Monday, March 28, 2011

Where A Nation Was Born

The United States received formal recognition of their independence and sovereignty by way of the Treaty of Paris between the English monarch and representatives of the Confederation Congress. That treaty was, as its name suggests, signed in the city of Paris, France where I'm presently staying. Today I wandered to the very building where this took place, what was formerly the Hotel d'York on Rue Jacob.

I got lost and overshot the site, so I had to come back down the street from the east. Any time I want to go somewhere, I look at Google Maps just long enough to get a pretty decent idea of where it is, and then I just take off without a map or set of specific directions. Having to wander a little, search a little, and get lost now and then is half the reward.

In this case, I was treated with an interesting little piece of graffiti on a wall just down the street from the site... an "All Seeing Eye" suggestive of the one on the Great Seal of the United States.

As I progressed down the street, I recognized the placard on the building ahead of me and to the right. My steps slowed and my heart quickened. Here I was standing on ground tread by Benjamin Franklin. The placard below commemorates the building's significance, saying:

In this building, once Hotel of York, on September 3, 1783, David Hartley, in the name of the King of England, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, John Adams, in the name of the United States of America, signed the Definite Peace Treaty recognizing the independence of the United States.

I had my picture taken with it below:

Oh yeah... and of course the whole thing had to be ruined by a freaking surveillance camera, hovering ominously above the placard. Perhaps it's there to protect the placard from vandalism, in which case, at least please find a more tasteful place to put it. Either way, it made for a darkly funny symbolism, contrasting the two items, one above the other.