The Revolutionary War had depleted and curtailed the availability of Bibles in the United States, resulting in Congress authorizing its Committee of Commerce, on September 11, 1777, “to import 20,000 Bibles from Holland, Scotland, or elsewhere, into the different parts of the States of the Union.” In The Journals of Congress, for September 12th, 1782, we read that,
A committee, consisting of Mr. Duane, Mr. McKean and Mr. Witherspoon, to whom was referred a memorial of Robert Aitkin, printer, dated January 21st, 1781, respecting an edition of the Holy Scriptures, report, ‘That Mr. Aitken has at a great expense now finished an American edition of the Holy Scriptures in English; that the committee have from time to time attended to his progress in the work; that they also recommended it to the two Chaplains of Congress (Rev. William White, D.D. and Rev. George Duffield, D.D.) to examine and give their opinion of the execution, who have accordingly reported thereon…Whereupon, Resolved. That the United States in Congress assembled highly approve the plans and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aitken, as subservient to the interest of religion as well as an influence of the progress of arts in this country, and being satisfied from the above report, of his care and accuracy in the execution of the work, they recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States, and hereby authorize him to publish this recommendation in the manner he shall think proper.’” Accordingly, Robert Aitken published his “Bible of the Revolution” in 1782.
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