Delegates of Middle States

Copyright MMII by Inspired Idea All Rights Reserved

The middle States consisted of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware. The dominant denominations of the middle States were Quaker and Dutch Reformed. Quakers were members of the Religious Society of Friends who were known for their pacifism. The Dutch Reformed Church was founded in New York in 1628, and was renamed the Reformed Church of America in 1867.

Pennsylvanian Robert Morris (Episcopalian), the financier of the Revolution, signed all three founding documents. The delegates of Pennsylvania who signed the Declaration of Independence were Dr. Benjamin Rush (Presbyterian), John Morton (attended St. James Church), James Smith (Presbyterian), George Taylor (Presbyterian), George Ross, and James Wilson (Episcopalian); and George Clymer (Quaker/Lutheran) and Benjamin Franklin (Deist who had a pew at Christ Church) who also signed the US Constitution. The signers of the Articles of Confederation were Daniel Roberdeau, Jonathan Bayard Smith, and William Clingan. The other signers of the US Constitution were Thomas Mifflin (Quaker/Lutheran), Thomas Fitzsimons (Roman Catholic) and Jared Ingersoll, Jr. (Presbyterian); James Wilson supported it but left the Convention before signing.

Dr. Benjamin Rush
Dr. Benjamin Rush wrote "Essays, Literary, Moral, and Philosophical," (1798), in which he wrote the following referring to public education: "I know there is an objection among many people to teaching children doctrines of any kind, because they are liable to be controverted. But let us not be wiser than our Maker. If moral precepts alone could have reformed mankind, the mission of the Son of God into all the world would have been unnecessary. The perfect morality of the Gospel rests upon the doctrine which, though often controverted has never been refuted: I mean the vicarious life and death of the Son of God."

James Wilson
As the first Law Professor of the University of Philadelphia, James Wilson explained that all law comes from God, stating: "That law, which God has made for man in his present state; that law, which is communicated to us by reason and conscience, the divine monitors within us, and by the sacred oracles, the divine monitors without us. ...As promulgated by reason and the moral sense it has been called natural; as promulgated by the holy scriptures, it has been called revealed law. As addressed to men, it has been denominated the law of nature; as addressed to political societies, it has been denominated the law of nations. But it should always be remembered, that this law, natural or revealed, made for men or for nations, flows from the same divine source; it is the law of God. ...Human law must rest its authority, ultimately, upon the authority of that law, which is divine."

George Clymer
B.J. Lossing wrote the following regarding George Clymer in his 1848 book "Signers of the Declaration of Independence": "...the remainder of his days were spent in acts of private usefulness, and a personal preparation for another world. He died on the twenty-fourth day of January, 1813, in the seventy-fourth year of his age. His long life was an active and useful one, and not a single moral stain marked its manifested purity."

The following delegates of New Jersey signed the Declaration of Independence: Francis Hopkinson (Episcopalian), John Hart (Presbyterian), Abraham Clark (Presbyterian), and Richard Stockton (Presbyterian); and Rev. John Witherspoon (Presbyterian) who also signed the Articles of Confederation. Nathaniel Scudder also signed the Articles. Those from New Jersey who signed the US Constitution were William Livingston (Presbyterian), David Brearly (Episcopalian), William Paterson (Presbyterian), and Jonathan Dayton (Episcopalian); William Churchill Houston (Presbyterian) attended the Convention for two weeks and left before signing. \n\nJonathan Dayton was the youngest signer of the Constitution of the United States. The city of Dayton, Ohio, was named after him.

Richard Stockton
In his Last Will and Testament, Richard Stockton wrote: "As my children will have frequent occasion of perusing this instrument, and may probably be peculiarly impressed with the last words of their father, I think proper here, not only to subscribe to the entire belief of the great leading doctrine of the Christian religion... but also in the heart of a father's affection, to charge and exhort them to remember "that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."

David Brearly
David Brearly was instructed by Rev. John Witherspoon at Princeton University. Brearly became a lawyer in 1767 and was such an outspoken patriot that he was arrested for "high treason" against Britain. David Brearly was also "...a warden of St. Michael's Church. ...a compiler of the Protestant Episcopal Prayer Book and a delegate to the Episcopal General Convention in 1786."

William Livingston
William Livingston was a member of the First and Second Continental Congresses. He also served as the first Governor of New Jersey, and was re-elected for 14 years.
He published articles defending his faith, such as No. 46: "I believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, without any foreign comments or human explanations. ...I believe that he who feareth God and worketh righteousness will be accepted of Him. ...I believe that the virulence of some...proceeds not from their affection to Christianity, which is founded on too firm a basis to be shaken by the freest inquiry, and the Divine authority of which I sincerely believe without receiving a farthing for saying so."

William Patterson
William Patterson was Governor of New Jersey after Governor Livingston died. He also served as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice appointed by President George Washington. On May 24, 1800, William Patterson stated: "Religion and morality...\[are\] necessary to good government, good order, and good laws, for 'when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice.'"

The following delegates of New York signed the Declaration of Independence, with the exception of Robert R. Livingston (Christian): William Floyd (Presbyterian), Phillip Livingston (Presbyterian), and Lewis Morris; and Francis Lewis who also signed the Articles of Confederation. The other New York delegates who signed the Articles of Confederation were James Duane (Episcopalian), William Duer, and Gouverneur Morris (Episcopalian). Although New York sent three delegates to the Constitutional Convention only Alexander Hamilton (Episcopalian) signed it, because the other two, Robert Yates (Dutch Reformed) and John Lansing (Dutch Reformed), were Anti-Federalists.

Robert R. Livingston
Robert R. Livingston may have withheld his signature from the Declaration because of a strong commitment to his New York constituents. He later helped frame New York's Constitution, and he was the first Chancellor (governor) to administrate New York according to it. He applied to New York for navigation rights on the Hudson for river boats "propelled by fire or steam" in 1798, but his experiments were unsuccessful. He later teamed up with Robert Fulton to produce a successful steamboat in 1807. "Signers of the Declaration of Independence" (1848) author B. J. Lossing described the life of Robert R. Livingston as follows: "And to all of his eminent virtues and attainments he added that of a sincere and devoted Christian, the crowning attribute in the character of a good and great man."

Gouverneur Morris
In 1785, Gouverneur Morris stated the following in the Pennsylvania State Assembly: "How can we hope for public peace and national prosperity, if the faith of governments so solemnly pledged can be so lightly infringed? Destroy this prop, which once gave us support, and where will you turn in the hour of distress? To whom will you look for succor? By what promise or vows can you hope to obtain confidence? This hour of distress will come. It comes to all, and the moment of affliction is known to Him alone, whose Divine Providence exalts or depresses states and kingdoms. Not by the blind dictates of arbitrary will. Not by a tyrannous and despotic mandate. But in proportion to their obedience or disobedience of His just and holy laws. It is He who commands us that we abstain from wrong. It is He who tells you, "do unto others as ye would that they would do unto you."

Alexander Hamilton's Christian Constitutional Society
Alexander Hamilton helped the adoption of the Constitution by writing 52 of the 85 essays in "The Federalist Papers", and by conducting a ratification campaign in reluctant New York. After the Constitutional Convention, Alexander Hamilton stated: "For my own part, I sincerely esteem it a system which without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests." /nHe wrote to James Bayard: "In my opinion, the present constitution is the standard to which we are to cling. Under its banner bona fide must we combat our political foes, rejecting all changes but through the channel itself provided for amendments. By these general views of the subject have my reflections been guided.
I now offer you the outline of the plan they have suggested. Let an association be formed to be denominated "The Christian Constitutional Society," its object to be first: The support of the Christian religion. second: The support of the United States."

Alexander Hamilton's death from dueling with Aaron Burr
On July 11, 1804, Hamilton was fatally shot by Aaron Burr. The Episcopalian Reverend Benjamin Moore ministered the last rites to him. He recorded Hamilton's last words: "I have a tender reliance on the mercy of the Almighty, through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am a sinner. I look to Him for mercy; pray for me." \nIn his eulogy, Alexander Hamilton was quoted as stating: "Mortals hastening to the tomb, and once the companions of my pilgrimage, take warning, and avoid my errors. Cultivate the virtues I have recommended. Choose the Saviour I have chosen'. Live disinterestedly, and would you rescue anything from final dissolution, lay it up in God."

Delaware's delegates who signed the Declaration of Independence were Caesar Rodney (Episcopalian) and Thomas McKean (Presbyterian). Thomas McKean also signed the Articles of Confederation along with Nicholas Van Dyke (Episcopalian); and John Dickinson (Quaker/Episcopalian) who also signed the US Constitution. The other delegates who signed the US Constitution were George Read (Episcopalian), Gunning Bedford (Presbyterian), Richard Bassett (Methodist), and Jacob Broom (Lutheran). Delaware's State motto is "Liberty and Independence".

George Read
George Read was known as "the Father of Delaware," for writing "the first edition of her laws," and the Constitution of the State. Delaware's 1776 requirements, for holding office included: "Every person who shall be chosen a member of either house, or appointed to any office or place of trust...shall...make and subscribe the following declaration, to wit: "I, ________, do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, one God, blessed for evermore; and I do acknowledge the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration."

John Dickinson
John Dickinson, "The Penman of the Revolution," wrote pamphlets including Petition to the King, 1771; The Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress, 1774; and The Declaration of the Cause of Taking Up Arms, 1775. His most famous were the Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania , 1767-68: "But, above all, let us implore the protection of that infinitely good and gracious Being 'by whom kings reign, and princes decree justice.'(Proverbs 8:15) '...that they should sit every man under his vine, and under his fig-tree, and NONE SHOULD MAKE THEM AFRAID.'(Micah 4:4) But whatever kind of minister he is, that attempts to innovate a single iota in the privileges of these colonies, him I hope you will undauntedly oppose; and that you will never suffer yourselves to be cheated or frightened into any unworthy obsequiousness. On such emergencies you may surely, without presumption, believe that ALMIGHTY GOD himself will look upon your righteous contest with gracious approbation."

Richard Bassett
John Wesley was one of the preachers of the Great Awakening. He also introduced a new "method" of worship, and those who followed this method came to be called Methodists. Captain Richard Bassett converted to Methodism during the Revolutionary War. He personally contributed half the cost of building the First Methodist Church in Dover. He emancipated his slaves and then paid them as hired labor. He held Methodist campmeetings on his own plantation, and would joyfully sing with his former slaves.

Jacob Broom
Jacob Broom was described in the Official Papers of Delaware (1909), as follows: "A fair example of the product of a sturdy, energetic, sagacious ancestry and evangelical Swedish orthodoxy, co-operating amid the trying environments of a struggling colony in an undeveloped land. ...He lived in one of the potential crises of history, in which and for which the sublime visions and words of prophets and apostles had developed and inspired a stalwart manhood. ...As it is an accepted fact that "the foundation of all permanent prosperity is a right regard for the Divine Being", it is proper to say that Jacob Broom was a God-fearing man."


Term Definition
Anti-Federalists those for strong States' rights and opponents to the Federalist party
despotic pertaining to absolute, unlimited power
dissolution the act of dissolving, which can also refer to death
Lutheran Protestants who adhered to Martin Luther's teachings
Methodist Protestant who followed the worship method of John Wesley
obsequiousness fawning submission
promulgated proclaimed
vicarious substitute who suffered in the place of another
industry any general work
virulence venomous hostility; bitter anger