Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 25, 1983
NUMBER 12, PAGE 5,13b

These Men Signed

Thomas J. Anderson

(Editor's Note: We present this recent editorial from the pen of the well-known Thomas J. Anderson for the primary purpose of setting forth the great sacrifices demanded of those noble men who pledged, "their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor" to the cause of freedom. If these, our founding fathers, were willing to pay this price for civil liberty, how much more ought we recipients of the blessing thus purchased be willing to pledge "our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor" to that even greater cause — the salvation not of the bodies of men, but of their eternal souls.)

Almost 200 years ago when our nation was being taxed and persecuted beyond endurance and some other fainthearted Americans were crying peace at any price, a Virginia patriot named Patrick Henry arose and said:

"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 elusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak, if we make proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power.

"Three 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 shall 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 not 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, 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!"

Their Lives, Their Homes, Their Sacred Honor

When the "extremists" who wrote the Declaration of Independence assembled in Philadelphia from over the 13 colonies, the first thing to greet them was an anonymous note found on the Speaker's table: "Take care. A plot is framed for your destruction and all of you shall be destroyed."

When the final vote was taken in Independence Hall in Philadelphia on July 4th, every man who signed the Declaration took his life in his hands. If Washington's ragged outnumbered army could not repulse the British, every signer would be tried for treason to the British Crown. Their signatures could, win or lose, mean that their homes could be burned. If Washington lost, their wives, children, farms would be lost.

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence, pledging their lives their fortunes and their sacred honor that this nation, under God would not perish from the earth? Five were captured and tortured by the British. Nine fought and died from wounds or hardships of war. Twelve had their homes pillaged and burned. Two lost their sons in battle. Another had two sons captured.

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she lay dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His mill and fields were laid waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves. He returned home to find his wife dead and children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and heartbreak. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates. 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 destitute. Vandals and soldiers looted the properties of Ellery Clymer, Hall, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Rutledge and Middleton.

At the Battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr. urged General Washington to open fire on Nelson's home, which had been taken over by British General Cornwallis for his headquarters. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died broke.

Francis Lewis' home was destroyed and his wife jailed. She died a few months later.

Who were the "super-patriots"? Twenty-four were lawyers and judges. Eleven were merchants. Nine were farmers. They all signed the Declaration of Independence knowing that the penalty would be death if they were captured. I can't help contrasting them with the fat-cat who says he can't afford to get into this fight to save our Republic from Socialism and surrender, because if and when the comrats take us, he's hoping they will still let him run his business. That's par for his course. Why should he be expected to save the country now? He couldn't find a uniform to fit him during World War II. Whenever any shooting starts, he'll always get "deferred."

God Give Us Men!

As Churchill said, "If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed — you may have to fight when there is no chance of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."

Some people seem to think we have a permanent patent on freedom.

Have we become a nation of mental midgets who've sold out our freedom birthright for a mess cf pottage, who have so long shunned our responsibilities as free citizens that we are now trembling weaklings, brainwashing into a self-imposed inferiority complex, happy pilled into becoming a nation of sheep, ignoramuses and ostriches, intimidated into a complete lack of faith in our own mental health, lied into accepting what power-mad incompetents say "must be"? Are we to grovel on our knees before amoral agnostics, avowed atheists, and one-world socialists merging us into a "one-world" with God-hating tyrants?

Are we to cower in palsied terror before a dictator? Are we to surrender our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor, and our children to history's most anti-God tyranny, while treason marches on? Let us, as free people vow never to bend to any threat, cower before any master, within or without. God grant that we will live free or die trying. God give us men!