Quotations by Leland, John


The notion of a Christian commonwealth should be exploded forever. … Government should protect every man in thinking and speaking freely, and see that one does not abuse another. The liberty I contend for is more than toleration. The very idea of toleration is despicable; it supposes that some have a pre-eminence above the rest to grant indulgence, whereas all should be equally free, Jews, Turks, Pagans and Christians.

John Leland (1754-1841) American Baptist minister, civil libertarian
A Chronicle of His Time in Virginia (1845)
Added on 17-Jun-09 | Last updated 31-May-19
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Every man must give account of himself to God, and therefore every man ought to be at liberty to serve God in a way that he can best reconcile to his conscience. If government can answer for individuals at the day of judgment, let men be controlled by it in religious matters; otherwise, let men be free.

John Leland (1754-1841) American Baptist minister, civil libertarian
Right of Conscience Inalienable
Added on 10-Jun-09 | Last updated 10-Jun-09
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Truth disdains the aid of law for its defense — it will stand upon its own merits.

John Leland (1754-1841) American Baptist minister, civil libertarian
Right of Conscience Inalienable
Added on 24-Jun-09 | Last updated 24-Jun-09
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To say that religion cannot stand without a state establishment is not only contrary to fact (as has been proved already) but is a contradiction in phrase. Religion must have stood a time before any law could have been made about it; and if it did stand almost three hundred years without law it can still stand without it.

John Leland (1754-1841) American Baptist minister, civil libertarian
The Connecticut Dissenters Strong Box, #1 (1802)
Added on 13-May-09 | Last updated 13-May-09
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If government can answer for individuals at the day of judgment, let men be controlled by it in religious matters; otherwise let men be free.

John Leland (1754-1841) American Baptist minister, civil libertarian
The Connecticut Dissenters Strong Box, #1 (1802)
Added on 27-May-09 | Last updated 18-May-09
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Is it the duty of a deist to support that which he believes to be a cheat and imposition? Is it the duty of the Jew to support the religion of Jesus Christ, when he really believes that he was an imposter? Must the papist be forced to pay men for preaching down the supremacy of the pope, whom they are sure is the head of the church? Government has no more to do with the religious opinions of men than it has with the principles of mathematics.

John Leland (1754-1841) American Baptist minister, civil libertarian
The Yankee Spy (1794)

Under the pen name "Jack Nipps"
Added on 20-May-09 | Last updated 20-May-09
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In a well regulated state it will be the business of the legislature to prevent sectaries of different denominations from molesting and disturbing each other; to ordain that no part of the community shall be permitted to perplex and harass the other for any supposed heresy, but that each individual shall be allowed to have and enjoy, profess and maintain his own system of religion, provided it does not issue in overt acts of treason against the state undermining the peace and order of society.

John Leland (1754-1841) American Baptist minister, civil libertarian
The Yankee Spy (1794) [writing as Jack Nipps]
Added on 3-Jun-09 | Last updated 3-Jun-09
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