” I went … to hear the proclamation for independance read”

Dear readers; you and I need a break from the sad story of Nancy Shippen Livingston. As it is the Fourth of July, some words related to the Declaration of Independence are in order.

John Adams was a member of the committee of the Continental Congress whose task was to draw up a such a declaration. In a letter written on July 3, 1776 to his wife Abigail, he claimed “the greatest Question was decided, which ever was debated in America, and a greater perhaps, never was or will be decided among Men.” The committee had written “a Declaration setting forth the Causes, which have impell’d Us to this mighty Revolution, and the Reasons which will justify it, in the Sight of God and Man. …” He added: “I am apt to believe that [July 2] will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

In a letter of July 21 Abigail described to her husband how Boston had received the Declaration.

Last Thursday after hearing a very Good Sermon I went with the Multitude into Kings Street to hear HGH the proclamation for independance read and proclamed. Some Field peices with the Train were brought there, the troops appeard under Arms and all the inhabitants assembled there (the small pox prevented many thousand from the Country). When Col. Crafts read from the Belcona of the State House the Proclamation, great attention was given to every word. As soon as he ended, the cry from the Belcona, was God Save our American States and then 3 cheers which rended the air, the Bells rang, the privateers fired, the forts and Batteries, the cannon were discharged, the platoons followed and every face appeard joyfull. … After dinner the kings arms were taken down from the State House and every vestage of him from every place in which it appeard and burnt in King Street. Thus ends royall Authority in this State, and all the people shall say Amen.

To clarify, Congress adopted a resolution for independence on July 2, and after two days of debate adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4.

Letters from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 2 and 3 July 1776; letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, 13 – 14 July 1776, Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. They can be found at the Massachusetts Historical Society. The engraving (1782) of the first public reading of the Declaration is by Edward Barnard; it is at the Library Company of Philadelphia.

posted July 4th, 2013 by Janet, CATEGORIES: Adams, Abigail, Adams, John, Boston, Independence, Philadelphia


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