Friday, November 13, 2015

Petition for the Release of 8 Soldiers in an Anti-Smuggling Unit Charged With Desertion

To Colonel Isaac Clark Commandant of champlain District.
We the undersigned persistently [sp.?] and humbly pray you would take our unhappy and deplorable case into consideration, by your merciful interposition arrest the execution of the sentence of death about to be consummated.
We have offended and broken the laws of our country, and by them, we are condemned to suffer the most ignominious punishment justly merited by us; and necessary to others, as an example, not to be guilty of a like offence. - the end of punishment is the reforma - tion of the criminal, and a warning to others; if consistent with your duty, we ask you, under god, to open to us the doors of mercy: to lengthen out our span of escis - tence, that by our penitence, and example, we may be as monuments of mercy, escorting all, late our brethern in arms, to obedience to the laws, both civil militancy and divine. ‘We are fully sensible of the forlammers [?], of our situation, for we of ourselves can give no assurances of better conduct. We have nothing to give, our crimes have swept from us the least refuge of the afflicted; but if we are worthy of being considered as objects of pity, and com-passion, we pray you to consider our situation, can we as active living men, grateful for mercy extended to us, be better living than dead; to us your decision is of eternal importance.
We are sensible of the heinousness of our offences, for we have all sworn before our - God, faith - fully to serve our country - we have broken that oath! We have been regarless [sp.?] of its obligation and solemnity! For this, we fervently hope that thee opportunity I perciod [sp.?] of necessary atonement may not be stinted but prolonged our feelings are alarmed to agony, in the fear that our peace is not made with heaven! We are awfully impressed with the distracting idea of entering into a boundless eternity unprepared! of passing that bourne from which there is no return, with all our transgressinos upon us! O dear Colonel! is there no respite, no pardon for us?! Must we appear before the tribunal, unannoited, unaneded [sp.?]?
Tis it necessary that you say we have sinned out the day of our repentance and our opportunity of reformation, and pardon is gone - Never to return 31 are we last past redemption! May God direct you in your decision, and incline you to that mercy which is consistent with your duty ad for our eternal good.
We pray you hear us further altho’ language can - not reach the horror we feel, or describe our area? at thot’s the of our ignominious death, and this to a certain and hor - rid death, due to a manifest crime against our country - a crime too against our God, the breach of our solemn oaths! we should not fear as soldiers to run the hazard of an honorable and useful death! But to die disgraced - a dishonor to our friends, and hundred, and remembered only as a reproach to our surviving relatives, gives a lummlife [sp.?] to our feelings which nothing can blunt! have we so far transgressed that it is necessary that we should be instru - ments of wounding our friends and connexions? We our had hoped that the sympathy and blessings of our friends would have followed us beyond the grave! - Unless your mercy interposes to snatch us from impending disgrace, a dis - grace that nothing can wash away. We have nothing to take one sting from death! Cannot you afford us consolation! Must we drink of the bitter cup to its dregs and is there nothing left to lessen its bitterness?!
We cannot ask you to do a wrong, we would not move you to it. But we fervently and solemnly solicit your attention to our situation! and if upon reflection you think the ends of punishment can be answered - if the day of re - pentance for our crimes against our God and our country be not forever past, and if our friends can be spared that portion of the punishment, they must participate if our sentence is executed - we do as our only hope cling to the belief we shall be spared - and we pray God that if we are pardoned; it may terminate for good - and if otherwise that we may be supported in the hour of execution, with that consolation which God alone can give -
and while we live we shall ever pray!
Abel Stele
James Chase
Cerillman Burkford
Jebulon Carswell
Benjamin Lymann
Daniel Sargent
David Leonard
Thomas X Lethbridge

Original Document from Special Collections at the University of Vermont
Transcribed by Paul Fischer

Isaac Clark Papers 1781-1821. Special Collections, University of Vermont Bailey/Howe Library, Burlington, Vermont. 48.

Congratulatory Letter and Account of Progress in the War of 1812 from Senator Jonathon Robinson to Col. Isaac Clark

Senator Jonathon Robinson to Col. Isaac Clark

My dear friend, Washington Dec. 22nd 1812
I have harried unwearingly the Secretary of War in behalf of your for and have the Jaleasee now to announce to you your Lou in their day confirmed in the Senate as an Ensign - I feel excessively dis couraged nothing has been done by our Armies if nothing was intended why call over Militia into the Field to distruste their families I will not Lay where lies all the blame but one thing is certain the deranged situation of our Armies cx their having done nothing has distroyed the politics of Vermont disgraced our country and burned the Enthusiasm from our Land to our naval Forces all is glory there - There things will ruin us I expect the next long raph [?] will not hate Every measure that has nerve cx shall be Oratsowed [?] by Madison - we learn that your hoops are exceedingly Link at Burlington I wish you to give me some account of this fact indeed I am almost Surprised you have never written me time I saw you at Bennington may god preserve our dear Country - your Cordial friend,

Gen Clark -
Jon a Robinson

Original document from Special Collections at the University of Vermont
Transcribed by Paul Fischer

Isaac Clark Papers 1781-1821. Special Collections, University of Vermont Bailey/Howe Library, Burlington, Vermont. 40.

Consent for an Enlisted Man to have Another Stand in his Place: 1812

Captain Charles Follett, NS to -Colonel Isaac Clark
Consent for an enlisted man to have another stand in his place: 1812

Dear Colonel,
Sir, I am in Health to good Hreennies [sp.?] I find Our friend near the Ready to Attack in Fopely [sp.?] to Be Made on Our Enemy
I Have Entitled a man by the name of Thommas Richardson which you will see by My Return I find him to be an inferm Man verry rivalling to You I told him if he would get a Man to Take his Silou. With your Consent,, He was found among which I think will Better than him See I became te affis Aim in his discharge, your Complyance Will I blieys. yours with Esteem

Charles Follett, Capt.

Original Document from Special Collections at the University of Vermont
Transcribed: Paul Fischer

Isaac Clark Papers 1781-1821. Special Collections, University of Vermont Bailey/Howe Library, Burlington, Vermont. 41.

Appeal for Reinstatement of Sword Colonel Isaac Clark, ALS to 26th Regiment

Regimental Rendezvous,
Burlington May 13, 1815.
To the Officers of the 26th Regt. now at this Rendezvous -
I have the honor of acknowledging the re [-] ceipt of your address of the 12th int. on the subject of my arrest. -The sentiments you have expressed towards me personally, cannot fail of engaging all my feel [-] ings in favor of complying with your earnest request - but having for many years of my life been em [-] ployed on Military duty, and having from long experience, considered it as a privacy [privileged?] duty in every officer of an army to set the example of subordination, that soldiers may be induced the more promptly to follow the example.
The subject of your acidress [sp?] involves a very se [-] rious question, which has not, to my knowledge been decided upon by a court-martial - it therefore be [-] comes my duty to take counsel on the subject before I take a step that may reflect dis honor on my military character. - This being the Just time that I ever received even the slightest repri [-] mand from a superior officer, not even for a mis - take in any of the complicated duties that have been assigned me - therefore, Gentlemen, you cannot but See the pro [-] priety of my desire to preserve the principle so necessary for the government of an army: - but before I close this answer, I beg leave to observe, that it has ever been my expectation that the question would have been promptly decided by the Department of War - and that officers, merely from their high standing in rank, would not in future be permitted to interphere with the recruiting regulations of that Department, which I am conscious of having pursued with unremitting ardor, until sickness deprived the Regiment of my a∫ [-] sistance, in a measure. - In this situation the General deprived me of my sword on the 12th day of July last - and altho’ repeated applica - tions have been made to him in becoming language for a trial, I have not been able to obtain one - neither have I been furnished with a proper copy of the charges, specifications upon which my arrest was predicated, [?] which was necessary to a suitable defense. -
I am, Gentlemen,
very respectfully,
your obedient Servea: [sp?]

Isaac Clark

Original Document provided by Special Collections at the University of Vermont: Documents Pertaining to Isaac Clark, 61
Isaac Clark Papers 1781-1821. Special Collections, University of Vermont Bailey/Howe Library, Burlington, Vermont. 61.

Transcription: Paul Fischer

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Bill McKibben: American Environmental Policies and Saying No to Big Oil Today and in 2014

Paul Fischer
Bill McKibben: American Environmental Policies and
Saying No to Big Oil Today and in 2014
Bill McKibben is a regular contributor to many publications including the New York Times. His work has been steadfast and consistent in protecting the environment from corporate and at times even government institutions which threaten ourselves and the world we are surrounded by. Looking at an interview from 2014 with Bill Moyers brings to light some particularly important issues which are in the national headlines today, such as the Keystone pipeline and the impact of Big Oil in politics today. McKibben’s own activism goes beyond steady writing and academic work, however, but is instead rooted in political work which has even been criminal in nature. Shortly before the interview, he had been arrested after chaining himself to the White House in an environmental protest, an action which created national headlines and drew attention to the work of environmental activists.
The two met on a canoe trip, which holds significance one of the potentially greatest threats to the environment from the new pipeline are the vital waterways which sustain our nation culturally and have historically provided the backbone of economic systems in the nation. A potential target in this area has certain risks in times of peace; in the event of a war on the home-front, the cost of providing security for such a monument could prove, well, monumental. Then the potential catastrophes which are warned against would be a certainty.
More importantly, it could destroy the nation’s ability to protect itself without self-inflicting permanent and persistent damage on America’s greatest resources, economically and environmentally. An example of a similar situation in another wartime which threatened to reach American shores was in the Manhattan project carried out by American scientists. While Albert Einstein was able to organize a widely diverse collection of ethnically and even linguistically separate experts and professionals into completing the nuclear race in time to save Allied military efforts, original plans included disposing of the waste into major American waterways in the mid and northwest.
Fortunately this plan was squashed by the once powerful fishing interests in these waterways out of fears it might impact in the long run their productive output. Given modern information about the nature of radioactive materials, it is likely that such disposal could have not only exposed tens of millions of Americans to lethal amounts of radiation, but also destroyed the agricultural output of the entirety of what was once called the Louisiana Purchase. This is an example of the precautionary principle successful by accident only; it was not until recently that the full effect of radioactive exposure has been determined and revealed on plant and animal lifeforms. Unfortunately, inappropriate weapons testing and disposal techniques contributed or caused extensive damage to American ecosystems and health concerns following that effort, and the arms race with the Soviet Union exacerbated those harms.
Following this with debate on the pipeline is critical. Not only must a dangerous proposal be defeated, but it must also be defeated for the right reasons and by the correct interests. Understanding the full potential effects of such construction, as well as that of an economic depression or recession such as that which recently occurred, on security costs and the viability of maintenance of the undertaking is necessary in order to not only prevent the great disaster, but also smaller ones to follow. In the interview, this is the crux of the argument delivered by Bill McKibbens.
Rather than focusing on the short-term effects of the construction and damage that may be done by bad maintenance or in the event of economic disaster, his focus in the interview is on what happens when things proceed properly. The global warming effects of the carbon released from 800 thousand barrels of oil a day, or nearly a quarter billion barrels a year, could change the emissions released by the United States by a factor of ten percent. As the USA begins negotiations next month in Paris in which there is an effort to show commitment to environmental protection and energy independence through renewable sources, there will be an effort to quantify the effect of American pollutants on other countries, as well as the global warming disasters which greenhouse gases will predicate if not properly understood and regulated.
This is not an individual who survived the dust-bowl sands of the 1930's, in which American prospects simply dried up and cornfields turned to storms and death, but it is clear that he has a specific understanding of the seriousness of failure to control economic development and of global industrial development on the environment and productivity. What then cost billions and breadlines in America (along with some interdependent nations), today would mean global starvation and the destruction of American international hegemony in a way that not only could no nation possibly step in to fill the gap, but in fact warfare on a scale unprecedented, this time likely nuclear, could be initiated. While Bill Moyers estimates the costs of action at twenty trillion dollars (no time frame was given), he fails to point out what President Obama and Bill McKibben instinctively emphasize: this is the mutually assured destruction of our time. That is, America was faced with the same question in the past, and invested tens of trillions of dollars in deterrent nuclear weapons and understanding the consequences and actions both of doing so and in not doing so. The investment initiated and prolonged the Cold War, in the long run critical information on the nature of carcinogens in huge numbers of products was discovered and mandatory age limits or recommendations have been set on products from cigarettes and cosmetics to carpets and landfills which otherwise could have contributed to trillions in excessive health care costs.
In that time period, the consequence was falling victim to a foreign nuclear strike and decades of cancer mortality and cultural slavery under the satellite system of a foreign superpower. Now we face our own generational questions with the same rewards and losses. Failure to act will not only spell disaster for American agricultural and infrastructural investments, but unlike the dust-bowl of the 1930's, will induce far more severe consequences for nations we are obligated to help. That means immediate repayment of our own debt in some nations, and loss of direct foreign investment which adds up to a cool trillion dollars every few years. This is a simple equation: failure to invest (or rather simply not exploit currently) these 20 trillion dollars now can cost American businesses, corporations, and taxpayers the opportunity to invest over 200 billion dollars in lucrative investments internationally every year and require some fraction of the nearly 20 trillion dollars in US debt currently held by other nations to be paid or to face severe global catastrophes. This can mean billions, such as Hurricane Katrina, Sandy, or here in Vermont, Irene, or trillions in the event of the worst-case scenarios presenting themselves.

Abenaki of Canada and the Youth

Paul Fischer
David Massell

Abenaki of Canada and the Youth

The Abenaki are a native peoples tribe, one of the original 100 recognized throughout Canada, as introduced by Suzie O’Bamsawin, the Director of the Territorial Consultations Department of the Territorial Grand Conseil de la Nation Waban-Aki. With recognition in American states such as New York, but not in Vermont, though there are Abenaki tribes people who call Vermont home, this is a point of some tension as there is only partial recognition in American states. There are many issues and points of activism which influence and impact their decision making processes, the most important of which, according to the lecture, has been the importance of elders. Among important issues addressed were Canadian and diplomatic relations, growing up among native peoples, and the decline of the native language and traditions.
Life on the reservation is simple, but there are not many jobs, technology, or legal structures. There are many social issues there; Pow Wows can be alternative in nature or traditional, but are frequently a place of reconciliation for members of tribes. At the age of 16, youth are given the choice to stay on the reservation or to leave and enter into the outside world. There is not much choice, though many return after some years to stay. For the Abenaki, many receive student loans and grants from the state of Quebec, and admission into Universities.
This tradition of integration into the general Canadian and American cultures has several advantages, and actually helps with alcohol and drug problems which can be rampant in communities. It also allows an outreach which affects the chronic unemployment extant on reservations. This was not presented as a criticism of the lifestyles there, but instead as a merging of two worlds. Indeed, many of the problems endemic in reservation lifestyles were a result of political friction and forced or inadequate educational measures which ignored the fierce adherence to different cultural norms within the nation.
O’Bamsawin has been witness and part of a great social movement as well. Politically, the tribe is involved like few others, and indeed few modern societies in the modern world. She has been privy to and central to negotiation with something like the equivalent of the Prime Minister of Quebec and gained experience with Canada’s modern system and politicians in these experiences as a representative of her people. The communication and connection is not just an exchange for rights and justice, but goes deeper culturally as well.
Her work has just been the most recent of a far greater movement towards the development of Indigenous peoples internationally. She was able to see this exchange first hand in Honduras, and provided some description of the history therein. The UN first recognized the rights of Indigenous Peoples as sovereign from governing and oppressing nations with its adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This was a major victory for international human rights and these communities were permitted to participate in drafting the document.
It would be misleading to cast these groups as united in nature throughout the history of conflict, at times conflict can and has occurred over hunting grounds and more fundamental issues between tribes. These relations are often evolving, early conflict with the Mohawks has been cited and resolution through Pow Wow did occur, though frictions remain. From lecture in class, it is worth questioning whether this had anything to do with the armed conflict between the Mohawk and British-Canadian forces in Montreal, after which the Canadian government was forced to admit defeat, though not before dozens of casualties had been inflicted in small arms and automatic weapon fueled warfare. One method of resolution is in the Pow Wow: on the outskirts of the reservation or within the modern reservation, a cultural revolution has occurred to some extent as music groups such as A Tribe Called Red have developed traditional music and dance with techno norms. The lack of rules enjoyed by Abenaki children (culturally they learn by experience not by instruction) manifests itself in artistically unified beats and documentary film efforts to preserve the culture through change and adaptation.
There were several critical components to this work which were established in lecture which include the critical nature of education, of technological innovation and permeation into social culture, and the process of building bridges. For the Abenaki, education has been a key development: they have among the highest levels of University enrollment among native peoples in Canada. In the USA, however, they are not even nationally recognized as a native peoples. In Vermont this can reach something of a head as “self-proclaimed” Abenaki have had discourse for the sharing of use of Lake Champlain, which is split between the states of Vermont and New York, but no such Native American agreement exists. These tensions have given rise to three levels or groups of Abenaki in Vermont. Even in Canada, though, their rights are somewhat limited. Native language instruction will only occur for perhaps two hours a week.