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Supporting Statements

Thomas Jefferson

Dear sir

. . . Your recommendations are always welcome, for indeed the subjects of them always merit that welcome, and some of them in an extraordinary degree. They make us acquainted with what there is of excellent in our ancient sister state of Massachusetts, once venerated and be beloved, and still hanging on our hopes, for what need we despair of after the resurrection of Connecticut light and liberality. [Connecticut disestablished the Congregational Church in 1817] I had believed that, the last retreat of Monkish dark¬≠ness, bigotry, and abhorrence of those advances of the mind which had carried the other states a century ahead of them. They seemed still to be exactly where their forefathers were when they schismatised [sic] from the Covenant of works, and to consider, as dangerous heresies, all innovations good or bad. I join you therefore in sincere congratulations that this den of the priesthood is at length broken up, and that a protestant popedom is no longer to disgrace the American history and character. If, by religion, we are to understand Sectarian dogmas, in which no two of them agree; then your exclamation on that hypothesis is just, ‘that this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion ill it.’ But if the moral precepts, innate in man, and made a part of his physical constitution, as necessary for a social being, if the sublime doctrines of philanthropism [sic], and deism taught us by Jesus of Nazareth in which all agree, ¬†constitute true religion, then, without it, this would be, as you again say, ‘something not fit to be named, even indeed a Hell.’ (Jefferson to Adams, Monticello, May 5, 1817)

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