ePub 版

And every woman Quaker, that hath suffered the law here, that shall presume to come into this jurisdiction, shall be severely whipped, and kept at the house of correction at work till she be sent away at her own charge ; and so also for her coming again, she shall be alike used as aforesaid. And for every Quaker, he or she, that shall a third time herein again offend, they shall kave their tongues bored through with a hot iron, and be kept at the house of correction, close at work, till they be sent away at their own charge.”

SEC. 4. In Connecticut, in 1642, the following laws were established: “1. If any man, after legal conviction, shall have or worship any other god but the Lord God, he shall be put to death. 2. If any man or woman be a witch—that is, hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit—they shall be put to death. 3. If any person shall blaspheme the name of God the Father, Son, or Holy Ghost, with direct, express, presumptuous, or highhanded blasphemy, or shall curse God in the like manner, he shall be put to death.” In about 1655, the following laws were in force: “1. If any person turn Quaker, he shall be banished, and not suffered to return upon the pain of death. 2. No priest shall abide in this dominion: he shall be banished, and suffer death on his return. Priests may be seized by any one, without a warrant. 3. No man shall hold any office, who is not sound in the faith ; whoever gives a vote to such person shall pay a fine of one pound sterling, and for a second offense he shall be disfranchised. 4. No Quaker, or dissenter any officer.

from the established worship of this dominion, shall be allowed to give a vote for the election of magistrates or

5. No food or lodging shall be afforded to a Quaker, Adamite, or other heretic. 6. No one shall run on the Sabbath-day, or walk in his garden or elsewhere, except reverently to and from meeting. 7. No one shall travel, cook victuals, make beds, sweep house, cut hair, or shave on the Sabbath-day. 8. No woman shall kiss her child on the Sabbath or fasting-day. 9. No minister shall keep a school." It is said by Peters, in his History of Connecticut, that these laws were the laws made by the people of New-Haven, previous to their incorporation with Saybrook and Hartford colonies, and were, as he says, very properly termed “ blue laws,” that is, bloody laws; for, he adds, they were all sanctified with excommunication, confiscation, fines, banishment, whipping, cutting off the ears, burning the tongue, and death. We do not reproduce these laws with pleasure, and have given only as many as seemed necessary to convey a proper idea of the spirit with which Connecticut laws were made in those days.

SEC. 5. In New-York (1693) it was ordered that “all Jesuits, seminary priests, missionaries, or other ecclesiastical persons, made or ordained by any power or jurisdiction derived or pretended from the Pope, residing or being within the province, depart the same on or before the first of November, 1700. If any such continue to remain, or come into the province, after the said first of November, he shall be deemed an incendiary, a disturber

[ocr errors]

of the public peace, an enemy to the true Christian religion, and shall suffer perpetual punishment.(Plant. Laws, p. 294.) A similar law was in force at this time in Massachusetts. (Plant. Laws, p. 54.) One that lived in those days, we imagine, could hardly suspect that, before another century passed away, the people of the whole United States would declare that“ Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." This was a grand principle to incorporate in the Constitution of a great country; but it must be borne in mind that its effect is, to leave to the people of each State the power to make any law they may deem expedient, “respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Were it not for this reserved power, the law as to religion in schools could have been explained in five minutes. Now, however, the explanation is not so easy. We have said elsewhere that our schools are, for the most part, free from sectarianism, and this is true. But a general statement of this kind will not answer the ends of those who would be exact, careful, and critical in their inquiries. It is for the gratification of such that we place the laws of the several States on this particular subject in close juxtaposition—a thing which is now done for the first time. We give the law, and cite the authorities in which the very language as given will in every case be found.

SEC. 6. In Maryland, where a distinguished historian assures us “religious liberty obtained a home, its only home in the wide world,”(1 Bancroft's Hist. U. S. p. 247,) it was enacted that, if any person whatever, inhabiting within this province, shall blaspheme, that is, curse God, deny our Saviour to be the Son of God, or deny the Holy Trinity, or the Godhead of any of the three persons, or the unity of the Godhead, or shall utter any reproachful words or language concerning the Holy Trinity, or any of the three persons thereof, he or she shall, for the first offense, be bored through the tongue, and fined twenty pounds sterling; for the second offense, he or she shall be branded on the forehead with the letter“ B,” and fined forty pounds sterling, or imprisonment for one year; and for the third offense, he or she so offending shall suffer death, with confiscation of all their goods and chattels. (Plant. Laws, p. 8.) The Book of Common Prayer, and administration of the sacraments, with other rites and ceremonies of the Church of England, shall be solemnly read by all ministers in the churches and other places of worship in this province. (Plant. Laws, p. 62.)

SEC. 7. In Virginia, it was enacted that, if any person brought up in the Christian religion shall, by writing, printing, teaching, or advised speaking, deny the being of a God, or the Holy Trinity; or assert or maintain there are more gods than one; or deny the Christian religion to be true; or the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be of divine authority; and be thereof lawfully convicted upon indictment or information in the general court, such persons, for the first offense, shall be disabled to hold any office or employment, ecclesiastical, civil, or military, or any profit or advantage therefrom. And every such office or employment, held by such person at the time of his or her conviction, is hereby declared void. And every such person, upon a second conviction of any of the crimes aforesaid, in manner aforesaid, shall from thenceforth be unable to sue in any court of law or equity, or to be guardian to any child, or executor or administrator of any person, or capable of any gift or legacy, or to bear any office, civil or military, forever within this colony; and shall also suffer from the time of such conviction three years' imprisonment, without bail or mainprise. (Laws of Va. 1758, p. 14.) This same law. was in force in South-Carolina from about 1703. (Pub. Laws of S. C. 1790, p. 3.) No other catechism could be taught than the Church catechism inserted in the Book of Common Prayer. (Plant. Laws of Va. p. 12.) The following law was made in Virginia, in the year 1663, and was "in force and in use" still in 1704: “If any Quakers or other separatists whatever in this colony assemble themselves together to the number of five or more, of the age of sixteen years or upward, under the pretense of joining in a religious worship not authorized in England or this country, the parties so offending, being thereof lawfully convicted by verdict, confession, or notorious evidence of the fact, shall for the first offense forfeit and pay two hundred pounds of tobacco; for the second offense, five hundred pounds of tobacco; to be levied by warrant from any one justice of the peace upon the goods of the party con

« 上一頁繼續 »