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In honor of the USA’s Independence Day, here are some of the funniest or most interesting period quotes I could find (mostly British) about the American Revolution:

Tom Paine, 1776: England, since the conquest, hath known some few good monarchs, but groaned beneath a much larger number of bad ones; yet no man in his senses can say that their claim under William the Conqueror is a very honorable one. A French bastard landing with an armed banditti, and establishing himself king of England against the consent of the natives, is in plain terms a very paltry rascally origin.

Lady Sarah Lennox, 1776: In short, I think there is no deciding who is precisely wrong and who is precisely right. Only two things, I think, won’t bear dispute: 1st, that those who cause most lives to be lost are the worst people; secondly, that the Bostonians, being chiefly Presbyterians and from the north of Ireland, are daily proved to be very, very bad people, being quarrelsome, discontented, hypocritical, enthusiastical, lying people.

Tom Paine, 1776: The colonies have manifested such a spirit of good order and obedience to continental government, as is sufficient to make every reasonable person easy and happy on that head.

Lady Sarah Lennox, 1776: I grow a greater rebel every day upon principle.

British Colonel Allan Maclean, 1777: Washington this whole winter never had more than 7,000 men in the Jersies, where we had 16,000, yet we have been tossed and kicked about most amazingly, all our forage parties constantly attacked, and tho’ we generally beat them we lost a great many good men.

James Boswell, writing to Samuel Johnson, 1778: What do you say to Taxation no Tyranny, now, after Lord North’s declaration, or confession, or whatever else his conciliatory speech should be called? I never differed from you in politicks but upon two points,–the Middlesex Election, and the Taxation of the Americans by the British Houses of Representatives. There is a charm in the word Parliament, so I avoid it. As I am a steady and a warm Tory, I regret that the King does not see it to be better for him to receive constitutional supplies from his American subjects by the voice of their own assemblies, where his Royal Person is represented, than through the medium of his British subjects.

Samuel Johnson, 1778: I am willing to love all mankind, except an American.

William Cowper, 1783: On the other hand, the Americans, who, if they had contented themselves with a struggle for lawful liberty, would have deserved applause, seem to me to have incurred the guilt of parricide, by renouncing their parent, by making her ruin their favorite object, and by associating themselves with their worst enemy, for the accomplishment of their purpose.

So, what are your reactions? Do you find Lady Sarah Lennox’s prejudice against Presbyterians as bizarre as I do? How about Johnson’s loathing for all Americans? Do you agree with Paine that William the Conqueror gave the English monarchy a “very paltry rascally origin”?

Happy Fourth of July to our American readers!

MY LADY GAMESTER — Booksellers’ Best Finalist for Best Regency of 2005!

Posted in Research | Tagged | 5 Replies

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Preamble of the Declaration of Independence.

Yesterday Americans celebrated the 234th anniversary of the approval of the wording of the Declaration of Independence (not its signing as is commonly believed). We celebrate this as the beginning of our country, although there were many years of hard fighting to go before the United States of America existed as separate from mother England.

In spite of our problems as a country, it is extraordinary that we have been as successful as we have been at living up to these principles of all “men created equal” with equal right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And I’m filled with pride at how well we have done, though it has taken 234 years to get this far and we still have a way to go. Discrimination is still practiced, I’m sad to say.

But today for Risky Regencies, I’m thinking about what it must have felt like to those “colonists” who considered themselves Englishmen and suddenly found themselves forming a separate nation. They could not have known that this country would succeed. How much trust could they put in this fledgling government? It must have been a very exciting but hard time for all.

During the Regency, in addition to the Napoleonic War, England fought in America again, in what we call The War of 1812. This time the United States of America declared war on England for impressing American citizens into the Royal Navy and for England’s military support of Native Americans who were preventing American expansion into the Northwest. Ironically it was this war that really solidified America’s independence from England. After America’s victory, England respected America’s sovereignty.

A few years ago I attended the annual Battle of Bladensburg (of the War of 1812) reenactment at Jefferson Patterson Park in Maryland with Mary Blayney (see her interview here July 18) and I took a photo of this authentic British reenactor!

I wonder how many people in the US still had split loyalties. Were they all solidly American, as we would like to believe? Or did some of them hope the War of 1812 would put this country again under English rule? One also wonders what would have happened if Wellington had been sent to the US instead of Spain.

Another question. Why aren’t more Regency Historicals using the War of 1812 in their stories?

Visit my website today for a sneak peek of Chivalrous Captain, Rebel Lady and for a new contest. And come back again on Thursday for Diane’s Blog.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 16 Replies
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