In an essay, “An Enquiry into the Consistency of Oaths with Reason and Christianity,” Jan. 20 1789, Benjamin Rush delivered a discourse “On Oaths.” He concludes his discourse with these two paragraphs:
If oaths [as already explained] are contrary to reason, and have a pernicious influence upon morals and the order of society; and above all, if they are contrary to the precepts and spirit of the gospel; it becomes legislators and ministers of the gospel to consider how far they are responsible for all the falsehood, profane swearing and perjury that exist in society. It is in the power of legislators to abolish oaths, by expunging them from our laws; and it is in the power of ministers of the gospel, by their influence and example, to render truth so simple and obligatory, that human governments shall be ashamed to ask any other mode of declaring it, from Christians, than by a bare affirmation.
The friends of virtue and freedom have beheld, with great pleasure, a new constitution established in the United States, whose objects are peace, union and justice. It will be in the power of the first congress that shall act under this constitution, to set the world an example of enlightened policy, by framing laws that shall command obedience without the absurd and improper obligation of oaths. By this means they will add the restoration and establishment of TRUTH, to the great and valuable objects of the constitution that have been mentioned.The full text can be seen here.