A History Lesson: Colonel Isaac Barre   12 comments

colonel-isaac-barre

Colonel Isaac Barre

[December 2009]

Here are some excerpts from The March of Folly by Barbara W. Tuchman, Chapter Four, “The British Lose America”:

“The Stamp Act, introduced by Grenville in 1765, will be remembered ‘as long as the globe lasts.’ So proclaimed Macaulay in one of his bugle calls to historical grandeur. It was the act, he wrote, destined to ‘produce a great revolution, the effects of …which will long be felt by the whole human race,’ and he blamed Grenville for not foreseeing the consequences. That is hindsight; even the colonies’ agents did not foresee them. But enough information was available to the English to forecast determined resistance by the Americans and prospects of serious trouble.”

“In Parliament, the colonial petitions were rejected unheard on the ground that they concerned a money bill for which petitions were disallowed. Jackson and Garth spoke in the House denying Parliament’s right to tax ‘until or unless the Americans are allowed to send Members to Parliament.’ Rising to answer, the President of the Board of Trade, Charles Townshend, soon to be a critical figure in the conflict, provoked the first moment of excitement in the American drama. Shall the Americans, he asked, ‘children planted by our Arms, shall they grudge to contribute their mite to relieve us from the heavy weight of that burden we lie under?’

“Unable to contain himself, Colonel Isaac Barre, a fierce one-eyed former soldier who had fought with Wolfe and Amherst in America, sprang to his feet. ‘They planted by your Care? No! Your Oppressions planted ’em in America. . . . They nourished up by your Indulgence? They grew up by your neglect of ’em. . . . They protected by your arms? They have nobly taken up arms in your defence. . . . And believe me, and remember that I this day told you so, that same spirit of freedom which actuated that people at first, will acompany them still. . . . They are a people jealous of their liberties and who will vindicate them if ever they should be violated—but the Subject is too delicate and I will say no more.’ These sentiments, recorded Ingersoll, were thrown out so spontaneously, ‘so forcibly and firmly, and the breaking off so beautifully abrupt, that the whole House sat awile as Amazed, intently looking and without answering a Word.’ It may have been the first moment when perhaps a few realized what loomed ahead.

“Barre, who looked on the world with a ‘savage glare’ from a face scarred by the bullet that took out his eye at Quebec, was to become one of the leading defenders of America and orators of the Opposition. Of Huguenot ancestry, born in Dublin and educated at Dublin’s Trinity College (described by the father of Thomas Sheridan as ‘half bear [beer] garden and half brothel’), he had left the Army when his promotion was blocked by the King and was elected to Parliament through the influence of Lord Shelburne, Irish-born like himself. His staunch support of America, joined with that of another champion, of a sort, is commemorated in the town of Wilkes-Barre, Pennslyvania.”

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Isaac Barre
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They Tortured My Father.  That’s Why I Fight
To Be Free
Patrick Henry:  “nothing less than freedom or slavery”

12 responses to “A History Lesson: Colonel Isaac Barre

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  1. Reblogged this on Loopyloo's and commented:
    Wonderful reminder of our history!

  2. loopyloo: Thank you for reblogging this post. I remember I was hitchhiking in Montana in 2009 and I ended up in Dillon. I was at the library there and read some of Barbara Tuchman’s book The March of Folly. Barbara Tuchman is an excellent writer.

  3. Excellent post. Thank you.

    Photos close to home
  4. Colonel Isaac Barre’s words should today, be heeded by our own Congress, as we (Americans) are as protective of our liberties now, as we ever were.. God bless and keep America.

  5. Amen.

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  9. The Americans who protested against British encroachments on colonial liberties wanted to preserve their traditional rights. They were not revolutionaries seeking the radical restructuring of society… They used the word ‘innovation’ pejoratively… “no freeman should be subject to any tax to which he has not given his own consent” [-John Adams]… From the American point of view, such taxation without consent was an intolerable novelty… They protested that their ancient chartered rights were being violated… The Americans defended their traditional rights. The French revolutionaries despised French traditions and sought to make everything anew: new governing structures, new provincial boundaries, a new “religion,” a new calendar—and the guillotine awaited those who objected…

    In a certain sense, there was no American Revolution at all. There was, instead, an American War for Independence in which Americans threw off British authority in order to retain their liberties and self-government. In the 1760s, the colonies had, for the most part, been left alone in their internal affairs… [The] colonists did not seek the total transformation of society that we associate with other revolutions, such as the Industrial Revolution, the French Revolution, or the Russian Revolution. They simply wished to go on enjoying self-rule when it came to their internal matters and living as they always had for so many decades before British encroachments began. The American “revolutionaries” were conservative, in the very best sense of that word…

    When modern-day liberals justify extremely broad readings of the Constitution on the grounds that we need a “living, breathing Constitution” that “changes with the times”, they are actually recommending the very system the colonists sought to escape. The British constitution was very flexible indeed — too flexible for the colonists, who were inflexibly committed to upholding their traditional rights. The “living, breathing” British constitution was no safeguard of American liberties.

    The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History
    from Chapter 2: “America’s Conservative Revolution”
    by Thomas E. Woods, Jr., Ph.D.

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