Charles Thomson and Religious Freedom

Color image of a detail of a painting of Charles Thomson, shown from forehead to chin.  He has white hair, blue eyes, and a long, thin nose.
Detail, Charles Thomson by Charles Willson Peale, from life, 1781-1782

Independence National Historical Park

An Ulster Presbyterian, Thomson continued to practice his faith when he came to America from Derry. He held broad views of religious toleration. Thomson was headmaster of a Quaker school that admitted children regardless of their faith. A humanitarian, Thomson served as secretary on a commission to negotiate with Native tribes. He wrote a pamphlet expressing his disdain for the colonial representatives' deliberate manipulation of native peoples by trickery. The Presbyterian Church asked Thomson to develop a plan for Indian evangelism, but he didn't follow through.

Last updated: September 3, 2016

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