Archived Story

American Heritage: An appeal to God

Published 9:30pm Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Revolution was on the horizon. Patience on the part of the colonists was beginning to wear down. The king and the parliament in England did not seem to be interested in their concerns and rights.

On Oct. 7, 1774, the colonists of Massachusetts called for a meeting known as the Provincial Congress. Their first meeting lasted for four days. John Hancock was elected as one of the presidents of the Congress and would represent the people of his colony at the Second Continental Congress. This meeting was an illegal meeting. Those involved could be arrested.

John Hancock declared the following in opening the meeting: “We think it is incumbent upon this people to humble themselves before God on account of their sins, for he hath been pleased in his righteousness judgment to suffer a great calamity to befall us, as the present controversy between Great Britain and the colonies. Also to implore the divine blessing upon us, that by the assistance of his grace, we may be enabled to reform whatever is amiss among us, that so God may be pleased to continue to us the blessings we enjoy, and remove the tokens of his displeasure, by causing harmony and union to be restored between Great Britain and these colonies.”

There were those who still hoped that the differences between the British and the colonies could be resolved peacefully. But the number of those individuals was beginning to dwindle.

During this period, the congress was dissolved several times. This meant that elections for their president were held several times also. Elected were John Hancock, Joseph Warren and James Warren, and the place of the meeting was changed several times as time went on.

Also during the meetings, it was decided that the people were defenseless against any invasion by the English troops. It was decided that they needed protection, so they elected Henry Gardner as a tax collector. Money would be needed to fund their defense. The position was called that of a “receiver-general.”

The Congress ultimately appointed a committee of safety. They began to round up powder and military stores, and a militia was formed to defend themselves against British tyranny. They believed that God was on their side because they were defending their God-given rights. They came up with a flag that came to be known as the Liberty Tree flag, with the inscription “An Appeal to God.” Another flag, the flag of the Massachusetts Navy, had the inscription “An Appeal to Heaven.”

To be continued.

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