Mandeville, LA – When I took my seat in the Convention, I found them attempting to bring forward a system which, I was sure, never had entered into the contemplation of those I had the honor to represent, and which, upon the fullest consideration, I considered not only injurious to the interest and rights of this state, but also incompatible with the political happiness and freedom of the states in general. From that time until my business compelled me to leave the Convention, I gave it every possible opposition, in every stage of its progression. I opposed the system there with the same explicit frankness with which I have here given you a history of our proceedings, an account of my own conduct, which in a particular manner I consider you as having a right to know.
The part of the system, which provides that no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States, was adopted by a great majority of the Convention, and without much debate. However, there were some members so unfashionable as to think that a belief of the existence of a Deity, and of a state of future rewards and punishments, would be some security for the good conduct of our rulers, and that, in a Christian country, it would be at least decent to hold out some distinction between the professors of Christianity and downright infidelity or paganism. – Luther Martin, The Genuine Information, Report on The Federal Convention of 1788