"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Great Jubilee Day (1783)

Dressed in Revolutionary War uniforms, a band plays "Yankee Doodle"
during the Memorial Day parade

One of America's first Memorial Days  -  May 26, 1783

A Great Jubilee Day, first held on Monday May 26, 1783 in North Stratford, Connecticut, now Trumbull, commemorated the end of fighting in the American Revolutionary War.
This celebration included feasting, prayer, speeches, toasts, and two companies of the North Stratford militia performing maneuvers with cannon discharges and was one of the first documented celebrations following the War for Independence and continued as Decoration Day and today as Memorial Day with prayer services and a parade.
Monday the 26th day of May 1783 the inhabitants of North Stratford set apart as a day of public rejoicing for the late publication of peace. At one o'clock, PM, the people being convened at the meeting house, public worship was opened by singing. The Reverend James Beebe said a prayer well adapted and suitable for the occasion.  

They all sang a Psalm. Mr. David Lewis Beebe, a student at Yale College, made an oration with great propriety.  The congregation then sung an anthem. The Reverend Beebe, then requested the Ladies to take their seats prepared on an eminence for their reception when they walked in procession, and upwards of 300 being seated the committee who were appointed to wait on them supplied their table with necessaries for refreshments. 
In the meantime the two companies of militia being drawn up performed many maneuvers, and firing by platoons, general volleys and street firing, and the artillery discharging their cannon between each volley with much regularity and accuracy. After which a stage was prepared in the center and the following toasts were given:

  • 1st. The United States in Congress Assembled.
  • 2d. General Washington and the brave Officers and soldiers of his command.
  • 3d. Our Faithful and Illustrious Allies.
  • 4th. The Friendly Powers of Europe.
  • 5th The Governor and Company of the State of Connecticut.
  • 6th. May the present peace prove a glorious one and last forever.
  • 7th. May tyranny and despotism sink, and rise no more.
  • 8th. May the late war prove an admonition to Great Britain, and the present peace teach its inhabitants their true interests.
  • 9th. The Navy of the United States of America.
  • 10th. May the Union of these States be perpetual and uninterrupted.
  • 11. May our Trade and Navigation Extend to both Indies and the Balance be found in our favour.
  • 12th. May the American Flag always be a scourge to tyrants.
  • 13th. May the Virtuous Daughters of America bestow their favors only on those who have Courage to defend them.
  • 14th. May Vermont be received into the Federal Union and the Green Mountain Boys flourish.

At the end of each toast a cannon was discharged.  After 14 toasts it is questionable how many were still standing.  But Americans then were made of sterner stuff than the current brain dead Twitter generation.
The whole was conducted with the greatest decency and every mind seemed to show satisfaction.
George Washington called Connecticut the Provision State because of supplies contributed to his army by Governor Jonathan Trumbull the only Colonial Governor to support the cause of America's Independence from Great Britain.


After a toast was drunk a cannon was discharged.  There were 14 toasts.  It is not recorded if the gun crew was still able to stand after toast number 14.

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