Thomas Jefferson Papers

III. Jefferson’s Outline of Argument in Support of His Resolutions, 11 October–9 December 1776

III. Jefferson’s Outline of Argument

in Support of His Resolutions

Befre. ent. on Propr. Redress—see wt. is Injury—ye sta. Religs. Lib. Apostacy. act. 1705.c.6.

1st offce. disabld. to hold office.
2d. disabled to sue, incapb. of gift or legacy
3 3 three years imprismt. however conscients. ye Conversion.

Heresy. <1.El.c.1.> Heretico combura.

State hs. adoptd. Athanasn. creed.

Arians therefore Heretics

eithr. Civl. or Eccles. judge in burn 1.H.P.c.405.

2. Arians burnt in El. & Jac. Socinians.


Sacramt. 1.E.6.c.1.

to deprave it, imprismt. & fine ad libitum


Commn. Prayr. 1.El.c.2.

(a) derogate frm. it—or attend any other Commd. to prison tll. Conform if nt. Confrm. in 3 Months, abjure.

act of ass. addnal. 5/ except on dissentrs.

wch. is deragn

Athanasn. creed.


xxxix Articles

11th. Faith—Works.

13. Works sinfl. befre. grace & Inspirn.

17. Predestination.

18. No name cn. save bt. Christ.

Obj. Insultg. & Revilg. offensve. to good men

ans. so evy. oth transgrn. divne. commd. is yt. sfft. to justify coercn.

Revilrs. wll. be contemd.—Ministers if Punish, people wll. Pity.

cool reasg. refutn. compsn. bst. arms fr. Revilrs. to tke.

refge. in Fi & Imprmt. seems hd. n. bettr. suppt.

Tenets & Formulars. plannd. by Clergy, yo. stabld. by civl. hist. Synods, convocns, councils—

intrig. Cabls. animos. anathem.

smll. Majorts.—

cross in baptm. carrd. by 1. in Convocn. El.

Obj. shll. w. lve. mn. propagte. wt. opns. please?

ans. Truth cnt. suffr. by fre. Enquiry—only w. propag.

Free enquiry enemy only to Error

if m. forbd. free Argum’—Mahomsm.

prevnt. Reformn.

(b) No attendg. Chch. whre. Com. Prayr.

23.El.c.1. 28.El.c.6. 35.El.c.1. 3.Jac.1.c.4.

20£ a month—or ⅔ of lands:

10.£ a month for keepg. a person wh. ds. nt. or Imprismt & Abjurn.

(d) Attending Conventicles

same punmts.

Free govmt. forgets own princ. whn. becmes. intolrt.

4. Popery.

5. Profaneness. 3.Jac.1.c.21.

jestingly speakg. name of God, Christ, Ghost, Trinty. £10. for every offence.

6. Contribn.

is it just?

yse. peop. p. dble. Contribns.

ys. is Persecn. in degree

is it Geners. in Clerg. hire whre. nevr. labord.

Gent. wll. b. surprizd. at detl. yse persecutg. stat.

mos. men imagne. persecn. unknn. t. our ls.

legl. sta. Relign. little undstd.

ye. persecn. gos. nt. t. death bt. in 1. case—Fi. Impr.

happly. ye. Spirt. of times in favr. of rts. of Conscce.

if just sch. rts. possd. in Xtnt. wch. lenity of ti. allows just shd. b. fxd by law.

at ys. ti. of reformn. no laws incompble. left unrepd.

Lt. gent. wh hapn. of Relign. of sta. mke. ca. of oth. yr. own

wt. wd. b. yr. Sensns. if n. Secty. civl. rts. bt. Modern. of ti.

wd. b. uneasy till fxd. on legal basis.

Rts. of Conscce mch. mo. tendr.

Obj. yse. acts only interrorm.

Ans. acts in terrm. nt. justfble.—m. presme. wll. b. xd.

leave evy. one at mercy of Bigot.

evy. one shd. kn. undr. wt. law lives

shd. nt. b. oblgd. recr. to Spirt. of ti. fr. protctn.

ys. is nt. Secure govmt.—bt. at mercy of events

Spirt. ti. m. altr.—single Zealt. m. undtke. refrm.

bad complmt. to law. yt. peop. discrn. iniqty. … nt. xte. it

former attempts at tolern. how have succeeded

Presbyterian wd. open just wide enough for hms.

others wd. open it to infidelity, bt. keep out fanaticism

True mode only for all to concur, & throw open to all.

ye. prest. chch. too strong for any 1 sect, bt. too weak agt. all.1

Hs. State Right to adopt an Opn. in mattr. Relign.

whn. mu. ent. Socty. Surrendr. litt. as posble.

Civl. rts. all yt. r. nec. to Civl. govmt.

Religs. rts. nt. nec. surrd.

Indivd. cnt. surrdr.—answble. to God

If is unalienable right, […] is Religs.

God reqres. evy. act acdg. to Belief

yt. Belf. foundd. on Evdce. offd. to his mind.

as yngs. appr. to hims. nt. to anoth.

Obj. oth. mens Undstgs. better.

Ans. hs. own Undstg., wh. mo. or less. judics. only faclty. god

True line betw. Opn. or tendcy. of opn.—… Overt act.

humn. 1. nothg. t. d. wth. Opn. or tendcy.—only Overt acts.

if magistr. restrn. prins. bec. of tendcy. … h. judge yn. Relign. no longer free.

Coercn.exercd. by fallible men.

Obj. Belief of Future State necess.

Ans. Jewish theocrcy.

God dd. nt. revl. in Bible.


<Obj. Religion will decline if not supported

Ans. Gates of Hell shall not prevail…>1

Is a Relign. of State <Use> Expedt.

Purpose mst. be Uniformty.

(a) Is Uniformty. desirble?

if evr. cd. b. obtd. wd. be b. suffoctg. free enqry.

all imprvmts. in Relign. or Philos. hve. bn. frm. settg. up privte. jdmt. agt. Public—ventrg. dept. Uniformty.

Monksh. imposns.—ignorce.—darknss. suppd. on ruins Enqry.

Glorious Reformn. effect of shakg. off Pub. opn.

Mahomsm. supprtd. by stiflg. free enqry.

Philos. reformd by free enq.

Galileo. Newton

Unifmty. no. mo. nec. in Relign. yn. Philos.

no consqce. if Newtonn. or. Cartesn.

Overt acts all yt. nec.

Diffce. in Religs. opn. supplies place Censor Morum

Teachrs. evy. sect inculcte. sa. mor. princ. wh. yn. gve. peculr. priv. to any?

(b) Is Unifmty. Attainable?

by Inquisn.

by lessr. Punmts.—Burng heretic—Fine. Impr. Abjurn.

Constrt. m. prodce. Hippocr.—nt. prevt. sentimt.

Coercn. mst. b. xrcd. by fallib. men—abusd.

Experce. hs. provd. Unattnb.

Millns. burnt—tortd.—find.—imprisd. yet men differ.

in Romn. Cath. countr. most infidelty.

If Relign. of sta. mst b. stabld. Is ours right?

Zealot wll. ans. yes.

1/10,000 of men of our Relign.

Obj. all states have establmt.

Ans. then all religions have been established2

<Ans> hve Govng. pwrs. of earth shewn Infallibilty. by this?3

nevr. pretendd. to it till Xty.

Exam. effects since yt.

hs. God stampd. us wth. mark

r. w. whiter—handsmr.—athletc.—wisr.

if n. sch. Ear-mark whence ys. Confidence?

ans. Reason.

true evy. mn’s Reasn. judge fr. hms. Presbn. fr.

Presbn.—Episcn. for Episcn.

bt. wh. m. reasn. step int. jdmt. seat of yours?

Advantags. to Relign. to put all on footg.

Strengthn. Church.

oblige it’s ministers to be Industrs. Exemplary

Northern clergy

wh. depdce. or Indepdce. mst. likely to mke. industrs. Lawyers—Physicns.

Xty. florshd. 300. y. witht. establmt.

soon as establd. declind. frm. Purity

betrays wnt. confdce. in doctrnes. of chch. to suspct. yt. reasn. or intrinsck. xcllce. insfft. wtht. seculr. prop.

Gates of hell shall never prevail2

Attach People

20,000 beyd. & adjg. Blue ridge.

55,000 in all.

ceding wll. attach.

Obj. Fixd. Contribn.

inequalty. of Parishes

no. of dissentrs. difft. in difft. parishs.

Contribn. wll. nt. supprt. Preachrs. in some Chch. min. in other

Contribn. of sme. yn. wll. be lost or givn. agt. Conscce.

Decln. of rts. is freedm. of Religion

force mn. to contribte. wn. n. teachr. of sect to recve. is t. force to supprt. heresy

Quakrs. give no Contribns.

Discorge. fornrs.

N. Engld.

N (DLC). A four-page document written in a long, narrow column. The italicized words (except those in angle brackets) represent words and phrases written by TJ in a hand resembling print. This special hand varies greatly in size and form, so that his several degrees of emphasis can only be approximated in our text.

For the place of this document in TJ’s campaign to effect disestablishment, see the general Editorial Note at the beginning of this sequence of documents.

1This passage inserted in a different ink.

2This line inserted in a different ink.

3Two preceding words inserted in a different ink.

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