Kent’s Early View on the First Amendment’s Religion Clause

As I was perusing my copy of Kent’s Commentaries on American Law (12th Ed., O.W. Holmes, Jr.), I came across the following statement in the context of his discussion of the First Amendment:

The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship may be considered as one of the absolute rights of individuals, recognized in our American constitutions, and secured to them by law. Civil and religious liberty generally go hand in hand, and the suppression of either of them, for any length of time, will terminate the existence of the other.

…It appears from those illustrious examples [Kent has just finished delineating the religious histories of most/all of the original colonies] that various portions of this country became, even in its infant state, distinguished asylums for the enjoyment of the principles of civil and religious liberty, by the persecuted votaries of those principles from every part of Europe.

2 Kent’s Commentaries *34-34, 37 (emphasis original)

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