1785.014: Petition against Bill to Provide Teachers of Christian Religion (A).

Published: 1785

Full Title: To the honorable the general assembly of the commonwealth of Virginia. A memorial and remonstrance. We the subscribers, citizens of said commonwealth, having taken into serious consideration, a hill printed by order of the last session of the general assembly, entitled, “A bill establishing a provision for teachers of the Christian religion,” and conceiving that the same, if finally armed with that sanction of law will be a dangerous abuse of power, are bound as faithful members of a free state, to remonstrate against it; and to declare the reasons by which we are determined. We remonstrate against the said bill, because… [fifteen objections follow].

Author: Madison, James, 1751-1836.

Place Issued: Richmond

Issuing Press: Dunlap & Hayes

Description: 1 sheet [1 pg.]; 48 cm. x 30 cm. (broadside).


Sheet lacks printer credit; attributed to press of Dunlap & Hayes by Swem. Madison drafted this remonstrance as part of strategy to enact Thomas Jefferson's Statute for Religious Freedom in the Assembly of 1785/86 to which this petition was addressed. First, he delayed enactment of the aforementioned bill by having it published for public comment (1784.020) before a final vote in November 1785; next, he helped to orchestrate opposition to that bill via a petition campaign; and last he offered Jefferson's earlier bill as an alternative to the Christian education bill deferred by the preceding Assembly. Jefferson's bill was published during his gubernatorial term (1779.017) and as part of the revisors' report made to the May 1784 Assembly (1784.018). Swem reported that a second edition of this title (1785.015) was published by George Mason (1725-92), author of Virginia's Declaration of Rights, in support of Madison's campaign; that imprint is either non-extant or typographically identical to this edition.

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