Throughout this “series” of figures within major denominations who fought for colonial freedom, we’ve seen the evidence of deep patriotism through many a person’s actions. Whether they were Baptist, Quaker, or Presbyterian, all of the colonists examined sacrificed some, if not all, ties or possessions for the cause of independence. But perhaps those patriots of the Anglican Church gave up the most.
If there is any one religion to whom due credit is not given for the role they played in the founding of our nation, it would most undoubtedly be the sect of the Quaker persuasion. Though mostly known for their radical abstinence and departure from many common social practices during the 17th and 18th centuries, this denomination still yet contributed to the American political system in ways which could not have been substituted by any other.
“The principal matter recommended by the faction in New England, was an union of the congregational and presbyterian interests, throughout the Colonies…Thus the Presbyterians in the southern Colonies, who, while unconnected in their several congregations, were raised into weight and consequence; and a dangerous combination of men, whose principles of religion and polity were equally averse to those of the established Church and Government, was formed.” – Joseph Galloway, Loyalist, Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly
“If I were Washington I would summon all the American officers, they should form a circle around me, and I would address them, and we would offer a libation in our own blood, and I would order one of them to bring a lancet and a punch-bowl and we would bare our arms and be bled; and when the bowl was full, when we all had been bled, I would call on every man to consecrate himself to the work by dipping his sword into the bowl and entering into a solemn covenant engagement by oath, one to another, and we would swear by Him that sits upon the throne and liveth for ever and ever, that we would never sheathe our swords while there was an English soldier in arms remaining in America.” – Reverend John Ryland
Such were the words of the Baptist preacher, who in reality represented the sentiments of nearly every colonial Baptist church at the time of the War for Independence. So passionate was this denomination for the cause of liberty that, as the Declaration of Independence says, they pledged and sacrificed their “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor” for the cause.