Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on June 20, 1976 · Page 95
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 95

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 20, 1976
Page 95
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12H --June 20,1976 Farmer Gets Credit for Bill of Rights George Mason, a farmer not a lawyer, may be the most important man in American law -- the man most responsible for developing the document that eventually became our Bill of Rights. There is no easy explanation for this Virginia planter's obsession with human By Don McLeod The Associated I'reit an. He inspired and fought for the Bill of Rights and all the freedoms that generations of Americans have enjoyed under it. Mason was born in 1735 on a. plantation just a few miles down the Potomac from George .Washington's Mount Vernon,.His grandfather and great-grandfather/had been lawyers trained in London's Middle plantation, and to his wife and nine children. Although he was plagued by gout and openly detested public office as an "unjust invasion of my personal liberty," he finally agreed to enter public service, as did so .; many men of Mason's social standing. He became a justice of the county court, a trustee of the new town of Alexandria and an officer of the militia. He was a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, the revolutionary Virginia conventions, the Virginia Committee of Safety, and the Constitutional Convention. rights; an obsession that led him to insist Temple, and like his father, pr4$erous to- on a Declaration of Rights in the Virginia bacco planters. ' J '" constitution. That declaration -- stating that "all power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people" -- was adopted by a Virginia convention on June 12. 1776. * * * NOBODY EVER mistreated Mason. He was born rich and died even richer. He came from one of America's finest families, albeit one with a history of rebellion. His great-grandfather had helped start Bacon's Rebellion, the first armed challenge to royal authority in America. Mason enjoyed honor and acclaim in his community, in his state, and at times from a grateful nation. He was not the sort of man who felt that his rights were threatened. Yet this tidewater gentleman was an emerging nation's greatest civil libertari- George's' father dled'in a boajing accident when the boy was only 10, but he iejtta comfortable As principal heir, George worked to prepare himself for the management of a large plantation, and his industry and efficiency kept the plantation prosperous at a time when tobacco culture was declining. The youth was educated at home but benefited from the tutelage of a cousin who was a legal scholar and possessor of one of the finest libraries in the colonies. He steeped himself in the classics of literature and philosophy and the best legal treatises. Later, as a landowner and speculator, he continued to study law to protect his interests and became a recognized authority on land law. But he never practiced law. He dedicated himself to management of the Bronco Buster Frederic Remington's classic sculpture, "Bronco Buster" can be seen by Freedom Train visitors. Remington represented the look of the real people who opened the West just as others began to realize that the western type was a vanishing breed. Remington was a contemporary and a favorite of President Theodore Roosevelt. SOUTHERN CHEMICAL COMPANY Since 1927 OH, SO GOOD! GINO'S · · · : : . ;* ' ' Complete Fast Food Service Steak and Meat Ball Sandwiches Submarines, Pizza Bread, Dinners Ready in Minutes! Choice of Topping, Antipasto, Salads EAST END DELIVERY ONLY! CHARLESTON--Eost West SOUTH CHARLESTON ELEANOR SISSONVILLE ROAD OTHERS NEAR YOU ST.ALBANS NITRO MONTGOMERY CROSS LANES 'Turtle' Submarine Is Failure by John Schoolfield The commander of the first combat submarine in history was a Continental Army sergeant named Ezra Lee. whose only previous experience with the sea was in his youth rowing a boat on quiet, meandering streams near his home in Lyme. Conn. Lee joined the army after Bunker Hill in June 1775. In early 1776 he was promoted to sergeant in the 10th Continental Regiment of Connecticut. Meanwhile, David Bushnell. a student at Yale in nearby New Haven, had designed and built a one-man submarine named the Turtle. Encouraged by General Washington. Buslmell planned Tales of Revolution to give the T u r t l e its baptism of f i r e against the British fleet anchored off New York City, where Washington maintained a precarious position. Bushnell asked the army for three volunteers "to go and learn the ways and mystery of this new machine." Three soldiers, including Sergeant Lee, volunteered and after several trial runs in Long Island Sound during the summer of 1776. Lee was selected to command the Turtle. + * * LEE SAID the Turtle looked like a round clam. She was made of thick pieces of oak limber scooped out and secured with iron bands. The entrance was through a hinged opening in the top where small glass portholes were inserted. The operator sat upright w i t h his eyes level w i t h the portholes. Lee said that on a clear day and in clear water he could see to read at a depth of 18 feel. The submarine held enough air to sustain the operator for 30 minutes. There was an aperture at the bottom of the craft with a valve which would admit water for descending and two pumps for ejecting the water for ascent. Lead was fastened to the bottom of the craft to keep it upright. Paddles turned by cranks from inside propelled her at speeds up to three miles an hour in calm waters. A compass directed the course. * + * THE COMBAT part of the submarine was a simple wood screw a p p a r a t u s mounted on the outside. This screw, attached by a rope to a large powder magazine with a firing and timing mechanism, could be driven into the hull of a ship by an inside crank. The whole explosive device could then be left to explode wthin 20 to 30 minutes as the submarine made its escape. In mid-August, Bushnell and Lee were ready for action. The Turtle was transported overland from Connecticut to New York. The British fleet lay at anchor just north of Staten Island and the British Army was in control of Governor's Island and Long Island. The target of the Turtle was the Eagle, the flagship of the British fleet. Finally, on the moonless night of Sept. 6 just before midnight, two whaleboats towed the Turtle away from New York and as near the British fleet as they dared. Sergeant Lee boarded the submarine and cast off and the whale boats returned to shore. A strong tide forced the Turtle past the fleet but Lee finally got the craft about and nestled under the stern of the British flagship. It was now almost dawn. He closed his hatch, let in watev, and descended under the ship's bottom. He now applied the screw but could not make it enter the ship's copper bottom. Reluctantly he decided he must abandon his mission. Daylight was upon him and he ·had more than four miles to go. He paddled awav as fast as he could. Lee and. the Turtle made two other unsuccessful attempts on British ships in the Hudson River that fall before the sloop, which carried the Turtle on ibrdeck. was sunk by" the British in the Hudson, Wre shooting the works July 4th, Happy birthday U.S. US. With the rockets red glare and the bombs bursting in ** -"'· air, we're going to celebrate both birthdays. America's and ours. And you're invited. To bring the whole family to see the biggest fireworks since Fort McHenry. This is a special time for us. Our 93rd year in business. And quite naturally we're proud of it. Because in this time we've grown from a small local bank into one of the largest financial institutions in West Virginia. And we couldn't have done it without you. So instead of resting on our laurels, we'll try even harder to give you the brightest ideas in banking. In the meantime, join us in a sparkling celebration. To wish a happy birthday to the U.S. us. With giant fireworks dark from atop our building on the 4th at 9:30 P.M., weather permitting. Charleston National Bank Member of F.D.I.C. Member of Federal Reserve System.

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