Sunday, July 2, 2006

The Second Day of July

Captain Wilberforce Humphries, of H.M.S. Impossible, personal diary, July (illegible) 1792:
We have – that is, the ship’s company has, at my order – decided to harbor on in this Dartmouth or Bedford Village, or whatever it is the locals choose to call it now. For me, it is too --- what was Hughes’ word for it? Cosmopolitan or something. I asked him which ship that was. He spends too much time with his French grammar. This Town is almost like London with its rippers and painted ladies, despite these cross and restrained Quakers. The Lord knows we left those wild Environs with the desire to stay at sea, now, didn’t we? Western ocean to the Horn to South Sea to Tahiti. But we find ourselves here, in the former Massachusetts Bay Colony, "protracting Corporation" with the King’s loyalists here nearly 20 years after the conflagration that altered our Royal Majesty George. Freetown (and one imagines this Dartmouth or Old Dartmouth or whatever) has always been the Massachusetts Colony’s Tory berth. Even before the unpleasantnesses and stronger now, since the hostilities are over. Yet they must celebrate by firing off cannon and rockets (not Congreve rockets, but entertainments), and we’ll do thus, as our armourer and gunner devise. Expect a Spectacle, bursting over the harbor here. So we keep to for diplomacy’s sake. Give ‘em a good shew, just for that traitor Adams (I say that with the fondest of respect and admiration) and get bowling along next Tide. Where away? Perhaps back on course to the Country ordered to.
Angus Swicherley, the same ship’s armourer in a letter to his daughter, July 2, 1792:
To be here is a singular pleasure, my dear. New Bedford is, indeed, new. That shining New Jerusalem, a City burst open in a commotion of Commerce and Industry. All regulated and organized so that even the least prosperous amoung them is Comfortable. And in true Spirit of Trade, eqalite, fraternite, et cetera, everyone’s money is as good as the next one’s. I am fond of this new Country’s Commerce, where everyone is a valueable Customer and treated like one. So I promised to devise a few lights for the skies to celebrate this brave Country where Commerce is King, not someone born to it, but anyone with a Brain and business Sense. Like that Franklin, and his "penny saved, penny earned." Do well, daughter, and heed his Genius! The ships filled with the whale oil – the very oil that lights your very rooms -- enter the very harbor where Impossible bobs. Captain Jos Bennett’s ship Columbia has returned from the Brazil Grounds with 900 Barrels of whale oil. He confided that an able body in for a 30th of a lay on a hold full of that or more, carries away 300 pounds or dollars or what they will! For one Winter trip! How many gloves do you need to fashion for that kind of Wealth? I keep trying to convince our third Mate that whaling would be a far better waste of time than the one we’re currently engaged in, meeting with these Americans to practice Diplomacy. Confidentially, whittling would be a far better Waste of time.
John Adams, in a letter to wife Abigail, July 2, 1776 :
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.

A Declaration by the Continental Congress, July 4, 1776:
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

3 comments:

Large said...

I do hope you are pursuing Life,Liberty,and most of all Happiness...

still nothing frim on the relocation but I am confident it will be so in a few weeks then we will slip our cables and sail north...

ThirdMate said...

I'll stand by to prepare the Blue Peter from the Flag Locker presently.

Dr. Momentum said...

Where've you been?

Hope everything is OK!