“The Release of Mr. Capps” American Sentinel 9, 41, pp. 322, 323.

LAMST week we promised our readers additional facts in connection with the release of Mr. Capps, the Seventh-day Adventist, who was imprisoned in the country jail of Dresden, Weakley Co., Tenn., for doing farm labor on Sunday. On investigation we learned that under date of August 10, the American Hebrew, of this city, appealed for donations in the interests of Mr. Capps, in a strong editorial entitled, “A Sacrifice for Principle.” Following the narration of the facts in connection with the prosecution, the editorial says:—

This is inhumanity and injustice. It is the most barefaced religious persecution. It is outrageous that a judge should so construe the law as to inflict such punishment for such an alleged offense. It is abominable that any legislative body should allow its statutes to remain so that they can be so construed.

But, with all our indignation and protestation, there is a more sacred duty, and that is to provide for the destitute family of this martyr. A committee has been organized to collect funds for this purpose, and we trust that our co-religionists will be generous in adding their share. We will gladly receive all sums for this object, and will transmit them to the committee, after acknowledging the receipt thereof in our columns.

To this appeal the following persons responded: Mr. Waldheim, $3.; J. C. Levy, 140 Nassau St., New York, $2; Sabbath Observer, 50 cents; A. J. Bloomberg, 50 E. Sixty-fifth St., $1; Moses A. Dropsie, Philadelphia, $50; D. M. Piza, $5; making a total of $61.50.

Accompanying his remittance Mr. J. C. Levy made the following comments:—

Capps is a martyr to the cause of religious liberty in the bigoted State of Tennessee. He is punished for obeying the law of God, which the law of Tennessee says shall not be obeyed in its jurisdiction.

We may talk as we please about religious liberty and the separation of Church and State in this country, but it does not wholly exist. The religious majority in our free land, when it can safely do so, oppresses the minority.

All honor to Capps! Let him work out in jail the punishment which the State of Tennessee exacts for believing that religious liberty exists within its borders, but meanwhile let his poor family be provided for.

Later the American Hebrew decided to [323] apply the amount contributed to the payment of the fine, which was done. The balance was donated to Mr. Capps.

The issue of the American Hebrew of October 5 contained the following editorial note:—

In the Land of Religious Liberty

Some weeks ago we appealed in these columns for aid for a party in Tennessee, who was imprisoned and fined for working on his farm on Sunday. He belongs to a Christian sect that observes Saturday as the Sabbath. The response to our appeal brought in $61.50. Although a collection was being made in behalf of the cause by persons in the West, we deemed it advisable to consult Chas. E. Buell, of Plainfield, New Jersey, as to the manner in which the money should be applied, since that gentleman had brought the matter to our attention. It was concluded that the wisest plan would be to pay the fine and have Mr. Capps released, the surplus to be given him after that, to enable him to start afresh, as his imprisonment had well nigh ruined him. We therefore forwarded $34.87 to J. J. Thomason, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Weakley Co., in Dresden, Tenn.

Mr. Capps wrote gratefully acknowledging the kind act of the American Hebrew and its friends.

All lovers of liberty will feel kindly toward the American Hebrew for interesting itself in this case of a persecuted fellow-citizen; and the contributors have manifested the spirit of an “Israelite indeed.”

While Mr. Capps and his brethren are conscientiously opposed to paying fines assessed under these oppressive Sunday laws, yet when others, unsolicited, pay the fines and release them from custody, they can but joyfully return to their families, with gratitude to those whose liberality has secured their freedom.

May “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” bless our Hebrew friends! [324]

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