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    April 27, 1882

    “Sunday Law Sentiment” The Signs of the Times, 8, 17.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Anti-Chinese legislation has of late been such an all-absorbing topic on the Pacific Coast, that but little space is devoted in the newspapers to the Sunday Law. Although the friends of the Sunday closing movement seem as determined as ever to press the matter, public sentiment in general does not seem to have yet reached that point where a very rigid enforcement of the law may be expected.SITI April 27, 1882, page 199.1

    So far as we know, only four convictions have been obtained since the decision of the Supreme Court. In Oakland, the first two cases, both saloon-keepers, resulted in conviction, and in each instance the fine was placed at $50.00, the highest amount allowed under the law. In the third case the jury returned a verdict of “Not guilty,” almost immediately.SITI April 27, 1882, page 199.2

    In San Francisco several saloon-keepers have been tried, but in every case the jury has acquitted or else failed to agree. Last week, however, a prominent hatter was convicted and sentenced to pay a fine of ten dollars. This would indicate that the enlightened jurors of San Francisco think selling hats on Sunday worse than selling whisky. People may get along with old hats or go without, but whisky is regarded as a necessity. These three cases, with one in Sacramento, are the only convictions of which we have any knowledge at present.SITI April 27, 1882, page 199.3

    After a trial in a Police Court in San Francisco, last Friday, in which the jury disagreed, the Judge informed the Prosecuting Attorney that if a conviction did not follow the second trial of the case, on the 10th of May, he would dismiss all the Sunday Law cases now on the docket of the court. And this is, we think, an index of the feeling of most of the officials. They are opposed to the law at heart, do not think that convictions can be obtained, and desire to be rid of the insurmountable amount of work before them.SITI April 27, 1882, page 199.4

    The League of Freedom is rejoicing somewhat over what looks like an evidence of weakening on the part of the Home Protection. The President of the San Francisco League claims that he was approached by a prominent member of the Home Protection Society with the statement that the latter society would withdraw all complaints for a consideration. He refused the offer on the ground that the League of Freedom had no fears as to the result. He offered to meet the Executive Committee of the Home Protection Society and give full proofs of his statements, with the name of the individual who made the offer. The Protectionists refused to meet him, but said that he could make his statement through the papers, which he refused to do. Thus the matter stands. Each society professes to feel confident that it will accomplish its purpose.SITI April 27, 1882, page 199.5

    A large mass-meeting was recently held in Sacramento, and several resolutions were presented, among which was the following:-SITI April 27, 1882, page 199.6

    Resolved. That in the approaching political campaign we will support no candidate for the Legislature who is pledged to the repeal of the Sunday Law of California.SITI April 27, 1882, page 199.7

    Rev. Mr. Hansen, in speaking of these resolutions, said he hoped they would be acted on by a rising vote. He said the friends of the law meant business, and the politicians were going to have a lively time on this question, and the men who want to have a foothold in the future had better look to it where they step now. The friends of the law had resolved to “fight fire with fire, and blood with blood, and money with money.” His remarks were loudly applauded. When the vote was taken, the entire audience, with few exceptions, rose in the affirmative, and none in the negative. A committee of some of the leading citizens was appointed to wait on the Mayor to request that the best efforts of the authorities be employed to enforce the Sunday Law. In this connection it is well to note that at a meeting of the Licensed Dealers’ Association, a few evenings before, it was resolved to make politics secondary in the next election, and to support no man who would not promise to vote for a repeal of the Sunday Law. Also the Democratic convention in San Francisco adopted an anti-Sunday resolution at a recent meeting.SITI April 27, 1882, page 199.8

    From these statements our readers can get a pretty fair idea of the present status of the Sunday cause in California. Whether the law is repealed at the next session of the Legislature or not, the matter will not end there. The advocates of Sunday observance are too numerous and too determined to let the matter drop; and those who have set themselves to actively oppose the law will not submit without a struggle. As has been stated before, the principal result of the present agitation in California will doubtless be to stimulate those in the East who are working for a Religious Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, to make more decided efforts than ever before.SITI April 27, 1882, page 199.9

    It may not be amiss to state for the benefit of some who still seem to misunderstand our position, that Seventh-day Adventists take no sides in this controversy. We have no part in it whatever. We say “God speed” to every effort to prohibit the liquor traffic, but cannot join a purely Sunday movement. In this and coming time, it is ours simply to watch the fulfillment of prophecy that we may not be taken unawares, and to “fear God, and keep his commandments,” for this, and nothing less, if our “whole duty.” E. J. W.SITI April 27, 1882, page 199.10

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