Where precisely is Middle Earth? Where is Gondor, the Shire, or for that matter, Fanghorn Forest? There are those who would say that they existed only in the mind of JRR Tolkien, who “wrote” them into existence. There are those who say there are no such things as hobbits, cave trolls or dwarves who mine gold from the depths of the earth. There are many who don’t believe there are such things as elves, and I would have counted myself among them up until a weekend ago when we visited the Georgia Renaissance Festival and I came across the comely elfin lass in today’s photo.
Imagine my surprise when I came around a corner and my eyes beheld this bewitching elf! Now I have to start to rethink all sorts of things: if there are elves, are the leprechauns who hide pots of gold at the end of rainbows? How about fairies with pixie dust that can make you fly? Perhaps there really is a large rodent relative who hides eggs for children to find at Easter and a jolly old red-faced man in a red suit who has a team of flying reindeer who works all year long at the far northern reaches of the globe just to delight us all at Christmas? If this lass is anything, she surely must be evidence that elves exist, that they are lovely creatures, and that all sorts of wondrous things are possible…
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1769, George Washington fired a legislative salvo at Great Britain’s fiscal and judicial attempts to maintain its control over the American colonies. With his sights set on protesting the British policy of “taxation without representation,” Washington brought a package of non-importation resolutions before the Virginia House of Burgesses.
The resolutions, drafted by George Mason largely in response to England’s passage of the Townshend Acts of 1767, decried Parliament’s plan to send colonial political protestors to England for trial. Though Virginia’s royal governor promptly fired back by disbanding the House of Burgesses, the dissenting legislators were undeterred. During a makeshift meeting held at the Raleigh Tavern in Williamsburg, Virginia’s delegates gave their support to the non-importation resolutions. Maryland and South Carolina soon followed suit with the passing of their own non-importation measures.
The non-importation resolutions lacked any means of enforcement, and Chesapeake tobacco merchants of Scottish ancestry tended to be loyal to their firms in Glasgow. However, tobacco planters supported the measure, and the mere existence of non-importation agreements proved that the southern colonies were willing to defend Massachusetts, the true target of Britain’s crackdown, where violent protests against the Townshend Acts had led to a military occupation of Boston, beginning on October 2, 1768.
When Britain’s House of Lords learned that the Sons of Liberty, a revolutionary group in Boston, had assembled an extra-legal Massachusetts convention of towns as the British fleet approached in 1768, they demanded the right to try such men in England. This step failed to frighten New Englanders into silence, but succeeded in rallying Southerners to their cause. By impugning colonial courts and curtailing colonial rights, this British action backfired: it created an American identity where before there had been none.
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: With nearly 3,000 years of rich history, Rome is often called the “Eternal City.” Though Rome dates back to possibly 625 B.C., the oldest continuously populated city in the world is widely to be considered Byblos in present-day Lebanon dating back to 5000 B.C.