Larger font
Smaller font
Copy
Print
Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents

    REMARKS BY MRS. J. C. BATEHAM

    Mrs. Batcham [sic.].—I should like to say that the point which has been made was a point carefully considered by the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and we saw the danger. Yet we wished to be exceedingly fair. I consulted nine persons of different classes of Seventh-day people, to know whether they wished such an exemption, and whether they would be satisfied with what was proposed. They represented themselves as being in approval of some such provision as has been suggested, and we thought it could be done perhaps in such a way as to afford them the exemption which they desire, because they said that such an exemption is necessary.NSLS27 156.3

    Senator Blair.—Let me ask you a few questions, Mrs. Bateham, to see if the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union understood exactly the relation of what they propose to do in this legislation. Here is a bill which relates to interstate commerce, to postal work, to the army, and to the navy. It relates to that subject-matter which is carved out of the independent, full jurisdiction of a nation by the States, which were once complete sovereignties, and transferred to the general Government. The occupations I have mentioned are all of public nature; and to carry them on, the nation has such an opportunity to invade the Sabbath-rest laws of every State in such a way as to nullify them. The nation at large is unrestrained by any Sabbath law whatever. If it may carry on its post-office business on the Sabbath, it may go to any extent, and it does go already to a very great extent, and an increasingly great extent; so in regard to interstate commerce, and so with the army and the navy.NSLS27 157.1

    Now, you go to our Seventh-day Baptist or Seventh-day Adventist friends, for instance, and propose to introduce a principle by which they can carry on the post-office department on the Sabbath, just as completely as they see fit. In other words, you propose to exempt them from the operation of the law so far as it prohibits post-office work on the Sabbath. Suppose you have a Seventh-day Baptist man for postmaster. Suppose you fill up every post-office in the country on the Sabbath with Seventh-day Baptist people. You have the post-office department in operation by virtue of this exemption, because they can do the work conscientiously on that day. If you limit it by saying the bill shall not apply to the Adventists and others, the bill provides that already.NSLS27 157.2

    Mrs. Bateham.—If you remember the clause, we do not propose to provide that they shall be able to do this work, but that they shall be exempt from the penalty. They are not allowed to do the work, but they are to be exempt from the penalty. Therefore, unless they could prove that they had not done the work to the disturbance of others, it would be impossible for them to carry on post-office matters, for instance, or any other public employment, on Sunday.NSLS27 158.1

    Senator Blair.—Is not that equivalent to saying that if the penalty shall not be enforced against them, there shall be no law against them? Because the law without the penalty is simply an opinion; it is not a law.NSLS27 158.2

    Mrs. Bateham.—The law could provide that they should not open a post-office, for instance, or any place of business; and if there was a fine imposed, they would be compelled to close such places on Sunday. It was, of course, only thrown out as a suggestion from us that if it could be done, we should like to have such a provision in the bill. We are satisfied that people want the law, and if the law can, in your wisdom, be arranged with such an exemption, then we wish it; otherwise we do not. We are all glad, I think, to have the gentlemen admit that they do not want such an exemption, for that releases us from the place where we were.NSLS27 158.3

    Senator Blair.—This is not to be a general Sunday law. These people all live in States, and they can work at their private occupations just the same under similar amendments to the State law, if the State saw fit to make such amendments. Prof. Jones says it did not work well in Arkansas, and I should think it did not, from his description. But these are public occupations, or quasi public occupations, we are dealing with; that of interstate commerce, for instance, carried on by great corporations which are public in their relation to the working-men, because they are exercising a great public function in carrying on transportation which appertains to everybody all over the country.NSLS27 158.4

    This proposed law undertakes to prohibit the nullification of all Sunday-rest laws in the States so far as to provide that interstate commerce shall not be carried on, in violation of the law, upon the Sabbath. When you come to the private occupations which are regulated by the States, if they choose to allow the Seventh-day Baptist people to work on Sunday in those private occupations, on the farm, in the workshop, in the factory, this measure does not interfere with them at all.NSLS27 159.1

    Mrs. Bateham.—I have not the words before me, but my impression is that there is a clause in the bill providing that the jurisdiction of Congress shall be exercised over the Territories in this matter. There is something of that kind in the bill, and this proposed exemption was designed to reach those cases, rather than apply to the general governmental action.NSLS27 159.2

    Senator Blair.—You think the exemption might be made with reference to the Territories?NSLS27 159.3

    Mrs. Bateham.—Yes; that was the point we had in mind in this general action. I have not the words of the bill before me, but there is something of that kind in it which we had in mind. I wish to say also that one of the requests of our National Woman’s Christian Union was that the word promote should be changed to protect, in the title of the bill, so that it should have no appearance of what all Americans object to, any union of church and state. That amendment was proposed and accepted by the American Sabbath Union, the organized body which has just been in session in this city.NSLS27 159.4

    Senator Blair.—Do you not think that the word protect implies power to command and compel? An army protects.NSLS27 159.5

    Mrs. Batcham [sic.].—All our laws protect us, do they not?NSLS27 160.1

    Senator Blair.—You would make this a law?NSLS27 160.2

    Mrs. Batcham [sic.].—I suggest that the bill be made a law, and that it be a law which shall protect the civil Sabbath, not promote religious worship, but protect the day as a day of rest and religious worship.NSLS27 160.3

    Senator Blair.—It seems to me that the word protect is a stronger and more interfering word than promote. However, all these suggestions are important.NSLS27 160.4

    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents