University of Virginia Library

Search this document 
The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

expand sectionA. 
expand sectionB. 
expand sectionC. 
expand sectionD. 
expand sectionE. 
collapse sectionF. 
2900. FAST-DAY, Appointment of a.—
expand sectionG. 
expand sectionH. 
expand sectionI. 
expand sectionJ. 
expand sectionK. 
expand sectionL. 
expand sectionM. 
expand sectionN. 
expand sectionO. 
expand sectionP. 
expand sectionQ. 
expand sectionR. 
expand sectionS. 
expand sectionT. 
expand sectionU. 
expand sectionV. 
expand sectionW. 
expand sectionX. 
expand sectionY. 
expand sectionZ. 

expand section 
expand section 

2900. FAST-DAY, Appointment of a.—

[After the promulgation of the Boston Port-bill
in 1774] we [the young leaders in the
Virginia House of Burgesses] were under the
conviction of the necessity of arousing our peo


Page 324
ple from the lethargy into which they had fallen
as to passing events; and thought that the appointment
of a day of general fasting and
prayer would be most likely to call up and alarm
their attention. No example of such a solemnity
had existed since the days of our distresses
in the war of 1755, since which a new
generation had grown up. With the help, therefore,
of Rushworth, whom we rummaged over
for the revolutionary precedents and forms of
the Puritans of that day, preserved by him,
we cooked up a resolution, somewhat modernizing
their phrases, for appointing the 1st
day of June, on which the Port-bill was to commence,
for a day of fasting, humiliation and
prayer, to implore Heaven to avert from us the
evils of civil war, to inspire us with firmness in
support of our rights, and to turn the hearts of
the King and Parliament to moderation and
justice. To give greater emphasis to our proposition,
we agreed to wait the next morning
on Mr. [Robert Carter] Nicholas, whose
grave and religious character was more in
unison with the tone of our resolution, and to
solicit him to move it. We accordingly went
to him in the morning. He moved it the same
day; the 1st of June was proposed; and it
passed without opposition. The Governor dissolved
us as usual. * * * We returned
home, and in our several counties invited the
clergy to meet assemblies of the people on the
1st of June, to perform the ceremonies of the
day, and to address to them discourses suited to
the occasion. The people met generally, with
anxiety and alarm in their countenances, and
the effect of the day through the whole Colony,
was like a shock of electricity, arousing every
man, and placing him erect and solidly on his
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 6. Ford ed., i, 9.