The price of freedom high
Published: Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013
As we prepare to celebrate our nation’s birthday this Thursday, it is important to remember the sacrifices made by the signers of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Our founding fathers made this pledge when they signed the Declaration of Independence:
— 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.
Summation of Consequences:
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.
What Kind of Men Were These Patriots?
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.
Eleven were merchants.
Nine were farmers and large plantation owners.
These were men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Details on the signers' Cost of Freedom:
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 McKeam 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 Dillery, 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.
How many of us today would be willing to risk all we have, all our possessions and the safety of our lives and that of our family members, by signing a Declaration of Independence? A total of 56 patriots saw fit to do so and many suffered severe consequences.
Many people today fear they will come under the full wrath of an out-of-control federal government that is keeping an eye on traditional patriotic groups like veterans. We have come down a long, slippery slope when federal bureaucrats lump conservatives, Christians and veterans into groups to be monitored for possible terrorist activities. It is the government that needs to be constantly scrutinized, as we are seeing from events unfolding today.
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