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This Day In Founding Fathers History – 23 April 2013
On this day in 1778, the Continental Congress was in session. The delegates agreed on a period of pardoning for enemy sympathizers within the colonies. They spelled out various reasons why people may have joined the British cause, accepting that many want to now be received back into the Patriot fold. It was recommended to the state legislatures to pass laws or executive authority (if the power existed) to issue proclamations offering pardons with any restrictions each state may deem appropriate. Sympathizers were to surrender themselves to any civil or military officer of their state by the 10th of June. Congress urged the states to “receive such returning penitents with compassion and mercy, and to forgive and bury in oblivion their past failings and transgressions.” 1
One notable birthday on this day in 1791, that of James Buchanan, 15th President of the United States. Buchanan was born in Pennsylvania and studied law. While a successful attorney, he became a state and then federal legislator. Buchanan made three attempts at running for president but didn’t succeed until his fourth shot. Buchanan was the only president not to have a first lady. As president in 1856, Buchanan initially asserted that slavery should be an issue for the states and territories to decide for themselves. 2
Another notable birthday on this day in 1731 (or thereabouts – some sources differ on the day), that of William Williams. Williams served as a delegate for Connecticut to the Continental Congress in 1776, signing the Declaration of Independence. He was a member of the state ratifying convention of Connecticut and served on the Connecticut General Assembly for nearly half a century. 2
1 “Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, Thursday, April 23, 1778,” Library of Congress, memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/hlaw:@field(DOCID+@lit(jc010101))
2 “American President: James Buchanan,” Miller Center – University of Virginia, millercenter.org/president/Buchanan
3 “William Williams,” The Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, connecticutstar.org/patriots/williams/william.htm