Something worth celebrating…

July 3, 2007

July 4th, 2007 is the 231st anniversary of the Declaration of American Independence. Sadly there isn’t much of it left to celebrate; subsequent generations and their politicians have mostly abandoned its principals in their hearts and gutted its consequence with their laws. It is also the 181st anniversary of the deaths of both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the second and third Presidents of the United States. The lives and memory of those men is worth celebrating. Jefferson is the man to which we owe most, as it were his eloquent words that inspired a loose collection of colonies to undertake a bloody revolution for independence. Those words embodied Jefferson’s enlightenment philosophy and guided the young American nation as an inexperienced champion of individual liberty against centuries of entrenched feudal authority. Adams, as a Federalist, had earlier in his life been a fierce political opponent of Jefferson’s views on democracy, however he later became an equally fierce friend and admirer. On his deathbed in Quincy, Massachusetts, his last words of solace to himself were that, “Thomas Jefferson survives.” He was unaware that many miles to the south, on a beautiful hilltop in Virginia, Thomas Jefferson had preceded him in death by only a few hours. John Adams was age 92 and Thomas Jefferson, 83; it was the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

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Thomas Jefferson’s obituary, as printed in the New-York American newspaper…

“This paper is again arrayed in sables, and another of the sons of our heroic age has passed to the tomb. By a coincidence marvellous and enviable, THOMAS JEFFERSON in like manner with his great compeer, John Adams, breathed his last on the 4th of July. Emphatically may we say, with a Boston paper, had the horses and the chariot of fire descended to take up the patriarchs, it might have been more wonderful, but not more glorious. We remember nothing in the annals of man so striking, so beautiful, as the death of these two “time-honoured” patriots, on the jubilee of that freedom, which they devoted themselves and all that was dear to them, to proclaim and establish.”

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