American Minute with Bill Federer
The Continental Congress was evacuating Philadelphia as the British
had just won the Battle of Brandywine, forcing Washington's troops to
retreat to Valley Forge.
In addition, Congress was informed that the war had interrupted trade
with the King's authorized printers in England, thereby causing a
shortage of Bibles, commonly used in education.
The Continental Congress voted September 11, 1777, to import Bibles
from Scotland or Holland into different parts of the Union, stating:
"The use of the Bible is so universal and its importance so
great...it was resolved accordingly to direct said Committee of
Commerce to import 20,000 copies of the Bible."
Five years later, September 10, 1782, the Continental Congress again
responded to the shortage of Bibles by authorizing the publisher of
The Pennsylvania Magazine, Robert Aitken, who died JULY 15, 1802, to
print America's first English language Bible-
"A neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools."
"Resolved, That the United States in Congress assembled highly
approve the...undertaking of Mr. Aitken...and...recommend this
edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States, and
hereby authorize him to publish this recommendation."
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