The Delaware House of Assembly appointed Caesar Rodney, Thomas McKean and George Read as delegates to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. Rodney had the dramatic distinction of casting the vote which made the colonies unanimous in voting for independence.
As the day of the vote drew near, Rodney had returned to Dover to fulfill his other responsibilities as Speaker of the Delaware Assembly. While McKean was an enthusiastic supporter of independence, Read would not vote in favor of it, thus cancelling each other’s votes. McKean hired a messenger to make the 80-mile trip to Dover on horseback, in order to alert Rodney to the problem. Rodney quickly responded, making the ride in sultry weather, a thunderstorm and a change of horse in mid-course. He arrived at the State House (Independence Hall) in Philadelphia muddied and weary, but just in time to cast his decisive vote on that historic day.
In answer to the roll call vote, he said:
As I believe the voice of my constituents and of all sensible and honest men, is in favor of independence, my own judgment concurs with them. I vote for independence.1
It has been said that had even one of the colonies not voted in favor of independence, it could have been disastrous to the cause.
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Lord, Frank B. Little Sung Heroes of Independence. The Washington Post, June 28, 1931, p. 3. Office of the Architect of the Capitol, Washington, D.C.