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Declaration of Independence Marguerite Rivas sipoet sipoet1@aol.com Hi RS and Gina and all,

Gina, thanks for the links. I haven't had time to open them yet, though as I'm under the gun here, but I'll get back to them when I get the chance.

My understanding of the reading of the declaration was that it wasn't read out loud as a proclamation, not in secret either, but rather indoors, and discussed among the British mucky mucks. (The troops started to land on SI under Lord Howe on July 3, 1776. The majority of Islanders were loyalists and apparently quite happy to see them.)

Here's an account from Morris about the reading of the Declaration. It is attributed to a "staff officer, writing of the incident to a friend in England at the time":
"I was sitting beside his Excellency, who was engaged in earnest conversation about building redoubts at various points on the Island. General Cleveland, who had, on the day previous, been appointed the chief engineer of His Majesty's army in America, was designating certain points which he deemed practicable to defend. Two or three locations had been pointed out, when General Vaughan approached in a somewhat excited manner, so as to attract the instant attention of all present, and without even stopping to salute his superior handed him a newspaper."

"Sir William at first seemed a little amused at General Vaughn's unusual condition -- for he was one of the coolest of men-- and smiled greatly when he read the heading in the newspaper: 'declaration of Independence' He read a paragraph or so, and his expression changed to one of marked seriousness. Then handing the paper over to General Cleveland, requested him to read it aloud, which he did. "

"Sir William fixed his gaze across the tented fields spread out between headquarters and the bay and remained perfectly silent until fully a moment after the reading was finished. "

"Then breaking the deep silence he said in a subdued tone:'Those are certainly determined men."

The account goes on to describe Howe's ambivalence about the document; Howe thought it at once laughable and then dangerous. Realizing the gravity of the situation, a "council of war" was convened that evening.


That's one account of the reading. Other accounts that I have read of the event seem to coincide. That could be because the same sources were used, I suppose.

The tavern no longer exists, but there is a plaque near the intersection of New Dorp Lane and Richmond Road to commemorate the event. If I can get a picture of it, Gina, I will.

Most of what I have read indicates that the majority of Staten Islanders were loyal to the crown, but as the war dragged on, and occupying troops ransacked farms and committed acts of violence upon locals (women), Islanders became disillusioned.

Marguerite



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