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Monday, June 12, 2017

One Pill Makes You Traitor, And One Pill Makes You Trump

On June 12, 1775, General Gage declared martial law in a certain unruly colony:

The authors of the present unnatural revolt, never daring to trust their cause or their actions to the judgment of an impartial publick, or even to the dispassionate reflection of their followers, have uniformly placed their chief confidence in the suppression of truth...not only from the flagitious prints, but from the popular harangues of the times, men have been taught to depend upon activity in treason, for the security of their persons and properties...

In this exigency of complicated calamities, I avail myself of the last effort within the bounds of my duty, to spare the effusion of blood; to offer, and I do hereby, in His Majesty' s name, offer and promise his most gracious pardon to all persons who shall forthwith lay down their arms, and return to their duties of peaceable subjects, excepting only from the benefit of such pardon, Samuel Adams and John Hancock, whose offences are of too flagitious a nature to admit of any other consideration than that of condign punishment. 

He didn't come right out and say it, but it seems clear that Adams and Hancock, called out specifically by name, were to be arrested and transported to England to be tried for treason.  As early as 1773, for example, a representative met with Adams to bribe and threaten him:

[H]e was authorized from governor Gage to assure him, that he had been empowered to confer upon him such benefits as would be satis-factory, upon the condition, that he would engage to cease in his opposition to the measures of government. He also observed, that it was the advice of governor Gage to him, not to incur the further displeasure of his majesty ; that his conduct had been such as made him liable to the penalties of an act of Henry VIII. by which persons could be sent to England for trial of treason, or misprision of treason, at the discretion of a governor of a province ; but by changing his political course, he would not only receive great perso- nal advantages, but would thereby make his peace with the king.

By early 1775, Lord Dartmouth was exhorting Gage:

[T]he essential step to be taken toward reestablishing government would be to arrest and imprison the principle actors and abettors in the Provincial Congress (whose proceedings appear in every light to be acts of treason and rebellion)...

And:

As the 5th of March drew near, several British officers were heard to declare that any one who should dare to address the people in the Old South Church [at the annual remembrance of the Boston Massacre] would surely lose his life. As soon as he heard of these threats, Joseph Warren solicited for himself the dangerous honour...
The boldness of Adams and Hancock in attending this meeting was hardly less admirable than that of Warren in delivering the address. It was no secret that Gage had been instructed to watch his opportunity to arrest Samuel Adams and "his willing and ready tool," that "terrible desperado," John Hancock, and send them over to England to be tried for treason. Here was an excellent opportunity for seizing all the patriot leaders at once; and the meeting itself, moreover, was a town meeting, such as Gage had come to Boston expressly to put down.

Having received his orders (which rebels had apparently learned of before), Gage prepared to march on Lexington and Concord, but:

His written orders for the expedition said nothing about seizing Whig leaders, despite explicit instructions from London for their apprehension.

Regardless, after actual hostilities erupted, Gage seemed more than comfortable singling out Adams and Hancock as traitors.  And his King followed suit later in the summer:

[W]e do accordingly strictly charge and command all our Officers, as well civil as military, and all others our obedient and loyal subjects, to use their utmost endeavours to withstand and suppress such rebellion, and to disclose and make known all treasons and traitorous conspiracies which they shall know to be against us, our crown and dignity...

Before being officially branded as rebels, Congress had tried to offer one last ditch olive branch, and even afterward still were less inclined toward becoming independent than trying to avoid the "calamaties [of] civil war."  But it's hard to put the genie back in its bottle when you declare people guilty of treason, and sure enough, 364 days after Gage put his foot down, the traitors named a committee to begin work on declaring themselves free and independent.

Then Putin's hackers got in the game...

ntodd

* 14th Blegiversary: wanna help feed our oxen? *

June 12, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink

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