As well dam up the waters of the Nile with Bullrushes as to fetter the steps of Freedom. -- L. M. Child.
Leland's attack upon the constitution of Connecticut during the excitement over the Western Land bills called for new tactics on the part of the dissenters. Thus far, in all their antagonism to the union of Church and State, there had been on their part practically no attack upon the constitution itself. Yet even as early as 1786 the Anti-Federalists had proclaimed that the state of Connecticut was without a constitution; that the charter government fell with the Declaration of Independence; and that its adoption by the legislature as a state constitution was an unwarranted excess of authority. The Anti-Federalists maintained also that many of the charter provisions were either outgrown or unsuited to the needs of the state. But the majority of the dissenters, like the Constitutional Reform party of recent date, preferred redress for their grievances through legislation rather than through the uprooting of an ancient and cherished constitution. Accordingly, it was not until the elections of 1804-6 that this question of a new constitution could reasonably be made a campaign issue. But from 1793 the dissenters began to lean towards affiliation with the Democratic-Republican [a] party, the successors to the Anti-Federal; yet it was not until toward the close of the War of 1812 that the Republican party made large gains in Connecticut and the dissenters began to feel sure that the dawn of religious liberty was at hand. But before that time the Republicans made three distinct though abortive attempts to secure the electoral power.
The Anti-Federalists early began to probe for weak spots in the constitutional government of Connecticut. The Fundamental Orders had given four deputies to each of the three original towns, and had made the number of deputies from each new town proportionate to its population. The Charter had limited the deputies to two from each town. The Fundamental Orders gave the General Court, composed of Governor, Magistrates or Assistants, and Deputies, supreme governing power, including, together with that of legislation, the granting of levies, the admission of freemen, the disposal of public lands, and the organization of courts. It had also a general supervision over individuals, magistrates, and courts, with power to revise decisions and to mete out punishments. The Charter of 1662 did not materially alter the laws and customs of the government as previously established under the Fundamental Orders, or the |first written constitution.| The Charter emphasized the executive, and began the segregation of the Upper House or Council, since by it the |Particular Court| of the founders became the Governor's Council, serving upon like occasions, but requiring the presence of at least six magistrates for the transaction of business. The Particular Court had consisted of the Governor or Deputy-Governor, and three Assistants. In emergencies occurring during adjournment of the General Court, the Particular Court was to serve in place of the larger body. After 1647 this special court could consist of two or three magistrates who, in the absence of the Governor or Deputy-Governor, chose one of their number to act as moderator. After 1662 the formula of the General Court |Be it ordered, enacted and decreed| was changed to |Be it enacted by the Governor and Council and House of Representatives in General Court assembled.| At the regular session of the General Court or General Assembly, the Councilors first sat as a separate body in 1698. After the Declaration of Independence this Upper House or Council became the Senate, and for many years was referred to under any one of the three names.
The power of the General Court -- this jumble of legislative, executive, and judicial -- worked well so long as the community consisted of a few hundred or a few thousand souls with little diversity of sentiment or industrial interest. It was not until the last quarter of the eighteenth century that the inefficiency of the |first written constitution| began to be felt. Then there arose the need of a new constitution to modify the body of laws and customs that had grown up; to destroy much of the erroneous legislation that in effect perverted or nullified their original intent; and to furnish a constitutional basis for the government of a larger and less homogeneous people. Here and there a few thoughtful men, irrespective of their church or party, were beginning to apprehend the difficulty of piloting a democratic state under the old royal charter. The more prominent among them belonged to the Anti-Federal party, and naturally they sought to expose the constitutional difficulties which they believed impeded progress. [b]
One of the earliest party tilts grew out of the increase of new towns and the unequal development of some of the older ones. Then as now, though on a much smaller scale, the unit of town representation threatened rotten boroughs and a fictitious representation of the will of the majority as represented by the delegates to the Lower House. The state in 1786 had not recovered from the exhaustion due to the Revolutionary War, and the support of the many new deputies, due to the increase of the towns, was a burden which the October legislation of that year attempted to lighten. With the object of cutting down state expenses a bill was introduced into the House to refer to the freemen some proposition for reducing the number of their delegates and for equalizing representation. Mr. James Davenport of Stamford moved to substitute for the bill [c] another in which this reduction should be made by the legislature without submitting the proposed change to the freemen. This was objected to on the ground that a reduction of delegates was a constitutional question, |the Assembly having no right to alter the representation without authority given by their constituents.| The supporters of the bill contended with Mr. Davenport that --
we have no Constitution but the laws of the State. The Charter is not the Constitution. By the Revolution that was abrogated. A law of the State gave a subsequent sanction to that which was before of no force; if that law be valid, any alteration made by a later act will also be valid; if not, we have no Constitution, so defined, as to preclude the Legislature from exercising any power necessary for the good of the people.
The bill was carried over to the May session of 1787, when it was defeated by sixty-two yeas to seventy-five nays, the towns of Hartford, East Hartford, Berlin, Stamford and Woodbury favoring it. A confidential letter of February, 1787, from Dr. Gale, the probable author of |Brief, decent but free Remarks or Observations on Several Laws passed by the Honorable Legislature of the State of Connecticut since the year 1775, by a Friend to his Country,| suggested that in addition to the reduction of representatives, laws should be passed forbidding any citizen to hold, at the same time, more than one place of public trust, either civil or military, and also requiring an increase in the number of councilors, or senators, from the total of twelve to three from each county. [d] Dr. Gale believed that if these senators should be elected by each county, and not upon a general ticket, the change would be beneficial.
In regard to the senators, the Fundamental Orders prescribed that nominations for the magistrates should be made by the towns through their deputies to the fall session of the General Court, and that the election should take place the following spring at the Court of Elections. As the life of the colony expanded, modifications of this rule were made; in time, vote by proxy took the place of the freeman's presence at the Court of Election. After 1689, the Assistants to be nominated, twenty in number, were balloted for in the fall town meetings. The sealed lists were sent to the legislature, where they were opened, and the ticket for the spring election was made out from the twenty names receiving the largest vote. The Court could no longer as in earlier times add any new names. Hence, the custom grew up of listing nominations, not according to popularity, but first according to seniority in office, and then according to the number of votes received. These lists were published in the papers throughout the state. The candidates for election were presented at the April town meetings, where each name was read in order and voted upon. A much later enactment provided twelve ballots, and forbade any one to cast more than twelve, whether for or against a candidate or in blank. If a man held any one of his slips in reserve for a more satisfactory candidate, he had none for the teller, and thus the secrecy of the ballot was almost destroyed. New candidates or those not up for reelection, whose names appeared at the foot of the list, whatever the number of votes received, were sometimes kept waiting years for an election, until those above them had died in office or resigned. [e] For instance, Jonathan Ingersoll received 4600 votes in nomination in 1792, while the senior councilor, William Williams, had only 2000; yet Williams's name was preferred, and Ingersoll's had to wait over another year, when he was again nominated and elected, and held his seat from 1793 to 1798. An election was a wearisome affair, and many men would not stay until the voting upon the list was finished, preferring for various reasons to cast an early ballot. The natural tendency was to support the experienced and known, even if indifferently efficient councilor, rather than to vote for an untried and unfamiliar man whose name would come up later, or even for popular men who could not be proposed until far into the day. As a result the party in power felt assured of their continuance in office. Moreover, proxies for the election were returned in April, but the result was not announced until the legislature met in May, nor was there any supervision compelling an honest count. Thus it was easy to keep in office Federal candidates, and thus the Senate, or Council, came to reflect public opinion about twenty years behind the popular sentiment. Furthermore, the clergy of the Establishment would get together and talk matters over before the elections, and the parish minister would endeavor to direct his people's vote according to his opinion of what was best for the commonwealth. This ministerial influence was not shaken until about 1817.
There was still another grievance against the Council besides that just mentioned. It had come to be almost a Privy Council for advice and consultation. Furthermore it was, until 1807, the Supreme Court of the state to which lay appeals in all cases, civil or criminal, where errors of law had been committed in the trial courts. Its twelve members were mostly, if not all, lawyers, holding a tremendous power of patronage over the members of the Lower House, many of whom were also lawyers, eager for preferment; over the courts throughout the state, from which, since 1792, the old non-professional judges had been debarred, and also over the militia, whose officers, from the earliest times, had been appointed by the General Court. Further, the united action of the two houses was necessary to pass or to repeal a law, and thus much important legislation centred upon a majority of seven in the Council.
Furthermore, at the opening of the nineteenth century, the courts of law also were thought to need reorganizing. The judges were declared partisan, as they naturally would be under the conditions of their appointment. The Republicans could not meet the Federals upon an equal footing in the state tribunals. They were disparaged in their business relations, |were treated as a degraded party, and this treatment was extended to all the individuals of the party however worthy or respectable; in fact as the Saxons were treated by the Normans and the Irish by the English government.|
Because of these political conditions, early in statehood, there were three schools of politicians; namely, those who approved a constitutional convention, expressly called to frame a new constitution; those who wished such a convention merely to amend the existing charter-constitution; and those, until 1800, predominately in the majority, who were convinced that whether the state had a constitution or not was a most frivolous and baneful question, mooted only by |visionary theorists,| or by those who were desirous of a change, no matter how disastrous it might be to good government. The conservative party held that, since the charter had been drawn according to the tenor of a draft submitted by Winthrop and outlining the government according to the Fundamental Orders, framed in 1639 by the |inhabitants and residents of Hartford, Windsor and Wethersfield,| the charter was not a grant of privileges but an approval asked and obtained for a government already existing. Consequently, such government as had been exercised before and was continued under the charter was essentially a creation of the people. It therefore needed only the declarative act of the legislature to annul those clauses of the charter that bound the colony to the crown and to continue over into statehood the government of the colonial period. Further, granting that the separation from Great Britain annulled the constitution, the subsequent conduct of the people in assenting to, approving of, and acquiescing in such acts of the legislature, had established and rendered those acts valid and binding, and had given them all the force and authority of an express contract. Such discussion of constitutional questions, confined at first to the few, spread among the many after Leland's attack upon the charter, and were debated with great earnestness. Leland's attack gained him, at the time, comparatively few adherents, but it brought the question of disestablishment fairly before the people, demonstrating to the discontented that there was very little hope for larger liberty, for greater justice, until the power of legislation, granted by the old charter, should be curtailed, and the bond between Church and State severed.
The growth in Connecticut of the Democratic-Republican party, outside its following among Methodists, Baptists and a few radical thinkers, was very slow. The Episcopalians were held in much higher esteem by the Federal members of the Establishment, or |Standing Order,| as they were called, than were the other dissenters. Yet notwithstanding the wealth and conservatism of the sect, they were looked at askance when it came to giving them political office, for the old dislike to a Churchman still lingered in New England. Accordingly, they were somewhat dissatisfied at the treatment they received as political allies of the Standing Order, and, in order to quiet their incipient discontent, the government thought best to occasionally extend some small favor to them. So in 1799, the legislature granted them a charter for a fund for their bishop which they were trying to raise. About the same time, Yale first conferred upon an Episcopal clergyman the title of doctor of divinity. The transfer of the annual fast day to coincide with Good Friday was appreciated by the Churchmen. The change was first made in 1795, and came about through Governor Huntington's friendship for Bishop Seabury, and because of a desire to remove from the public mind a misapprehension, arising from the refusal of the Episcopal church in New London to comply with President Washington's proclamation for a national Thanksgiving. [f] From 1797 this change of fast-day became customary. It removed the long-standing complaint that Presbyterian days of fasting or rejoicing frequently occurred during Episcopal feasts or fasts. At an earlier period, the ignoring of such public proclamations was sometimes made the occasion for imposing fines for the benefit of the Establishment.
As has been said, the Republican gains were greater among the Methodists and Baptists. This was partly because not a few among these dissenters associated Jefferson's party with his efforts towards disestablishment in Virginia in 1785. Out of Connecticut's population of two hundred and fifty thousand, the Republicans counted upon recruits from the Methodist body, numbering, in 1802, one thousand six hundred and fifty-eight, and from the Baptists, approximating four thousand six hundred and sixty members. In 1798-1800 the division of the Federalists over national issues strengthened the Republicans in Connecticut, as they were the successors to the Anti-Federalists, those |visionary theorists| of 1786. The new Democratic-Republican party received further additions to their ranks through the opposition in Connecticut to the Federal and obnoxious |Stand-up Law| of 1801. This law, which required a man to stand when voting for the nomination of senators, |was made to catch the secret vote of the Republicans,| and revealed at once the opposition of every dissenter, debtor, employee, or of any one who had cause to fear injury to himself if he gave an honest vote. It was passed by a compact and reunited body of Federalists whose boast was that no division upon national questions could affect their unity and strength in the Land of Steady Habits.
The Republican-Democratic party in the state would have gained recruits more rapidly had it not been for its attitude as a national party toward France. To appreciate the situation in Connecticut, one must consider, first of all, the influence of the French Revolution. One must realize the intense interest, the mingled exultation and terror with which conservatives who, though they might differ in their religious preferences, were yet the rank and file of the state, watched its varying aspects from its outbreak in 1789 on through the years of its earliest experiments in statecraft, of its exaggerated exploitation of |liberty, equality, and fraternity,| and of its casting off of all religious bonds and trammels. As the Federal party lost its sympathy with the French cause the attitude of the nation changed. The consolidated factions of the Anti-Federalists, however, increased their ardor for the French republic, and took from 1792 the name Democratic-Republican. They carried their keen sympathy even to expressing their French sentiments by their dress and manners. The change in the national attitude was reflected in Connecticut by the whole-hearted antipathy of large numbers of her people to what they considered |radicalism of the most destructive character.| English Arianism and Arminianism, with which the Edwardeans had waged war, were nothing compared to the influx of French infidelity and atheism which appeared to be sweeping over the land. Books formerly guarded by the clergy were on sale everywhere. They found among the masses many like Aaron Burr, who, during his period of study with Dr. Bellamy, had preferred the logic of the printed books upon the shelves to that of the master who placed them there. Dr. Bellamy proposed to confute the pernicious arguments of these books, bringing them one by one before his select body of students, so that they should be able to guide their future parishioners when the insidious poison of these dangerous authors, these |followers of Satan,| should force its way among them.
All sects attempted to oppose such an influx of irreligion. All but the Episcopalians fell back upon revivals as their chief means. In these revivals the Methodists and Congregationalists were perhaps the most successful in securing converts. The policy of the Episcopal church did not favor this phase of religious life. It felt that its whole attitude was a protest against exaggerated liberty, or license, and against all atheistical ideas. During the revivals the Baptists, also, added largely to their numbers. The Methodists, however, brought to their revival meetings the peculiar strength of fervent proselytes to a new faith; of one rapidly becoming popular, appealing strongly to the emotions, and having a touch of martyrdom still clinging to its profession. Among those Federalists who were also Congregationalists, the French Revolution was believed to be the |result of a combination long since formed in Europe by infidels and atheists to root out and effectually destroy religion and civil government.| Holding this opinion; seeing the Baptists and Methodists increasing in importance, both in the nation and in the state; watching the continual increase of the unorthodox and of the freethinker, and perceiving the growing loss of confidence in the Federal party both in the nation and the state, the Standing Order felt itself face to face with imminent peril. It scented danger to itself and to the existence of the commonwealth. But it sadly lacked a great leader, until the year 1795, when it found one in the recently elected president of Yale, the Rev. Timothy Dwight. He was a grandson of Jonathan Edwards, and was a man of amazing energy, of varied training, and of great personal charm.
In his experience Dr. Dwight counted a college education, a theological training under Jonathan Edwards, Jr., a tutorship at Yale, a chaplaincy among the rough soldiers of the war of the Revolution, home-life on his father's farm at Northampton, where the men in the field vied with each other |to rake or hoe beside Timothy| in order to hear him talk. In political life Dr. Dwight had served an apprenticeship in the General Court of Massachusetts, where he sat as deputy from Northampton. He had had experience as a preacher in several small towns, and as pastor at Greenfield Hill, a part of Fairfield. There he had added to his income by establishing the Greenfield Academy for both sexes. Upon accepting the presidency of Yale he became also professor of theology, and in addition he took under his special care the courses in rhetoric and oratory. These last two, together with literature, had, he thought, been entirely too much neglected. [g] His coming was a forecast of the man of the nineteenth century. Dr. Stiles had been a fine type of the eighteenth. Dr. Dwight was a man of less acquirements in languages, but he was a more accurate scholar, of broader intelligence, and with a mind well stocked and ready. He had a pleasing power of expression, was tactful, and could readily adapt himself to men and circumstances. It was he who was to give Yale its initial movement from college to university. He himself was to become a celebrated teacher and theologian. He was to be one of the founders of the New England school, whose principles Dr. Taylor, in 1827, was to make known under the name of the New Haven Theology. [h] In his own day Dr. Dwight was equally celebrated as a power both in religion and politics. |Pope Dwight| his enemies termed him, and they nicknamed his ministerial following his |bishops,| while they dubbed the Council or Senators |his Twelve Cardinals.|
Outside his college duties, and as a part of his care for its spiritual welfare, President Dwight's immediate purpose was to combine all forces that could be used to stem the dangerous currents rushing against the bulwarks of Church and State. He had early favored the drawing together of Congregational and Presbyterian bodies. He had discerned, as early as 1792, a stirring of new life in the religious world, the breaking down of the apathy of half a century that had been indicated by revivals in places far scattered, not only throughout New England but in other states. Towns in Massachusetts, with East Haddam and Lyme in Connecticut, had been roused as early as the year named. That element of personal experience which had been so marked a feature of the Great Awakening reappeared, but without that excessive emotionalism [i] which characterized the earlier revival. Nor was there any such pronounced leadership as then. There was the same conviction of sinfulness, the peace after its acknowledgment, and the joyous satisfaction in the determination to lead an upright life, seeking God's grace and will. Recognition of this spiritual awakening had in some measure entered into the proposed disposal of the money from the Western Lands, as it had also in the discussion of the joint missionary work of 1791-1794, and again in 1797-98, when the General Association of Connecticut was incorporated as the Connecticut Missionary Society, [j] In all of these movements President Dwight had taken an active part. Upon entering the presidency of Yale he at once began a series of sermons, which he delivered Sunday mornings, and which were so arranged that in each four years the course was complete. These lectures were his |Theology Explained and Defended,| first published in 1818. President Dwight, with the leading Presbyterian or Congregational ministers, together with the Methodist and Baptist clergy, continued to favor the revival movement. This reached its height in 1807. From beginning to end it lasted nearly a quarter of a century, and was punctuated by the revival years of 1798, 1800, and 1802, that were especially fruitful of conversions in Connecticut. That of 1802 attracted large numbers of the college students. The success of the revivals was marked by increasing austerities, such as the denunciation of amusements, both public and private, and the revival of dead-letter laws for the more strict observance of Sunday. Traveling or driving was prohibited without a pass signed by a justice of the peace. Travelers were held up over |holy time.| Attempts were made to prevent the young people from gathering in companies on Sunday evenings after the Sabbath was legally over. Too much hilarity, though innocent, was condemned. Such restrictions were extremely distasteful to a large minority in the state, and seemed to many citizens only repeated proofs of how closely the government and the Presbyterian-Congregational church were banded together. Accordingly the Republicans began to think it was time to test the strength of such a platform as they could put forth while making a bid for the whole dissenting vote.
The election of Adams and Jefferson [k] in 1797 was a spur to both parties, lending hope to the scattered Republicans, and prodding the recently over-confident Federalists. In March, 1798, the whole nation was roused almost to forgetfulness of party lines by the anger created by the publication of the |X Y Z Papers.| A few months later the Federal party, through its Alien and Sedition laws, had lost its renewed hold upon the nation. Connecticut denounced the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions of 1798-99, and was to all appearances stanchly Federal. But her leaders were looking for another presidential candidate than Adams, while the Republicans, elate with the anticipated national victory in 1800, were making preparations to catch any and every dissatisfied voter in the state. The scattered Republican clubs and committees awoke to new activity. As Jefferson kept his party well in hand, and let the national dissatisfaction increase that he might rush to victory at the presidential election of 1800, so the Connecticut Republicans matured their plans. They did not formally organize their party till 1800, first making sure of their great leader as the nation's executive, and almost of his reelection. Then they began to urge the acceptance of their platform upon the oppressed Connecticut dissenters, and to taunt the Federal Episcopalians with an allegiance that as late as 1802 had not been thought of sufficient worth to warrant the small favor of a college charter for their academy at Cheshire. The Federalists attempted to disarm the Episcopal dissatisfaction over the refusal by granting them a license for a lottery to raise [USD]15,000 for the bishop's fund.
The leader of the Republicans in Connecticut was Pierpont Edwards, a recently appointed United States district judge. He was brother of Jonathan Edwards, Jr., for years the pastor of the North Church at New Haven, and in 1800 president of Union College. This Republican leader was the maternal uncle of his opponent in Federal state politics, President Dwight, and also of the Republican Vice-President, Aaron Burr. Another nephew of his was Theodore Dwight, the brother of Yale's president, who led the Federal civilians, and who was editor of the |Hartford Courant,| the organ of the Connecticut Federalists. The Hartford |American Mercury| voiced the sentiments of the Republicans. The latter party throughout the state was formally organized in 1800 at a meeting in New Haven, the home of Mr. Edwards and of his henchman, Abraham Bishop, son of that city's mayor.
The close personal relationship of the leaders, [l] the scorn of the radicals, the abhorrence of the conservatives for the principles, opinions, and even, in some cases, habits of life of their opponents, entered into the strife and vituperation of the political campaigns from 1800 to 1806. Personalities were unsparing, passion rose high, and speeches were bitter. This was particularly the case in New Haven, where Abraham Bishop's impudent boldness of attack and denunciation was exaggerated by his father's position. Samuel Bishop, the father, was a man of seventy-seven, and old in the service of both Church and State. He was senior deacon in the North Church, or what was at that time known as the Church of the United White Haven and Fair Haven Societies. He was also a justice of the peace, town clerk, and mayor of the city. The last office was held, according to the charter, during the pleasure of the legislature. Samuel Bishop was also chief judge of the court of common pleas for New Haven County, and sole judge of probate, annual offices which the General Assembly had re-conferred upon him in 1800 and in 1801. His son was a graduate of Yale (1778). He was a lawyer of somewhat indifferent practice, and from 1791 to 1798 clerk of the county court under his father, while from 1798 he had been clerk of the superior court. Before settling down to practice at the bar he had lived abroad, and had been caught in the whirl of French thought and democratic ideas. He had returned home bearing words of recommendation to Washington's secretary of state from Jefferson's European friends. A personal meeting with that party leader had added to Bishop's enthusiasm. For some years he had lived in Boston, and tried his hand at literature. He had returned to New Haven in 1791, and had thrown himself into politics. He purposely exaggerated his opinions. He was careless of his unorthodox expressions even to the verge of blasphemy. Though himself a believer in God, he was perhaps what one would probably have termed a little later a Unitarian. His enemies exaggerated his exaggerations, -- and Unitarianism was a crime according to the Connecticut statutes. [m]
In his speeches and essays Abraham Bishop struck out boldly, with earnestness, logic, shrewd wit, and irony, and, as has been said, at times with dangerous irreverence, -- often with down-right impudence when that would serve his purpose. An illustration of his extreme use of it was in 1800, about the time of the organization of the Republican party throughout the state.
He had been honored with the Phi Beta Kappa oration, annually delivered on the eve of the Yale Commencement, then in September. A polished literary effort was expected. He broke tradition, courtesy, and every implied obligation in the choice of his subject. In August he sent to the committee his paper for their acceptance or refusal. It was entitled |The Extent and Power of Political Delusions,| and was an out and out campaign document. The presidential election was due in November! Further, Bishop made political capital of the anticipated refusal of his paper, which was not sent him until the eleventh hour. The readers of the morning paper, wherein the committee offered an apology for the change of speakers at the Society's meeting to be held that night, were confronted by the announcement that the refused address would be given to all who cared to listen to it in the parlors of the White Haven church that same evening, and by the still further notice that copies of it were fresh from the printer's hands and were ready to be distributed to the remotest parts of the state. Needless to state, the Phi Beta Kappa audience dwindled away to swell the crowd of fifteen hundred, wherein Bishop gleefully counted |eight clergymen and many ladies.| The address met with great favor, and the Wallingford Republicans at their celebration of March 11, 1801, in honor of the election of Jefferson and Burr, asked Mr. Bishop to be their orator. [n]
To top Bishop's insult, -- as it was regarded by every friend of the Standing Order, -- came in the following spring Jefferson's displacement of Elizur Goodrich, President Adams's appointee as collector of the port of New Haven, and the substitution of Samuel Bishop. President Jefferson considered himself at liberty to make this change; and all the more so because President Adams had made the appointment as one of his last official acts, when he must have known it would have been unacceptable to the incoming Republican administration. The merchants of New Haven immediately united in a petition to President Jefferson, in which they declared that Samuel Bishop was too old to perform the duties of the office, and, moreover, not acquainted with accounts. Assuming that his son Abraham would assist him, they denounced the latter as |entirely destitute of public confidence, so conspicuous for his enmity to commerce and opposition to order, so odious to his fellow citizens, that we presume his warmest partizans would not have hazarded a recommendation of him.| Notwithstanding this protest the appointment was continued, the President pointing out the honors bestowed upon the father and the care with which he, Jefferson, had investigated the case before acting upon it. Reproving the authorities for so long excluding the Republicans entirely from office, Jefferson expressed his regret at finding upon his accession to the presidency not even a |moderate participation in office in the hands of the majority.| He further stated that when such a situation was in some measure relieved he would be only too glad to make the question |Is he capable? Is he honest? Is he faithful to the Constitution?| the only tests for obtaining and holding office. Samuel Bishop died in 1803, and the collector ship was then bestowed upon his son, who held it until his death in 1829.
In Connecticut the two political parties prepared for conflict. The Republicans desired a new constitution and disestablishment. The old constitutional and religious debates were opened and fiercely fought out in pamphlet, press, sermon, and political oration. Noah Webster replied to the |Extent and Power of Political Delusion| by |A Rod for the Fool's Back.| John Leland published his famous Hartford speech as |A Blow at the Root, a fashionable Fast-Day Sermon,| and his |High Flying Churchman,| as contributions in behalf of civil and religious liberty. Abraham Bishop took up the latter topic in his |Wallingford Address, Proofs of a Conspiracy Against Christianity and the Government of the United States,| published in 1802, as well as in his |Extent and Power of Political Delusion| of 1800. A fair type of Mr. Bishop's style and treatment is shown in his |Connecticut Republicanism,| a campaign document, wherein he sets forth his opinion of the union of Church and State. [o]
In his campaign document under the title |Connecticut Republicanism| Bishop declared:
Christianity has suffered more by the attempts to unite church and state than by all the deistical writings, yet the men who denounce them are pronounced atheists and no proof of their atheism is required but their opposition to Federal measures.... Church and state cannot be better served than by keeping them distinct and by placing them where they ought to be, above, instead of beneath the control of men who care no more for either of them than they can turn to their personal benefit. The self-styled friends of order have in all nations been the cause of all the convulsions and distresses which have agitated the world.... The clergyman preaches politics, the civilian prates of orthodoxy, and if any man refuse to join their coalition they endeavor to hunt him down to the tune |The Church is in danger.|... In 1787 this visible intolerance had abated in New England; there was no written law in force that none but church-members should be free burgesses: yet the avowed charge of Christ's church was in our law-books, some nice points of theology were settled in our statutes and the common law of church and state was in full force.... The Trinitarian doctrine is established by laws, and the denial of it is placed in the rank of felony. Though we have ceased to transplant from town to town Quakers, New Lights, and Baptists; yet the dissenters from our prevailing denominations are even at this moment praying for a repeal of those laws which abridge the rights of conscience.
* * * * *
Break the league of church and state which first subjugates your consciences, then treating your understanding like galley slaves, robs you of religion and civil freedom.... Thirty thousand freemen are against the union of church and state. Thirty thousand more men, deprived of voting because they are not rich or learned enough, are ready to join them.
In his |Wallingford Address,| Bishop exclaims |The clerical politician is a useless preacher; the political Christian is a dangerous statesman.| On the title page of this address appeared the epigram, |Our statesmen to the Constitution; our Clergy to the Bible.| The unfortunately irreverent parallel which Bishop drew between the Saviour of the world and the leader of the national Republican party, or of the democracy or common people, gave to the epigram an evil significance not intended, and to its author a reputation not wholly deserved.
David Daggett, a prominent New Haven Federalist and lawyer, [p] tried in |Facts are Stubborn Things| to refute the charge that the people were priest-ridden, the legislature arbitrary and tyrannical, the clergy bigots. In the course of his argument he gives an account of the reception of a Baptist petition which, voicing the smouldering discontent that was kept burning by the certificate law, had been presented to the legislature. Daggett charged the Republicans with instituting the custom of holding their party meetings in Hartford and New Haven at the time of the meeting of the Assembly in those cities, and of making the political gathering a means of directing what topics should be brought up for discussion in the House of Representatives, and what discussed in their party organ the |American Mercury.| Daggett accused the Republicans of purposely choosing subjects of discussion of an inflammable character, and declared that it was in Babcock's paper (so called from its editor) that the Baptist petition originated, which, circulated through the state, received some three thousand signatures, |many of whom doubtless sought the public good.| The petition was presented for trial in 1802 and a day set for its hearing, upon which Mr. Pierpont Edwards and Mr. Gideon Granger were to advocate it. The gentlemen, according to Mr. Daggett's account, did not appear, and of course no trial was held. Instead, the Assembly referred it to a committee of eighteen from the two houses. Mr. Daggett insisted that |it was thoroughly canvassed, and every gentleman professed himself entirely satisfied that there was no ground of complaint which the Legislature could remove, except John T. Peters, Esq., who declared that nothing short of an entire repeal of the law for the support of religion would accord with his idea.|
The truth of the matter was that the committee were chiefly Federalists. Mr. Peters was a Republican. In their answer to the petition, the committee assumed that it |was an equitable principle, that every member of the society should, in some way, contribute to the support of religious institutions and so the complaint of those who declined to support any such institution was invalid.| If there was ground for complaint because of sequestration of property for the benefit of Presbyterians only, the committee failed to find any such cause, and if such existed, the proper channel of appeal was through the courts. All other complaints in the petition were considered to be answered by the assumption that the legislature had the right, on the ground of utility, to compel contributions for the support of religion, schools, and courts, whether or not every individual taxpayer had need of them. The next year, 1803, the petition gained a hearing, but that was all. It continued to be presented at every session of the Assembly, and was first heard by both houses in 1815. It was finally withdrawn at the session that passed the bill for the new constitution of 1818.
As one of the preliminary steps in the education of the people in Republican principles and aims, John Strong of Norwich in 1804 founded the |True Republican,| thus giving a second paper for the dissemination of Republican opinions. From 1792 the |Phenix or Windham Herald| had been dealing telling blows at the Establishment and at the courts of law through a discussion in its columns carried on by Judge Swift, the inveterate foe of the union of Church and State, and a lawyer, frank to avow that partiality existed in the administration of justice. Though both the paper and the judge were strongly Federal in their politics, they were both materially helping the Republican advocates of reform. From the Windham press came, also, a republication of |A Review of the Ecclesiastical Establishments of Europe,| edited by R. Huntington, with special reference to the bearing of its arguments upon the conditions existing in Connecticut, where illustration could be found of the absurdities and dangers that the book had been originally written to expose. In 1803 John Leland, representing forty-two Baptist clergymen, twenty licensed exhorters, four thousand communicants, and twenty thousand attendants, sent out another plea for disestablishment in his |Van Tromp lowering his Peak with a Broadside, containing a Plea for the Baptists of Connecticut.| In it he urges that thirteen states have already granted religious liberty, and that many of them have formed newer constitutions since the Revolution. Such should also be the case in Connecticut. Moreover, it could readily be accomplished at the small cost of five cents per man. Such a small sum would pay the expenses of a convention to formulate a constitution and another to ratify it, while five cents more per person would furnish every citizen with a copy of the proposed document, so that each could decide for himself upon the constitutionality of any measure proposed, and would no longer be obliged to read pamphlet after pamphlet or column after column in the newspaper to determine its validity.
All this was preparatory; and the first purely political note of warning and call to battle for a new constitution was sounded by Abraham Bishop at Hartford, May 11, 1804, in his |Oration in Honor of the Election of President Jefferson and the peaceful acquisition of Louisiana.| He sums up the situation thus: --
Connecticut has no Constitution. On the day independence was declared, the old charter of Charles II became null and void. It was derived from royal authority, and went down with royal authority. Then, the people ought to have met in convention and framed a Constitution. But the General Assembly interposed, usurped the rights of the people, and enacted that the government provided for in the charter should he the civil constitution of the State. Thus all the abuses inflicted on us when subjects of a crown, were fastened on us anew when we became citizens of a free republic. We still live under the old jumble of legislative, executive and judicial powers, called a Charter. We still suffer from the old restrictions on the right to vote; we are still ruled by the whims of seven men. Twelve make the council. Seven form a majority, and in the hands of these seven are all powers, legislative, executive and judicial. Without their leave no law can pass; no law can be repealed. On them more than half of the House of the Assembly is dependent for re-appointments as justices, judges, or for promotion in the militia. By their breath are, each year, brought into official life six judges of the Superior Court, twenty-eight of the probate, forty of county courts, and five hundred and ten justices of the peace, and, as often as they please, all the sheriffs. Not only do they make laws, but they plead before justices of their own appointment, and as a Court of Errors interpret the laws of their own making. Is this a Constitution? Is this an instrument of government for freemen? And who may be freemen? No one who does not have a freehold estate worth seven dollars a year, or a personal estate on the tax list of one hundred and thirty-four dollars.... For these evils there is but one remedy, and this remedy we demand shall be applied. We demand a constitution that shall separate the legislative, executive and judicial power, extend the freeman's oath to men who labor on highways, who serve in the militia, who pay small taxes, but possess no estates.
Abraham Bishop threw down the gauntlet, and in the following July his party issued a circular letter. It emanated from the Republican General Committee, of which Pierpont Edwards was chairman. It stated |that many very respectable Republicans are of the opinion that it is high time to speak to the citizens of Connecticut plainly and explicitly on the subject of forming a constitution; but this ought not to be done without the approbation of the party.| A general meeting was proposed to be held in New Haven on August 29, 1804. In response, ninety-seven towns sent Republican delegates to assemble at the state house in New Haven on that date. Major William Judd of Farmington was chosen chairman. The meeting was held with closed doors, and a series of resolutions was passed in favor of adopting a new constitution. It was declared |the unanimous opinion of this meeting that the people of this state are at present without a constitution of civil government,| and |that it is expedient to take measures preparatory to the formation of the Constitution and that a committee be appointed to draft an Address to the People of this State on that subject.| The address reported by this committee was printed in New Haven on a small half-sheet with double columns, and ten thousand copies were ordered distributed through the state.
The issue was fairly before the people. From the Federal side, just before the September elections, came David Daggett's |Count the Cost,| in which he ably reviewed the Republican manifesto, impugning the motives of the leaders of the Republican party, and eloquently urging every friend of the Standing Order and every freeman to |count the cost| before voting with the Republicans for the proposed reform.
The fall election of 1804 was lost to the Republicans, for while they made many gains here and there throughout the state, [q] the immediate slight access to the Federal ranks showed that the people generally were not yet ready for a constitutional change.
As one result of the defeat at the polls, there arose a wider sympathy for the defeated party. When the legislature met in October, the Federal leaders resolved to administer punishment to the defeated Republicans. So strong was the popular feeling, and so determined the attitude of the legislature, that it summoned before it all five of the justices of the peace [r] who had attended the New Haven convention of August 29, to show why they did not deserve to be deprived of their commissions. Their oath of office ran |to be true and faithful to the Governor and Company of this state, and the Constitution and government thereof.| What right, the Federals asked, had they to attack a constitution they had sworn to uphold? At the same time, several of the militia, known to be of Republican sympathies, were also deposed or superseded. Mr. Pierpont Edwards was allowed to make the defense for the justices. Mr. Daggett appeared for the state. Reviewing the proceedings of the Republican meeting, Mr. Daggett traced the history of the government of the colony and state in order to demonstrate that the charter was peculiarly a constitution of the people, |made by the people and in a sense not applicable to any other people.| He declared the New Haven |address| an outrage upon decency, and it to be the duty of the Assembly to withdraw their commissions from men who questioned the existence of the constitution under which they held them. The day after the hearing, a bill to revoke the commissions was passed unanimously by the governor and council, and by a majority of eleven in the Lower House, the vote standing 67 yeas to 56 nays. This attempt to stifle public opinion won a general acknowledgment that the minority were oppressed. The feeling of sympathy thus roused was increased by the death of Major Judd, who had been taken ill after his arrival in New Haven. His partisans asserted that his death was caused by his efforts to save himself and friends, and his consequent obligation to appear at the trial when really too ill to be about. The day after his death, the Republicans published and distributed broadcast his |Address to the people of the State of Connecticut on the subject of the removal of himself and four other justices from office.|
From this time forward the minority thoroughly realized that it was |not a matter of talking down but of voting down their opponents.| Their leaders also understood it. Bishop entered the lists, not only against his political antagonist David Daggett, but against such men as Professor Silliman, Simeon Baldwin, Noah Webster, Theodore Dwight, and against the clergy, led by President Dwight, Simon Backus, Isaac Lewis, John Evans, and a host of secondary men who turned their pulpits into lecture desks and the public fasts and feasts into electioneering occasions. Their general plea was that religion preserved the morals of the people, and consequently their civil prosperity, and hence the need for state support. Occasionally one would insist that it was a matter of conscience with the Presbyterians which made them enforce ecclesiastical taxes and fines, and that all had been given the dissenters that could be; that the Presbyterians had |yielded every privilege they themselves enjoyed and subjected them (the dissenters) to no inconvenience, not absolutely indispensable to the countenance of the practice| (of dissent). David Daggett maintained that there was a just and wide-spread alarm lest the Republicans should undermine all religion, and therefore it behooved all the friends of stable government to support the Standing Order.
The Republicans vigorously contested the elections of 1804,1805, and 1806. Their second general convention, that of August, 1806, at Litchfield, was more outspoken in its criticism, and so much bolder in its demands that many conservative people hesitated to follow its programme. The Republican gains were so small that after 1806 there was a lull in the agitation for constitutional reform for some years. It was well understood that the religious establishment was the greatest clog upon the government. It was also thoroughly understood by many that its destruction meant the destruction of the Federal party in Connecticut. Consequently the Federal patronage distributed the several thousand offices within the gift of Church and State with a |liberality equalled only by the fidelity with which they were paid for.| So firm was the Federal control over the state that even in 1804 they risked antagonizing the Episcopalians by again refusing to charter the Cheshire Academy as a college with authority to confer degrees in art, divinity, and law. In the face of a strong protest, it was refused again in 1810. The House approved this last petition, but the Council rejected it. Naturally, the Episcopalians felt still more aggrieved when in 1812 the charter was once more refused; but still they did not desert the Federal party. The latter clung to the spoils of office for their partisans, to the old restrictive franchise, and to the obnoxious Stand-up Law, nor were they less disdainful of the dissenters and of the Republican minority.
Yet many of their best men had come to feel that there was wrong and injustice done the minority; that there should be a stop put to the open ignoring of Democratic lawyers, numbering in their ranks many men of wide learning and of great practical ability; that the spectacle of a Federal state-attorney prosecuting Republican editors was not edifying, and that the imprisonment of such offenders and their trial before a hostile judiciary opened that branch of the state government to damaging and dangerous suspicion.
In July, 1812, a meeting was called in Judge Baldwin's office in New Haven, with President Dwight in the chair, to organize a Society for the Suppression of Vice and the Promotion of Good Morals. At this meeting the political situation was thoroughly discussed, and measures were taken to cope with it.
I am persuaded [wrote the Rev. Lyman Beecher to Rev. Asahel Hooker in the following November] that the time has come when it becomes every friend of the State to wake up and exert his whole influence to save it from innovation.... That the effort to supplant Governor Smith [s] will be made is certain unless at an early stage the noise of rising opposition will be so great as to deter them; and if it is made, a separation is made in the Federal party and a coalition with Democracy, which will in my opinion be permanent, unless the overthrow by the election should throw them into despair or inspire repentance.
If we stand idle we lose our habits and institutions piecemeal, as fast as innovations and ambitions shall dare to urge on the work.
My request is that you will see Mr. Theodore Dwight, expressing to him your views on the subject, ... and that you will in your region touch every spring, lay or clerical, which you can touch prudently, that these men do not steal a march upon us, and that the rising opposition may meet them early, before they have gathered strength. Every blow struck now will have double the effect it will after the parties are formed and the lines drawn. I hope we shall not act independently, but I hope we shall all act, who fear God or regard men.
Writing of the meeting to organize the Society for the Suppression of Vice and the Formation of Good Morals, Dr. Beecher in his |Autobiography| gives a sketch of the politics of the time that had led up to the occasion. One of the prominent actors of the time, he tells us that this meeting, composed of prominent Federalists of all classes, was unusual, for --
it was a new thing in that day for the clergy and laymen to meet on the same level and co-operate. It was the first time there had ever been such a consultation in our day. The ministers had always managed things themselves, for in those days the ministers were all politicians. They had always been used to it from the beginning.... On election day they had a festival, and, fact is, when they got together they would talk over who should be Governor, and who Lieutenant-Governor, and who in the Upper House, and their councils would prevail. Now it was a part of the old steady habits of the state ... that the Lieutenant-Governor should succeed to the governorship. And it was the breaking up of this custom by the civilians, against the influence of the clergy, that first shook the stability of the Standing Order and the Federal party in the state. Lieutenant Governor Treadwell (1810) was a stiff man, and the time had come when many nlen did not like that sort of thing. He had been active in the enforcement of the Sabbath laws, and had brought on himself the odium of the opposing party. Hence of the civilians of our party, David Daggett and other wire-pullers, worked to have him superseded, and Roger Griswold, the ablest man in Congress, put in his stead. That was rank rebellion against the ministerial candidate. But Daggett controlled the whole of Fairfleld County bar, and Griswold was a favorite with the lawyers, and the Democrats helped them because they saw how it would work; so there was no election by the people, and Treadwell was acting Governor till 1811, when Griswold was chosen. The lawyers, in talking about it, said: |We have served the clergy long enough; we must take another man, and they must look out for themselves.| Throwing Treadwell over in 1811 broke the charm and divided the party; persons of third-rate ability on our side who wanted to be somebody deserted; all the infidels in the state had long been leading on that side ... minor sects had swollen and complained of certificates. Our efforts to reform morals by law were unpopular. [t]
Finally the Episcopalians went over to the Democrats. The Episcopal split was due to a foolish and arbitrary proceeding on the part of the Federals. In the spring of 1814, a petition was presented to the General Assembly for the incorporation of the Phoanix Bank of Hartford, offering |in conformity to the precedents in other states, to pay for the privilege of the incorporation herein prayed for, the sum of sixty thousand dollars to be collected (being a Premium to be advanced by the stockholders) as fast as the successive instalments of the capital stock shall be paid in; and to be appropriated, if in the opinion of your Honors it shall be deemed expedient, in such proportion as shall by your Honors be thought proper, to the use of the Corporation of Yale College, of the Medical Institution, established in the city of New Haven, and to the corporation of the Trustees of the Fund of the Bishop of the Episcopal church in this state, or for any purpose whatever, which to your Honors may seem best.| The capital asked for was [USD]1,500,000. |The purpose of this offer [u] a was a double one, -- creating an interest in favor of the Bank Charter among Episcopalians and retaining their influence on the side of the Charter Government, as there was no inconsiderable amount of talent among them.| The Bishop's Fund, slowly gathering since 1799, amounted to barely [USD]6000. This bonus would give it a good start, and conciliate the Episcopalians, still indignant at the refusal of the Assembly to incorporate their college. When presented to the Assembly, the Lower House favored the bank charter; the Council, rejecting it, appointed a committee to consider its request. They soon originated an act of incorporation, granting a capital of [USD]1,000,000, and ordered the bonus to be paid into the treasury. An act of incorporation, rather than a petition, was, they claimed, the way established by custom of granting bank charters. The same session of the legislature originated bills giving [USD]20,000 to the Medical Institution of Yale College, and one of the same amount to the Bishop's Fund, |in conformity to the offer of the petitioners for the Phonix Bank, and out of the first moneys received from it as a bonus.| The bill for the medical school was passed unanimously by the House; that for the Bishop's Fund uniformly voted down. [v] The Episcopalians, to whom the Republicans were quick to offer their sympathy, asserted that by the |grant to Yale the legislature had committed themselves in good faith to make the grant to the two other corporations connected with it in the same petition.| [w] Stripped of formal and courteous wording, the petition, both in letter and in spirit, had offered its conditions to all, if accepted by one; or, if refused at all, the opportunity to divert the money from all three recipients to some other and quite different use which should be approved by the legislature.
The further bad faith of both branches of the Assembly increased the enmity of the Episcopalians. In the spring of 1815, they petitioned for their first installment of [USD]10,000. They were told that the treasury was empty, and that war time was no time to attend to such matters. In the fall, in answer to their second petition, they found the Lower House still hostile; the majority of the Council, including the governor, in their favor, until the discussion came up, when the Council, with one exception, sided with the House. The explanation of the change appeared to the Episcopalians to be due to the fact that during the session the Medical School had petitioned for the balance of the [USD]30,000, and seemed likely to receive it at the spring meeting. This was too much for the Episcopalians, and thereafter the Democrats claimed nine tenths of their vote. The sect was estimated in 1816 to contain from one eleventh to one thirteenth of the population. The Democratic-Republicans had won over discontented radicals, a majority of the dissatisfied dissenters, a few conservatives, and now the indignant Episcopalians. Their political hopes rose higher, but the War of 1812-1814 interfered, substituting national interests for local ones, yet all the while adding recruits to the Republican ranks, so that at its close there was a strong party. There was also a Federal faction in process of disintegration. The result was that when the constitutional reform movement again became the issue of the day, though supported by the Republicans, the question at issue soon drew to itself a new political combine which under various forms kept the name of the Toleration Party, and which eventually won the victory for religious freedom and disestablishment.
[a] This party, called for short |Republican,| stood for the principles known as |democratic,| -- the appellation of the party itself since 1828. This was the school of Jefferson.
[b] There were men of mark among the Anti-Federalist leaders, such as William Williams of Lebanon, a signer of the Declaration, Gen. James Wadsworth of Durham, and Gen. Erastus Wolcott of East Windsor, -- these three were members of the Council; Dr. Benjamin Gale of Killingworth, Joseph Hopkins, Esq., of Waterbury, Col. Peter Bulkley of Colchester, Col. William Worthington of Saybrook, and Capt. Abraham Granger of Suffield. At the ratification of the Constitntution the Tote stood 128 to 40. Afterwards for about ten years, in the conduct of state politics, there was little friction, for in local matters the Anti-Federalists were generally conservatives.|
[c] Two deputies were allowed every town rated at [USD]60,000. In 1785 Oliver Ellsworth had prepared a bill limiting towns of L20,000 or under to one deputy. It passed the Senate, but was defeated in the House. -- The Constitution of Connecticut, 1901, State Series, p.105.
[d] In his pamphlet Dr. Gale advises that each town nominate one man, and from the nominations in each county, the General Assembly elect two, four or six delegates from each county to meet and frame a new constitution, since |any legislature is too numerous a body, and too unskilled in the science of government to properly perform such a task| (p.29). -- J. Hammond Trumbull, Hist. Notes on the Constitution of Conn., p.17, and Wolcott's Manuscript in Mass. Hist. Soc. Col. vol. iv.
[e] A similar method of election applied to the representatives in Congress. Eighteen names were voted on in May for nomination, of which the seven highest were listed for election in September.
[f] Bishop Seabury's church, St. James of New London, had neglected to ohserve President Washington's proclamation of a national thanksgiving on February 19, 1795, which fell in Lent. This roused some antagonism, and was made the subject of a sharp and rather censorious newspaper attack upon the Episcopalians. At the same time a few Federal Congregationalists were further stirred by Bishop Seabury's signature, viz. |Samuel, Bishop of Connecticut and Rhode Island,| to a proclamation that the prelate had issued, urging a contribution in behalf of the Algerine captives. This signature was regarded as a |pompous expression of priestly pride.| Governor Huntington was a personal friend of Bishop Seabury. Moreover, at this particular time, the congregation to which the Governor belonged in Norwich was worshiping in the Episcopal church during the rebuilding of their own meeting-house, which had been destroyed by fire. The Governor had previously been approached with a suggestion that the fasts and feasts of the Congregationalists and Episcopalians should be made to coincide, or at least that the annual fast day should not be appointed for any time between Easter Week and Trinity Sunday, and that the public thanksgivings, when occasion required them, should, if possible, not be appointed during Lent. In 1795, the annual fast day would have fallen upon the Thursday in Holy Week. In order to avoid laying any stress upon the sanctity of certain days of the week, and because Governor Huntington wished to turn the public mind away from the petty controversy, he appointed the fast day on Good Friday. In 1796, the annual fast fell in the Lenten season. In 1797, in order to avoid having the fast interfere with the regular sessions of the County Courts, and at the same time to avoid its falling in Easter week, Governor Trumbull appointed it again on Good Friday. The arrangement was accepted with satisfaction by the Episcopalians and with no objections from the Congregationalists, and thereafter it became the custom. (Bishop Seabury had been elected to the bishopric of Rhode Island in 1790.) -- William DeLoss Love, Jr., Fasts and Thanksgivings of New England, pp.346-361.
[g] Early in his career he had written a versification of the Psalms, in 1788 his Conquest of Canaan, and later Triumph of Infidelity. President Dwight taught the seniors rhetoric, logic, ethics, and metaphysics, and the graduate students in theology. In 1805 he was appointed to the professorship of the latter study.
[h] Dr. Dwight's Theology Explained was not published until 1818, after his death, and his Travels not until 1821-22.
[i] Except among the backwoodsmen of Kentucky in 1799-1803.
[j] The Society was granted a charter in 1802. In 1797 interest in the missions was intensified by the free distribution of seventeen hundred copies of the report of missionary work in England and America.
[k] The Rev. Jedidiah Champion of Lifcchfield, an ardent Federalist, on the Sunday following the news of the election of Adams and Jefferson, prayed fervently for the president-elect, closing with the words, |0 Lord! wilt Thou bestow upon the Vice-President a double portion of Thy grace, for Thou knowest he needs it.| This was mild, for Jefferson was considered by the New England clergy to be almost the equal of Napoleon, whom one of them named the |Scourge of God.|
[l] Pierpont Edwards, b. April 8, 1750, graduated at Princeton, 1768, died April 5, 1826.
Timothy Dwight, b. May 14, 1752, died January 11, 1817.
Aaron Burr, b. February 6, 1756, Vice-President 1801-05, died September 14, 1836.
Theodore Dwight, b. December 15, 1754, educated for the law under Pierpont Edwards, and practiced it for a time in New York city with his cousin, Aaron Burr. He broke the partnership because of difference in politics, and went to Hartford. He became a member of the governor's council, 1809-1815; secretary of the Hartford Convention, 1814. He established the Connecticut Mirror in 1809; founded and conducted the Albany Daily Advertiser, 1815-16, and the Daily Advocate, New York, 1816-36. He died June 12, 1846.
[m] The crimes against religion punishable by law were Blasphemy (by whipping, fine, or imprisonment); Atheism, Polytheism, Unitarianism, Apostaey (by loss of employment, whether ecclesiastical, civil, or military, for the first offense). -- Swift's System of Law, ii, 320, 321.
[n] Oration delivered in Wallingford on the eleventh of March 1801, before the Republicans of the State of Connecticut at the General Thanksgiving for the election of Thomas Jefferson to the Presidency, and of Aaron Burr to the Vice-Presidency, of the United States of America 1801.
See the appendix to the Oration for an account of the New Haven episode.
[o] |Connecticutensis,| or David Daggett, also replied in Three Letters to Abraham Bishop. Theodore Dwight's Oration at New Haven before the Society of the Cincinnati, July 7, 1801, took up the constitutionality of the charter government.
[p] Later chief justice.
[q] Windham County was steadily Republican after this election.
[r] Major William Judd of Farmington, Jabez H. Tomlinson of Stratford, Augur Judson of Huntington, Hezekiah Goodrich of Chatham, and Nathaniel Manning of Windham.
[t] To preserve our institutions and reform public morals, to bring back the keeping of the Sabbath was our aim ... We tried to do it by resuscitating and enforcing the law (That was our mistake, but we did not know it then.) and wherever I went I pushed that thing; Bear up the laws -- execute the laws.... We took hold of it in the Association at Fairfield, June, 1814, ... recommending among other things a petition to Congress.| (Autobiography, i, 268.) At this meeting originated the famous petition against Sunday mail.
Dr. Beeeher urged a domestic missionary society to build up waste places in Connecticut. His sermon |Reformation of Morals practicable and desirable| warned against |profane and profligate men of corrupt minds and to every good work reprobate.|
[u] Judge Church.
[v] The final speech in favor of the bill was made by Nathan Smith, a lawyer of New Haven. When he had finished his eloquent setting forth of the benefits and dangers attendant upon passing the bill, there was an unusual and solemn silence. Dr. Gillett says if the bill had been promptly put to vote it would probably have been passed, but the churchlike silence was broken by a shrill voice piping forth, |Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, what shall we sing?| The laughter which followed broke the orator's charm and sealed the fate of the bill.
[w] See Columbian Register of June 17, 1820, for a full account of the Bishop's Fund and the final award of the bonus.