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**Trn9 nllgfoD affords to Goreniment its surest support."— WismiroTOir. 

*<The highest glory of the American ReTolution wis this: It connected In one indissolnble bond 
the principles of cItjI gorernment with the principles of CSiristlanity.*'— Jomr QunroT AoAin. 

"The religion of the New Testament— that religion which is firanded on the teachings of Jesus 
Christ and his Apostles— is as sure a guide to duty in poUtlca and legialatioo as in any concern of 
life.**— Da!iikl Wxbstsb. 

•Righteousness exalteth a nation."— Bbul 




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XDtered, according to Act of Oongress, In the year 18G3, bj 

In tlra Clork'i Offlea of the DIftriet Oonrt of the United States for the Eastern District of 

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This volume is committed .to the American people, in 
the firm assurance that the invaluable facts which it records 
will be grateful to every patriotic and pious heart. In it, 
as from the richest mines, has been brought out the pure 
gold of our history. Its treasures have been gathered and 
placed in this casket for the instruction and benefit of the 
present and future. We have a noble historic life ; for our 
ancestors were the worthies of the world. We have a 
noble nation, full of the evidences of the moulding presence 
of Christian truth, and of the power and goodness of 
Divine wisdom in rearing up a Christian republic for all 
time. That this was the spirit and aim of the early 
founders of our institutions the facts in this volume 
fully testify. 

The field through which the reader will walk, in this 
work, must give wider expansion to his political views, 
quicken the pulses of his loyalty, add to his conscious dig- 
nity as an American citizen, strengthen his confidence in 
our future, and impart a higher tone to his piety. 

The single object of the compiler was to link, in a con- 
nected form, the golden chain of our Christian history, and 
to reveal the basis on which our institutions stand. 

The documents and facts are authentic, and have been 
collected, witl\ laborious diligence, from standard historical 
works and from the poHtical and Christian annals of the 
nation. The volume is the voice of the best and wisest 
men of the republic. It must, therefore, have weight 
with the American people, and be a political and Christian 
thesaurus and text-book to the scholar, the teacher, the 


patriot, the politician, the statesman^ the jurist, the legis- 
lator, the divine, and, in a word, to all classes of American 

The work is not speculative or theoretical, but a series 
of facts to unfold and establish the Christian life and 
character of the civil institutions of the United States, in 
the light of which every American citizen can trace to its 
source the true glory of the nation, and learn to appreciate 
its institutions and to venerate and imitate the great and 
good men who founded them. 

It has been a delightful task of patriotism and piety to 
the compiler to prepare the volume, and to lay it as a 
grateful oflFering upon the common altar of his country 
and of Christianity. 

The work has been the labor of years, performed in 
various States of the Union, and in the capital of the 
nation, within sight of the tomb of Washington, during 
the most eventful year of the Rebellion ; and its last pages 
were prepared for the press in Philadelphia, where so many 
of the sacired scenes of the Revolution transpired. The 
volume, therefore, has in its preparation a national feature, 
and the reader will be impressed with the importance and 
appositeness of the facts to the present time. 

It is also the ardent hope of the compiler that the facta 
and principles recorded in this volume, and in which, in 
our early struggle, all denominations of Christians uttered 
with such harmony their convictions that the only sure and 
stable basis of our civil institutions was in the Christian 
religion, may contribute to strengthen the union of patriot- 
ism and piety in all parts of the country, to save the nation 
from the perils of a wicked rebellion, and be the brightest 
hope of the future. 

Care has been taken to give each author credit for his 
thoughts and language, though in a few instances it may 
have been overlooked. It was not the desire nor the de- 
sign of the compiler to elaborate his own views, — though 


they are found in the volume, — ^but to give those of the 
great leading minds of the republic, both past and present. 

His grateful acknowledgments are tendered to the 
Librarians of the Young Men's Mercantile Library Asso- 
ciation, and of the Mechanics' Institute Libraries of Cin- 
cinnati ; of the State Library of Ohio ; of the Historical and 
Astor Libraries of New York; of the Mercantile Library 
and Library Association of Philadelpliia ; of the Libraries 
of Congress, and of the Interior Department ; to the Chief 
Clerk in the Department of State, for access to the manu- 
script papers of Washington ; to Peter Force, of Washing- 
ton City, for frequent examinations of his large and invalu- 
able collection of books and periodicals illustrative of the 
early history of our country ; and to tlie Honorable Thomas 
Corwin, of Ohio, for numerous visits to his valuable library. 
His thanks are due also to the late Honorable Samuel 
W. Parker, of Indiana, for the frequent use of his large 
political and historical library, and to the late Judge John 
McLean, of Ohio, who imparted to the compiler valuable 
suggestions in reference to the preparation of the work. 

The Introduction to the work is written by Rev. Byron 
Sunderland, D.D., pastor for the last twelve years of the 
First Presbyterian Church of Washington City, and Chap- 
lain to the Senate of the United States in the Thirty- 
Seventh Congress. Its high Christian tone and sentiment, 
it^ finished literary excellence, and the important truths it 
so forcibly enunciates will render it well worthy the atten- 
tion of the reader. 

The volume is committed to the blessing of God and to 
the judgment and favor of the American people, in humble 
trust that it may aid in preserving and perpetuating to 
future generations the Union of the States, the integrity of 
the best government ever instituted by the wisdom of men, 
and the nationaUty of the American Republic. 


Archives of American Annals, by Peter Force. 

Journals of Congress and Official Records, Colonial and State Consti- 
tutions and papers. 

Bancroft's History of the United States. 

Hairs History of the Puritans. 

Grahame's Colonial History of America. 

Webster's Works. 

Burke's Works. 

Annals of the American Pulpit, by W. B. Spkaoui. 

Pulpit of the Revolution, by John Winqate Thornton. 

Chaplains and Clergy of the Revolution, by J. T. Hbadlst. 

Dr. Beecher's Works. 

Power of the Pulpit, by Dr. Spring. 

Character of the American Government, AncmymouB, 

Rev. J. Adams's Sermon, with Notes, on the Relation of Christianity 
to the Civil Government of the United States. 

Principles and Acts of the American Revolution, by H. Nilbs. 

Grimke's Writings and Orations. 

Chaplains of the American Government, by L. D. Johnson. 

Nash's Morality of the State. 

Life and Times of Washington, by John Frederick Schroeder, D.D. 

Sparks's Writings of Washington. 

Custis's Recollections of Washington. 

Religious Opinions and Character of Washington, by E. C. McGuire. 

Presbyterian Review, New England Review, Bibliotheca Sacra, Re- 
bellion Record, by Frank Moore, and a large number of periodicals, of 
the time of the Revolution and at the formation of the Constitution of 
the United States. 

The Chapter on the Christian Element in the Civil War was compil#d 
from the official acts and papers of the ecclesiastical denominations, of 
benevolent organizations, and of the national and State Governments. 


Story's Commentaries on the Constitution. 

Bayard's Commentaries on the Constitution. 

Rawle on the Constitution. 

Gardner's Institutes of International Law. 

Griswold's Republican Court, or American Society in the Days of 

Mrs. Ellett's American Women. 

Histories of the Various Colonies and States. 

Hough's Thanksgiving Proclamations. 

Lossing's Field-Book of the Revolution. 

Sanderson's Biography of the Signers of the Declaration of Inde- 


IxTBODUOTioir, by Rev. Btbov Sundebland, D.B ^ 11 


Sonroes of Proof to establish the Christian Life and Character of the CiTil 
Institutions of the United States 26 

The Hand of God in the Settlement of the American Continent. 40 

Pttritan Settlement — ^Its Christian Motives and Scenes 44 

CiTil Qovernment instituted in the Mayflower on a Christian Basis 61 

Christian Colonization of the New England Colonies 61 

Christian Systems of Education in the New England Colonies. 72 


Christian Colonization of PennsyWania— New Tork — New Jersey — Dela- 
ware «. 82 


Christian Colonization of Virginia — Maryland— South Carolina^-North 
Carolina — Georgia > 92 


Statesmen of the Revolution^-Their Views of Christianity and its Rela- 
tions to Civil Society and Government 110 

Christian Legislation of the Continental Congress. 206 

State Constitutions during the Revolution — Christian Doctrines incorpo- 
rated in them as Fundamental Law - 226 


10 cx>irr£NTS. 



The Federal ConBtitation a Chrifltian Instniment 246 

CliriBtian Scenes in the First Congress under the Constitution 270 

The Christian Acts and Scenes of the Army of the RcTolution .'. ^..: 277 

Goyemment Chaplains 806 

Christian Ministers of the Revolution 832 

Christian Women of the Revolution 888 

Christian Churches of the Revolution — ^Congregational Churches 420 

Christian Churches of the Revolution — The Baptist Churches — Methodist 
Episcopal Church. 447 

Christian Churches of the Revolution — The Reformed Dutch Church 
and other Churches — German Lutheran Church — Universalist Con- 
Tention 460 

Christian Character of Washington 479 

Fast and Thanksgiving Days 626 

Thanksgiving Days appointed by the States 660 

Christian Scenes in the Capitol of the Republic 618 


Christianity of American Courts, and Christian Character of Eminent 
American Judges 684 

The Christian Element in the Civil War of the United States 666 


The story of Christianity in America is one of the most 
astonishing chapters in the annals of the world. The events of 
Providence in reserving and preparing the country of these 
United States to be the theatre of its development and triumph, 
constitute one of the most remarkable passages of modern 

This is a Christian nation, first in name, and secondly because 
of the many and mighty elements of a pure Christianity which 
have given it character and shaped its destiny from the begin- 
ning. It is pre-eminently the land of the Bible, of the Chris- 
tian Church, and of the Christian Sabbath. It is the land of great 
and extensive and oft-repeated revivals of a spiritual religion, — 
the land of a free conscience and of free speech, — the land of 
noble charities and of manifold and earnest efforts for the ele- 
vation and welfare of the human race. The chief security and 
glory of the United States of America has been, is now, and 
will be forever, the prevalence and domination of the Christian 

The materialist may find in other a^'^pects of our country many 
grounds of complacency. Compared with other nations, we 
have had a wonderful career. The marvels of the republic 
stand thick along the line of our advancement. Whether wo 
consider the colonial period, or that of the Revolution, or those 
of subsequent times, our growth in numbers, in territory, in 
wealth and power, has been almost unparalleled. The spirit of 
our Government and its institutions is singularly ada])tcd to 
secure the general peace and happiness of human society. Our 
example has long been an object of jealousy and fear to tho 
oppressors of man. Our country has thrown open an asylum 
to the unfortunate from every quarter of the globe. AH tae 
kindreds of the earth have been welcome to repose beneath the 
shadow of our Tree, which in less than a single century li;:s 
spread its branches across the continent. And if our civil 



polity has not realized all the possible blessings of a free govern- 
ment, the reason lies less in the genius of the economy than in the 
acknowledged imperfections of human nature itself. In addition 
to these things, Providence has signally favored the nation in 
its geographical position, the fertility of its soil, the plenty of 
its seasons, and the salubrity of its climate. The vigor of the 
people has found ample scope in utilizing the physical resources 
of the country, by all the industries and arts of agriculture, 
manufacture, and commerce; while in conducting the educa- 
tional and intellectual interests of society, no modern nation in 
the same space of time has contributed more to the great ele- 
ments of that higher civilization towards which the world is 
everywhere slowly but surely tending. These are sources of 
just satisfaction to every friend and lover of his country. But 
they are, meanwhile, considerations which fall far below those 
great moral and spiritual principles in the absence of which no 
state on earth can perpetuate its existence. 

The true theory of national life and prosperity is clearly un- 
folded in the revealed word of God. The secret of all stability 
and enduring greatness in human governments, as with indivi- 
dual men, is to be found alone in the quickening power of the 
Christian Faith. This only, imbuing and pervading the mind 
and heart of human society, can organize and preserve to the 
body politic its highest and most untroubled fortunes. Falli- 
bility and corruption inhere indeed in the materials of every 
commonwealth, — the result of which is a liability to continual' 
change. Growth succeeded by decay, and decay forcing an- 
other growth, is the philosophy of national vicissitude, as it ia 
also the great fact of the physical creation. " One generation 
passeth away, and another generation cometh," and therefore 
the permanence of empire must rest in the ideas of a people. 
If then there be in such ideas no greS^t enduring principle of 
spiritual life, there can be no perpetuity of national existence. 
If there be no grand, sublime, and imperishable thought, filling 
the soul of a people with its fire and fashioning their progress 
after its pattern, there can be no sense in which they may 
escape the inevitable mutations of tlit* world, or avoid the fate 
of so many that have gone before them. 

The most powerful empires of the past have perished because 
they were wanting in a principle strong enough and spiritual 
enough to resist the self-destructive energies of human nature. 


The pagan world could not furnish such a principle. It was 
in neither their philosophy nor their religion. It is not in the 
power of man unaided to discover and apply such a principle. 
Nothing short of divine wisdom and^power can actualize among 
the nations that principle of spiritual life which not only origin* 
ates but preserves the substance of social and civil welfare. 
Christianity is the divine method of imparting this principle to 
men and nations, and the only method revealed from Heaven for 
regulating our present state, and, after this, conferring upon us 
the lasting awards of a glorious immortality. The doctrines of 
Christianity form a system of perfect and saving truth, its 
duties comprise the sum of all genuine beneficence, while its 
ascendency over the human soul is eflfectually secured by the 
regeneration of no less than the infinite Spirit of God. 

The dispensation of this Spirit has been distinctly and con- 
stantly affirmed in our country, and the people have been 
instructed to expect " times of refreshing from the presence of 
the Lord," not more in the early and latter rains of heaven than in 
the silent but reformatory processes of our moral and religiom 
oondition. , The Author of human nature is that same God who 
must re-supply its wasting energy, and diffuse in human society 
the life and light of truth, by turning men from the way of 
transgression unto "the wisdom of the just." According to this 
belief, there is a direct and immediate connection between the 
human soul and the Divine Spirit; and wherever the sacred in- 
fluence falls, there human beings are sure to " walk in newness 
of life," supporting and stimulating all that is precious and 
invaluable in the temporal and eternal well-being of mankind. 
This doctrine, which lies equally removed from the superstition 
of ignorance and from the levity of unbelief, has been more 
thoroughly explained and more widely disseminated among the 
people of America than anywhere else on the face of the earth. 
And it is due to the influence of evangelical religion among all 
classes of society, more than to all other considerations together, 
that our prosperity has been so great and our progress so un- 
exampled. " Ye are the light of the world. Ye are the salt of 
the earth." This is the description of men whose views and 
conduct are the result of the inspiration of Jesus Christ. All 
time attests its truth. " Righteousness exalteth a nation, while 
sin is a reproach to any people," and must, if persisted in, pave 
the way to their flnsd destruction. This divine maxim has 


been exemplified in all the old seats of human population, 'and 
is borne onward in the spirit of prophetic admonition from age 
to age. The voice of history is lifted in repeated accents of 
solemn warning, and rolls ^n thunder-blasts its own great lesson 
upon the ear of nations. 

But while, without doubt, there has been, and is now, the 
presence of an evangelical power in this republic, that has left 
its impress and its influence upon our institutions and our 
society, and has reared so many sacred monuments for the 
gratitude and the admiration of mankind, it cannot and ought 
not to be denied that the nation as it stands to-day is far 
below that moral and religious condition which constitutes the 
essential safety, prosperity, and honor of any people. It is 
sadly true that a very large proportion of the population are 
strangers to the genuine spirit of the Christian religion, and 
almost, if not altogether, unacquainted even with the history 
of its facts and the extent of its influence in the land of our 
inheritance. The standing complaint of human degeneracy 
remains against us. Causes have been operating — and of late 
years with fearful rapidity and strength — to produce a state of 
moral obliquity and practical atheism among us, appalling in 
magnitude and of alarming consequence. It has become of 
late quite customary to sneer at the puritanism of our fathers, 
and to speak with contempt of the severity of their manners and 
the bigotry of their faith. This impious treatment, by the pre- 
sent corrupters of society, of a generation of men whose lofty 
principles and illustrious virtues they seem utterly unable to 
comprehend, is well adapted not only to arouse the deepest in- 
dignation, but also to excite the most lively concern. There are 
two quarters from which these evil influences chiefly proceed. 
A class of men without conscience, and reckless of all moral 
restraint, have gained ascendency in public favor, and assume 
from their prominent position to mould and direct the public 
sentiment of the nation. Their general influence upon the 
public morals has been like the wind of the desert, — poisonous, 
withering, and destructive. Another and very large class of 
men moving in the lower walks of life form a significant element 
of our American population, whose hard and vicious instincts, 
gratified without compunction and paraded everywhere in the 
most offensive manner, would seem to render them wellnigh 
incapable of reformation. Apparently insensible to all the 

nrrBOPTTOTioir* 15 

nobler sentiments of public morality and virtue, and ever ready 
to perform their congenial part in the general demoralization, 
they demand that all the higher classes shall pander to their 
depraved appetites, as the price of their patronage and support. 
In this reciprocal play of the baser passions the common prin- 
ciples of morality are daily sacrificed, and the strong and the 
weak join hands in carrying down the nation to the very verge 
of ruin. No man can observe the conditions of society in our 
country, and the obvious impulses of human conduct, without 
feeling that the perils against which the fathers warned us, and 
which have been so faithfully and constantly pointed out by the 
ministers of religion, have, notwithstanding, increased at a fear- 
fid rate, without seeing that the most alarming departures from 
the standard of individual rectitude and social integrity have 
occurred among us within the century that is past. 

And, while every period has exhibited the signs of public de- 
generacy, none in our history presents more fearful proofe of 
the impiety and obduracy of great masses of the people. We 
have abandoned, in a great measure, the faith and practice of 
our ancestors, in putting aside from their lawful supremacy the 
Christian ordinances and doctrines. The natural result is, that 
we have corrupted our ways in all the circles of society and in 
all the pursuits of life. We have become as a field rank with 
the growth of all the vices and heaped with the pollution of 
mighty crimes. The rigid training of former times through 
fisunily government, discipline, and instruction has been greatly 
relaxed, if not in many cases wholly neglected. Indeed, there 
are multitudes of parents in the land who from physical and 
moral causes are totally unfit to have the care of the children 
to whom they have given birth: so that a generation of human 
beings is growing up in one of the most favored regions of the 
globe, whose preparation for the responsibilities of their age 
and mission has been sadly at fault, and whose precocity in 
levity, mischief, and insubordination already equals the vitiating 
examples that are set before them. The education of the nation 
is going forward with rapid strides, but it is in a lamentable 
degree under the auspices of immorality and irreligion, alike in 
the high and the low places of the community. The unblush- 
ing venality and brazen wickedness of a large portion of the 
conductors of the public press and of the public men of the 
oountry have strongly tended to demoVaJize the nation, to 

16 nTTBODncnoN. 

undermine the foundations and destroy the influence of Chris- 
tian discipline, and to turn the mind and heart of many to infi- 
delity and licentiousness. The same baleful spirit has moved 
upon the fountains of human learning and science, and so secu- 
larized the philosophy of the times as to have set the high 
Cetculty of human reason at variance with the sacred majesty of 
religion, and to have plunged thousands upon thousands of our 
young men into a sea of splendid sophistry and subtlety and 
all the ruinous speculation of a proud but vain imagination. 
Meanwhile, from the hearts of multitudes the dignity of honest 
labor and the dictates of a sober and frugal economy have died 
out, on the one hand increasing pauperism and crime and lend- 
ing to misfortune the aggravation of human improvidence, 
and on the other fostering habits of false show, and thus in- 
creasing the temptation to deception, fraud, peculation, and all 
the dishonesties of the most high-pampered extravagance and 
excess. Moreover, the wanton neglect or abuse of our provi- 
dential blessings, and the unconscious apostasy from every 
sentiment of purity and virtue, have served greatly to defile 
and degrade the mind of a large portion of the community, 
and fill the centres of population with a low and vulgar 
herd, who throng the open temples of obscenity and infamy. 
Thus the materials are prepared for human guilt and wretched- 
ness, whose catalogue of crimes and woes exhausts the power 
of language to express them. Beyond all this, political con-* 
troversy and partisan strife for the reins and spoils of power, 
conducted without principle, and reeking with abuse, have 
taken so fierce a form as often to have driven the best men 
from the arena and left the worst upon the field. The selfish 
and profligate stand forward to control the nominatious and 
elections to office, and afterwards gamble with its duties and 
obligations without shame and without remorse. Nor is this 
all. Our wrongs to the Indian and the African, continued 
from the beginning, have brutalized the temper, darkened 
the understanding, and perverted the judgment of the nation 
in regard to the plainest principles of common humanity and 
justice. The tide of emigration from the Old World has borne 
to our shores a large element of the foreign-born, who speedily 
become imbued with our native and inexorable prejudice in this 
respect. Thus, while we claim to be a free government, we 
have cherished institutions in our midst which are a mockery 

nsTEODuonoN, 17 

of the name of liberty and have become our standing ehame 
and curse in .the sight of the whole world. Involved in a 
criminality so grave, we have not failed to exhibit its usual con- 
comitants, — arrogance and self-conceit. Our vast facilities of pro- 
duction, trade, and transportation have filled us with high notions 
of our superiority, and at the same time degraded us to dispo- 
sitions of covetousness and cruelty. And from the long period 
of our tranquillity we have come at length to a pitch of wicked- 
ness that has culminated in one of the most gigantic and deso- 
lating civil wars the world has ever seen. Our unparalleled 
liberty has degenerated into dissolute indulgence ; we have been 
so long without the burdens of government as to have almost 
forgotten the price of our birthright and to have cast away the 
only safeguards of its continuance; w^ have proved ourselves un- 
worthy of our inheritance, in our contempt of that virtue which 
alone affords protection to society, in our blind disregard of the 
Christian foundations on which alone the great interests of a 
nation can permanently rest. Thus, at last, a majority of the 
people, have grown wholly unmindful of the authority and pre- 
rogative of Grod, and of the duties we owe to him and to his 
creatures. The true life and soul of Christianity has been to a 
great degree emasculated, and the very titles of Jehovah and 
the tokens of his awful majesty in the earth have become to 
multitudes among us as idle and unmeaning as the Grecian 
myths, used, indeed, to furbish a paragraph with classic ele- 
gance or round a period with sonorous emphasis, but completely 
divested of those great, grand, solemn, and glorious thoughts 
which never can dwell with vulgarity, profanation, and irreve- 

Now, if, under such conditions, Christianity should resume 
her sway and bring the masses of the nation back to the pure 
and simple virtues and to the stern and heroic spirit which 
marked the age of our Revolutionary fathers, it will prove to 
be a moral miracle equal to her first triumphs in apostolic days. 
Tet to this object all good men should devote their energies and 
their prayers. In the firm conviction that virtue must finally be 
supreme, and that a wise and beneficent Providence has designed 
this continent to be the theatre of the yet more glorious con- 
quests of Christianity, it is the mission and the duty of all friends 
of evangelical truth to combine in the attempt to hold and appro- 
priate this country, with its resources, monuments, and inoti- 



tutions, for an empire devoted to the spread of God's kingdom 
in the earth, and the universal reign of Jesus Christ. 

And it is high time that we had begun to see our duty and 
to feel our obligation. God's great "judgments are already in 
the land:" shall not its inhabitants begin "to learn righteous- 
ness"? The associated moral and spiritual power of a Chris- 
tian people ought now to be making itself felt in every pai^t of 
the land and in all that concerns the existence and welfare of 
the country. It is the settled conviction of many of the most 
intelligent and purest minds that the time has come when the 
Christian people of America should take into their own hands 
the work of reclaiming the government and wielding its power 
more decisively for the glory of God and the highest good of 
- human nature, and that fcjr this purpose the true and the good 
should sternly separate themselves from all connection with the 
openly vicious and corrupt, and from all countenance and sup- 
port of those whose life and example will not bear the scrutiny 
of common decency and morality. And if in a representative 
government Uke ours there must be political divisions, and a 
conflict of the suffrages of the people, let there be a Christian 
party, — a party that will not sustain by their sympathy or their 
votes men who are known to be in sentiment and life, by pre- 
cept and example, unchristian and untrue to the great principles 
of the Christian faith ; for the highest treason of which man- 
kind are capable is treason against the authority and law of the 
Divine government itself; and the most deadly enemies to 
human government are they who, with a great pretence of 
loyalty, are nevertheless daily insulting the majesty of Him who 
has power to destroy nations at his will. 

The fountain of political turbulence and corruption un- 
doubtedly lies in the primary assemblies of the people, as con- 
ducted upon the principle of party caucus, which for a long 
period has amounted to little else than a system of chicanery 
and venality too humiliating to describe. This kind of impo- 
sition upon the free action of American citizenship has been 
carried to such an extent as wellnigh to neutralize the title of 
suffrage itself, and make of the boasted ballot-box a mockery of 
American privilege. For the caucu^s, then, let the Clvurch be 
substituted, — not any one sect or denomination of Christisuis, 
but the whole Church catholic, — ^not with a view to exciting 
mutual jealousies and creating hostile prejudices, but standing 

iiiTRdbucnoN. 19 

OH the platform of Cliristian character supposed to be exempli- 
fied in the sincere adherents of every Christian Church. Let the 
weight of every vote tell what is the conviction, the intelligent, 
sober, and matured judgment, of the Christian mind of this 
nation as to the vcdue to our country of personal integrity and 
upright manhood. If it were well established that such would 
be the policy of the truly Christiaji portion of the people in 
all the Christian churches of the country, the very fact 
would carry with it a moral influence which even the most 
brazen and unscrupulous politician could not altogether de- 
spise or resist. And in connection with this position it must 
be seen that our Christian duty requires us also to set our 
faces as a flint against the current of social and moral degra- 
dation which flows in the popular fashions, tastes, customs, 
and amusements of the day, — in the factitious and dishonest 
principles of business life, — in the whole circle of immoral 
and dangerous practices and pursuits which ensnare the mul- 
titude and draw them on to ruin. We must be more dili- 
gent and faithful with the early years of childhood. Chris- 
tian parents must resume the discipline and religious training 
over their sons and daughters which prevailed in the earlier 
and purer days of the republic. And all the departments of 
government must be filled with men who will administer their 
power for the suppression of whatever is deleterious in its influ- 
ence, and for the encouragement of whatever is of a beneficent 
and elevating tendency. The Church of Christ must purge 
itself of worthless members, who now, through the laxity of 
discipline, continue a scandal and a reproach, cumbering its pro- 
gress and dragging down its sacred name into the dust. All the 
educational and eleemosynary institutions and organizations of 
the times should be pervaded by the ruling spirit of the Chris- 
tian faith, and quickened and animated by the living principle 
of evangelical purity and power. In the liberal professions 
and in all the stations of political prominence from which de- 
cidedly Christian men have been pushed aside partly through 
their own timidity and partly by the audacity of bold and 
scheming demagogues, there must be made an earnest and perse- 
vering effort to establish the tried and faithful representatives 
of a higher morality and a more stainless character. In all 
these respects the evils of our delinquency have been multiply- 
ing from year to year. Christian men have been unwilling or 


afraid to tinite upon the distinctive principles of a common 
Christianity, and have shrunk from the sacrifice, scarcely ready 
to suffer whatever of temporary defeat, expense, or reproach it 
might cost, and tamely submitting to be overruled by the bold- 
ness, the assiduity and energy of the evil-minded who assume to 
control and dictate the public policy and manners of the nation. 
In this way we have been swiftly sinking into the grossest per- 
versions of ethical truth and the obligations of duty. We have 
confounded almost every distinction in morals ; '* we have put 
good for evil, and evil for good ; we have called bitter sweet, 
and darkness light." In the unrestrained freedom of our expe- 
rience, with no bonds and no restrictions of government or law 
that we could feel sensibly resting upon us, and permitted alike 
under divine and human authority to live in our lusts and to 
develop in monstrous proportions the sentiment of individual 
importance, we have come to exhibit little real regard for 
magistrates of our own choosing, and scarcely less disrespect 
for the very existence and form of civil government itself. Our 
very thoughts have been dissolved in the infatuation of personal 
sovereignty, until oaths and compacts, written charters and 
constitutions confirmed by the highest sanctions possible to man, 
are ruthlessly violated, rebellion is inaugurated, and we are 
brought to the very door of anarchy itself. It could not be 
otherwise with a people who have in the name of liberty struck 
at the vital interests of one whole race of men, and through 
these have aimed an impious blow at the prerogatives of God 

And now the day of vindication and of vengeance has burst 
upon us. The storm which uncovers the social and moral 
heart of the nation reveals the melancholy fact of a wide- 
spread demoralization amid the deepest corruption and the 
grossest profligacy of great multitudes of the people. Re- 
bellion in favor of perpetuating a system of human bondage 
is held by many to be the crowning glory of men. Sedi- 
tion, treachery, perjury, violence, and blood are counted as 
deeds of fame to immortalize their authors and abettors. 
Meanwhile, there are not wanting those who, utterly un- 
principled, in the guise of pretended friendship, are gloating 
over the scene, and, like the fabled harpies of Tartarus, are 
plucking their gorge from the miseries of the nation, already 
reeling in the agonies of a mortal conflict. This is the spectacle 


which America presents to the world at the present moment. 
And were it not relieved hy some brighter hues of Christian 
hope, by the spirit of an earnest and patriotic ardor, by tho 
stupendous and heroic sacrifices of ^lundreds of thousands of 
men and women who freely lay all they possess on the altar of 
their country, and, finally, by the consciousness of the rectitude 
of our cause, our firm reliance on providential direction, and the 
assurance of the glorious purposes of (rod to be accomplished 
through this dreary and dreadful passage of the nation's history, 
it would be indeed the darkest and the saddest chapter yet 
recorded in the book of time. 

Of what avail, then, is it for the enemies of a spiritual religion 
to attempt to delude us with the vain pretence that the true 
progress of mankind implies the rejection of the Bible as the 
divinely inspired word of God, and the denial of its authority 
in the affairs of men, and that in the onward march of civil- 
ization the dogmas of the Christian Church have become obso- 
lete, — that the human mind has outgrown its restrictions, and 
can no longer be controlled by its discipline or instructed by its 
counsels? and of what avail is it, by mocking at the sober habits 
and simple virtues of a purer age, to prepare society for tho 
frightful scenes of its own dissolution? Here still are the great 
and solemn realities of life, here are the giant evils with which 
men have to grapple, and which, in despite of all the levities 
and impieties of an epicurean philosophy, cannot be treated as 
idle, dreams, the vagrant fancies of a distempered mind. And 
in the efibrt to ignore both the mischiefs and the remedy of our 
subverted moral condition by the scoffing infidelity and the 
specious skepticism of our times, the nation with all its treasure 
has already been brought to the verge of destruction. 

Every intelligent man knows it; every honest man confesses 
it. And yet the signals of evil omen are not removed. The 
spirit that humbles a nation before the God of heaven and sup- 
plies the conditions of the Divine interposition for our salvation 
has been strangely wanting to the people; while men are every- 
where found among us who leave no means unused to bring the 
religion of our fathers into contempt, and to cut the nation loose 
from all her moorings in the ancient faith of martyrs and apos- 
tles. The men that do this, whether in the refuse that reeks 
from the daily press, or in the more pretentious eloquence of the 
forum, or in the more elaborate and finished chapters of the pe- 

22 iNTRODCcnoir. 

riodical, or in the more prurient and high-wrought pages of fic- 
tion that curse and corrupt the literature of the day, are the 
deadly enemies of the human soul not only in its relations to the 
present life, but also in its aspirations for the life to come. They 
are likewise the malignant and felonious torch-bearers of infi- 
delity, setting the temple of our American greatness on fire, 
giving our heritage to the flames, and lighting a mighty people 
into the abyss of self-destruction. 

Whoever, therefore, contributes his labor to raise a barrier 
against so vast and deplorable a calamity to ourselves and the 
Avorld, whoever lifts his voice like a trumpet in admonition and 
warning of the danger, and especially whoever can succeed in 
recalling the mind of the nation to the Christian annals of the 
republic, in bringing back to the freshly opened fountains of the 
early inspiration the weary and exhausted body of the people, 
that they may once more be refreshed and strengthened, once 
more commune with the great principles, sentiments, achieve- 
ments, and characters of former times, and be imbued with a sense 
of the value and importance of their recognition and imitation, 
will have rendered a noble service, and may justly be regarded 
as a public benefactor. For the facts of our past history, inspired 
by the faith of the Christian religion, authenticated and sup- 
ported as they are by unquestionable proofs, comprise a body of 
evidence which no well-regulated mind can resist as to the 
divinity of the Christian religion itself and the reality of a 
superintending Providence over all the affairs of men. At the 
same time, they serve to acquaint us with the very purest and 
loftiest sentiments of the most illustrious men of America in 
every generation, and with an unbroken chain of testimony in 
regard to the influence of Christianity upon our national destiny 
from the beginning until now. And all this appears in con- 
nection with the history of most tragic and trying times, and is 
put forth in terms of thrilling eloquence, of stirring pathos, and 
of startling energy, kindling the soul to the sublimest fervor of 
grand and heroic enthusiasm. We shall find in this story of well- 
attested occurrences and events all the elements that can move 
the human heart to its profoundest depths, — the wise and steady 
counsels of the great and good men that adorned the secular 
professions and pursuits, — the ringing trumpet- voice of the Chris- 
tian ministry ever calling the host to the march or the conflict, — 
the beauty and tenderness of woman, roused, amid the sweetness 


and charms of her gentler nature, as by some supernatural im- 
pulse, to all the high and lofty aims of truth and liberty, and 
imparting everywhere to the breast of manhood a portion of her 
own unspeakable endurance and devotion, — the sublime unity of 
the Christian faith, in which were joined Catholic and Protestant, 
Churchman and Dissenter, clergyman and layman, the members 
of all parties and the parties of all creeds, as if animated by one 
spirit and glowing with one thought, — the great idea of civil and 
religious liberty for all the tribes of men. Surely in these great 
outlines of essential unity there is enough to gratify and inspirit 
our generation upon the review of the records of those who have 
preceded us. It only needs to collect these scattered materials 
into one volume of available size and proportions to furnish to the 
American people one of the richest and most useful manuals of 
political and Christian information ever published in any country. 
Such an attempt is made in the present volume, so far as is 
known the only work of the kind ever prepared for popular use 
and general circulation. The author and compiler, the Bev. B. 
F. Morris, a Protestant clergyman, for many years a successful 
pastor and preacher of the gospel in the great Valley of the 
West, and during the last year a pastor in Washington City, 
having mingled largely with all classes of the people and 
become extensively acquainted with many of the leading minds 
and most prominent and distinguished men of the nation both 
living and dead, and being peculiarly qualified also by extensive 
travel and observation throughout our country, and apparently 
moved to it by a natural aptitude for such a work and an earnest 
desire to serve the cause of Christianity and civil liberty, some 
ten years since conceived the idea of collecting from the national 
archives, and the various other sources of information in the 
country, the important and deeply interesting materials relating 
to Christianity in our history which are presented in this 
volume. In accomplishing this work he has not sought to express 
at length any opinions or speculations of his own, except so far 
as to give order, arrangement, and connection to the rich and 
copious materials thus brought together. Nor has it been his 
design, as the title of the work might possibly suggest, to give 
a complete account of the Christian Church in this country, or 
even a compendium of American ecclesiastical or theological his* 
tory (which ivould properly be a distinct work in itself, and is 
held in reserve for some powerful pen of future times), but rather 


to show how the spirit of Christianity has entered into the found- 
ations and elements of oar national existence, and how it has 
affected our civil and political history and given shape and 
structure to our institutions, — to exhibit the relations it has borne 
to the state and the impulse it has given to the actors in the 
great drama of American colonization and independence, the 
support it affords to the civil institutions of the American people, 
and its general influence upon their fortunes and their destiny. 
The conspicuity and moral grandeur of these great lessons are 
most powerfully and abundantly illustrated. No man can ponder 
them as presented here without discovering that they furnish an 
effectual antidote to the skeptical tendencies and moral laxities 
of the age, and without breathing an earnest prayer that all the 
people may become familiar with these great memorials of the 
past, these solemn and sublime tributes of a mighty nation to 
the one inspiring principle of their prosperity and greatness, and 
may learn to cherish it with increasing vigilance and care as the 
only solid foundation of their present peace or their future hope. 

In undertaking a work of this magnitude years ago, how little 
could the author have anticipated that the period assigned in 
Providence for the consummation of his labor should be one in 
which the errors, follies, and sins of the nation have culminated 
in the awful storm that now desolates the land, and at a time 
when it may be hoped that the American people, chastened and 
sobered through so bitter an experience, will be more disposed 
to avail themselves of the opportunity to review the sacred monu- 
ments of the past, to mark their departures from the ways of 
wisdom, and to return to the only path of safety and of honor ! 
Had the author been gifted with a foreknowledge of the events 
of the past few years, he could scarcely have set himself to per- 
form a task more fitting to the exigency of the time or better 
adapted to promote the reformation which the present judgments 
of God must produce as the only alternative of our sure and 
swift destruction. No analysis of the book is here required. It 
will speak for itself in thundor-tones. As the common manual 
of the people, it should be in the hands of every individual in 
all our borders, and, if diligently perused and faithfully im- 
proved, who can tell but, under the blessing of God, it may 
become the morning star of the mightiest day of national regeno- 
ration the world has yet beheld ? B. Sunderland. 

Wabhiuqtok, D.G., April 16, 186S. 







The history and genius of the civil institutions of the United 
States must ever be a subject of profound thought and interest 
to the American citizen. Their establishment and progress to 
completed forms of government, and their influence and fruits 
upon thirty millions of people and on the nations of the earth, 
constitute a new era in the science of civil government and the 
progress of human liberty, and commend them to the reverent 
study of the statesman, the patriot, the Christian, and the 

The institutions of the North American republic had their 
birth and baptism from the free inspirations and genius of the 
Christian religion. This fact has given to the state its political 
power and moral glory, and shed new light on the benign nature 
and adaptation of the Christian system to secure the highest 
political prosperitj^ to a nation. 

"Christianity is the principal and all-pervading element, 
the deepest and most solid foundation, of all our civil institu- 
tions. It is the religion of the people, — the national religion; 



but we have neither an established church nor an established 
religion. An established church implies a connection between 
church and state, and the possession of civil and political as 
well as of ecclesiastical and spiritual power by the former. 
Neither exist in this country; for the people have wisely judged 
that religion, as a general rule, is safer in their hands than in 
those of rulers. In the United States there is no toleration; for 
all enjoy equality in religious freedom, not as Siprivilege granted, 
but as a right secured by the fundamental law of our social 
compact. Liberty of conscience and freedom of worship are 
not chartered immunities, but rights and duties founded on the 
constitutional republication of rejison and revelation." 

The theory and faith of the founders of the civil and political 
institutions of the United States practically carried out these 
statements. They had no state church or state religion, but 
they constituted the Christian religion the underlying founda- 
tion and the girding and guiding element of their systems of 
civil, political, and social institutions. This proposition will be 
confirmed by the following summary of historic facts, which 
have an extended record in the various chapters of this volume. 

First. The Christian inspirations and purpose of the founders 
and fathers of the republic. 

It was a popular legend of the ancients, which gave to their 
laws, literature, and religion a sacred solemnity and power, that 
the founders of empires received immediate inspiration from 
the gods, and that their systems of government came from 
the responses of the deities who presided in their temples of 
religion. This myth, in a Christian sense, was a grand and 
glofious fact with the wise and skilful workmen who, under 
God, created and completed the civil institutions of the United 

No claim to special inspiration from heaven is set up for the 
fathers of our republic. It would, however, be a violence to 
historic truth not to affirm and admit that they were under 
the special and constant guidance of an overruling Providence. 
The Bible, as the divine charter of their political rights, as well 
as of their hopes of immortality, they reverently studied, and 
on it laid the corner-stone of all their compacts and institutions. 
The Mosaic system of political jurisprudence, which "contains 
more consummate wisdom and common sense than all the legis- 
lators and political writers of the ancient nations/' the founders 


of the American republic thoroughly understood, and incor- 
porated its free spirit and democratic principles into their 
organic institutions. 

Secondly. The Christian men who formed our civil institu- 
tions were trained and prepared for their work in scenes of 
conflict in which the truest ideas of liberty and religion were 

Great ideas, and the forward movements of the ages, have re- 
ceived their inspiration and impetus from civil and religious 
agitations and revolutions. This fact has its historic analogy 
in the conflicts that preceded the planting of a Christian re- 
public on tlie North American continent. "The whole of the 
sixteenth century was a period of active preparation for future 
times; and all that is great in modern science may be said to 
have received its foundation in the agitations that grew out of 
that period of the world. It forms one of the grandest and 
richest eras in human history." Whilst it was an age replete 
with the most splendid triumphs in science and literature, it was 
pre-eminent, also, for its elaboration and vindication of the 
fundamental principles of civil and religious liberty. 

The persecutions of the Puritans in England for non-con- 
formity, and the religious agitations and conflicts in Germany by 
Luther, in Geneva by Calvin, and in Scotland by Knox, were the 
preparatory ordeals for qualifying Christian men for the work 
of establishing the civil institutions on the American continent. 
"God sifted," in these conflicts, "a whole nation, that he might 
send choice grain over into this wilderness;" and the blood and 
persecution of martyrs became the seed of both the church 
and the state. 

It was in these schools of fiery trial that the founders of the 
American republic were educated and prepared for their grand 
Christian mission, and in which their faith and characters 
became strong and earnest with Christian truth. They were 
trained in stormy times, in order to prepare them to elaborate 
and establish the fundamental principles of civil and religious 
liberty and of just systems of civil government. 

Brewster, and Winthrop, and Roger Williams, and Penn, and 
George Calvert, and Oglethorpe, and Otis, and Adams, and 
Jefferson, and Washington, with their illustrious co-laborers, 
could trace their true political parentage to Pym, and Hamp- 
den, and Wickliffe, and Milton, and Cromwell, and to the ages 


in which they vindicated the principles of liberty, and sealed, 
many of them, their faith by martyrdom. 

Thirdly. Thus inspired and prepared, the Christian men of 
Puritan times and of the Keyolution presented and developed 
the true symbol of civil government. 

A nation, in the embodied form and spirit of its institutions, 
is the symbol of some one leading idea. This rules its civil 
administration, directs its social crystallization, and forms its 
political, martial, and moral character. 

The Hebrew commonwealth was the symbol of a theocratic 
government. Its rituals of religion and liberty maintained the 
form and diffused the spirit of freedom and of a true republican 
government. Its nationality, growing out of peculiar and local 
causes, after ages of historic grandeur, passed away. It was the 
first and the last type of a national theocratic republic. 

The Roman empire, in its colossal unity and form, was the 
symbol of law, of the stately grandeur of a strong government, 
of the reign of military rule and conquest. Its fabled origin, 
and the mythical communion of its founder (Numa) with the 
divinities, gave a rigid religious cast to its civil and military in- 
stitutions and transactions. The science of Roman jurisprudence 
educated the citizens of the empire in the cardinal virtues of 
loyalty and patriotism. Religion is a Roman word, signifying 
obligation to the government. A Roman citizen could no more 
be disloyal to his country than to the gods. This conviction 
gave to the government a religious character, and made it in- 
vincible in war and strong in governmental authority and in- 
fluence. Cicero, in one of his addresses, refers to the religious 
element of the Roman empire in these words: — " However much 
we may be disposed to exalt our advantages, it is, nevertheless, 
certain that we have been surpassed in . population by the 
Spaniards, in physical force by the Gauls, in shrewdness and 
cunning by Carthage, in the fine arts by Greece, and in mere 
native talents by some of our Italian fellow-countrymen ; but in 
the single point of attention to religion we have excelled all 
other nations, and it is to the favorable influence of this circum- 
stance upon the character of the people that I account for our 
success in acquiring the political and military ascendency we 
now enjoy throughout the world." 

This pervading religious element produced, also, the loftiest 
martial enthusiasm in the Roman citizen. "The attachment of 


the Roman soldier," says Gibbon, " was inspired by the united 
influence of religion and honor." In union with these civil and 
martial virtues in Roman citizens, the symbol of their govern- 
ment resulted in producing and blending some of the milder 
virtues of social and domestic life. Female character was 
formed on the most finished models of pagan excellence; 
chastity was a golden virtue; and to educate sons for statesmen 
or soldiers was the highest aipbitipn of the most illustrious 
ladies of Rome. 

The symbol of the Greek republic was the ideal and the 
actual of Beauty. "The Greek," says a writer, " saw the world 
almost only on the side of beauty. His name for it was Kos- 
mo8,. divine order and harmony." This idea, in the mind of 
the Greek, was developed in artistic creations, and in the orna- 
mental more than the useful. The fine arts — ^literature, paint- 
ing, statuary, music, poetry, and oratory — were the natural and 
genial results of the Grecian symbol. It gave to the Greek 
religion and government the same ideal features, making the 
first a realm peopled with gods, and the second a system of but 
little political force or permanency. The Greek democracies 
were subject to sudden changes, and were wrecked amid the 
wild and tumultuous waves of liberty. "It was said of the 
popular assemblies of Athens that if every Athenian were 
a Socrates, still every Athenian assembly would be a mob," 
The political and civil institutions of the Greeks accomplished 
less, perhaps, for liberty and the rights of man than any other 
ancient republic. 

The symbol of the British empire, from its earliest history 
till the present, was national aggrandizement and selfishness, 
originating in the feudal system. The landed estates became 
invested in a few, who grew into an aristocracy of wealth, of 
social caste, and of political power. The people were reduced 
to vassals, and had but few political rights and privileges. 
This aristocracy of wealth and of social position converted the 
government into a system of political selfishness and of na- 
tional aggrandizement, at the expense, often, of international 
justice, honor, and right. Commerce, and territorial expansion, 
and the perpetuity of its nobility with all their hereditary 
privileges, have ever been the leading purposes of the British 
government. The prestige and unlimited power of this symbol 
of the empire of Great Britain have realized the words of 


Webster, who, alluding to the gigantic nationality of the em- 
pire, said that she " had dotted the surface of the whole globe 
with her possessions and military posts, whose morning drum- 
beats, following the sun, and keeping company with the hours, 
circle the earth daily with one continued and unbroken strain 
of the martial airs of England." 

The symbol of the French empire is glory. This has ever 
been the star of destiny that has ruled the nation and converted 
its institutions into a mission of martial glory. The great evil 
of this symbol of the French empire was, that it displaced the 
moral basis on which every nation must permanently rest. 
Atheism, practical and theoretical, has ruled the French em- 
pire, and its fatal power has more than once threatened the 
very life of the nation. *' Open the annals of the French nation," 
said Lamartine, " and listen to the last words of the political 
actors of the drama of our liberty. One would think that God 
was eclipsed from the soul, — that his name was unknown in the 
language. The republic of these men without a God has been 
quickly stranded. The liberty won by so much heroism and so 
much genius has not found in France a conscience to shelter it, 
a God to avenge it, a people to defend it against the atheism 
which is called glory. AH ended in a soldier. An atheistic 
republic cannot be heroic." 

The founders of the Christian republic of North America 
adopted the symbol of civil and religious liberty as the great 
idea and end of all their civil institutions. They had the most 
glorious conceptions of the genius of the Christian religion, not 
only as a system of spiritual doctrines, but as designed and 
adapted to create and carry on the best and freest forms of civil 
government. They held to the faith that civil government was 
an ordination of God, and that its administration ought to harmo- 
nize with the law and will of God as revealed in the Bible. This 
great object was kept before the minds of the founders and fathers 
of the republic, and their beau-id^cd of civil government was 
that which was found in the Christian religion. As the fruits 
of this symbol, or leading idea and purpose, contrast the 
Christian republic of North America with the fruits of ancient 
and modern nations. 

" What is the spirit," says Grimke', " of the civil and political 
institutions of America? Is it not free, magnanimous, and 
wise, frank and courteous, generous and just, in a degree far 


surpassing that of ancient Greece ? Who would suffer, much 
less institute, a comparison between our natiorial government 
and the council of Amphictyon, or between our State systems 
and the compound of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy 
to be found in the Greciau States? As fountains of noble 
thoughts and high aspirations after public power, duty, and 
happiness, far above the triumphs of antiquity, who does not 
look with a virtuous pride, with grateful exultation, on the 
Senate of the United States, on the Chamber of National Re- 
presentatives, and on the Supreme Court of the United States? 
If the system of the Grecian excelled that of other ancient 
states in its fitness to develop intellectual and moral freedom 
and power, who will not acknowledge, in the civil and political 
institutions of our country, a far superior capacity for the same 
ends ? What is there in the constitution or administration of 
the Greek governments that can fill the soul of a freeman with 
such a sense of his own dignity, power, and duty as our written 
constitutions, the jury system, and the laws of evidence, the 
scheme of representation, the responsibility of rulers, and the 
independence of the judiciary ? And what, in the most glorious 
age of Greece, was comparable to the genius and past fruits of our 
government and coiintry, — so august, magnanimous, and bene- 
volent in the eyes of the world, — and to the prospect before 
us, not of selfishness, ambition, and violence, at home or abroad, 
but of harmony, virtue, wisdom, culture, at home ; abroad, of 
duty, of usefulness, and love to all the nations of the earth?" 

Fourthly. The Christian religion has a clear and full recog- 
nition in the civil constitutions and state papers of the fathers 
of the republic. 

Official records express the faith and theory of those who 
form and administer the civil institutions of a nation. The 
fathers and founders of the American republic, being Christian 
men and designing to form a Christian republic, would be 
expected to imbue their state papers and their civil constitu- 
tions with the spirit and sentiments of the Christian religion. 
This fact is historic in the civil institutions of the country, 
and gives to its official documents a Christian feature and 
influence which belong only to American constitutions and 
American political annals. During the Revolution, the States 
assumed their separate sovereignties and formed State constitu- 
tions. These civil charters, as this work will show, were full 


and explicit in their incorporation of the fundamental doctrines 
of the Christian religion, and their constitutions prohibited 
men from holding office who did not publicly assent to their 
fiEdth in the being of a God, the divinity of the Bible, and in 
the distinctive evangelical truths of Christianity. 

The state papers of the Continental Congress were also full 
of the spirit and sentiments of the Christian system. Under 
the great seal of state, official documents were sent out to the 
nation and the world which affirmed the "merits and mediation 
of Jesus Christ to obtain forgiveness and pardon for sins," and 
prayed "that pure and undefiled religion may be universally 
diflfused ;" " that vice and irreligion may be banished, and virtue 
and piety established by grace ;" " that the nation may be made 
a holy nation, and that the religion of our divine Bedeemer, with 
all its benign influences, may cover the earth as the waters do 
the sea ;" " that God would grant to his Church the plentiful 
effiisions of divine grace, and pour out his Holy Spirit upon all 
ministers of the gospel;" "that he would establish the inde- 
pendence of these United States upon the basis of religion and 
virtue," and "diflfuse and establish habits of sobriety, order, 
morality, and piety;" that he would "take under his guardian- 
ship all schools and seminaries of learning, and make them 
nurseries of virtue and piety, and cause pure religion and 
virtue to flourish," and that he would "fill the world with his 
glory." All their bills of rights, and remonstrances against the 
usurpations of the British government, glowed with the fervid 
and impassioned sentiments of liberty and religion, and their 
high Christian tone and diction form a rich part of the Chris- 
tian political literature of the republic. 

Fifthly. The popular utterances of the Christian men who 
formed our civil institutions declare the Christian religion to 
be the symbol of the republic. 

Puritan divines and lawgivers, and the statesmen and patriots 
of the -Revolution, unite their testimony on this point. They 
affirmed, in every form, the indissoluble union of religion and 
liberty. They uttered no such political atheism as " liberty first 
and religion afterwards;" but, maintaining the divine origin 
of both, they constituted their indissoluble union in the system 
of civil government which they formed. In the pulpit, before 
popular assemblies, in the forums of public justice, before the 
tribunes of the people, in the halls of legislation, in the public 


press, — ^in tracts, essays, books, printed sermons and orations, — 
did the men of Puritan and Keyolutionary times utter their 
great thoughto, and declare the union of liberty and religion. 
A divine enthusiasm glowed in all their popular utterances, that 
swept with electric energy through the public mind and con- 
science, and which prepared the people for liberty, independ- 
ence, and a Christian nationality. This historic fact will be 
conclusively established in the present volume. 

Sixthly. The revolution for liberty, independence, and consti- 
tutional government had its source in religion, and was the cause 
of its energy and final victory. 

History, as it records the events of ages, and the progress 
of nations to higher conditions of freedom and prosperity 
through revolutions, declares that " religion has been the com- 
panion of liberty in all her conflicts and in all her battles." 
The American Revolution adds another grand illustration of 
this great historic truth. That splendid victory for liberty 
and constitutional governments was not won by numbers, nor 
military genius, nor by armies and navies, nor by any com- 
bination of human means, but only through liberty intensified 
and made heroic through religion. This was the breath of its 
life, and. carried it sublimely on till victory crowned our arms 
and our banners waved over a free republic. It was the inspi- 
rations of religion that girded our heroes for war, that guided 
our statesmen in civil councils, that fired and filled the hearts 
of the people with hope and courage, and gave to all the scenes 
of that grand conflict a Christian beauty, power, and glory. 

Its influence flowed from every source. The cradle-songs of 
childhood ; the home scenes of prayer and piety ; the common 
and academic schools of the country; the Christian colleges 
of the republic ; the literature of the age ; the songs of patriot- 
ism and religion ; the eloquence of the forum and the pulpit ; 
the councils of civil cabinets and the military camps; public 
men and private citizens of ail classes, became the medium of 
diffusing the religious spirit and power of the Revolution. This 
fact induced Washington to say, '* I am sure that there never was 
a people who had more reason to acknowledge a divine interpo- 
sition in their affairs than those of the United States ; and I 
should be pained to believe that they have forgotten that agency 
which was so often manifested during the Revolution, or that 
ihey fiftiled to consider the omnipotence of that Ood who is 



alone able to protect them. He most be worse than an infidd 
that lacks faith, and more than wicked that has not gratitude 
enough to acknowledge his obligations." 

Seventhly. The Christian annals of the republic declare that 
religion was the ruling influence and moral power of the 

The historic grandeur and moral significance of the civil and 
political annals of the American nation consist in their Chris- 
tian spirit and declarations. The inspirations and ideas of civil 
and religious liberty which they embody ; the fundamental and 
inalienable rights of human nature which they announce and 
defend ; the eternal laws of civil and political science which they 
affirm ; the basis of just and orderly organic governments, and the 
civil structures which have risen and rest upon it, and which the 
annals of the republic present and unfold ; the Christian nation- 
ality which they historically declare, and which they have contri- 
buted to form; the spirit and language in which the annais of the 
nation are written, and which permeate the state papers of the 
republic from the Puritan to the Revolutionary era, and in some 
good degree from the era of the Revolution to the present time ; 
the philosophy and language of American history and American 
literature, whether poetic, scientific, educational, political, or 
religious, — all these constitute the facta and moral glory of the 
annals of the nation, and unite in recording and presenting 
them in a Christian form and spirit. Divest American annals 
of this their grandest and most important feature, and their 
value and glory would vanish. 

The reverent and careful student of the annals of the Ame- 
rican republic will find them imbued with the "benign, mascu- 
line, thoughtful spirit of the Christian religion." This feature 
gives them an interest, influence, and importance, a political 
and moral pre-eminence, over the annals of every other nation, 
whether ancient or modern. 

Eighthly. Christian monuments and altars of religion and 

Nations which are rich in historic grandeur have numerous 
memorials whose inspirations and influences aid in the diffusion 
of a healthy public sentiment and in the formation of a true 
nationality. They educate the people to admire and imitate 
the heroic virtues of the men and scenes of moral or martial 
glory which the memorials are designed to commemorate and 


perpetuate. The custom is coeval with time, and has a divine 
sanction. The annals of the Hebrew commonwealth reccHrd 
the consecration of numerous altars, places, and temples to 
religion and liberty. These were the symbols of their faith, 
and from them flowed beneficent and copious influences to form 
the intense religious nationality of that remarkable people, and 
to mould all their institutions* It was a divine injunction, as 
well as a work of piety and patriotism, for the Hebrew people 
to "walk about Zion, and go round about; tell the towers 
thereof; mark well her bulwarks ; consider her palaces ;" that 
they might tell it to future generations that " \hS& God was our 

The annals of American piety and patriotism have many 
similar memorials. A republic, the outgrowth of the Christian 
religion, whose history glows with the manifest preseoce and 
providences of God, and whose freedom is baptized with the 
sufferings and blood of martyred patriots and saints, would 
hallow many memorials of historic associations and grandeur. 
The American republic is rich in the monuments of piety and 
patriotism, and their influences and associations have had, and 
continue to have, the highest historic value and instruction for 
every American citizen, and are fraught with some of the 
noblest and purest lessons of religion and liberty. Their geniai 
and inspiring power has been diffusive and beneficent in in- 
fusing fresher love for our civil institutions, and deepening and 
strengthening that intense enthusiasm ibr our freedom and free 
institutions which is characteristic of every loyal American. 
American history, in the Christian and patriotic scenes, achieve- 
ments, and men which it records, is peculiarly grand and rich 
in this element and influence of our national sentiment and 
power. The altars of religion, the monuments of nature and 
art, the scenes of martial and moral glory, the halls of consti- 
tutional freedom, and the temples of legislation and organized 
civil governments, around all of which cluster memorable asso- 
ciations and glowing inspirations, are eminently worthy of 
record, and should be reverently studied by every patriot 
and Christian. 

Ninthly, The Christian faith and character, personal and 
political, of most of the men who originated and constructed our 
civil institutions, affirm the presiding genius and power of the 
Christian religion. 


Sacred history, and the institutions which it unfolds, have their 
life and glory from the good and great men whom the providence 
and Spirit of God raised up and qualified for their varied and im- 
portant missions. " In nothing does the superiority of the Bible 
over all other books appear more manifest than in its graphic 
and inimitable delineation^ of human character. From first to 
last it opens to our view, besides poets and orators, a magnificent 
succession of living characters, — kings and statesmen, heroes 
and patriarchs, prophets and apostles," who constituted the 
glory of the age and nation in which they acted, and whose 
character and influence are a rich part of the political and 
moral wealth of the world. 

The American republic, like the Hebrew commonwealth, has 
its chief glory from the good and great men who have adorned 
its civic and Christian history, and were the active agents in 
building up the organic forms of the social and political life of 
the republic. The Puritans, and the men of colonial history, 
were stalwart, noble Christian men. The men antecedent to 
and actors in the eventful drama of the Revolution were, most 
of them, men whose minds were illuminated by divine influ- 
ences, and whose characters and lives bore the superscription 
and the image of Christ. All were not public professors of the 
Christian religion, but almost all acknowledged its divinity and 
necessity to the existence, welfare, and" stability of the state. 
Their Christian faith and characters not only constitute the 
enduring glory of our republic, but are also the sources of the 
Christian features of our civil institutions. 

The true and lasting fame of the American nation — its poli- 
tical and moral glory — consists in the eminent and illustrious 
characters which have, in each successive age of the republic, 
adorned the state and directed its political destinies. Trained 
in a Christian school and formed under Christian influences, and 
deriving their ideas of civil and religious liberty from the 
Bible, their practical faith led them to adopt it as the rule of 
life and to consult it as the source of their civil and political 
views and principles, as well as of their religious belief and 
hopes. The monument of these men of Puritan and Revolu- 
tionary times is in the great Christian ideas and truths they 
elaborated and incorporated into the civil institutions of the 
iiation, and in the Christian virtues, public and private, which 
they bore as the fruits of their Christian faith. 


The leaders of our Bevolution were men of whom the simple 
truth is the highest praise. They were singularly sagacious, 
sober, thoughtful, wise. Lord Chatham spoke only the truth 
when he said to Franklin of the men who composed the first 
Colonial Congress, " The Congress is the most honorable assem- 
bly of statesmen since those of the ancient Greeks and Eomans 
in the most virtuous times. They were most of them profound 
scholars, and studied the history of mankind that they might 
know men. They were so familiar with the lives and thoughts 
of the wisest and best minds of the past, that a classic aroma 
hangs about their writings and their speeches ; and they were ^ 
profoundly convinced of what statesmen know and mere poli- 
ticians never perceive, — that ideas are the life of a people, — 
that the conscience, not the pocket, is the real citadel of a 

"Events," says a living American divine, "march in the 
train and keep step to the music of that divine Logos which 
was, and is, and is to come. In order to act the right part in 
them, and in order to understand them when they do come to 
pass, our intelligence must be in vital sympathy with that of 
their invisible Author and Arbiter. The divine purpose which 
is forcing its way into existence, and preparing for itself a local 
habitation and a name, must be reproduced in our own con- 
sciousness and embodied in our own life. This is the only way 
for men to become coworkers with the Most High in executing 
his sovereign behests. 

" This is the ancient method by which from age to age mighty 
nations, and all the elect spirits of the race, have comprehended 
their heaven-appointed missions, fulfilled their tasks, and ren- 
dered themselves illustrious in human annals. This is the 
secret of that sacred enthusiasm which transformed Eastern ^ 
shepherds and nomads of the desert into venerable patriarchs, 
seers, warriors, and kings, which changed fishermen into apos- 
tles and evangelists, and which is able still to bless the world - 
with heroes, saints, and martyrs. 

" It is the prevalence of some divine idea in the soul, actuating 
the whole being and illuminating the path of life. Let a man 
grasp, in honest conviction, a real thought of God, and spend 
bis days in striving to realize it, and he is on the highway to 
glory, honor, and immortality. Let a whole people grasp, in 
honest conviction, some sacred cause, some principle of im- 


mortal justice, and consecrate themselves to the work of vindi- 
cating that cause and enthroning that principle, and we have 
the grandest spectacle ever witnessed on earth." 

The grandeur of such a spectacle was seen in the faith and 
purpose of the fathers and founders of the American republic. 
These men, as well as the people, did grasp a great and " real 
thought of God," and devoted themselves to its glorious realiza- 
tion ; and the result was the vindication of eternal right and jus- 
tice, and the creation and establishment of civil institutions in 
conformity to the principles and teachings of the Christian 
religion. It is in the light of this great historic fact that the 
faith and labors of the Puritans and the men of the Bevolution 
are to be read and studied. 

This summary of the Christian facts and principles which 
belong to the history, formation, and progress of the ciyil 
institutions of the American republic impresses the patriotic and 
pious duty of giving diligent attention and study to the annals 
of our nation and the origin and genius of our institutiwis. 

The ancient republics regarded it as a high political necessity 
and duty to educate their citizens into the history and spirit of 
their peculiar institutions. " The young men of the Roman em- 
pire," says Gibbon, " were so devoted to the study of the genius 
and structure of Roman law and government, that the cele- 
brated Institutes of Justinian were addressed to the youth of 
his dominion who had devoted themselves to the science of 
Roman jurisprudence, and they had assurances from the reign- 
ing emperor that their skill and ability would in time be 
rewarded by an adequate share in the government of the re- 

" The Greek citizen," says Grimk6, " was subjected, from the 
cradle to the grave, to the fvU^ undivided, never-varying in- 
fluence of the pecidiar institutions of his own country. The 
spirit of those institutions was forever living and moving around 
him, — was constantly acting upon him at home and abroad, in 
the family, at the school, in the temple, on national occasions. 
That spirit was unceasicgly speaking to his eye and ear; it was 
his very breath of life; his soul was its habitation, till the 
battle-field or the sea, banishment, the dungeon, or the hem- 
lock, stripped him equally of his country and his life." 

If these duties were so faithfully discharged by the people of 
the ancient republic8| how much higher and more imp<H'taai 


that the American people should know the history and nature 
of the civil institutions of their Christian republic, and live 
under their constant and full power," and thus be qualified to 
discharge with fidelity and conscientiousness all the duties of an 
American citizen I 

" Be assured," says Grimk6 (changing a word of the passage), 
"if the American citizen rightly comprehends the genius of 
Christianity, the spirit of our institutions, the character of the 
age in which he lives, he must be deeply imbued with the 
benign, masculine, thoughtful spirit of religion. Let me com- 
mend to the profound study of every American citizen the 
institutions of their country, and the noble illustrations of them 
to be found in the writings of our historians and statesmen, 
judges, orators, scholars, and divines. Let me commend to 
their reverence, gratitude, and imitation the character of 
Washington, the noblest personification of patriotic duty, dig- 
nity, and usefulness that men ever have seen. Let me com- 
mend to them to enter with a deep seriousness, yet with & 
glowing enthusiasm, into the spirit of their institutions and of 
the age in which they live." 

Nothing would have a happier influence on the public men 
and politics of our day, nothing raise, expand, and purify 
them, nothing would so exalt their conceptions and aims, or give 
them higher significance or greater weight, than a thorough and 
candid study of the Christian fedth, characters, and actions of 
the great and good men who founded our civil institutions and 
watched over their history and development. 

This duty, if faithfully discharged, would unfold the divine 
source of our civilization and system of civil government, give 
a higher appreciation of the inheritance received from our 
fathers, and a fipmer purpose to preserve and transmit them, 
unimpaired, in their original purity and glory, to future ages 
and generations. 

This study would impress the fisu;t stated by Sir William 
Jones, a great English jurist, who said, with great truth and 
beauty, that "we live in the midst of blessings till we are 
utterly insensible of their greatness and of the source from 
whence they flow. We speak of our civilization, our arts, our 
freedom, our laws, and forget entirely how large a share is due 
to Christianity. Blot Christianity out of the pages of man'a 
history, and what would his laws have been ? what his civili- 


zation ? Christianity is mixed up with our very being and our 
daily life; there is not a familiar object around us which does 
not wear a diflFerent aspect because the life of Christian love is 
on it, — ^not a law which does not owe its gentleness to Chris- 
tianity, — not a custom which cannot be traced, in all its holy, 
healthful parts, to the gospel." 



GrOD in human history is the key that solves the problem of 
human destiny and sheds a true and satisfactory light on the 
pathway and progress of nations. " In history," says D'Aubi- 
gn6, " God should be acknowledged and proclaimed. The his- 
tory of the world should be set as the annals of the govern- 
ment of the Sovereign of the universe. God is ever present on 
that vast theatre where successive generations of men and 
nations struggle. The history of the world, instead of present- 
ing a confused chaos, appears as a majestic temple, in which the 
invisible hand of God himself is at work, and which rises to his 
glory above the rock of humanity. 

" Shall we not recognize the hand of God in those grand 
manifestations, those great men, those mighty nations which 
arise and start as it were from the dust of* the earth, and 
communicate a new form and destiny to the human race? 
Shall we not acknowledge him in those great heroes who 
spring from, society at appointed epochs, — who display a 
strength and an activity beyond the ordinary limits of human- 
ity, and around whom, as around a superior and mysterious 
power, nations and individuals gladly gather? And do not 
those great revolutions which hurl kings from their thrones 
and precipitate whole nations to the dust, — do they not all 
declare aloud a God in history ? Who, if not God ? What a 
startling fact, that men brought up amid the elevated ideaa 


of Christianity regard as mere superstition that divine inter- 
vention in human affairs which the very heathen have uni- 
versally admitted!" 

That great scholar and Christian philosopher of Germany, 
the Chevalier Bunsen, says, in his " Philosophy of Human His- 
tory," " The noblest nations have ever believed in an immutable 
moral order of the world, constitutJed by divine wisdom and 
regulating the destinies of mankind. The truly philosophical 
historian mitat believe that there is an eternal order in the 
government of the world, to which all might and power are to 
become and do become subservient; that truth, justice, wisdom, 
and moderation are sure to triumph ; and that when the con- 
trary appears to be the case, the fault lies in our mistaking the 
middle for the end. There must be a solution for every com- 
plication, as certainly as a dissonance cannot form the conclu- 
sion of a musical composition. In other words," says Bunsen, 
''the philosopher who will understand and interpret history 
must believe that God, not accident, governs the world." 

" The principles that govern human affairs," says Bancroft, 
"extending like a path of light from century to century, become 
the highest demonstration of the superintending providence of 
God. Universal history does but seek to relate the sum of all 
God's works of providence. The wheels of providence are not 
turned about by blind chance, but they are full of eyes round 
about, and they are all guided by the Spirit of God." " Provi- • 
dence is the light of history, and the soul of the world. God is 
in history, and all history has a unity because God is in it." 

No era in human history is more signally and sublimely 
marked with the manifest providence and presence of God than 
that of the discovery and Christian colonization of the North 
American continent. 

In 1492, Columbus hailed the opening of the New World 
with a song of praise, and by a solemn act of prayer conse- 
jcrated it to God. In 1498, six years later, Cabot, an English 
navigator, discovered Newfoundland, and sailed along the coasts 
of the American continent. Columbus and Cabot were both 
Roman Catholics, and made their discoveries under the auspices 
of Ferdinand of Spain and Henry VIII. of England, who were 
Koman Catholic sovereigns. It was more than a hundred years 
subsequent that any serious attempts were made to colonize the 
countries discovered by the Spanish and English navigators. 


" The intervening century/' says a writer, " was in many 
respects the most important period of the world ; certainly the 
most important in modern times. More marked and decided 
changes, affecting science, religion, and liberty, occurred in that 
period than had occurred in centuries before; and all these 
changes were just such as to determine the Christian character 
of this country. 

" Meantime, God held this vast land in reserve, as the great 
field on which the experiment was to be made in favor of civil 
and religious liberty. He suffered not the foot of Spaniard, 
or Portuguese, or Frenchman, or Englishman, to come upon 
it, until the changes had been wrought in Europe which 
would make it certain that it would always be a land of reli- 
gious freedom. The changes then wrought, the advances then 
made, related to science and the arte, to religion, to the princi- 
ples of liberty. The whole of the sixteenth century was a 
period of active preparation for future times, and all that is 
great in modern science and art may be said to have received 
its foundation in the agitations that grew out of that period 
of the world. The twelve decades, from 1480 to 1600, form 
one of the grandest and richest eras in the history of humanity. 
It was in that period that the foundation of our liberty was 
laid, — in that period that it became sure that this would be 
a land of civil and religious freedom. England during all 
that time was a great laboratory in which these principles 
were brought out ; and from the views which prevailed at the 
time of Henry VII,, and which had prevailed for ages, it 
required one whole century to advance the world to that 
position which was maintained by Pym and Hampden and 
Milton, and was seen in the principles of Winthrop, and 
Robinson, and Brewster, of George Calvert, of Roger Williams, 
and of William Penn. Scarcely any thing has occurred in his- 
tory' which is more remarkable or which has been more certainly 
indicative of the designs of Providence." 

" Columbus came," says Irving, " as a religious man, an admi- 
ral of Christ, to find the continent, not for its material trea- 
sures, but because it held souls which he wished to bring as. a 
trophy to the feet of Christ." 

" A deep religious feeling mingled with his meditations and 
gave them at times a tinge of superstition, but it was of a 
sublime and lofty kind. He looked upon himself as being in 


the hand of Heaven, chosen from among men for the accom- 
plishment of its high purpose; he read, as he supposed, his 
contemplated discoveries foretold in the mystic revelations of 
the prophets. The ends of the earth were to be brought toge- 
ther, and all nations and tongues and languages united under 
the banner of the Redeemer. This was to be the triumphant 
consummation of his enterprise, bringing the unknown regions 
of the earth into communion with Christian Europe, — carry- 
ing the light of the true faith into benighted and pagan 
lands, and gathering their countless nations under the holy 
dominion of the Church. One of his principal objects was 
undoubtedly the propagation of the Christian faith. Columbus 
now considered himself about to effect this great work, — to 
spread the light of revelation to the very ends of the earth, 
and thus to be the instrument of accompliahing one of the 
sublime predictions of Holy Writ. 

" Whenever he made any great discovery, he celebrated it by 
solemn thanks to God. The voice of prayer and melody of 
praise rose from his ship when they first beheld the New World, 
and his first act on landing was to prostrate himself upon the 
earth and return thanksgiving. All his great enterprises were 
undertaken in the name of the Holy Trinity, and he partook 
of the communion before his embarkation. His conduct was 
characterized by the grandeur of his vieVrs and the magna- 
nimity of his spirit. Instead of scouring the newly-found 
countries, like a grasping adventurer, eager only for imme- 
diate gain, as was too general with contemporaneous disco- 
verers, he sought to ascertain their soil and productions, their 
rivers and harbors: he was desirous of colonizing and culti- 
vating them, conciliating and civilizing the natives, intro- 
ducing the useful arts, subjecting every thing to the control 
of law, order, and religion, and thus of founding regular and 
prosperous empires." In his will Columbus enjoins on his son' 
Diego, or whoever might inherit aft^r him, "to spare no parns 
in having and maintaining in the island of Hispaniola four got)d 
professors of theology, to the end and aim of their studying and 
laboring to convert to our holy faith the inhabitants of the 
Indias; and, in proportion as by Gods will the revenue of the 
estate shall increase, in the same degree shall the number of 
teachers and devout persons increase, who are to strive to make 
Christians of the natives." 


'' The great epitaph/' said Webster, " commemorative of the 
character and the worth, the discoveries and the glory, of 
Columbus, was that he had given a new world to the crovms 
of CastUe and Aragon. This is a great mistake. It does not 
come up to all the great merits of Columbus. He gave the 
territory of the Southern hemisphere to the crowns of Castile 
and Aragon ; but, as a place for the plantation of colonies, as a 
place for the habitation of men, a place to which laws and relir 
gion, and mannei's and science, were to be transferred, as a 
place where the creatures of God should multiply and fill the 
earth under friendly skies and with religious hearts, he gave it 
to the whole world, he gave it to universal man I From this 
seminal principle, and from a handful, a hundred saints, blessed 
of God and ever honored of men, landed on the shores of Ply- 
mouth and elsewhere along the coast, united with the settle- 
ment of Jamestown, has sprung this great people." 



The Puritan settlement on the American continent, around 
which cluster the grandest associations and results, dates from 
the 22d of December, 1620, one hundred and twenty-eight 
years after a Christian navigator had greeted the New World 
with a song of praise, and consecrated it to Christ in prayer. 
The motives that began this memorable era in American his- 
tory were intensely religious. It opened a new chapter in the 
progress of events and in the history of colonizing countries. 
Hitherto, conquest, ambition, worldly glory, had often marked 
the settlement of newly discovered territory. God now 


changes the scene, and, for the first time in the history of 
the world, the colonization of a new and great continent begins 
from the purest and profoandest religious convictions and 

Previous ages had been preparatory to this new and import- 
ant Christian era. Europe had been shaken and sifted by the 
conflicts of the Eeformation. In England, Christian ideas and 
the principles of a purer and freer Christianity had, through 
Wickliffe's translation of the Bible, been generally diffused, and 
that book was the forerunner of coming revolutions. There 
was, in the providence of God, a peculiar fitness in the times to 
train and prepare Christian men for the great work of laying 
the foundation of a Christian empire in a new continent. They 
lived in an age of superior light, in which literature, philosophy, 
and the arts and sciences had enlightened and elevated the 
English nation; they were educated in schools of learning 
where the word of God had enthroned its power and diffused 
its light, and which created in their souls a longing desire for 
the simple forms of worship; their Christian faith was tried and 
strengthened in the furnace of persecution, in which it grew 
bolder for truth and freedom. Under such influences were the 
Puritan men educated and prepared for their Christian mission 
on the American continent. Their labors, as future ages showed, 
received the crowning and abundant blessing of God. 

Under the convictions of a strong Christian faith, the Puri- 
tans, in 1608, bade farewell to England, where they had been 
persecuted for their pure faith and simple forms of Christian 
worship, and emigrated to Holland, where they hoped to find a 
permanent asylum. The love of country, the ties of home and 
kindred, the prospect of suffering, trials, and unnumbered pri- 
vations, did not deter them from this Christian enterprise ; — 
" jpbr their desires were set on the ways of Ood, and to enjoy his 
ordinances. But they rested on his providence, and knew whom 
they had believed" 

" The embarkation of the Pilgrims for Holland," says Web- 
ster, "is deeply interesting from its circumstances, and also as 
a mark of the character of the times, independently of its con- 
nection with names now incorporated with the history of em- 
pires. Theirs was not the flight of guilt, but virtue. It was 
an humble and peaceable religion flying from causeless oppres- 
sion. It was conscience attempting toescape from the arbitrary 



" The great epitaph," said Webster, "commemr^ 
character and the worth, the discoveries and 
Columbus, was that he had given a new world 
of Castile and Aragon, This is a great mistak 
come up to all the great merits of Columbus, 
territory of the Southern hemisphere to the ( 
and Aragon ; but, as a place for the plantation 
place for the habitation of men, a place to wh 
gion, and mannei^ and science, were to bo 
place where the creatures of Grod should m 
earth under friendly skies and with religio 
to the whole world, he gave it to univers 
seminal principle, and from a handful, a h 
of God and ever honored of men, landed 
mouth and elsewhere along the coast, ^ 
ment of Jamestown, has sprung this gro 




OWN DKCLARAriO***— WEHBimi'l , 

The Puritan settlomtlit 
which clufit^ir tho grandr 
the 22dof Decern^, r. 
years afi^r a Ckri^t oi 
^iih tk aong of pifiuse, l^ 
vm ill 




■/ Upon 

y suitably 

,13 spent in 

rvency, mixed 

ume when they 

I iji their brethren 

Lulled Delft Haven, 

Mt. So they left that 

\}\k*Xv rea ting-place near 

, , ro FiLaKiMS, and looked 

• tij* their eyes to heaven, 

..1 tl»eir spiritB, When they 

.Ay, mniA Buch of their friends 

mtA iftflT them, and sundry 

pipped and to take 

that night. Friendly 


'^rse, and expressions of deep 

waking. "Never/' says 

' ^ on earth lived more 

\n we, the church 

lately, the mind 

presence with us, 

^vind being fair, they 

Ml ; "when truly doleful 

.111 parting; to see what 

md amongst them; what 

)»ithy speeches pierced each 

• >utch strangers that stood on 

. iiin from tears. Yet comfort- 

. lively and true expressions of 

\\iQ tide, which stays for no man, loth to depart, their reverend 

^ knees, and they all with him, with 

I them with most fervent prayers to 

; and then, with mutual embraces and 

• ve of one another, which proved their 

, on the deck of the ship, their pastor — 

.0 them the following farewell charge: — 

!i')W quickly to part from one another; and 

• to see your faces on earth any more, the (rod 

•\V8 ; but whether the Lord has appointed that 

you, before God and his blessed angels, that you 

I'lriher than you have seen me follow the Lord 

If God reveals any thing to you by any other 

1 his, be as ready to receive it as ever you were to 

v truth by my ministry, for I am verily persuaded 

.: us more truth yet to break forth from his Holy Word. 

you to take heed what you receive as truth ; examine 

utv it, and compare it with the scriptures of truth before 

oive it." 

•• farewell scenes closed, they set sail for the shores of the 

/ World. "That embarkation," saysChoate, "speaks to the 

:on as with the voices and melodies of an immortal hymn, 

hich dilates and becomes actualized into the auspicious going 

lorth of a colony whose planting has changed the history of the 


world, — ^a noble colony of devoted Chi'istians,— educated, firm 
men, valiant soldiers, and honorable women, — ^a colony on the 
commencement of whose heroic enterprise the selectest in- 
fluences of religion seemed to be descending visibly, and beyond 
whose perilous path was hung the rainbow and the western star 
of empire." 

"The Mayflower sought our shores," says Webster, "under 
no high-wrought spirit of commercial adventure, no love of 
gold, no mixture of purpose warlike or hostile to any human 
being. Like the dove from the ark, she had put forth only to 
find rest. Solemn supplications on the shore of the sea in 
Holland had invoked for her, at her departure, the blessings of 
Providence. The stars which guided her were the unobscured 
constellations of civil and religious liberty. Her deck was the 
altar of the living God. Fervent prayers on bended knees 
mingled morning and evening with the voices of the ocean and 
the sighing of the winds in her shrouds. Every prosperous 
breeze, which, gently filling her sAils, helped the Pilgrims on- 
ward in their course, awoke new anthems of praise; and when 
the elements were wrought into fury, neither the tempest, toss- 
ing their fragile bark like a feather, nor the darkness and 
howling of the midnight storm, ever disturbed, in man or 
woman, the firm and settled purpose of their souls to undergo 
all and to do all that the meekest patience, the boldest resolu- 
tion, and the highest trust in Grod could enable human beings 
to endure or to perform. 

" That Mayflower was a flower destined to be of perpetual 
bloom 1 Its verdure will stand the sultry blasts of sunmier 
and the chilling winds of autumn. It will defy winter ; it will 
defy all climate, and all time, and will continue to spread its 
petals to the world, and to exhale an ever-living odor and fra- 
grance to the last syllable of recorded time." 

On the 16th of September, 1620, they set sail from Souths 
ampton, and, after a stormy and perilous voyage, they fell in 
with land on the American coast on the 9th of November, 
"the which being made and certainly known to be it, they were 
not a little joyfuL On their voyage they would set apart whole 
days of fasting and prayer, to obtain from heaven a good success 
in their voyage, especially when the weather was much against 
them, whereunto they had remarkable answers ; so much so 


that the sailors were astonished, and said they were the first 
sea-fasts ever held in the world." 

On the 22d of December, 1620, the Puritans, one hundred" 
and one in number, landed from the Mayflower, and planted 
their feet on the Rock of Plymouth, and began a new era in 
the history of the world. The day and the rock became canon- 
ized in American history, and emblems of the grandest Chris- 
tian ideas and associations. The first act of the Puritans, after 
landing, was to kneel down and offer their thanksgiving to God, 
and by a solemn act of prayer, and in the name and for the 
sake of Christ, to take possession of the continent. They thus 
repeated the Christian consecration which Columbus, more than 
a century before, had given to the New World, and so twice in 
the most formal and solemn manner was it devoted to Christ 
and Christian civilization. The seed thus planted bore an 
abundant harvest of Christian fruits, which have blessed the 
nation and enriched the world. How significant and sublime 
the lessons that gather round and flow from Plymouth Rock ! 
How does it speak for God and of God ! How grandly does it 
proclaim the Christian faith and fruits of those great and good 
men who, in prayer and faith, planted a Christian empire in the 
New Wor^d, and started a Christian nation on a noble career of 
progress and greatness ! 

" And can ye deem it strange 
That from their planting such a branch should bloom 
As nations envy ? Should a germ embalm'd 
With prayer's pure tear-drops strike no deeper root 
Than that which mad Ambition's hand doth strew 
Upon the winds to reap the winds again ? 
Hid by its veil of wat^s from the hand 
Of greedy Europe, their bold vine spread forth 
In giant strength. 

" Its early clusters, crushed 
In England's wine-press, gave the tyrant host 
A draught of deadly wine. ye who boast 
In your free veins the blood of sires like these, 
Lose not their lineaments. Should Mammon cling 
Too close around your heart, — or wealth beget 
That bloated luxury which eats the core 
From manly virtue, — or the tempting world 
Make faint the Christian purpose in your soul, — 
Turn ye to Plymouth's beach ; and, on that rock. 
Kneel in their footprints, and renew the vow 
They breathed to God." Mrs. Sioovftmrr. 



The Christian life\and character of the Puritans have the 
following description from the pen of England's historian, 
Macaulay : — 

"The Puritans were men whose minds derived a peculiar 
character from the daily contemplation of superior beings and 
eternal interests. Not content with acknowledging in general 
terms an overruling Providence, they habitually ascribed every 
event to that great Being for whose power nothing was too 
vast, for whose inspection nothing was too minute. To know 
him, to serve him, to enjoy him, was with them the great end 
of existence. They rejected with contempt the ceremonious 
homage which other sects substituted for the worship of the 
soul. Instead of catching occasional glimpses of the Deity 
through an obscuring veil, they aspired to gaze full on the 
intolerable brightness, and to commune with him face to face. 
Hence originated their contempt for terrestrial distinctions. 
The difference between the greatest and meanest of mankind 
seemed to vanish when compared with the boundless interval 
which separated the whole race from Him on whom their own 
eyes were constantly fixed. 

"They recognized no title to superiority but God's favor; and, 
confident of that favor, they despised all the accon^lishments 
and all the dignities of the world. If they were unacquainted 
with the works of philosophers and poets, they were deeply 
read in the oracles of God. If their names were not found in 
the registers of heralds, they felt assured that they were re- 
corded in the book of life. Their palaces were houses not made 
with hands ; their diadems, crowns of glory which should not fade 
away. On the rich and the eloquent, on nobles and priests, they 
looked down with (comparative) contempt ; for they esteemed 
themselves rich in more precious treasures, and eloquent in a 
more sublime language; nobles by the right of an earlier creation, 
and priests by the imposition of a mightier hand. The very 
meanest of them was a being to whose fate a mysterious and 
terrible importance belonged, — on whose slightest action the 
spirits of light and darkness looked with anxious interest, — ^who 
had been destined, before heaven and earth were created, to 
enjoy a felicity when heaven and earth should pass away. For 
his sake the Almighty had proclaimed his will by the pen of 
the evangelist and the harp of the prophet. He had been 
rescued by no common deliverer from the grasp of no common 


foe. He had been ransomed by the sweat of no vulgar agony, 
by the blood of no earthly sacrifice. It was for him the sun 
had been darkened, that the rocks had been rent, that the dead 
had arisen, that all nature had shuddered at the sufferings of 
an expiring Qod. 

" Thus the Puritan was made of two different men : the one 
all self-abasement, penitence, gratitude, passion; the other, 
stern, calm, inflexible, sagacious. He prostrated himself in the 
dust before his Maker, but set his foot on the neck of his king. 
In his devotional retirement, he prayed with groans and tears; 
but when he took his seat in the council, or girt on his swprd 
for war, these workings of the soul had left no perceptible 
trace behind them. The intensity of their feelings on one 
subject made them tranquil on all others." 

This description, in substance, corresponds with what the 
New England Puritans say of themselves. "We give our- 
selves," say they, " to the Lord Jesus Christ, and the word of 
his grace, for the teaching, ruling, and sanctifying of us, in 
matters of worship and conversation ; resolving to cleave unto 
him alone for life and glory, and to reject all contrary ways, 
canons, and constitutions of men in his worship." 

" Our fathers," says Webster, " had that religious sentiment, 
that trust in Providence, that determination to do right, and to 
seek, through every degree of toil and suffering, the honor of God, 
and the preservation of their liberties, which we shall do well to 
cherish, to imitate, to equal, to the utmost of our ability." 



croft's view OF Calvin's influence. 

The noblest significance of the Puritan settlement of the 
North American continent consists in its Christian origin and aim. 
As the design of Columbus was to ''subject every thing to law, 


order, and religion," so the Puritans began practically to exe- 
cute this great work. Their first act was to institute a form 
of civil government in conformity with the revealed will of 
God, and under whose benign legislation they were to enjoy all 
the rights and privileges of civil and religious freedom. The 
form of government was instituted in the cabin of the May- 
flower, before they landed on Plymouth Kock, and signed and 
ratified under the solemnity of prayer and the most sacred 
sanctions of the Christian religion. That charter of a godly 
government is as follows : — 

" In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are under- 
written, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign lord, King 
James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ire- 
land, defender of the faith, &c., having undertaken, for the 
glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor 
of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony on 
the northern part of Virginia, do, by these presents, solemnly 
and mutually, in the presence of God and one another, covenant 
and combrne ourselves together into a civil body politic, for our 
better ordering and preservation, and furtherance of the ends 
aforesaid ; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame 
such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and 
offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and 
convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we 
promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof, 
we have hereunto subscribed our names, at Cape Cod, the 11th 
of November, in the year of the reign of our sovereign lord, 
King James, of England, France, and Ireland the eighteenth, 
and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, Anno Domini 1620." 

" This Constitution," said Webster, "invokes a religious sanc- 
tion and the authority of God on their civil obligations ; for it 
was no doctrine of the Puritans that civil obedience is a mere 
matter of expediency." 

"This," says Bancroft, '' was the birth of constitutional liberty. 
In the cabin of the Mayflower humanity recovered its rights, 
and instituted governments on the basis of equal rights, for the 
general good. As the Pilgrims landed, their institutions 
were already perfected. Democratic liberty and independent 
Christian worship at once existed in America." 

"The compiict of the Puritans," said John Quincy Adams, 
"is a full demonstration that the nature of civil governments, 


abstracted from the political institutions of their native country, 
had been an object of their serious meditation." 

"Thou little Mayflower," said Carlyle, "hadst in thee a veri- 
table Promethean spark, the life-spark of the largest nation on 
our earth ! Honor to the brave and true ! They verily carry 
fire from heaven, and have a power that themselves dream not 
of. Let all men honor Puritanism, since God has honored it." 

"This compact was the first in the world," says Hall, the his- 
torian of the Puritans, " entered into by freemen, preserving 
the liberties of each, and guaranteeing to all equal privileges 
and rights. It was the germ of the first true republic on earth. 
The great idea, so novel, so startling to the world, so directly 
opposed to the divine right of kings and prelates, under whose 
sway the world had so long groaned in bondage, — the great idea 
of such a republic, as founded in the nature and inalienable 
rights of man, the Pilgrims derived from the gospel scheme of 
a Christian church. ' For this stupendous discovery, which is 
now so simple that we wonder it could ever have been overlooked, 
we are wholly indebted to the diligent search which the Puri- 
tans made into the great principles of the rights of conscience, 
and into the true scriptural model of a Christian church." 
The charter of freedom formed in the Mayflower is a solemn, 
dignified, republican state paper, worthy of the founders of a 
free Christian republic. '* Good authorities have pronounced 
it to have been the germ of American Constitutions." " It con- 
tained," says Pitkin, " the elements of those forms of govern- 
ment peculiar to the New World." 

The synod of the New England churches met at Cambridge, 
Massachusetts, September 30, 1648, and defined the nature of 
civil government, the functions of the civil magistrate, and the 
duties of the citizens, as follows '•• — 

" I. God, the Supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath 
ordained civil magistrates to be under him, over the people, and 
for his own glory and the public good ; and to this end hath 
armed them with the power of the sword for the defence and 
encouragement of them that do well, and for the punishment of 

" II. It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office 
of magistrate when called thereunto. In the management 
whereof, as they ought especially to maintain piety, justice, and 
peace, according to the wholesome laws of each Commonwealth,' 


80 for that end they may lawfully now, under the New Testa^ 
raent, wage war upon just and necessary occasions. 

" III. They who, upon pretence of Christian liberty, shall oppose 
any lawful power, or the lawful exercises of it, resist the ordi- 
nances of God ; and for their publishing such opinions or maintain- 
ing of such practices as are contrary to the light of nature, or the 
known principles of Christianity, or to the power of godliness, 
or such erroneous opinions and practices as either in their own 
nature, or in tho manner of publishing or maintaining them, are 
destructive to the external peace and order which Christ hath 
established in the church, they may be called to account and 
proceeded against by the censure of the church and by the 
power of the civil magistrate ; yet in such diflFerences about the 
doctrines of the gospel, or the ways of the worship of God, as 
may befall men exercising a good conscience, manifesting it in 
their conversation, and holding the foundation and duly observ- 
ing the rules of peace and order, there is no warrant in the 
magistrate to abridge them of their liberty. 

" IV. It is the duty of the people to pray for magistrates, to 
honor their persons, to pay them tribute and other dues, to obey 
their lawful commands, and to be subject to their authority for 
conscience's sake. Infidelity or indiflFerence does not make void 
the magistrate s just and legal authority, nor free* the people 
from their due obedience to him. From which ecclesiastical per- 
sons are not exempted ; much less has the Pope any power or 
jurisdiction over them in their dominions, or over any of their 
people ; and least of all to deprive them of their dominions and 
lives, if he shall judge them to be heretics, or upon other pre- 
text whatsoever." 

Civil government on the basis of the Bible and the free prin- 
ciples of a pure Christianity was not the only object that the 
Puritans had in view in coming to the New World. They had 
also the great and good end of extending and establishing the 
kingdom of Christ, and of bringing the whole continent under 
the reign of Christianity and filling it with its saving blessings. 
Hence a grand part of the mission of the Puritans was to 
christianize and civilize the native Indians, who were the sole 
possessors of the North American continent. 

Cotton Mather, in his work on New England, makes the 
following statements as to the motives and reasons that moved 
the Puritans to come to the New World : — 


" The God of heaven served, as it were, a summons upon the 
spirits of his people in the English nation, stirring up the. spirits 
of thousands which never saw the faces of each other, with a 
most unanimous inclination to leave the pleasant accommoda- 
tions of their native country, and go over a terrible ocean into 
a more terrible desert, for the pure enjoyment of all his ordi- 
nances. It is now fit that the reasons of this undertaking 
should be more exactly made known unto posterity ; especially 
unto the posterity of those who were the undertakers, lest they 
come at length to forget and neglect the true interests of New 
England. Wherefore I shall transcribe some of them from a 
manuscript wherein they were tendered unto consideration. 



"First. It will be a service unto the church of great conse- 
quence, to carry the gospel into those parts of the world and 
raise a bulwark against the kingdom of Antichrist, which the 
Jesuits labor to rear up in all parts of the world. 

" Secondly. All other churches of Europe have been brought 
under desolations ; and it may be feared that the like judgments 
are coming upon us ; and who knows but God has provided this 
place to be a refuge for many whom he means to save out of the 
general destruction? 

" Thirdly. The land grows weary of her inhabitants, inasmuch 
that man, which is the most precious of all creatures, is here 
(in Europe) more vile and base than the earth he treads upon. 
Children, neighbors, and friends, especially the poor, are counted 
the greatest burdens ; which, if things were right, would be 
counted the chiefest of earthly blessings. 

" Fourthly. We are grown to that intemperance in all excess 
of riot, as no mean establishment will suffice a man to keep sail 
with his equals, and he that fails in it must live in scorn and 
contempt. Hence it comes to pass that all arts and trades are 
carried in that deceitful manner and unrighteous course, as it is 
almost impossible for a good, upright man to maintain his con- 
stant charge and live comfortably in them. 

' Fifthly. The schools of learning and religion are so corrupted 
as (beside the unsupportable charge of education) most children, 
even the best, wittiest, and of the fairest hopes, are perverted, * 


corrupted, and utterly overthrown by the multitudes of evil 
examples and licentious behavior in these seminaries. 

" Sixthly. The whole earth is the Lord's garden, and he hath 
given it to the sons of Adam, to be tilled and improved by them: 
why then should we stand starving here for places of habitation, 
and in the mean time suffer whole countries, as profitable for the 
use of man, to be waste without improvement? 

"Seventhly. What can be a better and nobler work, and more 
worthy of a Christian, than to erect and support a reformed 
particular church in its infancy, and unite our forces with such 
a company of faithful people, as by timely assistance may grow 
stronger and prosper, but for want of it may be put to great 
hazards, if not wholly ruined? 

" Eighthly. If any such as are known to be godly, and live 
in wealth and prosperity here, shall forsake all this to join 
with this reformed church, and with it run the hazard of a 
hard and mean condition, it will be an example of great use, 
both for removing of scandal and to give more life unto the 
faith of God's people in their prayers for the plantation, and 
also to encourage others to join the more willingly in it." 

In 1629, an Emigrant Aid Society was formed in England to 
promote the more rapid settlement of the North American 
Colonies; and in the instructions to John Endicott, who was to 
conduct the emigration, it is declared that the purpose is " for 
propagating of the gospel in these things we do profess above 
ALL to be our ayme in settling this plantacion." 

In 1643, a confederation between the colonies of Massa- 
chusetts, New Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven was 
formed, in which it is affirmed that " wee all came into these 
parts of America with the same end and ayme, namely, to 
advance the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to enjoy the 
liberties thereof with puritie and peace, and for preserving and 
propagating the truth and liberties of the gospel." 

In the charter granted to Massachusetts, in 1640, by Charles L, 
the Colonies are enjoined by " their good life and orderly con- 
versation to winne and invite the natives of the country to the 
knowledge of the only true God and Saviour of mankind, and 
the Christian faith which, in our royal intention and the adven- 
turer's free possession, is the principal end of this plantation." 

In 1658, John Eliot, pastor of Eoxbnry, Massachusetts, and 
afterwards a devoted and distinguished missionary, completed 


the translation of the entire Bible, including the Old and New 
Testaments, for the use of the Indians. This fact having been 
communicated to the corporation established in London for the 
propagation of the gospel among the Indians of New England, 
that body declared, that " wee conceive" (the printing of the 
work) *' will not only be acceptable unto God, but very proffit- 
able to the poor heathen, and will much tend to the promotion 
of the sperituall part of this worke amongst them. And there- 
fore wee offer it not only as our^ owne, but as the judgment 
of others, that the New Testament bee first printed in the 
Indian language." 

The New Testament was, accordingly, printed at Cambridge, 
Massachusetts, in 1660; and its preface contained the follow- 
ing " Epistle Dedicatory :" — 

To the High and Mighty PRINCE, CHARLES the Second, by 
the Grace of God KING of England^ Scotland, France, and 
Ireland, Defender of the faith, &c. The Commissioners of 
the Vnited Colonies in New England wish increase of all 
happiness, &c. 

" The people of these four colonies (confederate for mutual 
defence in the time of the late distractions of our dear native 
country), your Majestie's natural born subjects, by the Favor 
and Grant of Your Royal Father and Grandfather of Famous 
Memory, put themselves upon this great and hazardous under- 
taking, of planting themselves at their own Charge in these 
remote ends of the Earth, that, without offence or provocation 
to our dear Brethren and Countrymen, we might enjoy the 
liberty to Worship Go^, which our own Consciences informed 
us was not only Right, but Duty; As also that we might (if it 
80 pleased God) be instrumental to spread the light of the 
Gospel, the knowledge of the Son of God our Saviour, to the 
poor barbarous Heathen, which by His late Majesty, in some 
of our patents, is declared to be His principal aim. 

"Our Errand hither hath been Endeavours and Blessings; 
many of the wild Indians being taught, and understanding 
the Doctrine of the Christian Religion, and with much affection 
attending Such Preachers as* are sent to teach them. Many 
of their Children are instructed to Write and Reade, and some 
of them have proceeded further, to attain the knowledge of the 


Latine and Greek tongues, and are brought up with our English 
youth in University-learning. There are divers of them that 
can and do reade some parts of the Scripture, and some Cate- 
chisms, which was formerly Translated into their own Lan- 
guage, which hath occasioned the undertaking of a greater 
Work, viz. : The Printing of the whole Bible, which (being 
Translated by a painful Labourer [Eliot] amongst them, who 
was desirous to see the Work accomplished in his dayes) hath 
already proceeded to the finishing of the New Testament, which 
we here humbly present to Your Majesty, as the first fruits and 
accomplishment of the Pious Design of your Royal Ancestors. 

"And we do most humbly beseech your Majesty, that a 
matter of so much Devotion and Piety, tending so much to the 
Honour of God, may Sufi'er no disappointment. As this Book 
was begun, and now finished, in the first year of your Establish- 
ment ; which doth not only presage the happy success of your 
Highness' Government, but will be a perpetual Monument, that, 
by your Majestie's Favour, the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour 
Jesus Christ was first made known to the Indians." 

" Our ancestors," said Webster, " estiiblished their system of 
government on morality and religious sentiment. Moral habits, 
they believed, cannot be safely trusted on any other foundation 
than religious principles, nor any government be secure which 
is not supported by moral habits. Living under the heavenly 
light of revelation, they hoped to find all the social dispositions, 
all the duties which men owe to each other and to society, 
enforced and performed. Whatever makes good men makes 
good citizens. Our fathers came here to enjoy their religion. 
\ free and unmolested ; and, at the end of two centuries, there is 
nothing of which we can express a more deep and earnest con- 
viction than of the inestimable importance of that religion to 
man, in regard to this life, and that which is to come. Let us 
not forget the religious character of our origin. Our fathers 
were brought hither by their high veneration of the Christian 
religion. They journeyed by its light and labored in its hope. 
They sought to incorporate it with the elements of their society, 
and to difiuse its influences through all their institutions, — civil, 
political, social, and educational. Let us cherish their senti- 
ments, and extend their influence still more and more, until the 
full conviction that that is the happiest society which partakes 


in the highest degree of the mild and peaceful spirit of Chris- 
tianity." A set of men more conscientious in their doings, 
or simpler in their manners, or nobler in their character, or 
purer in their life and doctrines, never founded a common- 

" There was," says Choate, " one influence on the history 
of the Puritans, whose permanent and varied effects on its doc- 
trines and destiny is among the most striking in the whole 
history of opinion. I mean its contact with the republican 
reforms of the continent, and particularly those of Geneva. I 
ascribe to the five years of Geneva an influence that has 
changed the condition of the world. I seem to myself to trace 
to it, as an influence on the English race, a new theology, a 
new politics, another tone of character, the opening of another 
era of time and liberty. I seem to myself to trace to it a 
portion, at least, of the great civil war of England, the repub- 
lican constitution framed in the cabin of the Mayflower, the 
divinity of Jonathan Edwards, the battle of Bunker Hill, and 
the independence of America." 

Eeferring to the same influence, Bancroft says that " the 
genius of Calvin infused enduring elements into the institu- 
tions of Geneva, and made it, for the modern world, the im- 
pregnable fortress of popular liberty, the fertile seed-plot of 
democracy. He that will not honor the memory and respect 
the influence of Calvin knows but little of the origin of Ame- 
rican liberty." 

" Of the Puritans it may be said," remarks Judge Story, " with 
as much truth as of any men that have ever lived, that they 
acted up to their principles, and followed them out with an un- 
faltering firmness. They displayed at all times a downright 
honesty of heart and purpose. In simplicity of life, in godly 
sincerity, in temperance, in humility, and in patience, as well as 
in zeal, they seemed to belong to the apostolical age. Their wis- 
dom, while it looked on this world, reached far beyond it in its 
aim and objects. They valued earthly pursuits no farther than 
they were consistent with religion. Amidst the temptations of 
human grandeur, they stood unmoved, unshaken, unseduced. 
Their scruples of conscience, if they sometimes betrayed them 
into difficulties, never betrayed them into voluntary sin. They 
possessed a moral courage which looked present dangers in the 
face as though they were distant and doubtful, seeking no 


escape, and indulging no terror. When, in defence of their faith, 
of what they deemed pure and undefiled religion, we see them 
resign their property, their preferments, their friends, and their 
homes ; when we see them submitting to banishment and igno- 
miny, and even to death ; when we see them in foreign lands, on 
inhospitable shores, in the midst of sickness and famine, in 
desolation and disaster, still true to themselves, still confident 
in God 8 providence, still submissive to his chastisements, still 
thankful for his blessings, still ready to exclaim, in the language 
of Scripture, 'We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; 
we are perplexed, but not in despair ; persecuted, but not for- 
saken ; cast down, but not destroyed ;' when we see such things, 
where is the man whose soul does not melt within him at the 
sight ? Where shall examples be sought or found, more fully 
to point out what Christianity is and what it ought to accom- 

"What better origin could we desire than from men of cha- 
racters like these ? men to whom conscience was every thing, and 
worldly prosperity nothing ; men whose thoughts belonged to 
eternity rather than to time ; men who, in the near prospect of 
their sacrifices, could say, as our forefathers did say, ' When we 
are in our graves, it will be all one whether we have lived in 
plenty or in penury, whether we have died in a bed of down, 
or locks of straw. Only this is the advantage of the mean con- 

fort any have in the things of this world, the more liberty they 
have to lay up treasures in heaven.' Men who, in answer to 
the objections urged by the anxiety of friendship, that they 
might perish by the way, or by hunger, or the sword, could an- 
swer, as our forefathers did, ' We may trust God's providence 
for these things ; either he will keep these evils from us, or will 
dispose of them for our good, and enable us to bear them/ 
Men who, in still later days, in their appeal for protection to the 
throne, could say with pathetic truth and simplicity, as our fore- 
fathers did, * That we might enjoy divine worship, without human 
mixtures, without offence to God, man, our own consciences, with 
leave, but not without tears, we departed from our country, 
kindred, and fathers' houses, into this Patmos, in relation where- 
unto we do not say, "our garments are become old by reason of 
the very long journey," but that ourselves, who came away in our 


Strength, are, by reason of our long absence, many of us become 
gray-headed, and some of us stooping for age/ 

" If these be not the sentiments of lofty virtue, if they breathe 
not the genuine spirit of Christianity, if they speak not high 
approaches towards moral perfection, if they possess not an 
enduring sublimity, then indeed have I illy read the human 
heart ; then indeed have I strangely mistaken the inspirations of 





THROP — Bancroft's picture of the colony — rbodb island colony — 


"The discovery of America," said Webster, "its colonization 
by the nations of Europe, the history and progress of the colo- 
nies, from their establishment to the time when the principal 
of them threw off their allegiance to the respective states by 
which they had been planted, and founded governments of their 
own, constitutes one of the most interesting portions of the 
annals of man. The Reformation of Luther broke out, kindling 
up the minds of men afresh, leading to new habits of thought, 
and awakening in individuals energies before unknown even to 
themselves. The religious controversies of this period changed 
society as well as religion." All the colonies, educated under the 
genius of Christianity and indoctrinated into the knowledge of 
the principles of just civil governments, laid the basis of their 
civil systems on the Bible, and made its truths the corner-stone 
of all their institutions. The fundamental doctrine of the men 
who planted each colony was, that the legislation of the Bible 
must be supreme and universal. They rejected as heretical the 
idea that civil governments could be rightly instituted, or wisely 
administered, without Christianity. Hence their institutions 
and their civilization began under the auspices of Heaven, and 


at once assumed the form of Christian order, and rose into 
Christian symmetry and completeness; their local democracies, in 
township, county, and colony, became the nurseries of freedom, 
and schools of science and art in civil government, and in which 
each independent colony was in process of preparation for 
w<n*king out the grand results of freedom, and the establishment 
of a Christian nation on the American continent. 

" Our fathers brought with them from England not merely a 
vague spirit of personal liberty, but certain ideas of the method 
of liberty in civil life. Taking the germ from certain Saxon 
institutions in England, they gave to it in the colonies a de- 
velopment which it had never had in the mother-country. The 
township in New England and the churches were the germs and 
prototypes of the sovereignty of states. It is De Tocqueville who 
says that the institutions of America are but the unfolding and 
larger application of the forms and principles of the townships 
of New England. New England townships are yet the purest, 
if not the only, specimens of absolute democracy in the world. 
The New England method was to reserve to the individual 
every right possible, consistently with the good of his neighbor; 
to retain in the town every particle of authority possible, con- 
sistently with the welfare of the state, and to yield to the Great 
and General Court, as the legislature was named, and to the 
executive, only such powers as were necessary for the welfare 
of the whole commonwealth. Thus the colonial governments 
-were broad at the base. Authority was restricted to a few 
things at the top, but grew in breadth as it came near to the 
people. This was not an accident. It was the studious eflFort 
of sturdy and wise men to keep for the individual just as much 
personal liberty as was consistent with an equal liberty in all 
his fellows." 

"The settlement of New England," says Trumbull, "purely 
for the purposes of religion and the propagation of civil and 
religious liberty, is an event which has no parallel in the his- 
tory of modern ages. The piety, self-denial, suffering, patience, 
perseverance, and magnanimity of the first settlers of the coun- 
try are without a rival. The happy and extensive conse- 
quences of the settlements which they made, and of the senti- 
ments which they were careful to propagate to their posterity, 
to the Church, and to the world, admit of no description. They 


are still increasing, spreading wider and wider, and appear 
more and more important." 

As an independent colony, was the first and most memorable 
of the Puritan family. Its Christian history and bold enun- 
ciation and vindication of the pure doctrines of Christianity, and 
their incorporation into forms of civil government and social 
life, is one of the most remarkable and instructive chapters iu 
the Christian history of the world. 

Charles II. reascended the throne of England in 1660, when 
the New England colonies had largely increased in population, 
prosperity, and political power. Grown strong in Christian 
faith, and in a fervent love for liberty, the people of Massachu- 
setts enjoyed too much freedom for the despotic feelings and 
principles of the king. Hence, on the restoration of Charles II., 
they feared that their freedom would be abridged and their 
rights taken from them. The people of the commonwealth sent 
to the king a formal and a frank address. It was full of Chris- 
tian sentiment and faith, and declared their purpose to submit 
to the government of the king in all things not conflicting with 
their duties to the King of kings. 

They prayed for the continuance of civil and religious liber- 
ties. "Your servants are true men, fearing God and the king. 
We could not live without the public worship of God ; and that 
we, therefore, might enjoy divine worship, without human 
mixtures, we, not without tears, departed from our country, 
kindred, and fathers' houses. To enjoy our liberty, and to 
walk according to the faith and order of the gospel, was the 
cause of our transporting ourselves, our wives, our little ones, 
and our substance, choosing the pure Christian worship, with a 
good conscience, in this remote wilderness, rather than the 
pleasures of England with submission to the impositions of the 
hierarchy, to which we could not yield without an evil con- 

These professions of good faith and loyalty failed to secure 
the favor of Charles II. He demanded a surrender of their 
charter, and with it their independence as a free Christian 
commonwealth. The remonstrances against these usurpations 
are suggestive memorials of their Christian faith and firmness, and 
a vindication of the axiom that " resistance to tyrants is obedi- 


ence to God." In their address to Charles IL, 1664, they 
declare that they were "resolved to act for the glory of God, 
and for the felicities of his people ;" and that, "having now above 
thirty years enjoyed the privilege of government within them- 
selves, as their undoubted right in the sight of God and man, 
to be governed by rulers of our own choosing, and laws of cur 
own, is the fundamental privilege of our charter." 

This contest was a time of trial and of danger to their civil 
liberties, and they said their hope was in God alone. A day of 
fasting and humiliation was appointed, and the peoplo pros- 
trated themselves in humiliation and prayer before God, and 
implored his interposition. The civil court, when convened for 
the administration of business, spent a portion of each day in 
prayer, — ^six elders praying, and a miniatsr preaching a sermon. 
"We must," said Uiey, "as well consider God's displeasure as 
the king's, the interests of ourselves and of God's things, as 
his majesty's prerogative; for our liberties are of concernment, 
and to be regarded as to preservation." 

"Religion," says Bancroft, "had been the motive of settle- 
ment; religion was now its counsellor. The fervors of the 
most ardent devotion were kindled; a more than usually 
solemn form of religious observance was adopted ; a synod of 
all the churches in Massachusetts was convened to inquire into 
the causes of the dangers to New England liberty, and the mode 
of removing the evils." " Submission," said they, " would be an 
offence against the majesty of Heaven. Blind obedience to the 
pleasure of the king cannot be without great sin, and incurring 
the high displeasure of the King of kings. Submission would 
be contrary unto that which has been the unanimous advice of 
the ministers, given after a solemn day of prayer. The minis- 
ters of God in New England have more of the spirit of John the 
Baptist in them, than now, when a storm hath overtaken them, 
to be reeds shaken with the wind. The priests were to be the 
first that set their foot in the water, and there to stand till the 
danger be past. Of all men, they should be an example to the 
Lord's people, of faith, courage, and constancy. 

"The civil liberties of New England are part of the inherit- 
ance of their fathers; and shall we give that inheritance away? 
Is it objected that we shall be exposed to great suffering? 
Better suffer than sin. It is better to trust the God of our 
fathers than to put confidence in princes. If we suffer because 


we daxe not comply with the wills of men, against the will of 
Grod, we suffer in a good cause, and shall be accounted martyrs 
in the next generation and at the great day." 

These were the noble utterances of Christian men and legis- 
lators, and display the nature of the principles which governed 
them in times of trial. They stood firm to their Christian 
faith and civil rights, and demonstrated the inseparable union 
between Christianity and civil liberty. These principles, main- 
tained with such Christian heroism, were reproduced in the 
scenes of the Eevolution, and contributed to the creation of a 
new and independent empire. 

This Christian commonwealth declared that those "who 
should go about to subvert and destroy the Christian faith and 
religion by broaching and maintaining damnable heresies, as 
denying the immortality of the soul or the resucrection of the 
body, or denying that Christ gave himself a ransom for oar 
sins, or shall deny the moraKty of the 4th Commandment, or 
shall deny the ordinance of the civil magistrate, shall be ban- 

"Were a council," said Wise, in 1669, "called of vl\ the 
learned heads of the whole universe, could they dictate better 
laws and advise better measures for the aAjuirement of learn- 
ing, the increase of virtue and good religion, than are in the 
royal province of Massachusetts? If we take a survey of the 
whole land, we shall find religion placed in the body politic as 
the soul in the body natural. That is, the whole soul is in the 
whole body while it is in every part." 


Unfolds, in its Christian colonization and civil institutions, the 
benign and beautiful fruits of the Christian religion. The aim 
of the crown and of the colonists in planting Connecticut wan 
to establish and extend the reign of the. Christian religion. 
For this purpose, the General Assembly of the Colony were 
instructed to govern the people "so as their good life and 
orderly conversation may win and invite the natives of the 
country to the knowledge and obedience of the only true God 
and Saviour of mankind, and the Christian faith; which, in our 
royal intentions and the adventurer's free possession, is the only 
and principal end of this plantation." 
The first organization of civil society and government was 


made, in 1639, at Quinipiack, now tlie beautiful city of New 
Haven. The emigrants, men of distinguished piety and ability, 
met in a large barn, on the 4th of June, 1639, and, in a very 
formal and solemn manner, proceeded to lay the foundations of 
their civil and religious polity. 

The subject was introduced by a sermon from Mr. Daven- 
port, the pastor, from the words of Solomon, ''Wisdom hath 
builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars." After 
a solemn invocation to Almighty God, he proceeded to repre- 
sent to the Plantation that they were met to consult respecting 
the setting up of civil government according to the will of God, 
and for the nomination of persons who, by universal consent, 
were in all respects the best qualified for the foundation-work 
of a church. He enlarged on the great importance of thorough 
action, and exhorted every man to give his vote in the fear of 
God. A constitution was formed, which was characterized as 
" the first example of a written constitution; as a distinct organic 
act, constituting a government and defining its powers." The 
preamble and resolutions connected with its formation are as 
follows : — 

" Forasmuch as it hath pleased the Almighty God, by the 
wise disposition of his divine providence, so to order and dispose 
of things that we, the inhabitants of Windsor, Hartford, and 
Wethersfield, are now cohabiting and dwelling in and upon the 
river of Connecticut, and the lands thereunto adjoining, and' 
well knowing where a people are gathered together the word 
of God requireth that, to maintain the peace and union of 
such a people, there should be an orderly and decent govern- 
ment established according to God, to order and dispose of the 
aflfairs of the people at all seasons as occasion should require; 
do, therefore, associate and conjoin ourselves to be as one public 
State or Commonwealth, and do enter into combination and 
confederation to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity 
of the gospel of our Lord Jesus, which we now profess, as also 
the discipline of the churches, which, according to the truth of 
said gospel, is now practised amongst us; as also in our civil 
afiairs to be guided and governed according to such laws, rules, 
orders, and decrees as shall be made. 

" I. That the Scriptures hold forth a perfect rule for the 
direction and government of all men in all duties which they 


are to perform to God and men, as well in families and com- 
monwealths as in matters of the church. 

" 11. That as in matters which concerned the gathering and 
ordering of a church, so likewise in all public offices which 
concern civil order, — as the choice of magistrates and officers, 
making and repealing laws, dividing allotments of inheritance, 
and all things of like nature, — they would all be governed by 
those rules which the Scripture held forth to them. 

'* III. That all those who had desired to be received free 
planters had settled in the plantation with a purpose, reso- 
lution, and desire that they might be admitted into church 
fellowship according to Christ. 

" IV. "That all the free planters held themselves bound to 
establish such civil order as might best conduce to the securing 
of the purity and peace of the ordinance to themselves, and 
their posterity according to God." 

When these resolutions had been passed, and the people had 
bound themselves to settle civil government according to the 
divine word, Mr. Davenport proceeded to state what men they 
must choose for civil rulers according to the divine word, and 
that they might most effectually secure to themselves and their 
posterity a just, free, and peaceable government. After a full 
discussion, it was unanimously determined — 

"V. That church members only should be free burgesses; 
and that they only should choose magistrates among themselves, 
to have power of transacting all the public civil affairs of the 
plantation, of making and repealing laws, dividing inheritances, 
deciding of differences that may arise, and doing all things and 
businesses of a like nature." 

That civil officers might be chosen and government proceed 
according to these resolutions, it was necessary that a church 
should be formed. Without this there could be neither free- 
men nor magistrates. Accordingly, in the most formal and 
solemn manner, a church was formed, with its proper officers. 
After this, those who constituted the church elected Theophilus 
Eaton governor of the civil commonwealth, and others to the 
offices of magistrates, secretary, and marshal. 

The governor was then charged by the Eev. Mr. Davenport, 
in the most solemn manner, as to his duties, from Deut. i. 16, 17: 
— "And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the 
causea between your brethren, and judge righteously between 


every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. 
Ye shall not respect persons in judgment, but ye shall hear the 
small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face 
of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too 
hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it." 

The General Court, established under this constitution, 
ordered, — 

" That God's word should be the only rule for ordering the 
aflFairs of government in this commonwealth." 

In 1662, Winthrop, whose father had been Governor of 
Massachusetts Colony, obtained from Charles II. a charter for 
the colony of Connecticut, which gave the largest civil liberty 
to the colonists, and contained the great American doctrine of 
popular sovereignty. Winthrop was a truly godly magistrate, 
combining learning, piety, and practical wisdom with superior 
administrative talents. He was for fourteen consecutive years 
governor of the colony. 

" Religion," says Bancroft, "united with the pursuits of agri- 
culture to give to the land the aspect of salubrity; religious know- 
ledge was carried to the highest degree of refinement, alike in its 
application to moral duties, and to the mysterious questions on 
the nature of God, of liberty, and of the soul. Civil freedom was 
safe under the shelter of a masculine morality, and beggary 
and crime could not thrive in the midst of the severest manners. 
The government was in honest and upright hands ; the state 
was content with virtue and single-mindedness; and the public 
welfare never suffered at the hands of plain men." Under this 
Christian government " Connecticut was long the happiest state 
in the world." " The contentment of Connecticut was full to 
the brim. In a public proclamation, under the great seal of the 
colony, it told the world that its days, under the charter, were 
the ' halcyon days of peace.' " 

" In an age," says Trumbull, "when the light of freedom was 
but. just dawning, the illustrious men of the colony of Con- 
necticut, by voluntary compact, formed one of the most free and 
happy constitutions of government which mankind have ever 
adopted. Connecticut has ever been distinguished by the free 
spirit of its government, the mildness of its laws, and the 
general difiusion of knowledge among all classes of its inhabit- 
ants. They have been no less distinguished for their industry, 
economy, purity of manners, prosperity, and spirit of enter- 


prise. For more than a century and a half they have had no 
rival as to the steadiness of their government, their internal 
peace and harmony, their love and high enjoyment of domestic, 
civil, and religious order and happiness. They have ever stood 
among the most illuminated, fervent, and boldest defenders of 
the civil and religious rights of mankind." 

Ehode Island 
Became a distinct colony in 1662, by the grant of a charter 
from Charles II. This charter gave the utmost Christian lib- 
erty in the exercise of the rights of conscience in religion. 

The object of colonizing Rhode Island is thus expressed in 
the charter : — " The colonists are to pursue with peace and loyal 
minds their sober, serious, and religious intentions of godly 
edifying themselves and one another in the holy Christian faith 
and worship, together with the gaining over the conversion of 
the poor ignorant Indians to the sincere profession and obedience 
of the same faith and worship." 

Roger Williams, a Baptist minister, and among the first emi- 
grants to the colony of Massachusetts, was the founder of the 
Rhode Island Colony. Having seen and felt the evils of an 
intolerant spirit in matters of religion, he obtained a charter 
that granted freedom in religious matters to all denominations. 
"No person," declared the charter, "within the said colony, at 
any time hereafter, shall be in any wise molested or punished, 
disquieted or called in question, for any difference in opinion in 
matters of religion ; every person may at all times freely and 
fully enjoy his own judgment and conscience in matters of reli- 
gious concernments." This organic law was confirmed by the 
first legislative Assembly declaring, in 1665, that "liberty to 
all persons as to the worship of God had been a principle main- 
tained in the colony from the very beginning thereof; and it 
was much in their hearts to preserve the same liberty forever." 
In 1680 the same fundamental law was re-enacted : — " We leave 
every man to walk as God persuades his heart : all our people 
enjoy freedom of conscience.". 

" Roger Williams," says Bancroft, " asserted the great doc- 
trine of intellectual liberty. It became his glory to found a 
state upon that principle, and to stamp himself upon its rising 
institutions so deeply that the impress can never be erased with- 
out the tot-al destruction of the work. He was the first person 


in modern Christendom to assert in its plenitude the doctrine 
of the liberty of conscience, the equality of opinions before the 
law ; and in its defence it was the harbinger of Milton, the 
precursor and the superior of Jeremy Taylor. Williams would 
permit persecutions of no opinion, of no religion, leaving heresy 
unharmed by law, and orthodoxy unprotected by the terrors 
of penal statutes." He had the honor of enunciating that fun- 
damental principle of the Bible and of American institutions, 
" that the civil power has no jurisdiction over the conscience," 
a doctrine which, Bancroft says, " secures him an immortality 
of fame, as its application has given religious peace to the Ame- 
rican world." 

The colony thus founded on a Christian basis enjoyed a Chris- 
tian democracy, and this original charter of civil and religious 
liberty continued as the organic government of Rhode Island 
till 1842, " the oldest constituted charter in the world. No- 
where in the world were life, liberty, and property safer than in 
Rhode Island." 

" Rhode Island," says Arnold, in his history of that common- 
wealth, "was a State whose founders had been doubly tried in 
the purifying fire; a State which more than any other has 
exerted, by the weight of its example, an influence to shape the 
I>olitical ideas of the present day, whose moral power has been 
in the inverse ratio with its material importance ; of which an 
eminent historian of the United States has said, that, had its 
territory ' corres^ponded to the importance and singularity of 
the principles of its early existence, the world would have been 
filled with wonder at the phenomena of its history.'" 

New Hampshire, 
In 1679, was separated from Massachusetts and organized as an 
independent province. The colonists, having been so long a 
part of the Christian commonwealth of Maf>sachu3etts, consti- 
tuted their institutions on the same Christian basis. Its legisla- 
ture was Christian, and the colony greatly prospered and in- 
creased in population. It nourished a class of Christian men 
who loved liberty, and who have ever exerted a prominent in- 
fluence on the civil and religious interests of the American 

January 1, 1680, a royal decree declared New Hampshire 
an independent province ; and the policy of the king was to 


smooth the way to an unjust and an unconstitutional govern- 
ment. The colonists, in their remonstrances, declared that the 
policy " struck liberty out of existence, by denying them the 
choice of their own rulers ; and they viewed the loss of liberty 
as a precursor to an invasion of their prosperity." A civil as- 
sembly was convened, and a solemn public &st proclaimed and 
observed to propitiate the favor of Heaven, and the continuance 
of their," precious and pleasant things." 

In an address to the king, the colonists of New Hampshire 
say, "that your petitioners' predecessors removed themselves, 
and some of us, into this remote region and howling wilderness, 
in pursuance of the glorious cause proposed, viz. : The glory of 
God, the enlarging of his majesty's dominions, and spreading the 
gospel among the heathen." 

The influence and results of the Christian constitutions and 
governments of New England are stated by Rev. John Wise, 
in a work on the Government of the New England Churches, as 
follows : — 

"1. Legislative power (that civil omnipotence) is doing very 
great things for religion, by their proclamations, and all penal 
laws enacted for the crushing of immorality and vice, and all 
their wise and exact precepts for the support of justice and piety. 
They are opening many civil channels, whereby they are con- 
veying judgment, justice, and righteousness down our streets 
from the great fountain. Nay, this great and dread assembly 
puts awe upon all mankind. And the more daring and despe- 
rate are kept within compass, from a sense of this most terrible 
seat of thunder hanging over their "heads, and upon every affront 
ready to break in strokes of vengeance and woes upon them, 
especially if they grow beyond the reach of common law. 

" 2. The executive power, or ministers of the law, are like a 
standing camp to awe, and a flying army to beat off, the enemy : 
they have their spies and scouts out in every quarter to observe 
his motions and break his measures, namely, in the innumerable 
number of all sorts of civil officers ; and thus by the sword of 
justice they hunt down sin and impiety in the land. They are 
a terror to evil-doers, and a praise to them that do well ; for the 
civil authority, by their wise and just precepts, their personal 
and noble examples and zealous administrations, outdo Plato 
himself, with all his moral reasons ; for they can turn a Sodom 
into a Sion, and keep Sion to be Sion, evident by the history 


and chronicles of several governments of God's ancient people. 
For chief rulers, by their good or bad measures, can make or 
mar, kill or cure, a nation in a moral sense." 







Education, next to the Christian religion, is an indispensable 
element of republican institutions, the basis upon which all free 
governments must rest. 

" The state must rest upon the basis of religion, and it must 
preserve this basis, or itself must fall. But the support which 
religion gives to the state will obviously cease the moment 
religion looses its hold upon the popular mind. The very fact 
that the state must have religion as a support for its own au- 
thority demands that some means for teaching religion be em- 
ployed. Better for it to give up all other instruction than that 
religion should be disregarded in its schools. The state itself 
has a more vital interest in this continued influence of religion 
over its citizens than in their culture in any other respect." 

Christian education, from the very beginning of the New 
England colonies, engaged the attention of the Puritans, and 
ample provisions were made for the instruction of all the chil- 
dren and youth in every branch of human and divine know- 
ledge. This, indeed, was one object they had in coming to the 
New World. Cotton Mather, in presenting the considerations 
for the plantation of the colonies, says : — 

"The schools of learning and religion are so corrupted as 
(besides the unsupportable charge of education) most children, 
even the best and wittiest, and of the fairest hopes, are per- 
verted, corrupted, and utterly overthrown by the multitude of 
evil examples and licentious behavior in these seminaries." 

John Eliot, the apostle to the Indians, in a prayer before the 


Civil Court, in Massachusetts, in 1646, uttered the following 
sentiments : — 

"Lord! for schools everjrwhere among us I That our schools 
may flourish ! That every member of this Assembly may go home 
and procure a good school to be encouraged in the town where 
he lives ! That before we die we may be so happy as to see a 
good school encouraged in every plantation in the country !" 

In 1644, the Christian colonists, "to the end that all learning 
may not be buried in the graves of our forefathers, ordered," 
that every township, "after the Lord hath increased them 
to fifty householders, shall appoint one to teach all children 
to read and write ; and where any town shall increase to the 
number of one hundred families, they shall set up a grammar 
school ; the master thereof being able to instruct youth so far 
as they may be fitted for the university." 

"One of the earliest legislative acts of the Massachusetts 
colony was the following: — 'Forasmuch as the good education 
of children is of singular behoofe and benefit to any common- 
wealth ; and whereas parents and masters are too indulgent and 
negligent of their duty in that kind, — 

" 'It is therefore ordered by this courte and authority thereof, 
that the selectmen of every towne, in the several precincts and 
quarters where they dwell, shall have a vigilent eye over theire 
brethren and neighbours ; to see, first, that none of them shall 
sufier so much barbarisme in any of their familyes, as not to 
endeavor to teach, by themselves or others, theire children and 
apprentices, so much learning as may inable them perfectly to 
read the English tongue, and knowledge of the capitall lawes/ " 

As early as 1635, free schools were commenced in Boston. 
The union of the Massachusetts and New Hampshire colonies 
continued till 1680, and during this time the example of Boston 
was rapidly followed by smaller towns in both colonies. " In 
the subject of schools both rulers and ministers felt a deep in- 
terest, and schoolmasters were a commodity in great demand, 
and eagerly sought." As early as 1644, one town devoted a 
portion of its lands to the support of schools ; but, before the 
lands could be productive, they raised in various ways the sum 
of twenty pounds to hire a schoolmaster. 

The following was passed by the General Court, in the year 
1647, for the promotion of common education: — 

**It is therefore ordered by this courte and authority thereof, 


That every townesliipp within this jurisdiction, after that the 
Lord hath increased them to the number of fifty howsholders, 
shall then forthwith appointe one within theire towne, to teach 
all such children as shall resorte to him, to write and read ; 
whose wages shall be paid either by the parents or masters of 
such children, or by the inhabitants in generall, by way of 
supplye, as the major parte of those who order the prudentials 
of the towne shall appointe. 

*^And it w further ordered, That where any towne shall 
increase to the number of one hundred families or howsholders, 
they shall sett up a grammar schoole, the masters thereof being 
able to instruct youths so far as they may bee fitted for the 

In 1636, the colonists began at Cambridge, Massachusetts, 
the first college on the American continent. Its commencement 
was as follows : — 

*'The magistrates led the way by a subscription among them- 
selves of two hundred pounds, in books for the library. The 
comparatively wealthy followed with gifts of twenty and thirty 
pounds. The needy multitude succeeded, like the widow of old, 
casting their mites into the treasury. A number of sheep was 
bequeathed by one man; a quantity of cotton cloth, worth nine 
shillings, presented by another; a pewter flagon, worth ten shil- 
lings, by a third; a fruit-dish, a sugar-spoon, a silver-tipt jug, 
one great set, and one smaller trencher set, by others" 

"The ends," says Cotton Mather, " for which our fathers chiefly 
erected a college were that scholars might there be educated 
for the service of Christ and his churches, in the work of the 
ministry, and that the youth might be seasoned in their tender 
years with such principles as brought their blessed progenitors 
into this wilderness. There is no one thing of greater concern- 
ment to these churches, in present and after times, than the 
prosperity of that society. We cannot subsist without a 

A college, accordingly, was established in 1636, and in 1638 
Rev. John Harvard, a learned and wealthy minister, died, and 
by his will gave one-half of his property and his entire library 
to the college at Boston ; and hence it is called Harvard College, 
and now, also, Cambridge University. 

According to the rules for the government of this college, 
the president or professor, on being inaugurated, must first 


"repeat his oath to the civil government; then he must declare 
his belief in the scriptures of the Old -and New Testaments, 
and promise to open and explain the Scriptures to his pupils 
with integrity and faithfulness, according to the best light God 
shall give him." He also must promise "to promote true piety 
and godliness by his example and instruction." 

"The rector or president shall also cause the Scriptures daily, 
except on the Sabbath mornings and evenings, to be read by the* 
students at the times of prayer in the school; and upon the 
Sabbath he shall either expound practical theology, or cause 
the non-graduating students to repeat sermons; so that, through 
the blessing of God, it may be conducive to their establishment 
in the principles of the Christian Protestant religion. 

"The exercises of the students had the aspect of a theological 
rather than a literary institution. They were practised tvnce 
a day in reading the Scriptures, giving an account of their pro- 
ficiency in practical and spiritual truths, accompanied by theo- 
retical observations on the language and logic of the sacred 
writings. They were carefully to attend God's ordinances, and 
be examined on their profiting; commonplacing the sermons, 
and repeating them publidy in the hail. In every year and 
every week of the college course, every class was practised in 
the Bible and catechetical divinity" 

Rev. Thomas Shepard, D.D., a learned divine, and laborious 
minister of God, conceived the design of procuring voluntary 
contributions of corn — money being out of the question — from 
all parts of New England, for the purpose of maintaining poor 
students. He laid the following memorial before the commis- 
sioners of the united colonies of Massachusetts, Plymouth, Con- 
necticut, and New Haven, which met at Hartford, in 1644. 

"To the Honored Commissioners: — 

"Those whom God hath called to attend the welfare of re- 
ligious commonwealths have been prompt to extend their care 
for the good of public schools, by means of which the common- 
wealth may be furnished unto knowing and understanding men 
in all callings, and the church with an able minister in all 
places; without which it is easy to see how both these estates 
may decline and degenerate into gross ignorance, and, conse- 
quently, into great and universal profaneness. May it please 
you, therefore, among other things of common concernment 
and public benefit, to take into your consideration some way of 


comfortable maintenance for that school of the prophets that 
now is established .... If, therefore, it were recommended by 
you to the freedom of every family that is able and willing to 
give, throughout the plantations, to give but the fourth part 
of a bushel of corn, or something equivalent thereto," Ac 

This memorial was received, and its policy cordially carried 
out by the commissioners, who recommended to the deputies of 
the several General Courts, and to the elders within the four 
colonies, to 'call for a voluntary contribution of one peck of corn, 
or twelve pence in money, or its equivalent in other commodities, 
from every family, — ^a recommendation which was adopted and 
very generally responded to. 

The constitution of Massachusetts, of 1780, thus refers to 
Harvard College : — " Whereas our wise and pious ancestors, so 
early as the year 1636, laid the foundation of Harvard College, 
in which university many persons of great eminence have, by 
the blessing of God, been initiated into those arts and sciences 
which qualified them for public employment, both in Church 
and State; and whereas the encouragement of arts and sci- 
ences, and all good literature, tends to the honor of God, the 
advantage of the Christian religion, and the great benefit of 
this and the other United States of America, it is declared, 
that the President and Fellows of Harvard College," Ac. 

At New Haven, Connecticut, the second successful efiFort was 
made to found a permanent college of learning. Common 
schools, where the elements of education were widely diffused 
among the rising population, did not satisfy the enlarged views 
of literary men, and the plan of an institution of higher pre- 
tensions and more extended scope occupied the thoughts of 
the first settlers of Connecticut. 

After various consultations, chiefly in reference to the interests 
*of the Church, and confined in a great measure to the liberal 
and enlightened clergy of the times, a definite proposition was 
at length submitted with regard to the establishment of a col- 
lege in New Haven. The following resolution is the earliest 
record on the subject : — 

"At a GeneralCourt, held at Guilford, June 28th, a.d. 1652, 
Voted, the matter about a college at New Haven was thought to 
be too great a charge for us of this jurisdiction to undergo alone, 
especially considering the unsettled state of New Haven town, 
being publicly declared, from the deliberate judgement of the 


most understanding men, to be a place of no comfortable 
subsistence for the present inhabitants there. But, if Connec- 
ticut do join, the planters are generally willing to bear their 
just proportion for erecting and maintaining of a college there." 

In 1700, ten of the principal ministers in the colony were 
nominated and agreed upon, by a general consent, both of the 
ministers and people, to stand as trustees or undertakers to 
found, erect, and govern a college. They soon met at Branford, 
and laid the foundation of Yale College. Each member brought 
a number of books and presented them to the body, and, laying 
them on the table, said : — "/ give these books for the found- 
ing of a college in this colony." The object of a college at New 
Haven was stated by a large number of ministers and lay- 
men, who petitioned the Colonial Assembly for a charter. They 
said that, "from a sincere regard to, and zeal for upholding 
the Protestant religion by a succession of learned and orthodox 
men, they had proposed that a collegiate school should be 
erected in this colony, wherein youth should be instructed in 
all parts of learning, to qualify them for public employment in 
Church and civil State." 

The legislature of the cqjony promptly responded to the ap- 
plication, and a charter was granted, in which it was said, — 

" Whereas, several well-disposed and public-spirited persons, 
out of their sincere regard to, and zeal for upholding and 
propagating the Christian Protestant religion by a succession 
of learned and orthodox men, have expressed by petition 
their earnest desire that full liberty and privilege be granted 
unto certain undertakers for the founding, suitably endowing 
and ordering a Collegiate School within his Majesty's Colony 
of Connecticut, wherein youth may be instructed in the arts 
and sciences, who, through the blessing of Almighty God, , 
may be fitted for public employment both in Church and State. 
To the intent, therefore, that all due encouragement be given to 
such pious resolutions, and that so necessary and religious an 
undertaking may be set forward and well managed, be it 
enacted," &c. 

The charter being granted, at a meeting of the collegiate 
undertakers, held at Saybrook, November 11, a.d. 1701, they 
sent out the following circular : — 

" Whereas, it was the glorious public design of our now blessed 
fathers in their removal from Europe into these parts of Ame- 


rica, both to plant, and (under the Divine blessing) to propagate 
in this wilderness, the blessed Reformed Protestant religion, 
. in the purity of its order and worship, not only to their poste- 
rity, but also to the barbarous natives ; in which great enterprise 
they wanted not the royal commands and favor of his Majesty 
King Charlea the Second to authorize and invigorate them. 

" We, their unworthy posterity, lamenting our past neglect of 
this grand errand, and sensible of the equal obligations better 
to prosecute the same end, are desirous in our generation to 
be serviceable thereunto. Whoreunto the religious and liberal 
education of suitable youth is, under the blessing of God, a chief 
and most probable expedient : 

"Therefore, that we might not be wanting in cherishing the 
present observable and pious disposition of many well-minded 
people to dedicate their children and substance unto God in 
such a good service, and being ourselves with sundry other reve- 
rend elders, not only desired by our godly people to undertake, as 
Trustees, for erecting, forming, ordering, and regulating a Col- 
legiate School, for the advancement of such an education ; but 
having also obtained of our present religious government both 
full liberty and assistance by their donation to such use ; tokens, 
likewise, that particular persons will not be wanting in their 
beneficence ; do, in duty to God and the weal of our country, 
undertake in the aforesaid design. 

"For the orderly and effectual management of this affair, we 
agree to, and hereby appoint and confirm, the following rules : — 

"1st. That the Rector take special care, as of the moral be- 
haviour of the students, at all times, so with industry to in- 
struct and ground them well in theoretical divinity; and to 
that end shall take effectual measures that the said students be 
weekly caused memoriter to recite the Assembly's Catechism 
in Latin ; and he shall make, or cause to be made, from time to 
time, such explanations as may (through the blessing of God) be 
most conducive to their establishment in the principles of the 
Christian Protestant rehgion. 

" 2d. The Rector shall also cause the Scriptures daily (ex- 
cept on the Sabbath), morning and evening, to be read by the 
students, at the times of prayer in the school, according to the 
hiudable order and usage of Harvard College, making exposi- 
tions upon the same ; and upon the Sabbath shall either expound 
practical theology, or cause the non-graduating students to repeat 


sermons ; and in all other ways, according to his best discre- 
tion, shall at all times studiously endeavor, in the education of 
the students, to promote the power and purity of religion and 
the best edification of these New England churches." 

Rev. Henry B. Smith, of the Union Theological Seminary at 
New York, in behalf of the Society for the Promotion of Col- 
legiate and Theological Education at the. West, presents the 
following view of the history and fruits of the colleges at Cam- 
bridge and New Haven : — 

'' For our encouragement it may be said that no people ever 
began its institutions under better auspices or with ampler 
promise. This we owe, under God, to the pious zeal of our 
Pilgrim Fathers, many of them eminent in learning as well as 
faith. John Cotton, of Boston, had been the head-lecturer and 
dean of Immanuel College in Cambridge, England. John 
Newton, of Ipswich, afterwards of Boston, was oflFered a fellow- 
ship in the same college. John Davenport, of New Haven, was 
termed a 'universal scholar.' Thomas Hooker, of Hartford, 
was a fellow of Cambridge, and was here called the ' light of 
the Western churches.* Thomas Thatcher, of Weymouth, com- 
posed a Hebrew lexicon. Charles Chauncey, president of Har- 
vard, had been Professor of Greek in Cambridge, England. 
Cotton Mather was the author of three hundred and eighty-two 
publications, including the 'Magnalia.' 

" Established under such auspices, it is no wonder that all 
our earlier colleges, and, following in their train, most of the later, 
have been animated by the conviction that institutions of learning 
are needed by Christianity, and should have this faith as the 
basis of all their instructions. The earliest were not so much 
colleges as schools for the training of the ministry. The Pil- 
grims, when they numbered only five thousand families, founded 
the University of Cambridge, in 163G, with its perennial motto, 
* Christo et Ecclesiae ;' and Cotton Mather says that this university 
was 'the best thing they ever thought of.' In 1696, there were 
one hundred and sixteen pastors in the one hundred and twenty- 
nine churches, and one hundred and nine of these were from 
Harvard. Harvard has educated one thousand six hundred and 
seventy-three ministers: three hundred and fifty-one are still 
living. Yale College dates from 1700, and in its earlier years 
the Assembly's Catechism in Greek was read by the freshmen ; 
the sophomores studied Hebrew; the juniors, sophomores, and 


the seniors, both at Harvard and Yale, were thoroughly in- 
structed in divinity in the admirable compend of Wollebius. 

"Yale has given to our churches one thousand six hundred 
and sixty-one ministers, of whom seven hundred and forty-one 
are still living. In the State of Connecticut, down to 1842, 
out of nine hundred and forty-seven ministers, only thirty-three 
were not graduates. Princeton was started in 1741, one of the 
fruits of the great revival, and by the New Side of that day. 
Dartmouth was a missionary school &om its inception in 1769; 
and its catalogue gives the names of more than seven hundred 
ministers, a quarter-part of all its graduates. And almost all 
of our later colleges are the fruit of Christian beneficence, and 
their foundations have been laid with the prayers of our churches; 
and He who heareth prayer has breathed upon them his divine 
blessing, and through their influence sanctified our youth for 
•the service of Christ and his Church. They have aspired to 
realize that ideal of education which Milton had in vision when 
he said, ' The end of learning is to repair the ruins of our first 
parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that 
knowledge to love him, to imiUte him, to be like him, as 
we may the nearest by possessing our souls of true virtue, 
which, being imited to the heavenly grace of fiuth, makes up 
the highest perfection.' *' 

" Yale College," says Lossing, " aside from its intrinsic worth 
as a seminary of learning, is remarkable for the great number 
of the leading men of the Revolution who were educated within 
its walls. That warm and consistent patriot. President Daggett, 
gave a poHtical tone to the establishment favorable to the re- 
publican cause, and it was regarded as the nursery of Whig 
principles during the Revolution. When New Haven was in- 
vaded by Tryon, Yale College was marked for special vengeance; 
but the invaders retreated hastily, without burning the town. 
There were very few among the students, during our war for 
independence, who were imbued with tory principles, and they 
were generally, if known, rather harshly dealt with." 

"Among the most striking acts of the legislation of the Puri- 
tans," says Judge Story, " are those which respect the cause of 
learning and education. Within ten short years after their first 
settlement, they founded the University of Cambridge, and en- 
dowed it with the sum of four hundred pounds, — a sum which, 
considering their means and their wants, was a most generous 


benefaction. Perhaps no language could more significantly 
express the dignity of their design than their own words. 
'After God had carried us safe to New England/ said they, 
' and we had builded our houses, provided necessaries for our 
households, reared convenient places for God's worship, and 
settled the civil government, one of the next things we longed 
for, and looked after, was to advance learning and perpetuate 
it to posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the 
churches when our present ministers shall lie in the dust.' The 
truest glory of our forefathers is in that system of public in- 
struction which they instituted by law, and to which New Eng- 
land owes more of its character, its distinction, and its pros- 
perity than to all other causes. If this system be not altogether 
without example in the history of other nations (as I suspect 
it to be in its structure and extent), itjs, considering the age 
and means of the projectors, £0i extraordinary instance of wise 
legislation, and worthy of the most profound statesmen of any 
times. At the distance of centuries, it stands alone and un- 
rivalled. It was on this system of public instruction that our 
fathers laid the foundation for the perpetuity of our institutions, 
and for that growth of sound morals, industry, and public 
spirit, which has never yet been wanting in New England, and,i 
we may fondly hope, will forever remain her appropriate praise. 

" I know not what more munificent donation any government 
can bestow than by providing instruction at public expense, 
not as a scheme of charity, but of municipal policy. If a pri- 
vate person deserves the applause of all good men, who founds 
a single hospital or college, how much more are they entitled to 
the appellation of public benefactors who by the side of every 
church in every village plant a school of letters I Other monu- 
ments of the art and genius of man perish; but these, from their 
very nature, seem absolutely immortal." 

" In these measures," says Bancroft, " especially in the laws 
establishing common schools, lies the secret of the success and 
character of New England. Every child, as it was born into the 
world, was lifted from the earth by the genius of the country, 
and in the statutes of the land received, as its birthright| a 
pledge of the public care for its morals and its mind." 




In 1682, another important era in the Christian colonization 
of the North American continent "was inaugurated. William 
Penn was singularly qualified to be the founder of a Christian 
commonwealth. He had been educated under the influence 
of the gospel. He had studied the origin of government, the 
nature of civil liberty, and the rights of man, in the light of 
the pure word of God, and formed the purpose of founding a 
Christian empire on the free and peaceful precepts of Christian- 
ity. He had a firm faith in the great American idea that 
man, educated by Christianity, was capable of self-government. 
Finding no place in Europe to try the experiment of a Christian 
government, he resolved to seek it in America. 

The settlement of the province of Pennsylvania by William 
Penn formed a new era in the liberties of mankind. It afforded 
a resting-place where the conscientious and oppressed people 
of Europe might repose, and enjoy the rights of civil and reli- 
gious freedom which mankind had derived as an inheritance 
from the Creator. 

He obtained from Charles II. a grant of territory that now 
embraces the States of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Dela- 
ware. He was legally inducted to the governorship of this 
immense domain, in England, by the officers of the crown, and 
in 1682 arrived in the New World and assumed the ^ivil 
government of the colony. He avowed his purpose to be to 
institute a civil government on the basis of the Bible and to 
administer it in the fear of the Lord. The acquisition and 
government of the colony, he said, was '' so to serve the truth 


and the people of the Lord, that an example may be set to the 

The frame of government which Penn completed in 1682 for 
the government of Pennsylvania was derived from the Bibl^. 
He deduced from various passages " the origination and descent 
of all human power from God; the divine right of govern- 
ment, and that for two ends, — ^first, to terrify evil doers; 
secondly, to cherish those who do well;" so that government, " 
he said, "seems to me to be a part of religion itself," — "a 
thing sacred in its institutions and ends." " Let men be good, 
and the government cannot be bad." " That, therefore, which 
makes a good constitution must keep it, — namely, men of wis- 
dom and virtue, — qualities that, because they descend not with 
worldly inheritance, must be carefully propagated by a virtuous 
education of youth." 

The first legislative act, passed at Chester, the seventh of 
the twelfth month, December, 1682, announced the ends of a 
true civil government. The preamble recites, that, " Whereas 
the glory of Almighty God and the good of mankind is the 
reason and end of government, and, therefore, government 
in itself is a venerable ordinance of God, and forasmuch as it 
is principally desired and intended by the proprietary and 
governor, and the freemen of Pennsylvania and territories 
thereunto belonging, to make and establish such laws as shall 
best preserve true Christian and civil liberty, in opposition to 
all unchristian, licentious, and unjust practices, whereby God 
may have his due, Csesar his due, and the people their due, 
from tyranny and oppression." 

The frame of government contained the following article on 
religious rights : — 

" That all persons living in this province who confess and 
acknowledge the one almighty and eternal (Jod to be the crea- 
tor, upholder, and ruler of the world, and who hold themselves 
obliged in conscience to live peaceably and justly in civil 
society, shall in no wise be molested or prejudiced for their 
religious persuasion or practice in matters of feith and wor- 
ship ; nor shall they be compelled at any time to frequent or 
maintain any religious worship, place, or ministry whatso-" 

William Penn, when about planting his colony and establish^ 


ing his government in Pennsylvania^ in 1682, caused the follow- 
ing law to be made : — 

" To the end that looseness, irreligion, and atheism may not 
creep in under the pretence of conscience in this province, be it 
further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That, according to 
the good example of the primitive Christians, and for the ease 
of the creation, every first day of the week, called the Lord's 
day, people shall abstain from their common toil and labor, 
that, whether masters, parents, children, or servants, they may 
better dispose themselves to read the Scriptures of truth at 
home or to frequent such meetings of religious worship abroad, 
as may best suit their respective persuasions." 

" In the judgment of this Quaker patriarch and legislator," 
says Bancroft, " government derived neither its obligations nor 
powers &om man. Grod was to him the beginning and the end 
of government. He thought of government as a part of reli- 
gion itself. Christians should keep the helm and guide the 
vessel of state." 

His object also was to carry the Christian religion to the 
natives. This Christian design is expressed in the charter 
granted by Charles II. It says, " Whereas our trusty and 
beloved William Penn, out of a commendable desire to enlarge 
the British empire, as also to reduce the savages, by just and 
gentle measures, to the love of civil society and the Christian 
religion, hath humbly besought our leave to translate a colony." 
This purpose was expressed by Penn in the petition he sent to 
the king. He says he "should be able to colonize the pro- 
vince, which might enlarge the British empire, and promote the 
glory of God by the civilization and conversion of the Indian 
tribes." He urged all who proposed to join the colony "to have 
especial respect to the will of God." 

He continued to act as Governor of Pennsylvania till June, 
1684, when he returned to England. Before his embarkation, 
he uttered these farewell words to the colony, as his parting 
benediction : — " I bless you in the name and power of the Lord ; 
and may God bless you with his righteousness, peace, and 
plenty, all the land over. Oh that you would eye God in all, 
through all, and above all the works of his hand." 

One of the great features of the Christian polity of Penn was 
his faith and fair dealings with the Indians. Every rood of 
land he obtained by honest purchase, and his integrity and 


frankness won for him and his colony the confidence and friend- 
ship of the Indian race. Treaties of mutual advantage were 
entered into between them, in which it was covenanted that 
as long as the grass grew and the waters ran, the links in 
the chain of their mutual friendship should be kept bright 
and strong. His transactions with the Indian tribes were 
marked with Christian integrity, and added new lustre to his 

Penn, as the wise founder of a civil commonwealth, provided 
measures for the general diffusion of the blessings of a Chris- 
tian education. 

" Let men," he says, " be good, and the government cannot 
be bad. That, therefore, which makes a good constitution must 
keep it, — namely, men of wisdom and virtue, qualities that, as 
they descend not with worldly inheritance, must be carefully 
propagated by a virtuous education of the youth." 

One of the last acts of William Penn on leaving the country 
for England was to grant a charter to the public school in 
Philadelphia, in order to secure good school-instruction equally 
to all tiie children of the community. On the seal of this 
institution he placed the motto, "Good instruction is bet- 
ter THAN RICHES ;" with the impressive adage, " Love ye one 

The Christian Colonization op New York 
Is cotemporaneous with its first settlement. Commerce and 
Christianity are always in genial sympathy and co-operation ; 
and as commerce, from the beginning of the colony in 1609, 
was a leading motive of the first settlers, so the Christian reli- 
gion pioneered its way side by side with commerce. As early 
as 1613, four years after the discovery of Manhattan by Hud- 
son, Holland merchants had established several trading-posts, 
and in 1623 measures were taken to found an agricultural and 
Christian settlement. The first emigrants were those who had 
fled from the severity of religious persecution in the seven- 
teenth century in the French Belgic provinces, and came with 
a faith tried in a fiery furnace. 

The East India Company, formed in 1621, stipulated that 
** where emigrants went forth under their auspices, and that of 
the States-General of Holland, it should be tiieir duty to send 
out a schoolmaster, being a pious member of the church, whose 


office it was to instruct the children, and preside in their reli- 
gious meetings on the Sabbath and other days, leading in the 
devotions, and reading a sermon, until the regular ministry 
8hould be established over them. An individual was often desig- 
nated as a Zickentrooster, (comforter of the sick,) who for his 
spiritual gifts was adapted to edify and comfort the people." 

In 1633 the first minister came over, and associated with him 
was a schoolmaster, who organized a church school. The intro- 
duction, at this early period of the settlement of the colony, 
of the church and school combined, cannot, therefore, be claimed 
as the peculiar distinction of the Puritan emigrants, as the 
direct aim and the provision made in the early settlements 
by the Dutch was to extend and preserve in the midst of them 
the blessings of education and religion. 

The Collegiate Reformed Dutch Church of New York was the 
first founded in North America, and dates from the first settle- 
ment on Manhattan Island. The first religious meetings were 
held in a temporary building, till in 1626 an emigrant, in build- 
ing a horse-mill, provided a spacious room above for the congre- 
gation. At an interview, in 1642, between a famous navigator, 
De Vries, and the Governor of the Colony, the former remarked 
" that it was a shame that the English when they visited Man- 
hattan saw only a mean barn in which we worshipped. The first 
they built in New England, after their dwelling-houses, was a 
fine church: we should do the same." This led to the erection 
of a new and spacious church-edifice. 

In a letter written on the 11th of August, 1628, by Rev. 
Jonas Michaellus, the first minister of the Dutch Reformed 
Church in the United States, there is found the following state- 
ment : — 

" We have established the form of a church, and it has been 
thought best to choose two elders for my assistance, and for 
the proper consideration of all such ecclesiastical matters as 
might occur. We have had at the first administration of the 
Lord's Supper full fifty communicants, not without great joy 
and comfort for bo many, — Walloons and Dutch ; of whom a por- 
tion made their first confession, and others exhibited their church 
certificates. We administer the Holy Sacrament of the Lord's 
Supper once in four months. 

" We must have no other object than the glory of God in build- 
ing up his kingdom and the salvation of many souls. As to the 


natives of this country, I find them entirely savage and wild, 
proficient in all wickedness, who serve nobody but the devil. 
Let us then leave the parents in their condition, and begin with 
the children who are stiU young, and place them under the in- 
struction of some experienced and godly schoolmaster, where 
they may be taught especially in the fundamentals of our Chris- 
tian religion. In the mean time it must not be forgotten to pray 
to the Lord, with ardent and continual prayers, for his blessing." 

In 1636, the Puritans of New England began to add largely 
to the New York colony. In ten years after the Puritan emi- 
gration began, " there were so many at Manhattan as to require 
preachers who could speak in English as well as Dutch." " Whole 
towns," says Bancroft, " had been settled by New England men, 
who had come to America to serve Grod with a pure conscience, 
and to plant New England liberties in a congregational way." 

The colony of New York, after being under the jurisdiction 
of the Dutch for fifty years, passed, in 1664, to that of England. 
This political revolution secured a rapid colonization from 
various quarters. *' English, Irish, Scotch, French, and Dutch, 
chiefly Presbyterians and Independents," now began to emigrate 
to the colony of New York. The Episcopalians claimed "that 
the province was subject to the ecclesiastical government of the 
Church of England, and that theirs was the religion of the 
state." The Duke of York, afterwards James II., maintained 
an Episcopal chapel in New York at hie own private expense. 
" Ministers," said Andros, the civil Grovernor of the colony, in 
1683, " are scarce, and religion wanes." " There were about 
twenty churches, of which half were destitute of ministers. 
But the Presbyterians and Independents, who formed the most 
numerous and thriving portions of the inhabitants, were the 
only class of the people who showed .much willingness to pro- 
cure and support ministers." 

The seventeenth century, constituting an important era of 
Christian colonization of the New World, brought to the North 
American colonies the rich Christian contribution £rom the 
Huguenots of France. All the colonies gave them a heart- 
welcome as refugees from a frenzied and cruel religious perse- 
cution. They were ardent lovers of liberty, and declared that, 
with " their ministers, they had come to adore and serve Cod 
with freedom." These Christian exiles were warmly welcomed 
to the colony of New York, and became one of the richest 


portions of the population. In 1662 they had become so nume- 
rous that the colonial laws and official papers were published in 
French as well as in Dutch and English. The French church 
in the city of New York became the metropolis of Calvinism, 
where the Huguenot emigrants out of the city came to worship. 

" The character of the first Huguenot settlers," says Dr. De 
Witt, " was eminently worthy, both here and in other parts of 
the State and the United States. An interesting fact is related 
concerning the first settlers of New Rochelle, in Westchester 
county. When they entered the forests, and with toilful labor 
engaged in clearing and cultivating the fields, they resolved, in 
the spirit of deep piety which they brought with them, to unite 
with their brethren in New York in the public worship of the 
Sabbath, though at a distance of twenty miles. Such was their 
reverence for the sanctification of the Sabbath that they would 
take up their march on foot in the afternoon of Saturday, and 
reach New York by midnight, singing thehymns of Clement Marol 
by the way. Engaging in the worship of the Sabbath, they 
remained till after midnight, and then took their march in return 
to New Rochelle, relieving the toil of the way by singing 
Marot's hymns." " Happy and proud," says Bancroft, " in the 
religious liberty they enjoyed, they ceased not to write to their 
brethren in France of the grace which God had shown them." 

In 1665, the colonial legislature of New York passed the fol- 
lowing act in reference to Christianity and its ordinances : — 

"Whereas, The public worship of God is much discredited 
for want of painful [laborious] and able ministers to instruct 
the people in the true religion, it is ordered that a church shall 
be built in each parish, capable of holding two hundred persons; 
that ministers of every church shall preach every Sunday, and 
pray for the king, queen, the Duke of York, and the royal 
family; and to marry persons after legal publication of license." 

It was also enacted that " Sunday is not to be profaned by 
travelling, by laborers, or vicious persons," and "church- wardens 
to report twice a year all misdemeanors, such as swearing, 
profaneness. Sabbath-breaking, drunkenness, fornication, adul- 
tery, and all such abominable sins." "Persons were punished 
with death who should in any wise deny the true God or his 
attributes." These were the laws of the colony of New York 
until 1683. 

The following paper will show better the attention that thci 


early settlers of New York paid to edacation, and is an amasing 
relic of colonial antiquity. It belongs to the ancient local his- 
tory of Flatbush,. Long Island : — 

Abt. 1. The school shall begin at 8 o'clock and go outt att 
11; shall begin again att 1 o'clock and ende att 4. The bell 
shall bee rung beefore the school begins. 

Art. 2. When school opens, one of the children shall readc 
the morning prayer as it stands in the catechism, and close 
with the prayer before dinner; and inn the afternoon the same. 
The evening school shall begin with the Lord's prayer and close 
by singing a psalm. 

Art. 3. Hee shall instruct the children inn the common 
prayers and the questions and answers off the catechism on 
Wednesdays and Saturdays, too enable them too say them 
better on Sunday inn the church. 

Art. 4. Hee shall bee bound too keep his school nine months 
in succession, from September too June, one year with another, 
and shall always bee present himself. 

Art. 5. Hee shall bee choirister off the church; ring the bell 
three tymes before service, and reade a chapter off the Bible inn 
the church between the second and third ringinge off the bell; 
after the third ringinge he shall reade the ten commandments 
and the twelve articles off ffaith and then sett the psalm. In 
the aftcrnoone after the third ringinge off the bell hee shall reade 
A short chapter or one off the psalms off David as the congre- 
gatione are assemblinge; afterwards he shall again sett the 

Art. 6. When the minister shall preach at Broockland or 
Utrecht he shall be bounde to reade twice before the congre- 
gatione from the booke used for the purpose. Hee shall heare 
the children recite the questions and answers off the catechism 
on Sunday and instruct them. 

Art. 7. Hee shall provide a basin off water for the baptism, 
ffor which hee shall receive twelve stuyvers in wampum ffor 
every baptism from parents or sponsors. Hee shall furnish 
bread and wine ffor communion att the charge off the church. 
Uee shall also serve as messenger ffor the consistories. 

Art. 8. Hee shall give the funerale invitations and toll the 
bell; and ffor which hee shall receive for persons off fifteen years 
off age and upwards twelve guilders; and ffor persons under 


fift^n, eight guilders ; and iff hee shall cross the river to New 
York hee shall have ffour guilders more. 

[The compensation of the schoolmaster was as follows:] 

1st. Hee shall receive ffor a speller or reader three guilders 
a quarter ; and ffor a writer ffour guilders ffor the daye school. 

Inn the evening ffour guilders for a speller or reader, and five 
guilders ffor a writer per quarter. 

2nd. The residue off his salary shall bee ffour hundred guild- 
ers in wheat (of wampum value) deliverable at Broockland 
Fferry with the dwellinge, pasturage and meadowe appurtain- 
inge to the school. 

Done and agreede on inn consistorie, in the presence off the 
Honourable Constable and Overseers, this 8th daye off October, 

Constable and Overseers. The Qmsistorie. 

Cornelius Berrian, Casparits Vanztjren, 

Rykiere Aertsen, Minister. 

Jak Remsek. ' Adri^ew Ryerse, 

Cornelius Barent Van- 

I agree to the above articles, and promise to observe them. 

Johannes Von Echkellen. 

New Jersey 
Became an independent colony in 1664. " Its moral character 
was moulded by New England Puritans, English Quakers, and 
Dissenters from Scotland." An association of church-members 
from the New Haven colony resolved with one heart " to carry 
on their spiritual and town affairs according to Godly Govern- 
ment;" and in 1668 the colonial legislative Assembly, under 
Puritan influence, transferred the chief features of the New 
England codes to the statute-book of New Jersey. New Jersey 
increased in population and prosperity under the genial presence 
of Christian institutions, and became distinguished for intelli- 
gence, industry, and enterprise. ^'The people," says Bancroft, 
"rejoiced under the reign of God, confident that he would 
beautify the meek with salvation." 

The Christian teachings of the Quakers, in union with Pres- 
byterian and Anabaptist influences, made New Jersey, in its 
colonial structure, a model Protestant republic. " These were 
interwoven into the earliest elements of the political society of 


New Jersey, and constitute one of the beautiful historical inci- 
dents of the age. The people have always enjoyed a high repu- 
tation for piety, industry, economy, and good morals." They 
received and practised such Christian lessons as the following, 
given by their friends in England, in 1681 ; — 

''Friends that are gone to make plantations in America, 
keep the plantations in your own hearts, that your own vines 
and lilies be not hurt. You that are governors and judges, you 
should be eyes to the blind, feet to the lame, and fathers to the 
poor, that you may gain the blessing of those who are ready to 
perish, and cause the widow's heart to sing for gladness. If you 
rejoice because your hand hath gotten much, if you say to the 
fine gold, Thou art my confidence, you will have denied the God 
that is above. The Lord is ruler among nations ; he will crown 
his people with dominion." 

The high standard of Christian morality in the colony of New 
Jersey was indicated by the motto on the provincial seal, — 
''Bighteousness exaUeth a nation" A proclamation made by 
Governor Basse, in 1697, contains the following Christian 
record : — "It being very necessary for the good and prosperity 
of this province that our principal care be, in obedience to the 
laws of God, to endeavor as much as in us lyeth the extirpa- 
tion of all sorts of looseness and profanity, and to unite in the 
fear and love of God and one another, that, by the religious and 
virtuous carriage and behavior of every one in his respective 
station and calling, the blessing of Almighty God may accom- 
pany . our honest and lawful endeavors, I do therefore, by and 
with the advice of the Council of this province, strictly prohibit 
cursing, swearing, immoderate drinking. Sabbath-breaking, and 
all sorts of lewdness and profane behavior in word and action ; 
and do strictly charge and conmiand all justices of the peace, 
8heri&, constables, and all other ofiioers within the province, 
that they take due care that all laws made and provided for 
the suppression of vice and encouraging of religion and virtue, 
particularly the observance of the Lord's day, be duly put into 


Had a Christian colonization. Gustavus Adolphus, of the royal 
family of Sweden, projected an enterprise to aid in the Chris- 
tian settlement of the New World. Its object, though in part . 


commercial, was declared to be for the benefit of the " whole 
Protestant world." In 1637, two vessels, fitted out by the 
Government of Sweden, carried out a band of emigrants with 
their Christian teachers, and in the spring of 1638 they sailed 
into Delaware Bay and began the Christian colonization of that 
region. In 1640 the colony received Christian emigrants from 
New England. It continued a political connection with the 
colony of Pennsylvania till 1704, when it became an independ- 
ent commonwealth. 



The Colonization of Virginia 

Began in 1607, fourteen years previous to the Puritan settle- 
ment in New England, and seventy-five before William Penn 
gave to Pennsylvania the basis of a Christian government. In 
April, 1606, James, King of England, granted to a colony 
forming to emigrate to America a charter for the possession of 
those territories lying on the sea-coast between the 34th and 
45th degrees of north latitude, and all the islands within a hun- 
dred miles of those shores. That charter declared the design 
of the colonists to be ''to make habitation and plantation and 
to deduce a colony of sundry of our people into that part of 
America commonly called Virginia; and thatso noble aworkmay, 
by the providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the glory 
of his divine majesty in propagating of the Christian religion 
to such people as yet live in darkness and in miserable ignorance 
of the true knowledge and worship of God, and may, in time, 


bring the infidels and savages living in those parts to human 
civility and a quiet government." 

It IB, moreover, in the Virginia charter of 1609 declared 
''that it shall be necessary for all such as inhabit within the 
precincts of Virginia to determine to live together in the fear 
and true worship of Almighty God, Christian peace, and civil 
quietness ;" and that " the principal effect which we [the crown] 
can desire or expect of this action is the conversion and reduc- 
tion of the people in those parts unto the true worship of Grod 
and the Christian religion." 

In a code of laws for the government of the Virginia colony, 
which the king assisted to frame, were "enjoined the preaching 
of the gospel in America, and the performance of divine wor- 
ship in conformity with the doctrines and rites of the Church 
of England." In 1619, twelve years after the first settle- 
ment of Virginia, "The King of England having formerly 
issued his letters to the bishops of the kingdom, for collecting 
money to erect a college in Virginia for the education of Indian 
children, nearly fifteen hundred dollars had been already paid to 
this benevolent and pious design, and Henrico had been selected 
as a suitable place for the seminary. The Virginia Company 
granted ten thousand acres of land to be laid off for the Univer- 
sity at Henrico. The first design was to erect and build a col- 
lege in Virginia for the training up and educating infidel 
[Indian] children in the true knowledge of God." The princi- 
pal design of William and Mary College was to instruct and 
christianize the Indians. 

Jefferson, in his "Notes on Virginia," says, "The purposes 
of the institution would be better answered by maintaining a 
perpetual mission among the Indian tribes, the object of which, 
besides instructing them in the principles of Christianity, as 
the founder required, should be to collect their traditions, laws, 
customs, languages, and other circumstances which might lead 
to a discovery of their relation with one another or descent 
from other nations. When these objects are accomplished with 
one tribe, the missionary might pass to another." 

"The colony of Virginia consisted of Church-of-England 
men, and many of their first acts related to provision for the 
Church. The ministers were considered, not as pious and cha- 
ritable individuals, but as officers of state, bound to promote 
the true faith and aid sound morality \)y authority of the com* 


mnnity by which they were paid, and to which they were held 
responsible for the performance of their duty. The very first 
act of the Assembly required every settlement in which the 
people worship God to build a house to be appropriated exclu- 
sively for that purpose ; the second act imposed a penalty of a 
pound of tobacco for absence from divine service on Sunday ; 
and another act prohibited any man from disposing of his 
tobacco until the minister's portion was paid. 

When the population had increased to fifty thousand, in 
1668, there were " nearly fifty Episcopal parishes, with as many 
glebes, church-edifices, and pastors. Episcopacy waa established 
by law; attendance was enforced by penalties: even the sacra- 
mental services of the Church were legally enjoined upon the 
people ; every thing wore the appearance of a very strict reli- 
gious economy." The Christian religion was the underlying 
basis and the pervading element of all the social and civil in- 
stitutions of the Virginia eolony. 

In 1662, the Assembly of Virginia passed an act to make 
permanent provision for the establishment of a college. The 
preamble of the act establishing it recites "that the want of 
able and faithful ministers in this country deprives us of those 
great blessings and mercies that always attend upon the service 
of God;" and the act itself declares " that for the advancement 
of learning, education of youth, supply of the ministry, and 
promotion of piety, there be land taken up and purchased for a 
college and free school, and that with all convenient speed there 
be buildings erected upon it for the entertainment of students 
and scholars." In 1693 the College of William and Mary was 


Began her colonial settlement in 1632, under the auspices of 
Lord Baltimore, a British nobleman and a Roman Catholic. 
His object was to " people a territory with colonists of his own 
religious faith, and to erect an asylum in North America for 
the Catholic religion." He obtained a charter from Charles I., 
in which it was declared that the "grantee was actuated by a 
laudable zeal for extending the Christian religion and the terri- 
tory of the British empire ; and if any doubt should ever arise 
concoming the true meaning of the charter, there should be no 
construction of i1> derogatory to the Christian religion." 


The first band of colonists, consisting of two hundred men 
of rank, led by Leonard Calvert, brother of Lord Baltimore, 
sailed from England in November, 1632, and landed on the coast 
of Maryland early in 1633. As soon as they landed, the gover- 
nor erected a cross, and took possession of the country "for our 
Lord Jesus Christ, and for our sovereign lord the King of Eng- 
land." " To every emigrant fifty acres of land were given in 
absolute fee; and the recognition of Christianity as the esta- 
blished faith of the land, with an exclusion of the political pre- 
dominance or superiority of any particular sect or denomination 
of Christians was enacted." The colonists " soon converted a 
desolate wilderness into a flourishing commonwealth enlivened 
by industry and adorned by civilization." 

Religious toleration was, from the beginning, proclaimed as 
one of the fundamental laws of the colony. The Assembly, 
mostly of the Eoman Catholic faith, passed, in 1650, a memo- 
rable Christian act, entitled, an "Act concerning Religion." 
The preamble declared that "the enforcement of the conscience 
had been of dangerous consequence in those countries where it 
had been practised;" and therefore it was ordained "that no^ 
person professing to believe in Jesus Christ should be molested 
on account of their faith, or denied the free exercise of their par- 
ticular modes of worship." This act of religious toleration was 
as honorable to the first Catholic colony as it was a fitting 
tribute to the genius and sanction of the Christian religion. " It 
was the earliest example," says Judge Story, "of a legislator 
inviting his subjects to the free indulgence of religious opinion." 

"With all that was excellent and grand and far-reaching 
in the principles of the Pilgrims, and with all the mighty 
influences of the religion of the Pilgrims in its bearing on the 
liberties of this nation, — ^ultimately infinitely more far-reach- 
ing than those which had gone out from Maryland, — still, 
it cannot be denied that the principles adopted in that colony 
were in advance of those which were held by the settlers of 
either Plymouth or Jamestown ; and though coming short of 
those held by Roger Williams and William Penn, yet they were 
such as the age, in its progress, was carrying to that result." 
This beneficent and fundamental law exerted a highly favorable 
influence on the prosperity of the Maryland colony, and largely 
increased its population. It was, in time, incorporated in the 
legislation of the less tolerant colonies, and finally became the 


supreme law in all the State ConstitutioDB, as well as in the 
Constitution of the United States. 

South Cakolina 

Began her colonial existence and history under the auspices 
of the Christian religion. In 1662, a company of emigrants, 
generally grandees of England and courtiers of Charles II., 
obtained a charter and settled in South Carolina. In the 
charter, it was stated that the colonists, " excited with a laud- 
able and pious zeal for the propagation of the gospel, have 
begged a certain country in the parts of America, riot yet culti- 
vated and planted, and only inhabited by some barbarous people, 
who have no knowledge of Gk)d." 

In 1669, a second charter was obtained, and the outlines of 
its government, under the title of "the Fundamental Constitu- 
tion of Carolina," was drawn up by John Locke, the great 
Christian philosopher, who declared that Christianity had "God 
for its Author, salvation for its end, and truth without any 
mixture of error for its matter." In that constitution it is 
declared that — 

"Since the natives of the place, who will be concerned in our 
plantations, are utterly strangers to Christianity, whose idolatry, 
ignorance, or mistake gives us no right to expel or treat them 
ill, and those who remove from other parts to plant there will 
undoubtedly be of diflferent opinions concerning matters of re- 
ligion, the liberty whereof they will expect to have allowed them, 
and it will not be reasonable on this account to keep them out ; 
that civil peace may be maintained amidst, the diversity of 
opinions, and our agreement and compact with all men ihay be 
duly and faithfully observed ; the violation whereof, upon what 
pretence soever, cannot be, without great offence to Almighty 
God, and great scandal to the true religion which we profess ; 
and also that Jews, heathens, and other dissenters from the 
purity of the Christian religion may not be scared and kept at 
a distance from it, but, by having opportunity of acquainting 
themselves with the truth and reasonableness of its doctrines 
and the peaceableness and inoffensiveness of its professors, may 
by good usage and persuasion, and all those convincing methods 
of gentleness and meekness suitable to the rules and designs of 
the gospel, be won over to embrace and unfeignedly to receive 
the truth : therefore any seven or more persons, agreeing in 


any rdtguntf shall oonstitute a Church or profession, to which 
they shall give some name, to distinguish it from others/' 

In the terms of communion of every such Church oxprofeasion, 
it was required that the three following articles should appear : — 
that there is a Grod ; that public worship is due from all men to 
this Supreme Being; and that every citizen shall, at the command 
of the civil magistrate, deliver judicial testimony with some form 
of words indicating a recognition of divine jtcstice and human 
responsHnLity, Only the acknowledged members of some Church 
or profession were capable of becoming freemen of Carolina, or 
of possessing any estate or habitation within the province ; and 
all persons were forbidden to revile, disturb, or in any way per- 
secute the members of any religious association sJlowed by 
law. What was enjoined to freemen was permitted to slaves, 
by an article which declared that ''since charity obliges us to 
wish well to the souls of all men, and religion ought to alter 
nothing in any man's civil estate or right, it shaU he lawful for 
slaves, as well as others, to enter themselves and be of what 
Church or profession any of them shall think best and thereof 
be as fully members as any freeman." 

In another of the articles of ''the Fundamental Constitution" it 
was declared that "whenever the country should be sufficiently 
peopled and planted, the provincial parliament should enact regu- 
lations for the building of churches, and the public maintenance 
of divines, to be employed in the cause of religion according to 
the canons of the Church of England ;" "which, being the only 
true and orthodox and the national religion of all tiie king's 
dominions, is so also of Carolina ; and therefore it alone shall 
be allowed to receive public maintenance by grant of parlia- 

After twenty years of experiment, the form of government 
instituted by Locke was abolished. The French Protestants, 
and Dissenters from England, became the ruling power, and 
established a more just and liberal system of government. 

The Huguenots formed an important part of the colony of 
South Carolina. 

The same lovely picture of piety as in the New York colony 
was presented by these Christian refugees who had settled in. 
South Carolina. ''There it was," says Bancroft, "that these 
Calvinist exiles could celebrate their worship, without fear, in. the 
onidst of the forests, and mingle the voice of their psalms witk 



the murmur of the winds which sighed among the mighty oaks. 
Their church was in Charleston. They repaired thither every 
Sunday from their plantations, which were scattered in all direc- 
tions on the banks of the Cooper." The descendants of these 
Christian colonists became distinguished in American history, 
and exerted a prominent influence in achieving the independ- 
ence of the nation. American patriotism, eloquence, oratory, 
and jurisprudence are adorned by many noble names, descend- 
ants of the Huguenots. 

I^'oRTH Carolina, 

From the beginning of her colonial history, laid the basis of 
her institutions on Christianity. The first permanent settle- 
ments were made by fugitives from Virginia, who sought refuge 
from the rigid, intolerant laws of that colony, which bore so 
heavily on all that could not conform to the ceremonies of the 
established Church. When the Puritans were driven from 
Virginia, some eminently pious people settled along the sea- 
board, where they might be free from the oppression of intoler- 
ant laws and bigoted magistrates. About the year 1707, a 
colony of Huguenots located on the Trent River, and one of 
Palatines at Newborn, each maintaining the peculiar religious 
services of the fatherland. The Quakers were, like other sects, 
compelled to flee from the severe laws passed against them in 
Virginia, and sought refuge in Carolina. As early as 1730, 
scattered families of Presbyterians from the north of Ireland 
were found in various parts of the colony. In 1736 a colony 
of Presbyterians came from the province of Ulster, Ireland, 
and made a permanent settlement. Subsequently several other 
colonies of Presbyterians came from Ireland, and settled in dif- 
ferent sections of the colony. These Presbyterian bands rapidly 
increased, and formed numerous large congregations, which mul- 
tiplied into other congregations ; and thus the colony became 
thoroughly Christian, and the people imbued with a fervent love 
of liberty. 

In 1746 and 1747 a large emigration of Scotch came into the 
colony of North Carolina. In the efforts of Prince Charles 
Edward to obtain the crown of England, the Scotch were in 
sympathy with him. George 11. granted pardon to a large 
number on condition of their emigration and taking the oath of 
' allegiance. This is the origin of the Scotch settlements in North 


Carolina. A large number who had taken up arms for the Pre- 
tender preferred exile to death or to subjugation in their native 
land, and during the years 1746 and 1747 emigrated with their 
families and those of many of their friends, to North Carolina, 
In the course of a few years, large companies of industrious 
Highlanders joined their countrymen. 

This Christian people, both in Scotland and this country, con- 
tended "that obligation to God was above all human control, 
and for the government of their conscience in all matters of 
morality and religion the Bible is the storehouse of information, 
— acknowledging no Lord of the Conscience but the Son of God, 
the head of the Church, Jesus Christ, and the Bible as his divine 
communication for the welfare and guide of mankind." 

The Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, who formed so large a pro- 
portion of the people of North Carolina, and moulded its reli- 
gious and political character, were eminently pious and ardent 
lovers of liberty. " Their religious principles swayed their 
political opinions ; and in maintaining their form of worship and 
their creed they learned republicanism before they emigrated to 

The religious creed of these Christian emigrants formed a 
part of their politics so far as to lead them to decide that no 
law of human government ought to be tolerated in opposition 
to the expressed will of God. Their ideas of religious liberty 
have given a coloring to their political notions on all subjects, — 
have been, indeed, the foundation of their political creed. The 
Bible was their text-book on all subjects of importance, and 
their resistance to tyrants was inspired by the free principles 
which it taught and enforced. 

The following instructions to the delegates of Mecklenburg 
county exhibit the sentiments of the people on the Christian 
religion as the basis of civil government. It bears date Sep- 
tember 1, 1776. The first Provincial Congress of North Caro- 
lina was then in session. 

"13th. You are instructed to assent and consent to the 
establishment of the Christian religion, as contained in the 
Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, to be the religion of 
the state, to the utter exclusion forever of all and every other 
(feisely so called) religion, whether pagan or papal ; and that a 
full and free and peaceable enjoyment thereof be secured to all 
and every constituent member of the state, as their individual 


right as freemen, without the imposition of rites and ceremonies, 
whether claiming civil or ecclesiastical power for their source ; 
and that a confession and profession of the religion bo ests^ 
blished shall be necessary in qualifying any person for public 
trust in the state. 

" 14th. You are also to oppose the establishment of any mode 
of worship to be supported to the oppression of the rights of 
conscience, and at the destruction of private judgment." 

This political paper declares that the people of North Caro- 
lina believed the Bible, and from it drew their principles of 
morals, religion, and politics. To abjure the Christian religion 
would have been, with them, to abjure freedom and immortality. 
They asserted in every political form the paramount authority 
of the Christian religion as the sole acknowledged religion of 
the state and community. 

These Christian men, and others like them, constituted the 
celebrated Mecklenburg Convention of North Carolina con- 
vened in 1776. The convention was composed largely of Presby- 
terians, the most distinguished of whom were ministers. The dele- 
gates met on the 15th of May, 1775, and during their sittings 
news arrived of the battle of Lexington. Every delegate felt 
the value and importance of the prize of liberty, and the awfiil 
and solemn crisis which had arrived. Every bosom swelled 
with indignation at the malice, inveteracy, and insatiable revenge 
developed in the late attack at Lexington. 

After a full and free discussion of various subjects, it was 
unanimously — 

" 2. Hesolved, That we, the citizens of Mecklenburg county, 
do hereby dissolve the political bands which have connected us 
with the mother-country, and hereby absolve ourselves from 
allegiance to the British crown, and abjure all political connec- 
tion, contract, and association, with that nation which has wan- 
tonly trampled on our rights and liberties, and inhumanly shed 
the innocent blood of American patriots at Lexington. 

" 3. Besolved, That we do hereby declare ourselves a ftw 
and independent people, — that we are, and of right ought to 
be, a sovereign and self-governing association, under the control 
of no power other than that of God and the general govern- 
ment of the Congress ; to the maintenance of which independ- 
ence we solemnly pledge to each other our mutual co-operation, 
our lives^ our fortunes, and our most sacred honor." 


This declaration of independence preceded the one made by 
Congress in 1776 more than a year, and is a noble monument 
of the patriotism and piety of the people of North Carolina. 

The colony of North Carolina is particularly distinguished 
for the large number of able and patriotic ministers who were 
diligent laborers in the fields of intellectual and Christian cul- 
ture and in sowing broadcast the seeds of liberty and of future 
independence. The annals of Biblical learning and of freedom 
are adorned with the names of Campbell, Hall, Hunter, McAden, 
Craighead, Alexander, McWhorter, McCane, Petillo, and others, 
who were master-workmen in their department of Christian 
labor, and ardent and fearless patriots. These men were the 
pioneers of freedom and independence, and in all the measures 
preparatory to the coming revolution they were the foremost 

The Coloky of Georgia 

Has a suggestive Christian history. James Oglethorpe, a mem- 
4)er of the British Parliament, imbued with the philanthropic 
spirit of the gospel, obtained in 1732 a charter from George II. 
to establish a colony in North America. He had in. former 
years devoted himself to the benevolent work of relieving multi- 
tudes in England who were imprisoned for debt and suffering 
in loathsome jails. Actuated by Christian motives, he desired 
to see these poor sufferers placed in an independent condition, 
and projected a colony in America for that purpose. "For 
them, and for persecuted Protestants," says Bancroft, "he 
planned an asylum and a destiny in America, where former 
poverty would be no reproach, and where the simplicity of piety- 
could indulge the spirit of devotion without fear of persecution 
from men who hated the rebuke of its example." This Chris- 
tian enterprise enlisted "the benevolence of England; the 
charities of an opulent and enlightened nation were to be con- 
centrated on the new plantation ; the Society for Propagating 
the Gospel in Foreign Parts sought to promote its interests; and 
Parliament showed its good will by contributing ten thousand 

In January, 1732, Oglethorpe, with one hundred and twenty 
emigrants, landed in America, and on the basis of the Christian 
religion laid the future commonwealth of Georgia^ The Chris- 
tian liberality and philanthropy of the founder of the colony 


spread its fame far and wide ; for it was announced that the 
rights of citizenship and all the immunities of the colony "would 
be extended to all Protestant emigrants from any nation of 
Europe, desirous of refuge from persecution, or willing to under- 
take the religious insti'uction of the Indians." The Moravians, 
or United Brethren, — a denomination of Christians founded by 
Count Zinzendorf, a German nobleman of the fifteenth century, 
— were invited to emigrate to the colony of Georgia. They 
accepted the invitation, and arrived in the winter of 1736. 
Their object was to Christianize and convert the Indians, and to 
aid in planting the institutions of .the New World on the basis 
of Christianity. The journal of John Wesley during the 
voyage exhibits • the godly manner of the emigrants. " Our 
common way," says he, "of living was this. From four of the 
morning till five, each of us used private prayer. From five to 
seven we read the Bible together, carefully comparing it (that 
we might not lean to our own understanding) with the writings 
of the earliest ages. At eight were public prayers. At four were 
the evening prayers, — when either the second lesson was ex- 
plained, or the children were catechized and instructed before 
the congregation. From five to six we again used private 
prayer. At seven I joined with the Germans in their public 
service. At eight we met again, to exhort and instruct one 
another. Between nine and ten we went to bed, where neither 
the roaring of the sea nor the motion of the ship could take 
away the refreshing sleep which God gave us." What a Chris- 
tian way of spending the time, for emigrants sailing over the 
mighty deep to aid in founding a Christian empire on the shores 
of a new world ! 

When these Christian emigrants touched the shore, their first 
act was "to kneel and return thanks to God for their having 
safely arrived in Georgia." "Our end in leaving our native 
country," said they, "is not to gain riches and honor, but singly 
this, — to live wholly to the glory of God." Their object was 
"to make Georgia a religious colony, having no theory but 
devotion, no ambition but to quicken the sentiment of piety." 

The Christian founder of the commonwealth of Georgia car- 
ried his Christian principles into all the official transactions of 
the colony. The survey and division of the lots in the city of 
Savannah were conducted under the sanctions of religion. On 
the 7th of July, 1733, the emigrants met in a body upon the 


bluff of the river, before Oglethorpe's tent, and, having returned 
thanks to Almighty God and joined in prayer for his blessing 
to rest upon the cx)lony and city they were about to found, they 
proceeded to lay out the lots and divide them in a Christian 
manner. They felt and said, "Except the Lord keep the city, 
the watchman waketh but in vain." 

Under the administration of Oglethorpe, the colony greatly 
prospered and increased in numbers. " His undertaking will 
succeed," said Johnson, Grovernor of South Carolina; "for he 
nobly devotes all his powers to serve the poor and rescue them 
from wretchedness." " He bears a great love to the servants 
and children of Grod," said the pastor of a Moravian church. 
"He has taken care of us to the utmost of his ability. God has • 
so blessed us with his presence and his regulations in the land, 
that others would not in many years have accomplished what he 
has brought about in one." 

In 1734, after a residence of fifteen months in Georgia, Ogle- 
thorpe returned to England. He succeeded in obtaining ad- 
ditional patronage for the colony, and in October, 1736, set sail 
with three hundred emigrants, and after a long and. stormy 
voyage they reached the colony of Georgia in February, 1736, 
where they were joined a few days after by a band of Christian 
emigrants from the highlands of Scotland. 

These colonists were • accompanied by John and Charlas 
Wesley, the founders of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 
Their purpose was to aid Oglethorpe in his philanthropic labors 
and to convert the Indians to Christianity. Charles Wesley 
held the office of Secretary for Indian Affairs, and also that of a 
chaplain to Governor Oglethorpe. 

Rev. Mr. Stevens, a historian of Georgia, says that "John 
Wesley established a school of thirty or forty children, and 
hired a teacher, in which he designed to blend religious instruc- 
tion with worldly wisdom ; and on Sunday afternoon Mr. Wes- 
ley met them in the church before evening service, and heard 
the children recite their catechism, questioned them as to what 
they had learned in the Bible, instructed them still further in ^ 
the Bible, endeavoring to fix the truth in their understandings 
as well as in their memories. This was a regular part of their 
Sunday duties; and it shows that John Wesley, in the parish of 
Christ's Church, in Savannah, had established a Sunday-school 
nearly fifty years before Robert Raikes originated his noble- 


scheme of Sunday-instruction in Gloucester, England, and 
eighty years before the first school in America on Mr. Baikes's 
plan was established in New York." 

George Whitefield visited Georgia, and preached with wonder- 
ful eloquence and zeal, and labored with apostolic faith and 
perseverance in founding an Orphan Asylum, a "Bethesda," 
a " House of Mercy," for orphan children. His fame and 
influence soon spread over the colonies, and wherever he 
went tens of thousands of people hung with breathless interest 
on his preaching. He made a number of voyages to Eng- 
land and back to America, and died in Newburyport, Massa- 
chusetts, in 1770. In consequence of his Christian services 
to Georgia, and especially his eflforts for the orphans, the 
legislature of the colony proposed to remove his remains to 
Savannah and to bury them at public cost. Dr. Franklin 
wrote to Dr. Jones, of Georgia, on the subject as follows: 
— "I cannot forbear expressing the pleasure it gives me to 
see an account of the respect paid to Whitefield's memory, 
by your Assembly. I knew him intimately upwards of thirty 
years: his integrity, disinterestedness, and indefatigable zeal 
in prosecuting every good work / have never seen equalled^ I 
shall never see excelled." And such was the eiFect of White- 
field's preaching in Philadelphia that Franklin said, "It was 
wonderful to see the change soon made in the manner of our 
inhabitants. From being thoughtless or indifferent about 
religion, it seemed as if all the world were growing religious, 
so that one could not walk through the town in an evening 
without hearing psalms sung in different families in every 

"It is a matter of great interest," says the historian of 
Georgia, " that religion was planted with the first settlers, and 
that the English, the Salzburgers, the Moravians, the Methodists, 
the Presbyterians, and the Israelites severally brought with them 
the ministers or the worship of their respective creeds. The 
Christian element of colonization — that without which the others 
are powerless to give true and lasting elevation — entered largely 
into the colonization of Georgia, and did much for her pros- 
perity and glory. No colony can point to a leader or founder 
in whose character meet more eminent qualities or more en- 
during worth than in that of James Oglethorpe, the father of 


These Christian facts in the colonial history of our country 
suggest the following lessons : — 

1. The faith of the Puritans, and of the founders of the 
various colonies, in the divine origin and authority of civil 

They held firmly to the declarations of the Bible, that 
"there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained 
of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the 
ordinance of God." And the doctrine of the divine origin of civil 
government led these Christian men to regard the civil ruler 
as the "minister of Gkxi to the people for good; and that he 
that ruleth should rule in the fear of God." This true and 
noble faith in reference to civil government and the character 
of the men who administered it placed the entire administra- 
tion of government under the direction of Gk>d and in harmony 
with his will. The results of this faith and practice will always 
be in perfect harmony with the just ends of government and 
with the highest political and moral propriety of a nation. This 
grand idea was one that was always supreme in the minds and 
purposes of the Puritan and other colonial legislators in respect 
to civil government. They ever regarded government as from 
God; and this view invested it with all the dignity and 
authority of a divine institution. 

" The first settlers," says Lord Brougham, "of all the colonies, 
were men of irreproachable character. Many of them fled from 
persecution; others on account of honorable poverty; and all 
of them with their expectations limited to the prospect of a 
bare subsistence in freedom and peace. All idea of wealth or 
pleasure was out of the question. The greater part of them 
viewed their emigration as a taking up the cross, and bounded 
their hopes of riches to the gifts of the Spirit, and their ambi- 
tion to the desire of a kingdom beyond the grave. A set of 
men more conscientious in their doings, or simpler in their 
manners, never founded an empire. It is indeed the peculiar 
glory of North America that, with very few exceptions, its 
empire was founded in charity and peace." 

2. The subordination of civil government to the power of the 
Christian religion. 

" They looked upon their commonwealths as institutions for 
the preservation of the Churches, and the civil rulers as both 
members and fathers of them." Hence it was a favorite doctrine 


with the first settlers of the colonies of Massachusetts and Con- 
necticut, that all freemen and civil rulers must be in communion 
with the Churches, and so promote the interest and spread of 

This doctrine had an eminent advocate in the celebrated John 
Cotton, the first minister of Boston. 

"The government," says he, "might be considered as a 
theocracy, wherein the Lord was judge, lawgiver, and king ; that 
the laws which he gave Israel might be adopted so far as they 
were of a moral and perpetual equity ; that the people might 
be considered as God's people in covenant with him ; that none 
but persons of approved piety and eminent gifts should be 
chosen rulers." At the desire of the court, he compiled a 
system of laws, which were considered by the legislative body 
as the general standard. 

The same isuci was stated by President Stiles, of Yale College, 
in 1783. "It is certain," said he, "that civil dominion was but 
the second motive, religion the primary one, with our ances- 
tors in coming hither and settling this land. It was not so 
much their design to establish religion for the benefit of the 
state, as civil government for the benefit of religion, and as sub- 
servient and even necessary towards the peaceable and un- 
molested exercise of religion, — of that religion for which they 
fled to these ends of the earth. They designed, in thus laying 
the foundations of a new stat«, to make it a model for the glorious 
kingdom of Christ." 

Eev. John Norton, in 16G1, declared, in an election sermon, 
that they came into this wilderness to live under the ordei^ of 
tlie gospel; "that our policy may be a goqiel policy^ and may be 
(.complete according to the Scriptures, answering fully to the 
word of God: this is the work of our generation, and the very 
work we engaged for in this wilderness ; this is the scope and 
end of it, that which is written vpon the forehead of New 
England, viz., the complete walking in the faith of the gospel 
according to the order of the gosjyeL' 

3. The end and operations of civil government to propagate 
and subserve the Christian religion. 

"The Pilgrims," says Rev. R. S. Storrs, "would have held that 
state most imperfect which contented itself and complacently 
rested in its own advancement and special prosperities, without 
seeking to benefit others around it.. They esteemed that pro- 


gress to be radically wanting in greatness and value which was 
a mere progress in power and wealth and in physical success ; 
which gained no results of great character and culture, and 
blossomed out to no wealthy fruits of enlarged Christian know- 
ledge. The moral, to them, was superior to the physical ; the 
attainments of Christian wisdom and piety, above accumulations 
of worldly resources ; the alliance of the soul with God, through 
faith, above the conquest and mastery of nature. And to these 
they held the state to be tributary, as they held all things else that 
existed on the earth, — the very earth itself and its laws. Not a 
mere police establishment was the state, on their theory, accom- 
plishing its office in protecting its subjects and punishing crimi- 
nals. It was to them a place and a power of the noblest edu- 
cation ; a teeming nursery of all good influences and heavenly 
growths, from which letters, charities, and salvation should 
proceed, and in which they should perpetually be nourished. 
Philanthropic endeavors, and missionary enterprises, were to be 
its results, the proofs of its prosperity, the real and im- 
perishable rewards of its founders. It existed in order that cha- 
racters might be formed, commanding, large, and full of light, 
whose record should make all history brighter, whose influence 
should link the earth with the skies. And they expected the 
Millennium itself, with its long eras of peace and of purity, of 
tranquil delight and illuminated wisdom, to spring as the last 
and crowning fruitage from the states they were founding, and 
from others like them." 

4. The position and influence of the ministers of the gospel 
in the civil affairs of the state. 

They were consulted on all matters pertaining to the civil 
affairs of the New England colonies, and had the controlling 
influence in forming and directing the civil government. The 
very first written code of laws for Massachusetts, under the 
charter of 1629, was drawn up by a minister. And the in- 
struction of the civil court, appointed to frame the laws of the 
commonwealth, was to make them " as near the law of God as 
they can." " They had great power in the people's heart," says 
Winthrop. " Religion ruled the state through its ministers." 

Ministers were selected as agents to obtain charters and 
petition the king and Parliament, as well as to direct the cha- 
racter of the civil government at home. "The clergy were 
generally consulted on civil matters, and the suggestions they 


gave from the pulpit on election-days and other special occaaions 
were enacted into laws." 

Before the Declaration of Independence, the Bishop of St. 
Asaph, in England, published a discourse, in which are found 
the following remarkable passages in reference to the North 
American colonies : — 

" It is difficult," says he, " for man to look into the destiny 
of future ages: the designs of Providence are vast and com- 
plicated, and our own powers are too narrow to admit of much 
satisfaction to our curiosity. But when we see so many great 
and powerful causes constantly at work, we cannot doubt of their 
producing proportional eflFects. 

*' The colonies in North America have not only taken root 
and acquired strength, biU seem hastening with an accelerated 
progress to such a pofwerfuL state as may introduce a new and 
important change in human affairs. 

" Descended from ancestors of the most improved and en- 
lightened part of the Old World, they receive as it were by in- 
heritance all the improvements and discoveries of their mother- 
country. And it happens fortunately for them to commence 
their flourishing state at a time when the human understanding 
has attained to the free use of its powers and has learned to act 
with vigor and certainty. And let it be well understood what 
rapid improvements, what important discoveries, have been 
made, in a few years, by a few countries, with our own at the 
head, which have at last discovered the right method of using 
their faculties. 

" May we not reasonably expect that a number of provinces 
possessed of these advantages and quickened by mutual emula- 
tion, with only the progress of the human mind, should very 
considerably enlarge the boundaries of science? It is difficult 
even to imagine to what height of improvement their discoveries 
may extend. 

^^And perhaps they Tnay make as considerable advances in 
the arts of civil government and the conduct of life. May they 
not possibly be more successful than their mother-country has 
been in preserving that reverence and authority which are due 
to the laws, — to those who make them, and to those who exe- 
cute them? May not a method be invented of procuring 
some tolerable share of the comforts of life to those inferior 
useful ranks of men to whose industry we are indebted for the 


whole? Time and discipline may discover some means to cor- 
rect the extreme inequalities between the rich and the poor, so 
dangerous to the innocence and happiness of both. They may, 
fortunately, be led by habit and choice to despise that luxury 
which is considered with us the true enjoyment of wealth. 
They may have little reUsh for that ceaseless hurry of amuse- 
ments which is pursued in this country without pleasure, exer- 
cise, or employment. And perhaps, after trying some of our 
follies and caprices, and rejecting the rest, they may be led by 
reason and experiment to that old simplicity which was first 
pointed out by nature, and has produced those models which 
we still admire in arts, eloquence, and manners. 

" The diversity of the new scenes and new situations, which 
so many growing states must necessarily pass through, may 
introduce changes in the fluctuating opinions and manners of 
men which we can form no conception of; and not only the 
gracious disposition of Providence, but the visible preparation 
of causes, seems to indicate strong tendencies towards a general 

John Adams, in contemplating the Christian colonization of 
the American continent, uttered the following views of the 
design of Providence: — "I always consider," said he, "the 
settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the open- 
ing of a grand scheme and design of Providence for the illumi* 
nation of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part 
of mankind aJl over the earth." 




Wise and good men are God's workmen in laying the 
foundations and in completing the structures of human 
society. Every great and important era in history has been 
distinguished by the providential appearance and the suc- 
cessful labors of superior men, whose minds have been illumi- 
nated and whose steps have been guided by divine wisdom, 
and who have given progress to the interests of liberty and 
religion. As representative men, — men of pod, ordained and 
prepared for their special mission, — contemplate Moses, the 
man of Providence, whose wisdom and genius have moulded 
the civil and religious institutions of all Christian nations; 
Paul, whose Christian faith, inspired writings, and heroic iife 
have kindled the fires of freedom and truth among the nations 
of the earth, and exerted a boundless influence upon the intel- 
lectual and spiritual elevation and regeneration of the world ; 
Luther, who by his masterly intellect and genius, his invincible 
Christian faith, iron will, indomitable energy, richness of learning, 
and earnest devotion to truth, has liberated the human intel- 
lect from the shackles of ecclesiastical and civil despotism, and 
put into ceaseless activity agencies and influences which are 
working out the emancipation of nations and the moral regene- 
ration of the world; Calvin, the profound thinker and theologian, 
*' who," says Bancroft, " infused enduring elements into the 
institutions of Geneva, and made it for the modern world the 
impregnable fortress of popular freedom, the fertile seed-plot 
of democracy. He spread the fires of freedom in Scotland and 


carried the seeds of civil liberty and revolution to New Eng- 
land;" Wickliffe, the Oxford professor, and the translator of the 
Bible into the English language, who planted the seeds of the 
English Reformation, and started influences that resulted in 
Puritan emigration and the founding of a Christian nation on 
the American continent; Wesley, who by his practical wis- 
dom and piety, and his sanctified genius, revived ''Christianity 
in earnest," and put into intense and benevolent activity Chris- 
tian and educational forces which are working effectually among 
the nations for their deliverance from error, ignorance, and 
despotism; Washington, — the defender of his country, the 
founder of a Christian republic, — whose fame and influence are 
as boundless as the world, and whose great example, illustrious 
life, profound practical wisdom, and unaffected piety have 
made him the ornament of the race and the benefactor of the 
world. These men were men of God, and divinely endowed 
and prepared for their great Christian work in giving the 
blessings of civil and religious liberty to nations. 

'* The affairs of men," says Lord Brougham, "the interests and 
history of nations, the relative value of institutions as discovered 
by their actual working, the merit of different systems of policy 
as tried by their effects, are all very imperfectly examined with-. 
out a thorough knowledge of the individuals who administered 
the systems and presided over the management of public con- 
cerns. The history of empires is indeed the history of men, 
— not only of the nominal rulers of the people, but of the leadini:: 
persons who exerted a sensible influence over the destinies of 
their fellow-creatures, whether the traces of that influence re- 
sided in themselves, or, as in the case of lesser minds, their 
power was confined to their own times." 

The men of the Eevolution had been, under the providenee 
of God, trained and qualified for their great work. The Chris- 
tian conflicts in Europe antecedent to American colonization, 
their Christian ancestors who had established their civil and 
social institutions on the Bible, the Christian schools in whicli 
they had been educated, and the purity and manly vigor of the 
Christian faith which had formed their character and directed 
their conduct, — these agencies had been at work to qualify the 
men who wrought the American Eevolution and instituted our 
present forms of civil government. An outline sketch of the faith 
atid declarations of the men who founded our civil institutions. 


in relation to the Christian religion and its necessity to civil 
government, will be recorded in ^e present chapter. 

James Otis, 

Of Massachusetts, was among the first and foremost champions 
of freedom. He was educated, under Christian influences, by 
Eev. Jonathan Eussell, minister of his paxish, and in this Chris- 
tian school caught the indomitable spirit of resistance to des- 
potism. "Otis," said John Adams, "is a flame of firo," — ^refer- 
ring to a speech he made in Boston, in 1761, against the oppression 
of <he British Government. " With a promptitude of classical 
allusions, a depth of research, a rapid summary of historical 
events and dates, a profusion of legal authorities, a prophetic 
glance of his eyes into futurity, and a rapid torrent of impetu- 
ous eloquence, he hurried all before him. American independ* 
ence was then and there born. The seeds of patriots and heroes 
to defend the vigorous youth were there and then sown. In 
fifteen years — i.e. in 1776 — ^he grew up to manhood and de- 
clared himself free." 

"There can be," said Otis, "no prescriptions old enough 
to supersede the law of nature, and the grant of Almighty 
God, who has given all men a right to be free. Government 
springs from the necessities of our nature, and has an everlasting 
foundation in the unchangeable will of God. The first principle 
and great end of government being to provide for the best good 
of all the people, this can be done only by a supreme legislature 
and executive, ultimately in the people, or the whole commu- 
nity, where God has placed it. 

" The right of every man to his life, his liberty, no created 
being can rightfully contest. They are rights derived from 
the Author of nature, — ^inherent, inalienable, and indefeasible 
by any law, compacts, contracts, covenants, or stipulations which 
man can devise. God made all men naturally equal." 

Joseph Wabeen 

Was as eminent for his virtues as for his intense patriotism. 
He fell a martyr to liberty at Bunker Hill, the 17th of June, 
1775. He combined in a remarkable degree the qualities 
requisite for excellence in civil pursuits, with a strong taste for 
the military. He was educated at Cambridge University, and 
had in high perfection the gift of eloquence. His fine accom- 


plisliments as an orator, a patriot, and a professional and lite- 
rary man were crowned with the virtues of religion. "There 
is hardly one/' says Sparks, " whose example exercised a more 
inspiring and elevating influence upon his countrymen and the 
world than that of the brave, blooming, generous, self-devoted 
martyr of Bunker Hill. Such a character is the noblest spec- 
tacle which the moral world affords. It is declared by a poet 
to be a spectacle worthy of the gods. The friends of liberty, 
from all countries and throughout all time, as they kneel upon 
the spot that was moistened by the blood of Warren, will find 
their better feelings strengthened by the influence of the place, 
and will gather from it a virtue in some degree allied to hifi 

On the morning of the battle of Bunker Hill, at a meeting 
of the Committee of Safety, Elbridge Gerry earnestly requested 
him not to expose his person. " I am aware of the danger," 
replied Warren; "but I should die with shame if I were to 
remain at home in safety while my friends and fellow-citizens 
are shedding their blood and hazarding their lives in the 
cause." "Your ardent temper," replied Gerry, "will carry you 
forward into the midst of peril, and you will probably fall." 
" I know that I may fall," replied Warren ; " but where is the 
man who does not think it glorious and beautiful to die for 
his country?" 

"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori." 

" In the private walks of life," said an orator who pronounced 
a eulogy on Warren in Boston, April 8, 1776, at the reinter- 
ment of his remains, " he was a pattern for mankind. In public 
life, the sole object of his ambition was to acquire the conscience 
of virtuous enterprises : amor patrice was the spring of his ac- 
tions, and mens consda recti was his guide. And on this security 
he was, on every occasion, ready to sacrifice his health, his 
interest, and his ease to the calls of his country. When the- 
liberties of his country were attacked, he appeared an early 
champion in the contest ; and though his knowledge and abili- 
ties would have insured riches and preferment (could he have- 
stooped to prostitution), yet he nobly withstood the fascinating: 
charm, tossed fortune back her plume, and pursued the inflex- 
ible purpose of his soul in guiltless competence. The greatness 
of his soul shone even in the moment of death. In fine, to com- 
plete the great character^ like Harrington he wrote, like (Xcero' 


he spoke, and like Wcift lie died. The wime aod the virbJM 
of 'Warren shall remain immortal." . / 

In an oration delivered in Boston, March 6, 1772, Warren, 
after discussing the principles of liberty, closes as follows : — 

''If you with united zeal and fortitude oppose the torrent 
of oppression ; if you feel the true fire of patriotism burning in 
your breasts; if you from your souls despise the most gaudy 
dress that slavery can wear ; if you really prefer the lonely cot- 
tage (whilst blest with liberty) to gilded palaces surrounded with 
tlie ensigns of slavery, — ^you may have the fullest assurances that 
tyranny, with her whole accursed train, will hide their hideous 
heads in confusion, shame, and despair. If you perform your 
part, you must have the strongest confidence that the same 
ALMIGHTY Beinq who protected your venerable and pious fore- 
fathers, who enabled them to turn a barren wilderness into a 
fruitful field, who so often made bare his arm for their salvation, 
will be still mindful of you, their offspring. 

" May this almiqhty Being graciously preside in all our 
councils. May he direct us to such measures as he himself will 
approve and be pleased to bless. May we ever be a people 
favored of God. May our land be a land of liberty, Uie 
seat of virtue, the asylum of the oppressed, a name and a 
praise in the whole earth, until the last shock of time shall 
bury the empires of the world in one common undistinguished 

Samuel Adams, 

A true Christian statesman and hero, wise, ardent, fearless, 
and influential, was " a member of the church, and in a rigid 
community was an example of moral^ and the scrupulous ob- 
servance of every ordinance. Evening and morning his house 
was a house of prayer; and no one more revered the Christian 
Sabbath." He was among the foremost patriots of the Revolu- 
tion, and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. 
After that act had been passed, he stood on the steps of the 
Continental State-House, on the Ist of August, 1776, in Phila- 
delphia, and, before thousands of patriots, delivered an oration, 
in which are the following passages : — 

" The time at which this attempt on our liberties was made, 
when we were ripened into maturity, had acquired a knowledge 
of war, and were free from intestine enemies, — ^the gradual ad- 


Tancefi of our oppressors, enabling us to prepare for oar defence, 
— ^the unusual fertility of our lands, — ^the sucoese which at first 
attends our feeble arms, producing unanimity among our friends 
and reducing our internal foes to acquiescence, — these are 
strong and palpable assurances lixat Providence is yet gracious 
unto our Zion, that it will turn away our captivity. 

" These are instances of, I would say, an almost astonishing 
providence in our favor ; so that we may truly say that it is not our 
arm that has saved us. The hand of Heaven appears to have led 
us on to be, perhaps, humble instruments and means in the great 
providential dispensation which is completing. Brethren and 
fellow-countrymen, if it was ever granted to mortals to trace 
the designs of Providence and interpret its manifestations in 
favor of its cause, we may, with humility of soul, cry out, 
' Not unto us, not unto us, but to thy name be the praise.' 

" My countrymen, from the day on which an accommodation 
takes place between England and America on any other terms 
than as independent states, I shall date the ruin of this coun- 
try. We are now, to the astonishment of the world, three 
millions of souls united in one common cause. This day we 
are called on to give a glorious example of what the wisest and 
best of men were rejoiced to view only in speculation. This 
day presents the world with the most august spectacle that its 
annsJs ever unfolded, — ^millions of freemen voluntarily and 
deliberately forming themselves into a society for the common 
defence and common happiness. Immortal spirits of Hampden, 
Locke, and Sidney ! will it not add to your benevolent joys to 
behold your posterity rising to the dignity of men, and evinc- 
ing to the world the reality and expediency of your systems, 
and in the actual enjoyment of that equal liberty which you 
were happy, when on earth, in delineating and recommending 
to mankind I" 

Patbiok Hbnby, 

The passionate and eloquent orator of liberty and the Revolu- 
tion, was a profound believer in the divinity of Christianity, and 
declared its necessity to nations and governments as well as to 
the salvation and happiness of the soul. In April, 1775, he 
uttered the following Christian sentiments : — 

" He had no doubt that that Ood who, in former ages, had 
hardened Pharaoh's heart, that he might show his power and 


glory in ihe redemption of his chosen people, for similar pur* 
poses had permitted the flagrant outrages which had occurred 
throughout the continent. It was for them now to determine 
whether they were worthy of divine interference, — ^whether they 
would accept the high hoon now held out to them by Heaven; — 
that, if they would, though it might lead them through a sea 
of blood, they were to remember that the same God whose 
power divided the Bed Sea for the deliverance of Israel still 
reigned in all his gbry, unchanged and unchangeable, — ^was 
still the enemy of the oppressor and the friend of the oppressed, 
— that he would cover them from their enemies by a pillar of 
doud by day, and guide them through the night by a pillar of 

In an impassioned burst of patriotism, he exclaimed, '' We 
must fight. I repeat it, sir, we must fight. An appeal to 
arms and the God of hosts is all that is left us. Nor shall 
we fight our batUes alone. That Grod who presides over the 
destinies of nations will raise up friends for us." 

In reference to resolutions against the scheme of taxing the 
colonies, passed by the Virginia legislature in 1765, he stated, 
" Whether they will prove a blessing or a curse will depend on 
the use which our people make of the blessings which a gra- 
dous God hath bestowed on us. If they are wise, they will be 
great and happy. If they are of a contrary character, they 
will be miserable. Btghteousnea^ aUme oan exalt them aa a 
nation.*' Beader, whoever thou art, remember this, and in thy 
sphere practise virtue thyself, and enc(iurage it in others. 

" He was," says Wirt, his biographer, " a sincere Christian. 
His favorite religious works were Doddridge's Rise and Progress 
of Beligion in the Soul, Butler's Analogy of Beligion Natural 
and Bevealed, and Jenyns's Views of the Internal Evidences 
of the Christian Beligion." " Here," said he to a friend 
(holding up the Bible), '' is a book worth more than all other 
books that were ever printed." 

His last will bears this testimony, to his childrqp and his 
countrymen, to the truth and importance of religion : — '' I have 
now disposed of all my worldly property to my family : there 
is one thing more I wish I could give them, and that is the 
Christian religion. If they bad this, and I had not given them 
one shilling, they would be rich ; and if they had it not, and I 
had given them all the world, they would be poor." 


John Hancook, 

The son of a clergyman of Braintree, Massacliasetts, was dis- 
tinguished for his patriotism, piety, and benevolence. His 
great wealth and eminent talents were consecrated to his coun- 
try. He was President of the Congress of 1776, and his name, 
in a bold, broad hand, standi first on the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence. Early in the struggle for independence and freedom 
he inspired his patriot companions with such stirring Christian 
words as these : — 

"I have the most animating confidence that the present 
noble struggle for liberty will terminate gloriously for America, 
And let us play the men for our (Jod, and for the cities of our Qod : 
while we are using the means in our power, let us humbly commit 
our righteous cause to the great Lord of the Universe, who 
loveth righteousness and hateth iniquity. And, having secured 
the approbation of our hearts by a faithful and unwearied dis- 
charge of our duty to our country, let us joyfully leave our 
concerns in the hands of Him who raiseth up and putteth down 
the empires and kingdoms of the earth as he pleaseth, and, 
with cheerful submission to his sovereign will, devoutly say, 
'Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shdU fruit be in 
the vines ; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fijdd shoiXL 
yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there 
shall be no herd in the stall : yet we wUl rejoice in the Lord, we 
wHl joy in the God of our salvation.' " 

John Adams, 

The orator of the Revolution, signer of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, the first Vice-President and second President of the 
United States, was a firm believer in Christianity. He was early 
trained in its heavenly lessons, being the son of a deacon of the 
Congregational Church, of which he himself became a member. 
" His faith and soul clung to the Christian religion as the hope 
of himself and his country." In every position, he exerted 
his great powers to extend its beneficent reign. He was a faith- 
ful attendant on the public worship of God at home and when 
attending to his public duties abroad. JeflFerson said of Adams 
that " a man more perfectly honest never came from the hands 
of the Creator." 

"The Christian religion," Adams said," as I understand it, is 


the brightness of the glory and the express portrait of the charac- 
ter of the eternal, self-existent, independent, benevolent, all-power- 
ful, and all-merciful Creator, Preserver and Father of the oniversei 
the first good, the first perfect, and the first fair. It will last as 
long as the world. Neither savage nor civilized man, without a 
revelation, could have discovered or invented it." ** Religion 
and virtue are the only foundations, not only of republicanism 
and of all free governments, but of social felicity under all gov- 
ernments and in all the combinations of human society. Science, 
liberty, and religion are the choicest blessings of humanity : 
without their joint influence no society can be great, flourishing, 
or happy." 

Mr. Adams was the first minister to England after peace was 
established. On the 9th of June, 1785, he was presented to the 
court of Great Britain, and made to the Queen of England the 
following address : — 

'^ Permit me, madam, to recommend to your majesty's royal 
goodness a rising empire and an infant virgin world. Another 
Europe, madam, is rising in America. To a philosophical mind 
like your majesty's, there cannot be a more pleasing oontemplar 
tion than the prospect of doubling the human species and aug- 
menting at the same time their prosperity and happiness. It 
will in future ages be the glory of these kingdoms to have 
planted that country and to have sown there those seeds of 
science, of liberty, of virtue, and, permit me, madam, to add, of 
FIETT, which alone constitute the prosperity of nations and the 
happiness of the human race." 

When the Declaration of Independence was passed, Adams 
wrote to his wife as follows : — 

*' The fourth day of July, 1776, will be a memorable epoch in 
the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be cele- 
brated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary fes- 
tival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverence, 
by solemn acts of devotion to Almighty God. It ought to be 
solemnized with pomp, shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bon- 
fires, and illuminations, from one end of the continent to the 
other, from this time forward forever. 

'' You will think me transported with an enthusiasm; but I am 
not. I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that 
it will cost us to maintain this declaration and support and de- 
fend these States ; yet through all the gloom I can see the raya 


of light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than 
all the means^ and that posterity will triumph, although you 
and I may rue it, — ^which I hope we shall not." 

EoBEET Treat Paikb, 

A signer of the Declaration ot Independence, had studied 
prayerfully and thoroughly the whole range of theology before 
he entered upon the study of law. He was for a short time 
chaplain in the army, and preached occasionally in Boston. 
'' He was a decided, firm believer in the Christian revelation, 
and was fully convinced of its divine origin. He received it as 
a system of moral truth and righteousness given by Qod for the 
instruction, consolation, and happiness of man. His intellec- 
tual, moral, and religious character was strongly marked with 

Elbbidge Geebt, 
Also a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Vice- 
President of the United States, was a statesman who recognized 
the providence of Gkxl in human affiurs, and had faith in the 
divinity of Christianity. In a letter to Samuel Adams, Decem* 
ber 13, 1775, he says, " History can hardly produce such a 
series of events as has taken place in &vor of American oppo^ 
sition. The hand of Heaven seems to have directed every occur- 
rence. Had such an event as lately occurred at Essex happened 
to Cromwell, he would have published it as a miracle in his 
favor, and excited his soldiers to enthusiasm and bravery." " It 
is the duty of every citizen," he said, ** though he had but one day 
to live, to devote that day to the service of hia country." " May 
that Omnipotent Being," (in addressing the Senate in 1814,) 
" who with infinite wisdom and justice presides over the desti- 
nies of nations, confirm the heroic patriotism which has glowed 
in the breasts of the national rulers, and convince the enemy 
that, whilst a disposition to peace on honorable and equitable 
terms will ever prevail in their public councils, one spirit, ani- 
mated by the love of country, will inspire every department of 
the national government." 

Matthew Thobnton, 

A native of Ireland, was distinguished in the cause of liberty. 
He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and the 


disciple and friend of Washington. " No man was more deeply 
impressed with a belief in the existence and bounties of an over- 
ruling Providence, — ^which he strongly manifested by a practical 
application of the strongest and wisest injunctions of the Chris- 
tian religion. A believer in the divine mission of our Savior, he 
followed the great principles of his doctrines." 

Stephen Hopkins 

Was a pure*minded patriot and Christian statesman. He signed 
the Declaration of Independence, and bore a distinguished part in 
securing our liberties and forming our free institutions. He 
was a Quaker, and took an active interest in their church-affairs, 
and opened his house for their religious worship. He was well 
acquainted with the evidences of Christianity, and was frequently 
heard to confound the cavils of. infidels and to establish the 
divinity of the Christian religion. 

William Ellery, 

An ardent patriot, active and influential in Congress, and a signer 
of the Declaration of Independence, was a Christian statesman. 
" He studied the Scriptures with reverence and diligence ; feel- 
ing their value, seeking for the truth, and aiming at the obe- 
dience they require." He had firm faith in the justice and good- 
ness of God. In the most gloomy periods of the Revolution, he 
always ended his cheering addresses by saying, "Let us be hopeful 
and trusting ; for ' the Lord reigneth.' " 

EooER Sherman 
Was a wise legislator, an ardent and incorruptible patriot, and 
a ripe Christian statesman. He had the unbounded confidence 
of Congress, and was on the committee to draft the Declaration 
of Independence. In Congress he advocated the Christian duty 
and propriety of appointing days of fasting and prayer and 
thanksgiving to Almighty God, and was the author of several 
of those eminently Christian state papers. He had great influ- 
ence in imbuing the public and legislative transactions of the 
country with a scriptural sense of the need of God's presence 
and blessing. Washington esteemed and revered him as an emi- 
nent Christian and as a wise statesman. Adams said, " He was one 
of the soundest and strongest pillars of the Revolution." In early 
youth he made a public profession of religion, and for more than. 


a half-century he defended its doctrines and illustrated its vir- 
tues. He applied Christian principles to every department of 
society, and considered all governments sadly defective that 
were not based on the moral teachings and principles of the 

At his funeral it was said by his pastor, Jonathan Edwards, 
Jun., D.D., that, "whether we consider him as a politician or 
a Christian, he was a great and good man. The words of David 
concerning Abner may with great truth be applied on this oc- 
casion: — 'Know ye not that there is a great man fallen thid 
day in Israel V He ever adorned the profession of Christianity 
which he made in youth, was distinguished through life for 
public usefulness, and died in prospect of a blessed immor- 
tality." . 

The predominant traits in Mr. Bherman's character were his 
practical wisdom and his strong common sense. Mr. Jefferson, 
on one occasion, when pointing out the various members of 
Congress to a friend, said, — "Tliat is Mr. Sherman, of Con- 
necticut, a man whx> never said a foolish thing in hie life'* 
He possessed a singular power of penetrating into the charac- 
ters and motives of men, while the rectitude and integrity 
of his own nature enabled him to acquire an extraordinary 
influence. "Though a man naturally of strong passions, he 
obtained a complete control over them, by means of his deep 
religious spirit, and became habitually calm, sedate, and self- 

Samuel Huntikoton 

Acted a prominent part in achieving our independence, and was 
a signer of the Declaration of Independence. " He was a firm 
friend of order and religion, a member of the Christian Church, 
and punctual in his devotions of the family. He was, occa- 
sionally, the people's mouth to God when destitute of preaching. 
As a professor of Christianity and a supporter of its institutions, 
he was exemplary and devout." 

William Williams 

Was the son of Rev. Solomon Williams, who for fifty-four years 
was the pastor of the Congregational church of Lebanon, Con- 
necticut. "He was a man of piety, and from his early youth 
a member of the church. In all relations and transactions of life 


he preserved an unblemished Christian character," His high 
Christian character won for him the distinction of an honest poli- 
tician. He signed the Declaration of Independence, and aided 
in forming our free institutions. 

Oliver Woloott 

Has an honorable record in the annals of freedom. He was a 
Christian statesman, and signed the charter of our independ- 
ence. "His integrity was inflexible, his morals were strictly 
pure, and his faith that of an humble Christian, untainted by 
bigotry or intolerance." 

Philip Livingston 

Belonged to a family of eminent Christian celebrity. He was 
a statesman of the highest order, consecrated himself to the 
cause of his country, and exercised great influence in forming 
our free institutions. He was a Arm believer in the Christian 
religion, and an humble follower of our Divine Redeemer. 

Richard Stockton 

Was a true patriot, a ripe statesman, an eloquent orator, a pro- 
found jurist, and an honor to the Christian Church. He signed 
the Declaration of Independence, and aided greatly in our strug- 
gle for freedom. His will attests his views of the truth and 
importance of the Christian religion, in these words: — "As my 
children will have frequent occasion of perusing this instrument, 
and may be particularly impressed with the last words of their 
father, I think proper here not only to subscribe to my entire 
belief in the great leading doctrines of the Christian religion, 
such as the being of a God, and the universal defection and de- 
pravity of human nature, the divinity of the Person and the 
completeness of the redemption purchased by the blessed Sa- 
viour, the necessity of the operations of the Divine Spirit, of 
divine faith accompanied with an habitual virtuous life, and the 
universality of the Divine Providence, but also, in the bowels 
of a father's affection, to charge and exhort them to remember 
that the feai of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." 

John Witherspoon 

Was a Christian patriot, and a learned minister of the gospel. 
He was from Scotland, the land of learning and of liberty, and 


a descendant of John Knox, the Beformer. His great learning 
attracted the attention of the friends of education, and he was 
called to the presidency of Princeton College. Soon after his 
arrival the scenes of the Bevolation opened, and the college was 
suspended. "Under his auspices/' says Dr. Rogers, a cotem- 
porary, " have been formed a large proportion of the clergy of 
the Presbyterian Church, and to his instructions America owes 
many of her most distinguished patriots and legislators. In the 
civil councils of his adopted country he shone with equal lustre, 
and his talents as a legislator and senator showed the extent 
and the variety of the powers of his mind. His distinguished 
abilities pointed him out to the citizens of New Jersey as one 
of the most proper delegates to the convention which formed 
their republican Constitution. In this assembly he appeared to 
all the professors of law a9 profound a civilian as he had before 
been known to be a philosopher and divine. Early in the year 
1776 he was sent, as a representative of the people of New 
Jersey, to the Congress of the United States. He was seven 
years a member of that illustrious body, which, under Provi- 
dence, in the face of innumerable difficulties and dangers, led us 
on to the establishment of our independence. He was one of 
the signers of the Declaration of Independence. While he was 
thus engaged in serving his country in the character of a civi- 
lian, he did not lay aside his ministry." He advocated the cause 
of the country, with admirable simplicity, by his pen ; exalting 
it in the pulpit by associating the interests of civil and religious 
liberty, and zealously co-operating in its active vindication in 
Congress. He was an eminent Christian statesman, as well as 
a pious and learned divine. "If the pulpit of America," says 
Headley, "had given only this one man to the Revolution, it 
would deserve to be held in everlasting remembrance for the 
service it rendered the country." 

A sermon which Dr. Witherspoon preached at Princeton, on 
the 17th of May, 1776, being the general fast appointed by the 
Congress through the United Colonies, entitled " The Dominion 
of Providence over the Passions of Men," was rich in profound 
thought, and eloquent and just in its views of civil and religious 
liberty. His object in the discourse was to show that public 
calamities' and commotions, the ambition of mistaken princes, 
and the passions and wickedness of men, are under the domi- 
nion of God, and will be overruled for the advancement and esta^ 


blishment of religion and liberty. The passage on which he 
based this noble discourse was, ^^Surdy the wrath of man shaU 
praise thee: the remainder of wrath ahaU thou restrain," — 
(Psalm Ixxvi. 10.) The following extracts are given : — 

"There is no part of Divine Providence in which a greater 
beauty and majesty appears^ than when the Almighty Euler turns 
the councils of wicked men into confasion, and makes them 
militate against themselves." This he illustrates by many marked 
events in sacred and profane history. And, applying the doctrine 
of the discourse to the condition of the colonies struggling for 
liberty, he says, " You may perceive what ground there is to 
give praise to Gbd for his fevors already bestowed on us respect- 
ing the public cause. It would be a criminal inattention not to 
observe the singular interposition of Providence hitherto in 
behalf of the American colonies. How many discoveries have 
been made of the designs of the enemy in Britain and among 
ourselves, in a manner as unexpected to us as to them, and in 
such season as to prevent their effect ! What surprising suc- 
cess has attended our encounters in almost every instance! 
Has not the boasted discipline of regular and veteran soldiers 
been turned into confusion and dismay before the new and 
maiden courage of freemen in defence of their property and 
rights ? In what great mercy has blood been spared on the side 
of this injured country ! Some important victories have been 
gained in the South, with so little loss that enemies will proba- 
bly think it dissembled. The signal advantage we have gained 
by the evacuation of Boston, and the shameful flight of the army 
and navy of Britain, was brought on without the loss of a man. 
To all this we may add, that the counsels of our enemies have 
been visibly confounded, so that I believe I may say with truth 
that there is hardly any step which they have taken but it has 
operated strongly against themselves, and been more in our 
favor than if they had followed a contrary course. 

" While we give praise to God, the supreme disposer of all 
events, for his interposition in our behalf, let us guard against 
the dangerous error of trusting in or boasting of an arm of 
flesh. I could earnestly wish that, while our arms are crowned 
with success, we might content ourselves with a modest ascrip- 
tion of it to the power of the Highest. The Holy Scriptures in 
general, and the truths of the glorious gospel in particular, and 
the whole course of Providence, seem intended to abase the 


pride of man and lay the vain-gloriotis in the dust. The trath 
is, that, through the whole frame of nature and the whole sys* 
tem of human life, that which promises most performs the least. 
The flowers of finest colors seldom have the sweetest fragrance. 
The trees of greatest growth or fairest form are seldom of the 
greatest value or duration. Deep waters run with the least 
noise. Men who think most are seldom talkative. And I 
think it holds as much in war as in any thing, that every boaster 
is a coward. I look upon ostentation and confidence to be a sort 
of outrage upon Providence ; and when it becomes general and 
infuses itself into the spirit of a people, it is the forerunner of 

*^ From what has been said you may learn what encouragement 
you have to put your trust in God, and hope for his assistance 
in the present important conflict. He is the Lord of Hosts, 
great in might and strong in battle. Whoever has his coun- 
tenance and approbation shall have the best at last. If your 
cause is just, you may look with confidence to the Lord and 
entreat him^to plead it as his own. I would neither have you 
to trust in an arm of flesh, nor to sit with folded hands and 
expect that miracles shall be wrought in your defence. In op- 
position to it, I would exhort as Joab did the host of Israel, who 
in this instance spoke like a prudent general and a pious man :— 
'Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for 
our people, and for the cities of our God ; and the Lord do that 
which is good in his sight.' " (2 Sam. x. 12.) 

" He is the best friend to American liberty who is the most 
sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion, and 
who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down pro* 
fanity and immorality of every kind. Whoever is an avowed 
enemy to God, I scruple not to call him an enemy to his country. 
It is your duty in this important and critical season to exert 
yourselves, every one in his proper sphere, to stem the tide of 
prevailing vice, to promote the knowledge of Grod, the reverence 
of his name and worship, and obedience to his laws. Your 
duty to God, to your country, to your families, and to yourselves, 
is the same. True religion is nothing else but an inward tem- 
per and outward conduct suited to your state and circumstances 
in Providence at any time. And as peace with Grod and con- 
formity to him add to the sweetness of created comforts while 
we possess them, so in times of difikulty and trial it is the man 


of piety and inward principle that we may expect to find the 
TincoiTupted patriot, the uaeful citizen, and the invincible sol- 
dier. God grant that in America true religion and civil liberty 
may be inseparable, and that the nnjuat attempts to destroy the 
one may in the issue tend to the support and establishment of 

In affixing his name to the Declaration of Independence, he 
rose in that illustrious body of men and uttered the following 
thrilling words : — 

" Mr. President : — ^That noble instrument on your table, which 
insures immortality to its author, should be subscribed this very 
morning by every pen in the House. He who will not respond 
to its accents, and strain every nerve to carry into efiFect its 
provisions, is unworthy the name of freeman. Although these 
gray hairs must descend into the sepulchre, I would infinitely 
rather they should descend thither by the hand of the execu* 
tioner, than desert at this crisis the sacred cause of my country." 

The appeal was electric. Every member rose and affixed his 
name to that immortal Declaration. 

In a discourse he preached at a public thanksgiving, after 
peace, from the text, "Salvation bdongeth unto the Lord," in 
which he showed "what the United States of America owed to 
Divine Providence in the course of the present war," he closed 
with the following remarks : — 

"Those who are vested with civil authority ought also with 
much care to promote religion and good morals among all under 
their government. If we give credit to the Holy Scriptures, he 
that ruleth must be just, ruling in the fear of God. Those 
who wish well to a state ought to choose, to places of trust, 
men of inward principle, justified by exemplary conversation. 
Those who pay no regard to religion and sobriety, in the persons 
whom they send to the legislature of any state, will soon pay 
dear for their folly. Let a man's zeal, profession, or even prin- 
ciples, as to political measures, be what they will, if he is with- 
out personal integrity and private virtue as a man, he is not to 
be trusted. I think we have had some instances of men who 
have roared for liberty in taverns, and were most noisy in 
public meetings, who yet have turned traitors in a little while. 
If the people in general ought to have regard to the moral 
.character of those whom they invest with authority, either 
in the legislative, executive, or judicial branches, such as are so 


promoted may perceive what is and will be expected of them. 
They are under the strongest obligations to promote rdiffion, 
sobriety, industry, and even social virtue, among those who are 
committed to their care. If you ask me what are the means 
which civil rulers are bound to use for attaining these ends, 
further than the impartial support and faithful guardianship of 
the rights of conscience, I answer, that example itself is none of 
the least. Those who are in high stations and authority are 
exposed to continual observation ; and therefore their example 
is better seen and hath greater influence than that of persons of 
inferior rank. Reverence for the name of Grod, a punctual attend- 
ance on the public and private duties of religion, as well as 
sobriety and purity of conversation, are especially incumbent 
on those who are honored with places of power and trust. But 
I cannot content myself with this. It is certainly the duty of 
magistrates to be a terror to evil-doers, and a praise to them 
that do well." 

"Let us cherish a love of piety, order, industry, purity. Let 
us check every disposition to luxury, eflFeminacy, and the 
pleasures of a dissipated life. Let us in public measures put 
honor upon modesty and self-denial, which is the index of real 
merit. And in our families let us do the best, by religious in- 
struction, to sow the seeds which may bear fruit in the next 
generation. Whatever state among us shall continue to make 
piety and virtue the standard of public honor will enjoy the 
greatest inward peace, the greatest national happiness, and in 
every conflict will discover the greatest constitutional strength." 

Benjamin Franklin, 

The civilian, the philosopher, the patriot, the wise and virtuous 
statesman, and signer of the Declaration of Independence, had 
a profound reverence for the Christian religion and faith in its 
divinity. He was, in his childhood and youth, trained in the 
school of Puritan piety, and the foundation of his character and 
eminent usefulness was formed by the teachings of a Christian 
minister. In early life, he read Dr. Cotton Mather s little book, 
entitled "Essays to Do Good," and in his old age he said, "All 
the good I have ever done to my country or my fellow-creatures 
must be ascribed to the impressions produced on my mind by 
perusing that little work in my youth." 


In writing, in 1790, to Dr. Stiles, President of Yale College, 
Dr. Franklin said, — 

"You desire to know something of my religion. Here is 
my creed. I believe in one God, the Creator of the universe. 
That he governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be 
worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render him 
is in doing good to his other children. That the soul of man 
is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life 
respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the funda- 
mental points in all sound religion. As to Jesus of Nazareth, 
my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system 
of morals, and his religion, as he left them to us, is the best 
the world ever saw, or is likely to see. I apprehend it has 
received various corrupting changes ; and I have, with most of 
the present dissenters in England, some doubt as to his divinity, 
though it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never 
studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, 
when I soon will have an opportunity of knowing the truth, 
with less trouble. I see no harm, however, in its being be- 
lieved, if that belief has the good consequence, as probably it 
has, of making his doctrines more respected and observed, 
especially as I do not perceive that the Supreme takes it amiss, 
by distinguishing the believers in his government of the world 
with any peculiar marks of his displeasure. I shall only add, 
respecting myself, that, having experienced the goodness of that 
Being in conducting me prosperously through a long life, I 
have no doubt of its continuance in the next, though without 
the smallest conceit of meriting such goodness. My sentiments 
on this subject you will see in the copy of an old letter enclosed, 
which I wrote in answer to one from an old religionist (White-/ 
field) whom I had relieved in a paralytic case by electricity, 
and who, being afraid I should grow proud upon it, sent me his 
serious though rather impertinent caution. 

" With great and sincere esteem and affection, I am, &c., 

"Benjamin Feankun." 


PiBLADBLPHIA, Ja&O 6, 1753. 

Dear Sir:— 

I reoeiyed your kind letter of the 2d inst, and am glad to hear that 
you increase in strength : I hope you will continue mending until you 
recover your former health and firmness. Let me know whether you 


BtiU use the cold bath, and what effect it has. As to the kindness you 
mention, I wish it could have been of more serious .service to you ; but 
if it had, the only thanks that I should desire are, that you would always 
be ready to serve any otlier person that may need your assistance ; and 
so let offices go round, for mankind are all of a family. For my own 
part, when I am employed in serving others. I do not look upon myself 
as conferring favors, but as paying debts. In my travels, and since my 
settlement, I have received much kindness from men to whom I shall 
never have an opportunity of making the least direct return, and 
numberless mercies from God, who is infinitely above being benefited 
by our services. These kindnesses from men I can, therefore, only 
return to their fellow-men ; and I can only show my gratitude to God 
by a readiness to help his other children and my brethren ; for I do not 
think that thanks and compliments, though repeated weekly, can dis- 
charge our real obligation to each other, and much less to our Creator. 

You will see, in this my notion of good works, that I am far from 
expecting to merit heaven by them. By heaven we understand a state 
of happiness infinite in degree and eternal in duration. I can do 
nothing to deserve such a reward. He that, for giving a draught of wat-er 
to a thirsty person, should expect to be paid with a good plantation, 
would be modest in his demands, compared with those who think they 
deserve heaven for the little good they do on earth. Even the mixed 
imperfect pleasures we ei\joy in this world are rather from God's good- 
ness than our merit : how much more so the happiness of heaven I 
^For my part, I have not the vanity to think I deserve it, the folly to- 
expect, or the ambition to desire it, but content myself in submitting: 
to the disposal of that God who made me, who has hitherto pre- 
served and blessed me, and in whose fatherly goodness I may well con- 
fide that he will never make me miserable, and that the affliction I may 
at any time suffer may tend to my benefit. 

The faith you mention has, doubtless, its uses in the world. I do not 
desire to lessen it in any man, but I wish it were more productive of 
good works than I have generally seen it. I mean real good works, — 
works of kindness, charity, mercy, and public spirit ; not in holyday- 
keeping, sermon hearing or reading, performing church ceremonies, 
or making long prayers, filled with flatteries and compliments, despised 
even by wise men, and much less capable of pleasing the Deity. 

The worship of God is a duty ; the hearing and reading may be use- 
ful ; but if men rest in hearing and praying — as too many do — ^it is as if 
the tree should value itself on being watered and putting forth leaves,, 
though it never produced any fruit. 

Your good Master thought less of these outward appearances thaui 
many of his modern disciples. He preferred the doers of the word to 
the hearers ; the son that seemingly refused to obey his father and' yet 
performed his commands, to him that professed his readiness but 
neglected the work ; the heretical but charitable Samaritan, to the un- 
charitable and orthodox priest and sanctified Levite ; and those who gave 
food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, and raiment to the naked^ 
entertainment to the stranger, and never heard of his name, he declares, 
shall, in the last day, be accepted, when those who* qtj,. Losd,. Lord,. 



who yalae themselyes on their faith, though great enough to perform 
miracles, but having neglected good works, shall be r^'ected. 

Being your friend and servant, 

Benjamin Franklin. 

Thomas Paine wrote a little volume entitled " The Age of 
Beason." He sent the manuscript to Dr. Franklin, and received 
the following reply : — 

Dear Sir: — 

I have read your manuscript with some attention. By the argument 
which it contains against a particular Providence, though you allow a 
general Providence, you strike at the foundations of all religion. For, 
without the belief of a Providence that takes cognizance of, guards 
and guides, and may favor particular persons, there is no motive to ' 
worship a Deity, to fear its displeasure, or to pray for its protection. I 
will not enter into any discussion of your principles, though you seem 
to desire it. 

At present I shall only give you my opinion that, though your reason- 
ings are subtle, and may prevail with some readers, you will not succeed 
so as to change the general sentiments of mankind on that subject; 
and the consequence of printing this piece will be, a great deal of 
odium duawn upon yourself, mischief to you, and no benefit to others. 
He that spits against the wind spits in his own face. But were you to 
succeed, do you imagine any good will be done by it? You yourself 
may find it easy to live a virtuous life without the assistance afforded 
by religion, — ^you having a clear perception of the advantages of virtue 
and the disadvantages of vice, and possessing a strength of resolution 
sufficient to enable you to resist common temptations. But think how 
great a portion of mankind consists of ignorant men and women and 
of inexperienced, inconsiderate youth of both sexes, who have need of 
the motives of religion to restrain them from vice, support their virtue, 
and retain them in the practice of it till it becomes habitual, which is 
the great point for its security. And perhaps you are indebted to her 
originally, that is, to your religious education, for the habits of virtue 
upon which you now justly value yourself. 

You might easily display your excellent talents of reasoning upon a 
less hazardous suly'ect, and thereby obtain a rank with our most distin- 
guished authors. For among us it is not necessary, as among the Hot- 
tentots, that a youth, to be raised into the company of men, should 
prove his manhood by beating his mother. 

I would advise you, therefore, not to attempt unchaining the tiger, * 
but to bum this piece before it is seen by any other person ; whereby 
you will save yourself a great deal of mortification from the enemies it 
may raise against you, and perhaps a good deal of regret and repent- 
ance. If men are so wicked mth religion, what would they be wUhoui 
it? I intend this letter itself as a proof of my friendship, and there- 
fore add no professions to it, but subscribe simply. 

Yours, B. Franklin. 





I propoBe at this time to 4^<!0ui^® oi^ ^^® providence of God in thA 
gOTemment of the world. It might be judged an afiVont should I go 
about to proye this first principle, the existence of a Deity, and that he 
is the creator of the universe, for that all mankind, in all ages, have 
agreed in. I shall, therefore, proceed to observe that he must be a being 
of infinite wisdom, as appears in his admirable order and disposition of 
things, — ^whether we consider the heavenly bodies, the stars and planet«, 
and their wonderful regular motions ; or this earth, compounded of sucIl 
an excellent mixture of all elements ; or the admirable structure of 
animate bodies, of such infinite variety, and yet every one adapted to 
its nature and waiy of life it is to be placed in, whether on earth, in the 
air, or in the water, and so exactly that the highest and most exquisite 
human reason cannot find a fault and say that this would have been 
better so, or in such a manner ; which whoever considers attentively 
and thoroughly will be astonished and swallowed up in admiration. 

That the Deity is a being of great goodness, appears in his giving life 
to so many creatures, each of which acknowledges it a benefit by their 
unwillingness to leave it ; in his providing plentiful sustenance for them 
all, and making those things most useful most common and easy to be 
had ; such as water, necessary for almost every creature to drink ; air, 
without which few could subsist ; the inexpressible benefits of light and 
sunshine to almost all animals in general ; and to men the most useful 
vegetables, such as com, the most useful of metals, as iron, &c., the 
most useful of animals, as horses, oxen, and sheep, he has made the 
easiest to raise or procure in quantity or numbers ; each of which par- 
ticulars, if considered seriously and carefully, would fill us with the high- 
est love and affection. 

That he is a being of infinite power, appears in his being able to form 
and compound such vast masses of matter as this earth, the sun, and 
innumerable stars and planets, and give them such prodigious motion ; 
and yet so to govern them in their greatest velocity as that they shall 
not fly out of their appointed bounds, nor dash one against another 
for their mutual destruction. But 'tis easy to conceive of his power 
when we are convinced of his infinite knowledge and wisdom ; for if 
weak and foolish creatures as we are, by knowing the nature of a few 
things, can produce such wonderful effects, such as, for instance, by 
knowing the nature only of nitre and seapsalt mixed we can make a 
water which will dissolve the hardest iron, and by adding one ingredient 
more can make another water which will dissolve gold and make the 
most solid bodies fiuid ; and by knowing the nature of saltpetre, sul- 
phur, and charcoal, those mean ingredients mixed, we can shake the 
air in the most terrible manner, destroy ships, houses, and men at a dis- 
tance, and in an instant overthrow cities, and rend rocks into a thou- 
sand pieces, and level the highest mountains; what power must He 
possess who not only knows the nature of every thing in the universe, 


but can make things of new natures with the greatest ease at his 
pleasure ? 

Agreeing^ then, that the world was at first made by a being of infinite 
wisdom, goodness, and power, which being we call God, the state of 
things existing at this time must be in one of these four following man- 
ners, viz. : — 

1. Either he unchangeably decreed and appointed every thing that 
comes to pass, and left nothing to the course of nature, nor allowed any 
creature free agency. 

2. Without decreeing any thing, he left all to general nature and 
the events of free agency in his creatures, which he never alters or inter- 
rupts ; or, 

3. He decreed some things unchangeably, and left others to general 
nature and the events of free agency, which also he never alters or 
interrupts ; or, 

4. He sometimes interferes by his particular providence, and sets aside 
the effects which would otherwise have been produced by any of the 
above causes. 

I shall endeavor to show the first three suppositions to be inconsistent 
with the common light of reason, and that the fourth is most agreeable 
to it, and therefore most probably true. 

In the first place : If you say he has in the beginning uncnangeably 
decreed all things, and left nothing to nature or free agency, three 
strange conclusions will nefbessarily follow. I. That he is now no more 
a God. It is true, indeed, before he made such unchangeable decrees, 
he was a being of power almighty ; but now, having determined every 
thing, he has divested himself of all further power ; he has done, and has 
no more to do ; he has tied up his hands, and has no greater power than 
an idol of wood or stone ; nor can there be any more reason for praying 
to him or worshipping of him than of such an idol, for the worshippers 
can never be better for such a worship. Then, 2. He has decreed some 
things contrary to the very notion of a wise and good being ; such as 
that some of his creatures or children shall do all manner of injury to 
others, and bring every kind of evil upon them without cause ; and that 
some of them shall even blaspheme their Creator in the most horrible 
manner ; and, which is still more highly absurd, that he has decreed 
that the greatest part of mankind shall in all ages put up their earnest 
prayers to him both in private and publicly in great assemblies, when 
all the while he had so determined their fate that he could not possibly 
grant them any benefits on that account, nor could such prayers be in 
any way available. Why then should he ordain them to make such 
prayers ? It cannot be imagined that they are of any service to him. 
Surely it is not more difficult to believe that the world was made by a 
God of wood or stone than that the God who made the world should be 
such a God as this. 

In the second place, if you say he has decreed nothing, but left all 
things to general nature and the events of free agency^ which he never 
alters or interrupts, then these conclusions will follow : he must either 
utterly hide himself from the works of his own hands, and take no 
notice at all of their proceeding? natural or moral, or he must be, as 


undoubtedly he is, a ppectator of every thing, for there can be no reason 
or ground to suppose the first. I say there can be no reason to imagine 
he would make so glorious a universe merely to abandon it. In this 
case imagine the Deity looking on and beholding the ways of his crea- 
tures. Some heroes in virtue he sees incessantly endeavoring the good 
of others ; they labor through vast diflSculties, they suffer incredible 
hardships and miseries to accomplish this end, in hopes to please a good 
God, and attain his favors, which they earnestly pray for. What an- 
swer can he make, then, within Himself but this ? Take the reward 
chance may give you : I do not intermeddle in these affairs. He sees others 
doing all manner of evil, and bringing by their actions misery and de- 
struction among mankind : what can he say here, but this ? — If chance 
rewardsy I shall not punish you, I am not to he concerned. He sees the just, 
the innocent, and the beneficent in the hands of the wicked and violent 
oppressor, and when the good are on the brink of destruction they pray 
to him, Thouy God, art mighty and powerful to save: help us, we beseech thee! 
He answers, / cannot help you ; it is none of my business, nor do I at all regard 
those things. How is it possible to believe a wise and infinitely good being 
can be delighted in this circumstance, and be utterly unconcerned what 
becomes of the beings and things he has created ? for thus, we must be- 
lieve him idle and inactive, and that his glorious attributes of power, 
wisdom, and goodness are no more to be made use of. 

In the third place. If you say he has decreed some things and left 
others to the events of nature and free agency, which he never alters 
nor interrupts, you un-Ood him, if I may be allowed the expression : 
he has nothing to do ; he can cause us neither good nor harm ; he is no 
more to be regarded than a lifeless image, than Dagon or Baal, or Bel 
and the Dragon, and, as in both the other suppositions foregoing, that 
being which from its power is most able to act, from its wisdom knows 
best how to act, and from its goodness would always certainly act best, 
is in this opinion supposed to become the most inactive of all beings, 
and remain everlastingly idle, an absurdity which, when considered, or 
but barely seen, cannot be swallowed without doing the greatest violence 
to common reason and all the faculties of the understanding. 

We are then necessarily driven to the fourth supposition, that the 
Deity sometimes interferes by his particular providence, and sets aside 
the events which would otherwise have been produced by the course of 
nature or by free agency of men ; and this is perfectly agreeable with 
what we can know of his attributes and perfections. But, as some may 
doubt whether it is possible there should be such a thing as free agency 
in creatures, I shall just offer one short argument on that account, and 
proceed to show how the duty of religion necessarily follows a belief of a 
Providence. You acknowledge that Qod is infinitely powerful, wise, 
and good, and also a free agent, and you will not deny that he has com* 
municated to us a part of his wisdom, power, and goodness, — ^that is, he 
has made us in some degree wise, potent, and good. And is it then 
impossible for him to communicate any part of his freedom, and make 
us also in some degree free ? Is even his infinite power sufiSdent for 
this? I should be glad to hear what reason any man can give for 
thinking in that manner. It is sufficient for me to show that it is not 


impossible, and no man, I think, can show it is improbable. Much 
more might be offered to demonstrate clearly that men are free agents 
and accountable for their actions. 

Lastly. If God does not sometimes interfere by his providence, it 
is either because he cannot or because he will not. Which of these 
positions will you choose ? There is a righteous nation grievously op- 
pressed by a cruel tyrant: they earnestly entreat God to deliver them. 
If you say he cannot, you deny his infinite power, which you at first ac- 
knowledged. If you say he will not, you must directly deny his infinite 
goodness. You are of necessity obliged to allow that it is highly rea- 
sonable to believe a Providence, because it is highly absurd to believe 

Now, if it is unreasonable to suppose it out of the power of the Deity 
to help and favor us particularly, or that we are out of his hearing and 
notice, or that good actions do not procure more of his favor than ill 
ones, then I conclude that believing a Providence, we have the founda- 
tion of all true religion ; for we should love and revere that Deity for 
his goodness, and thank him for his benefits ; we should adore him for 
his wisdom, fear him for his power, and pray to him for his favor and 
protection. And this religion will be a powerful regulator of our actions, 
give us peace and tranquillity in our own minds, and render us bene- 
volent, useful, and beneficial to others. 

The following maxim of FraDklin's is characteristic of the 
man, and reveals, in brief words, the whole genius and theory of 
giving stability and progress to free governments and to the 
diffusion of liberty : — 

"A Bible and a newspaper in every house, a good school in 
every district, — all studied and appreciated as they merit, — ^are 
the principal supports of virtue, morality, and civil liberty." 

Thomas Jeffebson 

Was the penman of the Declaration of Independence, and his 
great abilities, genius, and ripe statesmanship have exerted a 
moulding influence on the civil and political affairs of the na- 
tion. "He poured the soul of the continent," said Dr. Stiles, 
in 1782, "into the monumental act of Independence." His 
views of the Christian religion have occasioned much discussion 
among the Christian public, and he has generally been regarded 
as an unbeliever in the divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. 
The following facts and statements will shed light on his views 
on this subject. 

" I shall need" (he remarked, in his first message as President,) 
"the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our 
fathers, as Israel of old, from their native land, and planted them 


in a country flowing with all the necessaries and comforts of life ; 
who has covered our infancy with his providence, and our riper 
years with his wisdom and power; and to whose goodness I ask 
you to join with me in supplications that he will so enlighten the 
minds of your servants, guide their counsels, and prosper their 
measures, that whatsoever they do shall result in your good and 
shall secure to you the friendship and approbation of all nations." 

"Can the liberties of a nation," said he, "be thought secure, 
when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the 
minds of the people that these liberties are the gifts of Gtxl ? — 
that they are not to be violated except with his wrath ? Indeed, 
I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and 
that his justice cannot sleep forever." 

"Never," says a writer in the " National Magazine," "were a 
man's religious sentiments more grossly misrepresented than 
Jefferson's. He was not an atheist. He believed in God the 
Creator of all things, in his overruling providence, infinite wis- 
dom, goodness, justice, and mercy. He believed that God hears 
and answers prayer, and that human trust in him is never mis- 
placed nor disregarded. He believed in a future state of re- 
wards and punishments. He believed in the Bible precepts and 
moralities. No man in Washington ever gave so much to build 
so many churdiee as Jefferson. He respected and cherished 
the friendship of truly pious men. He never wrote, for the 
public eye, one word against Christianity. Religiously, Jeffer- 
son would now be classed with the liberal Unitarians." 

Mr. Jefferson, in a letter of condolence to John Adams on the 
death of his wife, in 1818, expressed his views of a future 
life as follows: — "It is some comfort to us both that the 
term is not very distant at which we are to deposit in the same 
cerement our sorrowing and suffering bodies, and to ascend in 
essence to an ecstatic meeting with ihe friends we have loved 
and lost, and whom we shall still love and never lose again. 
God bless you and support you under your heavy affliction." 

" Mr. Jefferson," says Eandall, "was a public professor of his 
belief in the Christian religion. In all his most important early 
state papers, such as his Summary View of the Bights of 
British America, his portion of the Declaration made by Con- 
gress on the causes of taking up arms, the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, the draft of a Constitution for Virginia, &c., there 
are more or less, pointed recognitions of God and Providence. 


In his two inaugural addresses as President of the Uniteil States, 
and in many of his annual messages, he makes the same recog- 
nitions, clothes them on several occasions in the most explicit 
language, substantially avows the God of his faith to be the God 
of revelation, declares his belief in the eflScacy of prayer and 
the duty of ascriptions of praise to the Author of all mercies, 
and speaks of the Christian religion, as professed in his country, 
as a benign religion, evincing the favor of Heaven. 

"Had his wishes been consulted, the symbol borne on the 
national seal would have contained our public profession of 
Christianity as a nation. 

"He contributed freely to the erection of Christian churches, 
gave money to Bible societies and other religious objects, and 
was a liberal and regular contributor to the support of the clergy. 
He attended church with as much regularity as most members 
of the congregation, sometimes going alone on horseback when 
his family remained at home. He generally attended the Epis- 
copal church, and, when he did so, always carried his prayer-book 
and joined in the responses and prayers of the congregation." 

The establishment of the University of Virginia occupied the 
closing years of Jefferson's life. His wish was to make the in- 
stitution rival the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge in Eng- 
land, and afford opportunities for young men to become thoroughly 
accomplished in every branch of learning. A part of his plan 
was a theological seminary in connection with the university. 
Rev. Mr. Tucker, of Virginia, in the Presbyterian synod, met 
in 1859, said that "the establishment of a theological semi- 
nary near the University of Virginia was carrying out the 
original idea of Mr. Jefferson. He had seen in Mr. Jefferson's 
own handwriting, the pains- taking style of the olden time, a sketch 
of his plan. The University of Virginia was the crowning 
glory of that great man's life, and he felt it his duty to vindicate 
his memory, as he had it in his power to do, from any inten- 
tion to exclude religious influences from the institution. He had 
invited all denominations to establish theological schools around 
the university, so that all might have the literary advantages 
of the institution, without making it subservient to one denomi- 

George Mason, 
Of Virginia, was one of the purest and ablest of the men who 
conducted the important events of the Revolution to a fortunate 


and triumphant issue. He was a man endowed by nature with 
a vigorous understanding, which had been well cultivated by a 
liberal education. In temperament he was like the younger 
Cato, constitutionally stern, firm, and honest. His profound legal 
learning, and his political views and public duties, as well as his 
private life and character, were all under the guidance of virtue 
and religion, which gave him an illustrious and influential posi- 
tion in the cause of liberty and independence. 

He was among the earliest and most distinguished of all the 
champions of freedom and an independent constitutional govern- 
ment; and no man exerted a greater influence on the fortunes of 
the country. He was a member of the Convention of Virginia 
which, on the 16th of May, 1776, declared that State independent, 
and formed a State constitution ; and to him belongs the honor 
of having drafted the first declaration of rights ever adopted 
in America. It was made a part of the Constitution of Virginia, 
where it yet remains. In this declaration of Mason's, main 
seems to stand erect in all the majesty of his nature, — to assert 
the inalienable rights and equality with which he has been 
endowed by his Creator, and to declare the fundamental prin- 
ciples by which all rulers should be governed and on which all 
governments should rest. Three of the fundamental articles 
are here inserted. 

" 1. That all men are created equally free and independent, and 
have certain inherent natural rights, of which they cannot, by 
any compact, deprive or divest their posterity ; among xohieh 
are the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of ac- 
quiring and procuring property and pursuing and obtaining 
happiness and safety. 

"2. That all power is by God and nature vested in, and 
consequently derived from, the people; that magistrates are 
their trustees and servants, and at all times amenable to them. 

"3. That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the 
common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation, 
or community. 

" 15. That no free government, or the blessings of liberty, can 
be insured to any people, but by a firm adherence to justice, 
moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue, and by frequent 
recurrence to fundamental principles. 

"16. That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, 
and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason 


and convictioD, not by force and violence, and, therefore, thxU 
all men skotUd enjoy the fullest toleration in the exercise of 
religion^ according to the dictates of conscience, unpunished and 
unrestrained by the magistrate; unless under color of religion 
any man disturb the peojce or the safety of society ; and that 
it is the mutual duty of all to practise Christian forbearance, 
love, and charity towards each." 

" If I can only live to see," said Mason, " the American Union 
firmly fixed, and free government well established in our Western 
world, and can leave to my children but a crust of bread and 
liberty, I shall die satisfied, and say, with the Psalmist, ' Lord, 
now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.' " 

The following extract from Mr. Mason's last will and testa- 
ment attests his passionate patriotism, and presents his view 
of public life : — 

"I recommend it to my sons, from my own experience in life, 
to prefer the happiness of independence and a private station 
to the troubles and vexations of public business; but, if their own 
inclinations or the necessity of the times should engage them 
in public aflFairs, I charge them, on a father's blessing, never to 
let the motives of private interest or ambition induce them to 
betray, nor the terrors of poverty and disgrace, or the fear of 
danger and death, deter them from asserting, the liberty of their 
country, and endeavoring to transmit to their posterity those 
sacred rights to which themselves were born." 

This great man, whose soul was ever inflamed with liberty, 
and whose masterly intellect illuminated the grand era of the 
Eevolution with its clear and steady light, died in a ripe old 
age, chastened and sanctified by providential afflictions in his 
family, leaving a legacy of glory and virtue to his country. 


Of New York, was an eminent statesman of the Eevolution, 
and exerted a prominent influence in the formation of our re- 
publican institutions. He was for many years in Congress and an 
ambassador to France. During the terrific reign of atheism in 
that country, he drew up a constitution for France, one article 
of which was as follows : — 

"Eeligion is the solid basis of good morals: therefore educa- 
tion should teach the precepts of religion and the duties of man 
towards God. These duties are — internally, love and adoration; 


externally, devotion and obedience : therefore provision should 
be made for maintaining divine worship as well as education. 
But each haa a right to entire liberty aa to religious opinions, 
for religion is the relation between God and man : therefore it 
is not within the reach of human authority." 

" The education of young citizens," another article declared, 
" ought to form them to good manners, to accustom them to 
labor, to inspire them with a love of order, and to impress them 
with respect for lawful authority." 

To a nobleman of France, Mr. Morris wrote, in June, 1792, 
" I believe that religion is the only solid basis of morals, and 
that morals are the only possible support of free governments." 

In 1816, Mr. Morris was elected the first president of the 
New York Historical Society. In his inaugural address he 
presented his views of Christianity as follows : — 

" The reflection and experience of many years have led me 
to consider the holy writings not only as most authentic and 
instructive in themselves, but as the clue to all other history. 
They tell us what man is, and they alone tell us what he is. 
All of private and of public life is there displayed. From the 
same pure fountain of wisdom we learn that vice destroys free- 
dom, that arbitrary power is founded on public immorality, 
and that misconduct in those who rule a republic, the necessary 
consequence of general licentiousness, so disgusts and degrades 
that, dead to generous sentiment, they become willing slaves. 

" There must be religion. When that ligament is torn, society 
is disjointed, and its members perish. The nation is exposed to 
foreign violence and domestic convulsion. Vicious rulers, 
chosen by a vicious people, turn back the current of corruption 
to its source. Placed in a situation where they can exercise 
authority for their own emolument, they betray their trust. 
They take bribes. They sell statutes and decrees. They sell 
honor and oflice. They sell conscience. They sell their country. 
By this vile practice they become odious and contemptible. 

" The most important of all lessons from the Scriptures is 
the denunciation of the rulers of every state that rejects the 
precepts of religion. Those nations are doomed to d^ath who 
bury in the corruption of criminal desire the awful sense of an 
existing God, cast off the consoling hope of immortality, and 
seek refuge from despair in the dreariness of annihilation. 
Terrible, irrevocable doom, — loudly pronounced, repeatedly, 


strongly exemplified in the sacred writings, and fully confirmed 
by the long record of time I It is the clue which leads through 
the intricacies of universal history. It is the principle of all 
sound political science. 

" Hail! Columbia! child of science, parent of useful arts, dear 
country, hail! Be it thine to ameliorate the condition of 
man. Too many thrones have been reared by arms, cemented 
by blood, and reduced again to dust by sanguinary conflict 
of arms. Let mankind enjoy at last the consolatory spec- 
tacle of thy throne, built of industry on the basis of peace, 
and sheltered under the wings of justice. May it be secured 
by a piotis obedience to the divine toiU, which prescribes the 
moral orbit of the empire with the same precision that his 
wisdom and power have displayed in the wheeling millions of 
planets round millions of suns, through the vastness of infinite 

Charles Cotesworth Pincknet 

Was a distinguished Revolutionary officer of South Carolina, 
and among the most brilliant lawyers of his age. His eminent 
abilities and virtues induced Washington to proffer him several 
of the highest places of trust in the Government, — Judge of the 
Supreme Court, Secretary of War, and Secretary of State, — ^all 
of which he declined from private considerations. He was a 
member of the convention which framed the Constitution of the 
United States. He was profoundly read in legal learning, and 
in his practice liberal and benevolent, never taking a fee from 
the widow and orphan. His great talents and attainments 
were sanctified and directed by the Christian religion, and his 
character adorned by its virtues. He had practical faith in the 
divinity of the Bible and its essential need to a republican 
government, and for more than fifteen years before his death 
he acted as President of the Bible Society in Charleston, an 
office to which he was elected with unanimity by Christians of 
every sect. 

Benjamin Rush, 

An eminent physician and philanthropist, and one of the im- 
mortal men who signed the Declaration of Independence, was 
as eminent as a Christian as he was distinguished for his influ- 
ence in the councils of the country. John Adams declared 


him to be " one of the greatest and best of Christians." He 
delighted in acts of Christian charities, and " esteemed the poor 
his best patients; for God," said he, "is their paymaster. H© 
was an earnest advocate of introducing and reading the Bible, 
daily, as a common-schoor book, in all public schools and in 
every seminary of learning. He wrote as follows on this im- 
portant subj ect : — 

**The Bible as a School-Book. 

" Before I state my arguments in favor of teaching children 
to read by means of the Bible, I shall assume the five following 
propositions : — 

"I. That Christianity is the only true and perfect religion, and 
that in proportion as mankind adopt its principles and obey its 
precepts, they will be wise and happy. 

" II. That a better knowledge of this religion is to be ac- 
quired by reading the Bible than in any other way. 

" III. That the Bible contains more knowledge necessary to 
man in his present state than any other book in the world. 

" IV. That knowledge is most durable, and religious instruc- 
tion most useful, when imparted in early life. 

"V. That the Bible, when not read in schools, is seldom read 
in any subsequent period of life. 

" My arguments in favor of the use of the Bible as a school- 
book are founded, first, in the constitution of the human mind. 
The memory is the first faculty which opens in the minds of 
children. Of how much consequence, then, .must it be to im- 
press it with the great truths of Christianity before it is pre- 
occupied with less interesting subjects! There is also a peculiar 
aptitude in the minds of children for religious knowledge. I 
have constantly found them, in the first six or seven years of 
their Uvea, more inquisitive upon religious subjects than upon 
any others; and an ingenious instructor of youth has informed 
me that he has found young children more capable of receiving 
just ideas upon the most difficult tenets of religion than upon 
the most simple branches of human knowledge. 

" There is a wonderful property in the memory, which enables 
it, in old age, to recover the knowledge it had acquired in early 
life, after it had been apparently forgotten for forty or fifty years. 
Of how much consequence, then, must it be to fill the mind 
with that species of knowledge, in childhood and youth, which, 


when recalled in the decline of life, will support the soul under 
the infirmities of age and smooth the avenues of ^approaching 
death! The Bible is the only book which is capable of afford- 
ing this support to old age; and it is for this reason that we 
find it resorted to with so much diligence and pleasure by such 
old people as have read it in early life. I can recollect many 
instances of this kind, in persons who discovered no attach- 
ment to the Bible in the meridian of their lives, who have, not- 
withstanding, spent the evening of them in reading no other 

" My second argument in favor of the use of the Bible in 
schools, is founded upon an implied command of Gk>d, and upon 
the practice of several of the wisest nations of the world. In 
the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy we find the following words, 
which are directly to my purpose: — 'And thou shalt love the 
Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and 
with all thy might. And these words which I command thee 
this day shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them 
diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou 
sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and 
when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.' 

" I have heard it proposed that a portion of the Bible should 
be read every day by the master, as a means of instructing 
children in it. But this is a poor substitute for obliging 
children to read it as a school-book; for by this means we 
insensibly engrave, as it were, its contents upon their minds; 
and it has been remarked that children instructed in this way 
in the Scriptures seldom forget any part of them. They have 
the same advantage over those persons who have only heard 
the Scriptures read by a master, that a man who has worked 
with the tools of a mechanical employment for several years 
has over the man who has only stood a few hours in the work- 
shop and seen the same business carried on by other people." 

Dr. Eush was an active friend of every philanthropic and 
Christian reform. He was an earnest advocate of temperance, 
and wielded his pen powerfully in its defence. 

In an address to the people of the United States, in 1787, 
Dr. Rush said, — 

" There is nothing more common than to confound the terms 
of the American Bevolution with those of the late Ameri' 
can War. The American War is over; but this is far from being 


the case with the American Bevolution. On the contrary, 
nothing but the first act of the great drama is closed. It 
remains yet to establish and perfect our new forms of govern- 
ment, and to prepare the principles, morals, and manners of 
our citizens for these forms of government, after they are 
established and brought to perfection. 

" To conform the principles, morals, and manners of our 
citizens to our republican forms of government, it is absolutely 
necessary that knowledge of every kind should be disseminated 
through every part of the United States. 

" For this purpose let Congress found a federal university. In 
this university let every thing connected with government— such 
as history, the law of nature and nations, the civil law, the 
municipal laws of our country, and the principles of commerce 
— ^be taught by competent professors. Let masters be employed 
likewise to teach gunnery, fortification, and every thing connected 
with defensive and ofiensive war. Above all, let a professor of, 
what is called in the European universities, economy, be esta- 
blished in this federal seminary. His business should be to 
unfold the principles and practice of agriculture and manufac- 
tures of all kinds; and, to make his lectures more extensively 
useful. Congress should support a travelling correspondent for 
him, who should visit all the nations of Europe, and transmit to 
him, from time to time, all the discoveries and improvements 
that are made in agriculture and manufactures. 

"Let every man exert himself in promoting virtue and know- 
ledge in our country, and we shall soon become good republic- 
ans. Every man in a republic is public property. His time 
and talents, his youth and manhood, his old age, nay, more, his 
life, his all, belong to his country." 

Fisher Ames, 

A distinguished lawyer, a pure patriot, a fascinating orator, and an 
eminent Christian statesman, was active and influential in giving 
form and direction to the civil government of the United States. 
As a representative in the legislature of Massachusetts, he 
advocated the adoption of the Federal Constitution, and during 
eight years, the whole of Washington's administration, was a 
member of Congress from that State. His character as a patriot 
rests on the highest grounds. He loved his country with equal 
purity and fervor. This affection was the spring of all his efforts 


to promote her welfare. The glory of being a benefactor to a 
great people he justly valued. In the character of Mr. Ames 
the circle of the virtues seemed to be complete, and each virtue 
in its proper place. 

'' The objects of religion presented themselves with a strong 
interest to his mind. The relation of the world to its Author, 
and of this life to a retributory scene in another, could not be 
contemplated by him without the greatest solemnity. The 
religious sense was, in his view, essential in the constitution of 
man. He placed a full reliance on the divine origin of Chris- 
tianity. He felt it his duty and interest to inquire, and dis- 
covered on the side of faith a fulness of evidence little short of 
demonstration. At about thirty-five he made a public pro- 
fession of his belief in the Christian religion, and was a regular 
attendant on its services. In regard to articles of belief, his 
conviction was confined to those leading principles about which 
Christians have little diversity of opinion. He loved to view 
religion on the practical side, as designed to operate by a few 
simple and grand truths on the affections, actions, and habits 
of men. He cherished the sentiment and experience of religion, 
careful to ascertain the genuineness and value of impressions 
and feelings by their moral tendency. His conversation and 
behavior evinced the sincerity of his religious impressions. No 
levity upon these subjects ever escaped his lips; but his manner 
of recurring to them in conversation indicated reverence and 
feeling. The sublime, the affecting character of Christ he 
never mentioned without emotion." 

This distinguished orator, in all his writings and speeches, 
itnbued them with the pure and lofty sentiments of religion. 
In an article, written in 1801 for a periodical in Boston, on 
the subject of books for children, he thus speaks of the Bible, as 
adapted to the tender years and opening minds of children : — 

"Why, then, should not the Bible regain the place it once 
held as a school-book ? Its morals are pure, its examples cap- 
tivating and noble. The reverence for the sacred book, that is 
thus early impressed, lasts long, and probably, if not impressed 
in infancy, never takes firm hold of the mind. One con- 
sideration more is important. In no book is there so good 
English, so pure, and so elegant; and by teaching all the mme 
book, they will speak alike, and the Bible will justly remain the 
standard of language as well as of faith." 


JoHK Hart, 

A signer of the Declaration of Independence, and a fearless 
patriot, was a munificent benefactor of the Baptist Church, and 
always known as a sincere but unostentatious Christian. 

James Smith 

Was educated by Bev. Dr. Alison, and was an ardent and active 
patriot, and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independ- 
ence. ''He ever retained a veneration for religion and its 
ministers, as well as his regular attention to public worship." 


Was the great financier of the Eevolution, a signer of the 
Declaration of Independence, and a member of the convention 
that framed the Constitution of the United States. It may be 
truly said of him, as it was of the Eoman Curtius, that he 
sacrificed himself for the safety of the commonwealth. He was 
a great and good man. "The Americans owed, and still owe, 
as much acknowledgment to the financial operations of Eobert 
Morris as to the negotiations of Benjamin Franklin, or even to 
the arms of George Washington." 

Alexander Hamilton, 

The intimate friend and companion of Washington, was a states- 
man of the highest order, and had pre-eminent infln^ce in 
terming the national Constitution and the present government. 
He was educated by Bev. Hugh Knox, a Presbyterian minister, 
to whom Hamilton was greatly attached. The fervent piety 
of this gentleman gave a strong religious bias to his feelings. 
When Hamilton was appointed aid-de-camp and secretary to 
Washington, Knox wrote him as follows : — 

" We rejoice in your good character and advancement, which 
is indeed tiie only just reward of merit. May you still live to 
deserve more and more of America, and justify the choice and) 
merit the approbation of the great and good Washington, a 
name dear to the friends of the liberties of mankind ! Mark this : 
you must be the annalist and biographer, as well as the aid-de- 
camp, of General Washington, and the historiographer of th» 
American war. I aver, few men will be so well qualified to 
write the history of the present glorious struggle. Qod only 



knows how it will terminate. But, however that will be, it will 
be an interesting story." 

'' Hamilton was stamped by the Divine hand with the impress 
of genius. He had indeed a mind of immense grasp and un- 
limited original resources." He uttered such views of moral 
government as follows: — 

" The Supreme Intelligence who rules the world has consti- 
tuted an eternal law, which is obligatory upon all mankind, prior 
to any human institution whatever. He gave existence to man, 
together with the means of preserving and beautifying that 
existence, and invested him with an inviolable right to pursue 
liberty and personal safety. Natural liberty is the gift of the 
Creator to the whole human race. Civil liberty is only natural 
liberty modified and secured by the sanctions of civil society. 
It is not dependent on human caprice, but it is conformable to 
the constitution of man, as well as necessary to the well-being of 
society. The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged 
for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, 
as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the 
hand of Divinity itself, and can never be erased or obscured by 
]}uman power. This is what is called the law of nature, which, . 
being coeval with mankind and dictated by God himself, is, of 
course, superior in obligation to any other. No human laws 
are of any validity if contrary to this. It is binding over all 
the globe, in all countries, and at all times." 

In reference to the death of Washington, Hamilton said, " If 
virtue can secure happiness in another world, he is happy. 
This seal is now upon his glory. It is no longer in jeopardy 
by the fickleness of fortune." 

" It is difficult," says Fisher Ames, speaking of Hamilton, 
after his death, " in the midst of such varied excellences, to say 
in what particular the effect of his greatness was most mani- 
fest. No man more promptly discerned truth ; no man more 
clearly displayed it : it was not merely made visible ; it seemed 
to come bright with illumination from his lips. He thirsted 
only for that fame which virtue would not blush to confer, nor 
time to convey to the end of his course. Alas I the great man 
who was at all times the ornament of our country is withdrawn 
to a purer and more tranquil region. May Heaven, the guard- 
ian of our liberty, grant that our country may be firuitful of 
Hamiltons and faithful to their glory." 

CIVIL nrsTrnmoKS op the uhited states. 147 

Charles Cabsoll, 

The last survivor of the signers of the Declaration of Independ- 
ence, was a member of the Eoman Catholic Church, and dis« 
tinguished for his Christian patriotism and viitues. Lord 
Brougham says, "He was emong the foremost to sign the cele- 
brated Declaration of Independence. As he set his hand to the 
instrument, some one said, 'There go some millions of pro- 
perty;' but, as there were many of the same name, he was told 
he might get clear. 'They will never know which to take.' 
'Not so,' he replied, and instantly added — 'of CarroUton.' He 
was universally respected for his patriotism and virtues. He 
had talents and acquirements which enabled him effectually to 
help the cause he espoused. His knowledge was various, and 
his eloquence was of a high order. It was like his character, 
mild and pleasant, — ^like his deportment, correct and faultless." 

In the year 1826, after all save one of the band of patriots whose 
signatures are on the Declaration of Independence bad de- 
scended to the tomb, and the venerable Carroll alone remained 
among the living, the government of the city of New York de- 
puted a committee to wait on the illustrious survivor, and obtain 
from him, for deposit in a public hall of the dty, a copy of the 
Declaration of 1776, graced and authenticated anew with his 
sign-manual The aged patriot yielded to the request, and affixed 
with his own hand to a copy of the instrument the grateful, 
solemn, and pious supplementary declaration which follows : — 

" Grateful to Almighty Gbd for the blessings which, through 
Jesus Christ our Lord, he has conferred on my beloved country 
in her emancipation, and in permitting me, under circumstances 
of mercy, to live to the age of eighty-nine years, and to survive 
the fiftieth year of American Independence, adopted by Congress 
on the 4th of July, 1776, which I originally subscribed on the 
2d day of August of the same year, and of which I am now the 
last surviving signer, I do hereby recommend to the present 
and future generations the principles of that important docu- 
ment as the best inheritance their ancestors could bequeath to 
them, and pray that the civil and religious liberties they have 
secured to my country may be perpetuated to remotest poste- 
rity and extended to the whole family of man, 

"Chas. Carroll, of CarroUton. 

"August 2, 1826." 


OKABUEa Teohbok 

Was the Secretary of the Contiiiental OongreBa, a Qoaker by 
birth aud education, and a man of distinguished virtue and in- 
tegrity of character. He possefised in an eminent degree the 
confidence of OongreBS, and was the active and stead&st friend 
of the Christian religion. His selection as secretary has a his- 
toric interest and singularity. 

The Continental Congress first sat in the building then called 
Carpenter's Hall, up the court of that name in Chestnut Street. 
On the morning of the day that they first convened, their 
future secretary, Charles Thomson, who resided at that time in 
the Northern Liberties, and who afterwards so materially as- 
sisted to launch our first-rate republic, had ridden into the city 
and alighted in Chestnut Street. He was immediately accosted 
by a messenger from Congress; they desired to speak with 
him. He followed the messenger, and, entering the building, 
he said he was struck with awe upon viewing the aspects of 
so many great and good men impressed with the weight and 
responsibility of their situation, on the perilous edge of which 
they then were advancing. He walked up the aisle, and, bowing 
to tiie president, desired to know their pleasure. "Congress re- 
quest your services, sir, as their secretary." He took his seat at 
tiiie desk, and never looked back until the vessel was securely 
anchored in the haven of independence. 

Geobob Wythe 

Was a statesman and a jurist of the highest accomplishments, 
and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. "His vir- 
tues were of the purest kind, his integrity inflexible, and his 
justice exact. It was his daily endeavor to live a Christian 
life ; and he efiectually succeeded." 

James Wilson, 
A signer of the Declaration of Independence, and an emin^t 
jurist and judge, was educated under Christian auspices by 
Dr. Isaac Watts and Dr. Bobert Blair. He was an omar 
ment to the American nation, and in public and private life 
maintained the fietith and difiuaed the spirit and the principles 
of Christianity. 


Samuel Chase 
Was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, a member of 
CJongress, and a Judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. 
"Among his virtues may be included a heartfelt piety and a 
firm belief in the great truths of Christianity. He partook of 
the sacrament but a short time before his death, and said he 
was at peace with all mankind." 

EicHABD Hehby Lee 
Was an accomplished orator of the Eevolution, a signer of the 
Declaration of Independence, and a Christian statesman. "In 
the vigor of his mind, amid the honors of the world and its en- 
joyments, he publicly declared his belief in Jesus Christ as the 
Saviour of men. 

Fbancis LiaHTFooT Lee, 

The brother of Eichard Henry, was an upright and virtuous 
politician. He lived and died a Christian. 

John Jay, 
As a Christian legislator, statesman, and judge, exerted a large 
and active influence in the Eevolution, and in founding and 
admimstering the civil government of the United States. In 
private and public life he was an eminent Christian. His 
recognition of God and belief in the Christian religion were 
striking elements of his character. 

" Whoever," said he, " compares our present with our former 
constitution will find abundant reasons to rejoice in the ex- 
change, and readily admit that all the calamities incident to 
this war will be amply compensated by the many blessings 
flowing from this revolution. 

"We should always remember that the many remarkable 
and unexpected means and events by which our wants have 
been supplied and our enemies repelled or restrained are 
such strong and striking proofe of the interposition of Heaven, 
that our having been hitherto delivered firom the threatened 
bondage of Britain ought to be forever ascribed to its true 
cause (the £ivor of God), and, instead of swelling our breasts 
with arrogant ideas of our prowess and importance, kindle in 
them a flame of gratitude and piety which may consume all 
remains of vice and irreligion." 


During a most gloomy period of the Revolution, when New 
York was in the hands of the British, and Washington was 
retreating through New Jersey, with an almost naked army, 
and the country desponding, Jay animated his countrymen with 
such stirring words as the following : — 

" Under the auspices of divine Providence your forefathers 
removed to the wilds and wilderness of America* By their 
industry they made it a fruitful, and by their virtues a happy, 
country; and we should still have enjoyed the blessings of 
peace and plenty, if we had not forgotten the source from which 
these blessings flowed, and permitted our country to be conta- 
minated by the many shameful vices which have prevailed among 
us. It is a well-known fact that no virtuous people were ever 
oppressed, and it is also true that a scourge was never wanting 
to those of an opposite character. Even the Jews, those favor- 
ites of Heaven, met with the frowns whenever they forgot the 
smiles of their benevolent Creator. They for their wickedness 
were permitted to be scourged; and we for our wickedness are 
scourged by tyrants as cruel and implacable as theirs. If we 
turn from our sins, God will iutn from his anger. Then will 
our arms be crowned with success, and the pride and power of 
our enemies, like the pride and arrogance of Nebuchadnezzar, 
will vanish away. 

" Let a general reformation of manners take place ; let uni- 
versal charity, public spirit, and private virtue be inculcated, 
encouraged, and practised. Unite in preparing for a vigorous 
defence of your country as if all depended on you. And when 
you have done all these things, then rely on the good providence 
of Almighty God for success, in full confidence that without his 
blessing all our efibrts will inevitably faiL 

" Rouse, then, brave citizens ! Do your duty like men, and 
be persuaded that Divine Providence will not let this Western 
World be involved in the horrors of slavery^ Consider that 
from the earliest ages of the world religious liberty and reason 
have been bending their course towards the setting sun. The 
holy gospels are yet to be preached to these western regions ; 
and we have the highest reason to believe that the Almighty 
will not suffer slavery and the gospel to go hand in hand. It 
cannot, it will not be." 

In September, 1777, Jay, as Chief-Justice of the Supreme 
Court of New York, delivered a charge to the Grand Jury of 


Ulster county, on the political condition of the country. It 
was given at a time when the Assembly and Senate wqre con- 
vening, and the whole system of government, established by the 
Constitution of New York, about being put in motion. The 
grand inquest was composed of the most respectable characters 
in the county. In that charge are found the following Chris- 
tian passages : — 

" Gentlemen : — ^It aflFords me very sensible pleasure to con- 
gratulate you on the dawn of that free, mild, and equal govern- 
ment whidi now begins to rise and break from amidst those 
clouds of anarchy, confusion, and licentiousness which the arbi- 
trary and violent domination of the King of Great Britain had 
spread throughout this and the other American States. This is 
one of those signal instances in which Divine Providence has 
made the tyranny of princes instrumental in breaking the chains 
of their subjects, and rendering the most inhuman designs pro- 
ductive of the best consequences to those against whom they 
were • intended, — a revolution which, in the whole course of 
its rise and progress, is distinguished by so many marks of the 
divine favor and interposition that no doubt can remain of its 
being finally accomplished. It was begun, and has been sup- 
ported, in a manner so singular and, I may say, miraculous, that 
when future ages shall read its history they will be tempted to 
consider great part of it as fabulous. Will it not appear extra- 
ordinary that thirteen colonies, divided by a variety of govern- 
ments and manners, should immediately become one people, 
and, though without funds, without magazines, without disci- 
plined troops, in the fsice of their enemies, unanimously deter- 
mine to be free, and, undaunted by the power of Great Britain, 
refer their cause to the justice of the Almighty, and resolve to 
repel force by force, — thereby presenting to the world an illus- 
trious example of magnanimity and virtue scarcely to be paral- 
leled? However incredible these things may in future appear, 
we know them to be true, and we should always remember that 
the many remarkable and unexpected means and events by 
which our wants have been supplied and our enemies repelled 
or restrained are such strong and striking proo& of the inter- 
position of Heaven, that our having been hitherto delivered 
from the threatened bondage of Britain ought, like the emanci- 
pation of the Jews from Egyptian servitude, to be forever 
ascribed to its true Cause, and, instead of swelling our breasts 


with arrogant ideas of our own prowess and importance, kindle 
in them a flame of gratitude and piety which may consume all 
remains of vice and irreligion. 

"The Americans are the iSrst people whom Heaven has 
favored with an opportunity of deliberating upon and choosing 
the forms of government under which they should live. While 
you possess wisdom to discern and virtue to appoint men of 
worth and abilities to fill the offices of the state, you will be 
happy at home and respected abroad. Your life, your liberties, 
your property, will be at the disposal only of your Creator and 

" Security under our Constitution is given to the rights of 
conscience and private judgment. They are by nature subject 
to no control but that of Deity, and in that free situation they 
are now left. Every man is permitted to consider, to adore, 
and to worship his 'Creator in the manner most agreeable to 
his conscience. No opinions are dictated, no rules pf faith are 
prescribed, no preference given to one sect to the prejudice of 
others. The Constitution, however, has wisely declared that 
the * liberty of conscience, thereby granted, shall not be so con- 
strued as to excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices 
inconsistent with the peace or safety of the state/ In a word, 
the convention by whom that Constitution was formed were 
of opinion that the gospel of Christ, like the ark of God, 
would not fall, though unsupported by the arm of flesh ; and 
happy would it be for mankind if that opinion prevailed more 

" But let it be remembered that whatever marks of wisdom, 
experience, and patriotism there may be in the Constitution, 
yet, like the beautiful symmetry, the just proportions, and 
elegant forms of our first parents before their Maker breathed 
into them the breath of life, it is yet to be animated^ and, 
till then, may indeed excite admiration, but will be of no use. 
From the people it must receive its spirit, and by them be 
quickened. Let virtue, honor, the love of liberty and science, 
be and remain the soul of the Constitution, and it will become 
the source of great and extreme happiness to this and future 
generations. Vice, ignorance, and want of vigilance will be the 
only enemies that can destroy it. Against these provide, and 
of these be forever jealous. Every citizen ought diligently to 


read and study the Constitution of his country, and teach the 
rising generation to be free." 

" Providence," said he, " has given to our people the choice 
of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and 
interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians 
for their rulers." 

Mr. Jay, from 1822 till his death in 1827, was President of 
the Bible Society, and at each annual meeting delivered an 
address. He demonstrated the divinity of the Bible, showed 
its relations and results to civil government and human 
society, and urged its universal circulation as the means to 
illumine and regenerate the world. He was an active and 
devout member of the Episcopal Church, but eminently liberal 
and charitable in his Christian views. His life was a beautiful 
exhibition of Christian faith, and his public career a noble 
illustraition of the value of Christianity in forming the cha- 
racter and acts of a Christian statesman. Webster said of this 
eminent Christian jurist, that " when the ermine fell on him it 
touched nothing less pure than itself." 

He was eminently a man of prayer, and drew up a form, full 
of spirituality and of Christian truths, as an extract will show : 
— " Enable me, merciful Father, to understand thy holy gos- 
pels, and to distinguish the doctrines thereof from erroneous 
expositions of them; and bless me with that fear of offending 
thee, which is the beginning of wisdom. Let thy Holy Spirit 
purify and unite me to my Saviour forever; and enable me to 
cleave unto him as unto my very life, as indeed he is. Perfect 
and confirm my faith, my trust, my hope of salvation in him, 
and in him only. * 

" Give me grace to love and obey, and be thankful unto thee, 
with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind, and 
with all my strength, and to worship and to serve thee in 
humility of spirit, and in truth. Give me grace also to love 
my neighbor aa myself, and wisely and diligently to do the 
duties incumbent on me according to thy holy will, and not 
from worldly consideration. Condescend, merciful Father, to 
grant, as far as proper, these imperfect petitions, these inade- 
(juate thanksgivings, and to pardon whatever of sin hath min- 
gled in them, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and 
Saviour, unto whom, with thee and the blessed Spirit, even one 
God, be rendered all honor and glory, now and forever." 


In his dying hour, he was asked if he had any fourewell 
counsels to leave his children. His reply was, " They have 
THE Book." 

Elias Boudinot 

Acted a prominent part in the scenes of the Bevolution, and 
was an able and active member of the Continental Congress. 
He was a brilliant lawyer, an upright judge, a wise legislator, 
and a true Christian statesman. His Christian feelings thus 
found utterance on the propriety of observing the memory of 
American independence : — 

*' The history of the world, as well sacred as profane, bears 
witness to the use and importance of setting apart a day as a 
memorial of great events, whether of a religious or a political 
nature. No sooner had the great Creator of the heavens and 
the earth finished his almighty work, and pronounced all very 
good, but he set apart (not as anniversary, or one day in a 
year, but) one day in seven, for the commemoration of his in- 
imitable power in producing aU things out of nothing. 

" The deliverance of the children of Israel from a state of 
bondage to an unreasonable tyrant was perpetuated by eating 
the paschal lamb, and enjoining it to their posterity as an annual 
festival forever, with a ' remember this day, in which ye came 
out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.' 

" The resurrection of the Saviour of mankind is commemo- 
rated by keeping the first day of the week, not only as a certain 
memorial of his first coming in a state of humiliation, but the 
positive evidence of his future coming in glory. 
• " Let U8, my friends and fellow-citizens, unite all our endea- 
vors this day to remember with reverential gratitude to our 
Supreme Benefactor all the wonderful things he has done for 
us, in a miraculous deliverance from a second Egypt, — another 
house of bondage. 'And thou shalt show thy son, on this day, 
saying, This day is kept as a day of joy and gladness, because 
of the great things the Lord has done for us, when we were 
delivered from the threatening power of an invading foe. And 
it shall be a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memo- 
I rial between thine eyes, that tie law of the Lord may be in thy 

i mouth; for with a strong hand hast thou been delivered from 

I thine enemies. Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance, in its 

season, from year to year forever.* 


"Who knows but the country for which we have fought 
and bled may hereafter become a theatre of greater events 
than have yet been known to mankind ? May these invigorating 
prospects lead us to the exercise of every virtue, religious, 
moral, and political. And may these great principles, in the 
end, become instrumental in bringing about that happy state 
of the world when from every human breast, joined by the 
grand chorus of the skies, shall arise, with the profoundest reve- 
rence, that divinely celestial anthem of universal praise, 'Glory' 
to God in the highest; peace on earth; good will towards men.' " 

In 1816, Mr. Boudinot was elected the first President of the 
American Bible Society. In accepting, he said, "I am not 
ashamed to confess that I accept the appointment of President 
of the American Bible Society as the greatest honor that could 
be conferred on me this side of the grave." He served, also, 
from 1812 till his death in 1821, as a member of the American 
Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. His great 
wealth was consecrated to objects of Christian benevolence. 
He gave a liberal sum to the New Jersey Bible Society, to pur- 
chase spectacles for the aged poor to enable them to read the 

James Madison 

Was an eminent statesman and civilian of the Revolution, and 
was called the " Father of the Constitution." He was educated 
at Princeton College, under Dr. John Witherspoon, the eminent 
Christian scholar and patriot, who delighted to bear testimony 
to " the excellency of his character." He remarked to Mr. Jef- 
ferson, when they were colleagues in the Continental Congress, 
that in the whole course of Mr. Madison's career at college "he 
never knew him to say or do an indiscreet thing." 

He was a friend to universal toleration in religious matters, 
and objected to the word "toleration" in our constitutions, 
because it implied an established religion. He labored to 
remove the legal disabilities from the Baptists in Virginia, and 
demonstrated that all men are equally entitled to the -free exer- 
cise of religion according to the dictates of conscience. 

The following paragraphs from his messages exhibit his views 
on God as the Governor of nations : — 

"We have all been encouraged to feel the guardianship and 
guidance of that almighty Being whose power regulates the 


destinies of nations, whose blessings have been so conspicuously 
displayed to this rising republic; and to whom we are bound to 
address our devout gratitude for the past, as weU as our fervent 
supplications and best hopes for the future." 

''Recollecting always that, for every advantage which may 
contribute to distinguish our lot from that to whidi others are 
doomed by the unhappy spirit of the times, we are indebted to 
that Divine Providence whose goodness has been so remarkably 
extended to this rising nation, it becomes us to cherish a devout 
gratitude, and to implore from the same omnipotent source a 
blessing on the consultations and measures about to be under- 
taken for the welfare of our beloved country." 

"Invoking the blessings of Heaven on our beloved country, 
and on all the means that may be employed in vindicating its 
rights and advancing its welfare." 

Again, in 1812, after the war, he says, "The appeal was made, 
in a just cause, to the just and all-powerful Being who holds in 
his hands the chain of events and the destiny of nations." The 
war "is stamped with that justice which invites the smiles of 
Heaven on the means of conducting it to a successfiil termi- 
nation." "We are under sacred obligation to transmit entire to 
future generations that precious patrimony of national rights 
and independence, which is held in trust by the present/rom the 
goodness of Providence." "We may humbly repose our trust in 
the smiles of Heaven on so righteous a cause." 

In closing his last message, Madison sajrs, "May I not be 
allowed to add to this gratifying spectacle, that the destined 
career of my country will exhibit a government pursuing the 
public good as its sole object, and regulating its means by those 
great principles consecrated in its charter, and by those moral 
principles to which they are so well allied ? — ^a government, in 
a word, whose conduct within and without may bespeak the most 
noble of all ambitions, — ^that of promoting peace on earth, and 
good will to men." 

James Monroe 

Was an active patriot and statesman of Eevolutionary and of 
more modern times, taking a leading part in the political affairs 
of the nation, and was twice elected President. He has left 
but little in reference to his views on the subject of religion. 
The following sentences occur in his messages : — 


" I enter on the trust with my fervent prayers to the Ahnighty, 
that he will be graciously pleased to continue to us that protection 
which he has already so conspicuously displayed in our fibvor." 

"The fruits of the earth have been unususdly abundanti com- 
merce has flourished, the revenue has exceeded the most fiAvor- 
able anticipations, and peace and amity are preserved with for- 
eign nations on conditions just and honorable to our country. 
For these inestimable blessings we cannot be too grateful to that 
Providence which watches over the destinies of nations." 

"When we view the great blessings with which our country 
has been favored, those which we now enjoy, and the means 
which we possess of handing them down unimpaired to our 
latest posterity, our attention is irresistibly drawn to the source 
from whence tiiey flow. Let us, then, unite in ofiering our most 
grateful acknowledgment for these blessings to the Divine 
Author of all good." 

"With a firm reliance on the protection of Almighty Gbd, I 
shall forthwith commence the duties of the high trust to which 
you have called me." 

"Deeply impressed with the blessings which we enjoy, and 
of which we have such manifold proo&, my mind is irresistibly 
drawn to that Almighty Being, the great source from whence 
they proceed, and to whom our most grateful acknowledgments 
are due." 


Was an eminent statesman of the Bevolution, and by Washing- 
ton appointed Chief- Justice of the Supreme Court of the United 
Statei9. He was designed for the ministry, and studied theo- 
logy under Dr. Bellamy, an eminent divine of Coimecticut. 
In this Christian school his principles were received and his 
character formed* " Amiable and exemplary in all the relations 
of the domestic and social life and Christian character, pre-emi- 
nently useful in all the offices he sustained; whose great talents, 
under the guidance of inflexible integrity, consummate wisdom, 
and enlightened sseal, placed him among the first of the illus- 
trious statesmen who achieved our independence and established 
the constitution of the American republic In all the public 
stations which he ever filled he evinced an inflexible integrity, 
the purest morality, and the most unshaken firmness and inde- 


William Henry Drayton, 

Of South Carolina, an eminent jurist and statesman, who 
devoted his great learning and abilities to achieve our in- 
dependence and to form our free institutions, in April, 
1776, gave utterance, in an official paper, to the following senti- 
ments : — 

'' I think it my duty to declare, in the awful seat of justice and 
before Almighty God, that, in my opinion, the Americans can 
have no safety but by the Divine favor, their own virtue, and 
their being so prudent as not to leave it in the power of British 
rulers to injure them. The Almighty created America to be 
independent of Britain : let us beware of the impiety of being 
backward to act as instruments in the Almighty's hand, now 
extended to accomplish his purpose, and by the completion of 
which alone America can be secure against the craft and insidious 
designs of her enemies, who think her prosperity and 


" In a word, our piety and political safety are so blended, that 
to refuse our labors in this divine work is to refuse to be a 
great, a free, a pious, and a happy people ! And now, having left 
the important alternative, political happiness or wretchedness, 
under God, in a great degree in your hands, I pray the Supreme 
Arbiter of the affairs of men so to direct your judgment as 
that you may act agreeably to what seems to be his will, re- 
vealed in his miraculous works in behalf of America bleeding 
at the altar of liberty." 

Major-General Greene, 

Of Revolutionary renown, was eminently distinguished in the 
military service of his country, and was the confidential compa- 
nion of Washington. He was as eminent for his virtues as for 
his patriotism and devotion to his country. Alexander Hamil- 
ton, in an eulogium on him, pronounced July 4, 1789, before the 
Society of Cincinnati, says of him, — 

" The name of Greene will at once awaken in your minds the 
image of whatever is noble and estimable in human nature. 
As a man, the virtues of Greene are admitted ; as a patriot, he 
held a place in the foremost rank ; as a statesman, he is praised ; 
as a soldier, he is admired. 

"But where, alas! is now this consummate general, this brave 


soldier, this discerning statesman, this steady patriot, this vir- 
tuous citizen, this amiable man? Why could not so many 
talents, so many virtues, so many bright and useful qualities 
shield him from a premature grave ? It is not for us to scan, 
but to submit to, the dispensations of Heaven.*' 

" He was a great and good man," was the comprehensive? 
eulogy passed upon him by Washington, when he heard the 
news of General Greene's death. "Thus," says Washington, 
'* some of the pillars of the Revolution fall. Others are mould- 
ering by insensible degrees. May our country never want 
props to support the glorious fabric." 

Henby Knox, 

Major-general in the American army during the Revolutionary 
War, was the right hand of Washington, and one whose re- 
sources for the emergencies of the war were infinite. His parentfi 
were of Scottish descent, and educated him in that piety which 
has ever distinguished the people of that country. He poR- 
aessed a taste for literary pursuits, which he retained through life ; 
and this, in union with his fine military genius and personal 
qualities, constituted him an accomplished gentleman and an 
able officer in the army and in the War Department, to which 
he was appointed by Congress before the adoption of the Con- 
stitution, and, after the government was organized, by Wash- 
ington to the same office. 

" The amiable virtues of the citizen and the man were as 
conspicuous in the character of General Knox as the more 
brilliant and commanding talents of the hero and statesman. 
The afflicted and destitute were sure to share of his compassion 
and charity. ' His heart was made of tenderness.' Mildness 
ever beamed in his countenance; 'on his tongue were the words 
of kindness. The poor he never oppressed ; the most obscure 
citizen could never complain of injustice at his hands.' 

''To these amiable qualities and moral excellencies of General 
Knox we may justly add his prevailing disposition to piety. 
With much of the manners of the gay world, and opposed as 
he was to all superstition and bigotry, he might not appear, to 
those ignorant of his better feelings, to possess religion and 
devout aiFections. He was a firm believer in the natural antl 
moral attributes of the Deity and his overruling and all-pre- 
vailing providence." 



Deeerves an eminent place among American heroesi as the 
champion of freedom and the friend of humanity. His chival- 
rous and heroic devotion in the American cause constitutes a 
romantic chapter in the history of the Bevolution. He was a 
member of the Catholic Church, a friend of Christiajuty, and his 
sentiments and life were of a high moral tone. His inspirations 
of liberty, his just and rational views of the rights of all men, 
and his devotion to humanity and a Christian civilization, en- 
title Lafayette to be enrolled among the Christian champions of 
freedom. In reference to American^ slavery he said that if he 
had supposed he was fighting to perpetuate the system, he never 
would have unsheathed his sword for American liberty in oar 
Revolutionary struggle. 

John Quincy Adams, in his eulogy on Lafsiyette, prepared at 
the request of Congress, in 1834, says, "The self-devotion of 
Lafeiyette in the cause of America was twofold. First, to the 
maintaining a bold and seemingly desperate struggle against 
oppression and for national existence. Secondly and chiefly, 
to the principles of their declaration, which then first un- 
frirled before his eyes the consecrated standard of human 

''To the morai principle of political action, the sacrifices of 
no other man were comparable to his. Youth, health, fortune, 
the fiavor of the king, the enjoyment of ease and pleasure, even 
the choicest blessings of domestic felicity, — ^he gave them aU 
for toil and danger in a distant land, and an almost hopeless 
cause ; but it was the cause of justice, and of the rights of 
human kind." 

Mr. Clarkson, of England, describes Lafayette "as a man 
who desired the happiness of the human race in consistence 
with strict subservience to the cause of truth and the honor of 

At the close of the Bevolution, Congress appointed a com- 
mittee to receive and, in the name of Congress, to take leave of 
Lafayette, and to express to him their grateful and admiring 
sense of his services. A memorable sentence of his reply is as 
follows: — 

"May this immense temple of freedom ever stand a lesson to 
oppressors, an example to the oppressed, a sanctuary for the 


rights of mankind ! And may these happy United States attain 
that complete splendor and prosperity which will illustrate the 
blessings of their Government, and for ages to come rejoice the 
departed souls of its founders." 

William Livingston 

Was a Christian lawyer of New York, and afterwards distin- 
guished as a Christian statesman and Governor of New Jersey. 
In the earliest conflicts of the Revolution he said, — 

"Courage, Americans! liberty, religion, and science are on 
the wing to these shores. The finger of God points out a 
mighty empire to your sons. The savages of the wilderness 
were never expelled to make room for idolaters and slaves. 
The land we possess is the gift of Heaven to our fathers, and 
Divine Providence seems to have decreed it to our latest poste- 
rity. So legible is this munificent and celestial deed in past 
events, that we need not be discouraged by the bickerings 
between us and the parent country. The angry cloud will 
soon be dispersed, and America advance to felicity and glory 
with redoubled activity and vigor. The day dawns in which 
the foundation of this mighty empire is to be laid by the esta- 
blishment of a regular American Constitution. 

"Let us, both by precept and example, encourage a spirit 
of economy, industry, and patriotism, and that public integrity 
which cannot fail to exalt a nation, — sefting our faces at tlue 
same time like a flint against that dissoluteness of manners and 
political corruption which will ever be the reproach of any 
people. May the foundation of our infant state be laid in 
virtue and the fear of God, and the superstructure will rise 
gloriously and endure for ages. Then we may humbly expect 
the blessing of the Most High, who divides to nations their 
inheritance and separates the sons of Adam. While we are 
applauded by the whole world for demolishing the old fabric, 
rotten and ruinous as it was, let us unitedly strive to approve 
ourselves master-builders, by giving beauty, strength, and sta- 
bility to the new. May we, in all our deliberations and pro- 
ceedings, be influenced by the great Arbiter of the fate of 
nations, by whom empires rise and fall, and who will not 
always suffer the sceptre of the wicked to rest on the lot of the 
righteous, but in due time avenge an injured people on their 

unfeeling oppressor and his bloody instrumehtsJ' 



Governor Livingston, in 1778, published the following views 
on the liberty of conscience in matters of religion : — 

"If in our estimate of things we ought to be regulated by 
their importance, doubtless every encroachment upon religion, 
of all things the most important, ought to be considered as the 
greatest imposition, and the unmolested exercise of it a propor- 
tionate blessing. 

"By religion I mean an inward habitual reverence for, and 
devotedness to, the Deity, with such external homage, either 
public or private, as the worshipper believes most acceptable to 
him. According to this definition, it is impossible for human 
laws to regulate religion without destroying it ; for they cannot 
compel inward religious reverence, that being altogether mental 
and of a spiritual nature ; nor can they enforce outward re- 
ligious homage, because all such homage is either a man's own 
choice, and then it is not compelled, or it is repugnant to it, 
and then it cannot be religion. 

"The laws of England, indeed, do not peremptorily inhibit a 
man from worshipping God according to the dictates of his own 
<5onscience, nor positively constrain him to violate it, by conform- 
ing to the religion of the state. But they punish him for doing 
the former, or, what amounts to the same thing, for omitting the 
latter, and, consequently, punish him for his religion. For what 
^re the civil disqualifications and the privation of certain privi- 
leges he thereby incurs, but so many punishments ? And what 
«lse is the punishment for not embracing the religion of others 
but a punishment for practising one's own ? With how little 
prc^riety a nation can boast of its freedom under such restraints 
of religious liberty, requires no great, sagacity to determine. 
They aflFect, it is true, to abhor the imputation of intolerandfe, and 
applaud themselves for their pretended toleration and lenity. 
As contra-distinguished, indeed, from actual prohibition, a per- 
mission may doubtless be called a toleration ; for if a man is 
permitted to enjoy his religion under whatever penalties or 
forfeitures, he is certainly tolerated to enjoy it. But as far as 
he pays for such enjoyment by suffering those penalties and 
forfeitures, he as certainly does not enjoy it freely. On the 
contrary, he is persecuted in the proportion that his privilege 
is so regulated and qualified. I call it persecution, because it 
is harassing mankind for their principles; and I deny that 
such punishments derive any sanction from law, because the 


Wtidmoea of men are not the objects of human legislation. 
And to trace this stupendous insult on the dignity of reason to 
any other source than the abominable combinations of eikg- 
GRAFT and PRIESTCRAFT (in everlasting indissoluble league to ex- 
tirpate liberty and to erect on its ruin boundless and universal 
despotism) would, I believe, puzzle the most assiduous inquirer. 
For what business, in the name of common sense, has the magis- 
trate (distinctly and singly appointed for our political and tem- 
poral happiness) with our religion, which is to secure our 
happiness spiritual and eternal ? And, indeed, among all the 
absurdities chargeable upon human nature, it never yet entered 
into the thoughts of any one to confer such authority upon 
any other. 

" In reality, such delegation of power, had it ever been made, 
would be a mere nullity, and the compact by which it was 
ceded altogether nugatory, the rights of conscience being im- 
mutably persorud and absolutely inalieriable; nor can the state 
or the community, as such, have any concern in the matter. 
For in what manner doth it affect society what are the princi- 
ples we entertain in our minds, or in what outward form we 
think it best to pay our adoration to God? 

" But, to set the absurdity of the magistrate's authority to 
interfere in matters of religion in the strongest light, I would 
&in know what religion it is that he has the authority to 
establish? Has he a right to establish only the true religion? 
or is any religion true because he does establish it? If the 
former, his trouble is as vain as it is arrogant, because the true 
religion, being not of this V)orld, wants not the princes of this 
world to support it, but has, in fajd^ either languished or been 
adidterated wherever they meddled with it. 

" If the supreme magistrate, as such, has authority to esta- 
blish any religion he thinks to be true, and the religion so 
established is therefore right and ought to be embraced, it 
follows, since all supreme magistrates have the same authority, 
that all established religions are equally right and ought to 
be embraced. The Emperor of China, therefore, as supreme 
magistrate in his empire, has the same right to establish the 
precepts of Confucius, and the Sultan in his the imposture of 
Mahomet, as hath the King of Great Britain the doctrine of 
Christ in his dominion. It results from these principles 
that the reHgions of Confucius and Mahomet are equally true 


with the doctrine of our Saviour and his apoaUes, and equally 
obligatory upon the respective subjects of China and Turkey 
as Christianity is on those within the British realnii — a position 
which, I presume, the most zealous advocate for ecclesiastical 
domination would think it blasphemy to avow. 

" The Ihglish ecdesiaaticai government^ therefore, is, and all 
the RELiaioxjs ESTABLISHMENTS IK THE WORLD are manifest vio- 
lations of the rights of private jtdgmerd in matters of religion. 
They are impudent outrages on common sense, in arrogating a 
power of controlling the devotional operations of the mind and 
external acts of divine homage not cognizable by any human 
tribunal, and for which, we are accountable only to the great 
Searcher of hearts, whose prerogative it is to judge them. 

''In contract with this spiritual tyranny, how beautiAil 
appears our catholic constitution in disdaiming all jurisdiction 
over the souls of mm, and securing, by a never-to-be-repealed 
section, the voluntary, unchecked, moral suasion of every indi- 
vidual, and by his own self-directed intercourse with the Father 
of spirits, either by devout retirement or puilic worship of his 
own election I How amiable the plan of intrenching with the 
sanctions of an ordinance, immutable and irrevocable, the 
sacred rights of conscience, and reTVOunoing all discrimination 
between men on account of their sentiments about the various 
modes of church government or ,the different articles of their 

Jonathan Trumbull 

Was, says Sparks, ''one of the firmest of patriots and best of 
men." He was Governor of Connecticut nearly twenty years, 
— elected with great unanimity, and continuing till the close 
of the Eevolution. His services were of very great importance 
throughout the whole war, not only in regulating the civil 
affairs of Connecticut, but in keeping alive a military ardor 
among the people. General Washington leaned on him as one 
of his main pillars of support. The following extracts from 
Governor Trumbull's letter to Washington will show the spirit 
prevailing at that day, as well as the religious cast of his 
mind : — 

" Suffer me to congratulate you on your appointment to be 
general and commander-in-chief of the troops raised, or to be 
raised, for the defence of American liberty. Men who have tasted 


of freedom, and who have felt their personal rights, are not 
easily taught to bear with encroachments on either, or brought 
to submit to oppression. Virtue ought always to be made the 
object of government;, justice is firm and permanent. 

" The honorable Congress have, with one united voice, ap- 
pointed you to the high station you possess. The Supreme 
Director of all events has caused a wonderful union of hearts 
and counsels to subsist amongst us. Now, therefore, be strong 
and very courageous. May the Grod of the armies of Israel 
shower down the blessings of his divine providence on you, 
give you wisdom and fortitude, cover your head in the dky of 
battle and danger, and, by giving success, convince our enemies 
of their mistaken measures, and that all their attempts to de- 
prive the colonies of their inestimable constitutional rights and 
liberties are injurious and vain." 

"Washington replied as follows : — 

Cambridge, 18 Jaly, 1775. 
Allow me to return you my sincere thanks for the kind wishes and 
&vorable sentiments expressed in yours of the 13th instant. As the . 
cause of our common country caUs us both to active and dangerous 
duty, I trust that Divine Providence, which wisely orders the affairs of 
men, will enable us both to discharge it with fidehty and success. The 
uncorrupted choiceof a brave and free people has raised you to deserved 

Dr. Ezra Stiles, President of Yale College, in a sermon, 
entitled "The United States elevated to Glory and 
Honor," preached, May 7, 1783, before Governor Trumbull and 
the General Assembly of Connecticut, paid the highest tribute 
of praise to this pure patriot and exalted Christian statesman. 
He said, — 

" Endowed with a singular strength of the mental powers, 
with a vivid and clear perception, with a penetrating and com- 
prehensive judgment, embellished with the acquisition of aca- 
demical, theological, and political erudition, your excellency 
became qualified for a very singular variety of usefulness in 
life. We adore the God of our fathers, the God and Father 
of the spirits of all flesh, that he hath raised you up for such a 
time as this, and that he hath put into your heart a wisdom 
which I cannot describe without adulation, a patriotism and 
intrepid resolution, a noble and independent spirit, an uncon- 
querable love of liberty, religion, and our country, and that 


grace by which you have been carried through the arduous 
duties of a high office, never before acquired by an American 
governor. Our enemies revere the names of Trumbull and 

Gbokob Washinoton, 

" First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his 
countrymen," was also first as a Christian hero and statesman. 
His Christian faith and sentiments pervaded his life, formed 
his character, guided all his private and public acts, and were 
repeated and recorded in every variety of form in all his state 
papers. He regarded Christianity not only as a divine system, 
worthy of the confidence of all men, and essential to man's 
happiness here and hereafter, but he profoundly felt, and every- 
where taught, that all good government must be founded and 
administered in conformity to its benign and heavenly precepts. 
It is a suggestive fact that Washington, who led the armies 
of the Revolution to final victory, who presided in the council 
that formed the old Articles of Confederation, who was presi- 
dent of the convention that formed the Constitution, and who 
was the first President elected to administer the government, 
was a devout Christian. He has had more to do in shaping 
the destinies of the American Government and nation than all 
others combined, and in every official act he diffused the spirit 
and proclaimed, directly or indirectly, the principles of reli- 
gion. ' This historical fact is unprecedented in the annals of the 
world, and displays the guiding hand of God in raising up and 
qualifying such a Christian leader for the American nation. 
Washington opened and closed his administration with the fol- 
lowing sentiments: — 

" It is impossible," said he, " to govern the universe without 
the aid of a Supreme Being. Let us, therefore, unite in im- 
ploring the Supreme Ruler of nations to spread his holy pro- 
tection over these United States; to stop the machinations of 
the wicked; to confirm our Constitution; to enable us, at all 
times, to suppress internal sedition and put invasion to flight; 
to perpetuate to our country that prosperity which his goodness 
has already conferred, and to verify the anticipations of this 
government's being a safeguard to human rights." 

"The situation in which I now stand, for the last time, in the 
midst of the representatives of the people of the United States, 


naturally recalls the period when the administration of the 
present form of government commenced; and I cannot omit the 
occasion to congratulate you and my country on the success of 
the experiment, nor to repeat my fervent supplications to the 
Supreme Buler of the Universe and Sovereign Arbiter of nations, 
that his providential care may still be extended to the United 
States; that the virtue and happiness of the people may be pre- 
served; and that the government which they have instituted for 
the protection of their liberties may be perpetual." 

An appeal to the Gkxi of the Bible and of providence, from 
such Christian statesmen, would be expected, on all suitable and 
solemn occasions, in their state papers. These solemn appeals 
are as follow: — 

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are 
created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with 
certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, 
and the pursuit of happiness. That to defend these rights 
government was instituted. . . . We, therefore, the Representa- 
tives in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme 
Ruler of the World for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in* 
the name and by the authority of the good people of these 
colonies, solemnly publish and declare that these United Colo- 
nies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States; 
and for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on 
Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, 
our fortunes, and our sacred honor." 

" Our cause is just. Our union is perfect. Our internal 
resources are great, and, if necessary, foreign assistance is 
undoubtedly at hand. We gratefully acknowledge, as signal 
instances of the Divine feivor towards us, that his providence 
would not permit us to be called into this severe controversy 
until we had grown up to our present strength, had previously 
been exercised in warlike operations, and possessed of the 
means of defending ourselves. With hearts fortified with these 
animating reflections, we most solemnly, before God and the 
world, declare that, exerting the utmost energies of those 
powers which our 'beneficent Creator hath graciously bestowed 
on us, the arms we have been compelled to assume we will, in de- 
fiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverance, 
employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one 
mind resolved to die freemen rather than live slaves. 


"With an humble confidence in the mercies of the supreme 
and impartial Judge and Ruler of the Universe, we most 
devoutly implore his divine goodness to protect us happily 
through this great conflict, to dispose our adversaries to recon- 
ciliation on reasonable terms, and thereby to reKeve the empire 
from the calamities of civil war." 

A manifesto by Congress, in 1778, closes as follows : — 

"We appeal to that God who searcheth the hearts of men 
for the rectitude of our intentions, and in his holy presence 
declare, as we are not moved by any light or hasty suggestions 
of anger or revenge, so through every possible change of 
fortune we will adhere to this our determination." 

" Appealing to the Being who searches thoroughly the 
heart," says a petition to the king in 1774, "we solemnly pro- 
fess that our councils have been influenced by no other motives 
than a dread of impending destruction. We doubt not the 
purity of our intention and the integrity of our conduct will 
justify us at that grand tribunal before which all mankind 
must submit to judgment." 

• "Appealing to Heaven for the justice of our cause, we deter- 
mine to die or be free." 

" If it were possible for men, who exercise their reason, to 
believe that the Divine Author of our existence intended a 
part of the human race to hold an absolute property in and 
an unbounded power over others, marked out by his infinite 
goodness and wisdom as • the objects of a legal domination 
never rightfully resistible, however severe and oppressive, the 
inhabitants of these colonies might at least require from the 
Parliament of Great Britain some evidence that this dreadful 
authority over them had been granted to that body." 

" The Bills of Rights of the colonies sparkle with sentiments 
of humanity, of right, of liberty. The papers and resolves of 
the old colonial legislatures had in them that which fed the 
deep love of liberty in the human soul. The remonstrances 
addressed to the throne, the letters of eminent men, the declar- 
rations of Congress, were all aglow with a divine enthusiasm." 

All the state papers emanating from these Christian men 
were not only replete with political wisdom, but were, in spirit 
and sentiment, Christian. Lord Chatham, in the British Par- 
liament, says of them, — 

" When your lordships look at the papers transmitted from 


America, — ^when you consider their decency, firmness, and wis- 
dom, — you cannot but respect their cause and wish to make it 
your own. For myself, I must declare and avow that in all 
my reading and observation, — and it has been my favorite study, 
— I have read Thucydides, and have studied and admired the 
master states of the world, — ^that for solidity of reasoning, force 
of sagacity, and wisdom of conclusion, under such a compli- 
cation of difficult circumstances, no nation or body of men can 
stand in preference to the General Congress in Philadelphia^ I 
trust it is obvious to your lordships that all attempts to impose 
servitude upon such men, to establish despotism over such a 
mighty continental nation, must be vain, must be fatal." 

Mr. "Webster said he never could read this splendid eulogy 
on the men and state papers of the Revolutionary era without 

Webster also said, ''At that day there could not be found 
convened on the surface of the globe an equal number of men 
possessing such enlightened views of government or animated 
by a higher and a more patriotic motive. They were men full 
of the spirit of the occasion, imbued deeply with the general 
sentiment of the country, of large comprehension, long foresight, 
and of few words. They made no speeches for ostentation; 
they sat with closed doors, and their great maxim was, ^faire. 
sans dire,' 

" They knew the history of the past, and were alive to all the 
difficulties an^ all the duties of the present, and they acted from 
the first as if the fiiture was all open before them. In such a 
constellation it would be invidious to point out bright particular 
stars. Let me only say, what none will consider injustice to 
others, that George Washington was one of that number. 

" The proceedings of this assembly were introduced by reli- 
gious observances and devout supplications to the throne of 
grace for the inspirations of wisdom and the spirit of good 

"Regarding the public characters who presided over our 
affairs during the stormy period of the war, and those on whom 
was devolved the yet more difficult and even more important 
duty of creating a system of government for the republic they 
have conducted to independence, we cannot refrain from a con- 
viction that they were specially called to their high mission by 
a wise and an all-beneficent Providence. The extraordinary 


intelligence and virtue displayed in the Continental Oon- 
gress were recognized by sagacioos and dispassionate observers 
throughout the world. Mirabeau, the great French statesman, 
spoke of it as a company of demi-gods." 

These great and good men, inspired with the sentiments of 
religion and liberty, felt the* incompatibility of humsm slavery 
with the Christian life and character of the civil institutions 
which they founded, and on all suitable occasions declared it 
to be their first and fervent desire and purpose to have it 
removed and destroyed. * 

The first G-eneral Congress assembled in 1774, two years 
before the Declaration of Independence. Their first and main 
work was the formation of the '^Association'* which formed a bond 
of union between the colonies. The articles of the association 
contain the following declarations on the subject of slavery : — 

''We do, for ourselves and the inhabitants of the several 
colonies whom we represent, firmly agree and associate, under 
the sacred ties of virtue, honor, and love of our country, as 
follows : — 

"2. That we will neither import nor purchase any slave afber 
the first day of December next, after which time we will wholly 
discontinue the slave-trade, and will neither be concerned in 
it ourselves, nor will we hire our vessels nor sell our commodi- 
ties or manufactures to those who are concerned in it. 

" 11. That a committee be chosen in every county, city, and 
town, by those who are qualified to vote for representatives in 
the legislature, whose business it shall be attentively to observe 
the conduct of all persona touching the Association ; and when 
it shall be made to appear, to the satisfaction of a majority of 
any such committee, that any person within the limits of their 
appointment has violated this Association, that such majority 
do forthwith cause the truth of the case to be published in the 
Gazette, to the end that all such foes to the rights of British 
America may be publicly known, and universally contemned as 
the ENEMIES OF AMERICAN LIBERTIES, and thenceforth we 
respectively will break off all dealings with him or her. 

" 14. And we do further agree and resolve that we will have 
no trade, commerce, dealings, or intercourse whatever with any 
colony or province in North America which shall not accede to, 
or which shall hereafter molest, this Association, but will hold 


them as unworthy of the biohts of freemeKi and as inimical 
to the liberties of this oountrj. 

** The foregoing Association, being determined upon by the 
GongresSi was ordered to be subscribed by the several members 
thereof; and, therefore, we have hereunto set our respective 
names accordingly. 
'' In Congress, Philadelphia, October 20, 1774. 

"Peyton Randolph, President. 
" New Hampshire. — John Sullivan, Nathaniel Folsom. 
'' Massaohttsetts Bay. — Thomas Cushing, Samuel Adams, 

John Adams, Robert Treat Paine. 
" Rhode Island. — Stephen Hopkins, Samuel Ward. 
" OoNNEcncuT. — Eliphalet Dyer, Roger Sherman, Silas 

" New York. — Isaac Low, John Alsop, John Jay, James 
Duane, Philip Livingston, William Floyd, Henry 
Wisner, Simon Boerum. 
" New Jersey. — James Kinsey, William Livingston, Ste- 
phen Crane, Richard Smith, John D« Hart. 
"Pennsylvania. — Joseph Qulloway, John Dickinson, 
Charles Humphreys, Thomas, Mifflin, Edward Biddle, 
John Morton, Greorge Ross. 
" The lower counties, Newcastle, Ac. — Casar Rodney, 

Thomas McKean, (George Read. 
" Maryland. — Matthew Tilghman, Thomas Johnson, Jr., 

William Paca, Samuel Chase. 
"Virginia. — ^Richard Henry Lee, George Washington, 
Patrick Henry, Jr., Richard Bland, Benjamin Harri- 
son, Edmund Pendleton. 
"North Carolina. — ^William Hooper, Joseph Hawes, 

Richard Caswell. 
"South Carolina. — ^Henry Middleton, Thomas Lynch, 
Christopher Gadsden^ John Rutledge, Edward Rut- 

Societies having in view the abolition of slavery were formed 
in a number of States, in the early period of the republic, in- 
cluding Virginia and Maryland; and in 1794 a general con- 
vention of delegates from all the abolition societies in the United 
States was held in Philadelphia, to consult measures for the 
removal of slavery ; and this general convention met annually 


for twelve years. To the first conventioii Dr. Bush was a dele- 
gate, and chairinan of a eommittee to draft an address to the 
people of the United States, which contained the following 
condemnation of slavery : — 

''Many reasons concur in persuading us to abolish domestic 
slavery in our country. 

''It is inconsistent with the safety of the liberties of the 
United States. 

"Freedom and slavery cannot long exist together. An un- 
limited power over the time, labor, and posterity of our fellow- 
creatures necessarily unfits men for discharging the public 
and private duties of citizens of a republic. 

"It is inconsistent with sound policy, in exposing the states 
which permit it to all those evils which insurrections and the 
most resentful war have introduced into one of the richest islands 
in the West Indies. • 

"It is unfriendly to the present exertions of the inhabitants 
of Europe in favor of liberty. What people will advocate free- 
dom with a zeal proportioned to its blessings, while they view 
the purest repubUc in the world tolerating in its bosom a body 
of slaves? 

" In vain has the tyranny of kings been rejected while we 
permit in our country a domestic despotism which involves in 
its nature most of the vices and miseries that we have endea- 
vored to avoid. 

"It is degrading to our rank as men in the scale of being. 
Let us use our reason and social affections for the purposes for 
which they were given, or cease to boast a pre-eminence over 
animals that are unpolluted with our crimes. 

"But higher motives to justice and humanity towards our 
fellow-creatures remain yet to be mentioned. 

"Domestic slavery is repugnant to the principles of Chris- 
tianity. It prostrates every benevolent and just principle of 
action in the human heart. It is rebellion against the authority 
of a common Father. It is a practical denial of the extent and 
efficacy of the death of a common Saviour. It is a usurpation 
of the prerogatives of the great Sovereign of the universe, who 
has solemnly claimed an exclusive property in the souls of men. 

" But, if this view of the enormity of domestic slavery should 
not affect us, there is one consideration more, which ought to 
alarm and impress us, especially at the present juncture. 


"It is a violation of a divine precept of universal justice, 
which has in no case jBScaped with impunity." 

Congress gave countenance and encouragement to these abo- 
lition societies, formed in various States of the ITnion,Nand as 
late as 1809 the Speaker of the House of Eepresentatives, by 
a resolution, was directed to return a letter of thanks to an 
abolition convention for a gift of Clarkson's " History of Slavery,'* 
which was ordered to be placed in the Congressional library. 

The patriot and statesman, the philanthropist and Christian, 
the politician and divine, the guardians of public liberty and 
morality, were all united to exterminate this moral and political 
evil from the republic. They deemed it a duty to imbue their 
schools, colleges, churches, legislatures, and domestic circles 
with the belief that slavery was a national crime, offensive to 
God, and destructive to the safety, happiness, and prosperity 
of the people. 

Washington said, "There is, not a man living who wishes 
more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition 
of slavery ; but there is only one proper and effectual mode by 
which it can be accomplished, and that is by legislative author- 
ity ; and this, so &r as my suffrages will go, shall not be want- 
ing."^ictter to Bobert Morris, April 12, 1786. 

"I never mean, unless some particular circumstance should 
compel me to it, to possess another slave by purchase, — ^it being 
among the first wishes of my heart to see some plan adopted 
by which slavery in this country may be abolished by law." — 
Letter to John H. Mercer, 1786. 

" There are in Pennsylvania laws for the gradual abolition of 
slavery, which neither Virginia nor Msuryland have at present, 
but which nothing is more certain than that they must have, 
and at a period not remote" — Letter to John Sinclair. 

Washington wrote to Lafayette as follows : — 

" The benevolence of your heart, my dear marquis, is so 
conspicuous on all occasions that I never wonder at fresh proofs 
of it ; but your late purchase of an estate in the colony of 
Cayenne with a view of emancipating the slaves, ia a generous 
and noble proof of your humanity. Would to God a like spirit 
might difilise itself generally into the minds of the people of 
this country !" 

Jefferson, the great apostle of democracy, declared, "The way, 
I hope, is preparing, under the auspices of Heaven, for a total 


emancipation. The hour of emancipation is advancing in the 
march of time. This enterprise is for the young, for those who 
can follow it up and bear it through to its consummation. It 
shall have all my prayers ; and these are the only weapons of 
an old man. What execrations should the statesman be loaded 
with who, permitting one half the citizens thus to trample on 
the rights of the other, transforms the one into despots and the 
other into enemies, destroying the morals of one part and the 
ajnoT patrice of the other! And can the liberties of a nation 
be thought secured, when we have removed their only firm basis, 
a conviction in the minds of the people that their liberties are 
the gift of God? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I 
reflect that God is just, and that justice cannot sleep forever. 
The Almighty has no attribute that can take sides with us in 
such a contest." 

Jefferson, writing from Paris, February, 1788, said, — 

"We must wait with patience the workings of an overruling 
Providence, and hope that that is preparing the deliverance of 
these [slaves] our suffering brethren. When the measure of 
their tears shall be full, when their tears shall involve heaven 
itself in darkness, doubtless a God of justice will awaken to 
their distress, and, by diffusing light and liberty among their 
oppressors, or at length by his exterminating thunder, manifest 
his attention to things of this world, and that they are not left 
to the guidance of blind &tality. 

"I ajn very sensible of the honor you propose to me, of 
becoming a member of the Society for the Abolition of the Slave- 
Trade. Tou know that nobody ^shes more ardently to see an 
abolition, not only of the trade, but of the condition of the 
slave ; and certainly nobody will be more willing to encounter 
every sacrifice for that object," 

Jefferson wrote to Edward Coles, of lUinoifl, August 25, 1814, 
as follows : — 

" The love of justice and love of country plead equally the 
cause of these people ; and it is a moral reproach to us that they 
should have pleaded so long in vain, and should have produced 
not a single effort — nay, I fear, not mudi serious wiUingneas — to 
rdieve them and ourselves from our {^resent condition of moral 
and political reprobation. It is an encouraging observation that 
no good measure was ever proposed which, if duly pursued, 
failed to prevail in the end. We have proof of this in the his- 


tory of the endeavors in the British Parliament to suppress that 
very trade which brought this evil upon us. And you will be 
supported by the religious precept, 'Be not weary in well- 

Lafayette said, '' While I am indulging in my views of Ame* 
rican prospects and American liberty, it is mortifying to be told 
that in that very country a large portion of the people are 
slaves ! It is a dark spot on the face, of the nation. Such a 
state of things cannot always exist. 

''I see in the papers that there is a plan for the gradual 
abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia. I would be 
doubly happy of it for the measure in itself, and because a 
sense of American pride makes me recoil at the observations of 
diplomatists, and other foreigners, who gladly improve the un- 
fortunate existing circumstances into a general objection to 
our republican and, saving that deplorable evil, our matchless 

" I never," said Lafayette, on another occasion, " would have 
drawn my sword in the cause of America, if I could have con- 
ceived that thereby I was founding a land of slavery." 

John Jay said, in 1780, ** An excellent law might be made out 
of the Pennsylvania one for the gradual abolition of slavery. 
Till America comes into this measure, her prayers to Heaven will 
be impious. This is a strong expression, but it is just. I 
believe Grod governs the world, and I believe it to be a maxim 
in his as in our court, that those who ask for equity should 
grant it." 

"The word slaves," he said, "was avoided, probably on 
account of the existing toleration of slavery, and its discordancy 
with the principles of the Revolution, and from a consciousness 
of its being repugnant to some of the positions in the Declara- 
tion of Independence." 

Monroe, in a speech in the Virginia Convention, said, " We 
have found that this evil has preyed upon the very vitals of the 
Union, and has been prejudicial to all the States in which it has 

Henry Laurens, of South Carolina, for two years President 
of the Continental Congress, wrote to his son, the 14th of Au- 
gust, 1776, as follows :— 

" You know, my dear son, I abhor slavery. I was bom in a 
country where slavery had been established by British kings 


and Parliaments, as well as by the laws of that country, ages 
before my existence. I found the Christian religion and slavery 
growing together under the same authority and cultivation. I 
nevertheless disliked it. In former days there was no combat- 
ing the prejudices of men supported by interest. The day, I 
hope, is approaching when, from principles of gratitude, as well 
as justice, every man will strive to be foremost in showing his 
readiness to comply with the Golden Eule." 

Patrick Henry, the impassioned orator of the Revolution, 
aflirmed, "Slavery is detested; we feel its fatal effects ; we de- 
plore it with all the pity of humanity! It would rejoice my 
very soul to know that every one of my fellow-beings was 
emancipated. I believe the time will come when an oppor- 
tunity will be offered to abolish this lamentable evil." 

" Believe me, I honor the Quakers for their noble efforts to 
abolish slavery. It is a debt we owe to the purity of our reli- 
gion to show that it is at variance with that law that warrants 

In the Convention of Virginia, met to ratify the Constitution 
of the United States, Patrick Henry argued " the power of 
Congress, under the United States Constitution, to abolish slavery 
in the States." 

Randolph, in the Convention of Virginia, met to ratify the 
Federal Constitution, said, "I hope that there are none here 
who, considering the subject in the calm light of philanthropy, 
will advance an objection dishonorable to Virginia, that, at the 
moment they are securing the rights of their citizens, there is a 
spark of hope that those unfortunate men now held in bondage 
may, by the operation, of the General Government, be made 


John Marshall, the friend and biographer of Washington, a 
distinguished member of Congress under the administrations of 
Washington and Adams, and for forty years Chief- Justice of 
the Supreme Court of the United States, saw with prophetic 
sagacity the evils of slavery and its future results. In an in- 
terview Harriet Martineau had with this venerable Christian 
judge in 1835, he made the following statement, published in a 
British magazine of that year. Marshall and Madison were 
then the only surviving representatives of the old ideas of 
Virginia on the subject of slavery. Miss Martineau says, — 

"When I knew the chief-justice, he was eighty-three, — ^as 


bright-eyed and warm-hearted as ever, while as dignified a 
judge as ever filled the highest seat in the highest court of any 
country. He said he had seen Virginia the leading State for 
half his life ; he had seen her become the second, and sink to 
be (I think) the fifth. Worse than this, there was no arresting 
her decline, if her citizens did not put an end to slavery ; and 
he saw no signs of any intention to do. so, east of the moun- 
tains at least. He had seen whole groups of estates, populous 
in his time, lapse into waste. He had seen agriculture ex- 
changed for human stock-breeding ; and he keenly felt the degra- 
dation. The forest was returning over the fine old estates, 
and the wild creatures which had not been seen for generations 
were reappearing; numbers and wealth were declining, and 
education and manners were degenerating. It would not have 
surprised him to be told that on that soil would the main 
battles be fought when the critical day should come which he 

Madison, the father of the Constitution, '' thought it wrong 
to admit in the Constitution the idea that there could be pro- 
perty in man." "I object to the word slave appearing in a 
Constitution which I trust is to be the charter of freedom to 
unborn millions; nor would I willingly perpetuate the memory 
of the fact that slavery ever existed in our country. It is a great 
evil, and, under the providence of God, I look forward to some 
scheme of emancipation which shall free us from it. Do not, 
therefore, let us appear as if we regarded it perpetual, by using 
in our free Constitution an odious word opposed .to every senti- 
ment of liberty." 

After the Constitution went into operation, Madison in Con- 
gress said, on the question of abolishing the slave-trade, — 

" The dictates of humanity, the principles of the people, the 
national safety and happiness, and prudent policy, require it of 
us. It is to be hoped that by expressing a national disapproba- 
tion of the trade we may destroy it, and save our country from 
reproaches, and our posterity from the imbecility ever attendant 
on a country filled with slaves." 

Harriet Martineau in 1835 spent some days with Madison at 
his residence in Virginia. She thus relates the opinions of 
Madison on the subject of slavery : — 

" To Mr. Madison despair was not easy. He had a cheerful 
and sanguine temper, and if there was one thing rather than 



another which he had leamed to consider secure, it was the Con- 
Stitation which he had so large a share in making. Yet he told 
me that he was nearly in despair, and that he had been quite 
so till the Colonization Society arose. Bather than admit to 
himself that the South must be laid waste by a servile war, or 
the whole country by a civil war, he strove to believe that mil- 
lions of negroes could be carried to Africa and so got rid of. 
I need not speak of the weakness of such a hope. What con- 
cerns us now is that he saw and described to me, when I was his 
guest, the dangers and horrors of the state of society in which 
he was living. He talked more of slavery than of all other 
subjects together, returning to it morning, noon, and night. He 
said that the clergy perverted the Bible, because it was alto- 
gether against slavery ; that the colored population was increas- 
ing faster than the white; and that the state of morals was 
such as barely permitted society to exist. Of the issue of the 
conflict, whenever it should occur, there could, he said, be no 
doubt. A society burdened with a slave system could make no 
permanent resistance to an unencumbered enemy ; and he was 
astonished at the fanaticism which blinded some Southern men 
to so clear a certainty. 

"Such was Mr. Madison's opinion in 1835.*' 

James Wilson, a leading member of the convention that 
formed the Constitution of the United States, and in the ratifi- 
cation convention of his State, speaking of the clause relating 
to the power of Congress over the slave-trade, said, — 

"I regard this clause as laying the foundation for banishing 
slavery out of this country. The new States which are to be 
formed will be under the control of Congress in this particular, 
and slavery will never be introduced among them. It presents 
us with the pleasing prospect that the rights of mankind will be 
acknowledged and established throughout the Union. If there 
was no other feature in the Constitution but this one, it would 
diflfuse a beauty over its whole countenance. Yet the lapse of 
a few years, and Congress will have power to exterminate 
slavery from within our borders." 

Dr. Benjamin Franklin was the unwearied friend of emanci- 
pation. He was President of the Pennsylvania Society for 
promoting the abolition of slavery, and addressed the follow- 
ing memorial to Congress on the subject, on behalf of the 
society ;— 


Youi memorialists, particularly engaged in attending to the distresses 
arising from slatert, believe it to be their indispensable duty to present 
this subject to your notice. They have observed with real satisfaction 
that many important and salutary powers are vested in you, for pro- 
moting the welfare and securing the blessings of liberty to the people of 
the United States; and as they conceive that these blessings ought 
cheerfully to be administered, without distinction or color, to all de> 
scriptions of people, so they indulge themselves in the pleasing expecta- 
tion that nothing which can be done for the relief of the unhappy 
objects of their care will be omitted or delayed. 

From a persuasion that equal liberty was originally the portion of, and is 
still the birthright of, all men, and influenced by the strong ties of hu- 
manity and the principles of their institutions, your memorialists con- 
ceive themselves bound to use all justifiable endeavors to loosxn ths 
BONDS of slavkrt and promote a general ezvjoyment of the blessings of 
freedom. Under these impressions, they earnestly entreat your atten- 
tion to the subject of slavery; that you will be pleased to countenance 
the RESTORATION TO LIBERTY of those Unhappy men who alone, in this 
land of freedom, are degraded into perpetual bondage, and who, amid 
the general joy of surrounding freemen, are groaning in servile subjec- 

CHARACTER FROM THE AMERICAN PEOPLE } that you will promoto mcTcy 

and justice towards this distressed race ; and that you will step to the 

very verge of the power vested in you for discouraging every species of 

traffic in the persons of our fellow-men. 

Benjamin Franklin, President, 
Philadelphia, Feb. 3, 1790. 

Dr. Franklin was the personal friend of Granville Sharpe, who 
was a member of the British Parliament, and devoted his life 
to abolishing the slave-trade and to the promotion of universal 
freedom. The following letter of this distinguished philanthro- 
pist to Dr. Franklin is a rare and interesting paper touching 
the subject of slavery as affected by the Constitution: — 

To His Excellency Dr. Franklin, President of the Pennsylvania 
Society tor Promoting the Abolition of Slavery. 

LXADENHALL STREET, LoiTDOir, 10th Jan'7, 1788. 

Dear Sir: — 

I ought long ago to have acknowledged the deep sense which I en- 
tertain of my obligations to the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the 
Abolition of Slavery, for the honor they have been pleased to confer 
upon me by inserting my name in the number of their corresponding 
members, as signified in your Excellency's letter of the 9th of July 

I read with particular satisfaction their excellent remonstrance 
against slavery, addressed to the convention. If our most solemn and 
unanswerable appeals to the consciences of men in behalf of humanity . 


and common juBtice are disregarded, the crimes of slavery and slave- 
dealing become crying sins, which presumptuously invite the divine 
retribution ; so that it must be highly dangerous to the political exist- 
ence of any state, that is duly warned, against ii\justice, to afford the 
least sanction to such enormities by their legislative authority. 

Having been always zealous of your government, I am the more sin- 
cerely grieved to see the new Federal Constitution stained by the inser- 
tion of two most exceptionable clauses of the kind above mentioned ; the 
one in direct opposition to a most humane article ordained by the first 
American Cojigress to be perpetually observed, and the other in equal 
opposition to the express command of the Almighty not to deliver up 
the servant that had escaped to his master ; and both clauses of the 
9th Section of the 1st Article and the latter part of the 2d Section of 
the 3d Article are so clearly null and void by their iniquity, that it 
would be even a crime to regard them as law. 

Though I have, indeed, too plainly proven myself a very unworthy 
and dilatory correspondent, through the unavoidable impediments of 
a variety of affairs and trusts which have been devolved upon me, yet 
I must request your Excellency to inform the Pennsylvania Society 
that I have never knowingly omitted any favorable opportunity of pro- 
moting the great objects of their institution, and trust in God I never 
shall. With true esteem and respect, dear sir, 

Yours, &c., 

Granville Sharpk. 

Thifl testimony of the fathert- and founders of our civil insti- 
tutions, as briefly put on record in this volume, confirms the 
declarations of Mr. Leigh in the convention of Virginia, in 1832, 
who said, — 

"I thought, till very lately, that it was known to everybody 
that during the Revolution, and for many years after, the aboli- 
tion of slavery was a favorite topic with many of our ablest 
statesmen, who entertained with respect all the schemes which 
wisdom or ingenuity could suggest for its accomplishment." 

Salmon P. Chase, in the Senate of the United States, in Feb- 
ruary, 1854, declared the same fact in reference to the faith 
and policy of the statesmen of the Revolution. He designated 
that as the "era of enfranchisement," and said, — 

"It commenced with the earliest struggles for independence. 
The spirit which inspired it animated the hearts and prompted 
the efforts of Washington, of Jefferson, of Patrick Henry, of 
Wythe, of Adams, of Jay, of Hamilton, of Morris, — ^in short, 
of all the great men of our early history. All these hoped, 
all these labored, all these believed in the final deliverance of 
the country from the curse of slavery. That spirit burned in 
the Declaration of Independence, and inspired the provisions of 


the Constitution and of the Ordinance of 1787. Under its influ- 
ence, when in full vigor, State after State provided for the 
emancipation of slaves within their liifhts, prior to the adoption 
of the Constitution." 

In these notices of the men of the Revolution and their views 
on the Christian religion, it is appropriate in this volume to record 
the faith and declarations of four other eminent men, bom during 
the Revolutionary struggle, and who have exerted a command- 
ing influence on the legislation and politics of this country. 

John Quincy Adams, 

The sixth President of the United States, was an eminent 
statesman and politician. Fifty years of his active life were 
spent in the service of his country, with dignity, honor, and use- 
fulness. "The fear of God," says Edward Everett, "was the 
lost great dominant principle of his life and character. There 
was the hiding of his power. Offices, and afiairs, and honors, 
and studies, left room in his soul for faith. No man laid hold 
with a firmer grasp of the realities of life, and no man dwelt 
more steadily on the mysterious realities beyond life. He en- 
tertained a profound reverence for sacred things. He attended 
the public offices of social worship with a constancy seldom 
witnessed in this busy and philosophic age. The daily and 
systematic perusal of the Bible was an occupation with which 
no other duty was allowed to interfere. The daily entry of his 
journal, for the latter part of his life, begins with a passage 
extracted &om Scripture, followed with his own meditations and 
commentary; and, thus commencing the day, there is little doubt 
that of his habitual reflections as large a portion was thrown 
forward to the world of spirits as was retained by the passing 
scenes. In all the private and public positions he occupied, he 
displayed the principles of the Christian religion." 

His inaugural address as President of the United States 
says, — 

"'Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but 
in vain.' With fervent supplications for his favor, to his over- 
ruling providence I commit, with humble but fearle& confidence, 
my own fate and the future destinies of my country.'" 

His first message declares that " In taking a survey of the con- 
cerns of our beloved country with reference to subjects interesting 
to the common welfare, the first sentiment which impresses 


itself upon the mind is of gratitude to the Omnipotent Dis- 
penser of all good, for the continuance of the signal blessings of 
his providence, and especially for that health which to an un- 
usual extent has prevailed within our borders, and for that 
abundance which, in the vicissitudes of the seasons, has been 
scattered with profusion over our land. Nor ought we less to 
ascribe to him the glory that we are permitted to enjoy the 
bounties of his hand in peace and tranquillity, — ^peace with all 
the other nations of the earth, in tranquillity among ourselves." 

In the year 1809, Mr. Adams was appointed Minister Pleni- 
potentiary of the United States to the court of St. Petersburg. 
During his residence there he addressed to his eldest son, who 
was then ten years old, a series of letters on the study of the 
Bible. Extracts from these letters are here given embodying 
the views of this statesman on the Bible and its influence. The 
letters were written during the years 1811 and 1813. The ex- 
tracts are given without reference to their dates. 

" So great is my veneration for the Bible, and so strong my 
belief that, when duly read and meditated upon, it is of all books 
in the world that which contributes to make men good, wise, 
and happy, that the earlier my children begin to read it, and 
the more steadily they pursue the practice of reading it through- 
out their lives, the more lively and confident will be my hopes 
that they will prove useful citizens to their country, respectable 
members of society, and a real blessing to their parents. 

" I have, myself, for many years made it a practice to read 
through the Bible once every year. My custom is to read four 
or five chapters every morning, immediately after rising from 
bed. It employs about an hour of my time, and seems to me 
the most suitable manner of beginning the day. 

" You know the difference between right and wrong. You 
know some of your duties, and the obligation you are under of 
becoming acquainted with them all. It is in the Bible you 
must learn them, and from the Bible how to practise them. 
Those duties are — ^to God, to your feUow-crecUures, to yoursdf. 
* Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with 
all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength, 
and thy neighbor as thyself.' On these two commandments 
(Jesus Christ expressly says) *hang all the law and the pro- 
phets.' That is to say that the whole purpose of divine revela- 
tion is to inculcate them efficaciously upon the minds of men. 


*' Let US, then, search the Scriptures. The Bible contains the 
revelation of the will of God ; it contains the history of the 
creation of the world and of mankind. It contains a system 
of religion and morality which we may examine upon its own 
merits, independent of the sanction it receives from being the 
word of God, In what light soever we regard it, whether with 
reference to revelation, to history, to morality, or to literature, 
it is an inexhaustible mine of knowledge and virtue. 

" The first words of the Bible are, ' In the beginning God 
created the heaven and the earth.' This blessed and sublime 
idea of Grod, the Creator of the universe, — this source of all 
hun^an virtue and all human happiness, for which all the sages 
and philosophers of Greece and Rome groped in darkness and 
never found, — is revealed in the first verse of the book of Gene- 
sis. I call this the source of all human virtue and happiness. 

** Here, then, is the foundation of all morality, — the source of 
all our obligations as accountable creatures. This idea of the 
transcendent power of the Supreme Being is essentially con- 
nected with that by which the whole duty of man is summed 
up in obedience to his will. 

"'And God said. Let there be light, and there was light.' 
This verse only exhibits one of the efiects of that transcendent 
power which the first verse discloses in announcing God as the 
Creator of the world. The true sublimity is in the idea given 
us of God. To such a God, piety is but a reasonable service. 

''The moral character of the Old Testament, then, is that piety 
to God is the foundation of all virtue, and that virtue is insepa- 
rable from it, but that piety without the practice of virtue is 
itself a crime and an aggravation of all iniquity. All the 
virtues which were recognized by the heathens are inculcated 
not only with more authority, but with more energy of argu- 
ment and more eloquent persuasion, in the Bible, than in all 
the writings of the ancient moralists. 

" The sum of Christian morality, then, consists in piety to 
Qodj and benevolence to manj — ^piety manifested not by formal 
solemnities and sacrifices of burnt-offerings, but by repentance, 
by obedience, by submission, by humility, by the worship of the 
heart; and benevolence not founded upon selfish motives, but 
superior even to the sense of wrong or the resentment of 

" The whole system of Christian morality appears to have 


been set forth by its Divine Author in the Sermon on the 
Mount. What I would impress upon your mind as infinitely 
important to the happiness and virtue of your life is the gene- 
ral spirit of Christianity, and the duties which result from it. 

"The true Christian is the ^justum et tenacem propositi 
virum of Horace. The combination of these qualities, so essen- 
tial to the heroic cliaractery with those of meekness, lowliness of 
heart, and brotherly love, is what constitutes that moral joe?*- 
fection of which CLrist gave an example in his own life, and to 
which he commended his disciples to aspire. Endeavor to dis- 
cipline your own heart and to govern your conduct through 
life by these principles thus combined. Be meek, be gentle^ be 
kind, be aflfectionate to all mankind, not excepting your ene- 
mies, — but never tame or abject. Never give way to the wishes 
of impudence, or show yourself yielding or complying to pre- 
judices, wrong-headedness, or intractability, which would lead 
or draw you astray from the dictates of your conscience and 
your sense of right. * Till you die, let not your integrity de- 
part from you.' Build your house upon the Rock; and then let 
the rain descend, and the floods come, and the winds blow, and 
beat upon that house : it shall not fall, for it will be founded 
upon a Rock. So promises your blessed Lord and Master." 

" By admitting the Bible as a divine revelation, we have hopes 
of future felicity inspired, together with a conviction of our 
present wretchedness. The blood of the Redeemer has washed 
out the pollution of our original sin, and the certainty of eternal 
happiness in a future life is again secured to us in the primitive 
condition of obedience to the will of God. 

" Jesus Christ came into the world to preach repentance and 
remission of sins, to proclaim glory to God in the highest, and 
on earth peace, good will to man, and, finally, to bring life and 
immortality to light in the gospel ; and all this is clear if we 
consider the Bible as a divine revelation. 

"Let us conclude by resuming the duties to God, to our 
fellow-creatures, and to ourselves, which are derived as imme- 
diate consequences from the admission of the Bible as divine 
revelation. 1. Piety. From the first chapter of the Old Testa- 
ment to the last of the New, obedience to the will of God is in- 
culcated as including the whole duty of man. 2. Benevolence. 
The love of our neighbor was forcibly taught in the Old Testa- 
ment; but to teach it more effectually was the special object of 


Christ's mission upon earth. ' Love/ says St. Paul^ ' is the ful- 
filling of the law.' But Christ says, ' A new commandment I 
give unto you, that ye love one another ; as I have loved you^ 
that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that yo 
are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.' 3. Humility. 
The profound sense of our infirmities which must follow from 
the doctrine of original sin, and of its punishment inflicted 
upon all human kind, necessarily inspires meekness and low- 
liness of spirit. These two are commanded expressly by Jesus 
Christ; and, as principles of morality, they are not only diflferenl 
from the maxims of every other known system of ethics, but 
in direct opposition to them. 

" Of the ten commandments, emphatically so called for the 
extraordinary and miraculous distinction with which they were 
promulgated, the first four are religious laws. The fifth and 
tenth are" properly and peculiarly moral, and the other four are 
of the criminal department of municipal law. The unity of 
the Godhead, the prohibition of making graven images for 
worship, that of taking ' in vain' the name of the Deity, and 
the injunction to observe the Sabbath as a day sanctified and 
set apart for his worship, were all intended to inculcate that 
reverence for the one only and true God, that profound and 
penetrating sentiment of piety , which is the great and only im- 
mediate foundation of all human virtue. 

" Next to the duties towards the Creator, that of honoring 
the earthly parents is enjoined. It is to them that every indi- 
vidual owes the greatest obligations, and to them he is conse- 
quently bound by the first and strongest of earthly ties. The 
following commands are negative, and require all to abstain 
from wrong-doing — 1. In their persons ; 2. In their property; 
3. In their conjugal rights; and 4. In their good name. The 
tenth and closing commandment goes to the very source of all 
human action, the heart, and positively forbids all those desires 
which first prompt and lead to every transgression upon the 
property and rights of our fellow-creatures. Vain indeed would 
be the search among all the writings of profane antiquity — not 
merely of that remote antiquity, but even in the most refined 
and most philosophic ages of Greece and Rome — to find so broad^ 
80 complete, so solid a basis for morality as this decalogue laya 

As the life of Mr. Adams was closing, he was called to pre- 


Bide at the anniversary of the Bible Society of the city of 
Washington. On taking the chair, he said, — 

" Fellow-citizens and members of the Bible Society : — In 
taking the chair as the oldest Vice-President of the Society, 
I deem myself fortunate in having the opportunity, at this stage 
of a long life drawing rapidly to its close, to bear at this place, 
the capital of our National Union, my solemn testimonial of 
reverence and gratitude to that Book of books, the Holy Bible." 

Mr. Adams died in the Capitol of the nation, on the 23d of 
February, 1848, exclaiming, " This is the last of earth : I am 

Andrew Jackson, 

The admired military hero and popular President, was a 
thorough believer in the Christian religion and its evangelical 
doctrines. He embraced the system of the gospel with a cordial 
and a warm-hearted faith. He had a pious Presbyterian mother, 
who in her -earliest years planted the seeds of divine truth 
which in later life germinated into a practical faith and bore 
the fruits of genuine piety. 

In his public life at Washington, as President, he bore un- 
varying testimony to the divinity of the Bible, as a book essential 
to civil government and to the salvation of the soul. During 
his eight years' residence at Washington as President, he was 
regular in his attendance on the public worship of God, and 
had a pew in the First Presbyterian Church. The Bible wa6 a 
book which had a prominent place in the Presidential mansion 
during his administration, and its perusal was his constant 
habit and delight. 

It was a long-cherished desire of his heart to make a public 
profession of his faith in Christ and join himself to a Christian 
church, but he was deterred, like most of our political and 
public men, by the fear his motives would be misunderstood and 
impugned. The following letter will explain his feelings on this 
point. It was written to a friend in Boston. 

Hervitacb, August 24, 1838. 
Dear Sir : — I thank you kindly for the perusal of your pious uncle's 
letter, which you were good enough to enclose for my perusal. Should 
you live to see this pious divine, your uncle, present him my kind re- 
gards, with my prayers for a long-continued life of usefulness and a 
happy immortality. Say to him I would long since have made this 


solemn pubiie dedication to Almighty Gk>d, but knowing the wretchednees 
of this world, and how prone many are to evil, and that the scoffer of 
religion would have cried out, * Hypocrisy I he has joined the Church for poUt^ 
cat effect,^ — I thought it best to postpone this public act until my retire- 
ment to the shades of private life, when no false imputations could be 
made that might be injurious to religion. Please say to him I well re- 
member the pleasure I had of taking him by the hand and receiving 
his kind benediction, for -which I was grateful. It would give me plea- 
sure now in retirement to receive and shake him by the hand. Present 
our kind regards to your amiable family, and receive for yourself our 
best wishes. 

I remain, very respectfully, yours, etc., 

Andrew Jackson. 

P.S.— I am 80 much debilitated that I can scarcely wield my pen. 

A. J. 

To Dr. Lawrence. 

His faith in an overruling Providence was expressed to Con- 
gress and the country in these words, which were in substance 
repeated in all his messages : — 

His second inaugural address says, — 

" It 'is my fervent prayer to that Almighty Being before 
whom I now stand, and who has kept us in his hands from the 
infancy of our republic to the present day, that he wiU so over- 
rule all my intentions and actions, and inspire the hearts of my 
fellow-citizens, that we may be preserved from dangers of all 
kinds, and continue forever a united and happy people." 

His message of 1835 says, "Never in any former period 
of our history have we had greater reason than we now have 
to be thankful to Divine Providence for the blessings of health 
and general prosperity," 

His message of 1836 : — " Our gratitude is due to the Supreme 
Ruler of the universe; and I invite you to unite with me in 
offering to him fervent supplication that his providential care 
may ever be extended to those who follow us. ... I shall not cease 
to invoke that beneficent Being to whose providence we are 
already so signally indebted, for the continuance of his blessings 
on our beloved country." 

•"For relief and deliverance, let us firmly rely on that kind 
Providence which, I am sure, watches with peculiar care over 
the destinies of our republic, and, on the intelligence and wis- 
dom of our countrymen. Through His abundant goodness and 
their patriotic devotion, our liberty and Union will be pre- 


" May the Great Ruler of nations grant that the signal bless- 
ings with which he has favored us may not, by the madness of 
party or personal ambition, be los*t ; and may his wise provi- 
dence bring those who have produced this crisis to see their 
folly before they feel the misery of civil strife, and inspire a 
returning veneration for the Union, which, if we may dare to 
penetrate his designs, he has chosen as the only means of attain- 
ing the high destinies to which we may reasonably aspire." 

Commodore Elliott brought from Asia a sarcophagus, which 
was presented, through the National Institute, to General Jack- 
son. His answer is as follows : — 

HiBHirAOE, March 27, 1845. 
Dear Sir: — 

Your letter of tliclSth instant, together with a copy of the proceedings 
of the National Institute, have been received. . . . With the warmest 
sensations that can inspire a grateful hea^^t, I must decline accepting 
the honor intended to be conferred. I cannot consent that my mortal 
body shall be laid in a repository prepared for an emperor or a king. 
My republican feelings and principles forbid it ; the simplicity of our 
system of government forbids it. Every monument erected to per- 
petuate the memory of our heroes and statesmen ought to bear evidence 
of the economy and simplicity of our republican institutions and the 
plainness of our republican citizens, who are the sovereigns of our glorious 
Union and whose virtue is to perpetuate it. True virtue cannot exist 
where pomp and parade are the governing passions : it can only dwell 
with the people, — the great laboring and producing classes, that form 
the bone and sinew of our confederacy. 

For these reasons, I cannot accept the honor you and the president 
and directors of the National Institute intended to bestow. I cannot 
permit my remains to be the first in these United States to be deposited 
in a sarcophagus made for an emperor or a king. ... I have pre- 
pared an humble depository for my mortal body beside that wherein 
lies my beloved wife, where, without any pomp or parade, I have re- 
quested, when my God calls me to sleep with my fathers, to be laid, — ^for 
both of us there to remain until the last trumpet sounds to call the dead 
to judgment, when we, I hope, shall rise together, clothed with that 
heavenly body promised to all who believe in our glorious Redeemer, 
who died for us that we might live, and by whose atonement I hope fo( 
a blessed immortality. 

Andrew Jackson. 

The sublime system of divinity so clearly taught in the Holy 
Scriptures was the joy and rejoicing of his heart. He had a 
firm faith in the providential government of God over nations^ 
men, and events. When rehearsing facts that had occurred in 
his military or political life, he would pause and say, "It was 


the hand of God : Divine Providence ordered it so." " Such an 
officer was cut down : he was a noble man. I felt his loss much ; 
but it was the hand and counsel of God." In an address at a 
dinner given in Georgetown, in honor of the hiero of the battle 
of New Orleans, he closed by saying, '*But to Heaven and to 
the bravery of our soldiers were we indebted for the victory ; 
to Heaven and them let it be ascribed." 

The following sketch of the religious feelings and dying 
scenes of Andrew Jackson was written by the Rev. John S. C. 

" One Sunday morning in the year 1827, as General Jackson 
and his wife were walking towards the little Hermitage church, 
she entreated him to take a decided stand as a Christian and to 
unite with the Church. He replied, — 

"'My dear, if I were to do that now, it would be said all over 
the country that I had done it for the sake of political eflfect. 
My enemies would all say so. I cannot do it now; but I pro- 
mise you that when once more I am clear of politics I will join 
the Church.' 

"On the 23d of December, 1828, Mrs. Jackson died. It was a 
terrible blow to her husband, who loved her with singular fervor 
and constancy. He never quite recovered from the shock. His 
spirit became very much subdued, and he gave up entirely the 
use of profane language, to which he had been awfully addicted 
^n his younger days. 

"Mr. Nicholas P. Trist, of Virginia, was the private secretary 
of President Jackson. On one occasion it seemed necessary for 
him to enter the President's apartment after he had retired for 
the night. He found the President in his night-dress, sitting at 
a table with his wife's miniature propped up against some books 
before him, and between him and the miniature lay his wife's 
well-worn prayer-book, from which, according to his invariable 
custom, he was reading a prayer before he slept. 

"About this time there was a season of special religious inte- 
rest in Washington. The pastor of the church which the 
President attended, and from whom the writer has the anecdote, 
called at the White House and entered into conversation with 
the President upon the subject of personal religion. He replied, 
'No man respects religion more than I do, or feels more 
deeply its importance. I promised my wife that I would attend 
to the salvation of my soul as soon as the election was over; 


but now the cares which engross me are so overwhelming, and 
my cabinet in such a divided state, that I have not a moment's 
time to think of any thing but the urgencies of the passing 
hour. But I am resolved, so soon as I leave the Presidential 
chair and retire to the seclusion of the Hermitage, to take up 
in earnest the subject of religion.' 

" It was the old excuse : Go thy way for this time, till I have 
a convenient season. The hour of retirement came, and still 
the general did not keep his promise. To one who addressed 
him upon the subject, he wrote, in August, 1838, 'I would long 
since have made this solemn dedication to Almighty God, but, 
knowing the wretchedness of this world, and how prone many 
are to evil, and that the scofiFer of religion would have cried out, 
"Hypocrisy! he has joined the Church for political effect," I 
thought it best to postpone this public act until my retirement 
to the shades of private life, when no false imputations could 
be made that might be injurious to religion.* 

"About a year from this time, in 1839, there was a protracted 
meeting at the Hermitage. General Jackson attended all the 
services with deep solemnity. He was deeply impressed by the 
last sermon, and urged the preacher, Rev. Dr. Edgar, of Nash- 
ville, to go home with him. An engagement prevented this. 
General Jackson, a sin-convicted man, with his eyes open to his 
true condition, passed the evening and most of the night 
in reading the Bible and in meditation and prayer. The 
anguish and tears of that night eternity alone can reveal. With 
the light of the morning peace dawned upon his soul. It was 
communion Sabbath at the little Hermitage church. That very 
day the general made a public profession of his faith in Christ. 
The church was crowded to its utmost capacity, the very win- 
dows being darkened with eager faces. As in great infirmity 
he leaned upon his staff, giving his assent to the creed and cove- 
nant of the Church, tears trickled freely down his furrowed 
cheeks, and all were overcome with emotion. 

"From this time until his death he spent most of Eis time 
reading the Bible. Scott's Family Bible he read through twice, 
and daily conducted family prayers, summoning all the house- 
hold servants. On the 8th of June, 1845, the summons came 
for the weary pilgrim, then seventy-eight years of age, to appear 
before his final Judge. As he lay upon his dying bed, after 
a severe spasm^ he swooned away, and all for a few momenta 


thought him dead. But he revived, and, raising his eyes, 
said, — 

" 'My dear children, do not grieve for me. It is true, I am 
going to leave you. I am well aware of my situation. I have 
suffered much bodily pain ; but my sulBferings are but as nothing 
compared with that which our blessed Saviour endured upon 
that accursed cross, that we might all be saved who put our 
trust in him.' 

" He then took an aflfectionate leave of each one of his family, 
tiiking them one by one by the hand and addressing to each 
a few words of counsel. ' He then,' writes Dr. Efselman, who 
was present, 'delivered one of the most impressive lectures 
upon the subject of religion that I have ever heard. He spoke 
for nearly half an h<far, and apparently with the power of inspi- 
ration ; for he spoke with calmness, with strength, and even 
with animation. In conclusion, he said, " My dear children and 
friends and servants, I hope and trust to meet you in heaven, 
both white and black." The last sentence he repeated, — " both 
white and black." ' 

" All present were in tears. ' Oh, do not cry,' said the general : 
'be good children, and wo will all meet in heaven.' These were 
his last words. He ceased to breathe, and died without a strug- 
gle or a pang. 'Major Lewis,' writes the biographer, ' removed 
the pillows, drew down the body upon the bed, and closed the 
eyes. Upon looking again upon the face, he observed that 
the expression of pain which it had worn so long had passed 
away. Death had restored it to naturalness and serenity. The 
agod warrior slept./ " 

During his last illness, to a friend he pointed to the family 
Bible on the stand, and said, — 

"That book, sir, is the rock on which our republic rests. It 
is the bulwark of our free institutions." 

Henry Clay, 

As an American statesman and a leading politician, wielded a 
masterly and moulding influence in shaping the legislative and 
political policy of his country. " His public life," says Dr. Robert* 
C. Breckenridge, in an oration on the occasion of laying the 
corner-stone of a monument to Mr. Clay, " from the commencement 
of the practice of the law till his death, lasted about fifty-five 
years, — ^a public life hardly matched in its duration and splendor 


by any other in our annals. He lived over seventy-five years : 
three-quarters of a century more fruitful in events or more 
decisive in their influence upon society had hardly ever oc- 
curred in the history of mankind. It was about eight months 
after the Continental Congress had issued from the city of Phi- 
ladelphia the immortal Declaration of Independence, in the 
name of the people of the United States, that the pious wife of 
a faithful and laborious Baptist minister, far off in Virginia, 
gave birth to Henry Clay. The language which he learned to 
speak was replenished with the divine truth which pervades a 
Christian household. The first words which he understood 
were words which sunk into his heart forever, — Country, 
Liberty, Independence. The first names he heard beyond 
his father's household were names that wfll live forever, — the 
name of his neighbor Henry, the prince of orators and patriots, 
the name of his fellow-Virginian, Washington, the first of 

"God had bestowed on him a personal presence and bearing 
as impressive as any mortal ever possessed. The basis of his 
moral character was akin to that which lies at the foundation of 
supreme moral excellence, — integrity and love of truth. His 
was a high, fair, brave, upright nature. His intellectual cha- 
racter, by which he will be chiefly known to posterity, was, as 
all men acknowledge, of the highest order, clear, powerful, and 
comprehensive : no subject seemed to be difficult under its 
steady insight, and it embraced with equal readiness every de- 
partment of human knowledge to which it became his duty to 
attend. No genius was ever capable of a wider diversity of 
use than his. And the vast and searching common sense 
which was the most striking characteristic of his mind re- 
vealed the purity, the truth, and the force with which the ulti- 
mate elements of our rational nature dwelt and acted in his 
noble understanding. 

" Mr. Clay was the child of Christian parents, all the more 
likely to be jealous of the heritage of God's love to their boy, 
as they had little else to bestow upon him. His own repeated 
declarations, made in the most public and solemn manner at 
every period of his life, that he cherished the highest venera- 
tion for the Christian religion, and the most profound convic- 
tion of the divine mission of the Saviour of sinners, fully justify 
the importance which I have attached to this element of bis 


destiny, even if he had not attested in his latter years the 
sincerity of his life- long convictions, by openly professing his 
faith in the Son of God and uniting himself with his professed 
followers. He lived some years, and closed his days, in the com- 
munion of the Protestant Episcopal Church, to which his vene-' 
rable wife had long been attached. It was my fortune to have 
personal knowledge, under circumstances which do not admit of 
any doubt in my own mind, that, according to the measure of 
the light he had, he was during a few years immediately pre- 
ceding his death a penitent and believing follower of the divine 
Eedeemer. It may be well allowed that the frank and habitual 
avowal even of speculative faith in the Christian religion, by a 
man of his character and position, was not without its value, 
and was not free from reproach, during that terrible season of 
unbelief which marked the close of the last century and 
stretched forward upon the first quarter of the present. And 
that the crowning efforts of his life were sustained by a sense 
of Christian duty, and its last sufferings assuaged by the con- 
solations of Christian hope, are facts too important, as they 
relate to him, and too significant in their own nature, to be 
omitted in any estimate of him. It is not, however, on ac- 
count of such considerations as these that I reiterate with so 
much emphasis the undeniable fact that Mr. Clay never was 
an infidel, that he was always an avowed believer in true re- 
ligion. But it is because such is my sense of the shallowness, 
the emptiness, and the baseness of that state of the human 
soul in which it can deny the God who created it and the 
Saviour who redeemed it, and can empty itself of its own 
highest impulses and disallow its own sublimest necessities, 
that I have no conception how such a soul could be what this 
man was, or do what he did. It is because I do understand 
with perfect distinctness that belief in God, and belief in a 
mission given to us by him, and to be executed with success 
only by means of his blessing upon our efforts, must be a con- 
viction, at once profound and enduring, in every soul that ia 
great in itself, or that can accomplish any thing great. 
Wonderful as Mr. Clay's career was, it would be a hundredfold 
more wonderful to suppose that such a career was possible to a 
scoffer and a skeptic." 

Mr. Clay died in the city of Washington, on the 29th of June, 
1852. Bev. Dr. Butler, chaplain of the Senate, delivered, in 



the Senate-Chamber, a funeral sermon in the presence of the 
President and Congress of the United States, in which he gave 
the following just views of the character and principles of an 
American statesman, and the views of Mr. Clay on the subject 
of the Christian religion : — 

"A great mind, a great heart, a great orator, a great career, 
have been consigned to history. I feel, as a man, the grandeur 
of this career. But as an immortal, with this broken wreck of 
mortality before me, with this scene as the ' end-all' of human 
glory, I feel that no career is truly great but that of him who, 
whether he be illustrious or obscure, lives to the future in the 
present, and, linking himself to the spiritual world, draws from 
God the life, the rule, the motive, and the reward of all his 
labor. So would that great spirit which has departed say to 
us, could he address us now. So did he realize, in the calm and 
meditative close of life. I feel that I but utter the lessons which, 
living, were his last and best convictions, and which, dead, would 
be, could he speak to us, his solemn admonitions, when I say 
that statesmanship is then only glorious when it is Chrisiian, 
and that man is then only safe and true to his duty and his 
soul, when the life which he lives in the flesh is the life of faith 
in the Son of God. Great, indeed, is the privilege, and most 
honorable and useful is the career, of a Christian American 
statesman. He perceives that civil liberty came from the free- 
dom wherewith Christ made its early martyrs and defenders 
free. He recognizes it as one of the twelve manner of fruits 
on the tree of life, which, while its lower branches furnish the 
best nutriment of earth, hangs on its topmost boughs, which 
wave in heaven, fruits that exhilarate the immortals. Recog- 
nizing the 6ti\te as God's institution, he will perceive that his 
own ministry is divine. Living consciously under the eye and 
in the love and fear of God, 'redeemed by the blood of Jesus,' 
sanctified by his Spirit, 'loving his law,' he will give himself, 
in private and in public, to the service of his Saviour. He will 
not admit that he may act on less lofty principles in public 
than in private life, and that he must be careful of his moral 
influence in the small sphere of home and neighborhood, but need 
take no heed of it when it stretches over continents and crosses 
seas. He will know that his moral responsibility cannot be 
divided and distributed among others. When he is told thcit 
adherence to the ptrictest moral and religious principles ia 


incompatible with a successful and eminent career, he will 
denounce the assertion as a libel on the venerated fathers of 
the republic, — a libel on the honored living and the illustrious 
dead, — a libel against a, great and Christian nation, — ^a libel 
against God himself, who has declared and made 'godliness 
profitable for the life that now is.' He will strive to make 
laws the transcripts of the character, and institutions illustra- 
tions of the providence, of God. He will scan with admiration 
and awe the purposes of God in the future history of the world, 
in throwing open this continent, from sea to sea, as the abode 
of freedom, intelligence, plenty, prosperity, and peace, and feel 
that in giving his energies with a patriot's love to the welfare 
of his country he is consecrating himself, with a Christian zeal, 
to the extension and establishment of the Eedeemer's kingdom. 
Compared with a career like this, which is equally open to 
those whose public sphere is large or small, how paltry are the 
trades in patriotism, the tricks of statesmanship, the rewards of 
successful baseness I This hour, this scene, the venerated dead, 
the country, the world, the present, the future, God, duty, 
heaven, hell, speak trumpet-tongued to all in the service of 
their country, to beware how they lay polluted or unhallowed 


'upon the ark 
Of her magnificent and awful cause.' 

"Such is the character of that statesmanship which alone 
would have met the full approval of the venerated dead. For 
the religion which always had a place in the convictions of his 
mind had also, within a recent period, entered into his expe- 
rience and seated itself in his heart. Twenty years since, he 
wrote, ' I am a member of no religious sect, and I am not a 
professor of religion. I regret that I am not. I wish that I 
was, and trust that I shall be. I have, and always have had, 
a profound regard for Christianity, the religion of my fathers, 
and for its rites, its usages and observances.' That feeling 
proved that the seed sown by pious parents was not dead, though 
stifled. A few years since, its dormant life was reawakened. 
He was baptized in the communion of the Protestant Episcopal 
Church, and during his sojourn in this city he was in fiill com- 
munion with Trinity Parish. He avowed his full faith in the 
great leading doctrines of the gospel, the fall and sinfulness of 
man, the divinity of Christ, the reality and necessity of the 


atonement, the need of being born again by the Spirit, and 
salvation through faith in a crucified Bedeemer. He said, with 
much feeling, that he endeavored to, and trusted that he did, 
repose his salvation upon Christ; that it was too late for him 
to look at Christianity in the light of speculation, — that he had 
never doubted of its truth, and that he now wished to throw 
himself upon it as a practical and blessed remedy. Very soon 
after this I administered to him the sacrament of the Lord's 
Supper. It was a scene long to be ren^embered. There, in 
that still chamber, at a weekday noon, the tides of life' flowing 
all around us, three disciples of the Saviour — the minister of 
God, the dying statesman, and his servant, a partaker of the 
like precious faith — commemorated their Saviour's dying love. 
He grew in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and 
Saviour Jesus Christ. Among the books which, in connection 
with the word of (jod, he read most, were Jay's ' Morning and 
Evening Exercises,' the ' Life of Dr. Chalmers,' and ' The Chris- 
tian Philosopher Triumphant in Death.' " 

Mr. Cass, an eminent Christian statesman, whose life, private 
and public, has illustrated- the virtues of the Christian religion, 
and who in his official positions and public addresses has un- 
folded its benign relations and influence on society and civil 
states, was a co-Senator with Mr. Clay, and, in his remarks in 
the Senate, on his character and death, said, — 

" I was often with him during his last illness, when the world 
and the things of this world were fast fading away before him. 
After his duty to his Creator and his anxiety for his family, his 
first care was for his country, and his first wish for the preserva- 
tion and perpetuation of the Constitution and Union, — dear 
to him in the hour of death as they had ever been in the vigor 
of life,— of the Constitution and Union, whose defence in the 
last and greatest crisis of their peril had called forth all his 
energies, and stimulated those memorable and powerful exer- 
tions which he who witnessed can never forget, and which no 
doubt hastened the final catastrophe a nation now deplores 
with a sincerity and unanimity not less honorable to themselves 
than to the memory of the object of their affections. And 
when we shall enter that narrow valley, through which he has 
passed before us, and which leads to the judgment-seat of 
God, may we be able to say, through &ith in his Son our Sa- 


viour, and in the beautiful language of the hymn of the dying 
Christian, — dying, but ever living and triumphant, — 

< The world recedes, it disappears! 
Heaven opens on my eyes I my ears 

With sounds seraphic ring : 
Lend, lend your wings I I mount — ^I fly I 
Grave I where is thy victory ? 

Death i where is thy sting?' 

*' Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end 
he like his** 

Daniel Webster's 

Genius and influence on the political and legislative history of 
the American republic has been, and is, pre-eminently pure 
and powerful. As an American Senator, he was unequalled in 
his profound views of the genius of our civil institutions, and 
won for himself the title of the Great Expounder of the Consti- 
tution. For forty years he occupied the highest eminence in 
Congress and in the politics of the country, and acquired a fame 
that will be enduring and historic. As a lawyer, a statesman, 
a politician, an expounder of the Constitution, and a scholar, 
Mr. Webster had no equal among modern statesmen. His 
works constitute the richest treasures of the civil and political 
literature of the republic, and are distinguished as profound 
expositions of the genius of our institutions, and for their 
classic beauty, eloquence, and purity. In the Senate of the 
United States, before the Supreme Court of the United States, 
and on political, literary, and commemorative occasions, he 
vindicated the divinity of the Christian religion, and unfolded 
its relations to civil society and government and to the present 
and eternal well-being of man. The following declarations in 
reference to the Christian religion will present his views on 
this important subject. 

In 1844, Mr. Webster made an elaborate argument before 
the Supreme Court of the United States against the validity of 
the will of Stephen Girard, of Philadelphia. Mr. Girard had, 
by his immense wealth, founded an institution of learning for 
the education of orphan children. A provision in the will con- 
tained the following restriction : — 

" Secondly, I enjoin and require tha;t no ecclesiastic, missionary^ 


or minister of any sect whatever shall ever hold or exercise any 
station or duty whatever in the said College; nor shall any such ' 
person ever be admitted for any purpose, or as a visitor, within 
the premises appropriated to the purposes of the said College. 

" My desire is, that all the instructors and teachers in the 
College shall take pains to instil into the minds of the scholars 
the purest morality, so that on their entrance into active life 
they may, from inclination and habit, evince benevolence towards 
their feUow-creatures, and a love of truth, sobriety, and in* 
dustry, adopting at the same time such religious tenets as their 
matured reason may enable them to prefer." 

The heirs-at-law of Stephen Girard tried the question of the 
validity of the will. Mr. Webster was their lawyer, and made 
a masterly argument against it and in favor of the Christian 
religion. The speech produced a deep impression on the public 
mind, and led to a meeting of the citizens of Washington, 
belonging to different denominations, who passed the following 
resolution: — 

" 1st. That, in the opinion of this meeting, the powerful and 
eloquent argument of Mr. Webster, on the before-mentioned 
clause of Mr. Girard's will, demonstrates the vital importance 
of Christianity to the success of our free institutions, and 
its necessity as the basis of all useful moral education; and 
that a general diffusion of that argument among the people of 
the United States is a matter of deep public interest." 

The speech was published and widely circulated. The extracts 
in this volume touch upon various fundamental features of the 
Christian religion. 

On the Christian ministry Mr. Webster said, — 

" Now, I suppose there is nothing in the New Testament more 
clearly established by the Author of Christianity than the 
appointment of a Christian ministry. The world was ^o be 
evangelized, was to be brought out of darkness into light, by 
the influences of the Christian religion spread and propagated 
by the instrumentality of man. A Christian ministry was, 
therefore, appointed by the Author of the Christian religion 
himself, and it stands on the same authority as any other part 
of religion. And after his resurrection, in the appointment of 
the great mission to the whole human race, the Author of 
Christianity commanded his disciples that they should ' go into 
9il the world and preach the gospel to every creature.' This 


was one of his last commands ; and one of his last promises 
was the assurance, ' Lo, I am with you always, even unto the 
end of the world.' I say, therefore, there is nothing set forth 
more authentically in the New Testament than the appointment 
of a Christian ministry; and he who does not believe this does 
not and cannot believe the rest. 

" Why should we shut our eyes to the whole history of Chris- 
tianity ? Is it not the preaching of the. njinister of the gospel 
that has evangelized the more civilized part of the world? 
Why do we at this day enjoy the rights and benefits of Chris- 
tianity ourselves ? Do we not owe it to the instrumentality of 
the Christian ministry ? And where was Christianity ever re- 
ceived, — where were its truths ever poured into the humaji 
heart, — where did its waters, springing up into everlasting life, 
ever burst forth, — except in the track of the Christian ministry ? 
Do we not aU know that wherever Christianity has been carried 
and wherever it has been taught by human agency, that agency 
was the agency of Christian ministers?" 

On the Christian Sabbath Mr. Webster said, — 

" What becomes of the Christian Sabbath in a school thus 
established? The observance of the Sabbath is a part of Chris- 
tianity in all its forms. All Christians admit the observance of 
the Sabbath. There can be no Sabbath in this college, there 
can be no religious observance of the Lord's day ; for there are 
•no means of attaining that end. Where can these little children 
go to learn the truth, to reverence the Sabbath? They are just 
as far from the ordinary observance of the Sabbath as if there 
was no Sabbath day at all. And where there is no observance 
of the Christian Sabbath, there will, of course, be no public 
worship of God. 

" As a part of my argument, I will read an extract from an 
address of a large convention of clergymen and laymen, held 
recently in Columbus, Ohio, to lead the public mind to a more 
particular observance of the Sabbath, and which bears with 
peculiar force upon this case : — 

"'It is alike obvious that the Sabbath exerts its salutary 
power by making the population acquainted with the being, 
perfections, and laws of God, with our relations to him as his 
creatures, and our obligations to him as rational and account- 
able subjects, and with our characters as sinners, for whom his 
mercy has provided a Saviour, under whose government we 


live to be restrained from sin and reconciled to God, and fitted 
by his word and Spirit for the inheritance above. 

"'It is by the reiterated instruction and impression which the 
Sabbath imparts to the population of a nation, by the moral 
principle which it forms, by the conscience which it maintains, 
by the habits of method, cleanliness, and industry it creates, 
by the rest and renovated vigor it bestows on exliausted human 
nature, by the lengthened life and higher health it affords, by 
the holiness it inspires, and cheering hopes of heaven and the 
protection and favor of God which its observance injures, that 
the Sabbath is rendered the moral conservator of nations. 

" ' The omnipresent influence which the Sabbath exerts, how- 
ever, is by no secret charm or compendious action, upon masses 
of unthinking minds; but it arrests the stream of worldly 
thoughts, interests, and affections, stopping the din of business, 
unlading the mind of its cares and responsibilities and the body 
of its burdens, while God speaks to men, and they attend, and 
hear, and fear, and learn to do his will. 

" ' You might as well put out the sun and think to enlighten 
the world with tapers, destroy the attraction of gravity and 
think to wield the universe by human powers, as to extinguish 
the moral illumination of the Sabbath, and break this glorious 
mainspring of the moral government of God.' " 

On the relation of the Christian religion to morality, Mr. 
Webster said, "This scheme of educixtion is derogatory to 
Christianity, because it proceeds upon the assumption that 
the Christian religion is not the only true foundation, or any 
necessary foundation, of morals. The ground taken is that reli- 
gion is not necessary to morality, that benevolence may be 
insured by habit, and that all the virtues may flourish, and be 
safely left to the chance of flourishing, without touching the 
waters of the living spring of religious responsibility. With 
him who thinks thus, what can be the value of the Christian 
revelation ? So the Christian world has not thought ; for by 
that Christian world, throughout its broadest extent, it has 
been, and is, held as a fundamental truth that religion is the 
only solid basis of morals, and that moral instruction not rest- 
ing on this basis is only building upon sand." 

On the importance of early religious instruction, Mr. Webster 
said, — 

"This first great commandment teaches man that there is 


one, and only one, great First Cause,— one, and only one, proper 
object of hunian* worship. This is the great, the ever fresh, 
the overflowing fountain of all revealed truth. Without it, 
human life is a desert, of no known termination on any side, 
but shut in on all sides by a dark and impenetrable horizon. 
Without the light of this truth, man knows nothing of his 
origin and nothing of his end. And when the Decalogue was 
delivered to the Jews, with this great announcement and com- 
mand at its head, what said the inspired lawgiver ? That it 
should be kept from children ? — that it should be revered as a 
communication fit only for mature age? Far, far otherwise. 
' And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in 
thy heart. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy 
children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, 
and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and 
.when thou risest up.' 

*' There is an authority still more inspiring and awful. When 
little children were brought into the presence of God, his disciples 
proposed to send them away; but he said, 'Suflfer little children 
to come unto me.' Unto me: he did not send them first to 
learn the lessons in morals to the schools of the Pharisees or to 
the unbelieving Sadducees, nor to read the precepts and lessons 
phylacterized on the garments of the Jewish priesthood; ho 
said nothing of different creeds or clashing doctrines ; but ho 
opened at once to the youthful mind the everlasting fountain of 
living waters, the only source of eternal truths : — ' Suffer little 
children to come unto me,' And that injunction is of perpetual 
obligation. It addresses itself to-day with the same earnestness 
and the same authority which attended its first utterance to the 
Christian world. It is of force everywhere and at all times. 
It extends to the ends of the earth, it will reach to the end of 
time, always and everywhere sounding in the ears of men, with 
an emphasis which no repetition can weaken, and with an 
authority which nothing can supersede, 'Sufier little children 
to come unto me.' And not only my heart and my judgment, 
my belief and my conscience, instruct me that this great pre- 
cept should be obeyed, but the idea is so sacred, the solemn 
thoughts connected with it so crowd upon me, it is so utterly 
at variance with this system of philosophical morality which 
we have heard advocated, that I stand and speak here in fear of 


being influenced by my feelings to exceed the proper line of my 
professional duty." 

On the nature and purpose of true charity and its union with 
the Christian religion, Mr. Webster said, — 

" There is nothing in the history of the Christian religion, 
there is nothing in the history of English law, either before or 
after the conquest ; there can be found no such thing as a school 
of instruction in a Cliristian land, from which the Christian 
religion has been, of intent and purpose, rigorously and oppro* 
briously excluded, and yet such a school regarded as a chari- 
table trust or foundation. A school of instruction for children, 
from which the Christian religion and Christian teachers are ex- 
cluded, — there is no such thing in the history of religion, there is 
no such thing in the history of human laws, as a charity school 
of instruction for children, from which the Christian religion 
and Christian teachers are excluded, as unsafe and unworthy 
intruders. There can be no charity in that man of education 
that opposes Christianity. 

"I maintain that in any institution for the instruction of 
youth, where the authority of God is disowned, and the duties 
of Christianity derided and despised, and its ministers shut out 
from all participation in its proceedings, there can no more 
charity, true charity exist, than evil can spring out of the 
Bible, error out of truth, or hatred and animosity come forth 
from the bosom of perfect love. No, sir ! No, sir ! If charity 
denies its birth and parentage, — if it turns infidel to the great 
doctrines of the Christian religion, if it turns unbeliever, — it is 
no longer charity. This is no longer charity, either in a Chris- 
tian sense, or in the sense of jurisprudence; for it separates 
itself from the fountain of its own creation." 

The faith of the Christian religion, which Mr. Webster had 
through his whole public career maintained with such masterly 
eloquence, was his stay in the last scenes of life. He died at 
Marshfield, Massachusetts, October 24, 1852. On that day he 
eaid, "All that is mortal of Daniel Webster will soon be no 
more." He then prayed, in his full, clear, and strong voice, 
ending with the petition, " Heavenly Father, forgive my sins, 
and receive me to thyself, through Christ Jesus." 

His physician repeated to him, " Though I walk through the 
valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil : for thou art 
with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." 


Mr. 'Webster instantly rejoined "The fact I the fact I That 
is what I want I Thy rod! thy rodl Thy staff! thy staff!". 
His last words were, " I still live." 

A few days before his death he drew up and signed the 
following declaration of his religious faith, which was by his 
direction inscribed on his tomb ; — 

" Lord, I believe : hdp thou mine urtbdief. Philosophical 
argument, especially that drawn from the vastness of the uni- 
verse in comparison with the insignificance of this globe, has 
sometimes shaken my reason for the faith which is in me ; but 
my heart has always assured and reassured me that the gospel 
of Jesus Christ must be a divine reality. The Sermon on the 
Mount cannot be a merely human production. This belief 
enters into the very depth of my conscience. • The whole history 
of man proves it. 

"Daniel Webster." 

. Lamartine, a French statesman and writer, presents the fol- 
lowing view of infidel and Christian influences, contrasted, on 
men and nations : — 

" I know — I sigh when I think of it — that hitherto the French 
people have been the least religious of all the nations of Europe. 
Is it because the idea of Gted — which arises from all the evi- 
dences of nature and from the depths of reflection — being the 
profoundest and weightiest idea of which human intelligence is 
capable, and the French mind being the most rapid, but the most 
superficial, the lightest, the most unreflective of all European 
races, this mind has not the force and severity necessary to carry 
far and long the greatest conception of the human understanding? 

" Is it because our Governments have always taken upon them- 
selves to think for us, to believe for us, and to pray for us? Is 
it because we are, and have been, a military people, a soldier 
nation, led by kings, heroes, ambitious men, from battle-field to 
battle-field, making conquests and never keeping them, ravaging, 
dazzling, charming, and corrupting Europe, and bringing home 
the manners, vices, bravery, lightness, and impiety of the camp 
to the fireside of the people? 

" I know not; but certain it is that the nation has an immense 
progress to make in serious thought if she wishes to remain free. 
If we look at the characters, compared as regards religious sen- 


timents, of the great nations of Europe, America, even Asia, the 
advantage is not for us. . The great men of other countries live 
and die on the scene of history, looking up to heaven; our great 
men appear to live and die, forgetting completely the only idea 
for which it is worth living and dying : they live and die looking 
at the spectator, or, at most, at posterity. 

''Open the history of America, the history of England, and 
the history of France ; read the great lives, the great deaths, 
the great martyrdoms, the great words at the hour when the 
ruling thought of life reveals itself in the last words of the 
dying; and compare. 

" Washington and Franklin fought, spoke, suflfered, always in 
the name of God, for whom they acted ; and the Liberator of 
America died, confiding to God the liberty of the people and his 
own soul. 

"Sidney, the young martyr of a patriotism guilty of nothing 
but impatience, and who died to expiate his country's dream 
of liberty, said to his jailer, *I rejoice that I die innocent 
towards the king, but a victim resigned to the King on high, 
to whom all life is due.' 

" The Republicans of Cromwell only sought the way of God 
even in the blood of battles. Their politics were their faith; 
their reign, a prayer ; their death, a psalm. One hears, sees, 
feels, that God was in all the movements of these great people, 

"But cross the sea, traverse the Channel, come to our times, 
open our unnals, and listen to the great words of the great 
political actors of the drama of our liberty. One would think 
that God was eclipsed from the soul, that his name was un- 
known in the language. History will have the air of an atheist 
when she recounts to posterity these annihilations rather than 
deaths of celebrated men in the greatest year of France I The 
victims only have a God; the tribune and lictors have none. 

"Look at Mirabeau on the bed of death. 'Crown me with 
flowers,' said he; 'intoxicate me with perfumes; let me die to 
the sound of delicious music' Not a word of God, or of his soul. 
Sensual philosopher, he desired only supreme sensualism, a last 
voluptuousness in his agony. 

" Contemplate Madame Roland, the strong-hearted woman of 
the Revolution, on the cart that conveyed her to death. She 
looked contemptuously on the besotted people who killed their 
prophets and sibyls. Not a glance towards heaven I Only one 
word for the earth she was quitting : — ' Liberty I' 


"Approach the dungeon-door of the Girondins, Their last 
night is a banquet; the only hymn, the Marseillaise! 

" Follow Camille Desmoulins to his execution. A cool and 
indecent pleasantry at the trial, and a long imprecation on the 
road to the guillotine, were the two last thoughts of this dying 
man on his W9.y to the last tribunal. 

"Hear Dan ton on the platform of the scaflfold, at the distance 
of a line from God and eternity. ' I have a good time of it : 
let me go to sleep.' Then to the executioner, * You will show 
my head to the people: it is worth the trouble.' His faith, 
annihilation; his last sigh, vanity I Behold the Frenchman of 
this latter age I 

" What must one think of the religious sentiment of a free 
people whose great figures seem thus to march in procession to 
annihilation, and to whom that terrible minister, death itself, 
recalls neither the threatenings nor promises of God ? 

"The republic of these men without a God has quickly been 
stranded. The liberty won by so much heroism and so much 
genius has not found in France a conscience to shelter it, a God 
to avenge it, a people to defend it against that atheism which has 
been called glory. All ended in a soldier and some apostate 
republicans travestied into courtiers. An atheistic republican- 
ism cannot be heroic. "When you terrify it, it bends ; when you 
would buy it, it sells itself. It would be very foolish to immo- 
late itself. Who would take any heed? The people ungrateful, 
and God non-existent I So finish atheistic revolutions !" 




Plutarch declares that the great care of the legislators of the 
republics of Greece and Rome was to inspire men with a sense 
of the favor and displeasure of the gods, and that religion is the 
cement of civil union, and the essential support of civil govern- 
ment. " A city might as well be built," says he, " on the 
air, without any earth to stand upon, as a commonwealth or a 
kingdom be constituted or preserved without religion." " No 
state," says an American writer, " ever yet existed without the 
basis of some religion. The earliest state constitution of "which 
we have any clear record is the Egyptian, and this was distinctly 
a theocracy. The Hebrew state was at first theocratic ; and when 
God gave the people a king, the religious element in their con- 
stitution w|LS not withdrawn. The old kingdoms of Assyria, 
Phenicia, Media and Persia, all made use of some special reli- 
gion as auxiliary to their civil state." 

The testimony of Polybius, an ancient writer and philo- 
sopher, to the beneficial efiects which resulted from the system 
of pagan superstition, in fortifying the sentiments of moral 
obligation and supporting the sanctity of oaths, is so weighty 
and decisive that it would be injustice not to insert it, — more 
especially as it is impossible to attribute it to the influence of 
credulity on the author himself, who was evidently a skeptic. 
It is scarcely necessary to remark that all the benefits which 


might in any way flow from superstition are secured to an 
incomparably greater degree by the belief of true religion. 

"But among all the useful institutions," says Polybius, "that 
demonstrate the superior excellence of the Eoman govern- 
ment, the most considerable, perhaps, is the opinion which 
people are taught to hold concerning the gods ; and that which 
other men regard as an object of disgrace appears, in my judg- 
ment, to be the very thing by which this republic is cherished 
and sustained. I mean superstition, the Eoman religion, which 
is impressed with all its terrors, and influences the private 
actions of the citizens and the public administration of the 
state, to a degree that can scarcely be excelled." 

" In almost all of the distinguished states," said A. H. Everett, 
in the Legislature of Massachusetts, " the principal care of the 
community has been to provide for the support of religion. In 
Egypt^ Palestine, and the Oriental nations, religion has always 
been the main object of the government. In Greece it was 
the only bond of union that held together the several members 
of that illustrious commonwealth of states." 

" Seeing therefore it doth appear," says the great and venerable 
Hooker, "that the safety of states dependeth upon religion ; that 
religion unfeignedly loved perfecteth men's abilities unto all kinds 
of virtuous services in the commonwealth ; that men's desire is, 
in general, to hold no religion but the true, and that whatever 
good efiects do grow out of their religion, who embrace, instead 
of the true, a false, the roots thereof are certain sparks of the . 
light of truth intermingled with the darkness of error, because 
no religion can wholly and only consist of untruths : we have 
reason to think that all true virtues are to honor true religion as 
their parent, and all well-ordered commonwealths to love her as 
their chiefest stay." 

Christianity is for all the wants of the civil state, as it is 
for all the wants of the soul and immortality. Hence it "has 
entered on a career of universal conquest : first the conquest 
of men, then of customs, institutions, corporations, and goveni- 
ments. She aims to carry out her spirit in the extremities even 
of the living framework of society. Accordingly, Christianity 
holds it to be as much the duty of the state to be born again 
fiom a life of selfishness and ambition suad worldly glory, to a 
life of universal love, and justice, and liberty, and devotion to 
God and his service." A nation and a government thus regene- 


rated would realize John Milton's idea of a civil government, 
that it should be "one huge christian personage, one 


The American colonies had a profound conviction of the 
essential need of religion as the only true basis of civil govern- 
ment. They had been schooled in the faith and practice of the 
Protestant religion, and when the time came for them to insti- 
tute governments for themselves they were prepared to found 
them, and carry them on according to the religion of the Bible. 

**The people of the colonies," said Burke in the British Par- 
liament, "are descendants of Englishmen. England is a nation 
which still, I hope, respects, and formerly adored, freedom. The 
colonists went from you when this part of your character was 
most predominant; and they took this bias and direction the 
moment they parted from your hands. They are, therefore, not 
only devoted to liberty, but to liberty according to English 
ideas and on English principles. Their governments are popu- 
lar in a high degree. If any thing were wanting to this neces- 
sary operation of the form of government, Religion^ would 
have given it a complete effect. Religion — ^always a principle 
of energy in this new people — is no way worn out or impaired; 
and their mode of professing is also one main cause of this free 
spirit. The people are Protestants, and of that kind which is 
most adverse to all implicit submission of mind and opinion. 
This is a persuasion, sir, not only favorable to liberty, but built 
upon it. The dissenting interests have sprung up in direct 
opposition to all the ordinary powers of .the world, and could 
justify that opposition only on a strong claim to natural liberty. 
AH Protestantism, even the most cold and passive, is a sort of 
dissent. But the religion most prevalent in our Northern 
colonies is a refinement on the spirit of the principle of resist- 
ance : it is the dissidence of dissent, and the protestantism of the 
Protestant religion. This religion, under a variety of denomi- 
nations, agreeing in nothing but in the communion of the spirit 
of liberty, is predominant in most of the Northern Provinces. 
The colonists left England when this spirit was high, and in the 
emigrants was highest of all; and even the stream of foreignera 
which has been constantly flowing into these colonies has, for 
the greater part, been composed of dissenters of their own 
countries, and have brought with them a temper and a cha- 
racter &r from alien to that of the people with whom they 

CIVIL nrsTTrunoKs of thb vsjtjsd states. 209 

mixed, A fierce spirit of liberty has grown up ; it has grown 
up with the growth of your people, and increased with the 
increase of their population and wealth, — a spirit that, un- 
happily, meeting with an excess of power in England, which, 
however lawful, is not reconcilable to any idea of liberty, much 
less with theirs, has kindled this flame which is ready to 
consume us." 

This thorough education of the colonists in the Protestant 
school of Christianity, from their earliest history down to the 
Revolution, prepared the statesmen who instituted our forms 
of government to found them on the principles of Christianity. 
This policy but reflected the will of the people, as well as the 
views and convictions of the men who framed our free insti- 

" That some religion," said Bishop McHvaine, " and that the 
Christian religion, is recognized as the religion of this nation 
and government, and as such is interwoven in its laws, and has 
a legal preference, though not ' establishment' in technical lan- 
guage, over whatever else has the name of religion, and espe- 
cially over all forms of infidelity, all must admit. We are 
thankful that our system of government, our common law, and 
administration of justice, were instituted by men having the 
wisdom to see how entirely the liberties and interests of this 
nation are dependent on the teachings and keeping of the truths 
and institutions of Christianity." 

"There is nothing," says Webster, "we look for with more 
certainty than this principle, that Christianity is a part of the 
law of the land. Every thing declares this. The generations 
which have gone before speak to it, and pronounce it from the 
tomb. We feel it. All, all proclaim that Christianity, general, 
tolerant Christianity, independent of sects and parties, that 
Christianity to which the sword and the fagot are unknown, 
general, tolerant Christianity, is the law of the land." 

The statesmen of the Continental Congress, in their delibe- 
rations, officially recognized the Christian religion, and incorpo- 
rated its principles into their legislative acts. That body of 
great men is thus spoken of by Webster. He says, — 

"No doubt the assembly of the first Continental Congress 

may be regarded as the era at which the Union of these States 

commenced. This event took place in Philadelphia, the city 

distinguished by the great civil events of our early history, on 



the 6th of September, 1774, on which day the first Continental 
Congress assembled. Delegates were present from New Hamp- 
shire, Massachusetts, Ehode Island, Connecticut, New York, 
New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia^ 
North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. 

" Let this day be ever remembered I It saw assembled from 
the several colonies those great men whose names have come 
down to us and will descend to all posterity. Their proceed- 
ings are remarkable for simplicity, dignity, and unequalled 
ability. At that day, probably, there could have been convened 
on no part of the globe an equal number of men possessing 
greater talents and ability, or animated by a higher and more 
patriotic motive. They were men full of the spirit of the 
occasion, imbued deeply with the general sentiment of the 
country, of large comprehension, of long foresight, and of few 
words. They made no speeches for ostentation : they sat with 
closed doors, and their great maxim was, ^fairt sans dire.' 
They knew the history of the past, they were alive to all the 
difficulties and all the duties of the present, and they acted 
from the first as if the future were all open before them. In 
such a constellation it would be invidious to point out the bright 
particular stars. Let me only say — ^what none can consider in- 
justice to others — that Greorge Washington was one of the 

"This first Congress, for the ability which it manifested, 
the principles which it proclaimed, and the characters which 
composed it, makes an illustrious chapter* in American history. 
Its members should be regarded not only individually, but in a 
group; they should be viewed as living pictures, exhibiting 
young America as it then was, and when the seeds of its public 
destiny were beginning to start into life, well described by 
our early motto as being full of energy and prospered by 
Heaven : — 

' Kon sine Diis, animosus infans.' 

"For myself, I love to travel back in imagination, to place my- 
self in the midst of this assembly, this union of greatness and 
patriotism, and to contemplate, as if I had witnessed, its pro- 
found deliberations, and its masterly exhibitions both of tho 
rights and wrongs of the country." 

The proceedings of the Assembly were introduced by reli- 


giotis observances and devout supplications to the throne of 
grace, for the inspiration of wisdom and the spirit of good 

The first act of the first session of the Continental Congress 
was to pass the following resolution : — 

Tuesday, September 6, 1774.— Hewlved, That the Rev. Mr. DuchS be de- 
sired to opea Congress to-morrow momiag with prayer, at Carpenter's 
Hall, at nine o'clock. 

Wednetday, Sepkimher 7, 1774^ A.M. — ^Agreeable to the resolve of yester- 
day, the meeting was opened with prayer by the Bev. Mr. Duch6. 

John Adams, in a letter to his wife, thus describes that 
scene : — 

" When the Congress first met, Mr. Cushing first made a 
motion that it should be opened with prayer. It was opposed 
by one or two, because we were so divided in religious senti- 
ments — ^some were Episcopalians, some Quakers, some Ana^ 
baptists, some Presbyterians, and some Congregationalists — that 
we could not agree in the same act of worship. Mr. Samuel 
Adams rose and said, ' he was no bigot, and could hear a prayer 
from a gentleman of piety and virtue, who was at the same 
time a friend to his country. He was a stranger in Phila- 
delphia, but had heard that Mr. Duch€ deserved that character, 
and therefore he moved that Mn Duch£, an Episcopalian clergy- 
man, might be desired to read prayers to the Congress to-morrow 
morning.' The motion was seconded, and passed in the affirma- 
tive. Mr. Randolph, our President, waited on Mr. Duch^, and 
received for answer that if his health would permit he certainly 
would. Accordingly, next morning he appeared, with his clerk 
and in his pontificals, and read the collect for the seventh day 
of September, which was the thirty-first Psalm. You must re- 
member that this was the first morning after we heard the 
horrible rumor of the cannonade of Boston. I never saw a 
greater effect produced upon an audience. It seemed as if 
Heaven had ordained that Psalm to be read on that morning. 
It has had an excellent eflfect upon everybody here. I must 
beg you to read that Psalm." It is as follows :— 

1. In thee, Lord, do I put my trust ; let me never be ashamed : 
deliver me in thy righteousness, 

2. Bow down thine ear to me ; deliver me speedily : be thou my strong 
rook» for a house of defence to save me. 


3. For thou art my rock and my fortress ; therefore for thy name's 
»ake lead me, and guide me. 

4. Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me : for thou 
art my strength. 

5. Into thine hand I commit my spirit : thou hast redeemed me, O 
Lord God of truth. 

6. I have hated them that regard lying vanities : but I trust in the 

7. I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy : for thou hast considered 
my trouble ; thou hast known my soul in adversities ; 

8. And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy : thou hast 
set my feet in a large room. 

9. Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am in trouble : mine eye is 
consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly. 

10. For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my 
strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are con- 

11. I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among 
my neighbors, and a fear to mine acquaintance : they that did see me 
without fled from me. 

12. I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind : I am like a broken 

13. For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: 
while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away 
my life. 

14. But I trusted in thee, O Lord : I said, Thou art my God. 

15. My times are in thy hand : deliver me from the hand of mine ene- 
mies, and from them that persecute me. 

16. Make thy face to shine upon thy servant : save me for thy mercies' 

17. Let me not be ashamed, O Lord ; for I have called upon thee : 
let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave. 

18. Let the lying lips be put to silence ; which speak grievous things 
proudly and contemptuously against the righteous. 

19. Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them 
that fear thee ; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee 
before the sons of men I 

20. Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride 
of man : thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of 

21. Blessed be the Lord : for he hath showed me his marvellous kind< 
ness in a strong city. 

22. For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes : never- 
theless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto 

23. Oh love the Lord, all ye his saints : for the Lord preserveth the 
faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer. 

24. Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye thai 
hope in the Lord. 


" After this," says Adams, " Mr. Duch^, unexpectedly to every- 
body^ struck out into an extemporaneous prayer, which filled the 
bosom of every man present. I must confess I never heard a 
better prayer, or one so well pronounced. Episcopalian as he is, 
Dr. Cooper himself never prayed with such fervor, such ardor, 
such earnestness and pathos, and in language so elegant and 
sublime, for America, for the Province of Massachusetts, and 
especially for the town of Boston." 

In Adams's Diary, Sept. 7, 1774, the same scene is recorded : — 

" Went to Congress again ; heard Mr. Duch^ read prayers ; the' 
collect for the 7th of the month was most admirably adapted, 
— ^though this was accidental, or, rather, providential. A prayer 
which he gave us of his own composition was as pertinent, as 
affectionate, as sublime, as devout, as I ever heard offered up to 
Heaven. He filled every bosom present." 

We give below the prayer as it is printed in Thatcher's 
" Military Biography," under date of December, 1777. 

Lord our heavenly Father, high and mighty King of kings and 
Lord of lords, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers on 
earth, and reignest with power supreme and uncontrolled over all the 
kingdoms, empires, and governments ; look down in mercy, we beseech 
thee, on these American States who have fled to thee from the rod of 
the oppressor, and thrown themselves on thy gracious protection, de- 
siring to be henceforth dependent only on thee ; to thee they havo 
appealed for the righteousness of their cause ; to thee do they now look 
up for that countenance and support which thou alone canst give ; take 
them, therefore, heavenly Father, under thy nurturing care ; give them 
wisdom in council, and valor in the field ; defeat the malicious designs 
of our cruel adversaries ; convince them of the unrighteousness of their 
cause, and if they still persist in their sanguinary purposes, oh, let the 
voice of thine own unerring justice, sounding in their hearts, constrain 
them to drop the weapons of war from their unnerved hands in the day 
of battle. Be thou present, God of wisdom, and direct the councils 
of this honorable assembly : enable them to settle things on the best 
and surest foundation, that the scene of blood may be speedily closed, 
that order, harmony, and peace may be effectually restored, and truth 
and justice, religion and piety, prevail and flourish amongst thy people. 
Preserve the health of their bodies and the vigor of their minds ; 
shower down on them and the millions they here represent, such tempo- 
ral blessings as thou seest expedient for them in this world, and crown 
them with everlasting glory in the world to come. All this we ask in 
the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Saviour. 
Amen I 

" It muflt have been an interesting scene," says Goodrich : — " a ' 


tninister, bound to forms, finding extefmporaneoiis words to snii 
the occasion, and the Quaker, the Presbyterian, the Episcopa- 
lian, and the Rationalist, — some kneeling, some standiiig, but 
all praying, and looking to Heaven for wisdom and counsd in 
this hour of doubt, anxiety, and responsibility. Adams and 
Sherman, the Puritans, standing erect, — Thomson, the Quaker, 
finding the movement of the Spirit in the words of a cciise* 
crated priest, — with Washington, Henry, and other Episco- 
palians, kneehng, according to their creed, and all invoking wis- 
dom from above, would make a touching and instructive picture. 
Its moral would be, that the greatest minds, in moments of difii- 
culty and danger, acknowledge their dependence upon God, and 
feel the necessity of elevating and purifying their hearts by 
prayer; and that the difierences of sect, the distinctions of form, 
all vanish when emergency presses upon the conscieaees of 
men and forces them to a sincere aiid open avowal of their con- 

Webster described, in the Senate, the same scene as follows : — 
" At the meeting of the first Congress, there was a doubt in the 
minds of many about the propriety of opening the sessions with 
prayer; and the reason assigned was, as here, the great diversity 
of opinion and religious belief; until at last Mr. Samuel Adams, 
with his gray hairs hanging about his shoulders, and with an 
impressive venerableness now seldom to be met with (I suppose 
owing to difierent habits), rose, in that assembly, and, with the 
air of a perfect Puritan, said, ' it did not become men profess- 
ing to be Christian men, who had come together for solemn 
deliberation in the hour of their extremity, to say there was 
80 wide a diflPerence in their religious belief that they could not, 
as one man, bow the knee in prayer to the Almighty, whose 
advice and assistance they hoped to obtain ; and, Independent 
as he was, and an enemy to all prelacy as he was known to be, 
he moved that Eev. Mr. Duch^, of the Episcopal Church, should 
address the Throne of Grace in prayer.' Mr. Duch^ read the 
Episcopal service of the Church of England ; and then, as if 
moved by the occasitwi, he broke out into extemporaneous 
prayer ; and those men who were about to resort to force to 
obtain their rights were moved to tears ; and * floods of tears,' 
he says, ' ran down the cheeks of pacific Quakers, who formed 
a part of that interesting assembly ;* and depend upon it, that 
tohere there is a spirit of Christianity there \8 a ypirit which 


rises ahove form, above ceremonies , independent of sect or creed 
and the controversies of clashing doctrines" 

That Congress of Christian statesmen appreciated the services 
rendered by their first chaplain^ and unanimously 

" Voted, That the thanks of Congress be given to Mr. Duch^, 
by Mr. Gushing and Mr. Ward, for performing divine service, 
and for the excellent prayer which he composed and delivered 
on the occasion." 

The public worship of Almighty (Jod was personally and 
officially observed by the statesmen of the Eevolution. The 
records of the Continental Congress present this iajct : — 

*' Saturday, July 15th, 1776. — On motion, Resolved, That 
the Congress will, on Thursday next, attend divine service in 
a body, both morning and afternoon^ 

On the 3d of October, 1776, on the occasion of the sudden 
demise of Peyton Kandolph, Congress resolved to attend his 
funeral as mourners, and appointed a committee '' to wait on 
the Eev. Mr. Duch^ and request him to prepare a proper dis- 
course to be delivered at the funeral." 

The legislation of Congress on the Bible is a suggestive 
Christian fact, and one which evinces the faith of the states- 
men of that period in its divinity, as well as their purpose to 
place it as the corner-stone in our republican institutions. 

The breaking out of the Eevolution cut off the supply of 
" books printed in London." The scarcity of Bibles also came 
soon to be felt. Dr. Pateick Allison, one of the chaplains 
to Congress, and other gentlemen, brought the subject before 
that body in a memorial, in which they urged the printing of 
an edition of the Scriptures. 

On the 11th of September, 1777, the committee to whom the 
memorial was referred reported as follows : — 

Thursday^ September 11, 1777. — ^The committee to whom the memorial 
of Dr. Allison and others was referred, report, That they have con- 
ferred fully with the printers, &c., in this city, and are of opinion that 
the proper types for printing the Bible are not to be had in this coun- 
try, and that the paper cannot be procured, but with such difficulties, 
and subject to such casualties, as render any dependence on it alto* 
gether improper ; that to import types for the purpose of setting up an 
entire edition of the Bible, and to strike off 30,000 copies, with paper, 
binding, &c., will cost £10,272 10, which must be advanced by Congress, 
to be reimbursed by the sale of the books ; that, in the opinion of the 
committee, considerable difficulties will attend tiie procuring the types 


and paper ; that, afterwards, the risk of importing them will consider- 
ably enhance the cost, and that the calculations are subject to such un- 
certainty in the present state of affairs, that Congress cannot much rely 
on them ; that the use of the Bible is so universat) and its importance 
80 great, that your committee refer the above to the consideration of 
Congress, and if Congress shall not think it expedient to order the im- 
portation of types and paper, the committee recommend that Congress 
will order the Committee of Commerce to import 20,000 Bibles from 
Holland, Scotland, or elsewhere, into the different porU of the States 
of the Union. 

Whereupon it was moved, That the Committee of Commerce be 
directed to import 20,000 copies of the Bible. 

On this motion. New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Bhode Island, Con- 
necticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Georgia, voted in the affirma- 
tive; New York, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and 
South Carolina, voted in the negative. 

So it wa0 resolved in the affirmative. 

In 1781 Rev. Mr. Aitken memorialized Congress to aid him in 
printing an American edition of the Bible. Congress appointed 
a committee, who submitted a report on the subject as follows : — 

By the United Stales in Congress assembled: 
Sbptbmbbe 12, 1782. 
The committee to whom was referred a memorial of Robert Aitken, 
Printer, dated 21st January, 1781, respecting an edition of the Holy 
Scriptures, report, That Mr. Aitken has, at great expense, now finished 
an American edition of the Holy Scriptures in English ; that the com- 
mittee have from time to time attended to his progress in the work ; 
that they also recommended it to the two chaplains of Congress to exa- 
mine and give their opinion of the execution, who have accordingly 
reported thereon ; the recommendation and report being as follows : — 

PHILADBLPBIA, Ist Sopt, 17S2. 

Reverend Gentlemen: — 

Our knowledge of your piety and public spirit leads us, without 
apology, to recommend to your particular attention the edition of the 
Holy Scriptures published by Mr. Aitken. He undertook this expen- 
sive work at a time when, from the circumstances of , the war, an Eng- 
lish edition of the Bible could not be imported, nor any opinion formed 
how long the obstruction might continue. On this account, particularly, 
he deserves applause and encouragement. We therefore wish you, 
reverend gentlemen, to examine the execution of the work, and, if 
approved, to give it the sanction of your judgment and the weight of 
your recommendation. 

We are, with very great respect, 

Your most obedient, humble servants, 
(Signed) Jambs Duakb, Chainnanj 

In hehaff of a commiitee of Congress on Mr. Aitken' s memmal. 

czcviL iKSTTrnnom of the ukited states. 217 

Bererend Dr. White and Bey. Mr. Doffield, ChftplainB of the United 
States in Congress assembled, report: — 

Gentlevsn : — 

Agreeably to your d^ire, we have paid attention to Mr. Robert 
Aitken's impression of the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testa- 
ments. Having selected and examined a variety of passages through- 
out the work, we are of opinion that it is executed with great accuracy 
as to the sense, and with as few grammatical and typographical errors as 
could have been expected in an undertaking of such magnitude. Being 
ourselves witnesses of the demand for this invaluable work, we rejoice 
in the present prospect of a surplus, — ^hoping that it will prove as advan- 
tageous as it is honorable to the gentleman who has exerted himself 
to furnish it, at the evident risk of private fortune. 
We are, gentlemen, 

Your very respectful and humble servants, 

(Signed) William White, 

Geobgx Duffulo. 
Philadelphia, S«pt 10, 1782. 

Hon. James Duai^x, Esq., Chairman^ and the other honorable gentle- 
men of the committee of Congress on Mr. Aitken's memorial. 

Whereupon, Unsolved, That the United States, in Congress assembled, 
highly approve of the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aitken, 
as subservient to the interests of religion, as well as an instance of the 
progress of the fine arts in this coimtry ; and, being satisfied from the 
above report of his care and accuracy in the execution of the work, they 
recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United 
States, and hereby authorize him to publish this recommendation in the 
manner he shall think proper. 

Charles Thomson, Secretary. 

The American Bible Society published, in 1856, the following 
statement in connection with the presentation of a Bible to each 
House of Congress : — 

The Bible in Congress. 
A joint note was received in May last from the two chaplains of Con* 
gress, suggesting that our Board present a copy of the pulpit Bible for use 
in public worship at the Capitol. The suggestion was cheerfully complied 
with, and the following response received, showing, with a thousand 
other incidents, that, while we have no state-established religion, we are 
correctly styled a Christian nation * — 

Wasbikotok, May 19, 1856. 
To the Board of Managers of the American Bible Society , 

Gentlemen : — ^We have the pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of an 
imperial quarto Bible for the use of Congress at the hands of joxa Secre- 

In behalf of Congress, we beg to tender to you our grateful thanks for 


this appropriate present^ and to ezpreu the hope that the great truths 
contained in that sacred record may be impressed upon all our minda 
and hearts. 

With sentiments of the highest respect an4 consideration, we hare 
the honor to be 

Your obedient servants, 

John C. Brkckinridgs, Pres. Sen. 
Wm. Penninqton, Speaker H. R. 

Thx Biblb and the First Conqbiss. 

The above article, coming from the officers of the present Congress, 
leads us to subjoin a brief account of the doings of the first Congress in 
regard to the same divine book, as given in Bev. Dr. Strickland's His- 
tory of the American Bible Society : — 

" As early as the beginning of tibe last century, laws existed in some 
of the colonies requiring every family to be furnished with a Bible.. 
This supply continued to be kept up by individual exertion until the 
meeting of the first Congress in 1777, one year after the Declaration of 
Independence. In the early formation of our government, those who 
looked upon the experiment with jealous eyes anticipated a speedy 
dissolution, firom the fact that it made no provision for the establish- 
ment of religion. Although the legislative power of our country is pro- 
hibited from making laws prescribing and enforcing the observance of 
any particular faith or form of worship, yet it is equally powerless in 
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; while at the same time it extends 
its protecting fiegis over the rights of conscience. The Government has 
never been unmindful of the great interests of religion, but has from 
the beginning adhered to and carried out the language of Washington, 
that 'religion and morality are indispensable supports of political 
existence and prosperity.' 

" The Congress of 1777 answered a memorial on the subject of Bible- 
distribution in this country, by appointing a committee to advise as to 
the printing an edition of thirty thousand Bibles. The population of 
the country then was only about three millions, and all the Bibles in 
the entire world at that period did not exceed four millions. Thus it 
will be seen that its circulation in this and all other countries at that 
time was exceedingly limited. 

" The report of the committee appointed by Congress forms one of 
the brightest epochs in the history of our republic, and sheds a clear 
and steady light over every subsequent eventful period. The public 
recognition of Ood in that act was of infinitely greater importance in 
giving stability to the times, securing the permanency of our institu- 
tions, than all the imposing and formidable array of legal enactments 
ever made for the establishment of religion. 

*' The committee, finding it difficult to procure the necessary material, 
such as paper and types, recommended Congress, ' the use of the Bible 
being so universal, and its importance so great,' to direct the Committee 
on Commerce to import, at the expense of Congress, twenty thousand 
English Bibles from Holland, Scotland, or elsewhere, into the different 


ports of the States of the Union. The report was adopted, and the 
importation ordered. 

" In 1781, when, from the existence of the war, no English Bible 
oould be imported, and no opinion could be formed how long the 
obstruction might continue, the subject of printing the Bible was again 
presented to Congress, and it was on motion referred to a committee of 

'*The committee, after giving the subject a careful investigation, 
recommended to Congress an edition printed by Robert Aitken, of 
Philadelphia ; whereupon it was 

" * Resolved, That the United States, in Congress assembled, highly 
approve the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aitken, as subser- 
vient to the interests of religion ; and, being satisfied of the care and 
accuracy of the execution of the work, recommend this edition to the 
inhabitants of the United States.' " 

How interesting is a history of the early circulation of the Bible in 
this country 1 What moral sublimity in the fact, as it stands imperish- 
ably recorded and filed in the national archives I Who, in view of this 
fact, will call in question the assertion' that this is a Bible nation ? Who 
will charge the Government with indifference to religion, when the first 
Congress of the States assumed all the rights and performed all the 
duties of a Bible society long before such an institution had an exist* 

This was the first Bible published in the English language 
having an American imprint. It was a small duodecimo, in 
two volumes, in .a brevier type. The report of the committee 
and the resohition of Congress (sometimes called the Bible Con- 
gress) are reprinted on a leaf immediately following the title- 
page. The recommendation of Congress bore no fruit. Imme- 
diately alter the publication of the work, peace was proclaimed, 
— when it was found that Bibles could be imported from Great 
Britain cheaper than it was possible to print them here. Mr. 
Aitken, therefore, not obtaining a ready sale for his edition, 
which he had carried on with great difficulty, was nearly ruined 
by the undertaking. Previous to the Bevolution and the pub- 
licjition of the edition of the Bible by Mr. Aitken, this country 
was supplied with Bibles in the English language chiefly from 
Great Britain. 

Chancellor Kent, of New York, states the results and in* 
fluence of the Bible on society as follows : — 

" The general diffusion of the Bible is the most effectual way 
to civilize and humanize mankind; to purify and exalt the 
general system of pubhc morals; to give efficacy to the just 
precepts of international and municipal law; to enforce the 


observance of prudence, temperance, justice, and fortitude, and 
to improve all the relations of domestic and social life." 

Chief-Justice Hornblower, of New Jersey, remarks as fol- 
lows : — 

" Let this precious volume have its due influence on the hearts 
of men, and our liberties are safe, our country blessed, and the 
world happy. There is not a tie that unites us to our families, 
not a virtue that endears us to our country, not a hope that 
thrills our bosoms in the prospect of future happiness, that has 
not its foundation in this sacred book. It is the charter of 
charters, — ^the palladium of liberty, — the standard of righteous- 
ness. Its divine influence can soften the heart of the tyrant, — 
can break the rod of the oppressor, and exalt the humblest 
peasant to the dignified rank of an immortal being, — an heir of 
eternal glory." 

The following record, found in the Journals of Congress, Oc- 
tober 12, 1778, shows their high appreciation of the morality of 
the Bible as a necessary qualification for the discharge of ofS^cial 
public duties : — 

Whereas true religion and good morals are the only solid founda- 
tions of public liberty and happiness : 

Beaolved, That it be, and it hereby is, earnestly recommended to the 
several States to take the most efifectual measures for the encourage- 
ment thereof, and for the suppressing theatrical entertainments, horse- 
racing, gaming, and such other diversions as are productive of idle- 
ness, dissipation, and a general depravity of principles and manners. 

Resoivedy That all officers in the army of the United States be, and 
hereby are, strictly exgoined to see that the good and wholesome rules 
provided for the discountenancing of profaneness and vice, and the 
preservation of morals among the soldiers, are duly and punctually 

On the 16th of October, 1778, Congress passed the following 
act, as may be seen on their official journal of that date :-^ 

Whereas frequenting playhouses and theatrical entertainments has 
a fatal tendency to divert the minds of the people from a due attention 
to the means necessary for the defence of their country and the pre- 
servation of their liberties : 

Resolved, That any person holding an office under the United States 
who shall act, promote, encourage, or attend such plays, be deemed 
unwortliy to hold such office, and shall be accordingly dismissed. 

In this ^lace it is appropriate to notice, as a patriotic and 
Christian memorial, Independence Hall, in Philadelphia^ where 


the patriots and statesmen sat in solemn council, and passed 
the Declaration of Independence and previous Christian acts, 
and made their solemn appeals to God. That old State-House 
still stands as a relic of the Eevolution, and its associations 
and inspirations attract the American people to look upon its 
venerable form, to tread its rooms and halls, and to gaze upon 
the portraits of many of the men who acted a distinguished 
part in achieving our independence and in forming our civil 
institutions. It was from the steps of this temple of freedom 
that John Nixon, on the 8th of July, 1776, in the hearing of 
thousands, read the Declaration of Independence ; and from the 
same spot Samuel Adams pronounced an oration on the great 
event, in which he said, — 

" Brethren and fellow-countrymen ! If it was ever granted 
to mortals to trace the designs of Providence and to interpret 
its manifestations in favor of their cause, we may, with humility 
of soul, cry out, ' Not unto us, not unto us, but to thy name be 
praise/ " 

The American people, as they look upon this consecrated 
temple of freedom, will re-echo the words of an American 
poet: — 

" This is the sacred fane wherein assembled 

The fearless champions on the side of right,— 
Men at whose declaration empires trembled, 
Moved by the truth's immortal might. 

** Here stood the patriot, — one Union folding 

The Eastern, Northern, Southern sage and seer, 
Within that living band which, truth upholding, 
Proclaims each man his fellow's peer. 

" Here rose the anthem which all nations, hearing. 
In loud response the echoes backward hurl'd : 
Reverberating stiU the ceaseless cheering, 
Our continent repeats it to the world. 

" This is the hallow'd spot where, first unfurling, 
Fair Freedom spread her blazing scroll of light ; 
Here, from oppression's throne the tyrant hurling. 
She stood supreme in majesty and might.'' 

The most interesting and suggestive memorial in Independ- 
ence Hall is the old State-House bell. " This bell," says Watson, 
in his "Annals of Philadelphia," "was imported from England 


in 1753, for the State-House ; but, having met with some accident 
in the trial ringing after it was landed, it lost its tone received 
in the fatherland, and had to be conformed to ours by recast- 
ing. This .was done under the direction of Isaac Norris, Esq., 
the then Speaker of the Colonial Assembly; and to him we are 
probably indebted for the remarkable motto, so indicative of its 
future use, ' Proclaim liberty throughout all the land 
UNTO all the inhabitants THEREOF.' That it was adopted 
from the Scriptures (Lev. xxv. 10) may to many be still more im- 
pressive, as being also the voice of God, that great Arbiter by 
whose signal providences we afterwards attained to that 'liberty' 
and self-government which bid fair to emancipate our whole 
continent, and, in time, to influenCiB and ameliorate the condition 
of the subjects of arbitrary government throughout the civilized 

The ringing of this bell first announced to the citizens, who 
were anxiously waiting the result of the deliberations of Con- 
gress (which were at that time held with closed doors), that 
the Declaration of Independence had been decided upon ; and 
then it was that the bell proclaimed the realization of the divine 
motto inscribed upon it some fifteen years previous. 

" That old bell is still seen by the patriot's eye, 
And he blesses it erer when journeying by ; 
Long years have pass'd o'er it, and yet every soul 
Will thrill, in the night, to its wonderful roll ; 
For it speaks in its belfry, when kiss'd by the blast. 
Like a glory-breathed tone from the mystical past. 
Long years shall roll o'er it, and yet every chime 
Shall unceasingly tell of an era sublime ; 
Oh, yes I if the flame on our altars should pale. 

Let its voice but be heard, and the freeman shall start 
To rekindle the fire, while he sees on the gale 

All the stars and the stripes of the flag of his heart." 

^ William Ross Wallacx. 

In an address to the inhabitants of the United States of 
America, by Congress, are found the following Christian senti- 
ments and principles ; — 

"America, without arms, ammunition, discipline, revenue, 
government, or ally, almost stripped of commerce, and in the 
weakness of youth as it were, with a ' staff and a sling' only, 
dared, 'in the name of the Lord op Hosts,' to engage a 
gigantic adversaryi prepared at all points, boasting of his 


strength^ and of whom even mighty warriors 'were greatly 

"As to inferior officers employed in the public service, we 
ANXIOUSLY desire to call your most vigilant attention to their 
conduct with respect to every species of misbehavior, whether 
proceeding from ignorance, negligence, or fraud, and to the 
making of laws for inflicting exemplary punishment on all 
offenders of this kind. 

" Your government being now established, and your ability to 
contend with your invaders ascertained, we have, on most 
mature deliberation, judged it indispensably necessary to call 
upon you for forty millions of dollars, &c. 

"We are persuaded you will use all possible care to make the 
promotion of the general welfare interfere as little as may be 
with the care and comfort of individuals; but though the 
raising of these sums should press heavily on some of your con- 
stituents, yet the obligations we feel to your venerable clergy, 
the truly helpless widows and orphans, your most gallant, gene- 
rous, meritorious officers and soldiers, the public faith, and the 
common weal, so irresistibly urge us to attempt the appreciation 
of your clemency, that we cannot withhold obedience to these 
auUioritative declarations. 

" On this subject we will only add, that, as the rvlea of jiMtice 
are moat pleasing to our infinitely good and gradoua Qreator, 
and an adherence to them most likdy to obtain his favor, so they 
vrUl ever be found to be the best and safest maxims of human 

"What nation ever engaged in such a contest, under such a 
complication of disadvantages, so soon surmounted many of 
them, and in so short a period of time had so certain a prospect 
of a speedy and happy conclusion? We wiU venture to pro- 
nounce that so remarkable an instance exists not in the annals 
of mankind. Encouraged by favors already received from 
Infinite Goodness, gratefully acknowledging them, earnestly 
imploring their continuance, constantly endeavoring to draw 
them down on your heads by an amendment of your lives and 
a conformity to the Divine will, humbly confiding in the pro- 
tection so often and wonderfully experienced, vigorously employ 
the means placed by Providence in your hands for completing 
your labors. 

<< Effectually superintend the behavior of public officers, dUi' 


gently promote piety , virtue, brotherly love, learning, frugality, 
and moderation; and may you be approved before Almighty 
God, worthy of these blessings we devoutly wish you to enjoy. 

" Done in Congress, by unanimous consent, this twenty-sixth 
day of May, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-nine. 

*' John Jay, Freaident. 

"Attest, Charles Thomson, Secretary." 

The Sabbath, in its. moral and political influences, was re- 
garded by the Puritans and the Christian statesmen of the Re- 
volution as an essential pillar of support to the civil edifice. 

The Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, on the 15th of 
June, 1776, adopted the following, on the Sabbath : — 

"As it has pleased Almighty God, in his providence, to suffer 
the calamities of an unnatural war to take place among us, in 
consequence of our sinful declensions from him, and our great 
abuse of those invaluable blessings bestowed upon us ; and as 
we have reason to fear, unless we become a penitent and re- 
formed people, we shall feel still severer tokens of the Divine 
displeasure; and as the most efiectual way to escape those deso- 
lating judgments which so evidently hang over us, and, if it 
may be, obtain the restoration of our former tranquillity, will 
be that we repent and return every one from his iniquities 
unto Him that correcteth us, which if we do in sincerity and 
truth, we have no reason to doubt but he will remove his judg- 
ments, cause our enemies to be at peace with us, and prosper 
the work of our hands. 

"And as among the prevailing sins of this day, which 
threaten the destruction of this land, we have reason to lament 
the frequent profanations of the Lord's day, or Christian Sab^ 
bath; many spending their time in idleness or sloth, others in 
diversions, and others in journeying, or business which is not 
necessary on that day ; and, as we earnestly desire that a stop 
may be put to this great and prevailing evil, it is, therefore, 

*^ Resolved, That it be recommended by this Congress to the people of 
all ranks and denominations throughout this colony, that they not only 
pay a religious regard to that day, and to the public worship of God 
thereon, but that they also use their influence to discountenance and 
suppress any profanation thereof in others. 

** And it is further Resolved, That it be recommended to the ministers 
of the gospel to read this resolve to their several congregations, accom* 
pauied with such exhortations as they shall think proper. 


" And whereas there is great danger that the profanation of the Lord^B 
day will prevail in the camp, we earnestly recommend to all the ofEicers 
not only to set a good example, but that they strictly require of their 
soldiers to keep up a religious regard to that day, and attend upon the 
public worship of Qod there* so far as may be consistent with other 

The Provincial Congress of Georgia, Thursday, July 6, 1775, 
adopted the following resolution : — 

10. That we will, in our several stations, encourage frugality, 
economy, and industry, and promote agriculture, arts, and the manu- 
factures of British America, especially that of wool, and will discounte- 
nance and discourage every species of extravagance and dissipation, 
especially horse-racing, and every kind of gaming, cock-fighting, exhi- 
bition of shows, plays, and other expensive diversions and entertain- 
ments ; and on the death of any relation or friend, none of us, or any 
of our families, shall go into any farther mourning dress than a black 
crape or ribbon on the arm or hat for gentlemen, and a black ribbon or 
necklace for ladies ; and we will discontinue the giving of gloves and 
Bcarfs at funerals. 

These facts show the religious sentiments and make us 
acquainted with the religious feelings of the members of the 
Continental Congress. That body of statesmen paid respect to 
religion by system, on principle, and in their official acts. 
Their state papers do not merely contain general references to 
a superintending Providence and a supreme Creator and Gover- 
nor of the world, but they usually contain sentiments un- 
equivocally Christian. Their journals disclose various circum- 
stances which indicate the personal interest taken by the mem- 
bers in the stated and occasional religious services. 

" Thus our republic," said Mr. Giddings, in Congress, " waa 
founded on religious truth, and it was thus far emphatically a re- 
ligious government. It has ever been sustained by the religious 
sentiment of the nation, and it will only fail when this element 
shall be discarded by the people. The Philadelphia Convention 
(the Continental Congress) will be remembered in coming time 
as the first, in the history of political parties of our nation, 
to make religious truths the basis of its political action, and 
first to proclaim the rights of mankind as universal, to be 
enjoyed equally by princes and people, by rulers and the most 
humble. It was the first to proclaim the fatherhood of Grod 
and the brotherhood of man." 

The Continental Congress, in the foregoing acts, kept in view 



the true aims and ends of a civil goyemment, aa expressed 
by Eev. E. D. McMaster, D.D., in his inaugural address as 
iSresident of the Miami University of Ohio. He says, — 

'' According to the notions that perhaps generally prevail, the 
end of civil society and its governmental institutions is an end 
purely secular, and this even not the highest of that class of ends. 
Its object, as is supposed, is to prevent men from the invasion 
of each other's persons and estates, and, after that, according to 
the various theories of different political schools, more or less 
to regulate and promote the industrial pursuits and interests 
of the members of the community. Nothing can be more 
unworthy the dignity of the subject, or more untrue, than 
these low conceptions of the object of civil institutions. The 
highest end of a state and of its whole order is a moral end, — 
that is, a religious end. It is that by a scrupulous respect in 
all its own legislation and administration at home, and in all its 
relations and intercourse with other nations abroad, to do right, 
by the equitable and vindicatory punishment of crime and the 
establishment of justice, it may inspire and cherish in its citi- 
zens the love of righteousneaa. It is thus a great moral institu* 
tion, of high dignity and of mighty power, whose highest end 
is the development of man's moral nature and the forming of 
him to virtue in this respect, and ultimately in all the glory 
of God| whose ordinance it is." 



When a people assume the condition and dignity of a civil 
state, their first want and effort is a just constitution of govern- 
meni. This acoompliahed| it affords the highest evidenoe of their 


progress in intelligence, liberty, and social order. But the 
constitution of every nation, if it secures great moral and poli- 
tical prosperity, must be enforced by sanctions which are higher 
and more authoritative than human parchments and laws. 
Their practical force and value must be derived from faith in 
Gk)d and the sanctions of the Divine law. Hence the men who 
have founded states on written constitutions have always 
resorted to religious sanctions to give practical power to 
their constitutions and to enforce the laws of the government. 
This great principle is coexistent in all governments, whether 
pagan or Christian. Every oath that is taken to support a 
constitution acknowledges the power and necessity of the sanc- 
tions of religion. It is an appeal to God in behalf of constitu- 
tional government, — ^to give it authority, by making the legis- 
lation of conscience and accountability to God support and 
uphold the laws of the land. 

" The sanctions of the Divine law," says De "Witt Clinton, in 
an address delivered before the American Bible Society, May, 
1823, " supply all deficiencies, cover the whole area of human 
action, reach every case, punish every sin, and recompense 
every virtue. Its rewards and punishments are graduated 
with perfect justice, and its appeals to the hopes and fears of 
men are of the most potential character and transcendent 
influence. The codes of men and the laws of opinion and 
government derive a great portion of their weight from the 
influence of a future world. Justice cannot be administered 
without the sanction of truth ; and the great security against 
perjury is the amenability of another state. The sanctions 
of religion compose the foundations of good government ; ancl 
the ethics, doctrines, ai^d examples furnished by Christ exhibit 
the best models for the laws of opinion." 

" All societies of men," says Winthrop, a member of Congress, 
and Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1848, " must 
be governed in some way or other. The less they may have 
of stringent state government, the more they must have of 
individual self-government. The less they rely on public law 
or physical force, the more they must rely on private moral 
restraint. Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled, 
either by a power within them or by a power without them ; 
either by the word of God or by the strong arm of man; 


either by the Bible or by the bayonet. It may do for other 
countries and other governments to talk about the state sup- 
porting religion : , here, under our free institutions, it is religion 
which must support the state." 

Lord Bacon, in enumerating what he calls the four pillars of 
government, three of which are justice, counsel, and treasure, 
places religion as the first in order and importance, says, — 

" The reason why religion is universally and justly repre- 
sented as essential to the prosj^rity of states, is not less obvious 
than the fact. The object of government is to enforcQ among 
individuals the observance of the moral law, and states are pros- 
perous in proportion as this object is attained. But the only 
effectual sanction to this law is the Christian religion. Henoe 
a government which neglects the care of religion is guilty of 
the folly of promulgating laws unaccompanied with any ade- 
quate sanction of requiring the community to obey without pre- 
senting to their minds the motives that generally induce to a 
prompt and cheerful obedience. Under these circumstances, the 
only resource left to the public authorities is mere physical 
force ; and experience has abundantly shown that this is wholly 
ineffectual, excepting as an aid and supplement, in particular 
cases, to the moral influences, which alone can be depended on 
for the preservation of the tranquillity and good order of 
society. There are persons, and even parties, who, at the very 
moment when the use of physical force as an engine of govern- 
ment is discredited and abandoned, seem to be laboring with a 
sort of frantic energy to destroy the influence of all the moral 
motives that can be substituted for it, — more especially religion. 
I have said, and I repeat, that if while we abandon the use of phy- 
sical force as an engine of maintaining order we should also dis- 
card the only valuable and effectual moral influence, and leave the 
individual to the undirected guidance of his own selfish passions, 
our institutions will be found to be impracticable, and society 
will fall into a state of dissolution." 

Such views were radical in the faith of the Puritans and of 
the statesmen of the Revolution, and they incorporated the fun- 
damental doctrines of Christianity into their systems of govern- 
jnent. The following fewjta found in the State Constitutions 
of the Revolution demonstrate the Christian life and character 
^f our civil institutions. 

catvil ikbtitutions of the united states. 229 

The Cokstitution op Massachusetts, 

In 1780, inserted the following organic law on the subject of the 
Christian religion : — . 

" That as th« happiness of a people, and the good oxder and preser- 
vation of civil government, essentially depend upon piety, religion, and tno- 
rality, and as these cannot be generally diffused through a community 
but by the institution of the pubUe worship oj God^ and of public instruction tm 
piety, religion, and morality: therefore, to promote their happiness and to 
secure the good order and preservation of their government, the 
people of this commonwealth have a right to invest their legislature 
with power to authorize and require, and the legislature shall^ from time to 
time, authorize and require, the several towns, parishes, precincts, and other 
bodies politic, or religious societies, to make suitable provision, at their own 
expense, for the institution af the public worship, and for the support and mainten- 
ance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion, and morality, in all cases 
where such provision shall not be made voluntarily ; and the people of 
this commonwealth have also a right to, and do, invest their legislature 
with authority to enjoin upon all their subjects cm. attendance upon Uie instructions 
^ the public teachers aforesaid ai stated times and seasons, if there be any on 
whose instructions t^ey can conscientiously attend." And that '* because 
a frequent recurrence to the fundamental principles of the Constitution, 
ftnd a constant adherence to those of piety, justice, moderation, temper- 
ance, industry, and frugality, are absolutely necessary to preserve the 
advantage of liberty and to maintain a free government, the people 
ought consequently to have a particular regard to all those principles in the 
choice <f their officers and representatives ; and they have a right to require of 
their lawgivers and magistrates an exact and constant observance of them in the 
formation and execution of all laws necessary for the good of the com- 
monwealth/' And that every person "chosen governor, lieutenant- 
governor, senator, or representative, and accepting the trust, shall su^ 
scribe a solemn profession that he believbs in the Chbistian religion, 


'' I am clearly of opinion," said Mr. Webster, in the Conven- 
tion of Massachusetts, in 1820, met to revise the Constitution, 
** that we should not strike out of the Constitution all recogni- 
tion of the Christian religion. I am desirous, in so solemn a 
transaction as the establishment of a Constitution, that we 
should keep in it an expression of our respect and attachment 
to Christianity, — not, indeed, to any of its peculiar forms, but to 
its general principles." Another part of the Constitution recog- 
nizes in the fullest manner the benefits which civil society 
derives from those Christian institutions which cherish piety, 
morality, and religion. 

230 christuk life akd chakacteb 07 thb 

The Constitution of South Cabolina, 

Adopted in 1778, declares Christianity to be the fuadameiital 

law of the State, in the fcdlowing language ; — 

That all persons and religions societies who acknowledge that there 
is one God, and a future state of rewards and punishments, and thai 
God is to be publicly worshipped, shall be tolerated. The Ghristian 
Protestant religion shall be deemed, and is hereby constituted and 
declared to be, the established religion of the l^ate. That all denomi- 
nations of Christian Protestants in this State^ demeaning themselves 
peaceably and faithfully, shall enjoy equal religions and ciril priTileges. 
To accomplish this desirable purpose without injury to the religioua 
property of those societies of Christians which are by law already incor- 
porated for the purpose of religious worship, and to put it fiiUy into the 
power of erery other society of Christian Protestants^ either already 
formed or hereafter to be formed, to obtain the like incorporation, it is 
hereby constituted, appointed, and declared that the respectiye societies 
of the Church of England, that are already formed in this 6tate for the 
purpose of religious worship, shall continue incorporate and hold the ■ 
religious property now in their possession. And that whenever fifteen or 
more male persons not under twenty-one years of age, professing the 
Christian Protestant rebgion, and agreeing to unite themselves in a 
society for the purposes of religious worship, they shall (on complying 
with the terms hereinafter mentioned) be and be constituted a ChuBch, 
and be esteemed and regarded in law as of the established religion of 
the State, and on a petition to the legislature shall be entitled to be 
incorporated and to ex\joy equal privileges. That every society of Chris- 
tians so formed shall give themselves a name or denomination, by 
which they shall be called and known in law, and all that associate with 
them for the purpose of worship shall be esteemed as belonging to the 
society so called ; but that previous to the establishment and incorpora- 
tion of the respective societies of every denomination as aforesaid, and 
in order to entitle them thereto, each society so petitioning shall have 
agreed to and subscribed in a book the five following articles, — ^without 
which no agreement or union of men upon pretence of religion shall 
entitle them to be incorporated and esteemed as a church of the esta- 
blished religion of the State. (See Locke's Const., Arts. 97-100). 

I. That there is one Eternal God, a future state of rewards and pun- 

II. That God is to be publicly worshipped. 

III. That the Christian religion is the true religion. 

IV. That the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are of 
divine inspiration, and are the rule of faith and practice. 

V. That it is lawful, and the duty of every man being thereunto 
called by those that govern, to bear witness to truth. That every inhabit- 
ant of this State, when called to make an appeal to God as a witness to 
truth, shall be permitted to do it in that way which is most agreeable to 
the dictates of hb own conscience. And that the people of this State 


may forever eivjoy the right o£. electing their own pastors or dergy, and, 
at the same time, that the State may have sufEicient security for the due 
discharge of the pastoral office by those who shall be admitted to be 
clergymen, no person shall officiate as minister of any established 
church who shall not have been chosen by a majority of the society to 
which he shall minister, or by persons appointed by the said majority 
to choose and procure a minister for them, nor until the minister so 
chosen and appointed shall have made and subscribed the following 
declaration, over and above the aforesaid five articles, viz. : — 

That he is determined, by God's grace, out or the holt scripturss, 
to instruct the people committed to his charge, and to teach nothing 
(as required of necessity to eternal salvation) but that which he shall 
be persuaded may be concluded and proved from the Scriptures ; that 
he will use both public and private admonitions, as well to the sick as 
to the whole within his cure, as need shall require and occasion shall 
be given ; and that he will be diligent in prayers, and in reading of the 
Holy Scriptures, and in such studies as help to the knowledge of the 
same ; that he will be diligent to frame and fashion his own self and 
his family according to the doctrine of Christy and to make both him* 
self and them, as much as. in him lieth, wholesome examples and pat> 
terns to the flock of Christ ; that he will nudntain and set forward, as 
much as he can, quietness, peace, and love among all the people, and 
especially among those who are or shall be committed to his charge. 

No person shall disturb or molest any religious assembly, nor shall 
use any reproachful, railing, or abusive language against any Church, 
that being the certain way of disturbing the peace, and of hindering 
the conversion of any to the truth, by engaging them in quarrels and 
animosities, to the hatred of the professors, and that profession which 
otherwise they might be brought to assent to. No person whatsoever 
shall speak any thing in their religious assembly irreverently or sedi- 
tiously of the government of the State. No person shall by law be 
obliged to pay towards the maintenance and support of a religious wor- 
ship that he does not freely join in or has not voluntarily engaged to 
support ; but the churches, chapels, parsonages, glebes, and all other 
property now belonging to any societies of the Church of England, or 
any other religious societies, shall remain and be secured to them for- 

They should choose by ballot from among themselves, or from the 
people at large, a governor and commander-in-chief, a lieutenant-gov- 
ernor, and privy council, oil of the Proiestanl rdigion ; that no person 
should be eligible to a seat in the Senate uideiB he he of the Proiesiant 
religion; that no person should be eligible to sit in the House of Repre- 
sentatives unUu he be of the Protestant religion, 


In her organic charter and legislative acts, affirms the truth ofi 
the Christian system in terms as follows : — 
By an act of the Assembly in 1706, it was declared, that if 


any person brought up in the Christian religion denies the being 
of a God or the Trinity, or asserts that there are more Gods 
than one, or denies the Christian religion to be true, or the 
Scriptures to be of divine authority, he is punishable, on the 
first oflfence by incapacity to hold office or employment, eccle- 
siastical, civil, or military ; on the second, by disability to sue, 
to take any gift or legacy, to be guardian, executor, or admi- 
nistrator, and by three years' imprisonment without bail. 

This act may be found in Jeflferson's Works, vol. viii. p. 399. 

This law, opposed to the spirit of Christianity while affirming 
its divinity, was abolished in 1786 by the following 
.Act for Establishing Religious Freedom. 

Well aware that Almighty God hath created the mind free ; that all 
attempta to influence it by temporal punishments or burdens, or by 
civil incapacitations, tend not only to beget habits of hypocrisy and 
meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Author of our Re- 
ligion, who, being Lord both of the body and mind, yet chose not to 
propagate it by coercion on either, as was in his almighty power to do : 

Be it, therefore, enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be 
compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or minis- 
try, whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened 
in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his reli- 
gious opinions or belief ; but that all men shall be free to profess and 
by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion, and that 
the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities. 

This act, passed under the auspices of Mr. Jefferson, he 
regarded as one of the best works of his life. 

The Declaration of Rights, which passed unanimously the 
Virginia Legislature, June 12, 1776, affirmed that 

Its free government could be preserved but by a firm adherence to 
justice, moderation, benevolence, frugality, and virtue, and by frequent 
recurrence to fundamental principles and the manner of discharging it. 
Religion is the duty we owe our Creator, and can be directed only by 
reason, not by force and violence ; and therefore all men are equally 
entitled to the free exercise of it according to the dictates of conscience ; 
and it is the mutual duty of all to practise Christian forbearance, love 
and charity towards each other. 

The following ancient laws of Virginia show the historic fact 
of the incorporation of the Christian religion and its ordinances 
into the civil government of that Commonwealth. 

In 1662 it was enacted that 

Every person who should refuse to have his child baptized by a lawful 


minister shall be amerced two thousand pounds of tobacco, half to be 
paid to the parish, half to the informer. 

The whole liturgy of the Church of England shall be thoroughly read 
at church, or chapel, every Sunday ; and the canons for divine service 
duly observed. 

Church-wardens shall present at the county court, twice every year, 
in December and April, such misdemeanors of swearing, drunkenness, 
fornication, &c, as by their own knowledge, or common fame, have 
been committed during their being church-wardens. 

Enacted that the Lord's Day be kept holy, and no journeys be made 
on that day, unless upon necessity. And all persons inhabiting in this 
country, having no lawful excuse, shall, every Sunday, resort to the parish 
church or chapel, and there abide orderly during the common prayer, 
preaching, and divine service, upon the penalty of being fined fifty 
pounds of tobacco by the county court. 

In 1668, 

The 27th of August appointed for a day of humiliation, fasting, and 
prayer, to implore God's mercy : if any person be found upon that day 
gaming, drinking, or working (works of necessity excepted), upon pre- 
sentment by church-wardens and proof, he shall be fined one hundred 
pounds of tobacco, half to the informer, and half to the poor of the 

The Constitution op Pennsylvania, 

Adopted in 1776, declares that the Legislature shall consist of 
"persons most noted for wisdom and virtue," and that every 
member should subscribe the following declaration : — 

I do believe in one God, the Creator and Governor of the universe, 
the Rewarder of the good, and the Punisher of the wicked ; and I 
acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be given 
by inspiration. 

The Constitution op North Carolina, 
Bearing date 1776, declares 

That no person who should deny the being of a God, or the truth of the 
Protestant religion, or the divine authority of either the Old or New 
Testaments, or who should hold religious principles incompatible with 
the freedom and safety of the State, should be capable of holding any 
office or place of trust in the civil government of this State. 


In her first Constitution, formed during the Revolution, made 
the following declaration : — 

That every citizen who should be chosen a member of either house 


of the Legislature, or appointed to any other office, should be required 
to subscribe to the following declaration :— *' I do profess faith in God the 
Father, and in the Lord Jesus Christ his only Son, and in the Holy 
Ghost, one God and blessed for evermore ; and I do acknowledge the 
Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be given by divine 


Formed a State Oonstitution in 1776, and the Declaration of 
Eights (Art. XIX.) says,— 

That as it is the duty of every man to worship God in such manner 
as he thinks most acceptable to him, all persons professing the Christian 
religion are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty. 
And (in Art. XXXV.) ** That no other qualification ought to be required 
on admission to any office of trust or profit than such oath of support 
and fidelity to this State, and such oath of office, as shall be directed by 
this Constitution or the Legislature of this State, oruf a declaration qfbeHtf 
in the Christian religion,*' 

The Constitution also authorized the Legislature ''to lay a 
general tax for the support of the Christian religion/' 

New Jeesey, 
In her Constitution formed in 1776, declares 

That there shall be no establishment of any one religious sect in 
this province in preference to another, and that no Protestant inhabit* 
ant of this colony shall be denied the ei\joyment of any civil right on 
account of his religious principles ; but 

That all persons professing a belief in the faith of any Protestant 8ect» 
and who should demean himself peaceably under the government* 
should be capable of being elected unto any office of profit or trust, or 
of being a member of either branch of the Legislature. 

The following instructions from the Legislature of New Jersey 
to its delegates in Congress in 1777 will exhibit the high 
Christian sentiments of the men who directed the civil and 
military concerns of the Revolution. Among the delegates 
were John Witherspoon and Elias Boudinot. The Legislature 
instructs as follows : 

1. We hope you will habitually bear in mind that the success of the 
great cause in which the United States are engaged depends upon the 
favor and blessing of Almighty God ; and therefore you will neglect 
nothing which is competent to the Assembly of tho States for pro* 
moting piety and good morals among the people at large. But especially 
WO desire that you may give attention to this circumstance in the 

CIVIL nrsTrnrrioirs of the ukited states. 239 

government of the army, taking care that such of the articles of war as 
forbid profaneness, riot, and debauchery be observed and enforced with 
all due strictness and severity. This, we apprehend, is absolutely 
necessary for the encouragement and maintenance of good discipline, 
and will be the means of recruiting the army with men of credit and 
principle, — an object ardently to be wished, but not to be expected if 
the warmest friends of their country should be deterred from sending 
their sons and connections into the service, lest they should be tainted 
with impious and immoral notions and contract vicious habits. 

New Hampshibb 
Formed a State Constitution in 1776, and in it declares 

That morality and piety, rightly grounded on evangelical principles, 
would give the best and greatest security to government, and would lay 
in the hearts of men the strongest obligation to due subjection ; and 
that the knowledge of these was most likely to be propagated by the 
institution of the public worship of the Deity and instruction in mo* 
rality and religion. 

The Constitution of the same State in 1792 empowered the 
Legislature to adopt measures *' for the support and maintenance 
of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion, and morality." 

The province of New Hampshire, in a convention composed 
of one hundred and forty-fdur deputies appointed by the various 
towns in the province aforesaid, after resolving "that we heartily 
approve of the proceedings of the late grand Continental Con- 
gress," passed the following : — 

Lastly, we earnestly entreat you, at this time of tribulation and 
distress, when your enemies are urging you to despair, when every 
scene around is full of gloom and horror, that, in imitation of your 
pious forefathers, you implore the divine Being, who alone is able to 
deliver you from your present unhappy and distressing situation, to es- 
pouse your righteous cause, secure your liberties, and fix them on a 
firm and lasting basis. 

The Constitution of Georgia, 

Adopted in 1777, declares that "all the members of the Legis- 
lature shall be of the Protestant religion." 

The Constitution op Vermont 
Declares that 

Every sect or denomination of Christians ought to observe the Sab^ 
bath or Lord's Day, and keep up some sort of religious worship, which 
to them shall seem most agreeable to the revealed will of God. 



In f axt 7, sec. 1 of her Constitution, declared that, — 

It being the duty of all men to worship the Supreme Being, th« 
great Creator and ^Preserver of the Universe, and their right to 
render that worship in the mode most consistent with the dictates of 
their consciences, no person shall, by law, be compelled to join or sup- 
port, nor be classed with or associated to, any congregation, church, or 
religiouB association. But every person now belonging to such congre- 
gation, church, or religious association shall remain a member thereof, 
until he shall have separated himself therefrom, in the manner herein- 
after provided. And each and every society or denomination of Chris- 
tians in this State shall have and ei\joy the same and equal powers, 
rights, and privileges, and shall have power and authority to support 
and maintain the ministers or teachers of their respective denomi- 
nations, and to build and repair houses for public worship, by a tax on 
the members of any such society only, to be laid by a m4Jor vote of the 
legal voters assembled at any society meeting, warned and held accord- 
ing to law, or in any other manner. 

The Charter of Rhode Island, 

Granted by Charles II., in 1682-83, and which continued to be 
the Constitution of that Commonwealth till 1843, says, — 

The object of the colonists is to pursue, with peace and loyal 
minds, their sober, serious, and religions intentions of godly edifying 
themselves and one another in the holy Christian faith and worship, 
together with the gaining over and conversion of the poor ignorant 
Indian natives to the sincere profession and obedience of the same 
faith and worship. 

The Constitution op New York, 

Though less full and explicit on the subject than those of other 
States, yet contains an organic act recognizing the Christian 
religion. The Constitution of 1777 has the following articles, 
the same as those inserted in the Constitution formed in 1821 : — 

And Whereat we are required, by the benevolent principles of rational 
liberty, not only to expel civil tyranny, but also to guard against that 
spiritual oppression and intolerance wherewith the bigotry and ambi- 
tion of weak and wicked priests and princes have scourged mankind: 
this Convention doth further, in the name and by the authority of the 
good people of this State, ordain, dkteruinb, and declare that the free 
exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without 
discrimination or preference, shall forever hereafter be allowed within 
this State to all mankind: Provided, That the liberty of oonscienee 
hereby granted shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiouft* 


ness or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this 

And Whereas the ministers of the gospel are, by their profession, 
dedicated to the service of God and the cure of souls, and ought not 
to be diverted from the great duties of their functions : therefore, no 
minister of the gospel, or priest of any denomination whatsoever, shall, 
at any time hereafter, under any pretence or description whatever, be 
eligible to or capa])le of holding any civil or military office or place 
within this State. 

An examination of the present Constitutions of the various 
States, now existing, will show that the Christian religion and 
its institutions are recognized as the religion of the Government 
and the nation. 

The recognitions of Christianity in the State Constitutions are 
of three kinds. 1. These instruments are usually dated in the 
year of our Lord, 2. Nearly' all of them refer to the observance 
of Sunday by the Chief Executive Magistrate, in the same way 
in which such observance is referred to in the Constitution of 
the United States. 3. All the State Constitutions, or legislation 
under them, guard with vigilance the religious observance of 
the Christian Sabbath, and punish, with greater or less severity, 
all unlawful violation of the day. 4. Definite constitutional 
provisions not only recognizing the Christian religion, but 
aflfording it countenance, encouragement, and protection. 

"In perusing the thirty-four Constitutions of the United 
States, we find all of them recognizing Christianity as the well- 
known and well-established religion of the communities whose 
legal, civil, and political foundations they are. The terms 
of this recognition are more or less distinct in the Consti- 
tutions of the difTercnt States ; but they exist in all of them. 
The reason why any degree of indistinctness exists in any of 
them, unquestionably, is that at their formation it never came 
into the minds of the framers to suppose that the existence of 
Christianity as the religion of their communities could ever 
admit of a question. Nearly all these Constitutions recognize 
the customary observance of Sunday; and a suitable observance 
of this day includes a performance of all the peculiar duties of 
the Christian faith. The Constitution of Vermont declares 
that ' every sect or denomination of Christians ought to observe 
the Sabbath or Lord's Day, and keep up some sort of religious 
worship, which to them shall seem most agreeable to the revealed 
will of God.' The Constitutions of Maasachusetts and Mary- 

!238 cHBisi;^ life akd charactek of thb . 

land are among those wliich do not preacribe the observance of 
Sunday : yet the former declares it to be ' the right, as well aa 
the duty, of all men in society, publicly and at stated seasons to 
worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of 
the universe ;' and the latter requires every person appointed to 
any office of profit or trust to ' subscribe a declaration of his 
belief in the Christian religion.' Two of them concur in the 
sentiment that 'morality and piety, rightly grounded on evan- 
gelical principles, will be the best and greatest security to 
government; and that the knowledge of these is most likely to 
be propagated through a society by the institution of the 
public worship of the Deity, and of public instruction in 
morality and religion.' Only a small part of what the Consti- 
tutions of the States contain in regard to the Christian religion 
is here cited. At the same time, they all grant the free exercise 
and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, with some 
slight discriminations, to all mankind. The principle obtained 
by the foregoing inductive examination of our State Consti- 
tutions is this: — The people of the United States have 


In 1838, the Legislature of New York, in a report from the 
Committee on Petitions, " praying a repeal of the laws for the 
observance of the Sabbath," by a vote nearly unanimous 
rejected the petition, and declared that, — 

In all countries, some kind of religion or other has existed in all ages. 
No people on the face of the globe are without a prevailing national reli- 
gion. Magistrates have sought in many countries to strengthen civil 
government by an alliance with some particular religion and an intole- 
rant exclusion of all others. But those who have wielded this formi- 
dable power have rendered it a rival instead of an auxiliary to the publio 
welfare, — a fetter instead of a protection to the rights of conscience. 
With us it is wisely ordered that no one religion shall be established 
by law, but that all persons shall be left free in their choice and in 
their mode of worship. Still, this is a Christian nation, Ninety-nine 
hundredths, if not a larger proportion, of our whole population, believe 
in the general doctrines of the Christian religion. Our Gk>vernment de- 
pends for its being on the virtue of the people,^-on that virtue that has 
its foundation in the morality of the Christian religion ; and that reli- 
gion is the common and prevailing faith of the people. There are, it 
is true, ezoeptions to this belief; but general laws are not made for ex- 


oepted cases. There are to be found, here and there, the world over, 
individuals who entertain opinions hostile to the common sense of man- 
kind on subjects of honesty, humanity, and decency ; but it would be a 
kind of republicanism with which we are not acquainted in this country, 
which would require the great mass of mankind to yield to and be 
goyemed by this few. 

It is quite unnecessary to enter into a detailed review of all the evi* 
deuces that Christianity is the common creed of this nation. We know 
it, and we feel it, as we know and feel any other unquestioned and 
admitted truth ; the evidence is all around us, and before us, and with 
us. We know, too, that the exceptions to this general belief are rare, — 
so very rare that they are sufficient only, like other exceptions, to prove 
a general rule. 

The following papers reflect the Christian tone of the civil 
government and people of New York during the era of the 
Revolution : — 

Die Satarnii, 9 ho. a,m,, Joly 8, 1775. 
The 'Continental Congress having recommended it to the inhabitants 
of the Colonies to keep the twentieth day of Jufy instant, 1775, as a 
day of fasting and prayer, this Congress does strictly enjoin all persons 
in this colony religiously to observe the said recommendation. And 
We, being taught by that holy religion, declared by the merciful Jesus 
and sealed by his blood, that we ought to acknowledge the hand of Ood 
in all public calamities, and being thoroughly convinced that the Great 
Disposer of events regardeth the hearts of his creatures, do most ear- 
nestly recommend it to all men to conform themselves to the pure dic- 
tates of Christianity, and by deep repentance, and sincere amendment 
of their lives, implore of our heavenly Father that favor and protection 
which he alone can give. 

Comnms-CHAinsB, Nbw Tobk, May, 1776. 
Whereas the honorable Continental Congress have appointed and 
temestly recommend "that the 17th inst. (being to-morrow) be ob- 
•erved by the United Colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and 
prayer, that we may with united hearts confess and bewail our mani- 
fold sins and transgressions against God, and, by a sincere repentance 
and amendment of life, as a people, appease his righteous displeasure 
against us, humbly imploring his assistance to frustrate the cruel pur- 
poses of our unnatural enemies, and, by inclining their hearts to justice 
and peace, prevent the further e£Eusion of human blood ; but if, continu- 
ing deaf to the voice of reason and humanity, and inflexibly bent on 
desolation and war, they constrain us to repel their hostile invasions by 
open resistance, that it may please the Lord of hosts, the God of armies, 
to animate our officers and soldiers with invincible fortitude, to guard 
and protect them in the day of battle, and to crown the Continental 
armies, by sea and land, with victory and success ; that he may bless 
all our representatives in (General Congress, Provincial Congress, Con- 
TmtlonBy and Committees ; preserve and strengthen their union, give 


wbdom and stability to their councils, and direct the most efficient 
measures for establishing the rights of America on the most honorable 
and permanent basis ; that he would be graciously pleased to bless all 
the people in these colonies with health and plenty, and grant that a 
spirit of incorruptible patriotism and of pure and undefiled religion 
may universally prevail, and that this continent may be speedily restored 
to the blessings of peace and liberty, and enabled to transmit them 
inviolate to the latest posterity." It is therefore expected that all the 
inhabitants of this city and county do, on the morrow, abstain from all 
and every kind of servile labor, business, and employment, and attend 
upon divine service in public, which will be performed in all churches 
in this city ; that no persons (but such as are in the Continental service, 
whose business may require it) will bo permitted to cross the ferries, 
ride or walk out of town, or about the streets, for amusement or diversion ; 
and that all parents and masters will be careful to restrain their chil- 
dren from playing and straggling about this city on the ensuing day, 
which ought to be, and we trust will be, regarded as the most solemn 
day this devoted continent has ever yet beheld. 

A true copy from the minutes. Published by order of the Committee, 

JosBPH Winter, Secretary, 

The following extracts from a proclamation issued by the 
Great and General Court of Massachusetts Bay in January, 
1776, exhibit the high Christian character of the government 
of that Commonwealth : — 

As the happiness of the people is the sole end of government, bo 
the consent of the people is the only foundation of it, in reason, mo> 
rality, and the natural fitness of things. And therefore every act of 
government, every exercise of sovereignty, against or without the oon- 
sent of the people, is injustice, usurpation, and tyranny. 

It is a maxim of every government that there must exist some- 
where a supreme, sovereign, absolute, and uncontrollable power ; bat 
this power resides always in the body of the people, and it never was 
or can be delegated to one man or a few, — the great Creator having 
never given to men a right to invest authority over them unlimited 
either in duration or degree. 

When kings, ministers, governors, or legislators, therefore, instead 
of exercising the powers intrusted to them according to the principles, 
forms, and propositions stated by the constitution and established 
by the original compact, prostitute those powers to the purposes of 
oppression, — to subvert instead of supporting a free constitution, — ^to 
destroy instead of preserving the lives, liberties, and properties of 
the people, — they are no longer to be deemed magistrates . vested 
with a sacred character, but become public enemies, and ought to be 

The present generation may be congratulated on the acquisition of 
a form of government more immediately, in all its branches, under the 
influence and control of the people, and therefore more free and happy 


than was enjoyed by their ancestors. But, as a government so popular 
can be supported only by universal knowledge and virtue in the body 
of the people, it is the duty of all ranks to promote the means of edu- 
cation for the rising generation, as well as true religion, purity of man- 
ners, and integrity of life, among all orders and degrees. 

That piety and virtue, which alono can secure the freedom of any 
people, may be encouraged, and vice and immorality suppressed, the 
Great and General Court have thought fit to issue this proclamation, 
commanding and enjoining it upon the good people of this colony that 
they lead sober, religious, and peaceable lives, avoiding all blasphemies, 
contempt of the Holy Scriptures and of the Lord's Day, and all other 
crimes and misdeameanors, all debauchery, profaneness, corruption, 
revelry, all riotous and tumultuous proceedings, and all immoralities 
whatsoever ; and that they decently and reverently attend the public 
woraliip of God, at all times acknowledging with gratitude his merciful 
interposition in their behalf, devoutly confiding in him as the God of 
armies, by whose favor and protection alono they may hope for success 
in their present conflict. 

And all judges, justices, sheriffs, grand jurors, tithing-men, and all 
other civil ofiicers within this colony, are hereby strictly enjoined and 
commanded that they contribute all in their power, by their example, 
towards a general reformation of manners, and that they bring to con- 
dign punishment every person who shall commit any of the crimes or 
mi«;domoanors aforesaid, or that shall be guilty of any immoralities 
whatsoever; and that they use their utmost endeavors to have the 
resolves of the Congress and the good and wholesome laws of this 
colony duly carried into execution. 

And as ministers of the gospel within this colony have, during 
the late relaxation of the powers of civil government, exerted them- 
selves for our safety, it is hereby recommended to them still to con- 
tinue their virtuous labors for the good of the people, inculcating by 
their public ministry and private example the necessity of religion, 
morality, and good order. 

Ordered, That the foregoing proclamation be read at the opening 
of every superior court of judicature, &c. and inferior court of com- 
mon pleas and court of general sessions for the peace within this colony, 
by their respective clerks, and at the annual town meetings, in March, 
in ejich town. And it is hereby recommended to the several ministers 
of the gospel throughout this colony to read the same in their respect- 
ive assemblies, on the Lord's Day next after receiving, immediately 
after divine service. 

By order of the General Court. 
In Council, January 19, 1776. In the House of Representatives, 

January 23, 1776. 

GoD Save the Peofle I 

In January, 1777, the Legislature of the State of Massachu- 
setts Bay addressed to the people, through civil officers and 
Christian ministers, a paper on the great conflict then in pro- 



gress, which, after presenting the condition of the country, 
closes in these words : — 

We, therefore, for the sake of religion, for the enjoyment whereof 
your ancestors fled to this country, for the sake of your laws and future 
felicity, entreat you to act vigorously and firmly in this critical condition 
of your country. And we doubt not but that your humble exertions, 
under the smiles of Heaven, will insure that success and freedom due to 
the wise man and patriot. 

Above all, we earnestly exhort you to contribute all within your 
power to the encouragement of those virtues for which the Supreme 
Being has declared that he will bestow his blessing upon a nation, and 
to the discouragement of those vices for which he overturns kingdoms 
in his wrath ; and that at all proper times and seasons you seek to him, 
by prayer and supplication, for deliverance from the calamities of war, 
duly considering that, without his powerful aid and gracious interposi- 
tion, all your endeavors must prove abortive and Vain. 

The Christian views of the people and government of the 
colony of Massachusetts are further disclosed by the following 
proclamations: — 


Saturday, April 15, 1775, A.D. 

Whereas it hath pleased the righteous Sovereign of the universe, in 
just indignation against the sins of a people long blessed with inestima- 
ble privileges, civil and religious, to suffer the plots of wicked men on 
both sides of the Atlantic, who for many years have incessantly labored 
to sap the foundation of our public liberties, so far to succeed that we 
Bee the New England colonies reduced to the ungracious alternative of 
a tame submission to a state of absolute vassalage to the will of a 
despotic minister, or of preparing themselves to defend at the hazard 
of their lives the inalienable rights of themselves and posterity against 
the avowed hostilities of their parent state, who openly threaten to 
wrest them from their hands by fire and sword. 

In circumstances dark as these, it becomes us, as men and Christians, 
to reflect that, whilst every prudent measure should be taken to ward 
off the impending judgment, or to prepare to act in a proper manner 
under them when they come, at the same time, all confidence must be 
withheld from the means we use, and i-opono only on thai Oitd who 
rules in the armies of heaven, and without whose blessing the best 
human counsels are but foolishness, and all created power vanity. 

It is the. happiness of the church, that when the powers of earth and 
hell are combined against it, and those who should be nursing fathers 
•become its persecutors, then the Throne of Grace is of the easiest 
4Mioes8, and its appeal thither is graciously invited by that Father of 
Mercies who has assured it that " when his children ask bread, he will 
dot give them a stone." Therefore, in compliance with the laudable 
practice of the people of God in all ages, with humble regard to the 
tteps of Divine Providence towards this oppressed, threatened, and 


endangered people, and especially in obedience to the command of 
Heaven, that binds us to call on him in the day of trouble : 

lUsalved, That it be, and hereby ia, recommended to the good people 
of this colony, of all denominationa, that Thursday^ the eleventh day of 
May next, be set apart as a day of public humiliation, fasting, and 
prayer ; that a total abstinence from servile labor and recreation be 
observed, and all their religious assemblies solemnly convened, to hum- 
ble themselves before God, under the heavy judgments felt and feared ; 
to confess the sins they have oommited ; to implore the forgiveness of all 
our transgressions; a spirit of repentance and reformation; and a 
blessing on the husbandry, manufactures, and other lawful employ- 
ments of this people ; and especially that the union of the American 
tolonies in defence of their rights (for which hitherto we desire to thank 
Almighty Ghd) may be preserved and confirmed ; that the Provincial, 
and especially the Continental, Congresses, may be directed to such mea- 
sures as Ghd will countenance ;. that the people of Oreat Britain and their 
rulers may have their eyes opened to discern the things that make for the 
peace of the nation and all its connections ; a^d that America may soon 
behold a gracious interposition of Heaven for the redress of her many 
grievances, the restoration of all her invaded liberties, and their security 
to the latest generations. 

Orderedy That the foregoing be copied, authenticated, and sent to all 
the religious assemblies in this colony. 

Watertowit, Nov. 20. 
A Proclamatiox for ▲ Public Thanksoivinq. 

Although, in consequence of the unnatural, cruel, and barbarous 
measures adopted and pursued by the British administration, great and 
distressing calamities are brought upon our distressed country, and in 
this colony in particular we feel the dreadful effects of a dvil war^ by 
which America is stained with the blood of her valiant sons, who have 
bravely fallen in the laudable defence of our rights and privileges ; our 
capital, once the %eat of justice, opulence, and virtue, is urgustly 
wrested from its proper owners, who are obliged to flee from the iron 
hand of tyranny, or held in the unrelenting arms of oppression ; our 
seaports greatly distressed, and towns burnt by the foes who have acted 
the part of barbarous incendiaries ; and although the wise and holy 
Governor of the world has, in his righteous providence, sent droughts 
into this colony, and wasting sickness into many of our towns ; yet we 
have the greatest reasons to adore and praise the Supreme Disposer of 
all events, who deals infinitely better with us than we deserve, and 
amidst all his judgments hath remembered mercy, by causing the 
voice of health again to be heard amongst us; instead of famine, 
affording to an ungrateful people! a competency of the necessaries and 
comforts of life ; in remarkably protecting and preserving our troops 
when in apparent danger, while our ememitA, with all their boasted skill 
and strength, have met with £»m, ditappcifdm/eni, and defeat; and, in the 
course of his good providence, the Father of all Mercies hath bestowed 
upon us many other fovors which call for our grateful acknowledgments : 

Ther^^m^ We have thought fit» with the advice of the Council and 


House of Representatives, to appoint Thurs<lay, the 23d of Xovember 
instant, to be obt»erved throughout this colony as a day of public thank9' 
givhj ; hereby calling upon ministers and people to meet for religious 
worship on the said day, and dn-ouffy to offer up their unfeigned praise 
to Almighty God, the source and bene\'olent bestower of all good, for 
his affording the necessary means of subsistence, though our commerce 
has been prevented and the supplies from the fisher)* denied us ; that 
the lives of our oflRcers and soldiers have been so remarkably preserved, 
while our enemies have fallen before them ; that the vigorous efforts 
which have been made to excite the savage vengeance of the wilderness 
and to rouse the Indians in arms, that an unavoidable destruction 
might come upon our frontier, have been almost miraculously defeated ; 
that our unnatural enemies, instead of ravaging the country with uncon* 
trolled sway, are confined within sueh narrow limits, to their own morti- 
fication and distress, environed by an Anu*ncan army, brave and deter- 
mined; and that our rights and privileges, both civil and religious, are so 
far preserved to us, notwithstanding all efforts to deprive us of them. 

And to offer up humble and fervent prayers to Almighty God for the 
whole British empire, especially for the United American Colonies ; that 
he would bless our civil rulers, and lead them into wise and prudent mea- 
sures at this dark and difficult day ; that he would endow our General 
Court with all that wisdom which is profitable to direct ; that he would 
graciously smile'upon our endeavors \o restore peace, preserve our rights 
and privileges and hand them down to posterity ; that he would grant 
wisdom to the American Congress equal to their important station; 
that ho would direct the generals and the American armies, wherever 
employed, and give them success and victory ; that he would preserve 
and strengthen the hands of the Unital Colonics ; that he would pour his 
Spirit upon all orders of men through the land, and bring us to a 
hearty repentance and reformation, and purify and sanctify all his 
churches, and make ours Emanuel's land ; that he would spread the 
knowledge of the Redeemer throughout the whole earth, and fill the 
world with his glory. And all servile labor is forbidden on this day. 

Given under our hands, at^he Council-Chamber at Watertown, the 
fourth day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven 
hundred and seventy-five. 

By their Honors' command. 

James Otis. Percy Morton, Dep, Secy, 

God Save the People! 






" By a Constitution," says Eawle, " we mean the principles 
on which the government is formed and conducted. 

" On the voluntary association of men in sufficient numbers to 
form a political community, the first step to be taken for their 
own security and happiness is to agree on the terms on which 
they are to be united and to act. They form a Constitution, or 
plan of government, suited to their character, their exigencies, 
and their future prospects. They agree that it shall be the 
supremo rule of obligation among them. This is the pure and 
genuine source of a Constitution in the republican form. 

" Vattel justly observes that the perfection of a state and its 
aptitude to fulfil the ends proposed by society depend on its 
Constitution. The first duty to itself is to form the best Con- 
stitution possible, and one most suited to its circumstances, and 
thus it lays the foundation of its safety, permanency, and hap- 

^* The history of man does not present a more illustrious monu- 
ment of human invention, sound political principlas, and judi- 
cious combinations, than the Constitution of the United States. 


It is deemed to approach as near to perfection as any that hare 
ever been formed." 

The framers of the Constitution of ihe United States pro- 
ibundly felt the magnitude and solemnity of their work. The 
Revolution had been won, with all its splendid results and 
animating hopes. The Articles of the old Ccmfederation had 
proven too weak for the ends of a strong government, and feara 
pervaded the minds of public men and the people that the ob- 
jects for which they had labored wofdd be lost. Under these 
cii'cumstances, "it is the duty," said Hamilton, "of all those 
who have the welfare of the community at heart, to unite their 
efforts to direct the attention of the people to the true source 
of the public disorders, — the want of an efficient generai* 
GOVERNMENT, — and to impress upon them this conviction, that 
these States, to be happy, must have a stronger bond of union, 
and a confederation capable of drawing forth the resources 
of the country." Accordingly, on the 30th of June, 1783, Con- 
gress passed a series of resolutions setting forth the defects of 
the old Confederate Government, and concluded with the follow- 
ing :— 

Whereas^ it is essential to the happiness and security of these States 
that their union should he established on the most solid foundations ; 
and it is manifest that this desirable object cannot be effected but by a 
government capable, both in peace and war, of making every member 
of the Union contribute in just proportion lo the common necessities, 
and of combining and directing the forces and wills of the several parts 
to a general end ; to which purposes, in the opinion of Congress^ the 
present Confederation is altogether inadequate ; 

And Where€u, on the spirit which may direct the coun<nls and mea- 
sures of these States, at the present juncture, may depend their future 
safety and welfare ; Congress conceive it to be their duty freely to state 
to their constituents the defects which, by experience, have been dis- 
covered in the present plan of the Federal Union, and solemnly to call 
their attention to a revisal and amendment of the same ; 

Therefore, JReaolved, That it be earnestly recommended to the several 

States to appoint a convention to meet at on the day of 

, with ftiU powers to revise the Confederation, and to adjust and 

propose such alterations as to them may appear necessary, to be finally 
approved or rejected by the States respectively, and that a committer 
of be appointerl to prepare an address upon the sul^ect. 

The foregoing action of Congress was based on the recom- 
mendation of the Legislature of Virginia, who "proposed a 
convention of commissioners from all the States, for the purpose 


of taking into consideration the state of trade, and the pro- 
priety of a uniform system of commercial relations, for their 
permanent harmony and common interest. Pursuant to this 
proposal, commissioners were appointed by five States, who met 
at Annapolis in September, 1786. They framed a report to be 
laid before the Continental Congress, advising the latter to call 
a general convention of commissioners from all the States, to 
meet in Philadelphia in May, 1787, for a more effectual revi- 
sion of the Articles of Confederation. Congress adopted the 
recommendation of the report, and in February, 1787, passed 
a resolution for the assembling a convention accordingly." 

Virginia, in an act of her Assembly appointing her dele- 
gates and urging the other States to meet in general conven- 
tion, says, — 

The crisis has arrived at which the good people of America are 
to decide the solemn question whether they will, by wise and magnani- 
mous efforts, reap the just fruits which they have so gloriously acquired, 
and of that Union which they have cemented with so much of their 
common blood, or whether, by giving way to unmanly jealousies and 
prejudices, or to partial and transitory interests, they will renounce the 
auspicious blessings prepared for them by the Revolution, and furnish 
to its enemies an eventual triumph over those by whose virtue and 
valor it has been accomplished. 

The convention accordingly met in Philadelphia, on May 14, 
1787, and, after four months of solemn deliberation, the Federal 
Constitution was formed, and sent to the States and the people 
for ratification. After very thorough discussion before the 
people, it was adopted, and went into practical operation. 

" It was a most fortunate thing for America," says Curtis, in 
his "History of the Constitution," "that the Eevolutionary age, 
with its hardships, its trials, and its mistakes, had formed a 
body of statesmen capable of framing for it a durable Constitu- 
tion. The leading persons in the convention which formed 
the Constitution had been actors, in civil or military life, in 
the scenes of the Revolution. In these scenes their charac- 
ters as American statesmen had been formed. When the 
condition of the country had fully revealed the incapacity of 
the government to provide for its wants, these men were 
naturally looked to to construct a system to save it from 
anarchy; and their great capacities, their high disinterested 
purposes, their freedom from all fanaticism and illiberality, 


and their earnest, unconquerable faith in the destiny of the 
country, enabled them to found that government which now up- 
holds and protects the whole fabric of liberties in the States of 
this Union." 

" Of this convention," says a writer, " considering the cha- 
racter of the men, the work in which they were engaged, and 
the results of their labor, I think them the most remarkable 
body ever assembled." 

This Constitution, formed by such a body of able and wise 
statesmen, contains no recognition of the Christian religion, nor 
even an acknowledgment of the providence of God in national 
affairs. This omission was greatly regretted by the Christian 
public at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, as it haa 
been by the Christian sentiment of the nation ever since. 

It is said that, after the convention had adjourned. Rev. Dr. 
Miller, a distinguished professor in Princeton College, met 
Alexander Hamilton in the streets of Philadelphia, and said, 
" Mr. Hamilton, we are greatly grieved that the Constitution has 
no recognition of God or the Christian religion." " I declare," 
said Hamilton, "we forgot it!" 

The attention of Washington was called to this omission. 
After he was inaugurated, in 1789, as the first President under 
the Constitution, the Presbytery Eastward, in Massachusetts 
and New Hampshire, sent a Christian address to Washington, 
in which they say, "We should not have been alone in re- 
joicing to have seen some explicit acknowledgment of the only 
true God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, inserted some- 
where in the Magna Charta of our country." 

To this Washington replies, " I am persuaded you will per- 
mit me to observe that the path of true piety is so plain as to 
require but little political direction. To this consideration we 
ought to ascribe the absence of any regulation respecting religion 
from the Magna Charta of oui' country. To the guidance of 
the ministers of the gospel this important object is, perhaps, 
more properly committed. And in the progress of morality 
and science, to which our Government will give every further- 
ance, we may confidently expect the advancement of true reli- 
gion and the completion of our happiness." 

Notwithstanding this omission, the record of facts now to pass 
before the reader will demonstrate that the Constitution was 


formed under Christian influences and is, in its purposes and 
spirit, a Christian instrument. 

The Christian faith and character of the men who formed the 
Constitution forbid the idea that they designed not to place the 
Constitution and its government under the providence and pro- 
tection of Gk)d and the principles of the Christian religion. In 
all their previous state papers they had declared Christianity 
to bo fundamental to the well-being of society and government, 
and in every form of official authority had stated this fact. 
The Declaration of Independence contained a solemn "appeal 
to the Supreme Judge of the world," and expressed "a firm 
reliance on the protection of Divine Providence." An article 
in the old Confederation had declared that "it had pleased the 
great Governor of the world to incline the hearts of the legis- 
latures we severally represent in Congress to approve of, and to 
authorize us to ratify, the said articles of confederation and per- 
petual union." The various States who had sent these good and 
great men to the convention to form a Constitution had, in all 
their civil charters, expressed, as States and as a people, their 
faith in God and the Christian religion. Most of the statesmen 
themselves were Christian men ; and the convention had for its 
president George Washington, who everywhere paid a public 
homage to the Christian religion. 

These statesmen, met to form a Constitution for a free and 
growing republic, were at times baffled in reaching desirable 
and harmonious results. 

" I can well recollect," says Judge Wilson, a member, "though 
I cannot, I believe, convey to others, the impression which on 
many occasions was made by the difficulties which surrounded 
and pressed the convention. The great undertaking, at some 
times, seemed to be at a stand; at other times, its motions 
seemed to be retrograde. At the conclusion, however, of our 
work, the members expressed their astonishment at the success 
with which it terminated." 

It was in the midst of these difficulties that Dr. Franklin, on 
the morning of the 28th of June, 1787, rose, and delivered the 
following address : — 

Mr. President : — ^The slow progress we have made, after four or five 
weeks' close attendance and continual reasoning with each other, — our 
difterent sentiments on almost every question, several of the last pro- 
ducing as many nays as yeas,— is, methinks, a melancholy proof of tho 


imperfection of human understanding. We indeed seem to feel our 
own want of political wisdom, since we have been running about in 
Hearch of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of 
government, and examined the different forms of those republics 
whiclu having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution, 
now no longer exist. And we have viewed modern states all round 
Europe, but find none of their constitutions suitable to our circum- 

In this situation of this assembly, groping as it were in the dark to 
find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to 
us, how has it happened, sir, that we have not hitherto once thought 
of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our under^ 
standing ? In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when 
we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for the 
Divine protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard, and they were graciously 
answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have 
observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our 
favor. To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of 
consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national 
felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend T Or do we 
imagine we no longer need his assistance? 

I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more con- 
vincing proofs I see of this truth, — that God governs in the affairs qf men. 
And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it 
probable that an empire can rise without his aidf We have been as- 
sured, sir, in the sacred writings, that * Except the Lord build the house 
they labor in vain that build it.' 1 firmly believe this ; and I also believe 
that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political build- 
ing no better than the builders of Babel. We shall be divided by our 
little, partial, local interests ; our projects will be confounded, and we 
ourselves become a reproach and by-word down to future ages. And, 
what is worse, mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate circum- 
stance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom, and 
leave it to chance, war, and conquest. 

I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers imploring the 
assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in 
this assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one 
or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service. 

Madison says that 

**'Mr. Sherman seconded the motion. 

"Mr. Hamilton and several others expressed their appre- 
hensions that, however proper such a resolution might have 
been at the beginning of the convention, it might at this late 
day, in the first place, bring on it some disagreeable animad- 
versions, and, in the second, lead the public to believe that the 
embarrassments and dissensions within the convention had sug- 
gested this measure. 


" It waa answered by Dr. Franklin, Mr. Sherman, and others, 
that the past omission of a duty could not justify a further 
omission; that the rejection of such a proposition would expose 
the convention to more unpleasant animadversions than the 
adoption of it ; and that the alarm out of doors, that might be 
excited for the state of things within, would at least be as likely 
to do good as ill. 

" Mr. Williamson observed that the true cause of the omission 
could not be mistaken. . The convention had no funds. 

"Mr. Randolph proposed, in order to give a favorable aspect 
to the measure, that a sermon be preached, at the request of 
the convention, on the Fourth of July, the anniversary of In- 
dependence, and thenceforward prayers, &c. to be read in the 
convention every morning." 

The following authentic account of the scene connected with 
Dr. Franklin's speech in reference to the need of Divine aid in 
forming the Constitution was written in 1825 by an intimate 
friend of the youngest member of the convention, and may be 
found in McGuire's "Religious Opinions and Character of Wash- 
ington." It relates to the reconsideration of the provision which 
had been made for the representation of the States in the 
Senate. It had been determined that representation should be 
according to population. To this principle the representatives 
from the four smaller States objected. They moved a recon- 
sideration, and expressed their purpose of withdrawing from 
the convention unless the Constitution was so modified as to 
give them an equal representation. 

" A rupture," says the writer, " appeared almost inevitable, 
and the bosom of Washington seemed to labor with the most 
anxious solicitude for its issue. Happily for the United States, 
the convention contained many individuals possessed of talents 
and virtues of the highest order, whose hearts were deeply 
interested in the establishment of a new and efficient form of 
government, and whose penetrating minds had already deplored 
the evils which would spring up in our newly-established republic 
should the present attempt to consolidate it prove abortivOi 
Among those personages the most prominent was Dr. Franklin. 
He was esteemed the Mentor of our body. To a mind naturally 
strong and capacious, enriched by much reading and the ex- 
perience of many years, he added a manner of communicating 
his thoughts peculiarly his own, in which simplicity, beauty. 


and strength were equally conspicuous. As soon as the angry 
orators who had preceded him had left him an opening, the 
doctor rose, impressed with the weight of the subject before 
them, and the difficulty of managing it successftQly. 

" In a speech, the doctor urged the consideration of the great 
interests involved in the issue of their deliberations, and pro- 
posed a recess for three days, for cool reflection and impartial 
conversation among the members respecting their conflicting 
views and opinions, that they might return to the subject 
before them with more tranquil and amicable feelings. He then 
concluded in the following words : — 

"'Before I sit down, Mr. President, I will suggest another 
matter ; and I am really surprised that it has not been proposed 
by some other member at an earlier period of our deliberations. 
I will suggest, Mr. President, the propriety of nominating and 
appointing, before we separate, a chaplain to this convention, 
whose duty it shall be uniformly to assemble with us, and iu- 
troduce the business of each day by an address to the Creator 
of the universe and the Governor of all nations, beseeching 
him to preside in our council, enlighten our minds with a 
portion of heavenly wisdom, influence our hearts with a love 
of truth and justice, and crown our labors with complete and 
abundant success.' 

"The doctor sat down ; and never did I behold a countenance 
at once so dignified and delighted as was that of Washington, 
at the close of this address ; nor were the members of the con- 
vention generally less aSected. The words of the venerable 
Franklin fell upon our ears with a weight and authority even 
greater than we may suppose an oracle to have had in a 
Roman Senate. A silent admiration superseded for a moment 
the expression of that assent and approbation which was 
strongly marked on almost every countenance. The motion 
for appointing a chaplain was instantly put, and carried, with 
a solitary negative. The motion for an adjournment was 
then put, and carried unanimously; and the convention ad- 
journed accordingly. 

" The three days of recess were spent in the manner advised 
by Dr. Franklin : the opposite parties mixed with each other, 
and a free and frank interchange of sentiments took place. On 
the fourth day we assembled again; and, if great additional 
light had not been thrown on the subject, every uiifricndly 


fcding had been expelled, and a spirit of conciliation had beeii 
cultivated which promised at least a calm and dispassionate 
reconsideration of the subject. 

"As soon as the chaplain had closed his prayer, and the 
minutes of the last sitting were read, all eyes were turned to the 
doctor. He rose, and said, in a few words, that during the recess 
he had listened attentively to all the arguments, pro and con, 
\\h\d\ had been urged by both sides of the House ; that he had 
himself read much, and thought more, on the subject ; he saw 
difficulties and ofejections which might he urged by individual 
States against every scheme which had been proposed, and he 
now more than ever was convinced that the Constitution which 
they were about to form, in order to be jicst and equal, must be 
founded on the basis of compromise and mutual concession. 
With such views and feelings, he would move a reconsideration 
of the vote last taken on the organization of the Senate. The 
motion was seconded, the vote carried, the former vote re- 
scinded, and, by a successful motion and resolution, the Senate 
was organized on the present plan." 

During the deliberations of the convention to form the Con- 
stitution, the 4th of July, 1787, was celebrated in Philadelphia 
with great enthusiasm. The oration was delivered in the Re- 
formed Calvinistic Church, and Rev. William Rogers ofiFered up 
a prayer, of which the following is an extract : — 

"As this is a period, Lord, big with events impenetrable by 
any human scrutiny, we fervently recommend to thy fatherly 
notice that august body, assembled in this city, who compose 
our federal convention. Will it please thee, thou Eternal I 
Am I to favor them, from day to day, with thy inspiring pre- 
sence; be their wisdom and strength; enable them to devise 
such measures as may prove happy instruments in healing all 
divisions and prove the good of the great whole; incline the 
hearts of all the people to receive with pleasure, combined with 
a determination to carry into execution, whatever these thy 
servants may wisely recommend; that the United States of 
America may form one example of a free and virtuous govern- 
ment, which shall be the result of human mutual deliberation, 
and which shall not, like other governments, whether ancient 
or modern, spring out of mere chance or be established by 
force. May we trust in the cheering prospect of being a 
country delivered from anarchy, and continue, under the influ- 


ence of republican virtue, to partake of all the blessings of 
cultivated and Christian society." 

In Dr. Franklin's closing speech in the convention, he said, — 

"It astonishes me, sir, to find this system approaching so 
near to perfection as it does ; and I think it will astonish our 
enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear that our 
councils are confounded, like those of the builders of Babel." 

After the convention had closed its labors, and the Constitu- 
tion had been adopted. Dr. Franklin acknowledged a divine 
intervention, as follows : — 

"I am not to be understood to infer that our General Con- 
vention was divinely inspired when it formed the new Federal 
Constitution ; yet I must own that I have so much faith in the 
general governnLsnt of the world by Providence, that I can 
hardly conceive a transaction of so much importance to the 
welfare of millions now in existence, and to exist in the posterity 
of a great nation, should be sufiered to pass without being in 
some degree influenced, guided, and governed by that omnipo- 
tent and beneficent Ruler in whom all inferior spirits live, and 
move, and have their being." 

This Constitution, freighted with such rich blessings, and 
tested by eighty-three years' trial, met at its formation with 
great opposition. Dr. Franklin wrote a paper comparing the 
conduct of the ancient Jews with that of the opponents of the 
Constitution of the United States, in which he says that " A 
sealouB advocate- for the proposed Federal Constitution, in a 
certain public assembly, said that the repugnance of a great 
part of mankind to good government was such, that he believed 
that if an angel from heaven was to bring down a Constitution 
Irom there for our use, it would nevertheless meet with violent 
opposition. He was reproved for the supposed extravagance of 
the sentiment. 

"Probably," says Dr. Franklin, "it might not have imme- 
diately occurred to him that the experiment had been tried, and 
that the event was recorded in the most faithful of all histories, 
the Holy Bible ; otherwise he might, as it seems to me, have 
supported his opinion by that unexceptionable authority, 

" On the whole, it appears that the Israelites were a people 
jealous of their newly-acquired liberty, which jealousy was in 
itself no fault ; but when they suiBfered it to be worked upon by 
artful men pretending public good, with nothing really in view 


but private interest, they were led to oppose the establishment 
of the new Constitution, whereby they brought upon themselves 
much inconvenience and misfortune. Prom all which we may 
gather that popular opposition to a public measure is no proof 
of its impropriety, even though the opposition be excited and 
headed by men of distinction." 

" It appears to me," writes Washington to Lafayette, Febru- 
ary 8, 1788, " little short of a miracle that the delegates from so 
many States, differing from each other, as you know, in their 
manners, circumstances, and prejudices, should unite in forming 
a system of national government so little liable to well-founded 
objections. It will at least be a recommendation to the pro- 
posed Constitution that it is provided with more checks and 
barriers against the introduction of tyranny, and those of a 
nature less liable to be • surmounted, than any government 
hitherto instituted among mortals. We are not to expect per- 
fection in this world ; but mankind in modem times have appa- 
rently made some progress in the science of government." 

"We may with a kind of pious and grateful exultation," 
writes Washington to Governor Trumbull, of Connecticut, July 
20, 1788, " trace the finger of Providence through those dark 
and mysterious events which first induced the States to appoint 
a general convention, and then led them one after another, by 
such steps as were best calculated to effect the object, into an 
adoption of the system recommended by the general conven- 
tion, thereby, in all human probability, laying a lasting founda- 
tion for tranquillity and happiness, when we had too much 
reason to fear that confusion and misery were coming upon us." 

On his way to New York, after its adoption, to assume the 
administration of the new government, processions and ovations 
were frequent in honor of the adoption of the Constitution and 
as^a tribute to the good and great man who had presided over 
the convention that formed it. At Philadelphia twenty thou- 
sand people met and welcomed Washington with cries of, "Long 
live George Washington ! Long live the father of his country I" 
Washington, in addressing the people of that city, spoke as 
follows : — 

" When I contemplate the interposition of Providence, as it 
has been visibly manifested in guiding us through the Bevolution, 
in preparing us for the General Government, and in conciliating 
the good will of ihe people of America towards one another in 


its adoption, I feel myself oppressed and overwhelmed with a 
sense of the Divine munificence." 

In that procession at Philadelphia, to honor the new Con- 
stitution, "the clergy formed a conspicuous part, manifesting by 
their attendance a sense of the connection between good govern- 
ment and religion. They marched arm in arm, to illustrate the 
General Union. Care was taken to associate ministers of the 
most dissimilar opinions with each other, to display the pro- 
motion of Christian charity by free institutions. 'The rabbi 
of the Jews, with a minister of the gospel on each side, was a 
most delightful sight.' It exhibited the political equality, not 
only of Christian denominations, but of worthy men of every 

" It has sometimes been concluded," says a writer, " that 
Christianity cannot have any direct connection with the Con- 
stitution of the United States, on the ground that the instru- 
ment contains no express declaration to that eflFect. But the 
error of such a conclusion becomes manifest when we reflect that 
the same is the case with regard to several other truths, which 
are, notwithstanding, fundamental in our constitutional system. 
The Declaration of Independence says that 'governments are 
instituted among men to secure the rights of life, liberty, and 
the pursuit of happiness;' and that 'whenever any form of 
government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right 
of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new 
government.' These principles lie at the foundation of the 
Constitution of the United States. No principles in the Con- 
stitution are more fundamental than these. But the instru- 
ment contains no declaration to this efibct ; these principles are 
nowhere mentioned in it, and the references to them are equally 
slight and indirect with those which are made to the Christian 
religion. The same may be said of the great republican truth 
that political sovereignty resides in the people of the United 
States. If, then, any one may rightfully conclude that Chris- 
tianity has no connection with the Constitution of the United 
States because this is nowhere expressly declared in the instru- 
ment, he ought, in reason, to be equally convinced that the same 
Constitution is not built upon and does not recognize the sove- 
reignty of the people, and the great republican truths above 
quoted from the Declaration of Independence. This argument 
receives additional strength when we consider that the Con- 


stitution of the United States was formed directly for political 
and not for religious objects. The truth is, they are all equally 
fundamental, though neither of them is expressly mentioned in 
the Constitution. 

"Besides, the Constitution of the United States contemplates, 
and is fitted for, such a state of society as Christianity alone 
can form. It contemplates a state of society in which strict 
integrity, simplicity, and purity of manners, wide diffusion of 
knowledge, well-disciplined passions, and wise moderation, are 
the general characteristics of the people. These virtues, in our 
nation, are the offspring of Christianity, and without the con- 
tinued general belief of its doctrines and practice of its pre- 
cepts they will gradually decline and eventually perish." 

The Constitution declares that " no religious test shall ever 
be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under 
the United States." 

On this article Judge Story says, — 

" The clause requiring no religious test for office is recom- 
mended by its tendency to satisfy the minds of many delicate 
and scrupulous persons, who entertain great repugnance to 
religious tests as a qualification for civil power or honor. But 
it has a higher aim in the Constitution. It is designed to cut 
off every pretence of an alliance between the Church and the 
State in the administration of the National Government. The 
American people were too well read in the history of other 
countries, and had suffered too much in their colonial state, not 
to dread the abuses of authority resulting from religious bigotry, 
intolerance, and persecution." 

Th& first amendment to the Constitution is, "That Congress 
shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or 
prohibiting the free exercise thereof." 

"The same policy," says Judge Story, "which introduced 
into the Constitution the prohibition of any religious test, led 
to this more extended prohibition of the interference of Con- 
gress in religious concerns. We are not to attribute this pro- 
hibition of a national religious establishment to an indifference 
to religion in general, and especially to Christianity (which 
none could hold in more reverence than the framers of the 
Constitution), but to a dread by the people of the influence of 
ecclesiastical power in matters of government, — a dread which 
their ancestors brought with them from the parent country, and 



which, unhappily for human infirmity, their own conduct, after 
their emigration, had not in any just degree tended to diminish. 
It was also obvious, from the numerous and powerful sects in 
the United States, that there would be perpetual temptations 
to struggles for ascendency in the national councils, if any one 
might thereby hope to found a permanent and exclusive national 
establishment of its own ; and religious persecutions might thus 
be introduced, to an extent utterly subversive of the true inte- 
rests and good order of the republic. The most eflfectual mode 
of suppressing the evil, in the view of the people, was to strike 
down the temptations to its introduction. How far any govern- 
ment has a right to interfere in matters touching religion, has 
been a matter much discussed by writers upon public and 
political law. . . . The right of a society or government to inter- 
fere in matters of religion will hardly be contested by any 
persons who believe that piety, religion, and morality are in- 
timately connected with the well-being of the state and indis- 
pensable to the administration of civil justice. 

*'The promulgation of the great doctrines of religion, — the 
being and attributes and providence of one Almighty God, the 
responsibility to him for all our actions, founded upon moral 
accountability, a future state of rewards and punishments, 
the cultivation of all the personal, social, and benevolent vir- 
tues, — ^these never can be. a matter of indifierence in a well- 
ordered community. It is, indeed, difficult to conceive how any 
civilized society can exist without them. And, at all events, 
it is impossible for those who believe in the truth of Chris- 
tianity as a divine revelation to doubt that it is the special duty 
of Government to foster and encourage it among all the citizens 
and subjects. This is a point wholly distinct from that of the 
right of private judgment in matters of religion, and of the 
freedom of public worship according to the dictates of one's 

"The real difficulty lies in ascertaining the limits to which 
Grovemment may rightfully go in fostering and encouraging 
religion. Three cases may easily be supposed. One, where a 
government affi)rds aid to a particular religion, leaving all 
persons free to adopt any other ; another, where it creates an 
ecclesiastical establishment for the propagation of the doctrines 
of a particular sect of that religion, leaving a like freedom to 
all others; and a third, where it creates such an establishment, 


and excludes all persons not belonging to it, either wholly or in 
paxt, fix)m any participation in the public honors, trusts, emolu- 
ments, privileges, and immunities of the state. For instance, 
a government may simply declare that the Christian religion 
shall be the religion of the state, and shall be aided and en- 
couraged in all the varieties of sects belonging to it ; or it may 
declare that the Roman Catholic or Protestant religion shall be 
the religion of the state, leaving every man to the free enjoy- 
ment of his own religious opinions; or it may establish the 
doctrines of a particular sect, as of Episcopalians, as the religion 
of the state, with a like freedom ; or it may establish the doc- 
trines of a particular sect as exclusively the religion of the state, 
tolerating others to a limited extent, or excluding all not be- 
longing to it from all public honors, trusts, emoluments, privi- 
leges, and immunities. 

"Probably at the time of the adoption of the Constitution 
and of the Amendments to it, the general, if not universal, sen- 
timent in America was that Christianity ought to receive en- 
couragement from the state, so far as such encouragement was 
not incompatible with the private rights of ponscience and the 
freedom of religious worship. An attempt to level all religions, 
and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter in- 
diflFerence, would have created universal disapprobation, if not 
universal indignation." 

In a work on the Constitution, by James Bayard, of Delaware, 
and which received the warm commendations of Chief-Justice 
Marshall, Judge Story, Chancellor Kent, and other distinguished 
civilians and jurists, the writer speaks on this fundamental law 
of the Constitution thus : — 

" The people of the United States were so fully aware of the 
evils which arise from the union of Church and State, and so 
thoroughly convinced of its corrupting influence upon both 
religion and government, that they introduced this prohibition 
into the fundamental law. 

" It has been made an objection to the Constitution, by some, 
that it makes no mention of religion, contains no recognition of 
the existence and providence of Gkxi, — ^as though his authority 
were slighted or disregarded. But such is not the reason of tho 
omission. The convention which framed the Constitution com- 
prised some of the wisest and best men of the nation, — ^men 
who werefirmiypersicaded not orUy of the divine origin of the 


Christian religion, but also of its importance to the temporal 
and etenul welfare of men. The people, too, of this country 
were generally impressed with religious feelings, and felt and 
acknowledged the superintendence of God, who had protected 
them through the perils of war and blessed their exertions to 
obtain civil and religious freedom. But there were reasons why 
the introduction of religion into the Constitution would have 
been unseasonable, if not improper. 

" In th-5 first place, it was intended exclusively for civil pur- 
poses, and religion could not be regularly mentioned, because it 
made no part of the agreement between the parties. They were 
about to surrender a portion of their civil rights for the security 
of the remainder; but each retained his rehgious freedom, 
entire and untouched, as a matter between himself and his God, 
with which government could not interfere. But, even if this 
reason had not existed, it would have been difficult, if not im- 
possible, to use any expression on the subject which would have 
given general satisfaction. The difference between the various 
sects oi Christians is such, that, while all have much in common, 
there are many points of variance : so that in an instrument 
where all are entitled to equal consideration it would be difficult 
to use terms in which all could cordially join. 

" Besides, the whole Constitution was a compromise, and it 
was foreseen that it would meet with great opposition before it 
would be finally adopted. It was, therefore, important to restrict 
its provisions to things absolutely necessary, so as to give aa 
little room as possible to cavil. Moreover, it was impossible to 
introduce into it even an expression of gratitude to the Almighty 
for the formation of the present government; for, when the 
Constitution was framed and submitted to the people, it was 
entirely uncertain whether it would ever be ratified, and the 
government might, therefore, never be established. 

"The prohibition of any religious test for office was wise, 
because its admission would lead to hypocrisy and corruption. 
The purity of religion is best preserved by keeping it separate 
from government ; and the surest means of giving to it its proper 
influence in society is the dissemination of correct principles 
through education. The experience of this country has proved 
that religion may flourish in all its vigor and purity without 
the aid of a national establishment; and the religious feeling of 


the community is the best guarantee for the religious adminis- 
tration of the government." 

"Just and liberal sentiments on this subject," says Rawle, in 
his "View of the Constitution of the United States," "throw a 
lustre round the Constitution in which they are found, and, 
while they dignify the nation, promote its internal peace and 
harmony. No predominant religion overpowers another, the 
votaries of which are few and humble; no lordly hierarchy 
excites odium or terror; legal persecution is unknown; and 
freedom of discussion, while it tends to promote the knowledge, 
contributes to increase the fervor, of piety." 

The following extracts from a speech made in the convention 
in Massachusetts met to ratify the Constitution of the United 
States, are liberal and just. Rev. Mr. Shute, who presented 
these views, was a Congregational clergyman, and a member of 
the convention. 

" To establish," says he, " a religious test as a qualification 
for office in the proposed Federal Constitution, it appears to me, 
would be attended with injurious consequences to some indi- 
viduals, and with no advantage to the whole. 

" In this great and extensive empire, there is, and will be, a 
great variety of sects among its inhabitants. Upon a plan of 
a religious test, the question must be, who shall be excluded 
from national trust? Whatever bigotry might suggest, the 
dictates of conscience and equity, I conceive, will say, ' None.* 

" Far from limiting my charity and confidence to men of my 
own denomination in religion, I suppose and believe, sir, there 
are worthy characters among men of every denomination, — 
among the Quakers, the Baptists, the Church of England, 
Papists, and even among those who have no other guide in 
the way to virtue and to heaven than the dictates of natural 

" I must, therefore, think, sir, that the proposed plan of govern- 
ment in this particular is wisely constructed; and that as 
all have an equal claim to the blessings of the government 
under which they live and wliich they support, so none shall 
be excluded by being of any particular denomination of religion. 

" The presumption is, that the eyes of the people will be upon 
the faithful in the land, and, from a regard to their own safety, 
will choose for their rulers men of known abilities, of known 
probity, and of good moral character. The Apostle Peter tells 


US that ' God is no respecter of persons, but in every nation be 
that feareth him and worketh righteousness is acceptable to 
him;' and I know of no reason why men of such a character in 
a community, of whatever denomination of religion, cceteris 
paribus, with suitable qualifications, should not be acceptable 
to the people, and why they may not be employed by them with 
safety and advantage in the important offices of government. 

" The exclusion of a religious test in the proposed Constitu- 
tion, therefore, clearly appears to me, sir, to be in favor of its 

The Constitution itself affirms its Christian character and 

The seventh article declares it to be framed and adopted "by 
the unanimous consent of the States, the seventeenth day of Sepr 
tember in the year of our Lord 1787, and of the Independence 
of the United States of America the twelfth." The date of the 
Constitution is twofold : first it is dated from the birth of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, and then from the birth of our independence. Any 
argument which might be supposed to prove that the authority 
of Christianity is not recognized by the people of the United 
States, in the first mode, would equally prove that the independ- 
ence of the United States is not recognized by them in the second 
mode. The fact is, that the advent of Christ and the independ- 
ence of the country are the two events in which, of all others, 
we are most interested, — the former in common with all mankind, 
the latter as the birth of our nation. This twofold mode, there- 
fore, of dating so solemn an instrument was singularly appro- 
priate and becoming. 

A second fact is the harmony of the purposes for which the 
Constitution was established with the purposes and results of 
Christianity as affecting nations and the temporal interests of 
men. The preamble states this political and moral harmony in 
these words : — 

We, the people of the United S totes, in order to form a more per- 
fect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the 
4$ommon defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings 
of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this 
Constitution for the United States of America. 

These fundamental objects of the Constitution are in perfect 
harmony with the revealed objects of the Christian religion. 


Union, justice, peace, the general welfare, and the blessings of 
civil and religious liberty, are the objects of Christianity, and are 
always secured under its practical and beneficent reign. "Our 
National Constitution is fitted to quicken the growth of a real 
manhood, to discipline the virtuous citizen for an ampler reward 
in heaven than he would reach if he were not trained to think 
for himself, to govern himself, to develop his own powers, to 
worship his Maker according to his own conscience." 

A third fact indicating the Christian character of the Consti- 
tution is, that in no less than four places it requires an oath. 

" No person can hold an executive or judicial office under it, 
or derived from any State, who does not take an oath to sup- 
port it." 

Ah oath is defined to be "a solemn appeal to the Supreme 
Being for the truth of what is said, by a person who believes 
in the existence of a Supreme Being, and in a future state of 
rewards and punishments, according to that form which will 
bind his conscience most." Can it with propriety be said that 
a government which forbids the exercise of the slightest of its 
functions by any one who cannot make and has not made such 
an appeal to a supreme Being, in whom he believes, does not 
recognize the authority of God ? It includes other sovereign- 
ties, and provides that even there no man shall be intrusted 
with any power that concerns the whole people, who fails to 
furnish this testimony of his religious character. 

It was objected in several of the State conventions held for 
the adoption of the Federal Constitution, that it contained no 
religious test. It was argued that Mohammedans, pagans, or 
persons of no religion at all, might be chosen into the govern- 
ment. In North Carolina Mr. Iredell replied, "It was never 
to be supposed that the people of America will trust their dear- 
est interests to persons who have no religion at all, or a religion 
materially difierent from their own. It would be happy for 
mankind if religion was permitted to take its own course and 
maintain itself by the excellency of its own doctrines. The 
Divine Author of our religion never wished for its support by 
worldly authority. Has he not said, 'The gates of hell shall 
not prevail against it'? It made much greater progress for 
itself than when supported by the greatest authority upon 

In the convention held in Massachusetts, Hev. Mr. Payson 


said, "The great object of religion being God supreme, and 
the seat of religion in man being the heart or conscience, Le. 
the reason God has given us, employed on our moral actions in 
their most important consequences, as related to the tribunal 
of God, — ^hence I infer that God alone is the God of the con- 
science, and, consequently, attempts to erect human tribunals 
for the consciences of men are impious encroachments upon the 
prerogatives of God." Theophilus Parsons, afterwards Chief- 
Justice, said, "It has been objected that the Constitution pro- 
vides no religious test by oath, and we may have in power un- 
principled men, atheists, and pagans. No man can wish more 
ardently than I do that all our public offices may be filled by 
men who fear God and hate wickedness ; but it must remain 
with the electors to give the government this security. An oath 
will not do it. Will an unprincipled man be entangled by an 
oath ? Will an atheist or a pagan dread the vengeance of the 
Christian's God, — a being, in his opinion, the creature of fancy and 
credulity? It is a solecism in expression. No man is so illiberal 
as to wish the confining of places of honor or. profit to any one 
sect of Christians ; but what security is it to government that 
every public officer shall swear that he is a Christian ? For 
what will then be called Christianity ? The only evidence we 
can have of the sincerity and excellence of a man's religion is a 
good hfe ; and I trust that such evidence will be required of 
every candidate by every elector." 

The theory on this point upon which the Constitution was 
formed was perfect. It secured the recognition of a Supreme 
Being and a future retribution, and excluded all tests founded 
upon distinctions of religion or sects. It found the Bible at 
large among the people for whom it provided a government, 
and it left among them the power of the gospel without re- 
straint, free. It left it in the authority and made it the high- 
est interest of the people to select the citizens to office who 
believed in the Bible and acknowledged that power by con- 
forming their lives to its requirements. 

More than sixty years of prosperity and domestic peace, 
under the practical working of this system, attest the wisdom 
of the scheme on which it was founded. 

A fourth fact is its recognition of the Christian Sabbath. 

Article 1, section 7, says, " If any bill shall not be returned 
by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it 


shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law in 
like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by 
their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not 
be a law." 

" In adopting this provision," says Dr. Adams, "it was clearly 
presumed by the people that the President of the United States 
would not employ himself in public business on Sunday. The 
people had been accustomed to pay special respect to Sunday 
from the first settlement of the country. They assumed that 
the President also would wish to respect the day. They did 
not think it suitable or becoming to require him by a constitu- 
tional provision to respect the day : they assumed that he would 
adhere to the customary observance without a requirement. 
To have enacted a constitutional provision would have left him 
no choice, and would have been placing no confidence in him. 
They have placed the highest possible confidence in him, by 
assuming, without requiring it, that his conduct in this respect 
would be according to their wishes. Every man who is capable 
of being influenced by the higher and more delicate motives of 
duty cannot fail to perceive that the obligation on the Presi- 
dent to respect the observance of Sunday is greatly superior 
to any which could have been created by a constitutional enact- 
ment. The people, in adopting the Constitution, must, have 
been convinced that the public business intrusted to the Pre- 
sident would be greater in importance and variety than that 
which would fall to the share of any functionary employed in 
a subordinate station. The expectation and confidence, then, 
manifested by the people of the United States, that their Pre- 
sident will respect t?ieir Sunday, by abstaining from public 
business on that day, must extend a fortiori to all employed 
in subordinate stations." 

Senator Frelinghuysen said in Congress, in 1830, "Our pre- 
decessors have acted upon a true republican principle, — that the 
feelings and opinions of the majority were to be consulted. And 
when a collision might arise, inasmuch as only one day could 
be thus appropriated, they wisely determined, in accordance with 
the sentiments of at least nine-tenths of our people, that the 
first day of the week should be the Sabbath of our Government. 
This public recognition is accorded to the Sabbath in the Fede- 
ral Constitution. The President of the United States, in the 
discharge of the high functions of his legislative department, 


is expressly relieved from all emban^assment on Sunday. Boih 
Houses of Congress, the offices of the State, Treasury, War, 
and Navy Departments, are all closed on Sunday, 

*' Long before the American Revolution, it was decided that 
the desecration of the Sabbath was an offence at common law, 
which all admit recognizes Christianity. The Sabbath is re- 
cognized, both by the statute and common law, by the States 
which compose this Union, as a day upon which courts cannot 
sit or civil process issue ; the servant, apprentice, and laborer 
•are exempt from worldly avocations on that day, and protected 
in its enjojrment as a day of rest; and all entertainments, 
exhibitions, reviews, or other things calculated to disturb the 
religious observance of this day, are prohibited. 

" The humanizing effect of the Sabbath, in promoting works 
of benevolence, charity, schools for the instruction of those who 
cannot obtain instruction elsewhere, and in strengthening the 
social relations of friends and neighbors, is among its most 
benign results. The principles which are then inculcated in 
churches of all denominations strengthen that public morality, 
good order, and obedience to the laws so essential to the security 
of the state. 

" The framers of the Constitution, tmd those who for many 
years administered it, doubtless had in their eye the first day, — 
the Sabbath of the Christian religion. They were legislating 
not for Jews, Mohammedans, infidels, pagans, atheists, but for 
Christians. And, believing the Christian religion the only one 
calculated to sustain and perpetuate the government about to 
be formed, they adopted it as the basis of the infant republic. 
This nation had a religion, and it was the Christian religion. 

"That Christianity is the religion of this country, and as 
such is recognized in the whole structure of its government, and 
lies at the foundation of all our civil and political institutions, — 
in other words, that Christianity, as really as republicanism, is 
part and parcel of our laws, — is evident from the following : — 

" Such was the relation of Christianity to civil government 
in the several States as they existed prior to the formation of 
the present Federal Constitution; and there is no evidence that 
in acceding to said Constitution they surrendered such relation 
either to the general or to their own particular governments. 

"The colonies from which our present States originated 
were planted by decidedly Christian people, to be Christian 


communities, and with such views of the relations between civil 
government and religion as were then universal in Christendom. 
The experiment of a nation without an established religion had 
not then been tried, nor did they think of instituting it: 
Christianity, therefore, was made part of their civil institutions, 
as well in their minuter branches as in their essential founda- 

" In Massachusetts and other Northern colonies, a member- 
ship in the Church established by law was necessary to citizen- 
ship in the commonwealth. In Virginia and other Southern 
colonies, the Church of England was by law established. 

"By-and-by, when the colonial character had ceased, and 
that of States been assumed, the legal establishment of any 
one form of Christianity in preference to all other forms of the 
same was discontinued. In the adoption of the present Federal 
Constitution, it was declared, among the amendments of that 
instrument, that ' Congress shall make no law respecting an 
establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.' 
This article in the general Constitution, and the similar alter- 
ations in the laws of the several States above mentioned, by 
which the legal precedence of one form of Christianity over 
another was done away, are all the ground on which it can bo 
asserted that either our General or State Governments have 
disowned all connection with the Christian religion as having 
any more countenance in their legislation than infidelity or 
Mohammc^.danism. But is this a warrantable conclusion ? Is it 
not perfectly conceivable that Christianity may be the religion 
of the people and of the people's government, so far as that her 
great principles shall be assumed as the basis of their institu- 
tions and the promotion of those principles distinctly counte- 
nanced in their laws and customs, at the same time that no 
religion is, in the technical sense, 'established,' and no one 
form of Christianity is distinguished above another ? To call 
religion into connection with the government, so far as to 
employ ministers of the gospel as chaplains, at the public charge, 
in Congress and other public departments, is decided by long- 
established practice to ,be not unconstitutional. And thus it is 
decided that it was not intended, by the article quoted above 
from the Constitution of the United States, to prevent the 
Grovemment of the United States from being connected with 
religion; with some religion ia preference to all others, or to 


have ita institutions based upon the principles of Christianity 
instead of those of Deism or the Koran. 

" How unlikely were the several States, in acceding to the 
present Constitution, to lay aside all connection with Christianity 
in the general institutions to which they gave birth, may be 
inferred from the consideration that in their own respective 
legislation a close relation between religion and the Grovemment 
had always subsisted ; that, though a strong aversion had arisen 
to the national establishment of any one form of Christianity, 
none had grown up against a distinct recognition of Christianity 
itself as the religion of the nation ; and that the representatives 
of the States in the convention that formed the present Con- 
stitution were, for the most part, men of decided Christian 

Judge Wilson, a member of the convention that formed the 
Constitution, in an oration at Philadelphia, July, 1788, com- 
memorative of the adoption of the Constitution by the people of 
the several States, depicts the future progress and glory of the 
American nation under the Constitution in these glowing words, 
— ^words of prophecy which have been fully realized. He said, — 

" The commencement of our government has been eminently 
glorious: let our progress in every excellence be proportionally 
gteat. It will — it must be so. What an enrapturing pros- 
pect opens on the United States! Placid Husbandry walks 
in front, attended by the venerable plough. Lowing herds 
«tdorn our valleys ; bleating flocks spread over our hills; verdant 
meadows, enamelled pastures, yellow harvests, bending orchards, 
rise in rapid succession from East to West. Plenty, with her 
copious horn, sits easy smiling, and, in conscious complacency, 
enjoys and presides over the scene. Commerce next advances, 
in all her splendid and embellished forms. The rivers and lakes 
and seas are crowded with ships ; their shores are covered with 
cities ; the cities are filled with inhabitants. The Arts, decked 
with elegance, yet with simplicity, appear in beautiful variety 
and well-adjusted arrangement. Around them are diflFused, in 
rich abundance, the necessaries, the decencies, and the ornaments 
of life. With heartfelt contentment, Industry beholds her honest 
labors flourishing and secure. Peace walks serene and unalarmed j 

over all the unmolested regions; while liberty, virtue, and reli- 
gion go hand in hand, harmoniously, protecting, enlivening, and 
exalting all. Happy country ! may thy happiness be perpetual!" 


The people who ordained such a noble constitution of govern- 
ment, and for whom it was made, are under the highest and 
most solemn obligations to preserve it for themselves, their 
children, and future generations. 

"This constitution of government," says Justice Story, 
"must perish, if there be not that vital spirit in the people 
which alone can nourish, sustain, and direct all its movements. 
It is in vain that statesmen shall form plans of government in 
which the beauty and harmony of a republic shall be embodied 
in visible order, shall be built upon solid substructions, and 
adorned by every useful ornament, if the inhabitants suffer the 
silent power of time to dilapidate its walls or crumble its massy 
supporters into dust, if the assaults from without are never 
resisted and the rottenness and mining from within are never 
guarded against. Who can preserve the rights and liberties 
of a people when they shall be abandoned by themselves? 
Who shall keep watch in the temple when the watchmen sleep 
at their post ? Who shall call upon the people to redeem their 
possessions and revive the republic, when their own hands 
have deliberately and corruptly surrendered them to the op- 
pressor and have built the prisons or dug the graves of their 
own fi'iends ? This dark picture, it is to be hoped, will never 
be applicable to the republic of America. And yet it affords a 
warning, which, like all the lessons of past experience, we ara 
not permitted to disregard. America, free, happy, and en- 
lightened as she is, must rest the preservation of her rights and 
liberties upon the virtue, independence, justice, and sagacity of 
the people. If either fail, the republic is gone. Its shadow 
may remain, with all the pomp and circumstance and trickery of 
government, but its vital power will have departed." 

The following language fell from the lips of Alexander Hamil- 
ton, on his resignation of the office of Secretary of the Treasury, 
in 1795. Holding in his hand a small book containing a copy 
of the Federal Constitution, he said, " Now, mark my words ! 
so long as we are a young and virtuous people, this instrument 
will bind us together in mutual interest, mutual welfare, and 
mutual happiness ; but when we become old and corrupt it will 
bind us no longer." 

This dark condition of the republic, which would be pro- 
duced by the general corruption of the people and the govern- 
ment, can only be prevented by the universal belief and appli- 


cation of the principles stated in Webster's address before the 
New York Historical Society. He says, — 

" If we and our posterity shall be true to the Christian reli- 
gion, — if we and they shall live always in the fear of God and 
shall respect his commandments, — ^if we and they shall main- 
tain just moral sentiments, and such conscientious convictions 
of duty as shall control the heart and life, — ^we may have the 
highest hopes of the future fortunes of our country ; and if we 
maintain those institutions of government, and that political 
union exceeding all praise as much as it exceeds all former 
examples of political association, we may be sure of one thing, 
that, while our country furnishes materials for a thousand 
masters of the historic art, it will be no topic for a Gibbon, 
— ^it will have no- decline and fall. It will go on prospering and 
to prosper. But if we and our posterity neglect religious 
instruction and authority, violate the rules of eternal justice, 
trifle with the injunctions of morality, and recklessly destroy 
the political constitution which holds us together, no man can 
tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us that shall 
bury all our glory in profound obscurity. 

" If that catastrophe," he continues, " shall happen, let it 
have no history ! Let the horrible narrative never be written ! 
Let its fate be like that of the lost books of Livy, which no 
human eye shall ever read, or the missing Pleiad, of which no 
man can know more than that it is lost, and lost forever." 



The first session of Congress after the adoption of the Fede- 
ral Constitution opened with distinct legislative recognitions of 
the Christian religion, Washington was inaugurated and took 


the oath of office on the 30th of April, 1789. Congress, the 
day before the inauguration, passed the following : — 

Resolved, That, after the oath shall be administered to the President, 
the Vice-President, and members of the Senate, the Speaker and mem- 
bers of the House of Eepresentatives, will accompany him to St. Paul's 
Chapel, to hear divine service performed by the chaplains. 

Chancellor Livingston administered the oath of office, and 
Mr. Otis held up the Bible on its crimson cushion. The Presi- 
dent, as he bowec^ to kiss its sacred page, at the same time 
laying his hand on the open Bible, said, audibly, " I swear," 
and added, with fervency, that his whole soul might be absorbed 
in the supplication, " So help me God." Then the Chancellor 
said, "It is done I" and, turning to the multitude, waved his 
hand, and, with a loud voice, exclaimed, " Long live George 
Washington !" This solemn scene concluded, he proceeded with 
the whole assembly, on foot, to St. Paul's Church, where prayers 
suited to the occasion were read by Dr. Provost, Bishop of the 
Protestant Episcopal Church in New York, who had been ap- 
pointed one of the chaplains of Congress. 

Previous to his inauguration, on the morning of the same 
day, a general prayer-meeting of the various denominations of 
Christians in New York was held for the special object of pray- 
ing for God's blessing to rest on the President and the new 
Government. The notice of the prayer-meeting is among the 
old files of the " New York Daily Advertiser," dated Thursday, 
April 23, 1789, and is as follows : — 

As we believe in an ovemiling Providence and feel our constant 
dependence upon God for every blessing, so it is undoubtedly our duty 
to acknowledge him in aU our ways and •onunit our concerns to his 
protection and mercy. The ancient civilized heathen, from the mere 
dictates of reason, were uniformly excited to this ; and we find from 
their writings that they engaged in no important business, especially 
what related to the welfare of a nation, without a solemn appeal to 
Heaven. How much more becoming and necessary is such a conduct in 
Christians, who believe not only in the light of nature, but are blessed 
with a divine revelation which has taught them more of Gk>d and of 
their obligations to worship him than by their reason they ever could 
have investigated 1 

It has been the wish of many pious persons in our land that at the 
framing of our new Constitution a solemn and particular appeal to Heaven 
had been made ; and they have no doubt but Congress will soon call 
upon the whole nation to set apart a day for fasting and prayer for the 


express purpose of invoking the blessing of Heaven on our new Govern- 
ment. But this, in consequence of the distance of some of the States, 
cannot immediately take place: in the meanwhile, the inhabitants of 
this city are favored with the opportunity of being present on the very 
day on which the Constitution will be fully organized, and have it thus 
in their power to accommodate their devotions exactly to the important 

In this view, it gave universal satisfaction to hear it announced last 
Sunday from the pulpits of our churches that, on the morning of the 
day on which our illustrious President will be invested with his office, 
the bells will ring at nine o'clock, when the people may go up and in a 
solemn 'manner commit the new Government, wi^ its important train 
of consequences, to the holy protection and blessings of the Most High. 
An early hour is prudently fixed for this peculiar act of devotion, and 
it is designed wholly for prayer: it will not detain the citizens very 
long, or interfere with any of the other public business of the day. 

It is supposed Congress will adopt religious solemnities by fervent 
prayer with their chaplains, in the Federal Hall, when the President 
takes his oath of office ; but the people feel a common interest in this 
great transaction, and whether they approve of the Constitution as it now 
stands, or wish that alterations may be made, it is equally their concern 
and duty to leave the cause with God and refer the issue to his gracious 
providence. In doing this, the inauguration of our President and the 
commencement of our national character will be introduced with the 
auspices of religion, and our enlightened rulers and people will bear a 
consistent part in a business which involves the weal or woe of them- 
selves and posterity. 

I have heard that the notification respecting this hour of prayer was 
made in almost all the churches of the city, and that some of those 
who omitted the publication intend, notwithstanding, to join in that 
duty ; and, indeed, considering the singular circumstances of the day, 
which in many respects exceed any thing recorded in ancient or 
modern history, it cannot be supposed that the serious and pious of any 
denomination will hesitate in going up to their respective churches and 
uniting at the throne of grace with proper prayers and supplications on 
this occasion. " / was glad when ikey said unto me. Lei us go into the house of 
the Xorrf.''— (David.) • 

The people came out from the churches where Mason, Living- 
ston, Provost, Eodgers, and other clergymen had given pas- 
sionately earnest and eloquent expression to that reverent and 
profound desire for God's blessing upon the President and 
Government which filled all hearts, so universal was a religious 
sense of the importance of the occasion. 

"The scene," said one, "was solemn and awful beyond de- 
scription. It would seem extraordinary that the administration 
of an oath — a ceremony so very common and familiar — should to 
80 great a degree excite public curiosity ; but the circumstances 


of the President's election, the importance of his past services, 
the concourse of the spectators, the devout fervency with which 
he repeated the oath, and the reverential manner in which he 
bowed down and kissed the sacred volume, — all these conspired 
to render it one of the most august and interesting spectacles 
ever exhibited. It seemed, from the number of witnesses, to 
be a solemn appeal to heaven and earth at once. In regard to 
this great and good man I may be an enthusiast, but I confess 
I was under an awful and religious persuasion that the gracious 
Ruler of the universe was looking down at that moment with 
peculiar complacency on an act which to a part of his creatures 
was so very important." 

After divine service had been performed, Washington and 
the officers of the new Government and the members of Congress 
returned to the Federal Hall, where his inaugural was delivered. 
That address contains the following Christian sentiments : — 

It would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fer- 
vent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, 
who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids 
can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to 
the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a govern- 
ment instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may 
ena))le every instrument employed in its administration to execute with 
success the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homago 
to the great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself 
that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own, nor those of 
xny fellow-ciiizens at large less than eitlier. 

No people can be hound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which 
conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step 
bf/ which they have been advanced to the character of an independent nation seems 
to have been distinguished by some token of his providential agency. 

And in the important revolution just accomplished in the system 
of their united government, the tranquil deliberations and voluntary 
consent of so many distinct communities, from which the event has 
resulted, cannot be compared with the means by which most govern- 
ments have been established, without some return of pious gratitude, 
along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the 
past seems to presage. These reflections, arising out of the present 
crisis, have forced themselves on my mind too strongly to be suppressed. 
You will joini with me, I trust, in thinking that there are none under 
the influences of which the proceedings of a new and a free government 
can more auspiciously commence. 

There is no truth more thoroughly established than that there ex- 
ists in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between 
virtue and happiness, between duty and advantage, between the genuine 



maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy and tUe solid rewards 
of public prosperity and felicity ; since we ought to be no less per- 
suaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on 
a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which 
Heaven itself has ordained ; and since the preservation of the sacred 
fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, 
are justly considered as deeply^ perhaps as finally ^ staked on the experi- 
ment intrusted to the hands of the American people. 

Having thus imparted to you my sentiments, as they have been 
awakened by the occasion which brings us together, I shall take my 
present leave, but not without resorting once more to the benign Parent 
of the human race, in humble supplication, that since he has been pleased 
to favor the American people with opportunities for deliberating in 
perfect tranquillity, and dispositions for deciding with unparalleled 
unanimity, on a form of government for the security of their union and 
the advancement of their happiness, so his divine blessing may be 
equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, 
and the wise measures on which the success of this government must 

The first session of the first Congress was not suffered to 
pass without a solemn act of legislation recognizing the Chris- 
tian religion. It was a national thanksgiving, proclaimed by 
the authority of Congress. The Journals of Congress present 
the following record. 

Sept. 25, 1789. 
Dat of Thanksgiving. 

Mr. Boudinot said he could not think of letting the session pass 
without offering an opportunity to all the citizens of the United States 
of joining with one voice in returning to Almighty God their sincere 
thanks for the many blessings he had poured down upon them. With 
this view he would move the following resolution : — 

Resolved, That a joint committee of both Houses be directed to wait 
upon the President of the United States, to request that he recommend to 
the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, 
to be observed by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many signal 
favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity 
peaceably to establish a constitution of government for their safety and 

1^. Sherman justified the practice of thanksgiving on any signal 
event, not only as a laudable one in itself, but as warranted by prece- 
dents in Holy Writ: for instance, the sol^emn thanksgiving and rejoicing 
which took place in the time of Solomon after the building of the 
temple was a case in point. This example he thought worthy of imi- 
tation on the present occasion. 

The resolution waa unanimously adopted, and in pursuance 
thereof Waahington issued the following — 


Proclamation for a National Tranksoitino. 

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence 
of Almighty Ood, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and 
humbly to implore his protection and favor ; and whereas both Houses 
of Congress, by their joint oommittee, requested me *'to recommend to 
the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and 
prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many 
signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an oppor- 
tanity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and 
happiness :" — 

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the twenty- 
sixth day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these 
States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the benefit 
eent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be ; that we 
then may all unite unto him our sincere and humble thanks for his 
kind care and protection of the people <)f this country previous to their 
becoming a nation ; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor- 
able interpositions of his providence in the course and conclusion of 
the late war ; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty 
which we since ei\joyed ; for the peaceable and rational manner 
in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of govern- 
ment for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one 
now lately instituted ; for the civil and religious liberty with which we 
are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful 
knowledge, and, in general, for all the great and various favors which 
he has been pleased to confer upon us. ^ 

And, also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our 
prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and 
beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions ; to enable 
us all, whether in public or in private stations, to perform our several 
relative duties properly and punctually ; to render our national govern- 
ment a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a government of 
wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly executed and obeyed ; to 
protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have 
shown kindness to us) and to bless them with good governments, peace, 
and concord ; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion 
and virtue, and the increase of science, among them and us ; and gene- 
rally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity 
as he alone knows to be best. 

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the third day of 
October, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and 
eighty-nine. George Washington. 

A memorable act of freedom and religion was passed by 
Congress, two years previous to the adoption of the national 
Constitution, which is here recorded as belonging to the Chris- 
tian legislation of those earlier days of the republic It was 
passed on the 13th day of July, 1787; and is as follows : — 


Be it ordained by the United States in Congress assembled, that for 
extending the fundamental principles of ciril and religious liberty 
which form the basis whereon these republics, their laws and consti- 
tutions, are erected, to fix and establish those principles as the basis of 
all laws, constitutions, and governments which forever hereafter shall 
be formed in the said territories, it is hereby ordained and declared, by 
the authority aforesaid, that — 

Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good govern- 
ment and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of educa- 
tion shall forever be encouraged ; and that ** No person demeaning him^ 
self in a peaceable and orderly manner shall ever be molested on 
account of his mode of worship or religions sentiments ;" and " There 
shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said Territory 
(the Northwest), otherwise than in the punishment of crimes, whereof 
the parties shall be duly convicted/' 

Writing to Lafayette, Washington alludes to this ordinance 
as follows : — 

• " I agree with you cordially in your views in regard to negro 
slavery. I have long considered it a most serious evil, both 
socially and politically, and I should rejoice in any feasible 
scheme to rid our States of such a burden. The Congress of 
1787 adopted an ordinance prohibiting the existence of involun- 
tary servitude in our Northwestern Territory forever. I consider 
it a wise measure. It met with the approval and assent of 
nearly every member of the States more immediately interested 
in slave labor. The prevailing opinion in Virginia is against 
the spread of slavery in the new Territory ; and I trust we shall 
have a Confederacy of Free States." 

The Christian sentiments and acts in this chapter confirm tho 
views of Judge Nash, of Ohio, who, in his work on the Morality 
of the State, says : — 

"The mission of a civil state is no political expediency 
organized to create offices and furnish employments and salaries 
for tho venal, and a field of action for the aspiring. The state 
is an institution of God, as much as the church and the family ; 
and duties are laid upon it which it must fulfil. Its ends are 
man's mortal and immortal interests ; it has to do with mate- 
rials only so far as those subserve and advance the spiritual. 
The state is a part of God's machinery, of God's instrumen- 
talities, which he has appointed for the education, instruction, 
moral culture, and perfection of the human soul. Man is 
enthralled to nature ; God has organized this world with the 
view of emancipating him from nature, and restoring him to 


that spiritual freedom which he himself rejoices in, — the free- 
dom of acting in conformity to the Divine law, which is the law 
of man's own being. Truth is the great agent of this emanci- 
pation : it is this, acting in his own spirit, that alone can make 
man free and elevate him to the dignity of a son of God. The 
iState has an important part to act in this great work of human 
elevation and purification ; its aim must ever be in this direction, 
its action should be guided and shaped so as to bear onward 
and co-operate in this holy work." 

" And let us remember," says Webster, " that it is only reli- 
gion, and morals, and knowledge, that can. make men respect- 
able and happy under any form of government. Let us hold 
fast the great truth that communities are responsible, as well 
as individuals, and that without unspotted purity of public 
faith, without sacred public principle, fidelity, and honor, no 
mere forma of government, no machinery of laws, can give 
dignity to political society. In our day and generation let us 
seek to raise and improve the moral sentiment, so that we may 
look, not for a degraded, but for an elevated and improved, 



"War," says Dr. Bacon, "has a place among the agencies 
through which God's providence is working from age to age in 
the interest of that Divine kingdom which is righteousness and 
peace. In the sacred books of the Old Testament we have not 
only the record of the wars in which the chosen people fulfilled 
their , destiny, but the prayers in which holy men commended 
their country to the God of Hosts in time of peril, and the 


songs in which they acknowledged that his right hand IracI 
given them the victory. 

" Under the providence of God, then, and in the methods by 
which he governs the world, war, with its dreadful train of 
evils, is sometimes an inevitable incident in the world's progress. 
Conflicts attendant on the birth or the attempted subjugation 
and extinction of nationalities, — conflicts arising out of the 
growth and collision of irreconcilable systems of civilization, or 
the collision of civilization with barbarism,— conflicts between 
right and wrong, between liberty and despotic power, or 
between progressive and repressive forces, — sometimes involve 
the necessity of war. 

" It was well for the interests of civilization and of humanity 
that the men who had undertaken to enlarge the kingdom of 
Christ by planting themselves here in this wilderness were not 
embarrassed at such a crisis by any doubts about the lawfulness 
of bearing arms in a righteous cause. The sent iment<\l ism 
which would surrender the whole earth to the dominion of law- 
less violence, rather than resist force by force, had not yet been 
born, and was not likely to be engendered in minds like theirs. 
Hence one of the moral maxims of the New England Ptiritans 
was that ' they may lawfully, under the New Testament, wage 
war upon just and necessary occasions.' For this end, they 
kept up, for generations, the most rigid military discipline, and 
were ready at all times to repel invaders. In the first age of 
Puritan history, their rigid Obristian polity and progress had a 
military as well as a moral force to make it effective and certain. 
Freedom and expansion over the wild domains of the savage 
were secured by the successful wars which the Puritans waged 
to secure a foothold and a progress to Christianity. This union 
of the military and Christian spirit was transmitted to their 
descendants, and was ready for earnest action, when the great 
war of the Revolution broke out. 

"Our fathers, when that question arose, did not initiate a 
rebellion against an established Constitution ; they stood simply 
for their hereditary English rights, their legal and chartered 
rights; and when those rights were assailed with armed invasion, 
they stood in arms for the defence of their inheritance and 
their political existence. They did not begin thd war, rushing 
to take up arms before any demonstration in arms had been 
made against them : they waited in the hope that justice would 


prevail in the councils of the king ; they offered no resistance, 
but by remonstrance and petition, till their king made war on 
them. They did not commence with an act of secession from 
the British Empire, nor with renunciation of their allegiance 
to the British crown. Their declaration of independence was 
not made till after the king and Parliament had begun the 
attempt to establish, by military power, new methods of govern- 
ment over them. 

"Then war had become to them an inevitable necessity; for 
they could not tamely surrender their own birthright and the 
lawful inheritance of their children. Then, in the spirit of the 
generations which had preceded them, they girded themselves 
for the struggle to which they were summoned." 

The following fragment of a speech made in the General Con- 
gress of America, by a member whose name is unknown, in 1775, 
presents a just view of the results of war as an agency of good 
to freedom and the final glory of a nation. The war of the 
Revolution, about to open when the speech was made, grandly 
illustrated its views. 

" The great God, sir, who is the searcher of all things, will 
witness for me that I have spoken to you from the bottom 
and purity of my heart. The God to whom we appeal must 
judge us. 

" There are some people who tremble at the approach of war. 
They feel that it must put an inevitable stop to the further 
progress of these colonies, and ruin irretrievably those benefits 
which the industry of centuries has called forth from this once 
savage land. I may commend the anxiety of these, without 
praising their judgment. 

"War, like other evils, is often wholesome. The waters that 
stagnate corrupt; the storm that works the ocean into rage 
renders it salutary ; heaven has given us nothing unmixed ; the 
rose is not without its thorn. War calls forth the great virtues 
and efforts which would sleep in the gentle bosom of Peace. 
'PauUiim sepultce distat inerticB cdata virtus* It opens re- 
sources which would be concealed under the inactivity of 
tranquil times; it produces a people of animation, energy, 
adventure, and greatness. Let us consult history. Did not 
the Grecian republics prosper amid continual warfare ? Their 
prosperity, their power, their splendor, grew from the all-ani- 
mating spirit of war. Did not the cottages of shepherds rise 


into imperial Rome, the mistress of the world, the nurse of 
heroes, the delight of gods, through the invigorating operation 
of unceasing wars ? ' Per davina, per cccdea, ab ipso ducit opes 
animumque ferro.' 

"How often has Flanders been the theatre of contending 
powers, conflicting hosts, and blood ! Yet what country is more 
fertile and flourishing ? Trace back the history of our parent 
state. Whether you view her arraying Angles against Danes, 
Danes against Saxona, Saxons against Normans, the barons 
against usurping princes, or in the civil wars of the Eed and 
White Roses, or that between the people and the tyrant Stuart, 
you see her in a state of almost continual warfai*e. In almost 
every reign to the commencement of that of Henry VII. her 
peaceful bosom (in her poet's phrase) was gored with war. It 
was in the peaceful reigns of Henry VII., Henry VIII., and 
Charles 11. that she suffered the severest extremities of tyranny 
and oppression. But, amid her civil contentions, she flourished 
and grew strong : trained in them, she sent her hardy legions 
forth, which planted the standard of England upon the battle- 
ments of Paris, extending her commerce and her dominion. 

" The beautiful fabric of her constitutional liberty was reared 
and cemented in blood. From this fulness of her strength those 
scions issued which, taking deep root in this delightful land, 
have reared their heads and spread abroad their branches like 
the cedars of Lebanon. 

" Why fear we, then, to pursue, through apparent evil, real 
good ? The war upon which we are about to enter is just and 
necessary. 'Justum est belluirij ubi necessarium; etpia arma, 
qiiibus nuUa, nisis in annis, relinquiter apes J It is to protect 
these regions, brought to such beauty through the infinite toil 
and hazard of our fathers and ourselves, from becoming a prey 
of that more desolating and more cruel spoiler than war, pesti- 
lence, or famine, — absolute rvle and endless extortion. 

" Our suS'erings have been great, our endurance long. Every 
efibrt of patience, complaint, and supplication has been ex- 
hausted. They seem only to have hardened the hearts of 
ministers who oppress us and double our distresses. Let us 
therefore consult only how we shall defend our liberties with 
dignity and success. Our parent state wiU then think us worthy 
of her, when she sees that with her liberty we inherit her rigid 


resolution of maintaining it against all invaders. Let us give 
her reason to pride herself in the rolationship. 

** * And thou, great Liberty I inspire our souls: 
Muke our lives happy in thy pure embrace, 
Or our deaths glorious in thy just defence.' " 

'' Religion supports valor by inspiring faith in the providence 
of God. Every Christian believes that the purposes and plans 
of God include, either directly or permissively, all the events of 
time, and that such are the resources of Divine power, wisdom, 
and goodness, that all things will be overruled to the final 
triumph of right. This is one of the reasons why those Chris- 
tians whose theology lays great stress on the Divine purposes 
appear in history as such sturdy soldiers; in Switzerland, 
France, Scotland, England, and America. The Huguenots, the 
Covenanters, the Puritans, — who have dared or sacrificed more 
than these ? They felt that they were in God's hands, with 
the place of their lives and the hour and mode of their death 
marked out, and they had no other concern than to go forward 
under the guidance and protection of Divine Providence. The 
saint is bold in war because he has faith in God as pledged to 
sustain the right. He strikes hard, he takes aim coolly and 
accurately, because his strength has been summoned forth and 
his nerves steadied by fervent prayer and a conviction that God 
is with him. He kneels before he fires ; he deals no blow with- 
out faith that God will make it effectual ; he carries a rifle in 
his hand and a Bible in his pocket ; and, like Cromwell's army, 
he ' trusts in God and keeps his powder dry.' Fighting in a 
good cause being part of his religion, he scruples not, but is , 
zealous, rather, to do it well, that it may not need to be done 

" This trust in God as the defender of right is conspicuous in 
the conduct and words of the warriors mentioned in the Bible. 
The general of the forces of Israel, in the battle with the Am- ' 
monites, made this address to the troops : — ' Be of good courage, 
and let us play the men for our people and for the cities of our 
God ; and the Lord do that which seemeth him right.' " 

The appointment of Washington as commander-in-chief of 
the American armies was, as John Adams beautifully said, " a 
providential inspiration ;" and his Christian character and prin- 


ciples, in harmony with the righteousness of the cause at stake, 
gave the happiest auspices of final victory. 

He had no taste for war or desire for military glory. " My 
first wish," said he, "is to see the whole world in peace, and 
the inhabitants of it as one band of brothers, striving who 
should contribute most to the happiness of mankind. For the 
sake of humanity, it is devoutly to be wished that the manly 
employments of agriculture and the humanizing benefits of 
commerce should suspend the wastes of war and the rage of 
conquest, and that the sword may bo turned into the plough- 

But peace, the desire of all good men and the gift of Chris- 
tianity, comes through conflict and war. Freedom and truth, 
in a world where wrong and tyranny reign, must win their way 
by the sword and conquer peace from the enemies of liberty 
and right. In these great conflicts the armies of freedom and 
righteousness receive an invincible spirit through the practical 
adoption of Christianity. Christian soldiers in a good cause 
are the most reliable and the most ardent. They go into batUe 
with deep convictions that Grod is with them and will lead them 
to final victory. Hence the duty of a Christian nation to infuse 
and educate its armies into the spirit of Christianity. They 
should be girded with its power, clothed with its armor, and so 
be the warriors of God and liberty. This was the desire and 
effort of Washington and Congress during the Revolutionary 
War, as the following official facts will show. 

The Colonial Congress incorporated Christianity in the organ- 
ization of the Revolutionary army, where from the beginning 
of the Government till now it has been maintained. In the 
Act " for establishing rules and articles for the government of 
the armies of the United States," we have these articles : — 

Art. 2. — It is earnestly recommended to aU officers and soldiers 
diligently to attend divine service ; and aU officers who shall behave 
indecently at any place of divine worship shall, if commiBsioned officers* 
be brought before a general court-martial, there to be publicly and 
severely reprimanded by the president ; if non-commissioned officers or 
soldiers, every person so offending shall, for the first offence, forfeit one- 
sixth of a dollar, to be deducted out of his next pay ; for the second 
offence, he shall not only forfeit a like sum, but be confined twenty- 
four hours, and for every like offence shall suffer and pay in like 

Art. 3. — Any non-commissioned officer or soldier who shall use any 


profane oath or execration shall incur the penalties ' expressed in the 
foregoing article ; and a commissioned officer shall forfeit and pay, for 
each and every such offence, one dollar. In both cases the money to 
go to the sick soldiers of the company or troop to which the offender 
may belong. 

Art. 4. — Every chaplain commissioned in the army or armies of the 
United States who shall absent himself from the duties assigned 
(except in cases of sickness or leave of absence) shall, on conviction 
thereof before a courtr-martial, be fined not exceeding one month's pay, 
besides the loss of his pay during his absence, or be discharged, as the 
said court shall adjudge proper. 

The Act " for the better government of the navy of the 
United States" is of similar tone : — 

Art. 1. — The comimanders of all ships and vessels of war belonging 
to the navy are strictly enjoined and required to show in themselves a 
good example of virtue, honor, patriotism, and subordination ; and to 
be vigilant in inspecting the conduct of all such as are placed under ^ 
their command, and to guard against and suppress all dissolute and 
immoral practices, and to correct all such as are guilty of them accord- 
ing to the usages of the sea-service. 

Art. 2. — The commanders of all ships and vessels in the navy, having 
chaplains on board, shall take care that divine service be performed 
in a solemn and reverent manner twice a day, and a sermon preached 
on Sunday, unless bad weather or other extraordinary accidents pre- 
vent it ; and that they come all, or as many of the ship's company as 
can be spared from duty, to attend every performance of the worship 
of Almighty God. 

Art. 3. — Any officer or other persons in the navy who shall be 
guilty of oppression, cruelty, fraud, profane swearing, or any other 
scandalous conduct tending to the destruction of good morals, shall, if 
an officer, be cashiered, or suffer such other punishment as a court* 
martial shall adjudge ; if a private, shall be put in irons or flogged, at 
the discretion of the captain, not exceeding twelve lashes ; but if the 
offence re(piire severer punishment, he shall be tried by a court-martial 
and suffer buch punishment as said court-martial shall inflict. 

The proper discipline for those who are to be intrusted with 
the safety and honor of the country, the greatest of all trusts, 
is thus adjudged to be a discipline not only of good morals, but 
of regular, pious observance and instruction, of daily worship, 
of reverence for God's name and institutions, of Sabbath-keep- 
ing, hearing the gospel preached, learning and practising the 
whole lesson of the cross. 

Washington, in his first campaign as a military officer during 
the war of Great Britain against France, in our colonial history. 


developed his character as a Christian commander. The follow- 
ing is one of his earliest orders : — 

Colonel "Washington has observed that the men of his regiment are 
yery profane and reprobate. He takes this opportunity to inform them 
of his great displeasure at such practices, and assures them that, if they 
do not leave them off, they shall be severely punished. 

A most aflfecting instance of Washington's early .Christian feel- 
ings, as a military man, was displayed at the death and burial of 
Braddock, in 1756. After that unfortunate battle, Washington 
bore the body of the fallen hero, after night, to his final place 
of burial. In a slow and solemn march the spot was reached, 
and, around the open grave, the young chieftain, by the light 
of blazing torches, read the beautiful burial-service of the Epis- 
copal Church, and, having committed " ashes to ashes," returned 
to his camp. How prophetic this of his future career as a 
Christian commander of the American army I 

When Washington proceeded to Cambridge aft^r his appoint- 
ment as commander-in-chief, the Provincial Congress of Massa- 
chusetts appointed a committee to meet the general and escort 
him to Boston. That committee was Rev. Dr. Benjamin Church 
and Moses Gill, who, at Waterton, presented to Washington a 
formal congratulatory address, in which they said, — 

The Congress of the Massachusetts colony, impressed with every sen- 
timent of gratitude and respect, beg leave to congratulate you on your 
Bafe arrival, and to wish you all imaginable happiness and success in 
the execution of the important duties of your elevated station. 

While we applaud the attention to the public good manifested in 
your appointment, we equally admire that disinterested virtue and dis- 
tmguished patriotism which alone could call you from those enjoyment« 
of domestic life which a sublime and manly taste joined with a most 
affluent fortune can afford, to hazard your life and to endure the 
fatigues of war in the defence of the rights of mankind and the good of 
your country. 

We most fervently implore Almighty God that the blessings of Divine 
Providence may rest on you ; that your head may be covered in the day 
of battle ; that every necessary assistance may be afforded, and that you 
may be long continued in life and health, a blessing to mankind. 

A graphic description of the American camp is given by Rev. 
William Emerson, a chaplain in the army, written a few days 
after the arrival of the commander-in-chief. He says, — 

'* There is great overturning in the camp, as to order and 


regularity. New lords, new laws. The generals, Washington 
and Lee, are up and down the lines every day. New orders 
from his Excellency are read to the respective regiments every 
morning after prayers. The strictest government is taking 
place. Every one is made to know his place and keep in it." 

The following extract from the journal of a chaplain in the 
American army presents an interesting and instructive view of 
Washington's appearance and religious character at the open- 
ing of the Eevolutionary War, when, in obedience to Congress, 
he took command of the armies : — 

^^July ithj 1775. — I have seen the new general appointed by 
Congress to command the armies of the colonies. On seeing 
him I am not surprised at the choice. I expected to see an 
ardent, heroic-looking man; but such a mingled sweetness, 
dignity, firmness, and self-possession I never before saw in any 
man. The expression ' born to command' is peculiarly appli- 
cable to him. Day before yesterday, when under the great elm 
in Cambridge he drew his sword and formally took command 
of the army of seventeen thousand men, his look and bearing 
impressed every one, and I could not but feel that he was re- 
served for some great destiny. 

" I have heard much of his religious character, and hence 
looked with a great deal of anxiety for his first order to see if 
there was any thing more than a mere formal recognition of the 
Supreme Being. To-day he issued it; and it was with a heart 
overflowing with gratitude to God that I read the following 
passage in it: — 

" * The general most earnestly requires and expects the due 
observance of those articles of war established for the govern- 
ment of the army which forbid cursing, swearing, and drunken- 
ness, and in like manner he requires and expects of all oflicers 
and soldiers, not engaged on actual duties, a punctual attend- 
ance on divine service to implore the blessing of Heaven upon 
the means used for safety and defence.' 

" Truly God is with us, and, though the way be dark and 
dreary, I will believe he will carry us through safely at last." 

In a general order, July, 1776, Washington says, — 

The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the cou- 
Y*n *;«* and conduct of the army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves 
us only the choice of brave resistance or the most abject submission. 
Let U8, then, rely on the goodness of our cause and the aid of the Su- 


preme Being in whose hands victory is, to animate and encourage us to 
noble action. 

An army order, July 9, 1776, from Waahington, says, — 

The Honorable Continental Congress having been pleased to allow 
a chaplain to each regiment, the colonels or commanding oflScers of 
each regiment are directed to procure chaplains, persons of good cha- 
racter and exemplary lives, and to see that all inferior officers and 
soldiers pay them suitable respect. The blessing and protection of 
Heaven are at all times necessary, but especially so in time of public 
distress and danger. The general hopes and trusts that every officer 
and man will endeavor to live and act as a Christian Soldier defending 
the dearest rights and liberties of his country. 

The following order is eminently Christian : — 

Hbad-QujlRtbbs, New Tork, May 15, 1776. 
The Continental Congress having ordered Friday, the 17th instant, 
to be observed as a day of "Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer, humbly 
to supplicate the mercy of Almighty God, that it would please him to 
pardon all our manifold sins and transgressions, and to prosper the arms 
of the United Colonies, and finally establish the peace and freedom of 
America upon a solid and lasting foundation," the general commands 
all officers and soldiers to pay strict attention to the orders of the Conti- 
nental Congress, and, by the unfeigned and pious observance of their 
religious duties, incline the Lord and Giver of victory to prosper our 

The following is a letter to the ministers, elders, and deacons 
of the Dutch Reformed Church at Raritan : — 

Camp Middlbbrook, 2 June, 1779. 
In quartering an army, and in supplying its wants, distress and incon- 
venience will often occur to the citisens. These have been strictly 
limited by necessity, and regard to the rights of my fellow-citizens. I 
thank you for the sense you entertain of the conduct of the army. I 
trust the goodness of the cause and the exertions of the people, under 
Divine protection, will give us that honorable peace for which we are 
contending. Suffer me to wish the Reformed Dutch Church at Karitan 
all the blessings which flow from piety and religion. 

Congress appointed the 18th of December, 1777, as a day of 
public thanksgiving and praise. Washington, with his army, 
were on the march from Whitemarsh to Valley Forge, where 
they were to go into winter quarters. They paused that day to 
wait upon God in prayer and praise, as the following order 
of December 17, 1777, ahowa :— 


To-morrow being the day set apart by the Honorable Congress for 
public thanksgiving and praise, and duty calling us all devoutly to ex- 
press our grateful acknowledgments to God for his manifold blessings 
he has granted to us, the general directs that the army remain in its 
present quarters, and that the chaplains perform divine service with 
their several regiments and brigades, and earnestly exhorts all officers 
and soldiers, whose absence is not indispensably necessary, to attend 
with reverence the solemnities of the day. 

How sublime and suggestive this Christian scene I A patriot 
army, led by a Christian commander, stopping amid the snows 
and cold of winter, to worship God before going into winter 
quarters 1 These services were wisely preparatory to the hard- 
ships of that long and dreary winter at Valley Forge. 

Profaneness is a common vice of an army. Congress and 
Washington labored hard to correct this shameful habit. Con- 
gress passed the following resolutions on the subject. 

Thursday, February 25, 1777. 
It being represented to Congress that profaneness in general, and par* 
ticularly cursing asid swearing, shamefully prevail in the army of the 
United States: 

, Resolved, That General Washington be informed of this ; and that he 
be requested to take the most proper measures, in concert with his 
general officers, for reforming this abuse. 

Washington issued the following order in 1776 : — 

That the troops may have an opportunity of attending public worship, as well as 
to take some rest after the great fatigue they have gone through, the general, in 
future, excuses them from fatigue duty on /Sundays, except at the shipyards 
or on special occasions, until further orders. The general is sorry to be 
informed that the foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and 
swearing, a vice hitherto little known in an American army, is growing 
into fashion. He hopes the officers will, by example as well as influence, 
endeavor to check it, and that both they and the men will reflect that 
we can have little hope of the blessing of Heaven on our arms if we 
insult it by our impiety and folly. Added to this, it is a vice so mean 
and low, without any temptation, that every man of sense and cha- 
racter detests and despises it. 

In May, 1777, Washington sent to the brigadier-generals of 
the army the following instructions : — 

Let vice and immorality of every kind be discouraged aa much as 
possible in your brigade ; and, aa a chaplain is allowed to each regiment, 
see that the men regularly attend during worship. Gkuning of every 
kind is expressly forbidden, as being the foundation of evil, and the 
cause of many a brave and gallant officer's and soldier's ruin. 


The following order presents the character of a Christian 
superior to that of a patriot or soldier: — 

Head-Quarters, Valley Forge, May 2, 1778. 

The commander-in-chief directs that divine service be performed 
every Sunday at ten o'clock in each brigade with a chaplain. Those 
brigades which have none wiU attend the places of worship nearest 
them. It is expected that officers of all ranks will, by their attendance, 
Bet an example to their men. While we are duly performing the duty 
of good soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher 
duties of religion. To the distinguished character of a patriot it should 
be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of a 

The signal instances of providential goodness which we have experi- 
enced, and which have almost crowned our arms with complete success, 
demand from us, in a peculiar manner, the warmest returns of grati- 
tude and piety to the Supreme Author of all good. 

Congress, on the 17th of March, appointed the 22d of April, 
1778, as a day of religious solemnities. Washington, in pur- 
suance thereof, issued to his army the following order : — 

He AD-Q carters, Valley Forge, April 12, 1778. 

The Honorable the Congress having thought proper to recommend 
to the United States of America to set apart Wednesday, the 22d instant, 
to be observed as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer, that at one 
time, and with one voice, the righteous dispensations of Providence 
may be acknowledged, and his goodness and mercy towards our arma 
be supplicated and implored, 

The general dir(H3ts that the day shall be most religiously observed in 
the army ; that no work shall be done thereon ; and that the several 
chaplains do prepare discourses suitable to the occasion. 

In 1778, the independence of the United States was acknow- 
ledged by France, and a treaty of friendship formed at Paris. 
Washington and his army were at Valley Forge when the news 
reached him. On the 7th of May, shortly after the news 
reached him, he issued the following order : — 

It having pleased the Almighty Ruler of the universe to defend .the 
cause of the United American States, and finally to raise up a powerful 
friend among the princes of the earth, to establish our liberty and inde- 
pendence uj)on a lasting foundation, it becomes us to set apart a day 
for gratefully acknowledging the Divine goodness and celebrating the 
important event which we owe to his Divine interposition. The several 
brigades are to be assembled for this purpose at nine o'clock to-morrow 
morning, when their chaplains will communicate the intelligence, and 
offer up thanksgiving, and deliver a discourse suitable to the occasion. 


The surrender of Cornwallis, at Torktown, on the 2l8t of 
October, 1781, closed the war of liberty and revolution. 
General Washington immediately ordered religious ceremonies 
commemorative of the joyful event : — 

Divine service is to be performed to-morrow in the several brigades 
and divisions. The commander-in-chief earnestly recomm^ds that the 
troops not on duty should universally attend, with that seriousness of 
deportment and gratitude of. heart which the recognition of such reite- 
rated and astonishing interpositions of Providence demands of us. 

The following general order was issued by General Washing- 
ton on the restoration of peace : — 

HiAD-QuARTBRS, CHATHAlfy April 18> 1783. 

The commander-in-chief orders the cessation of hostilities between 
the United States of America and the King of Great Britain to be pub- 
licly proclaimed to-morrow at twelve o'clock at the new buildings ; and 
that the proclamation which will be communicated herewith be read 
to-morrow evening at the head of every regiment and corps of the army ; 
after which, the chaplains, with the brigades, will render thanks to 
Almighty God for all his mercies, particularly for his overruling the 
wrath of man to his own glory, and causing the rage of war to cease 
among the nations. 

Signed, April 18, 1783. 

At twelve o'clock, the large log temple which had been 
erected on the camp-ground for the meeting of the officers was 
thronged, and the joyful intelligence communicated amid deafen- 
ing plaudits. At evening, the chaplains, in accordance with 
the orders of the commander-in-chief, oflFered up thanksgiving 
and prayer at the head of the several brigades. 

As a military commander, Washington constantly and de- 
voutly acknowledged the special interposition of a Divine Pro- 
vidence throughout the entire war, and habitually ascribed the 
victories and the final results to God's intervention and good- 
ness. This fundamental doctrine of the Christian religion is 
the key of all historic events, giving confidence in auspicious, 
final results, and had a firm and deep hold on the faith and life 
of Washington. In the midst of disasters, defeats, and the dark- 
ness which sometimes clouded the prospects of the struggling 
colonies, his soul, in serene and sublime trust, rested on this 
great doctrine with hope and assurance, and it animated his 
courage and efibrts in the great cause to which he was devoted. 
His thankful and reverential acknowledgments of the provi-. 



dence and presence of God are full of inetmction, and present 
the brightest evidences of his Christian faith and piety. The 
following allusions to this great doctrine, in connection with 
himself and the events of the war, are here recorded. 

When but twenty-three years of age, in a letter to Governor 
Dinwiddie, June 10, 1754, he acknowledges a striking inter- 
position of a special Providence in reference to a supply of 
provisions for his troops. " If Providence," says he, " had not 
sent a trader from the Ohio to our relief, we should have been 
four days without provisions." 

After the defeat of Braddock he wrote, " By the all-powerful 
dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all 
human probability or expectation." His perfect preservation, 
during the eight years of the Revolutionary War, though often 
exposed and in danger, confirms his own declarations in refer- 
ence to his providential protection. 

Writing to Governor Trumbull, from Cambridge, 18th of 
July, 1775, he says, — 

"As the cause of our common country calls us both to an 
active and dangerous duty, I trust that Divine Providence will 
enable us to discharge it with fidelity and success." 

He wrote to Greneral Gage, of the British army, in the same 
year, and said, — 

" May that God to whom you appeal judge between America 
and you. Under his providence, those who influence the 
councils of America, and all the other united colonies, at the 
hazard of their lives, are determined to hand down to posterity 
those just and invaluable privileges which they received from 
their ancestors." 

In a circular to his officers, September 8, 1776, in reference 
to an attack on the British at Boston, he said, — 

** The success of such an enterpri.^e depends, I well know, 
upon the all- wise Disposer of events." 

After the evacuation of Boston by the British troops, March 
17, 1776, Washington, in answer to an addrass of the General 
Assembly of Massachusetts, wrote as follows : — 

"It must be ascribed to the interposition of that Providence 
which has manifestly appeared in our behalf through the whole 
of this important struggle." 

In May, 1776, referring to expected battles in New York, 
and the feeble preparations for them, he said, — 


•• However, it is to be hoped that if our cause is just, as I do 
most religiously believo it to be, the same Providence which 
has in many instances apjx^ared for us will still go on to aflford 
us aid*" 

On the 2d of July of the same year, in an order to his army, 
on the eve of an expected attack, he said, " The &te of unborn 
millions will now depend, under Grody on the courage and con- 
duct of this army. Let us rely upon the goodness of our cause 
and the aid of that Supreme Being in whose hands victory 
tSy to animate and encourago us to great and noble actions." 

To the officers and soldiers of the Pennsylvania Association 
he writes, the 8th of August, 1776, " We must now determine 
to be enslaved or free. If we make freedom our choice, wo 
must obtain it by the blessing of Heaven on our united and 
vigorous exertions. I beg leave to remind you that liberty, 
honor, and safety are all at stake ; and I trust Providence will 
amile upon our efforts, and establish us once more the inhabit- 
ants of a free and happy country." 

In writing to General Armstrong, from Morristown, New 
Jersey, 4th July, 1777, he says, — 

" The evacuation of Jersey by the British troops, at this time, 
is a peculiar mark of the favor of Providence, as the inhabit- 
ants have an opportunity of securing their harvests of hay and 

When Washington received from Governor Clinton a despatch 
announcing the surrender of Burgoyne's army at Saratoga, in 
1777, his first words were, "I most devoutly congratulate my 
country and every well-wisher to the cause on this signal stroke 
of Providence. Should Providence be pleased to crown our 
arms in the course of the campaign with one more fortunato 
stroke, I think we shall have no great cause for anxiety respect- 
ing the future designs of Great Britain. I trust all will be 
well in his good time." 

Alluding to the prisoners taken by the Northern armies, 
^'including tories in arms against us," Washington wrote, — 

" This signal instance of Providence, and of our good fortune 
under it, exhibits a striking proof of the advantages which 
result from unanimity and a spirited conduct in the militia." 

In reference to the disaflfection of a portion of the people of 
New York to the cause, and the embarrassments thereby caused 
to hia campaign in that State, Washington said, '' I do not 


mean to complain. I flatter myself that a superintending Pro- 
vidence is ordering every thing for the best, and that, in due 
' time, all will end well." 

From Valley Forge, May 30, 1778, he wrote as follows : — 

•"Providence has a just claim to my humble and grateful 
thanks for its protection and direction of me through the many 
diflScult and intricate scenes which this contest has prodnced, 
and for its constant interposition in our behalf when the clouds 
were heaviest and seemed ready to burst upon us." 

Referring to the distresses of the army at Valley Forge, and 
its sufferings during the previous eventful winter, he said, 
"Since our prospects have miraculously brightened, shall I 
attempt the description of the condition of the army, or even 
bear it in remembrance, further than as a memento of what is 
due to the great Author of all, the care and good that have been 
extended in relieving us in difficulties and distresses?" 

The battle of Monmouth, 28th of June, 1778, which threat- 
ened to prove disastrous from the mismanagement of General 
Lee, affords the occasion to Washington to say, " Had not that 
bountiful Providence which has never failed us in the hour of 
distress enabled me to form a regiment or two (of those who 
were retreating) in the face of the enemy, and under their fire, 
by which means a stand was made long enough to form the 
troops that were advancing upon an advantageous piece of 
ground in the rear, where our affairs took a favorable turn." 

From Newport, Rhode Island, in March, 1781, Washington 
wrote to William Gordon, and said, "We have, as you very 
justly -observe, abundant reasons to thank Providence for its 
many favorable interpositions in our behalf. It has at times 
been my only dependence, for all other resources seemed to 
have failed us." 

To General Armstrong, in 1781, Washington expressed his 
faith in Providence as follows : — 

"Our affairs are brought to a perilous crisis, that the hand 
of Providence, I trust, may be more conspicuous in our deliver- 
ance. The many remarkable interpositions of the Divine 
government, in the hours of our deepest distress and darkness. 
Lave been too luminous to suffer us to doubt the issue of the 
present contest." 

To the President of Congress, in November, 1781, referring 
to " the success of the combined armies against our enemies at 


Yorktown and Gloucester," and the " proclamation for a day of 
public prayer and thanksgiving," Washington wrote, — 

"I take a particular pleasure in acknowledging that the 
interposing hand of Heaven, in the various instances of our 
extensive preparations for this operation, have been most con- 
spicuous and remarkable." 

"The great Director of events," he addressed in 1781 the 
citizens of Alexandria, " has carried us through a variety of 
scenes, during this long and bloody contest in which we have 
been for seven campaigns most nobly struggling." 

In a circular to the States, dated Philadelphia, January 31, 
1782, Wiishington said, — 

'* Although we cannot, by the best-concerted plans, absolutely 
command success ; although the race is not always to the swift, 
nor the battle to the strong; yet, without presumptuously wait- 
ing for miracles to be wrought in our favor, it is our indispensa- 
ble duty, with the deepest gratitude to Heaven for the past, and 
humble confidence in its smiles on our future operations, to 
make use of all the means in our power for our defence and 

At the close of the war he said, " I must be permitted to con- 
sider the wisdom and unanimity of our national councils, the 
firmness of oar citizens, and the patience and bravery of our 
troops, which have produced so happy a termination of the war, 
as the most conspicuous efiects of the Divine interposition and 
the surest presage of our future happiness. To the great Ruler 
of events — not to any exertions of mine — is to be ascribed the 
favorable termination of our late contest for liberty. I never 
considered the fortunate issue of any event in another light 
than the ordering of a kind Providence." 

In his farewell address to the armies of the United States, he 
says, — 

"The singular interpositions of Providence, in our feeble 
condition, were such as could scarcely escape the attention of 
the most unobserving ; while the unparalleled perseverance of 
the armies of the United States, through almost every possible 
suflfering and discouragement, for the space of eight long years, 
was little short of a standing miracle. And being now about 
to bid a final adieu to the armies he has so long had the honor 
to command, he can only again offer, in their behalf, his recom- 
mendations to their grateful country, and his prayers to the 


God of armies. May ample justice be done them here, and 
may the choicest of Heaven's favors, both hero and hereafter,, 
attend those who, under the Divine auspices, have secured 
innumerable blessings for others. With these wishes, and 
this benediction, the commander-in-chief is about to retire from 
the service/' 

To General Nelson, o( Virginia, in August, 177&, Wasbington 
wrote, — 

" It is not a little plea&ing, nor less wonderful,, to contemplate,, 
that after two years' manoeuvring and undergoing the strangest 
vicissitudes that ever attended any one contest since the crea- 
tion, both armies are brought back to the -very point they set 
out from, and that the offending party at the beginning is now 
reduced to the use of the spade and pickaxe for defence. The 
haiid of Providence has been so conspbcuoua in all thisy, tliat 
he must be wor^e than an infidel t/iat laeks faithy and more 
than wicked that has not gratitude eno^tgh to acknowledge 
his obligations. I shall add no more on the doctrine of Pro- 

In December, 1778, Washington was in Philadelphia, at the 
request of Congress, for a personal conference respecting the 
next campaign. From that city he wrote to Benjamin Harrison,, 
of Virginia, and, after giving a gloomy picture of the times 
and the financial condition of the country, and the ''idleness,, 
dissipation, extravagance, speculation, peculation, and insatiable 
thirst for riches, and the party disputes and pereonal quarrels,, 
which seem to have got the better of every other consideration,"' 
Washington closed as follows : — 

" I feel more real distress on account of the present appear- 
ance of things than I have done at any one time since the com- 
raencement of the dispute. Providence has heretofw^ taken us 
up when all other means and hopes seemed to be departing from 
us. In this will I confide.** 

To Joseph Reed, President of Congress,, referring to the con- 
dition of the currency and the smallness of the army, Wash- 
ington, in July, 1779, wrote, "And yet, Providence having so 
often taken us up when bereft of every other hope, I trust we 
shall not fail even in this." 

Washington, in his instructions to Colonel Arnold, in Septem- 
ber, 1775, when that officer was about to march against Quebec, 
ahows the spirit of a Christian commander, and the scrupulous 


regard he bad to the rights of conscience. His instructions 
were as follows :— 

" As the contempt of the religion of a country by ridiculing 
any of its ceremonies, or affronting its ministers or votaries, haa 
ever been dreply resented, you are to be particularly careful to 
restrain every officer and soldier from such imprudence and 
folly, and to punish every instance of it. On the other hand, 
you are to protect and support the free exercise of the religion 
of the country, and the unobstructed enjoyment of rights in 
religious matters, with your utmost influence and authority." 

In a private communication to the same officer and of the 
same date, Washington says, — 

" I also give it in charge to you to avoid all disrespect of the 
religion of the country and its ceremonies. Prudence, policy, 
and a true Christian spirit will lead us to look with compassion 
on their errors, without insulting them. While we are contend- 
ing for our own liberty, we should be very cautious not to violate 
the rights of conscience in others, ever considering that God 
alone is the judge of the hearts of men, and to him only in this 
case they are answerable." 

General Washington, having triumphantly led the armies of 
the Revolution to victory, and closed the war with glory and honor 
to his country and himself, repaired, on the 23d of December, 1783, 
to Annapolis, Maryland, where Congress was in session, and 
surrendered his military command in the following address : — 

The great event on which my resignation depended having at 
length taken place, I now have the opportunity of offering my sincere 
congratulations to Congress, and of presenting myself before them to 
surrender into their hands tlie trust committed to me, and to claim the 
indulgence of retiring from the service of my country. Happy inlhe 
confirmation of our independence and sovereignty, and pleased with 
the opportunity afforded the United States of becoming a respectable 
nation, I resign with satisfaction the appointment I accepted with dif- 
fidence, — a diffidence in my abilities to accomplish so arduous a task, 
which, however, was superseded by a confidence in the rectitude of our 
cause, the support of the supreme power of the Union, and the patron- 
age of Heaven. 

The successful termination of the war has verified the most sanguine 
expectations. My gratitude for the interpositions of Providence and 
the assistance I have received from my countrymen increases with 
every review of the momentous crisis. While I repeat my obligations 
to the army, I should do ii^justice to my own feelings not to acknow- 
ledge in this place the peculiar services and the distinguished merita 


of the gentlemen ,who have hcen attached to my person during the 
war. It was impossible that the choice of confidential officers to com* 
pose my family should have been more fortunate. Permit me, sir, to 
recommend in particular those who have continued in the service to 
the present moment as worthy of the favorable notice and patronage 
of Congress. 

I consider it an indispensable duty to close this last act of my offi- 
cial life by commending the interests of our dearest country to the 
protection and care of Almighty God. Having now finished the work 
assigned me, I retire from the great theatre of action, and, bidding an 
affectionate farewell to this august body, under whose orders I have so 
long acted, I here offer my commission and take my leave of aU the 
employments of public life. 

President Mifflin replied as follows : — 

Sib : — The United States, in Congress assembled, receive with emo- 
tions too affecting for utterance the solemn resignation of the authori- 
ties under which you have led their troops with success through a peril- 
ous and a doubtful war. Called upon by your country to defend its 
invaded rights, you accepted the sacred charge before it had formed 
alliances, and while it was without friends or a government to support 
you. You have conducted the great military contest with wisdom and 
fortitude, invariably regarding the rights of the civil power through 
all disasters and changes. You have, by the love and confidence of 
your fellow-citizens, enabled them to display their military genius and 
transmit their fame to posterity. You have persevered until the United 
States, aided by a magnanimous king and nation, have been enabled, 
Tinder a just Providence, to close the war in freedom, safety, and inde- 
pendence, — in which happy event we sincerely join you in congratula- 
tions. Having defended the standard of liberty in this new world, — 
having taught a lesson useful to those afflicted and to those who felt 
oppression, — you retire from the great theatre of action with the blessings 
of your fellow-citizens. But the glory of your virtue will not terminate 
with your military command : it will continue to animate remotest ages. 
"We feel with you our obligations to the army in general, and will par- 
tici4arly charge ourselves with the interests of those confidential officers 
who have attended your person to this affecting moment. 

We join you in commanding the interests of our dearest country to 
the protection of Almighty God, beseeching him to dispose the hearts 
and minds of its citizens to improve the opportunity afforded them of 
becoming a happy and a respectable nation ; and for you, we address to 
him our earnest prayers that a life so beloved may be fostered with all 
his care, that your days may be as happy as they have been illu*5trious, 
and that he will give you that reward which the world cannot give. 

One of the most hopeful and inspiring scenes of the Revolu- 
tion was to see this great hero, with the interests of a nation 
oto his soul, retire for prayer unto the God in whom he trusted. 


The winter at Valley Forge witnessed the 'retirement of 
Washington daily to some secluded glen in the surrounding 
forest for prayer. Though gloom covered his desponding country 
and array, yet " a cloud of doubt seldom darkened the serene 
atmosphere of his hopes. He know that the cause was just 
and holy, and his faith and confidence in God, as a defender 
and helper of right, steady in their ministrations of divine vigor 
to his soul." / 

While the American army was at Valley Forge, Isaac Potts 
strolled up a creek that ran through his farm, and, walking 
quietly through the woods, he heard the tones of a solemn voice, 
and, looking round, saw Washington's horse tied to a sapling. 
In a thicket near by was Washington, on his knees, in earnest 
prayer. Like Moses, Mr. Potts felt he was on holy ground, and 
retired unobserved. He returned home, and, on entering the 
room of his wife, burst into tears, and informed her what he had 
seen and heard, and exclaimed, " If there is any one on earth 
whom the Lord will hearken to, it is George Washington ; and 
I feel a presentiment that under such a commander there can 
be no doubt of our eventually establishing our independence, 
and that God in his providence has willed it so." 

''Oh, who shall know the might 
Of the words he utter'd there? 
The fate of nations there was turn'd 
By the fervor of his prayer. 

" But wouldst thou know his name 
Who wander'd there alone ? 
Go read enroird in Heaven!s archives 
The prayer of Washington." 


The following note from an octogenarian who had seen Wash- 
ington when a boy is an incident illustrating Washington's 
habit of prayer : — 

•*Nrw Haven, February 18, 1860. 
" To the Editors of the Evening Post, 

"Mr. Printer: — In 1796, I heard the farmer referred to 
narrate the following incident. Said 'he, 'When the British 
troops held possession of New York, and the American army 
lay in the neighborhood of West Point, one morning at sunrise 
I went forth to bring hom.e the cows. On passing a clump of 


brushwood, I heard a moaning sound, like a person in distress. 
On nearing the spot, I heard the words of a man at prayer. I 
stood behind a tree. The man came forth: it was George 
Washington, the captain of the Lord's host in North America.' 

" This farmer belonged to the Society of Friends, who, being 
opposed to war on any pretext, were lukewarm, and, in some 
cases, opposed to the cause of the country. However, having 
seen the general enter the camp, he returned to his own house. 
' Martha,' said he to his wife, * we must not oppose this war 
any longer. This morning I heard the man George Washing- 
ton send up a prayer to Heaven for his country, and I know it 
will be hciird.' 

" This farmer dwelt between the lines, and sent Washington 
many items concerning the movements of the enemy, which did 
good service to the good cause. 

"From this incident we may infer that Washington rose 
with the sun to pray for his country, he fought for her at 
meridian, and watched for her in the silent hours of night. 

" Every editor of a newspaper, magazine, or journal between 
Montauk Point and Oregon, if he has three drops of American 
blood in his veins, should publish this anecdote on the 22d of 
February (Washington's birthday) while woods grow and waters 
run. This day I enter on my eighty-eighth year. 

" Grant Thorburn, Sr." 

In the summer of 1779, Washington, exploring alone one day 
the position of the British forces on the banks of the Hudson, 
ventured too far from his own camp, and was compelled by a 
sudden storm and the fatigue of his horse to sock shelter for 
the night in the cottage of a pious American farmer, who, greatly 
struck with the manners and language of his guest, after he re- 
tired to rest, listened at the door of Washington s chamber, and 
overheard the following prayer from the father of his country : — 

Almighty Father, if it is thy holy will that we should obtain a place 
and a name among the nations of the earth, grant that we may bo 
«'nal)led to show our gratitude for thy goodness by our endeavors to fear 
5ind obey thee. Blens us with wisdom in our councils and success in 
battle, and let all our victories be tempered with humility. Endow also 
our enemies with enlightened minds, that they may become sensible of 
their injustice and willing to restore our liberties and peace. Grant tho 
petition of thy servant for the sake of Him whom thou hast called thy 
beloved Soa. Nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done. Amen." 


An officer who served under General Washington through 
the eight years of the Eevolution says that on every practica- 
ble occasion he sought God's blessing upon the contest ; and, 
when no chaplain was present, he often called his staflf-officers 
around him and reverently lifted his heart and voice in prayer. 
He described the scenes as of unusual solemnity, and he carried 
the vivid impressions of them to the grave. Just before the 
battle of Monmouth, Washington was seen by one of his officers 
alone beneath a tree, supplicating the throne of grace. He 
knew that God was his " refuge and strength.*' 

The God of the Bible and his providential presence and power 
during the whole Kevolutionary War are gratefully recognized 
by Washington on various occasions. 

No one could express more fully his sense of the Providence 
of God and the dependence of man. His faith in Providence 
was the anchor of his soul at all times. 

"Ours is a kind of struggle," said he, "designed by Provi- 
dence, I dare say, to try the patience, fortitude, and virtue of 
men. None, therefore, who is engaged in it will suffer himself, 
I trust, to sink under difficulties or be discouraged by hard- 
•hips." * 

" Providence having so often taken us up when bereft of every 
other hope, I trust we shall not fail even in this." 

" To that good Providence which has so remarkably aided us 
in all our difficulties, the rest is committed." 

" We have abundant reasons to thank Providence for its many 
favorable interpositions in our behalf. It has at times been my 
only dependence, for all other resources seemed to have failed 
us. . . . Our affairs are brought to a perilous crisis that the 
hand of Providence, I trust, may be more conspicuous in our de- 
liverance. The remarkable interpositions of the Divine govern- 
ment in the hours of our deepest distress and darkness have been 
too luminous to suffer me to doubt the happy issue of the present 

The same sentiments were expressed on many occasions after 
the war. In a letter to General Armstrong, March 11, 1792, 
he wrote, — 

" I am sure there never was a people who had more reason to 
acknowledge a Divine interposition in their affairs, than those 
of the United States; and I should be pained to believe 
that they had forgotten that agency which was so often mani- 


fested during our Revolution, or that they failed to consider the 
omnipotence of that God who is alone able to protect them." 

The following extracts are from his circular letter to the 
Governors of the several States on the disbanding of the army, 
June 8, 1783. They are full of the sentiment and spirit of 
Christianity which he had developed during the war. 

" I now make my earnest prayer that God would have you 
and the States over which you preside in his holy protection ; 
that he would incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate the 
spirit of subordination and obedience to government, to enter- 
tain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their 
fellow-citizens of the United States at large, and particularly 
for their brethren who have served in the field ; and, finally, 
that he would be most graciously pleased to dispose us all to do 
justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, 
humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the character- 
isties of the divine Author of our blessed religion, and without 
an humble imitation of whose example in these things we can 
never hope to be a happy nation. 

" We have all been encouraged to feel the guardianship and 
guidance of that Almighty Being whose power regukites the 
destiny of nations, whose blessings have been so conspicuously 
displayed to this rising republic, and to whom we are bound to 
address our devout gratitude for the past, as well as our fervent 
supplications and best hopes for the future." 

A very suggestive instance of the prevailing Christian spirit 
and habits of the American people and the American army was 
the universal and explicit recognition of God's providence in 
every event and battle of the Revolution. The following pass- 
age will illustrate this point. 

*'A variety of success and defeat," said Dr. Stiles, in 1783, 
"hath attended our warfare both by sea and land. In our 
lowcvst and most dangerous estate, in 1776 and 1777, we sustained 
ourselves against the British army of sixty thousand troops, 
commanded by Howe, Burgoyne, and Clinton, and other of the 
ablest generals Britain could procure throughout Europe, with 
a naval force of twenty-two thousand seamen in above eighty 
British meurof-war. These generals we sent home, one after 
another, conquered, defeated, and convinced of the impossibility 
of conquering America. While oppressed by the heavy weight 
of this combined force, Heaven inspired us with resolution to 


cut the Gordian knot when the die was cast irrevocably in the 
glorious Act of Independence. This was sealed and confirmed 
by God Almighty in the victory of General Washington at 
Trenton, and in the surprising movement and battle of Princeton, 
by which astonishing efforts of generalship, General Howe, and 
the whole British army, in elated confidence and in open-mouthed 
march for Philadelphia, were instantly stopped, remanded back, 
and cooped up for a shivering winter in the little borough of 
Brunswick. Thus God ' turned the battle to the gate,' and this 
gave a finishing to the foundation of the American republic. 

'* This, with the Burgoyna<3le at Saratoga by General Gates, 
and the glorious victory over the Earl of Cornwallis in Virginia, 
together with the memorable victory at Eutaw Springs and the 
triumphant recovery of the Southern States by General Greene, 
are among the most heroic acts and brilliant achievements 
which have decided the fate of America. Arid who does not 
see the indubitable interposition and energetic influence of Di- 
vine Providence in these great and Ulustrioiis events? Who 
but a Washington, inspired by Heaven, could have struck out the 
great movement and manoeuvre at Princeton ? To whom but to 
the Ruler of the winds shall we ascribe it that the British rein- 
forcement in the summer of 1777 was delayed on the ocean three 
months by contrary winds, until it was too late for the confla- 
grating General Clinton to raise the siege at Saratoga ? 

"What but a providential miracle detected the conspiracy of 
Arnold, even in the critical moment of that infernal plot, in 
which the body of the American army then at West Point, with 
his Excellency General Washington himself, were to have been ren- 
dered into the hands of the enemy ? Doubtless inspired by the 
Supreme Illuminator of great minds were the joint councils of 
a Washington and a Rochambeau in that grand effort of gene- 
ralship with which they deceived and astonished a Clinton and 
eluded his vigilance, in their transit by New York and rapid 
marches for Virginia. Was it not of God that both the navy and 
army should enter the Chesapeake at the same time ? Who 
but God could have ordained the critical arrival of the Gallic 
fleet, so as to prevent and defeat the British, and assist and 
co-operate with the combined armies in the siege and reduction 
of Yorktown? 

" Should we not ever admire and ascribe to a Supreme energy 
the wise and firm generalship displayed by General Greene, 


when, leaving the active and roving Cornwallis to pursue his 
helter-skelter, ill-fated march into Virginia, he coolly and steadily 
went onwards, and deliberately, judiciously, and heroically re- 
covered the Carolinas and the Southern States ? 

" How rare have been the defections and apostasies of our 
capital characters, though tempted with all the charms of gold, 
titles, and nobility 1 Whence is it that so few men of our armie« 
have deserted to the enemy ? Whence that our brave sailors 
have chosen the horrors of prison-ships and death, rather than to 
fight against their country ? Whence that men of every rank 
have so generally felt and spoken alike, as if the cords of life 
struck unison through the continent? What but a miracle 
has preserved the union of the States, the purity of Congress, 
and the unshaken patriotism of every General Assembly ? It 
is God who has raised up for us a great and powerful ally, — an 
ally which sent us a chosen army and a naval force. It is God 
who so ordered the balancing interests of nations as to pro- 
duce an irresistible motive in the European maritime Powera 
to take our part. 

"So wonderfully does Providence order the time and coin-, 
cidence of the public national motives co-operating in effecting 
great public events and revolutions. But time would fail me 
to recount the wonder-working providences of God in the events 
of this war. Let these serve as specimens, and lead us to hope 
that God will not forsake this people, for whom he has done such 
marvellous things, whereof we are glad and rejoice this day, 
having at length brought us to the dawn of peace. 

" Peace, thou welcome guest, all hail ! Thou heavenly 
visitant, calm the tumult of nations, and wave thy balmy wing 
perpetually over this region of liberty. Let there be a tran- 
quil period for the unmolested accomplishment of the magnolia 
Dei, — the great events in God*s moral government designed from 
eternal ages to be displayed in these ends of the earth. 

'* May this great event excite and elevate our first and highest 
acknowledgments to the Sovereign Monarch of universal na- 
ture, to the Supreme Disposer and Controller of all events ! 
Let this our pious, sincere, and devout gratitude ascend in one 
general effusion of heartfelt praise and hallelujah, in one united 
cloud of incense, even the incense of universal joy and thanks- 
giving, to God, from the collective body of the United States," 

"The special interposition of Providence/' said Dr. EAmeey, 


of South Carolina, July, 1777, in an oration on the advantages 
of American independence, " in our behalf makes it impious to 
disbelieve the final establishment of our Heaven-protected in- 
dependence. Can any one seriously review the beginning, pro- 
gress, and present state of the war, and not see indisputable 
evidence of an overruling influence on the minds of men, pre- 
paring the way for the accomplishment of this great event ? 

"As all the tops of corn in a waving field are inclined in 
one direction by a gust of wind, in like manner the Governor 
of the world has given one and the same universal bent of 
inclination to the whole body of our people. Is it the work of 
man that thirteen States, frequently quarrelling about bound- 
arieS| clashing in interests, differing in politics, manners, 
customs, forms of government, and religion, scattered over an 
extensive continent, under the influence of a variety of local 
prejudices, jealousies, and aversions, should all harmoniously 
agree as if one mighty mind inspired the whole ? 

*' Our enemies seemed confident of the impossibility of ojir 
union; our friends doubted it; and all indifierent persons, who 
judged of things present by what has heretofore happened, 
considered the expectation thereof as romantic. But He who 
sitteth at the helm of the universe, and who boweth the hearts 
of a whole nation as the heart of one man, for the accomplish- 
nient of his own purpose, has efi'ected that which to human 
wisdom and foresight seemed impossible." 

"When I trace," said Henry Lee, of Virginia, "the heroes 
of Seventy-Six through all their countless difficulties and hard- 
ships, — when I behold all the dangers and plots which encom- 
passed them, their 'hair-breadth escapes,' and final glorious 
triumphs, — I am as strongly impressed with the belief that 
our cause was guided by Heaven as that Moses and the Israelites 
were directed by the finger of God through the wilderness." 

The following extract, from an address by Dr. Ladd, of 
Charleston, South Carolina, delivered before the Governor of the 
State, and a large number of other gentlemen, on the 4th of 
July, 1785, being the anniversary of American independence, 
will present the views of the patriots of that day in reference 
to the special presence of Almighty God through the scenes 
and triumphs of the Revolution, and their desire to enthrone 
God as the Governor of the nation. The motto of his oration 
was, — 


" *Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell 
Their children, and their children another generation.' 

" A prophet divinely inspired, and deeply impressed with the 
importance of the event which had just taken place, breaks into 
this exclamation, — an exclamation happily adapted to the present 
occasion, tending to perpetuate the remembrance of an event 
written upon the heart of every true American, of every friend 
to his country. 

'' The eventful history of our great Revolution is pregnant 
with many a source of sublime astonishment. Succeeding ages 
shall turn to the historic page and catch inspiration from the 
era of 1776: they shall bow to the rising glory of America; 
and Rome, once mistress of the world, shall fade on their re- 

''The commencement of our struggles, their progress and 
their periods, will furnish a useful lesson to posterity : they 
will teach them that men desperate for freedom, united in 
virtue, and assisted by the God of armies, can never be sub- 
dued. The youthful warrior, the rising politician, will tremble 
at the retrospect and turn pale at the amazing story. Ame- 
rica, — the infant America, — all defenceless as she is, is invaded 
by a most powerful nation, her plains covered by disciplined 
armies, her harbors crowded with hostile fleets. Destitute of 
arms, destitute of ammunition, with no discipline but their 
virtue, and no general but their God, — threatened with the 
loss of their liberties (liberties which were coeval with their 
existence and dearer than their lives), they arose in resistance 
and were nerved in desperation. What was the consequence? 
The invaders were repulsed, their armies captured, their strong 
works demolished, and their fleets driven back. Behold, the 
terrible flag of the glory of Great Britain, dropping all tar- 
nished from the mast, bewails its sullied honors. 

"This, my countrymen, by assistance superhuman have we at 
length accomplished, — I say superhuman assistance, for one of 
us has * chased a thousand^ and two put ten thousand to flight 
The Lord of Iloofs wan on our side, the God of the arvrics of 
Israel;' and at every blow we were ready to exclaim, with glo- 
rious exultation, * The sword of the Lord and of Wasfcifigton /' 

** Yet how did even America despair when the protecting hand 
of our Great Leader (God) was for one moment withheld! 
Witness our veteran army retreating through the Jerseys; an 


almost total withering to our hopes, while America trembled 
with expectation, — trembled ! though shielded and protected by 
the King of kings and her. beloved Washington. 

"And now, having in some measure paid our debt of ac- 
knowledgment to the visible authors of our independence, let 
us lay our hands on our hearts in humble adoration of that 
]MoNARCH who (in place of George the Third) was this day 
chosen to reign over us; let us venerate the great generalissimo 
of our armies, from whom all triumph flows ; and be it our glory, 
not that George the Third, but Jehovah, the first and the last, 
is King of America^ — he who dwelleth in the clouds, and whose 
palace is tlie heaven of heavens ; for, independent as we are 
'with respect to the political systems of this world, we are still a 
province of the great kingdom, and fellow-subjects with the 
inhabitants of heaven." 

The following form of an oath, exacted by General Lee of the 
people of Ehode Island in December, 1775, illustrates the 
C'hristian tone of the military orders and requirements of the 
Eevolutionary era : — 

I, , here, in the presence of Almighty God, as I hope for ease, 

honor, and comfort in this world and happiness in the world to come, 
most earnestly and devoutly and religiously swear that I will neither 
directly nor indirectly assist the wicked instruments of ministerial 
tyranny and villany, commonly called the king's troops and navy, by 
furnishing them provisions and refreshments of any kind, unless au- 
thorized by the Continental Congress, or Legislature at present esta- 
blished in this particular colony of Rhode Island : I do also swear, by 
the Tremendous and Almighty God, that I will not directly or indirectly 
convey any intelligence, nor give any advice, to the aforesaid enemies 
described, and that I pledge myself, if I should by any accident get 
knowledge of such treasons, to inform immediately the Committee of 
iSafety ; and, as it is justly allowed that when the rights and sacred 
liberties of a nation or community are invaded, neutrality is not less 
criminal than open and avowed hostility, I do further swear and 
pledge myself, as I hope for eternal salvation, that I will, whenever 
(tailed upon by the voice of the Continental Congress, or by that of this 
particular colony under their authority, to take arms and subject my- 
self to military discipline in defence of the common rights and liberties 
of America. So help me God. 





" The appointment of clergymen to official positions," says 
Headley, "in the army and navy, under the designation of 
chaplains, is a custom of long standing, and at the present 
day, among Christian nations, is considered necessary to their 
complete organization. It would have been natural, therefore, 
for Congress, as a mere matter of custom, and in imitation of 
the mother-country, to appoint chaplains in the American army. 
They did so ; and chaplains, at the present time, form a part of 
our military organization, and rank as officers and draw pay 
like them. The propriety of this custom is recognized by all ; 
for the sick, the suffering and dying need spiritual advisers as 
much as they do hospitals and surgeons." 

The chaplains of the army of the Revolution, as well as those 
of the civil service, were eminent for their talents, learning, 
eloquence, and piety. All were ardent and active patriots, and 
many of them became distinguished in the pulpit, in theological 
literature, and in the departments of education and science. 
Their influence and labors are thus stated by Headley : — " It is 
difficult in these days, when chaplains in the army are looked 
I upon simply as a necessary part of its methodical arrangement, 

— ^a set of half-officers, half-civilians, who are not allowed to 
fight, and often cannot preach, — to get a proper conception of 
those times when their (the chaplains of the Revolution) 
appeals thrilled the ranks and made the hand clutch its weapon 
with a firmer grasp, and when their prayers filled each heart 


with a lofty enthusiasm. Then the people composed the army, 
and when the man of God addressed the crowding battalion he 
addressed the young men and old men of his flock, who looked 
up to him with love and reverence and believed him almost as 
they did the Bible. The enthusiasm kindled by the pastor's 
address, the courage imparted by his solemn parting blessing 
and assurance that Grod smiled on them, would be a revolu- 
tionary page that would thrill the heart, 

" The history of our chaplaincy is, to religious men at least, 
a subject of no inconsiderable interest. Going back thirty 
years before the American Revolution, to that memorable event 
in our colonial history, ' the siege of Louisburg,' we shall see 
that the selection of a chaplain to accompany the army in their 
hazardous expedition was a matter of no small importance. 
No sooner was Mr. Pepperell appointed commander of the land- 
forces than he applied to the renowned George Whitefield, then 
on his third visit to America, and at that time preaching in New 
England, not only for his sanction of the expedition, but 
with a request that he would accept the position of chaplain. 
Although Whitefield declined that offer, he favored the under- 
taking. In order, therefore, to give it the air of a religious 
crusade, Mr. Whitefield selected for their banners the motto, 
* Nothing is to be despaired of with Christ for our leader.* " 

A clergyman distinguished for piety and learning — qualities 
at that time deemed necessary for so important a station — re- 
ceived the appointment. 

The history of Braddock's defeat furnishes another striking 
illustration of the importance then given to the service of a 
chaplain. In that disastrous battle, the chaplain, as well as 
that brave general himself, were wounded. Three days after, 
when General Braddock died, a young American colonel, then 
about twenty-five years of age, would not sufi'er his deceased 
commander to be buried like a savage in the wilderness, but 
acted the part of a chaplain himself, by reading the solemn and 
impressive burial-service of the Church of England at the inter- 
ment. This young officer was George Washington. 

After this event, when Washington was appointed commandei 
of the Virginia forces, whose great work was to protect the 
frontier settlements from the incursions of the French and 
Indians, in what was called the '' French War," he wrote to 
Governor Dinwiddle of Virginia as follows : — " The w^ant of a 


oliaplain, I humbly conceive, reflecte dishonor on the regiment. 
The gentlemen of the corps are sensible of this, and propose to 
support one at their own expense. But I think it would have 
a more graceful appearance were he appointed as other oflScers 
are." At another date, Washington wrote, "As to a chaplain, 
if the Government will grant a subsistence, we can readily get a 
person of merit to accept the phxce, without giving the oammia- 
sary any trouble on that point." 

In the Governor's reply to this letter, be thus writes : — " In 
regard to a chaplain, you should know that his qualifications, 
and the bishop's letter of license, should be produced to the 
commissaiy and myself." 

No chaplain was then appointed. About two years after this 
<-orre.^pondence, Wac^hington wrote to the President of the Vir- 
i^inia Council as follows : — " The last Assembly, in their * Supply 
Bill,' provided for a chaplain to our regiment. I now flatter 
myself that your Honor will be pleased to appoint a sober^ 
j^orious man, of piety and merit, to this duty." 

When Washington assumed command of the army at Cam- 
bridge, in 1775, he found chaplains attached to the different 
regiments sent from various colonies, — some of them volunteers 
without pay, and others regularly appointe^i by the Provincial 
(Congress. As the organization of the array was perfected, 
measures were adopted for their provision by the General 
(/ongress, and their number and the regiments to which they 
belonged formed a part of the regular army returns of 

At first they were not numerous, as the Government had 
taken no action on the subject; but its attention was soon called 
to it, and on May 25, 1775, a committee of the Provincial Con- 
gress of Massachusetts reported : — 

Whereas it has been represontod to this Congress that several minis* 
tors of the religious assemblies within this colony have expressed their 
willingness to attend the army in the capacity of chaplains, as they may 
be directed by Congress : therefore, 

BcsolcfvJ, That it be, and is hereby, recommended to the ministers of 
the several religious assemblies within tlie colony, that, with the leave 
of their congregations, they attend said ai-my in their several towns, to 
the number of thirteen at one time, durinj tho. time the army shall be 
encamped ; and that they make known their resolution to the Congress 
thereon, or to the Committee of Safety, as soon as may be. 


Washington, who in the French and Indian War had more 
than once requested the Governor of Virginia to allow him a 
chaplain for his regiment, saw with the deepest gratification 
this early determination of the New England colonies to supply 
their regiments with regular chaplains, and encouraged it in 
every way he could. In the month of December, 1775, he 
wrote to the Continental Congress as follows : — 

I have had it in my mind to mention it to Congress that frequent 
applications have been made to me respecting the chaplains' pay, which 
is too small to encourage men of abilities. Some of them who have left 
their flocks arc obliged to pay the parson acting for them more than 
they receive. I need not point out the great utility of gentlemen whose 
lives and conversation are unexceptionable, being employed in that 
service in this army. There are two ways of making it worthy the 
attention of such. One is an advancement of their pay ; the other, 
that one chaplain be appointed to two regiments. This last, I think, 
can be done without inconvenience. I beg leave to recommend this 
matter to Congress, whose sentiments hereon I shall impatiently 

The policy of having one chaplain for two regiments did not 
seem to work well; and on the 1st of July, 1776, Washington 
wrote to Congress oa the subject aa follows: — 

I beg leave to mention to Congress the necessity there is of some new 
pegulatioa being entered into respecting the chaplains of the army. 
They will remember that applications were made to increase their pay, 
which was conceived to be too low for their support, and that it was 
proposed, if it could not be done for the whole, that the number should 
be lessened, and one be appointed to two regiments, with an additional 
allowance. This latter expedient was adopted, and, while the army 
continued all together at one encampment, answered well, or at least did 
not produce many inconveniences ; but the army being now differently 
circumstanced from what it then was, part here, part in Boston, and 
a third part detached to Canada, has introduced much confusion and 
disorder in this ins^tance ; nor do I know that it is possible to remedy 
the evil but by affixing one to each regiment, with salaries competent to 
their support. No shifting, no changing from one to the other, can 
answer the purpose ; and in many cases it could not be done although 
the regiments would consent, as when detachments are composed of 
unequal numbers or ordered from different posts. Many more incon- 
veniences might be pointed out, but these, it is presumed, will suffi- 
ciently show the defects of the present establishment and the propriety 
of an alteration. What that alteration shall be, Congress will please to 

Congress immediately adopted his views, and WashingtoUi 


having received a despatch to that effect, eight days after issued 
the following general order : — 

Nkw York, July 9, 177«. 
Tho Honora))lo Continental Congress having been pleased to allow a 
chaplain to each re^'iment, with the pay of thirty-three and one-third 
dollars per month, th<' colonels or commanding officers of each regiment 
lire directed to procure chaplains accordingly, — persons of good cha- 
racter and exemplary lives, — and to see that all inferior officers and 
holdiers pay them a suitable respect and attend carefully upon religious 
excr(;iscH. T/te hh\mng and protection of Heaven are at ail times necessary, 
but esiH'cially is it in times of public distress and danger. The general 
hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor to live and 
ttct as becomes a Christian soldier defending the dearest rights and liber- 
tics of his country. 

In 1776, Washington gave the following order to the chap- 
lains : — 

The situation of the army frequently not admitting of the regular 
performance of divine service on Sundays, the chaplains of the army 
are forthwith to meet together and agree on some method of performing 
it at other times, which method they will make known to the com- 

Washington deemed the services of religion so important in 
the army that, in the absence of a chaplain, he would perform 
divine service himself. " He has been frequently known," says 
Weems, " on the Sabbath to read the Scriptures and pray with 
the regiment in the absence of a chaplain." 

On the 27th of May, 1777, Congress passed the following 
order : — 

Bcsoloedy That for the future there be only one chaplain for each brigade 
of the army, and that such be appointed by Congress; that each brigade 
chaplain be allowed the same pay, rations, and forage allowed io a 
colonel in the said corps ; that each general be' requested to nominate 
and recommend a proper person for chaplain to his brigade ; and that 
they recommend none but such as are men of experience and esta- 
blished character for piety, virtue, and learning. 

The chaplains of the army of the Revolution were, in general, 
not only distinguished for "piety, virtue, and learning, but 
were," says Headley, "bold and active patriots, stirring up 
rebellion, encouraging the weak and timid by their example as 
well as by their teachings, and inspiring the brave and true 
with confidence by their heroism and lofty trust in the right- 
eousness of the cause they vindicated," 


Cliaplains were also appointed for the hospitals, as the fol- 
lowing record of Congress shows : — 

Bepimher 18, 1777. 
JResolvedj That chaplains be appointed to the hospitals in the several 
departments, and that their pay be sixty dollars a ^onth and three 
rations a day, and forage for one horse. 

Congress was also mindful that chaplains were faithful in the 
discharge of their duties. The following is on the records of 

Congress : — 

Every chaplain commissioned in the army or armies of the United 
States who shall absent himself from the duties assigned him, excepting 
in case of sickness or on leave of absence, shaU, on conviction thereof 
before a court-martial, be fined not exceeding one month's pay, besides 
the loss of his pay during his absence, or be discharged, as the said 
court-martial shall judge proper. 

The commission of chaplains varied somewhat in the different 
colonies, but the following form, adopted in Connecticut, will 
answer as a sample of all : — - 

To Rev, , greeting: 

Reposing special trust and confidence in your piety, ability, fidelity, 

and good conduct, I do hereby appoint you, the said , a chaplain 

of the — regiment, and do hereby authorize and empower you to exer- 
cise the several acts and duties of your office and station as chaplain of 
the said regiment, which you are faithfully to perform in a due and 
religious discharge thereof, according to the important trust reposed in 
you, for which this is your warrant. 

Given under my hand and seal-atrarms, in the colony aforesaid, this of ^,1776. 

The following correspondence between the Congregational 
Church of Woodstock, Connecticut, and Generals Washington 
and Putnam, is instructive and interesting : — 

Woodstock, Cohkectigitt, April 22, 1776. 

Whereas the inhabitants of the United Colonies of America are now 
engaged in the most important of causes or controversies with the 
greatest human Power upon earth, — contending with Great Britain for. 
the continuance and enjoyment of all their rights, privileges, and liber- 
ties, both civil and sacred ; 

And whereas it has been judged to be greatly advantageous to the 
camp, by the commander-in-chief of the forces of the United Colonies, 
and others in general command, that the Rev. Abiel Leonard, minister 
of the First Society in Woodstock, should still continue in the army as 
chaplain, as by their letters to the church and congregation in said 


society signified, now under consideration, which letter is in the words 
following : — 

" To the Church cmd Congregation at Woodstock, 
" Mr. Abiel Leonard is a man whose exemplary life and conversation 
must make him highly esteemed by every person who has the pleasure 
of being acquainted with him. The congregation of Woodstock know 
him well. It therefore can be no surprise to us to hear that they are 
loath to part with him. His usefulness in the army is great. He is 
employed in the glorious work of attending to the morals of a brave 
people who are fighting for their liberties, — the liberties of the people 
of Woodstock, the liberties of all America. We therefore hope that, 
knowing how nobly he is employed, the congregation of Woodstock 
will cheerfully give up to the public a gentleman so very useful. And 
when, by the blessing of a kind Providence, the glorious and unparal- 
leled struggle for our liberties is at an end, w^e have not the least doubt 
but Mr. Leonard will, with redoubled joy, be received in the open arms 
of a congregation so very dear to him as the good people of Woodstock 
are. This is what is hoped for, this is what is expected, by the congre- 
gation of Woodstock's sincere well-wishers and very humble servants. 


S^«^^^i Israel Putnam. 
"Hkao-Qvabtbbs, CAMBBnx}!, Mftroh 24, 1776." 

At a meeting of the inhabitants of the First Society in Woodstock, 
regularly warned and assembled, on the 22d day of April, 1776, Dr. 
William Skinner was chosen Moderator for said meeting. After some 
consultation upon the foregoing letter, and also with the Rev. Mr. 
Leonard respecting his continuance in the army for a longer time, the 
following vote was put, namely : — 

" Considering that it is desired by some gentlemen of distinction in the 
Continental army that the Rev. Mr. Leonard, minister of the Society, 
should still continue in said itrmy, and he apprehending it to be his 
duty, we hereby manifest our consent to his being absent from this 
society from the 9th of May next to the Ist day of January, 1777, with the 
expectation, if God spares his life (which we earnestly and humbly 
implore of His great goodness), that he then return to us and go on in 
the discharge of the duties of his ministerial connections with us ; and 
doing this we act solely with the view to the public good." 

Jedidah Morse, Society Clerk. 

Notice, therefore, is hereby given ^o all the inhabitants of the First 
Society of Woodstock, qualified by law to vote in society meeting, to 
meet at the meeting-house in said First Society on Monday, the 22d of 
April instant, at two of the clock, after noon, there to consult and come 
unto some agreement with the Rev. Mr. Leonard respecting the pulpit's 
being supplied in his absence. 

WiLLiAK Skinner," 
Jedidah Morse, )- Soc. Com, 
Benjamin Lyon, 
Woodstock, April 12, 1776. 


The policy of the Government, in securing the services of 
chaplains, has always been the same in the civil as in the mili- 
tary departments of the Government. 

The first meeting of the Continental Congress took place in 
Philadelphia, September 5, 1774. The record for the 6th of 
September contains the following : — 

Resolvcdy That Rev. Mr. Duche be desired to open Congress to-mor- 
row morning with prayers. 

Sept. 7, 1774. — The meeting was opened with prayer by Rev. Mr. 
Duche. Voted that tJie thanks of Congress be given to Mr. Duche 
for performing divine service. 

This Congress adjourned on the 26th of October, 1774, and 
reassembled the 10th of May, 1775. The Journal of that day 
shows the following : — 

Agreed, that the Rev. Mr. Duche be reque^^ted to open the Congress 
with prayers to-morrow morning. 

May 11, 1775. — Agreeable to the order of yesterday, the Congress was 
opened with prayers by Rev. Mr. Duche. 

July 9, 1770. — Resolved, That Rev. Mr. Duch6 be appointed chaplain 
to Congress, and that he be desired to attend every morning at nine 

Oct. 17, 1776. — Mr. Duche, having by letter informed the President 
that the state of his health and his parochial duties were such as obliged 
him to decline the honor of continuing chaplain to Congress : — Resolved, 
That the President return the thanks of this House to the Rev. Mr. 
Duche for the devout and acceptable manner in which he discharged 
his duty during the time he officiated as chaplain to it ; and that one 
hundred and fifty dollars be presented to him as an acknowledgment 
from the House for his services. 

Oct. 30, 1776. — Mr. Duche writes to Congress, and requests that, as 
he became their chaplain from motives perfectly disinterested, the one 
hundred and fifty dollars voted to him may be applied to the relief of 
the widows and children of such of the Pennsylvania officers as have 
fallen in battle in the service of their country. In consequence, Congress 
orders the money to be deposited with the Council of Safety of Penn- 
sylvania, to be applied agreeably to his request. 

Dee, 23, 1776. — Agreeable to the order of the day, Congress elected 
the Rev. P. Allison and the Rev. W. White chaplains. 

The old Colonial and Confederate Congresses paid respect to 
leligion by system and on principle. If they were ever with- 
out a chaplain performing daily religious services, it was but for 
a short time; and it may well be presumed that Mr. Wither- 
Bpoon then performed the stated divine service. 


In the first Congress, after the adoption of the Constitution 
(1789), soon after a quorum had come together, Oliver Ellsworth 
was appointed to confer with a committee of the House "on 
rules and the appointment of chaplains." The House chose five 
men, — Boudinot, Bland, Madison, Sherman, and Tucker. The 
result was a recommendation to appoint two chaplains of diflPer- 
ent denominations, one by each House, to interchange weekly. 
The Senate appointed an Episcopal clergyman, and the House 
a distinguished Presbyterian minister, both of New York, the 
city in which Congress was then holding its session. Thus ' 
began the practice of appointing chaplains to our national legisr 
lature, — a practice continued without interruption to the pre- 
sent time. 

The first chaplain appointed under the Constitution was the 
Eight Rev. Dr. Provost, Bishop of New York. The next was 
Bishop White, whose memory is cherished as the father of the 
Protestant Episcopal Church in America, — the man who at the 
call of the Continental Congress took his life in his hand and 
followed it as their chaplain. The service of these two chap- 
lains to the Senate extended through eleven years, from 1789 
to 1800, at which time the seat of government was removed to 

The House elected, as colleagues of Provost and White, three 
distinguished Presbyterian divines, William Linn, of New York, 
and Blair and Green, of Philadelphia, the latter of whom waa 
subsequently president of Princeton College. We need only 
look over the Hst of the earlier chaplains to Congress, to find 
the names of men who were lights in their day, and who made 
their mark, which haa not been obliterated by time. 

On this list we find, besides those who have been mentioned, 
the names of Breckenridge, Campbell, and Post, from the Pres- 
byterians ; Claggett, Mcllvaine, and Johns, from the Episcopa- 
lians. From among the Methodists, we meet with the names 
of Bascom, Stockton, and Cookman; from the Baptists, Alli- 
son, Staughton, and Cone; and from the Congregationalists, Dr. 
Dwight, Jared Sparks, and President Bates. 

To hear some of these men preach in the Capitol, one had to 
go early to secure a place to stand, even, in the crowded hall. 
Most of these men were able representatives of the religion of 
Christ, men who could with a force of character as well as of 
argument set before members of Congress its claims to their 


consideration, in such a manner as to command respect, even 
when it was urged upon their individual acceptance. 

The navy as well as the army of the United States has a 
Christian record, confirming the uniform policy of the Govern- 
ment in the appointment of chaplains. The establishment of a 
navy was recommended by Washington, the first President, but 
the recommendation was not carried out until the administration 
of his successor, John Adams, began. From the earliest history 
of the navy till the present, the Government has recognized the 
need of chaplains, and has always had them on Government 

Cruising on every ocean, our sailors pass through the extremes 
of heat and cold, and the unhealthy climates of every latitude, 
in which some sicken and die and are buried in the sea, and but 
for a chaplain they would hear no prayer when sick, nor hardly 
have a Christian burial when dead. Long months, yea, years 
even, would pass without their hearing a sermon in a language 
they could understand. Who will deny that the navy opens 
many an important field for the labors of a faithful Christian 
teacher? One who has an aptness to teach and a love for doing 
good might find in the American navy a great work to do. 

In view of this Christian work, Congress passed the follow- 
ing order : — 

The commanders of all ships and vessels in the navy having chap- 
lains on board shall take care that divine service be performed in an 
orderly and reverent manner twice a day, and a sermon preached on 
Sunday, except bad weather or other extraordinary accident prevent it, 
and that they cause all, or as many of the ship's company as can be spared 
from duty, to attend every performance of the worship of Almighty God. 

Chap. 204. — An Act for the better government of the navy of the United States, 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of BepreserUaiives of the United States 
of America in Congress assembled. That, from and after the first day of 
September next, the foUowing articles be adopted and put in force for 
the government of the navy of the United States. 

Art. 1. The commanders of all fleets, squadrons, naval stations, and 
vessels belonging to the navy are strictly enjoined and required to 
show in themselves a good example of virtue, honor, patriotism, and 
subordination; to be vigilant in inspecting the conduct of all who may 
be placed under their command ; to guard against and suppress all 
dissolute and immoral practices, and to correct all who may be gtiilty 
of them, according to the laws and regulations of the navy, upon pain 
of such punishment as a general court-martial may think proper to 


Art. 2. The commanders of vessels and naval stations to which 
chaplains are attached shall cause divine service to be performed on 
Sunday, whenever the weather and other circumstances will allow it to 
be done ; and it is earnestly recommended to all officers, seamen, and 
others in the naval service diligently to attend at every performance 
of the worship of Almighty God. Any irreverent or unbecoming be- 
havior during divine service shall be punished as a general or summary 
court-martial shall direct. 

In 1838, Congress passed the following : — 

An Act to increase the present military establishment of the United Staifs, and for 

other purposes. 

Sec. 18. And he it further enacted^ That it shall be lawful for the officers 
composing the council of administration at any post, from time to time, 
to employ such person as they may think proper to officiate as chaplain, 
who shall also perform the duties of a schoolmaster at such post ; and the 
person so employed shall, on the certificate of the commanding officer 
of the post, be paid such sum for his services, not exceeding forty dol- 
lars per month, as may be determined by the said council of adminis- 
tration, with the approval of the Secretary of War. In addition to his 
pay, the said chaplain shall be allowed four rations per diem, with quar- 
ters and fuel. 

Approved, July 5, 1838. 

This Act was extended, in 1849, hy 

An Act to provide for the increase of the Medical Staffs and for an additional 
number of Cliaplains of the Army of the United States. 

Sec 3. And he it further enacted^ That the provisions of the Act of 
eighteen hundred and thirty-eight be, and hereby are, extended so as to 
authorize the employment of ten additional chaplains for military posts 
of the United States. 

Approved, March 2, 1849. 

At different times within the last twenty years a very small 
portion of the American people have petitioned Congress to 
abolish the office of chaplain. The petitions were raspectfully 
received, and referred to the Committees on the judiciary, in 
both Houses of Congress, who made very able reports against 
granting the request of the petitioners. The doctrines of these 
reports are in harmony with the entire Christian policy of the 
Government, and are official records to prove that the Christian 
religion is the basis of the civil institutions of the United 
States. They are placed in this chapter in full, and will amply 
repay a careful perusal. 



March 27, 1854. Mr. Meacliam, from the Committee ou the Judiciary, 
made the following report : — 

The Committee on tlie Judiciary, to whom were referred the memo- 
rial of the citizens of several States, praying that the office of chaplain 
in the army, navy, at West Point, at Indian stations, and in both Houses 
of Congress, be abolished, resj)octfully report : — 

That they have had the subject under consideration, and, after care- 
ful examination, are not prepared to come to the conclusion desired by 
the memorialists. Having made that decision, it is due that the reason 
should be given. Two clauses of the Constitution are relied on by the 
memorialists to show that their prayer should be granted. One of these 
is in the sixth article, that '* no religious test shall ever be required as a 
qualification to any office or public trust under the Uuited States." If 
the whole section were quoted, we apprehend that no one could suppose 
it intended to apply to the aj>pointmeiit of chaplains. 

*' Art. 0, Sc'c. 3. The senators and representatives before mentioned, 
and the members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive 
and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several States, 
shall be bound, by an oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution ; 
but no religious test shall ever l>e required as a qualification to any office 
or public trust under the United States." 

Every one nmst perceive that this refers to a class of persons entirely 
distinct from chaplains. 

Another article supposed to be violated is Article 1st of Amendments: 
— *' Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." 
Does our present practice violate that article? What is an establish- 
ment of religion? It must have a creed, defining what a man must 
believe ; it must have rites and ordinances, which believers must ob- 
serve ; it must have ministers of defined qualificjations, to teach the doc- 
trines and administer the rites ; it must have tests for the submissive 
and penalties for the non-conformist. There never was an established 
religion without all these. Is there now, or has there ever been, any 
thing of this in the appointment of chaplains in Congress, or army, or 
navy ? The practice before the adoption of the Constitution is much 
the same as since : the adoj^tion of that Constitution does not seem to 
liave changed the principle in this respect. We ask the memorialists to 
look at the facts. First, in the army: chaplains were appointed for the 
Revolutionary army on its organization ; rules for their regulation are 
found among the earliest of the articles of war. Congress ordered, on 
May 27, 1777, that there should be one chaplain to each brigade of the 
army, nominated by the brigadier-general, and appointed by Congress, 
with the same pay as colonel, and, on the 18th of September following, 
ordered chaplains to be appointed to the hospitals in the several depart- 
ments, with the pay of $00 per month, three rations per day, and forage 
for one horse. 

When the Constitution was formed. Congress had power to raise and 
support armies, and to provide for and support a navy, and to make 
rules and regulations for the government and regulation of land and 


naval forces. In the absence of all limitations, general or special, is it 
not fair to assume that they were to do these substantially in the same 
manner as had been done before? If so, then they were as truly em- 
powered to appoint chaplains as to appoint generals or to enlist soldiers. 
Accordingly, we find provision for chaplains in the acts of 1791, of 1812, 
and of 1838. By the last there is to be one to each brigade in the army ; 
the number is limited to thirty, and these in the most destitute places. 
The chaplain is also to discharge the duties of schoolmaster. The 
number in the navy is limited to twentj'^four. Is there any violation 
of the Constitution in these laws for the appointment of chaplains in 
the army and navy ? If not, let us look at the history of chaplains 
in Congress. Here, as before, we shall find that the same practice was 
in existence before and after the adoption of the Constitution. The 
American Congress began its session September 5, 1774. On the second 
day of the session, Mr. Samuel Adams proposed to open the session 
with prayer. I give Mr. Webster's account of it: — ''At the meeting 
of the first Congress there was a doubt in the minds of many about the 
propriety of opening the session with prayer ; and the reason assigned 
was, as here, the great diversity of opinion and religious belief; until, 
at last, Mr. Samuel Adams, with his gray hairs hanging about his shoul- 
ders, and with an impressive venerableness now seldom to be met with 
(I suppose owing to different habits), rose in that assembly, and, with 
the air of a perfect Puritan, said it did not become men professing to 
be Christian men, who had come together for solemn deliberation in 
the hour of their extremity, to say there was so wide a difference in 
their religious belief that they could not, as one man, bow the knee in 
prayer to the Almighty, whose advice and assistance they hoped to 
obtain ; and, Independent as he was, and an enemy to all prelacy as 
he was known to be, he moved that Rev. Mr. Duche, of the Ei)iscopal 
Church, sliould address the throne of grace in prayer. John Adams, 
in his letter to his wife, says he never saw a more moving spectacle. 
Mr. Duche read the Episcopal service of the Church of England ; and 
then, as if moved by the occasion, he broke out into extemporaneous 
prayer, and those men who were about to resort to force to obtain their 
rights were moved to tears ; and floods of tears, ho says, ran down 
the cheeks of pacific Quakers, who formed part of that interesting 
assembly ; and, depend upon it, that where there is a spirit of Christian- 
ity, there is a spirit which rises above form, above ceremonies, inde I 
pendent of sect or creed and the controversies of clashing doctrines." j 
That same clerg\'man was afterwards appointed chaplain of the Ameri- 
can Congress. He had such an appointment five days after the decla- 
ration of independence. 

On December 22, 1776, on December 13, 1784, and on February 29, 
1788, it was resolved that two chaplains should be appointed. So far 
for the old American Congress. I do not deem it out of place to notice 
one act, of many, to show that Congress was not indifferent to the reli- j 

gious interests of the people ; and they were not peculiarly afraid of the i 

charge of uniting Church and State. On the 11th of September, 1777, 
a committee having consulted with Dr. Allison about printing an edi- 


tion of thirty thousand Bibles, and finding that they would be com- 
pelled to send abroad for type and paper, with an advance of £10,272 
10*., Congress voted to instruct the Committee on Commerce to import 
twenty thousand Bibles from Scotland and Holland into the different 
ports of the Union. The reason assigned was that the use of the book was 
80 universal and important. Now, what was passing on that day ? The 
army of Washington was fighting the battle of Brandywino ; the gallant 
soldiers of the Revolution were displaying their heroic though unavail- 
ing valor; twelve hundred soldiers were stretched in death on that 
battle-field ; Lafayette was bleeding ; the booming of the cannon was 
heard in the hall where Congress was sitting, in the hall from which 
Congress was soon to be a fugitive. At that important hour Congress 
was passing an order for importing twenty thousand Bibles ; and yet 
we have never heard that they were charged by their generation of any 
attempt to unite Church and State, or surpassing their powers to legis- 
late on religious matters. 

There was a convention assembled between the old and new forms 
of government. Considering the character of the men, the work in 
which they were engaged, and the results of their labors, I think them 
the most remarkable body of men ever assembled. Benjamin Franklin 
addressed that body on the subject of employing chaplains ; and cer- 
tainly Franklin will not be accused of fanaticism in religion, or of a 
wish to unite Church and State. 

[Franklin's speech is omitted, as it is inserted in another chapter.] 

There certainly can be no doubt as to the practice of employing chap- 
lains in deliberative bodies previous to the adoption of the Constitution. 
We are, then, prepared to see if any change was made in that respect 
in the new order of affairs. 

The first Congress under the Constitution began on the 4th of March, 
1789 ; but there was not a quorum for business till the Ist of April. On 
the 0th of that month, Oliver Ellsworth was appointed, on the part of 
the Senate, to confer with a committee of the House on rules, and on 
the appointment of chaplains. The House chose five men, — Boudinot, 
Bland, Tucker, Sherman, and Madison. The result of their consulta- 
tion was a recommendation to appoint two chaplains of different deno- 
minations, one by the Senate and one by the House, to interchange 
weekly. The Senate appointed Dr. Provost on the 25th of April. 

On the 1st day of May, Washington's first speech was road to the 
House, and the^rst business after that speech was the appointment of 
Dr. Linn as chaplain. By whom was this plan made ? Three out of six 
of that joint committee were members of the convention that framed 
the Constitution. Madison, Ellsworth, and Sherman passed directly 
from the hall of the convention to the hall of Congress. Did thei/ not 
know what was constitutional ? The law of 1789 was passed in compli- 
ance with their plan, giving chaplains a salary of $500. It was re- 
enacted in 1816, and continues to the present time. Chaplains have 
been appointed from all the leading denominations, Methodist, Baptist, 
Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, Catholic, Unitarian, and 


I am aware that one of our petitioners might truly reply that the 
article was not in the body of the Constitution, but was one of tLe 
amendments recommended by Virginia. This does not weaken the 
argument in favor of chaplains. In the convention of Virginia, which 
proposed amendments, James Madison, James Monroe, and John Mar- 
shall were members. All these men were members closely connected 
with the Government. Madison and Monroe were members of Congress 
when the first amendment was adopted and became a part of the Con- 
stitution. Madison was a member of the convention framing the Con- 
stitution, of the convention proposing the amendment, and of Congress 
when adopted ; and yet neither Madison nor Monroe ever uttered a 
word or gave a vote- to indicate that the appointment of chaplains was 
unconstitutional. The Convention of Virginia elected on its first day a 
chaplain. Rev. Abner Waugh, who every morning read prayers imme- 
diately after the ringing of the bell for calling the convention. No one 
will suppose that convention so inconsistent as to appoint their chap- 
lain for their own deliberative assembly in the State of Virginia, and 
thon recommend that this should be denied to the deliberative bodies 
of the nation. 

The reason more generally urged is the danger of a union of Clmrch 
and State. If the danger were real, we should be disposed to take the 
most prompt and decided measures to forestall the evil, because one of 
the worst for the religious and political interests of this nation that 
could possibly overtake us. But we deem this apprehension entirely 
imaginary ; and we think any one of the petitioners must be convinced 
of this on examination of the facts. Now look at that score of differ- 
ent denominations, and tell us, do you believe it possible to make a 
majority agree in forming a league to unite their religious interests with 
those of the State ? If you take from the larger sects, you must select 
some three or four of the largest to make a majority of clergy, or laity, 
or worshippers. And these sects are widely separated in their doctrines, 
their religious rites, and in their church discipline. How do you expect 
them to unite for any such object? If you take the smaller sects, you 
must unite some fifteen to make a majority, and must take such dis- 
cordant materials as the Quaker, the Jew, the Universalist, the Uni- 
tarian, the Tunker, and the Swedenborgiau. Does any one suppose it 
possible to make these harmonize? If not, there can be no union of 
Church and State. Your committee know of no denomination of Chris- 
tians who wish for such union. They have had their existence in the 
voluntary system, and wish it to continue. The sentiment of the whole 
body of American Christians is against a union with the State. A great 
change has been wrought in this respect. At the adoption of the Con- 
stitution, we believe every State— certainly ten of the thirteen — pro- 
vided as regularly for the support of the Church as for the support of 
the Government : one, Virginia, had the system of tithes. Down to the 
Revolution, every colony did sustain religion in some form. It was 
deemed peculiarly proper that the religion of liberty should be upheld 
by a free people. Had the people, during the Revolution, had a suspi- 
cion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would 
have been strangled in its cradle. At the time of the adoption of the 


Constitution and the amendments, the universal sentiment was that 
Christianity should be encouraged, not any one sect. Any attempt to 
level and discard all religion would have been viewed with universal 
indignation. The object was not to substitute Judaism, or Mohammed- 
anism, or infidelity, but to prevent rivalry among sects to the exclusion 
of others. The result of the change above named is, that now there is 
not a single State that, as a State, supports the gospel. In 1816 Con- 
necticut repealed her law which was passed to sustain the Church ; and 
in 1833 Massachusett^s wiped from her statute-book the last law on the 
subject that existed in the whole Union. Every one will notice that 
this is a very great chancre to be made in so short a period, — greater than, 
we believe, was ever before made in ecclesiastical affairs in sixty-five 
years, without a revolution or some great convulsion. This change has 
been made silently and noiselessly, with the consent and wish of all 
parties, civil and religious. From this it will be seen that the tendency 
of the times is not to a union of Church and State, but is decidedly and 
strongly bearing in an opposite direction. Every tie is sundered ; and 
there is no wish on either side to have the bond renewed. It seems to 
us that the men who would raise the cry of danger in this state of 
things would cry fire on the thirty-ninth day of a general deluge. 

If there be no constitutional objection and no danger, why should 
not the office be continued? It is objected that we pay money from 
tlie treasury for this office. That is certainly true ; and equally true in 
regard to the sergeant-at-arms and doorkeeper, who, with the chaplain, 
are appointed under the general authority to organize the House. 
Judge Thompson, chairman of this committee in the Thirty-First Con- 
gress, in a very able report on this subject, said, that if the cost of 
chaplains to Congi'ess were equally divided among the people, it would 
not be annually more than the two-hundredth part of one cent to each 
j>erson. That being true, a man who lives under the protection of thi* 
(xovernraent and pays taxes for fifty years will have to lay aside from 
his hard earnings two and a half mills during his half-century for the 
purpose of supporting chaplains in Congress! This is the weight of 
pecuniary burden which the committee are called to lift from off the 
neck of the people. 

If there be a Grod who hears prayer, — as we believe there is, — ^wo 
submit that there never was a deliberative body that so eminently 
needed the fervent prayers of righteous men as the Congress of the 
United States. There never was another representative assembly that 
had so many and so widely different interests to protect and to harmo- 
nize, and so many local passions to subdue. One member feels charged 
to defend the rights of the Atlantic, another of the Pacific, coast ; one 
urges tlie claims of constituents on the borders of the torrid, another 
on the borders of the frigid, zone ; while hundreds have the defence of 
local and varied interests stretching across an entire continent. If per- 
sonal selfishness or ambition, if party or sectional views alone, bear rule, 
all attempts at legislation will be fruitless, or bear only bitter fruit. If 
wisdom from above, that is profitable to direct, be given in answer to 
the prayers of the pious, then Congress need those devotions, as they 
surely need to have their views of personal importance daily chastened 



by the reflection that they are under the government of a Supreme 
Power, that rules not for one locality or one time, but govemB a world 
by general laws, subjecting all motives and acts to an omniBcient 
scrutiny, and holds all agents to their just awards by an irresistible 

In the provisions of the law for chaplains in the army, the number is 
limited, and these not to be granted unless for " most destitute places ;'' 
and then for a very small salary they are to perform the double service 
of clergymen and schoolmasters. While every political office under all 
administrations is filled to overflowing, while the ante-chambers of the 
departments are crowded and crammed with anxious applicants, wait^ 
ing for additions, or resignations, or death, to make for them some 
vacant place, it is of recent occurrence that only fourteen of the twenty 
posts for chaplains were supplied. 

We presume all will grant that it is proper to appoint physicians and 
surgeons in the army and navy. The power to appoint chaplains is juBt 
the same, because neither are expressly named, but are appointed under 
the general authority to organize the army and navy, and we deem the 
one as truly a matter of necessity as the other. Napoleon was obliged 
to establish chaplains for his army, in order to their quiet, while making 
his winter quarters in the heart of an enemy's country ; and that army 
had been drenched in the infidelity of the French Revolution. The 
main portion of our troops, though not in a foreign land, are stationed 
on the extreme frontiers, the very outposts of civilization ; and if the 
Government does not furnish them moral arid religious instruction, we 
know, as a practical fact, that they will go without it. 

It is said that they can contribute and hire their own chaplains. Cer- 
tainly they can, — and their own physicians and surgeons ; but if we 
throw on them this additional burden, are we not bound to increase 
their pay to meet these personal expenses? We may supply them 
directly with more economy and effect than we can do it indirectly. 
We trust that the military force of the United States will never be 
engaged in a contest, unless in such a one that devout men can 
honestly invoke the God of battles to go with our armies. If so, it will 
inspire fortitude and courage in the soldier to know that the righteous 
man is invoking the Supreme Power to succeed his efforts. If our 
armies are exposed to pestilential climates or to the carnage of the 
battle-field, we believe it the duty of Government to send to the sick 
and wounded and dying that spiritual counsel and consolation de- 
manded by the strongest cravings of our nuture. 

The navy have still stronger claims than the army for the supply of 
chaplains : a large portion of the time our sliips-of-war are on service 
foreign from our own shore. If they are in the ports of other nations, 
the crews cannot be disbanded to worship with the people of those 
nations ; and, if they could, the instances are rare in which the sailors 
could understand the language in which the devotions are conducted. 
•If you do not afford them the means of religious service while at sea. 
the Sabbath is, to all intents and purposes, annihilated, and we do not 
Allow the crews the free exercise of religion. 

In that important branch of service the Government is educating a 


large number of youth who are hereafter to have the control of our 
navy. They are taken from their homes at a very early age, when their 
minds are not generally instructed or their opinions formed on religious 
affairs. If the mature men can be safely deprived of such privileges, is 
it wise or just to deprive the youth of all means of moral and religious 
culture? Naval commcuiders have often dosii-ed to have their crews 
unite in devotions before commencing action. They have sometimes 
done it when there was no chaplain on board. One striking int^tance 
of this was in the naval action on Lake Chumplain. On Sunday morn- 
ing, September II, just as the sun rodc over the eastern mountains, the 
American guard-boat on the watch was seen rowing swiftly into the 
harbor. It reported the enemy in sight. The drums immediately 
beat to quarters, and every vessel was cleared for action. The prepara- 
tions being completed, young McDonough summoned his officers around 
him, and there, on the deck of the Saratoga, read the prayers of the 
ritual before entering into battle ; and that voice, which soon after rang 
like a clarion amid the carnage, sent heavenward, in eai'uest tones, 
" Stir up thy strength, O Lord, and come and help us ; for thou givest 
not always the battle to the strong, but canst save by many or by few." 
It was a solemn, thrilling sight, and one never before witnessed on a 
vessel-of-war cleared for action. A young commander who had the 
courage thus to bravo the derision and sneers which such an act was 
sure to provoke would fight his vessel while there was a plank left to 
stand on. Of the deeds of daring done on that day of great achieve- 
ments, none evinced so bold and firm a heart as this act of religious 

While your committee believe that neither Congress nor the army or 
navy should be deprived of the service of cliaplaius, they freely con- 
cede that the ecclesiastical and civil powers have been, and should con- 
tinue to be, entirely divorced from each other. But we beg leave to 
rescue ourselves from the imputation of asserting that religion is not 
needed to the safety of civil society. It must be considered as the 
foundation on which the whole structure rests. Laws will not have 
permanence or power without the sanction of religious sentiment, — 
without a firm belief that there is a Power above us that will reward our 
virtues and punish our vices. In this age there can be no siil)stitute 
for Christianity : that, in its general principles, is the great conservative 
element on which we must rely for the purity and permanence of free 
institutions. That was the religion of the foundei*s of the republic, and 
they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants. There 
is a great and very prevalent error on this subject in the opinion that 
those who organized this Government did not legislate on religion. 
They did legislate on it, by making it free to all, " to the Jew and the 
Greek, to the learned and unlearned." The error has arisen from the 
belief that there is no legislation unless in pei-missive or restrictin^i 
enactments. But making a thing free is as truly a part of legislation 
as confining it by limitations ; and what the Government has made free 
it is bound to keep free. 

Your committee recommend the following resolution: — 


Bcsolvcff, That the Committee be discharged from the fiirther consideni- 
tion of the subject. 

The Senate of the United States adopted the following 

report : — 

In Sonate of the United States, January 1^, 1853, Mr. Bftdger made 
the following report : — 

The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom were referred sundry 
petitions praying Congress to abolish the office of chaplain, have had 
the same under consiclevation, and submit the following report : — 

The ground on which the petitioners found their prayer is, that the 
provisions of law under which chaplains are appointed for the army 
and navy, and for the two Houses of Congress, are in violation of the 
iirst amendment of the Constitution of the United States, which 
declares that *' Con^'re.^s shall make no law respecting an establishment 
of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.*' 

If this i^osition were correct, — if these provisions of law do violate 
either the letter or the spirit of the constitutional prohibition, — thea, 
undoubtedly, they should be at once repealed, and the office of chap- 
Iain al>olished. It thus becomes necessary to inquire whether the posi- 
tion of the petitioners be correct. 

The clause speaks of *^an establishment of religion." What is meant 
l»y that expression ? It referred, without doubt, to that establishment 
wliich existed in the mother-country, and its meaning is to be ascer- 
tained by ascertaining what that establishment was. It was the con- 
nection, with tlie stale, of a particular religious society, by its endow- 
ment at the iiublic expense, in exclusion of, or in prtft rence to, any 
other, by giving to its )nombers exclusive political riglits, and by con^ 
pelling the attendance of those who rejected its communion ui)on it» 
worship or religious observances. These three particulars constituted 
that union of Church and State of which our ancestors were so justly 
jealous and against which they so wisely and carefully provided. It is 
true that, at the time our Constitution was formed, the strictness of 
this establishment ha<l been, in some respects, and to a certain extent, 
relaxed in favor of Protestant dissenters ; but the main character of 
the establishment remained. It was still, in its spirit, inconsistent with 
religious freedom, as matter of natural right to be enjoyed in its full 
latitude, and not measured out by tolerance and concession from the 
civil rulers. If Congrt»ss has passed, or should j>ass, any law which, 
fairly construed, has in any degree introduced, or should attempt to 
introduce, in favor of any clmrch, or ecclesiastical association, or system 
of religious faith, all or any one of these obnoxious particulars, — endow- 
ment at the public expense, peculiar privileges to its members, or 
disadvantages or i)enalties upon those wlio should reject its doctrines 
or belong to other communions, — such 1. \*- would be a "law respecting 
an establishment of religion," and, thereit>i e. in violation of the Consti- 
tution. But no law yet passed by Congress is justly liable to such an 
objection. Take, as an example, the chaplains to Congress. At every 
session two chaplains are elected, — one by each Ilouse,— whose duty ia 


to offer prayers daily in the two Houses, and to conduct religious 
services weekly in the Hall of the House of Representatives. Now, in 
this no religion, no form of £aith, no denomination of religious pro- 
fessors, is established in preference to any other, or has any peculiar 
privileges conferred upon it. The range of selection is absolutely free 
in each House among all existing professions of religious faith. There 
is no compulsion exercised or attempted upon any member or officer 
of either House to attend their prayers or religious solemnities. No 
member gains any advantage over another by attending, or incurs any 
penalty or loses any advantage by declining to attend. The chaplain 
is an officer of the House which chooses him, and nothing more. lie 
Owes his place not to his belonging to a particular religious society 
or holding a particular faith, but to the voluntary choice of the mem- 
bers of the House, and stands, in this respect, upon the same footing 
with any other officer so elected. It is not seen, therefore, how the 
institution of chaplains is justly obnoxious to the reproach of invading 
religious liberty in the widest sense of that term/ 

It is said, indeed, by the petitioners, that if members of Congress 
wish any one to pray for them, they should, out of their own means, 
furnish the funds wherewith to pay him, and that it is unjust to tax the 
petitioners with the expense of his compensation. It has been shown 
that there is no establishment of religion in creating the office of chap- 
lain, and the present objection is to the iiyustice of putting upon the 
public this charge for the personal accommodation of members of Con- 
gress. Let it be seen, then, to what this objection leads. If carried 
out to its fair results, it will equally apply to many other accommo- 
dations furnished to members of Congress at the public expense. We 
have messengers who attend to our private business, take checks to the 
bank for us, receive the money, or procure bank drafts, and dischaige 
various other offices for our personal ease and benefit, unconnected 
with the despatch of any public function. Why might it not be said 
that members, if they wish these services performed in their belialf, 
should employ and pay their own agents ? Members of Congress come 
here to attend upon the business of the public. Many of them are 
professed members of religious societies; more are men of religious 
sentiment: and these desire not only to have the blessing of God 
invoked upon them in their legislative capacities, but to attend the 
public worship of Grod. But how are all to be accommodated in the 
churches of the city ? And of those who belong to either House of 
Congress some have not the means to procure such accommodations for 
themselves. Where, tli^n, is the impropriety of having an officer to 
discharge these duties ? And how is it more a subject of just complaint 
than to have officers who attend to the private secular business of the 
members ? The petitioners say, " A national chaplaincy, no less than a 
nadoncd Church, is considered by us emphatically an establishment of 
religion," In no fair sense of the phrase have we a national chaplaincy ; 
in no sense in which that phrase must be understood when connected, 
as it is by the petitioners, with a " national Church." A national Church 
implies a particular Church selected as the Church of the nation, endowed 
with peculiar privileges, or sustained or favored by the public in prefer- 


ence to other Churches or religious societiee. Of such a Church we have 
no Bcmblance, nor have we any such chaplaincy. We have cliaplaina 
in the army and navy, and in Congress ; but these are officers chosen 
with the froost and wi<lp»t range of selection, — the law making no dis- 
tinction whatever between any of the religions. Churches, or professions 
of faith known to the world. Of these, none by law is excluded, none 
has any priority of legal right. True, selections, in point of fact, are 
always made from some one of the denominations into which Chiis* 
tians are distributed ; but that is not in consequence of any legal right 
or privilege, but by the voluntary choice of those who have the power 
of appointment. 

This results from the fact that we are a Christian people, — ^from the 
f:ict that almost our entire population belong to or sympathize with some 
one of the Christian denominations which compose the Christian world. 
And Christians will of course select, for the performance of religious 
services, one who professes the faith of Christ. This, however, it should 
be carefully noted, is not by virtue of provision, but voluntary choice. 
We are Christians, not because the law demands it, not to gain exclusive 
benefits or to avoid legal disabilities, but from choice and education ; 
and in a land thus universally Christian, what is to be expected, what 
desired, but that we shall pay a due regard to Christianity, and have a 
reasonable res|>ect for its ministers and religious solemnities ? 

The principle on which the petitioners ask for the abolition of the 
office of chaplain, if carried out to its just consequences, will lead as 
much further than they seem to suppose. How comes it that Sunday, 
the Christian Sabbath, is recognized and respected by all the depart- 
ments of the Government ? In the law, Sunday is a " dies tion;** it can- 
not be used for the service of legal process, the return of writs, or other 
judicial purposes. The executive departments, the public establish- 
ments, are all closed on Sundays ; on that day neither House of Con- 
gress sits. 

Here is a nearer approach, according to the reasoning of the peti- 
tioners, to an establishment of religion than is furnished by the official 
corps to which they object. Here is a recognition by law, and by uni- 
versal usage, not only of a Sabbath, but of the Christian Sabbath, in ex- 
clusion of the Jewish or Mohammedan Sabbath. Why, then, do not 
the petitioners exclaim against this invasion of their religious rights t 
Why do they not assert that a national Sabbath, no less than a national 
Church, is an establishment of religion ? It is liable to all the obligations 
urged against the chaplaincy in at least an equal, if not in a greater* 
degree. The recognition of the Christian Sabb^h is complete and per- 
fect. The officers who receive salaries, or per-diem compensation, are 
discharged from duty on this day, because it is the Christum Sabbath, and yet 
suffer no loss or diminution of pay on that account. Why, then, do not 
these petitioners denounce this invasion of their religious rights, and 
violation of the Constitution, by which their money is applied to pay 
public officers while engaged in attending on their religious duties, and 
not in the discharge of any secular function ? 

The whole view of the petitioners seems founded upon mistaken con- 
ceptions of the meaning of the Constitution. This is evident, — if not 


from what we have said, — ^from this consideration, that from the begin- 
ning our Government has had chaplains in its employment. If this 
had been a violation of the Constitution,— an establishment of religion* 
— why was not its character seen by the great and good men who were 
coeval with the Government, were in Congress and in the Presidency 
when this constitutional amendment was adopted ? They were wise to 
discover the true character of the measure ; they, if any one did, undeiv 
stood the true purport of the amendment, and were bound, by their 
duty and their oaths, to resist the introduction or continuance of chap- 
lains, if the views of the petitioners were correct. But they did no such 
thing ; and therefore we have the strongest reason to suppose the notion 
of the petitioners to be unfounded. Unfounded it no doubt is. Our 
fathers were true lovers of liberty, and utterly opposed to any constraint 
upon the rights of conscience. They intended, by this amendment, to 
prohibit "an establishment of religion" such as the English Church 
presented, or any thing like it. But they had no fear or jealousy of 
religion itself, nor did they wish to see us an irreligious people ; they 
did not intend to prohibit a just expression of religious devotion by the 
legislators of the nation, even in their public character as legislators ; 
they did not intend to send our armies and navies forth to do battle for 
their country without any national recognition of that God on whom 
success or failure depends ; they did not intend to spread over all the 
ptiblic authorities and the whole public action of the nation the dead 
and revolting spectacle of atheistical apathy. Not so had the battles 
of the Revolution been fought and the deliberations of the Revo- 
lutionary Congress been conducted. On the contrary, all had been done 
with a continual appeal to the Supreme Ruler of the world, and an 
habitual reliance upon his protection of the righteous cause which they 
commended to his care. 

What has thus been done, with modifications, indeed, to suit external 
circumstances and particular exigencies, but in substance always the 
same from the beginning of our existence as a nation ; what met the 
approval of our Washington, and of all the great men who have suc- 
ceeded him ; what commands the general commendation of the people ; 
what is at once so venerable and so lovely, so respectable and respected, 
—ought not, in the opinion of the committee, now to be discontinued. 

The committee, therefore, pray to be discharged from the further Gon« 
sideration of the petitions. 

The House of Representatives of the Thirty-Fourth Congress, 
1854, were for two months unable to organize by the election 
of a Speaker. The contest was protracted and exciting, and 
resulted in the election of Nathaniel P. Banks, of Massachu- 
setts. In the midst of that long and fierce struggle for political 
ascendency, the House paused and passed the following preamble 
and resolutions :— 

Whereas^ The people of these United States, from their earll^^t hi^toi^jr 


to the present time, have been led by the hand of a kind Providence, 
and are indebted for the countless blessings of the past and present, 
and dependent for continued prosperity in the future upon Almighty 
€k>d ; and whereas the greal vital and conservative element in our 
system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and divine 
truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ, it eminently becomes the repre- 
sentatives of a people so highly favored to acknowledge in the mo^t 
public manner their reverence for God : therefore, 

1. Re^olved^ That the daily sessions of this body be opened with 

2. Hesolved, That the ministers of the gospel in this city are hereby 
requested to attend and alternately perform this solemn duty. 

The pastors of various churches in Washington City sent to 
the Senate of the United States the following proposition : — 

Gentlemen : — The undersigned, ministers of the different denomina- 
tions of Christians in Washington, respectfully submit to you the fol- 
lowing statements and consequent proposal. 

During the long delay in the organization of the present House of 
Bepresentatives, several of our number were invited to officiate in 
prayer at the opening of the daily sessions. The suggestion was then 
made that the various clergymen of the city might discharge this duty 
permanently, in the place of a single chaplain, but doubt was expressed 
as to the readiness of the ministers of Washington to render such 

An expression on our part seeming therefore to be called for, we beg 
leave to state to you our conviction that the established election of a 
chaplain from abroad by your honorable bodies had its origin in a 
necessity now no longer existing ; that the plan adopted by many of 
our State legislatures, of inviting neighboring pastors to act as their 
chaplains, thus removing aU objection to the associating religious devo- 
tion with their deliberations, would reflect more credit on Christian 
ministers, would conduce more to their individual acceptableness and 
general usefulness among members of Congress and their families, and 
would in every way promote the end had in view in the election of 

We therefore respectfully tender our services, offering to alternate in 
the weekly service of opening the two Houses with morning prayer, 
and in conducting divine service on Sabbath morning, with the distinct 
understanding that we decline receiving any remuneration for these 

George W. Samson, Pastor of E Street Baptist Church. 
Byron Sunderland, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church. 
Jas. R. Eckard, Pastor of Second Presbyterian Church, 
T. A. Haskell, Pastor of Western Presbyterian Church. 
I P. D. GuRLET, Pastor of F Street Presbyterian Church. 

j Geo. Hildt, Pastor of McKendree Chapel, M. E. Church. 

' Geo. D. Cummins, JRector of Trinity Church. 

J. GEORca Butler, Si. Paul Lutheran Church, 


J. MoRSELL, Hector of Christ Church, 

Samuel D. Finkel, Pastor of G. E. Church, 

P. Light Wilson, Pastor of Methodist Protestant Church, 

An act of Congress, passed and approved July, 1861, contains 
the following sections in relation to chaplains : — 

Sec. 8. And he it further enactcdf That no person shall be appointed a 
chaplain in the United States army who is not a regularly ordained 
minister of some religious denomination, and who does not present 
testimonials of his present good standing as such minister, with a re- 
commendation for his appointment as an army chaplain, from some 
authorized ecclesiastical body, or not loss than five accredited ministers 
belonging to said religious denomination. 

Sec 9. And be it further eiiactfd, That hereafter the compensation of all 
chaplains in the regular or volunteer service or army-hospitals shall be 
one hundred dollars per montli and two rations a day when on duty ; 
and the chaplains of the permanent hospitals, appointed under the 
authority of the second section of the act apjjroved May twentieth, 
eighteen hundred and sixty-two, shall be nominated to the Senate for 
its advice and consent, and they shall, in all respects, fill the require- 
ments of the preceding section of this act relative to the appointment 
of cliaplains in the army and volunteei*s ; and the appointments of 
chaj)lains to the army-hospitals, heretofore made by the President, ar<^ 
hereby confirmed ; and it is hereby made the duty of each oflScer com- 
manding a district or port containing hospitals, or a brigade of troops, 
within thirty days after the reception of the order promulgating this 
act, to inquire into the fitness, efi&ciency, and qualifications of the 
chaplains of hospitals or regiments, and to muster out of service such 
chaplains as were not appointed in conformity with the requirements 
of this act, and who have not faithfully discharged the duties of chap- 
lains during the time they have been engaged as such. Chaplains em- 
ployed at the military posts called "chaplain-posts" shall be required 
to reside at the posts, and all chaplains in the United States service 
shall be subject to such rules in relation to leave of absence from duty 
as are prescribed for commissioned officers of the United States army 
stationed at such posts. 

West Point, the military school of the nation, has from its 
organization had the services of a Government chaplain. Some 
of the most distinguished mi/iisters of the nation have received 
appointments, among whom has been the venerable Bishop 
Mcllvaine. The importance of religious instruction and of 
the public worship of God in that national military school is 
thus stated by the venerable Christian statesman Lewis Cass. 
In 1832, Mr. Cass, as Secretary of War, in his annual report 
to Congress, says, — 


Especially am I impressed with the importance of a place of public 
worship, where all the persons attached to the institution, amounting, 
with their families, to more than eight hundred individuals, can assem- 
ble and unite in the performance of religious duties. In a Christian 
community the obligation upon this subject igrill not be questioned ; 
and the expense of providing a suitable place of worship, especially as 
a chaplain is maintained there, cannot be put in competition with the 
permanent advantages of a course of religious instruction to such a 
number of persons, a large portion of whom are in that critical period 
which determines whether the future course of life shall be for evil or 
for good. 

The report of the Board of Visitors at West Point for the 
year 1862 urged the same views of religious instruction at the 
Academy. They say, — 

The moral element of the nation, by far the most important of all, 
receives far less attention than it deserves at the Academy. Moral and 
religious teaching is of supreme importance at all times to the young. 
IIow much more important is it to young men, associated as they are 
at the Academy, fur from all the influences of domestic affections and 
the counsel and examples of parents and friends I We desire to see 
the moral and intellectual powers cultivated simultaneously, believing 
we should desire as much at least that the cadet should be a good 
man as a good officer. 

The following remarks in reference to the history and labors 
of chaplains are taken from a report made at a meeting of the 
chaplains of the army held in Washington City, in the month 
of November, 1862: — 

The office of chaplain in the army and navy is one of the oldest in 
the Government of the United States. In the early stages of the Ame* 
rican Revolution and through to its glorious close, in the convention 
that framed the Ck)nstitution of our Union, in the subsequent wars of 
this country, on the land and the sea, chaplains have ever been a neces- 
sary and useful class of men. When engaged in negotiating treaties 
abroad, when making discoveries by means of exploring expeditions, 
when sending out ships to convey provisions and arms to suffering and 
struggling nations, when promoting the high purposes of commerce and 
science by means of electric oceanic communication, when preparing 
the way for the establishment of distant colonies that have become 
powerful and profitable auxiliaries to civilization and good government, 
competent and truly Christian army and navy chaplains have taken a 
conspicuous part. Their books and reports on these subjects are with 
the country, while the record of their faithful Christian labors is on 

On the breaking out of the present wicked and futile rebellion, 
ministers of the gospel of all the denominations of Christianity were at 


once found among the most devoted and active supporters of the Union 
and its flag. They caused that honored standard to be suspended over 
their pulpits and from the towers of their churches. They addressed 
their congregations in the stirring appeals of Christian patriotism. 
They gave their sons and grandsons, by thousands, to the ranks of 
the Union army and navy. Some of them, with gray hairs on their 
brows, were among the first to volunteer as privates and march to 
the field of battle. As opportunity offered, they have borne themselves 
bravely in the fight, rising from the ranks to be acting generals, colo- 
nels, majors, captains, and lieutenants. They have borne all the priva- 
tions of camp-lile, side by side with their comrades in arms. Not a few 
of them have been borne down by exposure and fatigue, until the hand 
of death has interposed to translate them irom the weary march, the 
sickly camp, the dangerous battle-field, to the rest and victory and 
peace of heaven. 

A wide and efiectual door of usefulness has been opened to truly 
devoted chaplains in the military and naval hospitals of the United 
States. Never was there a more inviting field presented to self-denying 
and laborious men. Peculiar obstacles exist at times in the way of its 
successful cultivation, but this has always been and always will be the 
case in the prosecution of every good word and work. Kight-minded 
chaplains have constantly endeavored to overcome these obstacles. 
Prejudice, sometimes more invincible than strong men armed, has to 
be conquered. Passion has to be subdued. The 'schemes of peculators 
on public and private rights have to be ferreted out and thwai*ted. 
Facilities for holding public worship have frequently to be obtained 
uncter great difficulties. 

The character and qualifications of a chaplain for Congress 
are presented in the following view, given by Rev. Thomas H. 
Stockton, himself having occupied that responsible position for 
several years. He says, — 

" The Congressional chaplaincy is not (or ought not to be) a 
sectarian ministry, but a great American representative of a 
pure Bible Christianity, above all parties, all glowing with the 
divinest energies of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, — arresting 
and commanding attention and exerting saving influences 
by its heavenly loftiness and majesty, — something worthy of 
the sublimest Christian position on the face of the earth. 
We want evangelical ministers who represent the immense 
majority of American Christians, noble witnesses for Christ, 
orators of the Spirit, worthy to challenge heaven and earth to 
hear their ' Thus saith the Lord/ It is a glorious thing rightly 

Thus explicit and uniform has been the course of our legis- 
lative councils on the subject of religion. Their enactmenta 


have all been on the side of Christianity, — taking its truth for 
granted, acknowledging its obligations, magnifying its import- 
ance, treating it as in fact the religion of the Government, and 
as worthy to be made the rule of action for public bodies and 
for States no less than for individuals. 






REPLY — Webster's statement of American ministers. 

In the civil and Christian institutions which the providence 
of God directed to be established on the North American 
continent, ministers of the gospel acted a distinguished and 
leading part. As teachers of religion. Christian educators, 
assistants and often leaders in the great work of framing civil 
governments, they were by our Puritan fathers regarded as 
essential. Every band of colonists, for a century or more, 
beginning with the settlement at Jamestown and Plymouth, 
brought in their company one or more ministers of the gospel. 
They were in many cases the leaders in the emigration from 
Europe to the New World, and pioneers in the colonization of 
this continent. The legislation of the colonies, their " godly 
frames" of government, and the whole structure of society 
received their moulding influence and finish from ministers. 
The people looked up to them for counsel, legislators sought 
the aid of their learning and piety, and in every crisis to the 
civil liberties of the colonies ministers stood firm to freedom 


and animated the people by their patriotic sermons and fervent 

" The earliest constitution of government in New England 
was a theocracy ; under it the clergy had peculiar powers and 
privileges, which, it is but fair to say, they turned to the ad- 
vantage of the commonwealth more than has generally been 
the case with any privileged order. Religion was the deep, 
underlying stratum on which their whole life was built. Like 
the granite frame-work of the world, it sunk below all and rose 
above all else in their life. They were always governed by the 
most profound reverence for God and his word ; and they con- 
stituted the strong mental and moral discipline needed by a 
people who were an absolute democracy." 

*'Thc Puritan preachers," says Lossing, "promulgated the 
doctrine of civil liberty, that the sovereign was amenable to 
the tribunal of public opinion and ought to conform in practice 
to the expressed will of the people. By degrees their pulpits 
became the tribunes of the common people, and on all occasions 
the Puritan ministers were the bold a-sserters of that freedom 
which the American Revolution established." They deduced 
from the Bible the true doctrine of popular sovereignty, — that 
government is from the people as well as for the people. They 
proclaimed that God is the Supreme Ruler in government, and 
that the people are to exercise their power " not according to 
their humors, but according to the blessed will and law of God." 
And so influential and authoritative were their teachings, that 
it is said of one of the Puritan ministers, John Cotton, " that 
what he preached on the Lord's day was followed by the synod, 
and that what he preached in the Thursday lecture was followed 
by the General Court." 

" From the sermons of memorable divines," says Bancroft, 
" who were gone to a heavenly country, leaving their names 
precious among the people of God on earth, a brief collection of 
testimonies to the cause of God and his New England people 
was circulated by the press, that the hearts of the rising gene- 
ration might know what had been the great end of the planta- 
tions, and count it their duty and their glory to continue in 
those right ways of the Lord wherein their fathers walked 
before them. Their successors in the ministry, with the people 
and of the people and true ministers to the people, unsurpassed 
by the clergy of an equal population in any part of the globe 


for learning, ability, and virtue, and for metaphysical acuteness, 
familiarity with the principles of political freedom, devotedness, 
and practical good sense, were heard, as of old, with reverence 
by their congregations in their meeting-houses on every Lord's 
day, and on special occasions of fasts, thanksgiving, lectures, 
and military musters. Their exhaustless armory was the 
Bible, whose scriptures were stored with weapons for every 
occasion, furnishing sharp swords to point their appeals, apt ex- 
amples of resistance, prophetic denunciations of the enemies 
of God's people, and promises of the Divine blessing on the 
defenders of his law." 

The ministers of the Revolution were, like their Puritan pre- 
decessors, bold and fearless in the cause of their country. No 
class of men contributed more to carry forward the Revolution 
and to achieve our independence than did the ministers of that 
grand era of liberty. They esteemed the cause just and right, 
and by their prayers, patriotic sermons, and services rendered 
the highest assistance to the civil government, the army, and 
the country. 

"Ministers nursed the flame of piety and the love of civil 
liberty. On Sundays they discoursed on them, and poui'ed out 
their hearts in prayer for the preservation of their precious 
inheritance of liberty." " They harangued the people, during 
the Revolutionary struggle, ardently and patriotically. Many 
of them went into the armies as chaplains; some, more zeal- 
ous, even took up temporal arms ; while tlie greater number 
of them showered the enemy with sermons, tracts, and pam- 

"As a body of men the clergy were pre-eminent in their 
attachment to liberty. The pulpits of the land rang wdth the 
notes of freedom. The tongues of the hoary-headed servants of 
Jesus were eloquent upon the all-inspiring theme, while the 
youthful soldier of the cross girded on the whole armor of his 
country, and fought with weapons not carnal," 

'* The Christian ministers," said another, "did as much as the 
civilian or the soldier to prepare the way for the American Revo- 
lution, and to sustain its spirit. If Christian ministers had not 
preached and prayed, there might have been no revolution as 
yet ; or had it broken out, it might have been crushed. The 
deep, dauntless, uncompromising, truthful, hopeful, religious 
spirit of our fathers, who revered and whose love gathered 


around their ministers, imparted to the Revolution its most 
striking characteristic." 

Trumbull, the historian of Connecticut, bears this honorable 
testimony to the patriotism and labors of the clergy : — " Many 
of the clergy had good estates, and assisted their poor brethren 
and parishioners. The clergy possessed a very great proportion 
of the literature of the colonies. They were the principal 
instructors of those who received an education for public life. 
Foif'many years they were consulted by the legislature in all 
affairs of importance, civil or religious. They were ap])ointed 
committees with the governor and magistrates to assist them in 
the most delicate concerns of the commonwealth. They taught 
their hearers to reject with abhorrence the divine right of 
kings, passive obedience and non-resistance, and to hold that all 
civil power is originally with the people." 

"The clergymen of New England," said Thatcher, in his 
"Military Journal," May, 1775, "are, almost without exception, 
advocates of Whig principles ; there are few instances only of 
the separation of a minister from his people in consequence ofj 
a disagreement in political sentiment. The tories censure, in a 
very illiberal manner, the preacher who speaks boldly for the 
liberties of the people, while they lavish their praises on him 
who dares to teach the absurd doctrine that.magistrates have a 
divine right to do wrong, and are to be implicitly obeyed. It 
is recommended by our Provincial Congress that, on other occa- 
sions than the Sabbath, ministers of parishes adapt their dis- 
courses to the times, and explain the nature of civil and reli- 
gious liberty, and the duties of magistrates and rulers. Accord- 
ingly, we have from our pulpits most fervent and pious effusions 
to the throne of grace in behalf of our bleeding and afflicted 

" To the clergy," says Charles Francis Adams, " as the foun- 
tains of knowledge and possessing the gifts most prized in the 
community, all other ranks in society most cheerfully gave 
place. If a festive entertainment was meditated, the minister 
was sure to be the first on the list of those to be invited. If 
any assembly of citizens was hold, he must be there to open the 
business with prayer. If a political question was in agitation, 
he was among the first whose opinion was to be consulted. 
Even the civil rights of the other citizens, for a loi!(g time, de- 
pended, in some degree, on his decision ; and, after that rigid 


rule was laid aside, he yet continued, in the absence of technical 
law and lawyers, to be the arbiter and judge in the differences 
between his fellow-men. 

" The vast body of the ministry of the country advocated 
the Eevolution, in public and private, on Christian principles. 
They justified the war on religious grounds. They believed 
that human rights and liberties would be gainers by its success. 
Among the most faithful of religious men, modest and pains- 
taking in their parishes, there was no concealment of their 
sympathy. Scarcely was there a battle-field in the Revolution- 
ary War where the clergy were not present, as chaplains or 
surgeons, to cheer and bless. Their patriotism was a thing of 
general admiration. They reasoned themselves and the country 
out of all hesitancy and scruples, as they knew how to reason. 
They abounded in what Sir John Hawkins calls 'precatory 
eloquence,' calling down the blessings of the Almighty upon 
the country; and the depth and sway of their influence in 
achieving the independence of the colonies cannot be too highly 
extolled. Withal, it was with them a time of great personal 
privation and hard.ship. They shared in the largest measure 
the calamities of the country. Thoy practised the extremes of 
frugality to eke out their scanty subsistence. They were ex- 
posed to violent oppo.siiion in their di.stracted parishes. But 
they were, as a body, brave, patient, meek, pious, patriotic, and 
learned, — an honor to any land. Under God, we owe it to the 
ministry of that day that the morals of the country were 
not hopelessly wrecked in the convulsions of the Ftevolution." 

" They extended the a^gis of a Divine religion over the battered 
and exhausted form of the colonial confederation, and inspired 
fortitude in all who were faint. They were agitated with a 
lofty inspiration, as the earth is shaken with the convulsions of 
an earthquake, not by the assaults of external power, but by 
the irroiistible fires of freedom and piety which burned within 
their patriotic hearts. 

" Then the people assembled in their churches to invoke the 
blessing of God on their arms, while their pastors preached to 
them under the frowns of power and in prospect of martyrdom. 
This gave fervor to their thoughts, depth to their sympathies, 
earnestness and solemnity to their daring resolutions. They 
seemed more like prophets than priests, master-spirits raised 
up to mould the destinies of mankind. Each one of those 


moral heroes who glorified the era of 1776 was a colossus among 
ordinary men, and stood forth, in native majesty, indomitable, 
unmoved, sublime." 

" It is manifest in the spirit of our history, in our annals, and 
by the general voice of the fathers of the republic, that in a 
very great degree to the pulpit — the Puritan pulpit — ^we owe 
the moral force that won our independence." 

The clergy, in all the colonies, were bold and frequent in 
their pulpit enunciations of the great principles of civil and 
religious liberty, and in rebuking despotism and the evils of 
the time. John Adams, writing to his wife, from Philadelphia, 
at the first meeting of the Continental Congress, 1774, says, — 

"Does Mr. Willibrand [pastor at Quincy] preach and pray 
against oppression and the cardinal vices of the times ? The 
clergy here, of all denominations, thunder and lighten every 
Sabbath. They pray for Boston and Massachusetts. They 
thank God explicitly and fervently for our remarkable successes. 
They pray for the American army : they seem to feel as if they 
were among you." 

The clergy of New England, and of all the colonies, from 
Puritan times to the Revolutionary era, were men riot only of 
eminent piety and of profound Biblical learning, but were 
ardent lovers of liberty and thoroughly versed in the history 
and science of civil government. The peculiar circumstances 
in which they were placed, and the great reverence in which 
they were held by all classes, qualified them to be leaders of 
liberty and government, as they were of religion. " The pro- 
found thought and' unanswerable arguments," says Headley, in 
his work on the chaplains and clergy of the Eevolution, "found 
in their sermons, show that the clergy were not a whit behind 
the ablest statesmen of the day in their knowledge of the great 
science of human government. In reading them, one gets at 
the true pulse of the people, and can trace the progress of the 
public sentiment." 

The election sermons, preached by the special appointment of 
the civil authorities, were especially full of the grandest ideas 
of freedom, and of thorough and just views of the rights of 
men and the nature and workings of civil government. "The 
publication of these sermons," says Headley, "in a pamphlet 
form was a part of the regular proceedings of the Assembly, 
and, being scattered abroad over the land, clothed them with 


the double weight of their high authors and the endowment of 
the legislature, became the text-books of human rights in every 
parish. They were regarded as the political pamphlets of the 
day. The pulpit was the most direct and effectual way of 
reaching the masses. The House of Eepresentatives of Massa- 
chusetts knew this, and passed resolutions requesting the clergy 
to make the question of the rights of the colonies, and the 
oppressive conduct of the mother-country, the topic of the 
pulpit on weekdays. They thus proclaimed to all fiiture time 
their solemn convictions of their dependence on the pulpit for 
that patriotic feeling and unity of action which they knew to 
be indispensable to success. Here is the deep, solid substratum 
that underlaid the Bevolution. 

" The preachers did not confine themselves to a dissertation 
on doctrinal truths or mere exhortation to godly behavior. 
They grappled with the great questions of the rights of man, 
and especially the rights of colonists in their controversy with 
the mother-country. In reading their discourses one is struck 
with the thorough knowledge these divines possessed of the 
origin, nature, object, character, and end of all true govern- 
ment, Thfey went to the very foundations of society, showed 
what the natural rights of man were, and how those rights 
became modified when men gathered into communities, — how all 
laws and regulations were designed to be for the good of the 
governed, — that the object of concentrated power was to protect, 
not invade, personal liberty, and when it failed to do this and 
oppressed instead of protected, assailed instead of defending 
rights, resistance became lawful, nay, obligatory. They also 
showed the nature of compacts and charters, and applied the 
whole subject to the case of the colonies." 

A brief sketch of the character and labors of some of these 
patriotic preachers, who swept the great heart of the country 
with their electric eloquence and power, and caused it to re- 
spond to the calls of liberty and the Kevolution, will give the 
reader the highest admiration of the preachers of those days 
of Christian ideas and heroic action. 

Eev. Dr. Mayhew gave the key-note, on the part of the clergy 
of New England, to the great cause of liberty and of revolution. 
Kobert Treat Paine called Mayhew " the father of civil and reli- 
gious liberty in Massachusetts and America." On the 25th of . 
August, 1765, he preached in his own church, in Boston, a 


sermon against the Stamp Act, &om the text, *^I would they 
were even cut off which trovMe you. For^ brethren, ye have been 
called unto Vbertg ; ordy use not liberty for an occasion to the 
fleshy but by love serve one another" (GraJ. v. 12, 13.) This 
sermon, full of the noblest sentiments and of thorough views of 
the nature of civil government, was by John* Adams called 
"the morning gun of the Revolution." " He was," says Adams, 
"a clergyman equalled by very few of any denomination in 
piety, virtue, genius, and learning. This transcendent genius 
threw all the weight of his great fame into the scale of his 
country." " Whoever," says Bancroft, ** repeats the story of 
the Revolution will rehearse the fame of Mayhew. He spent 
whole nights in prayer for the dangers of his country. Light 
dawned on his mind on a Sabbath morning of July, 1766, 
and he wrote to Otis, saying, 'You have heard of the com- 
munion of the churches : while I was thinking of this in my 
bed, the great use and importance of the communion of the 
colonies appeared to me in a striking light. Would it not be 
decorous in our Assembly to send circulars to all the rest, ex- 
pressing a desire to cement a union among ourselves ? A good 
foundation has been laid by the Congress of New York. It may 
be the only means of perpetuating our liberties.* This sugges- 
tion of a ' more perfect union' for the common defence, origin- 
ating with Mayhew, was the first public expression of that 
future Union which has been the glory of the American re- 
public; and it came from a clergyman, on a Sabbath morning, 
under the inspiration of Heaven." 

"It is my fixed resolution," said Mayhew, as early as 
1764, "to do all I can for the service of my country, that 
neither the republic nor the churches of New England may 
sustain injury." " Having," says he, "been initiated in youth in 
the doctrines of civil liberty, as they were taught by such men 
as Plato, Demosthenes, Cicero, and other renowned persons 
among the ancients, and such as Sidney audi Milton, Locke 
and Hoadly, among the moderns, I liked them : they seemed 
rational. And having learned from the Holy Scriptui-es that 
wise, brave, and virtuous men were always friends to liberty ; 
that God gave the Israelites a king in his anger, because they 
had not sense and virtue enough to like a free commonwealth; 
that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty : this made 
me conclude that freedom was a great blessing." 


In the year 1766, Thomas HoUis, of a distinguished Baptist 
family, in England, wrote to the Rev. Dr. Mayhew, "More 
books, especially on govemmentj are going to New England. 
Should those go safe, it is hoped that no principal book on that 
FIRST subject will be wanting in Harvard College, from the days 
of Moses to these times. Men of New England, brethren, use 
them for yourselves and for others; and God bless you." 

Expressing most fervent feelings for the purity and liberties 
of New England, and that the "spirit of luxury which was con- 
suming us to the very marrow may be kept from the people of 
New England," HoUis said, again, — 

" One likeliest means to that end will be, to watch well over 
their youth, by bestowing on them a reasonable, manly educa- 
tion, and selecting thereto the wisest, ablest, most accomplished 
of men that art or wealth can obtain ; for nations rise and fall 
by individuals, not numbers, — as I think all history proveth. 
With ideas of this kind have I worked for the public library 
at Cambridge, New England." 

" The books he sent," says a writer, " were often political, 
and of a republican stamp. And it remains for the perspicacity 
of our historians to ascertain what influence his benefactions 
and correspondence had in kindling that spirit which emanci- 
pated these States from the shackles of colonial subserviency, by 
forming 'high-minded men,' who, under Providence, achieved 
our independence." 

"There were extant American reprints of Locke, Hoadly, 
Sidney, Montesquieu, Priestley, Milton, Price, Gordon's Tacitus, 
or of portions of their works issued prior to and during the 
Eevolution, in a cheap form, for popular circulation, addressing 
not passion, but reason, diffusing sound principles and begetting 
right feelings. There could hardly be found a more impressive, 
though silent, proof of the exalted nature of the contest on the 
part of the Americans, than a complete collection of their pub- 
lications during that period. 

"Who can limit the influence exerted over the common mind 
by these volumes of silent thought, eloquent for the rights of 
man and the blessings of liberty, fervid against wrong, the 
miseries of oppression and slavery, — ^teaching that resistance to 
tyrants is obedience to God ? These books and libraries were 
the nurseries of 'sedition;' they were as secret emissaries, pro- 
pagating in every household, in every breast, at morning, in 


the noonday rest, by the evening light, in the pulpit, the 
forum, and the shop, principles, convictions, resolves, which 
sophistry could not overthrow* nor force extinguish. This was 
the secret of the strength of our fathers. Let us cherish it, as 
worthy sons of noble sires." 

Rev. John Wise, pastor of the Congregational church of 
Ipswich, Massachusetts, published in 1705 a work on the vindi- 
cation of the government of the New England churches. This 
work, abounding in sentiments of freedom and liberal ideas 
and profound views on civil government, was studied by the 
statesmen and the people during the Revolution ; and "some of 
the most glittering sentences in the immortal Declaration of 
Independence are almost literal quotations from this essay of 
John Wise. And it is a significant fact that in 1772, only four 
years before that declaration was made, a large edition of his 
works was published, by subscription, in one duodecimo volume. 
It was used as a political text-book in the great struggle for 
freedom then opening. Distinguished laymen in all parts of 
New England, who were soon to be heralded to the world as 
heroes in that great struggle, are on the list of subscribers for 
six, twelve, twenty-four, thirty-six, and two of them for a hun- 
dred, copies each." 

This author, after discussing the various kinds of govern- 
ments, and their principles and workings, says, — 

"A democracy. — ^This is a form of government which the 
light of nature does highly value, and directs to as most agree- 
able to the just and natural prerogatives of human beings. 
This was of great account in the early times of the world. And 
not only so, but, upon the experience of several thousand years, 
after the world had been troubled and tossed Irom one species 
of government to another, at a great expense of blood and trea- 
sure, many of the wise nations of the world\have sheltered 
themselves under it again, or at least have blended and balanced 
their governments with it. 

" It is certainly a great truth, namely, that man's original 
liberty, after it is resigned (yet under due restrictions), ought 
to be cherished in all wise governments ; or, otherwise, a man in 
making himself a subject, alters himself from a freeman into 
a slave, which to do is repugnant to the laws of nature. Also 
the natural equality of men amongst men must be duly favored; 
in that government was never established by God or nature to 


give one a prerogative to insult over another : therefore, in a 
civil as well as in a natural state of being, a just equality is to 
be indulged so far as that every man is bound to honor every 
man, which is agreeable both to nature and religion, (1 Pet. ii. 
17) : Honor all men. The end of all good government is to 
cultivate humanity, and promote the happiness of all, and the 
good of every man, in all his rights, his life, liberty, estate, 
honor, &c., without injury or abuse done to any one." 

Eev. Mr. Howari), 

A Puritan preacher and patriot, before the legislative council 
of Massachusetts, in 1780, presented the following views on the 
duties and influence of civil rulers : — 

" Our political fathers and civil rulers will not fail to do all 
they can to promote religion and virtue through the community, 
as the surest means of rendering their government easy and 
happy to themselves and the people. For this purpose they 
will watch over their morals with the same afiFectionate and 
tender care that a pious and prudent parent watches over his 
children, and, by all methods which love to God and man can 
inspire and wisdom point out, endeavor to check and suppress 
all impiety and vice, and lead the' people to the practice ol that 
righteousness which exalteth a nation. They will render them- 
selves a terror to evil-doers, as well as an encouragement to such 
as do well. They will promote to places of trust men of piety, 
truth, and benevolence. Nor will they fail to exhibit in their 
own lives a fair example of that piety and virtue whidi they 
wish to see practised by the people. They will show that they 
are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, by paying a duo 
regard to his sacred institutions, and to all the laws of his 
kingdom. Magistrates may probably do more in this way than 
in any other, and perhaps more than any other order of men, 
to preserve or recover the morals of a people. The manners of 
a court are peculiarly catching, and, like the blood in the heart, 
quickly flow to the most distant members of the body. If, 
therefore, rulers desire to see religion and virtue flourish in a 
nation over which they preside, they must countenance and 
encourage them by their own examples." 

Jonas Clark, 
The pastor of the Congregational Church of Lexington, Maasa- 


chosettSy was among the. foremost and ablest champions of 
liberty and the Eevolution. His field of spiritual labor is im- 
mortalized in American history as the field where the first 
battle for independence was fought, and Lexington is as noble 
and memorable as Bunker Hill in the annals of freedom. The 
pastor of this Christian flock had early indoctrinated his people 
into an ardent love for civil and religious liberty. 

" His congregation," says Headley, " were ripe for revolution, 
ready to die rather than to yield to arbitrary force." "The 
people had become so thoroughly indoctrinated in his views, and 
been so animated by his appeals from the pulpit and in public 
meetings, that the 'General Court* had them embodied in 
instructions to their delegate to the Provincial legislature, as 
the expression of their wishes and determination." "This 
document," says Edward Everett, " in which the principles and 
opinions of the town are embodied, has few equals, and no 
superiors, among the productions of that class. Mr. Clark was 
of a class of citizens who rendered services second to no others 
in enlightening and animating the popular mind on the great 
questions at issue : I mean thejpairiotio dergy of New EagUmd" 

" It was to a congregation educated by such a man," says 
Headley, "that Providence allowed to be intrusted the momen- 
tous events of the 19th of April, — events which were to decide 
more than the fate of a continent, — that of civil liberty the 
world over. In surveying the scenes of carnage after the battle 
of Lexington, Mr. Clark, who had been an active participator, 
exclaimed, ' From this day wiU be dated the liberty of the world.' 
He believed the war to be as just a one as ever was waged by 
the Israelites of old, and as much under the direction of God. 
The teachings of the pulpit of Lexington caused the first blow 
to be struck for American Independence^' 

JuDAH Champion, 

Of Litchfield, Connecticut, was one of the most earnest and 
eloquent advocates of the Eevolution, and during the whole of 
those eventful times was active and influential in the cause of 
his country. He was remarkable for the fbrvor and power of 
his prayers for the success of the great cause of liberty. On 
one occasion a regiment of cavalry reached Litchfield on* Satur- 
day night, and remained over the Sabbath. The presence of 
the military raised the devotions of the patriotic pastor to the 


highest ardor, and in his prayer he spoke of " the hostile inva- 
sion, the cruel purpose for which it was set on foot, — of their 
enmity to the American Church, and the ruin to religion which 
their success would accomplish, — of congregations scattered, 
churches burned to the ground, and the Lord's people made a 
hissing and a by-word among their foes," till his own feelings 
and those of his hearers were roused into intense excitement in 
view of the great wrongs and suflferings designed for them and 
the Church of Gkxi, and he burst forth as follows : — 

" Lord, we view with terror and dismay the enemies of our 
holy religion : wilt thou send storm and tempest to toss them 
upon the sea, to overwhelm them in the mighty deep, or scatter 
them to the uttermost parts of the earth. But, perad venture 
should they escape thy vengeance, collect them together again, 
Lord, as in the hollow of thy hand, and let thy lightnings 
play upon them. We beseech thee, moreover, that thou do gird 
up the loins of these thy servants who are going forth to fight 
thy battles. Make them strong men, that one shall chase a thou- 
sand, and two put ten thousand to flight'. Hold before them 
the shield with which thou wast wont in the old time to protect 
thy people. Give them swift feet, that they may pursue their 
enemies, and swords terrible as that of thy destroying angel, 
that they may cleave them down. Preserve these servants of 
thine, Almighty God, and bring them once more to their homes 
and friends, if thou canst do so consistently with thy high 
purpose. If, on the other hand, thou hast decreed that they 
shall die in battle, let thy Spirit be present with them, that they 
may go up as sweet sacrifices into the courts of thy temple, 
where habitations are prepared for them from the foundation of 
the world," 

Samuel Webster, 

In the spring of 1777, preached the election sermon before the 
House of Eepresentatives of Massachusetts. It was delivered 
"after the successive disasters that had overtaken the American 
army, the defeat on Long Island, the fall of New York and 
Fort Washington, and the flight of Washington and his dis- 
organized army through the Jerseys, — ^a year wrapped in 
gloom and fraught with sad forebodings, with only one gleam 
of sunshine — ^the battle of Princeton — ^to cheer the desponding 
hearts of the patriots." The sermon was foil of the fire and 


patriotism of the times, and closed with the following remark- 
able prayer : — 

"Awake, Lord, for our help, and come and save us. 
Awake, Lord, as in ancient times. Do with them, Lord, 
if it be thy will, as thou didst unto the Midianites and their con- 
federates, and to Sisera, and to Jabin, when they invaded thy 
people, and make their lords and nobles and great commanders 
like Oreb and Zeeb, and like Zeba and Zalmunna. Though these 
angry^ brethren profess to worship the same God with us, 
yet because it is in a somewhat different mode they seem to 
have said. Come, let us take the houses of God in powssession. 
Accordingly they have vented a peculiar spite against the 
houses of God, defaced and defiled thy holy and beautiful 
sanctuaries where our fathers worshipped thee, turning them 
into houses of merchandise and receptacles of beasts, and some 
of them they have torn in pieces and burned with fire. There- 
fore we humbly pray that thou wilt hedge up their way, and not 
suffer them to proceed and prosper. Put them to flight speedily, 
if it be thy holy will, and make them run fast as a wheel down- 
ward, or as far as stubble and chaff is driven before the furious 
whirlwind. As the fire consumes the wood, and sometimes lays 
waste whole forests on the mountains, so let them be laid waste 
and consumed if they obstinately persist in their bloody designs 
against us. Lord, raise a dreadful tempest and affright them, 
and let thy tremendous storms make them quake with fear; 
and pursue them with thy arrows, till they are brought to see 
that God is with us of a truth, and fighteth for us, and so 
return unto their own land, covered with shame and confusion, 
and humble themselves before thee and seek to appease thine 
anger by a bitter repentance for their murderous designs. And 
let them have neither credit nor courage to coijie out any more 
against us. That so all nations, seeing thy mighty power and 
thy marvellous works, may no more call themselves supreme, 
but know and acknowledge that thou art God alone, the only 
supreme Governor among men, doing whatsoever pleaseth 

In 1774 the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts acknow- 
ledged their public obligation to the ministry, as friends of civil 
and religious liberty, and invoked their aid, in the following 
address.: — 


Reyxrekd Sirs : — ^When we contemplate the friendBhip and afisbtanoe 
our ancestors, the first settlers of this province, while overwhelmed 
with distress, received from the pious pastors of the churches of Christ, 
who to enjoy the rights of conscience fled with them into this land, 
then a savage wilderness, we find ourselves filled with the most grateful 
sensations. And we cannot but acknowledge the goodness of Heaven 
in constantly supplying us with preachers of the gospel, whose concern 
has been the temporal and spiritual happiness of the people. 

In a day like this, when all the Mends of civil and religious liberty are 
exerting themselves to deliver this country from its present calamities, we 
cannot but place great hopes in an order of men who have ever^stin- 
guished themselves in their country's cause ; and do, therefore, recom- 
mend to the ministers of the gospel in the several towns and other places 
in the colony, that they assist us in avoiding that dreadful slavery with 
which we are now threatened, by advising the people of their several 
congregations, as they wish their prosperity, to abide by and strictly to 
adhere to the resolutions of the Continental Congress, at Philadelphia, 
in October, 1774, as the most peaceable and probable method of pre- 
venting confusion and bloodshed, and of restoring that harmony 
between Great Britain and these colonies on which we wish might be 
established not only the rights and liberties of America, but the opu- 
lence and lasting happiness of the whole British empire. 

Besolvedf That the foregoing address be presented to all the ministers 
of the gospel in this province. 

Samuel Langdon, D.D., President of Harvard College, 
preached before the Honorable Congress of Massachusetts Bay, 
in May, 1775, on the theme " Government corrupted by vice 
and recovered by righteousness." 

" Let us consider," says he, " that for the sins of a people God 
may suffer the best government to be corrupted or entirely 
dissolved, and that nothing but a general reformation can give 
good ground to hope that the public happiness will be restored 
by the recovery of the strength and perfection of the state, and 
that Divine Providence will interpose to fill every department 
with wise and* good men. 

" When a government is in its prime, the public good en- 
gages the attention of the whole ; the strictest regard is paid to 
the qualifications of those who hold the offices of state ; virtue 
prevails; every thing is managed with justice, prudence, and 
frugality ; the laws are founded on principles of equity rather 
than mere policy, and all the people are happy. But vice will 
increase with the riches and glory of an empire; and this gene- 
rally tends to corrupt the Constitution and in time bring on its 
dissolution. This may be considered not only as the natural 


effect of vice, but a righteous judgment from Heaven, especially 
upon a nation which has been favored with the blessings of 
religion and liberty and is guilty of undervaluing them and 
eagerly going into the gratification of every lust. 

"We have rebelled against God. We have lost the true 
spirit of Christianity, though we retain the outward profession 
and form of it. We have neglected and set light by the glo- 
rious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and his holy commands 
and institutions. The worship of many is but mere compliment 
to the Deity, while their hearts are far from him. By many 
the gospel is corrupted into a superficial system of moral philo- 
sophy, little better than ancient Platonism ; and, after all the 
pretended refinements of moderns in the theory of Christianity, 
very little of the pure practice of it is to be found among those 
who once stood foremost in the profession of the gospel. 

" But, alas ! have not the sins of America, and of New Eng- 
land in particular, had a hand in bringing down upon us the 
righteous judgments of Heaven ? Wherefore is all this eVil 
come upon us ? Is it not because we have forsaken the Lord ? 
Can we say we are innocent of crimes against God? No, 
surely. It becomes us to humble ourselves under his mighty 
hand, that he may exalt us in due time. However unjustly 
and cruelly we have been treated by man, we certainly deserve 
at the hand of God all the calamities in which we are now 
involved. Have we not lost much of that spirit of genuine 
Christianity which so remarkably appeared in our ancestors, for 
which God distinguished them by the signal favors of his pro- 
vidence when they fled from tyranny and persecution into 
Western deserts? Have we not departed from their virtues? 
Have we not made light of the gospel of salvation, and too 
much affected the <^M, forrnal, fashionable religion of countries 
grown old in vice and overspread with infidelity ? Do not our 
follies and iniquities testify against us ? Have we not, especially 
in our seaports, gone much too far into the pride and luxuries 
of life ? Is it not a fact, open to common observation, that 
profaneness, intemperance, unchastity, the love of pleasure, 
fraud, avarice, and other vices, are increasing among us from 
year to year? And have not even these young governments 
been in some measure infected with the corruptions of Eu- 
ropean courts ? Has there been no flattery, no bribery, no 
artifices practised to get into places of honor and profit or to 


carry a vote to secure a particular interest without regard to 
right or wrong f Have our statesmen always acted with inte- 
grity, and every judge with impartiality, in the fear of God? 
In short, have all ranks of men showed regard to the Divine 
commands, and joined to promote the Redeemer's kingdom and 
the public welfare ? I wish we could more fully justify our- 
selves in all these respects. We must remember that the sins 
of a people who have been remarkable for the profession of god- 
liness are more aggravated by all the advantages and favors 
they have enjoyed, and will receive more speedy and signal 
judgments, as God says of Israel : — ' You only have I known of 
all the families of the earth: therefore will I punish you for all 
your iniquities.' 

" Let me address you in the words of the prophet: — ' Israel, 
return unto the Lord thy God, for thou, hast fallen by thine 
iniquity.' Let us repent, and implore the Divine mercy; let us 
amend our ways and our doings, reform every thing which 
has been provoking to the Most High, and thus endeavor to 
obtain the gracious interposition of Providence for our deli- 

" If true religion is revived by means of these public calami- 
ties, and again prevails among us, — if it appears in our reli- 
gious assemblies, in the conduct of our civil affairs, in our 
ARMIES, in OUT families, in all our business and conversation, 
— we may hope for the direction and blessing of the Most High, 
while we are using our best endeavors to preserve the civil 
government of this colony and defend America from slavery. 

" And may we not be confident that the Most High will vin- 
dicate his own honor, and plead our righteous cause against 
such enemies to his government as well as our liberties? 
Oh, may our camp be free from every accursed thing ! May 
our land be purged from all its sins ! May we be truly a holy 
people, and all our towns cities of righteousness ! Then the 
Lord will be our refuge and strength, a very present help in 
trouble, and we shall have no reason to be afraid, though thou- 
sands of enemies set themselves against us round about, though 
all nature should be thrown into tumults and convulsions. He 
can command the stars in their courses to fight his and our 
battles, and all the elements to wage war with his and our ene-- 
mies. He can destroy them with innumerable plagues, or send 
faintness into their hearts, so that the men of might shall not 


fiud their hands. In a variety of methods he can work salva- 
tion for us, as he did for his people in ancient days, and accord- 
ing to. the many* remarkable deliverances granted in former 
times to New England. 

. ". May the Lord hear us in this day of trouble, and the name 
of the God of Jacob defend us, send us help from his sanctuary, 
and strengthen us out of Zion ! We will rejoice in his salvation, 
and in the name of our God will we set up our banners. Let 
us look to him to fulfil our petitions." 

. The following is an interesting and solemn scene of the Revo- 
lution, published in a religious newspaper of 1858 : — 

" June 10, 1775. — This has been one of the most important and trying 
days of my life. I have taken leave of my people for the present, and 
shall at once proceed to the American camp at Boston and offer my 
services as chaplain in the army. Ever since the battle of Bunker Hill 
my mind has been turned to this subject." " God's servants are needed 
in the army to pray with and for it. This is God's work ; and his minis- 
ters should set an example that will convince the people that they 
believe it to be such. But the scene in the house of God to-day has 
tried me sorely. How silent, how solemn, was the congregation ! and 
when they sang the sixty-first Psalm, commencing, — 

' When, overwhelm'd with grief. 
My heart within me dies,' — 

sobs were heard in every part of the building. At the close, I was asto- 
nished to see Deacou S., now nearly sixty years of age, arise and address 
the congregation. ' Brethren,' said he, * our minister has acted right. 
This is God's cause ; and as in days of old the priests bore the ark into 
the midst of the battle, so must they do it now. We should be un- 
worthy of the fathers and mothers who landed on Plymouth Rock, and 
suffered privations and dangers to secure freedom for us, if we did not 
cheerfully bear what Providence shall put upon us in the great conflict 
now before us. I had two sons at Bunker Hill, and one of them, you 
know, was slain. The other did his duty, and for the future God must 
do with him what seemeth him best. I offer him to liberty. I had 
thought I was getting too old to offer myself, and that I would stay 
here with the church. But my minister is going, and I will shoulder 
my musket and go too.' In this strain he continued for some time, till 
the whole congregation was bathed in tears. Oh, God must be with this 
people in this unequal struggle : else how could they enter upon it with 
such solemnity and prayer, with such strong reliance on his assistance, 
and such a profound sense of their need of it? Just before separating, 
the whole congregation joined in singing, — 

' God, oar help in ages past, 
Oar hope for years to oome.' " 

350 cheistiak life akd chabacter of the 

Key. James Caldwell^ 

Pastor of the Presbyterian church of Elizabethtown, New 
Jersey, was a martyr for liberty. His church was burned by 
the British, and he and his family were murdered, in 1780. 
Eev. Nicholas Murray, pastor of the same church for many 
years, in a memorial to Congress, in 1840, for payment of the 
church property destroyed by the British, said, — 

" When the glorious war of our Revolution commenced which 
resulted in our independence, the Rev. James Caldwell was 
then pastor of this church. His name and fame are inter- 
woven with the history of his country, and are as dear to the 
State as to the Church. He became early and deeply interested 
in the conflict, and devoted all his powers no less to the freedom 
of his country than to the service of his God. Such was his 
influence over his people that, with few exceptions, they became 
one with him in sentiment and feeling ; and thenceforward he 
and they were branded as the rebel parson and parish. To the 
enemies of his country he was an object of the deepest hatred; 
and such was their known thirst for his life, that, while preach- 
ing the gospel of peace to his people, he was compelled to lay 
his loaded pistols by his side in the pulpit." 

" In the exciting scenes," says Headley, " that immediately 
preceded the Revolution, he bore a prominent and leading part. 
His congregation upheld him, almost to a man; and when we re- 
member that such patriots as Elias Boudinot, William Living- 
ston, Francis Barber, the Daytons and Ogdens, composed it, 
we cannot wonder that both pastor and people were looked upon 
as head rebels of the province, and became peculiarly obnoxious 
to the loyalists. In intelligence, ardor, and patriotism they 
had no superior, and formed a band of noble men of which New 
Jersey is justly proud. 

''At the first call to arms, the State offered its brigade for 
the common defence, and Mr. Caldwell was elected its chaplain. 
His immense popularity gave him an. influence that filled the 
tories with rage and made his name common as a household 
word among the British troops. They offered a large reward 
for his capture. For his personal safety, he went armed. 

"So entire was the confidence of the people in his integrity 
that, when the array became greatly reduced, and both pro- 
visions and money were hard to be obtained, he was appointed 


Assistant Commifisary-General. He not only was earnest and 
eloquent in bis pulpit for the cause of his country, but was 
active and brave in battle. In one of the engagements near 
Springfield, New Jersey, Mr. Caldwell was in the hottest of the 
fight, and, seeing the fire of one of the companies slacken for 
want of wadding, he galloped to the Presbyterian meeting- 
house near by, and, rushing in, ran from pew to pew, filling his 
arms with hymn-books. Hastening back with these into battle, 
he scattered them about in every direction, saying, as he pitched 
one here and another there, ^^Ncm, hoys, put Watts into them." 

"The unselfish and entir% devotion of this gifted man to his 
country was of the Washington type, — a devotion in which life 
itself and all its outward interests were forgotten, or re- 
membered only as an ofiering ever ready to be made to her 
welfare. The cause of freedom, and especially the State of 
New Jersey, owe him a large debt of gratitude." 

A monument to Dr. Caldwell stands in the burial-ground of 
the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethtown, New Jersey, 
where sleep many of the heroes of the Eevolution. The inscrip- 
tion is as follows : — 

East Side. — "This monument is erected to the memory of the Rev. 
James Caldwell, the pious and fervent Christian, the zealous and faith- 
ful minister, the eloquent preacher, and a prominent leader among the 
worthies who secured the independence of his country. His name will 
be cherished in the Church and in the State so long as virtue is esteemed 
and patriotism rewarded." 

West Side. — "Hannah, wife of the Rev. James Caldwell, and daughter 
of Jonathan Ogden, of Newark, was killed at Connecticut Farms, by a 
shot from a British soldier, June 24th, 1780, cruelly sacrificed by the 
enemies of her husband and of her country.'' 

North Side. — "*The memory of the just is blessed.' *Be of good cou- 
rage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the 
cities of our God, and let the Lord do that which is good in his sight.' 
* The glory of children are their fathers.' " 

South Side. — " James Caldwell, born in Charlotte County, in Virginia, 
April, 1734. Graduated at Princeton College, 1759. Ordained pastor of 
the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethtown, 1762. After serving 
as chaplain in the army of the Revolution, and acting as commissary to 
the troops in New Jersey, he was killed by a shot from a sentinel at 
Elizabethtown Point, November 24th, 1781. 

"The Mexort of the Just is Blessed." 

George Duffield, 
Of Philadelphia, was an eminent preacher and patriot of the 


Revolution, and devoted to the cause of his country. He was 
among the first chaplains to the Colonial Congress, and did 
good service to the civil council as well as to the armies of 
his country. Dr. Sprague, in his "Annab of the American 
Pulpit," says of this pious and patriotic preacher, — 

" He was a bold and zealous assertor of the rights of con- 
science, an earnest and powerful advocate of civil and religious 
liberty. During the pending of the measures which were 
maturing the Declaration of Independence, while the prospects 
of the colonies seemed most gloomy, his preaching contributed 
greatly to encourage and animal^ the friends of liberty. So 
much did he value prayer, and so important did he feel it to be 
to excite and encourage the men that had left their homes and 
perilled their lives in the cause of freedom, to look to God and 
put their trust in Him, that he would, occasionally, in the 
darkest hour of the Eevolution, leave his charge, and repair to 
the camp, where the fathers and sons of many of his flock were 
gathered, and minister to them in the public preaching of the 
word and personal service." "He was with the army in their 
battles and retreats through Jersey, during that dark and nearly 
hopeless period of the Revolution." 

The patriots of the first Congress attended his church; and 
fohn Adams and his compeers were often his hearers. 

His soul could infuse courage in the hour of danger, and 
fheer the disheartened in disaster, by example, precept, and 
prayer. He was well known in camp; and his visits were 
ailways welcome, for the soldiers loved the eloquent, earnest, 
fearless patriot. 

The following is a fine specimen of the eloquence and fervor 
of Dr. Duffield's piety and patriotism, and a precious relic of 
Revolutionary times, taken from a discourse preached 

At Pine Street Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, March 17, 1776, by 
Rev. George Duffield, D.D., Pastor. Isaiah xxi. 11, 12:—" The burden of 
Dumah. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? 
Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning 
cometh, and also the night: if ye will inquire, inquire ye: return, 

The instruction afforded in these words is as follows : — 

I. That it is the duty of a people, under a pressure of trouble and 
distress, to be earnest in applying to God respecting their affairs. 

II. That such a people have encouragement to expect God will answer 
them, and with the affliction administer comfort to them. 


I. What is implied in applying to God in such circumstancos ? 

1. A generous concern for the public good. 

Idumea's watchman, representing all those of the inhabitants of that 
country suitably exercised in that day of trial (and every true patriot 
in our day), seems to have abandoned every meaner consideration, to 
have lost every thought of private concern for himself or his own pecu- 
liar interest, in an ardent glow of zeal for the good of the common 
cause, by which, while others indulge in repose, hia eyes slumber not ; 
he watches for his country's good; his thoughts are all on this; and 
his busy, laboring mind is consulting, planning, and inquiring for its 

View him a moment on his watch-tower on Mount Seir : his looks are 
the picture of deep concern ; anxious care dwells seated on his brow ; 
painful study for his country's good has emaciated his frame, spread a 
solemn composure over his countenance, and hastened his age faster far 
than hurrying time itself would roll away his years ! 

Such a patriot was good Hezekiah, who lived only to serve his country, 
whose days were measured by diligence for its good and planning for 
its greatest benefit, and whose constitution was so enfeebled by unre- 
mitting care that ere he had reached his fortieth year he had sunk 
before the first attack of disease, had not a miracle interposed for his 

iSuch patriots of old were Samuel and Ezra, and, in the field, the 
brave Uriah. Such may thy councils, America, and such thine armies, 
ever contain. 

2. A sense of the overruling government of God determining the 
affairs of men. 

Without this, the Idumean patriot had never called with such ardor 
to the watchman God had appointed to observe and declare his will. 
So intimately is a reverence for God connected with the proper dis- 
oharge of every duty we owe to our fellow-men, as individuals, or the 
community at large, — both proceeding from the same good principle 
within, — that never can there bo a proper and sincere discharge of the 
latter where the former is neglected. True patriotisx is founded in 
TRUE RELIGION ; and where the latter is not, there is great danger of the 
former being bought or brihed by an adequate price^ or in some way blasted, 
like the seed sown in stony ground, that perished through want of root. 

3. A diligent attention to the use of means. 

God ha« so determined, in the ordinary course of his providential dis- 
pensations, that the blessings he designs to bestow are yet to be sought 
after and obtained in the use of the proper means. Eden itself was not 
to nourish Adam without dressing. The same God that fed Elyah by 
the b ook could have commanded the ravens to feed the family of 
Jacob, but they must travel to Egypt for bread. Canaan was given to 
Israel, but they must march and fight and toil to subdue and possess 
it. Paul was assured that the ship's crew would all be saved, but the 
mariners must stay aboard and ply their endeavors, or not a soul would 
be safe. And who that considers the engagedness of this earnest Edom- 
ite, " calling from Seir,'' can doubt his diligence in every measure adapted 
to obtain the end? 



4. The true patriot must be earnestly engaged in prayer. 

In the common affairs of life, as well as in religion, we may adopt the 
language of the apostle, and, whether Paul plant or Apollos water, it is 
God must give the increase. This is the Psalmist's idea (Ps. czxrii. 1), 
'* Except the Lord build the house, they labor in rain that build it," Ac, 
It is this blessing that makes prosperous as well as rich, Ac. To him, 
therefore, with great propriety does the pious Idumean look, and ar- 
dently pray, in our text ; and it will generally be found that when God is 
about to bestow any remarkable favor on a person or people, he pre- 
viously pours upon that people or person a spirit of earnest supplication 
to God for his favor. 

That it is the incumbent duty of a people, and especially when in- 
volved in calamitous circumstances, thus to pray ; consider — 

1. God has commanded it, and to his injunction added great encou- 
ragement. Ps. 1. 15 : " Call upon me in the day of trouble ; I will deliver 
thee, and thou shalt glorify mo." Ps. xxxviii. 5 : " Commit thy way 
unto the Lord ; trust also in him ; and he shall bring it to pas^t." Joel 
ii. 32 : " Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be deli- 
vered ; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the 
Lord has said." Hence, — 

2. Prayer is one of the most probable means of obtaining deliverance 
from trouble. 

As the calamities of a people are the chastening of God for their sins, 
and one end designed therein is to bring them back to Him from whom 
they have departed, the more they are brought to a sense of their de- 
pendence on God, and engaged in returning and making supplication 
to him, the greater is their prospect not only of being delivered, but of 
having their calamities converted into blessings. Micah iv. 6 : And 
** I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted, and 
I will make her that was ca<5t off a strong nation." 

3. Prayer brings down the perfections of God to the assistance of those 
who are thus exercised. Ps. xvi. 1 : " Preserve me, God ; for in thee do 
I put my trust." Ps. cxviii. 5-12 : " I called upon the Lord in distress : 
tlie Lord answered mo, and set me in a large place. The Lord is on 
my side ; I will not fear : what can man do unto me ? The Lord taketh 
my part with them that help me : therefore shall I see my desire ui>on 
them that hate me. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confi- 
dence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence 
in princes. All nations compassed me about : but in the name of the 
Lord will I destroy them. They compassed me about ; yea, they com- 
passed me about ; but in the name of the Lord I will do:>troy them. 
They compassed mo about like bees ; they are quenched as the fire of 
thorns: for in the name of the Lord I will destroy them." 

II. Let us now consider the answer, and point out some signs that 
promise a morning of deliverance to a people afflicted. 

Known unto God are all his ways from the beginning ; and from the 
perfections of Deity we may safely assert that all moral and natural evil 
will finally be rendered subservient to the perfection of the Divine plan ; 
but in what manner this shall be done surpasses the contracted power of 
the feeble mind of man to determine, and rests perhaps among the 


myfltevies of heaven that Gabriel himself has not explained, but waits 
for the finishing scene to explain the mysterious drama. Yet so it is. 
As day and night succeed each other in the natural, so both the natural 
and the moral world have their nights and their days in successive inte- 
resting periods, since the memorable hour when Adam forsook his God, 
and introduced moral evil, and its inseparable attendant, natural evil, 
into this small province of the Great Creator's kingdom. The whole 
world throughout is as of the Jews in our text, ** The morning cometh, 
and also the night," and so shall continue until night and day be 
blended no more. 

Eternal day and eternal night will possess their eternally-separated 
regions, and separate the inhabitants in endless ha2)X)ine88 and joy, or 
everlasting horror and despair. 

The particular time of the Jewish state, d'^signed in our text by the 
morning and the night here mentioned, may be liard to determine ; but 
it will with great propriety apply to various periods. 

It was, at the time of the prophecy, a nhjht of j^jre impending distress 
from Sennacherib the Assyrian king. A mdkxing of deliverance came 
in the destruction of Ral)shakeh's army. (2 Kings xix.) 

The troubled state of affairs for a series of years before and through 
the Babylonish captivity was a season of night. A morning came in the 
return under Cyrus. 

It was a long night, in respect of religion, through the whole of their 
ceremonial service : this was still darker before the coming of Christ, 
but in him arose a bright morning. 

"A dayspring from on high visited them, to give light to those that 
were in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide their feet 
into the way of peace." (Luke i. 78, 79.) 

Night came on them in the destruction of their city and nation, and 
has continued now 1700 years ; but the proi)!iets and the Apostle Paul 
(Rom. xi. 15, 26) promise them a glorious morning in the latter days of 
the world. 

The Christian Church has had its nights and its mornings. 

And the like has been the case with every nation in a mejisure. 

But it more especially concerns us to attend to the improvement of 
this doctrine, both with respect to individuals and to the present state 
of our own public affairs. 

Improvemrnf. — I. In the way of comfort to the people of God : for — 

(a.) All their affairs are ordered by God, who is tlieir God, and to 
whom they have a right to go as their God and inquire. 

(h.) Though they have a night, there is an eternal morning in re- 
serve. But — 

2. Our subject is full of gloom to sinners out of Christ. Now they 
have a night of spiritual darkness and death ; an eternal night of 
dreadful miseiy and despair awaits you — very shortly — hereafter. 

3. The improvement of our subject naturally leads our thoughts to 
the state of our public affairs. 

It is at present a nufht scene over this vast northern part of the New Wor^f/. 
God, to chastise us for our oflences, and for wise and important pur- 
poses, has su fleered dark clouds to envelope our sky. It becomes every 


one, who wishes his own or his country's good, to inquire, " Watch- 
man, what of the night?" It is a time for earnest prayer, joined with 
diligent endeavor. There is in store an answer of mercy ! There is a 
morning in reserve, though the night may continue some time. 

Reasons to expect ▲ Morning. — 1. God never has cast off and de- 
stroyed a nation so 80on, as it would be to deliver America now to ruin, 
liook at the antediluvian world, — the Amorites, and other nations of 
(7anaan — ^the Jews, &c. 

2. The western world appears to have been retained for that parpose, 
and designed by an ordinance of Heaven as an Asylum for Liberty, civil 
and religk)U8. Our forefathers, who first inhabited yonder eastern 
shores, fled from the iron rod and heavy hand of tyranny. This it was, 
and no love of earthly gain or prospect of temporal grandeur, that nrged 
them, like Abraham of old, to leave their native soil and tender connec- 
tions behind, to struggle through winds and waves, and seek a peaceful 
retreat in a then howling wilderness, where they might rear the banner 
of liberty and dwell contented under its propitious shade, esteeming 
this more than all the treasures of a British Egypt, from whence they 
were driven forth. Methinks I see them on the inhospitable shore 
they were hastening to leave, and hear them adopt the sentiment of the 
Psalmist, Iv. G, 7, to give it in the expressive language of Watts, with a 
small variation : — 

'* Oh, were I like a featber'd dove. 
And innocence had wings ,* 
I'd fly, and make a far remove. 
From pertcruttHff king».'* 

Nor was it the fostering care of Britain produced the rapid populating 
of these colonies, but the tyranny and oppression, both civil and eccle- 
siastical, of that and other nations, constrained multitudes to resign 
every other earthly comfort, and leave their country and their friends, 
to eiyoy in peace the fair possession of freedom in this western world. 
It is this has reared our cities, and turned the wilderness, so far and 
wide, into a fruitful field. America's sonSy very few excepted, were all re- 
fugeeSy — tlie chosen spirits of various nations^ that could vot, like Issachar, how 
doum between tlie two burdens (f (lie accursed cruelty of tyranny in Church and 
Utate. And can it be supposed that the Lord has so far forgot to be gra- 
cious, or shut up his tender mercies in his wrath, to favor the arms of 
oppression and to deliver up this asylum to slavery and bondage? Can 
it be supposed that the God who made man free, and engraved in inde- 
feasible characters the love of liberty in his mind, should forbid free- 
dom, already exiled from Asia, Africa, and under sentence of banishment 
from Europe, — that he should forbid her l<^ erect her banner here, and 
constrain her to abandon the earth ? As soon siiall he reverse creation, 
and forbid yonder sun to shine 1 To the J c ws he preserved their cities 
of refuge ; and while sun and moon endure, America shall remain a 
ciTT OF REFUGE FOR THE wuoLE EARTH, Until she hcFself shall ploy the 
tyrant, disgrace her freedom, and provoke her God! When that day shall 
oome, if ever, then, and not till then, shall she also fall, *' slain with 
those that go down to the pit." 


3. The spirit and ardent love of liberty that has possessed these 
colonies so wide and far, is a strong evidence of a nwming, a bright morning, 
hastening on. It \& the same spirit that inspired our forefathers' breasts 
when first they left their native shores and embarked for this then 
howling desert. Their mortal part has mingled with the dust, but the 
surviving spirit has triumphed over death and the grave, and descended 
to their sons ; and it is this spirit, beating high in the veins of their off- 
spring, has roused them so unanimous and determined in the present 
struggle. 'Tis this spirit has formed our extensive Union, and inspired 
our councils with that magnanimity and lustre that astonishes half the 
world. 'Tis this spirit has enrolled your Congresses and conventions in 
the annals of immortal fame. 'Tis this spirit has enabled your dear, 
suffering brethren in yonder once flourishing city [Boston], now almost 
a ruinous heap, to endure joyfully the spoiling of their goods, glorying 
to be accounted worthy to suffer in the honorable cause I 'Twas this 
spirit that ranked a Warren, a Montgomery, and others, upon the list of 
protomartyrs for American liberty. And this same spirit has led you 
forth, ye patriot bands, associated in your country's cause, and will, I 
trust, still urge you on to noble deeds, and bravely to prefer a glorious 
death to slavery and cliains I 

And this — what shall I call it less than a divine afflatus so gene- 
rally prevailing through all ranks, in the cabinet and in the field — is 
an argument from heaven that America shall rise triumphant over the 
proud waves and raging billows that now threaten her ruin ! When a 
nation is to be destroyed, she is, as described by Hosea vii. 11, "like a 
silly dove without heart ;" but when this divine afflatus comes upon a 
nation, and it is refreshed like a giant with new wine, the omen is sure 
and the victory inevitable. 

4. There is great reason to believe that the Church of Christ is yet to 
have a glorious day in America. 

Religion, like the sun, rose in the east, and has continued its pro- 
gress in a western direction. Once it flourished in Asia. Now it is 
almost total darkness there. From thence it came to Europe, and 
there shone bright for a season ; but scenes of persecution harassed it, 
and the shadows of a dark evening have long been gathering round it. 
America seems to have been prepared as the wilderness to which the 
woman should fly from the face of the dragon and be nourished for a 
long series of time. (Rev. xii. 6.) God has here planted his Church ; he 
has hedged it round, and made it to flourish ; and though there have 
been some few, some very few remains of a mistaken aeal for piety, in 
attempting to fetter the minds of men with pains and penalties, yet it 
may with great justice be said, in no part of the earth does religious 
liberty equally prevail, and just sentiments of the rights of conscience 
obtain, as in this land. Here has pure and undefiled religion lengthened 
her cords and strengthened her stakes. Yonder to-day are the praises 
of God singing, and the word of his grace proclaimed, where but a few 
yean back his name was not known, nor any thing heard but the yells 
of savage beasts, or poor indarkened Indian tribes, equally ignorant of 
the true God as the beasts themselves. 

How large an addition to the kingdom of Christ has been made in 

353 cuRiSTiAir life a^d character op thf 

this land! Tlie Kin^ of glory has here indeed gone forth, with his 
sword on his thigli, ridin<r i^rosperoii.sly in stai.te, concjuering and to co»- 
quer! The progvoK» of tUiw kingdom is still cootimied with a rapid 
«iireer; and shall liin fo^s t«Mr the laurels from the hrow of the great 
Ivodoemor, anddelivet* hi^ victory aiid glorious prospects into slaTer>' 
and thraldom? ForMvl it, Jesus, from thy throne! It shall not take 
])Iac<' ! The Clmrch shall fiourish here and hold on her way triumphant,, 
in spite of kii>gs, lords, Commons, and devils, until yonder vast unex- 
plorcHl western regions shall all resound the praises of Gk>d, a-nd the un- 
enlightened tribes of the wildernej^s shall know and adore our Immanuel. 
And as civil and religious liberty live or languish together, so^ shall tho 
civil liberty of America hold pace with the triuB\phs of the gospel 
Uiroughout this extensive land. 

Though we are wicked enouglv God knows, and have much need of 
n^ficntance and returning to our God, as we would wish and hope for hi» 
favor, yet we are not arrived to that degree of impiety, or that so gene- 
rally prevailing as is usually, and, I may say, always,, the case before God 
prives up and delivers a land into the liand of their enemies ; and this 
is an argument why we may yet ho])e for a morning and a further 

5. The peculiar hand of Providence that has evidently led us hitherto, 
mid the remarkable snules of Heaven on our attempts thus far for our 
defence, and his frowns upon those that have risen up agaii^t us, affoi*d 
also a pleasing prospect. ** Had not the Lord,'' now may America say. 
" had not the Lord been on our side, . . . the proud wateis had gone over 
our soul." " Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven 
and earth." (Psalm cxxiv.) 

In all these things I have mentioned, to which more might be added^ 
Ood speaks clearly m his providence, as on Sinai out of the cloud ; and 
to us is the watchman's reply. The xorning coheth, though a space of 
night may intervene. liow long before it may arise, or in what manner 
the clouds shall break before it, or what connection America then shall 
hare with any other nation (Britain going down to the deep,) or whether 
with any at aU, that God who directs her counsels will determine ! 

At the conclusion of the war, Dr. Dnffield delirered a sermon 
in the Pine Street Presbyterian Church, on the thanksgiving- 
day appointed for the peace of 1783, in which he said, — 

" The establishment of America in the peaceable possession 
of her rights stands an in&tance of the Divine favor unexampled 
in the records of time. Who does not remember the general 
language when the war commenced, cheerfully to pay one-half 
of our j)Toperty to secure our rights f But even half of this 
has not been required. Taken on a national scale, the price of 
our peace, when compared with the advantages gained, scarce 
deserves the name. 

"In whatever point of light we view this great event. 

civiii nfSTiTunoNS or the united states. 869 

we are constrained to say, 'It is the doing of the Lord, and 
marvellous in our eyes/ And to him be rendered thanks and . 
praise. Not unto usy not unto us, hut to thy name, Lord, 
be the glory. Both success and safety come of thee. And thou 
reigncst over all, and hast wrought all our works, in us and 
for us. Praise, therefore, thy God, America; praise the Lord, 
ye his highly favored United States. Nor let it rest in the fleet- 
ing language of the lip, or the formal thanksgiving of a day. 
But let every heart glow with gratitude, and every life, by a 
devout regard to his holy law, proclaim his praise. It is this 
our God requires, as that wherein our personal and national 
good and the glory of his great name consist, and without 
which all our professions will be but an empty name. It is that 
we love the Lord our God, to walk in his ways and keep his 
commandments, to observe his statutes and judgments, — that 
we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God, 
Then shall God delight to dwell amongst us, and these United 
States shall long remain a great, a glorious, and a happy 

Eev. John Woodhull, D.D., 

Pastor of the Freehold Presbyterian Church of New Jersey, 
was distinguished for his devotion to the cause of freedom. 
" He was one of the most active patriots of his day, and his 
zeal in the cause of his country was largely infused into his 
congregation. On one occasion every man in his parish went 
out to oppose the enemy, except one feeble old invalid, who bade 
them Gisd-speed. The zealous minister went with them as 

Eev. Db. John H. Livingston 

Was a distinguished patriot and preacher of the Dutch Eeformed 
Church of New York. Shortly after the War of the Eevolution 
began, the British gained possession of the city, and those who 
were favorable to the American cause, with their families, sought 
refuge and sojourned during the war in different places in the 
country. The congregation of the Dutch Eeformed Church 
was strongly united in the cause of independence. During the 
occupation of the city by the British, several of the churches, 
especially where the congregations generally espoused the cause 
of freedom, were sadly desecrated and abused. Conspicuous 


among these were the Middle and North Eeformed Dutch 
Churches, where Dr. Livingston preached. The Middle Church 
was used as a prison, and afterwards as a riding-school for the 
British officers and soldiers, and hecame the scene of habitual 
ribaldry, profanity, and dissipation. The whole of the interior, 
galleries and all, was destroyed, leaving the bare walls and roof. 

The treaty of peace was concluded in 1783, and the British 
forces left the city on the 25th of November. On the 2d of 
December the Consistory of the Dutch churches met, and by 
resolution expressed their gratitude to God for his blessing, 
which had granted success in the struggle for independence 
and returned them in peace to their homes and to the house of 
God. Whilst they rejoiced in this long-desired reunion, they con- 
templated with sadness the desolations which had taken place, 
but at once arose unitedly, with prayer and in faith, to build 
again the waste places. The Middle Dutch Church was re- 
opened for divine service on the 4th of July, 1790, when Dr. 
Livingston preached an eloquent and patriotic sermon. It 
closed as follows : — 

" To these great purposes this building was formerly devoted, 
and for these important ends it is now raised from its ruins. 
But the mention of ruins calls back our thoughts to past scenes, 
and presents disagreeable ideas to our minds. When destruction 
is caused by the immediate hand of Heaven, by earthquakes, 
storms, or fire, we are silent before God, and dare not reply. 
But when men have been the instruments, it is difficult, although 
proper, to look up to the overruling Power and to forget the 
interposition of the means. I dare not speak of the wanton 
cruelty of those who destroyed this temple, nor repeat the 
various indignities which have been perpetrated. It would be 
easy to mention facts which would chill your blood ! A recol- 
lection of the groans of dying prisoners which pierced this 
ceiling, or the sacrilegious sports and rough feats of horseman- 
ship exhibited within these walls, might raise sentiments in 
your mind that would, perhaps, not harmonize with those reli- 
gious afifections which I wish at present to promote and always 
to cherish. 

" The Lord has sufficiently vindicated our cause and avenged 
us of those who rose up against us. He girded our Joshua 
(Washington) for the field, and led him, with his train of 
heroes, to victory. Heaven directed our councils and wrought 


deliverance. Our enemies themselves acknowledged an inter- 
posing Providence, and were obliged to say, The Lord hath 
done great things for them; while we repeat the shout of 
praise, The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are 
glad. Through the long avenue of danger and perplexity, 
while discouragements like dark clouds were hovering all around, 
who could penetrate the gloom and foresee that God would soon 
bring order out of confusion, — so soon dismiss the horrors of 
war and grant an honorable peace, — perfect revolution? Where 
was it ever seen, excepting only in Israel, that God took a 
nation out of the midst of another nation, with such a mighty 
hand and a stretched-out arm ? 

"Who could have predicted that from such indigested mate- 
rials, with such short experience, and within so few years, an 
efficient, liberal, and pervading government would have been 
formed? A station and a rank are now obtained among the 
nations of the earth; and if the full enjoyment of civil and reli- 
gious liberty is a constitutional part of social happiness, if the 
prospects of the rising importance, strength, and greatness of 
our new empire are of any weight in the scale, we may safely 
pronounce ourselves on this day to be the happiest nation in 
the world, — a nation where all the rights of man are perfectly 
secured, — without a monarchy, without hereditary nobility, and 
without an hierarchy. 

" Hail, happy land I A land of liberty, of science and reli- 
gion ! Here an undisturbed freedom in worship forms the first 
principle of an equal government, and is claimed as a birth- 
right which none of our rulers dare call in question or control. 
Here no sect is legally professed with exclusive prerogatives, 
the chief magistrate worships as a private citizen, and legis- 
lators by their influential example, not by penal laws, prove 
nursing fathers to the Church of Christ. In this happy and 
elevated situation, the ruins of our temples and all we have 
sustained appear a price too small to mention. We are more 
than compensated. We have forgiven, and we forget, past inju- 
ries. God has abundantly made up all our former griefs. 
When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were 
like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laugh- 
ter, and our tongue with singing. 

" We are a happy people ; we feel and know that we are so. 
The labors of the husbandpoan prosper, and there is plenty in 


all our borders. Commerce is enlarged, and public credit esta- 
blished. The education of youth is universally patronized, and 
there is no complaining in our streets. In safety we sit every 
man under his own vine and fig-tree, and there are none to 
make us afraid. With sufficient room to accommodate nations, 
and a government adequate to all the important purposes of 
society, we are not only at ease ourselves, but extend our arms 
and cordially invite an oppressed world to come under our shade 
and share in our happiness. Happy is that people that is in 
such a case I Tea, happy is that people whose God is the Lord, 
Whether we shall continue thus happy will greatly depend upon 
our wisdom and justice, our industry and manners, but princi- 
pally upon our feithfully remembering the name of the Lord. 
According to the measure in which the religion of the blessed 
Jesus is honored and prevails, our land will be truly happy and 
our liberty secure. This holy religion establishes the purest 
morality, and inculcates the reciprocal obligations which members 
of society are under to each other. It engages men of all ranks, 
by the highest sanctions, conscientiously to fulfil the duties of 
their stations, and it is, without controversy, the surest pledge 
of Divine protection. 

"The maintenance of this in its purity will most efiectually 
establish our invaluable blessings, and as this declines our ruin 
will hasten. See the rule of Providence with respect to nations 
(Jer. xviii. 9, 10) : ' At what instant I shall speak concerning a 
nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it. 
If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will 
repent of the good wherewith I said I would benefit them.' 

"While others, at our political anniversary, in their animated 
orations, employ all the powers of eloquence to confirm your 
title of liberty, and by enraptured views of civil blessings touch 
with transport all the springs of life, I desire, with plainness 
of speech, but with a zeal becoming a minister of the gospel, to 
raise your views to heaven and persuade you wisely to improve 
your present privileges. Seven years are not elapsed since we 
returned to this city in peace. And, lo 1 in less than seven 
years two ruined churches have been repaired. The Lord hath 
strengthened our hands, and given success to our efforts. Let 
an humble sense of our dependence upon him, and recollection 
of his numerous mercies, call forth lively gratitude upon this 
occasion. Bless the Lord, my soul, and all that is within 


me bless his holy name I Bless the Lord, my soul ! and for- 
get not all his benefits. It is, my brethren, a circumstance 
which upon our part is altogether fortuitous, but it deserves 
your notice, that, in the direction of Providence, you have more 
than one object upon this memorable Fourth of July that 
claims your attention. 

'* While you glow with patriotic ardor for your country, and 
pour out fervent prayers for its rising honor and happiness, 
you are also exulting that the gates of this house are opened to 
you. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his 
courts with praise ; be thankful unto him, and bless his name." 

William Smith, D.D., Provost of the College at Philadelphia, 
preached, June 23, 1775, at the request of the oflBcers of the 
third battalion of that city, and the district of Southwark, 
a sermon on American afiairs, from which the following are 
extracts : — 

You are now engaged in one of the greatest struggles to which free- 
men can bo called. You are contending for what you conceive to be 
your constitutional rights, and for a final settlement of the terms upon 
which this country may be perpetually united to the parent state. 

Look back, therefore, with reverence. Look back to the times of 
ancient virtue and renown. Look back to the mighty purposes which 
your fathers had in view when they traversed a vast ocean and planted 
this land. Recall to your minds their labors, their toils, their perse- 
verance, and let a divine spirit animate you in all your actions. 

Look forward also to a distant posterity. Figure to yourselves millions 
and millions to spring from your loins, who may be bom freemen or 
slaves, ^as Heaven shall now approve or reject our councils. Think that 
on you it may depend whether this great country, in ages hence, shall 
be filled and adorned with a virtuous and enlightened people, enjoying 
liberty and all its concomitant blessings, together with the religion of 
Jesus as it flows uncorrupted from his holy oracles, or covered with a 
race of men more contemptible than the savages that roam the wilder- 
ness, because they once knew the things which belong to their happi* 
ness and peace, but suffered thexti to be hid from their eyes. 

And, while you thus look back to the past and forward to the future, 
fail not, I beseech you, to look up to "the Qt>d of gods, the rock of your 
salvation/' As " the clay in the potter*s hands,'' so are the nations of the 
earth in the hands of him, the everlasting Jkuovah. He lifteth up, and 
he casteth down. He resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the 
humble. He will keep the feet of his saints. The wicked shall be 
silent in darkness, and by strength shall no man prevail. 

The bright prospects of the gospel, a thorough veneration of the 
Saviour of the world, a conscientious obedience to his divine laws, 
faith in his promises, and the steadfast hope of immortal life through 
him, — these only can support a man in all times of adversity as well aa 


prosperity. You might more easily "strike fire out of ice" than 
stability or magnanimity out of crimes. But the good man, he who it 
at peace with the God of all peace, will know no fear but that of offend- 
ing Him whose hand can cover the righteous, " so that he needs not 
fear the arrow that flieth by day, nor the destruction that wasteth at 
noonday ; for a thousand shall fall beside him, and ten thousand at his 
right hand; but it shall not come nigh to him, for he shall give his 
angels charge over him to keep him in all his ways." 

On the omnipotent God, therefore, through his blessed Son, let your 
strong confidence be placed ; but do not vainly expect that every day 
will be to you a day of prosperity and triumph. The ways of Provi- 
dence lie through mazes too intricate for human penetration. Mercies 
may often be held forth to us in the shape of sufferings ; and the vicissi- 
tudes of our fortune, in building up the American fabric of happiness 
and glory, may be various and checkered. 

But let not this discourage you. Yea, rather let it animate you with 
a holy fervor, a divine enthusiasm, ever persuading yourselves that the 
cause of virtue and freedom is the cause of God upon the earth, and that 
the whole theatre of human nature does not exhibit a more august 
spectacle than a number of freemen, in dependence upon Heaven, 
mutually binding themselves to encounter every difficulty and danger 
in support of their native and constitutional rights and for transmitting 
them holy and unviolated to their posterity. 

It was this principle that inspired the heroes of ancient times, — that 
raised their names to the summit of renown and filled all succeeding 
ages with their unspotted praise. It is this principle, too, that must 
animate your conduct if you wish your names to reach future gene- 
rations, conspicuous in the roU of glory ; and so far as this principle 
leads you, be prepared to follow, — ^whether to life or to death. 

While you profess yourselves contending for liberty, let it be with the 
temper and dignity of freemen, undaunted and firm, but without wrath 
or vengeance, so far as grace may be obtained to assist the weakness of 
nature. Consider it as a happy circumstance, if such a struggle must 
have happened, that God hath been pleased to postpone it to a period 
when our country is adorned with men of enlightened zeal, — ^when the 
artit and sciences are planted among us to secure a succession of such men, 
— ^when our morals are not much tainted by luxury, profusion, or dissi- 
pation, — when the principles that withstood oppression, in the brightest 
era of the English history, are ours as it were by peculiar inheritance,— 
and when we stand upon our own ground, with all that is dear around 
us, animating us to every patriotic exertion. Under such circumstances 
and upon such principles, what wonders, what achievements of true 
glory, have not been performed ! 

For my part, I have long been possessed with a strong and even 
enthusiastic persuasion that Heaven has great and gracious purposes 
towards this continent, which no human power or human device shall 
be able finally to frustrate. Illiberal or mistaken plans of policy may 
distress us for a while, and perhaps sorely check our growth ; but if we 
maintain our own virtue, if we cultivate the spirit of liberty among 
our children, if we guard against the snares of luxui-y, venality, and 


corruption, the gexius of Amsrica will still rise triumphant, and that 
with a power at last too mighty for opposition. This country will be free, 
— ^nay, for ages to come, a choHen seat of fretdmiy arU, and heavenfy 
knowledge ; which are now either drooping or dead in most countries 
' of the Old World. 

To conclude, since the strength of all public bodies, under God, con- 
sistj) in their uniox, bear with each other's infirmities, and even varieties 
of sentiment, in things not essential to the main point. The tempers 
of men are cast in various moulds. Some are quick and feelingly alive 
in all their mental operations, especially those which relate to their 
country's weal, and therefore are ready to burst forth into flame upon 
every alarm. Others, again, with intentions alike pure, and a clear un- 
quenchable love of their country, too steadfast to be damped by the 
mists of prejudice or worked up into conflagration by the rude blasts 
of passion, think it their duty to weigh consequences, and to deliberate 
fully upon the probable means of obtaining public ends. Both these 
kinds of men should bear with each other, for both are friends to their 

One thing further let me add: that without order &nd just st^borcUnation 
there can be no union in public bodies. However much you may be 
equals on other occasions, yet all this must cease in a united and asso- 
ciated capacity, and every individual is bound to keep the place and 
duty assigned him, by ties far more powerful over a man of virtue and 
honor than all the other ties which human policy can contrive. It 
had been better never to have lifted a voice in your country's cause 
than to betray it by want of union, or to leave worthy men, who 
have embarked their all for the common good, to sufier or stand un- 

Lastly, by every method in your power, and in every possible case, 
support the laws of your country. In a contest for liberty think what 
a crime it would be to suffer one freeman to be insulted, or wantonly 
injured in his liberty, so far as by your means it may be prevented. 

Thus animated and thus acting, we may then sing, with the prophet, — 

" Fear not, land ; be glad and rejoice : for the Lord will do great 
things. Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field, for the pastures of the 
wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig-tree and the 
vine do yield their strength." 

Thus animated and thus acting, we may likewise pray, with the pro- 
phet, — 

" O Lord, be gracious unto us ; we have waited for thee. Be thou our 
arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble. Some trust 
in chariots, and some in horses ; but we will remember the name of the 
Lord our God. thou hope of Israel, the Saviour thereof in time of 
need, thou art in the midst of us, and we are called by thy name; 
LRAVE us KOT. Givc US One heart and one way, that we may fear thee for- 
ever, for the good of ourselves and our children after us. We looked 
for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, but behold we 
are in trouble. Yet will we trust in the Lord forever : for in the Lord 
Jehovah is everlasting strength. He will yet bind up the broken-hearted, 
and comfort those that mourn.'' Even so, our God, do thou oomfort 



and reheve them, that so the bones which thou hast broken may yet 
rejoice. Inspire us with a high and commanding sense of the value of 
our constitutional rights ; may a spirit of wisdom and virtue be poured 
down upon us all, and may our representatives, those who are delegated 
to devise and appointed to execute public measures, be directed to such 
as thou in thy sovereign goodness shalt be pleased to render effectual 
for the salvation of a great empire and reuniting all its members in one 
sacred bond of harmony and public happine«a ! Grant this, Father, 
for thy Son Jesus Christ's sake, to whom, with thee and the Holy Spirit, 
one God, be glory, honor, and power, now and forever. AMEN. 

Kev. Jacob Greek, D.D., 

Was a distinguished Presbyterian divine, and among the earliest 
defenders of his country. ''He was," says Dr. Sprague, "an 
earnest advocate for independence. He published a pamphlet 
to show its reasonableness and necessity at a period when such 
an opinion was very extensively branded as a political heresy. 
He was elected a member of the Provincial Congress of New 
Jersey, which set aside the royal Government of that province 
and formed the present Constitution of the State ; and he was 
Chairman of the Committee that drafted the Constitution." 

Eev. Dr. Beatty 

Gave four sons to the Revolutionary army, — ^men of learning 
and true courage, who served their country with patriotism and 
marked ability. Their father was an earnest and able friend to 
his country, and prayed and preached patriotism in his pulpit. 

Rev. John Rogers, D.D., 

For many years a Presbyterian pastor of the city of New York, 
was distinguished as a patriot in the Revolution. He and Drs. 
Mason and Laidlie, of the Associate Reformed Church, w^ith 
others, instituted a weekly prayer-meeting, to invoke God's 
blessing on the country and to counsel the best means to aid it. 
Rogers was on intimate terms with Washington, and the com- 
mander-in-chief often consulted the patriot minister on subjects 
connected with the war. In 1776 he was appointed chaplain in 
General Heath's brigade, the duties of which he performed 
"with great zeal and fidelity, exhibiting at once a spirit of 
earnest piety and glowing patriotism." At the close of the war, 
on the day of national thanksgiving, he preached a sermon, 
which was published, on " The Divine Hand displayed in the 


American Revolution." In that sermon, alluding to the de- 
struction of the churches by the British, he says, — 

" It is much to be lamented that the troops of a nation who 
have been considered one of the bulwarks of the Reformation 
should act as if they had waged war with the God whom Christians 
adore. They have, in the course of this war, utterly destroyed 
more than fifty places of worship in these States. Most of 
these they burned; -others they levelled with the ground, and in 
some places left not a vestige of their former situation; while 
they have wantonly defaced, or rather destroyed, others, by con- 
verting them into barracks, jails, hospitals, riding-schools, &c. 
Boston, Newport, Philadelphia, and Charleston all furnished 
melancholy instances of this prostitution and abuse of the houses 
of God; and of nineteen places of public worship in this city, 
when the war began, there were but nine fit for use when the 
British troops left it. It is true, Trinity Church, and the old 
Lutheran, were destroyed by fire, that laid waste so great a 
part of the city, a few nights after the enemy took possession of 
it. The fire was occasioned by the carelessness of their people, 
and they prevented its extinguishment. But the ruinous situa- 
tion in which they left two of the Low Dutch Reformed 
churches, the three Presbyterian churches, the French Protest- 
ant church, the Anabaptist church, and the Friends' new meet- 
ing-house, was the efiect of design, and strongly marks their 
enmity against those societies." 

Rev. Timothy Dwight, 

An eloquent and learned minister, and for many years a distin- 
guished and learned President of Yale College, was a fearless 
patriot and preacher. "He entered," says Goodrich, in his 
" Recollections of a Lifetime," " the American Revolutionary 
army as chaplain to General Putnam's regiment, with the ardor 
of a youthful Christian patriot, — ^preached with energy to the 
troops in the camp, sometimes with a pile of the regiment's 
drums before him instead of a desk. One of his sermons, 
intended to raise the drooping courage of his country when 
Burgoyne had come down from Canada with his army and waa 
carrying all before him, was published, and a copy read to the 
garrison in Fort Stanwix, on the Mohawk River, when Sir John 
Johnson had cut off their communication with Albany and 
threatened their destruction. The venerable Colonel Piatt, many 


years after, affirmed that it was owing to this sermon that the 
garrison determined to hold out to the last extremity, and made 
the sally in which they routed and drove off their besiegers, 
delivered Albany from imminent danger, and contributed 
materially to the defeat of the British in their campaign of 

Previous to the Declaration of Independence, Mr. Dwight 
urged that act before the public. He say^, " I urged, in con- 
versation with several gentlemen of great respectability, firm 
Whigs and my intimate friends, the importance, and even the 
necessity, of a declaration of independence on the part of the 
colonies. For myself ^ I regarded the die as ca^t and the hope 
of reconciliation as vanished, and believed that the colonists 
would never be able to defend themselves, unless they renounced 
their dependence on Great Britain." 

In 1777 he was licensed as a minister of the gospel, and in 
the same year offered himself as a chaplain, and rendered 
important services to his country as a preacher and an active 
patriot. He became a great favorite with the army, and espe- 
cially with General Putnam. 

On the 7th of October, 1777, the surrender of Burgoyne 
took place, which thrilled the American army with new hope 
and joy. General Putnam, overjoyed at the news, immediately 
spread it through the army, and shouts and firing of cannon 
signalized the glorious event. The Rev. Timothy Dwight, a 
chaplain in the army, preached a sermon at head-quarters the 
next day, from the text, " I will remove far off from you the 
northern army." Never was a sermon so listened to before by 
the officers and troops. Putnam could not refrain from nodding, 
winking, and smiling during the discourse at the happy hits 
with which it was filled, and at its close was loud in his praises 
of Mr. Dwight and the sermon, — ^though, to be sure, he said, 
there was no such text in the Bible, the chaplain having coined it 
to meet the occasion. When shown the passage, he exclaimed, 
** Well, there is every thing in that book; and Dwight knows 
just where to lay his finger on it." 

The victory at Saratoga filled Dwight's mind with the 
brightest anticipations of the future glory of the country, and, 
under the inspiration of the memorable victory, he wrote the 
popular American song, commencing, — 


Columbia, Columbia, to glory arise. 

The queen of the world, and child of the fikies ! 

Thy genius commands thee : with rapture behold, 

While ages on ages thy splendors unfold. 

Thy reign is the last and the noblest of time, 

Most fruitful thy soil, most inviting thy clime ; 

Let the crimes of the East ne'er encrimson thy name , 

Be freedom, and science, and virtue thy fame. 

Mr. Dwight also wrote several other patriotic songs, which 
became great favorites, not only in the army, but throughout 
the country. During the war he wrote an extended poem on 
" The Conquest of Canaan," reciting the patriotic scenes of the 
wars of Joshua, and by permission dedicated it to "George 
Washington, Esq., commander-in-chief of the American armies, 
— the savior of his country, the supporter of freedom, and the 
benefactor of mankind." 

Washington, in answer to Dwight's letter, wrote him as 
follows : — 

Hbad-Quarterb, Valley FoBas, Maioh 18, 1778. 
Dear Sir : — Nothing can give me more pleasure than to patronize the 
essays of genius, and a laudable cultivation of the arts and sciences, 
which had begun to flourish in so eminent a degree before the hand of 
oppression was stretched over our devoted country ; and I shall esteem 
myself happy if a poem which has employed the labors of years Will 
derive an advantage, or boar more weight in the world, by making its 
appearance under a dedication to me. 

G. Washington. 

The fame of Dwight as a theologian, his eloquence as a 
preacher, his success as President of Yale College, and his ex- 
cellence as a man and Christian, are known throughout the land. 
A devoted patriot and faithful preacher, his brilliant talents 
and best efforts were given to God and his country. 

Bishop William White, 

The father of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United 
States, was a fast and firm friend of liberty. He had carefully 
studied the reasons for the rebellion, espoused the American 
cause, and placed himself in the attitude of a rebel to his king; 
so that when the British army was advancing towards Phila- 
delphia he deemed it prudent to retire with his family to the 
bouse of his brother-in-law, Mr. Aquila Hall, in Harford county, 
Maryland. *'At this eventful orisis/' he writes, "I received 



notice that Congress, which had fled to Yorktown, had chosen 
me their chaplain, and with me the Rev. Mr. Duffield, of the 
Preshyterian communion. Nothing could have induced me to 
accept the appointment at such a time, even had the emolument 
been an object, — ^as it was not, — but the determination to be 
consistent in my principles and in the part taken. Under this 
impression, I divided my time between Congress and my family, 
which the double chaplaincy permitted, until the evacuation of 
Philadelphia, the June following." "The acceptance of thia 
chaplainship," writes his biographer, " was a few days before 
the arrival of the news of the surrender of Burgoyne. It was 
at one of the gloomiest periods of the American Revolution that 
he entered upon this duty. Philadelphia was soon in possession 
of the British. Burgoyne was marching, without having 
received any serious check, so far as was then known, through 
the northern parts of New York, the success of whom would 
have cut off all intercourse between the Eastern and Southern 
States. Having removed his family to Maryland, he was on a 
journey between Harford county and Philadelphia, when he 
was met by a courier from Yorktown, informing him of his 
appointment and requesting his immediate attendance. The 
courier found him at a small village where he had stopped for 
refreshment. He thought of it only a short time, when, with 
all the ill-forebodings of the non-success of the American cause, 
but with confidence in the right, and with a trust in God, he 
tamed his horses' heads and travelled immediately to York- 
town, to encourage by his presence that little Congress, which 
was then deliberating as to how they should against such fear- 
ful odds maintain their cause. Such, then, was the adherence 
to principle and decision of character in the chaplain who fol- 
lowed that Congress as it was driven a fugitive, from place to 
place, while directing the Revolutionary War. The services of 
those chaplains could not have been without their effect in 
strengthening the hearts of the men who marked out our 
American independence.*' 

One of the most thrilling remiui?<cences in the annals of the 
American Revolution is related of General Peter Muhlenberg, 
whose ashes repose in the burying-ground of "The Old Trappo 
Church," in Montgomery county, Pennsylvania. When the 
war broke out, Muhlenberg was the rector of a Protestant 
Episcopal Church in Dunmore county, Virginia. On a Sunday 

CIVIL rasTrrtrxiONs of the mnrED states. 371 

morning he administered the communion of the Lord's Supper 
to his charge, stating that in the afternoon of that day he 
would preach a sermon on " the duties men owe to their coun- 
try." At the appointed time the building was crowded with 
anxious listeners. The discourse was founded upon the text 
from Solomon, — ''There is a time for every purpose and for 
every work/* The sermon burned with patriotic fire; every 
sentence and intonation told the speaker's deep earnestness in 
what he was saying. Pausing a moment at the close of his 
discourse, he repeated the words of hia text, and then, in tones 
of thunder, exclaimed, " The time to preach has pasf^cd; the 
TIME TO FIGHT HAS COME !" and, suiting the action to the word, 
he threw from his shoulders his episcopal robes and stood before 
his congregation arrayed in military uniform. Drumming for 
recruits was commenced on the spot; and it is said that almost 
every male of suitable age in the congregation enlisted forth- 

In defending his course in leaving the pulpit for the army, 
he said, " I am a clergyman, it is true, but I am also a member 
of society as well as the poorest layman, and my liberty is as 
dear to me as to any man. Shall I then sit still, and enjoy 
myself at home, when the best blood of the continent is spill- 
ing? Heaven forbid it I Do you think if America shovld be 
conquered I should he safe ? Far from it And would you 
not sooner fight like a Titan than die like a dog f The cause is 
just and noble. Were I a bishop, even a Lutheran one, I should 
obey without hesitation; and, so far from thinking that I am 
wrong, I am convinced it is my duty so to do, — o, duty I owe 
to my God and to my country." 

Eev. John Blair Smith 

Was President of Hampden Sidney College, Virginia, and 
afterwards of Union College, New York, and for many years 
pastor of the Pine Street Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia. 

" His influence was great in the cause of liberty. Whe^i the 
war of the Revolution spread terror and desolation through the 
regions in which he lived, and interrupted the regular exercises 
of the college, instead of finding an apology in his profession 
for remaining inactive at home, he raised a company of volun- 
teers from among his students and marched at their head aa 
captain; joined the army, and performed a tour of military 


duty in pursuit of the British legions who were carrying deso- 
lation through the seaports and lower counties of Virginia. 
He subsequently set out to join a company of volunteers to 
assist General Morgan in a probable encounter with Comwallis ; 
but when he overtook the company his feet were blistered by 
travelling, and he was, though not without great difficulty, 
persuaded by Colonel Martin, one of his elders, to abandon the 
expedition and return home. 

. " The Federal Constitution was warmly opposed by Patrick 
Henry. He appointed a day on which to meet the people of 
Prince Edward's county to show the defects of the Constitution 
and the reasons why it should not be adopted. Dr. Smith 
designed to meet the great orator and answer him, but was pre- 
vented by a providence. He sent a student, however, who took 
down Henry's speech in short-hand. Afterwards, before a 
luimerous audience in college, among whom was Henry, one 
of the students delivered Henry's speech, and another followed 
with one prepared by Dr. Smith, in which he put forth all his 
energies in defence of the Constitution." 

Rev. David Jones 

Was an eminent minister of the Baptist denomination, and 
jiastor of the church in Freehold, New Jersey. His life was 
threatened by the tories on account of his active services for 
his country, and he moved to Chester county, Pennsylvania, in 

1775, and took charge of the Great Valley Baptist church. He 
preached a sermon on the Continental fast-day, before a divi- 
sion of the army, entitled *' Defensive War in a Just Cause 
Sinless." It was printed and circulated through the colonies, 
producing a powerful influence. 

In 1776 he was chaplain to a regiment under Colonel Arthur 
St. Clair. He was with St. Clair at Ticonderoga, October 20, 

1776, when the enemy was hourly expected from Crown Point. 
He was in the battles of Brandywine and Germantown, was 
with Wayne in the battle of Monmouth, and in all his subse- 
quent campaigns, until the surrender of Cornwallis. He was so 
active in the cause of freedom and independence that a reward 
was offered for him by General Howe, and a detachment was 
sent to the Great Valley to arrest him. He was a fearless 
patriot, and ardently devoted to his country. The following 
address is a noble illustration of his love of country, as well aa 


«f his views and eloquence as a minister of the gospel. He 
seems to have had the mantle of some old prophet, as he poured 
out his fiery words of truth. 

To GiNSRAL St. Clair's Brigade at Ticonderoga, when the Enemy it as 

hourly expected, october 20, 1776. 
My Countrymbn, Fellow-Soldiers and Friends: — 

I am sorry that during this campaign I have been favored with so few 
opportunities of addressing you on subjects of the greatest importance 
both with respect to this life and that which is to come. But what is 
past cannot be recalled, and now time will not admit of enlargement, 
as we have the greatest reason to expect the advancement of our ene- 
mies as speedily as Heaven will permit. (The wind blew to the north 
strongly.) Therefore, at present, let it suffice to bring to your remem- 
brance some necessary truths. 

It is our common faith, and a very just one too, that all events are under 
the notice of that God in whom we live, move, and have our being: 
therefore we must believe that, in this important contest with the worst 
of enemies, he has assigned us our post here at Ticonderoga. Our situa- 
tion is such, that, if properly. defended, we shall give our enemies a fatal 
blow, and in a great measure prove the means of the salvation of America. 

Such is our present case, that we are fighting for all that is near and 
dear to us, while our enemies are engaged in the worst of causes, their 
design being to subjugate, plunder, and enslave a free people that have 
done them no harm. Their tyrannical views are so glaring, their cause 
so horribly bad, that tliere still remains too much goodness and hu- 
manity in Great Britain to engage unanimously against us: therefore 
they have been obliged (and at a most amazing expense, too) to hire 
the 'assistance of a barbarous, mercenary people, that would cut your 
throats for the small reward of sixpence. No doubt these have hopes 
of being our taskmasters, and would rejoice at our calamities.. 

Look, oh, look, therefore, at your respective States, and anticipate 
the consequences if these vassals are suffered to enter I It would fftil 
the most fruitful imagination to represent, in a proper light, what 
anguish, what horror, what distress, would spread over the whole land I 
See, oh, see the dear wives of your bosoms forced from their peaceful 
habitations, and perhaps used with such indecency that modesty would 
forbid the description. Behold the fair virgins of your land, whose 
benevolent souls are now filled with a thousand good wishes and hopes 
of seeing their admirers return home crowned with victory, would not 
only meet with a doleful disappointment, but also with insults and 
abuses that would induce their tender hearts to pray for the shades of 
death. See your children exposed as vagabonds to all the calamities of 
this life. Then, oh, then, adieu to all felicity this side of the grave ! 

Now, all thefie calamities may be prevented, if our God be for 
us,— and who can doubt this who observes the point in which the 
wind now blows? — if you will only acquit yourselves like men, and 
with firmness of mind go forth against your enemies, resolving either 


to return with victory or to die gloriously. Every one who may full in 
this dispute will be justly esteeoked a martyr to liberty, and his namo 
will be had in priH^iou^s m»'m*ny while the love of freedom rexnains in 
the breasts of men. All wliom God will favor to see a glorious rictory 
will return to their respetjtive States, with every mark of honor, and be 
received with joy and gladness of heart by all friend» to liberty and 
lovers of mankind. 

As our present crisis i» singular, I hope^ therefore, that the candid 
will excuse n^e if I now conclude with an uncommon address, in sub- 
stance principally extracted from the writings of the servmtft oi God 
in the Old Testament ; though, at the same time, it is freely acknow- 
ledged that I am not possessed of any similar power ^ther o^ blesuu^ 
or cursing. 

1. Blessed be the man who is possessed of true' love of liberty ; and 
let all the people say,. Amen, 

2. Kessed be the man who is a friend to the eommon rights of man- 
kind ; and let all the people say. Amen, 

3. Blessed be the man who is a friend to the United States of America ; 
and let all the people say, AiMn. 

4. Blessed be the man who will use his utmost endeavor to oppose th» 
tyranny of Great Britain, and to van«jnish all her forces invading North 
America ; and let all the people say, Amen, 

5. Blessed be the man who resolves never to submit to Great Britain ; 
and let all the people say. Amen. 

6. Blessed be the man who in the present dispute esteems not his 
life too good to fall a sacrifice to his country : let his posterity, if he ha» 
any, be blessed with riches, honor, virtue, and true religion ; and let all 
the people say, Amen, 

Now, on the other hand, as for as is connstent with the Holy Scrip- 
tures, let all these blessings be turned into curse» to him who deserts 
the noble cause in which we are engaged, and turns his back to the 
enemy before he receives proper orders to retreat ; and let all the people 
say. Amen, 

Let him be abhorred by all the United States of America.' 

Let faintness of heart and fear never forsake him. 

Let him be a me^ miserahile, a terror to himself and all around him. 

Let him be accursed in his outgoing, and cursed in his incoming; 
cursed in lying down, and cursed in uprising; cursed in basket, and 
cursed in store. 

Let him be accursed in all his eonneeticn^ till his wreithed head with 
dishonor is laid low in the dust ; and let all the soldiers say, Amen, 

And may the God of all grace, in whom we live, enable us, in defence 
of our country, to acquit ourselves like men, to his honor and praise. 
Amen^ and Amen, 

Extract fsom a Discourse delivered bt the Chaplain or General 
Poor's Brigade, October 17, 1779. 

The fashionable gentleman thinks it an affront to delicacy and refine* 
ment of taste to observe that day set apart by the law of God and man 
for religious worship. The sublime truths of Christianity, the pure and 


simple manner of the gospel, are despised and insulted eyen where 
decency and policy, reason and yirtue apart, they ought to hold them in 
the most profound veneration. How, then, can liberty exist, when 
neither supported by purity of manners, the principles of honor, nor the 
influence of religion ? From this unhappy prospect I am led in imagi* 
nation to sympathize with America drowned in tears and overwhelmed 
with distress, Methinks I hear her pathetically addressing her sons, and 
venting the anguish of her heart in this moumftil language : — " Am I 
not the only friend to liberty on all this peopled globe ? And have I 
not, when she was excluded from every other region of the earth, opened 
the arms of my protection and received the persecuted stranger to my 
friendly and virtuous shores? But when the tyrant of Britain, not 
satisfied with expelling her from his dominions, pursued her with hostile 
rage even to those shores, did I not rouse you, my sons, in her defence, 
and make you the honorable protectors of insulted Liberty ? Inflamed 
with love of this friend of mankind, you armed in her defence, you 
made a brave and successful resistance to her persecutors, and have 
rescued her from the vindictive malice of all her foreign foes. Thus 
for have you merited the titles of guardians of liberty, and deserve to 
be enrolled the heroes of the present age. But ah, my sons and citi- 
sens of the United States, whither is fled that patriotic zeal which first 
warmed your disinterested breasts ? Whither that public spirit which 
made you willing to sacrifice not only your fortunes, but also your lives, 
in defence of Liberty ? Whither is fled that happy union of sentiment 
in the great service of your country ? And whither is fled that honor- 
able love and practice of virtue, and that divine and generous religion, 
which cherishes the spirit of liberty and elevates it to an immortal 
height?" She paused and wept, nor gained an answer ; and then, in a 
suppliant posture, again renewed her address : — " I entreat you to re- 
kindle that public and generous zeal which first blazed forth in the 
defence of that liberty which you have now too long slighted. I beseech 
you to banish from your breasts that lust of gain which is the baneful 
murderer of a generous and public spirit. I entreat you to silence the 
demons of discord and animosity, and to banish them from the shores 
of America, and let them find no place to set their feet, but in the 
assemblies of the enemies of this country. 

** I conjure you, by the spirit of heaven-bom Liberty, that you invite 
her to your bosom and kindle your love for her in a never-dying flame. 
By the blessing of posterity I coivjure you, by the precious blood of the 
heroes, who have nobly shed it in the cause of their country, I conjure 
you, to practise and encourage that private and public virtue which 
ennobles the soul and ereots the temple of Liberty on an everlasting 
foundation, not to be shaken by the threatening storms of war nor the 
impotent rage of tjrrants. I ooivjure you, by the toils and dangers, by 
the suffering and poverty, of my brave armies now in the field, not to 
desert them in their defence of freedom, but to support them with that 
assistance which will save you and yours from internal and public ruin. 
Serve your country according to your abilities, and with the same seal 
with which my persevering soldiery serve you. Then will a happy con* 


cluBion crown the war, and your independence be established immO' 
Table as the everlasting mountains.'' 

The following pithy and ironical discourse on duelling will 
be read with interest, as a relic of the Revolution. It is 
entitled a 




" Two men of the Hebrews strove together." — Exodub L 

The sacred books have several instances of duels. The first that we 
read of 16 that of Cain and Abel, where the elder brother sent a chal- 
lenge to the younger because his sacrifice had been more acceptable to 
the Lord. They met, and Abel fell, having received the end of a dub^ 
as is generally supposed, somewhere above his right temple. 

The second instance of which we read is that of the text, where two 
young Hebrews had met, with their seconds, to decide a small differ- 
ence ; but what it was, has perplexed all commentators. Moses, like a 
young man as he waa^ endeavored to quiet their resentment to each 
other, or to overcome it by putting them in mind that they were 
brethren. The conduct of the young man was indiscreet, and he re- 
ceived a proper check, by the rebuke of the two bricklayers. 

The next instance we read of is that of a young officer of a bear who 
sent a challenge to young David, who reported that he was fond of eat^ 
ing sheep ; which calumny, true or false, it behooved him, as a bear of 
honor, to resent. David met him, and, having discharged their pistols, 
they took to the points, and in the scuffle, while the bear had thrown 
himself too far forward, in attempting a lunge, David caught him by 
the beard and smote him through the body. 

Having given these few instances from the Scriptures, I shall go on to 
show the necessity of the duel, and then to press it a little on my 

It is necessary, for it is not every man that has command of his 
passions; and these, unless they are suffered to evaporate in soma 
manner, will burst out into robberies and burglaries, and do damage to 
society. The passion of pride is one of the most troublesome among men, 
and to this there is nothing so powerful an antidote as fear, which never 
fiula to be excited when the challenge comes to hand. The man who 
this moment was boiling hot with pride and every haughty passion, 
is now calm and moderate ; for somebody has sent him a challenge. It 
is the only misfortune that this very principle of fear prevents the 
certainty of execution, for, by giving a trembling to the hand, it comes 
to pass that very few are wounded, and still fewer fall, in the combat. 
To remedy this, I would propose that the duellists should stand nearer, 
and put their noses into each other's hands, while the pistols are dis* 
charged. Swift says " he should be sorry to see the legislatures make 
any more laws against duelling; for if villains and rascals will dis- 
patch one another, it is for the good of the community." But the 


misfortune is, they will not dispatch one another ; for this principle of 
fear, and the distance at which they stand, prevents any shot being 

The philosophers of the former times, and the ecclesiastics of the 
present, are against duelling, forsooth, because, by studying and think- 
ing, their warm passions are rendered tame, and they have no need of 
blood-letting; but they do not consider that there are many others 
who, if they were not suffered to give themselves vent in this way, 
would rage and roar like mad bears, and set the world on fire. 

Having now seen the necessity of this excessive passion, it remains 
that I press it a little on my audience. Who is there among you that did 
not praise the corporal the other day, who, having observed something 
like a smile on the countenance of his neighbor, and not being able to 
assign the cause of it, sent him a challenge? The corporal, it is true, 
received a ball through the rim of his belly, and was buried that even- 
ing ; but it is his consolation that he is now with the angel Michael in 
Abraham's bosom. ^ 

When I mention the angel Michael, it brings to my mind the circum- 
stance of the devil sending him a challenge. But, according to the 
Apostle Jude, he (that is, Michael) durst not accept of it, or, as it is in 
the translation, "bring a railing accusation," but said, "The Lord 
rebuke thee." I do not know what to say for Michael, for certainly 
it must be granted that in this instance he did not act like an angel 
of honor. 

The only objection I know of against the practice of the duel, is that 
in the New Testament it is considerably discouraged, by the spirit of 
forbearance inculcated in these words: — " If any smite thee on the right 
cheek, turn to him the other also." But to this it is to be said that 
" the pilot of the Galilean lake," as Milton calls him (for I know my 
business better than to speak plainly out and to say ** Christ" in an 
army), the pilot of the Galilean lake, I say, and his apostles, among 
whose discourses and writings sentiments like these are found, were 
not what we call men of honor. Bred up about the Sea of Tiberias, 
they had not the best opportunity, by travelling, to become acquainted 
with the world. Nay, our Saviour himself plainly tells you so: — " Verily, 
I say unto you, my kingdom is not of this world." Now, as men of 
honor never propose to go into his kingdom, why should they frame 
themselves agreeably to its customs ? It is absurd ; and while they live 
in this world, let them live as becomes men that know the world ; and 
when they go to the devil, let them send challenges, as he has done, and 
fight duels according to his dictates. 

The following interesting document was recently found among 
the papers of Major John Shaefmyer, a deceased patriot of the 
Revolution. It is a discourse delivered on the eve of the battle 
of Brandywine, by Rev. Jacob Troute, to a large portion of the 
American soldiers, in presence of General Washington, General 
Wayne, and other oflScers of the army. 


**^They thai take the sword shall perish by the sword" . 


We have met this evening perhaps for the last time. We have shared 
the toils of the march, the peril of the fight, and the dismay of the re- 
treat, alike. We have endured the cold and hunger, the contumely of 
the internal foe, and the scourge of the foreign oppressor. We have sat 
night after night by the camp-fire, we have together heard the roll of 
the reveille which calls us to duty, or the beat of the tattoo which gave 
the signal for the hardy sleep of the soldier, with the earth for his bed 
and the knapsack for his pillow. 

And now, soldiers and brethren, we have met in this peaceful valley, 
on the eve of battle, in the sunlight that to-morrow mom will glimmer 
on the scenes of blood. We have met amid the whitening tents of our 
encampments ; in the time of terror and gloom we have gathered to- 
gether. God grant that it may not be for the last time. 

It is a solemn moment! Brethren, does not the solemn voice of 
nature seem to echo the sympathies of the hour ? The flag of our coun- 
try droops heavily from yonder statf ; the breeze has died away along the 
green plain of Chadd's Ford ; the plain that spreads before us glitters 
in the sunlight; the heights of Brandywine arise gloomy and grand 
beyond the waters of yonder stream ; all nature holds a pause of solemn 
silence on the eve of the uproar and bloody strife of to-morrow. 

" They that take the sword shall perish by the sword." 

And have they not taken the sword t 

Let the desolate plain, the blood-sodden valley, the burned farm- 
houses, blackening in the sun, the sacked village and the ravaged 
town, answer ; let the withered bones of the butchered farmer, strewed 
along the fields of his homestead, answer; let the starving mother, 
with her babe clinging to the withered breast that can afford no sust^ 
nance, let her answer, — ^with the death-rattle mingling with the murmur^ 
ing tones that marked the last moment of her life ; let the mother and 
the babe answer. 

It was but a day past, and our land slept in the quiet of peace. War 
was not here. Fraud and woe and want dwelt not among us. From 
the eternal solitude of the green woods arose the blue smoke of the 
settler's cabin, and golden fields of corn looked from amid the waste of 
the wilderness, and the glad music of human voices awoke the silence 
of the forest. 

Now, God of mercy, behold the change. Under the shadow of a pre- 
text, under the sanctity of the name of God, invoking the Redeemer 
to their aid, do these foreign hirelings slay our people. They throng 
our towns, they darken our plains, and now they encompass our posts 
on the lonely plain of Chadd's Ford. 

"They that take the sword shall perish by the sword." 

Brethren, think me not unworthy of belief when I tell you the doom 
of the British is sealed. Think me not vain when I tell you that, 
beyond the cloud that now enshrouds us, I see gathering thick and fast 
the darker cloud and thicker storm of Divine retribution. 

They may conquer to-morrow. Might and wrong may prevail, and 


we may be driven from the field ; but the hour of God's own vengeance 
will come ! 

Ay, if in the vast solitudes of eternal space there throbs the being 
of an awful God, quick to avenge and sure to punish guilt, then the 
man George Brunswick, called king, will feel in his brain and heart the 
vengoance of the eternal Jehovah. A blight will light upon his life, — a 
withered and an accursed intellect ; a blight will be upon his children 
and on his people. Great God, how dread the punishment 1 A 
crowded populace, peopling the dense towns where the men of money 
thrive, where the laborer starves ; want striding among the people in 
all forms of terror; an ignorant and God-defying priesthood chuck- 
ling over the miseries of millions ; a proud and merciless nobility adding 
wrong to wrong, and heaping insult upon robbery and fraud ; royalty 
corrupt to the very heart, and aristocracy rotten to the core ; crime 
and want linked hand in hand, and tempting men to deeds of woe and 
death : — these are a part of the doom and retribution that shall come 
upon the English throne and English people. 

Soldiers, I look around upon your familiar faces with strange interest! 
To-morrow morning we go forth to the battle, — ^for need I tell you that 
your unworthy minister will march with you, invoking the blessing of 
God's aid in the fight? — ^we will march forth to the battle. Need I ex- 
hort you to fight the good fight, — ^to fight for your homesteads, for your 
wives and your children ? 

My friends, I urge you to fight, by the galling memories of British 
wrong. Walton, I might tell you of your father, butchered in the 
silence of the night on the plains of Trenton ; I might picture his gray 
hairs dabbled in blood ; I might ring his death-fihrieks in your ears. 
Shaefmyer, I might tell you of a butchered mother and sister outraged, 
the lonely farm-house, the night assault, the roof in flames, the shouts 
of the troops as they dispatched their victims, the cries for mercy, and 
the pleadings of innocence for pity. I might paint this all again, in 
the vivid colors of tlie terrible reality, if I thought courage needed 
such wild excitement. 

But I know you are strong in the might of the Lord. You will march 
forth to battle to-morrow with light hearts and determined spirits, 
though the solemn duty — ^the duty of avenging the dead — may rest 
heavy on your souls. 

And in the hour of battle, when all around is darkness, lit by the 
lurid cannon-glare and the piercing musket-flash, when the wounded 
strew the ground and the dead litter your path, then remember, soldiers, 
that God is with you. The eternal God fights for you ; he rides on the 
battle-cloud, he sweeps onward with the march of a hurricane charge. 
God, the awful and infinite, fights for you, and you will triumph. 

" They that take the sword shall perish by the sword." 

You have taken the sword, but not in the spirit of wrong or revenge: 
you have taken the sword for your homes, for your wives and your little 
ones. You have taken the sword for truth, justice, and right, and to 
you the promise is, be of good cheer, for your foes have taken the sword 
in defiance of all that men hold dear, in blasphemy of God: they shall 
perish by the sword. 


And now, brethren and soldiers, I bid you all farewell. Many of u$ 
will fall in the battle of to-morrow, and in the memory of all will ever 
rest and linger the quiet scene of this autumnal eve. 

Solemn twilight advances over the valley ; the woods on the opposite 
height fling their long shadows over the green of the meadow ; around 
us are the tents of the Continental host, the suppressed bustle of the 
camp, the hurried tramp of the soldiers to and fro, and among the t^nts 
the stillness and awe that mark the eve of battle. 

When we meet again, may the shadows ef twilight be flung over the 
peaceful land. God in heaven grant it ! Let us pray. 

The following is the address of the clergy of the town of 
Newport, in the State of Bhode Island, to George Washington, 
President of the United States. 


With salutations of the most cordial esteem and regard, permit us, 
the clergy of the town of Newport, to approach your person, entreating 
your acceptance of our voice, in conjunction with that of our fellow- 
citizens, to hail your welcome to Rhode Island. 

Shielded by Omnipotence during a tedious and unnatural war, you 
were as a messenger sent from Heaven, in conducting the counsels of the 
cabinet, and under many embarrassments directing the operations of the 
field. Divine Providence crowned your temples with unfading laurels, 
and put into your hand the peacefully waving olive-branch. 

Long may you live, sir, highly favored of God and beloved of men, 
to preside in the grand council of our nation, which we trust will not 
cease to supplicate Heaven that its select and Divine influences may 
descend and rest upon you, endowing you with grace, wisdom and 
understanding, to go out and in before this numerous and free people* 
to preside over whom Divine Providence has raised you up. 

And therefore, before God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in 
whom all the families both in heaven and earth are named, according 
to the law of our oflice, and in bounden duty, we bow our knee, beseech- 
ing him to grant you every temporal and spiritual |blessing, and that, 
of the plenitude of his grace, all the families of these wide-ext«nded 
realms may enjoy, under an equal and judicious administration of 
government, peace and prosperity, with all the blessings attendant on 
civil and religious liberty. 

(Signed) Samuel Hopkins, 

Pcutor qf the First Congregational Church, 
and by other ministers. ' 

Gentlemen : — 

The salutations of the clergy of the town of Newport on my arrival in 
the State of Rhode Island are rendered the more acceptable on account 
of the liberal sentiments and just ideas which they arc known to ent^jr- 
lain respecting civil and religious liberty. 


I ftm inexpressibly happy that, by the smiles of Divine Providence, 
my weak but honest endeavors to serve my country have hitlierto been 
crowned with so much success, and apparently given such satisfaction to 
those in whose cause they were exerted. The same benignant influ- 
ence, together with the concurrent support of all real friends to their 
country, will still be necessary to enable me to be in any degree useful 
to this numerous and free people over whom I am called to preside. 

Wherefore I return you, gentlemen, my hearty thanks for your 
solemn invocation of Almighty God that every temporal and spiritual 
blessing may be dispensed to me, and that under my administration 
the families of these States may enjoy peace and prosperity, with all the 
blessings attendant on civil and religious liberty. In the participation 
of which blessings may you have an ample share. 

G. Washington. 

Wasliington closed his public life, as President of tlie United 
States, on the 4th of March, 1797. The day before this event 
the ministers of the gospel, of all denominations, in and near 
Philadelphia, sent him the following paper : — 

To George Washington, President of the United States. 

On a day which becomes important in the annals of America, as 
marking the close of a splendid public life, devoted for near half a cen- 
tury to the service of your country, we the undersigned, clergy of 
different denominations in and near the city of Philadelphia, beg leave 
to join the voice of our fellow-citizens in expressing our deep sense of 
your public services in every department of trust and authority com- 
mitted to you. But, in our special characters as ministers of the gospel 
of Christ, we are more immediately bound to acknowledge the counte- 
nance which you ha^^e universally given to his holy religion. 

In your public character we have beheld the edifying example of a 
civil ruler always acknowledging the superintendence of Divine Provi- 
dence in the affairs of men, and confirming that example by the 
powerful recommendation of religion and morality as the firmest basis 
of social happiness, — more particularly in the following language of 
your affectionate parting address to your fellow-citizens : — 

*' Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, 
religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that 
man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these 
great pillars of human happiness, — the firmest props of the duties of 
men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, 
ought to respect and cherish them. A volume could not trace all their 
connections with private and public felicity. Let us with caution 
indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without reli- 
gion. Reason and experience forbid us to expect that national mo- 
rality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles." 

Should the importance of these just and pious sentiments be duly 
appreciated and regarded, we confidently trust that the prayers you 


have ofifered for the prosperity of our common country will be answered. 
In these prayers we most fervently unite, and with equal fervor in 
those which the numerous public bodies that represent the citizens of 
these States are offering for their beloved chief. We most devoutly 
implore the Divine blessing to attend you in your retirement, to render 
it in all respectfl comfortable to you, to satisfy you with length of days, 
and finally to receive you into happiness and glory infinitely greater 
than this world can bestow. 
Philadblphia, Maroh 3, 1707. 

Thomas Ustick, Samuel Jones, 

Andw. Hunter, Wm. Frendel, 

Jno. Dicking, Nicholas Collin, 

Joshua Jones, Robert Annan, 

Joseph Turner, William Marshall, 

Ezekiel Cooper, John Meder, 

Andw. J. Rhess, John Andrews, 

Jam. Abercrombis, F. Henrt Ch. Helmith, 

Wm. White, Sam. Morgan, 

Ashbel Green, J. Frederick Schmidt, 

William Smith, Robt. Black well, 

John Ew^ing, Wm. Rogers. 

Gentlemen : — 

Not to acknowledge with gratitude and sensibility the affectionate 
addresses and benevolent wishes of my fellow-citizens on my retirement 
from public life, would prove that I have been unworthy of the con- 
fidence which they have been plea^sed to repose in me. And among 
those public testimonials of attachment and approbation, none can l>e 
more grateful than that of so respectable a body as yours. 

Believing as I do that religion and morality are the essential pillars 
of society, I view with unspeakable pleasure that harmony and bro- 
therly love which characterizes the clergy of different denominations 
as well in this as in all parts of the United States, exhibiting to the 
world a new and interesting spectacle, at once the pride of our country 
and the surest basis of universal harmony. That your labors for the 
good of mankind may be crowned with success, that your temporal 
enjoyments may be commensurate with your merits, and that the 
future rewards of good and faithful servants may be yours, I shall not 
cease to sui^plicate the Divine Author of life and felicity. 

George Washington. 

The following correspondence of the Congregational ministers 
of Massachusetts with John Adams, President of the United 
States, refers to a very critical era in the history of the Govern- 
ment, and finely illustrates the patriotism and piety of Ameri- 
can ministers. The atheism of France in 1795 had engulfed 
that empire in anarchy and blood. It was the first experiment 


in the history of the world, of the national reign of infidelity, 
and its results shocked the civilized world with horror, and 
demonstrated its terrific nature and evils on civil government 
and society. " God permitted," said Eobert Hall, of England, 
in his masterly sermon on Modern Infidelity Considered, " the 
trial to be made. In one country — and that the centre of Chris- 
tendom — ^revelation underwent a total eclipse, while atheism, per- 
forming on a darkened theatre its strange and fearful tragedy, 
confounded the first elements of society, blended every age, 
rank,, and sex in indiscriminate proscription and massacre, and 
convulsed all Europe to ita centre ; that the imperishable 
memorial of these events might teach* the last genenitions of 
mankind to consider religion as the pillar of society, the safe- 
guard of nations, the parent of social order, which alone has 
power to curb the fiery passions and to secure to every one his 

" Those who prepared the minds of the people for that great 
change, and for the reign of atheism, were avowed enemies to 
revelation j in all their writings the diflFusion of skepticism and 
revolutionary principles went hand in hand ; the fury of the 
most sanguinary parties was especially pointed against the Chris- 
tian priesthood and religious institutions, without once pretend- 
ing, like other persecutors, to execute the vengeance of God 
(whose name they never mentioned) upon his enemies ; their 
atrocities were committed with a wanton levity and brutal mer- 
riment ; the reign of atheism was avowedly and expressly the 
reign of terror ; in the full madness of their career, in the 
highest climax of their horrors, they shut up the temples of God, 
abolished his worship, and proclaimed death to be an eternal 
sleep, — as if by pointing to the silence of the sepulchre and the 
sleep of the dead these ferocious barbarians meant to apologize 
for leaving neither sleep, quiet, nor repose to the living. No 
sooner were the speculations of atheistical philosophy matured 
than they gave birth to a ferocity which converted the most 
polished people in Europe into a horde of assassins, — the seat of 
voluptuous refinement and of arts, into a theatre of blood. 
Atheism is an inhuman, bloody, ferocious system, equally hostile 
to every useful restraint and to every virtuous aflFection; that, 
leaving nothing above us to excite our awe, nor round us to 
awaken our tenderness, wages war with heaven and with earth. 
Its first object is to dethrone God, its next to destroy man." 


The French rulers, under the reign of atheism, during the 
Administration of John Adams, plied every art to bring the 
Government of the United States into political alliance with the 
French nation, and we were on the eve of a war with our 
ancient ally and friend. So imminent was the danger that 
Washington was appointed again commander-in-chief of the 
American armies, and accepted the appointment, with the un- 
derstanding that he was not to take the field till actual war had 
begun. The President, during this crisis of our nation, received, 
from all parts of the country, numerous addresses, urging him 
to resist all influences and machinations, either at home or 
abroad, which aimed to make the United States an ally with 
atheistical France, who was " grasping at universal domination, 
had abandoned every moral and religious principle, trampled on 
sacred faith, sported with national laws, and demanded pecu- 
niary exactions which would bankrupt our nation and render 
us slaves instead of a free, sovereign, and indej)endent people." 
Among other addresses waa the following: — 

We, the Congregational ministers of Massachusetts, met in annual 
Convention, feel ourselves called upon, as men, as American citizens, 
and as public professors and teachers of Christianity, to address you at 
this solemn and eventful crisis. 

While the benevolent spirit of our religion and office prompts our 
fervent wishes and prayers for the univer!*al extension of rational liberty, 
social order, and Christian piety, we cannot but deeply lament and 
firmly resist those atheistical, licentious, and disorganizing principles 
which have been avowed and zealously propagated by the philosophers 
of Franco, — ^which have produced the greatest crimes and miseries in 
that unhappy country, and, like a moral pestilence, are diffusing their 
baneful influence even to distant nations. From these principles, com- 
bined with boundless avarice and ambition, have originated, not only 
schemes of universal plunder and domination, but insidious attempts 
to divide the American people from their rulers and involve them in a 
needless, uryust, and ruinous war ; arbitrary and cruel depredations on 
their unoffending commerce ; contemptuous treatment of their respected 
messengers and generous overtures of peace ; rapacious demands and 
insulting threats in answer to the most fair and condescending pro- 

In this connection, we offer to you, sir, our tribute of affectionate 
esteem and gratitude, and to Almighty God our devout praise, for the 
wise, temperate, and benevolent policy which has marked your conduct 
towards the offending Power, and which has given a new and splendid 
example of the beauty and dignity of the Christian spirit contrasted 
with the base and profligate spirit of infidelity. We also bless God for 
your firm, patriotic, and important services to your country from the 


c:awn of its glorious ReTolution, and for the conspicuous integrity and 
wisdom which have been constantly displayed both by you, sir, and 
your excellent and beloved predecessors. 

As ministers of the Prince of peace, we feel it our duty both to in- 
culcate and exemplify the pacific spirit which adorns his character and 
(ioctrine. We remember his injunction to forgive and love our most 
iiyurious enemies. But neither the law of Christianity nor of reason 
requires us to prostrate our national independence, freedom, prosperity, 
and honor at the feet of proud, insatiable oppressor3,^specially of a 
Government which has renounced tlie gospel and its sacred institutions 
and has transferred to imaginary heathen idols the homage due to the 
Creator and Redeemer of the world. Such a prostration would be 
treason against the Being who gave us our inestimable privileges, civil 
and religious, as a sacred deposit to be defended and transmitted to pos- 
terity. It would be criminal unfaithfulness and treachery to our coun- 
try, our children, and the whole human race. 

The fate of Venice, and other countries subdued by France, though 
held up to intimidate us to degrading submission, shall teach us a far 
diflerent lesson: it shall instruct us to shun that insidious embrace 
which aims not only to reduce us to the condition of tributaries, but to 
strip us of the gospel, the Christian Sabbath, and every pious institu- 
tidn. These privileges we consider the chief glory of our country, the 
main pillars of its civil order, liberty, and happiness ; as, on the other 
hand, we view its excellent political institutions as, under God, the 
guardians of our religious and ecclesiastical privileges. This intimate 
connection between our civil and Christian blessings is alone sufficient 
to justify the decided part which the clergy of America have uniformly 
taken in supporting the constituted authorities and political interests 
of their country. While we forgive the censure which our order has 
received from some persons on this account, we will still, by our prayers 
and examples, by our public and private discourses, continue ;the same 
tenor of conduct which has incurred this malevolent or misguided 

Amidst the fashionable skepticism and impiety of the age, it is a 
matter of consolation and gratitude that we have a President who, both 
in word and action, avows his reverence for the Christian religion, his 
belief in the Redeemer and Sanctifier of the world, and his devout trust 
in the Providence of God. May that Being, whose important favor you 
recently led us to implore, graciously answer our united prayers in be- 
half of our common country. May he preserve your valuable life and 
health, your vigor, firmness, and integrity of mind, and your conse- 
quent public usefulness, and at length transfer you, full of days and 
honor, to the possession of an eminent and everlasting reward. 

The President replied aa follows : — 

This respectful and affectionate address from the Convention of the 
clergy of Massachusetts, not less distinguished for science and learning, 
candor, moderation, liberality of sentiment and conduct, and for the 
most amiable urbanity of manners, than for unblemished moralB and 



Christian piety, does me great honor, and must have the most beneficial 
effects upon the public mind at this solemn and eventful crisis. 

To do justice to its sentiments and language, I could only repeat it 
sentence by sentence and word for word : I shall therefore confine my- 
self to a mere return of my unfeigned thanks. John Adams. 

These facts, bo honorable to the patriotism, piety, learning, 
and zealous labors of ministers of all denominations during the 
era of the Revolution, and subsequently, fully justify the decla- 
ration of Mr. Webster, in the Supreme Court of the United 
States, expressed in his celebrated argument on the Girard Will 
Case, in 1844 :— 

"I take upon myself to say that in no country in the world, 
upon either continent, can there be found a body of ministers 
of the gospel who perform so much service to men, in such a 
free spirit of self-denial, under so little encouragement from 
Government of any kind, and under circumstances almost always 
much straitened and often distressed, as the ministers of the 
gospel in the United States, of all denominations. They form 
no part of an estabKshed order of religion ; they constitute no 
hierarchy ; they enjoy no peculiar privileges. And this body 
of clergymen has shown, to the honor of our country and the 
admiration of the hierarchies of the Old World, that it is 
practicable in free governments to raise and sustain, by volun- 
tary contributions alone, a body of clergymen which, for de- 
votedness to their calling, for purity of life and character, for 
learning, intelligence, piety, and that wisdom which cometh 
from above, is inferior to none, and superior to most others. 

" I hope that our learned men have done something for the 
honor of our literature abroad. I hope that the courts of justice 
and members of the bar have done something to elevate the 
character of the profession of law. I hope that the discussions 
above [in Congress] have done something to ameliorate the con- 
dition of the human race, to secure and strengthen the great 
charter of human rights, and to strengthen and advance the 
great principles of human liberty. But I contend that no literary 
efForts,'no adjudications, no constitutional discussions, nothing 
that has been done or said in favor of the great interests of uni- 
versal man, have done this country more credit, at home and 
abroad, than the establishment of our body of clergymen, their 
support by voluntary contributions, and the general excellence 
of their character, their piety and learning." 



These views of Mr. Webster are confirmed by Dr. Gardiner 
Spring, for more than forty years a Presbyterian pastor of the 
city of New York, and whose father, Dr. Samuel Spring, of 
Massachusetts, was an able and patriotic preacher of the Revo- 
lution. In his work on " The Power of the Pulpit," Dr. Gardiner 
Spring says, — 

"The office of religious teacher among the Jews was a noble 
office. Without them the Hebrew State htid been an irreligious, 
ignorant, disjointed community. The nation wtis exalted or 
debased as their religious teachers were honored or dishonored, 
and as they exerted or foiled to exert their appropriate influ- 
ence. So long as the nation was in its glory, its religious 
teachers were the glory and strength of the nation. . . . 

"The voice of the pulpit,*' Dr. Spring continues, "has been 
often heard on subjects of high public inCferest, Its influence has 
been felt in scenes which ' tried men's souls,' That great event 
in the history of the world, the American Eevolution, never 
would have been achieved without the influence of the pulpit. 
Political society * moved on the axis of religion. The religious 
movement gave its character to the social movement.' " 

The facts in this chapter fully vindicate the patriotism and 
piety of the American clergy, and reveal one of the great 
sources of the Christian life and character of the civil insti- 
tutions of the United States. They prove the mighty and 
beneficent power of the pulpit on the progress, prosperity, and 
true glory of the republic, and their essential relations to its 
very life and perpetuity. The pulpit, in every age, and in 
the battles and conflicts of truth and liberty with error and 
desj)otism, has always been on the side of the right. It has 
stood forth as the champion of the oppressed, and has ever been, 
with all the darkness that has enveloped the nations, the edu- 
cator of the world in all the arts, refinements, and charities 
which adorn Christian civilization, and has, during the course 
of these ages, difi'used the. spirit and precepts of the Christian 
religion into the science of politics and the government and 
legislation of nations. 










Among tlie Christian agencies that commenced and com- 
pleted the work of American civilization and freedom, that of the 
influence of woman was pre-eminent and controlling. Her piety, 
home-culture, prayers, and personal labor and sacrifices, were 
among the chief causes that contributed to the progress and 
elevation of the nation, and which assisted largely in the tri- 
umphs of liberty and the results of the Revolution. They have 
ever been the most effective and polished workmen on the edi- 
fice of society and on the temple of human freedom. " All his- 
tory, both sacred and profane, both ancient and modern, bears 
testimony to the efficacy of female influence and power in the 
cause of human liberty. From the time of the preservation 
by the hands of women of the great Jewish lawgiver in his 
infantile hours, and who was preserved for Ihe purpose of free- 
ing his countrymen from Egyptian bondage, has woman been 
made a powerful agent in breaking to pieces the rod of the 
oppressor. With a pure and uncontaniinated mind, her actions 
spring from the deepest recesses of the human heart." 

In an address to the ladies of Richmond, at a public reception 
which they gave to Mr. Webster, on the 5th of October, 1840, 
he said, — 


*' It 18 by the promulgation of sound morals in the commu- 
nity, and more especially by the training and instruction of the 
young, that woman performs her part towards the preservation 
of a free government. It is generally admitted that public 
liberty and the perpetuity of a free constitution rest on the 
virtue and intelligence of the community which enjoys it. How 
is that virtue to be inspired, and how is that intelligence to be 
communicated ? Bonaparte once asked Madame de Stiiel in 
what manner he oould best promote the happiness of France. 
Her reply is full of political wisdom. She said, ' Instruct the 
mothers of the French people.* Mothers are indeed the 
aflfectionate and effective teachers of the human race. The 
mother begins her process of training with the infant in her 
arms. It is she who directs, so to speak, its first mental and 
spiritual pulsations. She conducts it along the impressible years 
of childhood and youth, and hopes to deliver it to the stern con- 
flicts and tumultuous scenes of life armed by those good princi- 
ples which her child has received from maternal care and love. 

" If we draw," says Mr. Webster, " within the circle of our 
contemplation the mothers of a civilized nation, what do we 
see ? We behold so many artificers, working, not on frail and 
perishable materials, but on the immortal mind, moulding and 
fashioning beings who are to exist forever. We applaud the 
artist whose skill and genius present the mimic man upon the 
canvas ; we admire and celebrate the sculptor who works out 
that same image in enduring marble; but how insignificant 
are these achievements, though the highest and fairest in all 
departments, in comparison with the great vocation of human 
mothers ! They work, not upon the canvas that shall fail, or 
the marble that shall crumble into dust, but upon mind, spirit, 
which is to last forever, and which is to bear the impress of a 
mother's plastic hand. 

" The attainment of knowledge does not comprise all which 
is contained in the larger term of education. The feelings are 
to be disciplined, the passions are to be restrained, true and 
worthy motives are to be inspired, a profound religious feeling 
is to be instilled, and pure morality inculcated, under all cir- 
cumstances. All this is comprised in education. Mothers who 
are faithful to this great duty will tell their children that neither 
in political nor in any other concerns of life can man ever with- 
draw himself from the perpetual obligations of conscience and of 


duty ; that in every act, whether public or private, he incurs a 
just responsibility ; and that in no condition is he warrant^^d in 
trifling with imj>ortunt rights and obhgations. They will im- 
press upon their children the truth that the exercise of the- 
elective francliKse is a social duty, of as solemft nature as man can 
l>e called to perform ; that a man cannot innocently trifle with 
his vote; that every free elector is a trustee as well for othera 
as himself; and that every man and every m»easnre he support* 
has an important bearing on the interests of others, as well as 
on his own. It is in the inculcation of high and pure moi'als, such 
as these, that in a free republic woman performs her sacred 
duty and fulfills her destiny." 

"It is of great importance," says Charlea Francis Adams* 
"not only to understand the nature of the superiority of the 
individuals who have made themselves a name above their fellow- 
beings, but to estimate the degree in which the excellence for 
which they were distinguisl^d was shared by those among whom 
they lived. Inattention to this duty might present Patrick 
Henry and James Otis, Washington^ Jefferson, and Samuel 
Adams, as the causes of the American Revolution, which 
they were not. There was a moral principle in the field, to the 
power of which a great majority of the whole population of 
the colonies, whether male or female, old or yoang, had been long 
and habitually trained to do homage. The individuals named, 
with the rest of their celebrated associates, were not the origin- 
ators, but the spokesmen, of the general opinion, and instru- 
ments for its adaptation to existing events. Whether fighting in 
the fielder deliberating in the senate, their strength against Great 
Britain was not that of numbers,, nor of wealth, nor of genius; 
but it drew its nourishment from the sentiments that pervaded 
the dwellings of the entire population. 

"How much this home-sentiment did then, and doea ever, 
depend on the character of the female portion of the people^ 
will be too readily understood by all, to require explanation. 
The domestic hearth is the first of schools and the best of lecture- 
rooms ; for there the heart will co-operate with the mind, the 
affections with the reasoning powers. And this is the scene for 
the almost exclusive sway of woman. Yet, great as the influ- 
ence thus exercised undoubtedly is, it escapes observation in 
s»'ch a manner that history rarely takes much account of it. 

'* In every instance of domestic convulsions, when the pruning- 


hook is deserted for the sword and the musket, the sacrifice of 
feelings made by the female sex is unmixed with a hope of 
worldly compensation. With them there is no ambition to 
gratify, no fame to be gained by the simple negative virtue of 
privations suffered in silence. The lot of woman in times of 
trouble is to be a passive spectator of events which she scarcely 
hopes to make subservient to her own fame and control." 

" The heroism of the females of the Eevolution has gone from 
the memory with the generation that witnessed it, and but little 
remains upon the ear of the young of the present day but the 
faint echo of an expiring tradition." " Instances of patience, 
perseverance, fortitude, magnanimity, courage, humanity, and 
tenderness," says the wife of John Adams, which " would have 
graced the Roman character, were known only to those who 
were themselves the actors, and whose modesty could not suffer 
them to blazon abroad their own fame." 

And yet enough of the noble deeds and influence of the women 
of the Revolution remains to show their piety, their patriot- 
ism, and their self-denying efforts in the cause of their country. 
Their piety and labors are thus referred to by Mrs. EUet, the 
historiographer in this field of the Revolution. "I have been 
struck," says she, " by the fact that almost all were noted for 
piety. The spirit that exhibited itself in acts of humanity, 
courage, patriotism, and magnanimity was a deeply religious 
one. May we not with reason deem this an important source 
of the strength that gave success to the American cause ? To 
inflame the fires of freedom by mutual interchanges of feelings, 
and to keep them burning in the hearts of all around, they 
formed freedom-associations, and entered into written pledges to 
make every sacrifice they could for their country." 

In Edenton, North Carolina, on the 26th of October, 1774, 
the women made the following covenant : — 

As we cannot be indifferent on any occasion that appears to affect 
the peace and happiness of our country, and it has been thought neces- 
sary for th^ public good to enter into secret particular resolves by a 
meeting of the members of the Deputies from the whole Province, it is 
a duty we owe not only to our near and dear connections, but to our- 
selves who are severally interested in their welfare, to do every thing, as 
far as lies in our power, to testify our sincere adherence to the same ; 
and we do therefore accordingly subscribe this paper as a witness of our 
fixed intention and solemn determination to do so. 

(Signed by fifty-one ladies.) 


Thia patriotism was displayed in the willing sacrifices they. 
made in their favorite beverage, tea. A tax being laid upon tea 
for the purpose of revenue to the British Government, its use 
was generally abandoned. 

Three hundred heads of families in Boston, in a written cove- 
nant, resolved that they " would totally abstain from the use of 
tea till the revenue acts were repealed." The young ladies of 
Boston followed the example of their mothers, as the following 
pledge indicates : — 

BoBTOHi Febroary 12, 1770. 
We, the daughters of those patriots who have and do now appear for 
the public interest, — and in that principally regard their posterity, — as 
such do with pleasure engage with them in denying ourselves the drinking 
of foreign tea, in hopes to frustrate a plan which tends to deprive a 
whole community of all that is valuable in life. 

This pledge was signed by women throughout New England. 

In an afternoon's visit of ladies in Newport, Rhode Island, it 
was resolved that those who could spin should be employed in 
that way, and those who could not should sew. When the time 
arrived for drinking tea, bohea and hyperion were provided; and 
every one of the ladies patriotically rejected the bohea, and 
unanimously, to their great honor, preferred the balsamic hype- 
rion, — the dried leaves of raspberry-plants. 

In Boston, some fifty young ladies, enrolled as " The Daugh- 
ters of Liberty," met at a minister's house (Rev. Mr. More- 
head) and in a single day spun " two hundred and thirty-two 
skeins of yarn. Numerous spectators came to admire them, 
and the whole was concluded with many stirring tunes, anthems, 
and liberty songs, which were animated in their several parts 
by a number of the Sons of Liberty." 

At Mecklenburg and Rowan, North Carolina, the young 
ladies entered into a written pledge not to receive the attentions 
of young men who would not volunteer in defence of their 
country. They declared they " were of opinion that such per- 
sons who stay loitering at home when the important calls of 
their country demand their military service abroad, must cer- 
tainly be destitute of that nobleness of sentiment, that brave 
and manly spirit, which would qualify them to be the defenders 
and guardians of the fair sex." 

An interesting incident, illustrative of female patriotism and 
activity, is given by Mr. Headley as occurring in the church at 


Litchfield, Connecticut. The pastor, Judah Champion, was an 
ardent patriot, and on a certain Sabbath was earnestly preach- 
ing and praying for the success of the American arms. During 
the service a messenger arrived, announcing that St. Johns — 
which had been besieged six weeks, and was regarded as the key 
to Canada — was taken. " Thank God for the victory !" exclaimed 
the patriot preacher, and the chorister, clapping his hands, 
vigorously shouted, "Amen, and amen !" 

The communication of the messenger announced that our 
army was in a suffering condition, destitute of clothing, without 
stockings or shoes. " Sorrow and pity took the place of exulta- 
tion, and generous sympathetic eyes filled with tears on every 
side. Ther