“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

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“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

 

Or, as Benjamin Franklin put it: “We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

                 Some one wrote: Some of the signers of the Declaration of Independence did lose their lives- and the lives of their family members- and some died financially broke and spiritually broken, but not one man lost his sacred Honor! There was not a traitor- not a coward- not a draft dodger- among them. 

                 Who were these 56 men in Congress assembled July 4, 1776 who represented some two and a half million free American citizens?  John Hancock wrote that they were men of fortune, ability, learning, eloquence and acuteness. The historical record will surely support that the motives of these men were primarily moral, ideological and patriotic.

                 Yes, these most remarkable revolutionaries ever assembled, wearing silken stockings, powdered wigs, velvet breeches and brilliant colored coats,  were lawyers, jurists, doctors of medicine, a divine, Rev. John Witherspoon, career politicians, land owners & merchants.  Most were young-eighteen were in their thirties, three were in their twenties, many had infant children; the only really old men among them were Benjamin Franklin and Stephen Hopkins.

                 Could these great men have known that after having appealed to the Supreme Judge of the World for the protection of the United States of America, an eight year war, the  American Revolution, would follow?  The struggle was appalling; the deprivations & sacrifices great, and the victories were few, the final outcome uncertain.

                  Now, let us recall & repeat lessons from the lives of this generation whose noble qualities & dignity enabled them to secure for US the blessed inheritance of the free institutions of government we now enjoy, naming only a few:

Caesar Rodney- Delaware- {his image is on the new quarters] He arose from a sick bed & rode 80 miles in a thunderstorm having been told the Delaware delegation was not going to vote for the Declaration. He arrived at Independence Hall just as his delegation was called & cast the deciding vote. The price he paid:  Signing the Declaration cost him the help of the medical doctors in England who could have helped him with the cancer eating away on his face.

Francis Lewis-New York- After he signed the Declaration of Independence, his wife was taken captive by the British and held for two years. When he was told she would be released if only he would take his name off the Declaration, it was Mrs. Lewis who refused that offer. She was eventually released but died shortly after that due to the horrible treatment she had received at the hands of the British.

Abraham Clark-New Jersey- After he signed the Declaration, two of his sons were taken captive by the British and held for two years on the terrible torture ships. Mr. Clark & sons lived two years knowing if he would just take his name off the Declaration, his sons would be set free. They were eventually released and became great Americans in service to their country.

Rev. John Witherspoon-New Jersey- Barely escaping with his life and lives of his large family, the British soldiers burned his house & library to the ground after he signed the Declaration. From a sermon he preached on May 17, 1776: "He is the best friend to American liberty who is the most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion...Whoever is an enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy of his country.”

The sacrifices of two women long forgotten:

Margaret Corbin-She went with her husband to Ft. Washington to be a cook and a laundress. Her husband was mortally wounded and she took her place at his gun. She was wounded in the battle. Her arm was almost severed from her chest, but she did survive. There is a monument to her memory at Ft. Tyron, New York, which reads:" Margaret Corbin -The First American woman to take a soldier’s part in the War for Liberty."

Mary Hayes (Molly Pitcher)- In June, 1776, during the Battle of Monmouth, men were fainting from the heat.  Molly Pitcher would bring them water from the river. Her husband was mortally wounded in the battle, so she took his place at the cannon and continued firing. She was presented to General George Washington the next day and was given half Officer's pay for the rest of her life.

John Morton- Pennsylvania (First Signer to Die not directly from the war) Educated at home by his father, he became an associate judge to the Penn. Supreme Court. Morton had been sent by his State to vote NO to Independence.  He was a man of Christian conscience however, and after much inner struggle, he voted YES and signed the Declaration. When he returned home, he was treated as an outcast and a traitor. Deserted by most of his family and friends, he died within the year after having signed the Declaration. Scholars believe he died- literally- of a broken heart. From his death bed he said: "Tell them that they will see the hour when they shall acknowledge it to have been the most glorious service I have ever rendered my Country."

Charles Carroll of Carrollton-Maryland (Last Signer to Die) Mr. Carroll gave vast amounts of his own personal fortune to the Revolutionary War. At the age of 89, he was asked to sign a copy of the Declaration for posterity. Signing, he wrote this statement:  “Grateful to Almighty God for the blessings which, through Jesus Christ our Lord, he has conferred on my beloved country and her emancipation, in permitting me…to live to an age of 89 years, and to survive the fiftieth year of Independence, adopted by Congress on the 4th day of July, 1776, …and of which I am now the only surviving signer, I hereby recommend to the present and future generations the principles of that important document as the best inheritance their ancestors could bequeath to them, and pray that civil and religious liberties they have secured for my country may be perpetuated to remotest posterity and extended to the whole family of man."

The true epic of the American Revolution has been all but expunged from modern history and school/college books! This paper celebrates the 238th Birthday of the United States and hopefully all who read it will: 1. Remember & reverence the blood, toil & sacrifice the Founding Generation evidenced in establishing the United States of America.   2. Restore what Washington called, in The Farewell Address, the just pride of patriotism that is our heritage as Americans.   3.  May we remember & reflect, reverently, on what happened to our nation September 11, 2001.  On this July 4th, 2014, perhaps we, the present American generation, can resolve that we also have requisite reasons to pledge to each other -- our lives, our fortunes & our sacred honor…in defense of our American liberty.             

                                             Happy Birthday, America!

 

Q. "What do you mean by Revolution?"

A. "A revolution means some great change of government; and we ought to ever remember ours with ardent gratitude to God for so great a blessing and with lasting love and reverence for those good, and wise, and brave men, who went through such dangers and sufferings that their country might be free."

Arthur J Stansbury,  Elementary Catechism of the Constitution/ 1828

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Comment by Carole McManus on July 4, 2014 at 12:20pm

A great post and so interesting to review these important stories and moments that led to our Independence despite the (many times) tragic realities of our Founders.  Their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor..........and, our inheritance.  May we continue to bless God as he so generously has blessed us with Founders that made it their mission to pursue our America. 

Comment by Sandy McCorvey on July 3, 2014 at 11:09am

Wonderful history.  Thanks so much.  Thank God for these people of vision and faith at the founding of our nation; may He give us all the strength to continue this vision with courage and honor.

Comment by Maria Ray on July 2, 2014 at 3:46pm

This is amazing!  Thank you so much and yes, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA! GOD BLESS YOU!

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