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" While we are contending for our own liberty, we should be very cautious not to violate the rights of conscience in others, ever considering that God alone is the judge of the hearts of men, and to him only in this case they are answerable. "

Letter to Benedict Arnold | Thursday, September 14, 1775

Editorial Notes

At this early stage of the Revolutionary War, George Washington was trying to get help for the fight against the British, by sending a force under the command of Benedict Arnold, to convince the Canadians to join the Americans.  In his orders to Arnold, Washington requested that this force be considerate of the differences in belief between the mostly Roman Catholic Canadians and the Protestant Americans.  In a message Washington would reiterate throughout his career, when it came to religion, everyone had freedom of conscience or the right to believe—or not—as they saw fit.

George Washington to Benedict Arnold | Thursday, September 14, 1775