Resist Tyrants Obey God

Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle. It is not enough in a situation of trust in the commonwealth, that a man means well to his country; it is not enough that in his single person he never did an evil act, but always voted according to his conscience, and even harangued against every design which he apprehended to be prejudicial to the interests of his country. This innoxious and ineffectual character, that seems formed upon a plan of apology and disculpation, falls miserably short of the mark of public duty. That duty demands and requires, that what is right should not only be made known, but made prevalent; that what is evil should not only be detected, but defeated. ~ Edmund Burke

Speaking in 1750 on the anniversary of the death and execution by Cromwell’s Parliament for Constitutional treason of Charles I. Rev. Jonathan Mayhew, a Church of England minister; at Boston’s West Church, affirmed the right of people to resist a tyrannical government. He speaks here to the duty of individual citizens to preserve their rights in the face of despotic rulers. “It is universally better to obey God than Man when the laws of God and Man clash and interfere with one another,” he said in an earlier sermon.

[Excerpt: CHAPTER IV: The New England Historical Conscience – Trevor Colbourn, The Lamp of Experience 1965] Mayhew was probably the most outstanding of New England’s politically minded clerics. A “transcendent genius” according to John Adams, Jonathan Mayhew was an early advocate of “the principles and feelings” for which the Revolution was undertaken. The problems of religion and life were one and the same to Mayhew. At Harvard he wrote in his notebooks that he was determined to discover “the Affairs, Actions and Thoughts of the Living and the Dead, in the most remote Ages and the most distant Nations.” He carefully studied “the Characters and Reign etc of King Charles I” for a better understanding of the origins of the Puritan migration. To this end he studied Whitelocke’s Memorials (“an exquisite scholar”) and read the Memoirs of “honest Ludlow” the regicide. He admired Milton’s account of the English Commonwealth and noted that the rebellion came because “Charles the first had sinned flagrantly and repeatedly” against “the ancient form of Government” in England.

The use to which Mayhew put such studies is best seen in his controversial Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission, (referred to above) a sermon delivered on the occasion of the centennial anniversary of the execution of Charles I on January 30, 1649/50. Taking vigorous issue with recent Anglican efforts to portray Charles as a martyred monarch, Mayhew began his refutation with some remarks on the antiquity of English liberties. The English constitution, he asserted, “is originally and essentially free.” Roman sources, such as the reliable Tacitus, made it clear that “the ancient Britains … were extremely jealous of their liberties.” England’s monarchs originally held title to their throne “solely by grant of parliament,” which meant the ancient English kings ruled “by the voluntary consent of the people.”

If Mayhew’s history showed him a familiar pre-Norman political utopia in England, it also proved the right of all men “to vindicate their natural and legal rights.” On this principle Tarquin was expelled from ancient Rome; on this principle the conquering and tyrannical Julius Caesar was “cut off in the senate house”; and on this principle Charles I “was beheaded before his own banqueting house,” and James II had to flee from the country “which he aim’d at enslaving.” All men had rights; but Englishmen had a record for maintaining theirs despite the tyrannical efforts of misguided kings like Charles I.

The vigor of Mayhew’s presentation established his political reputation. His sermon was published not only in Boston, but in London as well—in 1752 and again in 1767.  In Boston, John Adams remembered long afterward, Mayhew’s sermon “was read by everybody. Among others who joined the newspaper controversy over Charles I were Mayhew supporters who wrote to the Boston Evening-Post citing Burnet: Charles I “had a high Notion of Regal Power, and thought that every Opposition to it was Rebellion.” The same newspaper also published a definition of a good king: such a monarch “has imprison’d none against the law, granted no Monopolies to the Injury of Trade, collected no Ship-Money, rob’d none of their Religious Liberties … all which … were flagrant in the Tyrannical Reigns of the Steward-Family,” so well known for their “violent Attachment to Popery and Arbitrary Power.”

Mayhew had indeed (as John Adams noted) revived Puritan “animosities against tyranny.” In his Election Sermon before Governor William Shirley in 1754, Mayhew returned to his theme that “loyalty and slavery are not synonymous.” “Monarchical government,” he declared, “has no better foundation in the oracles of God, than any other.” In 1765, with the provocation of the Stamp Act to consider, Mayhew delivered another moving discourse on the virtues of liberty and the iniquity of tyranny. The essence of slavery, he announced, consists in subjection to others—“whether many, few, or but one, it matters not.”

Mayhew’s case against England was essentially conservative. He wanted to preserve the constitutional rights belonging to all Englishmen. During the decade preceding his untimely death in 1766, Mayhew read widely on the legal rights of Englishmen in America. His happy correspondence with Thomas Hollis of Lincoln’s Inn brought a steady stream of handsome history books to his Boston home. Hollis also arranged for his literary friends to send Mayhew their productions. Catherine Macaulay supplied Mayhew with volumes of her History of England; Mayhew read her treatment of the Stuarts “with great pleasure.” As Mayhew exclaimed to Hollis, Mrs. Macaulay wrote “with a Spirit of Liberty, which might shame many great Men (so called) in these days of degeneracy, and tyrannysm and oppression.”

Although this sermon came more than a decade before relations between the colonies and England started to deteriorate in earnest, the principles he describes foretell the basis of the American revolution. His sermon from The Pillars of Priestcraft and Orthodoxy Shaken by Richard Baron, part of the sermon based upon Romans 13 follows…….

obedience2God

[begin excerpt quote] I will add the entire book chapter including all of the sermon when I have the time.

A DISCOURSE CONCERNING UNLIMITED SUBMISSION AND NON-RESISTANCE TO THE HIGHER POWERS: With some Reflections on the Resistance made to King CHARLES I. And On The Anniversary of his Death: In which the Mysterious Doctrine of that Prince’s Saintship and Martyrdom is Unriddled:

The Substance of which was delivered in a Sermon preached in the West Meeting-house in Boston the Lord’s Day after the 30th of January, 1749-50. Published at the Request of the Hearers. By Jonathan Mayhew D. D. Pastor of the West Church in Boston.

Fear GOD, honor the King, ~ Saint Paul

He that ruleth over Men, must be just, ruling in the Fear of GOD. ~ The Prophet Samuel,

I have said ye are Gods.—but ye shall die like Men, and fall like one of the PRINCES.” King David.

Quid memorem infandas caedes, quid facta tyranni effera? di capiti ipsius generique reseruent!  Nec non Threicius longa cum veste sacerdos
Obliquitur— Rom. Vat. Prin

First Printed in Boston, New England in 1750

T’HE ensuing discourse is the last of three upon the same subject, with some little alterations and additions. It is hoped that but few will think the subject of it an improper one to be discoursed on in the pulpit, under a notion that, that is preaching politics, instead of CHRIST. However, to remove all prejudices of this sort, I beg it may be remembered, that “all scripture is profitable for doctrine; for reproof, for CORRECTION, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16) Why, then should not those parts of scripture, which relate to civil government, be examined and explained from the desk, as well as others? Obedience to the civil magistrate, is a christian duty: and if so, why should not the nature, grounds and extent of it be considered in a christian assembly? Besides, if it be said, that it is out of character for a christian minister to meddle with such a subject, this censure will at last fall upon the holy apostles. They write upon it in their epistles to christian churches: and surely it cannot be deemed either criminal or impertinent, to attempt on explanation of their doctrine.

It was the near approach of the Thirtieth of January, that turned my thoughts to this subject: on which solemnity the slavish doctrine of passive obedience and non-resistance, is often warmly asserted, and the dissenters from the established church, represented, net only as schismatics, (with more of triumph than of truth, and of choler than Christianity) but also as persons of seditious, traitorous and rebellious principles—GOD be thanked one. may, in any part of the British dominions, speak freely (if a decent regard be paid to those in authority) both of government and religion; and even give some broad hints, that he is engaged on the side of liberty, the BIBLE and common sense in opposition to tyranny, PRIEST-CRAFT and non-sense, without being in danger either of the Bastile or the Inquisition :—though there will always be some interested politicians, controlled bigots, and hypocritical “zealots for a party, to take offence at such freedoms. Their censure is praise: “Their praise is infamy—A spirit of domination is always to be guarded against both in church and state, even in times of the greatest security; such as the present is amongst US; at least as to the latter. Those nations who are now groaning under the iron scepter of tyranny, were once free. So they might, probably, have remained, by a seasonable precaution against despotic measures. Civil tyranny is usually small in its beginning, like “the drop of a bucket,” (Isaiah 40:15) till at length, like a mighty torrent, or the mighty raging of the sea, it bears down all before it, and deluges whole countries and empires. Thus it is as to ecclesiastical [religious] tyranny also,—the most cruel, intolerable and impious, of any. From small beginnings, “it exalts itself above all that is called GOD and that is worshipped.” (2 Thessalonians 2:4) People have no security against being unmercifully priest-ridden, but by keeping all imperious BISHOPS, and other CLERGYMEN who love to “lord it over God’s heritage” from getting their foot into the stirrup at all. Let them be once fairly mounted, and their “beasts, the laity,” (Mr. Leslie) may prance and flounce about to no purpose; and they “will, at length, be so jaded and hacked by these reverend jockeys, that they will not even have spirits enough to complain, that their backs are galled; or, like Balaam’s ass, to “rebuke the madness of the prophet.” (2 Peter 2:16)

“The mystery of iniquity began to work” (2 Thessalonians 2:7) even in the days of some of the apostles. But the kingdom of Antichrist was then, in one respect, like the kingdom of heaven, however different in all others.—It was “as a grain of mustard seed.” (Matthew 17:20) This grain was sown in Italy, that fruitful field: And tho’ it were “least of all seeds,” it soon became a mighty tree. It has long since overspread and darkened the greatest part of Christendom, so that we may apply to it what is said of the tree which Nebuchadnezzar saw in his vision—”The “heighth thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof the end of all the earth—And THE BEASTS OF THE FIELD have shadow under it.” Tyranny brings ignorance and brutality along with it. It degrades men from their just rank, into the class of brutes. It damps their spirits. It suppresses arts. It extinguishes every spark of noble ardor and generosity in the breasts of those who are enslaved by it. It makes naturally strong and great minds, feeble and little; and triumphs over the ruins of virtue and humanity. This is true of tyranny in every shape, There can be nothing great and good, where its influence reaches. For which reason it becomes every friend to truth and human kind; every lover of God and the christian religion, to bear a part in opposing this hateful monster. It was a desire to contribute a mite towards carrying on a war against this common enemy, that produced the following discourse. And if it serve, in any measure, to keep up a spirit of civil and religious liberty amongst us, my end is answered. There are virtuous and candid men in all sects; all such are to be esteemed: There are also vicious men and bigots in all sects; and all such ought to be despised.

To virtue only, and her friends, a friend;
The world beside may murmur or commend.
Know, all the distant din that world can keep
Rolls o’er my grotto, and but soothes my sleep.” (Pope)

Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

IT is evident that the affair of civil government may properly fall under a moral and religious consideration, at least so far forth as it relates to the general nature and end of magistracy, and to the grounds and extent of that submission, which persons of a private character ought to yield to those who are vested with authority. This must be allowed by all who acknowledge the divine original of Christianity. For although there be a sense, and a very plain and important sense, in which Christ’s kingdom is not of this world; (John 18:36) his inspired apostles have, nevertheless, laid down some general principles concerning the office of civil rulers, and the duty of subjects, together with the reason and obligation of that duty. And from hence it follows, that it is proper for all who acknowledge the authority of Jesus Christ, and the inspiration of his apostles, to endeavor to understand what is in fact the doctrine which they have delivered concerning this matter. It is the duty of christian magistrates to inform themselves what it is which their religion teaches concerning the nature and design of their office. And it is equally the duty of all christian people to inform themselves what it is which their religion teaches concerning that subjection which they owe to the higher powers. It is for these reasons that I have attempted to examine into the scripture account of this matter, in order to lay it before you with the same freedom which I constantly use with relation to other doctrines and precepts of Christianity; not doubting but you will judge upon every thing offered to your consideration, with the same spirit of wisdom and liberty with which it is spoken.

The passage read, is the most full and express of any in the new-testament, relating to rulers and subjects: and therefore I thought it proper to ground upon it, what I had to propose to you with reference to the authority of the civil magistrate, and the subjection which is due to him. But before I enter upon an explanation of the several parts of this passage, it will be proper to observe one thing, which may serve as a key to the whole of it.

It is to be observed, then, that there were some persons amongst the christians of the apostolic age, and particularly those at Rome, to whom St. Paul is here writing, who seditiously disclaimed all subjection to civil authority; refusing to pay taxes, and the duties laid upon their traffic and merchandize; and who scrupled not to speak of their rulers, without any due regard to their office and character.. Some of these turbulent christians were converts from Judaism, and others from pagonism. The Jews in general had, long before this time, taken up a strange conceit, that being the peculiar and elect people of God, they were therefore exempted from the jurisdiction of any heathen princes or governors. Upon this ground it was, that some of them, during the public ministry of our blessed Savior, came to him with that question—Is it lawful to give tribute unto Cæsar or not? (Matthew 22:17) And this notion many of them retained after they were proselyted to the christian faith. As to the gentile converts,, some of them grossly mistook the nature of that liberty which the gospel promised; and thought that by virtue of their subjection to Christ, the only king and head of his church, they were wholly freed from subjection to any other prince; as though Christ’s kingdom had been of this world, in such a sense as to interfere with the civil powers of the earth, and to deliver their subjects from that allegiance and duty, which they before owed to them. Of these visionary Christians in general, who disowned subjection to the civil powers in being where they respectively lived, there is mention made in several places in the new testament: The Apostle Peter in particular, characterizes them in this manner—them that—despise government— presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. (2 Peter 2:10) Now it is with reference to these doting Christians, that the apostle speaks in the passage before us. And I shall now give you the sense of it in a  paraphrase upon each verse in its order, desiring you to keep in mind the character of the persons for whom it is designed, that so, as I go along, you may see how just and natural this address is; and how well suited to the circumstances of those against whom it is levelled.

The apostle’s doctrine, in the passage thus explained, concerning the office of civil rulers, and the duty of subjects, may be summed up. in the following observations.

That the end of magistracy is the good of civil society, as such:

That civil rulers, as such, are the ordinances and ministers of God; it being by his permission and providence that any bear rule; and agreeable to his will, that there should become persons vested with authority in society, for the well-being of it:

Rulers have no authority from God to do mischief…. It is blasphemy to call tyrants and oppressors God’s minister’s. They are more properly “the messengers of Satan to buffet us.” No rulers are properly God’s ministers but such as are “just, ruling in the fear of God.” When once magistrates act contrary to their office, and the end of their institution–when they rob and ruin the public, instead of being guardians of its peace and welfare–they immediately cease to be the ordinance and ministers of God, and no more deserve that glorious character than common pirates and highwaymen.

If magistrates are unrighteous,…the main end of civil government will be frustrated. And what reason is there for submitting to that government which does by no means answer the design of government? “Wherefore, ye must needs be subject not only for wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.” Here the apostle[Paul] argues the duty of a cheerful and conscientious submission to civil government from the nature and end of magistracy, as he had before laid it down; i.e., as the design of it was to punish devil-doers, and to support and encourage such as do well;…if the motive and argument for submission to government be taken from the apparent usefulness of civil authority–it follows, that when no such good end can be answered by submission, there remains no argument or motive to enforce it;…And therefore, in such cases, a regard to the public welfare ought to make us withhold from our rulers that obedience and submission which it would otherwise be our duty to render to them. If it be our duty, for example, to obey our king merely for this reason, that he rules for the public welfare (which is the only argument the apostle makes use of), it follows, by a parity of reason, that when he turns tyrant, and makes his subjects his prey to devour and destroy, instead of his charge to defend and cherish, we are bound to throw off our allegiance to him, and to resist; and that according to the tenor of the apostle’s argument in this passage. Not to discontinue our allegiance in this case would be to join with the sovereign in promoting the slavery and misery of the society, the welfare of which we ourselves, as well as our sovereign, are indispensably obliged to secure and promote, as far as in us lies. It is true the apostle puts no case of such a tyrannical prince; but, by his grounding his argument for submission wholly upon the good of civil society, it is plain he implicitly authorizes, and even requires us to make resistance, whenever this shall be necessary to the public safety and happiness….

[Objection]: But, then, if unlimited submission and passive obedience to the higher powers, in all possible cases, be not a duty, it will be asked, “How far are we obliged to submit? If we may innocently disobey and resist in some cases, why not in all? Where shall we stop? What is the measure of our duty? This doctrine tends to the total dissolution of civil government, and to introduce such scenes of wild anarchy and confusion as are more fatal to society than the worst of tyranny.”

[Answer]: But…similar difficulties may be raised with respect to almost every duty of natural and revealed religion. To instance only in tow, both of which are near akin, and indeed exactly parallel to the case before us: It is unquestionably the duty of children to submit to their parents, an of servant to their master; but no one asserts that it is their duty to obey and submit to them in all supposable cases, or universally a sin to resist them. Now, does this tend to subvert the just authority of parents and masters, or to introduce confusion and anarchy into private families? No. How, then, does the same principle tend to unhinge the government of that larger family the body politic?…Now, there is at least as much difficulty in stating the measure of duty in these two cases as in the case of rulers and subjects; so that this is really no objection–at least, no reasonable one against resistance to the higher powers. Or, if it is one, it will hold equally against resistance in the other cases mentioned.

We may very safely assert these two things in general, without undermining government: One is, that no civil rulers are to be obeyed when they enjoin things that are inconsistent with the commands of God. All such disobedience is lawful and glorious;…All commands running counter to the declared will of the Supreme Legislator of heaven and earth are null and void, and therefore disobedience to duty, not a crime. Another thing that may be asserted with equal truth and safety is, that no law is to be submitted to, at the expense of; which is the sole end of all government–the good and safety of society….

[Qualifications:] Now, as all men are fallible, it cannot be supposed affairs of any state should be always in the best manner possible, even by greatest wisdom and integrity. Nor is it sufficient to legitimate disobedience to the higher powers that they are not so administered, or that they are in some instances very ill-managed; for, upon this principle, it is scarcely supposable than any government at all could be supported, or subsist. Such a principle manifestly tends to the dissolution of government, and to throw all things into confusion, and anarchy. But is equally evidenced, that those in authority may abuse their power to such a degree, that neither the law of reason, nor of religion requires that any obedience or submission should be paid to them; but, on the contrary, that they should be totally discarded, the authority which they were before vested transferred to others, who may exercise it to those good purposes for which it is given. Nor is this principle, that resistance to the higher power is in some extraordinary cases justifiable, so liable to abuse as many persons seem to apprehend it…. Mankind in general have a disposition to be as submissive and passive and tame under government as they ought to be…. ‘While those who govern do it with any tolerable degree of moderation and justice, and in any good measure act up to their office and character by being public benefactors, the people will generally be easy and peaceable, and be rather inclined to flatter and adore than to insult and resisting People know for what end they set up and maintain their governors, and they are the proper judges when the execute their trust as they ought to do it…. Till people find themselves greatly abused and oppressed by their governors, they are not apt to complain; and whenever they do, in fact, find themselves thus abused and oppressed, they must be stupid not to complain. To say that subjects in general are not the proper judges when their governors oppress them and play the tyrant, and when the defend their rights, administer justice impartially, and promote the public welfare, is as great treason as ever man uttered. It is treason, not against one single man, but the state against the whole body politic; it is treason against mankind, it is treason against common sense, it is treason against God….

[End Quote]

“There is a day coming when proud tyrants will be punished, not only for the cruelties they have been guilty of, but for employing those about them in their cruelties, and so exposing them to the judgments of God.”
Rev. Matthew Henry

Portrait_of_George_Washington

American Statesman: Tribute to President George Washington Part 1

American Statesmen: GEORGE WASHINGTON

In Two Volumes: VOL. I.

By HENRY CABOT LODGE 1899

GW Lodge1GW Lodge2

February 9 in the year 1800 was a gala day in Paris. Napoleon had decreed a triumphal procession, and on that day a splendid military ceremony was performed in the Champ de Mars, and the trophies of the Egyptian expedition were exultingly displayed. There were, however, two features in all this pomp and show which seemed strangely out of keeping with the glittering pageant and the sounds of victorious rejoicing. The standards and flags of the army were hung with crape, and after the grand parade the dignitaries of the land proceeded solemnly to the Temple of Mars, and heard the eloquent M. de Fontanes deliver an “Eloge Funèbre.” Note 1:  A report recently discovered shows that more even was intended than was actually done.

The following is a translation of the paper, the original of which is Nos. 172 and 173 of volume 51 of the manuscript series known as Etats-Unis, 1799, 1800 (years 7 and 8 of the French republic):—

Report of Talleyrand, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on the occasion of the death of George Washington.

“A nation which some day will he a great nation, and which today is the wisest and happiest on the face of the earth, weeps at the bier of a man whose courage and genius contributed the most to free it from bondage, and elevate it to the rank of an independent and sovereign power. The regrets caused by the death of this great man, the memories aroused by these regrets, and a proper veneration for all that is held dear and sacred by mankind, impel us to give expression to our sentiments by taking part in an event which deprives the world of one of its brightest ornaments, and removes to the realm of history one of the noblest lives that ever honored the human race.

“The name of Washington is inseparably linked with a memorable epoch. He adorned this epoch by his talents and the nobility of his character, and with virtues that even envy dared not assail. History offers few examples of such renown. Great from the outset of his career, patriotic before his country had become a nation, brilliant and universal despite the passions and political resentments that would gladly have checked his career, his fame is to-day imperishable,—fortune having consecrated his claim to greatness, while the prosperity of a people destined for grand achievements is the best evidence of a fame ever to increase.

“His own country now honors his memory with funeral ceremonies, having lost a citizen whose public actions and unassuming grandeur in private life were a living example of courage, wisdom, and unselfishness; and France, which from the dawn of the American Revolution hailed with hope a nation, hitherto unknown, that was discarding the vices of Europe, which foresaw all the glory that this nation would bestow on humanity, and the enlightenment of governments that would ensue from the novel character of the social institutions and the new type of heroism of which Washington and America were models for the world at large,—France, I repeat, should depart from established usages and do honor to one whose fame is beyond comparison with that of others.

“The man who, amid the decadence of modern ages, first dared believe that he could inspire degenerate nations with courage to rise to the level of republican virtues, lived for all nations and for all centuries; and this nation, which first saw in the life and success of that illustrious man a foreboding of its destiny, and therein recognized a future to be realized and duties to be performed, has every right to class him as a fellow-citizen. I therefore submit to the First Consul the following decree:— “Bonaparte, First Consul of the republic, decrees as follows:— “Article 1. A statue is to be erected to General Washington. “Article 2. This statue is to be placed in one of the squares of Paris, to be chosen by the minister of the interior, and it shall be his duty to execute the present decree.”]

About the same time, if tradition may be trusted, the flags upon the conquering Channel fleet of England were lowered to half-mast in token of grief for the same event which had caused the armies of France to wear the customary badges of mourning.

If some “traveler from an antique land” had observed these manifestations, he would have wondered much whose memory it was that had called them forth from these two great nations, then struggling fiercely with each other for supremacy on land and sea. His wonder would not have abated had he been told that the man for whom they mourned had wrested an empire from one, and at the time of his death was arming his countrymen against the other.

These signal honors were paid by England and France to a simple Virginian gentleman who had never left his own country, and who when he died held no other office than the titular command of a provisional army. Yet although these marks of respect from foreign nations were notable and striking, they were slight and formal in comparison with the silence and grief which fell upon the people of the United States when they heard that Washington was dead. He had died in the fullness of time, quietly, quickly, and in his own house, and yet his death called out a display of grief which has rarely been equaled in history. The trappings and suits of woe were there of course, but what made this mourning memorable was that the land seemed hushed with sadness, and that the sorrow dwelt among the people and was neither forced nor fleeting. Men carried it home with them to their firesides and to their churches, to their offices and their workshops. Every preacher took the life which had closed as the noblest of texts, and every orator made it the theme of his loftiest eloquence. For more than a year the newspapers teemed with eulogy and elegy, and both prose and poetry were severely taxed to pay tribute to the memory of the great one who had gone. The prose was often stilted and the verse was generally bad, but yet through it all, from the polished sentences of the funeral oration to the humble effusions of the obscurest poet’s corner, there ran a strong and genuine feeling, which the highest art could not refine nor the clumsiest expression degrade.

From that time to this, the stream of praise has flowed on, ever deepening and strengthening, both at home and abroad. Washington alone in history seems to have risen so high in the estimation of men that criticism has shrunk away abashed, and has only been heard whispering in corners or growling hoarsely in the now famous house in Cheyne Row.

There is a world of meaning in all this, could we but rightly interpret it. It cannot be brushed aside as mere popular superstition, formed of fancies and prejudices, to which intelligent opposition would be useless. Nothing is in fact more false than the way in which popular opinions are often belittled and made light of. The opinion of the world, however reached, becomes in the course of years or centuries the nearest approach we can make to final judgment on human things. Don Quixote may be dumb to one man, and the sonnets of Shakespeare may leave another cold and weary. But the fault is in the reader. There is no doubt of the greatness of Cervantes or Shakespeare, for they have stood the test of time, and the voices of generations of men, from which there is no appeal, have declared them to be great. The lyrics that all the world loves and repeats, the poetry which is often called hackneyed, is on the whole the best poetry. The pictures and statues that have drawn crowds of admiring gazers for centuries are the best. The things that are “caviare to the general” often undoubtedly have much merit, but they lack quite as often the warm, generous, and immortal vitality which appeals alike to rich and poor, to the ignorant and to the learned.

So it is with men. When years after his death the world agrees to call a man great, the verdict must be accepted. The historian may whiten or blacken, the critic may weigh and dissect, the form of the judgment may be altered, but the central fact remains, and with the man, whom the world in its vague way has pronounced great, history must reckon one way or the other, whether for good or ill.

When we come to such a man as Washington, the case is still stronger. Men seem to have agreed that here was greatness which no one could question, and character which no one could fail to respect. Around other leaders of men, even around the greatest of them, sharp controversies have arisen, and they have their partisans dead as they had them living. Washington had enemies who assailed him, and friends whom he loved, but in death as in life he seems to stand alone, above conflict and superior to malice. In his own country there is no dispute as to his greatness or his worth. Englishmen, the most unsparing censors of everything American, have paid homage to Washington, from the days of Fox and Byron to those of Tennyson and Gladstone. In France his name has always been revered, and in distant lands those who have scarcely heard of the existence of the United States know the country of Washington. To the mighty cairn which the nation and the states have raised to his memory, stones have come from Greece, sending a fragment of the Parthenon; from Brazil and Switzerland, Turkey and Japan, Siam and India beyond the Ganges. On that sent by China we read: “In devising plans, Washington was more decided than Ching Shing or Woo Kwang; in winning a country he was braver than Tsau Tsau or Ling Pi. Wielding his four-footed falchion, he extended the frontiers and refused to accept the Royal Dignity. The sentiments of the Three Dynasties have reappeared in him. Can any man of ancient or modern times fail to pronounce Washington peerless?” These comparisons so strange to our ears tell of a fame which has reached farther than we can readily conceive.

Washington stands as a type, and has stamped himself deep upon the imagination of mankind. Whether the image be true or false is of no consequence: the fact endures. He rises up from the dust of history as a Greek statue comes pure and serene from the earth in which it has lain for centuries. We know his deeds; but what was it in the man which has given him such a place in the affection, the respect, and the imagination of his fellow men throughout the world?

Perhaps this question has been fully answered already. Possibly every one who has thought upon the subject has solved the problem, so that even to state it is superfluous. Yet a brilliant writer, the latest historian of the American people, has said: “General Washington is known to us, and President Washington. But George Washington is an unknown man.” These are pregnant words, and that they should be true seems to make any attempt to fill the great gap an act of sheer and hopeless audacity. Yet there can be certainly no reason for adding another to the almost countless lives of Washington unless it be done with the object in view which Mr. McMaster indicates. Any such attempt may fail in execution, but if the purpose be right it has at least an excuse for its existence.

To try to add to the existing knowledge of the facts in Washington’s career would have but little result beyond the multiplication of printed pages. The antiquarian, the historian, and the critic have exhausted every source, and the most minute details have been and still are the subject of endless writing and constant discussion. Every house he ever lived in has been drawn and painted; every portrait, and statue, and medal has been catalogued and engraved. His private affairs, his servants, his horses, his arms, even his clothes, have all passed beneath the merciless microscope of history. His biography has been written and rewritten. His letters have been drawn out from every lurking place, and have been given to the world in masses and in detachments. His battles have been fought over and over again, and his state papers have undergone an almost verbal examination. Yet, despite his vast fame and all the labors of the antiquarian and biographer, Washington is still not understood,—as a man he is unfamiliar to the posterity that reverences his memory. He has been misrepresented more or less covertly by hostile critics and by candid friends, and has been disguised and hidden away by the mistaken eulogy and erroneous theories of devout admirers. All that any one now can do, therefore, is to endeavor from this mass of material to depict the very man himself in the various conjunctures of his life, and strive to see what he really was and what he meant then, and what he is and what he means to us and to the world to-day.

In the progress of time Washington has become in the popular imagination largely mythical; for mythical ideas grow up in this nineteenth century, notwithstanding its boasted intelligence, much as they did in the infancy of the race. The old sentiment of humanity, more ancient and more lasting than any records or monuments, which led men in the dawn of history to worship their ancestors and the founders of states, still endures. As the centuries have gone by, this sentiment has lost its religious flavor, and has become more and more restricted in its application, but it has never been wholly extinguished. Let some man arise great above the ordinary bounds of greatness, and the feeling which caused our progenitors to bow down at the shrines of their forefathers and chiefs leads us to invest our modern hero with a mythical character, and picture him in our imagination as a being to whom, a few thousand years ago, altars would have been builded and libations poured out.

Thus we have to-day in our minds a Washington grand, solemn, and impressive. In this guise he appears as a man of lofty intellect, vast moral force, supremely successful and fortunate, and wholly apart from and above all his fellow-men. This lonely figure rises up to our imagination with all the imperial splendor of the Livian Augustus, and with about as much warmth and life as that unrivaled statue. In this vague but quite serious idea there is a great deal of truth, but not the whole truth. It is the myth of genuine love and veneration springing from the inborn gratitude of man to the founders and chiefs of his race, but it is not by any means the only one of its family. There is another, equally diffused, of wholly different parentage. In its inception this second myth is due to the itinerant parson, bookmaker, and bookseller, Mason Weems. He wrote a brief biography of Washington, of trifling historical value, yet with sufficient literary skill to make it widely popular. It neither appealed to nor was read by the cultivated and instructed few, but it reached the homes of the masses of the people. It found its way to the bench of the mechanic, to the house of the farmer, to the log cabins of the frontiersman and pioneer. It was carried across the continent on the first waves of advancing settlement. Its anecdotes and its simplicity of thought commended it to children both at home and at school, and, passing through edition after edition, its statements were widely spread, and it colored insensibly the ideas of hundreds of persons who never had heard even the name of the author. To Weems we owe the anecdote of the cherry-tree, and other tales of a similar nature. He wrote with Dr. Beattie’s life of his son before him as a model, and the result is that Washington comes out in his pages a faultless prig. Whether Weems intended it or not, that is the result which he produced, and that is the Washington who was developed from the wide sale of his book. When this idea took definite and permanent shape it caused a reaction. There was a revolt against it, for the hero thus engendered had qualities which the national sense of humor could not endure in silence. The consequence is, that the Washington of Weems has afforded an endless theme for joke and burlesque. Every professional American humorist almost has tried his hand at it; and with each recurring 22d of February the hard-worked jesters of the daily newspapers take it up and make a little fun out of it, sufficient for the day that is passing over them. The opportunity is tempting, because of the ease with which fun can be made when that fundamental source of humor, a violent contrast, can be employed. But there is no irreverence in it all, for the jest is not aimed at the real Washington, but at the Washington portrayed in the Weems biography. The worthy “rector of Mount Vernon,” as he called himself, meant no harm, and there is a good deal of truth, no doubt, in his book. But the blameless and priggish boy, and the equally faultless and uninteresting man, whom he originated, have become in the process of development a myth. So in its further development is the Washington of the humorist a myth. Both alike are utterly and crudely false. They resemble their great original as much as Greenough’s classically nude statue, exposed to the incongruities of the North American climate, resembles in dress and appearance the general of our armies and the first President of the United States.

Such are the myth-makers. They are widely different from the critics who have assailed Washington in a sidelong way, and who can be better dealt with in a later chapter. These last bring charges which can be met; the myth-maker presents a vague conception, extremely difficult to handle because it is so elusive.

One of our well-known historical scholars and most learned antiquarians, not long ago, in an essay vindicating the “traditional Washington,” treated with scorn the idea of a “new Washington” being discovered. In one sense this is quite right, in another totally wrong. There can be no new Washington discovered, because there never was but one. But the real man has been so overlaid with myths and traditions, and so distorted by misleading criticisms, that, as has already been suggested, he has been wellnigh lost. We have the religious or statuesque myth, we have the Weems myth, and the ludicrous myth of the writer of paragraphs. We have the stately hero of Sparks, and Everett, and Marshall, and Irving, with all his great deeds as general and president duly recorded and set down in polished and eloquent sentences; and we know him to be very great and wise and pure, and, be it said with bated breath, very dry and cold. We are also familiar with the common-place man who so wonderfully illustrated the power of character as set forth by various persons, either from love of novelty or because the great chief seemed to get in the way of their own heroes.

If this is all, then the career of Washington and his towering fame present a problem of which the world has never seen the like. But this cannot be all: there must be more behind. Every one knows the famous Stuart portrait of Washington. The last effort of the artist’s cunning is there employed to paint his great subject for posterity. How serene and beautiful it is! It is a noble picture for future ages to look upon. Still it is not all. There is in the dining-room of Memorial Hall at Cambridge another portrait, painted by Savage. It is cold and dry, hard enough to serve for the signboard of an inn, and able, one would think, to withstand all weathers. Yet this picture has something which Stuart left out. There is a rugged strength in the face which gives us pause, there is a massiveness in the jaw, telling of an iron grip and a relentless will, which has infinite meaning.

“Here’s John the Smith’s rough-hammered head. Great eye,

Gross jaw, and griped lips do what granite can

To give you the crown-grasper. What a man!”

In death as in life, there is something about Washington, call it greatness, dignity, majesty, what you will, which seems to hold men aloof and keep them from knowing him. In truth he was a most difficult man to know. Carlyle, crying out through hundreds of pages and myriads of words for the “silent man,” passed by with a sneer the most absolutely silent great man that history can show. Washington’s letters and speeches and messages fill many volumes, but they are all on business. They are profoundly silent as to the writer himself. From this Carlyle concluded apparently that there was nothing to tell,—a very shallow conclusion if it was the one he really reached. Such an idea was certainly far, very far, from the truth.

Behind the popular myths, behind the statuesque figure of the orator and the preacher, behind the general and the president of the historian, there was a strong, vigorous man, in whose veins ran warm, red blood, in whose heart were stormy passions and deep sympathy for humanity, in whose brain were far-reaching thoughts, and who was informed throughout his being with a resistless will. The veil of his silence is not often lifted, and never intentionally, but now and then there is a glimpse behind it; and in stray sentences and in little incidents strenuously gathered together; above all, in the right interpretation of the words, and the deeds, and the true history known to all men,—we can surely find George Washington “the noblest figure that ever stood in the forefront of a nation’s life.”

THE OLD DOMINION

To know George Washington, we must first of all understand the society in which he was born and brought up. As certain lilies draw their colors from the subtle qualities of the soil hidden beneath the water upon which they float, so are men profoundly affected by the obscure and insensible influences which surround their childhood and youth. The art of the chemist may discover perhaps the secret agent which tints the white flower with blue or pink, but very often the elements, which analysis detects, nature alone can combine. The analogy is not strained or fanciful when we apply it to a past society. We can separate, and classify, and label the various elements, but to combine them in such a way as to form a vivid picture is a work of surpassing difficulty. This is especially true of such a land as Virginia in the middle of the last century. Virginian society, as it existed at that period, is utterly extinct. John Randolph said it had departed before the year 1800. Since then another century, with all its manifold changes, has wellnigh come and gone. Most important of all, the last surviving institution of colonial Virginia has been swept away in the crash of civil war, which has opened a gulf between past and present wider and deeper than any that time alone could make.

Life and society as they existed in the Virginia of the eighteenth century seem, moreover, to have been sharply broken and ended. We cannot trace our steps backward, as is possible in most cases, over the road by which the world has traveled since those days. We are compelled to take a long leap mentally in order to land ourselves securely in the Virginia which honored the second George, and looked up to Walpole and Pitt as the arbiters of its fate.

We live in a period of great cities, rapid communication, vast and varied business interests, enormous diversity of occupation, great industries, diffused intelligence, farming by steam, and with everything and everybody pervaded by an unresting, high-strung activity. We transport ourselves to the Virginia of Washington’s boyhood, and find a people without cities or towns, with no means of communication except what was afforded by rivers and wood roads; having no trades, no industries, no means of spreading knowledge, only one occupation, clumsily performed; and living a quiet, monotonous existence, which can now hardly be realized. It is “a far cry to Loch-Awe,” as the Scotch proverb has it; and this old Virginian society, although we should find it sorry work living in it, is both pleasant and picturesque in the pages of history.

The population of Virginia, advancing toward half a million, and divided pretty equally between the free whites and the enslaved blacks, was densest, to use a most inappropriate word, at the water’s edge and near the mouths of the rivers. Thence it crept backwards, following always the lines of the watercourses, and growing ever thinner and more scattered until it reached the Blue Ridge. Behind the mountains was the wilderness, haunted, as old John Lederer said a century earlier, by monsters, and inhabited, as the eighteenth-century Virginians very well knew, by savages and wild beasts, much more real and dangerous than the hobgoblins of their ancestors.

The population, in proportion to its numbers, was very widely distributed. It was not collected in groups, after the fashion with which we are now familiar, for then there were no cities or towns in Virginia. The only place which could pretend to either name was Norfolk, the solitary seaport, which, with its six or seven thousand inhabitants, formed the most glaring exception that any rule solicitous of proof could possibly desire. Williamsburg, the capital, was a straggling village, somewhat overweighted with the public buildings and those of the college. It would light up into life and vivacity during the season of politics and society, and then relapse again into the country stillness. Outside of Williamsburg and Norfolk there were various points which passed in the catalogue and on the map for towns, but which in reality were merely the shadows of a name. The most populous consisted of a few houses inhabited by storekeepers and traders, some tobacco warehouses, and a tavern, clustered about the church or court-house. Many others had only the church, or, if a county seat, the church and court-house, keeping solitary state in the woods. There once a week the sound of prayer and gossip, or at longer intervals the voices of lawyers and politicians, and the shouts of the wrestlers on the green, broke through the stillness which with the going down of the sun resumed its sway in the forests.

There was little chance here for that friction of mind with mind, or for that quick interchange of thought and sentiment and knowledge which are familiar to the dwellers in cities, and which have driven forward more rapidly than all else what we call civilization. Rare meetings for special objects with persons as solitary in their lives and as ill-informed as himself, constituted to the average Virginian the world of society, and there was nothing from outside to supply the deficiencies at home. Once a fortnight a mail crawled down from the North, and once a month another crept on to the South. George Washington was four years old when the first newspaper was published in the colony, and he was twenty when the first actors appeared at Williamsburg. What was not brought was not sought. The Virginians did not go down to the sea in ships. They were not a seafaring race, and as they had neither trade nor commerce they were totally destitute of the inquiring, enterprising spirit, and of the knowledge brought by those pursuits which involve travel and adventure. The English tobacco-ships worked their way up the rivers, taking the great staple, and leaving their varied goods, and their tardy news from Europe, wherever they stopped. This was the sum of the information and intercourse which Virginia got from across the sea, for travelers were practically unknown. Few came on business, fewer still from curiosity. Stray peddlers from the North, or trappers from beyond the mountains with their packs of furs, chiefly constituted what would now be called the traveling public. There were in truth no means of traveling except on foot, on horseback, or by boat on the rivers, which formed the best and most expeditious highways. Stage-coaches, or other public conveyances, were unknown. Over some of the roads the rich man, with his six horses and black outriders, might make his way in a lumbering carriage, but most of the roads were little better than woodland paths; and the rivers, innocent of bridges, offered in the uncertain fords abundance of inconvenience, not unmixed with peril. The taverns were execrable, and only the ever-ready hospitality of the people made it possible to get from place to place. The result was that the Virginians stayed at home, and sought and welcomed the rare stranger at their gates as if they were well aware that they were entertaining angels.

It is not difficult to sift this home-keeping people, and find out that portion which was Virginia, for the mass was but an appendage of the small fraction which ruled, led, and did the thinking for the whole community. Half the people were slaves, and in that single wretched word their history is told. They were, on the whole, well and kindly treated, but they have no meaning in history except as an institution, and as an influence in the lives, feelings, and character of the men who made the state.

Above the slaves, little better than they in condition, but separated from them by the wide gulf of race and color, were the indented white servants, some convicts, some redemptioners. They, too, have their story told when we have catalogued them. We cross another gulf and come to the farmers, to the men who grew wheat as well as tobacco on their own land, sometimes working alone, sometimes the owners of a few slaves. Some of these men were of the class well known since as the “poor whites” of the South, the weaker brothers who could not resist the poison of slavery, but sank under it into ignorance and poverty. They were contented because their skins were white, and because they were thereby part of an aristocracy to whom labor was a badge of serfdom. The larger portion of this middle class, however, were thrifty and industrious enough. Including as they did in their ranks the hunters and pioneers, the traders and merchants, all the freemen in fact who toiled and worked, they formed the mass of the white population, and furnished the bone and sinew and some of the intellectual power of Virginia. The only professional men were the clergy, for the lawyers were few, and growing to importance only as the Revolution began; while the physicians were still fewer, and as a class of no importance at all. The clergy were a picturesque element in the social landscape, but they were as a body very poor representatives of learning, religion, and morality. They ranged from hedge parsons and Fleet chaplains, who had slunk away from England to find a desirable obscurity in the new world, to divines of real learning and genuine piety, who were the supporters of the college, and who would have been a credit to any society. These last, however, were lamentably few in number. The mass of the clergy were men who worked their own lands, sold tobacco, were the boon companions of the planters, hunted, shot, drank hard, and lived well, performing their sacred duties in a perfunctory and not always in a decent manner.

The clergy, however, formed the stepping-stone socially between the farmers, traders, and small planters, and the highest and most important class in Virginian society. The great planters were the men who owned, ruled, and guided Virginia. Their vast estates were scattered along the rivers from the seacoast to the mountains. Each plantation was in itself a small village, with the owner’s house in the centre, surrounded by outbuildings and negro cabins, and the pastures, meadows, and fields of tobacco stretching away on all sides. The rare traveler, pursuing his devious way on horseback or in a boat, would catch sight of these noble estates opening up from the road or the river, and then the forest would close in around him for several miles, until through the thinning trees he would see again the white cabins and the cleared fields of the next plantation.

In such places dwelt the Virginian planters, surrounded by their families and slaves, and in a solitude broken only by the infrequent and eagerly welcomed stranger, by their duties as vestrymen and magistrates, or by the annual pilgrimage to Williamsburg in search of society, or to sit in the House of Burgesses. They were occupied by the care of their plantations, which involved a good deal of riding in the open air, but which was at best an easy and indolent pursuit made light by slave labor and trained overseers. As a result the planters had an abundance of spare time, which they devoted to cock-fighting, horse-racing, fishing, shooting, and fox-hunting,—all, save the first, wholesome and manly sports, but which did not demand any undue mental strain. There is, indeed, no indication that the Virginians had any great love for intellectual exertion. When the amiable attorney-general of Charles II. said to the Virginian commissioners, pleading the cause of learning and religion, “Damn your souls! grow tobacco!” he uttered a precept which the mass of the planters seem to have laid to heart. For fifty years there were no schools, and down to the Revolution even the apologies bearing that honored name were few, and the college was small and struggling. In some of the great families, the eldest sons would be sent to England and to the great universities: they would make the grand tour, play a part in the fashionable society of London, and come back to their plantations fine gentlemen and scholars. Such was Colonel Byrd, in the early part of the eighteenth century, a friend of the Earl of Orrery, and the author of certain amusing memoirs. Such at a later day was Arthur Lee, doctor and diplomat, student and politician. But most of these young gentlemen thus sent abroad to improve their minds and manners led a life not materially different from that of our charming friend, Harry Warrington, after his arrival in England.

The sons who stayed at home sometimes gathered a little learning from the clergyman of the parish, or received a fair education at the College of William and Mary, but very many did not have even so much as this. There was not in truth much use for learning in managing a plantation or raising horses, and men get along surprisingly well without that which they do not need, especially if the acquisition demands labor. The Virginian planter thought little and read less, and there were no learned professions to hold out golden prizes and stimulate the love of knowledge. The women fared even worse, for they could not go to Europe or to William and Mary’s, so that after exhausting the teaching capacity of the parson they settled down to a round of household duties and to the cares of a multitude of slaves, working much harder and more steadily than their lords and masters ever thought of doing.

The only general form of intellectual exertion was that of governing. The planters managed local affairs through the vestries, and ruled Virginia in the House of Burgesses. To this work they paid strict attention, and, after the fashion of their race, did it very well and very efficiently. They were an extremely competent body whenever they made up their minds to do anything; but they liked the life and habits of Squire Western, and saw no reason for adopting any others until it was necessary.

There were, of course, vast differences in the condition of the planters. Some counted their acres by thousands and their slaves by hundreds, while others scrambled along as best they might with one plantation and a few score of negroes. Some dwelt in very handsome houses, picturesque and beautiful, like Gunston Hall or Stratford, or in vast, tasteless, and extravagant piles like Rosewell. Others were contented with very modest houses, consisting of one story with a gabled roof, and flanked by two massive chimneys. In some houses there was a brave show of handsome plate and china, fine furniture, and London-made carriages, rich silks and satins, and brocaded dresses. In others there were earthenware and pewter, homespun and woolen, and little use for horses, except in the plough or under the saddle.

But there were certain qualities common to all the Virginia planters. The luxury was imperfect. The splendor was sometimes barbaric. There were holes in the brocades, and the fresh air of heaven would often blow through a broken window upon the glittering silver and the costly china. It was an easy-going aristocracy, unfinished, and frequently slovenly in its appointments, after the fashion of the warmer climates and the regions of slavery.

Everything was plentiful except ready money. In this rich and poor were alike. They were all ahead of their income, and it seems as if, from one cause or another, from extravagance or improvidence, from horses or the gaming-table, every Virginian family went through bankruptcy about once in a generation.

When Harry Warrington arrived in England, all his relations at Castlewood regarded the handsome young fellow as a prince, with his acres and his slaves. It was a natural and pleasing delusion, born of the possession of land and serfs, to which the Virginians themselves gave ready credence. They forgot that the land was so plentiful that it was of little value; that slaves were the most wasteful form of labor; and that a failure of the tobacco crop, pledged before it was gathered, meant ruin, although they had been reminded more than once of this last impressive fact. They knew that they had plenty to eat and drink, and a herd of people to wait upon them and cultivate their land, as well as obliging London merchants always ready to furnish every luxury in return for the mortgage of a crop or an estate. So they gave themselves little anxiety as to the future and lived in the present, very much to their own satisfaction.

To the communities of trade and commerce, to the mercantile and industrial spirit of to-day, such an existence and such modes of life appear distressingly lax and unprogressive. The sages of the bank parlors and the counting-rooms would shake their heads at such spendthrifts as these, refuse to discount their paper, and confidently predict that by no possibility could they come to good. They had their defects, no doubt, these planters and farmers of Virginia. The life they led was strongly developed on the animal side, and was perhaps neither stimulating nor elevating. The living was the reverse of plain, and the thinking was neither extremely high nor notably laborious. Yet in this very particular there is something rather restful and pleasant to the eye wearied by the sight of incessant movement, and to the ear deafened by the continual shout that nothing is good that does not change, and that all change must be good. We should probably find great discomforts and many unpleasant limitations in the life and habits of a hundred years ago on any part of the globe, and yet at a time when it seems as if rapidity and movement were the last words and the ultimate ideals of civilization, it is rather agreeable to turn to such a community as the eighteenth-century planters of Virginia. They lived contentedly on the acres of their fathers, and except at rare and stated intervals they had no other interests than those furnished by their ancestral domain. At the court-house, at the vestry, or in Williamsburg, they met their neighbors and talked very keenly about the politics of Europe, or the affairs of the colony. They were little troubled about religion, but they worshiped after the fashion of their fathers, and had a serious fidelity to church and king. They wrangled with their governors over appropriations, but they lived on good terms with those eminent persons, and attended state balls at what they called the palace, and danced and made merry with much stateliness and grace. Their every-day life ran on in the quiet of their plantations as calmly as one of their own rivers. The English trader would come and go; the infrequent stranger would be received and welcomed; Christmas would be kept in hearty English fashion; young men from a neighboring estate would ride over through the darkening woods to court, or dance, or play the fiddle, like Patrick Henry or Thomas Jefferson; and these simple events were all that made a ripple on the placid stream. Much time was given to sports, rough, hearty, manly sports, with a spice of danger, and these, with an occasional adventurous dash into the wilderness, kept them sound and strong and brave, both in body and mind. There was nothing languid or effeminate about the Virginian planter. He was a robust man, quite ready to fight or work when the time came, and well fitted to deal with affairs when he was needed. He was a free-handed, hospitable, generous being, not much given to study or thought, but thoroughly public-spirited and keenly alive to the interests of Virginia. Above all things he was an aristocrat, set apart by the dark line of race, color, and hereditary servitude, as proud as the proudest Austrian with his endless quarterings, as sturdy and vigorous as an English yeoman, and as jealous of his rights and privileges as any baron who stood by John at Runnymede. To this aristocracy, careless and indolent, given to rough pleasures and indifferent to the finer and higher sides of life, the call came, as it comes to all men sooner or later, and in response they gave their country soldiers, statesmen, and jurists of the highest order, and fit for the great work they were asked to do. We must go back to Athens to find another instance of a society so small in numbers, and yet capable of such an outburst of ability and force. They were of sound English stock, with a slight admixture of the Huguenots, the best blood of France; and although for a century and a half they had seemed to stagnate in the New World, they were strong, fruitful, and effective beyond the measure of ordinary races when the hour of peril and trial was at hand.

Eagle flag1

POLITICAL CONSTITUTIONS by Johannes Von Muller (1832)

As part of the Non-Revisionist Politically History of the World series. Contained here, is such a collection of eloquent words and common sense, I had to post it, by itself, alone.

All parts of the universe hold a mutual relation to each other; and in the whole empire of finite nature, nothing exists for itself alone. The universe stands in such a relation to its first cause, that it could not subsist a moment by itself. It belongs to us to study the mutual relations of beings, which are not our works, but the productions of Nature; and the result of this study constitutes our law. The knowledge of this informs us, how we may be able to turn everything which exists to our advantage. In nothing indeed is man more distinguished from the brutes, than in the faculty of acquiring this knowledge; he possesses no other claim to the dominion of the world, but by his superior intellect alone he holds it in subjection. Moreover, as man alone is endowed with the power of elevating himself to communion with the Author of all things, he stands, with respect to all subordinate beings, in the situation of those, (if we may venture to use the expression) who in monarchical governments have the exclusive privilege of entering into the presence of the sovereign.

bill-of-rights-01.jpg

The Law of Nature is the result of our relations to the visible world, and especially to all beings endowed with feeling. The generality of men have comprehended indeed under this term, (fancying that they are under no obligations of duty, except towards their equals,) only that which, after abstracting all personal and local connections, every man owes to his fellow-creatures; but this part of the natural law does not embrace its whole extent, although it is obviously the most interesting to us.

Since all men possess not the faculties and industry needful for sifting to the bottom these first principles, and since it cannot be expected, from the violence of human passions, that among the various points of view in which each affair may be contemplated, men will always adopt the most generally beneficial result, as the rule of their conduct, positive regulations were required, in order to support the natural law with a sufficient power, and from time to time with effective measures, against the encroachments of ignorance and self-interest. An endless variety of circumstances soon diversified these regulations, and greatly multiplied them, by giving rise to an infinite diversity of relations. Moreover violent changes took place, which quickly gave to human society a new form, different from its primitive and simple state, and from the spirit and design of its first institutions: this was a source of more complex relations, which required new prescripts.

The increasing number of these obtained, according to the objects with which they were conversant, the designation of civil, political, public, and ecclesiastical law. The minutest affairs were regulated by positive laws, since human passions extend to all, and require in every conjuncture a prescript and distinct limitation. Yet the innumerable multitudes of ordinances are capable of being reduced to a few general principles; it is only necessary to point out the particular applications, in order to confute the sophistry of those who will not embrace the universal scheme.

In some instances the laws have either been proposed, or at least ratified, in popular assemblies; in others, the nation has submitted silently to the commands which one or more individuals, who by virtue or power have raised themselves to be rulers or lords, have issued under the character of representatives, or protectors of the people. One man or a body of men have also administered the executive power. The variations thus produced, constitute great diversities in the forms of government.

Monarchy is that government in which a single person rules, but is subject to limitations by the laws, over which a middle power presides, and watches for their conservation. The authority of the latter may flow from the splendor of a long succession of dignified ancestors, or from their destination to the defense of their country, or from their qualifications as possessors of land; they are termed accordingly the nobles, the patrician order, or the parliament, in other instances, superior knowledge in divine and human affairs imparts the privilege, as among the ancient Gauls to the Druids, and for a long period to the tribe of Levi among the Hebrews. Despotism, which knows no law, but the arbitrary will of one man, is a corruption or disorganization of monarchy.

Aristocracy, is the government of ancient families, and of those who are chosen by them into the senate. This assembly either consists, as at Venice, of the whole body to whom their birth-right gives a share in the government, or it is a select number chosen out of them, as at Berne. One branch of this form of administration is Timocracy or that constitution, in which the laws define a certain property, the possessors of which, alone, are capable of holding offices. This system, and aristocracy in general, degenerate into Oligarchy, that is, into a form of government in which the chief power, by the laws, or by descent, or accident, is confined to a very small number of men. Democracy denotes, according to the old signification of the word, that system of government, in which all the citizens, assembled, partake in the supreme power. When all the landholders, though not citizens, join with the latter in the exercise of their high privileges, Ochlocracy prevails. This name is also given to that condition of the democratic form, in which, in consequence of bad laws or of violent commotions, the power which properly belonged to the people, has been transferred to the populace.

The best form of government is that which, avoiding the above-mentioned excesses, combines the decisive vigor of monarchy with the mature wisdom of a senate, and with the animating impression of democracy. But it is rarely that circumstances allow, rarely that the sagacity of a lawgiver has conferred on his nation this good fortune; and when it has happened to be obtained, violence and intrigue have seldom conceded to it a long duration in a state of purity. Sparta, Rome, and some later republics, but particularly England, have sought more or less to attain this ideal standard of perfection, but governments of the simple form have always been more numerous and more permanent.*

At the same time, it very seldom happens, that we find a form of government wholly unmixed. Religion and prevailing opinions impose salutary restraints upon despotism: in monarchies, it is not easy for the ruler, without one of these resources, to govern the nobles according to his wishes. An aristocracy is generally indulgent to the people: it sometimes allows them a participation in the most important conclusions, as at Lucerne; or in the election to certain high offices of state, as at Freyburg: in like manner democratic governments are, for the most part, held in check by the influence of a perpetual council, which prepares affairs for the deliberation of the popular assembly.

By far the most common form of government is the oligarchical. How can the sovereign exercise his power, let him be as anxious as he may to govern for himself, without confiding on many occasions in the information and proposals of his ministers? A few party-leaders govern  the senate and the popular assembly. The ablest, the most eloquent, or the richest, will everywhere take the lead.

The essential difference between the forms of government consists in the various pursuits to which a man must direct his endeavors in order to become powerful in each. Another, important consideration relates to the greater or more limited sphere in which the ruler can exert his arbitrary will.

With respect to the former circumstance, there are scarcely any governments in which the ambition of men is directed altogether as it ought to be; under a wise prince, those obtain power who deserve it; under a sovereign of an opposite character, those are successful who possess the greatest skill in the arts of a court. Family influence decides for the most part in aristocracies. With the multitude, eloquence and corruption often obtain the victory over real merit.

The natural desire of self-preservation does not prevent the abuse of power; human passions, full of resources, provide for all contingencies: kings have surrounded themselves with standing armies, against whose accurate tactics, when no conjuncture of circumstances rouses whole nations to the contest, nothing can prevail. The party-leaders know how to put their private wishes into the mouths of the people, and thus to avoid all responsibility; moreover the depraved crowd who receive bribes, and do anything for the permission of licentiousness, would sufficiently protect them. An aristocracy is extremely vigilant over the first and scarcely discernible movements: it leaves everything else to its fate, and is willing to impede even the prosperity of a multitude which is formidable to it.

With all this, it appears wonderful, that the forms of human society could be maintained in the midst of such various corruptions. But the greater number of men are neither firmly bent on good nor on evil. There are few who pursue only one of the two, and that one with all their might; and these moreover must be favored by circumstances in order to carry their endeavors into effect. Certain attempts are only practicable in particular times, and this forms the distinguishing character of ages, the regulation of which depends on a higher power.

It is fortunate that even imperfect modes of government have always a certain tendency to order; their founders have surrounded them with a multitude of forms, which always serve as a barrier against great calamities, and which impart to the course of affairs a certain regularity for which the multitude acquire a sort of veneration. The more forms there are, the fewer commotions happen. So great is their authority, that the conquerors of Rome and of China have been obliged to adopt the laws of the conquered countries.

Herein consist also the advantages of the oriental and other ancient lawgivers: they considered as much the nature of men, as the circumstances of their particular subjects; our laws, for the most past, only concern themselves with public affairs. That simplicity of manners, temperance, industry, constancy, those military virtues, which among us each individual must enjoin to himself, became among the ancients matter of prescriptive obligation.

In fact, it is only through the influence of manners that society can be maintained: the laws may form them, but men must give assistance to the laws by their own endeavors. Everything will go well when men shall declaim less on their share m the supreme power, and each individual shall seek to acquire so much the more authority over himself. Let everyone aim at attaining a correct estimate of things; for by this means his desires will be very much moderated. Let alterations in the forms of government be left to the operation of time, which gives to every people the constitution of which it is susceptible at each particular period, and a different one when it becomes mature for the change.

I propose in the following discourses to describe the origin, growth, and alteration of many forms of government, and the fate of nations. Nothing will contribute more to afford that true estimate, which is so highly necessary, of the present condition of the European states, than a correct view of their establishment and original spirit. We shall come at length to a multitude of treaties, which, during the last century and a half, have been concluded by the most, sagacious statesmen, and again annihilated by the greatest generals: we shall moreover witness the consequences which have arisen to the prince and people, and the dangerous situation into which all states are thus brought. Examples for imitation and warning, great weaknesses and urgent necessities, conjunctures which call for temperance, and such as require a diligent investigation, will often occur to us, and will suffer us, for the future, to be led into fewer illusions by a specious exterior and finely sounding words.

*This history being brought down only to the close of the American war, the author appears not to have made the constitution and political institutions of the United States the subject of his particular attention. A great part of the work was written before the date above mentioned. This may account for our system of government not being here particularly alluded to. E,

No Clergy for 9/11 Memorial

From my Patriot Sister Sharon Dwyer

We are three weeks away from the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Now, you will not believe what has happened. It is Orwellian. The good guys are the bad guys now and the bad guys are perfectly welcome.

What is going on?

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decreed there will be no clergy at the 9/11 memorial.

You heard that right. No Clergy!

Let’s start with the basics. Bloomberg is simply nuts. At the same time he is saying no clergy at the 9/11 memorial service, he is also saying that he has no problem with the 9/11 victory mosque being built two blocks away.

Islamists attacked America on 9/11 based on their religious hatred of America. All types of Americans died on that day. Many were religious people. One of the fatalities that day was Father Mychal Judge, a chaplain with the NYFD who went into the towers with the fire fighters and perished with them.

While Michael Bloomberg lobbies for taxpayer funds to help build the 9/11 victory mosque, there is another casualty of 9/11 that everyone seems to have forgotten about.

Little St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church had stood since 1916. It had been a refuge for New Yorkers and others seeking escape and a brief peaceful interlude during their hectic days in the New York business world. It was the spiritual home to many of the Greek Orthodox faithful of New York. The Sons of St. Nicholas served in World War 1, World War 2, Korea, Vietnam and even up to Desert Storm.

When the towers were destroyed, St. Nicholas was destroyed. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has asked, discussed, begged, pleaded, cajoled and done everything in its power to get little St. Nicholas rebuilt. All to no avail. The Archdiocese has now had to file suit.

Mean while Bloomberg, who truly meets Lenin’s definition of a useful idiot, is doing everything he can to make certain a victory mosque is built as close to the site of the 9/11 attacks as possible.

George Bush used to say that Islam had been hijacked. No, what we saw on 9/11 was pretty consistent with Islam since its creation. What we are seeing is 9/11 being hijacked.

Instead of a proper memorial for the worst attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor, we are instead fed a line of politically correct bovine scatology.

Enough!

9/11 was a national trauma. We all remember where we were when we first heard about the attack. The tenth anniversary activities are a national disgrace.

My suggestion is this. Our government refuses to identify our enemies as our enemies, treats our citizens as enemies and refuses to take meaningful steps to protect us or protect liberty. 9/11 falls on a Sunday this year. Let’s go to our churches on 9/11 (or synagogues on 9/10) and let real Americans remember the attacks. Let’s have remembrances at our local Tea Party events and Liberty events. Let’s do a memorial at our local Republican Party meetings or out our local Boy Scout meetings.

We cannot make these fools go away by ignoring them, but by holding our own services, where the clergy are welcome; they will have a much harder time pouring salt in our wounds. ~ Judson Phillips of Tea Party Nation

America!! You better Wake Up to where our Freedoms come from. You deny Jesus! You deny God! They will deny you! It is that simple, it really is! See my posts 

Why our Forefathers firmly believed that Freedom and Liberty came from God

Who are the Nazis in America?

So you think you want to know me? No. 1

History of the Cross in America

The Truth about the current political parties in America and their origins by Thomas Jefferson and others

We may no agree on everything but you know, even Paul said in Philippians 1:

15: Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:

16: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds

17: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.

18: What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

He knew as I also do that no matter how it is done, just the fact that the gospel of Christ is/was preached that it is all good in bringing people to Christ and for the general good of society as a whole!

Celtic Woman – A New Journey – The Prayer

Tea Party Hobbit and American Patriot, Robert Davis 2011