The provisional articles of a treaty of peace were signed at Paris, November 30, 1782, and in pursuance of a declaration of the continental congress, April 11, 1783, Governor Benjamin Harrison issued his proclamation for the cessation of hostilities within the State. He communicated his proclamation to the mayor of Williamsburg, and on May 1, 1783, American independence was duly celebrated in the city.
GOVERNOR BENJAMIN HARRISON TO THE MAYOR OF WILLIAMSBURG.
RICHMOND, APRIL 23D, 1783.
SIR–It gives me pleasure to have it in my power to congratulate you on the important event of a general peace and American independence as announced in the inclosed proclamation of Congress, & I have to request that you will cause the said proclamation, together with the one issued by me for the strict observance of it, publicly read in your city. I am, sir, Your obedt Hble Servt, Benj. Harrison.
(On the inside of this letter is written in another hand the “Order
of the Procession on the Great Day,” as below.)
ORDER OF THE PROCESSION ON THE GREAT DAY, THURSDAY, MAY 1ST.
1st Two attendants, in front, supporting two staffs, decorated with
Ribbons, &c., &c.
2nd The Herald mounted on a Gelding neatly Caparisoned.
3d Two Attendants, as at first.
4th Sargeant bearing the mace.
5th Mayor, Recorder, with Charter.
6th Clerk, Behind, carrying the Plan of the City.
7th Aldermen, two and two.
8th Common Council, in the same order.
9th The Citizens in the same order.
The Citizens to be convened on Thursday at 1 o’clock at the Court-House by a Bell man.
After the convention of the citizens they are to make proclamation at the C: House, after which the Bells at the Church, College & Capitol
are to ring in peal.
From the Ct House the Citizens are to proceed to the College, and make proclamation at that place, from whence they are to proceed to the Capitol and make proclamation there; and from thence Proceed to the Raleigh & pass the rest of the Day.
— William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, Vol. 16, No. 1. (July 1907)