Edward Rutledge, Federalist governor of South Carolina and signer of the Declaration of Independence

November 23, 2014



Edward Rutledge was an American politician and youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence. He later served as the 39th Governor of South Carolina.


by Ole Erekson, Engraver, c1876, Library of Congress

Like his eldest brother John Rutledge, Edward was born in Charleston on November 23, 1749. He was the youngest of seven children (5 sons and 2 daughters) born to Dr. John Rutledge and Sarah Hext. His father was a physician and immigrant of Scots-Irish descent; his mother was born in South Carolina and was of English descent. Following his brothers John and Hugh he studied law in London at the Inns of Court. In 1772 he was admitted to the English bar (Middle Temple), and returned to Charleston to practice. He was married on 1 March 1774 to Henrietta Middleton (17 November 1750 – 22 April 1792), daughter of Henry Middleton. The couple had three children:

Maj. Henry Middleton Rutledge (5 April 1775 – 20 January 1844)

Edward Rutledge (20 March 1778 – 1780)

Sarah Rutledge (1782–1855)

Rutledge had a successful law practice with his partner, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. He became a leading citizen of Charleston, and owned more than 50 slaves.[1]

Along with his brother John, Rutledge represented South Carolina in the Continental Congress. He worked to have African Americans expelled from the Continental Army.[1] Although a firm supporter of colonial rights, he (as a delegate) was instructed initially to oppose Lee’s Resolution of independence; South Carolina’s leaders were unsure that the time was “ripe.”[2] By early July 1776, he was instructed to vote in favor. Contrary to popular opinion, there is no evidence that he opposed the anti-slavery clause in the Declaration. At age 26 he was the youngest to sign the Declaration of Independence.

He returned home in November 1776 to take a seat in the South Carolina Assembly. He served as a captain of artillery in the South Carolina militia, and fought at the Battle of Beaufort in 1779. The next year he was captured by the British in the fall of Charleston, and held prisoner until July 1781.


Edward Rutledge, 39th Governor of South Carolina

After his release he returned to the state assembly, where he served until 1796. He was a very active member, intent on the prosecution of British Loyalists. At times he served on as many nineteen committees. He also served as an elector, in 1788, 1792, and in 1796 when, despite his avowed allegiance to the Federalist party, he voted for Thomas Jefferson. He was then elected to the state Senate, twice, and in 1789 was elected Governor. This would be his last office. His health declining, he was barely able to complete his term as Governor. He died in Charleston on January 23, 1800, at the age of 50, before the end of his term. Some said at the time that he died from apoplexy resulting from hearing the news of George Washington’s death.[1]


  1. Williams, American National Biography
  2. The Rise of the Republic of the United States (1881) by Richard Frothingham, p. 515; The Story of Philadelphia (1900) by Lillian Ione Rhoades MacDowell, p. 169; The Constitutional Review, Volume 6 (1922), article by Henry Campbell Black, p. 162; Revolutionary America, 1763-1815: A Political History (2008) by Francis D. Cogliano, p. 91
  3. The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia: a Comprehensive Collection of the Views of Thomas Jefferson (1900) by Thomas Jefferson, edited by John P. Foley, p. 246
  4. In the 19th Century, Rutledge was routinely included in volumes of biographies of American statesmen. Invariably, each capsule biography of Rutledge points out that nothing is known of what he said or did during the Continental Congress, due to the fact that the Congress was conducted in closed session and its members had made a pact of secrecy. The 19th Century biographers pointed to no letters or memoirs in which Rutledge’s participation was specified. See, e.g. (there are many others), Lives of the Presidents of the United States by Robert W. Lincoln (1836), p. 390; Sanderson’s Biography of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence (1846) by John Sanderson and Robert Taylor Conrad, p. 351; The United States Manual of Biography and History by James V. Marshall (1856), p. 115; An Outline of the Political and Social Life of George Washington, Volume 2 (1895) by James Tyson, p. 339
  5. McClure, Rhonda R. (2003). Finding Your Famous {& Infamous} Ancestors. United States: F+W Media. p. 8. ISBN 1558706542. Retrieved July 1, 2014. “”…Goldie’s Rutledge line traces back to a Joseph Rutledge, born about born about 1744 in Amelia County, Virginia, and died about 1814 in Greenville, South Carolina. He married Mary Paschal and is Goldie’s third great-grandfather. Since Edward Rutledge was born in Charleston, South Carolina on 23 Nov. 1749, it is not possible for Joseph to be a descendant of Edward’s. It may still be possible for Goldie and Edward to be cousins, though it looks like the connection would have to be at least three more generations back.”


  • Williams, Patrick G.. “Rutledge, Edward”. American National Biography Online, February 2000

John Dickinson, Penman of the Revolution

November 13, 2014



Often referred to as the “penman of the Revolution,” John Dickinson was an American statesman, delegate to the Continental Congress and one of the writers of the Articles of Confederation.

Dubbed the “penman of the Revolution,” John Dickinson was born on either November 13 or 15, 1732, and won fame in 1767 as the author of “Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, to the Inhabitants of the British Colonies.” The letters helped turn public opinion against the Townshend Acts created by British Parliament. Dickinson also helped draft the Articles of Confederation and craft the U.S. Constitution. His legacy is honored through Dickinson College and Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law, both in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.


Portrait of John Dickinson by Charles Willson Peale, 1780

John Dickinson moved with his family from Maryland to an estate in Delaware when he was young. At age 18, Dickinson followed his father, a judge in Delaware, into the study of law at a Philadelphia law office. Once his feet were wet, Dickinson went overseas and spent four years studying in the London court system. While there, he heard leading minds of the day discuss Enlightenment philosophy and individual rights. The experience brought into sharp focus the relationship between history and politics and would influence the rest of Dickinson’s life path.

Dickinson returned to Philadelphia in 1757 to practice law and saw his reputation in the legal field grow. Three years later, he made his first foray into politics and was soon elected to both the Delaware legislature and the Pennsylvania assembly (made possible by Dickinson’s residency in both regions). When he took on Benjamin Franklin (1764) in Pennsylvania on the issue of the state becoming an outright British colony (Dickinson was against it), he lost both the debate and his assembly seat.

As Dickinson sought footing in the political arena, the British government in London, in deep debt from the Seven Years War, began looking for ways to generate revenue. It started with the Stamp Act of 1765, which sought to impose a direct tax on the colonies. Predictably, it met with fierce opposition in the colonies, who refused to pay the tax and boycotted English goods.

Dickinson had a strong, measured voice in the debate, and he was chosen to represent Pennsylvania at the Stamp Act Congress in 1765, where he drafted the body’s anti–Stamp Act resolution (which had little effect on London). In the face of London’s lack of cooperation, in December 1768, Dickinson began (under a pseudonym) publishing in the Pennsylvania Chronicle his “Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania to the Inhabitants of the British Colonies.” The letters pointed out the Stamp Act’s violations of traditional English liberties and were universally read on both sides of the Atlantic, going on to wide fame and playing a part in the act’s ultimate rejection.

In 1770, Dickinson married Mary Norris, the daughter of the former speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly, and the pair went on to have five children (although only two survived infancy).

The second Continental Congress revealed high tensions and a looming revolution, but Dickinson refused to vote for or sign the Declaration of Independence, saying the emerging country was not ready for open revolt against the most powerful nation on earth. In the end, he abstained from the vote so that the overall vote for independence would be unanimous.

In 1779, after the Revolutionary War, in which he fought in varying roles, Dickinson returned to the Continental Congress and was elected president of Delaware two years later (in 1782 he was elected Pennsylvania president). In 1786, he had a hand in revising the Articles of Confederation, and the document that emerged was a new U.S Constitution, which went into effect the following year. Unfortunately, illness kept Dickinson from signing the document, and a colleague put his name to the parchment.


Portrait of John Dickinson, President of Delaware, on display in the Hall of Governors Portrait Gallery. Courtesy of Delaware Department of State, Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.

Dickinson died on February 14, 1808, at his home in Wilmington, Delaware.


John Dickinson. [Internet]. 2014. The Biography.com website. Available from: http://www.biography.com/people/john-dickinson-9274211

Thomas Stone, signer of the Declaration of Independence from Maryland

October 5, 2014

Thomas Stone was the son of David Stone, of Pointon Manor, Charles County, Maryland. His father was a descendant of William Stone, who was governor of Maryland during the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell. The boyhood of Thomas Stone was distinguished by an unusual fondness for learning. At the age of fifteen, having acquired a respectable knowledge of the English language, he obtained the reluctant consent of his father to enter the school of a Mr. Blaizedel, a Scotchman, for the purpose of pursuing the Greek and Latin languages. This school was at the distance of ten miles from his father’s residence; yet, such was the zeal of young Stone, that he was in the habit of rising sufficiently early in tile morning, to traverse this distance on horseback, and enter the school at the usual time of its commencement.


by Ole Erekson, Engraver, c1876, Library of Congress

On leaving the school of Mr. Blaizedel, the subject of our memoir was anxious to prosecute the study of law. But, although his father was a gentleman of fortune, his son was under the necessity of borrowing money to enable him to carry his laudable design into effect. He placed himself under the care of Thomas Johnson, a respectable lawyer of Annapolis. Having finished his preparatory studies, he entered upon the practice of his profession in Fredericktown, Maryland, where having resided two years, he removed to Charles county, in the same state.

During his residence in the former of these places, his business had enabled him to discharge the obligations under which he had laid himself for his education. At the age of twenty-eight, he married the daughter of Dr. Gustavus Brown, with whom he received the sum of one thousand pounds sterling. With this money, he purchased a farm, near the village of Port Tobacco, upon which he continued to reside during the revolutionary struggle.

The business of Mr. Stone, during a considerable part of that period, was not lucrative; and as the soil of the farm upon which he lived was poor, he found it difficult to obtain more than a competent livelihood. The expenses of his family were increased by the charge of four brothers, who were yet of tender years. The situation of many of our fathers, during those trying times, was similar to that of Mr. Stone. They had small patrimonies; business was in a great mea-sure suspended; and, added to this, their time and talents wore imperiously demanded by their suffering country. Yet, amidst all these difficulties and trials, a pure patriotism continued to burn within their breasts, and enabled them most cheerfully to make any and every sacrifice to which they were called by the cause of freedom. Nor should it be for-gotten, that in these sacrifices the families of our fathers joy-fully participated. They received without a murmur “the spoiling of their goods,” being elevated by the reflection, that this was necessary for the achievement of that independence to which they considered themselves and their posterity as entitled.

Although Mr. Stone was a gentleman of acknowledged talents, and of inflexible and incorruptible integrity, it does not appear that he was brought forward into public life until some time in the year 1774. He was not a member of the illustrious Congress of that year, but receiving an appointment as a delegate in December, he took his seat in that body in the following May; and, for several years afterwards, was annually reelected to the same dignified station.

In our biographical sketches of the other gentlemen who belonged about this time to the Maryland delegation, we have had frequent occasion to notice the loyalty and affection which prevailed in that province, for several years, towards the king and the parent country; and hence the reluctance of her citizens to sanction the Declaration of Independence. When, therefore, towards the close of the year 1775, such a measure began seriously to be discussed in the country, the people of Maryland became alarmed; and, apprehensive lest their delegation in congress, which was composed generally of young men, should be disposed to favor the measure, the convention of that province attempted to restrain them by strict and specific instructions:

“We instruct you, that you do not, without the previous knowledge and approbation of the convention of this province, assent to any proposition to declare these colonies independent of the crown of Great Britain, nor to any proposition for making or entering into an alliance with any foreign power; nor to any union or confederation of these colonies, which may necessarily lead to a separation from the mother country, unless in your judgments, or in the judgments of any four of you, or a majority of the whole of you, if all shall be then attending in Congress, it shall be thought absolutely necessary for the preservation of the liberties of the united colonies; and should a majority of the colonies in congress, against such your judgment, resolve to declare these colonies independent of the crown of Great Britain, or to make or enter into alliance with any foreign power, or into any union or confederation of these colonies, which may necessarily lead to a separation from the mother country, then we instruct you immediately to call the convention of this province, and repair thereto with such proposition and resolve, and lay the same before the said convention for their consideration; and this convention will not hold this province bound by such majority in congress, until the representative body of the province in convention assent thereto.”

The cautious policy observable in these instructions, arose. not so much from timidity on the part of the people of Maryland, as from a sincere attachment to the royal government and an equally sincere affection to the parent country. Soon after, however, the aspect of things in this province began to change. The affections of the people became gradually weaned from Great Britain. It was apparent that a reunion with that country, on constitutional principles, though infinitely desirable, was not to be expected. By the fifteenth of May, 1776, these sentiments had become so strong, that a resolution passed the convention, declaring the authority of the crown at an end, and the necessity that each colony should form a constitution of government for itself.

In the latter part of June, the work of regeneration was accomplished. The people of Maryland generally expressed themselves, in courtly meetings, decidedly in favor of a Declaration of Independence. This expression of public sentiment proved irresistible, and convention proceeded to resolve: “That the instructions given to their deputies be recalled, and the restrictions therein contained, removed; and that the deputies of said colony, or any three or more of them, be authorized and empowered to concur with the other united colonies, or a majority of them, in declaring the united colonies free and independent states; in forming such further compact and confederation between them; in making foreign alliances; and in adopting such other measures as shall be adjudged necessary for securing the liberties of America; and that said colony will hold itself bound by the resolutions of the majority of the united colonies in the premises; provided the sole and exclusive right of regulating the internal government and police of that colony be reserved to the people thereof.”

Being thus relieved from the trammels which had before bound them, Mr. Stone and his colleagues joyfully recorded their names in favor of a measure, which was connected with the imperishable glory of their country.

Soon after the declaration of independence, congress appointed a committee to prepare articles of confederation. To act on this committee, Mr. Stone was selected from the Maryland delegation. The duty devolving upon them was exceedingly arduous. Their report of the plan of a confederation was before the house for a long period, and was the subject of debate thirty-nine times. Nor was it at length agreed to, till the fifteenth day of November, 1777. Although the people of Maryland had consented to a declaration of in-dependence, after their first fervor had subsided, their former jealousy returned; and the Maryland convention proceeded to limit the powers of their delegates, as to the formation of the confederation. At the same time, not obscure-ly hinting in their resolution, that it might be still possible and certainly desirable, to accommodate the unhappy differences with Great Britain.

The above resolution was expressed in the following terms: “That the delegates, or any three or more of them, he authorized and empowered to concur with the other United States, or a majority of them, in forming a confederation, and in making foreign alliances, provided that such confederation, when formed, be not binding upon this state, without the assent of the general assembly; and the said delegates, or any three or more of them, are also authorized and empowered to concur in any measures, which may be resolved on by Congress for carrying on the war with Great Britain, and securing the liberties of the United States; reserving always to this state, the sole and exclusive right of regulating the internal police thereof. And the said dele-gates, or any three or more of them, are hereby authorized and empowered, notwithstanding any measure heretofore taken, to concur with the congress, or a majority of them, in accommodating our unhappy difference with Great Britain, on such terms as the congress, or a majority of them, shall think proper.”

After seeing the confederation finally agreed upon in Congress, Mr. Stone declined a re-appointment to that body, but became a member of the Maryland legislature, where he powerfully contributed to meliorate the feelings of many, who were strongly opposed to the above plan of confederation. He had the pleasure, however, with other friends of that measure, to see it at length approved by the general assembly and the people generally.

Under this confederation, in 1783, he was again elected to a seat in Congress. In the session of 1784 he acted for some time as president pro tempore. On the breaking up of congress this year, he finally retired from that body, and again engaged actively in the duties of his profession. His practice now became lucrative in Annapolis, whither he had re-moved his residence; and in professional reputation he rose to great distinction. As an advocate, he excelled in strength of argument. He was often employed in cases of great difficulty; and by his brethren of the bar, it was thought eminently desirable, at such times, to have him for their colleague.

In 1787, Mr. Stone was called to experience an affliction which caused a deep and abiding melancholy to settle upon his spirits. This was the death of Mrs. Stone, to whom he was justly and most tenderly attached. During a long state of weakness and decline, induced by injudicious treatment on the occasion of her having the small pox by inoculation, Mr. Stone watched over her with the most unwearied devotion. At length, however, she sank to the grave. From this time, the health of Mr. Stone evidently declined. In the autumn of the same year his physicians advised him to make a sea voyage; and in obedience to that advice, he re-paired to Alexandria, to embark for England. Before the vessel was ready to sail, however, he suddenly expired, on the fifth of October, 1787, in the forty-fifth year of his age.

Mr. Stone was a professor of religion, and distinguished for a sincere and fervent piety. To strangers, he had the appearance of austerity; but among his intimate friends, he was affable, cheerful, and familiar. In his disposition he was uncommonly amiable, and well disposed. In person, he was tall, but well proportioned.

Mr. Stone left one son and two daughters. The son died in 1793, while pursuing the study of law. One of the daughters, it is said, still lives, and is respectably married in the state Virginia.

Source: Rev. Charles A. Goodrich Lives of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence. New York: William Reed & Co., 1856. Pages 351-357. (Some minor spelling changes may have been made.)


Word of the United States Declaration of Independence reaches London

August 10, 2014



On August 10, 1776, news reached London that the Americans had drafted the Declaration of Independence.

Until the Declaration of Independence formally transformed the 13 British colonies into states, both Americans and the British saw the conflict centered in Massachusetts as a local uprising within the British empire. To King George III, it was a colonial rebellion, and to the Americans, it was a struggle for their rights as British citizens. However, when Parliament continued to oppose any reform and remained unwilling to negotiate with the American rebels and instead hired Hessians, German mercenaries, to help the British army crush the rebellion, the Continental Congress began to pass measures abolishing British authority in the colonies.


In January 1776, Thomas Paine published Common Sense, an influential political pamphlet that convincingly argued for American independence from the British monarchy. It sold more than 500,000 copies in just a few months. By the spring of 1776, support for independence had swept through the colonies, the Continental Congress called for states to form their own governments and a five-man committee was assigned to draft a document declaring independence from the British king.

The Declaration of Independence was largely the work of Virginian Thomas Jefferson. In justifying American independence, Jefferson drew generously from the political philosophy of John Locke, an advocate of natural rights, and from the work of other British theorists. The declaration features the immortal lines “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It then goes on to present a long list of grievances that provided the American rationale for rebellion.

Source: history.com

Thomas Heyward, Jr., signed the Declaration of Independence and Articles of Confederation

July 28, 2014



Thomas Heyward, Jr. was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence and of the Articles of Confederation as a representative of South Carolina.


Born on July 28, 1746, near Beaufort in Saint Luke’s Parish, South Carolina. His father, Daniel Heyward, had already named another son, Thomas, so the future signer added a Junior to his name to distinguish himself from his brother. Coming from a wealthy family, he was able to study law in England, where he discovered that the English looked down on Americans. Returning to South Carolina, he established a successful law practice, built a plantation called White Hall, and in 1772, was elected to the South Carolina legislature. In 1773, he married Elizabeth Mathews, sister of South Carolina Governor John Mathews; together they would have five children. In February 1776, he was elected to the Second Continental Congress. While angry with England, Heyward was uncertain if America was ready for independence. At the first trial vote on July 1, South Carolina voted to reject independence, but the next day, at the actual vote, they switched sides and voted for independence, so as not to divide the country. After signing the Declaration of Independence, Heyward returned to South Carolina to fight the British, joining the militia. In 1779, he was wounded during the successful battle of Port Royal Island, near Beaufort, South Carolina. He recovered, and a year later, helped to defend Charleston. When the British were finally successful in capturing the city in May 1780, he was among those captured. While Heyward was imprisoned in Saint Augustine, Florida, the British raided his plantation, burning White Hall and taking his 130 slaves for sale to the sugar plantations in Jamaica. When he was eventually freed, he became a judge and a state lawmaker in South Carolina. His wife, Elizabeth Mathews Heyward, would die in 1782, and four years later, he married Elizabeth Savage, with whom he would have three more children. Hayward died on March 6, 1809, at the age of 62.

He is buried in the Heyward Family Cemetery in Jasper County, South Carolina.


A descendant of Thomas Heyward was DuBose Heyward (1885–1940), a poet, novelist and playwright who was a large influence on the Southern Renaissance and is most well-known for the 1925 and 1927 play Porgy and the libretto to the 1935 opera by George Gershwin based on the former, Porgy and Bess.

A great-nephew was Confederate General James Heyward Trapier.

Living relatives

The Gibeson, Melander, and Cramer families are living relatives of Thomas Heyward, Jr.


July 4, 1826: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson Die

July 4, 2014



John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died within hours of each other, on the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1826. There is probably no greater coincidence in American history.

Together, and as political rivals, they had done as much or more to shape the nation in those first 50 years as any two people in the country.

In many respects, the two were poles apart. Adams was a New England overachiever; Jefferson, a southern aristocrat. Adams was a Federalist; Jefferson, the classic Republican. Adams was a political animal; Jefferson was most at home on his Virginia mountaintop. But according to historian Joseph Ellis, They “came to embody the American dialogue.”

In their retirement, they exchanged a memorable correspondence in which they expressed all of their concerns for, as well as their pride in, the new nation. “You and I ought not to die,” Adams wrote Jefferson, “before we have explained ourselves to each other.”

Adams, always the more loquacious of the two, did more explaining. He wrote two letters to every one of Jefferson’s. Both worried about the future of the country, especially as it concerned the growing divide between the north and the south. “I look back with rapture on those golden days when Virginia and Massachusetts lived and acted together like a band of brothers,” Adams wrote Jefferson in 1825.

Jefferson had been asked to prepare a speech for that last 4th of July. Though ill health prevented him from delivering this valedictory, it contained some of his most stirring language. Speaking of the celebration, he wrote, “May it be to the world, what I believe it to be, the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government.”

Adams, too, was asked to help celebrate the occasion in Washington, Philadelphia, and New York. Likewise, illness prevented him from traveling. He died at about five o’clock on the 4th. His last words were, “Thomas Jefferson survives.” Adams was wrong by about five hours.

In his concern over the relationship between these two, one night several months after Jefferson’s retirement from the Presidency in 1809, Dr. Benjamin Rush had a dream about his two good friends which he felt was important. On October 17, 1809, he wrote down an account of that dream and sent it to John Adams. In describing that dream, he related what he had seen:

“What book is that in your hands?” said I to my son Richard [who later became the Secretary of State under President James Monroe] a few nights ago in a dream. “It is the history of the United States,” said he. “Shall I read a page of it to you?” “No, no,” said I. “I believe in the truth of no history but in that which is contained in the Old and New Testaments.” “But, sir,” said my son, “this page relates to your friend Mr. Adams.” “Let me see it then,” said I. I read it with great pleasure and herewith send you a copy of it.

“1809. Among the most extraordinary events of this year was the renewal of the friendship and intercourse between Mr. John Adams and Mr. Jefferson, the two ex-Presidents of the United States. They met for the first time in the Congress of 1775. Their principles of liberty, their ardent attachment to their country. . . being exactly the same, they were strongly attracted to each other and became personal as well as political friends. . . . A difference of opinion upon the objects and issue of the French Revolution separated them during the years in which that great event interested and divided the American people. The predominance of the party which favored the French cause threw Mr. Adams out of the Chair of the United States in the year 1800 and placed Mr. Jefferson there in his stead. The former retired with resignation and dignity to his seat at Quincy, where he spent the evening of his life in literary and philosophical pursuits, surrounded by an amiable family and a few old and affectionate friends. The latter resigned the Chair of the United States in the year 1808, sick of the cares and disgusted with the intrigues of public life, and retired to his seat at Monticello, in Virginia, where he spent the remainder of his days in the cultivation of a large farm agreeably to the new system of husbandry. In the month of November 1809, Mr. Adams addressed a short letter to his friend Mr. Jefferson in which he congratulated him upon his escape to the shades of retirement and domestic happiness, and concluded it with assurances of his regard and good wishes for his welfare. This letter did great honor to Mr. Adams. It discovered a magnanimity known only to great minds. Mr. Jefferson replied to this letter and reciprocated expressions of regard and esteem. These letters were followed by a correspondence of several years in which they mutually reviewed the scenes of business in which they had been engaged, and candidly acknowledged to each other all the errors of opinion and conduct into which they had fallen during the time they filled the same station in the service of their country. Many precious aphorisms [truths], the result of observation, experience, and profound reflection, it is said, are contained in these letters. It is to be hoped the world will be favored with a sight of them. . . . These gentlemen sunk into the grave nearly at the same time, full of years and rich in the gratitude and praises of their country.”

Thru the efforts of Dr. Rush, friendship between the two former presidents was rekindled and several parts of his dream were fulfilled. As accurately described in his dream, Adams and Jefferson did again become close friends, and there did indeed follow the “correspondence of several years” described in the dream. Furthermore, the “world was favored with a sight of the letters” as entire volumes were eventually published which contained the letters written between those two in their latter years. Interestingly, seventeen years after his dream, they did “sink into the grave nearly at the same time” as the two men died within three hours of each other on the same day. Finally, both expired “full of years and rich in the gratitude of praises of their country.”

Renowned American statesman Daniel Webster was called to deliver a eulogy for Adams and Jefferson at Boston’s Faneuil Hall one month after their deaths. His speech praised both men’s achievements, saying that they would influence society for the rest of time:

“No two men now live … who, more than those we now commemorate, have … given a more lasting direction to the current of human thought. Their work doth not perish with them.”

He encouraged the crowd to honor the liberty granted to them by Adams and Jefferson, saying, “let us cherish a strong affection for it, and resolve to maintain and perpetuate it. The blood of our fathers, let it not have been shed in vain; the great hope of posterity, let it not be blasted.”

In 1831 James Monroe, our Nation’s 5th President, also died on the 4th of July. In 1850 our 12th President, Zachary Taylor participated in July 4th activities at the Washington monument. It was a blistery day and the president became quite ill. He died five days later on July 9th.

Dr. Ladd Addresses the Governor of South Carolina, July 4, 1785

July 4, 2014

A Dr. Ladd, of Charleston, South Carolina, delivered the following address before the Governor of the State, and a large number of other gentlemen, on the 4th of July, 1785, being the anniversary of American independence. It will present the views of the patriots of that day in reference to the special presence of Almighty God through the scenes and triumphs of the Revolution, and their desire to enthrone God as the Governor of the nation. The motto of his oration was, —

Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell

Their children, and their children another generation.

A prophet divinely inspired, and deeply impressed with the importance of the event which had just taken place, breaks into this exclamation, — an exclamation happily adapted to the present occasion, tending to perpetuate the remembrance of an event written upon the heart of every true American, of every friend to his country.

The eventful history of our great Revolution is pregnant with many a source of sublime astonishment. Succeeding ages shall turn to the historic page and catch inspiration from the era of 1776: they shall bow to the rising glory of America; and Rome, once mistress of the world, shall fade on their remembrance.

The commencement of our struggles, their progress and their periods, will furnish a useful lesson to posterity: they will teach them that men desperate for freedom, united in virtue, and assisted by the God of armies, can never be subdued. The youthful warrior, the rising politician, will tremble at the retrospect and turn pale at the amazing story. America, — the infant America, — all defenceless as she is, is invaded by a most powerful nation, her plains covered by disciplined armies, her harbors crowded with hostile fleets. Destitute of arms, destitute of ammunition, with no discipline but their virtue, and no general but their God, — threatened with the loss of their liberties (liberties which were coeval with their existence and dearer than their lives), they arose in resistance and were nerved in desperation. What was the consequence? The invaders were repulsed, their armies captured, their strong works demolished, and their fleets driven back. Behold, the terrible flag of the glory of Great Britain, dropping all tarnished from the mast, bewails its sullied honors.

This, my countrymen, by assistance superhuman have we at length accomplished, — I say superhuman assistance, for one of us has “chased a thousand and two put ten thousand to flight. The Lord of hosts was on our side, the God of the armies of Israel;” and at every blow we were ready to exclaim, with glorious exultation, “The sword of the Lord and of Washington.”

Yet how did even America despair when the protecting hand of our Great Leader (God) was for one moment withheld! Witness our veteran army retreating through the Jerseys; an almost total withering to our hopes, while America trembled with expectation, — trembled ! though shielded and protected by the King of kings and her. beloved Washington.

And now, having in some measure paid our debt of acknowledgment to the visible authors of our independence, let us lay our hands on our hearts in humble adoration of that Monarch who (in place of George the Third) was this day chosen to reign over us; let us venerate the great generalissimo of our armies, from whom all triumph flows ; and be it our glory, not that George the Third, but Jehovah, the first and the last, is King of America — he who dwelleth in the clouds, and whose palace is the heaven of heavens; for, independent as we are with respect to the political systems of this world, we are still a province of the great kingdom, and fellow-subjects with the inhabitants of heaven.


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