The Virginia Gazette

Today in the 1770s: August 12

WILLIAMSBURG, August 24, 1776.
To his Excellency Patrick Henry, Jun. Esq; Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia: The humble Address of the Ministers and Delegates of the BAPTIST Churches met in Association in Louisa, August 12, 1776 in Behalf of their Brethren. May it please your Excellency, As your advancement to the honourable and important station of Governor of this Commonwealth affords us unspeakable pleasure, we beg leave to present your Excellency with our most cordual congratulations. Your public virtues are such that we are under no temptation to deter you. Virginia has done honour to her judgement in appointing your Excellency to hold the reins of government at this truly critical conjuncture, as you have always distinguished yourself by your zeal and activity for her welfare, in whatever department has been assigned you. As a religious community, we have nothing to request of you. Your constant attachment to the glorious cause of liberty, and the rights of conscience, leaves us no room to doubt of your Excelllency's favourable regards, while we worthily demean ourselves. May GOD ALMTGHTY continue you long, very long, a public blessing to this your native county, and after a life of usefulness here, crown you with immortal felicity in the world to come. Signed by Order. JEREMIAH WALKER, Moderator John Williams, clerk

Virginia Gazette (Dixon & Hunter) August 24, 1776
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Patrick Henry was well known and honored by the religious dissenters ( those who disagreed with the teachings of the Anglican Church) before the Revolution. Baptist preachers were persecuted -- beaten,whipped, jailed -- but Patrick Henry, a supporter of religious freedom, defended Baptist preachers successfully in court and paid jail costs for minister, John Weatherford, in Chesterfield County in 1773. Furthermore, he worked for dissenters' rights in the House of Burgesses.

Sources: Mayer

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