Sunday, October 16, 2022

John Dickinson


Fun Fact: (Let me lead up to it). I haven't yet created or procured a cover for Truth in Flames. The book is rolling rapidly to the exciting conclusion that features a fantastic clash and a surprising turn to set the course for the next book in the series. In research for this book, I was struck by the peculiar delegate from Pennsylvania to the Continental Congress: John Dickinson. Dickinson was a vigorous opponent of independence--sort of. He had been a strong opponent of the Stamp Act and felt the colonies were correct in their resistance to Great Britain's heavy handedness. He had with Jefferson written A Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms. Nevertheless, he argued eloquently against independence, favoring reconciliation with England rather than independence. He was among the first to rise in opposition to both the resolution and to Jefferson's draft of the declaration. Interestingly enough, he saw which way the wind was blowing and did not actually vote against the declaration while also not voting for it either. He headed the committee tasked with drawing up articles of confederation in the event independence should be declared. When the Declaration of Independence was finally approved, Dickinson refused to sign the document. He was dismissed from the delegation and some months later commanded a battalion of Pennsylvania militia. In 1779 he was appointed as a delegate to the Continental Congress from Delaware--and in that capacity he signed the Articles of Confederation that he had helped to draft. In 1787 he was a delegate (from Pennsylvania again where he had previously served as governor) to the Constitutional Convention and promoted ratification of the document with essays under the name of Fabius.

We don't ordinarily think of Dickinson among the honored founders. His opposition to independence must be the reason for that. Although John Adams did not record his speeches in Congress in support of independence, John Dickinson did write his down and had one of them published some years later. That certainly made it easier for me to get his arguments right in Truth in Flames. For Adams' arguments, I had to look to his other writings and recollections. Of course, with the addition of the fantasy elements (e.g. dragons and magic), and France otherwise engaged, there were some additions to be made to the arguments. I had a great time writing that particular chapter, and I was seriously impressed with all the discourses and arguments that I found on the subject. Jefferson's Notes of Proceedings in the Continental Congress was useful, but not as helpful as I had hoped.

I'm looking at having the ebook of Truth in Flames, Book 5 in the Tomahawks and Dragon Fire series, available at the end of November. You can get a free copy of the prequel to the series at this link.

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