Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Slavery was neither the product of the Founding Fathers nor was it an evil introduced into the colonies by them. The institution of slavery was introduced into the American colonies two centuries before the Founding Fathers.
Henry Laurens, President of Congress declared:
“I abhor slavery. I was born in a country where slavery had been established by British Kings and Parliaments as well as by the laws of the country ages before my existence…In former days there was no combatting the prejudices of men supported by interest; the day, I hope, is approaching when, from principles of gratitude as well as justice, every man will strive to be foremost in showing his readiness to comply with the Golden Rule [“do unto others as you would have them do unto you” Matthew 7:12].
There had been few attempts to dismantle the institution of slavery in the American colonies prior to the era of the Founding Fathers. The change in attitude toward slavery throughout the American colonies was recognized by John Jay.
“Prior to the great Revolution, the great majority…of our people had been so long accustomed to the practice and convenience of having slaves that very few among them even doubted the propriety and rectitude of it.”
The national attitude toward the institution of slavery turned during the era immediately preceding and throughout the American Revolution. The Founding Fathers contributed a great deal toward the eventual abolition of slavery. They ardently complained that Great Britain forcefully imposed slavery upon the American colonies.
Thomas Jefferson complained:
“He [King George] has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery into another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither…Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce [he has opposed efforts to prohibit the slave trade.]”
Attempts in America to end the institution of slavery were thwarted by the British government. In a letter to Dean Woodward dated 1773, Benjamin Franklin confirmed that attempts to end slavery were thwarted by Great Britain.
“…a disposition to abolish slavery prevails in North America, that many of Pennsylvanians have set their slaves at liberty, and that even the Virginia Assembly have petitioned the King for permission to make a law for preventing the importation of more into that colony. This request, however, will probably not be granted as their former laws of that kind have always been repealed.”
Nor were Virginia Founders responsible for slavery but tried to dismantle the institution of slavery. Confirmation of the attempted is found in the works of John Quincy Adams. John Q Adams was well known as the “hell-hound of abolition” for his far-reaching efforts to bring an end to slavery.
“The inconsistency of the institution of domestic slavery with the principles of the Declaration of Independence was seen and lamented by all the southern patriots of the Revolution; by no one with deeper and more unalterable conviction than by the author of the Declaration himself [Thomas Jefferson]. No charge of insincerity or hypocrisy can be fairly laid to their charge. Never from their lips was heard one syllable of attempt to justify the institution of slavery. They universally considered it as a reproach fastened upon them by the unnatural step-mother country [Great Britain] and they saw that before the principles of the Declaration of Independence, slavery, in common with every other mode of oppression, was destined sooner or later to be banished from the earth. Such was the undoubting conviction of Jefferson to his dying day. In the Memoir of His Life, written at the age of seventy-seven, he gave to his countrymen the solemn and emphatic warning that the day was not distant when they must hear and adopt the general emancipation of their slaves.”
Actually, Thomas Jefferson introduced a bill in the Virginia Assembly which was designed to bring an end to slavery in Virginia. Unfortunately, not all southern Founders were opposed to slavery. Virginians James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and John Rutledge declared that the Founders from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia favored slavery. Although the Founders of those three states opposed the abolition of slavery; it is clear that the majority of Founders opposed slavery. Some Southern pro-slavery advocates attempted to justify slavery by invoking the Bible. Elisas Boudinot, President of the Continental Congress replied:
“[E]ven the sacred Scriptures had been quoted to justify this iniquitous traffic. It is true that the Egyptians held the Israelites in bondage for four hundred years,…but…gentlemen cannot forget the consequence that followed: they were delivered by a strong hand and stretched-out arm and it ought to be remembered that the Almighty Power that accompanied their deliverance is the same yesterday, today, and for ever.”
Several of the Founding Fathers who held slaves while they were British subjects chose to release their slaves following the War for Independence. Among those Founders were: George Washington, John Dickenson, Caesar Rodney, William Livingston, George Wythe, and John Randolph of Roanoke. Many of the Founders such as John Adams never owned slaves.
John Adams declared: “[M]y opinion against it [slavery] has always been known…[N]ever in my life did I own a slave.”
A strong anti-slave sentiment is found in the declarations of several Founders.
“[W]hy keep alive the question of slavery? It is admitted by all to be a great evil.” Charles Carroll – signer of the Declaration of Independence
“As Congress is now to legislate for our extensive territory lately acquired, I pray to Heaven that they may build up the system of the government on the broad, strong, and sound principles of freedom. Curse not the inhabitants of those regions, and of the United States in general, with a permission to introduce bondage [slavery].” John Dickenson – signer of the Declaration of Independence
“That men should pray and fight for their own freedom and yet keep others in slavery is certainly acting a very inconsistent as well as unjust and perhaps impious part.” John Jay – President of Continental Congress – Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court
“The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and the degrading submissions on the other…And with that execration [curse] should the statesman be loaded, who permitting one half the citizens thus to trample on the rights of the other…And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.” Thomas Jefferson
“Christianity, by introducing into Europe the truest principles of humanity, universal benevolence, and brotherly love, had happily abolished civil slavery. Let us who profess the same religion practice its precepts…by agreeing to this duty.” Richard Henry Lee - President of the Continental Congress – Signer of the Declaration of Independence
“I hope that we shall at last, and if it be so please God I hope it may be during my life time, see this cursed thing [slavery] taken out…For my part, whether in a public station or a private capacity, I shall always be prompt to contribute my assistance towards effecting so desirable an event.” William Livingston – Signer of the Declaration of Independence – Governor of New Jersey
[I]t ought to be considered that national crimes can only be and frequently are punished in this world by national punishments; and that the continuance of the slave-trade, and thus giving it a national sanction and encouragement, ought to be considered as justly exposing us to the displeasure and vengeance of Him who is equally Lord of all and who views with equal eye the poor African slave and his American master.” Luther Martin – Delegate at the Constitutional Convention
“As much as I value a union of all the States, I would not admit the Southern States into the Union unless they agree to the discontinuance of this disgraceful trade [slavery].” George Mason – Father of the Bill of Rights
“Honored will that State be in the annals of history which shall first abolish this violation of the rights of mankind.” Joseph Reed – Revolutionary Officer – Governor of Pennsylvania
"Domestic slavery is repugnant to the principles of Christianity…It is rebellion against the authority of a common Father. It is a practical denial of the extent and efficacy of the death of a common Savior. It is an usurpation of the prerogative of the great Sovereign of the universe who has solemnly claimed an exclusive property in the souls of men.” Benjamin Rush – Signer of the Declaration of Independence
“Justice and humanity require it [the end of slavery] – Christianity commands it. Let every benevolent…pray for the glorious period when the last slave who fights for freedom shall be restored to the possession of that inestimable right.” Noah Webster
“Slavery, or an absolute and unlimited power in the master over the life and fortune of the slave, is unauthorized by the common law…The reasons which we sometimes see assigned for the origin and the continuance of slavery appear, when examined to the bottom, to be built upon a false foundation. In the enjoyment of their persons and of their property, the common law protects all.” James Wilson – Signer of the Constitution – United States Supreme Court Justice
“[I]t is certainly unlawful to make inroads upon others…and take away their liberty by no better right than superiority of power.” John Witherspoon – Signer of the Declaration of Independence
Not few of the Founders went beyond their declarations. Their actions went beyond mere rhetoric. In the year 1774, Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Benjamin Rush helped establish the first anti-slavery society in America. Furthermore, John Jay became the president of an anti-slavery society in New York. William Livingstone – signer of the Constitution – heard of the establishment of an anti-slavery society in New York. As governor of New Jersey; he wrote to the New York society.
“I would most ardently wish to become a member of it [the society in New York] and …I can safely promise them that neither my tongue, nor my pen, nor purse shall be wanting to promote the abolition of what to me appears so inconsistent with humanity and Christianity…May the great and the equal Father of the human race, who has expressly declared His abhorrence of oppression, and that He is no respecter of persons, succeed a design so laudably calculated to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke.” William Livingston
Richard Bassett, James Madison, James Monroe, Bushrod Washington, Charles Carroll, William Few, John Marshall, Richard Stockton, Zephaniah Swift were members of anti-slavery societies form the abolish slavery. Through the efforts of the Founding Fathers, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts took decisive steps to abolish slavery in 1780. Connecticut and Rhode Island took steps to abolish slavery in those respective states in 1784; Vermont in 1786; New Hampshire in 1792; New York in 1799 and New Jersey in 1804.
Rufus King – Signer of the Constitution – authored a Congressional act which prohibited slavery in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa. The act which prohibited slavery in those territories was signed into law by President George Washington. It was George Washington who declared, “I can only say that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it [slavery].
The Founding Fathers were responsible for planting the seeds which led to the recognition of black and Caucasian equality. They nurtured the seeds which would eventually end the institution of slavery. Richard Allen was a slave in Pennsylvania when his master led him to faith in Christ. His master freed him after his conversion to Christ. Richard Allen became a close personal friend to Dr. Benjamin Rush. Reverend Richard Allen became the founder of the AME Church in America. Reverend Allen preached an address titled “To the People of Color” in which he declared:
“Many of the white people have been instruments in the hands of God for our good, even such as have held us in captivity, [and] are now pleading our cause with earnestness and zeal.”
Although progress was made by the Founding Fathers to end slavery; it wasn’t until several years later that their endeavors were achieved.
The three-fifths clause in the United States Constitution is not a measurement of human worth. The clause is an anti-slavery provision limiting the political power of the proponents of slavery. The clause within the Constitution limits the congressional calculation of the slave population. The Southern States were denied additional pro-slavery representatives to the House by including only three fifths of the total number of slaves in each of the Southern states.
“[T]he Constitution allowed Southern States to count three-fifths of their slaves toward the population that would determine the numbers of representatives in the federal legislature. This clause is often singled out today as a sign of black dehumanization: they are only three-fifths human. But the provision applied to slaves, not blacks. That meant that free blacks – and there were many, North as well as South- counted the same as whites. More important, the fact that slaves were counted at all was a concession to the slave owners. Southerners would have been glad to count their slaves as whole persons. It was the Northerners who did not want them counted, for why should the South be rewarded with more representatives, the more slaves they held.” “Principles: A Quarterly Review for Teachers of History and Social Science” – Thomas G. West - “Was the American Founding Unjust? The Case of Slavery
“It was slavery’s opponents who succeeded in restricting the political power of the South by allowing them to count only three-fifths of their slave population in determining the number of congressional representatives. The three-fifths of a vote provision applied only to slaves, not to free blacks in either the North or South.” Walter Williams - “Some Fathers Fought Slavery”
African-American Professor Walter Williams explains why revisionists misrepresent the three-fifths compromise.
“Politicians, news media, college professors and leftists of other stripes are selling us lies and propaganda. To lay the groundwork for their increasingly successful attack on our Constitution, they must demean and criticize its authors. As Senate Joe Biden demonstrated during the Clarence Thomas hearings, the famers’ ideas about natural law must be trivialized or they must be seen as racists.” Professor Walter Williams – Some Fathers Fought Slavery
Friday, April 20, 2012
John Locke's latter works were primarily on theological subjects which include:
Essay Concerning Toleration (published in 1689) Locke wrote this work privately in 1667 and eventually published the work in 1689 as A Letter Concerning Toleration. The work was published anonymously. To openly criticize and challenge the Anglican church at that time would place his life in immediate danger. Openly challenging the established government Church of England was often met with brutal oppression.
The Anglican Church and its 39 Doctrinal Articles were the standard for all religious faith in Britain under English law. Every British subject was required by law to attend Anglican Church services. Persecution of Dissenters which included death was the consequence for those who opposed the Anglican requirements.
John Locke objected to the establishment of specific church doctrines by law and enforced by the Crown. He firmly argued for a separation of the Church from the state.
He urged the Anglican clergy to be tolerant to those Christians who did not adhere to the doctrines of the Church of England. His position was attacked by defenders of the established Church of England so he responded with A Second Letter Concerning Toleration in 1690 and A Third Letter for Toleration in 1692. Both of these works were published anonymously.
John Locke's latter theological subjects which include:
(1695) A Vindication of the Reasonableness of Christianity
(1697) A Second Vindication of the Reasonableness of Christianity
(1697) A Common-Place-Book to the Holy Bible This book was a re-publication of what Locked called:
(1676) Graphautarkeia, or, The Scriptures Sufficiency Practically Demonstrated
(1707) Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of St. Paul to the Galatians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Romans, Ephesians This work was published posthumously in 1707.
John Locke urged the Church of England to reform itself thus allowing the inclusion of members of other Christian denominations. Hence, this would be inclusive of Dissenters. This proposition was included in his work Reasonableness of Christianity. Locke urged the Church of England to place less emphasis upon liturgy, structure, and church hierarchy, and forms of church discipline. He urged the Church of England to place emphasis upon the major doctrines of Christianity such as one's personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Locke firmly defended Christianity against attacks of secularists, and skeptics. Secularists argued that one must reject Divine revelation for truth could be established through reason. His Reasonableness of Christianity evoked strong virulent criticism from secularists and rationalists. Hence, he took up the pen to write A Vindication of the Reasonableness of Christianity (1695) and A Second Vindication of the Reasonableness of Christianity (1697).
John Locke was the author of the Two Treatises of Government or "Two Treatises of Government: In the Former, The False Principles and Foundation of Sir Robert Filmer, And His Followers, are Detected and Overthrown. The Latter is an Essay concerning The True Original, Extent, and End of Civil-Government") which he published anonymously in 1689.
In the first treatise, John Locke invoked 1,349 references from the Holy Bible. He invokes the Bible 157 more times in his second treatise. As John Adams acknowledged:
“The general principles on which the Fathers achieved independence. . . . were the general principles of Christianity. . Now I will avow that I then believed (and now believe) that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God. . . . In favor of these general principles in philosophy, religion, and government, I [c]ould fill sheets of quotations from . . . [philosophers including] Locke – not to mention thousands of divines and philosophers of inferior fame.”
Previous generations readily recognized the Christian principles which permeated Locke's writings. John Locke was actually considered to be a Christian theologian! Richard Watson includes John Locke as a Christian theologian in his work: Theological Institutes: or a View of the Evidences, Doctrines, Morals, and Institutes of Christianity. Locke included repeated references to the Holy Scriptures and to God in his writings and made specific works defending Christianity.
The First Tract of Government was written in 1660 and was followed by Second Tract of Government written in 1662. Eventually, they were published in 1689 as Two Treatises of Government. John Locke brilliantly refuted Sir Robert Filmer's Patriarcha. Filmer attempted to produce biblical support to justify the errant doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings in his treatise.
He followed up his first treatise in which he refutes the Divine Right of Kings with his second treatise in which he presents the rudimentary principles that define the proper role, purpose, and operation of sound government. Many of those principles had been enacted during the rule of Lord Cromwell and eventually under the reign of William and Mary.
Questions Concerning the Law of Nature was written in 1664. Locke asserts that reason and Divine revelation are fully compatible and NOT enemies for the Law of Nature came from God. Although this work wasn't published, several of the concepts argued in the work appear in his other writings.
English theologian Richard Price affirms the fact that Anglican apologists sought to malign him and to lessen his influence.
[W]hen . . . Mr. Locke’s Essay on the Human Understanding was first published in Britain, the persons readiest to attend to it and to receive it were those who have never been trained in colleges, and whose minds, therefore, had never been perverted by an instruction in the jargon of the schools. [But t]o the deep professors [i.e., clergy and scholars] of the times, it appeared (like the doctrine taught in his book, on the Reasonableness of Christianity) to be a dangerous novelty and heresy; and the University of Oxford in particular [which trained only Anglicans] condemned and reprobated the author.”
The bigoted motives behind the attacks on John Locke's Christian beliefs were not unnoticed by the Founders of our Republic. The founders vigorously defended Locke from false and malicious charges.
James Wilson, signer of the Declaration of Independence declared:
I am equally far from believing that Mr. Locke was a friend to infidelity [a disbelief in the Bible and in Christianity]. . . . The high reputation which he deservedly acquired for his enlightened attachment to the mild and tolerating doctrines of Christianity secured to him the esteem and confidence of those who were its friends. The same high and deserved reputation inspired others of very different views and characters . . . to diffuse a fascinating kind of lustre over their own tenets of a dark and sable hue. The consequence has been that the writings of Mr. Locke, one of the most able, most sincere, and most amiable assertors of Christianity and true philosophy, have been perverted to purposes which he would have deprecated and prevented [disapproved and opposed] had he discovered or foreseen them.
Thomas Jefferson agreed with Wilson for he studied both Locke's treatises on government and his theological works. Thomas Jefferson summarizes Locke's view of Christianity affirming that he was not a deist.
“Locke’s system of Christianity is this: Adam was created happy and immortal…. By sin he lost this so that he became subject to total death (like that of brutes [animals]) – to the crosses and unhappiness of this life. At the intercession, however, of the Son of God, this sentence was in part remitted…. And moreover to them who believed, their faith was to be counted for righteousness [Romans 4:3,5]. Not that faith without works was to save them; St. James, chapter 2 says expressly the contrary [James 2:14-26]…. So that a reformation of life (included under repentance) was essential, and defects in this would be made up by their faith; i. e., their faith should be counted for righteousness [Romans 4:3,5]…. The Gentiles; St. Paul says, Romans 2:13: “the Gentiles have the law written in their hearts,” [A]dding a faith in God and His attributes that on their repentance, He would pardon them; (1 John 1:9) they also would be justified (Romans 3:24). This then explains the text “there is no other name under heaven by which a man may be saved” [Acts 4:12], i. e., the defects in good works shall not be supplied by a faith in Mahomet, Fo [Buddha], or any other except Christ.”
The charges that Locke was a deist and freethinker have been trumpeted for three centuries. Those false charges originated from his advocating major reforms within the Church of England. As I indicated, Locke proposed a separation of church from the Crown of England. Furthermore, he sought to extend religious toleration to Christians of other denominations. Hence, he was accused of deism and being irreligious by Anglican apologists who were offended by his criticism.
Locke published his treatise On Civil Government in 1689 in this important work he asserted:
"[The] great and Chief End, therefore, of Men uniting into Commonwealths, and putting themselves under Government, is the preservation of their property...
For men being all the Workmanship of one Omnipotent, and infinitely wise Maker: all the Servants of one Sovereign Master, sent into the World by his Order, and about his Business, they are his Property, whose Workmanship they are, made to last during his, not one another's pleasure...
Those Grants God made of the World to Adam, and to Noah, and his Sons...has given the Earth to the Children of Men, given it to Mankind in common...
God, who hath given the World to Men in common, hath also given them reason to make use of it to the best Advantage of Life and Convenience."
Locke wrote on natural law and natural rights in his Two Treatises on Government, August 23, 1689:
"The obligations of the Law of Nature cease not in society, but only in many cases are drawn closer, and have, by human laws, known penalties annexed to them to enforce their observation.
Thus the Law of Nature stands as an eternal rule to all men, legislators as well as others. The rules that they make for other men's actions must...be conformable to the Law of Nature, i.e. to the will of God, of which that is a declaration, and the fundamental Law of Nature being the preservation of mankind, no human sanction can be good or valid against it.
In 1690, he wrote in The Second Treatise on Civil Government:
"Human Laws are measures in respect of Men whose Actions they must direct, albeit such measures they are as have also their higher Rules to be measured by, which Rules are two, the Law of God, and the Law of Nature; so that Laws Human must be made according to the general Laws of Nature, and without contradiction to any positive Law of Scripture, otherwise they are ill made."
John Locke wrote paraphrase of the books of Romans, First and Second Corinthians, Galatians, and Ephesians.
In 1695, he wrote A Vindication of Reasonableness of Christianity.
"He that shall collect all the morals of the philosophers and compare them with those contained in the New Testament will find them to come short of the morality delivered by our Savior and taught be His disciples: a college made up of ignorant but inspired fishermen...
Such a law of morality Jesus Christ has given in the New Testament, but by the latter of these ways, by revelation, we have from Him a full and sufficient rule for our direction, and conformable to that of reason. But the word and obligation of its precepts have their force, and are past doubt to us, by the evidence of His mission.
He was sent by God: His miracles show it; and the authority of God in His precepts can not be questioned. His morality has a sure standard, that revelation vouches, and reason can not gainsay nor question; but both together witness to come from God, the great Lawgiver.
And such a some as this, out of the New Testament, I think, they would never find, nor can anyone say is anywhere else to be found...
To one who is persuaded that Jesus Christ was sent by God to be a King and a Savior to those who believe in Him, all His commands become principles; there needs no other proof for the truth of what He says, but that He said it; and then there needs no more but to read the inspired books to be instructed.
Our Savior's great rule, that we should love our neighbors as ourselves, is such a fundamental truth for the regulating of human society, that, by that alone, one might without difficulty determine all the cases and doubts in social morality."
John Locke declared:
"The Bible is one of the greatest blessings bestowed by God on the children of men. - It has God for its author; salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture for its matter. - It is all pure, all sincere; nothing too much; nothing wanting."
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Elisha Williams, a follower of George Whitefield, published a pamphlet in 1744 which discussed equality and liberty. Natural liberty, as Williams defined the term meant freedom from any superior earthly power and subjection only to the law of nature. Williams explained the 'law of nature' to be the law of God.
“As Reason tells us, all are born thus naturally equal, i.e. with an equal Right to their Persons; so with an equal Right to the Preservation; and therefore to such Things as Nature affords for their Subsistence...Thus every Man having a natural Right to...his own Person and his Actions and Labor, which we call Property; it certainly follows, that no Man can have a Right to the Person or Property of another: And if every Man has a Right to his Person and Property; he has also a Right to defend them, and a Right to all necessary Means of Defense, and so has a Right of punishing all Insults upon His Person and Property.”
Elisha Williams espoused the political philosophy of John Locke and principles which were enunciated throughout the era of the Great Awakening. His statement concerning the limitation of the powers of government reflect the his Lockean philosophy and the principles of the 1st Great Awakening.
“[T]heir power is a limited one: and therefore the Obedience due is a limited Obedience.”
Williams referred to John Locke pertaining to what people must do to free themselves from tyranny. Hence, Elisha Williams, a minister of the Gospel in 1744, expressed the same arguments of the patriots of 1770. Subjects and their rulers are bound by a constitution and laws violating natural and constitutional rights are breaches of the law. Hence, laws that violate natural and constitutional rights are NO law which one can lawfully resist. Laws that violate constitutional law require NO obedience.
Clinton Rossiter made this declaration in his work Seedtime of the Republic: The Origin of the American Tradition of Political Liberty:
“Here is clear evidence of the transmission through the clergy of the theories of Locke. The importance of this and like pamphlets is this; they show the thinking and the theory that came out in the Revolutionary period were uttered not alone in theoretical sermons but in practical disputes and controversies over church and individual rights long before the trouble with England arose.”
There are several sermons and pamphlets that address the political theories of John Locke and the influence of Calvinism upon political thought before 1770.
Sermons advanced the proposition that law which contradicts natural rights are null and void. In 1673, Jonathan Mayhew declared that true religion comprised love of liberty and ones country. Furthermore, Mayhew held that true religion comprised a hatred of all tyranny and oppression. Mayhew expressed the common convictions of the clergymen throughout the colonies that civil liberty which the American colonists cherished received its chief sanction from their common Christian faith.
Resistance to oppression was a favorite topic in Yankee pulpits. Twenty-five years prior to Paul Revere's ride to Concord and Lexington Jonathan Mayhew preached the following words:
“It is blasphemy to call tyrants and oppressors God's ministers...When [magistrates] rob and ruin the public, instead of being guardians of its peace and welfare, they immediately cease to be the ordinance and ministers of God, and no more deserve that glorious character than common pirates and highwaymen.”
Fifteen years later, Jonathan Mayhew responded to the dreaded Stamp Act with these admonishments:
“The king is as much bound by his oath not to infringe the legal rights of the people, as the people are bound to yield subjection to him. From whence it follows that as soon as the prince sets himself up above all law, he loses the king in the tyrant. He does, to all intents and purposes, unking himself by acting out of and beyond that sphere which the constitution allows him to move in, and in such cases he has no more right to be obeyed than an inferior officer who acts beyond his commission. The subject's obligation to allegiance then ceases, of course, and to resist him is more more rebellion than to resist any foreign invader...it is making use of the means, and the only means which God has put into their power for mutual and self-defense.”
After the Stamp Act was repealed Mayhew declared:
“God gave the Israelites a king in His anger, because they had not sense and virtue enough to like a free commonwealth, and to have Himself for their king. That the Son of God came down from heaven to make us 'free indeed' and that 'where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty,' this made me conclude that freedom was a great blessing...And who knows, our liberties being thus established, but that on some future occasion, when the kingdoms of earth are moved and roughly dashed one against another....we, or our posterity, may even have the great felicity and honor to 'save much people alive.' and keep Britain herself from ruin!”
The members of the clergy throughout the colonies became more outspoken as conflict with Great Britain became imminent. The clergymen – the men of the “black regiment” were outspoken in their staunch opposition to oppressive government.
The power of a group or an individual can at times be best seen through the eyes of an opponent. Peter Oliver was the last chief justice of the colonial regime in Massachusetts. He detested dissenting ministers whom he considered to be henchmen of patriot James Otis. James Otis (1725 – 1783) realized that Oliver saw from the first the need of securing “the black regiment” if he were to rouse the people. The clergymen of colonial America were called the “black regiment” because of the color of their clerical robes. The British realized that the “black regiment” was key to fanning the flames of resistance among the American colonists.
Boston pastor, Jason Haven preached a widely read sermon in 1769 specifically noted by the English. Haven spoke of the fall of king Charles I and the right of the citizens of Massachusetts to elect a council. Furthermore, he asserted that he hoped the council would continue till the end of time.
Reverend Haven quoted from John Locke on the right of resistance to everyone who was to encroach upon the natural and constitutional rights of the colonists. He declared that the people had the duty, right and privilege to call those in authority to account. The people had the right to take from them power whenever abused.
Prior to the Revolution, American clergymen promoted opposition to tyranny by Great Britain within American colleges. As teachers, the clergymen inculcated the principles of government while permitting debate on questions which caused disturbances. Ministers promoted opposition to England through their personal association with students in American colleges.
In 1769, the students of Brown University debated whether or not it was good policy for Americans to establish an independent state while under the conditions of their era.
Alice M Baldwin wrote the following statement in her work The New England Clergy and the American Revolution:
“Andrew Eliot, a somewhat conservative man though constantly friendly to the American cause, said in 1769 that the Harvard students had imbibed the spirit of the times and that their declarations and debates were full of the spirit of liberty. This, he said, had been encouraged, even if sometimes it got out of bounds, because their tutors were afraid to check too decidedly a spirit which might thereafter fill the country with patriots.”
The people of Boston and Americans throughout the colonies were excited about the Boston Massacre of March 1770. The Sunday which followed the Massacre was eventful for it greatly excited the people of Boston. Pastor John Lathrop of the Old North Church preached a sermon that Sunday titled: “The Voice of Thy Brother's Blood Cryeth Under Me from the Ground.”
The clergymen of colonial America were bitterly resented by Chief Justice Oliver. He declared before the trial of the British soldiers:
“Pulpits rang their Chimes upon blood Guiltiness, in Order to incite the People.” After the conclusion of the trials the pulpits “rang their Peals of Malice against the Courts of Justice.”
An observer asserted that the people were led by inflammatory sermons to feel as if they may lawfully resist the king's truth as if he were a foreign enemy.
A pamphlet was published by Reverend Isaac Skillman in which he asserted the rights of American colonists. He believed there was a good prospect that Americans would unite. Skillman asserted that if Americans united; they had the right to resist any military forces which they had “by the law of God, of nature and of nations.”
Furthermore, Reverend Skillman argued:
"Shall a man be deem'd a rebel that supports his own rights? It is the first law of nature, and he must be a rebel to God, to the laws of nature, and his own conscience, who will not do it.”
A gentleman in New York wrote to a friend in London on May of 1774. He excoriated the clergy of New England for their...
“most wicked, malicious and inflammatory harangues...spiriting their godly hearers to the most violent opposition to Government; persuading them that the intention of the Government was to rule them with a rod of iron, and to make them all slaves; and assuring them that if they would rise as one man to oppose these arbitrary schemes, God would assist them.”
Clergymen throughout the American colonies preached resistance to the various laws and acts which the Parliament of Great Britain passed to exercise its alleged authority in order to control the colonies.
By 1774, the clergymen of Boston refused to read any proclamations of the governor and council which were appointed by Great Britain.
General Gage refused to permit a day of fasting and prayer for he believed “the request was only to give an opportunity for sedition to flow from the pulpit.” The clergymen of Boston responded immediately with political sermons in which some were violent in tone. The Provincial Congress of Massachusetts appealed to the clergy of Boston. The clergy of Boston were requested to advise strict obedience to the Continental Congress.
The Provincial Congress of Massachusetts advised the clergy to...
“make the question of the rights of the colonies and the oppressive conduct of the mother country a topic of the pulpit on weekdays.”
The politic-religious sermons of the American clergymen were recognized as having highly significant value by the Continental Congress. It was common for sermons of this nature to be published as patriotic pamphlets.
During the era of colonial America, the pulpit was a primary source of news and current events. The contemporary news media of modern America was non existent. Essentially, the American pulpit was the only place where American citizens would be taught the doctrines of resistance and just warfare.
An observer declared: “During the entire Revolutionary period, the latter [clergy] were leaders and the most potent factors in resistance to British oppression...In the absence of a numerous newspaper press, the political education of the people then as now in sparsely settled regions was conducted largely from the pulpit – or the stump.”
Resistance to tyranny was a subject on which to preach and was one that was to be desired “at all costs.”
Sermons preached throughout American pulpits took on a radical tone. In August of 1775, a small town was burned. A recruiting officer vainly attempted to recruit men from the town of Harpswell, Maine. Reverend Samuel Eaton was asked to speak on Sunday morning to his congregation. Reverend Eaton was a patriotic gentleman and was unwilling to preach the message at the Communion service on Sunday morning. He promised to address the men of his congregation on Sunday evening. Samuel Eaton preached a message titled “Cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood” after sundown out of doors before the steps of the meetinghouse. Before the conclusion of the meeting, forty men of his congregation volunteered to serve the cause of American independence.
It is most important to understand the chief objective of these sermons and messages like them. The primary objective of these messages was to state clearly and repeatedly arguments in which men could be assured that they had inalienable rights given to them by their Creator. No one had the right to abuse and dissolve those God given rights.
Colonial American clergymen set forth the requirements of legally constituted government through their sermons. English and colonial governments if not abused were such governments. The clergymen sought to enumerate and enlarge upon the acts by which Parliament and the king abused their power. Furthermore, they sought to establish beyond doubt the legal right, moral duty and necessity of resist the encroachments of their liberty through tyranny.
The American clergymen did NOT refuse to obey constitutional authority but advocated resistance to unconstitutional acts.
Alice M. Baldwin The New England Clergy and the American Revolution:
“Though recognizing the provocation to violence and though sometimes encouraging abuse of the Tories, there was many a minister who drew careful distinction between liberty and license. It was the liberty which was to their minds inextricably associated with constitutional, ordered government for which they were fighting.”
It is the sacred duty of a religious Christian people to resist tyranny. The clergy of New England and especially the Congregationalists preached a message of independence and preparation for independence several years before 1776.
The Continental Congress appointed a committee of five men to draft a Declaration of Independence in June of 1776. Thomas Jefferson was the first member of the committee whom the Congress chose. He served as chairman of the committee and wrote the first draft of the infamous document.
Thomas Jefferson has been given importance in forming the political outlook of the era. This is clearly an erroneous understanding of the political situation of colonial America. Actually, the greater influence of the clergy of American churches has been overlooked, ignored and omitted by historians.
The impact of colonial political thinking is far greater than suspected. The written works of clergymen bear out the truth of their profound influence upon political thought of the colonial era.
The Reverend Samuel West is among the clergymen who assisted in forming the basic philosophical foundation which found its way into the Declaration of Independence. Reverend Samuel West addressed the Council House of Representatives in Boston on May 29, 1776. His address to the Council was delivered some weeks before Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence.
Reverend Samuel West (1730 – 1776) declared:
“The only difficulty remaining is to determine when a people may claim a right of forming themselves into a body politick, and may assume the powers of legislation. In order to determine this point, we are to remember, that all men being by nature equal, all members of a community have a natural right to assemble themselves together, and to act and vote for such regulations, as they judge are necessary for the good of the whole. But when a community is become very numerous, it is very difficult, and in many cases impossible for all to meet together to regulate the affairs of the state; Hence comes the necessity of appointing delegates to represent the people in a general assembly. And this ought to be look'd upon as a sacred and unalienable right, of which a people cannot justly divest themselves, and which no human authority can in equity ever take from them...that no one be obliged to submit to any laws except such as are made either by himself, or by his representative.
If representation and legislation are inseparably connected, it follows, that when great numbers have emigrated into a foreign land, and are so far removed from the parent state, that they neither are or can be properly represented by the government from which they have emigrated, that then nature itself points out the necessity of their assuming to themselves the powers of legislation, and they have a right to consider themselves as a separate state from the other, and as such to form themselves into a body politik.
When a people find themselves cruelly oppressed by the parent state, they have an undoubted right to throw off the yoke, and to assert their liberty, if they find good reason to judge that they have sufficient power and strength to maintain their ground in defending their just rights against their oppressors: For in this case by the law of self preservation, which is the first law of nature, they have not only an undoubted right, but it is their indispensable duty, if they cannot be redressed any other way, to renounce all submission to the government that has oppressed them, and set up an independent state of their own; even tho' they may be vastly inferior in number to the state that has oppress'd them. When either of the afore-said cases takes place, and more especially when both concur, no rational man (I imagine,) can have any doubt in his mind, whether such a people have a right to form themselves into a body politick, and assume to themselves all the powers of a free state.”
The message of Reverend Samuel West which he delivered to Council House of Representatives in Boston bears a striking similarity to the Declaration of Independence. Reverend West delivered the message on May 29, 1776 a few months before Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence. The phraseology and words of the two documents bear a striking similarity to each other.
The similarities become even more apparent when parallel passages are arranged in columns.
Laws of Nature
Law of nature
All men are
All men being
by nature equal
It is their
It is their
Throw off such
Throw off the
themselves into a body politick
themselves a separate state
themselves the powers of legislation
It is clearly obvious that the Declaration of Independence reflects a broad range of colonial clerical preaching. The broad range of propositions found in the Declaration is greater than those found in any one sermon. The clergy in the churches of colonial America were the sounding boards for the writings of various political pamphleteers. They clergy were often the companions of many of the leaders.
The clergy of American protestant churches contributed to the thought of men within the legislature and those men who became members of the Continental Congress.
Within his diary, John Adams recounts of phrases which were the favorites of a minister he had heard. John Adams carefully studied and cherished the expressions which the clergy preached concerning matters of deep public concern. Often those sermons and messages were printed for public distribution.
The sermons of colonial clergymen formed a solid foundation of integrated thought. The sermons and messages of American clergymen of the colonial period made a most significant contribution to the philosophy of freedom. Those sermons and messages were founded upon the Bible.
Constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead in his book An American Dream declared:
“In short, colonial sermons formed a solid base of integrated thought. Founded upon the Bible, they made up a large part of the contribution of the philosophy of freedom which began to win a worldwide empire in the minds of men through the conflict which arose with Great Britain. And it would eventually assume a common fabric of rights, resistance, and futuristic optimism within the American psyche.”
Reverend Jonas Clark was the gentleman who drew up the papers urging Bostonians to resist British trade and taxation. He counseled them to seek redress for their wrongs and arm themselves.
Developments of the quarrel with England reached towns throughout the colonies through circular letters carried on horseback by the Sons of Liberty. The letters were sent from a committee formed in Boston in November of 1772. Samuel Adams, the leader of the movement was a committed Christian having been a convert to Christ during the Great Awakening.
In his monumental work The Rise of the Republic, Richard Frothingham wrote:
“A town meeting was called in Faneuil Hall, to consider the question of the salaries of the judges...In the afternoon, Samuel Adams moved 'that a committee of correspondence be appointed, to consist of 21 persons, to state the rights of the colonies, and of this province in particular, as men, as Christians, and as subjects; to communicate and publish the same to the several towns in this province to the world...
This Report, after long deliberation, was adopted. Six hundred copies were ordered to be printed in a pamphlet, and a copy was directed to be sent to every town in the province. A copy was sent to prominent Whigs in other colonies...
It considered the relations of man not only as a citizen, but as a Christian, and claimed for him that equality which is the cardinal principle of Christianity. It claimed for him, under law, the position to which he is entitled, - the right to make the laws under which he lives, to select his field of labor and enjoy its fruits, and thus claimed fair play for the industrial energy which has contributed so much to the growth and glory of this country...
A few sentences from these responses [to the Report] will show the spirit of the whole... 'It becomes us to rely no longer on the arm of flesh, but on the arm of that all-powerful God who is able to unite the numerous inhabitants of this extensive country as a band of brothers in one common cause...'”
Historian George Bancroft said,
“The Revolution of 1776, so far as it was affected by religion, was a Presbyterian measure. It was a natural outgrowth of the principles which the Presbyterians of the Old World planted in her sons, the English Puritans, the Scotch Covenanters, the French Huguenots, the Dutch Calvinists, and the Presbyterians of Ulster.”
Loraine Boettner quotes an American Tory of the Revolutionary period in a letter home to England.
“I fix all the blame for these extraordinary proceedings upon the Presbyterians. They have been the chief and principal instruments in all these flaming measures. They always do and ever will act against government from that restless and turbulent anti-monarchial spirit which has always distinguished them everywhere.”
Prime Minister Horace Walpole made this remark to Parliament: “Cousin America has run off with a Presbyterian parson.” Walpole was actually referring to Reverend John Witherspoon, signer of the Declaration of Independence and direct decedent of John Knox.
E. L. Magoon in his work Orators of the American Revolution describes Witherspoon:
“He was lineally descended from John Knox, the moral hero of Scotland, was born near Edinburgh, 1722, and from the time he adopted America as his country, was as much distinguished as a preacher as a patriot. Dr. Witherspoon was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, which he eloquently defended; through a trying period of congressional responsibility he was a very efficient legislator; and for many years performed the duties of a laborious, erudite, and eminently successful president of Princeton College. On taking his seat in Congress, he surprised his associates, as his brother Davies, had surprised the courts of Virginia, with his wonderful knowledge and skill as a civilian. He was associated with Richard Henry Lee and John Adams on several important committees and himself drew many valuable State papers...As soon as the liberties of the country were won, Dr. Witherspoon gladly resumed his classical pursuits and the work of the ministry...”
E.L. Magoon speaks of Dr. Samuel Sillman pastor of the First Baptist Church of Boston:
“Standing in the presence of armed foes, he preached with a power that commanded respect...The best orators of every age have been created by the oppressive circumstance, in the midst of which they have suddenly arisen with resistless power, as if they gathered strength and inspiration from the terrors of the storm. When the age needs great men it will find them – heroes not of the timid mimosa kind, who 'fear the dark cloud, and feel the coming sound.' Preachers in Revolutionary times are eminently practical; nature supplies them with abundant ammunition, and necessity teaches them expressly to load and fire. They are the flying artillery of 'the sacramental host of God's elect.'”
John Locke was the son of a Puritan attorney. He felt that Separatists and Presbyterians went too far in their convictions and practices. He returned to England in 1689 having been in exile during the reign of Catholic James II.
James M. Bulman in his book It is there Right quotes Locke who maintained his deference for the Bible. Locke declared: I shall presently condemn and quit any opinion of mine, as soon as I am shown that it is contrary to any revelation of the Holy Scriptures.”
Thomas Hobbes wrote Leviathan in 1651 which Locke skillfully contested with a powerful rebuttal. Hobbes, the champion of totalitarianism, attacked religious orthodoxy and defended statism. Russell Kirk in The Roots of American Order speaks of Hobbes Leviathan:
“To Hobbes, the state was a vast, necessary beast, Leviathan...Hobbes' system offered freedom from Church, town, guild, and local authorities – but in exchange for servitude to Leviathan.”
Locke, in secularized form, echoed Samuel Rutherford. Locke asserted; the people must hold political sovereignty in their hands. They are the ones to delegate power to a legislative body. John Locke deplored the “divine right of kings,” and believed that society was the result of a voluntary contract among men equal in a state of nature. Hence, the purpose of government was to protect the life, liberty, and property of all its citizens.
These ideas did not originate from Locke. Samuel Rutherford proclaimed the principles in his monumental work Lex, Rex which was published in 1644!
The principles which Rutherford postulated concerning republicanism were those of John Calvin of Geneva. Sir James Stephens, English statesmen and jurist summarized Calvin's four basic points his work Lectures on the History of France:
- The will of all the people was the one legitimate source of the power of rulers;
- The power was most properly delegated by the people, to their rulers, by means of elections...
- The clergy and laity were entitled to an equal and coordinate authority;
- Between the Church and State, no alliance, or mutual dependence, or other definite relation, necessarily or properly existed.”
King James I clearly understood the implications of Calvinism for he observed:
“Presbytery agreeth as well with monarchy as God with the devil.”
Historian George Bancroft referred to the “Political character of Calvinism, which with one Consent and with instinctive judgment the monarchs of that day feared as republicanism.”
Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville called Calvinism:
“a democratic and republican religion.”
J.C. Monsma analyzed Calvinism as applied to government:
“The government is God's servant. That means that AS MEN all government officials stand on an equal footing with their subordinates; have no claim to superiority in any sense whatever...For exactly the same reason the Calvinist gives preference to a republican form of government over any other type. In no other form of government does the sovereignty of God, the derivative character of government power and the equality of men as men, find a clearer or more eloquent expression.”
I am indebted to Constitutional attorney, John W. Whitehead author of The Second American Revolution and An American Dream
Thanks to Patricia O. Brooks author of The Return of the Puritans
I am gratefully thankful to Reverend Peter Marshall author of The Light and the Glory
I wish to thank David Barton of Wallbuilders
I am also most thankful to Francis A. Schaeffer author of The Christian Manifestro and How Should We then Live? - the Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
“...she is my all in all. What should I have done without her?”
“I darned stockings and talked stories, my favorite amusement. I do love it very much.”
“But she grew to be intensely fond of the public, of society…and of entertaining”.
“This morning we all look the boat and rowed over to Constitution Island. We wandered about looking at the prospect, and considering the ground, for Father actually had thought of buying it for a country place. It did not look very prepossessing, however; for nothing can be more rough and rude than the face of that island.”
“Uncle Thomas was down from West Point last week and staid several days. He is delighted with the prospect of doings at Constitution Island which Father has bought. Father contemplates keeping the southern part of the island, and building a fine house, making a sort of little Paradise of the grounds, and residing there eight months of the year.”
“So comes in the first dim prospect of our future life-long home; as different from the later reality, as it well could be. Of that beautiful handful of plans, just one came true: we did go to the Island to live, and it was Paradise; though not of our making. But no visions born of town life and ease, and plenty, ever figured out anything so rich and rare as what – through straits and need and difficulty – the Lord vouchsafed to us, among our rocks.”
“Sue, I believe if you would try, you could write a story.”
“If you never publish another book, publish this.”
“live out our lives, fighting the fight, wrestling with sorrow, gathering up the joy—”.
“How little discernment a buyer has at first as to the capabilities of his new purchase! For what “palace” could ever have been as dear to us as our old Revolutionary nondescript house?”
“I think then the bond was knit between us two, which should outlast all time and change.” From this time onward, their shared convictions led to a cooperative, harmonious relationship both personally and professionally.”
“I had no idea of the vividness and captivating interest that she (Susan) gave to these stories.”
“One day, while the children in a Mission Chapel were singing “One more day's work for Jesus,” a woman passing by stopped outside to listen. She went home with these words fixed in her mind. The next day, as she was bending over the washtub, the words of the hymn came to her again and aroused the question, Have I ever done one day's work for Jesus in all my life?”
One more day’s work for Jesus,One less of life for me!But Heav’n is nearer, and Christ is clearerThan yesterday, to me.His love and light fill all my soul tonight.
One more day’s work for Jesus,One more day’s work for Jesus,One more day’s work for Jesus,One less of life for me!One more day’s work for Jesus!
How sweet the work has been,To tell the story, to show the glory,Where Christ’s flock enters in!How it did shine in this poor heart of mine!
One more day’s work for Jesus!O yes, a weary day;But Heav’n shines clearer, and rest comes nearer,At each step of the way;And Christ in all, before His face I fall.
O blessèd work for Jesus!O rest at Jesus’ feet!There toil seems pleasure, my wants are treasure,And pain for Him is sweet.Lord, if I may, I’ll serve another day!
“One day when sitting with Miss Anna in the old living room she took from one of the cases a shell so delicate that it looked like lacework and holding it in her hand, with eyes dimmed with tears, she said, 'There was a time when I was very perplexed, bills were unpaid, necessities must be had, and someone sent me this exquisite thing. As I held it I realized that if God could make this beautiful home for a little creature. He would take care of me.”
“Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so."
“Johnston (one of the rescued men) retired topside and sat with his arms around a couple of roly poly, mission-trained natives. And in the fresh breeze on the way home they sang together a hymn all three happened to know:
“The first day, there was a very large gathering, curiosity helping on the numbers. After that, it varied from week to week, as must be always, I suppose; especially among Cadets, where guard duty sometimes interferes; and where Sunday is the free day for seeing friends.”
“At home, in the summer, they met in our tent near the house, the forage caps tossed out upon the grass; the gray figures in all sorts of positions in and out of the tent”.
“The visits to Constitution Island were regarded as a great privilege, for not only did they make a break in the severe routine of the daily life but they enabled the boys to roam further a field than was possible at the Academy, where the restrictions of the cadet limits were pretty irksome to boys accustomed to the free run of the town or country. So the privilege of going to Constitution Island as one of “Miss Warner’s boys” was eagerly sought and highly prized. Every Sunday afternoon during the summer encampment the sisters would send their elderly man of all work after the favored ones. He pulled the old flat-bottomed boat across the river to the West Point dock, where the boys with the coveted permits were wailing for him. Usually the trip back was accompanied with more or less excitement, for the boat was always loaded to the last inch of its carrying capacity.
Miss Susan Warner awaited her guests in the orchard. She always sat in the same big chair supported by many cushions. She was a frail little woman with a long face deeply lined with thought and care, lighted with large, dark very brilliant eyes. As she sat in her chair with the boys in a semi-circle around her on the grass she looked like a print from Godey’s Lady’s Book of half a century before. She always wore silk dresses of a small flowered pattern, made with voluminous skirts of wonderful stiffness, and rustle, and small close fitting bodices. A rich Paisley shawl was always around her shoulders and a broad black velvet ribbon was bound around her hair, which was only slightly gray.
After each of the boys had read a Bible verse. Miss Warner, choosing her subject from some New Testament text, talked to them for perhaps half an hour until her enthusiasm and interest had obviously almost exhausted her small strength. Her English was the best and purest I have ever heard, and as she went on and her interest grew her eyes shone, like stars and her voice became rich and warm. There was never any cant or sectarianism, and she always gave to the boys the brightest and most optimistic side of the faith she loved so well. When she had finished and lay back pale and weary against her cushions her sister. Miss Anna, came down from the house with the rare treat of the whole week, tea and homemade ginger-bread. After that the two sisters and the boys talked over the things of the world that seemed so far from that peaceful quiet orchard. The boys confided their aims and ambitions, and the sisters in the simplest, most unostentatious way sought to implant right ideals and principles. Miss Warner never forgot any of her boys, and up to the time of her death kept up a correspondence with many of them. This correspondence must have been voluminous, for it embraced men in every branch of the service, and included alike distinguished officers and cadets who had failed. . . “
The beloved old house on Constitution Island was the home of the Warner family from 1836 to 1915. The furnishings in the house are the original family possessions. If Miss Anna Warner were to visit the home as it is today; she would recognize the charming house which is kept as it was when she lived in the home until her death in 1915.
“Inasmuch as my sister and I agreed long ago that when our portrait of George Washington, painted by Stuart, left our hands it should go where we thought it would do the most work for our native land, therefore I give and bequeath the same to the Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York (whoever he may be at the time of my death) for the special use of the Corps of Cadets at the Academy (there being some question as to the legal capacity of the Corps as such to take the gift): on condition that said picture is kept at the Military Reservation at West Point, and placed where the Cadets can have free access to see and to study it; so learning to love and revere the man who – under God – not only founded the Institution to which they belong, but gave them the Country they have sworn to defend . . . “.