THE HOLY BIBLE IN AMERICAN JURISPRUDENCE

PrecedentOriginally Titled “THE BIBLE AS A PERSUASIVE JUDICIAL AUTHORITY” in The Mercantile Adjuster, and the Lawyer and the Credit Man. Published 1900

It is a noteworthy fact in the history of the Anglo~Saxon Jurisprudence and a signiflcant commentary on the life-work of men like lngersoll and Paine that the Bible is cited by our judges oftener and more approvingly than any other publication, excepting those technical “law” books which constitute the ordinary working tools of the legal profession. Adjuster readers, who are curious in such matters, are referred to the following judicial authorities:

Reddin v. Dunn, 2 Col. Apps, 518; Groth v. Kersting, 4 Col. Apps, 595; Ex Parte Schneider, 21 Dist.Col., 433; Times Publishing Company v. Carlisle, 94 Fed. Rep, 762; Giles v. State, 6 Ga., 276; Epps v. State, 19 Ga., 102; Jackson v. Jackson. 32 Ga, 325; Stein v. Hauck, 56 Ind. 65; Dascomb v. Marston, 80 Me., 233; ill. Cent. R. R. Co. v. James (Miss), 16 Sou. Rep, 300; Farrell v. Fire Ins. Co., 60 Mo. Apps, 165; Schoonmaker v. Ref. Prot. Dutch Church, 5 How. Pr. (N. Y.); Thomas v. Thomas, 24 Ore., 251; Miller’s Estate, 150 Penn. St., 562; Rex v. Camb. University, 1 Strange. 557; Bansock Mach. Co. v. Woodrum, 88 Va., 512; Day v. Essex County Bank, 13 Vt., 97.

In very many instances the exact language of the sacred text is quoted and the book. chapter and verse specified, thus indicating that Anglo-Saxon judges are commendably familiar with the Book of books.

For example: Eccl. xxxiii, 19-38; Gen. xxiii; Job xxx. 3; John iii. 8; Luke xi, 46; I Sam. xxi, will be found specified in the above cases.

In the New York case above cited the judge refers to Gen. xxiii as the earliest known instance of a recorded title to land; but that chapter indicates very much more, in the midsummer of 1897 the Commercial Travelers‘ Adjuster quoted that part of the Bible as showing not only a “bargain and sale of land,” but also showing a distinct recognition of “business custom and usage;” because the agreed price, 400 shekels of silver, was to be and was paid in “current money with the merchant.” The simple formalities by which the sons of Heth transferred the field of Ephron to Abraham constituted “livery of seizin;” as much so as the formalities by which, in December, 1803, France transferred Louisiana to the United States, or those by which Spain transferred Santiago to the United States. Livery of seizin, as that term has always been understood in the common law, was the method by which Abraham acquired a parcel of land “wherein he might bury his dead out of his sight;” and it has been a recognized muniment of title ever since. The contract of “bailment,” which is essential to the daily life of the business world, became perfect when “Benjamin was lent to Judah,” the only condition on which Joseph would grant audience to his brethren. Samuel was not only a judge, but he was a “circuit” judge, going yearly to Bethel, Gilgal and Mizpeh, judging Israel at each of those places, as well as at Ramah.

An instrument possessing all essential common law requisites of a conveyance in fee simple, an instrument witnessed and scaled before delivery, is described in Jere. xxxil, 9-13. Nehemiah, full of the altruistic spirit, zealous to rebuild the waste places and restore the ancient glories of Jerusalem, quitted his favored position at the Persian court, only to find himself face to face with complaining brethren. who said: “We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth.” The concessions exacted from King John, at Runnymede, have come down to us, embodied in what is called Magna Charta. But a still greater charter is to be found in the book of Nehemiah: the sealed covenant of the leaders of Israel, their solemn promise to abide in the faith sworn to their fathers.

An instance of the redemption of “labor” is found in the book of Numbers. Moses paid to Aaron 1365 shekels of the sanctuary, and thereby actually redeemed 273 fighting men. In the book of Ruth we have a. perfect instance of the redemption of “land.” Elimelech and his sons having died without issue, their inheritance was liable to “escheat” to the commonwealth of Israel. But that escheat was prevented and that inheritance redeemed by the intermarriage of Boaz and Ruth. There was a “senior redemptioner,” but he waived his right in favor of Boaz.

The latter, as a junior redemptioner, espoused Ruth and redeemed the inheritance. David’s royal patrimony included the land thus redeemed. It was known as Bethlehem of the Gentiles. Under the operation of Israel’s law of descents, it passed from generation to generation.

Some of the reasons why our judges so often quote Scripture are not far to seek. The magnificent “Arch of Titus,” reared to commemorate Judah’s downfall, the desecration of her altars, the dispersion of her people, the total extinction of her laws and the final and grandest triumph of imperial Rome, is but a crumbling ruin—a favorite haunt of the owl and the bat. For almost twenty centuries the children of Judah have been wanderers on the face of the earth, exiles from their own land, strangers and pilgrims, without a government, a city, a temple or a home. While all other peoples have multiplied (the Anglo-Saxons having increased about sevenfold during the present century) Judah has remained stationary. At the date of the crucifixion the Jews numbered about seven millions, which is about their present numerical strength. But the Mosaic law, which the admirers of Titus so ostentatiously consigned to endless oblivion, remains a living, growing force. Translated into hundreds of languages, printed in thousands of editions, scattered broadcast by hundreds of millions of copies that law has penetrated to the remotest corners of the earth. In this closing year [1900 AD] of the nineteenth century there is no spot on the habitable globe where either female virtue, personal liberty, private property or human life are safe unless that spot has been visited by the Bible and subjected to its teachings. In the Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence of to-day there is very little to be found which cannot be traced to its source in the Mosaic code; and the little thus found is scarcely worth either fighting or praying for. To readers who do their own thinking, who delve beneath the surface, who follow the truth wherever it may lead, we commend the subjoined quotation.

It is borrowed from a charge given almost sixty years ago to a jury in one of the Atlantic States; and it doubtless voices the prevailing sentiment of the Anglo-Saxon bench and bar. Replying to some criticisms of the Mosaic code, made by counsel in the course of argument, the judge said this: “When these giants in human intellect can tell me whence Moses derived his science in legislation without admitting the superlative and divine authority of the ten commandments I shall begin to listen with more reverence to the teachers of human perfectibility. In that short and comprehensive code we find given us a perfect rule of action, covering the whole ground of man’s existence; a rule not only prescribing our duty to God and man in our external behavior, but reaching to the thoughts and feelings of the hearts in every possible condition of life, and in all our relations to our Maker and our fellow-beings. The wisdom of ages, the learning and philosophy of the schools, have never discovered a single defect in that code. Not a virtue which is not there inculcated. Not a vice in its most doubtful and shadowy form which is not there prohibited.

“Whence, then, I ask. did that great Jewish lawgiver derive his spirit of legislation? If that code was written by the finger of the Almighty, let us bow to it with reverence and seek no better rule of life, nor any wiser principle of action. But if they emanated only from the capacious mind and were dictated by the wisdom of Moses. Then Moses was a wiser, a more learned man than any of our new teachers; and I had rather be under his jurisdiction

“l keep his commandments than to learn new rules of civil polity and social intercourse from the most wise and learned of the present day.”

From Alex De Tocqueville who came to America in the 1830’s traveling here extensively. Afterwards he wrote about his experience in volumes called Democracy in America from which he cites a court case in New York.

While I was in America, a witness, who happened to be called at the assizes of the county of Chester (state of New York), declared that he did not believe in the existence of God or in the immortality of the soul. The judge refused to admit his evidence, on the ground that the witness had destroyed beforehand all confidence of the court in what he was about to say. The newspapers related the fact without any further comment. The New York Spectator of August 23rd, 1831, relates the fact in the following terms:

“The court of common pleas of Chester county (New York), a few days since rejected a witness who declared his disbelief in the existence of God. The presiding judge remarked, that he had not before been aware that there was a man living who did not believe in the existence of God; that this belief constituted the sanction of all testimony in a court of justice: and that he knew of no case in a Christian country, where a witness had been permitted to testify without such belief.”

NOTE: Christian Principles are the bedrock of this Republic to separate them from our government you’d have to eliminate the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, our Courts, all past precedent, and our whole form of government.

THE TRANSCENDENT GLORY OF THE REVOLUTION by John Quincy Adams

john-quincy-adamsJohn Quincy Adams received a Congressional diplomatic appointment overseas to the court of Catherine the Great in Russia as secretary to the Ambassador at the age of fourteen. Adams had a long and distinguished political career serving as a foreign ambassador, Secretary of State, U. S. Representative, U. S. Senator and as the nation‘s sixth President.

Letter from John Quincy Adams to John Adams

Washington, 27th April, 1837.

Sir: In compliance with the request contained in your letter of the 27th., I enclose herewith two Autographs of Signers of the Declaration of Independence, and afterwards, successively, second and third Presidents of the United States.

The first is an original letter from John Adams to Arthur Lee, written at Brest, in France, on the 24th of March, 1779. Mr. Adams and Mr. Lee had been joint Commissioners in the Court of France, together with Dr. Benjamin Franklin, and Mr. Lee had a separate commission,’ as Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Spain. After the conclusion of the treaties of Alliance and of Commerce with France, Congress superseded the joint commission, and appointed Dr. Franklin sole Minister Plenipotentiary to France. Mr. Lee retained his commission as Minister Plenipotentiary to Spain. In February, 1779, Mr. Adams left Paris and went to Nantes, and in March to Brest, with a view to embark in the frigate Alliance, then at that port, to return to the United States. The inclosed letter was then written in answer to one received from Mr. Lee, then still remaining at Paris. The destination of the frigate Alliance was afterwards changed, and Mr. Adams, in June, 1779, embarked in the French frigate La Sensible, and returned from L’Orient to the United States. I was during all that time with him—a boy of twelve years of age.

The other autograph is the cover of a letter from Thomas Jefferson, when Secretary of State, to John Adams, then Vice-president of the United States. The whole direction is in his handwriting, and the signature of the name very strongly marks the manner of his usual sign manual.

The highest, the transcendent glory of the American Revolution 
was this—it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles 
of civil government with the precepts of Christianity. If it 
has never been considered in that light, it is because its 
compass has not been perceived. ~ John Quincy Adams 
(see more below)

These are all the autographs of the kind requested in your letter which I have here, and am now able to furnish yon. On my return to my residence in Massachusetts, I may, perhaps, find upon my files of papers some others, and will remember yon. It is as you conjecture; I have received and still frequently receive applications for autographs of persons whose names are distinguished in the history of our Revolution. I have always complied with such requests, so far as I have been able, with great pleasure, considering them as evidences not only of the sentiments cherished by the collectors of such relics towards the founders of our national independence, but of a spirit extending in the community far beyond the collectors themselves.

From the interest taken in those characters, I am encouraged to infer a widely spread attachment to the principles by which they were actuated, and which they maintained with the well redeemed pledge of their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. If, at one of the most trying periods of that conflict, in March, 1779, you find Mr. Adams complaining of the dangers which beset the cause, and the difficulties which it had to encounter from the weakness, the selfishness, flattery, vanity, and corruption of the times, yet confiding without the admission of a doubt in the ultimate success of the cause itself,—may we not take it, in these times when the cause has succeeded, and the nation, formed by the labors and sufferings of those days, has enjoyed such a career of prosperity as was never before by Divine Providence allotted to man; may we not take it as an admonition, that the adherence to those principles of our fathers has been among the principal causes of that prosperity? Should we not proceed a step further, and inquire whether that half-century of unexampled prosperity might not have been still more resplendent with glory, but for our own aberrations from those principles, the contemplation of which had fired the soul of the writer of the inclosed letter with visions of an approaching kingdom of the just, to result from the success of that Revolution? In reviewing its history and our own, while we remember with exultation and gratitude the triumphant issue of the cause, and the favors of heaven by which it has been followed, is there not remaining an augury, both retrospective and prospective, upon ourselves? That kingdom of the just, which had floated in the virtuous visions of John Adams, while he was toiling for his country’s independence,—that kingdom of our Father in Heaven, for which His Son taught us to approach Him in daily prayer,—has it yet come; and if not, have our advances towards it been as pure, as virtuous, as self-denying, as were those of our fathers in the days of their trial of adversity? And if we lay these questions in seriousness to our souls, are we not bound to interrogate them still further?—to cross-examine them if they answer with too confident assurance of their own righteousness, and ask them whether of late, and even now, we are not stationary, or more than stationary, moving backwards, from that progress towards the kingdom of the just, which was among the anticipated fruits of our Revolutionary warfare? The highest, the transcendent glory of the American Revolution was this—it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the precepts of Christianity. If it has never been considered in that light, it is because its compass has not been perceived. The letter which I now send you, short as it is, may disclose it. But this investigation opens a field of inquiry too important and too vast for a letter merely inclosing an autograph. I offer it here to your meditations, and if they should lead you to the conclusion that we are degenerating from the lofty energies of our Revolutionary principles, and falling into that retrograde movement which physical nature sometimes presents in the aspects of the planets, hope, with me, that this apparent deviation from the progress of moral and political improvement upon earth, is but an incidental anomaly in the promulgation of that great and universal law which the visions of John Adams beheld in the ancient prophecies of the kingdom of the just.

If I have given you a sermon for an autograph, I pray you to excuse me, and believe me, with great respect to be, your fellow-citizen and servant,

John Quincy Adams.

Christianity is the bedrock of our Republic! You cannot separate Christian Principles and Christianity from the government, of the Representative Republic called the United States of America. To do so, you would have to eliminate the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and our entire form of government. To say that Christianity has no place in our government or public square is entirely preposterous, ridiculous, and goes contrary to every part of our history and founding. ~ CJD

Never Judge a Book by it’s Cover: In memory of a great man I once knew

homeless manNever Judge A Book By It’s Cover, in memory of a great man I once knew.

I have to write this in memory of a man I once knew in southern California. As I sat reading my Bible this morning, the Lord brought him back to my mind. This man, I met outside of a restaurant where my family, dad, mom, brother, and some others used to go after church. I used to go outside at times while I was waiting for the others to finish eating. I would run into various people while hanging out, waiting for the others.

One night, I met this man and started talking to him, he could quote me any scripture. It did not matter how hard I made it for him. I could give him a book, chapter and verse out of the Bible and he’d quote it to me verbatim. Even when I would make it hard for him and quote scripture myself, he could tell me exactly where it was in the Bible. I’d do things to try to trip him up, and he never failed to get it exactly right. I could quote him scriptures from various points in the Bible and he’d pick up on it. I used to marvel at how well he knew the Bible.

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, 
ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be 
measured to you. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy 
brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine 
own eye? Matthew 7:!-3

The thing that really touched me, and caused me to remember him today is, you see, he was dirty, disheveled, talked to himself, and was homeless. The moral of the story, never judge a book by its cover, you may miss out on things that you marvel at your whole life, and the memory of, touches your heart as only the Lord can.

My uncle admonished me one time about how my brother and I always had friends that were low class or without class, if I had been as he admonished me to be, I would have missed out on knowing this man, who I now remember so fondly. I guess I got my love of the underdog from his sister, my mother. Moral: never avoid someone you may think beneath you, for to God, they may be above you, and you are just too blind to see, because of your high mindedness, thinking of yourself more than you are.

See, I never minded giving money to wino’s, or those who were homeless, even if I knew they would just go buy booze or whatever, as I told those who admonished me about it. Booze, etc., that is all that some of those people had, if any of them were taking advantage of me, I knew the Lord would honor my gift, whether he honored the ones who simply took advantage of me or not. Even if I felt the Lord wouldn’t honor, I would have done the same. It wasn’t up to me to judge, it was up to me, to do what the Lord laid it on my heart to do.

Another story from the same place:

Now that I have told you about him, I’ll tell you of another, I also met this younger man one night who came up to me pushing a bicycle with a flat tire, he asked me if I had five dollars so he could get it fixed. I think I gave him ten, funny thing is, I was back at the same restaurant a couple of nights later. I went outside as I normally did, and this same young man came up to me, again pushing the bike with the flat tire. He tried to give me the same story again, I laughed at him, for I was incredulous he didn’t remember me and I told him I had just given him the money to fix it a couple nights before, and I wouldn’t be fooled again. Moral of this story: Don’t be a sucker either

FEDERAL CABINET MINISTERS QUALIFICATIONS by Governor Morris; New York

Gouverneur_MorrisGovernor Morris Born in Morrisania, N. Y., 1752. Died there, 1816. [The Life of Gouverneur Morris. By Jared Sparks. 1832.]

TO determine who should be appointed Minister either of the Finances, of War, of the Marine, or of Foreign Affairs, may be difficult; but it may not be so difficult to determine the qualities requisite for each of these departments, and having thereby established a rule, the proper persons will be more easily ascertained. These qualities will be classed under the different heads of genius, temper, knowledge, education, principles, manners, and circumstances.

Our Minister of the Finances should have a strong understanding, be persevering, industrious, and severe in exacting from all a rigid compliance with their duty. He should possess a knowledge of mankind, and of the culture and commerce, produce and resources, temper and manners of the different States; habituated to business on the most extensive scale, particularly that which is usually denominated money matters; and, therefore, not only a regular-bred merchant, but one who has been long and deeply engaged in that profession. At the same time, he should be practically acquainted with our political affairs, and the management of public business; warmly and thoroughly attached to America, not bigoted to any particular State; and his attachment founded not on whim, caprice, resentment, or a weak compliance with the current of opinion, but on a manly and rational conviction of the benefits of independence, his manners plain and simple, sincere and honest, his morals pure, his integrity unblemished; and he should enjoy general credit and reputation, both at home and abroad.

Our Minister of War should have a mind penetrating, clear, methodical, comprehensive, joined with a firm and indefatigable spirit He should be thoroughly acquainted with the soldiery, know the resources of the country, be most intimately informed of the geography of America, and the means of marching and subsisting armies in every part of it He should be taken from the army, and have acted at some time or other as a quartermaster-general, if not as a commander in a separate department He should be attached to the civil head of the empire, and not envious of the glory of others, but ambitious of honest fame; his manners those of a generous soldier, and not of an intriguing politician; disagreeable to no considerable body or denomination of men, and by all means agreeable to the commander-in-chief.

A Minister of the Marine should be a man of plain good-sense, and a good economist, firm but not harsh; well acquainted with sea affairs, such as the construction, fitting, and victualling of ships, the conduct and maneuver on a cruise and in action, the nautical face of the earth, and maritime phenomena. . He should also know the temper, manners, and disposition of sailors; for all which purposes it is proper, that he should have been bred to that business, and have followed it, in peace and in war, in a military and commercial capacity. His principles and manners should be absolutely republican, and his circumstances not indigent

A Minister of Foreign Affairs should have a genius quick, lively, penetrating; should write on all occasions with clearness and perspicuity; be capable of expressing his sentiments with dignity, and conveying strong sense and argument in easy and agreeable diction; his temper mild, cool, and placid; festive, insinuating, and pliant, yet obstinate; communicative, and yet reserved. He should know the human face and heart, and the connections between them; should be versed in the laws of nature and nations, and not ignorant of the civil and municipal law; should be acquainted with the history of Europe, and with the interests, views, commerce, and productions of the commercial and maritime powers; should know the interests and commerce of America, understand the French and Spanish languages, at least the former, and be skilled in the modes and forms of public business; a man educated more in the world, than in the closet, that by use, as well as by nature, he may give proper attention to great objects, and have proper contempt for small ones. He should be attached to the independence of America, and the alliance with France, as the great pillars of our politics; and this attachment should not be slight and accidental, but regular, consistent, and founded in strong conviction. His manners gentle and polite; above all things honest, and least of all things avaricious. His circumstances and connections should be such, as to give solid pledges for his fidelity; and he should by no means be disagreeable to the Prince, with whom we are in alliance, his Ministers, or subjects.

GRIEVANCES OF THE COLONISTS TO THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT by Richard Henry Lee 1775

rhenryleeGrievances Of The Colonists To The British Government by Richard Henry Lee (Cicero of America)

Born In Stratford, Va., 1788. Died at Chantilly, Va., 1794

THE COLONIES TO THE MOTHER COUNTRY.
[From the Address adopted by Congress, July 8, 1775.]

AFTER the most valuable right of legislation was infringed; when the powers assumed by your Parliament, in which we are not represented, and from our local and other circumstances cannot properly be represented, rendered our property precarious; after being denied that mode of trial to which we have long been indebted for the safety of our persons and the preservation of our liberties; after being in many instances divested of those laws which were transmitted to us by our common ancestors, and subjected to an arbitrary code, compiled under the auspices of Roman tyrants; after those charters, which encouraged our predecessors to brave death and danger in every shape, on unknown seas, in deserts unexplored, amidst barbarous and inhospitable nations, were annulled; when, without the form of trial, without a public accusation, whole colonies were condemned, their trade destroyed, their inhabitants impoverished; when soldiers were encouraged to imbrue their hands in the blood of Americans, by offers of impunity; when new modes of trial were instituted for the ruin of the accused, where the charge carried with it the horrors of conviction; when a despotic government was established in a neighboring province, and its limits extended to every part of our frontiers; we little imagined that anything could be added to this black catalogue of unprovoked injuries: but we have unhappily been deceived, and the late measures of the British ministry fully convince us, that their object is the reduction of these colonies to slavery and ruin. ….

If still you retain those sentiments of compassion by which Britons have ever been distinguished; if the humanity which tempered the valor of our common ancestors has not degenerated into cruelty, you will lament the miseries of their descendants.

To what are we to attribute this treatment? If to any secret principle of the constitution, let it be mentioned; let us learn that the government we have long revered is not without its defects, and that while it gives freedom to a part, it necessarily enslaves the remainder of the empire. If such a principle exists, why for ages has it ceased to operate? Why at this time is it called into action? Can no reason be assigned for this conduct? or must it be resolved into the wanton exercise of arbitrary power? And shall the descendants of Britons tamely submit to this? No, sirs! We never will; while we revere the memory of our gallant and virtuous ancestors, we never can surrender those glorious privileges for which they fought, bled, and conquered. Admit that your fleets could destroy our towns, and ravage our sea-coasts; these are inconsiderable objects, things of no moment to men whose bosoms glow with the ardor of liberty. We can retire beyond the reach of your navy, and, without any sensible diminution of the necessaries of life, enjoy a luxury, which from that period you will want—the luxury of being free.

We know the force of your arms, and was it called forth in the cause of justice and your country, we might dread the exertion; but will Britons fight under the banners of tyranny? Will they counteract the labors, and disgrace the victories of their ancestors? Will they forge chains for their posterity? If they descend to this unworthy task, will their swords retain their edge, their arms their accustomed vigor? Britons can never become the instruments of oppression, till they lose the spirit of freedom, by which alone they are invincible.

Our enemies charge us with sedition. In what does it consist? In our refusal to submit to unwarrantable acts of injustice and cruelty? If So, show us a period in your history in which you have not been equally seditious. We are accused of aiming at independence; but how is this accusation supported? By the allegations of your ministers—not by our actions. Abused, insulted, and contemned, what steps have we pursued to obtain redress? We have carried our dutiful petitions to the throne. We have applied to your justice for relief. We have retrenched our luxury, and withheld our trade. ….

The great bulwarks of our constitution we have desired to maintain by every temperate, by every peaceable means; but your ministers (equal foes to British and American freedom) have added to their former oppressions an attempt to reduce us, by the sword, to a base and abject submission. On the sword, therefore, we are compelled to rely for protection. Should victory declare in your favor, yet men trained to arm3 from their infancy, and animated by the love of liberty, will afford neither a cheap nor easy conquest Of this, at least, we are assured, that our struggle will be glorious, our success certain; since even in death we shall find that freedom which in life you forbid us to enjoy.

Let us now ask, What advantages are to attend our reduction? The trade of a ruined and desolate country is always inconsiderable, its revenue trifling; the expense of subjecting and retaining it in subjection, certain and inevitable. What then remains but the gratification of an ill-judged pride, or the hope of rendering us subservient to designs on your liberty?

Soldiers who have sheathed their swords in the bowels of their American brethren, will not draw them with more reluctance against you. When too late, you may lament the loss of that freedom which we exhort you, while still in your power, to preserve.

On the other hand, should you prove unsuccessful; should that connection which we most ardently wish to maintain, be dissolved; should your ministers exhaust your treasures, and waste the blood of your countrymen in vain attempts on our liberty, do they not deliver you, weak and defenceless, to your natural enemies?

Since, then, your liberty must be the price of your victories, your ruin of your defeat—what blind fatality can urge you to a pursuit destructive of all that Britons hold dear?

If you have no regard to the connection which has for ages subsisted between us; if you have forgot the wounds we have received fighting by your side for the extension of the empire; if our commerce is not an object below your consideration; if justice and humanity have lost their influence on your hearts, still motives are not wanting to excite your indignation at the measures now pursued. Your wealth, your honor, your liberty are at stake.

THE DECLARATION OF THE REPRESENTATIVES IN 1775 by John Dickinson

signingdecofindependenceTHE DECLARATION OF THE REPRESENTATIVES IN 1775 by John Dickinson

OUR forefathers, inhabitants of the island of Great Britain, left their native land, to seek on these shores a residence for civil and religious freedom. At the expense of their blood, at the hazard of their fortunes, without the least charge to the country from which they removed, by unceasing labor and an unconquerable spirit they effected settlements in the distant and inhospitable wilds of America… Societies or governments vested with perfect legislatures were formed under charters from the crown, and an harmonious intercourse was established between the colonies and the kingdom from which they derived their origin. The mutual benefits of this union became in a short time so extraordinary, as to excite astonishment It is universally confessed, that the amazing increase of the wealth, strength, and navigation of the realm, arose from this source; and the minister who so wisely and successfully directed the measures of Great Britain in the late war, publicly declared that these colonies enabled her to triumph over her enemies. Towards the conclusion of that war, it pleased our sovereign to make a change in his counsels. From that fatal moment the affairs of the British Empire began to fall into confusion, and gradually sliding from the summit of glorious prosperity to which they had been advanced by the virtues and abilities of one man, are at length distracted by the convulsions that now shake it to its deepest foundations. The new ministry, finding the brave foes of Britain though frequently defeated yet still contending, took up the unfortunate idea of granting them a hasty peace, and of then subduing her faithful friends.

These devoted colonies were judged to be in such a state, as to present victories without bloodshed, and all the easy emoluments of statutable plunder. The uninterrupted tenor of their peaceable and respectful behavior from the beginning of colonization, their dutiful, zealous, and useful services during the war, though so recently and amply acknowledged in the most honorable manner by his majesty, by the late king, and by parliament, could not save them from the meditated innovations. Parliament was influenced to adopt the pernicious project, and assuming a new power over them, have in the course of eleven years given such decisive specimens of the spirit and consequences attending this power, as to leave no doubt concerning the effects of acquiescence under it They have undertaken to give and grant our money without our consent, though we have ever exercised an exclusive right to dispose of our own property; statutes have been passed for extending the jurisdiction of courts of admiralty and vice admiralty beyond their ancient limits; for depriving us of the accustomed and inestimable privilege of trial by jury in cases affecting both life and property; for suspending the legislature of one of the colonies; for interdicting all commerce to the capital of another; and for altering fundamentally the form of government established by charter, and secured by acts of its own legislature solemnly confirmed by the crown; for exempting the murderers of colonists from legal trial, and in effect, from punishment; for erecting in a neighboring province, acquired by the joint arms of Great Britain and America, a despotism dangerous to our very existence; and for quartering soldiers upon the colonists in time of profound peace. It has also been resolved in parliament, that colonists charged with committing certain offences, shall be transported to England to be tried.

But why should we enumerate our injuries in detail? By one statute it is declared, that parliament can “of right make laws to bind us in all cases whatsoever.” What is to defend us against so enormous, so unlimited a power? Not a single man of those who assume it is chosen by us; or is subject to our control or influence; but on the contrary, they are all of them exempt from the operation of such laws, and an American revenue, if not diverted from the ostensible purposes for which it is raised, would actually lighten their own burdens in proportion as they increase ours. We saw the misery to which such despotism would reduce us. We for ten years incessantly and ineffectually besieged the throne as supplicants; we reasoned, we remonstrated with parliament in the most mild and decent language.

Administration, sensible that we should regard these oppressive measures as freemen ought to do, sent over fleets and armies to enforce them. The indignation of the Americans was roused, it is true; but it was the indignation of a virtuous, loyal, and affectionate people. A Congress of delegates from the United Colonies was assembled at Philadelphia, on the fifth day of last September. We resolved again to offer an humble and dutiful petition to the king, and also addressed our fellow-subjects of Great Britain. We have pursued every temperate, every respectful measure; we nave even proceeded to break off cur commercial intercourse with our fellow-subjects as the last peaceable admonition that our attachment to no nation upon earth should supplant our attachment to liberty. This, we nattered ourselves, was the ultimate step of the controversy: but subsequent events have shown how vain was this hope of finding moderation in our enemies. ….

In brief, a part of these colonies now feel, and all of them are sure of feeling, as far as the vengeance of administration can inflict them, the complicated calamities of fire, sword and famine. We are reduced to the alternative of choosing an unconditional submission to the tyranny of irritated ministers, or resistance by force.—The latter is our choice. We have counted the cost of this contest, and find nothing so dreadful as voluntary slavery. Honor, justice and humanity forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them, if we basely entail hereditary bondage upon them.

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

OF THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM; AND OF TRAITORS by John Dickinson 1732-1808

Henry Dont Tread FlagOF THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM; AND OF TRAITORS.
[by John Dickinson 1732-1808]

KINGS or parliaments could not give the rights essential to happiness, as you confess those invaded by the Stamp Act to be. We claim them from a higher source—from the King of kings, and Lord of all the earth. They are not annexed to us by parchments and seals . They are created in us by the decrees of Providence which establish the laws of our nature . They are born with us; exist with us; and cannot be taken from us by any human power, without taking our lives. In short, they are founded on the immutable maxims of reason and justice . It would be an insult on the divine Majesty to say, that he has given or allowed any man or body of men a right to make me miserable. If no man or body of men has such a right, I have a right to be happy. If there can be no happiness without freedom, I have a right to be free. If I cannot enjoy freedom without security of property, I have a right to be thus secured. If my property cannot be secure, in case others over whom I have no kind of influence may take it from me by taxes under pretence of the public good, and, for enforcing their demands, may subject me to arbitrary, expensive, and remote jurisdictions, I have an exclusive right to lay taxes on my own property either by myself or those I can trust; of necessity to judge in such instances of the public good; and to be exempt from such jurisdictions. ….

Galatians_5-1Every man must remember, how, immediately after the tempest of the late war was laid, another storm began to gather over North America. Every wind that blew across the Atlantic brought with it additional darkness. Every act of the administration seemed calculated to produce distress and to excite terror. We were alarmed—we were afflicted. Many of our colonies sent home petitions; others ordered their agents to make proper applications on their behalf. What was the effect? They were rejected without reading. They could not be presented, “without breaking through a rule of the house.” They insisted upon a right, that, it “was previously determined should not be admitted.” The language of the ministry was “that they would teach the insolent North Americans the respect due to the laws of their mother country.” They moved for a resolution “that the parliament could legally tax us.” It was made. For a bill; it was framed. For its dispatch; it was passed. The badges of our shame were prepared, too gross, too odious—even in the opinion of that administration—to be fastened upon us by any but Americans. Strange delusion! to imagine that treachery could reconcile us to slavery. They looked around; they found Americans—0 Virtue! they found Americans to whom the confidence of their country had committed the guardianship of her rights—on whom her bounty had bestowed all the wreck of her fortunes could afford—ready to rivet on their native land, the nurse of their infancy, the protectrix of their youth, the honorer of their manhood, the fatal fetters which their information had helped to forge. They were to be gratified with part of the plunder in oppressive offices for themselves and their creatures. By these, that they might reap the rewards of their corruption, were we advised—by these, that they might return masters who went out servants, were we desired—to put on the chains, and then with shackled hands to drudge in the dark, as well as we could, forgetting the light we had lost “If1forget thee, let my right hand forget her cunning—if I do not remember thee, may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,”

“The highest glory of the American Revolution was this; 
it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles 
of civil government with the principles of Christianity.” 
quote John Quincy Adams

A DUTY TO POSTERITY
[From the Same.]

HONOR, justice and humanity call upon us to hold and to transmit to our posterity, that liberty, which we received from our ancestors. It is not our duty to leave wealth to our children; but it is our duty to leave liberty to them. No infamy, iniquity, or cruelty can exceed our own if we, born and educated in a country of freedom, entitled to its blessings and knowing their value, pusillanimously deserting the post assigned us by Divine Providence, surrender succeeding generations to a condition of wretchedness from which no human efforts, in all probability, will be sufficient to extricate them; the experience of all states mournfully demonstrating to us that when arbitrary power has been established over them, even the wisest and bravest nations that ever flourished have, in a few years, degenerated into abject and wretched vassals.

A WARNING TO AMERICANS by John Dickinson 1732-1808

john dickinsonA WARNING TO THE COLONIES.
[The Political Writings of John Dickinson, Esq. 1804.]
Born In Maryland, 1732. Died at Wilmington, Del., 1808.

THOUGH I always reflect with a high pleasure on the integrity and understanding of my countrymen, which, joined with a pure and humble devotion to the great and gracious Author of every blessing they enjoy, will, I hope, insure to them and their posterity all temporal and eternal happiness; yet when I consider that in every age and country there have been bad men, my heart at this threatening period is so full of apprehension as not to permit me to believe, but that there may be some on this continent against whom you ought to be upon your guard . Men, who either hold, or expect to hold certain advantages by setting examples of servility to their countrymen. Men, who trained to the employment, or self-taught by a natural versatility of genius serve as decoys for drawing the innocent and unwary into snares. It is not to be doubted but that such men will diligently bestir themselves on this and every like occasion to spread the infection of their meanness as far as they can. On the plans they have adopted, this is their course. This is the method to recommend themselves to their patrons. They act consistently in a bad cause. They run well in a mean race.

The freedom of a people consists in being governed by laws, 
in which no alteration can be made, without their Consent 
~ John Dickinson

From them we shall learn how pleasant and profitable a thing it is to be for our submissive behavior well spoken of at St James’s or St Stephen’s; at Guildhall or the Royal Exchange. Specious fallacies will be dressed up with all the arts of delusion to persuade one colony to distinguish herself from another by unbecoming condescensions, which will serve the ambitious purposes of great men at home, and therefore will be thought by them to entitle their assistants in obtaining them to considerable rewards.

Our fears will be excited . Our hopes will be awakened. It will be insinuated to us, with a plausible affectation of wisdom and concern, how prudent it is to please the powerful—how dangerous to provoke them—and then comes in the perpetual incantation that freezes up every generous purpose of the soul in cold, inactive expectation—”that if there is any request to be made, compliance will obtain a favorable attention.”

Our vigilance and our union are success and safety. Our negligence and our division are distress and death They are worse—they are shame and slavery. Let us equally shun the benumbing stillness of overweening sloth, and the feverish activity of that ill-informed zeal which busies itself in maintaining little, mean and narrow opinions. Let us, with a truly wise generosity and charity, banish and discourage all illiberal distinctions which may arise from differences in situation, forms of government, or modes of religion. Let us consider ourselves as men —freemen—Christian freemen—separated from the rest of the world and firmly bound together by the same rights, interests and dangers. Let these keep our attention inflexibly fixed on the great objects which we must continually regard in order to preserve those rights, to promote those interests, and to avert those dangers.

Let these truths be indelibly impressed on our minds—that we cannot be happy without being free—that we cannot be free without being secure in our property—that we cannot be secure in our property, if, without our consent others may, as by right, take it away—that taxes imposed on us by parliament do thus take it away—that duties laid for the sole purpose of raising money are taxes—that attempts to lay such duties should be instantly and firmly opposed—that this opposition can never be effectual unless it is the united effort of these provinces—that therefore benevolence of temper towards each other and unanimity of counsels are essential to the welfare of the whole—and lastly, that for this reason every man amongst us who in any manner would encourage either dissension, diffidence, or indifference between these colonies, is an enemy to himself, and to his country.

THE MEANING OF THE REVOLUTION and CONTROVERSY OF INDEPENDENCE

John_Witherspoon_by_Peale

 

See also: John Quincy Adams Speech on the Intent of the Declaration of Independence

Note: Politicians, Monarchs, Power Brokers, Despots and Tyrants; Small men with even smaller minds, suffering from overly inflated egos have never liked long, living without utter control over the people, we see this throughout history and we see this happening in America today. These same political power brokers and ruling class elites have worked for 200+ years trying to break that which became America. They have, up until recent generations been held at bay in America by the natural and religious goodness of her people and most of those in power. Who have had an ever watchful eye on those who would encroach upon our freedoms, liberties, free consciences and individual happiness, however over the last few decades the people have been lulled into a false sense of security by those in the ruling class elite. With all the distractions of the modern age, have come the ever over reaching hand of government, or the ruling class and now America unless her people awaken and rebel against the over reaching hand of the oppressors, we will once again be without a place in the world where people are or once were, truly free.

We must pray now, and pray always that God in his mercy will look down upon us and the world and preserve the freedoms he so graciously gave us at the beginning of time, not only for our benefit, but for the benefit of all mankind. May his hand, be the hand that guides us, protects us, strengthens us, and keeps us through the coming storms.

THE MEANING OF THE REVOLUTION. “On the Controversy about Independence.” by John Witherspoon between 1765-1787

EVERY one knows that when the claims of the British Parliament were openly made, and violently enforced, the most precise and determined resolutions were entered into, and published by every colony, every county, and almost every township or smaller district, that they would not submit to them. This was clearly expressed in the greatest part of them, and ought to be understood as the implied sense of them all, not only that they would not soon or easily, but that they would never on any event, submit to them . For my own part, I confess, I would never have signed these resolves at first, nor taken up arms in consequence of them afterward, if I had not been fully convinced, as I am still, that acquiescence in this usurped power would be followed by the total and absolute ruin of the colonies. They would have been no better than tributary states to a kingdom at a great distance from them. They would have been therefore, as has been the case with all states in a similar situation from the beginning of the world, the servants of servants from generation to generation. For this reason I declare it to have been my meaning, and I know it was the meaning of thousands more, that though we earnestly wished for reconciliation with safety to our liberties, yet we did deliberately prefer, not only the horrors of a civil war, not only the danger of anarchy, and the uncertainty of a new settlement, but even extermination itself, to slavery riveted on us and our posterity.

The most peaceable means were first used; but no relaxation could be obtained: one arbitrary and oppressive act followed after another; they destroyed the property of a whole capital—subverted to its very foundation the constitution and government of a whole colony, and granted the soldiers a liberty of murdering in all the colonies. I express it thus, because they were not to be called to account for it where it was committed, which everybody must allow was a temporary, and undoubtedly in ninety-nine cases of an hundred must have issued in a total impunity. There is one circumstance, however, in my opinion, much more curious than all the rest The reader will say, What can this be? It is the following, which I beg may be particularly attended to:—While all this was a doing, the King in his speeches, the Parliament in their acts, and the people of Great Britain in their addresses, never failed to extol their own lenity [kindness, gentleness]. I do not infer from this, that the King, Parliament and people of Great Britain are all barbarians and savages—the inference is unnecessary and unjust; but I infer the misery of the people of America, if they must submit in all cases whatsoever, to the decisions of a body of the sons of Adam, so distant from them, and who have an interest in oppressing them. It has been my opinion from the beginning, that we did not carry our reasoning fully home, when we complained of an arbitrary prince, or of the insolence, cruelty and obstinacy of Lord North, Lord Bute, or Lord Mansfield. What we have to fear, and what we have now to grapple with, is the ignorance, prejudice, partiality and injustice of human nature. Neither King nor ministry, could have done, nor durst have attempted what we have seen, if they had not had the nation on their side. The friends of America in England are few in number, and contemptible in influence; nor must I omit, that even of these few, not one, till very lately, ever reasoned the American cause upon its proper principles, or viewed it in its proper light

Petitions on petitions have been presented to King and Parliament, and an address sent to the people of Great Britain, which have been not merely fruitless, but treated with the highest degree of disdain. The conduct of the British ministry during the whole of this contest, as has been often observed, has been such, as to irritate the whole people of this continent to the highest degree, and unite them together by the firm bond of necessity and common interest In this respect they have served us in the most essential manner. I am firmly persuaded, that had the wisest heads in America met together to contrive what measures the ministry should follow to strengthen the American opposition and defeat their own designs, they could not have fallen upon a plan so effectual, as that which has been steadily pursued. One instance I cannot help mentioning, because it was both of more importance, and less to be expected than any other. When a majority of the New York Assembly, to their eternal infamy, attempted to break the union of the colonies, by refusing to approve the proceedings of the Congress, and applying to Parliament by separate petition—because they presumed to make mention of the principal grievance of taxation, it was treated with ineffable contempt I desire it may be observed, that all those who are called the friends of America in Parliament, pleaded strongly for receiving the New York petition; which plainly showed, that neither the one nor the other understood the state of affairs in America. Had the ministry been prudent, or the opposition successful, we had been ruined; but with what transport did every friend to American liberty hear, that these traitors to the common cause had met with the reception which they deserved.

A PATRIOT’S THANKSGIVING by John Woolman; Quaker and Early Anti-Slavery Spokesman

johnwoolman[The Snare Broken: A Thanksgiving Discourse, occasioned by the Repeal of the Stamp Act, Preached May 23, 1766.]

“WE have never known so quick and general a transition from the depth * * of sorrow to the height of joy, as on this occasion; nor, indeed, so great and universal a flow of either on any other occasion whatever. It is very true, we have heretofore seen times of great adversity. We have known seasons of drought, dearth, and spreading mortal diseases; the pestilence walking in darkness, and the destruction wasting at noonday. We have seen wide devastations made by fire; and amazing tempests, the heavens on flame, the winds and the waves roaring. We have known repeated earthquakes, threatening us with speedy destruction. We have been under great apprehensions by reason of formidable fleets of an enemy on our coasts, menacing fire and sword to all our maritime towns. We have known times when the French and savage armies made terrible havoc on our frontiers, carrying all before them for a while; when we were not without fear that some capital towns in the colonies would fall into their merciless hands. Such times as these we have known; at some of which almost every “face gathered paleness,” and the knees of all but the good and brave waxed feeble. But never have we known a season of such universal consternation and anxiety among people of all ranks and ages, in these colonies, as was occasioned by that parliamentary procedure which threatened us and our posterity with perpetual bondage and slavery. For they, as we generally suppose, are really slaves to all intents and purposes, who are obliged to labor and toil only for the benefit of others; or, which comes to the same thing, the fruit of whose labor and industry may be lawfully taken from them without their consent, and they justly punished if they refuse to surrender it on demand, or apply it to other purposes than those which their masters, of their mere grace and pleasure, see fit to allow. Nor are there many American understandings acute enough to distinguish any material difference between this being done by a single person, under the title of an absolute monarch, and done by a far-distant legislature, consisting of many persons, in which they are not represented; and the members whereof, instead of feeling and sharing equally with them in the burden thus imposed, are eased of their own in proportion to the greatness and weight of it . . .

The repeal, the repeal, has at once, in a good measure, restored things to order, and composed our minds by removing the chief ground of our fears. The course of justice between man and man is no longer obstructed; commerce lifts up her head, adorned with golden tresses, pearls, and precious stones. All things that went on right before are returning gradually to their former course; those that did not we have reason to hope will go on better now; almost every person you meet wears the smiles of contentment and joy; and even our slaves rejoice as though they had received their manumission. Indeed, all the lovers of liberty in Europe, in the world, have reason to rejoice; the cause is, in some measure common to them and us. Blessed revolution! glorious change! How great are our obligations for it to the Supreme Governor of the world!

John Woolman; Born In Northampton, West New Jersey, 1730. Died at York, England, 1772.

 

HOW HE TESTIFIED IN MEETING AGAINST SLAVERY.
[Ths Works of John Woolman. 1774.]

THE monthly-meeting of  Philadelphia having been under a concern on account of some Friends [Quakers]  who, this summer (1758), had bought negro slaves: the said meeting moved it to their quarterly-meeting, to have the minute reconsidered in the yearly-meeting, which was made last on that subject; and the said quarterly-meeting appointed a committee to consider it and report to their next; which committee having met once and adjourned, and I going to Philadelphia to meet a committee of the yearly-meeting, was in town the evening on which the quarterly-meeting’s committee met the second time, and finding an inclination to sit with them, was, with some others, admitted; and Friends had a weighty conference on the subject And, soon after their next quarterly-meeting I heard that the case was coming to our yearly-meeting, which brought a weighty exercise upon me, and under a sense of my own infirmities and the great danger I felt of turning aside from perfect purity, my mind was often drawn to retire alone and put up my prayers to the Lord, that he would be graciously pleased to strengthen me; that, setting aside all views of self-interest and the friendship of this world, I might stand full v resigned to his holy will.

In this yearly-meeting several weighty matters were considered; and, toward the last, that in relation to dealing with persons who purchase slaves. During the several sittings of the said meeting my mind was frequently covered with inward prayer, and I could say with David, “That tears were my meat day and night” The case of slave-keeping lay heavy upon me, nor did I find any engagement to speak directly to any other matter before the meeting. Now, when this case was opened several faithful Friends spake weightily thereto, with which I was comforted; and, feeling a concern to cast in my mite, I said, in substance, as follows:

“In the difficulties attending us in this life nothing is more precious than the mind of truth inwardly manifested, and it is my earnest desire that in this weighty matter we may be so truly humbled as to be favored with a clear understanding of the mind of truth, and follow it; this would be of more advantage to the society than any medium not in the clearness of divine wisdom. The case is difficult to some who have them; but if such set aside all self-interest and come to be weaned from the desire of getting estates, or even from holding them together, when truth requires the contrary, I believe way will open that they will know how to steer through those difficulties.”

Many Friends appeared to be deeply bowed under the weight of the work, and manifested much firmness in their love to the cause of truth and universal righteousness on the earth; and though none did openly justify the practice of slave-keeping in general, yet some appeared concerned lest the meeting should go into such measures as might give uneasiness to many brethren;—alleging that if Friends patiently continued under the exercise the Lord, in time to come, might open a way for the deliverance of these people. And I, finding an engagement to speak, said: “My mind is often led to consider the purity of the Divine Being, and the justice of his judgments; and herein my soul is covered with awfulness; I cannot omit to hint of some cases where people have not been treated with the purity of justice, and the event hath been lamentable. Many slaves on this continent are oppressed, and their cries have reached the ears of the Most High. Such are the purity and certainty of his judgments that he cannot be partial in our favor. In infinite love and goodness he hath opened our understandings, from one time to another, concerning our duty toward this people; and it is not a time for delay. Should we now be sensible of what he requires of us, and through a respect to the private interest of some persons, or through a regard to some friendships which do not stand on an immutable foundation, neglect to do our duty in firmness and constancy, still waiting for some extraordinary means to bring about their deliverance, it may be by terrible things in righteousness God may answer us in this matter.”

Many faithful brethren labored with great firmness, and the love of truth, in a good degree, prevailed. Several Friends who had negroes expressed their desire that a rule might be made to deal with such Friends as offenders who bought slaves in future. To this it was answered, that the root of this evil would never be effectually struck at until a thorough search was made into the circumstances of such Friends who kept negroes, with respect to the righteousness of their motives in keeping them, that impartial justice might be administered throughout Several Friends expressed their desire that a visit might be made to such Friends who kept slaves; and many Friends said that they believed liberty was the negroes’ right; to which, at length, no opposition was made publicly. A minute was made, more full on that subject than any heretofore, and the names of several Friends entered, who were free to join in a visit to such who kept slaves.

 

 

Benjamin Franklin on Faith and Good Works and His Religious Creed

benjaminfranklinSELECTIONS FROM FRANKLIN’S MISCELLANEOUS LETTERS.
[The Works of Benjamin Franklin. Edited by Jared Sparks. 1840]
TO GEORGE WHITEFIELD, ON FAITH AND GOOD WORKS.

NOTE: As the Bible says, there is nothing new under the sun. Benjamin Franklin’s idea of “paying it forward”.

Letter to George Whitefield:

FOR my own part, when I am employed in serving others, I do not look upon myself as conferring favors, but as paying debts. In my travels, and since my settlement, I have received much kindness from men, to whom I shall never have any opportunity of making the least direct return; and numberless mercies from God, who is infinitely above being benefited by our services. Those kindnesses from men, I can therefore only return on their fellow men, and I can only show my gratitude for these mercies from God, by a readiness to help his other children and my brethren. For I do not think that thanks and compliments, though repeated weekly, can discharge our real obligations to each other, and much less those to our Creator. You will see in this my notion of good works, that I am far from expecting to merit heaven by them. By heaven we understand a state of happiness, infinite in degree, and eternal in duration. I can do nothing to deserve such rewards. He that, for giving a draft of water to a thirsty person, should expect to be paid with a good plantation, would be modest in his demands, compared with those who think they deserve heaven for the little good they do on earth. Even the mixed, imperfect pleasures we enjoy in this world, are rather from God’s goodness than our merit; how much more such happiness of heaven! For my part I have not the vanity to think I deserve it, the folly to expect it, nor the ambition to desire it; but content myself in submitting to the will and disposal of that God who made me, who has hitherto preserved and blessed me, and in whose fatherly goodness I may well confide, that he will never make me miserable, and that even the afflictions I may at any time suffer shall tend to my benefit

The faith you mention has certainly its use in the world. I do not desire to see it diminished, nor would I endeavor to lessen it in any man. But I wish it were more productive of good works, than I have generally seen it; I mean real good works; works of kindness, charity, mercy, and public spirit; not holiday-keeping, sermon-reading or hearing; performing church ceremonies, or making long prayers, filled with flatteries and compliments, despised even by wise men, and much less capable of pleasing the Deity. The worship of God is a duty; the hearing and reading of sermons may be useful; but if men rest in hearing and praying, as too many do, it is as if a tree should value itself on being watered and putting forth leaves, though it never produced any fruit.

Your great master thought much less of these outward appearances and professions, than many of his modern disciples. He preferred the doers of the word, to the mere hearers; the son that seemingly refused to obey his father, and yet performed his commands, to him that professed his readiness, but neglected the work; the heretical but charitable Samaritan, to the uncharitable though orthodox priest and sanctified Levite; and those who gave food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, raiment to the naked, entertainment to the stranger, and relief to the sick, though they never heard of his name, he declares shall in the last day be accepted; when those who cry Lord,! Lord! who value themselves upon their faith, though great enough to perform miracles, but have neglected good works, shall be rejected. He professed, that he came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance; which implied his modest opinion, that there were some in his time so good, that they need not hear even him for improvement; but now-a-days we have scarce a little parson, that does not think it the duty of every man within his reach to sit under his petty ministrations; and that whoever omits them offends God.

I wish to such more humility, and to you health and happiness, being your friend and servant,

B. Franklin; Philadelphia, 6 June, 1758.

TO EZRA STILES, WITH A STATEMENT OF HIS RELIGIOUS CREED.

YOU desire to know something of my religion. It is the first time I have been questioned upon it But I cannot take your curiosity amiss, and shall endeavor in a few words to gratify it Here is my creed. I believe in one God, the creator of the universe. That he governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render to him is doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion, and I regard them as you do in whatever sect I meet with them.

As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think his system of morals and his religion, as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is like to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupting changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some doubts as to his Divinity; though it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the truth with less trouble. I see no harm, however, in its being believed, if that belief has the good consequence, as probably it has, of making his doctrines more respected and more observed; especially as I do not perceive that the Supreme takes it amiss, by distinguishing the unbelievers in his government of the world with any peculiar marks of his displeasure.

I shall only add, respecting myself, that, having experienced the goodness of that Being in conducting me prosperously through a long life, I have no doubt of its continuance in the next, though without the smallest conceit of meriting such goodness. ….

B. Franklin;  Philadelphia, 9 March, 1790.

LETTER TO MESSRS. THE ABBES CHALUT AND ARNAUD

Philadelphia, April 17, 1787.

Dear Friends, Your reflections on our situation, compared with that of many nations of Europe, are very sensible and just. Let me add, that only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.

Our public affairs go on as well as can reasonably be expected, after so great an overturning. We have had some disorders in different parts of the country, but we arrange them as they arise, and are daily mending and improving; so that I have no doubt but all will come right in time. Yours,

B. Franklin.

 From ” The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin” (1818), Vol. I, p. 220. The letter is a reply to one from the Abbes, dated ” Paris 9 Decembre 1786.”

“A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word darkness on the walls of his cell” by C. S. Lewis

Main source: A Library of American Literature from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time. By Edmund Clarence Stedman and Ellen Mackay Hutchinson

Natural Rights Of The Colonists As Men by Founder Samuel Adams Nov 20, 1772

Samuel Adams1Natural Rights Of The Colonists As Men; by Samuel Adams.

Boston Gazette, November 20, 1772.

Rights Of The Colonists As Men.

Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: First, a right to life. Second, to liberty. Thirdly, to property: together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature. All men have a right to remain in a state of nature as long as they please, and in case of intolerable oppression, civil or religious, to leave the society they belong to, and enter into another. When men enter into society, it is by voluntary consent, and they have a right to demand and insist upon the performance of such conditions and previous limitations as form an equitable original compact.

Every natural right not expressly given up, or, from the nature of a social compact necessarily ceded, remains. All positive and civil laws should conform, as far as possible, to the law of natural reason and equity. As neither reason requires nor religion permits the contrary, every man living in or out of a state of civil society has a right peaceably and quietly to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience.

“Just and true liberty, equal and impartial liberty,” in matters spiritual and temporal is a thing that all men are clearly entitled to by the eternal and immutable laws of God and nature, as well as by the law of nations and all well-grounded municipal laws, which must have their foundation in the former.

In regard to religion, mutual toleration in the different professions thereof, is what all good and candid minds in all ages have ever practised, and both by precept and example inculcated on mankind. It is now generally agreed among Christians that this spirit of toleration, in the fullest extent consistent with the being of civil society, is the chief characteristical mark of the true Church. Insomuch that Mr. Locke has asserted and proved, beyond the possibility of contradiction on any solid ground, that such toleration ought to be extended to all whose doctrines are not subversive of society. The only sects, which he thinks ought to be, and which by all wise laws are, excluded from such toleration, are those who teach doctrines subversive of the civil government under which they live. The Roman Catholics, or Papists, are excluded by reason of such doctrines as these :—That princes excommunicated may be deposed, and those that they call heretics may be destroyed without mercy; besides their recognizing the Pope in so absolute a manner, in subversion of government, by introducing, as far as possible into the states under whose protection they enjoy life, liberty and property, that solecism in politics, imperium in imperio (translation: control of the government), leading directly to the worst anarchy and confusion, civil discord, war, and bloodshed.

The natural liberty of man by entering into society is abridged or restrained, so far only as is necessary for the great end of society—the best good of the whole.

In the state of nature every man is, under God, judge and sole judge of his own rights and of the injuries done him. By entering into society he agrees to an arbiter or indifferent judge between him and his neighbors; but he no more renounces his original right, thereby taking a cause out of the ordinary course of law, and leaving the decision to referees or indifferent arbitrators. In the last case, he must pay the referee for time and trouble. He should also be willing to pay his just quota for the support of the government, the law and the constitution; the end of which is to furnish indifferent and impartial judges in all cases that may happen, whether civil, ecclesiastical, marine, or military.

The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule.

In the state of nature men may, as the patriarchs did, employ hired servants for the defence of their lives, liberties and property, and they should pay them reasonable wages. Government was instituted for the purpose of common defence, and those who hold the reins of government have an equitable, natural right to an honorable support from the same principle that “the laborer is worthy of his hire.” But then the same community which they serve ought to be the assessors of their pay. Governors have a right to seek and take what they please; by this, instead of being content with the station assigned them, that of honorable servants of the society, they would soon become absolute masters, despots and tyrants. Hence, as a private man has a right to say what wages he will give in his private affairs, so has a community to determine what they will give and grant of their substance for the administration of public affairs. And in both cases more are ready to offer their service at the proposed and stipulated price than are able and willing to perform their duty.

In short it is the greatest absurdity to suppose it in the power of one, or any number of men, at the entering into society to renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights, when the grand end of civil government, from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection, and defence of those very rights; the principal of which, as is before observed, are life, liberty, and property. If men through fear, fraud or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right of freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.

It does not take a majority to prevail, but an irate, 
tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom 
in the minds of men ~ S. Adams

THE RIGHTS OF THE COLONISTS AS CHRISTIANS.

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

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

THE RIGHTS OF THE COLON1STS AS SUBJECTS.

A commonwealth or state is a body politic, or civil society of men united together to promote their mutual safety and prosperity by means of their union.

The absolute right of Englishmen and all freemen, in or out of civil society, are principally personal security, personal liberty, and private property.

All persons born in the British American Colonies, are by the laws of God and nature, and by the common law of England, exclusive of all charters from the Crown, well entitled, and by acts of the British Parliament are declared to be entitled, to all the natural, essential, inherent, and inseparable rights, liberties and privileges of subjects born in Great Britain or within the realm. Among these rights are the following, which no man, or body of men, consistently with their own rights as men and citizens, or members of society, can for themselves give up or take away from others.

“First. The first fundamental positive law of all commonwealths or states, is the establishing the legislative power. As the first fundamental natural law, also, which is to govern even the legislative power itself is the preservation of the society.

“Secondly. The legislative has no right to absolute arbitrary power over the lives and fortunes of the people; nor can mortals assume a prerogative not only too high for men, but for angels, and therefore reserved for the exercise of the Deity alone.

“The Legislative cannot justly assume to itself a power to rule by extempore arbitrary decrees ; but it is bound to see that justice is dispensed, and that the rights of the subjects be decided by promulgated, standing, and known laws, and authorized independent judges;” that is, independent, as far as possible, of prince and people. “There should be one rule of justice for rich and poor, for the favorite at court, and the countryman at the plough.

“Thirdly. The supreme power cannot justly take from any man any part of his property without his consent in person or by his representative.”

These are some of the first principles of natural law and justice, and the great barriers of all free states, and of the British Constitution in particular. It is utterly irreconcilable to these principles, and to many other fundamental maxims of the common law, common sense, and reason, that a British House of Commons should have a right at pleasure to give and grant the property of the colonists. (That the colonists are well entitled to all the essential rights, liberties, and privileges of men and freemen born in Britain, is manifest not only from the colony charters in general, but acts of the British Parliament.) The statute of the I3th of Geo. II, c. 7, naturalizes every foreigner after seven years’ residence. The words of the Massachusetts charter are these: “And further, our will and pleasure is, and we do hereby, for us, our heirs and successors, grant, establish, and ordain, that all and every of the subjects of us, our heirs and successors, which shall go to and inhabit within our said Province or Territory, and every of their children which shall happen to be born there or on the seas in going thither or returning from thence, shall have and enjoy all liberties and immunities of free and natural subjects within any of the dominions of us, our heirs and successors, to all intents, constructions, and purposes whatsoever, as if they and every one of them were born within this, our realm of England.”

Now what liberty can there be where property is taken away without consent? Can it be said with any color of truth and justice that this continent of three thousand miles in length, and of a breadth as yet unexplored, in which, however, it is supposed there are five millions of people, has the least voice, vote, or influence in the British Parliament? Have they all together any more weight or power to return a single member to that House of Commons who have not inadvertently, but deliberately, assumed a power to dispose of their lives, liberties, and properties, than to choose an Emperor of China? Had the colonists a right to return members to the British Parliament, it would only be hurtful, as, from their local situation and circumstances it is impossible they should ever be truly and properly represented there. The inhabitants of this country, in all probability, in a few years, will be more numerous than those of Great Britain and Ireland together; yet it is absurdly expected by the promoters of the present measure that these, with their posterity to all generations, should be easy while their property shall be disposed of by a House of Commons at three thousand miles distance from them, and who cannot be supposed to have the least care or concern for their real interest; who have not only no natural care for their interest, but must be in effect bribed against it, as every burden they lay on the colonists is so much saved or gained to themselves. Hitherto, many of the colonists have been free from quit rents; but if the breath of a British House of Commons can originate an act for taking away all our money, our lands will go next, or be subject to rack rent from haughty and relentless landlords, who will ride at ease while we are trodden in the dirt. The colonists have been branded with the odious names of traitors and rebels only for complaining of their grievances. How long such treatment will or ought to be borne, is submitted.

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.

MAKING THE FOREIGN-BORN FAMILIAR WITH THE AMERICAN SPIRIT By George S. Tilroe

NoAmnestyOn Immigration and Immigrants: No less an American than George Washington had something to say on this subject. When it was proposed to bring over here the faculty of a Genevan university to take charge of an American university, he objected. He said he was against importing an entire “seminary of foreigners for the purpose of American education.” Neither did he favor sending our young men abroad to be educated. He feared what experience has shown he had cause to fear. He said they “contracted principles unfriendly to republican government and to the true and genuine liberties of mankind.” George Washington also had ideas about immigration that are good to-day. “My opinion with respect to immigration,” he said, “is, that except of useful mechanics and some particular descriptions of men or professions, there is no need of encouragement; while the policy or advantage of its taking place in a body (I mean the settling of them in a body) may be much questioned; for by so doing they retain their language, habits, principles, good or bad, which they bring with them. Whereas, by an intermixture with our people, they or their descendants get assimilated to our customs, measures, and laws; in a word, soon become one people.”

“It remains to be seen,” he declared, “whether our country will stand upon independent ground. . . . A little time will show who are its true friends, or, what is synonymous, who are true Americans.”

American

source: PurdueEdu

MAKING THE FOREIGN-BORN FAMILIAR WITH THE AMERICAN SPIRIT By George S. Tilroe, Syracuse, NY published 1918 New York Education.

AMERICANIZATION of the immigrant to-day involves the two outstanding forces of world-wide human interest—the material and the spiritual. It is demanded that we judge their merits and determine which shall predominate as our national characteristic.

In teaching the immigrant, we have commonly regarded our work as an effort to make him a more valuable material asset in the community. We have taught him the English language to help him get a better job and to answer the questions of the Naturalization Court. The instruction has been essentially to meet material needs. Materially, we have accomplished our purpose.

The big problem to-day, however, is not material. Our work of Americanization is a spiritual task. It requires an exercise of personality, enthusiasm and thoroughness unparalleled in the history of the republic. It demands that we arouse in the immigrant a spirit of loyalty, a spirit like that which has ever led this nation on to victory.

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source: zazzle.com

The spirit of the American people is the most striking difference the immigrant sees between foreign and American life. It is the spirit we point to with pride, the spirit of liberty, of freedom and independence—the Spirit of 76! It grips the foreigner on first acquaintance and the longer he lives here the better he likes it. It throws a magnetizing influence over him. It is our spirit he is acquiring during the process of his assimilation, therefore, in such degree as we display traits worthwhile, in that degree is the immigrant becoming a worth-while American. This means that we are doubly responsible for the making of good Americans. We must be good Americans ourselves, if we would hope to get the American spirit across to the immigrant. We must illustrate the American spirit by setting before our alien population examples worthy of emulation.

Unfortunately, we have run the material Marathon at such a pace that we have heard hours of such rot as that, some of them have rather disregarded the intrinsic spirit of our laws and institutions and obscured the meaning of the American ideal. Meanwhile, the alien has debated the question of American citizenship, considering whether he shall become one of us. It has been difficult for him to differentiate between liberty and license, while our material manner of looking at the situation has rather confused him. We have not imbued him with the American spirit sufficiently to get him out of the alien class, consequently we have almost over-burdened ourselves with a conglomeration of crude humanity that is now the object of no little concern in some quarters.

The world war, a leveler of peoples, a spiritual prod, a national awakener, has done us immeasurable good. We have learned more in the last year than in half a century previous. We have learned the danger of spiritual lethargy and the value of national brotherhood. During the coming months, our American spirit is doubtless due for further quickening with its natural effect upon the immigrant.

Under these circumstances it is worthwhile to take invoice of our stock of Americanism. Most of us have acquired the American spirit through study of our great men and through visiting places of historical significance. Certain leaders and their heroic deeds stand out boldly. They were part of our education. When barely out of the cradle we learned about the hatchet and the cherry tree, about Honest Abe, the rail splitter. We have also learned about millions of common folk, living the simple life, who went to the front when duty called, but we seem to have overlooked the meaning of our nationality, for, it is said that “More than 50 per cent, of us have less than a 50 per cent, knowledge of the principles underlying the foundation of our government.”

Materially minded schemers have helped load us up with the problems now confronting us. They have victimized thousands of immigrants, many of them so many times that they have become distrustful of well intentioned persons who approach them with a sincere desire to help them. Meantime many of our better classes, rich and poor, have stood by, indifferent to the proceedings. We have declared that we need these folk to do our drudgery, to dig our ditches, to do our dirty work! Material selfishness has befogged the issue of American patriotism! We have led thousands of our immigrants no farther than the slums with harmful results. The American spirit withers in the hovels and dark passageways of the tenement sections. Many aliens, however, have swallowed the bitter pill of social ostracism and appeared here and there as leaders of influential colonies. Although many have not risen above the level of the common laborer, they have acquired enough of the spirit of genuine democracy to return to their native lands and spread American ideas. Some of our immigrants are sitting in legislative halls, others are spreading sedition and treachery!

Instead of consigning the alien to the slums, let’s open up to him not only the opportunities of our industrial centers, but also the advantages of the rural regions where fresh air and sunshine are plentiful, and clannishness is short lived. It is our duty to teach of all our resources and how they may be used for the common good. Before we can do much teaching, we must solve the problem of reaching these people. We must have funds and we must get our pupils into well equipped school plants where the American spirit is exemplified in all the surroundings. The American eagle can’t scream well cooped up in a foul cage.

Heretofore, in our immigrant education campaigns, we have used every available means to fill our evening schools. We have opened classes near immigrant homes, used posters, letters, missionaries and moral suasion. We have reached many through social activities and helped them because we appealed to their human, spiritual side, but definite results have been disappointing. We have not reached the masses.

In many of our cities, immigrants who have been in this country many years, have not taken advantage of instruction offered gratis in our night school. In some cities much less than 10 per cent, of the total foreign population is attending. In New York state are more than 3,000,000 foreigners ten years of age and over. Thirteen per cent, of them are illiterate as compared with 1 per cent, of the native born.

The showing is not quite so bad throughout the nation as a whole for, among children of foreign-born parentage, there is less illiteracy among the whites than among children of native born parents. Fully 50 per cent, of our children drop out of the elementary school into material activities, foreigners to greater degree than natives. A comparatively small percentage of all go through high school. In the high school and colleges, however, the native-born boys and girls outstrip immigrant children, showing an advantage over the flow from the elementary schools into material avenues of life employment. If they learn to exercise their minds along thought channels, young men and young women of the high schools and colleges are the hope of perpetuating in this country a race of thinking, reasoning human beings. It requires more than a machine to perpetuate the American spirit.

There is yet much to be done and it must be done through the greatest Americanization agency in the world—the American public school.

The work must be centralized here. It should not be scattered among various institutions and organizations which produce only indefinite results. The American spirit is nourished in the public schools and in them we must provide the proper kind of Americanism. There must be no taint of enemy propaganda anywhere in our educational system!

Raw material for the schools is available in this country to the extent of some 13,000,000 foreign-born people. One fifth of them cannot speak the English language and a much larger number have not yet grasped the American idea otherwise. It is our duty to teach them and their duty to try to learn. We owe it to them, they to us and all of us to our country. We must emphasize co-operation to preserve our democracy, for without it, democracies fail.

The old Athenian democracy, which produced a grand example of virtuous, civilized manhood, went to pieces. It had one fault. The people had no capacity for working together, consequently stronger, warring peoples, by using might, gobbled them up. But many of the good qualities of the ancient Greeks survive. They are the qualities showing the spirit of the people. Pericles emphasized the cultural side of their nature and did a lasting service to mankind.

Even old Greece had its alien problem. The spirit of that age drew a contrast between the principles of democracy and those of foreign, barbarian folk. The Greeks had to battle against evil influences of brutal, savage tribes of northern Europe, influences of two thousand years ago which are cropping out to-day. Thus, in so far as civilization in the finer sense is concerned, our problem is like that of Pericles’ time.

The spirit that prompted Pericles prompted the founders of this republic. It led to the adoption of the Constitution, the foundation of Americanism. If our immigrants become familiar with this they will have in its first paragraph the keynote of the American spirit in these words, “We, the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union.” In this union, we escape the fault that caused the downfall of the mother of democracies and secure a guarantee of national strength. We Americans have been brought up under the spirit of this Constitution, while in Europe, for several centuries, there has been a material existence of undemocratic characteristics. Our immigrants, with few exceptions, were trained under this autocratic system of education. In America, we have used a democratic system, although we have allowed autocratic features to creep in, some innocently and others deliberately. Definite steps have been taken not only to disrupt the nation, but also to put foreign features into our education system. It is not a matter of language; it has to do with the introduction of European ideas. It concerns the fostering of materialistic principles which, in an autocracy, have produced a  generation of common people now subservient machines manipulated by rulers who command barbarism which the educational training of the masses enforces them to practice. We have no place in America for any part of an educational system that trains immigrant children or alien adults for any such subserviency as this, yet here is what I read in a volume published in America six years ago: “Germans made many struggles to introduce and foster their language in our schools, taxed themselves for the maintenance of German schools, and fought in the press, the legislature and on the stump. There was Scheib in Baltimore, Feldner and Schneck in Detroit, Engelman and Herflinger in Milwaukee, Heilmann in Louisville, Conrad Krez in Wisconsin,” and scores of others. The author regrets that credit has not been given these men for their pioneer work in establishing a German normal school in Milwaukee and in devoting their energy and means to the preservation of German in this country. This was published six years ago. What do you think of it to-day? We have not only permitted ourselves to be exploited by foreigners but many of our own educators have gone abroad to gather up foreign ideas for American consumption. Some may be good and some bad, but, considered from the viewpoint of America First, there must be Americans able to devise Yankee substitutes for those worthwhile.

Several questions arise right here. Should not American educators investigate the subject and weed out objectionable foreign features that have gotten into our schools? If European systems of education produce a people in the condition of subserviency in which we believe Teutonic peoples to be living, do we want this kind of education in America? Do we want our people to be mere material machines or do we want them educated to enjoy life as it should be lived in a free democracy? Do we want them fitted only for work or do we want them prepared not only to work intelligently but also able to employ their leisure hours happily and profitably? The material was never intended to consume the whole day nor even one-half of it.

No less an American than George Washington had something to say on this subject. When it was proposed to bring over here the faculty of a Genevan university to take charge of an American university, he objected. He said he was against importing an entire “seminary of foreigners for the purpose of American education.” Neither did he favor sending our young men abroad to be educated. He feared what experience has shown he had cause to fear. He said they “contracted principles unfriendly to republican government and to the true and genuine liberties of mankind.” George Washington also had ideas about immigration that are good to-day. “My opinion with respect to immigration,” he said, “is, that except of useful mechanics and some particular descriptions of men or professions, there is no need of encouragement; while the policy or advantage of its taking place in a body (I mean the settling of them in a body) may be much questioned; for by so doing they retain their language, habits, principles, good or bad, which they bring with them. Whereas, by an intermixture with our people, they or their descendants get assimilated to our customs, measures, and laws; in a word, soon become one people.”

“It remains to be seen,” he declared, “whether our country will stand upon independent ground. . . . A little time will show who are its true friends, or, what is synonymous, who are true Americans.”

The acid test of our Americanism is now on. Immigrants and natives are showing their colors. Our history teaches us that true Americans are held in reverence; traitors go to ignoble graves!

Whispering ” Tis well,” George Washington died, mourned by a nation.

Benedict Arnold went out a penitent, despised by everybody.

Among his many benefactions, Washington left us a suggestion that fits nicely into our scheme of Americanization. He favored a plan to spread systematic national ideas throughout the nation. In this way immigrants may learn the workings of the American spirit and what sort of men have guided our destiny. Illustrations are plentiful. The Pilgrims came here for freedom of worship. From the belfry of Old North Church a lantern signaled Paul Revere to begin his famous ride before Lexington and Concord. Seven thousand patriots gathered at Old South Church for that great American camouflage, the Boston Tea Party. Washington prayed for success at Valley Forge. John Adams recited every night the prayer his mother taught him as a boy. Ethan Allen appeared at Ticonderoga in the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress. This sort of spirit was back of the American revolution!

In Civil War days, Abraham Lincoln said, “Let us strive to deserve the continued care of the Divine Providence, trusting that in future emergencies He will not fail to provide us with the instruments of safety and security.”

And there is the Gettysburg address! It was the American spirit that gave us these: “With malice toward none, with charity for all;” “Give me liberty or give me death;” “Liberty and union, now and forever, one and inseparable!” In all this there is something higher than the material. It is powerful enough to repel a foreign foe. It has never tasted defeat.

This kind of Americanism taught to our immigrants has been the only force directly counteracting the spread of foreign propaganda in this country during the past twenty-five years! Its effect is seen on European battlefields to-day!

Fully one-third of the volunteers for the regular branches of the army, navy and marines this year are of foreign birth or parentage. In industrial centers they have volunteered in a ratio of 3 to 1 as compared with native sons. Many of them learned Americanism in our night schools. I saw some of them clad in khaki, march away. I went to the railway station with them. I was proud of them. I met others before the draft boards, accepting service without claim of exemption. I was proud of them because the chairmen of the examining boards told me they were showing a remarkable spirit in that they volunteered when they might claim exemption on the ground of being aliens. It was ample reward for fifteen years’ effort to get the American idea across. During the past three years the government has come to help us in this service. It has started a campaign of Americanization. We welcome the movement. It will help us continue the transformation of immigrants into highly respected and prosperous American citizens. We know many who have traveled this road. We are in touch with all nationalities, some of whom are scattered to all parts of the world. In America, we hope to cement this material into one spiritual union. The press, the pulpit and our law-making bodies can aid this work by considering such propositions as these:

1. Suppression of foreign language newspapers.

2. Supervision of societies of foreigners.

3. Scattering of colonies of foreigners.

4. Licensing of persons acting as interpreters.

5. Deportation of foreigners who refuse to declare their intentions after one year’s residence, unless registered.

6. Licensing of those who assume to prepare aliens for the Naturalization Court.

7. Compulsory attendance at evening schools of foreigners who cannot speak English.

8. Government control of public Americanization agencies centralized in the public schools.

9. The teaching of foreign languages in our schools by Americans.

Through education and legislation we must work together in that unity outlined in the Constitution, not forgetting that the genuine American spirit is one of right living under the Golden Rule. We have achieved success in a material way and enjoy many inventions, but no invention has yet approached the splendor of the spiritual. We are ringing a change on the materialistic tendencies of several centuries. The spirit of Christian brotherhood is getting hold of us. We are getting to be more like human beings. This humane spirit is a feature of democracy. May all nationalities be so imbued with it that “This nation, under God, shall not perish from the earth.”

A Plea for the Study of the Bible by Mrs. S. C. Collier 1905

well used Bible“The most important business in this Nation–or any other nation, for that matter-is raising and training children. If those children have the proper environment at home, and educationally, very, very few of them ever turn out wrong. I don’t think we put enough stress on the necessity of implanting in the child’s mind the moral code under which we live.

The fundamental basis of this Nation’s law was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings which we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul. I don’t think we emphasize that enough these days.

If we don’t have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.” quote President Harry S. Truman February 15, 1950

GREAT enthusiasm was recently aroused by the masterful address delivered at Oyster Bay by President [Theodore] Roosevelt, on the occasion of the anniversary of the Long Island Bible Society. The oration was printed in the form of a leaflet by the American Bible Society, and already sixty thousand copies have been issued in English, and ten thousand in Spanish, besides editions in Arabic, Japanese, and Tagalog. The printing presses of the world are teeming with volumes of the Word of God, translated and printed in more than three hundred different languages and dialects.

In writing to the Pall Mall Gazette John Ruskin once said: “Let me tell you what the Bible is; it is the grandest group of writings existent in the rational world, translated with beauty and felicity into every language of the Christian world, and the guide since so translated of all the arts and acts of that world which have been noble, fortunate, and happy.”

The literature of the whole Bible is a study upon which scholarly minds are directing ever increasing attention. Every conceivable light is thrown upon it, exploration, collateral history, and deep, penetrating scholarship. It was composed by many authors, covering in the years of its composition one third of human history. Authors wrote its inspired pages, numbering prophets and peasants, kings and fishermen, philosophers and poets, lawgivers and prisoners.

  Everything great begins with God.
 God is a poet; creation is his poem.
 The soul is dead that sheds no light.
 God is the origin of all originals.
 The secret of strength is with the Soul.
 The soul renews its youth when it begins with the 
“Ancient of Days.”
 No forward movement is possible to a man till he stands for God.
 Every enterprise that counts out God begins doubtfully and ends 
disastrously.

Would you take up the study of history? The Bible is the foundation of all history. It is said that the books of Moses were written eleven hundred years before Herodotus the so-called “father of history,” was born. Would you plunge into the labyrinth of jurisprudence? You will learn that the Decalogue and the Sermon on the Mount are the embodiment of all civil and ecclesiastical law.

The fundamental principles of all good government are taken from the same inspired source, and the only remedy for the social evils which exist in every nation is the practice of the golden rule.

Bible_and_candleEvery department of literature is illustrated in the Holy Scriptures. Seek you biography? “here will you find more interesting characters than those of Abraham, Moses, David, Esther or Paul? Where may you look for more thrilling events than those given in the Old Testament history? Some one has said that “Joshua’s subjugation of Canaan was a great military movement, fraught with more far-reaching consequences than the Norman Conquest. Jerusalem, the city of twenty-seven sieges, has as weird a history as any on the globe.” Where in literature is there found finer style than is exemplified in the matchless lines of David or the unparalleled imagery portrayed by the aged divine on the lonely isle of Patmos? In the Psalms we have Hebrew poetry which sweeps through all the ranges of passion. Ecstatic pulsations of delight are expressed with a masterful touch, and the deepest minor chords of sorrow, of abject humiliation, of heartrending bereavement and soul-stirring emotion are all found in the workmanship of inspired poesy. Carlyle says that the book of Job is “one of the grandest things ever written with a pen.” and adds. “Where can be found a more perfect romance than is found in the book of Ruth, the book which the critical Goethe calls ‘the loveliest specimen of epic poetry we possess’?”

From this wonderful Bible the master minds of all ages have drawn their inspiration. Without it we would never have had the priceless treasures given to literature by men like Milton, Young. Dante, and Bunyan. Half the beauties of Goldsmith, Whittier, Longfellow, and Tennyson would be lost were they robbed of all the Scriptures have done for them. Where is there a grander piece of oratory than that of Paul before Agrippa. when his denunciations caused the king to tremble on his throne?

Should the student enter the realm of art, he will stand spellbound before the masterpieces which have derived their choicest themes from the “Book of books.” Witness Leonardi da Vinci’s “Last Supper” Raphael’s “Transfiguration” and the world-renowned paintings of the Madonna.

The lover of music finds his soul stirred to the very depths as he hears the sublime symphonies of Haydn in “The Creation” and of Handel in “The Messiah.”

Exploded theories and visionary expositions lie all along the pathway of the world’s seekers after truth, but the book which should be the supreme text-book for all mankind has stood the test of thirty centuries, and while, in recent years, stupendous explorations and painstaking excavations have been made, the tabulated stone-the monumental history-rises up all over the ancient world to testify to the everlasting truths, which have withstood the iconoclastic blows of opposition and criticism.

With President Roosevelt, “We plead for a closer and wider and deeper study of the Bible so that our people may be in fact, as well as in theory, ‘doers of the word and not hearers only’.”

Prophetical Concerns about the Constitution: Expressed by Alfred in Anti-Federalist No.16

Henry Dont Tread FlagProphetical Concerns about the Constitution: Expressed by Alfred in Anti-Federalist No.16

15 December 1787 by Alfred

To the real PATRIOTS of America: … America is now free. She now enjoys a greater
portion of political liberty than any other country under heaven. How long she may continue so depends entirely upon her own caution and wisdom. If she would look to
herself more, and to Europe less, I am persuaded it would tend to promote her felicity. She possesses all the advantages which characterize a rich country—rich within herself, she ought less to regard the politics, the manufactures, and the interests of distant nations. When I look to our situation—climate, extent, soil, and its productions, rivers, ports; when I find I can at this time purchase grain, bread, meat, and other necessaries of life at as reasonable a rate as in any country; when I see we are sending great quantities of tobacco, wheat and flour to England and other parts of the globe beyond the Atlantic; when I get on the other side of the western mountains, and see an extensive country, which for its multitude of rivers and fertility of soil is equal, if not superior, to any other whatever when I see these things, I cannot be brought to believe that America is in that deplorable ruined condition which some designing politicians represent; or that we are in a state of anarchy beyond redemption, unless we adopt, without any addition or amendment, the new constitution proposed by the late convention; a constitution which, in my humble opinion, contains the seeds and scions of slavery and despotism. When the volume of American constitutions [by John Adams] first made its appearance in Europe, we find some of the most eminent political writers of the present age, and the reviewers of literature, full of admiration and declaring they had never before seen so much good sense, freedom, and real wisdom in one publication. Our good friend Dr. [Richard] Price was charmed, and almost prophesied the near approach of the happy days of the millennium. We have lived under these constitutions; and, after the experience of a few years, some among us are ready to trample them under their feet, though they have been esteemed, even by our enemies, as “pearls of great price.”

The state of Rhode Island refused to send delegates to the 
Federal Convention, and the event has manifested that their 
refusal was a happy one as the new constitution, which the 
Convention has proposed to us, is an elective monarchy, 
which is proverbially the worst government....

The writer, therefore, thinks it the part of wisdom to 
abide, like the state of Rhode Island, by the old articles 
of confederation, which, if re-examined with attention, 
we shall find worthy of great regard; that we should give 
high praise to the manly and public spirited sixteen members, 
who lately seceded from our house of Assembly [in Pennsylvania]; 
and that we should all impress with great care, this truth on 
our minds—That it is very easy to change a free government 
into an arbitrary one, but that it is very difficult to convert 
tyranny into freedom.

 Author Unknown Anti-Federalist # 15; 7 December 1787

Let us not, ye lovers of freedom, be rash and hasty. Perhaps the real evils we labor under
do not arise from these systems. There may be other causes to which our misfortunes may
be properly attributed. Read the American constitutions, and you will find our essential
rights and privileges well guarded and secured. May not our manners be the source of our
national evils? May not our attachment to foreign trade increase them? Have we not acted
imprudently in exporting almost all our gold and silver for foreign luxuries? It is now
acknowledged that we have not a sufficient quantity of the precious metals to answer the
various purposes of government and commerce; and without a breach of charity, it may be
said, that this deficiency arises from the want of public virtue, in preferring private interest
to every other consideration. If the states had in any tolerable degree been able to answer the requisitions of Congress—if the continental treasury had been so far assisted, as to have enabled us to pay the interest of our foreign debt—possibly we should have heard little, very little about a new system of government. It is a just observation that in modern times money does everything. If a government can command this unum necessarium [Latin: one necessary] from a certain revenue, it may be considered as wealthy and respectable; if not, it will lose its dignity, become inefficient and contemptible. But cannot we regulate our finances and lay the foundations for a permanent and certain revenue, without undoing all that we have done, without making an entire new government? The most wise and philosophic characters have bestowed on our old systems the highest encomiums [accolades. tributes]. Are we sure this new political phenomenon will not fail? If it should fail, is there not a great probability, that our last state will be worse than the first? Orators may declaim on the badness of the times as long as they please, but I must tell them that the want of public virtue, and the want of money, are two of the principal sources of our grievances; and if we are under the pressure of these wants, it ought to teach us frugality—to adopt a frugal administration of public affairs….

Alfred thought the Articles of Confederation were more suitable for the states.

See also: 
THE HOLY BIBLE IN AMERICAN JURISPRUDENCE
POLITICAL CONSTITUTIONS by Johannes Von Muller (1832)
Rules of Interpreting the Constitution by Justice Joseph Story
Dedication to the Character of George Washington Apostle of Liberty
Founders & forefathers pledged their Sacred Honor, what did they mean?
RISE OF CONSTITUTIONAL LIBERTY by Dr. Richard Salter Storrs July 4 1876
Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English)
SIGNS OF THE TIMES by Jedidiah Morse: Pastor of the Congregational Church
Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry and Henry’s Virginia Resolutions of 1765
AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE by Samuel Adams Delivered to Congress Aug 1, 1776
Who Is The Final Judge or Interpreter in Constitutional Controversies by Joseph Story
Preface To Resolutions of Virginia and Kentucky by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson
The British Constitution: Delivered Before The Georgia Bar Association 1885 by John W. Park
A REPUBLIC! A LIVING BREATHING CONSTITUTION DEFINED! by Alphonse De Lamartine 1790-1869
GOD GOVERNS IN THE AFFAIRS OF MEN Speech by Benjamin Franklin During the Constitutional Convention
RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: The Powers delegated to the General Government in the Federal Constitution
HISTORY BEFORE and DURING THE ERA OF THE FORMATION OF THE CONSTITUTION of the UNITED STATES
Thomas Paine: Of the Origin and Design of Government in General, with Concise Remarks on the English Constitution
 
 
 

The British Constitution: Delivered Before The Georgia Bar Association 1885 by John W. Park

Alexis-de-Tocqueville1Adding this article to help the American people better understand our history, heritage and the beginnings of America.

The British Constitution. Delivered Before The Georgia Bar Association, At Its Annual Session In Atlanta, Georgia, by John W. Park. (Published 1885 in “Report of the Annual Session of the Georgia Bar Association” By Georgia Bar Association, John Wesley Akin, Orville Augustus Park)

Mr, President and Gentlemen:

There are few subjects upon which more crude and incorrect opinions are entertained by the average American than that of the English government and the British Constitution. Justice proud of the free institutions of his own country, and cherishing the traditional prejudices of our revolutionary period, he is prone to regard the English government as a tyranny, and her monarch as a despot. Familiar with the idea of a written Constitution as the fundamental law of a republican state, he conceives that a government without such a Constitution or with an unwritten Constitution, virtually has none at all and is destitute of fundamental laws.

The Declaration of Independence, that terrible indictment against George III., is a convincing argument to him that the King, at least, was a tyrant. But how often are indictments preferred against the innocent! That instrument was framed to justify the authors of it in the opinions of their countrymen and of posterity; and was intended to present the cause of the colonies to the world in a way that would at once command attention, enlist sympathy and call forth admiration. Pardonable grounds, truly, for somewhat of exaggeration in so momentous a state paper!

Besides, this immortal paper, with laborious ability, heaps charge after charge upon the head of the King, ignoring alike his Ministers and his Parliaments. Whereas, by the theory of that government, the former were responsible for whatever was wrong in the executive administration, and the latter for whatsoever legislation was odious and oppressive. The theory of the colonists was, that their relation to the parent country was similar to that of Scotland and Ireland before their consolidation and respective unions—owing allegiance to the Crown, but having a right to separate legislative assemblies. They denied the power of Parliament to legislate for them; and no single act of the Parliament was more obnoxious than the one that relieved them from every burden, save the mere bagatelle of a tax of three pence a pound on tea; and it was so obnoxious because the preamble of that Act claimed the right to bind the colonies in all cases whatsoever. Independent, as they always claimed to be of Parliament, their only tie was to the King; this tie they determined to sunder [cut], and hence their charge of grievances was preferred against the King. The declaration makes no mention of Parliament, but holds up the King as the author of all their wrongs.

This theory of the colonists, which has been elaborately set forth in a speech of Daniel Webster, however correct it may have been, has greatly tended, in an instrument so widely read, to perpetuate among our people erroneous ideas of the powers of an English King. The truth is, as early as the reign of Henry the III., about 650 years ago, Bracton, afterwards an English Judge, had written—” The King is subject to God and the law.” “The King,” he says, “can do nothing on earth but what he can do by law.” He reckoned the great court of Parliament as his superior, and affirmed “that if the King were without a bridle, that is the law, they should put a bridle upon him.” Later, but far back in the reign of Henry VI., another Judge said, “If the King command me to arrest a man, and I arrest him, he shall have an action of false imprisonment against me, though it were done in the King’s presence.” And in the very next reign, that of Edward IV., a Chief Justice of England had declared to that monarch “That the King could not arrest a man even upon suspicion of felony or treason, because if he should wrong a man by such arrest, he can have no remedy against him.” And a long time after this, it is true, but still a hundred years before our revolution, after the old common law writ of habeas corpus, [1679, court order that requires a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court] had been perfected by the statute of 31st [year, in the reign of] Charles II., it has been impossible for anyone to be wrongfully imprisoned, though by warrant under the sign-manual [signature] of the King, without obtaining an almost immediate discharge. Such, and so small, has been for ages, a King of England’s legal power to inflict injury upon the persons of his subjects! The great right of property has been just as secure and for as long a period from any invasion at his hands. And his power to obstruct legislation and thus thwart the wishes of his people by the exercise of the veto; a power possessed by our Presidents and all of our Governors, and exercised by them time and again at almost every session of every legislative body throughout the land, has been employed by no English King since the reign of William of Orange; and its exercise now, in any case, would perhaps cost him his throne. Surely our American will concede, upon more study and reflection, that an English King is no despot, but simply the ruler of a very limited monarchy!

But in the next place, as to the British Constitution and her fundamental laws. If by Constitution our American means the name of an instrument or book containing the fundamental laws of the State, then indeed England has no Constitution, for she has no instrument or book of that name. Nor if the terms means a few pages of parchment or an instrument similar to our Federal and State Constitutions, containing the principles on which the government is founded and regulating the decisions of the sovereign powers, directing to what persons each of these powers is to be confided, and the manner it is to be exercised, then England has no Constitution. If, again, is meant, that modern idea of a Constitution, viz: “A body of law promulgated at once by the sovereign power,” as was for instance the Code Napoleon, then England has no Constitution. In the Roman sense, which during the empire denominated a single imperial decree a Constitution, England might be said to have as many Constitutions as were compiled in the Code of Theodosius. Not indeed, that her statute book abounds in imperial decrees, but because she has quite a number of Acts of Parliament of a fundamental or constitutional character.

If a Constitution is, as it has been defined, a system of law, established by the sovereign power of a State for its own guidance, fixing in those laws the limits and defining the relations of the legislative, the judicial and the executive powers of the State, both amongst themselves and with reference to the subjects or citizens of the State as a governed body”—then England has a Constitution, unwritten though it may be, and not embraced in any one statute, instrument or book. Sometimes the British Constitution is spoken of as a kind of intangible essence, the resultant of the manhood of the English people and the spirit of their laws. When employed in this sense, the same idea is conveyed to the mind, as when we speak of the constitution of a man, or that of a horse. At other times the British Constitution is declared to be the whole body of the public law, consuetudinary [customs, law where the rule of law is determined by long-standing custom as opposed to case law or statute] as well as statutory, which has grown up during the course of ages, and is continually being modified by the action of the general will, as interpreted and expressed by the representatives of the nation in Parliament.

The average American forgets, perhaps never knew, that the great body of the English common law, though unwritten, Lex non scripta,[Latin: The law was not written] is still in writing, and that the English Constitution is part of that common law. That the sovereignty or legislative power of England resides in Parliament, that Parliament consists of King, Lords and Commons; that the Crown is hereditary; that the King is the executive branch of the government; that he must govern according to law; that his prerogative stretcheth not to the doing of any wrong; that the King never dies; that he is the head of the army and declares war and makes peace; that he is the fountain of justice and appoints the Judges; that Parliament is summoned, prorogued and dissolved by the King; that it is supreme in the making and repealing of laws; that it can change its succession, and, in the language of Delome, do anything but make a man a woman and a woman a man; that each house is the judge of the qualification of its own members; that no member shall be held to answer in any other place, for words spoken in debate in either house, and the various privileges of Parliament and the manner of making laws; the right of the people to representation in Parliament; that no tax can be laid except by its authority, and a thousand and one other principles, embracing the absolute rights of every Englishman to personal security, personal liberty and private property, and the many provisions, including the sacred right of trial by jury, for their maintenance—although parts of an unwritten Constitution, are at the same time parts of the English common law, having their foundation in immemorial usage, and are laid down by the sages and institutional writers of that country with the same clearness and precision, as their classification of estates, the rules of inheritance or the requisites of a deed.

These maxims and laws, and others like these, dating back, many of them, a thousand years, to the age of Alfred, the builder, and Edward, the Confessor, the restorer of the English law, together with some constitutional laws, explanatory and declaratory of the Constitution, among the greater and more important of which may be reckoned Magna Carta, [1215, Latin: Great Charter, also called  Magna Carta Libertatum or The Great Charter of the Liberties of England] that great charter which was ratified and confirmed by Parliament, according to Sir Edward Coke, thirty-two several times; and one of the very confirmatory statutes, 25th [year, in the reign of] Edward I., which is called Kat’ezoxen, confirmatio cartarem; the Petition of Right [1628, Parliamentary declaration of the rights and liberties of the people] in the reign of Charles I.; the Habeas Corpus in that of Charles II.; the Bill of Rights, enacted into a statute in the reign of William and Mary, and the Act of Settlement in that of William III.—these are the fundamental laws of England, and form the skeleton of the British Constitution.

A Constitution not as harmonious and symmetrical indeed, as if it had sprung full grown, like Minerva, from the brain of Jove; spoken into existence by a single act of the legislative power, and all embraced in one separate instrument, but still, a Constitution, whose admirable provisions, for the security of life, liberty and property, far surpass anything that Greece or Rome ever saw. A Constitution which is the model of every free Constitution now existing in the world. A Constitution which provides for a House of Commons, that great matrix of liberty, which is at once the type and archetype of every free legislature that now meets in either hemisphere. A Constitution which confines all legislation to a parliament; which suffers no tax to be imposed save by a parliament; which requires its executive administration to be conducted according to the laws, and holds the agents and advisers of that administration responsible for every infraction of the laws.

That such a Constitution, a Constitution of freedom, whose origin is so remote as to be lost in the mists of antiquity, should have survived so many ages of ignorance and violence; should have constantly grown in all the attributes of perfection, until it became the pride of England, and the pattern of the world; should have flowed onward through the centuries, conferring the blessings of liberty and happiness upon a populous nation of prosperous subjects, is the peculiar glory of Englishmen, and the most beautiful phenomenon in the annals of the human race.

This Constitution, which had attained its full beauty and vigor a hundred years before our revolution, was justly prized as a rich heritage by our fathers. In the first Continental Congress, which satin Philadelphia, in 1774, a Declaration of Rights was passed, (which is sometimes assigned as a reason why our Federal Constitution is not preceded by a Bill of Rights). In this declaration, they claimed, as English colonists, under the principles of the English Constitution, that they were entitled to life, liberty and property, and to all the rights, liberties and immunities of free and natural born subjects within the realm of England; they claimed that the foundation of English liberty was a right in the people to participate in their legislative council, and as the Colonists were not, and could not, from their local circumstances, be properly represented in Parliament, that they were entitled to a free and exclusive power of legislation in their Provincial legislatures; they denied all power of taxation without representation; they claimed that they were entitled to the common law, and especially the great and inestimable privilege of being tried by their peers of the vicinage; they claimed to be entitled also to the benefit of such of the English statutes as existed at the time of their colonization, and which by experience were found to be appropriate to their local and other circumstances; they claimed the right of petition; denounced the keeping of a standing army in time of peace, as contrary to the Constitution; and affirmed that it was essential under the English Constitution, that the constituent branches of the legislature be independent of each other. All this they claimed, demanded and insisted on, as their indubitable rights of liberty. They were not claimed, by purchase, but by descent. They were not insisted on as an acquisition of their own; on the contrary, they were recognized by them as an inheritance from their British ancestors.

After this Declaration of Rights, came the Declaration of Independence, followed in its turn, by an eight years war, fought, as has been truly said, upon a preamble. When this war ended, and the thirteen Colonies were recognized as independent States, our fathers soon laid the foundation of our present government, by the foundation and adoption of the Federal Constitution—an instrument which is the pride of every true American, and upon which the world has bestowed the most lavish praise. But while engaged in this great work, notwithstanding the heat and hatred engendered by a cruel and protracted war, our fathers never forgot the free principles of the British Constitution under which they were born, but clung to them “as the sheet-anchor of their political safety.” They provided, as did their English fathers, for the distribution and independence of the three great forms of government: they made the Legislative to consist of two houses, the one of long term, the other of short term members, but both elective; they made the Executive a single head, but elective, instead of hereditary; the Judiciary held their offices as in England, quamdiu se bene gesserint.[ As long as he shall behave himself well.; A clause inserted in commissions, when such instruments were written in Latin] The general executive powers of the President, and the legislative powers of the Congress, with some modifications, mutatis mutandis, might have been written of an English King and House of Commons.

The mode of enacting laws, the privileges of the two Houses, and of the individual members, including the fundamental right of free speech, are almost transcripts from the English Constitution. The right to the writ of habeas corpus, to trial by jury in civil cases and review only by the rules of the common law; the rights of petition, to bear arms, to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizure; the rights of one accused of crime to presentment or indictment by a grand jury, to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury, with timely information of the cause of accusation, to be confronted with witnesses against, and to have compulsory process for, those in his favor, with the benefit of counsel in such cases, all these were English constitutional rights, well settled a century before our Constitution was adopted; and some of them were even hoary with age, before the continent of America was discovered by Columbus. That it was illegal to quarter troops on the people, to compel one to testify against himself in a criminal cause, to take his property for even public use without just compensation, to impose excessive bail, or inflict cruel and unusual punishments, had all been learned by the framers of our Constitution from the English Common or Statute Law. The very definition of Treason in our Constitution, is taken from an English statute as old as the reign of Edward III.; and the rule of evidence on trials in such cases, from decisions of English courts under it, enacted into a statute in the days of the Third William. The right to investigate, and chastise abuses of administration, by impeachment, which impeachment should be made by the lower house and tried by the upper house, had existed in England since 1376, four hundred years before our Constitution embodied this form of procedure.

It will thus be seen, and the more critical the examination, the more fully it will appear that almost every precious principle of our Federal Constitution was borrowed, bodily, from the Constitution of England. The limits for this paper constrain us to speak in general terms. Of course the dissolution of Church and State; the inhibition of Bills of Attainder, and of the grant of titles of nobility, were improvements— steps forward in the direction of governmental progress. But the great engines of government in both countries, their fundamental principles of action, and the ends and aims of their creation, are almost identical; while the mere names of the respective officers who run the machine, the tenure by which they hold their trusts, and the appliances by which they are lifted into place are, in a measure, variant.

Would we then depreciate the great work of our fathers? Not at all. They builded a splendid temple to freedom; but they found the stones, ready hewn to their hands. Their own noble English fathers had, long beforehand, prepared the materials; and the glory of our fathers was, that in rearing and embellishing their own edifice, they had the wisdom to make those stones, which so many other Constitution builders had rejected, “the head of the corner “; and the glory of their children will be, to forever keep them there!

It may be out of place now, and, perhaps, will appear hypercritical in a matter of so little practical importance, but there is one power granted by our Constitution to Congress, that strikes us with some surprise, viz: the power to legislate in all cases whatsoever over the District, where should be located the seat of government, and over places purchased for forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, etc. So soon, it seems, did our fathers forget the preamble to that Act of Parliament, upon which they had fought their revolution! As this power to legislate in all cases whatsoever, includes the power to tax, and has been construed to extend to the territories of the United States, and as no representation is provided for the District of Columbia, or the territories, the framers of the Constitution violated, in that instrument, the most fundamental principle of the revolution, by authorizing taxation without representation. In this particular, the framers of our Constitution were scarcely as considerate of the rights of others, as were the sturdy Barons at Runnymede, who wrested Magna Carta from King John. The rights which they claimed were not for themselves alone, but for all the nation at large. It was agreed, “that every liberty and custom which the King had granted to his tenants, as far as concerned him, should be observed by the clergy and laity towards their tenants, as far concerned them.” This equal distribution of civil rights to all classes of freemen, in the opinion of Hallam, constituted the peculiar beauty of that great charter. And Chatham thought sufficient justice could not be done the Barons, in not confirming this great acknowledgment of national rights to themselves, but in delivering it as a common blessing to the whole people. The three words of the charter, nullus liber homo,[a free man] that were so uncouth, and sounded so poorly in the ears of scholars, he declared, were worth all the classics!

It would be needless to say, that the Constitutions of the several States, like the Federal Constitution, were all modeled after the same great original. Those States which varied most, like Georgia, whose first Constitution provided for but one house of legislation, and for an executive council instead of a single administrative head, from the inconveniences resulting, were soon glad to retrace their steps.

The first Constitution of Georgia also declared, “That no clergyman of any denomination should be allowed a seat in the Legislature.” [possibly because of their stance against slavery, still researching] This deviation from the mother model, was either not so fundamental, or the inconveniences resulting were not so soon apparent, for it remained an article in our fundamental law for twenty-two years, and was not abrogated until she made her third Constitution, in 1798.

It would be interesting, not only to the antiquary but to the constitutional lawyer as well, to inquire into the original of the English Constitution; but we have not time to explore, if we could, these ancient springs, which Sir Matthew Hale regarded as undiscoverable as the sources of the Nile. Suffice it to say, that a few centuries after the Christian era, we find the elements of a free constitution—limitations on the royal authority, representative assemblies, fundamental laws. At the conquest almost all was lost; what remained was by the sufferance of William and his immediate successors. The second birth of English liberty came with John, and Magna Carta; and it is pleasant to think that this great charter is forever associated with the purity of home, and owes its origin to the love which the sturdy barons bore their families. The marriage of female wards, and the compulsory marriage of widows were grievous feudal hardships. But the barons suffered yet greater ills at the hands of John. He was the sum, of ever infamy while living; and when dead, a single sentence expressed the public abhorrence that clung to his name—”foul as hell is, it is itself defiled, by the fouler presence of John.” He was, withal, an accomplished villain, handsome in his person, fascinating in his manners, and with a strange gift, it is said, in winning the love of women. In his unbridled lust, he debauched the wives and daughters of the barons, and with singular imprudence, even in a king, boasted of the favors that he won! It was to avenge such injuries as these and to defend the honor of their homes, that the barons placing the Earl of Pembroke and the Archbishop of Canterbury at their head, marched against John and wrung from him with an iron hand, that charter, which forever after became the immovable foundation of English liberty, and an imperishable monument to themselves. Liberty was now no longer of free grace, it had become a matter of contract of covenant. And hereafter, when their rights were invaded, they ceased to implore as a favor the laws of Alfred and of Edward, but they demanded, again and again, as a right, the re-enactment and ratification of the great charter.

It would be a pleasant task to examine the various causes which have contributed to perpetuate, for so long a period, English liberty, or the English Constitution, for they are in fact convertible terms. We can glance for but a moment at some of them. England owes much to her insular position, which has obviated the necessity of a standing army. Largo standing armies, in time of peace, had swept away in Western Europe, a number of free Constitutions, somewhat similar to her own. The English were wise enough to be warned by examples, and they set their faces like flint against this auxiliary of despotism.

But much as she owes to her insular position, she has owed far more to the lofty and intrepid spirit of her people, and their devotion to her laws, a devotion born of the excellence of those laws. I have already stated that Magna Carta was confirmed thirty-two times by Parliament. It was actually re-enacted eleven times, during the reign of one ambitious and warlike Prince, Edward III. Can all history furnish another such example of devotion to human rights!

Obsta principiis, [Latin: Resist the beginnings, or Slang: nip in the bud] seems to have been the great maxim of their political faith; and they appear to have known from intuition, what the experience of ages, has at last taught mankind that, “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” They were, it is true, frequently overborne, and their laws trampled underfoot; but when the elements appeared darkest the national spirit would again flame forth; at one time dethroning and imprisoning a Richard II., at another beheading a Charles I., and still at another driving into exile and abdication a James II.! Time would fail us to mention the individual instances of heroism—the names, of even one tithe of those, whose glorious deeds have illustrated the manhood of her people on the pages of her history. Her Russels and her Sidneys, who poured out their hearts’ blood, a rich libation in liberty’s cause. We shall call to mind but one or two. All are familiar with John Hampden, whose dauntless spirit determined him to incur the heavy expense and certain danger of a great controversy with the Crown, rather than pay a few shillings of an illegal tax; but the high and inflexible spirit of the wife of Coke, is net so generally known. Her husband was one of the Justices that presided in Hampden’s case—a case which in its consequences involved the liberties of the entire people of England. She withheld the judgment of that time-serving Judge, her husband, in favor of the King, “by imploring him not to sacrifice his conscience from fear of any danger or prejudice to his family; declaring herself content to suffer any misery, rather than be the occasion for him to violate his integrity.” But perhaps no example of English manhood is as grateful to a lawyer as that of Sir Edward Coke, whose labors have “shed the gladsome light of jurisprudence” on so many legal minds. Coke, with true loyalty, falls upon his knees and acknowledges to an incensed King the error, as’ to the form of a letter; but he rises upon his feet and defends the substance of that letter, which had declined to delay right and justice at the command of his sovereign; and all that insulted Majesty could extort from him, with suspension from office, and dismissal in disgrace staring him in the face, as to what he would do, in a certain proposed case, was that sublime answer: “When the case happens, I shall do that which shall be fit for a Judge to do.”

But the devotion of the English people to their laws, and the manhood which they have displayed in their maintenance, have been, in great measure, due to the excellence of those laws; and perhaps no one principle of the British Constitution has been dearer to the people, and contributed more to the preservation of all the others, than that of trial by jury, which has deservedly been denominated, the palladium of their civil rights. Sir James Mcintosh, in that great forensic effort in defence of M. Pettier, which will ever be admired by the legal profession as a master-piece, gives an instructive instance illustrative of its inestimable value. During the protectorate, Cromwell, who had waded through slaughter to a throne, twice sent to the Court of King’s-bench, then called the upper bench, “a satirist on his tyranny, to be convicted and punished as a libeller. But in that Court, which sat almost in sight of the scaffold streaming with the blood of his sovereign, within hearing of the clash of his bayonets which drove out a Parliament with contumely two successive juries rescued the intrepid satirist from his fangs; and sent out with defeat and disgrace, the usurper’s Attorney-General, from what he had the insolence to call his Court.”

The language and literature of England have gone hand in hand with her laws, to the mutual advantage of each; and it would be difficult to over-estimate for good, the influence of her free press for the last two hundred years. Indeed, tyranny cannot long exist in any country that is blessed with facilities for rapid communication, and which can boast of an unshackled press.

The restriction of suffrage to free agents, has doubtless preserved England from much faction and corruption, and contributed, in no small degree, to the preservation of her Constitution; and the greatest danger which has threatened her during the present century, and which still threatens her, arises from the constant extension of suffrage, to those who are unworthy of it.

I should be unjust to our profession, and recreant to truth, if I failed to acknowledge the invaluable services to law and liberty, that have been rendered, by the learning and integrity of the English Bar. They have stood as sentinels on the watchtowers to warn of danger, whenever the Constitution has been assailed, and foremost in every breach of that citadel, “to repair it or perish in it.” In the language of Erskine, “they have been ready at all times, and upon every possible occasion, whatever might be the consequences to themselves, to stand forward in defence of the meanest man in England, when brought for judgment before the laws of the country.”