Saturday, July 3, 2010

Our Lives, Our Fortunes and Our Sacred Honor

Philadelphia
JULY 6th. 1776.

Sir,

The Congress, for some time past, have had their attention occupied by one of the most interesting and important subjects, that could possibly come before them or any other assembly of men.


Although it is not possible to foresee the consequences of human actions, yet it is, nevertheless, a duty we owe ourselves and posterity, in all our public councils, to decide in the best manner we are able, and to leave the event to that Being who controls both causes and events, to bring about his own determinations.

Impressed with this sentiment, and at the same time fully convinced that our affairs may take a more favorable turn, the Congress have judged it necessary to dissolve the connection between Great Britain and the American Colonies, and to declare them free and independent States, as you will perceive by the in closed DECLARATION, which I am directed by Congress to transmit to you, and to request you will have it proclaimed at the head of the army in the way you shall think most proper.

Agreeably to the request of Congress, the Committee of Safety of this Colony have forwarded to you ten thousand flints, and the Hints at Rhode Island are ordered to be sent to you immediately.

It is with great pleasure I inform you, that the militia of this Colony, of Delaware Government, and Maryland, are, and will be every day in motion, to form the Flying Camp, and that all the militia of this Colony will soon be in the Jerseys, ready to receive such orders as you shall please to give them.

I have written to Governor Cooke, to engage immediately, and send forward as fast as possible, fifty ship-carpenters to General Schuyler, for the purpose of building vessels on the Lakes. Fifty have already gone from hence on that business.

The Congress having directed the arms, taken on board the Scotch transports, to be sent to you. I have written to the agents in Rhode Island and Massachusetts Bay, to forward them immediately.

The enclosed copy of a letter from Mr. Green, I am directed to forward, by Congress, with a request that you will order such parts of the stores, therein mentioned, to New York, as you shall judge proper.

I have the honor to be, Sir, with perfect esteem, your most obedient and very humble servant,

JOHN HANCOCK, President


This letter was sent to Gen. George Washington in New York and attached to it was the official Declaration of Independence which Washington read to his troops on July 9, 1776. Similar letters were sent to representatives in all thirteen colonies and read in every town square - this Declaration signed by fifty-six men who "...for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our fortunes and our sacred Honor".

This now-famous "assembly of men" fought valiantly to see the birth of a new nation and to a new form of government - a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. But they did not do it alone. There were countless unknown men, women, and children who fought right along side them, and many gave their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor for that same cause.

So, as you watch the fireworks and eat your hotdogs, raise up your frosty mug of Sam Adams Summer Ale (and raise Old Glory too), and give a thought to the all of the long forgotten citizen-soldiers who fought for the idea of Freedom, so that we can have the reality. And maybe raise one for those who are fighting for it today...

Happy Independence Day everyone!



7 comments:

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, An excellent reminder of the brave men and women who formed this country, and the courage it took to stand up to what was at the time, the greatest power on the planet.

Happy Independence Day!

BevfromNYC said...

Thanks Andrew - I think the most moving phrase in the English language is "we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our fortunes and our sacred Honor".

Do we do that anymore?

AndrewPrice said...

No, we don't speak like that anymore, and it's too bad. So many of the greatest rhetorical flourishes have become impossible today in the world "dude".

I'm not suggesting going back because I don't want to have to speak like a 15th Century poet. But it would be nice if there was a little more room in our modern language for both!

One of the things I really love about reading the classics, is that you run into these kinds of phrases that are just truly beautiful and moving.

MegaTroll said...

And thank God they did, because the world is so much better off because of America!

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: We have a lot of cross-winds here in my new place. At times I get irritated having to go out and unfurl my American flag which has wrapped itself around the flagpole. Then I think of the lives that were given gladly for the sake of that flag and what it stands for, and feel very ashamed. Great men and women shed their blood to create a nation represented by that flag, and I immediately hurry my pace to get out there and make sure Old Glory flies as she should. She is indeed a grand old flag.

StanH said...

Very nice Bev, and indeed a reminder of the character, courage, and elegance of the people that founded this great nation. May God help us, as we cast off the return of tyranny, with the modern enslavement of the progressive movement. We have much to live up too!

Individualist said...

Thanks for posting this Bev

It's nice to know that John Hancock did something other than sign his name in BIG letters.

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