He wrote against "our British brethren" for, through their government, sending not only "soldiers of our own blood" but "foreign Mercenaries to invade and destroy us....These facts have given the last stab to agonizing affection, and manly spirit bids us renounce [them] forever....We must endeavor to forget our former love for them."
And then: "We might have been a free and great people together."
How heart-wrenching! What might have been were this not a day to celebrated in the manner it is? The world will never know, and very likely, it is better for our rupture. But in 1776 it was not a foregone conclusion to be splitting with your countrymen, forgetting your former love, and moving forward with a new understanding of your own destiny.
We have moved forward, and that understanding has only deepened through Civil War, civil strife, and Cold Wars and World Wars.
Happy Fourth, everyone!