It’s 1777 and there are battles everywhere. Men from Charles Town are deployed to different parts of the colonies—some join the Swamp Fox, others go north to help General Washington, and some stay close to home guarding the town and their loved ones. Wait for Me centers on the years 1777-1782. It is a very difficult thing to be in a battle facing weapons and uncertain survival.
Yet, when the British choose your town to siege and occupy, survival hits home when fear wraps around scarcity of food, disease, wounded soldiers, dwindling provisions, fire, and the British at every turn voicing insults and accusations.
With the British in charge, the rebel citizens are citizens on parole. “Prisoners able to roam the city, even go to work, but not allowed to meet together to promote their beliefs. Their property should be left unharmed. They could not travel from the city. And Louis knew they would be watched as enemies with the overlord waiting to pounce at any semblance of disloyalty to the terms of surrender.”
How would you have managed as a citizen on parole? Perhaps found a way to meet anyway? Help the wounded anyway? Plan anyway? And pray always.
How appropriate that Freedom Post #4 on July 4 corresponds to Book four, Draw Me to Your Side, 1776! The citizens are in the throws of war as their daily lives are disrupted with a real fear and sense of uncertain outcome. Within the chaos exists the organized congress and military both facing success and setbacks as the battles rage. The northern colonies seem so distant from the southern colonies. Charles Town does its best to hold on as a Patriot city with active military all around it.
The powers that be meet in Philadelphia to determine the colonies fate. Then on that world changing day in July, our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence! Life as an independent nation begins not with fireworks but with fighting, starvation, riots, and death. It would be a long road to complete separation from Britain.
On August 5, 1776 the citizens of Charles Town gathered around the Liberty Tree for the reading of the Declaration:
“Welcome to this glorious day. A day none of us will forget. For today we realize what we have sacrificed for has now come true. Independence from Britain has been accomplished.”
“Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!” the crowd’s approval, with the waving of flags, handkerchiefs, and hats, emphasized the importance of this momentous occasion.
The reading of the Declaration followed.
How long has it been since you’ve read the Declaration of Independence?
The lines are solid now in 1775. Citizens are either Loyalists or Patriots. Perhaps not happily but they are seen as sympathizers to one or the other. Bring Me Near brings battles to the forefront as the colonies are in active military pursuit of freedom.
Meetings of the most political and learned men take place in Boston and Philadelphia. The characters in my book join the debates in Philadelphia still hoping for a compromise. Louis writes Elizabeth a letter from what he has seen at the gatherings: Meeting after meeting pulls us closer to declaring independence. King George has officially rejected the Olive Branch Petition. Therefore, Britain won’t give any concessions or thoughts to granting our petitions. There’s only one way out of this. And Congress is getting ready.
What are the citizens thinking? How do they do about their daily lives with embargos and boycotts? It amazes me that people still plan weddings and have babies. What would I have done? What about you? Would you have held out hope in 1775 for a compromise?
A year has passed since the characters in Hold Me Close start sharing their beliefs and concerns. In Surround Me it’s 1773 and life is changing. Family members choose sides. Families begin to think about leaving the colonies and returning to England.
Would I have wanted to leave my homeland to go to a country I’d never seen? Afterall, most of the citizens had been born in the colonies.
Louis has major decisions to make about his business and his personal role in the disturbances in Charles Town. His thoughts are never far from his dilemma. “After meeting the suppliers, Louis realized his purpose and his role in the future. He was willing to coordinate shipments of arms and ammunition if the need arose. The word ‘smuggling’ never surfaced, but in a way, he was lending his aid to the Partisans to defeat the Loyalists with the help of the French. His small role would be just one more step to the larger goal.”
The question that confronted every adult citizen in the colonies no matter what side was “Are you willing to give your life for this cause?”
Louis’ brother put it this way: “You are willing to give your life and your wealth on foreign soil for this cause?”
As we look toward our Independence Day, we can ask the same questions. Am I willing to give my life for the cause of freedom?
On July 1-5, I want to revisit the early days of America’s road to independence. I often wonder what I would have done. In 1772 when Hold Me Close (my first book of Revolutionary Faith) commences, the colonists had already faced quite a few setbacks. The Stamp Act appeared in 1765 and quickly joined other grievances in the 13 colonies.
The lines are being drawn in the cities, towns, families, and churches. Organizations spring up to educate and antagonize the situation. Although the urgency in not quite at a boiling point, individuals start asking questions.
Who do I support? The British and parliament or the colonies and local representation? What goods do I purchase? British, local, or other? Do I talk about it? Do I attend meetings? With whom do I discuss my feelings and thoughts?
This is what Elizabeth tells her father one evening: “Your opinions about this colony, this town, our people are wrong, Father. They will not—I will not—let the Empire continue to rule this world with no consideration for the welfare of its subjects. I’m sorry, Father, but I strongly believe in some measure of independence from the control of England.”
Wow, could I have done that?
This Independence Day think about what the early citizens had to determine at an individual level.