderoga the previous year. Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold had captured the place, shouting that they were taking it "in the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress!"
Now Congress got to work, promptly taking up an emergency measure about which there was discussion but no dissension. "Resolved: That an application be made to the Committee of Safety of Pennsylvania for a supply of flints for the troops at New York."
POLL: Vote and Share!
Then Congress transformed itself into a committee of the whole. The Declaration of Independence was read aloud once more, and debate resumed. Though Jefferson was the best writer of all of them, he had been somewhat verbose. Congress hacked the excess away. They did a good job, as a side-by-side comparison of the rough draft and the final text shows. They cut the phrase "by a self-assumed power." "Climb" was replaced by "must read," then "must" was eliminated, then the whole sentence, and soon the whole paragraph was cut. Jefferson groaned as they continued what he later called "their depredations." "Inherent and inalienable rights" came out "certain unalienable rights," and to this day no one knows who suggested the elegant change.
A total of 86 alterations were made. Almost 500 words were eliminated, leaving 1,337. At last, after three days of wrangling, the document was put to a vote.
Here in this hall Patrick Henry had once thundered: "I am no longer a Virginian, sir, but an American." But today the loud, sometimes bitter argument stilled, and without fanfare the vote was taken from north to south by colonies, as was the custom. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted.
There were no trumpets blown. No one stood on his chair and cheered. The afternoon was waning and Congress had no thought of delaying the full calendar of routine business on its hands. For several hours they worked on many other problems before adjourning for the day.
Much To Lose
What kind of men were the 56 signers who adopted the Declaration of Independence and who, by their signing, committed an act of treason against the crown? To each of you, the names Franklin, Adams, Hancock and Jefferson are almost as familiar as household words. Most of us, however, know nothing of the other signers. Who were they? What happened to them?
I imagine that many of you are somewhat surprised at the names not there: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Patrick Henry. All were elsewhere.
Ben Franklin was the only really old man. Eighteen were under 40; three were in their 20s. Of the 56 almost half - 24 - were judges and lawyers. Eleven were merchants, nine were landowners and farmers, and the remaining 12 were doctors, ministers, and politicians.
With only a few exceptions, such as Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, these were men of substantial property. All but two had families. The vast majority were men of education and standing in their communities. They had economic security as few men had in the 18th Century.
Each had more to lose from revolution than he had to gain by it. John Hancock, one of the richest men in America, already had a price of 500 pounds on his head. He signed in enormous letters so that his Majesty could now read his name without glasses and could now double the reward. Ben Franklin wryly noted: "Indeed we must all hang together, otherwise we shall most assuredly hang separately."
Fat Benjamin Harrison of Virginia told tiny Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts: "With me it will all be over in a minute, but you, you will be dancing on air an hour after I am gone."
These men knew what they risked. The penalty for treason was death by hanging. And remember, a great British fleet was already at anchor in New York Harbor.
They were sober men. There were no dreamy-eyed intellectuals or draft card burners here. They were far from hot-eyed fanatics yammering for an explosion. They simply asked for the status quo. It was change they resisted. It was equality with the mother country they desired. It was taxation with representation they sought. They were all conservatives, yet they rebelled.
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Well, no need to commit on this article. Someone else has said it better than most of us could. The problem I see 250 + years later, is that NO ONE wants to sacrifice anything and are willing to sit by and let the other guy make the sacrifices that would be necessary to save this once great nation. When the majority of American's are more worried about their reality shows and Dancing With The Stars, then who and what is destroying the very fiber of this country, it is a sad day for all of us. The above mentioned men NO longer exist and when our retired military leaders say that the actions of militia's and us fighting like out forefathers did is NOT recommended because we are "out manned and out gunned"? And if you are willing to wait for "fair, honest, open, elections" just look at the mess in Mississippi! More corruption, bribes, payoffs, intimidation, were doe's it end. And mean while the destruction goes on, unabated, and what will there be left for our children and grandchildren? And how about the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, when will the attacks stop on our founding documents? And what about the sacrifices all those young men have made since the civil war? We have fought two world wars, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and we say "we have no desire, leadership, weapons, knowledge, logistics, to take back our country? So, I guess we take the cowards way out, and ballot ourselves out of mess WE created. Just remember the idiots in Washington were ELECTED by us the American Voters. So who ever phrased the expression, "A country founded by geniuses, but run be idiots" is right on the money. So if you don't believe in "lock and load" than hang on, it is going to be a bumpy and brutal ride. And when your backs are against the wall remember that the longer any army or combat force waits, the stronger the enemy becomes and the more destruction he makes. Gen. George S. Patton knew this, that is why ole "blood and guts" drove his men so hard. Shorten the war, and save lives.
Great comment Robert.
GOD Bless the USA.
Barfly obama has no sacred honor to risk. Wouldn't it be ironic if the criminals he is letting in gave him a fatal disease of some sort? Not that any of us wish him ill, of course.
You mean sort of like the days before Pearl Harbor? The gathering storm in Europe? The old from the frying pan into the fire...Well the way I see it is this: One way or the other we have NO choice but save this nation. With out the United States what becomes of the rest of the FREE world? Is this what so many of our uncles and grandparents or ever parents fought and died for. The destruction of our country and our American way of life! And isn't just the idiots in Washington. How about some of these nit wits we have for judges in these lower courts? Telling American teenagers they cannot wear American Flag "T" shirts because it might offend some illegal foreigner. Just what the hell country do this idiots think we live in. A veteran cannot fly the flag in his own apartment complex. It will be a cold day in hell when some moron tells me I cannot fly the American Flag in America.....this is not just impeachable, it is down right "treason" from the courts on up.
We need a New Declaration of Independence, and soon...
There has been a New Declaration going around the internet for over a month now that I have been promoting because of what it states. You can read it here... www.newfreedom2014.com Just so you know, I did NOT write the New Declaration at the NewFreedom2014.com It was sent to me one night by an unknown Author, but I found myself being a volunteer for this cause without even knowing who the brilliant mind was behind it. I became a willing volunteer after I read the document all the way through... on three separate occasions. All I ask is that people read it carefully and if you agree with what it states, then sign the Petition. I would also appreciate people to pass this along to other friends of Freedom!
Just as We The People were forced to throw-off an abusive Government back in 1776 with our original Declaration of Independence, the time has come in 2014 for us to do it again. This time the government being charged with abusing it's power is our own so we must act fast to fix it. That's why we need to start with a clean slate, while keeping our Constitution and Bill of Rights as is. All this talk of an Article V Convention to make changes to the Constitution is dangerous. Here's all the proof I need... George Soros is bankrolling eight different non-profit groups here in the USA, for the singular goal of PUSHING FOR an Article V Convention! We must leave our Constitution intact if we are to survive as a beacon of freedom.
God Bless America.