Liberty Bell: Journey to Atlanta

Knoxville (Tenn.) Journal, October 7, 1895


Last night the old bell, that proclaimed the glad news of American liberty was the guest of Knoxville.  Around no bell on earth clusters so many precious memories.  It proclaimed the greatest political event in the world’s history.  A handful of patriots with no other purpose than the achievement of human freedom, had just signed their names to a paper that was to prove their death warrants or clothe them with imperishable fame.  If successful, it meant the birth of a great republic, if they failed it meant ignominious death and oblivion in the end.

The act of this little band of patriots proclaimed by this bell on the fourth day of July 1770 gave assurance to Washington and his heroic followers, that they were being sustained by the people of the colonies then in revolt against the tyranny of a soulless king.  It inspired their hearts and nerved them for the privations and the dangers of the great struggle in which they were engaged.  It was notice to the world, of the uncomfortable purpose of this little band of heroic and unconquerable patriots.  It convinced all mankind that , while Great Britain might kill them they could not be enslaved.

Thousands of colonists, the pilgrim fathers at Plymouth Rock, the Dutch refugees at Manhattan Island, the Hugunots in South Carolina, and the oppressed debtors who settles in Georgia to escape imprisonment, all of these came to America to escape oppression.  The spirit of liberty, civil and religious, was born in them, and with the lapse of years it gathered strength and fervor.  King George knew not the character of the task he had taken upon himself.  He had assumed an impossibility.  If he did not realize it before he should have done so, after the fourth of July, 1776.  On behalf of the loyal patriotic people of this section, who have never forsaken the principles, the proclamation of which had given to this old bell immortality, we welcome it to Knoxville and to East Tennessee.  God grant that it may be preserved forever, with its glorious history and traditions, and that it may never be called upon to sound the death-nell of American freedom and independence.  It is a matter for congratulation that it may go into all the states of this glorious union and that it is received everywhere with the enthusiasm born of patriotism.

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