countries should be sundered forever; it may be the
will of Heaven that America shall suffer calamities still more wasting, and distresses yet more dreadful. If this is to be the case, the furnace of affliction produces refinement in states as well as individuals; but I submit all my hopes and fears to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable as the faith may be, I firmly believe. Had a declaration of independence been made seven months ago, we might before this hour have formed alliances with foreign states; we should have mastered Quebec, and been in possession of Canada; but on the other hand, the delay has many great advantages attending it. The hopes of reconciliation, which were fondly entertained by multitudes of the honest and well meaning, though weak and mistaken, have been gradually and at last totally extinguished. Time has been given for the whole people maturely to consider the great question of independence, so that in every colony of the thirteen, they have now adopted it as their own act. But the day is past. The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America; to be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival, commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore. 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
Chap. XLIX.} 1776. July 2.
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