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government laid before the people were approved of by '784*. them, the same were on that day established by the delegates of the people, and declared to be the civil constitution for the state of New Hampshire, to take place the first Wednesday of next June; and in the mean time, • the general court under the present government is to make all the necessary arrangements for introducing the said constitution, at the time and in the manner therein described. .-".'••
New Hampshire reckons the rights of conscience among the unalienable natural rights of mankind; and \vith heir neighbouring sister state, the Massachusetts, declares that ** no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping God, "m the manner and season most agreeable to his own conscience; or for his religious profession or sentiments— provided he doth not disturb the public peace, or obstruct: Others in their religious worship." Both empower the legislature to authorize the several towns, parishes, bodiespolitic, or religious societies, to make suitable provision at their own expence, for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion and morality, in all cases where such provision shall not be "made voluntarily. But the towns, &c. are, at all times, to have the exclusive right of choosing their own public teachers, and of contracting with them for their support . ■ and maintenance. Instead of adding, f* And all persons, whatsoever opinions concerning religion they may profess;" their words are-r" And every denomination of Christians demeaning themselves peaceably, and as good subjects of the commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law; grid no subordination of one
J784-se£tor denomination to another, shall ever be established by law." The president, council, senate, and house of .representatives of New Hampjhire, are to be of the Protestant religion. The governor, lieutenant governor, counsellor, senator and representative of the Majfachujetts^ are to declare their belief in the Christian religion.
The foundation principle on which Rhode Island and Providence Plantations united, has been early mentioned (Vol. I. p. 37.) A similar sentiment was introduced into the charter of the 15th of Charles II. by which it is provided, " That no person within the said colony, -at any time hereafter, shall be any wise molested, .punished, disquieted, or called in question, for any differences of opinion in matters of religion, who does not actually disturb the civil peace of the said colony." The .state of Rhode Island has continued its government since ceasing to be a colony, according to the general design of the charter. The constitution admits not of religious .establishments, any further than the fame depend upon the voluntary choice of individuals; and no particular sect can claim pre-eminence.
Conneclicut has changed its former mode of government, only so far as to accommodate it to the separation which has taken place between that and the parent state. Religious liberty is nearly, if not exactly, upon the fame footing there as in the Massachusetts.
The New York constitution, " to guard against that spiritual oppression and intolerance, wherewith the bigotry and ambition of weak and wicked priests and princes, have scourged mankind," ordains, determines, and declares, " that the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or
preference, preference, shall for ever. hereafter be allowed within the >7&4. said state to all mankind. Provided, that the liberty of conscience hereby granted, shall not be so construed, as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety-of the state;" • . The state of -New Jersey established, " That no person shall ever, within the same, be deprived of the in-' estimable privilege of worshipping Almighty God in a manner agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; ver, under any pr.etence whatever, be compelled to attend any place of worship, contrary to his own faith and judgments nor fhalLany person ever be obliged to pay tithes, faxes, or any other rates, for the purpose of building or repairing any other church or churches, place or places of worship, or for the maintenance of any minister or ministry, contrary to what he believes to be right, or has deliberately or voluntarily engaged himself to perform :—That there shall be no establishment of any one religious sect in preference to another l and that no Protestant inhabitant shall be denied the enjoyment of any •civil right, merely on account of his religious principles; but that all persons professing a belief in the faith of any Protestant sect *, who shall demean themselves peaceably under the government as hereby established, shall be capable of being elected into any office of profit or trust, or of.being a member of either branch of the legislature, and shall fully and freely enjoy every privilege and immunity enjoyed by others their fellow subjects." The- 17th article declares, " That the estates
* " This is a more enlarged toleration than European policy has yet, in almost any instance, admitted: but perfect consistency would not confine it to Protestants, or to any system of religion,""
4ii • •• '/r H E. H rstoR Y Of Th*
17 84. ofrfuch. persons as ihall destroy their own lives, shall not, for that offence, be forfeited; but shall descend in the same manner as they would have done, had such persons died in the natural way; nor shall any article which may occasion accidentally the death of any one^ be henceforth deemed a deodand, or in any wise forfeited on account of such misfortune." A similar article was afterward introduced into the New Hampshire constitutibri. ... ... -;
.'."The 2x1 article of the Pennsylvania declaration os rights asserts—" That all men have a natural and un^ alienable right to worship Almighty God, according to the dictates of their own consciences and understanding: and that no man ought, or, of right, can be compelled to attend any religious worship; or erect or support any place of. worship; or maintain any ministry contrary to, or -againfthis own free will and consent: nor can any man who acknowledges the being of a God, be justly deprived or abridged of any civil right as a citizen, on account of his religious sentiments*, or peculiar mode of religious worship; and that no authority can, or ought to be vested in, or assumed by, any power whatever, that shall, in any case interfere with, or in any manner control the right of conscience, in the free exercise of religious worship." The 15th article declares, *' That all men have a natural inherent right to emi
* This however did not prevent a gross inconsistency in The Frame ts Government, which, by the 10th section, requires, that in order for; admission into the house of representatives, each member should subscribe, beside a declaration of his faith in one God, his acknowledgment of the scriptures of the Old and New Testament as of divine inspiration.
grate from one state to another that will receive them, '784Or to form a new state in vacant countries, or in such countries as they can purchase, whenever they think that thereby they may promote their own happiness.
The ad article of the Delaware declaration is substantially the same with that of Pennsylvania. The 3d says, "That all persons professing the Christian religion, ought for ever to enjoy equal rights and privileges in the state * j unless under colour of religion, any man disturb the peace, the happiness, or safety of society." By the 29th section in the system of government, it is fixed— "That there shall be no establishment of any one religious sect in the state in preference to another."
The Maryland' declaration is remarkably full, particular, and pointed as to the objects of constitutional right and security. The 33d article relates to religious liberty, and expresses, " That as it is the duty-of every man to worship God in such manner as he thinks most acceptable to him, all persons professing the Christian religion are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty: wherefore no person ought, by any law, to be molested in his person or estate, on account of his religious persuasion or profession, or for his religious practice; unless, under colour of religion, any man shall disturb the good Order, peace, or safety of the state, or Jhall infringes the laws of morality, or injure others in
* The System of Government requires, notwithstanding, that every person, chosen a member of either house, or appointed to any office tor place of trust, should formally declare his faith in the Trinitarian doctrine, and in the divine inspiration of the Old and New Testament.
+ " This clause is certainly vague, and open to oppressive construction: all that can come under the legal punifiiment to be inflicted by a state, is expressed in the preceding and subsequent clauses."