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The “Parson’s Cause” and Religious Freedom

Mix together the failed at almost every career but gifted speaker and tavern bon vivant Patrick Henry; his father — the judge, who like all smart Virginians married up and to a widow (think George Washington); an uncle — the vicar, properly righteous and sickened of evangelical “Phrenzy” with Thomas Jefferson’s teacher, another vicar of the established Church of England — meaning “your tax dollars at work” in supporting me and my family whether you like it or not.  Throw in Jefferson himself and his classmate from Albemarle James Madison, no, not that one who married Dolley, but his uncle, the first Episcopal bishop in the United States.  Add a dash of “Jamie,” Dolley’s diminutive husband (as a widow, she married well –a wealthy [figuring in slaves]  bachelor, but then again she had solid roots in Pennsylvania).

Voila, the “Parson’s Cause,” thanks to young Henry’s passionate pillorying of the “rapacious harpies” wearing clerical robes. No “laying on of hands” in that courtroom.  It was off to the tavern to celebrate

My take in the Journal of the American Revolution:

The “Parson’s Cause:” Thomas Jefferson’s Teacher, Patrick Henry, and Religious Freedom

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