February 18, 2005

Our goal is the creation and stewardship of the Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route, National Historic Trail that passes through Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, and the elevation to a higher level the quality of heritage preservation all along the route. This newsletter tries to represent the point of view of the patriots who respected Washington and Rochambeau, the ones who, if alive, would be working with us to honor them.

Senate Legislation

Patricia Morianos of Bolton is currently contacting our Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail (W3R NHT) Senate bill champions. The following informational letter is accompanying the letters asking Senators Lieberman and Dodd to sponsor the Senate bill. Abraham Lincoln perhaps had the best explanation for why the W3R NHT should come to pass. Most of Lincoln’s Lyceum speech is included in the letter as follows:

Thank you for the NPS Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route (W3R) National Historic Trail study legislation that passed in 2000 and for your continued support of Congressman John B. Larson with the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail legislation.

Congressman Larson introduced the first bill, H.R.4794, on June 29, 2000 entitled, “To require the Secretary of the Interior to complete a resource study of the 600 mile route through Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia, used by George Washington and General Rochambeau during the American Revolutionary War.”

On October 23, 2000 at 3:15pm, Mr. Gibbons moved to suspend the House rules and the bill passed unanimously. Senator Joseph Lieberman introduced the Senate version, CR S11276, while running for the office of Vice President of the United States. Senator Christopher Dodd carried the legislation through the Senate process. On October 24, 2000 it was received in the Senate, read twice and was passed without amendment by Unanimous Consent. On November 9, 2000 it was signed by President Bill Clinton and became Public Law No: 106-473.

At this time Congressman Larson is preparing legislation that would use the favorable results of the National Parks Service study to create the Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route (W3R) National Historic Trail (NHT) which would be the first such trail through the nine affected states.

Lincoln was only 28 years old when he gave his Lyceum speech which well describes why we should honor Washington and Rochambeau and all the other early patriots with this National Historic Trail. Here are excerpts from Lincoln’s speech:

“We find ourselves under the government of a system of political institutions, conducing more essentially to the ends of civil and religious liberty, than any of which the history of former times tells us. We found ourselves the legal inheritors of these fundamental blessings. We toiled not in the acquirement or establishment of them–they are a legacy bequeathed us, by a once hardy, brave, and patriotic, but now lamented and departed race of ancestors. Theirs was the task (and nobly they performed it) to possess themselves, and through themselves, us, of this goodly land; and to uprear upon its hills and its valleys, a political edifice of liberty and equal rights;

” ’tis ours only, to transmit these, unprofaned by the foot of an invader, undecayed by the lapse of time and untorn by usurpation, to the latest generation that fate shall permit the world to know. This task of gratitude to our fathers, justice to ourselves, duty to posterity, and love for our species in general, all imperatively require us faithfully to perform.

“At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

“They were the pillars of the temple of liberty; and now, that they have crumbled away, that temple must fall, unless we, their descendants, supply their places with other pillars, hewn from the solid quarry of sober reason. Reason, cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason, must furnish all the materials for our future support and defense.– Let those materials be molded into general intelligence, sound morality, and in particular, a reverence for the constitution and laws: and, that we improved to the last; that we remained free to the last; that we revered his name to the last; that, during his long sleep, we permitted no hostile foot to pass over or desecrate his resting place; (til) the last trump(et) shall awaken our WASHINGTON.”

Washington showed that America had not just changed governments, but that it was within the capacity of human character to decline absolute power and to work together for the common good. And now when many Americans have concern for by our historic relationship with our French, German, and Spanish allies… there is no better time to recognize the debt of gratitude we owe that first great alliance of the willing… for our own liberty. Without Washington and Rochambeau… America would not have been able to return the favor and to liberate Europe.

The Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail will commemorate the alliance that immobilized the world’s greatest army in New York City to win the battle and war at Yorktown. The trail is continuous, but would probably contain a series of focal points and high potential route segments such as historic vistas of encampments and structures such as inns, homesteads, and headquarters. Most structures, such as Hartford’s old statehouse, would be on the route. There would also be destination sites such as Old Wethersfield, where Washington and Rochambeau met just before the march, and Lebanon, where Lauzun camped and began his protective flanking march.

How the W3R Transmits the Patriot’s Legacy

  • It establishes the second and longest Revolutionary War National Trail infrastructure, >600 miles.
  • It facilitates preservation of valuable and threatened national Revolutionary War sites, scenic vistas, and environmental heritage.
  • It creates an infrastructure upon which other nearby historic destination sites such as the Nathan Hale Homestead can thrive with tourism.
  • It creates the critical mass needed to raise the level of all the Revolutionary War sites on the route with rest facilities, gift shops, and visitor centers.
  • It creates a multi-day excursion possibility, presenting the highest tourism value, one most attractive to Europeans interested in their contribution to the American Revolution.
  • This W3R National Historic Trail shows American gratitude for our French, German, and Spanish allies who sacrificed their lives and well being for the independence of America.
  • It kindles that love for justice, liberty, and fraternity that enables us to work together at home and with our allies abroad… for the common good.
  • This is one of those tasks of gratitude to our fathers, justice to ourselves, duty to posterity, and love for our species in general; that Lincoln said imperatively requires us faithfully to perform.

American Institutions and Their Influence
By Alexis de Tocqueville 1851

“Although the Anglo-Americans have several religious sects, they all regard religion in the same manner. They are not always agreed upon the measures which are most conducive to good government, and they vary upon some of the forms of government which it is expedient to adopt; but they are unanimous upon the general principles which ought to rule human society.”

“The majority of them believe that a man will be led to do what is just and good by following his own interests, rightly understood. They hold that every man is born in possession of the right of self-government, and that no one has the right of constraining his fellow-creatures to be happy. They have all a lively faith in the perfectibility of man; they are of opinion that the effects of the diffusion of knowledge must necessarily be advantageous, and the consequences of ignorance fatal; they all consider society as a body in a state of improvement, humanity as a changing scene, in which nothing is, or ought to be, permanent; and they admit that what appears to them to be good to-day may be superseded by something better to-morrow.”

“The Anglo-Americans are not only united together by those common opinions, but they are separated from all other nations by a common feeling of pride.”

“It appears to me beyond a doubt, that sooner or later we shall arrive, like the Americans, at an almost complete equality of conditions. But I do not conclude from this, that we shall ever be necessarily led to draw the same political consequences which the Americans have derived from a similar social organization. I am far from supposing that they have chosen the only form of government which a democracy may adopt; but the identity of the efficient cause of laws and manners in the two countries is sufficient to account for the immense interest we have in becoming acquainted with its effects in each of them.”

“It is not, then, merely to satisfy a legitimate curiosity that I have examined America; my wish has been to find instruction by which we may ourselves profit. I have acknowledged this revolution as a fact already accomplished or on the eve of its accomplishment; and I have selected the nation, from among those which have undergone it, in which its development has been the most peaceful and the most complete, in order to discern its natural consequences, and, if it be possible, to distinguish the means by which it may be rendered profitable. I confess that in America I saw more than America; I sought the image of democracy itself, with its inclinations, its character, its prejudices, and its passions, in order to learn what we have to fear or to hope from its progress.”

American Culture Blooming On the W3R
We saw that Alexis de Tocqueville, filled with the love of liberty, but remembering atrocities committed in its name, sought to discover the means by which social order was achieved and regulated in America. It is evident that the culture and values that launched American democracy continue to be of high interest at home and abroad. The idiosyncrasies of the strange American people and of the foreign members of the alliance are exquisitely replicated by the re-enactors who often adopt the personage and character of real people who lived during the American Revolution. We start with some of the first significant W3R centric activities of 2005.

Richard Sheryka W3R-RI, Military Committee Chairman announced that the first major event, the 225th anniversary of the arrival and Encampment of Rochambeau’s Army is developing well. Some of the tentative plans for commemorative ceremonies and re-enactments in Newport and Fort Adams include.

Friday, July 8, 2005: Rochambeau lands at Long Wharf (from Le Sloop Providence) with cannon salute (Newport Artillery). Parade from there to the Colony House with French (re-enactors) and American honor guard. Le Sloop Providence will be open for tours.

Saturday, July 9, 2005: The French Encampment at Fort Adams opens to the public Rochambeau inspects RIM et al, thanks them for aiding French Army when they arrived Ceremony honoring Admiral de Ternay and other French who fell in service to U.S. Fireworks ­ as was done in 1780 with the French Fleet illuminated. Lafayette and Washington may accompany Rochambeau.

Sunday, July 10, 2005 there will be an authentic Catholic Tridentine Mass as was performed in 1780. Re-enactments will continue including general camp life, manual of arms drill, French vs. American comparisons, concurrent musical unit practice, small unit maneuvering drills culminating in firing drills/demonstrations, artillery fire demonstrations, marches, concerts, unit formations, inspections large unit maneuvering drills tactical exercises, ending with a final mass formation and feu de joie.

Lebanon CT and Bolton CT are planning W3R activities the first weekend of October. More news will follow.

For e-mail updates of W3R and French cultural activities in the Connecticut and New York areas contact Serge GABRIEL the chairman of W3R-CT, Chers amies et amis, pour votre information, Alliance francaise. sergegg@juno.com

Preparing for the W3R Legislation
This will be an exciting year for the schools in the towns along the Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route (W3R) National Historic Trail. It will be a lesson in American history and government. Congressman John B. Larson will be introducing the W3R legislation in the House of Representatives and we are now asking Senators Joseph Lieberman and Christopher Dodd to introduce it in the Senate.

In 2000, Congressman Larson had a notebook assembled with all the letters of support. Please begin your preparations for your organization’s resolutions and letters of support. In 2000 several groups did not make their support known in time to be used to persuade as many bill co-signers as possible. At a minimum we would hope that every Congressman and Senator representing districts along the route will co-sign the bills this year as they did in 2000.

The Bush administration also needs to be contacted at several levels for the legislation is to pass. We need to begin writing letters of support for the legislation to the following people. Please do your part. The first Republican president was Abraham Lincoln and it is evident from his Lyceum speech that he would be supporting the W3R NHT with us if he were here today.

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Mrs. Laura Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Switchboard: 202-456-1414

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

President of the Senate
Richard Cheney
U.S. Vice President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500