In 1731, a Spanish commander cut off the ear of British Captain Robert Jenkins and told him to take it to his King.
This began the War of Jenkins’ Ear.
They sailed to Panama and captured Porto Bello, which was the most prosperous Spanish city in the New World as all the gold of Central and South America flowed through it to Spain.
Lawrence Washington returned to Virginia as a 25-year-old war hero.
After Lawrence died, George, at age 20, inherited Mount Vernon.
In 1742, the War of Austrian Succession began when Marie Theresa became the first woman to take Austria’s throne.This pulled Prussia and France into the war, and combined with the War of Jenkin’s Ear, was called King George’s War in America.
The threat of war shook colonists out of complacency and contributed to the spread of the Great Awakening Revival.
The British took the French city of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, in 1745, which had been New France’s 2nd most important commercial city after Quebec, and the 3rd busiest seaport in America, behind Boston and Philadelphia.
France wanted Louisbourg back, and in 1746, sent Admiral d’Anville with the most powerful fleet of its day: 73 ships with 800 cannons and 13,000 troops.
Admiral d’Anville intended to “expel the British from Nova Scotia, consign Boston to flames, ravage New England, and waste the British West Indies.”
Massachusetts Governor William Shirley declared a Day of Prayer and Fasting, October 16, 1746, to pray for deliverance.
Boston citizens gathered in the Old South Meeting House, where Rev. Thomas Prince prayed:
“Send Thy tempest, Lord, upon the water… scatter the ships of our tormentors!”
“a wild, uneven sound…though no man was in the steeple.”
A hurricane scattered the entire French fleet as far as the Caribbean. Lightning struck several ships, igniting gunpowder magazines, causing explosions and fire.
With 2,000 dead, including Admiral d’Anville, and 4,000 sick with typhoid, French Vice-Admiral d’Estournelle threw himself on his sword.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote in his poem, The Ballad of the French Fleet:
“Admiral d’Anville had sworn by cross and crown,
To ravage with fire and steel our helpless Boston Town…
There were rumors in the street, in the houses there was fear
Of the coming of the fleet, and the danger hovering near.
And while from mouth to mouth, spread the tidings of dismay,
I stood in the Old South, saying humbly: ‘Let us pray!’
‘Oh Lord! we would not advise; but if in thy Providence
A tempest should arise, to drive the French Fleet hence,
And scatter it far and wide, or sink it in the sea,
We should be satisfied, and Thine the glory be…’
Like a potter’s vessel broke, the great ships of the line…
Were carried away as smoke…or sank in the brine.”
This great deliverance encouraged Ben Franklin, in 1747, to propose a General Fast, which was approved by Pennsylvania’s Council and published in the Pennsylvania Gazette, December 12, 1747:
and there is just reason to fear that unless we humble ourselves before the Lord and amend our ways, we may be chastized with yet heavier judgments.
We have…thought fit…to appoint…a Day of Fasting & Prayer, exhorting all, both Ministers & People…to join with one accord in the most humble & fervent supplications
that Almighty God would mercifully interpose and still the rage of war among the nations & put a stop to the effusion of Christian blood.”
In 1747, Ben Franklin also organized Pennsylvania’s first “volunteer” militia with 10,000 signing up.
This made Franklin the most popular person in the colony and began his political career.
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|By Bill Federer
OCTOBER 3, 1789, from the U.S. Capitol in New York City, President George Washington issued the first Proclamation of a National Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer to Almighty God.
Just one week earlier the first session of the U.S. Congress successfully approved the Bill of Rights, which put ten limitations on the power of the new Federal Government.
The States were concerned the Federal Government would get too powerful.
ThePreamble to the Bill of Rights explained:
“The Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added…as amendments to the Constitution of the United States.”
The First of the Ten Amendments restricting the Federal Government’s abuse of its powers began:
“CONGRESS shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,
OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF;
or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;
or the right of the people peaceably to assemble,
and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
President George Washington thanked God for the “Constitutions of government…particularly the national one now lately instituted,” stating in his Proclamation, OCTOBER 3, 1789:
“Whereas it is the DUTY of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of ALMIGHTY GOD, to obey His will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and
‘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,
T 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 United States to the service of that GREAT AND GLORIOUS BEING, who is the BENEFICENT AUTHOR of all the good that was, that is, or that will be;
That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks,
for His kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation;
for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of HIS PROVIDENCE, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war;
for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed,
for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to ESTABLISH CONSTITUTIONS OF GOVERNMENT 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 hath 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 enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually;
to render OUR NATIONAL GOVERNMENT a blessing to all the People, by constantly being A GOVERNMENT OF WISE, JUST AND CONSTITUTIONAL LAWS, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed;
TO PROMOTE THE KNOWLEDGE AND PRACTICE OF TRUE RELIGION AND VIRTUE, and the increase of science among them and us;
and generally 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 3rd of October, IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.
by Bill Federer
He preached a message on Ecclesiastes 3:1:”For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”
He closed his message by saying:
“In the language of the Holy Writ, there is a time for all things. There is a time to preach and a time to fight. And now is the time to fight.”
This was John Peter Gabriel Muhlenburg, a 30 year old member of the Virginia House of Burgesses…and a pastor.
At the end of his sermon, January 21, 1776, John Peter Muhlenburg threw off his clerical robes to reveal the uniform of an officer in the Continental Army.
Drum began to roll, men kissed their wives, then walked down the aisle to enlist.
The next day, Pastor Muhlenberg led 300 men of his church to marched off and join General Washington’s Continental Army as the 8th Virginia Regiment.
John Peter Muhlenberg was born OCTOBER 1, 1746, and he died the same day sixty-one years later, OCTOBER 1, 1807.
As a youth, he lived with relatives in Germany from 1763-1767, and returned to America to finish his schooling at the Academy of Philadelphia (University of Pennsylvania).
He served Lutheran congregations, though he was ordained as an Anglican minister, as was the requirement in Colonial Virginia.
John Peter Muhlenberg heard Patrick Henry’s famous speech, “Give me liberty or give me death,” in 1775, and was moved to enlist.
General George Washington personally asked him to raised soldiers and serve as their Colonel.
John Peter’s brother, Fredrick Augustus Mulenberg, was a Lutheran minister in New York who opposed John Peter joining Washington’s army:
“You have become too involved in matters which, as a preacher, you have nothing whatsoever to do…”
Then the British bombarded New York and burned Fredrick’s church right in front of him, resulting in Fredrick joining the patriotic cause.
John Peter Muhlenberg fought until the end of the war, being promoted to the rank of Major-General.
He endured the freezing winter of Valley Forge and saw action at Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, and Stonypoint.
He helped force British General Cornwallis to surrender at Yorktown.
After the war, John Peter Muhlenburg was elected to Pennsylvania’s Supreme Executive Council in 1784, and then Vice-President of Pennsylvania in 1787.
In 1789, he was elected a Representative to the first U.S. Congress.
In 1790, he was a member of the Pennsylvania’s State Constitutional Convention and in 1793, was the first founder of the Democratic-Republican Societies.
John’s father, Henry Muhlenberg, was a founder of the Lutheran Church in America.
John’s brother, Fredrick Augustus Mulenberg, was also elected to the U.S. Congress and became the first Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Both ordained pastors, John and Frederick Muhlenberg served in the first session of the U.S. Congress which passed the First Amendment, making sure that the new Federal Government would never “prohibit the free exercise” of their religion, nor take away the freedom of speech, press, the right of the people peaceably to assemble, or petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
John Peter Muhlenberg was elected a U.S. Senator in 1801.
He served as a Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania, which honored him with a statue.
In 1889, the State of Pennsylvania placed a statue of John Peter Muhlenberg in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall.
His statue is in front of the Shenendoah County Courthouse.
John Peter Gabriel Muhlenburg was memorialized in a poem by Thomas Buchanan Read, titled “The Rising,” published inWilliam Holmes McGuffey Fifth Eclectic Reader(Cincinnati & New York: Van Antwerp, Bragg & Co., revised ed., 1879, Lesson LXV, pp. 200-204):
…Within its shade of elm and oak
In vain their feet with loitering tread
The pastor rose: the prayer was strong;
He spoke of wrongs too long endured,
The stirring sentences he spake
And, rising on his theme’s broad wing,
Even as he spoke, his frame renewed
Rose, as it seemed, a shoulder higher;
When suddenly his mantle wide
When Berkley cried, “Cease, traitor! Cease!
The other shouted, “Nay, not so,
In this the dawn of Freedom’s day
And now before the open door-
So loud and clear, it seemed the ear
And every word its ardor flung
“Who dares”-this was the patriot’s cry,
A hundred hands flung up reply,
In Washington, D.C., at the corner of Connecticut Ave. and Ellicott St., there is a bronze memorial to John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, with the inscription:
JOHN PETER GABRIEL MUHLENBERG
…THE “FIGHTING PARSON OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION”
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He refused to sign the Constitution as it did not limit the Federal Government enough.. via American Minute
“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”Thus began the first of the Ten Amendments, or Bill of Rights, which were approved SEPTEMBER 25, 1789.
When George Washington was chosen to be the Commander of the Continental Army, George Mason was drafted by citizens of Virginia to fill Washington’s place in the Continental Congress.
George Mason wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights, from which Jefferson drew from to write the Declaration of Independence.
George Mason was one of 55 founders who wrote the U.S. Constitution, but was one of the few who refused to sign it because it did not end the slave trade and did not put enough limits on the Federal Government’s power.
On August 22, 1787, George Mason stated:
“Every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant. They bring the judgment of heaven upon a country. As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, they must be in this.
By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national sins, by national calamities.”
“The laws of nature are the laws of God, whose authority can be superseded by no power on earth.”
This phrase of Mason’s was mirrored in the Declaration of Independence as
“the laws of nature and nature’s God.”
They feared that too much power concentrated into the hands of the Federal Government would result in the same trampling of individual rights that King George III perpetrated.
George Mason’s opposition to the Constitution cost him his friendship with George Washington.
George Mason suggested the wording of the First Amendment be:
“All men have an equal, natural and unalienable right to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that no particular sect or society of Christians ought to be favored or established by law in preference to others.”
by Bill Federer
“The power to tax is the power to destroy,” wrote John Marshall, 4th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, who was born SEPTEMBER 24, 1755.No one had a greater impact on Constitutional Law than John Marshall.Home schooled as a youth, he served with the Culpeper Minutemen at the beginning of the Revolutionary War.
Marshall joined the Continental Army and served as a captain in Virginia Regiment under General George Washington, enduring the freezing winter at Valley Forge.
John Marshall later described George Washington:
“Without making ostentatious professions of religion, he was a sincere believer in the Christian faith, and a truly devout man.”
John Marshall then studied law under Chancellor George Wythe at the College of William and Mary.
He as a U.S. Congressman from Virginia, and became Secretary of State under President John Adams, who then nominated him to the Supreme Court.
John Marshall swore in as Chief Justice on February 4, 1801, and served 34 years.
Every Supreme Court session opens with the invocation:
“God save the United States and this Honorable Court.”
John Marshall helped write over 1,000 decisions, usually favoring the Federal Government, which put him at odds with President Thomas Jefferson who championed State Governments.
John Marshall decided in favor of the Cherokee Indian nation to stay in Georgia against the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which was hurriedly pushed through Congress by Democrat President Andrew Jackson.
Ignoring John Marshall’s decision, the Federal Government removed over 46,000 Native Americans from their homes and relocated them west, leaving vacant 25 million acres open to the expansion of slavery.
Chief Justice John Marshall commented May 9, 1833, on the pamphlet The Relation of Christianity to Civil Government in the United States written by Rev. Jasper Adams, President of the College of Charleston, South Carolina (The Papers of John Marshall, ed. Charles Hobson, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006, p, 278):
“No person, I believe, questions the importance of religion to the
The American population is entirely Christian, and with us, Christianity and religion are identified.
It would be strange, indeed, if with such a people, our institutions did not presuppose Christianity, and did not often refer to it, and express relations with it.”
According to tradition, the Liberty Bell cracked while tolling at John Marshall’s funeral, July 8, 1835.
Inside the Supreme Court chamber are Adolph A. Weinman’s marble friezes depicting lawgivers throughout history, including Moses holding the Ten Commandments, and John Marshall.
A story was originally published in the Winchester Republicannewspaper, and recounted in Henry Howe’s Historical Collections of Virginia (Charleston, South Carolina, 1845, p. 275-276; Albert J. Beveridge, The Life of John Marshall, Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1919, Vol. 4, The Building of the Nation, 1815-1835):
“There is, too, a legend about an astonishing flash of eloquence from Marshall – ‘a streak of vivid lightning’ – at a tavern, on the subject of religion.
The impression said to have been made by Marshall on this occasion was heightened by his appearance when he arrived at the inn.
The shafts of his ancient gig were broken and ‘held together by switches formed from the bark of a hickory sapling’; he was negligently dressed, his knee buckles loosened.
In the tavern a discussion arose among some young men concerning ‘the merits of the Christian religion.’
The debate grew warm and lasted ‘from six o’clock until eleven.’
No one knew Marshall, who sat quietly listening.
Finally one of the youthful combatants turned to him and said:
‘Well, my old gentleman, what think you of these things?’
Marshall responded with a ‘most eloquent and unanswerable appeal.’
He talked for an hour, answering ‘every argument urged against the teachings of Jesus.’
‘In the whole lecture, there was so much simplicity and energy, pathos and sublimity, that not another word was uttered.’
The listeners wondered who the old man could be.
Some thought him a preacher; and great was their surprise when they learned afterwards that he was the Chief Justice of the United States.”
Albert J. Beveridge wrote in The Life of John Marshall(Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1919, Vol. IV, The Building of the Nation, 1815-1835, p. 70):
“John Marshall’s daughter makes this statement regarding her father’s religious views:
‘He told me that he believed in the truth of the Christian
He determined to apply to the communion of our Church, objecting to communion in private, because he thought it his duty to make a public confession of the Saviour.’”
Albert J. Beveridge continued in The Life of John Marshall(referencing Bishop William Meade’s Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia, 2 Vols., Richmond, 1910, Vol. 2, p. 221-222):
“He attended (Episcopal) services. Bishop William Meade informs us, not only because ‘he was a sincere friend of religion,’ but also because he wished ‘to set an example.’
The Bishop bears this testimony: ‘I can never forget how he would prostrate his tall form before the rude low benches, without backs, at Coolspring Meeting-House (Leeds Parish, near Oakhill, Fauquier County) in the midst of his children and grandchildren and his old neighbors.’
When in Richmond, Marshall attended the Monumental Church where, says Bishop Meade, ‘he was much incommoded by the narrowness of the pews…
Not finding room enough for his whole body within the pew, he used to take his seat nearest the door of the pew, and, throwing it open, let his legs stretch a little into the aisle.’”
John F. Dillon wrote in John Marshall-Life, Character and Judicial Services-As Portrayed in the Centenary and Memorial Addresses and Proceedings Throughout the United States on John Marshall Day, 1901(Chicago: Callaghan & Company, 1903):
“John Marshall Day, February 4, 1901, was appropriately observed by exercises held in the hall of the House of Representatives, and attended by the President, the members of the Cabinet, the Justices of the Supreme and District courts, the Senate and House of Representatives, and the members of the Bar of the District of
The program, prepared by a Congressional committee acting in conjunction with committees of the American Bar Association and the Bar Association of this District, was characterized by a dignity and simplicity befitting the life of the great Chief Justice…”
After an invocation delivered by John Marshall’s great-grandson, Rev. Dr. William Strother Jones of Trenton, N.J., Chief Justice Fuller made introductory remarks:
“The August Term of the year of our Lord eighteen hundred of the Supreme Court of the United States had adjourned at Philadelphia… However, it was not until Wednesday, February 4th, when John Marshall…took his seat upon the Bench…”
U.S. Attorney General Wayne MacVeagh then stated:
“The centennial anniversary of the entrance by John Marshall into the office of Chief Justice of the United States…
Under his forming hand, instead of becoming a dissoluble confederacy of discordant States, became a great and indissoluble nation, endowed with…the divine purpose for the education of the world…securing to the whole American continent ‘government of the people, by the people, and for the people’…
Venerating the Constitution…as ‘a sacred instrument’…we have lived to see…such generous measures of political equality, of social freedom, and of physical comfort and well-being as were never dreamed of on the earth before…
Let us, on this day of all days…acknowledge that nations cannot live by bread alone…
We have heretofore cherished, the Christian ideal of true national greatness; and our fidelity to that ideal, however imperfect it has been, entitled us in some measure to the divine blessing, for having offered an example to the world for more than an entire generation of how a nation could marvelously increase in wealth and strength and all material prosperity while living in peace with all mankind…
We all believe that the true glory of America and her true mission in the new century…is what a great prelate of the Catholic Church has recently declared it to be: to stand fast by Christ and his Gospel; to cultivate not the Moslem virtues of war, of slaughter, of rapine, and of conquest, but the Christian virtues of self-denial and kindness and brotherly love…
Then we may some day hear the benediction: ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me’…
The true mission of nations as of men is to promote righteousness on earth…
and taking abundant care that every human creature beneath her starry flag, of every color and condition, is as secure of liberty, of justice and of peace as in the Republic of God.
In cherishing these aspirations…we are wholly in the spirit of the great Chief Justice; and…so effectually honor his memory.” (Dillon, Vol. 1, p. 7-42)
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Horace Gray gave an address the same day in Virginia:
“Gentlemen of the Bar of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and of the City of Richmond: One hundred years ago today, the Supreme Court of the United States, after sitting for a few years in Philadelphia, met for the first time in Washington, the permanent capital of the Nation; and John Marshall, a citizen of Virginia, having his home in Richmond, and a member of this bar, took his seat as Chief Justice of the United States…
Chief Justice Marshall was a steadfast believer in the truth of Christianity as revealed in the Bible. He was brought up in the Episcopal Church; and Bishop Meade, who knew him well, tells us that he was a constant and reverent worshipper in that church, and contributed liberally to its support, although he never became a communicant.
All else that we know of his personal religion is derived from the statements (as handed down by the good bishop) of a daughter of the Chief Justice, who was much with him during the last months of his life.
She said that her father told her he never went to bed without concluding his prayer by repeating the Lord’s Prayer and the verse beginning, ‘Now I lay me down to sleep,’ which his mother had taught him when he was a child;
and that the reason why he had never been a communicant was that it was but recently that he had become fully convinced of the divinity of Christ, and he then ‘determined to apply for admission to the communion of our church objected to commune in private, because he thought it his duty to make a public confession of the Saviour and, while waiting for improved health to enable him to go to the church for that purpose, he grew worse and died, without ever communing.’” (Dillon, Vol. 1, p. 42, 47, 88)
New Hampshire Supreme Court Judge Jeremiah Smith gave an address:
“And this brings us to what is…the great distinguishing feature in Marshall s life; the real secret of his extraordinary success…that is his high personal character…
John Marshall was pre-eminently single minded. His whole life was pervaded by an overpowering sense of duty and by strong religious principle. A firm believer in the Christian religion, his life was in accord with his belief.” (Dillon, Vol. 1, p. 162)
Charles E. Perkins, nephew of Harriet Beecher Stowe and President of the Connecticut Bar Association stated:
“As a man, Marshall appears to have been as near perfection in disposition, habits, and conduct as it is possible for a mortal man to be…He had no vices and, I may almost say, no weaknesses.
In spite of his eminent talents, his high positions, and his great reputation, there was no tinge of conceit…
His charities were constant and great. He bore no malice toward those who offended or injured him.
He was a sincere Christian and believed in and obeyed the commands of the Bible.” (Dillon, Vol. 1, p. 330)
U.S. Rep. William Bourke Cockran addressed the Erie County Bar Association, Buffalo, New York:
“Aside from the establishment of Christianity, the foundation of this republic was the most memorable event in the history of man…
And if the foundation of this government be the most momentous human achievement of all the centuries, then clearly the appointment of John Marshall to the Chief Justiceship of the United States was the first event of the last century no less in the magnitude of its importance than in the order of its occurrence.” (Dillon, Vol. 1, p. 404-405)
U.S. Senator and former Maryland Governor William Pinkney Whyte stated:
“Would you not call a man religious who said the Lord’s Prayer every day? And the prayer he learned at his mother’s knee went down with him to the grave.
He was a constant and liberal contributor to the support of the Episcopal Church.
He never doubted the fact of the Christian revelation, but he was not convinced of the fact of the divinity of Christ till late in life.
Then, after refusing privately to commune, he expressed a desire to do so publicly, and was ready and willing to do so when opportunity should be had. The circumstances of his death only forbade it…
He was never professedly Unitarian, and he had no place in his heart for either an ancient or a modern agnosticism.” (Dillon, Vol. 2, p. 2-3)
U.S. Rep. Horace Binney of Pennsylvania stated that Marshall:
“…was a Christian, believed in the gospel, and practiced its tenets.” (Dillon, Vol. 3, p. 325)
Nathan Sargent, former Commissioner of Customs, wrote inPublic Men and Events from 1817 to 1853 (Philadelphia, 1875, Vol. 1, p. 299), that Marshall’s “name has become a household word with the American people implying greatness, purity, honesty, and all the Christian virtues.”
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‘I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country’ -Nathan Hale, 21-year-old patriot via American Minute
“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country” were the last words of 21-year-old American patriot Nathan Hale, who was hanged by the British without a trial on SEPTEMBER 22, 1776.A Yale graduate, 1773, he almost became a Christian minister, as his brother Enoch did, but instead became a teacher at Union Grammar School.
On July 4, 1775, Hale received a letter from his Yale classmate, Benjamin Tallmadge, who was now General Washington’s chief intelligence officer:
“Was I in your condition…I think the more extensive service would be my choice. Our holy Religion, the honour of our God, a glorious country, & a happy constitution is what we have to defend.”
Hale accepted a commission as first lieutenant in the 7th Connecticut Regiment under Colonel Charles Webb of Stamford.
The following Spring, they joined the Continental Army’s effort to prevent the British from taking New York City.
General Washington was desperate to know where the British planned to invade Manhattan Island, writing on September 6, 1776:
“We have not been able to obtain the least information on the enemy’s plans.”
Fellow officer Captain William Hull attempted to talk him out it, but Hale responded:
General William Howe ordered him to be hanged the next morning.
Hale wrote a letter to his mother and brother, but the British destroyed them, not wanting it known a man could die with such firmness.
He asked for a Bible, but was refused.
The Essex Journalstated of Nathan Hale, February 13, 1777:
Nathan Hale may have drawn inspiration for his last words “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country” from the well-known English play “Cato,” written by Joseph Addison in 1712, as Hale had been involved in theater while a student at Yale:
Cato (95-46 BC), was a leader during the last days of the Roman Republic who championed individual liberty against government tyranny; representative republican government against a despotic dictatorship; and logic over emotion.
Attempting to prevent Julius Caesar from becoming a dictator, Cato was know for his immunity to bribes, his moral integrity, and his distaste for corruption.
George Washington had the play “Cato” performed for the Continental Army while they were encamped at Valley Forge.
“He was undoubtedly pious; for it was remark’d that when any of the soldiers of his company were sick he always visited them & usually prayed for & with them in their sickness.”
Nathan Hale’s nephew was Massachusetts Governor Edward Everett, who spoke at the dedication of the Battlefield right before Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863.
“We are God’s children, you and I, and we have our duties…Thank God I come from men who are not afraid in battle.”
“So nigh is grandeur to our dust,
By Bill Federer
He sat in the pew next to George Washington at St. Paul’s Chapel in New York during the religious service following Washington’s Presidential Inauguration.
He helped ratify the U.S. Constitution and was a Congressman from Massachusetts.
On August 20, 1789, he proposed as the wording of the First Amendment (Annals of Congress, 1:766):
“Congress shall make no law establishing religion, or to prevent the free exercise thereof, or to infringe the rights of conscience.”
His name was Fisher Ames.
Fisher Ames compared monarchy to a republic, as recorded by Ralph Waldo Emerson in Essays, Second Series, (chapter 7, “Politics,” p. 97, 1844; Library of America, 1983):
“Monarchy is a merchantman, which sails well, but will sometimes strike on a rock, and go to the bottom; whilst a republic is a raft, which would never sink, but then your feet are always in water.”
Of America’s Republic, Fisher Ames wrote in an article titled “Monitor,” published in The New England Palladium of Boston, 1804, (Works of Fisher Ames, compiled by a number of his friends, Boston: T.B. Wait & Co., 1809, p. 272):
“We now set out with our experimental project, exactly where Rome failed with hers. We now begin, where she ended.”
Warning against the temptation to increase government, Fisher Ames stated in “Speeches on Mr. Madison’s Resolutions” (Works of Fisher Ames, compiled by a number of his friends, Boston: T.B. Wait & Co., 1809, p. 48):
“To control trade by law, instead of leaving it to the better management of the merchants…(is) to play the tyrant in the counting house, and in directing the private expenses of our citizens, are employments equally unworthy of discussion.”
At the Massachusetts Convention, January 15, 1788, Fisher Ames warned that democracy without morals would eventually reduce the nation to the basest of human passions, swallowing freedom:
“A democracy is a volcano which conceals the fiery materials of its own destruction.”
Fisher Ames commented in “The Dangers of American Liberty,” 1805 (published in Works of Fisher Ames: with a selection from his speeches and correspondence, Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1854, pp. 349):
“The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness, which the ambitious call, and the ignorant believe to be, liberty.”
Russell Kirk described Fisher Ames in The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot (Washington D.C.: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2001, chapter 3, p. 81-85):
“As time runs on, Ames grows more intense. Democracy cannot last…When property is snatched from hand to hand…then society submits cravenly to the immorality of rule by the sword…
Of all the terrors of democracy, the worst is its destruction of moral habits. ‘A democratic society will soon find its morals…the surly companion of its licentious joys’…
Is there no check upon these excesses?…The press supplies an endless stimulus to popular imagination and passion; the press lives upon heat and coarse drama and incessant restlessness. ‘It has inspired ignorance with presumption’…
‘Constitutions,’ says Ames, ‘are but paper; society is the substratum of government’…
Like Samuel Johnson, (Ames) finds the key to political decency in private morality.”
Aaron McLeod wrote in “Great Conservative Minds: A Condensation of Russell Kirk’sThe Conservative Mind” (October 2005, Alabama Policy Institute, Birmingham, AL, chp. 3, p. 9-10}:
“Ames was pessimistic about the American experiment because he doubted there were sufficient numbers of men with the moral courage and charisma to preserve the country from the passions of the multitudes and the demagogues who master them.
He was convinced that the people as a body cannot reason and are easily swayed by clever speakers and political agents. In his words, ‘few can reason, all can feel’…
Democracy could not last, Ames thundered, ‘for despotism lies at the door; when the tyranny of the majority leads to chaos, society will submit to rule by the sword.‘”
Aaron McLeod continued:
“To Ames, what doomed the American experiment was the democratic destruction of morals…
Ames believed that justice and morality in America would fail, and popular rule cannot support justice, without which moral habits fall away.
Neither the free press nor paper constitutions could safe-guard order from these excesses, for the first is merely a stimulus to popular passion and imagination, while the other is a thin bulwark against corruption.
When old prescription and tradition are dismissed, only naked force matters.”
George Washington died December 14, 1799.
Fisher Ames delivered a eulogy “An Oration on the Sublime Virtues of General George Washington,” February 8, 1800, at Boston’s Old South Meeting-House, before the Lieutenant Governor, the Council, and both branches of the Massachusetts Legislature (Boston: Young & Minns, 1800, p. 23):
“Our liberty depends on our education, our laws, and habits…
It is founded on morals and religion, whose authority reigns in the heart, and on the influence all these produce on public opinion before that opinion governs rulers.”
Fisher Ames wrote inThe Mercury and New-England Palladium of Boston(Vol. XVII, No. 2,8,Tuesday, January 27, 1801, p. 1; John Thornton Kirkland,Works of Fisher Ames, 1809, p. 134-35; The Works of Fisher Ames, compiled by a number of his friends, T.B. Wait & Co., Boston, 1809, p. 134-135; Seth Ames, ed., Works of Fisher Ames, Vol. II, New York: Birt Franklin, 1971, pp. 405-406; Frederick C. Kubicek, Evolution-Guilty As Charged, Shippensburg, PA; Treasure House, 1993, p. 125):
“It has been the custom of late years to put a number of little books into the hands of children, containing fables and moral lessons…
Many books for children are…injudiciously compiled…the moral is drawn from the fable they know not why…
Some of the most admired works of this kind abound with a frothy sort of sentiment…the chief merit of which consists in shedding tears and giving away money…
Why then, if these books for children must be retained…should not the Bible regain the place it once held as a school book? Its morals are pure, its examples captivating 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 consideration more is important: In no book is there so good English, so pure and so elegant – and by teaching all the same book they will speak alike, and the Bible will justly remain the standard of language as well as of faith.”
D. James Kennedy summarized Fisher Ames words in “The Great Deception” (Fort Lauderdale, FL: Coral Ridge Ministries, 1989; 1993, p. 3; The Great Deception-a speech delivered December 1, 1992, Ottawa, IL):
“We have a dangerous trend beginning to take place in our education. We’re starting to put more and more textbooks into our schools. We’ve become accustomed of late of putting little books into the hands of children, containing fables and moral lessons.
We’re spending less time in the classroom on the Bible, which should be the principal text in our schools. The Bible states these great moral lessons better than any other man-made book.”
At age 46, Fisher Ames was elected Harvard’s president, but he declined due to an illness which eventually led to his death.
On July 4, 1808, exactly 32 years to the day after America declared its Independence, Fisher Ames died at the age of 50.
One of the most famous orators in Congress, Fisher Ames was quoted in theEncyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (Bela Bates Edward, editor of Quarterly Observer, Brattleboro, VT: Joseph Steen & Co.; Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo & Co.; New York: Lewis Colby, 1851, p. 78):
“No man ever did or ever will become truly eloquent without being a constant reader of the Bible, and an admirer of the purity and sublimity of its language.”
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolken described man’s insatiable lust for “the ring of power.”
Throughout history, kings killed to get power and kings killed to keep power. In a real sense, George Washington had the power…and gave it up…twice.
The first time was when he resigned his commission as General of the Continental Army in 1783.
When the American-born painter Benjamin West was in England painting the portrait of King George III, the King asked what General Washington planned to do now that he had won the war.
“They say he will return to his farm.”
King George exclaimed:
“If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world.”
Later, after serving two terms as President, Washington decided to return to his Mt. Vernon farm.
This was similar to Roman leader Cincinnatus, who twice led the Roman Republic to victory in battle then returned to his farm, resisting the temptation to be dictator.
The world watched in unbelief as President George Washington delivered his Farewell Address, SEPTEMBER 19, 1796, stating:
“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…”
“Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion…
Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle…
Morality is a necessary spring of popular government…Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation?”
Washington warned further:
“And of fatal tendency…to put, in the place of the delegated will of the Nation, the will of a party; – often a small but artful and enterprising minority…
They are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by whichcunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the Power of the People and to usurp for the themselves the reins of Government;
destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion…”
“This leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism…
Disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an Individual…
(who) turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty…
The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism…”
“Let there be no change by usurpation…It is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.”
Fought Stamp Tax, signed Declaration, became Supreme Court Justice, defended Religious Liberty via American Minute
With a reputation as a firebrand, he founded a Maryland chapter of The Sons of Liberty to protest The Stamp Act of 1765 and the British Government’s usurpation of citizen’s rights.
At the age of 24, Chase challenged the authority of the English Parliament to tax the Colonies without their consent, and forcibly opened the public offices in Annapolis, seized and destroyed the hated stamps.
When Maryland learned that Boston’s harbor had been closed in 1774 to punish the Tea Party colonists, Samuel Chase and four other Marylanders were appointed as delegates to the Continental Congress for:
“agreeing on a general plan of conduct…for the relief of Boston and preservation of American liberty.”
Chase served on dozens of committees, and in the spring of 1776, even traveled with Ben Franklin, Charles Carroll of Carrollton and his cousin Bishop John Carroll, in an unsuccessful attempt to get Canada to join the Revolution.
Samuel Chase, more than any other, was responsible forpersuading Maryland to vote for independence.
On August 2, 1776, Samuel Chase along with other Maryland delegates, William Paca, Thomas Stone and Charles Carroll of Carrollton signed the Declaration.
At the beginning of the Revolutionary War when political intrigues arose to remove George Washington from being Commander-in-Chief, Samuel Chase staunchly support Washington.
After the War, at Maryland’s 1788 Convention to decide whether to accept the new United States Constitution,Samuel Chase initially voted against it, as he thought the States were relinquishing too much control.
In a letter he signed “Caution,” (Maryland Journal, October 12, 1787), Samuel Chase warned of the rush to adopt the Constitution:
“Suspicion should take the alarm… Questions of consequence…ought not to be hastily decided…The decision, for or against the plan…involves no less than the happiness or miser of you and all your posterity forever.”
In 1788, he was appointed Chief Justice of Baltimore’s District Criminal Court, and in 1791, he became Chief Justice of the Maryland General Court.
In 1796, President George Washington appointed Samuel Chase as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
A controversial personality, Samuel Chase had articles of impeachment filed against him in 1804, but he was acquitted of all charges.
Samuel Chase was one of the most influential Justices on the early Supreme Court, following Chief Justice John Marshall, serving till his death, JUNE 19, 1811.
Justice Samuel Chase was decisive in a 1799 case involving whether Irish emigrant Thomas M’Creery had become a naturalized American citizen and thereby able to leave an estate to a relative in Ireland.
The Court decided:
“Thomas M’Creery, in order to become…naturalized according to the Act of Assembly…on the 30th of September, 1795, took the oath…before the Honorable Samuel Chase, Esquire, then being the Chief Judge of the State of Maryland…
‘Maryland; I, Samuel Chase, Chief Judge of the State of Maryland, do hereby certify all whom it may concern, that…personally appeared before me Thomas M’Creery, anddid repeat and subscribe a declaration of his belief in the Christian Religion, and take the oath required by the Act of Assembly of this State, entitled, An Act for Naturalization.’”
In the Maryland Supreme Court case of Runkel v. Winemiller, 1799, Justice Samuel Chase rendered the court’s opinion:
“Religion is of general and public concern, and on its support depend, in great measure, the peace and good order of government, the safety and happiness of the people.
By our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion; and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed upon the same equal footing, and are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty.”
To stop the confusion, Colonel Prescott rallied his men by climbing on the wall of the redoubt, standing upright and walking back and forth as if no enemy was present.
British General Gage looked at Prescott through a telescope and asked a local loyalist if Prescott actually had enough to courage fight.
It was replied: “Prescott is an old soldier, he will fight for as long as a drop of blood is in his veins.”
Providentially for the Americans, the British brought the wrong size cannon balls, so they were not able to soften the resistance as they had hoped.
This resulted in General Howe having to order 2,300 British soldiers, with bayonets fixed, to march up the hill.
Twice the Americans repelled them, but the third time they ran out of gunpowder.
Over 1,000 British were killed in this first major action of the Revolutionary War.
Nearly 500 American Continental soldiers were killed, including Dr. Joseph Warren.
Amos Farnsworth, a corporal in the Massachusetts Militia, made this entry in his diary immediately after the Battle of Bunker Hill, JUNE 17, 1775:
“We within the entrenchment…having fired away all ammunition and having no reinforcements…were overpowered by numbers and obliged to leave….I did not leave the entrenchment until the enemy got in. I then retreated ten or fifteen rods.
Then I received a wound in my right arm, the ball going through a little below my elbow, breaking the little shellbone. Another ball struck my back, taking a piece of skin about as big as a penny. But I got to Cambridge that night….
Oh the goodness of God in preserving my life, although they fell on my right and on my left! O may this act of deliverance of thine, O God, lead me never to distrust thee; but may I ever trust in thee and put confidence in no arm of flesh!”
The British then burned the nearby town of Charlestown.
This same day, 300 miles away in Philadelphia, the Continental Congress drafted George Washington’s commission as commander-in-chief, for which he refused a salary.
Washington wrote to his wife, Martha:
“Dearest…It has been determined in Congress, that the whole army raised for the defense of the American Cause shall be put under my care, and that it is necessary for me to proceed immediately to Boston to take…command…
I shall rely therefore, confidently, on that Providence which has heretofore preserved, and been bountiful to me.”
“I…got Colonel Pendleton to Draft a Will…the Provision made for you, in case of my death, will, I hope, be agreeable.”
Less than a month after the Battle of Bunker Hill, the Continental Congress proclaimed a Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer, as John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, July 12, 1775:
“We have appointed a Continental fast. Millions will be upon their knees at once before their great Creator, imploring His forgiveness and blessing; His smiles on American Council and arms.”
Connecticut Governor Jonathan Trumbull wrote to General Washington, July 13, 1775:
“The Honorable Congress have proclaimed a Fast to be observed by the inhabitants of all the English Colonies on this continent, to stand before the Lord in one day, with public humiliation, fasting, and prayer, to deplore our many sins, to offer up our joint supplications to God, for forgiveness, and for his merciful interposition for us in this day of unnatural darkness and distress.
They have, with one united voice, appointed you to the high station you possess. The Supreme Director of all events hath caused a wonderful union of hearts and counsels to subsist among us.
Now therefore, be strong and very courageous.
May the God 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 day of battle and danger, add success, convince our enemies of their mistaken measures, and that all their attempts to deprive these Colonies of their inestimable constitutional rights and liberties are injurious and vain.”
On July 19, 1775, the Journals of the Continental Congress recorded:
“Agreed, That the Congress meet here tomorrow morning, at half after 9 o’clock, in order to attend divine service at Mr. Duche’s Church; and that in the afternoon they meet here to go from this place and attend divine service at Doctor Allison’s church.”
On July 20, 1775, General Washington issued the order:
“The General orders this day to be religiously observed by the Forces under his Command, exactly in manner directed by the Continental Congress.
It is therefore strictly enjoined on all Officers and Soldiers to attend Divine Service; And it is expected that all those who go to worship do take their Arms, Ammunition and Accoutrements, and are prepared for immediate action, if called upon.”