Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on June 20, 1976 · Page 94
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 94

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 20, 1976
Page 94
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Page 94 article text (OCR)

11H --June 20,1976 Sunrfnv Gazette-Mail Charleston West Virginia The Spirit Archibald M. Willard's painting. "The Spirit of '76". and Augustus .Saint-Gaudens' bronze, "The Puritan," dominate this section of the Freedom Train's "Fine Arts" car. The mini-gal- lerv includes priceless paintings and sculpture of our nation's heritage. Lee Launched U.S. Countdown BICENTENNIAL Formal Wear for Your Celebration Choose the latest in formal fashions at Adams including the "Charleston," Newport, Windsor, Adventurer and many more in all colors. We have matching shirts, ties shoes for the perfectly color-coordinated formal. Immediate Fittings Available One Day Service 1 hr. free parking across from Charleston Store Serving Charleston Since 1951 ADAMS F T:!r r 114'McfarlandSI, Ph.343-2851 In St. Albans, 71 Main Street Ph. 727-0971 Open Monday Nights'lil 5:00 p.m. THE SYMBOL OF A FREE NATION FOR 200 YEARS By Don McLeod The Atsociated Press On June 7. 1776. Richard Henry Lee of Virginia rose from his seat in the Continental Congress and put the issue squarely before America. Would she become a free nation or remain 13 subservient colonies? The time had come for decision. Lee said at the Statehouse in Philadelphia, and he offered an historic motion: "Resolved, That these United Colonies are and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is. and ought to be totally dissolved." * * * BUT A NATION could not just be declared into existence, it must have form and government. So, Lee resolved further "that a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective colonies for their consideration and approbation." John Adams, the New England Yankee who in common cause had found a great friend in the southern aristocrat, leaped to his feet to second the motion." "Why . . . do we longer delay, why still deliberate?" Lee asked. "Let this most happy day give birth to the American republic. Let her arise ... to re-establish the reign of peace and of the laws. "The eyes of Europe are fixed upon us; she demands of us a living example of freedom, that may contrast, by the felicity of the citizens, with the ever increasing tyranny which desolates her polluted shores. "She invites us to prepare an asylum where the unhappy may find solace, and the persecuted repose. She entreats us to cultivate a propitious soil, where that generous plant which first sprung up and grew in England, but is now withered by the poisonous blasts o f . . . tyranny, may revive and flourish, sheltering under its salubrious and interminable shade all the un- · fortunate of the human race . . . " * * * IT WOULD take almost a month before Lee's resolution would pass, creating a new nation. In the meantime he worked as he had and would for a lifetime for the welfare of his country and his Virginia. When the final vote for independence came. Lee was in Williamsburg, where a Virginia constitution and a bill of rights were being drafted. But he signed the formal declaration drafted by his friend Thomas Jefferson. Lee was that kind of man, always working for a better community and a better world. It was his heritage from a family that had been important in England since the days of the Norman Conquest. The 'first Lee came to Virginia shortly after the colony was founded and by 1643 was attorney general. This first Richard Lee also was secretary of state and a member of the governor's council, a post each generation of Lees would fill until the Revolution ended it. Richard Henry Lee, great-grandson of the first Richard Lee, was born Jan. 31, 1733 on the family estate beside the Potomac River. He was taught by private tutors until his 12th year when he was sent to England to be educated as a proper gentleman. Lee returned to Virginia six years later on the death of his father but continued an intensive course of self-education until 1757. when he married. His wife died after 11 years and four children, but he remarried and sired five more offpspring. * * * DESPITE THE DEMANDS of such a large family and a thriving tobacco trade, probably no" other member of the Virginia gentry displayed to such a degree the sense of noblesse oblige which guided Lee's life. Lee entered public service in his early 20s as a justice of the peace and eventually became presididng justice. In 1758 he entered the Virginia House of Burgesses and served until it expired in 1776. His maiden speech was in support of a measure to restrict the slave trade by taxation. He shocked the House by implying that blacks as well as whites were "entitled to liberty and freedom by the great law of nature." Lee was a champion of good government, and when no others dared, he demanded a probe ofcHouse Speaker John 'Robinson's handling-of the colony's treasury. After Robinson's death, his accounts were found to be short, due to loans to friends. Lee then led a drive to separate the offices of speaker and treasurer. In the process he pleaded for the separation of powers that would become a cornerstone of American government. "Wise and good men in all ages have deemed it necessary for the security of liberty to divide places of power and profit," he said. In 1764. Lee was on the committee that drafted a petition from Virginia asking Parliament not pass the Stamp Act. And he wrote the Westmoreland Association, a pact among the citizens of the county to resist the stamps. This landmark document declared that it was "the birthright privilege of every British subject (including the people of V i r g i n i a ) . . . that he cannot be taxed, but by a consent of a Parliament, in which he is represented by persons chosen by the people and who themselves pay a part of the tax they impose on others." BUT IT ALSO included one of the earliest formal threats of forceful resistance. "If therefore, any person or persons shall attempt . . . to deprive this Colony of those fundamental rights, we will immediately regard him or them as the most dangerous enemy of the community; and we will go to any extremity, not only to prevent the success of such attempts, but to stigmatize and punish the offender." In the Continental Congress, Lee was known as the "Cicero of America." He was a mover behind most of the preliminary steps to independence, including creation of a national army and navy and an independent colonial postal service. * * * BY THE SPRING of 1776 Lee was urging an outright declaration of independence. Congress was reluctant and he felt nothing would happen "until Virginia sets the example of taking up government, and sending peremptory orders to their delegates." Virginia responded on May 15 by hauling down the British flag, resolving to form her own constitution and urging Congress to declare the country independent. On May 27 the Virginia resolutions were presented to Congress, and on June 7 Lee made them the basis for the motion for independence. How Do You Think George Became PRESIDENT? Honesty and Integrity were his motto! America's Center for Employment is your Secretarial, Sales, Management and Engineering Employment Opportunity Center. A.C.E. EMPLOYMENT . AGENCY SlSQuarrierMayBklg. 344-9841 "The things that the flag stands for were created by the experiences of a great people. Everything that it stands for was written by their lives. The flag is the embodiment, not of sentiment, but of history.. .It represents the experiences of those who do and live under that flag." } Woodrow Wilson j THIS MESSAGE BROUGHT J; TO YOU BY OUD FASHIONED GROWING WITH WEST VIRGINIA CHARLESTON HUNJING^TON BECKLEY PRINCETON - Virginia Clendenin 4300 Rt. 60 E. 537 N. Valley Dr. Route 5 3515 MacCorkle Ave. S.E. 4300 Rt. 60 E. 2150 5th Ave. MORGANTOWN ST. ALBANS 3624 Monongahela Blvd. 313 6th Ave. UNDER CONSTRUCTION Parkersburg--Wheeling Charleston (LEE SUMAAERS ST.) MORE TO COME!

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