Posted by: MTR | January 13, 2010

On the mercy of my Redeemer

Charles Carroll was a leader of the American Revolution and the only Roman Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence. He helped to draft the Maryland Constitution, was a member of the Committee of Correspondence, the State Council of Safety, and eventually became a United States Senator, where he helped to establish the Bill of Rights.

He attended the Jesuits’ College at St. Omar, France, and then a seminary in Rheims.

As a Catholic, he was opposed to support of the Anglican Church and wrote his views in a series of articles in the Maryland Gazette.

In a letter to John McHenry on November 4, 1800, Carroll wrote:

“Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime & pure, [and] which denounces against the wicked eternal misery, and [which] insured to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.”

And on his 89th birthday, he wrote:

On the mercy of my Redeemer I rely for salvation and on His merits; not on the works I have done in obedience to His precepts.

From an autograph letter in our possession written by Charles Carroll to Charles W. Wharton, Esq., September 27, 1825.

Grateful to Almighty God for the blessings which, through Jesus Christ Our Lord, He had conferred on my beloved country in her emancipation and on myself in permitting me, under circumstances of mercy, to live to the age of 89 years, and to survive the fiftieth year of independence, adopted by Congress on the 4th of July 1776, which I originally subscribed on the 2d day of August of the same year and of which I am now the last surviving signer.

  Lewis A. Leonard, Life of Charles Carroll of Carrollton (New York: Moffit, Yard & Co, 1918), pp. 256-257.

I, Charles Carroll. . . . give and bequeath my soul to God who gave it, my body to the earth, hoping that through and by the merits, sufferings, and mediation of my only Savior and Jesus Christ, I may be admitted into the Kingdom prepared by God for those who love, fear and truly serve Him.

 Kate Mason Rowland, Life of Charles Carroll of Carrollton (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890), Vol. II, pp. 373-374, will of Charles Carroll, Dec. 1, 1718 (later replaced by a subsequent will not containing this phrase, although he reexpressed this sentiment on several subsequent occasions, including repeatedly in the latter years of his life).

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