Noah Webster first published his Dictionary on APRIL 14, 1828. This 26-year project with 30,000 new definitions, standardized spelling and gave American English its identity. Proving unprofitable, the rights to were purchased after his death by George and Charles Merriam. In the preface of his original edition, Noah Webster wrote: "In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed...No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people." Webster concluded: "To that great and benevolent Being...who has borne me and my manuscripts in safety across the Atlantic, and given me strength and resolution to bring the work to a close, I would present the tribute of my most grateful acknowledgments." Noah Webster's Dictionary defined "Property" as "The exclusive right of possessing, enjoying and disposing of a thing; ownership. In the beginning of the world, the Creator gave to man dominion over the earth...It is one of the greatest blessings of civil society that the property of citizens is well secured."