Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Lesson from the Liberty Tree


An email from MASS MOMENTS told me that today, August 14th, was the day the protest against the Stamp Act occurred.  The Stamp Act was the last unjust tax that the American colonists could stand.  This was the last straw.  Resentment against England had grown.  King George was across the pond and couldn't relate to what was happening in the colonies.  The Americans were being taxed to death.

When word spread about this tax on stamps, the resentment grew vocal.  People came out of the pubs and met at a certain spot, that came to be known as the Liberty Tree.  An effigy of the official who enacted this stamped act was hung on the tree.  The tree was an elm and became the place to go whenever the people wanted to rage against the King.  

(As an aside, since I'm a Catholic blogger, the practice of hanging an effigy arose from anti-Catholic sentiment.  In colonial Boston there was a surefire way to gather a crowd: hang an effigy, or dummy, of just about any authority figure. Effigies were closely associated with November 11th, known as Pope's Day, when Protestant laborers reenacted an oldEnglish custom — hanging effigies of the Pope, setting bonfires, and brawling in the streets. In a fiercely anti-Catholic city, indulgent officials looked the other way while the lower classes used the excuse of an Old-World holiday for a bit of hooliganism.)

Many towns copied the idea and had their own Liberty Trees. All too soon, the British soldiers cut down the tree, known as the Liberty Tree.  A plaque was erected in Boston, at the location of the original elm tree.  

A lesson from scripture is exemplified here.  2 Corinthians 4:18 For the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal.  I'm talking about the Liberty Tree.  This tree that sparked the birth of our country was cut down during the British occupation.  The plaque that marked its place, became a nonentity in the ignoble neighborhoods that grew up around it. The area was known as the Combat Zone.  It was a rough place where decent citizens wouldn't walk at night.  Prostitutes, drunks, muggers, and the homeless prowled around the ignored plaque.  No one would notice this marker.  It was covered with the grime of time and bird droppings.

Tourists in Boston often walk what's called The Freedom Trail.  Guess what.  The tour doesn't take you to this site.  The site that sparked the birth of our country.

What did scripture tell you?  The things of this world, are just passing.  Let the Liberty Tree be a lesson for you.