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wrangling with their parishioners and the out ministers. At no period of its establishlaw officers about the taxes on tobacco ment by the State was the Episcopal levied for their support, as was formerly Church of Maryland so prosperous as duthe case, they are supported in a way ring some years back. Not that in all hereafter to be detailed; I do not say ex- cases the clergy are supported as they travagantly or abundantly, but in general ought to be, or as they were during the comfortably, by the contributions of their union of Church and State ; but in point of congregations. And instead of being dis- talents and sound learning, combined with liked, to use no harsher term, I have rea- piety and other ministerial gifts, they are son to believe that they are universally immeasurably superior to their predecesrespected, and even beloved, by the mem- sors before the Revolution. bers of other churches.
In North and South Carolina, and in In Maryland as well as Virginia, though New-York, though the disestablishment in a much less degree, the dissolution of of the Episcopal Church produced, as in the union of Church and State produced other cases, a kind of syncope for a time, serious embarrassments and long-contin- from this it ere long recovered, and its ued difficulty. In none of the colonies prosperity is now incomparably greater had the established clergy received such than it ever was when it was supported by an ample maintenance as in Maryland. the state. In the State of New York it Their stipends were in many cases most
may be said to hav
entered on its present liberal and ample for those days, so that career of extraordinary prosperity with to throw them at once on the voluntary the election and consecration of the late support of their parishioners was a haz- Rev. Dr. John Henry Hobart, as bishop of ardous step, and for the time led to many the diocese, previous to which its churches cases of hardship. When the Revolution and ministers were few in number combroke out, there were twenty parishes on pared with the present time. Seldom has the eastern shore of the province, and a Church owed more to the energy and twenty-four on the western; in all, forty- perseverance of one man. four. Each of these had an incumbent, But in no part of the United States was “though not always of the purest charac- the proposal to disestablish the Church reter,
;** and at the close of the war in 1783, ceived with more serious apprehension there were about eighteen or twenty re- than in New-England. The language in maining.f. But if this diminution were which the celebrated Dr. Dwight, president owing at all to the dissolution of the union of Yale College, and author of a very valuof Church and State, it was so in but a able system of theology, as well as other small degree. The fact is, that about two distinguished men of that state, deprecated thirds of the established clergy were op- the measure, is still extant in pamphlets posed to the war from its commencement, and in journals, and these have often been and refused to take the oath of allegiance quoted in England by the friends, in oppoto the new government, so that the great- sition to the opponents, of the Church Eser part of them left the country. On the tablishment there. But it ought to be return of peace, the Episcopal Church grad- known that not a single surviver at this ually recovered from its depression, and day, of all who once wrote against the ever since it has made pretty steady prog- separation of Church and State in Connecress, and been decidedlý prosperous. The ticut, has not long since seen that he was late Dr. Clagget was appointed its first bish- mistaken, and has not now found to be a op in 1792, its Convention was organized, blessing what he once regarded as a caand canons established, by which proper lamity. And had not Dr. Dwight died discipline was secured. The clergy were just as the change came into operation, no for a long time less numerous than before doubt he, too, would have changed his the Revolution; not so much, however, for opinion.* Twenty-seven years have now want of the means of supporting them, as elapsed since that time, and although I for want of suitable men. Some minis- have been much in Connecticut during the ters did, indeed, leave their parishes, and last fifteen years, know many of the clergy, the state itself, just after the war of the and have conversed much with them on Revolution, and even so late as 1822, for the subject, out of the 200 or 300 once eswant of support; but this was either be- tablished ministers of that state, I am not fore the churches had been sufficiently trained to the work of raising a mainte- * The author has often conversed on this subject nance for their ministers, or it arose from with the Rev. Lyman Beecher, D.D., who, when the the churches being really too weak for the change took place, was pastor of a church in Con
necticut, but is now professor in a theological semiburden. Maryland had fifty Episcopal cler- nary at Cincinnati, Ohio. Dr. Beecher was as much gymen in 1827; this number had risen to opposed to the dissolution as Dr. Dwight was, and seventy-two in 1838, and a considerable both preached and wrote against it. But with charproportion of the churches were still with acteristic candour, he hesitates not now to confess aware of there being more than one Con-pressed by writers on public and political gregational minister in the state who would law on the question, How far any governlike to see the union of Church and State ment has a right to interfere in religious restored in it. Indeed, the exception re-matters; but that such a right exists to a ferred to is probably the only one in the certain extent, is admitted by all of them. United States, among the Protestant min- Nor can it be otherwise so long as religion isters at least. Any others are most likely shall be thought necessary to the well-being foreigners, who have not yet entered large- of society, and to the stability of governly into the spirit of our institutions and our ment itself. It is essential to the interests people. On no point, I am confident, are of men, even in this world, that they should the evangelical clergy of the United States, be neither ignorant of, nor indifferent to, of all churches, more fully agreed than in the existence, attributes, and providence holding that a union of Church and State of one Almighty God, the Ruler of the would prove one of the greatest calamities universe; and, above all, a people that bethat could be inflicted on us, whatever it lieve in Christianity can never consent that may prove in other countries. This is the the government they live under should be very language I have heard a thousand indifferent to its promotion, since public as times from our best and ablest men when well as private virtue is connected indisspeaking on the subject.
that his apprehensions were quite unfounded. Few # Dr. Hawks's “ History of the Episcopal Church men rank higher in the United States than Dr. in Maryland."
† Ibid., p. 301. Beecher, whether as a preacher or as a writer.
solubly with a proper knowledge of its naIn Massachusetts, which was the last of ture and its claims, and as the everlasting the states to abolish the union of the Church happiness of men depend upon its cordial and the Civil Power, the change was reception. adopted from a conviction of the evils, on On this subject it may be interesting to the one side, resulting from the union in know the opinions of one of the most disthat state, and of the advantages, on the tinguished jurists in the United States, Mr. other side, that would accrue from its dis- Justice Story, one of the judges of the Susolution : a conviction that led all the evan- preme Court : gelical denominations to combine for its “ The real difficulty lies in ascertaining overthrow. In fine, after twelve years' the limits to which government may rightexperience of the change, I apprehend not fully go in fostering and encouraging relia single person of influence in all their gion. Three cases may easily be supposed. ranks will be found to regret it.
One, where a government affords aid to a And now, throughout the whole of the particular religion, leaving all persons free United States, Truth stands on its own im- to adopt any other; another, where it cremutable vantage ground. So far as the ates an ecclesiastical establishment for the Civil Power is concerned, there is not the propagation of the doctrines of a particular slightest interference with the rights of sect of that religion, leaving a like freedom conscience or with the religious worship to all others ; and a third, where it creates of any one. Religious liberty, fettered by such an establishment, and excludes all no state enactment, is as perfect as it can persons not belonging to it, either wholly be. Nor is any sect or denomination of or in part, from any participation in the Christians favoured more than another. public honours, trusts, emoluments, priviAll depend, under God, for their support on leges, and immunities of the State. For the willing hearts and active hands of their instance, a government may simply declare friends, while the civil government, re- that the Christian religion shall be the relieved from the ten thousand difficulties and ligion of the State, and shall be aided and embarrassments which a union of Church encouraged in all the varieties of sects beand State would involve, has only to mete longing to it; or it may declare that the out justice with even scales to all the citi-Catholic or Protestant religion shall be the zens, whatever may be their religious opin- religion of the State, leaving every man to ions and preferences.
the free enjoyment of his own religious
of a particular sect, as of Episcopalians, as
the religion of the State, with a like freeWHETHER THE GENERAL GOVERNMENT OF THE dom; or it may establish the doctrines of a UNITED STATES HAS THE POWER TO PRO- particular sect, as exclusively the religion
of the State, tolerating others to a limited It seems to be inferred by some that be- extent, or excluding all not belonging to it cause the Constitution declares that “Con- from all public honours, trusts, emolugress shall make no law respecting an es- ments, privileges, and immunities. tablishment of religion, or prohibiting the
"Now there will probably be found few free exercise thereof,'
;** the General Gov- persons in this, or any other Christian ernment can do nothing whatever to pro- country, who would deliberately contend mote religion. This is certainly a mistake. that it was unreasonable or unjust to fosA great variety of opinions has been ex
ter and encourage the Christian religion
generally as a matter of sound policy, as * First of the Amendments to the Constitution. well as of revealed truth. In fact, every
American colony, from its foundation down, worship of God, and of public instructions to the Revolution, with the exception of in piety, religion, and morality, therefore, Rhode Island (if, indeed, that state be an to promote their happiness, and to secure exception), did openly, by the whole course the good order and preservation of their of its laws and institutions, support and government, the people of this commonsustain, in some form, the Christian reli- wealth have a right to invest their Legislagion, and almost invariably gave a pecu- ture with power to authorize and require, liar sanction to some of its fundamental and the Legislature shall from time to doctrines. And this has continued to be time authorize and require the several the case in some states down to the pres- towns, parishes, &c., &c., to make suitable ent period, without the slightest suspicion provision, at their own expense, for the that it was against the principles of public institution of the public worship of God, law or Republican liberty.* 'Indeed, in a and for the support and maintenance of republic, there would seem to be a pecu- public Protestant teachers of piety, religion, liar propriety in viewing the Christian re- and morality, in all cases where such proligion as the great basis on which it must vision shall not be made voluntarily. Afrest for its support and permanence, if it terward there follow provisions prohibitbe, what it has ever been deemed by its ing any superiority of one sect over antruest friends to be, the religion of liberty. other, and securing to all citizens the free Montesquieu has remarked, that the Chris- exercise of religion. tian religion is a stranger to mere despotic Probably, at the time of the adoption power. The mildness so frequently rec- of the Constitution, and of the amendment ommended in the Gospel is incompatible to it now under consideration, the general, with the despotic rage with which a prince if not the universal, sentiment in America punishes his subjects, and exercises him- was, that Christianity ought to receive enself in cruelty. He has gone even far- couragement from the State, so far as was ther, and affirmed, that the Protestant re- not incompatible with the private rights of ligion is far more congenial with the spirit conscience and the freedom of religious of political freedom than the Catholic. worship. An attempt to level all religions, • When,' says he, “the Christian religion, and to make it a matter of state policy to two centuries ago, became unhappily divi- hold all in utter indifference, would have ded into Catholic and Protestant, the peo- created universal disapprobation, if not ple of the North [of Europe) embraced the universal indignation. Protestant, and those of the South still ad- “It yet remains a problem to be solved hered to the Catholic. The reason is plain. in human affairs, whether any free governThe people of the North have, and ever will ment can be permanent where the public have, a spirit of liberty and independence worship of God, and the support of religion, which the people of the South have not; constitute no part of the policy or duty of and, therefore, a religion which has no the State in any assignable shape. The visible head is more agreeable to the inde- future experience of Christendom, and pendency of climate than that which has chiefly of the American States, must setone.'I Without stopping to inquire wheth- tle this problem, as yet new in the history er this remark be well founded, it is cer- of the world, abundant as it has been in tainly true that the parent country has act- experiments in the theory of government. ed upon it with a severe and vigilant zeal ; " But the duty of supporting religion, and in most of the colonies the same rigid and especially the Christian religion, is jealousy has been maintained almost down very different from the right to force the to our own times. Massachusetts, while consciences of other men, or to punish she has promulgated, in her Bill of Rights, them for worshipping God in the manner the importance and necessity of the public which they believe their accountability to support of religion, and the worship of Him requires. It has been truly said, that God, has authorized the Legislature to re- ' religion, or the duty we owe to our Creaquire it only for Protestantism. The lan- tor, and the manner of discharging it, can guage of that Bill of Rights is remarkable be dictated only by reason and conviction, for its pointed affirmation of the duty of not by force or violence.'* Mr. Locke government to support Christianity, and himself, who did not doubt the right of the reasons for it. As,' says the third government to interfere in matters of reliarticle, the happiness of a people, and the gion, and especially to encourage Christigood order and preservation of civil gov- anity, at the same time has expressed his ernment, essentially depend upon piety, opinion of the right of private judgment, religion, and morality, and as these can- and liberty of conscience, in a manner benot be generally diffused through the com- coming his character as a sincere friend munity but by the institution of the public of civil and religious liberty. “No man,
or society of men,' says he, have any au* Kent's “ Commentaries,” sect. xxxiv., p. 35–37. Rawle “ On the Constitution," chap. 2.
, p. 121, 122. thority to impose their opinions or inter† Montesquieu, “ Spirit of Laws,” b. xxiv., c. üi. * Virginia Bill of Rights. 1 Tucker's Blackstone's Ibid., chap. v.
Commentaries, Appendix, p. 296.
pretations on any other, the meanest Chris-, lishment. The only security was in extian ; since, in matters of religion, every tirpating the power. But this alone would man must know, and believe, and give an have been an imperfect security, if it had account of himself.* The rights of con- not been followed up by a declaration of science are, indeed, beyond the just reach the right of the free exercise of religion, of any human power. They are given by and a prohibition (as we have seen) of all God, and cannot be encroached upon by religious tests. Thus the whole power human authority without a criminal dis- over the subject of religion is left excluobedience of the precepts of natural assively to the State governments, to be actwell as of revealed religion.
ed upon according to their own sense of “The real object of this amendment was justice and the State Constitutions; and not to countenance, much less to advance the Catholic and the Protestant, the CalMohammedanism, or Judaism, or Infideli- vinist and the Arminian, the Jew and the ty, by prostrating Christianity, but to ex- Infidel, may sit down at the common table clude all rivalry among Christian sects, of the national councils, without any inand to prevent any national ecclesiastical quisition into their faith or mode of worestablishment which should give to a hie- ship.”* rarchy the exclusive patronage of the na- The preceding extracts from the learntional government. It thus cuts off the ed commentator on the Constitution of the means of religious persecution (the vice United States are sufficient to show that and pest of former ages), and of the sub- the General Government is not restrained version of the rights of conscience in mat- from promoting religion, though not allowters of religion, which had been trampled ed to make any religious establishment, upon almost from the days of the apostles or to do anything for the purpose of agto the present age.f The history of the grandizing one denomination of Christians parent country had afforded the most sol- more than another. emn warnings and melancholy instructions There is also a manifest difference beon this head ;I and even New-England, tween legislating directly for religion as the land of the persecuted Puritans, as well an end of jurisdiction, and keeping it reas other colonies where the Church of spectfully in view while legislating for England had maintained its superiority, other ends, the legitimacy of which is not would furnish out a chapter as full of the questioned ; so that if we admit that the darkest bigotry and intolerance as any States alone could do the former, the Genwhich could be found to disgrace the pages eral Government might, at least, be comof foreign annals. Apostacy, heresy, and petent to the latter, and in this way the nonconformity had been standard crimes harmony of the whole might be preserved. for public appeals to kindle the flames of But this restricted view of the case is persecution, and apologize for the most not necessary. All that the Constitution atrocious triumphs over innocence and does is to restrain Congress from making virtue.
any law “respecting an establishment of “ It was under a solemn consciousness religion, or prohibiting the free exercise of of the dangers from ecclesiastical ambi- the same.” Everything that has no tention, the bigotry of spiritual pride, and the dency to bring about an establishment of intolerance of sects, thus exemplified in religion, or to interfere with the free exour domestic as well as foreign annals, ercise of religion, Congress may do: And that it was deemed advisable to exclude we shall see, hereafter, that this is the from the national government all power view of the subject taken by the proper to act upon the subject.Ở The situation, authorities of the country. too, of different states equally proclaimed the policy, as well as the necessity, of such an exclusion. In some of the states Episcopalians constituted the predominant
CHAPTER VI. sect; in others, Presbyterians ; in others, WHETHER THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED Congregationalists ; in others, Quakers; and in others, again, there was a close numerical rivalry among contending sects. It was impossible that there should not BECAUSE no mention of the Supreme Bearise perpetual strife and perpetual jeal- ing, or of the Christian religion, is to be ousy on the subject of ecclesiastical as- found in the Constitution of the United cendency, if the National Government States, some have pronounced it infidel, were left free to create a religious estab- others atheistical. But that neither opin* Lord King's Life of John Locke, p. 373.
ion is correct will appear from a moment's | 2 Lloyd's Debates, p. 195.
consideration of the case. † 4 Blackstone's Commentaries, p. 41-59.
Most certainly, the Convention which § 2 Lloyd's Debates, p. 195–197. “ The sectarian spirit,” said the late Dr. Corrie, “is uniformly selfish, * See Kent's Commentaries, Lecture xxiv. Rawle proud, and unfeeling.” — Edinburgh Review, April, on the Constitution, chap. x., p. 121, 122. 2 Lloyd's 1832, p. 135.
Debates, p. 195.
STATES MAY JUSTLY BE CALLED INFIDEL OR
framed the Constitution in 1787, under the , at all, was unnecessary. The Constitupresidency of the immortal Washington, tion was not intended for a people that had was neither infidel nor atheistical in its no religion, or that needed any legislation character. All the leading men in it were on the subject from the proposed General believers in Christianity, and Washington, or National Government; it was to be for as all the world knows, was a Christian. a people already Christian, and whose exSeveral of the more prominent members isting laws, emanating from the most apwere well known to be members of church- propriate, or, to say the least, the most es, and to live consistently with their pro- convenient sources, gave ample evidence fession. Even Franklin, who never avow- of their being favourable to religion. Their ed his religious sentiments, and cannot be doing nothing positive on the subject said with certainty to have been an infidel, seems, accordingly, to speak more loudly proposed, at a time of great difficulty in than if they had expressed themselves in the course of their proceedings, that a the most solemn formulas on the existence minister of the Gospel should be invited of the Deity and the truth of Christianity: to open their proceedings with prayer. These were clearly assumed, being, as it Many members of the Convention had were, so well known and fully acknowlbeen members also of the Continental Con-edged as to need no specification in an ingress, which carried on the national gov- strument of a general nature, and designernment from the commencement of the ed for general objects. The Bible does Revolution until the Constitution went into not begin with an argument to prove the effect. Now the religious views of that existence of God, but assumes the fact, as Congress we shall presently see from their one the truth of which it needs no attempt acts.
to establish. The framers of that Constitution seem, This view is confirmed by what is to be in fact, to have felt the necessity of leav- found in the Constitution itself. From the ing the subject of religion, as they left reference to the Sabbath, in article I., secmany things besides, to the governments tion vii., it is manifest that the framers of of the several states composing the Union. it believed that they were drawing up a It was a subject on which these states had Constitution for a Christian people : a peolegislated from the very first. In many of ple who valued and cherished a day assothem the Christian religion had been, and ciated, if I may so speak, with so large a in some it still continued be, supported portion of Christianity. Regarding the subby law; in all, it had been the acknowl-ject in connexion with the circumstances edged basis of their liberty and well-being, that belong to it, I do not think that the and its institutions had been protected by government of the United States can justlegal enactments. Nothing, accordingly, ly be called either infidel or atheistical, on could be more natural in the Convention account of its Federal Constitution. The than to deem the introduction of the sub-authors of that Constitution never dreamject unnecessary. There is yet another ed that they were to be regarded as treatview of the subject.
ing Christianity with contempt, because “On this head,” says an able writer, they did not formally mention it as the as on others, the Federal Constitution law of the land, which it was already, much was a compromise. Religion could not less that it should be excluded from the well be introduced into it for any purpose government. If the latter was intended, of positive regulation. There was no we shall presently see that their acts, from choice but to tolerate all Christian denom- the very organization of the government, inations, and to forbear entering into the belied any such intention. particular views of any. Religion was Should any one, after all, regret that the likely to fare best in this way. Men who Constitution does not contain something loved it better than we do nowadays, felt more explicit on the subject, I cannot but bound in prudence to leave it at once un- say that I participate in that regret. Sure aided and unencumbered by constitutional I am that, had the excellent men who fra. provisions, save one or two of a negative med the Constitution foreseen the infercharacter. And they acted thus, not that ences that have been drawn from the omisit might be trodden under foot, the pearl sion, they would have recognised, in a among swine, but to the very end of its proper formula, the existence of God, and greater ultimate prevalence, its more last- the truth and the importance of the Chrising sway among the people."*
tian religion. There is truth, unquestionably, in these I conclude this chapter in the language remarks; still I am of opinion that the of one who has ably treated this question. Convention, while sensible that it was un- Consistent with themselves, the people wise to make religion a subject of legisla- of 1787 meant by the federal arrangement tion for the General Government, thought nothing but a new and larger organization that this, or even any mention of the thing of government on principles already fa
* “An Inquiry into the Moral and Religious Char. miliar to the country. The state governacter of the American Government,” p. 72. ments were not broad enough for national