Thomas Jefferson Papers

IX. Miscellaneous Notes on Religion, 11 October–9 December 1776

IX. Miscellaneous Notes on Religion

  • 1663.c.1. Pervis. an act prohibiting the unlawful assembling of quakers.
  • [1692.c.5. an act encoraging the erecting of a post office in this country.]1 this was to confirm the establishmt. of that office made in England.
  • 1659.Mar.13. an act for the suppressing the Quakers. I doubt whether the laws of this session are in H. B. office.2 the substance is to lay penalty of £100 Sterl. on any captain of ship who shall bring in a Quaker to be levied by an order from the Gov. & council or the justices of the county.
  • that all Quakers already questioned or which shall hereafter arrive shall be apprehended & imprisoned without bail or main-prize till they abjure this country, or give security to depart the colony immediately & not to return.
  • if they return, to be proceeded against & pursued as contemners of the laws & magistracy:
  • if they return a second time to be proceeded against as felons.
  • no person to entertain any [of the Quakers quesitioned by the Gov. & council or [who shall hereafter be] questd.
  • no person to [permit] any assembly [of Quakers] in or near his house in pen[alty of £100 sterling.]
  • no person at their peril to dispose [or publish their] books withtheir tenets & [opinions.]
  • Justices & [other?] officers at [their peril to take notice of this act to see it] fully [effected and executed.]3


  • Impropriety of time—invasion
    • nevr. complnd. befre.
    • Hierarchy & Monarchy Congenl.
  • Threatg.
  • Practice Tolern. nt. Leg.
  • Stat. of Tolen. Adopted
  • Propriety of an Estabmt.
    • Obj. most states have establmt. ans. yn. every Relign. hs. bn. establd. ds. ys. Prove Infallibility
  • Examp. Holland
    • Pennsylva. &c.
    • [. . . .]
  • Public Regulns. necessary
  • 1. Open doors
  • 2. Tendcy. of opns.
    • Regenern.
    • Future state
  • ys. wd. subjct. Religs. opn.
  • ys. supportd. Monksh. ignorce.
  • trust to Ministers
  • wch. is smallst. inconvce.
  • 3. Ordinatn.
    • Leave it to each sect
    • yr. own interest lead to it
    • Quakers
  • 4. fixed Contributn.
    • laborer worthy hire
  • [. . . .]
  • while contins. worthy—shd. b. indepdt.
    • wll. be afrd. to censure
    • ans. The reverse is true
    • obj. Rich Philadelphns. refuse
  • inequalty. of Parishes
    • Contribn. wll. nt. suppt.
    • Contribn. mst. go to difft. sect or be lost
    • Decln. Rts. Freedm. of conscce.
      • force to support Error
    • Quakers
    • Foreigns. discoraged
    • Law deft. cts.—Value Xn. Examp.
    • Ruin church
  • [. . . .]
  • Ye. Stat: justified by hist. times.
    • ans. shd. hve. bn. repealed.
  • All Stat: after 4. […]—Whimsicl.
    • Ys. is determin. of law
    • obj. Some befre. ys. not in force
    • ans. local stat. exceptd.
  • Obj. act of pan. repeald. mst. be in force here.
    • Yn. in repeal Magn. Charta. Stat, of Wills
    • Ys. gives up Americn. qu.
  • Genl. Ct. so thought it
  • Ans. Y dd. nt.
  • Obj. act, ass. is agt. swearg. Drunkss.—wll. be licence to practice
    • [. . . .]
    • none but Chst. men obligd. to go to Chch.
  • Obj. wt. […]Sentimts.
  • Obj.


  • do not […] inculcate principles of morality.
  • Why then give peculir. privileges to any.
  • Romn. Catholics. 4.Bl.54.
  • Pennsylva.—D. Counts.—N. York—Maryld.
  • a Romn. Cathol. in Congress—grt. confldce.
  • Canada
  • frdly. interchange of Citizens wth. all ye. colonies5
  • [. . . .]6
  • Shadford the petner. is appd. by Rankins for Virga.
  • Westley has written in favr. of ministry
    • has been advertzd. in Maryld. gazette as having written agt. Junius’s lres.
  • E. of Dartmouth, principi. secretary, a methodist
  • Shadfd, has signed witht. authority.
  • Methodsts. in Albem. signd. petns.
  • Co. L. 11. 260. Hob. 79.
  • 1 Bl. c. 8. 5. Co. 106.
  • Spelman. Admir. flotsam.
  • Jacob. beaconage.
  • 2. Shower 232. Comb. 474.

N (DLC). Miscellaneous fragments, described in textual notes below. Partly illegible.

1Brackets in MS.

2This Act was passed in the session of 1659/60 (Hening, description begins William W. Hening, The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia description ends I, 532–3); the parts within brackets, indicating illegible or mutilated portions of the MS, are supplied from the Act itself.

3The foregoing is a single-page MS, mutilated, in DLC: TJ Papers, 234: 41879 recto.

4The part between asterisks is from a three-page MS (DLC: TJ Papers, 2: 306 verso, 307 recto and verso), in pencil, some parts of which are probably early notes for his Outline of Argument presented above (Document III). There is no means of estimating the number of words missing in the gaps indicated by suspension points.

5The foregoing (between the asterisk and this point), in ink, is on the recto of a single mutilated leaf (DLC: TJ Papers, 284: 41880): that which follows is on the verso. The recto also contains part of what must have been intended as the preamble of TJ’s Resolution for disestablishing the church (see Document I, note 1).

6An entire line is missing.

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