Lot 155 of 395:
Seventh Day Baptists, Pennsylvania, Blue Laws, Civil Liberties, Religious Freedom  

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$100 - $150

1850 Seventh Day Baptists Persecuted in Pennsylvania - Autograph Letter Signed

Konigmacher, Joseph

Senate Chambers, Harrisburg, Pa.


May 14, 1850


1 pp. + stampless free-franked address leaf.

To John Monn: “We passed a section in our Omnibus bill which is some small comfort to our Seventh Day Baptists, requiring that the fines received against offenders of the law relative to Sunday as a Sabbath, shall be paid into the State treasury, not as heretofore, the informer used to get one half, he gets nothing now. So there is no inducement of a pecuniary character to induce persons to inform on your people…” For much of the 19th century, most states enforced Sunday as the Sabbath day of rest, legally prohibiting “commerce” of any kind on that day – to the detriment of Seventh-Day Baptists (and later Adventists), Jews, and irreverent saloon owners. These “blue laws” were strictly enforced, even baseball players being arrested for violation.  Pennsylvania at first paid a portion of fines levied on violators to those who informed on their non-observant neighbors – a practice finally cancelled, as this letter explains, by the legislature. Whig Senator Konigmacher, representing the village of Ephrata, was himself a lay leader of the Seventh Day Baptist Church and owner of a summer resort that catered to Philadelphia and Baltimore high society, and numbered several Presidents among its distinguished guests. Many blue laws were later repealed or declared unconstitutional, but some remain in force to this day.

Lot Amendments

A bit of wear; very good.

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