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manners.

Union are as one. But we must not be the United States that such offences are understood as meaning thereby, that irre- forbidden; they are punishable likewise ligion and licentiousness are also guaran- under the common law, which has force tied by the organic laws, or by any laws in those states as well as in England. Of whatever. This would be absurd. Rights this admirable part of the civil economy, of conscience are religious rights, that is, Christianity is not merely an inherent, it rights to entertain and utter religious opin- is a constituent part. This, though denied ions, and to enjoy public religious worship. by Mr. Jefferson, Dr. Cooper, and others, Now this expression, even in its widest ac- has been so decided by many of the ablest ceptation, cannot include irreligion ; opin- judges in the land. For it has been held, ions contrary to the nature of religion, sub- that while the abolition of religious estabversive of the reverence, love, and service lishments in the United States necessaridue to God, of virtue, morality, and good ly abolishes that part of the common law

What rights of conscience can which attaches to them in England, it does atheism, irreligion, or licentiousness pre- nothing more, and thus many offences still tend to ?. It may not be prudent to disturb remain obnoxious to it, on the ground of them in their private haunts and secret re- their being contrary to the Christian retirements. There let them remain and ligion. hold their peace.

But they have no right, A person was indicted at New-York, in by any law in the United States that I am 1811, for aspersing the character of Jesus aware of, to come to propagate opinions Christ, and 'denying the legitimacy of his and proselytize. Such attempts, on the birth. He was tried, condemned, fined, and contrary, are everywhere opposed by the imprisoned. On that trial, Chief-justice laws, and if, at times, these laws are eva- Kent, still living, and believed to be secded, or their enforcement intentionally in- ond to none in the country in point of legal termitted, this does not proceed from any knowledge, expressed himself as follows: question of their being just, but from a “The people of this state, in common conviction that, in some circumstances, it with the people of this country, profess the is the less of two evils not to enforce them. general doctrines of Christianity as the It is sometimes the best way to silence a rule of their faith and practice; and to noisy, brainless lecturer on atheism, to let scandalize the Author of these doctrines him alone, and the immoral conduct of is not only, in a religious point of view, exsome preachers of unrighteousness is the tremely impious, but, even in respect to best refutation of their impious doctrines. the obligations due to society, is a gross At times, however, another course must violation of decency and good order. Nobe pursued. The publication of licentious thing could be more offensive to the virtubooks and pictures, profane swearing, blas- ous part of the community, or more injuphemy, obscenity, the interruption of pub- rious to the tender morals of the young, lic worship, and such like offences, are than to declare such profanity lawful. It punishable by the laws of every state in would go to confound all distinction bethe American Union. Now, whence had tween things sacred and profane.” “No these laws their origin, or where do we find government,” he maintained, “ among any their sanction ? Take the laws against of the polished nations of antiquity, and profane swearing. Where did men learn none of the institutions of modern Europe that that is an offence against which the (a single monitory case excepted), ever laws should level its denunciations ? Sure- hazarded such a bold experiment upon the ly from the Bible, and nowhere else. solidity of the public morals as to permit

Not more than one state, if even one, is with impunity, and under the sanction of supposed to have no laws for the due ob- their tribunals, the general religion of the servance of the Sabbath. But whence community to be openly insulted and decame such regulations? From the light | famed.” “ True,” he adds, “ the Constituof Nature? From the conclusions of hu- tion has discarded religious establishments. man wisdom? Has philosophy ever dis- It does not forbid judicial cognizance of covered that one day in seven should be those offences against religion and moralconsecrated to God? I am aware that expe- ity which have no reference to any such rience, and a right knowledge of the animal establishment, or to any particular form of economy, show that the law setting apart government, but are punishable because one day in seven is good, favourable to hu- they strike at the root of moral obligation, man happiness, and merciful to the beasts and weaken the security of the social ties. of burden. But the Sabbath is of God; and To construe it as breaking down the computting aside some dim traditions and cus- mon law barriers against licentious, wantoms among nations near the spot where ton, and impious attacks upon Christianithe Divine command respecting it was first ty itself, would be an enormous perversion given to Moses, or of the people in whose of its meaning.*** code it afterward held a permanent place, These just opinions were fully sustainwe find it only in the Bible.

But it is not only by the statute law of * Johnson's "Reports," p. 290,

ed by the decision pronounced in Penn- not, as we have shown, from any want of sylvania, at the trial of a man indicted for power in the states to create such an esblasphemy, not against God directly, but tablishment, but because it has been found against the Bible;

the design charged upon inexpedient to attempt promoting religion him being that of " contriving and intend in that way. Experience has shown that ing to scandalize and bring into disrepute with us all such establishments have been, and vilify the Christian religion and the upon the whole, more injurious than beneScriptures of truth.” On that occasion, ficial. They have been renounced because, the late Judge Duncan said, that “ even if from the nature of the case, they could Christianity were not a part of the law of never be made to operate in such a way the land, it is the popular religion of the as not to do some injustice to one portion country; an insult to which would be in- or other of the citizens. dictable, as tending to disturb the public To this general conviction we must aspeace ;” and added, “ that no society can cribe what appears at first sight to be an tolerate a wilful and despiteful attempt to anomaly; the power to aid religion by lesubvert its religion."*

gal enactment expressly conferred in the The application of the common law, by Constitutions of some of the states,* and the courts of Pennsylvania, to the protec- yet that power suffered to lie dormant, nor tion of clergymen living in the discharge is there the least prospect of its ever being of their official duties, confirms all that has exercised again. But although the states been said respecting the light in which have thought it best for the interests of reChristianity is regarded by the state gov- ligion itself, as well as most equitable to ernments.

all classes of the inhabitants, to relinquish Farther, every state has laws for the all attempts to promote religion by what protection of all religious meetings from is called an establishment, yet they have disturbance, and these are enforced when deemed it. neither unwise nor unjust to occasion requires. Indeed, I am not aware pursue the same end indirectly. Several of any offence that is more promptly pun- instances of this kind have been stated al-ished by the police than interfering with ready; we may notice a few more. religious worship, whether held in a church, The states do much to promote educain a private house, or even in the forest. tion in all its stages, though in doing so

All the states have laws for the regula- they often assist the cause of religion, in tion of church property, and of that devo- what might be considered nearly the most ted to religious uses. In some states, ev- direct manner possible. For instance, they ery religious body, immediately on being aid colleges directed by religious men, and organized, is pronounced de facto incorpo- that, too, without stipulating for the slightrated ; and in none, generally, is there any est control over these institutions. On this difficulty in procuring an act of incorpora- we shall yet have occasion to speak more tion, either for churches or benevolent so- at large, and we introduce it here merely cieties.

to indicate what the states are thus doing No state allows the oath of an atheist to for Christianity in the way of concurrence be received in a court of justice, and in one with other bodies. Some states have givonly, in so far as I am aware, is that of a en considerable sums to endow colleges at disbeliever in a future state of rewards and the outset. Others contribute annually to punishments received as evidence. That their support, and this while well aware state is New-York, where the law requires that the colleges aided by such grants are simply the belief in a state of rewards under a decided religious influence. So is and punishments; in other words, if a man it also with the academies, of which there believes that there is a God who punishes are several even in the smallest states, and men for evil actions, and rewards them many in the largest. Young men are infor their good ones, whether in this world structed in the classics and mathematics or in that which is to come, his oath will be at these, preparatory to being sent to colreceived in a court of justice. Of course, lege, and as many of them are conducted the man who believes neither in the exist- by ministers of the Gospel and other relience of God, nor in any sort of divine pun- gious men, they are nurseries of vast imishment, cannot be sworn, nor his testimo- portance both for the Church and the State, ny be allowed, in a court in that state.

Again, by promoting primary schools, the states co-operate in promoting reli

gion; for mere intellectual knowlege, alCHAPTER X.

though not religion, greatly facilitates its diffusion by means of books. In the six

THE LEGISLATION

OF

THE

New-England States, it is long since proBEARS FAVOURABLY, THOUGH INCIDENTAL

vision was first made by law for the good LY, ON THE CAUSE OF RELIGION.

education of every child whose parents If there be no Established Church in choose to avail themselves of it; and, acany of the states at the present time, it is

* 11 Sergeant and Rawle's Reports, p. 394. * Maryland, New-Hampshire, and South Carolina.

STATES

OFTEN

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legislation of the individual states has of the Sabbath, the securing of Church upon religion, and which sometimes comes property, and the undisturbed tranquillity not a little to its help, there are cases in of public worship by every variety of Chriswhich the civil authority intervenes more tian sects. The law makes no distinction directly, not in settling points of doctrine, among these sects, and gives to no one but in determining questions of property; the predominance over the others. It proand these are by no means of rare occur- tects all equally, and gives no political rence where there are conflicting claims privileges to the adherent of one over those in individual churches. This, indeed, has of another sect. happened twice at least, in reference to “The laws of the several states authorproperty held by large religious denomina- ize the acquisition and holding of church tions. The first of these cases occurred property, under certain limitations as to in New-Jersey, and on that occasion the value, either by making a special corporacourts decided upon the claims to certain tion for that purpose, or through the agenproperty, urged by the Orthodox and the cy of trustees empowered under general Hicksites, two bodies into which the So- regulations for that purpose. Without gociety of Friends, or Quakers, has been di- ing into detail on this subject, it is enough vided throughout the United States. And to say that they proceed upon the princialthough the trial took place on a local ple of allowing the church to hold a sufficause, or, rather, for a local claim, yet the cient amount of real and personal property principle upon which it was decided affect to enable it to perform its appropriate funced all the property held by Quaker socie- tions, and, at the same time, to guard against ties in the state.

abuse, by allowing too great an amount of The second case occurred recently in wealth to be perpetually locked up in mortPennsylvania, where the Supreme Court main by grants and testamentary disposihad to decide upon the claims of the Old tions ad pios usus. In some of the states and New School, to certain property be- of the Union, the English statute of mortlonging to the General Assembly of the main has been introduced, by which reliPresbyterian Church, on its being divided gious corporations are disabled from acinto two separate bodies, each of which quiring real property unless by special assumed the name of the Presbyterian license of the government. In others, the Church. Here the court had of necessity capacity to acquire it is regulated and limto decide which of the two ought by law ited by the special acts of legislation into be considered the true representative corporating religious societies. The ecand successor of the Presbyterian Church clesiastical corporations existing before before its division. The decision, how the Revolution, which separated the United ever, did not rest on doctrinal grounds, but States from the parent country, continue wholly on the acts of the bodies them- to enjoy the rights and property which selves, the court refusing to take up the they had previously held under acts of Parquestion of doctrines at all, as not being liament, or of the provincial Legislatures. within their province. Not so in the case “Blasphemy is punished as a criminal of the Quakers just referred to. There offence by the laws of the several states. the court considered the question of doc- “Perjury is, in like manner, punished as trine, in order to determine which body a crime; the form of administering the was the true Society of Friends.

oath being accommodated to the conscienI apprehend that I have now said enough tious views of different religious sects. to place the nature of the mutual relations The Quakers are allowed to affirm solemnbetween Church and State in America ly; the Jews swear upon the scriptures of fairly before the reader, and will dismiss the Old Testament only; and certain Christhe subject by giving some extracts from tian sects with the uplifted hand. a communication which the Hon. Henry « There has been much discussion among Wheaton, ambassador from the United our jurists as to how the oaths of infidels States to the Court of Berlin, has had the ought to be considered in courts of justice. goodness to address to me, and which pre- But, so far as I recollect, the general resents, in some respects, a résumé, or sum-sult is to reject the oath of such persons mary of what may be said on this subject : only as deny the being of God, or a future

“ In answer to your first query, I should state of rewards and punishments, without say that the State does not view the Chris- absolutely requiring a belief in revealed tian Church as a rival or an enemy, but religion. rather as an assistant or co-worker in the “The laws regulating marriage with us religious and moral instruction of the peo- are founded on the precepts of Christianple, which is one of the most important ity; hence polygamy is absolutely forbidduties of civil government.

den, and punished as a crime under the de“It is not true that the Church is treated nomination of bigamy. Marriages between as a stranger by the state.

relations by blood in the ascending or de“There are ample laws in all the states scending lines, and between collaterals in of the American Union for the observance the first degree, are absolutely forbidden in

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all the states; and in some, all marriages | overthrow and its consequences; and, finalwithin the Levitical degrees are also for- ly, the relations which have subsisted bebidden.

tween the churches and the civil govern-. “ The common law of England, which ments since the Revolution. We are now requires consent merely, without any par- about to enter upon the consideration of ticular form of solemnization, to render a the resources which the churches have marriage legally valid, is adopted in those developed since they have been compelled states of the American Union which have to look, in dependance upon God's blessnot enacted special legislative statutes on ing, to their own exertions, instead of relythe subject. In some of the states mar- ing on the arm of the state. riage is required to be solemnized in the A review of the ground which we have presence of a clergyman or magistrate. gone over may be given almost in the very

“All our distinguished men, so far as I words of an able author, to whom we have know, are Christians of one denomination been repeatedly indebted. or other. A great reaction has taken place 1. “The first settlers of the United States within the last thirty years against the tor- went to it as Christians, and with strong rent of infidelity let in by the superficial intent to occupy the country in that charphilosophy of the eighteenth century. acter.

“I believe the separation of Church and 2. “The lives they lived there, and the State is, with us, considered almost, if not institutions they set up, were signalized universally, as a blessing."

by the spirit and doctrine of the religion With these extracts, which give the they professed. views of one of the most distinguished 3. “The same doctrine and spirit, de. statesmen and diplomatists of America, scending upon the patriots of the federal and which confirm the positions we have era, entered largely into the primary State advanced on all the points to which they Constitutions of the Republic, and, if analrefer, we close our remarks on the exist-logy can be trusted, into the constructive ing relations between the Church and State meaning of the Federal Charter itself. in that country.

4. “Christianity is still the popular religion of the country.

5. “And, finally, notwithstanding some

untoward acts of individual rulers, it is to CHAPTER XII.

this day, though without establishments,

and with equal liberty to men's conscienREVIEW OF THE GROUND WHICH WE HAVE ces, the religion of the laws and of the

government. If records tell the truth-if

annals and documents can outweigh the We have now arrived at the close of the flippant rhetoric of licentious debate, our Third Book of this work.

public institutions carry still the stamp of We have traced the religious character their origin : the memory of better times of the early colonists who settled in Amer-is come down to us in solid remains; the ica; the religious establishments which monuments of the fathers are yet standing; they planted; the happy and the unhappy and, blessed be God, the national edifice influences of those establishments; their I continues visibly to rest upon them."*

GONE OVER.

BOOK I V.

THE VOLUNTARY PRINCIPLE IN AMERICA; ITS ACTION AND

INFLUENCE.
CHAPTER I.

in the beginning of the seventeenth cen"THE VOLUNTARY PRINCIPLE THE GREAT AL-l of the immortal mind were but little un

tury, freedom of conscience and the rights TERNATIVE. — THE NATURE AND VASTNESS derstood in the Old World. Those even OF ITS MISSION.

who fled to the New, to enjoy this greatest The reader has remarked the progress of of all earthly blessings, had but an imperReligious Liberty in the United States from fect apprehension of the subject and its the first colonization of the country until bearings. That which they so highly prithe present time, and traced the effects of zed for themselves, and for the attainment its successive developments in modifying of which they had made such sacrifices, the relations between the churches and they were unwilling to accord to others. the state.

Not that men were not allowed, in evHe has seen that when that country be

* “ An Inquiry into the Moral and Religious Chatgan to be settled by European emigrants, acter of the American Government,” p. 139, 140.

I.

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