Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

hazard and charge, did transplant themselves into the middest of the Indian natives . . . ; where, by the good Providence of God . . . they have not onlie byn preserved to admiration, but have increased and prospered . . . .

And whereas, in theire humble addresse, they have ffreely declared, that it is much on their hearts (if they may be permitted), to hold forth a livlie experiment, that a most flourishing civill state may stand and best bee maintained, and that among our English subjects, with a full libertie in religious concernements; and that true pietye rightly grounded upon gospell principles, will give the best and greatest security to sovereignetye, and will lay in the hearts of men the strongest obligations to true loyaltye: Now know yee, that wee beinge willinge to encourage the hopefull undertakeinge of oure sayd loyall and loveinge subjects, and to secure them in the free exercise and enjoyment of all theire civill and religious rights . . . ; and to preserve unto them that libertye, in the true Christian ffaith and worshipp of God, which they have sought with soe much travaill . . . to enjoye; and because some of the people and inhabitants of the same colonie cannot, in theire private opinions, conforme to the publique exercise of religion, according to the litturgy, formes and ceremonyes of the Church of England, or take or subscribe the oaths and articles made and established in that behalfe; and for that the same, by reason of the remote distances of those places, will (as wee hope) bee noe breach of the unitie and unifformitie established in this nation: Have therefore thought ffit, and doe hereby . . . declare . . . that noe person within the sayd colonye, at any tyme hereafter, shall bee any wise molested, punished, disquieted, or called in question, for any differences in opnione in matters of religion, and doe not actually disturb the civill peace of our sayd colony; but that all and everye person and persons may . . . have and enjoye his and theire owne judgments and consciences, in matters of religious concemments . . . ; they behaving themselves peaceablie and quietlie, and not useing this libertie to lycentiousnesse and profanenesse, nor to the civill injurye or outward disturbeance of others; any lawe, . . . usage or custome of this realme, to the contrary hereof, in any wise, notwithstanding. . . .

Source: Francis Newton Thorpe (ed.), The Federal and State Constitutions ( Washington, D.C., 1909), VI, 3211-3213.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

S. H. Brockunier, The Irrepressible Democrat: Roger Williams ( New York, 1940).

R. M. Jones, The Quakers in the American Colonies ( New York, 1911), pp. 45-62.

W. G. McLoughlin, Rhode Island, A History ( New York, 1986), pp. 3-49.

E. S. Morgan, Roger Williams: the Church and the State ( New York, 1987).


18 Great Law of Pennsylvania (Extract) December 7, 1682

The most mystical of the groups that emerged from radical Puritanism, Quakers fostered an extreme spiritual piety, divorced from any reliance

-51-

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