God In America

II. The Rights of the Colonists as Christians.

These may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institutes of the great Law Giver and Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament.

[420] By the act of the British Parliament, commonly called the Toleration Act, every subject in England, except Papists, &c., was restored to, and re-established in, his natural right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience. And, by the charter of this Province, it is granted, ordained, and established (that is, declared as an original right) that there shall be liberty of conscience allowed in the worship of God to all Christians, except Papists, inhabiting, or which shall inhabit or be resident within, such Province or Territory. Magna Charta itself is in substance but a constrained declaration or proclamation and promulgation in the name of the King, Lords, and Commons, of the sense the latter had of their original, inherent, indefeasible natural rights, as also those of free citizens equally perdurable with the other. That great author, that great jurist, and even that court writer, Mr. Justice Blackstone, holds that this recognition was justly obtained of King John, sword in hand. And peradventure it must be one day, sword in hand, again rescued and preserved from total destruction and oblivion.

  • Samuel Adams and Benjamin Franklin, Nov. 20, 1772 The Report of the Committee of Correspondence to the Boston Town Meeting, (A.K.A.; ‘The Rights of the Colonists’).

“deem it highly necessary that the said first Day of June be set apart by the Members of this House as a Day of Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer”

  • By the House of Burgesses, May 24, 1774

Journals of the Continental Congress,
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 1774,
9 o’clock a. m.

Agreeable to the resolve of yesterday, the meeting was opened with prayers by the Revd. Mr. Duché.

Voted, That the thanks of the Congress be given to Mr. Duché, by Mr. Cushing and Mr. Ward, for performing divine Service, and for the excellent prayer, which he composed and deliver’d on the occasion.1

[Note 1: 1 Duché attended in full pontificals, read several prayers in the established form, the collect for the day (Psalm XXXV), and then "struck out into an extemporary prayer, which filled the bosom of every man present. I must confess I never heard a better prayer, or one so well pronounced. * * * It has had an excellent effect upon everybody here." John Adams to his wife,--September, 1774. Joseph Reed thought the appointment and prayer a "masterly stroke of policy." Ward recorded "one of the most sublime, catholic, well-adapted prayers I ever heard."]

PSALM XXXV –

[[[A Psalm] of David.]] Plead [my cause], O LORD, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.

Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help.

Draw out also the spear, and stop [the way] against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I [am] thy salvation.

Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt.

Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the LORD chase [them].

Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the LORD persecute them.

For without cause have they hid for me their net [in] a pit, [which] without cause they have digged for my soul.

Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.

And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation.

All my bones shall say, LORD, who [is] like unto thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him?

False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge [things] that I knew not.

They rewarded me evil for good [to] the spoiling of my soul.

But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing [was] sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.

I behaved myself as though [he had been] my friend [or] brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth [for his] mother.

But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: [yea], the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew [it] not; they did tear [me], and ceased not:

With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth.

Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions.

I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.

Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: [neither] let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause.

For they speak not peace: but they devise deceitful matters against [them that are] quiet in the land.

Yea, they opened their mouth wide against me, [and] said, Aha, aha, our eye hath seen [it].

[This] thou hast seen, O LORD: keep not silence: O Lord, be not far from me.

Stir up thyself, and awake to my judgment, [even] unto my cause, my God and my Lord.

Judge me, O LORD my God, according to thy righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me.

Let them not say in their hearts, Ah, so would we have it: let them not say, We have swallowed him up.

Let them be ashamed and brought to confusion together that rejoice at mine hurt: let them be clothed with shame and dishonour that magnify [themselves] against me.

Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.

And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness [and] of thy praise all the day long.


Jacob Duché’s First Prayer in Congress

[September 7, 1774](1)

O! Lord, our heavenly father,(2) King of Kings and Lord of lords: who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth and reignest with power supreme & uncontrouled(3) over all kingdoms, empires and governments, look down in mercy,(4) we beseech thee, upon these our(5) American states who have fled to thee from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves upon thy gracious protection, desiring henceforth to be(6) dependent only on thee. To thee they have appealed for the righteousness of their Cause; to Thee do they look up,(7) for that countenance & support which Thou alone canst give.

Take them, therefore, Heavenly Father, under thy nurturing care: give them wisdom in council, valour in the field. Defeat the malicious designs of our cruel adversaries. Convince them of the unrighteousness of their cause. And if they persist(8) in their sanguinary purposes, O! let the voice of thy(9) unerring justice sounding in their hearts constrain them to drop the weapons of war from their enerved(10) hands in the day of battle.

Be thou present, O God of Wisdom and direct the counsels(11) of this honourable Assembly. Enable them to settle things upon the best and surest foundation, that the scene of blood may be speedily closed; that(12) harmony and peace may effectually be restored, and truth and justice, religion and piety prevail and flourish amongst thy people. Preserve the health of their bodies and the vigour of their minds; shower down upon them and the millions they represent(13) such temporal 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.

MS (MdHi: Journals of Congress [Philadelphia: R. Aitken, 1787], J10.A15.V1). "Appendix" in the hand of Charles Thomson.
1 For the selection of the Reverend Jacob Duché to open Congress this day with a prayer and the congressional comment occasionedby his riveting performance, see these Letters, 1:31--;35, 45, 55,

Duché actually delivered not a single prayer but two---;a prepared one, which he read, followed by a much longer extemporaneous prayer, which led John Adams to effuse that he had "never heard a better Prayer or one so well pronounced," and Silas Deane to declare that "it was worth riding One Hundred Mile to hear" (ibid., pp. 34, 74). These glowing assessments were aimed primarily at the impromptu prayer rather than his prepared text, which is printed here.

Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 1

Silas Deane to Elizabeth Deane

[September 7, 1774] Wednesday Morning.

An express arrived from N York confirming the Acct. of a rupture at Boston. All is in Confussion. I can not say, that all Faces, gather paleness, but they all gather indignation, & every Tongue pronounces Revenge. The Bells Toll muffled & the people run as in a Case of extremity they know not where, nor why. The Congress met and opened with a Prayer, made by the Revd. Mr. Deshay which it was worth riding One Hundred Mile to hear. He read the Lessons of the Day which were accidentally extremely Applicable, & then prayed without Book about Ten Minutes so pertinently, with such Fervency, purity, & sublimity of Stile, & sentiment, and with such an apparent Sensibility of the Scenes, & Business before Us, that even Quakers shed Tears. The Thanks of the Congress were most Unanimously returned him, by a Select honorable Committee. We are just now formed, into Committees, and Our Business, is laid Out, which, as We mean to go to the Bottom, nothing but Genl. Gage & a greater Force than he has at Boston, will prevent Our sitting some time.

I will now give You the Character of the Delegates beginning at South Carolina, as they are the Souther most. Mr. Lynch is a Gentleman about Sixty, and could You see him, I need say nothing more. He has much the appearance of Mr. Jas. Mumford deceased, dresses as plain, or plainer, is of immense fortune & has his Family with him. He wears the Manufacture of this Country, is plain, Sensible, above Ceremony, and carries with him more Force in his very appearance, than most powdered Folks, in their Conversation. He wears his hair strait, his Cloaths in the plainest order, and is highly esteemed. With him Are Two Brothers Mr. Rutledge senr., & junr. of independent Fortune, ingenious, but impetuous in the Cause they are en gaged in; the Eldest I judge, of my Age, his Lady, & a Son of Jesse’s age, is with him. They lodge at the Next Door. The Younger Brother, is a tolerable speaker, equally zealous. He married Mr. Gadsdens Daughter, who as I told you lodges with Us. Mr. Gadsden, leaves all N England Sons of Liberty, farr behind, for he is for taking up his Firelock, & marching direct to Boston, nay he affirmed this Morning, that were his Wife, and all his Children in Boston, & they were there to perish, by the sword, it would not alter his Sentiment or proceeding, for American Liberty, by which You may judge of the Man, when I add that he is one of the most regularly, religious Men I ever met with. Col. Middleton is the only remaining Member for that province whom I have not Characterized. He appears very modest, has said but little hitherto, is I judge Fifty Years of Age, and of a very slender Thin habit, but is in high esteem with his Acquaintance. Virginia comes Next but that must be the Business of a Future hour.

This Evening I spent at Mr. Roberto’s, a Gentleman of Fortune, who married Mr. Bostwicks Daughter.(1) She is a most amiable Woman, & often reminded Me of the late Mrs. Adam Babcock, whom she greatly resembled, both Hee, & she are Too zealous Presbyterians for Me which is all the Fault I find with them. They give Mr. Murray a very indifferent Character, but not as to Morals.(2)

RC (CtHi) . A continuation of Deane to Elizabeth Deane, September 6,1774.
1 Daniel Roberdeau (1727-95) married Rev. David Bostwick’s daughter Mary in 1761. Roberdeau was a successful Philadelphia merchant, active in local political affairs, and a member of the Continental Congress, 1777-79. DAB.
2 For the continuation of this letter, see Deane to Elizabeth Deane, September 8, 1774.


Journals of the Continental Congress,

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 1774, A. M.

“…2. That it is an indispensable duty which we owe to God, our country, ourselves and posterity, by all lawful ways and means in our power to maintain, defend and preserve those civil and religious rights and liberties, for which many of our fathers fought, bled and died, and to hand them down entire to future generations….”

“…10. That the late act of parliament for establishing the Roman Catholic religion and the French laws in that extensive country, now called Canada, is dangerous in an extreme degree to the Protestant religion and to the civil rights and liberties of all America; and, therefore, as men and Protestant Christians, we are indispensubly obliged to take all proper measures for our security….”


Journals of the Continental Congress,
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 1774.

…To the inhabitants of the colonies of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts-Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, the counties of New Castle, Kent and Sussex, on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina and South-Carolina:

Friends and fellow countrymen,

We, the Delegates appointed by the good people of the above Colonies to meet at Philadelphia in September last, for the purposes mentioned by our respective Constituents, have in pursuance of the trust reposed in us, assembled, and taken into our most serious consideration the important matters recommended to the Congress. Our resolutions thereupon will be herewith communicated to you. But as the situation of public affairs grows daily more and more alarming; and as it may be more satisfactory to you to be informed by us in a collective body, than in any other manner, of those sentiments that have been approved, upon a full and free discussion by the Representatives of so great a part of America, we esteem ourselves obliged to add this Address to these Resolutions.

In every case of opposition by a people to their rulers, or of one state to another, duty to Almighty God, the creator of all, requires that a true and impartial judgment be formed of the measures leading to such opposition; and of the causes by which it has been provoked, or can in any degree be justified: That neither affection on the one hand, nor resentment on the other, being permitted to give a wrong bias to reason, it may be enabled to take a dispassionate view of all circumstances, and settle the public conduct on the solid foundations of wisdom and justice….

…Motives thus cogent, arising from the emergency of your unhappy condition, must excite your utmost diligence and zeal, to give all possible strength and energy to the pacific measures calculated for your relief: But we think ourselves bound in duty to observe to you that the schemes agitated against these colonies have been so conducted, as to render it prudent, that you should extend your views to the most mournful events, and be in all respects prepared for every contingency. Above all things we earnestly intreat you, with devotion of spirit, penitence of heart, and amendment of life, to humble your-selves, and implore the favour of almighty God: and we fervently beseech his divine goodness, to take you into his gracious protection….


Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 1
John Adams to Abigail Adams

June 17[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 Councils and Arms.”


Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 1

New Hampshire Delegates to Matthew Thornton

Phila

20th June 1775

Your favor of the 24th May is now before us,(1) in answer to which can only say we easily Conceive the “painful sensation” that every honest man must feel when he sees the unatural Conflict between Great Britain and these Colonies rising to such a highth. But when we Consider it, not of our own Seeking, drove by the Sons of Tyrany and Oppression, to the Sad Alternative of being made Slaves, or appealing to the Sword in Defence of our Just liberties, cannot but think we shall stand Justified, before God and man, in vigorously seizing the latter.
We are much pleased with the proceedings of New Hampshire, shewing their Attachment to the Common Cause by raising so large a Number of men for the Defence of America. We are very Sensable of the inability of our province to Support them, and the Necessity of a paper currency.

We are at liberty to inform you that the Committee of the whole Congress have Agreed to Report a Continental Currency; which no doubt will be Emited immediately and forwarded for the payment of the Troops.(2)

The Congress have appointed General Washington to the Command of the American forces, who will set out for the Camp to morrow or next day; have also agreed upon a Continental Army. The other proceedings of Congress are not yet to be made publick, unless what appears in the prints. It is impossiable to conceive of a greater unanimity in the Colonies, than that which at present subsists, one and all being determined to defend our Rights to the last. May the great Author of all things Bless and Assist us, is the most ardent prayer of,

your Obedient servants,

John Sullivan
John Langdon

P.S. Enclosed is an order for a general fast.

RC (Nh-Ar) . Written by Sullivan and signed by Sullivan and Langdon.

1 Apparently the letter printed under the date May 23, 1775, in Am. Archives, 4th ser. 2:695-96. where a second letter of the same date also appears. Matthew Thornton (1714-1803), Londonderry, N. H., physician, was president of the New Hampshire Provincial Congress and chairman of the committee of safety. DAB. 2 Formal action by Congress on this measure came on June 22. JCC, 2:103.


Journals of the Continental Congress,

FRIDAY, JUNE 30, 1775

The consideration of the articles of war being resumed, Congress agreed to the same:

Rules and Regulations…

“…Resolved, That the following Rules and Orders be attended to, and observed by such forces as are or may hereafter be raised for the purposes aforesaid….

“…Art. II. It is earnestly recommended to all officers and soldiers, diligently to attend Divine Service; and all officers and soldiers who shall behave indecently or irreverently at any place of Divine Worship, shall, if commissioned officers, be brought before a court-martial. there to be publicly and severely reprimanded by the President; if non-commissioned officers or soldiers, every person so offending, shall, for his 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 for twenty-four hours, and for every like offence, shall suffer and pay in like manner; which money so forfeited, shall be applied to the use of the sick soldiers of the troop or company to which the offender belongs….

“…Art. LIII. All members sitting in courts-martial shall be sworn by the President of said courts, which President shall himself be sworn by the officer in said court next in rank:–The oath to be administered previous to their proceeding to the trial of any offender, in form following, viz.

“You A. B. swear that you will well and truly try, and impartially determine the cause of the prisoner now to be tried, according to the rules for regulating the Continental army. So help you God.”

Art. LIV. All persons called to give evidence, in any case, before a court-martial, who shall refuse to give evidence, shall be punished for such refusal at the discretion of such court-martial:–The oath to be administered in the following form, viz.

“You swear the evidence you shall give in the case now in hearing, shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So help you God.”

“…Ordered, That Mr. [Silas] Deane, Mr. [Thomas] Cushing and Mr. [Joseph] Hewes, be a Committee to examine the rules and articles of war agreed to by the Congress, and get them printed as soon as possible….”


Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 1

John Langdon to Matthew Thornton

Philadelphia

3d July 1775

…The general voice of the people here is, that our Cause is Just and Righteous and that God is on our side as has most evidently appeared.

The low, base, and wanton Cruelty of the Ministerial Sons of Tyranny, in burning the once pleasant and populous Town of Charlestown, Beggers all Description.(2) This does not look like the fight of those who have so long been Friends, and would hope to be Friends again, but Rather of a Most Cruel enemy, but we shall not wonder when we Reflect, that it is the infernal hand of Tyranny which always has and ever will Delluge that part of the World (which it lays hold of) in Blood….


Sir

Philadelphia

July 22nd 1775

“…The publick Fast was observed here by all Societys of Christians with great Decency & Solemnity even much beyond what the Sabboths are generally observed here. We hope it may have a happy effect thro the Continent & that Almighty God may hear the united Supplications of his People. We have the pleasure to inform you that the Colony [of] Georgia have at length fully adopted the Measures of the late Congress & have Chosen Delegates from all their Parishes to Attend this, Mr Hall was here only from the parish of St Johns. They have lately taken at South Carolina about fourteen Thousand Wt Powder which was going into Georgia for the use of the Ministry. We are yet Uncertain when we shall adjourn or where the General Urges our Moving nearer Boston which I dare say will have great Weight, but the Gentlemen from some of the Sothern Colonies seem Very averse to [it].(1) We hope to be on our way to New England in about a fortnight.

We are with great respect Your Honors most Obedient Humble Servants Elipha Dyer Silas Dean”


The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor.

George Washington, November 18, 1775, General Orders

“…The Honorable the Legislature of this Colony having thought fit to set apart Thursday the 23d of November Instant, as a day of public thanksgiving “to offer up our praises, and prayers to Almighty God, the Source and Benevolent Bestower of all good; That he would be pleased graciously to continue, to smile upon our Endeavours, to restore peace, preserve our Rights, and Privileges, to the latest posterity; prosper the American Arms, preserve and strengthen the Harmony of the United Colonies, and avert the Calamities of a civil war.” The General therefore commands that day to be observed with all the Solemnity directed by the Legislative Proclamation, and all Officers, Soldiers and others, are hereby directed, with the most unfeigned Devotion, to obey the same….”

__________

Journals of the Continental Congress,
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 1775

“…If any shall be heard to swear, curse, or blaspheme the name of God, the Commander is strictly enjoined to punish them for every offence, by causing them to wear a wooden collar, or some other shameful badge of distinction, for so long time as he shall judge proper. If he be a commissioned officer, he shall forfeit one shilling for each offence, and a warrant or inferior officer six pence. He who is guilty of drunkenness, if a seaman, shall be put in irons until he is sober, but if an officer, he shall forfeit two days’ pay….”

__________

Journals of the Continental Congress,
TUESDAY, JANUARY 2, 1776

“…Resolved, That it be recommended to them, to continue mindful that humanity ought to distinguish the brave, that cruelty should find no admission among a free people, and to take care that no page in the annals of America be stained by a recital of any action which justice or Christianity may condemn, and to rest assured that whenever retaliation may be necessary or tend to their security, this Congress will undertake the disagreeable task….”

__________

Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume: 3

Joseph Hewes to Samuel Johnston

Dear Sir

Philadelphia

6th Jany 1776.

I wrote to you two days ago by two Ministers of the Gospel who are sent by order of Congress to the Western parts of North Carolina, where some of the inhabitants we are told are pursuing measures hostile to the friends of America; they are to endeavour to prevail on those people by reason and Argument to become Active in support of those rights and privileges which belong to them in common with the rest of the Inhabitants. I hope their well meant endeavours will be usefull to our Province….

__________

Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume: 3

Samuel Adams to John Sullivan

“My dear sir

Philade

Jany 12 1776

Your very acceptable Letter of the 3d Inst duly came to hand. I thank you heartily for the favor and shall be much obligd to you if you will write to me as often as your Leisure will admit of it.

It gave me pain to be informd by you, that by an unlucky Circumstance you were prevented from executing a plan, the Success of which would have afforded you Laurels, and probably in its immediate Effects turnd the present Crisis in favor of our Country. We are indebted to you for your laudable Endeavor;

Another Tryal will, I hope, crown your utmost Wish.

I have seen the Speech which is falsly & shamefully called most gracious. It breathes the most malevolent Spirit, wantonly proposes Measures calculated to distress Mankind, and determines my opinion of the Author of it as a Man of a wicked Heart. What a pity it is, that Men are become so degenerate and servile, as to bestow Epithets which can be appropriated to the supreme Being alone, upon Speeches & actions which will hereafter be read & spoken of by every Man who shall profess to have a spark of Virtue & Honor, with the utmost Contempt and Detestation. What have we to expect from Britain, but Chains & Slavery? I hope we shall act the part which the great Law of Nature points out. It is high time that we should assume that Character, which I am sorry to find the Capital of your Colony has publickly and expressly disavowd. It is my most fervent prayer to Almighty God, that he would direct and prosper the Councils of America, inspire her Armies with true Courage, shield them in every Instance of Danger and lead them on to Victory & Tryumph.

I am yr affectionate Friend,

S.A.”

__________

Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume: 3
(John Dickinson) for a Speech in Congress

[January 24? 1776]

“…3. On Lands then the supposed property of England. A Question has been made What Right European Nations took by Discovery by their Subjects or Persons navigating under their Authority & the Extention of that Right into the Country. That is one Question not necessary t9 be discussed on the present Occasion. I incline to think no European Nation took any Right whatever by such Discoveries. If the Objects held up by the European Nations of spreading the Light of the Gospel among the ignorant Natives had been the Principle of those Discoveries & the consequent possession-& if that grand Object could not [have] been attempted without the European Nations obtaining a property in part of the Country-there might more be said in Favor of their Right. But that was not the Cause. It was only a Patina. Ambition & Love of Gain were the Causes-& so far from [instructing?] in Truth or improving in Morality, We have only super[added?] European [bias?] on [Indian?] Errors….”

__________

Journals of the Continental Congress,
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 1776

“…Resolved, That a friendly commerce between the people of the United Colonies and the Indians, and the propagation of the gospel, and the cultivation of the civil arts among the latter, may produce many and inestimable advantages to both; and that the commissioners for Indian affairs be desired to consider of proper places in their respective departments for the residence of ministers and school masters, and report the same to the Congress:

“That the commissioners for Indian affairs in the northern department be desired to enquire of Mr. Jacob Fowler, of the Montauke tribe of Indians, on Long Island, and Mr. Joseph Johnson, of the Mohegan, upon what terms they will reside among the Six Nations of Indians, and instruct them in the Christian religion….”

__________

A PROCLAMATION FOR A GENERAL FAST, “that the Gospel of CHRIST may have free Course and be glorified”, Feb. 22, 1776


Washington, George, 1732-1799: The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 8, 1745-1799. [The Modern English Collection at the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center.]

George Washington GENERAL ORDERS Head Quarters,

Cambridge, March 6, 1776.

…Thursday the seventh Instant, being set apart by the Honourable the Legislature of this province, as a day of fasting, prayer, and humiliation, “to implore the Lord, and Giver of all victory, to pardon our manifold sins and wickedness’s, and that it would please him to bless the Continental Arms, with his divine favour and protection” — All Officers, and Soldiers, are strictly enjoined to pay all due reverance, and attention on that day, to the sacred duties due to the Lord of hosts, for his mercies already received, and for those blessings, which our Holiness and Uprightness of life can alone encourage us to hope through his mercy to obtain….

__________

Journals of the Continental Congress,

SATURDAY, MARCH 16, 1776

Mr. W[illiam] Livingston, pursuant to leave granted, brought in a resolution for appointing a fast, which ∥being taken into consideration,∥ was agreed to as follows:

In times of impending calamity and distress; when the liberties of America are imminently endangered by the secret machinations and open assaults of an insidious and vindictive administration, it becomes the indispensable duty of these hitherto free and happy colonies, with true penitence of heart, and the most reverent devotion, publickly to acknowledge the over ruling providence of God; to confess and deplore our offences against him; and to supplicate his interposition for averting the threatened danger, and prospering our strenuous efforts in the cause of freedom, virtue, and posterity.

The Congress, therefore, considering the warlike preparations of the British Ministry to subvert our invaluable rights and priviledges, and to reduce us by fire and sword, by the savages of the wilderness, and our own domestics, to the most abject and ignominious bondage: Desirous, at the same time, to have people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a solemn sense of God’s superintending providence, and of their duty, devoutly to rely, in all their lawful enterprizes, on his aid and direction, Do earnestly recommend, that Friday, the Seventeenth day of May next, be observed by the said colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness; humbly imploring his assistance to frustrate the cruel purposes of our unnatural enemies; and by inclining their hearts to justice and benevolence, prevent the further effusion of kindred blood. But if, continuing 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 arms, by sea and land, with victory and success: Earnestly beseeching him to bless our civil rulers, and the representatives of the people, in their several assemblies and conventions; to preserve and strengthen their union, to inspire them with an ardent, disinterested love of their country; to give wisdom and stability to their counsels; and direct them to the most efficacious measures for establishing the rights of America on the most honourable and permanent basis–That he would be graciously pleased to bless all his people in these colonies with health and plenty, and grant that a spirit of incorruptible patriotism, and of pure undefiled religion, may universally prevail; and this continent be speedily restored to the blessings of peace and liberty, and enabled to transmit them inviolate to the latest posterity. And it is recommended to Christians of all denominations, to assemble for public worship, and abstain from servile labour on the said day.

Resolved, That the foregoing resolve be published.1

[Note 1: 1 Printed in thePennsylvania Gazette, 20 March, 1776.]

__________

Journals of the Continental Congress,

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20, 1776

“…You are further to declare, that we hold sacred the rights of conscience, and may promise to the whole people, solemnly in our name, the free and undisturbed exercise of their religion; and, to the clergy, the full, perfect, and peaceable possession and enjoyment of all their estates; that the government of every thing relating to their religion and clergy, shall be left entirely in the hands of the good people of that province, and such legislature as they shall constitute; Provided, however, that all other denominations of Christians be equally entitled to hold offices, and enjoy civil privileges, and the free exercise of their religion, and be totally exempt from the payment of any tythes or taxes for the support of any religion….”

__________

The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 5
Washington, George, 1732-1799
Fitzpatrick, John Clement, 1876-1940

George Washington, GENERAL ORDERS

Head Quarters, New York, 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 obedience to the Orders of the Continental Congress, and by their unfeigned, and pious observance of their religious duties, incline the Lord, and Giver of Victory, to prosper our arms….”

“[W]e are confirmed in the opinion, that the present age would be deficient in their duty to God, their posterity and themselves, if they do not establish an American republic. This is the only form of government we wish to see established; for we can never be willingly subject to any other King than He who, being possessed of infinite wisdom, goodness and rectitude, is alone fit to possess unlimited power.”

  • Instructions of Malden, Massachusetts for a Declaration of Independence, 27 May 1776 [Documents of American History, Commager, vol. 1 (97)]

“…In this state of extreme danger we have no alternative left, but an abject submission to the will of those overbearing tyrants, or a total separation from the crown and Government of Great Britain, uniting and exerting the strength of all America for defence, and forming alliances with foreign powers for commerce and aid in war: wherefore, appealing to the Searcher of Hearts, for the sincerity of former declarations expressing our desire to preserve the connexion with that nation, and that we are driven from that inclination by their wicked councils, and the eternal laws of self-preservation….” [May 15, 1776]

“…18. That Religion, or the duty which we owe to our CREATOR, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence: and therefore, that all men should enjoy the fullest toleration in the exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience, unpunished, and unrestrained by the magistrate, unless under colour of religion, any man disturb the peace, the happiness, or safety of Society. And that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity, towards each other.*”
“(Copy of a printed paper, in the hands of J. M.)” [June 29, 1776]

  • James Madison, The Writings of James Madison, comprising his Public Papers and his Private Correspondence, including his numerous letters and documents now for the first time printed, ed. Gaillard Hunt (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1900).

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BY THE HONORABLE
JONATHAN TRUMBULL, Esq;
Governor and Commander in Chief of the English Colony of Connecticut in New-England.

A PROCLAMATION.

The Race of Mankind was made in a State of Innocence and Freedom, subjected only to the Laws of God the Creator, and through his rich Goodness, designed for virtuous Liberty and Happiness here and forever; and when moral Evil was introduced into the World, and Man had corrupted his Ways before God, Vice and Iniquity came in like a Flood, and Mankind became exposed, and a prey to the Violence, Injustice and Oppression of one another. God, in great Mercy, inclined his People to form themselves into Society, and to set up and establish civil government for the Protection and Security of their Lives and Properties from the Invasion of wicked Men: But through Pride and Ambition, the King’s and Princes of the World, appointed by the People the Guardians of their Lives and Liberties, early and almost universally, degenerated into Tyrants, and by Fraud or Force betrayed and wrested out of their Hands the very Rights and Properties they were appointed to protect and defend….

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Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 4

Robert Treat Paine to Joseph Palmer

July 6, 1776. It is our unhappiness, in this time of danger, to have too many Calvinistic politicians, who seem to think their country will be saved by good words and warm faith, without concomitant exploits; if it did not proceed from a defect in human nature, I think we should not find it in so many places. I have a long time thought that the manufacture of arms and ammunition was an essential object of attention, and have accordingly applied myself most intensely to it, and I hope with good effect….(1)

The day before yesterday the declaration of American independency was voted by twelve colonies, agreeable to the sense of the constituents, and New-York was silent, till their new convention (which sits next week) express their assent, of which we have some doubt. Thus the issue is joined; and it is our comfortable reflection, that if by struggling we can avoid that servile subjection which Britain demanded, we remain a free and happy people; but if, through the frowns of Providence, we sink in the struggle, we do but remain the wretched people we should have been without this declaration. Our hearts are full, our hands are full; may God, in whom we trust, support us.

MS not found; reprinted from extract in New York Review and Atheneum Magazine 2 (May 1826): 449-50.
1 Ellipsis in Tr.

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The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor.

George Washington, General Orders

Head Quarters, New York, July 9, 1776…

…The Hon. Continental Congress having been pleased to allow a Chaplain to each Regiment, with the pay of Thirty-three Dollars and one third pr month–The Colonels or commanding officers of each regiment are directed to procure Chaplains accordingly; persons of good Characters and exemplary lives–To see that all inferior officers and soldiers pay them a suitable respect and attend carefully upon religious exercises. The blessing and protection of Heaven are at all times necessary but especially so in times of public distress and danger–The General hopes and trusts, that every officer and man, will endeavour so to live, and act, as becomes a Christian Soldier defending the dearest Rights and Liberties of his country….

…The General hopes this important Event will serve as a fresh incentive to every officer, and soldier, to act with Fidelity and Courage, as knowing that now the peace and safety of his Country depends (under God) solely on the success of our arms: And that he is now in the service of a State, possessed of sufficient power to reward his merit, and advance him to the highest Honors of a free Country….

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Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 4
Benjamin Rush to Patrick Henry

My dear friend, Philada July 16. 1776….

“…Have you not violated a fundamental principle of liberty in excluding the clergy from your Legislatures I know their danger in a free government but I would rather see them excluded from civil power by custom than by law. They have property, wives & children, & of course are citizens of a community. Why therefore Should they be Abridged of any one priviledge which Other citizens enjoy? Is it not a fact that by investing any men with more, or confining them to fewer priviledges than members of a community enjoy in general we render those men the enemies of that community Perhaps all the Mischief which the clergy have done in all countries has arisen from the first of the above causes. Will not the clause in your Charter which excludes Clergymen from your Legislature hand down to posterity as well as hold up to the World an idea that you looked upon the Christian religion as well as its Ministers as unfriendly to good government? I wish our governments would treat religion of all kinds, & ministers of all denominations as if no such things or beings existed in the world. They mutually destroy each Other when any Attempts are made by either to support each other….”

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“Are the Ministers of the Gospel alive & awake & lifting up their Voices like a trumpet & sounding the Alarm of the Almightys Anger & Wrath ready to burst on the defenseless Heads of a guilty People?”

  • William Williams to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., Sept. 20, 1776.

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Journals of the Continental Congress,

MONDAY, DECEMBER 9, 1776

…Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to prepare an address to the inhabitants of America, and a recommendation to the several states, to appoint a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer:

The members, Mr. [John] Witherspoon, Mr. R[ichard] H[enry] Lee, and Mr. [Samuel] Adams.

State of Massachusetts-Bay.

In the House of Representatives, January 26th, 1777.

ORDERED, That the following ADDRESS be printed, and a copy thereof sent to each minister of the gospel within this State, to whom it is recommended to read the same the next Lord’s day after he shall receive it to his people, immediately after the religious exercises of the day are over. And also that a copy thereof be sent to the commanding officer of each company of the militia in each town in this State, to be read to the companies of militia while they are under arms, for the purpose of recruiting the Army….

…For this grand and noble purpose, so worthy of the virtuous and brave, and we humbly trust so pleasing to Almighty God, you have by your delegates assembled in counsel for several years past;–For this in April 1775, you arrayed yourselves in arms, defeated and put to flight that band of Britons, who uninjured and unoffended, like robbers and murderers dared to assault your peaceful mansions;–and for this we trust you will be at all times ready to spend your blood and treasure….

…We therefore for the sake of that religion, for the enjoyment whereof your ancestors fled to this country, for the sake of your laws and future felicity, entreat and urge you to act vigorously and firmly in this critical situation of your country–and we doubt not but that your noble exertions under the smiles of Heaven, will insure you that success and freedom, due to the wise Man and the Patriot….

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Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 25

Secret Committee Contract

Wednesday February the 6th

“…The Commissioners and Chiefs being met and the usual ceremonies gone thro the following talk was delivered.
Brothers of the Six Nations and all you our other Brothers who are in Peace and freindship with us and alliance with them.
In the name of the Great Congress we bid You welcome. We are glad to see you all. We take you not only by the hand but in our arms and we say to you “Come Brothers let us sit down by this fire and talk together.” Let us tell our Minds and open our hearts to one another and help one another that so the Great God who made us all may be pleased with us all and send a good wind to make the good old fire burn and blaze up to the Skies….

The Above talk was delivered at Easton in Pennsylvania by sundry Commissioners appointed by the United States to hold a treaty with a number of Indian chiefs in Behalf of the Six nations and their Allies.
February the 6 1777 and in the fourth year of the Continental Union.
Attested Thos Payne Sec.
A true Copy GB.

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Journals of the Continental Congress,
FRIDAY, APRIL 18, 1777

“…The committee, in the course of their enquiry, learned, that sometimes the common soldiers expressed sympathy with the prisoners, and the foreigners more than the English. But, this was seldom or never the case with the officers; nor have they been able to hear of any charitable assistance given them by the inhabitants who remained in, or resorted to the city of New York; which neglect, if universal, they believe was never known to happen in any similar case in a Christian country.

“…The committee found it to be the general opinion of the people in the neighbourhood of Princeton and Trenton, that the enemy, the day before the battle of Princeton, had determined to give no quarter.–They did not, however, obtain any clear proof, that there were any general orders for that purpose; but the treatment of several particular persons at and since that time, has been of the most shocking kind, and gives too much countenance to the supposition. Officers wounded and disabled, some of them of the first rank, were barbarously mangled or put to death. A minister of the gospel in Trenton, who neither was nor had been in arms, was massacred in cold blood, though humbly supplicating for mercy….”

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Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 7,

Friends and fellow Citizens

ante May 29, 1777

“…On the other Hand America has Supplicated with the most humble Voice and manner of Complaint, have prayed with most Submissive humility for Peace, Liberty and Safety, but in vain, and at length when forced to take Arms for self-preservation She raised them with reluctance against Britain even in Defence of her own Bosom, and at length unwillingly seperated altho she plainly saw that any further Connection must involve her in Circumstances worse than utter Perdition.

“To maintain this Seperation is to maintain the Religion, Liberty and Property of ourselves and our Posterity, to renounce it is to Sink into the lowest meanness and Slavery.

“May God remove every such thought from every American Breast! Welcome first the Life of the most uncivilized Savages ! Welcome Death itself and everlasting Oblivion to our race! …”

“…The War in which we are engaged for the defence of the Liberty Religion, and property of ourselves and our Posterity was begun under every disadvantage which a brave and virtuous People could struggle with. A powerfull and warlike oppressor whose Numbers of Inhabitants and boundless Commerce render her resources infinite and inex-haustable, with armies disciplined and officers Experienced, with a Fleet in every respect the Dread and Envy of the World on our part Inexperience, (went of Numbers,) want of Commerce, of warlike stores and even of (arms), and of every resource but an Inextinguishable Love of Liberty and a Confidence in the Justice of Divine Providence. In this Situation were we opposed to that Power which a few years ago Shook the most formidable Monarchies in Europe and carried Terror all over the World, (and who ungenerously as well as unjustly relying on her Superior Force insisted on binding us in all Cases whatever without our Consent, and on binding us to an absolute Submission to the Will and pleasure of her Corrupt and venal Ministers). Not detered by such Disadvantages, nor despairing of Divine aid and Protection the Virtuous Inhabitants of America determined (without Hesitation) to resist all attempts to enforce such unjust and extravagant Claims, and to maintain that Freedom which Heaven had originally bestowed on Mankind, and which their Ancestors had wrested from the Hands of usurping Tyrants, and rendering it more valuable by their Blood shed in its defence transmitted Improved to their Posterity, chusing rather to trust to the Issue of any War however callamitous, than to the boundless and Insatiable rapine of Ministers who had a whole People once great and Free to corrupt, and Consequently Innumerable Minions to employ, whose avarice or Luxury must be Satiated with the plunder extorted from the Industrious Poor in America. The Events of the War hitherto have justified our Trust in Divine Providence, and prove to us that an all wise and beneficent God will never forsake men who have virtue enough to Struggle for those Blessings which he has bestowed upon them, and who will rely on his Protection against all superiority of worldly Power, for, our unfeeling Enemy, tho possessed of the advantages of superior Force, Discipline and Experience, and employing every Engine of Fraud and violence in a three years War have acquired only one City and a small Teritory round it which by reason of their superiority in shipping could not be defended and they have been baffled in every (Considerable Enterprize) attempt to Penetrate into the Country whether from Canada or the Sea. They have been forced to fly from Boston, and have been repelled and defeated with disgrace at Charlestown, and their Efforts against Virginia, North and South Carolina, either by Invasion from the Sea, by Inroads which they procured the Savage Indians to make on Western Frontiers or the Insurrections Excited by them among the Slaves, the Ignorant Highlanders, and disaffected Tories have been all repelled and suppressed, with little Damage to us; but with Irreparable Ruin to their Instruments. Their attempts against Pennsylvania were rendered abortive, their Troops defeated, and Captivated, and their Generals forced to retreat in order to save the remains of their army from utter destruction, altho this Enterprize was undertaken under the Conduct of their most experienced officers, with a numerous, well disciplined and well appointed army at a time when we had but few Troops, and these Few under every disadvantage. This Happy event was produced by the Superior Skill and Sagacity of our Commander in Chief, by the Indefatigable perseve rance and Intrepidity of our fellow Citizens who composed the army under his Command great part of which consisted of the Militia of Philadelphia, and other parts of Pennsylvania, Jersey and Maryland, and above all by the peculiar Interposition of Divine Providence. Ever Since they have been confined to Straight Quarter and never attempted to pass without them but they are repulsed defeated or taken Prisoners.

“The Campaign is now nearly ready to open. We have large Supplies of Arms and Military Stores, we have large Magazines of Provisions, and our Country abounds in plenty, for among other marks of Divine favor Heaven has blessed us with Extraordinary fruitfulness. Your Delegates in Congress have provided a liberal, and they Hope useful Establishment for the assistance and care of all who during the Course of the War may be afflicted with Wounds or diseases and are taking every precaution to preserve the Health of their fellow Citizens who must form the armies. Nothing is now wanting but the Zealous Exertions of our brave fellow Citizens to Compleat our armies, and to man our Navy, and to watch, detect, and suppress the Tories amongst us with Spirit and Vigilence.

“For these purpose[s] we Exhort you every where to use every Effort for recruiting the Battalions from our brave and Magnanimous Youth, to whom must be due the Glory of Freeing their Country from Oppression, and bestowing Liberty and Happiness on their Families to be transmitted to future ages in a bright and improving Succession, to Apprehend all Deserters who not only disgrace themselves by quitting so Noble a Conflict, but Rob you of the Monies which have been advanced to them, to Seize and bring to legal punishment all who Endeavour to deceive any men into a Belief that they ought to Submit to the absolute Dominion of Britain or to renounce that Independance which alone can Secure us from it, in a Word to Employ the most vigorous and Zealous Vigilence in Executing the Laws Enacted by every State upon Offenders against the public cause. We have the Strongest Confidence that the men You entrust with the Power of making Laws will provide such as will be Competent to every desirable purpose, and we assure you that we shall not remit the greatest care, attention and Vigor in discharging the Duties you have Enjoyned us to perform.(5)

“May the all bountiful, Merciful, and Gracious God enable us to Conclude the War in a short time, and with as little Misery to Mankind as possible, and so may he prosper our Endeavours as he knows our Intentions are void of ambition, and of every Motive but that of Securing those Blessings which we derive from him as the Great and bountiful Father of Mankind. We hope Fellow Citizens that your Virtue and Piety will always merit his Divine Protection, and we humbly beseech him to make you the Care of his All righteous Providence.”

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Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 7
John Adams to Abigail Adams

Monday, June 2. 1777

“…Revenge, in ancient Days, you will see it through the whole Roman History, was esteemed a generous, and an heroic Passion. Nothing was too good for a Friend or too bad for an Enemy. Hatred and Malice, without Limits, against an Enemy, was indulged, was justified, and no Cruelty was thought unwarrantable.

“Our Saviour taught the Immorality of Revenge, and the moral Duty of forgiving Injuries, and even the Duty of loving Enemies. Nothing can shew the amiable, the moral, and divine Excellency of these Christian Doctrines in a stronger Point of Light, than the Characters and Conduct of Marius and Sylla, Cazsar, Pompey, Anthony and Augustus, among innumerable others. Retaliation, we must practice, in some Instances, in order to make our barbarous Foes respect in some degree the Rights of Humanity. But this will never be done without the most palpable Necessity.

“The Apprehension of Retaliation alone, will restrain them from Cruelties which would disgrace Savages.

“To omit it then would be cruelty to ourselves, our Officers and Men….”

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Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 7

Philadelphia Printers

ca. July 7, 1777

The Congress desire to have a bible printed under their care & by their encouragement, & request you to inform them

  1. How many thousand pounds of Types would be sufficient to set, or Compose a whole bible of the common sort; and what they would cost ?
  2. In how long time such a bible could be set & Printed ?
  3. What it could be sold for, as well bound, as our common bibles?
  4. Whether Paper fit for the purpose, & a sufficient quantity of it could be had in this country, so as to carry on the work with expedition?
  5. How Long the Types when set would continue good, and fit for this purpose of casting off a new edition from time to time?
  6. What would be expected from the Congress to carry on this work, that it might be well done & sold nearly as cheap as common school bibles ?
    An answer to these queries is requested against Friday at 6 o clock in the afternoon-to be given to the Committee of the Congress at the state house in this City.

RC (DNA: PCC, item 46). In an unidentified hand. Addressed: “To Mr. Henry Miller Printer.” The same letter was also sent to Robert Aitken, Thomas Bradford, John Dunlap, and William Sellers. Another, nearly identical copy of the committee’s letter, in the same unidentified hand but addressed “To Mr. Sellers Printer ” is in ibid., fol. 175.
1 Three Philadelphia Presbyterian clergymen-Francis Alison, John Ewing, and William Marshall-this day submitted a petition to Congress praying that “unless timely care be used to prevent it we shall not have bibles for our Schools, & families, & for the publick Worship of God in our Churches.” “We therefore,” they continued, “think it our Duty to our Country & to the Churches of Christ to lay this design before this honourable house, humbly requesting that under your care, & by your encouragement, a Copy of the holy Bible may be printed, so as to be sold nearly as cheap as the Common Bibles, formerly imported from Britain & Ireland, were sold.” See JCC, 8:536, and PCC, item 42, 1:35.
The petition was referred to a committee consisting of John Adams, Daniel Roberdeau, and Jonathan Bayard Smith, who promptly submitted the queries contained in this document to several Philadelphia printers to determine the feasibility of the petitioners’ request. For the printers’ responses, one of which is dated July 10, 1777, see PCC, item 46, 1: 155-73.
The committee eventually reported against the petitioners’ recommendation because of the expense and difficulties involved in procuring the proper types and paper for such an edition of the Bible, and Congress instead adopted the committee’s recommendation to “order the Committee of Commerce to import 20,000 Bibles from Holland, Scotland, or elsewhere.” JCC, 8: 733-35. As this decision was not reached until September 11, the day of the battle of Brandywine and only one week before Congress was forced to flee from Philadelphia no action was taken to implement this order.
Another document related to the committee’s work in the summer of 1777 bearing the heading “Regulations proposed for the Printing of a Bible for common Use under the Direction & by the Authority of Congress,” is also located in PCC. See item 46, 1: 163-64. It consists of 15 articles pertaining to the production of an American edition of the Bible to be carried out under the “Inspection” of Congress and essentially endorses the proposals embodied in the petitioners’ memorial. Indeed it may have been drafted as the committee’s original report, although the report finally read in Congress on September 11 rejected the practicality of executing such an American edition and recommended instead importing 20,000 Bibles. It has been printed in William H. Gaines, Jr., “The Continental Congress Considers the Publication of a Bible 1777,” Studies in Bibliography 3 (1950-51): 275-76, where it has been misidentified as the petition of the Presbyterian ministers.
It was not until 1782 that the first English language American edition of the Old and New Testaments finally appeared. For information on the circumstances that led to the publication of Robert Aitken’s edition of the Bible, which appeared with an official congressional endorsement of September 12, 1782, see Margaret T. Hills, “The First American Bible, as Published by Robert Aitken,” Bible Society Record 113 (January 1968): 2-5; and JCC, 19:91, 23:572-74.

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A SERMON, Preached on the Eve of the Battle of Brandywine, Sept. 10, 1777, BY THE REV. JOAB TROUT.

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Journals of the Continental Congress,

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 1777

…The committee appointed to consider the memorial of the Rev. Dr. Allison and others, report, “That they have conferred 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 country, and that the paper cannot be procured, but with such difficulties and subject to such casualties, as render any dependence on it altogether 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, your committee are of opinion, considerable difficulties will attend the procuring the types and paper; that, afterwards, the risque of importing them will considerably enhance the cost, and that the calculations are subject to such uncertainty in the present state of affairs, that Congress cannot much rely on them: that the use of the Bible is so universal, and its importance so great, that your committee refer the above to the consideration of Congress, and if Congress shall not think it expedient to order the importation of types and paper, your committee recommend that Congress will order the Committee of Commerce to import 20,000 Bibles from Holland, Scotland, or elsewhere, into the different ports of the states in the Union:”1

[Note 1: 1 This report, in the writing of Daniel Roberdeau, is in thePapers of the Continental Congress, No. 28, folio 203.]

Whereupon, the Congress was moved, to order the Committee of Commerce to import twenty thousand copies of the Bible;

The question being put, the house was divided:

So it was resolved in the affirmative.

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Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 8
John Adams to Abigail Adams

My best Friend York Town Octr. 25. 1777
This Town is a small one, not larger than Plymouth. There are in it, two German Churches, the one Lutheran, the other Calvinistical. The Congregations are pretty numerous, and their Attendance upon public Worship is decent. It is remarkable that the Germans, wherever they are found, are carefull to maintain the public Worship, which is more than can be said of the other Denominations of Christians, this Way. There is one Church here erected by the joint Contributions of Episcopalians and Presbyterians, but the Minister, who is a Missionary, is confined for Toryism, so that they have had for a long Time no publick Worship. (1) Congress have appointed two Chaplains, Mr. White and Mr. Duffield, the former of whom an Episcopalian is arrived and opens Congress with Prayers every Day. The latter is expected every Hour. Mr. Duche I am sorry to inform you has turned out an Apostate and a Traytor. Poor Man! I pitty his Weakness, and detest his Wickedness.

As to News, We are yet in a painful Suspense about Affairs at the Northward, but from Philadelphia, We have Accounts that are very pleasing. Commodore Hazelwood, with his Gallies, and Lt. Coll. Smith in the Garrison of Fort Mifflin, have behaved in a manner the most gallant and glorious. They have defended the River, and the Fort with a Firmness and Perseverance, which does Honour to human Nature.

If the News from the Northward is true, Mr. Howe will scarcely venture upon Winter Quarters in Philadelphia.
We are waiting, for News, from Rhode Island.

I am wearied with the Life I lead, and long for the Joys of my Family. God grant I may enjoy it, in Peace. Peace is my dear Delight. War has no Charms for me. If I live much longer in Banishment I shall scarcely know my own Children.
Tell my little ones, that if they will be very good, Pappa will come home.

RC (MHi). Adams, Family Correspondence (Butterfield), 2:359-60.
1 Suspension points in MS.

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Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 8

William Williams to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr

Octo 26 [1777]. Sab. Eveng. Brown is detained by the President to wait on Him, as He is now in earnest returning home. This day Week We received Copy of the Albany Comtees Letter, giving an Acco of Burgoyne & whole Armys surrendering Prisoners of War, it gaind intire Credit, to the great Joy of Congress & the Friends of their Country, but scarce a Circumstance of Confirmation, from [that time?] till this, so that it was almost [. . .] believed, nor has Genl Gates . . . but we hear a Col Wilkinson [. . .] with Dispatches from Him & the News seems confirmed past Contradiction. You have had it without doubt more perfectly. What infinite reason have We to bless & extol the name of the Lord of Hosts the God of Armys, for this great reverse of our Affairs in that quarter, since proud Burgoyne was able to say (at the shameful evacuation of Ty. &c) Veni, Vidi, Vici, which has been overruled for great Good, tho We then tho’t with good old Jacob, all these things are against Us. O, may the Mercies & Judgments of the Almighty, accomplish the great Design for which They are sent, our Repentance & Reformation.

I doubt not Congress will appoint a Day of Thansgiving on this great Occasion, thro out the Continent, & may God give Us Heart to celebrate it in a right & acceptable manner.

Our Forts & Vessels of [War] have in a surprizing & unexpected [manner] defended the Passage of the Delawar . . most engaged Efforts of the Enemy with [. . .]ly Fleet, their existence at the City depends upon their comandg the River, but their Attempts had hitherto faild & two of their Ships lost. The Cannonade mentioned before was real & ended happily as You will see by the inclosed Copys. Our officers there have deserved great Honor, & blessed be God, Who has inspired them with Courage & given Them so much Success.

Congress is so thin of Members that they (3)

RC (NHi). A continuation of Williams to Trumbull, October 23, 1777.
1 Three or four words missing.
2 Approximately three words missing.
3 Remainder of RC missing.

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Journals of the Continental Congress, “to set apart a day of thanksgiving. . . . through the merits of Jesus Christ…”, Nov. 1, 1777


Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 8,

Henry Laurens to the States,

Sir

York Town

1st November 1777,

The Arms of the United States of America having been blessed in the present Campaign with remarkable Success, Congress have Resolved to recommend that one day, Thursday the 18th December next be Set apart to be observed by all Inhabitants throughout these States for a General thanksgiving to Almighty God. And I have it in command to transmit to you the inclosed extract from the minutes of Congress for that purpose.(1)

Your Excellency or Honour will be pleased to take the necessary measures for carrying the Resolve into effect in the State in which you preside. You will likewise find inclosed a Certified Copy of a minute which will Shew your Excellency the Authority under which I have the honour of addressing you.(2)

I am with great Esteem & regard, Sir, Your Excellencys most Obt. L Servt.

Henry Laurens

LB (DNA: PCC, item 13). Addressed: “Circular, by Express Messengers.”
1 See JCC, 9:854 55
2 This day Laurens was elected John Hancock’s successor as president of Congress. JCC,
9:854.

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Journals of the Continental Congress,

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 1777

…Congress took into consideration the report of the committee to whom were referred the letter from the Hon. Stephen Hopkins, Esqr., and the proceedings of the committees from New Hampshire, Massachusetts bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut and New York, and for other purposes mentioned in a resolution of Congress of the 10th of September last, and the same being read and debated by paragraphs, was agreed to, as follows:

Pursued by the injustice and the vengeance of the King and Parliament Great Britain, these United States have been compelled to engage in a bloody and expensive war. Amidst much great every distress that they have yet experienced may befal them, it will be their consolation to appeal to Heaven for the rectitude of their measures; since they have her influence they have had recourse to arms, not from ambition or the lust of power, but to resist actual invasion and boundless rapine, and to secure to themselves and to their Posterity the common rights and privileges of human nature: the blessings of freedom and safety that they have had recourse to arms.

Aided by venal foreigners and domestic traitors, the war has been prosecuted by our implacable foes with their utmost force and vigour, and aggravated by more than savage barbarity.

Congress, nevertheless, supported by the virtue, patriotism and good faith of their constituents have hitherto raised all the necessary supplies on the publick credit confidence of their fellow citizens, without burthening them with taxes or pecuniary contributions, have hitherto raised all the necessary supplies on the public faith For these purposes.

To maintain our fleets and armies, large sums have been emitted in continental bills of credit, and the same expedient method has been adopted embraced by the respective states to answer the demands of their internal governments their internal wants. By these exertions expedients, our paper currency, notwithstanding the settled solid basis on which it is founded, is multiplied beyond the rules of good policy. No truth being more evident, than that where the quantity of money of any quality or denomination exceeds what is useful as a medium of commerce, its comparative value must be proportionably reduced. To this cause, conspiring with the arts and practices of our open and secret enemies, the shameful avidity of too many of our professed friends, and the scarcity of foreign commodities are we to ascribe the depreciation of our currency: the consequences to be apprehended are equally obvious and alarming.1 They tend to the depravity of morals,–decay of public virtue,–a precarious supply for the war,–debasement of the public faith,–injustice to individuals, and the destruction of the honour, safety, and independence of the United States. Loudly, therefore, are we called upon to provide a seasonable and effectual remedy against those dangerous evils.

[Note 1: 1 The original report read as follows:
"If the Depravity of Morals, if the Extinction of publick Virtue, if the Supplies for carrying on the War, if the Interests of Individuals, if the preservation of the publick Faith and the Honour, Safety and Independance of the United States, are Objects, which are worthy of our Concern, we are loudly, &c."]

Blessed be God, they are not unavoidable irremediable.2 The means of repressing them are still in our own power. Let the virtuous patriots of America reflect on the inestimable value of the prize for which we are contending. Hitherto spared from taxes, let them now with a cheerful heart contribute according to their circumstances. Let the sordid wretches, who shrink from danger and personal service, and meanly prefer their own inglorious2 ease and emolument to the good of their country, be despised, and their ill-gotten wealth be abhorred as a curse disgrace. Let the extortioner and oppressor be

[Note 22: 2 This word was inserted by Henry Laurens.]

punished; the secret traitor dragged to light; the necessities of the army attended to and relieved; and the quantity of money in circulation be reduced; and we shall soon see the public credit fully established, and with the continuance of the divine favour, a glorious termination of the present arduous conflict…

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The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor.

George Washington, General Orders

Head Quarters, White Marsh, November 30, 1777.

Parole Northampton. Countersigns Greenland, Portsmouth.

On the 25th of November instant, the Honorable Continental Congress passed the following resolve, vizt:

Resolved. That General Washington be directed to publish in General orders, that Congress will speedily take into consideration the merits of such officers as have distinguished themselves by their intrepidity and their attention to the health and discipline of their men; and adopt such regulations as shall tend to introduce order and good discipline into the army, and to render the situation of the officers and soldiery, with respect to cloathing and other necessaries, more eligible than it has hitherto been.

Forasmuch as it is the indispensible duty of all men, to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligations to him for benefits received, and to implore such further blessings as they stand in need of; and it having pleased him in his abundant mercy, not only to continue to us the innumerable bounties of his common providence, but also, to smile upon us in the prosecution of a just and necessary war, for the defence of our unalienable rights and liberties.78

[Note 78: This preliminary statement was taken from the resolve of Congress of November 1 recommending the States to set apart a day of Thanksgiving. It was to Washington on November 7 and answered by him on November 10.]

It is therefore recommended by Congress, that Thursday the 18th. day of December next be set apart for Solemn Thanksgiving and Praise; that at one time, and with one voice, the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor; and that, together with their sincere acknowledgements and offerings they may join the penitent confession of their sins; and supplications for such further blessings as they stand in need of. The Chaplains will properly notice this recommendation, that the day of thanksgiving may be duly observed in the army, agreeably to the intentions of Congress.

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Oppression: A Poem Or, New England’s Lamentation, “Behold the Invitation of God Almighty’s Son”, [Boston, 1777]

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Journals of the Continental Congress,
SATURDAY, MARCH 7, 1778

“The committee appointed to prepare a recommendation to the several states, for setting apart a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer, brought in the same; which was read and agreed to as follows:

Whereas, Almighty God, in the righteous dispensation of his providence, hath permitted the continuation of a cruel and desolating war in our land; and it being at all times the duty of a people to acknowledge God in all his ways, and more especially to humble themselves before him when evident tokens of his displeasure are manifested; to acknowledge his righteous government; confess, and forsake their evil ways; and implore his mercy:

Resolved, That it be recommended to the United States of America to set apart Wednesday, the 22d day of April next, to be observed as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer; that at one time, and with one voice, the inhabitants may acknowledge the righteous dispensations of Divine Providence, and confess their iniquities and transgressions, for which the land mourneth; that they may implore the mercy and forgiveness of God; and beseech him that vice, prophaneness, extortion, and every evil, may be done away; and that we may be a reformed and happy people; that they may unite in humble and earnest supplication, that it may please Almighty God, to guard and defend us against our enemies, and give vigour and success to our military operations by sea and land; that it may please him to bless the civil rulers and people, strengthen and perpetuate our union, and, in his own good time, establish us in the peaceable enjoyment of our rights and liberties; that it may please him to bless our schools and seminaries of learning, and make them nurseries of true piety, virtue and useful knowledge; that it may please him to cause the earth to yield its increase, and to crown the year with his goodness….”

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The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor.

George Washington, General Orders

Head Quarters, V. Forge, Tuesday, May 5, 1778….

…It having pleased the Almighty ruler of the Universe propitiously to defend the Cause of the United American-States and finally by raising us up a powerful Friend among the Princes of the Earth to establish our liberty and Independence up lasting foundations, it becomes us to set apart a day for gratefully acknowledging the divine Goodness and celebrating the important Event which we owe to his benign Interposition….

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AN ADDRESS OF THE CONGRESS TO THE INHABITANTS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, May 8th, 1778

American Manifesto, Continental Congress, Oct. 30, 1778

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Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 10

Samuel Adams to Peter Thacher

My Dear Sir (1) Philad Augt 11-78

….Nothing can equal the barefaced Falshood of the Quakers & Tories in this City, unless perhaps their Folly, in giving out that M. Gerard does not come in the Character of a publick Minister, but only to obtain Pay for the Stores we have receivd from that Country. These Quakers are in general a sly artful People, not altogether destitute, as I conceive, of worldly Views in their religious Profession. They carefully educate their Children in their own contracted Opinions and Manners, and I dare say they have in their Heads as perfect a System of Uniformity of Worship in their Way, and are busily employd about spiritual Domination as ever Laud himself was, but having upon professed Principle renouncd the Use of the carnal Weapon, they cannot onsistently practice the too common Method made Use of in former times, of dragooning Men into sound Beliefe. One might submit to their own inward Feelings, whether they do not now & then secretly wish for fire from Heaven in support of their Cause, in order to bring them upon a footing with those whose Consciences dictate the kindling fires on Earth for the pious Purpose of convincing Gainsayers, and who keep the Sword in their Hands to enforce it. He who in the Spirit of the Apostle professes to wish Peace to all those who love the Lord Jesus Christ in Sincerity, must discover an unmortified Pride & a Want of Christian Charity to destroy the peace of others who profess to have that sincere Affection to the Common Master, because they differ from him in Matters of mere opinion-But the Post is just going. I must therefore conclude with assuring you that I am affectionately, Yours,

FC (NN). In the hand of Samuel Adams.

1 Peter Thacher (1752-1802), a Malden, Mass., minister, who had delivered several fiery patriotic sermons on public occasions and later served as a delegate to the 1780 Massachusetts constitutional convention. “Memoirs of Rev. Dr. Thacher,” Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections, 1st ser. vol. 8 (1802): 277-84.

2 Thacher’s “last” letter to Adams has not been found; only his May 19 letter to Adams is in the
Samuel Adams Papers, NN.

3 At this point Adams wrote and then crossed out the following sentences: “Under an Apprehension that our connection with France might lead us to partake in her wars, which might be grounded on Views of Ambition and Conquest, I took occasion to hint to him that the sole object of America was independence. He frankly said that whenever Great Britain should acknowledge our Independence, there would be an End of Dispute between her and us, and it would not be the Inclination as it was not the Interest of France to continue the War.”
The “apprehension” Adams voiced here was also shared by Richard Henry Lee, who preserved among his papers the following notes on Gerard’s response to this issue. Lee doubtless wrote these at about this same time, after availing himself of an opportunity for questioning the French Minister on possible consequences of the Franco-American treaties. The notes appear on the verso of a sheet on which Lee had outlined the thirteen articles of the treaty of alliance.

“That the Treaty of Alliance has not effect until War or rupture, which are made Synonimous. Therefore no Guarantee, nor obligation to carry on the war. The former more desirable than the latter ineligible. Because the Object of War clearly pointed out in 2d. 3d. & 8 Articles, which being obtained, the war in reason ceases. “All words of Monsr. Gerard.”

Lee Family Papers, ViU.

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Journals of the Continental Congress,

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 1778

…Congress resumed the consideration of the recommendation to the states for setting apart a day of thanksgiving, which being amended, is as follows:

It having pleased Almighty God, through the course of the present year, to bestow great and manifold mercies on the people of these United States; and it being the indispensable duty of all men gratefully to acknowledge their obligations to Him for benefits received:

Resolved, That it be, and hereby is recommended to the legislative or executive authority of each of the said states, to appoint Wednesday, the 30th day of December next, to be observed as a day of public thanksgiving and praise, that all the people may, with united hearts, on that day, express a just sense of his unmerited favours; particularly in that it hath pleased him, by his overruling providence, to support us in a just and necessary war, for the defence of our rights and liberties, by affording us seasonable supplies for our armies, by disposing the heart of a powerful monarch to enter into alliance with us, and aid our cause; by defeating the councils and evil designs of our enemies, and giving us victory over their troops; and, by the continuance of that union among these states, which, by his blessing, will be their future strength and glory.

And it is further recommended, that, together with devout thanksgiving, may be joined a penitent confession of our sins, and humble supplication for pardon, through the merits of our Saviour; so that, under the smiles of Heaven, our public councils may be directed, our arms by land and sea prospered, our liberty and independence secured, our schools and seminaries of learning flourish, our trade be revived, our husbandry and manufactures encreased, and the hearts of all impressed with undissembled piety, with benevolence and zeal for the public
good.

And it is also recommended, that recreations unsuitable to the purpose of such a solemnity may be omitted on that day.

Done in Congress, this 17th day of November, 1778, and in the third year of the independence of the United States of America.(1)

[Note 1: 1 This proclamation, in the writing of Samuel Adams, is in thePapers of the Continental Congress, No. 24, folio 445. It is endorsed as having passed November 3.]

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A Proclamation, “with decency and devotion becoming good christians, acknowledge their obligations to Almighty God for the benefits they have received”, Dec. 7, 1778

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Gouverneur Morris to the Pennsylvania Packet, “and since the Deity chose one Judas among twelve disciples”, Feb., 1779

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Journals of the Continental Congress,
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 1779

“…Plan of a Treaty of Commerce to be entered into between their High Mightinesses the States of the Seven United Provinces of Holland, and the thirteen United States of North America, to wit, New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delawares Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia….”

“…On these Principles the parties above mentioned have after mature deliberation, agreed to the following Articles….”

“…Form of the passport to be given to ships or vessels conformable to the
30th Article of this treaty”

“To all who shall see these presents: Greeting,”

“Be it known that leave and permission are hereby given tomaster and commander of the ship or vessel calledof theof burdentons or thereabouts, lying at present in the port or haven of, bound for, and laden with, to depart and proceed with his ship or vessel, having been visited, and the said master and Commander having made oath before the proper officer that the said ship or vessel belongs to one (or more) of the Subjects, people, or Inhabitants of, and to him (or them) only.”

“In Witness whereof we have subscribed our names to these Presents, and affixed the seal of our Arms thereto, and Caused the same to be Countersigned by, at, thisday of, in the year of our Lord Christ.”

“Form of the Certificate to be given to ships or vessels conformable to
the 30th Article of this Treaty.”

“WeMagistrates (or officers of the customs) of the port or haven ofdo certify and attest that on theday ofin the year of our Lord, C. D. ofpersonally appeared before us and declared by solemn oath that the ship or vessel calledoftons or thereabouts; whereofofis at present master and Commanders does rightfully and properly belong to him (or to him andSubject (or Subjects) of) and to him (or them) only: That she is now bound from the port or haven ofto the port ofladen with goods and merchandizes hereunder particularly described and enumerated as follows.”

“In Witness whereof we have signed this certificate and sealed it with the seal of our office thisday ofin the year of our Lord Christ”

“This is a rough plan of a treaty of Commerce, which in consequence of the appointment and instructions of the Honorable Mr. Engelbert Francis Van Berkel, Counsellor Pensionary of the City of Amsterdam, to me, John De Neufville, citizen of the said City of Amsterdam, I have perused, considered and settled with William Lee, Esquire, Commissioner of Congress, as a proper treaty of Commerce to be entered into between their High Mightinesses the States of the Seven United Provinces of Holland and the United States of North America.”

“This done at Aix la Chapelle the 4th of September, 1778.”

“(Signed) John De Neufville.”

“A true Copy”

“Certified by me”
“Saml. W. Stockton Secrety”.1

[Note 1: 1 This paper is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 47, folio 175.]

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Journals of the Continental Congress,

SATURDAY, MARCH 20, 1779

[Image of Published Copy]

The committee appointed to prepare a recommendation to the several states to set apart a day of fasting humiliation and prayer, brought in a draught, which was taken into consideration, and agreed to as follows:

Whereas, in just punishment of our manifold transgressions, it hath pleased the Supreme Disposer of all events to visit these United States with a destructive calamitous war, through which His divine Providence hath, hitherto, in a wonderful manner, conducted us, so that we might acknowledge that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong: and whereas, there is but too much Reason to fear that notwithstanding the chastisements received and benefits bestowed, too few have been sufficiently awakened to a sense of their guilt, or warmed our Bosoms with gratitude, or taught to amend their lives and turn from their sins, that so He might turn from His wrath. And whereas, from a consciousness of what we have merited at His hands, and an apprehension that the malevolence of our disappointed enemies, like the incredulity of Pharaoh, may be used as the scourge of Omnipotence to vindicate his slighted Majesty, there is reason to fear that he may permit much of our land to become the prey of the spoiler, and the Blood of the innocent be poured out that our borders to be ravaged, and our habitations destroyed:

Resolved, That it be recommended to the several states to appoint the first Thursday in May next, to be a day of fasting, Thanksgiving humiliation and prayer to Almighty God, that he will be pleased to avert those impending calamities which we have but too well deserved: that he will grant us his grace to repent of our sins, and amend our lives, according to his holy word: that he will continue that wonderful protection which hath led us through the paths of danger and distress: that he will be a husband to the widow and a father to the fatherless children, who weep over the barbarities of a savage enemy: that he will grant us patience in suffering, and fortitude in adversity: that he will inspire us with humility and moderation, and gratitude in prosperous circumstances: that he will give wisdom to our councils, firmness to our resolutions, and victory to our arms That he will have Mercy on our Foes, and graciously forgive them, and turn their Hearts from Enmity to Love.

That he will bless the labours of the husbandman, and pour forth abundance, so that we may enjoy the fruits of the earth in due season.

[That he will cause union, harmony, and mutual confidence to prevail throughout these states: that he will bestow on our great ally all those blessings which may enable him to be gloriously instrumental in protecting the rights of mankind, and promoting the happiness of his subjects and advancing the Peace and Liberty of Nations. That he will give to both Parties to this Alliance, Grace to perform with Honor and Fidelity their National Engagements].(1)
That he will bountifully continue his paternal care to the commander in chief, and the officers and soldiers of the United States: that he will grant the blessings of peace to all contending nations, freedom to those who are in bondage, and comfort to the afflicted: that he will diffuse useful knowledge, extend the influence of true religion, and give us that peace of mind, which the world cannot give: that he will be our shield in the day of battle, our comforter in the hour of death, and our kind parent and merciful judge through time and through eternity.

[Note 1: 1 Words in brackets are in writing of John Jay.]

Done in Congress, this 20th day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-nine, and in the third year of our independence.

John Jay, President.

Attest, Charles Thomson, Secretary.2

[Note 2: 2 This proclamation, in the writing of Gouverneur Morris, is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 24, folio 437.]

SPEECH TO THE DELAWARE CHIEFS

Head Quarters, Middle Brook, May 12, 1779.

….Brothers: I am glad you have brought three of the Children of your principal Chiefs to be educated with us. I am sure Congress will open the Arms of love to them, and will look upon them as their own Children, and will have them educated accordingly. This is a great mark of your confidence and of your desire to preserve the friendship between the Two Nations to the end of time, and to become One people with your Brethen of the United States. My ears hear with pleasure the other matters you mention. Congress will be glad to hear them too. You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do every thing they can to assist you in this wise intention; and to tie the knot of friendship and union so fast, that nothing shall ever be able to loose it.

Brothers: There are some matters about which [I do not open my Lips, because they belong to Congress, and not to us warriors; you are going to them, they will tell you all you wish to know.

Brothers: When you have seen all you want to see, I will then wish you a good Journey to Philadelphia. I hope you may find there every thing your hearts can wish, that when you return home you may be able to tell your Nation good things of us. And I pray God he may make your Nation wise and Strong, that they may always see their own] true interest and have courage to walk in the right path; and that they never may be deceived by lies to do any thing against the people of these States, who are their Brothers and ought always to be one people with them.

George Washington,

Commander in chief of all the Armies in the United States of America

Journals of the Continental Congress, “in the name of the Lord of Hosts,” May 26, 1779

Journals of the Continental Congress,
SATURDAY, JULY 17, 1779

“…Resolved, That the following letter from the secretary of Congress be written to the admiral or other commanding officer of the fleets or ships of his Britannic Majesty, lying in the harbor of New York:

“Sir: I am directed by the Congress of the United States of America to inform you that they have received evidence that Gustavus Conyngham, a citizen of America, late commander of an armed vessel in the service of the said states, and taken on board a private armed cutter, hath been treated in a manner contrary to the dictates of humanity and the practice of Christian civilized nations. I am ordered in the name of Congress to demand that good and sufficient reasons be given for this conduct, or that the said Gustavus Conyngham be immediately released from his present rigorous and ignominious confinement….”

Journals of the Continental Congress,

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 1779

“…Let them remember that we are contending against a kingdom crumbling into pieces; a nation without public virtue; and a people sold to, and betrayed by, their own representatives; against a prince governed by his passions, and a ministry without confidence or wisdom; against armies half paid and generals half trusted; against a government equal only to plans of plunder, conflagration and murder; a government, by the most impious violations of the rights of religion, justice, humanity, and mankind, courting the vengeance of Heaven and revolting from the protection of Providence. Against the fury of these enemies you made successful resistance, when single, alone and friendless, in the days of weakness and infancy, before your hands had been taught to war or your fingers to fight. And can there be any reason to apprehend that the divine disposer of human events, after having separated us from the house of bondage, and led us safe through a sea of blood, towards the land of liberty and promise, will leave the work of our political redemption unfinished, and either permit us to perish in a wilderness of difficulties, or suffer us to be carried back in chains to that country of oppression, from whose tyranny he hath mercifully delivered us with a stretched out arm? …”

“…By the unanimous order of Congress,

John Jay, President.

Philadelphia, September 13th, 1779.

(Mr. John Jay was later named the First Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court by President George Washington).

Journals of the Continental Congress,

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 1779

The committee appointed to prepare a recommendation to the several states, for setting apart the second Thursday in December next, as a day of general thanksgiving, brought in a draught, which was agreed to as follows:

Whereas it becomes us humbly 50, (to?), approach the throne of Almighty God, with gratitude and praise for the wonders which his goodness has wrought in conducting our fore-fathers to this western world; for his protection to them and to their posterity amid difficulties and dangers;

for raising us, their children, from deep distress to be numbered among the nations of the earth; and for arming the hands of just and mighty princes in our deliverance; and especially for that he hath been pleased to grant us the enjoyment of health, and so to order the revolving seasons, that the earth hath produced her increase in abundance, blessing the labors of the husbandmen, and spreading plenty through the land; that he hath prospered our arms and those of our ally; been a shield to our troops in the hour of danger, pointed their swords to victory and led them in triumph over the bulwarks of the foe; that he hath gone with those who went out into the wilderness against the savage tribes; that he hath stayed the hand of the spoiler, and turned back his meditated destruction; that he hath prospered our commerce, and given success to those who sought the enemy on the face of the deep; and above all, that he hath diffused the glorious light of the gospel, whereby, through the merits of our gracious Redeemer, we may become the heirs of his eternal glory: therefore,

Resolved, That it be recommended to the several states, to appoint Thursday, the 9th of December next, to be a day of public and solemn thanksgiving to Almighty God for his mercies, and of prayer for the continuance of his favor and protection to these United States; to beseech him that he would be graciously pleased to influence our public councils, and bless them with wisdom from on high, with unanimity, firmness, and success; that he would go forth with our hosts and crown our arms with victory; that he would grant to his church the plentiful effusions of divine grace, and pour out his holy spirit on all ministers of the gospel; that he would bless and prosper the means of education, and spread the light of christian knowledge through the remotest corners of the earth; that he would smile upon the labours of his people and cause the earth to bring forth her fruits in abundance; that we may with gratitude and gladness enjoy them; that he would take into his holy protection our illustrious ally, give him victory over his enemies, and render him signally great, as the father of his people and the protector of the rights of mankind; that he would graciously be pleased to turn the hearts of our enemies, and to dispense the blessings of peace to contending nations; that he would in mercy look down upon us, pardon our sins and receive us into his favor, and finally, that he would establish the independence of these United States upon the basis of religion and virtue, and support and protect them in the enjoyment of peace, liberty and safety. as long as the sun and moon shall
endure, until time shall be no more.

Done in Congress, the 20th day of October, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-nine, and in the 4th year of the independence of the United States of America.

Samuel Huntington, President.

Attest,
Charles Thomson, Secretary. (1)

[Note 1: 1 This proclamation was entered in the Journals by George Bend. In the writing of Jesse Root, it is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 24, folio 447.]

The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor.

George Washington, General Orders

Head Quarters, Moore’s House, Saturday, November 27, 1779.

…The Honorable the Congress has been pleased to pass the following proclamation.

Whereas it becomes us humbly to approach the throne of Almighty God, with gratitude and praise for the wonders which his goodness has wrought in conducting our fore-fathers to this western world; for his protection to them and to their posterity amid difficulties and dangers; for raising us, their children, from deep distress to be numbered among the nations of the earth; and for arming the hands of just and mighty princes in our deliverance; and especially for that he hath been pleased to grant us the enjoyment of health, and so to order the revolving seasons, that the earth hath produced her increase in abundance, blessing the labors of the husbandmen, and spreading plenty through the land; that he hath prospered our arms and those of our ally; been a shield to our troops in the hour of danger, pointed their swords to victory and led them in triumph over the bulwarks of the foe; that he hath gone with those who went out into the wilderness against the savage tribes; that he hath stayed the hand of the spoiler, and turned back his meditated destruction; that he hath prospered our commerce, and given success to those who sought the enemy on the face of the deep; and above all, that he hath diffused the glorious light of the gospel, whereby, through the merits of our gracious Redeemer, we may become the heirs of his eternal glory: therefore,

RESOLVED, That it be recommended to the several states, to appoint Thursday, the 9th of December next, to be a day of public and solemn thanksgiving to Almighty God for his mercies, and of prayer for the continuance of his favor and protection to these United States; to beseech him that he would be graciously pleased to influence our public councils, and bless them with wisdom from on high, with unanimity, firmness, and success; that he would go forth with our hosts and crown our arms with victory; that he would grant to his church the plentiful effusions of divine grace, and pour out his holy spirit on all ministers of the gospel; that he would bless and prosper the means of education, and spread the light of christian knowledge through the remotest corners of the earth; that he would smile upon the labours of his people and cause the earth to bring forth her fruits in abundance; that we may with gratitude and gladness enjoy them; that he would take into his holy protection our illustrious ally, give him victory over his enemies, and render him signally great, as the father of his people and the protector of the rights of mankind; that he would graciously be pleased to turn the hearts of our enemies, and to dispense the blessings of peace to contending nations; that he would in mercy look down upon us, pardon our sins and receive us into his favor, and finally, that he would establish the independence of these United States upon the basis of religion and virtue, and support and protect them in the enjoyment of peace, liberty and safety.33

[Note 33: In the General Orders this resolve was condensed by sundry omissions.]

A strict observance to be paid by the Army to this proclamation and the Chaplains are to prepare and deliver discourses suitable to it.34

[Note 34: The Varick Transcripts of Washington’s General Orders in the Library of Congress has the following note at this point: “The Army marching by Divisions and Brigades into Winter Quarters.”]

“It having pleased the righteous Governor of the World, for the punishment of our manifold offences, to permit the sword of war still to harrass our country, it becomes us to endeavour, by humbling ourselves before him, and turning from every evil way, to avert his anger and obtain his favour and blessing: it is therefore hereby recommended to the several states,

“That Wednesday, the twenty sixth day of April next, be set apart and observed as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, that we may, with one heart and one voice, implore the sovereign Lord of Heaven and Earth to remember mercy in his judgments; to make us sincerely penitent for our transgressions; to prepare us for deliverance, and to remove the evils with which he hath been pleased to visit us; to banish vice and irreligion from among us, and establish virtue and piety by his divine grace to revive and spread the influence of patriotism, and eradicate, that love of pleasure and of gain which renders us forgetful of our country and our God; to bless all public councils throughout the United States, giving them wisdom, firmness and unanimity, and directing them to the best measures for the public good; to bless the magistrates and people of every rank, and animate and unite the hearts of all to promote the interests of their country; to bless the public defence, inspiring all commanders and soldiers with magnanimity and perseverance, and giving vigor and success to the military operations by sea and land; to bless the illustrious Sovereign and the nation in alliance with these states, and all who interest themselves in the support of our rights and liberties; to make that alliance of perpetual and extensive usefulness to those immediately concerned, and mankind in general; to grant fruitful seasons, and to bless our industry, trade and manufactures; to bless all schools and seminaries of learning, and every means of instruction and education; to cause wars to cease, to the ends of the earth and to establish peace among the nations.

“And it is further recommended, that servile labour and recreations be forbidden on the said day.1

[Note 1: 1 This report, in the writing of James Lovell, is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 24, folio 451.]

“Done in Congress &c.”

  • Journals of the Continental Congress, March 11, 1780. [A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1875]

Journals of the Continental Congress,

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 1780

“…Congress took into consideration the resolution reported for setting apart a day of thanksgiving and prayer, and agreed to the following draught:

Whereas(2) it hath pleased Almighty God, the Father of all mercies, amidst the vicissitudes and calamities of war, to bestow blessings on the people of these states, which call for their devout and thankful acknowledgments, more especially in the late remarkable interposition of his watchful providence, in rescuing the person of our Commander in Chief and the army from imminent dangers, at the moment when treason was ripened for execution; in prospering the labours of the husbandmen, and causing the earth to yield its increase in plentiful harvests;
and, above all, in continuing to us the enjoyment of the gospel of peace;

[Note 2: 2 From this point the entries are by Thomas Edison.]

It is therefore recommended to the several states to set apart Thursday, the seventh day [of December next, to be observed as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer; that all the people may assemble on that day to celebrate the praises of our Divine Benefactor; to confess our unworthiness of the least of his favours, and to offer our fervent supplications to the God of all grace; that it may please him to pardon our heinous transgressions and incline our hearts for the future to keep all his laws that it may please him still to afford us the blessing of health; to comfort and relieve our brethren who are any wise afflicted or distressed; to smile upon our husbandry and trade and establish the work of our hands; to direct our publick councils, and lead our forces, by land and sea, to victory; to take our illustrious ally under his special protection, and favor our joint councils and exertions for the establishment of speedy and permanent peace; to cherish all schools and seminaries of education, build up his churches in their most holy faith and to cause the knowledge of Christianity to spread over all the earth.

Done in Congress, the lath day of October, 1780, and in the fifth year of the independence of the United States of America.(1)

[Note 1: 1 This report is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 24, folio 455. It is in the writing of James Duane, except the portion in brackets, which is in the writing of Samuel Adams. From this point Charles Thomson resumes the entries.]

“It is the right as well as 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 no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping God in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; or for his religion profession of sentiments; provided he doth not disturb the public peace, or obstruct others in their religious worship….”

  • Massachusetts Bill of Rights, Part the First, 1780. [Documents of American History, Commager, ed., vol. 1 (107)]

Journals of the Continental Congress,
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 1781

“The Committee of the Week report,

“That the petition of Danl. Simon an Indian preacher Minister of the Gospel praying that the salary which he formerly received from England may be made good to him, and that he may be employed in publick service, be referred to a special Committee.”

Journals of the Continental Congress,

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24, 1781

Resolved, That Congress will, at two o’clock this day, go in procession to the Dutch Lutheran church, and return thanks to Almighty God, for crowning the allied arms of the United States and France, with success, by the surrender of the whole British army under the command of the Earl of Cornwallis.

Journals of the Continental Congress,

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26, 1781

The committee, consisting of Mr. Witherspoon, Mr. Montgomery, Mr. Varnum, Mr. Sherman, appointed to prepare a recommendation for setting apart a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, reported the draught of a proclamation, which was agreed to as follows:

PROCLAMATION

Whereas, it hath pleased Almighty God, the supreme Disposer of all Events father of mercies, remarkably to assist and support the United States of America in their important struggle for liberty, against the long continued efforts of a powerful nation: it is the duty of all ranks to observe and thankfully acknowledge the interpositions of his Providence in their behalf. Through the whole of the contest, from its first rise to this time, the influence of divine Providence may be clearly perceived in many signal instances, of which we mention but a few.

In revealing the councils of our enemies, when the discoveries were seasonable and important, and the means seemingly inadequate or fortuitous; in preserving and even improving the union of the several states, on the breach of which our enemies placed their greatest dependence; in increasing the number, and adding to the zeal and attachment of the friends of Liberty; in granting remarkable deliverances, and blessing us with the most signal success, when affairs seemed to have the most discouraging appearance; in raising up for us a powerful and generous ally, in one of the first of the European powers; in confounding the councils of our enemies, and suffering them to pursue such measures as have most directly contributed to frustrate their own desires and expectations; above all, in making their extreme cruelty of their officers and soldiers to the inhabitants of these states, when in their power, and their savage devastation of property, the very means of cementing our union, and adding vigor to every effort in opposition to them.

And as we cannot help leading the good people of these states to a retrospect on the events which have taken place since the beginning of the war, so we beg recommend in a particular manner that they may observe and acknowledge to their observation, the goodness of God in the year now drawing to a conclusion: in which

A mutiny in the American Army was not only happily appeased but became in its issue a pleasing and undeniable proof of the unalterable attachment of the people in general to the cause of liberty since great and real grievances only made them tumultuously seek redress while the abhorred the thoughts of going over to the enemy, in which the Confederation of the United States has been completed by the accession of all without exception in which there have been so many instances of prowess and success in our armies; particularly in the southern states, where, notwithstanding the difficulties with which they had to struggle, they have recovered the whole country which the enemy had overrun, leaving them only a post or two upon on or near the sea: in which we have been so powerfully and effectually assisted by our allies, while in all the conjunct operations the most perfect union and harmony has subsisted in the allied army: in which there has been so plentiful a harvest, and so great abundance of the fruits of the earth of every kind, as not only enables us easily to supply the wants of the army, but gives comfort and happiness to the whole people: and in which, after the success of our allies by sea, a General of the first Rank, with his whole army, has been captured by the allied forces under the direction of our illustrious Commander in Chief.

It is therefore recommended to the several states to set apart the 13th day of December next, to be religiously observed as a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer; that all the people may assemble on that day, with grateful hearts, to celebrate the praises of our gracious Benefactor; to confess our manifold sins; to offer up our most fervent supplications to the God of all grace, that it may please Him to pardon our offences, and incline our hearts for the future to keep all his laws; to comfort and relieve all our brethren who are in distress or captivity; to prosper our husbandmen, and give success to all engaged in lawful commerce; to impart wisdom and integrity to our counsellors, judgment and fortitude to our officers and soldiers; to protect and prosper our illustrious ally, and favor our united exertions for the speedy establishment of a safe, honorable and lasting peace; to bless all seminaries of learning; and cause the knowledge of God to cover the earth, as the waters cover the seas.(1)

[Note 1: 1 This report, in the writing of John Witherspoon, is in the Papers of the Continental Congress,
No. 24, folio 463.]

“A Hymn of Praise”

-adapted to the Genl. Thanksgiving

appointed by Congress,
Dec. 13, 1781,

  1. To Thee! High Sovereign of the Skies!
    This day our grateful Songs resound;
    From every heart shall incense rise,
    And praise thro’ all thy temples sound.
  2. Our land a tributary slave
    Doom’d to Rebellion’s awful fate;
    When heav’n a powerful Monarch gave
    To aid new Pillars of the State.
  3. Rais’d and establish’d by thy pow’r,
    Firm props of the Republic’s Laws;
    Thy Blessings on the people show’r,
    Thine Arm supports th’ united cause.
  4. Union ’tis God alone inspires:
    Founded by Heav’n, the Fabrics rise;
    Th’ astonish’d world the work admires
    And owns the council of the skies.
  5. New Empires never rise by chance,
    No Gales such high distinctions blow;
    Th’ All-ruling Judge doth States advance,
    And lays a tyrant-Kingdom low.
  6. He forms our General prudent, brave,
    Gives our young Captains warlike skill;
    Angelic shields our troops preserve,
    Who scale proud towers with Breasts of Steel.
  7. No savage deed distains the sword,
    While Heav’n’s taught Chief directs the Host;
    Submission hails the joyous word,
    Mercy!-the christian Conqu’ror’s Boast!
  8. The Memory of thy recent grace,*
    Afresh inspires them for the field:
    The Foe shall find renew’d disgrace,
    And fly our shores, or fated!-yield.
  9. Our fertile Fields thy Favour show:
    With Gifts revolving Moons appear,
    Gifts!-that in streams luxuriant flow
    Thy Goodness crown th’ auspicious Year!
  10. Save us from Fears despondent Sighs;
    Now may our Trust in God be strong,
    Till full deliv’rance shall arise
    And heav’n born peace resound the Song.
  • George Clymer, Pennsylvania delegate

Journals of the Continental Congress,

[FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 1782]

“…Hence it became the duty of Congress to apply to the States for those powers and aids, which are indispensibly necessary for the great work of independence. It is on them alone, and their exertions under the blessing of divine providence, that we are now to rely for the means of conducting the war, and bringing it to a happy issue….”

“…It gives us pain to observe, that these expectations have not been fully answered; and that by the backwardness of the States to grant the necessary supplies, the well concerted laid plans of our General have been diconcerted, and that the designs of Congress have been frustrated in two important objects,–the first founded in prompted by the immutable Laws principles of justice, the relief of to relieve the distresses of thousands who trusted the U.S. in the hour of difficulty and danger, the last, to establish public credit on a solid foundation, on which depend under God not only our own safety and happiness but that of millions yet unborn public credit on which our safety and success depend….”

“…The moment for action arrived, but the General found his ranks so thin, and even the small force he had collected so ill supplied, that it became imprudent to proceed: disappointment, and a great unprofitable expence ensued; and had it not been for the aid of money granted by our generous Ally, for the providential arrival of his fleet in the Chesapeak, and an almost miraculous coincidence of fortune circumstances which by the blessing of God were happily improv’d our public affairs must now have been in the most disagreeable situation….”

Journals of the Continental Congress,
TUESDAY, MARCH 19, 1782.

“…Proclamation:

“The goodness of the Supreme Being to all his rational creatures, demands their acknowledgments of gratitude and love; his absolute government of this world dictates, that it is the interest of every nation and people ardently to supplicate his mercy favor and implore his protection.”

“When the lust of dominion or lawless ambition excites arbitrary power to invade the rights, or endeavor to wrench wrest from a people their sacred and unalienable invaluable privileges, and compels them, in defence of the same, to encounter all the horrors and calamities of a bloody and vindictive war; then is that people loudly called upon to fly unto that God for protection, who hears the eries of the distressed, and will not turn a deaf ear to the supplication of the oppressed….”

“…The United States in Congress assembled, therefore, taking into consideration our present situation, our multiplied transgressions of the holy laws of our God, and his past acts of kindness and goodness exercised towards us, which we would ought to record with the liveliest gratitude, think it their indispensable duty to call upon the different several states, to set apart the last Thursday in April next, as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, that our joint supplications may then ascend to the throne of the Ruler of the Universe, beseeching Him that he would to diffuse a spirit of universal reformation among all ranks and degrees of our citizens; and make us a holy, that so we may be an happy people; that it would please Him to impart wisdom, integrity and unanimity to our counsellors; to bless and prosper the reign of our illustrious ally, and give success to his arms employed in the defence of the rights of human nature; that He would smile upon our military arrangements by land and sea; administer comfort and consolation to our prisoners in a cruel captivity; that he would protect the health and life of our Commander in Chief; give grant us victory over our enemies; establish peace in all our borders, and give happiness to all our inhabitants; that he would prosper the labor of the husbandman, making the earth yield its increase in abundance, and give a proper season for the in gathering of the fruits thereof; that He would grant success to all engaged in lawful trade and commerce, and take under his guardianship all schools and seminaries of learning, and make them nurseries of virtue and piety; that He would incline the hearts of all men to peace, and fill them with universal charity and benevolence, and that the religion of our Divine Redeemer, with all its benign influences, may cover the earth as the waters cover the seas.”

“Done by the United States in Congress assembled, &c. &c.”

“…then is that People loudly called upon to fly unto that GOD for Protection who hears the Cries of the Distressed, and will not turn a deaf Ear to the Supplication of the Oppressed…”

  • John Hancock, Boston, the Eleventh Day of April, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Two, and in the Sixth Year of the Independence of the United States of AMERICA.

“…If ever the citizens of this republic have had an occasion to remember, with sentiments of the liveliest gratitude, the visible assistance and protection of a Being who, after having constantly supported them during the course of a long, bloody war which cost their ancestors eighty years’ hard struggles and painful labors, deigned by the strength of His powerful arm to break the odious fetters under which we had so long groaned, and who, from that happy era to the present time, has constantly maintained us in the possession of our precious liberties; if ever the citizens of these provinces have been bound to remember those unspeakable favors of the Almighty, it was no doubt at that moment when haughty Britain began to feel the effects of divine indignation, and when the vengeance of Heaven defeated her sanguinary schemes; it was when treading under foot the sacred ties of blood and nature, and meditating the destruction of her own offspring, her arms were everywhere baffled in the most terrible and exemplary manner, her troops defeated, and her armies led into captivity and at last that haughty power, humbled by that Heaven which she had provoked, saw the sceptre which she had usurped fall from her enfeebled hands; and America, shaking off the cruel yoke which an unnatural step-mother had endeavored to impose forever upon her, thanked bounteous Heaven for her happy deliverance….”

  • J. Adams, Letter to Livingston, July 5, 1782. [The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, Volume 5.]

Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 19

George Duffield and William White

Reverend Gentlemen

Philad.

1st Septr. 1782

Our Knowledge of your Piety and publick Spirit leads us, without Apology, to recommend to your particular Attention the Edition of the Holy Scriptures publishing by Mr Aitkin.(1) He undertook this expensive work at a time when from the Circumstances of the War an English Edition of the Bible coud 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 Judgement and the Weight of your Recommendation.
We are with very great Respect, Your most Obedient Huml Servants Jas. Duane, Chair
in behalf of a Committee of
Congress on Mr Aitkin’s memorial

FC (DNA: PCC, item 19). Addressed: “Reverend Dr. White & reverend Mr. Duffield Chaplains of the United States in Congress assemd.” In the hand of James Duane.
1 The Philadelphia printer Robert Aitken had petitioned Congress on January 21, 1781, to secure authorization for an American edition of the Bible he had undertaken but was fearful of completing “without the sanction of Congress.” The scarcity of Bibles had long been of concern, for Congress had been urged to import several thousand from abroad in 1777, and a committee consisting of James Duane, Thomas McKean, and James McLene had been appointed in October 1780 to consider a recommendation for urging the states to regulate the printing of “correct editions of the old and new testament.” Aitken’s memorial had been referred on January 26, 1781, to this committee (to which John Witherspoon had been added in the place of McLene), which had apparently been consulting with the printer as he proceeded, although no record of its work prior to the writing of this letter has been found. Aitken was obviously now nearing completion of the publication and the committee decided to consult the congressional chaplains before reporting to Congress, which resolved on September 12 to “recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States” and authorize Aitken “to publish this recommendation in the manner he shall think proper.” Accordingly, copies of Congress’ resolve, along with Duane’s committee letter and Duffield’s and White’s testimonial were printed in Aitken’s new edition, which he announced to the public on September 25. See JCC, 18:979-80, 19:91; 23:573-74; and PCC, item 19, 1:59, 63-64, item 78, 1:421-22, 425-28. For Aitken’s efforts to secure public support for this undertaking, on which he eventually reported a loss of £4,000 for the 10,000 Bibles he printed, see Thomas C. Pears, “The Story of the Aitken Bible,”Journal of the Presbyterian Historical .Society 18 (June 1939): 225-41; and Margaret T. Hills, “The First American Bible, as Published by Robert Aitken,” Bible .Society Record 113 January 1968): 2-5. See also JCC, 8:733-35; and these Letters, 7:311-12, where it is mistakenly asserted that Congress adopted a resolve in September 1777 to direct the Committee of Commerce to import 20,000 Bibles, while in fact Congress adjourned to avoid a final vote on a committee report recommending this action.

Journals of the Continental Congress,

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 1782

…The committee, consisting of Mr. [James] Duane, Mr. [Thomas] McKean and Mr. [John] Witherspoon, to whom was referred a petition memorial of Robert Aitken, printer, dated 21 January, 1781, respecting an edition of the holy scriptures, report,

That Mr. Aitken has at a great expence now finished an American edition of the holy scriptures in English; that the committee have, from time to time, conferred with him attended to his progress in the work: that they also recommended it to the two chaplains of Congress to examine and give their opinion of the execution, who have accordingly reported thereon:

The recommendation and report being as follows:

Philadelphia, 1 September, 1782.

Rev. 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 publishing by Mr. Aitken. He undertook this expensive work at a time, when from the circumstances of the war, an English 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) James Duane, Chairman,

In behalf of a committee of Congress on Mr. Aitken’s memorial.

Rev. Dr. White and Rev. Mr. Duffield, chaplains of the United States in Congress assembled.

REPORT.

Gentlemen, Agreeably to your desire, we have paid attention to Mr. Robert Aitken’s impression of the holy scriptures, of the old and new testament. Having selected and examined a variety of passages throughout 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 be expected in an undertaking of such magnitude. Being ourselves witnesses of the demand for this invaluable book, we rejoice in the present prospect of a supply, hoping that it will prove as advantageous 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,
George Duffield.

Philadelphia, September 10, 1782.

Hon. James Duane, esq. chairman, and the other hon. gentlemen of the committee of Congress on Mr. Aitken’s memorial.

Whereupon, Resolved, That the United States in Congress assembled, highly approve the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aitken, as subservient to the interest of religion as well as an instance of the progress of arts in this country, 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 authorise him to publish this recommendation in the manner he shall think proper.1

[Note 1: 1 The Committee's report, in the writing of John Witherspoon, is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 19, I, folio 59. Duane's letter is on folio 65. White and Duffield's report on folio 63. Aitken's letter of September 9 submitting the work to Congress is in No. 78, I, folio 421. His letter of September 25, sending one of the first copies to Congress, is on folio 425.]

Journals of the Continental Congress,

April 26, 1783

“Let it be remembered finally, that it has ever been the pride and boast of America, that the rights for which she contended, were the rights of human nature. By the blessing of the author of these rights, on the means exerted for their defence, they have prevailed against all opposition, and form at this time the basis of thirteen independent states. No instance has heretofore occurred, nor can any instance be expected hereafter to occur, in which the unadulterated forms of Republican government can pretend to so fair an opportunity of justifying themselves by their fruits. In this view the citizens of the United States are responsible for the greatest trust ever confided to a political society. If justice, good faith, honor, gratitude and all the other virtues qualities which ennoble the character of a nation, and fulfil the ends of government, be the fruits of our establishments, the cause of liberty will acquire a dignity and lustre which it has never yet enjoyed; and an example will be set which cannot fail to but have the most favourable influence on the rights of mankind. If on the other side, our governments should be unfortunately blotted with the reverse of these cardinal and essential qualities virtues, the great cause which we have engaged to vindicate will be dishonored and betrayed; the last and fairest experiment in favour of the rights of human nature will be turned against them, and their patrons and friends exposed to be insulted and silenced by the sycophants votaries of tyranny and usurpation.”

  • James Madison, Address to the States, by the United States Congress Assembled.

The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor.

George Washington to Meshech Weare, et al, Circular Letter of Farewell to Army

Head Quarters, Newburgh, June 8, 1783.

“…I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection, that he would incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government, to entertain 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 most graciously be 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 Characteristicks 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.”

The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, Volume 6

Franklin to Hartley.*

[Note *: * 2 Sparks' Dip. Rev. Corr., 488; 1 Sparks' Dip. Corr. of the United States, 371; 8 Bigelow's Franklin, 367.]

Passy, October 16, 1783.

My Dear Friend: I have nothing material to write to you respecting public affairs, but I can not let Mr. Adams, who will see you, go without a line to inquire after your welfare, to inform you of mine, and assure you of my constant respect and attachment.

I think with you that your Quaker article is a good one, and that men will in time have sense enough to adopt it, but I fear that time is not yet come.

What would you think of a proposition, if I should make it, of a compact between England, France, and America? America would be as happy as the Sabine girls if she could be the means of uniting in perpetual peace her father and her husband. What repeated follies are those repeated wars! You do not want to conquer and govern one another. Why, then, should you be continually employed in injuring and destroying one another? How many excellent things might have been done to promote the internal welfare of each country; what bridges, roads, canals, and other useful public works and institutions, tending to the common felicity, might have been made and established with the money and men foolishly spent during the last seven centuries by our mad wars in doing one another mischief! You are near neighbors, and each have very respectable qualities. Learn to be quiet and to respect each other’s rights. You are all Christians. One is The Most Christian King, and the other Defender of the Faith. Manifest the propriety of these titles by your future conduct. “By this,” says Christ, “shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another.” Seek peace and insure it.

Adieu, yours, &c.,

B. Franklin

Journals of the Continental Congress,

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 18, 1783

By the United States in Congress assembled.

A PROCLAMATION.

Whereas it hath pleased the Supreme Ruler of all human events, to dispose the hearts of the late belligerent powers to put a period to the effusion of human blood, by proclaiming a cessation of all hostilities by sea and land, and these United States are not only happily rescued from the dangers distresses and calamities which they have so long and so magnanimously sustained to which they have been so long exposed, but their freedom, sovereignty and independence ultimately acknowledged by the king of Great Britain. And whereas in the progress of a contest on which the most essential rights of human nature depended, the interposition of Divine Providence in our favour hath been most abundantly and most graciously manifested, and the citizens of these United States have every possible reason for praise and gratitude to the God of their salvation. Impressed, therefore, with an exalted sense of the magnitude of the blessings by which we are surrounded, and of our entire dependence on that Almighty Being, from whose goodness and bounty they are derived, the United States in Congress assembled do recommend it to the several States, to set apart the second Thursday in December next, as a day of public thanksgiving, that all the people may then assemble to celebrate with one voice grateful hearts and united voices, the praises of their Supreme and all bountiful Benefactor, for his numberless favors and mercies. That he hath been pleased to conduct us in safety through all the perils and vicissitudes of the war; that he hath given us unanimity and resolution to adhere to our just rights; that he hath raised up a powerful ally to assist us in supporting them, and hath so far crowned our united efforts with success, that in the course of the present year, hostilities have ceased, and we are left in the undisputed possession of our liberties and independence, and of the fruits of our own land, and in the free participation of the treasures of the sea; that he hath prospered the labour of our husbandmen with plentiful harvests; and above all, that he hath been pleased to continue to us the light of the blessed gospel, and secured to us in the fullest extent the rights of conscience in faith and worship. And while our hearts overflow with gratitude, and our lips set forth the praises of our great Creator, that we also offer up fervent supplications, that it may please him to pardon all our offences, to give wisdom and unanimity to our public councils, to cement all our citizens in the bonds of affection, and to inspire them with an earnest regard for the national honor and interest, to enable them to improve the days of prosperity by every good work, and to be lovers of peace and tranquillity; that he may be pleased to bless us in our husbandry, our commerce and navigation; to smile upon our seminaries and means of education, to cause pure religion and virtue to flourish, to give peace to all nations, and to fill the world with his glory.

Done by the United States in Congress assembled, witness his Excellency Elias Boudinot, our President, this 18th day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three, and of the sovereignty and independence of the United States of America the eighth.1

[Note 1: 1 This report, in the writing of James Duane, is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 24, folios 473--477.]

George Washington’s Resignation Address,
Dec. 23, 1783

DEFENSIVE ARMS VINDICATED

AND THE

LAWFULNESS

OF THE

AMERICAN WAR MADE MANIFEST

“…Thus I think I have fully shewn from the law of God, the law of nature, the custom of nations, the lawfulness of the use of defensive arms, in order to defend our rights, liberties civil and religious, when attacked by tyrants; at least I think it will convince all but such as are determined not to be convinced. Especially, I think it appears clear from scripture practices, reproofs, promises, precepts, and prayers, this truth has been proven; although I allow that other precious truths are more natively deduced, yet this great truth by unstrained and unconstrained consequence, may, and is also, clearly inferred.”

The Definitive Treaty of Peace, “In the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity”, Jan. 14, 1784

A Proclamation, “to continue to us the light of gospel truths”, Aug. 3, 1784

“The principle of liberty, when properly felt, inspires universal benevolence. It is in unison with the spirit of christianity, which breathes “peace on earth, and good will to man.” While we open the doors of freedom to the oppressed and distressed of all nations, even to those British subjects who have dyed their weapons with American blood, shall we shut them against men, who are bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. We know of no crime that should consign half a community to perpetual slavery; much less do we conceive that an adherence to what they judged to be the dictates of conscience should expose them to that degraded situation.

  • George Gray, Assembly Chamber, September 29, 1784. To the citizens of Pennsylvania. Friends and fellow-citizens. [In regard to the withdrawal from the Assembly of nineteen members on the third reading of a supplement to the Test-law.] Signed in behalf and by order of the majority.

“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 introduce 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!”

  • Benjamin Franklin, The Records of the Federal Convention, William Steele’s acccount of Franklin’s Speech, 1787

“All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of 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? Or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth-that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid?”

  • Benjamin Franklin (To Colleagues at the Constitutional Convention). Reference: Quoted by James Madison, Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787. (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1987), pp. 209

Journals of the Continental Congress,

WEDNESDAY, JULY 18, 1787.

“…United States of America together with the attestations thereto annexed are in the following words, to wit,

“In the name of Almighty God

“This is a treaty of peace and friendship established between Us and the United States of America which is confirmed and which we have ordered to be written in this book and sealed with our royal seal at our court of Morocco on the twenty fifth day of the blessed Month of Shaban, in the year one thousand two hundred trusting in God it will remain permanent….”

Journals of the Continental Congress,
MONDAY, JULY 23, 1787.

“…Resolved That Congress are well pleased with the Conduct of Thomas Barclay esq.r in the course of the Negociations on the part of the United States with his imperial Majesty of Morocco, as detailed and represented in his and other letters and papers transmitted to them. [2]

[Note 2: 2 This resolve is also entered in the Secret Journals. See below.]

[1] On a report[2] of the Secretary for foreign Affairs, Congress agreed to the following Letter to the Emperor of Morocco

[Note 1: 1 From this point to the end of the day the proceedings are entered by John Fisher and attested by Charles Thomson, in Secret Journal Foreign, Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 6, III, pp. 383--390. They are also entered by Thomson in Secret Journal, Foreign Affairs, Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 5, III, pp. 1619--1627.]

[Note 2: 2 The report of the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, John Jay, dated and read July 23, 1787, is in Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 81, III, p. 125: 1--10. This report has emendations and markings to bring the reading into conformity with the Journal entry. The change in the introduction and other variant readings of phrases and words, simply to change the report to a Journal reading, have not been noted. The significant variations of the report from the Journal are indicated in the footnotes. See July 18, 1787.]

Great and Magnanimous Friend,

We have received the letter which your imperial Majesty did us the honor to write dated the first of the month of Ramadan 1200.

We have likewise received the treaty concluded on our behalf with your Majesty, and we have expressed our perfect approbation of it, by ratifying and publishing and ordering it to be faithfully observed and fulfilled by all our Citizens.

It gives us great pleasure to be on terms of peace and Amity with so illustrious a sovereign, and we flatter ourselves that the commerce of these distant regions with your Majesty’s dominions will gradually become more and more beneficial to both; especially after our Navigation shall cease to be interrupted by the[3] hostilities of the Neighbouring States in Africa.

[Note 3: 3 "Unprovoked" struck out.]

Your Majesty’s early and friendly attention to these new and rising States, the obliging manner in which you received and treated our Negotiator Thomas Barclay, and the liberal and disinterested terms on which your Majesty entered into Treaty with us, are strong and shining proofs of a great mind; proofs which will remain recorded in our Annals, and which will always render your Majesty’s Name respected and glorious in these western Countries.

These distinguished marks of your Majesty’s good will towards us, inspire us with perfect confidence in your friendship, and induce us to request your favorable interposition to incline Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli, to peace with us on such terms as may consist with our honor and with the circumstances of our new and distant States.

Should your Majesty’s mediation be the means of putting the United States at peace with their only remaining enemies, it would be an event so glorious and memorable, that your majesty’s reign would thence derive additional lustre, and your name not only become more and more dear to our Citizens, but more and more celebrated in our histories.

We your Majesty’s friends pray God to bless you.

Done by the United States in Congress Assembled at the City of New York the twenty third day of July in the year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven….”

United States Constitution

…Article VII

The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.

Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth. In Witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names.

Go Washington – President and deputy from Virginia…

“[100] The part of the system which provides, that no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States, was adopted by a great majority of the convention, and without much debate; however, there were some members so unfashionable as to think, that a belief of the existence of a Deity, and of a state of future rewards and punishments would be some security for the good conduct of our rulers, and that, in a Christian country, it would be at least decent to hold out some distinction between the professors of Christianity and downright infidelity or paganism.”

  • Luther Martin, “Genuine Information”, address to Federal Convention of 1787.

“…The Author of nature has given mankind a certain degree of insight into futurity. As far as we can see a probability that certain events will happen, so far we do well to provide and guard. . . .”

“…While the great body of freeholders are acquainted with the duties which they owe to their God, to themselves, and to men, they will remain free. But if ignorance and depravity should prevail, they will inevitably lead to slavery and ruin. Upon the whole view of this Constitution, I am in favor of it, and think it bids fair to promote our national prosperity….”

“…The finger of Providence is evidently to be seen in the political affairs of this country. The old Articles of Confederation were once the best that we should have been willing to adopt. We have been led on by imperceptible degrees to see that they are defective; and now, if it be the design of Providence to make us a great and happy people, I believe that he who turns the hearts of the children of men as the rivers of water are turned, will induce the people of the United States to accept of a Constitution which is well calculated to promote their national welfare….”

“…I do not see the necessity of such a test as some gentlemen wish for. The Constitution enjoins an oath upon all the officers of the United States. This is a direct appeal to that God who is the avenger of perjury. Such an appeal to him is a full acknowledgment of his being and providence. An acknowledgment of these great truths is all that the gentleman contends for. For myself, I should be content either with or without that clause in the Constitution which excludes test laws. Knowledge and liberty are so prevalent in this country, that I do not believe that the United States would ever be disposed to establish one religious sect, and lay all others under legal disabilities….”

  • FRAGMENT OF THE DEBATES IN THE CONVENTION OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT, ON THE ADOPTION OF THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION. January 4, 1788.

DEBATES IN THE CONVENTION OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS, ON THE ADOPTION OF THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION, Jan. 1788

All new laws, though penned with the greatest technical skill, and passed on the fullest and most mature deliberation, are considered as more or less obscure and equivocal, until their meaning be liquidated and ascertained by a series of particular discussions and adjudications. Besides the obscurity arising from the complexity of objects, and the imperfection of the human faculties, the medium through which the conceptions of men are conveyed to each other adds a fresh embarrassment. The use of words is to express ideas. Perspicuity, therefore, requires not only that the ideas should be distinctly formed, but that they should be expressed by words distinctly and exclusively appropriate to them. But no language is so copious as to supply words and phrases for every complex idea, or so correct as not to include many equivocally denoting different ideas. Hence it must happen that however accurately objects may be discriminated in themselves, and however accurately the discrimination may be considered, the definition of them may be rendered inaccurate by the inaccuracy of the terms in which it is delivered. And this unavoidable inaccuracy must be greater or less, according to the complexity and novelty of the objects defined. When the Almighty himself condescends to address mankind in their own language, his meaning, luminous as it must be, is rendered dim and doubtful by the cloudy medium through which it is communicated. . . .

. . . Would it be wonderful if, under the pressure of all these difficulties, the convention should have been forced into some deviations from that artificial structure and regular symmetry which an abstract view of the subject might lead an ingenious theorist to bestow on a Constitution planned in his closet or in his imagination? The real wonder is that so many difficulties should have been surmounted, and surmounted with a unanimity almost as unprecedented as it must have been unexpected. It is impossible for any man of candor to reflect on this circumstance without partaking of the astonishment. It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution.–James Madison, The Federalist Papers: No. 37, From the Daily Advertiser, Friday, January 11, 1788.

“…If this system is broken up, will thirteen, or even nine states, ever agree to another? And will Providence smile on a people who despise the privileges put into their hands, and who neglect the plainest principles of justice and honesty? After all, I by no means pretend that there is complete perfection in this proposed Constitution. Like all other human productions, it hath its faults. Provision is made for an amendment, whenever, from practice, it is found oppressive. I would add, the proposals which his excellency hath condescended to lay before this honorable Convention, respecting future alterations, are real improvements for the better; and we have no reason to doubt but they will be equally attended to by other states, as they lead to common security and preservation.”

  • Rev. Thomas Thacher, Feb. 4, 1788. The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 [Farrand’s Records, Volume 1]

A FRAGMENT OF FACTS, DISCLOSING THE CONDUCT OF THE MARYLAND CONVENTION, ON THE ADOPTION OF THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION.

April 21, 1788

“…May the all-wise and omnipotent Being, who made us masters of a fair and fruitful empire, inspire us with wisdom and fortitude to perpetuate to posterity that freedom which we received from our fathers!”

“Members of the Committee.–William Paca, Samuel Chase, John F. Mercer, Jeremiah T. Chase.”

“Grant us amendments like these, and we will cheerfully, with our hands and hearts, unite with those who advocate it, and we will do every thing we can to support and carry it into execution. But in its present form we never can accede to it. Our duty to God and to our posterity forbids it. We acknowledge the defects of the Confederation, and the necessity of a reform. We ardently wish for a union with our sister states, on terms of security, This I am bold to declare is the desire of most the people. On these terms we will most cheerfully join with the warmest friends of this Constitution. On another occasion I shall point out the great dangers of this Constitution, and the amendments which are necessary.”

  • George Mason, June 11, 1788. The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution [Elliot’s Debates, Volume 3]

The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution [Elliot’s Debates, Volume 3]
Thursday, June 12, 1788.

“The honorable member has introduced the subject of religion. Religion is not guarded; there is no bill of rights declaring that religion should be secure. Is a bill of rights a security for religion? Would the bill of rights, in this state, exempt the people from paying for the support of one particular sect, if such sect were exclusively: established by law? If there were a majority of one sect, a bill of rights would be a poor protection for liberty. Happily for the states, they enjoy the utmost freedom of religion. This freedom arises from that multiplicity of sects which pervades America, and which is the best and only security for religions liberty in any society; for where there is such a variety of sects, there cannot be a majority of any one sect to oppress and persecute the rest, Fortunately for this commonwealth, a majority of the people are decidedly against any exclusive establishment. I believe it to be so in the other states. There is not a shadow of right in the general government to intermeddle with religion. Its least interference with it would be a most flagrant usurpation. I can appeal to my uniform conduct on this subject, that I have warmly supported religious freedom. It is better that this security should be depended upon from the general legislature, than from one particular state. A particular state might concur in one religious project. But the United States abound in such a variety of sects, that it is a strong security against religious persecution; and it is sufficient to authorize a conclusion, that no one sect will ever be able to outnumber or depress the rest.”

  • James Madison

“The only people whose government was visibly directed by God himself, rejected his administration, and induced him, in his wrath, to give them a king. Let us be cautious, sir, lest, by our negligence or eager pursuit after chimerical perfection, we should forfeit the blessings we enjoy, and lose this precious opportunity of completing what other nations have been unable to effect.”

  • Hon. Robert R. Livingston

“The nation of Israel, having received a form of civil government from Haven, enjoyed it for a considerable period; but, at length, laboring under pressures which were brought upon them by their own misconduct and imprudence, instead of imputing their misfortunes to their true causes, and making a proper improvement of their calamities, by a correction of their errors, they imputed them to a defect in their constitution; they rejected their divine Ruler, and asked Samuel to make them a king to judge them, like other nations. Samuel was grieved at their folly; but still, by the command of God, he hearkened to their voice, though not until he had solemnly declared unto them the manner in which the king should reign over them. “This (says Samuel) shall be the manner of the king that shall reign over you. He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and for his horsemen, and some shall run before his chariots; and he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties, and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your olive-yards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers and to his servants, and he will take your men-servants, and your maid-servants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your sheep; and ye shall be his servants. And ye shall cry out in that day, because of your king which ye have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day!” How far this was applicable to the subject, he would not now say; it could be better judged of when they had gone through it. On the whole, he wished to take up this matter with candor and deliberation.”

  • Mr. Melancton Smith

“These, sir, are the rocks on which the Constitution should have rested; no other foundation can any man lay, which will secure the sacred temple of freedom against the power of the great, the undermining arts of ambition, and the blasts of profane scoffers–for such there will be in every age–who will tell us that all religion is in vain; that is, that our political creeds, which have been handed down to us by our forefathers as sacredly as our Bibles, and for which more of them have suffered martyrdom than for the creed of the apostles, are all nonsense; who will tell us that paper constitutions are mere paper, and that parchment is but parchment, that jealousy of our rulers is a sin, &c. I could have wished also that sufficient caution had been used to secure to us our religious liberties, and to have prevented the general government from tyrannizing over our consciences by a religious establishment–a tyranny of all others most dreadful, and which will assuredly be exercised whenever it shall be thought necessary for the promotion and support of their political measures. It is ardently to be wished, sir, that these and other invaluable rights of freemen had been as cautiously secured as some of the paltry local interests of some of the individual states. . . . . You may read them in the history of the Star Chamber Court in England, and in the courts of Philip, and in your Bible….”

  • Thomas Tredwell

“Their own personal reputation, with the eyes of all the world on them,—the approbation of their fellow citizens, which every man in public station naturally wishes to enjoy,—and the dread of censure and shame, all contribute very forceable and strong inducements to noble, upright and worthy behavior.

“The particular interest which every member of Congress has in every pubic order and resolution, is another strong motive to right action. For every act to which any member gives his sanction, if it be raising an army, levying a tax, instituting a court, or any other act to bind the States,—such act will equally bind himself, his nearest connections, and his posterity.

“Another mighty influence to the noblest principle of action will be the fear of God before their eyes; for while they sit in the place of God, to give law, justice, and right to the States, they must be monsters indeed if they do not regard his law, and imitate his character. . . .”

” . . . At any rate, the Congress can never get more power than the people will give, nor hold it any longer than they will permit; for should they assume tyrannical powers, and make incroachments on liberty without the consent of the people, they would soon attone for their temerity, with shame and disgrace, and probably with their heads.”–Petetiah Webster, [Writing under the pseudonym “A Citizen of Philadelphia”], Webster, was a Philadelphia merchant, was a staunch patriot through-out the American Revolution. This item was a pamphlet printed in Philadelphia and advertised in the Pennsylvania Packet and other newspapers. The first twenty pages were reprinted in the New York Daily Advertiser. See DH, 14:63-74. [Friends of the Constitution Writings of the “Other” Federalists 1787-1788 Edited by Colleen A. Sheehan and Gary L. McDowell.]

“There seems to be a disposition in men to find fault, no difficult matter, rather than to act as they ought. The works of creation itself have been obected to: and one learned prince declared, that if he had been consulted, they would have been improved. With what book has so much fault been found, as with the Bible? Perhaps, principally, because it so clearly and strongly enjoins men to do right. How many, how plausible objections have been made against it, with how much ardor, with how much pains? Yet, the book has done more good than all the books in the world; would do much more, if duly regarded; and might lead the objectors against it to happiness, if they would value it as they should.”–John Dickinson, [Writing under the pseudonym “Fabius”] Letter IV. [The Letters: IV-VI – Colleen A. Sheehan, Friends of the Constitution: Writings of the “Other” Federalists, 1787-1788 [1998].

The Debates in the Several State Conventions, (New York), June, 1788

“…A MAJORITY of those who were duly elected as members of this Convention being met at the church, they proceeded to the election of a president, when his excellency, Samuel Johnston, Esq., was unanimously chosen, and conducted to the chair accordingly….”

  • The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution [Elliot’s Debates, Volume 4] DEBATES IN THE CONVENTION OF THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, ON THE ADOPTION OF THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION.

“This country has already had the honor of setting an example of civil freedom, and I trust it will likewise have the honor of teaching the rest of the world the way to religious freedom also. God grant both may be perpetuated to the end of time!”

  • Mr. James Iredell, July 30, 1788. The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution [Elliot’s Debates, Volume 4] DEBATES IN THE CONVENTION OF THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, ON THE ADOPTION OF THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION. (Debate concerning Religious Oath).

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,

TUESDAY, APRIL 21, 1789.

A trust of the greatest magnitude is committed to this Legislature; and the eyes of the world are upon you Your country expects, from the results of your deliberations, in concurrence with the other branches of government, consideration abroad, and contentment at home–prosperity, order, justice, peace, and liberty: And may God Almighty’s providence assist you to answer their just expectations.

  • John Adams, Vice President of the United States

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
THURSDAY, APRIL 30, 1789.

“…The President having returned to his seat, after a short pause arose, and addressed the Senate and House of Representatives as follows:

Fellow Citizens of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives:

“…Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be peculiarly improper to omit, in this first official act, my fervent 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 government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes: and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success, the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage 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 my fellow citizens at large, less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the affairs of men, more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of 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 governments have been established, without some return of pious gratitude, along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage. These reflections, arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on my mind to be suppressed. You will join with me, I trust, in thinking, that there are none, under the influence of which, the proceedings of a new and free government can more auspiciously commence….”

“…I dwell on this prospect with every satisfaction which an ardent love for my country can inspire: since there is no truth more thoroughly established, than that there exists 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 the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity: since we ought to be no less persuaded 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 experiment entrusted 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 tranquility, 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 depend.”

April 30.

G. WASHINGTON.

“The President, the Vice President, the Senate, and House of Representatives, &c. then proceeded to St. Paul’s Chapel, where divine service was performed by the Chaplain of Congress, after which the President was reconducted to his house by the committee appointed for that purpose….”

Letter to the General Assembly of Presbyterian Churches

George Washington

May, 1789

While I reiterate the professions of my dependence upon Heaven as the source of all public and private blessings; I will observe that the general prevalence of piety, philanthropy, honesty, industry, and oeconomy seems, in the ordinary course of human affairs, particularly necessary for advancing and conforming the happiness of our country. While all men within our territories are protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of their consciences; it is rationally to be expected from them in return, that they will be emulous of evincing the sanctity of their professions by the innocence of their lives and the beneficence of their actions; for no man, who is profligate in his morals, or a bad member of the civil community, can possibly be a true Christian, or a credit to his own religious society.

I desire you to accept my acknowledgments for your laudable endeavors to render men sober, honest, and good Citizens, and the obedient subjects of a lawful government.

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 1789

On motion,

Resolved, That a Joint Committee of both Houses be directed to wait upon the President of the United States, to request that he would 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 happiness.


Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 1789

The Senate proceeded to consider the resolve of the House of Representatives of the 25th instant, to wit:

“In the House of Representatives of the United States,

“September 25th, 1789.

Resolved, That a joint committee of both Houses be appointed to wait on the President of the United States, to request that he would 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 and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a constitution of government for their safety and happiness.

“Ordered, That Messrs. Boudinot, Sherman, and Sylvester, be appointed of the said committee on the part of this House.”

Resolved, That the Senate do concur in the above recited resolution, and that Messrs. Johnson and Izard, be the Committee on the part of the Senate.

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
MONDAY, JANUARY 11, 1790.

…Mr. King, on behalf of the committee, reported an address to the President of the United States, in answer to his speech to both Houses of Congress, which, being amended, was adopted as followeth:

“…The information which we have received, that the measures of the last session have been as satisfactory to our constituents as we had reason to expect, from the difficulty of the work in which we were engaged, will afford us much consolation and encouragement in resuming our deliberations, in the present session, for the public good; and every exertion on our part shall be made to realize, and secure to our country, those blessings, which a gracious Providence has placed within her reach. We are persuaded that one of the most effectual means of preserving peace, is to be prepared for war; and our attention shall be directed to the objects of common defence, and to the adoption of such plans as shall appear the most likely to prevent our dependence on other countries for essential supplies….”

Benjamin Rush, “Defense of the Use of The Bible in Schools”, 1791

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,

TUESDAY, MAY 1, 1792

On a motion made and seconded,

Resolved, That a joint committee of both Houses be directed to wait on the President of the United States, to request that he would recommend to the People of the United States a day of public humiliation and prayer to be observed, by supplicating Almighty God for the safety, peace, and welfare, of these States.

“But influenced by the belief, that my conduct would be estimated according to its real motives; and that the people, and the authorities derived from them, would support exertions, having nothing personal for their object, I have obeyed the suffrage which commanded me to resume the Executive power; and I humbly implore that Being, on whose Will the fate of Nations depends, to crown with success our mutual endeavours for the general happiness.”

  • President George Washington, Address to Congress, December 3, 1793

“Man, fearfully and wonderfully made, is the workmanship of his all perfect Creator: A State; useful and valuable as the contrivance is, is the inferior contrivance of man; and from his native dignity derives all its acquired importance. When I speak of a State as an inferior contrivance, I mean that it is a contrivance inferior only to that, which is divine: Of all human contrivances, it is certainly most transcendantly excellent. It is concerning this contrivance that Cicero says so sublimely, ‘Nothing, which is exhibited upon our globe, is more acceptable to that divinity, which governs the whole universe, than those communities and assemblages of men, which, lawfully associated, are denominated States*’.

“Let a State be considered as subordinate to the People: But let every thing else be subordinate to the State. The latter part of this position is equally necessary with the former. For in the practice, and even at length, in the science of politics there has very frequently been a strong current against the natural order of things, and an inconsiderate or an interested disposition to sacrifice the end to the means. As the State has claimed precedence of the people; so, in the same inverted course of things, the Government has often claimed precedence of the State; and to this perversion in the second degree, many of the volumes of confusion concerning sovereignty owe their existence. The ministers, dignified very properly by the appellation of the magistrates, have wished, and have succeeded in their wish, to be considered as the sovereigns of the State. This second degree of perversion is confined to the old world, and begins to diminish, even there: but the first degree is still too prevalent, even in the several States, of which our union is composed. By a State I mean, a complete body of free persons united together for their common benefit, to enjoy peaceably what is their own, and to do justice to others. It is an artificial person. It has its affairs and its interests: It has its rules: It has its rights: And it has its obligations. It may acquire property distinct from that of its members: It may incur debts to be discharged out of the public stock, not out of the private fortunes of individuals. It may be bound by contracts; and for damages arising from the breach of those contracts. In all our contemplations, however, concerning this feigned and artificial person, we should never forget, that, in truth and nature, those, who think and speak, and act, are men….”

“…As a citizen, I know the Government of that State to be republican; and my short definition of such a Government is, one constructed on this principle, that the Supreme Power resides in the body of the people. As a Judge of this Court, I know, and can decide upon the knowledge, that the citizens of Georgia, when they acted upon the large scale of the Union, as a part of the ‘People of the United States,’ did not surrender the Supreme or Sovereign Power to that State; but, as to the purposes of the Union, retained it to themselves. As to the purposes of the Union, therefore, Georgia is NOT a sovereign State. If the Judicial decision of this case forms one of those purposes; the allegation, that Georgia is a sovereign State, is unsupported by the fact. Whether the judicial decision of this cause is, or is not, one of those purposes, is a question which will be examined particularly in a subsequent part of my argument….”

  • Justice Wilson, U.S. Supreme Court, CHISHOLM v. STATE OF GA., 2 US 419 (1793).

“Prior to the date of the Constitution, the people had not any national tribunal to which they could resort for justice; the distribution of justice was then confined to State judicatories, in whose institution and organization the people of the other States had no participation, and over whom they had not the least control. There was then no general Court of appellate jurisdiction, by whom the errors of State Courts, affecting either the nation at large or the citizens of any other State, could be revised and corrected. Each State was obliged to acquiesce in the measure of justice which another State might yield to her, or to her citizens; and that even in cases where State considerations were not always favorable to the most exact measure. There was danger that from this source animosities would in time result; and as the transition from animosities to hostilities was frequent in the history of independent States, a common tribunal for the termination of controversies became desirable, from motives both of justice and of policy.

“Prior also to that period, the United States had, by taking a place among the nations of the earth, become amenable to the laws of nations; and it was their interest as well as their duty to provide, that those laws should be respected and obeyed; in their national character and capacity, the United States were responsible to foreign nations for the conduct of each State, relative to the laws of nations, and the performance of treaties; and there the inexpediency of referring all such questions to State Courts, and particularly to the Courts of delinquent States became apparent. While all the States were bound to protect each, and the citizens of each, it was highly proper and reasonable, that they should be in a capacity, not only to cause justice to be done to each, and the citizens of each; but also to cause justice to be done by each, and the citizens of each; and that, not by violence and force, but in a stable, sedate, and regular course of judicial procedure.

“These were among the evils against which it was proper for the nation, that is, the people of all the United States, to provide by a national judiciary, to be instituted by the whole nation, and to be responsible to the whole nation.

“Let us now turn to the Constitution. The people therein declare, that their design in establishing it, comprehended six objects. 1st. To form a more perfect union. 2nd. To establish justice. 3rd. To ensure domestic tranquillity. 4th. To provide for the common defence. 5th. To promote the general welfare. 6th. To secure the blessings of liberty to themselves and their posterity. It would be pleasing and useful to consider and trace the relations which each of these objects bears to the others; and to show that they collectively comprise every thing requisite, with the blessing of Divine Providence, to render a people prosperous and happy on the present occasion such disquisitions would be unseasonable, because foreign to the subject immediately under consideration.”

  • Chief Justice Jay, U.S. Supreme Court, CHISHOLM v. STATE OF GA., 2 US 419 (1793).

Proclamation

By the President of the United States of America

“…Now, therefore, I, George Washington, President of the United States, in obedience to that high and irresistible duty consigned to me by the Constitution, “to take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” deploring that the American name should be sullied by the outrages of citizens on their own government; commiserating such as remain obstinate from delusion; but resolved, in perfect reliance on that gracious Providence which so signally displays its goodness towards this country, to reduce the refractory to a due subordination to the law, do hereby declare and make known that, with a satisfaction which can be equalled only by the merits of the militia summoned into service from the States of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, I have received intelligence of their patriotic alacrity in obeying the call of the present, though painful, yet commanding necessity; that a force, which according to every reasonable expectation is adequate to the exigency, is already in motion to the scene of disaffection; that those who have confided, or shall confide in the protection of government, shall meet full succor under the standard and from the arms of the United States; that those who, having offended against the law, have since entitled themselves to indemnity, will be treated with the most liberal good faith, if they shall not have forfeited their claim by any subsequent conduct, and that instructions are given accordingly. And I do, moreover, exhort all individuals, officers, and bodies of men, to contemplate with abhorrence the measures leading directly or indirectly to those crimes which produce this resort to military coercion; to check, in their respective spheres, the efforts of misguided or designing men to substitute their misrepresentations in the place of truth, and their discontents in the place of stable government; and to call to mind that, as the people of the United States have been permitted, under the Divine favor, in perfect freedom, after solemn deliberation and in an enlightened age, to elect their own government, so will their gratitude for this inestimable blessing be best distinguished by firm exertions to maintain the Constitution and the laws.”

  • George Washington, Sept. 25, 1794. [The Works of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Henry Cabot Lodge (Federal Edition) (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). In 12 vols. Vol. 6.]

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 1794.

“When we call to mind the gracious indulgence of Heaven, by which the American people became a nation; when we survey the general prosperity of our country, and look forward to the riches, power, and happiness to which it seems destined; with the deepest regret do I announce to you that, during your recess, some of the citizens of the United States have been found capable of an insurrection. It is due, however, to the character of our government, and to its stability, which cannot be shaken by the enemies of order, freely to unfold the course of this event…..

”…Let us unite, therefore, in imploring the Supreme Ruler of nations to spread his holy protection over these United States; to turn the machinations of the wicked to the confirming of our constitution; to enable us, at all times, to root out 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 being a safe-guard to human rights.”

President George Washington

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 1795

“…Circumstances thus every way auspicious demand our gratitude, and sincere acknowledgments to Almighty God, and require that we should unite our efforts in imitation of your enlightened, firm, and persevering example, to establish and preserve the peace, freedom, and prosperity, of our country…”

JOHN ADAMS,
Vice President of the United States,
and President of the Senate.

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 12, 1795.

Agreeable to the resolution of yesterday, the Senate waited on the President of the United States, and the Vice President, in their name, presented the address then agreed to.

To which the President of the United States was pleased to make the following reply:

Gentlemen:

With real pleasure I receive your address, recognizing the prosperous situation of our public affairs; and giving assurances of your careful attention to the objects demanding legislative consideration; and that, with a true zeal for the public welfare, you will cheerfully co-operate in every measure which shall appear to you best calculated to promote the same.

But I derive peculiar satisfaction from your concurrence with me in the expressions of gratitude to Almighty God, which a review of the auspicious circumstances that distinguish our happy country have excited; and I trust the sincerity of our acknowledgments will be evinced by a union of efforts to establish and preserve its peace, freedom, and prosperity.

G. WASHINGTON.

At a Treaty held at the city of New York, by the United States, with the nations or tribes of Indians denominating themselves the Seven Nations of Canada:

Abraham Ogden, commissioner for the United States, appointed to hold the treaty;
Ohnawiio, alias Good Stream, a chief of the Caghnawagas;
Oteatohatongwan, alias Colonel Lewis Cook, a chief of the St. Regis Indians; and
William Grey, deputies authorized to represent these nations or tribes at the treaty; and Mr Gray also serving as interpreter:
Egbert Benson, }
Richard Varjck,} and Agents for the State of New York.
James Watson, }

                                                                                                 23d May, 1796

“…Brothers: It seems that, before a nation can get justice of another, they must first go to war, and spill one another’s blood; but brothers, we do not like this mode of settling differences; we wish justice to be done without; and it is so far from the conduct of a Christian People, that we are fully determined we never will resort to such means, unless driven to it by necessity….”

[AMERICAN STATE PAPERS. CLASS II. INDIAN AFFAIRS. AMERICAN STATE PAPERS. DOCUMENTS, LEGISLATIVE AND EXECUTIVE, OF THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES, FROM THE FIRST SESSION OF THE FIRST TO THE THIRD SESSION OF THE THIRTEENTH CONGRESS, INCLUSIVE: COMMENCING MARCH 3, 1789, AND ENDING MARCH 3, 1815. SELECTED AND EDITED, UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF CONGRESS, BY WALTER LOWRIE, Secretary of the Senate, AND MATTHEW ST. CLAIR CLARKE, Clerk of the House of Representatives. VOLUME IV. WASHINGTON: PUBLISHED BY GALES AND SEATON.

  1. Pg. 617]

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Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 1796.

“…In recurring to the internal situation of our country, since I had last the pleasure to address you, I find ample reason for a reserved expression of that gratitude to the Ruler of the Universe, which a continued series of prosperity has so often and so justly called forth….”

“…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 the 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 Ruler 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 preserved; and that the Government which they have instituted for the protection of their liberties, may be perpetual….”

G. WASHINGTON.

United States, December 7, 1796.

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Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,
TUESDAY, MAY 16, 1797.

“…The Senate attended, and took seats in the House; when, both Houses being assembled, the President of the United States came into the Representatives’ Chamber, and addressed them as followeth:

Gentlemen of the Senate, and Gentlemen of the House of Representatives:

The personal inconveniences to the members of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives, in leaving their families and private affairs, at this season of the year, are so obvious, that I the more regret the extraordinary occasion which has rendered the convention of Congress indispensable.

It would have afforded me the highest satisfaction to have been able to congratulate you on a restoration of peace to the nations of Europe, whose animosities have endangered our tranquillity: But we have still abundant cause of gratitude to the Supreme Dispenser of national blessings, for general health and promising seasons; for domestic and social happiness; for the rapid progress and ample acquisitions of industry, through extensive territories; for civil, political, and religious liberty. While other States are desolated with foreign war, or convulsed with intestine divisions, the United States present the pleasing prospect of a nation governed by mild and equal laws, generally satisfied with the possession of their rights; neither envying the advantages nor fearing the power of other nations; solicitous only for the maintenance of order and justice, and the preservation of liberty; increasing daily in their attachment to a system of government, in proportion to their experience of its utility; yielding a ready and general obedience to laws flowing from the reason, and resting on the only solid foundation, the affections of the People….”

“…Convinced that the conduct of the Government has been just and impartial to foreign nations; that those internal regulations which have been established by law, for the preservation of peace, are, in their nature, proper, and that they have been fairly executed, nothing will ever be done by me to impair the national engagements; to innovate upon principles which have been so deliberately and uprightly established; or to surrender, in any manner, the rights of the Government. To enable me to maintain this declaration, I rely, under God, with entire confidence, on the firm and enlightened support of the National Legislature, and upon the virtue and patriotism of my fellow-citizens.”

JOHN ADAMS.

United States, May 16, 1797.

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Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
TUESDAY, MAY 23, 1797.

“The Senate resumed the consideration of the report of the committee of the draught of an address, in answer to the speech of the President of the United States to both Houses of Congress, at the opening of the session….”

“…We learn, with sincere concern, that attempts are in operation to alienate the affections of our
fellow-citizens from their government. Attempts so wicked, wherever they exist, cannot fail to excite our utmost abhorrence. A government chosen by the people for their own safety and happiness, and calculated to secure both, cannot lose their affections, so long as its administration pursues the principles upon which it was erected. And your resolution to observe a conduct just and impartial to all nations, a sacred regard to our national engagements, and nut to impair the rights of our government, contains principles which cannot fail to secure to your administration the support of the National Legislature, to render abortive every attempt to excite dangerous jealousies among us, and to convince the world that our government, and your administration of it, cannot be separated from the affectionate support of every good citizen. And the Senate cannot suffer the present occasion to pass, without thus publicly and solemnly expressing their attachment to the Constitution and government of their country; and as they hold themselves responsible to their constituents, their consciences, and their God, it is their determination, by all their exertions, to repel every attempt to alienate the affections of the people from the government, so highly injurious to the honor, safety, and independence of the United States….”

“THOMAS JEFFERSON,
Vice President of the United States and President of the Senate.”

“Ordered, That the committee who prepared the address wait on the President of the United States, and desire him to acquaint the Senate at what time and place it will be most convenient for him that it should be presented.”

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Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 1797.

“…Although I cannot yet congratulate you on the re-establishment of peace in Europe, and the restoration of security to the persons and properties of our citizens from injustice and violence at sea, we have nevertheless abundant cause of gratitude to the Source of Benevolence and Influence, for interior tranquility and personal security, for propitious seasons, prosperous agriculture, productive fisheries, and general improvements: And, above all, for a rational spirit of civil and religious liberty, and a calm, but steady determination to support our sovereignty, as well as our moral and religious principles, against all open and secret attacks….”

-President John Adams

__________

“…The question is unnecessary. The people of America are neither idiots nor dastards. They did not break one yoke to put on another. Though a portion of them have been hitherto misled; yet not even these, still less the great body of the nation, can be long unaware of the true situation, or blind to the treacherous arts by which they are attempted to be hoodwinked. The unfaithful and guilty leaders of a foreign faction, unmasked in all their intrinsic deformity,must quickly shrink from the scene appalled and confounded. The virtuous whom they have led astray will renounce their exotic standard. Honest men of all parties will unite to maintain and defend the honor and the sovereignty of their country.

The crisis demands it. ‘T is folly to dissemble. The despots of France are waging war against us. Intoxicated with success and the inordinate love of power, they virtually threaten our independence. All amicable means have in vain been tried towards accommodation. The problem now to be solved is whether we will maintain or surrender our sovereignty. To maintain it with firmness is the most sacred of duties, the most glorious of tasks. The happiness of our country, the honor of the American name, demands it; the genius of independence exhorts to it; the secret mourning voice of oppressed millions in the very country whose despots menace us, admonish to it by their suffering example; the offended dignity of man commands us not to be accessory to its further degradation; reverence to the Supreme Governor of the universe enjoins us not to bow the knee to the modern Titans who erect their impious crests against him and vainly imagine they can subvert his eternal throne.”

“But ‘t is not enough to resist. ‘T is requisite to resist with energy. That will be a narrow view of our situation which does not contemplate that we may be called, at our very doors, to defend our independence and liberty, and which does not provide against it by bringing into activity and completely organizing all the resources of our country…”

  • Alexander Hamilton, using the pseudonym “Titus Manlius”, The Stand, (From the New York Commercial Advertiser.), March 10, 1798. [The Works of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Henry Cabot Lodge (Federal Edition) (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). In 12 vols.]

__________

“In reviewing the disgusting spectacle of the French Revolution, it is difficult to avert the eye entirely from those features of it which betray a plan to disorganize the human mind itself, as well as to undermine the venerable pillars that support the edifice of civilized society. The attempt by the rulers of a nation to destroy all religious opinion, and to pervert a whole nation to atheism, is a phenomenon of profligacy reserved to consummate the infamy of the unprincipled reformers of France. The proofs of this terrible design are numerous and convincing.

“The animosity to the Christian system is demonstrated by the single fact of the ridiculous and impolitic establishment of the decades, with the evident object of supplanting the Christian Sabbath. The inscriptions by public authority on the tombs of the deceased, affirming death to be an eternal sleep, witness the desire to discredit the belief of the immortality of the soul. The open profession of atheism in the convention,1 received with acclamations; the honorable mention on its journals of a book professing to prove the nothingness of all religion; the institution of a festival to offer public worship to a courtesan decorated with the pompous title of “Goddess of Reason”; the congratulatory reception of impious children appearing in the hall of the convention to lisp blasphemy against the King of kings, are among the dreadful proofs of a conspiracy to establish atheism on the ruins of Christianity,—to deprive mankind of its best consolations and most animating hopes, and to make a gloomy desert of the universe.

“Latterly, the indications of this plan are not so frequent as they were, but from time to time something still escapes which discovers that it is not renounced. The late address of Buonaparte to the Directory is an example. That unequalled conqueror, from whom it is painful to detract, in whom one would wish to find virtues worthy of his shining talents, profanely unites religion (not superstition) with royalty and the feudal system as the scourges of Europe for centuries ast. The decades likewise remain the catapulta which are to batter down Christianity.”

  • Alexander Hamilton, using the pseudonym “Titus Manlius”, The Stand III, (From the New York Commercial Advertiser.), April 7, 1798. [The Works of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Henry Cabot Lodge (Federal Edition) (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). In 12 vols.]

__________

It is the fervent wish of patriotism that our councils and nation may be united and resolute. The dearest interests call for it. A great public danger commands it. Every good man will rejoice to embrace the adversary of his former opinions, if he will now by candor and energy evince his attachment to his country. Whoever does not do this, consigns himself to irrevocable dishonor. But it is not the triumph over a political rival which the true lover of his country desires—it is the safety and the welfare of that country; and he will gladly share with his bitterest opponent the
glory of defending and preserving her. Americans, rouse—be unanimous, be virtuous, be firm, exert your courage, trust in Heaven, and nobly defy the enemies both of God and man!

  • Alexander Hamilton, using the pseudonym “Titus Manlius”, The Stand VI, (From the New York Commercial Advertiser.), April 19, 1798. [The Works of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Henry Cabot Lodge (Federal Edition) (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). In 12 vols.]

__________

While our Country remains untainted with the Principles and manners, which are now producing desolation in so many Parts of the World: while she continues Sincere and incapable of insidious and impious Policy: We shall have the Strongest Reason to rejoice in the local destination assigned Us by Providence. But should the People of America, once become capable of that deep <, Start deletion,[. . .], End,> simulation towards one another and towards foreign nations, which assumes the Language of Justice and moderation while it is practicing Iniquity and Extravagance; and displays in the most captivating manner the charming Pictures of Candour frankness & sincerity while it is rioting in rapine and Insolence: this Country will be the most miserable Habitation in the World. Because We have no Government armed with Power capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by <, Start deletion,[. . .], End,> morality and Religion. Avarice, Ambition <, Start deletion,and, End,> Revenge or Galantry, would break the strongest Cords of our Constitution as a Whale goes through a Net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.–John Adams to Massachusetts Militia, 11 October 1798.

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Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 1798

To the President of the United States:

Sir: The Senate of the United States join you in thanks to Almighty God for the removal of the late afflicting dispensations of his Providence, and for the patriotic spirit, and general prosperity, of our country. Sympathy for the sufferings of our fellow-citizens from disease, and the important interests of the Union, demand of the National Legislature a ready co-operation with the state governments, in the use of such means as seem best calculated to prevent the return of this fatal calamity.

EXTRACTS FROM THE ADDRESS TO THE PEOPLE,

[Elliot’s Debates, Volume 4]

Pledged as we are, fellow-citizens, to these sacred engagements, we yet humbly, fervently implore the Almighty Disposer of events to avert from our land war and usurpation, the scourges of mankind; to permit our fields to be cultivated in peace; to instil into nations the love of friendly intercourse; to suffer our youth to be educated in virtue, and to preserve our morality from the pollution invariably incident to habits of war; to prevent the laborer and husbandman from being harassed by taxes and imposts; to remove from ambition the means of disturbing the commonwealth; to annihilate all pretexts for power afforded by war; to maintain the Constitution; and to bless our nation with tranquillity, under whose benign influence we may reach the summit of happiness and glory, to which we are destined by nature and nature’s God.

Attest, JOHN STEWART, C. H. D.

1799, January 23d. Agreed to by the Senate. H. BROOKE, C.S.

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
MONDAY, DECEMBER 9, 1799.

“…The Senate proceeded to consider the report of the committee of the draught of an address in answer to the speech of the President of the United States to both Houses of Congress, at the opening of the session; which, being read in paragraphs, was adopted, as follows:

“To the President of the United States:

“Accept, Sir, the respectful acknowledgements of the Senate of the United States for your speech delivered to both Houses of Congress at the opening of the present session.

“While we devoutly join you in offering our thanks to Almighty God for the return of health to our cities, and for the general prosperity of the country….”

“SAMUEL LIVERMORE,
President of the Senate, pro tempore.”

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,
MONDAY, DECEMBER 23, 1799.

“…Also, a petition of John Henderson, and others, inhabitants of the Natchez, in the said Territory, praying the aid and patronage of Congress in the establishment of a regular ministry of the Gospel among them, and of schools for the education of their youth.

“Ordered, That the said petitions do lie on the table….”

“Good God! is it a crime for men to defend their own government and country? Is it a punishable offence in the Germans that they will not accept from the French what they offer as liberty at the point of the bayonet? This is to confound all ideas of morality and humanity; it is to trample upon all the rights of man and nations; it is to restore the ages of barbarism; according to the laws and practice of modern war, the peasantry of a country, if they remain peaceably at home, are protected from other harm than a contribution to the necessities of the invading army. Those who join the armies of their country and fight with them, are considered and treated as other soldiers. But the present French doctrine is, that they are to be treated as rebels and criminals.

“German patriotism is a heinous offence in the eyes of French patriots. How are we to solve this otherwise than by observing that the French are influenced by the same spirit of domination which governed the ancient Romans. They considered themselves as having a right to be the masters of the world, and to treat the rest of mankind as their vassals. How clearly is it proved by this that the praise of a civilized world is justly due to Christianity;—war, by the influence of the humane principles of that religion, has been stripped of half its horrors. The French renounce
Christianity, and they relapse into barbarism;—war resumes the same hideous and savage form which it wore in the ages of Gothic and Roman violence.”

  • Alexander Hamilton, The War In Europe, 1799. [The Works of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Henry Cabot Lodge (Federal Edition) (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). In 12 vols. Vol. 6.]

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
MONDAY, DECEMBER 23, 1799.

“…Mr. Dexter, from the committee appointed for the purpose on the 18th inst, reported the draught of an address to the President of the United States, on the death of General George Washington; which being read in paragraphs, was adopted, as follows:

To the President of the United States:

The Senate of the United States respectfully take leave, sir, to express to you their deep regret for the loss their country sustains in the death of General George Washington.

This event, so distressing to all our fellow-citizens, must be peculiarly heavy to you, who have long been associated with him in deeds of patriotism. Permit us, sir, to mingle our tears with yours; on this occasion it is manly to weep. To lose such a man, at such a crisis, is no common calamity to the world: our country mourns her Father. The Almighty Disposer of human events has taken from us our greatest benefactor and ornament. It becomes us to submit with reverence to him who “maketh darkness his pavilion.”

With patriotic pride we review the life of our Washington, and compare him with those of other countries, who have been pre-eminent in fame. Ancient and modern names are diminished before him. Greatness and guilt have too often been allied; but his fame is whiter than it is brilliant. The destroyers of nations stood abashed at the majesty of his virtue. It reproved the intemperance of their ambition, and darkened the splendor of victory. The scene is closed, and we are no longer anxious lest misfortune should sully his glory; he has travelled on to the end of his journey and carried with him an increasing weight of honor; he has deposited it safely, where misfortune cannot tarnish it, where malice cannot blast it. Favored of heaven, he departed without exhibiting the weakness of humanity. Magnanimous in death, the darkness of the grave could not obscure his brightness.

Such was the man whom we deplore. Thanks to God! his glory is consummated; Washington yet lives–on earth in his spotless example–his spirit is in Heaven.

Let his countrymen consecrate the memory of the heroic general, the patriotic statesman, and the virtuous sage; let them teach their children never to forget that the fruit of his labors and his example are their inheritance.

SAMUEL LIVERMORE,
President of the Senate, pro tempore.

Ordered, That the committee who prepared the address wait on the President of the United States and desire him to acquaint the Senate at what time and place it will be most convenient for him that it should be presented….”

From the Office of the Daily Advertiser, Solemn Funeral Honors to the MEMORY of their beloved Chief and Fellow-Citizen General GEORGE WASHINGTON, 31st of December, 1799

The Lord God Omnipotent reigneth!
For the kingdom of this world is become
The kingdom of our Lord and his Christ,
And he shall reign, for ever and ever.
Hallelujah!

“I promised you a letter on Christianity, which I have not forgotten. On the contrary, it is because I have reflected on it, that I find much more time necessary for it than I can at present dispose of. I have a view of the subject which ought to displease neither the rational Christian nor Deists, and would reconcile many to a character they have too hastily rejected. I do not know that it would reconcile the genus irritabile vatum who are all in arms against me. Their hostility is on too interesting ground to be softened. The delusion into which the X. Y. Z. plot shewed it possible to push the people; the successful experiment made under the prevalence of that delusion on the clause of the constitution, which, while it secured the freedom of the press, covered also the freedom of religion, had given to the clergy a very favorite hope of obtaining an establishment of a particular form of Christianity thro’ the U. S.; and as every sect believes its own form the true one, every one perhaps hoped for his own, but especially the Episcopalians & Congregationalists. The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, & they believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: & enough too in their opinion, & this is the cause of their printing lying pamphlets against me, forging conversations for me with Mazzei, Bishop Madison, &c., which are absolute falsehoods without a circumstance of truth to rest on; falsehoods, too, of which I acquit Mazzei & Bishop Madison, for they are men of truth.”

  • Thomas Jefferson, Sept. 23, 1800 letter to Benjamin Rush. [The Works of Thomas Jefferson in Twelve Volumes. Federal Edition. Collected and Edited by Paul Leicester Ford.]

Also see; God and Jefferson

“It would be unbecoming the Representatives of this nation to assemble, for the first time, in this solemn temple, without looking up to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and imploring his blessing.

“May this territory be the residence of virtue and happiness!–In this city may that piety and virtue, that wisdom and magnanimity, that constancy and self-government which adorned the great character whose name it bears, be forever held in veneration!–Here, and throughout our country, may simple manners, pure morals, and true religion, flourish forever!”

  • President John Adams, Nov. 22, 1800, Message to Congress, [Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, 1789-1873. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 1800.]

The Closet Companion, “Intended to be fixed up in the Christian’s usual Place of Retirement, in order to remind him of, as well as to assist him in, the Work.” [1800]

To Messrs. Nehimiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins and Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the
Danbury Baptist Association in the state of Connecticut.

Gentlemen,
THE affectionate sentiments of esteem and apporbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist Association, gave me the highest satisfaction; my duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.
Believing with you, that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” thus building a wall of seperation between church and state. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation, in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural rights in opposition to his social duties.
I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you, for yourselves, and your Religious Association, assurances of my high respect and esteem.

Thomas Jefferson, JAN. 1, 1802.
[The Aurora General Advertiser, Philadelphia, Feb., 1, 1802].

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,
MONDAY, JANUARY 3, 1803.
“…The said resolution as amended, being then twice read, was, on the question put thereupon, agreed to by the House as followeth:

“Resolved, That the proper accounting officers liquidate and settle the account of Charles Hyde, for his services as Judge advocate to the army, from the second day of December, Anno Domini one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two, to the fifteenth day of July, Anno Domini one thousand seven hundred and ninety-four, both inclusive; and that he be allowed such pay and emoluments for said services, as were at that time allowed by law, to the officers acting in that capacity….”

“While we regret the miseries in which we see others involved, let us bow with gratitude to that kind Providence, which, inspiring with wisdom and moderation our late legislative councils, while placed under the urgency of the greatest wrongs, guarded us from hastily entering into the sanguinary contest, and left us only to look on and to pity its ravages.”

  • President Thomas Jefferson, Message to the U.S. Senate, Oct. 17, 1803. [Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, 1789-1873.]

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 3, 1805.

“To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America: …

“…In taking a view of the state of our country, we, in the first place, notice the late affliction of two of our cities under the fatal fever which, in latter times, has occasionally visited our shores. Providence, in his goodness, gave it an early termination on this occasion, and lessened the number of victims which have usually fallen before it….”

  • President Thomas Jefferson

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 1808.
“The same grateful acknowledgments are due to my fellow-citizens generally, whose support has been my great encouragement under all embarrassments. In the transaction of their business I cannot have escaped error. It is incident to our imperfect nature. But I may say with truth my errors have been of the understanding, not of intention, and that the advancement of their rights and interests has been the constant motive for every measure. On these considerations I solicit their indulgence. Looking forward with anxiety to their future destinies, I trust, that, in their steady character, unshaken by difficulties, in their love of liberty, obedence to law, and support of the public authorities, I see a sure guarantee of the permanence of our republic; and retiring from the charge of their affairs, I carry with me the consolation of a firm persuasion that Heaven has in store for our beloved country long ages to come of prosperity and happiness.”

TH. JEFFERSON.

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
THE PROCEEDINGS OF A SESSION SPECIALLY CALLED ON SATURDAY, MARCH 4, 1809.

“…But the source to which I look for the aids which alone can supply my deficiencies, is in the well tried intelligence and virtue of my fellow-citizens, and in the counsels of those representing them in the other departments associated in the care of the national interests. In these my confidence will, under every difficulty, be best placed, next to that which we have all been encouraged to feel in the guardianship and guidance of that Almighty Being whose power regulates the destiny of nations, whose blessings have been so conspicuously dispensed 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.”

  • President James Madison, Inaugural Address

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 1809.
“…Recollecting always, that, for every advantage which may contribute to distinguish our lot form that to which 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 undertaken for the welfare of our beloved country.”

  • President James Madison.

BOOKS PUBLISHED AND SOLD BY W. W. WOODWARD, “Proof of the Eternal Godhead of our Lord Jesus Christ against modern attacks”, Feb., 1810

“Reserving for future occasions, in the course of the session, whatever other communications may claim your attention, I close the present, by expressing my reliance, under the blessing of Divine Providence, on the judgment and patriotism which will guide your measures, at a period particularly calling for united councils, and inflexible exertions, for the welfare of our country, and by assuring you of the fidelity and alacrity with which my co-operation will be afforded.”

  • President James Madison, Washington, December 5, 1810. [Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, 1789-1873. WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5, 1810.]

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24, 1812.

Mr. Anderson submitted the following motion for consideration:

“Whereas the United States of America, notwithstanding the pacific disposition which has been so distinguishingly evinced by them towards all the nations of the world, have, nevertheless, been compelled to resort to arms for the maintenance and protection of those rights which have been achieved by the blood of their fathers; and, although they have a just confidence in the strength of their government, and in the vigor of their own arm, yet, being taught by Holy Writ, to which they bow with all due reverence and submission, “that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but of the Lord who willeth and doeth:” And it being at all times our indispensable duty devoutly to acknowledge the superintending Providence of Almighty God, especially in times of impending danger and public calamity, to reverence and adore his immutable justice, as well as to implore his merciful interposition for the prosperity of the nation: Therefore,

“Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That a joint committee of both Houses wait on the President of the United States and request that he will recommend to the people of the United States a day of public humiliation and prayer, to be observed by supplicating Almighty God for the safety and welfare of these states, and for the success of their arms.”

And the motion was read.

Ordered, That it pass to the second reading.

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,
THURSDAY, JUNE 25, 1812.

…Ordered, That the report of the Committee of Foreign Relations, made to this House on the third instant, be entered on the journals thereof.

“The Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom was referred the Message of the President of the United States, of the first of June, 1812,

“REPORT:

“…But the period has now arrived, when the United States must support their character and station among the Nations of the earth, or submit to the most shameful degradation. Forbearance has ceased. to be a virtue. War on the one side, and peace on the other, is a situation as ruinous as it is disgraceful. The mad ambition, the lust of power, and commercial avarice, of Great Britain, arrogating to herself the complete dominion of the ocean, and exercising over it an unbounded and lawless tyranny, have left to neutral nations an alternative only between the base surrender of their rights, and a manly vindication of them. Happily for the United States, their destiny, under the aid of Heaven, is in their own hands. The crisis is formidable only by their love of peace. As soon as it becomes a duty to relinquish that situation, danger disappears. They have suffered no wrongs, they have received no insults, however great, for which they cannot obtain redress….”

“…”Your committee, believing that the free born sons of America are worthy to enjoy the liberty which their fathers purchased at the price of so much blood and treasure, and seeing in the measures adopted by Great Britain, a course commenced and persisted in, which must lead to a loss of national character and independence, feel no hesitation in advising resistance by force; in which the Americans of the present day will prove to the enemy and to the world, that we have not only inherited that liberty which our fathers gave us, but also the will and power to maintain it. Relying on the patriotism of the nation, and confidently trusting that the Lord of Hosts will go with us to battle in a righteous cause, and crown our efforts with success, your committee recommend an immediate appeal to arms.”

  • Message of the President of the United States, of the first of June, 1812. [Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, JUNE 25, 1812.]

So the resolution passed as follows:

“It being a duty peculiarly incumbent in a time of public calamity and war, humbly and devoutly to acknowledge our dependence on Almighty God, and to implore his aid and protection: Therefore,

“Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That a joint committee of both Houses of Congress wait on the President of the United States, and request that he recommend a day of public humiliation and prayer, to be observed by the people of the United States, with religious solemnity and the offering of fervent supplications to Almighty God for the safety and welfare of these states, his blessing on their arms, and the speedy restoration of peace.”

  • Journal of the Senate, June 30, 1812

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 1812.
“…The nation felt the necessity of it, and called for it. The appeal was accordingly made, in a just cause, to the just and all powerful Being who holds in his hand the chain of events, and the destiny of nations. It remains only, that, faithful to ourselves, entangled in no connexions with the views of other powers, and ever ready to accept peace from the hand of justice, we prosecute the war with united counsels and with the ample faculties of the nation, until peace be so obtained, and as the only means, under the Divine blessing, of speedily obtaining it.

-President James Madison.

Washington, November 4, 1812.

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
TUESDAY, MAY, 25, 1813.

“…The contest in which the United States are engaged, appeals for its support to every motive that can animate an uncorrupted and enlightened people; to the love of country; to the pride of liberty; to an emulation of the glorious founders of their independence, by a successful vindication of its violated attributes; to the gratitude and sympathy which demand security from the most degrading wrongs of a class of citizens, who have proved themselves so worthy the protection of their country, of their heroic zeal in its defence; and, finally, to the sacred obligation of transmitting entire, to future generations, that precious patrimony of national rights and independence which is held in trust by the present, from the goodness of Divine Providence.”

  • [President] James Madison. Washington, May 25th, 1813.

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,

TUESDAY, JULY 13, 1813

Mr. Anderson submitted the following motion for consideration:

Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That a joint committee of both Houses wait on the President of the United States, and request that he recommend a day of public humiliation and prayer, to be observed by the people of the United States with religious solemnity, and the offering of fervent supplications to Almighty God for the safety and welfare of these States, his blessing on their arms, and the speedy restoration of peace.

The resolution requesting the President of the United States to recommend a day of public humiliation and prayer, having been reported by the committee correctly engrossed, was read the third time and passed, as follows:

“It being a duty peculiarly incumbent in a time of public calamity and war, humbly and devoutly to acknowledge our dependence on Almighty God, and to implore his aid and protection: therefore,

“Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That a joint committee of both Houses wait on the President of the United States and request that he recommend a day of public humiliation and prayer, to be observed by the people of the United States with religious solemnity, and the offering of fervent supplications to Almighty God for the safety and welfare of these states, his blessing on their arms, and the speedy restoration of peace.”

Ordered, That the Secretary request the concurrence of the House of Representatives in this
resolution.

  • Journal of the U.S. Senate, July 16, 1813

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,

“…Under such circumstances, a nation, proud of its rights, and conscious of its strength, has no choice, but an exertion of the one in support of the other.

“To this determination, the best encouragement is derived from the success with which it has pleased the Almighty to bless our arms, both on the land and on the water….”

“The war has proved, moreover, that our free Government, like other free Governments, though slow in its early movements, acquires in its progress a force proportioned to its freedom; and that the union of these States, the guardian of the freedom and safety of all and of each, is strengthened by every occasion that puts it to the test.

“In fine, the war, with all its vicissitudes, is illustrating the capacity and the destiny of the United States to be a great, a flourishing, and a powerful Nation; worthy of the friendship which it is disposed to cultivate with all others; and authorized, by its own example, to require from all an observance of the laws of justice and reciprocity. Beyond these, their claims have never extended; and, in contending for these, we behold a subject for our congratulations in the daily testimonies of increasing harmony throughout the Nation, and may humbly repose our trust in the smiles of Heaven on so righteous a cause….”
“…It would be improper to close this communication without expressing a thankfulness, in which all ought to unite, for the numerous blessings with which our beloved country continues to be favored; for the abundance which overspreads our land, and the prevailing health of its inhabitants; for the preservation of our internal tranquility, and the stability of our free institutions; and, above all, for the light of Divine truth, and the protection of every man’s conscience in the enjoyment of it. And, although, among our blessings, we cannot number an exemption from the evils of war, yet these will never be regarded as the greatest of evils, by the friends of liberty and of the rights of nations. Our country has before preferred them to the degraded condition which was the alternative, when the sword was drawn in the cause which gave birth to our national independence; and none who contemplate the magnitude, and feel the value, of that glorious event, will shrink from a struggle to maintain the high and happy ground on which it placed the American people.”

“With all good citizens, the justice and necessity of resisting wrongs and usurpations no longer to be borne, will sufficiently out weight the privations and sacrifices inseparable from a state of war….”

President James Madison.

Washington, December 7. 1813.

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 1814.
“…Having forborne to declare war, until, to other aggressions had been added the capture of nearly a thousand American vessels, and the impressment of thousands of American sea faring citizens, and until a final declaration had been made by the Government of Great Britain, that her hostile orders against our commerce would not be revoked, but on conditions as impossible as unjust; whilst it was known that these orders would not otherwise cease, but with a war which had lasted nearly twenty years, and which, according to appearances at that time, might last as many more; having manifested, on every occasion, and in every proper mode, a sincere desire to arrest the effusion of blood, and meet our enemy on the ground of justice and reconciliation; our beloved country, in still opposing to his persevering hostility all its energies, with an undiminished disposition towards peace and friendship on honorable terms, must carry with it the good wishes of the impartial world, and the best hopes of support from an Omnipotent and kind Providence.”

  • President James Madison.

The following resolution was submitted by Mr. Clopton, for consideration:

It being a duty peculiarly incumbent, in a time of public calamity and war, humbly and devoutly to acknowledge our dependence on Almighty God, and to implore his aid and protection: Therefore,

“Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That a joint committee of both Houses wait on the President of the United States, and request that he recommend a day of public humiliation, prayer, and fasting, to be observed by the People of the United States, with religious solemnity, and the offering of fervent supplications to Almighty God, for the safety of these States; his blessing on their arms, and a speedy restoration of peace.”

The said resolution was read, and referred to a Committee of the Whole House to-day.

  • Journal of the U.S. House of Representatives, Oct. 29, 1814

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 1815

Mr. Culpeper submitted the following preamble and resolution; which was read, and ordered to lie on the table:

It being a duty peculiarly incumbent, in a time of public calamity and war, humbly and devoutly to acknowledge our dependence on Almighty God, and to implore his aid and protection; and in times of deliverance and prosperity to manifest our deep and undissembled gratitude to the Almighty Sovereign of the Universe: Therefore,

Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That a joint committee of both Houses wait on the President of the United States, and request that he recommend a day of thanksgiving, to be observed by the People of the United States with religious solemnity, and the offering of devout acknowledgments to God for his mercies, and in prayer to him for the continuance of his blessings.

An engrossed resolution for the appointment of a joint committee to wait upon the President and request that the recommend a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God for his goodness in restoring to these United States the blessings of peace, was read the third time and passed.

Ordered, That the title be, “A resolution for the appointment of a joint committee to wait upon the President and request that he recommend a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God for his goodness in restoring to these United States the blessings of peace.”

Ordered, That the Clerk carry the said bill and resolution to the Senate, and request their
concurrence therein.

  • Journal of the U.S. House of Representatives, Feb. 25th, 1815

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

  • John Jay, October 12, 1816, in The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, Henry P. Johnston, ed., (New York: G.P Putnam & Sons, 1893; reprinted NY: Burt Franklin, 1970), Vol. IV, 393.

(Mr. Jay was one of the authors of the Federalist Papers and became America’s first Supreme Court Justice. He also served as the president of the American Bible Society).

“…Never did a government commence under auspices so favorable, nor ever was success so complete. If we look to the history of other nations, ancient or modern, we find no example of a growth so rapid–so gigantic: of a people so prosperous and happy. In contemplating what we have still to perform, the heart of every citizen must expand with joy, when he reflects how near our government has approached to perfection; that, in respect to it, we have no essential improvement to make: that the great object is, to preserve it in the essential principles and features which characterize it, and that that is to be done by preserving the virtue and enlightening the minds of the people; and, as a security against foreign dangers, to adopt such arrangements as are indispensable to the support of our independence, our rights and liberties. If we persevere in the career in which we have advanced so far, and in the path already traced, we cannot fail, under the favor of a gracious Providence, to attain the high destiny which seems to await us. . . .I enter on the trust to which I have been called by the suffrages of my fellow-citizens, with my fervent prayers to the Almighty, that He will be graciously pleased to continue to us that protection which He has already so conspicuously displayed in our favor.”

  • President James Monroe, March 4, 1817 Inaugural Speech. [Journal of the U.S. Senate]

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,

December 2, 1817

AT no period of our political existence had we so much cause to felicitate ourselves at the prosperous and happy condition of our country. The abundant fruits of the earth have filled it with plenty. An extensive and profitable commerce has greatly augmented our revenue. The public credit has attained an extraordinary elevation. Our preparations for defence, in case of future wars, from which, by the experience of all nations, we ought not to expect to be exempted, are advancing, under a well digested system, with all the despatch which so important a work will admit. Our free government, founded on the interest and affections of the people, has gained, and is daily gaining, strength. Local jealousies are rapidly yielding to more generous, enlarged, and enlightened view of national policy. For advantages so numerous, and highly important, it is our duty to unite in grateful acknowledgments to that Omnipotent Being, from whom they are derived, and in unceasing prayer, that he will endow us with virtue and strength to maintain and hand them down, in their utmost purity, to our latest posterity.

  • President James Monroe

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
TUESDAY, November 17th, 1818.

“…Fellow-citizens of the Senate
and of the House of Representatives.”

“The auspicious circumstances under which you will commence the duties of the present Session will lighten the burdens inseparable from the high trust committed to you. The fruits of the earth have been unusually abundant: commerce has flourished; the revenue has exceeded the most favorable anticipation, and peace and amity are preserved with foreign nations on conditions just and honorable to our country. For these inestimable blessings we cannot but be grateful to that Providence which watches over the destiny 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 they flow. Let us then unite in offering our most grateful acknowledgments for these blessings to the Divine Author of all good….”

  • President James Monroe, November 16th, 1818.

State of New-Hampshire, BY THE GOVERNOR. A PROCLAMATION FOR A DAY OF THANKSGIVING, Oct. 1, 1821

American State Papers, Senate, 17th Congress, 2nd Session
Indians Affairs: Volume 2, Page 372, No. 189. Progress of the society of United Brethren in propagating the Gospel among the Indians.

From the State department.

By the President of the United States of America.

A proclamation.

“Whereas a General Convention of Peace, Amity, Navigation, and Commerce, between the United States of America and the Republic of Colombia, was concluded and signed, at Bogota, on the third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty-four; which Convention, being in the English and Spanish languages, is word for word as follows:

“General Convention of Peace, Amity, Navigation and Commerce, between the United States of America and the Republic of Colombia.
Convencion Jeneral de Paz, Amistad, Navegacion, y Comercio, entre la Republica de Colombia y los Estados-Unidos de America, Año de 1824.

“IN THE NAME OF GOD, AUTHOR AND LEGISLATOR OF THE UNIVERSE.
EN EL NOMBRE DE DIOS, AUTOR Y LEJISLADOR DEL UNIVERSO….”

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS.

By the President:
H. CLAY, Secretary of State.

“For these blessings, we owe to Almighty God, from whom we derive them, and with profound reverence, our most grateful and unceasing acknowledgments.”

  • President James Monroe, Dec. 7, 1824 Message to the U.S. House & Senate. [Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, 1789-1873.]

Updegraph v. Commonwealth, “Thus this wise legislature framed this great body of laws for a Christian country and Christian people.”, 1824

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
FRIDAY, March 4th, 1825.

“In compliance with an usage coeval with the existence of our Federal Constitution, and sanctioned by the example of my predecessors in the career upon which I am about to enter, I appear, my fellow citizens, in your presence, and in that of Heaven, to bind myself by the solemnities of religious obligation, to the faithful performance of the duties allotted to me in the station to which I have been called….”

“…To the guidance of the Legislative councils; to the assistance of the Executive and subordinate Departments; to the friendly co-operation of the respective State Governments; to the candid and liberal support of the people, so far as it may be deserved by honest industry and zeal, I shall look for whatever success may attend my public service: and knowing, that, except the Lord keep the City, the watchman waketh but in vain, with fervent supplications for his favor, to his overruling Providence I commit, with humble but fearless confidence, my own fate, and the future destinies of my country.”

  • President John Q. Adams, Inaugural address.

“We learn from the result of this experiment, how fortunate was our own condition, and how admirably the character of our people was calculated for setting the great example of popular governments. The possession of power did not turn the heads of the American people, for they had long been in the habit of exercising a great degree of self-control. Although the paramount authority of the parent state existed over them, yet a large field of legislation had always been open to our Colonial assemblies. They were accustomed to representative bodies and the forms of free government; they understood the doctrine of the division of power among different branches, and the necessity of checks on each. The character of our countrymen, moreover, was sober, moral, and religious; and there was little in the change to shock their feelings of justice and humanity, or even to disturb an honest prejudice. We had no domestic throne to overturn, no privileged orders to cast down, no violent changes of property to encounter. In the American Revolution, no man sought or wished for more than to defend and enjoy his own. None hoped for plunder or for spoil. Rapacity was unknown to it; the axe was not among the instruments of its accomplishment; and we all know that it could not have lived a single day under any well-founded imputation of possessing a tendency adverse to the Christian religion.”

  • Daniel Webster, An Address Delivered At The Laying Of The Corner-Stone Of The Bunker Hill Monument AT Charlestown, Massachusetts, On The 17th Of June, 1825.

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,

December 6, 1825.

….In taking a general survey of the concerns or 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 Disposer of all Good, for the continuance of the signal blessings of his Providence, and especially for that health which, to all unusual extent, has prevailed within our borders; and the 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–in peace with all the other nations of the earth, in tranquillity among ourselves. There has, indeed, rarely been a period in the history of civilized man. in which the general condition of the Christian Nations has Been marked so extensively by peace and prosperity….

“…The heroic struggles of the Greeks themselves, in which our warmest sympathies as Freemen and Christians have been engaged, have continued to be maintained with vicissitudes of success adverse and favorable….”

“…But moral, political, intellectual improvement, are duties assigned, by the Author of our existence, to social, no less than to individual man. For the fulfilment of those duties, governments are invested with power; and, to the attainment of the end, the progressive improvement of the condition of the governed, the exercise of delegated power is a duty as sacred and indispensable, as the usurpation of power not granted is criminal and odious….”

“The spirit of improvement is abroad upon the earth. It stimulates the hearts, and sharpens the faculties, not of our fellow citizens alone, but of the nations of Europe, and of their rulers. While dwelling with pleasing satisfaction upon the superior excellence of our Political Institutions, let us not be unmindful that Liberty is Power; that the nation blessed with the largest portion of liberty, must, in proportion to its numbers, be the most powerful nation upon earth; and that the tenure of power by man is, in the moral purposes of his Creator, upon condition that it shall be exercised to ends of beneficence, to improve the condition of himself and his fellow men. While foreign nations, less blessed with that freedom which is power, than ourselves, are advancing with gigantic strides in the career of public improvement; were we to slumber in indolence, or fold up our arms and proclaim to the world that we are palsied by the will of our constituents, would it not be to cast away the bounties of Providence, and doom ourselves to perpetual inferiority? In the course of the year now drawing to its close, we have beheld, under the auspices, and at the expense of one state of this Union, a new University unfolding its portals to the sons of science, and holding up the torch of human improvement to eyes that seek the light. We have seen, under the persevering and enlightened enterprise of another State, the waters of our Western Lakes mingled with those of the Ocean. If undertakings like these have been accomplished in the compass of a few years, by the authority of single members of our Confederation, can we, the Representative Authorities of the whole Union, fall behind our fellow-servants in the exercise of the trust committed to us for the benefit of our common Sovereign, by the accomplishment of works important to the whole, and to which neither the authority nor the resources of any one State can be adequate?”

“….Finally, fellow citizens, I shall await with cheering hope, and faithful co-operation, the result of your deliberations; assured that, without encroaching upon the powers reserved to the authorities of the respective States, or to the People, you will, with a due sense of your obligations to your Country, and of the high responsibilities weighing upon yourselves, give efficacy to the means committed to you for the common good. And may He who searches the hearts of the children of men, prosper your exertions to secure the blessings of Peace, and promote the highest welfare of our Country.”

President John Quincy Adams

“…he has kindly protected the civil and religious interests of this state, blessed our seminaries of learning, sent the Gospel of his Son to the needy, and caused multitudes to bow with profound reverence and grateful hearts to the sceptre of the Great Redeemer…”

  • STATE OF NEW-HAMPSHIRE. A PROCLAMATION, FOR A DAY OF THANKSGIVING, PRAYER AND PRAISE. [9/29/1826]

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
TUESDAY, December 5, 1826.
“…To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:

Fellow Citizens of the Senate,
and of the House of Representatives:

The assemblage of the Representatives of our Union in both Houses of Congress, at this time, occurs under circumstances calling for the renewed homage of our grateful acknowledgments to the Giver of all Good. With the exceptions incidental to the most felicitous condition of human existence, we continue to be highly favored in all the elements which contribute to individual comfort and to national prosperity. In the survey of our extensive country, we have generally to observe abodes of health and regions of plenty. In our civil and political relations, we have peace without, and tranquillity within, our borders. We are, as a People, increasing with unabated rapidity in population, wealth, and national resources; and, whatever differences of opinion exist among us, with regard to the mode and the means by which we shall turn the beneficence of Heaven to the improvement of our own condition, there is yet a spirit, animating us all, which will not suffer the bounties of Providence to be showered upon us in vain, but will receive them with grateful hearts, and apply them, with unwearied hands, to the advancement of the general good….”

“…In closing this communication, I trust that it will not be deemed inappropriate to the occasion and purposes upon which we are here assembled, to indulge a momentary retrospect, combining, in a single glance, the period of our origin as a National Confederation with that of our present existence, at the precise interval of half a century from each other. Since your last meeting at this place, the Fiftieth Anniversary of the day when our Independence was declared, has been celebrated throughout our land; and on that day, while every heart was bounding with joy, and every voice was tuned to granulation, amid the blessings of Freedom and Independence, which the sires of a former age had handed down to their children, two of the principal actors in that solemn scene, the hand that penned the ever memorable Declaration, and the voice that sustained it in debate, were, by one summons, at the distance of seven hundred miles from each other, called before the Judge of all, to account for their deeds done upon earth. They departed, cheered by the benedictions of their country, to whom they left the inheritance of their fame, and the memory of their bright example. If we turn our thoughts to the condition of their country, in the contrast of the first and last day of that half century, how resplendent and sublime is the transition from gloom to glory! Then, glancing through the same lapse of time, in the condition of the individuals, we see the first day marked with the fulness and vigor of youth, in the pledge of their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, to the cause of freedom and of mankind. And on the last, extended on the bed of death, with but sense and sensibility left to breathe a last aspiration to Heaven of blessing upon their country; may we not humbly hope that to them, too, it was a pledge of transition from gloom to glory; and that, while their mortal vestments were sinking into the clod of the valley, their emancipated spirits were ascending to the bosom of their God!”

  • President John Quincy Adams.

Washington, Dec. 5, 1826.

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,
TUESDAY, December 4, 1827.

“Fellow-citizens of the Senate,
and of the House of Representatives:”

“A revolution of the seasons has nearly been completed since the Representatives of the People and States of this Union were last assembled at this place, to deliberate and to act upon the common important interests of their constituents. In that interval, the neverslumbering eye of a wise and beneficent Providence has continued its guardian care over the welfare of our beloved country. The blessing of Health has continued generally to prevail throughout the land. The blessing of peace with our brethren of the human race, has been enjoyed without interruption; internal quiet has left our fellow-citizens, in the full enjoyment of all their rights, and in the free exercise of all their faculties, to pursue the impulse of their nature, and the obligation of their duty, in the improvement of their own condition. The productions of the soil, the exchanges of commerce, the vivifying labors of human industry, have combined to mingle in our cup a portion of enjoyment as large and liberal as the indulgence of Heaven has perhaps ever granted to the imperfect state of man upon earth; and as the purest of human felicity consists in its participation with others, it is no small addition to the sum of our national happiness, at this time, that peace and prosperity prevail to a degree seldom experienced over the whole habitable globe; presenting, though as yet with painful exceptions, a foretaste of that blessed period of promise, when the lion shall lie down with the lamb, and wars shall be no more….”

“…Practical seamanship and the art of navigation may be acquired on the cruises of the squadrons, which, from time to time, are despatched to distant seas; but a competent knowledge, even of the art of ship building, the higher mathematics, and astronomy; the literature which can place our officers on a level of polished education with the officers of other maritime nations; the knowledge of the laws, municipal and national, which, in their intercourse with foreign States and their Governments, are continually called into operation; and, above all, that acquaintance with the principles of honor and justice, with the higher obligations of morals, and of general laws, human and divine, which constitute the great distinction between the warrior patriot, and the licensed robber and pirate; these can be systematically taught and eminently acquired only in a permanent school, stationed upon the shore, and provided with the teachers, the instruments, and the books, conversant with and adapted to the communication of the principles of these respective sciences to the youthful and inquiring mind…”

  • President John Quincy Adams, Washington, December 4th, 1827.

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,
TUESDAY, December 2, 1828.
“…Fellow-Citizens of the Senate,
and of the House of Representatives:”

“If the enjoyment in profusion of the bounties of Providence forms a suitable subject of mutual gratulation and grateful acknowledgment, we are admonished at this return of the season, when the Representatives of the nation are assembled to deliberate upon their concerns, to offer up the tribute of fervent and grateful hearts, for the never-failing mercies of Him who rule the over all. He has again favored us with healthful seasons and abundant harvests. He has sustained us in peace with foreign countries, and in tranquillity within our borders. He has preserved us in the quiet and undisturbed possession of civil and religious liberty. He has crowned the year with his goodness, imposing on us no other conditions than of improving, for our own happiness, the blessings bestowed by his hands; and in the fruition of all his favors, of devoting the faculties with which we have been endowed by him to his glory, and to our own temporal and eternal welfare….”

“…This new element of prosperity to that part of our agricultural industry which is occupied in producing the first article of human subsistence, is of the most cheering character to the feelings of patriotism. Proceeding from a cause which humanity will view with concern, the sufferings of scarcity in distant lands, it yields a consolatory reflection, that this scarcity is in no respect attributable to us. That it comes from the dispensation of Him who ordains all in wisdom and goodness, and who permits evil itself only as an instrument of good. That, far from contributing to this scarcity, our agency will be applied only to the alleviation of its severity; and that, in pouring forth, from the abundance of our own garners, the supplies which will partially restore plenty to those who are in need, we shall ourselves reduce our stores, and add to the price of our own bread, so as in some degree to participate in the wants which it will be the good fortune of our country to relieve….”

  • President John Quincy Adams

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,

TUESDAY, December 8, 1829.
“…In communicating with you for the first time, it is, to me, a source of unfeigned satisfaction, calling for mutual gratulation and devout thanks to a benign Providence, that we are at peace with all mankind; and that our country exhibits the most cheering evidence of general welfare and progressive improvement. Turning our eyes to other nations, our great desire is to see our brethren of the human race secured in the blessings enjoyed by ourselves, and advancing in knowledge, in freedom, and in social happiness.

“Our foreign relations, although in their general character pacific and friendly, present subjects of difference between us and other Powers, of deep interest, as well to the country at large as to many of our citizens. To effect an adjustment of these shall continue to be the object of my earnest endeavors; and notwithstanding the difficulties of the task, I do not allow, myself to apprehend unfavorable results. Blessed as our country is with every thing which constitutes national strength, she is fully adequate to the maintenance of all her interests. In discharging the responsible trust confided to the Executive in this respect, it is my settled purpose to ask nothing that is not clearly right, and to submit to nothing that is wrong; and I flatter myself, that, supported by the other branches of the Government, and by the intelligence and patriotism of the People, we shall be able, under the protection of Providence, to cause all our just rights to be respected….”

“…Upon this country, more than any other, has, in the providence of God, been cast the special guardianship of the great principle of adherence to written constitutions. If it fail here, all hope in regard to it will be extinguished….”

“…I now commend you, fellow-citizens, to the guidance of Almighty God, with a full reliance on his merciful providence for the maintenance of our free institutions; and with an earnest supplication, that, whatever errors it may be my lot to commit, in discharging the arduous duties which have devolved on me, will find a remedy in the harmony and wisdom of your counsels.”

  • President Andrew Jackson

“…The beneficent Author of all good has granted to us, during the present year, health, peace, and plenty, and numerous causes for joy in the wonderful success which attends the progress of our free institutions….”

“…Our country, by the blessing of God, is not in a situation to invite aggression; and it will be our fault if she ever becomes so. Sincerely desirous to cultivate the most liberal and friendly relations with all; ever ready to fulfil our engagements with scrupulous fidelity; limiting our demands upon others to mere justice; holding ourselves ever ready to do unto them as we would wish to be done by; and avoiding even the appearance of undue partiality to any nation, it appears to me impossible that a simple and sincere application of our principles to our foreign relations can fail to place them ultimately upon the footing on which it is our wish they should rest….”

“…In conclusion, fellow-citizens, allow me to invoke, in behalf of your deliberations, that spirit of conciliation and disinterestedness which is the gift of patriotism. Under an overruling and merciful Providence, the agency of this spirit has thus far been signalized in the prosperity and glory of our beloved country. May its influence be eternal.”

  • President Andrew Jackson, December 6, 1830 message to the U.S. House and Senate. [Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, 1830-1831.]

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,
TUESDAY, December 6, 1831.

“…But frequently, and justly, as you have been called on to be grateful for the bounties of Providence, at few periods have they been more abundantly or extensively bestowed than at the present: rarely, if ever, have we had greater reason to congratulate each other on the continued and increasing prosperity of our beloved country….”
“…A beneficent Providence has provided, for their exercise and encouragement, an extensive coast indented by capacious bays, noble rivers, inland seas; with a country productive of every material for ship building and every commodity for gainful commerce, and filled with a population, active, intelligent, well informed, and fearless of danger. These advantages are not neglected; and an impulse has lately been given to commercial enterprise, which fills our ship yards with new constructions, encourages all the arts and branches of industry connected with them, crowds the wharves of our cities with vessels, and covers the most distant seas with our canvass.”

“Let us be grateful for these blessings to the beneficent Being who has conferred them, and who suffers us to indulge a reasonable hope of their continuance and extension, while we neglect not the means by which they maybe preserved. If we may dare to judge of His future designs by the manner in which his past favors have been bestowed, he has made our national prosperity to depend on the preservation of our liberties–our national force on our federal union–and our individual happiness on the maintenance of our State rights and wise institutions. If we are prosperous at home, and respected abroad, it is because we are free, united, industrious, and obedient to the laws. While we continue so, we shall, by the blessing of Heavens, go on in the happy career we have begun, and which has brought us, in the short period of our political existence, from a population of three to thirteen millions–from thirteen separate Colonies to twenty-four United States–from weakness to strength–from a rank scarcely marked in the scale of nations to a high place in their respect….”

“…But the removal of the Indians beyond the limits and jurisdiction of the States does not place them beyond the reach of philanthropic aid and Christian instruction. On the contrary, those whom philanthropy or religion may induce to live among them in their new abode, will be more free in the exercise of their benevolent functions, than if they had remained within the limits of the States, embarrassed by their internal regulations. Now, subject to no control but the superintending agency of the General Government, exercised with the sole view of preserving peace, they may proceed unmolested in the interesting experiment of gradually advancing a community of American Indians from barbarism to the habits and enjoyments of civilized life….”

  • President Andrew Jackson

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,

THURSDAY, June 28, 1832

The following motion, submitted by Mr. Clay, was considered:

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That a joint committee of both Houses wait on the President of the United States, and request that he recommend a day, to be designated by him, of public humiliation, prayer, and fasting, to be observed by the people of the united States with religious solemnity, and with fervent supplications to Almighty God that he will be graciously pleased to continue his blessings upon our country; and that he will avert from it the Asiatic scourge which has reached our borders; or, if in the dispensations of his providence, we are not to be exempted from the calamity, that through his bountiful mercy, its severity may be mitigated, and its duration shortened.

And on the question to agree thereto,

It was determined in the affirmative,
Yeas, … 30,
Nays, … 13.

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,

“…It gives me pleasure to congratulate you upon your return to the Seat of Government, for the purpose of discharging your duties to the people of the United States. Although the pestilence, which had traversed the Old World, has entered our limits, and extended its ravages over much of our land, it has pleased Almighty God to mitigate its severity, and lessen the number of its victims, compared with those who have fallen in most other countries over which it has spread its terrors. Notwithstanding this visitation, our country presents, on every side, marks of prosperity and happiness, unequalled, perhaps, in any other portion of the world. If we fully appreciate our comparative condition, existing causes of discontent will appear unworthy of attention, and, with hearts of thankfulness to that Divine Being who has filled our cup of prosperity, we shall feel our resolution strengthened to preserve and hand down to posterity that liberty and that Union which we have received from our fathers, and which constitute the sources and the shield of all our blessings….”

“…Limited to a general superintending power to maintain peace at home and abroad, and to prescribe laws on a few subjects of general interest, not calculated to restrict human liberty, but to enforce human rights, this Government will find its strength and its glory in the faithful discharge of these plain and simple duties. Relieved by its protecting shield from the fear of war and the apprehension of oppression, the free enterprise of our citizens, aided by the State sovereignties, will work out improvements and ameliorations which cannot fail to demonstrate that the great truth, that the people can govern themselves, is not only realized in our example, but that it is done by a machinery in government so simple and economical as scarcely to be felt. That the Almighty Ruler of the Universe may so direct our deliberations, and overrule our acts, as to make us instrumental in securing a result so dear to mankind, is my most earnest and sincere prayer.”

  • President Andrew Jackson, December 4th, 1832.

“‘Eastern district of Pennsylvania, to wit: The grand inquest of the United States of America, inquiring for the eastern district of Pennsylvania, upon their oaths and affirmations, respectively, do present, that James Porter, otherwise called James May, late of the eastern district aforesaid, yeoman, and George Wilson, late of the eastern district aforesaid, yeoman on the 6th day of December, in the year of our Lord 1829, at the eastern district aforesaid, and within the jurisdiction of this court, with force and arms, in and upon one Samuel McCrea, in the peace of God and of the United States of America…”

  • CERTIFICATE of Division from the Circuit Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. [U.S. Supreme Court U S v. WILSON, 32 U.S. 150 (1833). 32 U.S. 150 (Pet.), January Term, 1833.

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,
TUESDAY, December 2, 1834.
“…Fellow-citizens of the Senate
and House of Representatives:

In performing my duty at the opening of your present session, it gives me pleasure to congratulate you again upon the prosperous condition of our beloved country. Divine Providence has favored us with general health, with rich rewards in the fields of agriculture and in every branch of labors and with peace to cultivate and extend the various resources which employ the virtue and enterprise of our citizens. Let us trust that, in surveying a scene so flattering to our free institutions, our joint deliberations to preserve them may be crowned with success….”

  • President Andrew Jackson

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
TUESDAY, December 6, 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 supplications that his providential care may ever be extended to those who follow us, enabling them to avoid the dangers and the horrors of war, consistently with a just and indispensable regard to the rights and honor of our country….”

  • President Andrew Jackson

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,

MONDAY, September 11, 1837.

“…On motion by Mr. Grundy,

“The Senate proceeded to the election of a Chaplain, on their part; and, on counting the ballots, it appeared that the Reverend Henry Slicer had a majority, and was elected….”

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, 1789-1873
TUESDAY, December 5, 1837.

“We have reason to renew the expression of our devout gratitude to the Giver of all Good for his benign protection. Our country presents, on every side, the evidences of that continued favor, under whose auspices it has gradually risen from a few feeble and dependent colonies to a prosperous and powerful confederacy. We are blessed with domestic tranquillity, and all the elements of national prosperity….”

  • President Martin Van Buren

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
TUESDAY, December 4, 1838.
“Fellow-citizens of the Senate
and House of Representatives:

“I congratulate you on the favorable circumstances in the condition of our country, under which you reassemble for the performance of your official duties. Though the anticipations of an abundant harvest have not every where been realized, yet, on the whole, the labors of the husbandman are rewarded with a bountiful return; industry prospers in its various channels of business and enterprise; general health again prevails through our vast diversity of climate; nothing threatens, from abroad, the continuance of external peace; nor has any thing at home impaired the strength of those fraternal and domestic ties which constitute the only guaranty to the success and permanency of our happy Union, and which, formed in the hour of peril, have hitherto been honorably sustained through every vicissitude in our national affairs. These blessings, which evince the care and beneficence of Providence, call for our devout and fervent gratitude.”

“We have not less reason to be grateful for other bounties bestowed by the same munificent hand, and more exclusively our own….”

  • President Martin Van Buren

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
TUESDAY, December 24, 1839.

“…Fellow-Citizens of the Senate,
and House of Representatives:”

“…But, notwithstanding these adverse circumstances, that general prosperity which has been heretofore so bountifully bestowed upon us by the Author of all good, still continues to call for our warmest gratitude. Especially have we reason to rejoice in the exuberant harvests which have lavishly recompensed well directed industry, and given to it that sure reward which is vainly sought in visionary speculations. I cannot indeed view without peculiar satisfaction, the evidences afforded by the past season of the benefits that spring from the steady devotion of the husbandman to his honorable pursuit. No means of individual comfort is more certain, and no source of national prosperity is so sure. Nothing can compensate a people for a dependance upon others for the bread they eat; and that cheerful abundance on which the happiness of every one so much depends, is to be looked for nowhere with such sure reliance as in the industry of the agriculturist and the bounties of the earth….”

  • President Martin Van Buren, Washington, December 2, 1839.

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
WEDNESDAY, December 9, 1840.
“…Fellow-citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

“Our devout gratitude is due to the Supreme Being for having graciously continued to our beloved country, through the vicissitudes of another year, the invaluable blessings of health, plenty, and peace. Seldom has this favored land been so generally exempted from the ravages of disease, or the labor of the husbandman more amply rewarded; and never before have our relations with other countries been placed on a more favorable basis than that which they so happily occupy at this critical conjuncture in the affairs of the world. A rigid and persevering abstinence from all interference with the domestic and political relations of other States, alike due to the genius and distinctive character of our Government and to the principles by which it is directed; a faithful observance, in the management of our foreign relations, of the practice of speaking plainly, dealing justly, and requiring truth and justice in return, as the best conservatives of the peace of nations; a strict impartiality in our manifestations of friendship, in the commercial privileges we concede, and those we require from others: these, accompanied by a disposition as prompt to maintain, in every emergency, our own rights, as we are from principle averse to the invasion of those of others, have given to our country and Government a standing in the great family of nations, of which we have just cause to be proud, and the advantages of which are experienced by our citizens throughout every portion of the earth to which their enterprising and adventurous spirit may carry them. Few, if any, remain insensible to the value of our friendship, or ignorant of the terms on which it can be acquired, and by which it can alone be preserved….”

  • President Martin Van Buren

“We admit of no government by divine right, believing that, so far as power is concerned, the beneficent Creator has made no distinction amongst men; that all are upon an equality, and that the only legitimate right to govern is an express grant of power from the governed. The Constitution of the United States is the instrument containing this grant of power to the several departments composing the Government. On an examination of that instrument it will be found to contain declarations of power granted and of power withheld. The latter is also susceptible of division into power which the majority had the right to grant, but which they did not think proper to intrust to their agents, and that which they could not have granted, not being possessed by themselves. In other words, there are certain rights possessed by each individual American citizen which, in his compact with the others, he has never surrendered. Some of them, indeed, he is unable to surrender, being, in the language of our system, unalienable.”

“…I deem the present occasion sufficiently important and solemn to justify me in expressing to my fellow-citizens a profound reverence for the Christian religion, and a thorough conviction that sound morals, religious liberty, and a just sense of religious responsibility, are essentially connected with all true and lasting happiness. And to that good Being who has blessed us by the gifts of civil and religious freedom–who watched over and prospered the labors of our fathers, and has hitherto preserved to us institutions far exceeding in excellence those of any other people, let us unite in fervently commending every interest of our beloved country in all future time.

  • President William H. Harrison, Inaugural speech, March 4, 1841. [Journal of the executive proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America, 1837-1841. MARCH 4, 1841.]

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,
TUESDAY, December 7, 1841.
“To the Senate and House of
Representatives of the United Slates:

“In coming together, fellow-citizens, to enter again upon the discharge of the duties with which the people have charged us, severally, we find great occasion to rejoice in the general prosperity of the country. We are in the enjoyment of all the blessings of civil and religious liberty, with unexampled means of education, knowledge, and improvement. Through the year which is now drawing to a close, peace has been in our borders, and plenty in our habitations; and although disease has visited some few portions of the land with distress and mortality, yet in general the health of the people has been preserved, and we are all called upon, by the highest obligation of duty, to renew our thanks and our devotion to our Heavenly Parent, who has continued to vouchsafe to us the eminent blessings which surround us, and who has so signally crowned the year with his goodness. If we find ourselves increasing, beyond example, in numbers, in strength, in wealth, in knowledge, in every thing which promotes human and social happiness, let us ever remember our dependence, for all these, on the protection and merciful dispensations of Divine Providence….”

  • President John Tyler

To the Senate and House of
Representatives of the United States:

We have continued reason to express our profound gratitude to the great Creator of all things for numberless benefits conferred upon us as a people. Blessed with genial seasons, the husbandman has his garners filled with abundance; and the necessaries of life, not to speak of its luxuries, abound in every direction. While, in some other nations, steady and industrious labor can hardly find the means of subsistence, the greatest evil which we have to encounter is a surplus of production beyond the home demand, which seeks, and with difficulty finds, a partial market in other regions. The health of the country, with partial exceptions, has, for the past year, been well preserved; and, under their free and wise institutions, the United States are rapidly advancing toward the consummation of the high destiny which an overruling Providence seems to have marked out for them. Exempt from domestic convulsion, and at peace with all the world, we are left free to consult as to the best means of securing and advancing the happiness of the people. Such are the circumstances under which you now assemble in your respective chambers, and which should lead us to unite in praise and thanksgiving to that great Being who made us, and who preserves us a nation…

  • President John Tyler, December 7, 1842 message to U.S. House and Senate. [Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, 1789-1873 WEDNESDAY, December 7, 1842.]

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,
TUESDAY, January 3, 1843.

“And whereas the trade thus existing in this District is aggravated in enormity by reason of its being carried on in the heart of a nation whose institutions are based upon the principle that all men are created equal, and whose laws have, in effect, proclaimed its great and superlative iniquity; aggravated, moreover, by its outrage on the sensibilities of a Christian community, by its sundering of the ties of Christian brotherhood, and by the anguish of its remorseless violation of all the domestic relations, rendered the more deep and enduring by the hallowing influence of the Christian religion upon those relations, and by the increased strength which it gives to the domestic affections: …”

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,

April 16, 1844.

….Also, a petition of citizens of Gibson county, State of Indiana, for an amendment of the Constitution, so as to acknowledge the obligation of God’s law, and the authority of Jesus Christ.

Ordered, That said petitions and remonstrance be laid upon the table.

“Our prayers should evermore be offered up to the Father of the Universe for his wisdom to direct us in the path of our duty, so as to enable us to consummate these high purposes.”

  • President John Tyler, Washington, December 3, 1844.

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,

February 20, 1845.

….By Mr. Adams: A petition of citizens of Lincoln county, State of Maine, praying that measures may be taken to prevent the disorders frequently occurring within the bar of the House; and that members may have the good, as well as the fear, of their constituents before their eyes;

Also, a petition of citizens of Perry and Muskingum counties, State of Ohio, praying an amendment of the constitution, by which the Sovereign of the universe shall be acknowledged as the God of the nation; also, that the Lord Jesus Christ may be acknowledged as the ruler of the nation.

“In assuming responsibilities so vast, I fervently invoke the aid of that Almighty Ruler of the Universe, in whose hands are the destinies of nations and of men, to guard this Heaven-favored land against the mischiefs which, without His guidance, might arise from an unwise public policy. With a firm reliance upon the wisdom of Omnipotence to sustain and direct me in the path of duty which I am appointed to pursue, I stand in the presence of this assembled multitude of my countrymen to take upon myself the solemn obligation “to the best of my ability to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States….”

“…I trust it may not be deemed inappropriate to the occasion for me to dwell for a moment on the memory of the most eminent citizen of our country, who, during the summer that is gone by, has descended to the tomb. The enjoyment of contemplating, at the advanced age of near four-score years, the happy condition of his country, cheered the last hours of Andrew Jackson, who departed this life in the tranquil hope of a blessed immortality. His death was happy, as his life had been eminently useful. He had an unfaltering confidence in the virtue and capacity of the people, and in the permanence of that free government which he had largely contributed to establish and defend. His great deeds had secured to him the affections of his fellow-citizens, and it was his happiness to witness the growth and glory of his country which he loved so well. He departed amidst the benedictions of millions of freemen. The nation paid its tribute to his memory at his tomb. Coming generations will learn from his example the love of country and the rights of man. In his language on a similar occasion to the present, “I now commend you, fellow-citizens, to the guidance of Almighty God, with a full reliance on His merciful providence for the maintenance of our free institutions; and with an earnest supplication, that whatever errors it may be my lot to commit in discharging the arduous duties which have devolved on me, will find a remedy the harmony and wisdom of your counsels.”

  • President James K. Polk, Inaugural speech, March 4, 1845. [Journal of the executive proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America.]

“…Under the blessings of Divine Providence and the benign influence of our free institutions, it stands before the world a spectacle of national happiness.”

“With our unexampled advancement in all the elements of national greatness, the affection of the people is confirmed for the union of the States, and for the doctrines of popular liberty, which lie at the foundation of our government.”

“It becomes us, in humility, to make our devout acknowledgments to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, for the inestimable civil and religious blessings with which we are favored….”

  • President James K. Polk, Dec. 2, 1845. [Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States]

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,
FRIDAY, December 19, 1845.

“…Mr. Andrew Johnson offered the following resolution:”

“Resolved, That the ministers of the different churches of God be, and they are hereby, most respectfully invited and earnestly requested to attend every morning, and open the proceedings of Congress with sincere prayer to the Giver of all Good for a continuance of his benedictions upon the nation; and that it shall be done upon the terms as laid down in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, “without money and without price,” except such amounts as may be voluntarily contributed by the members of this House individually….”

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
TUESDAY, December 8, 1846.
“…As the wisdom, strength, and beneficence of our free institutions are unfolded, every day adds fresh motives to contentment, and fresh incentives to patriotism.”

“Our devout and sincere acknowledgments are due to the gracious Giver of all good, for the numberless blessings which our beloved country enjoys….”

  • President James K. Polk

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, 1789-1873
TUESDAY, December 7, 1847.

“…Subject to no arbitrary or hereditary authority, the people are the only sovereigns recognised by our constitution. Numerous emigrants of every lineage and language, attracted by the civil and religious freedom we enjoy, and by our happy condition, annually crowd to our shores, and transfer their heart, not less than their allegiance, to the country whose dominion belongs alone to the people.

“No country has been so much favored, or should acknowledge with deeper reverence the manifestations of the Divine protection. An all-wise Creator directed and guarded us in our infant struggle for freedom, and has constantly watched over our surprising progress, until we have become one of the great nations of the earth….”

“…In the enjoyment of the bounties of Providence at home, such as have rarely fallen to the lot of any people, it is cause of congratulation….”

“…Invoking the blessing of the Almighty Ruler of the Universe upon your deliberations, it will be my highest duty, no less than my sincere pleasure, to co-operate with you in all measures which may tend to promote the honor and enduring welfare of our common country.”

(President) James K. Polk.

Washington, December 7, 1847.

“Under the benignant Providence of Almighty God, the representatives of the States and of the people are again brought together to deliberate for the public good. The gratitude of the nation to the sovereign arbiter of all human events, should be commensurate with the boundless blessings which we enjoy….”

Invoking the blessings of the Almighty upon your deliberations at your present important session, my ardent hope is, that in a spirit of harmony and concord, you may be guided to wise results, and such as may redound to the happiness, the honor, and the glory of our beloved country.

  • President James K. Polk, Washington, Senate Journal, December 5, 1848

“…In conclusion, I congratulate you, my fellow-citizens, upon the high state of prosperity to which the goodness of Divine Providence has conducted our common country. Let us invoke a continuance of the same protecting care which has led us from small beginnings to the eminence we this day occupy; and let us seek to deserve that continuance by prudence and moderation in our councils; by well-directed attempts to assuage the bitterness which too often marks unavoidable differences of opinion; by the promulgation and practice of just and liberal principles, and by an enlarged patriotism, which shall acknowledge no limits but those of our own wide-spread republic.”

  • President Zachary Taylor, Inaugural Address on March 5, 1849. [Journal of the Senate of the United States of America.]

Mr. Giddings offered the following resolutions:

Resolved, That we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with the certain inalienable right to life and liberty; and that governments are constituted for the purpose of maintaining these rights.

Resolved, That in constituting governments in any territory of the United States, it is the duty of Congress to secure all the people thereof, of whatsoever complexion, in the enjoyment of the rights aforesaid.

Mr. Haralson moved that the said resolutions be laid upon the table.

And the question being put,

It was decided in the affirmative,
  • Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Feb. 4, 1850.

“And now, fellow citizens, I cannot bring this communication to a close without invoking you to join me in humble and devout thanks to the Great Ruler of nations for the multiplied blessings which he has graciously bestowed upon us. His hand, so often visible in our preservation, has stayed the pestilence, saved us from foreign wars and domestic disturbances, and scattered plenty throughout the land.”

President Millard Fillmore, Message to U.S. Senate, Dec. 2, 1850

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
MONDAY, December 6, 1852.

“…Fellow-citizens of the Senate
and of the House of Representatives:”

“Our grateful thanks are due to an All-merciful Providence, not only for staying the pestilence which, in different forms, has desolated some of our cities, but for crowning the labors of the husbandman with an abundant harvest, and the nation generally with the blessings of peace and prosperity…”

“…Men of the revolution who drew the sword against the oppressions of the mother country, and pledged to Heaven “their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor” to maintain their freedom, could never have been actuated by so unworthy a motive. They knew no weakness or fear where right or duty pointed the way, and it is a libel upon their fair fame for us, while we enjoy the blessings for which they so nobly fought and bled, to insinuate it…”

“…We owe these blessings, under Heaven, to the happy constitution and government which were bequeathed to us by our fathers, and which it is our sacred duty to transmit in all their integrity to our children….”

  • President Millard Fillmore, Washington, December 6, 1852.

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
THURSDAY, February 17, 1853.

…Mr. Underwood, from the Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom were referred sundry petitions praying the adoption of measures for securing to American citizens in foreign countries the rights of conscience and religious worship, submitted a report, (No. 418,) accompanied by the following resolutions:

Resolved, That it would be just and wise, on the part of the government of the United States, in future treaties with foreign nations, to secure, if practicable, to our citizens residing abroad the right of worshipping God freely and openly, according to the dictates of their own consciences, by providing that they shall not be disturbed, molested, or annoyed in any manner on account of their religious belief, nor in the proper exercise of their peculiar religion, either within their own private houses, or in churches, chapels, or other places appointed for public worship; and that they shall be at liberty to build and maintain places of worship in convenient situations, interfering in no way with, but respecting, the religion and customs of the country in which they reside.

Resolved further, That it would be just and wise, in our future treaties with foreign nations, to secure to our citizens residing abroad the right to purchase and own burial-places, and to bury any of our citizens dying abroad in such places with those religious ceremonies and observances deemed appropriate by the surviving relatives and friends of the deceased.

Ordered, That the report be printed….

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
FRIDAY, March 4, 1853.

“…The energy with which that great conflict was opened, and, under the guidance of a manifest and beneficent Providence, the uncomplaining endurance with which it was prosecuted to its consummation, were only surpassed by the wisdom and patriotic spirit of concession which characterized all the counsels of the early fathers….”

“…But let not the foundation of our hope rest upon man’s wisdom. It will not be sufficient that sectional prejudices find no place in the public deliberations. It will not be sufficient that the rash counsels of human passion are rejected. It must be felt that there is no national security but in the nation’s humble, acknowledged dependence upon God and his overruling Providence….”

“…I can express no better hope for my country, than that the kind Providence which smiled upon our fathers may enable their children to preserve the blessings they have inherited.

  • President Franklin Pierce, Inaugural Address.

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, 1789-1873
TUESDAY, December 6, 1853.

“Although disease, assuming at one time the characteristics of a widespread and devastating pestilence, has left its sad traces upon some portions of our country, we have still the most abundant cause for reverent thankfulness to God for an accumulation of signal mercies showered upon us as a nation. It is well that a consciousness of rapid advancement and increasing strength be habitually associated with an abiding sense of dependence upon Him who holds in his hands the destiny of men and of nations.”

“…Happily I have no occasion to suggest any radical changes in the financial policy of the government. Ours is almost, if not absolutely, the solitary power of Christendom having a surplus revenue, drawn immediately from imposts on commerce, and therefore measured by the spontaneous enterprise and national prosperity of the country, with such indirect relation to agriculture, manufactures, and the products of the earth and sea, as to violate no constitutional doctrine, and yet vigorously promote the general welfare. Neither as to the sources of the public treasure, nor as to the manner of keeping and managing it, does any grave controversy now prevail, there being a general acquiescence in the wisdom of the present system….”

“Recognising the wisdom of the broad principle of absolute religious toleration proclaimed in our fundamental law, and rejoicing in the benign influence which it has exerted upon our social and political condition, I should shrink from a clear duty did I fail to express my deepest conviction, that we can place no secure reliance upon any apparent progress if it he not sustained by national integrity, resting upon the great truths affirmed and illustrated by divine revelation. In the midst of our sorrow for the afflicted and suffering, it has been consoling to see how promptly disaster made true neighbors of districts and cities separated widely from each other, and cheering to watch the strength of that common bond of brotherhood which unites all hearts, in all parts of this Union, when danger threatens from abroad, or calamity impends over us at home.”

  • President Franklin Pierce.

Washington, D. C., December 5, 1853.

“In the present, therefore, as in the past, we find ample grounds for reverent thankfulness to the God of Grace and Providence, for His protecting care and merciful dealings with us as a people.

“Although our attention has been arrested by painful interest in passing events, yet our country feels no more than the slight vibrations of the convulsions which have shaken Europe. As individuals, we cannot repress sympathy with human suffering, nor regret for the causes which produce it. As a nation, we are reminded, that whatever interrupts the peace, or checks the prosperity, of any part of Christendom, tends, more or less, to involve our own. The condition of States is not unlike that of individuals. They are mutually dependent upon each other. Amicable relations between them, and reciprocal good will, are essential for the promotion of whatever is desirable in their moral, social, and political condition. Hence, it has been my earnest endeavor to maintain peace and friendly intercourse with all nations.”

“We have to maintain inviolate the great doctrine of the inherent right of popular self-government; to reconcile the largest liberty of the individual citizen, with complete security of the public order; to render cheerful obedience to the laws of the land, to unite in enforcing their execution, and to frown indignantly on all combinations to resist them; to harmonise a sincere and ardent devotion to the institutions of religious faith with the most universal religious toleration; to preserve the rights of all by causing each to respect those of he other; to carry forward every social improvement to the uttermost limit of human perfectibility, by the free action of mind upon mind, not by the obtrusive intervention of misplaced force; to uphold the integrity and guard the limitations of our organic law; to preserve sacred from all touch of usurpation, as the very palladium of our political salvation, the reserved rights and powers of the several States and of the people; to cherish, with loyal fealty and devoted affection, this Union, as the only sure foundation on which the hopes of civil liberty rest; to administer government with vigilant integrity and rigid economy; to cultivate peace and friendship with foreign nations, and to demand and exact equal justice from all, but to do wrong to none; to eschew intermeddling with the national policy and the domestic repose of other governments, and to repel it from our own; never to shrink from war when the rights and the honor of the country call us to arms, but to cultivate in preference the arts of peace, seek enlargement of the rights of neutrality, and elevate and liberalize the intercourse of nations; and by such just and honorable means, and such only, whilst exalting the condition of the republic, to assure to it the legitimate influence and the benign authority of a great example amongst all the powers of Christendom.

“Under the solemnity of these convictions, the blessing of Almighty God is earnestly invoked to attend upon your deliberations, and upon all the counsels and acts of the government, to the end that, with common zeal and common efforts, we may, in humble submission to the Divine will, co-operate for the promotion of the supreme good of these United States.”

President Franklin Pierce, Message to the Senate, Dec. 4, 1854

“Nor is it hostility against their fellow-citizens of one section of the Union alone. The interests, the honor, the duty, the peace, and the prosperity of the people of all sections are equally involved and imperilled in this question. And are patriotic men in any part of the Union prepared, on such issue, thus madly to invite all the consequences of the forfeiture of their constitutional engagements? It is impossible. The storm of phrensy and faction must inevitably dash itself in vain against the unshaken rock of the constitution. I shall never doubt it. I know that the Union is stronger a thousand times than all the wild and chimerical schemes of social change, which are generated, one after another, in the unstable minds of visionary sophists and interested agitators. I rely confidently on the patriotism of the people, on the dignity and self-respect of the States, on the wisdom of Congress, and, above all, on the continued gracious favor of Almighty God, to maintain, against all enemies, whether at home or abroad, the sanctity of the constitution and the integrity of the Union.”

  • President Franklin Pierce, Washington, December 31, 1855. [Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, THURSDAY, February 14, 1856.]

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,

January 23, 1856

Mr. Dowdell submitted the following preamble and resolutions; which were read, and, under the operation of the previous question, agreed to, viz:

Whereas the people of these United States, from their earliest history 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 God; and whereas the great 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 representatives of a people so highly favored, to acknowledge, in the most public manner, their reverence for God: Therefore,

Resolved, first, That the daily sessions of this body be opened with prayer.

Resolved, second, That the ministers of the gospel in this city are hereby requested to attend and
alternately perform this solemn duty.

An Earnest Appeal, “than would such a Spinner-stamped Congress in this boasted Christian republic”, Oct. 27, 1856

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, 1789-1873
WEDNESDAY, March 4, 1857.

“…In entering upon this great office, I must humbly invoke the God of our fathers for wisdom and firmness to execute its high and responsible duties in such a manner as to restore harmony and ancient friendship among the people of the several States, and to preserve our free institutions throughout many generations. Convinced that I owe my election to the inherent love for the Constitution and the Union which still animates the hearts of the American people, let me earnestly ask their powerful support in sustaining all just measures calculated to perpetuate these, the richest political blessings which Heaven has ever bestowed upon any nation….”

“…I feel an humble confidence that the kind Providence which inspired our fathers with wisdom to frame the most perfect form of government and Union ever devised by man will not suffer it to perish until it shall have been peacefully instrumental, by its example, in the extension of civil and religious liberty throughout the world.”

“Next in importance to the maintenance of the Constitution and the Union is the duty of preserving the government free from the taint, or even the suspicion, of corruption. Public virtue is the vital spirit of republics; and history proves that when this has decayed, and the love of money has usurped its place, although the forms of free government may remain for a season, the substance has departed forever….”

“…We ought to cultivate peace, commerce, and friendship with all nations; and this not merely as the best means of promoting our own material interests, but in a spirit of Christian benevolence towards our fellow-men, wherever their lot may be cast….”

“…I shall now proceed to take the oath prescribed by the Constitution, whilst humbly invoking the blessing of Divine Providence on this great people.

  • President James Buchanan, Inaugural Speech.

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
TUESDAY, December 8, 1857.
“…Fellow-citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

“In obedience to the command of the Constitution, it has now become my duty “to give to Congress information of the state of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures” as I judge to be “necessary and expedient.”

“But first, and above all, our thanks are due to Almighty God for the numerous benefits which He has bestowed upon this people; and our united prayers ought to ascend to Him that He would continue to bless our great republic in time to come as He has blessed it in time past….”

  • President James Buchanan

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,

December 10, 1857.

….Mr. Dowdell, by unanimous consent, submitted the following preamble and resolutions, viz:

Whereas, the people of these United States, from their earliest history 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 God; and whereas the great 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 representatives of a people so highly favored, to acknowledge, in the most public manner, their reverence for God: Therefore–

Resolved, That the daily sessions of this body be opened with prayer.

Resolved, That the ministers of the Gospel in this city are hereby requested to attend, and alternately perform this solemn duty without compensation.

Pending which,

After debate,

Mr. Letcher moved the previous question.

Pending which,

Mr. Edie moved, at 12 o’clock and 40 minutes p. m., that the House adjourn; which motion was disagreed to.

The question then recurring on the demand for the previous question,

Mr. Florence moved that the resolutions be laid on the table; which motion was disagreed to.

The question again recurring on the demand for the previous question, it was seconded, and the main question
ordered.

Mr. Leiter moved that the resolutions be laid on the table; which motion was disagreed to.

Mr. Alexander H. Stephens moved that the vote upon ordering the previous question be reconsidered.

Pending which,

Mr. Dowdell moved that the motion to reconsider be laid on the table; which motion was disagreed to.

The question then recurring on the motion to reconsider, it was put, and decided in the affirmative.

So the motion to reconsider was agreed to.

The question then recurring on the demand for the previous question, the House refused to second the same.

The question then recurring on the resolutions,

Mr. Alexander H. Stephens moved to amend the same by striking out from the second resolution the words
“without compensation.”

Pending which,

Mr. Isaac H. Morris moved the previous question.

Pending which,

Mr. Florence moved that the amendment be laid on the table; which motion was disagreed to.

The question then recurring on the demand for the previous question, it was seconded and the main question
ordered and put, viz: Will the House agree to the said amendment?

And it was decided in the affirmative,

Yeas … 119
Nays … 94

….So the said amendment was agreed to.

The question then recurring on the said resolutions,

Mr. Florence moved that the same be laid on the table; which motion was disagreed to.

The question was then put, Will the House agree to the said resolutions.

And it was decided in the affirmative.

So the said resolutions were agreed to.

Mr. Stephens moved that the vote last taken be reconsidered, and also moved that the motion to reconsider be laid on the table; which latter motion was agreed to.

The Speaker then stated the question to be on agreeing to the preamble.

Pending which,

Mr. John Sherman moved that it be laid on the table; which motion was disagreed to.

The said preamble was then agreed to.

The preamble and resolutions as agreed to are as follows, viz:

Whereas the people of these United States, from their earliest history 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 the present, and dependent for continued prosperity, in the future, upon Almighty God; and whereas the great 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 representatives of a people so highly favored to acknowledge, in the most public manner, their reverence for God: Therefore–

Be it resolved, That the daily sessions of this body be opened with prayer.

Resolved, That the ministers of the Gospel in this city are hereby requested to attend, and alternately perform this solemn duty.

“I have thus performed my duty on this important question, under a deep sense of responsibility to God and my country. My public life will terminate within a brief period; and I have no other object of earthly ambition than to leave my country in a peaceful and prosperous condition, and to live in the affections and respect of my countrymen. The dark and ominous clouds which now appear to be impending over the Union, I conscientiously believe may be dissipated with honor to every portion of it by the admission of Kansas during the present session of Congress; whereas, if she should be rejected, I greatly fear these clouds will become darker and more ominous than any which have ever yet threatened the Constitution and the Union.”

JAMES BUCHANAN.

Washington, February 2, 1858.

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
TUESDAY, January 4, 1859.

“…The career of the United States cannot be measured by that of any other people of whom history gives account; and the mind is almost appalled at the contemplation of the prodigious force which has marked their progress. Sixty-nine years ago thirteen States, containing three millions of inhabitants, burdened with debt, and exhausted by the long war of independence, established for their common good a free Constitution, on principles new to mankind, and began their experiment with the good wishes of a few doubting friends and the derision of the world. Look at the result to-day; twenty-eight millions of people, in every way happier than an equal number in any other part of the globe I the center of population and political power descending the western slopes of the Alleghany mountains, and the original thirteen States forming but the eastern margin on the map of our vast possessions. See, besides, Christianity, civilization, and the arts given to a continent; the despised colonies grown into a power of the first class, representing and protecting ideas that involve the progress of the human race; a commerce greater than that of any other nation; free interchange between the States; every variety of climate, soil, and production to make a people powerful and happy; in a word, behold present greatness, and in the future an empire to which the ancient mistress of the world in the height of her glory could not be compared. Such is our country; ay, and more–far more than my mind could conceive or my tongue could utter. Is there an American who regrets the past? Is there one who will deride his country’s laws, pervert her Constitution, or alienate her people? If there be such a man, let his memory descend to posterity laden with the execrations of all mankind….”

“…And now, senators, we leave this memorable chamber, bearing with us, unimpaired, the Constitution we received from our forefathers. Let us cherish it with grateful acknowledgments to the Divine Power who controls the destinies of empires and whose goodness we adore. The structures reared by men yield to the corroding tooth of time. These marble walls must moulder into ruin; but the principles of constitutional liberty, guarded by wisdom and virtue, unlike material elements, do not decay. Let us devoutly trust that another Senate, in another age, shall bear to a new and larger chamber this Constitution, vigorous and inviolate, and that the last generation of posterity shall witness the deliberations of the representatives of American States still united, prosperous, and free.”

  • Vice President John C. Breckinridge

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, 1859-1860
THURSDAY, February 9, 1860.
“…Fellow-citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

“Our deep and heartfelt gratitude is due to that Almighty Power which has bestowed upon us such varied and numerous blessings throughout the past year. The general health of the country has been excellent: our harvests have been unusually plentiful, and prosperity smiles thoughout the land. Indeed, notwithstanding our demerits, we have much reason to believe, from the past events in our history, that we have enjoyed the special protection of Divine Providence ever since our origin as a nation. We have been exposed to many threatening and alarming difficulties in our progress, but on each successive occasion the impending cloud has been dissipated at the moment it appeared ready to burst upon our head, and the danger to our institutions has passed away. May we ever be under the Divine guidance and protection!…”

“…These acts of Congress, it is believed, have, with very rare and insignificant exceptions, accomplished their purpose. For a period of more than half a century there has been no perceptible addition to the number of our domestic slaves. During this period their advancement in civilization has far surpassed that of any other portion of the African race. The light and the blessings of Christianity have been extended to them, and both their moral and physical condition has been greatly improved….”

“…But we are obliged, as a Christian and moral nation, to consider what would be the effect upon unhappy Africa itself if we should reopen the slave trade. This would give the trade an impulse and extension which it has never had even in its palmiest days. The numerous victims required to supply it would convert the whole slave coast into a perfect pandemonium, for which this country would be held responsible in the eyes both of God and man. Its petty tribes would then be constantly engaged in predatory wars against each other for the purpose of seizing slaves to supply the American market. All hopes of African civilization would thus be ended….”

  • President James Buchanan, December 19, 1859 Message to U.S. House and Senate.

STATE OF WISCONSIN. PROCLAMATION FOR THANKSGIVING. “It is right that all Christian nations should praise the Ruler of the Universe for His wonderful goodness to the Children of Men”, Oct. 29, 1860

“When we take a retrospect of what was then our condition, and contrast this with its material prosperity at the time of the late presidential election, we have abundant reason to return our grateful thanks to that merciful Providence which has never forsaken us as a nation in all our past trials…”

“…I also congratulate you upon the public sentiment which now exists against the crime of setting on foot military expeditions within the limits of the United States, to proceed from thence and make war upon the people of unoffending States with whom we are at peace. In this respect a happy change has been effected since the commencement of my administration. It surely ought to be the prayer of every Christian and patriot that such expeditions may never again receive countenance in our country, or depart from our shores.”

  • President James Buchanan, Message to the U.S. House of Representatives, Dec. 3, 1860.

President of the United States of America, A PROCLAMATION FOR A DAY OF HUMILIATION, FASTING, AND PRAYER, Dec. 14, 1860

GOD SAVE THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS, “and to commend to the citizens of Massachusetts a solemn and Christian recognition and observance of the day thus designated”, Dec. 21, 1860

“When all other efforts at reconciliation have, therefore, failed; when Congress shall have exhausted its powers, and the appeals of patriotism prove unavailing, and the blood of one section shall be demanded to appease the cravings of the other, let Virginia summon to her aid the assistance of other powerful and peaceful States, and in the name of the Constitution
and of the Union–of Christian civilization–of the great memories of the past–of the glorious fruition of the present–of the rich promises of the future and the last best hopes of liberty, equality, and the rights of man, prescribe and enforce, if needs be, by the common judgment of mankind, terms which shall be equal and just to all, and grant special favors to none; which shall demand no sacrifices and subject none to humiliation, but shall place every State and each section in the dignified relations suggested by the spirit of a common compact, and guaranteed by the plain provisions of the Constitution.

“We have at all times justified the expulsion of savage tribes from their possessions upon this continent, under the plea that we were to substitute civilization for barbarism; an enlightened Christianity for heathenism; knowledge and refinement for ignorance and degradation, and the arts of peace for the devastations of war. We are now in the last half of the nineteenth century–a period signalized by its religious pretensions, its enlightened commerce, its progress in the physical sciences, its devotion to letters and the arts, its widespread spirit of philanthropy and its diffusion of the Gospel, and if, while basking in the light of such blessings, moral and material, as were never before vouchsafed to man, our patriotism is so deficient, our purpose so feeble, our morality so questionable and our virtue so weak that we cannot reconcile our sectional differences upon terms which justice suggests and the constitution demands, but must resort to a conflict of arms, we should restore to the original and rightful proprietors of the soil what we wrested from them for purposes of Christianity and civilization, with a confession that our mission has failed, and that they are lawfully entitled to resume possession under their paramount title deeds of blood.

“With my anxious prayer for the deliverance of our beloved country from the evils which threaten her, I am, with high consideration and regard, sincerely yours,”

  • The Hon. Daniel S. Dickinson to the Virginia Senators. Binghamton, Jan. 4th 1861. [Library of Congress – American Memory]

“…Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope, in the world? In our present differences, is either party without faith in the right? If the Almighty Ruler of nations, with his eternal truth and justice, be on our your side, or on yours, that truth and that justice will surely prevail, by the judgment of this great tribunal, the American people.”

“By the frame of the government under which we live, this same people have wisely given their public servants but little power for mischief; and have, with equal wisdom, provided for the return of that little to their own hands at very short intervals.”

“While the people remain patient, and true to themselves, no man, even in the presidential chair, by any extreme of wickedness or folly, can very seriously injure the government in the short space of four years.”

“My countrymen, one and all, take time and think well, upon this whole subject. Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time. Nothing worth preserving is either breaking or burning. If there be an object to hurry any of you, in hot haste, to a point where step which you would never go take deliberately, that object will be frustrated by taking time; but no good object can be frustrated by it. Such of you as are now dissatisfied, still have the old Constitution unimpaired, and, on the sensitive point, the laws of your own framing under it; while the new administration will have no immediate power, if it would, to change either. If it were admitted that you who are dissatisfied, hold the right side in the dispute, there still is no single good reason for precipitate action. Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him, who has never yet forsaken this favored land, are still competent to adjust, in the best way, all our present difficulty….”

  • President Abraham Lincoln, [January-February 1861] (First Inaugural Address, First Printed Draft, With Revisions in Lincoln’s Hand). [Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Transcribed and Annotated by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College. Galesburg, Illinois.]

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
MONDAY, March 4, 1861.
“…Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope in the world? In our present differences is either party without faith of being in the right? If the Almighty Ruler of Nations, with his eternal truth and justice, be on your side of the North, or on yours of the South, that truth and that justice will surely prevail by the judgment of this great tribunal of the American people.”

“By the frame of the government under which we live, this same people have wisely given their public servants but little power for mischief; and have, with equal wisdom, provided for the return of that little to their own hands at very short intervals. While the people retain their virtue and vigilance, no administration, by any extreme of wickedness or folly, can very seriously injure the government in the short space of four years.”

“My countrymen, one and all, think calmly and well upon this whole subject. Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time. If there be an object to hurry any of you, in hot haste, to a step which you would never take deliberately, that object will be frustrated by taking time; but no good object can be frustrated by it. Such of you as are now dissatisfied still have the old Constitution unimpaired, and, on the sensitive point, the laws of your own framing under it; while the new administration will have no immediate power, if it would, to change either; If it were admitted that you who are dissatisfied hold the right side in the dispute, there still is no single good reason for precipitate action. Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this favored land, are still competent to adjust, in the best way, all our present difficulty:”

“In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to “preserve, protect, and defend it.” …”

  • President Abraham Lincoln, Inaugural Address

A SERMON ON THE WAR, BY THE Rev. ELIAS NASON, PREACHED TO THE SOLDIERS AT EXETER, N. H., May 19. 1861

“And having thus chosen our course, without guile, and with pure purpose, let us renew our trust in God, and go forward without fear, and with manly hearts.”

  • Abraham Lincoln, Message to the U.S. Senate, July 4th, 1861. [Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, 1789-1873. FRIDAY, July 5, 1861.]

Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer. A PROCLAMATION.

By the President of the United States of America

12th day of August, A. D. 1861

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,

TUESDAY, December 3, 1861.
“…The following message was received from the President of the United States, by Mr. Nicolay, his secretary:”

“Fellow-citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:”

“In the midst of unprecedented political troubles, we have cause of great gratitude to God for unusual good health and most abundant harvests….”

“…The struggle of to-day is not altogether for to-day; it is for a vast future also. With a reliance on Providence all the more firm and earnest, let us proceed in the great task which events have devolved upon us….”

  • President Abraham Lincoln

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
THURSDAY, February 13, 1862.

“2. Resolved, That between the government and the citizen the obligation of protection and obedience form mutual rights and obligations; and to enable every citizen to perform his obligations of obedience and loyalty to the government it should give him reasonable protection and security in such performance; and when the government fails in that respect, for it to hold the citizen to be criminal in not performing his duties of loyalty and obedience would be unjust, inhuman, and an outrage upon this age of Christian civilization.”

Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress Unknown, Proposal for a General Order, April 1, 1862
“In the excitement of advance, of battle, and of victory, there is danger of forgetting the dictates of justice and of christianity.

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,
FRIDAY, May 9, 1862.
“…Mr. Lovejoy, by unanimous consent, submitted the following resolutions, viz:

Resolved, That it is with feelings of devout gratitude to Almighty God that the House of Representatives, from time to time, hears of the triumphs of the Union army in the great struggle for the supremacy of the Constitution and the integrity of the Union….”

Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Transcribed and Annotated by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College. Galesburg, Illinois.

“…This rebellion has assumed the character of a War; as such it should be regarded; and it should be conducted upon the highest principles known to Christian civilization. It should not be a War looking to the subjugation of the people of any state, in any event: It should not be, at all, a War upon population; but against armed forces and political organizations: Neither confiscation of property, political executions of persons, territorial organization of States or forcible abolition of slavery should be contemplated for a moment. In prosecuting the War, all private property and unarmed persons should be strictly protected; subject only to the necessities of military operations: All private property taken for military use should be paid or receipted for; pillage and waste should be treated as high crimes; all unnecessary trespass sternly prohibited; and offensive demeanor by the military towards citizens promptly rebuked. Military arrests should not be tolerated, except in places where active hostilities exist; and oaths not required by enactments — Constitutionally made — should be neither demanded or received. Military government should be confined to the preservation of public order and the protection of political rights.

“Military power should not be allowed to interfere with the relation of servitude, either by supporting or impairing the authority of the master; except for repressing disorder as in other cases: Slaves contraband under the Act of Congress, seeking military protection, should receive it: The right of the Government to appropriate permanently to its own service claims to slave labor should be asserted and the right of the owner to compensation therefor should be recognized: This principle might be extended upon grounds of military necessity and security to all the slaves within a particular state; thus working manumission in such state — and in Missouri, perhaps in Western Virginia also and possibly even in Maryland the expediency of such a military measure is only a question of time. A system of policy thus constitutional and conservative, and pervaded by the influences of Christianity and freedom, would receive the support of almost all truly loyal men, would deeply impress the rebel masses and all foreign nations, and it might be humbly hoped that it would commend itself to the favor of the Almighty. Unless the principles governing the further conduct of our struggle shall be made known and approved, the effort to obtain the requisite forces will be almost hopeless: A declaration of radical views, especially upon slavery, will rapidly disintegrate our present armies….”

  • Major General George B. McClellan, July 07, 1862 letter to Abraham Lincoln.

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, 1862-1863
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:
“…Fellow-citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

Since your last annual assembling another year of health and bountiful harvests has passed. And while it has not pleased the Almighty to bless us with a return of peace, we can but press on, guided by the best light He gives us, trusting that in His own good time, and wise way, all will yet be well….”

“…Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We, of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We even we here–hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free–honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just–a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.”

(President) Abraham Lincoln.

December 1, 1862.

Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Transcribed and Annotated by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College. Galesburg, Illinois.

Abraham Lincoln, [December 30, 1862] (Final Emancipation Proclamation–Preliminary Draft)

Abraham Lincoln, Final Emancipation Proclamation — Preliminary Draft, [December 30, 1862]

Whereas, on the twenty second day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand, eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing among other things the following, to wit: …

…Now therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested, as Commander-in-Chief of the Army, and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a proper and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three…

Henry B. Carrington to Abraham Lincoln, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 1863

Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Transcribed and Annotated by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College. Galesburg, Illinois.

“…But the elements of rebellion are at work, actively and bitterly. To rule, or ruin, seems the motto; and the loyal people are beginning to apprehend serious trouble– I believe, firm measures, decided, but quiet, at every State Capitol, would be equally beneficial. Gov. Morton, says this evening that he now hopes we are getting through the worst. I think not. I look upon the long chain of events of this war, which have so often baffled mans wisdom, as designed, of Providence, to bring this people to a higher stand point of political principles– Led along, gradually, to a position where emancipation seemed a national necessity, they have shrunk back, for low and party purposes, and put, place and party above the Constitution and the Union and Gods Blessing. We are, now, to prove whether we love ease, and place and party more than principle, country, liberty! If true to the latter we must triumph, no t matter what the inter-vening trials.

“But firmness, unflinching firmness, under whatever trials and at whatever temporary sacrifices must be our law of duty. God never will desert the Right. I may not live to see it: but I have been impressed with the solemn conviction, since the war began, that great results for the race would issue from this struggle. I have never doubted. I shall never doubt. Whatever seeming disasters may be sent, to prove us, as a people — whatever temporary dis-ruptions, even, may be attempted — this Union will be perpetuated and with this consummation, will follow that of an enfranchised race–

We can fight, and suffer — God being with us– We can neither fight, nor prosper against his laws and precepts…”

[Note: Henry B. Carrington, an Ohio lawyer, politician and abolitionist, was appointed a colonel in the U. S. Army in May 1861. In November 1862 Carrington was appointed a brigadier general of volunteers and he spent most of the war in Indiana where he zealously suppressed the Sons of Liberty and other pro-Confederate secret societies. Carrington retired from the army in 1870 and went on to write several books on history and American Indians.]

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,

MONDAY, March 2, 1863.

…Mr. Harlan submitted the following resolution for consideration; which was ordered to be printed:

Resolved, That, devoutly recognizing the supreme authority and just government of Almighty God in all the affairs of men and of nations, and sincerely believing that no people, however great in numbers and resources, or however strong in the justice of their cause, can prosper without His favor, and at the same time deploring the national offences which have provoked His righteous judgment, yet encouraged, in this day of trouble, by the assurances of His word to seek Him for succor according to His appointed way, through Jesus Christ, the Senate of the United States do hereby request the President of the United States, by his proclamation, to designate and set apart a day for national prayer and humiliation, requesting all the people of the land to suspend their secular pursuits and unite in keeping the day in solemn communion with the Lord of Hosts, supplicating Him to enlighten the counsels and direct the policy of the rulers of the nation, and to support all our soldiers, sailors, and marines, and the whole people, in the firm discharge of duty, until the existing rebellion shall be overthrown and the blessings of peace restored to our bleeding country….

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,
TUESDAY, March 3, 1863.

“…It seems to be a part of the plans of Divine Providence that every marked advance in civilization must begin amid the carnage of the battle-field. Over the Marathons and through the Thermopylæs of the world’s history liberty has carved out her victories, and the race has marched on to higher and nobler destinies. As the lightnings of heaven rend and destroy only to purify and reinvigorate, so freedom’s cannon furrows the fields of decaying empires, and seeds them anew with human gore, from which springs a more vigorous race to guard the hopes and cherish the rights of mankind….”
…”Freedom’s battle once begun–
Bequeathed from bleeding sire to son,
Though baffled oft is ever won.”

“Better one war, though it costs countless lives and untold treasure, than a dismembered Union, with its endless border conflicts and final anarchy and ruin. If the people between the gulf and the lakes cannot live together in peace as one nation, they certainly cannot as two. This war, then, must, in the nature of things, be prosecuted till the last armed rebel is subdued, and the flag of our fathers is respected on every foot of American soil.”

“Gentlemen, invoking on you and our common country the blessings of Divine Providence, and wishing you each and all a long and happy life–not in the unmeaning compliment of the day, but in sincerity and truth–I declare the House of Representatives of the thirty-seventh Congress adjourned sine die.”

Proclamation appointing a National Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer, March 30, 1863

Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Transcribed and Annotated by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College. Galesburg, Illinois.

Robert Dale Owen to Abraham Lincoln, Wednesday, August 05, 1863 (Sends report of John Eaton concerning freedmen in Tennessee; with abstract of Eaton’s report)

From Robert Dale Owen to Abraham Lincoln, August 5, 1863

New York, Augst 5 1863.

“…This supervision should permit no abuse, should guard all relations between man and man, should lay at once the foundations of society, providing schools supported by tax upon property or income from labor alike in communities and in camps, requiring the attendance of all with certain limitations of age and season; enforcing the laws of marriage, of the relations of husband and wife, child and parent, during the minority of the former, opening alike communities and camps for religious instruction to well disposed and properly authorized persons who might come to labor among them; should regulate all trade, not only so that it might not aid the rebellion, but so as to free the blacks from imposition invited by their ignorance, indeed, should meet according to order every exigency arising in the affairs of these freed people, whether physical, social or educational, so far as is possible and is accordant with the genius of our free institutions, and the spirit of American Christian civilization….”

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
WEDNESDAY, December 9, 1863.
“…Fellow-citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

“Another year of health, and of sufficiently abundant harvests, has passed. For these, and especially for the improved condition of our national affairs, our renewed and profoundest gratitude to God is due….”

  • President Abraham Lincoln.

History of ‘In God We Trust’, Salmon P. Chase Secretary of the Treasury, (and later Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court), Dec. 9, 1863

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,
MONDAY, December 14, 1863.

Mr. Fernando Wood submitted the following preamble and resolution, viz:

Whereas the President, in his message delivered to this house on the 9th instant, and in his recommendation to the people to assemble at their places of worship and give thanks to God for recent victories, claims that the Union cause has gained important and substantial advantages; and whereas, in view of these triumphs, it is no longer beneath our dignity nor dangerous to our safety to evince a generous magnanimity becoming a great and powerful people, by offering to the insurgents an opportunity to return to the Union without imposing upon them degrading or destructive conditions: Therefore,

Resolved, That the President be requested to appoint three commissioners, who shall be empowered to open negotiations with the authorities at Richmond, to the end that this bloody, destructive, and inhuman war shall cease, and the Union be restored upon terms of equity, fraternity, and equality, under the Constitution.

Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Transcribed and Annotated by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College. Galesburg, Illinois.

From John W. Tatum to Abraham Lincoln, January 18, 1864

Wilmington 1st mo 18th 1864

Honoured Friend

I sent thee lately a brief message of affectionate remembrance when taking tea with my kind friend Isaac Newton; — but this was far from doing justice to my feelings, of sympathetic interest on thy account; — permit me to say, that when S[tephen]. A Douglass and thyself canvassed the State of Illinois, with reference (perhaps) to the U. S. Senate, — I followed your course, as developed in “the National Era” of that day, — and I very much approved of thine; — and when the Chicago convention agreed upon thy name, for thy present high station, — I said to my wife ” they have chosen the right man”; — subsequent time, and events, have confirmed this opinion:–

I have been much pleased to find in thy acts, and state papers, reference prominently made, to the Power, and Goodness of God, — and our accountability to him: — “acknowledge the Lord in all thy ways, and he will direct thy paths, — the steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord, & thou will keep him in perfect Peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, — because he trusteth in thee;”– The delegated head of of any nation, or people, seems on the one hand, to be the agent, or instrument of the Lord, for that People; — and on the other hand, the leader, — Governor, and Judge of that People; — the responsibility is thus two-fold, and very great; — and so I believe thou feelest it to be, — especially as all are required to “Judge righteous Judgment.” in all this, thou hast the secret, — and sincere sympathy of many prayerful Hearts.

“Thou shall guide me with they counsel, and afterward receive me to Glory Psalm 73 — v 24

I feel constrained to make a plea on behalf of the original owners of our country, — the poor, — driven, — decimated and distressed Indians; — their situation in many cases is very affecting to a feeling heart; — I heard last week from a sister of the wife of John Ross (Chief of Cherokees, some very sad trials, which that people have lately suffered; — very likely thou art already informed of it, as John Ross is I believe in Washington; his wife when young was a ward of mine, and I have known the chief for many years, — and esteem him, as a modest, and worthy man.

With sincere desires for thy comfort here, — and Peace hereafter

I am very Respectfully

Thy Friend

John. W. Tatum

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
MONDAY, February 8, 1864.

“…3. Resolved, That, in dealing with the rebel war the national government is invested with two classes of rights–one the rights of sovereignty, inherent and indefeasible everywhere within the limits of the United States; and the other the rights of war, or belligerent rights, which have been superinduced by the nature and extent of the contest; that, by virtue of the rights of sovereignty, the rebel and belligerent region is now subject to the national government as its only rightful government, bound under the Constitution to all the duties of sovereignty, and by special mandate bound also to “guarantee to every State a republican form of government, and to protect it against invasion;” that, by virtue of the rights of war, this same region is subject to all the conditions and incidents of war, according to the established usages of Christian nations, out of which is derived the familiar maxim of public duty, “indemnity for the past and security for the future.””

Abraham Lincoln Papers – A. P. Forman to Edward Bates, “But I know that Jesus Christ is the Lord of providence”, March 15, 1864

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,
MONDAY, May 16, 1864.
“…Mr. Dawson submitted the following preamble and resolution, viz:

“Whereas it was solemnly declared by this house on the 22d day of July, 1861, speaking in the name of the people of the United States and in the face of the world, that the present civil war was waged for no purpose of conquest or oppression, but solely to restore the Union, with all the rights of the people and of the States unimpaired; and whereas a civil war like the present is the most grievous of all national calamities, producing, as it does, bloodshed, spoliation, and anarchy, public debt, official corruption, and general demoralization; and whereas the American government cannot rightfully wage war upon any portion of its people except for the sole purpose of vindicating the Constitution and laws, and restoring both to their just Supremacy; and whereas a restoration of peace is essential to the perpetuation of a system of republican government, it is now eminently befitting a Christian and homogeneous people, in the triumph of our arms and in the exultation of victory, to tender the olive-branch as a substitute for the sword: Therefore,

“Resolved, That the President be required to make known by public proclamation, or otherwise, to all the country, that whenever any State now in insurrection shall submit herself to the authority of the federal government, as defined by the Constitution, all hostilities against her shall cease, and such State shall be protected from all external interference with her local laws and institutions, and her people shall be guaranteed in the full enjoyment of all those rights which the federal Constitution gave them; and in the exercise of a sound and patriotic discretion, he shall proclaim a general amnesty to all those who, by false counsels, have been induced to engage in the work of rebellion….”

Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Transcribed and Annotated by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College. Galesburg, Illinois.

James O. Broadhead to Edward Bates, Sunday, July 24, 1864 (Affairs in Missouri)

(Copy.)

St. Louis, July 24. 1864….
“…The military commandant confessing his own weakness addresses a proclamation to the people of North Missouri — telling them that they must organize to protect themselves — that if they do not a vengeance and desolation will come upon them which he cannot avoid — and which he intimates ought not to be avoided if it could be– I quote his language, he says,

“I could not save it — and I must tell you as a friend I do not think it would deserve it” — and he says further “you must expect the vengeance due to such moral dereliction “amongst free, and professedly Christian people–” was there ever a more glaring instance of imbecility and wickedness combined? …”

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
TUESDAY, December 6, 1864.
“…Fellow-citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:”

“Again the blessings of health and abundant harvests claim our profoundest gratitude to Almighty God….”

  • President Abraham Lincoln

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,
MONDAY, January 16, 1865.

…Mr. Cox submitted the following preamble and resolution, viz:

Whereas the country hails with manifestations of patriotic joy and congratulation the victories recently achieved by our brave armies; and whereas “the recognized object of war, at least among civilized and Christian nations, is an honorable and satisfactory peace; and that although we do not know that the insurgents are yet prepared to agree to any terms of pacification that our government would or should deem acceptable, yet as there can be no possible harm resulting from ascertaining precisely what they are ready to do, and in order to refute the imputation that the administration contemplates with satisfaction a continuance of hostilities for their own sake, on any ground of mere punctilio, or for any reason than because it is compelled by an absorbing regard for the very end of its existence;” and whereas “an established and rightly-constituted government, combatting armed and menacing rebellion, should strain every nerve to overcome at the earliest moment the resistance it encounters, and should not merely welcome, but seek, satisfactory (however informal) assurances that its end has been attained;” Therefore,

Resolved, That now, in this hour of victory, which is the hour of magnanimity, it is eminently the duty of the President, on the basis of the present “rightfully-constituted government,” either to send pt receive commissioners or agents with a view to national pacification and tranquillity, or by some other rational means known to civilized or Christian nations secure the cessation of hostilities and the union of the States.

“…Sir, getting rid of slavery as it has heretofore existed in the United States, looking to the interest, prosperity, and advancement of our country, is one of those stupendous and rapid strides in the line of civilization, humanity, and Christianity, which, in its execution on this continent, is astounding in its character, and produces the greatest wonderment in the minds of all mankind…”

“…Sir this Congress is doing a great wrong, a wrong to itself to the country and especially this down trodden persecuted suffering people. God will not bless a people unless they are just and practice those high and noble principles of eternal justice and Christianity, which were given us by the Saviour of the world If the hungry come to you feed them, the thirsty give them drink, the naked clothe them, the suffering and oppressed relieve then…”

“…It has always been the law and will always be the case in a Christian and civilized country like ours that all men are protected in their property and goods.”–SPEECH OF HON. G. CLAY SMITH OF KENTUCKY, In the House of Representatives, February 21 1865, On the special order being the reconstruction bill. [THE CONGRESSIONAL GLOBE CONTAINING THE DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS OF THE SECOND SESSION OF THE THIRTY EIGHTH CONGRESS ALSO OF THE SPECIAL SESSION OF THE SENATE, (Page 98).]

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, 1789-1873
SATURDAY, MARCH 4, 1865.

“…Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before the conflict itself should cease Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces; but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered–that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh.” (Matthew 18:7) If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offences which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both north and south this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope–fervently do we pray–that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” (Psalms 19:9)

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nations wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan–to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations.

The President, (Abraham Lincoln), having finished his address, the oath, prescribed by the Constitution was administered to him by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States; and

The Senate returned to its chamber.

“The following message was received from the President of the United States, by Mr. Johnson, his secretary:

“Fellow-citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

“To express gratitude to God, in the name of the people, for the preservation of the United States, is my first duty in addressing you….”

“…The union of the United States of America was intended by its authors to last as long as the States themselves shall last. “The Union shall be perpetual,” are the words of the confederation. “To form a more perfect Union,” by an ordinance of the people of the United States, is the declared purpose of the Constitution. The hand of Divine Providence was never more plainly visible in the affairs of men than in the framing and the adopting of that instrument. It is, beyond comparison, the greatest event in American history; and indeed is it not, of all events in modern times, the most pregnant with consequences for every people of the earth? …”

“…Where, in past history, does a parallel exist to the public happiness which is within the reach of the people of the United States? Where, in any part of the globe, can institutions be found so suited to their habits or so entitled to their love as their own free Constitution? Every one of them, then, in whatever part of the land he has his home, must wish its perpetuity. Who of them will not now acknowledge, in the words of Washington, that “every step by which the people of the United States have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of Providential agency?” Who will not join with me in the prayer, that the invisible hand which has led us through the clouds that gloomed around our path will so guide us onward to a perfect restoration of fraternal affection, that we of this day may be able to transmit our great inheritance, of State governments in all their rights, of the general government in its whole constitutional vigor, to our posterity, and they to theirs through countless generations?”

  • President Andrew Johnson, Dec. 4, 1865. [ Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, 1865-1866, TUESDAY, December 5, 1865.]

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, 1789-1873
MONDAY, February 19, 1866.

“…The President pro tempore presented resolutions of the legislative assembly of the Territory of Arizona, expressing joy at the successful termination of the late war for the Union, and sympathy with those whose homes have been made desolate, and gratitude to Almighty God for His protection in the trying hour of conflict, also in favor of the plan of the President of the United States for the restoration of the States lately in rebellion….”

Mr. Sumner submitted the following resolutions; which were read and ordered to be printed:

Resolved, 1. That in the work of reconstruction it is important that no false step should be taken interposing obstacle or delay; but that, by careful provisions, we should make haste to complete the work, so that the unity of the republic shall be secured on permanent foundations, and fraternal relations shall be once more established among all the people thereof.

2. That this end can be accomplished only by the following the guiding principles of our institutions as declared by our fathers when the republic was formed, and that any neglect or forgetfulness of these guiding principles must postpone the establishment of union, justice, domestic tranquillity, the general welfare, and the blessings of liberty, which are the declared objects of the Constitution, and, therefore, must be the essential object of reconstruction itself.

3. That this work of reconstruction must be conducted by Congress and under its constant supervision; that under the Constitution Congress is solemnly bound to assume this responsibility; and that, in the performance of this duty, it must see that everywhere throughout the rebel communities loyalty is protected and advanced, while the new governments are fashioned according to the requirements of a Christian commonwealth, so that order, tranquillity, education, and human rights shall prevail within their borders.

4. That, in determining what is a republican form of government, Congress must follow implicitly the definition supplied by the Declaration of Independence, and, in the practical application of this definition, it must, after excluding all disloyal persons, take care that new governments are founded on the two fundamental truths therein contained: first, that all men are equal in rights; and, secondly, that all just government stands only on the consent of the governed.
  • December 5, 1866. [Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, 1789-1873.] “Let opposing counsel show the instance in an exlightened age, in a civilized and Christian country, where almost one-half its citizens undertook, without cause, to over-throw the government, and where coward sympathizers, not daring to join them, plotted in the security given by the protecting arms of the other half to aid such rebellion and treason, and we will perhaps show a precedent for hanging such traitors by military commissions.”
  • Mr. Butler, ON THE SIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, U.S. Supreme Court, EX PARTE MILLIGAN, 71 U.S. 2 (1866). December Term.

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,
TUESDAY, December 3, 1867.

“…But these acts of Congress confound them all together in one common doom. Indiscriminate vengeance upon classes, sects, and parties, or upon whole communities, for offences committed by a portion of them against the governments to which they owed obedience, was common in the barbarous ages of the world. But Christianity and civilization have made such progress that recourse to a punishment so cruel and unjust would meet with the condemnation of all unprejudiced and right-minded men. The punitive justice of this age, and especially of this country, does not consist in stripping whole States of their liberties, and reducing all their people, without distinction, to the condition of slavery. It deals separately with each individual, confines itself to the forms of law, and vindicates its own purity by an impartial examination of every case before a competent judicial tribunal. If this does not satisfy all our desires with regard to southern rebels, let us console ourselves by reflecting that a free Constitution, triumphant in war and unbroken in peace, is worth far more to us and our children than the gratification of any present feeling….”

  • President Andrew Johnson

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,
TUESDAY, March 9, 1869.
“…Mr. Dawes submitted the following concurrent resolution, viz:

“Resolved, (the Senate concurring,) That a joint special committee on Indian affairs, consisting of nine members, three from the Senate and six from the House, be appointed, to whom shall be referred all matters relating to treaties with the Indian tribes, payment of annuities, and examination of claims referred to congress from the Interior Department relating to Indians, with power to consider all questions arising under said treaties, whether the same may be abrogated, annulled, or modified, and whether any further treaties shall be made with Indian tribes, and if any, under what restrictions, and whether any and what revision of the several acts providing for the organization of the department of Indian Affairs may be expedient or necessary; also, whether any and what further provision may be necessary for auditing accounts, examining vouchers presented in relation to feeding and caring for the Indians, and in what manner and to what extent they shall be subsisted, and what lands shall be reserved and set apart for them, and how the same may be secured by law to the use of the Indian tribes; and finally to consider the expediency of determining by law what shall be the legal status of persons of Indian descent under the laws of the United States, and what course shall be taken toward them which shall best tend to their civilization, Christianization, and ultimate citizenship; and to report thereon by bill or otherwise. Said committee Shall have power to employ a clerk and examine witnesses, if necessary.”

Will the American people never cease to oppress and torture…? Peterboro, Dec. 12, 1874.

NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW.
No. CCLXV.

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 1878.

“Hence, the importance to our government of religion, morality, and education, which enlighten and purify the governed and the governors at the same time, and which must ever constitute the best securities for the advancement and happiness of our country. . . . . . Bad government is the logical result of bad morals or neglect of duty by the constituency. Men in office do not corrupt the people so often as the people corrupt officials. . . . . . God in his goodness does not permit nations to be happy and prosperous when governments are corrupt and citizens are indifferent. . . .

  • Horatio Seymour, Governor of New York State from 1853-1854 and from 1863-1864.

State of Connecticut. By His Excellency, Thomas M. Waller, Governor. A proclamation, “Fast Unto the Lord”, March 25, 1884

STATE OF CONNECTICUT, A Proclamation, “in the light of an unselfish patriotism and an unwavering faith, will devote that day to the worship of God”, April 5, 1901

“These and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”

  • Mr. Justice Brewer, U.S. Sumpreme Court, Holy Trinity Church v. United States. 143 U.S. 457, 470, 471 S., 12 S. Ct. 511

Our Flag, J.D. Claitor, 1917

“We are a Christian people (Holy Trinity Church v. United States. 143 U.S. 457, 470, 471 S., 12 S. Ct. 511), according to one another the equal right of religious freedom, and acknowledging with reverence the duty of obedience to the will of God. But, also, we are a nation with the duty to survive; a nation whose Constitution contemplates war as well as peace; whose government must go forward upon the assumption, and safely can proceed upon no other, that unqualified allegiance to the nation and submission and obedience to the laws of the land, as well those made for war as those made for peace, are not inconsistent with the will of God.”

  • Mr. Justice Sutherland, U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. v. MACINTOSH, 283 U.S. 605 (1931), Page 283 U.S. 605, 625. Decided May 25, 1931.

“Fellow countrymen, this great republic is facing one of the most extraordinary situations in the world’s history. It would be difficult to exaggerate the seriousness of the great conflict in which we are engaged — a conflict in which the fate of civilization is at stake — a conflict of which God has called us as a champion of freedom and democracy….”

“…We are by nature a peaceful people, but we are a fighting people where the rights of America and of humanity are concerned….”

“…Every man and woman who stays at home, and for whose liberties, property, and sacred institutions our boys will shed their blood, must be moved by a spirit of sacrifice equal to that which animates our gallant troops. We must be willing to give up something of personal convenience, something of personal comfort, something of our treasure — all, if necessary, and our lives in the bargain, to support our noble sons who go out to die for us. We fight for our sacred rights and for our noblest ideas. America has never lost a war for freedom, and with God’s help we shall not fail now. Let us organize our strength, marshal our resources, vindicate our rights, reestablish a just peace, and keep the torch of liberty burning throughout the world.”

  • William G. McAdoo, (1863-1941), U.S. Secretary of Treasury. Undated Recording of speech titled “American rights” given during WWI. [American Leaders Speak: Recordings from World War I and the 1920 Election, 1918-1920. Library of Congress.]

Criminal Enemies of Social Order,

By Miles Poindexter, c. 1920, U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator (Republican). [Born: April 22, 1868, Died: September 21, 1946]

If the authority of the courts should be destroyed — if their carefully determined decrees are arbitrarily and without investigation, merely upon suspicion and general belief, set aside — if recourse is to be had to blackmail or for terrorism, sabotage, dynamite and murder — if the doctrines of direct action, are the Bolshevist and the IWW — the weak are the ones who will suffer in any such decision. I venture to say that with all the imperfections of human nature from which we cannot escape under any system the wit of man ever devised, and with all the mistakes the mind of man, however well intentioned, may sometimes make, there is not a state nor a city between the two oceans in this great republic where an honest laborer, seeking protection or justice, cannot find a judge who will zealously guard his rights, his liberties, his property, his life, with the shield of the law against the hand of the despoiler.

Tear down the courts and the law, and there is left the spectacle of a bloody tyranny — of ignorance, avarice, cruelty, imposing their brute will upon all who differ with them or stand in their way. We see that spectacle in Russia today, and those who are writhing there in the gratification of their lawless desire for power are the counterparts and co-workers against law and established government with the authors of these resolutions and other propaganda of murder, assassination, revolution, direct action, sabotage and anarchy which is stalking through the land.

The greatest issue that confronts not only the American people, but the western world, is the suppression of this arrogant, insolent, and tyrannical movement. Its leaders must be subjected to the will of the government. The intellectual vagaries of benign but irrational visionaries, the abysmal ignorance of masses of its innocent human tools, and the murderous instincts of avowed criminal enemies of social order, are the materials with which it works. Many of its parts are not conscious of their connection with one another. But it all moves as a cohesive and coordinate whole on the lever which is worked by the master criminals of mankind. Their proposed prey is the human and of material accumulated wealth of the world. It is an astounding occurrence. And to us, awakened from our long dream of peace, seems difficult of conception.

These conspirators against the peace and happiness of mankind have taken the gifts of God, the intelligence that has come with civilization, the inventions of science, the products of modern art, and turning them into instruments of destruction, have made war on their own creator. The good gifts, which were put into the hands of man for good, have been perverted to evil. It is as though they had eaten of the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and that they will hear the voice of God walking in the garden in the cool of the day and saying to this: “Adam, cursed is the ground for thy sake, and in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.” It is as though again, the man be driven out, and again be placed at the east of the garden of Eden, cherubim and a flaming sword which shall turn every way. So keep the way of the tree of life.

GOVERNOR, A Proclamation, “a day of Fasting and Prayer Sanctioned by civil and religious usage, this day commemorates the death for others of the Saviour of the World”, March 13, 1923

AMERICANISM VERSUS COMMUNISM, Hon. Patrick J. Hurley, Congressional Record July 4, 1935

Oregon Thanksgiving Proclamation, “to offer solemn thanks to Almighty God for the blessings we enjoy”, Nov. 6, 1942

“…Limitation of the treason of adherence to the enemy to cases where aid and comfort were given and the requirement of an overt act were both found in the Statute of Edward III praised in the writings of Coke and Blackstone, and advocated in Montesquieu’s Spirit of Laws. Likewise, the two-witness requirement had been used in other statutes, [Footnote 34] was advocated by Montesquieu in all capital cases,[Footnote 35] and was a familiar precept of the New Testament,[Footnote 36] and of Mosaic law. [Footnote 37] The framers combined all of these known protections and added two of their own which had no precedent. They wrote into the organic act of the new government a prohibition of legislative or judicial creation of new treasons. And a venerable safeguard against false testimony was given a novel application by requiring two witnesses to the same overt act….”

  • Mr. Justice JACKSON delivering the opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court, Cramer v. U.S., [325 U.S. 1 (1945)] Decided April 23, 1945.

“It is true that religion has been closely identified with our history and government. As we said in Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, 434 (1962), “The history of man is inseparable from the history of religion. And . . . since the beginning of that history many people have devoutly believed that `More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.'” In Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306, 313 (1952), we gave specific recognition to the proposition that “[w]e are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being.” The fact that the Founding Fathers believed devotedly that there was a God and that the unalienable rights of man were rooted in Him is clearly evidenced in their writings, from the Mayflower Compact to the Constitution itself. This background is evidenced today in our public life through the continuance in our oaths of office from the Presidency to the Alderman of the final supplication, “So help me God.” Likewise each House of the Congress provides through its Chaplain an opening prayer, and the sessions of this Court are declared open by the crier in a short ceremony, the final phrase of which invokes the grace of God. Again, there are such manifestations in our military forces, where those of our citizens who are under the restrictions of military service wish to engage in voluntary worship. Indeed, only last year an official survey of the country indicated that 64% of our people have church membership, Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Commerce, Statistical Abstract of the United States (83d ed. 1962), 48, while less than 3% profess no religion whatever. Id., at p. 46. It can be truly said, therefore, that today, as in the beginning, our national life reflects a religious people who, in the words of Madison, are “earnestly praying, as . . . in duty bound, that the Supreme Lawgiver of the Universe . . . guide them into every measure which may be worthy of his [blessing . . . .]” Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, quoted in Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1, 71-72 (1947) (Appendix to dissenting opinion of Rutledge, J.).”

  • MR. JUSTICE CLARK deliver[ing] the opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court, [ABINGTON SCHOOL DIST. v. SCHEMPP, 374 U.S. 203 (1963). Page 374 U.S. 203, 212, 213] Decided June 17, 1963.

“The Supreme Court of Wisconsin, noting that “the letter killeth but the spirit giveth life,” 2 Corinthians 3:6, held that six priests and two lay brothers constituted a “family” and that their use, for purely residential purposes of a single-family dwelling did not violate a single-family zoning ordinance. Missionaries of Our Lady of LaSalette v. Whitefish Bay, 267 Wis. 609, 66 N. W. 2d 627 (1954).”

  • [U.S. Supreme Court, MOORE v. EAST CLEVELAND, 431 U.S. 494 (1977), Footnote 13], (Page 431 U.S. 494, 518).

United States Treaties which refer to Jesus:

“ARTICLE 5….In witness of all and every thing herein determined, the parties have hereunto interchangeably set their hands and seals, in the Chickasaw country, this twenty-third day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and five, and of the independence of the United States of America the thirtieth. “–Chickasaw Treaty — 1805

“In testimony whereof, the said Henry Knox, Secretary of War, and the said chiefs and warriors of the Cherokee nation, have hereunto set their hands and seals, in the city of Philadelphia, this seventeenth day of February, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two.”–Treaty With the Cherokee : 1791

“In witness of all and every thing herein determined between the United States of America and the whole Cherokee nation, the parties have hereunto set their hands and seals in the city of Philadelphia, within the United States, this twenty-sixth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety four.”–Treaty With the Cherokee, 1794

“In Testimony whereof we annex our names and the Consular seal of the United States. Done in Tunis the twenty sixth day of March in the year of the Christian Era one thousand seven hundred and ninety nine, and of American Independence the twenty third.”–Treaty of Peace and Friendship, Signed at Tunis August 28, 1797

“ARTICLE 5….In witness of all and every thing herein determined, the parties have hereunto interchangeably set their hands and seals, in the Chickasaw country, this twenty-third day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and five, and of the independence of the United States of America the thirtieth. “–Chickasaw Treaty — 1805

“Done at the Chickasaw council house, this twentieth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixteen.”–Treaty With the Chickasaw : 1816

“In the name of the Most Holy and Indivisible Trinity….”

“…In faith whereof we, the Plenipotentiaries of the United States of America and of His Majesty the Emperor of Brazil, have signed and sealed these presents.”

“Done in the City of Rio de Janeiro this twelfth day of the month of December, in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ one thousand eight hundred and twenty-eight.”–Brazilian -American Diplomacy – Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation; December 12, 1828