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This Day In Founders History – 31 October
On this day in 1776, King George III made his first speech before British Parliament since the Declaration of Independence was signed, entitled “His Majesty’s Most Gracious Speech to Both Houses of Parliament on Thursday, October 31, 1776”:
“My Lords, and Gentlemen, Nothing could have afforded Me so much Satisfaction as to have been able to inform you, at the Opening of this Session, that the Troubles, which have so long distracted My Colonies in North America, were at an End; and that My unhappy People, recovered from their Delusion, had delivered themselves from the Oppression of their leaders, and returned to their Duty. But so daring and desperate is the Spirit of those Leaders, whose Object has always been Dominion and Power, that they have now openly renounced all Allegiance to the Crown, and all political Connection with this Country. They have rejected, with Circumstances of Indignity and Insult, the Means of Conciliation held out to them under the Authority of Our Commission: and have presumed to set up their rebellious Confederacies for Independent States. If their Treason be suffered to take Root, much Mischief must grow from it, to the Safety of My loyal Colonies, to the Commerce of My Kingdoms, and indeed to the present System of all Europe. One great Advantage, however, will be derived from the Object of the Rebels being openly avowed, and clearly understood. We shall have Unanimity at Home, founded in the general conviction of the Justice and Necessity of Our Measures…
…My Lords, and Gentlemen, in this arduous Contest I can have no other Object but to promote the true Interests of all My Subjects. No people ever enjoyed more Happiness, or lived under a milder Government, than those now revolted Provinces: the Improvements in every Art, of which they boast, declare it: their Numbers, their Wealth, their Strength by Sea and Land, which they think sufficient to enable them to make Head against the whole Power of the Mother Country, are irrefragable Proofs of it. My Desire is to restore to them the Blessings of Law and Liberty, equally enjoyed by every British Subject, which they have fatally and desperately exchanged for all the Calamities of War, and the arbitrary Tyranny of their Chiefs.”
One notable birthday on this day in history in 1740, that of William Paca. Along with close friend Samuel Chase, Paca led local opposition to the Stamp Act and established the Anne Arundel County chapter of the Sons of Liberty. Paca served as a delegate from Maryland to the Continental Congress and signed the Declaration of Independence. He served as Governor of Maryland, Chief Justice of the State of Maryland, and was appointed by President Washington to the seat of U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.