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Give them Watts Boys-the Rev. James Caldwell

From my other blog-Church, State, Faith and Culture

My Take

With Independence Day just around the corner I thought I’d tell the back story of how a hymnal became paper wading for muskets during a Revolutionary War battle.

Isaac Watts was an English churchman who wrote a hymnal that was later published by Ben Franklin. The most familiar hymn in the hymnal was, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.


Watts was what was called in those days, a non-comformist. His father had been jailed twice for his non-conforming views. This meant in 18th century England one did not conform to the Church of England. Most non-conformists were Calvinistic in their theology and further known as Puritans. The hymnal Watts wrote was as common as Bibles were in many New England churches.

Puritan influence on New England churches (Presbyterian and Congregational) was strong during the Revolution and many clergy served in the ranks of the militia and in the Continental Army…

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