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fligates that immediate danger and disgrace shall attend their prostitute purposes.
Fourthly.—That the last article may most surely and effectually be executed, we engage to each other, that whenever it shall be known to any of this association, that any person is so conducting himself as lo favour the introduction of the Stamp Act, that immediate notice shall be given to as many of the association as possible; and that every individual so informed shall, with expedition, repair to a place of meeting to be appointed as near the scene of action as may
be. Fifthly.—Each associator shall do his true endeavour to obtain as many signers to this association as he possibly can.
Sixthly.—If any attempt shall be made on the liberty or property of any associator for any action or thing done in consequence of this agrreement, we do most solemnuly bind ourselves by the sacred engagements above entered into, at the utmost risk of our lives and fortunes, to restore such associate to his liberty, and to protect him in the enjoyment of his property.
In testimony of the good faith with which we resolve to execute this association, we have this 27th day of February, 1766, in Virginia, put our hands and seals hereto. Richard Henry Lee
Francis Thornton, Juni
John Lee, Jr.
Jas. Webb, Juur.
Thos. Chilton Richard Buckner Jos. Pierce Will. Chilton John Williams John Blackwell Winder S. Kenner Wm. Bronaugh Wm. Peirce John Berryman John Dickson John Broone Edwd. Sanford Charles Chilton Edwd. Sanford Daniel McCarty Jer. Rush Edwd. Ransdell Townshend Dade John Ashton W. Brent Francis Foushee John Smith, Jour. Wm. Ball Thos. Barnes Jos. Blackwell Reuben Meriwether Edw. Mountjoy Wm. J. Mountjoy Thos. Mountjoy John Mountjoy Gilbt. Campbell Jos. Lane
A. Montague Rich'd Jeffries John Sugrett John S. Woodcock Robt. Wormeley Carter John Beale, Junr. John Newton Will. Beale, Junr. Chs. Mortimer John Edmondson, Jr. Charles Beale Peter Grant Thompson Mason Jona. Beckwith Jas. Samford John Belfield W. Smith John Augt. Washington Thos. Belfield Edgcomb Suggett Henry Francks John Bland, Junr. Jas. Emerson Thos. Logan Jo. Milliken Ebenezer Fisher Hancock Eustace John Richards Thos. Jett Thos. Douglas Max. Robinson John Orr.
SYNOPSIS OF ASSEMBLY ACTS RELATING TO THE PROTESTANT Eris.
It was my intention to have written an article on the last years of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Virginia, beginning with the Act of Assembly in 1776, which suspended the salaries of the clergy, and ending with that which confiscated the glebes, in 1802. But I find the same so much better done in this and the two following numbers of this Appendix that I cannot hesitate between them. The summary of Acts and Memorials has been furnished me by my young friend, Mr. John Eston Cooke, of Richmond, Virginia, who, with great care, has examined all the documents on the subject which are laid up in the archives of the State, and presented the following result, for which my readers, as well as myself, will owe him many thanks :
1. The first Act aimed at the Established Church was passed at a General Assembly begun and held at the Capitol, in Williamsburg, on the 7th October, 1776,—the first year of the Commonwealth. This Act is interesting in an historical point of view, as the first public exhibition of the dislike of a large class of the community for the English Establishment. After reciting that much doubt existed touching the application of the laws of Parliament upon religious matters to the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Act proceeds to declare that all such laws “which render criminal the maintaining any opinions in matters of religion, forbearing to repair to church, or the exercising any mode of worship whatsoever, or which pre. scribe punishments for the same, shall henceforth be of no force or validity in this Commonwealth." After the passage of the Act, “all dissenters, of whatever denomination, from the said Church, shall be totally free from all levies, taxes, and impositions whatever, toward supporting and maintaining the said Church, as it now is or hereafter may be established, or its ministers.” It is nevertheless provided that the vestries of the different parishes shall levy and assess upon the tithables, including dissenters, as before, all the salaries and arrearages due the ministers up to the first of the ensuing January. These assessments are also directed where the vestries, counting upon them, have made engagements; and the former provisions for the poor are directed to be continued, conformist and dissenting cithables contributing
The fourth section reserves to the Church her glebe lands held at the time, her churches and chapels built or then contracted for, and all books, ornaments, and decorations used in worship; also, all arrearages of money or tobacco then due, and the “perpetual benefit and enjoyment” of all private donations.
The Act winds up with directions for taking a list of tithables, and ends by declaring that the old law of 22 George II., for the payment and support of the clergy, should be “suspended” until the termination of the next General Assembly.
The Assembly contented itself thereafter for several years with affirming simply this “suspension" of the old law
2. But at the session commencing October, 1779, it distinctly erased the old statute, declaring that this and “all and every other Act or Acts providing salaries for the ministers, and authorizing the vestries to levy the
same, shall be, and the same are hereby, repealed.” The former provisions
year, in compliance with the petitions of the clergy, the Church was incorporated under the name of The Minister and Vestry of the Protestant Episcopal Church”-in each parish. They were to hold and enjoy all which the old Act of 1776 permitted them to possess, and could sue or be sued like other corporations. An exception is made in the case of the glebe in the county of Augusta, where, until the Church was organized, the overseers of the poor were to receive and apply the proceeds for the repairing of the church, the grounds, &c., and the support of the poor.
The second clause directs that the vestries shall decide by vote,--the minister voting with the rest, and having no negative voice.
The third clause grants to the minister and vestry power to receive and hold every species of property, real and personal, for the Church, and to improve it as they think best; but the Church cannot derive from these tenements, in any case, more than eight hundred pounds income. They may use these proceeds in any manner they desire for the cause of religion and education.
The other clauses direct that the vestry shall consist of twelve “able and discreet men,” to be elected by the menubers of the Church, “every third year forever;" that they shall, with the minister, present to the county court, triennially, a statement of all property held, real or personal, by the Church, verified by oath, failing to comply with which they shall forfeit to the Commonwealth one hundred pounds, and in case of further contumacy cease to be a body corporate. If the annual revenue exceeds eight hun. dred pounds, the subject shall be laid before the Assembly.
The Act ends by repealing all former laws touching the internal govern. ment of the Church, its liturgies, mode of worship, fasts, festivals, &c. All such are to be decided by Conventions, in which are vested all the powers of discipline, change, and general government.
At this same term of 1784, the vestry of South Farnham parish, in Essex, were declared "dissolved," having supplied vacancies in their body without consulting the freeholders. These latter were directed to meet and elect a vestry.
4. The f regoing is a summary of the Acts of the General Assembly touching the Established Church up to the time of the passage of the “Act for establishing Religious Freedom.” This was passed December 16, 1785, and need not be recited.
5. In January, 1799, the Assembly declared that all the old legislation, above recited, in which the existence of a Governmental Church was di. rectly or indirectly recognised, should thenceforth be repealed; that no such Establishment had legally existed since the Commonwealth; and that
the Act of “Religious Freedom” was the true exposition of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.
6. The final legislation of the General Assembly was the Act “Concerning the glebe-lands and churches within the Commonwealth," passed January 12, 1802. The preamble declares that the Act of 1799, just referred to, “recognises the principle that all property formerly belonging to the said Church, of every description, devolved on the good people of this Commonwealth, on the dissolution of the British Government here, in the same degree in which the right and interest of the said Church was derived therein from them." The Assembly does not wish, however, to "disturb the possession of the present incumbents," though it has the “right of authorizing a sale of all such property indiscriminately." Therefore the overseers of the poor shall only sell such glebe-lands as are vacant or shall become so. Leases granted by the former officers of the Church shall be respected; but the overseers shall sue for and recover all moneys due from tenants, and shall receive all other moneys to which the Church is entitled. The proceeds of the sales, &c., shall be in all cases appropriated by the overseers for the benefit of the poor, or for any other purpose which a majority of the freeholders may elect: Provided, that these appropriations shall not be for “any religious purpose whatsoever.”
Nothing in the Act, however, shall authorize a sale of the churches and their fixtures, furniture, or appliances, or the churchyards, nor affect any private donation prior to January 1, 1777, for Church or other purposes, where there is any person in being entitled to take the same, or affect the property of any kind "acquired by private donations or subscriptions by the said Church since the date last mentioned."
From the Manuscript Journal of the House of Delegates, 1773–74, and
Manuscript Archives. Thursday, the 12th of May, 14 George III., 1774.—“A petition of sundry persons of the community of Christians called Baptists, and other Protestant dissenters, whose names are thereunto subscribed, was presented to the House and read, setting forth that the toleration proposed by the bill, ordered at the last session of the General Assembly to be printed and published, not admitting public worship except in the daytime, is inconsistent with the laws of England, as well as the practice and usage of the primitive Churches, and even of the English Church itself; that the night season may sometimes be better spared by the petitioners from the necessary duties of their callings, and that they wish for no indulgences which may disturb the
peace of Government,” &c. The action of the House not discoverable.
On the 17th May, 1774.-"A petition of several members of the Presbyterian Church, in the county of Bedford, setting forth that many well. disposed persons of their community had made contributions, to which