Tuesday, March 27, 2012

West Jersey 1676

Reviewing the 1676 "The Concessions and agreements of the proprietors, freeholders and inhabitants of the province of West New-Jersey, in America" (wearing archival gloves to handle the wonderful 1747 volume), Chapter XVI:

That no Men, nor number of Men upon Earth, hath Power or Authority to rule over Men's Consciences in religious Matters, therefore it is consented, agreed and ordained, that no Person or Persons whatsoever within the said Province, at any Time or Times hereafter, shall be any ways upon any pretence whatsoever, called in Question, or in the least punished or hurt, either in Person, Estate, or Priviledge, for the sake of his Opinion, Judgment, Faith or Worship towards God in Matter of Religion. But that all and every such Person, and Persons, may from Time to Time, and at all Times, freely and fully have, and enjoy his and their Judgments, and the exercise of their Consciences in Matters of religious Worship throughout all the said Province.

Exactly 100 years later Jefferson and Franklin would write the Declaration of Independence.