The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, First Congress, First Session, Volume 1 Page: 757
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
GALES Sc SEATON'S HISTORY
H. of R.] Amendments to
a disagreeable sensation, occasioned by leaving
it id the breast of any man to set a value on his
own work; it is true it is unavoidable in tlie
present House, but it might, and ought to be
avoided in future; he iherefoie hoped it would
obtain without any difficulty.
Mr. Gerry would be in lavoi of this clause,
if they coa Id find means to secure an adequate
representation; but be appiehended that it would
be considerably endangered; he should theie-
fore be against it.
Mr. Madison thought the representation
would be as well secured under this clause as
it would be if it was omitted; and as it was de-
sired by a great number of the people of Ame-
rica, he would consent to it, though he was not
convinced it was absolutely necessary.
Mr. Sedgwick remarked once more, that the
proposition had two aspects which made it dis
agreeable to him; the one was to render a man
popular to his constituents, the other to render
the place ineligible to his competitor.
He thought there was very little danger of
an abuse ot the power of laying their own wages;
gentlemen were generally more inclined to
make them moderate than excessive.
The question being put on the proposition, it
was carried in the affirmative, twenty-seven
for, and twenty against it.
The committee then rose and reported pro-
gress, and the House adjourned
Satcrbav, August 15
AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION
The House again went into a Committee of
the whole on the proposed amendments to the
constitution, Mr. Bottdinot m the chatr.
The foui th proposition being under consider
atuin, as follows
Article 1. Section 9. Between paragraphs
two and three insert " no religion shall be es-
tablished by law, nor shall the equal rights of
conscience be infringed."
Mr. Sylvester had some doubts of the pro-
priety of the mode of expression used in this
paragraph. He apprehended that it was liable
to a construction different from what had been
made by the committee He feated it might be
thought to have a tendency to abolish religion
Mr. Vivivg suggested the propriety of trans-
posing (he two members of the sentence
Mr. GfcRRY said it «ould lead better if it
was, that no religious doctrine shall be esta-
blished by law
Mr. Sherman thought the amendment alto
gether unnecessaiy, inasmuch as Congress had
no authority whatever delegated to them by the
constitution to make religious establishments;
he would, theiefore, move to have it struck
Mr. Carroll.—As the lights of conscience
afe, in their natme, of peculiar delicacy, and
will little bear the gentlest touch of govern-
mental hand; and as many seUs have concuired
Constitution. [August 15, 1789
in opinion that they are not well secured under
the present constitution, he said he was much
in favor of adopting the words. He thought it
would tend more towards conciliating the
minds of the people to the Government than
almost any other amendment he had heard pro-
posed. He would not contend with gentlemen
I about the phraseology, his object was to secure
the substance in such a manner a* to sati-fy
the wishes of the honest part of the community.
Mr. Madison said, he apprehended the mean-
ing of the words to be, that Congress should
not establish a religion, and enforce the legal
observation of it by law, nor compel men to
worship God in any manner contrary to their
conscience. A\ hether the words are neces-
sary or not, he did not mean to say, but they
had been required by some of the State Con-
ventions, who seemed to entertain an opinion
that under the clause of the constitution, which
gave power to Congress to make all laws ne-
cessary and proper to carry into execution the
constitution, and the laws made under it, enabled
them to make laws of such a nature as might
infringe the rights of conscience, and establish
a national religion; to prevent these effects he
presumed the amendment was intended, and
he thought it as well expressed as the nature of
the language would admit.
Mr. HUNTINGTON said that he feared, with
the gentleman first up on this subject, that the
words might be taken in such latitude as to be
extremely hurtful to the cause of religion. He
understood the amendment to mean what had
been expressed by the gentleman from Virginia;
but others might find it convenient to put an-
other construction upon it The ministers of
their congi egations to the Eastward were main-
tained by the contributions of those who be
longed to their society; the expense of building
meeting-houses was contnbuted in the same
manner. These things were regulated by by-
laws If an action was brought before a Fede-
ral Court on any ot these eases, the person
who had neglected to perform his engagements
could not be compelled to do it; for a support
ot ministers, oi building of places of worship
might be construed into a ieligiuus establish
By the charter of Rhode Island, no religion
could be established by law; he could give a
history ot the effects of such a regulation; in-
deed the people were now enjoying the blessed
limts of it. He hoped, therefore, the amend-
ment would be made in such a way as to secure
the rights of conscience, and a free exeiciseof
the rights of religion, but not to patronize
those who professed no religion at alt.
Mr. Madison thought, if the word national
was insei ted before religion, it would satisfy
the minds of honoiable gentlemen. He believ-
ed that the people feared one sect might obtain
a pie-eminence, or two combine together, and
establish a religion to which they would com-
pel others to conform. He thought if the word
national was mtioduced, it would point the
Here’s what’s next.
This book can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Book.
Gales, Joseph, 1761-1841. The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, First Congress, First Session, Volume 1, book, 1834; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29465/m1/381/: accessed July 31, 2021), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.