Wednesday, June 6, 2007

"...We're Rotting for Want of It"

Although Hopkins was talking about independence today's blog is dedicated to the 1776 "junkies" who need their daily 1776 "fix" when there's no show, no rehearsal, and no party.

"...tria juncta in uno"
Latin for "three joined into one," the motto of the Order of the Bath. This was an ancient order in the British Isles, dating back to at least the 11th century. In 1725 King George I revived it as a reward for military service. The honoree could wear a red riband and star upon which were three crowns surrounded by the Latin motto.

The Royal Governor of New Jersey
With his common-law wife Deborah, Benjamin Franklin had a daughter (Sara or "Sally") and a son (Francis or "Franky"). Franky died of smallpox in his fifth year, a devastating blow to his parents. Before Franklin married Deborah, he had conceived an illegitimate son (William) with a woman whose name is lost to history. Deborah agreed to raise William in her household, although apparently she had no particular maternal feelings towards William, especially after the death of her own son. Franklin, however, was quite close to "Billy" throughout most of his life, until, that is, the trouble started with Great Britain. Franklin eventually came to side with those who wanted to break from Britain, while Billy remained a loyalist. This created a schism between father and son that lasted the rest of Franklin's life, although after the war Billy made some futile efforts at reconciliation. So Franklin's reference a little bit later to "the little bastard" probably is an accurate presentation of his feelings.

"Necessity of Taking Up Arms"
In 1775 the Continental Congress had Thomas Jefferson draft a statement as to why the British Colonies were taking up arms against the mother country. Jefferson's draft was considered too inflammatory, so John Dickinson was enlisted to tone the language down. The passage Adams quotes here does not appear in the final draft, so possibly it was one of the passages deemed too inflammatory.

"When heaven calls to me..."
Martha Jefferson was to die from complications surrounding childbirth a mere six years after the events depicted here.

"...what is a man profited, if he shall gain Mary-land and lose the entire South?"
Matthew 16:26: "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

"I founded the first anti-slavery society on this continent!"
It's true that Franklin did help to found such a group, but he did so after the creation of the Declaration, so this reference is an anachronism.

1 comment:

Matt said...

While the more aggressively colorful Mr. Hopkins says the line in the show, "rotting for [the] want of it" is a quote about American independence that history actually attributes to our soft spoken man of the cloth, the Reverend John Witherspoon.