Saturday, July 04, 2009

John Adams on Independence Day

On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted to declare independence from Britain. They approved the wording of the Declaration of Independence two days later on the 4th. But the night of the 2nd, Adams went back to his sweltering room in Philadelphia and penned a letter to his cherished wife Abigail:

The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe 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 shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.

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 triumph in that day’s transaction, even although we should rue it, which I trust in God we shall not…

It may be the will of Heaven that America will suffer calamities still more wasting, and distress yet more dreadful. If this is to be the case, it will have this good effect at least. It will inspire us with many virtues which we have not, and correct many errors, follies and vices which threaten to disturb, dishonor and destroy us. The furnace of affliction produces refinement, in States as well as individuals...But I must submit all my hopes and fears to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable as the faith may be, I firmly believe.



"The furnace of affliction produces refinement, in States as well as individuals."

I wish all of you the very happiest Independence Day.

1 comment:

Chris Hodapp said...

"1776" was on tonight. Abigail reminds Adams of something he wrote:

"There are only two creatures of value on the face of the earth: those with the commitment, and those who require the commitment of others."