Property Tax Quote

William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania

I came across an interesting quote in a book I am reading called Albion's Seed (by David Hackett Fischer) related to an outcry against a mere penny per pound, or 4/10 of one percent, proposed tax increase in the province of Pennsylvania in 1692. What a contrast to the complacency of Americans over the conservative estimate of $3,000 of additional debt per person to pay for the recently signed ObamaCare bill, and nobody knows how much in taxes it will add. I traced the quote to this petition to the Assembly in Philadelphia about a property tax:
The thing therefore, touching which we at present give you the trouble of these Lines, is a certain Bill, promulgated for the Assessing and Leavying One penny per pound out of the supposed value of every man's estate, and two Shillings per head for those not otherwise rated, which great tax, as it will doubtless amount to a great sum of money, for which we know no present deep the impression it will make in our Estates, much of which...lies dead in lands, of little value or profit at present, tho' liable to be highly rated at the wills and Pleasures of the Promulgators very grievous and greatly discouraging at to us, and as it may almost Ruin many at you will find, that if you once Confirm the said Bill, it will be very Prejudicial and Detremental to the Free-men...besides also, you will find it...of dangerous consequence, and an ill president for the future, for as the people grow in wealth, and the Governours (sic) in power, so shall the tax be laid heavier. 1
1 The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol 38 (Philadelphia, The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1914) from Google Books p. 495-496

House Closing

Today we closed on our house in Youngsville, NC! We are really excited about it. We are not sure when we will be moving, but it will probably be in 2-3 weeks because we are going to put a couple of coats of polyurethane on the floors so we will not have to do that later. You can see pictures of the house here and here and we will try to put up more soon.

The Mistakes that Caused World War 2

      World War I, the bloodiest war in human history up to that time, ended in 1918. Germany and Austria had finally been driven back and defeated by the Allies (England, France, America, Russia and others.) The Allies were tired of war. Tens of thousands of British and French men had been killed for mere feet of ground. The casualties had been terrible. In England one out of every three males were casualties. The Allies believed that there would never be another World War because they had fought and won the "War to End All Wars." To make certain of that, they put stringent barriers in the Treaty of Versailles to make sure Germany would never be a threat again. Twenty years later, the same Allies were again fighting Germany. Today we will examine what mistakes that they made to cause the Second World War.

Adolf Hitler, the leader of Germany

      One of the most important mistakes that the Allies made between the World Wars was that they allowed Germany to rebuild their army. In the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was allowed only 100,000 soldiers, a 30 ship navy, no conscription (draft), no officer's school, no submarines, and no airforce. They claimed that they obeyed this requirement at the beginning, but they disobeyed it in hiding. For example, they still fostered a civilian air foce that they would be able to turn into a military one. The Allies disarmed themselves, but they allowed Germany to gradually build up their military and violate the requirements of the treaty without any punishments. Winston Churchill said, "Once Hitler's Germany had been allowed to rearm without active interference by the Allies and former associated Powers, a second World War was almost certain."1 In 1932 Germany announced that it would no longer abide by the treaty ristrictions on armaments, and much of the Allied press agreed, because they thought that it was unfair for only the Germans to be required to disarmed. In 1935 Hitler instituted compulsory military conscription, and later England agreed that Germany should be allowed to expand its navy. Up until 1934, the Allies were still strong enough that they could have avoided a war by requiring Germany to disarm, but they did not. Instead, they remained at ease while the Germans built up a military stronger than their own. Winston Churchill said, "[T]he strict enforcement at any time till 1934 of the Disarmament Clauses of the Peace Treaty would have guarded indefinitely, without violence or bloodshed, the peace and safety of mankind. "2

Hitler reviewing his troops

      The other main problem was that the Allies allowed Germany to annex and attack other nations without resisting until it was too late. In 1936 Hitler ordered the Rhineland to be occupied, which was supposed to be a demilitarized zone on the border of Germany. The Allies did nothing. In 1938-1939 Germany annexed Austria and attacked Czechoslovakia. By this time the Allies had already allowed Germany to gain an army, but it was still weaker than their own. If they had wished, they could have used their greater force to threaten Germany and avert a greater war. It should have been clear to them that although each time Hitler said that this was all the land he wanted, his desire was to conquer the world. But instead they allowed Germany's aggression and refused to stop them. But finally the English prime mister realized what was happening and declared that they would not allow Germany to take over Poland, their next target. He said,
"Is this the last attack upon a small State or is it to be followed by another? Is this in fact a step in the direction of an attempt to dominate the world by force?"3 
England promised their support to Poland if it was attacked. But they had already made their mistake, and were destined for a long war. They had refused to act when the German army was weak, and now would have to fight it when it was strong. Churchill said, "Here is a catalogue of surrenders, at first when all was easy and later when things were harder, to the ever-growing German power. But now at last was the end of British and French submission. Here was the decision at last, taken at the worst possible moment on the least satisfactory ground, which must surely lead to the slaughter of tens of millions of people."4

      These were the mistakes that the Allies made that led up to and caused the Second World War. They should be a lesson to us not to be lazy and allow things that will surely lead us into war. Churchill said,
"Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."5

1 Churchill, Winston. The Second World War. (London: Cassell & Co. Ltd 1948) volume 1
2 Ibid,  p. 13
3 Ibid,  p. 270
4 Ibid,  p. 271-272
5 Ibid,  p. 272

"Give me Liberty or Give me Death!" 235 years ago

235 years ago today, Patrick Henry gave his famous speech to the Virginia House of Burgesses which ended in "Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death!" He was speaking in favor of the Virginia militia so that they could defend themselves from the tyranny of England. Here is what he said:

No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves longer. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free—if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending—if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained—we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!

They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable—and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace—but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

St. John's Church in Richmond where Henry gave his speech

More Pictures of The New House!!

Things are still looking good for buying the house! The house inspection went well, they did not find very many problems, the biggest one was a noisy ceiling fan. Monday Mommy and I went over for the termite inspection, there were some termites in a palette, which will be treated and removed. We are hoping to close by the end of next week, but we won't move until we put some polyurethane on the floors. They look better than ours' now, but we will put a lot more wear on them, especially if lots of friends come to visit!

We took some pictures of the inside details:

The wall paper border in the back hall, and half-bath
(this reminds us of our friend Mrs. Tsantles)

The wall in the eat-in kitchen

The granite in the kitchen, and the paint in the eat-in kitchen
(the colors in the granite did not show up well)

The wall paper in the master bath

The wall paper in the master water closet

The curtain in the master bath
(the curtain is actually more green)

The curtain in the master bedroom

The dining room wall
(the green and yellow are actually brighter)

New House

A few weeks ago we made an offer on a house and it was accepted! It less than 15 minutes from our church and most of the families that go to it. Right now the closing is April 1st, but it still might not work out because we have to be able to find three building sites, but it is looking pretty good. You can see the MLS listing here.

Here the realtor's pictures of the house.


A few weeks ago my parents went on a few day cruise to the Bahamas. Here are some pictures that they took:

Part of the room

This is the Queen's staircase which led to the fort. It was built by slaves to honor Queen Victoria's help in the abolition of slavery in the Bahamas.

They visited Fort Fincastle, which was built in 1793 to protect the city.

The fort, with the ship in the background

New Template

We have just put up a new template for this blog. Tell us if you like it, and if you would like any changes in the comments.