On June 11, 1776, Congress appointed a "Committee of Five", consisting of Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Robert R. Livingston of New York, and Roger Sherman of Connecticut, to draft a declaration. Who was the fifth member of the committee?
As on the one hand, the necessity for borrowing in particular emergencies cannot be doubted, so on the other, it is equally evident that to be able to borrow upon good terms, it is essential that the credit of a nation should be well established.
— Alexander Hamilton Report on Public Credit, January 9, 1790
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posted on Colonial Sense: 05/19/2016 Better Than a ‘Hamilton’ Shout-Out? John Jay Manuscript Surfaces May 05, 2016, The New York Times by Jennifer Schuessler John Jay may have written only five of the 85 articles in the Federalist Papers, as students of early American history — and the legions who have memorized the “Hamilton” cast album — know. But Jay was also the only one of the authors known to have kept his manuscripts, all but one of which have been studied by scholars.
Now, the long-missing manuscript for Federalist No. 2 has been located at the Brooklyn Historical Society, in time to be included in Volume 4 of the Selected Papers of John Jay, whose publication was celebrated last month at an event at Columbia University.
posted on Colonial Sense: 05/19/2016 Pass Out the Vote May 02, 2016, Now I Know by Dan Lewis Edward Jerningham Wakefield, pictured above, was born in London in June of 1820 and was an early English colonist in New Zealand. His father, a politician named Edwin Gibbon Wakefield who advocated for colonial expansion, and at about age 18, Jerningham — he went by his middle name — traveled with his father to Canada on a secret mission to unite Lower and Upper Canada into one political unit. The colonization bug hit Jermingham and, shortly thereafter, he joined his uncle, Colonel William Wakefield, on an expedition to New Zealand. Jerningham was supposed to only be in New Zealand for a few months, scouting out areas for future British colonies, but became enamored with the area. He remained in New Zealand for four years, returned to London in 1844 where he advocated for future colonization of his adoptive home, and returned to New Zealand permanently in 1850.
posted on Colonial Sense: 05/18/2016 An Unreal Art Caper May 04, 2016, Now I Know by Dan Lewis The painting pictured above, according to Wikipedia, is a self-portrait of and by a 19th century Spanish artist named Antonio María Esquivel. Per other accounts, though, Esquivel didn’t create the picture — it was one of the many works by a much more famous Spanish artist, Francisco Goya, who is known most often simply as Goya. Those reports are probably wrong — when Goya died in 1828, Esquivel was a barely 22-year-old nobody; and if you look closely, you’ll see that Esquivel signed the work. But it didn’t really matter, because when two Catalan brothers bought the painting above in 2003 for €270,000, they were convinced that they were getting a legit Goya. They weren’t.
But it gets worse: they weren’t even getting a legit Esquivel.
Built in 1577, the Curtain Theatre played host to Shakespeare’s earliest plays including the first performances of Henry V and early performances of Romeo and Juliet.
Archaeologists say the Elizabethan playhouse, a replica of which appeared in the 1998 film Shakespeare in Love, is tantalisingly well-preserved at two to three feet beneath ground level.
posted on Colonial Sense: 05/17/2016 You remember this painting of George Washington wrong May 12, 2016, History News Network by Staff A painting of George Washington which was recently sent for conservation has yielded surprises for its owners, the Sulgrave Manor Trust. The organization oversees the Tudor home of George Washington’s ancestors in the Northamptonshire village of Sulgrave, near Banbury.
On close examination, conservator Valentine Walsh noted that what was thought to be a solid dark background of this 18th-century oil painting actually had a curtain in the top corners. This led her to X-Ray the painting to see what other details might lay below the murky overpaint covering most of the background. Removing the overlying layers revealed that portraitist Gilbert Stuart had originally painted a large column, swag curtains and sky with pink clouds behind Washington.
posted on Colonial Sense: 05/17/2016 Another find: Dig at Malcolm X home sheds light on colonial settlement April 20, 2016, Yahoo News by Staff An archaeological dig at the boyhood home of Malcolm X in Boston has turned up some surprising findings, but not necessarily related to the early life of the slain civil rights activist. Researchers digging outside the two-and-a-half story home have found evidence of an older settlement dating to the 1700s that they hadn't expected to find. The two-week dig, which began March 29, was meant to shine a light on Malcolm X's formative years in Boston, as well as the home's previous owners, an Irish immigrant family who lived there through the Great Depression. City records show the house was built in 1874 on what had then been agricultural land. But the dig's initial findings suggest there was likely another house on or near the site, dating to colonial times.
posted on Colonial Sense: 05/16/2016 How Benedict Arnold Actually Helped Win the Revolutionary War for America May 10, 2016, Time by Sarah Begley The American Revolution is often painted as a courageous and unstoppable cause, advanced by noble men of pure intent, preordained for success. Benedict Arnold, meanwhile, is seen as such an archetypal traitor that his name has come to be synonymous with treachery.
But as Nathaniel Philbrick illuminates in his new book, that’s only part of the story.
posted on Colonial Sense: 05/16/2016 On New Jersey Hillside, Clues to Revolutionary War Mystery May 09, 2016, The Associated Press by David Porter On a gently sloping hillside studded with pine trees, clues to a Revolutionary War mystery are slowly being revealed, spurred by the dogged efforts of a local historian and his teenage son.
An archaeological survey last week conducted on an unspoiled swath of land about 15 miles west of Newark Liberty International Airport produced several dozen items including metal buckles, a knob from a desk drawer, a shard from a clay pot and a partial pipe bowl.
posted on Colonial Sense: 05/15/2016 That cursed newfangled technology, “electric lights” May 07, 2016, Clive Thompson by Clive Thompson Up to the middle of the 19th century, cities were lit at night by gas lighting, candles, or flame — a soft, gentle radiance! But that changed around 1855 when electricians unleashed the first “arc lamps”, which were Promethean in their intensity.
What was it like when they turned on the first arc lights? Here’s a description from All The Time In The World:
“One could in fact have believed that the sun had risen,” a journalist wrote, reporting on scientific experiments with outdoor arc lighting in Lyon in 1855. “The light, which flooded a large area, was so strong that ladies opened up their umbrellas — not as a tribute to the inventors, but in order to protect themselves from the rays of this mysterious new sun.”
posted on Colonial Sense: 05/15/2016 Why Are Bureaucratic Obstacles Referred To As “Red Tape”? May 03, 2016, Today I Found Out by Melissa Blevins The practice of referring to “excessive bureaucratic rigmarole” as red tape dates back more than 400 years to the court of the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain, Charles V (1500-1558). As heir to three of Europe’s most powerful dynasties (Habsburg, Valois-Burgundy and Trastámara), at the height of his power, Charles’ empire stretched from Spain in the west to Hungary in the east, and from the Netherlands in the north to Sicily in the south. In addition, Charles had significant holdings in the New World, and an enormous administration to manage his vast empire.