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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Revolution Against the Rich - 1765

Hey Barry:

Back in 1765 our backs were against the wall because we had a system of a few rich people who controlled everything and who used monopolies to soak up all the money around leaving ordinary folks to scrounge for a living as best they could.

We are in a similar state today Barry - a few rich people control everything and the rest of us scrounge for a living.

Perhaps a history lesson about how we handled the situation then could be instructive now:

I'll quote you from John Adams by way of
JOHN ADAMS AND THE AMERCAN REVOLUTION, Catherine Drinker Bowen, Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1950, pp 270-273


Lieutenant Governor Thomas Hutchinson in 1765 was a Massachusetts man who knew what Massachusetts wanted.

'And if Britain would not respect American Property [by the Stamp Act of 1765], then by God, said Massachusetts men, they would not respect the property of Britons. Petition and protest had been spurned. Whose fault was this? Governor Bernard was English, born and bred in England. But his right-hand man was not born in Briitain. Lieutenant Governor Thomas Hutchinson was a Massachusetts man who knew what Massachusetts wanted. Once he had been the most popular man in the Province. His first volume of his HISTORY was out. His days were devoted to Provincial business, his nights to the second volume of this HISTORY. No one had served Massachusetts so long....

He said he was against [the Stamp Act]; declared he had pled with the Lords of Trade, with the colonial agent on London. Could Massachusetts trust him? In the past four years...whenever the Massachusetts House composed petitions to King, Lords or Commons, it had been Hutchinson, always Hutchinson who '"wiped out" [John Adams wrote in his diary] "every spirited if not sensible expression from those peitions." When the province was ready to choose a new agent to look after its affairs in London, hadn't Hutchinson done what he could to get Jackson appointed? Jackson, secretary to Lord Grenville himself! It was like handing one's country to the enemy. About Thomas Hutchinson there was surely the taint of ambition, of a grasping, greedy nature. He controlled nearly every high Crown appointment in the government. John enumerated them, with an indignant interrogation mark after each: "Has not the Lieutenant Governor grasped four of the most important offices of the Province into his own hands? Has not his brother-in law, Oliver, Secretary of the Province, another of the greatest places? Is not a brother of Oliver a Judge of the Superior Court? Has not that brother a son in the House, who is also a judge in one of the counties? Did not that son marry the daughter of another of the Judges of the Superior Court? Has not the Lieutenant Governor a brother, a Judge of the Pleas in Boston, and a namesake and near relation who is another judge? Has not the Lieutenant Governor a near relation who is Clerk of the House of Representative?

"is not this ascendancy of one family," John concluded, "foundation sufficient on which to erect a tyranny? Is it not enough to excite jealousies among the people?" It most certainly was enough. Everything told against Hutchinson.

One evening not long after the riot against Andrew Oliver, the crowd assembled again. They were very orderly this time, led by several merchants who had been friends of Hutchinson. Marching through town to his house on Garden Court, they surrounded it and called to him. "Come out,' they said, "on the balcony above the street. Tell us you never wrote to England in favor of the Stamp Act. Tell us this yourself and we will go away satsified."

Thomas Hutchinson ...had never written in favor of the Act. But no mob on earth had the right to demand explanations and declarations from Lieutenant Governor and Chief Justice Hutchinson...[Later] On August 26th, the crowd surged northward through town to Garden the gateway before Thomas Hutchinson's three-storied mansion. Swarming over the lawn and up the steps, brandishing their axes, whooping like Indians, the mob split doors and windows and poured into the house, filling every room, shouting, cursing, yelling for Hutchinson, flinging open closet doors, searching to the very attic. Finding no one, the crowd slashed and ripped, tore down panels, broke walls and floors with their axes...In Hutchinson's study, men climbed the shelves like monkrys to the ceiling, destroyed books and documents that had taken thirty years to collect. Even the manucript pages of THE HISTORY OF MASSACHUSETTS went out the window.'

Forwarding to today: seems like we are in a similar place now.

What should we do now, Barry? What is good for the country?

Is it good that the rich folks control all the wealth and systematically accumulate even more from the poor and middling among us?

What should we do, Barry?

We have to do something and time is running out.

'And ever at my back I hear time's winged chariot drawing near' [apologies to Andrew Marvell for the botched quote].

Maybe it's time to make an assault on Lloyd C. Blankfein
and Gary D. Cohn of Golden Sox and the Koch Brothers as well.

Of course we cannot, repeat CAN NOT, go to their houses and offices and sit there and clog up their businesses and overflow some toilets and such. After all, they are just following the laws. And it is SO unfortunate when the poor and middling suffer so much. It would be rude to inconvenience those folks just as we did in 1765. And, we don't want to be rude, Barry.

Whatever shall we do, Barry, whatever shall we do?

Your pal,

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