19 April is the 240th anniversary of the “shot heard ‘round the world” at Lexington and Concord. The British regulars who started the fracas were following an age-old government tradition of seizing powder, munitions and property for a pretentious King who had assumed such wide distribution of the tools of resistance should be available only to the government-approved groups such as soldiers despite the danger on the frontier. We celebrate that time of defiance against tyranny when for sixteen years (1775-1791), all thirteen colonial provinces and the thousands of rural polities that existed outside or alongside the framework enjoyed a freedom they had not previously had; unfortunately after 1791 they would become enslaved once again under the totalitarian doomsday machine known as the Constitution. The lobster-backs and British taxing regime would be replaced by a domestic variety of even more extreme virulence whose sole safety mechanism was a constant western diaspora trying to escape the clutches of the “Republic”. By the middle of the 19th century, all the pieces were in play to seal the deal and Lincolnian project buried the Second American Revolution under hundreds of thousands of corpses to let freedom ring.
The whitewashed history since then has lionized the inauguration of the divorce from the United Kingdom on this day and mistakenly links these events to all the “freedom” enjoyed under the Constitution. The Federalist coup in 1787 that re-established an English-style yoke of central planning, national taxation and slight tinkering with indentured servitude to a kinder and gentler tax and regulatory apparatus did no more grant individual freedom than the Romans gave to conquered lands.
I won’t belabor the point here as I have done this in previous essays and the resistance commentariat has taken up the cudgel with aplomb and covered it adroitly.
The Declaration of Independence, whether penned by Thomas Jefferson or Thomas Paine, is as elegant a jeremiad against tyranny as has been written. The relationship between the Declaration and the Constitution is the same as the one between the crucifix and the vampire. One cannot be consonant with the other because their aspirations are antithetical to the opposing aspirant. As the brilliant Lysander Spooner would opine: “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.”
When you look around on this day in this time at the minimum security (for now) Club Fed that is America, ask yourself what Parker would think. Everything you see (and don’t see in the surveillance state that surrounds you) is a product of the glorious Constitutional Republic that Spooner described so splendidly.
As an Appleseed Instructor and Shoot Boss on extended sabbatical, part of the instruction in this extraordinary marksmanship program was a gripping retelling of the Three Strikes of the Match that led to the divorce proceedings with George III and started the First American Revolution. While I don’t share all the goals of the program hence the extended leave of absence, the telling of this ripping yarn has no match. I regret you can’t hear this from a seasoned instructor but the reading can be compelling.
For those who wish further elucidation, I recommend Rothbard’s Conceived in Liberty and Fischer’s Paul Revere’s Ride. The two books will lead to many more books to better understand the hoodwinking you have suffered through government schooling and the attendant media apparatchiks who reinforce the mewlings of the mind laundries. These books will lead to better understanding the modest but brilliant interregnum when the North American Confederation was free excepting the large number of indentured servants and chattel slaves. But the Constitution would remedy this by nationalizing the former and codifying the latter. The destruction of individual liberty would begin apace.
You can make sure Parker’s sacrifice, he would die in September of that year, was not in vain.
Reflect and remember this day should force you to think on the state of your chains, whether you acknowledge them or not.
See you at the Green Dragon Tavern.
It’s 19 April, 1775. In Massachusetts Colony, the times were hard. The Colonial government had been abolished, and a military governor, General Thomas Gage, controlled Boston under martial law. Boston was practically a ghost town. The Port Act had seen to that, as the port had been closed to all traffic for months. The town slowly died without commerce, and many of those remaining in town relied on the kindness of outsiders to acquire food and necessities. Troops destroyed buildings and their contents for fire wood. Disease was rampant. The King was bent on breaking the radicals and bringing the colonies back in line, where they would pay dearly in taxes and subjugation to the motherland, and he was close to doing it.
The precedent had been set. In order to subjugate the colonies, England would have to disarm them. The colonies had a long standing custom for militia, and the militia was armed. The most expedient method of disarmament was to take their ammunition. Gunpowder was typically stored in a specially built powder house for safety and security and drawn for the militia when needed.
It was a simple matter to march in and take the colonists powder supply, and they had indeed done it before. In September of 1774, they had marched swiftly into Cambridge and carted off 250 half barrels of powder, hauling them back triumphantly to Boston.
This had so alarmed the colonist that with 24 hours there were nearly 30,000 men on the march to Boston, hearing rumors that the Brits intended to burn and shell the town. The incident ended without bloodshed, but General Gage, penned up in Boston with barely 3,000 troops had been so frightened that he asked the crown for an additional 20,000 men.
Paul Revere swore that this would never happen again, that they would not be taken by surprise, and instituted the Committee of Observation, an elaborate spy network throughout the colony. Then they began to smuggle arms and powder and hide them in various remote locations. They had even stolen four brass cannon right out from under Gage’s nose, a theft not taken lightly by General Gage.
Then in December, Paul Revere had ridden more than 20 hours straight, through a blinding blizzard, to warn the colonists in Portsmouth, New Hampshire that a British patrol was on the way by ship to confiscate their powder and ball. The Redcoats were met by a band of militia who raised the drawbridge across the river and simply taunted them. After a short skirmish, the Brits marched back to their ships empty handed this time. But the failure stung the pride of the British Army, and they yearned for revenge.
Now the stage was set for another such raid. This time to Concord where they would have the added honor of capturing not only the provincial government, which had been meeting there, illegally, but also perhaps the traitorous Sam Adams and John Hancock, who were destined, they thought, to swing from the gallows in England. There was also rumored to be quite a stockpile of war materiel stored there. (more…)