JOHN ADAMS TO THE GRAND JURORS OF THE COUNTY OF HAMPSHIRE, MASSACHUSETTS. 3 OCTOBER, 1798

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John Adams To The Grand Jurors Of The County Of Hampshire, Massachusetts.

3 October, 1798.

Gentlemen,

I have received with much pleasure your address of the 28th of September from Northampton.

The manifestations of your respect, approbation, and confidence are very flattering to me, and your determination to support the Constitution and laws of your country is honorable to yourselves. If a new order of things has commenced, it behooves us to be cautious, that it may not be for the worse. If the abuse of Christianity can be annihilated or diminished, and a more equitable enjoyment of the right of conscience introduced, it will be well; but this will not be accomplished by the abolition of Christianity and the introduction of Grecian mythology, or the worship of modern heroes or heroines, by erecting statues of idolatry to reason or virtue, to beauty or to taste. It is a serious problem to resolve, whether all the abuses of Christianity, even in the darkest ages, when the Pope deposed princes and laid nations under his interdict, were ever so bloody and cruel, ever bore down the independence of the human mind with such terror and intolerance, or taught doctrines which required such implicit credulity to believe, as the present reign of pretended philosophy in France.

John Adams.

 

JOHN ADAMS TO THE GRAND JURY OF THE COUNTY OF DUTCHESS, NEW YORK. 22 SEPTEMBER, 1798

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John Adams To The Grand Jury Of The County Of Dutchess, New York. 22 September, 1798.

Gentlemen,

I have received and read with great pleasure your address of the 1st of September, which, in this kind of writing, with a few explanations, may be considered as a model of sense and spirit, as well as of taste and eloquence.

Is there any mode imaginable in which contempt of the understanding and feelings of a nation can be expressed with so much aggravation, as by affecting to treat the government of their choice as an usurpation?

If in some instances marks of disaffection have appeared in your State, it is indeed exceedingly to be regretted. If this has been owing to the influx of foreigners, of discontented characters, it ought to be a warning. If we glory in making our country an asylum for virtue in distress and for innocent industry, it behooves us to beware, that under this pretext it is not made a receptacle of malevolence and turbulence, for the outcasts of the universe.

The conduct of France must not disgrace the cause of free governments. With the tears and the blood of millions, she has demonstrated that a free government must be organized and adjusted with a strict attention to the nature of man, and the interests and passions of the various classes of which society is composed; but she has not made any rational apology for the advocates of despotic government. Society cannot exist without laws, and those laws must be executed. In nations that are populous, opulent, and powerful, the concurrent interests of great bodies of men operate very forcibly on their passions, break down the barriers of modesty, decency, and morality, and can be restrained only by force; but there are methods of combining the public force in such a manner as to restrain the most formidable combinations of interests, passions, imagination, and prejudice, without recourse to despotic government. To these methods it is to be hoped the nations of Europe will have recourse, rather than to surrender all to military dictators or hereditary despots.

John Adams.

 

JOHN ADAMS INAUGURAL SPEECH TO BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS, 4 March, 1797

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INAUGURAL SPEECH TO BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS, 4 March, 1797.

when it was first perceived, in early times, that no middle course for America remained between unlimited submission to a foreign legislature and a total independence of its claims, men of reflection were less apprehensive of danger from the formidable power of fleets and armies they must determine to resist, than from those contests and dissensions, which would certainly arise, concerning the forms of government to be instituted, over the whole, and over the parts of this extensive country. Relying, however, on the purity of their intentions, the justice of their cause, and the integrity and intelligence of the people, under an overruling Providence, [Divine Providence or Providence the founding fathers referred to on numerous occasions equals God’s Governance, Will, Judgement, Foresight and Care]  which had so signally protected this country from the first, the representatives of this nation, then consisting of little more than half its present numbers, not only broke to pieces the chains which were forging, and the rod of iron that was lifted up, but frankly cut asunder the ties which had bound them, and launched into an ocean of uncertainty.

The zeal and ardor of the people during the revolutionary war, supplying the place of government, commanded a degree of order, sufficient at least for the temporary preservation of society. The confederation, which was early felt to be necessary, was prepared from the models of the Batavian and Helvetic confederacies, the only examples which remain, with any detail and precision, in history, and certainly the only ones which the people at large had ever considered. But, reflecting on the striking difference in so many particulars between this country and those where a courier may go from the seat of government to the frontier in a single day, it was then certainly foreseen by some, who assisted in Congress at the formation of it, that it could not be durable.

Negligence of its regulations, inattention to its recommendations, if not disobedience to its authority, not only in individuals but in States, soon appeared, with their melancholy consequences; universal languor, jealousies, rivalries of States; decline of navigation and commerce; discouragement of necessary manufactures; universal fall in the value of lands and their produce; contempt of public and private faith; loss of consideration and credit with foreign nations; and, at length, in discontents, animosities, combinations, partial conventions, and insurrection; threatening some great national calamity.

In this dangerous crisis the people of America were not abandoned by their usual good sense, presence of mind, resolution, or integrity. Measures were pursued to concert a plan to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty. The public disquisitions, discussions, and deliberations, issued in the present happy constitution of government .

Employed in the service of my country abroad, during the whole course of these transactions, I first saw the Constitution of the United States in a foreign country. Irritated by no literary altercation, animated by no public debate, heated by no party animosity, I read it with great satisfaction, as a result of good heads, prompted by good hearts; as an experiment better adapted to the genius, character, situation, and relations of this nation and country, than any which had ever been proposed or suggested. In its general principles and great outlines, it was conformable to such a system of government as I had ever most esteemed, and in some States, my own native State in particular, had contributed to establish. Claiming a right of suffrage in common with my fellow-citizens, in the adoption or rejection of a constitution, which was to rule me and my posterity as well as them and theirs, I did not hesitate to express my approbation of it on all occasions, in public and in private. It was not then nor has been since any objection to it, in my mind, that the Executive and Senate were not more permanent . Nor have I entertained a thought of promoting any alteration in it, but such as the people themselves, in the course of their experience, should see and feel to be necessary or expedient, and by their representatives in Congress and the State legislatures, according to the Constitution itself, adopt and ordain.

Returning to the bosom of my country, after a painful separation from it for ten years, I had the honor to be elected to a station under the new order of things, and I have repeatedly laid myself under the most serious obligations to support the Constitution. The operation of it has equalled the most sanguine expectations of its friends; and, from an habitual attention to it, satisfaction in its administration, and delight in its effect upon the peace, order, prosperity, and happiness of the nation, I have acquired an habitual attachment to it, and veneration for it.

What other form of government, indeed, can so well deserve our esteem and love?

There may be little solidity in an ancient idea, that congregations of men into cities and nations, are the most pleasing objects in the sight of superior intelligences; but this is very certain, that, to a benevolent human mind, there can be no spectacle presented by any nation, more pleasing, more noble, majestic, or august, than an assembly like that which has so often been seen in this and the other chamber of Congress; of a government, in which the executive authority, as well as that of all the branches of the legislature, are exercised by citizens selected at regular periods by their neighbors, to make and execute laws for the general good. Can any thing essential, any thing more than mere ornament and decoration, be added to this by robes or diamonds? Can authority be more amiable or respectable, when it descends from accidents or institutions established in remote antiquity, than when it springs fresh from the hearts and judgments of an honest and enlightened people? For it is the people only that are represented; it is their power and majesty that is reflected, and only for their good, in every legitimate government, under whatever form it may appear. The existence of such a government as ours, for any length of time, is a full proof of a general dissemination of knowledge and virtue throughout the whole body of the people. And what object of consideration, more pleasing than this, can be presented to the human mind? If national pride is ever justifiable or excusable, it is when it springs, not from power or riches, grandeur or glory, but from conviction of national innocence, information, and benevolence.

In the midst of these pleasing ideas, we should be unfaithful to ourselves, if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our liberties, if any thing partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections. If an election is to be determined by a majority of a single vote, and that can be procured by a party, through artifice or corruption, the government may be the choice of a party, for its own ends, not of the nation, for the national good. If that solitary suffrage can be obtained by foreign nations, by flattery or menaces; by fraud or violence; by terror, intrigue, or venality; the government may not be the choice of the American people, but of foreign nations. It may be foreign nations who govern us, and not we, the people, who govern ourselves. And candid men will acknowledge, that, in such cases, choice would have little advantage to boast of over lot or chance.

Such is the amiable and interesting system of government (and such arc some of the abuses to which it may be exposed), which the people of America have exhibited, to the admiration and anxiety of the wise and virtuous of all nations, for eight years; under the administration of a citizen, who, by a long course of great actions regulated by prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude, conducting a people, inspired with the same virtues, and animated with the same ardent patriotism and love of liberty, to independence and peace, to increasing wealth and unexampled prosperity, has merited the gratitude of his fellow-citizens, commanded the highest praises of foreign nations, and secured immortal glory with posterity.

In that retirement which is his voluntary choice, may he long live to enjoy the delicious recollection of his services, the gratitude of mankind, the happy fruits of them to himself and the world, which are daily increasing, and that splendid prospect of the future fortunes of his country, which is opening from year to year! His name may be still a rampart, and the knowledge that he lives, a bulwark against all open or secret enemies of his country’s peace.

This example has been recommended to the imitation of his successors, by both Houses of Congress, and by the voice of the legislatures and the people throughout the nation.

"if a resolution to do justice, as far as may depend upon me, at 
all times, and to all nations, and maintain peace, friendship, and 
benevolence with all the world; if an unshaken confidence in the 
honor, spirit, and resources of the American people, on which I 
have so often hazarded my all, and never been deceived; if elevated 
ideas of the high destinies of this country, and of my own duties 
towards it, founded on a knowledge of the moral principles and 
intellectual improvements of the people, deeply engraven on my mind 
in early life, and not obscured, but exalted by experience and age; 
and with humble reverence I feel it my duty to add, if a veneration 
for the religion of a people, who profess and call themselves 
Christians, and a fixed resolution to consider a decent respect 
for Christianity among the best recommendations for the public 
service; — can enable me in any degree to comply with your wishes, 
it shall be my strenuous endeavor that this sagacious injunction 
of the two Houses shall not be without effect."

On this subject it might become me better to be silent, or to speak with diffidence; but, as something may be expected, the occasion, I hope, will be admitted as an apology, if I venture to say, that, if a preference upon principle of a free republican government, formed upon long and serious reflection, after a diligent and impartial inquiry after truth; if an attachment to the Constitution of the United States, and a conscientious determination to support it, until it shall be altered by the judgments and the wishes of the people, expressed in the mode prescribed in it; if a respectful attention to the constitutions of the individual States, and a constant caution and delicacy towards the State governments; if an equal and impartial regard to the rights, interests, honor, and happiness of all the States in the Union, without preference or regard to a northern or southern, eastern or western position, their various political opinions on essential points, or their personal attachments; if a love of virtuous men of all parties and denominations; if a love of science and letters, and a wish to patronize every rational effort to encourage schools, colleges, universities, academies, and every institution for propagating knowledge, virtue, and religion among all classes of the people, not only for their benign influence on the happiness of life in all its stages and classes and of society in all its forms, but as the only means of preserving our constitution from its natural enemies, the spirit of sophistry, the spirit of party, the spirit of intrigue, profligacy, and corruption, and the pestilence of foreign influence, which is the angel of destruction to elective governments; if a love of equal laws, of justice and humanity, in the interior administration; if an inclination to improve agriculture, commerce, and manufactures for necessity, convenience, and defence; if a spirit of equity and humanity towards the aboriginal nations of America, and a disposition to meliorate their condition by inclining them to be more friendly to us, and our citizens to be more friendly to them; if an inflexible determination to maintain peace and inviolable faith with all nations, and that system of neutrality and impartiality among the belligerent powers of Europe, which has been adopted by the government, and so solemnly sanctioned by both Houses of Congress, and applauded by the legislatures of the States and the public opinion, until it shall be otherwise ordained by Congress; if a personal esteem for the French nation, formed in a residence of seven years chiefly among them, and a sincere desire to preserve the friendship which has been so much for the honor and interest of both nations; if, while the conscious honor and integrity of the people of America, and the internal sentiment of their own power and energies must be preserved, an earnest endeavor to investigate every just cause, and remove every colorable pretence of complaint; if an intention to pursue, by amicable negotiation, a reparation for the injuries that have been committed on the commerce of our fellow-citizens by whatever nation, and (if success cannot be obtained) to lay the facts before the legislature, that they may consider what further measures the honor and interest of the government and its constituents demand; if a resolution to do justice, as far as may depend upon me, at all times, and to all nations, and maintain peace, friendship, and benevolence with all the world; if an unshaken confidence in the honor, spirit, and resources of the American people, on which I have so often hazarded my all, and never been deceived; if elevated ideas of the high destinies of this country, and of my own duties towards it, founded on a knowledge of the moral principles and intellectual improvements of the people, deeply engraven on my mind in early life, and not obscured, but exalted by experience and age; and with humble reverence I feel it my duty to add, if a veneration for the religion of a people, who profess and call themselves Christians, and a fixed resolution to consider a decent respect for Christianity among the best recommendations for the public service; — can enable me in any degree to comply with your wishes, it shall be my strenuous endeavor that this sagacious injunction of the two Houses shall not be without effect.

With this great example before me, with the sense and spirit, the faith and honor, the duty and interest of the same American people, pledged to support the Constitution. of the United States, 1 entertain no doubt of its continuance in all its energy; and my mind is prepared without hesitation, to lay myself under the most solemn obligations to support it to the utmost of my power.

And may that Being, who is supreme over all, the patron of order, the fountain of justice, and the protector, in all ages of the world, of virtuous liberty, continue his blessing upon this nation and its government, and give it all possible success and duration, consistent with the ends of his providence!

John Adams.

GEORGE WASHINGTON A CHRISTIAN SOLDIER

The ChristianPatriot2GEORGE WASHINGTON A CHRISTIAN SOLDIER

His Mother Advises Secret Prayer In November, 1753, then twenty-one years of age, Washington was commissioned by Governor Dinwiddie, of Virginia, to be the bearer of dispatches to the French commander St. Pierre. He called to see his mother and explained the nature of his mission. “With her farewell kiss she bade him ‘remember that God only is our sure trust. To Him I commend you.’”

As he left the paternal roof, his mother’s parting charge was, “My son, neglect not the duty of secret prayer.” Never did a mother give better advice to her son, and never did a son more conscientiously follow it.

“His uniform practice from youth to hoary age, furnished, it would seem, a consistent exemplification of this duty in its double aspect of public and private prayer.”

Fort_Necessity_BattlePrayers At Fort Necessity [Age 21; 1753] The first decisive indication of his principles on this subject, with which we are acquainted, appeared during the encampment at the Great Meadows, in the year 1754. While occupying Fort Necessity it was his practice to have the troops assembled for public worship. This we learn from the following note, by the publisher of his writings: “While Washington was encamped at the Great Meadows, Mr. Fairfax wrote to him: ‘I will not doubt your having public prayers in the camp, especially when the Indian families are your guests, that they, seeing your plain manner of worship, may have their curiosity excited to be informed why we do not use the ceremonies of the French, which being well explained to their understandings, will more and more dispose them to receive our baptism, and unite in strict bonds of cordial friendship.’ It may be added that it was Washington’s custom to have prayers in the camp while he was at Fort Necessity.”

Here we are informed not only of the pious custom of the youthful commander, at the time and place mentioned, but are enabled to gather from the communication of Mr. Fairfax much that was highly favorable to the character of his young friend. Mr. Fairfax says, “I will not doubt your having public prayers in the camp.” Intimate as this gentleman was with Washington, he would scarcely have so addressed him had he not felt encouraged to do so by his known sentiments of piety, if not his own habits. Mr. Fairfax was the father-in-law of Lawrence Washington, the brother of George, and had possessed every opportunity of learning the character and conduct of the latter. Assured of his pious and serious deportment, he did not feel any hesitation in suggesting to him the expediency of the duty in question.

“It certainly was not one of the least striking pictures presented in this wild campaign—the youthful commander, presiding with calm seriousness over a motley assemblage of half-equipped soldiery, leathern-clad hunters and woodsmen, and painted savages with their wives and children, and uniting them all in solemn devotion by his own example and demeanor.”

Source: ringwoodmanor.com

Source: ringwoodmanor.com

Acknowledges An Act Of Providence

In a letter to Governor Dinwiddie, dated Great Meadows, June 10, 1754, when twenty-two years of age, we have the following striking acknowledgment of a particular providential interposition in supplying with provisions the troops recently placed under his command:

We have been six days without flour, and there is none upon the road for our relief that we know of, though I have by repeated expresses given him timely notice. We have not provisions of any sort enough in camp to serve us two days. Once before we should have been four days without provisions, if Providence had not sent a trader from the Ohio to our relief, for whose flour I was obliged to give twenty-one shillings and eight-pence per pound.

George Washington arriving at Christ Church, Easter Sunday, 1795

George Washington arriving at Christ Church, Easter Sunday, 1795

His Custom To Attend Church

That it was customary with him to frequent the house of God when in his power, appears from the record made by him of an occurrence among his soldiers, while encamped in Alexandria, Virginia, in the summer of 1754, having himself returned but lately on a recruiting expedition from the Great Meadows: “Yesterday, while we were at church, twenty-five of them collected, and were going off in the face of their officers, but were stopped and imprisoned before the plot came to its height.”

His Trust In God

In April, 1755, the newly arrived General Braddock offered him an important command. His mother opposed his going to the war. In the final discussion, the son said to his mother: “The God to whom you commended me, madam, when I set out upon a more perilous errand, defended me from all harm, and I trust he will do so now. Do not you?”

Conducts Braddock’s Funeral

General Braddock being mortally wounded in the battle of the Monongahela, July 9, 1755, died on Sunday night, July 13. He was buried in his cloak the same night in the road, to elude the search of the Indians. The chaplain having been wounded, Washington, on the testimony of an old soldier, read the funeral service over his remains, by the light of a torch. Faithful to his commander while he lived, he would not suffer him to want the customary rites of religion when dead. Though the probable pursuit of “savages threatened, yet did his humanity and sense of decency prevail, to gain for the fallen soldier the honor of Christian burial.

Letter To His Brother

He wrote to his brother, John A. Washington, July 18, 1755, following Braddock’s defeat, in which he says:

As I have heard, since my arrival at this place [Fort Cumberland], a circumstantial account of my death and dying speech, I take this early opportunity of contradicting the first, and of assuring you, that I have not as yet composed the latter. But, by the all-powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me!”

The Great Spirit Protects Him—Testimony Of An Indian Chief

Fifteen years after this battle Washington and Dr. Craik, his intimate friend from his boyhood to his death, were traveling on an expedition to the western country, for the purpose of exploring wild lands. While near the junction of the Great Kanawha and Ohio Rivers a company of Indians came to them with an interpreter, at the head of whom was an aged and venerable chief. The council fire was kindled, when the chief addressed Washington through an interpreter to the following effect:

“I am a chief, and ruler over my tribes. My influence extends to the waters of the great lakes, and to the far blue mountains. I have traveled a long and weary path, that I might see the young warrior of the great battle. It was on the day when the white man’s blood mixed with the streams of our forest, that I first beheld this chief. I called to my young men and said, mark yon tall and daring warrior? He is not of the red-coat tribe—he hath an Indian’s wisdom, and his warriors fight as we do—himself is alone exposed. Quick, let your aim be certain, and he dies. Our rifles were leveled, rifles which, but for him, knew not how to miss—’twas all in vain, a power mightier far than we, shielded him from harm. He cannot die in battle. I am old, and soon shall be gathered to the great council fire of my fathers in the land of shades, but ere I go, there is something bids me speak in the voice of prophecy. Listen! The Great Spirit protects that man, and guides his destinieshe will become the chief of nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him as the founder of a mighty empire.”

Discourages Gambling In The Army In a letter to Governor Dinwiddie, from Alexandria, Virginia, February 2, 1756, regarding operations in the army, he says, “I have always, so far as was in my power, endeavored to discourage gambling in camp, and always shall while I have the honor to preside there.”

Intemperance And Profanity Discountenanced

The following letter to Governor Dinwiddie, written from Winchester, Virginia, April 18, 1756, shows his attitude toward intemperance and profanity:

It gave me infinite concern to find in yours by Governor Innes that any representations should inflame the Assembly against the Virginia regiment, or give cause to suspect the morality and good behavior of the officers. How far any of the individuals may have deserved such reflections, I will not take upon me to determine, but this I am certain of, and can call my conscience, and what, I suppose, will be still more demonstrative proof in the eyes of the world, my orders, to witness how much I have, both by threats and persuasive means, endeavored to discountenance gambling, drinking, swearing, and irregularities of every other kind; while I have, on the other hand, practised every artifice to inspire a laudable emulation in the officers for the service of their country, and to encourage the soldiers in the unerring exercise of their duty. How far I have failed in this desirable end I cannot pretend to say. But it is nevertheless a point which does, in my opinion, merit some scrutiny, before it meets with a final condemnation. Yet I will not undertake to vouch for the conduct of many of the officers, as I know there are some who have the seeds of idleness very strongly implanted in their natures; and I also know that the unhappy difference about the command which has kept me from Fort Cumberland, has consequently prevented me from enforcing the orders which I never failed to send.

However, if I continue in the service, I shall take care to act with a little more rigor than has hitherto been practised, since I find it so necessary.

Intemperance Punished

His orders for preserving discipline must be allowed to have been sufficiently rigid. The following given in 1756 is a specimen: Any commissioned officer, who stands by and sees irregularities committed, and does not endeavor to quell them, shall be immediately put under arrest. Any non-commissioned officer present, who does not interpose, shall be immediately reduced, and receive corporal punishment.

Any soldier who shall presume to quarrel or fight shall receive five hundred lashes, without the benefit of a court-martial. The offender, upon complaint made, shall have strict justice done him. Any soldier found drunk shall receive one hundred lashes, without benefit of a court-martial.30

Profanity Forbidden

In June, 1756, while at Fort Cumberland, he issued the following order: Colonel Washington has observed that the men of his regiment are very profane and reprobate. He takes this opportunity to inform them of his great displeasure at such practices, and assures them, that, if they do not leave them off, they shall be severely punished. The officers are desired, if they hear any man swear, or make use of an oath or execration, to order the offender twenty-five lashes immediately, without a court-martial. For the second offense, he will be more severely punished.

Protection Of Providence

From Winchester, Virginia, where he was stationed as commander of the troops, he writes to Governor Dinwiddie, about a year after Braddock’s defeat: With this small company of irregulars, with whom order, regularity, circumspection, and vigilance were matters of derision and contempt, we set out, and by the protection of Providence, reached Augusta Court House in seven days, without meeting the enemy; otherwise we must have fallen a sacrifice through the indiscretion of these whooping, hallooing, gentlemen soldiers.

Chaplain For Army

While embarked in the French and Indian War, as commander of the Virginia forces, he earnestly sought of Governor Dinwiddie the supply of a chaplain to his regiment. He writes from Mount Vernon, Virginia, September 23, 1756, as follows: “The want of a chaplain, I humbly conceive, reflects dishonor on the regiment, as all other officers are allowed. The gentlemen of the corps are sensible of this, and proposed to support one at their private expense. But I think it would have a more graceful appearance were he appointed as others are.”

To this the Governor replied: “I have recommended to the commissary to get a chaplain, but he cannot prevail with any person to accept of it. I shall again press it to him.”

In answer to which Washington wrote, November 9,1756: “As to a chaplain, if the government will grant a subsistence, we can readily get a person of merit to accept the place, without giving the commissary any trouble on that point.””

With this letter, of which this was part, the Governor seemed not to have been well pleased. In his reply, among other things, indicating displeasure, he says, November 24, 1756: “In regard to a chaplain, you should know that his qualifications and the Bishop’s letter of license should be produced to the commissary and myself; but this person is also nameless.”

Washington answered, Nov. 24,1756: “When I spoke of a chaplain, it was in answer to yours. I had no person in view, though many have offered; and I only said if the country would provide subsistence, we could procure a chaplain, without thinking there was offense in expression.”

Notwithstanding the importunity of Washington, no chaplain was provided by the government. His solicitude on the subject continuing at the recall of Dinwiddie, he wrote to the president of the Council from Fort Loudoun, April 17, 1758, as follows: “The last Assembly, in their Supply Bill, provided for a chaplain to our regiment. On this subject I had often without any success applied to Governor Dinwiddie. I now flatter myself, that your honor will be pleased to appoint a sober, serious man for this duty. Common decency, Sir, in a camp calls for the services of a divine, which ought not to be dispensed with, although the world should be so uncharitable as to think us void of religion, and incapable of good instructions.”

Conducts Religious Service In The Army “I have often been informed,” says the Rev. Mason L. Weems, “by Colonel B. Temple, of King William County, Virginia, who was one of his aides in the French and Indian War, that he has ‘frequently known Washington, on the Sabbath, read the Scriptures and pray with his regiment, in the absence of the chaplain;’ and also that, on sudden and unexpected visits to his marque, he has, ‘more than once, found him on his knees at his devotions.’”

Letter To His Fiancée In the only known letter to Mrs. Martha Custis, to whom he was engaged, written from Fort Cumberland, July 20, 1758, he recognizes an all powerful Providence:

We have begun our march for the Ohio. A courier is starting for Williamsburg, and I embrace the opportunity to send a few lines to one whose life is now inseparable from mine. Since that happy hour when we made our pledges to each other, my thoughts have been continually going to you as to another Self. That an All-powerful Providence may keep us both in safety is the prayer of your ever faithful and ever affectionate Friend.

The Christian Patriot; 2013
Source: George Washington the Christian By William Jackson Johnstone (1919)

GEORGE WASHINGTON’S PRAYERS

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GEORGE WASHINGTON’S PRAYERS

On April 21, 22, 23, 1891, there was sold at auction in Philadelphia a remarkable collection of Washington relics owned by Lawrence Washington, Bushrod C. Washington, Thomas B. Washington, and J. R. C. Lewis. Among them was found a little manuscript book entitled Daily Sacrifice.

“This gem is all in the handwriting of George Washington, when about twenty years old, [1752] and is, without exception, the most hallowed of all his writings. It is neatly written on twentyfour pages of a little book about the size of the ordinary pocket memorandum.”

“The occasional interlineations and emendations indicate that it was prepared for his own use.”

Whether Washington composed the prayers himself or copied them from some source as yet unknown has not been determined; but they are a revelation of that striking character which has been the wonder of the world. Professor S. F. Upham, professor of practical theology in Drew Theological Seminary, wrote: “The ‘Daily Prayers’ of George Washington abound in earnest thought, expressed in simple, beautiful, fervent and evangelical language. They reveal to us the real life of the great patriot, and attest his piety. None can read those petitions, which bore his desires to God, and often brought answers of peace, without having a grander conception of Washington’s character.”

“The prayers are characterized by a deep consciousness of sin and by a need of forgiveness, and by a recognition of dependence upon the merits and mercies of our Lord. They contain fervent applications for family, friends, and rulers in church and state.” The prayers are as follows (by special permission of Rev. Dr. W. Herbert Burk):

(1) Sunday Morning

Almighty God, and most merciful father, who didst command the children of Israel to offer a daily sacrifice to thee, that thereby they might glorify and praise thee for thy protection both night and day; receive, O Lord, my morning sacrifice which I now offer up to thee; I yield thee humble and hearty thanks that thou has preserved me from the dangers of the night past, and brought me to the light of this day, and the comforts thereof, a day which is consecrated to thine own service and for thine own honor. Let my heart, therefore, Gracious God, be so affected with the glory and majesty of it, that I may not do mine own works, but wait on thee, and discharge those weighty duties thou requirest of me; and since thou art a God of pure eyes, and wilt be sanctified in all who draw near unto thee, who doest not regard the sacrifice of fools, nor hear sinners who tread in thy courts, pardon, I beseech thee, my sins, remove them from thy presence, as far as the east is from the west, and accept of me for the merits of thy son Jesus Christ, that when I come into thy temple, and compass thine altar, my prayers may come before thee as incense; and as thou wouldst hear me calling upon thee in my prayers, so give me grace to hear thee calling on me in thy word, that it may be wisdom, righteousness, reconciliation and peace to the saving of my soul in the day of the Lord Jesus. Grant that I may hear it with reverence, receive it with meekness, mingle it with faith, and that it may accomplish in me, Gracious God, the good work for which thou has sent it. Bless my family, kindred, friends and country, be our God & guide this day and for ever for his sake, who lay down in the Grave and arose again for us, Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

(2) Sunday Evening

O most Glorious God, in Jesus Christ my merciful and loving father, I acknowledge and confess my guilt, in the weak and imperfect performance of the duties of this day. I have called on thee for pardon and forgiveness of sins, but so coldly and carelessly, that my prayers are become my sin and stand in need of pardon. I have heard thy holy word, but with such deadness of spirit that I have been an unprofitable and forgetful hearer, so that, O Lord, tho’ I have done thy work, yet it hath been so negligently that I may rather expect a curse than a blessing from thee. But, O God, who art rich in mercy and plenteous in redemption, mark not, I beseech thee, what I have done amiss; remember that I am but dust, and remit my transgressions, negligences & ignorances, and cover them all with the absolute obedience of thy dear Son, that those sacrifices which I have offered may be accepted by thee, in and for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ offered upon the cross for me; for his sake, ease me of the burden of my sins, and give me grace that by the call of the Gospel I may rise from the slumber of sin into the newness of life. Let me live according to those holy rules which thou hast this day prescribed in thy holy word; make me to know what is acceptable in thy sight, and therein to delight, open the eyes of my understanding, and help me thoroughly to examine myself concerning my knowledge, faith and repentance, increase my faith, and direct me to the true object Jesus Christ the way, the truth and the life, bless, O Lord, all the people of this land, from the highest to the lowest, particularly those whom thou hast appointed to rule over us in church & state, continue thy goodness to me this night. These weak petitions I humbly implore thee to hear accept and ans. for the sake of thy Dear Son Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

(3) Monday Morning

O eternal and everlasting God, I presume to present myself this morning before thy Divine majesty, beseeching thee to accept of my humble and hearty thanks, that it hath pleased thy great goodness to keep and preserve me the night past from all the dangers poor mortals are subject to, and has given me sweet and pleasant sleep, whereby I find my body refreshed and comforted for performing the duties of this day, in which I beseech thee to defend me from all perils of body and soul. Direct my thoughts, words and work, wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the lamb, and purge my heart by thy holy spirit, from the dross of my natural corruption, that I may with more freedom of mind and liberty of will serve thee, the ever lasting God, in righteousness and holiness this day, and all the days of my life. Increase my faith in the sweet promises of the gospel; give me repentance from dead works; pardon my wanderings, & direct my thoughts unto thyself, the God of my salvation; teach me how to live in thy fear, labor in thy service, and ever to run in the ways of thy commandments; make me always watchful over my heart, that neither the terrors of conscience, the loathing of holy duties, the love of sin, nor an unwillingness to depart this life, may cast me into a spiritual slumber, but daily frame me more & more into the likeness of thy son Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life bless my family, friends & kindred unite us all in praising & glorifying thee in all our works begun, continued, and ended, when we shall come to make our last account before thee blessed saviour, who hath taught us thus to pray, our Father, &c.

(4) Monday Evening

Most Gracious Lord God, from whom proceedeth every good and perfect gift, I offer to thy divine majesty my unfeigned praise & thanksgiving for all thy mercies towards me. Thou mad’st me at first and hast ever since sustained the work of thy own hand; thou gav’st thy Son to die for me; and hast given me assurance of salvation, upon my repentance and sincerely endeavoring to conform my life to his holy precepts and example. Thou art pleased to lengthen out to me the time of repentance and to move me to it by thy spirit and by thy word, by thy mercies, and by thy judgments; out of a deepness of thy mercies, and my own unworthiness, I do appear before thee at this time; I have sinned and done very wickedly, be merciful to me, O God, and pardon me for Jesus Christ sake; instruct me in the particulars of my duty, and suffer me not to be tempted above what thou givest me strength to bear. Take care, I pray thee of my affairs and more and more direct me in thy truth, defend me from my enemies, especially my spiritual ones. Suffer me not to be drawn from thee, by the blandishments of the world, carnal desires, the cunning of the devil, or deceitfulness of sin. work in me thy good will and pleasure, and discharge my mind from all things that are displeasing to thee, of all ill will and discontent, wrath and bitterness, pride & vain conceit of myself, and render me charitable, pure, holy, patient and heavenly minded, be with me at the hour of death; dispose me for it, and deliver me from the slavish fear of it, and make me willing and fit to die whenever thou shalt call me hence. Bless our rulers in church and state, bless O Lord the whole race of mankind, and let the world be filled with the knowledge of Thee and thy son Jesus Christ. Pity the sick, the poor, the weak, the needy, the widows and fatherless, and all that morn or are broken in heart, and be merciful to them according to their several necessities, bless my friends and grant me grace to forgive my enemies as heartily as I desire forgiveness of Thee my heavenly Father. I beseech thee to defend me this night from all evil, and do more for me than I can think or ask, for Jesus Christ sake, in whose most holy name & words, I continue to pray, Our Father, &c.

(5) Tuesday Morning

O Lord our God, most mighty and merciful father, I thine unworthy creature and servant, do once more approach thy presence. Though not worthy to appear before thee, because of my natural corruptions, and the many sins and transgressions which I have committed against thy divine majesty; yet I beseech thee, for the sake of him in whom thou art well pleased, the Lord Jesus Christ, to admit me to render thee deserved thanks and praises for thy manifold mercies extended toward me, for the quiet rest & repose of the past night, for food, raiment, health, peace, liberty, and the hopes of a better life through the merits of thy dear son’s bitter passion, and O kind father continue thy mercy and favor to me this day, and ever hereafter; prosper all my lawful undertakings; let me have all my directions from thy holy spirit, and success from thy bountiful hand. Let the bright beams of thy light so shine into my heart, and enlighten my mind in understanding thy blessed word, that I may be enabled to perform thy will in all things, and effectually resist all temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil, preserve and defend our rulers in church & state, bless the people of this land, be a father to the fatherless, a comforter to the comfortless, a deliverer to the captives, and a physician to the sick, let thy blessings be upon our friends, kindred and families. Be our guide this day and forever through J. C. in whose blessed form of prayer I conclude my weak petitions —Our Father, &c.

(6) Tuesday Evening

Most gracious God and heavenly father, we cannot cease, but must cry unto thee for mercy, because my sins cry against me for justice. How shall I address myself unto thee, I must with the publican stand and admire at thy great goodness, tender mercy, and long suffering towards me, in that thou hast kept me the past day from being consumed and brought to nought. O Lord, what is man, or the son of man, that thou regardest him; the more days pass over my head, the more sins and iniquities I heap up against thee. If I should cast up the account of my good deeds done this day, how few and small would they be; but if I should reckon my miscarriages, surely they would be many and great. O, blessed Father, let thy son’s blood wash me from all impurities, and cleanse me from the stains of sin that are upon me. Give me grace to lay hold upon his merits; that they may be my reconciliation and atonement unto thee,—That I may know my sins are forgiven by his death & passion, embrace me in the arms of thy mercy; vouchsafe to receive me unto the bosom of thy love, shadow me with thy wings, that I may safely rest under thy protection this night; and so into thy hands I commend myself, both soul and body, in the name of thy son, J. C, beseeching Thee, when this life shall end, I may take my everlasting rest with thee in thy heavenly kingdom, bless all in authority over us, be merciful to all those afflicted with thy cross or calamity, bless all my friends, forgive my enemies and accept my thanksgiving this evening for all the mercies and favors afforded me; hear and graciously answer these my requests, and whatever else thou see’st needful grant us, for the sake of Jesus Christ in whose blessed name and words I continue to pray, Our Father, &c.

(7) A Prayer For Wednesday Morning

Almighty and eternal Lord God, the great creator of heaven & earth, and the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; look down from heaven, in pity and compassion upon me thy servant, who humbly prostrate myself before thee, sensible of thy mercy and my own misery; there is an infinite distance between thy glorious majesty and me, thy poor creature, the work of thy hand, between thy infinite power, and my weakness, thy wisdom, and my folly, thy eternal Being, and my mortal frame, but, O Lord, I have set myself at a greater distance from thee by my sin and wickedness, and humbly acknowledge the corruption of my nature and the many rebellions of my life. I have sinned against heaven and before thee, in thought, word & deed; I have contemned thy majesty and holy laws. I have likewise sinned by omitting what I ought to have done, and committing what I ought not. I have rebelled against light, despised thy mercies and judgments, and broken my vows and promises; I have neglected the means of Grace, and opportunities of becoming better; my iniquities are multiplied, and my sins are very great. I confess them, O Lord, with shame and sorrow, detestation and loathing, and desire to be vile in my own eyes, as I have rendered myself vile in thine. I humbly beseech thee to be merciful to me in the free pardon of my sins, for the sake of thy dear Son, my only saviour, J. C, who came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance; be pleased to renew my nature and write thy laws upon my heart, and help me to live, righteously, soberly and godly in this evil world; make me humble, meek, patient and contented, and work in me the grace of thy holy spirit, prepare me for death and judgment, and let the thoughts thereof awaken me to a greater care and study to approve myself unto thee in well doing, bless our rulers in church & state. Help all in affliction or adversity—give them patience and a sanctified use of their affliction, and in thy good time deliverance from them; forgive my enemies, take me unto thy protection this day, keep me in perfect peace, which I ask in the name & for the sake of Jesus. Amen.

(8) Wednesday Evening

Holy and eternal Lord God who art the King of heaven, and the watchman of Israel, that never slumberest or sleepest, what shall we render unto thee for all thy benefits; because thou hast inclined thine ears unto me, therefore will I call on thee as long as I live, from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same let thy name be praised, among the infinite riches of thy mercy towards me, I desire to render thanks & praise for thy merciful preservation of me this day, as well as all the days of my life; and for the many other blessings & mercies spiritual & temporal which thou hast bestowed on me, contrary to my deserving. All these thy mercies call on me to be thankful and my infirmities & wants call for a continuance of thy tender mercies; cleanse my soul, O Lord, I beseech thee, from whatever is offensive to thee, and hurtful to me, and give me what is convenient for me. watch over me this night, and give me comfortable and sweet sleep to fit me for the service of the day following. Let my soul watch for the coming of the Lord Jesus; let my bed put me in mind of my grave, and my rising from there of my last resurrection; O heavenly Father, so frame this heart of mine, that I may ever delight to live according to thy will and command, in holiness and righteousness before thee all the days of my life. Let me remember, O Lord, the time will come when the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall arise and stand before the judgment seat, and give an account of whatever they have done in the body, and let me so prepare my soul, that I may do it with joy and not with grief, bless the rulers and people of this and forget not those who are under any affliction or oppression. Let thy favor be extended to all my relations friends and all others who I ought to remember in my prayer and hear me I beseech thee for the sake of my dear redeemer in whose most holy words, I farther pray, Our Father, &c.

(9) Thursday Morning

Most gracious Lord God, whose dwelling is in the highest heavens, and yet beholdest the lowly and humble upon earth, I blush and am ashamed to lift up my eyes to thy dwelling place, because I have sinned against thee; look down, I beseech thee upon me thy unworthy servant who prostrate myself at the footstool of thy mercy, confessing my own guiltiness, and begging pardon for my sins; what couldst thou have done Lord more for me, or what could I have done more against thee? Thou didst send me thy Son to take our nature upon

“Note: The manuscript ended at this place, the close of a page. Whether the other pages were lost or the prayers were never completed, has not been determined.”

The Christian Patriot; 2013
Source: George Washington the Christian By William Jackson Johnstone (1919)

RELIGIOUS FOUNDATION: Christian Ancestry of George Washington

The ChristianPatriot2Christian Ancestry of George Washington

George Washington descended from a long line of excellent churchmen. His great-great-grandfather was the Rev. Lawrence Washington, a clergyman in the Church of England. His great-grandfather, John Washington, “a man of military talent and high in the government,” came to America in 1657, settling in Virginia. He founded a parish which was named for him— “The parish of Washington.” “He was also a sincerely pious man.” In his will, he left a gift to the church, of “a tablet with the Ten Commandments,” and recorded his faith in this manner: “being heartily sorry from the bottome of my hart for my sins past, most humbly desireing forgiveness of the same from the Almighty god (my saviour) and redeimer, in whom and by the meritts of Jesus Christ, I trust and believe assuredly to be saved, and to have full remission and forgiveness of all my sins.”

His grandfather, also named Lawrence Washington, similarly expresses his faith in his will. His father, Augustine Washington, was active in parish affairs, and became a vestryman in Truro Parish, Virginia, November 18, 1735, when his son George was three years old.

On the mother’s side the line of churchmen is equally strong. Grandfather Ball was a vestryman, and Great-Grandfather Warner left his slender but excellent record by presenting to the parish church a set of silver for the holy communion. “The family of Balls was very active in promoting good things.” Washington’s uncle Joseph, in 1729, took the lead in a movement to educate young men for the ministry of the church. Mary Ball Washington (George’s mother), says Henry Cabot Lodge, “was an imperious woman, of strong will, ruling her kingdom alone. Above all she was very dignified, very silent, and very sober-minded. That she was affectionate and loving cannot be doubted, for she retained to the last a profound hold upon the reverential devotion of her son.”

If Washington’s military character was developed out of materials which came to him by inheritance from both sides of his family, so too was his religious character. That love of the church which we have seen as a distinguishing mark in his family became a strong inheritance which his own will and intelligence did not set aside.

Church Membership The parents of Washington were members of the Church of England, which was almost the only denomination of Christians then known in Virginia.

His Baptism The birth record of Washington is found in an old family Bible of quarto form, dilapidated by use and age, and covered with Virginia striped cloth, which record is in the handwriting of the patriot’s father, in these words:

George William, son to Augustine Washington, and Mary, his wife, was born the eleventh day of February, 1731-2, about ten in the morning, and was baptized the 3rd April following, Mr. Bromley Whiting, and Captain Christopher Brooks godfathers, and Mrs. Mildred Gregory godmother.

According to the present style of reckoning, the birthday was February 22, and the baptismal day April 14.

His Father

There are many stories of Washington’s boyhood which show that his father took great pains to teach George to be unselfish, inspire him with a love of truth, and teach him to know and worship God.

When George was eleven years old, his father died. Some months later he was sent to Westmoreland to live with his half-brother, Augustine, who occupied the family seat in that county. What the religious advantages were, which awaited him in his new situation, we have not the means to ascertain. There is no doubt that he enjoyed the privilege of public worship at the parish church, known then and now as Pope’s Creek Church. Here his attendance was probably habitual, as it was an age in which everybody in that region frequented the house of God whenever service was performed.

GWPrayerReligious Teaching By His Mother

In addition to instruction in the Bible and Prayer Book, which were her daily companions, it was Mrs. Washington’s custom to read some helpful books to her children at home, and in this way they received much valuable instruction. Among the volumes which she used for this purpose was one entitled Contemplations: Moral and Divine, by Sir Matthew Hale—an old, well-worn copy, which still bears on its title-page the name of its owner, “Mary Washington.” Those who are familiar with the character of Washington will be struck, on reading these “Contemplations,” with the remarkable fact that the instructions contained in them are most admirably calculated to implant and foster such principles as he is known to have possessed.

The volume was found in the library at Mount Vernon, after Washington’s death, and it appears to have been used by him through life. There are many pencil marks in it noting choice, passages.

“From that volume the mother of Washington undoubtedly drew, as from a living well of sweet water, many of the maxims which she instilled into the mind of her first-born.”

“Let those who wish to know the moral foundation of his character consult its pages.”

Washington’s Rules

In 1745, thirteen years old, Washington copied many things in a little book of thirty folio pages. One part was headed, “Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.” There were one hundred and ten of these maxims. “Scarcely one rule is there that does not involve self-restraint, modesty, habitual consideration of others, and, to a large extent, living for others.” The last three rules are as follows:

108th. When you speak of God or his Attributes, let it be Seriously & [with words of] Reverence, Honor & Obey your Natural Parents altho they be poor 109th. Let your Recreations be Manful not Sinful 110th. Labor to keep alive in your Breast that little Spark of Celestial fire called Conscience.

Poem On “christmas Day” When Washington was thirteen years of age he copied some verses on “Christmas Day,” beginning,

“Assist me, Muse divine, to sing the Morn,
On Which the Saviour of Mankind was born.”

Some think that he composed poems himself, but it is more likely that he copied them from an unknown source. It shows what manner of Christian training he had received at home. He had absorbed “the spirit of the Day and the facts of the faith, as well as the rule and model of Christian life.”

Godfather In 1747, at the age of fifteen years, young Washington was godfather to a child in baptism. In 1748, at sixteen, he was godfather to his niece, Frances Lewis. In 1751, at nineteen, to his nephew, Fielding Lewis, his sister’s first child, and his mother was godmother. In 1760, at twenty-eight, he again became sponsor for another nephew, Charles Lewis.

Goes To Mount Vernon In the summer of 1746, (Age 14) he finds his way to the home of his brother Lawrence, at Mount Vernon. From then until March, 1748, “George, it is believed, resided at Mount Vernon, and with his mother at her abode opposite to Fredericksburg. In that town he went to school, and as Mrs. Washington was connected with the church there, her son no doubt shared, under her own eye, the benefits of divine worship, and such religious instruction as mothers in that day were eminently accustomed to give their children. It was the habit to teach the young the first principles of religion according to the formularies of the church, to inculcate the fear of God, and strict observance of the moral virtues, such as truth, justice, charity, humility, modesty, temperance, chastity, and industry.”

Trip To The West Indies

In 1751 (Age 19) Lawrence Washington, on the advice of his physicians, decided to pass a winter in the West Indies, taking with him his favorite brother George as a companion. George kept a journal of this trip. They arrived on Saturday, November 3. The second Sunday we find this entry in his diary, which shows his habit of church attendance:

“Sunday, 11th—Dressed in order for Church but got to town too late. Dined at Major Clarke’s with ye SeG. Went to Evening Service and return’d to our lodgings.”

Before the next Sunday he was stricken with smallpox. A few days after his recovery he sailed for home.

The Christian Patriot; 2013
Source: George Washington the Christian By William Jackson Johnstone (1919)

GEORGE WASHINGTON’S PRAYER AT VALLEY FORGE

GeorgeWashington-prayervalleyforge

GEORGE WASHINGTON’S PRAYER AT VALLEY FORGE [Age 45-46; 1777-1778]

(1) Reverend Mason L. Weems Account In the winter of 1777-78, while Washington, with the American army, was encamped at Valley Forge, amidst all the perplexities and troubles and sufferings, the Commander-in-chief sought for direction and comfort from God. He was frequently observed to visit a secluded grove. One day a Tory Quaker by the name of Isaac Potts “had occasion to pass through the woods near headquarters. Treading in his way along the venerable grove, suddenly he heard the sound of a human voice, which, as he advanced, increased in his ear; and at length became like the voice of one speaking much in earnest. As he approached the spot with a cautious step, whom should he behold, in a dark natural bower of ancient oaks, but the Commander-in-chief of the American armies on his knees at prayer! Motionless with surprise, Friend Potts continued on the place till the general, having ended his devotions, arose, and, with a countenance of angelic serenity, retired to headquarters.

Friend Potts then went home, and on entering his parlor called out to his wife, “Sarah! my dear Sarah! All’s well! all’s well! George Washington will yet prevail!”

“What’s the matter, Isaac?’^ replied she; “thee seems moved.”

“Well, if I seem moved, ’tis no more than what I really am. I have this day seen what I never expected. Thee knows that I always thought that the sword and the gospel were utterly inconsistent; and that no man could be a soldier and a Christian at the same time. But George Washington has this day convinced me of my mistake.”

He then related what he had seen, and concluded with this prophetical remark! “If George Washington be not a man of God, I am greatly deceived — and still more shall I be deceived, if God do not, through him, work out a great salvation for America.”

(2) Benson J. Lossing’s Account: Isaac Potts, at whose house Washington was quartered, relates that one day, while the Americans were encamped at Valley Forge, he strolled up the creek, when, not far from his den, he heard a solemn voice. He walked quietly in the direction of it, and saw Washington’s horse tied to a sapling. In a thicket near by was the beloved chief upon his knees in prayer, his cheeks suffused with tears. Like Moses at the bush, Isaac felt the he was upon holy ground, and withdrew unobserved. He was much agitated, and, on entering the room where his wife was, he burst into tears. On her inquiring the cause, he informed her of what he had seen, and added, “If there is anyone on this earth whom the Lord will listen to, it is George Washington; and I feel a presentiment that under such a commander there can be no doubt of our eventually establishing our independence, and that God in his providence has willed it so.”

(3) Testimony of Devault Beaver: Extract of a letter from a Baptist minister to the editor of the (Boston) Christian Watchman, dated Baltimore, January I3, 1832:

“The meetinghouse (which is built of stone) belonging to the church just alluded to is in sight of the spot on which the American army, under the command of General Washington, was encamped during a most severe winter. This, you know, was then called ‘Valley Forge’ It is affecting to hear the old people narrate the sufferings of the army, when the soldiers were frequently tracked by the blood from the sore and bare feet, lacerated by the rough and frozen roads over which they were obliged to pass.

“You will recollect that a most interesting incident, in relation to the life of the great American commander-in-chief, has been related as follows: That while stationed here with the army he was frequently observed to visit a secluded grove. This excited the curiosity of a Mr. Potts, of the denomination of ‘Friends’ who watched his movements at one of these seasons of retirement, till he perceived that he was on his knees and engaged in prayer. Mr. Potts then returned, and said to his family, ‘Our cause is lost’ (he was with the Tories), assigning his reasons for this opinion. There is a man by the name of Devault Beaver, now living on this spot (and is eighty years of age), who says he has this statement from Mr. Potts and his family.

“I had before heard this interesting anecdote in the life of our venerated Washington, but had some misgivings about it, all of which are now fully removed.”

(4) Testimony of Doctor Snowden: The following note was written to the Rev. T. W. J. Wylie, D.D., pastor of the First Reformed Presbyterian Church, of Philadelphia, February 28, 1862:

My Dear Sir — Referring to your request, I have to say that I cannot lay my hands at present upon my father’s papers. I recollect that among his manuscript “Reminiscences,” was a statement of his interview with Mr. Potts, a Friend, near Valley Forge, who pointed out to him the spot where he saw General Washington at prayer in the winter of 1777. This event induced Friend Potts to become a Whig; and he told his wife Betty, that the cause of America was a good cause, and would prevail, and that they must now support it. Mr. Weems, in his “Life of Washington,” mentions this incident a little differently; but my father had it from Mr. Potts personally, and the statement herein made may therefore be relied on as accurate. I am, with great regard,

Yours truly,
James Ross Snowden.

Dr. Wylie says, “We have heard the incident just related from the lips of the late Dr. N. R. Snowden, who was informed of it by the person himself.”

    (5) General Knox A Witness It may be added that besides the individual named above as having witnessed the private devotions of General Washington at Valley Forge, it is known that General Knox also was an accidental witness of the same, and was fully apprised that prayer was the object of the Commander’s frequent visits to the grove. This officer was especially devoted to the person of the Commander-in-chief, and had very free and familiar access to him, which may in some measure account for his particular knowledge of his habits.

That an adjacent wood should have been selected as his private oratory, while regularly encamped for the winter, may excite the inquiry of some. The cause may possibly be found in the fact that, in common with the officers and soldiers of the army, he lodged during that winter in a log hut, which, from the presence of Mrs. Washington, and perhaps other inmates, and the fewness of the apartments, did not admit of that privacy proper for such a duty.

    (6) Independence Born Of Prayer “Few scenes have had so much moral grandeur in them as this. Repeated disaster and defeat had disappointed the army and the nation. Suffering, to an extreme degree, was in the camp, and thousands of brave men were without the necessities of life. The independence of the nation was in jeopardy. Attempts were made to stab the reputation of the commander, and to degrade him from office. Provision for the army was to be made, murmurs and discontents suppressed, calumny to be met, plans formed for a future campaign, the nation to be inspirited and aroused; an active enemy was in the neighborhood, flushed with recent victory, and preparing to achieve new triumphs; and in these circumstances the Father of his Country went alone and sought strength and guidance from the God of armies and light. The ear of Heaven was propitious to his prayer; and who can tell how much of the subsequent brilliant success of the American armies was in answer to the prayers of the American general at Valley Forge? To latest times it will and should be a subject of the deepest interest that the independence of our country was laid, not only in valor and patriotism and wisdom, but in prayer. The example of Washington will rebuke the warrior or the statesman who never supplicates the blessing of God on his country. It will be encouragement for him who prays for its welfare and its deliverance from danger.”

    “Example Of Christian Charity” While encamped at Valley Forge one day a Tory who was well known in the neighborhood was captured and brought into camp. His name was Michael Wittman, and he was accused of having carried aid and information to the British in Philadelphia. He was taken to West Chester and there tried by court-martial. It was proved that he was a very dangerous man and that he had more than once attempted to do great harm to the American army. He was pronounced guilty of being a spy and sentenced to be hanged.

On the evening of the day before that set for the execution, a strange old man appeared at Valley Forge. He was a small man with long, snow-white hair falling over his shoulders. His face, although full of kindliness, was sad-looking and thoughtful; his eyes, which were bright and sharp, were upon the ground and lifted only when he was speaking. . . .

His name was announced. “Peter Miller?” said Washington. “Certainly, Show him in at once.”

“General Washington, I have come to ask a great favor of you,” he said, in his usual kindly tones.

“I shall be glad to grant you almost anything,” said Washington, “for we surely are indebted to you for many favors. Tell me what it is.”

“I hear,” said Peter, “that Michael Wittman has been found guilty of treason and that he is to be hanged at Turk’s Head to-morrow. I have come to ask you to pardon him.”

Washington started back, and a cloud came over his face. “That is impossible,” he said. “Wittman is a bad man. He has done all in his power to betray us. He has even offered to join the British and aid in destroying us. In these times we dare not be lenient with traitors; and for that reason I cannot pardon your friend.”

“Friend!” cried Peter. “Why, he is no friend of mine. He is my bitterest enemy. He has persecuted me for years. He has even beaten me and spit in my face, knowing full well that I would not strike back. Michael Wittman is no friend of mine.”

Washington was puzzled. “And still you wish me to pardon him?” he asked.

“I do,” answered Peter. “I ask it of you as a great personal favor.”

“Tell me,” said Washington, with hesitating voice, “why is it that you thus ask the pardon of your worst enemy?”

“I ask it because Jesus did as much for me,” was the old man’s brief answer.

Washington turned away and went into another room. Soon he returned with a paper on which was written the pardon of Michael Wittman.

“My dear friend,” he said, as he placed it in the old man’s hands, “I thank you for this example of Christian charity.”

    Acknowledges Receipt Of Sermon: On March 13, 1778, he writes from Valley Forge to the Reverend Israel Evans, acknowledging the receipt of his sermon, as follows:

Your favor of the 17th ultimo, enclosing the Discourse which you delivered on the 18th of December, the day set apart for a general thanksgiving, never came to my hands till yesterday. I have read this performance with equal attention and pleasure; and at the same time that I admire and feel the force of your reasoning which you have displayed through the whole, it is more especially incumbent upon me to thank you for the honorable but partial mention you have made of my character, and to assure you that it will ever be the first wish of my heart to aid your pious endeavors to inculcate a due sense of the dependence we ought to place in the all-wise and powerful Being, on whom alone our success depends.

    Fasting: An order issued at Headquarters, Valley Forge, April 12, 1778, includes the following directions for a day of fasting and prayer:

The Honorable the Congress having thought proper to recommend to the United States of America to set apart Wednesday, the 22nd inst., to be observed as a day of Pasting, Humiliation and Prayer, that at one time, and with one voice, the righteous dispensations of Providence may be acknowledged, and His goodness and mercy towards our arms supplicated and implored:

The General directs that the day shall be most religiously observed in the Army; that no work shall be done thereon, and that the several chaplains do prepare discourses suitable to the occasion.

The ChristianPatriot2

Christian Above Patriot:The following order was issued at Headquarters, Valley Forge, May 2, 1778:

The Commander-in-chief directs that Divine service be performed every Sunday at 11 o’clock, in each Brigade which has a Chaplain. Those Brigades which have none will attend the places of worship nearest to them.—It is expected that officers of all ranks will, by their attendance, set an example for their men. While we are duly performing the duty of good soldiers we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of a Patriot it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of a Christian.

The signal instances of Providential goodness which we have experienced, and which have almost crowned our arms with complete success, demand from us, in a peculiar manner, the warmest returns of gratitude and piety to the Supreme Author of all Good!”

Thanksgiving Ordered: An order issued at Valley Forge, May 5,1778, begins as follows:

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 upon a lasting foundation; it becomes us to set apart a day for gratefully acknowledging the Divine Goodness, and celebrating the event, which we owe to His benign interposition. The several brigades are to be assembled at nine o’clock to-morrow morning, when their Chaplains will communicate the intelligence contained in the Postscript of the Gazette of 2nd inst., and offer up a thanksgiving, and deliver a discourse suitable to the occasion.

“Washington, with his lady, and suite, Lord Stirling and his lady, with other general officers and ladies, attended the religious services of the Jersey brigade, when the Rev. Mr. Hunter delivered a discourse.”

    Recognizes Protection Of Providence: In a letter to Landon Carter, written from Valley Forge, May 30, 1778 he says:

“My friends, therefore, may believe me sincere in my professions of attachment to them, whilst Providence has a just claim to my humble and grateful thanks for its protection and direction of me through the many difficult and intricate scenes which this contest has produced; and for its constant interposition in our behalf, when the clouds were heaviest and seemed ready to burst upon us.

To paint the distresses and perilous situation of this army in the course of last winter, for want of clothes, provisions, and almost every other necessary essential to the well-being, I may say existence, of an army, would require more time and an abler pen than mine; nor, since our prospects have so miraculously brightened, shall I attempt it, or even bear it in remembrance, further than as a memento of what is due to the great Author of all the care and good that have been extended in relieving us in difficulties and distresses.”

Source: George Washington the Christian By William Jackson Johnstone (1919)

RELIGIOUS VIEWS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON; source: The Jefferson Bible

ThomasJeffersonAdvantagesJesus

See also: Thomas Jefferson Notes of Religion October 1776
 
Dear Sir: In the ancient feudal times of our good old forefathers,when the Seigneur married his daughter or knighted his son, it was the usage for his vassals to give him a year’s rent extra, in the name of an aid. I think it as reasonable, when our Pastor builds a house, that each of his flock should give him an aid of a year’s contribution. I enclose mine, as a tribute of justice, which of itself, indeed, is nothing, but as an example, if followed, may become something. In any event, be pleased to accept it as an offering of duty and a testimony of my friendly attachment and high respect.—Thomas Jefferson to his minister Rev. Mr. Hatch, an Episcopal minister, who was settled in Charlottsville, Virginia, two miles from the residence of Mr. Jefferson, as rector of the parish; Monticello, December 8, 1821
 
“In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is easier to acquire them, and to effect this, they have perverted the best religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer engine for their purposes.” Thomas Jefferson to H. G. Spafford, 1814

RELIGIOUS VIEWS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON; Source The Jefferson Bible: The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth edited by Thomas Jefferson published 1902 by order of Congress:

Editors Note: As Jefferson tells us in his letter to Benjamin Rush he was a Christian, he was however like many of the Christians I have grown up with, and known throughout my life, disenchanted with organized religion and opposed to the corrupting of the pure and simple religion which Jesus declared to his followers. I grew up with this same attitude and have told others “if you have to tell someone you’re a Christian then you are not.” It is time for the lies, put out by the left and those opposed to Christianity in this country to end!

“The moral precepts of Jesus are more pure, correct and sublime than those of the ancient philosophers.” ~ Thomas Jefferson Apr 19, 1803 in a letter to Edward Dowse

"the Christian religion was sometimes our topic; and I then 
promised you that one day or other,I would give you my views 
of it. They are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, 
and very different from that Anti-Christian system imputed to 
me by those who know nothing of my opinions." ~ Jefferson

 

Thomas Jefferson Concerning those who Misinterpreted his Religious views (Click to enlarge)

Thomas Jefferson Concerning those who Misinterpreted his Religious views (Click to enlarge)

Begin excerpt:

“Say nothing of my religion. It is known to my God and myself alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in my life; if that has been honest and dutiful to society, the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one.”

In a letter to his daughter, written in 1803, Mr. Jefferson said: “A promise made to a friend some years ago, but executed only lately, has placed my religious creed on paper. I have thought it just that my family, by possessing this, should be enabled to estimate the , libels published against me on this, as on every other possible subject.” The “religious creed” to which he referred was a comparison of the doctrines of Jesus with those of others, prepared in fulfillment of a promise made to Dr. Benjamin Rush. This paper, with the letter to Dr. Rush which accompanied it, is a fit introduction to the “Jefferson Bible.”

Under date of April 21, 1803, Jefferson wrote to Dr. Benjamin Rush, sending him the syllabus of an estimate of the merits of the doctrines of Jesus compared with those of others. This is the communication to which he had referred in his letter to Dr. Priestley. In the letter accompanying the syllabus he tells Dr. Rush that he is sending this for his own eye, simply in performance of his promise, and indicates its confidential character in the following words: “And in confiding it to you, I know it will not be exposed to the malignant perversions of those who make every word from me a text for new misrepresentations and calumnies. I am, moreover, averse to the communication of my religious tenets to the public, because it would countenance the presumption of those who have endeavoured to draw them before that tribunal, and to seduce public opinion to erect itself into that inquest over the rights of conscience, which the laws have so justly proscribed. It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself to resist invasions of it in the case of others, or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own.”

ThomasJeffersonQuotesFreedomThought

Letter to Benjamin Rush:
Dear Sir: In some of the delightful conversations with you, in the evenings of 1798-99, and which served as an anodyne to the afflictions of the crisis through which our country was then laboring, the Christian religion was sometimes our topic; and I then promised you that one day or other, I would give you my views of it. They are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from that Anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence, and believing he never claimed any other.

At the short intervals since these conversations, when I could justifiably abstract my mind from public affairs, this subject has been under my contemplation; but the more I considered it, the more it expanded beyond the measure of either my time or information. In the moment of my late departure from Monticello, I received from Dr. Priestly his little treatise of “Socrates and Jesus Compared.” This being a section of the general view I had taken of the field, it became a subject of reflection while on the road, and unoccupied otherwise. The result was to arrange in my mind a syllabus, or outline, of such an estimate of the comparative merits of Christianity, as I wished to see executed by some one of more leisure and information for the task than myself. This I now send you, as the only discharge of my promise I can probably ever execute. And in confiding it to you, I know it will not be exposed to the malignant perversions of those who make every word from me a text for new misrepresentations and calumnies.

I am moreover averse to the communication of my religious tenets to the public; because it would countenance the presumption of those who have endeavored to draw them before that, tribunal, and to seduce public opinion to erect itself into that inquisition over the rights of conscience which the laws have so justly proscribed. It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself to resist invasions of it in the case of others, or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own. It behooves him, too, in his own case, to give no example of concession, betraying the right, of independent opinion by answering questions of faith, which the laws have left between God and himself.

Accept my affectionate salutations.                                                 ******

ThomasJeffersonQuotesMoralityJesus

Another note from me:
As you can see when Jefferson wrote “And in confiding it to you, I know it will not be exposed to the malignant perversions of those who make every word from me a text for new misrepresentations and calumnies.” It is apparent just like the democrats, the liberal news media and pundits do to Republican politicians now, (especially those who are of a Tea Party or Reagan conservative persuasion) they are misquoted, their words taken out of context, etc., which is exactly what they obviously did to him back then.

This is shown also in the misinterpretation of The Bill of Rights today, it does not say “Wall of Separation” It says” “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

It was not meant to keep Christians and their Speech out of the public sphere. It was meant however to keep the government out of churches and out of peoples right to freely express their religious beliefs!

In Jefferson’s so-called “Wall of Separation Letter” he was expressing a personal opinion, get the word express, as in exercising his free right to religious expression. To have convoluted his words in that letter into having no religious expression in the public or political sphere is a direct contradiction of “free expression” and puts the first amendment of the Constitution in direct opposition to its original meaning.

ThomasJeffersonQuotesShays

More from Jefferson on his religious views:

Under date of January 29, 1815, Jefferson wrote from Monticello to Charles Clay: “Probably you have heard me say I had taken the four Evangelists, had cut out from them every text they had recorded of the moral precepts of Jesus, and arranged them in a certain order, and although they appeared but as fragments, yet fragments of the most sublime edifice of morality which had ever been exhibited to man.” In this letter however Jefferson disclaims any intention of publishing this little compilation, saying: “I not only write nothing on religion, but rarely permit myself to speak on it.”

As you see in his letter to Rush he did not speak of his religious views because he knew his words would be perverted, misconstrued, misused and misrepresented. We have seen this done in recent history when they constantly refer to the Wall of Separation letter, by those who wish to restrict people first amendment protected God-given right to the free exercise of religion according to the dictates of their own conscience.

Again, in a letter to Charles Thomson, written from Monticello, under date of January 9, 1816, he says: “I, too, have made a wee little book from the same materials, which I call the Philosophy of Jesus; it is a paradigma of his doctrines, made by cutting the texts out of the book, and arranging them on the pages of a blank book, in a certain order of time or subject. A more beautiful or precious morsel of ethics I have never seen; it is a document in proof that I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.”

NOTE: See Jefferson was not an atheist or deist as many claim today. Indeed I would argue that he was somewhat of a coward, for not standing up publicly more than he did, for what he actually believed. Granted he was concerned about how religious leaders would use his words or opinions to promote their pet causes, and he was also concerned how others would misuse and misguide people by taking his words out of context. However in so doing he made it so as we see today how greatly they indeed have been taken his words out of context, in ways he never imagined they would be.

Public Servants Who Fasten Themselves on the Public Treasury Like Leeches

Political Leeches

Public Servants Who Fasten Themselves on the Public Treasury Like Leeches Sucking Themselves Full and Fat at the Public’s Expense.

“If the present Assembly pass an act, and declare it shall be irrevocable by subsequent assemblies, the declaration is merely void, and the act repealable, as other acts are. So far, and no farther authorized, they [the first Virginia convention] organized the government by the ordinance entitled a Constitution or form of government It pretends to no higher authority than the other ordinances of the same session; it does not say that it shall be perpetual; that it shall be unalterable by other legislatures; that it shall be transcendent above the powers of those who they knew would have equal power with themselves. Not only the silence of the instrument is a proof they thought it would be alterable, but their own practice also; for this very convention, meeting as a House of Delegates in General Assembly with the Senate in the autumn of that year, passed acts of assembly in contradiction to their ordinance of government; and every assembly from that time to this has done the same. I am safe, therefore, in the position that the Constitution itself is alterable by the ordinary legislature. Though this opinion seems founded on the first elements of common sense, yet is the contrary maintained by some persons. First, because, say they, the conventions were vested with every power necessary to make effectual opposition to Great Britain. But to complete this argument, they must go on. and say further, that effectual opposition could not be made to Great Britain without establishing a form of government perpetual and unalterable by the Legislature; which is not true. An opposition which at some time or other was to come to an end. could not need a perpetual constitution to carry it on; and a government amendable as its defects should be discovered, was as likely to make effectual resistance, as one that should be unalterably wrong. Besides, the assemblies were as much vested with all powers requisite for resistance as the Conventions were. If, therefore, these powers included that of modelling the form of government in the one case, they did so in the other. The assemblies then as well a~ the conventions may model the government: that is, they may alter the ordinance of government. Second, they urge, that if the convention had meant that this instrument should be alterable, as their other ordinances were, they would have called it an ordinance; but they have called it a constitution, which, ex vi termini, means ” an act above the power of the ordinary legislature.” I answer that constitutio, constitutum, statutum, lex, are convertible terms. * * * Thirdly. But, say they, the people have acquiesced, and this has given it an authority superior to the laws. It is true that the people did not rebel against it; and was that a time for the people to rise in rebellion? Should a prudent acquiescence, at a critical time, be construed into a confirmation of every illegal thing done during that period? Besides, why should they rebel? At an annual election they had chosen delegates for the year, to exercise the ordinary powers of legislation, and to manage the great contest in which they were engaged. These delegates thought the contest would be best managed by an organized government. They, therefore, among others, passed an ordinance of government. They did not presume to call it perpetual and unalterable. They well knew they had no power to make it so; that our choice of them had been for no such purpose, and at a time when we could have no such purpose in contemplation. Had an unalterable form of government been meditated, perhaps we should have chosen a different set of people. There was no cause, then, for the people to rise in rebellion. But to what dangerous lengths will this argument lead? Did the acquiescence of the Colonies under the various acts of power exercised by Great Britain in our infant state, confirm these acts, and so far invest them with the authority of the people as to render them unalterable, and our present resistance wrong? On every unauthoritative exercise of power by the legislature must the people rise in rebellion, or their silence be construed into a surrender of that power to them? If so, how many rebellions should we have had already? One certainly for every session of assembly. The other States in the Union have been of opinion that to render a form of government unalterable by ordinary acts of Assembly, the people must delegate persons with special powers. They have accordingly chosen special conventions to form and fix their governments. The individuals then who maintain the contrary opinion in this country, should have the modesty to suppose it possible that they may be wrong, and the rest of America right. But if there be only a possibility of their being wrong, if only a plausible doubt remains of the validity of the ordinance of government, is it not better to remove that doubt by placing it on a bottom which none will dispute? If they be right we shall only have the unnecessary trouble of meeting once in convention. If they be wrong, they expose us to the hazard of having no fundamental rights at all. True it is. this is no time for deliberating on forms of government. While an enemy is within our bowels, the first object is to expel him. But when this shall be done, when peace shall be established, and leisure given us for intrenching within good forms the rights for which we have bled, let no man be found indolent enough to decline a little more trouble for placing them beyond the reach of question.” —Thomas Jefferson Notes On Virginia, viii, 364. Ford Ed., iii, 226. (1782.) See Virginia, Conventions.

“If a Nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be…if we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed.”
~ Attributed to Thomas Jefferson I haven’t found where he said or wrote it yet

WARNINGS FOR THE FUTURE! An Oration By Honorable Andrew Shuman, Delivered At LERA, Friend of Lincoln and Former Republican Governor of Illinois, July 4, 1876.

Fellow-citizens,—I greet you with patriotic congratulation. The circuit of the first century of the American Republic is this day accomplished, and fortunate we who are living witnesses of the great consummation. Fortunate we who are citizens of a country so free, so blessed, so progressive, so glowing with auspicious auguries for the future.

Hail illustrious day! commemorating the birth of a nation of free men, indexing from year to year, through 100 years, a national history abounding with conspicuous achievements of human bravery, genius and government, and now marking the dawn of a new century of national life. Hail illustrious day! now crowned with a diadem of an hundred precious jewels, shining like a circle of suns in the boundless firmament of Time!

The occasion is an appropriate one, not only for congratulation, but also for retrospection and thoughtful forecast.

We can felicitate ourselves that the past is secure; its wars have been fought and won; its labors have been performed and their fruits gathered; all its trials have been survived, all its dead are buried, and all its events, activities and achievements are embalmed in those indubitable evidences of our national growth and greatness which are visible all around us and all over our favored land; it is a century of completed history, the incidents of which are quite too familiar to us to need recapitulation. These lessons, and the instruction we have derived from our national experience, are irrepressibly suggestive, and ought to serve us to excellent purpose as practical guides. We can avoid the rocks upon which other ships of State have foundered, and steer clear of others which wisdom, a trustworthy pilot, discerns in the billowy sea of civil government.

Looking first on the bright side, then, we see much to encourage us hopefully to anticipate the continued advancement of our country, and the stability of our republican form of government, with its free institutions and its power, under popular support, to maintain its integrity. The fact that the Republic has survived all the trials, perils and embarrassments of an hundred years—having been neither crippled by misfortune nor spoiled by prosperity—is itself the most inspiring evidence that it possesses the elements of national endurance and permanency. Other new nations have in the meantime arisen and disappeared, while old ones have dissolved and vanished from the map of the world. Only a few which existed when ours was born are greater to-day than they were then, and none of them—not one—has in any respect progressed as ours has in the elements of civilization and real greatness and power. England and Germany and Russia alone, of all the older nations, are stronger and greater now than they were a century ago. France has been twice humbled and dismembered; Italy and Spain and Austria have each had their national vicissitudes and disasters, by which their progress has been retarded, their glory tarnished, and their territory contracted. Turkey, besotted with licentiousness and crazed with a fanaticism that is as stubborn as it is stupid, is still the “sick man” of Europe, and becomes sicker continually, his miserable and useless life being spared only because his neighbors, each coveting his possessions, are afraid to go to war with each other over the question as to which of them shall secure the largest and best part of his territory and navigable waters. The other and smaller nationalities of Europe are likewise spared only as a matter of prudence and discretion by the greater powers, the jealousy of these of each other being the only guaranty those have of continued life. Crossing over to Africa and Asia, we find that their ancient nations are standing still, decaying, or being gradually absorbed by foreign conquest, the only exceptions being China and Japan, the former of which merely vegetates, as she has vegetated for centuries, behind her stone wall of exclusiveness, and the latter of which has of late given hopeful signs of a progressive impulse by her admiration of our modern system of popular education and the importation of foreign machinery of agriculture, manufacture and transportation. As regards the South American and Central American nationalities, they are as unstable as the weather in March, and as unprogressive as their long-smothered volcanoes. Brazil is the solitary exception, but it is questionable whether even her progressive tendencies of the current epoch will outlive her present wise and liberal ruler, to whose good sense she owes her tranquility and prosperity. Our neighbor Republic of Mexico, of whom we have so often and so anxiously expected much, but been always disappointed, is but little better off to-day than when she was a dependency of Spain, and, unless her government should hereafter more successfully than of late years demonstrate its ability to compel her marauding free-booters to cease their depredatory incursions across the border, it is merely a question of time when the American eagle will pounce down upon her and mercifully spread the stars and stripes all over her mountains and plains.

tyrannyAnd this leads us to the consideration of that first manifested symptom of a decline in the patriotism of a free people—indifference to political duty on the part of good citizens—a symptom which bodes no good to a Republic, the successful maintenance of which is entirely dependent upon the faithful exercise of the elective franchise by its men of intelligence; honesty and public spirit. It is a fact to which we cannot shut our eyes, that this is the most alarming cause of apprehension now existent in this country—this growing indifference to the most vital duty of citizenship by the very class of men who have the most at stake in the honorable and efficient management of our public affairs—the men of property, conscience and thoughtfulness. It is the neglect of this class of men to which most of our political evils are attributable. They too often stand aloof from active participation in the work and duty of politics, and it follows, as a matter of course, that selfish and unprincipled men, by means of those methods and appliances which the professional politician knows so well how to employ, are left to manage affairs, not for the public welfare, but for the subservience of individual interests and the gratification of unworthy ambitions. Thus the powers of unconscionable greed and unreasoning ignorance, the one becoming the hired servant of the other, usurp the reins of government, which should never for an instant be intrusted out of the control of the sober minded, intelligent, tax-paying, patriotic portion of the community. And thus it is that corrupt rings and venality in office become possible, and that one designing man or a few sharpers in politics so often succeed in fastening themselves upon, the public treasury, like leeches, sucking themselves full and fat at the people’s expense. Wherever and whenever in this country corruption creeps into our legislative bodies and into our public offices, the so-called “good citizens,” who naturally become disgusted and indignant at the disgraceful results, are generally responsible, not because of their own acts, but because of their inexcusable non-action at the proper time, when they might have prevented bad men from worming themselves into positions which should never be given to any but good men. It is an established theorem in our modern political philosophy, that official representatives and agents usually reflect the average intelligence and morality of their immediate constituents—that is, those who by their votes elect them. Now, we are aware that, in almost every town, district, or city in this country, the majority of the population is fairly intelligent, honorable, and patriotic. This being so, when corrupt or unworthy men are elected to office, it only proves that a majority of those entitled to the elective franchise virtually disfranchised themselves, either by failing to take an active part in the primary caucuses, at which better candidates could have been selected, or by neglecting to do their duty as electors at the polls, where better men could have been elected.

Happily, of late there have been evidences of a general re-awakening to the importance of all good citizens taking an active part in politics. They are just discovering the sad truth that while they have been politically asleep, dreaming pleasant dreams of security, wakeful plunderers have been despoiling their treasures; that they have too long left to others the performance of duties which can never safely be intrusted to proxies; and now, appalled and indignant, they have arisen and gone to work with the one grand purpose of making up for lost time. Such popular awakenings and uprisings are sublime and salutary. Their effect upon the body politic is similar to that of a rushing torrent through a long-stagnating pool of water, cleansing and purifying it. But what if the rushing torrent should never come? What if the waters of the stagnant pool should be left undisturbed, to thicken with accumulated putridity, to breed malarial vapors, and contaminate all the air around it with noxious offensiveness, without ever receiving a purifying visitation from the heaven or the earth! Would not the ardent midsummer sun, angered at the poisoner of his medium of radiation, bring the power of his irresistible shafts to bear upon it, evaporating and dispersing in noisome atoms, drying up its foul bed, and covering it over with a crop of the rankest weeds? It is fortunate for our Republic that the. mass of intelligent, patriotic citizens do occasionally, even though spasmodically, wake up to the necessity of cleansing and purifying the stagnating pool of politics; but what if, at some period in the coming century, they should neglect to awaken from one of their sleeps of apathy and indifference, and the foul stagnation should be left to thicken and putrify, without ever receiving a cleansing visitation from the heaven or the earth! Would not the sun of Destiny, angered at the noisome offense, evaporate its elements, and rill its place upon the earth with rankest weeds? This—this my fellow countrymen, is the most solemn danger to our national future—-this possibility that, at some time, those of the people who have the most direct interest in the proper and honorable administration of public affairs will fall into such a deep stupor of political indifference that they will awaken, if ever at all, only to see their Republic in irretrievable ruins, and themselves the helpless slaves of an usurper or a conqueror! If there is one warning that should be sounded abroad over all this free and broad land, more loudly and emphatically than all others, it is this: If they would preserve their liberties and maintain their national integrity, let all citizens of intelligence and patriotic feeling participate actively and earnestly in all political movements, hold in check the over-presumptuous, ever selfish arts and devices of demagogism, and keep the reins of government, both local and general, in their own strong hands.

All the American people ought to be active politicians. They ought to study political principles, systems and economies, and the science of statesmanship, with the same interest with which in the schools they study mathematics and the practical sciences. In a Republic, where the individual interests and personal liberty of every man are dependent upon the efficient administration of the government, politics is as much a part of the citizen’s business as is the pursuit by which he earns his daily bread. Taxation, protection of individual and popular rights, and private as well as public security are matters of politics, and therefore of vital concern to every man. The citizens are the sovereigns—they, in their aggregate capacity, are the possessors and rulers of the land. To understand how to rule wisely should be their ambition, and this they cannot understand unless they study politics, familiarizing themselves with the principles of Government, the spirit and letter of the organic laws, and the causes and effects of political action. Unless the mass of intelligent citizens do become politicians, we will be governed by an oligarchy, consisting of an irresponsible class of men, who will make politics their business—they will be the governing class—and class government in a Republic would in time degenerate into as obnoxious and burdensome a system as would be an absolute dictatorship, towards which it would gradually tend, and in which, if permitted to have uninterrupted sway, it would ultimately culminate.

DontTreadOnMOther dangers there are in our pathway into the now veiled future, which are equally deserving of sober thought. Among these is that aggressive phase in our human nature—we will call it unreasoning selfishness—which tends to the assumption of excessive license on the one hand and to bigoted intolerance on the other. I mean that repulsive, anti-republican manifestation of supreme self-assertion which, in one extreme, develops itself in communism, and, in the other, in persecution for opinion’s sake. These, if suffered to gain power, would in time eventuate in legalized piracy and plunder on the one hand, or legalized tyranny on the other, both being equally in conflict with the spirit and harmonious existence of popular government. Being a heterogeneous people, with a variety of tastes, creeds, customs, prejudices and interests, we must, if we would continue to live together in peace and harmony, be exceedingly tolerant towards each other in matters of opinion, and exceedingly respectful of each other’s personal rights and prerogatives as citizens who stand on an equality under the law.

Then, too, we must carefully cherish our peculiar system of free schools and guard it against encroachment from sectarian agencies or other influences which would seek to transform it into an instrumentality of bigotry, factious ambition, social disorder or political mischief. More depends upon our schools, their faithful maintenance and their efficient management, for the future of this Republic, than upon all other agencies and influences combined. Popular intelligence is the rock upon which our national structure rests, and so long as the youth of each generation—the poor man’s as well as the rich man’s children—shall freely enjoy the advantages of liberal education, the nation will have its strongest possible guaranty of continued life, and popular liberty an impregnable safeguard.

In conclusion, it may reasonably be anticipated by the patriotic citizen of this grand Republic whose peculiar privilege it is this day to witness the close of the first and the dawning of a second century of national existence, that there will be a glorious future as there has been a glorious past; that our posterity will be as faithful to their sacred trust as we have been and as our forefathers have been; that those who will follow us as the possessors of this priceless inheritance of national blessings, will .appreciate it as we do—that they will be thoughtful patriots, true and faithful citizens, moral and intelligent men. Let us, in the earnestness of our patriotic devotion, in the fulness of our hopeful and trustful hearts, pray to Him who is the Supreme Ruler of Nations that they maybe so, and that centuries after our poor dust shall have mingled with that of the patriots, the heroes, and the statesmen of America’s eventful history, the Republic of the United States, free and independent, will still maintain, with ever-increasing luster, its proud place among the nations of the earth.

See also: The Consequence of Bad Legal Precedent in American Legislation
 Wide Spread And Growing Corruption In The Public Service Of The States And Nation

 The Betrayal Of ‘We The American People’ Our Nation! Our Birthright!
Open Letter to ALL Politicians and Bureaucrats, we’re coming for you
DANIEL WEBSTER AND OUR AMERICAN FLAG
THE COST OF POPULAR LIBERTY by Brooks Adams July 4th 1876
AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP! by Colonel Henry A. Gildersleve July 4th 1876 NYC
A RESUME OF AMERICAN HISTORY by Lawrence A. Gobright , Esq., (1816-1881)
AMERICA OUR SUCCESS OUR FUTURE! by John P. Gulliver July 4th 1876 NYC
BENEFITS OF THE REPUBLICAN EXPERIMENT IN AMERICA by Thomas G. Alvord 1810- 1897
THE SOURCE AND SECURITY OF AMERICAN FREEDOM AND PROGRESS by Courtlandt Parker 1876
nra_armd

What The Founding Fathers Said About the 2nd Amendment (Original Intent)

Just a note, when the Bill of Rights were written and the 2nd amendment was written, the colonists, i.e. the people, were armed with the very same arms i.e. cannons and muskets, that were available to the government military, i.e. British Tories

“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined…The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun.” -Patrick Henry

“No man who knows aught, can be so stupid to deny that all men naturally were born free.” ~ John Milton

“When complaints are freely heard, deeply considered and speedily reformed, then is the utmost bound of civil liberty attained that wise men look for.” ~ John Milton

Self-defense is justly called the primary law of nature, so it is not, neither can it be in fact, taken away by the laws of society. And, lastly, to vindicate these rights, when actually violated and attacked, the subjects of England are entitled, in the first place, to the regular administration and free course of justice in the courts of law; next to the right of petitioning the king and parliament for redress of grievances; and, lastly, to the right of having and using arms for self preservation and defense. Free men have arms; slaves do not.” – William Blackstone

No enactment of man can be considered law unless it conforms to the law of God.” – William Blackstone

The public good is in nothing more essentially interested, than in the protection of every individual’s private rights. So great moreover is the regard of the law for private property, that it will not authorize the least violation of it; no, not even for the general good of the whole community.” – William Blackstone

The Statists, Marxist, Leftist, Progressives, Socialist, i.e. those elements of the country that wish the federal/central government to control everything, would have you believe that the second amendment pertains simply to the military. The Democrats have made this argument for years. Clearly they lie and/or are wrong as you will see as you educate yourself here on exactly what the Founder’s and others said on the subject at the time of the founding.

Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions.”- Thomas Paine

“If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.” – Samuel Adams

“The law of self-preservation overrules the laws of obligation to others.” ~ Thomas Jefferson 1793

The 2nd Amendment ensures the 1st Amendment.

The Second Amendment states:
“A  well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

definitions of key words:

Right: noun; 1. something to which one has a just claim, 2. the power or privilege to which one is justly entitled, 3. something that one may properly claim as due, 4. the cause of truth or justice

People: plural; any one, of a number of human beings making up a group or assembly or linked by a common interest.

People is plural for person, people therefore according to the Founder’s original intent, meant every single citizen that make up the people of the United States of America.

Keep: verb; 1. to retain in one’s possession or power, 2. to continue to maintain, 3. to cause to remain in a given place, situation, or condition, 4. to preserve in an unspoiled condition.

Bear: verb: 1. to be equipped or furnished with, 2.to carry or possess

Shall: verb: 1. used to express a command or exhortation, 2. used in laws, regulations, or directives to express what is mandatory

Not: adverb: 1. never, 2. not ever, 3. at no time, 4. not in any degree, 5. not under any condition

Be: verb: 1. to have, maintain, or occupy a place, situation, or position; 2. to remain unmolested, undisturbed, or uninterrupted

Infringed: Infringe; verb: to encroach upon in a way that violates law or the rights of another, Encroach; 1. to enter by gradual steps or by stealth into the possessions or rights of another, 2. to advance beyond the usual or proper limits

See the following links also: Political Evils and the Remedy for them by Noah Webster 1834,
Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English so even lawyers and politicians can understand) ,
POLITICAL CONSTITUTIONS by Johannes Von Muller (1832),
Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God
Barack Obama’s 10 Point Plan to “Change” The Second Amendment

If the government believes they should provide everyone with healthcare because it is a “Right”, why is it they do not provide us all with guns, because that has been a true “Right” to “Keep and Bear” for much longer than healthcare!

Founder’s quotes on 2nd amendment

”The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.” (George Washington)

“A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.” (George Washington)

“Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence … From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and  pistol are equally indispensable . . . The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference  – they deserve a place of honor with all that is good” (George Washington)

“I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” (George Mason Co-author of the Second Amendment during Virginia’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788)

“On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.” (Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, June 12, 1823, The Complete Jefferson, p. 322)

“No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” (Thomas Jefferson, Proposal Virginia Constitution)

“The right of the people to keep and bear…arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country…” (James Madison, I Annals of Congress)

What country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that [the] people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms…The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. (Thomas Jefferson, letter to Col. William S. Smith, Paris; 1787 see bottom of post for full letter)

“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” (Thomas Jefferson)

“Those who hammer their guns into plows, will plow for those who do not.” (Thomas Jefferson)

“It is the duty of a Patriot to protect his country from its government” (Thomas Paine)

“If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.” (Samuel Adams)

“On every unauthoritative exercise of power by the legislature must the people rise in rebellion or their silence be construed into a surrender of that power.” (Thomas Jefferson)

“And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms… The tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” (Thomas Jefferson, letter to William S. Smith, 1787)

Thomas Jefferson In his Commonplace Book, Jefferson quotes Cesare Beccaria from his seminal work, On Crimes and Punishment: “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms… disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes… Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”

“A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks.” (Encyclopedia of Thomas Jefferson)

“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”, Proposal for a Virginia Constitution, (Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334 C.J. Boyd, Ed. 1950)

“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people; it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government.” (Patrick Henry )

“Are we at last brought to such a humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in our possession and under our own direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?” (Patrick Henry, Elliot Debates)

“The people have a right to keep and bear arms.” and “The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun.” (Patrick Henry, Elliot Debates)

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.  (Thomas Paine)

“The whole of the Bill (of Rights) is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals…. It establishes some rights of the individual  as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right  to deprive them of.” (Albert Gallatin of the New York Historical Society, October 7, 1789)

“The right of self-defense is the first law of nature; in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest possible limits…and [when] the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.” (Sir George Tucker, Judge of the Virginia Supreme Court and U.S. District Court of Virginia, in I Blackstone Commentaries)

“The  right of the people to keep and bear…arms shall not be infringed. A well  regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to  arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country…”  (James Madison,  I Annals of Congress 434 [June 8, 1789])

“As the greatest danger to liberty is from large standing armies, it is best to prevent them by an effectual provision for a good militia.” (James Madison, notes of debates in the 1787 Federal Convention)

Militias, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves and include all men capable of bearing arms. […] To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.
(Senator Richard Henry Lee, 1788, on “militia” in the 2nd Amendment writing in Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republic)

“A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves …”
(Richard Henry Lee writing in Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republic, Letter XVIII, May, 1788.)

“Whenever, therefore, the profession of arms becomes a distinct order in the state….the end of the social compact is defeated… No free government was ever founded, or ever preserved its liberty without uniting the characters of the citizen and soldier in those destined for the defense of the state…Such are a well regulated militia, composed of the freeholders, citizen and husbandman, who take up arms to preserve their property, as individuals, and their rights as freemen.” (Richard Henry Lee)

“What, Sir, is the use of a militia?  It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty….Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins.” (Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, spoken during floor debate over the Second  Amendment  [ I Annals of Congress at 750 August17, 1789])

“…if raised, whether they could subdue a Nation of freemen, who know how to prize liberty, and who have arms in their hands?” (Delegate Sedgwick, during the Massachusetts Convention, rhetorically asking if an oppressive standing army could prevail, Jonathan Elliot, ed., Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, Vol.2 at 97 (2d ed., 1888))

“…to disarm the people – that was the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”  (George Mason)

“Americans have the right and advantage of being armed – unlike the  citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” (James Madison, The Federalist Papers #46 at 243-244)

“the ultimate authority … resides in the people alone,” (James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, in Federalist Paper #46.)

“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost  every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense,  raised in the United States” (Noah Webster in An Examination  into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution’, 1787, a pamphlet aimed at swaying Pennsylvania toward ratification,  in Paul Ford, ed., Pamphlets on the Constitution of the United States, at 56(New York, 1888))

“…but  if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form  an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties  of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights…”  (Alexander Hamilton speaking of standing armies in Federalist 29.)

“Besides  the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess  over the people of almost every other nation. . .Notwithstanding the military  establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the  people with arms.” (James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, in Federalist  Paper No. 46.)

“As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear  their private arms.”  (Tench Coxe in Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution’ under the Pseudonym A  Pennsylvanian’ in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789 at 2 col. 1)

“The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? are they not ourselves. Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American…the unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people. (Tench Coxe, Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788)

“The  prohibition is general. No clause in the Constitution could by any  rule of construction be conceived to give to Congress a power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general pretense by a state legislature. But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both.” [William Rawle, A View of the Constitution 125-6 (2nd ed. 1829)

“Whenever governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins.” (Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts: spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment, I Annals of Congress at 750, August 17, 1789.)

“What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty.” (Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts:, I Annals of Congress at 750 August 17, 1789)

“I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for few public officials.”  (George Mason,)

“The  Constitution shall never be construed….to prevent the people of  the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms” (Samuel Adams, Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 86-87)

“To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms, and be taught alike especially when young, how to use  them.” (Richard  Henry Lee, 1788, Initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights, Walter Bennett, ed., Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republican, at 21,22,124 (Univ. of Alabama Press,1975)..)

“The great object is that every man be armed” and “everyone who is able may have a gun.” (Patrick Henry, in the Virginia Convention on the ratification of the Constitution. Debates and other Proceedings of the Convention of Virginia,…taken in shorthand by David Robertson of Petersburg, at 271,  275 2d ed.  Richmond, 1805. Also 3 Elliot, Debates at 386)

“The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them.” (Zachariah Johnson, Elliot’s Debates, vol. 3)

“Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense?  Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?” (Patrick Henry, 3 J. Elliot, Debates in the Several State Conventions 45, 2d ed. Philadelphia, 1836)

“The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.”  (Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-8)

“That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience;  or to prevent the people of The United States who are peaceable citizens from  keeping their own arms…” (Samuel Adams,  Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, at 86-87 (Peirce  & Hale,  eds.,  Boston, 1850))

“And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not  warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of  resistance? Let them take arms….The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants” (Thomas Jefferson in a letter to William S. Smith in 1787.  Taken from Jefferson, On Democracy 20, S. Padover ed.,1939)

“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined”  (Patrick Henry, 3 J. Elliot, Debates in the Several State Conventions 45, 2d ed. Philadelphia, 1836)

“The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”  –(Thomas Jefferson)

“Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence … From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and  pistol are equally indispensable . . . The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference  – they deserve a place of honor with all that is good” (George Washington)

“The supposed quietude of a good mans allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside…Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them…” (Thomas Paine, [Writings of Thomas Paine])

“A strong body makes the mind strong.  As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks.(Thomas  Jefferson, Encyclopedia of T. Jefferson, 318 [Foley,  Ed.,  reissued 1967])

“The supposed quietude of a good mans allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and  preserve order in the world as well as property. The same balance  would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside…Horrid  mischief  would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them…” (Thomas Paine, I Writings of Thomas Paine at 56 [1894])

(The  American Colonies were) “all democratic governments, where the power is in the hands of the people and where there is not the  least difficulty or jealousy about putting arms into the hands of every man in the country. (European countries should not) be ignorant of the strength and the force of such a form of government and how strenuously and almost wonderfully people living under one have sometimes exerted themselves in defense of their rights and liberties and how fatally it has ended with many a man and many a state who have entered into quarrels, wars and contests with them.” [George Mason, “Remarks on Annual Elections for the Fairfax Independent Company” in The Papers of George Mason, 1725-1792, ed Robert A. Rutland (Chapel Hill, 1970)]

“It is not certain that with this aid alone [possession of arms], they would not be able to shake off their yokes.  But were the people to posses the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will, and direct the national force; and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned, in spite of the  legions which surround it.” (James Madison, “Federalist No. 46”)

“Let us contemplate our forefathers, and posterity, and resolve to maintain the rights bequeathed to us from the former, for the sake of the latter. The necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude, and perseverance. Let us remember that ‘if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.’ It is a very serious consideration that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers of the event.” (Samuel Adams speech, 1771)

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.”  (Thomas Paine)

“We have therefore to resolve to conquer or die: Our own Country’s Honor, all call upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion, and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble Actions — The Eyes of all our Countrymen are now upon us, and we shall have their blessings, and praises, if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the Tyranny mediated against them.” (George Washington, General Orders, July 2, 1776.)

Court rulings on the subject

“To prohibit a citizen from wearing or carrying a war arm . . . is an unwarranted restriction upon the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of constitutional privilege.” [Wilson vs. State, 33  Ark. 557, at 560, 34 Am. Rep. (1878)]

For, in principle, there is no difference between a law prohibiting the wearing  of concealed arms, and a law forbidding the wearing such as are  exposed; and if the former be unconstitutional, the latter must be so likewise. But it should not be forgotten, that it is not only a part of the right that is secured by the constitution; it is the right entire and complete, as it existed at the adoption of the constitution; and if any portion of that right be impaired, immaterial how small the part may be, and immaterial the order of time at which it be done, it is equally forbidden by the constitution.” [Bliss  vs. Commonwealth, 12 Ky. (2 Litt.) 90, at 92, and 93, 13 Am. Dec. 251 (1822)] ”

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right.” [Nunn vs. State, 1 Ga (1 Kel.)  (1846)]

“The provision in the Constitution granting the right to all persons to bear arms is a limitation upon the power of the Legislature to enact any law to the contrary. The  exercise of a right guaranteed by the Constitution  cannot  be made subject to the will of the sheriff.” [People vs. Zerillo, 219 Mich. 635, 189 N.W. (1922)]

“The  maintenance of the right to bear arms is a most essential one to every free  people and should not be whittled down by technical constructions.”[State vs. Kerner, 181 N.C. 574, 107 S.E. (1921)]

“The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or  the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the State government. It is one of the “high powers” delegated directly to the citizen, and is excepted out of the general powers of government.’ A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking power.” [Cockrum vs. State, 24 Tex.394, at (1859)]

Other quotes on the subject of bearing arms from American history

“The whole of the Bill (of Rights) is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals…. It establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of.” (Albert Gallatin of the New York Historical Society, October 7, 1789)

“The right of the people to keep and bear arms has been recognized by the General Government; but the best security of that right after all is, the military spirit, that taste for martial exercises, which has always distinguished the free citizens of these States….Such men form the best barrier to the liberties of America”  (Gazette of the United States, October 14, 1789.)

“…the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to  keep and bear their private arms” (from article in the Philadelphia  Federal Gazette June 18, 1789 at 2, col.2,)

“The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them. And yet, though this truth would seem so clear, and the importance of a well regulated militia would seem so undeniable, it cannot be disguised, that among the American people there is a growing indifference to any system of militia discipline, and a strong disposition, from a sense of its burdens, to be rid of all regulations. How it is practicable to keep the people duly armed without some organization, it is difficult to see. There is certainly no small danger, that indifference may lead to disgust, and disgust to contempt; and thus gradually undermine all the protection intended by this clause of our national bill of rights.” (Joseph Story, Supreme Court Justice and U.S. House Representative from Massachusetts. Commentaries on the  Constitution of the United States; With a Preliminary Review of the Constitutional History of the Colonies and States before the Adoption of the Constitution [Boston, 1833])

“The tank, the B-52, the fighter-bomber, the state-controlled police and military  are the weapons of dictatorship. The rifle is the weapon of democracy. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only  the police, the secret police, the military. The hired servants of our rulers. Only the government-and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws.” (Edward  Abbey, “The Right to Arms,” Abbey’s Road [New York, 1979])

Quotes from international figures

“Those, who have the command of the arms in a country are masters of the state, and have it in their power to make what revolutions they please. [Thus,] there is no end to observations on the difference between the measures likely to be pursued by a minister backed by a standing army, and those of a court awed  by the fear of an armed people.” (Aristotle, as quoted by John Trenchard and Water Moyle, An Argument Shewing, That a Standing Army Is Inconsistent with a Free Government, and Absolutely Destructive to the Constitution of the English Monarchy [London, 1697])

“No kingdom can be secured otherwise than by arming the people.  The possession  of arms is the distinction between a freeman and a slave.  He, who has nothing, and who himself belongs to another, must be defended by him, whose property he is, and needs no arms. But he, who thinks he is his own master, and has what he can call his own, ought to have arms to defend himself, and what he possesses; else he lives precariously, and at discretion.” (James Burgh, Political Disquisitions: Or, an Enquiry into Public Errors,  Defects, and Abuses [London, 1774-1775])

“The difficulty here has been to persuade the citizens to keep arms, not  to prevent them from being employed for violent purposes.” (Timothy Dwight,  Travels in New-England)

“To trust arms in the hands of the people at large has, in Europe, been believed…to be an experiment fraught only with danger. Here by a long trial it has been proved to be perfectly harmless…If the government be  equitable; if it be reasonable in its exactions; if proper attention be paid to the  education of children in knowledge and religion, few men will be disposed to use arms, unless for their amusement, and for the defense of themselves and their country.” (Timothy Dwight, Travels in New England and New York [London 1823]

“You are bound to meet misfortune if you are unarmed because, among other reasons, people despise you….There is simply no comparison between a man who is armed and one who is not. It is unreasonable to expect that an armed man should obey one who is unarmed, or that an unarmed man should remain safe and secure when his servants are armed. In the latter case, there will be  suspicion on the one hand and contempt on the other, making cooperation impossible.” (Niccolo Machiavelli in “The Prince”)

“You must understand, therefore, that there are two ways of fighting: by law or by force. The first way is natural to men, and the second to beasts. But as the first way often proves inadequate one must needs have recourse to the second.” (Niccolo Machiavelli in “The Prince”)

Thomas Jefferson “Tree of Liberty” quote:

“I do not know whether it is to yourself or Mr. Adams I am to give my thanks for the copy of the new constitution. I beg leave through you to place them where due. It will be yet three weeks before I shall receive them from America. There are very good articles in it: and very bad. I do not know which preponderate. What we have lately read in the history of Holland, in the chapter on the Stadtholder, would have sufficed to set me against a Chief magistrate eligible for a long duration, if I had ever been disposed towards one: and what we have always read of the elections of Polish kings should have forever excluded the idea of one continuable for life. Wonderful is the effect of impudent and persevering lying. The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, and what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves. Yet where does this anarchy exist? Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusets? And can history produce an instance of a rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it’s motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13. states independant 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century and a half for each state. What country ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure. Our Convention has been too much impressed by the insurrection of Massachusets: and in the spur of the moment they are setting up a kite to keep the hen yard in order. I hope in god this article will be rectified before the new constitution is accepted.” – Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, Paris, 13 Nov. 178

Other posts that may be of interest:
The Wisdom of Founder John Adams Part 2: Novanglus Papers
The Failure of Marxism and Socialism
The Doctrine of Fascism, Fascism Defined by Benito Mussolini
Christianity and the Founding of the United States
Non-Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of America from the Ancient Authors Part 1
Non-Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of the World With Biblical References Part 1

“Societies exist under three forms sufficiently distinguishable. 1. Without government, as among our Indians. 2. Under governments wherein the will of every one has a just influence, as is the case in England in a slight degree, and in our states in a great one. 3. Under governments of force: as is the case in all other monarchies and in most of the other republics. To have an idea of the curse of existence under these last, they must be seen. It is a government of wolves over sheep. It is a problem, not clear in my mind, that the 1st. condition is not the best. But I believe it to be inconsistent with any great degree of population. The second state has a great deal of good in it. The mass of mankind under that enjoys a precious degree of liberty and happiness. It has it’s evils too: the principal of which is the turbulence to which it is subject. But weigh this against the oppressions of monarchy, and it becomes nothing. Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem (Translation: I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery) Even this evil is productive of good. It prevents the degeneracy of government, and nourishes a general attention to the public affairs. I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccesful rebellions indeed generally establish the incroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions, as not to discourage them too much. It is a medecine necessary for the sound health of government.” (Thomas Jefferson letter to James Madison, Paris, January 30, 1787)

“Many free countries have lost their liberty, and ours may lose hers; but if she shall, be it my proudest plume, not that I was the last to desert, but that I never deserted her.

I know that the great volcano at Washington, aroused and directed by the evil spirit that reigns there, is belching forth the lava of political corruption in a current broad and deep, which is sweeping with frightful velocity over the whole length and breadth of the land, bidding fair to leave unscathed no green spot or living thing; while on its bosom are riding, like demons on the waves of hell, the imps of that evil spirit, and fiendishly taunting all those who dare resist its destroying course with the hopelessness of their effort; and, knowing this, I cannot deny that all may be swept away. Broken by it I, too, may be; bow to it I never will.

The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just; it shall not deter me. If ever I feel the soul within me elevate and expand to those dimensions not wholly unworthy of its almighty Architect, it is when I contemplate the cause of my country deserted by all the world beside, and I standing up boldly and alone, and hurling defiance at her victorious oppressors.

Here, without contemplating consequences, before high heaven and in the face of the world, I swear eternal fidelity to the just cause, as I deem it, of the land of my life, my liberty, and my love.

And who that thinks with me will not fearlessly adopt the oath that I take?

Let none falter who thinks he is right, and we may succeed. But if, after all, we shall fail, be it so. We still shall have the proud consolation of saying to our consciences, and to the departed shade of our country’s freedom, that the cause approved of our judgment, and adored of our hearts, in disaster, in chains, in torture, in death, we never faltered in defending.” (From The Entire Writings of Lincoln by Abraham Lincoln)

Thomas Jefferson on Moderates and Compromise

ThomasJeffersonQuotesModeratesCompromise

Where the principle of difference [between political parties] is as substantial and as strongly pronounced as between the republicans and the monocrats of our country, I hold it as honorable to take a firm and decided part and as immoral to pursue a middle line, as between the parties of honest men and rogues, into which every country is divided.
— Thomas Jefferson to William Branch Giles, 1795

The complete letter:

To William B. Giles.
Monticello, December 31, 1795.

Dear Sir

Your favors of December the 15th and 20th came to hand by the last post.  I am well pleased with the manner in which your House have testified their sense of the treaty ;  while their refusal to pass the original clause of the reported answer proved their condemnation of it, the contrivance to let it disappear silently respected appearances in favor of the President, who errs as other men do, but errs with integrity.  Randolph [Secretary of State 1795] seems to have hit upon the true theory of our Constitution; that when a treaty is made, involving matters confided by the Constitution to the three branches of the Legislature conjointly, the Representatives are as free as the President and Senate were, to consider whether the national interest requires or forbids their giving the forms and force of law to the articles over which they have a power.—I thank you much for the pamphlet.  His narrative is so straight and plain, that even those who did not know him will acquit him of the charge of bribery.  Those who knew him had done it from the first.  Though he mistakes his own political character in the aggregate, yet he gives it to you in the detail.  Thus, he supposes himself a man of no party;  that his opinions not containing any systematic adherence to party, fell sometimes on one side and sometimes on the other.  Yet he gives you these facts, which show that they fall generally on both sides, and are complete inconsistencies.

1.  He never gave an opinion in the cabinet against the rights of the people;  yet he advised the denunciation of the popular societies.

2.  He would not neglect the overtures of a commercial treaty with France;  yet he always opposed it while Attorney General [1790-94], and never seems to have proposed it while Secretary of State [1794-95].

3.  He concurs in resorting to the militia to quell the pretended insurrections in the west, and proposes an augmentation from twelve thousand five hundred to fifteen thousand, to march against men at their ploughs;  yet on the 5th of August he is against their marching, and on the a 5th of August he is for it.

4.  He concurs in the measure of a mission extraordinary to London, but objects to the men, to wit, Hamilton and Jay.

5.  He was against granting commercial powers to Mr. Jay;  yet he besieged the doors of the Senate to procure their advice to ratify.

6.  He advises the President to a ratification on the merits of the treaty, but to a suspension till the provision order is repealed.

The fact is, that he has generally given his principles to the one party, and his practice to the other, the oyster to one, the shell to the other.  Unfortunately, the shell was generally the lot of his friends, the French and republicans, and the oyster of their antagonists.  Had he been firm to the principles he professes in the year 1793, the President would have been kept from an habitual concert with the British and anti-republican party.  But at that time, I do not know which R. feared most, a British fleet, or French disorganizers.  Whether his conduct is to be ascribed to a superior view of things, an adherence to right without regard to party, as he pretends, or to an anxiety to trim between both, those who know his character and capacity will decide.  Were parties here divided merely by a greediness for office, as in England, to take a part with either would be unworthy of a reasonable or moral man.  But where the principle of difference is as substantial, and as strongly pronounced as between the republicans and the monocrats of our country, I hold it as honorable to take a firm and decided part, and as immoral to pursue a middle line, as between the parties of honest men and rogues, into which every country is divided.

A copy of the pamphlet came by this post to Charlottesville.  I suppose we shall be able to judge soon what kind of impression it is likely to make.  It has been a great treat to me, as it is a continuation of that cabinet history, with the former part of which I was intimate.  I remark, in the reply of the President, a small travesty of the sentiment contained in the answer of the Representatives.  They acknowledge that he has contributed a great share to the national happiness by his services.  He thanks them for ascribing to his agency a great share of those benefits.  The former keeps in view the co-operation of others towards the public good.  The latter presents to view his sole agency.  At a time when there would have been less anxiety to publish to the people a strong approbation from your House, this strengthening of your expression would not have been noticed.

Our attentions have been so absorbed by the first manifestation of the sentiments of your House, that we have lost sight of our own Legislature ;  insomuch, that I do not know whether they are sitting or not.  The rejection of Mr. Rutledge by the Senate is a bold thing;  because they cannot pretend any objection to him but his disapprobation of the treaty.  It is, of course, a declaration that they will receive none but tories hereafter into any department of the government.  I should not wonder if Monroe were to be re-called, under the idea of his being of the partisans of France, whom the President considers as the partisans of war and confusion, in his letter of July the 31st, and as disposed to excite them to hostile measures, or at least to unfriendly sentiments;  a most infatuated blindness to the true character of the sentiments entertained in favor of France.—The bottom of my page warns me that it is time to end my commentaries on the facts you have furnished me.  You would of course, however, wish to know the sensations here on those facts.

My friendly respects to Mr. Madison, to whom the next week’s dose will be directed.  Adieu affectionately.

These may also interest you: THE GREAT SEAL OF THE UNITED STATES
RELIGIOUS VIEWS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON; source: The Jefferson Bible
Quote by Thomas Jefferson You’ll Never Hear From The Democrats
Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry and Henry’s Virginia Resolutions of 1765
Eulogy of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams by Daniel Webster
Preface To Resolutions of Virginia and Kentucky by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson
The Truth about the current political parties in America and their origins by Thomas Jefferson and others