15 Sep 2014
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How the British Reacted to the Declaration of Independence

You know about the Declaration of Independence, but have you ever read England's reply?

How the British Reacted to the Declaration of Independence How the British Reacted to the Declaration of Independence

Everyone 'knows' the United States was born on July 4, 1776, when the Continental Congress issued the document we now call the Declaration of Independence. Then we had a big fight with England we call the Revolutionary War over the next few years, which we managed to win, and that was that.

However, real history is almost always more interesting than the over-recited, severely edited versions of events most of us slept through in public school, and the birth of our nation is no exception.

You'd think a government would have something to say when a bunch of its subjects/citizens get together and tell them to bug off permanently, and of course, the Brits did.

In typically pompous language common to that era's aristocracy, the reply rebukes the “misguided Americans” and “their extravagant and inadmissable Claim of Independency” (sic), and promises to reach out (eventually) to “his Majesty's well-affected Subjects.”

It also urges people to “...to reflect seriously upon their present Condition and Expectations, and to judge for themselves whether it be more consistent with their Honour and Happiness to offer up their Lives as a Sacrifice to the unjust and precarious Cause in which they are engaged, or to return to their Allegiance, accept the Blessings of Peace, and be secured in a free enjoyment of their Liberty and Properties...”

In other words, they told us to 'give up this silly idea of self-rule, or we're directing our occupying military forces to come and kill or imprison you, and seize all your stuff.'

In the face of that, the true courage and character of the Founding Fathers comes a bit more clearly into focus. Death, imprisonment, the loss of home and business, and poverty--common consequences for the patriots--did not shake their convictions. Their personal sacrifices were many and real.

On a humorous note, the reply read aloud with the elongated 'S's pronounced like the 'F's they look like to the modern eye is hilarious. Add an uppercrust British accent to that Elmer Fudd lisp, and Monty Python couldn't do better.

Give it a shot--we doubt the Founding Fathers, many of whom were notorious wits themselves, would mind. And we can't think of a more fitting tribute to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” than a good laugh with family and friends.

Happy Independence Day!

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