On April 15, 1775, four days before hostilities between British and American troops began at Lexington and Concord, the Massachussetts Provincial Congress proclaimes May 11 as a day of fasting and prayer throughou the colony. The fast day proclamation accused the British ministry of inciing the "Powers of Earth and Hell" to harrass the Congregational Church in Massachussetts. Those, it asserted, "who should be Nursing Fathers become it Persecutors." "Nursing Fathers"? Where did this peculiar phrase, more appropriate for an aberration in biology than statecraft, come from and what did it mean?