Sunday, July 02, 2006

Heroes of the American Revolution - Have We Learned?

Sunny - Hi 110 Lo 89 for Baghdad, Iraq
Hazy - Hi 92 Lo 72 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Only in America,
Brooks and Dunn


Michael and I love going on historic house tours. Sometimes we find that we have fallen in love with the home other times, if the tour guide is good (because there are lots of bad ones) we walk away with a great history lesson. A few weeks ago we went to Jack Jouett’s home in Versailles, Kentucky and walked away with a great history lesson.

Hey -Cath, who is Jack Jouett?

"Listen my children and you shall hear of the midnight ride of…"

Jack Jouett….

OK…OK… the poem by Longfellow was about Paul Revere not Jack Jouett but Jack was a really cool guy too. And his story in my humble opinion is much more intense than Revere’s midnight ride of 15 miles on good paved road... In June, 1781, Jouett was a captain in the Virginia Militia. He was sleeping on the lawn of the Cuckoo Tavern (I’m thinking one too many Sam Adams or Budweiser’s the night before)… In any event, he heard a bunch of guys on horses... It was the nasty White Coats led by the nasty and dreaded Colonel Tarleton. The White Coats objective was to break up the party that the Virginia General Assembly was having in Charlottesville, Virginia. Charlottesville was forty miles away from the Cuckoo Tavern… Who was at the Virginia General Assembly you ask? Well… guys like Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson (you know, insignificant folks like the author of the Declaration of Independence as well as signers of the Declaration of Independence, and other rebels and radicals. No one was available to protect our Founding Fathers… The first GW (General George Washington) was way north fighting, General LaFayette was simply too far away. There weren’t enough local soldiers to stand up to Tarleton. So, what does Jack do? What any other red blooded American does… He jumps on his horse, rides through 40 miles of wilderness… thick woods and crap all along the way. It was said that his face was scarred from all the tree branches and stuff hitting him in the face (poor horse too!). The road that would take Jouett to Jefferson and the others was blocked by some of Tarleton’s scouts, so Jouett couldn’t take the “easy road”. He continued on through the thick heavily wooded areas… all night. By dawn Captain Jouett arrived at Monticello to warn Jefferson and the other legislators that were staying there. Now, it also was said that Jefferson invited Jouett in for breakfast and if I remember our tour guide correctly gave our hero a nice bottle of port… but since Jack was on a mission he wanted to get back on his horse and warn the rest of the assembly in Charlottesville, besides he wanted to stop by his Dad’s place… the Swan Tavern & Inn (notice a trend with our fellow, Jack?), because other legislators were staying there, among them was General Stevens. Stevens had been wounded and was not in position to leave in a hurry. So Dad and son disguised General Stevens in ratty old clothes and gave him a crappy horse. Jack put on a brand new uniform with shiny buttons and pretty braids and took off on his father’s fastest horse. Tarleton and his cronies saw the red coat and assumed he was a high ranking officer and chased Jouett allowing General Stevens to sneak away. Because of Jack’s bravery, stamina and intestinal fortitude, there were only 7 assemblymen that were caught, among them - Daniel Boone, another personal favorite of mine...

Later in life, Jack Jouett married, had a bazillion kids (ok I consider 12 a bazillion of which one was famed portrait artist, Matthew Jouett), was close buds with Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay, worked towards getting Kentucky statehood in 1792 and served in state legislature for a number of terms.

How many other acts of bravery, stamina and intestinal fortitude took place during the many many years of the American Revolution? To secure our nation’s independence, it took people of every background to unify and stand together.

Going to Jack’s home reminded me of the fact that my favorite Founding Father was Patrick Henry. Wow… do we need someone like him today. Patrick Henry as a young man was a slacker… lazy, unmotivated, selfish, a “what’s in it for me” kind of guy. He was also a very bright man, but because he didn’t give a rat’s behind about anything, at one time his father even gave him a business, which he summarily ran it into the ground… He married young and pressure from the new wife and family forced his hand so he went to law school…

Fast forward… Henry was passionate… he didn’t care who he offended… he believed intrinsically, that what he said had to be heard… His words are just as powerful today as they were then… In our nation’s fight for independence, in my opinion, the most passionate speech given was Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death… Patrick Henry gave this speech on March 23, 1775…

I offer the entire speech (please note, emphasis added) Also, I urge you to go here and scroll to the bottom to listen to the speech—it is 7 minutes and well worth the time.
Patrick Henry’s words are just as true today- 231 years later…
I ask that you take the time to visit all the links… our history is pretty amazing…and remember, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.

"No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The questing before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.
Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free-- if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending--if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained--we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!

They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable--and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

I will take time on Tuesday to reflect on the heroes from the American Revolution. I will think about the sacrifices they made.... the hardships they were willing to face... I will thank God for blessing me. Enjoy the holiday.

Blogs and Links to Check Out This Week:

Isn't It Rich - Rich is another one of these Texans I keep bumping into. I love Texans. There. I said it.

Peace Through Strength - Meet Drunken Samurai- I believe I found my way to DS's blog via Jarhead's Firing Range. Good stuff. Be sure to read the cross post, War Stories on the Beach... great stuff.

The Uncooperative Blogger - Brian Bonner…Truth, Justice and the American way! Superman in a cowboy hat? Why not!

Beware the Dark Side - I haven't been to Rob's place yet, but I have no doubt he has something special planned for Independence Day.

Jack Jouett's modest home in Kentucky...


Liberty on Line
American Revolution
History Happens
US History

Have a great week everyone!


Jedi Master Rob said...

Brilliant! It felt like I went on the tour with ya. Thanks.

CyberCelt said...

Great article. Did you know that the body of your blog is beneath your left sidebar. I checked with IE and Firefox. Must be one of those pesky div tags.

Mark said...

That's a fantastic speech from Patrick Henry. I also have always liked that famous painting. Those guys were so eloquent, steeped in reading in that day and age. Our statesmen have lost that ability.

Cathy said...

Rob: It was a really good tour. Wish you and Jo could have gone with us.

Cybercelt: Thanks

Mark: We need a Patrick Henry today.