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Monday, August 15, 2011

Book release: Poems for Patriots

We are pleased to announce the release of a new anthology of poems from Quilldrivers titled Poems for Patriots.


In the early years of American history, patriotic poems were instrumental in galvanizing support for independence from Britain, bringing attention to the injustice of slavery, or simply keeping citizens mindful of what made the country exceptional. Featured in this collection are Katharine Lee Bates, John Dickinson, Lydia Maria Child, Edward Thomas Harden, and twenty-five others whose plain words communicated great passion. Today, these nearly forgotten poems and songs serve not only to celebrate the nation’s greatness, but also to re-engage us in the duties to our country, to remind us of the responsibilities to our children, and to honor the sacrifices made by our forefathers. They are sure to make one’s heart pound with gratitude, and encourage one’s own heroic deeds and virtuous actions.

Instant download of Poems for Patriots is available now for Kindle and most mobile devices with a free Kindle app.

buyPoems for Patriots …only $0.99!


For other Quilldrivers works of fiction, literature, art, and history, visit www.Quilldrivers.com.

Jeffrey K. Hill is a writer from Illinois whose novels focus on love, loss, and the varied affairs of the heart. Follow all his literary adventures on Facebook.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Lincoln's Lyceum Address, 1838

Believed to be the image of Abraham Lincoln circa 1840.Abraham Lincoln was a 28-year-old lawyer when he gave this speech. He had recently moved to Springfield, the new capital of Illinois, where he served several terms in the state General Assembly. His remarks were prompted, in particular, by the lynching of a black abolitionist in Alton; but, as in so many of his speeches, Lincoln sought a more general and higher meaning. The highlights from the speech which follow show that Lincoln was a principled public servant and a prophet of the times we live in today.

The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions:
Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois
January 27, 1837

In the great journal of things happening under the sun, we, the American People, find our account running, under date of the nineteenth century of the Christian era.--We find ourselves in the peaceful possession, of the fairest portion of the earth, as regards extent of territory, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate. We find ourselves under the government of a system of political institutions, conducing more essentially to the ends of civil and religious liberty, than any of which the history of former times tells us. We, when mounting the stage of existence, found ourselves the legal inheritors of these fundamental blessings. We toiled not in the acquirement or establishment of them--they are a legacy bequeathed us, by a once hardy, brave, and patriotic, but now lamented and departed race of ancestors. Their's was the task (and nobly they performed it) to possess themselves, and through themselves, us, of this goodly land; and to uprear upon its hills and its valleys, a political edifice of liberty and equal rights; 'tis ours only, to transmit these, the former, unprofaned by the foot of an invader; the latter, undecayed by the lapse of time and untorn by usurpation, to the latest generation that fate shall permit the world to know. This task of gratitude to our fathers, justice to ourselves, duty to posterity, and love for our species in general, all imperatively require us faithfully to perform.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

I know the American People are much attached to their Government;--I know they would suffer much for its sake;--I know they would endure evils long and patiently, before they would ever think of exchanging it for another. Yet, notwithstanding all this, if the laws be continually despised and disregarded, if their rights to be secure in their persons and property, are held by no better tenure than the caprice of a mob, the alienation of their affections from the Government is the natural consequence; and to that, sooner or later, it must come.

Here then, is one point at which danger may be expected.

The question recurs, "how shall we fortify against it?" The answer is simple. Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others. As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor;--let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the character of his own, and his children's liberty. Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap--let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs;--let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

When I so pressingly urge a strict observance of all the laws, let me not be understood as saying there are no bad laws, nor that grievances may not arise, for the redress of which, no legal provisions have been made.--I mean to say no such thing. But I do mean to say, that, although bad laws, if they exist, should be repealed as soon as possible, still while they continue in force, for the sake of example, they should be religiously observed. So also in unprovided cases. If such arise, let proper legal provisions be made for them with the least possible delay; but, till then, let them, if not too intolerable, be borne with.

There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law. In any case that arises, as for instance, the promulgation of abolitionism, one of two positions is necessarily true; that is, the thing is right within itself, and therefore deserves the protection of all law and all good citizens; or, it is wrong, and therefore proper to be prohibited by legal enactments; and in neither case, is the interposition of mob law, either necessary, justifiable, or excusable.

But, it may be asked, why suppose danger to our political institutions? Have we not preserved them for more than fifty years? And why may we not for fifty times as long?

We hope there is no sufficient reason. We hope all dangers may be overcome; but to conclude that no danger may ever arise, would itself be extremely dangerous. There are now, and will hereafter be, many causes, dangerous in their tendency, which have not existed heretofore; and which are not too insignificant to merit attention. That our government should have been maintained in its original form from its establishment until now, is not much to be wondered at. It had many props to support it through that period, which now are decayed, and crumbled away. Through that period, it was felt by all, to be an undecided experiment; now, it is understood to be a successful one.--Then, all that sought celebrity and fame, and distinction, expected to find them in the success of that experiment. Their all was staked upon it:-- their destiny was inseparably linked with it. Their ambition aspired to display before an admiring world, a practical demonstration of the truth of a proposition, which had hitherto been considered, at best no better, than problematical; namely, the capability of a people to govern themselves. If they succeeded, they were to be immortalized; their names were to be transferred to counties and cities, and rivers and mountains; and to be revered and sung, and toasted through all time. If they failed, they were to be called knaves and fools, and fanatics for a fleeting hour; then to sink and be forgotten. They succeeded. The experiment is successful; and thousands have won their deathless names in making it so. But the game is caught; and I believe it is true, that with the catching, end the pleasures of the chase. This field of glory is harvested, and the crop is already appropriated. But new reapers will arise, and they, too, will seek a field. It is to deny, what the history of the world tells us is true, to suppose that men of ambition and talents will not continue to spring up amongst us. And, when they do, they will as naturally seek the gratification of their ruling passion, as others have so done before them. The question then, is, can that gratification be found in supporting and maintaining an edifice that has been erected by others? Most certainly it cannot. Many great and good men sufficiently qualified for any task they should undertake, may ever be found, whose ambition would inspire to nothing beyond a seat in Congress, a gubernatorial or a presidential chair; but such belong not to the family of the lion, or the tribe of the eagle. What! think you these places would satisfy an Alexander, a Caesar, or a Napoleon?--Never! Towering genius distains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored.--It sees no distinction in adding story to story, upon the monuments of fame, erected to the memory of others. It denies that it is glory enough to serve under any chief. It scorns to tread in the footsteps of any predecessor, however illustrious. It thirsts and burns for distinction; and, if possible, it will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves, or enslaving freemen. Is it unreasonable then to expect, that some man possessed of the loftiest genius, coupled with ambition sufficient to push it to its utmost stretch, will at some time, spring up among us? And when such a one does, it will require the people to be united with each other, attached to the government and laws, and generally intelligent, to successfully frustrate his designs.

Distinction will be his paramount object, and although he would as willingly, perhaps more so, acquire it by doing good as harm; yet, that opportunity being past, and nothing left to be done in the way of building up, he would set boldly to the task of pulling down.

Here, then, is a probable case, highly dangerous, and such a one as could not have well existed heretofore.

Another reason which once was; but which, to the same extent, is now no more, has done much in maintaining our institutions thus far. I mean the powerful influence which the interesting scenes of the revolution had upon the passions of the people as distinguished from their judgment. By this influence, the jealousy, envy, and avarice, incident to our nature, and so common to a state of peace, prosperity, and conscious strength, were, for the time, in a great measure smothered and rendered inactive; while the deep-rooted principles of hate, and the powerful motive of revenge, instead of being turned against each other, were directed exclusively against the British nation. And thus, from the force of circumstances, the basest principles of our nature, were either made to lie dormant, or to become the active agents in the advancement of the noblest cause--that of establishing and maintaining civil and religious liberty.

But this state of feeling must fade, is fading, has faded, with the circumstances that produced it.

I do not mean to say, that the scenes of the revolution are now or ever will be entirely forgotten; but that like every thing else, they must fade upon the memory of the world, and grow more and more dim by the lapse of time. In history, we hope, they will be read of, and recounted, so long as the bible shall be read;--but even granting that they will, their influence cannot be what it heretofore has been. Even then, they cannot be so universally known, nor so vividly felt, as they were by the generation just gone to rest. At the close of that struggle, nearly every adult male had been a participator in some of its scenes. The consequence was, that of those scenes, in the form of a husband, a father, a son or brother, a living history was to be found in every family--a history bearing the indubitable testimonies of its own authenticity, in the limbs mangled, in the scars of wounds received, in the midst of the very scenes related--a history, too, that could be read and understood alike by all, the wise and the ignorant, the learned and the unlearned.--But those histories are gone. They can be read no more forever. They were a fortress of strength; but, what invading foeman could never do, the silent artillery of time has done; the leveling of its walls. They are gone.--They were a forest of giant oaks; but the all-resistless hurricane has swept over them, and left only, here and there, a lonely trunk, despoiled of its verdure, shorn of its foliage; unshading and unshaded, to murmur in a few gentle breezes, and to combat with its mutilated limbs, a few more ruder storms, then to sink, and be no more.

They were the pillars of the temple of liberty; and now, that they have crumbled away, that temple must fall, unless we, their descendants, supply their places with other pillars, hewn from the solid quarry of sober reason. Passion has helped us; but can do so no more. It will in future be our enemy. Reason, cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason, must furnish all the materials for our future support and defence.--Let those materials be moulded into general intelligence, sound morality, and in particular, a reverence for the constitution and laws: and, that we improved to the last; that we remained free to the last; that we revered his name to the last; that, during his long sleep, we permitted no hostile foot to pass over or desecrate his resting place; shall be that which to learn the last trump shall awaken our WASHINGTON.

Upon these let the proud fabric of freedom rest, as the rock of its basis; and as truly as has been said of the only greater institution, "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Flag Day

On Saturday 14 June 1777, the Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress of the young United States of America is recorded as having sought orders in the event of an attack on its fleet in the Delaware, as well as appointing John Paul Jones as Captain of the Ranger. In between those items of business, were the following words:

"Resolved, That the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the 'Union' be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation."

George Washington later offered an explanation of the flag's elements, saying, "We take the star from Heaven, the red from our mother country, separating it by white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing liberty."

The flag was likely intended for maritime use, not as a national standard. Indeed, official correspondence of the Board of War refered to it as the "marine flag." But the resolution was printed in numerous newspapers over the next few months, and so the Stars and Stripes became fixed in the mind of the people as the country's new flag. So, too, the phrase "a new constellation" became the familiar metaphor for the new nation.

Five years later, Congress adopted the Great Seal of the United States, which included a crest showing a cluster of stars described, as in the earlier Marine Committee resolution, as "a new constellation." In his notes and explanations, then Secretary of Congress Charles Thompson wrote, "The Constellation denotes a new State taking its place and rank among other sovereign powers."

At the time of its coining and use, the phrase was generally understood by the Founders and Congress to indicate that the country was "a new constellation" in the firmament of nations; in the galaxy of governments; and in the relationship of man to government, government to man and both to God.

The phrase was also represented in the first copper coinage authorized by Congress in 1783, with the Latin legend "Nova Constelatio." Similar to the circle in Benjamin Franklin's early monetary design, and one of the common arrangements of the Union in the flag, the new copper design incorporated the Eye of Providence from which emanated a glory of rays, all surrounded by the circular constellation of thirteen stars. The Eye, which was also featured on the Great Seal, was at that time a common Christian motif and artistic convention representing an omniscient ubiquitous Deity. Only several years later, around 1797, was it adopted as a Masonic symbol. Its use by Congress more accurately signaled the divine favor they believed shone on the new nation.

Today we mark the anniversary of the adoption of the Stars and Stripes. Let it rise on the highest flag pole, like a new constellation in the sky, signaling the first nation on earth dedicated to the personal and religious liberty of mankind.

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Stewing Flowers on the Graves of Union Soldiers

Extract from oration delivered to mark the first Decoration Day ceremonies at Arlington, Virginia, on 30 May 1868, by General James A. Garfield

I am oppressed with a sense of the impropriety of uttering words on this occasion. If silence is ever golden, it must be here beside the graves of fifteen thousand men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem, the music of which can never be sung. With words we make promises, plight faith, praise virtue. Promises may not be kept; plighted faith may be broken; and vaunted virtue be only the cunning mask of vice. We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country, they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue. For the noblest man that lives, there still remains a conflict. He must still withstand the assaults of time and fortune,— must still be assailed with temptations, before which lofty natures have fallen; but with these, the conflict ended, the victory was won, when death stamped on them the great seal of heroic character, and closed a record which years can never blot.

I love to believe that no heroic sacrifice is ever lost; that the characters of men are molded and inspired by what their fathers have done; that treasured up in American souls are all the unconscious influences of the great deeds of the Anglo-Saxon race, from Agincourt to Bunker Hill. It was such an influence that led a young Greek, two thousand years ago, when musing on the battle of Marathon, to exclaim, "The trophies of Miltiades will not let me sleep!" Could these men be silent in 1861, — these, whose ancestors had felt the inspiration of battle on every field where civilization had fought in the last thousand years? Read their answer in this green turf. Each for himself gathered up the cherished purposes of life, — its aims and ambitions, its dearest affections, — and flung all, with life itself, into the scale of battle.

I can never forget an incident illustrative of this thought, which it was my fortune to witness, near sunset of the second day at Chickamauga, when the beleaguered but unbroken left wing of our army had again and again repelled the assaults of more than double their numbers, and when each soldier felt that to his individual hands were committed the life of the army and the honor of his country. It was just after a division had fired its last cartridge, and had repelled a charge at the point of the bayonet, that the great-hearted commander took the hand of an humble soldier and thanked him for his steadfast courage. The soldier stood silent for a moment, and then said, with deep emotion: "George H. Thomas has taken this hand in his. I'll knock down any mean man that offers to take it hereafter." This rough sentence was full of meaning. He felt that something had happened to his hand which consecrated it. Could a hand bear our banner in battle, and not be forever consecrated to honor and virtue? But doubly consecrated were these who received into their own hearts the fatal shafts aimed at the life of their country. Fortunate men! your country lives because you died! Your fame is placed where the breath of calumny can never reach it; where the mistakes of a weary life can never dim its brightness! Coming generations will rise up to call you blessed!

And now, consider this silent assembly of the dead. What does it represent? Nay, rather, what does it not represent? It is an epitome of the war. Here are sheaves reaped, in the harvest of death, from every battlefield of Virginia. If each grave had a voice to tell us what its silent tenant last saw and heard on earth, we might stand, with uncovered heads, and hear the whole story of the war. We should hear that one perished when the first great drops of the crimson shower began to fall, when the darkness of that first disaster at Manassas fell like an eclipse on the nation; that another died of disease while wearily waiting for winter to end; that this one fell on the field, in sight of the spires of Richmond, little dreaming that the flag must be carried through three more years of blood before it should be planted in that citadel of treason; and that one fell when the tide of war had swept us back till the roar of rebel guns shook the dome of yonder Capitol, and re-echoed in the chambers of the Executive mansion. We should hear mingled voices from the Rappahannock, the Rapidan, the Chickahominy, and the James, solemn voices from the Wilderness, and triumphant shouts from the Shenandoah, from Petersburg, and the Five Forks, mingled with the wild acclaim of victory and the sweet chorus of returning peace. The voices of these dead will forever fill the land like holy benedictions.

What other spot so fitting for their last resting-place as this, under the shadow of the Capitol saved by their valor? Here, where the grim edge of battle joined, — here, where all the hope and fear and agony of their country centered,—here let them rest, asleep on the nation's heart, entombed in the nation's love!

Hither our children's children shall come to pay their tribute of grateful homage. For this are we met to-day. By the happy suggestion of a great society, assemblies like this are gathering at this hour in every State in the Union. Thousands of soldiers are to-day turning aside in the march of life to visit the silent encampments of dead comrades who once fought by their side. From many thousand homes, whose light was put out when a soldier fell, there go forth to-day to join these solemn processions loving kindred and friends, from whose heart the shadow of grief will never be lifted till the light of the eternal world dawns upon them. And here are children, little children, to whom the war left no father but the Father above. By the most sacred right, theirs is the chief place to-day. They come with garlands to crown their victor fathers. I will delay the coronation no longer.

Monday, May 16, 2011


The Scribe Eadwine
from the Canterbury Psalter, c. 1150, Trinity College, Cambridge
St. Matthew
from the Book of Lindisfarne, late 17th century, British Library, London
The Scribe Ezra Rewriting the Sacred Records
from the Codex Amiatinus, early 18th century, Biblioteca Medicea-Laurenziana, Florence
St. Matthew
from the Coronation Gospels, c. 800-810, Kunsthistoriches Museum, Vienna

St. Matthew
from the Ebbo Gospels, c. 816-835, Bibliotheque Municipale, Epernay

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Free Constitution eBook

We are pleased to announce the release of the United States Constitution in a FREE digital ebook edition.

United States Constitution
Bill of Rights

“Every good citizen, capable of reading and understanding its meaning, is bound by duty to his country, if in his power, to possess a copy of the Constitution.”

The words of William Hickey are as true today as they were in 1847. We wanted to do our part to make sure every American citizen possesses and reads the founding document of the United States. What could be easier than a FREE digital book?

This edition of the Constitution includes the Bill of Rights and the further Amendments. What it doesn't include is commentary or interpretation, so that one is able to read and understand the meaning for oneself.

Harry Atwood, who spent much of his life proclaiming the importance of the Constitution, summarized its elements: “the Constitution provides for (1) an executive and (2) a legislative body and defines their qualifications and powers. It requires them to appoint (3) a judiciary and to recognize (4) certain inherent individual rights, and it defines the powers of the judiciary and enumerates the individual rights.” He added, “It has been the general custom of writers to divide our government into three departments, but the element of inherent individual rights is as essential to the other three departments as the fourth wheel of a standard vehicle is to the other three wheels in the domain of transportation.”

The Constitution is truly authored by We the People, as stated from the beginning. It is our document, by which we grant elected representatives certain limited duties and powers. When those representatives take an oath, it is not to the country, to Congress, or to their constituents—it is to uphold and defend the Constitution. The men whose names are signed at the bottom of the document are recorded merely as witness to its establishment.

At an address given in 1913, Henry D. Estabrook paid this tribute:

“O marvelous Constitution! Magic parchment, transforming word, maker, monitor, guardian of mankind! Thou hast gathered to thy impartial bosom the peoples of the earth, Columbia, and called them equal. Thou hast conferred upon them imperial sovereignty, revoking all titles but that of man. Native and exotic, rich and poor, good and bad, old and young, the lazy and the industrious, those who love and those who hate, the mean and lowly, the high and mighty, the wise and the foolish, the prudent and the imprudent, the cautious and the hasty, the honest and the dishonest, those who pray and those who curse—these are ‘We, the people of the United States’.”

We the People

Constitution of the United States,
Bill of Rights, and Amendments

For your FREE digital ebook, send an email to:

usa -at- quilldrivers -dot- com

Remember to include the format you need. And then please be sure to share with all your friends!

If you don't have a Kindle reader, you can still take advantage of this special offer. Simply follow the link below to download a Kindle application that will allow you to read Kindle ebooks on almost any device, including your computer.

Free Kindle Applications from Amazon

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Last Decadent: A Novel of Paris

We are pleased to announce the release of The Last Decadent, the first novel by Jeffrey K. Hill, in a digital eBook edition.

The Last Decadent
by Jeffrey K. Hill

In Paris, the refuge of all scorned artists, young Alexandre Guilbert struggles to live a bohemian life, skirting the fringes of madness, living on charity and helping others, indulging every whim from cross-dressing to public nudity. Painter and photographer, husband and lover, creator and destroyer, his excesses and extravagances border on the absurd. His need for identity without personality inspires the outrage of proper society, and he cannot survive his own freedom. But will he leave a legacy, despite all efforts to the contrary?

The Last Decadent casts an aggressive eye on the darkness which engulfs the City of Lights, as the glories of La Belle Epoque disintegrate into plagues of liberalism, neuroticism, and anarchy. Guilbert's story is told through the six people who exert the strongest influence on his life: demimonde lover, melancholic wife, mad friend, unscrupulous dealer, notorious seductress, and the arrogant journalist who studies Guilbert's decadence, and is changed by what he learns.

The original print edition, published in 2000, garnered a small but devoted audience. In 2002, The Last Courtesan was published, following the lives of several of the favorite characters from the first novel. A digital eBook edition of the second novel is coming soon.

Instant download of The Last Decadent is available now for Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android devices, PC, and Mac.

buyThe Last Decadent …only $0.99!


Jeffrey K. Hill is a writer from Illinois whose novels focus on love, loss, and the varied affairs of the heart.

Be sure to follow all his literary adventures on Facebook.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Benjamin Franklin and God

Benjamin Franklin wrote the following concerning his religious beliefs when he was twenty-two years of age. At the same age he also established a printing house, and conceived of a public lending library. Two years earlier he recorded his "Thirteen Virtues".

Franklin, approximate age 35

Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion

Philada. Nov. 20 1728

... I cannot conceive otherwise, than that He, the Infinite Father, expects or requires no Worship or Praise from us, but that he is even INFINITELY ABOVE IT.

But since there is in all Men something like a natural Principle which enclines them to DEVOTION or the Worship of some unseen Power;

And since Men are endued with Reason superior to all other Animals that we are in our World acquainted with;

Therefore I think it seems required of me, and my Duty, as a Man, to pay Divine Regards to SOMETHING.


Next to the Praise due, to his Wisdom, I believe he is pleased and delights in the Happiness of those he has created; and since without Virtue Man can have no Happiness in this World, I firmly believe he delights to see me Virtuous, because he is pleas'd when he sees me Happy.


Let me then not fail to praise my God continually, for it is his Due, and it is all I can return for his many Favours and great Goodness to me; and let me resolve to be virtuous, that I may be happy, that I may please Him, who is delighted to see me happy. Amen.


O wise God,
My good Father,
Thou beholdest the Sincerity of my Heart,
And of my Devotion;
Grant me a Continuance of thy Favour!

Powerful Goodness, &c.
O Creator, O Father, I believe that thou art Good, and that thou art pleas'd with the Pleasure of thy Children.
Praised be thy Name for Ever.

By thy Power hast thou made the glorious Sun, with his attending Worlds; from the Energy of thy mighty Will they first received their prodigious Motion, and by thy Wisdom hast thou prescribed the wondrous Laws by which they move.
Praised be thy Name for ever.

By thy Wisdom hast thou formed all Things, Thou hast created Man, bestowing Life and Reason, and plac'd him in Dignity superior to thy other earthly Creatures.
Praised be thy Name for ever.

Thy Wisdom, thy Power, and thy GOODNESS are every where clearly seen; in the Air and in the Water, in the Heavens and on the Earth; Thou providest for the various winged Fowl, and the innumerable Inhabitants of the Water; Thou givest Cold and Heat, Rain and Sunshine in their Season, and to the Fruits of the Earth Increase.
Praised be thy Name for ever.

I believe thou hast given Life to thy Creatures that they might Live, and art not delighted with violent Death and bloody Sacrifices.
Praised be thy Name for Ever.

Thou abhorrest in thy Creatures Treachery and Deceit, Malice, Revenge, Intemperance and every other hurtful Vice; but Thou art a Lover of Justice and Sincerity, of Friendship, Benevolence and every Virtue. Thou art my Friend, my Father, and my Benefactor.
Praised be thy Name, O God, for Ever.


That I may be preserved from Atheism and Infidelity, Impiety and Profaneness, and in my Addresses to Thee carefully avoid Irreverence and Ostentation, Formality and odious Hypocrisy,
Help me, O Father.

That I may be loyal to my Prince, and faithful to my Country, careful for its Good, valiant in its Defence, and obedient to its Laws, abhorring Treason as much as Tyranny,
Help me, O Father.

That I may to those above me be dutiful, humble, and submissive, avoiding Pride, Disrespect and Contumacy,
Help me, O Father.

That I may to those below me, be gracious, Condescending and Forgiving, using Clemency, protecting Innocent Distress, avoiding Cruelty, Harshness and Oppression, Insolence and unreasonable Severity,
Help me, O Father.

That I may refrain from Calumny and Detraction; that I may avoid and abhor Deceit and Envy, Fraud, Flattery and Hatred, Malice, Lying and Ingratitude,
Help me, O Father.

That I may be sincere in Friendship, faithful in Trust, and impartial in Judgment, watchful against Pride, and against Anger (that momentary Madness),
Help me, O Father.

That I may be just in all my Dealings and temperate in my Pleasures, full of Candour and Ingenuity, Humanity and Benevolence,
Help me, O Father.

That I may be grateful to my Benefactors and generous to my Friends, exerting Charity and Liberality to the Poor, and Pity to the Miserable,
Help me, O Father.

That I may avoid Avarice, Ambition, and Intemperance, Luxury and Lasciviousness,
Help me, O Father.

That I may possess Integrity and Evenness of Mind, Resolution in Difficulties, and Fortitude under Affliction; that I may be punctual in performing my Promises, peaceable and prudent in my Behaviour,
Help me, O Father.

That I may have Tenderness for the Weak, and a reverent Respect for the Ancient; That I may be kind to my Neighbours, good-natured to my Companions, and hospitable to Strangers,
Help me, O Father.

That I may be averse to Craft and Overreaching, abhor Extortion, Perjury, and every kind of Wickedness,
Help me, O Father.

That I may be honest and Openhearted, gentle, merciful and Good, chearful in Spirit, rejoicing in the Good of Others,
Help me, O Father.

That I may have a constant Regard to Honour and Probity; That I may possess a perfect Innocence and a good Conscience, and at length become Truly Virtuous and Magnanimous, Help me, Good God,
Help me, O Father.


For Peace and Liberty, for Food and Raiment, for Corn and Wine, and Milk, and every kind of Healthful Nourishment, Good God, I Thank thee.

For the Common Benefits of Air and Light, for useful Fire and delicious Water, Good God, I Thank thee.

For Knowledge and Literature and every useful Art; for my Friends and their Prosperity, and for the fewness of my Enemies, Good God, I Thank thee.

For all thy innumerable Benefits; For Life and Reason, and the Use of Speech, for Health and Joy and every Pleasant Hour, my Good God, I thank thee.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

First Prayer of the Continental Congress

First Prayer of the Continental Congress

On 16 September 1774, John Adams wrote a brief letter to his wife Abigail describing the opening of the First Continental Congress of the United Colonies of North America at Carpenters' Hall.

When the Congress first met, Mr. Cushing made a Motion, that it should be opened with Prayer. It was opposed by Mr. Jay of New York and Mr. Rutledge of South Carolina, because we were so divided in religious Sentiments, some Episcopalians, some Quakers, some Aanabaptists, some Presbyterians and some Congregationalists, so that We could not join in the same Act of Worship.-Mr. S. Adams arose and said he was no Bigot, and could hear a Prayer from a Gentleman of Piety and Virtue, who was at the same Time a Friend to his Country. He was a Stranger in Phyladelphia, but had heard that Mr. Duché (Dushay they pronounce it) deserved that Character, and therefore he moved that Mr. Duché, an episcopal Clergyman, might be desired, to read Prayers to the Congress, tomorrow Morning. The Motion was seconded and passed in the Affirmative. Mr. Randolph our President, waited on Mr. Duché, and received for Answer that if his Health would permit, he certainly would. Accordingly next Morning he appeared with his Clerk and in his Pontificallibus, and read several Prayers, in the established Form; and then read the Collect for the seventh day of September, which was the Thirty fifth Psalm. -You must remember this was the next Morning after we heard the horrible Rumour, of the Cannonade of Boston.-I never saw a greater Effect upon an Audience. It seemed as if Heaven had ordained that Psalm to be read on that Morning.

The psalm read that day:

A Prayer for Rescue from Enemies. A Psalm of David.

Plead my cause, O LORD, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.

Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help.

Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.

Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt.

Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the LORD chase them.

Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the LORD persecute them.

For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul.

Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.

And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation.

All my bones shall say, LORD, who is like unto thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him?

False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not.

They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul.

But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.

I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother.

But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: yea, the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not; they did tear me, and ceased not:

With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth.

Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions.

I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.

Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause.

For they speak not peace: but they devise deceitful matters against them that are quiet in the land.

Yea, they opened their mouth wide against me, and said, Aha, aha, our eye hath seen it.

This thou hast seen, O LORD: keep not silence: O Lord, be not far from me.

Stir up thyself, and awake to my judgment, even unto my cause, my God and my Lord.

Judge me, O LORD my God, according to thy righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me.

Let them not say in their hearts, Ah, so would we have it: let them not say, We have swallowed him up.

Let them be ashamed and brought to confusion together that rejoice at mine hurt: let them be clothed with shame and dishonour that magnify themselves against me.

Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.

And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.

Adams' letter continued:

After this Mr. Duché, unexpected to every Body struck out into an extemporary Prayer, which filled the Bosom of every Man present.

Jacob Duché, Rector of Christ Church, closed his Bible and, without a teleprompter, he offered a stirring prayer.

O Lord, our Heavenly Father, High and mighty King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, who dost from Thy throne behold all the dwellers on earth and reignest with power supreme and uncontrolled over all the Kingdoms, Empires and Governments:

Look down in mercy we beseech Thee, on these American States, who have fled to Thee from the rod of oppression, and thrown themselves on Thy gracious protection, desiring henceforth to be dependent only on Thee, they have appealed for the righteousness of their cause; to Thee do they now look up for that countenance and support which Thou alone canst give; take them, therefore, Heavenly Father, under Thy nurturing care; give them wisdom in Council and valor in the field; defeat the malicious designs of our cruel adversaries; convince them of the unrighteousness of their cause; and if they persist in their sanguinary purpose, O, Let the voice of Thy own enerring justice, sounding in their hearts, constrain them to drop the weapons of war from their unnerved hands in the day of battle!

Be Thou present, O God of wisdom and direct the councils of this honorable assembly; enable them to settle things on the best and surest foundation. That the scene of blood may be speedily closed; the order, harmony and peace may be effectively restored, and truth and justice, religion and piety prevail and florish among Thy people. Preserve the health of their bodies and vigor of their minds; shower down on them, and the millions they here represent, such temporal blessings as Thou seeth expedient for them in this world, and crown them with everlasting glory in the world to come. All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Savior. Amen.

Adams closed his letter with an account of the response to Duché's words.

I must confess I never heard a better Prayer or one, so well pronounced. Episcopalian as he is, Dr. Cooper himself never prayed with such fervour, such Ardor, such Earnestness and Pathos, and in Language so elegant and sublime-for America, for the Congress, for The Province of Massachusetts Bay, and especially the Town of Boston. It has had an excellent Effect upon every Body here.

I must beg you to read that Psalm. If there was any Faith in the sortes Virgilianae, or sortes Homericae, or especially the Sortes biblicae, it would be thought providential.

It will amuse your Friends to read this Letter and the 35th. Psalm to them. Read it to your Father and Mr. Wibirt. -I wonder what our Braintree Churchmen would think of this?-Mr. Duché is one of the most ingenious Men, and best Characters, and greatest orators in the Episcopal order, upon this Continent- Yet a Zealous Friend of Liberty and his Country.

This is just one of many examples of the deeply religious strain that has run, like a "golden thread," through the history of the United States. For an examination of this thread, additional quotes, and much more, check out Jeffrey K. Hill's new edition of Harry Atwood's classic Keep God in American History. Instant download of this digital book is now available for Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android devices, PC, and Mac.

Keep God in American History ...only $0.99!

For more information about Congress and prayer, visit The Congressional Prayer Caucus.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Read an E-Book Week

Read an E-Book Week is March 6-12, 2011.

This year the e-book turns 40 years old! Back in 1971, Michael S. Hart created the first "e-book", a digital copy of the Declaration of Independence.

Electronic books have come a long way from those simple text files. Today they include images, hot links, and even videos. Reading devices also enhance the experience by offering features such as bookmarks, highlighting, and adjustable fonts. Some even simulate the turning of a page.

Print books will never disappear. If for no other reason, they will survive as artifacts, collectibles valued as objects rather than for their content. But at the utilitarian level, since the time of the clay tablet books have been simply containers for storing and disseminating information. As such, the digital book is the most pure example. One can literally carry an entire library in one's pocket. With the help of the internet, information is now shared more widely than ever before. And there are thousands of e-books, including the most popular classics, available for free.

Dedicated e-book reading devices such as the Kindle and Nook have driven the popularity of e-books. Projections of the number of such devices in use in the United States this year tops 40 million. But one can also enjoy the same convenience, portability, and speed of the digital book on one's desktop or laptop, tablet, or even phone. Amazon offers a variety of free reading apps that will help one optimize the digital book experience. They can even be synched across all of one's reading devices.

The release of Keep God in American History by Jeffrey K. Hill and Harry F. Atwood coincides with this year's Read an E-book Week. For only 99 cents, one can support an independent author, learn about American history, and participate in the digital revolution. What better way to celebrate?!

Keep God in American History ...only $0.99!

For more information about the event, as well as lots of links to everything you ever wanted to know about e-books, visit Read an E-book Week.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

New Book Release

Today we are pleased to announce the release of the new edition of Harry F. Atwood's classic Keep God in America, fully annotated, and with additional material, by author Jeffrey K. Hill.

“The proudest heritage of this country is that all through its history there has run, like a golden thread, a deeply religious strain.”

In this special pamphlet, originally published in 1919, Harry Atwood gathered quotes about God from the greatest Founding Fathers and other important personages and documents in the history of the United States. Atwood hoped all Americans would hold tight to the “golden thread,” the better to withstand the assaults of Bolshevism, anarchy, and others of his era, but also to honor their unalienable rights. His work reminds us that the blessings given to each person by God were guaranteed, for the first time in human history, by these documents and men.

This new edition introduces us to Atwood, who was known during his lifetime as the man who resurrected the Constitution. The validity of Atwood's thesis is briefly examined, and each quote has been researched and placed within its original context. Additional quotes and information are included for further study.

Keep God in American History is one of the “beacon lights to guide the faltering footsteps of a perplexed and bewildered citizenry away from the pitfalls that ever lie along the pathway of nations departing from their traditions to follow after strange gods.”

Instant download of this digital book is now available for Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android devices, PC, and Mac.

Keep God in American History ...only $0.99!

Monday, February 21, 2011

The New Blog

Welcome to the new integrated blog on Quilldrivers.com!

Here we will keep you updated on all the latest events at the website, including the gradual redesign and relaunch. Also several books will soon be released, so stay tuned for more information.

For now, you can access the new page in development at Quilldrivers. Thanks for visiting, and we look forward to seeing you again.