IN PRAISE OF CALDWELL, CLARK, HOUGHTON, AND MUHLENBERG
By Chuck Baldwin
February 17, 2011
It really wasn’t that long ago. With the way America’s clergymen act today, however, one would think that preachers such as James Caldwell, Jonas Clark, Joab Houghton, and John Peter Muhlenberg never existed. But they did exist; and without them, it is this country we call the United States of America that would not exist.
Caldwell was a Presbyterian; Muhlenberg was a Lutheran; Houghton was a Baptist; and no one really seems to know what denomination (if any) Jonas Clark claimed. But these men had one thing in common (besides their faith in Jesus Christ): they were all ardent patriots who actually participated in America’s War for Independence.
James Caldwell was called “The Rebel High Priest” or “The Fighting Chaplain.” Caldwell is most famous for the “Give ’em Watts!” story.
During the Springfield (New Jersey) engagement, the colonial militia ran out of wadding for their muskets. Quickly, Caldwell galloped to the Presbyterian church, and returning with an armload of hymnals, threw them to the ground, and hollered, “Now, boys, give ’em Watts!” He was referring to the famous hymn writer, Isaac Watts, of course.
The British hated Caldwell so much, they murdered his wife, Hannah, in her own home, as she sat with her children on her bed. Later, a fellow American who had been bribed by the British to assassinate the preacher murdered Caldwell. Americans loyal to the Crown burned both his house and church. No less than three cities and two public schools in the State of New Jersey bear his name.