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    April 17, 1889

    “Is This ‘the Breath of the Puritan’?” American Sentinel 4, 13.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Western Christian Union is the name of a paper that is published weekly in the city of Oakland. We are thus explicit because, from what we shall quote from it, some might think that it is published in some remote portion of the world, where Christianity has not yet penetrated. Not only is it published in “the Athens of the Pacific Coast,” but its editor is the Rev. G. W. Bothwell, D.D., pastor of the Second Congregationalist Church of Oakland. In his issue of March 22 the editor has a diatribe against the Adventists for the work which they did in securing signatures to the petitions against religious legislation by Congress, though we cannot see why he should level all his guns at the Adventists, since men of every denomination and profession signed that petition, and worked for it.AMS April 17, 1889, page 97.1

    After saying that if the Blair Sunday-Rest bill should become a law, “it will be the formulated sentiments of nine-tenths of all the evangelical churches of the country,” thus admitting that it is wholly a religious bill, he proceeds thus:—AMS April 17, 1889, page 97.2

    “Against these majorities, constituted as they are, why are our Adventist friends continuously protesting? We are weary of Ishmaelitism in theology and upon questions of public morals. The methods employed in securing many of the 31,000 names of alleged citizens of California, recently presented in Congress, were not creditable to any people calling themselves religious. We refer to their practice of button-holing unsuspecting citizens in the railroad waiting-rooms, and on the street corners-not a few of whom were wholly unfamiliar with the question, and of inducing them to sign a narrow, sectarian protest, under the specious plea that the Constitution of the United States was threatened. We had entertained a high opinion of this people until we were forced to observe how they secured signatures to their recent petition.”AMS April 17, 1889, page 97.3

    Well, we are glad that he bears testimony to the fact that people were button-holed before they signed the petition against religious legislation. He has been forced to observe the methods employed by those who canvassed for signatures. He is sure that they actually got near enough to the men whose names appear on it to button-hole them. And over 31,000-about 10,000 more-have been thus approached. Yet Mr. Bothwell is not pleased. Indeed, he feels very much grieved over the course taken. Why? Was, it because he thinks the canvassers were too painstaking? No; he is grieved and indignant and angry to think that the canvassers should actually button-hole unsuspecting persons, and ask them to sign the petition. Doubtless he would have had them send a postal card to every person a week beforehand, informing them that on such a day they would be pleased to meet them to confer about the propriety of asking Congress not to pass a law enforcing religious observances. Then, no doubt, he would have had a crier precede each canvasser, and announce his mission, so that no “unsuspecting citizens” could possibly be approached.AMS April 17, 1889, page 97.4

    But if he would have had all this precaution taken in securing signatures; if he feels so indignant at the thought that men were actually button-holed without previous warning, who can picture what his feelings must be at the thought that of the 14,437,744 alleged petitioners for a national Sunday law, only 407 had any opportunity to be button-holed about it? It has been some time since we exposed the iniquitous scheme by which the friends of the Blair Sunday bill sought to make Congress believe that public sentiment was overwhelmingly in favor of their measure, therefore we show it up again in another part of this paper, with a few points that were not previously noticed. Please turn and read that before you read further, and think that a man who has no word of condemnation or apology for such a course, says that it was disreputable to go to men in person and ask them to read the petition and sign it. What is the ground of his objection? Simply this, that so many bona fide signatures have been obtained to the protest. As what follows will show, he thinks it outrageous that any should dare protest against being ruled by a few self-constituted religious leaders.AMS April 17, 1889, page 97.5

    Passing by more of the same unto quid sort we come to the following, which carries with it far more than the breath of the Puritan; it is the breath of the Inquisition:—AMS April 17, 1889, page 97.6

    “Most of the States make provision for the exercise of the peculiar tenets of belief which are entertained by the Adventists. They can worship on Saturday, and call it the Sabbath, if they choose, but there let their privileges end. Instead of thankfully making use of concessions granted them, and then going off quietly and attending to their own business, as they ought, they start out making unholy alliances that they may defeat the purposes of their benefactors. None of these bills are aimed at them, but if they fail to appreciate the fact, they may yet call down upon themselves such a measure of public disfavor as that legislation embarrassing to them may result.”AMS April 17, 1889, page 97.7

    Shades of Dominic! Did anyone ever hear of more cool assumption? “Upon what meat cloth this our Cæsar feed, that he has grown so great?” Seventh-day people “can worship on Saturday, and call it the Sabbath, if they choose, but there let their privileges end.” If they are not thankful for these “concessions,” and if they work against “the purposes of their benefactors,” they may call down upon themselves such a measure of public disfavor as that “legislation embarrassing to them may result.” Now what does this mean? Simply this: That these Sunday-law people are beginning to assume that the Lord created the earth for their especial benefit, and that it is a great “concession” on their part for them to allow anybody even to think differently from them. Those who do not do as they do ought to be thankful that they are privileged to live in this country. They are the “benefactors” of Seventh-day people, because they have tolerated them so long. Did the Papacy in its worst days ever assume any more lordly position?AMS April 17, 1889, page 98.1

    It means further that if Seventh-day people will keep perfectly quiet, and be content with the privilege of resting on Saturday, they will not be molested. But let them, as Mr. Edwards said, begin to “rave;” that is, let them but teach their conscientious convictions to others, and then “legislation embarrassing to them may result.” This can mean nothing else than that, whereas Seventh-day people are allowed, by existing and pro-posed Sunday laws, to rest on Saturday if they choose, they will be prohibited from doing even this if they rebel against their “benefactors,” and refuse to rest also on Sunday, and if they attempt to stir up others to similar rebellion. This is a declaration of intention on the part of the Sunday-law agitators a little in advance of anything we have previously heard.AMS April 17, 1889, page 98.2

    Mr. Bothwell says of Seventh-day people that “none of these [Sunday] bills are aimed at them.” We cannot say definitely as to that, but we know where they always hit. We know that Sunday laws, whatever the purpose for which they are enacted, are always used for the purpose of “embarrassing” those who observe the seventh day of the week.AMS April 17, 1889, page 98.3

    In 1885, Arkansas had Sunday laws reading as follows:—AMS April 17, 1889, page 98.4

    “SECTION 1883. Every person who shall on the Sabbath, or Sunday, be found laboring, or shall compel his apprentice or servant to labor or perform service other than customary household du-ties of daily necessity, comfort, or charity, on conviction thereof shall be fined one dollar for each separate offense.AMS April 17, 1889, page 98.5

    “SEC. 1884. Every apprentice or servant compelled to labor on Sunday shall be deemed a separate offense of the master.AMS April 17, 1889, page 98.6

    “SEC. 1885. The provision of this act shall not apply to steamboats and other vessels navigating the waters of the State, nor such manufacturing establishments as require to be kept in continual operation.AMS April 17, 1889, page 98.7

    “SEC. 1886. Persons who are members of any religious society who observe as Sabbath any other day of the week than the Christian Sabbath, or Sunday, shall not be subject to the penalties of this act [the Sunday law], so that they observe one day in seven, agreeable to the faith and practice of their church or society.”AMS April 17, 1889, page 98.8

    In the session of the Arkansas Legislature of 1885, section 1886 was repealed, by act of March 3. The object of those who secured the repeal of that section was, as they said, to close the saloons. It was claimed that, under cover of that section, certain Jews who kept saloons in Little Rock had successfully defied the law against Sunday saloons, and that there was no way to secure the proper enforcement of the law without the repeal of that section. The legislators believed the statements made, and repealed the section as stated.AMS April 17, 1889, page 98.9

    “Bear in mind that the object of this movement was said to be to close the saloons on Sunday; and what discussion there was on the bill in both the Senate and the House, shows that such was the object, so far as the legislators understood it. But when the act was secured, and was framed into a law, not a saloon was closed, nor was there an attempt made, any more than before, to close them. Not one of the saloon keepers was prosecuted. And in Little Rock itself, during the session of the Legislature of 1887, when the law was in full force, up to the time of the restoration of the exemption clause, the saloons kept their doors wide open, and conducted their business with no effort at concealment, the same as they had before the act was passed. But, so far as we have been able to learn by diligent investigation, from the day of its passage, the law was used for no other purpose than to punish peaceable citizens of the State who observed the seventh day as the Sabbath, and exercised their God-given right to work on Sunday.”AMS April 17, 1889, page 98.10

    A. T. Jones, of the AMERICAN SENTINEL, who makes the above statement, has had the privilege of investigating the records of the cases of those who were prosecuted under the law as amended, and has published them in his pamphlet, “Civil Government and Religion.” In another article, entitled, “Where Sunday Laws Hit,” in this week’s issue, we shall present some of those cases, that our readers may learn the practical workings of “temperance Sunday laws.” As they read these things we ask them to decide whether or not they want the Inquisition set up in this country. People may talk as much as they please about the enlightenment of this nineteenth century, and the impossibility for persecution to arise; but every can-did person whose eyes are open must see that we are upon the very eve of as bitter a persecution as ever disgraced this earth. The minds of men are being inflamed by ecclesiastical leaders, and all that is needed is the color of law to give the malignant passions of bigots full exercise. E. J. W.AMS April 17, 1889, page 98.11

    “Whose Image and Superscription Is This?” American Sentinel 4, 13.

    E. J. Waggoner

    It is evident that the leaders in the American Sabbath Union are considerably disturbed over he SENTINEL’S disclosure of their crooked methods in obtaining indorsements to their petitions to Congress. This is shown by the fact that they are endeavoring to shield themselves by insinuating that unfair methods were employed by those who secured signatures to the counter petition. It is worthy of note, however, and should be remembered by all, that the worst charge that has yet been brought by the most bigoted Sunday-law worker is that people were “button-holed” and asked to sign it. Inasmuch as no one could put his own signature to the petition unless the canvasser did come pretty close to him with it, we regard this as a good testimonial to the conscientiousness with which the work was performed.AMS April 17, 1889, page 99.1

    We have before called attention to the frauds practiced by the active workers for a Sunday law, but we fear that some have lost sight of them. Many people still think that fourteen million signatures have actually been obtained to the petition asking Congress to make a Sunday law. We ourselves were deceived at the first into thinking that two or three million signatures had been obtained; but when the number jumped at once from six million to fourteen million, by the letter from Cardinal Gibbons, we knew there was fraud; and from that time we kept discovering fresh frauds. Following is a brief statement of them.AMS April 17, 1889, page 99.2

    The petition for a Sunday law, to which it is claimed that upwards of fourteen million signatures have been obtained, reads thus:—AMS April 17, 1889, page 99.3

    “The undersigned, adult residents of the, United States, 21 years of age or more, hereby earnestly petition your honorable body to pass a bill forbidding in the Nation’s mail and military service, and in inter-State commerce, and in the District of Columbia and the Territories, all Sunday work, traffic, etc.”AMS April 17, 1889, page 99.4

    That is plain enough to be understood by anybody. If that had been circulated in a legitimate manner, for individual signatures, no complaint could have been made. But right on the face of the sheet which contained the petition, provision was deliberately made for fraud. Immediately below the petition was the following note:—AMS April 17, 1889, page 99.5

    When a labor organization or church, or any other society, indorses the petition BY VOTE, let the ‘name’ of the organization be signed, with the attesting signatures of the presiding officer and clerk or secretary, with place and date, and in the margin, under ‘number of petitioners,’ indicate the numbers in the organization petitioning.”AMS April 17, 1889, page 99.6

    This meant that at any meeting of any church or society, a vote could be taken on the petition. If a majority of the members present voted in favor of it, the presiding officer and the clerk would sign their names and set down the number of members in the entire church or society. Now it must be evident to the most zealous partisan that such a plan could not by any possibility secure an individual expression of opinion. In the first place it allowed a part to speak for the whole.AMS April 17, 1889, page 99.7

    Not only was this provision made for fraud, but people were urged to commit fraud by securing the indorsement of the same person twice. In the “Monthly Document” of the American Sabbath Union, for December, the following appeared in a circular which editors were requested to publish:—AMS April 17, 1889, page 99.8

    “We ask every religious paper to publish our petition, and every church and preachers’ meeting and religious conference or convention to indorse the petition by resolution, and also, as far as possible, by individual signatures, which duplicate its strength.”AMS April 17, 1889, page 99.9

    That is plain enough, too. The leaders of the American Sabbath Union deliberately urged people to perpetrate fraud in securing indorsements of the Sunday-Rest bill. The above shows that the indorsement “by vote” was considered the chief thing. Whenever there was an assembly they wanted those present to vote the indorsement of the organization, so that all the members could be counted as favoring the petition, and then they wanted the strength of the petition duplicated, “as far as possible” by individual signatures. This shows that the securing of individual signatures was considered a secondary matter, except that those individual signatures would duplicate the strength of the petition. A church of three hundred members could indorse the petition by vote some Sunday evening, and the whole three hundred counted for it, even though no more than one hundred members were present. Then zealous workers could secure the individual signatures of two-thirds of the members, including those present at the time of the vote; and so from a church of three hundred members, of whom only one hundred had seen the petition, and only one hundred more had heard of it, a list of five hundred petitioners could be sent in. And just such fraud as this was provided for and urged by the leaders in the Sunday-law movement. The method of indorsement “by vote” was so much easier, however, that, as will be seen, very little effort was made to secure individual signatures.AMS April 17, 1889, page 99.10

    On Wednesday, January 16, the first petitions were presented to Congress. After senators from several States, including Illinois, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Indiana, had presented petitions from churches, labor unions, Woman’s Christian Temperance Unions, etc., from their respective States, Mr. Blair arose and said:—AMS April 17, 1889, page 99.11

    “I present petitions of several bodies, praying for the passage of a Sunday-Rest law. Of the petitions, the following analysis is submitted by those who desire their presentation:—AMS April 17, 1889, page 99.12

    Petitions from national bodies:


    1. Individual signatures 407 2. Representative signatures by indorsements of bodies and meetings 14,174,337 Total 14,174,744

    “Analysis of the latter:—

    “First indorsement is that of the American Sabbath Union, which was officially constituted by official action of the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Home Missionary Society of the Baptist Church, the General Assemblies of the Presbyterian Church (North and South), and the Synod of the Reformed Church, five denominations, whose membership together is 5,977,693. Of the membership of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, the indorsement of whose international convention stands second, at least 20,000 citizens of the United States. Of the Knights of Labor, the indorsement of whose international convention stands third, at least 219,000 citizens of the United States. The Presbyterian General Assembly, North, whose action stands next, had at the time of the indorsement 722,071 members. The convention of Christian Workers, whose indorsement is next, had 450 present when the unanimous vote of indorsement was taken. The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, which comes next, had 185,521 at the time of the vote. The Roman Catholics, for whom Cardinal Gibbons speaks, number 7,200,000.”AMS April 17, 1889, page 99.13

    Now what do we learn from this? Several things, namely: That out of 14,174,744 alleged petitioners for the Sunday law, only 407 persons actually signed the petition. That in order to produce a greater effect, the petitions were presented first by States and Territories, and then in bulk. In that way the strength of the petitions, which had already been duplicated, was duplicated again.AMS April 17, 1889, page 99.14

    But this is not all. We find that the entire membership of the Methodist, the Baptist, and the Presbyterian Churches in the United States is taken to help make up the 14,174,744 alleged petitioners. This was done because the annual convention of those bodies indorsed the petition. A vote by a few hundred people was thus swelled into nearly seven million. Not only so, but by the wording of the petition, every member of those churches was certified to as being “21 years of age or more.” Of course everybody recognizes that as another fraud.AMS April 17, 1889, page 99.15

    Still further: The entire membership of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, the Knights of Labor, and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, is counted on the strength of a vote taken by a few members of those bodies, in convention assembled. Of course the members of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union could, on general principles, be counted as favoring the bill; but as they are Christian women, they of course belong to some one of the churches previously reported. The same is true largely of the Knights of Labor and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. Not only were they represented as favoring the bill, although but few of them bad ever heard of it, and many were opposed, but they were represented three times, as we have already seen.AMS April 17, 1889, page 99.16

    More yet: After this 14,000,000 and more petitioners, only 407 of whom ever petitioned, had been presented to Congress as organizations, then as churches, etc., Mr. Blair arose again and said:—AMS April 17, 1889, page 99.17

    “I have here a petition of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union of New Jersey, with 6,000 members; of Indiana, 2,500 members; of Massachusetts, 6,000; of Delaware, 800; of Illinois, 9,000; of Iowa, 6,000; of Pennsylvania, 6,000; of Dakota, 1,800, and the National nearly 20,000, praying Congress, etc.”AMS April 17, 1889, page 99.18

    Just think! Petitions from many of these State temperance unions had been first presented by other senators. Then they were presented in the churches, then in the National Union, then again separately, and then once more in the National W. C. T. U. again; and after all this some more petitions were presented from Temperance Unions and “Sabbath Associations.” Some of these good women were therefore presented as petitioners not less than six times in one day; and since then petitions have been presented from the same people nearly every day while the session lasted.AMS April 17, 1889, page 99.19

    But this is not all by any means. Mr. Blair said in his analysis of the petitions: “The Roman Catholics, for whom Cardinal Gibbons speaks, number 7,200,000.” Cardinal Gibbons had written a letter to Mr. Crafts, personally favoring the Sunday bill, and on the strength of that letter, the American Sabbath Union counted 7,200,000 names. Not only that, but they certified that all the Catholics in the United States, men, women, and children-are “21 years of age or more.” Not only did Cardinal Gibbons say nothing about indorsing the petition for anybody but himself, which he clearly had no right to do, but he himself, as will be seen by his letter, which follows declares that he had no thought of committing anybody else.AMS April 17, 1889, page 99.20

    One thing more shows the unprincipled methods employed to manufacture a huge list in favor of the Sunday bill. Not content to have the separate labor organizations indorse it by “representation,” that is, by a vote of a few, which could not represent the body, Mr. Crafts has lately gone to work to secure the indorsement of the Federated Trades, by which means he is able to count all the laboring men again. Thus he can count every man as many times as there are associations to which he belongs. Not only so, but by their peculiar scheme of representative indorsement, they count many who are positively opposed to their movement, and who have signed the counter petition.AMS April 17, 1889, page 100.1

    Now we ask the readers of the SENTINEL to decide whose image and whose superscription this Sunday movement bears. Does it bear the stamp of God? God cannot lie. But there is another being, the enemy of God and of all righteousness, the prince of the power of the air, “the spirit which now worketh in the children of disobedience,” whose sole method of work is by fraud and deceit. Of him it is written that “he is a liar, and the father of it.” We make no further statements, but leave the reader to trace the parentage of the Sunday movement as best he can.AMS April 17, 1889, page 100.2

    Let those who have been misrepresented by being counted in these wholesale indorsements, and those who have not been aware of the character of the movement, protest vigorously, and at once, so that the leaders in the. Sunday-law movement may no longer be able to pose before Congress as the representatives of all goodness and honesty.AMS April 17, 1889, page 100.3

    E. J. W.

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