The More Things Change…

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In February 1775, Benjamin Franklin corresponded from London with a conservative American friend who had proposed a “Plan of Union” for Britain and its rebellious colonies. How horrifically shameful and tragic that all the sins Franklin lists for the British Empire now characterize the American one — and many far more egregious besides: no bureaucrats in England ever gate-raped passengers waiting to board ship and sail the Atlantic.

“…when I consider,” Franklin wrote, “the extream corruption prevalent among all orders of men in this old rotten State, … I cannot but apprehend more mischief than benefit from a closer union. I fear [the British Empire] will drag us after them in all the plundering wars which their desperate circumstances, injustice and rapacity may prompt them to undertake; and their wide-wasting prodigality and profusion is a gulph that will swallow up every aid we may distress ourselves to afford them. Here numberless and needless places, enormous salaries, pensions, perquisites, bribes, groundless quarrels, foolish expeditions, false accounts or no accounts, contracts and jobs devour all revenue, and produce continual necessity in the midst of natural plenty. …”

Two months later, these abuses finally provoked the American Revolution. (Read more about that rebellion in my novel, Halestorm, available in paperback or for Kindle.)

7:33 pm on November 4, 2012