The Price They Paid

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.  Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.  Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured.  Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or the hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?  Twenty four were lawyers and jurists.  Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners, men of means, well educated.  But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British navy.  He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly.  He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding.  His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers or both, looted the properties of Ellery, Clymer, Hall, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the Battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis, had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters.  The owner quietly urged General George Washington to open fire.  The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed.  The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying.  Their 13 children fled for their lives.  His fields and his grist mill were laid waste.  For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.  A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.

Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.

Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution.  These 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."

The above is from an old printing.  For those who wonder what this has to do with the right of citizens to be armed, we remind you that the War these men supported began on Lexington Green when their fellow citizens resisted British troops who had been sent to confiscate their guns.  The "shot heard round the world" was fired by farmers and townsmen, not against taxes or against physical oppression, but against an attempt by the existing government to disarm them.  Our forefathers knew that without arms they would be helpless to resist any further oppression which might arise in their own government.  God blessed their resistance and gave them freedom.  We would do well to remember Lexington Green.      Pastor Emry

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News Flash

Uncertainties of the Income Tax
(Courts At War with Themselves)

by Larry Becraft, Attorney


For several years now, a variety of high public officials have openly declared that the federal income tax laws are incredibly complex and need to be either substantially revised or scrapped.   But after making such statements, these officials invariably fail to identify what  specific parts of  the tax laws suffer from this condition, choosing instead to conceal them. Are the objectionable parts of the federal tax code secretly and quietly discussed behind closed Congressional committee doors? If they are, why doesn't someone inform the American public of these deficiencies so that they may likewise participate in this debate? Is it possible that it is the major and not various minor features of the tax laws which are complex, even uncertain? Is it possible that these major features are so fundamentally flawed that they simply cannot be repaired? If so, what is the legal consequence of this complexity?

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