Times Examiner Facebook Logo

Saturday, July 13, 2024 - 07:36 AM

INDEPENDENT CONSERVATIVE VOICE OF UPSTATE SOUTH CAROLINA

First Published in 1994

INDEPENDENT CONSERVATIVE VOICE OF
UPSTATE SOUTH CAROLINA

Old Sheldon Church Ruins
Ruins of Old Sheldon Church - Prince William's Parish. Built 1745-1755 and burned by the British in 1779. Rebuilt in 1826 and burned again in 1865.

LIVING AMONG THE “RUINS”

Alongside the road to Beaufort, S.C., near Yemassee, stand the still imposing ruins of Old Sheldon Church.  Originally built between 1745 and 1755, it was used by American patriots during our Revolutionary War to store arms, causing it to be 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 during The War For Southern Independence, but recently discovered evidence in a letter from an on site visitor in 1866 claims that Old Sheldon was NOT burned again in 1865 by Yankees but was gutted by the locals after that tragic war ended, 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—reminiscent, I fear, of the possible fate of our increasingly ravaged Constitutional Republic.

Our world is full of fascinating ruins, fragmentary memories of other times and great civilizations that once existed but now are only chapters in history books and archaeological journals.  The truly unique people who built a civilization along the Nile River in Egypt endured for almost 3000 years, but are now only memorialized by crumbling structures, mysterious pyramids, spectacular tombs, still vivid paintings, and papyruses, carvings, and hieroglyphic histories on the walls of those tombs and temples. The ancient Greeks left us many mementos of their intriguing civilization—beautiful temples and amphitheaters, and their scrolls of plays and philosophy and science.  We in the western world owe much to these ancient Greeks, but they never did learn to live together in harmony, preferring to maintain their political structure of small city-states that engaged in almost constant warfare with each other, Athens and Sparta being the two most prominent of these perpetual combatants. 

The ancient Roman Republic (509 B.C--27 B.C.), which thereafter deteriorated into Imperial Rome, ruled itself fairly well for around 500 years, leaving us, along with the remnants of its later Empire, with imposing ruined structures, and a language—Latin—that provided the basis  for some of our modern languages and codes of law.  After the Republic ceased to exist, the mighty Caesars, most of who were loathsome creatures, ran out of subjects to worship them and to tax to death, having killed off the best of their people in endless wars to try to preserve a vast empire which slowly became unpreservable.  Roman civilization did not end with a bang, but with a whimper over many generations, as her people discovered what wise Americans are swiftly discovering—that there is NO such thing as “a free lunch”.

One of my very favorite authors is the late Taylor Caldwell (1900-1985), who wrote many fascinating historical novels from the early 1940’s until the early 1980’s, and also for many years wrote for that great conservative journal, American Opinion, published by The John Birch Society (of which she was a proud and longtime member), and the predecessor of  The New American Magazine (one of the best sources for truth in print or on the internet).  Back in 1957 the Dan Smoot Report  published her penetrating and very disturbing short story about an “ancient land” she called “HONORIA”, a land where many of us might have felt right at home, at least for a time.

THE STORY OF HONORIA—A NATION OF PILGRIMS

As Caldwell cautioned at the outset, it was a “true story about a nation which was once great…. (B)ut you will readily guess her true name, as the story unfoldsOnce upon a time, some courageous men decided to leave their own country, which did not encourage freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of the individual.  They wanted to establish a new country where men could be free.  So these men who valued freedom became Pilgrims.  They migrated to an uncivilized land inhabited only by barbarians, enduring terrible hardship to get there.  When they landed in that savage region, they stood  upon a great rock.  There, they did homage to their God for guiding them during their arduous journey.  To this day, that rock is one of the most famous monuments in the world.”

“The Pilgrims engaged in trade as their community grew.  They set sails on the ocean.  More Pilgrims joined them.  They became moderately prosperous.  But still they retained the severity and devotion of their lives, dressed very simply, loved the good earth, which nourished them, gathered in their churches for prayer.  Their tiny villages became small towns, and then small cities.  All this took a long time.”   

Thus it was that Honoria was started by people who wanted to be free—pilgrims who had fled their native land to escape oppression.  Honoria’s founders were tired of “endless wars, endless taxation, endless bureaucrats, and endless arrogant rulers.  In the sight of their god…they had established a new nation.” 

Many generations went by, and these new colonies that became Honoria  were flourishing.  “The breath of freedom blew over them like a mighty wind, clear, sharp, invigorating, stirring men’s souls, lighting up their hearts, strengthening their arms, making their spirits incandescent.  One of the old, corrupt countries…despising the simplicity and moral laws of the colonies, and anxious to tax them and put them once more under oppression, sent tax agents to the big city of the Pilgrims. 

“Word of the terror ran through the colonies… (which) sent their greatest men as representatives to a general assembly of all the colonies.  They knew that their destinies lay together.  They (found a leader), a prosperous gentleman farmer, a man concerned only with agriculture, but a man of learning.  (The colonies) sent representatives to him, as he stood in his fields, with his hand on the plow.  He shook the dust of the fields from his feet and went to the city.  One of the most famous cities of the United States is named after him.  He became known as “the Father of His Country”. 

“Now, this man united the colonies.  This noble man, who will never be forgotten as long as free men dare to speak, won his fight against corrupt politicians, and he returned to his fields.  The united colonies became a nation—HONORIA.  The day of their great and growing power had dawned.”  Onto their buildings they carved noble words we see on some of our buildings today:  “Liberty”, “Justice”, “Freedom of Worship”.  Great literature and philosophy that we still read today was written by the Honorians.  God blessed these colonies for three hundred years; they were not yet one nation, but becoming one in spirit.  Slowly, life changed and these colonies decided to join together and become a nation.

Eventually, Honoria became a Republic, with three houses of government:  The Magistrates (5 of who were elected to serve various functions, for only one-year terms), The House of Assemblies & Tribunes, and The Senate, which was the most powerful. In the early years the Senators ruled justly and with honor.  In those days, the people distrusted militarism and hated the endless wars of the other nations.  The Honorians believed in freedom under divine guidance.

A CIVIL WAR BECAME THE BEGINNING OF THE END

“A patriotic Senator dared to stand in the Senate and demand a halt to foreign subversion of Honoria and to constant foreign aid and the draining away of the people’s money.  Other Senators shouted him down and called him vile names.  He…was (assassinated).  And the nation fell deeper and deeper into debt and became more luxurious and rotten.

But tragically, after many generations had passed, a final and bloody fratricidal civil war divided the Republic of Honoria.  A quite famous leader of that dying republic was assassinated in that time. Some called it a “conspiracy”.  This man was a leader who had led his countrymen in a war to keep the nation united, a man who was admired but who had many enemies, who eventually murdered him.  We all know this man. Many books and plays have been written about him over the centuries.

One of his best friends, an old army general “who had been victimized by the government…cried aloud to Honoria to remember her past, to return to honor, to decent government, to the principles of the Founding Fathers, to God.”  But the people rejected his patriotic warnings and called him a “reactionary”, forcing him to leave Honoria and ally himself with Egypt.  He avenged the death of his friend most terribly and thousands of Honorians died in that “civil war”.  Honoria never recovered from that death, and that vengeance, and that war.

HONORIA’S REPUBLIC DIES—HER “EMPIRE” ARISES

It didn’t take long for Honoria to become a world power.  Other countries envied and hated her for her prosperity and influence and power and, as some accused—her arrogance.  Caldwell wrote: “Prosperity does not automatically bring virtue, nor does it always sustain it.  Honoria was powerful.  Her ships ranged everywhere.  The old, corrupt countries sent ambassadors to Honoria.  Tens of thousands of immigrants came to Honoria from these old countries.  Many of them went like the ancient pilgrims, fleeing from oppression.  But many came because Honoria was rich, and they cared nothing for her traditions.” 

All too quickly, many in her government became ambitious and hungered for power and control, two evil impulses that brought the inevitable corruption.  Honoria became a land of factious turmoil and political parties who cared only for their own self-interests.  Those in the Senate, and the people who willingly allowed themselves to be corrupted by the lure of free benefits provided by the government, began to ridicule the founders of the nation, and belittled what they had stood for.  “The Senators…became rich in worldly goods, but very poor in knowledge of what had made their nation great.  They began to despise the very Republic for which they stood.  For a price, they would even betray their country.”

THE DEATH OF HONORIA’S MIDDLE CLASS

Caldwell writes:  “Honoria had always been distinguished by a strong, sturdy, industrious middle class… virtuous and sane and devout.  But the middle class presented a threat to an all-powerful government determined to protect the rich and the strong—and the worthless, the mean, the haters-of-work, the whining cowards who wanted everything for nothing.  So the government decided to get rid of the middle class (which) stood in the way (and) must be destroyed.  Then, the elite could rule by oppression, and the craven, the despicable, the cowards, the worthless, could live on the bodies of the noble and the heroic—through taxation.”

Hmmmmm—this is beginning to sound familiar, isn’t it?  Honoria had grown strong by avoiding foreign entanglements in the early  years of the Republic, but now it sought them.  Their cunning leaders assured its people that wars were necessary to defend their civilization. As a result, endless wars followed, as they always do when one country meddles in the affairs of another, and the citizens listen to the siren songs of the demagogues  and the “lusters-after-power” who insist that wars are necessary to secure the homeland and spread “democracy”, or spread freedom to oppressed people, assurances which are seldom true.  These wars enriched Honoria’s arms manufacturers, and brought Honoria the appearance of prosperity and increased trade. They also took the people’s minds off of the growing problems in their government. 

Soon, the people of Honoria discovered that they could vote themselves largess from the public treasury by electing deceiving and unscrupulous politicians.  The Senate willingly capitulated to the demands of the greed-driven mobs for “free housing”, “free bread”, and “free hot meals”. “Free” mass entertainment kept the people from realizing what was happening to them.  Many of their religious leaders sided with the politicians and the government, and the rest of them were too fearful—too cowardly--to protest.  Taxation became so burdensome that the middle class was slowly reduced to despair. They stopped having children, because they were unaffordable.  Honoria’s money became debased and worthless, and inflation wreaked its terrible vengeance. The people worked ever harder to forestall the inevitable, but to no avail.  Crime became commonplace.  Morality died with just a few protesting whimpers.  As Caldwell reminded us:  “The middle class, the hardworking, the self-reliant, slowly smothered from despair.  Who cared?  The mob had a full belly today, and government promised to fill it again tomorrow.”

Caldwell wrote:  “An evil old man, crippled and malformed, led the nation into more wars and foreign entanglements—he was the ruler of Honoria.  Patriots were considered scoundrels.  The rulers of Honoria were tools not only of the mobs, but of foreigners.” 

Before the end, “Honoria joined a league of the world, with her enemies, who exploited her.  She taxed her citizens more and more to send her wheat and meat to those other nations.”  In only a few decades, Honoria had become corrupt and hated throughout the world.  “The very walls of government echoed to the ever growing demands for more foreign aid, more security, more bread, more sports, more government, more restrictions on the proud and the self-respecting citizens.”

Finally, the once-prosperous and honorable middle class died out—unable to cope with heavy taxation and the corruption of their morality.  In time, the aggressive barbarians from other countries moved in and took over most of Honoria, with the cooperation of what was left of the Honorian government, leaving only a hollow and decaying shell, for her soul had died long before.  Eventually only sad, magnificent, but decaying structures were left, monuments to Honoria’s “once  upon a time” greatness; but her people had been destroyed or reduced to the level of serfs in the very country that their ancestors had sacrificed their blood and lives to give them.  As time passed, the people forgot their “Patria” in their struggle just to stay alive.

ORIGINAL NOTES FROM TAYLOR CALDWELL

  • The ‘prosperous gentleman farmer’ who responded to the call of duty and saved his country in a time of crisis, who became known as “the father of his country”, and in honor of whom a famous American city was named---was the ancient Roman, Cincinnatus.
  • The ‘evil old man, crippled and malformed’, who led his nation into wars and foreign entanglements was Caligula, Emperor of Rome.
  • The ‘old general who had been victimized by the government’ was Julius Caesar’s friend, Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony).
  • The Senator who “dared to stand up in the Senate and demanded a halt to foreign subversion” was Marcus Cicero.
  • “The “great rock in ‘Honoria’”, historically comparable to Plymouth Rock of American history, was the top of what is today called ‘The Capitoline Hill’, the smallest of the “Seven Hills of Rome”, upon which was constructed the famous Temple of Jupiter.”
Ancient Roman Forum
The remains of the ancient Roman Forum - all that is left of a once great and free Constitutional Republic.

Thus, the ANCIENT ROMANS passed into history and into legend, leaving only the ruins and fragments of their once memorable civilization.  As you’ve surely already concluded, “Honoria” was ancient Rome.  Or was it?  I’ve often heard it claimed, and I’m sure you have also, that there IS an “eerie” similarity between ancient Rome and our country, the U.S.A., in both its founding and its progress from individual freedom and responsibility into a gradual serf-like dependence on a huge and “benevolent” government.  That is absolutely correct, but whether or not the similarities are prophetic remains to be seen, for the parallels between the two are very troubling, are they not?  Rome permitted a slow erosion of her constitution and her once-strong morality, just as we Americans have been doing since 1865. 

Caldwell wrote:  “You know what happened to ancient Rome. The barbarians, in the 5th century, invaded Rome and destroyed her, and for hundreds of years, there was a long, black night of slavery and despair….  Rome had not only betrayed herself but ALL the civilized world with her.  The barbarians ranged over that civilized world and the cultures of thousands of years were destroyed, so that only fragments have come down to  us, mere fragment of great and mighty literature, and law, and beauty.

“Fortunately, one thing did survive:  THE TWELVE TABLES OF COMMON ROMAN LAW.  For that we can thank the early Christians.  Those tables of Law formed the basis of English Common Law and more indirectly, of the American Constitution.  Had Rome retained HER constitution, she would perhaps have survived and her splendor would not have been extinguished.  But she permitted the slow erosion of her Constitution, just as we are permitting the quicker erosion of OUR Constitution.”

As Caldwell wisely reminded us:  Everything which strikes at our Constitution brings us closer to death as a free nation, just as Rome died.  Each time the Supreme Court or the President or Congress violates the Constitution, we come closer to slavery—as Rome came…. So long as Rome remained ROME—patriotic, proud, virtuous, and healthy—she remained a strong and powerful nation.  When she became internationalistic,… (and) permitted her rulers to become dictators, enmeshed herself with the problems of aliens and taxed her own people to support those aliens, she began to die.” ( Recall that Caldwell wrote this 67 years ago!)

IS THE U.S. REALLY “HONORIA”?

Caldwell reminded her countrymen that, “Nearly 2000 years stand between us and the fall of the Roman Republic (in 27 B.C.).  Never before the rise of Rome, and never since, did two nations so remarkably resemble each other in history, in splendid rise in civilization, in magnificent communication between nations, in grandeur and wealth.  In strange and amazing ways, WE are the counterpart of ancient RomeHer history, almost step by step, is OUR history…. Shall we continue along the path that led to the extinction of Rome?  We have made her terrible mistakes; we have duplicated her crimes and stupidities, almost to the letter.  We are destroying our Constitution, the only safeguard we have in the face of domestic and foreign enemies, just as Rome destroyed hers.  We are permitting government by men, now, instead of government by law, just as Rome finally did.” 

FOREBODING WORDS TO REMEMBER

Sixty-seven years ago, Caldwell gave her countrymen a serious, disturbing, and perhaps all-too-prophetic warning that leaves me totally frightened.  I’ll leave you with this great patriot’s words of wisdom, and introspection, and I urge you to pay close attention to what she is telling  us:  She warned us that “it is a well-established, and inviolable, lesson of history that NO NATION THAT RUSHED TO THE EDGE OF DESTRUCTION AS A SOCIETY EVER TURNED BACK! NOT EVER, IN THE 6000 OR SO YEARS OF RECORDED WORLD HISTORY!” We Americans are now on the edge of that terrifying abyss, and the deceitful purveyors of globalist/collectivist perfidy seem determined to push us over that edge, if they haven’t already done so, vowing to “fundamentally transform” our America into an unrecognizable tyranny in which I refuse to live.  Will we, can we, turn back?  Are we that unique? For the sake of the future, and for the survival of freedom, AND perhaps for our own survival, I hope we are!

 

WHLambBioMug2

A native of Cleveland, Ohio W. H. (Bill) Lamb was graduated from Cleveland State University (Ohio) in 1960, and relocated to South Carolina in 1964.  For many years he was an Industrial Engineer, Chief Industrial Engineer, and plant manager in the steel, electronics, and apparel industries in Ohio, South Carolina, and Alabama. 

He is a long time student of both American history and ancient Egyptian history, and has long admired the stalwart people who founded the British colonies and pre-dynastic Egypt, two groups that left permanent marks on human civilization.

An avid and long time writer concentrating on political and cultural issues of concern to America’s Christian Patriot community, he was published in the Lancaster, S.C. “News” during the mid-to-late 1960’s and in Greenville’s “The Times Examiner” since 1999.   The late Christian Patriot, Col. Bobby Dill, was his first editor for The Times Examiner, the publication he always refers to as “a great journal of truth”.

Married to Barbara for 65 years, he has two adult kids, five grandkids, and six great grandkids, plus a “feisty and opinionated” 80 lb. Pit Lab named Hayley, who runs the entire house.

A long time member, with Barbara, of the patriotic John Birch Society, he believes that it is the duty of ALL Christians to first, share the love of his Savior, Jesus, with others, and then to be dedicated patriots and do everything possible to both resist the evil of collectivism that is smothering Western Civilization and educate and motivate his fellow Americans in the preservation of our unique Constitutional Republic.