Commander-in-Chief George Washington appointed Lafayette a Major General in the Continental Army, though Lafayette paid his own expenses.
Lafayette endured the freezing winter at Valley Forge, was wounded at Brandywine, and fought with distinction at the Battles of Gloucester, Barren Hill, Monmouth, Rhode Island and Green Spring.
Returning to France, Lafayette worked with Ben Franklin to persuade King Louis XVI to send General Rochambeau with ships and 6,000 French soldiers to America’s aid.
Lafayette then led troops against the traitor Benedict Arnold, and commanded at Yorktown, helping to pressure Cornwallis to surrender.
George Washington considered Lafayette like a son, and belatedly wrote back to him from Mount Vernon, June 25, 1785:
“My Dear Marquis…I stand before you as a culprit: but to repent and be forgiven are the precepts of Heaven: I do the former, do you practice the latter, and it will be participation of a divine attribute.
Yet I am not barren of excuses for this seeming inattention; frequent absences from home, a round of company when at it, and the pressure of many matters, might be urged as apologies for my long silence…
I now congratulate you, and my heart does it more effectually than my pen, on your safe arrival in Paris, from your voyage to this Country.”
Lafayette joined the French abolitionist Society of the Friends of the Blacks, which advocated the end of the slave trade and equal rights for blacks.
On May 10, 1786, George Washington wrote from Mount Vernon to Marquis de Lafayette:
“Your late purchase of an estate in the colony of Cayenne, with a view of emancipating the slaves on it, is a generous and noble proof of your humanity. Would to God a like spirit would diffuse itself generally into the minds of the people of this country.”
On August 15, 1787, in a letter from Philadelphia to the Marquis de Lafayette, George Washington wrote:
“I am not less ardent in my wish that you may succeed in your plan of toleration in religious matters. Being no bigot myself to any mode of worship, I am disposed to indulge the professors of Christianity in the church with that road to Heaven which to them shall seem the most direct, plainest and easiest, and the least liable to exception.”
On May 28, 1788, George Washington wrote to Marquis de Lafayette regarding the U.S. Constitution:
“A few short weeks will determine the political fate of America…I will confess to you sincerely, my dear Marquis; it will be so much beyond any thing we had a right to imagine or expect eighteen months ago, that it will demonstrate as visibly the Finger of Providence, as any possible event in the course of human affairs can ever designate it.”
When the French Revolution began, President Washington wrote to Marquis de Lafayette, July 28, 1791:
“I assure you I have often contemplated, with great anxiety, the danger to which you are personally exposed…
To a philanthropic mind the happiness of 24 millions of people cannot be indifferent; and by an American, whose country in the hour of distress received such liberal aid from the French, the disorders and incertitude of that Nation are to be particularly lamented.
We must, however, place a confidence in that Providence who rules great events, trusting that out of confusion He will produce order, and, notwithstanding the dark clouds which may threaten at present, that right will ultimately be established….”
Washington continued to Lafayette:
“On the 6 of this month I returned from a tour through the southern States, which had employed me for more than three months.
In the course of this journey I have been highly gratified in observing the flourishing state of the Country, and the good dispositions of the people.
Industry and economy have become very fashionable in these parts, which were formerly noted for the opposite qualities, and the labors of man are assisted by the Blessings of Providence.”
Lafayette tried to maintain order in France as the French Revolution began, but fell out of favor. He was eventually imprisoned for five years, with his wife and two daughters choosing to be imprisoned with him. Napoleon negotiated his release.
On June 10, 1792, from Philadelphia, President Washington wrote to Marquis de Lafayette:
“And to the Care of that Providence, whose interposition and protection we have so often experienced, do I cheerfully commit you and your nation, trusting that He will bring order out of confusion, and finally place things upon the ground on which they ought to stand.”
Jefferson asked him to be the Governor of the Louisiana Territory, but he declined.
Fifty years after the Revolution began, Marquis de Lafayette visited America. He traveled over 6,000 miles to 24 States.
On June 17, 1825, the cornerstone for the Bunker Hill Monument was laid. Daniel Webster spoke to a crowd of 20,000, which included General Marquis de Lafayette:
“God has granted you this sight of your country’s happiness ere you slumber in the grave forever. He has allowed you to behold and to partake the reward of your patriotic toils; and He has allowed to us, your sons and countrymen, to meet you here, and in the name of the present generation, in the name of your country, in the name of liberty to thank you!”
Many ships, streets, parks and cities were named after him, including Fayetteville, North Carolina.
When word came to America that Marquis de Lafayette had died, President Andrew Jackson wrote to Congress, June 21, 1834:
“The afflicting intelligence of the death of the illustrious Lafayette has been received by me this morning.
I have issued the general order inclosed to cause appropriate honors to be paid by the Army and Navy to the memory of one so highly venerated and beloved by my countrymen, and whom Providence has been pleased to remove so unexpectedly from the agitating scenes of life.”
American Minute with Bill Federer
FEB. 22 – John Bunyan and Pilgrim’s Progress
John Bunyan wrote in aRelation of My Imprisonment:
“Upon the 12th of…November 1660…the justice…issued out his warrant to take me…as if we that were to meet together…to do some fearful business, to the destruction of the country; when alas! the constable, when he came in, found us only with our Bibles in our hands, ready to speak and hear the word of God…
So I was taken and forced to depart…But before I went away, I spake some few words of counsel and encouragement to the people, declaring to them…that they would not be discouraged, for it was a mercy to suffer upon so good account…we suffer as Christians…better be the persecuted, than the persecutors.”
John Bunyan was imprisoned for 12 years, during which time he tried to support his family by making shoelaces.
He wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress, published FEBRUARY 18, 1678.
It was an allegory of a pilgrim, named Christian, who fled from the City of Destruction and was directed by Evangelist to follow the narrow path, overcoming temptations, depressions, deceptions, and persecutions till he reached the Celestial City of Zion.
Pilgrim’s Progress was translated into over 100 languages and, after the Bible, was the world’s best-seller for hundreds of years.
It was found in nearly every colonial New England home, along with the Bible and Fox’s Book of Martyrs.
Benjamin Franklin wrote in hisAutobiography:
“My old favorite author, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress…has been translated into most of the languages of Europe, and suppose it has been more generally read than any other book, except perhaps the Bible.”
Pilgrim’s Progress began:
“As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a den, and I laid me down in that place to sleep: and, as I slept, I dreamed a dream. I dreamed, and behold, I saw a man clothed with rags, standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a book in his hand, and a great burden upon his back.
I looked, and saw him open the book, and read therein; and, as he read, he wept, and trembled; and, not being able longer to contain, he brake out with a lamentable cry, saying, What shall I do?”
Later in the book, John Bunyan wrote:
“Christian ran thus till he came at a place somewhat ascending, and upon that place stood a cross…So I saw in my dream, that just as Christian came up with the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back.”
Further in Pilgrim’s Progress is written:
“Then said Christian, You make me afraid, but whither shall I fly to be safe?…To go back is nothing but death; to go forward is fear of death, and life-everlasting beyond it. I will yet go forward…
Frighted with the sight of the lions…Christian to himself again, These beasts range in the night for their prey; and if they should meet with me in the dark…how should I escape being by them torn in pieces?…
He lift up his eyes, and behold there was a very stately palace before him…He entered into a very narrow passage…he espied two lions in the way…
The porter at the lodge…perceiving that Christian made a halt as if he would go back, cried unto him, saying, Is thy strength so small? Fear not the lions, for they are chained, and are placed there for trial of faith where it is, and for discovery of those that had none. Keep in the midst of the path, and no hurt shall come unto thee…
He went on, trembling for fear of the lions, but taking good heed to the directions of the porter; he heard them roar, but they did him no harm…”
John Bunyan continued:
“But now, in this Valley of Humiliation, poor Christian was hard put to it…a foul fiend coming over the field to meet him; his name is Apollyon. Then did Christian begin to be afraid, and to cast in his mind whether to go back or to stand his ground.
But he considered again that he had no armour for his back; and therefore thought that to turn the back to him might give him the greater advantage with ease to pierce him with his darts. Therefore he resolved to venture and stand his ground…
The monster was hideous to behold; he was clothed with scales…wings like a dragon, feet like a bear, and out of his belly came fire and smoke…
Apollyon straddled quite over the whole breadth of the way, and said…prepare thyself to die; for I swear by my infernal den, that thou shalt go no further; here will I spill thy soul. And with that he threw a flaming dart at his breast; but Christian had a shield in his hand, with which he caught it…
Apollyon as fast made at him, throwing darts as thick as hail; by the which, notwithstanding all that Christian could do to avoid it, Apollyon wounded him in his head, his hand, and foot…
This sore combat lasted for above half a day, even till Christian was almost quite spent; for you must know that Christian, by reason of his wounds, must needs grow weaker and weaker…
Christian’s sword flew out of his hand. Then said Apollyon, I am sure of thee now. And with that he had almost pressed him to death, so that Christian began to despair of life;
but as God would have it, while Apollyon was fetching of his last blow, thereby to make a full end of this good man, Christian nimbly stretched out his hand for his sword, and caught it, saying, Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy; when I fall I shall arise; and with that gave him a deadly thrust, which made him give back…
And with that Apollyon spread forth his dragon’s wings, and sped him away, that Christian for a season saw him no more…
A more unequal match can hardly be, —
Christian must fight an angel; but you see,
The valiant man by handling Sword and Shield,
Doth make him, though a Dragon, quit the field.”
Ben Franklin wrote in hisAutobiography:
“From a child I was fond of reading, and all the little money that came into my hands was ever laid out in books. Pleased with the Pilgrim’s Progress, my first collection was of John Bunyan’s works in separate little volumes.”
President Theodore Roosevelt stated while laying the cornerstone of the office building of the House of Representatives, April 14, 1906:
“In Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress you may recall the description of the man with the muck-rake, the man who could look no way but downward, with the muck-rake in his hand, who was offered a celestial crown for his muck-rake, but who would neither look up nor regard the crown he was offered, but continued to rake to himself the filth of the floor.”
President Grover Cleveland had memorized Pilgrim’s Progress as a youth, and commented:
“I have always felt that my training as a minister’s son has been more valuable to me as a strengthening influence than any other incident in life.”
President Ronald Reagan greeted Australia’s Prime Minister, June 30, 1981, referring to John Bunyan:
“Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, ‘We are all travelers in what John Bunyan calls the wilderness of this world. And the best that we find in our travels is an honest friend – they keep us worthy of ourselves.'”
President Franklin Roosevelt referred to John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress on January 19, 1936:
“When Theodore Roosevelt died, the Secretary of his class at Harvard, in sending classmates a notice of his passing, added this quotation from ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’:
|American Minute with Bill FedererFEB. 16 – White Slaves-Muslim Masters & the Barbary Wars|
“The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco,” stated President Obama in Cairo, Egypt, June 4, 2009.
Explaining this, Governor William Bradford wrote that in 1625, a Pilgrim ship was returning to England with dried fish and 800 lbs of beaver skins to trade for supplies:
“They…were well within the England channel, almost in sight of Plymouth. But…there she was unhapply taken by a Turkish man-
of-war and carried off to Morocco where the captain and crew were made slaves.”
Muslim pirates of Morocco raided European coasts and carried away over a million to the North African slave markets, where also they sold tens of millions of Africans into slavery.
In 1627, Algerian Muslim pirates, led by Murat Reis the Younger, raided Iceland, and carried 400 into slavery.
One captured girl, who had been made a slave concubine in Algeria, was rescued back by King Christian IV of Denmark.
On June 20, 1631, the entire village of Baltimore, Ireland, “The Stolen Village,” was captured by Muslim pirates.
Only two ever returned. Thomas Osborne Davis wrote in his poem, “The Sack of Baltimore” (1895):
“The yell of ‘Allah!’ breaks above the shriek and roar;
O’blessed God! the Algerine is lord of Baltimore.”
Kidnapped Englishman Francis Knight wrote:
“I arrived in Algiers, that city fatal to all Christians and the butchery of mankind.”
Moroccan Sultan Moulay Ismail had 500 wives and forced 25,000 white slaves to build his palace at Meknes. He was witnessed to have killed an African slave just to try out a new hatchet he was given.
The Catholic Order “Trinitarians” collected alms to ransom slaves.
In 1785, Morocco recognized the new country of the United States by capturing two American ships and demanding tribute.
Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Jay, 1787:
“There is an order of priests called the Mathurins, the object of whose institution is to beg alms for the redemption of captives.
They keep members always in Barbary, searching out the captives of their country, and redeem, I believe, on better terms than any other body, public or private.
It occurred to me, that their agency might be obtained for the redemption of our prisoners at Algiers.”
Thomas Jefferson wrote to William Carmichael, 1786:
“Mr. Adams and I had conferences with a Tripoline ambassador, named Abdrahaman. He asked us thirty thousand guineas for a peace with his court.”
Jefferson reported to John Jay,” March 28, 1786:
“The Ambassador answered us that it was…written in their Qur’an, that all nations who should not have acknowledged Islam’s authority were sinners, that it was their…duty to make war upon them…and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners.”
Jefferson purchased a Qur’an to understand the enemy.
Despite paying nearly 20 percent of the U.S. Federal budget as extortion payments, the Muslims continued their piracy.
When Jefferson became President, he finally sent in the U.S. Marines to stop Morocco’s Barbary pirates.
In his First Annual Message, December 8, 1801, Thomas Jefferson stated:
“Tripoli…of the Barbary States, had come forward with demands unfounded either in right or in compact, and had permitted itself to (announce) war on our failure to comply before a given day. The style of the demand admitted but one answer.
I sent a small squadron of frigates into the Mediterranean, with assurances to that power of our sincere desire to remain in peace, but with orders to protect our commerce against the threatened attack. “
On December 29, 1803, the new 36-gun USS Philadelphia ran aground on Morocco’s shallow coast and Muslim pirates captured and imprisoned Captain William Bainbridge and his 307 man crew for 18 months.
To prevent the ship from being used by the Muslim Barbary pirates, Lieut. Stephen Decatur, FEBRUARY 16, 1804, sailed his ship, the Intrepid, into the pirate harbor of Tripoli, burned the captured U.S. frigate “Philadelphia” and escaped amidst enemy fire. British
Admiral Horatio Nelson called it the “most bold and daring act of the age,”
The Marines later captured Tripoli and forced the Pasha to make peace on U.S. terms.
Frederick Leiner wrote in The End of the Barbary Terror-America’s 1815 War Against the Pirates of North Africa (Oxford University Press):
“Commodore Stephen Decatur and diplomat William Shaler withdrew to consult in private…The Algerians were believed to be masters of duplicity, willing to make agreements and break them as they found convenient.”
The annotated John Quincy Adams-A Bibliography, compiled by Lynn H. Parsons (Westport, CT, 1993, p. 41, entry#194), contains “Unsigned essays dealing with the Russo-Turkish War and on Greece,” published in The American Annual Register for 1827-28-29 (NY: 1830):
“Our gallant Commodore Stephen Decatur had chastised the pirate of Algiers…The Dey (Omar Bashaw)…disdained to conceal his intentions;
Get the book, What Every American Needs to Know About the Qur’an-A History of Islam & the United States
‘My power,’ said he, ‘has been wrested from my hands; draw ye the treaty at your pleasure, and I will sign it; but beware of the moment, when I shall recover my power, for with that moment, your treaty shall be waste paper.'”
America’s war with the Muslim Barbary Pirates was the country’s first war after the Revolution, giving rise to the Marine Anthem:
“From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.”
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In his State of the Union Address, JANUARY 25, 1984, President Ronald Reagan stated: “Each day your members observe a 200-year-old tradition meant to signify America is one nation under God. I must ask: If you can begin your day with a member of the clergy standing right here leading you in prayer, then why can’t freedom to acknowledge God be enjoyed again by children in every school room across this land?” A month later in a radio address, February 25, 1984, President Reagan stated: “The First Amendment of the Constitution was not written to protect the people from religion; that amendment was written to protect religion from government tyranny…But now we’re told our children have no right to pray in school. Nonsense. The pendulum has swung too far toward intolerance against genuine religious freedom. It is time to redress the balance.” President Reagan continued: “Former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart noted if religious exercises are held to be impermissible activity in schools, religion is placed at an artificial and state-created disadvantage…Refusal to permit religious exercises is seen not as the realization of state neutrality, but rather as the establishment of a religion of secularism.”
American Minute with Bill Federer
The 20th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1933, changed the date of Presidential Inaugurations from March 4th to JANUARY 20th. Franklin Roosevelt stated in his 1945 Inaugural Address: “Almighty God has blessed our land.” Harry S Truman said in his Inaugural, 1949: “We believe that all men are created equal because they are created in the image of God.” In his 1953 Inaugural, Dwight Eisenhower commented: “This is the work that awaits us all, to be done with bravery, with charity, and with prayer to Almighty God.” In 1961, John F. Kennedy remarked in his Inaugural: “The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.” Lyndon B. Johnson said in his Inaugural, 1965: “The judgment of God is harshest on those who are most favored.” Richard Nixon, 1969, remarked in his Inaugural: “As all are born equal in dignity before God, all are born equal in dignity before man.” Jimmy Carter, in his 1977 Inaugural, said: “‘What does the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.'” In 1981, Ronald Reagan stated in his Inaugural: “With God’s help, we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us. And after all, why shouldn’t we believe that? We are Americans.”
American Minute with Bill Federer
“Each year on JANUARY 16, we celebrate Religious Freedom Day in commemoration of the passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom,” wrote President George W. Bush in his 2003 Proclamation. Jefferson‘s Statute for Religious Freedom, which he commemorated on his tombstone, was passed in 1786 by the Virginia Assembly. In his draft, Jefferson wrote: “Almighty God hath created the mind free, and…all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments…tend only to begat habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do, but to extend it by its influence on reason alone.” In his Second Inaugural Address, 1805, Jefferson wrote: “In matters of religion I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the Constitution independent of the powers of the General Government.” In 1808, Jefferson wrote to Samuel Miller: “I consider the government of the United States as prohibited by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises…Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the times for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets.”
American Minute with Bill Federer
He lost his first presidential race to John F. Kennedy by the smallest margin to that date. A Lieutenant Commander in the Navy during WWII, he was a Congressman, Senator, and Vice-President under Eisenhower. His name was Richard Milhous Nixon, born JANUARY 9, 1913. Richard Nixon was the 37th U.S. President before becoming the only one to resign. He ended the draft, established the EPA, was the first President to visit Red China, sent the first astronauts to the moon, whom he addressed via radio telephone, and began the Space Shuttle program. Nixon appointed Supreme Court Justices Warren Burger, Harry Blackmun, Lewis Powell and William Rehnquist. In 1972, Richard Nixon was re-elected in one of the biggest landslides in history. A proponent of Civil Rights, President Nixon stated in his Inaugural Address, 1969: “No man can be fully free while his neighbor is not. To go forward at all is to go forward together. This means black and white together, as one nation, not two. The laws have caught up with our conscience. What remains is to give life to what is in the law: to ensure at last that as all are born equal in dignity before God, all are born equal in dignity before man.”
American Minute with Bill Federer
Called the “Father of American Medicine,” he signed the Declaration of Independence, was Surgeon General of the Continental Army, and a staff member of the Pennsylvania Hospital, where he opened the first free medical clinic. His name was Benjamin Rush, and he was born JANUARY 4, 1745. Benjamin Rush founded the Philadelphia Bible Society, a Sunday School Union and a Society for the Abolition of Slavery. A proponent of public education, Dr. Benjamin Rush wrote his “Thoughts Upon the Mode of Education Proper in a Republic,” 1786: “I proceed…to inquire what mode of education we shall adopt so as to secure to the state all of the advantages that are to be derived from the proper instruction of the youth; and here I beg leave to remark that the only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid on the foundation of religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.” Benjamin Rush continued: “But the religion I mean to recommend in this place is that of the New Testament…Its doctrines and precepts are calculated to promote the happiness of society and the safety and well-being of civil government.”
- Benjamin Rush On Christianity (samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com)
American Minute with Bill Federer
Armenia, the first nation to become Christian during the Roman era, called its capitol of Ani, the “city of a 1,001 churches,” but beginning in 1071 AD, Muslim Turks invaded, making Christians second-class citizens called “dhimmi” and forcing boys to convert and serve in the Muslim army as “Janissaries.” When the Ottoman Empire declined in the 1880’s, Greeks, Serbs and Romanians won independence, but Armenia was trapped by Sultan Abdul Hamid, who killed 100,000. During World War I, three generals, called “Young Turks,” killed over a million men, women and children, marching them into deserts, throwing them off cliffs or burning them alive. Armenian cities of Kharpert, Van and Ani were leveled. Russia came to their aid till the Bolshevik revolution began. Armenia’s pleas at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference led President Wilson in a failed effort to make Armenia a U.S. protectorate. Woodrow Wilson, who was born DECEMBER 28, 1856, told Congress, May 24, 1920: “The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has established the truth of the reported massacres and other atrocities from which the Armenian people have suffered… Sympathy for Armenia among our people has sprung from untainted consciences, pure Christian faith and an earnest desire to see Christian people everywhere succored in their time of suffering.”