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There is nothing noble about politics.
This article begins in the last three years of the 1700s in America. In this beginning section you will read how John Adams used religion and later regretted it. Alexander Hamilton recommending the use of religion for political purposes. The Treaty of Tripoli, signed by Adams into law, stating that this nation was not founded on religion. A July 4th sermon by the Rev Timothy Dwight, newspaper reactions to some of these goings on. The stage was being set for what was to come in a couple of short years.
Some have said that the dirtiest political campaign in American history was the campaign of 1800. During that campaign religion was brought into it a big way. The Clergy of New England, in particular, used religion as a weapon to prevent Jefferson from being elected president. He was called an atheist, an infidel. Religious prejudices, biases and fears of many of the people were played upon. They used the pulpit, they used pamphlets, they used the newspapers. Many of the Federalist party joined in this tactic.
Friends of Jefferson responded defending him and frequently attacking the religion of members of the Federalist party, especially John Adams.
In this article you will find a couple of pamphlets that were published at that time that cannot be found anywhere else on the Internet that the general public has access to. The pamphlets are: Serious Considerations on the Election of a President: Addressed to the Citizens of the United States. Rev. William Linn, Rev. John Mitchell Mason (New York 1800) and A Vindication of Thomas Jefferson; Against the Charges Contained in a Pamphlet Entitled, "Serious Considerations on the Election of a President: Addressed to the Citizens of the United States" Clinton, DeWitt, 1769-1828
March 4, 1797
. . . if an unshaken confidence in the honor, spirit, and resources of the American people, on
which 1 have so often hazarded my all and never been deceived; if elevated ideas of the high destinies of this country and of my own duties toward it, founded on a knowledge of the moral principles and intellectual improvements of the people deeply engraven on my mind in early life, and not obscured but exalted by experience and age; and, with humble reverence, I feel it to be my duty to add, if a veneration for the religion of a people who profess and call themselves Christians, and a fixed resolution to consider a decent respect for Christianity among the best recommendations for the public service, can enable me in any degree to comply with your wishes, it shall be my strenuous endeavor that this sagacious injunction of the two Houses shall not be without effect.
With this great example before me, with the sense and spirit, the faith and honor, the duty and interest, of the same American people pledged to support the Constitution of the United States, 1 entertain no doubt of its continuance in all its energy, and my mind is prepared without hesitation to lay myself under the most solemn obligations to support it to the utmost of my power.
And may that Being who is supreme over all, the Patron of Order, the Fountain of Justice, and the Protector in all ages of the world of virtuous liberty, continue His blessing upon this nation and its Government and give it all possible success and duration consistent with the ends of His providence.
Source of Information:
Excerpts from John Adams' Inaugural Address, Philadelphia, March 4, 1797. History of American Presidential Elections 1789-1968, Volume I, 1789-1824. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Chelsea House Publishers, N Y (1985), pp 97-98.
March 22, 1797
New York, March 22, 1797
It is now ascertained that Mr Pinckney has been refused and with circumstances of indignity. `What is to be done? The share I have had in the public administration added to my interest as a Citizen make me extremely anxious that at this delicate Crisis a course of conduct exactly proper may be adopted. I offer to your consideration without ceremony what appears tome such a course.
First. I would appoint a day of humiliation and prayer. In such a crisis this appears to me proper in itself and it will be politically useful to impress our nation that there is a serious state of things--to strengthen religious ideas in a contest which in its progress may require that our people may consider themselves as the defenders of their Country against Atheism conquest & anarchy. It is far from evident to me that the progress of the war may not call on us to defend our fire sides & our altars. And any plan which does not look forward to this as possible will in my opinion be a superficial one.
Second. I would call Congress together at as short a day as a majority of both houses can assemble.
3. When assembled I would appoint a Commission extraordinary to consist of Mr. Jefferson, or Mr. Madison, together with Mr Cabot & Mr. Pinckney. To be useful it is important that a man agreeable to the French should go. But neither Madison nor Jefferson ought to go alone. The three will give security. It will flatter the French Pride. It will engage American confidence & recommend the people to what shall be eventually necessary. The Commission should be instructed to explain, to ask a rescinding of the order under which we suffer & reparation for the past--to remodify our Treaties under proper guards. On the last idea I will trouble you hereafter.
4. The Congress should be urged to take defensive measures. These to be 1. An Embargo unless with convoy by special license.
Additional Revenue or additional expenses.
2. The Creation of a naval force--including the prompt purchase and equipment of Sloops of War. This force to serve as Convoys to our Trade.
3. Commissions to be granted to our Merchant Vessels authorising them to arm to defend themselves to capture when attacked but not to cruise, The same instructions to our convoys.
4. The origination of a provisional army of Twenty five thousand men to be ready to serve if a War breaks out--in the mean time to receive certain compensations but not full pay. The annual increase of our establishment in Artillery & Cavalry.
The following considerations appear to me weighty. The Empress of Russia is dead. Successors are too apt to contradict predecessors. The new Emperor may join Prussia. The Emperor of Germany by this mean or by the fortune of War may be compelled to make peace. England may be left alone. America may be a good outlet for trouble--some armies which the Government is at a loss to manage. The governing passion of the Rulers of France has been revenge. Their interest is not to be calculated upon. To punish and humble us--to force us into a greater dependence may be the plan of France. At any rate we shall best guarantee ourselves against calamity by preparing for the worst. In this time of general convulsion, in a state of things which threatens all civilization tis a great folly to wrap ourselves up in a cloak of security.
The Executive before Congress meet ought to have a well digested plan & to cooperate in getting it adopted.
Yrs. truly,. A Hamilton
3 March 22 1797
T Pickering Esq
Source of Information:
Letter written to Timothy Pickering by Alexander Hamilton, New York, March 22, 1797, ALS; Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, Vol. XX, January 1796- March 1797, Edited by Harold C. Syrett, Columbia University Press, (1974), pp 545-46.
MARCH 3, 1797
To the Clergy of different denominations residing in and near the city of Philadelphia.
[March 3, 1797]
Believing, as I do, that Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society; I view with unspeakable pleasure, that harmony and brotherly love which characterize the Clergy of different denominations, as well in this, as in other parts of the United States; exhibiting to the world a new and interesting spectacle, at once the pride of our country and the surest basis of universal harmony.
(Unless otherwise indicated originals or original copies of all the George Washington letters can be found in The Papers of George Washington, Library of Congress, with the proper volume and page number following each excerpted letter: i.e. Papers, CCCXXXVI, 280-281)
Source of Information:
Excerpt from a letter written by G. Washington, May 1789. George Washington & Religion, By Paul F. Boller, Jr. Southern Methodist University Press, Dallas, 1962, pp 193-194.
JUNE 10, 1797
ARTICLE 11. As the government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion, as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmans; and, as the said States never entered into any wars, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext, arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
Source of Information:
Treaty of Peace and Friendship Between The United States And The Bey And Subjects of Barbary. Communicated to the Senate, May 26, 179, American State Papers, Class I, Foreign Relations, Volume, II, Page 154). (The treaty was made under the administration of George Washington, and was signed and sealed at Tripoli on the fourth Day of November, 1796, and at Algiers the third day of January, 1797, by Hassan Bashaw, Dey of Algiers, and Joel Barlow, Counsul-General of the United States. American State Papers Bearing On Sunday Legislation, Revised and Enlarged Edition, Compiled and Annotated by William Addison Blakely, Revised Edition Edited by Willard Allen Colcord, The Religious Liberty Association, Washington D.C. 1911, pp 153.
*It was ratified by the U.S. Senate June 7, 1797 and signed into law by President John Adams June 10, 1797.*
JANUARY 27-FEBRUARY 11, 1798
In addition to these measures Let the president recommend a day to be observed as a day of fasting humiliation & prayer. On religious ground this is very proper--On political, it is very expedient. The Government will be very unwise, if it does not make the most of the religious prepossessions of our people--opposing the honest enthusiasm of Religious opinion to be Political fanaticism. The last step appears to me of the most precious importance & I earnestly hope, it will by no means be neglected.
Source of Information:
Excerpt from a letter written to James McHenry by Alexander Hamilton, sometime between January 27 and February 11, 1798, AD, in the United States Naval Academy Museum; AD (photostat), James McHenry Papers, Library of Congress, This undated document was written after January 26, 1798, when McHenry wrote to H. and before February 12, the date McHenry acknowledged to Hamilton of the receipt of this document. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, Vol. XXI, April 1797-July 1798, edited by Harold C. Syrett, Columbia University Press, New York and London (1974) pp 341-346.
MARCH 1-15, 1798
My Dear Sir
In my opinion these things--
The President ought to make a solemn and manly communication to Congress the language grave and firm but without invective--in which after briefly recapituIating the progress of our controversy with France the measures taken toward accommodation & stating their degrading result--he ought to advert to the extremely critical posture of Europe the excessive pretensions of France externally her treatment to the neutral powers generally dwelling emphatically on the late violent invasion of their Commerce as an act destructive of the Independence of Nations--to state that eventual dangers of the most serious kind hang over us and that we ought to consider ourselves as bound to provide with the utmost energy for the immediate security of our invaded rights & for the ultimate defence of our liberty and Independence--and conclude with a recommendation on general terms to adopt efficient measures for increasing our revenue for protecting our commerce, for guarding our sea ports and ultimately foe repelling Invasion-intimating also that the relations of Treaty which have subsisted between us and France & which have been so intirely disregarded by her, ought not to remain by our Constitution & laws binding upon us but ought to be suspended in their Operation till an adjustment of differences shall reestablish a basis of connection and intercourse between the the two Countries--taking especial care however that merely defensive views be indicated.
The measures which I should contemplate would be these--
To authorise our Merchantmen to arm and to defend themselves against any attempt to capture them by French Cruisers and to capture & bring in any vessels by which they should be attacked.
To complete our Frigates already begun and to enable our president to provide equip & arm immediately a number of vessels of from 16 to 20 guns to serve as Convoys. These vessels also to be authorised to capture all those that may attack them and all French privateers found within Twenty leagues of our Coast.
The President to be likewise authorised in case a War should break out to provide Ten ships of the line. The terms to be broad enough to enable him to purchase them or take them in pay of a foreign power, but this idea to be covered under general expressions.
Our regular army to be increased to 20,000 Men horse foot & infantry & a provisional army of 30,000 more to be added.
The fortification of our ports to be seriously prosecuted & not less than a million of Dollars appropriated to this purpose.
All the sources of Revenue Land Tax house tax &c. &c. to be immediately resorted to--that we may be equal to this expenditure & early providing the most essential sinew of War may be able to carry it on with Vigour & avoid Running in Debt. A loan commensurate with the objects to be authorized.
The Treaties between the two Countries to be declared suspended.
These measures to a feeble mind may appear gigantic. To yours they can only appear excessive as far as it may seem impracticable to get them adopted. For my part I contemplate the possible overthrow of England--the certainty of invasion in that case, without unqualified submission and the duty and practicability even in that even of defending our honor and rights.
Let the President also call to his aid the force of religious Ideas by a day of fasting humiliation & prayer. This will be in my opinion no less proper in a political than in a religious View. We must oppose to political fanaticism religious zeal.
I do not enter into a detail of reasons for the respective measures. They will all occur to you. I consider the Independence of Nations as threatened and I am willing to encounter every extremity in the preservation of ours.
In all our measures however, let it be seen that final rupture is desired to be avoided as far as may consist with security & the UStates still stand ready to accommodate. I write in extreme haste.
Yrs. A H
P.S. I beseech you Exert yourself to induce the New England Representatives if not already done to forward the Bill for providing an indifferent mode of Trial in Cases in which States are concerned. Without it a civil war may ensue between us & Connecticut & the Federal Interest will at any rate be much injured.
Source of Information:
Letter to Theodore Sedgwick from Alexander Hamilton, Albany, March 1-15, 1798, ALS, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston; copy, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, Vol. XXI, April 1797-July 1798, edited by Harold C. Syrett, Columbia University press, New York and London (1974) pp 301-303.
MARCH 5, 1798
GENERAL + A U R O R A + ADVERTISER
MONDAY MARCH 5, 1798
Take notice! Something very like this happened on the 4th of March, 1797. The American constitution has no relation to the Christian religion: Yet Mr. Adams, before taking his oath of office, made a long exordium to this purpose: viz, that, although the constitution makes no distinction in favour of the Christian religion, yet that he (Mr. Adams) in nominating to public offices would always have a special eye to that point. This truth was thereafter sent to the press.
In July or August last, when the author of the history of 1796 or in plain terms, when Hamilton came to Philadelphia to vindicate his character by a confession of adultery, this identical and most Christian president invited him to a family dinner with Mrs. Adams. Such is his selection of company for the entertainment of his wife! Oh, Johnny! Johnny!
Source of Information:
General Aurora Advertiser, March 5, 1798. MFILM N.S. 12516 HF5862.A9
MARCH 17, 1798
I would at the same time have the President to recommend a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer. The occasion renders it proper & religious ideas will be useful. I have this last measure at heart.
Source of Information:
Excerpt from a letter written to Timothy Pickering by Alexander Hamilton, March 17, 1798, ALS, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, Vol. XXI, April 1797- July 1798, edited by Harold C. Syrett, Columbia University press, New York and London (1974) pp 364-366.
MARCH 23, 1798
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him, but a duty whose natural influence is favorable to the promotion of that morality and piety without which social happiness can not exist nor the blessings of a free government be enjoyed; and as this duty, at all times incumbent, is so especially in seasons of difficulty or of danger, when existing or threatening calamities, the just judgments of God against prevalent iniquity, are a loud call to repentance and reformation; and as the United States of America are at present Placed in a hazardous and afflictive situation by the unfriendly disposition, conduct, and demands of a foreign power, evinced by repeated refusals to receive our messengers of reconciliation and peace, by depredations on our commerce, and the infliction of injuries on very many of our fellow-citizens while engaged in their lawful business on the seas-- under these considerations it has appeared to me that the duty of imploring the mercy and benediction of Heaven on our country demands at this time a special attention from its inhabitants.
I have therefore thought fit to recommend, and I do hereby recommend, that Wednesday, the 9th day of May next, be observed throughout the United States as a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that the citizens of these States, abstaining on that day from their customary worldly occupations, offer their devout addresses to the Father of Mercies agreeably to those forms or methods which they have severally adopted as the most suitable and becoming; that all religious congregations do, with the deepest humility, acknowledge before God the manifold sins and transgressions with which we are justly chargeable as individuals and as a nation, beseeching Him at the same time, of His infinite grace, through the Redeemer of the World, freely to remit all our offenses, and to incline us by His Holy Spirit to that sincere repentance and reformation which may afford us reason to hope for his inestimable favor and heavenly benediction; that it be made the subject of particular and earnest supplication that our country may be protected from all the dangers which threaten it; that our civil and religious privileges may be preserved inviolate and perpetuated to the latest generations; that our public councils and magistrates may be especially enlightened and directed at this critical period; that the American people may be united in those bonds of amity and mutual confidence and inspired with that vigor and fortitude by which they have in times past been so highly distinguished and by which they have obtained such invaluable advantages; that the health of the inhabitants of our land may be preserved, and their agriculture, commerce, fisheries, arts, and manufactures be blessed and prospered; that the principles of genuine piety and sound morality may influence the minds and govern the lives of every description of our citizens, and that the blessings of peace, freedom, and pure religion may be speedily extended to all the nations of the earth.
And finally, I recommend that on the said day the duties of humiliation and prayer be accompanied by fervent thanksgiving to the Bestower of Every Good Gift, not only for His having hitherto protected and preserved the people of these United States in the independent enjoyment of their religious and civil freedom, but also for having prospered them in a wonderful progress of population, and for conferring on them many and great favors conducive to the happiness and prosperity of a nation.
Given under my hand and the seal of the United States of America, at Philadelphia, this 23d day of March, A. D. 1798, and of the Independence of the said States the twenty-second.
[SEAL] JOHN ADAMS.
By the President:
Secretary of State.
Source of Information:
A Compilation of The Messages And Papers of The Presidents, Vol. I, Bureau of National Literature, N Y, PP 258-260.
MARCH 25, 1798
Prior to receipt of your letter, the President had determined to recommend the observance of a general fast; and had desired one or both the chaplains of Congress to prepare the draught of a proclamation. This has since been issued.
Source of Information:
Excerpt from a letter written by Timothy Pickering to Alexander Hamilton, March 25, 1798. ALS, Hamilton papers, Library of Congress; ALS, letterpress copy, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, Vol. XXI, April 1797-July 1798, edited by Harold C. Syrett, Columbia University Press, New York and London (1974) pp 370.
MARCH 29, 1798
GENERAL + A U R O R A + ADVERTISER
THURSDAY MARCH 29, 1798
FOR THE AURORA
For fear lest Omniscience should want intelligence, respecting federal purity, and Jacobin quilt, our president has issued a proclamation for a fast and thanksgiving both in one day; he says we are "placed in a hazardous and afflictive situation by the unfriendly disposition &c. Of a foreign power. In short, Mr. Adams wants to have a first hearing; and to make every pulpit resound with declarations against France.
He chuses to take for granted what we feel strongly disposed to deny, viz. that Mr. Adams is exactly in the right, and the French Directory are entirely in the wrong. He complains of the non- reception of his envoys. The reception of three successive French envoys by our executive was most forbidding imaginable. While John Fenno continues to publish his daily libels against France, nobody, in consistency with common sense can believe that his patron, Mr. Adams, is desirous if soliciting the good will of the Republic.
Source of Information:
General Aurora Advertiser, March 29, 1798. MFILM N.S. 12516 HF5862.A9
MARCH 30, 1798
GENERAL + A U R O R A + ADVERTISER
FRIDAY MARCH 30, 1798
FOR THE AURORA
I have been much edified by reading the Proclamation of the President, appointing the 9th of May as a day of general fast throughout the United States. I do, as a good Christian, applaud religious acts at all times and in all places, in order, if prosperous, to return thanks to the Almighty for the benefits received, or if labouring under misfortunes, to implore his mercy; but as we are no longer in the days of Miracles and that the father of mercies appears sufficiently to indicate to us his will, through the regular and common course which he has established both in the physical and moral world, if we examine that admirable chain of causes and effects which we generally see ordained by him, in as much as is applicable to the object of the proclamation, we shall easily discern that crisis in which this country finds itself and the dangers that threathen it, have principally arisen from our administration and that of course it is it that ought to fast, reform, and repent, and that to the president and Ministers alone can be applied these terrible words of the proclamation, that the just judgments of God against prevalent iniquity are a loud call to repentance and reformation. The good American people are only guilty of one fault, which although light and trifling, if the intention is weighed, has been dreadful in its consequences, it is that of having elected Mr. Adams their President. At last our fellow citizens have severly atoned for that crime; but what punishment has yet been inflicted for the scandalous mistakes of our rulers? Or rather what misfortune has befallen the author thereof? In the calamitous times which affect us, when Mr. Adams himself recommends a voluntary fast after a forced starvation arising from errors of his government, have we not seen him draw from the public revenue nearly sixty thousand dollars in one year for the benefit if himself and family? And have not the ministers received their pay regularly, or have they not shared the loaves and fishes with their relations and friends? Is it not insulting Divine Justice to suppose that merely because Mr. Adams chooses to eat on the 19th May, fish instead of roastbeef and pudding in lieu of ham, the fate of the state will be altered though they should continue the old system? Yes Sir, I must acknowledged Mr. Adams proclamation is a precious and valuable piece inasmuch as it indicates three powerful remedies which are to save us from the immediate danger into which he has thrown us, repentance, reformation, and fastingare the fountains from which we are to sip our cure,-- Well then, let Mr. Adams repent the errors he has committed either through ignorance, weakness or vanity; let him completely reform his Ministers and their measures, let him above all discharge Timothy Pickering, whose petulance and violent partiality towards England has already caused such infinite mischief; and as to what regardsfasting, I think the best manner to observe it would be for him and the principle officers of government to give up, at least half of their salaries to the state for the support of those families who have been reduced to poverty and misery by their rash manoevres. This is the true ashes and sackcloth with which the authors of our misfortune ought to cover themselves, and this is the most effectual method of being down upon this devoted country the blessings of providence.
In another part of his proclamation, there is a precious confession of Mr. Adams, which appear to indicate repentance. The President says: That all religious congregations do, with the deepest humility, acknowledge before God the manifold sins and transgressions with which we are justly CHARGEABLE as individuals and as a NATION; if the nation is guilty as a Nation it can only be through the instruments and channels of its actions as a Nation, these are evidently the members of government, and consequently it is acknowledging that the administration has to repent of manifold sins and transgressions. Now, Mr. Bache, how can we reconcile this penitential confession of Mr. Adams with that passage of his speech in May last and with is late message to Congress in which he declares and repeats that our administration had acted perfectly well in things!
Many other observations occur to me which I might add but it appears to me I have said enough to convince you how truly I am.
A good Christian and an
enemy to hypocrisy
P.S. I hope that every printer who may have published the presidents' proclamation, will be good enough to insert the above observations.
Source of Information:
General Aurora Advertiser, March 30, 1798. MFILM N.S. 12516, HF5862.A9
MAY 9, 1798
GENERAL + AURORA + ADVERTISER
WEDNESDAY, MAY 9, 1798
The other papers of this city have chosen to be silent this day, because the President has recommended a fast. We do not follow their example:
Because there is nothing in the constitution giving authority to proclaim fasts .
Because, if any such power can be considered, by implication, as vested by the constitution, it would rather belong to the Legislators.
Because prayer, fasting, and humiliation are matters of religion and conscience, with which government has nothing to do, but which every individual is to attend to at such times, and in such manner, as he shall deem fit.
And Because we consider a connection between state and church affairs as dangerous to religious and political freedom and that, therefore, every approach towards it should be discouraged.
Source of Information:
General Aurora Advertiser, May, 9, 1798, Philadelphia, Penn. MFILM N.S. 12516, HF5862.A9
JULY 4, 1798
THE DUTY OF AMERICANS, AT THE
PREACHED ON THE FOURTH OF JULY, 1798;
BY THE REVEREND
TIMOTHY DWIGHT. D. D.
PRESIDENT OF YALE-COLLEGE;
AT THE REQUEST
OF T H E
Citizens of New-Haven.
N E W- H A Y E N;
PRINTED BY THOMAS AND SAMUEL GREEN,
Behold I come as a thief: Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
Revelation XVI. xv.
This passage is inserted as a parenthesis in the account of the sixth vial. To feel its whole force it will be necessary to recur to that account, and to examine it with some attention. It is given in these words.
V. 12. "And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the king of the east might be prepared."
13. "And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet."
14. "For they are the spirits of * devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty."
15. "Behold I come as a thief: Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame."
16. "And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon."
To this account is subjoined that of the seventh vial; at the effusion of which is accomplished a wonderful and most affecting convulsion of this guilty world, and the final ruin of the Antichristian empire. The circumstances of this amazing event are exhibited at large in the remainder of this, and in the three succeeding chapters.
Instead of employing the time, allowed by the present occasion, in stating the several opinions of commentators concerning this remarkable prophecy, opinions which you can examine at your leisure, I shall, as briefly as may be, state to you that, which appears to me to be its true meaning. This is necessary to be done, to prepare you for the use of it, which is now intended to be made.
In the 12th verse, under a natural allusion to the manner in which the ancient Babylon was destroyed, a description is given us of the measures, used by the Most High to prepare the way for the destruction of the spiritual Babylon. The river Euphrates surrounded the walls, and ran through the middle, of the ancient Babylon, and thus became the means of its wealth, strength and safety. When Cyrus and Cyaxares,* the kings of Persia and Media, or, in the Jewish phraseology, of the east, took this celebrated city, they dried up, or emptied, the waters of the Euphrates, out of its proper channel, by turning them into a lake, or more probably a sunken region of the country, above the city. They then entered by the channel which passed through the city, made themselves masters of it, and overturned the empire. The emptying, or drying up, of the waters of the real Euphrates thus prepared the way of the real kings of the east for the destruction of the city and empire of the real Babylon. The drying up of the waters of the figurative Euphrates in the like manner prepares the way of the figurative kings of the east for the destruction of the city and empire of the figurative Babylon. The terms waters, Euphrates, kings, east, Babylon, are all figurative or symbolical; and are not to be understood as denoting real kings, or a real east, any more than a real Euphrates, or a real Babylon. The whole meaning of the prophet is, I apprehend, that God will, under this vial, so diminish the wealth, strength, and safety, of the spiritual or figurative Babylon, as effectually to prepare the way for its destroyers.
In the remaining verses an event is predicted, of a totally different kind; which is also to take place in the same period. Three unclean spirits, like frogs, are exhibited as proceeding out of the mouth of the dragon or Devil, of the beast or Romish government, and of the false prophet, or, as I apprehend, of the regular clergy of that hierarchy. These spirits are represented as working miracles, as going forth to the kings, of the whole world, to gather them; and as actually gathering them together to the battle of that great day of God Almighty, described in the remainder of this chapter, and in the three succeeding ones. Of this vast enterprise the miserable end is strongly marked, in the name of the place, into which they are said to be gathered-Armageddon-the mountain of destruction and mourning.
The writer of this book will himself explain to us what he intended by the word spirits in this passage. In his first Epistle, ch. iv. v. i. he says, "Beloved, believe not every spirit; but try the spirits, whether they be of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world. "*
1.E. Believe not every teacher, or doctrine, professing to come from God; but examine all carefully, that ye may know whether they come from God, or not; for many false prophets, or teachers passing themselves upon the church for teachers of truth, but in reality teachers of false doctrines, are gone out into the world.
In the same sense, if I am not deceived, is the word used in the passage under consideration. One great characteristic and calamity of this period is, therefore, that unclean teachers, or teachers of unclean doctrines, will spread through the world, to unite mankind against God. They are said to be three; i.e. several; a definite number being used here, as in many other passages of this book, for an indefinite one; to come out of the mouths of the three evil agents abovementioned; i.e. to originate in those countries, where they have principally co-operated against the kingdom of God; to be unclean; to resemble frogs; i.e. to be lothesome, clamorous, impudent, and pertinacious; to be the spirits of demons, i.e. to be impious, malicious, proud, deceitful, and cruel; to work miracles, or wonders; and to gather great multitudes of men to battle, i. e. to embark them in an open, professed enterprise, against God Almighty.
Having thus summarily explained my views of this prophecy, I shall now for the purpose of presenting it in a more distinct and comprehensive view, draw together the several parts of it in a paraphrase.
In the sixth great division of the period of providence, denoted by the vials filled with divine judgments and emptied on the world, the wealth, strength and safety of the Antichristian empire will be greatly lessened, and thus effectual preparation will be made for its final overthrow.
In the meantime several teachers of false and immoral doctrines will arise in those countries, where the powers of the Antichristian empire have especially distinguished themselves, by corrupting the truth, and persecuting the followers, of Christ; the character of which teachers and their doctrines will be impure, lothesome, impudent, pertinacious, proud, deceitful, impious, malicious, and cruel.
These teachers will, by their doctrines and labours, openly, professedly, and in an unusual manner, contend against God, and against his kingdom in this world, and will strive to unite mankind in this opposition.
Nor will they fail of astonishing success; for they will actually unite a large part of the human race, particularly in Christendom, in this impious undertaking.
But they will only unite them to their destruction; a destruction most awfully accomplished at the effusion of the seventh vial.
From this explanation it is manifest, that the prediction consists of two great and distinct parts; the preparation for the overthrow of the Antichristian empire; and the embarkation of men in a professed and unusual opposition to God, and to his kingdom, accomplished by means of false doctrines, and impious teachers.
By the ablest commentators the fifth vial is considered as having been poured out at the time of the Reformation. The first is supposed, and with almost absolute certainty, to have begun to operate not long after the year Boo. If we calculate from that period to the year 1517, the year in which the Reformation began in Germany, the four first vials will be found to have occupied about four times 180 years. i8o years may therefore be estimated as the greatest, and 170 years as the least, duration of a single vial. From the year 1517 to the year 1798 there are 281 years. If the fifth vial be supposed to have continued 180 years, its termination was in the year 1697; if 170, in 1687. Of course the sixth vial may be viewed as having been in operation more than 100 years.
You will now naturally ask, What events in the Providence of God, found in this period, verify the prediction?
To this question I answer, generally, that the whole complexion of things appears to me to have, in a manner surprisingly exact, corresponded with the prediction. The following particulars will evince with what propriety this answer is returned.
Within this period the Jesuits, who constituted the strongest branch, and the most formidable internal support, of the Romish hierarchy, have been suppressed.
Within this period various other orders of the regular Romish clergy have in some countries been suppressed, and in others greatly reduced. Their permanent possessions have been confiscated, and their wealth and power greatly lessened.
Within this period the Antichristian secular powers have been in most instances exceedingly weakened. Poland as a body politic is nearly annihilated. Austria has deeply suffered. Venice and the popish part of Switzerland as bodies politic have vanished. The Sardinian monarchy is on the eve of dissolution. Spain, Naples, Tuscany, and Genoa, are sorely wounded; and Portugal totters to its fall. By the treaty, now on the tapis in Germany, the Romish archbishoprics and bishoprics, in that empire, are proposed to be secularized, and as distinct governments to be destroyed. As the strength of these powers was the foundation, on which the hierarchy rested; so their destruction, or diminution, is a final preparation for its ruin.
In France, Belgium, the Italian, and Cisrhenane republics, a new form of government has been instituted, the effect of which, whether it shall prove permanent, or not, must be greatly and finally to diminish the strength of the hierarchy.
In France, and in Belgium, the whole power and influence of the clergy of all descriptions have, in a sense, been destroyed; and their immense wealth has been diverted into new channels. In France, also, an open, violent, and inveterate war has been made upon the hierarchy, and carried on with unexampled bitterness and cruelty.(1)
Within this period, also, the revenues of the pope have been greatly curtailed; the territory of Avignon has been taken out of his hands; and his general weight and authority have exceedingly declined.
Within the present year his person has been seized, his secular government overturned, a republic formed out of his dominions, and an apparent and at least temporary end put to his dominion.
To all these mighty preparations for the ruin of the Antichristian empire may be added, as of the highest efficacy, that great change of character, of views, feelings, and habits, throughout many Antichristian countries, which assures us completely, that its former strength can never return.
Thus has the first part of this remarkable prophecy been accomplished. Not less remarkable has been the fulfilment of the second.
About the year 1728, Voltaire, so celebrated for his wit and brilliancy, and not less distinguished for his hatred of christianity and his abandonment of principle, formed a systematical design to destroy christianity, and to introduce in its stead a general diffusion of irreligion and atheism. For this purpose he associated with himself Frederic the II, king of Prussia, and Mess. D'Alembert and Diderot, the principal compilers of the Encyclopedie; all men of talents, atheists; and in the like manner abandoned. The principal parts of this system were, 1st. The compilation of the Encyclopedie;(2) in which with great art and insidiousness the doctrines of natural as well as Christian theology were rendered absurd and ridiculous; and the mind of the reader was insensibly steeled against conviction and duty. 2. The overthrow of the religious orders in Catholic countries; a step essentially necessary to the destruction of the religion professed in those countries. 3. The establishment of a sect of philosophists to serve, it is presumed, as a conclave, a rallying point, for all their followers. 4. The appropriation to themselves, and their disciples, of the places and honours of members of the French Academy, the most respectable literary society in France, and always considered as containing none but men of prime learning and talents. In this way they designed to hold out themselves, and their friends, as the only persons of great literary and intellectual distinction in that country, and to dictate all literary opinions to the nation(3) 5. The fabrication of books of all kinds against christianity, especially such as excite doubt, and generate contempt and derision. Of these they issued, by themselves and their friends, who early became numerous, an immense number; so printed, as to be purchased for little or nothing, and so written, as to catch the feelings, and steal upon the approbation, of every class of men. 6. The formation of a secret academy, of which Voltaire was the standing president, and in which books were formed, altered, forged, imputed as posthumous to deceased writers of reputation, and sent abroad with the weight of their names. These were printed and circulated, at the lowest price, through all classes of men, in an uninterrupted succession, and through every part of the kingdom.
Nor were the labours of this academy confined to religion. They attacked also morality and government, unhinged gradually the minds of men, and destroyed their reverence for every thing heretofore esteemed sacred.
In the mean time, the Masonic societies, which had been originally instituted for convivial and friendly purposes only, were, especially in France and Germany, made the professed scenes of debate concerning religion, morality, and government, by these philosophists(4), who had in great numbers become Masons. For such debate the legalized existence of Masonry, its profound secresy, its solemn and mystic rites and symbols, its mutual correspondence, and its extension through most civilized countries, furnished the greatest advantages. All here was free, safe, and calculated to encourage the boldest excursions of restless opinion and impatient ardour, and to make and fix the deepest impressions. Here, and in no other place, under such arbitrary governments, could every innovator in these important subjects utter every sentiment, however daring, and attack every doctrine and institution, however guarded by law or sanctity. In the secure and unrestrained debates of the lodge, every novel, licentious, and alarming opinion was resolutely advanced. Minds, already tinged with philosophism, were here speedily blackened with a deep and deadly die; and those, which came fresh and innocent to the scene of contamination, became early and irremediably corrupted. A stubborn incapacity of conviction, and a flinty insensibility to every moral and natural tie, grew of course out of this combination of causes; and men were surely prepared, before themselves were aware, for every plot and perpetration. In these hot beds were sown the seeds of that astonishing Revolution, and all its dreadful appendages, which now spreads dismay and horror throughout half the globe.
While these measures were advancing the great design with a regular and rapid progress, Doctor Adam Weishaupt, professor of the canon law in the University of Ingolstadt, a city of Bavaria (in Germany) formed, about the year 1777, the order of Illuminati. This order is professedly a higher order of Masons, originated by himself, and grafted on ancient Masonic institutions. The secresy, solemnity, mysticism, and correspondence of Masonry, were in this new order preserved and enhanced; while the ardour of innovation, the impatience of civil and moral restraints, and the aims against government, morals, and religion, were elevated, expanded, and rendered more systematical, malignant, and daring.
In the societies of Illuminati doctrines were taught, which strike at the root of all human happiness and virtue; and every such doctrine was either expressly or implicitly involved in their system.
The being of God was denied and ridiculed.
Government was asserted to be a curse, and authority a mere usurpation.
Civil society was declared to be the only apostasy of man.
The possession of property was pronounced to be robbery.
Chastity and natural affection were declared to be nothing more than groundless prejudices.
Adultery, assassination, poisoning, and other crimes of the like infernal nature, were taught as lawful, and even as virtuous actions.
To crown such a system of falshood and horror all means were declared to be lawful,, provided the end was good.
In this last doctrine men are not only loosed from every bond, and from every duty; but from every inducement to perform any thing which is good, and, abstain from any thing which is evil; and are set upon each other, like a company of hellhounds to worry, rend, and destroy. Of the goodness of the end every man is to judge for himself; and most men, and all men who resemble the Illuminati, will pronounce every end to be good, which will gratify their inclinations. The great and good ends proposed by the Illuminati, as the ultimate objects of their union, are the overthrow of religion, government, and human society civil and domestic. These they pronounce to be so good, that murder, butchery, and war, however extended and dreadful, are declared by them to be completely justifiable, if necessary for these great purposes. With such an example in view, it will be in vain to hunt for ends, which can be evil.
Correspondent with this summary was the whole system. No villainy, no impiety, no cruelty, can be named, which was not vindicated; and no virtue, which was not covered with contempt.
The names by which this society was enlarged, and its doctrines spread, were of every promising kind. With unremitted ardour and diligence the members insinuated themselves into every place of power and trust, and into every literary, political and friendly society; engrossed as much as possible the education of youth, especially of distinction; became licensers of the press, and directors of every literary journal; waylaid every foolish prince, every unprincipled civil officer, and every abandoned clergyman; entered boldly into the desk, and with unhallowed hands, and satanic lips, polluted the pages of God; inlisted in their service almost all the booksellers, and of course the printers, of Germany; inundated the country with books, replete with infidelity, irreligion, immorality, and obscenity; prohibited the printing, and prevented the sale, of books of the contrary character; decried and ridiculed them when published in spite of their efforts; panegyrized and trumpeted those of themselves and their coadjutors; and in a word made more numerous, more diversified, and more strenuous exertions, than an active imagination would have preconceived.
To these exertions their success has been proportioned. Multitudes of the Germans, notwithstanding the gravity, steadiness, and sobriety of their national character, have become either partial or entire converts to these wretched doctrines; numerous societies have been established among them; the public faith and morals have been unhinged; and the political and religious affairs of that empire have assumed an aspect, which forebodes its total ruin. In France, also, Illuminatism has been eagerly and extensively adopted; and those men, who have had, successively, the chief direction of the public affairs of that country, have been members of this society. Societies have also been erected in Switzerland and Italy, and have contributed probably to the success of the French, and to the overthrow of religion and government, in those countries. Mentz was delivered up to Custine by the Illuminati; and that general appears to have been guillotined, because he declined to encourage the same treachery with respect to Manheim.
Nor have England and Scotland escaped the contagion. Several societies have been erected in both of those countries. Nay in the private papers, seized in the custody of the leading members in Germany, several such societies are recorded as having been erected in America, before the year 1786.
It is a remarkable fact, that a large proportion of the sentiments, here stated, have been publicly avowed and applauded in the French legislature. The being and providence of God have been repeatedly denied and ridiculed. Christ has been mocked with the grossest insult. Death, by a solemn legislative decree has been declared to be an eternal sleep. Marriage has been degraded to a farce, and the community, by the law of divorce, invited to universal prostitution. In the school of public instruction atheism is professedly taught; and at an audience before the legislature, Nov. 30, 1793, the head scholar declared, that he and his schoolfellows detested a God; a declaration received by the members with unbounded applause, and rewarded with the fraternal kiss of the president, and with the honors of the sitting.
I presume I have sufficiently proved the fulfilment of the second part of this remarkable prophesy; and shewn, that doctrines and teachers, answering to the description, have arisen in the very countries specified, and that they are rapidly spreading through the world, to engage mankind in an open and professed war against God. I shall only add, that the titles of these philosophistical books have, in various instances, been too obscene to admit of a translation by a virtuous man, and in a decent state of society. So fully are these teachers entitled to the epithet unclean.
Assuming now as just, for the purposes of this discourse, the explanation, which has been given, I shall proceed to consider the lmport of the text.
The text is an affectionate address of the Redeemer to his children;p teaching them that conduct, which he wills them especially to pursue: n this alarming season. It is the great practical remark, drawn by nfinite wisdom and goodness from a most solemn sermon, and cannot fail therefore to merit our highest attention. Had he not, while recounting the extensive and dreadful convulsion, described in the context, made a declaration of this nature, there would have been little room for the exercise of any emotions, beside those of terror and Despair. The gloom would have been universal and entire; a blank midnight without a star to cheer the solitary darkness. But here a hope, a promise, is furnished to such as obey the injunction, by which it is followed; a luminary like that, which shone to the wise men of the east, is lighted up to guide our steps to the Author of peace and salvation.
Blessed, even in this calamitous season, saith the Saviour of men, is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.
Sin is the nakedness and shame of the scriptures, and righteousness the garment which covers it. To watch and keep the garments is, of course, so to observe the heart and the life, so carefully to resist temptation and abstain from sin, and so faithfully to cultivate holiness and perform duty, that the heart and the life shall be adorned with the white robes of evangelical virtue, the unspotted attire of spiritual beauty.
The cautionary precept given to us by our Lord is, therefore,
That we should be eminently watchful to perform our duty faithfully, in the trying period, in which our lot is cast.
To those, who obey, a certain blessing is secured by the promise of the Redeemer.
[I.] The great and general object, aimed at by this command, and by every other, is private, personal obedience and reformation of life; personal piety, righteousness, and temperance.
To every man is by his Creator especially committed the care of himself; of his time, his talents, and his soul. He knows, or may know, better than any other man, his wants, his sins, and his dangers, and of course the means of relief, reformation, and escape. No one, so well as he, can watch the approach of temptation, so feelingly pray for divine assistance, or so profitably resolve on future obedience. In truth no resolutions, no prayers, no watchfulness of others, will profit him at all, unless seconded by his own. No other person can make any useful impressions on our hearts, or our lives, unless by rousing in us the necessary exertions. All extraneous labours terminate in this single point: it is the end of every doctrine, exhortation, and reproof, of every moral and religious institution.
The manner, in which such obedience is to be performed, and such reformation accomplished, is described to you weekly in the desk, and daily in the scriptures. A detail of it, therefore, will not be necessary, nor expected, on the present occasion. You already know what is to be done, and the manner in which it is to be done. You need not be told, that you are to use all efforts of your own, and to look humbly and continually to God to render those efforts successful; that you are to resist carefully and faithfully every approaching temptation, and every rising sin; that you are to resolve on newness of life, and to seize every occasion, as it presents itself, to honour God, and to bless your fellow men; that you are strenuously to contend against evil habits, and watchfully to cherish good ones; and that you are constantly to aim at uniformity and eminency in a holy life, and to "adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things."
But it may be necessary to remind you, that personal obedience and reformation is the foundation, and the sum, of all national worth and prosperity. If each man conducts himself aright, the community cannot be conducted wrong. If the private life be unblamable, the public state must be commendable and happy.
Individuals are often apt to consider their own private conduct as of small importance to the public welfare. This opinion is wholly erroneous and highly mischievous. No man can adopt it, who believes, and remembers, the declarations of God. If "one sinner destroyeth much good," if "the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much," if ten righteous persons, found in the polluted cities of the vale of Siddim, would have saved them from destruction, the personal conduct of no individual can be insignificant to the safety and happiness of a nation. On the contrary, the advantages to the public of private virtue, faithful prayer and edifying example, cannot be calculated. No one can conjecture how many will be made better, safer, and happier, by the virtue of one.
Wherever wealth, politeness, talents, and office, lend their aid to the inherent efficacy of virtue, its influence is proportionally greater. In this case the example is seen by greater numbers, is regarded with more respectful attention, and felt with greater force. The piety of Hezekiah reformed and saved a nation. Men far inferior in station to kings, and possessed of far humbler means of doing good, may still easily circulate through multitudes both virtue and happiness. The beggar on the dunghill may become a public blessing. Every parent, if a faithful one, is a public blessing of course. How delightful a path of patriotism is this?
It is also to be remembered, that this is the way, in which the chief good, ever placed in the power of most persons, is to be done. If this opportunity of serving God, and befriending mankind, be lost, no other will by the great body of men ever be found. Few persons can be concerned in settling systems of faith, moulding forms of government, regulating nations, or establishing empires. But almost all can train up a family for God, instil piety, justice, kindness and truth, distribute peace and comfort around a neighbourhood, receive the poor and the outcast into their houses, tend the bed of sickness, pour balm into the wounds of pain, and awaken a smile in the aspect of sorrow. In the secret and lowly vale of life, virtue in its most lovely attire delights to dwell. There God, with peculiar complacency, most frequently finds the inestimable ornament of a meek and quiet spirit; and there the morning and the evening incense ascends with peculiar fragrance to heaven. When angels became the visitors, and the guests, of Abraham, he was a simple husbandman.
Besides, this is the great mean of personal safety and happiness. No good man was ever forgotten, or neglected, of God. To him duty is always safety. Around the tabernacle of every one, that feareth God, the angel of protection will encamp, and save him from the impending evil.
II. Among the particular duties required by this precept, and at the present time, none holds a higher place than the observation of the Sabbath.
The Sabbath and its ordinances have ever been the great means of all moral good to mankind. The faithful observation of the sabbath is, therefore, one of the chief duties and interests of men; but the present time furnishes reasons, peculiar, at least in degree, for exemplary regard to this divine institution. The enemies of God have by private argument, ridicule, and influence, and by public decrees, pointed their especial malignity against the Sabbath; and have expected, and not without reason, that, if they could annihilate it, they should overthrow christianity. From them we cannot but learn its importance. Enemies usually discern, with more sagacity, the most promising point of attack, than those who are to be attacked. In this point are they to be peculiarly opposed. Here, peculiarly, are their designs to be baffled. If they fail here, they will finally fail. Christianity cannot fall, but by the neglect of the Sabbath.
I have been credibly informed, that, some years before the Revolution, an eminent philosopher of this country, now deceased, declared to David Hume, that Christianity would be exterminated from the American colonies within a century from that time. The opinion has doubtless been often declared and extensively imbibed; and has probably furnished our enemies their chief hopes of success. Where religion prevails, their system cannot succeed. Where religionprevails, Illuminatism cannot make disciples, a French directory cannot govern, a nation cannot be made slaves, nor villains, nor atheists, nor beasts. To destroy us, therefore, in this dreadful sense, our enemies must first destroy our Sabbath, and seduce us from the house of God.
Religion and Liberty are the two great objects of defensive war. Conjoined, they unite all the feelings, and call forth all the energies, of man. In defense of them, nations contend with the spirit of the Maccabees; "one will chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight." The Dutch, in defense of them, few and feeble as they were in their infancy, assumed a gigantic courage, and grew like the fabled sons of Alous to an instantaneous and gigantic strength, broke the arms of the Spanish empire, swept its fleets from the ocean, pulled down its pride, plundered its treasures, captivated its dependencies, and forced its haughty monarch to a peace on their own terms. Religion and liberty are the meat and the drink of the body politic. Withdraw one of them, and it languishes, consumes, and dies. If indifference to either at any time becomes the prevailing character of a people, one half of their motives to vigorous defense is lost, and the hopes of their enemies are proportionally increased. Here, eminently, they are inseparable. Without religion we may possibly retain the freedom of savages, bears, and wolves; but not the freedom of New England. If our religion were gone, our state of society would perish with it; and nothing would be left, which would be worth defending. Our children of course, if not ourselves, would be prepared, as the ox for the slaughter, to become the victims of conquest, tyrannv, and atheism.
The Sabbath, with its ordinances, constitutes the bond of union to christians; the badge by which they know each other; their rallying point; the standard of their host. Beside public worship they have no means of effectual descrimination. To preserve this is to us a prime interest and duty. In no way can we so preserve, or so announce to others, our character as christians; or to effectually prevent our nakedness and shame from being seen by our enemies. Now, more than ever, we are "not to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ." Now, more than ever, are we to stand forth to the eye of our enemies, and of the world, as open, determined christians; as the followers of Christ; as the friends of God. Every man, therefore, who loves his country, or his religion, ought to feel, that he serves, or injures, both, as he celebrates, or neglects, the Sabbath. By the devout observation of this holy day he will reform himself, increase his piety, heighten his love to his country, and confirm his determination to defend all that merits his regard. He will become a better man, and a better citizen.
The house of God is also the house of social prayer. Here nations meet with God to ask, and to receive, national blessings. On the Sabbath, and in the sanctuary, the children of the Redeemer will, to the end of the world, assemble for this glorious end. Here he is ever present to give more than they can ask. If we faithfully unite, here, in seeking his protection, "no weapon formed against us will prosper."
3. Another duty, to which we are also eminently called, is an entire separation from our enemies. Among the moral duties of man none hold a higher rank than political ones, and among our own political duties none is more plain, or more absolute, than that which I have now mentioned.
In the eighteenth chapter of this prophecy, in which the dreadful effects of the seventh vial are particularly described, this duty is expressly enjoined on christians by a voice from heaven. "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." Under the evils and dangers of the sixth vial, the command in the text was given; under those of the seventh, the command which we are now considering. The world is already far advanced in the period of the sixth. In the text we are informed, that the Redeemer will hasten the progress of his vengeance on the enemies of his church, during the effusion of the two last vials. If, therefore, the judgments of the seventh are not already begun, a fact of which I am doubtful, they certainly cannot be distant. The present time is, of course, the very period for which this command was given.
The two great reasons for the command are subjoined to it by the Saviour-"that ye be not partakers of her sins; and that ye receive not of her plagues"; and each is a reason of incomprehensible magnitude.
The sins of these enemies of Christ, and Christians, are of numbers and degrees, which mock account and description. All that the malice and atheism of the dragon, the cruelty and rapacity of the beast, and the fraud and deceit of the false prophet, can generate, or accomplish, swell the list. No personal, or national, interest of man has been uninvaded; no impious sentiment, or action, against God has been spared; no malignant hostility against Christ, and his religion, has been unattempted. Justice, truth, kindness, piety, and moral obligation universally, have been not merely trodden under foot; this might have resulted from vehemence and passion; but ridiculed, spurned, and insulted, as the childish bugbears of drivelling idiocy. Chastity and decency have been alike turned out of doors; and shame and pollution called out of their dens to the hall of distinction, and the chair of state. Nor has any art, violence, or means, been unemployed to accomplish these evils.
For what end shall we be connected with men, of whom this is the character and conduct? Is it that we may assume the same character, and pursue the same conduct? Is it, that our churches may become temples of reason, our Sabbath a decade, and our psalms of praise Marseillois hymns? Is it, that we may change our holy worship into a dance of Jacobin phrenzy, and that we may behold a strumpet personating a goddess on the altars of Jehovah? Is it that we may see the Bible cast into a bonfire, the vessels of the sacramental supper borne by an ass in public procession, and our children, either wheedled or terrified, uniting in the mob, chanting mockeries against God, and hailing in the sounds of Ca ira the ruin of their religion, and the loss of their souls? Is it, that we may see our wives and daughters the victims of legal prostitution; soberly dishonoured; speciously polluted; the outcasts of delicacy and virtue, and the lothing of God and man? Is it, that we may see, in our public papers, a solemn comparison drawn by an American Mother club between the Lord Jesus Christ and a new Marat; and the fiend of malice and fraud exalted above the glorious Redeemer?
Shall we, my brethren, become partakers of these sins? Shall we introduce them into our government, our schools, our families? Shall our sons become the disciples of Voltaire, and the dragoons of Marat;(5) or our daughters the concubines of the Illuminati?
Some of my audience may perhaps say, "We do not believe such crimes to have existed." The people of Jerusalem did not believe, that they were in danger, until the Chaldeans surrounded their walls. The people of Laish were secure, when the children of Dan lay in ambush around their city. There are in every place, and in every age, persons "who are settled upon their lees," who take pride in disbelief, and "who say in their heart, the Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil." Some persons disbelieve through ignorance; some choose not to be informed; and some determine not to be convinced. The two last classes cannot be persuaded. The first may, perhaps, be at least alarmed, when they are told, that the evidence of all this, and much more, is complete, that it has been produced to the public, and may with a little pains-taking be known by themselves.
There are others, who, admitting the fact, deny the danger. "If others," say they, "are ever so abandoned, we need not adopt either their principles, or their practices." Common sense has however declared, two thousand years ago, and God has sanctioned the declaration, that "Evil communications corrupt good manners." Of this truth all human experience is one continued and melancholy proof. I need only add, that these persons are prepared to become the first victims of the corruption by this very self-confidence and security.
Should we, however, in a forbidden connection with these enemies of God, escape, against all hope, from moral ruin, we shall still receive our share of their plagues. This is the certain dictate of the prophetical injunction; and our own experience, and that of nations more intimately connected with them, has already proved its truth.
Look for conviction to Belgium; sunk into the dust of insignificance and meanness, plundered, insulted, forgotten, never to rise more. See Batavia wallowing in the same dust; the butt of fraud, rapacity, and derision, struggling in the last stages of life, and searching anxiously to find a quiet grave. See Venice sold in the shambles, and made the small change of a political bargain. Turn your eyes to Switzerland, and behold its happiness, and its hopes, cut off at a single stroke: happiness, erected with the labour and the wisdom of three centuries; hopes, that not long since hailed the blessings of centuries yet to come. What have they spread, but crimes and miseries; Where have they trodden, but to waste, to pollute, and to destroy?
All connection with them has been pestilential. Among ourselves it has generated nothing but infidelity, irreligion, faction, rebellion, the ruin of peace, and the loss of property. In Spain, in the Sardinian monarchy, in Genoa, it has sunk the national character, blasted national independence, rooted out confidence, and forerun destruction.
But France itself has been the chief seat of the evils, wrought by these men. The unhappy and ever to be pitied inhabitants of that country, a great part of whom are doubtless of a character similar to that of the peaceable citizens of other countries, and have probably no voluntary concern in accomplishing these evils, have themselves suffered far more from the hands of philosophists, and their followers, than the inhabitants of any other country. General Danican; 'a French officer, asserts in his memoirs, lately published, that three millions of Frenchmen have perished in the Revolution. Of this amazing destruction the causes by which it was produced, the principles on which it was founded, and the modes in which it was conducted; are an aggravation, that admits no bound. The butchery of the stall; and the slaughter of the stye, are scenes of deeper remorse, and softened with more sensibility. The siege of Lyons, and the judicial massacres at Nantes, stand, since the crucifixion, alone in the volume of human crimes. The misery of man never before reached the extreme: of agony, nor the infamy of man its consummation. Collot .. D~: Herbois and his satellites, Carrier and his associates, would claim.et: inence in a world of fiends, and will be marked with distinction in the future hissings of the universe. No guilt so deeply died in blood, since the phrenzied malice of Calvary, will probably so amaze the assembly of the final day; and Nantes and Lyons may, without a hyperbole, obtain a literal immortality in a remembrance revived beyond the grave.
In which of these plagues, my brethren, are you willing to share? Which of them will you transmit as a legacy to your children?
Would you escape, you must separate yourselves. Would you wholly escape, you must be wholly separated. I do not intend, that you must not buy and sell, or exhibit the common offices of justice and good will; but you are bound by the voice of reason, of duty, of safety, and of God, to shun all such connection with them, as will interweave your sentiments or your friendship, your religion or your policy, with theirs. You cannot otherwise fail of partaking in their guilt, and receiving of their plagues.
4thly. Another duty, to which we are no less forcibly called, is union among ourselves.
The same divine Person, who spoke in the text, hath also said, "A house, a kingdom, divided against itself cannot stand." A divided family will destroy itself. A divided nation will anticipate ruin, prepared by its enemies. Switzerland, Geneva, Genoa, Venice, the Sardinian territories, Belgium, and Batavia, are melancholy examples of the truth of this declaration of our Saviour; beacons, which warn, with a gloomy and dreadful light, the nations who survive their ruin.
The great bond of union to every people is its government. This destroyed, or distrusted, there is no center left of intelligence, counsel, or action; no system of purposes, or measures; no point of rallying, or confidence. When a nation is ready to say, "What part have we in David, or what inheritance in the son of Jesse?" it will naturally subjoin, "Every man to his tent, O Israel!"
The candour and uprightness, with which our own government has acted in the progress of the present controversy, have forced encomiums even from its most bitter opposers, and excited the warmest approbation and applause of all its friends. Few objects could be more important, auspicious, or gratifying to christians, than to see the conduct of their rulers such, as they can, with boldness of access, bring before their God, and fearlessly commend to his favour and protection.
In men, possessed of similar candour, adherence to our government, in the present crisis, may be regarded as a thing of course. They need not be informed, that the existing rulers must be the directors of our public affairs, and the only directors; that their views and measures will not and cannot always accord with the judgment of individuals, as the opinions of individuals accord no better with each other; that the officers of government are possessed of better information than private persons can be; that, if they had the same information, they would probably coincide with the opinions of their rulers; that confidence must be placed in men, imperfect as they are, in all human affairs, or no important business can be done; and that men of known and tried probity are fully deserving of that confidence.
At the present time this adherence ought to be unequivocally manifested. In a land of universal suffrage, where every individual is possessed of much personal consequence as in ours, the government ought, especially in great measures, to be as secure, as may be, of the harmonious and cheerful co-operation of the citizens. All success, here, depends on the hearty concurrence of the community; and no occasion ever called for it more.
But there are, even in this state, persons, who are opposed to the government. To them I observe, That the government of France has destroyed the independence of every nation, which has confided in it.
That every such nation has been ruined by its internal divisions, especially by the separation of the people from their government.
That they have attempted to accomplish our ruin by the same means, and will certainly accomplish it, if they can;
That the miseries suffered by the subjugated nations have been numberless and extreme, involving the loss of national honour, the immense plunder of public and private property, the conflagration of churches and dwellings, the total ruin of families, the butchery of great multitudes of fathers and sons, and the most deplorable dishonour of wives and daughters;
That the same miseries will be repeated here, if in their power.
That there is, under God, no mean of escaping this ruin, but union among ourselves, and unshaken adherence to the existing government;
That themselves have an infinitely higher interest in preserving the independence of their country, than in any thing, which can exist, should it be conquered;
That they must stand, or fall, with their country; since the French, like all other conquerors, though they may for a little time regard them, as aids and friends, with a seeming partiality, will soon lose that partiality in a general contempt and hatred for them, as Americans. That should they, contrary to all experience, escape these evils, their children will suffer them as extensively as those of their neighbours; and
That to oppose, or neglect, the defence of their country, is to stab the breast, from which they have drawn their life.
I know not that even these considerations will prevail: if they do not, nothing can be suggested by me, which will have efficacy. I must leave them, therefore, to their consciences, and their God.
In the mean time, since the great facts, of which this controversy has consisted, have not, during the preceding periods, been thoroughly known, or believed, by all; and since all questions of expediency will be viewed differently by different eyes; I cannot but urge a general spirit of conciliation. To men labouring under mere mistakes, and prejudices void of malignity, hard names are in most cases unhappily applied, and unkindness is unwisely exhibited. Multitudes, heretofore attached to France with great ardour, have, from full conviction of the necessity of changing their sentiments and their conduct, come forth in the most decisive language, and determined conduct, of defenders of their country. More are daily exhibiting the same spirit and measures. Almost all native Americans will, I doubt not, speedily appear in the same ranks; and none should, in my opinion, be discouraged by useless obloquy.
5. Another duty, injoined in the text, and highly incumbent on us at this time, is unshaken firmness in our opposition.
A steady and invincible firmness is the chief instrument of great atchievements. It is the prime mean of great wealth, learning, wisdom, power and virtue; and without it nothing noble or useful is usually accomplished. Without it our separation from our enemies, and our union among ourselves, will avail to no end. The cause is too complex, the object too important, to be determined by a single effort. It is infinitely too important to be given up, let the consequence be what it may. No evils, which can flow from resistance, can be so great as those, which must flow from submission. Great sacrifices of property, of peace, and of life, we may be called to make, but they will fall short of complete ruin. If they should not, it will be more desirable, beyond computation, to fall in the honourable and faithful defence of our families, our country, and our religion, than to survive, the melancholy, debased, and guilty spectators of the ruin of all. We contend for all that is, or ought to be, dear to man. Our cause is eminently that, in which "he who seeketh to save his life shall lose it, and he who loseth it," in obedience to the command of his Master, "shall find it" beyond the grave. To our enemies we have done no wrong. Unspotted justice looks down on all our public measures with a smile. We fight for that, for which we can pray. We fight for the lives, the honor, the safety, of our wives and children, for the religion of our fathers, and for the liberty, "with which Christ hath made us free." "We jeopard our lives," that our children may inherit these glorious blessings, be rescued from the grinding insolence of foreign despotism, and saved from the corruption and perdition of foreign atheism. I am a father. I feel the usual parental tenderness for my children. I have long soothed the approach of declining years with the fond hope of seeing my sons serving God and their generation around me. But from cool conviction I declare in this solemn place, I would far rather follow them one by one to an untimely grave, than to behold them, however prosperous, the victims of philosophism. What could I then believe, but that they were "nigh unto cursing, and that their end was to be burned."
From two sources only are we in danger of irresolution; avarice, and a reliance on those fair professions, which our enemies have begun to make, and which they will doubtless continue to make, in degrees, and with insidiousness, still greater.
On the first of these sources I observe, that, if we grudge a part of our property in the defence of our country, we lose the whole; and not only the whole of our property, but all our comforts, and all our hopes. Every enjoyment of life, every solace of sorrow, will be offered up in one vast hecatomb at the shrine of pride, plunder, impurity, and atheism. Those "who fear not God, regard not man." All interests, beside their own, are in the view of such men the sport of wantonness, of insolence, and of a heart of millstone. They and their engines will soon tell you, if you do not put it out of their power, as one of the same engines told the miserable inhabitants of Neuwied (in Germany) unhappily placing confidence in their professions. Hear the story, in the words of Professor Robison,
If ever there was a spot upon earth, where men may be happy in a state of cultivated society, it was the little principality of Neuwied. I saw it in 1770. The town was neat, and the palace handsome and in good state. But the country was beyond conception delightful; not a cottage that was out of repair; not a hedge out of order. It had been the hobby of the prince (pardon me the word) who made it his daily employment to go through his principality, and assist every housholder, of whatever condition, with his advice and with his purse; and when a freeholder could not of himself put things into a thriving condition, the prince sent his workmen and did it for him. He endowed schools for the common people and two academies for the gentry and the people of business. He gave little portions to the daughters, and prizes to the well-behaving sons of the labouring people. His own houshold was a pattern of elegance and oeconomy; his sons were sent to Paris, to learn elegance, and to England, to learn science and agriculture. In short the whole was like a romance, and was indeed romantic. I heard it spoken of with a smile at the table of the bishop of Treves, and was induced to see it the next day as a curiosity. Yet even here the fanaticism of Knigge (one of the founders of the Illuminati) would distribute his poison, and tell the blinded people that they were in a state of sin and misery, that their prince was a despot, and that they would never be happy 'till he was made to fly, and 'till they were made all equal.
They got their wish. The swarm of French locusts sat down at Neuwied's beautiful fields, in 1793, and intrenched themselves; and in three months prince's and farmers' houses, and cottages, and schools, and academies, all vanished. When they complained of their miseries to the French general, Rene le Grand, he replied, with a contemptuous and cutting laugh, "All is ours. We have left you your eves to cry."
Will you trust such professions? Have not your enemies made them to every country, which they have subjugated? Have they fulfilled them to one? Will they prove more sincere to you? Have they not deceived you in every expectation hitherto? On what grounds can you rely on them hereafter?
Will you grudge your property for the defence of itself, of your families, of yourselves. Will you preserve it to pay the price of a Dutch loan? to have it put in requisition by the French Directory? to label it on your doors, that they may, without trouble and without a tax bill, send their soldiers and take it for the use of the Republic? Will you keep it to assist them to pay their fleets and armies for subduing you? and to maintain their forts and garrisons for keeping you in subjection? Shall it become the purchase of a French fete, holden to commemorate the massacres of the loth of August, the butcheries of the 3d of September, or the murder of Louis the 16th, your former benefactor? Shall it furnish the means for representatives of the people to roll through your streets on the wheels of splendour, to imprison your sons and fathers; to seize on all the comforts, which you have earned with toil, and laid up with care; and to gather your wives, sisters, and daughters, into their brutal seraglios? Shall it become the price of the guillotine, and pay the expense of cleansing your streets from brooks of human blood?
Will you rely on men whose principles just falshood, injustice, and cruelty? Will you trust philosophists? men who set truth at nought, who make justice a butt of mockery, who deny the being and providence of God, and laugh at the interests and sufferings of men? Think not that such men can change. They can scarcely be worse. There is not a hope that they will become better.
But perhaps you may be alarmed by the power, and the successes, of your enemies. I am warranted to declare, that the ablest judge of this subject in America has said, that, if we are united, firm, and faithful to ourselves, neither France, nor all Europe, can subdue these states. Against other nations they contended with great and decisive advantages. Those nations were near to them, were divided, feeble, corrupted, seduced by philosophists, slaves of despotism, and separated from their government. None of these characters can be applied to us, unless we voluntarily retain those, which depend on ourselves. Three thousand miles of ocean spread between us and our enemies, to enfeeble and disappoint their efforts. They will not here contend with silken Italians, with divided Swissers, nor with self-surrendered Belgians and Batavians. They will find a hardy race of freemen, uncorrupted by luxury, unbroken by despotism; enlightened to understand their privileges, glowing with independence, and determined to be free, or to die: men who love, and who will defend, their families, their country, and their religion: men fresh from triumph, and strong in a recent and victorious Revolution. Doubled, since that Revolution began, in their numbers, and quadrupled in their resources and advantages, at home, in a country formed to disappoint invasion, and to prosper defence, under leaders skilled in all the arts and duties of war, and trained in the path of success, they have, if united, firm, and faithful, every thing to hope, and, beside the common evils of war, nothing to fear.
Think not that I trust in chariots and in horses. My own reliance is, I hope, I ardently hope yours is, also, on the Lord our God. All these are his most merciful blessings, and, as such, most supporting consolations to us. They are the very means, which he has provided for our safety, and our hope. Stupidity, sloth, and ingratitude, can alone be blind to them as tokens for good. We are not, my brethren, to look for miracles, nor to expect God to accomplish them. We are to trust in him for the blessings of a regular and merciful providence. Such a providence is over us for good. I have recited abundant proofs, and could easily recite many more. All these are means, with which we are to plant, and to water, and in answer to our prayers God will certainly give the increase.
But I am peculiarly confident in the promised blessing of the text, Our contention is a plain duty to God. The same glorious Person, who has commanded it, has promised to crown our obedience with his blessing; and has thus illumined this gloomy prediction, and shed the dawn of hope and comfort over this melancholy period.
To you the promise is eminently supporting. He has won your faith by the great things he has already done for your fathers, and for you. The same Almighty Hand, which destroyed the fleet of Chebucto by the storm, and whelmed it in the deep; which conducted into the arms of Manly, and of Mugford, those means of war, which for the time saved your country; which raised up your Washington to guide your armies and your councils; which united you with your brethren against every expectation and hope; which disappointed the devices of enemies without, and traitors within; which bade the winds and the waves fight for you at Yorktown; which has, in later periods, repeatedly disclosed the machinations of your enemies, and which has now roused a noble spirit of resistance to intrigue and to terror; will accomplish for you a final deliverance from the hand of those, "who seek your hurt." He has been your fathers' God, and he will be yours.
Look through the history of your country. You will find scarcely less glorious and wonderful proofs of divine protection and deliverance, uniformly adminstered through every period of our existence as a people, than shone to the people of Israel in Egypt, in the wilderness, and in Canaan. Can it be believed, can it be, that Christianity has been so planted here, the church of God so established, so happy a government constituted, and so desirable a state of society begun, merely to shew them to the world, and then destroy them? No instance can be found in the providence of God, in which a nation so wonderfully established, and preserved, has been overthrown, until it had progressed farther in corruption. We may be cast down; but experience only will prove to me, that we shall be destroyed.
But the consideration, which ought of itself to decide your opinions and your conduct, and which adds immense weight to all the others, is that the alternative, as exhibited in the prediction, and in providence, is beyond measure dreadful, and is at hand. "Behold," saith the Saviour, "I come as a thief"-suddenly, unexpectedly, alarmingly-as that wasting enemy, the burglar, breaks up the house in the hour of darkness, when all the inhabitants are lost in sleep and security. How strongly do the great events of the present day shew this awful advent of the King of Kings to be at the doors?
Turn your eyes, for a moment, to the face of providence, and mark its new and surprising appearance. The Jews, for the first time since the destruction of Jerusalem by Adrian, have, in these states, been admitted to the rights of citizenship; and have since been admitted to the same rights in Prussia. They have also, as we are informed, appointed a solemn delegation to examine the evidences of Christianity. In the Austrian dominions, it is asserted, they have agreed to observe the Christian Sabbath; and in England, have in considerable numbers embraced the Christian religion. New and unprecedented efforts have been made, and are fast increasing, in England, Scotland, Germany, and the United States, for the conversion of the heathen. Measures have, in Europe, and in America, been adopted, and are still enlarging, for putting an end to the African slavery, which will within .a moderate period bring it to an end. Mohammedism is nearly extinct in Persia, one of the chief supports of that imposture. In Turkey, its other great support, the throne totters to its fall. The great calamities of the present period have fallen, also, almost exclusively upon the Antichristian empire; and almost every part of that empire has drunk deeply of the cup. France, Belgium, Spain, Ireland, the Sardinian monarchy, the Austrian dominions, Venice, Genoa, popish Switzerland, the Ecclesiastical State, popish Germany, Poland, and the French West-Indies, have all been visited with judgments wonderful and terrible; and in exact accordance with prophecy have furthered their own ruin. The kings, or states, of this empire are now plainly "hating the whore, eating her flesh, and burning her with fire." Batavia, Protestant Switzerland, some parts of protestant Germany, and Geneva, have most unwisely, not to say wickedly, refused "to come out" and have therefore "partaken of the sins, and received of the plagues," of their enemies. To the same unhappy cause our own smartings may all be traced; but blessed be God, there is reason to hope, that "we are escaping from the snare of the fowler."
So sudden, so unexpected, so alarming a state of things has not existed since the deluge. Every mouth proclaims, every eye looks its astonishment. Wonders daily succeed wonders, and are beginning to be regarded as the standing course of things. As they are of so many kinds, exist in so many places, and respect so many objects; kinds, places and objects, all marked out in prophecy, exhibited as parts of one closely united system, and to be expected at the present time; they shew that this affecting declaration is even now fulfilling in a surprising manner, and that the advent of Christ is at least at our doors. Think how awful this period is. Think what convulsions, what calamities, are portended by that great Voice out of the temple of heaven from the Throne-"It is done!" by the voices and thunderings and lightnings, by the unprecedented shaking of the earth, the unexampled plague of hailstones, the fleeing of the islands, the vanishing of the mountains, the rending asunder of the Antichristian empire, the united ascent of all its sins before God, the falling of the cities of the nations, the general embattling of mankind against their Maker, and their final overthrow, in such immense numbers, that "all the fowls shall be filled with their flesh."
"GOD is jealous, and the Lord revengeth; the Lord revengeth and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, he reserveth wrath for his enemies. The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked. The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind, and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt; and the earth is burnt at his presence, yea the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before his indignation? Who can abide in the fierceness of his anger?"
In this amazing conflict, amidst this stupendous and immeasurable ruin, how transporting the thought, that safety and peace may be certainly found. O thou God of our fathers! our own God! and the God of our children! enable us so to watch, and keep our garments, in this solemn day, that our shame appear not, and that both we and our posterity may be entitled to the blessing which thou hast promised.
A M E N
(1) In the mention of all these evils brought on the Romish hierarchy, I beg it may be remembered, that I am far from justifying the iniquitous conduct of their persecutors. I know not that any person holds it, and all other persecution, more in abhorence. Neither have I a doubt of the integrity and piety of multitudes of the unhappy sufferers. In my view they claim, and I trust will receive, the commiseration, and, as occasion offers, the kind offices of all men possessed even of common humanity.
(2) The celebrated French Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, in which articles of theology were speciously and decently written, but, by references artfully made to other articles, all the truth of the former was entirely and insidiously overthrown to most readers, by the sophistry of the latter.
(3) So far was this carried, that a Mr. Beauzet, a lavman, but a sincere christian, who was one of the forty members, once asked D'Alembert how they came to admit him among them? D'Alembert answered, without hesitation, "I am sensible, this must seem astonishing to you; but we wanted a skilful grammarian, and among our party, not one had acquired a reputation in this line. We know that you believe in God, but, being a good sort of man, we cast our eves upon you, for want of a philosopher to supply your. place." Brit. Crit. Art. Barruel's Memoirs of the History of jacobinism. August 1797.
(4) The words pbilosopbism and pbilasopbists may in our opinion, be happily adapted, from this work, to designate the doctrines of the deistical sect; and thus to rescue the honourable terms of philosophy and philosopher from the abuse, into which they have fallen. Philosophism is the love of sophisms and thus completely describes the sect of Voltaire: A philosophist is a lover of sophists. Brit. Crit. Ibid.
(5) See A Four Years Residence in France, lately published by Mr. Cornelius Davis of New-York. This is a most valuable and interesting work, and exhibits the French Revolution in a far more perfect light than any book I have seen. It ought to be read by every American.
Source of Information:
Political Sermons of the American Founding Era. 1730-1805, Edited by Ellis Sandoz, A Liberty Press Edition, (1991) pp. 1363 - 1394
OCTOBER 2, 1798
Madison seems to be in a tomb; we hear nothing of him. Jefferson on his return home from the last sitting of Congress, was indiscreet enough to accept the honor of a public entertainment in Virginia on a Sunday. This fact has been trumpeted from one end of the continent to the other as an irrefragable proof of his contempt for the Christian religion and his devotion to the new religion of France. It has made an impression much to his prejudice in the Middle and eastern States.
Source of Information:
Extract of letter written by R. Trout to Rufus King, October 2, 1798. The Life and Correspondence of Rufus King, edited by Charles R. King, Volume II, 1795-1799, pp 432.-
DECEMBER 21, 1798 (In the Virginia House of Delegates)
RESOLVED, that the General Assembly of Virginia doth unequivocally express a firm resolution to maintain and defend the constitution of`the United States, and the Constitution of this state, against every aggression, either foreign or domestic, and that they will support the government of the United States in all measures, warranted by the former.
That this Assembly most solemnly declares a warm attachment to the Union of the States, to maintain which, it pledges all its powers; and that for this end, it is their duty, to watch over and oppose every infraction of those principles, which constitute the only basis of that union, because a faithful observance of them, can alone secure its existence, and the public happiness.
That this Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the federal government, as resulting from the compact to which the states are parties; as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting that compact; as no farther valid than they are authorised by the grants enumerated in that compact, and that in case of a deliberate, palpable and dangerous exercise of other powers not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.
That the General Assembly doth also express its deep regret that a spirit has in sundry instances, been manifested by the federal government, to enlarge its powers by forced constructions of the constitutional charter which defines them; and that indications have appeared of a design to expound certain general phrases (which having been copied from the very limited grant of powers in the former articles of confederation were the less liable to be misconstrued) so as to destroy the meaning and effect of the particular enumeration, which necessarily explains and limits the general phrases; and so as to consolidate the states by degrees into one sovereignty, the obvious tendency and inevitable consequence of which would he, to transform the present republican system of the United States, into an absolute, or at best a mixed monarchy.
That the General Assembly doth particularly protest against the palpable and alarming infractions of the constitution, in the two late cases of the "alien and sedition acts," passed at the last session of Congress; the first of which exercises a power no where delegated to the federal government; and which bv uniting legislative and judicial powers, to those of executive, subverts the general principles of free government, as well as the particular organization and positive provisions of the federal constitution: and the other of which acts, exercises in like manner a power not delegated by the constitution, but on the contrary expressly and positively forbidden by one of the amendments thereto; a power which more than any other ought to Produce universal alarm, because it is leveled against that right of freely examining public characters and measures, and of free communication among the people thereon, which has ever been justly deemed, the only effectual guardian of every other right.
That this State having by its convention which ratified the federal constitution, expressly declared, "that among other essential rights, the liberty of conscience and of the press cannot be cancelled, abridged, restrained or modified by any authority of the United States" and from its extreme anxiety to guard these rights from every possible attack of sophistry or ambition, having with other states recommended an amendment for that purpose, which amendment was in due time annexed to the Constitution, it would mark a reproachful inconsistency and criminal degeneracy, if an indifference were now shewn to the most palpable violation of one of the rights thus declared and secured, and to the establishment of a precedent which I-nay be fatal to the other.
That the good people of this Commonwealth having ever felt and continuing to feel the most sincere affection for their bretheren of the other states, the truest anxiety for establishing and perpetuating the union of all, and the most scrupulous fidelity: to that Constitution which is the pledge of mutual friendship, and the instrument of mutual happiness, the General Assembly doth solemnly appeal to the like dispositions of the Other States, in confidence that they will concur with this Commonwealth in declaring, as it does hereby declare, that the acts aforesaid are unconstitutionaI, and that the necessary and proper measures will be taken by each, for cooperating with this State in maintaining unimpaired the authorities, rights, and liberties, reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
That the Governor be desired to transmit a copy of the foregoing resolutions to the Executive authority of cash of the other States, with a request, that the same may be communicated to the Legislature thereof.
And that a copy be furnished to each of the Senators and Representatives, representing this State in the Congress of the United States.
Source of Information:
Virginia Resolutions Against The Alien and Sedition Acts In the House of`Delegates, Dec. 21,.1798. James Madison Writings, Jack N. Rakove selected the contents and wrote the notes for this volume. Library of Congress (1999) pp.589-91).
JANUARY 23, 1799
JAMES MADISON'S ADDRESS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO THE PEOPLE OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA.
So insatiable is a love of power that it has resorted to a distinction between the freedom and licentiousness of the press for the purpose of converting the third amendment of the Constitution, which was dictated by the most lively anxiety to preserve that freedom, into an instrument for abridging it. Thus usurpation even justifies itself by a precaution against usurpation; and thus an amendment universally designed to quiet every fear is adduced as the source of an act which has produced general terror and alarm.
The distinction between liberty and licentiousness is still a repetition of the Protean doctrine of implication, which is ever ready to work its ends by varying its shape. By its help, the judge as to what is licentious may escape through any constitutional restriction. Under it men of a particular religious opinion might be excluded from office, because such exclusion would not amount to an establishment of religion, and because it might be said that their opinions are licentious. And under it Congress might denominate a religion to be heretical and licentious, and proceed to its suppression. Remember that precedents once established are so much positive power; and that the nation which reposes on the pillow of political confidence, will sooner or later end its political existence in a deadly lethargy. Remember, also that it is to the press mankind are indebted for having dispelled the clouds which long encompassed religion, for disclosing her genuine lustre, and disseminating her salutary doctrines.
Source of Information:
Excerpt from James Madison, Address of the General Assembly to the People of the Commonwealth of Virginia, January 23, 1799. The Writings of James Madison. Edited by Gaillard Hunt. 9 vols. NewYork: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1900--1910. See also: Federalist. The Founders' Constitution Volume 5, Amendment I (Speech and Press), Document 21, http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/amendI_speechs21.html, The University of Chicago Press
January 26, 1799
I am for preserving to the States the powers not yielded by them to the Union, and to the legislature of the Union its constitutional share in the division of powers; and I am not for transferring all the powers of the States to the general government, and all those of that government to the Executive branch. 1 am for a government rigorously frugal and simple applying all the possible savings of the public revenue to the discharge of the national debt; and not for a multiplication of officers and salaries merely to make partisans, and for increasing, by every device, the public debt, on the principle of its being a public blessing. I am for relying, for internal defence, on our militia solely, till actual invasion, and for such a naval force only as may protect our coasts and harbors from such depredations as we have experienced: and not for a standing army in time of peace, which may overawe the public sentiment; nor for a navy, which. by its own expenses and the eternal wars in which it will implicate us, will grind us with public burthens, and sink us under them. I am for free commerce with all nations: political connection with none; and little or no diplomatic establishment. And I am not for linking ourselves by new treaties with the quarrels of Europe: entering that field of slaughter to preserve their balance. or joining in the confederacy of kings to war against the principles of liberty. I am for freedom of religion, and against all maneuvres to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another: for freedom of the press, and against all violations of the constitution to silence by force and not by reason the complaints or criticisms, just or unjust. of our citizens against the conduct of their agents.
Source of Information:
Excerpt of letter to Elbridge Gerry from Thomas Jefferson, January 26, 1799. History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-1968. Volume I: 1789-1824. Editor Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Chelsea House Publishers, N. Y. (1985) pp. 118-119.
MARCH 6, 1799
PROCLAMATIONS. [From C. F. Adams's Works of John Adams. Vol. IX, p. 172.]
MARCH 6, 1799.
As no truth is more clearly taught in the Volume of Inspiration, nor any more demonstrated by the experience of all ages, than that a deep sense and a due acknowledgment of the governing providence of a Supreme Being and of the accountableness of men to Him as the searcher f hearts and righteous distributer of rewards and punishments are conducive equally to the happiness and rectitude of individuals and to the well-being of communities; as it is also most reasonable in itself that men who are made capable of social acts and relations, who owe their improvements to the social state, and who derive their enjoyments from it, should, as a society, make their acknowledgments of dependence and obligation to Him who hath endowed them with these capacities and elevated them in the scale of existence by these distinctions; as it is likewise a plain dictate of duty and a strong sentiment of nature that in circumstances of great urgency and seasons of imminent danger earnest and particular supplications should be made to Him who is able to defend or to destroy; as, moreover, the most precious interests of the people of the United States are still held in jeopardy by the hostile designs and insidious sets of a foreign nation, as well as by the dissemination among them of those principles, subversive of the foundations of all religious, moral, and social obligations, that have produced incalculable mischief and misery in other countries; and as, in fine, the observance of special seasons for public religious solemnities is happily calculated to avert the evils which we ought to deprecate and to excite to the performance of the duties which we ought to discharge by calling and fixing the attention of the people at large to the momentous truths already recited, by affording opportunity to teach and inculcate them by animating devotion and giving to it the character of a national act:
For these reasons I have thought proper to recommend, and I do hereby recommend accordingly, that Thursday, the 25th day of April next, be observed throughout the United States of America as a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that the citizens on that day abstain as far as may be from their secular occupations, devote the time to the sacred duties of religion in public and in private; that they call to mind our numerous offenses against the Most High God, confess them before Him with the sincerest penitence, implore His pardoning mercy, through the Great Mediator and Redeemer, for our past transgressions, and that through the grace of His Holy Spirit we may be disposed and enabled to yield a more suitable obedience to His righteous requisitions ill time to come; that He would interpose to arrest the progress of that impiety and licentiousness in principle and practice so offensive to Himself and so ruinous to mankind; that He would make us deeply sensible that "righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to ally people;" that He would turn us from our transgressions and turn His displeasure from us; that He would withhold us from unreasonable discontent, from disunion, faction, sedition, and insurrection; that He would preserve our country from the desolating sword; that He would save our cities and towns from a repetition of those awful pestilential visitations under which they have lately suffered so severely, and that the health of our inhabitants generally may be precious in His sight; that He would favor us with fruitful seasons and so bless the labors of the husbandman as that there may be food in abundance for man and beast; that He would prosper our commerce, manufactures, and fisheries, and give success to the people in all their lawful industry and enterprise; that He would smile on our colleges, academies, schools, and seminaries of learning, and make them nurseries of sound science, morals, and religion; that He would bless all magistrates, from the highest to the lowest, give them the true spirit of their station, make them a terror to evil doers and a praise to them that do well; that He would preside over the councils of the nation at this critical period, enlighten them to a just discernment of the public interest, and save them from mistake, division, and discord; that He would make succeed our preparations for defense and bless our armaments by land and by sea; that He would put an end to the effusion of human blood and the accumulation of human misery among the contending nations of the earth by disposing them to justice, to equity, to benevolence, and to peace; and that he would extend the blessings of knowledge, of true liberty. and of pure and undefiled religion throughout the world.
And I do also recommend that with these acts of humiliation, penitence, and prayer fervent thanksgiving to the Author of All Good be united for the countless favors which He is still continuing to the people of the United States, and which render their condition as a nation eminently happy when compared with the lot of others Given, etc.
Source of Information:
A Compilation of The Messages And Papers of The Presidents, Vol. I, Bureau of National Literature, N Y, PP 274-276.
1. An inviolable preservation of the federal Constitution, according to the true sense in which it was adopted by the States, that in which it was advocated by its friends, and not that which its enemies apprehended, who, therefore, became its enemies.
8. Freedom of religion, and opposition to all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another.
9. Freedom of speech and the press; and opposition, therefore, to all violations of the Constitution, to silence, by force, and not by reason, the complaints or criticisms, just or unjust, of our citizens against the conduct of their public agents.
Source of Information:
First American Platform Adopted in Congressional Caucus, Philadelphia, in 1800, by The Democratic-Republican Party. American State Papers Bearing On Sunday Legislation, Revised and Enlarged Edition, Compiled and Annotated by William Addison Blakely, Revised Edition Edited by Willard Allen Colcord, The Religious Liberty Association, Washington D.C. 1911, pp 166.
JANUARY 7, 1800
The ministry, who are responsible to impeachment, are at all times, anirnadverted on, by the press, with peculiar freedom; and during the elections for the House of Commons, the other responsible part of` the government, the press is employed with as little reserve towards the candidates.
The practice in America must be entitled to much more respect. In every state, probably, in the union, the press has exerted a freedom in canvassing the merits and measures of public men, of every description, which has not been confined to the strict limits of the common law. On this footing, the freedom of the press has stood; on this footing it yet stands. And it will not be a breach, either of truth or of candour, to say, that no persons or presses are in the habit of more unrestrained animadversions on the proceedings and functionaries of the state governments, than the persons and presses most zealous, in vindicating the act of Congress for punishing similar animadversions on the government of the United States.
The last remark will not be understood, as claiming for the state governments, an immunity greater than they have heretofore enjoyed. Some degree of abuse is inseparable fiom the proper use of every thing; and in no instance is this more true, than in that of the press. It has accordingly been decided by the Practice of the states, that it is better to leave a few of its noxious branches, to their luxuriant growth, than by pruning them away, to injure the vigor of those yielding the proper fruits. And can the wisdom of this policy he doubted by any who reflect, that to the press alone, chequered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity, over error and oppression; wile reflect that to the same beneficent source, the United States owe much of the lights which conducted them to the rank of a free and independent nation; and whish have improved their political system, into a shape so auspicious to their happiness. Had "Sedition acts," forbidding every publication that might bring the constituted agents into contempt or disrepute, or that might excite the hatred of the people against the authors of unjust or pernicious measures, been uniformly enforced against the press; might not the United States have been languishing at this ciav, under the infirmities of a sickly confederation.' Might they not Possibly be miserable colonies, groaning under a foreign yoke?
To these observations one fact will be added, which demonstrates that the common law cannot be admitted as the universal expositor of American terms, which may be the same with those contained in that law. The freedom of conscience, and of religion, are found in the same instruments, which assert the freedom of the press. It will never be admitted, that the meaning of the former, in the common law of England, is to limit their meaning in the United States.
Whatever weight may be allowed to these considerations, the committee do not, however, by any means, intend to rest the question on them. They contend that the article of amendment, instead of supposing in Congress, a power that might be exercised over the press, provided its freedom be not abridged, was meant as a positive denial to Congress, of any Power whatever on the subject.
To demonstrate that this was the true object of the article, it will be sufficient to recall the circumstances which led to it, and to refer to the explanation accompanying the article.
When the constitution was under the discussions which preceded its ratification, it is well known, that great apprehensions were expressed by many, lest the omission of some positive exception from the powers delegated, of certain rights, and of the freedom of the Press Particularly, might expose them to the danger of being drawn by construction within some of the powers vested in Congress; more especially of the power to make all laws necessary and proper, for carving their other powers into execution. In reply to this objection, it was invariably urged to be a fundamental and characteristic principle of the constitution; that all powers not given by it, were reserved; that no powers were given beyond those enumerated in the constitution, and such as were fairly incident to them; that the power over the rights in question, and particularly over the press, was neither among the enumerated Powers, nor incident to any of them; and consequently that an exercise of any such power, would be a manifest usurpation. It is painful to remark, how much the arguments now employed in behalf of the sedition act, are at variance with the reasoning which then justified the constitution, and invited its ratification.
From this posture of the subject, resulted the interesting question in so many of the conventions, whether the doubts and dangers ascribed to the constitution, should be removed by any amendments previous to the ratification, or be postponed, in confidence that as far as they might be proper, they would be introduced in the form provided by the constitution. The latter course was adopted; and ill most of the states, the ratifications were followed by propositions and instructions for rendering the constitution more explicit, and more safe to the rights, not meant to be delegated by it. Among those rights, the freedom of the press, in most instances, is particularly and emphatically mentioned. The firm and very pointed manner, in which it is asserted in the proceedings of the convention of this state will be hereafter seen.
In pursuance of the wishes thus expressed, the first Congress that assembled under the constitution, proposed certain amendments which have since, by the necessary ratifications, been made a part of it; among which amendments is the article containing, among other prohibitions on the Congress, an express declaration that they should make no law abridging the freedom of the press.
Without tracing farther the evidence on this subject, it would seem scarcely possible to doubt, that no power whatever over the press, \vas supposed to be delegated by the constitution, as it originally stood; and that the amendment was intended as a positive and absolute reservation of it.
But the evidence is still stronger. The proposition of amendments made bv Congress, is introduced in the following terms: "The Conventions of a number of the states having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstructions or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses Should be added; and as extending the ground of public confidence in the government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution. "
Here is the most satisfactory and authentic proof, that the several amendments proposed, were to be considered as either declaratory or restrictive; and whether the one or tile other, as corresponding with the desire expressed by a number of the states, and as extending the ground of public confidence in the government.
Under any other construction of the amendment relating to the press, than that it declared the press to be wholly exempt from the power of Congress, the amendment could neither be said to correspond with the desire expressed by a number of the states, nor be calculated to extend the ground of public confidence ill the government.
Nay more; the construction employed to justify the "sedition act," would exhibit a phenomenon, without a parallel in the political world. It would exhibit a number of respectable states, as denying first that any power over the press was delegated by the constitution; as proposing next, that an amendment to it, should explicitly declare that no such power was delegated; and finally, as concurring in an amendment actually recognizing or delegating such a power.
Is then the federal government, it will be asked, destitute of every authority for restraining the licentiousness of the press, and for shielding itself against the libellous attacks which may be made on those who administer it?
The constitution alone call answer this question. If no such power be expressly delegated, and it be not both necessary and proper to carry into execution an express power; above all, ifit be expressly forbidden b\; a declaratory amendment to the constitution, the answer must be, that the federal government is destitute of all such authority. [pp. 647-50]
It is with justice, therefore, that the General Assembly hath affirmed in the resolution, as well that the right of freely examining public characters and measures, and of free communication thereon, is the only effectual guardian of every other right; as that this particular right is leveled at, by the power exercised in the "sedition act."
The resolution next in order is as follows:
That this state having by its Convention, which ratified the Federal Constitution expressly declared, that among other essential rights, "the liberty of conscience and of` the press cannot be cancelled, abridged, restrained or modified by any authority of the United States," and from its extreme anxiety to guard there rights from every possible attack of sophistry and ambition, having with other states, recommended an amendment for that purpose, Which amendment was, in due time, annexed to the constitution; it would mark a reproachful inconsistency, and criminal degeneracy, if an indifference were not shewn, to the most palpable violation of one of the rights, thus declared and secured; and to the establishment of a precedent, which may be fatal to the other
To place this resolution in its just light, it will be necessary to recur to the act of ratification by Virginia which stands in the ensuing form.
We, the Delegates of the people of` Virginia, duly elected in pursuance of a recommendation front the General Assembly, and now met in Convention, having fully and freely investigated and discussed the proceedings of the federal convention, and being prepared as well as the most mature deliberation hath enabled us, to decide thereon; DO, in the name and in behalf of the people of Virginia, declare and make known, that the powers granted under the constitution, being derived from the people of the United States, may be resumed by them, whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression; and that every power not granted thereby, remains with them, and at their will. That therefore, no right of any denomination can be cancelled abridged restrained or modified, by the Congress, by the Senate or House of Representatives acting in any capacity, by the President, or any department or officer of the United States, except in those instances in which power is given by the constitution for those purposes; and, that among other essential rights, the liberty of conscience and of the press, cannot be cancelled, abridged, restrained or modified by any authority of the United States.
Here is an express and solemn declaration by the convention of the state, that they ratified the constitution in the sense, that no right of any denomination can be cancelled, abridged, restrained or modified by the government of the United States or any part of it; except in those instances in which power is given by the constitution; and in the sense particularly, "that among other essential rights, the liberty of conscience and freedom of the press cannot be cancelled, abridged, restrained or modified, by any authority of the United States."
Words could not well express, in a fuller or more forcible manner, the understanding of the convention, that the liberty of conscience and the freedom of the press, were equally and completely exempted from all authority whatever of the United States.
Under an anxiety to guard more effectually these rights against every possible danger, the convention, after ratifying the constitution, proceeded to prefix to certain amendments proposed by them, a declaration of rights, in which are two articles providing, the one for the liberty of conscience, the other for the freedom of speech and of the press.
Similar recommendations having proceeded from a number of other states; and Congress, as has been seen, having in consequence thereof, and with a view to extend the ground of public confidence, proposed among other declaratory and restrictive clauses, a clause expressly securing the liberty of conscience and of the press; and Virginia having concurred in the ratifications which made them a part of the constitution; it will remain with a candid public to decide, whether it would not mark an inconsistency and degeneracy, if an indifference were now shewn to a palpable violation of one of those rights, the freedom of the press; and to a precedent therein, which may be fatal to the other, the free exercise of religion.
That the precedent established bv the violation of the former of these rights, may, as is affirmed by the resolution, be fatal to the latter, appears to be demonstrable, by a comparison of the grounds on which they respectively rest; and from the scope of reasoning, by which the power over the former has been vindicated.
First. Both of these rights, the liberty of conscience and of the press, rest equally on the original ground of not being delegated by the constitution, and consequently withheld from the government. Ally construction therefore, that would attack this original security for the one must have the like effect on the other.
Secondly. They are both equally secured by the supplement to the constitution; being both included in the same amendment, made at the same time, and by the same authority. Any construction or argument then which would turn the amendment into a grant or acknowledgment of power with respect to the press, might be equally applied to the freedom of religion .
Thirdly. If it be admitted that the extent of the freedom of the press secured by the amendment, is to be measured by the common law on this subject; the same authority may be resorted to, for the standard which is to fix the extent of the "free exercise of religion." It cannot be necessary to say what this standard would be; whether the common law be taken solely as the unwritten, or as varied by the written, law of England.
Fourthly. If the words and phrases in the amendment, are to be considered as chosen with a studied discrimination, which yields an argument for a power over the press, under the limitation that its freedom be not abridged; the same argument results from the same consideration, fur a power over the exercise of religion, under the limitation that its freedom be not prohibited. For if Congress may regulate the freedom of the press, provided they do not abridge it: because it is said only, "they shall not abridge it"; and is not said, "they shall make no law respecting it": the analogy of reasoning is conclusive, that Congress may regulate and even abridge the free exercise of religion; provided they do not prohibit it; because it is said only "they shall not prohibit it"; and is not said "they shall make no law respecting or no law abridging it."
The General Assembly were governed by the dearest reason, then, in considering the "Sedition act," which legislates on the freedom of the press, as establishing a precedent that may be fatal to the liberty of conscience and it will be the duty of all, in proportion as they value the security of the latter, to take the alarm at every encroachment on the former.
The two concluding resolutions only remain to be examined. They are in the words following.
"That the good people of this commonwealth, having ever felt, and continuing to feel the most sincere affection for their brethren of the other states; the truest anxiety for establishing and perpetuating the union of all; and the most scrupulous fidelity to that constitution, which is the pledge of mutual
Source of Information:
Report on the Alien and Sedition Acts, General Assembly, Virginia. January 7, 1800. James Madison Writings, Jack N. Rakove selected the contents and wrote the notes for this volume. Library of Congress (1999) pp. 647-50, 655-58.
JANUARY 31, 1800
To Bishop James Madison Philadelphia January 31, 1800
I have received your favor of the 17th & communicated it to Mr. Smith. I lately forwarded your letter from Dr. Priestley, endorsed 'with a book'; I struck those words through with my pen, because no book had then come. It is now a received, and shall be forwarded to Richmond by the first opportunity; but such opportunities are difficult to find, gentlemen going in the stage not liking to take charge of a packet which is to be attended to every time the stage is changed. The best chance will be by some captain of a vessel going round to Richmond. I shall address it to the care of Mr. George Jefferson there.
I have lately by accident got a sight of a single volume (the 3rd .) of the Abbey Barruel's 'antisocial conspiracy,' which gives me the first idea I have ever had of what is meant by the illuminatism against which 'illuminate Morse' as he is now called, & his ecclesiastical & monarchical associates have been making such a hue and cry. Barruel's own parts of the book are perfectly the ravings of a bedlamite. But he quotes largely from the Wishaupt who he considers as a founder of what the calls the order. As you may not have an opportunity of forming a judgment of this cry of mad dog which as been raised against his doctrines, I will give you the idea of formal and hours reading the Barruel's quotations from him, which may be sure not the most favorable. Wishaupt seems to be enthusiastic Philanthropist. He is among those as you know the excellent price and Priestley also are) who believe in the indefinite perfectibility of man. He thinks he may in time be rendered so perfect that he will be able to govern himself in every circumstance so as to injure none, to do all the good he can, to leave government no occasion to exercise their powers over him, & if course to render political government useless. This you know is Godwin's doctrine, and this the book Robinson, Barruel & Mores had called a conspiracy against all government. Wishaupt believes that to promote this perfection of human character was the object of Jesus Christ. That his the intention was simply to reinstate natural religion, & by diffusing the light of his morality, to teach us to govern ourselves. This precepts are the love of God & the love of our neighbor. And by teaching innocense of conduct, he expected the place men in their natural state of liberty and equality. He says, no one ever laid a surer foundation for liberty than our grandmaster, Jesus of Nazareth. He believes the Free masons were originally possessed of the true principles and objects of Christianity, and still preserve some of them by tradition, but much disfigured. The means he proposes to effect this improvement of human nature are 'to enlighten men, to correct their morals & inspire them with that benevolence. Secure of our success, sais he, we abstain from violent emotions. To have foreseen the happiness and prosperity & to have prepared it by irreproachable means, suffices for our felicity. The tranquillity of our consciences is not troubled by the reproach of aiming at the ruin or overthrow of states or thrones. As Wishaupt lived under the tyranny of a despot & priests, he knew that caution was necessary even in spreading information, & the principles of pure morality. He proposed therefore to lead the Free masons to adopt this object & to make of objects of their institutions the diffusion of science and virtue. He proposed to initiate new members into his body by gradations proportion to his fears of the thunderbolts of tyranny. This has given an air of mystery to his views, was the foundation of his banishment, the subversion of Masonic order, & is the colour for the ravings against him of Robinson, Barruel & Morse, whose real fears are that the craft would be endangered by spreading of information, reason & natural morality among men. This subject being new to me, I have imagined that it be so to you also, you may receive the same satisfaction in seeing, which I have had in forming the analysis of it; & I believe you'll think with me that if Wishaupt had written here, where no secrecy is necessary in our endeavors to render men wise and virtuous, he would not thought of any secret machinery for that purpose. As Godwin, if he had written in Germany, might probably also have thought secrecy & mysticism prudent. I will say nothing to you on the late revolution of France, which is painfully interesting. Perhaps will know more of the circumstances which gave rise to it, & the direction it will take, Bonaparte, its chief organ, may stand in a better light than at present. I'm with great esteem, dear Sir, Your affectionate friend.
The Letters of Thomas Jefferson: 1743-1826
FEBRUARY 1, 1800
Doctor Rush tells me that he has it from Asa Green, that when the clergy addressed General Washington on his departure from the government, it was observed in their consultation, that he had never, on any occasion, said a word to the public which showed a belief in the Christian religion, and they thought they should so pen their address, as to force him at length to declare publicly whether he was a Christian or not. They did so. However, he observed, the old fox was too cunning for them. He answered every article of their address particularly except that, which he passed over without notice. Rush observes, he never did say a word on the subject in any of his public papers, except in his valedictory letter to the Governors of the States, when he resigned his commission in the army, wherein he speaks of "the benign influence of the Christian religion."
I know that Gouverneur Morris, who pretended to be in his secrets and believed himself to be so, has often told me that General Washington believed no more of that system than he himself did.
Source of Information:
Entry by Thomas Jefferson in his Anas. February 1 1800, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson,Selected and Edited by Saul K. Padover, The Easton Press. (1967) pp 217-218.
March 29, 1800
SATURDAY EVENING, MARCH 29
It was an error fatal to themselves and ruinous to the peace of society, when the French, in their revolution, determined to imitate the republic of Rome rather than the British constitution. The former seems every way unfavorable to the French, while the latter would be beneficial. . . . If they had followed Montesquieu rather than Tom Paine, how glorious, instead of disreputable, would have been the result! . . .How did this country improve its condition and its fame, when under the auspices of George Washington and other leading men, the people formed a constitution similar to that of England Instead of their former rickety and ruinous system.. If the federal constitution had not been adopted, the Sabbath might have been abolished, and the guillotine erected in all its horrors.
It is disgraceful to mankind that such a man as Tom Paine, an ignoramus a drunkard and a blasphemer, should have had so much influence among them . . .
LIBERTY AND ORDER
Source of Information:
Excerpt of letter to the editor, by Liberty and Order. The Gazette of The United States, Saturday Evening, March 29, 1800. Jan 1, 1800 to Dec 31, 1800 MFILM N.S. 10953 AP2.05
1800 [Exact date of publication in 1800 is uncertain.]
ADDRESSED TO THE
CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES
[ BY Rev. Wm. Linn ]
PRINTED AND SOLD BY JOHN PUTNAM AT HIS BOOK, STAMP, AND STATIONARY SHOP
OPPOSITE THE CITY HALL
THE time is drawing near, when you will be called to give your voice in the election of a President. In the exercise of this important privilege, it will be granted, that great deliberation is necessary; and that upon the choice of a suitable person depends, under Divine Providence, the prosperity of our nation. A few considerations, therefore, will received by you with candour; and allowed all the weight to which you may think them entitled. The writer of them has neither held, nor does he expect ever to hold any office under government; he means not to be an advocate of any particular man; he is not actuated by a mere regard to the political principles of any party; but if his heart deceive him not, by a sincere desire for the public welfare.
IT will be understood that the Honorable Thomas Jefferson is a candidate for the Chief Magistracy of the United States, and that a number of our citizens will give him all their support. I would not presume to dictate to you who ought to be President, but entreat you to hear with patience my reasons why he ought not.
To the declarations of disinterestedness and sincerity already made, I think it proper to add, that I have no personal resentment whatever against Mr. Jefferson, and that it is with pain I oppose him; that I was never in his company, and I would hardly know him; that I honor him in holding a high office in government; that I admire his talents and feel grateful for the services which he has been instrumental in rendering to his country; and that my objection to his being promoted to the Presidency is founded singly upon his disbelief of the Holy Scriptures, or in other words, his rejection of the Christian religion and open professions of Deism.
NOTWITHSTANDING the general character of Mr. Jefferson and the proofs of his Deistical principles which have been partly published at different times there are some who will still doubt, or, if, they admit the truth, are disposed to say that he is no worse than his opponents. Whether he is
worse or not will be shown hereafter. When the spirit of party is so violent as we have seen it in this country, and the vilest calumnies have been propagated respecting the best characters, it is not surprising that the reports which are circulated should be received with caution, especially when there is not ready access to the highest and most infallible source of information. I shall endeavor in this address, to present to your view the collective evidence of Mr. Jefferson's principles at to religion, and show you why such a man ought not be honored and entrusted with the office of the chief magistrate. This I hope to do principally from Mr. Jefferson's own writings, and in such a manner that neither he or any of his friends shall be able justly to charge me with the least misrepresentation.
BESIDES the publications acknowledged by a man, some dependence may be fairly placed upon his general character, and his conversation as related by men of intelligence and veracity. The world is seldom mistaken as to a man's talents and moral principles; and we safely rely upon respectable testimony. The avowal, therefore, of sentiment in conversation which shall be related, cannot be doubted, from the nature of the authority and our belief will be strengthened when this is viewed in connection with this written evidence
IN a work of Mr. Jefferson entitled "Notes on the State of Virginia," what he says on the subject of the deluge, is clear proof of his disrespect of divine revelation. He opposes the opinion, that the shells found on the tops of high mountains ought to be considered as proof of a universal deluge. He endeavors to show, that is the whole contents of the atmosphere were water, the lands could only be overflowed to a height of 52 frac12; feet only, and that in Virginia this would be a very small proportion even in the champaign country. He rejects a second opinion that "the bed of the "ocean has, by some great convulsion of nature, been heaved to the heights at which we now find "shells and other remains of marine animals." He rejects likewise a third solution suggested by Voltaire-- "There is a wonder,"says Mr. Jefferson, "somewhere; is it greatest on this branch of the dilemma, on that which supposes the existence of a power, of which we have no evidence in any other case; or on the first, which requires us to believe, the creation of a body of water, and its subsequent annihilation? The three hypotheses are equally unsatisfactory, and we must be content with knowledge that this great phenomenon is as yet unsolved. Ignorance is preferable to error and he is less
remote from truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong. *
LET it be remarked here, that could give Mr. Jefferson found, what he thought evidence, that the waters had ever covered the highest mountains, he would admitted that solution as to the Ihells; but he attempts to show the improbability of such a quantity of water being produced and consequently discredits the scared history. The account given by the inspired writer is "All the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened, and the rain was upon the earth forty days and forth nights. And the water prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills that were under the whole heaven were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered." + Moses mentions two causes for the deluge; the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of the heavens
* Page 28-p. 31__ The edition which I use is the printed in Philadelphia in 1783. Mr. Jefferson has published, so late as the present year, an appendix to this work; but it relates wholly to the murder of Logan's family. There is not a retraction of, or even an apology for any of the sentiments, though he knows they have been repeatedly censured.
+ Genesis vii 11, 12, 19, 22.
were opened; but Mr. Jefferson does not so much as name his old philosopher, while he indirectly denies the facts , or, like other infidels, cannot still get water enough to cover the mountains. Even a miracle is not sufficient with him, or rather his fath is too weak to receive a miracle. Requires us, says he, to believe the creation of a body of water and its subsequent annihilation. He is at liberty to philosophize if he pleases on the causes of the deluge; but it is not my business at present (and I beg it may be remembered) to refute his principles; but only to show their inconsistency with the Holy Scriptures. I am not called then to controvert his positions, that ignorance is preferable to error, and that he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong; but I will be permitted to say, that ii is safest for him to believe the Mosaic account of the deluge, though he should never find out a satisfactory solution ; yea, though he should adopt a wrong one.
Again, upon the question, Whence the first inhabitants of America originated? Mr. Jefferson is of the opinion, that there are among the Indians a great variety of languages radically different, and from this circumstance, he argues the impossibility of their having emigrated from Asia. His words
are "Arranging them under the radical one to which they be palpably traced, and doing the same by "those of the red men of Asia, there will be found probably, twenty in America, for one in Asia, of "the radical languages, so called, because if they were ever the same, they have lost all resemblance "to one another. A separation into dialects may be the work of a few ages only, but for two dialects "to recede from one another till they have lost all vestiges of their common origin, must require an "immense course of time; perhaps not less than many people give to the age of the earth. A greater "number of those radical changes of language having taken place among the red men of America, "proves them of greater antiquity than those oa Asia."* I will not ask him here, what time he gives to the age of the earth? Whether he believes the Scripture chronology? Or, whether he believes the earth to be fourteen thousand years old, judging by lava in the neighborhood of Mount Etna? Whether he depends most on the authority of Moses or of Canoaico [there is a blemish ion the copy the name might be Canarico] Recupero?+ What I with
* Page 108
+This man has been engaged in writing the history of Mount Etna. He had discovered a lava which he says must have flowed from the mountain at least fourteen thousand years ago. The Bishop of the Diocese advised him to take care not to make the mountain older than Moses. I have not heard the issue.
to be remarked is, that is the Indians did not emigrate from Asia, and are of even greater antiquity than the Afiatics, then the opinion is insinuated that they are a different race of men originally created and placed in America; contrary to the sacred history that all mankind have descended from a single pair. This was the opinion of Lord Kames, and it is supported by the same argument of a variety of languages, in his history of man.*.This is evidently the opinion of Mr. Jefferson; an opinion repugnant to sacred history, to the express declaration of the apostle, that "God hath made of one blood all nations of "men for to dwell on all the face of the earth," and striking at the root of the plan of salvation revealed in the gospel. To whom is the gospel to be preached? To the posterity of Adam only? To those or whom Adam was the natural and federal head. Salvation is purchased, and can be offered to no other race. "As in Adam all shall die, even the Christ shall all be made alive.
"The first man Adam was made a living soul, the last Adam was made a quickening spirit." +
* See an excellent Essay on the causes of the variety of complexion and figurein the human species. To which are added Strictures on Lord Kames discourse on the original diversity of mankind, by the Rev, Dr..Samuel S. Smith. This work has justly acquired reputation in America and Europe and has been translated into several languages.
+I Cor. xv, 22, 45.
Every doubt will be removed as to this sentiment of Mr. Jefferson, when we consider what he asserts more plainly respecting the negroes. After mentioning some distinctions between them and the white people, he says, "There other physical distinctions proving a difference of race." He makes the blacks inferior to the Whites in reason and imagination. He professes to take his examples not in Africa, but among the blacks born in this country, and who had enjoyed considerable advantages. He denies "that their inferiority is the effect of merely of theor condition of "life;" says that they improved by a mixture with the whites; compares them with the Roman slaves who excelled in arts and sciences, but who "were of the races of whites;" and after a long discussion of the subject concludes in this singular manner. "I advance it therefore as a suspicion only, that the "blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are "inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind. It is not against experience to "support that different species of the same genus, or varieties of the same species may possess "different qualifications. Will not a lover of natural history then, one who views the gradations in all "the races of animals with the eye of philosophy, excuse an effort to keep thole in the
department of "as different as nature has formed them?" *
CAN any man now doubt of Mr. Jefferson's real opinion, and of that opinion being directly opposite to divine revelation? In his conclusion he betrays, like a true infidel, an inconsistency with himself. Having laboured to point out physical and moral differences between the Whites and Blacks, he advances it at last "as a suspicion only," that the latter was inferior to the former; having expressly asserted, that the distinctions mentioned, "prove a difference of race," now he modestly conveys the doubt, "whether originally a distinct, or made distinct by time and circumstances." Would a man who believes in divine revelation even hint a suspicion of that kind? The last sentence, however, though curious, is clear enough as to Mr. Jefferson's real sentiment. It seems that he views his discussion as "an effort to keep thole in the department of man as distinct as nature has formed them," and he prays to be excused. Observe that he pleads only for for a department, a distinct one.
Will the philosopher promise, if we indulge him, not to use his arguments hereafter in favor of the Ourang Outang?
Will he engage not to trouble us, by the varieties of colour, shape, and size, to sit up numerous other departments? The matter is too serious to jest with. Sir, we excuse you not! You have degraded the Blacks, from the ranks God hath given them in the scale of being! You have advanced the strongest argument for their state of slavery! You have insulted human nature! You have contemned the word of truth and the mean of salvation! And whether you will excuse us or not, we exclude you, in your present belief, from any department among Christians!
THOUGH the sentiment of Mr. Jefferson is evident enough to every attentive reader, yet it may not be amiss to know the light in which it is understood in Europe. The Monthly Reviewers in London, in reviewing his Notes, say, "It is observable, that the Virginians soon after the assertion of "Independence, appointed a committee to revise their code of laws, and though the emancipation of "negro slaves entered the plan of reformation, yet the idea of their being an inferior species of the "human genus, governed their regulations." After quoting the whole passage respecting the Blacks, they add, "We recollect a tract relating to the sugar trade, written in the name of John Gardner "Kemys, Esg. A Jamaica
"planter, in which the same argument was extended, by an appeal to facts, to connecting the negros with the Oura ng Outang."* This latter writer endeavoured "to prove that many negroes are "connected in blood with the Ourang Outang, and that the inportation of them contributed to "humanize the deseendants of brutes.+
UPON a plan proposed for the institution of schools in the state of Virginia, Mr. Jefferson says, "instead of putting the Bible and testament into the hands of children, at an age when their judgements are not sufficiently matured for religious inquiries, their memories may hee be stroed with the more useful facts from Grecian, Roman, European and American History. The first elements of morality too may be instilled into their minds; such as, when farther developed as their judgments advance in strength, may teach them how to work out theior own greater happiness,&c. "++ He mentions the Bible at last;
*Vol. 78, p. 379
+ In justice to Mr. Jefferson it must be said that he is an advocate for emancipation of the blacks; though unhappily he has raised one of the greatest obstacles, by denying them to be the same soecies with the whites.
for what purpose is easily seen. When the deluge and the origin of the blacks are under discussion we do not hear a word about it. Moses is treated as a historian unworthy of his notice
I HAVE heard objections made to the Bible as a school book, but never for the reason here given. A large part of the Bible consists of history, or is a relation of facts; and one would think that the minds of children are as equal to these as to any other; and at that tnhey would be more useful to than the facts contained in profane history. The bible is the most ancient and the only authentic history in the world. Mr. Jefferson admits that. "The first elements of morality may be instilled into "the minds of children." . Why not the first elements of religion, which are the foundation of all sound morality? Are the minds oc children maturured for the one, and not for the other? He has not told us when it is proper to teasch them a little religion; and how we may prevent in the mean time irreligious principles. Indeed we hear no more about religion or the bible, nor does he think it necessary, for their elements of morality may teach them how to work out their own greater happiness. If this be not deistical education, I know not what is. Had he prozed the bible and been properly acquainted with the contents, he would
have known that the facts related in that book are the most ancient, the most authentic, the most interesting, and the most useful in the world; that they are above all others level to the capacities of children, calculated to impress their tender minds and form them to live to God, their country and to themselves.
AFTER what has been produced, who can refute his belief of what I shall now relate? When the late Re, Dr. John B. Smith resided in Virginia, the famous MAZZEI happened one night to be his guest. Dr. Smith having, as usual, assembled his family for their evening devotions, the circumstances occasioned some discourse on religion in which the Italian made no secret of his infidel principles. In the course of the conversation he remarked to Dr. Smith, "Why your great philosopher and statesman, Mr. Jefferson, is rather farther goen in infidelity than I am," and related in confirmation, the following anecdote; that he was once riding with Mr. Jefferson, he expressed his "surprise that the people of this country take no better care of their public buildings.." "What buildings," exclaimed Mr. Jefferson. "Is that not a chuch?" replied he pointing to a decayed edifice. "Yes," answered Mr. Jefferson "I am am astonished," said the
other, "that they permit it to be in so ruinious a condition." "It is good enough," rejoined Mr. Jefferson, "for him that was born in a manger!!" Such a contemptuous sling at the blessed Jesus ciuld issue from the lips of no other than a deadly foe to his name and cause.*
THERE is another passage in Mr. Jefferson's Notes which requires the most serious attention. In showing that civil rulers ought not to interfere with the rights of conscience, and that the legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as they are injurious to others, he says, "It "does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."+ The whole passage is written with a great degree of spirit, it is remarkable for that conciseness, perspicuity and force which characterize the style of Mr. Jefferson.
Some have ventured from the words I have quoted, to being
* This story I had from Dr. Smith more than once, and he told it to I don't know how many. I applied to one gentleman, who I knew had heard it from Dr. Smith and we agreed in the relation. There is no possibility of contradicting it, except by improbable supposition that Mazzei told a downright falsehood. Dr. Smith was one of the most faithful, zealous, and successful ministers in all this country. His memory will long be precious to those who knew him.
+ Page 169
even the charge of atheism against him. This is a high charge, and it becomes carefully to examine the ground upon which it rests. Though the words themselves, their connection, and the design for which they are introduced may be insufficient to support it, yet there are concurrent circumstances to be taken into consideration, and which will fix at least a suspicion. These circumstances are, the general disregard of religious things, the associates at home and correspondents abroad, and the principles maintained in conversation. With these things I am not so well acquainted as many. I shall only mention what passed in conversation between Mr. Jefferson and a gentleman of distinguished talents and services, on the necessity of religion to government. The gentleman insisted that some religious faith and institutions of worship, claiming a divine origin, were necessary to the order and peace of society. Mr. Jefferson said that he differed widely from him, and that "he wished to see a government in which no religious opinions were held, "and where the security for property and social "order rested entirely upon the force of the law." Would not this be a nation of Atheists? Is it not natural, after the free declaration of such a sentiment, to suspect the man himself of Atheism? Could one who is impressed with the existence of a God, the Creator, Preserver, and Governor of all things, to whom we are under a law and accountable; and
the inseparable connection of this truth with the social order and the external happiness of mankind, express himself in this manner?
PUTTING the most favorable construction upon the words in the Notes, they are extremely reprehensible. Does not the belief influence the practice? How then can it be a matter of indifference what a man believes? The doctrine that a man's life may be good, let his faith be what it may, is contradictory to reason and the experience of mankind. It is true that a mere opinion of my neighbour will do me no injury. Government cannot regulate or punish it. The right of private opinion is inalienable. But let my neighbour once persuade himself that there is no God, and he will soon pick my pocket, and break not only my leg but my neck. If there is no God, there is no law; no future account; government then is the ordinance of man only, and we cannot be subject for conscience sake. No colours can paint the horrid effects of such a principle, and the deluge of miseries with which it would overwhelm the human race.
How strongly foever Mr. Jefferson may reason against the punishments of law of erroneous opinion, even of atheism; they are not the less frightful
and dangerous in their consequences. He admits the propriety of rejecting the testimony of an atheist in a court of justice, and of fixing a stigma upon him. Just such a stigma, the United States ought to fix upon himself. Though neither the constitution, nor any law forbids his election, yet the public opinion ought to disqualify him. On account of his disbelief of the Holy Scriptures, and his attempts to discredit them, he ought to be rejected from the Presidency. No professed deist, be his talents and acquirements what they may, ought to be promoted to this place by the suffrages of a Christian nation. The greater his talents and the more extensive his acquirements, the greater will be his power and the more extensive his influence in poisoning mankind.
SOME of the friends of Mr. Jefferson, being ashamed the he should be reputed an Infidel and wishing that he had a little religion, were it ever so little, whisper that he is a sort of a Christian. Rather than give him up, they hint that he is as good a christian as Dr. Priestly, or thereabouts. I shall not dispute a moment whether he is as good as Dr. Priestly, or Dr. Priestly is a bad as him; but ask for the proofs of his professing christianity in any shape. How does he spend the Lord's day? Is he known to worship with any denomination of chris-
tians? Where? When? How often? Though going to church is no certain sign of a man not being an infidel, any more than his pretending a regard fo the christian religion in his writings, yet a total or habitual neglect of public worship, must be admitted a strong proof against him. That wretch Voltaire partook of the sacrament of the supper, while he blasphemed Christ, and endeavoured, with the malice of a devil, to extirpate his religion from the earth. Hume, Kames, Gibbons, and many infidels pretended a regard for divine revelation, while they fought directly and secretly to destroy its credibility. I have exhibited proofs of Mr. Jefferson's infidelity. I wait for the proofs that he is as good as even Dr. Priestly, which will be still bad enough; and I shall exceedingly rejoice if any man should be able to prove him better.
LET me ask your attention farther, while I briefly point out the effects which the election of Mr. Jefferson would produce.
1. It would give us the unfavorable character with foreigh nations. We are as yet a young nation, under a government recently formed; and it is of considerable importance that we obtain respect and confidence abroad. There are now jealousies of us entertained and reproaches cast
upon us. Two nations with whom we are most connected and from whom we have the most to fear, carefully watch us, and will conduct toward us according to the opinion which they have of us. We have nothing to fear from either of them, if we show a proper spirit, deal justly with all, and reverence the commands of the Most High. I devoutly pray that we may have no connection with any nation farther than is necessary for the purpose of commerce; and that we may boast only of being AMERICAN.
SOME may suppose that by the election of Mr. Jefferson we will please the French nation. Were this true, still it be a question, whether it is prudent to do this, without necessity, at the risk of displeasing another nation. But the truth is, in my opinion, that by his election, America would expose herself to the just derision of both. My blood mounts, when I think for a moment of either British or French giving my country a President. I despise their threats, and I suspect their caresses. Let them mind their own business. I will please myself, and take care of my own concerns. How desirable foever a reputation with them my be, unless it is founded on a regard to God and our country, it cannot be solid and lasting.
WHAT would be the natural reflections of foreigners, were Mr. Jefferson our President? Would they not say? "Either the Americans have "little impressions of religion and of its being "essential to morality and good government, or "they have few men versed in the science of go- "vernment, or they are most dangerously torn by "party spirit; otherwise they would not have "exalted by a voluntary choice such a man to "the seat of the first magistrate. Just returning "from the tomb of the great and good Washing- "ton, they seem to have buried all their virtue "with him. They appear now to be a weak, a "divided, and an irreligious people, doomed to "dissentions among themselfs, and to be an easy "prey to their ambitious neighbours." -- Yes, my fellow citizens, there was a Washington. We shall "never llok on his fellow again." "Two "Washingtons come not in one age." His name was, under God, our shield and defence. He honored God, reverenced his sabbaths and attended upon the institutions of his worship. He has born testimony in his farewell address, that "religion and morality are indispensable supports "of political prosperity;" inseparably "connect "ed with private and public felicity." he raised his country to honor and happiness by the exertion of is talents, and still more by the magic of his
virtue. Let us not insult his ashes, and debase ourselves in the fight of the world by the appointments of an improper successor.
2. CONSIDER the effects which the election of any man avowing the principles of Mr. Jefferson would have upon our citizens. The effects would be to destroy religion, introduce immorality, and loosen all the bonds of society. Will it be said, that he is a man of too much understanding and prudence to meddle with religion, and seek to disseminate his own principles? What assurance have we of this? We remember that Hazael, when forewarned of the crimes which he would commit, answered, "But what! is thy servant a dog that he "should do this great thing?"* And yet he afterwards did it. But Mr. Jefferson tells us openly what his principles are; and we are to presume that he will act upon them. It is a light thing with him to say there is no God. He wishes to see a government where the people have no religious opinions and forms of worship. If he should endeavour, to carry these principles into operation, and we should complain, he migh say, "What right "had you to expect otherwise? I told you before "hand; and after this information you entrusted
II Kings, viii, 13.
"me. Had I not a better right to conclude, that "you rather approved of my priciples, that ex- "pected me to renounce them?" Mr. Jefferson indeed has shown us, that his conduct will correspond with his principles. We have not forgotten the Sunday-feast of him and his friends at Fredericksburg, in Virginia, on his reutrn from the second seat in government.
To do Mr. Jefferson, however more than justice, let us suppose that he will make no attempts either by word or act to unsettle the religious belief; that he will no try his favorite project of a government without religion; and that he will not think it "high time for this country to get rid of "religion and the clergy;"* will not the station of President alone have a most baneful influence: Does not every person acquainted with human nautre, and who is attentive to the state of manners in society, know that the principles and manners if those called the higher ranks, and especially of those in the administration of government, soon pervade all classes? Let the first magistrate be a
* This sentiment was expressed to one of the first characters in Philadelphia, by a pupil and admirer of Mr. Jefferson. Sequitur passibus arquis. -- I have mentioned only in on instance the name; but all I relate depends on the best authority. I shall not relate several other things, merely because I do not sufficiently know the authority.
professed infidel and infidels will surround him. Let him spend the sabbath in feasting, in visiting or receiving visits, in riding abroad, but never in going to church; and to frequent public worship will become unfashionable. Infidelity will become the prattle from the highest to the lowest condition in life, and university disoluteness will follow. "The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest "men are exalted."*
THOUGH there have been some infidels whose lives appeared to be outwardly regular, occasioned, it may be, by the constitution of body or peculiar restraints, yet they have been generally vicious. It is certain that infidelity leads to licentious manners; and these again to the destruction of all social order and happiness. Principles are the fountain which if corrupted, will send for impure streams. Epicurus, it is said, was exemplary in his life; but his doctrine that the supreme good of man consisted in pleasure, ruined the morals of the people. His disciples, taking his words in a gross sense, placed all their happiness in bodily pleasures and debauchery. Hume was amiable in his manners and seems to hae been carried away by the pride of philosophy; but thousands have embraced his principles
* Psalm xii, 8.
as an excuse for, and an encouragement in their wickedness.* Surely, when we consider the principle which have been industriously circulated in this country, and the hold which they have taken upon the minds of many; the want of subordination in families; the dissipation; the mercenary disposition; the party interests, and the party rage; we have just occasion of great alarm. Instead of encouraging in the smallest degree we would promote and systematize (if the expression be proper) these evils, every virtuous man ought boldly to stem the torrent, and to warn aloud his countrymen of the impending danger. Indifference or despondency is ruin. A little longer and it will be too late. The malady will have seized the vitals. The whole mass will be corrupted and dissolution, ensue. Who can tell, whether yet by the union and exertion of the portion of virtue left us. God may cause that we persist not.
3. LET me mention one consideration more of a very serious nature, and that is, the dishonor which would be done to God, and the fear of his displeasure, if an opposer of Christianity should be
* Lord Rochester, during his last illness, often exclaimed, "Mr. Hobbes and the philosophers have been my ruin;" then putting his head upon a large bible that lay beside him, he cried out with great rapture, "This, this is the true philosophy."
preferred. Were our government not elective, there would be an excuse for a weak or a bad man being exalted to the highest place. But when this depends upon our own choice, the blame must rest entirely upon ourselves; and the voice of the nation in calling a deist to the first office must be construed into no less than rebellion against God. What he said respecting the Israelites when they requested a king, he would say respecting us, "They have rejected me, that I should not reign "over them."* Though there is nothing in the constitution to restrict our choice, yet the open and warm preference of a manifest enemy to the religion of Christ, in a Christian nation, would be an awful symptom of the degeneracy of that nation, and I repeat it, a rebellion against God. Whatever might be the intention, the conduct would speak nothing else. The want of a test or a provision that the supreme magistrate should be a professor of Christianity would show the temper of the nation the more clearly, and render their conduct the more striking. We now freely declare our own choice. Would Jews or Mahometans consistently with their belief, elect a Christian? And shall Christians be less zealous and active that them? Shall we who prefess to honor the Son of
I Sam viii, 7
God, willingly and deliberately promote a man who dishonors him; one who, if he acts upon his belief, must oppose the propagation of what he deems an imposition upon mankind and the source of miseries. Most merciful God! forgive the thought of the heart, to take council together against thee, and against thing ANNOINTED.
THE friends of Mr. Jefferson may be divided into three classes; one, who are the more intent upon his election because they believe him to be an infidel; another, who are attached to his political principles, but do not wish, on account if his infidelity, to see him President; and a third, who are in danger of being deceived and led astray by the side which they have espoused. With the first, no argument of mine can be expected to prevail. The softest name which I shall receive from them is bigot, zealot, and enthusiast. They will prefer Electors, if they can ensure them, who are infidels; and if Electors themselves, they will vote for Mr. Jefferson. To the second class nothing need be said, for they fell and will do their duty. It is with the third and last class I would reason a little, in the most solemn, affectionate, and earnest manner.
Do you believe that Mr. Jefferson is an opposer of divine revelation? Can any doubt remain in your minds, after the evidence which has been pro-
duced? Or have you only a bare suspicion of him? Then you ought not to promote his election. Conscience is not safe while there is a doubt of suspicion. Do you admit the remotest danger of the consequences which have been pointed out? Why then would you choose him? Where is the necessity of any risk at all? Are there not other characters against whom there are not the same objections, and who are qualified to administer the government? Do not apprehend me to be an advocate for the other candidates.* At the same time I will say nothing against them. They are, I have reason to believe, irreproachable. But there are many others, and you know that there are, who would fill the office of President with reputation and usefulness. Necessity, therefore, you cannot plead; and I will venture it as my serious opinion, that rather than be instrumental in the election of Mr. Jefferson, it would be more acceptable to God and beneficial to the interests of your country, to throw away your votes.
Do you say that there has long been a complaint against the measure of government; we wish to make a change; and at any rate, there can be no harm in trying other men? Be it so. But let your change be wise and prudent. Have
* Mr. Pinckney and Mr. Adams.
a regard for the honor of God, and the welfare of your country. Beware of approaching near to a surrender of judgment and conscience to any political views.
SOME time hereafter you will thank me for what I an now going to say, and pronounce it to be a salutary truth. At present you will hardly bear it. If Mr. Jefferson should be the President, and should administer the government with the highest political wisdom, your complaints will be as numerous and as grievous, in the space of a short time, as they are now. It never has been, never will be, and never can be otherwise in the present state of human affairs. Mankind are impatient under just government. The outs murmur against the ins. All the expectants of office cannot be gratified. The greater part, change ever so often, must be woefully diappointed. "Party is "the madness of many for the gain of a few." The gamester always complains that the cards are badly shuffled until he gets a good hand.
You may hear, as usual, many stories circulated, and much abuse. You may hear the ministers of Christ assailed. You may hear the facts which I have stated denied or misrepresented. If admitted, some may offer to be sureties for Mr. Jefferson, that he will not interfere with religious
concerns. I beg you not to depend upon sureties who may themselves be bankrupts in the faith. Such will seek to banter you out of your conscientious scruples, and if they cannot, will give you strong assurance. It is a case in which you cannot admit a surety. The question is not what he will do, but what he is. Is he an infidel? Then you cannot elect him without betraying your Lord. No circumstance can warrant your preference of him. I beg you also to remark, that a character must be suspicious when great pains are thought necessary to clear it up. . Why all these pains, and what need of sureties? There is a short and easy way to settle the whole business. Let Mr. Jefferson only set his name to the first part of the apostles' creed. "I believe in God, the Father almighty, The "maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord." Can the ministers of the gospel, who are jealous for the glory of God, and the people to whom Christ is precious, require and expect less? You will hear it said that whatever may be the character of Mr. Jefferson, he is not worse than many of those who censure him. Were this true, it would not excuse his election. To choose a bad man because others are bad, can never be a sufficient reason, unless all are equally bad. That we have no unexceptionable character, I
aver is not true. Besides it is not true that Mr. Jefferson is as good as his opponents, in the sense in which it ought to be taken. Though a man professing christianity may be as immoral in his conduct as a man professing infidelity, yet who of these two is the best man to put into a place of high trust and extensive influence, is a totally different question. I contend that the man professing chirstianity is infinitely safer; and that christians cannot consistently with the dictates of their confidence, and the obligations which they owe to their Divine Redeemer, voluntarily choose any other. The profession will have great weight with the community; it will more or less restrain the man himself, and may operate in time to the entire reformation of his life. But on the infidel we have no hold. In what way will you bind him who has broken the bands of religion and cast away its cords from him?
WILL you then, my fellow-citizens, with all this evidence, and all these consequences before you, vote for electors who you believe will vote for Mr. Jefferson; or if you are electors will you vote for him yourselves? Can you do either of these with a clear judgment, a peaceful consequence, and an unshaken hand" if you can, do it. Let nothing warp you from that line of conduct which an enlightened conscience directs, and the great
Judge of all will approve. As to myself, were Mr. Jefferson connected with my by the nearest ties of blood, and I did owe him a thousand obligations, I would not and could not vote for him. No; sooner than stretch forth my hand to place him at the head of the nation, "Let mine arm fall from my "shoulder- blade and my arm be broken from the bone."* I can exalt no man who reviles my Savior. We have seen tokens of the divine displeasure for several years past; and should the Presidental chair be permitted to become "the seat of scornful," I must consider it as an awful frown from Heaven, and the beginning of miseries. Natural pestilence is mercy compared with moral; and no nation can be more unhappy than to forsake God, and to be given up by him. If to this we are doomed, may the years be shortened! And may even you, the unwary instruments of drawing down the calamities, be sheltered, and obtain forgiveness of God and your country!
To conclude, I have not set my name to this address, not because I am afraid or ashamed; but because I wish it to be fairly judged by its own merits distinct from every other consideration. On this account I wish to be always concealed; at the same time, if any apparent necessity should occur,
Job xxxi 21
I shall immediately become known. I would feel criminal had I expressed myself with less warmth> I rather fear that I have not risen to what the cause demanded. Against Mr. Jefferson I have no personal resentment. He and I can never be competitors for any place of honor and emolument. Separate him from his principles, and I could write his eulogium. Let me further repeat, that no answer is intended in this address to his philosophical and religious principles; that the single thing intended, is to show that these pronciples are contrary to what we are taught in the holy scriptures, and, that for this reason alone, he ought not to be honored and entrusted with the presidency of the united States of America
BESIDES the passages I have quoted from Mr. Jefferson's Notes, there is one so extraordinary and dangerous a nature, that it ought not to escape animadversion. In page 100 he says, "Were it made a question whether no law, as among the savage Americans, or too much "law, as among the civilized Europeans, submit man to the greatest evil, one who has seen both "conditions of existence, would pronounce it to be the last and the sheep are happier of themselves, "than under the care of the wolves. It will be said, the great societies cannot exist without "government. The savages therefore break them into small ones." Here is a preference plainly given of savage to civilized life. When this is taken in connection with the sentiment advanced about the beliefpf a God, those who have read Robinson and Barruel will clearly perceive the principles of the ILLUMINATI in Europe. Their leading principles are no religion and no government; that the institutioon of these have introduced misery, and that they must be banished before mankind can enjoy that happiness for which nature intended them.
Who are we to understand by the wolves? Will Mr. Jefferson say that he means despots or tyrants? This would be [ ] the question; for he speaks of nations in which the law [ ]. In absolute governments, the will of the monarch [ ] the law is supreme. In such governments there is not too much, but too little law. It has ever been thought best in a free government to establish everything by law and to leave as little as possible to the arbitrary will of men; and if evil arises from the multiplicity of laws, it is less evil than to have no law. If Mr. .Jefferson means that any government is a wolf, in this he contradicts the apostle Paul who calls government, "The ordinance of God," and the officers, "God's ministers."* What he compares is no law and too much law. Does he mean that the American savages have no law? In this he is mistaken. They have a government and laws which custom has established. Or does he mean that their form of government is the best? Then he prefers monarchy or aristocracy to democracy; for their government by Sachem or chiefs partakes more of the former than of the latter. In short, I see no way to reconcile Mr. Jefferson with himself, much less with the opinions of the wisest men, and the precepts of religion. As to the Savage, breaking the great societies into small ones, I need only say that by so doing, room is made for more Sachems, but doubt whether more freedoms or happiness are introduced. [ ] the United States broken into several republics more ambitious men would be gratified, but the people would be less.
What I have principally in view is to fix the attention upon the spirit of infidelity which the passage breathes. Some insist that before the gospel can be preached with success to the Indians they must be civilized. If this opinion be just, then Mr. Jefferson's thinking them happier in their uncivilized state must be opposed to preaching the gospel among them. Others assert with myself, that to preach the gospel among them is the great mean to civilize them. If this opinion be just, still Mr. Jefferson opposes the preaching of the gospel. The sheep, says he, are happier of themselves, than under the care of the wolves. Thus, the happiest state of man is, according to the sage of Monticello, eo be without law, without government, and without religion to continue just as he was born, "a wild [ ] colt."
* Romans xiii 3. 6.
Source of Information:
Linn, William, 1762-1808. Serious Considerations on the Election of a President: Addressed to the Citizens of the United States. New-York: Printed and sold by John Furman, at his blank, stamp, and stationary shop, opposite the City hall, 1800. Reproduced in the Microbook Library of American Civilization, fiche LAC 40066 (Chicago: Library Resources Inc., 1971).
April 3, 1800
. . . Thomas Jefferson is the enlightened citizen, the patriot, the philosopher, and the friend of man, to whom the republican attachment and affections of this country ought to be directed.
Source of Information:
American Citizen, April 3, 1800. History of American Presidential Elections 1789-1968, Volume I, 1789-1824. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Chelsea House Publishers, N Y (1985) pp 123.
April 10, 1800
GENERAL + AURORA + ADVERTISER
THURSDAY, APRIL 10, 1800
To-morrow will be the memorable festival so long celebrated in the Christian Church, commemorating the expiation of sinners offered by the founder of the Christian faith on the Cross--the pious people of Connecticut have also appointed that day for a solemn fast and prayer--and on the same day, a political auto da-fe [sentence of Spanish Inquisition ] is to be solemnized on the person of Mr. Charles Holt, a printer [of the New London Bee], who has been accused of the barbarous and heinous act of discouraging the recruiting of a standing army, for which he is that day (that is, on Good Friday. the day of solemn fast and prayer) he is to be tried under the Sedition law!--Else wherefore breathe we in a Christian land?
On good Friday, 1799, the Connecticut Illuminati were preaching up politics from the pulpit--we may expect to hear by the advices from that quarter that they will be crying out on the approaching occasion against Holt, the printer--Crucify him--Crucify him.
Source of Information:
General Aurora Advertiser, April 10, 1800. Jan. 1, 1800 -Dec. 31, 1800 MFILM N.S. 12516 HF582.A9
APRIL 14, 1800
MONDAY EVENING, APRIL 14, 1800
The condition of Church and State in America is such as to fill every considerate mind with the most unhappy sensations. In spite of that vanity and fastidiousness which led the Federal Convention, in founding their government, to preclude any connection, it will appear in the end, even by our own deplorable example, that a strict and indissoluble alliance of religion to government has been ordained in the nature of things. Though formally sundered by Constitution and laws; together they decline and together (it would seem) they are likely to perish. I am not about to trouble myself with reiterating useless declarations on topics which have contributed to heap on me the grossest scurrilities and a succession of the vilest libels; of which it is remarkable that they have become the more [?] as continual experience has more completely sanctioned my opinions. To be hated for an attachment to the church, is, however, rather a prerogative than a subject of complaint; and the abuse of knaves and fools no discreet person can wish to forefend. Ill language is ever the distinguishing attribute of mean and unmanly natures--the coward's courage, and the villains's vindication.
To them that the statements which I have so often had occasion to give of the decline or rather absence of religion so far from having partaken of exaggeration, actually fell short of that extant which truth authorized. I subjoin a letter from my friend. The pathos of its lamentations which the very nature of the subject was so well calculated to inspire, bespeaks the ardenoy of youth. But the picture from the hand of an ancient gentleman--though not one far declined into the vale of years.
"You will oblige me, by forwarding the Religious Tract, published by Humphreys written by that "Champion of Religion," the Bishop pf Rochester. I know not what work it is; but this I know, it is worthy of attention, and shameful to be ignorant of it, if it proceed from the pen of Dr. Horsley--Good God! Sir, how it shocks me when I view in this state [Virginia] the condition of our churches; those I mean, which (at present) belong to the Episcopal Church. They are a disgrace to any country from the ruinous state they are in, and on the society to which they belong, they fix a degree of impiousness. The walls are all decaying and falling down
Rudis indigestaque moles
The tombstones dislodged and thrown down; hogs rooting into the very graves, and the bones of our ancestors will in a few years be exposed to the beasts of the fields and lie in common on the earth with those that never had the ceremony of scripture: the windows are all broken, the doors open every day which are never entered on a Sunday, and when hogs and cattle seek a shelter from the weather, they find it in the aisles and pews of our churches--Our Pastors in general badly paid and no encouragement held out for s succession of able ministers to explain tro our people the duties of christians and the advantages of christianity. So much for the support and furtherance of our religion when no general assessment is imposted! But here, for Jacobinism is triumphant and unless a different temper shall soon shew itself, it will trample under foot all order, law, property, government, as it has religion; and on the ruins of these social blessing, inaugurate the demon "anarchy." From these cures I with you all exemption and am with the greatest esteem, dear sir, yours ," &c. &c.
Source of Information:
The Gazette of The United States, April 14, 1800 Jan 1, 1800 to Dec 31, 1800 MFILM N.S. 10953 AP2.05
APRIL 22, 1800
TUESDAY EVENING, APRIL 22.
In the year 1774, when the infamous David Williams of Deistical memory resided at Chelsea in the vicinity of London, Dr, Franklin, with whom he was intimate, took refuge in his house from the storm he apprehended would follow Mr. Wedderburne's attack on him at the council board. Here the Philosopher of Pennsylvania concocted with his pious friend the plan of a deistical and philosophical lecture. The scheme was carried into practice and Williams opened a chapel in Margeret Street, Carendish Square. But the complexion of his discourses was relished neither by churchman nor dissenters.
The above paragraph is extracted from a democratical publication; and it is curious and may suggest matter for much reflection that even in such a book we find a candid statement of the daring and wicked schemes of that old man, whom it has been so fashionable in America to praise. The record is honorable to the new philosophy. Franklin instigates an arch villain to open a school of vive and irreligion. Its doctrines were so detestable, so flagrantly bad, that they should not be tolerated by the listeners of any sect.
Source of Information:
The Gazette of The United States, April 22, 1800 Jan 1, 1800 to Dec 31, 1800 MFILM N.S. 10953 AP2.05
MAY 1, 1800
THURSDAY EVENING, MAY 1.
The Democrat hates the British government with as much justice as a highway man hates the law, because it has been the champion of religion and social order against the most impious and powerful combination to ruin both, that men ever beheld. . . .
From the reading Weekly Advertiser
Source of Information:
The Gazette of The United States, May 1, 1800. Jan 1, 1800 to Dec 31, 1800 MFILM N.S. 10953 AP2.05
MAY 3, 1800
SATURDAY EVENING, MAY 3.
NEW YORK, May 1.
What ye think of this?
GATES, that hoary headed preacher of French principles, which has rendered France one continued scene of devestation and horror, and would, if instituted here deluge America with the blood of her best citizens.
Gates, I say, the boast of the Anti-federal party--has solemnly declared at a public dinner
that he hoped to SEE BUONAPARTE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!!! This shamefulfact can be proved by Edmund Seaman, John Murray and Moses Rogers-gentlemen whose testimony Brockholst yesterday was told he dare not question.
This anecdote fellow citizens, unveils the temper and views of the Jacobin Party. They are hostile to your Constitution, your religion, and your dearest interests. The smile of affability is ever on their countenance; the fairest promises are on their lips, while the rancor of the devil is in their hearts.
It has been strongly declared that Thomas Jefferson, the object of the present election with the jacobins in this city is an enemy to all religious establishments. That so very important an assertion should not rest in doubt I quote the proof from his own book. After taking a summery view of the Virginia Statute laws against Deism, Atheism, and Blasphemy, he remarks in these words,-- "This is a summary view of that religious slavery, under which a people have been willing to remain, who have lavished their lives and fortunes for the establishment of their civil freedom. The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as injurious to others. But it does me no injury fro my neighbor to say there are twenty Gods or NO GOD. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."
And who will now dare to give his vote for this audacious howling Atheist?
See Jefferson's Notes on Virginia, page 265.
Source of Information:
The Gazette of The United States, May 3, 1800. Jan 1, 1800 to Dec 31, 1800 MFILM N.S. 10953 AP2.05
1800 [Not sure of exact publication date in the year 1800]
VOICE OF WARNING
THE ENSUING ELECTION
THE UNITED STATES
John Mitchell Mason
BLOW THE TRUMPET IN ZION--WHO IS ON THE LORD'S SIDE
PRINTED AND SOLD BY G.F. HOPKINS AT WASHINGTON'S
HEAD, NO. 136, PEARL STREET
> If a manly attempt to avert national ruin, by exposing a favorite error, should excite no resentment, nor draw any obloquy upon its author, there would certainly be a new thing under the sun. Men can seldom bear contradiction. They bear it least when they are most demonstrably wrong; because, having surrendered their judgement to prejudice, or their conscience to design, they must take refuge in obstinacy from the attacks of reason. The bad, dreading nothing so much as the prevalence of pure principle and virtuous habit, will ever be industrious in counteracting it; and the more candid, rational and convincing the means employed in its behalf, the louder will be their clamor, and the fiercer their opposition. On the other hand, good men are often led insensibly astray, and their very honesty becomes the guarantee of their delusion. Unaware, at first, of their inconsistency, they afterwards shrink from the test of their own profession. Startled by remonstrance, but unprepared to recede; checked by the misgivings of their own minds, yet urged on by their pervious purpose and connection, the conflict renders them irritable, and they mark as their enemy whoever tells them the truth. From the coincidence of such a bias with the views of the profligate and daring, results incalculable mischief. The sympathy of a common cause unites the persons engaged in it; the shades of exterior character gradually disappear; virtue sinks from her glory; vice emerges from her infamy; the best and the basest appear nearly on a level; while the most atrocious principles either lose their horror, or have a veil thrown over them: and the man who endeavors to arrest their course, is singled out as a victim to revenge and madness. Such, from the beginning, has been the course of the world. None of its benefactors have escaped its calumnies and persecutions: not prophets, not apostles, not the Son of God himself. To this treatment, therefore, must every one be reconciled, who labors to promote the best interests of his country. He must stake his popularity against his integrity; he must encounter a policy which will be contented with nothing short of his ruin; and if it may not spill his blood, will strive to overwhelm him with public execration. That this is the spirit which has pursued a writer, the purity of whose views is equalled only by their importance-I mean the author of Serious Considerations on the Election of a President, I need not inform any who inspect the gazettes. To lay before the people of the United States, proofs that a candidate for the office of their first magistrate, is an unbeliever in the scriptures; and that to confer such a distinction upon an open enemy to their religion, their Redeemer, and their hope, would be mischief to themselves and sin against God, is a crime never to be forgiven by a class of men too numerous for our peace or prosperity. The infidels have risen en masse, and it is not through their moderation that he retains any portion of his respectability or his usefulness. But in their wrath there is nothing to deprecate; nor does he deserve the name of a Christian, who, in order to avoid it, would deviate an hair's breadth from his duty. For them I write not. Impenetrable by serious principle, they are not objects of expostulation, but of compassion; nor shall I stoop to any solicitude about their censure or applause.
But do I represent as infidels all who befriend Mr. Jefferson's election? God forbid that I should so "lie against the truth." If I thought so, I should mourn in silence: my pen should slumber forever. That a majority of them profess, and that multitudes of them really love, the religion of Jesus, while it is my terror, is also my hope. Terror, because I believe them to be under a fatal mistake; hope, because they, if any, are within the reach of conviction. I address myself to them. The latter, especially, are my brothers, my dearer ties and higher interests than can be created or destroyed by any political connection. And if it be asked, Why mingle religion with questions of policy? Why irritate by opposition? Why risk the excitement of passions which may disserve, but cannot aid, the common Christianity? Why not maintain a prudent reserve, and permit matters of state to take their own course? I answer, Because Christians are deeply engaged already: Because the principles of the gospel are to regulate their political, as well as their other, conduct: Because their Christian character, profession and prosperity are involved in the issue. This is no hour to temporize. I abhor that coward spirit which vaunts when gliding down the tide of opinion, but shrinks from the returning current, and calls the treason prudence. It is the voice of God's providence not less than of his word, "Cry aloud, spare not; lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." With Christians, therefore, I must expostulate; and may not refrain. However they may be displeased, or threaten, I will say, with the Athenian chief, "Strike, but hear me."
A crisis of no common magnitude awaits our country. The approaching election of a president is to decide a question not merely of preference to an eminent individual, or particular views of policy, but, what is infinitely more, of national regard or disregard to the religion of Jesus Christ. Had the choice been between two infidels or two professed Christians, the point of politics would be untouched by me. Nor, though opposed to Mr. Jefferson, am I to be regarded as a partizan; since the principles which I am about to develope, will be equally unacceptable to many on both sides of the question. I dread the election of Mr. Jefferson, because I believe him to be a confirmed infidel: you desire it, because, while he is politically acceptable, you either doubt this fact, or do not consider it essential. Let us, like brethren, reason this matter.
The general opinion rarely, if ever, mistakes a character which private pursuits and public functions have placed in different attitudes; yet it is frequently formed upon circumstances which elude the grasp of argument even while they make a powerful and just impression. Notwithstanding, therefore, the belief of Mr. Jefferson's infidelity, which has for years been uniform and strong, wherever his character has been a subject of speculation-although that infidelity has been boasted by some, lamented by many, and undisputed by all, yet as it is now denied by his friends, the charge, unsupported by other proof, could hardly be pursued to conviction. Happily for truth and for us, Mr. Jefferson has written; he has printed. While I shall not decline auxiliary testimony, I appeal to what he never retracted, and will not deny, his Notes on Virginia.(1)
In their war upon revelation, infidels have levelled their batteries against the miraculous facts of the scripture: well knowing that if its historical truth can be overturned, there is an end of its claim to inspiration. But God has protected his word. Particularly the universal deluge, the most stupendous miracle of the old testament, is fortified with impregnable evidence. The globe teems with demonstrations of it. Every mountain and hill and valley lifts up its voice to confirm the narrative of Moses. The very researches and discoveries of infidels themselves, contrary to their intentions, their wishes and their hopes, are here compelled to range behind the banner of the bible. To attack, therefore, the scriptural account of the deluge, belongs only to the most desperate infidelity. Now, what will you think of Mr. Jefferson's Christianity, if he has advanced positions which strike directly at the truth of God's word concerning that wonderful event? Let him speak for himself:
It is said that shells are found in the Andes, in South America, fifteen thousand feet above the level of the ocean. This is considered by many, both of the learned and unlearned, as a proof of an universal deluge. But to the many considerations opposing this opinion, the following may be added: The atmosphere and all its contents, whether of water, air, or other matters, gravitate to the earth; that is to say, they have weight. Experience tells us, that the weight of all these columns together, never exceeds that of a column of mercury of 31 inches high. If the whole contents of the atmosphere then were water, instead of what they are, it would cover the globe but 35 feet deep: but, as these waters as they fell, would run into the seas, the superficial measure of which is to that of the dry parts of the globe, as two to one, the seas would be raised only 521/2 feet above their present level, and of course would overflow the land to that height only. In Virginia this would be a very small proportion even of the champaign country, the banks of our tide-waters being frequently, if not generally, of a greater height. Deluges beyond this extent then, as for instance, to the North mountain or to Kentucky, seem out of the laws of nature. But within it they may have taken place to a greater or less degree, in proportion to the combination of natural causes which may be supposed to have produced them. But such deluges as these, will not account for the shells found in the higher lands. A second opinion has been entertained, which is, that in times anterior to the records either of history or tradition, the bed of the ocean, the principal residence of the shelled tribe, has, by some great convulsion of nature, been heaved to the heights at which we now find shells and other remains of marine animals. The favorers of this opinion do well to suppose the great events on which it rests to have taken place beyond all the eras of history; for within these certainly none such can be found; and we may venture to say further, that no fact has taken place either in our own days, or in the thousands of years recorded in history, which proves the existence of any natural agents within or without the bowels of the earth, of force sufficient to heave to the height of 15,000 feet, such masses as the Andes.(2)
After mentioning another opinion proposed by Voltaire, Mr. J. proceeds, "There is a wonder somewhere. Is it greatest on this branch of the dilemma; on that which supposes the existence of a power of which we have no evidence in any other case; or on the first which requires us to believe the creation of a body of water and "its subsequent annihilation?" Rejecting the whim of Voltaire, he concludes, that "the three hypotheses are equally unsatisfactory, and we must be contented to acknowledge, that this great phenomenon is, as yet, unsolved. "(3)
On these extracts, I cannot suppress the following reflections.
1. Mr. Jefferson disbelieves the existence of an universal deluge. "There are many considerations," says he, "opposing this opinion." The bible says expressly, "The waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth, and all the high hills that were under the whole heaven were covered. "(4) Mr. Jefferson enters into a philosophical argument to prove the fact impossible; that is, he argues in the very face of God's word, and, as far as his reasoning goes, endeavors to convict it of falsehood.
2. Mr. Jefferson's concession of the probability of deluges within certain limits, does not rank him with those great men who have supposed the deluge to be partial, because his argument concludes directly against the scriptural narrative, even upon that supposition. He will not admit his partial deluges to rise above 52 i/z feet above the level of the ocean. Whereas the scripture, circumscribe its deluge as you will, asserts that the waters were fifteen cubits (27 1/2 feet nearly) above the mountains.(5)
3. Not satisfied with his argument, Mr. Jefferson sneers at the scripture itself, and at the credulity of those who, relying upon its testimony, believe "that the bed of the ocean has by some great convulsion of nature, been heaved to the heights at which we now find shells and other remains of marine animals." "They do well," says he, "to suppose the great events on which it rests to have taken place beyond all the eras of history; for within these none such are to be found. " Indeed! And so our faith in God's word is to dwindle, at the touch of a profane philosopher, into an "opinion," unsupported by either "history or tradition!" All the fountains of the great deep, saith the scripture, were broken up.(6) Was this no "great convulsion of nature?" Could not this "heave the bed of the ocean to the height at which we now find shells?" But the favorers of this opinion suppose the great events on which it rests to have taken place beyond all the eras of history. And they do well, says Mr. Jefferson: the plain meaning of which is, that their error would certainly be detected if they did not retreat into the darkness of fable. Malignant sarcasm! And who are "the favorers of this opinion?" At least all who embrace the holy scriptures. These do declare most unequivocally, that there was such a "great convulsion of nature" as produced a deluge infinitely more formidable than Mr. Jefferson's philosophy can digest. But he will not so much as allow them to be history: he degrades them even below tradition. We talk of times for our flood, he tells us, "anterior to the records either of history or tradition." Nor will it mend the matter, to urge that he alludes only to profane history. The fact could not be more dubious or less deserving a place in the systems of philosophy, from the attestation of infallible truth. And is this truth to be spurned as no history; as not even tradition? It is thus, Christians, that a man whom you are expected to elevate to the chief magistracy, insults yourselves and your bible.(7)
4. Mr. Jefferson's argument against the flood is, in substance, the very argument by which infidels have attacked the credibility of the Mosaic history. They have always objected the insufficiency of water to effect such a deluge as that describes. Mr. J. knew this. Yet he adopts and repeats it. He does not deign so much as to mention Moses: while through the sides of one of his hypotheses, he strikes at the scriptural history, he winds up with pronouncing all the three to be "equally unsatisfactory." Thus reducing the holy volume to a level with the dreams of Voltaire! Let me now ask any Christian, Would you dare to express yourself in a similar manner upon a subject which has received the decision of the living God? Would you patiently hear one of your neighbors speak so irreverently of his oracles? Could you venture to speculate on the deluge without resorting to them? Would you not shudder at the thought of using, in support of a philosophical opinion, the arguments which infidels bring against that Word which is the source of all your consolation; much more to use them without a lisp of respect for it, or of caution against mistake? Can he believe the bible who does all this? Can an infidel do more without directly assailing it? What then must you think of Mr. Jefferson?
But it was not enough for this gentleman to discredit the story of the deluge. He has advanced a step farther, and has indicated, too plainly, his disbelief in the common origin of mankind. The scriptures teach that all nations are the offspring of the first and single pair, Adam and Eve, whom God created and placed in paradise. This fact, interwoven with all the relations and all the doctrines of the bible, is alike essential to its historical and religious truth. Now what says the candidate for the chair of your president? After an ingenious, lengthy, and elaborate argument to prove that the blacks are naturally and morally inferior both to white and red men; and that "their inferiority is not the effect merely of their condition of life,"(9) he observes, "I advance it therefore as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind."(10) He had before asserted, that "besides those of color, figure, and hair, there are other physical distinctions, proving a difference of race. "(11) He does, indeed, discover some compunction in reflecting on the consequences of his philosophy. For to several reasons why his opinion "must be hazarded with great diffidence," he adds "as a circumstance of great tenderness," that the "conclusion" to which his observations lead, "would degrade a whole race of men from the rank in the scale of beings which their Creator may perhaps have given them. "(12) Much pains have been taken to persuade the public that Mr. Jefferson by "distinct race" and "difference of race," means nothing more than that the negroes are only a branch of the great family of man, without impeaching the identity of their origin. This construction, though it may satisfy many, is unfounded, absurd, and contradicted by Mr. Jefferson himself. Unfounded: For when philosophers treat of man as a "subject of natural history," they use the term "race," to express the stock from which the particular families spring, and not, as in the popular sense, the families themselves, without regard to their original. A single example, embracing the opinions of two philosophers, of whom the one, M. de Buffon, maintained, and the other, Lord Kames, denied the common origin of mankind, will prove my assertion.
"M. Buffon, from the rule, that animals which can procreate together, and whose progeny can also procreate, are of one species, concludes, that all men are of one race or species."(13) Mr. Jefferson, writing on the same subject with these authors, and arguing on the same side with one of them, undoubtedly uses the term "race" in the same sense. And as the other construction is unfounded, it is also absurd. For it represents him as laboring through nearly a dozen pages to prove what no man ever thought of doubting, and what a glance of the eye sufficiently ascertains, viz. that the blacks and whites are different branches of a common family. Mr. Jefferson is not such a trifler; he fills his pages with more important matter, and with deeper sense. And by expressions which cut off evasion, contradicts the meaning which his friends have invented for him. He enumerates a variety of "distinctions which prove a difference of race." These distinctions he alledges are not accidental, but "physical," i.e. founded in nature. True, alarmed at the boldness of his own doctrine, he retreats a little. His proofs evaporate into a suspicion; but that suspicion is at a loss to suspect, whether the inferiority of the blacks (Mark it well, reader!) is owing to their being "originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances." Branches of the same stock originally distinct, is a contradiction. Mr. Jefferson therefore means, by different races, men descended from different stocks. His very "tenderness" is tinctured with an infidel hue. A conclusion corresponding with his speculations, affects him, because it "would degrade a whole race of men from the rank in the scale of beings which their Creator may perhaps have given them." So then; the secret is out! What rank in the scale of beings have we, obeying the scripture, been accustomed to assign to the injured blacks? The very same with ourselves, viz. that of children of one common father. But if Mr. Jefferson's notions be just, he says they will be degraded from that rank; i.e. will appear not to be children of the same father with us, but of another and inferior stock. But though he will not speak peremptorily, he strongly insinuates that he does not adopt, as an article of his philosophy, the descent of the blacks as well as the whites from that pair which came immediately from the hands of God. He is not sure. At best it is a doubt with him-"the rank which their Creator may perhaps have given them!" Now how will all this accord with revealed truth? God, says the Apostle Paul, "Hath made of one blood all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth. "(14) Perhaps it may be so, replies Mr. Jefferson; but there are, notwithstanding, physical distinctions proving a difference of race. I cannot repress my indignation! That a miserable, sinful worm, like myself, should proudly set up his "proofs" against the truth of my God and your God, and scout his veracity with a sceptical perhaps! I intreat Christians to consider the sweeping extent of this infidel doctrine of "different races." If it be true, the history of the bible, which knows of but one, is a string of falsehoods from the book of Genesis to that of the Revelation; and the whole system of redemption, predicated on the unity of the human race, is a cruel fiction. I ask Christians again, whether they would dare to speak and write on this subject in the stile of Mr. Jefferson? Whether any believer in the word of the Lord Jesus, who is their hope, could entertain such doubts? Whether a writer, acute, cautious, and profound, like Mr. Jefferson, could, as he had before done in the case of the deluge, pursue a train of argument, which he knew infidels before him had used to discredit revelation, and on which they still have great reliance-Whether, instead of vindicating the honor of the scripture, he could, in such circumstances, be as mute as death on this point; countenancing infidels by inforcing their sentiments; and yet be a Christian? The thing is impossible! And were any other than Mr. Jefferson to be guilty of the same disrespect to God's word, you would not hesitate one moment in pronouncing him an infidel.
It is not only with his philosophical disquisitions that Mr. Jefferson mingles opinions irreconcileable with the scriptures. He even goes out of his way for the sake of a fling at them. "Those," says he, "who labor in the earth, are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue."(15)
How does a Christian ear relish this "profane babbling?" In the first place, Mr. Jefferson doubts if ever God had a chosen people. In the second place, if he had, he insists they are no other than those who labor in the earth. At any rate, he denies this privilege to the seed of Abraham; and equally denies your being his people, unless you follow the scythe and the plow. Now, whether this be not the lie direct to the whole testimony of the bible from the beginning to the end, judge ye.(16)
After these affronts to the oracles of God, you have no right to be surprized if Mr. Jefferson should preach the innocence of error, or even of atheism. What do I say! He does preach it. "The legitimate powers of government," they are his own words, "extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbors to say there are twenty Gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. "(17)
Ponder well this paragraph. Ten thousand impieties and mischiefs lurk in its womb. Mr. Jefferson maintains not only the inviolability of opinion, but of opinion propagated. And that no class or character of abomination might be excluded from the sanctuary of such laws as he wishes to see established, he pleads for the impunity of published error in its most dangerous and execrable form. Polytheism or atheism, "twenty gods or no god," is perfectly indifferent in Mr. Jefferson's good citizen. A wretch may trumpet atheism from New Hampshire to Georgia; may laugh at all the realities of futurity; may scoff and teach others to scoff at their accountability; it is no matter, says Mr. Jefferson, "it neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg." This is nothing less than representing civil society as founded in atheism. For there can be no religion without God. And if it does me or my neighbor no injury, to subvert the very foundation of religion by denying the being of God, then religion is not one of the constituent principles of society, and consequently society is perfect without it; that is, is perfect in atheism. Christians! what think you of this doctrine? Have you so learned Christ or truth? Is atheism indeed no injury to society? Is it no injury to untie all the cords which bind you to the God of heaven, and your deeds to his throne of judgment; which form the strength of personal virtue, give energy to the duties, and infuse sweetness into the charities, of human life? Is it indeed no injury to you, or to those around you, that your neighbor buries his conscience and all his sense of moral obligation in the gulph of atheism? Is it no injury to you, that the oath ceases to be sacred? That the eye of the Omniscient no more pervades the abode of crime? That you have no hold on your dearest friend, farther than the law is happiness of society depend upon things which the laws of men can never embrace? And whence, I pray you, are righteous laws to emanate, if rulers, by adopting atheism, be freed from the coercion of future retribution? Would you not rather be scourged with sword and famine and pestilence, than see your country converted into a den of atheism? Yet, says Mr. Jefferson, it is a harmless thing. "It does me no injury; it neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg." This is perfectly of a piece with his favorite wish to see a government administered without any religious principle among either rulers or ruled. Pardon me, Christian: this is the morality of devils, which would break in an instant every link in the chain of human friendship, and transform the globe into one equal scene of desolation and horror, where fiend would prowl with fiend for plunder and blood -yet atheism "neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." I will not abuse you by asking, whether the author of such an opinion can be a Christian? or whether he has any regard for the scriptures which confines all wisdom and blessedness and glory, both personal and social, to the fear and the favor of God?
The reader will observe, that in his sentiments on these four points, the deluge; the origin of nations; the chosen people of God; and atheism, Mr. Jefferson has comprized the radical principles of infidelity in its utmost latitude. Accede to his positions on these, and' he will compel you to grant the rest. There is hardly a single truth of revelation which would not fall before one or other of them. If the deluge be abandoned, you can defend neither the miracles, nor inspiration of the scripture. If men are not descendants of one common stock, the doctrine of salvation is convicted of essential error. If God 3, never had any chosen people but the cultivators of the soil, the fabric of the New Testament falls to the ground; for its foundation in thei choice of Israel to be his peculiar people, is swept away. And if they atheism of one man be not injurious to another, society could easily dispense not only with his word but with his worship.
Conformable with the infidelity of his book, is an expression of Mr. Jefferson contained in a paragraph which I transcribe from the pamphlet entitled Serious Considerations, &c.
When the late Rev. Dr. John B. Smith resided in Virginia, the famous Mazzei happened one night to be his guest. Dr. Smith having, as usual, assembled his family for their evening devotions, the circumstance occasioned some discourse on religion, in which the Italian made no secret of . his infidel principles. In the course of conversation, he remarked to Dr. Smith, "Why your great philosopher and statesman, Mr. Jefferson, is rather farther gone in infidelity than I am"; and related, in confirmation, the following anecdote: That as he was once riding with Mr. Jefferson, he expressed his "surprise that the people of this country take no better care of their public buildings." "What buildings?" exclaimed Mr. Jefferson. "Is not that a church?" replied he, pointing to a decayed edifice. "Yes," answered ! Mr. Jefferson. "I am astonished," said the other, "that they permit it to be in so ruinous a condition." "It is good enough," rejoined Mr. Jefferson, ["]for him that was horn in a manger!!" Such a contemptuous fling at the blessed Jesus, could issue from the lips of no other than a deadly foe to his name and his cause.(18)
Some of Mr. Jefferson's friends have been desperate enough to challenge this anecdote as a calumny fabricated for electioneering purposes. But whatever they pretend, it is incontestibly true, that the story was told, as here repeated, by Dr. Smith. I, as well as the author of "Serious Considerations," and several others, heard it from the lips of Dr. Smith years ago, and more than once. The calumny, if any, lies either with those who impeach the veracity of a number of respectable witnesses, or with Mazzei himself. And there are not wanting, among the followers of Mr. Jefferson, advocates for this latter opinion. He must have been a wretch indeed, to blacken his brother-philosopher, by trumping up a deliberate lie in order to excuse his own impiety in the presence of a minister of Christ! If such was Mazzei, the philosopher, it is our wisdom to think, and think again, before we heap our largest honors upon the head of his bosom friend.
Christian reader, the facts and reasonings which I have laid before you, produce in my mind an irresistible conviction, that Mr. Jefferson is a confirmed infidel; and I cannot see how they should have a less effect on your's. But when to these you add his solicitude for wresting the bible from the hands of your children-his notoriously unchristian character-his disregard to all the ordinances of divine worship-his utter and open contempt of the Lord's day, insomuch as to receive on it a public entertainment;(19) every trace of doubt must vanish. What is a man who writes against the truths of God's word? who makes not even a profession of Christianity? who is without Sabbaths; without the sanctuary; without so much as a decent external respect for the faith and the worship of Christians? What is he, what can he be, but a decided, a hardened infidel?
Several feeble and fruitless attempts have been made to fritter down and dissipate this mass of evidence. In vain are we told that Mr. Jefferson's conduct is modest, moral, exemplary. I ask no odious questions. A man must be an adept in the higher orders of profligacy, if neither literary occupation, nor the influence of the surrounding gospel, can form or controul his habits. Though infidelity and licentiousness are twin sisters, they are not compelled to be always in company; that I am not a debauchee, will therefore be hardly admitted as proof that I am not an infidel. In vain are we reminded, that the "Notes on Virginia" contain familiar mention, and respectful acknowledgment, of the being and attributes of God. Though infidelity leads to atheism, a man may be an infidel without being an atheist. Some have even pretended, that anxiety for the honor of God, prompted them to fix the brand of imposture upon the scripture! But where has Mr. Jefferson, when stating his private opinions, betrayed the least regard for the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ? In vain is it proclaimed, that he maintains a Christian minister at his own expence. I shall not enquire whether that maintenance does or does not arise from the product of glebe lands attached to many southern estates. Taking the fact to be simply as related, I will enquire whether prudent and political men never contribute to the support of Christianity from other motives than a belief of its truth? Mr. Jefferson may do all this and yet be an infidel. Voltaire, the vile, the blasphemous Voltaire, was building churches, and assisting at the mass, while he was writing to his philosophical confidants, concerning your divine Saviour, Crush the wretch! In vain is the "Act for establishing religious freedom," which flowed from the pen of Mr. Jefferson, and passed in the Assembly of Virginia, in 1 786, paraded as the triumph of his Christian creed. I protest against the credibility of the witness! That act, I know, recognizes "the Holy Author of our religion," as "Lord both of body and mind," and possessing "almighty power's;' and by censuring "fallible and uninspired men," tacitly acknowledges both the inspiration and infallibility of the sacred writers. But Mr. Jefferson is not here declaring his private opinions: for these wp must look to his Notes, which were published a year after, and abound with ideas which contradict the authority of the scriptures. He speaks, in that act, as the organ of an assembly professing Christianity; and it would not only have been a monstrous absurdity, but more than his credit and the Assembly's too, was worth, to have been disrespectful, in an official deed, to that Redeemer whose name they owned, and who was precious to many of their constituents. Such Christianity is common with the bitterest enemies of Christ. Herbert, Hobbes, Blount, Toland, Tindal, Bolingbroke, Hume, Voltaire, Gibbon, at the very moment when they were laboring to argue or to laugh the gospel out of the world, affected great regard for our "holy religion" and its divine author. There is an edict of Frederic the II. of Prussia, on the subject of religious toleration, couched in terms of the utmost reverence for the Christian religion, and yet this same Frederic was one of the knot of conspirators, who, with Voltaire at their head, plotted the extermination of Christianity: and whenever they spoke of its "Holy Author," echoed to each other, Crush the wretch! This act, therefore, proves nothing but that, at the time of its passing (and we hope it is so still) there was religion enough in Virginia, to curb the proud spirit of infidelity.
Christians! Lay these things together: compare them; examine them separately, and collectively: ponder; pause; lay your hands upon your hearts; lift up your hearts to heaven, and pronounce on Mr. Jefferson's Christianity. You cannot stifle your emotions; nor forbear uttering your indignant sentence-infidel!!
This point being settled, one would think that you could have no difficulty about the rest, and would instantly and firmly conclude, "Such a man ought not, and as far as depends on me, shall not, be President of the United States!" But I calculate too confidently. I have the humiliation to hear this inference controverted even by those whose "good confession" was a pledge that they are feelingly alive to the honor of their Redeemer. No, I am not deceived: they are Christian lips which plead that "Religion has nothing to do with politics"-that to refuse our suffrages on account of religious principles, would be an interference with the rights of conscience-that there is little hope of procuring a real believer, and we had better choose an infidel than a hypocrite.
That religion has, in fact, nothing to do with the politics of many who profess it, is a melancholy truth. But that it has, of right, no concern with political transactions, is quite a new discovery. If such opinions, however, prevail, there is no longer any mystery in the character of those whose conduct, in political matters, violates every precept, and slanders every principle, of the religion of Christ. But what is politics? Is it not the science and the exercise of civil rights and civil duties? And what is religion? Is it not an obligation to the service of God, founded on his authority, and extending to all our relations personal and social? Yet religion bas nothing to do with politics! Where did you learn this maxim? The bible is full of directions for your behaviour as citizens. It is plain, pointed, awful in its injunctions on rulers and ruled as such: yet religion has nothing to do with politics. You are commanded "in all your ways to acknowledge him. "(20) In every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, to let your requests be made known unto God, "(21) "And whatsoever ye do, in word or deed, to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus. "(22) Yet religion has nothing to do with politics! Most astonishing! And is there any part of your conduct in which you are, or wish to be, without law to God, and not under the law of Christ? Can you persuade yourselves that political men and measures are to undergo no review in the judgment to come? That all the passion and violence, the fraud and falsehood, and corruption which pervade the systems of party, and burst out like a flood at the public elections, are to be blotted from the catalogue of unchristian deeds, because they are politics? Or that a minister of the gospel may see his people, in their political career, bid defiance to their God in breaking through every moral restraint, and keep a guiltless silence because religion has nothing to do with politics? I forbear to press the argument farther; observing only, that many of our difficulties and sins may be traced to this pernicious notion. Yes, if our religion had had more to do with our politics; if, in the pride of our citizenship, we had not forgotten our Christianity: if we had prayed more and wrangled less about the affairs of our country, it would have been infinitely better for us at this day.
But you are afraid that to refuse a man your suffrages because he is an infidel, would interfere with the rights of conscience. This is a most singular scruple, and proves how wild are the opinions of men on the subject of liberty. Conscience is God's officer in the human breast, and its rights are defined by his law. The right of conscience to trample on his authority is the right of a rebel, which entitles him to nothing but condign punishment. You are afraid of being unkind to the conscience of an infidel. Dismiss your fears. It is the last grievance of which he will complain. How far do you suppose Mr. Jefferson consulted his conscience when he was vilifying the divine word, and preaching insurrection against God, by preaching the harmlessness of atheism? But supposing Mr. Jefferson to be conscientiously impious, this would only be a stronger reason for our opposition. For the more conscientious a man is, the more persevering will he be in his views, and the more anxious for their propagation. If he be fixed, then, in dangerous error, faithfulness to God and truth requires us to resist him and his conscience too; and to keep from him the means of doing mischief. If a man thought himself bound in conscience, whenever he should be able, to banish God's sabbath, burn his churches, and hang his worshippers, would you entrust him with power out of respect to conscience? I trow not. And why you should judge differently in the case of an infidel who spurns at what is dearer to you than life, I cannot conceive. But in your solicitude for the conscience of Mr. Jefferson, have you considered, in the mean time, what becomes of your own conscience? Has it no rights? no voice? no influence? Are you not to keep it void of offence towards God? Can you do this in elevating his open enemies to the highest dignity of your country? Beware, therefore, lest an ill-directed care for the conscience of another, bring your own under the lashes of remorse. Keep this clear, by the word of God, and there is little hazard of injuring your neighbor's. But how can you interfere with any man's conscience by refusing him a political office? You do not invade the sanctuary of his bosom: you impose on him no creed: you simply tell him you do not like him, or that you prefer another to him. Do you injure him by this? Do you not merely exercise the right of a citizen and a Christian? It belongs essentially to the freedom of election, to refuse my vote to any candidate for reasons of conscience, of state, of predilection, or for no reason at all but my own choice. The rights of conscience, on his part, are out of the question. He proposes himself for my approbation. If I approve, I give him my support. If not, I withhold it. His conscience has nothing to do with my motives; but to my own conscience they are serious things. If he be an infidel, I will not compel him to profess Christianity. Let him retain his infidelity, enjoy all its comforts, and meet all its consequences. But I have an unquestionable right to say, "I cannot trust a man of such principles: on what grounds he has adopted them is not my concern; nor will his personal sincerity alter their tendency. While he is an infidel, he shall never have my countenance. Let him stay where he is: and let his conscience be its own reward." I could not blame another for such conduct to me; for he only makes an independent use of his privilege, which does me no injury: nor am I to be blamed for such conduct to another, for I only make the same use of my privilege, which is no injury to him. Mr. Jefferson's conscience cannot, therefore, be wronged if you exclude him from the presidency because he is an infidel; and your own, by an act of such Christian magnanimity, may escape hereafter many a bitter pang. For if you elect Mr. Jefferson, though an infidel, from a regard to what you consider the rights of conscience, you must, in order to be consistent, carry your principle through. If infidelity is not a valid objection to a candidate for the presidency, it cannot be so to a candidate for any other office. You must never again say, "We will not vote for such a man because he is an infidel." The evil brotherhood will turn upon you with your own doctrine of the "rights of conscience." You must then either retract, or be content to see every office filled with infidels. How horrible, in such an event, would be the situation of your country! How deep your agony under the torments of self-reproach!
But there is no prospect, you say, of obtaining a real Christian, and we had better choose an infidel than a hypocrite. By no means. Supposing that a man professes Christianity, and evinces in his general deportment a regard for its doctrines, its worship, and its laws; though he be rotten at heart, he is infinitely preferable to a known infidel. His hypocrisy is before God. It may ruin his own soul; but, while it is without detection, can do no hurt to men. We have a hold of him which it is impossible to get of an infidel. His reputation, his habits, his interests, depending upon the belief of his Christianity, are sureties for his behaviour to which we vainly look for a counterbalance in an infidel; and they are, next to religion itself, the strongest sureties of man to man. His very hypocrisy is an homage to the gospel. The whole weight of his example is on the side of Christianity, while that of an open infidel lies wholly against it. It is well known that the attendance of your Washington, and of President Adams upon public worship, gave the ordinances of the gospel a respectability in the eyes of many which otherwise they would not have had: brought a train of thoughtless people within the reach of the means of salvation: and thus strengthened the opposition of Christians to the progress of infidelity. You can never forget the honorable testimony which Mr. Adams bore, in one of his proclamations, to a number of the most precious truths of Revelation; nor how he was abused and ridiculed for it, by not a few of those very persons who now strive to persuade you that Mr. Jefferson is a Christian. In short, your president, if an open infidel, will be a centre of contagion to the whole continent: If a professed Christian, he will honor the institutions of God; and though his hypocrisy, should he prove a hyprocrite, may be a fire to consume his own vitals, it cannot become a wide-spreading conflagration.
Can you still hesitate? Perhaps you may. I therefore bespeak your attention to a few plain and cogent reasons, why you cannot, without violating your plighted faith, and trampling on your most sacred duties, place an infidel at the head of your government.
1. The civil magistrate is God's officer. He is the minister of God, saith Paul, to thee for good. (23) Consequently his first and highest obligation, is to cherish in his mind, and express in his conduct, his sense of obedience to the Governor of the Universe. He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. (24) The scriptures have left you this and similar declarations, to direct you in the choice of your magistrates. And you are bound, upon your allegiance to the God of the scriptures, to look out for such men as answer the description; and if, unhappily, they are not to be had, for such as come nearest to it. The good man, he who shall "dwell in God's holy hill," is one "in whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoretb them that fear the Lord. "(25) But can you pretend to regard this principle, when you desire to rais an infidel to the most important post in your country? Do you cal this honoring them that fear God? Nay, it is honoring them who do no fear God: that is, according to the scriptural contrast, honoring a vile person, whom, as Christians, you ought to contemn. And have you the smallest expectation that one who despises the word and worship of God; who has openly taught the harmlessness of rebellion against his government and being, by teaching that atheism is no injury to society, will, nevertheless, rule in his fear? Will it shew any reverence or love to your Father in heaven, to put a distinguishing mark of your confidence upon his sworn foe? Or will it be an affront to his majesty?
2. The civil magistrate is, by divine appointment, the guardian of the sabbath. In it thou shalt not do any work; thou, nor thy son, &c. nor the stranger that is within thy gates. (26) "Gates," is a scriptural term for public authority; and that it is so to be understood in this commandment, is evident from its connection with "stranger." God says that even the stranger shall not be allowed to profane his sabbath. But the stranger can be controlled only by the civil magistrate who "sitteth in the gate. "(27) It therefore belongs to his office, to enforce, by lawful means, the sanctification of the sabbath, as the fundamental institute of religion and morals, and the social expression of homage to that God under whom he acts. The least which can be accepted from him, is to recommend it by personal observance. How do you suppose Mr. Jefferson will perform this part of his duty? or how can you deposit in his hands a trust, which you cannot but think he will betray; and in betraying which, he will not only sacrifice some of your most invaluable interests, but as your organ and in your name, lift up his heel against the God of heaven? In different states, you have made, not long since, spirited exertions to hinder the profanation of your Lord's day. For this purpose many of you endeavored to procure religious magistrates for this city, and religious representatives in the councils of the state. You well remember how you were mocked, traduced, execrated, especially by the infidel tribe. But what is now become of your zeal and your consistency? I can read in the list of delegates to the legislature, the names of men who have been an ornament to the gospel, and acquitted themselves like Christians in that noble struggle, and yet are expected to ballot for electors, whose votes shall be given to an infidel president. Who hath bewitched you, Christians? or, what do you mean by siding with the infidels to lift into the chair of state, a man more eminent for nothing than for his scorn of the day, the ordinances, and the worship of your Redeemer; and who did not blush to make it, in the face of the sun, a season of frolic and revel?(28) Is this your kindness to your friend?
3. The church of God has ever accounted it a great mercy to have civil rulers professing his name. Rather than yield it, thousands of your fathers have poured out their blood. This privilege is now in your hands: and it is the chief circumstance which makes the freedom of election worth a Christian's care. Will you, dare you, abuse it by prostituting it to the aggrandizement of an enemy to your Lord and to his Christ? If you do, will it not be a righteous thing with God to take the privilege from you altogether; and, in his wrath, to subject you, and your children, and your children's children, to such rulers as you have, by your own deed, preferred?
4. You are commanded to pray for your rulers: it is your custom to pray, that they may be men fearing God and hating covetousness. You intreat him to fulfil his promise, that kings shall be to his church nursing fathers, and queens her nursing-mothers.(29) With what conscience can you lift up your hands in such a supplication, when you are exerting yourselves to procure a president, who you know does not fear God; i.e. one exactly the reverse of the man whom you ask him to bestow? And when, by this act, you do all in your power to defeat the promise of which you affect to wish the fulfilment? Do you think that the church of Christ is to be nurtured by the dragon's milk of infidelity? Or that the contradiction between your prayers and your practice does not mock the holy God?
5. There are circumstances in the state of your country which impart to these reflections, applicable in their spirit to all Christians, a double emphasis in their application to you.
The federal Constitution makes no acknowledgement of that God who gave us our national existence, and saved us from anarchy and internal war. This neglect has excited in many of its best friends, more alarm than all other difficulties. The only way to wipe off the reproach of irreligion, and to avert the descending vengeance, is to prove, by our national acts, that the Constitution has not, in this instance, done justice to the public sentiment. But if you appoint an infidel for your president, and such an infidel as Mr. Jefferson, you will sanction that neglect, you will declare, by a solemn national act, that there is no more religion in your collective character, than in your written constitution: you will put a national indignity upon the God of your mercies; and provoke him, it may be, to send over your land that deluge of judgments which his forbearance has hitherto suspended.
Add to this the consideration, that infidelity has awfully increased. The time was, and that within your own recollection, when the term infidelity was almost a stranger to our ears, and an open infidel an object of abhorrence. But now the term has become familiar, and infidels hardly disgust. Our youth, our hope and our pride, are poisoned with the accursed leaven. The vain title of "philosopher," has turned their giddy heads, and, what is worse, corrupted their untutored hearts. It is now a mark of sense, the proof of an enlarged and liberal mind, to scoff at all the truths of inspiration, and to cover with ridicule the hope of a Christian; those truths and that hope which are the richest boon of divine benignity; which calm the perturbed conscience, and heal the wounded spirit; which sweeten every comfort, and soothe every sorrow; which give strong consolation in the arrest of death, and shed the light of immortality on the gloom of the grave. All, all are become the sneer of the buffoon, and the song of the drunkard. These things, Christians, you deplore. You feel indignant, as well as discouraged, at the inroads of infidel principle and profligate manners. You declaim against them. You caution your children against their infection. And yet, with such facts before your eyes, and such lessons in your mouths, you are on the point of undoing whatever you have done; and annihilating, at one blow, the effect of all your profession, instruction, and example. By giving your support to Mr. Jefferson, you are about to strip infidelity of its ignominy; array it in honors; and hold it up with eclat to the view of the rising generation. By this act, you will proclaim to the whole world that it is not so detestable a thing as you pretended; that you do not believe it subversive of moral obligation and social purity: that a man may revile your religion and blaspheme your Saviour; and yet command your highest confidence. This amounts to nothing less than a deliberate surrender of the cause of Jesus Christ into the hands of his enemies. By this single act-my flesh trembles, my blood chills at the thought! by this single act you will do more to destroy a regard for the gospel of Jesus, than the whole fraternity of infidels with all their arts, their industry and their intrigues. You will stamp credit upon principles, the native tendency of which is to ruin your children in this world, and damn them in the world to come. O God! "the ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but thy people doth not know, and Israel doth not consider."(30)
With these serious reflections, let me connect a fact equally serious: The whole strength of open and active infidelity is on the side of Mr. .Jefferson. You may well start! But the observation and experience of the continent is one long and loud attestation to the truth of my assertion. I say open and active infidelity. You can scarcely find one exception among all who preach infidel tenets among the people. Did it never occur to you, that such men would not be so zealous for Mr. Jefferson if they were not well assured of his being one of themselves-that they would cordially hate him if they supposed him to be a Christian -or that they have the most sanguine hope that his election to the presidency will promote their cause? I know, that to serve the purpose of the moment, those very presses which teemed with abuse of your Redeemer, are now affecting to offer incense to his religion; and that deists themselves are laboring to convince you that Mr. Jefferson is a Christian; and yet have the effrontery to talk of other men's hypocrisy! Can you be the dupes of such an artifice? Do you not see in it a proof that there is no reliance to be placed on an infidel conscience? Do you need to be reminded that these infidels who now court you, are the very men who, four years ago, insulted your faith and your Lord with every expression of ridicule and contempt? That these very men circulated, with unremitting assiduity, that execrable book of Boulanger, entitled Christianity Unveiled; and that equally execrable abortion of Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason? That, in order to get them (especially the latter) into the hands of the common people, they sold them at a very low rate; gave them away where they could not sell them; and slipped them into the pockets of numbers who refused to accept them? Do you know that some of these infidels were at the trouble of translating from the French, and printing, for the benefit of Americans, a work of downright, undisguised atheism, with the imposing title of Common Sense? That it was openly advertised, and extracts, or an extract, published to help the sale?(31) Do you know that some of the same brotherhood are secretly handing about, I need not say where, a book, written by Charles Pigott, an Englishman, entitled A Political Dictionary? Take the following sample of its impiety (my hair stiffens while I transcribe it): "Religion-a superstition invented by the arch-bishop of hell, and propagated by his faithful diocesans the clergy, to keep the people in ignorance and darkness, that they may not see the work of iniquity that is going on," &c. (32)
Such are the men with whom professors of the name of our Lord Jesus Christ are concerting the election of an infidel to the presidency of the United States of America. Hear the word of the Lord. "What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? And what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?"(33) Yet Christians are uniting with infidels in exalting an infidel to the chief magistracy! If he succeed, Christians must bear the blame. Numerous as the infidels are, they are not yet able, adored be God, to seize upon our "high places." Christians must help them, or they set not their feet on the threshold of power. If, therefore, an infidel preside over our country, it will be your fault, Christians; and your act; and you shall answer it? And for aiding and abetting such a design, I charge upon your consciences the sin of striking hands in a covenant of friendship with the enemies of your master's glory. Ah, what will be your compunction, when these same infidels, victorious, through your assistance, will "tread you down as the mire in the streets," and exult in their triumph over bigots and bigotry.
Sit down, now, and interrogate your own hearts, whether you can, with a "pure-conscience," befriend Mr. Jefferson's election? Whether you can do it in the name of the Lord Jesus? Whether you can lift up your heads and tell him that the choice of this infidel is for his honor, and that you promote it in the faith of his approbation? Whether, in the event of success, you have a right to look for his blessing in the enjoyment of your president? Whether, having preferred the talents of a man before the religion of Jesus, you ought not to fear that God will blast these talents; abandon your president to infatuated counsels; and yourselves to the plague of your own folly? Whether it would not be just to remove the restraints of his good providence, and scourge you with that very infidelity which you did not scruple to countenance? Whether you can, without some guilty misgivings, pray for the spirit of Christ upon a president whom you choose in spite of every demonstration of his hatred to Christ? Those who, to keep their consciences clean, oppose Mr. Jefferson, may pray for him, in this manner, with a full and fervent heart. But to you, God may administer this dread rebuke: "You chose an infidel: keep him as ye chose him: walk in the sparks that ye have kindled." Whether the threatnings of God are not pointed against such a magistrate and such a people? "Be wise, O ye kings," is his commandment; "be instructed ye judges of the earth: serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling: Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way when his anger is kindled but a little."(34) What then is in store for a magistrate who is so far from "kissing the son," that he hates and opposes him? "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God."(35) And who forget him, if not a nation which, tho' called by his name, nevertheless caresses, honors, rewards his enemies? The Lord hath sworn to strike through Kings in the day of his wrath. (36) Woe, then, to those governments which are wielded by infidels, when he arises to judgment; and woe to those who have contributed to establish them! To whatever influence they owe their determinations and their measures, it is not to the "spirit of understanding and of the fear of the Lord." Do I speak these things as a man; or saith not the scripture the same also
Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me, and that cover with a covering, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin. That walk to go down into Egypt (and have not asked at my mouth) to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt. Therefore the strength of Egypt shall be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion.(37)
This is the light in which God considers your confidence in his enemies. And the issue for which you ought to be prepared.
I have done; and do not flatter myself that I shall escape the censure of many professed, and of some real, Christians. The stile of this pamphlet is calculated to conciliate nothing but conscience. I desire to conciliate nothing else. "If I pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ." I do not expect, nor wish, to fare better than the apostle of the gentiles, who became the enemy of not a few professors, because he told them the truth.(38) But the bible speaks of "children that will not hear the law of the Lord-which say to the seers, See not: and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things: speak unto us smooth things: prophesy deceits."(39) Here is the truth, "Whether you will hear, or whether you will forbear." If you are resolved to persevere in elevating an infidel to the chair of your president, I pray God not to "choose your delusions"-but cannot dissemble that "my flesh trembleth for fear of his judgments." It is my consolation that my feeble voice has been lifted up for his name. I have addressed you as one who believes, and I beseech you to act as those who believe, "That we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ." Whatever be the result, you shall not plead that you were not warned. If, notwithstanding, you call to govern you an enemy to my Lord and your Lord; in the face of earth and heaven, and in the audience of your own consciences, I record my protest, and wash my hands of your guilt.
Arise, 0 Lord, and let not man prevail!
(1) The edition which I use is the second American edition, published at Philadelphia, by Matthew Carey, 1794.
(2) Jefferson's Notes on Virginia, p. 39-41.
(3) Jefferson's Notes on Virginia, p. 42.
(4) Gen. vii. 19.
(5) ib. v. 20.
(6) Gen. vii.11.
(7) Nay, as it is only the scripture which authenticates the popular belief of an universal deluge, Mr. Jefferson's insinuation can hardly have any meaning, if it be not an oblique stroke at the bible itself. Nothing can be more silly than the pretext that he shews the insufficiency of natural causes to effect the deluge, with a view of supporting the credit of the miracle. His difficulty is not to account for the deluge: he denies that; but for the shells on the top of the Andes. If he believed in the deluge, natural or miraculous, the difficulty would cease: he would say at once, The flood threw them there. But as he tells us, "this great phenomenon is, as yet, unsolved," it is clear that he does not believe in the deluge at all; for this "solves" his "phenomenon" most effectually. And for whom does Mr. J. write? For Christians? None of them ever dreamed that the deluge was caused by any thing else than a miracle. For infidels? Why then does he not tell them that the scripture alone gives the true solution of this "great phenomenon?" The plain matter of fact is, that he writes like all other infidels, who admit nothing for which they cannot find adequate "natural agents"; and when these fail them, instead of resorting to the divine word, which would often satisfy a modest enquirer, by revealing the "arm of Jehovah," they shrug up their shoulders, and cry, "Ignorance is preferable to error."(8)
(8) Notes on Virginia, p. 42.
(9)Notes on Virginia, p. 205.
(10) ib. 209.
(11) ib. 201.
(12) ib. 203.
(13) Kames's Sketches, vol. i. p. 24.
(14) Acts xvii. 26.
(15) Notes on Virginia, p. 200.
(16) Some have been vain enough to suppose that they destroy this proof of Mr. J's infidelity, by representing his expression "the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people," as synonimous with the following: "A. B. is an honest man, if ever there was an honest man," which so far from doubting the existence of honest men, that it founds, in the certainty of this fact, the assertion of A. B's honesty. On this wretched sophism, unworthy of good sense, and more unworthy of candor, I remark,
1 . That the expressions are by no means similar. The whole world admits that there are honest men, which makes the proposition, "A. B. is an honest man, if ever there was an honest man," a strong assertion of A. B's honesty. But the hundredth part of the world does not admit that God had a chosen people, and therefore the proposition that "those who labor in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people," is, upon this construction, no assertion at all that the cultivators of the soil are his people, because there are millions who do not believe the fact on which it must be founded: viz. that he had a chosen people.
2. That if the expressions were parallel, Mr. J. would still be left in the lurch, because the first asserts A. B. to be as much an honest man as any man that ever lived; and so Mr. J. asserts "those who labor in the earth" to be as much the "chosen people of God," as any people that ever lived. This is still the lie direct to the whole bible, and the inventors of this luckv shift, must set their wits at work to invent another.
(17) Notes on Virginia, p. 2 3 1 .
(18) * Serious Considerations, p. 16, 17.
(19) At Fredericksburgh, in Virginia, in 1798.
(20) Prov. iii. 3.
(21) Phil. iv. 6.
(22) Col. iii. 17.
(23) Rom, xiii. 4.
(24) Ps. xv. 4.
(25) 2 Sam. xxiii. ;.
(26) Ex. xx. 10.
(27) Dan. ii. 49.
(28) The Fredericksb. feast, given on the Sabbath, to Mr. J. 1798.
(29) Is. xlix. 23.
(30) Is. i. 3.
(31)The title is a trick, designed to entrap the unwary, by palming it on them through the popularity of Paine's tracts under the same name. The title in the original, is Le bon Sens, Good Sense. It was printed, I believe, in Philadelphia; but the printer was ashamed or afraid to own it.
(32) Pigott's Political Dictionary, p. 132 . This work was originally printed in England; but having been suppressed there, the whole or, nearly the whole, impression was sent over to America, and distributed among the people. But in what manner, and by what means, there are some who can tell better than the writer of this pamphlet. It was thought, however, to be so useful, as to merit the American press-for the copy which I possess, is one of an edition printed at New-York, for Thomas Greenleaf, late editor of the Argus: 1796.
(33) 2. Cor. v. 14, 15.
(34) Ps. ii. 10-12.
(35) Ps. ix. 17.
(36) Ps. cx. 5.
(37) Is. xxx. 1-3
(38) Gal. iv. 16.
(39) Is. xxx. 9, 10.
Source of Information:
Political Sermons of the American Founding Era, 1730-1805, Editted by Ellis Sandoz, Liberty press, pp. 1447-1477
AGAINST THE CHARGES CONTAINED IN
A PAMPHLET ENTITLED,
"Serious Considerations," &c.
"OMNES ALUID AGENTES, ALIOD SIMULANTES, PERFIDI,
IMPROBI, MALITIOSI SUNT." CICERO.
PRINTED BY DAVID DENNISTON.>
IT is now pretty well ascertained, that a great majority of the people of the United States concur in political opinion with Mr. Jefferson, and are determined to confer upon him the highest office in the country, as a mark of their confidence and esteem, and as a reward for his tried talents and virtues, and his long and distinguished services. The party in opposition to him, seeing all their aspiring prospects on the point of being blasted, and yet not daring to attack him by a fair exposition of his political opinions, have, with their usual rancour, revived an obsolete and exploded slander, originally invented by our pilot boat ambassador,* and with their usual industry have disseminated
* William Smith, of South Carolina, ambassador at Lisbon. This man was, during the revolution, in England.--He returned with all the feelings and sympathies of a British subject, and in Congress appeared more like a British agent, than the representative of an independent people. His seat in congress was contested on the ground of his not being an American citizen, and although decided in his favor, yet the propriety of the decision is extremely questionable. When the state debts were about to be assumed, be availed himself of his public situation to amass a large fortune, by dispatching swift-sailing boats to the southern states to purchase up public securities at a low price. He was afterwards reproached with this in congress, by one of his colleagues, commodore Gillon, and was silent. Gillon, in reply to some angry observations of Smith, observed, "what makes the gentleman angry, I did not say a word about pilot-boats." Previous to the last presidential election, he published pamphlets under the signature of Phocion, abounding with the most gross fiattery of Mr. Adams, and the most shameful calumnies against Mr. Jefferson. In one instance, be made use of a garbled quotation to prove the latter an atheist. This is the religious, virtuous and worthy gentleman who first raised the hue and cry about Mr. Jefferson's religion. The next act of Mr. Adams's administration, after appointing his son ambassador, was, I believe, to send this man in a diplomatic capacity to Lisbon. When our commissioners landed at Lisbon to proceed to Paris, be took an opportunity to express his dislike to the mission, by treating them cavalierly.--At a ball to which he invited them, it is said, he was particularly polite and courteous in person, to some British officers who were there, and that he eyed the commissioners at a distance through his glass, and desired his secretary to attend to those gentlemen. This marked inattention did not escape the notice of some of the company, who knew the real situation and character of the commissioners. One of the British officers observed to an American gentleman with the commissioners, "why your ambassador don't seem to take much notice of you; but I suppose you are old acquaintance?" Smith has, I am informed, sold his lands and negroes in South Carolina, and it is easy to see where he means to transfer himself and property. The expences of foreign intercourse, since the establishment of our government, amount to nearly three millions of dollars; and this immense expenditure has in part gone to support in pomp and luxury, men who, in general, have probably acted more in subserviency to foreign views and impressions, than the real interests of their country.
over the community, that Mr. Jefferson is a deist, if not an atheist.Our honest zeal for religion is thus to be perverted into the impure channels of faction, and the name of its holy author is to be blasphemed, by being coupled with the rise and fall, the struggles, victories, and defeats of contending parties. In the hour of adversity, like most other sinners, the leaders of the aristocratic faction call upon that religion for assistance and support, which in the full side of prosperity they either neglected or despised. The newspapers, particularly in the eastern states, have recently abounded with calumnies on this head, against Mr. Jefferson.The feeble Morse and the clumsy Dwight* have mounted their steeds of illuminatism, and armed with
* Two eastern clergymen, who have made themselves supremely ridiculous by retailing the idle dreams of the crazy professor Robison, and the jesuit Barruel, about illuminatism. Morse distinguished himself at college, by writing elegies on sick mice and dead squirrels, and has since compiled some books on geography, which have given him the reputation of considerable ability, to those who do not know him. He tried to gain an establishment in the Presbyterian church in this city; but the good sense of the people created such an opposition as induced him to withdraw his pretensions.
Dwight is now denominated the Pope of Connecticut. His most elaborate work is an epic poem, called "The Conquest of Canaan," and is one of the most successful opiates I ever tried. The British reviewers have placed it on the same shelf with the works of Sir Richard Blackmore, one of the heroes of the Dunciad. These men, par nobile fratrum, have set themselves up as a kind of politico-religious alarmists, rectifiers and new-lights. It is rumoured that Dwight, attended by his faithful squire Morse, intends shortly to explore the United States for illuminati, as Nicholai did Germany for jesuits.
ten-fold brass, have ventured again to brandish their weapons of scurrility. The disgrace was however reserved for this city, to give the slander the shape of system, and to veil it under the mask of piety in the abstract.A pamphlet entitled "Serious considerations on the election of a President, &c." has recently made its appearance among us, and as it will hardly rank the author with the under-strappers of the Dunciad, I should think it unworthy of the least attention, were it not that a lie often repeated and confidently asserted, without being sometimes refuted, may gain belief--and as it professes to contain all that can be said against Mr. Jefferson's religion, I trust I shall in its refutation, afford cause of exultation to his friends, and of mortification to his enemies.
The writer says, that his objection to Mr. Jefferson's being promoted to the Presidency, is founded singly on his disbelief of the holy scriptures; or, in other words, his rejection of the christian religion, and open profession of deism. After this we would naturally expect to find evidence of Mr. Jefferson's having avowed himself an infidel. Not a shadow of proof,
however, to this effect, has this writer produced or attempted to produce. An open profession means a full and unequivocal acknowledgement. Has he fixed any thing of this kind upon Mr. Jefferson? Has he shewn from conversation or writings a confession of this nature? No--this was totally out of his power. What then are we to think of a writer, who in the very threshold of his work, asserts, knowingly, a palpable falsehood, with a view to deceive? Who with christian meekness in his mouth, and hell-born malice in his heart, attempts to enlist religion on the side of faction, to blacken the reputation of a distinguished character, and to mislead his fellow-citizens on a point in which their essential political interests are deeply involved.
This writer has however attempted, by certain inferences from the writings and supposed conversations of Mr. Jefferson, to fix upon him the charge of deism. It shall be my business to examine, first, whether these deductions are well drawn; and secondly, I shall shew, from the writings of Mr. Jefferson, that we have the strongest reasons to believe that he is a real christian.
The christian world is divided into a great variety of sects, differing in their doctrines and discipline, but all agreeing in the divinity of the religion of Christ, and all admitting each other to be entitled to the denomination of christians. Some disbelieve in plenary inspiration--others in certain books, chapters, and verses of the holy scriptures; and yet I do not know that they have been charged with infidelity on that account. Calvinists, Arminians, and Universalists, Trinitarians, Arians, and Socinians, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and Roman Catholics, are all considered constituent members of the great christian community. Any peculiar opinions which do not go directly to a disbelief of the divinity of the religion,
but which are in themselves erroneous, may be named heretical, but can by no means come under the description of deistical. I may construe the scriptures differently from you without impeaching their authority. I may be in sentiment a pre-Adamite, and suppose that other races of men were created before Adam--that the red men of America and black men of Africa sprang from these sources, and yet I may believe in the holy scriptures. I make these preliminary observations, not because I consider them of essential importance to Mr. Jefferson's vindication, but merely because this writer has represented a belief in a particular creed, as essential to constitute a christian, and also with a view to shew, that if Mr. Jefferson's sentiments on these points were even as represented, yet no fair inference can be drawn of his infidelity. Deism is a disbelief of the whole scriptures; heresy of a part, or misconception of the real meaning thereof. I trust, however, that I shall be able to shew that Mr. Jefferson's opinions do not even subject him to the latter imputation.
The first proof produced against Mr. Jefferson's religion, is his disbelief of an universal d luge, deduced from a variety of considerations; while he admits that there have been partial deluges at different periods. The only controversy between him and the writer, then, is, whether the deluge, recorded by Moses, was universal or not. That it was not universal has been the opinion of a number of christian divines, and scholars of the first celebrity for piety and learning, and whose orthodoxy has never been questioned. The intention of the deluge was to destroy the posterity of Adam, for their sins, except the family of Noah. The Deity does nothing in vain: to deluge that part of the world which was not inhabited, might not have embraced the object of his wise dispensations. It is true Moses says, that "all the high hills that were under
the whole heaven were covered." But are we always to understand the bible in a literal sense? Is not its language frequently highly figurative? St. Paul says, "I please all men in all things." Does this mean that he pleased all men with whom he communicated, in all things which were lawful? or does it mean that he pleased the wicked and the righteous, and those whom he did not know as well as those with whom he was acquainted, in evil and good things indiscriminately. Surely no man of common sense will hesitate to embrace the first construction. The expression of Moses may in like manner be considered as a synecdoche, a figure in rhetoric, where the whole is put for a part, or a part for the whole. All the high hills under the whole heaven may be taken in a qualified sense, and construed only to intend all the high hills in the inhabited countries under the heavens. The deluge might therefore have been universal with regard to mankind, but not so with respect to the earth itself. The pious and learned Dr. Burnet was of opinion with Mr. Jefferson, that there was not water enough to cover the earth in its present shape; and in his sacred theory, he has a singular hypothesis to account for it. The celebrated Vossius says "To effect an universal deluge, many miracles must have concurred--but God works no miracles in vain. What need was there to drown those lands where no men lived, or are yet to be found."
But when I mention the name of Stilling flect, bishop of Worcester, that great champion of the christian church, on the same side of the question, surely this superficial writer must be covered with shame.
The bishop's zeal for religion was so great, that he fancied he discovered a tendency to Atheism, in Mr. Locke's doctrine respecting innate ideas, and the most remarkable controversy on record ensued between those able writers. In speaking of the deluge, this
learned divine expresses himself as follows:--"I cannot see, says he, any urgent necessity from the scripture, to assert that this flood did spread itself all over the surface of the earth. That all mankind (those in the ark excepted) were destroyed by it, is most certain according to the scriptures. When the Lord said that he would destroy man from the face of the earth, it could not be any particular deluge of so small a country as Palestine, as some have ridiculously imagined; for we find an universal corruption in the earth mentioned as the cause; an universal threatening upon all men for this cause; and afterwards, a universal destruction expressed as the effect of this flood. So then it is evident the flood was universal with respect to mankind; but from thence follows no necessity at all for asserting the universality of it, as to the globe of the earth, unless it be sufficiently proved that the whole earth was peopled before the flood, which I despair of ever secing proved; and what reason can there be for extending the flood beyond the occasion of it, which was the destruction of mankind?
The only probability then of asserting the universality of the flood as to the globe of the earth, is from the destruction of all living creatures, together with men. Now, though men might not have spread themselves over the whole surface of the earth, which beasts and creeping things might, which were all destroyed by the flood; for it is said, that all flesh that moved upon the earth, both of fowl and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man."
To what end should there be not only a note of universality added, but such a particular enumeration of the several kinds of beasts, creeping things and fowls, if they were not all destroyed? To this, I answer, I grant that as far as the flood extended, all things were destroyed: But I see no reason to extend
the destruction of these beyond that compass and space of the earth where men inhabited, because the punishment of the beasts was occasioned by, and could not but be concomitant with the destruction of man; but (the occasion of the deluge being the sin of man, who was punished in the beasts that were destroyed for his sake, as well as in himself) where the occasion was not, as when there were animals and no men, there seems no necessity of extending the flood thither. But to what end will it therefore be replied; did God command Noah with so much care, to take all kinds of birds, beasts and creeping things into the ark with him, if all those living creatures were not destroyed by the flood? I answer, because all those things were destroyed wherever the flood was. Suppose, then, the whole continent of Asia was peopled before the flood, (which is as much as in reason we can suppose:) I say all the living creatures in that continent were destroyed; or is we may suppose it to have extended over our whole continent of the ancient known world, what reason would there be, that in the opposite part of the globe, which we suppose to be unpeopled then, all the living creatures there should be destroyed, because men had sinned in this? And would there not have been, on this supposition, a sufficient reason to preserve creatures in the ark for future propagation?I think it must now obviously appear, that Mr. Jefferson's ideas, with respect to the flood, are not singular, and do not subject him even to the suspicion of infidelity--And although I am inclined to differ from him in opinion, I should be as unwilling to blame him on this account, as I should be to assert that his flimsy calumniator writes with the charity of a christian, the politeness of a gentleman, the honesty of a patriot, or the ability of a scholar.
A GOOD cause often suffers more from the unprudence of its real, and the hypocrisy of its pretended friends, than from the opposition and violence of its open enemies. We are too apt to confound principles with men; and when we see canting hypocrisy, and a virulent spirit of persecution assume the robes of sanctity, to imbibe a disgust against the latter. Hence it is that unworthy and wicked priests, in all ages have been more instrumental in cissusing insidelity, than the most ingenious writers who have wielded their pens in that untenable cause. Those men assume a certain set of dogmas as the only true and infallible faith, and denounce the least deviations as the vilest insidelity; they wickedly attempt to violate the sanctuary of private opinion, and to point the thunderbolts of almighty vengeance at the sincere followers of truth. They hunt after heresy and insidelity, with an appetite as keen as death; they scent them out in the minutest trifles, and in the gravest labors; in the sports of fancy, as well as in the researches of philosophy; and men often appear in their black list of deists, who have from their infancy followed the religion of Christ with undeviating steps, and who in all the bustle of active life, and amidst all the vanities of sublunary things, have kept their eyes steadily fixed upon the great consoling truths of religion.--The only way to disarm the fury of those unhallowed intruders into the christian church, is to approach them with adulation and with douccurs. The Pithiopean then, changes his skin, and the leopard his spots,--the lewd man becomes chaste--the knave honest, and the insider a christian; and moral excellencies and religious
merits, are measured by extent of homage and quantitiy of money, not by soundness of doctrine or purity of life. The writer of "Serious Considerations," has strongly exemplified the force of these remarks; he can openly cultivate a professed adulterer, with all the ardor of friendship and the enthusiasm of admiration, and can see the principles of christianity flourishing in his bosom, as in their native and appropriate soil: but in Mr. Jefferson, whose life has been virtuous and exemplary, he beholds through the distorted medium of a crooked mind and a black heart--
"Perverse all monstrous, all prodigious things,
Abominable, inutterable, and worse
Than fables, yet have feign'd or fear conceiv'd
Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimeras dire."
I have been insensibly drawn into these observations, from a contemplation of the disingenuous and unworthy arts practised by this writer, to torture some speculative notions of Mr. Jefferson on philosophy, into a disbelief of christianity. A man must read, but "with a just to misapply," and fit down predetermined to make him a deist, who can deduce it from his observations respecting the red men of America, and Asia, and the black men of Africa. Even the unblushing Smith, this writer's predecessor in calumny, had too much prudence to resort to so sandy a foundation for his edisice of slander and falsehood.
The most authentic account of the origin and migration of nations, is to be found in the holy scriptures. The traditions and histories, of all the ancient nations of the world, corroborate in a wonderful manner the writings of Moses; to them we must look up, as a light to guide us through the darkness of antiquity; as a standard by which to regulate our opinions of the early period of the human race; and as a certain mean of solving many perplexing difficulties, which beset us
in our researches into ancient history, and our views of the present appearances of men and nations. We are informed by Moses, that all men are descended from one pair, and we should be extremely puzzled to reconcile with this fact, not only the great variety, but the essential, radical and entire difference of languages prevalent in the world, did not scripture furnish us with a solution of this otherwise inexplicable anigma.
We are told in the eleventh chapter of Genesis, that sometime after the flood, all the human race were assembled together on a plain in the land of Shinar; that the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech; that they impiously attempted to counteract the intentions of the deity, by building a city which should serve as a habitation for them all, and prevent their dispersion over the earth; that the Lord interfered in a miraculous manner, and created a diversity of languages among them, by which means their work was left unfinished, and they were scattered abroad upon the face of all the earth. This great plain was then a common centre from which mankind diverged in every direction over the earth. How many different languages were originally established, we are not informed of by the scriptures; but we have every reason to believe, that they were as various as the original families and tribes which eventually expanded into nations. A sameness of complexion and figure no doubt existed, as well as an identity of speech, and the diversities of color which now exist, must be attributed to a variety of physical and moral causes, but principally to climate and the state of society. That white was the original complexion of the human species, is, I believe, the opinion of the most intelligent writers on this subject. The tribes which emigrated to America, after the confusion of tongues might have settled there, long before migrations took place in the parts of Asia, now inhabited by red men, and their complexion
would in course of time be changed from white to red, by the operation of natural causes. There is no difficulty with respect to the passage from Asia to America; these two continents if parted at all, are only separated by a narrow strait. We may therefore say that the red men of America are of greater antiquity than the red men of Asia, or in other words, that red men were settled in America, before they were settled in Asia, without impugning the authority of the scriptures. Every body would smile, if the writer would denominate one an infidel, for saying that the black men of Africa are of greater antiquity than the black men of Asia, and yet the cases are exactly parallel.
Mr. Jefferson infers from the greater number of radical languages among the red men of America, that they are of greater antiquity than the red men of Asia; but he expressly confines the remark to red men, and no where insinuates that men were originally created in America. That the population of America is very ancient, has not only been deduced from the above circumstance, but from many other considerations. The Americans had no knowledge of the people of the old continent, nor the latter any account of the migration of the former to the new world. They wanted those arts and inventions, which, when once discovered, are never forgotten; such, for example, as those of wax and oil for light, which are very ancient in Europe and Asia, and are not only highly useful, but necessary. And it is said, that the polished nations of the new world, and particularly those of Mexico, preserve in their traditions and paintings, the memory of the creation of the world, the building of the tower of Babel, the confusion of languages, and the dispersion of the people, although blended with some fables; and that they had no knowledge of the events which happened afterwards in Asia, in Africa, or in Europe; although
many of them were so great and remarkable, that they could not easily have gone from their memory. The learned author of the history of Mexico, the Abbe Clavigero, a christian divine, is of opinion, that the Americans do not derive their origin from any people now existing in the ancient world; not only from the circumstances of the great diversity of languages, but from the total want of assinity between them and any of the languages of the old world. He therefore infers, that the Americans are descended from different families, dispersed after the confusion of tongues, and have since been separated from those others who peopled the countries of the old continent.
The next charge against Mr. Jefferson, is drawn from some observations on the inferiority of blacks to whites--and here again the writer has betrayed his usual want of candor, by suppressing those parts which would explain any ambiguity, and destroy any ill impression that might result from a quotation of insulated passages. If I rightly understand the writer, he means to insinuate as Mr. Jefferson's opinion, that the blacks are an order of beings inferior to the whites. In page 237, 2d American edition of the Notes on Virginia, Mr. Jefferson expressly admits that the blacks are of the humau race; but in other parts of his work, he endeavors to prove what cannot be denied, that they are inferior in complexion, beauty and form, to the whites, and he also seems to adopt an opinion, which is probably erroneous, that they are inferior in the faculties of reason and imagination. He sums up his ideas on the subject with the following remarks: "To justify a general conclusion, requires many observations, even where the subject may be submitted to the anatomical knife, to optical glasses, to analysis by fire, or by solvents. How much more then, where it is a faculty, not a substance, we are examining; where it cludes the research of all the senses;
where the conditions of its existence are various and variously combined; where the effects of those which are present or absent bid defiance to calculation; let me add too, as a circumstance of great tenderness, where our conclusion would degrade a whole race of men from the rank in the scale of beings, which their creator may perhaps have given them. To our reproach, it must be said; that though for a century and an half, we have had under our eyes, the races of black and of red men, they have never yet been viewed by us as subjects of natural history I advance it, therefore, as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time ahd circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind. It is not against experience to suppose, that different species of the same genus, or varieties of the same species, may possess different qualifications." Now it must require more than common acuteness, to discover any thing in the above observations, which militate against the Mosaic account of the creation. A distinct race means a distinct generation or family, and does by no means, ex vi termini, exclude the idea of a common origin. If the blacks do not appertain to the human race, then it is no more anti-christian to say so, than it is to assert it of the Orang Outang, or the monkey. If they do belong to it, we may suppose them a distinct race, made so by time and circumstances, and inferior in the endowments both of body and mind to the whites, without impeaching the doctrine of a first pair. We must admit them "a variety of the same species," and inferior in complexion and physical conformation; but all this may have resulted from adventitious circumstances, and their original ancestors may have been white. Sir William Jones (who was a christian from conviction, and possessed of the most extensive acquirements in language, of any man living in his time) asserts,
from a comparison of the Sanscrit and Arabic languages, that they "are totally distinct, and must have been invented by two different races of men," and that "the Tartarian language has not the least resemblance either to Arabic or Sanscrit, and must have been invented by a race of men wholly distinct from the Arabs or Hindoos."* And yet he concludes that these three stocks had one common root; or in other words, proceeded from one pair. In like manner, although Mr. Jefferson has asserted that the blacks are inferior to the whites in certain respects, yet as he has in unequivocal terms, admitted them to be of the human race, we have every reason to suppose that he believes that they and the whites are branches of the same stem, and children of the same common parents; especially as in a letter to Benjamin Banneker, which has been published, he declares himself convinced "that nature has given to our black brethren, talents equal to those of other colors, and the appearance of a want of them is owing merely to the degraded condition of their existence both in Africa and America."
BEFORE the revolution, the church of England was established by law in Virginia; and although two thirds of the inhabitants were dissenters, they were obliged to contribute to the support of the ministers of that persuasion. At the revolution a partial reform only took place; the crime of heresy at common law and its punishment by burning, still remained in full force; and some of the colonial statutes which
* Asiatic Researches, 1st vol. p. 125-157.
bore hard upon particular sectarians, were left unrepealed. This peculiar state of his countrymen, enjoying the benefits of civil liberty, and at the same time exposed to the evils of religious slavery, naturally attracted the attention of the enlightened author of the declaration of American independence; and his reasoning respecting it, perfectly accords with his uniform and ardent zeal in favor of the rights of human nature. "The error (says he) seems not sufficiently eradicated, that the operations of the mind, as well as the acts of the body, are subject to the coercion of the laws. But our rulers can have authority over such natural rights only as we have submitted to them. The rights of conscience we never submitted. We could not submit. We are answerable for them to our God. The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty Gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg: If it be said his testimony in a court of justice cannot be relied on, reject it then, and be the stigma on him. Constraint may make him worse by making him a hypocrite, but it will never make him a truer man. It may fix him obstinately in his errors, but will not cure them." The writer of "Serious Considerations," after agreeing with Mr. Jefferson, that "a mere opinion of my neighbor will do me no injury, government cannot regulate or punish it. The right of private opinion is inalienable," (see page 19) intimates, first, That Mr. Jefferson says, "that it is a matter of indifference what a man believes:" This insinuation is totally false. Secondly, he tries to impress it as Mr. Jefferson's opinion, "that a man's life may be good, let his faith be what it may." The idea, whether true or false, is not in the remotest degree conveyed--And thirdly, he asserts, that there is ground to fix a suspicion of atheism on Mr. Jefferson. He would, no
doubt, with equal readiness and equal probity, have declared that there was positive proof; but this would have been too much at war with the general tenor of his publication: He had previously labored hard to prove the object of his calumny a deist--Now, if the evidence to this effect is substantiated, then the suspicion of atheism is ill-founded, because deism and atheism cannot exist in the same creed. But, if I am not egregiously mistaken, the very sentiment conveyed by Mr. Jefferson, is also more comprehensively advanced by this writer in different and less elegant language: The one says, "It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty Gods or no God."--The other declares, "A mere opinion of my neighbor will do me no injury." The only difference which can possibly be designated, is, that Mr. Jefferson's observation is confined to Polytheistical and Atheistical opinions; and the writer's embraces all opinions whatsoever, good, bad and indifferent, and consequently Atheistical, agreeably to the maxim, Omne majus continet in se minus; so that, upon his own admission, we may venture to bring the charge of Atheism against him. But I am fatigued with brushing away these cobwebs. Let us attend to the spirit and legitimate meaning of Mr. Jefferson's reasoning in favor of the rights of conscience. The scope of his argument goes to prove that government has no right to punish mere opinions, but only the overt acts resulting from them, which are contrary to the peace and good order of society. To elucidate his ideas in the strongest point of view, he takes the two extremes of error respecting religion, Polytheism and Atheism, and declares that government has no right to punish them, because they are opinions only, and not actions detrimental to the property or persons of individuals. I am persuaded that every liberal, candid and intelligent friend of civil and religious liberty will sanction this sentiment; and yet would it be fair,
would it not be dishonest to infer from this that he supposed them, or either of them, free from error or harmless in tendency? If we can, with propriety, fix the charge of Atheismupon Mr. Jefferson from those expressions, we have also equal reason to declare him a Polytheist, because, in his illustration of his reasoning, he puts them on the same footing with respect to freedom from persecution--Moreover, in the next preceding sentence he expressly, and, in the most pious manner, recognizes the existence and attributes of the Deity, and asserts the doctrine of human accountability, by declaring, that "We are answerable for the rights of conscience to our God." In truth, the only candid exposition of his meaning is, that although Atheistical and Polytheistical opinions are fundamentally wrong and have a mischievous tendency, yet, that they ought not to be the subject of legal coercion until they become injurious in action--that, in the mean time, the oath of an Atheist or Polytheist ought not to be admitted in the courts of justice, because he does not believe in that God to whom an oath is an appeal. If Atheism, or an approbation of Atheism, or a leaning towards Atheism, or a suspicion of Atheism, can be logically deduced from this, then we can have no confidence in the elements of just reasoning, or the foundations of rational belief. All the faculties of the mind must be unhinged and jumbled together in chaotic darkness. It will be seen by a marginal reference in the notes on Virginia, that Mr. Jefferson has borrowed some of his ideas on this subject from the writings of the Rev. Dr. Philip Furneaux, one of the ablest advocates of religious freedom.--The distinction between principles and their tendency on the one hand, and those overt acts which affect the public good on the other, is so ably taken and so irresistibly enforced by this excellent writer, that I should not do justice to my subject without quoting him at length;
for I am confident that it will totally destroy this absurd calumny in the minds of all who read and all who understand. "But it will be said, hath the magistrate no concern with those principles which destroy the foundation of moral obligation? That is, if I understand you right, which have a tendency to introduce immorality and licentiousness. I allow he may encourage, amongst all sects, those general principles of religion and morality on which the happiness of society depends. This he may and should do as conservator of the public weal.
But with regard to the belief or disbelief of religious principles or religious systems; if he presumes to exercise his authority as a judge, in such cases, with a view of restraining and punishing those who embrace and profess what he dislikes, or dislike and explode what he embraces on account of the supposed ill tendency of their principles; he goes beyond his province, which is confined to those effects of such principles, that is, to those actions which affect the peace and good order of society; and every step he takes, he is in danger of trampling on the rights of conscience, and of invading the prerogative of the only arbiter of conscience, to whom alone men are accountable for professing or not professing religious sentiments and principles. For if the magistrate be possessed of a power to restrain and punish any principles relating to religion, because of their tendency, and he be the judge of that tendency, as he must be, if he be vested with authority to punish on that account; religious liberty is entirely at an end, or which is the same thing, is under the controul, and at the mercy of the magistrate according as he shall think the tenets in question affect the foundation of moral obligation, or are favorable or unfavorable to religion and morality. But if the line be drawn between mere religious principles and the tendency of them on the one hand, and those
overt acts which affect the public peace and order on the other; and if the latter alone be assigned to the jurisdiction of the magistrate, as being guardian of the peace of society in this world, and the former as interfering only with a future world, be referred to a man's own conscience, and to God the only sovereign Lord of conscience; the boundaries between civil power and liberty in religious matters are clearly marked and determined, and the latter will not be wider or narrower, or just nothing at all, according to the magistrate's opinion of the good or bad tendency of principles. If it be objected, that when the tendency of principles is unfavorable to the peace and good order of society, as it may be, it is the magistrate's duty then, and for that reason, to restrain them by penal laws: I reply that the tendency of principles, though it be unfavorable, is not prejudicial to society, till it issues in some overt acts, against the public peace and order; and when it does, then the magistrate's authority to punish commences; that is, he may punish the overt acts but not the tendency, which is not actually hurtful; and therefore his penal laws should be directed against overt acts only, which are detrimental to the peace and good order of society, let them spring from what principles they will, and not against principles or the tendency of principles. The distinction between the tendency of principles and the overt acts arising from them, is, and cannot but be observed in many cases, of a civil nature, in order to determine the bounds of the magistrate's power, or at least to limit the exercise of it in such cases. It would not be difficult to mention customs and manners as well as principles, which have a tendency unfavorable to society, and which nevertheless cannot be restrained by penal laws, except with the total destruction of civil liberty: And here the magistrate must be contented with pointing his penal laws against the evil overt acts resulting from them. In the same manner
he should act in regard to men's professing or rejecting religious principles or systems. Punishing a man for the tendency of his principles, is punishing him before he is guilty, for fear he should be guilty. Besides, if the magistrate in one country hath a right to punish those who reject the religion which is there publicly professed, the magistrates of all other countries must have the same right, and for the same reason, namely, to guard against the evil tendency of renouncing a religion, the maintenance of which they think of great importance to society. If those persons who reject christianity are to be punished in England, those who embrace it are to be punished in Turkey.--This is the necessary consequence of allowing any penal laws to be enacted and to operate in support or suppression of any religious system; for the magistrate must and will use his power according to his own religious persuasion."*
In treating of the Indians of Virginia, Mr. Jefferson describes them as never having submitted themselves to any laws, any coercive power, any shadow of government; and that notwithstanding crimes are rare among them, "Insomuch, (says he) that were it made a question, whether no law, as among the savage Americans,
* Letters to Blackstone, page 33. In addition to this, permit me to quote a passage from Locke on Toleration, which will furnish a good lesson of charity and moderation to all persecuting bigots. "No private person (says this enlightened philosopher) has any right in any manner, to prejudice another person in his civil enjoyments because he is of another church or religion. All the rights and franchises that belong to him as a man, or as a denizen, are inviolably to be preserved to him. These are not the business of religion. No violence nor injury is to be offered him, whether he be Christian or Pagan. Nay we must not content ourselves with the narrow measures of bare justice; charity, honesty, and liberality must be added to it. This the gospel enjoins--this reason directs; and this that natural fellowship we are born into requires of us. If any man err from the right way, it is his own misfortune, no injury to thee; nor therefore art thou to punish him in the things of this life, because thou supposest he will be miserable in that which is to come." Locke on vol. p. 57, Glasgow ed. </p>
or too much law, as among the civilized Europeans, submits man to the greatest evil; one who has seen both conditions of existence would pronounce it to be the last: and that the sheep are happier of themselves than under the care of the wolves." The writer of "Serious Considerations," has, with his usual acumen and perspicacity, discovered an enmity to all religion and government in this passage.--"Thus, says he, the happiest state of man is, according to the sage of Monticello, to be without law, without government, and without religion, to continue just as he was born, a wild ass's colt." It is evident that Mr. Jefferson is comparing two evils together, and pronouncing which, in his opinion, is the greater. By asking which of them, no law or too much law, submits man to the greatest evil, is clearly admitting, that the savage state without government is an evil; but he proceeds to state, that it is a less one than the condition of the civilized Europeans, where too much law, or, in other words, despotism prevails. "The sheep, says he, are happier of themselves than under the care of the wolves;" that is, it is better for man to be without government, than in subjection to one that devours and destroys him. Is this declaring that a state of no law is preferable to a state of neither too much nor too little law? Can an opinion that no government is better than tyranny, be construed to mean that it is also preferable to a free one? In saying that anarchy is a less evil than despotism, do I assert that it is a greater good than civil liberty? And yet all these absurdities the writer has put into the mouth of Mr. Jefferson. It is obvious that Mr. Jefferson uses law and government in this place synonimously, and that he does not refer to a multiplicity of laws, but to an oppressive government. The writer also infers from this passage, as the opinion of Mr. Jefferson, "That the Indians are happier in their uncivilized state, than if they were
civilized." If I say that a savage without law is happier than a civilized slave, does this amount to a declaration that he enjoys superior felicity to a civilized freeman, or to a man under every modification of improved society? Meanly as I think of this writer's discernment, I cannot suppose that his glaring and palpable perversion of Mr. Jefferson's remarks on this subject arose from ignorance--No--a child could not have fallen into such a gross error: it must have been done with design; and to such as may still think the author a man of candor, honesty or truth, or may entertain a high opinion of his talents. I recommend a perusal of the whole commentary as an effectual antidote. The little ingenuity he, indeed, possesses, consists in comprising a great deal of nonsense into a small compass; and the only candor he exhibits is in spreading so diaphanous a veil over his calumnies, that they become apparent to the most obtuse vision.
It is a question which has been much discussed, and upon which the most pious christians have taken different sides, whether the bible ought to be used as a school book? It is not now necessary to go into a minute consideration of this debate, or to assign at length all the arguments which have been advanced. It is sufficient to remark, that the primary design of sending children to school, is to learn to read and write, not to learn religion. That to teach the latter is a more appropriate duty and concern of parents and clergymen. That if the bible ought not to be employed as a book from which to be taught spelling and reading, it does not follow that it ought not to be adopted as an infallible source of religious education and instruction; and that if it be inexpedient to resort to it in the school, it may be still obligatory to use it in the family, and to teach it from the pulpit. The reasons of Mr. Jefferson are highly honorable to religion. "Instead (says he) of putting the Bible and Testament into the hands
of children at an age when their judgments are not sufficiently matured for religious enquiries," &c. The plain inference is, that when their judgments are sufficiently matured, then the bible and testament ought to be put into their hands--and is it not more respectful to the holy scriptures to say that they should be studied with ripe understandings and enlightened minds, than to assert that the faculties of infants are adequate to this important task.I have now fully considered all the written proofs produced by this writer against Mr. Jefferson's religion, and I trust have shewn them to be as "baseless as the fabric of a vision." I shall in my next proceed to expose the futility of his oral and circumstantial evidences. But I cannot conclude this number without remarking that the writer has said, "It is a light thing for Mr. Jefferson to say there is no God." (see p. 24.) Let me, sir, address you in the first person, and ask you if this is not a charge of the blackest dye exhibited against one of our most respectable citizens? Mr. Jefferson, sir, is either a friend of atheism, or you are a base unprincipled calumniator. There is no other alternative. Try not to evade an enquiry by saying that it is a mere slip of the pen, or that you heard it from this or that man, or inferred it from this or that expression. Your charge, sir, is direct, positive, and unqualified. Produce then your proofs, but remember that the weight of evidence must be in proportion to the magnitude of the charge. The public, sir, will not be satisfied with evasion or silence, and I call upon you by that holy religion you extol--by that sacred calling you disgrace--by that love of country you profess--and by that regard for character which even the most abandoned entertain, to come forward and support your allegation. Remember that you now stand upon your defence before the high tribunal of public opinion, and that the least faltering will blast you forever.
Addressed to the Author of "SERIOUS CONSIDERATIONS."
A LETTER to an Italian of the name of Mazzei, ascribed to Mr. Jefferson, has been much employed to injure his political consequence, and to prove him an enemy of the constitution, and a calumniator of its administration.Although it is not ascertained whether this letter be genuine or spurious, yet whenever the cause of the party is to be served or supported, it is brought forward as a sword to attack and a shield to defend. As it was fondly hoped that the name of Mazzei would have the same magical effect in religion, one of the most idle stories that was ever attempted to be palmed upon the public, has been advanced by you, with as much gravity, as if you really believed it yourself, and with all that parade and ostentation which cunning and hypocrisy prescribe as necessary to subserve the cause of delusion. It abounds, sir, with so many absurdities, and improbabilities, and is so defective in all the properties of found evidence, that no man of the least sagacity, unless he labours under the most violent prejudices, can be deceived by it. I will, however, bestow a few remarks upon it, as you have passed it off as a discovery of the greatest importance. The first, and most natural observation, is the circuitous route in which this story has proceeded. It does not come directly from Mr. Jefferson, but passes through three persons before it reaches the public; and I need not remark to you, sir, how liable to be perverted and to be misunderstood in every stage of its transit. Many years must have elapsed since Mazzei visited this country. It does not appear that the story was ever reduced to writing before you exhibited it to the public. The omission
of a single word, or a single circumstance, may have altered its whole complexion. Memory, sir, is frail--prejudice is deceptious, and oral evidence cannot well be relied on after such an efflux of time. You heard it from Smith, who heard it from Mazzei, who heard it from Jefferson. This is, in the language of the law, a hearsay of a hearsay; and what would not be admitted as testimony in a court of justice to deprive a man of a farthing, is now gravely adduced to rob one of our most eminent and respectable fellow-citizens, of the most sacred of all property--the most invaluable of all possessions--the esteem, the love, and the respect of his country. I am well aware that in discussions of this nature, the strictness and severity of legal evidence ought not to be exacted, but certainly there should be some striking lineaments of resemblance--some leading traits of analogy required, or else the most innocent characters may be sacrificed. I have seen you, sir, charged in one of the morning papers with being a deist, upon a report said to have emanated from your family; and although I believe it to be an idle fiction, yet mark with what facility you might be ruined, if we were to mete for you with the same measure with which you have measured for Mr. Jefferson. It is more direct than your report--it proceeds from a quarter that ought to know your real sentiments, and from a source interested in guarding, instead of injuring your character. Private enmity has not mingled its gall, nor party spirit its poison in the composition; and it has been published for some time, and not contradicted by you or your friends. On the other hand, a report of an ancient date has been raked up, on the eve of the most important election in the United States, when all the passions of the human heart are in a storm of sury--when personal rivalry, ambition, avarice, and political preferences, unite to depreciate, to calumniate, and to deceive. This story
too has passed through several hands, has been artfully fortified against detection and refutation, by being fastened in one instance upon a dead man, and in another upon a foreigner many thousand miles distant; and the name of the last propagator can only be acquired through the medium of conjecture. It hears with it also internal marks of imposture and fabrication. Is it probable that Mr. Jefferson would commit himself to a stranger and a foreigner, by an avowal of opinions, which being an outrage on the public sentiment, are generally concealed from the most intimate friends, and cautiously locked up in the secret depositaries of the heart. Is it probable that Mazzei, who travelled in the character of a gentleman, and a man of letters, and who it seems was hospitably received by both Mr. Jefferson and Doctor Smith, would, without any conceivable motive, betray the confidence of the former, and, in violation of all propriety and decorum, insult the feelings of the latter, by vilifying a religion to which he was ardently attached, in his own house too, and shortly after he had been performing one of its most solemn offices? Is it probable that Dr. Smith, who wisely avoided the errors of his brother, by keeping aloof from the contentions of parties, would all at once have deserted those maxims of prudence and propriety which had governed the uniform tenor of his life, and stand sponsor for a report dubious and uncertain in the highest degree, and which would infallibly expose him to ill-will, and destroy in a great degree his usefulness to his country, and to the cause of science and religion? And here let me remark, sir, how unchristian-like in you to rake up the consecrated ashes of the venerable dead; and to descend into the dark recesses of the tomb for the unhallowed cause of faction, and the execrable purposes of calumny. If we can in any stage of the story suppose a fabrication, or a perversion of meaning through intention, misunderstanding,
or defect of memory more probable, than that Mr. Jefferson should insult our holy religion, then the credit of your charge is at an end. But if Mazzei had been correct in his opinion of Mr. Jefferson's infidelity, would he not have been able to have produced some stronger proof than a mere inference from a casual and hasty conversation? Let us, however, suppose, for the sake of argument, that the story is true--Is it not susceptible of a good as well a bad meaning. In my opinion it may well admit of three constructions--either as a sarcasm upon christianity, the way in which you take it, or as a sneer of this kind at the infidelity of Mazzei. "What! you express a concern at the bad architecture of a building intended for the purposes of a religion you despise--for the worship of a Being you represent to be a mere man, born in the lowest style of poverty and obscurity!"--or it may be considered as a serious sentiment, that as "the Lord dwelleth not in temples made with hands"--as he made his appearance in the most humble state, costly and magnificent churches are as nothing in his sight, and are oftener monuments of human pride and vanity than evidences of sincere piety. I leave it to the good sense and christian charity of my readers, to say which construction ought to be adopted. It must be evident after all, that Mr. Jefferson's real meaning could only be collected from the manner of his communication, and of this Mazzei was a very incompetent judge. He was a stranger to Mr. Jefferson; and it requires a considerable acquaintance to infer at all times from a man's manner whether he is serious or in jest. Besides, Mazzei was a foreigner, and probably knew little of the language in which the idea was conveyed.
Your other story about Mr. Jefferson's having declared to a gentleman of distinguished talents and services, that "he wished to see a government in which no religious opinions were held, &c." is liable to many
of the preceding objections. It differs however in some particulars, which redound more to its discredit. You have cautiously omitted all circumstances of time and place--You have not given us the name of your informer, nor furnished us with any clue by which to find him--You have only told us that he is distinguished for his talents and services--but you have not informed us whether he is renowned for his candor and veracity, and whether he is free from prejudice, interest, enmity, or any undue bias that may warp and discredit his testimony: and the very circumstance of your mentioning the other narrators and concealing the name of this, has a very suspicious aspect. You could bring them forward because they are either in Europe or in the grave, but this one you carefully keep out of view. A man will often whisper a calumny in a corner, who will not dare to utter it to the public. If you have been made the innocent dupe of an artful, ambitious, rancorous and unprincipled enemy of Mr. Jefferson, let us know it, and then we will transfer our censure from your heart to your head. You allow Mr. Jefferson to be a man of talents, and I believe you must also admit him to be possessed of extensive knowledge in politics, history and philosophy. How then, sir, can you ascribe to him a sentiment repugnant to all just theory and all found experience, that a community in which no religious opinions were held would be eligible?--a sentiment more fit for the meridian of a Bedlamite, than for the mind of a statesman and philosopher. And yet you try to palm all these absurdities upon us! You measure the facility of our faith by the extravagance of your charges; and you really seem to think us ready to exclaim, "We believe because it is impossible"
I hope, sir, you do not seriously expect that Mr. Jefferson stands in need of vindication against a sentiment expressed by another person: namely, "that it
is high time for this country to get rid of religion and the clergy." Surely one man is not blameable for the mischievous opinions or actions of another, unless he inculcated or instigated them. To render this charge of any effect, you ought to prove that he borrowed the idea from Mr. Jefferson--This, indeed, you have insinuated by the words pupil and admirer. It has been a long time since Mr. Jefferson practised law, and I am yet to learn that he ever taught school. A student at law is not a polemic in divinity. Mr. Jefferson probably taught him Coke and Blackstone instead of Hobbes and Hume; and at any rate, he may possibly, after such a lapse of time, have imbibed bad notions from other quarters. But to be serious, if we were to impute to Mr. Jefferson the vices of his friends, we ought also in all justice to impute to him their good qualities. I know a warm, intimate and confidential friend of his, who has declared that the christian religion is the great prop of good government, and the only way to eternal happiness. Now, according to your mode of reasoning, I have proved Mr. Jefferson an excellent christian. Remember the maxim, that it is a bad rule that will not work both ways. But, sir, if we were to bring you to this test, bending as you are under a load of sanctity, you must suffer from the application. I have already pointed out one of your most intimate friends: were I to mention another, whom nature has endowed with shining talents, and education has polished with the most insinuating manners; but whose whole life has been a practical burlesque on religion, decency and good morals; who, to the profligacy of a Chartres, and the impiety of a Wharton, unites the impudence of a Cappadocian, and the lewdness of a Sybarite; and were I to ascribe the errors, the faults, the vices, the sins and the crimes of this man to you, would not found discrimination recoil, and real morality frown awfully at the enormity of the injustice?
You speak, sir, of Mr. Jefferson's disregard of religious things; of his associates at home and correspondents abroad, as concurrent circumstances with a passage from his works, to fix a suspicion of Atheism on him. You profess, however, not to be so well acquainted with these things as many; you ask, "is he known to worship with any denomination of christians? Where? When? How often?" And you say, "We have not forgotten the Sunday feast of him and his friends at Fredericksburgh, in Virginia, on his return from the second seat of government." I have always understood that Mr. Jefferson belongs to the Episcopal church. How often he attends it I have not enquired, but I believe he does with as much sincerity as Mr. Adams, and full as frequently as Mr. Pinckney. That he corresponds with literary men of all sects, of all parties, and of all civilized nations, I am willing to admit. Robertson corresponded with Hume and Gibbon; and I believe Mr. Adams has been very intimate with Dr. Priestly, whom you hardly rank among christians. The truth is, the intercourse which exists in the literary world, is no proof of identity of sentiment or principle. This interchange of ideas is for the important purpose of communicating and receiving light respecting new discoveries, new inventions, and new systems in the arts and sciences, and has little or no connection with religious creeds.
That Mr. Jefferson may have dined with some of his friends on Sunday, on his return to his family, I am willing to concede, and also to allow you every advantage resulting therefrom in favor of your assertions; but as you have not informed us that it was an ostentatious parade of a festival, and a deliberate violation of the Sabbath; as you have not depicted any scenes of Bacchanalian orgies or disgraceful revelry, I must confess I do not perceive any infidelity in it.
But you seem to have attained the very acme of modesty when you say that Mr. Jefferson ought to subscribe a certain creed, and that the ministers of the gospel, &c. cannot expect less--That is, in plain language, that the clergy should propose a religious test for his subscription, and thereby violate the spirit of that constitution which he has sworn to support--Would you, sir, after the pretended proofs you have produced, believe in the sincerity of the act? Would you not exclaim that it was hypocritical, fraudulent and insincere? Has not all experience shewn, that tests and subscription articles never interpose obstacles to the wicked, and only serve as snares for the righteous? And would not his friends justly consider him "as the meanest of mankind" if he would submit to have certain declarations of faith exacted from him by an unauthorised body of men, as a necessary passport to office? Surely he may reply to you in the words of the poet--Timeo danaos et dona ferentes.
THE writings of Mr. Jefferson abound with just and elevated ideas of the Deity and his attributes. The declaration of independence, that masterly production of his pen, appeals to the Supreme Judge of the universe, and, in a strain of exalted piety, expresses a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence. If Mr. Jefferson had really wished that our national character should be dishonored by Atheism and irreligion, would he have inserted in the act which called us into being as a nation, a recognition of the creator and ruler of the world? But I am persuaded, it is not necessary to pursue this absurd calumny any further--An Atheist is a kind of lusus naturo in the moral and intellectual
world--Many intelligent persons entirely disbelieve in the existence of such a character. A man must voluntarily shut his eyes against the light which is bursting upon him in every direction, and abandon the use of his reason and his senses, if he does not perceive the finger of God in every department of nature.
The enemies of Mr. Jefferson have employed particular passages of the Notes on Virginia to prove him an infidel; and, by garbled quotations, illogical inferences, and perverted constructions, have made some impression upon the minds of many of the pious and patriotic. Their attacks would, however, have been fruitless and unavailing, if they had exposed to the public eye, those passages of his works which indicate him to be a believer in the truths of christianity. His writings, in the view of an enlightened community, will operate like the spear of Achilles, and cure the wounds they have inflicted in the assassin hands of his enemies.
After expatiating upon the evils resulting to the manners, morals and industry of the people from the existence of slavery, Mr. Jefferson breaks out into the following animated strain of pious exclamation: "Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference. The Almighty has no attribute that can take side with us in such a contest."* The most remarkable trait in the
* Jefferson's Notes on Virginia, p. 257, 2d Am. ed.
above passage is, "It may become probable by supernatural interference." Is not this the language of christianity? Deism disavows particular interferences of the Deity, and pretends that the Almighty rules entirely by general laws, and that preternatural interpositions are repugnant to his attributes, and betray imperfection in his system of government. On the other hand, christianity declares that when mankind are deeply immersed in wickedness, the Deity has sometimes produced a deviation from the general course of nature in order to reclaim or to punish; and that suffering virtue and uncommon goodness have been often protected or rewarded by special interpositions of his benevolence.
Again, when reasoning in favor of religious liberty, he says, "Reason and free enquiry are the only effectual agents against error. Give a loose to them they will support the true religion, by bringing every false one to their tribunal, to the test of their investigation--They are the natural enemies of error, and of error only. Had not the Roman government permitted free enquiry, christianity could never have been introduced."*--The ideas conveyed in this quotation are a clear admission of the truth of christianity. The best supports, says he, of true religion, are reason and free enquiry. Free enquiry was permitted at the introduction of christianity; it prevailed, and by the force of reason, routed the superstitions of the times, and demolished the altars and temples of Heathenism. Give reason and free enquiry fair play, and they will establish the true religion--They had fair play and christianity predominated. This is a faithful abridgement of his observations, and if it contain not the sentiments of a believer, then faith is a word without meaning, and like sounding brass and the tinkling cymbal. And here let us, with humble gratitude, acknowledge the gracious providence
* Jefferson's Notes on Virginia, p. 232.
and sublime wisdom of the Deity in opening the road for christianity. One of the pre-disposing causes of its introduction was the toleration allowed by the Roman government. The Deity thus disposed its enemies of favor its establishment, and prepared the way for its final triumph by such a series and co-operation of secondary causes, that it has withstood the arms as well as the arts of its foes, and, fortified by the hand of truth, it still stands a monument of mercy and happiness to mankind.
I have already narrated the evils which the people of Virginia laboured under respecting religious tyranny, but I have not mentioned that Mr. Jefferson brought forward a remedy. In the year 1786, a bill for establishing religious freedom in that state was drafted by him, and laid before the legislature, who passed it into a law. The preamble states the reasons for the act, and is a master-piece of elegant and perspicuous language, and cogent and impressive reasoning. It says, "Well aware that Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burdens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions or either as was in his Almighty power to do; that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world, and through all time," &c.* Here is an express declaration of the truth of christianity, of the reality of inspiration, and of the divinity and God-head of Christ,
* Appendix to Jefferson's Notes on Virginia, No. 3.
made by him in his public character as a legislator, and in the presence of God and man. It in fact comprehends the substance of the religious creed proposed for his subscription by the author of Serious Considerations And here let me remark a most striking and impressive circumstance: In putting all religions upon the same footing in law, one would have thought that it would have best comported with the impartiality of the act to have done it upon the ground of natural right, moral fitness, and sound policy. If Mr. Jefferson had been a Deist, he would most certainly have proceeded in this way only, but being a christian, he reasons upon the ground of christianity; he appeals to it as the most venerable and conclusive authority, and reprobates persecution, as "a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either as was in his Almighty power to do."
The all-seeing eye of God can alone penetrate into the secret thoughts of men. Professions may be deceitful, and actions may be hypocritical. I have vindicated Mr. Jefferson from the same sources through which he has been attacked, and I feel persuaded that he is a believer. The unaffected warmth of his expressions in favor of religion indicates sincerity, and the whole current of his life strongly corroborates the impression. Exemplary in morals, and performing all the relative and social duties with singular felicity in this licentious age, he is entitled at least to a favorable hearing. Beloved by his family and friends--esteemed by his country--exalted in the ranks of science, and peculiarly distinguished for the liberality of his mind and the benignity of his heart, I feel happy to hail him a christian. And let me add as a fact which cannot be controverted, that he has for a long time supported out of his own private revenues, a worthy minister of the christian church--an instance of liberality not to
be met with in any of his rancorous enemies, whose love of religion seems principally to consist in their unremitted endeavors to degrade it into a hand-maid of faction.
Addressed to the Author of "SERIOUS CONSIDERATIONS."
Omnes aluid agenter, aluid simulantes, perfidi, improbi, malitiosi sunt.
IN the course of my strictures I have been compelled to use strong language. It was impossible, sir, to view your pitiful attempt to delude the public mind under the mask of religion, without feeling the keenest emotions of contempt; and it was still more impossible to behold a minister of the Most High God descending from his exalted station, and with polluted hands, offering up sacrifices to the infernal furies of faction, without feeling that contempt ripen into indignation, and without uttering that indignation in the warmest language of the passions. I shall now, sir, enter more fully into the subject, and I entreat you to follow me with patient attention. If it cannot reform your hypocrisy, it may admonish your prudence; and if it should fail in purifying your heart, it may at least clothe you with the decent exteriors of virtue.
It requires but little acquaintance with mankind, to know that it is one of the hackneyed refinements of calumny to preface it with praise--to enumerate certain good qualities, and to regret that they should be accompanied by certain imperfections and defects. This gives an air of candor to the proceeding, and prepares the mind to receive more impressively what is to follow. In your assumed character of a religious man, it was
incumbent on you to adopt this line of conduct. If you had in the first instance betrayed the gall of bitterness, the suspicions and jealousies of your readers would have been excited at the commencement of your progress, and have accompanied you in every stage of your career. This you endeavor to avoid, by declaring, that "it is with pain you oppose Mr. Jefferson--that you admire his talents, and feel grateful for the services he has been instrumental in rendering to his country--that you have no personal resentment against him, and that you honor him, as holding a high office in government."*
But, alas! these vernal blossoms of candor and liberality are quickly blasted. The cloven foot soon makes its appearance. You represent him as an avowed deist; you declare that there is ground at least to fix a suspicion of Atheism upon him, and in the plenitude of your charity and wisdom, you denounce his exaltation to the presidency as rebellion against God, and as the harbinger of an endless train of calamities to the religion, morals, and best interests of the country. But why, sir, all this anxiety and concern? Why all these heavy charges? These terrific forebodings? Do they arise from a sincere desire to promote the cause of religion, or are they intended to answer the ends of a party?
You know, sir, that the people of the United States are divided into two great parties; that the most numerous is decidedly in favor of Mr. Jefferson for President; that the real candidate of the other is Mr. Pinckney, and the nominal one Mr. Adams; that the minority despair of carrying their point unless they create a division among the friends of Mr. Jefferson; that it is one of their first and leading wishes to secure the election of Mr. Pinckney; that no other candidate besides Mr. Jefferson can be fixed upon on the republican
* Serious Considerations, p. 24.
side with the same chance of success, and without producing a schism; and that the public opinion and public sensibility are now warmly in his favor. The tendency of your pamphlet is, by rendering him odious, to defeat his election, and this is also your avowed design. It therefore embraces a political object; takes the side of a party, and is intended to produce a great political effect. This you will say is a mere incidental circumstance; for, that you employ religious arguments only, and with the sole view of subserving the cause of christianity. If I can prove that this ground is wholly untenable; if I can clearly shew that you have urged political considerations against his election, in open violation of your solemn declaration to the contrary,* then your mask will fall to the ground; your views will be exposed; all your subterfuges destroyed, and your only door of escape from the contempt, will be, in the pity of a generous community.
"Some (you say) may suppose that by the election of Mr. Jefferson we will please the French nation. Were this true, still it would be a question, whether it is prudent to do this without necessity, at the risk of displeasing another nation."**
Here you infinuate strongly that Mr. Jefferson is supported by a French party, and you menace us with the displeasure of Britain, if we presume to elect him. True it is, that you afterwards assume a lofty tone, and tell us your blood mounts when you think a moment of either British or French giving your country a President: that you despise their threats and suspect their caresses. This gasconade, sir, cannot deceive us; your real meaning was previously declared, and you only introduce it to throw dust into our eyes.
* My objection to his (Mr. Jefferson's) being promoted to the presidency, is founded singly on his disbelief of the Holy Scriptures. Serious Considerations, p. 4.
** Page 22.
Again you endeavor to represent the great political contest in the United States as a mere struggle for the loaves and fishes. You say, "the outs murmur against the ins; all the expectants of office cannot be gratified. Party is the madness of many for the gain of a few. The gamester always complains that the cards are badly shuffled until he gets a good hand."* This attempt, sir, to discredit patriotism, is not novel: it is the language of all tyrants and sycophants. You think if you can make the people believe that there is no essential difference in the political principles of parties, and that it is a mere struggle for power and emolument, they will become indifferent and careless, and be more apt to swallow your calumnies. But, sir, they know better; they feel the effects of the baneful politics of your party, in their consumptions and in their taxes. They see them in the misapplication and waste of the public treasures, in standing armies, navies, alien and sedition acts, and an infamously partial administration of criminal justice; and they recognize them in the unconstitutional extension of the executive powers; in the lofty star-chamber doctrines of legislative privilege, and in the design, no longer concealed, of destroying our free constitutions of government, and resorting to hereditary establishments. Tell us not in one breath that you are not an advocate for Mr. Pinckney and Mr. Adams, and in the next, that you believe them irreproachable.** This hocus pocus will not answer. The bait is too apparent; the artifice too obvious; the fraud too palpable. You think, sir, even if you have failed in discrediting our politics, that you have atchieved a deed of mighty note, in creating a clashing between our political and religious attachments. You
* Serious Considerations, p. 31. This allusion is rather light when writing on such a subject. I dare say the parson has played in his time, aye, and shuffled too.
** Vide page 3. Serious Considerations.
slatter yourself that it will operate like the mixture of an acid and alkali, and produce neutrality; and you most artfully tell us, forsooth, that rather than be instrumental in the election of Mr. Jefferson, it will be more acceptable to God, and beneficial to the interests of the country, to throw away our votes.*
This miserable attempt upon our understandings excites pity rather than indignation. If you can prevail upon us to throw away only a few votes, you think the election of Mr. Pinckney secure, and to accomplish this pious object you freely make use of the name of God. The doctrine, that all things are lawful for the saints, and the maxim of the Jesuits, that the end will justify the means, are the grounds upon which you proceed. To set yourself up as the herald of the will of the Almighty, and "to snatch from his hand the balance and the rod," will perhaps serve the cause of your party, and is therefore in your opinion, not only your apology but your incumbent duty.Conscious that your charges against Mr. Jefferson cannot bear the light of enquiry and the test of argument, you resort to suspicion as your dernier stronghold. If evidence will not convict, let us only suspect him to be an insidel, and then we ought not to promote his election, "conscience is not safe while there is a doubt or suspicion."** Destroyed he must be at all events, and if we cannot conquer him in fair battle, let us take him off by poison or assassination. If argument will not prevail, if evidence should fall short, why, then we must resort to the vagaries of the imagination, and conscience will decide against him, for it prefers the company of suspicion and fancy to the society of reason and evidence. I will venture, sir, to say that this high court of suspicion in which you propose to try Mr. Jefferson, is a tribunal unknown to christianity, to common sense,
* Serious Considerations, p. 30.
** Page 30.
or common justice. Its model can only be found in the bloody tribunals of the inquisition, or in the infernal judicatory of Rhadamanthus, as described by the poet.
Gnossius hoc Rhadamanthus habit durissima regna,
Castigatque, auditque dolos, subigitque fateri.
I have now, sir, done with you, I hope for ever--Nothing could have induced me to strip the vizor from your brow, and to expose you in your naked deformity to the public, but an imperious sense of duty and a sincere attachment to my country. Let me intreat you, before we take a final adieu, to consider well the real injury you have done to religion. As poison in certain cases may have a favorable operation in medicine, so, sir, your conduct, detrimental as it is, may not be without its use--it may serve as a beacon to alarm the wavering, and a shade to heighten the lustre of the virtuous. When we turn from you and elevate our view, the barren waste becomes fertile, and the gloomy prospect brightens into sunshine. What a source of heartfelt joy does it afford to behold such characters as a Provost and a Rodgers, a Livingston and a M'Knight, a Beach and a Kunzie, a Moore and a Miller, attending to the high behests of their sacred callings with exemplary purity and fidelity; rendering unto Casar the things which are Casar's, and unto God the things which are God's, and maintaining the rights of private opinion, without violating the great duties which they owe to religion. They live enthroned in the affections, and they will die embalmed in the hearts of their countrymen.*--While busy factious and ambitious
* Although I speak of these divines from a personal acquaintance, yet as I can never be known to them as the writer of Grotius, I will not be suspected of any impure motive, when I say, that they combine more genuine piety, moral worth, intellectual excellence, literary acquisition, and general respectability, than the whole body of political clergyman who have enflamed instead of allaying the deadly animositics which prevail in the community: I know that some of them differ from me in opinion, but I do not respect them the less on that account--Their errors, if I may call them so, are respectable. I shall not wound their feelings by contrasting them with an eastern clergyman who has sounded the political trumpet in the pulpit, in order to excite public curiosity, and thereby reap a more extensive profit from the sale of his sermons--Nor shall I, out of pity, mention the names of some of the divines in this city, who have endeavored to pervert the religious confidence of their flocks into a political ascendancy; and whose audacious intermeddling in our political controversies betrays more of the hardened depravity of age, than of the impetuous spirit of juvenile indiscretion.
priests, who degrade themselves into the* Sacheverells of party, must expect and experience the debasement of contempt--the severity of indignation--the keenest reproaches of conscience, and the bitterest pangs of remorse.GROTIUS.
* When the tories, in the reign of Queen Ann, wished to eject the whigs from the administration, they employed an inglorious instrument of the name of Sacheverell to preach up that the church was in danger. He inflamed the ignorant and deluded populace to an astonishing degree, and was followed by them every where in immense crouds, crying out High church and Sacheverell forever! His famous sermon, for which he was impeached, is inserted in the collection of state trials, and is a real curiosity. It has served as a model for, and contains the substance of all alarum fermons since delivered. I have carefully compared it with the printed discourses of Dwight, Morse, and other clerical alarmists in this country, and find such a striking resemblance, that I cannot but suspect them of plagiarism. In his dedication to the Lord Mavor of London, he boldly asserts the right of the clergy to preach politics from the pulpit; he says, "We are told by these men who would fain shut both our eyes and our mouths, in order the more effectually to undermine and destroy us, that the pulpit is not a place for politics: and that 'tis the business of a clergyman to preach peace, and not sound a trumpet in Sion, so expressly contrary to the command of God to cry aloud and spare not." He took for his text, "In perils, among false brethren," and every one who did not implicitly embrace the doctrines of the high church, was, according to him, a false brother, if not an Atheist. There is a passage in this sermon so analagous to the calumnies uttered against Mr. Jefferson, upon account of some philosophical opinions, which are not more repugnant to the scriptures than the Copernican system, that I shall now quote it, to shew how the same tricks are attempted, at different times, to be played off upon the public.--"Whosoever presumes to recede the least title from the express word of God, or to explain the great CREDENDA of our faith in new fangl'd terms of modern philosophy, must publish a new gospel, ungod his Saviour, and destroy his revelation; and, by unsettling the universal receiv'd doctrine of the church, give up christianity into scepticism and atheism, and to speak the least of his character is false both to his God and his religion," &c. The express word of God and the great credenda of our faith, were, with Sacheverell, the doctrines of the high church exclusively. It may serve as an useful lesson to his imitators, to learn that Dean Swift, who was afterwards one of the chief jugglers behind the curtain, represents him in his confidential letters in the most contemptuous point of view. His popularity was owing to the ignorance and bigotry of his bearers. It is to be hoped that his followers here will always find that they address themselves to a liberal and enlightened people; and that at all events they will act agreeably to the excellent sentiment of the Reverend Dr. Linn, who, in a preface to a sermon preached 26th November, 1795, says. "Sufficiently aware that a minister of the gospel ought not to interfere in the politics of any party, he trusts that he has advanced nothing which can be, reasonably, so construed."
The name of Dr. Linn naturally brings to mind another sermon of his entitled "The blessings of America," pronounced on the 4th of July, 1791. In it he observes; "Making due allowance for our age and numbers, we have produced as many eminent men as fall to our share." In a note be fortifies the remark by introducing the authority of Mr. Jefferson in the following manner:--"See this matter fairly and ingeniously stated by Mr. Jefferson in his notes on Virginia. It is, perhaps, not strange that foreigners should inconsiderately adopt prejudices against us; but if there be any who reside in this country, enjoy all the blessings of it, and who, notwithstanding, under value what gives them bread and importance, one would hardly know, whether to pity their folly, or to contemn their insolence." If Dr. Linn, eagle-eyed as be is to espy infidelity, had found any irreligious sentiments in this work, certainly he never would have referred to it with approbation nor mentioned the author with respect, particularly in a note to a sermon.I would not wish to be understood, by any thing I have said, as denying respectable talents to Dr. Dwight--They have, however, been as much over-rated as perverted. I trust I produce a sufficient sample of his christian charity, candor and liberality, when I say that he declared sometime ago in this city, that "no honest man could be opposed to the administration of the general government." Of Morse it may be truly said that he is a mere vox et praterea nihil.
The following was intended as a note to refer to the word HERESY in the 7th page.
I am sensible that in order to place the subject in the strongest light, I have given too great a latitude to the meaning of heresy. In strictness it is applicable to fundamental (and some think wilful) errors only.The succeeding note was also designed as a comment on that part of the quotation from "the notes on Virginia" contained in the 18th page, as follows, viz. "Constraint may make him (i. e. the atheist or polytheist) worse by making him a hypocrite but it will never make him a truer man. It may fix him obstinately in his errors but will not cure them." The conclusion is irresistible, that Mr. Jefferson is of opinion that atheism &c. are not only erroneous, but positively bad or wicked. How candid then is the author of "Serious Consideration to assert--But it is a light thing with Mr. Jefferson to say there is no God!"
Title Page--for aluid read aliud.
Page 3, Line 8th--for prospects read projects.
7 18th--between or and misconception infert a--Line 37th fame page, between destroy and the insert all.
11 13th--for deviations read deviation.
15 7th--for circumstances read circumstance.
18 34th--for the read this.
20 1st--for supposed read supposes.
do. 20th--dele the.
25 4th--dele a.
do. 25th--for comprising read compressing.
26 17th--for for read with.
31 32 27th 15th for were read are
39 7th--for aluid read aliud--and for agenter read agentes.
Source of Information:
Grotius [pseud.][Clinton, De Witt]. A Vindication of Thomas Jefferson; A Pamphlet Entitled, "Serious Considerations," &c. By Grotius. New York, Printed by David Denniston, 1800. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/HistRC/ Document Number: BT2701590001
CHRISTIANS & PATRIOTS,
Prefident of the United States
IN ANSWER TO A PAMPHLET, ENTITLED,
"Serious Confiderations," &c.
PRINTED BY DAVID DENNISTON.
D E D I C A T 1 O N
To the Reverend Dr. Linn
"Thou shalt not bear false-witness against thy neighbour."
--The ninth commandment.
I am not an admirer of dedications, nor will you, sir, be flatterd by the following. Your present situation, and the nature of the subject upon which I am about to remark, have rendered it proper that the ensuing observations should be particularly inscribed to yourself.
You are not only a divine, but also a party politician. For my own part, I think these two characters absolutely incompatible. From the minister of religion, we have a right expect exemplary purity and sincerity. In the statesman, we constantly discover cunning, intrigue and duplicity: It remains for you to reconcile these opposite characters to each other.
You are a partizan of Mr. Pinckney; in the presence of your maker, I would tell you so. I allow you the rights of opinion as a man, but I cannot permit you, with impunity, to abuse the influence you possess with your congregation.
I am an advocate for religion, in its purity and truth; if I am an unworthy, yet I am, nevertheless, a sincere son of the church: I cannot tamely see that church and its heavenly doctrines prophaned to party purposes; my bosom burns with indignation at the attempts to render christianity the instrument of tyrants.
A pamphlet has lately made its appearance, entitled, "Serious Considerations." I hesitate not, in the language of lawyers, to call it false, scandalous and malicious; it has the clerical mark upon it: Yet, I say not that you are the author, but I firmly declare that, by adopting its sentiments and declarations, you have rendered it your own.
You are the author of a handbill, which you intended for a prayer; it recommends the pamphlet to which I have alluded: This handbill, or this prayer you gave to Mr. Van Hook, to be circulated among the consistory. There is a want of openness, in such procedure, unworthy of the upright mind; yet it evinces a sense of shame which I wish you to retain. There was a Judas Iscariot among the apostles; and history has furnished examples of priests who have betrayed their country; yet still there have been many famous pastors, who have maintained the dignity of the church, with zeal and fidelity. Alas! it has been left for you to demonstrate, that every minister is not, necessarily, a patriot and a gentleman.
For the present, sir, adieu! Weak men have believed that this country contains a Caesar. Thanks to heaven they are deceived. I will not insult the ashes of the noble Julius, by comparing him with the ringleader of a modern party: Be assured, that Cxsar is no more; his mighty spirit sleepeth in the dust. Hope not for the messiah of royalty. The diadem, and mitre, and tiara, cannot be restored, even by the worst man in America.
The following ideas cannot be new to you, at least they ought to be familiar; pardon me if I inform you, that many of your friends have regretted that those ideas have ceased to influence your conduct. From your interest, then, from your prudence, if not from your candor, let me expect an attentive perusal of my sentiments.
TO M Y R E A D E R S
In the ensuing observations, I shall consider your duties as christians and as patriots. I shall make it my task to establish the following propositions.
1st. That it is your duty, as christians, to maintain the purity and independence of the church, to keep religion separate from politics, to prevent an union between the church and the state, and to preserve your clergy from temptation, corruption and reproach.
2d. That as christians and patriots, it is equally your duty to defend the liberty and constitution of your country.
3d. Although I am a sincere and decided opponent of infidelity, yet as it respects a president of the United States, an enmity to the constitution is the most dangerous evil; inasmuch as christianity is secure by the force of its own evidence, and coming from God, cannot be destroyed by human power; but, on the contrary, the constitution, is vulnerable to the attacks of an ambitious and unprincipled executive.
4th. That Mr. Jefferson is in reality a republican, sincerely attached to the constitution of his country, amiable and irreproachable in his conduct as a man, and that we have every reason to believe him, in sincerity, a christian.
5th. That the charge of deism, contained in such pamphlet, is false, scandalous and malicious-that there is not a single passage in the Notes on Virginia, or any of Mr. Jefferson's writings, repugnant to christianity; but on the contrary, in every respect, favourable to it -and further, that there is every reason to believe the story of Mazzei a base and ridiculous falsehood.
6th. That Mr. Adams is not a republican, agreeably to the true intent and meaning of the constitution of the United States.
7th. That a party has long existed, and still exists, hostile to the constitution, and with reason, suspected of favouring the interests of a foreign power-that Mr. Pinckney is the candidate of that party, and therefore cannot be a republican.
And lastly-that the interest of the people; the preservation of public liberty, and the safety of our present constitution, irresistibly demand that Mr. Jefferson should be elected president of the United States.
Christianity sprung from heaven. Hypocrisy is the offspring of hell. The former is productive of peace, & virtue, and life eternal; but the latter is an abomination in the sight of Almighty God, and has filled the world with crimes and blood, and misery, and desolation.
I address you upon the most solemn and momentous subjects which can interest the mind-religion and liberty. I consider you in the capacity of believers and patriots, as equally anxious to maintain every inestimable right which appertains to christians & to men. You have a religion which deserves your pious solicitude; but need I to remind you that you likewise have a country! Are you to be told that your duty, as christians, is irreconcilable with the sacred obligations which bind you to the state? Are you at this day to be solemnly and seriously called upon to sacrifice your freedom upon the altars of your GOD? No, my countrymen, your religion is inestimable and worthy of your care. Your civil constitution is also invaluable. It is the palladium of all your social blessings, & the peculiar gift of providence. Your obligations to your children, to your country, and to heaven, command you to defend that constitution. With a voice too powerful to be resisted, they conjure you to cling to, and fasten upon it, "with the last strong hold which grapples into life."
I wish to impress your minds with a solemnity equal to the magnitude of the subject-to inspire you with a resolution to defend both your liberty and your faith. I intreat you to reflect, with equal seriousness, upon the duties which you owe to religion, and those which you owe to your country. In the course of these pages, I shall consider each of these sources of obligation. I shall equally investigate the duties which, as christians, you owe to religion, and those which, as citizens, are to be performed to the state.
First then, what are your principal duties, as christians, with respect to religion?
It is a primary duty to preserve that religion, pure, holy & unadulterated, unmixed with temporal pride and worldly ambition. The great author of christianity most expressly assured his ministers, that his kingdom is not of this world, and that it was impossible for them, at the same time, to serve God and Mammon: his divine wisdom foresaw that if they were led astray by the enticing riches and alluring objects of this world, they would prove but faithless pastors to his people. With the example of the pagan priests before his eyes, he dreaded the pollution of his celestial system, from the connection which he too evidently foresaw, would take place between his own ministers and the secular establishments; such is the obvious import of many of the most impressive precepts of the Saviour. The event has proved that his apprehensions have been too fatally verified.
It was not by precept alone; it was likewise by his illustrious example, that the founder of our religion enforced that salutary lesson. Carefully abstaining from all active agency in political affairs, and exclusively confining himself to the duties of his station, as priest of the most high God, he rendered unto Cxsar the things which are Cxsar's, and unto God, the things which are God's. Meek and unassuming in his deportment, he intended by his life, to afford a standing example of conduct to be pursued by christian divines -disavowing all concerns with the affairs of state, he evidently considered an active agency in politics to be inconsistent with that purity and sanctity of character, which should appertain to ministers of the gospel.
It is essential to the interests of religion, that its teachers should be set apart, to the performance of their sacred duties. I have said it, and I earnestly repeat it; "they cannot serve God and Mammon." The charge of their flocks requires all their pastoral care; their attention should always be directed heavenward; if they mingle too deeply in the affairs of this world, they are apt to become unmindful of the prospects of the next. If they look to temporal rewards, and to the riches of this globe, their minds become poisoned and perverted, and they are immediately reduced to the level of common men. We are in the habit of connecting the character of religion with that of the individuals who profess to be its teachers; however pure or excellent his doctrines, a clergyman, without practical piety, is a stumbling block to the people.
I have always attached the highest respectability to the character of a christian divine. I see and I feel that there is not an order of men in the community capable of rendering such signal services, or of in flicting such extensive injuries. If it is the duty of the clergy to watch over the conduct of their congregations, it is equally incumbent upon congregations, to be mindful of the conduct of their pastors-they should confine their ministers to the duties of their sacred calling, and above all things, beware how they permit them to acquire a political ascendancy.(1)
Clergymen are but men, in common with ourselves; they partake of every human infirmity and every human passion. If ambition is suffered to insinuate itself into the pulpit, it is more dangerous in proportion, as it has greater powers and opportunities of mischief. Let me ask any pious divine, if he is not sensible of possessing an undue ascendency over the minds of his hearers, if he should be so abandoned as to exercise it?
Let me not be told, that religion is in danger, and that we should therefore increase the powers and influence of the clergy. I say, and am ready to maintain, that religion is in greater danger, by permitting them to intermeddle with political concerns, than by confining them, with the utmost rigour, to the duties of their profession; as men and as citizens, they have an equal right to express their opinions and give their suffrages; but they should never be permitted to carry their politics into the sacred desk, and more especially, they should not be suffered to make religion an engine of politics.
I have ever been convinced, that a political divine is a dangerous character(2) The more I read, and the more I reflect, the more thoroughly am I convinced of the truth of that position. There never will be wanting men, who by caresses and flattery & inflaming their passions, will make them the instruments of every crime, and the shameless tools of the greatest ambition; by this means religion becomes a solemn farce, and an impious mockery of God-and liberty, and government, & every thing valuable upon earth prostituted under the pretended mask of piety.
I am writing to sincere professors, and not to those who make religion a cloak for base and selfish purposes. Men of the latter description, are not to be moved by expostulation or argument; such men will court the "rocking of the battlements" if they could gain by the event; they would sit as unmoved spectators, and with steady eyes behold the destruction of law, and order, and liberty, and of the peace and constitution of their country, or rather they would assist in lighting the firebrand of death and desolation; but such men are not christians, they deserve not that honourable appellation: wherever they exist they are capable of every crime, no reasoning of mine can divert them from their purposes.
If you are real christians, anxious for the honor and purity and interest of the christian church, you will feel a steady determination, to preserve it free from corruption. Unless you maintain the pure and primitive spirit of christianity, and prevent the cunning and intrigue of statesmen from mingling with its institutions; you will become exposed to a renewal of the same dreadful and enormous scenes which have not only disgraced the annals of the church, but destroyed the peace, and sacrificed the lives of millions. It is by such scenes and by such dreadful crimes, that christianity has suffered; by such fatal and destructive enormities which, since the days of Constantine, have been perpetrated without intermission, that the church has become debased and polluted; in language similar to that of Joshua, we have reason to exclaim there is an accursed thing within the tabernacle. The blood of many an innocent Abel has stained the ephod, the vestments and the altar. Religion has suffered more from the restless ambition and impiety of the church of Rome, than from all the writings of a Voltaire, a Tindal, a Volney, or even the wretched blasphemies of Paine.(3)
We have years and volumes-we have a world of experience before us, in the sufferings and the miseries of ages-we read a lesson too impressive to be resisted: both as christians and as men, we are powerfully conjured to reject all attempts to promote an union between the church and the state-the very idea of such a union is insupportable. Neither directly or indirectly should we suffer it to be effected.
Religion and government are equally necessary, but their interests should be kept separate and distinct. No legitimate connection can ever subsist between them. Upon no plan, no system, can they become united, without endangering the purity and usefulness of both -the church will corrupt the state, and the state pollute the church. Christianity becomes no longer the religion of God-it becomes the religion of temporal craft and expediency and policy. Instead of being the sacred guide to lead mankind to heaven, it becomes the prostituted instrument of private cupidity and personal ambition. I am not to be told there is no longer danger in such an alliance; the danger has always existed, and as long as men retain their passions and vices, will exist in all its force. The church of Rome arose from the smallest beginnings. She commenced her career with professions of mildness, clemency and moderation, displaying at first the innocence and the harmlessness of the dove: she afterwards discovered the horrid fangs of the serpent, and exercised the unrelenting barbarity of a crocodile. The successors of St. Peter, no longer spiritual bishops, became a race of tyrants, more ferocious than Nero, a Domitian, and more pampered than Eliogabalus himself. They extended the arms of their authority into every European kingdom, and into every christian church. I need not revive the memory of the inquisition, or usurp the province of the historian, in painting the sufferings of the wretched Hugonots. It is for a moment only that I point to the fires of Smithfield, and to the massacre of St. Bartholomews-did this proceed from religion-from the mild and benevolent spirit of christianity? God of heaven, forbid the rash surmise! rescue thy ministers and thy altars from the odius imputation, and preserve thy church from the pollution and abomination which accompanies a connection with the state.
With the sincerity of a christian, I feel for the honour of religion. I feel for the pious character of christian divines.(4) I dread lest that character should be tarnished and debased, and deprived of its usefulness, by the unworthy conduct of some of its professors; the present moment is dangerous. Attempts have been made to unite the interests of religion, with the crimes and abuses, and corruptions of governments. There is reason to apprehend the consequences.
Men of weak minds, men of limited researches are apt to be misguided, they are prone to confound the abuses of the most excellent establishment with the establishment itself. The sincere friend of christianity, should be vigilent and guarded; he should be zealous in vindicating his religion, from the charge of participation in the intrigues and oppression of statesmen; the christian divine should be cautioned to pursue a prudent and temperate conduct, to keep aloof from the coalition of parties, and maintain a steady seat in the sanctuary unmoved and unruffled by the whirlwind and the tempest.
Whatever interested men may tell you, religion is not in danger. It is founded on a rock which has often been assailed, but cannot be shaken. It is a melancholy truth, that christianity has suffered more from the blind zeal and wicked perfidy of pretended friends, than from the open attack of its most inveterate foes. Why should religion have enemies? Let me ask what interest, or what motive mankind can have in opposing a system founded on truth and benevolence? It is no answer to say that such opposition springs entirely from the pride of philosophy, or from the corruption and perversity of our nature!
Experience suggests a more satisfactory but a more fatal reason; the crimes and abuses which have been committed in its name, cruelty and persecution, and intolerance have raised up an host of enemies, and accounts for the zeal, the bitterness and the vehemence of their opposition. It is the departure from the original purity of the system; the alliance with courts; the impurities and prophanity of spurious, amphibious, hermorphredite priests, the innumerable atrocities and persecutions, which have been perpetrated in the name of the most high, that has produced or encouraged the school of infidelity, and occasioned many an honest mind to believe that the establishment of christianity, is incompatible with civil freedom. Let me conjure you, then, to purify the altar, to keep things sacred from intermingling with things prophane, to maintain religion separate and apart from the powers of this world; and then, to use an expression similar to that of the infidel Rousseau, you will hasten the xra when all mankind shall bow at the feet of Jesus.
If I write with warmth, it is because I am interested in the subject, and feel its importance. I am not an unconcerned spectator of the events which distract and agitate the earth; equally a friend to religion and to civil freedom, I cannot endure the attempts which are making to oppose them in hostile array to each other; and to connect the existence of christianity with the safety of corrupt and oppressive establishments of government. I think, that the preservation of religion is separate and independent from all human establishments; its existence depends upon the energy & validity of its own evidence, its testimony both external & inherent speaks powerfully, & pleads irresistibly to the understanding & the heart. Our hopes, & fears, & interests, and reflections, are a sufficient pledge for the continuance of our faith; the moment you place the subject upon a different footing, you lessen its importance and prostitute its dignity, you open a door for every species of corruption, you expose your pastors to temptations incompatible with the integrity and purity of their character, you render religion an engine in the hands of any government for the time being; no matter what, you interpose an insurmountable gulph between piety and patriotism, and reduce the conscientious patriot to the dilemma of chusing between his country and his faith.
It is because I am the friend, and not the enemy of christianity, that I am the advocate of liberality and toleration. I have examined the evidences on both sides of the question, and know that the system is not in danger; it comes from heaven and cannot be shaken, it is proof against all the artillery of infidels, but alas! it is not proof against the mistaken zeal, and persecution, and prejudices of its friends. There was a time when discordant sectaries & churches were hurling their anathemas against each other with invincible jealousy and indignation, but now they are happily united against a common enemy; but still, I see, and deplore the same impolitic spirit, which committed the hapless heretic to the faggot, and plunged the sword of intolerance into the bosom of its unoffending victim. I have said it, and I ever will maintain, that this spirit never has been, and never will be of service to christianity; persecution may generate and multiply hypocrites, but will never produce a single convert; it steels, and irritates, and hardens the heart. It is the power of repulsion which disorganizes and splits asunder, it has not a single charm or attraction.
Mistake me not my readers, these observations are not levelled against any particular individual, or any particular church. Christians are all brethren, fellow labourers in one vineyard, and it is sincerely trusted joint inheriters of one glorious inheritance. I am pleading a great cause, that of civil and religious liberty; my earnestness proceeds not from passion, but from the sincerity of conviction; there may be possibly a mixture of enthusiasm in the manner, but upon such a subject, the want of enthusiasm would be coldness. I charge no one church with intolerance, but I say, that intolerance will creep into every church that becomes vested with temporal power; and, I say further, that almost every clergyman will become intolerant, who is either directly or indirectly connected with the state. I know not how it is, but there is something in the nature of zeal which poisons the mind, and produces the most bitter weeds, unless it is sown in a soil of uncommon urbanity; we need not open the volumes of ecclesiastical history, to prove this position, our own experience and observation of living men, and manners are abundantly sufficient; only observe the conduct of the great Athanasius, how greatly did his inflammatory disposition serve to foment the flares of animosity, which had been kindled in the church; look at the still greater Calvin, even this illustrious reformer, in the exuberance of his zeal, was contented with nothing less than the painful death of the miserable Servetus. If understandings so enlightened, so vast, I will add so sublime, are susceptible of intolerance and persecution, what shall we say of the common race of modern clergymen?
I respect the church of England, as it exists in America, it is my duty to respect it; I have no objections to the harmless title of bishop, disunited from exclusive privileges and baneful powers. But, how has that church persecuted every other denomination, that refused to conform with her religious rites and ceremonies. In America she is mild, and peaceable, and benevolent, because she is not a component part of the state, because she is unarmed with the destructive weapons of secular power. In England she had totally disfranchised the whole body of dissenters; before the revolution she pursued them to this, their last best refuge; armed with equal authority the demon of spiritual hierarchy, like a gigantic Colossus would have strode across the atlantic; but let such injuries for ever be buried in oblivion, or the recollection of them only revived for instructive and prudential purposes.
Would to God, that my feeble pen could inspire christians with that spirit of forbearance and moderation, which forms so amiable and essential a part of their system. Imbued with that clemency, and moderation, and charity, and love of man, which so eminently characterises the sacred pages of the gospel, religion would be seated upon an adamantine rock, and all mankind irresistibly attracted by her simplicity, her sincerity and her truth. Such is christianity when cloathed in the robes of righteousness, such her lovely, and pure, and dignified character, when arrayed with the smiles, and charms, and glory, and freshness of the morning; she comes blooming from the bosom of her heavenly author. But I cannot disguise my indignation, when I see her altars polluted and disgraced, when I see the sacred religion of truth and heaven, prostituted into a cloak to cover every indecency, every enormity & every crime; when I see men whose worldly ambition should have prevented their approaching even the vestibule of the temple, assuming the character, and officiating in the functions of priests of the most high, descend into the forum or comitia, and engage as political engines to influence the elections of the people; are such men serving the God of heaven, a sacrificing to the carnal and impious mammon? are they promoting the holy cause of religion, or pampering their own ambitious lusts? If I had the spear of Ithuriel, I would transfix them in their hypocrisy, and expose them as spectacles of deformity and guilt.
Believe me, this is not to promote the interests of christianity, nor to defend it against the dangers to which it may be exposed. I have asserted, and I repeat with energy, that the true source of apprehension, is from the corruptions which proceed from an intermingling connection with the states and not from the reasoning, the sophistry, or the ridicule of infidels. I cannot, I will not endure the idea that religion is to be defended by any weapon but argument alone. It is an insult to truth to deny the energy of its powers, or to insinuate a doubt that it is not invincible. This is the work of scepticism-it is the most dangerous species of infidelity. When I hear a man distrust the force of the evidences of christianity, I doubt the sincerity of his profession-I feel persuaded that he is not a christian from conviction. I have heard and examined the argument of infidels. I pity their delusion, but I will not compliment them with the persuasion that they are capable of overthrowing the citadel of the Catholic faith. In my turn, I have perused with no little attention, the writings of their principal champions-The delicate irony of Gibbon-the sarcastic asperity of Voltaire-the flowing eloquence of Rosseau-the arguments and specious subtilty of Hume, and Hobbes, and Tindal-the contemptible philosophy of Volney. Gracious heaven! is it possible that a learned christian can apprehend danger from the attacks of such feeble artillery? Will he dread the assertions of philosophers who have the ignorance and the impudence to declare "that christianity consists in the allegorical worship of the sun, under the cabalistical names of Chrisen, or Yesus, or Jesus"? Such a man will expose a want of magnanimity, and exhibit distrust more prejudicial to the truth and dignity of his cause, than all the feeble efforts of its enemies. An antidote may be found in thousands of invaluable volumes. Even Dr. Linn has asked, "whether that christianity which has withstood the roaring of the lion, shall now be afraid of the brayings of the ass." I could mention only five writers who have refuted every argument which has ever been, or ever will or can be offered against christianity; and, perhaps, I need not inform the reader of research, that I refer to Grotius, Paley and Hartley, to West on the Resurrection, and Littleton on the conversion of St. Paul.
Let me then ask the sincere, the pious christian, whether he thinks his religion stands in need of additional support? and whether he will consent to prop his church, which from its nature, is permanent and eternal, with the transitory things of this world, which pass away like the empty shadow, and vanish like the morning clouds and evening dew? Whether he will corrupt the purity of christianity by a dangerous connection with the affairs of state? Whether he will subject the ministers of his congregation to temptation and reproach, by permitting them ;o intermeddle with political concerns, and to become the directors of his temporal affairs, as well as his spiritual guides? And lastly, whether he will consent to revive that spirit of intolerance and persecution, which has been the reproach of religion, so long disgraced the church, and occasioned such complicated desolation, misery and imposture?
And thou, O minister of the gospel! consecrated guardian of the honour and purity of the church! canst thou, with hands unclean, officiate in the sacred temple; and with mind unholy, approach the altars of thy God? The external appearance of sanctity-the lifeless image of religion, may deceive the world, but thou shalt tremble before the omniscient eye of the Almighty. Let not then the cross of thy Saviour be prostituted to the works of darkness and ambition, and to the ruin of thy country! weak and wretched mortal, the reward of thy iniquity will avail thee not: for in a few fleeting years, thou shalt be numbered with the dead. O, keep the leaven of unrighteousness from mingling with the Eucharist, and the bitter waters of Mara from poisoning the sacred cup!
I feel already that I am trespassing upon your attention; yet before I leave this part of my address, let me conjure you in the name of your country-in the name of liberty & the constitution-in the name of religion, & every principle that is sacred on earth or in heaven-I conjure you to beware how you permit your faith and attachment as christians, from interfering with your duties as citizens. The inevitable consequence of an union of the church with the state, will be the mutual destruction of both. Religion, instead of remaining an active and efficient director of faith and conduct, will be converted into an engine to promote the ruin of the constitution. Ambitious and aspiring men, who wish to subvert the liberties of the people, will represent their political opponents as atheists and infidels, and fasten upon your honest prejudices to render you the instruments of your own undoing. This is not the language of speculation. I see with indignation, that it has already been done. The pulpit and the press are at this moment engaged to effect the base designs of a political party. Is this the way to promote the interests of the church, by connecting it with party views and party operations? to unite its prosperity with the election of Jefferson, or Adams, or Pinckney? To render it obnoxious to those, who, from honest and patriotic views, espouse the part of the former candidate? Will you tell the patriot whose understanding convinces him that the liberty of the people, and the very existence of the constitution, depends upon the election of Mr. Jefferson, that he is placed in a dilemma in which he must either abjure his country or his religion? Yet all this and more, he has been told in a pamphlet, which, I am sorry to say, bears every inherent mark of having been written by a clergyman. It is a disgrace to the author, and a scandal to the church; and unless such practices are prevented for the future, the cause of christianity will suffer more from such mischievous attempts to connect it with politics, than from all the evils which the writer of it pretends to apprehend from the election of Mr. Jefferson.
Hitherto, then, I have only considered you in the character of christians, and endeavoured to discuss some of your principal duties, as it respects the preservation of religion; arguments and examples without number might be multiplied to prove to you the danger which would arise from the connection of the church with the state; those which have been adduced, are sufficient to weigh with candid and unprejudiced minds, and I have already said that readers of another description are above the reach of either argument or example.
Such then, Americans, are some of your principal duties with respect to the church-but as christians, it is equally your duty to guard the state, to watch as well as to pray. I maintain it to be the sacred and imperious duty of every religious man, to preserve the rights, and liberties, and constitution of his country. If your civil privileges are once gone, my countrymen, what shall protect your religious ones? What shall prevent one domineering church from becoming the favourite, & like the rod of Aaron, devouring all the others? Such things have been, and nothing but the wisdom and virtue of the people can prevent them from happening again. I do not believe that Mr. Jefferson is a deist-there is nothing in the wretched pamphlet of , to convince me of that fact. It is a groundless calumny. If it was truth, it could be supported by better evidence. I shall presently bestow a few observations upon that contemptible production; but let us barely, for the sake of argument, imagine a case. Suppose, for a moment, that there are three candidates for the presidency-Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Adams, and Mr. Pinckney-that Mr. Jefferson was in reality a deist, but a decided friend to the republican constitution of his country-that the two others were very pious & sincere christians, but secretly friends to aristocracy or monarchy, & hostile to the spirit of the present constitution, which of the three would be the most dangerous man? Mr. Jefferson, in such case, even if he had the intentions, could not be of the smallest disservice to religion: thanks to heaven, christianity has taken too deep a root to be capable of being shaken by the opinions, or even the enmity of any president. I know of no other method by which religion can be injured by any government in this country, except by its setting one powerful church above the heads of the rest. But this Mr. Jefferson is incapable of doing; for according to such position; he would be equally indifferent to all; in this sense, strange as it may appear, christianity would have much more to apprehend from a bigot than an infidel. But let us imagine for a moment, that an enemy to the constitution should be elected president of the United States. Gracious heaven! I shudder when I contemplate the picture! Our liberties prostituted-our religion at the mercy of one intolerant church-for every tyranny must & will have its establishment. Our civil constitution abandoned, or what is worse, mutilated, and distorted, and deformed into every protean shape; and the fruits of our glorious revolution-of the blood of our fathers, of the miseries of our families and our children-of the burning and ravaging of our towns, and of the desolation of our villages gone-gone forever!! These are serious-these are impressive considerations. Tell me christian! which of these alternatives is the most pregnant with calamity?
I am not a friend to the empty fripperies, and badinage, and extravagancies of modern philosophy, nor am Ian advocate of the excesses and abuses of that revolution which now convulses France, and astonishes the civilized world. I declare to God, that I have no confidence in a nation which can change its government and its religion in a moment, and see the wear and tear of consciences and constitutions with the same apathy and unconcern as if they were suits of cloathes. I love my own government, because I see in it a liberal, rational and practicable form, not springing up by accident, like a mushroom in the night, but growing out of the habits, manners and ancient institutions of the people. I see in it a system of regular political architecture, modelled in the best order, proportioned in perfect symmetry, containing unity of design, and divested of every species of false ornament. It is the workmanship of a master in the art. It is the property of a people who are deserving of its blessings, because they know how to use and appreciate them. Such a people should not, and they will not be trifled with-they reverence their magistrates and pastors -they yield a generous, and noble, and willing obedience to the laws -they are conscious of the masterly beauties of their civil constitution, and determined to preserve them. Such a people uniformly acting from the bias of the judgment and understanding, with a wise, discretionate and sagacious subordination, can readily distinguish between the legitimate exercise, and the unwarrantable abuse of authority. I speak not only of the temporal, but also of the spiritual powers. My observations are equally applicable to statesmen and divines.
I know, and I feel, that there is a powerful conflict between old and new governments, and old and new philosophy, and that religion has been pressed and dragged into the warfare. I wish that the conflict may be confined to Europe, where it has originated. As it regards the collision between governments, I have very little prediliction either for the ancient or the new. To me they appear almost equally abominable. My blood should never be wasted in behalf of the Bourbons or the consuls. I know not how it happens that French and American liberty have been confounded: they have scarcely a common attribute. There is just as much analogy between an hospitable winters fire and the destructive flames and lava of Etna and Vesuvius. The liberty and religion of Washington is not the liberty and religion of Marat and Robespierre, and Anarchalis Cloots, that flaming "orator of the human race." I make these observations, because some admirers of the Corinthian columns and capitals of the British constitution have endeavoured to trace a resemblance between French and American liberty. I abjure and renounce and anathematize all affiliation with the bacchanalian liberty of the great republic. Let it resist the ancient monarchies of Europe, and monster encounter monster, until they mutually perish. I love and admire that sober and rational liberty which exists in America, defined and established in an organized and regular constitution. It is the duty of religion to protect that liberty and that constitution. In the character of Christians, I solemnly call upon you to remember the obligations which bind you to your country.
Thus far I have addressed you in your religious characters, not because I suppose the duties of a christian and a patriot are incompatible with each other, but because the author of the pamphlet to which I allude, affects to consider a political subject exclusively in a theological view. Only attentive to the fancied interests of his church, he seems to have forgotten the existence of truth, of conscience, of country, and of God. To the attainment of his favourite object, and in the presence of heaven, I tell him, that the election of Mr. Pinckney is that object. He is willing to sacrifice every consideration, for the smiles of that great man, or for the mess of pottage from his table, this inglorious Esau is willing to barter his birthright, his freedom, and his country. But I am too proud to dwell upon personal restrictions. Let me in future consider you in the united relation of patriots and friends of religion. I call your serious attention to the situation of your country.
There are three candidates for the presidential chair-Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Adams, and Mr. Pinckney. Originally the two former were usually considered as the only candidates; the last was viewed as a candidate for the office of vice-president, and for that only. But there was always a schism among the federalists upon that subject. The leaders most devoted to British politics intended from the beginning to take advantage of the principal defect in our constitution, which confers the presidency upon the candidate having the greatest number of votes, without designating the office for which they were intended, and by their intrigues to give their favourite the ascendency. Mr. Pinckney must therefore be considered as the third candidate, and as the candidate of the British party.
We are now to consider the character and opinions of each of those candidates; let us execute our task with impartiality, and confer the palm upon him to whom it is justly due.
As a learned and experienced statesmen, Mr. Jefferson rises superior to the level of his rivals; he is the author of the declaration of independence, which in point of energy, as a composition, is equal at least to the Philippics of Demosthenes; as a negociator, his abilities are universally acknowledged. His letters to Genet and Hammond, when secretary of state, are master-pieces, & elegant models of diplomatic correspondence. In those letters he vindicates the rights of his country, with the firmness of a patriot, the acuteness of a profound logician, & the extensive research of a scholar deeply read in the history and in the laws of nations, and possessing an intimate knowledge of the interests of his country; his talents, as a statesman are equal to any emergency; as a proficient in general science, the name of Jefferson would reflect a lustre upon any age or country. Such is the sage of Monticelli.
But, Mr. Jefferson is an invincible patriot, equally attached to the constitution of his country, and to the liberties of the people. In every situation of life, he has evinced the most unshaken fidelity. Mr. Jefferson is an American republican, and a federalist in the true and unadulterated sense of the term. Faithful to the original principles of our revolution, his conduct has been steady, uniform and consistent. Times and circumstances have changed, but he has ever remained, and still remains the same; he has not the versatility of little minds, which like the lightest feather are driven before the gentlest breeze; it is his political virtue and his unshaken attachment to the liberty and happiness of his country, which constitutes the principal glory of his character, and which has deservedly rendered him the favorite of the people.
When the little butterflies of party, have ceased to flutter, and the noisy puppies of the day, are choaked with rage and disappointment, to the honor of Mr. Jefferson, it will be remembered, that in this licentious age, when morality hath almost become an empty sound, the bitter and vigilant malevolence of his enemies, has not dared to cast a stigma upon the purity of his character. Believe me, my countrymen, their only sincere objection is, that he is a republican and a patriot; if he would only forsake his country, and enter into their plans of government, he might be a deist or an adulterer(6) or any thing else, with perfect impunity.
I have seen nothing to convince me that Mr. Jefferson is a deist. On the contrary from information, at least, as respectable as that of the author of the pitiful pamphlet, which I shall presently condescend to notice, my information is that he is a sincere professor of christianity-though not a noisy one. But, I will candidly confess to you, that if I had ever so sincere a conviction of his infidelity; my prejudices, if you will permit me to call them so, are not so strong as to sacrifice my country to their operation; believing as I do, that public liberty and the constitution, will not be safe under the administration of Mr. Adams or Mr. Pinckney; I cannot see that the christianity of either of them will atone for the loss of my political freedom. There may be some merit in sacrificing every thing to the sign or external symbol of the cross; but it is a merit to which I do not aspire. If the other candidates were republicans, and Mr. Jefferson a deist, then the religion of the former would turn the scale of opinion in their favor; but, I never will be duped by the christianity of any man that meditates the ruin of the constitution. I am not prepared to surrender my liberty civil and religious, the future happiness of my children, the prosperity of my country, the welfare of millions of human beings yet unborn, and every possession and enjoyment that is valuable to men, and patriots, and christians. I know, that my GOD requires not such a sacrifice; he that would not permit Abraham to give his son Isaac as a burnt offering, demands not that my country should be prostrated on the altars of his religion; the infernal rites of Moloch required human victims, and a priest of Moloch would delight in the sacrifice of hecatombs. But christianity is the religion of grace, & mercy, and justice, and liberty.
I shall now proceed to enter into a more critical examination, of the pamphlet entitled "Serious Considerations, &c." and I request to be accompanied with a careful and patient attention. Be assured my readers, that politics and not religion is the object of the writer of that pamphlet, he writes as a partizan of Mr. Pinckney, and not as the advocate of evangelical purity and truth; he is not animated by a fervent love of religion, but excited and propelled by a deadly hatred to Mr. Jefferson. Such is the man, and such the character of his production.
Quiequid Gr~ecia mendax,
Audet in historia.
Is surpassed by this caput mortuum of stupidity, frivolity and malice.
The professed intention of the pamphlet, is to prove Mr. Jefferson a deist; its real object, to ensure the election of Mr. Pinckney; assurances to the contrary are only evidences of depravity and falsehood; are you seriously to be told, that, if Mr. Jefferson is rejected, any other man except Mr. Adams or Mr. Pinckney, can possibly be appointed?
If Mr. Jefferson is a deist, and his rivals are enemies to the constitution, most unfortunate is our alternative; our views are confined, and our choice is limited. At this election, no other individual in existence can by the remotest possibility become your president; you would be driven to elect between an infidel and an enemy to the constitution. Has this writer dared to assure you, that Mr. Adams & Mr. Pinckney are republicans? Has he even attempted to prove that they are attached to public liberty, and determined to support our present happy and excellent constitution? Has he told you, that Mr. Adams has never expressed and written sentiments strongly favouring aristocratical orders, and distinctions in the state? Has he had the presumption to state, that Mr. Pinckney is not the candidate of the Anglo-federal, or, if you please, the British party in America? These are facts, which like the ghost of Banquo, have terror in their aspect; you cannot look upon them with a steady eye, unmoved. One of these men must be elected, one of them inevitably is destined to be your president; you have no other choice, no other alternative. If Mr. Adams and Mr. Pinckney are not republicans, then cease your songs to liberty, hang your harps upon the willows, and mourn the loss of departed freedom, gone for ever; professions of religion will avail you not; neither Moses, nor the prophets, nor the fathers, will protect your civil constitution.
But, what reason have we to believe that Mr. Jefferson is a deist? Nothing but the misrepresentation of his avowed and interested enemies. Remember that
Trifles light as air
Are to the jealous confirmation strong,
As proof of holy writ.
Let us examine the subject with candor.
In order to establish the infidelity of this enlightened statesman and patriot, the author of the pamphlet relies upon certain mutilated passages of the "notes on Virginia," and a pretended conversation, or rather a particular expression used in conversation with Mr. Mazzei.
Several passages in the notes upon Virginia, have been the subjects of animadversion; the first respecting the deluge, the second concerning the origin of the aborigenes of this country, the third relating to the Africans, or negroes, and the last, supposed to contain sentiments disrespectful to divine revelation. I shall proceed to examine those subjects in their order.
In the first place, Mr. Jefferson is supposed to deny the existence of an universal flood, such as Moses describes, and jews and christians equally believe. This is not the fact.
I do aver, that there is not a sentence in the notes upon Virginia, which either expressly, or even by implication denies the existence of such flood. By a recurrence to that work, we will readily perceive that the deluge is a topic collateral to the principal subject of discussion. In answer to questions either actually made, or supposed to have been asked by a learned foreigner, Mr. Jefferson is proceeding to describe the principal productions of his native state; while employed in this task; a remarkable and an interesting phenomenon arrests his attention, that is, the existence of petrified shells, or calcareous substances on the tops, or near the surfaces of the highest mountains. That circumstance "is considered by many both of the learned and the unlearned as proof of an universal deluge." Mr. Jefferson, on the contrary, is inclined to believe that such fact alone, unsupported by higher authority, would not amount to proof of a deluge.
He then proceeds to state a reason, why the ordinary laws or common operations of nature are insufficient to produce an universal flood, that if the whole contents of the atmosphere were water, "it would cover the globe but 35 feet deep, but as these waters as they fell would naturally run into the seas, the superficial measure of which, is to that of the dry parts of the globe as two to one, the seas would be raised only 52 1/2 feet above their present level, and of course would overflow the lands to that height only." He supposes that deluges beyond such extent, are out of the ordinary laws of nature, and he supposes right.
This is the only passage in the work of Mr. Jefferson relating to the Deluge-he concludes, "there is a wonder somewhere, and that it requires us to believe the creation of a body of water and its subsequent annihilation."
Mr. Jefferson is writing in the character of a philosopher, and endeavouring, as a collateral point to his principal subject, to ascertain whether an universal deluge can be accounted for by the ordinary laws of nature? finding it impossible, how does he conclude? by denying it, by even insinuating a doubt? No-by terming it a "wonder," or, in other words, a miracle.
The reasoning of Mr. Jefferson so far from being repugnant to the holy scriptures, or from expressing a disbelief of the fact which is there related, strongly demands an opposite interpretation. Philosophy, who is blind to many of the common occurrences in nature, can never account for the extraordinary or miraculous interpositions of Almighty power. It is for this reason that Mr. Jefferson, after attempting to investigate the subject wisely, abandons every hypothesi and confesses his own ignorance-in this sense he exclaims, that "Ignorance is preferable to error; and that he is less remote from th truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.(7)
No sentiment can be more correct or prudent than that which have last quoted; but even this sentiment has been distorted into proof of infidelity. Mr. Jefferson confines the sentiment to philosophi cal subjects-he by no means extends it to the truth of revelation-h does not assert that it is best to disbelieve the existence of the Deluge but that it is better to disbelieve every human hypothesis whic would presumptuously endeavour to account for it, than to believ, what is wrong.
Yet, the Deluge is a wonder! a miraculous, a stupendous exertio of sovereign power! Who can account for it? Can man, weak ma conceive the manner in which it was effected? It would seem to r quire the creation of oceans of water and their subsequent annihilation! In the sense of Mr. Jefferson I make the exclamation, "Ignorant is better than error," and with respect to every hypothesis which phi losophy would introduce, "He is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong." But God, who created the heavens and the earth, can create an universe of water and destroy it at his pleasure.
I do therefore confidently aver, that there is not a single expression in that passage which furnishes a fair implication of "disrespect for divine revelation." The position to be gathered from it is, that an universal flood cannot be accounted for from general laws. Had Mr. Jefferson on the contrary attempted to account for it from the ordinary operations of nature, and in the pride of philosophy exclaimed, "There is no wonder," then there would have been reason to suspect his sentiments-but no, it was a wonder, it was an extraordinary miracle. It was one of those stupendous acts of power which the Deity upon peculiar occasions performs for the wisest purposes. Had it been an ordinary event it would have ceased to be a miracle. Could it have been accounted for from universal laws, it would no longer have been miraculous; and, unless we consider it in the light of a miracle, then I assert that we oppose the true intent and meaning of the holy scriptures. Mr. Jefferson therefore very wisely rejects every philosophical hypothesis upon the subject, and rests it upon its proper basis of testimony, to wit, the authority of the sacred writings. That such is the correct interpretation of the passage of Mr. Jefferson, I appeal to the decision of the learned and unprejudiced reader; and I earnestly request that the notes upon Virginia may be perused with the most critical attention. The text is before us-let us decide for ourselves -we have no manner of necessity for a commentary.
Secondly-with respect to the question-from whence did the first inhabitants of America originate? The sentiments of Mr. Jefferson have been most criminally misrepresented. The author of the pamphlet has omitted every passage in which a positive opinion is given, and states the sentiments of Mr. Jefferson to be diametrically opposite from what he himself has declared them. At this moment that wretched author shall stand convicted of the suppressio veri with the criminal intention of deceiving the people. Let the culprit be exposed. Mr. Jefferson shall speak for himself. In the name of truth I demand that he may be heard.
Great question (says Mr. Jefferson) has arisen from whence came those original inhabitants of America? Discoveries long ago made were sufficient to shew that a passage from Europe to America was always practicable, even to the imperfect navigation of ancient times. In going from Norway to Iceland-from Iceland to Greenland-from Greenland to Labrador-the first traject is the widest; and this having been practised from the earliest times, of which we have any account of that part of the earth. It is not difficult to suppose that the subsequent trajects may have been sometimes passed. Again-the late discoveries of Captain Cook coasting from Kamschatka to California have proved, that if the two continents of Asia and Africa be seperated at all, it is only by a narrow streight, so that from this side also inhabitants may have passed into America; and the resemblance between the Indians of America and the eastern inhabitants of Asia would induce us to conjecture that the former are the descendants of the latter, or the latter of the former, excepting indeed the Eskimaux, who from the same circumstance of resemblance and from identity of language, must be derived from the Greenlanders, and those probably from some of the northern parts of the old continent. (Notes on Virginia p. 106 & 107-Phil. edition.)
Such are Mr. Jefferson's own words upon the subject, it is the only passage in which he expressly declares his sentiments with respect to that important question. It is therefore evident that his opinion is diametrically opposite to what is attributed to him by that disingenuous and designing writer. From the decisive circumstances of resemblance, from the proximity, if not the junction of the two continents, and from similarity of language, he concludes, that the inhabitants of each continent proceeded from a common origin-why was this remarkable passage so carefully concealed? Most evidently for the purpose of imposing upon the reader. A writer who is capable of such unworthy subterfuges, possesses a weak head as well as a bad heart -he becomes entitled to no credit. No honest man would betray such fraud and insincerity, or voluntarily expose himself to degradation.
It is true that the great question, whether all mankind have proceeded from one common origin? has divided the learned world. The human species exhibit so great a variety in intellect, complexion and form, that it has often been doubted whether climate and education, or any moral or physical laws could have produced that diversity. Philosophers have considered the subject as open to discussion, and that they might safely venture to advocate either position without a violation or impeachment of theological faith-thus one side of the proposition has been maintained by Dr. Smith, and an opposite by Lord Kame: but we find that Mr. Jefferson, in supposing that the inhabitants of America and those of the old continent have proceeded from a common origin, has, in reality, adopted the opinion most accordant with the scriptures.
It is also true, that when viewing the subject entirely upon philosophical grounds, Mr. Jefferson supposes that similarity of language is the best human test from which we can trace the affinity of nations; for this reason he laments that the languages of so many Indian tribes have been suffered to expire-but we must remember that Mr. Jefferson had already expressed his sentiments in favour of a common origin in the most decisive terms-we cannot readily imagine that an author of his reputation would palpably contradict himself in the very next passage. What he afterwards advances is entirely a matter of speculation, and not the declaration of any contrary opinion; for even if we were to believe that a greater number of radical languages was an infallible test of antiquity, and that the Americans possessed a greater number and variety of such radical languages than the Asiatics, that postulate could only give rise to a contest for superior antiquity, and by no means decide the principal question of identity of origin.
It might further be remarked, that neither of those positions can be considered as an infallible indicium of the faith or infidelity of its advocates; divines themselves have differed with respect to their sense of inspiration, or rather as to the extent in which it is to be taken; thus some have been the advocates of plenary inspiration, others of partial inspiration only, & others again consider certain parts of scripture as entirely historical. I mention this circumstance, not as disbelieving the doctrine of plenary inspiration, not as questioning the decisive authority of Moses, but to shew that the subject has not been placed upon fair ground. If the writers assertions were true instead of false, still they would prove nothing; instead of believing that the Americans and Asiatics have proceeded from a common stock, Mr. Jefferson might have advocated a different opinion, and still have been a christian.
"Gallileo was sent to the inquisition, for affirming that the earth was a sphere"; there was a time, when Sir Isaac Newton would have provoked the horrors of an auto da fe, for believing that the sun is stationary. In the book of Joshua (chapt. c o, verses i z, 13 & i q.), it is writen that the Israelitish captain commanded the sun to stand still on a particular day, that is to suppose it moves on every other occasion, otherwise the passage would have no meaning; yet all the learned world coincide in opinion with Gallileo and Sir Isaac notwithstanding the apparent authority of the scriptures to the contrary. Galileo and Sir Isaac Newton were both christians, still they pursued their philosophical speculations; if the adversary of Mr. Jefferson, believes the sun to be stationary, by adopting his own mode of reasoning, he is proved to be an infidel.
So far then Mr. Jefferson stands completely exculpated from the charge of infidelity; but a third passage occurs, upon which peculiar stress appears to have been laid-it is that which respects the distinction which nature or circumstances have interposed between black and white men: an expression as correct as it is innocent, has given rise to the accusation; but it vanishes at the first approach of liberal investigation.
The existence of negro slavery has long been considered as one of our greatest political evils; like all other crimes by the righteous dispensations of providence it has been inseparably accompanied by its own calamities. The day of retribution is rapidly approaching-slavery must have an end-but what is to become of the slaves? When I consider the situation of the southern states-when I perceive how numerous a proportion of their population is composed by black men -my mind misgives me-the most terrifying reflections rush upon my understanding: The evil exists within our bosom-how shall it be removed?
Shall slavery be continued for ever? that idea is equally debasing to the master and the slave-justice, humanity, and even policy forbid it -besides, the population of the negroes is nearly equal to that of the whites; and notwithstanding the hardships under which they labour, the former multiply as fast as the latter-what then shall secure the perpetual submission of the slave? But suppose that they are restored to freedom, what shall be their destiny? Shall they be banished to foreign climes? Whither shall they become transported? Will they quietly submit? In what region of the globe will they be received without resistance? Send them to Africa, from whence their fathers have been dragged, and you render them completely wretched. You impose upon them a sentence, if possible, more severe than slavery itself; you have changed their language, manners and religion; in Africa they would meet with beings similar indeed in complexion, but radically different in every other respect. Will you surrender to them a portion of your own territory separated by metes and bounds, and establish an independent empire in the neighbourhood of your republic? Or lastly, when they are free shall they continue among us; shall they be placed upon an equality with their former masters, and admitted to partake of all our privileges? More than all, shall they marry and co-habit, and intermingle with our sons and daughters, and the inhabitants of America become a motley and degenerate race of mulattoes?
It is against this last idea that Mr. Jefferson reasons with energy and sensibility. Incorporate the blacks into the state, and you incorporate eternal misery and degradation. "Deep rooted(8) prejudices entertained by the whites; ten thousand recollections by the blacks of the injuries they have sustained; new provocations; the real distinctions which nature has made; and many other circumstances, will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions which will probably never end, but in the extermination of the one or the other race." (Notes on Virginia.)
Reason, justice and religion require that negroes should be free. But they require not that we should expose ourselves to degeneracy: We may sincerely advocate the freedom of black men, and yet assert their moral and physical inferiority. It is our duty to assert their liberties, but it is not our duty to blend our form and colour and existence with theirs. Education and habit, nay, nature herself recoils at the idea. It is against this shocking idea that Mr. Jefferson reasons with all his powers; he calls them a different race of men, and with justice he terms them so. It is in the same sense that we are in the daily habit of terming the Eskimaux, the Hottentots, and the Arabs a different race from the inhabitants of Europe.
But does Mr. Jefferson deny that negroes are men? does he deny them the sacred privileges of humanity? He says with truth, that there is now a physical difference which interposes an insuperable barrier between us; my own feelings powerfully dictate that such is the case. The idea of intermingling is insupportable. We cannot intermingle without injury-I may add, without prostitution. Mr. Jefferson says, that there is a difference at present, but he has pretended to account for it by denying that they sprang from a common origin with ourselves? Does he introduce any hypothesis upon the subject hostile to divine revelation? Does he pretend to deny that the force of climate and cultivation through the lapse of centuries is insufficient to account for the dissimilarity? No, he does not-I defy all the tergiversation of his adversaries to fix the stigma upon him.
In justice to Mr. Jefferson, it must be mentioned, that though he contends for the inferiority of the blacks, he only argues against their cohabiting with us, and not against their freedom-his position, evident as it is, is advanced with exemplary diffidence and tenderness. In a subsequent passage he exclaims, with generous warmth,
Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people, that these liberties are of the gift of GOD? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that GOD is just, that his justice cannot sleep for ever!(9)
Is this the language of an infidel! this the zealous exclamation of an enemy to God? O fye sir, shame upon your head! How dare you attempt to deceive your congregation! Mr. Jefferson has reasoned against the universal prostitution of his countrymen-and would you, sir, with all your meekness and piety, and humility, mingle your blood with that of the blacks?
Black spirits and white;
Blue spirits and grey,
Mingle, mingle, mingle,
You that mingle may.
O doctor, doctor, what a hopeful progeny would you produce!
It is upon the expression "difference of race" that the "baseless fabrick" of sophistry has been erected, by confounding the term "race" with the word "genus," or even "species." Mr. Jefferson is represented to have stated the negroes as originally a distinct order of beings; but the expression "race" ex vi termini by no means conveys that idea; still less so, when its sense is regulated by the general intentions of Mr. Jefferson, the manner in which it is used, and the other parts of the passage into which it is incorporated.(10) The term in strictness signifies "a family, a generation, or a particular breed"; and in common parlance it is frequently used, if possible, in a more restricted sense. Thus every family may be correctly denominated a distinct race. The house of York and that of Lancaster formed a different race or dynasty of princes. The whole censure upon Mr. Jefferson is built upon an idle cavil with respect to this word. I appeal to the judicious reader, and refer to the work itself, whether the term race is not applied in the correct and limited sense in which I consider it, not as implying an original difference of ancestry, but as refering to the present difference of situation. Nothing is either more common or more proper, than to consider seperate nations, even of white men, as forming a distinct race. Thus the Romans and the Goths are termed a seperate race of men; and thus, from the three sons of Noah, Shem, and Ham, and Japhet, proceeded distinct races. Yet we do not deny their common origin, though time and circumstances have occasioned a total forgetfulness of consanguinity.
I feel that it is unnecessary to dwell any longer upon this passage -instead of impeaching Mr. Jefferson, the writer of the pamphlet has only succeeded in rendering himself ridiculous: there is yet one remaining passage to be discussed before I enter upon the consideration of it-permit me to offer a few remarks upon the base and idle story said to have been communicated by Mr. Mazzei.
It must already have been evident to the discerning reader, that the author of the pamphlet writes with a certain object in view, and that in the pursuit of such object he is regardless of truth or sincerity; he has fastened upon every opportunity to defame his political antagonist, not only by misrepresenting his sentiments, but by concealing the truth; by the manner in which he has conducted his work, he has forfeited all pretensions to credit.
The practice of that writer is not singular. The party to whom he is attached, has been in the constant habit of publishing assertions equally impudent and extravagant; the character of a patriot is so odious in their sight, that every calumny has been invented to blacken and defame it-ten thousand monstrous stories have been circulated and detected-the arrows have as often recoiled upon their masters and yet they have the hardihood to continue the practice. Thus Mr. Gallatin, who is known to have descended from the most respectable parentage at Geneva, has been represented by turns as an itinerant vagabond, as a strolling fidler, and a shoe-black; such ridiculous tales never answer a good purpose, they disgust every sensible and liberal mind.
If the greatest liar in existence utters the most ridiculous falsehood against the most innocent man, you cannot resist him by reasoning, or refute his assertion by any syllogistical deduction; his tale is a matter of credit and not a matter of argument. The belief of such an allegation must entirely depend upon the general reputation of the parties, and the views and integrity of the relator. If the crime of adultery or seduction, for instance, was laid to the charge of Mr. H , such a report would be readily believed; but if propagated concerning General Washington, would be absolutely incredible. Again, if a story is circulated by a man whose veracity is not impeachable, and who has no sinister object in view, his relation will be entitled to our confidence; but where a tale is propagated by a man who has already deceived us, and who appears to have a design & an interest in so doing, our credulity must be abject indeed if we suffer ourselves to be imposed upon.
After these preliminary observations, let us attend to this most ridiculous tale. Upon the supposed authority of a Dr. John B. Smith, a Virginia clergyman, it is asserted, that Mr. Mazzei, of whom so much mention has been lately made, related to this Dr. Smith the following anecdote; "That as he (Mazzei) was once riding with Mr. Jefferson, he expressed his surprize that the people of this country take no better care of their public buildings-What buildings? exclaimed Mr. Jefferson-is not that a church? replied he, pointing to a decayed edifice-Yes, answered Mr. Jefferson. I am astonished, said the other, that they permit it to be in so ruinous a condition! It is good enough, says Mr. Jefferson, for him that was born in a manger." Thus far.
Upon this extraordinary relation, let us make the following remarks:
In the first place, you have the story from the third or fourth hand. Jefferson is supposed to have used an expression to Mazzei-Mazzei to Smith-Smith to the writer of the pamphlet-and he to you; a story never loses by travelling: an expression of the most innocent nature may have been misconceived by Mazzei; Dr. Smith may have misunderstood him; as for the writer, his words and intentions are too evident to be mistaken.
Secondly, the story is too particular to be credited; if the conversation did ever take place, it must have happened many years ago. It was never heard by the writer of the pamphlet, or even by Dr. Smith himself. In relating the story, it is next to impossible that Mazzei and Smith and the writer should give the connected chain and particular expressions of the conversation in the order and connection used by the parties. In attempting to do this, like all other inventors, the writer has overshot his mark. It is impossible that he should have heard the particulars of an antiquated conversation with such accuracy and minuteness, as to give it in the form of a dialogue. It is therefore evident, that this dialogue is a recent fabrication of his own. He has all the merit of invention, but no claim to fidelity.(11)
Thirdly, the character of Mr. Jefferson renders the tale incredible, placing his morality and religion entirely out of sight; it is not probable that as a man of common prudence he would have used so obnoxious an expression.
Fourthly, the tale proceeds from a most suspicious fountain. We should be careful how we receive the character of any man from the mouth of his enemies. Justice requires that we should not judge rashly. It is evident that the author of the pamphlet is the bitter enemy of Mr. Jefferson; it is evident that he writes with the express view of rendering him an injury; it is evident that he is not guided by religious incentives, but by political and party views: And lastly, it is evident that he is generally regardless of truth and sincerity. Conscious that the criticism upon the notes on Virginia was untenable, his only resource was to invent this ridiculous story. When he pretends to reason, his pen trembles in his hand. In the paroxism of despair, he supplies the weakness of his logic by the boldness of assertion. But even this desperate sally has baffled his purpose; for, how is it possible that we can believe a story so improbable in itself; so incredible when applied to a man whose manners are confessedly mild and amiable, and who has ever been distinguished by consummate virtue and prudence: When that story, coming from the third or fourth hand, and in every stage of its passage liable to misconstruction, as well as exposed to misrepresentation, is related by a bitter enemy to serve an interested purpose, and when the relator has, upon every other occasion, been convicted of the base design to injure and deceive us? (12)
I enter into the examination of the remaining head of accusations which this disingenuous writer has exhibited against Mr. Jefferson. It cannot have escaped the observation of the reader, that the author of the pamphlet has endeavoured to give the sense of Mr. Jefferson from detached and mutilated passages of his work, and, by the suppression of the rest, endeavoured to distort and misrepresent his real sentiments. We have seen, that in the most material instance he has endeavoured, by implication, to represent him as favouring one opinion; when, in the most express and positive language, he has in reality advanced a doctrine diametrically opposite. When a writer will descend to such base and villainoust arts, he becomes altogether unworthy of credit; he exposes the wickedness of his own designs, and can no longer be believed. The author, who can wilfully misrepresent the sentiments of another by an easy transition of baseness, can fabricate a story or propagate a groundless tale. It is as criminal to pervert the sentiments of Mr. Jefferson, with a view to render him an injury, as to invent the story of Mazzei from the same unworthy motive; the object is, in both cases, identical, and the instruments not essentially different. If the author should be a clergyman, his offence becomes encreased; from that order of men we have a right to expect examples of fidelity.
The passage to which I now allude, is that which more particularly respects religion. The only object of Mr. Jefferson, is to discountenance political establishments in theology; upon this subject, his adversaries must confess that he reasons with perspicuity, energy & truth. I refer the reader neither to these pages nor to the pamphlet entitled "Serious reflections" but entreat him to peruse the work itself; I aver that upon this subject Mr. Jefferson reasons with the conciseness and nervous energy of Tacitus-he writes with the pen of a master; in no instance does he speak a language, upon no occasion does he betray a sentiment disrespectful to Christianity; he states that by the common law of England heresy was a capital offence punishable by burning, and that until the statute of Elizabeth, its definition was submitted to the ecclesiastical judges-that the execution was by the cruel and infamous writ de bxretico comburendo, that by the statute of Virginia antecedent to the revolution, heresy was punishable by the incapacity of holding any office civil, ecclesiastical or military, and on a repetition by disability to sue; to take any gift or legacy, to be guardian, executor or administrator, and by three years imprisonment without bail. I should despair of rendering justice to the sentiments of this excellent writer, without permission to transcribe them in his own forcible language, "This (continues Mr. Jefferson) is a summary view of that religious slavery, under which a people have been willing to remain, who have lavished their lives and fortunes for the establishment of their civil freedom. The error seems not sufficiently eradicated, that the operations of the mind as well as the acts of the body, are subject to the coercion of the laws, but our rulers can have authority over such natural rights, only as we have submitted to them; the rights of conscience we never submitted, we could not submit we are answerable for them to our God. The legitimate powers of government, extends to such acts only as are injurious to others; but it does me no injury for my neighbour to say, there are twenty Gods or no God, it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg; if it be said, his testimony in a court of justice cannot be relied on, reject it then, and be the stigma on him. Constraint may make him worse by making him a hypocrite, but it will never make him a truer man: it may fix him obstinately in his errors, but will not cure them. Reason and free enquiry are the only effectual agents against error-give a loose to them, they will support the true religion, by bringing every false one to their tribunal, to the test of their investigation; they are the natural enemies of error, and of error only. Had not the Roman government permitted free inquiry, Christianity could never have been introduced. Had not free inquiry been indulged at the xra of the reformation, the corruptions of Christianity could not have been purged away."
Such then are the sentiments inculcated by this invaluable performance, and do these imply a spirit of infidelity? is liberality, and forbearance, and toleration incompatible with the gospel? God forbid, that Christians should believe so. How is Christianity to be infused? by the mild light of reasoning-by the force of conviction, or by the burning fire of persecution? Then abandon preaching, ministers of the Most High, descend from the pulpit-forsake the altar -seize the torch-the firebrand and faggot-grasp the murderers steel -destroy and exterminate-establish the empire of panic-the universal dominion of fear-spare them not-be the ministers not of grace and mercy, and benevolence, but of vengeance-perpetrate dark deeds "without a name," where then will be your converts? in the language of Mr. Jefferson, you will make hypocrites but not true men.
I am bold to say, that those sentiments of Mr. Jefferson are in perfect conformity to the genuine precepts of our religion, as well as the principles of our civil constitution, we have had enough of the kingdom of Anti-christ; hecatombs of human victims have bled and perished, their blood has stained the earth, and their mouldering bones unburied, bleaching by the rain and scorching sun, have called aloud to heaven. Our ancestors also were persecuted-here they fought for and obtained repose; Oh let not their children unmindful of their miseries and wrongs, in their turn become persecutors!
Such then, is the interesting subject which engrossed the attention of our virtuous and learned countryman, impressed with its importance, his language glows with animation; it is upon a single expression used in the warmth of sensibility, and in the ardour of argument, that peculiar reliance has been placed "it does me no injury for my neighbour to say, there are twenty Gods, or no God, it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." The expression is a strong one, but it is strictly true in the sense in which it was applied. Belief indeed may, nay will influence our conduct; the errors of my neighbour may be dangerous, I would distrust the man who would palliate adultery, or endeavour to excuse a theft; but the manner in which Mr. Jefferson applies the sentiment renders it perfectly correct, he distinguishes between our actions and our opinions, for the former we are amenable to the civil magistrate, for the latter he expressly tells us we "are answerable to our GoD. " Speaking of the rights of conscience, he says, that "we never submitted them to our civil rulers, we could not submit them, the legitimate powers of government extend to such acts, only as are injurious to others"; it is therefore demonstrable that Mr. Jefferson exclusively contemplates civil injuries: that is to say, injuries visible and palpable, and for which human laws afford redress; in this legal sense, the sentiments of my neighbour are no injury to me, his opinions should not be subjected to the coercion of the civil magistrate. For our conduct we are responsible to man; for our opinions only to our God. I sustain no civil injury by the vicinage of an atheist, if it is a damnum in the language of lawyers, it is damnum absque injuric. Government has no right to interfere, it cannot interpose without danger, and without a manifest violation of the social compact.
Government is an human institution, introduced for temporal purposes-it was never intended to be the sovereign arbiter of religion, conscience, and opinion. Fearful of committing himself upon the subject, the author of the pamphlet is driven to express the very same sentiment, tho' in language far inferior. Mark his inconsistency! note his palpable contradiction! "It is true (he acknowledges) that a mere opinion of my neighbor will do me no injury, government cannot regulate or punish it, the right of private opinion is inalienable." Mr. Jefferson has contended for no more. If the sentiment is an evidence of infidelity on the part of the one; it is equally so with respect to the other.(13)
Throughout the passage in question, Mr. Jefferson has only advocated those doctrines which, with a feebler pen I have attempted to enforce. I wish Christianity to become extended into every region of the globe, but I wish it to prevail by the energy of reason, and not by the terror of persecution, or the power of the sword. I am jealous of the interference of government; I know that it never interposes from a pious zeal towards religion, but from corrupt, ambitious, and interested views. I am conscious that belief is involuntary, that it must flow spontaneously from the dictates of the understanding, and can never be enforced by the engines of tyranny.
The rights of conscience rise superior to the controul of the civil magistrate; why should we be solicitous to multiply hypocrites? let believers be sincere in their professions, or let men continue infidels. I also most cordially unite with Mr. Jefferson in a wish to see, and I do actually perceive "a government in which no religious opinions (whatever) are (officially) held, and where the security for property and social order rests entirely upon the force of law." In the expression of this sentiment I am not apprehensive of being misunderstood; I sincerely wish that every individual concerned in the administration, in every department and in every station principal or subordinate, from the president to the constable, should be a Christian in earnest, not boasting a nominal, but possessing a zealous, lively and active faith; but as a government, as a body corporate and politic, as an organized artificial systematized corps, it should not have, it cannot have any religion; it should allow to each of its citizens an unlimited exercise of conscience; it should never interfere, unless social law, and order, and morals become invaded-if a contrary doctrine should ever prevail, every fibre of my heart would bleed for the misery of my country. Such as I wish it, is our present constitution, and so may it ever continue; to the people under God I intrust its preservation; unless you my countrymen, are vigilant and circumspect, the time may come when freedom religious and civil, shall be no more, and hope itself expire; and then, O then the solemn warning of that Jefferson, who has been so unworthily traduced will only furnish occasion for unavailing regret! Hear him before it is too late. "The spirit of the times (he almost prophetically exclaims) may alter -will alter; our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless, a single zealot may commence persecutor, and better men be his victims. It can never therefore be too often repeated, that the time for fixing every essential right on a legal basis, is while our rulers are honest and ourselves united. From the conclusion of this war, we shall be going down hill, it will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support, they will be forgotten therefore, and their rights disregarded; they will forget themselves, but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights; the shackles therefore which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war, will remain on us long; will be made heavier and heavier till our rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion."
But, why should I proceed? with every liberal mind, Mr. Jefferson must stand acquitted from the charge of infidelity; for him I feel not -he enjoys "the eternal sunshine of the spotless mind," for religion I feel not-it stands secure in the sacred majesty of truth-it is for my country that I feel, and for the safety of its constitution that I tremble. I shall offer a few observations with respect to Mr. Adams and Mr. Pinckney, and attempt to explore the prospect which lies before us.
I hold it to be a maxim essential to our safety, that the government of the United States should only be administered by a republican. Whatever may be the virtues or religion,(14) whatever the talents of Mr. Adams, his principles are not republican, his sentiments are not congenial with the spirit of the constitution, he has published and proclaimed his opinions, they stand as an everlasting record and monument against him; his religion and his piety may possibly be sincere, but they cannot atone for the destruction of the constitution, and the slavery of the people; Mr. Adams is the advocate of privileged orders and distinctions in society, he would willingly engraft the armorial trappings and insignia of aristocracy upon the simple majesty of republican institutions. Mr. Adams would destroy the essential nature and character of a republic; his principles would wrest the government from the hands of the people, and vest its dominion and prerogatives in the distinguished and "well born few"-Mr. Adams is the advocate of hereditary power, and hereditary privileges -has he not told you "that republican government may be interpreted to mean any thing! that the British government is in the strictest sense a republic! that an hereditary president and senate for life, can alone secure your happiness! that in the conflict of political opinions which prevail in our country, it is admissible for one faction to seize the persons of their opponents, and banish them within the lines of an invading enemy!"
Immortal heaven! can we listen to such sentiments with coldness? Let it not be imagined that such opinions are purely speculative, and therefore not dangerous. Speculation always pants and struggles for an opportunity to become ripened into action. Mr. Adams cannot hold such heretical doctrines without being a dangerous president; if he does not admire the constitution in its present shape, depend upon it his influence will be exerted to render it more palatable to himself. If no other evil happens, the temper and opinions of the man will give a tone and character to his administration; he will warp, and twist, and torture the features of your infant government, and prostrate your constitution upon the fatal bed of Procrustes, until it loses its original symmetry, proportion and character. Whenever an opportunity arises, by a latitude of construction, by a wanton licentiousness of interpretation, he will multiply and intrench the prerogatives of the executive, and establish his favorite theory upon the ruins of the constitution. Every violation will increase the appetite for power; it will augment the danger by the force of habit and the pretext of example. Encroachments always proceed with an accelerated momentum, "One precedent creates another; they soon accumulate and constitute law; what yesterday was fact to-day is doctrine: Examples are supposed to justify the most dangerous measures, and where they do not suit exactly, the defect is supplied by analogy. "(15) He who maintains the principles and the doctrines of slavery, is "totally unfit to be the ruler of a free people."
The interest of the nation demands that we should have an administration of liberty and justice and oeconomy. Our future executive should not be the president of a party but the president of the United States; to speak emphatically, he should be the president of public liberty, the president of the constitution. We have seen an alien bill, vesting the executive in certain cases with almost unlimited powers. We have witnessed a sedition law triumphant over the liberty of the press. We have beheld an incessant and restless spirit of persecution multiplying fines, and penalties, and imprisonment. We have seen an itinerant judge not content with exercising his powers unbiassed on the bench of justice, industriously travelling in pursuit of victims. We have seen those records and muniments which were necessary for the vindication of a defendant, sternly denied to him in defiance of that law which has idly stated, that the truth of an allegation shall be a compleat defence in cases of libel. We have heard the judges of the United States prejudge a question, in which the life of a prisoner was concerned, by refusing to listen to the arguments of counsel in a trial for treason. In the case of Robins, we have viewed an attempt to destroy the independence of the judiciary by subjecting them to the controul and directions of the president-we have seen authorities, which the constitution has denied to the government, claimed and exercised under the dangerous idea that they are given by the common law of England. In the expences of a small army composed of many officers and few soldiers, and never in actual service, we can readily perceive the enormous cost of a permanent military establishment-we have seen an ambassador sent to England for the purpose of procuring satisfaction for the depredations upon our trade, at this moment under the operation of his treaty, recognizing the British debts: We are astonished with the liquidation of a balance of millions against us-we have a national debt increasing and likely to increase, until its annual interest shall exhaust the fruits of laborious industry and taxation, like the leaves of autumn gather and multiply around us. Such, Americans, is the picture of our present prosperity. I shall proceed no farther, volumes would not exhaust the subject. Let us be true to ourselves-let us rally before the genius of liberty and the spirit of the constitution, and let no consideration divert us from the determined resolution of preserving the rights and freedom of our country.
Enough of Mr. Adams. I am impressed with the conviction that he is destined to re-visit the shades of retirement, enjoying literary leisure, he may establish a Tusculum at Braintree, or, like Plato, soothe his imagination by visionary theories; from the Republicans he cannot expect a single suffrage, and it would be folly to rely upon the attachment or fidelity of the Federalists-the wounds of Timothy-insulted honor-disappointed hopes-unsatisfied revenge-powerful incentives, and irresistible passions, have united to give the ascendency to Mr. Pinckney. It is not to be imagined that the quondam secretary will be idle, a single southern vote or a single eastern elector will prevent the re-election of Mr. Adams; and upon the failure of Mr. Jefferson, confer the empire upon his anglo-federal rival. Like Simeon of old, Mr. Adams may repeat the Nunc dimittis, and if Mr. Jefferson should be elected, he may justly exclaim "Quia viderunt oculi mei Salutare tuum. "
I know not Mr. Pinckney, politically speaking, he is a man whom no-body knows,(16) but it is perfectly understood that he is contemplat ed as a second (17) Bibulus who permitted Ca;sar to govern. We can judge of the individual from the character of the party by whom he is supported, and the views by which such party is uniformly actuated. It is well known, that at the last election Mr. T. Pinckney was supported by Mr. Hamilton(18), in preference to Mr. Adams; and that C. C. Pinckney is now the candidate of the exiled members of the present administration. It is a matter of notoriety, that an explosion has taken place in the cabinet, and that a violent schism has ensued between the leaders of the Federal party. The dismission, or rather the expulsion, of Mr. Pickering, evinces that a convulsion had taken place in our councils, which may probably form a distinguished aura in our history. The president has not thought proper officially to furnish us with his reasons for the dismissal of the secretary, but it is perfectly understood, that his obstinate opposition to the negociation with France, and his manifest partiality for Mr. Pinckney, were the principal occasions of the variance. Since that period at least, the Federalists have become divided into two parties, actuated by different views, and governed by different leaders. The party of Messieurs Pinckney, Hamilton, and Pickering, is the most desperate and violent; its principal characteristics have been a hatred to France; predilection for England; an inflexible determination for war, and an invincible enmity to freedom and the constitution.
When Tracy proclaimed his war of extermination, it was usually considered as an unmeaning ebullition of the passions; for my own part, I was not disposed to view it as the momentary paroxism of a distempered brain; there was a degree of method and consistency in those ravings which indicated system and design. I saw an earnestness and sincerity in this madness which was the evidence of deliberation-war had been agreed upon in cool and serious moments, and that war was designed for the attainment of no common object.
The enmity to Mr. Adams, and the abuse which has been showered upon his head-the undisguised disappointment of the federal leaders, and the division which has taken place in that party proves much-the Sybilline volumes are opened-we have the key to secrets more mysterious than the grave-the laurels of the general are blasted-for the present ambition has become defeated-but the constitution is saved.
Why should the negociation with France have occasioned so much clamour if nothing but the public prosperity had been in question? What benefit could have been produced by war that will be denied us by negociation? Could the national dignity or the substantial interests of America require more than an honorable satisfaction? Even the spirit of Cato would have been satisfied with an ample concession, if the rivalship of his favorite Rome had not extorted the dreadful sentence "delendum est Carthago." Between us and France there is no such rivalship. It was not the motive of Cato which produced such invincible aversion to peace; an ambitious general at the head of an army, would have been the master of the liberties of his country-this consideration is the clue which enables us to explore the labyrinth, as we enter into its recesses the plot thickens around us-when we unfathom its mysteries we become encompassed with horrors.
Every day and every event furnishes new conviction that the advocates of Mr. Pinckney are not the friends of the constitution: should they ever acquire the ascendency, I would tremble for its fate. There is abundance of testimony to prove that this party is not contented with our present limited government, but that it is their steady and uniform object to introduce a system essentially and radically different. The constitution proposed by Mr. Hamilton in the late general convention, was every thing but federal; it went to the establishment of a permanent executive, and to the total subversion of the states. The governors were to have been appointed by that herculean executive, and united America, ruined by the perfidy of one man, was again to have been prostrated before the throne of a powerful and almost absolute monarch!
That project is far from being abandoned-it has again been revived in another form-the pamphlet of young Fenno, contemptible as it is, in every respect, betrays the object and purpose of his party. This boy, nurtured in the air of a court, and conversant with the designs and opinions of his patrons, has presumed to offer a system of government to the United States. It is true that this system does not possess originality, but is the servile counterpart of the project of Mr. Hamilton; it exhibits the same features and betrays the same views. An alliance offensive and defensive with Great Britain-perpetual war with France and Spain-foreign conquests-permanent naval and military establishments-an eternal, unextinguishable debt-a perpetual system of funding and speculation-the compleat annihilation of states -a division of the country into districts or provinces, to destroy even the memory of their existence-a president with unlimited powers -governors, or prefects of his appointment-a house of lords composed of such prefects-a permanent aristocracy-an enslaved, impoverished and miserable people-such are the detestable propositions with which millions of freemen have been insulted. My bosom burns with indignation-my pen almost drops from my hand-O! America! my country! may heaven preserve thy freedom-may it preserve thee from the designs of thy treacherous sons. Such is the party of Mr. Pinckney-I feel that my powers are inadequate to pourtray the amplitude of their baseness.(19)
I have assigned to you sufficient reasons why neither Mr. Adams nor Mr. Pinckney should be your president-GOD, who knows my heart, knows that I address you from pure and patriotic motives. I am wholly unconnected with any political character either in or out of office. My sentiments are not secret. I profess and will maintain them candidly and openly, in public and in private-yet it is not probable that as the writer of this pamphlet, I shall ever be known to the world. Let the sentiments it contains be appreciated as they merit, their truth and propriety cannot become affected by any personal considerations; for my own part I delight in obscurity, in the shades of retirement, unknown and unnoticed by the great, accompanied with the solaces of private friendship, let me securely tread the paths of liberty and virtue. I belong not to the school of the Jacobins, or the Federalists. I have no blind respect for names alone, claiming the privilege of thinking for myself, I shall always enquire Quid sit pulchrum, quid turpe, quid utile, quid non. I am the partizan of Mr. Jefferson, in no other sense than I am the partizan of truth, and freedom, and my country. Christianity I have advocated, and will ever advocate, upon true, sincere and liberal grounds; but I never will tamely permit it to be converted into an engine for the destruction of every privilege and enjoyment, and prospect, which is valuable upon earth. I reverence our civil constitution, because, from the serious dictates of the understanding, I am convinced it is the best and most perfect in the world-to preserve it therefore, I shall ever exercise my limited talents, and, if necessary, sacrifice my life.
At this moment you are called upon to take a stand upon the principles of your constitution; while the world is agitated to its centre, and alarms are heard from every quarter, it would be madness to loosen the anchor of your safety, this is not a time for speculation, it is not a season for changing your system of government. Scylla lies on the one side, and Charybdis on the other, why should you hazard your security? why should you entrust your political constitution in the hands of men whose fidelity, and whose principles are more than suspected? Jefferson is known, his sentiments-his character-his probity are established; he is not the man of France or of England-but the man of public liberty-the man of the people-the man of the constitution.
I wish not to foment the rage of parties; on the contrary my most ardent desire would be to allay the fervency of their resentments; but in a time like the present, good men cannot remain inactive, neutrality would amount to a criminal abandonment of principles; I have ceased to discriminate parties, by the idle jargon of the day, jacobins and democrats, and old, and new federalists, let them be buried, and upon their prostrated ruins, let us erect the universal party of liberty, and virtue, and the constitution; such men as Mr. Pinckney and Mr. Adams, will never establish harmony, the people cannot, nor should they extend their confidence towards them, they never will believe their liberties secure, in the hands of men deservedly rendered obnoxious. If there is a man in America who at the present crisis, can restore harmony to the empire, and give stability to the constitution-it is Mr. Jefferson.
I have no idea of sacrificing the liberties of my country, to mistaken compliance towards divines; when Philip meditated the destruction of Greece, he commenced his career by corrupting the oracles -such was the insidious policy of the tyrant, who triumphed at Cheronx; it reads a powerful lesson to the people, and with resistless energy, forbids them to render religion the fatal instrument of ambition. God forbid! that the British party-the sycophants of Liston, and the supporters of the infamous Cobbett(20) should give as a president. People of America, patriots and electors, be assured that it is not religion, but the state which is in jeopardy Jefferson, who has been the object of so much unmanly but unavailing calumny, is one of the strongest bulwarks of its safety; remember that at this moment, your liberty, your constitution, your families, your children, the fate of the empire, depend upon the rectitude of your decision. May the God of heaven, infuse a portion of his grace and wisdom into your hearts, and understandings, and direct you to the final resolution, most conducive to his glory, and to the prosperity of our beloved country.
P O S T S C R I P T
Now, Americans, after what you have seen and heard, can you doubt the existence of a British party hostile to your constitution? Only compare facts and circumstances together; if you suffer yourselves to be imposed upon you will deserve the consequences. First, you have seen Mr. Adams openly write in favour of aristocratical principles. Secondly, you have seen Mr. Hamilton propose a real monarchical constitution. Thirdly, the proceedings of that convention have been kept a profound secret. What could have been the reason of that extraordinary measure, except to shut out the light of inquiry? Do you think the dungeons of the Inquisition would have been barred and bolted, if its proceedings had been favourable to the public good? Fourthly, you have seen the British printer, Peter Porcupine, openly countenanced and protected at the seat of government. Fifthly, you have seen his successor, Mr. Fenno, tread in his very footsteps. Sixthly, you have seen this very Fenno, who is privy to the whole secret, openly recommend a British alliance, and a monarchy in substance. Seventhly, you have witnessed the very extraordinary disappointment occasioned by the negociation with France. Can you possibly account for this circumstance, without believing that the British interests are preferred to those of America? Eighthly, you have seen the infamous Cobbett, immediately afterwards, abuse your president and your government, and take his flight. Ninthly, you have seen Fenno join in his abuse, and openly ridicule your independence and your revolution. Mr. Liston goes home, finding that he can be of no service at present. Eleventhly, this very Peter Porcupine was recommended by Lord Auckland as a clerk to Mr. Jefferson, who was at that time secretary of state. Could this have been for any other reason than to give that wretch an opportunity of betraying the secrets of the office to his friends and employers the British; and, Twelfthly, you have the evidence of Mr. Adams himself, that there is a British party in this country, and that the Pinckney's are attached to that party. He tells you expressly, that he had long known the British intrigue, and even inspected it in the diplomatic appointment of Pinckney. Yet Mr. Adams, knowing all these things, remained connected with those men, until there is every reason to believe that they endeavoured to shake him off, to make room for a person upon whom they could place more dependence. But this is not all the evidence, there is more behind the curtain. I recommend the perusal of Fenno's pamphlet, as a correct index to the designs of the British faction. After all this evidence, is it possible that any American whig, should withhold his suffrages from Mr. Jefferson?
(1) Why should we read history without profiting by it? Ambition and tyranny have always been fond of assuming the masque of religion and making instruments of judges and divines. Cromwell the usurper was a detestible hypocrite. We have already one judge who rivals Jefferies or Tresilian. We have more than one minister to match a Wolsey or a Laud.
(2) Dr. D. and Dr. S. and Dr. L. and Mr. M. cum multus aliis, will please to attend to this sentiment; indeed I could wish it were possible for them to peruse the whole of my pamphlet with candour.
(3) The reader is only referred to Mosheims. Ecclesiastical History, he will find that no imagination is capable of poutraying the picture in colours too high or glowing.
(4) Would to God they feel for themselves with equal sincerity!
(5) When a church becomes directly or indirectly connected with a state, it may still retain its external form and appearance, but Christianity no longer remains, the heavenly virtues become extinct, and the pure spirit of piety disgusted by its avarice, ambition and impiety takes wings and flies to heaven. Nothing, nothing is left but a state without liberty and a church without religion.
(6) What are we to think of the religion of those divines, who are the advocates of Mr. H of the man who had the cruelty publicly to wound and insult the feelings of his family, and to publish and glory in his shame? The confessions of JJ. Rosseau, the philosopher and citizen of Geneva, are nothing to those of our American youth. Our hero's apology for adultery stands unrivaled in ancient or modern language. Nathan the prophet had the courage to rebuke the Lord's anointed for a similar offence; but some of our clergymen generously excuse the frailties of their favourite party ringleader. There are some books which should never get out of print: The pamphlet detailing the love of Alexander and the fair Maria should stand as an eternal monument of the licentious manners of the age. Remember reader, that Alexander is a husband and a father and some people say a Christian. Sed quere debit. Nothing can prove the insincerity of such reverend defenders of religion more demonstrably than their advocating this man.
(7) To shew that this is his meaning, let us take his own words, together with t other parts of the sentence connected with them, "The establishment of the instan cited by M. de Voltaire (says Mr. Jefferson) of the growth of shells unattached animal bodies, would have been that of his theory. But he has not established it. He has not left it on ground so respectable as to have rendered it an object of enquiry the literati of his own country. Abandoning the fact therefore, the three hypotheses a equally unsatisfactory; and we must be contented to acknowledge that this great ph nomenon is as yet unsolved, ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote fro the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong." Now to wh does such observation relate? To philosophical theories and hypotheses, and not to t deluge or any other truth of revelation. By the same mode of juggling I could extra deistical sentiments from the writings of the apostles.
(8) I would tell Mr. Jefferson they are not "prejudices."
(9) Notes on Virginia, p. 17;.
(10) Dr. Johnson.
(11) If Dr. Linn should be the author of the pamphlet, I admire his invention, but cannot commend his sagacity. The next time he writes the tales of ancient times, I would advise him to be less particular as to the minutia:. His story would have been told better if it had been confined to generals; at present it has not the appearance of plausibility. The colloquial form was rather unfortunate. Such a dialogue could only have been manufactured in the doctors closet-it favours strongly of romance. Man of sin, Belial hath sent unto thee his lying spirit.
(12) The more I reflect upon the subject, the more I am convinced the story is incredible; and yet it is possible, that in the course of conversation, an expression somewhat similar may have been used in the most innocent and laudable point of view. Those who recollect the intolerable avarice of the clergy, and particularly in Italy, of which Mazzei was a native; those who remember the millions and millions which were torn from the wretched people, to purchase baubles to decorate the church of "our Lady at Lorenzo," would not be surprized, if in a conversation between the Italian and the patriot, that the latter should, by an easy association, with honest warmth, and yet without irreverence, have adverted to the circumstance of our Saviour's being laid in a manger. Expressions equally innocent have been tortured into guilt, when laid upon the rack of an enemy.
It was a part of the eternal dispensations of Providence-it was the choice of our blessed Lord to be seen in a manger-it was intended as an everlasting monument of his humility. Christus habet multos ministros sed paucos imitatores. The cross of Christ, the stumbling block of the Jews, and foolishness to the Greeks is the Christians glory. What, shall a minister of the gospel be ashamed of the cross, or offended at the mention of the manger!
(13) Dr. Linn or whoever is the author of the pamphlet, is determined that Mr. Jefferson shall be a deist or atheist at all events. After exhausting his whole budget with respect to Mr. Jefferson, he asserts, that Mr. Nobody, a pupil of Mr. Jefferson, once upon a time, used an atheistical expression, and sagaciously concludes that Mr. Jefferson is therefore an atheist! Now who is this Mr. Nobody? Mr. Jefferson keeps no school or academy, how can he have pupils? The good doctor is a wonderful logician; admitting that his premises are true, by what singular process does he derive his conclusion?
If any man affronts or opposes the doctor, to be sure he must be a deist. His reverence must find this practice of calling hard names very convenient, as it may stand in the place of argument. Let the following anecdote serve as a specimen of his peculiarity. The doctor, like many other men, being willing to earn his money as cheap as possible, was in the habit of preaching the same sermon very frequently; some of the congregation, wishing to hear something new, petitioned the consistory upon the subject; the doctor, instead of meeting the application openly, endeavoured to parry it, by observing upon the character of the applicants. Such a man was such a thing, and such a man was a deist. One of the proscribed meeting the doctor in the street told him he did not take it kind; the doctor with a very good countenance turned it off by saying, he, good soul, did not mean any harm, and inviting the injured person to his house, assured him they should be very good friends again!!!
(14) Hypocrisy has become a fashionable vice. God alone can separate the sheep from the wolves. Who would have believed that an eminent judge would have become a preacher, or Governeur M- a sincere convert to Christianity. It is said, that a very illustrious personage, when at Philadelphia, was for some time in the habit of hearing Dr. Priestly, until his friends admonished him that he would sacrifice his popularity -there was certainly more policy than sincerity in the discontinuance of that habit.
(16) We have the character of the two Mr. Pinckney's from no less a man than President Adams himself-This illustrious personage has written as follows:
"The Duke of Leeds once enquired of me very kindly, after his classmates in Westminster school, the two Mr. Pinckney's, which induces me to believe, that our new ambassador has many powerful old friends in England.
Again, "Knowing, as I do, the long intrigue, and suspecting, as I do, much British influence in the appointment, were I in any executive department, I should take the liberty to keep a vigilant eye upon them," &c.
Two things are plainly observable in this letter, first, that there is actually a British party in this country, and secondly, that the Pinckney's belong to that party. When this appears from the testimony of Mr. Adams himself, whose information must be correct, who can shut his eyes against conviction? And vet one of these men is a candidate for the presidency!
(17 Most of my readers will recollect the consulship of Julius Caesar and Bibulus, which was emphatically termed, the consulship of Julius and Caesar. Buonaparte, or his friend the Abbe, who had so many constitutions, of all shapes, in his pigeon holes, appears to have copied from that period in the Roman history, with the addition of a single cypher. Thus in Rome it stood oi, in France it stands ooi-if we should have an American Bibulus, we should, in some measure, approach the Spanish inquisition, where the inquisitor general was concealed. How terrible would be our situation, if our Cxsar should be covered with a mantle of secrecv, and how much more so, if of that Caesar we might exclaim
Not in the regions
Of horrid hell can come, a devil more damn'd
In ills to top Macbeth.
(18) It is seldom that we correctly appreciate the talents of a man. I think that those of Mr. H though they are respectable, have been overrated. Such circumstance is sometimes dangerous. The vulgar look upon such a man with awe, and he is furnished not only with incentives, but also the opportunity of becoming a leader. I scarcely know a branch of knowledge in which he has not superiors. The late Mr. Duer did, and Mr. Gallatin certainly does surpass him in finance. And as to oratory, in which he is supposed to stand preeminent, he is rather remarkable for circumlocution, than strength or perspicuity-he may boast of the copia verborum-words numerous as the autumnal leaves, which strew the brooks at Vallombrosa. He is not a disciple of the school of Cicero, a Quinctilian-of his elocution it may be said, "Corpus sine pectore."
(19) The friends of a certain great man have lately been fond of comparing him to Buonaparte, for what reason we can readily divine. Of that man the Aurora has publicly said, that on his late visit to New-England, after drinking his favourite toast, "a strong government" he positively declared, that "if Mr. Pinckney is not elected president, a revolution will be the consequence, and that within the next four years he will lose his head, or be the leader of a triumphant army!!!" There is no other difference between such an expression and treason, than what exists between the meditation and execution of paracide. Such declarations have been copied in the public prints. I have waited for a denial of them, but have never been gratified. Shall the accusation be taken sub silentio[?] Friends of religion-ministers of the gospel, are you content to submit to the sacrifice of your civil constitution, and view the blood of your countrymen smoaking upon the earth? O shame-if there is a villain in America capable of such enormous baseness, by heaven he shall "lose his head." Cataline in the bosom of the Senate, or Cataline concealed is a formidable enemy-driven to desperation he is wretched, imbecile, and contemptible.
(20) That the British have designs upon the government of this country, is a fact beyond the reach of doubt. When Mr. Jefferson was secretary of state, Lord Auckland had the presumption to recommend the infamous Cobbett as a clerk in his office; for what purpose? as a spy to betray the secrets of it. The wretch went to Philadelphia, buzzed about the government, and filled the country with his detestible effusions. Disappointed at length by the explosion in the cabinet, and ruined by the righteous verdict, in the suit of Dr. Rush, he blackguards the President and runs away. His successor, poor Fenno does a similar thing. Not all the democrats in the community have abused Mr. Adams with half the virulence of this young man; it is ludicrous yet somewhat provoking, to see such men as Fenno and Porcupine bedaub each other with praise. Is bene ese. Such is the abominable service in which Christianity is to be pressed.
Source of Information:
Political Sermons of the American Founding Era, 1730-1805, Edited by Ellis Sandoz, Liberty press, pp. 1481-1528
MAY 7, 1800
You have been informed of the loss of our Election in this City. It is also known that we have been unfortunate throughout Long Island & in West Chester. According to the Returns hitherto, it is too probable that we lose our Senators for this District.
The moral certainty therefore is that there will be an Anti-federal Majority in the Ensuing Legislature, and this very high probability is that this will bring Jefferson into the Chief Magistracy; unless it be prevented by the measure which I shall now submit to your consideration, namely the immediate calling together of the existing Legislature.
I am aware that there are weighty objections to the measure; but the reasons for it appear to me to outweigh the objections. And in times like these in which we live, it will not do to be over scrupulous. It is easy to sacrifice the substantial interests of society by a strict adherence to ordinary rules.
In observing this, I shall not be supposed to mean that any thing ought to be done which integrity will forbid--but merely that the scruples of delicacy and propriety, as relative to a common course of things, ought to yield to the extraordinary nature of the crisis. They ought not to hinder the taking of a legal and constitutional step, to prevent an Atheist in Religion and a Fanatic in politics from getting possession of the helm of the State.
You Sir know in a great degree the Anti-federal party, but I fear that you do not know them as well as I do. Tis a composition indeed of very incongruous materials but all tending to mischief--some of them to the overthrow of the Government by stripping it of its due energies others of them to a Revolution after the manner of Buonaparte. I speak from indubitable facts, not from conjectures & inferences.
In proportion as the true character of this party is understood is the force of the considerations which urge to every effort to disappoint it. And it seems to me that there is a very solemn obligation to employ the means in our power.
The calling of the Legislature will have for object the choosing of Electors by the people in Districts. This (as Pennsylvania will do nothing) will insure a Majority of votes in the U States for Federal Candidates.
The measure will not fail to be approved by all the Federal Party; while it will no doubt be condemned by the opposite. As to its intrinsic nature it is justified by unequivocal reasons for public safety.
The reasonable part of the world will I believe approve it. They will see it as a proceeding out of the common course but warranted by the particular nature of the Crisis and the great cause of social order.
If done the motive ought to be frankly avowed. In your communication to the Legislature they ought to be told that Temporary circumstances had rendered it probable that without their interposition the executive authority of the General Government would be transfered to hands hostile to the system heretofore pursued with so much success and dangerous to the peace happiness and order of the Country--that under this impression from facts convincing to Your own mind you had thought it your duty to give the existing Legislature an opportunity of deliberating whether it would not be proper to interpose and endeavour to prevent so great an evil by referring the choice of Electors to the People distributed into Districts.
In weighing this suggestion you will doubtless bear in mind that Popular Governments must certainly be overturned & while they endure prove engines of mischief--if one party will call to its aid all the resources which Vice can give and if the other, however pressing the emergency, confines itself within all the ordinary forms of delicacy and decorum.
The legislature can be brought together in three weeks. So that there will be full time for the objects; but none ought to be lost.
Think well my Dear Sir of this proposition. Appreciate the extreme danger of the Crisis; and I am unusually mistaken in my view of the matter, if you do not see it right and expedient to adopt the measure."
Respectfully & Affecty Yrs. A Hamilton
Source of Information:
Letter to John Jay from Alexander Hamilton, New York May 7. 1800, Autographed Letter, Signed, Columbia University Libraries. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, Vol. XXIV, November 1799-June 1800, edited by Harold C. Syrett, Columbia University Press, New York, (1976) pp 464-466.
MAY 28, 1800
GENERAL + AURORA + ADVERTISER
WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 1800
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TO THE EDITOR
Those who do not know the unblushing effrontery of a thorough faced federalist, are in danger sometimes of being raised by falsehoods so gross and daring, that a man of common honesty would never suspect another forgery.
Mr. Jefferson in his notes on Virginia has expressed himself strongly in favor of religious toleration; the bigots took occasion to call him a deist, and that hireling marplot of the party, Fenno, has been ordered to refer to the passage and call Mr. Jefferson an atheist! Some of your correspondents a few days ago, very properly noticed that the pious and immaculate Mr. Robespiere accused Guad t of atheism? Those who have in reality the least religion, generally profess the most, like the [?] going Robespierre. And it is well known that there are not more indecent contemners of all religion, then the canting leaders of the federal party, who make no scruple of saying in private that religion is only necessary to keep the ignorant herd (the swinish multitude) in order, but that a gentleman and a man of education need only pretend to it. Yet theses are the men who hire the lunatic Fenno to accuse Mr. Jefferson of Atheism!
Let these ignorant calumniators produce, if they can, one expression in Mr. Jefferson's works, or any part of his life or conversation that looks like Atheism! Is every man an Atheist who does not make a public parade of his religion, or who does not abuse his fellow citizen for being a very different persuasion? I presume we shall not have many FAST-DAYS during his Presidency as we have had nor perhaps will they be so necessary when our war measures are abandoned, our
peculation diminished, our taxes lessened, and means taken to discharge the national debt. Had teh federal party continued in power for 4 years longer (which God forbid) FAST-DAYS and cheap soup- shops would have been quite common. No--an upright, a republican administration, will have no occasion to cajole the people with the solemn mockery of political religion: they leave this to such church-going sinners as Mr. Fenno and his gang to recommend to the pious federalists, who laugh at religion in private, who cant about it in public, and accuse of Atheism all those who are content to take for their mottos, "by their fruits shall ye know them." A motto which we must do Mr. Harper the justice to acknowledge, he seems very much inclined to adopt.
Another accusation these fallen angels bring against Mr. Jefferson, is the he will annihilate the national debt. Certainly Mr. Jefferson cannot be a friend to a national debt; especially a national debt originating in certificate-swindling, and increased and supported by the mad extravagance of unnecessary was measures, which have nearly brought this infant country to a state of insolvency. Such a debt ought to be annihilated, but not by imitating the example of the six percent certificate jobbers, who certainly would have no reasons to complain. No--Mr. Jefferson is incapable of being the promoter of public swindling: if the debt is to be annihilated the holders may rest assured it will be annihilated by payment. The conceit of discharging it in any other way could only enter into the unprincipled brains pf those who make the accusation. Such men only could be capable of it.
Source of Information:
General Aurora Advertiser, May 28, 1800. Jan. 1, 1800 -Dec. 31, 1800 MFILM N.S. 12516 HF582.A9
JUNE 3, 1800
GENERAL + AURORA + ADVERTISER
TUESDAY, JUNE 3, 1800
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As it is said of Satan, when cast out of heaven, that "even while falling be blasphemed." So it may now be said of the failing aristocratic part in the United States knowing their reighn to be short- lived, they appear, by their proscriptions and prosecutions determined to do all their mischief in their power. Justice Chase, the pious and religious judge Chase, is gone to Virginia, where he says, if a virtuous jury can be collected, he'll punish CALLENDER with a vengeance. The waters of Susquehanna have not the virtue of the Jordan, or the Judge would have been cleansed of his aristocratic mania.
Source of Information:
General Aurora Advertiser, June 3, 1800 Jan. 1, 1800 -Dec. 31, 1800 MFILM N.S. 12516 HF582.A9
JUNE 28, 1800
SATURDAY EVENING, JUNE 28.
ORIGINAL LETTER FROM DR. FRANKLIN
[The following is an original. It will excite, it is presumed, no ordinary degree of attention. It will be read by some with eagerness, because it is frm the pen of Dr. FRANKLIN; and, in the opinion if his disciples, it is no superstition to venerate every thing from him, as a precious relique. It will be read by others as a curious specimen of the Doctor's Liberality of sentiment on religious subjects. May will be captivated and deceived, by the blandishments of a plausible and affected benevolence; and the fewwill discern at once the germ of deism, the embryo of rancour against the church establishments, the feverish symptoms of a malcontent; and those daring doctrines "at which both the priest and philosopher may tremble."]
Philad. June 6:b, 1753.
I received your kind letter of the 2nd inst. And am glad that you increase in strength; I hope that you will continue mending till you recover your former health and firmness. Let me know whether you still use the cold bath, and the effect it has.
As to the kindness you mention, I wish it could have been of more service to you. But if it had, the only thinks I should desire is, that you would always be equally ready to serve any other person that may need you assistance, and so let good offices go round, for mankind all of a family.
For my part, when I am employed in serving others, I do not look upon myself as conferring favors, but as paying debts. In my travels, and since my settlement I have received much kindness from men to whom I shall never have the opportunity of making the least direct return. And numberless mercies from God, who is infinitely above being benefitted by our services. These kindnesses from men I can therefore only return on their fellow-men and I can only shew my gratitude for those mercies from God, by a readiness to help his other children and my brethren. For I do not think that thanks and compliments, though repeated weekly, can discharge our real obligations to each other, and much less to our Creator. You will see in this my notion of good works, that I am far from expecting, as you suppose to merit heaven by the. By Heaven we understand a state of happiness, infinite in degree, and eternal in duration: I can do nothing to deserve such rewards. He that for giving a draught of water to a thirsty person should expect to be paid with a good plantation, would be modest in his demands compared with those who think they deserve Heaven for the little good they do on earth. Even the mix'd imperfect pleasures we enjoy in this world are rather from God's goodness than our merit; how much more hapiness of heaven. For my part, I have not vanity to think I deserve it, the folly to expect it, nor the ambition to define it; but content myself in submitting to the will and disposal of that God who made me, who has hirtheto preserved and blessed me, and in whose fatherly goodness I may well confide, that he will neber make me miserable, and that even the afflictions I may at times suffer shall tend to my benefit.
The faith you mention has doubtless it's use in the world. I do not desire to see it diminished, nor would I endeavour to lessen it in any man. But I wish it were more productive of good works than I have generally seen it: I mean real good works: works of kindness, charity, mercy, and public spirit; not holiday keeping, sermon reading or hearing, performing church ceremonies, or making long prayers, filled with flatteries and compliments, despised even by wise men, and much less capable of pleasing the Deity. The worship of God is a duty, the hearing and reading of sermons may be useful, but if men rest in hearing and praying, as too many do, it is as if a tree should value itself on being watered and putting forth forth leaves, tho' it never produced any fruit. Your great Master thought much less of these outward appearances and professions than many of his modern disciples. He prefer'd the Doers of the word to meer hearers, the Son that seemingly refused to obey his father, and yet performed his commands, to him that profes'd his readiness but neglected the work; the heretical but charitable Samaritan, to the uncharitable tho' orthodox priest and fancified Levite; and those who gave food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, raiment to the naked, entertainment to the stranger, and relief to the sick, tho' they never heard his name, he declares they shall in the last day be accepted, when thos who cry Lord, Lord, who value themselves on their faith tho' great enough to perform miracles, but have neglected good works, shall be rejected. He professed he came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; which implied his modest opinion that there were some in his time so good that they need not hear him even for improvement; but now a days we have scarce a little parson that does not think it the duty of every man within his reach to set under his petty ministration; and that whoever [?] them offends God. I wish to such more humility, and to you health and happiness being
Your Friend & Servant;
Signed B. FRANKLIN
Source of Information:
The Gazette of the United States, June 28, 1800. Jan 1, 1800 to Dec 31, 1800 MFILM N.S. 10953 AP2.05
JULY 31, 1800
GENERAL + AURORA + ADVERTISER
THURSDAY, JULY 31, 1800
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FOR THE AURORA
The prolific brains of the tories in Maryland has invented a new tale to delude the people, and to persuade them to accord with the advocates of monarchy in their attemtps to involve us in wars, and destroy our public property--They have informed the Episcopalians that the Presbyterians wish to shackle them with a religious establishment, and the same sentiment is dessiminated among the Roman Catholics.
The real state of the facts would place the opinions and proceedings of the people of every sect at peace as to an establishment.
The Presbyterians very generally remain by the ancient whig and republican principles, and have been averse to political falls and addresses to President Adams on their part.
The Congregationalists of New England are not presbyterians, they are not considered as such by the latter, and they disavow the idea that they hod the same opinions, church discipline and government. The Illuminati of New England under President Dwight, have now a mode-oppressive establishment, but the Episcopalians, Methodists, and Republicans in general, resist that tyranny. And the Illuminati are alarmed and discomfitted in every part of their country. The Presybertians wished to unite in firmer bands of association, and encrease christian unity by associating in Synods and byy a general assembly with the Congregationalists--But the creed and politics of the Iluminati were so obnoxious at home and abroad, that the progress towards coalescence is small.
Some Episcopalians, nay, very many still wish for the leeks and onions, the loaves and the fishes of the union between Church and State in England.-Witness the intricacy and correspondence of many of the Episcopal Clergy with Peter Porcupine and other British printers, and their tory politics.
In the eastern states the Episcopalians have been robbed, pillaged, and oppressed in multiplied forms by the Illumanati. The colleges and schools they had founded or liberally endowed, have been wrestled out of their hands, and they are constantly, as far as possible, deprived of some of the most valuable rights in society.
The Roman Catholics are the constant theme of the anathemas of the illuminati, prayers, sermons, lectures in colleges, and conversation and plot, on the part of the Illuminati are seen and against the former.
The influence and operation of the establishments in Massachusetts, & Connecticut, led them to court President Adams.--He returned their courtesy, and there is too much reason, and too substantial evidence to believe, that he wished to take the benefit of this inclination in them, after an union of Church and State.
But like most bodies of men, they are also discontented with him, and are returning slowly to their right minds.
From these and ten thousand other arguments, we ought to inform every religious sect, of the real state of facts--of sects and parties, and then they will be convinced that under the administration of so honest and good man as Mr. Jefferson, men of every faith and clime will be happy.
His whole life and all his writings prove that he is no bigot, no tyrant, and no hypocrite.--he never canted about religion to gain popularity, to conceal arts and errors. He is the friend of all who love peace and pursue it. He has not delivered his fellow-citizen to be executed by a British court martial, while he was proclaiming falls in which the people have been excited to hate each other, and an opportunity been employed to sound the alarm of war, and hue and cry against republicanism. He has been busy in attending to the prosperity of his country, and not playing with their credulity, superstition or fanaticisms to exalt himself. For his love of peace and toleration, he has been vilified and the constant subject of abuse. His copy of the toleration law of Virginia, is a model fro every state--It is as valuable as the declaration of independence--both will do him immortal honor--He will be revered for his integrity, while those who have canted about religion and its institutions, at the hour of festivity with the adulterer, will be forgotten or severely animadverted upon.
Had President Adams attended less to tasting, and more to public accounts, religion and government, would have been better obeyed and more respected than at present.
The paths of true piety want no political direction, and if any body of christians revere their religion or respect their rights they ought to guard against the insiduous arts of bigotry and hypocricy.
Some men are weak enough to sacrifice their country to their bigotry--To make shipwreck of the consciences and rights to please tyrants--Such I trust is not the disposition of the people of Maryland.
Source of Information:
General Aurora Advertiser, July 31, 1800. Jan. 1, 1800 -Dec. 31, 1800 MFILM N.S. 12516 HF582.A9
AUGUST 1, 1800
GENERAL + AURORA + ADVERTISER
THURSDAY, AUGUST 1, 1800
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President Adams at the Old South meeting house in Boston, with the school committee, and an old tory Episcopal clergyman--hear Americans and be astonished!
The Old South meeting house was made a riding-school by the British during siege of Boston.
How must the republicans have been wounded on this day, whrn the President--school committee, and tory parson assembled? What principles of patriotism, and respect for the valor of their fathers and friends, who feel on the heights around Boston, were brought to the grateful reflection of the youths on that occasion--when they saw our chief magistrate walking cheek by jowl, with an old tory a would be bishop. All the preaching of their ministers, after they had fled from monarchy and prelacy, must however have appeared to them as idle tales.
An union of old whigs and old tories of church and state--of crowns and mitres; desperate must be that cause, which toasts ole proscribed patroist, and associates before our citizens, and our youth in temples which have been violated by the British with those that brought armies, war, and the small-pox to spread and destruction through the country--with old tores who retain all their former [?] and monarchical principles--whose SONS AND THEMSELVES ARE AT THIS HOUR IN THE British pay--as late missionaries, midshipman, and those who saved their property while they joined with those who ravaged our coast, and squandered our substance.
Well may the republican clergy hear the President of the united States tell them tho their face that they "shall receive no favors from him," when they do the errand of benevolence, and the duties of their function to him in person.
Source of Information:
General Aurora Advertiser, August 1, 1800. Jan. 1, 1800 -Dec. 31, 1800 MFILM N.S. 12516 HF582.A9
AUGUST 18, 1800
GENERAL + AURORA + ADVERTISER
MONDAY, AUGUST 1, 1800
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FRIENDS OF RELIGION
THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES
THE Religious Societies of Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, who are professors of the principles of PEACE, are particulary benefitted by the schism, which has taken place in the New England administration, and party in the Federal Government.--There is yet in New England a last legal right in the ministers of the Congregational Church to which Mr. Adams, Mr. Pickering, Mr. Wolcott, and Judges Ellsworth and and Cushing belong, to exact from the members of all other Religious Societies within their congregational limits a contribution or Church tax to support them. These ministers have it in their power to seize the milk cows. working oxen, horses, and other property of a Baptist, a Mennonist, a Presbyterian, a Quaker, an Episcopalian, a Roman Catholic, a Lutheran, a Calvinist, a Methodist, &c. to pay the Church Dues and to support them.--The English Baptist have suffered frequently. In Pennsylvania, such a pretension would be considered, as a kind of sacrilege--for it is impiously forcing the consciences of men, upon a subject on which they are accountable to the Almighty alone. It is very extraordinary that such men as President Adams, judges Ellsworth and Cushing, secretaries Pickering, and Wolcott, governors Strong, Trumbuil, and Gilman, senators Tracy, Hillhouse, Dexter, Foster, Sedgwick, &c. Have not, long since, openly come forward and exerted their abilities and influence to do away so unwarrantable law. It is well remembered, that many laws were passed in New England to fine, imprison, whip and banish Quakers: some were even put to death. It was made punishable tp lodge or feed them: they called it harbouring, as if those men of genuine religion and morality were malefactors. The Congregational Church is spread over all five New England states: It is extending into New York, and out county of Luzeren, the Western reserve of Connecticut, Muskingum settlement on the Ohio, and the Mississippi government. If the consciences of the rulers of New England will suffer them to maintain so cruel and impious a Church Establishment there we may be sure they only want the power to occasion them to do it every where.--The youth educated in their seminaries and churches, are extending, as ministers and teachers, throughout the union, and carrying with them those dispositions.
It may be asked what Mr. Adams and the other New Englandmen in the general government have to do with this; and what can those individuals do to effect a change. The ready answer is, let them do as Mr. Jefferson did, in 1776, immediately on the commencement of the American revolution. Virginia then had an established church that had such exclusive rights. Mr. Jefferson (though of that established church) introduced and carried a bill in the legislature by which all religious societies were made equal to and independent of each other. None could be taxed by another, nor by government. Tehy were, and are forever, to regulate themselves, and each man and church is to make up their own religious expenses in their own way. Mr. Jefferson had his eye fixed, immoveably, upon the great original example set to all the world by William Penn. The Quakers, Lutherans, Reformed Churched, Mennonists, Moravians, Dunkers, Baptists, Catholics, &c. Know the blessed plan of perfect and equal religious liberty laid in Pennsylvania by the great and good Penn. This plan Mr. Jefferson introduced, in its full extent, 20 years ago, into Virginia; & Mr. Adams ought to have done the same in New-England. Either the clergy wioll not let him, which is dangerous to religious liberty, or Mr. Adams has not the same zeal for religious liberty as Mr. Jeffrson. It is remarkable, that Mr. Adams, who has written more voluminously thean any other American about the British constitution, never finds faults with its containing a proud, rich, and luxurious established church, with its revenues of twenty millions of dollars per annum. These are very important points for people to consider; especially those socitieties who profess peace as a conscientious religious principle. Nothing can make a public man so useful and valuable to them, as his thinking and resolutely acting in favour of a complete and perfect enjoyment of the rights of conscience and religious liberty.
The people of America have generally been so incredulous, that they have never believed what was even suggested before the evil confirmed what they were told.--President Adams at the Episcopal church in Baltimore, with Judge Chase and the British clergy, and at the old riding school of the British army in Boston with an obnoxious episcopal clergyman, is an occurrence which nothing, but the change of public affairs can account for.
In 1792, republicans in France dethroned King Louis XVI and disestablished the Catholic Church (France's First Estate). In 17')8, republicans in Ireland sought to expel Britain's King George III and disestablish the Church of England. In 1800, Republicans in the United States want to unseat "His Rotundity" and disestablish the Congregational Church!
Source of Information:
General Aurora Advertiser, August 18. 1800. Jan. 1, 1800 -Dec. 31, 1800 MFILM N.S. 12516 HF582.A9
AUGUST 18, 1800
Tonight, in the Gazette of the United States:
"A great part of the abuse of the Administrators of the Federal Government issues from jail-birds--From Cooper, through the sewer of the Aurora; and from Callender, who dates his productions from "Richmond gaol." Such fellows, thus situated, it is true, have prescriptive right to rail at government:
'For all goes wrong in Church and State,
Seen through perspective of the grate.' "
Source of Information:
American Aurora, A Democratic-Republican Returns. The Suppressed History of Our Nation's Beginnings and The Heroic Newspaper That Tried To Report It., by Richard N. Rosenfeld, St. Martin's Press New York, 1997, pp 839-840.
AUGUST 22, 1800
From Benjamin Rush
Philadelphia August 22nd: 1800
The following thoughts have lately occurred to me. To whom can they be communicated with so much propriety as to that man, who has so uniformly distinguished himself by an Attachment to republican forms of government?
In the Constitution of the United states titles are wisely forbidden, and pensions for public Services are considered as equally improper by many of our Citizens. There is a mode of honouring distinguished worth which is Cheap, and which if directed properly, would stimulate to greater exploits of patriotism, than all the high sounding titles of a German, or the expensive pensions of a British Court. It consists in calling states, Counties, towns, Forts, and Ships of War by the names of meri who have deserved well of their Country. To prevent an improper application of those names, the power of confirming them should be exercised only by our Governments. No man should have a town, County, Fort or Ship, called by his name 'till after his death; and to prevent any Ambiguity in the names thus given, the Act of government which confers them, should mention the person's families, places of former abode, and the Services, civil, military, philosophical or humane which they rendered to their Country. From the connection between words, and ideas, much good might be done. A map of a state, and the history of travels through the united States, would fill the mind with respect for departed worth, and inspire exertions to imitate it. Some Advantage likewise would arise to the public, by preventing the Confusion in business which arises from the multiplication of the same names in different States, and sometimes in the same State, and which is the unavoidable consequence of those names being given by Individuals. An end would likewise be put by the practice which is here recommended, to those indications of Vanity which appear in the numerous names of towns given by their founders after themselves, and which too frequently suggest other ideas than those of public or even private Virtue.
The Citizens of Boston in the republican years of 1776 and 1177 rejected the royal names of several Streets, and substituted In the room of them, names that comported with the new, and republican State of their town. Why has not Virginia imitated her example? If I mistake not, most of your old Counties bear the names or titles of several successive British Royal families, They are the disgraceful remains of your former degraded State as men, and Should by all means be changed for the names of those worthies on whose characters death has placed his Seal, and thereby removed beyond the power of forfeiting thier well earned fame.
A Spirit of moderation, and mutual forbearance begins to revive among our Citizens. What the issue of the present single and double elective Attractions in our parties will be, is difficult to determin. As yet appearances are turbid. Much remains to be precipitated, before the public mind can become clear.--As a proof of the growing moderation of our Citizens I shall mention two facts. Mr Bingham lamented your supposed death in the most liberal and pathetic terms, and Judge Peters spoke of you yesterday at his table in my hearing, in the most respectful and even affectionate manner. This is between ourselves.
You promised me when we parted, to read Paley's last work, and to send me your religious Creed.--I have always considered Christianity as the strong ground of Republicanism. Its Spirit is opposed, not only to the Splendor, but even to the very forms of monarchy, and many" of its precepts have for their Objects, republican liberty and equality, as well as simplicity, integrity and Economy in government. It is only necessary for Republicanism to ally itself to the christian Religion, to overturn all the corrupted political and religious institutions in the world.
I have lately heard that Lord Kaims became so firm a Beleiver in Christianity some years before he died, as to dispute with his former disciples in its favor. Such a mind as Kaims' could only yeild to the strongest evidence, especially as his prejudices were on the other Side of the Question.
Sir John Pringle had lived near 60 years in a State of indifference to the truth of the Christian Religion.--He devoted himself to the Study of the Scriptures in the evening of his life, and became a christian. It was remarkable that he became a decided Republican" at the same time. It is said this change in his political principles exposed him to the neglect of the Royal family, to whom he was Physician, and drove him from London, to end his days in his native Country .
Our City continues to be healthy, and business is carried on with its usual Spirit. It is yet uncertain whether we shall enjoy an exemption from the yellow fever. It is in favor of this hope, that vegetation has assumed its ancient and natural appearance, that all our fruits (the peach excepted) are perfect--that we have much fewer inserts than in our sicklv vears. and that the few diseases we have had, in general put on a milder type than they have done since the year 1793.
An ingenious work has lately arrived here by Dr Danvin,--full of original matter upon Botany and Agriculture. Dr Barton speaks of it in high terms. A translation of Sonnoni's travels into Egypt is likewise for sale in our city. They will be memorable from the information they gave to Buonparte in that Country. They contain a good deal of physical matter particularly upon the diet, diseases, and medicine of the inhabitants. A Dieu! From Dear Sir your sincere old friend of 1775,
RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 5 Sep. 11800] and so recorded in Summary Journal of Letters (hereafter referred to as SJL).
Source of Information:
Letter from Benjamin Rush to Thomas Jefferson. pp 317 Jefferson's extracts
Source of Information:
The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 2nd series, Jefferson's Extracts from the Gospels, "The Philosophy of Jesus" and "The Life and Morals of Jesus." Dickinson W. Adams, Editor, Princeton University Press, Princeton, N J, (1983) pp 405-06)
SEPTEMBER 9, 1800
TUESDAY EVENING, SEPTEMBER 9.
Extract of a letter of the United States
"I understand from some of the newspapers that Mr. Abercrombie, one of your Episcopal Clergymen, has in a sermon, cautioned the people against "ever placing at the head of civil society a man, who is not an avowed Christian, and a exemplary believer in our Holy Religion;" in consequence of which, he was drawn down the vengeance of al the Jaocbins, and among and among their rest, their redoubtable champion, Duane. Why Mr. Abercombie should be attacked more then than the other Clergymen, I cannot conceive. Do not the Clergy in Pennsylvania generally do the same? I confess I think it their duty, and I remember reading an Extract from a Sermon preached by Dr. Wharton of Burlington, on the 4th day of July last, in which he pointed on this subject, and alluded to Mr. Jeffersonpersonally, yet against Dr. Wharton, nothing has been uttered, and here, we are always cautioned by our Pastors against such characters as Mr. J. and no person, in his senses thinks of objecting to it. In my opinion, the station in which clerical Gentlemen are placed' compels them to oppose all irrelegious and immoral people, but [?] all Atheists and Deists."
Source of Information:
The Gazette of The United States, September 9, 1800. JAN 1, 1800 TO DEC 31, 1800 MFILM N.S. 10953 AP2.05
SEPTEMBER 9, 1800
GENERAL + AURORA + ADVERTISER
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 1800
__________ ___________ _________ _________ ________
H Y P O C R I S Y
We have thrown some light on the combinations of hypocritical protessors of religion, with artful and ambitious politicians in the New-England states; and shown how men of such character as Tracy have been in the face of every private and personal motive, and against every wise moral and true policy promoted to duties, for which he was neither competent nor fit. We shall turn our attention to the same subject southward; after a few important observations.
The British government among many other proofs of its great sanctity and bevevolence, has granted to a society in England, a considerable sum of money. This society is declared to be established for propagating the gospel in foreign parts, and worth and pious men have belonged to it. Certainly the institution, like all others of moral purpose has been abused, and its funds and its missionaries have been frequently employed in the service of the devil instead of God.
The government of England though the influence of the clergy of their established church, and the donatiors which they make, have the power of recommending persons for the mission and of allowances for missionaries already in foreign parts; and LARGE SUMS on this account are remitted to various parts of the world!
By this means they obtain more then the [?] object of promoting Christianity; they secure adherants and emissaries, bound by gratitude and interests to promote their views.
It is not to be supposed that America could be neglected on so interesting a dispensation of [?]! An English Bishop, one of the tutors of Mr. Pitt, has been sent out to Canada, with the title of my lord bishop of Quebc. There was already a bishop at that place, but he was a Roman Catholic bishop; and tho' the pious British military could send a regiment of English Protestants to be the body guearsd of his Holiness the Pope; their tender concern for the poor people of canada, could not be satisfied in suffering a Roman catholic bishop to retain his dignity in that colony. The son of the mother church was obliged to relinquish his title to the lawn sleeves of that church of which George III is the head!
A lasw was passed in that British province also prohibiting American clergymen from holding livings or parishes in Canada. This no doubt was mere benevolence, as no man could be adequate to the duty in Canada who was not ordained in England. This is sound orthodox English doctrine!
Bt the same role of analogy no doubt it was deemed incumbent to send a number of English clergymen to preach the gospel among us poor deluded Americans. We find that this has been done with exactly the same view in the United States as in Canada, for the greatest body of Roman Catholics in any state being in that of Maryland, we find three-fourths of the protestant episcopal clergymen in that state are Englishmen.
The liberality of our habits before the contamination of the late infamous alien law, might have tolerated these [?] according to their moral and civil deportment; but we find these gentlemen active secretly and openly in our politics. The good sense of the country, however, is sufficient to [?] the partial effect which such attempts may produce, but the evil lies deeper. There is reason to believe that this MISSIONARY FUND is employed to corrupt needy clergymen of native birth. We need not designate any particular person: but certainly having actual the knowledge wich Mr. Adams has long known and declared, that the British government had a strong party here; and having the authority of Mr. Jenkinson, well known and declared by Mr. Adams, Oliver Wolcott, &c. That a party was formed in America devoted to Britain; knowing, that although in the ordinary course of nature the pensions to American loyalists would decrease, but finding that they encrease annually, it would be utter stupidity to shut our eyes agaisnt the evidence that coincided with all these monstrous facts.
If we see a clergyman of the English Episcopal Church a loud declaimer in favor of monarchy.
If we see such a clergyman particularly loud, ardent, and enthusiastic in favor of the British monarchy.
If we see such a clergyman uniformly hostile to republican government, and in veterate even to malice and slander against republican characters.
If we see such a clergyman the constant inmate, supporter, advocate, and friend of an avowed British subject and enemy of our form of government.
If we see such a clergyman closetted where Liston, the British minister is closetted.
And, it we hear him declare at a public table that America must have a monarch.
Is it uncharitable to suppose this man is leagued with the enemies of our government' is it unfair to suspect him of corruption?
If the man has caused the Church to be deserted by his violence against more then one public character, who has differed from him on religious opinions.
If he has reduced himself to need by this zeal, and suddendly arousing himself, renews the evil course and prostitution of his function, which had reduced him to penury--are we to attribute this renewed zeal to the meek and lowly charity of the Gospel or to temptations of the known corrupter?
These propositions and questions we shall leave to the consideration of those who think upon events that pass in review before us; we shall turn our attention to another part of the subject.
Toleration in religion, complete and perfect, was not known, except among the Hindus, in any part of the earth before our revolution. In Pennsylvania, a few years before our revolution, the greatest degree of toleration existed; but even here, in this city of bortherhood, the writer of this article, knows that there was a speciesof persecution attached to the profession of the Roman Catholic creed; Papistwas a term of reproach as constant as Democrat or jacobin in the mouth of a good federalist two years ago! Our happy revolution placed all religions and all men upon an equality. In the state of Virginia before the war, a Quaker on going into that state a third time was liable to the punishment of death! A Roman Catholic clergyman dared not to go even once within its boundary to exercise an office of charity! Our revolution has obliterated these impious institutions, the New-England states alone supprt intolerance. In Virginia, Mr. Jefferson has been the author and mover of those laws which put down the national church there and abolished tythes. This is a sin for which those who deal in tythes will never forgive him; this is Mr. Jefferson's crime in their eyes, although on his own estate he has provided for, maintain and frequently attends divine service, with a clergyman whose substance was before this law derived from tythes. The Roman Catholics are now building a Church in Norfolk, Virginia, and the same sect are now building a fourth church in this city equal to any in the union.
From this happy state of toleration the furious for the British government would bring us back to our former condition, to divide and trample on us. Under the influence which Liston held, and the strong party devoted to him, we indeed endangered, & if as it is said, Mr, Adams declared, Hamilton had raised his 12,000 men, with the aid of the 75,000 party men, which were blindly voted by Congress in the moment of infatuation; there is little doubt but we might have not only a monarch but an established church, and the sects of religion divided against each other as in Ireland and India, to destroy themselves in order that they might be strongly governed.
The delusion is past.
Source of Information:
General Aurora Advertiser, September 9, 1800. JAN. 1, 1800 -DEC. 31, 1800 MFILM N.S. 12516 HF582.A9
SEPTEMBER 15, 1800
Murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will all be openly taught and practiced, the air will rent with the cries of the distressed, the soil will be soaked with blood, and the nation black with crimes." [predicting the results of a Jefferson victory]
Source of Information:
Connecticut Courant (Hartford) September 15, 1800
SEPTEMBER 21, 1800
Can serious and reflecting men look about them and doubt that if Jefferson is elected, and the Jacobins get into authority, that those morals which protected our lives from the knife of the assassin--which guard the chasity of our wives and daughters from seduction and violence-- defend our property from plunder and devastation, and sheild our religion from contempt and profanation, will not be trampled upon and explode?
Source of Information:
A Short address to voters of Delaware, Singed "A Christian Federalits" September 21, 1800.
SEPTEMBER 23, 1800
TO DR. BENJAMIN RUSH(1)
Monticello, September 23, 1800
.. .. I promised you a letter on Christianity, which I have not forgotten. On the contrary, it is because I have reflected on it, that I find much more time necessary for it than I can at present dispose of. I have a view of the subject which ought to displease neither the rational Christian nor Diests, and would reconcile many to a character they have too hastily rejected. I do not know that it would reconcile the genus irritabile vatum(2) who are all in arms against me. Their hostility is on too interesting ground to be softened. The delusion into which the X. Y. Z. plot showed it possible to push the people; the successful experiment made under the prevalence of that delusion on the clause of the Constitution, which, while it secured the freedom of the press, covered also the freedom of religion, had given to the clergy a very favorite hope of obtaining an establishment of a particular form of Christianity through the United States; and as every sect believes its own form the true one, every one perhaps hoped for his own, but especially the Episcopalians and Congregationalists. The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, and they believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly: for I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: & enough too in their opinion, & this is the cause of their printing lying pamphlets against me, forging conversations for me with Mazzei, Bishop Madison, &c., which are absolute falsehoods without a circumstance of truth to rest on; falsehoods, too, of which I acquit Mazzei & Bishop Madison, for they are men of truth.-- But enough of this. It is more than I have before committed to paper on the subject of all the lies which have been preached or printed against me. . . .
(1).Dr. Benjamin Rush, distinguished American physician and humanitarian, and Jefferson, were fellow-members of the American Philosophical Society. They corresponded frequently.
(2). The irritable tribe of priests.
Source of Information:
Excerpt from letter from Thomas Jefferson to Dr. Benjamin Rush, September 23, 1800. The Works of Thomas Jefferson in Twelve Volumes, Federal Edition. Collected and edited by Paul Leicester Ford. Volume X, G. P. Putnam's Sons, The Knickerbocker Press. (1905) pp 148-49.
SEPTEMBER 29, 1800
Look at your houses, your parents, your wives, and your childern. Are you prepared to see your dwellings in flames, hoary hairs bathed in blood, female chasity violated, or children writhing on the pike and halbert? . . . Look at every leading Jacobin as at a ravening wolf, preparing to enter your peaceful fold, and glut his deadly appetite on the vitals of your country. . . . GREAT GOD OF COMPASSION AND JUSTICE, SHIELD MY COUNTRY FROM DESTRUCTION."
[predictions concerning a Jefferson victory]
Source of Information:
Connecticut Courant, September 29, 1800..
SEPTEMBER 30, 1800
Look up to that man, whose whole life, from the day on which he immortalised himself, by drawing up the Declaration of Independence to the present, has not given to his enemies a single cause of reproach; who cannot be impeached of immorality nor of vice: whose hands and whose coffers have never been soiled by speculation or gambling: whose domestic character is uncontaminated by the reproaches of any one debauchery: whose talents as a governor in his native state, as an ambassador abroad, as legislator and secretary of state, and whose pursuits have been from first to last, to promote toleration in religion and freedom in politics: to cultivate the arts and the virtues at home, and to shun the vices and depravities of corrupt foreign governments in a word, a man against whom falsehood has raised its voice, under the garb of religion, only because he has banished tythes and an established church from his native state. and who would brand him with the name of Infidel because he is not a fanatic. nor willing that the Quaker, the Baptist, the Methodist, or any other denomination of Christians, should pay the pastors of other sects; because he does not think a catholic should be banished for believing in transubstantiation. or a jew, for believing in the God of Abraham. Isaac. and Jacob.
It is not to the man, but to that confidence which his character and virtues, his talents and experience inspire, we call you. Let us therefore, taking the Declaration of Independence in our hands, and carrying its principles in our hearts, let us resolve to support THOMAS JEFFERSON, whose whole life has been a comment on its precepts, and an uniform pursuit of the great blessings to his country which it was first intended to establish - Bearing these resolutions in our hearts, and seeing that it is by his administration of his own precepts we are to be saved from further afflictions, abuses and dangers, let us also support no men at our elections who are so blind as not to discern the danger which we have escaped, and the injuries we suffer- because such persons are unfit to guard against those future dangers which it was the design of our revolution and the end of our government to prevent.
Signed by order.
Source of Information:
Excerpt from the "Address To the People of New-Jersey", Adopted at a Republican State Convention in Princeton, New Jersey, September 30, 1800. History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-1968, Volume I, 1789-1824. Editor Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Chelsea House Publishers, N. Y. (1985) pp. 137-138.
OCTOBER 6, 1800
From Benjamin Rush
Philadelphia October 6th 1800
I agree with you in your Opinion of Cities. Cowper the Poet very happily expresses our ideas of them compared with the Country. "God made the Country--man made Cities." I consider them in the same light that I do Abscesses on the human body viz: as resevoirs of all the impurities of a Community.
I agree with you likewise in your wishes to keep religion and government independant of each Other. Were it possible for St. Paul to rise from his grave at the present juncture, he would say to the Clergy who are now so active in settling the political Affairs of the World: "Cease from your political labors-your kingdom is not of this World. Read my Epistles. In no part of them will you perceive me aiming to depose a pagan Emperor, or to place a Christian upon a throne. Christianity disdains to receive Support from human Governments. From this, it derives its preeminence over all the religions that ever have, or ever shall exist in the World. Human Governments may receive Support from Christianity but it must be only from the love of justice, and peace which it is calculated to produce in the minds of men. By promoting these, and all the other Christian virtues by your precepts, and example, you will much sooner overthrow errors of all kind, and establish our pure and holy religion in the Worid, than by aiming to product: by your preaching, or pamphflets any thing in the political State of mankind."
A certain Dr Owen an eminent minister of the Gospel among the dissenters in England, and a sincere friend to liberty, was once complained of by one of Cromwell's time serving priests, that he did not preach to the times. "My business and duty said the disciple of St Paul is to preach, to Eternity, not to the times." He has left many volumes of Sermons behind him that are so wholly religious, that no one from reading them, could tell, in what country, or ape they were preached.. . .
I reciprocate your kind expressions, upon the probability of our not meeting again, and feel sincere distress upon the Account of it.
I shall always recollect with pleasure the many delightful hours we have spent together From the day we first met on the banks of Skuilkill in the year 1775 to the day in which we parted. If the innocent and interesting subjects of our occasional Conversations should be a delusive one, the delusion is enchantinp. But I will not admit that we have been deceived in our early, and long affection for republican forms of government. They are, I believe, not only rational, but practicable. As well might we reject the pure and simple doctrines and precepts of Christianity, because they have been dishonoured by being mixed with human follies and crimes by the corrupted churches of Europe, as renounce our republics because their name has been dishonoured by the follies and crimes of the French nation. The preference which men, depraved by false government have given to monarchy is nn more o proof ot its excellency than the preference which men whose appetites have been depraved by drinking Whiskey, is a proof that it is more wholesome than water. Thousands have derived health and long life from that wholsome beveridge of nature, while tens of thousands have perished from the use of the former liquor. . . .
Source of Information:
Letter from Benjamin Rush to Jefferson, October 6, 1800. RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 16 Oct.  and so recorded in SJL. pp 321
Source of Information:
The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 2nd series, Jefferson's Extracts from the Gospels, "The Philosophy of Jesus" and "The Life and Morals of Jesus." Dickinson W. Adams, Editor, Princeton University Press, Princeton, N J, (1983) pp 405-06.
OCTOBER 14, 1800
GENERAL + AURORA + ADVERTISER
OCTOBER, 14, 1800
__________ ___________ _________ _________ ________
Citizens of Philadelphia
Take Your Choice
|Things As They Have Been||Things As They Will Be|
|1 . The principles and patriots of the Revolution condemned and stigmatized.||1. The Principles of the Revolution restored; its Patriots honored and beloved.|
|2. Republicanism, a badge for persecution, and federalism a mask for monarchy.||2. Republicanism proved to mean something, and Federalism found to mean nothing.|
|3. The Nation in arms without a foe and divided without a cause.||3. The Nation at peace with the world, and united in itself.|
|4. Federalists graduating a scale of "hatred and animosity," for the benefit of the people; and aiming "crew hold strokes" at political opposition for the benefit of themselves.||4. Republicanism allaying the fever of domestic feuds and subduing the opposition by the force of reason and rectitude.|
|5. The reign of terror created by false alarms, to promote domestic feud and foreign war.||5. Unity, peace. and concord produced by republican measures and equal laws.|
|6. Systems of rapine, fraud, and plunder by public defaulters under countenance of public servants.||6. Public plunderers and defaulters called to strict account, and public servants compelled to do their duty.|
|7. Priests and Judges incorporated with the Government for political purposes, and equally administered without political intolerance.||7. Good government without the aid of priestcraft, or religious politics. and Justice polluting the holy altars of religion, and the seats of Justice.|
|8. Increase of Public DebtAdditional TaxesFurther LoansNew ExcisesHigher Public Salaries, and Wasteful Expenditure of public money.||8. Decrease of Public DebtReduced TaxesNo LoansNo ExcisesReduced Public Salaries, and a system of economy and care of the public money.|
|9. Quixotish embassies to the Turks, the Russians, Prussians, and Portuguese, for Quixotish purposes of holding the balance of Europe.||9. The republican maxim of our departed Washington, "Not to intermeddle with European politics."|
|10. A Sedition Law to protect corrupt magistrates and public defaulters.||10. The Liberty of the Press, and free enquiry into public character, and our constitutional charter.|
|11. An established church, a religious test, and an order of Priesthood.||11. Religious liberty, the rights of conscience, no priesthood, truth and Jefferson.|
Source of Information:
General Aurora Advertiser, October 14, 1800. JAN. 1, 1800 -DEC. 31, 1800 MFILM N.S. 12516 HF582.A9