Reverend Jacob Duché (1738-1798) was an Anglican minister who opened the first session of the Continental Congress with a prayer, on the eve of an impending British attack:
- Plead my cause, Oh, Lord, with them that strive with me, fight against them that fight against me ... Let those be turned back and humiliated who devise evil against me. (Psalm 35)
John Adams noted the event in a letter to his wife Abigail:
- Rev. Duche' appeared with his clerk and in his pontificals, and read several prayers in the established form, and read ... the 35th Psalm ...
- I never saw a greater effect upon an audience. It seemed as if heaven had ordained that Psalm to be read on that morning. ,,,
- After this, Mr. Duche', unexpectedly to every body, struck out into an extemporary prayer, which filled the bosom of every man present. I must confess, I never heard a better prayer, or one so well pronounced ... with such fervor, such ardor, such earnestness and pathos, and in language so elegant and sublime, for America, for the Congress, for the province of Massachusetts Bay, and especially the town of Boston.
- It has had an excellent effect upon everybody here. I must beg you to read that Psalm.