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"Nat" Bacon was a Tory turned patriot—plus!

OF THE hundreds upon thousands of men who came to these shores in the early and hard years of our colonization, very few of them ever amounted to what one would now consider the type tor. top billing on the record. This was not entirely due to the lack of ability on the part of the man, or his unwillingness to perform the duties which would have given him ample opportunity and all the credit which was due him. It was more of a case oi not having time enough for anything other than working on the hard job of keeping alive. For it is certainly evident in the records that have come down to us that life in early America was not the proper place to develop great individuals. Indeed, and it is a fact, for a time there at the very beginning of our country, it was a hard enough task to develop a great race of men.

The settler who may have developed into another Shakespeare had he remained in his own native land, became instead a farmer in America, who worked hard in the sparse and unbearing hill-land of New England, forsaking all claims to fame in order that he might devote himself to the humbler tasks of making a clearing in the forest for his cabin, his barn, and his fields of growing vegetables and grain. Likewise, the man who may have been a great statesman made instead a great fighter of the Indians, while he raised and cared for his little family on the side. It may be pointed out that although our country was founded through the toil and blood of men such as these, there still came forth men of the stamp of Benjamin Franklin and George Washington. This, however, it must be seen, that it was not until the colonies had acquired wealth, built up a system of schools and colleges and developed a leisure class, that men such as the last two named were brought forth. From the leisure class came men like Washington to do their country service as only they knew how to perform.

Another great man lived at that time, too, but he was branded by another name until not too long ago, when records proved and cleared his name. This great man helped much in the fight the colonies waged for independence, and he was the champion of all freedom-loving people, this Nathaniel Bacon. The greatest figure of the first riotous century of American history was this man who was born on January 2, 1647, in Suffolk, England. Many historians say that at no other time in our history has the confab of great men appeared as in that first century when our country's need for them was so great.

Such men as Nathaniel Bacon, who, although horn in England and resident of the American colonies for only two years, was a true American, spiritually and physically, came not looking for adventure but freedom, and found both. This Bacon was one person who never had any brilliant past to regret giving up for life in the colonies. It has been seen in the records that be rolled up all the important events of his life while he lived as a citizen of Virginia. He showed his-willingness to fight for freedom through his love for individual liberty, his self-reliance, and his hatred of oppression. Such attributes as these placed his name alongside his rightful cronies and partners, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, for surely it showed him akin to the leaders of the Revolution.

ONE very striking point which seems to arise again and again in the case of all workers for freedom, if they are truly and earnestly fighters, is that very seldom does their name come to light, and if it does, it shines lightly from behind some obstacle, so that very few people ever see the whole brightness of the situation. Such is the case of Nathaniel Bacon. This remarkable man died in the midst of all his struggles and so, because he had not the time to clear his name, and those of his trusted aides, his followers went down to defeat and shame, and he, himself, was branded as a traitor to the cause for which he worked so diligently. This has been his role since his untimely death, until quite recently, when records and studies have shown him to be not the traitor of the country, but rather as a patriot, a champion of the weak, and a rebel against all kinds of injustice.

When the records from all sources have finally been rounded up and been brought forward, and given to the light which will reveal more than a shadow of the truth, it will then be truly seen that men such as him, have been wrongly treated, and perhaps hundreds of other Nathaniel Bacons exactly like him, will at last have been justly rewarded with the kind of respect which is long over due them. It is hoped so.