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and that a greater amount never was, nor could legally be, given to any postmaster. When the legal commissions exceed $2,000 per annum, that excess may be applied to the objects specified in the petition, but in no case can the allowance exceed the commissions. The extra allowance claimed by thepetitioner amounts to about $1,100 per annum—a sum probably equal to all that the Department realized from the office during the time which the petitioner held it.
The petitioner further states that, in " consequence of erroneous blanks furnished by the Department, he sustained a loss of about $1,200, which in justice ought to be allowed him." Your committee are at a loss to understand how such mistake could occur, inasmuch as the petitioner gives no explanation; be it, however, as it may, it is only necessary to observe that it is fully within the power of the Postmaster General to correct mere mistakes at any period. Upon the whole, your committee are unable to discover any thing in this case which distinguishes the petitioner from that of any other postmaster; but, on the contrary, they are of opinion that to grant the prayer of the petitioner would be introducing a dangerous precedent, and one which would be calculated to absorb the resources of the Department; they, therefore, recommend the adoption of the following resolution:
Resolved, That the prayer of the petitioner ought not to be granted.
21st Congress.] No. 99. [2d Session,
ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION CLAIMED BY A DEPUTY POSTMASTER
COMMUNICATED TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, JANUARY 7, 1831.
Mr. Mccreery, from the Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads, to whom was referred the petition of
George King, sen., reported:
That they have given the subject referred to them due consideration. The petitioner states that he has held the office of postmaster at Sharon, in the county of Litchfield, Connecticut, for a number of years, and alleges that the commission allowed by law is inadequate to the labor he has to perform in discharge of his official duties, and prays Congress to grant him such additional compensation as they may think reasonable.
Your committee deem it unnecessary to enter into a minute detail of all the circumstances connected with this case, inasmuch as the petitioner acknowledges the receipt of the legal commissions. To depart from the law and general usages in relation to the emoluments of public officers, would be a principle dangerous in its consequences and partial in its operations. The Government imposes office on none; and, if the emolument is not equal to the service required, the petitioner's course is a plain one—let him resign; and, no doubt, another can be found who will undertake the duties for the legal commissions. Therefore,
Resolved, That the committee be discharged from any further consideration of the subject.
21st Congress.] Ng. 100. [2d Session.
COMMUNICATED TO THE SENATE, JANUARY 22, 1831. Joint resolution of the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Alabama, in General Assembly convened.
Whereas much excitement exists, and a deep interest is felt, in many parts of the United States, in consequence of the powerful exertions which have been made, and are still making, to prevent the transportation of the mail oo Sunday; and whereas, also, the rights and opinions of every religious sect, whether they observe the Christian Sabbath or not, are equally entitled to the respect and protection of the Government; and whereas, also, it is thought proper and expedient that the Legislature of this State should express their opinion on this important and interesting subject, as it is confidently anticipated this measure will again be brought by its friends before the present Congress of the United States: Therefore,
Be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of .Alabama, in General Assembly convened. That the transportation of the mail on Sunday is of vital importance to the welfare and prosperity of the Union, and that its suspension on that day would be a violation of the spirit of the constitution, and repugnant to the principles of a free Government.
Beit further resolved, That the sentiments expressed in the report of the committee at the last session of Congress, in opposition to the suspension of the mail on Sundays are entitled to the highest commendation of the friends of the constitution and of every lover of civil and political freedom.
And be it further resolved. That our Senators in Congress be instructed, and our Representatives requested, to use their exertions in opposition to any measure that may tend to retard the transportation of the mail.
JAMES PENN. Speaker of the House of Representatives. , „ SAMUEL B. MOORE.
Approved: December 31, 1830. President of the Senate.
Secretary Of State's Office, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, January 3, 1831. 1 do hereby certify that the foregoing resolution is a true copy from the original roll on file in this office.
JAMES J. THORNTON.
21st Congress.] No. 101. [2d Session.
COMMUNICATED TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, JANUARY 31, 1831.
To the Congress of the United .States; The undersigned, citizens of Kentucky, by way of remonstrance, would
That, from the public journals, they learn that numerous petitions have been presented to both Houses of Congress, praying for such a modification of the laws concerning the Post Office Department as to prevent the transportation and opening of the mail on the Sabbath day.
It appears that the reasons or arguments on which those petitions are founded principally resolve themselves into two: First, that the transportation and opening of the mail on the Sabbath tend to impair the moral influence of that day; and, secondly, that conscientious Christians are precluded from an equal participation in the emoluments of office.
Sensible as we are of the advantage, nay, of the necessity, of cultivating morality as a means of preserving our republican institutions in their purity, we should lament any and every act of the General Government, or its functionaries, which might have a tendency to impair moral influence of any kind. But, when we consider the objects for which the post office establishment was instituted, we are of opinion that the effectuation of these objects, deemed important to the safety and to the prosperity of the whole community, will justify, if they do not imperiously require, the constant employment in the Post Office Department of one individual out of many thousands, for the transmission of information necessary for the Government, desired by the people, and useful to them in all their various concerns, whether political, agricultural, manufacturing, commercial, or religious.
To preserve and secure the peace and safety of the whole was the first great object leading to the formation of the General Government. That it might be enabled, more effectually than the States separately could, to hear, see, speak, and act for the whole, with a view to ward off" or repel whatsoever should menace the peace or prosperity of all or any part, numerous important powers were given by the constitution. Among these, that of " establishing post offices and post roads" is a most important auxiliary. It is through this channel that the Government is enabled at all times to hear from without, and to speak from within, through its functionaries, whatsoever is necessary for the security of the whole.
During the short existence of our Federal Government, insurrection, conspiracy, and war have successively invaded our land and disturbed our peace. In detecting their schemes and suppressing their progress, the importance of the operations of the Post Office Department must be acknowledged by ail; and, as the approach of dangers is not arrested by the Sabbath, so neither should the vigilance of the Government be intermitted tor a seventh part of its time. As, by the warning voice of the watchman on the tower, the city prepares for defence, so also by the continual cry of " all's well," in time of peace, the busy multitude within composedly enjoy a conscious security. The officers of our Government, civil and military, chosen by the people, or appointed by a vigilant Executive, placed in foreign countries, and within and around our extended borders, maritime and territorial, are our watchmen; and through the mail, at all times, their warning or their composing voice should be heard.
The continual operation of the mail, then, is only in compliance with one of the great duties of the Federal Government; and we cannot perceive how the necessary performance of a high public duty on the Sabbath can impair the moral influence of that day.
The petitioners, holding the first day of the week as the Sabbath, to be exclusively devoted to religious exercises, consider that the present laws and regulations relating to the Post Office Department tend to prohibit " the free exercise of religion," because of their conscientious scruples against performing official duties on Sunday. Claiming credit as they do for their superior republican patriotism, in thus wishing to chasten the morals of the nation, how can they ask such a change of the laws, as, while it relieves themselves, places others of their fellow-citizens in precisely the same predicament from which they would escape? Will they answer that it is because a large majority of the religious professors in the United States agree as to their Sabbath? Surely not; because the constitutional prohibitions intended to secure the rights of conscience were introduced solely for the purpose of protecting the rights of minorities in matters of conscience. The aggregate of all the professors in all the sects forms but a small minority of the people whose interests would be affected by the change; the petitioners, it is believed, only a small portion of that minority. And, if we may judge from the number and respectability of those who have filled the offices of the Department, from the highest to the lowest, many of them professors of religion, we must believe that the number who would be excluded from office by their conscientious scruples would be astonishingly small; so small, indeed, that their numbers would be far short of that sect (whose religion, however denounced by the petitioners, is equally protected by the constitution) who pay a sacred regard to the ancient Sabbath, the seventh, instead of the first day of the week.
Not disposed to implicate the motives of the petitioners in asking the change, as they have done the motives of those who enacted and those who now prefer the existing laws, we are willing to concede to them an unconsciousness of the evils which would be the consequence of their measures. It is rather a matter of gratulation that their right to petition for a redress of even imaginary grievances is guarantied by the same instrument which secures to all the right of conscience. It is from the same high authority that we claim the right to remonstrate against the changes they propose; changes which, besides weakening the Government, by relaxing its vigilance, would tend to introduce the very evils against which the first article in the amendments to the constitution was intended to guard—the blending of religious creeds with civil polity, or, in other words, the ultimate " union of church and state."
Acting according to the spirit of the constitution, (to its praise be it spoken,) our Government, as such, inquires not, and knows not, what is orthodox in matters of religion. All who are subject to its authority, as well as all who are employed in its service, are regarded equally as citizens, irrespective of their professions or creeds. And however long and generally the functionaries of our Government, in their individual or corporate capacities, may have conformed to the general and laudable custom of observing the Sabbath, it has been voluntary. But when once the Congress shall have assumed the right of deciding by a legislative act the orthodoxy of this or any other point of religious controversy, the magic spell will have been broken which has excluded religious intolerance from our civil tribunals. The next step, after selecting by law a day for religious worship, will be to enforce its observance. This point attained, it will be deemed requisite that the functionaries of Government shall be professors; and the profession of religion will soon be considered and assumed as a qualification paramount to those of political information and practical experience. The people once accustomed to regard the religious professions of men as a test of qualification for office, how easy will it be to transfer the test of profession in a candidate to the particular modification of his faith. Hence will arise a theatre for the exhibition of all the activity, all the ambition, and all the intolerance of sectarian zeal. Some sect, whose tenets shall at the time be most popular, will ultimately acquire the ascendancy.
The civil and ecclesiastical power once united in the hands of a dominant party, the people may bid adieu to that heart-consoling, soul-reviving religious liberty, at once the price of the patriot's blood, and the boon of enlightened wisdom; a liberty no where enjoyed but in the United States; a liberty which, the early history of our own country teaches us, the first settlers of America, who fled themselves from religious persecution in the old world, denied to their fellow-citizens in the new, so soon as they, in the administration oftheir Government, introduced the dangerous principle of making religious opinion a test of qualification for civil power.
It was to secure the inestimable privilege of worshipping God according to the dictates of conscience, against the misguided zeal of even their own representatives, that its enlightened framers ingrafted into the Federal constitution the prohibitory clauses on congressional legislation. And here we will take occasion to express our high admiration and unqualified approbation ot that inestimable principle established in the constitution—of leaving the religion of the people free as the air they breathe from governmental influence. That principle, the offspring ot American patriotism, in its benign, liberal, and comprehensive design, emulates the great, the obvious, the benevolent attributes of Deity, who, in the bounteous dispensations of his providence to the inhabitants of the earth, as the kind Parent of all, regards not the times or seasons of their devotional exercises, but, with liberal and impartial hand, "makes his sun to shine on the evil and the good, and sends the rain upon the just and the unjust," imparting to all in the same latitudes the same principles of nature, which afford them health and sustenance; leaving the degree of their enjoyment of his blessings to depend on the industry with which they shall imitate his untiring bounty, to the diligence with which they shall seek truth, and to the sincerity with which they shall cultivate towards each other that universal benevolence which he so freely bestows upon all.
Entertaining these views, the undersigned would earnestly, but respectfully* remonstrate against any change in the Existing laws whereby the celerity of communicating information maybe diminished; but more especially against .any legislative act, which might, by any possibility, be construed into a preference for any one mode of faith or religious opinion whatever.
21st Congress.] No. 102. [2d Session.
IRREGULARITY OF THE EASTERN MAIL.
COMMUNICATED TO THE H0U8E OF REPRESENTATIVES, FEBRUARY 11, 1831.
Sir: General Post Office Department, February 10, 1831.
In obedience to a resolution of the House of Representatives requesting the Postmaster General to "communicate to the House the causes of the irregularity of the arrival of the eastern mail, to what the failure is attributable, and what remedy can be provided to prevent the delay," 1 have the honor to state that the recent snow storm so obstructed the roads as to render them, in some instances, wholly impassable: and nothing but the unwearied and almost unexampled exertions of efficient and enterprising contractors, in the midst of the tempest, could have procured a passage for the mail through the immense drifts of snow, which are represented to have been in many places from five to twenty feet in height. This impediment, it is presumed, will not be of frequent occurrence; yet it is anticipated that the melting of the snow, especially if attended with rain, will so swell some of the streams on the route as to cause a few more failures. I am further advised that this mail is occasionally retarded in its progress by the rise of water and floating of ice in the Susquehannah river, and the condition of about forty-four miles of the road between Philadelphia and Baltimore, which, like most other roads not turnpiked, is rendered bad by rain, &c. The only " remedy" which, it is conceived, " can be provided to prevent the delay," is to obviate the difficulty in crossing the streams, and turnpike that part of the road to which allusion has been made. I have the honor to be, respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. T. BARRY. Hon. Andrew Stevenson, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
21st Conoresb.] No. J 03. [2d Session.
COMMUNICATED TO THE SENATE, FEBRUARY 14, 1831.
Whereas a variety of sentiment exists among the good people of the United States on the subject of the expediency or inexpediency of stopping the transportation of the mail on the Sabbath day; and inasmuch as Congress has been and is still urged to pass an act restricting the carrying of the mails to six days in the week only, by petitions and memorials from various quarters of the Union; and inasmuch as it is believed that such an innovation upon our republican institutions would establish a precedent of dangerous tendency to our privileges as freemen, by involving a legislative decision in a religious controversy on a point in which good citizens may nonestly differ: and whereas a free expression of sentiment by the present General Assembly on the subject may tend, in a great degree, to avert so alarming an evil as the union of church and state:
Therefore resolved by the people of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, That the able report made by Colonel Richard M. Johnson, of Kentucky, in the Senate of the United States, on the 19th January, 1829, adverse to the stoppage of the transportation of the mails on the Sabbath, or first day of the week, meets our decided approbation.
Resolved, That the Governor be requested to transmit copies of the foregoing preamble and resolution to our Senators and Representatives in Congress, with the request that they use their exertions to prevent the passage of any bill which may, at any time, be introduced for such purpose.
We certify the foregoing to be a true copy of a resolution adopted by the General Assembly of the State of Illinois at their present session. JESSE B. THOMAS, Jun.,
Secretary to the Senate. DAVID PRICKETT, Clerk to the House of Representatives. January 31, 1831.
21st Congress.] No. 104. [2d Session
COMMUNICATED TO THE HOUSE OP REPRESENTATIVES, FEBRUARY 24, 1831.
At a large and respectable meeting of the citizens of Windham county, convened, agreeably to previous notice, at the hall of E. Lincoln, in Wilmington, on the 12th day of January, 1831, General Abner Perry, of Dover, was called to the chair, and Samuel P. Skinner appointed secretary.
On motion, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted:
Resolved, That we disapprove of the measures adopted by a certain party, styling themselves the Christian party in politics, which, under moral and religious pretences, are officiously and unremittingly intermeddling with the religious opinions of others, and endeavoring to effect, by law, and other means equally exceptionable, a systematic course of measures, which, we believe, are tending to favor the dominancy of particular creeds, militating against the equal rights and liberties of all, infusing a spirit of religious intolerance and persecution into the political institutions of the country, and which, unless opposed, will result in a union of church and state, a change in the character of our Government, and the destruction of the civil and religious liberties of the people.
Resolved, That a committee of seven be. appointed to draught resolutions expressive of the sense of this convention.
Resolved, That a committee of seven be appointed to draught a memorial to Congress against the petitions for a proposed restriction of the post office regulation in relation to Sabbath mails.
In pursuance of the second resolution, the following gentlemen were appointed a committee: H. H. Winchester of Marlborough, General Aaron Barney'of Guilford, Ebenezer Jones, Esq. of Dover, Jonathan Flagg, Esq. of Wilmington, Silas Lamb of Newfane, Rufus Carley of Whitingham, and James Plumb of Halifax.
In pursuance of the third resolution, the following gentlemen were appointed a committee: Hon. John Roberts of Whitingham, Colonel John Pulsipher of Wilmington, Russel Fitch, Esq. of Brattleborough, J. D. Bradley, Esq. of Westminster, E. Ranson, Esq. of Tovvnshend, R. M. Field, Esq. of Newfane, and Colonel William Acherson of Rockingham.
On motion, it was unanimously voted to adjourn this convention to meet again on the 19th instant, at the hall of Anthony Jones, in Newfane, at 11 o'clock, A. M., when and where the friends of civil and religious liberty in the county of Windham are respectfully invited to attend.
Voted, That the proceedings of this convention be signed by the chairman and secretary, and a copy thereof transmitted to the printer of the Brattleborough Messenger, with a request that he publish the same.
ABNER PERRY, Chairman. S. P. Skinner, Secretary.
At an adjourned meeting of the friends of civil and religious liberty in the county of Windham, holden at the court-house in Newfane, on the 19th day of January, 1831, General Abner Perry in the chair, the following memorial was reported by R. M. Field, Esq., chairman of the committee appointed to draught the same:
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled: The memorial of the undersigned, in behalf of the citizens of the county of Windham and State of Vermont, respectfully represents:
That your memorialists have observed with unfeigned concern the efforts which have been made, and, as they believe, are still being made, to procure the passage of a law of Congress, prohibiting the transportation of the mail on the first day of the week; and, although your memorialists repose entire confidence in the wisdom of the national councils, yet are they impelled, by a sincere conviction of the pernicious tendency of the proposed law, to approach your honorable bodies, and respectfully submit^their views to your consideration.
Your memorialists would not have deemed it their duty to come before the National Legislature at this time with any expression of their sentiments, if the petitioners against Sunday mails had founded their request in motives of state expediency or public convenience; but they have remarked, with anxiety and alarm, that the proposed law is solicited on the assumed ground that the first day of the week is set apart by God for rest and religious worship. This request is a source of anxiety to your memorialists, because it presents to your honorable bodies a question of a purely religious nature; and of alarm, because the decision of that question necessarily involves a principle dangerous, as they believe, to the rights and liberties of the citizen.
Your memorialists will here observe, that the divine institution of the Sabbath, upon which the request of the petitioners is founded, is by no means assented to by the whole Christian church. On the contrary, many learned and pious prelates have contended, with great force uf argument, that the Sabbath was an ordinance applicable only to the Jewish nation, and that it was abolished, along with the other Jewish ordinances, on the coming of Christ. Your memorialists are disposed to waive the discussion of the merits of this theological controversy, as well from a regard to the unprofitable nature of the controversy, as from the consideration that they are addressing not an oecumenical council of the church, but the constituted organs of civil government. But believing, as your memorialists do. that, in the passage of the proposed law, the power of Congress to decide this religious dispute, to determine the divine institution of the Christian Sabbath,and to declare its inviolability, is necessarily implied, they will meet the question on the simple ground that no such power is vested in your honorable bodies, and that its exercise would be repugnant to the spirit of our institutions and the letter of the constitution. The Government of these States embraces within the pale of its protection the followers of various religions and sects, distinguished by different and often opposite rules of faith, doctrines, and modes of worship. To all these, whether Jews, Mahometans, Pagans, or Christians, it is the design of the constitution and the duty of the Legislature to extend equal rights and privileges. To recognise by law the divine origin of the tenets of one sect, to the exclusion of others, would be partial and unjust; and to give a legislative sanction to the truth of the dogmas of all, would be manifestly absurd. Nor could it fail to be perceived that, as the mysterious and unseen things of religious faith are confessedly above the grasp of human reason, so are they beyond the sphere of human legislation. To avoid, therefore, the injustice of partial legislation and the inconsistency of rectifying contradictory tenets, and also from a regard to the imperfection of human laws, when applied to the sublime mysteries of theology, all wise government has limited its action to civil and political rights and relations alone, the only legitimate subjects of its cognisance; while the religious doctrines and observances of the citizen are left to the direction of his own reason, aided by such manifestations of the divine will as God has vouchsafed to give to his creatures. Upon these principles it is believed that civil authority has been delegated to Congress, and upon them that authority has hitherto been most scrupulously administered. Your memorialists consider the proposed law as inconsistent with those principles, and a clear deviation from that established course of government which reason dictates, and the experience of more than fifty years has sanctioned by the happiest results. They are not, indeed, insensible to the many artful pretexts by which the petitioners have endeavored to conceal their object, for the purpose of escaping from the odium which would justly attach to any request for the legal confirmation of a religious tenet. And while your memorialists condemn the pious fraud nhich would deceive and mislead the public mind in order to aggrandize a sect, they do not fail to recognise in that Iraud a reluctant tribute to the truth of those principles for which they are contending. But, stripped of the disguise in which it is enveloped, and reduced to a plain and intelligible proposition, the request of the petitioners amounts, in the opinion of your memorialists, to nothing less than a prayer to your honorable bodies to incorporate a sectarian dogma into the statutes of the land.
Your memorialists also believe that the proposed measure is obnoxious to an insurmountable objection, derived from that clause of the constitution which prohibits Congress from passing any law respecting an establishment of religion. The cautious phraseology in which this prohibition is expressed is worthy of notice, as evincing an extreme jealousy of all governmental interference in matters of religion. Your memorialists confess themselves incapable of conceiving anymethod of establishing a religion, unless it be by the establishment of its tenets; nor are they able to discover any principle which authorizes your honorable bodies to make one dogma of Christians part and parcel of the law of the land, which does not also justify the transposition of their entire creed into the civil code. A religion, thus taken into the special favor of the Legislature, and all its doctrines, rites, and ceremonies ratified and promulgated by act of legislation, would constitute an establishment as firm and as perfect as the most zealous bigot could well desire. It would require but an additional act, enjoining conformity upon the oitiy.cn under pains and penalties, to vie with the corrupt establishments of Europe, during the darkest period of ecclesiastical tyranny. Such are the theoretical results of the principle assumed by the petitioners, and such might be its practical consequences. Your memorialists are, therefore, constrained to believe that the proposed measure may justly bo classed under that species of pernicious legislation against which the prohibitory clause of the constitution just mentioned is specially directed. It ts, indeed, objected by respectable authority that the refusal of Congress to prohibit Sunday mails amounts to a decision upon the divine institution of the Sabbath adverse to the petitioners. To this conclusion your memorialists are unable to bow. Its fallacy lies on the surface, and evidently consists in mingling two distinct inquiries. The divine law is one question, but the power of your honorable bodies to declare that law is quite another; yet the objection confounds both together, and. by a wretched logic, perverts a refusal to take cognisance of a religious controversy into a decision of the merits of that controversy.
Your memorialists cannot discover any real force in the arguments by which the petitioners against Sunday mails have endeavored to fortify their request. The petitioners object that the present law compels the citizen to violate the Sabbath. If, by this objection, they mean to affirm that there is any legal compulsion in the case, the position is evidently false, inasmuch as all contracts with the Post Office Department are purely voluntary; but if they intend a moral compulsion arising from pecuniary inducements, then, indeed, it has been well answered that their affected piety becomes the mere pretext of a mercenary speculation.
The prohibition of Sunday mails is also defended on the ground that the conscience of the Christian is wounded by what he considers a profanation of holy time. This reason seems to your memorialists entirely^ unsatisfactory; for, although they would deprecate the infliction of unnecessary pain upon the feelings of any religious sect in the community, they cannot assent to a doctrine by which the operations of Government would be necessarily thwarted, and public convenience sacrificed. Neither does the doctrine seem to be susceptible of any just limitation. The Jew, who rests on the seventh day, and the Mahometan, who regards the sixth as sanctified by God and his prophet, may possess consciences as tender as. under this Government, they surely have rights as sacred, as the Christian; yet they witness the like profanation of sacred time. Nor has it ever been supposed that national wrongs were to remain unredressed, or insulted national honor unavenged by arms, because a numerous and respectable sect could not look upon warfare with conscientious composure. If the consciences of Christians be so rigid and unbending that they cannot attend to the business of the post office on Sunday, they already receive, in an exemption from duties which they cannot conscientiously perform, all that they can reasonably demand, or the Government with propriety or safety grant. Nor is it difficult, in the opinion of your memorialists, to detect in the request of the petitioners a masked intolerance, which, under the pretext of a wounded conscience, would dictate to all mankind their religious faith and observances. In conclusion, your memorialists would remark, that, as the immediate effect of the proposed law would be the aggrandizement of a sect, so its tendency would be to produce an ultimate union of church and state; and your memorialists do not hesitate to avow their sincere belief that this tendency has mainly instigated the efforts of the petitioners. To no other motive can be imputed the ardor with which those religionists are pressing into the halls of legislation to ingraft their dogmas on the statute book; and to no other cause can be ascribed their intemperate zeal, which, in the pursuit of its object, disregards the constitutional barriers erected against ecclesiastical usurpation.
Against the union of church and state all history raises its warning voice. Religion becomes corrupted and debased by the alliance, and sinks into an intolerant superstition; and civil liberty never yet found a deadlier foe than bigotry armed with the sword of temporal power- Nor are your memorialists deluded by any professions of benevolent motives on the part of the petitioners. They recognise in those professions the common artifice of ecclesiastical ambition—of that ambition which deceives only to destroy; which rears in its van the emblems of meekness, charity, and philanthropy, and carries in its train the engines of persecution, torture, and massacre; which commences with soothing flattery, and ends in a furious and brutalizing tyranny; which sweeps from its path every vestige of civil and religious liberty, and perishes at last (as perish it must) gorged with human blood, the victim of its own detestable depravity. Benevolence was the pretext of the papal tyranny and its sanguinary persecutions. The massacre of i5t. Bartholomew's, the butcheries of the inquisition, and the atrocities without number which stain every page of the /Christian annals, were all committed in the name of a merciful God, and through a zeal for the reform of his ortho'doxjjchurch.
The true religion of the mild and merciful Jesus, like her author, is meek and humble: she never aspired to earthly dominion, or sought aid from the arm of civil power; the sceptre and the diadem of temporal sovereignty are as a brittle reed in her hand and a crown of thorns on her head. Relying on her own excellencies, she defies all human opposition, and spurns away the support of all human legislation, as a species of defence suited only to a false and bloody superstition.
Your memorialists rely with implicit confidence on the wisdom and firmness of your honorable bodies in protecting the civil and religious rights of your memorialists and their fellow-citizens from ecclesiastical encroachments.
On motion of E. Ranson, Esq. of Townshend, the foregoing memorial was unanimously adopted.
The following resolutions, reported by the committee appointed to draught the same, were unanimously adopted:
Resolved, That all men have a natural and unalienable right to adopt such modes of worship and such a religious faith as their judgment shall dictate, and that no power is delegated to any legislative body in this country to contravene this right; and that any attempts to settle by law contested or disputed points of religious belief, or to enforce by legislative enactment a construction of the word of God, would be a gross violation of the rights of conscience, and a palpable infraction of the constitution.
Resolved, That all legislative enactments intended to prohibit the transportation and opening the mail on the first day of the week are opposed to the spirit and letter of that constitution, which forbids a preference of one religious sect over another, and guaranties equal rights and privileges to all.
Resolved, That we discover, with regret and alarm, in the indefatigable efforts of the Christian party in politics, the germ of that most horrible tyranny, the tyranny of priestcraft, which has for ages wrested from the nations of Europe those inestimable privileges, religious liberty and the rights of conscience.
Resolved, That Colonel R. M. Johnson is entitled to the applause and gratitude of his countrymen for his bold and manly efforts in resisting the repeated attempts of the Christian party in politics in obtaining the passage of a law prohibiting the opening and transportation of the mail on the first day of the week, and for his able and talented reports against the prayer of the various petitions for the same.
Resolved, As the sense of this convention, that a committee of five be appointed, who shall be denominated the Central Committee of Vigilance for the county of Windham, whose duty it shall be to call future meetings at such times and places as they shall deem expedient, and to correspond with like committees which now are or may hereafter be appointed in other counties in this State.
In pursuance of the last resolution, the following gentlemen were appointed a committee: Hon. John Roberts of Whitingham, General Aaron Barney of Guilford, Ebenezer Jones, Esq. of Dover, Thaddeus Alexander, Esq. of Athens, and Colonel William Acherson of Rockingham.