Words from the founding fathers – 5.06.10
Posted: Friday, May 7, 2010 11:33 am
By: Nathan Castleman, Guest Columnist
The last line of the Declaration of Independence says, “We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
The 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence knew the harsh reality of their signatures. It was not something that they approached lightly. Knowing what would befall them and their families, many of them signed their names illegibly hoping to go undetected.
However, the British sought them out and many of them did pay with their lives and fortunes but were honorable through it all. They would have to pay dearly for their treasonous actions and for signing this illegal document.
Francis Lewis had his home and estate plundered. His wife was captured and brutalized, later dying from the effects of bad treatment.
William Floyd and his family were unable to return to their pillaged home for seven years.
Philip Livingston was forced to leave his family and died alone in 1778.
Lewis Morris and family spent the entire war in exile. Their vast estate and fortune were destroyed.
John Hart left his dying wife and 13 children behind, hiding in caves and forests. Years later he returned to find his wife’s grave and his 13 children gone. He died alone, a broken man in 1779.
Richard Stockton was brutally beaten upon capture, and mistreated in prison. He died in 1781, a despondent 51 year-old.
Robert Morris lent his vast fortune and credit to the cause. He died broke in 1806.
Thomas Heyward, Edward Rutledge and Arthur Middleton lost their vast fortunes while in prison. Mrs. Heyward died while her husband was imprisoned.
Thomas Nelson Jr., despite failing health, served as a commander in the militia, and spent his personal fortune on the cause. At the battle of Yorktown, he ordered his own home destroyed by cannon fire while it was occupied by the British.
Abraham Clark was notified his two sons were captured and being brutally tortured while in prison. The British offered Clark his two sons’ freedom if he would renounce his signature on the Declaration of Independence.
With a heavy heart he answered, “NO.”
How can we sit back and let their sacrifices not only go unnoticed, but dishonored.
How many of today’s members of Congress would dare to take such a stand? I am thankful that none of today’s political leaders were founding fathers.
I’m sure the Declaration and the Constitution would sound nothing like it does.
They would have loaded it up with entitlements, made it over 2,000 pages long, not even read it, sold us short, made backroom deals to get what they want in it, blamed someone else for any short falls, and in the end sold us out to the British or other foreign lands; all the while apologizing for our cause.
We owe men like Abraham Clark a huge debt of gratitude. We also need to give him an admission of our shame and regret that we have not honored his great sacrifice by pledging to uphold what his sons died for and what he had to make this costly decision for – our liberty and independence.
Who reading this would be willing to give up your child’s life for people who would be so ungrateful?
John Adams said, “Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.”
How long do you think he’s been repenting?
Send me your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.