Saturday, July 10, 2010

English Reverend Helps American Prisoners

On Sept. 29, 1783, Congress passed a resolution thanking Englishman Rev. Thomas Wren "for his humane and benevolent attention" to American prisoners detained at Portsmouth.

In his response, the Reverend observed, "All possible assistance to men suffering so deeply, and in such a cause, appeared to me to be, in the strictest sense, my duty."

The Rev. Dr. Thomas Wren to Elias Boudinot, 12 Feb. 1784, in Varnum Lansing Collins, The Continental Congress at Princeton (Princeton, NJ: The University Library, 1908), page 271.

No Religious Qualifications for Office

James Madison, from Virginia, on the Constitution's prohibition of religious tests for public office:

"Who are to be the objects of popular choice? Every citizen whose merit may recommend him to the esteem and confidence of his country. No qualification of wealth, of birth, of religious faith, or of civil profession is permitted to fetter the judgement or disappoint the inclination of the people."

--From Number 57 of The Federalist Papers

Ralph Ketcham includes Federalist 57 in Selected Writings of James Madison (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 2006), but Yale's The Avalon Project concedes that either Madison or Nevis-born Alexander Hamilton wrote #57.