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4 > Page 4 of Account of some of the proceedings of the legislatures of the states of Kentucky and New Hampshire, --1828 -- in relation to the people called Shakers

4 very unsuitable to the place. This, indeed, appeared to us a strange affair, knowing that we had ever observed the greatest punctuality in our dealings with mankind and with each other. We had constituted an office and trustee- ship, for the transaction of all matters of trade and com- merce abroad, and all our domestic concerns we considered as fully and finally adjusted by our own mutual contracts and articles of agreement: it did, therefore, appear to us a mysterious thing, indeed, for the whole Society to be attacked, in a way so imposing on our religious character and sacred rights, as if the house of God had become a den of thieves, that a subpoena must be stuck up on the door calling us out, in a body, to answer the claims of j ustice. From the abundant information contained in our religious publications, we could not have supposed that any respect- able body of well informed citizens could have conceived of us, as a political establishment. The well known prin- ciples of faith and manner of life which we have adopted sufficiently negative the idea; and how any legislative body could claim a right by special enactment to intrude into the sacred asylum of our church order is to us a mys- tery, seeing that, even " Congress shall make no law con- cerning an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." In forming our religious association we have not con- sulted the civil authorities of men, further than to see that we did not trespass upon their premises. Our faith and forms of devotion were not chartered by any legislative power of a political nature. As a community of Believers we disclaim the right or privilege of suing or being sued, in a body; our main policy is to keep out of the reach of the municipal law, by strictly observing all its just require- ments, and so arranging our social concerns as not to inter- fere with the rights and privileges of others. With this