By: David Kashmer, MD MBA (@DavidKashmer)
Adams Thought We’d Celebrate July 2nd…
Did you know that at least one of America’s progenitors was confident that we would be celebrating July the 2nd as Independence Day? Well, I’m no historian, but…
John Adams’ famous letter of July 3, 1776, in which he wrote to his wife Abigail what his thoughts were about celebrating the Fourth of July is found on various web sites but is usually incorrectly quoted. Following is the exact text from his letter with his original spellings:
The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it 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. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not. (The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-1784, Harvard University Press, 1975, 142).
Writing that letter was an act of celebration.
Above excerpt is from http://gurukul.american.edu/heintze/Adams.htm. You can find similar info all over the web on Google. I first learned of John Adams’ thoughts on July 2 when reading his letter to Abigail as cited above.
The Players Involved Were People
I really enjoy historical instances that demonstrate how the people involved were human beings. Have you heard of the one where, when crossing the Delaware, one of the participants (owing to his size) could have capsized the boat when stepping onboard? George Washington warned him (Henry Knox, a man of considerable girth) not to get on too fast or he’ll “swamp [overturn] the boat.” (Washington’s actual words were much more colorful as the story goes.)
Instances, like these, demonstrate just how messy and human History can be. So to all of the celebrators out there making history, and Mr. Adams too:
Happy Fourth of July.