Affiliate Link

Independence celebrated in Philadelphia

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol I. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

July 5. –Yesterday, being the first anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America, was celebrated in Philadelphia with demonstrations of joy and festivity. About noon all the armed ships and galleys in the river were drawn up before the city, dressed in the gayest manner, with the colors of the United States and streamers displayed. At one o’clock, the yards being properly manned, they began the celebration of the day by a discharge of thirteen cannon from each of the ships, and one from each of the thirteen galleys, in honor of the thirteen United States.

In the afternoon an elegant dinner was provided for Congress, to which were invited the president and the supreme executive council, and speaker of the assembly of the State, the general officers and colonels of the army, and strangers of eminence, and the members of the several continental boards in town. The Hessian band of music, taken in Trenton the twenty-sixth of December last, attended and heightened the festivity with some fine performances suited to the joyous occasion; while a corps of British deserters, taken into the sendee of the continent by the State of Georgia, being drawn up before the door, filled up the intervals with feux de joie. After dinner a number of toasts were drank, all breathing Independence, and a generous love of liberty, and commemorating the memories of those brave and worthy patriots who gallantly exposed their lives, and fell gloriously in defence of freedom and the righteous cause of their country.

Each toast was followed by a discharge of artillery and small arms, and a suitable piece of music by the Hessian band.

The glorious fourth of July was reiterated three times, accompanied with triple discharges of cannon and small arms, and loud huzzas that resounded from street to street through the city. Towards evening several troops of horse, a corps of artillery, and a brigade of North Carolina forces, which was in town on its way to join the grand army, were drawn up in Second street, and reviewed by Congress and the general officers. The evening was closed with the ringing of bells, and at night there was a grand exhibition of fire-works (which began and concluded with thirteen rockets) on the commons, and the city was beautifully illuminated. Every thing was conducted with the greatest order and decorum, and the face of joy and gladness was universal.

Thus may the fourth of July, that glorious and ever memorable day, be celebrated through America by the sons of freedom, from age to age, till time shall be no more. Amen and amen.1


1 Pennsylvania Journal, July 9. Vol. I. –80

Leave a Reply