Monday, December 21, 2009

An Email to My(sic.) senator

“If our own failures are to be justified because of the shortcomings of others, there is no hope for virtue. "

Well , it appears you have gone and done it.

The Stamp Act. On February 6th, 1765 George Grenville rose in Parliament to offer the fifty-five resolutions of his Stamp Bill. A motion was offered to first read petitions from the Virginia colony and others was denied. The bill was passed on February 17, approved by the Lords on March 8th, and two weeks later ordered in effect by the King. The Stamp Act was Parliament's first serious attempt to assert governmental authority over the colonies.

Note two things, 1) how quickly the Act was "ordered in effect" and 2) the motion to read petitions denied. Here is one of the articles, " For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed, any special bail, and appearance upon such bail in any such court, a stamp duty of two shillings."
There were sixty three others just like it. (If you remember when Franklin was a boy, he purchased several loaves of bread in Boston, six loaves I believe, for one penny. Do you know how many loaves of bread are in a shilling? You should. As you should know how many gallons of gasoline or cubic feet of propane are in an $8000 fine for non-participation in your assault on Washington Heights.)

Also in March of 1765, The Quartering Act was passed. " during the continuance of the said act, there may be occasion for marching and quartering of regiments and companies of his Majesty's forces in several parts of his Majesty's dominions in America: and whereas the publick houses and barracks, in his Majesty's dominions in America, may not be sufficient to supply quarters for such forces: " etc. etc. Today the EPA requires quartering of certain ligh tbulbs, the ATF certain pieces of paper, etc. etc.

(Here is one you will like, as you imagine yourselves to be kings.) The Declaratory Act. In full: AN ACT for the better securing the dependency of his Majesty's dominions in America upon the crown and parliament of Great Britain.
WHEREAS several of the houses of representatives in his Majesty's colonies and plantations in America, have of late, against law, claimed to themselves, or to the general assemblies of the same, the sole and exclusive right of imposing duties and taxes upon his Majesty's subjects in the said colonies and plantations; and have, in pursuance of such claim, passed certain votes, resolutions, and orders, derogatory to the legislative authority of parliament, and inconsistent with the dependency of the said colonies and plantations upon the crown of Great Britain: ... be it declared ...,

That the said colonies and plantations in America have been, are, and of right ought to be. subordinate unto, and dependent upon the imperial crown and parliament of Great Britain; and that the King's majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons of Great Britain, in parliament assembled, had, hash, and of right ought to have, full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America, subjects of the crown of Great Britain, in all cases whatsoever.

II. And be it further declared ..., That all resolutions, votes, orders, and proceedings, in any of the said colonies or plantations, whereby the power and authority of the parliament of Great Britain, to make laws and statutes as aforesaid, is denied, or drawn into question, are, and are hereby declared to be, utterly null and void to all intents and purposes whatsoever."

Note that last part again, "...all any of the said colonies...whereby the power and authority of the parliament of Great denied...are hereby declared...null and void..." (One suspects from the memory of this act came the Tenth Amendment, to wit: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.)

The Townsend Revenue Act, June 1867. Taxes on glass, paint, oil, lead, paper, and tea were applied with the design of raising £40,000 a year for the administration of the colonies. The result was the resurrection of colonial hostilities created by the Stamp Act.

Reaction assumed revolutionary proportions in Boston, in the summer of 1768, when customs officials impounded a sloop owned by John Hancock, for violations of the trade regulations. Crowds mobbed the customs office, forcing the officials to retire to a British Warship in the Harbor. Troops from England and Nova Scotia marched in to occupy Boston on October 1, 1768. Bostonians offered no resistance. Rather they changed their tactics. They established non-importation agreements that quickly spread throughout the colonies. British trade soon dried up and the powerful merchants of Britain once again interceded on behalf of the colonies.
We are aware that your Utopian health bill has its own Townsend taxes on medical devices. (Do you know that the House version classifies tampons and toothbrushes as 'medical devices'? If not, why not? We especially like the part above, "Crowds mobbed the customs office..." We note with amusement that your boss met with her constituents over the phone, and, reportedly the number of questions approved and taken approached an even dozen.) Also, from the Act, " is lawful for any officer of his Majesty's customs, authorized by writ of assistance under the seal of his Majesty's court of exchequer, to take a constable, headborough, or other public officer inhabiting near unto the place, and in the daytime to enter and go into any house, shop cellar, warehouse, or room or other place and, in case of resistance, to break open doors, chests, trunks, and other pakage there, to seize, and from thence to bring, any kind of goods or merchandise whatsoever prohibited or uncustomed, " Think about that last part, because you yourselves are now no longer descendants of those being broken into but the breakers in.

The previous was followed by the Intolerable Acts, which has five parts, The Boston Port Act, The Administration of Justice Act, The Massachusetts Governing Act, The Quartering Act and The Quebec Act. The Boston Port Act embargoed the Port of Boston, ("but if you like your own health care plan, you can keep it"). The Administration of Justice act denied local authorities jurisdiction over those enforcing any of the King's acts, and "allowed ACORN to investigate itself and find itself blameless of any corruption". The Massachusetts Government acts allowed the State of New Jersey to no longer abide by its own constitution and select for Senatorial office whomever they wished, ..oh, and disallowed the colonists the authority to elect their own councilors. The Quartering Act expanded on the same of 1765, except it allowed for the commandeering of any building whatsoever if none were offered after 24 hours, and "allowed armed ATF agents to burst into people's houses, shoot and burn to death ordinary citizens, and suffer no consequences whether such persons were innocent or not".

All these offences were followed by The Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress, which the King and Parliament ignored "because the Republicans are just the party of no, says the Prophet of Nevada and the Medusa of San Francisco".

We have arrived at October of 1774. Let us skip ahead to July of 1775 and note the little document, 'Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking up Arms:" a statement authored jointly by Thomas Jefferson and John Dickinson.
Again the obligatory professions of loyalty to the king were made, but this document contained a thinly veiled threat that if matters were not made right, then independence was the likely consequence:

Lest this declaration should disquiet the minds of our friends and fellow-subjects in any part of the empire, we assure them that we mean not to dissolve that union which has so long and so happily subsisted between us, and which we sincerely wish to see restored. — Necessity has not yet driven us into that desperate measure, or induced us to excite any other nation to war against them. — We have not raised armies with ambitious designs of separating from Great-Britain, and establishing independent states. We fight not for glory or for conquest. We exhibit to mankind the remarkable spectacle of a people attacked by unprovoked enemies, without any imputation or even suspicion of offence. They boast of their privileges and civilization, and yet proffer no milder conditions than servitude or death.

Lest this email should disquiet the minds of those of you reading it and those to whom I expect it to be passed on, we assure them that we mean not to proffer a Declaration for Taking up Arms, but to point out our mutual history, and not that necessity has not "yet driven us to that desperate measure", but repeat our earlier statement, that you have forgotten your predecessors and redressed yourselves, in the name of Government charity, in a cloak of tyranny. Can you not take a serious look at your, our own History and just leave us alone?

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