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Today, July 4, is Independence Day in the United States, and our words this week will relate to the event commemorated. We begin, as is customary, with a word that also fits last week’s theme.

unremitting – never relaxing or slackening; persistent
    The History of the present King of Great-Britain is a History of unremitting Injuries & Usurpations.
    – Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence
    (Congress’s redraft changed this to “repeated”.)
Why was the drafting assigned to so young a man as Jefferson, then only 33? John Adams told the story, years later.¹
    The committee met, discussed the subject, and then appointed Mr. Jefferson and me to make the draft … . The subcommittee met. Jefferson proposed to me to make the draft. I said, 'I will not.' 'You should do it.' 'Oh! no.' 'Why will you not? You ought to do it.' 'I will not.' 'Why?' 'Reasons enough.' 'What can be your reasons?' 'Reason first, you are a Virginian, and a Virginian ought to appear at the head of this business. Reason second, I am obnoxious, suspected, and unpopular. You are very much otherwise. Reason third, you can write ten times better than I can.' 'Well,' said Jefferson, 'if you are decided, I will do as well as I can.' 'Very well. When you have drawn it up, we will have a meeting.'

¹ Jefferson’s recall differed. Interestingly, their careers had repeatedly intersected, not always amicably, and they even died on the same day – on the 50th anniversary of the original July 4th.
 
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manumission – release from slavery
[from Latin manus hand + mittere to let go, send]
    … the Revolution and the ideals that came out of it led directly to the abolition of slavery in the Northern states; … the voluntary manumission of 20,000 slaves by their masters by 1800; and the genuine antislavery sentiments of most of the nation's Founders …
    – New York Sun, August 30, 2006

    [Alexander] Hamilton was one of the most ardent abolitionists of his generation. … He even proposed recruiting slaves to fight in return for their freedom. Hamilton was a driving force behind the New York Manumission Society, and in 1785 issued a then-radical proposal for gradual emancipation.
    – Wall Street Journal, July 5, 2008
 
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Here's a word we've used before, several years ago, but it fits this theme so well that we'll repeat it.

John Hancock – a person's signature

John Hancock was the first signatory of the United States Declaration of Independence (image can be enlarged). He made his signature there very prominent: large, bold, and florid, right in the top-middle of the signature block.
    the governor-elect's [Arnold Schwarzenegger's] autograph is gaining value. … As for the outgoing governor's John Hancock, "I've been doing this for 23 years, and no one has ever asked me for a Gray Davis autograph," Stickel said.
    – Sacramento (California) Bee, Nov. 17, 2003

    Purchasing Agent Sharon Page requested commissioners affix their signatures to the purchase order, and Ware was only too quick to offer his John Hancock.
    – Amarillo (Texas) Globe News, Oct. 29, 2003

    [Israel's Declaration of Independence:] Space was left by the 25 signers for the 12 council members stuck in besieged Jerusalem, or overseas. But when Warhaftig came to Tel Aviv three weeks later, he put his John Hancock not in the reserved spot, but next to Ben-Gurion's name.
    – Elli Wohlgelernter, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 30, 1998
 
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More from the US Declaration of Independence.
    Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. … [but] They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity.
consanguinity – relationship by blood or common ancestry (more generally, a close affinity or connection)
 
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Adams’ later comment on the Declaration of Independence:
    As you justly observe, there is not an idea in it but what had been hackneyed in Congress for two years before.
    – letter to Timothy Pickering, 1822
hackneyed – stale and trite; used so frequently and indiscriminately that it has lost its freshness and become commonplace
[Did it have the same meaning as of 1822?]
 
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Etymonline says as early as the 1300s.

"Haca's or Hook's Island" became "Hackney" where they raised horses. (Now within London city.)

Horses, often hired out, became a by-word for overused and a substitute for taxicab.

Re-applied to over-used phrases.


RJA
 
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From memory, Hackney is still the official term for a taxi or cab in London, although it's not used by the lay public.

Again from memory, the name "taxi" came from "taximeter", the device that calculated the charge for the hire. Many years ago I heard a record entitled "The taximeter cab" and assume that, before WW1, that was the full name for what became a taxi or a cab.


Richard English
 
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"Cab", of course, is an abbreviation of cabriolet, a type of two-wheeled horsedrawn carriage.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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sufferance – absence of objection rather than genuine approval; patient endurance (esp. of pain or distress)

Again, from the Declaration of Independence:
    Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.
The word alter was put in by Congress, where Jefferson’s original draft had used expunge. Most of the changes by Congress were to tone down Jefferson’s angry vehemence.
 
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Interestingly, most dictionaries don’t list today’s term as a “word”. At most they consider it a reference to the historical person, who was U.S. General in the Revolutionary War. He planned to surrender West Point to the British for 20,000 pounds, and he fled to England when his plot was uncovered.

Benedict Arnold – a traitor

The key phrase in today’s quote is John Kerry’s term, though the earliest reasonably-full quote I can find comes from the month of his spokesman.
    John Kerry will repeal every tax break and every loophole that rewards any Benedict Arnold CEO or corporation for sending jobs overseas," a spokesperson in Kerry's California camp told me.
    – CNN/Money, Feb. 25, 2004
 
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