This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
FROM 1761 to 1773 the thirteen American colonies owned and controlled by Great Britain were in a continuous state of excitement caused by the excessive taxation imposed upon them, the arbitrary rule of the home government in their affairs, and their insufficient representation in the national councils of legislation. The colonists felt justly aggrieved, and the spirit of revolution was strongly manifested on several occasions; so much so that in one or two instances their public demonstrations of indignation resulted in the repeal of certain obnoxious measures.
After several serious collisions between the colonists and the national authorities, owing to the increased taxation and oppression of the government, this spirit of rebellion culminated, in 1773, in the destruction of three cargoes of tea sent to Boston, on which the colonists were required to pay an onerous tax. This bold act brought a new crisis into colonial affairs. The colonists were in open rebellion, and the military forces of the government were increased, with new powers, to subjugate the rebels. In the contest which ensued the colonists were frequently vic-to r i o u s , and their enthusiasm in the work of freeing themselves from the dominion of Great Britain was unbounded.
The legislative body which they formed, known as the Continental Congress, was organized and composed of the most brilliant intellects and patriotic spirits in the country. It began its first session at Carpenter's Hall, Philadelphia (afterward known as Independence Hall), September 5, 1774, continuing until near the end of Oc-tobei. Little was accomplished at this session, beyond giving earnest expression to their determination to secure civil and political liberty.
The year 1775 was marked by the battles of Lexington and Concord, the capture of Fort Ticonderoga, the battle of Bunker Hill, the evacuation of Boston by the British, and other stirring events. The second session of the Continental Congress began at the Pennsylvania State House, May 10, and continued throughout the year, encouraging the efforts of the patriots in the field, and stimulating the project
THIS illustration represents a lengthy procession, composed of many distinct parts, among them the various trades organized to celebrate the Fourth of July. In this the orator of the day occupies a central position. Before his carriage come the fire companies, the military display, chief marshal and the police, who may be detailed for the day; next behind is the orator's carriage, with the distinguished guests and others to apfor an early separation of the colonies from the home government. June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee introduced in Congress his famous resolution, "That these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved." This resolution was adopted by twelve of the colonies, July 2, 1776. On the fourth, the Declaration of Independence, prepared by Thomas Jefferson, was adopted amid great rejoicings and the wildest enthusiasm. Wherever the news spread, it was greeted with shouts, bonfires, processions, and other unusual demonstrations of delight.
This is "the day we celebrate," and the reason why its joyful observance is so general throughout the land and in other countries wherever Americans can assemble in its honor. That it should be so widely recognized and celebrated is only a just tribute to the patriots who secured to us the liberties we enjoy.
Years ago John Adams said: "It will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great an-niversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to Almighty God. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forth, forevermore."
In the celebration of the day the managers should seek to present a large and varied programme, both in the procession and upon the speaker's stand. No exercise should be unduly long. The procession, formed at ten o'clock, and commencing to move at eleven, should exhibit a variety of that which will instruct and amuse; bands of music being judiciously distributed through the same so that the music of one will not interfere with the other. On the platform, there should be prayer, singing by glee-club, poem, reading Declaration of Independence, music by the band, oration, singing by quartette, announcement of afternoon exercises, music, and benediction.
pear on the platform; next follow the mayor and aldermen, in carriages, succeeded by the civic societies; next come the different trades-wagons, the rear being made up of citizens in carriages; several bands scattered throughout the procession, each placed at the head of a distinct division, add much to the attractiveness of the occasion. The interest is increased when the cavalcade exhibits a large amount of variety.