Thursday, April 29, 2010

ab epistulis

Veckans sortes-fynd i kategorin "senare tradition i kombination med amerikansk historia"!
John Adams, USAs andre president (och förste vice-president), anspelar på dessa i ett brev till sin hustru, den fantastiska Abigail. Deras korrespondens, vitfrejdad och högintressant, finns i behändig Penguin-pocket (se; vilken lyckosam gegga av saker jag gillar), varifrån brevet nedan är hämtat.

Även om detta is a rare treat, och ett skojigt fynd, så sätter det obehagligt mycket tankar i rörelse, och jag börjar genast fundera på varifrån John Adams kan ha lärt sig om detta. Inte du Cange skulle jag tro, då beteckningen sortes biblicae inte används där, kanske du Resnel, då det kanppast kan vara Gibbon, eftersom första volymen av Uppgång och fall utkom först 1776. tål att fundera på.

Philadelphia, 16 September 1774

Having a Leisure Moment, while the Congress is assembling, I gladly embrace it to write you a Line.

When the Congress first met, Mr. Cushing made a Motion, that it should be opened with Prayer. It was opposed by Mr. Jay of New York and Mr. Rutledge of South Carolina, because we were so divided in religious Sentiments, some Episcopalians, some Quakers, some Aanabaptists, some Presbyterians and some Congregationalists, so that We could not join in the same Act of Worship.-Mr. S. Adams arose and said he was no Bigot, and could hear a Prayer from a Gentleman of Piety and Virtue, who was at the same Time a Friend to his Country. He was a Stranger in Phyladelphia, but had heard that Mr. Duché (Dushay they pronounce it) deserved that Character, and therefore he moved that Mr. Duché, an episcopal Clergyman, might be desired, to read Prayers to the Congress, tomorrow Morning. The Motion was seconded and passed in the Affirmative. Mr. Randolph our President, waited on Mr. Duché, and received for Answer that if his Health would permit, he certainly would. Accordingly next Morning he appeared with his Clerk and in his Pontificallibus, and read several Prayers, in the established Form; and then read the Collect for the seventh day of September, which was the Thirty fifth Psalm. -You must remember this was the next Morning after we heard the horrible Rumour, of the Cannonade of Boston.-I never saw a greater Effect upon an Audience. It seemed as if Heaven had ordained that Psalm to be read on that Morning.

After this Mr. Duché, unexpected to every Body struck out into an extemporary Prayer, which filled the Bosom of every Man present. I must confess I never heard a better Prayer or one, so well pronounced. Episcopalian as he is, Dr. Cooper himself never prayed with such fervour, such Ardor, such Earnestness and Pathos, and in Language so elegant and sublime-for America, for the Congress, for The Province of Massachusetts Bay, and especially the Town of Boston. It has had an excellent Effect upon every Body here.

I must beg you to read that Psalm. If there was any Faith in the sortes Virgilianae, or sortes Homericae, or especially the Sortes biblicae, it would be thought providential.

It will amuse your Friends to read this Letter and the 35th. Psalm to them. Read it to your Father and Mr. Wibirt. -I wonder what our Braintree Churchmen would think of this?-Mr. Duche is one of the most ingenious Men, and best Characters, and greatest orators in the Episcopal order, upon this Continent- Yet a Zealous Friend of Liberty and his Country.

I long to see my dear Family. God bless, preserve and prosper it.


John Adams

Two years later, on July 4, 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was ratified, Duché, meeting with his church’s vestry, passed a resolution stating that the name of King George III of Great Britain was no longer to be read in the prayers of the church. Duché complied, crossing out said prayers from his Book of Common Prayer, committing an act of treason against England, an extraordinary and dangerous act for a clergyman who had taken an oath of loyalty to the King. On July 9, Congress elected him its first official chaplain.

However, in 1777, after the British had occupied Philadelphia, Duché wrote to Washington urging him to rescind the Declaration, fled to England, and was declared by Adams “an apostate and a traitor.”

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