Friday, August 7, 2015

Celebration at Bovina - 1826

I recently came across this article from the July 26, 1826 Delaware Gazette about how Bovina celebrated the nation's fiftieth anniversary. Remember that the town itself was only 6 years old and had only been settled for about 34 years when this celebration took place.

The fiftieth anniversary of our National Independence was celebrated in the town of Bovina, at the house of Capt. Wm. Doolittle, with becoming spirit. An interesting part of the ceremony was the organization of a company of Light Infantry, composed chiefly of young men of the town under the command of Capt. McPharland. This company, denominated the “Washington Volunteers,” appeared in full uniform, and were distinguished for their orderly conduct and superior discipline. The ladies of the town evinced a patriotic spirit, highly creditable in joining in the celebration, and in presenting an elegant stand of Colours, lately purchased by them, to Capt. McPharland’s newly organized corps. The Colours were presented to the Ensign of the company, with great propriety, by Mrs. Elizabeth Archibald, who was delegated for that purpose, with the following short but appropriate address:

"Although domestic employments, and the usage of nations, prevents us from wielding the sword in defence of our country, yet we desire to show ourselves friendly to civil and religious liberty, by presenting you the standard of our country – trusting that we may long be combined like this cluster of stars, and rest under the balmy wing of the Eagle of Liberty."

Capt. McPharland’s reply:

"Ladies of the town of Bovina – I would but cannot express the gratitude we felt, and which is incumbent upon me to express in behalf of the company which I have the honor to command, for the splendid token of your approbation and esteem, with which you have this day honoured us. We value this banner on account of its bearing the portrait of the Father of his Country, by whose name we have called ourselves, and on account of its intrinsic worth; but we value it still higher on account of the manner in which it has been obtained. Everyone knows that the value of an article is considerably enhanced in the estimation of the possessor, when it has been obtained as a gift; and it is still greater augmentation of its worth, when it is the gift of those we love. This banner has been presented to us by our sisters and our wives; and I trust there is no one who wears the honourable garb of a Washington Volunteer, that will ever disgrace it. If our country should hereafter call us to active exertions in her defence, a glimpse of this banner will be a powerful stimulous to lead us forward in the path of glory. I would just remark, that with the most heartfelt gratitude towards you for your good will so conspicuously manifested on the present occasion, we intimate to you our acceptance of the proffered honor."

After the ceremony of presenting the Colours, the procession, under the direction of Col. Landon, as marshal of the day, was conducted to the meeting-house, where the Declaration of Independence was read by Elder Wm. Cumming and an Oration delivered by Doct. James H. Leal. The oration was replete with patriotic sentiment and evinced talents of a superior grade. The exercises being ended, the procession returned to Capt. Doolittle’s where suitable refreshments were provided. 

The following toasts were drank on the occasion:

George Washington – Let the names of those who are actuated by the spirit which pervaded his bosom never be forgotten.
LaFayette, the nation’s guest and benefactor – May he enjoy the rose of pleasure without the thorn.
Bolivar – The man who being offered a crown as the reward of his patriotic exertions, magnanimously refused it – preferring his country’s welfare to his own aggrandizement.
Gen. Andrew Jackson – The successor of John Quincy Adams to the Presidency. [Adams had defeated Jackson in the 1824 election, though Jackson had actually won the popular vote. Jackson ran against Adams again in 1828 and defeated him in one of the most bitter elections in U.S. history.]
Our domestic tranquility – May it never be disturbed by a more formidable force than a Troup of Georgia.
The Tree of Liberty – Planted in the marsh, reared in the south – May its branches extend through Greece, and its fruit be the joy of all nations.
The American Eagle – Long may it hover over the armies of freedom, and bid defiance to the Holy Alliance, or any other power which may arise, hostile to the rights of man. 
The enemies of liberty and independence – Let them speedily be exported without a drawback.
The memory of William Tell, the patriot of Switzerland.
The great State Road – The way to wealth; may the ardent anticipations of its friends be realized.
Our next Legislators – May they not be actuated by private ends, nor yet by Townsends.
The Fair – May they find friends in the aged, lovers in the young.


By Col Landon. The Orator of the day.
By Capt. McPharland. The Marshal of the day.
By Mr. John Hume. The Washington Volunteers – An honor to the 70th regiment.
By Samuel Palmer. Our political principles – May they be handed down to all succeeding generations in the same pure and uncontaminated state in which our fathers handed them to us.
By Mr. Robert Hume. DeWitt Clinton – The friend of Canals, state roads and rail roads.
By Dr. Leal. Our transatlantic friends who have this day joined with us in celebrating our Independence – They have set an example which the sons of our country might be proud to imitate.

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