British Friends of the American Revolution

By Jerome R. Reich | Go to book overview
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9 Richard Price: Apostle of Liberty

On October 6, 1778, the Continental Congress passed a resolution asking that Dr. Price

be informed that it is the desire of Congress to consider him a citizen of the United States; and to receive his assistance in regulating their finances; that if he shall think it expedient to remove, with his family, to America and afford such assistance, a generous provision shall be made for requiting his services.

This resolution was sent to Dr. Price together with a cordial letter from Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Arthur Lee. 1 Who was this Dr. Price whose services to the cause of the American Revolution were deemed important enough to grant him citizenship and an invitation to come to the United States? The recipient of this honor was an English dissenting clergyman who had written several works favorable to the American Revolution and whose studies on the English national debt had made him one of the leading experts on government finance of his time.

The son of a Presbyterian minister, Richard Price was born on February 23, 1723, in Wales. He completed his education at a dissenting academy in London and was ordained a minister at the age of twenty-one. In 1756, both his patron and an uncle died and their legacies made him financially independent. He married the following year and settled down to become a successful minister to a London congregation. 2

Price was not destined to limit his talents to preaching. In 1758, he published his first book, A Review of the Principal Questions and Difficulties in Morals. Nine years later, he followed it with a published version of his sermons, which won him the respect of Lord Shelburne and a Doctor of Divinity degree from Marischal College, Aberdeen, Scotland. However, Price's main claim to fame, during the 1760s and early 1770s, was gained


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