American state

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American state papers bearing on Sunday legislation


* e _y 3 i pus. _ L i b ex _ty. . .As a acl a t i of

November 28,1921.




*Tis Liberty alone that gives the flower

Of fleeting life its luster and perfume;

And we are weeds without it. All constraint

Except what wisdom lays on evil men.

Is evil: hurts the faculties, impedes

Their progress in the road of science, blinds

The eyesight of discovery: and begets,

In those that suffer it. a sordid mind,

Bestial, a meager intellect, unfit

To be the tenant of man's noble form."
— C



Compiled and Annotated by

Of the Chicago Bar
7 - -:me Years Doctor of Philosophy and Lecturer on PoIiticaJ Science and Histon
in the University of Chicago, Member of the American
Academy of Political and Social Science, etc.

Revised Edition Edited by Woxakd Allen Colcord

of Washington, D. C.
Author of "The Rights of Man."

Foreword by

Author of " Constitutional Limitations, " etc.


191 1

32857 A

Copyright, 1800, ry

Copyright, 191 i, by


To the Supporters of the Constitution

of the United States as It Is
to the Lovers of Justice, Right, and
Liberty Everywhere
Is Dedicated by
The Editors


Contents 7

Editor's Preface 13
Foreword by Judge Cooley 21
Introduction 23
Part I — Colonial Period.

Early American Sunday Laws.

Penalty of death for non-church attendance 33
Ten lashes for non-church attendance 35
One dollar and sixty-seven cents penalty 35
Ten shillings or be whipped for profaning Lord's day . . 36
Death for presumptuous Sunday desecration 36
Fines for traveling on Lord's day 37
Public and private worship required 38
Compulsory church attendance 39
Boring tongue with red-hot iron 39
Labor, trade, and amusements forbidden 40
- Church attendance required 41
Death for presumptuous Sunday breaking 42
Sanctification of Lord's day 43
Compulsory church attendance 43
No walking for pleasure 44
House of correction for rude behavior on Lord's day ... 44
No appeal from police justice's sentence 44
Sanctification of Lord's day object of law 45
Sunday desecration fined in tobacco 45, 46
Whipped and put in stocks (note) 46
Death without benefit of clergy for blasphemy (note) . . 47
People to devote themselves to pious exercises 47
Stocks for Sunday misbehavior 49
New York
Profanation a scandal 50
To be set in stocks 50
New Hampshire
Compulsory piety 51
Penalty, cage or stocks 51


Compulsory piety and church attendance 52
Xo traveling on Sunday except to church 5_>
Penalty, to sit in stocks 53
North Carolina
Compulsory piety and religion 53
New Jersey
Xon-Sunday observance a scandal 54
Xo traveling except to church 54
Breaking the Lord's day forbidden 55
Four dollars or jail for Sunday breaking 56
Pilloried, branded, and whipped for blasphemy (.note) ... 55

Rhode Island

Fine or stocks for work or recreation on Sunday 57
Law regulating support of ministers 58
First Opponent of Sunday Laws in America . 59
Maryland or Rhode Island, Which ? 68
Part II — Federation Period.
Plan of Accommodation With Great Britain 81
Virginia Declaration of Rights 81
Declaration of Independence 85
A Great Speech 87
Motto on Liberty Bell 89
Dissenters' Petition (Memorial of Presbytery of Hanover
— 1770) 91
Religious Legislation Subversive of Liberty ( Memorial of
Presbytery of Hanover — 1777) 96
Effects of Religious Legislation ( Memorial of Presbytery
of Hanover ■ — May, 1784) 100
Principles of Religious Liberty (Memorial of Presbytery
of Hanover — October, 1784 ) 106
Reasons for Remonstrance ( Memorial of Presbyterians of
Virginia — 1785) 112
Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance 119
Act for Establishing Religious Freedom 132
Ordinance for Northwest Territory 136
A Bit of History 139
Part III — Xatio>ial Period.

Constitution of the United States

Xo religious test 143
Justice Story on church and state (note) 143
Bancroft on the Constitution (note) 144
Xo bill of rights (note; 145


Comments ox Constitution
Virginia convention 146
North Carolina convention 147
Massachusetts convention 147
Proposed Amendments ro Constitution
New York convention 149
Pennsylvania convention 14°
New Hampshire convention 149
Virginia convention 1 50
North Carolina convention 15°
Rhode Island convention 15 â– 
Amendments to the Constitution
Article I 15-2
Reason for first amendment (note ) 152
Meaning of word " religion " (note ) 153
The right of free speech (note ) 155
Article IX 156
Article XIV 157
Madison's Views of Property 158
Treaty of Peace and Friendship With Tripoli — 1797 162
Treaty of Peace, Amity, and Commerce With Tripoli —
1805-06 164
Political Platforms
First American platform — 1800 166
Equal rights platform — 1836 166
Principles of democracy — 1840-56 167
Liberal Republican platform — 1872 168
Republican platform — 1872 168
Democratic platform — 1872 170
National liberal platform — 1879 170
Republican platform — 1880 170
Washington Versus Sunday Laws 171
Address to the Jews (by Washington) 172
Religious Proclamations Unconstitutional 174
An Act Regulating Post-Office Establishment — 1810 .. 176
Petitions Against Sunday Mails — 1811 176
Postmaster-General's Response 177
Memorial From Philadelphia Against Sunday Mails —
181 1 179
House Report on Sunday Mails — Jan., 1812 180
House Report on Sunday Mails — June, 1812 181
House Report on Sunday Mails — Jan., 1815 182
Report of Postmaster-General — Jan., 1815 183
Senate Report on Sunday Mails — Jan., 1815 183
House Report on Sunday Mails — Feb., 1815 185


Sphere of Civil Government 187
Freedom of Religious Opinion 193
Religious Polity of the United States 195
Jews in America 198
Rights of Jews 199
Civil Government and Religion 201
Religion in Public Schools 204
Civil Laws Against Blasphemy 206
Christianity and the Common Law 208
The Social Compact 224
Act Regarding Post-Office Department — 1825 226
Sunday Mails — 1829 226
Senate Report on Sunday Mails — 1829 233
House Reports on Sunday Mails — 1830 245
Tribute to Colonel Richard M. Johnson 269
Memorial of Indiana Assembly — 1830 271
Joint Resolution of Alabama Assembly — 1830 273
Resolution of Illinois Assembly — 1831 275
Memorial From Newark, N. J. — 1830 2Tj
Protest From Sabbatarians — 1830 280
Remonstrance From Citizens of New Hampshire— 1830 284
Memorial From Citizens of Philadelphia — 1830 287
Kentucky's Remonstrance — 1831 295
Christian Party in Politics (Memorial from Vermont)
— 1831 301, 303
National Lord's Day Convention Resolution — 1844 312
An Appeal for Religious Freedom (S. D. Baptists) — 1846 314
American Anti-Sunday-Law Convention — 1848 328
Resolutions adopted 334
Garrison's speech 335
National Reform Association Memorial to Congress —
1864 341
Blaine's Proposed Amendment to Constitution — 1875 .... 349
Repeal of California Sunday Law — 1883 350
Speech of Senator Crockett — 1887 354
National Sunday-Rest Bill — 1888 360
Proposed Religious Educational Amendment — 1888 364
District Sunday-Rest Bill — 1890 367
Sunday Closing of Chicago Exposition — 1892 370
Sunday Closing of St. Louis Exposition — 1901 378
Sunday Closing of Jamestown Exposition — 1906 379
A Memorial to Congress (Seventh-day Adventist) — 1908 380

Memorial Against Sunday Legislation (Seventh-day Bap-

tist) — 1908 391
Johnston District Sunday Bill — 1910 398
Religious Bills in Congress — Record for Twenty-Two

Years 401 -408



Part IV — Court Decisions.
Principle v. Precedent 41 1
Supreme Court of Ohio 4 I2 > 419. 460
Supreme Court of Arkansas .. . 4H
Supreme Court of Missouri 4 2 5
Supreme Court of California 434
United States Supreme Court 47°
Supreme Court of Wisconsin 4/8
The " Christian Nation " Decision 487
Court of Appeals of District of Columbia 514
Supreme Court of Colorado 5 2 °
Part V — State Constitutions and Sunday Lazes.

State Constitutions

Alabama, 523; Arkansas, 524; California, 525; Colorado,

526; Connecticut, 527; Delaware, 528; Florida, 529; Geor-

gia, 529; Idaho, 529; Illinois, 530; Indiana, 531; Iowa,

532; Kansas, 532; Kentucky, 532; Louisiana, 533; Maine,

534; Maryland, 534; Massachusetts, 535; Michigan, 536;

Minnesota, 536; Mississippi, 537; Missouri, 537; Montana,

538; Nebraska, 539; Nevada, 540; New Hampshire, 540;

New Jersey, 541 ; New Mexico, 541 ; New York, 543 ;

North Carolina, 543 ; North Dakota, 544 ; Ohio, 546 ; Okla-

homa, 547; Oregon, 547; Pennsylvania, 548; Philippines,

548; Rhode Island, 549; South Carolina, 549; South Da-

kota, 550; Tennessee, 550; Texas, 551; Vermont, 551;

Virginia, 552; Washington, 553; West Virginia, 554;

Wisconsin, 554; Wyoming, 555.

Increase of Sunday Legislation in the United States . . . 556

Sunday Laws of the United States

Alabama, 557; Arizona, 559; Arkansas, 559; California,

561; Colorado, 562; Connecticut, 564; Delaware, 567; 'Dis-

trict of Columbia, 568; Florida, 570; Georgia, 571 ; Hawaii,

574; Idaho, 575; Illinois, 578; Indiana, 579; Iowa, 581;

Kansas, 581 ; Kentucky, 583 ; Louisiana, 585 ; Maine, 585 ;

Maryland, 587; Massachusetts, 589; Michigan, 593; Min-

nesota, 597; Mississippi, 598; Missouri, 599; Montana,

600; Nebraska, 600; Nevada, 601; New Hampshire, 602;

New Jersey, 603; New Mexico, 611; New York, 612;

North Carolina, 616; North Dakota, 618; Ohio, 619; Okla-

homa, 622 ; Oregon, 623 ; Pennsylvania, 624 ; Philippines,

627; Porto Rico, 627; Rhode Island, 629; South Carolina,

631; South Dakota, 633; Tennessee, 634; Texas, 636;

Utah, 638; Vermont, 638; Virginia, 639; Washington,

645 ; West Virginia, 646 ; Wisconsin, 647 ; Wyoming, 648.

Laws Nullified Largely by Exceptions (note) 649


Views of President Taft's Pastor (note) 650
Canadian Lord's Day Act ( note) 650
The Plain Lesson of History (note) 650
Character of Sunday Legislation (note) 650
Part J r I — Operation of Sunday Laws.
Operation of Sunday Laws in the United States 653
In Arkansas 654-672
Speech of Patrick Henry 664
Report of Arkansas Bar Association 668
In Tennessee 672-717
Open Letters 668
Wholesale Prosecutions Attempted 675
The Celebrated King Case 676
Brief of Colonel T. E. Richardson 695
Brief of Hon. Don. M. Dickinson 703
Religious Intolerance in the Republic 707
In Georgia 718-720
In Missouri 720
In Maryland 721-726
In South Carolina 727
In Virginia 729
Part VII — Sunday Laws Before the Bar of Reason.
Backward States 733
Maps Showing Prevalence of Sunday Laws 734, 735
Alexander Campbell on Sunday Enforcement 737
Spurgeon on Sunday Legislation 737
Why Sunday Laws Are Wrong 738
In Conflict With Inalienable Rights 740
What Is the Equivalent? 740
Do Sunday Laws Preserve a Nation ? 742
Sunday Enforcement Ruinous 744
Testimony of Judge Barlow 745
The Principle Applied 746
Verdict of the United States Senate 747
Verdict of the House of Representatives 748
Views of Dr. Albert Barnes 748
Summary by Hon. Wm. F. Vilas 748
Part VIII — History of Sunday Legislation.

Historical Summary of Sunday Legislation From 321 a. d.

to the Pkesent Time 751
Genealogy of Sunday Laws 756
The Declaration of Independence 757
The Constitution of the United States 761
What Eminent Men Have Said 773
Index 78 1


Political history is a most interesting study; ..Political

J ° J history an
and of all the political history of the world, no other study? 11 " 8

has been so full of interest, so pregnant with matter

for thought, as that of America for the last two cent-

uries. The irrepressible spirit of liberty in the early

Americans and the philosophical ideas on govern-

ment characteristic of the times, united to bring forth of American

a government more grand, more in accordance with

human rights, more in harmony with the principles

of Christ, than any the world had ever seen.
There is, however, a reaction taking place. And

the revival of the religio-political ideas of mediaeval Reiigio-

times, the practical operation of which, as declared by ideas being

the United States Senate, " has been the desolating

scourge of the fairest portions of the Old World," calls

for the republication of American State Papers which R epu bii-

, 111 • • 1 • • i cation of
have marked the successive steps in our political American
State Papers

history. demanded.

The influence of Roger Williams, 1 of Washington, i nfluence
of Jefferson, of Madison, and of their fellow-states- istic Amer-

i From the publications of the Narragansett Historical Society,

we take the following :
" Roger Williams, says Professor Gervinus, in his recent ' Intro- Roger

duction to the History of the Nineteenth Century ' ( Translated from Wi "iams.

the German. H. G. Bohn, London, 1853, page 65), founded, in 1636,

a small new society in Rhode Island, upon the principles of entire

liberty of conscience, and the uncontrolled power of the majority ir



" Statue

ofLiberty "

a fitting trib-

ute to Amer-





the first to

free herself

from super-


men, has been felt throughout the world. The free

institutions established by them have made the name

" America " a synonym of " liberty." The famous Bar-

tholdi " Statue of Liberty," presented to America by

France, is a fitting tribute to the Utopia of nations.

The world has marked with astonishment the un-

precedented advancement of American institutions,

founded, as they are, upon theories more in accord-

ance with the principles of absolute civil and reli-

gious liberty — theories which, previous to the estab-

lishment of American institutions, had existed only

in the schools of philosophy — theories evidently de-'

ducible from the principles of abstract justice and

incontrovertible logic, but which had never had prac-

tical application.

A new nation, proud of Anglican liberty, — proud

of our English political philosophers and statesmen

of the past few centuries, who have so manfully

asserted human rights, — proud of insuring to the

minority their rights, was the first to free itself from

the superstitious ideas which had made govern-

ments restrict or entirely disregard the rights which


of the

schools of

A vain



of Rhode

Island's free


secular concerns. . . . The theories of freedom in church and

state taught in the schools of philosophy in Europe, were here brought

into practice in the government of a small community. It was proph-

esied that the democratic attempts to obtain universal suffrage, a

general elective franchise, annual parliaments, entire religious free-

dom, and the Miltonian right of schism, would be of short duration.

But these institutions have not only maintained themselves here, but

have spread over the whole Union. They have superseded the aristo-

cratic commencements of Carolina and New York, the high-church

party in Virginia, the theocracy in Massachusetts, and the monarchy

throughout America ; they have given laws to one quarter of the

globe ; and, dreaded for their moral influence, they stand in the back-

ground of every democratic struggle in Europe."



they were instituted to protect. 1 In striking contrast

with the older governments, America has stood be-

fore an astonished world as a refuge for the perse-

cuted, a home for the oppressed, the land of the free.

Shall these institutions which have thus benefited

humanity be supplanted in this enlightened age by

the church-and-state dogmas of past centuries?
It is true that some of the States have never given

up the idea that religion and the state must have

some legal connection. 2 But, in contrast with this,


of govern-



American in-

stitutions be



States still

retain un-



1 Bancroft very justly says :
" Vindicating the right of individuality even in religion, and in

religion above all, the new nation dared to set the example of accept-

ing in its relations to God the principle first divinely ordained in

Judea. It left the management of temporal things to the temporal

power ; but the American Constitution, in harmony with the people

of the several States, withheld from the federal government the power

to invade the home of reason, the citadel of conscience, the sanctuary

of the soul ; and, not from indifference, but that the infinite spirit of

eternal truth might move in its freedom and purity and power."

" History of the Formation of the Constitution," book v, chapter i.

2 In Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, Mis-

sissippi, Tennessee, and Maryland all persons who deny the existence

of a Supreme Being, and in Pennsylvania and Tennessee, those who

deny a " future state of rewards and punishments," are excluded, by

Constitutional provision, from holding public office. See Part V of

this work, and Cooley's " Constitutional Limitations," fifth edition,

page 197, note. The Constitutions of Ohio, North Carolina, and Ar-

kansas declare that " religion, morality, and knowledge " are " essen-

tial to good government." The Constitution of New Hampshire still

authorizes the State Legislature to " make adequate provision . . . for

the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety,

religion, and morality ; " and that of Vermont declares that " every

sect or denomination of Christians ought to observe the Sabbath, or

Lord's day, and keep up some sort of religious worship." The Con-

stitution of Delaware asserts that " it is the duty of all men fre-

quently to assemble together for the public worship of Almighty

God ; " and that of Connecticut, while providing that no person shall

by law be compelled to join or support any congregation, church, or

religious association, says that " every person now belonging to such

congregation, church, or religious association, shall remain a member

Right of


Divine as-

sertion of




our political


Relics of

church and




and public

worship de-

clared to be






our national government declares for absolute sepa-

ration of church and state, its Constitution forbidding

religious tests being made as a qualification for office

under the government, and prohibiting Congress from

making any law " respecting an establishment of re-

ligion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The

thereof until he shall have separated himself therefrom, in the man-

ner herein provided." Massachusetts declares it to be the right and
" the duty of all men in society, publicly and at stated seasons, to

Four State

Constitutions worship the Supreme Being." The Constitutions of North Dakota,
" e tole r ra- f ° r Washington, and Wyoming, adopted in 1889, and that of Oklahoma,

tion." adopted as late as 1907, provide that " perfect toleration of religious

sentiment shall be secured." Not religious toleration, but religious

liberty, is the true American idea regarding freedom in matters of

religion. Toleration implies an established religion. A thorough

application of the true principle of religious liberty would rid these

Constitutions of these inconsistencies, and repeal every Sunday law

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