TWO MADE ONE THE HAPPINESS OF MARRYING IN THE LORD

The Sure Foundation by William Penn

The Sure Foundation by William Penn (Click to enlarge)

TWO MADE ONE;

OR,

THE HAPPINESS OF MARRYING IN THE LORD.

A Sermon preached at the Quakers’ Meeting-House, in Devonshire-House, London, October 3, 1694, at a Wedding.

BY WILLIAM PENN.

IT becomes the sons and daughters of men to have a sense of their duty, that is incumbent on them, to the great God of heaven and earth; and the duty we owe to God, is to do all tilings to the praise and glory of his holy name. And happy were it for mankind if they were duly sensible of their duty and obligation to their sovereign Lord and Maker; and did set the Lord always before their eyes, and acknowledge him in all their ways, that he might direct their paths. It greatly concerns us to have an eye to the great obligation we lie under to him, who is our God and faithful Creator, that by his almighty power made us, and by his good providence hath preserved us, in the land of the living, to this day; to whom we are deeply indebted, both for our being and well-being.

They that have a sense hereof upon their souls and spirits, they will take heed not to offend him, for the fear of the Lord is planted in their hearts. This is true religion, the fear of God, which teaches man and woman, first to eschew evil, and then to do that which is good and acceptable in his sight.

The fear of the Lord, it is said, is a fountain of life, which preserves from the snares of death. No man that is replenished with the fear of the Lord can be destitute of divine life and comfort. Since the secrets of the Lord are with them that fear him, he will shew them his covenant. Abraham was said to be God’s friend, because he feared God, and God was his friend.

O my Friends! it is not a name to live; it is not the character of a profession; not adhering to a party, or being of such a society or church, or people; but it is the fearing of God, and keeping of is commandments, and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, and shewing forth his virtues in our conversation, that doth speak us to be real Christians. ‘He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good.’ O man, that is, mankind; the whole race of human kind. ‘God hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?’ Mic. vi. 8. Let us all take heed to walk in this way, and that will give us acceptance with God, and fit and prepare us for his holy worship. Abraham was the friend of God, because he believed and obeyed, it is not enough to make a profession of religion, and godliness and Christianity, if we be found vain in our conversation, and to love the world more than God, and to be more careful what we shall eat, and what we shall drink, and what we shall put on, and how we shall divert and please ourselves than to please God. Our hearts and affections should be set on things above, and not on things below. We should, with the apostle, not look to the things that are seen and temporal, but to the things that are not seen and eternal. They that mind temporal things will fee disappointed upon a death bed; but those that fear God, shall not only have present peace, but future and everlasting comfort. Let us all endeavour to be purifying our minds, wills and affections, that we may enter into a holy covenant with God, into a heavenly marriage and league with him. They that are joined unto the Lord are one Spirit. As we come under the teachings of God, we shall be united in our love and affections to him, and delight ourselves in the Lord, who only can give us the desires of our hearts. The world passeth away, and the lustre and glory of it, and all the visible relations and capacities we stand in. Let us then use the world as if we used it not; and let them that have wives be as if they had none, (as saith the apostle) for the fashion of this world passeth away. There is a time to live and a time to die; and as sure as we die, we must be judged. Let every one of us endeavour so to live, that we may give up our account with joy, and not with grief. Let the fear of the Lord possess your hearts, which is the beginning of wisdom. When men and women do that which is pleasing to God, and live in the fear of God, and eschew evil, and do good, they, in so doing, promote their chiefest interest. The Lord takes pleasure in them that fear him: his salvation is nigh unto them that in truth call upon his name. We see God’s visible care over all the works of his hands. Here in this world, his goodness is extended to all, both good and bad; he is kind to the unthankful; he causeth the sun to rise on the evil, and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust; but in the other world there is no shining of the Sun of righteousness upon the wicked and ungodly; no comforts of the Holy Ghost, no manifestations of love vouchsafed to them; but there is a revelation of wrath, and the fiery indignation of the Almighty.

For the very prayers of the wicked are an abomination, and because they love the world more than God, and esteem it more than heaven, they shall never enter into it.

But, my Friends, seek ye the kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof, in the first place, and follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Those persons that so do, have a solid foundation, they have a sure bottom that they can stand upon; they can look death and eternity in the face, upon this bottom, when they believe in the Lord Jesus with all their hearts, and shew forth all his virtues in their lives; having the promises assured to them, 1 Cor. 7. 1. ‘That God will dwell with them, and walk in them, and be their God, and they shall be his people. And I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.’ Having therefore these promises, (saith the Apostle) ‘ let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and the spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.’ Now unto such, To live is Christ, and to die is gain.’ They live in holiness and purity, through the sanctification of the spirit, and belief of the truth, as it is in Jesus, being regenerated and born again, and thereby made meet to enter into the kingdom of God. It was sin that first brought down man, from glory to shame; Christ came down from heaven and glory, that he might bring man out of sin and shame to glory again; which by sin he had lost and forfeited. Our Saviour said unto Nicodemus, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water, and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again; the wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but cannot tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth, so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, how can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?’ art thou a judge, and a law-giver, and not skilled in the doctrine of regeneration? man being fallen from God, there is no coming to God again without Christ, and without coming from that which separated him from the Lord.

God made all good, and man made all bad. Christ came into the world to make all good again.’ Christ died for all; but they only have the benefit of his death to salvation, that die to their sins. For sin will still live against them, for all Christ’s death, that live in sin and not in Christ. Friends, I desire that you may all come to a sense of your spiritual condition: the Lord is pleased to follow us with his mercies, and with many spiritual favours, and blessings: God is the fountain of all good, from whence comes every good and perfect gift; with whom is no variableness, nor shadow of turning; whom to know is life eternal: let us live suitably, be sensible of his mercies, and be fixed in our obedience ; for it is the obedient that eat the good of the land. Before the deluge came upon the old world, God sent his Spirit, to strive with them, to bring them to repentance. And this is our testimony, 1 John i. 2. 3. ‘That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the word of life; that which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us ; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.’ This is a time wherein we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, and to give all diligence to make our calling and election sure. We have now a call to repentance, and if we faithfully answer that call, we need not fear a call to judgment; but we may, each of us say, with the Apostle, ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there ts laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.’

Every one that cometh to God’s holy Spirit, to be led by it, He will lead them into all truth: if the Spirit of Christ dwell not in you, ye are none of ‘his. If we have the spirit of meekness, patience, humility, charity, and kindness, by these virtues and qualifications of Christ’s working in us, we are brought into a near relation to Christ, who is the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. He is by nature the Son of God, and by participation of his nature, and adoption, we become God’s children too; and by the operation of the Holy Ghost, they that are born of the Spirit and partake of the fruits of the Spirit, have clear evidence of their being children of God. Gal. v. 22, 23. ‘Now the fruit of the Spirit, is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law.’ If these things abound in you, you are free from the condemnation of the law. There are a people that bolster up themselves, and buoy up themselves, in not being under the law, but under grace ; but they are not yet come to the poor prodigal’s state, ‘ Father I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son:’ nor yet to the state and condition of the penitent Publican, who prayed ‘ God be merciful to him a sinner;’ nor to Paul’s state, when he cried out, ‘O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me r” this shall be for a lamentation, that too many are so little troubled, and concerned, for the loss of God’s favour, and of their own immortal souls; when the whole world is not so much worth as one soul. ‘What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his own soul, or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?’ O how many do hazard their precious souls for the trifles of this vain world? let us all consider we must come to the bar of Christ the great judge of all the earth ; and if we be not found in him, not having our own righteousness, as the Apostle tells us; we shall be undone forever, and we shall see too late what we have lost: and like profane Esau, (we shall be rejected,) when he would have inherited the blessing he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. There is nothing will remain then, but chains of darkness, they that loved darkness, here, shall he cast into utter darkness hereafter, even the blackness of darkness for ever.

Wherefore let all that believe in the light of the Lord Jesus, walk in it, and know and embrace the day of their visitation. You that know your Master’s will, be sure to do it, and he will say unto you, ‘well done :’ you shall hear that joyful sound, ‘enter into the joy of your Lord.’ God hath vouchsafed a merciful visitation, a day of grace and salvation, to the sons and daughters of men: He hath brought us from a gloomy night, and the dark clouds of ignorance and superstition, that our forefathers were involved in, and the day-spring from on high hath visited us: we have had the inshinings of divine light: yea, God hath brought us out of darkness into his marvelous light: let us walk as children of light, in the light of the Lamb of God. We live in the last days, wherein that promise shall been fulfilled, ‘That the Mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted upon the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it 5 and many people shall go and say, come ye and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths.’ Pray consider what God speaks to the Jews, that were his chosen people, and what he says concerning his own institutions, when they were formal and hypocritical in the use of them: Isa. i. 12. 13. ‘To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to me, bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination to me, &c. Your new moons, and your appointed feasts, my soul hateth; they are a trouble to me, I am weary to bear them: wash ye, make ye clean, put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do well, &c. Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool;’ God is no respecter of persons. My Friends, let us not be outward but also inward christians, in all our solemn meetings, and approve our hearts to God, and worship him in spirit and in truth. Let us consider that God is present in the midst of us.

All nations do acknowledge that God is omnipresent; the royal Psalmist thus addresses himself to God, Psal. cxxxix. 7, 8. ‘Whither shall I go from thy spirit, or whither shall I flee from thy presence? if I ascend up into heaven, thou art there, if I make my bed in hell; behold thou art there; if I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost part of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.’ And the prophet Amos, tells us,’ it is God that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought; that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, the Lord of hosts is his name.’ O bow should we live and walk as in the presence of God! and set the Lord always before us, who is the supreme judge of the world; to whom we must be accountable for all our thoughts, words and actions. But how do the most of men live as without God in the world, live in a contradiction to their own rational natures ? God hath made men reasonable, and his judgment shall be most righteous and reasonable. The Lord hath given unto us his light and grace, if we do not improve it, and live answerably to it, we shall go down into perdition: therefore to day, while it is called to day, let us perform our duty to God, and one another, that it may go well with us for ever.

These things are of great importance which belong to our everlasting peace: these are not chimeras and enthusiastical fancies, but the great realities of religion. God hath been pleased in his admirable love and condescending goodness, to twist his glory and our felicity together, and to require nothing of us, but what is for our own interest and good: He is infinitely blessed in himself, and perfectly happy without us, but we cannot be happy a moment without him; yet we despise the riches of his goodness, that is extended to us: and like a foolish people and unwise, we are ready to frustrate the design of his mercy and kindness, and to receive the grace of God in vain.

Let this opportunity now before us, be carefully improved, in order to our spiritual benefit and advantage. Let our superlative love be set on the Lord Jesus Christ, who should be our husband and head. Let us love him with fervent and inflamed affections, as becomes the living members of his mystical body ; as those that are really united to him, and receive vital influences from him. We are now present at the solemnity of a marriage, which is a thing of itself joyous: but O let not our joy be carnal, but spiritual: let us rejoice in Christ Jesus, who for our sakes became a man of sorrows, that we might partake of that joy that is unspeakable and eternal. We may all live a happy and blesssed life, if we will live to his glory that is the giver of it, and set our affections on things above, and live in a deep and daily sense of our duty, to him that made us, and will make us happy for ever, if we be not wanting to ourselves. When the Lord-God first created man, he said, • It is not good that man should be alone, I will make him a help meet for him:’ and he caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and took one of his ribs, whereof he made the woman; and brought her unto the man, and Adam said, ‘this is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh.’ Thus you see in the first creation; God made man and woman in one, he then joined them both in one person; then of one. he made them two; and after made them one again : b Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.’ Gen, ii. 24. It is of very great importance to men and women, to dispose of themselves rightly in marriage: for it is for term of life; and it is that which makes people either easy or uncomfortable in their lives : therefore they must take care to be equally yoked, that they are one in judgment, and in affection. And when they change their condition, to marry in the Lord, that they may be meet helps and blessings one to another. God bath made us sensible of that delight and joy that is proper, both to the Outward and inward man, which makes us thirst after the happiness of our souls. This the saints in all ages have borne their testimony to; David who was a mighty hero, and king, a man after God’s own heart; he declares to us the temper and disposition of carnal men; they cry out, ‘Who will shew us any good?’ but this is the language and longing of the saints, ‘Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us,’ Psal. iv. 6. That will make our hearts more glad, than those that have their corn and wine increased. The refreshing light of God’s countenance, and the sense of his love, is that which in all ages, hath been the consolation of the righteous, ever since the beginning of the world; and will be to the end fl it. So my Friends) we lay great stress and weight upon this, that married persons do not enter into that relation with a mere natural affection, or for worldly interest, or advantage: or to gratify a carnal fancy; but we must be in the exercise of a divine and heavenly affection; making the law of God our rule, and his glory our aim and end; remembering that we are none of our own, but are bought with a price: therefore we ought to glorify God, both in our bodies and in our spirits, which are His.

It becometh us to live as strangers and pilgrims on the earth; for we are but tenants at will of the great Lord; let us pass therefore the short time of our sojourning here in fear. The time past, is irrevocable; the time to come, is uncertain; and only the time present, we can call our own. Let us then improve it, while we have it; and in all our solemn meetings, let us have an awful sense of God upon us and love him, and live unto him; for we are entirely at his disposal. You that are strangers, and present in this meeting, may observe the order and method among us, with respect to nuptial solemnities. It concerns us to vindicate ourselves from those aspersions that have been unjustly cast upon us. We have no clandestine proceedings in any of our marriages, though we have been misrepresented to the world; we do observe that order and method which is set down in the holy scriptures, which are our warrant and direction. We have divers instances in scripture concerning marriages, that of Boaz and Ruth is a very eminent one; he solemnly took Ruth to be his wife, as in the presence of the Lord, and before the congregation, even all the people and the elders, and Boaz said unto them, ye are witnesses this day. And all the people that were in the gate and the elders said, we are witnesses, the Lord make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel, and do thou worthily in Ephrata, and be famous in Bethlehem, so Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife.

Thus let us proceed in all our marriages, as in the presence of the Lord; which none can do. but those that have an awful sense of the divine presence, which is graciously vouchsafed to his people in all their humble and solemn approaches to him; then He will meet them, and bless them.

I shall commit you to the Lord, and to the grace of God that is given to you; for we are not a people so stingy, as not to awn the grace communicated to others, as if we engrossed and arrogated all to ourselves; we declare, with the Apostle, that’ there is a measure of the Spirit given to every man to profit withal.’ We are all intrusted with some talents, let us remember we must give an account of them. When we are convinced of sin, let us depart from it, and live in the delightful exercise of a conscience void of offence towards God and towards men. Then we shall find there is hope for us in death, and fruition of happiness after death. It will be said unto us, ‘well done good and faithful servants, enter into the joy of your Lord.’

My Friends, consider now that Christ is universally offered to all the sons and daughters of men, and his love is, and is to be, extended to all the habitable parts of the earth. The Sun of righteousness will shine upon them, with healing under his wings; but this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. He that hath given us the knowledge of our duty if we seek it, will also give us strength to perform it, and work in us to will and to do, of his own good pleasure. So that though of ourselves, as of ourselves, we can do nothing, we may say with the Apostle Paul, ‘We can do all things through Christ that strengthens us.’ Let us therefore labour abundantly in the work of the Lord, and then our labour shall not be in vain in the Lord; ‘For if we be faithful to death, we shall receive the crown of life.’

Source: The Harmony of Divine Doctrines: Demonstrated in Sundry Declarations on a Variety of Subjects Preached at the Quaker’s Meetings at London by William Penn [Founder of Pennsylvania] and Others by A Lover of that People

THE HEAVENLY RACE by William Penn of Pennsylvania

William Penn quote concerning the Holy Ghost

William Penn concerning the Holy Ghost (Click to enlarge)

THE

HEAVENLY RACE.

A Sermon preached at the Quakers Meeting-House in Grace-Church-Street, London, January 16, 1694.

BY WILLIAM PENN.

THE life of man and woman is compared unto a race that is to be run; and unto a post, that makes haste: And our daily experience confirms, what the Holy Ghost hath lively set forth and expressed to us by the holy men of God in several ages and generations. We are all of us that are here this day, running our natural race; our time is speeding on, and we are every day a step nearer to the grave. God requires, that we will every day draw nigh to him: Blessed are all those, that are every day a step nearer to God, as well as a step nearer to the grave, and to eternity! If you draw nigh to God he will draw nigh to you, and turn every one of you from your iniquities, and keep you from returning to folly.

Friends, of ourselves we can do nothing, except the Lord be present with us, and strengthen and uphold us: Blessed are those, that live in an humble sense of their own insufficiency, and are in a true poverty of spirit, and as the light of every morning appears, are waiting upon God, as a watchman waits for the morning. I say wait upon him, for the lifting up of the light of his countenance: «They that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not wax faint,’ while they walk in the way of holiness, that leads to eternal blessedness.

All those who are faithful and approved of God at this day, they will not want the presence of the Lord with them, and his hand to uphold them: He will be a God nigh at hand to all, that are true travellers with their faces Zion-ward. All that are travellers to a blessed eternity, to that world that shall never have an end. These shall never want the divine presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God; concerning whom God saith, ‘I will give him for a light and a leader, a king and lawgiver.’ Now all you, who obey his voice, and come under his holy conduct and teaching, and have denied yourselves, and resolved to take up his cross, and follow him, and will not be ashamed of his cross, but glory in it; I testify to you from the Lord, that God is with you, and will be with you if faithful. He is such a leader as will lead you in the way of righteousness, and in the midst of the paths of judgment: He will fill your treasures, and make you to inherit substance.

O my Friends! you cannot imagine, what peace and joy, and divine consolation, there is in such a good state and condition, when you have the witness within yourselves, that you give up your hearts to God! God will be always present with you, and withhold no good thing from you: This is my testimony to you this day. O gird up the loins of your minds; be sober and hope to the end. Take heed to your ways, and turn your feet to God’s testimonies, while you are in your heavenly race; turn neither to the right hand, nor to the left, but so run, that you may obtain. There is a running where people may miss the prize and fall short; and there is a running where they may obtain the crown. ‘Let us therefore lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth easily beset us; and run with patience that race that is set before us; looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, and despised the shame.’ Let us have an eye to Christ, the great Captain of our salvation, and we shall be sensible of his living presence and feel his everlasting arms, to uphold us. If we press forward, and strive to enter in at the straight gate, we shall receive the recompense of reward, after all our sufferings, afflictions, poverty, troubles, tribulations, scoffings, cruel mockings, reproach, buffetings, losses and crosses, and persecutions, that we have undergone in this world for Christ’s sake. O let none of us be dejected or discouraged, but wait for the salvation of God. Take no thought for the morrow, let the morrow take thought for the things of itself: Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Let your affections be set upon things above, and not carried after perishing things here below: When temptations do assault you, they shall not prevail; for you shall experience with the apostle Paul, that ‘the grace of God will be sufficient for you.’ Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever, who hath engaged by promise to support and fortify his people in the hour of temptation. While we live in this world, trials and troubles, temptations and tribulations will attend us; we shall not be out of the reach of them on this side the grave. ‘Your adversary, the devil, goes about like a roaring lion, continually seeking whom he may devour; whom resist, being steadfast in faith;’ and you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the devil, and be more than conquerors through Christ that hath loved you.

And when you come to the New Jerusalem, into the strong city of God, you shall sing songs of praise and thanksgiving to your great Deliverer, and have salvation for walls and bulwarks round about you, and triumph in his praise, who hath dealt bountifully with you, and by his mighty arm hath done wonderful things for you, and remembered you in your low estate; because his mercy endureth for ever.

Such was the infidelity, rebellion, and ingratitude of Israel of old, while they were in the wilderness, ‘fed with quails and manna from heaven,’ Psal. cv. 15, and supplied with water out of the rock, by a miraculous providence, yet they murmured against the Lord, and they entered not into the good land, because of their unbelief. Take heed of shutting yourselves out of the celestial Canaan, by your unbelief and disobedience. As in your natural race you are every day one step nearer the grave, so in your spiritual race, be every day advancing in your progress towards a blessed eternity; that when you come to die, and leave this world, you may live eternally, and be for ever with the Lord. O live now as an experienced and concerned people, that you may be of the number of the wise virgins, who have oil in their lamps and in their vessels; and that you may in all approaches to God be found \ spiritual worshippers, and offer up to him a pure offering, that your prayers may be as incense and sweet odors, most acceptable to him through the intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ, the great Mediator, who is the king of saints. Submit to his sceptre and government, as an obedient and willing people, that you may take sanctuary in his mighty name, who is called Jesus, the mighty Saviour, who will save his people from their sins and from the wrath to come.

When you are concerned deeply about your spiritual and eternal state, and cry out, ‘What shall we do to be saved?’ And when you are humble and afflicted for your sins, he will deal tenderly with you, and have compassion on you: For ‘be will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax:’ He shall bring forth judgment unto truth. But many are stopt in the way, because judgment hath not its perfect work. They are not yet humbled under the mighty hand of God, and will not submit to the Lord Jesus Christ, but say obstinately ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’ But our Lord Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, saith concerning such, ‘But those mine enemies, that will not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.’ Matt. xix. 27.

O Friends, let us all be a willing people, and take Christ for our Saviour and Sovereign, who is our rightful Lord; ‘who died (saith the apostle) and revived, and rose again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.’ Let us live to Christ, that died for us; live to him here, and we shall live with him for ever. Let our souls praise the Lord, and all that is within us bless his holy name, that hath sent his Son from heaven to seek and to save us chat were lost, and to redeem us from all iniquity, that we might be a peculiar people zealous of good works. Blessed be God, who daily loadeth us with his benefits and blessings! And blessed be Christ, our Redeemer, the Lord of life, who hath invited us to come to him, that we might have life; that we may eat of the fruit of the tree of life, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations: that we may sit under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit will be sweet unto oar taste. Our Lord Jesus will feed us with heavenly manna, and with honey out of the rock of our salvation, and the true and living bread, that came down from heaven: he will make us a ‘feast of fat things, and with wine on the lees well refined.’ O remember the loving kindness of God, let it ever be before your eyes, that you may walk in his truth, as the royal Psalmist speaks. And when the meeting is over, keep your watch, and let not the spirit of the world, nor the prince of the power of the air, that rules in the children of disobedience, hinder the good seed (the word) from taking root; and bringing forth fruit, that may abound to God’s eternal glory and praise, and your everlasting consolation.

O Friends, live for heaven and eternity, and labour abundantly in the work of the Lord; and you shall know to your joy and comfort, that your labour shall not be in vain. Do you now follow your works while you live, and your works shall follow you when you die. Rev. xiii. 7. Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, for they shall rest from their labours, and their works follow them.’ I would not have you think, that I put you upon any depending upon your own (best) works; for if we do any good work, it is by the help and assistance of the Spirit of Christ, by whose power alone we are enabled to do it. It is by the strength and power of Christ Jesus, in whom we believe: It is by that strength and power, that we derive from him, that we are kept faithful to the death, that we may obtain the crown of life. It is by Christ alone, the great Captain of our salvation, that we must conquer our spiritual enemies, resist the devil, and overcome the world, and be more than conquerors; that persevering in holiness to the end of our days, we may say with the apostle Paul, when we come to die, ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also, that love his appearing.’

Therefore I beseech you all, to give all diligence, to make your calling and election sure, and so run in your heavenly race, as to press forward, towards the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, that you may obtain life eternal. ‘The grace of God, that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men; and God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish but have everlasting life.’ And the invitation is made to all: ‘Look unto me, and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth.’ Salvation is offered to all, and the means of obtaining it, is by faith in Christ Jesus, the dear and blessed Son of God, who was born of the Virgin Mary, and took our nature, as the son of David and the seed of Abraham. As he was made man, he was a confinable being; but he is also both God and man, so he is infinite and eternal, God over all, blessed for ever! Come then to Christ, that you may have life and quickening vital influence from him, and of his fulness, receive grace for grace: Come to the blood of Jesus, that purifying fountain, to wash you from all your sins, and wipe off all your old scores. Christ is made not only wisdom and righteousness, but sanctification and redemption to us: ‘We are justified freely by the grace of God, through the redemption, that is in Jesus Christ.’

‘Walk in love (saith the apostle) as Christ also hath loved us, and given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour. God offers salvation to us in Christ, the second Adam, who only can redeem us from that bondage and misery, which the first Adam by his fall and apostacy brought on all mankind.

Christ is the only Saviour of sinners, and the author of eternal salvation to all them that believe in him and obey him. This is the generation of them that seek the Lord, they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who came from heaven to show them the way thither, and came to seek and save them that were lost. ‘Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in: Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty’ in battle;’ the Lord Jesus Christ, who is mighty to save our souls, and to subdue all the enemies of our salvation.

‘Now unto him that hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to whom be glory and dominion, for ever and ever.’ Amen.

 

 

THE PROMISE OF GOD FOR THE LATTER DAYS by William Penn of Pennsylvania

William Penn concerning the Good News (Click to enlarge)

William Penn concerning the Good News (Click to enlarge)

“We shall succeed in our struggle, provided we repent of our sins & forsake them. I will see it out or go to Heaven in its ruins.” ~ John Adams to Benjamin Rush 1777 concerning the Revolutionary War of Independence

THE

PROMISE OF GOD

FOR

THE LATTER DAYS.

A Sermon preached at the Quakers’ Meeting-House, m Wheelers-Street, London, Oct. 21, 1694, in the afternoon.

BY WILLIAM PENN.

MY Friends, this is the day of God’s power and love, the day of grace and salvation; concerning which it was foretold by the prophet, that the people of God should have bread in their own houses, and water in their own cisterns. All you who have answered this day of God’s visitation, and behold the glorious appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ in your own hearts, that are found faithful, and diligent, and trusty with the talents which the Lord hath intrusted you with, that you may improve them for his glory, and your own everlasting benefit. The Lord is this day spreading his table, and bringing forth his dainties, and filling the cup of salvation, that he may satisfy his people as with marrow and fatness; and that they may celebrate his praises with joyful lips. This is a day wherein you may eat the bread of life, and drink the water of life; this is a day wherein God hath promised to teach his people himself; ‘They shall all be taught of God, and in righteousness and in truth shall they be established;’ that all that are professors of truth may be possessors of it. Now the way to this, is to receive the truth in the love of it, and to love the truth as it is in Jesus; yea, love it above all things in the world. Consider, my friends, where are your hearts and affections this day? Do you love God above all? Do you love him with all your hearts, with all your souls, and with all your strength? God will be served with the whole heart, ‘My son, give me thine heart.’ Examine now, whether God hath your hearts this day; I exhort and beseech you all to give up your hearts to God, give the crown and diadem to him; let him be your Lord, and lawgiver, and king, and he will save you; he will be a sun and a shield unto you, he will supply you with all good, and defend you from all evil; you shall have refreshment from the presence of the Lord this day, if you appear before him in a holy and humble frame and disposition, which is acceptable to him. The Lord will overshadow you with the wing of his love, and he will fill the hungry with good things, and the rich he will send empty away. The Lord is this day breaking the bread of life, and will give it to those that come with a spiritual appetite: and here is a spring opened of living waters, for refreshing of thirsty souls that cannot be satisfied without the Lord Jesus Christ, and that can have no true content, joy or pleasure, without the enjoyment of God. This bath been the stay of our minds when we have been in great tribulation, when the floods of many waters have been ready to overwhelm us. We are a people that have had abundant experience of God’s mighty power in our preservation and deliverance, blessed be the name of the Lord, whose almighty arm hath brought salvation.

Friends, it is the desire of my soul, that you may all be Christians indeed, Israelites indeed, (like Nathaniel) in whom there is no guile: That in all your gatherings you may be gathered, not to man, not to shadows, ceremonies and observations, and perishing things, but gathered to that which is the substance of all; I would not have you gathered to a notion of my experience, or others’ experiences; but I would draw your minds from all visible things, that you may be gathered to the Lord, and his appearance in you; and then you shall have bread in your own houses, and water in your own cisterns, according to that ancient prophecy which is fulfilled in these latter days, that you may have something to rely upon, the all-sufficiency of God, who hath promised to satisfy the hungry and satiate the thirsty soul; ‘Blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled:’ It is the full soul that loathes the honeycomb. Those that are over-charged with the world, and the things of the world, they are of an ill constitution; they are so filled with the world, that they cannot hunger and thirst after righteousness. The Lord fills the hungry with good things, but they that are rich and full, and think they want nothing, he sends empty away.

Martha was too intent upon the world, she was too solicitous and over-careful, and cumbered about many things; she was very busy in making provision for entertaining the Lord Jesus Christ, and was troubled that Mary her sister did not come and help her, and complains of her to our Saviour, who was pleased with Mary’s heavenly-mindedness, for she sat at Jesus’s feet, and heard him preach the everlasting gospel, wanting his bread more than he wanted hers. Luke 10: 40. When Martha was cumbered about much serving, and said to Christ, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me: and Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things, but one thing is needful, and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.’ Martha was concerned chiefly for the outward entertainment of Christ, which in itself was well, and a testimony of love to the despised Messiah; but she looked too much outward, and was over-careful, and too little regarded his inward fulness; but Mary looked inward, to be filled and satisfied from him, to receive of his fulness, even grace for grace, from the living fountain of it. Friends, I would have you, with Mary, to choose the better part, that you may be filled with divine consolations. This is that which the Lord hath opened to you this day: Receive this blessed treasure that will enrich you, and fill and satisfy you, and empty you of all that is contrary to itself, viz. the inordinate love of earthly and perishing things. This will beautify and adorn you with that which will render you amiable in the sight of God: For the King’s Daughter is all glorious within. I wonder that there are so many that are all for trimming and adorning the outside, when (the King’s Daughter) all those that are called of God, and sanctified by his Spirit, are glorious within; these will open the door of their hearts to Christ, who is the King of glory. Now that they may be espoused and married to Christ, they must have this heavenly adorning from the blessed Spirit of God, who will beautify them with faith and love, holiness, patience, meekness, humility, and all other heavenly graces, which will make them all glorious within. Open the door of your hearts to Christ, the King of glory, who hath long waited and called upon you to open to him, till bis head hath been filled with dew, and his locks with the drops of the night. If you open the door of your hearts to him, he will come in and sup with you and you with him; he will beautify and adorn you, and impress his divine image upon you, and take away every spot and wrinkle, that you may appear amiable to him. Those that are true disciples of Christ, will take up his cross and follow him, and learn of him to be meek and lowly, then they shall find rest to their souls, and know by experience that his yoke is easy and his burden light. Receive the truth therefore, in the love of it, and walk in it, and you will be kept out of all that is evil, and the blessing of the God of heaven will rest upon you, and ‘ the Lord will give grace and glory, and no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.’ Therefore wait upon the Lord with singleness and uprightness of heart, and desire in all your meetings to meet with God, and you shall feed upon the bread of life, and drink of the cup of blessing, and the Lord will minister and dispense to every one of you according to your necessities.

The Lord propounds and offers to our minds nothing below himself, we must choose him alone for our portion, and we shall receive from his hands, that which is satisfying. ‘One thing (saith the Psalmist, Psal. xxvii. 4.) have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and inquire in his temple: For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his Pavilion, in the secret of his tabernacle he shall hide me, and he shall set me upon a rock.’ Where is there a better dwelling to abide in, and take up your rest, than where God would have you dwell? God himself will be your dwelling place in all generations, and be all in all to you.

Come away, O you weary and heavy laden, to Christ, and he will give rest to your souls. Make that blessed choice that Mary did; choose that ‘good part which shall not be taken from you;’ you shall increase with the increases of God, and grow up as salves of the stall. Let your living cries ascend to the living God, who heareth the cry of the humble, and of those that are sensible of their low estate; and with strong cries and supplications desire to be made more alive unto God; let the desire of your souls be to him, and to the remembrance of his name. Let no Delilah, no darling sin, lodge in your bosoms to draw away your hearts, and the prime and flower of your affections from Christ, who is the most worthy and supreme object of your love, and altogether lovely, and the chiefest of ten thousands. Let nothing obstruct the vigorous motion of your souls after him. When he draws you with the cords of his love, do you run after him; and let your affections be set on him, and fixed on him, and he will fill you with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

My Friends, see that ye be a willing people, and a living people, God is not straitened towards us, let not us be straitened in our own bowels, and we shall feel his almighty arm supporting of us, and his bountiful hand communicating and reaching out good things to us; we shall have refreshment from the presence of the Lord, and know that he is in the midst of us. He will ‘justify us freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ; whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.’

My Friends, if we set out affections on things above, and seek first the kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof, all other things shall be added to us; for godliness is profitable to all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. Blessed are they that can witness and experience a work of God upon their souls, changing them and renewing them, in the spirit of their minds, and conforming them to the divine image and will, and putting his fear into their hearts, that thou may never depart from Him. ‘The Angel of the Lord encampeth round about them, that fear Him, and delivers them;’ O taste and see that the Lord is good! blessed is the man that trusteth in Him! the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ear is open to their cry; He will give them whatsoever they want, and deny them nothing that is good for them. If they want faith, patience, courage, humility, self-denial, or any other grace of the spirit, he will give it to them; if they want victory over temptation, and strength to subdue corruption, or to bear tribulation, or persecution, or reproach, for the name of Christ, the Lord will answer the desire of their souls. O the besetments, and snares, and stratagems of the devil, the grand enemy of our souls! we are attacked and assaulted on all hands, let us not be discouraged, but travel on in the undented way, that will bring us to an undefined, an eternal rest. Let us forsake sin, and the vanities of the world, and go up to the house of the Lord, the place where His Honour dwells; let us encourage one another, and provoke one another to love and good works, and walk in the way of holiness, having our loins girt; let us so run, that we may obtain; and remember that while we are working out our own salvation with fear and trembling, God will work in us to will and to do of His own good pleasure. Let us be so far from depending upon ourselves, as entirely to depend upon the Lord, who will not be wanting to us, but a present help in trouble. Wait upon the Lord, and improve that measure of light, and grace bestowed upon thee, and thou shalt grow as a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth fruit in season; then thy leaf shall not wither, and whatsoever thou dost shall prosper. The dew of heaven shall be upon thy root, and thou shalt grow and flourish in the courts of the Lord. Exercise self-denial, and take up the cross of Christ, (for no cross, no crown,) follow Christ the Captain of our salvation, who was made perfect through sufferings. Be not ashamed of the cross of Christ, but glory in it, as the Apostle Paul did, who said he would glory in nothing else; labour to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and to abound in all the fruits of the spirit, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, goodness, gentleness, faith, meekness and temperance; this is to be a christian indeed, and a true Jew or Israelite; for he is not a Jew which is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh, but he is a Jew which is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men but of God. Friends, think not that a superficial and outside religion will serve you, but you must show forth the virtues of Christ, and the power of godliness; then everlasting joy will be your portion. O my Friends, come into the Light, and walk in it as children of Light, and persevere to the end, and you shall come at last to partake of the inheritance among the saints in Light, and eat of the fruit of the Tree of Life which grows in the midst of the paradise of God. Man was cast out of paradise because of transgression, how shall he come back again, and be restored to a state of felicity? the Lord hath provided a Light and a Leader, the Lord Jesus Christ; blessed are they that follow Him, for he will lead in the way everlasting. Blessed are they which are reconciled to God, and justified by faith, and have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ; they know peace and assurance and satisfaction in themselves, for the work of righteousness is peace, and the fruit of righteousness, quietness, and assurance for ever. Now that you may come to this full assurance, you must first know righteousness, and come to Christ for it, who is a righteous teacher, who will guide and lead you in the way of righteousness, and holiness, out of your wilderness state wherein you have wandered from the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life. Here is something to enter our hopes upon, here is a firm bottom to stay upon. I reckon, (saith the Apostle,) that I was once alive without the law, but I am now alive through the quickening power of the Son of God, who is the resurrection and the life. This is empirical religion, which is pure and undefiled, to visit the fatherless and the widow in their affliction, and to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. This is a godly religion, that takes the spots out of a man’s garment, and out of his heart, and that is a furnace to refine us, and purge away our dross; that is as fullers soap, to wash out all our spots. If our spots are taken away, this will restore our hearts to God, and render them fit to be his living temples. Receive Christ into your hearts, and he will purge away your dross and reprobate silver, and make you more pure than the gold of Ophir. They that live the life they live here by the faith of the Son of God, they live a pure and heavenly life; the men of this world live none of this life: they seem to receive Christ outwardly, but they reject him inwardly. The Jews were cut off, because they would not receive Christ outwardly; then the axe was laid to the root of the tree, and they were cut down as trees that cumber the ground, and became a desolate people for their disobedience; and they that would not receive Christ, they died in their sins; and our compassionate Redeemer he lamented their miserable condition, and wept over them. Matt, xxiii. 37. Luke xix. 41, 42. ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee! how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! and when he came near, he beheld the city and wept over it, saying, if thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.’ Thus they rejected Christ the Eternal Son of God, and Light of the world: so those that reject the testimony of the ministers of Christ that speak to them in Christ’s name, they reject Christ himself: though Christ speaks not now to you immediately in his own person, yet he speaks to you instrumentally; and if you reject the testimony that we bring, when we preach Christ to you, you reject Christ as Jerusalem did: what was it that Jerusalem did reject ? they rejected the grace and spirit of Christ, they would not open the door of their hearts to receive and entertain Christ in the day of their visitation : what did become of them? their house was left unto them desolate. ‘I called, (saith the Lord,) but they would not answer; I offered salvation to them, but they refused; they would not in their day, know the things that belong to their peace, and now they are hidden from their eyes.

It is the desire of my soul, that none of you may hear that voice in your consciences, the things that belong to thy peace are now hidden from thine eyes; thou hast had many talents given to thee, but thou hast not improved them: this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, but thou hast loved darkness rather than light; thou hast had grace freely offered to thee, but thou hast refused it, turned from it, or turned it into wantonness.

The Lord hath given us many divine calls and visitations, and hath promised to be our God, if we would be his people; but after all his kindness to us, He justly complains, ‘ my people would none of me; 1 am the Lord thy God, (saith he to the Israel of old,) that brought thee out of the land of Egypt; open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it, enlarge thy desires, and I will satisfy them; but my people would not hearken to my voice, and Israel would none of me; so I gave up them unto their own hearts’ lust, and they walked in their own counsels. O! that my people had hearkened unto me, and walked in my ways; I would have fed them with the finest of wheat, and with honey out of the rock, should I have satisfied them.’

O, my Friends, it is a dangerous thing for a people that are enlightened by the Spirit of God, to trifle away their precious time and seasons of mercy, the day of grace and salvation; O! therefore, work while it is day, for the night cometh wherein there is no working; let us be faithful and turn our eyes to the light, and walk in tit, and live in obedience to it; God hath been present with us )my friends) in the tribulations, temptations, and afflictions that have attended us, when we have been ready to say, as David, I shall one day fall by the hands of Saul, and the enemy will prevail over us; but God hath wonderfully saved and delivered us, and hath been a shield, and buckler, and a strong tower to us, and as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. Let nothing be found alive in us that would divert us, or draw us away from God, who alone can satisfy us, and give us the desire of our hearts. If we delight ourselves in Him, let us say unto God, ‘O Lord, thou art my portion; whom have I in Heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee.’ Let us make war against every thing that is contrary to God’s holy nature and will, and abstain from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, and from all appearance of evil.

Have a care that your adversary the devil, does not prevail over you, be not ignorant of his devices; he goes about continually like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

When the devil assaulted our Saviour in Peter, he said ‘ get thee behind me satan, thou savourest not the things of God.’ Examine and try yourselves, whether you have a divine taste and relish, and savour the things of the Spirit? When the devil presents and alluring or charming temptation, to seduce you from your duty to God or your neighbor, or from your great concern, the salvation of your immortal souls; you know what the temptation tends to, therefore be steadfast in the faith; resist the devil and he will fly from you; and wait upon God in the name of Christ, and look up to him, and he will open his divine hand, and shower down his blessings upon you, and give you the upper springs and the nether springs also; God will give grace and glory, and no good thing will he withhold from you.

O you young ones! I have a travel in my soul for you! remember your Creator in the days of your youth: give unto God the prime and flower of your time and strength; learn to bear the yoke betimes: come to the yoke of Christ: take his yoke upon you; though it may fret thy neck a little, and cause a little pain, yet be willing to bear it, and thou wilt find that the yoke of Christ is an easy yoke, and his burden a light burden; and that none of his Commandments are grievous. O my Friends! the pomp and pleasure and glory of this vain world prevails over many, and thousands are ensnared by it: but it is better, with Moses, to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin tor a season; and to esteem the reproach of Christ, greater riches than the treasures of the Egyptian kingdom: for if we suffer with Christ here, we shall reign with him hereafter. The sacrifices of old were salted with salt; if you come to know the divine salt, the seasonings of grace, all that is putrefied will be done away, and purged out of your hearts; all that come to Christ are seasoned with divine grace, and they will shine as lights in the world; but for those that are not in Christ, nor made new creatures, they are conformed to this world, and the world will love its own; but what will be the end of these? they must go along with those that shall take their place on the left hand of Christ, and be sentenced to everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.

You that are lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, that love the vanities of the world, and the pleasures and pastimes of it, the supreme and righteous judge of the world will hid you depart from him into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels; wherefore you that are young, remember your Creator in your younger years; and give up your hearts to God betimes, and consider what the wise man saith after all his experience of the pleasures and enjoyments of this world, ‘vanity of vanities, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. Remember now thy Creator in the day of thy youth, while thy evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them:’ while thou art like white paper, let God write upon thee, before thou art blotted and stained with the vanities and impure pleasures of this world; set aii high value on early piety, get an interest in Christ Jesus, in your young and tender years, that as of his fulness, you have received grace for grace, you may obey it in all manner of conversation; for, without holiness no man shall ever see the Lord. Persevere in holiness to the end of your days, that you may receive the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls; O blessed are they that take Christ in all his offices, for a King, Priest, and Prophet! for a King to rule them with the sceptre of his grace, and to subdue their enemies by the might of his power; as a Priest, to make atonement for them, and reconcile them to God, and save them from sin and from the wrath to come; and as a Prophet, to instruct and teach them, and make them wise to salvation; blessed are they that receive the truth in the love of it, and love the truth as it is in Jesus; there is no condemnation to them; for they walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. While they wait upon the Lord, they renew their strength; they shall never be weary of well-doing; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. When the Lord saith to them,’ seek ye my face;’ their hearts will answer, thy face Lord will we seek. Search the scriptures to know the mind and will of God, and consult the oracle within, the word of God in your own hearts; whether shall you, or can you go? you have the words of eternal life, from Christ within you the hope of glory. You that have begun in the Spirit, do not end in the flesh; but resist all temptations from without, and corruptions within, and you shall be more than conquerors, through Christ that hath loved you; and you shall witness the fulfilling of that promise,’ him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out; and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem; and to him (saith Christ) that overcometh, will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am sat down with my Father in his throne, and I will give him a white stone, and a name, which none knows but he that hath it.’ As in your Parish books, there is a registering and a writing down of the names of all that are born there; so in the book of life are written down all the names of the children of light, that are born again, born from above; and God will remember them, and they will remember his loving kindness, and have it ever before their eyes, and walk in his truth.

My Friends, it becomes us to be a willing people, io bear the yoke of Christ cheerfully, and not to be like a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke. ‘If any draw back (saith the Lord) my soul shall have no pleasure in him.’ Let us be willing both to do and suffer the will of God, and follow Christ the Lamb of God, whithersoever he goeth; through persecutions, sufferings, and tribulations, bearing his reproach, and counting it our honour to suffer shame and dishonour for his name; and have a holy ambition to drink of his cup, and to be baptised with his baptism. We read, (Luke xx. 20.) that the mother of Zebedee’s children came to Christ with her two sons, worshipping him and desiring a certain thing of him, and he said unto her, ‘ What wilt thou?’ She said unto him, ‘Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left, in thy kingdom: But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I drink of? And to be baptised with the baptism that I am baptised with? They say unto him, We are able.’ And our Saviour said unto them, ‘Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptised with the baptism that I am baptised with; but to sit on my right hand and on my left, is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them, for whom it is prepared of my Father.’ What is this baptism? It is self-denial, and taking up the cross of Christ; and to be willing to part with all for his sake: To stand at a distance from the world, and to be weaned from the enjoyments of it, and to let Christ have the command and government of our hearts, wills, and affections. My Friends, let us so live, as we shall wish we had done, when we come to die. 2 Cor. v. 10, 11, ‘For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that which he hath done, whether it be good or bad.’ Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men: O blessed are they that turn from the evil of their ways, and so hear that their souls may live: ‘Obedience is better than sacrifice; and to hearken than the fat of rams.’ Blessed are they that ponder and weigh, and consider what the Lord’s prophets and messengers speak and declare unto them, that are found in a way of obedience, and live up to what they know, they shall at last lay down their heads in peace; ‘For blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, they rest from their labours, and their works will follow them.’

O Friends, come unto Christ that you may have life, and have it abundantly: He is the living fountain that God hath vouchsafed to open to us, even the fountain of living water, for the refreshment of thirsty souls; and the bread that comes down from heaven, for filling and satisfying the hungry soul. Blessed are they that know Christ to be their Shepherd, and hear his voice, and follow him, who will go before them as their light and leader, and give them eternal life. They shall receive from him in this life food convenient; he will make them lie down in green pastures, and lead them by the still waters, and he will prepare a table before them in the midst of their enemies, and satisfy them as with marrow and fatness, and make them triumph in his love and praise. Let us travel on in the path of life, in the ways of righteousness, without fainting, and labour to answer the great end of our creation, and the design of God’s love in our redemption, and let us live as witnesses for God in our own generation. But some may say, What do we witness? I witness to God’s judgment for my sin, and to his mercy in forgiving my sin, and to his good Spirit visiting my soul, and sanctifying me, and making me free from the law of sin and death; and I witness (may a sincere and humble soul say) a freedom and deliverance from the bondage of corruption, and power and victory over the world, and the flesh and the devil, the grand enemy of my salvation. O that you may all experience these great things in your own souls! Then Christ will say unto every one of you, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful in a little, I will make thee ruler over much.’ The Joy of the Lord shall enter now into thee, and thou shalt hereafter enter into the joy of thy Lord; thou shalt then behold his face in righteousness, and be eternally satisfied with his likeness: ‘In whose presence is fulness of joy, and at whose right hand are pleasures for evermore.’

 

 

 

JAMES MADISON CONCERNING IMMIGRATION AND IMMIGRANTS TO USA

James Madison Quote Concerning Immigration & Immigrants

James Madison Concerning Immigration & Immigrants (Click to enlarge)

The criminal influence of the alien with its steady increase can be traced back in our history for the last 60-100 years. So surely and yet so gradually has it grown upon us that we have now become thoroughly accustomed to a condition of things which would have been extremely shocking to our ancestors. The belief and confidence in the cheap labor of the immigrant has been very strong among certain segments (i.e. GOP, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Wealthy Democrats, the Mainstream Media, et. al.) of our society, against the better judgement of the voting public at large. American citizens have been blinded by those afore mentioned segments of the country or they would never have been willing to go on with the system in the face of the shocking revelations of crime and corruption which has become more and more apparent.

The fathers of the Republic were entirely opposed to promiscuous, wholesale immigration, and they undoubtedly represented the opinions of a large number of our people at that time. Even Madison, who favored immigration more than any of the other fathers of the Republic, and who introduced in Congress the first bill intended to encourage it, always insisted that he intended to bring over only the “worthy part of mankind,” and in a letter written in 1813 he expresses almost the same opinion as Adams, Washington and Jefferson. Neither Madison nor any of the others had any conception of modern immigration. and apparently never realized that their moderate and, as they supposed, well-regulated encouragement would bring it about.

JAMES MADISON TO MORRIS BIRKBECK; 1813

Sir,—I have received your letter of September 18, though at a much later day than that at which it was due. The letter inclosed in it from Mr. Coles would have been received with additional pleasure from your own hand, if you had found it convenient to take Montpelier in your Westwardly route. He was a few days ago with me, and confirmed verbally the esteem and the friendly interest he takes in your behalf.

I cannot but commend the benevolent solicitude you express for your emigrating countrymen; and I sincerely wish that all who are attached to our Country by its natural and political advantages might be as little disappointed or embarrassed on their arrival as possible. I am obliged, at the same time, to say, as you will doubtless learn from others, that it is not either the provision of our laws or the practice of the Government to give any encouragement to emigrants, unless it be in cases where they may bring with them some special addition to our stock of arts or articles of culture. You will perceive, therefore, that it is not in the power of the Executive to dispose of the public land in a mode different from the ordinary one; and I should not be justified in encouraging any reliance on the success of a resort to the National Legislature.

Should your future movements bring you at any time within reach of my residence, I shall be happy in an opportunity of proving, by a cordial welcome, the sincerity of my respect and good wishes.

Sources: Writing of James Madison 1794-1815 By James Madison
Public Opinion, Volume 21

GEORGE WASHINGTON CONCERNING IMMIGRATION and IMMIGRANTS

George Washington Quote Concerning Immigration and Immigrants

George Washington Concerning Immigration and Immigrants

See also:
THOMAS JEFFERSON CONCERNING IMMIGRATION and IMMIGRANTS
 
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS CONCERNING IMMIGRATION TO THE U.S.A.
 
MAKING THE FOREIGN-BORN FAMILIAR WITH THE AMERICAN SPIRIT By George S. Tilroe

 

PRESIDENT GEORGE WASHINGTON TO JOHN ADAMS, VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

Saturday, 27 November, 1794.

DEAR SIR,
I have not been able to give the papers herewith enclosed more than a hasty reading, returning them without delay, that you may offer the perusal of them to whomsoever you shall think proper. The picture, drawn in them, of the Genevese is really interesting and affecting. The proposition of transplanting the members entire of the university of that place to America, with the requisition of means to establish the same, and to be accompanied by a considerable emigration, is important, requiring more consideration than under the circumstances of the moment I am able to bestow upon it.

That a national university in this country is a thing to be desired, has always been my decided opinion; and the appropriation of ground and funds for it in the Federal City has long been contemplated and talked of; but how far matured, or how far the transporting of an entire seminary of foreigners, who may not understand our language, can be assimilated therein, is more than I am prepared to give an opinion upon; or, indeed, how far funds in either case are attainable.

My opinion, with respect to emigration, is, that except of useful mechanics, and some particular descriptions of men or professions, there is no need of encouragement; while the policy or advantage of its taking place in a body (I mean the settling of them in a body) may be much questioned; for by so doing they retain the language, habits, and principles, good or bad, which they bring with them. Whereas, by an inter-mixture with our people, they or their descendants get assimilated to our customs, measures, and laws; in a word, soon become one people.

‘ I shall, at any leisure hour after the session is fairly opened, take pleasure in a full and free conversation with you on this subject, being with much esteem and regard, dear Sir, &c.

 

THOMAS JEFFERSON CONCERNING IMMIGRATION and IMMIGRANTS

 

Thomas Jefferson Quotes Concerning Immigration Policy

Thomas Jefferson Concerning Immigration Policy

John Quincy Adams Concerning Immigration and Immigrants

George Washington Concerning Immigration and Immigrants

MAKING THE FOREIGN-BORN FAMILIAR WITH THE AMERICAN SPIRIT By George S. Tilroe

I have taken the term of four million and a half of inhabitants for example’s sake only. Yet I am persuaded it is a greater number than the country spoken of, considering how much inarable land it contains, can clothe and feed without a material change in the quality of their diet. But are there no inconveniences to be thrown into the scale against the advantage expected from a multiplication of numbers by the importation of foreigners?

It is for the happiness of those united in society to harmonize as much as possible in matters which they must of necessity transact together. Civil government being the sole object of forming societies, its administration must be conducted by common consent. Every species of government has its specific principles. Ours perhaps are more peculiar than those of any other in the universe. It is a composition of the freest principles of the English constitution, with others derived from natural right and natural reason. To these nothing can be more opposed than the maxims of absolute monarchies. Yet from such we are to expect the greatest number of emigrants.

They will bring with them the principles of the governments they leave, imbibed in their early youth ; or, if able to throw them off, it will be in exchange for an unbounded licentiousness, passing, as is usual, from one extreme to another. It would be a miracle were they to stop precisely at the point of temperate liberty. These principles, with their language, they will transmit to their children. In proportion to their numbers, they will share with us the legislation. They will infuse into it their spirit, warp and bias its directions, and render it a heterogenous, incoherent, distracted mass. I may appeal to experience, during the present contest, for a verification of these conjectures. But, if they be not certain in event, are they not possible, are they not probable ? Is it not safer to wait with patience twenty-seven years and three months longer, for the attainment of any degree of population desired or expected? May not our government be more homogeneous, more peaceable, more durable?

Suppose twenty millions of republican Americans thrown all of a sudden into France, what would be the condition of that kingdom? If it would be more turbulent, less happy, less strong, we may believe that the addition of half a million of foreigners to our present numbers would produce a similar effect here. If they come of themselves they are entitled to all the rights of citizenship ; but I doubt the expediency of inviting them by extraordinary encouragements. I mean not that these doubts should be extended to the importation of useful artificers. The policy of that measure depends on very different considerations. Spare no expense in obtaining them. They will after a while go to the plough and the hoe; but, in the mean time, they will teach us something we do not know.

It is not so in agriculture. The indifferent state of that among us does not proceed from a want of knowledge merely ; it is from our having such quantities of land to waste as we please. In Europe the object is to make the most of their land, labor being abundant; here it is to make the most of our labor, land being abundant.

Reference: Notes on Virginia: Query VIII by Thomas Jefferson

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS CONCERNING IMMIGRATION TO THE U.S.A.

John Quincy Adams Quote Concerning Immigration to America

John Q. Adams Concerning Immigration to America (Click to enlarge)

See also what George Washington had to say about what our policy should be towards immigrants and immigration to the United States.

LETTER FROM JOHN QUINCY ADAMS TO MORITZ VON FUERSTENWAERTHER.

(From Niles’ Register, April 29, 1820.)

(The letter, of which the following is a copy, appears to have been published in a German translation at Augsburg; whence, by a re-translation, it has appeared in some of the English gazettes, and from them been extracted into some of the newspapers in this country. In its double transformation it has suffered variations not supposed to be intentional, nor perhaps important, but which render the publication of it proper, as it was written. It has been incorrectly stated to be an answer in the name of the American government. It was indeed written by the Secretary of State, as it purports, in answer to an application from an individual and respectable foreigner, who had previously been employed by the baron de Gagern, to collect information concerning the German emigrants to the United States, and to endeavor to obtain encouragements and favors to them from his government. Upon that mission he had been particularly recommended to Mr. Adams, to whom a printed copy of his report to the Baron de Gagern had afterwards been transmitted. There are several allusions to the report, in this letter, which was an answer to one from Mr. Fürstenwärther, intimating a disposition to become himself an American citizen; but suggesting that he had offers of advantageous employment in his native country, and enquiring whether, in the event of his settling here, he could expect any official situation in the department of state, or any other under the government.)

“Department of State,
Washington, 4th June, 1819.

SIR :—I had the honor of receiving your letter of the 22d April, enclosing one from your kinsman, the Baron de Gagern, and a copy of your printed report, which I hope and have no doubt will be useful to those of your countrymen in Germany, who may have entertained erroneous ideas, with regard to the results of emigration from Europe to this country.

It was explicitly stated to you, and your report has taken just notice of the statement, that the government of the United States has never adopted any measure to encourage or invite emigrants from any part of Europe. It has never held out any incitements to induce the subjects of any other sovereign to abandon their own country, to become inhabitants of this. From motives of humanity it has occasionally furnished facilities to emigrants who, having arrived here with views of forming settlements, have specially needed such assistance to carry them into effect. Neither the general government of the union, nor those of the individual states, are ignorant or unobservant of the additional strength and wealth, which accrues to the nation, by the accession of a mass of healthy, industrious, and frugal laborers, nor are they in any manner insensible to the great benefits which this country has derived, and continues to derive, from the influx of such adoptive children from Germany. But there is one principle which pervades all the institutions of this country, and which must always operate as an obstacle to the granting of favors to new comers.

This is a land, not of privileges, but of equal rights. Privileges are granted by European sovereigns to particular classes of individuals, for purposes of general policy; but the general impression here is that privileges granted to one denomination of people, can very seldom be discriminated from erosions of the rights of others. Emigrants from Germany, therefore, or from elsewhere, coming here, are not to expect favors from the governments. They are to expect, if they choose to become citizens, equal rights with those of the natives of the country. They are to expect, if affluent, to possess the means of making their property productive, with moderation, and with safety;—if indigent, but industrious, honest and frugal, the means of obtaining easy and comfortable subsistence for themselves and their families. They come to a life of independence, but to a life of labor—and, if they cannot accomodate themselves to the character, moral, political, and physical, of this country, with all its compensating balances of good and evil, the Atlantic is always open to them, to return to the land of their nativity and their fathers. To one thing they must make up their minds, or, they will be disappointed in every expectation of happiness as Americans. They must cast off the European skin, never to resume it. They must look forward to their posterity, rather than backward to their ancestors;— they must be sure that whatever their own feelings may be, those of their children will cling to the prejudices of this country, and will partake of that proud spirit, not unmingled with disdain, which you have observed is remarkable in the general character of this people, and as perhaps belonging peculiarly to those of German descent, born in this country.

That feeling of superiority over other nations which you have noticed, and which has been so offensive to other strangers, who have visited these shores, arises from the consciousness of every individual that, as a member of society, no man in the country is above him; and, exulting in this sentiment, he looks down upon those nations where the mass of the people feel themselves the inferiors of privileged classes, and where men are high or low, according to the accidents of their birth. But hence it is that no government in the world possesses so few means of bestowing favors, as the government of the United States. The governments are the servants of the people, and are so considered by the people, who place and displace them at their pleasure. They are chosen to manage for short periods the common concerns, and when they cease to give satisfaction, they cease to be employed. If the powers, however, of the government to do good are restricted, those of doing harm are still more limited. The dependence, in affairs of government, is the reverse of the practice in Europe; instead of the people depending upon their rulers, the rulers, as such, are always dependent upon the good will of the people.

We understand perfectly, that of the multitude of foreigners who yearly flock to our shores, to take up here their abode, none come from affection or regard to a land to which they are total strangers, and with the very language of which, those of them who are Germans are generally unacquainted. We know that they come with views, not to our benefit, but to their own—not to promote our welfare, but to better their own condition. We expect therefore very few, if any, transplanted countrymen from classes of people who enjoy happiness, ease, or even comfort, in their native climes. The happy and contented remain at home, and it requires an impulse, at least as keen as that of urgent want, to drive a man from the soil of his nativity and the land of his father’s sepulchres. Of the very few emigrants of more fortunate classes, who ever make the attempt of settling in this country, a principal proportion sicken at the strangeness of our manners, and after a residence, more or less protracted, return to the countries whence they came. There are, doubtless, exceptions, and among the most opulent and the most distinguished of our citizens, we are happy to number individuals who might have enjoyed or acquired wealth and consideration, without resorting to a new country and another hemisphere. We should take great satisfaction in finding you included in this number, if it should suit your own inclinations, and the prospects of your future life, upon your calculations of your own interests.

I regret that it is not in my power to add the inducement which you might perceive in the situation of an officer under the government. All the places in the department to which I belong, allowed by the laws, are filled, nor is there a prospect of an early vacancy in any of them. Whenever such vacancies occur, the applications from natives of the country to fill them, are far more numerous than the offices, and the recommendations in behalf of the candidates so strong and so earnest, that it would seldom be possible, if it would ever be just, to give a preference over them to foreigners. Although, therefore, it would give me a sincere pleasure to consider you as one of our future and permanent fellow citizens, I should not do either an act of kindness or of justice to you, in dissuading you from the offers of employment and of honorable services, to which you are called in your native country. With the sincerest wish that you may find them equal and superior to every expectation of advantage that you have formed, or can indulge, in looking to them,

I have the honor to be, sir, your very obedient and humble servant,

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS.

Reference: Deutsch-amerikanische Geschichtsblätter, Volume 17

THE SURE FOUNDATION by William Penn of Pennsylvania

The Sure Foundation by William Penn

The Sure Foundation by William Penn (Click to enlarge)

[Editor's note: I am adding these sermons by William Penn, not only for the historical context, but also, because they could very well have been preached by the ministers I have listened to all my life, same spirit, same messages. Truth is truth. no matter what time in history we live.]

THE

SURE FOUNDATION:

A sermon preached at the Quakers’ Meeting:-House in Grace-Church Street, London, Oct. 10, 1694.

BY WILLIAM PENN, WITH HIS EXCELLENT PRAYER.

THE foundation of God standeth sure; and they that build sure, must build upon it. This hath been God’s great love to us, in this day, age and generation, that he has laid for us this sure foundation, that which in all ages the people of God have been built upon, and have been preserved in all the storms and tempests that have been raised, both from within and without. They who are fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, are built upon the foundation of the prophets and apostles, ‘Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;’ in whom all the building fitly framed together, groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord, Ephes. 2:20.

Friends, I exhort you in the name and power of the living God, mind this foundation, upon it do you build all your hopes of salvation. The living power and truth of the living God, is that which visited us in the beginning, and gathered us out of that which is evil, into that which is holy, pure and precious: blessed are you that feel, and experimentally know this visitation of the Lord, within you, from day to day, and from one season to another: this is that wherein stands your refreshment, your consolation, your succour and relief in all the times of temptation wherein the enemy of souls goes about, like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.’ This subtle enemy is always waiting how he may break into God’s vineyard, and lay waste and spoil the heritage of the Lord; but by his divine Light and Spirit, and the Word of his Grace, they shall be preserved. This is the word which you read of in Rom. 10:8 and mentioned by Moses, Deut. 30:14. ‘The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart:’ that is, the word of faith which we preach, that is that word of God by which you and all God’s people have been preserved in all ages and generations. Here is the foundation of peace and love, of purity and holiness; they that come to build on this foundation, they see it to be a sure foundation, by the brightness of Christ’s appearance, by the manifestation of the son of God. For ‘God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined into our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.’ This is the foundation; in building upon which, our souls can find peace and satisfaction. This is revealed and made known by the sovereign almighty arm, and power and wisdom of the Eternal God. This is that which I would leave among you; build upon the right foundation, even upon the Lord Jesus Christ, the blessed Son of God. God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh; that you may all come to be justified freely; by his grace, and led by the spirit of God as the children of God: that you may walk in the spirit, and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh, for ‘if ye live after the flesh (says the apostle) ye shall die; but if you through the spirit mortify the deeds of the body ye shall live’ Rom. 8:13. The spirit of God is a spirit of purity, holiness, righteousness and self-denial; that will lead you through the straight gate, and in the narrow way, that leads to life.

Friends, this is the work that God hath called you to, even to build upon the right foundation; this is the day of God’s love, the day of his power, wherein you are to be a willing people that this work may be carried on in your hearts, the knowledge you have in religion, it must be experimental; for historical knowledge only, will not do; for that is a knowledge of the concern of others, and not our own. Let us highly prize and value the saving knowledge of God, and Jesus Christ, which is life eternal: let us look unto Christ within us, who is the light that discovers the works of darkness, and leads us out of them. Know God’s foundation, and build well upon it, not hay and stubble, which will be consumed by fire. I beseech you, in the name of the everlasting God, build upon the true foundation, Christ within you, the hope of glory, which is a mystery hid from ages and generations. Our Lord Jesus Christ said to his disciples a little before his departure; ‘If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also.’ It is he, that dwelt in the hearts of the primitive Christians of old, and it is he, that dwells in his people now; he can open in our hearts a living fountain, a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. The Lord Jesus Christ is the great physician, that can cure all our spiritual maladies, and he is willing and ready to help us: come under his teaching, and guidance, and he will show you the path of life, and lead you in the way everlasting. Behold, he stands at the door and knocks; do you open your hearts to him, and he will come in, and sup with you, and you with him. He is calling you to repentance, to turn from sin, and come to Him that you may have life; he will lay judgment to the line, and righteousness to the plummet, and bring down the man of sin in us, and raise us up to the love of God, and faith in God; that we may deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts , and everything that is contrary to the mind of God, that so we may love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our mind, and with all our soul. And if we love God with all our minds, we must not give our minds to anything else; and if we love God with all our might and strength, we must love nothing but in subordination to him: we must love all things in God, and love God above all things, then we shall come truly to know that the Lord is our God. Matt. 7:24. Our Saviour speaking of building upon the right foundation, ‘Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doth them; I will liken him to a wise man that built his house upon a Rock, (and this Rock is Christ himself,) and the rains decended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon the House, and it fell not; for it was founded on a rock.’ Such an one, that heareth Christ’s sayings, and doth them, he builds upon Christ the Rock of our salvation: upon this foundation did the holy patriarchs build; and upon this Rock and Foundation did the holy prophets build.

God told Elijah, 1 King 19:18. ‘Yet have I left seven thousand in Israel, that have not bowed unto Baal.’ Have a care of idolatry, of spiritual idolatry of loving any sin or lust: let Christ have your hearts, and the strength and flower of your love and affections, and build upon him alone who is the true foundation. Do not content yourselves with an external possession; labour to come and experience the work of regeneration, that you may know you are born again, born of the spirit, and are passed from death to life, and live in obedience to the commands of Christ, for he is the Author of eternal salvation, to all them that obey him. Have you known the terrors of the Lord? ask yourselves, am I so terrified, as to be persuaded to turn from that which would turn me from God? am I turned from that; which would eclipse God’s light in my soul? If thou art turned from sin to righteousness, thou art not a canter, thou art not an enthusiast; thou art a true child of God; and a work of regeneration is not only begun in thy soul, but thou art going on to perfection, and thou hast laid the foundation of repentance from dead works, and repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, our great mediator and redeemer, who is the way, the truth and the life: and if thou be faithful to death, he will give thee the crown of life.

Let us take heed to ourselves, and watch against the enemy of our souls, that he may not seduce us and bewilder us, and make us wander and lose our way, while we are travelling through the wilderness of this world, toward the heavenly Canaan. The same almighty arm, that brought us out of Egypt, will conduct us through the wilderness, and bring us safe to Canaan: our heavenly Joshua, the Lord Jesus Christ, will be our captain and leader, and after all our labours and dangers and conflicts with potent enemies in our way, he will bring us to the good land, to that kingdom that cannot be shaken; that inheritance, that is incorruptible, and undefiled, and fadeth not away: then we shall know our lot, and sing praises, living praises, with joy in our hearts, and harps in our hands, and worship Him that liveth forever and ever, saying, ‘blessing, honour, and glory, and power, to him, that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever! worthy is the Lamb, that was slain, to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honour, glory, and blessing; who hath redeemed us to God by his blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;’ and hath made us to our God kings and priests.— We must now believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, with a faith that worketh by love; we cannot be saved by a dead faith, but by a living faith : and as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. If we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved from sin, and from the wrath to come: ‘unless you believe in me (said our Saviour to the Jews) ye shall die in your sins.’ They that live in their sins, will die in them: blessed are they that mortify their sins, and that die to sin, that they may die in the Lord, and live forever with the Lord! happy are they, that are found in Christ (in a dying hour) not having their own righteousness, they shall be accepted of God; not for any righteousness of their own, but for the righteousness of Christ, who hath all righteousness to justify us, and will by his spirit work righteousness in us, and will be sanctification to us, ‘ he that knew no sin, was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him ;’ and the apostle tells us, that Christ is made to us of God, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption: O glory, and honour, and eternal renown, be to our Lord Jesus Christ, who is all in all to us!

O friends, you that are an humble people, that mourn for sin, that are merciful, meek, and lowly, and poor in spirit, and pure in heart; our Lord Jesus Christ in his sermon on the mount hath pronounced a blessing on you: ‘blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven: blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted: blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth: blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy: blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.’ Matt. 5. O friends, you that have tasted, that the Lord is gracious, come unto Christ, as the true and sure Foundation : come unto him, as a Living Stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious; you also as lively stones, shall be built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God, by Jesus Christ: unto you (saith the apostle) that believe, Christ is precious. Wherefore it is written, Isa. 28:16. ‘Thus saith the Lord God, behold I lay in Zion for a Foundation Stone, a tried Stone, a precious Corner Stone, a sure Foundation.’ He that believeth, shall not make haste: trust in this sure Foundation, you know that it hath never failed you. O lay not a new foundation, depart not from this sure Foundation, the Lord Jesus Christ; but say unto him, as Peter, when many disciples went back, and walked no more with him ; ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.’ Thus, by believing in Christ, and building upon this sure Foundation, you will bring honour and glory to his blessed name, and obtain salvation for your immortal souls.

Blessed is he that overcometh,(not he that is overcome,) he that overcometh, shall inherit all things. Blessed is he that overcometh the world, that overcomes the devil, and that overcometh sin, that overcomethh is lusts, his concupiscence, and all ungodliness and unrighteousness. Rev. 2:7. ‘To him that overcometh, will I give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.’ It is the desire of my soul, that you may overcome, and be more than conquerors, through Christ, that hath loved you and washed you from your sins, in his own blood: and that you persevere, and continue in well doing to the end of your days, and then lay down your heads in peace, and enter into an everlasting rest, where there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain, nor mourning; but God shall wipe away all tears from your eyes. And you that have been mourners in Zion, shall sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, ‘Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty! just and true are thy ways, thou King of Saints ; who shall not fear thee and glorify thy name, for thou only art holy!’

Thus, my friends, you will bless the Lord forever, that hath visited your souls, when you come to obtain, through our Lord Jesus Christ, salvation and eternal glory; and join in the innumerable company of angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect, in celebrating the praises of his great and excellent name: who alone is worthy; who is God over all, blessed for ever more! Amen.

HIS PRAYER AFTER SERMON.

MOST Blessed, Glorious, Eternal and Incomprehensible Lord God, we desire to worship, and humbly adore thy excellent Majesty, whose gracious and favourable presence is with all thine, that wait upon thee, and desire to serve thee in the beauties of holiness. Thou hast mercifully made known thyself in this day of thy power and love, to a willing people, that delight to worship thee in spirit and in truth; the desire of whose souls is to thee only, and to the remembrance of thy name, that hunger and thirst, and look, and long for thy appearance.-— Blessed God, thou hast appeared, and thy appearance is glorious: Thou hast wonderfully appeared in the beams of gospel-light and grace, and caused not only the blessed gospel to dawn upon us, but thou hast been pleased to make thy glory to shine upon us, in the face of Jesus Christ, the dear Son of thy love; and by the mighty and powerful working of thy Holy Spirit, thou hast enlightened us with the saving knowledge of thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent, which is Life Eternal. The desire of our souls is after thee, more than after all things besides thee: Lord thou hast raised these living desires in our souls, and fervent breathings after thee, the living God. It is the most sincere and earnest desire of our souls to draw nigh to thee, that thou mayest draw nigh to us, and bless us; and that our services may be accepted, and well pleasing to thee through Jesus Christ. Lord, be graciously pleased to bow down thy people by thy mighty power, to a holy submission and resignation to thy heavenly will; and lift up the light of thy countenance upon all those, that breathe after communion with thee, that are thy peculiar people, and whom thou has set apart for thyself, and whom thou hast raised up to be monuments of thy mercy, and instruments of thy praise. There are many here present can say, that thou hast been very good unto them; thou hast caused joy to spring up in their souls in all the sorrows and troubles that have attended them. O how liberally hast thou distributed of thy light and love! thou hast opened a living fountain, and with living streams thou hast consolated and refreshed their souls, under their many trials and temptations. O God of my life, I beseech thee, bless all thy people, all that have believed in thy dear Son, Jesus Christ; draw nigh to all those that desire to come into the fellowship of thy truth; open thy hand, and dispense thy mercies liberally to us, that every one of us may know, that we receive from thy infinite fullness, and have all our supplies from thee. Let us be abundantly satisfied with thy loving kindness, which is better than life; and fed with the hidden manna; and eat of the bread that came down from Heaven, that whosoever eats of it shall never die, but live forever. Let thy mighty arm and power, O Lord, be revealed, and thy love shed abroad upon our hearts! preserve us and all thy people in the hollow of thy hand, and under thy Pavilion, from the fury and rage of the enemy, and from the strife of tongues. Compass us about with thy favour, as with a shield, and surround us with thine everlasting arms, that the enemy of our souls nay not approach us. O Lord, frustrate the designs of that adversary, that like a roaring lion goes about continually seeking whom he may devour. Lord hear all those that cry to thee in the depth of their distresses and afflictions, and help, and succour, and comfort, and support them, and deliver them in the needful time: show them the path of life; keep them from every evil way, and lead them in the way everlasting; and let them walk therein, and not be weary and faint in their minds; looking up to Jesus, the author and finisher of their faith; who for the joy, that was set before him, endured the cross, and despised the shame; who is a merciful high priest, that cannot but be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; that was tempted as we are, that he might succour those that are tempted. Let us follow the Captain of our salvation, who was made perfect through sufferings, having the kingdom of grace in our hearts, and kingdom of glory in our eyes; and by a patient continuance in well doing, seek after glory and honour, immortality and eternal life. Let thy kingdom come in power, and thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven! we pray thee, sanctify all such opportunities, as these, unto thy people, and teach them to profit, and so to hear, that their Souls may live.

We cannot open the hearts of men; it is Thou, O Lord alone, that canst open their hearts: Thou hast the key of David, that canst open, and none can shut; and shut, and none can open. Man can do nothing of himself; it is thou, O Lord, that dost all. Prosper the labours of thy servants in the ministry of this nation, and in all the nations that are nigh, and afar off, where any are gathered to wait Upon thee: Lord, be thou in the midst of them; let every plant of thine own planting, grow, and bring forth fruit to thy praise. Send forth thy light, arid thy truth, and let thy glorious gospel have a free course, and be glorified. Be with those that cannot come to the solemn assemblies of thy people, let them be taught of God: those that lie upon beds of languishing, do thou heal and recover them; let them near the voice of thy rod, and not only receive correction, but instruction, and be taught by thy Spirit to improve their afflictions, that they may thankfully and joyfully say, it is good for us that we were afflicted. Pity “those that are wounded with the sense of their sin, and pour oil into their wounds and speak peace unto them, and pardon, and wash them in the precious blood of Jesus, which cleanseth from all sin; and prepare them for the everlasting enjoyment of thyself in the region of blessedness, where all tears shall be wiped from their eyes, and sorrow and sighing shall be no more. Let the knowledge of the Lord cover the earth, as the waters cover the sea: finish transgression, and make an end of sin, and bring in everlasting righteousness! Lord, let the fear and dread of thy blessed majesty fill the hearts of all the inhabitants of this land, that thou mayest delight to dwell in the midst of us, and bless us. O Lord God Almighty, be pleased to go along with us, to the respective places of our abode, and let thy presence abide with us; and let salvation be for walls and bulwarks round about us! Lord, sprinkle the posts of the doors of thy servants, and sprinkle our hearts and consciences with the blood of the Immaculate Lamb, that the destroying angel may pass by: and preserve all thy people in the hollow of thy hand, and under the wing of thy love, that they may lie down in peace and safety, and extol and magnify thy great and excellent name, who hast extended thy favour to them and preserved them, when they have passed through the great waters, and mighty deeps, where thou hast showed them thy wonderful power, and great salvation: let their souls magnify thy name, and their spirits rejoice in thee, their God and Saviour, who didst preserve thy people Israel at the sea, even at the Red sea, and caused the waters on the right hand and on the left, to stand up as a wall, while they passed through the sea on dry land, and made their hearts glad, and to rejoice in thy great salvation, and triumph in thy praise. Honour and glory be ascribed to thy great and holy name, for that, thou hast of late delivered thy people as in days of old. Let them not go back again into Egypt; but be travelling on to the heavenly Canaan; and in thy good time do thou give them rest, after all their labours, travels, distresses and troubles; and let them sit down under their vines and fig-trees, and eat the fruits of their own labours; and of thy bounty and beneficence, and glorify thy name* with solemn praises, and heavenly conversation. And, blessed God, satisfy the desires of their souls, with respect to their inward, and spiritual state and condition, whose minds are exercised, about making their calling and election sure; that they may at last obtain life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Those that have been gathered, and brought to the knowledge of the truth, let them be continued in it, and enjoy heavenly fellowship and communion with thee, and the openings of divine life and love, while they are in their pilgrimage; that they may lay down their heads in peace, and render to Thee, through thy dear Son, Christ Jesus, thy Lamb, and our Light and Leader, (who is both our priest and sacrifice,) glory, honour, dominion and praise, who alone is worthy, and is God over all, blessed forever and ever! Amen.

Reference: The Harmony of Divine Doctrines: Demonstrated in Sundry Declarations on a variety of subjects. Preached at the Quakers’ Meetings in London. By William Penn

GOD’S CALL TO A CARELESS WORLD by William Penn of Pennsylvania

Admiral William Penn (1621-1670)  Founder of Pennsylvania quote concerning Knowledge and Judgement

William Penn Founder of Pennsylvania concerning Knowledge and Judgement (Click to enlarge)

GOD’S CALL

TO

A CARELESS WORLD.

A Sermon preached at the Quakers’ Meeting House, in Grace-Church-Street, London, Oct. 21, 1694.

BY WILLIAM PENN.

BLESSED are all those who have answered the call of God, and who are found in his way, whose way is the way of peace, who are not weary of well doing, but having been called of God, have obediently answered that call, and are found diligent, as those that expect to give an account of their deeds done in the body, that neglect not so great salvation, which so numerous a part of mankind are made partakers of; for it is certainly true, that God hath sent his Son into the world to bless mankind, who were all under a curse by nature, and children of wrath; God hath so loved the world, as to send his Son to bless them. But, O my friends! who among us will come to be blessed? who among the sons and daughters of men will come to be blessed of the blessed Son of God this day? who came to bless us, in turning every one of us from our iniquities.

Friends, I call upon you all in the name of the Lord, come and be blessed; they that receive Jesus Christ the eternal Son of God, receive the blessing: O you that have received the dear and blessed Son of God, and have opened the door of your hearts to him and said,’ O come Lord Jesus, come quickly! thou art the chiefest of ten thousand, and altogether lovely, thou art the desire of all nations, and most desirable to my soul; I have had other lovers, but now my soul loveth thee above all, and by thee will only make mention of thy name; which is that strong tower that I will fly unto, and take sanctuary in, at all times: O be not thou far from me when trouble is near, for at what time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee, and thou wilt set me on a rock higher than I; who art mighty to save, who art the author of eternal salvation, that canst save me from sin here, and from the wrath to come.’— All you who have answered thus, the call of God, and love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, that love his appearing, and look and long for it, and who cannot be contented and satisfied without it, that wait for the coming of the Lord Jesus, whom our souls love above all, O wait for Him more than they that watch for the morning; these are they that shall have the heavenly dew of divine grace descend upon them, and they shall grow as the lilly, and increase with the increases of God, and grow strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might; ‘they that wait upon the Lord, (saith the prophet Isaiah,) shall renew their strength ; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint; and they shall get victory over the world, and over the Prince of the power of the air, and triumph over death and the grave, and be able to say, ‘O death where is thy sting! O grave where is thy victory!’ and likewise say with the apostle Paul, when he was ready to be offered, and the time of his departure was at hand, ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the Righteous Judge shall give me at that day ; and not to me only, but unto them that also love his appearing: I have fought a good fight, I have kept the faith, and that hath kept me:’ and you may further say with the same apostle, ‘forgetting the things that are behind, and reaching forth unto those things that are before, I press forward towards the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.’ It is the desire of my ,soul that you may all be a willing people in the day of God’s power, and be pressing forward in the ways of God, towards the heavenly Canaan. And now that you are brought out of Sodom and Egypt, you may never hanker after it again, nor go from the narrow way that leadeth unto life eternal. Remember Lot’s wife; when she looked back, she became a pillar of salt, a monument of God’s displeasure. Therefore take warning by her, you that have hastened out of Sodom; look not back, linger not by the way, but persevere to the end. that you may escape the fiery indignation of the Almighty, which will flame against those, and come upon them to the uttermost, that live and die in their iniquities. O labour therefore abundantly in the work of the Lord, and you shall enjoy eternal rest after all your labours, and you shall then find that your labour shall not be in vain; O faint not in the way of holiness, that leads to everlasting blessedness, and you shall have the love of God shed abroad upon your hearts by the Holy Ghost, and divine refreshment from the presence of the Lord, which will make all the ways of God to be ways of pleasantness and all his paths to be full of peace and joy; that peace that passeth understanding and that joy that is unspeakable and full of glory Therefore follow Christ your grand exemplar and supreme pattern, and be willing to deny yourselves, and take up his cross, and be crucified to the world, and let the world be crucified to you, and you will appear to be the children of the resurrection, who are royally descended, even of the line and family of heaven, children of light, of the Father of lights, who of his own will begat you with the word of truth, that you should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

Here is good news for you, and glad tidings, that you that were children of wrath by nature, may by adoption become heirs of the promise, the promise of eternal life, through Christ Jesus, who hath purchased deliverance and eternal redemption for all that do believe in him. Here is true liberty and enlargement, and an opening of the prison doors to all those that have a deep sense of their misery and bondage. It is joyful news to a man in a foreign country, that lies in prison, and under heavy chains, to hear the joyful report of his redemption, and that the prison shall be opened, and his chains and fetters taken off, and that he shall be set at liberty to return to his native country : this is welcome tidings, relating only to the outward man; but here is a greater deliverance, for it is from a worse bondage and captivity: here is a call to the world, that they will come out of the prison and dark dungeon wherein the devil hath long held them in slavery and bondage; Christ Jesus is come from heaven to deliver them.

O come unto Christ, who is the light of the world, who will bring you out of darkness into his marvellous light; and turn you from the power of Satan, to the power of God. Ye that were sometime darkness, may be made light in the Lord ; you that were children of wrath and children of the devil, may become the children of God : you that were conceived in sin and brought forth in iniquity you come to partake of the new birth, and be regenerated and renewed by the Holy Ghost, and washed in the blood of Christ, which cleanseth from all sin, that you may be made meet to enter into the kingdom of God, into which no unclean thing shall ever enter; for alas! what is the use of purging and washing, but to take away stains and spots? O purify yourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; and come unto Christ the author of eternal salvation, and trust in him, and depend upon him, by a true and lively faith, and he will ordain peace for you: He is the great peace-maker, and will make their peace with God that answer the call of God. Blessed are they that come under his sceptre, under his holy and pure power and government.

O Friends, answer the call of God, that call that doth call thee, O man, from thy sin, which will certainly bring thee to destruction, if thou dost continue in it: O hearken to this call of God ! if thou dost answer that call, then thou wilt mind the reproofs that are given thee by the Spirit of God, and the light that shines in thine own heart: thou wilt then say, I cannot go on in that sin that God reproveth me for doing: I cannot rebel any longer against the holy motions of the Spirit of God. 1 remember such a time when I was travelling upon the way, and another time when I was upon my bed, my conscience reproached me, and the Lord rebuked me, and secretly reproved me for such and such a sin as I had committed. Surely it is meet to be said unto God, ‘ I have borne chastisement. I will not offend anymore; that which I see not, teach thou me: I have done iniquity, and I will do no more.’ Say with the Psalmist, ‘ If thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquity, O Lord, who shall stand! but there is forgiveness with Thee, that thou mayest be feared.’

When you are under a sense of sin, and feel it as an intolerable burden, you will cry out, O that He that made us would save us, and shew mercy to us for his Son’s sake! the mercy of God is only extended to us in the Son of his love, Christ Jesus. Let us come unto Him that we may have life, and have it more abundantly. Blessed are they that lay hold «n the mercy and loving kindness of the Lord, with whom there is mercy, that be may be feared. ‘The Lord delighteth not in the death of a sinner, but that he may repent, return and live.’ When the Scribes and the Pharisees brought unto Christ the woman taken in adultery, and said to him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act; now Moses in the law commanded us that such should be stoned; but what sayest thou? Jesus said unto them, he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone upon her;’ and they being convicted by their own consciences, went out one by one. When they were gone out, Jesus said unto the woman, ‘Where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? she said, no man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more.’ Here he laid the axe to the root of the tree, they lived in the profession but not in the possession of the truth; they went out one by one, and being accused by their own consciences, they ceased to accuse her. Christ by his Spirit doth reprove thee for thy sin, and bids thee go and sin no more. They only shall have the benefit of what Christ hath done and suffered in his outward coming in the flesh, that believe in him, and see the necessity of his inward appearance and coming in the spirit, and answer the same. When Christ stands and knocks at the door of thy heart, be sure to let him in; if thou shuttest the door of thy heart against Christ, thou dost thereby provoke him to shut the door of heaven against thee. Rom. 2: 6. ‘He will render to every man according to his deeds;’ to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour, immortality, eternal life to them ; but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation, and wrath, tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doth evil; of the Jew first, and also the Gentile: but glory, honour and peace, to every man that worketh good. There is a time to live and a time to die. This is the day of God’s visitation, when God calls men by his Spirit, and invites them to accept of mercy. There is a time coming when he will call them to judgment: woe be to them that have not answered the first call, when the second call comes. See to it while the Spirit of the Lord strives with you. Hearken to the voice of God, the oracle within, that reproves thee and checks thee for thy sin, and reverence the hand of the Lord when he corrects thee, and do thou patiently bear the indignation of the Lord, because thou hast sinned against Him. This is the day of God’s visitation! now he calls upon sinners, ‘how long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity, and the scorners, delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? turn ye at my reproof; I will pour out my Spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. Because I have called and ye refused, I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded, but ye have set at nought all my counsels, and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity, and mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind, when distress and anguish hear and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David cometh upon you: then shall they call upon me, and 1 will not answer, they shall seek me early but they shall not find me; but whoso hearkeneth unto me, shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.’ Isa. 55:3. ‘Incline your ear and come unto me (saith the Lord).’ O live in the fear of the Lord and you shall have peace; live in the fear of God, for the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; it is the best wisdom that can be; it is the wisdom of heaven and eternity; it is that which promotes thy soul’s eternal happiness. When God calls thee by the voice of the rod, hear the rod, and that hath appointed it, and say in thy heart, O Lord I have waited for thee in the way of thy judgments, I will bear thine indignation because I have sinned against thee. I will submit to thy correction because I have transgressed, L have done- iniquity, I will do so no more ; I have done amiss; I have been vain and foolish, but I will not return to folly. I have forsaken the Lord, and he invites me to return, and I will return unto him.

Friends, they that will not hear God’s call in the day of his grace, God will not hear their call in the day of his wrath; He will be so far from pitying of them, that he will mock when their fear cometh; he will laugh at them and not regard them, and there is reason for it: for they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord; they would none of my counsel, they despised all my reproof; therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices; for the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them; ‘this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil;’ and there is no peace saith my God, to the wicked; the sacrifices of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord; but unto you that fear my name (saith the Lord) shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing under his wings; and they shall be mine (saith the lord of hosts) in that day that I make up my jewels, and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Blessed are those that in the day of their visitation answer the call of God’s love, who hath sent his Son to bless us in turning every one of us from our iniquities. There are many would be glad of the blessing, but they say in their hearts, this man shall not reign over us, Christ shall not be our king: but let me tell thee, O man! He will rule and govern thee’ if ever he save thee; He will rule over thy mind, and over thy will, and affections, and desires; and thou must bow to his sceptre, if thou wilt have any share in his sacrifice. Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us and given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor; He is called Jesus, the Mighty Saviour; He will both save us from sin here and from the wrath to come. For the grace of God, which bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men, and teacheth us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; you must be such, if you will obtain the blessing; you must have a godlike life, and be holy in all manner of conversation, and you must be turned from that which turned you from God; you must be turned from sin, or sin will turn you into hell. They that love sin and will live as they list, will find that the wages of sin is death; and yet when Christ comes to judge the world, He will only save those that have taken Him for their Lord as well as their Saviour. O those who would have Christ then, must receive Christ now, and turn to the light of Christ in their own consciences; Christ is the light of the world, he that hath the Light, hath Christ, and he that hath Christ, hath all that is desirable. ‘Behold I stand at the door and knock;’ open the door of thy heart, that Christ the King of glory may come in. O that men would but use their wits, and exercise their reason and understanding, but how contrary do they act to their own reason? they would be saved from death, but hot from sin, which is the cause of it; they would not be delivered from the cause, but only from the effect. The wages of sin is death. If thou wouldst be saved from destruction and perdition, thou must be saved from the cause of it; thou must be saved from thy sin, which is the root of all thy misery. For this end Christ died and shed his precious blood, that He might take away sin, and if He take away sin, He must take it away where it is, even in the hearts of men and women, and there you must receive Him. But if you will live in your sins, there is no way but you must die in your sins; unless Christ save from sin here, and justify you, sin will certainly condemn you. Be willing that Christ shall save you from sin now, and you will have cause to rejoice in the great day of judgment, for he that is the righteous Judge of the world, and that will sentence and condemn the wicked world, will be your Saviour and Justifier. In that day you that mourn now, shall rejoice forever, and obtain everlasting salvation; for Christ is the Author of eternal salvation to all them that believe in him and obey him. O that will be a trying day indeed, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power, when He shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe, saith the Apostle Paul, 2 Thess. 1:7. ‘Because our testimony among you was believed in that day; wherefore also we pray always for you, that God would count you worthy of his calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Blessed are they which are prepared for the coming and glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ; they that can say with the Apostle, 2 Cor. 5:1. ‘For we know, that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an House not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens: for in this we groan earnestly, desiring to be clothed upon with that House which is from heaven.’ It is the groan of faith and hope, and of vehement desire, to be forever with the Lord. Those that are regenerate and born again, they are looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works.

It is the desire of my soul, that you may all come to answer the call of God, who hath sent his Son to bless you, and to turn every one of you from your iniquities. Let us not turn aside to the right hand nor to the left, but be pressing forward towards the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, and we shall be made partakers of the inheritance of the saints in Light.

The people of Israel were by Joshua’s command, all circumcised, both old and young, before they could enter into the good land, that flows with milk and honey; so must it be now. if you will enter the eternal land by our heavenly Joshua. Wherewith shall a young man cleanse his way? (saith the Psalmist, Psal. 119: 9.) ‘By taking heed thereto according to thy word.’ Hiding the word of the Lord in your heart, is the circumcising of it: there must be a witnessing of the circumcision in the heart, before we can enter into rest in the heavenly Canaan. The word of the Lord is as a fire, and as a hammer, and as a circumcising knife, the instrument of our purification, which takes away everything that is unclean, that would defile us, that we may become living temples, prepared for the presence of the holy God.

The Proto-Martyr, Stephen, when he reproved the persecuting Jews that stoned him to death, said, ‘Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost; As your fathers did, so do ye: Which of the prophets, have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One, of whom you have been now betrayers and murderers.’ The most high God dwelleth not in temples made with hands; ‘Thus saith the Lord, the heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house that ye build unto me? And where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made. But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.’ Therefore, my friends, give up your hearts to the Lord, that he may say, ‘Here do I delight to dwell, this is my habitation; for I have desired it;’ walk in the holy ways of God, and his word will be a light to your feet, and a lanthorn to your paths, and you will find the good ways of God to be ways of pleasantness, and all his paths to be full of peace. O pray, with the royal Psalmist, ‘Create in me, O God, a clean heart, and renew a right spirit in me; cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me: Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free Spirit: Then will I teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto thee.’ People must be first converted themselves, before they can be fit instruments to convert others. ‘I love them that love me, (saith the Lord,) and they that seek me early shall find me,’ that seek me in the first place, before and above all. ‘Wash you, make ye clean, put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes: Cease to do evil, and learn to do well. Come now, and let us reason together, (saith the Lord.) Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’ This is the call of God, hearken to it, and obey; and do not start aside like a broken bow, for then woe unto you: ‘Better that a millstone were hanged about your necks, and you cast into the midst of the sea,’ than be disobedient to the Lord, and live and die in your sins, and at last be drowned in destruction and perdition.

O, my Friends, hearken to the call of Christ; hear and your souls shall live. ‘Doth not Wisdom cry, and Understanding put forth her voice? Unto you,

O men, 1 call, and my voice is to the sons of men: Hear, for, I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things; For my mouth shall speak truth, and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness: I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment; that I may cause those that love me to inherit substance, and I will fill their treasures.’ What is this substance? It is heavenly treasures in the other world, ‘where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and thieves do not break through nor steal.’ The immutable God, that changeth not, hath an unchangeable inheritance for his people, that cannot find peace nor rest in their own hearts, till they find a place for the God df Jacob to dwell in: it is their most ardent desire that he may dwell in their hearts, and that they may for ever dwell with him in heaven.

O, my Friends, cast your care upon the Lord, and nothing shall be able to overwhelm you. If you have peace with God, he will in his time, make your enemies to be at peace with you; so that you may sit down under your own vines, and under your own fig trees, and eat the fruit of your labours. O say, with the Psalmist, ‘My soul waiteth for the Lord, more than they that watch for the morning,

I say, more than they that watch for the morning. Let Israel hope in the Lord, for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him there is plenteous redemption.’ ‘What I say to you, I say unto all. Watch, (saith our Saviour,) Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation.’ We must watch always, and pray without ceasing; I must not pray before I watch. Let us always be upon our watch, and walk so as remembering we are always in the presence of the omnipresent God. Let us set the Lord always before us, and consider we are under his all-seeing eye: Let us take heed unto our ways, and turn our feet unto God’s testimonies Let us look up to God and say, with holy David, ‘as the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God! When shall I come and appear before God? Lord, thou wilt shew me the path of life. In thy presence there is fulness of joy, and at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.’ When you are panting and breathing after the inward enjoyment of the divine presence, some may ignorantly call it enthusiasm, say it is merely the effect of melancholy; but holy David, the man after God’s own heart, was such an enthusiast, be did ardently pant and breathe after the enjoyment of God’s presence: God hath made known himself in and through his well-beloved Son Jesus Christ; God is in Christ, and Christ is in us, if we are his. Examine yourselves, saith the apostle, know ye not that Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? If God be in Christ, and Christ Jesus e in us, to rule and govern us, we are safe and happy; he will be with us in the time of distress, trouble and tribulation; and will preserve us in the hour of temptation. What though we may meet with storms and tempests in our labours and travels on this earth: This may encourage us, that we have a serene heaven over our heads, and in the darkest night of our affliction, we may look up to the bright morning star, Christ Jesus, who is our light and our leader; and if we be weary and heavy laden, he will give us rest: And if we be wound ed with the sense of our sins, he is the great physician of souls, and the Sun of righteousness that will arise with healing under his wings.

My Friends, this is the love of God to mankind. He will bless us in turning us from our sin to himself; he will turn us from darkness to light, and turn us from that which hath turned us from God, if we will hear him. Let us pray and strive against sin, and bemoan ourselves with Ephraim, and say, ‘Lord, thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke. Turn thou me and I shall be turned, for thou art the Lord my God.’ If we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, we shall with Ephraim hear the sounding of God’s bowels, and the voice of God pronouncing peace and pardon to us: ‘Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For since I speak against him, I do earnestly remember him still, therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I , will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord.’ But, my friends, notwithstanding the great love of God to mankind; yet how doth the Lord complain by the Prophet: ‘Hear, O Heavens, and give ear, O Earth, for the Lord hath spoken; I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master’s crib; but Israel doth not know; my people doth not consider.’ The ox and ass, which are dull and stupid creatures, do upbraid their ingratitude, who are not affected with the kindness of God, but have forgotten him days without number. O remember your Owner; live unto him, and not to yourselves. ‘Ye are none of your own, ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God with your bodies, and; with your spirits, which are his. O live unto Christ that died for you; live unto his glory, that died for your salvation; hereby you will come to please God, by believing in him in whom he is well pleased, and you shall have that peace and joy that the world cannot give nor take away. Our Saviour said to the woman of Samaria, ‘If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith unto thee, Give to drink, thou wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water; whosoever shall drink of this water, shall thirst again, but whosoever shall drink of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him, shall be in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life.’ They that come unto Christ and believe in him, they shall receive living comforts and refreshments; be will satisfy them with living water. These divine, sweet and refreshing joys, are only tasted by those that believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who will abundantly satisfy the thirsty souls. He will give them living waters from the brooks of Shiloh, the streams whereof make glad the city of God. They that that drink of these waters, of these living streams which they receive from Christ the Fountain, shall never thirst again. Christ is that living Fountain that gives refreshment and satisfaction to all that come to him. It is of his fulness that we all receive, grace for grace. Here is a well set open by the living and eternal God, a fountain unsealed, for whoever will come, may come, and drink of the well of the water of life freely.

Living praises be given to the most blessed everlasting God, that thus aboundeth in his mercy towards us, and deals bountifully with us: ‘For God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son; whom he hath appointed heir of all things, who is the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.’ He came into the world to seek and save us that were lost, who took our nature and sin upon him; who hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: God hath made him to be sin who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. ‘He hath suffered for us, (saith the apostle Peter,) leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps, who his own self bare our sins in his own body upon the tree; that we being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness.’ If we follow the Captain of our salvation, who was made perfect through sufferings, we shall overcome the world, the flesh and the devil, and be more than conquerors through him that hath loved us; and go out of the world triumphantly, and say with the apostle, ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous judge shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing:’ To whom be glory, praise and dominion, forever and ever. Amen.

 

SALVATION FROM SIN BY CHRIST ALONE: A Sermon by William Penn; Founder of Pennsylvania

William Penn quote concerning the Holy Ghost

William Penn concerning the Holy Ghost (Click to enlarge)

[Editor notes in Italics and brackets]

SALVATION FROM SIN

BY CHRIST ALONE:

OR,

The Arm of the Lord Revealed.

A SERMON PREACHED AT THE QUAKERS’ MEETINGHOUSE IN GRACE CHURCH STREET, LONDON, AUGUST 12, 1694.

By WILLIAM PENN. [Founder of Pennsylvania]

The great and blessed God that made heaven and earth, the seas and the great fountains of the deep, and rivers of water, the Almighty Jehovah who is from everlasting to everlasting; He also made man and woman, and his design was to make them eternally happy and blessed. And therefore He made man in his own image; ‘in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them:’ He made them after his own likeness holy, wise, merciful, just, patient, and humble, endued them with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness. But man and woman through their transgressions lost the image of God, and with it lost their happiness and true blessedness, that God made them in a capacity to enjoy.

Now in this state of misery into which we are fallen, we are come short of the glory of God; and it is out of this wretched woeful state we must be brought, else we shall never see the face of God with comfort. This is an eternal truth of God, and recorded in the Holy Scriptures, John 3:16.

That ‘God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ God so loved the world, he gave his Son to be a light unto the world, that all might see their way back to God again: for sin hath darkened the understanding, and clouded the mind of man and woman, and alienated them from the life of God, and their hearts are hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. But now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation, the day of God’s grace and favorable visitation, wherein he visits men and women,’ illuminates their minds and spirits with a light from heaven, that they might see the deplorable state and condition wherein they are, and what they are doing: it is in this light that they have a day of grace vouchsafed to them, that it may be well with them, both here and for ever. They that receive this light, and come out of that which they are called from, which is sin, they may come to enjoy peace with God. It was sin that first separated between God and Man; and it is sin now that hinders man from acquaintance with the Lord, who brings peace unto him; it is by this light, that we are to acquaint ourselves with God, that we may be at peace. Thus saith the Lord by the prophet,’ it is sin has separated between me and you!’ Sin hath made a partition wall between God and us, and God hath sent his Son into the world to break down this partition wall that sin hath made; that so fallen man might return to God, and come into Paradise again, out of which sin hath cast him.

Now, none can bring us back to God, and into favor and communion with Him, but our Lord Jesus Christ: He is the light and leader of his people. There is no name under heaven by which we can be saved, but the name of Jesus: It is he that saves his people from their sins; and it is in him alone that we are blessed: ‘Blessed is be whose transgression is forgiven, and whose sin is covered;’ And for the sake of Christ alone it is, that the Lord imputeth not iniquity to us. Now pray ‘Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith,’ 2 Cor. 13:5. ‘Prove your ownselves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except you be reprobates.’ Examine yourselves, whether you have chosen the Lord for your God, and Christ for your Redeemer? And whether you have forsaken your sins, and turned from your evil ways, and answered the visitation of the love of God in your souls? Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to seek and to save them that were lost? He is the physician of value, that was wounded to heal our wounds: ‘He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, and had the chastisement of our peace upon him; that by his stripes we might be healed:’ It is he alone that can do this. Who is sufficient for these things? The Lord found out one that is sufficient; he hath laid help upon one that is mighty, that is ‘able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him.’ God hath given him the Spirit without measure, and filled him with grace and truth, that of his fullness we might all receive, and grace for grace: He is mighty to save the sons and daughters of men, and to give them power to become the children of God.

This was testified of old, John 1:12. ‘But as many as received him, to them gave be power to become the sons of God, even to them who believe on his name.’ Men want power over their sins: When sin appears to be exceeding sinful, they would overcome it, and be rid of it when it is troublesome: And when they are under a deep conviction of the evil of it, and see the woeful and miserable state, that sin has brought mankind into, how they have lost the image of God, and the favour of God; they then desire to be restored, and brought back again into their primitive state. You that know the truth of God, see how the work goes on in your hearts, see how the image of God is carrying on upon you. Consider, that the Lord is a Holy God, of purer eyes than to behold iniquity with approbation: There is no peace to the wicked, that walk in the broad way, and grieve the Holy Spirit, and do not answer his divine call. There is a two-fold call concerning man; a call to repentance, and a call to judgment. The call to repentance is in this day of God’s visitation; they that receive it now, that are so wise as to answer God’s call and believe in the Son of God, and in his inward appearance, that obey his voice, when they hear his call, saying, Come away, come out of thy sins, come out of the wickedness, filthiness and pollution of the world; come into the divine nature of the Son of God; come into his life: Into what life? Into the spiritual life, the divine life?— Thou hast been dead to God and alive to the world: Now that thou mayst be dead to sin, and alive to God, come unto him that hath all power in heaven and earth, committed to him. O come unto Christ, the dear and blessed Son of God, in this day of grace and salvation, and receive power to overcome thy sins! Then thou wilt be a conqueror, and overcome the devil. [i.e. self, adamic nature of man]

We are of ourselves altogether insufficient for these things, we are weak and impotent; and our Saviour hath told us, ‘ Without me ye can do nothing:’ We are justified freely by God’s grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ; not justified by our own works. How great a contradiction is it to charge them with the contrary, that say, they cannot preach nor pray, but as the Spirit of God moveth them. Blessed be God that hath made us sensible of our own weakness, emptiness and poverty. Our help hath been in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth, who hath given his Son to be an helper, and an all-sufficient Saviour to us; with him he hath given sufficient power and strength, whereby we are enabled to overcome the devil, the enemy of our souls: So that we may be enabled to stand against principalities and powers, against spiritual wickedness, and conquer all the powers of darkness, and fight the good fight of faith, and finish our course with joy, and keep the faith : seeing there is laid up for us a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give us at that day; and not only to us, (saith the apostle) but unto all them that love his appearing. We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in till points tempted like as we are, yet without sin: Christ, our Redeemer, was tempted, that he might succour those that are tempted. When the devil tempted our Saviour in the wilderness, and could not prevail, he went away and left him: The prince of this world found nothing in him, upon which he could fasten his temptation. Christ will enable those that believe in him to overcome the devil, and to be more than conquerors, through him that loved them: He came into the world to purge and purify his people, and to be the Author of eternal salvation to all them that believe in Him, and obey him. But it is said, ‘ He did not many mighty works’ among some to whom he preached the everlasting gospel, because of their unbelief: Many will not believe in the inward and spiritual appearance of Jesus Christ the Son of God, who is the light of the world; they will neither believe in the light, nor walk in the light, which will enable them to conquer the evil one, who is the prince of darkness. It is only through Christ Jesus the great captain, of our salvation, that we are victorious.

Therefore, my friends open your hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ, receive this blessed gift of God which he offers to you: And can God give you a greater, than the Son of his love? And will not you gladly receive him, and that great salvation which he hath purchased for you with his own blood! But, say some people, we have received Christ, and believe in him, and believe the divine authority of the Holy Scriptures. But let me ask you, who keeps house all this while? What have you done for Christ? Christ hath died for you; but hast thou lived to him? And hast thou died to the world, and died to thy sins and lusts? Consider with your-selves, it is both your great duty and interest to die to sin, and live to Christ that died for you. And we must stand at Christ’s tribunal, and give an account, to him, of whatsoever we have done, whether good or bad; and he will judge us at the great day of his appearing. Blessed are you, that receive the blessed Son of God, that now stands in spirit at the door and knocks: Open your heart, and make room for him, and let not the world keep him out and he will come in, and sup with you, and you with him: And he will do that for you, which you cannot do for yourselves. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak: He will give the power over sin, and over the world, and over the devil [your own will and desires]: Whenever he shall assault thee with his temptations, say, Get thee behind me Satan, thou savourest not the things that be of God. When people come to be spiritually minded they will taste and savour the things, that are spiritual and heavenly: if they be not things of God, do not touch with them, have nothing to do with them; but walk in the spirit, and savour the things of the spirit. And hearken to the counsel of Christ, who speaks unto you in the name of wisdom; ‘O ye simple ones understand wisdom, and ye fools be of an understanding heart; hear, for I will speak of excellent things, and the opening of my lips shall be right things: Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors: For whoso findeth me, findeth life’ Hearken to the blessed counsel of Christ, hear his voice and obey it; they that do his will, shall know his doctrine: The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will shew them his covenant.

They that have the saving knowledge of God, and Christ Jesus, which is life eternal, they will walk in a correspondent and suitable manner to that knowledge, and be holy in all manner of conversation; they will not be only nominal christians, but true christians, Israelites indeed, in whom there is no guile: they will receive Christ Jesus, who is God’s gift, and know the operation of his power in their souls. These persons are fit to live, and prepared to die; when Christ, who is their life, shall appear, they shall appear with him in glory. When the sound of the last trumpet shall be heard at the end of the world, time shall be no more; Come away! that day shall not be terrible to them that have put off the old man [Adamic nature, i.e. the devil], and put on the new man [Christ Jesus, the 2nd Adam]; and have begun to live a new life, and to have new affections, new thoughts, and resolutions, and have laid up their treasure in heaven, where their hearts are also: They have that peace, which the world cannot give, and which death cannot take away. Blessed are they, that take sanctuary in the name of Jesus, as in a strong tower; they shall get power over their sins, and over the vanity of their minds, that die to sin, and live to God, and feel the constraining power and efficacy of the love of Christ, who hath loved them, and washed them from their sins, in his own blood, and made them kings and priests to God.

My friends, hear the voice of wisdom, who bath said,’ Whoso findeth me, findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord: But be that sinneth against me, wrongeth his own soul.’ Be you early seekers: seek the kingdom of God in the first place. The Lord calls from heaven; ‘My Son, give me thine heart.’ Let thy answer be; Lord take my heart, purify and cleanse it; break it, and make it new, make it fit for thy acceptance, that I may find favour in thy sight. Without me (saith our Saviour) ye can do nothing: Therefore desire him to do it for thee, and to work in thee both to will and to do of his own good pleasure. How dreadful is it to appear at the bar of God’s justice, as miserable sinners! Those that have not Christ the great mediator, to plead for them, are miserable indeed; Therefore lay hold on Christ now; believe in him, lay hold on his power and spirit in this day of your visitation. If thou art under the power of sin and Satan, thou mayest receive power from Christ, to overcome all the power of darkness: If the strong man armed hath got possession of thy heart, Christ will lay siege to it: and if thou be willing to open the door, Christ will come in and cast out the strong man, and spoil him of all his goods. He will cast out the grand enemy of thy soul, and take possession for himself; that thou mayest be delivered from the power of Satan, and from the bondage of corruption, and brought into the glorious liberty of the sons of God: And if the Son of God make thee free, thou shalt be free indeed. For this end Christ came into the world, for this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil; And he will not lose the design of his coming, but will finish transgression, and make an end of sin, and bring in everlasting righteousness.

Let us all come to Christ, and let none deceive themselves, and live in their sins, and yet think to come to Heaven: Be not deceived (saith the apostle) God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man Sows, that he shall also reap: He that sows to his flesh [Own desires, old man, Adamic nature i.e. the devil] shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the spirit, shall of the spirit reap everlasting life. Labour for a sure grounded hope, a just hope in the mercy of God for pardon and salvation j then you must know a work of Christ upon you, and the power of the Spirit of Christ within you, subduing your will to a holy subjection to the Divine Will; that you may say with the apostle; I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Then the call to judgment will be joyful to you; for you shall then be justified and acquitted before the whole world, at that great and general judgment, and have an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and it shall be well with you forever. Now, say to the righteous, it shall be well with him: not that it doth so appear at present; for through many tribulations we must expect to enter into the kingdom of heaven: And many are the troubles of the righteous, but the Lord will deliver them out of them all. So that if in this life only (saith the apostle) we have hope, we are of all men most miserable: Yet, say to the righteous, ‘it shall be well with him.’ Whatsoever their trials, troubles and tribulations are, the Lord will deliver them in the best time; they have heaven in their eye, and they look to the recompense of reward. Now what hast thou in thine eye? Is it the high calling in Christ? Is this the mark thou aimest at, and which thou hast in view? Is this the port and haven, that thou art sailing to, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame? Heb. 12:2. The apostle, after he had been speaking of the suffering and martyrdom of those great saints, of whom the world was not worthy; Heb. 11. How that through faith, they subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopt the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, and turned to flight the armies of the aliens; of women, that received their dead to life again, and others were tortured, not accepting of deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Then he comes to speak of the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ, and bids us, look unto him. Heb. 12:1,2,3. “Wherefore seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses: Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset us; and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith: Who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, and despised the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied, and faint in your minds.” Blessed are they that can endure all these things, shame, reproach, contumely and disdain, persecutions and afflictions, that attend the testimony of Jesus! Blessed are they, that can endure the cross [your sins, iniquity, faults, failures], and despise the shame! It is an internal cross, which thou must endure for Christ, or thy own heart will reprove thee, check thee and condemn thee for it: But if thou comest to know a being crucified with Christ, thou shalt reign with him, and be raised up to eternal glory with him. Unless thou knowest a dying to the world, and a being crucified with Christ, thou canst not have a well grounded hope of everlasting happiness.

Therefore now, Friends, examine yourselves about your title to heaven. It is the wisdom and practice of the world, to examine their titles and settlements, and to see they be sure, and firm and stable before hand: So we should make sure for heaven and eternal glory, and of an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, before this earthly tabernacle be dissolved; then for us to live will be Christ, and to die will be eternal gain. Blessed are they that bear record of the Word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus, that bear his name, and testify and join with him against the spirit of the world, and the prince of the power of the air. It is within that thou must join with Christ’s appearance, that so thou mayest be Christianized, and thy mind made truly Christian: Thou must be purified in thy spirit, and baptized with the Holy Ghost, and with fire, and know the powerful operation of the Lord: They that have not experience of the new birth, they cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

O my Friends, set before you the example of Christ, who was holy, harmless and undented; his life was glorious in holiness: And as it becomes you, so it highly concerns you, to be holy in all manner of conversation. For if you imitate not the life of Christ, you cannot be saved by his death. He came into the world to redeem you from all iniquity and to save you from sin and hell; labour to answer the dignity of your high and holy calling, with a conversation becoming the gospel of Christ: For you are called to glory and virtue. Whatsoever troubles, temptations and tribulations may attend you in your pilgrimage here below, if you be faithful and sincere, you will have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. In all your labours and travels on this earth, you may look up with joy, for you have a serene heaven over your heads; let Christ be precious to you; open the door of your hearts to him, who is the King of Glory. He is oppressed in the hearts of the unclean, but he is exalted and lifted up in the hearts of the faithful; Blessed are they that set him upon his throne in their hearts! O learn of Christ to be meek and lowly. Your humility will exalt him, and will also exalt you at the last. Be faithful to the death, and you shall receive a crown of life. Those that have eternal life in their eye, and depend upon Christ alone for salvation, they have laid a sure foundation. All other foundations will come to nothing; they are founded in time, and in time they will come to molder away: but that city that God is the Builder and Maker of, that Abraham had in his eye, will never decay, nor molder away. Let us have this always in our eye, that nothing may intercept our view. We have here (saith the apostle) no continuing city; We seek one that is to come. In this world we are as sheep among wolves. Fear not, little flock, (saith our Saviour,) it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you a kingdom. If we be the sheep of Christ we shall follow him; for his sheep follow him, and know his voice, and a stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they know not the voice of a stranger. My sheep (saith Christ) hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hands. Here is encouragement for us to labour abundantly in the work of the Lord; for our labour shall not be in vain in the Lord. Let us, with Moses, choose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; and esteem the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; and have respect to the recompense of reward.

Friends, I beseech you, in the fear of God, look up unto Jesus, the great Mediator of the new covenant, the Author and Finisher of your faith; that by patient continuance in well doing, you may seek for glory, honour, immortality, and eternal life; which you shall obtain, if you persevere to the end: For he that endureth to the end, shall be saved.

Be not weary of well-doing; for in due time you shall reap, if ye faint not. He that bath appeared, as a God of salvation, and a mighty preserver of his people in all ages of the world, and hath been so both to the primitive Christians, and to all our Christian friends, that are gone before us to an eternal rest, if you faint not, but follow them, who through faith and patience do inherit the promises, you shall lay down your heads in peace in him, when you come to die: And when time shall be no more, you shall be forever with the Lord.

To God be praise, honour and glory, who hath stretched forth his mighty arm to save. Who is the arm of the Lord but Christ Jesus, the Redeemer of souls? When we had undone ourselves, and lost ourselves, in wandering and departing from the Lord, the true and living God, into darkness and the shadow of death, he stretched forth his almighty arm, to gather us, and to bring us into the Paradise of God again, when we were driven out by our own sin, from the face and presence of the Lord. Christ Jesus, the great and good Shepherd of his sheep, came to seek and to save them that were lost. The lost sheep that have wandered from him, he will take them on his shoulder, and bring them to his fold: And he will make them lie down in green pastures, and lead them by the still waters, and satisfy them with the rivers of pleasure that are at God’s right hand for evermore. He hath promised, ‘that he will feed his flock like a shepherd, and gather his lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom.’ I hope Christ Jesus, the great Shepherd, will find some here this day, ‘that have gone astray, and gather them with his divine arm, and keep them by his mighty power, through faith, unto salvation. To him be all praise, honour, glory, dominion and thanksgiving; For he alone is worthy, who is God over all, blessed forever and ever! Amen.

Reference: The Harmony of Divine Doctrines: Demonstrated in Sundry Declarations on a variety of subjects. Preached at the Quakers’ Meetings in London. By William Penn

When it’s ALL about YOU!?!

John Locke Quote Concerning the Holy Bible

John Locke Concerning the Holy Bible

Something I shared in a number of posts on Facebook, I think I should share with everyone…

When it comes to problems, some people need to grow up, stop blaming others, and look in the mirror.

The world, your parents, or others don’t owe you anything. As Mark Twain said of the world, it was here first….You should learn to appreciate and be grateful for what you DO get.

It’s outrageous the way some think only of themselves and never consider others, what others have done for them, or how they have had to do without themselves to do what they’ve done for you.

Quit crying, grow up and know most of your problems in life were created by YOUR choices, YOUR ideals, and YOUR actions.

And after you do all that. get down on your knees and THANK God that He has blessed you all He has, because He NEVER gives us what we deserve, only… as someone else said, “what we can handle.”

And ALWAYS remember, “To whom much is given, much is expected!”

Also Thank God for the little good that is in any of us, because it is only by His grace that ANY of us are ANY good what-so-ever.

Who remembers when an exclamation of surprise was “Well, bless my soul” instead of something that contained profanity.

We would all do well to practice those things that our parents and grandparents understood, words do matter and you will be judged for every one you speak…

And remember to always consider what you are teaching your little children with your words. Because between the ages of 10-30 you will be able to teach them little, unless they are a rare child indeed. (These days anyway)

“The self-absorbed person does not know how to deal with members of society. This is why he / she is…displeased with anyone and anything around him / her.” ~ Shenouda III

Song was just brought to my mind. “Learning to lean and depend on Jesus, for he’s my friend, and he’s my guide…” He gave / gives so much for / to each of us. None of us should ever have reason to complain about anything…

As He has shown me in my life, everyone else will fail you, in some way, at some point, you will EVEN fail yourself.

Only He knows, understands and is truly able to help in anything concerning you.

I spent years feeling bad because I didn’t have hardly any TRUE friends, then I began to understand the ONLY friend I really need is Him. Then all the fussing, fretting, worry, strife, etc. disappeared.

“There are plenty of people even more friendless than you; in fact everybody is glad to meet a friendly person, but they have no use for a self-absorbed person. What you need is less egotism but more self-confidence, and to regard yourself less as a claimant for sympathy than as a bestower of it to those who need it. You can step forthwith into a new sphere of life if you will but regard yourself as one of the helpers instead of one of the victims. There is always somebody worse off than you are.” ~ The Theosophical Path: Illustrated Monthly …, Volume 4 edited by Katherine Augusta Westcott Tingley

Something else to remember…

When you are talking about others…God is also speaking about you, to you.

This as an older minister I admire told me when I told him it was happening to me…he told me this is wisdom speaking to me…

You should see how your words about others, or in general, also apply and/or applies to you. I will give you a hint, they usually have an application to apply to you, yourself.

God will give you what you truly want at times, at least that which is truly in your heart,

So if you don’t like what is taking place in your life, search out your heart and learn what is truly contained there.

In other words, be careful what you wish for, and out of the abundance of his heart, a man / person speaketh.

If you’re always looking for perfection in men or others in the present or the past, you will never find any good in anyone.

There is only one who was truly perfect and we can still find Him today at the same place He occupied some 2000 years ago, On the Cross, at the foot of the Cross.

This is the only place you will ever find true happiness in this life, the only happiness that will ever matter.

EULOGY ON THE LIFE AND CHARACTER OF JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 1848

John Quincy Adams quote regarding tthe Revolutionary War of Independence

John Quincy Adams regarding the Revolutionary War of Independence (Click to enlarge)

EULOGY ON THE LIFE AND CHARACTER OF JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, DELIVERED AT THE REQUEST OF THE LEGISLATURE OF MASSACHUSETTS, IN FANEUIL HALL, APRIL 15, 1848.

“Ego vero te, cum vitae fiore tum mortis opportunitate, divino consilio et ortum et
extinctum esse arbitror.” Cicero De Orat. III. 4. [Translation is something like “But in my opinion, with the flower of life, as well as death. I think, a divine plan has been put out”]

BY EDWARD EVERETT

SENATE CHAMBER, April 17, 1848

PREFATORY NOTE.

A Considerable resemblance will be perceived, in the narrative part, between the following Eulogy and other discourses of the same description, which have been published since President Adams’s decease. This similarity arises from the fact that the biographical portion of all these performances, (as far as I am aware,) has for the most part been derived, directly or indirectly, from a common source, viz., the memoir prepared for the National Portrait Gallery, in 1839, by Rev. C. W. Upham, of Salem. That memoir was drawn up from authentic sources, and is the principal authority for the biographical notices contained in the following pages. It has, however, been in my power to extend some of the details, and to add others wholly new, from materials kindly furnished to me by Mr. Charles Francis Adams, from the papers of his honored father. A few facts have been given from personal recollection, and this number could have been greatly increased, had the nature of the occasion rendered it proper to enlarge upon the subject of Mr. Adams’s administration, during the whole of which, as a member of Congress possessing his confidence, and for the last half of his administration as chairman of the committee of foreign affairs, I had occasion to be in constant and intimate communication with him.

The communications of the Hon. Joseph E. Sprague to the Salem Register, written during the period pending the presidential election of 1824, contain a great deal of information of the highest value and interest, relative to the life, services, and career of Mr. Adams.

Some new facts of interest are contained in the admirable sermon delivered by Rev. Mr. Lunt, at Quincy, a performance rendering any further eulogy superfluous.

A few passages in the following discourse, omitted in the delivery on account of its length, are inserted in the printed copy.

EDWARD EVERETT.

CAMBRIDGE, 17TH APRIL, 1848.

John Quincy Adams quote The Gospel of Jesus Christ

John Quincy Adams: The Gospel of Jesus Christ (Click to enlarge)

BEGIN: EULOGY.

MAT IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENCY,

AND YOU, GENTLEMEN OF THE LEGISLATURE :

You have devolved upon me the honorable duty of delivering a Eulogy on the life and character of the late President Adams; but the performance of that duty has been already, in no small degree, anticipated. Most eloquent voices in the two Houses of Congress, inspired by the emotions which the great closing scene was so well calculated to produce, have been heard in commemoration of his talents, his services, and his worth. Distinguished members of your own honorable bodies have given utterance, on behalf of the people of Massachusetts, to those feelings of respect and admiration, with which they claim him as their own. The funeral obsequies have been performed, in the most solemn and touching manner, at the seat of- government. The population of the great cities of the Union has formed, I had almost said, one mighty funeral procession, to pay the last passing tribute to the mortal remains of the departed statesman, as they have been borne through the country, with that unexampled and most honorable attendance of a congressional delegation from every State in the Union. Those honored relics have been received with every demonstration of public respect within these venerated walls; and they have been laid down in their final resting-place, with rites the most affecting and impressive, amidst the tears and blessings of relatives, friends, and neighbors, in his village home.

Falling, as he has done, at a period of high political excitement, and entertaining and expressing, as he ever did, opinions the most decided in the boldest and most uncompromising manner, he has yet been mourned, as an object of respect and veneration, by good men and patriots of every party name. Leaders, that rarely met him or each other but in opposition, unite in doing honor to his memory, and have walked side by side in the funeral train.

His eulogy has been pronounced, as far as some of the wisest and ablest in the land can do justice to the theme. His death has been lamented, as far as such a close of such a career can be a subject of lamentation. The sable drapery that hangs around us still recalls the public sorrows, with which all that was mortal of the departed statesman was received beneath this consecrated roof. Gladly, as far as I am concerned, would I leave in silence the illustrious subject of these mournful honors to the reverent contemplation of his countrymen, the witnesses of his career; of the young men who will learn it, in part, from still recent tradition;—and of those who succeed us, who will find the memorials of his long, laborious, and eventful life, in the archives of the country and on the pages of its history.

But you, Gentlemen of the Legislature, have ordered otherwise. You have desired that a more formal expression of respect for the memory of our illustrious fellow-citizen should be made on your behalf. You have wished to place on record a deliberate testimonial of your high sense of his exalted worth. Leaving to the historian of the country to fill some of his brightest and most instructive pages with the full description of his various, long-continued, and faithful services, you have wished, while the impression of his loss is still fresh upon our minds, that those services should be the subject of such succinct review and such honest eulogium, as the nature of the occasion admits, and it has been in my power, under the pressure of other engagements, most imperfectly to prepare.

Permit me to add, Gentlemen, that I find, in the circumstances under which you have invited me to this duty, the rule which ought to govern me in its performance. By a legislature composed of members belonging to the various political parties of the day, I have been unanimously requested to undertake this honorable and delicate trust. I see, in this fact, the proof, that it is as little your expectation as your wish that the eulogy should rekindle the animosities, if any there he, which time has long since subdued, and death has, I trust, extinguished forever. I come, at your request, to strew flowers upon the grave of an illustrious fellow-citizen; not to dig there, with hateful assiduity, for roots of bitterness. I shall aim to strip my humble narrative of all the interest which it would derive from espousing present or past controversies. Some such I shall wholly pass over; to some I shall but allude; on none shall I dwell farther than is necessary to acquit my duty. Called to survey a career which commences with the Revolution, and covers the entire political history of the country as an independent nation, there are no subjects of absorbing political interest, ever agitated in the country, which it would not be easy to put in requisition on this occasion; subjects, in reference to which the roof that covers us, from the year 1764 to the present day, has resounded with appeals, that have stirred the public heart to its inmost fiber. Easy did I say? The difficulty will rather be to avoid these topics of controversy, and yet do anything like justice to the occasion and the theme. I am sure that I shall consult your feelings not less than my own, if I try to follow our illustrious fellow-citizen through the various stages of his career, without mingling ourselves in the party struggles of the day; to exhibit him in the just lineaments and fair proportions of life, without the exaggerated colorings of passion; true to nature, but serene as the monumental marble; warm with the purest sympathies and deepest affections of humanity, but purified and elevated into the earthly transfiguration of Genius, Patriotism, and Faith.

John Quincy Adams Quote Concerning The Christian Faith

John Quincy Adams Concerning The Christian Faith (Click to enlarge)

John Quincy Adams was of a stock in which some of the best qualities of the New England character existed in their happiest combination. The basis of that character lies in what, for want of a better name, we must still call “Puritanism,” connected, as that term of reproach is, with some associations, calculated to lessen our respect for one of the noblest manifestations of our nature. But, in the middle of the last century, Puritanism in New England had laid aside much of its sternness and its intolerance, and had begun to reconcile itself with the milder charities of life; retaining, however, amidst all classes of the population, as much patriarchal simplicity of manners, as probably ever existed in a modern civilized community. In the family of the elder President Adams, the narrow range of ideas, which, in most things, marked the first generations, had been enlarged by academic education, and by the successful pursuit of a liberal profession; and the ancient severity of manners had been still farther softened by the kindly influences exerted by a mother who, in the dutiful language of him whom we now commemorate, “united all the virtues which adorn and dignify the female and the Christian character.”

The period at which he was born was one of high and stirring interest. A struggle impended over the colonies, differing more in form than in its principles, from that which took place in England a little more than a century earlier. The agitations which preceded it were of a nature to strain to their highest tension both the virtues and capacities of men. Of the true character of the impending events, no one seems earlier to have formed a distinct conception than the elder President Adams. He appears, at the very commencement of the Seven Years’ War, and when he was but twenty years old, to have formed a general anticipation of all the great events, which have successively taken place for the last century. He seems dimly to have foreseen, even then, the independence of the colonies, and the establishment of a great naval power in the West. The capture of Quebec, followed by the total downfall of the French power on this continent, while it promised, as the first consequence, an indefinite extension of the British empire, suggested another train of results to the far-sighted and reflecting. History presents to us but few coincidences more instructive, than that which unites the peace of 1763, which ratified these great successes of British policy and British arms, with the conception of that plan of American taxation, which resulted in the severance of the British empire. John Adams perceived, perhaps, before any other person, that the mother country, in depriving France of her American colonies, had dispossessed herself of her own. The first battles of American independence were gained on the heights of Abraham.

JohnQuincyAdamsQuoteChristianGospel

John Quincy Adams Concerning the Christian Gospel (Click to enlarge)

I revert to these events, because they mark the character of the period when the life which we commemorate began. The system of American taxation was adopted in 1764. The Stamp Act was passed in 1765. The Essays on “the Canon and Feudal Law,” of President Adams, were written the same year. In 1766, the Stamp Act was repealed, but the repeal was accompanied with the assertion of a right to tax America. This right was exercised the following year, by the imposition of duties on several articles imported into the colonies, and, on the 11th of June, of that year, John Quincy Adams was born. He came into life with the struggling rights of his country. “The cradle hymns of the child were the songs of liberty.” [quote Senator John Davis] He received the first parental instructions from one, to whom the United Colonies had already begun to look for encouragement and guidance, in the mighty crisis of their fate.

It would be interesting to trace, in their operation upon the opening mind of the child, the effect of the exciting events of the day. Beneath the roof of the elder Adams, the great doctrines of English liberty, for which our fathers contended, were household words. He was barely three years old, when his father,—the ardent patriot, the zealous son of liberty,—appeared in court, as the counsel for the soldiers, who had fired upon the people in Boston, on the 5th of March, 1770. Two years later, his father was negatived by the Royal Governor, as a member of the Executive Council. In 1774, the port of Boston was shut, the Continental Congress agreed upon, and his father elected one of the four delegates, who represented Massachusetts in that assembly at Philadelphia. In 1775, the appeal was made to arms; and George Washington was appointed to the chief command of the American forces, on the emphatic recommendation of John Adams. In 1776, independence was declared, on the report of a committee, on which Thomas Jefferson and John Adams stood first and second, and was triumphantly carried through Congress, mainly by the fervid eloquence of Adams. All these great events,—eras in our history, (and, may I not say, eras in the civilized world? witness the convulsions now shaking Continental Europe to the centre,)—although they occupy but a few chapters in the compends in which we read them, filled years of doubtful, strenuous, resolute exertion in the lives of our fathers. They were brought home to the fireside at which young Adams was trained, by his father’s daily participation; by his letters, when absent; by the sympathizing mother’s anxieties, hopes, and fears. There was not a time for years, when, to ask the question under that roof, “Will America establish her liberties?” would not have been asking, in other words, “Shall we see our father’s face in peace again?” It may fairly be traced to these early impressions, that the character of John Quincy Adams exhibited through life so much of what is significantly called “the spirit of seventy-six.”

And here I may be permitted to pause for a moment, to pay a well deserved tribute of respect to the memory of the excellent mother, to whose instructions so much of the subsequent eminence of the son is due. No brighter example exists of auspicious maternal influence, in forming the character of a great and good man. Her letters to him, some of which have been preserved and given to the world, might almost be called a manual of a wise mother’s advice. The following passage from one of her published letters, written when her son was seven years old, will show how the minds of children were formed in the revolutionary period. “I have taken,” she says, “a very great fondness for reading Rollin’s Ancient History since you left me. I am determined to go through with it, if possible, in these days of my solitude. I find great pleasure and entertainment from it, and have persuaded Johnny to read a page or two every day, and hope he will from his desire to oblige me, entertain a fondness for it.” In that one phrase lies all the philosophy of education. The child of seven years old, who reads a serious book with fondness, from his desire to oblige his mother, has entered the high road of usefulness and honor.

John Quincy Adams Quote Concerning Americans

John Quincy Adams Concerning Americans (Click to enlarge)

The troubled state of the times probably interfered with school education. John Quincy Adams, I believe, never went to a school in America. Besides the instruction which he received from his mother, he was aided by the young gentlemen who studied law under his father. It is to one of these that allusion is made, in the following child’s letter, written to his father, at Philadelphia, before he was ten years old, which I think you will not be displeased at hearing from the original manuscript.

“Braintree, June the 2d, 1777

“Dear Sir,—I love to receive letters very well, much better than I love to write them. I make but a poor figure at composition, my head is much too fickle. My thoughts are running after birds’ eggs, play, and trifles till I get vexed with myself. Mamma has a troublesome task to keep me steady, and I own I am ashamed of myself. I have but just entered the third volume of Smollet, though I had designed to have got half through it by this time. I have determined this week to be more diligent, as Mr. Thaxter will be absent at court, and I cannot pursue my other studies. I have set myself a stint, and determine to read the third volume half out. If I can but keep my resolution, I will write again at the end of the week, and give a better account of myself. I wish, sir, you would give me some instructions with regard to my time, and advise me how to proportion my studies and my play, in writing, and I will keep them by me and endeavor to follow them. I am, dear sir, with a present determination of growing better,

Yours,

John Quincy Adams.

PS.—Sir, if you will be so good as to favor me with a blank book, I will transcribe the most remarkable occurrences I meet with in my reading, which will serve to fix them upon my mind.”

Such was the boy at the age of ten years!

We shall find, in the sequel, that the classical rule was not departed from, in the farther progress of his character.

—— servetur ad imum Qualis ab incepto processerit, et sibi constet. [Translation: “let the character be kept up to the very end, just as it began, and so be consistent” ~ Horace]

At this early period of his life, the horizon at once bursts widely open before him. From the bosom of a New England village, in which he had never been to school, he is transferred, before he is eleven years old, to the capital of France. Among the great movements of the revolution, no one is of greater importance than the alliance with France. It gave a character to the struggle in the eyes of the world, and eventually threw the whole political weight of continental Europe into the American scale. In the course of 1776, Silas Deane, Dr. Franklin, and Arthur Lee, were appointed commissioners to France, on behalf of Congress. Deane was recalled the following year, and, in the month of November, 1777, John Adams was appointed his successor. Desirous of giving his son, then ten years and a half of age, those advantages of education which his native country did not at that time afford, he took him to France. They sailed in the Boston frigate, commanded by Commodore Tucker, on the 13th February, 1778, and reached Bordeaux in the month of April, after a tempestuous passage over an ocean covered with the enemy’s cruisers.

The father established himself at Passy, the residence of Dr. Franklin; and here, for the first time, I find any mention of the son’s receiving any other instruction than that of the fireside. Here he was sent to school, and laid the foundation for that intimate acquaintance with the French language, which he retained through life, and which was of the greatest service to him in his subsequent diplomatic career. It needs scarcely be added, that the occasional intercourse of Dr. Franklin, and of the eminent persons of almost every part of Europe, who sought the society of the American commissioners at Passy, was not lost upon one, who, though still in his boyhood, possessed uncommon maturity of character.

The counsels of the faithful and affectionate mother followed him beyond the sea. In one of the admirable letters to which I have referred, written during the visit to France, she says:—”Let me enjoin it upon you to attend constantly and steadfastly to the instructions of your father, as you value the happiness of your mother and your own welfare. His care and attention to you render many things unnecessary for me to write, which I might otherwise do. But the inadvertency and heedlessness of youth require line upon line and precept upon precept, and when enforced by the joint efforts of both parents, will, I hope, have a due influence upon your conduct; for, dear as you are to me, I would much rather you should have found your grave in the ocean you have crossed, or that any untimely death should crop you in your infant years, than see you an immoral, profligate, or graceless child.” [Mrs. Adams's Letters, Vol I. 123]

How faithfully the favored child availed himself of his uncommon privileges, needs hardly be said. At an age when the most forward children are rarely distinguished, except among their fellows at school, he had attracted the notice of many of the eminent persons who cultivated the acquaintance of his father. Mr. John Adams, in a letter to his wife, of 14th May, 1779, says:—”My son has had great opportunities to see this country; but this has unavoidably retarded his education in some other things. He has enjoyed perfect health from first to last, and is respected wherever he goes, for his vigor and vivacity both of mind and of body, for his constant good-humor, and for his rapid progress in French, as well as for his general knowledge, which at his age is uncommon.” Though proceeding from the fond pen of a father, there is no doubt this character was entirely true. [Note:*]

Note:* The following letter, written from school, to his father, is without date, but must have been written shortly after his arrival in France. It is not without interest, as a memorial of the first steps of a great mind: —

“My work for a day: —
“Make Latin,
Explain Cicero,
”      Erasmus,
”      Appendix,
Peirce Pheedrus, (Qu. parse),
Learn Greek Racines,
”      Greek Grammar,
Geography,
Geometry,
Fractions,
Writing,
Drawing.

“As a young boy cannot apply himself to all those things, and keep a remembrance of them all, I should desire that you would let me know what of those I must begin upon at first.

“I am your dutiful son,

“John Quincy Adams.”

The treaty of alliance with France had been concluded in the interval between Mr. Adams’s appointment and his arrival. Dr. Franklin was appointed resident minister to the Court of Versailles, and Mr. Lee to Madrid; and, after a residence of about a year and a half at Paris, Mr. Adams, without waiting to he recalled, determined to return to the United States. He was invited by the king to take passage, with his son, on board the French frigate La Sensible, which was appointed to convey to America the Chevalier de la Luzerne, the first minister to the United States, and the secretary of legation, the Marquis Barbe Marbois, afterwards well known through all the phases of the French Revolution. They landed in Boston, August 2, 1779. At the moment of their return to the United States, an election was in progress for delegates to the Convention which formed the Constitution of Massachusetts, and Mr. Adams, barely landed in America, was returned for his native town of Brain tree.

The convention assembled in Cambridge, on the 1st of September, 1779, and having chosen a committee of thirty-one, to prepare their work, adjourned to the 28th October. John Adams was of this committee, and, on the day of the adjournment, reported the first draught of a Declaration of Rights and a Constitution. In the interval, he had received from Congress a new commission to negotiate a peace with Great Britain, and on the 14th of November, 1779, he again took passage on board La Sensible, on her return voyage to Europe. He had barely passed three months in the country, during which he had drawn up a Constitution, that remains, after seventy years,—in all material respects,—the frame of government under which we live; has served, in some degree, as a model for other State Constitutions, and even for that of the United States; and under which, as we hope, our children, to the latest posterity, will continue to enjoy the blessings of rational liberty. I have dwelt a moment longer on these incidents, to illustrate the domestic influences under which John Quincy Adams was trained.

He was again the companion of his father on this second wintry voyage to Europe. The frigate sprung a leak through stress of weather, and, though bound to Brest, was obliged to put into Ferrol, a port in the northwestern corner of Spain. Here they arrived on the 7th of December, and were obliged to perform the journey partly on horses and mules through Galicia, Asturias, and Biscay, in midwinter, to Paris. Mr. Adams was accompanied, on this voyage, by Charles, his second son, long since deceased, and by Mr. Francis Dana, afterwards chief justice of Massachusetts, then acting as Secretary of Legation to Mr. Adams. Mr. Adams remained in Paris till midsummer of 1780, during which time the children were again placed at a boarding-school. In July of that year, he repaired to Holland, with a commission from Congress to negotiate a treaty with the republic of the Netherlands, for the recognition of the independence of the United States. The hoys were sent to the public school of the city of Amsterdam, and afterwards transferred to the academical department of the University at Leyden, at that time not inferior in celebrity to any place of education on the continent of Europe. In July, 1781, Mr. Dana, who, in the preceding October, had received a commission from Congress as Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of St. Petersburg, started for that capital, taking with him John Quincy Adams as private secretary and interpreter, being then just fourteen years of age. In this capacity, he was recognized by Congress, and there is, perhaps, no other case of a person so young being employed in a civil office of trust, under the government of the United States. But, in Mr. Adams’s career, there was no boyhood.

The youthful secretary remained at St. Petersburg till October, 1782, during which period, the nature of his occupations was such, as to perfect his knowledge of the French language, and to give him, young as he was, no small insight into the political system of Europe, of which the American question was, at that time, the leading topic. He also devoted himself with assiduity to his studies, and pursued an extensive course of general reading. The official business of the American minister, who was not publicly received by the Empress Catherine, was mostly transacted with the Marquis de Verac, the French Ambassador, between whom and Mr. Dana, young Adams acted as interpreter. [Mrs. Adams's Letters, Vol. IL 157] In October, 1782, Mr. Adams senior brought to a close his arduous mission in Holland, by concluding a treaty of amity, navigation, and commerce with the States General, which remains in force between the two countries to this day. On the very next day, he started for Paris, to perform his duty, as joint commissioner with Dr. Franklin and Mr. Jay, to negotiate with the British envoys for peace; and about the same time, his son left St. Petersburg for Holland. The young man, then but a little more than fifteen years of age, made the long journey from the Russian capital alone, passing through Sweden, Denmark, and the Hanse towns, and arriving at the Hague in the spring of 1783. Here his studies were resumed, and pursued for a few months, till he was sent for by his father to Paris, where he was present at the signing of the definitive treaty of peace in the month of September, 1783. I remember to have heard him say, that, acting as his father’s secretary, he prepared one of the copies of that treaty.

The two succeeding years were passed by young Adams mostly with his father, in England, Holland, and France, in which several countries, Mr. Adams senior was employed on the public business. During this period, his attention was divided between his studies, elementary and classical, and his employment as his father’s secretary. “Congress are at such grievous expense,” his father writes, “that I shall have no other secretary than my son. He, however, is a very good one. He writes a good hand very fast, and is steady to his pen and his books.” [Letters of John Adams, Vol. II. 102] By the time he had reached the age of eighteen, besides being well advanced in the branches of study usually taught at schools, he was, no doubt, one of the most accomplished young men of his time. In addition to a good foundation in Latin and Greek, he was master of the French; he had read extensively in that language and in the English; he had seen several of the principal countries of Europe; and he had watched, with a closeness beyond his years, but required by his position, the political history of Europe during a very eventful lustrum. [Note:* A ceremonial purification of the entire ancient Roman population after the census every five years] In short, since he was twelve years old, he had talked with men.

But his own judgment suggested to him that a longer residence in Europe was not, at this time, expedient. His father was appointed Minister to the Court of St. James, in May, 1785; and, resisting the temptation to take up his residence with the family at London, now joined by that beloved mother from whom he had been so long separated, the son obtained the permission of his parents to return to the United States, for the sake of completing his academic education at Cambridge. He arrived in New York, in July, 1765. He was the bearer of a long letter from Mr. Jefferson, then Minister of the United States at Paris, to Mr. Vice President Gerry, in which Mr. Jefferson says, “I congratulate your country on their prospect in this young man.” He passed about six months at Haverhill, in the family of the Rev. Mr. Shaw, his maternal relative, during which time he read over the books in which it was necessary to be examined for admission to advanced standing at college, none of which, with the exception of Horace, had been read by him before. He was admitted to the junior class at the university on 10th March, 1786. The usual payment required of students entering to advanced standing was, in his case, dispensed with; “the corporation and overseers having voted, as a mark of gratitude to his father for the important services rendered by him to the United States, that he should be admitted free of all charge to whatever standing he should, upon examination, be found qualified for.” [College Records] Thus began his connection with the university, of which he remained, to the rest of his life, a dutiful and an honored son, and a liberal benefactor.

Possessing, by nature, talents of the highest order, especially that which is among the soonest developed in the human mind, the talent of memory,’—having enjoyed great and peculiar advantages for general improvement in Europe,—and now applying himself, with untiring assiduity, to his studies, he was soon generally regarded as standing at the head of his class. Such is the testimony of a venerable magistrate, (Mr. Justice Putnam,) who permits me to quote his authority, himself one of the most distinguished members of the class. I may add, on the same authority, that Adams, though of manners somewhat reserved, was distinguished for his generous feelings, his amiable temper, and engaging social qualities, to all which were added unshaken firmness of principle, and spotless purity of life. He was, from the outset, eminently one of those, who, in the golden words of President Kirkland,” need not the smart of guilt to make them virtuous, nor the regret of folly to make them wise.” He took his first degree at the Commencement of 1787, receiving the second place in the usual assignment of college honors, the first having been given to a classmate who, to distinguished scholarship in other respects, was thought to add superior skill in declamation. The subject of his oration shows the mature cast of his thought. It was “The Importance and Necessity of Public Faith to the Well-Being of a Community.”

He immediately commenced the study of the law at Newburyport, under the late Chief Justice Parsons, who had already attained the reputation, in this part of the country, of being the most acute and learned jurist of the day. At the end of his three years’ noviciate, Mr. Adams removed to Boston, and established himself in the practice of his profession. Three eventful years at home; in which the constitution of the United States had been framed and adopted, and George Washington and John Adams elected to the two first offices under the new government. Three eventful years abroad, in which the French revolution,—the first French revolution,—had moved rapidly forward from that stage of early promise, in which it was hailed by the sympathy of the friends of liberty in England and America, toward those excesses and crimes, which caused it to be afterwards viewed with anxiety, disgust, and horror. Mr. Adams was among the first who suspected the downward tendency. In 1791 he wrote a series of articles, in the Boston Centinel, with the signature of “Publicola”, which were intended as a corrective to some of the doctrines in Paine’s Rights of Man. These fugitive essays were republished in London as an answer to Paine’s work, and there ascribed to the author’s father, John Adams. In 1793, on the breaking out of the war between Great Britain and France, a question of the utmost importance arose, how far the United States were bound, by the treaty of alliance with France, to take sides in the controversy. The division of opinion on this point, which commenced in the cabinet of General Washington, extended throughout the country. The question was at length practically decided, by President Washington’s proclamation of neutrality. Before that important document appeared, Mr. Adams had published a short series of articles in the Boston Centinel, with the signature of Marcellus, maintaining the same doctrine. In these papers, he developed the two principles on which his policy as an American statesman rested,—union at home, and independence of all foreign combinations abroad. [Memoir of Charles Wentworth Upham] On the 4th July, 1793, he delivered the usual anniversary oration before the citizens of Boston; and in the course of the following winter he wrote another series of articles for the public papers, with the signature of Columbus, in which the neutral policy of the United States was farther developed and maintained, and the principles of the law of nations, applicable to the situation of the country, in reference to the European belligerents, more fully unfolded.

I dwell upon these fugitive essays, thrown off no doubt in brief hours of leisure amidst the occupations of a laborious profession, because they established at once the reputation of their author, as one of the soundest thinkers and most forcible writers of the day. They exercised a decided influence over his career in life. They were read at the seat of government; and in the month of May, 1794, without any previous intimation of his design, either to his father, the vice-president, or himself, President Washington nominated Mr. John Q. Adams, minister resident at the Hague, a diplomatic station, at that period, scarcely inferior to the leading courts. Mr. Adams arrived in Holland about the time of the French invasion, and the consequent disorganization of the government and the country. The embarrassments arising from this state of things led him to think of resigning his office and coming home; but it was the advice of the president [Washington's Works, xi. 56] accompanied with the approval of his conduct, that he should remain at his post. In the last year of his administration, (1796,) “Washington appointed him minister plenipotentiary to Lisbon.

About this period of his life, and during a temporary residence in London, for the purpose of exchanging the ratifications of the treaty with Great Britain, and making arrangements for executing some of its provisions, the acquaintance of Mr. Adams commenced with the daughter of Mr. Joshua Johnson, of Maryland,—a gentleman then acting as consular agent of the United States at London. A matrimonial engagement took place, which resulted, on the 26th July, 1797, in his marriage with the accomplished and venerable lady, who for more than fifty years was the faithful partner of his affections and honors, and survives to deplore his loss.

Mr. Adams, senior, was chosen president in the autumn of 1796. On this occasion he was naturally led to contemplate with some anxiety the public relations of his son. On this point he took counsel of the truest of friends and safest of advisers, President Washington, and received from him that celebrated letter of the 20th of February, 1797, a sentence from which is inscribed on yonder wall:—”I give it as my decided opinion,” says President Washington, “that Mr. Adams is the most valuable character we have abroad, and that he will prove himself to be the ablest of all our diplomatic corps.” With this opinion, he expressed the hope and the wish, that Mr. Adams’s advancement might not be checked by an over-delicacy on his father’s part.

Circumstances rendering it inexpedient, at that time, to establish the mission to Portugal, Mr. Adams’s destination was changed to Berlin. He received the appointment as minister to Prussia, on the 31st May, 1797. In the summer of 1798, retaining his office as minister to Prussia, he was commissioned to negotiate a treaty with Sweden. During his mission at Berlin, he concluded a treaty of amity and commerce, after a very able and protracted negotiation, in which the lights of neutral commerce were discussed by Mr. Adams and the Prussian commissioners. In the summer of 1800, he made a tour in Silesia, and wrote an interesting and instructive series of letters, containing the result of his observations. They were published without his consent in the Portfolio, at Philadelphia, collected in a volume at London, and translated into French and German. With a view to perfect his acquaintance with the German, Mr. Adams, during his residence at Berlin, executed a complete metrical version of Wieland’s Oberon, not being aware at the time that it had been already translated in England.

He was recalled toward the close of his father’s administration, but did not arrive in America till September, 1801. In the following spring, he was elected to the senate of Massachusetts for the county of Suffolk, and in the course of the year was chosen by the legislature a senator of the United States, for the senatorial term commencing on the 3d of March, 1803. His term of service in the senate of the United States fell upon one of the great periods of crisis in our political history. The party which had supported his father, and to which he himself belonged, had fallen into divisions, in the course of his father’s administration. These divisions had contributed to the revolution by which Mr. Jefferson was brought into power. The excitements growing out of this state of things were not yet allayed, but connected themselves, as all domestic questions did, with the absorbing questions that grew out of the foreign relations of the country, in the war which then raged in Europe, and threatened to draw America into the vortex. The senators of Massachusetts differed in their views of the policy required by the emergency, and those adopted by Mr. Adams, who supported the administration, being at variance with the opinions of a majority of his constituents; he resigned his seat in the senate, in March, 1808.

The repose from political engagements, thus afforded him, was devoted by Mr. Adams to the farther prosecution of pursuits in which he was already engaged, and which, to him, were scarcely less congenial. His literary tastes had always been fondly and assiduously cultivated, and, for a public man, his habits were decidedly studious. On the death of President Willard, in 1804, several of the influential friends of Harvard College had urged upon Mr. Adams, to allow himself to be considered as a candidate for the presidency of the University. These overtures he declined; but in the following year it was determined, by the corporation, to appoint a Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory, on the foundation of Mr. Boylston, and Mr. Adams was chosen. He delivered his inaugural address in July, 1806, and continued to discharge the duties of the professorship, by the delivery of a course of lectures, and by presiding over the public exercises in declamation, till the month of July, 1809. It was at this time, and as a member of one of the younger classes at college, that I first saw Mr. Adams, and listened to his well-remembered voice, from the chair of instruction; little anticipating that, after the lapse of forty years, my own humble voice would be heard, in the performance of this mournful office.

Some who now hear me will recollect the deep interest with which these lectures were listened to, not merely by the youthful audience for which they were prepared, but by numerous voluntary hearers from the neighborhood. They formed an era in the University; and were, I believe, the first successful attempt, in this country, at this form of instruction in any department of literature. They were collected and published in two volumes, completing the theoretical part of the subject. I think it may be fairly said, that they will bear a favorable comparison with any treatise, on the subject, at that time extant in our language. The standard of excellence, in every branch of critical learning, has greatly advanced in the last forty years, but these lectures may still be read with pleasure and instruction. Considered as a systematic and academical treatise upon a subject which constituted the chief part of the intellectual education of the Greeks and Romans, these lectures, rapidly composed as they were delivered, and not revised by the author before publication, are not to be regarded in the light of a standard performance. But let any statesman or jurist, even of the present day, in America or Europe,—whose life, like Mr. Adams’s, has been actively passed in professional and political engagements at home and abroad,— attempt, in the leisure of two or three summers,— his mind filled with all the great political topics of the day,—to prepare a full course of lectures on any branch of literature, to be delivered to a difficult and scrutinizing, though in part a youthful audience, and then trust them to the ordeal of the press, and he will be prepared to estimate the task which was performed by Mr. Adams.

From these, to him, not distasteful engagements, Mr. Adams was soon recalled to the public service. In March, 1809, he was nominated by President Madison to the Court of St. Petersburg, and, in the summer of the same year, returned to the important court which he had visited twenty-eight years before, in his boyhood, as secretary to Mr. Dana. He came at a critical juncture of affairs, and with great means and occasions of usefulness. The whole foreign world was, at this time, shut out from the Continental Courts, by the iron rigor of the system of Napoleon. America, though little known at the Imperial Court, was regarded with interest, as a rising transatlantic State of great importance, and Mr. Adams appeared as her first accredited representative. He was master of the two foreign languages which,—to the exclusion of the native Russian,—are alone spoken in the political and court circles. He was thus enabled the more easily to form relations of more than ordinary kindness with the emperor and leading members of the imperial government, and it is well understood to have been through this instrumentality, that the emperor was led to offer his mediation to the United States and Great Britain, in the war then just commenced. The mediation was accepted by the American government, and Mr. Adams was appointed, in conjunction with Messrs. Gallatin and Bayard, to conduct the negotiation. Those gentlemen arrived at St. Petersburg in July, 1813. The Emperor Alexander was absent on the great campaign of that year, but the conferences of the American commissioners were opened with Count Romanoff, chancellor of the empire. The British government declined to negotiate under the mediation, and Messrs. Bayard and Gallatin left St. Petersburg in January, 1814, Mr. Adams remaining, as resident minister.

But Great Britain, although nominally declining to negotiate under the mediation, accompanied her refusal with an offer to treat for peace with the United States directly, either at Gottenburg or London, and this offer was accepted by the American government, the preference being given to the former place. Mr. Adams was accordingly appointed, in joint commission with Messrs. Bayard, Clay, and Russell, to whom was afterwards added Mr. Gallatin, to negotiate for peace at Gottenburg. Mr. Adams received this commission in April, 1814, with instructions to proceed immediately to the place just named. He took passage from Revel in the first vessel, after the breaking up of the ice; and after repeated delay and detention, and great risk from the same cause, he arrived at Stockholm on the 25th of May.

He there learned that an arrangement had been made by Messrs. Bayard and Gallatin,—who were in London,—with the British government, by which the seat of negotiation had been transferred to Ghent. An American sloop-of-war was then at Gottenburg, having, as a cartel, conveyed Messrs. Clay and Russell to that place. Mr. Adams accordingly proceeded from Stockholm to Gottenburg, and, embarking with Mr. Russell on board the sloop-of-war, landed from her at the Texel, and thence proceeded by land to Ghent. There he arrived on the 24th of June, and on that day six months, the treaty of peace was signed. Mr. Adams’s name stands first, on the list of the negotiators.

Mr. Adams had been informed by the secretary of state, (James Monroe), at the time he was appointed under the mediation of the emperor of Russia, that, in the event of the conclusion of peace, it was the intention of President Madison to nominate him as minister to London. He accordingly went to Paris, and was there during the presence of the allied monarchs and their armies, and in the Hundred Days. He was joined by his family in March, 1815. Their hardships and perils, in performing the journey from St. Petersburg to France, in that time of universal commotion and uncertainty, would form an interesting narrative, for which, however, this is not the place. On the 7th of May, he received official information of his appointment; and although the ordinary communications between the two countries were interrupted, and the passage not unattended with delay and difficulty, he arrived in London on the 15th of May. He immediately engaged with his associate commissioners, Messrs. Clay and Gallatin, in negotiating a convention of commerce with Great Britain, which was concluded on the 3d of July, 1815.

Having thus, in happy coincidence with his venerable father’s career, cooperated in establishing a peace with Great Britain, he remained, like his father, in London, for two years, as the American Minister at that court. He was then, in 1817, invited by President Monroe to return to America, as Secretary of State under the new administration. I believe it was universally admitted, that a better appointment could not have been made. It will be recollected, by many persons present, that General Jackson, then just beginning to exercise great political influence in the country, spoke of Mr. Adams “as the fittest person for the office;—a man who would stand by the country in the hour of danger.”

But the hour of danger did not arrive at home or abroad during the administration of Mr. Monroe, which continued through two terms of office, for the whole of which Mr. Adams was Secretary of State. During this entire period, he maintained unbroken the most friendly relations with Mr. Monroe, and gave a steady and efficient support to his administration. The office of Secretary of State is, at all times, one of immense labor; never more so, than in the hands of Mr. Adams. I presume no person in high office ever derived less assistance from those under him, or did more work with his own hands. No opinion, for which he was responsible, was ever taken on trust, upon the examination of others; no paper of any consequence, to which he was to sign his name, was the product of another man’s mind. It would be foreign from my purpose, did time admit, to discuss the measures of public interest which engaged the attention of the government and people of the country during Mr. Monroe’s two terms of service in the presidency. His administration will ever be memorable, in our political history, for the substantial fusion of the two great political parties, which led to his unanimous reelection in 1821. It will also be remembered for the acquisition of Florida, which was ceded by Spain as an indemnification for spoliations on our commerce. The treaty for this session was negotiated, with consummate ability, by Mr. Adams, and signed on the 22d of February, 1819. The independence of the Spanish provinces on this continent was also recognized under this administration,—a measure rather assented to than warmly approved by Mr. Adams, for he doubted their capacity for self-government; an opinion, of which the soundness is abundantly justified by passing events.

Out of the subsidence of the old parties, sprung the variously contested presidential election of 1824. For a quarter of a century, a succession had been established from the department of state to the presidency. There were certainly good reasons, on the present occasion, why this practice should not be broken in upon; but, in addition, to the successful candidate for the vice-presidency, the south and the west brought three presidential candidates into the field, who divided the electoral vote, though unequally, with Mr. Adams. The whole number of votes was two hundred and sixty-one, of which General Jackson received ninety-nine, and Mr. Adams eighty-four. But I think it was calculated, at the time, that Mr. Adams’s vote, in the primary assemblies of the people, was not less than his rival’s. The choice devolved upon the House of Representatives, for the second time since the formation of the present government. The first occasion was in 1801, when the constitution itself had nearly sunk under the struggle, which was prolonged through the second day, and to the thirty-sixth balloting. On the present occasion, the elements of a struggle equally perilous were thought to exist; and calculation was entirely at fault as to the result. The choice was decided on the first ballot, and fell upon Mr. Adams. It was made known to him in advance of the official communication, by a personal and political friend, who happened to be present; and who, to my question, a few weeks after, how he received the intelligence, answered, “like a philosopher.”

Mr. Adams’s administration was, in its principles and policy, a continuation of Mr. Monroe’s. The special object which he proposed to himself was, to bind the distant parts of the country together, and promote their mutual prosperity, by increased facilities of communication. Unlike Mr. Monroe’s, Mr. Adams’s administration encountered, from the outset, a formidable and harassing opposition. It is now, I believe, generally admitted to have been honest, able, and patriotic. This praise has lately been accorded to it, in the most generous terms, by distinguished individuals, in Congress and elsewhere, who were not numbered among its supporters. That the president, himself, devoted to the public business the utmost stretch of his Herculean powers of thought and labor, hardly needs to be told.

Two incidents occurred during his administration, which ought not to be wholly passed over in this hasty sketch:—one was the visit of Lafayette, whom Mr. Adams received, at the presidential mansion, with an address of extraordinary eloquence and beauty; the other, the death of his venerable father, spared to the patriarchal age of ninety-one, and to see his son raised to the presidency, and dying, with his ancient associate, Jefferson, within a few hours of each other, on the fiftieth anniversary of Independence,—which they had been associated in declaring.

At the close of the term of four years, for which Mr. Adams was elected, General Jackson was chosen to succeed him. Mr. Adams, I doubt not, left the office with a lighter heart than he entered it. It was, at this time, his purpose,—as he informed me himself,—on retiring from office, to devote himself to literary labors, and especially to writing the history of his father’s life and times. Some commencement was made, by him, of the preliminary labors requisite for this great undertaking. He was, however, though past the meridian of life, in good health. He possessed an undiminished capacity of physical and intellectual action. He had an experience of affairs, larger and more various than any other man in America; and it was felt by the public, that he ought to be induced, if possible, to return to the political service of the country. He was accordingly chosen, at the next congressional election, to represent the people of his native district, in the House of Representatives of the United States.

It was, perhaps, a general impression among his personal friends, that, in yielding to this call, he had not chosen wisely for his happiness or fame. It was a step never before taken by a retiring chief magistrate. The experience and wisdom of his predecessors had often exerted a salutary influence over public opinion, for the very reason that their voice was heard only from the seclusion of private life, by those who sought their counsel. Mr. Adams was about to expose himself to the violence of political warfare, not always conducted with generosity on the floor of Congress. But in deciding to obey the call of his constituents, he followed, I am confident, not so much the strong bent of his inclination, and the fixed habit of his life, as an inward, all-controlling sense of duty. He was conscious of his capacity to be useful, and his work was not yet done. Besides, he needed no indulgence, he asked no favor, he feared no opposition.

He carried into Congress the diligence, punctuality, and spirit of labor, which were his second—I had almost said his first—nature. My seat was, for two years, by his side; and it would have scarcely more surprised me to miss one of the marble columns of the hall from its pedestal, than to see his chair empty. The two great political questions of the day were those which related to the protective and financial systems. He was placed, by the speaker of the House, at the head of the Committee on Manufactures. He was friendly to the policy of giving our rising establishments a moderate protection against the irregular pressure of foreign competition. Believing that manufacturing pursuits,—as the great school of mechanical skill,—are an important element of national prosperity, he thought it unwise to allow the compensation of labor in this department to be brought down to the starvation standard of Europe. He was also a firm and efficient champion of the Bank of the United States, then subsisting under a charter of Congress, and, up to that time, conducted, as he thought, with integrity. On these, and all the other topics of the day, he took an active part, employing himself with assiduity in the committee room, preparing elaborate reports, and, occasionally, though not frequently, pouring out the affluence of his mind in debate.

I shall, perhaps, be pardoned, for introducing here a slight personal recollection, which serves, in some degree, to illustrate his habits. The sessions of the two last days of (I think) the twenty-third Congress were prolonged, the one for nineteen, and the other for seventeen hours. At the close of the last day’s session, he remained in the hall of the house, the last seated member of the body. One after another of the members had gone home; many of them, for hours. The hall,—brilliantly lighted up, and gaily attended, as was, and perhaps is still, the custom at the beginning of the last evening of a session,— had become cold, dark, and cheerless. Of the members who remained, to prevent the public business from dying for want of a quorum, most, but himself, were sinking from exhaustion, although they had probably taken their meals at the usual hours, in the course of the day. After the adjournment, I went up to his seat, to join company with him homeward; and, as I knew he came to the house at eight o’clock in the morning, and it was then past midnight, I expressed a hope that he had taken some refreshment in the course of the day. He said he had not left his seat, but, holding up a bit of hard bread in his fingers, gave me to understand in what way he had sustained nature.

Such was his course in the House of Representatives, up to the year 1835, during which I was the daily witness of it, as an humble associate member. Had he retired from Congress at that time, it would have been, perhaps, rather with a reputation brought to the house, than achieved on the floor; a reputation “enough to fill the ambition of a common man,” nay, of a very uncommon one; but it would probably have been thought that, surpassing most others, he had hardly equaled himself. But from this time forward, for ten years, (1835-1845,) he assumed a position in a great degree new, and put forth a wonderful increase of energy and power. Some of the former questions, which had long occupied Congress, had been, at least for the time, disposed of, and new ones came up, which roused Mr. Adams to a higher action of his faculties than he had yet displayed. He was now sixty-eight years of age,—a time of life, I need not say, at which, in most cases, the firmest frame gives way, and the most ardent temper cools; but the spirit of Mr. Adams,—bold and indomitable as his whole life showed it to be,—blazed forth, from this time forward, for ten years, with a fervor and strength which astonished his friends, and stands, as I think, almost, if not quite, without a parallel. I do not forget the limits prescribed to me by the circumstances under which I speak; but no one, capable of estimating the noblest traits of character, can wish me to slur over this period of Mr. Adams’s life; no one, but must be touched with the spectacle which, day after day, and month after month, and session after session, was exhibited by him, to whom had now been accorded, by universal consent, the title of the “old man eloquent ;”—and far more deserving of it he was, than the somewhat frigid rhetorician on whom it was originally bestowed. There he sat, the deepest-stricken in years, but, of the whole body, the individual most capable of physical endurance and intellectual effort; his bare head erect, while younger men drooped; ” his peremptory, eagle-sighted eye” unquenched, both by day and by night:

________intrepidus vultu, meruitque timeri
Non metuens.
[Translation: The intrepid countenance, merited rather than feared. Shall not dread.

It is unnecessary to state that the new questions, to which I refer, were those connected with slavery. On no great question, perhaps, has the progress of public opinion been more decided, both in Europe and America, than on this subject. It is but a little more than a century since England eagerly stipulated with Spain for the right to supply the Spanish colonies with slaves from Africa; and the carrying trade, from the same ill-fated coasts to our own Southern States, then colonies, was conducted by the merchants and navigators of our own New England. Within the present generation, we have seen the slave trade denounced as a capital felony in both countries. I am not aware that any discussion of this subject, of a nature powerfully to affect the public mind, took place in Congress, till full thirty years after the adoption of the constitution. It then arose on occasion of the admission of the State of Missouri into the Union, and on the proposition to incorporate into the constitution of that State the principle of the immortal ordinance of 1787, for the organization of the territory northwest of the Ohio, viz., “There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall be duly convicted.” Mr. Adams was in the department of state at the time of the admission of Missouri, and was not called upon to take any part in the discussion.

The general agitation of the subject in the community at large dates from a still more recent period, commencing about the time of Mr. Adams’s accession to the presidency. It was animated, no doubt, by the movement which took place about the same time in Great Britain, and which, in the course of a few years, resulted in that most illustrious act of Christian benevolence, by which, in a single day, eight hundred thousand fellow-beings passed from a state of bondage to one of unconditional freedom, and that without a cry or a gesture that threatened the public peace.

The public opinion of the United States, sympathizing as it must at all times with that of the other great branches of the human family, was deeply interested in the progress of these discussions abroad, and received a powerful impulse from their result. With the organized agitation, in the free States, of the questions connected with slavery, Mr. Adams did not, as a citizen I believe, intimately connect himself. Toward their introduction into Congress, as subjects of free discussion, he contributed more than any other man; than all others united. He approached the subject, however, with a caution inspired by a profound sense of its difficulty and delicacy. I know it to have been his opinion, as late as 1828, that, for the presidency and vice-presidency, the candidates ought to be selected from the two great sections of the country. His first act as a member of Congress, in 1831, was to present the memorial of the “Friends,” of Philadelphia, praying, among other things, for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia; but, while he paid the highest tribute to the motives of the petitioners, he avowed himself not prepared to grant the prayer of the memorial. But whether it was that his own opinions and feelings had shared the movement of the general mind of the age on this subject; or that he perceived, in the course of a few years, that the time had come when it must be met and discussed in all its aspects; certain it is that, from the time the right of petition was drawn distinctly in question, Mr. Adams placed himself boldly on that ground, and, from that time forward, stood firmly at his post, as the acknowledged congressional leader. No labor was too great, no attention too minute, to be bestowed by him in receiving and presenting the petitions which were poured into his hands from every part of the country. No strength or violence of opposition, or menaces of danger, deterred him from the office he had assumed; and every attempt to dishearten and silence him but established, the more firmly, the moral ascendency which he had acquired in the house. His warmest opponents, while they condemned his policy, admitted his sincerity, admired his courage, and owned his power. His rising to address the house became the signal for mute and respectful attention; the distant clustered round his seat; the listless and the idle gave heed, and every word that fell from his lips was listened to almost like the response of an oracle. I say this alike to the honor of the living and the dead.

I may be permitted to recall to your recollection the opening of the 26th Congress, in December, 1839, when, in consequence of a two-fold delegation from New Jersey, the house was unable, for some time, to complete its organization, and presented, to the country and the world, the perilous and discreditable aspect of the assembled representatives of the people unable to form themselves into a constitutional body. Fully to enter into the scene, it must be remembered that there are no two ideas more deeply imbedded in the Anglo-Saxon mind than these;—one, the omnipotence of every sovereign parliamentary, and congressional body, (I mean, of course, within the limits of its constitutional competence,) and the other, the absolute inability of one of these omnipotent bodies to make the slightest movement, or perform the most indifferent act, except through a formal expression of its will by its duly appointed organs. Now, on first assembling, the House has no officers, and the clerk of the preceding Congress acts, by usage, as chairman of the body, till a speaker is chosen. On this occasion, after reaching the State of New Jersey, the acting clerk declined to proceed in calling the roll, and refused to entertain any of the motions which were made for the purpose of extricating the House from its embarrassment. Many of the ablest and most judicious members had addressed the House in vain, and there was nothing but confusion and disorder in prospect. Toward the close of the fourth day, Mr. Adams rose, and expectation waited on his words. Having, by a powerful appeal, brought the yet unorganized assembly to a perception of its hazardous position, he submitted a motion requiring the acting clerk to proceed in calling the roll. This and similar motions had already been made by other members. The difficulty was, that the acting clerk declined to entertain them. Accordingly, Mr. Adams was immediately interrupted by a burst of voices demanding, “How shall the question be put?” “Who will put the question?” The voice of Mr. Adams was heard above the tumult, “I intend to put the question myself!” That word brought order out of chaos. There was the master-mind. A distinguished member from South Carolina, (Mr. Rhett,) moved that Mr. Adams himself should act as chairman of the body till the House was organized, and, suiting the action to the word, himself put the motion to the House. It prevailed unanimously, and Mr. Adams was conducted to the chair, amidst the irrepressible acclamations of the spectators. Well did Mr. Wise, of Virginia, say, “Sir, I regard it as the proudest hour of your life; and if, when you shall be gathered to your fathers,” (that time, alas, is now come!) “I were asked to select the words which, in my judgment, are best calculated to give at once the character of the man, I would inscribe upon your tomb this sentence, ‘I will put the question myself.'”

And thus it was that he was established, at last, in a relation to the House, which no man before had ever filled. The differences of opinion of course were great; the shock of debate often violent; but it was impossible not to respect the fearless, conscientious, unparalleled old man. Into this feeling at last every other emotion subsided; and I know not to which party the greater praise is due,—the aged statesman who had so nobly earned this homage, or the generous opponents by whom it was cheerfully paid.

Nor was this spontaneous deference a mere personal sentiment, confined to associates on the floor of Congress. It extended to the People. In the summer of 1843, Mr. Adams was invited to go to Cincinnati, and lay the corner-stone of an Observatory, about to be built by the liberal subscriptions of the friends of science in that city. His journey, from Massachusetts to Ohio, was a triumphal procession. New York poured out the population of her cities and villages to bid him welcome. Since the visit of Lafayette, the country had seen nothing like it. And if I wished to prove to the young men of the country, by the most instructive instances, that the only true greatness is that which rests on a moral basis, I would point them to the ex-president of the United States, on the occasion referred to, and the ex-king of the French:—the one, retiring to private life, an unsuccessful, but not discredited, candidate for reelection to the chair of state; ruling, in a serene old age, in the respect and affection of his fellow-citizens; borne, at seventy-six, almost on their shoulders, from one joyous reception to another: the other, sovereign, but yesterday, of a kingdom stretching from Mount Atlas to the Rhine; master of an army to bid defiance to Europe; -with a palace for every month, and a revenue of three millions of francs for every day in the year; and to-day, (let me not seem to trample on the fallen, as I utter the words,) stealing with the aged partner of his throne and of his fall, in sordid disguise, from his capital; without one of that mighty host to strike a blow in his defense, if not from loyalty, at least from compassion; not daring to look round, even to see if the child were safe, on whom he had just bestowed the mockery of a crown; and compelled to beg a few francs, from the guards at his palace-door, to help him to flee from his kingdom!

But I have wandered from my theme, and must hasten with you, to contemplate a far different termination of a more truly glorious career. On the 20th of November, 1846, Mr. Adams, being then at the house of his son, in Boston, and preparing for his departure for Washington, walked out, with a friend, to visit the new Medical College, and was struck with palsy by the way. He recovered strength enough to return in a few weeks to Washington, hut it was, in his own estimation, the stroke of death. His journal,—kept with regularity for more than half a century,—stops that day; and when, after an interval of nearly four months, he resumed it, it was with the caption of “Posthumous Memoir.” Having recorded the event of the 20th of November, and his subsequent confinement, he adds, “From that hour I date my decease, and consider myself, for every useful purpose to myself and fellow-creatures, dead; and hence I call this, and what I may hereafter write, a posthumous memoir.” From this time forward, though his attendance was regularly given in the House of Representatives, he rarely took part in the debates. His summer was passed, as usual, in his native village. In the month of October last, he made a visit to Cambridge, as chairman of the Committee on the Observatory,—an institution in which he ever took the greatest interest, and of which he was, from the first, a most liberal benefactor,—and shortly afterwards drew up the admirable letter, in reference to this establishment, and the promotion generally of astronomical science,—a letter which attracted universal attention a few weeks since, in the public prints. This was the last letter, I believe, of considerable length, wholly written with his own hand. He returned to Washington in the month of November, and resumed his usual attendance in the Capitol; but the sands were nearly run out.

Never did a noble life terminate in a more beautiful close. On Sunday, the 20th of February, he appeared in unusual health. He attended public worship, in the forenoon, at the Capitol, and, in the afternoon, at St. John’s Church. At nine o’clock in the evening he retired, with his wife, to his library, where she read to him a sermon of Bishop Wilberforce, on Time,—hovering, as he was, on the verge of Eternity. This was the last night which he passed beneath his own roof. On Monday, the 21st, he rose at his usual very early hour, and engaged in his accustomed occupations with his pen. An extraordinary alacrity pervaded his movements; the cheerful step with which he ascended the Capitol was remarked by his attendants; and, at about half-past twelve, as he seemed rising in his seat, he was struck with death. His last audible words were, “This is the end of earth,”—”I am composed.” He continued to breathe, but without apparent consciousness, till the evening of the twenty-third instant, and died in the Capitol.

Go there, politician, and behold a fall worth all the triumphs the Capitol ever witnessed! Go there, skeptic, you who believe that matter and mind are one, and both are a “kneaded clod,” and explain how it is that, within that aged and shattered frame, just sinking into the dust from which it was taken, there can dwell a principle of thought and feeling endued with such a divine serenity and courage, and composed, because it feels, that the end of earth is the beginning of heaven!

Thus fell, at the post of duty, one of the most extraordinary men that have appeared among us, not so much dying, as translated from the field of his earthly labors and honors to a higher sphere. I have left myself little space or strength to add anything to the narrative of his life by way of portraying his character. Some attempt, however, of that kind, you will expect.

Mr. Adams was a man of the rarest intellectual endowments. His perception was singularly accurate and penetrating. Whenever he undertook to investigate a subject, he was sure to attain the clearest ideas of it which its nature admitted. What he knew, he knew with great precision. His argumentative powers were of the highest order, and admirably trained. When he entered the field of controversy, it was a strong and a bold man that voluntarily encountered him a second time. His memory was wonderful. Every thing he had seen or read, every occurrence in his long and crowded life, was at all times present to his recollection. This was the more remarkable, as he had, almost from the age of boyhood, followed the practice of recording, from day to day, every incident of importance,—a practice thought to weaken the memory. This wonderful power of recollection was aided by the strict method with which he pursued his studies for the earlier part of his life, and until weighed down by the burdens of executive office, on entering the department of state. He had, withal, a diligence which nothing could weary. He rose at the earliest hour, and had an occupation for every moment of the day.

Without having made a distinct pursuit of any one branch of knowledge, he was probably possessed of a greater amount and variety of accurate information than any other man in the country. It follows, of course, that he had pushed his inquiries far beyond the profession to which he was bred, or that reading which belongs directly to the publicist and the statesman. Few among us drank so deeply at the ancient fountains. To his acquaintance with the language and literature of Greece and Rome, he added the two leading languages of continental Europe, of which the French was a second mother-tongue. The orations of Demosthenes and Cicero, the philosophical and rhetorical works of Cicero; the critical works of Aristotle and Quintilian; the historical works of Tacitus, (all of which he had translated at school;) a considerable part of the poems of Ovid, whom he greatly admired; the satires of Juvenal; in French, Pascal, Moliere, and La Fontaine; in English, Shakespeare, his greatest favorite, with Milton, Dryden, Pope, and Burke,—were stamped upon his memory. These were studies which he never wholly sacrificed to the calls of business, however urgent. The office of President of the United States, at least as filled by Mr. Adams, is one of extreme labor, but he found time, amidst its incessant calls and interruptions, to address a series of letters to his youngest son,—some of them, written in the busiest period of the session,—containing an elaborate analysis of several of the orations of Cicero, designed to aid the young man in the perusal of this, his favorite author. At the close of one of these letters, (as if it were impossible to fill up his industrious day,) he adds, that he is reading Evelyn’s Sylva with great delight. Some of these letters would be thought a good day’s work for a scholar by profession. But Mr. Adams wrote with a rapidity and ease, which would hardly have been suspected from his somewhat measured style. Notwithstanding the finish of his sentences, they were, like Gibbon’s, struck off at once, and never had to be retouched. I remember that once, as I sat by his side in the House of Representatives, I was so much struck with the neatness and beauty of the manuscript of a report of great length which he had brought into the House, and in which, as I turned over the leaves, I could not perceive an interlineation, that I made a remark to him on the subject. He told me it was the first draft, and had never been copied; and, in that condition, it was sent to the press, though sure to be the subject of the severest criticism.

To his profession, Mr. Adams gave but a few years of his life, and those not exclusively. He had, however, mastered the elementary learning and the forms of the law, and, in the fourth year after entering upon the practice, supported himself by his professional earnings. In later life, he appeared at the bar, on a few important occasions, with distinction and success. During his residence in Russia, Mr. Madison made him an offer of a seat on the Bench of the Supreme Court of the United States, which he declined. As a public speaker, whether at the senate or the bar, he was grave, clear, and impressive,—formidable in retort, powerful in invective,—sometimes giving the reins to a playful fancy, and, when the subject and occasion admitted, vehement and impassioned,—neglectful of the lighter graces of manner, but, at all times, riveting the attention of his audience. When, at the age of seventy-four, he came into the Supreme Court at Washington, as the volunteer counsel of the Africans on board the Amistad, he displayed a forensic talent, which would have added luster to the brightest name in the profession.

But it is as a politician, as a statesman, and a chief magistrate, that he will hereafter be chiefly remembered in the annals of the country; and it will be among those who have served her the longest, the most zealously, the most ably, the most conscientiously. Breathing, as we do, an atmosphere heated with the passions of the day; swayed, as we all are, by our own prejudices, it is not for us to sit in judgment on his political course. Impartiality in our opinions of contemporaries is often the name which we give to our own adverse conceptions. It is characteristic of most men, either from temperament or education, to lean decidedly either to the conservative or progressive tendency, which forms respectively the basis of our parties. In Mr. Adams’s political system there was a singular mixture of both principles. This led him, early in his political career, to adopt a course which is sanctioned by the highest authorities and examples in the country, that of avoiding, as far as possible, an intimate and exclusive union with any party. This policy was studiously pursued by General Washington. He retained in his cabinet the two great rival leaders, as long as they could be prevailed upon to sit side by side; and in appointing ministers to Great Britain and to France, at a very critical period of our foreign relations, he acted upon the same principle. Mr. Jefferson, in his inaugural address in 1801, says, “We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all republicans: we are all federalists;” and in 1817, General Jackson exhorted Mr. Monroe to destroy the monster, party. It was, I think, on the same principle that Mr. Adams, when the state government was organized in 1802, was desirous of constituting the executive council by a fair representation of the two parties. But this policy, I suspect, can never be effectively pursued, at those periods when it would be of any importance, viz., times of high political excitement. A real independence of party ties, on great questions and in difficult times, will, I fear, rarely be asserted without great personal sacrifices and violent collisions. Those whose general views are in sympathy, if separated on individual measures of great interest, become, for that very reason, the more estranged; and the confidence and admiration of years are succeeded by alienation and bitterness. Burke and Fox, the dearest of friends and the trustiest of allies, parted from each other on the floor of parliament with tears, but still they parted, and forever. Happy the statesman, who, when the collisions of the day are past and forgotten, shall possess titles to the abiding interest and respect of his countrymen as brilliant and substantial as those of Mr. Adams!

In the high offices which he filled in the government, he may be safely held up as a model of a public servant. As a diplomatist, his rank has been assigned by Washington. As an executive officer, the duty of the day, however uninviting, was discharged as if it were an object of the most attractive interest. The most obsolete and complicated claim, if it became necessary for Mr. Adams to pass upon it, was sifted to the bottom with the mechanical patience of an auditor of accounts; and woe to the fallacy, if any there were, which lurked in the statement. A “report on weights and measures,” prepared by Mr. Adams in the ordinary routine of official duty, is entitled to the character of a scientific treatise. In executing the office of President of the United States, he was governed by two noble principles, oftener professed than carried into full practice. The first related to measures, and was an all but superstitious respect for the constitution and the law. Laboring as he did, by the strange perversity of party judgments, under the odium of latitudinarian doctrines, there never lived the public man, or the magistrate, who carried into every act of official duty a deeper sense of the binding power of the constitution and the law, as a rule of conduct from which there was no appeal. The second principle regarded men, and was that of conscientious impartiality. I do not mean that he did not confer important offices, when the nomination was freely at his discretion, on political friends,—the services of none others can be commanded for places of high trust and confidence,—but political friendship never was the paramount consideration. He found a majority of the offices in the country in the possession of his political opponents, and he never removed one of them to make way for a friend. He invited Mr. Crawford, a rival candidate for the presidency, to retain his seat in the Cabinet as Secretary of the Treasury. He decided a long-standing controversy about rank between the highest officers of the army, against his political interests. He brought to every question that required his decision, however wrapped up in personal considerations, the inflexibility of a judicial tribunal.

As a man, he had, no doubt, the infirmities of human nature, (fair subjects of criticism to the happy few who are immaculate,) but not, I think, those most frequently laid to his charge. He was not, for instance, parsimonious or avaricious. Thrown, from his first start in life, upon his own resources, he determined to five within his means, and studied a decent economy; not because he loved money, but because he loved independence. That object attained, he ceased to exercise even ordinary thrift in the management of his affairs; but he did not cease, to the end of his life, to lend an ear to every call, (public or private,) upon his liberality, far beyond the extent of his income. He did not, as a minister abroad, load himself with debt, that he might enjoy the satisfaction of being distanced in a race of profusion with the foreign ambassadors, whose princely incomes are swelled by princely salaries; but, from the time of his first residence at Washington, as Secretary of State, to the close of his presidency, and even of his life, the hospitality of his house and of his table was proverbial. Neither office, I believe, added a dollar to his fortune. He was plain in his personal habits and dress, because he was simple in his tastes and feelings. What attraction can there be to a thoughtful, studious man,—with great affairs upon his hands and upon his thoughts,—in the wretched and fatiguing vanities which are the principal sources of expense? There was an occasional abstraction and reserve in his manner, which led those who did not observe him more closely, to think him deficient in warmth and cordiality. But, while he wanted a certain cheerful flexibility and sprightliness, which, when accompanied with sincerity and frankness, are a very enviable endowment for a public man,—eminently useful in making friends,—yet, in real kindness of nature, and depth and tenderness of feeling, no man surpassed him. His venerable classmate bears witness that he contributed his full share to the hilarity of the social circle; and sure I am there must be around me some who can remember with me the hours, for which they have hung delighted on the fascination of his social converse. As far as the higher sympathies of our nature are concerned,—the master affections, whose sphere is far above the little conventional courtesies of life,—a warmer spirit never dwelt in a human frame.

But I have left untouched the great qualities of the man, the traits which formed the heroism of his character, and would have made him, at all times, and in any career, a person of the highest mark and force. These were, his lion-heart, which knew not the fear of man; and his religious spirit, which feared God in all things, constantly, profoundly, and practically. A person of truer courage, physical and moral, I think never lived. In whatever calling of life he had grown up, this trait, I am sure, would have been conspicuous. Had he been a common sailor, he would have been the first to go to the mast-head, when the topsails were flying into ribbons. He never was called to expose his life in the field; but, had his duty required it, he was a man to lead a forlorn hope, with a steady step, through a breach spouting with fire. It was his custom,—at a time when personal violence toward individuals politically obnoxious was not uncommon,—to walk the unwatched and desolate streets of Washington alone, and before sun-rise. This may be set down to the steadiness of nerves, which is shared by men of inferior tone of mind. But in his place in the House of Representatives,— in the great struggle into which he plunged, from a conscientious sense of duty, in the closing years of his life,—and in the boldness and resolution with which he trod on ground never before thrown open to free discussion, he evinced a moral courage, founded on the only true basis of moral principle, of which I know no brighter example. It was with this he warred, and with this he conquered; strong in the soundness of his honest heart, strong in the fear of God,—the last great dominant principle of his life and character.

JohnQuincyAdamsQuotesReadingBible

John Quincy Adams Concerning the Study of the Bible (Click to enlarge)

There was the hiding of his power. There it was that he exhibited, in its true type, the sterling quality of the good old stock of which he came. Offices, and affairs, and honors, and studies, left room in his soul for Faith. No man laid hold, with a firmer grasp, of the realities of life; but no man dwelt more steadily on the mysterious realities beyond life. He entertained a profound, I had almost said an obsolete, reverence for sacred things. The daily and systematic perusal of the Bible was an occupation with which no other duty was allowed to interfere. He attended the public offices of social worship with a constancy seldom witnessed in this busy and philosophic age. Still there was nothing austere or narrow-minded in his religion; there was no affectation of rigor in his life or manners; no unreflecting adoption of traditionary opinions in matters of belief. He remained, to the end of his days, an inquirer after truth. He regularly attended the public worship of churches widely differing from each other in doctrinal peculiarities. The daily entry of his journal, for the latter part of his life, begins with a passage extracted from Scripture, followed with his own meditation and commentary; and, thus commencing the day, there is little reason to doubt that, of his habitual reflections, as large a portion was thrown forward to the world of spirits, as was retained by the passing scene.

The death of such a man is no subject of vulgar sorrow. Domestic affliction itself bows with resignation at an event so mature in its season; so rich in its consolations; so raised into sublimity by the grandeur of the parting scene. Of all the great orators and statesmen in the world, he alone has, I think, lived out the full term of a long life in actual service, and died on the field of duty, in the public eye, within the halls of public council. The great majority of public men, who most resemble him, drop away satisfied, perhaps disgusted, as years begin to wane; many break down at the meridian; in other times and countries, not a few have laid their heads on the block. Demosthenes, at the age of sixty, swallowed poison, while the pursuer was knocking at the door of the temple in which he had taken refuge. Cicero, at the age of sixty-four, stretched out his neck from his litter to the hired assassin. Our illustrious fellow citizen, in the fullness of his years and of his honors, upon a day that was shaking, in Europe, the pillars of a monarchy to the dust, fell calmly at his post, amidst venerating associates, and breathed his last within the Capitol:

“And, which is best and happiest yet, all this
With God not parted from him,—
But favoring and assisting to the end.
Nothing is here for tears, nothing to wail,
Or knock the breast; no weakness, no contempt,
Dispraise or blame,—nothing but well and fair,
And what may quiet us, in a death so noble.”

The Following is the Order of The Services on Occasion Of The Delivery of The Foregoing Eulogy.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

ORDER OF SERVICES

at

FANEUIL HALL, SATURDAY, APRIL 15, 1848,

As A Testimony of Respect To The Memory of

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS,

BY THE

LEGISLATURE OF MASSACHUSETTS.

I.

Voluntary, By The Orchestra.

II.

Solemn Chant, By The Choir.

  1. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord: that delighteth greatly in his commandments.
  2. Unto the upright there ariseth light in darkness: the righteous shall be held in everlasting remembrance.
  3. The hope of the ungodly is like dust that is blown away by the wind: like the smoke which is dispersed here and there by a tempest:
  4. And passeth away as the remembrance of a guest that tarrieth but a day.
  5. But the righteous live forevermore: their reward also is with the Lord, and the care of them is with the Most High.
  6. Therefore shall they receive a glorious kingdom and a beautiful crown from the Lord’s hand: for with his right hand shall he cover them, and with his arm shall he protect them.
  7. The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them: in the sight of the unwise they seem to die, and their departure is taken for misery, and their going from us to be utter destruction.
  8. But they are in peace: for though they be punished in the sight of men,
  9. Yet is their hope full of immortality: and having been a little chastised, they shall be greatly rewarded.
  10. For God hath proved them, and found them worthy for himself: and they shall judge the nations, and their Lord shall reign forever.
  11. I heard a voice from heaven, saying, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them.

III.

Prayer, By The Rev. C. A. Bartol,

CHAPLAIN OF THE SENATE.

IV.

Hymn.—Tune, “savannah.”

O what is Man, great Maker of Mankind,
That thou to him so great respect dost bear!

That thou adorn’st him with so great a mind,
Mak’st him a king and e’en an angel’s peer.

O what a lively life, what heavenly power,
What spreading virtue, what a sparkling fire,

How great, how plentiful, how rich a dower,
Dost Thou within this dying flesh inspire!

Thou hast not given these blessings for a day,
Nor made them on the body’s life depend;

The soul, though made in time, survives for aye,
And, though it hath beginning, sees no end.

Heaven waxeth old, and all the spheres above
Shall one day faint, and their swift motion stay;

And time itself, in time, shall cease to move,
Only the soul survives and lives for aye.

Cast down thyself then, Man, and strive to raise
The glory of thy Maker’s sacred name;

Use all thy powers, that blessed Power to praise,
Which gives thee power to be, and use the same.

V.

Eulogy, By The Hon. Edward Everett.

VI.

Air And Chorus, From Handel’s “Messiah.”

I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God. For now is Christ risen from the dead, the first fruits of them that sleep.

Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead: For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

THE MUSIC WAS PERFORMED BY THE HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY.

 

 

 

 

Early History of Boston by Josiah Quincy Jr. “The Patriot” President of Harvard University

Josiah Quincy Jr. "The Patriot" Concerning Human Happiness & Freedom

Josiah Quincy Jr. “The Patriot” Concerning Human Happiness & Freedom (Click to enlarge)

[A brief sketch of the leading events in the early history of Boston had been prepared for this little volume: but the following remarks were finally considered more appropriate, to precede views of Boston as it is in 1851. They form part of "An address to the citizens of Boston, on the 17th of September, 1830, the close of the second century from the first settlement of the city." By Josiah Quincy, LL.D., then President of Harvard University.]

Speech given at a ceremony to celebrate the addition of Dane Law College, made possible by Nathan Dane’s contribution to the university.

Cities and empires, not leas than individuals, are chiefly indebted for their fortunes to circumstances and influences independent of the labors and wisdom of the passing generation. Is our lot cast in a happy soil, beneath a favored sky, and under the shelter of free institutions? How few of all these blessings do we owe to our own power, or our own prudence! How few, on which we cannot discern the impress of long past generations!

It is natural that reflections of this kind should awaken curiosity concerning the men of past ages. It is suitable, and characteristic of noble natures, to love to trace in venerated institutions the evidences of ancestral worth and wisdom; and to cherish that mingled sentiment of awe and admiration which takes possession of the soul in the presence of ancient, deep-laid, and massy monuments of intellectual and moral power.

Standing, after the lapse of two centuries, on the very spot selected for us by our fathers, and surrounded by social, moral, and religious blessings greater than paternal love, in its fondest visions, ever dared to fancy, we naturally turn our eyes backward, on the descending current of years; seeking the causes of that prosperity which has given this city so distinguished a name and rank among similar associations of men.

Happily its foundations were not laid in dark ages, nor is its origin to be sought among loose and obscure traditions. The age of our early ancestors was, in many respects, eminent for learning and civilization. Our ancestors themselves were deeply versed in the knowledge and attainments of their period. Not only their motives and acts appear in the general histories of their time, but they are unfolded in their own writings, with a simplicity and boldness, at once commanding admiration and not permitting mistake. If this condition of things restrict the imagination in its natural tendency to exaggerate, it assists the judgment rightly to analyze, and justly to appreciate. If it deny the power, enjoyed by ancient cities and states, to elevate our ancestors above the condition of humanity, it confers a much more precious privilege, that of estimating by unequivocal standards the intellectual and moral greatness of the early, intervening, and passing periods; and thus of judging concerning comparative attainment and progress in those qualities which constitute the dignity of our species.

Instead of looking back, as antiquity was accustomed to do, on fabling legends of giants and heroes, — of men exceeding in size, in strength, and in labor, all experience and history, and, consequently, being obliged to contemplate the races of men dwindling with time, and growing less amid increasing stimulants and advantages; we are thus enabled to view things in lights more conformed to the natural suggestions of reason, and actual results of observation;— to witness improvement in its slow but sure progress; in a general advance, constant and unquestionable; — to pay due honors to the greatness and virtues of our early ancestors, and be, at the same time, just to the not inferior greatness and virtues of succeeding generations of men, their descendents and our progenitors.

Thus we substantiate the cheering conviction, that the virtues of ancient times have not been lost, or debased, in the course of their descent, but, in many respects, have been refined and elevated; and so, standing faithful to the generations which are past, and fearless in the presence of the generations to come, we accumulate on our own times the responsibility that an inheritance, which has descended to us enlarged and improved, shall not be transmitted by us diminished or deteriorated.

What then, in conclusion of this great topic, are the elements of the liberty, prosperity, and safety, which the inhabitants of New England at this day enjoy? In what language, and concerning what comprehensive truths, does the wisdom of former times address the inexperience of the future?

Those elements are simple, obvious, and familiar.

Every civil and religious blessing of New England, all that here gives happiness to human life, or security to human virtue, is alone to be perpetuated in the forms and under the auspices of a free commonwealth. The commonwealth itself has no other strength or hope, than the intelligence and virtue of the individuals that compose it. For the intelligence and virtue of individuals, there is no other human assurance than laws providing for the education of the whole people.

These laws themselves have no strength, or efficient sanction, except in the moral and accountable nature of man, disclosed in the records of the Christian’s faith; the right to read, to construe, and to judge concerning which, belongs to no class or cast of men, but exclusively to the individual, who must stand or fall by his own acts and his own faith, and not by those of another.

The great comprehensive truths, written in letters of living light on every page of our history, — the language addressed by every past age of New England to all future ages is this; — Human happiness has no perfect security but freedom!freedom none but virtue;virtue none but knowledge; and neither freedom, nor virtue, nor knowledge has any vigor, or immortal hope, except in the principles of the Christian faith and in the sanctions of the Christian religion.

As our thoughts course along the events of past times, from the hour of the first settlement of Boston to that in which we are now assembled, they trace the strong features of its character, indelibly impressed upon its acts and in its history; — clear conceptions of duty; bold vindications of right; readiness to incur dangers and meet sacrifices, in the maintenance of liberty, civil and religious. Early selected as the place of the chief settlement of New England, it has, through every subsequent period, maintained its relative ascendancy. In the arts of peace and in the energies of war, in the virtues of prosperity and adversity, in wisdom to plan and vigor to execute, in extensiveness of enterprise, success in accumulating wealth, and liberality in its distribution, its inhabitants, if not unrivalled, have not been surpassed, by any similar society of men. Through good report and evil report, its influence has, at all times, been so distinctly seen and acknowledged in events, and been so decisive on the destinies of the region of which it was the head, that the inhabitants of the adjoining colonies of a foreign nation early gave the name of this place to the whole country; and at this day, among their descendents, the people of the whole United States are distinguished by the name of “Bostonians.’

Amidst perils and obstructions, on the bleak side of the mountain on which it was first cast, the seedling oak, self-rooted, shot upward with a determined vigor. Now slighted and now assailed; amidst alternating sunshine and storm; with the axe of a native foe at its root, and the lightning of a foreign power, at times, scathing its top, or withering its branches, it grew, it flourished, it stands, —may it forever stand! — the honor of the field.

Our ancestors have left no Corinthian temples on our hills, no Gothic cathedrals on our plains, no proud pyramid, no storied obelisk, in our cities. But mind is there. Sagacious enterprise is there. An active, vigorous, intelligent, moral population throng our cities, and predominate in our fields; men patient of labor, submissive to law, respectful to authority, regardful of right, faithful to liberty. These are the monuments of our ancestors. They stand immutable and immortal, in the social, moral, and intellectual condition of their descendants. They exist, in the spirit which their precepts instilled, and their example implanted. Let no man think that to analyze, and place in a just light, the virtues of the first settlers of New England, is a departure from the purpose of this celebration; or deem so meanly of our duties, as to conceive that merely local relations, the circumstances which have given celebrity and character to this single city, are the only, or the most appropriate topics for the occasion. It was to this spot, during twelve successive years, that the great body of those first settlers emigrated. In this place, they either fixed permanently their abode, or took their departure from it for the coast, or the interior.

Whatever honor devolves on this metropolis from the events connected with its first settlement, is not solitary or exclusive; it is shared with Massachusetts; with New England; in some sense with the whole United States. For what part of this wide empire, be it sea or shore, lake or river, mountain or valley, have the descendants of the first settlers of New England not traversed? What depth of forest not penetrated? what danger of nature or man not defied? Where is the cultivated field, in redeeming which from the wilderness, their vigor has not been displayed? Where amid unsubdued nature, by the side of the first log-hut of the settler, does the school-house stand and the church-spire rise, unless the sons of New England are there? Where does improvement advance, under the active energy of willing hearts and ready hands, prostrating the moss-covered monarchs of the wood, and from their ashes, amid their charred roots, bidding the greensward and the waving harvest to upspring, and the spirit of the fathers of New England is not seen, hovering and shedding around the benign influences of sound social, moral, and religious institutions, stronger and more enduring than knotted oak or tempered steel? The swelling tide of their descendants has spread upon our coasts; ascended our rivers; taken possession of our plains. Already it encircles our lakes. At this hour the rushing noise of the advancing wave startles the wild beast in his lair among the prairies of the West. Soon it shall be seen climbing the Rocky mountains, and, as it dashes over their cliffs, shall be hailed by the dwellers on the Pacific,[Note:*] as the harbinger of the coming blessings of safety, liberty, and truth.

Note:* This, it will be recollected, was written some years before the gold discoveries in California.

 

The glory, which belongs to the virtues of our ancestors, is seen radiating from the nature of their design; —from the spirit in which it was executed; — and from the character of their institutions.

That emigration of Englishmen, which, two centuries ago, resulted in the settlement of this metropolis, was distinguished by the comparative greatness of the means employed, and the number, rank, fortune, and intellectual endowments of those engaged in it, as leaders or associates. Twelve ships, transporting somewhat less than nine hundred souls, constituted the physical strength of the first enterprise. In the course of the twelve succeeding years, twenty-two thousand souls emigrated in one hundred and ninety-two ships, at a cost, including the private expenses of the adventurers, which cannot be estimated, in our currency, at less than one million of dollars. At that time the tide of emigration was stayed. Intelligent writers of the last century assert that more persons had subsequently gone from New England to Europe, than had come to it during the same period from that quarter of the globe. A contemporary historian represents the leaders of the first emigration as ” gentlemen of good estate and reputation, descended from, or connected by marriage with, noble families ; having large means, and great yearly revenue, sufficient in all reason to content; their tables abundant in food, their coffers in coin; possessing beautiful houses, filled with rich furniture; gainful in their business, and growing rich daily; well provided for themselves, and having a sure competence for their children; wanting nothing of a worldly nature to complete the prospects of ease and enjoyment, or which could contribute to the pleasures, the prospects, or the splendors of life.”

The question forces itself on the mind. Why did such men emigrate? Why did men of their condition exchange a pleasant and prosperous home for a repulsive and cheerless wilderness? a civilized for a barbarous vicinity? why, quitting peaceful and happy dwellings, dare the dangers of tempestuous and unexplored seas, the rigors of untried and severe climates the difficulties of a hard soil, and the inhuman warfare of a savage foe? An answer must be sought in the character of the times; and in the spirit which the condition of their native country and age had a direct tendency to excite and cherish. The general civil and religious aspect of the English nation, in the age of our ancestors, and in that immediately preceding their emigration, was singularly hateful and repulsive A foreign hierarchy contending with a domestic despotism for infallibility and supremacy in matters of faith. Confiscation, imprisonment the axe and the stake, approved and customary means of making proselytes and promoting uniformity. The fires of Smithfield, now lighted by the corrupt and selfish Zeal of Roman pontiffs; and now rekindled by the no less corrupt and selfish zeal of English sovereigns. All men clamorous for the rights of conscience, when in subjection; all actively persecuting when in authority. Everywhere religion considered as a state entity, and having apparently no real existence, except in associations in support of established power, or in opposition to it.

The moral aspect of the age was not less odious than its civil. Every benign and characteristic virtue of Christianity was publicly conjoined, in close alliance, with its most offensive opposite. Humility wearing the tiara, and brandishing the keys, in the excess of the pride of temporal and spiritual power. The Roman pontiff, under the title of “the servant of servants,” with his foot on the neck of every monarch in Christendom; and under the seal of the fisherman of Galilee, dethroning kings and giving away kingdoms. Purity, content, and self-denial preached by men who held the wealth of Europe tributary to their luxury sensuality and spiritual pride. Brotherly love in the mouth, while the hand applied the instrument of torture. Charity, mutual forbearance and forgiveness chanted in unison with clanking chains and crackling fagots.

Nor was the intellectual aspect of the ageless repulsive than its civil and moral. The native charm of the religious feeling lost or disfigured amidst forms, and ceremonies, and disciplines. By one class, piety was identified with copes, and crosiers, and tippets, and genuflexions. By another class, all these are abhorred as the tricks and conjuring garments of popery, or, at best, in the language of Calvin, as tolerable fooleries ; while they, on their part, identified piety with looks, and language, and gestures extracted or typified from Scripture, and fashioned according to the newest “pattern of the mount.” By none were the rights of private judgment acknowledged. By all, creeds, and dogmas, and confessions and catechisms, collected from Scripture with metaphysical skill, arranged with reference to temporal power and influence, and erected into standards of faith, were made the flags and rallying points of the spiritual swordsmen of the church militant. .

The first emotion which this view of that period excites, at the present day, is contempt or disgust. But the men of that age are no more responsible for the mistakes into which they fell, under the circumstances in which the intellectual eye was then placed, than we, at this day, for those optical illusions to which the natural eye is subject, before time and experience have corrected the judgment and instructed it in the true laws of nature and vision. It was their fate to live in the crepuscular state of the intellectual day, and by the law of their nature they were compelled to see things darkly, through false and shifting mediums, and in lights at once dubious and deceptive. For centuries, a night of Egyptian darkness had overspread Europe, in the “palpable obscure” of which, priests and monarchs and nobles had not only found means to enthrall the minds of the multitude, but absolutely to loose and bewilder their own.

When the light of learning began to dawn, the first rays of the rising splendor dazzled and confused, rather than directed, the mind. As the coming light penetrated the thick darkness, the ancient cumulative cloud severed into new forms. Its broken masses became tinged with an uncertain and shifting radiance. Shadows assumed the aspect of substances; the evenescent suggestions of fancy, the look of fixed realities. The wise were at a loss what to believe, or what to discredit; how to quit and where to hold. On all sides sprang up sects and parties, infinite in number, incomprehensible in doctrine; often imperceptible in difference; yet each claiming for itself infallibility, and, in the sphere it affected to influence, supremacy; each violent and hostile to the others, haughty and hating its non-adhering brother, in a spirit wholly repugnant to the humility and love inculcated by that religion, by which each pretended to be actuated; and ready to resort, when it had power, to corporeal penalties, even to death itself, as allowed modes of self-defence and proselytism.

It was the fate of the ancestors of New England to have their lot cast in a state of society thus unprecedented. They were of that class of the English nation, in whom the systematic persecutions of a concentrated civil and ecclesiastical despotism had enkindled an intense interest concerning man’s social and religious rights. Their sufferings had created in their minds a vivid and inextinguishable love of civil and religious liberty; a fixed resolve, at every peril, to assert and maintain their natural rights. Among the boldest and most intelligent of this class of men, chiefly known by the name of Puritans, were the founders of this metropolis. To a superficial view, their zeal seems directed to forms and ceremonies and disciplines which have become, at this day, obsolete or modified, and so seems mistaken or misplaced. But the wisdom of zeal for any object is not to be measured by the particular nature of that object, but by the nature of the principle which the circumstances of the times, or of society, have identified with such object.

Liberty, whether civil or religious, is among the noblest objects of human regard. Yet, to a being constituted like man, abstract liberty has no existence, and over him no practical influence. To be for him an efficient principle of action, it must be embodied in some sensible object. Thus the form of a cap, the color of a surplice, ship-money, a tax on tea, or on stamped paper, objects in themselves indifferent, have been so inseparably identified with the principle temporarily connected with them, that martyrs have died at the stake, and patriots have fallen in the field, and this wisely and nobly, for the sake of the principle, made by the circumstances of the time to inhere in them.

Now in the age of our fathers, the principle of civil and religious liberty became identified with forms, disciplines, and modes of worship. The zeal of our fathers was graduated by the importance of the inhering principle. This gave elevation to that zeal. This creates interest in their sufferings. This entitles them to rank among patriots and martyrs, who have voluntarily sacrificed themselves to the cause of conscience and their country. Indignant at being denied the enjoyment of the rights of conscience, which were in that age identified with those sensible objects, and resolute to vindicate them, they quitted country and home, crossed the Atlantic, and, without other auspices than their own strength and their confidence in Heaven, they proceeded to lay the foundation of a commonwealth, under the principles and by the stamina of which, their posterity have established an actual and uncontroverted independence, not less happy than glorious. To their enthusiastic vision, all the comforts of life and all the pleasures of society were light and worthless in comparison with the liberty they sought. The tempestuous sea was less dreadful than the troubled waves of civil discord; the quicksands, the unknown shoals, and unexplored shores of a savage coast, less fearful than the metaphysical abysses and perpetually shifting whirlpools of despotic ambition and ecclesiastical policy and intrigue; the bow and the tomahawk of the transatlantic barbarian, less terrible than the flame and faggot of the civilized European. In the calm of our present peace and prosperity, it is difficult for us to realize or appreciate their sorrows and sacrifices. They sought a new world, lying far off in space, destitute of all the attractions which make home and native land dear and venerable. Instead of cultivated fields and a civilized neighborhood, the prospect before them presented nothing but dreary wastes, cheerless climates, and repulsive wildernesses, possessed by wild beasts and savages; the intervening ocean unexplored and intersected by the fleets of a hostile nation ; its usual dangers multiplied to the fancy, and in fact, by ignorance of real hazards, and natural fears of such as the event proved to be imaginary.

“Pass on” exclaims one of these adventurers, “and attend, while these soldiers of faith ship for this western world; while they and their wives and their little ones take an eternal leave of their country and kindred. With what heart-breaking affection did they press loved friends to their bosoms, whom they were never to see again! their voices broken by grief, till tears streaming eased their hearts to recovered speech again; natural affections clamorous as they take a perpetual banishment from their native soil; their enterprise scorned; their motives derided; and they counted but madmen and fools. But time shall discover the wisdom with which they were endued, and the sequel shall show how their policy overtopped all the human policy of this world.”

Winthrop, their leader and historian, in his simple narrative of the voyage, exhibits them, when in severe sufferings, resigned; in instant expectation of battle, fearless; amid storm, sickness, and death, calm, confident, and undismayed. “Our trust,” says he, “was in the Lord of hosts.” For years, Winthrop, the leader of the first great enterprise, was the chief magistrate of the infant metropolis. His prudence guided its councils. His valor directed its strength. His life and fortune were spent in fixing its character, or in improving its destinies. A bolder spirit never dwelt, a truer heart never beat, in any bosom. Had Boston, like Rome, a consecrated calendar, there is no name better entitled than that of Winthrop to be registered as its “patron saint.”

From Salem and Charlestown, the places of their first landing, they ranged the bay of Massachusetts, to fix the head of the settlement. After much deliberation, and not without opposition, they selected this spot; known to the natives by the name of Shawmut, and to the adjoining settlers by that of Trimountain; the former indicating the abundance and sweetness of its waters; the latter the peculiar character of its hills.

Accustomed as we are to the beauties of the place and its vicinity, and in the daily perception of the charms of its almost unrivalled scenery, — in the centre of a natural amphitheatre, whose sloping descents the riches of a laborious and intellectual cultivation adorn, — where hill and vale, river and ocean, island and continent, simple nature and unobtrusive art, with contrasted and interchanging harmonies, form a rich and gorgeous landscape, we are little able to realize the almost repulsive aspect of its original state. We wonder at the blindness of those, who, at one time, constituted the majority, and had well nigh fixed elsewhere the chief seat of the settlement. Nor are we easily just to Winthrop, Johnson, and their associates, whose skill and judgment selected this spot, and whose firmness settled the wavering minds of the multitude upon it, as the place for their metropolis; a decision, which the experience of two centuries has irrevocably justified, and which there is no reason to apprehend that the events or opinions of any century to come will reverse.

To the eyes of the first emigrants, however, where now exists a dense and aggregated mass of living beings and material things, amid all the accommodations of life, the splendors of wealth, the delights of taste, and whatever can gratify the cultivated intellect, there were then only a few hills, which, when the ocean receded, were intersected by wide marshes, and when its tide returned, appeared a group of lofty islands, abruptly rising from the surrounding waters. Thick forests concealed the neighboring hills, and the deep silence of nature was broken only by the voice of the wild beast or bird, and the war whoop of the savage.

The advantages of the place were, however, clearly marked by the hand of nature; combining at once present convenience, future security, and an ample basis for permanent growth and prosperity. Towards the continent it possessed but a single avenue, and that easily fortified. Its hills then commanded, not only its own waters, but the hills of the vicinity. At the bottom of a deep bay, its harbor was capable of containing the .proudest navy of Europe; yet, locked by islands and guarded by winding channels, it presented great difficulty of access to strangers, and, to the inhabitants, great facility of protection against maritime invasion; while to those acquainted with its waters, it was both easy and accessible. To these advantages were added goodness and plenteousness of water, and the security afforded by that once commanding height, now, alas! obliterated and almost forgotten, since art and industry have levelled the predominating mountain of the place; from whose lofty and imposing top the beacon-fire was accustomed to rally the neighboring population, on any threatened danger to the metropolis. A single cottage, from which ascended the smoke of the hospitable hearth of Blackstone, who had occupied the peninsula several years, was the sole civilized mansion in the solitude; the kind master of which, at first, welcomed the coming emigrants; but soon, disliking the sternness of their manners and the severity of their discipline, abandoned the settlement. His rights as first occupant were recognized by our ancestors; and in November, 1634, Edmund Quincy, Samuel Wildbore, and others were authorized to assess a rate of thirty pounds for Mr. Blackstone, on the payment of which all local rights in the peninsula became vested in its inhabitants.

The same bold spirit which thus led our ancestors across the Atlantic, and made them prefer a wilderness where liberty might be enjoyed to civilized Europe where it was denied, will be found characterizing all their institutions. Of these the limits of the time permit me to speak only in general terms. The scope of their policy has been usually regarded as though it were restricted to the acquisition of religious liberty in the relation of colonial dependence. No man, however, can truly understand their institutions and the policy on which they were founded, without taking as the basis of all reasonings concerning them, that civil independence was as truly their object as religious liberty; in other words, that the possession of the former was, in their opinion, the essential means, indispensable to the secure enjoyment of the latter, which was their great end.

The master passion of our early ancestors was dread of the English hierarchy. To place themselves, locally, beyond the reach of its power, they resolved to emigrate. To secure themselves after their emigration, from the arm of this their ancient oppressor, they devised a plan, which, as they thought, would enable them to establish, under a nominal subjection, an actual independence. The bold and original conception, which they had the spirit to form and successfully to execute, was the attainment and perpetuation of religious liberty, under the auspices of a free commonwealth. This is the master-key to all their policy, — this the glorious spirit which breathes in all their institutions. Whatever in them is stern, exclusive, or at this day seems questionable, may be accounted for, if not justified, by its connection with this great purpose.

The question has often been raised, when and by whom the idea of independence of the parent state was first conceived, and by whose act a settled purpose to effect it was first indicated. History does not permit the people of Massachusetts to make a question of this kind. The honor of that thought, and of as efficient a declaration of it as in their circumstances was possible, belongs to Winthrop, and Dudley, and Saltonstall, and their associates, and was included in the declaration, that ” THE ONLY CONDITION ON WHICH THEY WITH THEIR FAMILIES WOULD REMOVE TO THIS COUNTRY, WAS, THAT THE PATENT AND CHARTER SHOULD REMOVE WITH THEM.”

This simple declaration and resolve included, as they had the sagacity to perceive, all the consequences of an effectual independence, under a nominal subjection. For protection against foreign powers, a charter from the parent state was necessary. Its transfer to New England vested, effectually, independence. Those wise leaders foresaw, that, among the troubles in Europe, incident to the age, and then obviously impending over their parent state, their settlement, from its distance and early insignificance, would probably escape notice. They trusted to events, and doubtless anticipated, that, with its increasing strength, even nominal subjection would be abrogated. They knew that weakness was the law of nature in the relation between parent states and their distant and detached colonies. Nothing else can be inferred, not only from their making the transfer of the charter the essential condition of their emigration, thereby saving themselves from all responsibility to persons abroad, but also from their instant and undeviating course of policy after their emigration; in boldly assuming whatever powers were necessary to their condition, or suitable to their ends, whether attributes of sovereignty or not, without regard to the nature of the consequences resulting from the exercise of those powers,

Nor was this assumption limited to powers which might be deduced from the charter, but was extended to such as no act of incorporation, like that which they possessed, could, by any possibility of legal construction, be deemed to include. By the magic of their daring, a private act of incorporation was transmuted into a civil constitution of state ; under the authority of which they made peace and declared war; erected judicatures; coined money; raised armies; built fleets; laid taxes and imposts; inflicted fines, penalties, and death; and in imitation of the British constitution, by the consent of all its own branches, without asking leave of any other, their legislature modified its own powers and relations, prescribed the qualifications of those who should conduct its authority, and enjoy or be excluded from its privileges.

The administration of the civil affairs of Massachusetts, for the sixty years next succeeding the settlement of this metropolis, was a phenomenon in the history of civil government. Under a theoretic colonial relation, an efficient and independent Commonwealth was erected, claiming and exercising attributes of sovereignty, higher and far more extensive than, at the present day, in consequence of its connection with the general government, Massachusetts pretends either to exercise or possess. Well might Chalmers asserts, as in his Political Annals of the Colonies he does, that “Massachusetts, with a peculiar dexterity, abolished her charter “; that she was always “fruitful in projects of independence, the principles of which, at all times, governed her actions.” In this point of view, it is glory enough for our early ancestors, that, under manifold disadvantages, in the midst of internal discontent and external violence and intrigue, of wars with the savages and with the neighboring colonies of France, they effected their purpose, and for two generations of men, from 1630 to 1692, enjoyed liberty of conscience, according to their view of that subject, under the auspices of a free commonwealth.

The three objects, which our ancestors proposed to attain and perpetuate by all their institutions, were the noblest within the grasp of the human mind, and those on which, more than on any other, depend human happiness and hope; — religious liberty, civil liberty, and, as essential to the attainment and maintenance of both, intellectual power.

On the subject of religious liberty, their intolerance of other sects has been reprobated as an inconsistency, and as violating the very rights of conscience for which they emigrated. The inconsistency, if it exist, is altogether constructive, and the charge proceeds on a false assumption. The necessity of the policy, considered in connection with their great design of independence, is apparent. They had abandoned house and home, had sacrificed the comforts of kindred and cultivated life, had dared the dangers of the sea, and were then braving the still more appalling terrors of the wilderness; for what? —to acquire liberty for all sorts of consciences? Not so; but to vindicate and maintain the liberty of their own consciences. They did not cross the Atlantic on a crusade in behalf of the rights of mankind in general, but in support of their own rights and liberties. Tolerate! Tolerate whom? The legate of the Roman Pontiff, or the emissary of Charles the First and Archbishop Laud? How consummate would have been their folly and madness, to have fled into the wilderness to escape the horrible persecutions of those hierarchies, and at once have admitted into the bosom of their society, men brandishing, and ready to apply, the very flames and fetters from which they had fled! Those who are disposed to condemn them on this account, neither realize the necessities of their condition, nor the prevailing character of the times. Under the stern discipline of Elizabeth and James, the stupid bigotry of the First Charles, and the spiritual pride of Archbishop Laud, the spirit of the English hierarchy was very different from that which it assumed, when, after having been tamed and humanized under the wholesome discipline of Cromwell and his Commonwealth, it yielded itself to the mild influence of the principles of 1688, and to the liberal spirit of Tillotson.

But, it is said, if they did not tolerate their ancient persecutors, they might, at least, have tolerated rival sects. That is, they ought to have tolerated sects imbued with the same principles of intolerance as the transatlantic hierarchies; sects, whose first use of power would have been to endeavor to uproot the liberty of our fathers, and persecute them, according to the known principles of sectarian action, with a virulence in the inverse ratio of their reciprocal likeness and proximity. Those who thus reason and thus condemn, have considered but very superficially the nature of the human mind and its actual condition in the time of our ancestors.

The great doctrine, now so universally recognized, that liberty of conscience is the right of the individual, — a concern between every man and his Maker, with which the civil magistrate is not authorized to interfere, — was scarcely, in their day, known, except in private theory and solitary speculation ; as a practical truth, to be acted upon by the civil power, it was absolutely and universally rejected by all men, all parties, and all sects, as totally subversive, not only of the peace of the church, but of the peace of society. That great truth, now deemed so simple and plain, was so far from being an easy discovery of the human intellect, that it may be doubted whether it would ever have been discovered by human reason at all. had it not been for the miseries in which man was involved in consequence of his ignorance of it. That truth was not evolved by the calm exertion of the human faculties, but was stricken out by the collision of the human passions. It was not the result of philosophic research, but was a hard lesson, taught under the lash of a severe discipline, provided for the gradual instruction of a being like man, not easily brought into subjection to virtue, and with natural propensities to pride, ambition, avarice, and selfishness.

Previously to that time, in all modifications of society, ancient or modern, religion had been seen only in close connection with the State. It was the universal instrument by which worldly ambition shaped and molded the multitude to its ends. To have attempted the establishment of a state on the basis of a perfect freedom of religious opinion, and the perfect right of every man to express his opinion, would then have been considered as much a solecism, and an experiment quite as wild and visionary, as it would be, at this day, to attempt the establishment of a state on the principle of a perfect liberty of individual action, and the perfect right of every man to conduct himself according to his private will. Had our early ancestors adopted the course we, at this day, are apt to deem so easy and obvious, and placed their government on the basis of liberty for all sorts of consciences, it would have been, in that age, a certain introduction of anarchy. It cannot be questioned, that all the fond hopes they had cherished from emigration would have been lost. The agents of Charles and James would have planted here the standard of the transatlantic monarchy and hierarchy. Divided and broken, without practical energy, subject to court influences and court favorites, New England at this day would have been a colony of the parent state, her character yet to be formed and her independence yet to be vindicated. Lest the consequences of an opposite policy, had it been adopted by our ancestors, may seem to be exaggerated, as here represented, it is proper to state, that upon the strength and united spirit of New England mainly depended (under Heaven) the success of our revolutionary struggle. Had New England been divided, or even less unanimous, independence would have scarcely been attempted, or, if attempted, acquired. It will give additional strength to this argument to observe, that the number of troops, regular and militia, furnished by all the States during the war of the revolution, was . . . . . . 288,134

Of these New England furnished more than half, viz. . . 147,674

And Massachusetts alone furnished nearly one third, viz. . [Note:*] 83,162

Note:* See “Collections of the New Hampshire Historical Society,” Vol. I.

The non-toleration which characterized our early ancestors, from whatever source it may have originated, had undoubtedly the effect they intended and wished. It excluded from influence in their infant settlement all the friends and adherents of the ancient monarchy and hierarchy; all who, from any motive, ecclesiastical or civil, were disposed to disturb their peace or their churches. They considered it a measure of “self-defence,” And it is unquestionable, that it was chiefly instrumental in forming the homogeneous and exclusively republican character, for which the people of New-England have, in all times, been distinguished; and, above all, that it fixed irrevocably in the country that noble security for religious liberty, the independent system of church government.

The principle of the independence of the churches, including the right of every individual to unite with what church he pleases, under whatever sectarian auspices it may have been fostered, has through the influence of time and experience, lost altogether its exclusive character. It has become the universal guaranty of religious liberty to all sects without discrimination, and is as much the protector of the Roman Catholic, the Episcopalian, and the Presbyterian, as of the Independent form of worship. The security, which results from this principle, does not depend upon charters and constitutions, but on what is stronger than either, the nature of the principle in connection with the nature of man. So long as this intellectual, moral, and religious being, man, is constituted as he is, the unrestricted liberty of associating for public worship, and the independence of those associations of external control, will necessarily lead to a most happy number and variety of them. In the principle of the independence of each, the liberty of individual conscience is safe under the panoply of the common interest of all. No other perfect security for liberty of conscience was ever devised by man, except this independence of the churches. This possessed, liberty of conscience has no danger. This denied, it has no safety. There can be no greater human security than common right, placed under the protection of common interest. It is the excellence and beauty of this simple principle, that, while it secures all, it restricts none. They, who delight in lofty and splendid monuments of ecclesiastical architecture, may raise the pyramid of church power, with its aspiring steps and gradations, until it terminate in the despotism of one, or a few; the humble dwellers at the base of the proud edifice may wonder, and admire the ingenuity of the contrivance and the splendor of its massive dimensions, but it is without envy and without fear. Safe in the principle of independence, they worship, be it in tent, or tabernacle, or in the open air, as securely as though standing on the topmost pinnacle of the loftiest fabric ambition ever devised.

The glory of discovering and putting this principle to the test, on a scale capable of trying its efficacy, belongs to the fathers of Massachusetts, who are entitled to a full share of that acknowledgment made by Hume, when he asserts, ” that for all the liberty of the English constitution, that nation is indebted to the Puritans.”

The glory of our ancestors radiates from no point more strongly than from their institutions of learning. The people of New England are the first known to history, who provided, in the original constitution of their society, for the education of the whole population out of the general fund. In other countries, provisions have been made of this character in favor of certain particular classes, or for the poor by way of charity. But here first were the children of the whole community invested with the right of being educated at the expense of the whole society; and not only this, — the obligation to take advantage of that right was enforced by severe supervision and penalties. By simple laws they founded their commonwealth on the only basis on which a republic has any hope of happiness or continuance, the general information, of the people. They denominated it barbarism not to be able “perfectly to read the English tongue and to know the general laws.” In soliciting a general contribution for the support of the neighboring University, they declare that “skill in the tongues and liberal arts is not only laudable, but necessary for the well-being of the commonwealth.” And in requiring every town having one hundred householders, to set up a Grammar School, provided with a master able to fit youth for the University, the object avowed is, “to enable men to obtain a knowledge of the Scriptures, and by acquaintance with the ancient tongues to qualify them to discern the true sense and meaning of the original, however corrupted by false glosses.” Thus liberal and thus elevated, in respect of learning, were the views of our ancestors.

To the same master passion, dread of the English hierarchy, and the same main purpose, civil independence, may be attributed in a great degree, the nature of the government which the principal civil and spiritual influences of the time established, and, notwithstanding its many objectionable features, the willing submission to it of the people.

It cannot be questioned that the constitution of the State, as sketched in the first laws of our ancestors, was a skillful combination of both civil and ecclesiastical powers. Church and state were very curiously and efficiently interwoven with each other. It is usual to attribute to religious bigotry the submission of the mass of the people to a system thus stern and exclusive. It may, however, with quite as much justice, be resolved into love and independence and political sagacity.

The great body of the first emigrants doubtless coincided in general religious views with those whose influence predominated in their church and state. They had consequently no personal objection to the stern discipline their political system established. They had also the sagacity to foresee that a system which by its rigor should exclude from power all who did not concur with their religious views, would have a direct tendency to deter those in other countries from emigrating to their settlement, who did not agree with the general plan of policy they had adopted, and of consequence to increase the probability of their escape from the interference of their ancient oppressors, and the chance of success in laying the foundation of the free commonwealth they contemplated. They also doubtless perceived, that with the unqualified possession of the elective franchise, they had little reason to apprehend that they could not easily control or annihilate any ill effect upon their political system, arising from the union of church and state, should it become insupportable.

There is abundant evidence that the submission of the people to this new form of church and state combination was not owing to ignorance, or to indifference to the true principles of civil and religious liberty. Notwithstanding the strong attachment of the early emigrants to their civil, and their almost blind devotion lo their ecclesiastical leaders, when either, presuming on their influence. attempted any thing inconsistent with general liberty, a corrective is seen almost immediately applied by the spirit and intelligence of the people.

In this respect, the character of the people of Boston has been at all times distinguished. In every period of our history, they have been second to none in quickness to discern or in readiness to meet every exigency, fearlessly hazarding life and fortune in support of the liberties of the commonwealth. It would be easy to maintain these positions by a recurrence to the annals of each successive age, and particularly to facts connected with our revolutionary struggle. A few instances only will be noticed, and those selected from the earliest times.

A natural jealousy soon sprung up in the metropolis as to the intentions of their civil and ecclesiastical leaders. In 1634 the people began to fear, lest, by reelecting Winthrop, they “should make way for a Governor for life.” They accordingly gave some indications of a design to elect another person. Upon which John Cotton, their great ecclesiastical head, then at the height of his popularity, preached a discourse to the General Court, and delivered this doctrine: “that a magistrate ought not to be turned out, without just cause, no more than a magistrate might turn out a private man from his freehold, without trial.” To show their dislike of the doctrine by the most practical of evidences, our ancestors gave the political divine and his adherents a succession of lessons, for which they were probably the wiser all the rest of their lives. They turned out Winthrop at the very same election, and put in Dudley. The year after, they turned out Dudley and put in Haynes. The year after, they turned out Haynes and put in Vane. So much for the first broaching, in Boston, of the doctrine that public office is of the nature of freehold.

In 1635, an attempt was made by the General Court to elect a certain number of magistrates as councillors for life. Although Cotton was the author also of this project, and notwithstanding his influence, yet such was the spirit displayed by our ancestors on the occasion, that within three years the General Court was compelled to pass a vote, denying any such intent, and declaring that the persons so chosen should not be accounted magistrates or have any authority in consequence of such election. *

In 1636, the great Antinomian controversy divided the country. Boston was for the covenant of grace; the General Court for the covenant of works. Under pretence of the apprehension of a riot, the General Court adjourned to Newtown, and expelled the Boston deputies for daring to remonstrate. Boston, indignant at this infringement of its liberties, was about electing the same deputies a second time. At the earnest solicitation of Cotton, however, they chose others. One of these was also expelled by the Court; and a writ having issued to the town ordering a new election, they refused making any return to the warrant, – a contempt which the General Court did not think it wise to resent.

In 1639, there being vacancies in the Board of Assistants, the governor and magistrates met and nominated three persons, “not with intent,” as they said, “to lead the people’s choice of these, nor to divert them from any other, but only to propound for consideration (which any freeman may do), and so leave the people to use their liberties according to their consciences.” The result was, that the people did use their liberties according to their consciences. They chose not a man of them. So much for the first legislative caucus in our history. It probably would have been happy for their posterity, if the people had always treated like nominations with as little ceremony.

About this time also the General Court took exception at the length of the “lectures,” then the great delight of the people, and at the ill effects resulting from their frequency; whereby poor people were led greatly to neglect their affairs; to the great hazard also of their health, owing to their long continuance in the night . Boston expressed strong dislike at this interference, “fearing that the precedent might enthrall them to the civil power, and, besides, be a blemish upon them with their posterity, as though they needed to be regulated by the civil magistrate, and raise an ill-savor of their coldness, as if it were possible for the people of Boston to complain of too much preaching.”

The magistrates, fearful lest the people should break their bonds, were content to apologize, to abandon the scheme of shortening lectures or diminishing their number, and to rest satisfied with a general understanding that assemblies should break up in such season as that people, dwelling a mile or two off, might get home by daylight. Winthrop, on this occasion, passes the following eulogium on the people of Boston, which every period of their history amply confirms: — “They were generally of that understanding and moderation, as that they would be easily guided in their way by any rule from Scripture or sound reason.”

It is curious and instructive to trace the principles of our constitution, as they were successively suggested by circumstances, and gradually gained by the intelligence and daring spirit of the people. For the first four years after their emigration, the freemen, like other corporations, met and transacted business in a body. At this time the people attained a representation under the name of deputies, who sat in the same room with the magistrates, to whose negative all their proceedings were subjected. Next arose the struggle about the negative, which lasted for ten years, and eventuated in the separation of the General Court into two branches, with each a negative on the other. Then came the jealousy of the deputies concerning the magistrates, as proceeding too much by their discretion for want of positive laws, and-the demand by the deputies that persons should be appointed to frame a body of fundamental laws in resemblance of the English Magna Charta.

After this occurred the controversy relative to the powers of the magistrates, during the recess of the General Court; concerning which, when the deputies found that no compromise could be made, and the magistrates declared that, ” if occasion required, they should act according to the power and trust committed to them,” the speaker of the House in his place replied, — ” Then, Gentlemen, You Will Not Re Obeyed.”

In every period of our early history, the friends of the ancient hierarchy and monarchy were assiduous in their endeavors to introduce a form of government on the principle of an efficient colonial relation. Our ancestors were no less vigilant to avail themselves of their local situation and of the difficulties of the parent state to defeat those attempts; — or, in their language, ” to avoid and protract.” They lived, however, under a perpetual apprehension that a royal governor would be imposed upon them by the law of force. Their resolution never faltered on the point of resistance, to the extent of their power. Notwithstanding Boston would have been the scene of the struggle, and the first victim to it, yet its inhabitants never shrunk from their duty through fear of danger, and were always among the foremost to prepare for every exigency. Castle Island was fortified chiefly, and the battery at the north end of the town, and that called the ” Sconce,” wholly, by the voluntary contributions of its inhabitants. After the restoration of Charles the Second, their instructions to their representatives in the General Court breathe one uniform spirit, — “not to recede from their just rights and privileges as secured by the patent.” When, in 1662, the king’s commissioners came to Boston, the inhabitants, to show their spirit in support of their own laws, took measures to have them all. arrested for a breach of the Saturday evening law; and actually brought them before the magistrate for riotous and abusive carriage. When Randolph, in 1684, came with his quo warranto against their charter, on the question being taken in town meeting, ” whether the freemen were, minded that the General Court should make full submission and entire resignation of their charter, and of the privileges therein granted, to his Majesty’s pleasure,” — Boston resolved in the negative, without a dissentient.

In 1689, the tyranny of Andros, the governor appointed by James the Second, having become insupportable to the whole country, Boston rose, like one man; took the battery on Fort Hill by assault in open day; made prisoners of the king’s governor, and the captain of the king’s frigate, then lying in the harbor; and restored, with the concurrence of the country, the authority of the old charter leaders.

By accepting the charter of William and Mary, in 1692, the people of Massachusetts first yielded their claims of independence to the crown. It is only requisite to read the official account of the agents of the colony, to perceive both the resistance they made to that charter, and the necessity which compelled their acceptance of it. Those agents were told by the king’s ministers, that they “must take that or none “; — that ” their consent to it was not asked “; —that if “they would not submit to the king’s pleasure, they must take what would follow.” “The opinion of our lawyers,” says the agents, “was, that a passive submission to the new, was not a surrender of the old charter; and that their taking up with this did not make the people of Massachusetts, in law, uncapable of obtaining all their old privileges, whenever a favorable opportunity should present itself ” In the year 1776, nearly a century afterwards, that ” favorable opportunity did present itself,” and the people of Massachusetts, in conformity with the opinion of their learned counsel and faithful agents, did vindicate and obtain all their “old privileges” of self-government.

Under the new colonial government, thus authoritatively imposed upon them, arose new parties and new struggles;—prerogative men, earnest for a permanent salary for the king’s governor; — patriots, resisting such an establishment, and indignant at the negative exercised by that officer.

At the end of the first century after the settlement, three generations of men had passed away. For vigor, boldness, enterprise, and a self-sacrificing spirit, Massachusetts stood unrivalled. She had added wealth and extensive dominion to the English crown. She had turned a barren wilderness into a cultivated field, and instead of barbarous tribes had planted civilized communities. She had prevented France from taking possession of the whole of North America; conquered Port Royal and Acadia; and attempted the conquest of Canada with a fleet of thirty-two sail and two thousand men. At one time a fifth of her whole effective male population was in arms. When Nevis was plundered by Iberville, she voluntarily transmitted two thousand pounds sterling for the relief of the inhabitants of that island. By these exertions her resources were exhausted, her treasury was impoverished, and she stood bereft, and “alone with her glory.”

Boston shared in the embarrassments of the commonwealth. Her commerce was crippled by severe revenue laws, and by a depreciated currency. Her population did not exceed .fifteen thousand. In September, 1730, she was prevented from all notice of this anniversary by the desolations of the small-pox.

Notwithstanding the darkness of these’ clouds which overhung Massachusetts and its metropolis at the close of the first century, in other aspects the dawn of a brighter day may be discerned. The exclusive policy in matters of religion, to which the state had been subjected, began gradually to give place to a more perfect liberty. Literature was exchanging subtile metaphysics, quaint conceits, and unwieldy lore, for inartificial reasoning, simple taste, and natural thought. Dummer defended the colony in language polished in the society of Pope and of Bolingbroke. Coleman, Cooper, Chauncy, Bowdoin, and others of that constellation, were on the horizon. By their side shone the star of Franklin; its early brightness giving promise of its meridian splendors. Even now began to appear signs of revolution. Voices of complaint and murmur were heard in the air. “Spirits- finely touched and to fine issues,” — willing and fearless, — breathing unutterable things, flashed along the darkness. In the sky were seen streaming lights, indicating the approach of luminaries yet below the horizon; Adams, Hancock, Otis, Warren; leaders of a glorious host; —precursors of eventful times; “with fear of- change perplexing monarchs.”

It would be appropriate, did space permit, to speak of these luminaries, in connection. with our. revolution; to trace the principles, which dictated the first emigration of the founders of this metropolis, through the several stages of their development; and to show that the Declaration of Independence, in 1776, itself, and all the struggles which preceded it, and all the voluntary sacrifices, the self-devotion, and the sufferings to which the people of that day submitted, for the attainment of independence, were, so far as-respects Massachusetts, but the natural and inevitable consequences of the terms of that noble engagement, made by our ancestors, in August, 1629, the year before their emigration; — which may well be denominated, from its early and later results, the first and original declaration of independence by Massachusetts.

“By God’s assistance, ice will be ready in our persons, and with such of our families as are to go with us, to embark for the said plantation by the first of March next, to pass the seas (under God’s protection) to inhabit and continue in New England. Provided always, that before the last of September next, THE WHOLE GOVERNMENT, TOGETHER WITH THE PATENT, BE FIRST LEGALLY TRANSFERRED AND ESTABLISHED, TO REMAIN WITH US AND OTHERS, WHICH SHALL INHABIT THE SAID PLANTATION.” — Generous resolution! Noble foresight! Sublime self-devotion; chastened and directed by a wisdom, faithful and prospective of distant consequences! Well may we exclaim,— ” This policy overtopped all the policy of this world.”

For the advancement of the three great objects which were the scope of the policy of our ancestors, — intellectual power, religious liberty, and civil liberty, — Boston has in no period been surpassed, either in readiness to incur, or in energy to make useful, personal or pecuniary sacrifices. She provided for the education of her citizens out of the general fund, antecedently to the law of the Commonwealth making such provision imperative. Nor can it be questioned that her example and influence had a decisive effect in producing that law. An intelligent generosity has been conspicuous among her inhabitants on this subject, from the day when, in 1635, they “entreated our brother Philemon Pormont to become school master, for the teaching and nurturing children with us,” to this hour, when what is equivalent to a capital of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars is invested in school-houses, eighty schools are maintained, and seven thousand and five hundred children educated at an expense exceeding annually sixty-five thousand dollars.

No city in the world, in proportion to its means and population, ever gave more uniform and unequivocal evidences of its desire to diffuse intellectual power and moral culture through the whole mass of the community. The result is every day witnessed, at home and abroad, in private intercourse and in the public assembly; in a quiet and orderly demeanor, in the self-respect and mutual harmony prevalent among its citizens; in the general comfort which characterizes their condition; in their submission to the laws; and in that wonderful capacity for self government which postponed, for almost two centuries, a city organization;—and this, even then, was adopted more with reference to anticipated, than from experience of existing, evils. During the whole of that period, and even after its population exceeded fifty thousand, its financial, economical, and municipal interests were managed, either by general vote, or by men appointed by the whole multitude; and with a regularity, wisdom, and success, which it will be happy if future administrations shall equal, and which certainly they will find it difficult to exceed. The influence of the institutions of our fathers is also apparent in that munificence towards objects of public interest or charity, for which, in every period of its history, the citizens of Boston have been distinguished, and which, by universal consent, is recognized to be a prominent feature in their character. To no city has Boston ever been second in its spirit of liberality. From the first settlement of the country to this day, it has been a point to which have tended applications for assistance or relief, on account of suffering or misfortune; for the patronage of colleges, the endowment of schools, the erection of churches, and the spreading of learning and religion,— from almost every section of the United States. Seldom have the hopes of any worthy applicant been disappointed. The benevolent and public spirit of its inhabitants is also evidenced by its hospitals, its asylums, public libraries, alms-houses, charitable associations, — in its patronage of the neighboring University, and in its subscriptions for general charities.

It is obviously impracticable to give any just idea of the amount of these charities. They flow from virtues which seek the shade and shun record. They are silent and secret out-wellings of grateful hearts, desirous unostentatiously to acknowledge the bounty of Heaven in their prosperity and abundance. The result of inquiries, necessarily imperfect, however, authorize the statement, that, in the records of societies having for their objects either learning or some public charity, or in documents in the hands of individuals relative to contributions for the relief of suffering, or the patronage of distinguished merit or talent, there exists evidence of the liberality of the citizens of this metropolis, and that chiefly within the last thirty years, of an amount, by voluntary donation or bequest, exceeding one million and eight hundred thousand dollars. Far short as this sum falls of the real amount obtained within that period from the liberality of our citizens, it is yet enough to make evident that the best spirit of the institutions of our ancestors survives in the hearts, and is exhibited in the lives, of the citizens of Boston; inspiring love of country and duty; stimulating to the active virtues of benevolence and charity; exciting wealth and power to their best exercises; counteracting what is selfish in our nature; and elevating the moral and social virtues to wise sacrifices and noble energies.

With respect to religious liberty, where does it exist in a more perfect state than in this metropolis? Or where has it ever been enjoyed in. a purer spirit, or with happier consequences? In what city of equal population are all classes of society more distinguished for obedience to the institutions of religion, for regular attendance on its worship, for more happy intercourse with its ministers, or more uniformly honorable support of them? In all struggles connected with religious liberty, and these are inseparable from its possession, it may be said of the inhabitants of this city, as truly as of any similar association of men, that they have ever maintained the freedom of the Gospel in the spirit of Christianity. Divided into various sects, their mutual intercourse has, almost without exception, been harmonious and respectful. The labors of intemperate zealots, with which, occasionally, every age has been troubled, have seldom, in this metropolis, been attended with their natural and usual consequences. Its sects have never been made to fear or hate one another. The genius of its inhabitants, through the influence of the intellectual power which pervades their mass, has ever been quick to detect “close ambition varnished o’er with zeal.” The modes, the forms, the discipline, the opinions which our ancestors held to be essential, have, in many respects, been changed or obliterated with the progress of time, or been countervailed or superseded by rival forms and opinions.

But veneration for the sacred Scriptures and attachment to the right of free inquiry, which were the substantial motives of their emigration and of all their institutions, remain, and are maintained in a Christian spirit (judging by life and language), certainly not exceeded in the times of any of our ancestors. The right to read those Scriptures is universally recognized. The means to acquire the possession and to attain the knowledge of them are multiplied by the intelligence and liberality of the age, and extended to every class of society. All men are invited to search for themselves concerning the grounds of their hopes of future happiness and acceptance. All are permitted to hear from the lips of our Saviour himself, that “the meek,” “the merciful,” “the pure in heart,” “the persecuted for righteousness’ sake,” are those who shall receive the blessing, and be admitted to the presence, of the Eternal Father; and to be assured from those sacred records, that, ” in every nation, he who feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted of him.” Elevated by the power of these sublime assurances, as conformable to reason as to revelation, man’s intellectual principle rises “above the smoke and stir of this dim spot,” and, like an eagle soaring above the Andes, looks down on the cloudy cliffs, the narrow, separating points, and flaming craters, which divide and terrify men below.

It is scarcely necessary to speak of civil liberty, or tell of our constitutions of government; of the freedom they maintain and are calculated to preserve; of the equality they establish; the self-respect they encourage ; the private and domestic virtues they cherish; the love of country they inspire; the self-devotion and self-sacrifice they enjoin ; —all these are but the filling up of the great outline sketched by our fathers, the parts in which, through the darkness and perversity of their times, they were defective, being corrected; all are but endeavors, conformed to their great, original conception, to group together the strength of society and the religious and civil rights of the individual, in a living and breathing spirit of efficient power, by forms of civil government, adapted to our condition, and adjusted to social relations of unexampled greatness and extent, unparalleled in their results, and connected by principles elevated as the nature of man, and immortal as his destinies.

It is not, however, from local position, nor from general circumstances of life and fortune, that the peculiar felicity of this metropolis is to be deduced. Her enviable distinction is, that she is among the chiefest of that happy New England family, which claims descent from the early emigrants. If we take a survey of that family, and, excluding from our view the unnumbered multitudes of its members who have occupied the vacant wilderness of other states, we restrict our thoughts to the local sphere of New England, what scenes open upon our sight! How wild and visionary would seem our prospects, did we indulge only natural anticipations of the future! Already, on an area of seventy thousand square miles, a population of two millions; all, but comparatively a few, descendants of the early emigrants! Six independent Commonwealths, with constitutions varying in the relations and proportions of power, yet uniform in all their general principles; diverse in their political arrangements, yet each sufficient for its own necessities; all harmonious with those without, and peaceful within; embracing under the denomination, of towns, upwards of twelve hundred effective republics, with qualified powers, indeed, but possessing potent influences; subject themselves to the respective state sovereignties, yet directing all their operations, and shaping their policy by constitutional agencies ; swayed, no less than the greater republics, by passions, interests, and affections; like them, exciting competitions which rouse, into action the latent energies of mind, and infuse into the mass of each society a knowledge of the nature of its interests, and a capacity to understand and share in the defence of those of the Commonwealth. The effect of these minor republics is daily seen in the existence of practical talents, and in the readiness with which those talents can be called into the public service of the state.

If, after this general survey of the surface of New England, we cast our eyes on its cities and great towns, with what wonder should we behold, did not familiarity render the phenomenon almost unnoticed, men, combined in great multitudes, possessing freedom and the consciousness of strength, —the comparative physical power of the ruler less than that of a cobweb across a lion’s path, —yet orderly, obedient, and respectful to authority; a people, but no populace ; every class in reality existing, which the general law of society acknowledges, except one, — and this exception characterizing the whole country. The soil of New England is trodden by no slave. In our streets, in our assemblies, in the halls of election and legislation, men of every rank and condition meet, and unite or divide on other principles, and are actuated by other motives, than those growing out of such distinctions. The fears and jealousies, which in other countries separate classes of men and make them hostile to each other, have here no influence, or a very limited one. Each individual, of whatever condition, has the consciousness of living under known laws, which secure equal rights, and guarantee to each whatever portion of the goods of life, be it great or small, chance, or talent, or industry may have bestowed. All perceive that the honors and rewards of society are open equally to the fair competition of all; that the distinctions of wealth, or of power, are not fixed in families; that whatever of this nature exists to-day, may be changed to-morrow, or, in a coming generation be absolutely reversed. Common principles, interests, hopes, and affections, are the result of universal education. Such are the consequences of the equality of rights, and of the provisions for the general diffusion of knowledge and the distribution of intestate estates, established by the laws framed by the earliest emigrants to New England.

If from our cities we turn to survey the wide expanse of the interior, how do the effects of the institutions and example of our early ancestors appear, in all the local comfort and accommodation which mark the general condition of the whole country ; —unobtrusive, indeed, but substantial ; in nothing splendid, but in everything sufficient and satisfactory. Indications of active talent and practical energy exist everywhere. With a soil comparatively little luxuriant, and in great proportion either rock, or hill, or sand, the skill and industry of man are seen triumphing over the obstacles of nature; making the rock the guardian of the field; molding the granite, as though it were clay; leading cultivation to the hill-top, and spreading over the arid plain, hitherto unknown and unanticipated harvests. The lofty mansion of the prosperous adjoins the lowly dwelling of the husbandman; their respective inmates are in the daily interchange of civility, sympathy, and respect. Enterprise and skill, which once held chief affinity with the ocean or the sea-board, now .begin to delight the interior, haunting our rivers, where the music of the water-, fall, with powers more attractive than those of the fabled harp of Orpheus, collects around it intellectual man and material nature. Towns and cities, civilized and happy communities, rise, like exhalations, on rocks and in forests, till the deep and far-resounding voice of the neighbouring torrent is itself lost and unheard, amid the predominating noise of successful and rejoicing labor.

What lessons has New England, in every period of her history, given to the world! What lessons do her condition and example still give! How unprecedented; yet how practical! How simple; yet how powerful! She has proved, that all the variety of Christian sects may live together in harmony, under a government which allows equal privileges to all, — exclusive preeminence to none. She has proved, that ignorance among the multitude is not necessary to order, but that the surest basis of perfect order is the information of the people. She has proved the old maxim, that “No government, except a despotism with a standing army, can subsist where the people have arms,” is false. Ever since the first settlement of the country, arms have been required to be in the hands of the whole multitude of New England; yet the use of them in a private quarrel, if it have ever happened, is so rare, that a late writer, of great intelligence, who had passed his whole life in New England, and possessed extensive means of information, declares, “I know not a single instance of it.” She has proved, that a people, of a character essentially military, may subsist without dueling. New England has, at all times, been distinguished, both on the land and on the ocean, for a daring, fearless, and enterprising spirit; yet the same writer asserts, that during the whole period of her existence, her soil has been disgraced but by five duels, and that only two of these were fought by her native inhabitants! Perhaps this assertion is not minutely correct. There can, however, be no question, that it is sufficiently near the truth to justify the position for which it is here adduced, and which the history of New England, as well as the experience of her inhabitants, abundantly confirms; that, in the present and in every past age, the spirit of our institutions has, to every important practical purpose, annihilated the spirit of dueling.

Such are the true glories of the institutions of our fathers! Such the natural fruits of that patience in toil, that frugality of disposition, that temperance of habit, that general diffusion of knowledge, and that sense of religious responsibility, inculcated by the precepts, and exhibited in the example of every generation of our ancestors!

What then, in conclusion of this great topic, are the elements of the liberty, prosperity, and safety, which the inhabitants of New England at this day enjoy? In what language, and concerning what comprehensive truths, does the wisdom of former times address the inexperience of the future?

Those elements are simple, obvious, and familiar.

Every civil and religious blessing of New England, all that here gives happiness to human life, or security to human virtue, is alone to be perpetuated in the forms and under the auspices of a free commonwealth.

The commonwealth itself has no other strength or hope, than the intelligence and virtue of the individuals that compose it.

For the intelligence and virtue of individuals, there is no other human assurance than laws providing for the education of the whole people.

These laws themselves have no strength, or efficient sanction, except in the moral and accountable nature of man, disclosed in the records of the Christian’s faith; the right to read, to construe, and to judge concerning which, belongs to no class or cast of men, but exclusively to the individual, who must stand or fall by his own acts and his own faith, and not by those of another.

The great comprehensive truths, written in letters of living light on every page of our history, — the language addressed by every past age of New England to all future ages is this; — Human happiness has no perfect security but freedom!freedom none but virtue;virtue none but knowledge; and neither freedom, nor virtue, nor knowledge has any vigor, or immortal hope, except in the principles of the Christian faith and in the sanctions of the Christian religion.

Men of Massachusetts! Citizens of Boston! Descendants of the early emigrants! Consider your blessings; consider your duties. You have an inheritance acquired by the labors and sufferings of six successive generations of ancestors. They founded the fabric of your prosperity, in a severe and masculine morality; having intelligence for its cement, and religion for its groundwork.. Continue to build on the same foundation, and by the same principles; let the extending temple of your country’s freedom rise, in the spirit of ancient times, in proportions of intellectual and moral architecture,—just, simple, and sublime.. As from the first to this day, let New England continue to be an example to the world, of the blessings of a free government, and of the means and capacity of man to maintain it. And, in all times to come, as in all times past, may Boston be among the foremost and the boldest to exemplify and uphold whatever constitutes the prosperity, the happiness, and the glory of New England.

James Madison Opinions Regarding the Virginia Resolutions 1799-1800

Patrick Henry quote Transparency in Government

Patrick Henry regarding Transparency in Government (Click to enlarge)

I don’t think I could add a better preface to this piece of history than I found here.

REPORT ON THE RESOLUTIONS. (Note:1)

(Begin Note:1) Under date of Philadelphia, February 7, 1799, Walter Jones, John Nicholas, Carter H. Harrison, Joseph Eggleston, Abraham B. Venable, and Richard Brent, Republican members of Congress from Virginia, wrote Madison:

“While the sentiments we entertain of your Talents, your experience & your Probity, have made your absence from the public councils, a subject of our very serious regret, our Confidence in the justness of your Motives assures us, that you stand completely justified.

“At the same time the Growth & conduct of the executive Party, since your retirement, have continued more & more to render the Inaction of republican Principles & Talents deplorable & injurious.

“Our extreme Solicitude to give energy to those virtues, in every possible direction, has urged us jointly to address you. We hope that obstacles of your serving in the State legislature, may be less imperious, than those by which you were withdrawn from that of the Union—it is quite needless to point out to you, the powerful agency of wise and firm State measures in preserving the general government within the just Limits of the Constitution, which from the nature of things, it must be ever struggling to transcend; but our present position enables us to discover, perhaps more clearly, the perseverance & success of those struggles.

“We should be wanting in the Social Duties we profess, if we declined to invite you with earnestness, to take part in the councils of your State.

“Pretensions founded as yours are, can scarcely fail of success— our utmost aid, if it shall be in any way applicable, and our ardent wishes will attend you in the experiment.”—Mad. MSS.

Accordingly he consented to go to the House of Delegates and was elected in the autumn of 1799. Delaware, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York. Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont having replied to the resolutions in dissent, Madison wrote the report. (End Note:1)

House Of Delegates, Session of 1799-1800.

Report of the Committee to whom were referred the Communications of various States, relative to the Resolutions of the last General Assembly of this State, concerning the Alien and Sedition Laws.

Whatever room might be found in the proceedings of some of the States, who have disapproved of the resolutions of the General Assembly of this Commonwealth, passed on the 21st day of December, 1798, for painful remarks on the spirit and manner of those proceedings, it appears to the committee most consistent with the duty, as well as dignity, of the General Assembly, to hasten an oblivion of every circumstance which might be construed into a diminution of mutual respect, confidence, and affection among the members of the Union.

The committee have deemed it a more useful task to revise, with a critical eye, the resolutions which have met with this disapprobation; to examine fully the several objections and arguments which have appeared against them; and to inquire whether there be any errors of fact, of principle, or of reasoning, which the candor of the General Assembly ought to acknowledge and correct.

The first of the resolutions is in the words following: ~” “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.”

 

TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.

Richmond, Dec, 39, 1799

Dear Sir,—

My promise to write to you before your leaving Albemarle was defeated by a dysenteric attack, which laid me up for about a week, and which left me in a state of debility not yet thoroughly removed. My recovery has been much retarded by the job of preparing a vindication of the Resolutions of last Session against the replies of the other States, and the sophistries from other quarters. The Committee made their report a few days ago, which is now in the press and stands the order of the day for thursday next. A set of Resolutions proposed by Mr. Giles, instructing the Senators to urge the repeal of the unconstitutional acts, the disbanding of the army, and a proper arrangement of the militia, are also in the press, and stand the order of the same day for the same Committee. It is supposed that both these papers, the latter perhaps with some modifications, will go through the House of Delegates. The Senate, owing to inattention & casualties, is so composed as to render the event there not a little uncertain. If an election, to fill the vacancy of Mr. H. Nelson who lately resigned. should send Mr. Andrews in preference to his competitor Mr. Saunders, I am told that the parties will be precisely in equilibrium, excepting only one or two whom circumstances now & then on particular questions, transfer from the wrong to the right side. It is hoped that this contingent fund of votes, will be applicable to the Vindication. On other important questions, there is much less expectation from it. There is a report here that the Legislature of N. Carolina now in session, have voted the Resolutions of Virginia under their table. The report is highly improbable, and I do not believe it. But it is impossible to calculate the progress of delusion, especially in a State where it is said to be under systematic management, and where there is so little either of system or exertion opposed to it. We had a narrow escape yesterday from an increase of pay to the members, which would have been particularly unseasonable & injurious both within & without the State. It was rejected on the third reading by a small majority; and was so much a favorite, with the distant members particularly, that I fear it has left them in rather an ill humor.

The late course of foreign events has probably made the same impression everywhere. If it should not render France less anxious to meet our advances, its good effects will be felt every way. If our Executive & their Envoys be sincere in their pacific objects, it will perhaps supply by their increased anxiety what may be lost on the other side. But there can be little confidence after what has been seen, that the negotiation would be influenced by this temper of the Envoys, instead of that which perverted it in the hands of their predecessors. This possibility of failure in the diplomatic experiment, will present the most specious obstacle to an immediate discharge of the army. It would be useful for the Assembly to know how this matter is viewed where you are. Mr. Dawson will be good enough to write me on the subject. I intended to have written to him by this mail; but my time has been taken from me till the closing of the mail is approaching.—Mad. MSS.

 

No unfavorable comment can have been made on the sentiments here expressed. To maintain and defend the Constitution of the United States, and of their own State, against every aggression, both foreign and domestic, and to support the Government of the United States in all measures warranted by their Constitution, are duties which the General Assembly ought always to feel, and to which, on such an occasion, it was evidently proper to express their sincere and firm adherence.

In their next resolution—

“The General 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.”

The observation just made is equally applicable to this solemn declaration of warm attachment to the Union, and this solemn pledge to maintain it; nor can any question arise among enlightened friends of the Union, as to the duty of watching over and opposing every infraction of those principles which constitute its basis, and a faithful observance of which can alone secure its existence, and the public happiness thereon depending.

TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.

Richmond, Jan. 4, 1800

Dear Sir,—

My last covered a copy of the Report on the Resolutions of last year. I now enclose a copy of certain resolutions moved by Mr. Giles, to which he means to add an instruction on the subject of the intercourse law which has been so injurious to the price of Tobacco. It is not improbable that the Resolutions when taken up, may undergo some mollifications, in the spirit and air of them. The Report has been under debate for two days. The attacks on it have turned chiefly on an alleged inconsistency between the comment now made and the arguments of the last session, and on the right of the Legislature to interfere in any manner with denunciations of the measures of the General [Federal] Govt. The first attack has been parried by an amendment admitting that different constructions may have been entertained of the term “States” as “‘parties” &c but that the sense relied on in the report must be concurred in by nil. It is in fact concurred in by both parties. On examination of the Debates of the last session, it appears that both were equally inaccurate & inconsistent in the grounds formerly taken by them. The attack on the right of the Legislature to interfere by declaration of opinion will form a material point in the discussion. It is not yet known how far the opposition to the Report will be carried into detail The part relating to the Common law it is said will certainly be combated. You will perceive from this view of the matter, that it is not possible to guess how long, we shall be employed on it. There will in the event be a considerable majority for the Report in the House of Delegates, and a pretty sure one in the Senate. Can you send me a copy of Priestly’s letters last published.—Mad. MSS.

The third resolution is in the words following: “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 further valid than they are authorized 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.”

TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.

Jan. 9, 1800

Dear Sir,—The question on the Report printed, was decided by 60 for & 40 against it, the day before yesterday, after a debate of five days. Yesterday & to-day have been spent on Mr. Giles’ propositions, which with some softenings will probably pass, by nearly the same vote. The Senate is in rather a better state than was expected. The Debate turned almost wholly on the right of the Legislature to protest. The Constitutionality of the Alien & Sedition Acts & of the C. Law was waived. It was said that the last question would be discussed under Mr. Giles’ propositions; but as yet nothing has been urged in its favour It is probable however that the intention has not been laid aside. I thank you for the pamphlets.—Mad. MSS.

On this resolution the committee have bestowed all the attention which its importance merits. They have scanned it not merely with a strict, but with a severe eye; and they feel confidence in pronouncing that, in its just and fair construction, it is unexceptionably true in its several positions, as well as constitutional and conclusive in its inferences.

The resolution declares, first, that “it views the powers of the Federal Government as resulting from the compact to which the States are parties”; in other words, that the Federal powers are derived from the Constitution; and that the Constitution is a compact to which the States are parties.

TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.

Jan. 12, 1800.

Dear Sir,—My last informed you of the result of the debates on the justifying Report of the Select Committee. I am now able to add that of Mr. Giles’s resolutions. The question on the whole was decided in the affirmative by a little upwards of a hundred against less than fifty. The vote was rather stronger on some of the particular resolutions, for example the instruction for disbanding the army. The alien sedition & Tobacco instructions passed without a count or a division. That relating to the common law, passed unanimously with an amendment qualifying it in the words of the paragraph in the Justifying Report under which certain defined parts of the C. L. are admitted to be the law of the U. S. This amendment was moved by the minority on the idea that it covers the doctrine they contend for. On our side it is considered as a guarded exposition of the powers expressed in the Const”! and those necessary & proper to carry them into execution. I am not able to say in what manner they misconstrue the definition, unless they apply the term “adopt” to the “Court” which would be equally absurd & unconstitutional. The Judges themselves will hardly contend that they can adopt a law, that is, make that law which was before not law. The difference in the majority on the Report & the resolutions, was occasioned chiefly by the pledge given against the former by the members who voted against the Resolutions of last year. The resolutions also underwent some improvements, which reconciled many to them who were not satisfied with their first tone & form. It is understood that the present assembly is rather stronger on the republican side than the last one: and that a few favorable changes have taken place in the course of the session. It is proposed to introduce to-morrow a bill for a general ticket in choosing the next Electors. I expect to leave this in a week; so that your subsequent favors will find me in Orange.
Shew this to Mr. Dawson.—Mad. MSS

Clear as the position must seem, that the Federal powers are derived from the Constitution, and from that alone, the committee are not unapprized of a late doctrine which opens another source of Federal powers not less extensive and important than it is new and unexpected. The examination of this doctrine will be most conveniently connected with a review of a succeeding resolution. The committee satisfy themselves here with briefly remarking, that in all the contemporary discussions and comments which the Constitution underwent, it was constantly justified and recommended on the ground that the powers not given to the Government were withheld from it; and that if any doubt could have existed on this subject, under the original text of the Constitution, it is removed, as far as words could remove it, by the 12th amendment, now a part of the Constitution, which expressly declares “that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

TO THOMAS JEFFERSON

Richmond Jan. 18, 1800.

Dear Sir,—Since my last the Senate have agreed to the Report & the Resolution by 15 to 6. To the latter, they made an amend to the definition of the portion of C. L. in force in the U. S. by inserting the words “by Congress” after the word “adopted,” in order to repel the misconstruction which led the minority to concur in that particular resolution as it passed the H. of D. The amendment was agreed to by 82 to 40. The plan of a General Ticket was so novel that a great number who wished it shrunk from the vote, and others apprehending that their Constitution’s would be still more startled at it voted against it, so that it passed by a majority of 5 votes only. The event in the Senate is rather doubtful; tho’ it is expected to get through. As the avowed object of it is to give Virginia fair play, I think if passed into a law, it will with proper explanations become popular. I expect to get away about the middle of the week The Assembly will rise perhaps at the end of it; tho’ possibly not so soon. I forgot to tell you that a renewed effort to raise the pay of the members has succeeded; a measure wrong in principle, and which will be hurtful in its operation. I have desired Barnes to pay you a balance in his hands, out of which you will please to pay yourself the balance due to your Nailory.—Mad. MSS.

The other position involved in this branch of the resolution, namely, “that the States are parties to the Constitution” or compact, is, in the judgment of the committee, equally free from objection. It is indeed true that the term “States” is sometimes used in a vague sense, and sometimes in different senses, according to the subject to which it is applied. Thus, it sometimes means the separate sections of territory occupied by the political societies within each; sometimes the particular governments established by those societies; sometimes those societies as organized into those particular governments; and, lastly, it means the people composing those political societies, in their highest sovereign capacity. Although it might be wished that the perfection of language admitted less diversity in the signification of the same words, yet little inconvenience is produced by it where the true sense can be collected with certainty from the different applications. In the present instance, whatever different construction of the term ” States,” in the resolution, may have been entertained, all will at least concur in that last mentioned; because in that sense the Constitution was submitted to the “States”; in that sense the “States” ratified it; and in that sense of the term “States” they are consequently parties to the compact from which the powers of the Federal Government result.

The next position is, that the General Assembly views the powers of the Federal Government “as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting that compact,” and “as no farther valid than they are authorized by the grants therein enumerated.” It does not seem possible that any just objection can lie against either of these causes. The first amounts merely to a declaration that the compact ought to have the interpretation plainly intended by the parties to it; the other, to a declaration that it ought to have the execution and effect intended by them. If the powers granted be valid, it is solely because they are granted; and if the granted powers are valid because granted, all other powers not granted must not be valid.

The resolution having taken this view of the Federal compact, proceeds to infer ” 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.”

It appears to your committee to be a plain principle, founded in common sense, illustrated by common practice, and essential to the nature of compacts, that where resort can be had to no tribunal superior to the authority of the parties, the parties themselves must be the rightful judges, in the last resort, whether the bargain made has been pursued or violated. The Constitution of the United States was formed by the sanction of the States, given by each in its sovereign capacity. It adds to the stability and dignity, as well as to the authority of the Constitution, that it rests on this legitimate and solid foundation. The States then, being the parties to the constitutional compact, and in their sovereign capacity, it follows of necessity that there can be no tribunal above their authority to decide, in the last resort, whether the compact made by them be violated; and, consequently, that, as the parties to it, they must themselves decide, in the last resort, such questions as may be of sufficient magnitude to require their interposition.

It does not follow, however, because the States, as sovereign parties to their constitutional compact, must ultimately decide whether it has been violated, that such a decision ought to be interposed either in a hasty manner or on doubtful and inferior occasions. Even in the case of ordinary conventions between different nations, where, by the strict rule of interpretation, a breach of a part may be deemed a breach of the whole—every part being deemed a condition of every other part, and of the whole—it is always laid down that the breach must be both willful and material, to justify an application of the rule. But in the case of an intimate and constitutional union, like that of the United States, it is evident that the interposition of the parties, in their sovereign capacity, can be called for by occasions only deeply essentially affecting the vital principles of their political system.

The resolution has, accordingly, guarded against any misapprehension of its object, by expressly requiring for such an interposition “the case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous breach of the Constitution by the exercise of powers not granted by it.” It must be a case, not of a light and transient nature, but of a nature dangerous to the great purposes for which the Constitution was established. It must be a case, moreover, not obscure or doubtful in its construction, but plain and palpable. Lastly it must be a case not resulting from a partial consideration or hasty determination, but a case stamped with a final consideration and deliberate adherence. It is not necessary, because the resolution does not require, that the question should be discussed, how far the exercise of any particular power, ungranted by the Constitution, would justify the interposition of the parties to it. As cases might easily be stated which none would contend ought to fall within that description, cases, on the other hand, might with equal ease be stated, so flagrant and so fatal as to unite every opinion in placing them within the description.

But the resolution has done more than guard against misconstruction, by expressly referring to cases of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous nature. It specifies the object of the interposition which it contemplates to be solely that of arresting the progress of the evil of usurpation, and of maintaining the authorities, rights, and liberties appertaining to the States as parties to the Constitution.

From this view of the resolution it would seem inconceivable that it can incur any just disapprobation from those who, laying aside all momentary impressions, and recollecting the genuine source and object of the Federal Constitution, shall candidly and accurately interpret the meaning of the General Assembly. If the deliberate exercise of dangerous powers, palpably withheld by the Constitution, could not justify the parties to it in interposing even so far as to arrest the progress of the evil, and thereby to preserve the Constitution itself, as well as to provide for the safety of the parties to it, there would be an end to all relief from usurped power, and a direct subversion of the rights specified or recognized under all the State constitutions, as well as a plain denial of the fundamental principle on which our independence itself was declared.

But it is objected that the judicial authority is to be regarded as the sole expositor of the Constitution, in the last resort; and it may be asked for what reason the declaration by the General Assembly, supposing it to be theoretically true, could be required at the present day, and in so solemn a manner.

On this objection it might be observed, first, that there may be instances of usurped power, which the forms of the Constitution would never draw within the control of the judicial department; secondly, that if the decision of the judiciary be raised above the authority of the sovereign parties to the Constitution, the decisions of the other departments, not carried by the forms of the Constitution before the judiciary, must be equally authoritative and final with the decisions of that department. But the proper answer to the objection, is that the resolution of the General Assembly relates to those great and extraordinary cases in which all the forms of the Constitution may prove ineffectual against infractions dangerous to the essential rights of the parties to it. The resolution supposes that dangerous powers, not delegated, may not only be usurped and executed by the other departments, but that the judicial department also may exercise or sanction dangerous powers beyond the grant of the Constitution, and, consequently, that the ultimate right of the parties to the Constitution to judge whether the compact has been dangerously violated, must extend to violations by one delegated authority as well as by another; by the judiciary as well as by the executive or the legislature.

However true, therefore, it may be that the judicial department is, in all questions submitted to it by the forms of the Constitution, to decide in the last resort, this resort must necessarily be deemed the last in relation to the authorities of the other departments of the Government; not in relation to the rights of the parties to the constitutional compact, from which the judicial as well as the other departments hold their delegated trusts. On any other hypothesis, the delegation of judicial power would annul the authority delegating it; and the concurrence of this department with the others in usurped powers might subvert forever, and beyond the possible reach of any rightful remedy, the very Constitution which all were instituted to preserve.

The truth declared in the resolution being established, the expediency of making the declaration at the present day may safely be left to the temperate consideration and candid judgment of the American public. It will be remembered that a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is solemnly enjoined by most of the State constitutions, and particularly by our own, as a necessary safeguard against the danger of degeneracy to which republics are liable, as well as other governments, though in a less degree than others. And a fair comparison of the political doctrines not infrequent at the present day with those which characterized the epoch of our Revolution, and which form the basis of our republican constitutions, will best determine whether the declaratory recurrence here made to those principles ought to be viewed as unseasonable and improper, or as a vigilant discharge of an important duty. The authority of constitutions over governments, and of the sovereignty of the people over constitutions, are truths which are at all times necessary to be kept in mind, and at no time, perhaps, more necessary than at present.

The fourth resolution stands as follows:

“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 result of which would be to transform the present republican system of the United States into an absolute, or at best a mixed, monarchy.”

The first question here to be considered is, whether a spirit has, in sundry instances, been manifested by the Federal Government to enlarge its powers by forced constructions of the constitutional charter.

The General Assembly having declared their opinion merely by regretting, in general terms, that forced constructions for enlarging the Federal powers have taken place, it does not appear to the committee necessary to go into a specification of every instance to which the resolution may allude. The Alien and Sedition Acts being particularly named in a succeeding resolution, are of course to be understood as included n the allusion. Omitting others which have less occupied public attention, or been less extensively regarded as unconstitutional, the resolution may be presumed to refer particularly to the Bank Law, which, from the circumstances of its passage, as well as the latitude of construction on which it is founded, strikes the attention with singular force; and the Carriage Tax, distinguished also by circumstances in its history having a similar tendency. Those instances alone, if resulting from forced construction, and calculated to enlarge the powers of the Federal Government, as the committee cannot but conceive to be the case, sufficiently warrant this part of the resolution. The committee have not thought it incumbent on them to extend their attention to laws which have been objected to, rather as varying the constitutional distribution of powers in the Federal Government, than as an absolute enlargement of them; because instances of this sort, however important in their principles and tendencies, do not appear to fall strictly within the text under review.

The other questions presenting themselves are—1. Whether indications have appeared of a design to expound certain general phrases copied from the “Articles of Confederation,” so as to destroy the effect of the particular enumeration explaining and limiting their meaning. 2. Whether this exposition would by degrees consolidate the States into one sovereignty. 3. Whether the tendency and result of this consolidation would be to transform the republican system of the United States into a monarchy.

1. The general phrases here meant, must be those “of providing for the common defense and general welfare.”

In the “Articles of Confederation,” the phrases are used as follows, in Article VIII: “All charges of war, and all other expenses that shall be incurred for the common defense and general welfare, and allowed by the United States in Congress assembled, shall be defrayed out of the common treasury, which shall be supplied by the several States in proportion to the value of all land within each State, granted to or surveyed for any person, as such land and the buildings and improvements thereon shall be estimated, according to such mode as the United States, in Congress assembled, shall from time to time direct and appoint.”

In the existing Constitution they make the following part of Section 8: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.”

This similarity in the use of these phrases, in the two great Federal charters, might well be considered as rendering their meaning less liable to be misconstrued in the latter; because it will scarcely be said that in the former they were ever understood to be either a general grant of power, or to authorize the requisition or application of money by the old Congress to the common defense and general welfare, except in the cases afterwards enumerated, which explained and limited their meaning; and if such was the limited meaning attached to these phrases in the very instrument revised and re-modeled by the present Constitution, it can never be supposed that, when copied into this Constitution, a different meaning ought to be attached to them.

That, notwithstanding this remarkable security against misconstruction, a design has been indicated to expound these phrases in the Constitution so as to destroy the effect of the particular enumeration of powers by which it explains and limits them, must have fallen under the observation of those who have attended to the course of public transactions. Not to multiply proofs on this subject, it will suffice to refer to the Debates of the Federal Legislature, in which arguments have on different occasions been drawn, with apparent effect, from these phrases in their indefinite meaning.

To these indications might be added, without looking further, the official Report on Manufactures, by the late Secretary of the Treasury, made on the 5th of December, 1791, and the Report of a Committee of Congress, in January, 1797, on the promotion of Agriculture. In the first of these it is expressly contended to belong “to the discretion of the National Legislature to pronounce upon the objects which concern the general welfare, and for which, under that description, an appropriation of money is requisite and proper. And there seems to be no room for a doubt that whatever concerns the general interests of Learning, of Agriculture, of Manufactures, and of Commerce, are within the sphere of the National Councils, as far as regards an application of money.” The latter Report assumes the same latitude of power in the national councils, and applies it to the encouragement of agriculture by means of a society to be established at the seat of Government. Although neither of these Reports may have received the sanction of a law carrying it into effect, yet, on the other hand, the extraordinary doctrine contained in both has passed without the slightest positive mark of disapprobation from the authority to which it was addressed.

Now, whether the phrases in question be construed to authorize every measure relating to the common defense and general welfare, as contended by some—or every measure only in which there might be an application of money, as suggested by the caution of others—the effect must substantially be the same, in destroying the import and force of the particular enumeration of powers which follow these general phrases in the Constitution; for it is evident that there is not a single power whatever which may not have some reference to the common defense or the general welfare; nor a power of any magnitude, which, in its exercise, does not involve or admit an application of money. The government, therefore, which possesses power in either one or other of these extents, is a government without the limitations formed by a particular enumeration of powers; and, consequently, the meaning and effect of this particular enumeration is destroyed by the exposition given to these general phrases.

This conclusion will not be affected by an attempt to qualify the power over the “general welfare,” by referring it to cases where the general welfare is beyond the reach of separate provisions by the individual States, and leaving to these their jurisdictions in cases to which their separate provisions may be competent; for, as the authority of the individual States must in all cases be incompetent to general regulations operating through the whole, the authority of the United States would be extended to every object relating to the general welfare which might, by any possibility, be provided for by the general authority. This qualifying construction, therefore, would have little, if any, tendency to circumscribe the power claimed under the latitude of the terms “general welfare.”

The true and fair construction of this expression, both in the original and existing Federal compacts, appears to the committee too obvious to be mistaken. In both, the Congress is authorized to provide money for the common defense and general welfare. In both, is subjoined to this authority an enumeration of the cases to which their powers shall extend. Money cannot be applied to the general welfare. otherwise than by an application of it to some particular measure conducive to the general welfare. Whenever, therefore, money has been raised by the general authority, and is to be applied to a particular measure, a question arises whether the particular measure be within the enumerated authorities vested in Congress. If it be, the money requisite for it may be applied to it; if it be not, no such application can be made. This fair and obvious interpretation coincides with and is enforced by the clause in the Constitution which declares that “no money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of appropriations by law.” An appropriation of money to the general welfare would be deemed rather a mockery than an observance of this constitutional injunction.

2. Whether the exposition of the general phrases here combated would not by degrees consolidate the States into one sovereignty, is a question concerning which the committee can perceive little room for difference of opinion. To consolidate the States into one sovereignty, nothing more can be wanted than to supersede their respective sovereignties in the cases reserved to them, by extending the sovereignty of the United States to all cases of the “general welfare”—that is to say, to all cases whatever.

3. That the obvious tendency and inevitable result of a consolidation of the States into one sovereignty, would be to transform the republican system of the United States into a monarchy, is a point which seems to have been sufficiently decided by the general sentiment of America. In almost every instance of discussion relating to the consolidation in question, its certain tendency to pave the way to monarchy seems not to have been contested. The prospect of such a consolidation has formed the only topic of controversy. It would be unnecessary, therefore, for the committee to dwell long on the reasons which support the position of the General Assembly. It may not be improper, however, to remark two consequences evidently flowing from an extension of the Federal powers to every subject falling within the idea of the “general welfare.”

One consequence must be, to enlarge the sphere of discretion allotted to the Executive Magistrate. Even within the legislative limits properly defined by the Constitution, the difficulty of accommodating legal regulations to a country so great in extent and so various in its circumstances has been much felt, and has lead to occasional investments of power in the Executive, which involve perhaps as large a portion of discretion as can be deemed consistent with the nature of the Executive trust. In proportion as the objects of legislative care might be multiplied, would the time allowed for each be diminished, and the difficulty of providing uniform and particular regulations for all be increased. From these sources would necessarily ensue a greater latitude to the agency of that department which is always in existence, and which could best mould regulations of a general nature so as to suit them to the diversity of particular situations. And it is in this latitude, as a supplement to the deficiency of the laws, that the degree of Executive prerogative materially consists.

The other consequence would be, that of an excessive augmentation of the offices, honors, and emoluments, depending on the Executive will. Add to the present legitimate stock all those of every description which a consolidation of the States would take from them and turn over to the Federal Government, and the patronage of the Executive would necessarily be as much swelled in this case as its prerogative would be in the other.

This disproportionate increase of prerogative and patronage must, evidently, either enable the Chief Magistrate of the Union, by quiet means, to secure his re-election from time to time, and finally to regulate the succession as he might please; or, by giving so transcendent an importance to the office, would render the elections to it so violent and corrupt, that the public voice itself might call for an hereditary in place of an elective succession. Whichever of these events might follow, the transformation of the republican system of the United States into a monarchy, anticipated by the General Assembly from a consolidation of the States into one sovereignty, would be equally accomplished; and whether it would be into a mixed or an absolute monarchy might depend on too many contingencies to admit of any certain foresight.

The resolution next in order is contained in the following terms:

“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 nowhere delegated to the Federal Government, and which, by uniting legislative and judicial powers to those of executive, subverts the general principles of a 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.”

The subject of this resolution having, it is presumed, more particularly led the General Assembly into the proceedings which they communicated to the other States, and being in itself of peculiar importance, it deserves the most critical and faithful investigation, for the length of which no other apology will be necessary.

The subject divides itself into—first, “The Alien Act”; secondly, “The Sedition Act.”

Of the “Alien Act,” it is affirmed by the resolution—1st. That it exercises a power nowhere delegated to the Federal Government. 2d. That it unites legislative and judicial powers to those of the Executive. 3d. That this union of power subverts the general principles of free government. 4th. That it subverts the particular organization and positive provisions of the Federal Constitution.

In order to clear the way for a correct view of the first position several observations will be premised.

1. In the first place, it is to be borne in mind that it being a characteristic feature of the Federal Constitution, as it was originally ratified, and an amendment thereto having precisely declared, “That the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people”; it is incumbent in this as in every other exercise of power by the Federal Government, to prove from the Constitution that it grants the particular power exercised.

The next observation to be made is, that much confusion and fallacy have been thrown into the question by blending the two cases of aliens, members of a hostile nation, and aliens, members of friendly nations. These two cases are so obviously and so essentially distinct, that it occasions no little surprise that the distinction should have been disregarded; and the surprise is so much the greater, as it appears that the two cases are actually distinguished by two separate acts of Congress, passed at the same session, and comprised in the same publication; the one providing for the case of ” alien enemies”; the other, “concerning aliens” indiscriminately, and, consequently, extending to aliens of every nation in peace and amity with the United States. With respect to alien enemies, no doubt has been intimated as to the Federal authority over them; the Constitution having expressly delegated to Congress the power to declare war against any nation, and, of course, to treat it and all its members as enemies. With respect to aliens who are not enemies, but members of nations in peace and amity with the United States, the power assumed by the act of Congress is denied to be constitutional; and it is, accordingly, against this act that the protest of the General Assembly is expressly and exclusively directed.

A third observation is, that were it admitted, as is contended, that the ” act concerning aliens” has for its object, not a penal, but a preventive justice, it would still remain to be proved that it comes within the constitutional power of the Federal Legislature; and, if within its power, that the Legislature has exercised it in a constitutional manner.

In the administration of preventive justice the following principles have been held sacred: that some probable ground of suspicion be exhibited before some judicial authority; that it be supported by oath or affirmation; that the party may avoid being thrown into confinement by finding pledges or sureties for his legal conduct, sufficient in the judgment of some judicial authority; that he may have the benefit of a writ of habeas corpus, and thus obtain his release if wrongfully confined; and that he may at any time be discharged from his recognizance, or his confinement, and restored to his former liberty and rights on the order of the proper judicial authority, if it shall see sufficient cause.

All these principles of the only preventive justice known to American jurisprudence are violated by the Alien Act. The ground of suspicion is to be judged of, not by any judicial authority, but by the Executive Magistrate alone. No oath or affirmation is required. If the suspicion be held reasonable by the President, he may order the suspected alien to depart the territory of the United States, without the opportunity of avoiding the sentence by finding pledges for his future good conduct. As the President may limit the time of departure as he pleases, the benefit of the writ of habeas corpus may be suspended with respect to the party, although the Constitution ordains that it shall not be suspended unless when the public safety may require it, in case of rebellion or invasion—neither of which existed at the passage of the act; and the party being, under the sentence of the President, either removed from the United States, or being punished by imprisonment, or disqualification ever to become a citizen, on conviction of not obeying the order of removal, he cannot be discharged from the proceedings against him, and restored to the benefits of his former situation, although the highest judicial authority should see the most sufficient cause for it.

But, in the last place, it can never be admitted that the removal of aliens, authorized by the act, is to be considered, not as punishment for an offence, but as a measure of precaution and prevention. If the banishment of an alien from a country into which he has been invited as the asylum most auspicious to his happiness—a country where he may have formed the most tender connections; where he may have invested his entire property, and acquired property of the real and permanent, as well as the movable and temporary kind; where he enjoys, under the laws, a greater share of the blessings of personal security, and personal liberty, than he can elsewhere hope for, and where he may have nearly completed his probationary title to citizenship; if, moreover, in the execution of the sentence against him, he is to be exposed, not only to the ordinary dangers of the sea, but to the peculiar casualties incident to a crisis of war and of unusual licentiousness on that element, and possibly to vindictive purposes which his emigration itself may have provoked; if a banishment of this sort be not a punishment, and among the severest of punishments, it will be difficult to imagine a doom to which the name can be applied. And if it be a punishment, it will remain to be inquired whether it can be constitutionally inflicted, on mere suspicion, by the single will of the Executive Magistrate, on persons convicted of no personal offence against the laws of the land, nor involved in any offence against the law of nations, charged on the foreign State of which they are members.

One argument offered in justification of this power exercised over aliens is, that the admission of them into the country being of favor, not of right, the favor is at all times revocable.

To this argument it might be answered, that, allowing the truth of the inference, it would be no proof of what is required. A question would still occur, whether the Constitution had vested the discretionary power of admitting aliens in the Federal Government or in the State governments.

But it cannot be a true inference, that, because the admission of an alien is a favor, the favor may be revoked at pleasure. A grant of land to an individual may be of favor, not of right; but the moment the grant is made, the favor becomes a right, and must be forfeited before it can be taken away. To pardon a malefactor may be a favor, but the pardon is not, on that account, the less irrevocable. To admit an alien to naturalization, is as much a favor as to admit him to reside in the country; yet it cannot be pretended that a person naturalized can be deprived of the benefits any more than a native citizen can be disfranchised.

Again, it is said, that aliens not being parties to the Constitution, the rights and privileges which it secures cannot be at all claimed by them.

To this reasoning, also, it might be answered that, although aliens are not parties to the Constitution, it does not follow that the Constitution has vested in Congress an absolute power over them. The parties to the Constitution may have granted, or retained, or modified, the power over aliens, without regard to that particular consideration.

But a more direct reply is, that it does not follow, because aliens are not parties to the Constitution, as citizens are parties to it, that, whilst they actually conform to it, they have no right to its protection. Aliens are not more parties to the laws than they are parties to the Constitution; yet it will not be disputed that, as they owe, on one hand, a temporary obedience, they are entitled, in return, to their protection and advantage.

If aliens had no rights under the Constitution, they might not only be banished, but even capitally punished, without a jury or the other incidents to a fair trial. But so far has a contrary principle been carried, in every part of the United States, that, except on charges of treason, an alien has, besides all the common privileges, the spec1al one of being tried by a jury, of which one-half may be also aliens.

It is said further, that, by the law and practice of nations, aliens may be removed, at discretion, for offences aga1nst the law of nations; that Congress are authorized to define and punish such offences; and that to be dangerous to the peace of society is, in aliens, one of those offences.

The distinction between alien enemies and alien friends is a clear and conclusive answer to this argument. Alien enemies are under the law of nations, and liable to be punished for offences against it. Alien friends, except in the single case of public ministers, are under the municipal law, and must be tried and punished according to that law only.

This argument also, by referring the alien act to the power of Congress to define and punish offences against the law of nations, yields the point that the act is of a penal, not merely of a preventive operation. It must, in truth, be so considered. And if it be a penal act, the punishment it inflicts must be justified by some offence that deserves it.

Offences for which aliens, within the jurisdiction of a country are punishable, are—first, offences committed by the nation of which they make a part, and in whose offences they are involved; secondly, offences committed by themselves alone, without any charge against the nation to which they belong The first is the case of alien enemies; the second, the case of alien friends. In the first case, the offending nation can no otherwise be punished than by war, one of the laws of which authorizes the expulsion of such of its members as may be found within the country against which the offence has been committed. In the second case—the offence being committed by the individual, not by his nation, and against the municipal law, not against the law of nations—the individual only, and not the nation, is punishable; and the punishment must be conducted according to the municipal law, not according to the law of nations. Under this view of the subject, the act of Congress for the removal of alien enemies, being conformable to the law of nations, is justified by the Constitution and the ” act” for the removal of alien friends, being repugnant to the constitutional principles of municipal law, is unjustifiable

Nor is the act of Congress for the removal of alien friends more agreeable to the general practice of nations than it is within the purview of the law of nations. The general practice of nations distinguishes between alien friends and alien enemies. The latter it has proceeded against, according to the law of nations, by expelling them as enemies. The former it has considered as under a local and temporary allegiance, and entitled to a correspondent protection. If contrary instances are to be found in barbarous countries, under undefined prerogatives, or amid revolutionary dangers, they will not be deemed fit precedents for the Government of the United States, even if not beyond its constitutional authority.

It is said that Congress may grant letters of marquee and reprisal; that reprisals may be made on persons as well as property; and that the removal of aliens may be considered as the exercise, in an inferior degree, of the general power of reprisal on persons.

Without entering minutely into a question that does not seem to require it, it may be remarked that reprisal is a seizure of foreign persons or property, with a view to obtain that justice for injuries done by one State, or its members, to another State, or its members, for which a refusal of the aggressors requires such a resort to force under the law of nations. It must be considered as an abuse of words to call the removal of persons from a country a seizure or reprisal on them; nor is the distinction to be overlooked between reprisals on persons within the country and under the faith of its laws, and on persons out of the country. But laying aside these considerations, it is evidently impossible to bring the alien act within the power of granting reprisals, since it does not allege or imply any injury received from any particular nation for which this proceeding against its members was intended as a reparation. The proceeding is authorized against aliens of every nation; of nations charged neither with any similar proceedings against American citizens, nor with any injuries for which justice might be sought in the mode prescribed by the act. Were it true, therefore, that good causes existed for reprisals against one or more foreign nations, and that neither the persons nor property of its members under the faith of our laws could plead an exemption, the operation of the act ought to have been limited to the aliens among us belonging to such nations. To license reprisals against all nations for aggressions charged on one only, would be a measure as contrary to every principle of justice and public law as to a wise policy, and the universal practice of nations.

It is said that the right of removing aliens is an incident to the power of war vested in Congress by the Constitution.

This is a former argument in a new shape only, and is answered by repeating, that the removal of alien enemies is an incident to the power of war; that the removal of alien friends is not an incident to the power of war.

It is said that Congress are, by the Constitution, to protect each State against invasion; and that the means of preventing invasion are included in the power of protection against it.

The power of war, in general, having been before granted by the Constitution, this clause must either be a mere specification for greater caution and certainty, of which there are other examples in the instrument, or be the injunction of a duty superadded to a grant of the power. Under either explanation it cannot enlarge the powers of Congress on the subject. The power and the duty to protect each State against an invading enemy would be the same under the general power, if this regard to greater caution had been omitted.

Invasion is an operation of war. To protect against invasion is an exercise of the power of war. A power, therefore, not incident to war cannot be incident to a particular modification of war. And as the removal of alien friends has appeared to be no incident to a general state of war, it cannot be incident to a partial state or a particular modification of war.

Nor can it ever be granted that a power to act on a case when it actually occurs, includes a power over all the means that may tend to prevent the occurrence of the case. Such a latitude of construction would render unavailing every practical definition of particular and limited powers. Under the idea of preventing war in general, as well as invasion in particular, not only an indiscriminate removal of all aliens might be enforced, but a thousand other things still more remote from the operations and precautions appurtenant to war might take place. A bigoted or tyrannical nation might threaten us with war, unless certain religious or political regulations were adopted by us; yet it never could be inferred, if the regulations which would prevent war were such as Congress had otherwise no power to make, that the power to make them would grow out of the purpose they were to answer. Congress have power to suppress insurrections, yet it would not be allowed to follow that they might employ all the means tending to prevent them, of which a system of moral instruction for the ignorant, and of provident support for the poor, might be regarded as among the most efficacious.

One argument for the power of the General Government to remove aliens would have been passed in silence, if it had appeared under any authority inferior to that of a report made during the last session of Congress to the House of Representatives by a committee, and approved by the House. The doctrine on which this argument is founded is of so new and so extraordinary a character, and strikes so radically at the political system of America, that it is proper to state it in the very words of the report:

“The act [concerning aliens] is said to be unconstitutional, because to remove aliens is a direct breach of the Constitution, which provides, by the 9th section of the 1st article, that the

migration or importation of such persons as any of the States shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year 1808.”

Among the answers given to this objection to the constitutionality of the act, the following very remarkable one is extracted:

“Thirdly, that as the Constitution has given to the States no power to remove aliens during the period of the limitation under consideration, in the mean time, on the construction assumed, there would be no authority in the country empowered to send away dangerous aliens, which cannot be admitted.”

The reasoning here used would not in any view be conclusive, because there are powers exercised by most other Governments, which, in the United States, are withheld by the people, both from the General Government and from the State governments. Of this sort are many of the powers prohibited by the Declarations of Right prefixed to the constitutions, or by the clauses in the constitutions in the nature of such declarations. Nay, so far is the political system of the United States distinguishable from that of other countries, by the caution with which powers are delegated and defined, that in one very important case, even of commercial regulation and revenue, the power is absolutely locked up against the hands of both Governments. A tax on exports can be laid by no constitutional authority whatever. Under a system thus peculiarly guarded there could surely be no absurdity in supposing that alien friends, who, if guilty of treasonable machinations, may be punished, or if suspected on probable grounds, may be secured by pledges or imprisonment, in like manner with permanent citizens, were never meant to be subjected to banishment by any arbitrary and unusual process, either under the one Government or the other.

But it is not the inconclusiveness of the general reasoning in this passage which chiefly calls the attention to it. It is the principle assumed by it, that the powers held by the States are given to them by the Constitution of the United States; and the inference from this principle, that the powers supposed to be necessary which are not so given to the State governments, must reside in the Government of the United States.

The respect which is felt for every portion of the constituted authorities forbids some of the reflections which this singular paragraph might excite; and they are the more readily suppressed, as it may be presumed, with justice perhaps as well as candor, that inadvertence may have had its share in the error. It would be an unjustifiable delicacy, nevertheless, to pass by so portentous a claim, proceeding from so high an authority, without a monitory notice of the fatal tendencies with which it would be pregnant.

Lastly, it is said that a law on the same subject with the Alien Act, passed by this State originally in 1785, and reenacted in 1792, is a proof that a summary removal of suspected aliens was not theretofore regarded by the Virginia Legislature as liable to the objections now urged against such a measure.

This charge against Virginia vanishes before the simple remark, that the law of Virginia relates to “suspicious persons, being the subjects of any foreign power or State who shall have made a declaration of war, or actually commenced hostilities, or from whom the President shall apprehend hostile designs;” whereas the act of Congress relates to aliens, being the subjects of foreign powers and States who have neither declared war nor commenced hostilities, nor from whom hostile designs are apprehended.

2. It is next affirmed by the Alien Act, that it unites legislative, judicial, and executive powers, in the hands of the President.

However difficult it may be to mark in every case with clearness and certainty the line which divides legislative power from the other departments of power, all will agree that the powers referred to these departments may be so general and undefined as to be of a legislative, not of an executive or judicial nature, and may for that reason be unconstitutional. Details, to a certain degree, are essential to the nature and character of law; and on criminal subjects, it is proper that details should leave as little as possible to the discretion of those who are to apply and execute the law. If nothing more were required, in exercising a legislative trust, than a general conveyance of authority—without laying down any precise rules by which the authority conveyed should be carried into effect—it would follow that the whole power of legislation might be transferred by the Legislature from itself, and proclamations might become substitutes for laws. A delegation of power in this latitude would not be denied to be a union of the different powers.

To determine, then, whether the appropriate powers of the distinct departments are united by the act authorizing the Executive to remove aliens, it must be inquired whether it contains such details, definitions, and rules, as appertain to the true character of a law; especially a law by which personal liberty is invaded, property deprived of its value to the owner, and life itself indirectly exposed to danger.

The Alien Act declares “that it shall be lawful for the President to order all such aliens as he shall judge dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States, or shall have reasonable ground to suspect are concerned in any treasonable or secret machinations against the Government thereof, to depart,” &c.

Could a power be given in terms less definite, less particular, and less precise? To be dangerous to the public safety—to be suspected of secret machinations against the Government; these can never be mistaken for legal rules or certain definitions. They leave everything to the President. His will is the law.

But it is not a legislative power only that is given to the President. He is to stand in the place of the judiciary also. His suspicion is the only evidence which is to convict; his order, the only judgment which is to be executed.

Thus it is the President whose will is to designate the offensive conduct; it is his will that is to ascertain the individuals on whom it is charged; and it is his will that is to cause the sentence to be executed. It is rightly affirmed, therefore, that the act unites legislative and judicial powers to those of the executive.

3. It is affirmed that this union of power subverts the general principles of free government.

It has become an axiom in the science of government, that a separation of the legislative, executive, and judicial departments is necessary to the preservation of public liberty. Nowhere has this axiom been better understood in theory, or more carefully pursued in practice, than in the United States.

4. It is affirmed that such a union of power subverts the particular organization and positive provisions of the Federal Constitution.

According to the particular organization of the Constitution, its legislative powers are vested in the Congress, its executive powers in the President, and its judicial powers in a supreme and inferior tribunals. The union of any two of these powers, and still more of all three, in any one of these departments, as has been shown to be done by the Alien Act, must, consequently, subvert the constitutional organization of them.

That positive provisions in the Constitution, securing to individuals the benefits of fair trial, are also violated by the union of powers in the Alien Act, necessarily results from the two facts that the Act relates to alien friends, and that alien friends, being under the municipal law only, are entitled to its protection.

The second object against which the resolution protests is the Sedition Act.

Of this Act it is affirmed: 1. That it exercises in like manner a power not delegated by the Constitution. 2. That the power, on the contrary, is expressly and positively forbidden by one of the amendments to the Constitution. 3. That this is 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 thereon, which has ever been justly deemed the only effectual guardian of every other right.

1. That it exercises a power not delegated by the Constitution.

Here, again, it will be proper to recollect that the Federal Government being composed of powers specifically granted, with a reservation of all others to the States or to the people, the positive authority under which the Sedition Act could be passed must be produced by those who assert its constitutionality. In what part of the Constitution, then, is this authority to be found?

Several attempts have been made to answer this question, which will be examined in their order. The committee will begin with one which has filled them with equal astonishment and apprehension, and which, they cannot but persuade themselves, must have the same effect on all who will consider it with coolness and impartiality, and with a reverence for our Constitution in the true character in which it issued from the sovereign authority of the people. The committee refer to the doctrine lately advanced, as a sanction to the Sedition Act,” that the common or unwritten law,” a law of vast extent and complexity, and embracing almost every possible subject of legislation, both civil and criminal, makes a part of the law of these States, in their united and national capacity.

The novelty, and, in the judgment of the committee, the extravagance of this pretension, would have consigned it to the silence in which they have passed by other arguments which an extraordinary zeal for the Act has drawn into the discussion; but the auspices”^under which this innovation presents itself have constrained the committee to bestow on it an attention which other considerations might have forbidden.

In executing the task, it may be of use to look back to the colonial state of this country, prior to the Revolution; to trace the effect of the Revolution which converted the Colonies into independent States; to inquire into the import of the Articles of Confederation, the first instrument by which the Union of the States was regularly established; and, finally, to consult the Constitution of 1787, which is the oracle that must decide the important question.

In the state prior to the Revolution, it is certain that the common law, under different limitations, made a part of the colonial codes. But whether it be understood that the original colonists brought the law with them, or made it their law by adoption, it is equally certain that it was the separate law of each colony within its respective limits, and was unknown to them as a law pervading and operating through the whole as one society.

It could not possibly be otherwise. The common law was not the same in any two of the Colonies; in some the modifications were materially and extensively different. There was no common legislature by which a common will could be expressed in the form of a law; nor any common magistracy by which such a law could be carried into practice. The will of each colony, alone and separately, had its organs for these purposes.

This stage of our political history furnishes no foothold for the patrons of this new doctrine.

Did, then, the principle or operation of the great event which made the Colonies independent States imply or introduce the common law as a law of the Union?

The fundamental principle of the Revolution was, that the Colonies were co-ordinate members with each other and with Great Britain, of an empire united by a common executive sovereign, but not united by any common legislative sovereign. The legislative power was maintained to be as complete in each American Parliament, as in the British Parliament. And the royal prerogative was in force in each Colony by virtue of its acknowledging the King for its executive magistrate, as it was in Great Britain by virtue of a like acknowledgment there. A denial of these principles by Great Britain, and the assertion of them by America, produced the Revolution.

There was a time, indeed, when an exception to the legislative separation of the several component and co-equal parts of the empire obtained a degree of acquiescence. The British Parliament was allowed to regulate the trade with foreign nations, and between the different parts of the empire. This was, however, mere practice without right, and contrary to the true theory of the Constitution. The convenience of some regulations, in both cases, was apparent; and as there was no legislature with power over the whole, nor any constitutional pre-eminence among the legislatures of the several parts, it was natural for the legislature of that particular part which was the eldest and the largest to assume this function, and for the others to acquiesce in it. This tacit arrangement was the less criticized, as the regulations established by the British Parliament operated in favor of that part of the empire which seemed to bear the principle share of the public burdens, and were regarded as an indemnification of its advances for the other parts. As long as this regulating power was confined to the two objects of conveniency and equity, it was not complained of nor much inquired into. But, no sooner was it perverted to the selfish views of the party assuming it, than the injured parties began to feel and to reflect; and the moment the claim to a direct and indefinite power was engrafted on the precedent of the regulating power, the whole charm was dissolved, and every eye opened to the usurpation. The assertion by Great Britain of a power to make laws for the other members of the empire in all cases whatsoever, ended in the discovery that she had a right to make laws for them in no cases whatsoever.

Such being the ground of our Revolution, no support nor color can be drawn from it for the doctrine that the common law is binding on these States as one society. The doctrine, on the contrary, is evidently repugnant to the fundamental principle of the Revolution.

The Articles of Confederation are the next source of information on this subject.

In the interval between the commencement of the Revolution and the final ratification of these Articles, the nature and extent of the Union was determined by the circumstances of the crisis, rather than by any accurate delineation of the general authority. It will not be alleged that the “common law” could have had any legitimate birth as a law of the United States during that state of things. If it came as such into existence at all the Charter of Confederation must have been its parent.

Here again, however, its pretensions are absolutely destitute of foundation. This instrument does not contain a sentence or a syllable that can be tortured into a countenance of the idea that the parties to it were, with respect to the objects of the common law, to form one community. No such law is named, or implied, or alluded to, as being in force, or as brought into force by that compact. No provision is made by which such a law could be carried into operation; whilst, on the other hand, every such inference or pretext is absolutely precluded by Article II, which declares “that each State retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled.”

Thus far it appears that not a vestige of this extraordinary doctrine can be found in the origin or progress of American institutions. The evidence against it has, on the contrary, grown stronger at every step, till it has amounted to a formal and positive exclusion, by written articles of compact among the parties concerned.

Is this exclusion revoked, and the common law introduced as national law by the present Constitution of the United States? This is the final question to be examined.

It is readily admitted that particular parts of the common law may have a sanction from the Constitution, so far as they are necessarily comprehended in the technical phrases which the powers delegated to the Government; and so far also as such other parts may be adopted by Congress as necessary and proper for carrying into execution the powers expressly delegated. But the question does not relate to either of these portions of the common law. It relates to the common law beyond these limitations.

The only part of the Constitution which seems to have been relied on in this case is the 2d section of Article III: “The judicial power shall extend to all cases in law and equity arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made or which shall be made under their authority.”

It has been asked, what cases, distinct from those arising under the laws and treaties of the United States, can arise under the Constitution, other than those arising under the common law? and it is inferred that the common law is accordingly adopted or recognized by the Constitution.

Never, perhaps, was so broad a construction applied to a text so clearly unsusceptible of it. If any color for the inference could be found, it must be in the impossibility of finding any other cases in law and equity, within the provisions of the Constitution, to satisfy the expression; and rather than resort to a construction affecting so essentially the whole character of the Government, it would perhaps be more rational to consider the expression as a mere pleonasm or inadvertence. But it is not necessary to decide on such a dilemma. The expression is fully satisfied and its accuracy justified by two descriptions of cases to which the judicial authority is extended, and neither of which implies that the common law is the law of the United States. One of these descriptions comprehends the case growing out of the restrictions on the legislative power of the States. For example, it is provided that ” no State shall emit bills of credit,” or “make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts.” Should this prohibition be violated, and a suit between citizens of the same State be the consequence, this would be a case arising under the Constitution before the judicial power of the United States. A second description comprehends suits between citizens and foreigners, of citizens of different States, to be decided according to the State or foreign laws, but submitted by the Constitution to the judicial power of the United States, the judicial power being in several instances extended beyond the legislative power of the United States.

To this explanation of the text the following observations may be added:

The expression “cases in law and equity” is manifestly confined to cases of a civil nature, and would exclude cases of criminal jurisdiction. Criminal cases in law and equity would be a language unknown to the law.

The succeeding paragraph of the same section is in harmony with this construction. It is in these words: “In all cases affecting ambassadors, or other public ministers, and consuls, and those in which a State shall be a party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases (including cases of law and equity arising under the Constitution) the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction both as to law and fact; with such exceptions and under such regulations as Congress shall make.”

This paragraph, by expressly giving an appellate jurisdiction in cases of law and equity arising under the Constitution, to fact as well as to law, clearly excludes criminal cases where the trial by jury is secured, because the fact in such cases is not a subject of appeal. And, although the appeal is liable to such exceptions and regulations as Congress may adopt, yet it is not to be supposed that an exception of all criminal cases could be contemplated, as well because a discretion in Congress to make or omit the exception would be improper, as because it would have been unnecessary. The exception could as easily have been made by the Constitution itself, as referred to the Congress.

Once more: the amendment last added to the Constitution deserves attention as throwing light on this subject. “The judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another State, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign power.” As it will not be pretended that any criminal proceeding could take place against a State, the terms law or equity must be understood as appropriate to civil in exclusion of criminal cases.

From these considerations it is evident that this part of the Constitution, even if it could be applied at all to the purpose for which it has been cited, would not include any cases whatever of a criminal nature, and consequently would not authorize the inference from it that the judicial authority extends to offences against the common law as offences arising under the Constitution.

It is further to be considered that, even if this part of the Constitution could be strained into an application to every common-law case, criminal as well as civil, it could have no effect in justifying the Sedition Act; which is an exercise of legislative and not of judicial power: and it is the judicial power only of which the extent is defined in this part of the Constitution.

There are two passages in the Constitution in which a description of the law of the United States is found. The first is contained in Article III, Sections, in the words following: “This Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made or which shall be made under their authority.” The second is contained in the second paragraph of Article VI, as follows: “This Constitution and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land.” The first of these descriptions was meant as a guide to the judges of the United States; the second, as a guide to the judges of the several States. Both of them consist of an enumeration which was evidently meant to be precise and complete. If the common law had been understood to be a law of the United States, it is not possible to assign a satisfactory reason why it was not expressed in the enumeration.

In aid of these objections the difficulties and confusion inseparable from a constructive introduction of the common law would afford powerful reasons against it.

Is it to be the common law with or without the British statutes?

If without the statutory amendments, the vices of the code would be insupportable.

If with these amendments, what period is to be fixed for limiting the British authority over our laws?

Is it to be the date of the eldest or the youngest of the Colonies?

Or are the dates to be thrown together and a medium deduced?

Or is our independence to be taken for the date?

Is, again, regard to be had to the various changes in the common law made by the local codes of America?

Is regard to be had to such changes, subsequent as well as prior to the establishment of the Constitution?

Is regard to be had to future as well as to past changes?

Is the law to be different in every State as differently modified by its code, or are the modifications of any particular State to be applied to all?

And, on the latter supposition, which, among the State codes would form the standard?

Questions of this sort might be multiplied with as much ease as there would be difficulty in answering them.

The consequences flowing from the proposed construction furnish other objections equally conclusive, unless the text were peremptory in its meaning and consistent with other parts of the instrument.

These consequences may be in relation to the legislative authority of the United States; to the executive authority; to the judicial authority; and to the governments of the several States.

If it be understood that the common law is established by the Constitution, it follows that no part of the law can be altered by the Legislature; such of the statutes already passed as may be repugnant thereto would be nullified, particularly the Sedition Act itself, which boasts of being a melioration of the common law; and the whole code, with all its incongruities, barbarisms, and bloody maxims, would be inviolably saddled on the good people of the United States.

Should this consequence be rejected and the common law be held, like other laws, liable to revision and alteration by the authority of Congress, it then follows that the authority of Congress is co-extensive with the objects of common law— that is to say, with every object of legislation; for to every such object does some branch or other of the common law extend. The authority of Congress would therefore be no longer under the limitations marked out in the Constitution. They would be authorized to legislate in all cases whatsoever.

In the next place, as the President possesses the executive powers of the Constitution, and is to see that the laws be faithfully executed, his authority also must be co-extensive with every branch of the common law. The additions which this would make to his power, though not readily to be estimated, claim the most serious attention.

This is not all; it will merit the most profound consideration, how far an indefinite admission of the common law, with a latitude in construing it, equal to the construction by which it is deduced from the Constitution, might draw after it the various prerogatives making part of the unwritten law of England. The English Constitution itself is nothing more than a composition of unwritten laws and maxims.

In the third place, whether the common law be admitted as of legal or of constitutional obligation, it would confer on the judicial department a discretion little short of a legislative power.

On the supposition of its having a constitutional obligation, this power in the judges would be permanent and irremediable by the Legislature. On the other supposition the power would not expire until the Legislature should have introduced a full system of statutory provisions. Let it be observed, too, that besides all the uncertainties above enumerated, and which present an immense field for judicial discretion, it would remain with the same department to decide what parts of the common law would, and what would not, be properly applicable to the circumstances of the United States.

A discretion of this sort has always been lamented as incongruous and dangerous, even in the Colonial and State courts, although so much narrowed by positive provisions in the local codes on all the principal subjects embraced by the common law. Under the United States, where so few laws exist on those subjects, and where so great a lapse of time must happen before the vast chasm could be supplied, it is manifest that the power of the judges over the law would, in fact, erect them into legislators, and that for a long time it would be impossible for the citizens to conjecture, either what was or would be law.

In the last place, the consequence of admitting the common law as the law of the United States, on the authority of the individual States, is as obvious as it would be fatal. As this law relates to every subject of legislation, and would be paramount to the Constitutions and laws of the States, the admission of it would overwhelm the residuary sovereignty of the States, and by one constructive operation new model the whole political fabric of the country.

From the review thus taken of the situation of the American colonies prior to their independence; of the effect of this event on their situation; of the nature and import of the Articles of Confederation; of the true meaning of the passage in the existing Constitution from which the common law has been deduced; of the difficulties and uncertainties incident to the doctrine; and of its vast consequences in extending the powers of the Federal Government, and in supers eding the authorities of the State governments—the committee feel the utmost confidence in concluding that the common law never was, nor by any fair construction ever can be, deemed a law for the American people as one community; and they indulge the strongest expectation that the same conclusion will finally be drawn by all candid and accurate inquirers into the subject. It is, indeed, distressing to reflect that it ever should have been made a question, whether the Constitution, on the whole face of which is seen so much labor to enumerate and define the several objects of Federal power, could intend to introduce in the lump, in an indirect manner, and by a forced construction of a few phrases, the vast and multifarious jurisdiction involved in the common law—a law filling so many ample volumes; a law overspreading the entire field of legislation; and a law that would sap the foundation of the Constitution as a system of limited and specified powers. A severer reproach could not, in the opinion of the committee, be thrown on the Constitution, on those who framed or on those who established it, than such a supposition would throw on them.

The argument, then, drawn from the common law, on the ground of its being adopted or recognized by the Constitution, being inapplicable to the Sedition Act, the committee will proceed to examine the other arguments which have been founded on the Constitution.

They will waste but little time on the attempt to cover the act by the preamble to the Constitution, it being contrary to every acknowledged rule of construction to set up this part of an instrument in opposition to the plain meaning expressed in the body of the instrument. A preamble usually contains the general mot1ves or reasons for the particular regulations or measures which follow it, and is always understood to be explained and limited by them. In the present instance, a contrary interpretation would have the inadmissible effect of rendering nugatory or improper every part of the Constitution which succeeds the preamble.

The paragraph in Article I, Section 8, which contains the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare, having been already examined, will also require no particular attention in this place. It will have been seen that, in its fair and consistent meaning, it cannot enlarge the enumerated powers vested in Congress.

The part of the Constitution which seems most to be recurred to, in the defense of the Sedition Act, is the last clause of the above section, empowering Congress “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.”

The plain import of this clause is, that Congress shall have all the incidental or instrumental powers necessary and proper for carrying into execution all the express powers, whether they be vested in the Government of the United States, more collectively, or in the several departments or officers thereof.

It is not a grant of new powers to Congress, but merely a declaration, for the removal of all uncertainty, that the means of carrying into execution those otherwise granted are included in the grant.

Whenever, therefore, a question arises concerning the constitutionality of a particular power, the first question is, whether the power be expressed in the Constitution. If it be, the question is decided. If it be not expressed, the next inquiry must be, whether it is properly an incident to an express power, and necessary to its execution. If it be, it may be exercised by Congress. If it be not, Congress cannot exercise it.

Let the question be asked, then, whether the power over the press exercised in the Sedition Act be found among the powers expressly vested in the Congress. This is not pretended.

Is there any express power, for executing which it is a necessary and proper power?

The power which has been selected, as least remote, in answer to this question, is that “of suppressing insurrections”; which is said to imply a power to prevent insurrections, by punishing whatever may lead or tend to them. But it surely cannot, with the least plausibility, be said, that the regulation of the press, and a punishment of libels, are exercises of a power to suppress insurrections. The most that could be said would be that the punishment of libels, if it had the tendency ascribed to it, might prevent the occasion of pass1ng or executing laws necessary and proper for the suppression of insurrections.

Has the Federal Government no power, then, to prevent as well as to punish resistance to the laws?

They have the power, which the Constitution deemed most proper, in their hands for the purpose. The Congress has power, before it happens, to pass laws for punishing it; and the executive and judiciary have power to enforce those laws when it does happen.

It must be recollected by many, and could be shown to the satisfaction of all, that the construction here put on the terms “necessary and proper” is precisely the construction which prevailed during the discussions and ratifications of the Constitution. It may be added, and cannot too often be repeated, that it is a construction absolutely necessary to maintain their consistency with the peculiar character of the Government, as possessed of particular and definite powers only, not of the general and indefinite powers vested in ordinary Governments; for if the power to suppress insurrections 1ncludes a power to punish libels, or if the power to punish includes a power to prevent, by all the means that may have that tendency, such is the relation and influence among the most remote subjects of leg1slation, that a power over a very few would carry with it a power over all. And it must be wholly immaterial whether unlimited powers be exercised under the name of unlimited powers, or be exercised under the name of unlimited means of carrying into execution limited powers.

This branch of the subject will be closed with a reflection which must have weight with all, but more especially with those who place peculiar reliance on the judicial exposition of the Constitution as the bulwark provided against undue extensions of the legislative power. If it be understood that the powers implied in the specified powers have an immediate and appropriate relation to them, as means necessary and proper for carrying them into execution, questions on the constitutionality of laws passed for this purpose will be of a nature sufficiently precise and determinate for judicial cognizance and control. If, on the other hand, Congress are not limited in the choice of means by any such appropriate relation of them to the specified powers; but may employ all such means as they may deem fitted to prevent as well as to punish crimes subjected to their authority; such as may have a tendency only to promote an object for which they are authorized to provide; every one must perceive that questions relating to means of this sort must be questions for mere policy and expediency, on which legislative discretion alone can decide, and from which the judicial interposition and control are completely excluded.

2. The next point which the resolution requires to be proved is, that the power over the press exercised by the Sedition Act is positively forbidden by one of the amendments to the Constitution.

The amendment stands in these words: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

In the attempts to vindicate the Sedition Act it has been contended—1. That the “freedom of the press” is to be determined by the meaning of these terms in the common law. 3. That the article supposes the power over the press to be in Congress, and prohibits them only from abridging the freedom allowed to it by the common law.

Although it will be shown, on examining the second of these positions, that the amendment is a denial to Congress of all power over the press, it may not be useless to make the following observations on the first of them:

It is deemed to be a sound opinion that the Sedition Act, in its definition of some of the crimes created, is an abridgment of the freedom of publication, recognized by principles of the common law in England.

The freedom of the press under the common law is, in the defenses of the Sedition Act, made to consist in an exemption from all previous restraint on printed publications by persons authorized to inspect and prohibit them. It appears to the committee that this idea of the freedom of the press can never be admitted to be the American idea of it; since a law inflicting penalties on printed publications would have a similar effect with a law authorizing a previous restraint on them. It would seem a mockery to say that no laws should be passed preventing publications from being made, but that laws might be passed for punishing them in case they should be made.

The essential difference between the British Government and the American Constitutions will place this subject in the clearest light.

In the British Government the danger of encroachments on the rights of the people is understood to be confined to the executive magistrate. The representatives of the people in the Legislature are not only exempt themselves from distrust, but are considered as sufficient guardians of the rights of their constituents against the danger from the Executive. Hence it is a principle, that the Parliament is unlimited in its power; or, in their own language, is omnipotent. Hence, too, all the ramparts for protecting the rights of the people—such as their Magna Charta, their Bill of Rights, &c.—are not reared against the Parliament, but against the royal prerogative. They are merely legislative precautions against executive usurpations. Under such a government as this, an exemption of the press from previous restraint, by licensers appointed by the King, is all the freedom that can be secured to it.

In the United States the case is altogether different. The People, not the Government, possess the absolute sovereignty. The Legislature, no less than the Executive, is under limitations of power. Encroachments are regarded as possible from the one as well as from the other. Hence, in the United States the great and essential rights of the people are secured against legislative as well as against executive ambition. They are secured, not by laws paramount to prerogative, but by constitutions paramount to laws. This security of the freedom of the press requires that it should be exempt not only from previous restraint by the Executive, as in Great Britain, but from legislative restraint also; and this exemption, to be effectual, must be an exemption not only from the previous inspection of licensers, but from the subsequent penalty of laws.

The state of the press, therefore, under the common law, cannot, in this point of view, be the standard of its freedom in the United States.

But there is another view under which it may be necessary to consider this subject. It may be alleged that although the security for the freedom of the press be different in Great Britain and in this country, being a legal security only in the former, and a constitutional security in the latter; and although there may be a further difference, in an extension of the freedom of the press, here, beyond an exemption from previous restraint, to an exemption from subsequent penalties also; yet that the actual legal freedom of the press, under the common law, must determine the degree of freedom which is meant by the terms, and which is constitutionally secured against both previous and subsequent restraints.

The committee is not unaware of the difficulty of all general questions which may turn on the proper boundary between the liberty and licentiousness of the press. They will leave it, therefore, for consideration only how far the difference between the nature of the British Government and the nature of the American Governments, and the practice under the latter may show the degree of rigor in the former to be inapplicable to and not obligatory in the latter.

The nature of governments elective, limited, and responsible in all their branches, may well be supposed to require a greater freedom of animadversion than might be tolerated by the genius of such a government as that of Great Britain. In the latter it is a maxim that the King, an hereditary, not a responsible magistrate, can do no wrong, and that the Legislature, which in two-thirds of its composition is also hereditary, not responsible, can do what it pleases. In the United States the executive magistrates are not held to be infallible, nor the Legislatures to be omnipotent; and both being elective, are both responsible. Is it not natural and necessary, under such different circumstances, that a different degree of freedom in the use of the press should be contemplated?

Is not such an inference favored by what is observable in Great Britain itself? Notwithstanding the general doctrine of the common law on the subject of the press, and the occasional punishment of those who use it with a freedom offensive to the Government, it is well known that with respect to the responsible members of the Government, where the reasons operating here become applicable there, the freedom exercised by the press and protected by public opinion far exceeds the limits prescribed by the ordinary rules of law. The ministry, who are responsible to impeachment, are at all times animadverted 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 candor 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 from the proper use of everything, 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 be 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; who reflect that to the same beneficent source the United States owe much of the lights which conducted them to the ranks of a free and independent nation, and which 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 day 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 suppos1ng in Congress a power that might be exercised over the press, provided its freedom was 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 carrying 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 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 in most of the States, 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 was 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 by 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 insure 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 the 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 in 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 libelous attacks which may be made on those who administer it?

The Constitution alone can answer this question. If no such power be expressly delegated, and if it be not both necessary and proper to carry into execution an express power— above all, if it be expressly forbidden, by a declaratory amendment to the Constitution—the answer must be, that the Federal Government is destitute of all such authority.

And might it not be asked, in turn, whether it is not more probable, under all the circumstances which have been reviewed, that the authority should be withheld by the Constitution, than that it should be left to a vague and violent construction, whilst so much pains were bestowed in enumerating other powers, and so many less important powers are included in the enumeration?

Might it not be likewise asked, whether the anxious circumspection which dictated so many peculiar limitations on the general authority would be unlikely to exempt the press altogether from that authority? The peculiar magnitude of some of the powers necessarily committed to the Federal Government; the peculiar duration required for the functions of some of its departments; the peculiar distance of the seat of its proceedings from the great body of its constituents; and the peculiar difficulty of circulating an adequate knowledge of them through any other channel; will not these considerations, some or other of which produced other exceptions from the powers of ordinary governments, all together, account for the policy of binding the hand of the Federal Government from touching the channel which alone can give efficacy to its responsibility to its constituents, and of leaving those who administer it to a remedy, for their injured reputations, under the same laws, and in the same tribunals, which protect their lives, their liberties, and their properties?

But the question does not turn either on the wisdom of the Constitution or on the policy which gave rise to its particular organization. It turns on the actual meaning of the instrument, by which it has appeared that a power over the press is clearly excluded from the number of powers delegated to the Federal Government.

3. And, in the opinion of the committee, well may it be said, as the resolution concludes with saying, that the unconstitutional power exercised over the press by the Sedition Act ought, “more than any other, 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.”

Without scrutinizing minutely into all the provisions of the Sedition Act, it will be sufficient to cite so much of section 2d as follows: “And be it further enacted, that if any person shall write, print, utter, or publish, or shall cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered, or published, or shall knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering, or publishing, any false, scandalous, and malicious writing or writings against the Government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with an intent to defame the said Government or either house of the said Congress, or the President, or to bring them or either of them into contempt or disrepute, or to excite against them, or either or any of them, the hatred of the good people of the United States, &c.—then such person, being thereof convicted before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not exceeding two years.”

On this part of the act, the following observations present themselves:

  1.  The Constitution supposes that the President, the Congress, and each of its Houses, may not discharge their trusts, either from defect of judgment or other causes. Hence they are all made responsible to their constituents, at the returning periods of election; and the President, who is singly entrusted with very great powers, is, as a further guard, subjected to an intermediate impeachment.
  2.  Should it happen, as the Constitution supposes it may happen, that either of these branches of the Government may not have duly discharged its trust; it is natural and proper, that, according to the cause and degree of their faults, they should be brought into contempt or disrepute, and incur the hatred of the people.
  3.  Whether it has, in any case, happened that the proceedings of either or all of those branches evince such a violation of duty as to justify a contempt, a disrepute, or hatred among the people, can only be determined by a free examination thereof, and a free communication among the people thereon.
  4.  Whenever it may have actually happened that proceedings of this sort are chargeable on all or either of the branches of the Government, it is the duty, as well as right, of intelligent and faithful citizens to discuss and promulgate them freely, as well to control them by the censorship of the public opinion, as to promote a remedy according to the rules of the Constitution. And it cannot be avoided that those who are to apply the remedy must feel, in some degree, a contempt or hatred against the transgressing party.
  5.  As the act was passed on July 14, 1798, and is to be in force until March 3, 1801, it was of course that, during its continuance, two elections of the entire House of Representatives, an election of a part of the Senate, and an election of a President, were to take place.
  6.  That, consequently, during all these elections, intended by the Constitution to preserve the purity or to purge the faults of the Administration, the great remedial rights of the people were to be exercised, and the responsibility of their public agents to be screened, under the penalties of this act.

May it not be asked of every intelligent friend to the liberties of his country, whether the power exercised in such an act as this ought not to produce great and universal alarm? Whether a rigid execution of such an act, in time past, would not have repressed that information and communication among the people which is indispensable to the just exercise of their electoral rights? And whether such an act, if made perpetual, and enforced with rigor, would not, in time to come, either destroy our free system of government, or prepare a convulsion that might prove equally fatal to it?

In answer to such questions, it has been pleaded that the writings and publications forbidden by the act are those only which are false and malicious, and intended to defame; and merit is claimed for the privilege allowed to authors to justify, by proving the truth of their publications, and for the limitations to which the sentence of fine and imprisonment is subjected.

To those who concurred in the act, under the extraordinary belief that the option lay between the passing of such an act and leaving in force the common law of libels, which punishes truth equally with falsehood, and submits the fine and imprisonment to the indefinite discretion of the court, the merit of good intentions ought surely not to be refused. A like merit may perhaps be due for the discontinuance of the corporal punishment, which the common law also leaves to the discretion of the court. This merit of intention, however, would have been greater, if the several mitigations had not been limited to so short a period; and the apparent inconsistency would have been avoided, between justifying the act, at one time, by contrasting it with the rigors of the common law otherwise in force; and at another time, by appealing to the nature of the crisis, as requiring the temporary rigor exerted by the act.

But, whatever may have been the meritorious intentions of all or any who contributed to the Sedition Act, a very few reflections will prove that its baleful tendency is little diminished by the privilege of giving in evidence the truth of the matter contained in political writings.

In the first place, where simple and naked facts alone are in question, there is sufficient difficulty in some cases, and sufficient trouble and vexation in all, of meeting a prosecution from the Government with the full and formal proof necessary in a court of law.

But in the next place, it must be obvious to the plainest minds, that opinions and inferences, and conjectural observations, are not only in many cases inseparable from the facts, but may often be more the objects of the prosecution than the facts themselves; or may even be altogether abstracted from particular facts; and that opinions, and inferences, and conjectural observations, cannot be subjects of that kind of proof which appertains to facts, before a court of law.

Again: it is no less obvious that the intent to defame, or bring into contempt, or disrepute, or hatred—which is made a condition of the offence created by the act—cannot prevent its pernicious influence on the freedom of the press. For, omitting the inquiry, how far the malice of the intent is an inference of the law from the mere publication, it is manifestly impossible to punish the intent to bring those who administer the Government into disrepute or contempt, without striking at the right of freely discussing public characters and measures; because those who engage in such discussions must expect and intend to excite these unfavorable sentiments, so far as they may be thought to be deserved. To prohibit, therefore, the intent to excite those unfavorable sentiments against those who administer the Government, is equivalent to a prohibition of the actual excitement of them; and to prohibit the actual excitement of them is equivalent to a prohibition of discussions having that tendency and effect; which, again, is equivalent to a protection of those who administer the Government, if they should at any time deserve the contempt or hatred of the people, against being exposed to it by free animadversions on their characters and conduct. Nor can there be a doubt, if those in public trust be shielded by penal laws from such strictures of the press as may expose them to contempt, or disrepute or hatred, where they may deserve it, that, in exact proportion as they may deserve to be exposed, will be the certainty and criminality of the intent to expose them, and the vigilance of prosecuting and punishing it; nor a doubt that a government thus entrenched in penal statutes against the just and natural effects of a culpable administration will easily evade the responsibility which is essential to a faithful discharge of its duty.

Let it be recollected, lastly, that the right of electing the members of the Government constitutes more particularly the essence of a free and responsible government. The value and efficacy of this right depends on the knowledge of the comparative merits and demerits of the candidates for public trust, and on the equal freedom, consequently, of examining and discussing these merits and demerits of the candidates respectively. It has been seen that a number of important elections will take place while the act is in force, although it should not be continued beyond the term to which it is limited. Should there happen, then, as is extremely probable in relation to some or other of the branches of the Government, to be competitions between those who are and those who are not members of the Government, what will be the situations of the competitors? Not equal; because the characters of the former will be covered by the Sedition Act from animadversions exposing them to disrepute among the people, whilst

the latter may be exposed to the contempt and hatred of the people without a violation of the act. What will be the situation of the people? Not free; because they will be compelled to make their election between competitors whose pretensions they are not permitted by the act equally to examine, to discuss, and to ascertain. And from both these situations will not those in power derive an undue advantage for continuing themselves in it, which, by impairing the right of election, endangers the blessings of the Government founded on it?

It is with justice, therefore, that the General Assembly have 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 these 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 now shown 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 from 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 these 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 shown 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 by 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.

  1. 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. Any construction, therefore, that would attack this original security for the one must have the like effect on the other.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 for 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 clearest 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 friendship and the instrument of mutual happiness, the General Assembly doth solemnly appeal to the like dispositions in the other States, in confidence that they will concur with this Commonwealth in declaring, as it does hereby declare, that the acts aforesaid are unconstitutional; and that the necessary and proper measures will be taken by each for co-operating 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 each 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.”

The fairness and regularity of the course of proceeding here pursued have not protected it against objections even from sources too respectable to be disregarded.

It has been said that it belongs to the judiciary of the United States, and not the State Legislatures, to declare the meaning of the Federal Constitution.

But a declaration that proceedings of the Federal Government are not warranted by the Constitution is a novelty neither among the citizens nor among the Legislatures of the States; nor are the citizens or the Legislature of Virginia singular in the example of it.

Nor can the declarations of either, whether affirming or denying the constitutionality of measures of the Federal Government, or whether made before or after judicial decisions thereon, be deemed, in any point of view, an assumption of the office of the judge. The declarations in such cases are expressions of opinion, unaccompanied with any other effect than what they may produce on opinion by exciting reflection. The expositions of the judiciary, on the other hand, are carried into immediate effect by force. The former may lead to a change in the legislative expression of the general will—possibly, to a change in the opinion of the judiciary; the latter enforces the general will, whilst that will and that opinion continue unchanged.

And if there be no impropriety in declaring the unconstitutionality of proceedings in the Federal Government, where can be the impropriety of communicating the declaration to other States, and inviting their concurrence in a like declaration? What is allowable for one must be allowable for all; and a free communication among the States, where the Constitution imposes no restraint, is as allowable among the State governments as among other public bodies or private citizens. This consideration derives a weight that cannot be denied to it, from the relation of the State Legislatures to the Federal Legislature as the immediate constituents of one of its branches.

The Legislatures of the States have a right also to originate amendments to the Constitution, by a concurrence of two thirds of the whole number, in applications to Congress for the purpose. When new States are to be formed by a junction of two or more States, or parts of States, the Legislatures of the States concerned are, as well as Congress, to concur in the measure. The States have a right also to enter into agreements or compacts, with the consent of Congress. In all such cases a communication among them results from the object which is common to them.

It is, lastly, to be seen whether the confidence expressed by the resolution, that the necessary and proper measures would be taken by the other States for co-operating with Virginia in maintaining the rights reserved to the States or to the people, be in any degree liable to the objections which have been raised against it.

If it be liable to objection it must be because either the object or the means are objectionable.

The object being to maintain what the Constitution has ordained, is in itself a laudable object.

The means are expressed in the terms “the necessary and proper measures.” A proper object was to be pursued by means both necessary and proper.

To find an objection, then, it must be shown that some meaning was annexed to these general terms which was not proper; and for this purpose either that the means used by the General Assembly were an example of improper means, or that there were no proper means to which the terms could refer.

In the example given by the State of declaring the Alien and Sedition Acts to be unconstitutional, and of communicating the declaration to other States, no trace of improper means has appeared. And if the other States had concurred in making a like declaration, supported, too, by the numerous applications flowing immediately from the people, it can scarcely be doubted that these simple means would have been as sufficient as they are unexceptionable.

It is no less certain, that other means might have been employed which are strictly within the limits of the Constitution. The Legislatures of the States might have made a direct representation to Congress with a view to obtain a rescinding of the two offensive acts; or they might have represented to their respective Senators in Congress their wish that two-thirds thereof would propose an explanatory amendment to the Constitution; or two-thirds of themselves, if such had been their option, might, by an application to Congress, have obtained a Convention for the same object.

These several means, though not equally eligible in themselves, nor, probably, to the States, were all constitutionally open for consideration. And if the General Assembly, after declaring the two acts to be unconstitutional, the first and most obvious proceeding on the subject, did not undertake to point out to the other States a choice among the farther measures that might become necessary and proper, the reserve will not be misconstrued by liberal minds into any culpable imputation.

These observations appear to form a satisfactory reply to every objection which is not founded on a misconception of the terms employed in the resolutions. There is one other, however, which may be of too much importance not to be added. It cannot be forgotten, that among the arguments addressed to those who apprehend danger to liberty from the establishment of the General Government over so great a country, the appeal was emphatically made to the intermediate existence of the State governments, between the people and that Government; to the vigilance with which they would descry the first symptoms of usurpation; and to the promptitude with which they would sound the alarm to the public. This argument was probably not without its effect; and if it was a proper one then to recommend the establishment of the Constitution, it must be a proper one now to assist in its interpretation.

The only part of the two concluding resolutions that remains to be noticed is, the repetition, in the first, of that warm affection to the Union and its members, and of that scrupulous fidelity to the Constitution, which have been invariably felt by the people of this State. As the proceedings were introduced with these sentiments, they could not be more properly closed than in the same manner. Should there be any so far misled as to call in question the sincerity of these professions, whatever regret may be excited by the error, the General Assembly cannot descend into a discussion of it. Those who have listened to the suggestion can only be left to their own recollection of the part which this State has borne in the establishment of our National Independence, in the establishment of our National Constitution, and in maintaining under it the authority and laws of the Union, without a single exception of internal resistance or commotion. By recurring to these facts they will be able to convince themselves that the Representatives of the people of Virginia must be above the necessity of opposing any other shield to attacks on their national patriotism than their own conscientiousness and the justice of an enlightened public, who will perceive in the resolutions themselves the strongest evidence of attachment both to the Constitution and to the Union, since it is only by maintaining the different governments and departments within their respective limits that the blessings of either can be perpetuated.

The extensive view of the subject thus taken by the committee has led them to report to the House, as the result of the whole, the following Resolution:

Resolved, That the General Assembly having carefully and respectfully attended to the proceedings of a number of the States, in answer to their resolutions of December 21, 1798, and having accurately and fully re-examined and reconsidered the latter, find it to be their indispensable duty to adhere to the same, as founded in truth, as consonant with the Constitution, and as conducive to its preservation; and more especially to be their duty to renew, as they do hereby renew, their protest against “the Alien and Sedition Acts,” as palpable and alarming infractions of the Constitution.

Source: The Writings of James Madison: 1790-1802 by James Madison

James Madison Encroaches upon Our Liberties by Government

James Madison Quote General Welfare

James Madison Regarding the General Welfare Clause (Click to enlarge)

ADDRESS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO THE PEOPLE OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA.

Fellow-citizens,— Unwilling to shrink from our representative responsibility, conscious of the purity of our motives, but acknowledging your right to supervise our conduct, we invite your serious attention to the emergency which dictated the subjoined resolutions. Whilst we disdain to alarm you by ill-founded jealousies, we recommend an investigation, guided by the coolness of wisdom, and a decision bottomed on firmness but tempered with moderation.

It would be perfidious in those entrusted with the guardianship of the State sovereignty, and acting under the solemn obligation of the following oath, “I do swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States,” not to warn you of encroachments which, though clothed with the pretext of necessity, or disguised by arguments of expediency, may yet establish precedents which may ultimately devote a generous and unsuspicious people to all the consequences of usurped power.

Encroachments springing from a government whose organization cannot be maintained without the co-operation of the States, furnish the strongest excitements upon the State Legislatures to watchfulness, and impose upon them the strongest obligation to preserve unimpaired the line of partition.

James Madison State Rights vs Federal Government

James Madison regarding State Rights vs Federal Government (Click to enlarge)

The acquiescence of the States under infractions of the federal compact, would either beget a speedy consolidation, by precipitating the State governments into impotency and contempt; or prepare the way for a revolution, by a repetition of these infractions, until the people are roused to appear in the majesty of their strength. It is to avoid these calamities that we exhibit to the people the momentous question, whether the Constitution of the United States shall yield to a construction which defies every restraint and overwhelms the best hopes of republicanism.

Exhortations to disregard domestic usurpation, until foreign danger shall have passed, is an artifice which may be forever used; because the possessors of power, who are the advocates for its extension, can ever create national embarrassments, to be successively employed to soothe the people into sleep, whilst that power is swelling, silently, secretly, and fatally. Of the same character are insinuations of a foreign influence, which seize upon a laudable enthusiasm against danger from abroad, and distort it by an unnatural application, so as to blind your eyes against danger at home.

The sedition act presents a scene which was never expected by the early friends of the Constitution. It was then admitted that the State sovereignties were only diminished by powers specifically enumerated, or necessary to carry the specified powers into effect. Now, Federal authority is deduced from implication; and from the existence of State law, it is inferred that Congress possess a similar power of legislation; whence Congress will be endowed with a power of legislation in all cases whatsoever, and the States will be stripped of every right reserved, by the concurrent claims of a paramount Legislature.

The sedition act is the offspring of these tremendous pretensions, which inflict a death-wound on the sovereignty of the States.

For the honor of American understanding, we will not believe that the people have been allured into the adoption of the Constitution by an affectation of defining powers, whilst the Preamble would admit a construction which would erect the will of Congress into a power paramount in all cases, and therefore limited in none. On the contrary, it is evident that the objects for which the Constitution was formed were deemed attainable only by a particular enumeration and specification of each power granted to the Federal Government; reserving all others to the people, or to the States. And yet it is in vain we search for any specified power embracing the right of legislation against the freedom of the press.

Had the States been despoiled of their sovereignty by the generality of the preamble, and had the Federal Government been endowed with whatever they should judge to be instrumental towards union, justice, tranquility, common defense, general welfare, and the preservation of liberty, nothing could have been more frivolous than an enumeration of powers.

It is vicious in the extreme to calumniate meritorious public servants; but it is both artful and vicious to arouse the public indignation against calumny in order to conceal usurpation. Calumny is forbidden by the laws, usurpation by the Constitution. Calumny injures individuals, usurpation, States. Calumny may be redressed by the common judicatures; usurpation can only be controlled by the act of society. Ought usurpation, which is most mischievous, to be rendered less hateful by calumny, which, though injurious, is in a degree less pernicious? But the laws for the correction of calumny were not defective. Every libelous writing or expression might receive its punishment in the State courts, from juries summoned by an officer, who does not receive his appointment from the President, and is under no influence to court the pleasure of Government, whether it injured public officers or private citizens. Nor is there any distinction in the Constitution empowering Congress exclusively to punish calumny directed against an officer of the General Government; so that a construction assuming the power of protecting the reputation of a citizen officer will extend to the case of any other citizen, and open to Congress a right of legislation in every conceivable case which can arise between individuals.

In answer to this, it is urged that every Government possesses an inherent power of self-preservation, entitling it to do whatever it shall judge necessary for that purpose.

This is a repetition of the doctrine of implication and expediency in different language, and admits of a similar and decisive answer, namely, that as the powers of Congress are defined, powers inherent, implied, or expedient, are obviously the creatures of ambition; because the care expended in defining powers would otherwise have been superfluous. Powers extracted from such sources will be indefinitely multiplied by the aid of armies and patronage, which, with the impossibility of controlling them by any demarcation, would presently terminate reasoning, and ultimately swallow up the State sovereignties.

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 luster, and disseminating her salutary doctrines.

The sophistry of a distinction between the liberty and the licentiousness of the press is so forcibly exposed in a late memorial from our late envoys to the Minister of the French Republic, that we here present it to you in their own words:

“The genius of the Constitution, and the opinion of the people of the United States, cannot be overruled by those who administer the Government. Among those principles deemed sacred in America, among those sacred rights considered as forming the bulwark of their liberty, which the Government contemplates with awful reverence and would approach only with the most cautious circumspection, there is no one of which the importance is more deeply impressed on the public mind than the liberty of the press. That this liberty is often carried to excess; that it has sometimes degenerated into licentiousness, is seen and lamented, but the remedy has not yet been discovered. Perhaps it is an evil inseparable from the good with which it is allied; perhaps it is a shoot which cannot be stripped from the stalk without wounding vitally the plant from which it is torn. However desirable those measures might be which might correct without enslaving the press, they have never yet been devised in America. No regulations exist which enable the Government to suppress whatever calumnies or invectives any individual may choose to offer to the public eye, or to punish such calumnies and invectives otherwise than by a legal prosecution in courts which are alike open to all who consider themselves as injured.”

As if we were bound to look for security from the personal probity of Congress amidst the frailties of man, and not from the barriers of the Constitution, it has been urged that the accused under the sedition act is allowed to prove the truth of the charge. This argument will not for a moment disguise the unconstitutionality of the act, if it be recollected that opinions as well as facts are made punishable, and that the truth of an opinion is not susceptible of proof. By subjecting the truth of opinion to the regulation, fine, and imprisonment, to be inflicted by those who are of a different opinion, the free range of the human mind is injuriously restrained. The sacred obligations of religion flow from the due exercise of opinion, in the solemn discharge of which man is accountable to his God alone; yet, under this precedent the truth of religion itself may be ascertained, and its pretended licentiousness punished by a jury of a different creed from that held by the person accused. This law, then, commits the double sacrilege of arresting reason in her progress towards perfection, and of placing in a state of danger the free exercise of religious opinions. But where does the Constitution allow Congress to create crimes and inflict punishment, provided they allow the accused to exhibit evidence in his defense? This doctrine, united with the assertion, that sedition is a common law offence, and therefore within the correcting power of Congress, opens at once the hideous volumes of penal law, and turns loose upon us the utmost invention of insatiable malice and ambition, which, in all ages, have debauched morals, depressed liberty, shackled religion, supported despotism, and deluged the scaffold with blood.

All the preceding arguments, arising from a deficiency of constitutional power in Congress, apply to the alien act; and this act is liable to other objections peculiar to itself. If a suspicion that aliens are dangerous constitute the justification of that power exercised over them by Congress, then a. similar suspicion will justify the exercise of a similar power over natives; because there is nothing in the Constitution distinguishing between the power of a State to permit the residence of natives and of aliens. It is, therefore, a right originally possessed, and never surrendered, by the respective States, and which is rendered dear and valuable to Virginia, because it is assailed through the bosom of the Constitution, and because her peculiar situation renders the easy admission of artisans and laborers an interest of vast importance.

But this bill contains other features, still more alarming and dangerous. It dispenses with the trial by jury; it violates the judicial system; it confounds legislative, executive, and judicial powers; it punishes without trial; and it bestows upon the President despotic power over a numerous class of men. Are such measures consistent with our constitutional principles? And will an accumulation of power so extensive in the hands of the Executive, over aliens, secure to natives the blessings of republican liberty?

If measures can mold governments, and if an uncontrolled power of construction is surrendered to those who administer them, their progress may be easily foreseen, and their end easily foretold. A lover of monarchy, who opens the treasures of corruption by distributing emolument among devoted partisans, may at the same time be approaching his object and deluding the people with professions of republicanism. He may confound monarchy and republicanism, by the art of definition. He may varnish over the dexterity which ambition never fails to display, with the pliancy of language, the seduction of expediency, or the prejudices of the times; and he may come at length to avow that so extensive a territory as that of the United States can only be governed by the energies of monarchy; that it cannot be defended, except by standing armies; and that it cannot be united except by consolidation.

Measures have already been adopted which may lead to these consequences. They consist—

In fiscal systems and arrangements, which keep a host of commercial and wealthy individuals embodied, and obedient to the mandates of the treasury.

In armies and navies, which will, on the one hand, enlist the tendency of man to pay homage to his fellow-creature who can feed or honor him; and on the other, employ the principle of fear, by punishing imaginary insurrections, under the pretext of preventive justice.

In the extensive establishment of a volunteer militia, rallied together by a political creed, armed and officered by executive power, so as to deprive the States of their constitutional right to appoint militia officers, and to place the great bulk of the people in a defenseless situation.

In swarms of officers, civil and military, who can inculcate political tenets tending to consolidation and monarchy both by indulgencies and severities; and can act as spies over the free exercise of human reason.

In destroying, by the sedition act, the responsibility of public servants and public measures to the people, thus retrograding towards the exploded doctrine “ that the administrators of the Government are the masters, and not the servants, of the people,” and exposing America, which acquired the honor of taking the lead among nations towards perfecting political principles, to the disgrace of returning first to ancient ignorance and barbarism.

In exercising a power of depriving apportion of the people of that representation in Congress bestowed by the Constitution.

In the adoration and efforts of some known to be rooted in enmity to Republican Government, applauding and supporting measures by every contrivance calculated to take advantage of the public confidence, which is allowed to be ingenious, but will be fatally injurious.

In transferring to the Executive important legislative powers; particularly the power of raising armies, and borrowing money without limitation of interest.

In restraining the freedom of the press, and investing the Executive with legislative, executive, and judicial powers, over a numerous body of men.

And, that we may shorten the catalog, in establishing, by successive precedents, such a mode of construing the Constitution as will rapidly remove every restraint upon Federal power.

Let history be consulted; let the man of experience reflect: nay, let the artificers of monarchy be asked what further materials they can need for building up their favorite system.

These are solemn but painful truths; and yet we recommend it to you not to forget the possibility of danger from without, although danger threatens us from within. Usurpation is indeed dreadful; but against foreign invasion, if that should happen, let us rise with hearts and hands united, and repel the attack with the zeal of freemen who will strengthen their title to examine and correct domestic measures, by having defended their country against foreign aggression.

Pledged as we are, fellow-citizens, to these sacred engagements, we yet humbly and fervently implore the Almighty Disposer of events to avert from our land war and usurpation, the scourges of mankind; to permit our fields to be cultivated in peace; to instill into nations the love of friendly intercourse; to suffer our youth to be educated in virtue, and to preserve our morality from the pollution invariably incident to habits of war; to prevent the laborer and husbandman from being harassed by taxes and imposts; to remove from ambition the means of disturbing the commonwealth; to annihilate all pretexts for power afforded by war; to maintain the Constitution; and to bless our nation with tranquility, under whose benign influence we may reach the summit of happiness and glory, to which we are destined by nature and nature’s God.

Attest: JOHN STEWART, C. H. D. 1799, January 23. Agreed to by the Senate. H. BROOKE, C. S.

A true copy from the original deposited in the office of the General Assembly. JOHN STEWART, Keeper of Rolls.

 

The Spiritual Influence in the American Way of Life: 4-H Club of America

TheEducatorGodTrust

The National Motto (Click to enlarge)

Note: Definitely worth the addition, from the 4-H Club of America; December, 1952

The Spiritual Influence in the American Way of Life

The history of the United States is rich in reminders of the important and basic part that religion has played in the life of our Nation from its very beginning. A few of these reminders follow:

The first act of the Pilgrim Fathers after landing on Plymouth Rock in 1620 was thanksgiving and prayer.

Tablets mark the pews rented and occupied by George Washington in churches in Virginia and New York.

“In God We Trust” is engraved on the coins of this Nation.

Abstracts from opinions of the Supreme Court of the United States: [Cases Adjudged in the Supreme Court at October Term, 1891. J. C. Bancroft Davis, reporter. United States Reports, vol. 143. New York and Albany. 1892. See pp. 467-471]

“The Declaration of Independence recognizes the presence of the Divine in human affairs * * *

“If we examine the constitutions of the various States we find in them a constant recognition of religious obligations. Every constitution of every one of the forty-four States contains language which either directly or by clear implication recognizes a profound reverence for religion and an assumption that its influence in all human affairs is essential to the well being of the community * * *

“There is a universal language pervading them all, having one meaning; they affirm and reaffirm that this is a religious nation.”

“If we pass beyond these matters to a view of American life as expressed by its laws, its business, its customs and its society, we find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth. Among other matters note the following: The form of oath universally prevailing, concluding with an appeal to the Almighty; the custom of opening sessions of all deliberative bodies and most conventions with prayer; the prefatory words of all wills, ‘In the name of God, Amen'; the laws respecting the observance of the Sabbath, with the general cessation of all secular business , and the closing of courts, legislatures, and other similar public assemblies on that day; the churches and church organizations which abound in every city, town and hamlet; the multitude of charitable organizations existing everywhere under Christian auspices; the gigantic missionary associations, with general support, and aiming to establish Christian missions in every quarter of the globe. These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”

In addition, significant statements have been made by our Presidents calling attention to the importance of the spiritual development of the individual and of the community. Theodore Roosevelt referred to a churchless community where men have abandoned and scoffed at or ignored their religious needs as a community on rapid down grade. Woodrow Wilson declared that our civilization cannot survive materially unless it be redeemed spiritually. Calvin Coolidge said that a country’s strength is the strength of its religious convictions, and Herbert Hoover referred to our churches and religious institutions as indispensable stabilizing factors in our civilization. This thought was in part expressed even more strongly by Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he referred to the churches as the greatest influence in this world of ours to overcome the tendency toward greed.

Many of the great scientists of our own time are increasingly recognizing, as did Louis Pasteur, that in the Gospel virtues lie the springs of great thoughts and great actions. Only a short time ago, Dr. Robert A. Millikan and Arthur H. Compton, both Nobel prize winners echoed this feeling. The late Dr. Charles Steinmetz, a recognized scientific genius, declared that the greatest discoveries of all time will be spiritual and that when the scientists of the world turn their laboratories over to the study of God and prayer and the spiritual forces, the world will see more advancement in one generation than it has seen in the past several years.

Distinguishing Features of 4-H Club Work

To help prepare tomorrow’s citizens physically, mentally, and spiritually, 4-H Club work provides opportunities for voluntary participation in programs built on the members needs and interests. The program includes many varied projects and activities geared to these needs and interests.

Many of the distinguishing features of this broad 4-H program follow:

The National 4-H Club Pledge:

I pledge; My Head to clearer thinking, My Heart to greater loyalty, My Hands to larger service, and My Health to better living, for My club, my community and my country.

The National 4-H Citizenship Pledge:

We, individually and collectively, pledge our efforts from day to day, to fight for the ideals of this Nation.

We will never allow tyranny and injustice to become enthroned in this, our country, through indifference to our duties as citizens.

We will strive for intellectual honesty and exercise it through our power of franchise. We will obey the laws of our land and endeavor increasingly to quicken the sense of public duty among our fellow men.

We will strive for individual improvement and for social betterment.

We will devote our talents to the enrichment of our homes and our communities in relation to their material, social, and spiritual needs.

We will endeavor to transmit this Nation to posterity not merely as we found it, but freer, happier, and more beautiful than when it was transmitted to us.

The National 4-H Club Motto: To Make the Best Better.

The National 4-H Club Creed for Members

Parallel with the development of State 4-H Club creeds, the following national 4-H Club Creed has been developed:

I believe in 4-H Club work for the opportunity it will give me to become a useful citizen.

I believe in the training of my Head for the power it will give me to think, to plan, and to reason.

I believe in the training of my Heart for the nobleness it will give me to become kind, sympathetic, and true.

I believe in the training of my Hands for the ability it will give me to be helpful, useful, and skillful.

I believe in the training of my Health for the strength it will give me to enjoy life, to resist disease, and to work efficiently.

I believe in my country, my State, and my community, and in my responsibility for their development.

In all these things I believe, and I am willing to dedicate my efforts to their fulfillment.

The National 4-H Club Creed for Leaders [The national 4-H club Creed for Leaders was written by the late Dr. C. B. Smith, formerly Assistant Director of the Cooperative Extension Service]

I believe in the good earth, in the beauty and strength of its hills and valleys, its fields and forests, its orchards and gardens, its cattle on a thousand hills.

I believe in the educational, spiritual, and character-building value of work on the land, in the growing of crops, the raising of animals, the production of flowers and fruits–work with the Creator.

I believe in the country home where father, mother, and children work and strive together, grow up together, and share in each other’s joys, hopes, and faith.

I believe that out of rural homes come many of the strong, accomplishing men and women of the Nation.

And because I believe these things, I shall do my best, through 4-H Club work, to help build an efficient agriculture and homes of peace, beauty, and honor all over America and throughout the world.

The Ten 4-H Guideposts

1. Developing talents for greater usefulness.

  1. Joining with friends for work, fun, and fellowship.

3. Learning to live in a changing world.

4. Choosing a way to earn a living.

5. Producing food and fiber for home and market.

6. Creating better homes for better living.

7. Conserving nature’s resources for security and happiness.

8. Building health for a strong America.

9. Sharing responsibilities for community improvement.

10. Serving as citizens in maintaining world peace.

Ceremonials as a Significant Part of the 4-H Club Program

4-H Club ceremonials may serve a useful purpose in highlighting the ideals of 4-H Club work with dignity and beauty and in creating a closer bond among 4-H Club members throughout the country.

In this connection, Carl Schurz in an address at Faneuil Hall in Boston, a hundred years ago, is quoted as saying, ”Ideals are like stars. You will not succeed in touching them with your hands; but, like the seafaring man, you choose them as your guides, and following them, you reach your destiny.”

Throughout history, ceremonials with their ballads and sometimes with dances have played an important part in transmitting from one generation to another pride of country, faith in its ideals, and courage to fight for them. Similar importance has been attached to the ceremonials of the great religions of the world in highlighting religious beliefs and inspiring faith in Divine Power.

In 4-H Club work, considerable importance may be attached to 4-H Club ceremonials which highlight the 4-H Emblem, the Pledge, the Motto, the Creed, and often 4-H songs –all expressing the basic philosophy and idealism of the 4-H Club movement. In this connection, Dr. Mary Eva Duthie, in her study of 4-H Club work in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, states: [4-H Club Work in the Life of Rural Youth. A thesis submitted for the degree of doctor of philosophy. Mary Eva Duthie. 124 pp. University of Wisconsin]

“With all of the differences between the 4-H organizations in the three States which have been noted here, a fundamental unity was found in the idealism of the movement which could not be measured but was felt as an undercurrent in every State. The emblem, the slogan, the motto, and the pledge are the symbols of this idealism which was usually called ‘4-H spirit.’ The slogan was quoted frequently by members in informal conversations about their organization, and both leaders and members were heard to say, ‘A 4-H member does thus and so,’ or ‘4-H stands for this and that,’ the reference always being to an idealistic situation. “The rural boys and girls then have various opportunities for social experience through 4-H. In some cases they receive the values possible only in the small intimate group; in others they are a part of a large community group. Some clubs offer them wide opportunity for development of aesthetic judgments, while other club programs omit that field from their program. There are varied possibilities for recreation and also varied opportunities for contact with members of the opposite sex. The project requirements which members must meet are different; in fact, the very means by which the project is presented to them differ widely. But in spite of all of these differences, 4-H may indeed be called a national movement because of the emotional bond which exists in the idealism symbolized by the insignia, the pledge, the motto, and the slogan.” The place of ceremonials in the 4-H Club program is determined largely by club leaders and members in the development of their own programs on a local and State basis. These ceremonials vary in the States where they are being used. Some are more elaborate than others. Some are longer and involve more people. Included in this, manual are a very simple admission ceremony, a ceremony for the installation of officers, and a citizenship ceremony for prospective voters. It is the hope that these ceremonials, happily interspersed with 4-H songs, and changed to suit the occasion, may prove helpful to all 4-H Club leaders desiring to make more meaningful the idealism and philosophy of the 4-H Club program in connection with the observance of National 4-H Events.

4-H Admission Ceremony

Many a 4-H Club member has been stimulated to greater effort and achievement by the experiences and opportunities made possible through 4-H Club work. A brief summary of some of the 4-H basic principles emphasized at the time new members are admitted may aid considerably in developing an appreciation of the values of club work. Therefore, the following brief ceremony seems especially appropriate at the time new members are enrolled. On occasion, it may seem desirable to simplify it.

Suggestions:

The guide takes the candidate or candidates for 4-H Club membership to the front of the room, where the officers are standing behind a table on which an American flag and a 4-H flag have been placed.

President:

To you who are about to become a member of the 4-H Clubs of America, we, as active members of (club name), sharing responsibilities in the carrying out of our 4-H program, wish to inquire as to your earnestness in becoming a member.

Have you selected a 4-H project and handed in a 4-H enrollment card signed by your parents?

Candidate: I have.

Vice president:

Before becoming a member, we feel that you should become acquainted with the organization and purposes of the 4-H Clubs. The 4-H Clubs are a part of the national agricultural Extension Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the State colleges of agriculture and county extension organizations. 4-H Clubs are organized to help us become better citizens in a democracy by teaching us how to work and play together; by guiding us in the solving of our own problems and those of the home and community; by giving us an opportunity to learn better methods of farming and homemaking; by encouraging us to pass these better methods along to others; by giving us an understanding and appreciation of country life; and by helping us to be of service to others and to our communities in a changing world. In addition, during this critical period, each 4-H Club program provides rural young people an opportunity to do their full part in working together for a better home , community, and world understanding.

Secretary:

Our 4-H emblem is a green four-leaf clover, with a white “H” on each leaf, standing for the development of the Head, Heart, Hands, and Health.

Our 4-H motto is “To make the best better.”

The Ten 4-H Guideposts are: (Text of the 4-H)

Our 4-H Club Creed for Members is: (Text of the 4-H members)

Our 4-H Citizenship Pledge is: (Text of 4-H Citizenship Pledge)

Treasurer:

Our 4-H Club wants every person who joins it to know that he is joining a national organization that has important citizenship responsibilities. Every person should know also that the 4-H Clubs are part of a large organization in which the Extension Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, with headquarters in the Nation’s Capital, works cooperatively with the extension services of the State colleges of agriculture and the county extension services, as well as with the extension services of Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Each member should also know that 4-H Clubs are now well under way in many other countries.

President: You are now familiar with the purposes of 4-H Club work, the extent of the organization, the 4-H Emblem and what , it symbolizes, the 4-H Motto, the ten 4-H Guideposts to be used in developing 4-H programs, the 4-H Club Creed, and the 4-H Citizenship Pledge. Are you willing to try to live up to these ideals of the 4-H Club organization?

Candidate: I am.

President: Do you now wish to become a 4-H Club member?

Candidate: I do.

President: In becoming a member of our 4-HClub, we expect you to attend our meetings regularly, take an active part in our program, complete your project work, keep a record of all your 4-H activities, make an exhibit, and help other members of the club who may be in need of such help. As you sign the 4-H Club membership roll, please think of the responsibilities that you are assuming.

Candidate: Signs secretary’s book.

President: Please repeat the 4-H Club Pledge

Candidate: Repeats after president the 4-H Pledge. (Text of the pledge appears in part VI, P- 19.)

President: You are now a member of (name of club) 4-H Club. We welcome you into its membership. May you ever do your full part in carrying out the 4-H program. May you be faithful in helping to carry on your own 4-H work as a part of the general extension program of your community and county in partnership with your parents and neighbors, and in living up to its high ideals to the end that you will be among the distinguished number who are working for a better home, a better nation, and a better world.

 

Source: Aids for Observance of National 4-H Club Events: Program aid, Issue 214, December 1952; by United States Extension Service

James Madison Regarding Religious Duty and Religious Liberty

James Madison Concerning Rights of Conscience or Religious Liberty

James Madison Concerning Rights of Conscience or Religious Liberty (Click to enlarge)

“The moral sense is the first excellence of a well organized man” ~Thomas Jefferson to John Adams 1823

PREFACE:

It isn’t really that hard to understand the Founders and their intent. I grew up among a people “Primitive Christians” who hold the same sentiments as the Founding Fathers. The Founding Fathers were far from being Anti-Christian, atheists or deists. they were Christians and greatly promoted True Christianity in all they did and said on the subject, they were very religious and very right in their beliefs. Understanding the great depth of their religious beliefs isn’t that complicated to someone who grew up around it.

To begin with, government should never support any religion by taxes. Men who are in the ministry are or should be called by the Lord, Jesus is the Head of the Church, it is by him and only him that men should be lifted up. If the Lord is behind a man’s ministry, the Lord will lay it on peoples hearts to support that minister with their tithes and offerings. The Lord doesn’t need the governments help to support his ministers. nor his people, all the earth belongs to the Lord.

Among the people I grew up with, ministers are not voted for by the people, the people & ministry are not responsible for choosing ministers, God is. If a man feels that he is called to the ministry, he starts preaching, if the Lord has anointed him to be a pastor, teacher, etc., the gift will make room for itself and he will gain as the Holy Ghost reveals the gift to the Saints and members will be added to his church. If the man i.e. minister becomes abusive or if he becomes corrupt, just as the Holy Ghost led people to his church or ministry, again the Holy Ghost will lead them away and to where the Lord would have each individual member, (or lively stones of Christ’s Church as called in scripture), to be, under what ever minister. If the “gift” does not bear fruit, then the “gift” was obviously never a gift and therefore it doesn’t make room for the man. I’ve known a number of men who tried numerous times to start churches, who never had more than a hand-full of people, whose “churches” failed just as many times as they started them. Only the Lord can add to the ministry, and only the Lord can add to his people, or as God gives to his son Christ Jesus.

Our Founding Fathers also expected all school children to learn from the Bible, not only the history found there, but also how to be virtuous, how to act, how to reason, they expected them to be taught the principles of Christ not only at home, but in the public schools and universities. This is why so many of them put so much emphasis on society in America being moral and virtuous, they knew the more corruption, and the greater the lack of integrity among the people, the more numerous the laws and regulations needed to keep society from falling apart and turning on each other like beasts and devouring one another.

The more laws, rules and regulations you need to enforce decent behavior, the less freedom and liberty there will be, to enjoy life and pursue happiness. It’s just that simple.

Paul said in Philippians 1:12-19 “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ”

Paul is saying even though Christ is not always preached out of pure motives, nor in truth. He, Paul rejoiced in all, because just by Christ being preached it transforms men, society, etc., and works to the salvation of some who would never have been saved if they had not been exposed to the partial truth preached by others. The name of Christ Jesus ‘higher than all other names’ has the power to change hearts, lives, and destinies. Reminds me of the old hymn, “There’s power in the name of the Lord”.

The Principles of the Bible and more specifically those taught by Jesus were of great value and of great importance to the Founding Fathers. Everything they did in the founding of the United States was based on what they learned from history, what they had experienced at the time they lived and most importantly what they learned from the Bible. There was not a house in colonial America that did not have a well-worn Bible in it. Everything that had been happening in Europe in the last number of centuries led up to the Founding of this great country, the founding of America was the culmination of one of the greatest movements of God that had ever occurred in history. It was also by this education that they expected to end slavery.

Introductory quotes by some of the other Founding Fathers

“To obtain Religious, as well as Civil Liberty, I entered zealously into the Revolution. God grant that this Religious Liberty may be preserved in these States to the end of time.” ~ Charles Carroll of Carrollton (1737-1832)

John Adams said in a letter to his wife Abigail dated November 5, 1775, he discourses on the relations of religion to patriotism as follows: “Statesmen may plan and speculate for Liberty but it is Religion and Morality alone which can establish the principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. A true patriot must be a religious man. I have been led to think . . . that he who neglects his duty to his Maker may well be expected to be deficient and insincere in his duties towards the public. Even suppose him to possess a large share of what is called honor and public spirit, yet do not these men, by their bad example, by a loose immoral conduct, corrupt the minds of youth and vitiate the morals of the age and thus injure the public more than they can compensate by intrepidity, generosity and honor.”

John Adams view of the Christian religion as a factor in political education appears in one of the last entries in his diary: “One great advantage of the Christian religion is, that it brings the great principle of the law of nature and nations—Love your neighbor as yourself, and do to others as you would that others should do to you—to the knowledge, belief, and veneration of the whole people. . . No other institution for education, no kind of political discipline, could diffuse this kind of necessary information, so universally. . . . The duties and rights of the man and the citizen are thus taught from early infancy to every creature.”

“In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights, to illuminate our understandings 1 In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor. To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance ? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this ; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel. We shall be divided by our little partial local interests ; our projects will be confounded ; and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a by-word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

“Dear Friends, Your reflections on our situation, compared with that of many nations of Europe, are very sensible and just. Let me add, that only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.Benjamin Franklin When asked in France what was the secret of statesmanship, he replied: “He who shall introduce into public affairs the principles of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world.” About his religion he wrote to Dr. Stiles, President of Yale, as follows: “You desire to know something of my religion. It is the first time I have been questioned upon it. But I cannot take your curiosity amiss, and shall endeavor in a few words to gratify it. Here is my creed. I believe in one God, the Creator of the universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That He ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render to Him is doing good to His other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion, and I regard them as you do in whatever sect I meet with them.—As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think His system of morals and His religion, as He left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is like to see.”

“The fundamentals of Christianity as found in the gospels are 1. Faith, 2. Repentance. That faith is every [where ?] explained to be a belief that Jesus was the Messiah who had been promised. Repentance was to be proved sincerely by good works. The advantages accruing to mankind from our Saviour’s mission are these.

  1. The knowledge of one god only.
  2. A clear knowledge of their duty, or system of morality, delivered on such authority as to give it sanction.
  3. The outward forms of religious worship wanted to be purged of that farcical pomp & nonsense with which they were loaded.
  4. An inducement to a pious life, by revealing clearly a future existence in bliss, & that it was to be the reward of the virtuous.

The Epistles were written to persons already Christians. A person might be a Christian then before they were written. Consequently the fundamentals of Christianity were to be found in the preaching of our Saviour, which is related in the gospels. ” Written by Thomas Jefferson in his ‘Notes on Religion‘ See more of Jefferson’s religious views here. And for his treatise on ‘Morality in Government’ go here.

In a Letter from John Quincy Adams to John Adams

Dated: Washington, 27th April, 1837

John Quincy Adams made the following statement: “I am encouraged to infer a widely spread attachment to the principles by which they [the Founding Fathers] were actuated, and which they maintained with the well redeemed pledge of their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. If, at one of the most trying periods of that conflict, in March, 1779, you find Mr. Adams complaining of the dangers which beset the cause, and the difficulties which it had to encounter from the weakness, the selfishness, flattery, vanity, and corruption of the times, yet confiding without the admission of a doubt in the ultimate success of the cause itself,—may we not take it, in these times when the cause has succeeded, and the nation, formed by the labors and sufferings of those days, has enjoyed such a career of prosperity as was never before by Divine Providence allotted to man; may we not take it as an admonition, that the adherence to those principles of our fathers has been among the principal causes of that prosperity? Should we not proceed a step further, and inquire whether that half-century of unexampled prosperity might not have been still more resplendent with glory, but for our own aberrations from those principles, the contemplation of which had fired the soul of the writer of the inclosed letter with visions of an approaching kingdom of the just, to result from the success of that Revolution? In reviewing its history and our own, while we remember with exultation and gratitude the triumphant issue of the cause, and the favors of heaven by which it has been followed, is there not remaining an augury, both retrospective and prospective, upon ourselves? That kingdom of the just, which had floated in the virtuous visions of John Adams, while he was toiling for his country’s independence,—that kingdom of our Father in Heaven, for which His Son taught us to approach Him in daily prayer,—has it yet come; and if not, have our advances towards it been as pure, as virtuous, as self-denying, as were those of our fathers in the days of their trial of adversity? And if we lay these questions in seriousness to our souls, are we not bound to interrogate them still further?—to cross-examine them if they answer with too confident assurance of their own righteousness, and ask them whether of late, and even now, we are not stationary, or more than stationary, moving backwards, from that progress towards the kingdom of the just, which was among the anticipated fruits of our Revolutionary warfare? The highest, the transcendent glory of the American Revolution was this—it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the precepts of Christianity. If it has never been considered in that light, it is because its compass has not been perceived.

Patrick Henry regarding Our Patriotic Duty as Christians (Click to enlarge)

Patrick Henry regarding Our Patriotic Duty as Christians (Click to enlarge)

Background:

There were two measures put before the Virginia House of Delegates to which Patrick Henry lent his support, which James Madison opposed, they were, the incorporation of the protestant Episcopal church, and what is called “a general assessment.” These measures have been frequently stated, in conversation, as proofs of a leaning on the part of Mr. Henry toward an established church, and that, too, the aristocratic church of England. To test the justness of this charge, the journals of the house of delegates have been examined, and this is the result of the evidence which they furnish: on the 17th of November, 1784, Mr. Matthews reported from the committee of the whole house, on the state of the commonwealth, the following resolution:

“Resolved, That it is the opinion of this committee, that acts ought to pass for the incorporation of all societies of the Christian religion, which may apply for the same.”

The ayes and noes having been called for, on the passage of this resolution, were, ayes sixty-two, noes twenty-three; Mr. Henry being with the majority.

The principle being thus established in relation to all religious societies, which should desire a legal existence for the benefit of acquiring and holding property to the use of their respective churches, leave was given, on the same day, to bring in a bill to incorporate the clergy of the protestant Episcopal church, which had brought itself within that principle by having applied for an act of incorporation; and Mr. Henry was one, but not the chairman, [The chairman was Mr. Carter H. Harrison; the rest of the committee were Mr. Henry, Mr. Thomas Smith, Mr. William Anderson, and Mr. Tazewell] of the committee appointed to bring in that bill. How a measure which holds out to all religious societies, equally, the same benefit, can be charged with partiality, because accepted by one only, it is not very easy to discern. It would seem, to an ordinary mind, that, on the same principle, the Christian religion itself might be charged with partiality, since its offers, though made to all, are accepted but by few; and it is very certain, that if Mr. Henry is to be suspected of a bias toward an established church, on account of this vote, the charge will reach some of the foremost and best established republicans in the state, whose names stand recorded with Mr. Henry’s on this occasion, and who hold to this day the undiminished confidence of their countrymen.

The other measure, the general assessment, proceeded from a number of petitions from different counties of the commonwealth, which prayed, that as all persons enjoyed the benefits of religion, all might be required to contribute to the expense of supporting some form of worship or other. The committee, to whom these petitions were referred, reported a bill whose preamble sets forth the grounds of the proceeding, and furnishes a conclusive refutation of the charge of partiality to any particular form of religion. The bill is entitled, “A bill, establishing a provision for teachers of the Christian religion;” and its preamble is in the following words:— “Whereas the general diffusion of Christian knowledge hath a natural tendency to correct the morals of men, restrain their vices, and preserve the peace of society; which cannot be effected without a competent provision for learned teachers, who may be thereby enabled to devote their time and attention to the duty of instructing such citizens as, from their circumstances and want of education, cannot otherwise attain such knowledge; and it is judged such provision may be made by the legislature, without counteracting the liberal principle heretofore adopted and intended to be preserved, by abolishing all distinctions of pre-eminence amongst the different societies or communities of Christians.” The provisions of the bill are in the strictest conformity with the principles announced in the close of the preamble; the persons subject to taxes are required, at the time of giving in a list of their titheables, to declare to what particular religious society they choose to appropriate the sums assessed upon them, respectively; and, in the event of their failing or declining to specify any appropriation, the sums thus circumstanced are directed to be paid to the treasurer, and applied by the general assembly to the encouragement of seminaries of learning, in the counties where such sums shall arise. If there be any evidence of a leaning toward any particular religious sect in this bill, or any indication of a desire for an established church, the author of these sketches has not been able to discover them. Mr. Henry was a sincere believer in the Christian religion, and had a strong desire for the successful propagation of the gospel, but there was no tincture of bigotry or intolerance in his sentiments; nor have I been able to learn that he had a punctilious preference for any particular form of worship. His faith regarded the vital spirit of the gospel, and busied itself not at all with external ceremonies or controverted tenets.

Both these bills, “for incorporating the protestant Episcopal church,” and “establishing a provision for teachers of the Christian religion,” were reported after Mr. Henry had ceased to be a member of the house; but the resolutions on which they were founded were adopted while he continued a member, and had his warmest support. The first bill passed into a law; the last was rejected by a small majority, on the third reading.

MEMORIAL AND REMONSTRANCE AGAINST RELIGIOUS ASSESSMENTS.(fn. 1)

To The Honorable The General Assembly

OF

The Commonwealth Of Virginia.
A Memorial And Remonstrance.

Written By James Madison

1 Corinthians 10:29 Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another [man's] conscience?

We, the subscribers, citizens of the said Commonwealth, having taken into serious consideration, a Bill printed by order of the last Session of General Assembly, entitled A Bill establishing a provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion,” and conceiving but that the same, if finally armed with the sanctions of a law, will be a dangerous abuse of power, are bound as faithful members of a free State, to remonstrate against it, and to declare the reasons by which we are determined. We remonstrate against the said Bill,

1: Because we hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth, “that Religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the Manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence.”‘ The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right. It is unalienable; because the opinions of men, depending only on the evidence contemplated by their own minds, cannot follow the dictates of other men: It is unalienable also ; because what is here a right towards men, is a duty towards the Creator. It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage, and such only, as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent both in order of time and degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe: And if a member of Civil Society, who enters into any subordinate Association, must always do it with a reservation of his duty to the general authority; much more must every man who becomes a member of any particular Civil Society, do it with a saving of his allegiance to the Universal Sovereign. We maintain therefore that in matters of Religion, no man’s right is abridged by the institution of Civil Society, and that Religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance. True it is, that no other rule exists, by which any question which may divide a Society, can be ultimately determined, but the will of the majority; but it is also true, that the majority may trespass on the rights of the minority.

2: Because if religion be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, still less can it be subject to that of the Legislative Body. The latter are but the creatures and vicegerents of the former. Their jurisdiction is both derivative and limited : it is limited with regard to the co-ordinate departments, more necessarily is it limited with regard to the constituents. The preservation of a free government requires not merely, that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power may be invariably maintained ; but more especially, that neither of them be suffered to overleap the great Barrier which defends the rights of the people. The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants. The People who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves, nor by an authority derived from them, and are slaves.

3: Because, it is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of citizens, and one of [the] noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The freemen of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle. We revere this lesson too much, soon to forget it. Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects? That the same authority which can force a citizen to contribute three pence only of his property for the support of any one establishment, may force him to conform to any other establishment in all cases whatsoever?

4: Because, the bill violates that equality which ought to be the basis of every law, and which is more indispensible, in proportion as the validity or expediency of any law is more liable to be impeached. If “all men are by nature equally free and independent,”‘ all men are to be considered as entering into Society on equal conditions; as relinquishing no more, and therefore retaining no less, one than another, of their natural rights. Above all are they to be considered as retaining an “equal title to the free exercise of Religion according to the dictates of conscience” * Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess and to observe the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us. If this freedom be abused, it is an offence against God, not against man: To God, therefore, not to men, must an account of it be rendered. As the Bill violates equality by subjecting some to peculiar burdens; so it violates the same principle, by granting to others peculiar exemptions. Are the Quakers and Menonists the only sects who think a compulsive support of their religions unnecessary and unwarrantable? Can their piety alone be entrusted with the care of public worship? Ought their Religions to be endowed above all others, with extraordinary privileges, by which proselytes may be enticed from all others? We think too favorably of the justice and good sense of these denominations, to believe that they either covet pre-eminencies over their fellow citizens, or that they will be seduced by them, from the common opposition to the measure.

5: Because the bill implies either that the Civil Magistrate is a competent Judge of Religious truth ; or that he may employ Religion as an engine of Civil policy. The first is an arrogant pretension falsified by the contradictory opinions of Rulers in all ages, and throughout the world: The second an unhallowed perversion of the means of salvation.

6: Because the establishment proposed by the Bill is not requisite for the support of the Christian Religion. To say that it is, is a contradiction to the Christian Religion itself ; for every page of it disavows a dependence on the powers of this world: it is a contradiction to fact; for it is known that this Religion both existed and flourished, not only without the support of human laws, but in spite of every opposition from them ; and not only during the period of miraculous aid, but long after it had been left to its own evidence, and the ordinary care of Providence: Nay, it is a contradiction in terms; for a Religion not invented by human policy, must have pre-existed and been supported, before it was established by human policy. It is moreover to weaken in those who profess this Religion a pious confidence in its innate excellence, and the patronage of its Author ; and to foster in those who still reject it, a suspicion that its friends are too conscious of its fallacies, to trust it to its own merits.

7: Because experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of Religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries, has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution. Enquire of the Teachers of Christianity for the ages in which it appeared in its greatest luster; those of every sect, point to the ages prior to its incorporation with Civil policy. Propose a restoration of this primitive state in which its Teachers depended on the voluntary rewards of their flocks; many of them predict its downfall. On which side ought their testimony to have greatest weight, when for or when against their interest?

8: Because the establishment in question is not necessary for the support of Civil Government. If it be urged as necessary for the support of Civil Government only as it is a means of supporting Religion, and it be not necessary for the latter purpose, it cannot be necessary for the former. If Religion be not within the cognizance of Civil Government, how can its legal establishment be said to be necessary to civil Government? What influence in fact have ecclesiastical establishments had on Civil Society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of Civil authority; in many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been seen the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty, may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure & perpetuate it, needs them not. Such a government will be best supported by protecting every citizen in the enjoyment of his Religion with the same equal hand which protects his person and his property; by neither invading the equal rights of any Sect, nor suffering any Sect to invade those of another.

9: Because the proposed establishment is a departure from that generous policy, which, offering an asylum to the persecuted and oppressed of every Nation and Religion, promised a luster to our country, and an accession to the number of its citizens. What a melancholy mark is the Bill of sudden degeneracy? Instead of holding forth an asylum to the persecuted, it is itself a signal of persecution. It degrades from the equal rank of Citizens all those whose opinions in Religion do not bend to those of the Legislative authority. Distant as it may be, in its present form, from the Inquisition it differs from it only in degree. The one is the first step, the other the last in the career of intolerance. The magnanimous sufferer under this cruel scourge in foreign Regions, must view the Bill as a Beacon on our Coast, warning him to seek some other haven, where liberty and philanthrophy in their due extent may offer a more certain repose from his troubles.

10: Because, it will have a like tendency to banish our Citizens. The allurements presented by other situations are every day thinning their number. To superadd [add (something) to what has already been added] a fresh motive to emigration, by revoking the liberty which they now enjoy, would be the same species of folly which has dishonoured and depopulated flourishing kingdoms.

11: Because, it will destroy that moderation and harmony which the forbearance of our laws to intermeddle with Religion, has produced amongst its several sects. Torrents of blood have been spilt in the old world, by vain attempts of the secular arm to extinguish Religious discord, by proscribing all difference in Religious opinions. Time has at length revealed the true remedy. Every relaxation of narrow and rigorous policy, wherever it has been tried, has been found to assuage the disease. The American Theatre has exhibited proofs, that equal and compleat liberty, if it does not wholly eradicate it, sufficiently destroys its malignant influence on the health and prosperity of the State. If with the salutary effects of this system under our own eyes, we begin to contract the bonds of Religious freedom, we know no name that will too severely reproach our folly. At least let warning be taken at the first fruits of the threatened innovation. The very appearance of the Bill has transformed that ” Christian forbearance, ‘ love and charity,” which of late mutually prevailed, into animosities and jealousies, which may not soon be appeased. What mischiefs may not be dreaded should this enemy to the public quiet be armed with the force of a law?

12: Because, the policy of the bill is adverse to the diffusion of the light of Christianity. The first wish of those who enjoy this precious gift, ought to be that it may be imparted to the whole race of mankind. Compare the number of those who have as yet received it with the number still remaining under the dominion of false Religions; and how small is the former! Does the policy of the Bill tend to lessen the disproportion? No; it at once discourages those who are strangers to the light of revelation from coming into the Region of it; and countenances, by example the nations who continue in darkness, in shutting out those who might convey it to them. Instead of levelling as far as possible, every obstacle to the victorious progress of truth, the Bill with an ignoble and unchristian timidity would circumscribe it, with a wall of defence, against the encroachments of error.

13: Because attempts to enforce by legal sanctions, acts obnoxious to so great a proportion of Citizens, tend to enervate the laws in general, and to slacken the bands of Society. If it be difficult to execute any law which is not generally deemed necessary or salutary, what must be the case where it is deemed invalid and dangerous? and what may be the effect of so striking an example of impotency in the Government, on its general authority.

14: Because a measure of such singular magnitude and delicacy ought not to be imposed, without the clearest evidence that it is called for by a majority of citizens: and no satisfactory method is yet proposed by which the voice of the majority in this case may be determined, or its influence secured. “The people of the respective counties are indeed requested to signify their opinion respecting the adoption of the Bill to the next Session of Assembly.” But the representation must be made equal, before the voice either of the Representatives or of the Counties, will be that of the people. Our hope is that neither of the former will, after due consideration, espouse the dangerous principle of the Bill. Should the event disappoint us, it will still leave us in full confidence, that a fair appeal to the latter will reverse the sentence against our liberties.

15: Because, finally, “the equal right of every citizen to the free exercise of his Religion according to the dictates of conscience” is held by the same tenure with all our other rights. If we recur to its origin, it is equally the gift of nature; if we weigh its importance, it cannot be less dear to us; if we consult the Declaration of those rights which pertain to the good people of Virginia, as the “basis and foundation of Government,”‘ it is enumerated with equal solemnity, or rather studied emphasis. Either then, we must say, that the will of the Legislature is the only measure of their authority; and that in the plenitude of this authority, they may sweep away all our fundamental rights; or, that they are bound to leave this particular right untouched and sacred: Either we must say, that they may controul the freedom of the press, may abolish the trial by jury, may swallow up the Executive and Judiciary Powers of the State; nay that they may despoil us of our very right of suffrage, and erect themselves into an independant and hereditary assembly: or we must say, that they have no authority to enact into law the Bill under consideration. We the subscribers say, that the General Assembly of this Commonwealth have no such authority: And that no effort may be omitted on our part against so dangerous an usurpation, we oppose to it, this remonstrance; earnestly praying, as we are in duty bound, that the Supreme Lawgiver of the Universe, by illuminating those to whom it is addressed, may on the one hand, turn their councils from every act which would affront his holy prerogative, or violate the trust committed to them : and on the other, guide them into every measure which may be worthy of his blessing, may redound to their own praise, and may establish more firmly the liberties, the prosperity, and the Happiness of the Commonwealth.

James Madison concerning State Rights vs Federal (Click to enlarge)

James Madison concerning State Powers vs Federal in the Constitution (Click to enlarge)

Footnotes: (1) By a vote of ayes 48, noes 38, the third reading of the engrossed bill to establish a provision for the teachers of the Christian religion was postponed December 24, 1784, to the fourth Thursday in the next November. Among those voting against the postponement were Benjamin Harrison, Joseph Jones, John Marshall, Philip Barbour, Richard Bland Lee, Richard Henry Lee, and Henry Tazewell. Washington also favored the bill. It was printed for distribution among the voters in order that their sentiments towards it might be ascertained. Among its opponents were Wilson Cary Nicholas and George Nicholas. A copy of the bill is found among the Washington MSS. The copy of the Remonstrance used here is one of the broadsides printed by the Phenix Press of Alexandria, now in the Virginia Historical Society, with a number of signatures appended to it. It has been collated with the notes in Madison’s hand found among the Madison MSS.

“My brother informs me that he conversed with you on the propriety of remonstrating against certain measures of the last session of Assembly and that you seemed to think it would be best that the counties opposed to the measure should be silent. I fear this would be construed into an assent especially to the law for establishing a certain provision for the clergy : for as the Assembly only postponed the passing of it that they might know whether it was disagreeable to the people I think they may justly conclude that all are for it who do not say to the contrary. A majority of the counties are in favor of the measure undecipherable] a great majority of the people against it, but if this majority should not appear by petition the fact will be denied. Another reason why all should petition is that some will certainly do it and those who support the bills will insist that those who petition are all the opposition. Would it not add greatly to the weight of the petition if they all hold the same language? by discovering an exact uniformity of sentiment in a majority of the country it would certainly deter the majority of the assembly from proceeding. All my expectations are from their fears, and not their justice. … If you think with me that it will be proper to say something to the Assembly, will you commit it to paper. I risk this because I know you are most capable of doing it properly and because it will be most likely to be generally adopted. I can get it sent to Amherst Buckingham Albemarle, Fluvanna, Augusta, Botetourt, Rock Bridge and Rockingham and have no doubt that Bedford and the counties Southward of it will readily join in the measure. I will also send it to Frederick and Berkeley and if it goes from your county to P’arquieur Culpeper and Loudoun it will be adopted by the most populous part of the country.”— George Nicholas to Madison, Charlottesville, April 22″d 1785, Mad. MSS.

“I found that no alteration could be made to the remonstrance without injury and immediately had it copied and sent to the counties I mentioned in a former letter.”—Nicholas to Madison, Sweet Springs, July 24, 1785, Mad. MSS. ‘Decl. Rights, Art: 16. [Note in the original.]

Sources: The Writings of James Madison: 1783-1787 By James Madison
The life of Patrick Henry By William Wirt
CaptainJamesDavis.net

Samuel Adams Liberty and Freedom Require Virtue

 

Samuel Adams Regarding Our Liberties (Click to enlarge)

Samuel Adams Regarding Our Liberties (Click to enlarge)

ARTICLE SIGNED “CANDIDUS” (Pseudonym of Samuel Adams)
[Boston Gazette, October 14, 1771.]

Messieurs Edes & Gill,

“Ambition saw that stooping Rome could bear
A Master, nor had Virtue to be free.”
[From the poem "Liberty" (1734) by James Thomson, 1700-1748]

I Believe that no people ever yet groaned under the heavy yoke of slavery, but when they deserved it. This may be called a severe censure upon by far the greatest part of the nations in the world who are involved in the misery of servitude: But however they may be thought by some to deserve commiseration, the censure is just. [Ulriucus] Zuinglius [A zealous reformer, born at Wildehausen, in Switzerland, 1487 who laid the foundation of a division from Rome in Switzerland at the time that Luther did the same in Saxony], one of the first reformers, in his friendly admonition to the republic of the Switzers, discourses much of his countrymen throwing off the yoke: He says, that they who lie under oppression deserve what they suffer, and a great deal more ; and he bids them perish with their oppressors. The truth is, All might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they ought. Is it possible that millions could be enslaved by a few, which is a notorious fact, if all possessed the independent spirit of Brutus, who to his immortal honor, expelled the proud Tyrant of Rome, and his royal and rebellious race?” If therefore a people will not be free; if they have not virtue enough to maintain their liberty against a presumptuous invader, they deserve no pity, and are to be treated with contempt and ignominy. Had not Caesar seen that Rome was ready to stoop, he would not have dared to make himself the master of that once brave people. He was indeed, as a great writer observes, a smooth and subtle tyrant, who led them gently into slavery; “and on his brow, ‘ore daring vice deluding virtue smiled “. By pretending to be the peoples greatest friend, he gained the ascendency over them: By beguiling arts, hypocrisy and flattery, which are even more fatal than the sword, he obtained that supreme power which his ambitious soul had long thirsted for: The people were finally prevailed upon to consent to their own ruin: By the force of persuasion, or rather by cajoling arts and tricks always made use of by men who have ambitious views, they enacted their Lex Regia [Royal Law, A law by which it was claimed that the legislative power was transferred by the Roman people to the emperor]; whereby Quodplacuit principi legis habuit vigorem [Justice is the constant and perpetual will to render to every man his due]; that is, the will and pleasure of the Prince had the force of law. His minions had taken infinite pains to paint to their imaginations the god-like virtues of Caesar: They first persuaded them to believe that he was a deity [Editors Note: reminds me how some thought Obama was a god and said as much], and then to sacrifice to him those Rights and Liberties which their ancestors had so long maintained, with unexampled bravery, and with blood & treasure. By this act they fixed a precedent fatal to all posterity: The Roman people afterwards, influenced no doubt by this pernicious example, renewed it to his successors, not at the end of every ten years, but for life. They transferred all their right and power to Charles the Great: In eum transtulit omne suum jus et potestatem [He transferred all his right and power to him.]. Thus, they voluntarily and ignominiously surrendered their own liberty, and exchanged a free constitution for a Tyranny!

Samuel Adams Regarding Our Duty in Elections (Click to enlarge)

Samuel Adams Regarding Our Duty in Elections (Click to enlarge)

It is not my design at present to form the comparison between the state of this country now, and that of the Roman Empire in those dregs of time; or between the disposition of Caesar, and that of:

The comparison, I confess, would not in all parts hold good: The Tyrant of Rome, to do him justice, had learning, courage, and great abilities. It behooves us however to awake and advert to the danger we are in. The Tragedy of American Freedom, it is to be feared is nearly completed: A Tyranny seems to be at the very door. It is to little purpose then to go about coolly to rehearse the gradual steps that have been taken, the means that have been used, and the instruments employed, to encompass the ruin of the public liberty: We know them and we detest them. But what will this avail, if we have not courage and resolution to prevent the completion of their system?

Our enemies would fain have us lie down on the bed of sloth and security, and persuade ourselves that there is no danger: They are daily administering the opiate with multiplied arts and delusions; and I am sorry to observe, that the gilded pill is so alluring to some who call themselves the friends of Liberty. But is there no danger when the very foundations of our civil constitution tremble?—When an attempt was first made to disturb the corner-stone of the fabric, we were universally and justly alarmed: And can we be cool spectators, when we see it already removed from its place? With what resentment and indignation did we first receive the intelligence of a design to make us tributary, not to natural enemies, but infinitely more humiliating, to fellow subjects?And yet with unparalleled insolence we are told to be quiet, when we see that very money which is torn from us by lawless force, made use of still further to oppress us—to feed and pamper a set of infamous wretches, who swarm like the locusts of Egypt; and some of them expect to revel in wealth and riot on the spoils of our country.—Is it a time for us to sleep when our free government is essentially changed, and a new one is forming upon a quite different system? A government without the least dependence upon the people: A government under the absolute control of a minister of state; upon whose sovereign dictates is to depend not only the time when, and the place where, the legislative assembly shall sit, but whether it shall sit at all: And if it is allowed to meet, it shall be liable immediately to be thrown out of existence, if in any one point it fails in obedience to his arbitrary mandates. Have we not already seen specimens of what we are to expect under such a government, in the instructions which Mr. Hutchinson has received, and which he has publicly avowed, and declared he is bound to obey?—By one, he is to refuse his assent to a tax-bill, unless the Commissioners of the Customs and other favorites are exempted: And if these may be freed from taxes by the order of a minister, may not all his tools and drudges, or any others who are subservient to his designs, expect the same indulgence? By another he is to forbid to pass a grant of the assembly to any agent, but one to whose election he has given his consent; which is in effect to put it out of our power to take the necessary and legal steps for the redress of those grievances which we suffer by the arts and machinations of ministers, and their minions here. What difference is there between the present state of this province, which in course will be the deplorable state of all America, and that of Rome, under the law before mentioned? The difference is only this, that they gave their formal consent to the change, which we have not yet done. But let us be upon our guard against even a negative submission ; for agreeable to the sentiments of a celebrated writer, who thoroughly understood his subject, if we are voluntarily silent, as the conspirators would have us to be, it will be considered as an approbation of the change. “By the fundamental laws of England, the two houses of parliament in concert with the King, exercise the legislative power: But if the two houses should be so infatuated, as to resolve to suppress their powers, and invest the King with the full and absolute government, certainly the nation would not suffer it.” And if a minister shall usurp the supreme and absolute government of America, and set up his instructions as laws in the colonies, and their Governors shall be so weak or so wicked, as for the sake of keeping their places, to be made the instruments in putting them in execution, who will presume to say that the people have not a right, or that it is not their indispensable duty to God and their Country, by all rational means in their power to Resist Them.

“Be firm, my friends, nor let Unmanly Sloth
Twine round your hearts indissoluble chains.
Ne’er yet by force was freedom overcome.
Unless Corruption first dejects the pride,
And guardian vigor of the free-born soul,
All crude attempts of violence are vain.

Determined, hold Your Independence; for, that once destroyed,
Unfounded Freedom is a morning dream.”

The liberties of our Country, the freedom of our civil constitution are worth defending at all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair Inheritance from our worthy Ancestors: They purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood; and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle; or be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men. Of the latter we are in most danger at present: Let us therefore be aware of it. Let us contemplate our forefathers and posterity; and resolve to maintain the rights bequeathed to us from the former, for the sake of the latter.—Instead of sitting down satisfied with the efforts we have already made, which is the wish of our enemies, the necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude and perseverance. Let us remember, that “if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.” It is a very serious consideration, which should deeply impress our minds, that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers in the event.

CANDIDUS

REVIEW OF CUSTANCE ON THE CONSTITUTION

The Magna Carta (Click to enlarge)

The Magna Carta (Click to enlarge)

Sharing this article by Rev. Robert Hall mainly for the quote in the first paragraph.

REVIEW OF CUSTANCE ON THE CONSTITUTION

 

A Concise View of the Constitution of England. By George Custance. Dedicated, by permission, to William Wilberforce, Esq., M.P.for the County of York. Kidderminster: Gower; London: Longman and Co.; Hatchard. 1808.

It were surely to be wished that every man had a competent acquaintance with the laws and constitution of the country to which he belongs. Patriotism is a blind and irrational impulse, unless it is founded on a knowledge of the blessings we are called to secure, and the privileges we propose to defend. In a tyrannical state it is natural for the ruling power to cherish political ignorance, which can alone reconcile men to the tame surrender of their natural rights. The diffusion of light and knowledge is very unfavourable to ill-founded pretensions of every sort, but to none more than the encroachments of arbitrary power and lawless violence. The more we explore the recesses of a dungeon, the less likely are we to be reconciled to take up our residence in it. But the venerable fabric of the British constitution, our hereditary mansion, whether it be tried by the criterion of convenience or of beauty, of ancient prescription or of practical utility, will bear the most rigid examination; and the more it is contemplated will be the more admired.

The Romans were so conscious of the importance of imparting to the rising generation an early knowledge of their laws and constitution, that the contents of the twelve tables were committed to memory, and formed one of the first elements of public instruction. They were sensible that what lays hold of the mind at so early a period is not only likely to be long remembered, but is almost sure to command veneration and respect. We are not aware that similar attempts have been made to render the British youth acquainted with the principles of our admirable constitution, not inferior surely to that of the Roman republic; a defect in the system of education which the circumstances of the present crisis loudly call upon us to supply. When our existence as an independent nation is threatened, when unexampled sacrifices must be made, and, perhaps, the utmost efforts of patience and of persevering courage exerted for our preservation, an attachment to that constitution which is the basis of all our prosperity, cannot be too zealously promoted or too deeply felt. It is a just and enlightened estimate of the invaluable blessings that constitution secures, which alone can make us sustain our present burdens without repining, as well as prepare us for greater privations and severer struggles. For this reason we cannot but look upon the performance before us as a most seasonable publication. One cause of the attention of youth being so little directed to our national laws and constitution, in schools, is probably the want of suitable books. We have an abundance of learned and able writers on these subjects; but few, if any, that are quite adapted to the purpose we are now speaking of. Millar’s is a very profound and original work; but it supposes a great deal of previous knowledge, without which it can be scarcely understood, and is in every view better adapted to aid the researches of an antiquary, or the speculations of a philosopher, than to answer the end of an elementary treatise. De Lolme’s performance may be deemed more suitable; yet, able and ingenious as it is, it labours under some essential deficiencies, considered in the light of an elementary work. There is in it a spirit of refined speculation, an eagerness to detect and display latent, unthought-of excellences, in the frame of government, which is very remote from the simplicity requisite in the lessons of youth. Of Blackstone’s Commentaries it would be presumptuous in us to attempt an eulogium, after Sir William Jones has pronounced it to be the most beautiful outline that was ever given of any science. Nothing can exceed the luminous arrangement, the vast comprehension, and, we may venture to add from the best authorities, the legal accuracy of this wonderful performance, which, in style and composition, is distinguished by an unaffected grace, a majestic simplicity, which can only be eclipsed by the splendour of its higher qualities. Admirable, however, as these commentaries are, it is obvious that they are much too voluminous and elaborate to answer the purpose of an introduction to the study of the English constitution. We do, therefore, most sincerely congratulate the public on the appearance of a work which we can safely recommend as ‘well fitted to supply a chasm in our system of public instruction. The book before us is, in ever}’ view, well adapted for the instruction of youth: the clear and accurate information h conveys upon a most important subject, and the truly Christian tincture of its maxims and principles, are well calculated to enlarge the understanding and improve the heart. We beg leave particularly to recommend it to the attention of schools, in which, we conceive, a general acquaintance with the laws and constitution of the country might be cultivated with much advantage, as forming a proper preparation for the active scenes of life. Legal provisions for the security of the best temporal interests of mankind are the result of so much collective wisdom and experience, and are so continually conversant with human affairs, that we know no study more adapted to invigorate the understanding, and at the same time to give a practical turn to its speculations. The close cohesion of its parts tends to make the mind severely argumentative, while its continual relation to the state of society and its successive revolutions fences it in on the side of metaphysical abstraction and useless theories. What we look upon (for the reasons already mentioned) to be a most useful and interesting study at all times, we would earnestly recommend as an indispensable duty at the present crisis.

Of the merits of the work before us, the public may form some judgment, when we inform them that it contains whatever is most interesting to the general reader in Blackstone, together with much useful information derived from Professor Christian, De Lolme, and various other eminent authors. Some will be ready to accuse the writer of having carried his partiality toward whatever is established too far; nor dare we say the charge is entirely unfounded. We are not disposed, however, to be severe upon him on this account. We wish to see the minds of our youth preoccupied with a strong bias in favour of our national institutions. We would wish to see them animated by a warm and generous enthusiasm, and to defer the business of detecting faults and exposing imperfections to a future period. Let us only be allowed to remark, that this policy should be temperately employed; lest the mind should suffer a revulsion, and pass, perhaps abruptly, from implicit admiration to the lest, indignant at having been misled, it censure for undistinguishing applause.

We wish our author had, in common with Blackstone, expressed his disapprobation of the severity of our criminal code. The multiplicity of capital punishments we shall always consider as a reproach to the English nation; though, numerous as they are, they bear no proportion to what they ‘would be were the law permitted to take its course. The offences deemed capital by the common law are few; the sanguinary complexion of the criminal law, as it now stands, has arisen from the injudicious tampering of the legislature. To us it appears evident, that the certainty of punishment will restrain offenders more than its severity.; and that, when men are tempted to transgress, they do not weigh the emolument they had in view against the penalty awarded by law, but simply the probability of detection and punishment against that of impunity. Let the punishments be moderate, and this will be the most effectual means of rendering them certain. While nothing can exceed the trial by jury, and the dignified impartiality with which justice is administered, we are compelled to look upon the criminal code with very different emotions, and earnestly to wish it were carefully revised, and made more humane, simple, and precise.

As little can we concur with the author before us in the defence he sets up of the donation of pensions and where there are no pretensions of personal merit or honorable services. Standing quite aloof from party politic must affirm, that to whatever extent such a practice exactly in the same proportion is it a source of public calamity and disgrace. To look at it, as our author does, only in a pecuniary view, is to neglect the principal consideration. It is not merely or chiefly as a waste of public money that the granting of sinecures and pensions to the undeserving ought to be condemned; the venality and corruption it indicates and produces is its worst feature, and an infallible symptom of a declining state. With these exceptions, we have accompanied the author with almost uninterrupted pleasure, and have been highly gratified with the good sense, the extensive information, and the unaffected piety he displays throughout the work. Though a firm and steady churchman himself, be manifests a truly Christian spirit toward the Protestant dissenters; and is so far from looking with an evil eye on the large toleration they enjoy, that he contemplates with evident satisfaction the laws on which that toleration is founded.

Of the style of this work, it is but justice to say that, without aspiring to any high degree of ornament, it is pure, perspicuous, and correct, well suited to the subject on which it is employed.

As a fair specimen of Mr. C.’s manner of thinking, we beg leave to lay before our readers the following just and appropriate remarks on dueling:—

“Deliberate dueling falls under the head of express malice; and the law of England has justly fixed the crime and punishment of murder upon both the principal and accessaries of this most unchristian practice. Nothing more is necessary with us, to check this daring violation of all law, than the same firmness and integrity in the trial of duellists which so eminently distinguish an English jury on all other “occasions.

“Perhaps it will be asked, what are men of honour to do, if they must not appeal to the pistol and sword? The answer is obvious: if one gentleman has offended another, he cannot give a more indisputable proof of genuine courage, than by making a frank acknowledgment of his fault, and asking forgiveness of the injured party. On the other hand, if he have received an affront, he ought freely to forgive, as he hopes to be forgiven of God. And if either of the parties aggravate the matter by sending a challenge to fight, the other must not be a partaker of sin, if he would obey God rather than man.

“Still it will be said that a military or naval man, at least, must not decline a challenge, if he would maintain the character of a man of courage. But is it not insulting the loyalty and good sense of the brave defenders of our laws, to imagine that they of all men must violate them to preserve their honour; since the king has expressly forbidden any military man to send a challenge to fight a duel, upon pain of being cashiered, if an officer; and of suffering corporal punishment, if a non-commissioned officer or private soldier? Nor ought any officer or soldier to upbraid another for refusing a challenge, whom his Majesty positively declares he considers as having only acted in obedience to his (fn. 1) royal orders; and fully acquits of any disgrace that may be attached to his conduct. Besides, what necessary connection is there between the fool-hardiness of one who risks the eternal perdition of his neighbour and of himself in an unlawful combat, and the patriotic bravery of him who, when duty calls, boldly engages the enemy of his king and country? None will dispute the courage of the excellent Colonel Gardiner, who was slain at the battle of Preston Pans, in the rebellion of 1745. Yet he once refused a challenge, with this dignified remark: ‘I fear sinning, though I do not fear fighting.’ (Fn.2) The fact is, that fighting a duel is so far from being a proof of a man’s possessing true courage, that it is an infallible mark of his cowardice. For he is influenced by ‘the fear of man,’ whose praise he loveth more than the praise of God.”

Fn.1  See ‘ Articles of War,’ sec. 7.”

Fn.2 See Doddridge’s ‘Life of Colonel Gardiner,’ an interesting piece of biography, worthy the perusal of every officer in the army and navy.

 

CHRISTIANITY PROMOTES A LOVE OF FREEDOM

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

This piece of literature is long, however it is well worth the read, keeping in mind it builds and gains expression as you read further and further, it gets better the further you read as it is laid out in sublime eloquence and common sense reasoning. For the record, I, like Robert Hall am also not a unitarian, nor am I a trinitarian for that matter.

CHRISTIANITY PROMOTES A LOVE OF FREEDOM

ORIGINALLY TITLED: CHRISTIANITY CONSISTENT WITH A LOVE OF FREEDOM:

BEING

AN ANSWER BY REV. ROBERT HALL

TO

A SERMON,

LATELY PUBLISHED, BY THE REV. JOHN CLAYTON.

[published In 1791.]

It may be proper just to remark, that the animadversions I have made on Mr. John Clayton’s Sermon did not arise from my conviction of there being anything even of plausibility in his reasonings, but from an apprehension that certain accidental and occasional prejudices might give some degree of weight to one of the weakest defenses of a bad cause that was ever undertaken. I have taken up more time in showing that there is no proper connection between the Unitarian doctrine and the principles of liberty than the subject may seem to require; but this will not be thought superfluous by those who recollect that that idea seems to be the great hinge of Mr. Clayton’s discourse, and that it appears amongst the orthodox part of the dissenters to have been productive already of unhappy effects. I shall only add, that these remarks would have appeared much sooner but for severe indisposition, and that I was induced to write them chiefly from a persuasion that they might perhaps, in the present instance, have somewhat of additional weight as coming from one who is not an Unitarian.

Cambridge.

Sept. 17, 1791.

John Clayton’s ‘The duty of Christians to Magistrates’: a Sermon occasioned by the late Riots at Birmingham, preached at the King’s Weigh-house, East-Cheap, on Lord’s-day morning, July 24th, 1791. With a prefixed address to the public, intended to remove the reproach lately fallen on protestant dissenters. This sermon which led to a controversy, and provoked from Robert Hall his fine vindication of liberty, entitled ‘Christianity consistent with a Love of Freedom.’

NOTE BY THE EDITOR.

Christianity consistent with a Love of Freedom’ was written when Rev. Robert Hall was twenty-seven years of age; and he never would consent to its re-publication. He continued to think the main principles correct and important; but he regarded the tone of animadversion as severe, sarcastic, and unbecoming. Three or four editions have, however, been printed surreptitiously; and one of them, which now lies before me, Is so complete an imitation of the original edition of 1791, as usually to escape detection.

This, though one of the earliest productions laid by Mr. Hall before the public, is, with the exception already adverted to, by no means calculated to deteriorate his reputation. It contains some powerful reasoning as well as some splendid passages, and the concluding four or five pages exhibit a fine specimen of that union of severe taste, and lofty genius, and noble sentiment, which is evinced, I think, more frequently in his compositions than in those of any other modern author.

I have no fear of incurring blame for having cancelled throughout the name of the individual against whom Mr. Hall’s strictures were leveled. Venerable for his age, and esteemed for his piety, who would now voluntarily cause him, or those who love him, a pang ?*

Royal Miljtary Academy,
June 1,1831.

* As the name is now pretty generally known, and the distance of the event removes all personal feelings, there appears no reason why it should be suppressed in the present edition. It is “The Reverend John Clayton,” at that time minister of the Weigh House, Eastcheap.—Publisher.

CHRISTIANITY CONSISTENT WITH A LOVE OF FREEDOM,
&c. &c.

This is a period distinguished for extraordinary occurrences, whether we contemplate the world under its larger divisions, or in respect to those smaller communities and parties, into which it is broken and divided. We have lately witnessed, with astonishment and regret, the attempts of a celebrated orator to overthrow the principles of freedom, which he had rendered himself illustrious by defending; as well as to cover with reproach the characters of those by whom, in the earlier part of life, he was most caressed and distinguished. The success of these efforts is pretty generally known, and is such as it might have been expected would have been sufficient to deter from similar attempts. But we now behold a dissenting minister coming forth to the public under the character of a flatterer of power, and an accuser of his brethren. If the splendid eloquence that adorns every part of Mr. Burke’s celebrated book cannot shelter the author from confutation, and his system from contempt, Mr. Clayton, with talents far inferior, has but little to expect in the same cause. It is not easy to conceive the motives which could impel him to publish his sermon. From his own account it should seem he was anxious to disabuse the legislature, and to convince them there are many amongst the dissenters who highly disapprove the sentiments and conduct of the more patriotic part of their brethren. How far he may be qualified from his talents or connections, as a mouth, to declare the sentiments of any considerable portion of the dissenters, I shall not pretend to decide; but shall candidly confess, there are not wanting amongst us persons who are ready upon all occasions to oppose those principles on which the very existence of our dissent is founded. Every party will have its apostates of this kind; it is our consolation, however, that their numbers are comparatively small, that they are generally considered as our reproach, and that their conduct is in a great measure the effect of necessity, as they consist almost entirely of persons who can only make themselves heard by confusion and discord. If our author wishes to persuade the legislature the friends of arbitrary power are conspicuous for their number or their rank in the dissenting interest, he has most effectually defeated his own intentions, as scarce anything could give them a meaner opinion of that party, in both these respects, than this publication of its champion. The sermon he has obtruded upon the public is filled with paradoxes of so singular a complexion, and so feebly supported, that I find it difficult to lay hold of anything in the form of argument, with sufficient steadiness for the purpose of discussion.

I shall endeavour, however, with as much distinctness as I am able, to select the fundamental principles on which the discourse rests, and shall attempt, as I proceed, to demonstrate their falsehood and danger.

Our author’s favourite maxim is the inconsistency of the Christian profession with political science, and the certain injury its spirit and temper must sustain from every kind of interference with the affairs of government. Political subjects he considers as falling within the peculiar province of the irreligious; ministers, in particular, he maintains, should ever observe, amidst the concussions of party, an entire neutrality; or if at any time they depart from their natural line of conduct, it should only be in defence of the measures of government, in allaying dissensions, and in convincing the people they are incompetent judges of their rights. These are the servile maxims that run through the whole of this extraordinary discourse; and, that I may give a kind of method to the following observations upon them, I shall show in the first place the relation Christianity bears to civil government, and its consistency with political discussion, as conducted either by ordinary Christians or ministers; in the next place, I shall examine some of the pretences on which the author founds his principles.

Editors Note: It is good to read this in conjunction with “Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God

Thomas Jefferson regarding God's Divine Will (Click to enlarge)

Thomas Jefferson regarding God’s Divine Will (Click to enlarge)

Section I.

On the Duty of common Christians in Relation to Civil Polity.

The momentous errors Mr. Clayton has committed appear to me to have arisen from an inattention to the proper design of Christianity, and the place and station it was intended to occupy. On this subject I beg the reader’s attention to the following remarks:—

1st. Christianity was subsequent to the existence and creation of man. It is an institution intended to improve and ennoble our nature, not by subverting its constitution or its powers, but by giving us a more enlarged view of the designs of Providence, and opening a prospect into eternity. As the existence of man is not to be dated from the publication of Christianity, so neither is that order of things that flows from his relation to the present world altered or impaired by that divine system of religion. Man, under the Christian dispensation, is not a new structure erected on the ruin of the former; he may rather be compared to an ancient fabric restored, when it had fallen into decay, and beautified afresh by the hand of its original founder. Since Christianity has made its appearance in the world, he has continued the same kind of being he was before, fills the same scale in the order of existence, and is distinguished by the same propensities and powers.

In short, Christianity is not a reorganization of the principles of man, but an institution for his improvement. Hence it follows, that whatever rights are founded on the constitution of human nature, cannot be diminished or impaired by the introduction of revealed religion, which occupies itself entirely on the interests of a future world, and takes no share in the concerns of the present in any other light than as it is a state of preparation and trial. Christianity is a discovery of a future life, and acquaints us with the means by which its happiness may be secured; civil government is altogether an affair of the present state, and is no more than a provision of human skill, designed to ensure freedom and tranquility during our continuance on this temporary stage of existence. Between institutions so different in their nature and their object, it is plain no real opposition can subsist; and if ever they are represented in this light, or held inconsistent with each other, it must proceed from an ignorance of their respective genius and functions. Our relation to this world demands the existence of civil government; our relation to a future renders us dependent on the aid of the Christian institution; so that in reality there is no kind of contrariety between them, but each may continue without interference in its full operation. Mr. Clayton, however, in support of his absurd and pernicious tenets, always takes care to place civil government and Christianity in opposition, whilst he represents the former as carrying in it somewhat antichristian and profane. Thus he informs us, that civil government is a stage, erected on which, man acts out his character, and shows great depravity of heart. All interference in political parties he styles an alliance with the world, a neglecting to maintain our separation, and to stand upon our own hallowed ground. There is one way, says he, by which he means to insinuate there is only one, in which you may all interfere in the government of your country, and that is by prayer to God, by whom kings reign. These passages imply that the principles of civil polity and religion must be at perpetual variance, as without this supposition, unsupported as it is in fact, they can have no force or meaning.

2nd. Mr. Clayton misleads his reader by not distinguishing the innocent entertainments or social duties of our nature from those acts of piety which fall within the immediate province of Christianity.

The employments of our particular calling, the social ties and endearments of life, the improvement of the mind by liberal inquiry, and the cultivation of science and of art, form, it is true, no part of the Christian system, for they flourished before it was known; but they are intimately connected with the happiness and dignity of the human race. A Christian should act ever consistent with his profession, but he need not always be attending to the peculiar duties of it. The profession of religion does not oblige us to relinquish any undertaking on account of its being worldly, for we must then go out of the world; it is sufficient, that everything in “which we engage is of such a nature as will not violate the principles of virtue, or occupy so much of our time or attention as may interfere with more sacred and important duties.

Mr. Clayton observes, Jesus Christ uniformly waived interesting himself in temporal affairs, especially in the concerns of the then existing government; and hence he draws a precedent to regulate the conduct of his followers. That our Saviour did not intermeddle with the policy of nations I am as willing as our author to admit; for the improvement of this, any more than any other science which might be extremely short and defective, formed no part of his mission, and was besides rendered quite unnecessary by that energy of mind which, prompted by curiosity, by our passions and our wants, will ever be abundantly sufficient to perpetuate and refine every civil or human institution. He never intended that his followers, on becoming Christians, should forget they were men, or consider themselves as idle or uninterested spectators on the great theatre of life. The author’s selection of proofs is almost always unhappy, but in no instance more than the present, when he attempts to establish his doctrine of the unlawfulness of a Christian interfering in the administration of government on our Saviour’s silence respecting it, a circumstance of itself sufficient to support a quite contrary conclusion; for if it had been his intention to discountenance the study of political subjects, he would have furnished us, without doubt, with some general regulations, some stated form of policy, which should forever preclude the necessity of such discussion; or, if that were impracticable, have let us into the great secret of living without government; or, lastly, have supplied its place by a theocracy similar to that of the Jews. Nothing of this has he accomplished, and we may therefore rest assured the political affairs of nations are suffered to remain in their ancient channels, and to be conducted as occasions may arise, by Christians or by others, without distinction.

The principles of freedom ought, in a more peculiar manner, to be cherished by Christians, because they alone can secure that liberty of conscience, and freedom of inquiry, which is essential to the proper discharge of the duties of their profession. A full toleration of religious opinions, and the protection of all parties in their respective modes of worship, are the natural operations of a free government; and everything that tends to check or restrain them, materially affects the interests of religion. Aware of the force of religious belief over the mind of man, of the generous independence it inspires, and of the eagerness with which it is cherished and maintained, it is towards this quarter the arm of despotism first directs its attacks, while through every period the imaginary right of ruling the conscience has been the earliest assumed, and the latest relinquished. Under this conviction, an enlightened Christian, when he turns his attention to political occurrences, will rejoice in beholding every advance towards freedom in the government of nations, as it forms not only a barrier to the encroachments of tyranny, but a security to the diffusion and establishment of truth. A considerable portion of personal freedom may be enjoyed, it is true, under a despotic government, or, in other words, a great part of human actions may be left uncontrolled; but with this an enlightened mind will never rest satisfied, because it is at best but an indulgence flowing from motives of policy, or the lenity of the prince, which may be at any time withdrawn by the hand that bestowed it. Upon the same principles, religious toleration may have an accidental and precarious existence in states whose policy is the most arbitrary; but, in such a situation, it seldom lasts long, and can never rest upon a secure and permanent basis, disappearing for the most part along with those temporary views of interest or policy, on which it was founded. The history of every age will attest the truth of this observation.

Mr. Clayton, in order to prepare us to digest his principles, tells us in the first page of his discourse, that the gospel dispensation is spiritual, the worship it enjoins simple and easy, and if liberty of conscience be granted, all its exterior order may be regarded under every kind of human government. This is very true, but it is saying no more than that the Christian worship may be always carried on, if it is not interrupted; a point, I presume, no one will contend with him. The question is, can every form of government furnish a security for liberty of conscience; or, which is the same thing, can the rights of private judgment be safe under a government whose professed principle is, that the subject has no rights at all, but is a vassal dependent on his superior lord. Nor is this a futile or chimerical question; it is founded upon fact. The state to which it alludes is the condition at present of more than half the nations of Europe; and if there were no better patriots than this author, it would soon be the condition of them all. The blessings which we estimate highly we are naturally eager to perpetuate, and whoever is acquainted with the value of religious freedom, will not be content to suspend it on the clemency of a prince, the indulgence of ministers, or ,.he liberality of bishops, if ever such a thing existed; he will never think it secure till it has a constitutional basis; nor even then, till by the general spread of its principles, every individual becomes its guarantee, and every arm ready to be lifted up in its defence. Forms of policy may change, or they may survive the spirit that produced them; but when the seeds of knowledge have been once sown, and have taken root in the human mind, they will advance with a steady growth, and even flourish in those alarming scenes of anarchy and confusion, in which the settled order and regular machinery of government are wrecked and disappear.

Christianity, we see, then, instead of weakening our attachment to the principles of freedom, or withdrawing them from our attention, renders them doubly dear to us, by giving us an interest in them, proportioned to the value of those religious privileges which they secure and protect.

Our author [Clayton] endeavours to cast reproach on the advocates for liberty, by attempting to discredit their piety, for which purpose he assures us, to be active in this cause is disreputable, and brings the reality of our religion into just suspicion. Who are the persons, he asks, that embark? Are they the spiritual, humble, and useful teachers, who travail in birth, till Christ be formed in the hearts of their hearers? No. They are philosophical opposers of the grand peculiarities of Christianity. It is of little consequence of what descriptions of persons the friends of freedom consist, provided their principles are just, and their arguments well founded; but here, as in other places, the author displays an utter ignorance of facts. Men who know no age but their own, must draw their precedents from it; or, if Mr. Clayton had glanced only towards the history of England, he must have remembered, that in the reigns of Charles the First and Second, the chief friends of freedom were the puritans, of whom many were republicans, and the remainder zealously attached to a limited monarchy [i.e. Limited Government]. It is to the distinguished exertions of this party we are in a great measure indebted for the preservation of our free and happy constitution. In those distracted and turbulent times which preceded the restoration of Charles the Second, the puritans, who to a devotion the most fervent united an eager attachment to the doctrines of grace, as they are commonly called, displayed on every occasion a love of freedom, pushed almost to excess; whilst the cavaliers, their opponents, who ridiculed all that was serious, and, if they had any religion at all, held sentiments directly repugnant to the tenets of Calvin, were the firm supporters of arbitrary power. If the unitarians, then, are at present distinguished for their zeal in the cause of freedom, it cannot be imputed to any alliance between their religious and political opinions, but to the conduct natural to a minority, who, attempting bold innovations, and maintaining sentiments very different from those which are generally held, are sensible they can only shelter themselves from persecution and reproach, and gain an impartial hearing from the public, by throwing down the barriers of prejudice, and claiming an unlimited freedom of thought.

4th. Though Christianity does not assume any immediate direction in the affairs of government, it inculcates those duties, and recommends that spirit, which will ever prompt us to cherish the principles of freedom. It teaches us to check every selfish passion, to consider ourselves as parts of a great community, and to abound in all the fruits of an active benevolence. The particular operation of this principle will be regulated by circumstances as they arise, but our obligation to cultivate it is clear and indubitable. As this author does not pretend that the nature of a government has no connection with the felicity of those who are the subjects of it, he cannot without the utmost inconsistence deny, that to watch over the interests of our fellow creatures in this respect is a branch of the great duty of social benevolence. If we are bound to protect a neighbour, or even an enemy, from violence, to give him raiment when he is naked, or food when he is hungry, much more ought we to do our part toward the preservation of a free government; the only basis on which the enjoyment of these blessings can securely rest. He who breaks the fetters of slavery, and delivers a nation from thraldom, forms, in my opinion, the noblest comment on the great law of love, whilst he distributes the greatest blessing which man can receive from man; but next to that is the merit of him, who in times like the present, watches over the edifice of public liberty, repairs its foundations, and strengthens its cement, when he beholds it hastening to decay.

It is not in the power of every one, it is true, to benefit his age or country, in this distinguished manner, and accordingly it is nowhere expressly commanded; but where this ability exists, it is not diminished by our embracing Christianity, which consecrates every talent to the public good. On whomsoever distinguished endowments are bestowed, as Christians we ought to rejoice when, instead of being wasted in vain or frivolous pursuits, we behold them employed on objects of the greatest general concern; amongst which those principles of freedom will ever be reckoned, which determine the destiny of nations, and the collective felicity of the human race.

5th. Our author [Clayton] expresses an ardent desire for the approach of that period when all men will be Christians. I have no doubt that this event will take place, and rejoice in the prospect of it; but whenever it arrives, it will be fatal to Mr. Clayton’s favourite principles; for the professors of Christianity must then become politicians, as the wicked, on whom he at present very politely devolves the business of government, will be no more: or, perhaps he indulges a hope, that even then, there will be a sufficient number of sinners left to conduct political affairs, especially as wars will then cease, and social life be less frequently disturbed by rapine and injustice. It will still, however, be a great hardship, that a handful of the wicked should rule innumerable multitudes of the just, and cannot fail, according to our present conceptions, to operate as a kind of check on piety and virtue. How Mr. Clayton will settle this point I cannot pretend to say, except he imagines men will be able to subsist without any laws or civil regulations, or intends to revive the long-exploded tradition of Papias [Bishop of Hierapolis, and author of the Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord in five books], respecting the personal reign.

Had Christianity been intended only for the benefit of a few, or as the distinction of a small fraternity, there might have been some pretense for setting its profession in opposition to human policy, since it might then have been conducted without their interference; but a religion which is formed for the whole world, and will finally be embraced by all its inhabitants, can never be clogged with any such impediment as would render it repugnant to the social existence of mankind.

Section II.

On the Duty of Ministers in Respect to Civil Polity.

Mr. Clayton is extremely severe upon those of his brethren, who, forsaking the quiet duties of their profession as he styles them, have dared to interfere in public affaire. This he considers a most flagrant offence, an alarming departure from their proper province; and in the fulness of his rage he heaps upon them every epithet which contempt or indignation can suggest; calls them meddling, convivial, political ministers, devoid of all seriousness and dignity. It is rather extraordinary, this severe correction should be administered by a man who is, at that moment, guilty of the offence he is chastising; reproaches political preachers in a political sermon; ridicules theories of government, and at the same time advances one of his own, a most wretched one indeed, but delivered in a tone the most arrogant and decisive. It is not political discussion then, it seems, that has ruffled the gentle serenity of our author’s temper; for he too, we see, can bend, when it pleases him, from his spiritual elevation, and let fall his oracular responses on the duty of subjects and of kings. But the persons on whom he denounces his anathemas have presumed to adopt a system of politics inconsistent with his own, and it is less his piety than his pride that is shocked and offended. Instead of submitting to be molded by any adept in cringes, and posture-master of servility, they have dared to assume the bold and natural port of freemen.

It will be unnecessary to say much on the duty of ministers, in respect to political affairs, as many of the reflections which this subject would suggest have been already advanced under a former head. A few considerations, however, present themselves here, to which I shall beg the reader’s attention.

The duties of the ministerial character, it will on all hands be confessed, are of a nature the most sacred and important. To them should be directed the first and chief attention of every person who sustains it, and whatever is found to interfere with these momentous engagements, should be relinquished as criminal and improper. But there is no profession which occupies the mind so fully as not to leave many intervals of leisure, in which objects that lie out of its immediate province will have a share of our attention; and I see not why these periods of recess may not be employed with as much dignity and advantage, in acquiring an acquaintance with the principles of government, as wasted in frivolous amusements, or an inactive indolence. Mr. Clayton, with his usual confidence, lays it down as a maxim, that the science of politics cannot be cultivated without a neglect of ministerial duties; and one would almost be tempted to suppose he had published his sermon as a confirmation of this remark; for a more striking example of political ignorance in a teacher of religion, has scarcely ever been exhibited. As far, therefore, as the preacher himself is concerned, the observation will be admitted in its full force; but he has surely no right to make his own weakness the standard of another’s strength.

Political science, as far as it falls under our present contemplation, may be considered in two points of view. It may either intend a discussion of the great objects for which governments are formed, or it may intend a consideration of the means which may be employed, and the particular contrivances that may be fallen upon to accomplish those objects. For example, in vindicating the revolution of France, two distinct methods may be pursued with equal propriety and success. It may be defended upon its principles against the friends of arbitrary power, by displaying the value of freedom, the equal rights of mankind, the folly and injustice of those regal or aristocratic pretensions by which those rights were invaded; accordingly, in this light it has been justified with the utmost success. Or it may be defended upon its expedients, by exhibiting the elements of government which it has composed, the laws it has enacted, and the tendency of both to extend and perpetuate that liberty which is its ultimate object. But though each of these modes of discussion fall within the province of politics, it is obvious the degree of inquiry, of knowledge, and of labour they require, differs widely. The first is a path which has been often and successfully trod, turns upon principles which are common to all times and places, and which demand little else to enforce conviction, than calm and dispassionate attention. The latter method, involving a question of expediency, not of right, would lead into a vast field of detail, would require a thorough acquaintance with the situation of persons and of things, as well as long and intimate acquaintance with human affairs. There are but few ministers who have capacity or leisure to become great practical politicians. To explore the intricacies of commercial science, to penetrate the refinements of negotiation, to determine with certainty and precision the balance of power, are undertakings, it will be confessed, which lie very remote from the ministerial department; but the principles of government, as it is a contrivance for securing the freedom and happiness of men, may be acquired with great ease.

These principles our ancestors understood well, and it would be no small shame if, in an age which boasts so much light and improvement as the present, they were less familiar to us. There is no class of men to whom this species of knowledge is so requisite, on several accounts, as dissenting ministers. The jealous policy of the establishment forbids our youth admission into the celebrated seats of learning; our own seminaries, at least till lately, were almost entirely confined to candidates for the ministry; and as on both these accounts, amongst us, the intellectual improvement of our religious teachers rises superior to that of private Christians, in a greater degree than in the national church, the influence of their opinions is wider in proportion. Disclaiming, as they do, all pretensions to dominion, their public character, their professional leisure, the habits of study and composition which they acquire, concur to point them out as the natural guardians, in some measure, of our liberties and rights. Besides, as they are appointed to teach the whole compass of social duty, the mutual obligations of rulers and subjects will of necessity fall under their notice; and they cannot explain or enforce the reasons of submission, without displaying the proper end of government, and the expectations we may naturally form from it; which, when accurately done, will lead into the very depths of political science.

There is another reason, however, distinct from any I have yet mentioned, flowing from the nature of an established religion, why dissenting ministers, above all men, should be well skilled in the principles of freedom. Wherever, as in England, religion is established by law with splendid emoluments and dignities annexed to its profession, the clergy, who are candidates for these distinctions, will ever be prone to exalt the prerogative, not only in order to strengthen the arm on which they lean, but that they may the more successfully ingratiate themselves in the favour of the prince, by flattering those ambitious views and passions which are too readily entertained by persons possessed of supreme power. The boasted alliance between church and state, on which so many encomiums [Tributes: speeches or pieces of writing that praises someone or something highly] have been lavished, seems to have been little more than a compact between the priest and the magistrate, to betray the liberties of mankind, both civil and religious. To this the clergy, on their part at least, have continued steady, shunning inquiry, fearful of change, blind to the corruptions of government, skilful to discern the signs of the times, and eager to improve every opportunity, and to employ all their art and eloquence to extend the prerogative and smooth the approaches of arbitrary power. Individuals are illustrious exceptions to this censure; it however applies to the body, to none more than to those whose exalted rank and extensive influence determine its complexion and spirit. In this situation, the leaders of that church, in their fatal attempt to recommend and embellish a slavish system of principles, will, I trust, be ever carefully watched and opposed by those who hold a similar station amongst the dissenters; that, at all events, there may remain one asylum to which insulted freedom may retire unmolested. These considerations are sufficient to justify every dissenting minister in well-timed exertions for the public cause, and from them we may learn what opinion to entertain of Mr. Clayton’s weak and malignant invectives.

From the general strain of his discourse, it would be natural to conclude he was an enemy to every interference of ministers on political occasions; but this is not the case. Ministers, says he, may interfere as peace-makers, and by proper methods should counteract the spirit of faction raised by persons who seem born to vex the state. After having taught them to remain in a quiet neutrality, he invests them all at once with the high character of arbiters between the contending parties, without considering that an office of so much delicacy would demand a most intimate acquaintance with the pretensions of both. Ministers, it should seem, instead of declining political interference, are to become such adepts in the science of government, as to distinguish with precision the complaints of an oppressed party from the clamors of a faction, to hold the balance between the ruler and the subject with a steady hand, and to point out on every occasion, and counteract the persons who are born to vex the state. If any should demand by what means they are to furnish themselves for such extraordinary undertakings, he will learn that it is not by political investigation or inquiry this profound skill is to be attained, but by a studied inattention and neglect; of which this author, it must be confessed, has given his disciples a most edifying example in his first essay. There is something miraculous in these endowments. This battle is not to the strong, nor these riches to men of understanding. Our author goes a step farther, for when he is in the humour for concessions no man can be more liberal. So far as revolutions, says he, are parts of God’s plan of government, a Christian is not to hinder such changes in states as promise an increase of happiness to mankind. But nowhere in the New Testament can a Christian find countenance in becoming a forward active man in regenerating the civil constitutions of nations. A Christian is not to oppose revolutions, as far as they are parts of God’s plan of government. The direction which oracles afford has ever been complained of for its obscurity; and this of Mr. Clayton, though no doubt it is fraught with the profoundest wisdom, would have been more useful, had it furnished some criterion to distinguish those transactions which are parts of God’s plan of government. We have hitherto imagined the elements of nature, and the whole agency of man, are comprehended within the system of Divine Providence; but, as in this sense everything becomes a part of the divine plan, it cannot be his meaning. Perhaps he means to confine the phrase of God’s plan of government to that portion of human agency which is consistent with the divine will and promises, or, as he says, with an increase of happiness to mankind. If this should be his intention, the sentiment is just, but utterly subversive of the purpose for which it is introduced, as it concurs with the principle of all reformers in leaving us no other direction in these cases than reason and experience, determined in their exertions by a regard to the general happiness of mankind. On this basis the wildest projectors profess to erect their improvements. On this principle, too, do the dissenters proceed, when they call for a repeal of the test act, when they lament the unequal representation of parliament, when they wish to see a period to ministerial corruption, and to the encroachments of an hierarchy equally servile and oppressive; and thus, by one unlucky concession, this author has admitted the ground-work of reform in its fullest extent, and has demolished the whole fabric he was so eager to rear. He must not be offended if principles thus corrupt, and thus feebly supported, should meet with the contempt they deserve, but must seek his consolation in his own adage, as the correction of folly is certainly apart of God’s plan of government. The reader can be at no loss to determine whom the author intends by a busy active man in regenerating the civil constitutions of nations. The occasion of the sermon, and complexion of its sentiments, concur in directing us to Dr. Priestley, a person whom the author [Clayton] seems to regard with a more than odium theologicum [i.e. theological hatred], with a rancor exceeding the measure even of his profession. The religious tenets of Dr. Priestley appear to me erroneous in the extreme; but I should be sorry to suffer any difference of sentiment to diminish my sensibility to virtue, or my admiration of genius. From him the poisoned arrow will fall pointless. His enlightened and active mind, his unwearied assiduity, the extent of his researches, the light he has poured into almost every department of science, will be the admiration of that period, when the greater part of those who have favoured, or those who have opposed him, will be alike forgotten. Distinguished merit will ever rise superior to oppression, and will draw luster from reproach. The vapours which gather round the rising sun, and follow it in its course, seldom fail at the close of it to form a magnificent theatre for its reception, and to invest with variegated tints, and with a softened effulgence, the luminary which they cannot hide. [NOTE: Whether or not the beautiful passage in the text was suggested by a floating vague recollection of the following lines of Pope, or were an avowed imitation of them, cannot now be determined. But be this as it may, I think it will be readily admitted that the rhythm and harmony of the passage in prose are decidedly superior to those in the lines of the poet:—

“Envy will merit, as its shade, pursue,
But, like a shadow, prove the substance true:
For envied wit, like Sol [the Sun] eclips’d, makes known
Th’ opposing body’s grossness, not its own.
When first that sun too powerful beams displays,
It draws up vapours which obscure its rays:
But e’en those clouds at last adorn its way,
Reflect new glories, and augment the day.”—Editor.]

It is a pity, however, our author [Clayton], in reproaching characters so illustrious, was not a little more attentive to facts; for unfortunately for him, Dr. Priestley has not in any instance displayed that disaffection to government with which he has been charged so wantonly. In his Lectures on History, and his Essay on Civil Government, which of all his publications fall most properly within the sphere of politics, he has delineated the British constitution with great accuracy, and has expressed his warm admiration of it as the best system of policy the sagacity of man has been able to contrive. In his Familiar Letters to the Inhabitants of Birmingham, a much later work, where the seeds of that implacable dislike were scattered which produced the late riots, he has renewed that declaration, and has informed us, that he has been pleasantly ridiculed by his friends as being an unitarian in religion, and a trinitarian in politics. He has lamented, indeed, in common with every enlightened citizen, the existence of certain corruptions, which, being gradually introduced into the constitution, have greatly impaired its vigour; but in this he has had the honour of being followed by the prime minister himself, who began his career by proposing a reform in parliament, merely to court popularity it is true, at a time when it would not have been so safe for him to insult the friends of freedom after having betrayed their interest, as he has since found it.

Dr. Priestley has, moreover, defended with great ability and success the principles of our dissent, exposing, as the very nature of the undertaking demands, the folly and injustice of all clerical usurpations; and on this account, if on no other, he is entitled to the gratitude of his brethren. In addition to this catalogue of crimes, he has ventured to express his satisfaction on the liberation of France; an event which, promising a firmer establishment to liberty than any recorded in the annals of the world, is contemplated by the friends of arbitrary power throughout every kingdom of Europe with the utmost concern. These are the demerits of Dr. Priestley, for which this political astrologist and sacred calculator of nativities pronounces upon him that he is born to vex the state. The best apology candour can suggest, will be to hope Mr. Clayton has never read Dr. Priestley’s political works; a conjecture somewhat confirmed from his disclaiming all attention to political theories, and from the extreme ignorance he displays through the whole of his discourse on political topics. Still it is to be wished he would have condescended to understand what he means to confute, if it had been only to save himself the trouble and disgrace of this publication.

The manner in which he speaks of the Birmingham riots, and the cause to which he traces them, are too remarkable to pass unnoticed.

When led, says he, speaking of the sufferers, by officious zeal, from the quiet duties of their profession into the Senator’s province: unhallowed boisterous passions in others, like their own, God may permit to chastise them. For my own part I was some time before I could develope this extraordinary passage; but I now find the darkness in which it is veiled is no more than that mystic sublimity which has always tinctured the language of those who are appointed to interpret the counsels of heavens.

I would not have Mr. Clayton deal too freely in these visions, lest the fire and illumination of the prophet should put out the reason of the man, a caution the more necessary in the present instance, as it glimmers so feebly already in several parts of his discourse, that its extinction would not be at all extraordinary. We are, no doubt, much obliged to him for letting us into a secret we could never have learned any other way. We thank him heartily for informing us that the Birmingham riots were a judgment; and, as we would wish to be grateful for such an important communication, we would whisper in his ear in return, that he should be particularly careful not to suffer this itch of prophesying to grow upon him, men being extremely apt, in this degenerate age, to mistake a prophet for a madman, and to lodge them in the same place of confinement. The best use he could make of his mantle would be to bequeath it to the use of posterity, as for the want of it I am afraid they will be in danger of falling into some very unhappy mistakes. To their unenlightened eyes it will appear a reproach, that in the eighteenth century, an age that boasts its science and improvement, the first philosopher in Europe, of a character unblemished, and of manners the most mild and gentle, should be torn from his family, and obliged to flee an outcast and a fugitive from the murderous bands of a frantic rabble; but when they learn that there were not wanting teachers of religion, who secretly triumphed in these barbarities, they will pause for a moment, and imagine they are reading the history of Goths or of Vandals. Erroneous as such a judgment must appear in the eyes of Mr. Clayton, nothing but a ray of his supernatural light could enable us to form a more just decision. Dr. Priestley and his friends are not the first that have suffered in a public cause; and when we recollect, that those who have sustained similar disasters have been generally conspicuous for a superior sanctity of character, what but an acquaintance with the counsels of heaven can enable us to distinguish between these two classes of sufferers, and, whilst one are the favourites of God, to discern in the other the objects of his vengeance? When we contemplate this extraordinary endowment, we are no longer surprised at the superiority he assumes through the whole of his discourse, nor at that air of confusion and disorder which appears in it; both of which we impute to his dwelling so much in the insufferable light, and amidst the coruscations and flashes of the divine glory; a sublime but perilous situation, described with great force and beauty by Mr. Gray:

“He passed the flaming bounds of place and time:
The living throne, the sapphire blaze,
Where angels tremble while they gaze.
He saw; but blasted with excess of light,
Closed his eyes in endless night”

Section III.

On the Pretenses Mr. Clayton advances in favour of his Principles.

Having endeavoured to justify the well-timed exertions of Christians and of ministers, in the cause of freedom, it may not be improper to examine a little more particularly under what pretences Mr. Clayton presumes to condemn this conduct.

The first that naturally presents itself, is drawn from those passages of Scripture in which the design of civil government is explained, and the duty of submission to civil authority is enforced. That on which the greatest stress is laid, is found in the thirteenth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans. “Let every soul be subject to the higher powers; for there is no power but of God: the powers which be, are ordained of God. Whoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist, shall receive unto themselves damnation. The Ruler is the Minister of God to thee for good. But if thou doest that which is evil, be afraid, for he beareth not the sword in vain. Wherefore ye must be subject, not only for wrath, but conscience sake.” This passage, which, from the time of Sir Robert Filmer to the present day, has been the stronghold of the doctrine of passive obedience and non-resistance, will admit of an easy solution, by attending to the nature of Christianity, and the circumstances of its professors, during the period in which it was written. The extraordinary privileges and dignity conferred by the Gospel on believers, must have affected the minds of the first Christians, just emerging from the shades of ignorance, and awakened to new hopes, with singular force. Feeling an elevation to which they were strangers before, and looking down upon the world around them as the vassals of sin and Satan, they might be easily tempted to imagine the restraint of laws could not extend to persons so highly privileged, and that it was ignominious in the free men of Jesus Christ to submit to the yoke of idolatrous rulers. Natural to their situation as these sentiments might be, none could be conceived more detrimental to the credit and propagation of a rising religion, or more likely to draw down upon its professors the whole weight of the Roman Empire, with which they were in no condition to contend. In this situation, it was proper for the apostle to remind Christians, their religion did not interfere with the rights of princes, or diminish their obligation to attend to those salutary regulations which are established for the protection of innocence and the punishment of the guilty. That this only was the intention of the writer, may be inferred from the considerations he adduces to strengthen his advice. He does not draw his arguments for submission from anything peculiar to the Christian system, as he must have done, had he intended to oppose that religion to the natural rights of mankind, but from the utility and necessity of civil restraints.

“The Ruler is the Minister of God to thee for good,” is the reason he urges for submission. Civil government, as if he had said, is a salutary institution, appointed to restrain and punish outrage and injustice, but exhibiting to the quiet and inoffensive nothing of which they need to be afraid. “If thou doest that which is evil, be afraid, for he beareth not the sword in vain.” He is an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Christians were not to consider themselves privileged above their fellow-citizens, as their religion conferred upon them no civil immunities, but left them subject to all the ties and restraints, whatever they were, which could be justly imposed by the civil power on any other part of mankind.

The limits of every duty must be determined by its reasons, and the only ones assigned here, or that can be assigned for submission to civil authority, are its tendency to do good; wherever therefore this shall cease to be the case, submission becomes absurd, having no longer any rational view. But at what time this evil shall be judged to have arrived, or what remedy it may be proper to apply, Christianity does not decide, but leaves to be determined by an appeal to natural reason and right. By one of the strangest misconceptions in the world, when we are taught that Christianity does not bestow upon us any new rights, it has been thought to strip us of our old; which is just the same as it would be to conclude, because it did not first furnish us with hands or feet, it obliges us to cut them off.

Under every form of government, that civil order which affords protection to property, and tranquillity to individuals, must be obeyed; and I have no doubt, that before the revolution in France, they who are now its warmest admirers, had they lived there, would have yielded a quiet submission to its laws, as being conscious the social compact can only be considered as dissolved by an expression of the general will. In the mean time, they would have continued firm in avowing the principles of freedom, and by the diffusion of political knowledge, have endeavoured to train and prepare the minds of their fellow-citizens for accomplishing a change so desirable.

It is not necessary to enter into a particular examination of the other texts adduced by Mr. Clayton in support of his sentiments, as this in Romans is by much the most to his purpose, and the remarks that have been made upon it may, with very little alteration, be applied to the rest. He refers us to the second chapter of the first Epistle of Peter. “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake; whether it be to the king as supreme, or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him, for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well.” Here it is sufficient to remark, all that can be inferred from this passage is, that Christians are not to hold themselves exempt from the obligation of obedience on account of their religion, but are to respect legislation as far as it is found productive of benefit in social life.

With still less propriety, he urges the first of Timothy, where, in the second chapter, we are “exhorted to supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks for all men, for kings, and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty.” I am unacquainted with any who refuse a compliance with this apostolical admonition, except the nonjurors may be reckoned of this class, whose political sentiments are of a piece with our author’s.

Whilst he pleads with so much eagerness for the duty of passive obedience, we are not, however, to suppose, he wishes to extend it to all mankind. He admits, that society, under the wisest regulations, will degenerate, and there will be periods when associated bodies must be resolved again into their first principles. All resistance to authority, every revolution, is not in his own opinion criminal; it is Christians only, who are never to have a share in these transactions, never to assert their rights. With what different sentiments did the apostle of the Gentiles contemplate his character, when disdaining to accept a clandestine dismission from an unjust imprisonment, he felt a glow of indignant pride burn upon his cheek, and exclaimed with a Roman energy, “I was free born!”

2nd. Another reason which this author [Clayton] assigns for a blind deference to civil authority is, that Christianity is distinct from and independent of human legislation. This principle no protestant dissenter will be inclined to question, but, instead of lending any support to the system of passive obedience, it will overturn it from its foundation; for if religion be really distinct from, and independent of, human legislation, it cannot afford any standard to ascertain its limits; as the moment it is applied to this purpose, it ceases to be a thing distinct and independent. For example, it is not doubted that a Christian may lawfully engage in trade or commerce; but if it be asked why his profession does not interfere with such an undertaking, the proper reply will be, religion is a thing distinct and independent. Should it be again inquired, why a Christian may become a trader, yet must not commit a theft, we should answer, that this latter action is not a thing distinct, or independent of religion, but falls immediately under its cognizance, as a violation of its laws. Thus it appears, that whatever portion of human conduct is really independent of religion, is lawful for that very reason, and can then only become criminal or improper, when it is suffered to entrench upon more sacred or important duties. The truth is, between two institutions, such as civil government and religion, which have a separate origin and end, no opposition can subsist, but in the brain of a distempered enthusiast.

The author’s [Clayton’s] text confutes his doctrine, for had our Saviour annihilated our rights, he would have become a judge and divider over us, in the worst sense, if that could be said to be divided which is taken away. When any two institutions are affirmed to be distinct and independent, it can only mean, they do not interfere; but that must be a genius of no common size, who can infer from religion not interfering with the rights of mankind, that they cease to be, or that the patrimony, over which our Lord declined to exercise any authority, he has scattered and destroyed.

3rd. Similar to the last I have considered, is that pretence for excluding Christians from any concern in political affairs, taken from the conduct of our Saviour. Mr. Clayton tells us, that Christ uniformly waived interesting himself in the concerns of the then existing government; and to the same purpose he afterwards remarks, he always declined the functions of a civil magistrate.

The most careless reader will remark, the whole weight of this argument rests upon a supposition that it is unlawful for a Christian to sustain any other character in civil life, than that in which our Saviour literally appeared; a notion as extravagant as was ever nourished in the brain of the wildest fanatic. Upon this principle, he must have gone through such a succession of offices, and engaged in such an endless variety of undertakings, that in place of thirty-three years, he needed to have lived thirty-three centuries. On this ground the profession of physic is unlawful for a Christian, because our Lord never set up a dispensary; and that of Law, because he never pleaded at the bar. Next to the weakness of advancing such absurdity, is that of confuting it.

The author [Clayton], in proof of his political tenets, appeals to the devotional feelings of his hearers. “I ask you,” says he, “who make conscience of entering into your closets, and shutting your doors, and praying to your Father which seeth in secret; what subjects interest you most then? Are not factious passions hushed; the undue heat you felt in political disputation remembered with sorrow?” He must be at a great loss for argument, who will have recourse to such loose and flimsy declamation. When engaged in devout admiration of the Supreme Being, every other object will be lost in the comparison; but this, though the noblest employment of the mind, was never intended to shut out all other concerns.

The affections which unite us to the world have a large demand upon us, and must succeed in their turn. If everything is to be deemed criminal that does not interest the attention in the very moment of worship, political concerns are not the only ones to be abandoned, but every undertaking of a temporal nature, all labour and ingenuity must cease. Science herself must shroud her light. These are notions rather to be laughed at than confuted, for their extravagance will correct itself. Every attempt that has been made to rear religion on the ruins of nature, or to render it subversive of the economy of life, has hitherto proved unsuccessful, whilst the institutions that have flowed from it are now scarcely regarded in any other light than as humiliating monuments of human weakness and folly. The natural vigour of the mind, when it has once been opened by knowledge, and turned towards great and interesting objects, will always overpower the illusions of fanaticism; or, could Mr. Clayton’s principles be carried into effect, we should soon behold men returning again to the state of savages, and a more than monkish barbarity and ignorance would overspread the earth. That abstraction from the world it is his purpose to recommend, is in truth as inconsistent with the nature of religion, as with the state and condition of man; for Christianity does not propose to take us out of the world, but to preserve us from the pollutions which are in it.

It is easy to brand a passion for liberty with the odious [hateful] epithet of faction; no two things, however, can be more opposite. Faction is a combination of a few to oppress the liberties of many; the love of freedom is the impulse of an enlightened and presiding spirit, ever intent upon the welfare of the community, or body to which it belongs, and ready to give the alarm, when it beholds any unlawful conspiracy formed, whether it be of rulers or of subjects, with a design to oppress it. Every Tory upholds a faction; every Whig, as far as he is sincere and well informed, is a friend to the equal liberties of mankind. Absurd as the preacher’s appeal must appear, on such an occasion, to the devout feelings of his hearers, we have no need to decline it. In those solemn moments, factious passions cannot indeed be too much hushed, but that warmth which animates the patriot, which glowed in the breast of a Sidney or a Hampden, was never chilled, or diminished, we may venture to affirm, in its nearest approaches to the uncreated splendour; and if it mingled with their devotion at all, could not fail to infuse into it a fresh force and vigour, by drawing them into a closer assimilation to that great Being, who appears under the character of the avenger of the oppressed, and the friend and protector of the human race.

Lastly, the author [Clayton] endeavours to discredit the principles of freedom, by holding them up as intimately connected with the unitarian heresy. “We are not to be surprised,” he says, “if men who vacate the rule of faith in Jesus Christ, should be defective in deference and in obedient regards to men who are raised to offices of superior influence, for the purposes of civil order and public good.” The persons he has in view are the unitarians, and that my reader may be in full possession of this most curious argument, it may be proper to inform him, that an unitarian is a person who believes Jesus Christ had no existence till he appeared on our earth, whilst a trinitarian maintains, that he existed with the Father from all eternity. What possible connection can he discern between these opinions and the subject of government?

In order to determine whether the supreme power should be vested in king, lords, and commons, as in England, in an assembly of nobles, as in Venice, or in a house of representatives, as in America or France, must we first decide upon the person of Christ? I should imagine we might as well apply to astronomy first, to learn whether the earth flattens at the poles. He explains what he means by vacating the rule of faith in Christ, when he charges the unitarians with a partial denial at least, of the inspiration of the Scripture, particularly the Epistles of St. Paul. But however clear the inspiration of the Scriptures may be, as no one pleads for the inspiration of civil governors, the deference which is due to the first, as coming from God, can be no reason for an unlimited submission to the latter. Yet this is Mr. Clayton’s argument, and it runs thus. Every opposition to Scripture is criminal, because it is inspired, and therefore every resistance to temporal rulers is criminal, though they are not inspired.

The number of passages in Paul’s Epistles which treat of civil government is small; the principal of them have been examined, and whether they are inspired or not, has not the remotest relation to the question before us. The inspiration of an author adds weight to his sentiments, but makes no alteration in his meaning; and unless Mr. Clayton can show that Paul inculcates unlimited submission, the belief of his inspiration can yield no advantage to his cause. Amongst those parties of Christians who have maintained the inspiration of the Scriptures in its utmost extent, the number of such as have inferred from them the doctrine of passive obedience has been extremely small; it is, therefore, ridiculous to impute the rejection of this tenet by unitarians to a disbelief of plenary inspiration. It behooves Mr. Clayton to point out, if he is able, any one of the unitarians who ever imagined that Paul means to recommend unlimited obedience; for till that is the case, it is plain their political opinions cannot have arisen from any contempt of that apostle’s authority.

The knowledge and study of the Scriptures, far from favouring the pretensions of despotism, have almost ever diminished it, and been attended with a proportional increase of freedom. The union of Protestant princes preserved the liberties of the Germanic body when they were in danger of being overwhelmed by the victorious arm of Charles the Fifth; yet a veneration for the Scriptures, at a time when they had almost fallen into oblivion, and an appeal to their decisions in all points, was the grand characteristic of the new religion. If we look into Turkey, we shall find the least of that impatience under restraints which Mr. Clayton laments, of any place in the world, though Paul and his epistles are not much studied there.

There are not wanting reasons, which at first view, might induce us to conclude unitarianism was less favourable to the love of freedom than almost any other system of religious belief. If any party of Christians were ever free from the least tincture of enthusiasm, it is the unitarian; yet that passion has by every philosopher been judged friendly to liberty, and to its influence, though perhaps improperly, some of its most distinguished exertions have been ascribed. Hume and Bolingbroke, who were atheists, leaned towards arbitrary power. Owen, Howe, Milton, Baxter, some of the most devout and venerable characters that ever appeared, were warmly attached to liberty, and held sentiments on the subject of government as free and unfettered as Dr. Priestley. Thus every pretence for confounding the attachment to freedom with the sentiments of a religious party, is most abundantly confuted both from reason and from fact. The zeal unitarians have displayed in defence of civil and religious liberty, is the spirit natural to a minority, who are well aware they are viewed by the ecclesiastical powers with an unparalleled malignity and rancor. Let the dissenters at large remember they too are a minority, a great minority, and that they must look for their security from the same quarter, not from the compliments of bishops, or presents from maids of honour. [NOTE: Some of my readers perhaps need to be informed that I here allude to Mr. Martin, who, for similar services to those Mr. Clayton is now performing, has been considerably caressed by certain bishops, who have condescended to notice and to visit him. I think we do not read that Judas had any acquaintance with the high priests till he came to transact business with them.]

To abandon principles which the best and most enlightened men have in all ages held sacred, which the dissenters in particular have rendered themselves illustrious by defending, which have been sealed and consecrated by the blood of our ancestors, for no other reason than that the unitarians chance to maintain them, would be a weakness of which a child might be ashamed! Whoever may think fit to take up the gauntlet iu the Socinian controversy will have my warmest good wishes; but let us not employ those arms against each other which were given us for our common defence.

Section IV.

On the Test Act.

Amidst all the wild eccentricities which, abounding in every part of this extraordinary publication, naturally diminish our wonder at anything such a writer may advance, I confess I am surprised at his declaring his wish for the continuance of the Test Act. This law, enacted in the latter end of the reign of Charles the Second, to secure the nation from popery, when it stood upon the brink of that precipice, is continued now that the danger no longer exists which first occasioned it, for the express purpose of preserving the church from the inroads of dissenters. That church, it must be remembered, existed for ages before it received any such protection; yet it is now the vogue to magnify its importance to that degree, that one would imagine it was its sole prop, whose removal would draw the whole fabric after it, or at least make it totter to its base. Whether these apprehensions were really entertained by the clergy who gave the signal for the commencement of hostilities on a late occasion, or whether they were only impelled by that illiberal tincture and fixed antipathy to all who differ from them, which hath ever marked their character, may be doubted; but to behold a dissenting minister joining with them in an unnatural warfare against his brethren, is a phenomenon so curious, that it prompts us to inquire into its cause. Let us hear his reasons. He and many others were convinced, he tells us, ” that some of the persons who applied “for the repeal were influenced by enmity against the doctrinal “articles of the established church, and they could not sacrifice “their pious regard to truth, though in a church they had separated from, to the policy of men, who, with respect to God our Saviour, only consult how they may cast him down from his Excellency.” When we hear the clergy exclaim that their church is in danger, we pretty well understand what they mean; they speak broad, as Mr. Burke says, and intend no more than that its emoluments are endangered; but when a serious dissenter expresses his pious regard to the doctrines of the church, it is the truth of those articles he must be supposed to have in view. Let us consider for a moment what advantage the Test Act is capable of yielding them. All those who qualify for civil offices, by a submission to this law, consist of two classes of people; they are either persons who are attached to the articles of the church, from whom, therefore, no danger could accrue; or they are persons who have signified their assent to doctrines which they inwardly disapprove, and who have qualified themselves for trust by a solemn act of religious deception. It is this latter class alone, it should be remembered, whom the Test Act can at all influence, and thus the only security this celebrated law can afford the articles of the church, is founded in a flagrant violation of truth in the persons who become their guarantees. Every attempt that has been made to uphold religion by the civil arm, has reflected disgrace upon its authors; but of all that are recorded in the history of the world, perhaps this is the most absurd in its principle, and the least effectual in its operation. For the truth of sacred mysteries in religion, it appeals to the most corrupt principles of the human heart, and to those only; for no one can be tempted by the Test Act to profess an attachment to the doctrines of the church, till he has been already allured by the dignity or emolument of a civil office. By compelling all who exercise any function in the state from the person who aspires to its highest distinctions, to those who fill the meanest offices in it, to profess that concurrence in religious opinions which is known never to exist, it is adapted, beyond any other human invention, to spread amongst all orders of men a contempt for sacred institutions, to enthrone hypocrisy, and reduce deception to a system! The truth of any set of opinions can only be perceived by evidence; but what evidence can anyone derive from the mere mechanical action of receiving bread and wine at the hands of a parish priest? He who believes them already needs not to be initiated by any such ceremony; and by what magic touch those simple elements are to convert the unbeliever, our author, who is master of so many secrets, has not condescended to explain. He will not pretend to impute the first spread of these doctrines in the infancy of the Christian religion, or their revival at the Reformation, to any such means, since he imagines he can trace them in the New Testament. It is strange if that evidence, which was powerful enough to introduce them where they were unknown, is not sufficient to uphold them where they are already professed and believed. At least, the Test Act, it must be confessed, has yielded them no advantage, for they have been controverted with more acrimony, and admitted by a smaller number of persons, since that law was enacted, than in any period preceding.

Were the removal of this test to overthrow the establishment itself, a consequence at the same time in the highest degree improbable, the articles of the church, if they are true, would remain unendangered, their evidence would continue unimpaired, an appeal to the inspired writings from which they profess to be derived would be open, the liberty of discussion would be admitted in as great an extent as at present; this difference only would occur, that an attachment to them would no longer be suspected of flowing from corrupt and sinister motives. They would cease to be with the clergy the ladder of promotion, the cant of the pulpit, the ridicule of the schools. The futility of this or any other law, as a security to religious doctrines, may be discerned from this single reflection, that in the national church its own articles have, for a length of time, been either treated with contempt, or maintained with little sincerity and no zeal; whilst amongst the dissenters, where they have had no such aids, they have found a congenial soil, and continue to flourish with vigour.

On the political complexion of this test, as it does not fall so properly within my present view, I shall content myself with remarking, that harmless as it may appear at first sight, it carries in it the seeds of all the persecutions and calamities which have ever been sustained on a religious account. It proscribes not an individual who has been convicted of a crime, but a whole party, as unfit to be trusted by the community to which they belong; and if this stigma can be justly fixed on any set of men, it ought not to stop here, or anywhere, short of the actual excision of those who are thus considered as rotten and incurable members of the political body. In annexing to religious speculation the idea of political default, the principle of this law would justify every excess of severity and rigour. If we are the persons it supposes, its indulgence is weak and contemptible; if we are of a different description, the nature of its pretensions is so extraordinary as to occasion serious alarm, and call aloud for its repeal.

Mr, Clayton, indeed, calls this, and similar laws, a restraint very prudently imposed upon those who dissent from the established religion. This restraint, however, is no less than a political annihilation, debarring them, though their talents were ever so splendid, from mingling in the counsels, or possessing any share in the administration of their country. With that natural relish for absurdity which characterizes this author, he imagines they have justly incurred this evil for dissenting from an erroneous religion.

He tells us, in the course of his sermon, that the grand “principle of separation from the church lies in the unworldly nature of our Saviour’s kingdom.” This reason for separation implies, that any attempt to blend worldly interests or policy with the constitution of a church is improper; but how could this be done more effectually than by rendering the profession of its articles a preliminary step to every kind of civil pre-eminence? Yet this abuse, which in his own estimation is so enormous as to form the great basis of separation, he wishes to perpetuate; and all things considered, hopes “that which is at rest will not be disturbed.” In another part of his discourse, he asks what temporalities has the church of Christ to expect? It is the mother of harlots, which says, “I sit a queen, and shall see no sorrow.” Would any one imagine this was the language of a man, who, in pleading for a Test Act, has rested the support of his creed on those very temporalities he affects so much to disdain, and has committed his religion to the arms of that mother of harlots to be reared and nourished! When speaking of the Test Act in the seventh page of his discourse, he thus expresses himself: “Surely the cross of Christ ought not to be insulted by persons eager to press into the temple of Mammon.” Who could treat it with more poignant severity than is couched in this declaration? Yet this is the language of a person who desires its continuance. In truth, his representations on this subject are pregnant with such contradictions, and rise above each other in so singular a gradation of absurdity, as will not be easily conceived, and perhaps hath scarce ever been equaled. At the very outset of his sermon, he declares, “Whenever the Gospel is secularized it is debased and misrepresented, and in proportion to the quantity of foreign infusions is the efficacy of this saving health diminished.” But human ingenuity would be at a loss to contrive a method of secularizing the Gospel more completely, than by rendering it the common passport of all who aspire to civil distinctions. I am really weary of exposing the wild and extravagant incoherence of such a reasoner. From a man who, professing to be the apologist of his party, betrays its interests, and exhibits its most illustrious members to reproach; who, himself a dissenter, applauds the penalties which the hierarchy has inflicted as a “prudent restraint;” who, with the utmost poignance, censures a law which he solemnly invokes the legislature to perpetuate; and proposes to secure the truths of religion, by the “profanation of its “sacraments,” by “debasing the Gospel, and insulting the cross;” anything may be expected but consistence and decency. When such an author assures us he was not impelled by vanity to publish, we may easily give him credit; but he should remember, though it may be a virtue to subdue vanity, it is base to extinguish shame. The tear which, he tells us, started from the eyes of his audience, we will hope, for their honour, was an effusion of regret, natural to his friends, on hearing him deliver sentiments which they considered as a disgrace to himself, and a calumny on his brethren. His affecting to pour contempt upon Dr. Price, whose talents and character were revered by all parties, and to hold him up as the corrupter of the dissenters, will not fail to awaken the indignation of every generous mind. Whether they were greater friends to their country, whose pride and oppression scattered the flames of discord across the Atlantic [in America], poured desolation into the colonies, dismembered the empire, and involved us in millions of debt; or the man, who, with a warning voice, endeavoured to avert those calamities; posterity will decide.

He gives us a pompous enumeration of the piety, learning, and talents of a large body of his brethren who concur with him in a disapprobation of the theological and political tenets of the unitarians. The weakness of mingling them together has been shown already; but if these great and eminent men, whom the world never heard of before, possess that zeal for their religion they pretend, let them meet their opponents on the open field of controversy, where they may display their talents and prowess to somewhat more advantage than in skulking behind a consecrated altar.

There are many particulars, in the address and sermon, of an extraordinary complexion, which I have not noticed at all, as it was not my intention to follow the author step by step, but rather to collect his scattered representations into some leading points of view. For the same reason, I make no remarks on his barbarous imagery; or his style, everywhere incoherent and incorrect, sometimes indecent, which cannot fail of disgusting every reader of taste. In a rude daubing peculiar to himself, where, in ridicule of Dr. Priestley, he has grouped together a foreigner, a ship, and cargo of drugs, he has unfortunately sketched his own likeness, except in the circumstance of the ship, with tolerable accuracy; for, without the apology of having been shipped into England, he is certainly a foreigner in his native tongue, and his publication will be allowed to be a drug.

Had he known to apply the remark with which his address commences, on the utility of accommodating instruction to the exigence of times, he would have been aware that this is not a season for drawing off the eyes of mankind from political objects. They were, in fact, never turned towards them with equal ardour, and we may venture to affirm they will long continue to take that direction. An attention to the political aspect of the world is not now the fruit of an idle curiosity, or the amusement of a dissipated and frivolous mind, but is awakened and kept alive by occurrences as various as they are extraordinary. There are times when the moral world seems to stand still; there are others when it seems impelled towards its goal with an accelerated force. The present is a period more interesting, perhaps, than any which has been known in the whole flight of time. The scenes of Providence thicken upon us so fast, and are shifted with so strange a rapidity, as if the great drama of the world were drawing to a close.[Note:*] Events have taken place of late, and revolutions have been effected, which, had they been foretold a very few years ago,, would have been viewed as visionary and extravagant; and their influence is yet far from being spent. Europe never presented such a spectacle before, and it is worthy of being contemplated with the profoundest attention by all its inhabitants. The empire of darkness and of despotism has been smitten with a stroke which has sounded through the universe. When we see whole kingdoms, after reposing for centuries on the lap of their rulers, start from their slumber, the dignity of man rising up from depression, and tyrants trembling on their thrones, who can remain entirely indifferent, or fail to turn his eye towards a theatre so august and extraordinary! These are a kind of throes and struggles of nature, to which it would be a sullenness to refuse our sympathy. Old foundations are breaking up; new edifices are rearing. Institutions which have been long held in veneration as the most sublime refinements of human wisdom and policy, which age hath cemented and confirmed, which power hath supported, which eloquence hath conspired to embellish, and opulence to enrich, are falling fast into decay. New prospects are opening on every side of such amazing variety and extent as to stretch farther than the eye of the most enlightened observer can reach.

[Note *] This glowing picture, as accurately descriptive of recent events as of those it was intended to portray, might tempt us almost to fancy that, after the revolution of a cycle or forty years, time had brought us back to the same state of things.—Editor.

Some beneficial effects appear to have taken place already, sufficient to nourish our most sanguine hope of benefits much more extensive. The mischief and folly of wars begin to be understood, and that mild and liberal system of policy adopted which has ever, indeed, been the object of prayer to the humane and the devout, but has hitherto remained utterly unknown in the cabinets of princes. As the mind naturally yields to the impression of objects which it contemplates often, we need not wonder, if, amidst events so extraordinary, the human character itself should appear to be altering and improving apace. That fond attachment to ancient institutions, and blind submission to opinions already received, which has ever checked the growth of improvement, and drawn on the greatest benefactors of mankind danger or neglect, is giving way to a spirit of bold and fearless investigation. Man seems to be becoming more erect and independent. He leans more on himself, less on his fellow-creatures. He begins to feel a consciousness in a higher degree of personal dignity, and is less enamoured of artificial distinctions. There is some hope of our beholding that simplicity and energy of character which marks his natural state, blended with the humanity, the elegance, and improvement of polished society.

The events which have already taken place, and the further changes they forbode, will open to the contemplative of every character innumerable sources of reflection. To the philosopher they present many new and extraordinary facts, where his penetration will find ample scope in attempting to discover their cause, and to predict their effects. He will have an opportunity of viewing mankind in an interesting situation, and of tracing the progress of opinion through channels it has rarely flowed in before. The politician will feel his attention powerfully awakened on seeing new maxims of policy introduced, new institutions established, and such a total alteration in the ideas of a great part of the world, as will oblige him to study the art of government as it were afresh. The devout mind will behold in these momentous changes the finger of God, and, discerning in them the dawn of that glorious period in which wars will cease, and anti-Christian tyranny shall fall, will adore that unerring wisdom whose secret operation never fails to conduct all human affairs to their proper issue, and impels the great actors on that troubled theatre to fulfill, when they least intend it, the counsels of heaven and the predictions of its prophets.