The two men who had the most to do with initiating the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776, were Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Jefferson wrote it. Adams sold the concept…But no other event was more important in the life of either man. That makes it more significant that both men died on the same day. July 4th, 1826. And not just any July 4th…it was the exact 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
That remarkable coincidence ignited a curiosity. I wondered who gave the eulogy? I thought that the answer might lie in determining who was president in 1826. I pulled a book on presidents from my small bookshelf. I learned it was John Adams’ SON, John Quincy Adams…but nothing was said about a eulogy. As I returned the book on presidents to the shelf, my hand grasped another book that made me momentarily question, why is this ugly little book here? Called “Webster’s Orations.”
Then I remembered: It was in a box of books I’d brought back from my grandfather's funeral. Imagine my surprise when I opened it up and discovered exactly what I was looking for. It was a book about the speeches of Daniel Webster…a great speaker of the day…and on page one was Webster’s Eulogy to Adams and Jefferson…describing a chain of godwinks between the two men. I looked at the publishing date: 1853, and wondered, if some history professor told me I could find the eulogy in a book by Webster in 1853, could I find it in a library? The next day I went to my local library. The computer network of all libraries indicated there was not one copy of the book in existence. In fact, not until I got to the Library of Congress in Washington, months later, did I find one other copy. So, in my case, the godwink was not just in discovering the incredible coincidence of the deaths of two presidents on the same day, but the extraordinary godwink that the book I needed was on my own shelf.
My message to you is this: You will find godwinks everywhere…just begin to open yourself up to receiving them. And when you do, I hope you’ll share them with us, here. I’m SQuire Rushnell. Good wishes and godwinks.