Samuel, Independent Chronicle, 10 January 1788 (Excerpt)

But some have supposed, they have a salvo for all difficulties, that may arise in said Constitution, by the 5th Art. entitled amendments provided, But all amendments are effectually guarded against in the next Art. paragraph 3. For there we find, all the members of Congress, and all the members of the several State Legislatures, and all the Executive and Judicial officers, both of the United States, and of the several States, are to be bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution. How then can we have any amendments, as speciously pretended in said 5th Article? When all those from whom only it can originate, are to be bound by oath, to support this as it is. Besides, it is not likely, that the President, or Congress, would be so impolitic, as to oppress so large a proportion of the States at once, as two thirds; therefore, there is no probability, and scarcely possibility, that ever a motion of two thirds should arise. Moreover, could we obtain a Convention, and by them amendments proposed; they might lie dormant forever, if the Congress did not see cause to appoint how the amendments should be ratified; which is not to be expected, if the amendments should be to diminish their power; so that all the parade about amendments, comes to nothing. But to return to the oath; there is something very singular in the manner of the oath; that all Continental and State officers, should be bound by oath, to preserve, protect, defend and support this Constitution. And not rather be under oath, to preserve, protect, defend and support the United States, or the people thereof, in their rights and privileges; it may from this no doubt be expected that Proclamations will conclude GOD SAVE THE CONSTITUTION!

In the same paragraph, in which the above oath is instituted, all religion is expressly rejected, from the Constitution. Was there ever any State or kingdom, that could subsist, without adopting some system of religion? Not so much as to own the being, and government of a Deity; or a any acknowledgment of him! or having any revelation from him! Should we adopt such a rejection of religion as this, the words of Samuel lo Saul, will literally apply to us,—Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.1 We may justly expect, that God will reject us, from that self government, we have obtained thro’ his divine interposition: Or being able to keep up government and order among us; for he has commanded the rulers of the earth, to kiss the son, lest he be angry, and they perish from the way.2

If civil rulers won’t acknowledge God, he won’t acknowledge them; and hey must perish from the way. And there can be no rational doubt, that the prevailing neglect of acknowledging God in the time of the revolution, and since, is the cause of our having such convulsions as have been among us; we are perishing from the way.


1 Samuel 15:23.
2 Psalms 2:10–12. “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”

Cite As

John P. Kaminski et al., eds., The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution, Vol. 5: Massachusetts (Madison, Wis.: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 1998), 681–82.