Monday, February 26, 2007

February 22, 1770--"...and a little child shall lead them.

March 1, 1770
My Dearest Sister Mary,

Tension here is rising. The Redcoats still remain here in Boston . King George III, a few weeks ago, repealed the Townshend Acts. Now business is getting back to normal. Hopefully, mother and father told you that I finished my apprenticeship last Christmas and am now working for the Boston Gazette and Country Journal. I do not know how you could not have known. Do you remember when I first left home to go?

It was hard work but I am happy that I completed it. I had the greatest teacher and his shop was just outside of Newport. He always told me things from his apprenticeship days; they were very helpful. I am now living with a elderly woman whom I help and in trade I may board with her. It was the best I could find. Usually printers live above the shop, but there was no room.

I have seen brother John around town, but I have not talked to him. Cousin Samuel has been very busy lately, organizing the funeral and all. His name, Samuel Adams, has been said a lot around town. Surely you have heard about that. Poor Christopher Seider, he was shot right in the head, and then again in the chest, an awful way to die. Ebenezer Richardson shot him when they were all protesting outside of his shop. I heard they were throwing rocks. One hit his wife, and killed her. As you might suspect he is a supporter of the Crown. There was a funeral for young Seider this past week, I watched it go by the shop, but I did not join though I wanted to.

This morning as I was walking to work, I heard the children taunting the Redcoats, saying things like, "Bloodyback” and “Lobsterback” Although I am against them being here, I dislike how they do this to them. One day the karma will come back to them. I will hate to see that day come.

I arrived to work fairly early today. I got right to work, got my types together, my composing stick, and worked on the article Thomas Johnson sent in about the latest happenings in England. I was halfway done when Benjamin, my manager, came in to tell me that I would have to work late until about 9 o`clock on the 5th of the March. Since I have just started I must always be the one who has to work the extra hours. This means I must walk home that night at that hour - joy.

I have worked a whole fourteen hours today so I must go rest. Good Night.

Your loving sister, Katherine Adams

March 6th,1770
My Dearest Sister Mary,

I am lucky to be alive. The British have fought back. They have killed five Bostonians. Crispus Attucks, a free black man was killed, the poor soul worked so hard to get to where he was. I witnessed the whole “massacre” as the Sons of Liberty have called it. I am as you maybe can tell, not happy.

I had to work extra, as you know, so we could finished this weeks’ publication. As I was walking home I saw, right outside the Customs House, a mob of people. I went closer and saw a British sentry being picked on by the townspeople. People were throwing sticks, snow, ice, rocks, and other objects toward him, There was a foot of snow on the ground and more was coming down so my vision was blurred.

The sentry, who was suddenly knocked down, called for help. Captain Preston, Matthew Kilroy, Hugh Montgomery, and six others arrived pushing through the crowd. I watched as they helped their fellow soldier up. I thought that this would be the end of this whole thing, but I was wrong.

The next thing I knew people were yelling “Fire” at the soldiers and then I heard the church bells ringing. A few moments later housewives and children came out with pails of water and snow. I wondered why they were ringing the bells. There was no fire at all, from what I could see. One word summed up everything happening, confusion. I could tell the soldiers even did not know what was going on. The crowd 'twas not giving up. Fire was still being yelled 'til there was a shot fired. I am not quite sure who it was, but I am thinking that it was Kilroy. He seemed to be angered by everything we colonists do.

The snow was now bloody and everyone was distraught, including me. There have been five people in all killed: Crispus Attucks, as I mentioned earlier; Samuel Gray, who worked at the rope walk; James Caldwell, who was a sailor on an American ship; Samuel Maverick,who was just a young boy at the mere age of seventeen and last but not least, Patrick Carr, a feather maker.

I am going to brother John Adam’s house tomorrow night after work, which by the way was awfully busy. I am tired from thinking about this, it angers me. Katherine Adams

March 13,1770
My Dearest Mary,

It has been a whole six days since I have written to you. I am just getting over a small cases of pneumonia. I have not been taking the best care of myself like I should be. I went to the town doctor, and he told me to drink lots of liquids to help my body recover. I should be back to printing soon.

I have much to tell you. It was just yesterday, that we printed the paper with the massacre story. I am sending it along in case you do not get the Boston Gazette in Newport. At work, I shared the story on my account to my colleagues. I told them in great detail. I guess working the late shift helped .. a little.

I have some news about our brother, John. When I arrived at his home he immediately began to tell me how he felt about the massacre. I learned something very interesting. He has agreed to represent the British soldiers in the trial that will be held along with Josiah Quincy. I was very surprised to hear this from him but he says he wants to show King George III that over here in the colonies everyone is treated equally and may receive a fair trial. I thought, even though I am a Patriot, that it was a very good reason, and I myself might have done the same. He said it would start sometime in October.

I suspect that the soldiers will not be charged with anything much, but I am sure that the prosecutors will have at least one convicted guilty. I wonder if King George has heard yet about what has happened here? I dare say that once the news is passed on to him he will have no idea what to do next. He has gotten himself into this mess, so he must find a way out. I doubt that is going to happen very soon.
Your Sister, Katherine Adams

Young Katherine Adams was certainly there at the center of events, as her cousin, Sam Adams, and his cohorts were waiting for the opening shot to begin a major public event demonstrating the horrors of British justice. Samuel Adams, with a talent for manipulating public opinion, had helped to inaugurate a systematic use of violence and intimidation by revolutionary committees and congresses bent on destroying the British political influence.

The ferment in the port towns like Boston and New York had taken its toll in the British military back in England, with the knowledge of widespread colonial smuggling and avoidance of any fiscal responsibility for the expenses that the Crown had in protecting the colonials from French and Indian predation. The port towns, in particular, were dangerous and violent, and words of revolution were beginning to be spoken there long before others were cognizant. With each action taken or reaction, the level of anger increased, as did the level of violence.

This suited Sam Adams to a "T" (pardon the pun). John Adams knew between fifty and a hundred pseudonyms that Sam Adams used. Even Sam couldn't recall how many he had used, or even referred to in his own broadsides. But it would not matter, "They served their purpose." [p. 27, The Grand Incendiary (NY: Dial, 1973) by Paul Lewis] Francis Bernard, a British Governor, was exasperated with him. "Every dip of his pen stung like a horned snake." [Samuel Adams' Revolution (NY: Harper & Row, 1976. p. 1) by Cass Canfield]. From the Stamp Act in 1765 onward, Sam Adams and his Sons of Liberty would manipulate events and public opinion, with an ever-increasing talent for mayhem. He managed the Stamp Act Riot of August 14, 1765 and was constantly watching for more. He organized parades, festivals and fireworks on the anniversary of the Stamp Act Riot.

Once the Townshend Acts passed compelling the colonists to pay duties on glass, lead, paper and tea (which was considered a very minor tax by the Crown and Parliament), Adams pressured American merchants into signing a pledge of non-importation. Eight did not and Adams wanted to make an example of one of them. On February 22, 1770, a mob (Adams was probably there, members of the Sons of Liberty were certainly there) gathered in the front of the store of Theophilus Lilly with a big wooden hand mounted on a pole pointing at the storefront accusingly.

The Seider/Richardson events could not have given Adams a better tool. It was a cold dreary winter day when Christopher Seider was murdered. Christopher Seider along with a dozen other school boys were among an angry mob in front of a building throwing rocks at the shop of a Loyalist merchant. Ebenezer Richardson, a rather unsavory Loyalist who had worked as a confidential informant to the Attorney General and Customs and friend of Lilly came along, and tried to defend the merchant but was hit in the head with a rock. Ebenezer went back to his house for his musket. From there he climbed up a two story building and aiming his musket into the mob began to fire at random. In doing that Ebenezer shot Christopher Seider. Christopher Seider died with two bullets inserted in him, one right above the heart and the other in the eye at approximately 9pm that evening. After Christopher was shot the angry mob dragged Ebenezer to jail. Christopher Seider's body was taken to Faneuil Hall.

A funeral procession of five thousand Bostonians took place four days later (February 26, 1770) for Christopher Seider. His casket, inscribed with "innocence itself is not safe", was carried from Faneuil Hall, past the Town House where the governor and council met, down to the liberty tree, and to the Granary Burying Ground. His body was laid to rest there. People left flowers as a tribute. Sam Adams called Christopher "the first martyr to American liberty". As for Ebenezer Richardson the judge found him “not guilty”, but was later tortured by local Patriots.

Christopher Seider's death united the citizens of Boston against the British. Within a few days, the British regiments were being constantly pelleted with snowballs filled with rocks, then home-made spears, then clubs. The agitation was constant, and increasing until there was no doubt of the mob's intention. Finally, The Boston Massacre of March 5, 1770 when the rioters charged the infantry line and engaged in hand-to-hand combat. A half native American and half african-American, Crispus Attucks, who led the rioters, knocked down one of the soldiers and grabbed his musket. The soldiers began firing, killing Attucks and three others, wounding six more (one died two weeks later). To this day, there is no evidence that they were ordered to fire.

From the unfortunate event of the inadvertent death of an eleven year old child, Sam Adams began the American Revolution.

Just a thought. (hat tip to J.L. Bell.)
Just Ken
CLASSical Liberalism

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

WAR--Louis Nazzi (1884-1913)

Benjamin Tucker, writing in Dora Marsden's The New Freewoman (1913-19), said that "ON the death of Louis Nazzi at the age of twenty-eight, France has lost one of the most promising of her younger writers, and one whose promise had already resulted in a considerable performance. I shall venture to offer THE NEW FREEWOMAN a sample of his quality, though I do so With some foreboding, lest this offering also may appear, to the editorial eye, or ear, as mere "bombast and fustian. "Writing of armed peace and compulsory military service, he says:"

"I hate war, violently, with all my filial and fierce love of life. From the day when I understood the work of faith, ardour, and suffering that is summed up in the single word, life, I have refused my consent to war, which at school I was taught to venerate. When one thinks of the amount of goodwill, tenderness, devotion, fruitless effort, anxious and vigilant thought, toilsome deeds, and tiresome marches, requisite to the filling of a man's existence from the cradle to the grave, one cannot admit its criminal destruction in the name of an interest declared superior. No reason can triumph over it. Nothing can make me deny the individual; I am for him, against sanguinary czars and republics. Man is his own country, and the vastest of all. All that I know, feel, and am, my entire being, rises and refuses its complicity for the day of the next butchery. I need my arms and my brain, my heat and my thought, for my own, my work, and myself. My country is what I love and understand; it overruns four frontiers. If you wish me to kill, efface from my soul my dreams of happiness, efface the words of peace and love, efface everything. Drive from my vision all the images of earth, expel all light ! Burn my deepest recollections, my dearest associations, my reasons to hope and smile again ! Devastate my past, all that has been and all that means to be—the uncertain future that I have prepared by the painful labour of my loyal and trusting hands ! Break the embrace of the mother, the wife, and the child ! If you wish me to kill, kill first the man that is in me; perhaps then the beast will obey you."

Just a thought.
Just Ken
CLASSical Liberalism

Saturday, February 10, 2007

George H. Smith

The philosopher, author and lecturer George H[amilton] Smith (b. 2/10/49) has specialized in two areas close to my own heart, freethought and freedom, and has been the author of numerous essays and books instrumental in both fields. Author of Atheism: The Case Against God, Atheism, Ayn Rand and Other Heresies, The Lysander Spooner Reader, The State (by Franz Oppenheimer) and more recently Why Atheism?, has completed a new book on liberty (I do not know the working title), in addition to his schedule of lecturing and debating. Known best for the logical clarity of his exposition, Smith is known for plumbing the depths of the most difficult subject in a manner which makes almost any topic surprisingly easy to understand, a feat unmatched by almost any other philosopher.

Smith, although noting certain positive elements within Christianity, authored the classic work criticising religion in general and Christianity in particular, Atheism: The Case Against God. There has been no other more influential freethought work in the last half century. His debates with theists of various stripes and lectures on freethought have been significant to both sides of the matter.

Smith became known as a leading independent libertarian intellectual since 1970 with a deep grasp of several schools of thought: Ayn Rand's epistemological and moral ideas, Murray Rothbard's anarchocapitalism, Nisbet's conservatism (through lectures by Nisbet while in Arizona) and even Robert LeFevre's antipolitical "freedom philosophy". Smith's "Rational Anarchism"

" is grounded in the belief that we are fully capable, through reason, of discerning the principles of justice; and that we are capable, through rational persuasion and voluntary agreement, of establishing whatever institutions are necessary for the preservation and enforcement of justice. It is precisely because no government can be established by means of reason and mutual consent that all Objectivists should reject that institution as unjust in both theory and practice."

Rational anarchism, like more recent efforts, has been a thoughtful integration of objectivism and free market anarchism, and forged the direction which much of libertarian thinking has progressed since he formulated his views, although not often credited for his accomplishments.

Smith is also known for his dry sense of humor and wry wit which often brings as many to his side of a conversation as his deep grasp of both theory and history. On a personal note, I've been a friend of George's since the early 1970's and can confirm this effect.
Happy Birthday George!

Just a thought.
Just Ken
CLASSical Liberalism

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Bush Brings Back Body Bags!

Multiply the picture above by 166 times, and try to visualize it. Three rows of one thousand fine young American men and women who will never see their families. Three rows, well over a mile long, of possibilities, futures, children, businesses, of friendships gone, never to be. In each casket, the remains of one more comes home. They each deserve a handshake and a thanks from President Bush. I would hope that he opens each and every casket so as to view the consequences of his own actions. Bush should touch each one and hold their hands, if they have hands left; look them in the eyes, if there are any eyes. He should smell the corpse so as to never forget who they once were. Each of their families deserves a personal phone call from him and an heartfelt apology. Multiply the count by twenty, and the Iraqi losses begin to appear, although it may be far greater. No one knows the exact count.

Wilfred Owen, one of the "Lost Poets" of WWI, wrote:
On Seeing a Piece of Our Heavy Artillery Brought into Action

Be slowly lifted up, thou long black arm,
Great Gun towering towards Heaven, about to curse;
Sway steep against them, and for years rehearse
Huge imprecations like a blasting charm!
Reach at that Arrogance which needs thy harm,
And beat it down before its sins grow worse.
Spend our resentment, cannon, -- yea, disburse
Our gold in shapes of flame, our breaths in storm.

Yet, for men's sakes whom thy vast malison
Must wither innocent of enmity,
Be not withdrawn, dark arm, thy spoilure done,
Safe to the bosom of our prosperity.
But when thy spell be cast complete and whole,
May God curse thee, and cut thee from our soul!

When Weapons of Mass Destruction are discussed, you should realize that heavy artillery, tanks, bombs of all sorts, and military airplanes are part of the WMD. What are any of these doing in Iraq? What are they doing in our military bases? Are we so afraid that we need the weaponry, the military bases throughout the world? Is fear truly our motive? Our WMDs cause more harm than they do good and should be scrapped.

What would the world look like without the WMDs of the United State of America? Certainly much more peaceable. We would no longer be able to threaten, cajole or scare other countries. Likewise, other countries would not need to continue the accelerated process of building up their own WMDs. Some may, of course, but without the WMDs in possession by the U.S.A., their own fear-mongering campaigns no longer have the world's largest stockpile of weapons to use in manipulating their own populace to fund their own little wars.

Would this end war for all time? No, and it probably will not end all wars currently in process. But we will no longer be responsible for making war. We will no longer be responsible for starting war. I'm sure that the old canard, “give peace a chance,” is rejected by those willing to start a war if a drop of oil falls onto the sand half-way around the world in some little country, but we have given war a chance. Let's try something different.

Just a thought.
Just Ken
CLASSical Liberalism