Robert Carter Nicholas, Sr. was born on January 28, 1715 and served as a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, representing James City. He also served as a member of the Committees of Correspondence, attended all major conventions, and in 1775, served as President Pro-tem of the Continental Convention.
After the Boston Tea Party, the British navy retaliated by blockading the port. The other colonies responded with sympathetic prayer and action. On May 24, 1773, Nicholas, Treasurer of the House of Burgesses in Virginia, proposed a “Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer,” that was swiftly approved:
“This House, being deeply impressed with apprehension of the great dangers to be derived to British America from the hostile invasion of the city of Boston in our Sister Colony of Massachusetts Bay, whose commerce and harbor are, on the first day of June next, to be stopped by an armed force, deem it highly necessary that the said first day of June be set apart, by the members of this House, as a Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, devoutly to implore the Divine interposition, for averting the heavy calamity which threatens destruction to our civil rights and the evils of civil war; to give us one heart and mind firmly opposed, by all just and proper means, every injury to American rights; and that the minds of His Majesty and his Parliament, may be inspired from above with wisdom, moderation and justice, to remove from the loyal people of America all cause of danger from a continued pursuit of measures pregnant with their ruin.”
Robert Nicholas’ call for a Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer is another lost episode in American history.
*Source Citation: John P. Kennedy, ed., Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia 1773-76, (Richmond: Virginia State Library, 1913), 124.