A SPECIAL telegram announces that J. Q. Allison, a Seventh-day Adventist of Douglas County, Ga., has been arrested for working on Sunday. He is to be tried this week. Mr. Allison, if convicted, will, according to the Georgia statute, “be punished by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars, imprisonment not to exceed six months, to work in the chain-gang on the public works, or on such other works as the county authorities may employ the chain-gang, not to exceed twelve months, and any one or more of these punishments may be ordered in the discretion of the judge.”
In case a fine is imposed, Section 4582 of the Georgia Code makes the following provisions for its disposal:—
All moneys arising from fines imposed for offenses, the gist of which consists in their being committed on the Sabbath day, shall be paid to the ordinary of the county, to be by him distributed for the purpose of establishing and promoting Sabbath-schools in the county.
In case the convicted party refuses to pay fines, or in case he is sentenced to the chain-gang. Section 4814 provides:—
In all cases where persons are convicted of misdemeanor, and sentenced to work in the chain-gang on the public works, or public roads, or when such persons are confined in jail for non-payment of fines imposed for such misdemeanor, the ordinary of the county, and where there is a board of commissioners of roads and revenues of the counties, then said heard of commissioners, and in those counties where there is a county judge, then the mid county judge, where such conviction was had, or where such convicts may be confined, may place such convicts, in the county or elsewhere, to work upon such public works of the county, in chain-gangs, or otherwise, or hire out such convicts, upon such terms and restrictions as may subserve the ends of justice, and place such convicts under such guards as may be necessary for their safe keeping.
In case of “insurrection” (which would doubtless include a refusal to work in the chain-gang on the Sabbath), Section 4821 provides:—
Whenever any convict or convicts now confined, or hereafter to be confined, in the penitentiary of this State, or member or members of the chain-gang now confined, or hereafter to be confined in the penitentiary of this State, or wherever else employed as such, shall be guilty of insurrection or attempt at insurrection, such convict or convicts, or member or members of the chain-gang, shall, upon trial and conviction in the Supreme Court of the county in which the crime is committed, be deemed guilty of a capital offense, and punished with death, or such other punishment as the judge in his discretion may indict.
Thus is appears that Mr. Allison is facing as a possibility, first, a thousand-dollar fine; second, six months’ imprisonment; third, the chain-gang; fourth, all three combined; fifth, he faces the possibility of being sold to the highest bidder, to some contractor, and in either case whether in the chain-gang of the State or the private contractor, should be refuse to work on the Sabbath, as he surely would, he “may be punished with death”!
The State of Georgia is not in Russia; it is in the southeastern part of the United States, and professed Protestant churches are behind this barbarous Sunday law.