The Signing

History takes us only so far in understanding an epoch shaping event like the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  Then the artists and poets perforce take over, shaping popular memory to the detriment of mere fact, but sometimes to the illumination of the larger meaning.

The History of our Revolution will be one continued Lye from one End to the other. The Essence of the whole will be that Dr Franklins electrical Rod, Smote the Earth and out Spring General Washington. That Franklin electrified him with his Rod—and thence forward these two conducted all the Policy Negotiations Legislation and War. These underscored Lines contain the whole Fable Plot and Catastrophy. if this Letter should be preserved, and read an hundred Years hence the Reader will say “the Envy of this J.A. could not bear to think of the Truth”! He ventured to Scribble to Rush, as envious as himself, Blasphemy that he dared not speak, when he lived. But [“]Barkers at the Sun and Moon are always Silly Curs.” But this my Friend, to be Serious, is the Fate of all Ages and Nations. And there is no Resource in human nature for a Cure.

John Adams to Benjamin Rush, April 4, 1790

Published in: on July 2, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on The Signing