Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Haym Salomon - American Patriot


Haym Salomon

American Patriot Haym Salomon, a Sephardic Jew, who immigrated to the US from Poland in 1772 is shown in the photograph at the left. He was one of The Sons of Liberty almost immediately on arrival in the new land.

The Sons of Liberty were a secret organization of patriots .. the American "underground" of resistance to British tyranny.
Members included Patrick Henry, Paul Revere, Haym Salomon, Isaac Sears, Samuel Adams and his cousin John Adams and others.
The Sons of Liberty had imposed an almost complete blockade of British goods into America at one point. The reason for their existence was the increasing taxation by the Crown on colonists. The money was used exclusively by the Crown with not a cent being used in the colonies themselves. The colonists came to feel this exploitation quite keenly as America was being used and abused.
The Stamp Act required every single legal documents, permits, commercial contracts, newspapers, wills, pamphlets, and playing cards in the colonies to have a tax stamp on them.
Not one cent of this money was used in the colonies, however, but used to pay off the war debt for Britain's 7 Year War. Part of this might have been on American soil.. the French and Indian wars. Britain was now keeping a substantial military presence in America because of new territory. The Stamp Act, the Sugar tax and tea taxes were imposed to have America pay for the quartering and support of these troops.

American resistance to the taxes was based on several things. The first was the Right of Englishmen, as they were Englishmen, to no taxation without representation a right which the Crown was overlooking and bypassing. The colonists wanted to have representation in Parliament if they were going to pay such large taxes. They petitioned the King over and over again about this with no answer.

Not only were Americans opposed to the taxes but British merchants were having a tough time as the taxes were hurting business in a quite substantial way. Though the stamp act was repealed in 1766, the Declaratory Act was passed in its stead that gave Britain the right to tax the colonies at will, without representation.
The colonists believed that they either were Englishmen or Americans. If Englishmen they why was there no representation? If Americans then they could not be taxed for British whims.
Britain raged against the new nation calling them ungrateful, In the words of MP Charles Townshend , "and now will these Americans, children planted by our care, nourished up by our Indulgence until they are grown to a degree of strength and opulence, and protected by our arms, will they grudge to contribute their mite to relieve us from heavy weight of the burden which we lie under?"
The America response came from Colonel Isaac Barré ...........
"They planted by your care? No! Your oppression planted ‘em in America. They fled from your tyranny to a then uncultivated and inhospitable country where they exposed themselves to almost all the hardships to which human nature is liable, and among others to the cruelties of a savage foe, the most subtle, and I take upon me to say, the most formidable of any people upon the face of God’s earth. …
They nourished by your indulgence? They grew by your neglect of ‘em. As soon as you began to care about ‘em, that care was exercised in sending persons to rule over 'em, in one department and another, who were perhaps the deputies of deputies to some member of this house, sent to spy out their liberty, to misrepresent their actions and to prey upon 'em; men whose behaviour on many occasions has caused the blood of those sons of liberty to recoil within them … .
They protected by your arms? They have nobly taken up arms in your defence, have exerted a valour amidst their constant and laborious industry for the defence of a country whose frontier while drenched in blood, its interior parts have yielded all its little savings to your emolument. …The people I believe are as truly loyal as any subjects the king has, but a people jealous of their liberties and who will vindicate them if ever they should be violated; but the subject is too delicate and I will say no more."

War was declared to free America once and for all from British "care" and individual taxes as high as £10.That £10 would be £636.90 .00 today . This was as difficult to pay in those days on their incomes as $5900 would be for an individual today according to the Measuring Worth Calculator for money.

Wine carried tax of over £700 per case.It was not unusual for British tax agents to claim 'tax evasion' and impose penalties hundreds of times over the original tax. America was nothing more than a cash cow for Britain. "Customs racketeering" by British agents was wide spread.

Troops were housed in private homes at a whim, rights of individuals were trampled and the colonists had no redress at all. Though officially British citizens, they were treated less than serfs.American trade was raped and profits siphoned off by Britain.

During the war, America had no powers of taxation yet and were forced to get war loans from abroad. Haym Salomon gave his own money to help. He gave interest free loans to members of the new Congress , including James Madison, to help forward the war's cause and also brokered bills of exchange for the new nation to keep things afloat. He was also the paymaster for America's French troops during the war.
Captured by the British, he was forced to be a translator for the Hessian soldiers. Haym used it to advantage by encouraging the Germans to desert and helping a large number American POWS to escape. And the Germans DID desert and many men's lives were saved by Haym Salomon.
He was a selfless and charitable man who loved his new home and loved liberty. His life proved it.
Without him, the war could not have gone forward. We owe him a lot.

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