Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams

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Patrick Henry's father, Colonel Henry, was an Anglican clergyman who helped collect fines from people who neglected to attend the Anglican church. Patrick's mother, Sarah, was converted during one of Whitefield's sermons and began attending home meetings where other converts read and discussed the Bible among themselves without an ordained minister. The British governor of Virginia reacted by requiring all preachers to obtain a license to preach. So young Patrick Henry saw the difference between legislated religion and religion of a free conscience.

Patrick Henry championed religious freedom
In 1768, Patrick Henry rode several miles on horseback to a trial where three Baptist ministers were being tried for having preached without the sanction of the Episcopalian Church. He interrupted the proceedings, saying, "May it please your lordships, what did I hear read? Did I hear an expression that these men, whom you worships are about to try for misdemeanor, are charged with preaching the gospel of the Son of God?"

Righteousness Alone Exalts a Nation
Patrick Henry was Commander in Chief of the Virginia Militia and a member of the Virginia General Assembly and House of Burgesses. The House of Burgesses was the only elected assembly in colonial Virginia, established from the beginning in 1619. On the reverse of The Stamp Act Resolves, passed in the House of Burgesses, May 1765, Patrick Henry wrote and signed the following note: "This brought on the war which finally separated the two countries and gave independence to ours. Whether this will prove a blessing or a curse, will depend upon the use our people make of the blessings, which a gracious God hath bestowed on us. If they are wise, they will be great and happy. If they are of a contrary character, they will be miserable. Righteousness alone can exalt them as a nation. Reader! Whoever thou art, remember this, and in thy sphere practice virtue thyself, and encourage it in others."

God rewards or punishes countries according to their character
Samuel Adams wrote to John Scollay of Boston on April 30, 1776: "Our grateful acknowledgements are to the Supreme Being who has not been regardless of the multiplied oppressions which the inhabitants of that city have suffered. ...Revelation assures us that 'Righteousness exalteth a nation.' Communities are dealt with in this world by the wise and just Ruler of the Universe. He rewards or punishes them according to their general character. The diminution of public virtue is usually attended with that of public happiness, and the public liberty will not long survive the total extinction of morals. ...Could I be assured that America would remain virtuous, I would venture to defy the utmost efforts of enemies to subjugate her." Proverbs 14:34 states: "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people."

During the Second Virginia Convention in 1775, Patrick Henry stated: "It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. ...Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt. ...An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us! ...Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battle alone. There is a just God who presides over the destines of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our battle for us. ...Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

The following are quotes from Patrick Henry's speech to the Virginia Convention in 1788 which were later printed in "The Anti-Federalist Papers": "...liberty ought to be the direct end of your Government. ...I will submit to your recollection whether liberty has been destroyed most often by the licentiousness of the people, or by the tyranny or rulers...the preservation of our liberty depends on the single chance of men being virtuous enough to make laws to punish themselves. ...In this scheme of energetic Government, the people will find two sets of tax-gatherers--the State and the Federal Sheriffs. This it seems to me will produce such dreadful oppression, as the people cannot possibly bear."

Samuel Adams signed the Declaration of Independence
As members were signing the Declaration of Independence, Samuel Adams, the father of the Revolution, said, "We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come." After the public reading of the Declaration of Independence, Samuel Adams noted, "The people, I am told, recognize the resolution as though it were a decree promulgated from heaven."

Samuel Adams addressed the Continental Congress on August 1, 1776: "Countrymen and brethren... This day, I trust, the reign of political protestantism will commence. We have explored the temple of royalty, and found that the idol we have bowed down to, has eyes which see not, ears that hear not our prayers, and a heart like the nether millstone. We have this day restored the Sovereign, to whom alone all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven, and with a propitious eye beholds his subjects assuming that freedom of thought, and dignity of self-direction which He bestowed on them..."

Providence granted America success in war
Samuel Adams' address to the Continental Congress (part 2): "We are now on this continent to the astonishment of the world three millions of souls united in one common cause. We have large armies, well disciplined and appointed, with commanders inferior to none in military skill, and superior in activity and zeal. We are furnished with arsenals and stores beyond our most sanguine expectations, and foreign nations are waiting to crown our success by their alliances. There are instances of, I would say, an almost astonishing Providence in our favor; our success has staggered our enemies, and almost given faith to infidels; so that we may truly say it is not our own arm which has saved us. The hand of Heaven appears to have led us on to be, perhaps, humble instruments and means in the great Providential dispensation which is completing. We have fled from the political Sodom; let us not look back, lest we perish and become a monument of infamy and derision to the world!"

Providence granted America success in agriculture
Samuel Adams' address to the Continental Congress (part 3): "...if it was ever granted to mortals to trace the designs of Providence, and interpret its manifestations in favor of their cause, we may, with humility of soul, cry out, 'Not unto us, not unto us, but to thy Name be the praise.' ...The time at which this attempt on our liberties was made, when we were ripened into maturity, had acquired a knowledge of war, and were free from the incursions of enemies in this country, the gradual advances of our oppressors enabling us to prepare for our defence, the unusual fertility of our lands and clemency of the seasons, the success which at first attended our feeble arms, producing unanimity among our friends and reducing our internal foes to acquiescence - Theses are all strong and palpable marks and assurances, that Providence is yet gracious unto Zion, that it will turn away the captivity of Jacob."

America completed what the Reformers began
Samuel Adams' address to the Continental Congress (part 4): "Our glorious reformers, when they broke through the fetters of superstition, effected more than could be expected from an age so darkened. But they left much to be done by their posterity. They lopped off, indeed, some of the branches...but they left the root and stock when they left us under the domination of human systems and decisions, usurping the infallibility which can be attributed to Revelation alone. They dethroned one usurper only to raise up another. ...And if we now cast our eyes over the nations of the earth we shall find, that instead of possessing the pure religion of the gospel, they may be divided either into infidels who deny the truth, or politicians who make religion a stalking horse for their ambition, of professors, who walk in the trammels of orthodoxy, and are more attentive to traditions and ordinances of men than to the oracles of truth."

By Providence will America rise
Samuel Adams' address to the Continental Congress (part 5): "Thus by the beneficence of Providence, we shall behold our empire arising, founded on justice and the voluntary consent of the people, and giving full scope to the exercise of those faculties and rights which most ennoble our species. Besides the advantages of liberty and the most equal constitution, Heaven has given us a country with every variety of climate and soil, pouring forth in abundance whatever is necessary for the support, comfort, and strength of a nation. Within our own borders we possess all the means of sustenance, defence, and commerce; at the same time, these advantages are so distributed among the different States of this continent, as if nature had in view to proclaim to us - be united among yourselves, and you will want nothing from the rest of the world. ...Go on, then, in your generous enterprise, with gratitude to Heaven for past success, and confidence of it in the future."

Samuel Adams wrote a letter on October 4, 1790 to his cousin John Adams, who was vice president of the United States: "Let divines and philosophers, statesmen and patriots, unite their endeavors to renovate the age, by impressing the minds of men with the importance of educating their little boys and girls, of inculcating in the minds of youth the fear and love of the Deity and universal philanthropy, and in subordination to these great principles, the love of their country; of instructing them in the art of self-government... in short, of leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system. Knowledge apart from God and His truth is little better than complete ignorance, because the most important aspect of education is the imbuing of moral principles. All education is religious - it imparts a basic set of principles and ideals, a worldview. How the youth are educated today will determine the course a nation takes in the future."

Virtuous education prevents crimes
Governor Samuel Adams addressed the Massachusetts Legislature on January 17, 1794: "Human laws excite fears and apprehensions, lest crimes committed be detected and punished; But a virtuous education is calculated to reach and influence the heart, and to prevent crimes. ...Such an education, which leads the youth beyond mere outside show, will impress their minds with a profound reverence of the Deity, universal benevolence, and a warm attachment and affection towards their country. It will excite in them a just regard to Divine Revelation, which informs them of the original character and dignity of man; and it will inspire them with a sense of true honor."

Christian knowledge tends to preserve the peace
In 1784, Patrick Henry supported a bill establishing a "Provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion": "The general diffusion of Christian knowledge hath a natural tendency to correct the morals of men, restrain their vices, and preserve the peace of society..."

Governor Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, addressed the State Legislature in 1794: "In the supposed state of nature, all men are equally bound by the laws of nature, or to speak more properly, the laws of the Creator: - They are imprinted by the finger of God on the heart of man. Thou shall do no injury to thy neighbor, is the voice of nature and reason, and it is confirmed by written revelation."

Public Thanksgiving to and Praise to God for His Goodness
As Governor of the State of Massachusetts, Samuel Adams issued a Proclamation for a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Praise on October 14, 1795: "...I have thought fit, according to the ancient and laudable practice of our renowned ancestors, to appoint a day of public thanksgiving to God, for the great benefits which he has been pleased to bestow upon us, in the year past. \nAnd I do by advice and consent of the council, appoint Thursday, the nineteenth day of November next, to be observed as a day of public thanksgiving and praise throughout this commonwealth: calling upon the ministers of the Gospel of all denominations, with their respective congregations to assemble on that day to offer to God, their unfeigned gratitude, for his great goodness to the people of the United States in general, and of this commonwealth in particular."

Public Thanksgiving to and Praise to God for Peace
As Governor of the State of Massachusetts, Samuel Adams issued a Proclamation for a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Praise on October 14, 1795 (part 2): "More especially in that he hath in His good providence united the several states under a national compact formed by themselves, whereby they may defend themselves against external enemies, and maintain peace and harmony with each other. That internal tranquility has been contained within this commonwealth; and that the voice of health is so generously heard in the habitations of the people. That the earth has yielded her increase, so that the labors of our industrious husbandmen have been abundantly crowned with plenty...That while other nations have been involved in war, attended with an uncommon profusion of human blood, we in the course of Divine Providence, have been preserved from so grievous a calamity, and have enjoyed so great a measure of the blessing of peace."

Public Request for Prayer for the Federal Government and the States
As Governor of the State of Massachusetts, Samuel Adams issued a Proclamation for a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Praise on October 14, 1795 (part 3): "And I do recommend that together with our thanksgiving, humble prayer may be offered to God, that we may be enabled, by the subsequent obedience of our hearts and manners, to testify the sincerity of our profession of gratitude, in the sight of God and man; and thus be prepared for the reception of future blessings. That God would be pleased to guide and direct the administration of the Federal government, and those of the several states, in union, so that the whole people may continue to be safe and happy in the constitutional enjoyment of their rights, liberties and privileges, and our governments be greatly respected at home and abroad...And I do recommend to the people of this commonwealth, to abstain from all such labor and recreations as may not be consistent with the solemnity of the said day."

Public prayer request for the day when all people willingly bow to Jesus Christ
On March 20, 1797, in a Proclamation of a Day of Fast, Massachusetts Governor Samuel Adams declared: "And as it is our duty to extend our wishes to the happiness of the great family of man, I conceive that we cannot better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating the Supreme Ruler of the world that the rod of tyrants may be broken to pieces, and the oppressed made free again; that wars may cease in all the earth, and that the confusions that are and have been among nations may be overruled by promoting and speedily bringing on that holy and happy period when the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and all people everywhere willingly bow to the sceptre of Him who is Prince of Peace."


Term Definition
brethren it is used almost exclusively in solemn and scriptural language in the place of brothers
constitutional consistent with the constitution; authorized by the constitution or fundamental rules of a government; legal
converted to change from one religion to another; or to turn from a bad life to a good one; to change the heart and moral character from hatred toward God to love of God
House of Burgesses the only elected assembly in colonial Virginia
imbuing dying cloth, or imprinting upon minds
misdemeanor bad behavior; or in law, an offense of a less atrocious nature than a crime
Protestantism Christian movement of those who left the government established churches in order to more fully obey the commands of God in the Holy Bible
reformers those who commenced the reformation of Christianity from corruption
revelation the act of revealing or disclosing something not realized before; especially by God through His Word
righteousness denoting holiness of heart