As the so-called fiscal cliff rapidly approaches and political tension fills the air, let’s take time to reflect on a time when unity of spirit & purpose under the blessing of God were all we had going for us… and as time would quickly show, it was all that we needed. The September 3, 1777 issue of the Edinburgh Evening Currant, Scotland, contains George Washington’s Manifesto of America. As Tim Hughes describes it:
I’m not sure I’ve seen a newspaper from the UK so replete with American content than this one. One-third of the front page is taken up with the complete & lengthy text of: “The Manifesto of America, By George Washington, Esq., Commander in Chief of the Forces of the United States, In answer to General Burgoyne’s Proclamation“. This document begins: “The associated armies of America act from the noblest motives, and for the purest purposes. Their ‘common principle’ is virtue, their ‘common object’ is Liberty!…” followed by a litany of eloquence which must be read. In the document he makes much reference to Christian values and the guidance of God, bits including: “…that the content has been made a foundation for the completed system of tyranny that ever God, in his displeasure, suffered for a time to be exercised over a forward & stubborn generation…Thus hath God, in his divine and just displeasure, suffered for a time, the exercise of the completest system of tyranny…In our consciousness of Christianity we pray, in all humility, for peace and good will among men, & invite all nations to mutual friendship and brotherly love. These truly Christian objects, we conceive, are to be attained only by Christian means…” and near the end: “…Its event we submit to Him, who speaks the fate of nations, in humble confidence, that as his omniscient eye taketh note even of the sparrow that falleth to the ground, so he will not withdraw his countenance from a people who humbly array themselves under his banner in defence of the noblest principles with which he hath adorned humanity.” The document is signed in type: George Washington.
To view the entire content along with images, please go to: Washington’s Manifesto
Reading the entire Manifesto of America will be worth your time!
Today I journeyed to England through The Post Boy of September 9, 1712. There I found that Rome had been celebrating the canonization of Pope Pius V. They had festivities including “very curious artificial Fireworks”, windows illuminated with candles and tapestries, “abundance of Wine and Meat to be distributed to the Common People”, and more with “the Festival was concluded with the Discharge of the Cannon of the Castle St. Angelo, ringing of Bells, and an agreeable Consort of Vocal and Instrumental Music.”
The back page has an interesting article from Brussels “The 30th of last Month, dy’d at the Duke of Holstein’s Palace, while he was at Breakfast, a Man nam’d Anthony, 106 Years and 7 Months old: Head had been employ’d 84 Years in the Service of Spain in one Regiment only, in which there had been 26 Colonels, but never rose to any higher Post himself than a Sergeant… he was also a Foot-Sergeant, in the 100th Year of his Age, and the Duke of Holstein was his Colonel…” And we look forward to retirement at 65?? To view images of this content and more: The Post Boy of September 9, 1712
Today I traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, through The Weekly Register of July 18, 1812. There I found President James Madison had issued “A Proclamation” to the people of The United States for a day of Humiliation and Prayer for “… their common vows and adorations to Almighty God, on this solemn occasion produced by the war… that turning the hearts of our enemies from the violence and injustice which sway their councils against us, he would hasten a restoration of the blessings of peace…”.
The very last item in this issue (see below) dealt with the newspaper receiving complaints on the irregularity in which it has been received. They were assuring the people that all the newspapers were being “…put into the post office at this place on the day of publication…” and that “.. The delays are upon the road… It is however, due to our excellent post office establishment to say that there are fewer complaints than were anticipated.” Some things apparently have not changed in 200 years…
President George Washington is known for his letters to various Hebrew congregations (Newport, Savannah, etc.) and churches which are filled with spiritual references. Considering the recipients, such language might be expected even if the writer was not a person of faith. However, the following is a speech he gave to the leaders of Philadelphia upon his visit to the city while in transit to New York to take the oath of office. At a time when he could have said anything, what he chose to say and how he chose to say it speaks volumes. Please enjoy his address as it appeared in The Massachusetts Centinel, May 2, 1789: