Posts Tagged ‘King George III’

The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just. ~Abraham Lincoln~

Last April, I received a letter from my congressman, Rush Holt, explaining his opposition to bringing impeachment charges against the president. As Independence Day approached, I wondered what stance Rush would have taken during the tumultuous debates that preceded the American Revolution. What follows is the letter I imagine he would have written to a constituent had he been in office then. It borrows heavily, and in places quite literally, from his letter about impeachment as well as the Declaration of Independence:

Dear Citizen,

Thank you for contacting me to urge armed rebellion against the Crown. I appreciate hearing from you and apologize for the delay in replying.

Like you, I believe King George III’s transgressions are many. Above all, I am angered by his attempts to: (a) impose taxes on us without our consent; (b) deprive us of the benefits of trial by jury; (c) transport us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses; and (d) take away our charters, abolish our most valuable laws, and alter fundamentally the forms of our government.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. He is at this time transporting armies of mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

In every stage of these oppressions, we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Although I would like to see us freed from the House of Hanover’s imperious yoke, armed rebellion would be unwise. The King’s approval ratings still hover around 20%–30%, irrefutable evidence that there is a lack of consensus in the colonies regarding the seriousness of his transgressions. I fear that taking up arms now will be seen as driven by petty slights and leave our colonies in even worse shape than now. We cannot use, or be perceived as using, rebellion as a way to nullify an existing decades-old relationship, or to express generalized anger and opposition to the King. Heaven forbid. With so many Loyalists among us, including small farmers, artisans, shopkeepers, wealthy merchants, Anglicans, slaves, and Indians — not to mention our own Governor, William Franklin, (Benjamin’s son) — it would be very polarizing to launch an insurrection at this time. Years ago, my family strongly opposed the protests against George III’s father, George II, for keeping mistresses and fathering an illegitimate son on the grounds that such outrage was needlessly partisan and hurtful to civic life.

Contrary to what others say, I do not come to this position out of political timidity. I am as bold a leader as you will find, and that is also true of my like-minded colleagues, especially the honorable Madam Pelosi who has courageously taken revolution off the table. Citizens who adamantly insist on the need to rebel would do well to listen to those obviously wiser citizens from whom I also hear, who believe that a successful insurrection would be militarily impractical and unachievable and worse than unwise.

Launching a revolution now would only stymie further efforts to undo the damage caused by the King’s policies. Most significantly, it would distract us from the day’s most important issue — the reason why Marie Antoinette and Louis Auguste have yet to consummate their marriage even now.

If George III’s approval ratings fell below 5%, perhaps the revolutionary cause would then have support. But it is not even close. It would be like bringing an accused suspect to trial without being assured that the jurors are predisposed to find the defendant guilty. No judicial system can afford such unpredictability at a trial’s outset.

For those in government who believe that the King has betrayed his sacred role, the task is to find a way to establish a record and reverse his evil policies. Any ideas? Do you think it’s a good idea to invite His Royal Highness to visit our shores and personally ask him to stop?

I want you to know that I have heard from many citizens like yourself who are frustrated with British tyranny. Two of the great strengths of our fledgling political experiment are the right to disagree and to vote for or against officeholders. I will continue to do my best to represent my district even if it means that 232 years from now, we will still be ruled by another corrupt and dangerous ruler named George.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts.


Rush Holt

New Jersey Legislature

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