Today’s American Minute

By Bill Federer

The very first book printed in America was the Bay Psalm Book, written by John Eliot, who was born around this date, Aug. 5, 1604. Called the “Apostle to the Indians,” Eliot translated the Old and New Testaments into the Algonquian language. He organized thousands of “Praying Indians” into self-ruling villages with their own leaders and ministers. They built houses, streets, bridges and were very prosperous until King Phillip’s War, when thousands tragically died. In his plan of government, Eliot wrote: “The Word of God is the perfect System of Laws to guide all moral actions of man.”