Even the Philadelphia climate played a part at the beginning of July, 1776. On the first of the month—a Monday—a thunderstorm illuminated the skyline between four and six in the evening, investing the City with a dramatic touch, whilst on the Tuesday a low note was hit, as the inhabitants found themselves sheltering from showers of rain that lasted from the middle of the morning until two o’clock in the afternoon. On Wednesday, the third of July, however, change was in the air, for the weather started to take on a more reasonable hue. The climate became milder, with a clear sky, something that continued into the next day, Thursday the fourth, when temperatures rose to around seventy-six degrees Fahrenheit, and the wind moved from the north to the southwest as the day wore on.
Apart from serving as an example of how science was starting to tighten up its act during the eighteenth century, thanks for this little bit of knowledge should be given to two amateur meteorologists who noted it in the first place, Messrs. Phineas Pemberton and Thomas Jefferson. Pemberton was a local man, a member of a Quaker family prominent in Philadelphia since William Penn’s day, who had kept records on the Pennsylvanian climate since 1748. Jefferson, by contrast, was in the City on business, namely the dissolution of America’s connection to the British Empire, an event that, regardless of its magnitude, still didn’t con