"A Thundery Oration"
On July 1, 1776, the final debate was underway in Philadelphia concerning whether the 13 American colonies should declare their independence from Great Britain. As noted in a previous column, John Dickinson of Pennsylvania appealed for loyalty to Britain. When John Adams began his oration a summertime thunderstorm erupted. He delivered a powerful speech in the midst of flashes of lightning and rolling thunder. At Independence Hall, candles were lit for the Continental Congress while Adams continued his passionate address; louder than the weather outside. The following day the momentous vote was taken in the midst of another thunderstorm. Two days later, the front moved through the Philadelphia area ushering in cool air for the signing of the Declaration of Independence on the Fourth of July.