I miss you and the family. I cannot wait to return home and see you all again. I am healthy but extremely uncomfortable. Some here say that the nation must grow worse before it will improve. I feel that this statement is true and occurring at this very moment. I am trying to spend as little money as possible due to current events. York Town is such a dreadful place. When I heard of the impending British invasion, I was forced to flee from Philadelphia. Some men seemed rather calm, thinking it must take the British forever to move their entire army. However, I wasted no time in finding safety. I gathered my belongings and came here, to York Town, as quickly as possible.
Upon arriving, I realized how uncomfortable the stay would be. York Town is currently housing a countless amount people fleeing from the British. This is in addition to the already numerous population that live here permanently. The inns are overflowing with customers, and we have been forced to stay in the homes of kind-hearted individuals. However, this is not even satisfactory. The homeowners are nice enough people, and their homes are well-kept; however, there are too many of us. I am currently sharing a room with another delegate. The space is very tight, and it makes me miss home even more. At least in Philadelphia we were provided with our own accommodations. In addition to the small living quarters, the town is very busy. Our government proceedings are cramped into the small county courthouse.
The inhabitants of York Town are very interesting. Most are German, causing a large use of their language in schools and churches. Overall, they are a very religious people. There are two German churches that hold rather large congregations, who are devoted to their cause. It is nice to see a religion more similar to my own because Philadelphia is predominantly composed of Quakers. However, their view of politics is a different story. These people seem very confused or indifferent when it comes to running their nation.
The environment here is just utterly depressing. We have been experiencing torrential rain storms that seem to have no end. We are also disheartened by the events in the north. We have received no news as to how the battle is progressing, and everybody is anxious to hear something. The suspense is almost too much to bear; we must know how our campaign in New York is performing against the British. Although our current situation is unpleasant and difficult, we are progressing with our work. We spend countless hours together debating a way to save the nation. On the eighth day, we decided to draft a document that will unite the thirteen colonies. In doing so, we can more easily build alliances with foreign nations. The first issues involved the money and taxation of the people. By November fifteenth, we had finalized the Articles of Confederation. The remainder of the work was left for the states to ratify the document, making it official.
Just before we had finished writing the Articles of Confederation, we learned through unofficial sources that Burgoyne was going to surrender his forces. This caused all of York Town to celebrate. This was a huge success and victory for us because we were overpowering the British, our old master. Tension rose while the we waited for more news. The fact that a messenger traveling on land was the fastest form of communication greatly increased the wait. Eventually, official news reached York Town that Burgoyne surrendered, causing much celebration and the creation of a Thanksgiving Proclamation. This is a tremendous moment for us as a nation.
As my journey here in York Town comes to a close, I again want to emphasize my deepest love and longing to see you and the family. I long for the comforts of home. I am tired of this town. It is way too cramped for my liking, causing a sense of extreme excitement and stress. I can never get a moment's peace, and even as I write this letter to you, I struggle to find a quiet space to write. It will be such a relief to return to Philadelphia, no matter what state in which it has been left. There, we can finish our business in a timely manner. The good news of the north has brightened our spirits; however, we are still in the middle of business. I am anxiously awaiting the end of these affairs so that I will be able to return to the comfort of home and the family.
Mark Lawson, Dillsburg, is a senior at Northern High School.