The Jeffington Files: A Reflection on Independence Day

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by General Canwell Jeffington

(Jul. 3, 2011) — John Andre’, aide de camp to General Henry Clinton, slid out of bed and while he hurriedly put on his clothes said, “we were told you wouldn’t be back for another week“.  I responded with, “and who told you that“.  He started to say “Mrs. Clint....” but then trailed off as if he had just let the cat out of the bag.  Mrs. Clinton, General Clinton’s wife, was somewhat aware of my comings and goings as a British general and so it is quite possible she mislead Andre’, since there was no way she could have known I was going to return early, after accepting General Washington’s assignment.

Mrs. Clinton rolled back over and said she wasn’t going to get out of bed until I left the room.  So I promptly went outside in the dark and waited for her and Andre’ to come out.  They left quietly without a word, knowing full well that their secret was not necessarily safe with me and probably wondered what I might do with it.  If so, they were wise to be concerned.  But this knowledge gave me a certain degree of insulation from prying eyes and ears.

By then there were only a couple of hours left before daylight and I was dead tired after the three-day ride.  I wasn’t going to get much sleep  this night.  I retired to bed and couldn’t go to sleep.  I lay there thinking about the courage of General Washington and his men to take on the most powerful country on Earth, the Empire of Great Britain, even though I was a product of that empire.

Just two years earlier, General Washington and the other founders of freedom, set pen to a document that eclipsed the Magna Carta and all other documents written in the 2nd millennium AD, that enumerated the unalienable rights of men, in these immortal words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The Declaration of Independence was, in reality, a rallying cry from all men across the world, that they would not lay down and play dead to the tyranny of a few powerful men, organizations or nations and that they would defend those rights that came from their creator with their lives, if necessary.

Coincidentally, while I was in General Washington’s camp, Washington issued a special ration of rum to his men to celebrate that providential day of independence on July 4th, 1778, that would be celebrated each year for the next two plus centuries.

Drifting in and out of sleep, I half dreamt what would happen in another 200 years if this new government would take on the mantle of an empire as did Washington’s enemy, rather than adhere to their duty of protecting individual rights.  What then would the people do if America’s government started to inflict the same injustices on Americans that England inflicted on the colonies, as delineated in the Declaration of Independence?

“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.”

“He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation.

“For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent.”

“For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments.”

Would a small minority of the people rise up as they did in 1775 with the “shot heard ’round the world” that started this bloody revolution?  Or, would they hide in the shadows hoping to avoid the rising incidents of police aggression to enforce ever more freedom-robbing laws, as did many of the colonists?  Or, would they instead use the tools that were given to them in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitutions of the day, to peacefully reclaim their government from those who had forsaken their allegiance to the principles of freedom and liberty and became arrogant tyrants?  And, if all peaceful means were exhausted with no effect, would they have the courage and commitment to reclaim their Constitutional Republic by other means?  These are questions for history to answer, as my crystal ball is cloudy on what the outcome might be, should this new government elevate themselves to dictatorial ruler in what could become an Absolute Democrat Monarchy instead of the overseer of free men in a Constitutional Republic, under the rule of law.

Will the men and women of a new day, two or more centuries later, have the courage to take on a  government that could become the most powerful and feared government on earth?  Should the American government become more tyrannical over time and move against its people, will there be enough freedom-loving men to challenge the government and return the country to a free and prosperous nation, in a re-birth of liberty?  Only time will tell.

Each generation must ask itself, did it do everything within its power to maintain freedom for the next generation?  If not, then that generation has failed freedom as well as having failed their children and grandchildren.  In such event, the cost to repair their negligence will be high indeed.

But right now I have a mission to keep and it is a mission of grave danger and immeasurable importance to the people of this new land where freedom was born.

With these heady questions and thoughts running through my mind, I finally drifted off to sleep, only to be awakened a short time later by a loud knock at the door ……..

Until next week at this same time when I will continue with my exploits as a spy for General Washington ….. from the Jeffington Files.

To locate the previous episodes of General Canwell Jeffington, Google ”The Jeffington Files“, or check the archives of this publication.

I remain yours in liberty

Taken from the pages of “The Jeffington Journal

General Canwell Jeffington,
Special covert military attaché to General George Washington
During America’s Revolutionary War

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