Flag of Pennsylvania

On this day in 1787, Pennsylvania becomes the second state when it ratifies the U.S. Constitution, which, of course, was drafted in Philadelphia.

In fact, that ratifying convention also occurred at the Pennsylvania State House, which we now know as Independence Hall.

Liberty

Indeed, those delegates were inclined to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,” as stated in the U.S. Constitution.
The text of the Preamble of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania makes that abundantly clear.

“PREAMBLE
WE, the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance, do ordain and establish this Constitution.”

“Convincing Proofs”

Though born in Boston, Benjamin Franklin was among those Pennsylvania delegates to the the Constitutional Convention. There, he urged the Assembly toward morning “prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on [their] deliberations.”
In so doing, he made the famous quote below, which inspired one of Our shirts.

“I have lived a long time, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?”

See it in Our shop:

 

Flag of Pennsylvania

Benjamin Franklin bifocals

On this day in 1777, a British surrender during the American Revolution allow the Patriots secure a vital victory at Saratoga, New York.

As a result of that victory, King Louis XVI of France agreed to recognize the independence of the United States. Then, French Foreign Minister Charles Gravier, Comte de Vergennes worked with U.S. Ambassador Benjamin Franklin to create a formal alliance. This resulted in much needed assistance, which helped the Americans win the Revolutionary War.

There is little doubt that Franklin saw this as answered prayer and another instance “of a superintending providence in our favor.” After all, he called for daily prayer at the Constitutional Convention nearly a decade later:

“I have lived a long time, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?”

Have we now forgotten?

The same questions he asked during that address bear asking again at this time in Our nation’s history:

“And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?”

benjamin-franklin-bifocals

On this day in 1927, the work of carving and sculpting the Mount Rushmore National Memorial begins. The project was declared complete on October 31, 1941.

The iconic granite sculpture, attracts millions annually to the Black Hills of South Dakota.

According to sculptor Gutzon Borglum, “The purpose of the memorial is to communicate the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of the United States with colossal statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.”

With that stated purpose in mind, what follows is a ‘Mount Rushmore’ of quotes from the aforementioned presidents. Two of these quotes adorn Our Lost Founding shirts:

George Washington
“No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the People of the United States.”

Thomas Jefferson
“I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our forefathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessities and comforts of life, who has covered our infancy with His Providence and our riper years with His wisdom and power

Abraham Lincoln
“In regard to this Great book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.”

Theodore Roosevelt
“Every thinking man, when he thinks, realizes that the teachings of the Bible are so interwoven and entwined with our whole civic and social life that it would be literally impossible for us to figure ourselves what life would be if these standards were removed.”

 

Finally, here is your humble Our Lost Founding Founder at our National Memorial:

 

Me at Mount Rushmore, Summer 2019

Proclamation of Thanksgiving - Abraham Lincoln

On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issues a Presidential Proclamation inviting the American people “to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving.

The invitation was much like President George Washington’s Proclamation on January 1, 1795 recommending “all persons whomsoever, within the United States, to set apart and observe Thursday, the nineteenth day of February next, as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer.

The Proclamations are short and rich, so the text of each follows, first Lincoln’s:

“The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans. mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 3d day of October, A. D. 1863, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.”

 

Proclamation of Thanksgiving - Abraham Lincoln

 

Now, Washington’s:

“When we review the calamities, which afflict so many other nations, the present condition of the United States affords much matter of consolation and satisfaction. Our exemption hitherto from foreign war – an increasing prospect of the continuance of that exemption – the great degree of internal tranquility we have enjoyed – the recent confirmation of that tranquility by the suppression of an insurrection which so wantonly threatened it – the happy course of public affairs in general – the unexampled prosperity of all classes of our citizens; are circumstances which peculiarly mark our situation with indications of the Divine beneficence towards us. In such a state of things it is, in an especial manner, our duty as people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experience.

Deeply penetrated with this sentiment, I, George Washington, President of the United States, do recommend to all religious societies and denominations, and to all persons whomsoever, within the United States, to set apart and observe Thursday, the nineteenth day of February next, as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer: and on that day to meet together and render their sincere and hearty thanks to the great Ruler of nations for the manifold and signal mercies which distinguish our lot as a nation. particularly for the possession of constitutions of government which unite and, by their union, establish liberty with order; for the preservation of peace, foreign and domestic; and for the seasonable control, which has been given to a spirit of disorder, in the suppression of the late insurrection; and generally for the prosperous course of our affairs, public and private; and, at the same time, humbly and fervently to beseech the kind Author of these blessings. graciously to prolong them to us – to imprint on our hearts a deep and solemn sense of our obligations to Him for them – to teach us rightly to estimate their immense value – to preserve us from the arrogance of prosperity and from hazarding the advantages we enjoy by delusive pursuits – to dispose us to merit the continuance of His favors by not abusing them, by our gratitude for them, and by a correspondent conduct as citizens and as men – to render this country, more and more, a propitious asylum for the unfortunate of other countries – to extend among us true and useful knowledge – to diffuse and establish habits of sobriety, order, morality, and piety – and, finally, to impart all blessings we possess or ask for ourselves, to the whole family of mankind.

In testimony whereof, I have caused the seal of the United States of America, to be affixed to these presents, and signed the same with my hand. Done, at the city of Philadelphia, the first day of January, 1795, and of the independence of the United States of America, the nineteenth.
Go Washington,
President of the United States

EDMUND RANDOLPH, Secretary of State.”

US Capitol Cornerstone Ceremony 1793

On this day in 1793, George Washington lays the cornerstone of the Capitol building. An engraved silver plate commemorates the occasion with this inscription:

“This South East corner Stone, of the Capitol of the United States of America in the City of Washington, was laid on the 18th day of September 1793, in the thirteenth year of American Independence, in the first year of the second term of the Presidency of George Washington, whose virtues in the civil administration of his country have been as conspicuous and beneficial, as his Military valor and prudence have been useful in establishing her liberties, and in the year of Masonry 5793, by the Grand Lodge of Maryland, several Lodges under its jurisdiction, and Lodge No. 22, from Alexandria, Virginia.”

Foundational

First, “the year of Masonry 5793” is equivalent to the Gregorian year plus 4,000. The ceremonial Masonic dating system of A.L., Anno Lucis, Latin for ‘year of light,’ like Anno Mundi, coincides with the estimated year of Creation (around 4,000 B.C). Here’s the biblical account in Genesis 1:3: “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”

Taking much longer than ‘seven days,’ the 540-room, domed Capitol building took nearly a century to complete.

Also, a small stone from a field next to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, which is believed to mark the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth, set into a slab of American granite comprise the ceremonial foundation stone of the National Cathedral.

Capitol Cornerstone Ceremony 1793, Washington

Phillis Wheatley

On this day in, 1773, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral by Phillis Wheatley is published in London, England. The twenty-year-old prodigy’s collection was the first volume of poetry by an African-American to be published.

Phillis Wheatley art

Angelic Train

First, one of those published poems was “On Being Brought From Africa to America.”

‘Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there’s a God, that there’s a Savior too:
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.
Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
“Their colour is a diabolic die.”
Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain,
May be refin’d, and join th’ angelic train.

What follows is a letter and poem Phillis Wheatley wrote to “His Excellency General Washington” in 1775:

“SIR,

I Have taken the freedom to address your Excellency in the enclosed poem, and entreat
your acceptance, though I am not insensible of its inaccuracies. Your being appointed
by the Grand Continental Congress to be Generalissimo of the armies of North America,
together with the fame of your virtues, excite sensations not easy to suppress. Your
generosity, therefore, I presume, will pardon the attempt. Wishing your Excellency all
possible success in the great cause you are so generously engaged in, I am,

Your Excellency’s Most obedient humble servant,

PHILLIS WHEATLEY

PROVIDENCE, Oct. 26, 1775.
His Excellency General WASHINGTON

Celestial choir! enthron’d in realms of light,
Columbia’s scenes of glorious toils I write.
While freedom’s cause her anxious breast alarms,
She flashes dreadful in refulgent arms.
See mother earth her offspring’s fate bemoan,
And nations gaze at scenes before unknown!
See the bright beams of heaven’s revolving light
Involved in sorrows and the veil of night!

The goddess comes, she moves divinely fair,
Olive and laurel bind Her golden hair:
Wherever shines this native of the skies
Unnumber’d charms and recent graces rise.

Muse! bow propitious while my pen relates
How pour her armies through a thousand gates:
As when Eolus heaven’s fair face deforms,
Enwrapp’d in tempest and a night of storms;
Astonish’d ocean feels the wild uproar,
The refluent surges beat the sounding shore;
Or think as leaves in Autumn’s golden reign,
Such, and so many, moves the warrior’s train.
In bright array they seek the work of war,
Where high unfurl’d the ensign waves in air.
Shall I to Washington their praise recite?
Enough thou know’st them in the fields of fight.
Thee, first in place and honors,—we demand
The grace and glory of thy martial band.
Fam’d for thy valour, for thy virtues more,
Hear every tongue thy guardian aid implore!

One century scarce perform’d its destined round,
When Gallic powers Columbia’s fury found;
And so may you, whoever dares disgrace
The land of freedom’s heaven-defended race!
Fix’d are the eyes of nations on the scales,
For in their hopes Columbia’s arm prevails.
Anon Britannia droops the pensive head,
While round increase the rising hills of dead.
Ah! cruel blindness to Columbia’s state!
Lament thy thirst of boundless power too late.

Proceed, great chief, with virtue on thy side,
Thy ev’ry action let the goddess guide.
A crown, a mansion, and a throne that shine,
With gold unfading, WASHINGTON! be thine.”

* * * *

Give the World

General Washington replied with this letter on February 28th 1776, reciprocating her “obedient humble servant” closing:

“Mrs Phillis,
Your favour of the 26th of October did not reach my hands ’till the middle of December. Time enough, you will say, to have given an answer ere this. Granted. But a variety of important occurrences, continually interposing to distract the mind and withdraw the attention, I hope will apologize for the delay, and plead my excuse for the seeming, but not real, neglect.

I thank you most sincerely for your polite notice of me, in the elegant Lines you enclosed; and however undeserving I may be of such encomium and panegyrick, the style and manner exhibit a striking proof of your great poetical Talents. In honour of which, and as a tribute justly due to you, I would have published the Poem, had I not been apprehensive, that, while I only meant to give the World this new instance of your genius, I might have incurred the imputation of Vanity. This, and nothing else, determined me not to give it place in the public Prints.

If you should ever come to Cambridge, or near Head Quarters, I shall be happy to see a person so favourd by the Muses, and to whom nature has been so liberal and beneficent in her dispensations. I am, with great Respect, Your obedt humble servant,

G. Washington”

Finally, below is a photo of the Phillis Wheatley statue at the Boston Women’s Memorial, which also includes statues of Abigail Adams and Lucy Stone.

Phillis Wheatley statue

 

White House burning

On this day in 1814, during the War of 1812, British troops invade Washington, D.C. In the evening, they burn the executive mansion, now known as the White House.

White House burning

In June of 1812, Americans burned Canadian government buildings in York, Ontario, Canada. Seeking revenge, the British set fire to other buildings in Washington, D.C. These included the still uncompleted Capitol building, the House of Representatives, and the Library of Congress. Thankfully, perhaps providentially from “the invisible hand” “of the Great Disposer of Events,” a major storm, possibly a hurricane, put out the fires. The storm also spawned a couple tornados, and drove the British out of the capital city on damaged boats.

President James Madison and first lady Dolley were already safely in Maryland, though just barely.

Prior to the invasion, President Madison briefly took command of an American Battery at the Battle of Bladensburg. As a result, Madison is first and only president to exercise his authority as commander in chief in actual battle.

Washington Copy

Meanwhile, back at the White House, with British troops gathering in the distance, Dolley “had [a wagon] filled with the plate and most valuable portable articles belonging to the house.”
She also saved what she believed to be the original Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington.

She “ordered the frame to be broken, and the canvass taken out it is done, and the precious portrait placed in the hands of two gentlemen of New York, for safe keeping.”

Ultimately, it turned out to be just a copy.

No people…

We think Our George Washington “Invisible Hand” shirt is worth saving. Click the link below to get your ‘copy.’

Interestingly, in Proclamation 20 – Recommending a Day of Public Thanksgiving for Peace on March 4, 1815, President Madison seemed inspired the George Washington quote on the shirt:
“No people ought to feel greater obligations to celebrate the goodness of the Great Disposer of Events of the destiny of Nations than the people of the United States.”

Here is the Washington quote from his Inaugural Address on April 30, 1789:
“No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the People of the United States.”

Even so, the sentiment is powerful and worth repurposing for posterity!

 

Benjamin Franklin United States seal

Let’s explore a couple Exodus examples from Our Lost Founding…

Command

First, below you’ll see Benjamin Franklin’s handwritten description (and transcription) of his Great Seal design suggestion from 1776. It describes the climactic events from the book of Exodus in the Bible; following the departure of Moses and the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, the once-parted Red Sea swallows up Pharaoh and his army.

This scene clearly speaks the motto “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God” which Thomas Jefferson adopted for use in his own personal seal. That motto and his seal inspired Our TJ t-shirt.

Benjamin Frankin Seal design description

Benjamin Franklin seal design Exodus

Commandments

Later in Exodus, Moses receives the Ten Commandments from the finger of God on two stone tablet atop Mount Sinai. Those tablets are represented on the chamber doors of the Supreme Court as well as on the floor of the National Archives, as seen below.

 

Ten commandments supreme court chamber

Declaration of Independence

On this day in 1776, news (finally) reaches London that the American Continental Congress had drafted the Declaration of Independence. It was indeed a bold justification for their rebellion to retain their God-given rights.

Suffice it to say, the news cycle was a little different back then.

So, it seems appropriate to repost Our July 4th post, which lists the references to Almighty God contained within the Declaration:
Laws of Nature and Nature’s God,” “Creator,” “Supreme Judge of the world,” and “divine Providence.”

Declaration of Independence

Great Seal of the State of Missouri

On this day in 1821, Missouri becomes the 24th state in the Union, making it the first state located entirely west of the Mississippi River. Previously, Missouri became a U.S. possession as with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

This is the Preamble of the Missouri Constitution:

“We, the people of Missouri, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the
Universe, and grateful for His goodness, do establish this Constitution for the better
government of the state.”

Contained within the Great Seal of the State of Missouri, pictured below, is the motto “United We Stand Divided We Fall.”

From the Founders

First, Founding Father John Dickinson used the phrase in “The Liberty Song”, first published in the Boston Gazette in July 1768:

“Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all,
By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall;
In so righteous a cause let us hope to succeed,
For heaven approves of each generous deed.”

Finally, Founding Father Patrick Henry, who famously said “Give me liberty, or give me death!,” also used the phrase his final speech on March 4, 1799:

Let us trust God, and our better judgment to set us right hereafter. United we stand, divided we fall. Let us not split into factions which must destroy that union upon which our existence hangs.”

Our Lost Founding suggests that their words are especially relevant in Our time as well.

Great Seal of the State of Missouri

 

Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Robert Livingston

On this day in 1793, Connecticut Patriot Roger Sherman, while serving as Mayor of New Haven and U.S. Senator, dies at age 72.

Sherman is the only American Patriot to have signed the Continental Association of 1774, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution.

He was also a member of the ‘Committee of Five’ selected to draft the Declaration of Independence. The other members were Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Robert Livingston.

Some of his other accomplishments include: member of the Second Continental Congress, the Connecticut General Assembly, representative in the first United States Congress, justice of the Superior Court of Connecticut, professor of religion and treasurer at Yale.

Distinguished through Life

First, here is the opening to Sherman’s Confession of Faith from 1788:

“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.”

Lastly, these are the final words of the inscription on Roger Sherman’s headstone:

“a true, faithful, and firm Patriot.
He ever adorned
the profession of Christianity
which he made in youth;
and distinguished through life
for public usefulness,
died in the prospect of a blessed immortality.”

Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Robert Livingston