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title:“Newspaper Report of the House of Representatives Debates on August 20, 1789”
date written:1789-8-22

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:16 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Aug. 4, 2020, 2:48 p.m. UTC

"Newspaper Report of the House of Representatives Debates on August 20, 1789." Gazette of the United States 1789-08-22 : . Rpt. in Creating the Bill of Rights. Ed. Kenneth R. Bowling and Helen E. Veit. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991. 198-99. Print.
Manuscripts Division, Library of Congress

Newspaper Report of the House of Representatives Debates on August 20, 1789 (August 22, 1789)

The subject of amendments resumed.
Mr. AMES's proposition was taken up. Five or six other gentlemen brought in propositions on the same point; and the whole by mutual consent, were laid on the table.
Mr. SCOTT objected to the clause in the sixth amendment, "No person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms." He said, if this becomes part of the constitution, we can neither call upon such persons for services nor an equivalent; it is attended with still further difficulties, for you can never depend upon your militia. This will lead to the violation of another article of the constitution, which secures to the people the right of keeping arms, as in this case you must have recourse to a standing army. I conceive it is a matter of legislative right altogether. I know there are many sects religiously scrupulous in this respect: I am not for abridging them of any indulgence by law; my design is to guard against those who are of no religion. It is said that religion is on the decline; if this is the case, it is an argument in my favour; for when the time comes that there is no religion, persons will more generally have recourse to these pretexts to get excused.
Mr. BOUDINOT said that the provision in the clause or something like it appeared to be necessary. What dependence can be placed in men who are conscientious in this respect: or what justice can there be in compelling them to bear arms, when, if they are honest men they would rather die than use them. He then adverted to several instances of oppression in the case which occurred during the [revolutionary] war. In forming a militia we ought to calculate for an effectual defence, and not compel characters of this description to bear arms. I wish that in establishing this government we may be careful to let every person know that we will not interfere with any person's particular religious profession. If we strike out this clause, we shall lead such persons to conclude that we mean to compel them to bear arms.1
Mr. VINING and Mr JACKSON spake upon the question. The words in person were added after the word "arms," and the amendment was adopted.

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