by Montgomery Blair Sibley, ©2016, blogging at Amo Probos

(Apr. 20, 2016) — It was a hot July in Philadelphia when the Second Continental Congress took up a “humble petition” to King George III. This was not the well-known Declaration of Independence, for the year was 1775, not 1776.

The Peoples of this Continent submitted the “Olive Branch Petition”. It was an effort to have the King address the differences of the colonies despite the fact that Canada had been invaded and Paul Revere, had “on the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five; Hardly a man is now alive, Who remembers that famous day and year” rode off to alert the Minutemen at Concord, Lexington and Bunker Hill.

The Petition stated: “Attached to your Majesty’s person, family, and Government, with all devotion that principle and affection can inspire; connected with Great Britain by the strongest ties that can unite societies, and deploring every event that tends in any degree to weaken them, we solemnly assure your Majesty, that we not only most ardently desire the former harmony between her and these Colonies may be restored.” Among those who signed the Olive Branch Petition were the well-known founding fathers: John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, John Jay, Roger Sherman and Lewis Morris.

Lord Dartmouth received the original on September 1, 1775;  King George refused to receive the Petition. Lord Dartmouth, when pressed for an answer reportedly said: “As His Majesty did not receive the petition on the throne, no answer will be given.”

Four months later, on January 10, 1776, a 46-page pamphlet appeared in the bookshops of Philadelphia. The pamphlet was simply titled: “Common Sense” Remarkable for that time – or even this – it sold 120,000 copies in the next 90 days. As the colonies only had about 3 million people at that time, it was a phenomenal market penetration any publisher today would envy. Moreover, as Common Sense was read publicly and passed on to others, the actual readership  was certainly twice the number of copies printed.

Picking up where John Cooke had left off, Common Sense decried the tradition, habit and superstition that created a population that John Cooke had described as more “delighted in servitude than in freedom.”

Our present day judicial monarchs, just like King George who ‘did not receive the petition on the throne, no answer will be given”, the Courts have refused to “receive my Petitions” and as such, I must now ask, are we “Citizens” or “subjects”?

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