The Founding Fathers were a diverse group; some signed the Declaration of Independence, some did not, but all had a part to play in the new nation. Abeka’s books, Of America, reveal much concerning the hearts of Nathan Hale and Samuel Adams.
Nathan Hale, in acccepting an undercover operation to obtain information from the British, knew well the consequences. A good friend, Captain Hull, begged him not to go as a spy, arguing, “Your nature is too frank and open for deceit and disguise! Neither General Washington -nor any commander- has any right to ask you to assume the garment of friendship for the betrayal of others!”
Nathan Hale replied, “I think I owe it to my country to do the thing which seems so important to General Washington, and I know of no other way of getting the desired information than assuming a disguise and passing into the enemy’s camp.”
His friend, despairing, urged, “But think of the disgrace of it! If you were caught, you would be hung as a criminal. Dear Nathan, I beg of you, Don’t Go!”
His response, gentle but firmly stated, “He (Jesus) took upon Himself the disguise of the men He came to live among, for the good of many and the cause of right. He was arrested and hanged – on a cross! Who am I that I should set up my judgment against His example and General Washington’s will?”
Captain Hull made one more attempt, then kept silent.
Nathan Hale’s final confession: “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”
Samuel Adams, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, stood equally firm. A ringleader according to some, he lead a group of Patriots called Adam’s Mohawks because of their desire to live simply, according to What Was the Boston Tea Party, by Kathleen Krull.
Responsible for the formation of the Committees of Correspondence, which became the Committees of Safety, Sam Adams argued for natural rights that government could not justly violate. The British Crown appointed its own governor, Governor Gage, who sent a personal message to Samuel Adams. His Directive: Stop your opposition to the Crown, and receive great benefits from personal bribes, or prepare for possible torture and death.
Sam Adams placed his principles above his balance sheet when he courageously replied, “Then you may tell Governor Gage that I trust that I have long since made my peace with the King of Kings (Jesus). No personal consideration shall induce me to abandon the righteous cause of my country, and tell Governor Gage it is the advice of Samuel Adams to him no longer to insult the feelings of an exasperated people!”
As noted in Revolutionary Politician, by Alexander, Adams later would express concerns with the formation of a strong central government, withholding his signature. “I confess,” he wrote to Richard Henry Lee, “as I enter the building, I stumble at the threshold. I meet with a national government, instead of a Federal Union of States.” In spite of this concern, he agreed to support the Constitution if some amendments could be added later. Samuel Adams then worked to see the Bill of Rights pass.
The fascinating life of Patrick Henry, his stand for liberty and his prescient view of the future is still enlightening today. Patrick Henry’s father taught him the history of the Greeks, Romans and the Reformation. Greatly influenced by Pastor Samuel Davies, a Presbyterian, his style of speaking caused his critics to call him preacher.
Henry logically concluded and foresaw, as the Stamp Act was passed, “This is the rise of tyranny,” as recorded in Patrick Henry, First Among Patriots, by Thomas Kidd.
Henry made no defense of slavery though he did own slaves. “In a country above all others fond of liberty, many defend a principle as repugnant to humanity as it is inconsistent with the Bible and destructive to liberty.” He chose to deal with them as gently as possible, which he saw as the furthest advance he could make toward justice at the time. Some slaves were treated more like modern employees than true slaves.
Once the nation won its freedom, he was concerned about states’ rights. If the Articles of Confederation were replaced with a strong central government, what would be the result?
Henry said, “You will never be able to control the size of this government, if you give it that authority. It will become a gargantuan, uncontrollable thing that will feed upon itself.”
His words seem eerily prophetic today, as the encroachment of government threatens even the Bill of Rights itself.
Of the founding of the United States, Henry said, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this country was founded not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” as found in The Trumpet Voice of Freedom: Patrick Henry of Virginia.
On August 20,1796, he wrote to his daughter: “Amongst other strange things said of me, I hear it said by the deists that I am one of their number; and indeed that some good people think that I am no Christian. This thought gives me much more pain than the appellation of Tory because I think religion of infinitely higher importance than politics, and I find much cause to reproach myself that I have lived so long and given no decided and public proofs of my being a Christian. But indeed my dear child, this is a character I prize far above all this world has or can boast.”
Penni Bulten is a homeschooling mom who is fascinated with the Founding Fathers and their faith, both the noted and the notable. She can be reached at [email protected].