(Oh yes, oh yes. A new potable portion from a chapter, this one newly posted with A Republic of Books, the novel in progress to be found elsewhere on this site.)

 

A novel is a flimsy currach indeed in which to set out on a journey such as this. The urgency to remain afloat supersedes all else. But a reasonable destination must be chosen and achieved, while most heavy baggage must be left ashore. The number of passengers is necessarily limited, and movement is restricted. Nevertheless, we sally forth, if a barging can be called a sally.

Revolutions are not made. They are stumbled upon. Many are attempted. Few avoid the gibbet. One moment the malcontents were arguing among themselves about what sort of association might be allowed with their King, and in the next a courier with news of shots fired at Lexington and Concord arrives. Thence, the ne’er-do-well editor of the Pennsylvania Magazine, previously peace loving, has “rejected the hardened, sullen-tempered Pharaoh of England forever.” The point is, no matter all the talk, not one of those true geniuses that fashioned the old Republic had imagined a United States of America before April 1775.

I am thinking that the lack of preparation to that end was what saved them. Had they thought too long on the subject they would likely have found room to compromise. At the least, they would have turned on themselves in the effort to gain an upper hand. Power does that to the mind. For proof, just look at what happened as soon as the steady hand of Washington was off the tiller of that fragile vessel, the first of its kind and perhaps the last.

Understand, I am not yet making revolution. Nor am I, as Mr. Paine was when that lost country “was set on fire” about his ears, “a wisher for a reconciliation.” But alike him now, having failed at all my other endeavors, I am finally hoping for that struggle. Against all odds. For my children’s sake.