Finally, in mid-August, 1783, the British commander was given orders to evacuate. England was giving up on the recalcitrant rebels. The city had become a haven for loyalists so besides evacuating 20,000 British soldiers, the commander also had to make arrangements for those of his supporters who took advantage of England's offer of relocation. Over 29,000 Tories were eventually evacuated to places like Nova Scotia, East Florida, and the Caribbean.
The last British soldiers left on November 25, 1783. Everything was timed so that as the last of them left, Washington and his troops would enter. The time was set for noon. A near disaster occurred when it was discovered that the British soldiers had left the Union Jack flying and greased the pole and removed the climbing cleats so that no one could take it down—several had tried and merely slid back to the ground. A mad dash to a local hardware store ensued and just as Washington and his procession headed up the street, an army veteran named John Van Arsdale installed cleats one by one, climbing until he could reach the hated flag and tear it down. Finally the American flag once again flew over New York City.
New York Governor Henry Clinton arranged a dinner that evening in Washington's honor at Fraunces' Tavern in Lower Manhattan. It is reported that 13 toasts were made in all, so we know the spirits were flowing. For dessert Molly O'Neill reports that Washington was fed carrot cake, and that this is the first mention of that dessert anywhere (American Century Cookbook by Jean Anderson, p 435). However, that tea cake, as it was called, was probably far healthier than the three layer carrot cake we know and love now. Undoubtedly it was made with whole grain, rather than refined white flour, and since cream cheese had not yet been invented (1872), it was probably served quite plain.
I still occasionally hear people talk about carrot cake being healthy. The average slice of carrot layer cake with cream cheese frosting has about 580 calories, 30 grams of fat, 87 mg of cholesterol, and 415 mg of sodium. Okay, it does have 105% of the required daily allowance of Vitamin A, thanks to those carrots, but only 1.5 grams of fiber to try and offset 73 grams of carbs.
We fall for these things all the time. How about the Impossible Whopper? Totally vegetarian, if not totally vegan. (It is prepared on the same grill as regular Whoppers and thus absorbs some of that meat fat.) But while a regular Whopper has 660 calories, an Impossible Whopper still has 630—not exactly diet fare. A regular Whopper has 40 grams of fat, but the Impossible one has 34—not a huge savings. But get this—a regular Whopper has 980 mg of sodium, the Impossible Whopper has 1080! It has to—so it will taste decent. (Double check—I found slightly different numbers on different websites, but they are all similar.)
And we fall for these things spiritually as well, and the Devil is as happy as the Burger King adman is. We think we can stay spiritually healthy with an hour or so in the Sunday morning worship. We believe that as long as we "think about God" in our lives, it has the same benefit as personal Bible study and prayer. We think that keeping our radios set on the Christian music station will help us stay holy, even if the lyrics spout unbiblical notions and unscriptural dogma—a spiritual carrot cake loaded with cream cheese frosting if ever there was one. We think that because we pray at our meals, we are truly a spiritual family. Meanwhile our children grow up starving for the meat of the Word and the company of strong Christians, people we had rather avoid because they make us feel uncomfortable with their obvious Christianity.
Evacuation Day was a great event for those New Yorkers. They still celebrated that day a century later, and they had every right to do so, even with a calorie and fat-laden modern carrot cake if they had had one back then. But I doubt they would have eaten it every day thinking they were being "healthy."
Too many of us eat spiritual carrot cake every day and think we are just fine. Think again.
Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts. (Jer 15:16).