Thoughts on War

Thomas Jefferson Back
John Randolph - British loyalist
John Randolph was the son of Sir John and Lady Susannah Randolph, brother of Peyton Randolph, and cousin of Thomas Jefferson. Admired by friend and foe for his integrity, John was nevertheless dubbed "The Tory" for his steadfast allegiance to England, even while his brother and son were committed to the cause of independence.

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"We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

So ends the Declaration of Rebels against authority. My cousin Tom Jefferson signed it, indeed largely produced it, I'm told. My brother Peyton did not sign. He did not live long enough; he had already spent himself in that cause. My son no doubt agrees with it, though not a signer himself. He is, after all, a young man, and may never be an old one because of the present troubles.

What trouble we know. Lives lost, fortunes ruined. Is there any sacred honor in this war? Oh, I will admit that there were some reasons for complaint, but no justification for what we now see-spilt blood, shattered bones, absolute ruin.

What madness this rising against Great Britain - Great Britain indeed, great as friend, benefactor... parent! Great before, and greater now is Great Britain as enemy. Sacred! My friends, my family, my former fellow subjects had best hope there is something of the sacred here. God help anyone who would dare take up arms against this mighty empire!

Yes, God help indeed. If the Deity does not intercede for the Americans, then there is no help for them. How melancholy this entire affair. Passionate men invite their own destruction in this war, and worse... the reduction of generations yet unborn. I would that it were all over now. The end is inevitable; if not tomorrow, or in a month, a year... defeat for the Americans... for the Virginians... will be the conclusion of this most melancholy contest.

        Jack Flintom interprets the character of John Randolph for Colonial Williamsburg.