On this day in 1803, Patriot, physician, surgeon, signer of the Declaration of Independence, Matthew Thornton dies at age 89. Thornton was also a New Hampshire delegate to the second Continental Congress. Additionally, he was the President of the five man committee that drafted the first New Hampshire constitution. In fact, New Hampshire was the first of the thirteen states to establish a constitution.
The Only Foundation
Back in 1775, as the newly elected President of the New Hampshire Provincial Congress, Matthew Thornton wrote a letter To the Inhabitants of the Colony of New Hampshire. Here are a few excerpts:
Friends and Brethren: You must all be sensible that the affairs of America have at length come to a very affecting and alarming crisis.
… Duty to God, to ourselves, to Posterity, enforced by the cries of slaughtered Innocents, have urged us to take up Arms in our Defense. … We would therefore recommend to the Colony at large to cultivate that Christian Union, Harmony and tender affection which is the only foundation upon which our invaluable privileges can rest with any security, or our public measures be pursued with the least prospect of success.
… In a word, we seriously and earnestly recommend the practice of that pure and undefiled religion which embalmed the memory of our pious ancestors, as that alone upon which we can build a solid hope and confidence in the Divine protection and favor, without whose blessing all the measures of safety we have or can propose will end in our shame and disappointment.”