Wednesday, 4 July 2007

The Fourth of July

Greetings to American readers of this blog - I hope you have an excellent time celebrating your Independence Day.

I missed my annual visit this year to Sulgrave Manor - the home of George Washington's ancestors. A day of entertainments are laid on in this historic home which is jointly owned by the American and British people. It was yet another wet day in England! The website of the Manor is http://www.sulgravemanor.org.uk/

The English Midlands, where I live, have many links to the founding of America. Washington's family have many Northamptonshire connections (Sulgrave; Althorp - the Washington family and the Spencer's (Princess Diana) were closely related and George's Great Great Grandfather was helped out financially by his Spencer relatives who gave him a home in Great Brington) Ecton (just to the East of Northampton) was the home of Ben Franklin's ancestors, and visited by the great man himself. Flore, to the East Has 'Adam's Cottage', reputedly the ancestoral home of the 2nd & 6th Presidents. Many of Jefferson's ancestors lived in Northamptonshire.

I'll be spending the day at Westminster - very close to the site of the original House of Commons, where the debates raged over the events leading to and subsequent to the Declaration of Independence. Despite the position of the then government, many Englishmen were supportive of the Americans and their claim of "No taxation without representation"

For me, one of the great heroes of the American Revolution is Thomas Paine. Can I recommend - to English, American and all other readers of the blog his excellent book "Common Sense" - available at http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/milestones/commonsense/text.html

For more on Independence Day visit http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Independence_Day.shtml