U.S. Coast Guard

On this day in 1790, Congress authorizes Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton’s plan for having a fleet of ten cutters built to protect America’s coastline. This initial iteration was known as the “Revenue Marine.”

Our guide, Our fame, Our glory

First, here are a few excerpts from “Semper Paratus” (Always Ready), The Official Coast Guard Marching Song:

We’re always ready for the call,
We place our trust in Thee.
Through surf and storm and howling gale,
High shall our purpose be.
“Semper Paratus” is our guide,
Our fame, our glory too.
To fight to save or fight and die,
Aye! Coast Guard we are for you!

“Aye! We’ve been always ready!
To do, to fight, or die
Write glory to the shield we wear
In letters to the sky.
To sink the foe or save the maimed,
Our mission and our pride.
We’ll carry on ’til Kingdom Come,
Ideals for which we’ve died.”

Next, this is the final third, or so, of the Creed of the United States Coast Guardsman:

“I shall live joyously, but always with due regard for the rights and privileges of others.
I shall endeavor to be a model citizen in the community in which I live.
I shall sell life dearly to an enemy of my country, but give it freely to rescue those in peril.
With God’s help, I shall endeavor to be one of His noblest Works…

Lord, guard

Finally, the “Coast Guard Hymn:”

Eternal Father, Lord of Hosts
Watch o’er the ones who guard our coasts
Protect them from the raging seas
And give them light and life and peace.
Grant them from thy great throne above
The shield and shelter of thy love.
Lord, guard and guide the ones who fly
Through the great spaces in the sky
Be with them always in the air,
In darken storms or sunlight fair,
Oh, hear us when we lift our prayer,
For those in peril in the air!
Grant to them Your eternal peace, Oh Lord,
For they have followed your commandment,
That No Greater Love has he, who would give up his life for another.



U.S. Coast Guard


The Federalist Papers

On this day in 1787, the first of eighty-five essays, collectively known as The Federalist Papers, appears in New York newspaper, the Independent Journal.

Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay wrote the Papers under the pen name “Publius.”
The aim was to provide the rationale for ratification of Constitution. Thirty-eight of the forty-one delegates signed our founding document at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in September.

Newspapers around the country reprinted the essays, then a bound edition of The Federalist essays was published in 1788.

Next, what follows are a few examples of faith found in The Federalist Papers.
(The personal faith of each of the authors is highlighted in previous Our Lost Founding posts.)

Federalist No. 2

Providence has in a particular manner blessed [America] with a variety of soils and productions, and watered it with innumerable streams, for the delight and accommodation of its inhabitants.”

“I have as often taken notice that Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people–a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence.”

“This country and this people seem to have been made for each other, and it appears as if it was the design of Providence, that an inheritance so proper and convenient for a band of brethren, united to each other by the strongest ties, should never be split into a number of unsocial, jealous, and alien sovereignties.”

Federalist No. 37

“The real wonder is that so many difficulties should have been surmounted, and surmounted with a unanimity almost as unprecedented as it must have been unexpected. It is impossible for any man of candor to reflect on this circumstance without partaking of the astonishment. It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution.”

Federalist No. 43

“[T]he great principle of self-preservation… the transcendent law of nature and of nature’s God, which declares that the safety and happiness of society are the objects at which all political institutions aim, and to which all such institutions must be sacrificed.”


The Federalist Papers


Alexander Hamilton Monument

On this day in 1804, US Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton dies of wounds sustained in a pistol duel with Vice President Aaron Burr the day before.

Here, what follows are the two final letters he wrote to his wife on July 4th, one week before the day of the duel. Their message is clear and profound; please read them both, below:

“Earthly career” and “a better world”

This letter, my very dear Eliza, will not be delivered to you, unless I shall first have terminated my earthly career; to begin, as I humbly hope from redeeming grace and divine mercy, a happy immortality.
If it had been possible for me to have avoided the interview, my love for you and my precious children would have been alone a decisive motive. But it was not possible, without sacrifices which would have rendered me unworthy of your esteem. I need not tell you of the pangs I feel, from the idea of quitting you and exposing you to the anguish which I know you would feel. Nor could I dwell on the topic lest it should unman me.
The consolations of Religion, my beloved, can alone support you; and these you have a right to enjoy. Fly to the bosom of your God and be comforted. With my last idea; I shall cherish the sweet hope of meeting you in a better world.
Adieu best of wives and best of Women. Embrace all my darling Children for me.
Ever yours
July 4. 1804
Mrs. Hamilton


God’s will be done!

My Beloved Eliza:

Mrs. Mitchel is the person in the world to whom as a friend I am under the greatest obligation. I have not hitherto done my duty to her. But resolved to repair my omission to her as much as possible, I have encouraged her to come to this country, and intended, if it shall be in my power to render the Evening of her days comfortable. But if it shall please God to put this out of my power, and to inable you hereafter to be of service to her, I entreat you to do it and to treat her with the tenderness of a sister. This is my second letter. The scruples of a Christian have determined me to expose my own life to any extent rather than subject myself to the guilt of taking the life of another. This must increase my hazards and redoubles my pangs for you. But you had rather I should die innocent than live guilty. Heaven can preserve me and I humbly hope will; but, in the contrary event, I charge you to remember that you are a Christian. God’s will be done! The will of a merciful God must be good. Once more,

Adieu, my darling, darling wife
Tuesday Even’g 10 ocl
Mrs. Hamilton


Alexander Hamilton Monument

Alexander Hamilton Aaron Burr duel

On this day in 1804, Vice President Aaron Burr fatally shoots Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in an “affair of honor,” aka a duel, in Weehawken, New Jersey. Hamilton died the next day. He was 47.

The two were longtime political rivals and when Burr ran for vice president in 1796 Hamilton said this:

“Mr. Burr is determined, as I conceive, to climb to the highest honors of the state. He is bold, enterprising, and intriguing, and I feel it is a religious duty to oppose his career.”

When Hamilton lay dying for nearly twenty-four hours, he called for two ministers to pray with him and administer Communion. Then, he said:
I have a tender reliance on the mercy of the Almighty, through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Vice President Burr was indicted, but never arrested.
Hamilton’s eldest son Philip was killed in a duel three years earlier.

Sacred Rights

Previously, in February 1775, Hamilton wrote this, seemingly forecasting the language and intent of the Declaration of Independence:

“The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.”

“You would be convinced that natural liberty is a gift of the beneficent Creator to the whole human race, and that civil liberty is founded in that, and cannot be wrested from any people without the most manifest violation of justice.”


Alexander Hamilton Aaron Burr duel


Emanuel Leutze George Washington Crossing the Delaware

On December 26, 1776, General George Washington and 2,400 soldiers successfully cross the icy Delaware River just before dawn.

Perhaps unrealistic, they appear rather heroic as depicted by Emanuel Leutze in his famous 1851 painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware. Even so, the actual circumstances surrounding the iconic crossing further enhance their heroism.

Unfavorable Conditions

Christmas night, Washington’s army began preparations for a ‘surprise attack’ on the Hessian troops at their Trenton, New Jersey camp. His plan called for three separate divisions embarking on three different crossings of the river. The cold rain that accompanied them on their march to the launch points became a blustery snowstorm. As a result, only Washington’s division made it across. Worse yet, they were three hours behind schedule, endangering the entire mission.

Additionally, spies and deserters passed along advance warning to the Hessians, mitigating the crucial element of surprise. Thankfully, a Christmastime attack in a winter storm seemed unlikely.

Despite all of this, Washington remained “determined to push on at all Events.”
The pursuant victory provided a much needed morale boost for the soldiers and colonists alike.

Favorable Interpositions

Events such as these are indicative of the “signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war,” as President Washington wrote in his 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation.

Clearly, he believed God was with them.

This belief is also evident in the following quote from his Inaugural Address, which inspired Our shirt, found HERE:
“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.”

Emanuel Leutze George Washington Crossing the Delaware