April 17, 1776

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Martha Washington arrived in New York from Cambridge to join George.

Off the coast of Virginia the USS Lexington under the command of John Barry battled the HMS Edward.  The Lexington was better armed, but the Edward’s seamanship showed more experience.  The Edward’s was eventually captured.  Barry thus becomes the first American naval captain to capture a British ship in actual combat.

John Penn (not the John Penn related to William Penn but the North Carolinian who will later sign the Declaration of Independence) writes to John Adams about his travels and the opinions as to independence of the people.  (Original spellings retained.)  “After a Tedious Journey, (occasion by bad roads and wet weather I arrived here in good health,) as I came through Virginia I found the inhabitants desirous to be Independant from Britain, however they were willing to submit their opinion on the subject to whatever the General Congress should determine. North Carolina by far exceeds them occasioned by the great fatigue trouble and danger the People here have undergone, for some time past; Gentlemen of the first fortunes in this Province have marched as common Soldiers and to encourage and give spirit to the men have footed it the whole time. Lord Cornwallis with seven Regiments are expected to visit us every day, Clinton is now in Cape Fear with Govr. Martin who has about 40 sail of Vessels armed and unarmed waiting his arrival. The Highlanders and Regulators are not to be trusted. Govr. Martin has coaxed a number of Slaves to leave their Masters in the lower parts. Everything base and wicked are practised by him; these things have totally changed the temper and disposition of the Inhabitants that are Friends to liberty. All regard or fondness for the King or the nation of Britain is gone, a total separation is what they want. Independance is the word most used. They ask if it is possible that any Colony after what has passed can wish for a Reconciliation, the Convention have tried to get the opinion the People at large, I am told that in many Counties there were not one dissenting voice.”

Join us at Bow Tie Tours for Philadelphia’s Best Historical Walking Tours.  Take our “Independence Tour Extraordinaire,” a four hour tour that includes admission to Independence Hall, the Declaration House, the 2nd National Bank, and Christ Church, and see the statue of John Barry!

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