American Minute with Bill Federer
Called the “Chief Architect of the Constitution,” he wrote many of the Federalist Papers which helped convince States to ratify the Constitution.
He introduced the First Amendment in the first session of Congress.
This was James Madison, born MARCH 16, 1751.
At the onset of the War of 1812, President James Madison proclaimed a Day of Prayer, July 9, 1812, stating:
“I do therefore recommend … rendering the Sovereign of the Universe … public homage … acknowledging the transgressions which might justly provoke His divine displeasure … seeking His merciful forgiveness …
and with a reverence for the unerring precept of our holy religion, to do to others as they would require that others should do to them.”
The next year, on July 23, 1813, Madison issued another Day of Prayer, referring to:
“religion, that gift of Heaven for the good of man.”
Beginning with the French Revolution in 1789, Napoleon gained prominence with his military prowess till he controlled most of Europe.
In 1805, Napoleon’s navy was defeated at the Battle of Trafalgar, giving Britain mastery of the seas.
In 1812, Napoleon invaded Russia with nearly 500,000 men, and six month later left Russia with less than 50,000.
Napoleon abdicated, April 6, 1814, and was exiled to the Island of Elba.
Napoleon’s losses freed up British forces, which were sent to control Lake Eire and invade New York, New Orleans and Washington, D.C.
On August 24, 1814, a force of 4,500 British soldiers marched toward Washington, D.C.
In a panic, citizens hastily evacuated. Dolley Madison and the White House staff are credited with saving the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington by having it cut out of its frame.
Her carriage was riding out of the city as British Admiral George Cockburn was riding in.
Admiral Cockburn entered the White House, ate dinner, then set it on fire.
He had British soldiers sit in the Congressmen’s chairs and hold a mock Congress.
When he asked who was in favor of burning the Capitol, they yelled, “aye,” and proceeded to torch the Capitol. The Treasury, the Library of Congress, the Department of War building, the Supreme Court, and the Navy Yard were also burned.
The Patent Office was only government office not burned by the British.
Suddenly, dark clouds rolled in, wind and thunder grew into a “frightening roar,” and lightning began striking.
A tornado touched down sending debris flying, blowing off roofs, knocking down chimneys and walls on British troops.
Two cannons were lifted off the ground and dropped yards away. Violent winds slammed both horse and rider to the ground.
The book, Washington Weather, recorded British Admiral George Cockburn exclaiming to a lady:
“Great God, Madam! Is this the kind of storm to which you are accustomed in this infernal country?”
To which the lady replied:
“No, Sir, this is a special interposition of Providence to drive our enemies from our city.”
A British historian wrote:
“More British soldiers were killed by this stroke of nature than from all the firearms the American troops had mustered in the feeble defense of their city.”
As British forces fled, torrential rains fell for two hours, extinguishing the fires.
They marched back to their ships with difficulty on roads covered with downed trees only to find two ships blown ashore and others with damaged riggings.
On September 1, 1814, Madison wrote:
“The enemy by a sudden incursion has succeeded in invading the capitol of the nation … During their possession … though for a single day only, they wantonly destroyed the public edifices …
An occasion which appeals so forcibly to the … patriotic devotion of the American people, none will forget …
Independence … is now to be maintained … with the strength and resources which … Heaven has blessed.”
Less than 3 months later, Madison proclaimed a National Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting & Prayer to Almighty God on November 16, 1814, stating:
“The two Houses of the National Legislature having by a joint resolution expressed their desire that in the present time of public calamity and war, a day may be recommended to be observed by the people of the United States
as a day of public humiliation and fasting and of prayer to Almighty God for the safety and welfare of these States, His blessing on their arms, and a speedy restoration of peace … of confessing their sins and transgressions, and of strengthening their vows of repentance …
that He would be graciously pleased to pardon all their offenses … I have deemed it proper … to recommend … a day of … humble adoration to the Great Sovereign of the Universe.”
Two weeks after the War ended, Madison proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving & Devout Acknowledgment to Almighty God, March 4, 1815.
Self-Educated American Contributing Editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.