Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

is true, if there are any parish funds, they will lose the benefit of them by removal; but an inconvenience of this sort will never be felt, when a case of conscience is in question.

Source: Eliphalet Baker and Another v. Samuel Fales, 16 Mass. 488.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

G. E. Ellis, "The Church and the Parish in Massachusetts: Usage and Law", in Unitarianism: Its Origin and History ( Boston, 1890), pp. 116-154.

L. W. Levy, The Law of the Commonwealth and Chief Justice Shaw ( Cambridge, Mass., 1951), pp. 29-42.

J. C. Meyer, Church and State in Massachusetts from 1740 to 1833 ( Cleveland, 1930), pp. 160-183.

A. P. Stokes, Church and State in the United States ( New York, 1950), 111, 377-381.

E. M. Wilbur, A History of Unitarianism in Transylvania, England, and America ( Cambridge, Mass., 1952), pp. 401-434.


79
Report of the Senate Committee on Sunday Mails (Extracts) January 19, 1829

Controversy over Sunday mails reflected American differences concerning government homage to religious tradition. A law of 1810 requiring post offices to function every day awakened protest from Sabbatarians, especially in New York and New England. During the next twenty years they repeatedly placed the subject before Congress. In 1828, at a time when a Christian party in politics was being mooted, the General Union for Promoting the Observance of the Christian Sabbath was organized. Support came from some northern business interests and conservative politicians, while democrats and reformers were generally hostile. The Senate committee to which the petitions of mass protest were referred made its report through Senator Richard M. Johnson ( 1781-1850) of Kentucky. Preparation of the report may have been partly the work of O. B. Brown, a Baptist preacher and chief clerk of the Post Office Department, and Amos Kendall, Jacksonian journalist and political adviser. The statement, which achieved wide publicity and popularity (including official endorsement by several state legislatures), was regarded as a classic expression of Jacksonian insistence on entire religious neutrality and distrust of neotheocratic opinion and experiment. Subsequently, Johnson, as a member of the House of Representatives, wrote a second report on Sunday mails that was similarly influential.

That some respite is required from the ordinary vocations of life, is an established principle, sanctioned by the usages of all nations, whether Christian or pagan. One

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