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abandoned it, assuming no control over life, exerting no influence on natural phenomena, and giving no supernatural revelation.
Oliver Ellsworth was born on April 29, 1745, in Windsor, CT, to Capt. David and Jemima Ellsworth. He entered Yale in 1762 but transferred to the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) at the end of his second year. He continued to study theology and received his A.B. degree after 2 years. Soon afterward, however, Ellsworth turned to the law. After 4 years of study, he was admitted to the bar in 1771. The next year Ellsworth married Abigail Wolcott He also left his mark through an amendment to change the word "national" to "United States" in a resolution. Thereafter, "United States" was the title used in the convention to designate the government. Did not sign constitution
"But, my countrymen, the sole purpose and effect of it [omitting any religious test in the Constitution] is to exclude persecution, and to secure to you the important right of religious liberty. ... But in other parts of the world, it has been, and still is, far different. Systems of religious error have been adopted, in times of ignorance. It has been the interest of tyrannical kings, popes, and prelates, to maintain these errors. When the clouds of ignorance began to vanish, and the people grew more enlightened, there was no other way to keep them in error, but to prohibit their altering their religious opinions by severe persecuting laws." -- Oliver Ellsworth, Dec 17, 1787
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William Samuel Johnson
Resisting his father's wish that he become a minister, Johnson embraced law instead-largely by educating himself and without benefit of formal training Once the passions of war had ebbed, Johnson resumed his political career. In the Continental Congress (1785-87), he was one of the most influential and popular delegates. Playing a major role in the Constitutional Convention, he missed no sessions after arriving on June 2; espoused the Connecticut Compromise; and chaired the Committee of Style, which shaped the final document. He also worked for ratification in Connecticut. He died there in 1819 at the age of 92 and was buried at OldEpiscopal Cemetery To cultivate kindness is a valuable part of the business of life. My dear friend, clear your mind of cant Every man is rich or poor according to the proportion between his desires and his enjoyments. To improve the golden moment of opportunity, and catch the good that is within our reach, is the great art of life.
Sir, a man who cannot get to heaven in a green coat, will not find his way thither the sooner in a grey one. (Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer. repr. In Johnsonian Miscellanies, vol. 1, p. 222, ed. George Birkbeck Hill (1891). Quoted in Hester Piozzi, Anecdotes of the Late Samuel Johnson (1786).)
As a boy, he was spurred by a desire to learn and read widely in his spare time to supplement his minimal education at a common school. But he spent most of his waking hours helping his father with farming chores and learning the cobbler's trade from him. In 1743, 2 years after his father's death, Sherman joined an elder brother who had settled in New Milford, CT. Although on the edge of insolvency, mainly because of wartime losses, Sherman could not resist the lure of national service. In 1787 he represented his state at the Constitutional Convention, and attended practically every session. Not only did he sit on the Committee on Postponed Matters, but he also probably helped draft the New Jersey Plan and was a prime mover behind the Connecticut, or Great, Compromise, which broke the deadlock between the large and small states over representation. He was, in addition, instrumental in Connecticut's ratification of the Constitution Quotes
I believe that there is one only living and true God, existing in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the same in substance, equal in power and glory. That the Scriptures of the old and new testaments are a revelation from God and a complete rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him. Let us live no more to ourselves, but to Him who loved us, and gave Himself to die for us
If what is used as a Medium of exchange is fluctuating in its Value it is no better than unjust Weights and measures, both which are condemned by the laws of GOD and Man, and therefore the longest and most universal Custom could never make the Use of such a Medium either lawful or reasonable. -Roger Sherman, a delegate from Connecticut and author of the gold and silver coin provision of the Constitution, wrote a scathing condemnation of paper money entitled "A Caveat (caveat means warning) Against Injustice"
At the U.S. Constitutional Convention the next year, Bassett attended diligently but made no speeches, served on no committees, and cast no critical votes. Like several other delegates of estimable reputation and talent, he allowed others to make the major steps. Subsequently, in the years 1789-93, he served in the U.S. Senate. In that capacity, he voted in favor of the power of the President to remove governmental officers and against Hamilton's plan for the federal assumption of state debts.
Twice married, to Ann Ennals and a woman named Bruff, Bassett fathered several children. He was a devout Methodist, held religious meetings at Bohemia Manor, and supported the church financially. He died in 1815 at the age of 70 and is interred at the Wilmington and Brandywine Cemetery, Wilmington, DE.
Gunning Bedford, Jr.
In 1771 signer Bedford graduated with honors from the College of New Jersey (later Princeton), where he was a classmate of James Madison. Apparently while still in school, Bedford wed Jane B. Parker, who bore at least one daughter. After reading law with Joseph Read in Philadelphia, Bedford won admittance to the bar and set up a practice. Subsequently, he moved to Dover and then to Wilmington. He apparently served in the Continental Army, possibly as an aide to General Washington. A large and forceful man, he spoke on several occasions and was a member of the committee that drafted the Great Compromise. An ardent small-state advocate, he attacked the pretensions of the large states over the small and warned that the latter might be forced to seek foreign alliances unless their interests were accommodated. He attended the Delaware ratifying convention. For another 2 years, Bedford continued as Delaware's attorney general. In 1789 Washington designated him as a federal district judge for his state, an office he was to occupy for the rest of his life. His only other ventures into national politics came in 1789 and 1793, as a Federalist presidential elector. In the main, however, he spent his later years in judicial pursuits, in aiding Wilmington Academy, in fostering abolitionism, and in enjoying his Lombardy Hall farm. Bedford died at the age of 65 in 1812 and was buried in the First Presbyterian Churchyard in Wilmington. Later, when the cemetery was abandoned, his body was transferred to the Masonic Home, on the Lancaster Turnpike in Christiana Hundred, DE
Samuel Adams "A general dissolution of Principles and Manners will more surely overthrow the Liberties of America than the whole Force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue they will be ready
to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader . . . If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security." Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, ed., Harry Alonzo Cushing (G. P. Putman's Sons, 1908), Vol. 4, p. 124. Fisher Ames “Should not the Bible regain the place it once held as a school book? Its morals are pure, its examples, captivating and noble. In no book is there so good English, so pure and so elegant; and by teaching all the same book, they will speak alike, and the Bible will justly remain the standard of language as well as of faith.” Fisher Ames: Author of the First Amendment Patrick Henry "We shall not fight alone. God presides over the destinies of nations, and will raise up friends for us. The battle is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave . . . 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!" Patrick Henry, in a speech March 23, 1775. "Whether this [new government] 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 [Proverbs 14:34]. Reader! Whoever thou art, remember this, and in thy sphere practice virtue thyself and encourage it in others." Patrick Henry, Written on the back of Henry's Stamp Act "Amongst other strange things said of me, I hear it is said by the deists that I am one of the number; and, indeed, that some good people think I am no Christian. This thought gives me much more pain than the appellation of Tory; because I think religion of infinitely higher importance than politics; and I find much cause to reproach myself that I have lived so long, and have given no decided and public proofs of my being a Christian. But, indeed, my dear child, this is a character which I prize far above all this world has, or can boast." Patrick Henry, from a letter to his daughter in 1796 "The Bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed." Patrick Henry, Wirt Henry's, Life, vol. II, p. 621
John Jay "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers. And it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their
rulers." First Chief Justice of Supreme Court John Jay to Jedidiah Morse February 28, 1797 "God's will be done; to him I resign--in him I confide. Do the like. Any other philosophy applicable to this occasion is delusive. Away with it." John Jay, first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, in a letter to his wife, Sally Jay, April 20, 1794, reprinted in The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, ed. Henry P. Johnston (New York, NY: Burt Franklin, 1970), vol. 4, p. 7. "I have long been of opinion that the evidence of the truth of Christianity requires only to be carefully examined to produce conviction in candid minds . . ." John Jay, in a letter to Rev. Uzal Ogden, Feb. 14, 1796, in CPPJJ, vol. 4, p. 203. "While in France . . . I do not recollect to have had more than two conversations with atheists about their tenants. The first was this: I was at a large party, of which were several of that description. They spoke freely and contemptuously of religion. I took no part in the conversation. In the course of it, one of them asked me if I believed in Christ? I answered that I did, and that I thanked God that I did." John Jay, in a letter to John Bristed, April 23, 1811, in CPPJJ, vol. 4, p. 359. "The same merciful Providence has also been pleased to cause every material event and occurrence respecting our Redeemer, together with the gospel he proclaimed, and the miracles and predictions to which it gave occasion, to be faithfully recorded and preserved for the information and benefit of all mankind." John Jay, in an address to the American Bible Society, May 9, 1822, in CPPJJ, vol. 4, p. 480.
John Marshall "The American population is entirely Christian, and with us Christianity and Religion are identified. It would be strange indeed, if with such a people, our institutions did not presuppose Christianity, and did not often refer to it, and exhibit relations with it." John Marshall, in a letter to Jasper Adams, May 9, 1833, JSAC, p. 139. Marshall was Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1801-1835.
Benjamin Rush "Let the children...be carefully instructed in the principles and obligations of the Christian religion. This is the most essential part of education. The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effectual means of extirpating [removing] Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools." Benjamin Rush, The Father of American Medicine, and the Father of American Psychiatry
"The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty- - -" Benjamin Rush, Letters of Benjamin Rush, L.H. Butterfield, editor, Princeton: The American Philosophical Society, 1951, Vol. I p. 414, "To the citizens of Philadelphia: A Plan for Free Schools", March 28, 1787 "It will be necessary to connect all these (academic) branches of education with regular instruction in the Christian religion." Benjamin Rush, Essays, Literary, Moral, and Philosophical, Philadelphia: Thomas & William Bradford, 1806, Ch. 'Thoughts upon Female Education' p. 82
Roger Sherman "I believe that there is only one living and true God - - - That the scriptures of the old and new testaments are a revelation from God and a complete rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him." Lewis Henry Boutell, The Life of Roger Sherman (Chicago: A.C. McClurg and Co., 1896), pp. 272-273 David Barton, Original Intent (Aledo, TX: Wallbuilders, 2000) Ch. 6 p. 138 "Let us live no more to ourselves, but to Him who loved us, and gave Himself to die for us". M.E. Bradford, A Worthy Company (Marlborough, NH, Plymouth Rock Foundation, 1982) p. 29
Joseph Storey "Christianity becomes not merely an auxiliary, but a guide, to the law of nature; establishing its conclusions, removing its doubts, and evaluating its precepts." Joseph Story, "The Value and Importance of Legal Studies," a lecture delivered August 25, 1829 at his inauguration as Dane Professor of Law in Harvard University, cited in James McClellan, Joseph Story and the American Constitution (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma, 1971), p. 66. Story served as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1811-1845, and founded the Harvard Law School. "My own private judgment has long been (and every day's experience more and more confirms me in it) that government cannot long exist without an alliance with Religion to some extent, and that Christianity is indispensable to the true interests and solid foundation of all governments. . . . I know not, indeed, how any deep sense of moral obligation or accountableness can be expected to prevail in the community without a firm foundation of the great Christian truths." Joseph Story, in a letter to Jasper Adams, May 14, 1833, in JSAC, p. 139.
“The real object of the (First) Amendment was not to countenance, much less advance, Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Chrisianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects (denominations).” Original Intent, by David Barton, ch. 2, p. 31, Wallbuilder Press, Aledo, TX, 1996; Commentaries, Story, Vol. III, p. 728, 1871
Noah Webster "The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His Apostles.... This is genuine Christianity and to this we owe our free constitutions of government." Noah Webster
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