That your petitioners, with these views of the church, mar riage ceremony, and of the established religion of which it is a part, have ever held it impossible for their members to submit, and to subscribe thereunto on occasion of their marriages, without publicly, and in the face of the established church, protesting against the same.

That the delivery of such protests by your petitioners, together with their refusal to kneel at " the Altar," and repeat certain parts of the marriage service deemed by them to be idolatrous, have exposed your petitioners to great and serious pain and inconvenience; that the marriages of members of their body have been, in consequence sometimes refused, -sometimes delayed, sometimes broken off, when partly celebrated, and on one occasion adjourned till a future day. That the members of their body have, in some instances, been kept in the church several hours waiting the completion of the marriage; that in others they have been threatened to be expelled therefrom by civil force, or be handed over to the terrors of the ecclesiastical courts, those hateful remnants of spiritual tyranny and popish oppression; whilst upon some occasions, indeed, the liberality of the officiating minister hath rendered the situation of your petitioners even the more painful and embarrassing.

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That your petitioners implore your Honourable House to put an end to a state of things painful to all the parties concerned therein necessary to no existing interest of the country compelled by no avowed object or policy of the laws; and affording neither support nor the appearance of support to the religion established by law.

That whereas the right to contract marriages before their own congregations being by law allowed to Jews and Quakers, your petitioners trust it will appear to your Honourable House, from the above statement of their doctrines and principles, that their scruples against conformity with the established religion are as serious and as valid as those entertained by Jews or Quakers; whilst, from the statement of their discipline, and church government, it will appear that they are as closely united and as distinct a body as Jews or Quakers, thus offering to the legislature equal securities against the


performance of clandestine or unlawful marriages. That furt ther evidence can, if required, be offered at the bar of your Honourable House, as to the unity and identity of your petitioners as a body, so as fully to justify and superinduce the conclusion, that, with reference to all the objects of civil society touching the marriage contract, such contracts may be entered into before the people known as “ Freethinking Christians," with the same security as those contracted among the people called Quakers, or the members of the Jewish persuasion.

That whilst your petitioners will not venture to dictate to your Honourable House the mode of relief now prayed for, they take leave to state, that, as far as their own body is con cerned, the extending to their members the same exemption from the operation of the marriage act as that which is ens joyed by Jews and Quakers, and upon the same principle, or the permitting them to contract marriages before the justices of the peace, as in the days of the Commonwealth, would be a simple process of legislation, and that the same would be satisfactory to your petitioners.


That, regarding marriage as a civil rite, your petitioners seek only to obtain a legal sanction thereto, without a violation of their consciences: they ask this, as the free citizens of a free state,—as Protestants, resisting all spiritual domination, and appealing to the Bible as the great charter of their liberties, as dissenters, denying the right of the civil magistrate to interfere in religion, or usurp authority over the consciences of men, as the church of God, bound, like its Master and Head, to "bear witness of the truth," and appealing, in the language of the Apostles, to the rulers of this world," whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God-judge ye."

That, regarding the connection of religion with the state as the primary cause of the grievance of which your petitioners complain, and deploring the same, as having mainly contributed to the corruption of revealed religion, as giving occasion to the infidel and scoffer to speak evil of religion, and above all, as being denounced by the judgments and threatenings of God as made known in the Scriptures; your petitioners, besides

the relief now sought to be obtained, pray your Honourable House to put an end to the connection between Church and State

that so the power and simplicity of divine truth may appear that so the word of God may no longer be blasphemed ➡that so the judgments of God may peradventure be averted from our country when "Babylon the Great" shall be had in remembrance, and her sins shall have" reached unto heaven.",

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That all and several the allegations contained in this petition whether as regards the grievance sustained by your petitioners, their claims as a true church, or all the matters and things urged against the established religion, and the marriage ceremony, to which they are by law required to conform your petitioners are prepared to support and prove at the bar of your Honourable House, or before a convocation of the clergy for that purpose assembled; and they pray for such alteration in the law as in the premises shall seem meet to your Honourable House.

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