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do not find a fervility that is ready to flatter them in the abuse of their power. They are offended at all freedom of fpe-ch, all generofity of fentiment, which they confider as ride, cenforioufnefs, and fedition; and they contract a falfe delicacy, which every thing fhort of flattery difappoints and difgults.
SUCH princes are a terror to mankind, and mankind a terror to them. They retire from the public eye, and immure, themfelves in the palace. They love darknefs, and difguife their characters, which however are perfectly known; the malignant curiofity of their fubjects penetrates every veil, and invettigates every fecret; but he that is thus kuown by all, knows nobody. The felf-intereffed wretches that furround him, rejoice to perceive that he is inacceffible; and a prince that is inacceffible to men is inacceffible to truth. Thofe who avail themfelves of his blindnefs are bufy to calumniate or to banish all that would open his eyes. He lives in a kind of favage and unfociabie magnificence, always the dupe of that impofition which he at once dreads and deferves. He that converfes only with a final number of men, almoft neceff.tily adopts their paffions and their prejudices: and from pafions and prejudices the beit are not free He muft alfo receive his knowledge by report, and therefore lie at the mercy of tale-bearers, a defpicable and deteflable race, who are nourished by the poiion that dellroys others; who make what is little great, and what is blameless criminal, who, rather than not impute evil, invent it; and who to anfwer their own purposes, play upon the caufetefs fufpicion and unworthy curiofity of a weak and jealous prince. —Idem.
FROM the lips of your courtiers you have heard, and hereafter you will much oftener hear, the groffeit Lattery. Should you do that which the fon of your flave could at any time have done better than yourfelf, they will affirm that you have performed a most extraordinary act. Should you obey your paffions, they will affirm, you have done w. Should you pour forth the blood of your fubjects as a river does its waters, they will pronounce, you have done well. Should you tax the free air, they will affert you have done ell. Should you, powerful as you are, become revengeful, ftill would they proclaim, you had done well. So they told the intoxicated Alexander when he plunged his dagger into the bolom of his friend. Thus they addressed Nero, when he affbilinated his mother.-Mirabeau. Alemorial to the King of Pruffia.
LIBERTY of CONSCIENCE.
EXPERIENCE teaches, that the fword, the faggot, exile, and profcriptions, are better calculated to irritate than to heal a disease, which, having its fource in the mind, cannot be relieved by remedies that act only on the body. The most efficacious means are found doctrines and repeated inftructions, which make a ready impreffion when inculcated with mildness. Every thing else bows to the fovereign authority of the magiftrates and the prince; but religion alone is not to be commanded.
What the ftoics have fo vauntingly afcribed to their philofophy, religion has a higher claim to. Torments appear trivial to those who are animated by religious zeal: the firmnefs with which it infpires them, deadens the fentiment of pain; nothing they are obliged to fuffer for its fake, however aggravated, occafions them furprize; the knowledge of their own ftrength enables them to bear every thing, while they are perfuaded that the grace of God fupports them., Though the executioner appear before them, and exhibit to their view the fword and the stake, their minds are undaunted: and regardless of the fufferings that are preparing for them, they are attentive folely to their duty: all their happiness is in themselves, and external objects make upon them but a feeble impreffion.
If Epicurus whofe fyftem has been fo much decried by other philofophers, has faid of the fage, that if he were fhut up in the brazen bull of Phalaris, he would not fail to declare:
this fire affects me not; it is not I that burn:" do we imagine, that lefs courage was confpicuous in thofe, who, by various torments, were put to death a century ago, or that lefs will be difplayed by future martyrs, if perfecution be continued? What was faid and done by one of them, when he was faltened to the ftake in order to be burned, is worthy our notice. Being upon his knees, he began to fing a pfalm, which the fmoke and the flame could fcarcely interrupt; and as the executioner, for fear of terrifying him, lighted the fire behind, he turned and faid: "come and kindle it before me: if fire could have terrified me, I fhould not be here; it depended on myfelf alone to avoid it."-De Thou.
WHOSOEVER defigns the change of religion in a country or government, by any other means than that of a general converfion of the people, or the greateft part of them, defigas
Liberty of Confcience.
all the mifchiefs to a nation that ufe to usher in or attend the two greateíl diffempers of a ftate, civil war or tyranny; which are violence, oppreffions, cruelty, rapine, intemperance, injuftice; and, in thort, the miferable effufion of human blood, and the confufion of all laws, orders, and virtues among men. Such confequences as thefe, I doubt, are fomething more than the difputed opinions of any man or any particular affembly of men, can be worth.-Sir William Temple.
A CHRISTIAN church allows all its members the mot perfect liberty of men and chriftians. It is inconfiftent with perfecution for confcience fake; for it leaves all civil rewards and punishments to kingdoms, and flates, and the governors of this world. It pretends to no power over confcience, to compel men to obedience; no prifons, no axes, fire, nor fword. It gives its minifters power and authority to command nothing but what is found in the bible.--Watts.
EVERY individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own confcience and reafon; and no fubject shall be hurt, molefted, or restrained, in his perfon, liberty, or eftate, for worshipping God in the manner and feafon moft agreeable to the dictates of his own confcience, or for his religious profeffion, fentiments, or perfuafion; provided he doth not disturb the public peace, or difturb others in their religious worship.-Conflitution of NewHampshire.
ALL men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God, according to the dictates of their own consciences; no man can, of right, be compelled to attend, erect, or fupport any place of worship, or to maintain any miniftry, against his confent; no human authority can, in any cafe whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience; and no preference fhall ever be given, by law, to any religious eftablishments or modes of worship.-Conflitution of Pennfyl
ALL men have a natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own confciences and understanding; and no man ought, or of right can be compelled to attend any religious worship, or maintain any miniftry, contrary to, or against his own free will and confent and no authority can or ought to be vefted in, or affumed by, any power whatever, that fhall in any cafe interfere with, or in any manner control the right of confcience, in the free exercife of religious worship.--Conflitution of Delaware.
AS it is the duty of every man to worship God in fuch manner as he thinks moft acceptable to him; all perfons, profeffing the chriftian religion, are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty; wherefore no perfon ought, by any law, to be molefted in his person or estate, on account of his religious perfuafion or profeffion, or for his religious practice; unlefs, under colour of religion, any man fhall difturb the good order, peace or fafety of the ftate, or shall infringe the laws of morality, or injure Cthers, in their natural, civil, or religious rights; nor ought any perfon to be compelled to frequent or maintain, or contribute, unlefs on contract, to maintain any particular place of worship, or any particular minitry. Confiitution of Maryland.
THE civil rights, privileges, or capacities of any citizen fhall in no ways be diminished or enlarged on account of his religion.Conflitution of Kentucky.
CIVIL governors go miferably out of their proper province whenever they take upon them the care of truth, or the fupport of any doctrinal points. They are not judges of truth, and if they pretend to decide about it, they will decide wrong. It is fuperftition, idolatry, and nonfenfe, that civil power at prefent fupports almoft every where, under the idea of fupporting cred truth, and oppofing dangerous error.
All the experience of paft time proves that the confequence of allowing the civil power to judge of the nature and tendency of do&rines, muft be making it a hindrance to the progrefs of truth, and an enemy to the improvement of the world.Anaxagoras was tried and condemned in Greece for teaching that the fun and ftars were not deities, but males of corruptible matter. Accufations of the like kind contributed to the death of Socratcs. The threats of bigots, and the fear of perfecution, prevented Copernicus from publishing, during his lifetime, his difcovery of the true fyftem of the world. Galileo, was obliged to renounce the doctrine of the motion of the earth, and fuffered a year's imprifonment for having afferted it.
THE error feems not fufficiently eradicated, that the operations of the mind, as well as the acts of the body, are fubject to the coercion of the laws. But our rulers can have authority over fuch natural rights only as we have fubmitted to them. The sights of confcience we never fabmitted, we could not fubmit. We are aufwerable for them to our God. The legitimate powers of government extend to fuch acts only as are injurous to others.
Liberty of Confcience.
Conftraint may make a man worfe by making him a hypocrite, but it will never make him a truer man. It may fix him obftinately in his errors, but will not cure them. Reafon and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error. Give a loofe to them, they will fupport the true religion, by bringing every falfe one to their tribunal, to the test of their inveltigation. They are the natural enemies of error, and cf error only.Jefferson.
WHAT bloodshed and confufion have been occafioned, from the reign of Henry IV. when the firft penal ftatutes were enacted, down to the revolution in England, by laws made to force confcience! There is nothing certainly more unrea fonable, more inconfiftent with the rights of human nature, more contrary to the fpirit and precepts of the chriftian religion, more inquitous and unjult, more impolitic, than perfecution. It is against natural religion, revealed religion, and found policy.
Sad experience, and a large mind, taught that great man, the prefident de Thou, this doctrine. Let any man read the many admirable things, which he hath dared to advance upon this fubject, in his dedication of his hiftory to Henry IV. of France, (which I never read without rapture) and he will be fully convinced, not only how cruel, but how impolitic it is to perfecute for religious opinions.-Lord Mansfield.
REASON and experiment have been indulged, and error has filed before them. Jt is error alone which needs the fupport of government. Truth can fland by itself. Subject opinion to coercion whom will you make your inquifitors?" Fallible men; men governed by bad paffions, by private as well as public reafons. And why fubject to coercion ? To produce uniformity. Bat is uniformity of opinion defirable ? No more than of face and flature. Introduce the bed of Procruftes then, and as there is danger that the large men may bear the finall, make us all of a fize, by lopping the former and ftretching the latter. Difference of opinion is advantageous in religion. The feveral fects perform the office of a eenfor morum over each other. Is uniformity atrainable? Millions of innocent men, women, and children, fince the introduction of Chriflianity, have been fined, imprifoned, burnt, and tortured; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion ? To make one half of the world fools, and the other half