In 1731, a Spanish commander cut off the ear of British Captain Robert Jenkins and told him to take it to his King.
This began the War of Jenkins’ Ear.
They sailed to Panama and captured Porto Bello, which was the most prosperous Spanish city in the New World as all the gold of Central and South America flowed through it to Spain.
Lawrence Washington returned to Virginia as a 25-year-old war hero.
After Lawrence died, George, at age 20, inherited Mount Vernon.
In 1742, the War of Austrian Succession began when Marie Theresa became the first woman to take Austria’s throne.This pulled Prussia and France into the war, and combined with the War of Jenkin’s Ear, was called King George’s War in America.
The threat of war shook colonists out of complacency and contributed to the spread of the Great Awakening Revival.
The British took the French city of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, in 1745, which had been New France’s 2nd most important commercial city after Quebec, and the 3rd busiest seaport in America, behind Boston and Philadelphia.
France wanted Louisbourg back, and in 1746, sent Admiral d’Anville with the most powerful fleet of its day: 73 ships with 800 cannons and 13,000 troops.
Admiral d’Anville intended to “expel the British from Nova Scotia, consign Boston to flames, ravage New England, and waste the British West Indies.”
Massachusetts Governor William Shirley declared a Day of Prayer and Fasting, October 16, 1746, to pray for deliverance.
Boston citizens gathered in the Old South Meeting House, where Rev. Thomas Prince prayed:
“Send Thy tempest, Lord, upon the water… scatter the ships of our tormentors!”
“a wild, uneven sound…though no man was in the steeple.”
A hurricane scattered the entire French fleet as far as the Caribbean. Lightning struck several ships, igniting gunpowder magazines, causing explosions and fire.
With 2,000 dead, including Admiral d’Anville, and 4,000 sick with typhoid, French Vice-Admiral d’Estournelle threw himself on his sword.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote in his poem, The Ballad of the French Fleet:
“Admiral d’Anville had sworn by cross and crown,
To ravage with fire and steel our helpless Boston Town…
There were rumors in the street, in the houses there was fear
Of the coming of the fleet, and the danger hovering near.
And while from mouth to mouth, spread the tidings of dismay,
I stood in the Old South, saying humbly: ‘Let us pray!’
‘Oh Lord! we would not advise; but if in thy Providence
A tempest should arise, to drive the French Fleet hence,
And scatter it far and wide, or sink it in the sea,
We should be satisfied, and Thine the glory be…’
Like a potter’s vessel broke, the great ships of the line…
Were carried away as smoke…or sank in the brine.”
This great deliverance encouraged Ben Franklin, in 1747, to propose a General Fast, which was approved by Pennsylvania’s Council and published in the Pennsylvania Gazette, December 12, 1747:
and there is just reason to fear that unless we humble ourselves before the Lord and amend our ways, we may be chastized with yet heavier judgments.
We have…thought fit…to appoint…a Day of Fasting & Prayer, exhorting all, both Ministers & People…to join with one accord in the most humble & fervent supplications
that Almighty God would mercifully interpose and still the rage of war among the nations & put a stop to the effusion of Christian blood.”
In 1747, Ben Franklin also organized Pennsylvania’s first “volunteer” militia with 10,000 signing up.
This made Franklin the most popular person in the colony and began his political career.
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As General, Washington acknowledged God after victories throughout the Revolution and as President thanked God for the Constitution, October 3, 1789:
“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God…
I do recommend…rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks, for…the favorable interpositions of His Providence…we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war…for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government.”
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Washington was Anglican, and after the Revolution, Episcopalian.
His great-great-grandfather, Rev. Lawrence Washington, was an Anglican minister in Essex, England, who lost his position when the Puritans won the Civil War.
Washington’s great-grandfather, John Washington, immigrated to Virginia and became a planter, politician, and militia leader, who even had a local Anglican church renamed “Washington” in his honor. John Washington left to the church of a tablet with the Ten Commandments..
Washington’s grandfather, Lawrence, was
Anglican, as was his father, Augustine, who served as a vestryman at the Anglican Truro Parish.
George Washington became vestryman in Truro Parish, and was godfather in baptism to a niece and several nephews.
Washington had the Declaration of Independence read to his troops, then ordered chaplains placed in each regiment, stating July 9, 1776:
“The General hopes and trusts, that every officer and man, will endeavour so to live, and act, as becomes a Christian Soldier, defending the dearest Rights and Liberties of his country.”
General Washington wrote at Valley Forge, May 2, 1778:
“To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to laud the more distinguished Character of Christian.”
To the Delaware Indian Chiefs who brought three youths to be trained in American schools, General Washington stated, May 12, 1779:
“You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ.”
On October 2, 1775, General George Washington issued the order:
“Any…soldier who shall hereafter be detected playing at toss-up, pitch, and hustle, or any other games of chance…shall without delay be confined and punished…The General does not mean by the above to discourage sports of exercise or recreation, he only means to discountenance and punish gaming.”
On February 26, 1776, General Washington issued the orders:
“All…soldiers are positively forbid playing at cards and other games of chance. At this time of public distress men may find enough to do in the service of their God and their country, without abandoning themselves to vice and immorality.”
On July 4, 1775, General Washington ordered:
“The General…requires…observance of those articles of war…which forbid profane cursing, swearing and drunkenness; And.. .requires… punctual attendance of Divine Services.”
As recorded in The Writings of George Washington (March 10, 1778, 11:83-84, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1934), General Washington ordered:
“At a General Court Marshall…Lieutt. Enslin of Colo. Malcom’s Regiment tried for attempting to commit sodomy….and do sentence him to be dismiss’d the service with Infamy. His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief approves the sentence and with Abhorrence and Detestation of such Infamous Crimes orders Liett. Enslin to be drummed out of Camp tomorrow morning by all the Drummers and Fifers in the Army never to return.”
In his Farewell Address, 1796, Washington stated:
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports.
In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness.”