« 上一頁繼續 »
law of England fully on this subject, but merely to show what it was up to a particular time. This object is now accomplished.
SEC. 2. “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." (U. S. Const. art. 1 of Amend.) It would seem to follow from this, that any State may establish a religion, and cause the same to be taught in its schools; for, if Congress can make no law respecting the establishment of religion, it can make no law prohibiting the establishment of it. It is entirely within the power of the several States, therefore, to establish a religion for themselves or not, just as they may deem proper. It follows, also, that a State may establish a religious test for teachers; and this may be done for teachers of private as well as of public schools. Whether any thing of this kind has been done is a question which can be answered only after a careful examination of the laws of the sereral States. Believing it to be of the utmost importance that teachers should know precisely what is and is not required of them by law in matters of religious concernment, upon which the consciences of men everywhere are so tender, and which are so fruitful in likes and dislikes, disputes and contentions, we will now proceed to explain the law of the several States on this point, and at the same time give a legal history (gleaned from law records only) of the origin and progress of religious liberty in our country.
SEC. 3. In Massachusetts, our pious Pilgrim fathers thought it their duty, in founding a state, to make the weak in faith sound by fear, and enacted as follows: “If any person within this jurisdiction shall broach and maintain any damnable heresies, as denying the immortality of the soul or the resurrection of the body, or any sin to be repented of in the regenerate, or any evil to be done by the outward man to be accounted sin; or shall deny that Christ gave himself a ransom for our sins; or shall affirm that we are not justified by his death and righteousness, but by our own merit; or shall deny the morality of the fourth commandment; or shall openly condemn or oppose the baptism of infants; or shall purposely depart the congregation at the administration of the ordinance of baptism; or shall deny the ordinance of magistracy, or their lawful authority to make war and peace, and to punish the outward breaches of the first table; or shall endeavor to seduce others to any
of these opinions—every such person, lawfully convicted, shall be banished this jurisdiction. No schoolmaster shall be admitted who is unsound in the faith." (Plant. Laws, 1704, pp. 44, 45, 89.) These laws seem to have been made in 1646, about ten years after the banishment of Roger Williams, the irrepressible advocate of religious liberty. The Rev. Roger Williams was an Englishman of high standing, not only in his native country, but in the wilds of America. In 1631, disliking the formalities of the Church of England, he seceded from it and joined himself to the Dissenters, and fled to this country to avoid the persecutions that then raged
violently in England; civil and religious liberty were then strangers in New-England, and Mr. Williams advocated them with an intrepidity that awakened the attention of the more rigid of the opposition and of many of his friends. On his arrival in this country, he first located himself at Boston, but at the time of his trial resided at Salem, where he had the charge of a large church and congregation, who esteemed him for his strong powers of mind, highly cultivated; his purity of character as a Christian teacher; for his liberal and enlarged views on the subject of civil and religious liberty. With his accustomed pious frankness, he did not hesitate to advance his sentiments unreservedly, and denied the right of the civil magistrates to govern or legislate on ecclesiastical affairs. (Winthrop.) Which soon caused him to be arraigned, and he was, in October, 1635, tried and sentenced to banishment from the colony. But the court who had so unjustly banished him, still possessing too much of the milk of human kindness to drive Mr. Williams at that season of the year, with his family, into the wilderness at the mercy of the savages, gave him liberty to remain in the colony until the next spring, upon condition that he should not disseminate his doctrines and opinions to their citizens; which favor he gladly accepted, and remained there until the January following ; when he was informed that his accusers were about to send him back to his persecutors in England. He therefore forth with made his escape from Salem, in the midst of winter, and fled to the Indians in Rhode Island, where he was kindly and favorably received by the chief sachem of Mount Hope, who made him a grant of a valuable tract of land at Secunk; but even on this favored lot of his refuge he was not long suffered to remain, but was ordered by the colonists to cross the river, they claiming the lands upon which he was then located as belonging to the colony of Massachusetts. He accordingly in the spring (with his servant) crossed the river, where he once more planted himself, and laid the foundation of the present city of Providence, where he resided many years, an instrument in the hands of the Lord to protect the lives, liberty, and property of his persecutors in the colony from which he was banished; from the scalping-knife and tomahawk of the ruthless savages, over whom he had gained an influence and control by his kindness to them. He alone was enabled to conciliate the angry passions and revengeful dispositions of the Indians about him, and save the massacre of the Massachusetts colonists. Mr. Williams, soon after he formed his colony at Providence, became law-giver and minister to his infant colony, and formed his constitution upon the broadest principles of civil and religious liberty and equal rights, and was the first governor in North-America“ who held liberty of conscience to be the birthright of man.” (Blue Law, pp. 67, 68.) “Whereas Mr. Roger Williams, one of the elders of the church of Salem, hath broached and divulged divers new and dangerous opinions against the authority of magistrates, as also written letters of defamation both of magistrates and churches here, and that before any conviction, and yet maintaineth the same without retraction : It is therefore ordered, that the said Mr. Williams shall depart out of this jurisdiction within six weeks now next ensuing, which, if he neglects to perform, it shall be lawful for the governor and two of the magistrates to send him to game place out of this jurisdiction, not to return any more, without license from the court." (Mass. Records, ,
, 1635.) “Richard Waterman being found erroneous, heretical, and obstinate, it was ordered that he should be detained prisoner till the quarter court in the seventh month, unless five of the magistrates find cause to send him away, which if they do, it is ordered, he shall not return within this jurisdiction upon pain of death." (Mass. Records, 1644.) The numerous cases of banishment for heresy upon those ancient records recall to our mind the following remark of a learned theologian: “To banish, imprison, starve, Lang, and burn men for their religion is not the gospel of Christ, but the gospel of the devil. Where persecution begins, Christianity ends; and if the name of it remains, the spirit is gone." (Jortin.) About 1657 it was ordered, that if any Quaker or Quakers shall presume, after they have once suffered what the law requireth, to come into this jurisdiction, every such male Quaker shall, for the first offense, have one of his ears cut off, and be kept at work in the house of correction till he can be sent away at his own charge; and for the second offense, shall have the other ear cut off, and be kept at the house of correction, as aforesaid.