Smithsonian

Petition of the Baptists of Prince William County, Virginia, June 1776

Whereas this colony with others, is now contending for the civil rights & liberties of mankind against the enslaving scheme of a powerful enemy, we . . . have thought it our duty as peaceable Christians to petition . . . that we be allowed to worship God in our own way . . . [and] to maintain our own ministers . . . and no others . . . [and] be married, buried, and the like, without paying the parsons of any other denomination. These things granted, we will gladly unite with our brethren of other denominations, and to the utmost of our ability, promote the cause of freedom.