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The following Extracts from an Act for establishing Religious Freedom, passed in the Assembly of Virginia in the beginning of 1786,, is added, in expectation of gratifying the curiosity, if not the taste, of most readers.

"WELL aware, that Almighty God hath created the mind free: that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion, who being Lord of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either;—That the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical (who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as alone true and infallible, and as such endeavouring to impose them on others) hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world, and through all times j—That, to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of

opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical;

That even the forcing a man to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor, whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness; and is withdrawing from the ministry, those temporal rewards, which, proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct, are an additional

Le 3 incitement


incitement to earnest and unremitted labors for the instruction of mankind;—That our civil rights have no dependence on pur religious opinions, any more than on oui opinions in physic or geometry;—That, therefore, the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence, by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or {enounces this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which in common with his fellow-citizens he has a natural right; and tends also to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing with a monopoly of worldly honors and emoluments, those who will externally conform to it;—That though indeed those an; criminal who do not withstand such, temptations, yet neither are those innocent who lay them in their way ;-— That to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his power* into the field of opinion, and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendeyey, is a dangerous fallacy; which, at once destroys all religious liberty; because he, being of course judge os diat tendency, will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and will approve or condemn the sentiments of others, only as.they shall agree with, or differ from his. own;—That it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government, for its officers to interpose when principles break out in overt acts against peace and o-oocj order:—And finally, that truth is great, and will prevail if left to herself; that Jhe is the proper, and sufficient antagonist to error, and can have nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition, disarmed os her natural weapons, free argument and debate—-errors


ceafing to be dangerous, when it is permitted freely to contradict them.

"Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, that no man shall be compelled to support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever; nor shall be forced, restrained, molested or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, On account of Jus religious opinions or belief: but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion: and that the fame /hall in no ivife diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

"And though we well know that this Assembly, elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of legislation onry, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding Assemblies, constituted with powers equal to our own j and that, therefore, to declare this act irrevocable, would be of no effect in law; yet we are free to declare, and do declare, that the rights hereby asserted, are of the natural rights of mankind; and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present, or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right"


The United States in Congress assembled, finding that the Articles of the Confederation would not enable them to surmount those National Embarrassments with which they were attended, at length recommended to the several Governments the appointing of Delegates to form a Special Convention at Philadelphia. Most of them complied, and elected Gentlemen of distinguished Character to represent them. When the Delegates met in June 1787,- Doctor Franklin proposed his Excellency George Washington for President; and he was unanimously chosen. After several Months -close and free Deliberation, the following Publications made their Appearance, excepting the Parts included within the Crotchets.


WE the People of the UNITED STATES, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Untied States of AMERICA.


{Legislative Power.]


[The House of Representatives.] , Section i;

A LL Legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives*

s E c T i o N II.

The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several States; and the electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State Legislature;

No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty-five years, and been seven years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant 6f fhat State in which he shall be chosen.

Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians hOt taxed, three-fifths of all other persons. The actual enumeration shall be made within three" years after the first meeting of th$ Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct. The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each State

E e 4 shall

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