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the religious prejudices, and the approved immemorial usages of the people for whom they were enacted. The blind prejudices; idiosyncrasies, and vices of each particular people, as well as their advance in civilization, general intelligence, and state-craft, are easily ascertainable from an examination of their laws. A wise government wishes to provide against the perpetuation of any thing that may be in its organic laws having a tendency to vice or weakness. Consequently the most successful, promising, and enlightened governments of the present day, while they despair of materially altering the manners or reforming the habits of the older members of society, have a tender care for the rising generation, and zealously endeavor to teach them, at an early age, the manners and principles which are thought to be most conducive to the happiness of the citizen and the prosperity and perpetuity of the state. In the natural course of things, all those who, by the laxity or depravity of their moral instincts, or by the arrogance of spiritual pride, the vagaries of undisciplined imaginations, and the extravagances to which badly balanced intellects may be led in the pursuit of ultimate principles, are working injury to the state, will soon be numbered only with the dead; and it were well if their evil manners and principles were buried with them. Obstinate manhood may blindly adhere to its old idols, but the reaper will come by and by; and it is to be hoped that the idolater and his brazen images will be carried away together, in order that purer shrines may be reared and nobler objects adored by those who
are to come after. Toward the accomplishment of this great end-the symmetrical development of the intellectual powers and the purification of the manners of the masses-no one can do more than the intelligent and conscientious teacher. To refine manners, develop thought, and fill young souls with noble aspirations is the everyday duty of his high calling. He is intrusted by the state with one of its most tender cares, and it looks to him almost wholly for the accomplishment of what is really its highest and noblest ambition—the formation of minds such as will enhance its society, perfect its laws, and adorn its history. To this end it contributes largely from the public funds, builds a comfortable school-house in every one of its neighborhoods, carefully selects from its most exemplary and intellectual young men and women a teacher for each, and then opens the doors to all equally, showing no partiality and making no distinctions, but inviting all to come and enjoy without money and without price. And now, after all this tender solicitude and generous profusion, the state lacks no confidence in its teachers; but, placing an implicit faith in their zeal, it takes a calm survey of the coming centuries, and beholding generation after generation, it rejoices that each successive one will be wiser, better, and happier than the preceding.
OF RELIGION IN SCHOOLS-AS THE LAW WAS.
SEC. 1. In England, in the time of Charles II., all persons were prohibited from teaching school,“ unless they be licensed by the ordinary, and subscribe a declaration of conformity to the liturgy of the Church, and reverently frequent divine service established by the laws of this kingdom.” (13 and 14 Car. II. c. 4; 17 Car. II. c. 2.) This was the same Charles from whom Roger Williams obtained the charter for Rhode Island. No dissenter shall hold the mastership of any college or school of royal foundation since 1 Will. and Mary. (19 Geo. III. c. 44; 1 Mod. 3.) A schoolmaster must be licensed by the bishop, and may be punished in the spiritual courts for keeping a school without a license. (Matthews v. Burdett, 3 Salk. 318.) It is not our purpose to explain the 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 tne 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