Tuesday 2 July 2013

The Lee Resolution

Richard Henry Lee by Charles Wilson Peale
Richard Henry Lee by Charles Wilson Peale, 1784

On June 7th 1776, Virginia's Richard Henry Lee introduced a resolution in the Second Continental Congress that laid out a plan for the independence of the American colonies. Seconded by John Adams, the document comprised a declaration of independence, a call to form alliances overseas and a plan of confederation.

After a delay of some weeks, the Lee Resolution came up for debate in Congress. Not yet authorised to vote in favour of independence, the New York delegates abstained and the resolution was passed by twelve of the thirteen colonies on 2nd July 1776. Although the official Declaration of Independence wording would not be approved until 4th July, reports of the colonies' independence were published that same day and John Adams wrote that:

"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival."

We Gilflurts have always enjoyed a party and I am on *very* good terms with a gentleman from the colonies so we'll be celebrating on 4th July. I might crack open the good brandy tonight and make it a dress rehearsal!

Original handwritten copy of the Lee Resolution
The twelve tally lines show the results of the vote

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