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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 48

In Force in Maryland

In Force in Maryland.

"Be it enacted by the Right Honourable the Lord Proprietor, by and with the advice and consent of His Lordship's Governor and the Upper and Lower Houses of the Assembly, and the authority of the same:

"That if any person shall hereafter, within this province, willingly, maliciously and advisedly, by writing or speaking, blaspheme or curse God, or deny Our Saviour Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, or shall deny the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost, or the Godhead of any of the three Persons, or the unity of the Godhead, or shall utter any profane words concerning the Holy Trinity or the Persons thereof, and shall therefor be convicted by verdict, shall for the first offence be bored through the tongue, and fined £20, to be levied of his body. As for the second offence the offender shall be stigmatised by burning in the forehead the letter B, and fined £40. And that for the third offence the offender shall suffer death without the benefit of clergy."

The strange thing about this law is that it has never been respected, and was in force in the District of Columbia up to 1875. Laws like this were in force in most of the colonies and in all countries where the Church had power.

In the Old Testament the death penalty was attached to hundreds of offences. It has been the same in all Christian countries. Today, in civilised governments, the death penalty is attached only to murder and treason and in some it has been entirely abolished. What a commentary upon the divine systems of the world!

La the day of Thomas Paine