W3R, Newsletter No. 67, May 7, 2011

Editor Hans DePold, Bolton Town Historian, Depoldh@gmail.com

https://www.connecticutsar.org/about/rev-road/newsletters Our goal is the stewardship of the Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail (W3R NHT) that passes through Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland DC, 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 today.

National Trails Day celebration this year is June 4 and 5,

This year we celebrate the W3R with three events, one in each of Bolton, Columbia, and Lebanon. See the CFPA booklet for details about the W3R NHT on pg. 5:


The Bolton W3R National Historic Trail 10AM June 4 event is on pg. 9 of the booklet: The first record of Bolton Notch being used for a road was November 4, 1782 when General Chastellux, Rochambeau’s first officer remarked about it in his diary. That day the streets of Bolton and Andover were filled with French troops marching to Boston to catch their ships after the victory at Yorktown. Ten caves, three known to have been used by people, and two others suitably large are located in the area. One or two will be selected for this hike. Hiking experience and proper footwear required.

Columbia, Multiple Activities event 1-4PM June 5 is on pg. 12 of the booklet: Hourly guided walking tours on the W3R NHT in Lebanon Crank (Columbia) will be conducted explaining what happened at houses still standing from the American Revolution. Rochambeau passed these houses to and from the Hartford Conference, to and from the Wethersfield conference, and to and from Yorktown. Washington passed them on his first trip to meet Rochambeau in Newport.

Lebanon Education Walk event Noon-4PM June 5 is on pg. 28
“Allons chercher du bon pain” (Lets go find some good bread) a stroll through history on the Lebanon Green with several tastes of French bread on the way. Lebanon was where the bread ovens were located to feed the French troops as they passed through Connecticut. It is also where the French Calvary and Lauzun spent the winter of 1780-1781. It was the military command post for the Connecticut Militia.

Emergence Theory also called Complexity Theory

This is a relatively new branch of science to explain how complexity like that of the human brain evolves and how simple agents such as individual ants and bees build complex and advanced social societies that have no central authority but just a few simple rules to explain everything they do. The systems that emerge are much more advanced and intelligent that the sum of the parts. This new science can explain why the American political-economic system is the best intelligent human agents can do. But then I came across this analysis by Alexis de Tocqueville that tells it better than I can.

(a study in Emergence Theory also called complexity theory, a new branch of science) From AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS AND THEIR INFLUENCE, 1851, By Alexis de Tocqueville

Only this one chapter is quoted from his book because Alexis Tocqueville found the New England (especially Massachusetts) version of government to be the most complex in America.

“Administration is hardly perceptible in America. –Why? Europeans believe that American Liberty is promoted by depriving the government of some of its Rights. But the Americans promote liberty by dividing its Exercise. Almost all the Administration is confined to the local Township, and divided among the town Officers.—There is virtually no trace of an administrative hierarchy to be perceived either in the Township, or above it.

Nothing is more striking to a European traveler in the United States than the absence of what we term government, or the administration. Written laws exist in America, and one sees that they are daily executed; but although everything is in motion, the hand which gives the impulse to the social machine can nowhere be discovered. Nevertheless, as all people are obliged to have recourse to certain grammatical forms, which are the foundation of human language, in order to express their thoughts; so all communities are obliged to secure their existence by submitting to a certain portion of authority, without which they fall a prey to anarchy. This authority may be distributed in several ways, but it must always exist somewhere.

There are two methods of diminishing the force of authority in a nation.

The first is to weaken the supreme power in its very principle, by forbidding or preventing society from acting in its own defense under certain circumstances. To weaken authority in this manner is what is generally termed in Europe to lay the foundations of freedom.

The second manner of diminishing the influence of authority does not consist in stripping society of any of its rights, nor in paralyzing its efforts, but in distributing the exercise of its privileges among various hands, and in multiplying functionaries, to each of whom the degree of power necessary for him to perform his duty is intrusted. There may be nations whom this distribution of social powers might lead to anarchy; but in itself it is not anarchical. The action of authority is indeed thus rendered less irresistible, and less perilous, but it is not totally suppressed.

The revolution of the United States was the result of a mature and deliberate taste for freedom, not of a vague or ill-defined craving for independence. It contracted no alliance with the turbulent passions of anarchy; but its course was marked, on the contrary, by an attachment to whatever was lawful and orderly.

It was never assumed in the United States that the citizen of a free country has a right to do whatever he pleases: on the contrary, social obligations were there imposed upon him more various than anywhere else; no idea was ever entertained of attacking the principles, or of contesting the rights of society; but the exercise of its authority was divided, to the end that the office might be powerful and the officer insignificant, and that the community should be at once regulated and free. In no country in the world does the law hold so absolute a language as in America; and in no country is the right of applying it vested in so many hands. The administrative power in the United States presents nothing either central or hierarchical in its constitution, which accounts for its passing unperceived. The power exists, but its representative is not to be discerned.

We have already seen that the independent townships of New England protect their own private interests; and the municipal magistrates are the persons to whom the execution of the laws of the state is most frequently intrusted. Beside the general laws, the state sometimes passes general police regulations; but more commonly the townships and town officers, conjointly with the justices of the peace, regulate the minor details of social life, according to the necessities of the different localities, and promulgate such enactments as concern the health of the community, and the peace as well as morality of the citizens. Lastly, these municipal magistrates provide of their own accord and without any delegated powers, for those unforeseen emergencies which frequently occur in society.

It results, from what we have said that in the state of Massachusetts the administrative authority is almost entirely restricted to the township, but that it is distributed among a great number of individuals. In the French commune there is properly but one official functionary, namely, the maire; and in New England we have seen that there are nineteen. These nineteen functionaries do not in general depend upon one another. The law carefully prescribes a circle of action to each of these magistrates; and within that circle they have an entire right to perform their functions independently of any other authority. Above the township scarcely any trace of a series of official dignities is to be found. It sometimes happens that the county officers alter a decision of the townships, or town magistrates, but in general the authorities of the county have no right to interfere with the authorities of the township, except in such matters as concern the county.

The magistrates of the township, as well as those of the county, are bound to communicate their acts to the central government in a very small number of predetermined cases. But the central government is not represented by an individual whose business it is to publish police regulations and ordinances enforcing the execution of the laws; to keep up a regular communication with the officers of the township and the county; to inspect their conduct, to direct their actions, or reprimand their faults. There is no point which serves as a centre to the radii of the administration.

What, then, is the uniform plan on which the government is conducted, and how is the compliance of the counties and their magistrates, or the townships and their officers, enforced? In the states of New England the legislative authority embraces more subjects than it does in France; the legislator penetrates to the very core of the administration; the law descends to the most minute details; the same enactment prescribes the principle and the method of its application, and thus imposes a multitude of strict and rigorously defined obligations on the secondary functionaries of the state. The consequence of this is, that if all the secondary functionaries of the administration conform to the law, society in all its branches proceeds with the greatest uniformity; the difficulty remains of compelling the secondary functionaries of the administration to conform to the law. It may be affirmed that, in general, society has only two methods of enforcing the execution of the laws at its disposal; a discretionary power may be intrusted to a superior functionary of directing all the others, and of cashiering them in case of disobedience; or the courts of justice may be authorized to inflict judicial penalties on the offender: but these two methods are not always available.

The right of directing a civil officer pre-supposes that of cashiering him if he does not obey orders, and of rewarding him by promotion if he fulfils his duties with propriety. But an elected magistrate can neither be cashiered nor promoted. All elective functions are inalienable until their term is expired. In fact, the elected magistrate has nothing either to expect or to fear from his constituents; and when all public offices are filled by ballot, there can be no series of official dignities, because the double right of commanding and of enforcing obedience can never be vested in the same individual, and because the power of issuing an order can never be joined to that of inflicting a punishment or bestowing a reward.

The communities therefore in which the secondary functionaries of the government are elected, are perforce obliged to make great use of judicial penalties as a means of administration. This is not evident at first sight; for those in power are apt to look upon the institution of elective functionaries as one concession, and the subjection of the elective magistrate to the judges of the land as another. They are equally averse to both these innovations; and as they are more pressingly solicited to grant the former than the latter, they accede to the election of the magistrate, and leave him independent of the judicial power. Nevertheless, the second of these measures is the only thing that can possibly counter-balance the first; and it will be found that an elective authority which is not subject to judicial power will, sooner or later, either elude all control or be destroyed. The courts of justice are the only possible medium between the central power and the administrative bodies; they alone can compel the elected functionary to obey, without violating the rights of the elector. The extension of judicial power in the political world ought therefore to be in the exact ratio of the extension of elective offices; if these two institutions do not go hand in hand, the state must fall into anarchy or into subjection.

It has always been remarked that habits of legal business do not render men apt to the exercise of administrative authority. The Americans have borrowed from the English, their fathers, the idea of an institution which is unknown upon the continent of Europe: I allude to that of justices of the peace.

The justice of the peace is a sort of _mezzo termine_ between the magistrate and the man of the world, between the civil officer and the judge. A justice of the peace is a well-informed citizen, though he is not necessarily versed in the knowledge of the laws. His office simply obliges him to execute the police regulations of society; a task in which good sense and integrity are of more avail than legal science. The justice introduces into the administration a certain taste for established forms and publicity, which renders him a most unserviceable instrument of despotism; and, on the other hand, he is not blinded by those superstitions which render legal officers unfit members of a government. The Americans have adopted the system of English justices of the peace, but they have deprived it of that aristocratic character which is discernible in the mother-country. The governor of Massachusetts appoints a certain number of justices of the peace in every county, whose functions last seven years. He farther designates three individuals from among the whole body of justices, who form in each county what is called the court of sessions. The justices take a personal share in public business; they are sometimes intrusted with administrative functions in conjunction with elected officers; they sometimes constitute a tribunal, before which the magistrates summarily prosecute a refractory citizen or the citizens inform against the abuses of the magistrate. But it is in the court of sessions that they exercise their most important functions. This court meets twice a year in the county town; in Massachusetts it is empowered to enforce the obedience of the greater number of public officers. It must be observed that in the state of Massachusetts the court of sessions is at the same time an administrative body, properly so called, and a political tribunal. It has been asserted that the county is a purely administrative division. The court of sessions presides over that small number of affairs which, as they concern several townships, or all the townships of the county in common, cannot be intrusted to any of them in particular.

In all that concerns county business, the duties of the court of sessions are therefore purely administrative; and if in its investigations it occasionally borrows the forms of judicial procedure, it is only with a view to its own information, or as a guarantee to the community over which it presides. But when the administration of the township is brought before it, it almost always acts as a judicial body, and in some few cases as an administrative assembly.

The first difficulty is to procure the obedience of an authority so entirely independent of the general laws of the state as the township is. We have stated that assessors are annually named by the town meetings, to levy the taxes. If a township attempts to evade the payment of the taxes by neglecting to name its assessors, the court of sessions condemns it to a heavy penalty. The fine is levied on each of the inhabitants; and the sheriff of the county, who is an officer of justice, executes the mandate. Thus it is that in the United States the authority of the government is mysteriously concealed under the forms of a judicial sentence; and the influence is at the same time fortified by that irresistible power with which men have invested the formalities of law.

These proceedings are easy to follow, and to understand. The demands made upon a township are in general plain and accurately defined; they consist in a simple fact without any complication or in a principle without its application in detail. But the difficulty increases when it is not the obedience of the township, but that of the town officers, which is to be enforced. All the reprehensible actions of which a public functionary may be guilty are reducible to the following heads:

He may execute the law without energy or zeal;
He may neglect to execute the law;
He may do what the law enjoins him not to do.

The last two violations of duty can alone come under the cognizance of a tribunal; a positive and appreciable fact is the indispensable foundation of an action at law. Thus, if the selectmen omit to fulfil the legal formalities usual to town elections, they may be condemned to pay a fine; but when the public officer performs his duty without ability, and when he obeys the letter of the law without zeal or energy, he is at least beyond the reach of judicial interference. The court of sessions, even when it is invested with its administrative powers, is in this case unable to compel him to a more satisfactory obedience. The fear of removal is the only check to these quasi offences; and as the court of sessions does not originate the town authorities, it cannot remove functionaries whom it does not appoint. Moreover, a perpetual investigation would be necessary to convict the subordinate officer of negligence or lukewarmness; and the court of sessions sits but twice a year, and then only judges such offences as are brought before its notice. The only security for that active and enlightened obedience, which a court of justice cannot impose upon public officers, lies in the possibility of their arbitrary removal. In France this security is sought for in powers exercised by the heads of the administration; in America it is sought for in the principle of election.

Thus, to recapitulate in a few words what I have been showing:–

If a public officer in New England commits a crime in the exercise of his functions, the ordinary courts of justice are always called upon to pass sentence upon him.

If he commits a fault in his official capacity, a purely administrative tribunal is empowered to punish him; and, if the affair is important or urgent, the judge supplies the omission of the functionary.[90]

Lastly, if the same individual is guilty of one of those intangible offences, of which human justice has no cognizance, he annually appears before a tribunal from which there is no appeal, which can at once reduce him to insignificance, and deprive him of his charge. This system undoubtedly possesses great advantages, but its execution is attended with a practical difficulty which it is important to point out.

I have already observed, that the administrative tribunal, which is called the court of sessions, has no right of inspection over the town officers. It can only interfere when the conduct of a magistrate is specially brought under its notice; and this is the delicate part of the system. The Americans of New England are unacquainted with the office of public prosecutor in the court of sessions, and it may readily be perceived that it could not have been established without difficulty. If an accusing magistrate had merely been appointed in the chief town of each county, and if he had been unassisted by agents in the townships, he would not have been better acquainted with what was going on in the county than the members of the court of sessions. But to appoint agents in each township, would have been to centre in his person the most formidable of powers, that of a judicial administration. Moreover, laws are the children of habit, and nothing of the kind exists in the legislation of England. The Americans have therefore divided the officers of inspection and of prosecution as well as all the other functions of the administration. Grand-jurors are bound by the law to apprize the court to which they belong of all the misdemeanors which may have been committed in their county. There are certain great offences which are officially prosecuted by the state; but more frequently the task of punishing delinquents devolves upon the fiscal officer, whose province it is to receive the fine; thus the treasurer of the township is charged with the prosecution of such administrative offences as fall under his notice. But a more especial appeal is made by American legislation to the private interest of the citizen, and this great principle is constantly to be met with in studying the laws of the United States. American legislators are more apt to give men credit for intelligence than for honesty; and they rely not a little on personal cupidity for the execution of the laws. When an individual is really and sensibly injured by an administrative abuse, it is natural that his personal interest should induce him to prosecute. But if a legal formality be required which, however advantageous to the community, is of small importance to individuals, plaintiffs may be less easily found; and thus, by a tacit agreement, the laws might fall into disuse. Reduced by their system to this extremity, the Americans are obliged to encourage informers by bestowing on them a portion of the penalty in certain cases; and to ensure the execution of the laws by the dangerous expedient of degrading the morals of the people. The only administrative authority above the county magistrates is, properly speaking, that of the government.”

We need to prepare now, for a new wave of interest in the American Revolution and in W3R Education Centers is forming

This new wave is coming in about three years. But you can feel the undertow pulling you into it right now. There is a great demand for books on the founding of the USA, its institutions and its pragmatic and objective philosophies. The American government and economy is the most emergent intelligent system ever created. The science of emergence and complexity is of high interest today as even China experiments with the American type of free enterprise. The British government’s colonial system was at that time run like a corporation but was run by the King. The American system was run by what this new science refers to as intelligent agents acting independently and together building things of great power and complexity. Emergent systems are very complex but are run by individual agents following simple rules. They can continually recreate themselves because they have no heavy anchors of bureaucracy to weigh them down. So we have
1)”Emergence or Complexity Science”, and a
2) Rebirth of interest in our Founding Fathers, working in favor of the W3R NHT and the Fishkill Supply Depot.

We have about three years maximum to catch this wave. We need to start now for each of our states and Congress to be ready when support for the W3R hits its next peak. We must seek funding for all our state Culture and Tourism Commissions. We must seek funding for the NPS. That needs to be our highest priority now.

We are all part of a collection of intelligent agents and by acting together with a simple step by step objective we can continue to astound ourselves with great results locally, in our state and for the purpose of our education, our culture and heritage based tourism (both historic and environmental).

This fall we will have a meeting in Bolton to discuss a Connecticut Bill to put together Connecticut’s plan for and commitment to the W3R NHT. Representative Pamela Sawyer said she will champion this legislation next year just as she did for the identification of the W3R route and campsites in Connecticut 1998-2001.

We also plan to ask our Congressmen to champion Federal legislation to support the National Park Service planning and oversight of the W3R NHT.

Emergence is a local phenomenon. Nothing ever happens unless there are local people involved. Everyone who is interested in the W3R NHT or any other national project has to realize that everything that ever happens starts from the bottom up. It starts with you, so start getting more involved.

Revolutionary War site proposed to be given the same level of Federal commitment as Civil War sites.

April 12, 2011, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced plans to reintroduce legislation to make the Fishkill Supply Depot in Fishkill, NY, (an important depot for the Continental Army during the American Revolution,) eligible for federal preservation funds. In recent years, hundreds of graves that date back to the Revolutionary War have been found at the Fishkill Supply depot, increasing the urgency to protect this important piece of American history. Unfortunately, the existing preservation program that provides funding for communities to purchase and preserve significant historic locations, the American Battlefield Protection Program, currently only applies to sites associated with the Civil War. Schumer’s legislation would expand this program to include historic sites that are also associated with the Revolutionary War – including the Fishkill Supply Depot.