On Independence Day, let’s thank Caesar

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On Independence Day, let's thank Caesar

Not Julius Cae­sar, but Cae­sar Rod­ney of Delaware,

Rod­ney was a lead­ing patriot in his colony, a mem­ber of the Stamp Act Con­gress in 1765, a for­ma­tive mem­ber of the Delaware Com­mit­tee of Cor­re­spon­dence, a mil­i­tary leader in the colo­nial mili­tia, and a del­e­gate to the Con­ti­nen­tal Con­gress from for­ma­tion until 1777. The fol­low­ing year he was elected Pres­i­dent of the State of Delaware for a three year term, a duty that he assumed even as he served as Major-​General of the Delaware Mili­tia. In this office he played a cru­cial part not only in the defense of his own colony but in sup­port of Washington’s Con­ti­nen­tal Army, for Delaware had a record of meet­ing or exceed­ing its quo­tas for troops and pro­vi­sions through­out the rev­o­lu­tion­ary con­flict. Rodney’s health and strength flagged for a time. He suf­fered from asthma and from a can­cer­ous growth on his face, for which he never attained proper treat­ment. He saw his colony through the war at the cost of per­sonal neglect.

Rodney’s health “flagged for a time” under­states the sever­ity of his ill­nesses. I sub­scribe to Bill Bennett’s Amer­i­can Patriot’s Daily Almanac (you can sub­scribe at the link) and the other day the sub­ject was Cae­sar Rodney’s Ride:

He suf­fered from asthma as well as skin can­cer that had left his face so dis­fig­ured, he often hid one side of it behind a green silk scarf. Yet as John Adams noted, there was “fire, spirit, wit, and humor in his coun­te­nance.” Rod­ney was in Delaware on the evening of July 1, 1776, when he received an urgent mes­sage from Philadel­phia. Con­gress was ready to vote on the issue of inde­pen­dence. Of the two other Delaware del­e­gates, one favored and one opposed a break with Eng­land, so Rodney’s vote would decide which way the colony would go — if he could get there in time.

He rode through the night, in thun­der and rain, to cover the 80 miles to Philadel­phia. The next day, just as Con­gress pre­pared to vote, the del­e­gates heard hoof­beats on cob­ble­stones, and a mud-​spattered Rod­ney strode into the hall, still wear­ing his spurs, exhausted but ready to break the tie in his state’s del­e­ga­tion by vot­ing for independence.

The Con­ti­nen­tal Con­gress decided to break from Eng­land on July 2, 1776, and the Dec­la­ra­tion of Inde­pen­dence was signed on July 4, 1776, by men like Cae­sar Rod­ney, who pledged to each other their Lives, their For­tunes and their sacred Honor, “with a firm reliance on the pro­tec­tion of divine Providence.”

Thank you, Caesar.

You can buy The Amer­i­can Patriot’s Almanac: Daily Read­ings on Amer­ica and The Edu­cated Child: A Par­ents Guide From Preschool Through Eighth Grade from Ama­zon; I also rec­om­mend The Book of Virtues, and Our Country’s Founders: A Book of Advice for Young Peo­ple for read­ing to your chil­dren.
Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin Amer­i­can pol­i­tics, news and cul­ture at Fausta’s Blog.

Not Julius Caesar, but Caesar Rodney of Delaware,

Rodney was a leading patriot in his colony, a member of the Stamp Act Congress in 1765, a formative member of the Delaware Committee of Correspondence, a military leader in the colonial militia, and a delegate to the Continental Congress from formation until 1777. The following year he was elected President of the State of Delaware for a three year term, a duty that he assumed even as he served as Major-General of the Delaware Militia. In this office he played a crucial part not only in the defense of his own colony but in support of Washington’s Continental Army, for Delaware had a record of meeting or exceeding its quotas for troops and provisions throughout the revolutionary conflict. Rodney’s health and strength flagged for a time. He suffered from asthma and from a cancerous growth on his face, for which he never attained proper treatment. He saw his colony through the war at the cost of personal neglect.

Rodney’s health “flagged for a time” understates the severity of his illnesses. I subscribe to Bill Bennett’s American Patriot’s Daily Almanac (you can subscribe at the link) and the other day the subject was Caesar Rodney’s Ride:

He suffered from asthma as well as skin cancer that had left his face so disfigured, he often hid one side of it behind a green silk scarf. Yet as John Adams noted, there was “fire, spirit, wit, and humor in his countenance.” Rodney was in Delaware on the evening of July 1, 1776, when he received an urgent message from Philadelphia. Congress was ready to vote on the issue of independence. Of the two other Delaware delegates, one favored and one opposed a break with England, so Rodney’s vote would decide which way the colony would go—if he could get there in time.

He rode through the night, in thunder and rain, to cover the 80 miles to Philadelphia. The next day, just as Congress prepared to vote, the delegates heard hoofbeats on cobblestones, and a mud-spattered Rodney strode into the hall, still wearing his spurs, exhausted but ready to break the tie in his state’s delegation by voting for independence.

The Continental Congress decided to break from England on July 2, 1776, and the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, by men like Caesar Rodney, who pledged to each other their Lives, their Fortunes and their sacred Honor, “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence.”

Thank you, Caesar.

You can buy The American Patriot’s Almanac: Daily Readings on America  and The Educated Child: A Parents Guide From Preschool Through Eighth Grade from Amazon; I also recommend The Book of Virtues, and Our Country’s Founders: A Book of Advice for Young People for reading to your children.
Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news and culture at Fausta’s Blog