JULY 3 1776
July 3, 1776: John Adams: “The Hopes of Reconciliation … at last totally extinguished”
JOHN ADAMS, in a July 3, 1776 letter to Abigail, after the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 2:
The Delay of this Declaration to this Time, has many great Advantages attending it. The Hopes of Reconciliation, which were fondly entertained by Multitudes of honest and well meaning tho weak and mistaken People, have been gradually and at last totally extinguished. Time has been given for the whole People, maturely to consider the great Question of Independence and to ripen their Judgments, dissipate their Fears, and allure their Hopes, by discussing it in News Papers and Pamphletts, by debating it, in Assemblies, Conventions, Committees of Safety and Inspection, in town and County Meetings, as well as in private Conversations, so that the whole People in every Colony of the 13, have now adopted it, as their own Act. This will cement the Union, and avoid those Heats, and perhaps Convulsions which might have been occasioned, by such a Declaration Six Months ago.
But the Day is past. 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, Bonfire 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 triumph in that Day’s Transaction, even though We should not rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.