Thomas FitzSimmons – Signer of the Constitution – Pennsylvania

thC57XERATThomas Fitzsimons, born in Ireland, approximately October 1741, represented Pennsylvania in the Constitutional Convention, viewed government as a logical extension of the relationship that existed among families, ethnic communities, and business groups. His own immigrant family, Philadelphia’s Irish-Catholic community, and the city’s fraternity of merchants all figured prominently in Fitzsimons’ rise to wealth and status, and he sought a government strong enough to protect and foster the natural interplay of these elements in a healthy society.

Experiences in the Revolution reinforced Fitzsimons’ nationalist sympathies. Like many immigrants, he demonstrated his devotion to his adopted land by springing to its defense. Participation at the battle of Renton and the later defense of Philadelphia convinced him of the need for central control of the nation’s military forces. Similarly, his wartime association with Robert Morris and the other fiscal architects of the nation convinced him that an effective national government was essential for the prosperity of the country. Though his talents brought him great wealth, Fitzsimons never lost sight of the aspirations and concerns of the common people. He retained their respect and affection because his career reflected not only a sense of civic duty but also a profound honesty. He judged each political issue on ethical grounds. “I conceive it to be a duty,” he said, “to contend for what is right, be the issue as it may.” Using this standard, he concluded with justifiable pride that the Constitution he helped devise was a “treasure to posterity.”

Fitzsimons’ family came to Philadelphia from Ireland in the mid-1750s. His father died soon after settling in the New World, but not before providing an adequate education for his five children. Both Thomas and his twin sister Ann married into the city’s growing community of Irish merchants. In 1763 Thomas went into business with his new brother-in-law, George Meade (the grandfather of the Civil War general), specializing in trade with the West Indies.

The new firm’s emergence coincided with Parliament’s attempt to restructure the British Empire in the aftermath of the Seven Years War. Old laws designed to regulate commerce were supplemented by new revenue measures such as a Stamp Act in 1765 to fund troops stationed in the colonies. Merchants felt the burden directly and emerged as leaders of the resulting storm of protest. When Parliament reacted to the 1773 Boston Tea Party with punitive measures, which the Americans called the Coercive Acts, Philadelphia merchants, including the partners in the prosperous George Meade & Co., were infuriated. They felt that if British warships could close the port of Boston, no city in America was truly safe.

Such economic concerns thrust the young Fitzsimons into politics and the Patriot cause. In 1771 the city’s merchants and tradesmen of Irish heritage had elected him as the first vice president of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, a politically powerful fraternal association. Popular respect for his political judgment and economic acumen led in 1774 to his election to a steering committee organized to direct the protest over the Coercive Acts and to the city’s Committee of Correspondence, the Patriots’ shadow government. In choosing him for these posts, the voters ignored a law that barred Catholics from elective office. Fitzsimons went on to represent the city in a special colony-wide convention held to discuss the crisis. Its deliberations led Pennsylvania to issue a call for a meeting of all the colonies, the First Continental Congress, which met in Philadelphia in September 1774.

Pennsylvania’s Quaker pacifist traditions had resulted in a unique military situation on the eve of the Revolution. Lacking a militia, the local Patriots had to organize a military force from the ground up by forming volunteer units, called Associators. Thanks to his wealth and wide-ranging connections in the community, Fitzsimons contributed significantly to this speedy mobilization. When Philadelphia’s contingent of infantry (today’s 111th Infantry, Pennsylvania Army National Guard) was organized, Fitzsimons, as a captain, raised and commanded a company in Colonel John Cadwalader’s 3d Battalion.

During the summer of 1776 these citizen-soldiers faced their first crisis. A large British army, supported by the Royal Navy, attacked New York City, and Congress asked the nearby states to reinforce Washington’s outnumbered Continental Army regulars. Pennsylvania sent the Associators to the Flying Camp, a mobile reserve stationed in northern New Jersey to prevent any sudden diversion of Redcoats toward Philadelphia, the national capital. Fitzsimons’ company served in the cordon of outposts that under Colonel John Dickinson guarded the New Jersey shoreline. Although a month of active duty passed without incident, the assignment provided Fitzsimons valuable time in which to train his men.

In November, with New York secured, the British suddenly invaded New Jersey. This move caught the Americans with their forces geographically divided and badly outnumbered. While Washington began a slow withdrawal of his main force to safe positions on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River, Congress again called on the state for reinforcements. Fitzsimons’ company went on duty on 5 December to cover the continentals’ retreat. For the remainder of the month it guarded the river’s Pennsylvania shore. Complaining in his diary of the hardships the company was enduring in the bitter cold of that famous winter campaign, a company sergeant noted that Captain Fitzsimons was “very kind to our men.” Concern for the well-being of others, a hallmark of Fitzsimons’ military career that echoed through his later life, formed the basis of his broad political appeal.

Aware that a symbolic victory was needed to bolster civilian morale, Washington launched a counterattack on Christmas night. He chose Trenton, the winter quarters for a Hessian brigade, as his target. Plans called for a three-pronged dawn attack, with a large body of militia under Cadwalader crossing downstream to cut British reinforcement routes. Fitzsimons’ company was in Cadwalader’s column, but like most of the militia force, was unable to cross the river because of deteriorating weather. It thus did not share in Washington’s great surprise victory, but it joined Washington several days later, in time to deal with a British counterattack. When General Charles Cornwallis reached Trenton on 2 January, the Americans slipped away in the dark and at dawn struck the enemy’s rear guard at Princeton, smashing a second British brigade. Cadwalader’s militiamen played a key role in the engagement, although Fitzsimons’ company appears to have served in a reserve force. Washington moved on to northern New Jersey, forcing the British to abandon most of the state. Fitzsimons finally retired from active duty at the end of the month.

Pennsylvania authorities then asked him to serve on an eleven-member board to oversee the Pennsylvania navy, which formed the primary defense of Delaware Bay and the river approaches to Philadelphia. In this role Fitzsimons not only helped plan the capital’s defenses, but organized logistics, coordinated defense with neighboring states, and negotiated with a sometimes reluctant Continental Congress over regional strategy. The assignment also provided him with an important lesson when the British captured Philadelphia. Finding Pennsylvania’s defenses too formidable along the river approaches to the city, the enemy sailed up the Chesapeake Bay, and, marching through poorly defended sections of Maryland and Delaware, attacked the capital from the south. Even then, the defenses Fitzsimons had worked so hard to create held out for several months. With Philadelphia, along with his home and business, in enemy hands, Fitzsimons came to understand that no matter how well organized and defended one state might be, its safety depended ultimately on the united strength of all the states.

When France entered the war on the American side in 1778, British strategy changed. The field commander, Sir Henry Clinton, evacuated Pennsylvania and turned his attention to the conquest of the southern states, thus ending Pennsylvania’s need for frequent militia mobilizations. Although Fitzsimons was involved in supplying the French naval forces that occasionally called at Philadelphia, he was now free to concentrate on politics.

Fitzsimons was concerned about the inflation and other serious economic problems that marked the latter years of the Revolution. Pennsylvania, burdened with a weak government, was unable to cope with these issues. Fitzsimons’ experiences both in uniform and on the states Navy Board convinced him that stronger central authority did not pose a threat to liberty and was in fact the only solution to the new crisis. Many leaders who felt this way were unpopular in Philadelphia because of their wealth, but Fitzsimons’ reputation as a caring officer, as well as his work for the poor on numerous local relief committees, sustained his popularity. At this time he also became associated with the Patriot financier Robert Morris, helping to organize the banking facilities that Morris used to support the Continental Army and Navy in the last years of the war. In fact, Fitzsimons served as a director of the Bank of North America from its founding in 1781 until 1803.

Pennsylvania sent Fitzsimons to the Continental Congress in 1782. There he concentrated on financial and commercial matters, working closely with Morris and the nationalist faction led by Hamilton and Madison on developing a centralized economy. He supported the growth of domestic industry and the payment of the nation’s debts, particularly those owed to the soldiers of the Continental Army, but he argued that it was essential “that the weight of the taxes fall not too heavily upon any particular part of the community.” Although his integrity impressed Madison, his political evenhandedness did not sit so well with the voters, who began to criticize his stand on fiscal matters. Chagrined by the criticism and distracted by business obligations, Fitzsimons resigned in 1783.

But Fitzsimons could not abandon politics. He accepted election to Pennsylvania’s Council of Censors, a unique group that reviewed the constitutionality of executive and legislative actions. In 1786 he began the first of three terms in the state legislature, where he was a floor leader of the more conservative forces. He also represented Pennsylvania in a commission that met in 1785 with Delaware and Maryland to try to work out interstate commerce issues.

In 1787 the state selected Fitzsimons to represent it at the Constitutional Convention. There he spoke often on issues relating to commerce and finance, arguing that the central government should have the right to tax both exports and imports to raise revenue and regulate commerce-reiterating a position that he had advocated with little success in the Continental Congress. Following the completion of the Convention’s work, Fitzsimons resumed his seat in the Pennsylvania legislature, where he led the fight for a special convention to ratify the Constitution, arguing that since the document derived its power from the people, the people must approve it through representatives elected solely for that purpose.

Fitzsimons sat for six years as a Federalist in the new House of Representatives. He served on several important committees and was chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. He also chaired the committee that organized the government of the Northwest Territory, and, in the aftermath of the Army’s defeat by Indians in 1791, presided over a select committee that investigated the matter. That committee set an important precedent by asserting that the Congress, under the powers vested in the first article of the Constitution, had the right to oversee the President’s handling of military affairs.

Defeated in 1794, Fitzsimons devoted the rest of his life to business and charitable affairs. Financial reverses in old age did not shake his faith in the common man, nor his sense of obligation to those less fortunate than himself. In a fitting tribute to Fitzsimons’ abiding sense of civic duty, a contemporary noted the fact that “he died (on 26 August 1811, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) in the esteem, affection and gratitude of all classes of his fellow citizens.” He is buried at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the 2nd Catholic to sign the Constitution.

Roger Sherman – Signer of the Constitution – Conneticut

th - ShermanRoger Sherman, the subject of the present article, was a native of Newton, Massachusetts, where he was born on the 19th of April 1721. His ancestors were from Dedham, in England, whence they removed to America about the year 1635, and settled at Watertown in the same state. The father of Mr. Sherman, whose name was William, was a respectable farmer, but from his moderate circumstances was unable to give his son the advantages of an education, beyond those which were furnished by a parochial school.

He was early apprenticed to a shoemaker, which occupation he followed for some time after he was twenty-two years of age. It is recorded of him, however, that he early, evinced an uncommon thirst for knowledge, and was wont, even while at work on his seat, to have a book open before him, upon which he would employ every moment, not necessarily devoted to the duties of his calling.

The father of Mr. Sherman died in the year 1741, leaving his family, which was quite numerous, in circumstances of dependence. The care of the family devolved upon Roger, his older brother having sometime before removed to New-Milford, Connecticut. This was a serious charge for a young man only nineteen years of age. Yet, with great kindness and cheerfulness did he engage in the duties which devolved upon him. Towards his mother, whose life was protracted to a great age, be continued to manifest the tenderest affection, and assisted two of his younger brothers to obtain a liberal education. These, afterwards, became clergymen of some distinction in Connecticut.

It has already been observed, that an older brother had established himself in New-Milford, Connecticut. In 1743, it was judged expedient for the family, also, to remove to that place. Accordingly, having disposed of their small farm, they became residents of New-Milford, in June of that year. This journey was performed by young Roger on foot, with his tools on his back.

At New-Milford, he commenced business as a shoemaker but not long after he relinquished his trade, having entered into partnership with his older brother, in the more agreeable occupation of a country merchant.

Mr. Sherman early evinced, as has already been observed, an unusual thirst for knowledge. This led him to seize with avidity every opportunity to acquire it. The acquisitions of such a mind, even with the disadvantages under which he labored, must have been comparatively easy, and his improvement was rapid. The variety and extent of his attainments, even at this early age, are almost incredible. He soon became known in the County of Litchfield, where he resided, as a man of more than ordinary talents, and of unusual skill in the science of mathematics. In 1745, only two years after his removal into the above county, and at the age of twenty-four, he was appointed to the office of county surveyor. At this time it appears, also, he had made no small advance in the science of astronomy. As early as 1748, he supplied the astronomical calculations for an almanac, published in the city of New-York, and continued this supply for several succeeding years.

In 1749, he was married to Miss Elizabeth Hartwell, of Stoughton, Massachusetts. After her decease, in 1760, he married Miss Rebecca Prescot, of Danvers, in the same state. By these wives he had fifteen children, seven by the former, and eight by the latter.

In 1754, Mr. Sherman was admitted as an attorney to the bar. It is a trite remark, that great effects often proceed from small causes, and that not infrequently some apparently trivial occurrence, exercises a controlling influence over the whole after life of an individual. Both these remarks are eminently verified in the history of Mr. Sherman. While yet a young man, and, it is believed before he had relinquished his mechanical occupation, he had occasion to go to a neighboring town to transact some business for himself. A short time previous to this, a neighbor of his, in settling the affairs of a person deceased, became involved in a difficulty which required the assistance of legal counsel. The neighbor stated the case to young Sherman, and authorized him to seek the advice of the lawyer of the town to which he was going.

As the subject was not without intricacy, Sherman committed the case to paper, and on his arrival in the town, proceeded with his manuscript to the lawyer’s office. In stating the case to the lawyer, he had frequent occasion to recur to his manuscript. This was noticed by the lawyer, and, as it was necessary to present a petition in the case to some court, Sherman was requested to leave the paper, as an assistance in framing the petition. The modesty of young Sherman would scarcely permit him to comply with this request. “The paper,” he said, “was only a memorandum drawn by himself to assist his memory.” He gave it, however, into, the hands of the lawyer, who read it with surprise. He found it to contain a clear statement of the case, and remarked, that with some slight verbal alterations, it would be equal to any petition which he himself could draft.

The conversation now passed to the situation and circumstances of young Sherman. The lawyer urged him seriously to think upon the profession of law. At this time, he was deeply involved in the care of his father’s family, which, as before noticed, were left in a great measure destitute at his decease. The suggestion, however, appears not to have been lost upon him. A new direction was given to his thoughts. A stronger impulse was added to his energies. His leisure hours were devoted to the acquisition of legal knowledge, and in 1754, as already remarked, he entered upon a professional career, in which few have attained to greater honor and distinction.

From this date, Mr. Sherman soon became distinguished as a judicious counselor, and was rapidly promoted to offices of trust and responsibility. The year following his admission to the bar, he was appointed a justice of the peace for New-Milford, which town he also represented the same year in the colonial assembly. In 1759, he was appointed judge of the court of common pleas for the county of Litchfield, an office which he filled with great reputation for the two following years.

At the expiration of this time that is in 1761 he became a resident of New-Haven, of which town he was soon after appointed a justice of the peace, and often represented it in the colonial assembly. To these offices was added, in 1765, that of judge of the court of common pleas. About the same time he was appointed treasurer of Yale College, which institution bestowed upon him the honorary degree of Master of Arts.

In 1766, he was elected by the freemen of the colony a member of the upper house, in the general assembly of Connecticut. The members of the upper house were called assistants. This body held their deliberations with closed doors. The precise rank, therefore, which Mr. Sherman held among his colleagues, or the services which he rendered his country, cannot now be ascertained. Few men, however, were better fitted for a deliberative assembly. During the same year, the confidence of his fellow-citizens was still further expressed, by his appointment to the office of judge of the superior court. The offices, thus conferred upon him, during the same year, were not then considered as incompatible. He continued a member of the upper house for nineteen years, until 1785, at which time the two offices which he held being considered as incompatible, he relinquished his seat at the council board, preferring his station as a judge. This latter office he continued to exercise until 1789, when he resigned it, on being elected to congress under the federal Constitution.

At an early stage of the controversy between Great Britain and her American colonies, Mr. Sherman warmly espoused the cause of his country. This was to be expected of him. The man of so much integrity and consistency of character, of such firmness and solidity, would not be likely to be wanting in the day of trial. It was fortunate for America that she had some such men in her councils, to balance and keep in check the feverish spirits which, in their zeal, might have injured, rather than benefited the cause. Mr. Sherman was no enthusiast, nor was he to be seduced from the path of duty by motives of worldly ambition, or love of applause. He early perceived that the contest would have to be terminated by a resort to arms. Hence, he felt the paramount importance of union among the colonies. He felt the full force of the sentiment, “United we stand, divided we fall.” From the justice or clemency of Great Britain, he expected nothing; nor, at an early day, could he perceive any rational ground to hope that the contest could be settled, but by the entire separation of American and British interests. He was, therefore, prepared to proceed, not rashly, but with deliberate firmness, and to resist, even unto blood, the unrighteous attempts of the British parliament to enthrall and enslave the American colonies.

Of the celebrated congress of 1774, Mr. Sherman was a conspicuous member. He was present at the opening of the session; and continued uninterruptedly a member of that body for the long space of nineteen years, until his death in 1793.

Of the important services which he rendered his country, during his congressional career, it is difficult and even impossible to form an estimate. He served on various committees, whose deliberations often involved the highest interest of country. During the continuance of the war of the revolution, the duties of committees were frequently arduous and fatiguing. No man adventured upon these duties with more courage; no one exercised a more indefatigable zeal than did Mr. Sherman. He investigated every subject with uncommon particularity, and formed his judgment with a comprehensive view of the whole. This, together with the well known integrity of his character, attracted universal confidence. He naturally became, therefore, one of the leading and most influential members of congress, during the whole period of his holding a seat in that body.

Of the congress of 1775, Mr. Sherman was again a member; but of this day of clouds and darkness, when the storm which had long lowered, began to burst forth on every side, we can take no further notice than to mention, with gratitude and admiration, the firmness of those assembled sages who with courage, breasted themselves to the coming shock. They calmly and fearlessly applied themselves to the defense of the liberties of their country, having counted the cost, and being prepared to surrender their rights only with their lives.

In the congress of 1776, Mr. Sherman took a distinguished part. He assisted on committees appointed to give instructions for the military operations of the army in Canada; to establish regulations and restrictions on the trade of the United States; to regulate the currency of the country; to furnish supplies for the army; to provide for the expenses of the government; to prepare articles of confederation between the several states, and to propose a plan of military operations for the campaign of 1776.

During this year, also, he received the most flattering testimony of the high estimation in which he was held by congress, in being associated with Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, and Livingston, in the responsible duty of preparing the Declaration of Independence.

The reputation of Mr. Sherman abroad, was cordially reciprocated in the state in which he resided. Few men were ever more highly esteemed in Connecticut. The people understood his worth. They respected him for his abilities, but still more for his unbending integrity. During the war, he belonged to the governor’s council of safety; and from the year 1784 to his death, he held the mayoralty of the city of New-Haven. In 1783, he was appointed, with the honorable Richard Law, both of whom were at this time judges of the superior court, to revise the statutes of the state. This service, rendered doubly onerous to the committee from their being instructed to digest all the statutes relating to the same subject into one, and to reduce the whole to alphabetical order was performed with great ability. Many useless statutes were omitted; others were altered to correspond to the great changes which had then recently taken place in the state of the country, and the whole reduced to comparative order and simplicity.

Another expression of the public confidence awaited Mr. Sherman in 1787. Soon after the close of the war, the inefficacy of the old confederation between the states was apparent. The necessity of a federal constitution, by which the powers of the state governments and of the general government should be more nicely balanced, became everyday more obvious. Accordingly, in 1787, a general convention of the states, for forming a new constitution, was called, and Mr. Sherman, in connection with the learned Mr. Ellsworth and Dr. Johnson, were appointed to attend it, on the part of Connecticut. In this assemblage of patriots, distinguished for their political wisdom, Mr. Sherman was conspicuous, and contributed, in no small degree, to the perfection of that constitution, under which the people of America have for more than forty years enjoyed as much civil liberty and political prosperity as is, probably, compatible with the lapsed condition of the human race. Many of the convention, who warmly advocated the adoption of the constitution, were not, indeed, well pleased with every feature of that instrument. To this number Mr. Sherman belonged. He was of the opinion, however, as were others that it was the best which, under existing circumstances, the convention could have framed. On his return to Connecticut, when the question respecting the adoption of the Constitution came before the convention of that state, its adoption, according to the testimony of the late Chief Justice Ellsworth was, in no small degree, owing to the influence of Mr. Sherman. On that occasion, he appeared before the convention, and, with great plainness and perspicuity, entered into an explanation of the probable operation of the principles of the Constitution.

Under this new Constitution, he was elected a representative to congress, from the state of Connecticut. At the expiration of two years, a vacancy occurring in the senate, he was elevated to a seat in that body, an office which he continued to hold, and the duties of which he continued to discharge with honor and reputation to himself, and with great usefulness to his country, until the 23rd day of July, 1793, when he was gathered to his fathers, in the 73d year of his age.

In estimating the character of Mr. Sherman, we must dwell a moment upon his practical wisdom. This, in him, was a predominant trait. He possessed, more than most men, an intimate acquaintance with human nature. He understood the springs of human action in a remarkable degree, and well knew in what manner to touch them, to produce a designed effect. This practical wisdom, another name for common sense, powerfully contributed to guide him to safe results, on all the great political questions in which he was concerned; and assisted him to select the means which were best adapted to accomplish the best ends. With the habits and opinions, with the virtues and vices, the prejudices and weaknesses of his countrymen, he was also well acquainted. Hence, he understood, better than many others, who were superior to him in the rapidity of their genius, what laws and principles they would bear, and what they would not bear, in government. Of the practical wisdom of Mr. Sherman, we might furnish many honorable testimonies and numerous illustrations. We must content ourselves, however, with recording a remark of President Jefferson, to the late Dr. Spring, of Newburyport. During the sitting of Congress at Philadelphia, the latter gentleman, in company with Mr. Jefferson, visited the national hall. Mr. Jefferson pointed out to the doctor several of the members, who were most conspicuous. At length, his eye rested upon Roger Sherman. “That,” said he, pointing his finger, “is Mr. Sherman of Connecticut, a man who never said a foolish thing in his life.” Not less complimentary was the remark of Mr. Macon, the aged and distinguished senator, who has recently retired from public life: “Roger Sherman had more common sense than any man I ever knew.”

Another distinguishing trait in the character of Roger Sherman was his unbending integrity. No man, probably, ever stood more aloof from the suspicion of a selfish bias, or of sinister motives. In both his public and private conduct, he was actuated by principle. The opinion which appeared correct, he adopted, and the measure which appeared the best, he pursued, apparently uninfluenced by passion, prejudice, or interest. It was probably owing to this trait in his character, that he enjoyed such extraordinary influence in those deliberative bodies of which he was a member. In his speech, he was slow and hesitating. He had few of the graces of oratory; yet no man was heard with deeper attention. This attention arose from the solid conviction of the hearers, that he was an honest man. What he said, was indeed always applicable to the point, was clear, was weighty; and, as the late President Dwight remarked, was generally new and important. Yet the weight of his observations, obviously, sprung from the integrity of the man. It was this trait in his character, which elicited the observation of the distinguished Fisher Ames. “If I am absent,” said he, “during the discussion of a subject, and consequently know not on which side to vote, I always look at Roger Sherman, for I am sure if I vote with him I shall vote right.”

To the above excellent traits in the character of Mr. Sherman, it may be added, that he was eminently a pious man. He was long a professor of religion, and one of its brightest ornaments. Nor was his religion that which appeared only on occasions. It was with him a principle and a habit. It appeared in the closet, in the family, on the bench, and in senate house. Few men had a higher reverence for the Bible; few men studied it with deeper attention; few were more intimately acquainted with the doctrines of the gospel, and the metaphysical controversies of the day. On these subjects, he maintained an extended correspondence with some of the most distinguished divines of that period, among whom were Dr. Edwards, Dr. Hopkins, Dr. Trumbull, President Dickenson, and President Witherspoon, all of whom had a high opinion of him as a theologian, and derived much instruction from their correspondence with him.

If the character of a man’s religion is to be tested by the fruits it produces, the religion of Mr. Sherman must be admitted to have been not of this world. He was naturally possessed of strong passions; but over these he at length obtained an extraordinary control. He became habitually calm, sedate, and self-possessed. The following instance of his self-possession is worthy of being recorded.

Mr. Sherman was one of those men who are not ashamed to maintain the forms of religion in his family. One morning he called them together, as usual, to lead them in prayer to God: the “old family Bible” was brought out, and laid on the table. Mr. Sherman took his seat and beside him placed one of his children, a small child, a child of his old age; the rest of the family were seated round the room; several of these were now grown up. Besides these, some of the tutors of the college, and it is believed, some of the students, were boarders in the family, and were present at the time alluded to. His aged, and now superannuated mother, occupied a corner of the room, opposite to the place where the distinguished judge of Connecticut sat. At length he opened the Bible, and began to read. The child which was seated beside him, made some little disturbance, upon which Mr. Sherman paused, and told it to be still. Again he proceeded, but again he paused, to reprimand the little offender, whose playful disposition would scarcely permit it to be still. At this time, he gently tapped its ear. The blow, if it might be called a blow, caught the attention of his aged mother, who now with some effort rose from her seat, and tottered across the room.

At length, she reached the chair of Mr. Sherman, and in a moment most unexpected to him, she gave him a blow on the ear, with all the power she could summon. “There,” said she, “you strike your child, and I will strike mine.”

For a moment, the blood was seen rushing to the face of Mr. Sherman; but it was only for a moment, when all was as mild and calm as usual. He paused — he raised his spectacles — he cast his eye upon his mother — again it fell upon the book, from which he had been reading. Perhaps he remembered the injunction, “honor thy mother,” and he did honor her. Not a word escaped him; but again he calmly pursued the service, and soon after sought in prayer ability to set an example before his household, which should be worthy their imitation. Such self-possession is rare. Such a victory was worth more than the proudest victory ever achieved in the field of battle.

Thank God for Sticky Situations

thCA43E4AY(37) And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ (38)This is the great and foremost commandment. (39)The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ———- Matthew 22:37-39 (NASB)

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but loving one another is about as easy as peeling a sea urchin. There are a lot of sharp things that can stab us. Loving God is easy — He IS love, so His response is always gentle, kind, and fulfilling. Loving people often requires leather gloves to keep from getting hurt.

One day when my husband and I drove into the driveway, we noted our “condo” birdhouse was full. The birds had taken up residence and were fully engaged in nest building. The funny thing is, every “apartment” was taken by a different kind of bird. The top one housed a chickadee, the middle floor a sparrow, and the basement held a pine siskin. They sat happily on their perches, singing sweet bird songs, enjoying the safety of the nest that kept them high above any predators. They didn’t seem to care that they were different “denominations.” They were just thankful for a place to live that was protected and safe!

Part of the secret to getting along with people is being thankful. I am thankful more than words can express for the friends in my life. It is their prayers and encouragement that keep me going. We can co-exist in peace because we know that we love each other, even through difficult times. We don’t have to be jealous, envious, or demand things of each other, because we are thankful for who we are and that we have Jesus. Like the birds in my front yard, it doesn’t matter about our differences.

One of these days, Jesus is going to return for His Bride. He’s going to see if we have been selfish “bridezillas,” or if we have learned how to find the unity of the Holy Spirit. We will never truly agree on doctrines, practice, etc. But we should be able to love with thankful hearts and sense the Presence of God in each other. Today let’s allow thankfulness to spread through us. Let’s enjoy the goodness of God in each other and let go of all the things that we think we know. We can travel the road to destiny together, and sing our heavenly songs of love with joy!

(This information was used by permission from “Whispers of Heaven” by Rosalie Storment and Faye Higbee, copyrighted 2011)

Knowing Him

sheep-with-shepherd(3)To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
(4)When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.
(5)A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” — John 10-3-5 (NASB)

When you get to know people, you learn the sound of their voice. They can call you on the telephone and fail to tell you who they are, and you still recognize their voice. (Unless you’re in an office where everyone ends up copying your tone . . . then everyone sounds like you.)

When we know God intimately an connect to His heart, then we hear Him and our lives and those around us are changed forever. His Glory rises over us in ways we could never have imagined! We can have the personal confidence to even see the lives of our loved ones chilnged as God begins to move. If we know Him, we will hear Him!

Example: When I was growing up, my best friend’s name was Shirley. We did everything together, up until she met her husband and got married. She and I knew exactly the sound of each other’s voices –and still do today. She moved away from our area and she and her husband bought a sheep ranch. We were both “Christians” because we went to church, but neither of us was aware that God still speaks in a personal way.

As time went on, I came to know the Lord, but Shirley would call me and you could tell she was sad. She listened to me tell her about the things God did for me, but only said she thought I was “centered.”

One day, one of Shirley’s sheep went into labor. The baby lamb was breached in the mother’s birth canal, and the veterinarian was unable to come quickly enough to save it. Shirley reached in, turned the lamb, and helped it come our safely. As the tiny black lamb slid our into her hands, she heard a soft voice say, “I Am the Lamb of God, I was born for you, and I give you life. Just as you gave life to this baby lamb, I give life to you.”

Shirley took care of the lamb, and ran into the house to find her old, dust covered Bible. As she read it, tears streamed down her cheeks, and the gospel of Jesus became so clear that it changed her entire life. The soft whisper of the Holy Spirit spoke to her heart. Today we can share more than just old memories, we can share what God is saying and doing in our lives.

The Great Shepherd knows His sheep. He speaks to His sheep. He uses YOU as the soft conduit of His Holy Spirit’s Voice. If OUR voice is right, the sound of His Voice comes through! If we are open to listen, quick to obey, joyous to receive, and love to hear Hi,. there are greater things in store. There are wonders waiting for us that we can’t comprehend, and God’s Glory is about to be released in new ways. So we encourage you today to listed, trust, hear, and ask for eyes to see it all! And then move out with confidence!

(This information has been used by permission from “Whispers of Heaven” by Rosalie Storment and Faye Higbee, copyrighted 2011)

Spiritual Preparation

The BiblePsalm 68:9-10

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

(9) You shed abroad a plentiful rain, O God; You confirmed Your inheritance when it was parched.

(10) Your creatures settled in it; You provided in Your goodness for the poor, O God.

Excerpt from A Walk with Jesus:

God Is WITH You

Over the years, all of us have heard the term “preparation.” We have been told to prepare for all the doom and gloom scenarios. We have been told to get out of debt; we have been told to do all sorts of things in “preparation” for what is to come. However, most of us have no way to accomplish the things these would-be prophets tell us to do. This has often made us all concerned about whether we’ve messed up and whether God would really take care of us in a pinch.

Here is your encouragement for the day: God will never leave you not forsake you. If you are poor, He will make sure you are fed. If you are broken-hearted, He will heal you and comfort you. If you don’t have a safe place to live, He is your strong tower and fortress. Keep Psalm 91 close to your heart. You belong to the King of kings and Lord of lords. Nothing is impossible with the Lord!

The word from A Walk with Jesus that you read above explains what is really meant by “preparation.” It doesn’t mean go build a bunker to hide in. It doesn’t mean panic and worry about what is to come. It DOES mean that God has been preparing you already throughout your walk with Him. As you dedicate your heart to be aware, to keep moving forward no matter the circumstance, and  to seek the Presence of God, there is nothing that can stand in the way of His Hand in Your life. He will open your understanding to the secrets of His ways. He will accomplish things through you that are mighty!

(32) By smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action.  Daniel 11:32 (NASB)


Questions of the Heart

The ViewDo you ever feel abandoned, just tossed out in the wind?

Do you ever wonder if and when the pain will even end?

Do you ever love so much you sit alone and cry?

Wondering if the pain will ease even when you die?

Will the cares you carry ever disappear?

Will the people you love ever know you’re near?

Will the dreams you’ve held so long ever come to pass?

Will they wilt like flowers die or turn brown like the grass?

Have you walked near rolling shores and looked out at the sky?

Have you heard the birds sing or the wolf’s lone cry?

Have you wondered where you’ll be in a week or so?

Have you really ever cared to live or just go with the flow?

All these questions approach me as older I become

All these years seem like many centuries in one.

Speaking to my heart it seems eternities oft soar

Through day and night and night and day they roll for evermore.

So take my heart, my dreams, my love wrapped up with a bow

Knowing you are always with me even when you go.

From the Heart of a Soldier

PTSD will not take my life

As I share the memories of this life,

They come forth causing only strife.

For life has been so hard you see

Keeping others from loving me.

Walking through forest, glade and hill,

waiting, watching, wondering still

Will there be a time for us

Or will we simply turn to dust

While living with these facts, so true

It’s helpful that you know them too.

For times may come I can’t preclude

Causing stressful interludes,

Where memories return to facts so real

One wonders if they’ll ever heal

Healing after years of waiting,

During these times often hating

The events that caused the memories to form

Are always extremely far from the norm

Change them if I could? You ask.

No, I would never choose that task.

For the sacrifices once made by me

Were made to set many others free

And if events present a new

I’ll be right there to fight with you

The memories of the new inlayed

Upon the ones already made

Even then I will not cave

Provided we don’t see the grave.

Loving Much

Luke 7:36 – 50 (emphasis on 7:47, 48, 50)

“Her sins which are many have been forgiven because she loved much . . . and I love my Jesus!” Her name is *Carolina Toscani. On 29 Sep 1981, she came to understand there was someone who loved her regardless. Allow me to give you a brief summary of why love is an important factor in her life.

Outraging remembrances of abuse self-medicating at an early age to make feelings and memories go away, it is no wonder why by 1981 her weekly alcohol consumption was enormous and her pharmaceutical usage was monstrous. Having seen death up close and personal, along with wondering why almost all those she loved died before her, it was not surprising when some young ladies from a metropolitan church knocked on her door she was passed out on the floor. Hearing the knock, she opened the door, inviting them in; they proceeded to discuss Jesus and various scriptures, along with a testimony of someone who attended the church.

You see Carolina was what was known as a functional addict. Able to work, take care of herself and appear “responsible” to all those around her. Talk about Jesus, certainly! She had been brought up in the church always being taught one needed to be a “Christian.” The sad thing was that no one had ever told or shown her she could have a “personal relationship” with the Lord; nor had they shared there was a man who loved her unconditionally . . . . regardless . . . period . . . end of statement.

(In her own words) “You see, I never knew there was someone I could trust and love without having to “perform” for him.”

Well, to make a long story short, about a month later she called the church on a Sunday night from a payphone, insisting she be allowed to speak to the man. (The man, we’ll call Jim for his privacy) She would not hang up the phone until she talked with him. You see she had been trying to make a drug connection. Unable to do so, she “was at the end . . . out of men, out of drugs, out of booze.” Jim agreed to a home visit the upcoming Tuesday. At that time Jim shared about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Jim shared if she confessed with her mouth Jesus was Lord, believed in her heart God had raised him from the dead, (and ask forgiveness for her sins) she would be saved, changed, become a new creation, old things having passed away, all things becoming new; “well I did and I am.”

Her life changed dramatically. It has not always been pleasant. No, she faced many challenges, also, magnificent joys. She would love to tell you nothing bad or taxing has entered her life in those 32 years. That would not be the truth, nor would it be reality. One thing however never changed . . . the fact – Jesus loves us and is consistently faithful to His word. He has never left her, nor forsaken her. He will do the same for you. She is now retired and ministers to others as often as possible. The most important things in her life are being devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ and obeying Him.



Syria on the Eve of Destruction: America, Russia, China and WWIII- Part Two

logoIn the years between WWI and WWII, the world was in tumult. Wars, insurgencies, and insurrections did not end after the Great War, but actually intensified, however on a much smaller scale than WWI. It is important to note that WWII was basically a continuation of WWI with some fundamental differences and shifts in Alliances. It was as if WWI had simply been put on pause because of the sheer amount of casualties and money spent,  and because everyone was tired of war. There were still scores to settle and old hatreds burning. In part two of this four part examination of the imminent war with Syria and possibly the World, we will briefly go over the years between WWI and WWII, WWII very briefly, and the beginning of the Cold War, and all the wars by proxy afterward, and how that has contributed and led up to the breaking point that we are at now.


Early on, there was a strong push by communists inside Germany, too. Red Socialism was sweeping Europe, particularly Eastern Europe. The “Spartacist” communist revolt was attempted in Berlin in January, 1919. It was quickly squashed by German forces, but a new type of radicalism was starting to grow among Germany’s youth and angry veterans of the first World War. But it would be a time before the Nazis were formed officially.

The German National Assembly met at Weimar in 1919. A couple of months later, the Treaty of Versailles is submitted to the German delegation by the Allies. Something to note: Hitler had always felt that the armistice was severe in the conditions that the treaty imposed on Germany, saying that it was far more brutal than what Germany had imposed on the Soviet Union after it withdrew from WWI. Regardless, the German authorities ended up signing the treaty nonetheless, but Hitler later used this to his advantage as one of his main arguments and rallying cries for hostilities to begin in what ultimately became WWII.

On the Central Powers side of things (Germany, Austria-Hungary), Germany’s national pride, stature, territory, and pocketbook took a crushing blow, suffering staggering loses in all aspects of its existence, while Austria loss massive amounts of territory, and Hungary became independent. the Allies side of things went the spoils of war, but not everyone was happy. America, Britain, and France got the lions share, while Japan and Italy walked away feeling cheated, having seem very little of the spoils. It is important to point out that it took the Allies six months to agree with one another what their treaty demands were on the Central Powers. Much of it was because they could not easily agree on who got what from the victory of the Great War. When they finally decided, Britain, America, and France made an unofficial alliance inside the Allies, and backed each other in agreement, forcing Italy and Japan to accept much less than the other three. This was not forgotten by Italy and Japan and they felt used. Russia was excluded because of the fall of the Russian Empire, the murder of the Tsars, and the forming of the Soviet Union by the Bolshevik Communists, which withdrew from the war and signed a treaty with Germany. Serbia, which seemed small in comparison to all that was going on then, became Yugoslavia. Continue reading

Syria on the Eve of Destruction: America, Russia, China and WWIII- Part One

logoThe stage is set, the pieces are in place, all somebody has to do is pull the trigger. The question is who will be the first to jump, and who will be the first to blink? If no one blinks, and I don’t think they will, the world is on a collision course with World War III. As usual, it is the same “Big 3” at the forefront of this rapidly developing emergency; America, Russia, and China. Unfortunately, it looks like America, under the incompetent leadership of Barack Obama, may be the first to make a move in this crisis, with the situation in Syria being the catalyst. However, this is not all of America’s responsibility, or fault, so we are going to take an in-depth, but as concise is as possible look back in history, all the way to the present, as well as at the prophetic Scriptures of the Holy Bible and the predictions of Nostradamus.

America, Russia, and China have been aligned to bump heads for a long time. This is nothing new. But, we are going to look at the reasons why we are here, why we need to take this very seriously, and to remember one very important thing: WE ARE ALL AMERICANS. Soon, it will not matter if you are a Liberal or a Conservative, Democrat or Republican, or a Believer or a Non-Believer. We are very possibly on the brink of the fight of our lives and generation. In order to survive, we are going to have to do what we always do, and band together to fight a common enemy. We also have to remember, that regardless of what the foolish Obama Administration drags us into, that Obama will not be the POTUS in a little over two years. Even if we are in the middle of WWIII, he will not be allowed to be re-elected, even under emergency powers. We will have to clean up the mess he has made, and right or wrong, fight our way out through to the other side and save our country. Let’s take a look at why this is happening.

WORLD WAR I- for the political aspects of this situation, I am only going to reach as far back as WWI and the turn of the 20th century to show how we have come to be wrapped up in this conflict (s) in the present day. Remember, Syria is just the tipping point, not truly the cause. Observe.

Through WWI and WWII, you will see an interesting pattern emerge. I am going to try to keep this from being purely a history lesson, but in order to understand, you have to know the general and full history around the two great wars. Often, the only focus you will hear or see on WWI and WWII is the aggression of Germany, the heroism of America and the Allies, and the Holocaust that the Jews suffered. While these are all important components of the two World Wars and not to be disregarded, they are only parts of it. The circumstances and world-shaping that occurred from both of these wars has much more to them. I will touch on them here. I want you to keep in mind, also, that every war, every single one of them after WWII, has been nothing but proxy wars between America, Russia, and China. Remember this, too: The Cold War never ended, we just re-named it after political and geographical shifts. The players are still the same, only the name has changed. You will hear many familiar names and nations in this article that we have heard about in history for the last 100 years. There is more than ideology at work here. There is also money, old agreements, politics, and spiritual warfare at play. Whether those that wield the power of the sword, purse, or pen realize it, this is a much more epic and divine struggle than they, or even you and I understand. Continue reading