At the turn of the 19th century, the United States found ourselves in a precarious situation. We had won our freedom, but in doing so had lost the protection of the British Empire, which was a particular problem in the open seas. General William Eaton, consul to the region of Tripoli (off the northern coast of Africa), was sent to garner peace, as our ships were being openly attacked.
The governor of the area, known as a Bey, was used to bribes in exchange for favors. He called them gifts, but bribes they were, and they generally consisted of gold and silver and precious stones. Eaton records a wonderful exchange between himself and the bey, which highlights the difference of young America and the other nations:
Gen. Eaton: "'…the United States will not adopt the example of the Spaniards; and for very good reason; they have not the ability. Why should we promise regalia for which our country did not produce? It were better to deal thus plainly with him, than to flatter him to expect jewels which might never be in our power to procure. It was true, as I told him yesterday, that we had neither gold nor diamonds in America, nor any body who knows how to work them.'
Bey: ‘What are you’, said he, ‘a parcel of countrymen, shepherds, and rustics?’
Gen. Eaton: 'Very much so.'"
America, and the American Spirit, was built in large part through our handiwork and rusticity. We were proud to be a 'parcel of countrymen, shepherds, and rustics'! Some of us still are.
This historic encounter is where we got the "Rustic" for Rustic and Main. Though we are not a t-shirt shop, I wanted something to honor the rustic American spirit, for those of us who are still proud of our rustic heritage.
The first batch of these shirts is a limited run -- meaning very limited. If you're eager to get one, you'd best get it soon. Thanks for the support, and Stay Rustic!
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