Inside the saddlery*
“The constitutions of nearly all the states have qualifications for voters simply on citizenship,” Pefley countered, “without question with regard to what they believe on this or that question. Then I ask, why make a distinction of the people of Idaho?
“It appears to have been reserved for Idaho’s constitution to put in the first religious test in regard to the right of suffrage and holding office … Political and religious persecution are supposed to have died at the termination of the revolution but it appears that Idaho is again an exception.”¹
Pefley’s arguments were unheeded and the section was approved. Later, when the final document was to be signed, Pefley addressed the body: “I always think consistency is a jewel highly prized, and inasmuch as there are sections in there that I could not endorse when they passed as sections or articles, I cannot conscientiously sign the Constitution.”²
He was the only one of the sixty-five delegates not to sign.
* Idaho State Historical Society image 71-182-54: idahohistory.cdmhost.com/cdm/singleitem/collection/p16281...
¹ Proceedings and Debates of the Constitutional Convention of Idaho (1889), pp. 1015–16: archive.org/stream/proceedingsdebat00idah/proceedingsdeba...; See also Ron Roizen, “Peter Pefley, Man of Principle” (Apr 7, 2014): ronroizen.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/peter-pefley-man-of-pr...
² Ibid., p. 2043