By John Frances Mercer
"...where civil government is preserved free, there can be no religious tyranny--"
Thus it is that barbarity--cruelty and blood which stain the history of religion, spring from the corruption of civil government, and from that never-dying hope and fondness for a state of equality, which constitutes an essential part of the soul of man:--A chaos of darkness obscures the downfall of empire, intermixed with gleams of light, which serve only to disclose scenes of desolation and horror--From the last confusion springs order:--The bold spirits who pull down the ancient fabric--erect a new one, founded on the natural liberties of mankind, and where civil government is preserved free, there can be no religious tyranny--the sparks of bigotry and enthusiasm may and will crackle, but can never light into a blaze.
Stafford County native and Revolutionary patriot John Francis Mercer wrote a series of anti-Federalist papers, protesting the large role of federal government. This excerpt comes from A [Maryland] Farmer, no. 7, published on April 11, 1788. It can be read online in its entirety at The Founders' Constitution Web site.