As 1776 began, how would it end? British control, or English domination, or bullying by German speaking paid Hessian from Prussia, this was not the America that the people were prepared to live with. An armed camp of foreign accents taking over your home puts you ill at ease, and not a friendly host. Your produce is taken and you live less healthy lifestyles than you had come to expect.
You check the spoons, wrap and hide any family diamonds, earrings, a necklace, any gold, and was never much in Colonial America, but protect what we can. Delegates met, colonists cleaned their old muskets which they knew were no match for the enemy. The British had fine new high power rifles, for the day, that the English and Hessian soldier was supplied with, and better access to food. Only they had sufficient food to live healthy lifestyles, for the colonists it was tighten your belts and do what you can to survive.
Delegates from the colonies met mostly in Philadelphia, home to Franklin but also a convenient half way point between Savannah and Boston. But as most of the initial action was up and around Boston, it was critical they all show their solidarity by coming there; which they did to the cheers of the wounded, angry crowds who were pushing back against the British soldiers.
Here would be the Boston Massacre, the ride of Paul Revere, musket shots at Lexington and Concord. The British were coming; the British were here. Yet as spring 1776 approached early summer, delegates raged in debt about issues as common as fishing rights, and as vital as slavery.
At one critical point the delegates from the south were leaving in their carriages: the revolution was off if they could not keep their slaves. Compromises that broke the heart of Jefferson were scratched out of his emerging Declaration, pages of brilliance ahead of their time were into the waste basket, for a century. Until a man named Lincoln stood up to those men.
But, as Franklin reminisced prudish Boston Puritan John Adams, who inscribed on ending slavery immediately: first we need to be a nation, John. Then later, others of good will, will make that happen. Right now, we must all hang together, or surely we will all hang separately.
Jefferson had reluctantly come to feel much the same, although he personally prepared to free his slaves on his death. Gentlemen from the South had rejected that solution for them: they were in business and slaves were better than horses.
So, time was wasting, it was now the end of May and they had created a Continental Congress, now they had to make some statement to the world about their ideals and goals. Get on with it, Jefferson. Are you awake in there? John Adams would lean over the shoulder of Jefferson, and fume at the overflowing waste basket with scratches all through. Until.
Benjamin Franklin recalled how Jefferson adored and missed his wife, way back home in Virginia, while he was locked in this rat infested attic to create something he was not sure he could get all together to satisfy his own highest ideals of democracy. He had read the Greek and Roman philosophers, accredited and copied their architecture until that became the Court of Justice standard throughout America.
But this was now almost July 1776; the British were coming. What do we tell them, before we begin shooting? And that kind, wise genius of science from Philadelphia quietly sent for a carriage to Virginia, with instructions that the very beautiful wife of Thomas Jefferson should arrive in her finest splendor and jewelry, her necklace, we were having a party.
And when she arrived, looking like Helen of Troy, she was greeted by Dr. Franklin, who accompanied her up the attic stairs to surprise her husband. He coyly admitted the party was in a few days, so she would be best to simply rest up with Tom a few days. John Adams was up in the attic, looming over the shoulder of Tom, pointing to words with a frown, when Dr. Franklin opened the door, and saw virile handsome young Thomas Jefferson look up and see his beautiful wife.
The pen dropped from his hand. His wife walked over to her open mouted husband, who jumped up and embroced her. They were in a love long kiss, while John Adams tried to introduce himself. Dr. Franklin escorted John out of the room, locked the door, and as they descended to the streets of Boston, John Adams spluttered at Dr. Franklin that, that, that was just not done in Boston in broad daylight. And wise Ben Franklin said, not everyone is from Boston, John.
Within days, a relaxed and noble Thomas Jefferson was reading his completed Declaration of Independence to the assembled members. And while all those injuries and deletions went on for days into weeks, and it was agreed that all men were born equal, but we can still keep slaves. It came to a vote and was rated on July 4. And then the muskets hit the fan.
But look at what has been created by those wigged men with pen and quill. And having a loving relationship can free many a mental roadblock. Have you thanked your Helen laTely? Perhaps you might put down your quill and think about it. How does a good man become Great? Ask Tom.