7/4/17

John Adams, John Hancock, and Lexington Green

We have the "John Adams" mini-series queued up for some good ol' Murrican TV later on today. It's pretty good. Paul Giamatti does a fine job of portraying John Adams, as does Laura Linney as Abigail Adams (arguably the brains of the outfit, keeping the incendiary John somewhat tethered).
More than a year before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the British screwed the pooch royally (sorry, couldn't help myself) at Lexington and Concord. We had the famous Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, to warn the Americans of the approach of the British - or so the fable goes.
In reality, the main purpose of the midnight ride was not so much to warn the various townships, though that was certainly part of the mission, but to warn Sam Adams and John Hancock. The two had attended the Massachussets Provincial Congress in Concord, and had decided not to return to Boston, where they anticipated arrest by the British authorities. So, they stayed at the Hancock-Clarke house in Lexington, as guests of Rev. Jonas Clarke.
Revere and his sidekick William Dawes (the 'other' rider) met with Adams (Sam, not John) and Hancock, and convinced them to hightail it before the Brits arrived and arrested them. They did. They fled the scene in the wee hours of the morning, going to Burlington.
So you see, Sam (not John) Adams and John Hancock were not even at Lexington, or Concord, on that fateful morning when "... once the embattled farmers stood and fired the shot heard round the world." Of course, no one knows who fired that shot (two shots, actually, while some accounts show more) but let's not overly criticize Emerson.
John Adams, the 'other' cousin, was not at Lexington or Concord as these events unfolded. Nope. He was at home, in Braintree, though he did show up the next day, after the battle(s), to see what he could see.
What all this means is that despite a number of otherwise credible sources claiming that it was John Adams and Hancock who defiantly faced the British army and cried, "We recognize no sovereign but God and no king but Jesus!" it is ... fake news.
It never happened. John wasn't there, and neither were Sam nor John Hancock. And no one else said that.
After the 'incidents,' there was an investigation. Both sides, in fact, held a Bengazi-like investigation. Sworn testimony was taken. Under oath. From a number of people who were there. In none of those accounts is there anything about this stirringly inspirational retort to the power of the King of England. Nada. Zip. Nothing.
It never happened.
But Independence Day did. And here we are. Shouldn't that be sufficient? Do we not have enough to be thankful for, and proud of, without embellishing it with fake stories?
God bless America.

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