There is always something in the news or herein , concerning the ever increasing attempts by many to curtail or even eliminate our basic right to self defense and to remain armed.
I do not have the "quotes" or proper literature records in front of me , however, I know for a fact that many of our original founding fathers and the successive "ratifierers" of the Constitution , either served and or were wounded in the battle of our Independence.
If memory serves me well , arms control itself was a factor in hastening our war with England. I distinctly remember that "the shot heard round the world " at Lexington , by our Minutemen , was against British soldiers enroute to Concord , to consficate a large cache of "Colonial " arms. I may be off or wrong on this , but I do not think so.
Regardless , I would hope common sense and a respect for our Rights shall and will be maintained.
One such individual that comes to mind that is oft looked down upon because of only one focus is, John Dickinson of Pennsylvania. Dickinson refused to sign the Declaration of Independence because he hoped for the reconciliation with the King *and* did not think it was a war that could be won against Great Britian.
Dickinson left the Continental Congress without signing the Declaration, inlisted in the Continental Army and fought in her defense. After the war, Dickinson was instrumental in the framing of the Constitution and getting the first two states, Delaware and Pennsylvania, to sign.
What Happened to the Signers
of the Declaration of Independence?
Five signers were captured by the British and brutally tortured as traitors. Nine fought in the War for Independence and died from wounds or from hardships they suffered. Two lost their sons in the Continental Army. Another two had sons captured. At least a dozen of the fifty-six had their homes pillaged and burned.
What kind of men were they? Twenty-five were lawyers or jurists. Eleven were merchants. Nine were farmers or large plantation owners. One was a teacher, one a musician, and one a printer. These were
men of means and education, yet they signed the Declaration of Independence, knowing full well that the penalty could be death if they were captured.
In the face of the advancing British Army, the Continental Congress fled from Philadelphia to Baltimore on December 12, 1776. It was an especially anxious time for John Hancock, the President, as his wife had just given birth to a baby girl. Due to the complications stemming from the trip to Baltimore, the child lived only a few months.
William Ellery's signing at the risk of his fortune proved only too realistic. In December 1776, during three days of British occupation of Newport, Rhode Island, Ellery's house was burned, and all his property destroyed.
Richard Stockton, a New Jersey State Supreme Court Justice, had rushed back to his estate near Princeton after signing the Declaration of Independence to find that his wife and children were living like refugees with friends. They had been betrayed by a Tory sympathizer who also revealed Stockton's own whereabouts. British troops pulled him from his bed one night, beat him and threw him in jail where he almost starved to death. When he was finally released, he went home to find his estate had been looted, his possessions burned, and his horses stolen. Judge Stockton had been so badly treated in prison that his health was ruined and he died before the war's end. His surviving family had to live the remainder of their lives off charity.
Carter Braxton was a wealthy planter and trader. One by one his ships were captured by the British navy. He loaned a large sum of money to the American cause; it was never paid back. He was forced to sell his plantations and mortgage his other properties to pay his debts.
Thomas McKean was so hounded by the British that he had to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Continental Congress without pay, and kept his family in hiding.
Vandals or soldiers or both looted the properties of Clymer, Hall, Harrison, Hopkinson and Livingston. Seventeen lost everything they owned.
Thomas Heyward, Jr., Edward Rutledge and Arthur Middleton, all of South Carolina, were captured by the British during the Charleston Campaign in 1780. They were kept in dungeons at the St. Augustine Prison until exchanged a year later.
At the Battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr. noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the family home for his headquarters. Nelson urged General George Washington to open fire on his own home. This was done, and the home was destroyed. Nelson later died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis also had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife for two months, and that and other hardships from the war so affected her health that she died only two years later.
"Honest John" Hart, a New Jersey farmer, was driven from his wife's bedside when she was near death. Their thirteen children fled for their lives. Hart's fields and his grist mill were laid waste. For over a year he eluded capture by hiding in nearby forests. He never knew where his bed would be the next night and often slept in caves.
When he finally returned home, he found that his wife had died, his children disappeared, and his farm and stock were completely destroyed. Hart himself died in 1779 without ever seeing any of his family again.
Such were the stories and sacrifices typical of those who risked everything to sign the Declaration of Independence. These men were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged:
"For the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of the Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."
Are there any among us who would do likewise?
Benjamin Franklin, knowing that the declaration was a traitorous act and could mean the gallows for all of them; he quipped and may have tweaked Thomas Paine's quote from Common Sense, “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”