"And where the body of the people, or any single man, is deprived of their right, or is under the exercise of a power without right, and have no appeal on earth, then they have a liberty to appeal to heaven, whenever they judge the cause of sufficient moment. " – John Locke
Alternative variant of the traditional Appeal to Heaven flag. It's the product of angry New England colonists in the pre-revolutionary war days.
Background & Symbolism "The Eastern White Pine tree has been referred to as “the monarch of the forest.” Some that greeted the first settlers reached a height of 250 feet with diameters of 6 feet. They were a bonanza for England in colonial times, as they met a vital military and commercial need for sailing ship masts. Since the colonists were rapidly using up the existing supply of trees close to the ocean that were large enough for masts, the Royal Navy appealed to Parliament. As a result, in 1691 Great Britain imposed the first of the so-called “broad arrow” acts, so named because of the axe mark placed on the reserved trees by the king’s men, that reserved these trees for the English government. Growing resentment to the crown’s appropriation of the choicest White Pines helped precipitate the Revolutionary War, and the first flag of the revolutionary forces even had a White Pine as its emblem." - Arborday.org
The pine tree had long been a New England symbol being depicted on the Flag of New England flown by colonial merchant ships dating back to 1686. Leading up to the Revolutionary War it became a symbol of Colonial ire and resistance. The white pine found in New England, specifically the eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) with heights exceeding 150 feet, was highly desirable for constructing masts in shipbuilding. Twenty years after arrival in the new world, the Pilgrims harvested and exported these pines as far as Madagascar. Due to lack of supply of suitable lumber on the island, England reserved 24 inch (61 cm) diameter trees under the Mast Preservation Clause in the Massachusetts Charter in 1691. The trees were identified by a Surveyor of the King’s Woods (a position of preferment) who would in turn appoint deputies to survey and place the broad arrow symbol on the tree from three hatchet slashings denoting property of the Crown. The broad arrow statutes were not immediately enforced, due to England having access to other sources of timber in the Baltic. However, when this source diminished, additional broad arrow policies acts were passed and enforcement increased in North America. The statutes required colonists prior to harvesting trees from their property to have a King's Surveyor mark the larger diameter trees with the broad arrow and then purchase a royal license to harvest the trees not marked with the broad arrow. The colonists resented the strictures on the timber used for their needs and livelihoods. Prohibitions were disregarded and they practiced "Swamp Law", where the pines were harvested according to their needs regardless of statutes. In New Hampshire enforcement led to the Pine Tree Riot in 1772, where a statute had been in effect since 1722 protecting 12 inch diameter trees. After being fined and refusing to pay for possessing trees marked with the broad arrow, a New Hampshire mill owner leading other mill owners and townsmen assaulted the Sheriff and his Deputy sent to arrest him by giving him one lash with a tree switch for every tree which the mill owners were fined, cutting the ears, manes, and tails off their horses, and forced them out of town through a jeering crowd. This was one of the first acts of forcful protest against British policies. It occurred almost two years prior to the more well-known Boston Tea Party protest and three years before open hostilities began at the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Months prior to Colonel Reed's suggestion for using the pine, the pine was used on the flag that the Colonists flew at the Battle of Bunker Hill in June 1775. The historically accepted flag has a red field with the green pine tree in the upper left corner as depicted in John Trumbull's The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker's Hill, June 17, 1775 painting. Provided Colonel Reed was aware of the Bunker Hill flag, there was precedent to incorporate the pine in another Colonial martial flag. Given the pine tree's significance to the Colonists and since the flag was to fly over Colonial warships, the pine offered an appropriate and ironic symbol due to it flying atop the very structure the British had sought to harvest the white pine for. (Wikipedia)