Isn’t life so strange in that some people seem to receive a lot of attention and recognition for their deeds and actions, while others doing equally great deeds seem to receive little or no attention or recognition at all. Such is the case of one man – Caesar Rodney – perhaps one of the most overlooked characters in our American history, because without his part, our Declaration may have turned out so very differently.
You see, in that July of 1776 after the Declaration was written but had not passed, the delegates had to meet and talk and sometimes argue about just what to do. What many do not know is that some of the delegates were in favor of there being no break from England – they insisted that the colonies continue dialogue with the British Parliament, keep working for a peaceful solution. Because of their unwillingness to vote for independence, the vote for passage of the Declaration was falling short of passing.
So, how did it pass? In steps one character – a man most Americans have never even heard of
His name? Caesar Rodney
Who was Caesar Rodney? He was one of the delegates from the colony of Delaware to be sent to the Continental Congress meeting there in July 1776 – but he could not get there because he was very sick.
On the vote for Independence, the vote was short – only twelve colonies voted “yes”, and the dissenting colonies was his colony, Delaware. Its vote was split and only he could cast the vote to break the deadlock. And on that next day at 1pm, a final vote for Independence was to be taken – literally everything was on the line.
So, a dispatch was sent to Caesar Rodney’s home. By the time the rider arrived at Rodney’s home, it was 2am. He explained to Rodney the circumstance. Rodney was suffering from a severe case of asthma and had been advised that he should not travel. But despite his serious illness, Rodney prepared to make the trip by horseback of almost eighty miles to Philadelphia – he had only a few hours to get there or the vote for Independence could very well be lost.
Caesar Rodney rode literally all night long through a terrible storm and the next morning through a severe summer heat wave to arrive at the meeting hall just in time for the 1 o’clock vote.
Because he was sick and exhausted, he had to be literally carried into the Meeting Hall. As the other delegates watched on, Caesar Rodney dramatically placed his tie breaking vote, and his selfless act of dedication to the cause of freedom was so moving that all remaining dissenters changed their votes. Yes, that’s right. The vote for Independence passed because of a man almost unknown in our nation’s history – Caesar Rodney.
The moral to the story? Do what is right regardless of the recognition you may or may not receive. And remember – actions do have results.
What are you being called to do?