Philadelphia was a landscape of sounds as the Declaration of Independence was read out. Battalions marched on the Common, using their musket fire to punctuate their happiness with a feu de joie , the crowd shouted in acclamation, time after time again, and, sometimes, it was even possible to hear the man reading the damn thing.
John Adams, however, remained alone. Tired, battle-battered, triumphant.
It was done. It was scarcely possible to believe it. Months of nagging and political games and debates and compromises (some dearer than others, he thought of the struck passage that had given them their liberty at the cost of their souls), and it was done.
Now, he could get a good moment’s rest before Congress realized it’d developed an ounce of sense and promptly moved to rectify it.
He sat down at his writing desk, safe in the intimacy of his paper and his quill, which were, at the present, the closest he could get to the intimacy of sitting with Abigail’s hand in his. He couldn’t have his wife with him on what was sure to be the most memorable epocha in the history of their country, not in the flesh, but he could have the next best thing.
Accompanied by the scratch of his quill and the distant ring of the bells, he found his hand scarcely able to keep up with the pace of his mind.
There would be blood and toil and treasure spent to defend it. There was no doubt of that. But what they were fighting for was something dearer than all of those things, dearer than any of them, than all of them.
Even if they came to rue the day, God forbid, posterity would not.
Posterity would not.