"Our Sacred Honor"
"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our Sacred Honor."
sa·cred [ sáykrid ] adjective. Definition: 1. devoted to God: dedicated to God or religious purpose.
hon·or [ ónnər ] noun. Definition: 1. personal integrity: strong moral character or strength, and adherence to ethical principles.
They made the pledge - and many of them lost their lives and their fortunes. Their sacred honor is intact. Thanks to them we enjoy the freedoms we enjoy today in the United States of America. We will never forget those who died, or lost everything.
The Price They Paid.
Here are but a few of the signers and what happened to them.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
Thomas Nelson Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for hisheadquarters. The owner quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the revolutionary army, another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the revolutionary war.
What kind of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantationowners, men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
God Bless America.
Update - Welcome Inquirer readers. Thank you, young journalist, for linking to my blog this weekend. I take back all of those horrible things I've said about the Philadelphia Inquirer!