This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
“Yesterday the greatest question was decided, which ever was debated in America, and a greater, perhaps, never was or will be decided among Men….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 pompt, shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illumnations, from one end othe continent to the other, from this time forward forever….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 declaration, and support and defend these states. Yet, through all the gloom, I can see the rays of light and glory: I can see that the end is more than worth all the means, and that posterity will triumph, although you and I may rue, which I hope we shall not.” - John Adams, Letter to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776. “A more impudent, false and atrocious Proclamation was never fabricated by the Hands of Man.” - Ambrose Serle, Secretary to the British Admiral Lord Richard Howe, July 13, 1776. “The day before yesterday . . . the Independent Company under Col. Sherburne, and the Light Infantry Company under Col. Langdon, were drawn up on the parade [grounds] in their uniforms, when the Declaration of Independence from the Grand Continental Congress was read in the hearing of a numerous and respectable audience. The pleasing countenances [facial expressions] of the many patriots present spoke a hearty concurrence in this interesting measure, which was confirmed by three huzzas and all conducted in peace and good order.” - Portsmouth, New Hampshire. July 20, 1776. Reprinted in Dunlap’s Pennsylvania Packet, 5 August 1776. “The Congress has issued a most infamous Paper reciting a great number of Pretended tyrannical deeds of the King and declaring their Independence.” - Thomas Hutchinson (exiled former governor of Massachusetts) to Earl of Hardwicke, August 10, 1776. [In Nova Scotia only the last paragraph of the document was allowed to be printed, lest the rest of it] “gain over to them (the Rebels) many converts, and inflame the minds of his Majesty’s loyal and faithful subjects of the Province of Nova Scotia.” - British Governor of Nova Scotia, August 1776.
“[The Declaration was] “the greatest event of the campaign, of the war itself, and perhaps of this century.” - Louis Alexandre de La Rochefoucauld d’Enville, “Lettre d’un banquier de Londres a M., a Anvers,” (September 2, 1776). “If there be an object truly ridiculous in nature, it is an American patriot, signing resolutions of independency with the one hand, and with the other brandishing a whip over his affrighted slaves.” - Thomas Day (English abolitionist) Fragment of an Original Letter on the Slavery of the Negroes; Written in the Year 1776 (London, 1778). “It is not enough that the rights of man be written in the books of philosophers and the hearts of virtuous men; the ignorant and weak man must be able to read them in the example of a great people. America has given us this example. The act that declared American independence is a simple and sublime statement of those sacred and longforgotten rights.” - Marquis de Condorcet, “De l’Influence de la Revolution d’Amerique sur l’Europe” (1786) in Oeuvrer de Condorcet.
The above quotations were drawn from the following sources: Armitage, David. The Declaration of Independence: A Global History. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007. See “Notes” for full citations. “Celebrating the Declaration of Independence: Selections from American Newspapers, July – October 1776.” National Humanities Center. http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/makingrev/rebellion/text8/decindepcelebrat ions.pdf. Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams. Philadelphia, 3 July 1776. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/aea/.