In the late summer of 480 B.C. an event occurred that shaped the spirit of resistance to tyranny from that time to this very day.  What motivates people, when faced with insurmountable odds and the virtual certainty of their own deaths, to nevertheless take a stand against the forces of evil that they see swiftly enveloping them?  Over untold centuries, men and women have fought and died for principles, for home and country, for the survival of their loved ones, for their faith, or simply because the alternative of giving up and surrendering to the Dark Forces was unthinkable.  These people realized the eternal truth that often, and perhaps always, death is better than life as a slave who is forced to serve the enemies of freedom.

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Alongside the road to Beaufort, S.C., near Yemassee, stand the still impressive ruins of Old Sheldon Church.  Originally built between 1745 and 1753, it was used by American patriots during our Revolutionary War to store arms; hence it was burned down by the British in 1779, and rebuilt in 1826.  Tradition has claimed that it was again burned and gutted by the marauding devils from General Sherman’s army of pillagers and despoilers; but recent evidence in a letter from an on site visitor in 1866 claims that Old Sheldon was NOT burned down in 1865 but was gutted by the locals after the War For Southern Independence, and its materials used all over Beaufort, S.C.  Be that as it may, the ruins presently stand in grand and haunting majesty, reminders of a time that once was, but is no more.

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Last time we discussed the several dictionary definitions of “civil war”, all of which agreed that it was an armed conflict between opposing groups of people living in the SAME country.  Which to my mind means that our Glorious American Revolution was a true civil war, by definition; and that our so-called “Civil War” of 1861-1865 was not a true civil war, because it was fought between opposing groups from two separate and independent countries—the U.S. Union and the Confederate States of America. 

We also began to quote from a summary of an excellent speech given by Daniel Greenfield at the South Carolina Tea Party Convention in January, 2018.  Following is the conclusion of Mr. Greenfield’s excellent but quite troubling thoughts:

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Before we get started pondering this troubling question, let’s define exactly what a “civil war” is and is not.  Following are some pertinent definitions:

  • Webster’s Dictionary: A civil war is a war between opposing groups of citizens in the SAME country;
  • Wikipedia: A civil war, also known as an ‘intrastate war’, is a war between organized groups within the SAME country;
  • Collins English Dictionary: A civil war is a war which is fought between different groups of people who live in the SAME country.

Plainly, the determining factor is that violent, armed conflict must occur in the SAME country between the conflicting groups – the object of which is to wrest control (or maintain control) of the EXISTING government within ONE country.  Armed conflicts that occur between opposing groups in two SEPARATE countries are not then properly defined as a “civil war.” 

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We all have them – memories, that is. Though some may fade with the passing of time, many of our precious recollections of the past stay with us for a lifetime. This truth was emphasized to me several years ago when, on a local radio station, I listened to what I believe to be one of the most beautiful and haunting secular songs I’ve ever heard. It brought tears to my eyes then, not so much for any memories it stirred in me, sad to say, but for the depth of emotion projected by the man who was singing it. His name is John McDermott, and he was the founder of the famous singing group known as “The Irish Tenors.” I urge you to enter “John McDermott YouTube” on your search engine and click on the video of his performance of “The Old Man” (with lyrics), a beautiful song he sang in memory of his father. You will see, and hear, a truly special performance, I assure you. It still brings tears to my eyes whenever I watch it.

John was born in Scotland, but his family moved to Canada when he was ten, and he’s a citizen of that country. The words and music were written by Phil Coulter, and I trust it will affect you as it did me:

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Old Gran Army Burian Ground - Boston. Grave of Christopher Seider and 5 patriots kille din the Boston Massacre is to the left of Samuel Adam's grave.
Old Gran Army Burian Ground - Boston. Grave of Christopher Seider and 5 patriots kille din the Boston Massacre is to the left of Samuel Adam's grave.

In part 1 of this foray into almost forgotten colonial history, we explored the tensions that had arisen over a period of several years over the hated Townshend Acts, laws enacted from the far away British Parliament which placed taxes, or increased tariffs, on many goods imported from Great Britain. Tax protests soon erupted throughout the British American colonies, none more intense than in and around Boston, in the British colony of Massachusetts. It was in one of these “angry mob” protests, on February 22, 1770, that 11-year-old Christopher Seider, who had involved himself (accidentally or on purpose—no one knows), lost his life and became to be considered by his countrymen as the first martyr for the cause of American freedom.

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The Guardian on 31 Mar. 2007 - Photograph taken March 27, 2007
The Guardian on 31 Mar. 2007 - Photograph taken March 27, 2007

I’ve been to Boston, Massachusetts several times, and aside from the horrid traffic, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each visit. Great food, especially at the Union Oyster House and Durgin Park restaurants, and lots of one of my favorite subjects: History. My wife and I have walked “The Freedom Trail” through Boston each time, and each of our “treks through history” has taken us to Old Granary Burial Ground, which is full of the graves of the famous (Paul Revere, John Hancock, Sam Adams, James Otis), and the not-so- famous of our early history. One grave marker in that ancient cemetery has always intrigued me, for carved on it are the names of five people whose deaths have been well documented by history. They are the five Bostonians who were killed by British soldiers at the infamous “Boston Massacre” on March 5, 1770, which occurred in front of the Old Statehouse Building. It is the 6th person that usually eluded my attention, the death of whom might have been THE catalyst that ignited our American Revolution.

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When, in the course of human events, one person is privileged to share another person’s dreams and goals, that person should count himself or herself very fortunate, for dreams and goals are the stuff of progress, the fuel of all human achievements and, the basic ingredients of what separates humankind from the lower species. Dreams and goals are the proven “building blocks” of all human liberty and have been ever since the first person raised his gaze from the fearful boots (or sandals) of some “strong man” or “tyrant” in the ancient past and, looked upwards toward the heavens and proclaimed that his (or her) freedom to be, to resist, to dare to “vision,” to set goals, to plan for a better future, was just as important – nay – was MORE important than the goals, or plans, or threatened repression of that strong man—that tyrant – or that repressive collectivist government under which he was forced to live.

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WH Lamb Book