A Colonial Baptist Plea for Relief from Taxation
In 1775, the Baptists sent this resolution to the Massachusetts General Court. They were appealing for relief from the burdens of taxation to pay the ministerial salaries of the Standing Order (the established Congregational churches):
Our real grievances are, that we, as well as our fathers, have, from time to time, been taxed on religious accounts where we were not represented; and when we have sued for our rights, our causes have been tried by interested judges. That the Representatives in former Assemblies, as well as the present, were elected by virtue only of civil and worldly qualifications, is a truth so evident, that we presume it need not be proved to this Assembly; and for a civil Legislature to impose religious taxes, is, we conceive, a power which their constituents never had to give; and is therefore going entirely out of their jurisdiction. . . .