James Madison implores for liberty
1774 – JAMES MADISON WRITES ON BEHALF OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY IN VIRGINIA – On January 24, 1774, as a citizen of Orange County Va., James Madison wrote: “Union of religious sentiments begets a surprising confidence and ecclesiastical establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption, all of which facilitates the execution of mischievous projects…I want to again breathe your free air…Poverty and luxury prevail among all sorts; pride, ignorance and knavery among the priesthood, and vice and wickedness among the laity…but it is not the worst…That diabolical, hell-conceived principle of persecution rages among some, and, to their eternal infamy the clergy can furnish their quota of imps for such purposes. This vexes me the worst of anything…There are at this time in the adjacent county not less than five or six well-meaning men in close jail for publishing their religious sentiments, which, in the main, are very orthodox…I have squabbled and scolded, abused and ridiculed so long about it, to little purpose, that I am without common patience. So I must beg you to pity me, and pray for liberty of conscience to all.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon; adapted from: Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson/ Pg. 32
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