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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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of independence by that House.  ‘We take the liberty,' say they in this letter, 'of suggesting to your consideration the propriety of taking some measures, for expunging from the Book of Common Prayer such parts, and discontinuing in the congregations of all other denominations all such prayers, as interfere with the interests of the American cause.  It is a subject we are afraid to meddle with.  The enemies of America have taken great pains to insinuate into the minds of the Episcopalians, that the Church is in danger.  We could wish the Congress would pass some resolve to quiet their fears, and we are confident it would do essential service to the cause of America, at least in this State.’  The Convention would seem to have forgotten the epistle from their delegates in Congress, written some months before, in which Congress is said to have cautiously avoided everything, that could possibly bear on any, religious dispute.  To erase words from a book, or to exact a penalty for reading them in public, is, to be sure, a possible thing; but what power, despotic or liberal, in a country where every individual is allowed to worship in his own way, could expect to take cognizance of the extemporaneous prayers of all the congregations, and prescribe the words which should be used or omitted ? Such an attempt, seriously entered upon at that time by the national legislature, would have been a greater bar to union and independence, than all the deep plots of tories, combined with the power of the English fleets and armies.[28]


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From The Life of Gouverneur Morris: With Selections from His Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers; Detailing Events in the American Revolution, The French Revolution, and in the Political History of the United States, by Jared Sparks, Volume 1, Boston: Gray & Bowen, 1832, p 118. Some minor edits may have been made, but an attempt has been made to preserve the original spelling. Although some effort has been made to correct the limitations of OCR technology, if you find an error please report it to jvinci@colonialhall.com.

 
 


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Last modified August 20, 2006