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The Leonard Library 

(KUpcliffe College 



Register No .\.....f.... 



By RUFUS M. JONES. [/ Preparation. 



[/ Preparation. 













RUFUS M. JONES, M.A., D.Lrrr. 













THE story of the Quaker invasion of the Colonies in the 
New World has often been told in fragmentary fashion, 
but no adequate study of the entire Quaker movement 
in colonial times has yet been made from original sources, 
free from partisan or sectarian prejudice and in historical 
perspective. By far the most important history of 
American Quakerism covering our period is Bowden s 
History of Friends in America (London, vol. i. 1850, 
vol. ii. 1854), but it is plainly written from the Quaker 
point of view and does not furnish a critical investigation 
of Quakerism and its work in the New World. Thomas s 
History of the Society of Friends in America (written 
originally for the American Church History Series, and 
published separately in 1895) is an excellent piece of 
work, done in an impartial and historical spirit, though too 
brief to allow of much detail. Weeks s Southern Quakers 
and Slavery (Baltimore, 1896) is scholarly and judicial, 
and is the best work in existence for the section covered. 
There have been many accounts written from the 
anti-Quaker point of view, but they are for the most 
part one-sided and coloured by prejudice, and they are 
obviously lacking in penetration into the inner meaning 
of the type of religion which they undertake to present. 
Bancroft has given considerable space to the Quakers 
in his History of the United States. His account is 
sympathetic, but it is largely an abstract treatment of their 
religious principles rather than a truly historical picture. 


This volume is an attempt to study historically and 
critically the religious movement inaugurated in the New 
World by the Quakers, a movement important both for 
the history of the development of religion and for the 
history of the American Colonies, and to present it not 
only in its external setting but also in the light of its 
inner meaning. It has been written as a contribution 
toward the completion of a plan to write a full history of 
the Quaker movement on the two continents, conceived 
by my beloved friend, John Wilhelm Rowntree, and 
interrupted by his death. No one can now accomplish 
precisely what he was conceiving 

Ah ! who shall lift the wand of magic-power 
And the lost clew regain ? 

But a group of his friends have resolved that, as far as 
possible, his work shall go forward, and we hope that 
eventually the projected series may be brought to 

I have been assisted in the present volume by Isaac 
Sharpless, who has written the section on Pennsylvania, 
and by Amelia M. Gummere, who has written the section 
on New Jersey. I have received valuable suggestions 
and help from William Charles Braithwaite, of Banbury, 
England ; Norman Penney, of London ; Augustine Jones, 
of Newton Highlands, Massachusetts ; Professor Allen 
C. Thomas, of Haverford, Pennsylvania ; and John Cox, 
jun., of New York City. I have, with permission, made 
use of the map in Weeks s Southern Quakers and Slavery 
in locating some of the places on my map of the southern 
colonies. My wife has read the proofs and prepared the 
Index, and has in many other ways assisted in my work 
on this volume. 

March 191 1. 








THE MARTYRS . . . ...... -. . ... . 63 

THE KING S MISSIVE . . ; ... . . . 90 
























THE SETTLEMENT . . .^ . . . .417 



1 A..h 



GOVERNMENT . ; . . . . 459 




GENERAL CONDITIONS, 1700-1775 522 


INDEX . . -. 581 


(At end of Volume) 





ENGLAND, A.D. 1833. 


Be of good cheer, brave spirit ; steadfastly 

Serve that low whisper thou hast served ; for know, 

God hath a select family of sons 

Now scattered wide thro earth and each alone, 

Who are thy spiritual kindred, and each one, 

By constant service to that inward law, 

Is weaving the sublime proportions 

Of a true monarch s soul. Beauty and strength, 

The riches of a spotless memory, 

The eloquence of truth, the wisdom got 

By searching of a clear and loving eye 

That seeth as God seeth. These are their gifts, 

And Time, who keeps God s word, brings on the day 

To seal the marriage of these minds with thine, 

Thine everlasting lovers. Ye shall be 

The salt of all the elements, world of the world. 




AMERICAN Quakerism is closely bound up in origin and 
history with the wider religious movement which had its 
rise in the English Commonwealth, under the leadership 
of George Fox. 1 This type of religion, which took root 
in the American Colonies in 1657, and which grew to be 
a significant and far-reaching influence in at least ten 
Colonies, had already for ten years been powerfully stirring 
the middle classes, and had rapidly gathered numbers in 
the English counties. When the volunteers went forth 
for " the mighty work in the nations beyond the seas," as 
they expressed their mission, they were the representatives 
of an expanding body of believers at home, the executives 
of a matured policy of spiritual conquest, and they went 
forth to their " hardships and hazards " with an organised 
financial support behind them. 2 They felt, as their own 
testimony plainly shows, that they were not solitary 
adventurers, but that God was pushing them out to be 
the bearers of a new and mighty word of Life which was 
to remake the world, and that the whole group behind 

1 The history of the rise of Quakerism has been written for this series by 
William Charles Braithwaite in the volume The Beginnings of Quakerism. 

3 At a great General Meeting held at Scalehouse, near Skipton, in England, 
in 1658, an Epistle was issued which called for funds to push the work in the 
Western world. The following extract indicates the spirit of the document : 
" Having heard of the great things done by the mighty power of God in many 
nations beyond the seas, whither He hath called forth many of our dear brethren 
and sisters to preach the everlasting gospel . . . our bowels yearn for them 
and our hearts are filled with tender love to those precious ones of God who so 
freely have given up for the Seed s sake their friends, their near relations, their 
country and worldly estates, yea and their lives also. We, therefore, with one 
consent freely and liberally offer up our earthly substance, according as God 
hath blessed every one to be speedily sent up to London as a freewill offering 
for the Seed s sake." (The MS. of this Epistle is in the Library at Devonshire 
House, London, in Portfolio, 16-1.) 


them was in some sense embodied in them. Throughout 
all the years during which the campaign of spiritual 
conquest was being pushed forward, the entire Society in 
England was pledged to the task of carrying its " truth " 
into the life of the New World, and even as early as 1 660 
George Fox was planning for the founding of a Colony in 
America, where Quakers could try their faith and work 
out their ideals unmolested. 1 A study of Fox s printed 
Epistles will convince any one that the " Seed in America " 
was always prominent in his thought and in his plans. 2 
In fact no other religious body in the Old World more 
completely identified itself with the fortunes of its apostles 
in the New World than did the Quakers, then in the youth 
and vigour of their career. 

Throughout the entire period covered by this history 
1656 to 1780 Quakerism was an expanding force in 
the Colonies, and there were times within this period 
when it seemed destined to become one of the foremost 
religious factors in the life and development of America. 
It is clearly evident from their own writings that at the 
opening of the eighteenth century the Quaker leaders 
expected to make their type of religion prevail on the 
Western continent. They believed, in fact, that their 
" Principle " was universally true and would make its way 
through the race, and that their experiment was only the 
beginning of a world - religion of the Spirit. The New 
World seemed to them a providential field to be won for 
their truth. It was in the New World alone that favour 
able opportunities offered in the seventeenth and eighteenth 
centuries for the application of Quaker ideals to public 
life, and the opportunities were quickly seized. In Great 
Britain there were insuperable bars which kept Quakers 
out of public service to the state and forced them to 
adopt a life apart from the main currents. One famous 
Quaker, John Archdale, who took a prominent part in 
the making of three American Colonies Maine, North 
Carolina and South Carolina was elected to the English 

1 Letter of Josiah Coale to George Fox from Maryland, January 1661. 
A. R. Barclay CoL of MSS. in Devonshire House, No. 53. 

a Fox s Epistles (first ed. 1698 ; American ed. 1831, 2 vols. ). 


Parliament in 1698, but his refusal to take an oath cost 
him his seat, and ended all attempts on the part of 
Quakers to enter the field of politics. In America the 
situation was quite different. In the Puritan Colonies 
of New England, Quakers were, of course, without the 
privileges of franchise or office -holding, and in Episco 
palian Colonies like Virginia, where uniformity was insisted 
upon, the way to influence in the government was tightly 
closed to them ; but in Rhode Island the only obstacle to 
position in Government affairs which the Quakers met 
was the difficulty of bearing responsibility for war- 
preparation. In that Colony for more than a hundred 
years Quakers were continually in office, and for thirty- 
six terms the Governorship of the colony was occupied 
by members of the Society. In Pennsylvania they had 
one of the largest and most influential Colonies of the 
New World in their own hands. They came into possession 
of West Jersey in 1674, and five years later East Jersey 
also passed into their hands, so that they had the govern 
mental control of New Jersey until it became a royal 

Until 1701 they were the only organised religious 
denomination in North Carolina, and the administration 
of the Quaker, John Archdale, profoundly shaped the 
history of both Carolinas. Naturally Quakers in the Old 
World looked to the New as a land of promise, and no 
pains were spared to spread the " Seed " in the favourable 
regions along the Atlantic coast, so that by the middle 
of the eighteenth century there were more Quakers in 
the Western hemisphere than in Great Britain. They 
formed half the population of Newport in 1700 and 
for many years after, and down to the middle of the 
eighteenth century they were a majority of the popula 
tion of the South Narragansett shore of Rhode Island, 
now Washington County. There were at this period 
three thousand Quakers in the southern section of 
Massachusetts, once the territory of the Pilgrim Fathers. 
About one-third of the inhabitants in the Piscataqua 
region of Maine and New Hampshire were Quakers. 


Lynn, Salem, Newbury, and Hampton had large Meetings, 
and many of the inland rural districts of Massachusetts 
and Rhode Island were predominantly Quaker. They 
formed a large proportion of the Long Island towns 
and the towns of Westchester County on the mainland, 
and by the middle of the century they constituted an 
influential body in New York City. There were not 
less than twenty-five thousand Quakers in Pennsylvania 
before the end of our period, and probably not far from 
six thousand in New Jersey. There were by official 
figures three thousand in Maryland, probably four or 
five thousand in Virginia, and about the same number in 
the Carolinas. They were thrifty, prosperous, and quiet 
in their modes of life, but contributing their share of the 
hard labour which turned the dense forests into flourishing 
fields, and their share also of those subtler formative 
forces which prepared the way in the wilderness for a 
great national life, then hardly dreamed of. It is no 
doubt a home-spun narrative, but history is no longer 
aristocratic. It does not confine its purview to selected 
heroes and purple-tinted events. It has become interested 
in the common man and in plain every-day happenings, 
and this story, though modest, is a contribution to the 
real life of America. 

The extent of the Quaker influence in the political 
life of the Colonies has not been generally realised. The 
" holy experiment " of Penn had striking and dramatic 
features which have always impressed the imagination, 
but the quieter work of New England and Carolina 
Quakers has received much less notice and has waited 
long for a historian. But while emphasising this neglected 
field of Quaker activity, we must not lose our perspective 
and balance. The Quakers supreme passion was the 
cultivation of inward religion and an outward life con 
sistent with the vision of their souls. " Experiments in 
government " whether successful or unsuccessful, whether 
wise or unwise, were never their primary aim. Beneath 
these ventures, there always existed a deeper purpose 
to make a fresh experiment in spiritual religion as the 


living pulse of all Quaker aspiration, and by this central 
aim the movement must be finally estimated and judged. 
These American Quakers of the period here studied 
believed, with a white-hot intensity, that they had dis 
covered, or rediscovered, a new spiritual Principle which 
they thought was destined to revolutionise life, society, 
civil government, and religion. The Principle (and they 
always spelled it with a capital P) which they claimed to 
have discovered was the presence of a Divine Light in 
man, a radiance from the central Light of the spiritual 
universe, penetrating the deeps of every soul, which if 
responded to, obeyed, and accepted as a guiding star, 
would lead into all truth and into all kinds of truth. 
They thought that they had found a way to the direct 
discovery of the Will of God and that they could thereby 
put the Kingdom of God into actual operation here in 
the world. The whole momentous issue of life, they 
insisted, is settled by personal obedience or disobedience 
to the inward Divine revelation. The wisdom of the 
infinite God is within reach of the feeblest human spirit ; 
the will of the Eternal is voiced in the soul of every 
man ; it is life to hear and obey ; it is death to follow 
other voices. This underlying conception forms the 
spring and motive of all the distinctive activities of the 
colonial Quakers. They risked everything they had on 
the truth of this Principle, and they must be judged by 
the way in which they worked out their experiment in 
religion. They were champions of causes which seemed 
new and dangerous to those who heard them, but behind 
all their propaganda there was one live central faith 
from which everything radiated the faith that God 
speaks directly to the human spirit, and that religion, 
to be true and genuine, must be a reality of first-hand 

There have been many individuals in the Christian 
Church who have been exponents of this mystical idea 
that God manifests Himself inwardly to the soul of man 
and that His real presence can be directly, immediately, 
experienced. The testimony of such mystics has pro- 


foundly interested our generation and their experiences 
have received searching psychological examination at the 
hands of experts. 1 The novel and interesting thing about 
this Quaker experiment is that it furnishes an opportunity 
to study inward mystical religion embodied in a group 
and worked out through a long span of historical develop 
ment. We shall here see the intense personal faith of one 
or a few fusing an entire group and creating an atmo 
sphere, a climate, into which children were born and 
through which they formed their lives ; we shall be able 
to study the effect of the cooling processes of time on 
this faith so intense at its origin ; we shall discover how 
this startlingly bold Principle met the slow siftings and 
testings of history ; and we shall find out how any merely 
inward and mystical facts must be supplemented and 
corrected by the wider concrete and objective experience 
of the race. 

It is true, no doubt, that religion is in the last 
analysis a personal matter, but it is also true that nobody 
cut apart from social interests and isolated from the 
purposes and strivings of a group of fellows could become 
a person at all, or could exhibit what we mean by religion. 
And, therefore, while we go to biography for our most 
definite accounts of religious experience, it is through the 
unfolding of history that we can trace out the full signi 
ficance of a first-hand faith like the one here in question, 
and only in the vast laboratory of history, where every 
hypothesis must submit to a stern test, can it be fairly 
verified or transcended. The following chapters as they 
unfold will present the Quaker Principle in sufficient 
detail, will exhibit it in sharp collision with other views, 
and will show its points of strength and weakness ; but a 
few clues indicated here in the Introduction will perhaps 
help the reader to find his way more easily and more 

1 James, Varieties of Religious Experience ; Coe, Spiritual Life ; Granger, 
The Soul of a Christian; Pratt, The Psychology of Religious Belief; Ames, 
The Psychology of Religious Experience ; Delacroix, Les Grands Mystiques. 
Chretiens ; Inge, Christian Mysticism ; Von Hiigel, The Mystical Element in 
Religion ; Evelyn Underbill, Mysticism ; Jones, Studies in Mystical Religion. 


i. One point which this volume will clearly settle is 
the fact that there existed in the Colonies, before the 
arrival of the Quaker missionaries, a large number of 
persons, in some instances more or less defined groups of 
persons, who were seeking after a freer and more inward 
type of religion than that which prevailed in any of the 
established Churches. 

The period of the English Commonwealth witnessed 
an extraordinary revival of faith in man s power to dis 
cover the inward way to God, and mystical sects, some 
of them wise and sane, some of them foolish and fanatical, 
swarmed almost faster than they could be named. These 
mystical sectaries had one idea in common : they believed 
that God was in man and that revelation was not closed. 
They were waiting for the dawn of a fresh Light from 
heaven. 1 Wherever English Colonists of this period 
went these sectaries went too. They were a constant 
annoyance to New England Puritans, to Dutch Calvinists, 
and to Virginia Churchmen. They generally gathered 
kindred spirits around them and quietly or sometimes 
noisily propagated their mystical faith. They exalted 
personal experience, direct intercourse with God, and so 
put much less stress than their neighbours did upon the 
forms and doctrines which had come to be regarded 
as essential elements of a sound and stable faith. This 
was the prepared soil in which Quakerism spread at its 
first appearing, and without which the efforts of the 
propagators, however valiant, would almost certainly 
have been futile. The Quaker missionaries simply 
gave positive direction to tendencies already powerfully 
underway. They brought to clear focus ideas which 
were before vague and indefinite, and they fused into 
white heat spirits that were feeling after and dimly 
seeking what they now heard in their own tongue. 
The first " Quaker Churches " in America were formed 
out of this sort of material ; and so too were many of 
the Meetings which came into being at later periods of 

1 See chapters xiv. -xx. of my Studies in Mystical Religion. 


2. One of the first tasks which confronts the historian 
who proposes to deal with the religious life of the 
Colonies especially of the New England Colonies is 
to understand and fairly estimate the collision between 
the Puritans and the Quakers. In many respects they 
were both the product of a common movement, the 
spiritual offspring of the same epoch. They both 
possessed a passion for righteousness a moral earnestness 
that hardly has a historical parallel except in the 
great Hebrew prophets. They both took a very pro 
nounced stand against " natural pleasures," enjoyments of 
" the world " and of " the flesh," in fact against actions 
of any kind along the line of least resistance. They were 
both opposed to fashions and customs which fostered, in 
any way, looseness of life, or which ministered, in any 
degree, to personal pride and selfishness. In short, they 
were both " puritan," in the ancient sense of the word, in 
their moral basis and in their conception of social 
proprieties. They both hated tyranny with an intense 
hatred, though they took very different ways of destroying 
it ; and they both abhorred sacerdotalism in religion, 
though they drew the line where sacerdotalism began at 
very different points. 

But if they were allied in spirit in some common 
elemental aspects ; they were nevertheless exponents of 
very antagonistic types of religion which, seen from the 
different angles of vision and perspective, were absolutely 
irreconcilable, and it was still the fashion then to count 
it sin to be weak in infallibility. Our generation is so 
open-minded and hospitable ; so weaned of the taste of 
finality-doctrines, that we look almost with amazement at 
these exponents of the fiery positive ; these tournaments 
to settle which " infallible truth " really was infallible. 
We must, however, always bear in mind that religious 
indifference is a distinctly modern trait. The testimony 
of the Rev. Mr. Ward of Ipswich, Massachusetts, in 
1645, might be paralleled in almost any ecclesiastical 
writing of that period : " It is said that men ought to 
have liberty of conscience and that it is persecution to 


debar them of it. I can rather stand amazed than reply 
to this. It is an astonishment that the brains of a man 
should be parboiled in such impious ignorance." John 
Callender, writing of the freedom established in the little 
Colony on the island of Rhode Island says with much 
truth : " In reality the true Grounds of Liberty of 
Conscience were not then [1637] known, or embraced 
by any Sect or Party of Christians ; all parties seemed 
to think that as they only were in possession of the 
Truth, so they alone had a right to restrain and crush 
all other opinions, which they respectively called Error 
and Heresy, where they were the most numerous and 
powerful." * 

Here in the same field were two exponents of the 
" fiery positive," both profoundly, sincerely conscious of 
the infallible truth of their convictions, and with their 
lives staked upon divergent and irreconcilable conceptions 
of Divine revelation. For the Puritan, revelation was a 
miraculous projection of God s Word and Will from the 
supernatural world into this world. This " miraculous 
projection " had been made only in a distinct " dispensa 
tion," through a limited number of Divinely chosen, 
specially prepared " instruments," who received and 
transmitted the pure Word of God. When the "dis 
pensation " ended, revelation came to a definite close. 
No word more could be added, as also none could be 
subtracted. All spiritual truth for the race for all ages 
was now unveiled ; the only legitimate function which 
the man of God could henceforth exercise was that of 
interpretation. He could declare what the Word of God 
meant and how it was to be applied to the complicated 
affairs of human society. Only a specialist in theology 
could, from the nature of the case, be a minister under 
this system. The minister thus became invested with an 
extraordinary dignity and possessed of an influence quite 
sui generis. 

For the Quaker, revelation was confined to no " dis 
pensation " it had never been closed. If any period 

1 John Callender s Historical Discourse (Boston, 1739). 


was peculiarly " the dispensation of the Holy Spirit," the 
Quaker believed that it was the present in which he was 
living. Instead of limiting the revelation of the Word 
of God to a few miraculous " instruments," who had 
lived in a remote " dispensation," he insisted that God 
enlightens every soul that comes into the world, communes 
by His Holy Spirit with all men everywhere, illuminates 
the conscience with a clear sense of the right and the 
wrong course in moral issues, and reveals His Will in 
definite and concrete matters to those who are sensitive 
recipients of it. The true minister, for the Quaker of 
that period, was a prophet who spoke under a moving 
and by a power beyond his human powers, and so was, 
in fresh and living ways, a revealer of present truth, 
and not a mere interpreter of a past revelation. The 
Quaker " meeting " was, in theory at least, a continuation 
of Pentecost an occasion for the free blowing of the 
Spirit of God on men. It was plainly impossible in the 
seventeenth century for those two types of Christianity 
to live peaceably side by side. A tragic collision was 

3. There is another problem in Quaker history no 
less urgent than the problem of collision with divergent 
conceptions of truth, and that is the strange fact that a 
movement so full of vitality and power at its origin 
ceased to expand with the expanding life of America. 
So long as the " tragic collisions " lasted, the Quakers 
flourished and seemed sure of a significant future in the 
unfolding spiritual life of America ; as soon as they were 
free and unopposed there occurred a slowing-down and a 
loss of dynamic impact on the world. No treatment 
of colonial Quakerism can be adequate which fails to 
face this somewhat depressing fact, for the historian who 
presents the assets and achievements of a movement is 
under obligation to deal squarely as well with its liabilities, 
weaknesses, and failures. 

The thing which above everything else doomed the 
movement to a limited and subordinate r61e was the 
early adoption of the ideal that Quakers were to form 


a "peculiar people." In the creative stage of the 
movement the leaders were profoundly conscious that 
they had discovered a universal truth which was to 
permeate humanity, and form, by its inherent demonstra 
tion and power, a World-Church the Church of the 
living God. It was in that faith and in the inspiration 
of that great idea that the pioneer missionaries went 
forth. Then gradually, at first unconsciously, in the face 
of a very stubborn world that not only was not persuaded, 
but further went positively to work to suppress the 
alleged "fresh revelation," the movement underwent a 
radical change of ideal. The aim slowly narrowed down 
to the formation of a " spiritual remnant," set apart to 
guard and preserve " the truth " in the midst of a crooked 
and perverse generation that would not see and believe. 
The world-vision faded out, and the attention focused on 
" Quakerism " as an end-in-itself. The transformation 
which occurred in this case has many striking parallels 
in the history of other spiritual experiments. The 
living idea organises a definite Society for the propaga 
tion of it, and lo, the Society unconsciously smothers 
the original idea and becomes absorbed in itself! It 
is a very ancient tragedy, and that tragedy happened 
again here in this movement. The transformation is 
written large on the Records of the meetings and in 
the Journals of the leaders. " Truth " soon came to be 
a definite, static thing. No creed was made and no 
declaration of faith was adopted, but a well-defined body 
of Quaker conceptions soon came into shape, and came 
also into habitual use. Not only did the ideas of the 
Society crystallise into static concepts of truth, the form 
of worship too became fixed and well-nigh unalterable. 
There was no " programme " of service and no positive 
prearrangement, but it was soon settled that silence was 
the essential " form " for true worship, and that spiritual 
ministry must be spontaneous, unpremeditated, and of 
the " prophetic " type. 

The primitive aim at simplicity and the desire to 
escape from slavery to fashion underwent a corresponding 


change and dropped to the easy substitute of a fixed 
form of dress and speech, which soon became itself a 
kind of slavery. A definite attitude toward music and 
art and " diversions " in general was adopted so that 
individuals might be relieved of the difficulty, and 
incidentally of the danger, of personal decision. Marriage 
with " the world s people " was made as difficult as it 
possibly could be made. In short, a Quaker became a 
well-marked and definitely-labelled individual quite as 
rigidly set as any of the " religious orders " of Church 
history and quite as bent on preserving the peculiar 
type. Men spent their precious lives, not in propagating 
the living principles of spiritual religion in the great 
life of the world, but in perfecting and transmitting a 
" system " within the circle of the Society, and the heart 
burnings and tragedies which mark the lives of the 
consecrated men and women who, in these days, bore 
the ark, were too often concerned with the secondary 
rather than with the primary things of spiritual warfare. 
The martyrdoms for the world-cause were heroic, dramatic, 
and of universal interest ; these later travails and tragedies 
often seem petty, trivial, and unnecessary, and they make 
a very limited appeal to human interest. 

The movement was hampered from the start, and in 
every stage of its history during the period of this volume 
by the imperfect conception of the inward Light, and of 
the whole relation between the Divine and the human, 
which was consciously or unconsciously adopted. This 
was perhaps inevitable, as every movement is necessarily 
more or less bound up with the prevailing ideas, the 
intellectual climate, of the age in which it takes its 
rise. In the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries 
a dualistic universe was taken for granted. There was a 
sharp distinction, a wide chasm, between the " natural " 
and the " supernatural." The urgent question with every 
body was not how the entire universe from material husk 
to spiritual core could be unified and comprehended as an 
organic whole, but how the chasm which sundered the 
two worlds could be miraculously bridged. It is not our 


problem to-day, but it was the one the Quaker was facing. 
His opponents said that the chasm was bridged by a 
miraculous communication of the Word of God in a 
definite and finished Revelation. He said that it was 
bridged by the communication of a supernatural Light 
given to each soul. The trouble was that he never could 
succeed in bringing into unity the two things assumed to 
be sundered. On the one hand there was the " mere 
man," whom he assumed, as everybody else did, to be, in 
his natural condition, non-spiritual and incapable of doing 
anything toward his own salvation ; and on the other a 
Divine Light, or Seed of God, projected into this " natural 
man " as the illuminating, saving, and revealing Principle 
in him. The Light was distinctly conceived as something 
supernatural and foreign to man as man something 
added to him as a gift. 

With this basal conception for his working theory, the 
Quaker naturally and logically looked upon the true 
minister as a passive and oracular "instrument" of the 
Holy Spirit. His message, in so far as it was " spiritual," 
was believed to come " through him and from beyond 
him." He was not a teacher or an interpreter, he was a 
" revealer " through whom Divine truth was " opened." 
The direct result of such a view, of course, was that human 
powers were lightly esteemed and quite distrusted. Instead 
of having a principle which brought the finite being, with 
all his potential powers, into organic union with the self- 
revealing, co-operating God, thus producing a spiritual, 
developing, autonomous personality, with an incentive to 
expand all its capacities ; he had a fundamental con 
ception which tended toward a distrust and suppression 
of the native powers. Spiritual messages, instead of 
being thought of as the contribution which a person 
himself makes when he is raised to his highest and 
best by co-operation with the Divine Spirit in whom his 
finite life is rooted, were thought of as messages oracu 
larly " given " to him his part being simply that of a 

The human element in man s spiritual activities was 


discounted and almost eliminated in order to heighten the 
Divine aspect, as in an earlier theology the human element 
in Christ had been suppressed to exalt His divinity. 
That this unpsychological theory worked out badly in 
practice there can be no question in the mind of anybody 
who studies the movement historically ; but it only means 
that they were unsuccessful and unhappy in their way of 
formulating their theory of Divine and human intercourse. 
What they wanted to say was that God and men were in 
direct correspondence, and that man at his best could lay 
hold of life and light and wisdom and truth which ordin 
arily transcends his narrow finite self. Of such heightened 
correspondence there is plenty of evidence. The only 
pity is that their wrongly -formulated theory so often 
stood in their way and hampered them and prevented 
them from a normal use of all their capacities. 

Their failure to appreciate the importance of the fullest 
expansion of human personality by education is the 
primary cause of their larger failure to win the command 
ing place in American civilisation of which their early 
history gave promise. Their central Principle, properly 
understood, called for a fearless education, for there is no 
safety in individualism, in personal responsibility, or in 
democracy, whether in civil or religious matters, unless 
every individual is given a chance to correct his narrow 
individualism in the light of the experience of larger 
groups of men. If a man is to be called upon to follow 
" his Light," he must be helped to correct his subjective 
seemings by the gathered objective wisdom of the race, as 
expressed in scientific truth, in historical knowledge, in 
established institutions, and in the sifted literature of the 
world. The Quaker ideal of ministry, too, calls for a 
broad and expansive education even more than does that 
of any other religious body. If the particular sermon is 
not to be definitely prepared, then the person who is to 
minister must himself be prepared. If he is to avoid the 
repetition of his own petty notions and commonplace 
thoughts he must form a richer and more comprehensive 
experience from which to draw, 


For every fiery prophet in old times, 

And all the sacred madness of the bard, 

When God made music thro him, could but speak 

His music by the framework and the chord. 1 

George Fox had moments of insight into the import 
ance of this objective element, and in a great sentence he 
urged the founding of educational institutions for teaching 
" everything civil and useful in creation " ; but institutions 
of such scope unfortunately did not get founded. If there 
could have been established, in the northern, central, and 
southern sections of the Atlantic coast line, institutions 
adapted to the right education of Quaker youth, as Har 
vard and Yale were to the education of the Puritan youth, 
there would be quite another story to tell. As the problem 
was worked out, no adequate education for Quaker youth 
was available. They soon found themselves largely cut 
off from the great currents of culture, and they thus missed 
the personal enlargement which comes when one is forced 
to make his own ideals fit into larger systems of thought, 
and is compelled to reshape them in the light of facts. 
The absence of constructive leaders, the later tendency to 
withdraw from civic tasks, the relaxing of the idea of 
reshaping the world, which this history reveals, were due, 
in the main, to the lack of expansive education. The 
beautiful old-fashioned home passed on to the child who 
came into it the stock of truth and the definite ideals which 
were alive in it ; it fed the growing mind with the litera 
ture which its people had produced, and the Meetings 
furnished a spiritual climate that was sweet and whole 
some to breathe, but there was nothing to lift the youth 
up to a sight of new horizons. He was more or less 
doomed to the level of the past. The denominations that 
were training the fittest of their sons to become thinkers 
and leaders were sure sooner or later to win the birthright 
and to take away the blessing from the Quakers. 

With the Revolutionary War there came a great 
awakening, which showed itself most definitely in a 
determination to provide larger opportunities for Quaker 

1 Tennyson s " Holy Grail." 


education. Steps were taken in each section of the 
country to provide for the education of the new genera 
tion. It was a fortunate awakening and it has led to great 
results, but it came too late to enable the Quakers to 
achieve the place in the civilisation of the Western world 
which their early history prognosticated. They were 
already being left behind, and were already accepting 
the view that they were to be a small and isolated 
sect " a remnant " of God s people. The fateful years 
which were selecting the dominating religious forces of 
America were the years of colonial development, and 
during those eventful years the Quakers were not awake 
to the chance that was going by. Then, too, when the 
awakening did come, there was still a long period during 
which contracted ideals of education prevailed. Nobody 
seemed able to get beyond the narrow plan of " guarded 
education," which is not, in the true sense of the word, 
education at all. It is still only the transmission of 
certain well-defined and " safe " ideas and tends to pro 
duce uncreative and unconstructive minds. It is a well- 
meant plan for the propagation of an existing body of 
ideas, but it does not and cannot make large and force 
ful leaders and creators of fresh ideals. 1 The whole 
trend of the century before had been toward the pre 
servation of a definite type and had fostered the timid 
attitude. It was not to be expected, when the awakening 
came, that there would be men ready for the bold ex 
periment of a broad and fearless education which set 
the youth free, with open mind, to study " everything 
civil iand useful in creation," and which left him to make 
his own selection of what was to be truth for him. The 
Quaker has slowly found the road to that genuine type 
of education, but he has come to it late. Whether he 
now has recovering power enough to repair the damages 
of the past and can still realise the destiny which seemed 
his in the last half of the seventeenth century, is not 
a question to be answered here, but it is a fact that his 

1 "Guarded" is often used in another sense, namely, that young and tender 
children, while being educated, are to be shielded from immoral influences, which 
is, of course, highly commendable. 


failure to provide for an adequate education during the 
formative years lies at the base of his larger failure to 

4. In one particular respect the colonial Quakers 
made a very important contribution to religion they 
produced saints, and these saints were and remain Ihe 
finest and most fragrant bloom of American Quakerism. 

Sainte-Beuve has given, in his Port Royal, a penetrat 
ing account of persons who have been transformed into 
saintly life through the reception of Divine grace. " Such 
souls," he says, " arrive at a certain fixed and invincible 
state, a state which is genuinely heroic, and from out 
of which the greatest deeds are performed. . . . They 
have an inner state which before all things is one of 
love and humility, of infinite confidence in God, and of 
severity to themselves, accompanied with tenderness for 
others." This is an accurate account of the colonial 
Quaker saint invincibly fixed in purpose, genuinely 
heroic, ready for great deeds, possessed of infinite con 
fidence in God, and withal tender in love and humility. 
I am not sure that our busy and commercial age would 
call these saints " efficient " they were not trained and 
equipped as modern social workers are but they were 
triumphantly beautiful spirits, and the world still needs 
beautiful lives as much as it needs " efficient " ones, and 
the beautiful life in the long run is dynamic and does 
inherit the earth. 2 

These rare and beautiful souls, like great artistic 
creations of beauty, are not capable of explanation in 
utilitarian terms, nor can their origin be traced in terms 
of cause and effect, but it can safely be said that they 
never come except among people consecrated to the 
Invisible Church. It requires a pure and fervid devotion 
to the Pattern in the mount, a loyalty to the holy 
Jerusalem the Urbs Sion mystica to fashion a Christian 

1 It must not be concluded because Quakerism did not flourish under these 
conditions and limitations that therefore its spiritual ideal has broken down. On 
the contrary, it has hardly yet been given an adequate trial. 

2 John Woolman is the consummate flower of the type I have in mind. It 
was a saying of his that some glances of real beauty may be seen in their faces 
who dwell in true meekness." 


saint, whether Catholic or Quaker. No one can be 
wholly absorbed in the affairs of an actual earthly church 
without being marred by the politics of it, and without 
becoming small and narrow and provincial by reason of 
the limitations of locality and temporal climate. The 
saint belongs to an actual church, to be sure, loves it 
and serves it, but he keeps his soul set on the vision of 
the Church Invisible in which the saints of all ages are 
members with him, and in that vision he lives. 

There must also be a loosening of the hold on " the 
world " to prepare a saint of this type. There must at 
least be no rivalry to disturb the concentration of soul 
on eternal Realities. The very rigour of renunciation, the 
stern demands of a religion which cuts its adherents off 
from primrose paths of life, seem almost essential to the 
creation of this kind of saintliness. It is only by strict 
parallelism with celestial currents, only by drawing on 
invisible and inexhaustible resources of Grace, only by 
the cultivation of a finer spiritual perception than most 
possess that inward grace and central calm are achieved ; 
only by stillness and communion that spiritual poise and 
power are won. There were, in the days of which I am 
writing, many Friends who had found the secret inner 
way into a real Holy of Holies. They had learned how 
to live from within outward, how to be refreshed with 
inward bubblings, how to walk their hard straight path 
with shining faces, though they wist not their faces did 
shine. The Quakers have no " calendar," no bead roll, 
and they have always been shy and cautious even of the 
word "saint," but almost every Meeting from Maine to 
South Carolina had during the period under review some 
persons who through help from Above refined and sub 
limated their nature and all unconsciously grew sweet 
and fragrant with the odour of saintly life. 

5. One other positive contribution which they made 
to genuine spiritual religion remains to be catalogued 
their contribution to the spread of lay-religion, by which 
I mean a form of religion dissociated from ecclesiasticism, 
and penetrating the life and activities of ordinary men. 


The real power of Quakerism lay in the quality of life 
produced in the rank and file of the membership. This 
history is weak, no doubt, in biographies of luminous 
leaders who rose far above the group and stood out as 
distinct peaks. Colonial Quakerism would have proved 
a barren field for a Carlyle, who assumed that history is 
the biography of heroes, raised by their genius head and 
shoulders above the level of their contemporaries. The 
real glory of this movement was the " levelling up " of 
an entire people. Farmers, with hands made rough by 
the plough-handle, in hundreds of rural localities not only 
preached messages of spiritual power on meeting -days, 
but, what is more to the point, lived daily lives of radiant 
goodness in simple neighbourhood service. Women who 
had slight chances for culture, and who had to do the 
hard work of pioneer housewifery, by some subtle 
spiritual alchemy, were transformed into a virile saint 
hood which made its power felt both in the Sunday 
gathering and in the unordained care of souls through 
out the community. It was a real experiment in the 
" priesthood of believers," and it was an incipient stage 
of what has become one of the most powerful spiritualis 
ing forces in our country the unordained lay ministry 
of a vast multitude of men and women who have attacked 
every form of entrenched evil, and who, in city and 
country, are taking up the " cure of souls " with insight 
and efficiency. 

It will be obvious to the reader that this book is not 
written from the point of view of the antiquarian. The 
historical facts have been carefully gathered, sifted, and 
verified, and they are as accurate as research could make 
them, but the central interest from first to last has been 
to discover how a group of men and women wrought 
out their souls faith in an earlier century. They were 
persons who believed that within the deeps of themselves 
they touched the Infinite, that within their own spirits 
they could hear the living word of the Eternal. They 
believed this mighty thing, and they tried to make their 
belief real in life and word and deed. It is worth while 


perhaps even in this busy age to stop amid the din of 
commercial activity to see how plain people, raised to 
a kind of grandeur by their faith, tried to bring to the 
world once again a religion of life, and endeavoured to 
show that God is, as of old, an Immanuel God with us 
and in us, the Life of our lives. 






THE beginnings of our American colonies are, for the 
most part, inextricably bound up with the history of the 
differentiation and development of great religious move 
ments in England and on the continent of Europe. The 
tiny commonwealths, brought hither in sailing vessels of 
the seventeenth century, were begotten in religious faith, 
and were formed and shaped by zealous men to whom 
some peculiar type of religion was dearer than country, 
more precious even than life itself. The story of colonial 
America can no more be told with religion left out than 
it could be told with the economic aspects of soil and 
forests and food-stuffs omitted, or with the fact of Indian 
neighbours neglected. As it was religion that was in 
most cases the creative spring which pushed these 
colonists to sea in their venturous ships, so too it was 
for many years religion which shaped the policies, supplied 
the controlling ideas, and furnished the fundamental 
interests of these forefathers of our national life. 

I am not here undertaking the large task of studying 
the religious development of colonial America, but I 
shall be quite satisfied if I can well perform the simpler 
task of telling the story surely complex and intricate 
enough of one single religious movement which pro 
foundly influenced the course of American history, and 
powerfully affected the personal lives of the citizens in 
nearly all the original colonies, I mean the coming of 
the Quakers. 

The first Quakers to land on American soil were two 



women, named Mary Fisher and Ann Austin, 1 who came 
from England by way of Barbadoes, and who landed in the 
city of Boston on the I ith of July 1656, to the consterna 
tion of the magistrates of this Puritan town, then twenty-six 
years old. George Bishop s statement, addressed to the 
magistrates in 1 660, is hardly an exaggeration : " Two 
poor women arriving in your harbour, so shook ye, to 
the everlasting shame of you, and of your established 
peace and order, as if a formidable army had invaded 
your borders." 2 

To understand why the arrival of these " two poor 
women " of the Quaker faith produced such consternation 
in the peaceful town, we must go back and pass in review 
a very famous and important religious movement in 
Massachusetts history. It is important here for two 
reasons : first because it illustrates admirably the way in 
which the Puritan colonists dealt with persons who laid 
claim to a present revelation, an immediate experience 
of Divine communications ; and secondly, because it was 
a direct preparation for the spread and propagation of 
Quakerism. I refer to the story of Anne Hutchinson 
and her " party " often called, though unfairly, the 
" Antinomian controversy." This controversy, as all our 
primary authorities admit, came near disrupting the 
colony even while it was in its swaddling clothes, and 
it seriously threatened to frustrate the plans of the 
founders. It was the most dangerous storm the nascent 
Puritan commonwealth weathered, for Pequots and 
Narragansetts never brought the Colony to such a close 
strait as did this woman s tongue and wit. 

The whole controversy arose over the nature and 
extent of the Divine influence on the human soul. Anne 
Hutchinson, the chief actor in this somewhat tragic 
drama, was born about 1590, being the daughter of 
Francis Marbury, a well-known London preacher. She 
was married to William Hutchinson about 1612, and 

1 Elizabeth Harris came to Maryland the same year, but apparently slightly 
later. See chapter on "The Planting of Quakerism in the Southern Colonies." 

8 Bishop s New England Judged (edition of 1703), p. 7. The first edition 
was published in 1661, but this is extremely rare. 


passed the next twenty years of her married life quietly 
at Alford in Lincolnshire, where she listened, as occasion 
offered, with great satisfaction and admiration to the 
preaching of John Cotton, minister of St Botolph s 
church in English Boston. He migrated to Boston in 
New England in 1633, and William Hutchinson and his 
wife followed him to the New World in the autumn of 
the next year, their oldest son, Edward, having already 
accompanied John Cotton. 

John Winthrop tells us that Mrs. Hutchinson was " a 
woman of a ready wit and bold spirit." l John Wheel 
wright, her brother-in-law and fellow-sufferer, says : " As 
for Mrs. Hutchinson, she was a woman of good wit, and 
not only so, but naturally of good judgment too, as 
appeared in her civil occasions. In spirituals, indeed, 
she gave her understanding over into the power of 
[inward] suggestion and immediate dictates." 2 Cotton 
Mather, imitating an earlier account, sets her down as 
possessing " an haughty carriage, busie spirit, competent 
wit, and a voluble tongue " " a non-such among the 
people." 3 Thomas Welde, her most unrelenting and 
ingenious foe, informs us that she had " a haughty and 
fierce carriage, a nimble wit and active spirit, and was 
more bold than a man, the breeder and nourisher of all 
distempers," and he does not neglect to mention her 
" voluble tongue " and he thinks that her " understanding 
and judgment " were " inferior to those of many women." 4 
Johnson declares that she was "the masterpiece of 
women s wit ! " 5 

There is also a like consensus of opinion upon her 
social helpfulness and sympathetic spirit. She was a 
gifted nurse and peculiarly skilful in dealing with 
"ailments peculiar to her sex." She was the person 

1 Winthrop s History of New England from i6jo to 1649, edited by James 
Savage (Boston, 1853), vol. i. p. 239. 

2 Mercurius Americanus, printed in Bell s John Wheelwright, Prince Soc. 
Pub. (Boston, 1876), p. 197. 

3 Mather s Magnalia (Hartford, 1853), vol. ii. pp. 516 and 517. Mather is 
here following Welde. 

4 Welde s Rise, Reign, and Ruin of Antinomians, etc., ist ed. 1644, p. 31. 
6 Johnson s Wonder-working Providence, lib. i. c. 42. 


instinctively sent for at times of childbirth, and she 
knew how to penetrate into the mysteries of morbid states 
and mental and spiritual troubles which abounded under 
the new and hard conditions of frontier life. Even 
Welde, for whom she is " the American Jezebel," admits 
that she was " a woman very helpful in time of child 
birth and other occasions of bodily disease, and well 
furnished with means for those purposes." 1 She had 
thus a natural entree to women s hearts, and possessed 
as she was of sympathy, kindliness, manifold interests, 
and withal of that indescribable trait which we name 
" magnetism," she was destined to play an important 
rdle in the new settlement. 2 

This gentlewoman, admitted by all authorities to have 
possessed a brilliant mind and kindly nature, and as 
certainly possessed of a genuine passion for a religion 
of vital reality and inward power, hit upon the plan of 
holding a "women s meeting" at her house each week, 
for the primary purpose of presenting the substance of 
the previous Sunday sermon to the women of the com 
munity who had been prevented from attending the 
original service. This meeting opened to her exactly the 
career for which her talents and gifts fitted her, and she 
very quickly became " a burning and a shining light " in 
this little circle of women. We can hardly imagine, 
with our crowded, complex lives, how monotonous and 
limited were the lives of the women in those primitive 
days. The absorbing interests for them were the neigh 
bourhood " news," and the affairs of the Church, even 
down to the details of the " headings " of the last Sunday 
sermon, or the last Thursday " lecture " ! 

There is little ground for assuming, as so many 
writers have done, that Anne Hutchinson was insatiably 
"ambitious" and "light-headed." She simply had the 
wit to start a movement which struck a line of native 
interest in the community and which peculiarly suited 
her own gifts and genius, and the natural results followed. 

1 Welde, op. cit. p. 31. 

2 See. for a sketch of her character, G. E. Ellis s Puritan Age in Massachusetts, 
pp. 307 seq. 


The " women s meeting " proved to be as popular as the 
modern fads which sweep like a contagion through our 
present-day social circles, and, almost before she knew it, 
she found herself a person to be reckoned with throughout 
the little commonwealth, and the leading influence in the 
town of Boston. 1 The Hutchinson " meeting," by an 
almost unconscious propulsion, soon passed beyond its 
original scope, which was to review and comment upon 
the sermon of the preceding Sunday. The leader began 
to compare sermons, and to mark off one type of 
religious teaching which they heard from the Rev. John 
Cotton as higher than another type which they heard from 
the Rev. John Wilson ; and little by little she herself 
became the prophet and expounder of the " higher 
type," with the imminent danger of brewing ecclesiastical 

The important point now is to get before us a clear 
conception of these two types of religion upon which 
the community was cleaving into two parties. Most 
modern writers give up the distinction as hopeless, and 
tell us that the whole controversy was a notorious instance 
of " confused theological jargon," out of which nobody, 
either then or now, could, or can, make any clear sense. 
It is true that Winthrop s account is full of confusion, 
and that he himself says : " No man could tell (except 
some few, who knew the bottom of the matter) where any 
difference was." 2 And yet as soon as we go for light to 
the actual words of the main actors themselves, we find 
that those of the Hutchinson party were champions of a 
type of religion sharply differentiated from that expounded 
and exhibited by the clergymen of the Colony, excepting 
only John Cotton, with whom Anne Hutchinson was well 
pleased, and John Wheelwright, her brother-in-law. 

The two types were named respectively " a covenant 
of Grace," and "a covenant of Works." The foremost 
exponents of the former type were Anne Hutchinson 
herself; her brother-in-law the Rev. John Wheelwright, 

1 Winthrop says : " All the congregation of Boston, except four or five, closed 
with [her] opinions. " Op. cit. vol. i. p. 252. 
3 Op. cit. vol. i. p. 255- 


pastor of the little congregation at Mount Wollaston (now 
Braintree) ; Sir Harry Vane, then Governor of the Colony ; 
and the Rev. John Cotton, the most shining intellectual 
light at that time on the American continent. He, how 
ever, drew back when the movement reached the perilous 
edge, and took his place, whether honourably or dishonour 
ably, among the opposers of the " new opinions." There 
were many prominent persons, besides the " exponents," 
who were warm sympathisers with the " new opinions," 
and who shared the opprobrium and penalties which were 
meted out to those who dared to think for themselves 
and to diverge from the beaten track of the prevailing 
theology. The most noted of these sympathisers were 
William Coddington, John Coggeshall, William Aspinwall, 
Nicholas Easton, Mary Dyer, and Captain John Underhill 
(a somewhat serio-comic actor in the drama), some of 
whom, with many more here unnamed, will reappear in 
the Quaker ranks. The leaders of the opposition forces 
were John Winthrop, the loftiest figure in that colonial 
commonwealth, though for the moment superseded in the 
governorship ; Rev. John Wilson, pastor of Boston ; Rev. 
Hugh Peters, pastor of Salem, and later prominent in 
the greater drama of the Civil War in England ; John 
Endicott, and Thomas Dudley, both of large fame in the 
governorship ; Rev. Thomas Welde, the ungentle historian 
of the controversy, and all the other ministers of the 

The real issue, as I see it in the fragments that are 
preserved, was an issue between what we nowadays call 
" religion of the first-hand type," and " religion of the 
second-hand type," that is to say, a religion on the one 
hand which insists on " knowledge of acquaintance " 
through immediate experience, and a religion on the 
other hand which magnifies the importance and sufficiency 
of " knowledge about." Anne Hutchinson precipitated 
the controversy by an assertion under the existing 
circumstances as certain to produce a furious controversy 
as a flaming firebrand in dry prairie grass is sure to 
produce a conflagration that John Cotton preached a 


covenant of Grace, and that the other ministers of the 
Colony preached a covenant of Works. 1 

This latter phrase, which was a coinage of the Reform 
ation, had come to mean a legal system of religion, or 
what St. Paul branded as " a religion of the letter " 
a thing of " beggarly elements." Those who used the 
phrase intended it to characterise a form of religion which 
consisted essentially in a system of correct views, in the 
acceptance of a set of Divine commandments and sacred 
ceremonies, and the aim to live a life of strict obedience 
to this elaborate, divinely communicated system. Worship 
under this system is based on the commands of the 
covenant ; it is not something springing out of the inward 
disposition of the worshipper. It was one of the central 
features of this " system " that the relation between God 
and man was a relation of covenant. By the " fall," the 
direct fellowship-relation with God had been broken and 
annulled. God was no longer Friend but just Judge. 
This Judge, instead of destroying the sinful race, made 
a covenant, in which He showed His mercy and opened 
the way of escape for man. This covenant, set forth in 
the Holy Scriptures, contains a full, complete, and final 
expression of God s will and requirements all that 
pertains to life and salvation. Man s part is, not to 
question why, not to pry into the inscrutable will, but to 
comply strictly with the terms of the covenant. Under this 
covenant the " minister," by whatever name he may be 
called, is an exalted personage, quite in a class apart. 
He is the official interpreter of the terms and the meaning 
of the covenant. He is the mouthpiece of the covenant- 
maker, the highest spokesman of the will revealed in the 
covenant. The simple point for us is this, that Anne 
Hutchinson did not like that type of religion it was 
to her mind only " legalism," mere " letter," and it left 
the inward life unchanged and untransformed, however 

1 The proceedings of the " Examination of Mrs. Hutchinson " are given in an 
Appendix to Hutchinson s Massachusetts Bay, ii. 482-520. My statement is 
founded on Hugh Peters s testimony (p. 491). Mrs. Hutchinson claimed that 
Peters did not report her fairly. But the evidence is clear that she did make 
these two classes : those in the covenant of Grace and those in the covenant 
of Works. 


correct the outward conformity might be ; and she boldly 
announced this type of religion to be actually existing 
in the Colony, and to be supported by all the ministers 
except John Wheelwright, her brother-in-law, and John 
Cotton, " teacher " in the Boston church. 

Against this legalistic religion of rules and command 
ments, with its remote, absentee God, she set what she 
called the " covenant of Grace." By this she meant, and 
so did her contemporaries, a religion grounded in a direct 
experience of God s grace and redeeming love, a religion 
not of pious performances, of solemn fasts and sombre 
faces, of painful search after the exact requirements of 
the law, but a religion which began and ended in 
triumphant certainty of Divine forgiveness, Divine fellow 
ship, and present Divine illumination. 

Winthrop tells us that " Mrs. Hutchinson brought over 
with her two dangerous errors: (i) That the Person of 
the Holy Ghost dwells in a justified person. (2) That 
no sanctification can help to evidence our justification." I 
I admit that this second " error " sounds like " theological 
jargon," but it is only a seventeenth - century way of 
saying that no deeds however holy, no acts however 
saintly, are in themselves a sufficient evidence of a restored 
and vital relation with God ; or as John Wheelwright put 
it in his famous fast - day sermon : " There is nothing 
under heaven may justify any but the revelation of the 
Lord Jesus Christ [in him]." 

Out of these " errors," Winthrop says, there sprang 
the view that the Christian the true Christian is united 
with the Holy Ghost, and of himself becomes dead and 
" hath no gifts and graces, nor other sanctification, but 
the Holy Ghost Himself." 2 

These " errors " sound at this distance remarkably like 
some of St. Paul s " truths " ; for example : " I am crucified 
with Christ, nevertheless I live ; yet not I, Christ liveth 
in me." " Christ is made unto us sanctification." " Ye 
are builded together for a habitation of God through the 

1 Winthrop, op. cit. vol. i. p. 239. 
a Op. cit. vol. i. p. 239. 


Spirit" l John Cotton had, even before his coming to 
America, been a fervent expounder of this inward 
religion, and he undoubtedly held the essential principles 
of Mrs. Hutchinson s teaching. William Coddington, 
writing to the magistrates of the Colony in 1672 to 
protest against the persecution of the Quakers, calls upon 
those in authority to " turn to the Light within you, even 
Christ in you," and then he (having himself been one of 
the Boston founders who sailed on the Arbella) adds : 
" This [teaching of inward Light] was declared unto you 
by the servant of the Lord, John Cotton, on his lecture 
day, when the ships were ready to depart for England. 
He stated the difference ; it was about Grace. He 
magnified the Grace in us ; the priests [i.e. the other 
ministers] the Grace without or upon them. All the 
difference in the country was about Grace, but the 
difference was as great, he said, as between light and 
darkness, heaven and hell, life and death." 2 Cotton did 
not, however, go as far as the other expounders of " the 
covenant of Grace " did. He held for the " indwelling of 
the Holy Ghost" but not for a personal union of the 
believer with the Holy Ghost. 3 Governor Vane went to 
the far extreme, and held the view that there is a personal 
union between the believer and the Holy Ghost, so that 
a divine life is actually begotten in the soul. 4 

But the most important document in the controversy 
for an understanding of the " covenant of Grace " is, 
beyond question, Wheelwright s " Fast - day sermon." 
John Wheelwright was born in the Fen country of 
Lincolnshire, probably in 1592. He matriculated at 
Cambridge University at about the age of eighteen, 
receiving his B.A. degree in 1614 and his M.A. in 1618. 
He was intimately associated with Oliver Cromwell, and 
the Protector once made the remark : " I remember the 
time when I was more afraid of meeting Wheelwright 

1 Gal. ii. 20 ; i Cor. i. 30 ; Eph. ii. 22. 

2 William Coddington s A Demonstration of True Love (1674), p. 17. Com 
pare Winthrop s account of this sermon, vol. i. p. 254. 

* Winthrop, op, cit. vol. i. p. 240. 
4 Winthrop, op. cit. voL i. p. 246. 


at football, than I have been since of meeting an army 
in the field, for I was infallibly sure of being tripped 
up." 1 

He had a successful career as vicar of Bilsby, where 
" he was instrumental in the conversion of many souls, 
and was highly esteemed among serious Christians." z 
He was, however, " silenced " for nonconformity, and his 
vicarage was treated " as though vacant " and his successor 
appointed in 1633, ten years from the time of his installa 
tion. 3 He landed in Boston in May 1636, being now 
married to his second wife, Mary, the daughter of Edward 
Hutchinson, a sister of William Hutchinson, husband of 
Anne. There was a strong movement made to appoint 
Wheelwright a "teacher" in the church of Boston, but 
this plan was blocked by the vigorous opposition of 
Winthrop, who questioned his " soundness," asserting that 
he [Wheelwright] held the views that : ( I ) " a believer 
was more than a creature," i.e. partook of God in such 
a way as to be more than "a mere creature," and (2) 
" that the Person of the Holy Ghost and a believer were 
united." 4 He was, therefore, settled at Mount Wollaston. 
On the 2 Qth of January 1636, Wheelwright was invited 
to preach the fast-day sermon in the Boston church, 
which sermon led to his banishment from the colony. 5 
His text was taken from Matt. ix. 1 5, " Can the children 
of the bridechamber mourn as long as the bridegroom is 
with them?" He first points out that the reason for 
fasting is always the absence of Christ, since the real 
ground for joy and rejoicing is the presence of Christ 
It is, he claims, not enough to have the gifts of the Spirit, 
we must have the Lord Himself; not enough to seek 
from the Lord " fruits and effects," but we must " see 
Him with a direct eye of faith and seek His Face." " If 
we part with Christ we part with our life, for Christ is 

1 Bell s John Wheelwright, p. 2. 

8 Brooks s Lives of the Puritans, p. 472. 

* Winthrop calls him " a silenced minister, " vol. i. p. 239. 

4 Winthrop, vol. i. p. 241. Wheelwright himself denied holding the views as 
attributed to him by Winthrop, op. cit. vol. i. p. 242. 

8 Winthrop, vol. i. pp. 256-257. The sermon is printed in full in Bell s 
John Wheelwright. 


our life " not merely " the author of our lives," but the 
very root of our being, the very Life of our life. 1 

It is not enough to be under a covenant of Works, 
we must have Christ Himself His very presence. The 
true Gospel is the revelation of Jesus Christ as our 
wisdom, our righteousness, our sanctification and redemp 
tion. We can attain to nothing truly spiritual until He 
comes into us with His righteousness, and becomes Him 
self our redemption. He is the Well of life of which 
the wells in the Old Testament were types. If the 
Philistines fill the Well with earth the earth of their 
own inventions the servants of the Lord must open the 
Well again ! 2 

He is the Light that lighteth every one that cometh 
into the world, and if we expect to keep Christ, we must 
hold forth this Light. There is nothing under heaven 
can justify any one but the revelation of the Lord Jesus 
Christ within him, and when He converts any soul to 
Himself He reveals, not some Work, but Himself. To 
look for salvation by anything short of Christ Himself 
is a covenant of Works, for under the covenant of Grace 
nothing is revealed for our righteousness but Christ 
Himself. This experience enables the soul to know that 
it is justified, for the faith of assurance hath Christ for 
its object. He gives a new heart through His working 
in us. This is the covenant of Grace. 3 

He admits that those under the covenant of Grace, 
i.e. those who have the inward, mystical experience, are 
few in number, " a little flock," while those under the 
covenant of Works are strong in numbers, but one in 
the life shall chase a thousand. 4 He admits also that 
those under a covenant of Works the legalists, or letter 
Christians are in appearance " a wondrous holy people," 
but the more " holy " they appear the more dangerous 

1 Bell, John Wheelwright, pp. 158-159. 

2 Ibid, pp. 161-163. 

3 Ibid. pp. 164-167. 

4 It is interesting to find that Wm. Dewsbury, who came to see the Wood- 
house sail for America in 1657 with its load of Quaker apostles, said : " Before 
one of you that is in the Resurrection and Life in Christ, shall a thousand flee 
. . . for you in the life are the host of Heaven." Dewsbury s Works, p. 171. 


they are, for when Christ, who is our real sanctification, 
comes to the soul He makes " the creature nothing." 

He admits further that this spiritual doctrine will 
" cause combustion in the Church," but did not Christ 
come to cast fire upon the earth ! Peace and quietness 
are not the things to be most sought but the truth of 
God. " To fight courageously for the Lord and to be 
meek are not opposites, but stand very well together." 
If the call for it comes, we must be willing to lay down 
our lives to make the truth prevail. 1 

Those who wish to enjoy the presence of Christ must 
(i) be faithful in life and word; (2) be full of love; and 
(3) "live pure and blameless lives and give no occasion for 
others to say that we are libertines or Antinomians \ " The 
greatest " friends " of the Church and of the common 
wealth are those who hold forth Christ Himself, and 
who labour and endeavour to bring Him to the hearts 
of the people. The supreme sin is opposition to the 
Light and persecution of those who bring the Light. 
Those who have the real presence are in happy estate. 
If they lose their houses, and lands, and wives, and 
friends, or even lose religious ordinances, yet they cannot 
lose the Lord Jesus Christ this is their great comfort. 
Though they should lose all they have, yet being made 
one with Christ and He dwelling in their hearts, they 
cannot be separated from Him. 8 

This sermon should leave no doubt in anybody s mind 
as to what the issue was. It was the old yet ever new 
issue between a religion of the past and a religion of the 
present, a religion based on historical facts and promises 
and a religion based on inward personal experience. 

At the General Court, which convened on the ipth of 
March, attended by all the ministers in the Colony, 
Wheelwright was summoned, proceeded against, and 

1 Bell, John Wheelwright, pp. 167-171. 

z No occasion did appear, except possibly in the case of Captain Underbill, 
and yet the slanderous epithet of Antinomianism " was fixed upon the movement. 
Cotton Mather admits that the " opinionists, " as he calls them, "appeared 
wondrous holy, humble, self-denying, and spiritual." Magnolia (Hartford, 1853), 
vol. ii. p. 509. 

* Bell, John Wheelwright, pp. 175-179. 


condemned for having incited sedition and having shown 
contempt in his fast- day sermon. The action against 
Wheelwright aroused the citizens of Boston, and they 
presented a remonstrance signed by " above three score " 
leading persons in the town, in which petition they 
respectfully declared that the doctrine by "our brother 
Wheelwright is no other but the expressions of the Holy 
Ghost Himself," and they claim that the effect of his 
sermon has not been to incite sedition, " for wee have not 
drawn the sword as sometime Peter did rashly, neither 
have wee rescued our innocent brother as sometime the 
Israelites did Jonathan, and yet they did not seditiously. 
The covenant of Grace held forth by our brother hath 
taught us rather to become humble suppliants to your 
worships, and if wee should not prevaile, wee should rather 
with patience give our cheeks to the smiter." l 

Sentence against Wheelwright was deferred to the 
next General Court. The case, however, hung on for 
months, was thoroughly canvassed in a Synod, and 
finally in November 1637 the Court pronounced sentence 
of banishment, giving the victim fourteen days " to settle 
his affairs " and " depart the Patent." 2 Alone and hardly 
knowing whither he went, the exile made his difficult 
way to Exeter, New Hampshire, in a weather so intense 
that, as he humorously writes, " the very extract-spirits of 
sedition and contempt," had they been in him, " would 
have been frozen up and indisposed for action." 3 

We must go back now to the case of Anne Hutchin- 
son, for her views come more clearly to light through the 
proceedings against her, which accompanied and followed 
those against her brother-in-law. A Synod of all the 
ministers in the Colony the first ever held in America 
met at Cambridge, beginning the Qth of September 1637, 
and lasting twenty-four days, to thresh out the theological 
differences. All the " opinions " at issue were gone over 
in minute detail. The result was that "eighty-two 
opinions " were discovered and declared to be " some 
blasphemous, others erroneous, and all unsafe," besides 

1 Bell, p. 21. 2 Mercurius Americanus, Bell, p. 228. s Ibid. p. 228. 


" nine unwholesome expressions," and " the Scriptures 
abused." Mrs. Hutchinson s " meetings," being of a 
" prophetical way," were voted to be a nuisance and 
" without rule." 

The further definite results were the sentence against 
Wheelwright at the following General Court, as we have 
seen, and the trial at the same Court of Anne Hutchin- 
son. This Court met, also at Cambridge, on the 1 2th of 
November 1637. Before it, with John Winthrop pre 
siding, and with only three sympathisers in the company 
of men composing it John Coggeshall, Thomas Leverett, 
and William Coddington Anne Hutchinson appeared to 
defend herself. The charges brought against her were : 
(i) "Of having troubled the peace of the commonwealth 
and churches." (2) " Of having divulged and promoted 
opinions that cause trouble." (3) "Of having joined in 
affinity and affection to those upon whom the Court has 
passed censure " [Wheelwright and others]. (4) " Of 
having spoken divers things prejudicial to the honour of 
the Churches and the ministers." (5) "Of having main 
tained a meeting in your house, not comely in the sight 
of God, nor fitting your sex." 

She was further charged, absurdly, with having 
" broken the law against dishonouring parents " ; the 
" parents " in this case being the " fathers of the common 
wealth." She was also charged with " seducing many 
honest persons " " simple souls " by " opinions known 
to be different from the Word of God," and with leading 
such persons to " neglect their families " and to " spend 
\i,e. waste] much time." To these points, marshalled 
by Governor Winthrop, the Deputy -Governor Thomas 
Dudley added other charges which are really " echoes " 
of Winthrop s. That " all was peace until you came " ; 
that " by venting strange opinions you have made parties, 
and now have a potent party in the country " ; and " that 
you have disparaged our ministers," which was really the 
sore spot. 

On all these points Mrs. Hutchinson, calm, clear 
headed, and straightforward, was more than a match for 


her accusers, and soon forced the issue deeper. The 
Court next took up the real matter at issue the question 
of the two types of religion the covenant of Works and 
the covenant of Grace. Deputy-governor Dudley raised 
this point and declared that he could prove that Mrs. 
Hutchinson had said that " the Gospel in the letter and 
in words is only a covenant of Works," and that she had 
claimed that those not holding as she herself did to 
inward experience were in this lower stage or covenant. 1 
Whereupon Hugh Peters, the main witness to prove this 
point, came forward with the testimony, based on a private 
conference which the ministers had held with Anne 
Hutchinson, that she had said that Mr. Cotton alone 
preached the covenant of Grace, and that all the other 
ministers preached the covenant of Works, " knowing no 
more than the apostles did before the resurrection " [i.e. 
before enduement with the Holy Spirit] and that they 
did not have " the seal of Christ." Other ministers 
corroborated this testimony, and Deputy-governor Dudley 
pushed the charge a little further by insisting that she 
affirmed that " the Scriptures in the letter held forth only 
a covenant of Works," or as we should say to-day, are a 
part of externals, and not the primary matter of religion. 
She admitted having said so, and supported her point by 
quoting 2 Cor. iii. 6 : " The letter killeth, but the Spirit 
giveth life." 2 

It came out, in a speech of Hugh Peters, at the open 
ing of the Court on the second day of the proceedings, 
that " the main thing against her is that she charged us 
with not being able ministers of the Gospel, and of being 
preachers of a covenant of Works." 3 A little later he 
insists again, that she said that " we ministers are not 
sealed with the spirit of Grace, that we preach in 
judgment, but not in experience? " She spoke out plump 
that we were not sealed." 4 

John Cotton, who was naturally in a most delicate 
and trying position, bore his testimony with much dignity, 

1 Hutchinson, Massachusetts Bay, ii. 489. a Ibid. vol. ii. pp. 495-496. 

3 Ibid. vol. ii. p. 501. 4 Ibid. vol. ii. pp. 505-506. 



insight, and boldness. He said that Mrs. Hutchinson 
had not made such positive statements as were now being 
charged against her, that the brethren at the time of the 
conference had not taken her words " so ill as now," and 
that there was an actual difference between a religion of 
works, or letter, and one of the Spirit, pointing out that 
even the Apostles were for a time in the lower stage, 
without the witness of the Spirit, and in that stage they 
had been unable to preach the covenant of Grace a 
religion of experience. He called to mind that Mrs. 
Hutchinson had said, " You can preach no more than you 
know." And he declared that by " the seal of the Spirit " 
she meant " the full assurance of Divine favour, witnessed 
by the presence of the Holy Spirit." l 

Anne Hutchinson herself, in a moment of rashness, 
now gave her enemies the key to her inner sanctuary, 
and lost her case by what Hugh Peters would call a 
" plump confession " that she sometimes received " revela 
tions," had "openings," and "was given to see spiritual 
situations." " I bless the Lord," she exclaimed, " that 
He has let me see which was clear ministry and which 
was wrong. He hath let me distinguish between the 
voice of my Beloved and the voice of Moses." " Now," 
she continued solemnly, "if you do condemn me for 
speaking what in my conscience I know to be the truth, I 
must commit myself unto the Lord." This confession 
led to the following conversation : 

Mr. Nowel. How do you know that that (which was re 
vealed to you) was of the Spirit ? 

Mrs. H. How did Abraham know that it was God that 
bid him offer his son ? 

Dep.-Gov. By an immediate voice. 

Mrs. H. So to me by an immediate revelation. 

Dep.-Gov. How ! an immediate revelation ? 

Mrs. H. By the voice of His own Spirit in my soul. 2 

Here in this discussion we find the real nerve of the 
issue. Here was " a mere woman " who claimed direct 
connection with the fount of Life and Light, who insisted 

1 Hutchinson, Massachusetts Bay, vol. ii. pp. 504, 505, 509. 

2 Ibid. vol. ii. p. 508. 


that revelation is not closed, but that she herself has 
immediate openings like those given to Abraham. To 
those listening to her the claim sounded, as the wisest of 
them, Governor Winthrop, said, like the " most desperate 
enthusiasm in the world." To him, to them all, her 
" confession " seemed " a marvellous providence of God," 
a clear " mercy of God " vouchsafed to them. On her 
own testimony she had showed herself to be " under a 
devilish delusion," near kin to the worst enthusiasts of 
history the Anabaptists. 1 It was now a plain and 
easy matter to move straight toward her condemnation 
and sentence. 

Before sentence was pronounced, however, one valiant 
voice was raised in her behalf. William Coddington, 
seeing that judgment was about to be pronounced, 
defended her with what, under the circumstances, was 
rare boldness. He pointed out that the Court was acting 
unfairly in the double capacity of judge and accuser, and 
that the original charges against her had not been proven. 
He then took up the " special providence " of her own 
confession : " And now for that other thing which hath 
fallen from her occasionally by the Spirit of God ; you 
know that the Spirit of God witnesseth with spirits, and 
there is no truth in Scripture but God bears witness to 
it by His Spirit, therefore I would intreat you to consider 
whether those things alleged against her deserve censure." 2 

" But," insisted Peters, conscious all the time of the 
real sore spot, " I was much grieved that she should say 
that our ministry was legal." 

" What wrong was there," asked Coddington, " to say 
that you were not able ministers of the New Testament 
or that you were like the apostles methinks the com 
parison was very good." 3 

But Coddington was risking himself in vain ; her fate 
was already sealed, and Governor Winthrop proceeded to 
pronounce sentence. " If it be the mind of the Court 
that Mrs. Hutchinson is unfit for our society, and if it 

1 Hutchinson, Massachusetts Bay, vol. ii. p. 514. 

2 Ibid. vol. ii. p. 516. 3 Ibid. vol. ii. p. 510. 


be the mind of the Court that she shall be banished out 
of our liberties and imprisoned until she shall be sent 
forth, let them hold up their hands." 1 All but three 
voted in the affirmative. 

The victim was now separated from her family and 
condemned to a semi-imprisonment in the house of the 
Rev. Thomas Welde at Roxbury, where she was hard 
beset with clerical inquisition, and where she underwent 
a good deal of mental depression. 2 It is a matter of no 
importance that under this unbearable strain her clerical 
inquisitors drew from her certain " errors and heresies." 
In the spring of 1637 2 5th March the Church of 
Boston proceeded to " excommunicate " her. All her 
powerful friends were silenced now. Governor Vane 
had gone back to England, glad to be out of the theo 
logical tempest. Wheelwright was eating the hard bread 
of exile in New Hampshire. Coddington and his 
sympathisers had been forced out of the government 
and out of the colony. John Cotton must have passed 
many silent hours of inward anguish as he halted between 
the two issues, but he finally deserted his friend, who had 
singled him out as the one minister in the colony who 
clearly preached the covenant of Grace, and he swung 
over, clear over, to the safe side, with the other ministers, 
and bitterly lamented that he had been " abused and made 
a stalking-horse of." 3 He was selected to pronounce 
" admonition " against her, which he did, " with much 
detestation of her errors," though the awful sentence of 
excommunication was read by the pastor, Mr. Wilson : 
" In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the name 
of the Church, I do not only pronounce you worthy to 
be cast out, but I do cast you out ; and in the name of 
Christ I do deliver you up to Satan. I do account 
you from this time forth to be a heathen and a publican. 
I command you in the name of Jesus Christ and of this 
Church as a leper to withdraw yourself out of this 
congregation." As the outcast slowly found her way 

1 Hutchinson, Massachusetts Bay, vol. ii. p. 520. 

* It is important to note her physical condition she was soon to give birth 
to a child. 3 Winthrop, vol. i. p. 304. 


down the aisle, to go out for ever into exile, Mary Dyer 
stepped forth from her seat, took her place by Anne 
Hutchinson s side and went out with her one day to 
come back again ! 

Mrs. Hutchinson now found her way to the new colony 
which her friends had gone on ahead to found in the 
island of " Aquiday " Aquidneck now called the island 
of Rhode Island. This island was destined to be the 
shelter and safe nursery of Quakerism in the days of its 
early stress in the New World, and we must now briefly 
study the new, strange colony which owed its birth to 
the " Antinomian " turmoil in Massachusetts Bay. 1 The 
new colony was founded by persons who were either 
banished for taking a sympathetic part in the Hutchin 
son controversy, or who revolted against the heavy hand 
of authority in Massachusetts Bay. 2 Winthrop says : 
" At this time the good providence of God so disposed 
that divers of the congregation, being the chief men of 
the Antinomian party, were gone to Narragansett to 
seek out a new place for plantation." 3 The fact was 
that the Court which banished Wheelwright and con 
demned Anne Hutchinson, also dealt vigorously with 
the citizens of Boston who had signed the petition in 

1 There were doubtless many things involved in this famous controversy. 
The subtle political issues between the party of Winthrop and the party of Vane 
I have not touched upon. The lukewarmness of the citizens of Boston, when 
the colony was girding itself for the Pequot war, was supposed by Winthrop and 
others to be due to the prevalence of the " new opinions " in religion. But it is 
clear, nevertheless, that the central trouble lay in these two points : The leaders of 
the new party had boldly criticised the ministers of the colony for being legal 
and not spiritual ; and secondly, they had insisted on the fact of present revelation 
as against the view that God s Word is found only in a Book. It was for these 
heresies that Wheelwright was forced to wander through the snow to Exeter, 
and it was for these heresies that Anne Hutchinson was flung out of the colony as 
a leper. These exiles had thus already struck the central issues which the 
Quakers forced to the front a score of years later. 

2 The Rhode Island Colony must be carefully distinguished from the 
Providence Colony, founded by Roger Williams, also an exile from the 
Massachusetts Colony. Roger Williams has the honour of being one of 
the brave path-breakers toward the light, and he was undoubtedly the first in 
the New World to annunciate clearly the doctrine of soul-liberty. I have no 
desire to detract from the fame which properly belongs to him, but it is a plain 
fact that the island colony in the southern end of Narragansett quickly out 
stripped in importance the one founded at Providence, and it was here on this 
island of Aquidneck that the principle of spiritual freedom got its most impressive 
exhibition in the primitive stage of American history. 

3 Winthrop, vol. i. p. 311. 


favour of Wheelwright. Twenty of the signers in fear 
" acknowledged their fault " and were forgiven ; the rest 
were " disarmed," in which list were a number of the 
founders of the little colony on Aquidneck the persons 
" disposed by the providence of God to seek out a new 
place for plantation." 1 The little party sent John Clarke, 
with two companions, on ahead to locate the place of 
settlement and, with the advice and assistance of Roger 
Williams, with whom they took counsel, they decided 
upon Pocasset (now Portsmouth), on the island then called 
"Aquiday," now called "Rhode Island." 2 On the 
7th of March 1638, nineteen members of the new 
colony signed in Providence a civil compact for the 
incorporation of their new " Body Politick," and they 
proceeded to elect William Coddington, clearly the leader 
and foremost person in the little group, their Judge. 
The simple form of government, which was here initiated, 
was slightly modified in January 1639, when a plan was 
drafted which provided for " three elders " to assist the 
Judge, and they were to report their acts every quarter 
to the assembled freemen with this curious arrangement 
for veto : " If by the Body [of freemen] or any of them, 
the Lord shall be pleased to dispense light to the 
contrary of what by the Judge and Elders hath been 
determined formerly, that then and there it shall be 
repealed as the act of the Body." 3 

In April 1639 tne little colonial hive at Pocasset 
" swarmed " and formed a new town, which was named 
Newport, on the other edge of the island. 4 At first it 
was an independent settlement under a separate govern 
ment, with Coddington for "Judge," Nicholas Easton, 
John Coggeshall, and William Brenton as " Elders," 
while the settlement at Pocasset chose William Hutchin- 

1 Of the "founders" William Aspinwall was banished, John Coggeshall was 
disarmed and disfranchised, William Coddington and nine others were given leave 
to depart within three months, and were afterwards hurried off. 

8 See John Clarke s " 111 Newes from New England," printed in 4 Mass. Hist. 
Soc. Col. ii. The name was changed from Aquidneck to Rhode Island 
1 3th March 1644. 

3 Rhode Island Colony Records, i. p. 63. 

4 Nicholas Easton built the first house in Newport. (See Narr. Hist. Reg. 
vol. viii. p. 240. ) 


son, husband of Anne, for Judge. The two settlements 
were united under one government in March 1640 with 
William Coddington of Newport as Governor, and 
William Brenton of Pocasset (at this time changed to 
Portsmouth) as Deputy-governor. A year later, namely 
in May 1641, the assembled citizens unanimously declared 
that " this Body Politick is a Democracie ; that is to say, 
it is in the Power of the Body of Freemen, orderly 
assembled, or the major part of them, to make Just 
Lawes by which they will be regulated." l Under the 
same date this memorable act was passed : " It is ordered 
that none bee accounted a delinqtient for doctrine z In 
November of the same year it was decreed that the 
" Law of the last Court, made concerning Libertie of 
Conscience in Point of Doctrine be perpetuated." 3 And 
this colony, in the face of severe tests and difficulties, 
maintained this principle in practice. 4 

In 1641 the persons who composed the Newport 
settlement seem to have arranged themselves into two 
religious groups. One party, with Coddington, Cogges- 
hall, and Nicholas Easton as leaders, formulated views 
which seem extraordinarily akin to those later held by 
the Society of Friends ; while the other group, led by 
John Clarke, formed a Baptist Church. 

It is extremely difficult now to get the facts on these 
important points. Winthrop says, under date of 1641 : 

" Mrs. Hutchinson and those of Aquiday Island broached new 
heresies every year. Divers of them turned professed Ana 
baptist, 3 and would not wear any arms, 6 and denied all 

1 Rhode Island Colony Records, i. 112. 

2 Ibid. p. 113. 3 Ibid. p. 118. 

4 Cotton Mather gives this account of freedom of faith in the Rhode Island 
Colony : "I believe there never was held such a variety of religions together on 
as small a spot of ground as have been in that colony. " " If a man had lost 
his religion he might find it at the general muster of the opinionists. " Rhode 
Island hath usually been the Gerizzim of New England." Magnalia, ii. 

* The term "Anabaptist," used in such an account, hardly means more than 
that the person was a dissenter from the established faith and held strongly for 
inward experience in religion. See my Studies in Mystical Religion, chapter on 
" The Anabaptists " (London, 1909). 

6 Nicholas Easton was fined five shillings in 1639, for coming to meeting 
without his weapons. Rhode Island Colony Records, i. 95. 


magistracy among Christians, and maintained that there were 
no churches since those founded by the apostles and evangelists, 
nor could any be, nor any pastors ordained, nor seals adminis 
tered, but by such, and that the church was to want these all 
the time she continued in the wilderness, as yet she was." 1 

It is not probable from what we know that any of the 
persons prominent in this " spiritual circle " denied 
magistracy or were opposed to settled social order. It 
is probable that they did insist that religion must be an 
affair of experience and that a true church could not be 
established or maintained by persons who were "out of 
the life " and only externally religious. The real situation 
comes out somewhat clearer in another passage in 
Winthrop : 

" Other troubles arose in the island of Aquiday by reason 
of one Nicholas Easton, a tanner, a man very bold, though 
ignorant. 2 He using to teach [i.e. taking upon himself to teach] 
where Mr. Coddington their Governor lived, maintained that 
man hath no power or will in himself, but as he is acted [upon] 
by God, and that a Christian is united to the essence of God." 3 

Winthrop undertakes to show, by inference, that this 
view of Easton s makes God the author of sin, and has 
blasphemous consequences. But Easton did not push 
his view to dangerous lengths and apparently held, 
exactly what Friends later held, that there is something 
of God in man, and that man becomes a truly " spiritual 
being" by reason of this Divine connection. Winthrop 
further says that Mr. Coddington, Mr. Coggeshall, and some 
others joined with Nicholas Easton, " while Mr. Clark 
[John Clarke], Mr. Lenthall and some others dissented, 
and publicly opposed, whereby it grew to such heat of 
contention that it made a schism." 4 There was, it plainly 
appears, thus differentiated here in Newport, fifteen years 

1 Winthrop, ii. 46. Winthrop is here giving a description of what is 
known as the " Seeker" attitude (see Studies in Mystical Religion). It is likely 
that some of the group in Newport insisted that only spiritual persons can perform 
spiritual exercises. There is no evidence that they went further than this. 

2 This is an instance of Winthrop s unfairness through prejudice. Easton 
was a man of high standing and excellent mental parts. He was three times 
President of the Colony, six times Deputy-Governor, and three times Governor. 

8 Winthrop, ii. 48. 4 Winthrop, ii. 49. 


before the coming of the Quakers, a group of persons 
who were Quakers in everything but name. 1 

Even more striking, if anything, was the situation in 
Portsmouth. Letchford, who resided in New England 
"almost the space of four years" prior to 1641, and who 
spent some time in the Colony on Rhode Island, says, 
after commenting on the state of religion at Newport : 

" At the other end of the Island there is another town called 
Portsmouth, but no church [i.e. no established church] ; there is 
a meeting of some men who there teach one another and call 
it prophesie." 2 

This looks as though a meeting was being held in Ports 
mouth at this date in which the members spoke as they 
felt " moved " (for that is what " in the way of prophesie " 
means), exactly as the Quaker meeting was held a little 
later. 3 

1 It should be remembered that this was at least six years before George Fox 
began his religious activity in England. 

2 Letchford s Plaine Dealing (Boston reprint, 1868), p. 94. 

8 We shall see in later chapters that there were other pre-Quaker circles in the 
colonies all ready to be merged into the wider Quaker movement as soon as it 
made itself felt on these shores. The "circles" at Salem and at Sandwich, 
Mass., were the most important ones. Mrs. Hutchinson did not live long 
enough to hear of the Quaker movement, for the spread of which she did much to 
prepare the way. Her husband, William Hutchinson, died in 1642, and soon 
after she moved with her family into the territory of the Dutch, settling near 
Hell Gate in West Chester Co. , New York. Here in the autumn of 1643 she was 
murdered by Indians, who "slew her, and her family, her daughter and her 
daughter s husband, and all their children," except a little girl who was carried 
into captivity. This calamity was hailed in the Puritan Colony as a " Divine 
Judgment." (See Welde s Rise, Reign, and Ruin, and Mather s Afagnalia.) 
Anne Hutchinson s sister, Catharine Scott, and her family, formed the nucleus of 
the original group of Friends in Providence. 



THE Quaker message had first been heralded in London 
by women, and the first attempt to win over the Uni 
versities of England to the " truth," as the early Quakers 
persistently called their Gospel, was made by women. So 
too, the first Quakers to reach the American hemisphere 
were women, who in deep seriousness regarded themselves 
as apostolic messengers under divine call and direction. 
They were Mary Fisher and Ann Austin. Their first 
place of landing and of missionary activity was the 
island of Barbadoes, where they arrived near the end of 
the year 1655. The island of Barbadoes was, during 
the seventeenth century, the great port of entry to the 
colonies in the western world, and it was during the last 
half of that century, a veritable "hive" of Quakerism. 
Friends wishing to reach any part of the American coast, 
sailed most frequently for Barbadoes and then reshipped 
for their definite locality. They generally spent some 
weeks, or months even, propagating their doctrines in 
" the island " and ordinarily paying visits to Jamaica and 
often to Antigua, Nevis, and Bermuda. Large Friends 
meetings rapidly sprang up on all these islands. Barbadoes 
had been first occupied by the English in 1605, and had 
submitted to the authority of the commonwealth in 1652. 
Sugar-making had, as early as 1640, become its great 
industry, being carried on by negro slaves who had been 
brought from Africa, and the island enjoyed unrestricted 
trade. It was just now at the height of its prosperity 
and large fortunes were being made there. It is estimated 



that there were 25,000 inhabitants, and not less than 
10,000 slaves. Of the inhabitants Clarendon said they 
were principally men " who had retired thither only to be 
quiet and to be free from noise and oppressions in 
England." Among these quiet, comfortable, prosperous 
people, the two " publishers of the truth " as we have 
seen, came in 1655, and they spent about six months 
here publishing their message. 

Mary Fisher was, at the time of her visit, a young, 
unmarried woman of about twenty-two years of age, 
adorned with somewhat uncommon " intellectual faculties " 
and marked by " gravity of deportment." 

She had been a servant in the home of the Tomlinsons 
of Selby in Yorkshire, and had been " convinced " of the 
truth of the Quaker message in the early years of Fox s 
ministry, and went forth as a minister herself in 1652. 
The first two years of her ministry were mostly spent 
in York Castle, where she endured two terms of im 
prisonment, one of sixteen months and one of six. 
Between these two imprisonments, Mary Fisher, with a 
woman companion, undertook the hazardous mission of 
carrying the Quaker message to the students of Cambridge 
University. The students jeered and derided, "with 
froth and levity." The mayor of the city ordered the 
women to be stripped to the waist and " whipped at the 
market cross till the blood ran down their bodies," a 
sentence which was cruelly executed, while the women 
prayed the Lord to forgive their persecutors. 1 Little is 
known of the life of Ann Austin, previous to her 
American visit, except that she was already "stricken in 
years," the mother of five children, apparently a resident 
of London, and plainly enough valiant and ready for the 
perils of her dangerous calling. Their work in Barbadoes 
seems to have been successful. As they were leaving 
the island for their hazardous venture in New England, 
Mary Fisher wrote to her friends in England : " Here is 
many convinced and many desire to know the way." 
On their return, after they had been flung out of Boston, 

1 Besse, Sufferings of the Quakers (London 1753), vol. i. p. 85. 


they continued the work in Barbadoes, and had their 
faith and zeal well rewarded. Lieutenant-Colonel Rous, 
a wealthy sugar-planter, and his son John were the first 
to identify themselves with Friends and to join the 
movement. They were in fact the first persons in the 
West Indies to become Quakers. The son, John Rous, 
came forward almost immediately in the ministry, and 
before the year was out had issued a characteristic Quaker 
tract : " A Warning to the inhabitants who live in pride, 
drunkenness, etc., also something to the Rulers, that they 
rule rightly and do justice on the wicked." * 

In the month of July 1656, Master Simon Kempthorn, 
in his ship Swallow, sailing from Barbadoes, brought 
those two women into Boston harbour. Governor 
Endicott was at that moment absent from the city, and 
Deputy-governor Richard Bellingham found himself con 
fronted with an " extraordinary occasion." He seems to 
have been equal to it. He ordered the women to be kept 
on the ship while their boxes were searched for books 
containing " corrupt, heretical, and blasphemous doctrines." 
One hundred such books were found in their possession. 
These were seized and burned in the market-place by 
the common hangman. 2 This being done the women 
were brought to land and committed to prison on the 
sole charge of being " Quakers," deprived of light, and of 
all writing materials, though as yet no law had made it a 
punishable offence to be a Quaker. A fine of five pounds 
was laid upon any one who should speak with them, and, 
to make assurance doubly sure, their prison window was 
closely boarded up. They were furthermore " stripped 
stark naked," and searched for "tokens" of witchcraft 
upon their bodies. 8 There was one bright spot in the 
dark experience. One man (who was evidently Nicholas 
Upsall) came to the prison and offered gladly to pay 

1 Letter to Margaret Fell. Swarthmore Collection, in Devonshire House, 
London, i. 66. 

2 Snow, in his History of Boston (1825), says that Nicholas Upsall, a citizen 
of Boston, endeavoured to buy these Quaker books. Snow, op. cit. p. 196. 

8 See Bishop s Mew England Judged (London, 1703), p. 12. Henry Fell, 
in a letter to M. Fell, gives an account of the searching of these women as 
suspected witches. Swarthmore Collection, i. 66. 


the fine of five pounds if he might be allowed to have 
conversation with the Quaker prisoners. 1 

After they had been kept five weeks in confinement 
under these extraordinary conditions, the master of the 
vessel which brought them was put under a bond of one 
hundred pounds, to see that they were transported to 
Barbadoes, and he apparently was compelled to pay the 
costs of their transportation. 2 The Boston jailer had to 
content himself with their bedding and their Bibles for 
his prison fees. Governor Endicott, on his return, 
remarked that if he had been at home they would not 
have got away without a whipping. 

George Bishop, whose book is the main source of our 
information on the details of the New England " invasion " 
asks of the magistrates the pertinent question : " Why 
was it that the coming of two women so shook ye, as 
if a formidable army had invaded your borders." 8 The 
answer, given at the time, was a string of vague charges 
and hysterical epithets. A clearer answer can perhaps 
be given at this distance and from the perspective of 
historical review. 

It must be said in the first place that the judgment of 
the officials, and particularly of the ministers, in the 
Massachusetts Colony had been seriously prejudiced by 
rumours and accounts that had preceded the arrival of 
the two women. Anti-Quaker pamphlets had already 
come from the press in great numbers, and they were 
unsparing in their accounts of the new " heresy." Some 
of these pamphlets were written by ministers who, either 
before or after the publication of their attack, were 
settled in New England and were in high repute there. 
Francis Higginson, the author of A Brief Relation of the 
Irreligion of the Northern Quaker s> published in 1653, 
and one of the earliest polemics against Friends, was a 
New Englander. Thomas Welde, who had been a 

1 See Henry Fell s letter to M. Fell. Swarthmore Collection, i. 66. 

a The master of the vessel which took them to Barbadoes was put under a 
bond of one hundred pounds to land them there and not to suffer any persons i 
the Colony to speak with them in the harbour before they sailed. 

3 New England Judged, p. 7. 


minister in high favour in Massachusetts, and who had 
taken a very prominent part in the heresy trials and 
expulsion of Anne Hutchinson and her friends, was the 
principal author of two violent anti-Quaker Tracts, The 
Perfect Pharisee under Monkish Holinesse, and A further 
Discovery of that Generation of Men called Quakers, issued 
in 1653 and 1654. Samuel Eaton, author of The 
Quakers confuted, published in 1654, was brother of 
Theophilus Eaton, a governor of New Haven, and had 
been a preacher in New England. Christopher Marshall 
of Woodkirk, who had been James Nayler s pastor, and 
who poured forth a torrent of abuse upon George Fox and 
the Quakers, had intimate associations with Boston, where 
he had been a member of John Cotton s Church, and 
had been trained in the ministry by that famous teacher. 1 
The writings of trusted leaders such as these had made 
Quakerism an accursed thing before any Quaker crossed 
the Atlantic. The Quakers were already catalogued as 
a new type of religious Enthusiasts, like the sect which 
for a hundred years had made the name of Miinster 
a word of terror. 2 In fact one of the Massachusetts 
" Declarations " against the Quakers traces their pedigree 
directly to these fanatics of the century before : 

" The prudence of this Court was exercised in making provision 
to secure Peace and Order against their Attempts, whose design 
(we were well-assured by our own experience as well as by the 
example of their Predecessors in Miinster) was to undermine and 
ruin the same." 3 

The allusion to Miinster comes out also in a Petition 
sent in 1658 to the General Court for severe laws against 
the Quakers. The petitioners say : 

"Their [the Quakers] incorrigibleness, after so much means 
used both for their conviction and for preserving this place 

1 See Transactions of the Cong. Hist. Soc., March 1903, p. 224. For 
Marshall s attacks on Fox, see Journal, i. 107. 

8 A fanatical band of Anabaptists captured the city of Miinster in 1534, and 
disturbed the world with their strange " Kingdom." 

3 New England Judged, p. 3. 


from contagion, being such, as by reason of their malignant 
obduratices [sic], daily increaseth rather than abateth our fear of 
the spirit of Muncer [Miinster], or John of Leyden revived." l 

Nearly all the Massachusetts enactments against the 
Quakers refer not only to their " horrid opinions " and 
" diabolical doctrines," but also to their dangerous leaven 
of " mutiny, sedition and rebellion," their subtle designs 
to " overthrow the order established in Church and 
commonwealth." This was, as we in this calm genera 
tion know, a pure figment of the imagination, but it 
was, nevertheless, a live and propulsive idea then in 
the minds of the ministers and magistrates, and must 
be reckoned with in judging their treatment of the 
Quakers. 2 

There was always hanging over the Puritan colonists, 
another terror, to us very pale and remote, to them very 
real and imminent the terror of witchcraft ; the awful 
power of Satan to transform a human person into a 
tool of malice and mischief. Bellingham s own sister-in- 
law had been executed as a witch only a few months 
before the arrival of these two Quaker women, and the 
eager search of their naked bodies for " tokens " was 
very significant ; and if a mark or blemish had been 
found on their bodies, something besides books might 
have burned in the market-place. 

There can be no doubt that these " phobias," these 
unreasoned and morbid delusions, were potent factors in 
predisposing the authorities to a sternly hostile attitude 
toward these harmless women missionaries. But there 
was a deeper and solider ground for their hostile attitude 
than these "obsessing ideas" furnish. These women 
were the bearers of a type of religion sharply at variance, 
and in fact irreconcilable with that already established 
in Massachusetts. Feeble as they were, they were the 

1 Massachusetts Archives, vol. x. p. 246. 

* This hysterical fear of " designs to overthrow the established order " was a 
prominent element in the treatment of the Hutchinson party, though there was 
not the slightest ground for it. Cotton Mather, even after overwhelming evidence 
that the Quakers had no designs against established order, still in his day called 
them "dangerous villains." Magnolia, vol. ii. p. 256. 


vanguard of an army, and they represented a new spiritual 
empire in array against the spiritual empire which the 
Puritan in stern consecration was building. There was 
no delusion in the statement of the Court that " the 
tenetts and practices of the Quakers are opposite to 
the orthodoxe received opinions and practices of the 
godly" i.e. of the Massachusetts ministers. 1 We must 
try to see fairly and honestly what these " tenetts and 
practices " were. 

The central truth on which the Quaker of that period 
staked his faith and to which he pledged his life, was 
the presence of a Divine Light in the soul. It is an 
important historical fact that every Quaker in 1656 held 
this inward Light in the Soul to be the essential truth of 
religion. 2 God, they said, has placed a Divine principle 
something of Himself in every man. This Light within 
condemns every step toward sin and evil, it approves 
every act of rectitude and every movement in the 
direction of righteousness. It is, in fact, a continuation 
now in many lives of that Christ, that Word of God and 
Light of the World and incorruptible Seed of God that 
was incarnate in One Life in Galilee and Judea. 3 As 
fast and as far, they said, as any one obeys this Light 
it leads him into all truth and into perfection of life, 
" sets him atop of the devil and all his works." " In this 
Eternal Life and Power," they said, "you continually 
grow up in the Life of God the life that never dies." 4 
Salvation was, thus, for them not a transaction but a 
transformation : not a forensic escape from the penalty 
due for their sins, but an actual deliverance from sin 

1 Proceedings of the General Court held in Boston igth of October 1658. 

3 Cotton Mather says with much revulsion : They call men to attend to 
the mystical dispensation of a Light within, as having the whole of religion 
contained therein." Magnalia, vol. ii. p. 523. 

Neal in similar vein says : "The Light within they affirmed to be sufficient 
to salvation without anything else." Hist, of New England, vol. i. p. 322. 

3 This Seed and Birth of God in us is a living Principle ; yea, it is a 
measure of the same Life and Spirit of Jesus Christ." From George Keith s 
Immediate Revelation, p. 248. 

"The Quakers believe both in a Christ without and a Christ within, but 
not as two Christs, but one and the same without as within." John Whiting, 
The Sword of the Lord Drawn, p. 5. 

4 Edward Burrough, Works (1672) p. 75. 


itself. " To witness [i.e. experience] God within you, 
the Immanuel, the Saviour, God-with-you, is the whole 
salvation, there is no other to be expected than this. To 
witness that God dwells in us and walks in us is to be 
begotten by the Word of God, to be born of the 
Immortal Seed and to be a New Creature." x Not only 
did they insist that they possessed within themselves a 
Principle of moral illumination, a Power at war with sin 
in them, an Immanuel-God working in them to free 
them from all sin and to raise them to immortal life, but 
they claimed still further that they were the recipients of 
direct revelations. 

" I have had," said Fox, " a word from the Lord as 
the prophets and apostles had." They were simple, 
humble men and women, quite devoid of cheap ambitions, 
and singularly free from vain desire to gain mastery over 
their fellows by bold assumptions ; but they believed, with 
a conviction which no torture could shake, that the 
infinite God revealed His will in their souls. They held 
it for certain that they moved under orders from above, 
and that even in matters of seemingly slight importance 
they were guided as by a heavenly vision. One of the 
men who was called to pass through the martyr-baptism 
on Boston Common has left this simple, straightforward 
account of his " call " : 

"In the beginning of the year 1655, I was at the plough in 
the east part of Yorkshire in Old England, near the place where 
my outward being began, and as I walked after the plough, I 
was filled with the Love and the presence of the Living God 
which did ravish my heart when I felt it ; for it did increase and 
abound in me like a living stream, and the Love and Life of 
God ran through me like precious ointment giving a pleasant 
smell, which made me stand still ; and as I stood a little still, 
with my heart and mind stayed on the Lord, the Word of the 
Lord came to me in a still small voice, which I did hear 
perfectly, saying to me, in the secret of my heart and conscience, 
I have ordained thee a prophet unto the Nations. " 2 

1 Burrough, A General Epistle to the Saints. 

2 From a letter of Marmaduke Stephenson written from Boston Prison. New 
England Judged, pp. 131-133. 



Similar accounts of experiences, believed to be " open 
ings " of call and guidance, could be given from almost 
every Quaker pamphlet of that period, and there can 
be no question that the leading Friends of that date felt 
themselves to belong to the order of prophets and 
apostles. 1 This faith and expectation created the peculiar 
type of meeting, known as " the meeting for worship," 
which was one of the most unique features of the 
Quakerism that was now knocking for admission at 
the port of Boston. The members sat down in silence, 
with no ordained minister, with no prearrangements, no 
preparation for vocal service of any sort. They believed 
that sensitive souls could become aware of celestial 
currents, and that no words should be spoken in prayer 
or ministry until the lips were divinely moved. It was a 
bold experiment, an attempt to realise the prophetic ideal 
of Jeremiah that there should be a new Israel, with God s 
law in their inward parts, and with His will written in 
their hearts. 2 It meant nothing less than the claim that 
revelation is continuous, and that by the work of the 
Divine Spirit there is a true apostolic succession. 

Another bold feature of this new religion was the 
absence of all sacraments. The sacraments are " shadows," 
they said ; Christ came to bring men to realities, and they 
were satisfied that they had found the realities. " The 
Spirit of God changes the ground {i.e. nature] of the 
soul, and transmutes it into His own nature, while all 
those things which men strive so much about are but 
shadows." 3 " There is," says another of their leaders, 
" a spiritual communion which reaches beyond all 

1 The inference which their opponents drew was that they denied, or even 
discarded the Holy Scriptures, and they were almost invariably examined " on 
this point. As a matter of fact, they never denied or discarded the Scriptures ; 
they simply denied that they were the only Rule of faith and practice ; since, 
they insisted, the Light of Christ in the heart in conjunction with the Scriptures 
is most certainly a guide and rule. They were also supposed to be very unsound 
on the doctrine of the Trinity, and they were frequently tested " on this 
article of faith. They generally gave this discreet if somewhat inconclusive answer : 
"The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit we own [i.e. believe in], but a Trinity of 
Persons the Scriptures speak not of ! " See Humphrey Norton s Ensign, p. 8. 

2 Jer. xxxi. 33-34. 

3 Francis Howgil, Works (1676), p. 53. 


visibles and is above all mortal and fading things." 
" The Lord," is the mighty claim of still another, " hath 
brought me into a life which I live by the springing up 
of life within me." 

It was, thus, a religion of first-hand experience, based 
primarily not on historical happenings but on inward 
events. Its messengers declared that they had found the 
perennial springs of Life, and they claimed that these 
springs were bubbling within their own souls. In the 
power and joy of this " inward bubbling," the Quaker felt 
a certainty of his election which the Puritan did not have. 
" As I was walking in the fields," says Fox, " the Lord 
said unto me, Thy name is written in the Lamb s book 
of life, and as the Lord spoke it I believed." l " The 
Lord said unto me," writes William Robinson just before 
his execution in Boston, " thy soul shall rest in ever 
lasting peace and thy life shall enter into rest. " 2 This 
note of certainty rings through all the writings of the 
first Friends. " We are raised from the dead, we are 
born of the Immortal Seed, and we have entered into 
God s Eternal Life the Life that never dies," is the 
constantly recurring testimony. John Fiske, who more 
than any other historian of Colonial America has 
succeeded in understanding the Quaker position, very 
truly says : 

" The ideal of the Quakers was flatly antagonistic to that 
of the settlers of Massachusetts. The Christianity of the 
former was freed from Judaism as far as was possible ; the 
Christianity of the latter was heavily encumbered with Judaism. 
The Quaker aimed at complete separation between Church and 
State; the government of Massachusetts was patterned after 
the ancient Jewish theocracy in which church and state were 
identified. The Quaker was tolerant of differences in doctrine ; 
the Calvinist regarded such tolerance as a deadly sin. For 
these reasons the arrival of a few Quakers in Boston in 1656 
was considered an act of invasion and treated as such." 3 

Even more obnoxious to the Puritan, certainly to the 

1 Journal, voL i. p. 35. 

2 Letter fromWm. Robinson written in Boston Prison igthof 8th month 1659. 

3 Fiske, Dutch and Quaker Colonies, vol. ii. p. 112. 


Puritan divines, than their ideals or than their theology 
was the Quakers estimate of official ministers. They 
could be as tender as a woman toward any types of men 
who were low down, hard pressed and sore bestead, but 
they were relentless against what they called " hireling 
ministry." They used very vivid phrases to describe 
it, and they were as intolerant of it as the writer of 
Deuteronomy had been of the idolatry of his day. They 
hewed at it as fiercely as Samuel had hewed Agag. 

Quakerism was, one sees, a type of religion at every 
point in sharp contrast with that which the Puritans 
had established in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. They 
were, as has been said, two different spiritual empires. 
The leaders were incapable of understanding each other, 
and there was foredoomed to be a clash with tragic 
consequences. We shall dwell as little as possible on 
the tragedy, and we shall endeavour to understand the 
attitude of the persecutors as well as undertake to bring 
to clear light in these pages the mission of the Quakers 
in the New World and the type of their religion. 

Two days after Ann Austin and Mary Fisher, 
without bedding and without Bibles, sailed out of Boston 
harbour, that is, August 7th, 1656, a ship carrying eight 
Quakers " pretty hearts, the blessing of the Lord with 
them and His dread going before them " l sailed in. 
They were Christopher Holder, a valiant apostle of New 
England Quakerism, John Copeland, Thomas Thurston, 
William Brend, Mary Prince, Sarah Gibbons, Mary 
Wetherhead, and Dorothy Waugh. With them also 
came from Long Island a man by the name of Richard 
Smith, of whom we shall hear later. Officers of the 
Commonwealth were sent on board the ship to search 
their boxes for " erroneous books and hellish pamphlets," 2 

1 Letter of Francis Howgil in Caton Collection of MSS. 

2 Humphrey Norton s New England s Ensign, p. 8. The title-page of New 
England s Ensign reads : It being the account of Cruelty, the professor s pride 
and the articles of their faith signified in characters written in blood, etc. This 
being an account of the sufferings sustained by us in New England (with the 
Dutch) the most part of it in these two last years 1657, 1658. Written at sea 
by us whom the wicked in scorn call Quakers in the second month of the year 
1659. London, 1659. 


and the Friends, after the examination of their views on 
the Divine Nature and the Scriptures, were lodged in the 
prison vacated two days before a prison which, Bishop 
says, addressing the magistrates in 1660, "ye have 
supplied with the bodies of the saints and servants of 
Jesus, for the most part ever since : scarce one taken out, 
but some one or other put into his room." l 

The examination above referred to gave the prisoners 
their one chance of delivering the message for which they 
had come, though the soil on which the seed fell was not 
likely to be of a very receptive sort. One of the Boston 
ministers (Humphrey Norton says it was John Norton) 
during the examination quoted the passage from 2 Peter, 
" we have a more sure word of prophecy," 2 to prove that 
the Scriptures are the only rule of faith and sole guide of 
life. This was the Quaker s master-text and the prisoners 
at once accepted the challenge. They forced the minister 
to admit that the passage referred to the Word of God 
manifested within the soul when the spiritual day dawn 
has come and the Day Star has risen in the heart. 
" Where is the dark place of which the text speaks ? " 
John Norton asked William Brend. " It is under my 
hand," answered the old Friend, with his hand on his 
breast. The Friends then turned questioners and asked 
John Norton whether the Eternal Word was a suffi 
cient rule and guide or not. He said " Yea." He was 
then asked whether it was his rule and guide. He 
replied that it was when he was rightly guided. The 
magistrates then cried out to know what was the 
difference between him and the Quakers ! As the 
examination came to an end Governor Endicott, now 
home from his journey, made the significant remark : 
" Take care that you do not break our ecclesiastical laws, 
for then you are sure to stretch by a halter." 8 

They were kept for eleven weeks in close confinement, 
deprived of all material comforts, and frequently examined 
by the ministers of the Colony. At the end of this period 

1 New England Judged, p. 41. 8 2 Peter i. 19. 

8 Ensign, p. 9; New England Judged, p. 10. 


the master of their vessel, though somewhat recalcitrant, 
and citing his rights as a citizen to convey freeborn 
Englishmen whithersoever he would, was compelled under 
a bond of 500 to transport the eight Quakers back to 
the mother country. One of the most interesting episodes 
of their imprisonment was the correspondence carried on 
between them and Samuel Gorton of Warwick, Rhode 
Island. He himself had endeavoured to expound a 
mystical religion, and had suffered much for his 
doctrines. He had been banished from Massachusetts 
and had founded a tiny colony at Warwick, under the 
patronage of the Earl of Warwick, where he and his 
followers found peace, and he seems to have conceived 
the idea of opening his colony as a base of activity for 
the Quakers. His first letter is dated i6th September 
1656, and is addressed "To the Strangers and out-casts, 
with respect to carnall Israel, now in prison at Boston, 
for the name of Christ." He writes : 

"The report of your demeanour .... as also the errand 
you come upon hath much taken my heart, so that I cannot 
withhold my hand from expressing its desires after you. That 
present habitation of yours ourselves have had a proof of from 
like grounds and reasons that have possessed you thereof, unto 
which in some measure we still remain in point of banishment 
under pain of death, out of these parts. . . . No doubt but 
the bolts will fly back in the best season, both in regard of your 
selves and us." 

Then after some odd and peculiar advice to them, and 
comments upon his own buried condition " in a corner of 
the earth grudged even as burying-place," he adds : 

" But our God may please to send some of his Saints unto us 
to speak words which the dead hearing them shall live. I may 
not trouble you further at this time, onely if we knew that you 
have a mind to stay in these parts after your enlargement (for 
we hear that you are to be sent back to England) and what 
time the ship would saile, or could have hope the Master would 
deliver you, we would endeavour to have a Vessell in readinesse, 
when the Ship goeth out of harbour, to take you in, and set you 
where you may enjoy your liberty." . . . "In Spirit cleave unto 


Him (as being in you) who is ever the same all sufficient: In 
whom I am yours, Samuel Gorton." 1 

The Friends wrote a long and appreciative answer to 
this friendly letter, beginning with the salutation : " In 
that Measure [of Light] which we have received, which is 
eternall, we see thee and behold thee and have onenesse 
with thee." They then declare that their minds are set 
to stay in Massachusetts "we are unwilling to go out 
of these parts, if here we could be suffered to stay, but 
we are willing to mind the Lord, and," they add, " if He 
in His wisdome shall raise thee up, and others for that end, 
we shall be willing to accept it." 2 They were, however, 
prevented from accepting his offer because the captain 
was under bond to take them to England, and to land 
them nowhere else. Richard Smith, a little later, was 
sent home to Long Island by sea, lest by any chance he 
might spread the contagion of his heresy, if he were 
allowed to go by land. 

But in spite of all these precautions to keep the 
commonwealth immune, there were positive signs of 
infection. There was living at this time in Boston 
an honest, independent -minded man, already well ad 
vanced in years, named Nicholas Upsall. He was, in 
the language of the time, " sober, and of unblameable 
conversation," and, though diligent, his inward longings 
for the refreshment of his soul were unsatisfied. He 
heard, with the rest, of the arrival of the two Quaker 
women, and he tried to save the hundred books which 
were doomed to go up in smoke, but the report of their 
doctrines interested and impressed him rather than dis 
turbed him. He heard that the women were being 
starved in the prison, and he resolved that they should be 
fed. By the payment of five shillings a week, he induced 
the jailer to let him feed them and throughout their 
imprisonment they ate his provisions. As events pro- 

1 Gorton s Antidote Against the Common Plague of the World. Printed in 
Rhode Island Historical Collection, vol. ii. 

2 Their letter is also printed in the Antidote. Gorton also wrote a second 
letter in which he notes that God hath frustrated our desired design we doubt 
not but for the best." 


gressed he was carried on with them farther than he had 
expected. While the eight Quakers were in prison, the 
General Court of Massachusetts, with the sanction of the 
" Commissioners of the United Provinces," passed their 
first law against the Quakers " a cursed sect of heretics 
who take upon themselves to be immediately sent of 
God, and infallibly assisted by the Spirit." l The law 
enacted a fine of .100 upon any master of a sailing craft 
who should bring a Quaker to the Colony, and a fine of 
5 upon any one who should bring into the jurisdiction 
any Quaker book, or conceal one in his house. 2 It was 
further enacted that if by any means a Quaker should 
make his way into the Colony, he should be arrested, 
whipped, committed to the house of correction, kept con 
stantly at work, and prevented from having conversation 
with any one until he was once more out of the jurisdiction. 
While this law was being proclaimed through the 
streets of Boston, preceded by beat of drum, the old man 
Nicholas Upsall, standing in front of his own door, 
raised his voice in protest. He was brought before the 
court, and here, " in tenderness and love," he solemnly 
warned the magistrates against the course they were 
pursuing. He was fined 20 and banished from 
the Colony, spending the winter of 1656 in Sandwich 
in the Plymouth Colony, and making his way in the 
spring to that haven of rest for persecuted Christians, the 
island of Rhode Island, where he received a kindly 
welcome from the citizens of the Aquidneck Colony. 8 His 
tale of hardship won the hearts of the Indians, who were 
unsophisticated in theology. One of the chiefs called 
him " friend," and offered to build him a comfortable 
house, if he could accept his hospitality, commenting with 
instinctive insight on the old man s persecutors : " What a 
God have the English who deal so with one another over 
the worship of their God." 4 

1 Colony Records of Massachusetts, vol. iv. part i. p. 277. 

a Ibid. p. 308. 

* The Order fining Nicholas Upsall "for reproaching the honoured magis 
trates, and speaking against the law made and published against the Quakers," 
is in Colony Records of Massachusetts, vol. iv. part i. p. 279. 

4 The Ensign, p. 14. 


Nicholas Upsall became fully convinced, and accepted 
the truth which the Quakers taught. He is thus the first 
fruit of the planting in New England, the first citizen of 
Massachusetts to join his lot with the Quakers. 

The knocking at the gates had thus begun ; the next 
year, 1657, was to witness something like an incipient 
" invasion." 

We must now return for a brief examination of the 
progress of the work in the West Indies ; for the de 
velopment of Quakerism there is bound up essentially 
with the spread of the new faith on the American 
continent. George Rofe, an important Quaker traveller, 
writing from Barbadoes as early as 1661 calls this island 
" the nursery of the truth." l So in fact it was, for it 
sent a small army of missionaries, strange as it sounds 
to-day, to Massachusetts, and one of the Boston martyrs, 
William Leddra, came from this "nursery of truth." 
Besse gives a list of two hundred and sixty Friends who 
suffered persecution in Barbadoes. 2 

Henry Fell, of Furness, reached Barbadoes in October 
1656, and he gives a graphic account of the situation as 
he found it " Truly Mary Fisher is a precious heart, 
and hath been very serviceable here, so likewise hath 
John Rous and Peter Head, and the Lord hath given a 
blessing to their labours, for the fruits thereof appear, for 
here is a pretty many people convinced of the truth, 
among whom the Lord is placing His name. They meet 
together in silence in three several places in the island." 
Fell at once threw himself into the service, and crossed 
controversial swords with Joseph Salmon, 8 a leading 
Ranter, already known to George Fox. Fell says that 
he had never met any one who had the form of truth in 
words so well as Salmon : he got away with the great 
people who protected him whenever the Quaker began 
questioning him, and many were so bewitched with 
him that they would hear nothing against him. The 

1 Letter in the Stephen Crisp Collection, Devonshire House, No. 102. 

2 Besse s Sufferings, vol. ii. pp. 278-351. 

3 For Salmon, see my Studies in Mystical Religion, pp. 472, 475-477. 


Governor, a great friend of Lieutenant-Colonel Rous, was 
moderate towards Friends. He took no offence at John 
Rous s " warning," or at Henry Fell s hat or " thouing " 
of him ; as for Friends lives, he said they were inoffensive 
and unblameable, but their judging of others he could not 
bear. William Dewsbury, one of the foremost of the 
builders of Quakerism in England, wrote letters both to 
the Governor and to the Lieutenant-Colonel, a circum 
stance which shows the close interest with which the 
growth of a Quaker community in Barbadoes was followed 
in the mother-country. Fell found the morals of the 
island poor, the people often " filthy," and some of the 
ministers notorious drunkards. He tried again and again 
to speak in the churches, but they were so guarded by 
the " rude multitude," that he always found himself 
ejected from the building before he had uttered more 
than a few words. Many were convinced and came to 
meetings, but it was hard to persuade them to take up 
the cross and avow themselves Friends. Four or five 
meetings a week were attended by Fell and Rous, and 
convincement followed. 1 

Henry Fell, after trying in vain to get passage to New 
England, for the master of the ship refused to carry him, 
returned to England in the autumn of 1657, reaching 
London after capture by the Spaniards, and a journey 
through France to Rochelle, but only to return a little 
later to promote the work in Barbadoes. John Rous was 
the only ministering Friend left in Barbadoes, and he was 
eager to get passage for New England. He writes, how 
ever, " here are some precious Friends, which, I know, if 
there were none in the ministry with them, will stand 
witnesses for God against the world here." 2 But a few 
months later, Peter Evans of Barbadoes reported that, in 
the absence of ministers, coldness had got in and there was 
need for some who could declare the testimony of truth 
with authority. 3 A number of Friends, including Henry 

1 These particulars are taken from an important series of Henry Fell s letters 
in the Swarthmore Collection. 

2 To Margaret Fell, 2nd July 1657, Swarthmore Collection, i. 80. 

3 To George Fox, 28th April 1658, Swarthmore Collection, iii. no. 


Fell, were in the island the following year, and we hear 
of growing meetings and many convincements. 

Work was begun in several other of the West Indian 
plantations though we have few details. Early in the 
year 1656 Mary Fisher, John Rous, and Peter Head had 
paid a visit to the island of Nevis and planted the seed 
there. John Bowron, of Cotherstone in Durham, after 
carrying the Quaker message to the Orkneys, embarked 
there for the West Indies, and in the years 1657 and 
1658 visited Surinam, then an English plantation under 
Lord Willoughby. There he travelled for several hundreds 
of miles among the natives, who were mostly naked, and 
he was listened to with respect as " a good man come 
from far to preach the white man s God." 

" He went to their sort of worship, which was performed by 
beating upon holly-trees, and making a great noise with skins, 
like a sort of drums, and he declared the word of the Lord 
among them by an interpreter . . . and spake to their kings, 
who were arrayed with fish-shells hung about their necks and 
arms, and they spake to him in their language and confessed 
he was a good man come from far to preach the white man s 
God." i 

This was the earliest piece of what we should now 
call Foreign Missionary work. Two Friends visited 
Jamaica, which had been captured from the Spaniards in 
May 1655 by Admiral Pen n, the father of William Penn. 
As an English plantation it was just making headway 
against disease and the Spaniards when its capable Acting- 
Governor, Colonel Edward D Oyley, asked advice of 
Secretary Thurloe as to the correct treatment of Quakers. 
The letter is a charming revelation of the fair-minded 
but perplexed official who finds the real Quaker very 
different from the portrait drawn in malicious public 

"There are some people," he writes, 2 "lately come hither 
called Quakers, who have brought letters of credit and do 
disperse books amongst us. Now my education and judgment 

1 Piety Promoted, vol. i. p. 234. 

2 28th Feb. 1657/8, Thurloe State Papers, vol. vi. p. 834. 


prompting me to an owning of all that pretend any way to 
godliness and righteousness whereof these people have a very 
great appearance and the prints telling me that the heads of 
the people are contriving against the Government, and accounted 
conspirators against His Highness (so the book calls them), hath 
put me to some stand how to carry myself towards them, and 
numbly to seek your honour s directions, that my carriage in 
being tender to them, who are people of an unblameable life, 
and to whose acting I am a stranger, may not procure blame 
from him in whose service I am being desirous to steer my 
course to the interest I serve and to appear very heartily and 
clearly His Highness s faithful subject." 

In 1660 Richard Finder, of Ravenstonedale near 
Sedbergh, and George Rofe, of Halstead, carried the 
Quaker message to the Bermudas. They were received 
by many whose expectation was towards God, 1 and were 
soon holding three or four meetings a week to the great 
torment of the priests. A public dispute with the 
ministers of the main island was arranged by the Governor, 
after which they were freely tolerated and meetings 
increased greatly in several places. Several settled 
meetings were begun, " at which many knew where to 
wait to receive the Lord s secret strength." 

The growth of Quaker communities in the West 
Indian plantations, especially in Barbadoes, was followed 
with keen interest by English Friends. It shows the 
moral alertness of Fox s mind that as early as the year 
1657 he addressed an epistle " to Friends beyond sea that 
have Blacks and Indian Slaves." In this he points out 
that God hath made all nations of one blood and that the 
gospel is preached to every creature under heaven, " which 
is the power that giveth liberty and freedom and is glad 
tidings to every captivated creature under the whole 
heavens." And so, he says, " ye are to have the mind of 
Christ and to be merciful, as your heavenly Father is 
merciful." 2 In such language as this we find the germs 
of the testimony which in after years the Society of 
Friends bore on the subject of slavery. 

1 See Swarthmore Collection, iv. 39, containing documents from Finder, 1710 
August 1660, and from George Rofe somewhat earlier. 

2 Fox, Epistle No. 153. 



MANY famous ships have had their names imperishably 
woven into the story of the American colonies, and the 
coming of the precious human freight on the Mayflower, 
the Arbella, and the Welcome has profoundly shaped the 
current of western civilisation. But of all the ships 
which brought pioneer founders to these shores none ever 
brought passengers more bravely consecrated to the ideals 
for which they sailed, and none has left a stranger narrative 
of Divine guidance, than the ship Woodhouse, which 
brought the original " apostles " of Quakerism to New 
England. The captain s " log " is declared to be 

" A true relation of the voyage undertaken by me Robert 
Fowler, with my small vessel called the Woodhouse, but performed 
by the Lord, like as He did Noah s Ark, wherein He shut up a few 
righteous persons and landed them safe, even at the hill 
Ararat." l 

The action of the Massachusetts authorities against 
Quakers had made shipmasters wary of that kind of 
passengers. 2 They were very unprofitable cargo. It 
was evident that they must have a ship of their own 
if they were to carry out their designs in the New World. 

1 There is a manuscript of this extraordinary ship s log, endorsed by George 
Fox, in the Devonshire House Library in London, A. R.B. MSS. i. 

1 Soon after the banishment of the eight ministers, recorded in the last 
chapter, a ship brought Mary Dyer and Ann Burden to Boston, both of whom 
had become convinced of Quakerism in England. Mary Dyer s story will be 
told later. Ann Burden had come over to settle up the estate of her deceased 
husband, who had been a citizen of Boston. She, however, was not allowed 
to remain to collect her debts, and the master of the ship was compelled to carry 
her back. He was given the privilege of seizing a sufficient quantity of her 
goods to cover his charges, but he nobly declined to accept such an offer. 



Go they must ; for, as one of them wrote, " the Lord s 
word was as a fire and a hammer in me, though in the 
outward appearance there was no likelihood of getting 
passage." l At this juncture of affairs, Robert Fowler of 
Bridlington, a Quaker convert of four years standing, 
who had been " one of the first fruits unto God in the 
east parts of Yorkshire," felt it laid upon him to build 
a ship " in the cause of truth," and as he was building 
it, " New England was presented " before him. He was 
a member of Holderness Monthly Meeting, and the 
ancient minute book of that meeting quaintly says that 
" the power of the Lord wrought mightily in Robert 
Fowler, and others who gladly received the word of life," 
and it continues " the Lord anointed them with his Spirit, 
and that led them into truth and righteousness, and some 
were fitted to labour in his vineyard." The boat which 
he felt himself called to build was only a small craft, far 
too small for ocean service, but the builder was deeply 
impressed that the God of the waters could guide it, as 
He did Noah s Ark, and he brought it up to London 
and offered it for the hazardous voyage. 2 Eleven Friends, 
"firmly persuaded of the Lord s call" to New England, 
were eagerly waiting for a means of passage, and they 
thankfully accepted what seemed to them a " providential 
ship." Six of them were of the former party, already 
expelled from Boston. 3 These were Christopher Holder, 
John Copeland, William Brend, Sarah Gibbons, Mary 
Wetherhead, and Dorothy Waugh. Christopher Holder 
at the time was a resident of Winterbourne in Gloucester- 

1 Letter of Henry Fell to Margaret Fell, igth of February 1657, in the 
Swarthmore Collection i. 68. 

2 There is a manuscript in the Swarthmore Collection (i. 397) which contains 
the following items of " Monies Disbursed for the Service of Truth." 

"To New England " 

For Provisions for voyage 

Paid to the Master for part of his freight 
For bedding and other things 
In money .... 
To Wm. Brend 

,, M. Wetherhead . 

, , Sarah Gibbons 

30 o o 
12 8 o 

35 4 4 
i 10 8 
4 10 

8 Thomas Thurston, who was of the former party, took another way of 
reaching Boston, as we shall see ; Mary Prince found another field of service, 
no less romantic and no less hazardous, in the East. 


shire, "a well-educated man of good estate," who had 
already been well tested in suffering for his faith, having 
passed a term of imprisonment in "ye gayle in Ilchester." 
John Copeland was also well educated, and, like Holder, 
in the early prime of life. He was a native of Holderness 
in Yorkshire. William Brend was, in the language of 
the time, " an ancient and venerable man," " known to 
many as one who feared God in his generation." He 
had come to manhood in the days of Queen Elizabeth, 
but was still of an iron constitution and an indomitable 
spirit. Sarah Gibbons was a young woman whose early 
history is obscure, and whose years of service were cut 
short by the untimely sinking of a canoe in which she 
was making a landing at Providence in 1659 "but," 
writes one of her friends, " she was kept faithful to the 
end." Mary Wetherhead was a young woman from 
Bristol, who, after her short period of dangerous service 
in New England, was shipwrecked and drowned with two 
of her companions, Richard Doudney and Mary Clark. 
Dorothy Waugh had been a serving-maid in the family 
of John Camm of Preston Patrick, where she was " con 
vinced and called to the work of ministry." l During the 
intervening period before her voyage in the Woodhouse, she 
had been in many jails in various parts of England. She 
was not as well equipped intellectually as her companions 
were, and she was apparently not over judicious, 2 but she 
had an intensity of zeal and considerable power in ministry. 
The new volunteers were William Robinson, Humphrey 
Norton, Richard Doudney, Robert Hodgson, and Mary 
Clark. William Robinson was a London merchant, a 
young man of education, successful in his affairs, and 
possessed of a fine and lofty spirit, ready to endure to 
the death for his soul s vision of truth. Humphrey 
Norton first comes into notice in 1655. He had, before 
sailing in the Woodhouse, performed an extensive service 
in Ireland, where he had learned how to suffer severe 
persecution. He had, too, shown his fearless spirit in 

1 See First Publishers of Truth, p. 255. 

2 Mary Prince writes to George Fox, " I was ensnared by D. Waugh, but I 
am out through the love of God." Swarthmore Collection, iv. 58. 


the proffer of himself as a substitute prisoner to take 
the place of George Fox who was lying in Launceston. 
In April 1656 he wrote to Fox: "The want of thy 
showing forth unto Israel lies now upon me," and he 
declares that he is ready to lay down his life for his 
imprisoned friend, and that he is going to Cromwell to 
offer himself body for body. 1 He wrote, with the help 
of two other Friends, the earliest account we have of the 
first publishing of Quakerism in New England. 2 

Richard Doudney s life is unknown previous to his 
American visit, and there are no biographical details 
available. His friends describe him as " an innocent 
man who served the Lord in sincerity." Robert Hodgson 
is likewise an obscure character. The most impressive 
event of his life known to us is told in the chapter on 
the Planting of Quakerism in New York. There are 
hints in existing letters that he was not always wise in 
propagating the truth, and there are rumours that he 
" headed a rent in Rhode Island," but these mutterings 
of criticism and jealousy in the little band must not be 
taken too seriously, for they are too commonly the sins 
of the saints to create surprise here. 

Mary Clark was the wife of John Clark, a London 
tradesman, and had come into fellowship with Friends 
about the time of their rise in London. She had already 
endured much for her faith, and much was still reserved 
for her in America. 

William Dewsbury boarded the Woodhouse off the 
Downs, 3rd June 1657, and gave the band a word of 
encouragement. He wrote two days later to Margaret 

" They were bold in the power of the Lord and the life did 
arise in them .... many dear children shall come forth in 
the power of God in those countries where they desire to go." 3 

On the way to London from Holderness two of the 
sailors of the Woodhouse had been " impressed " for naval 

1 Journal, i. 318. The letter is given in full in the Cambridge Journal, 

2 H. Norton s New England s Ensign, 1659. 

3 Letter in the Caton Collection of MSS. in Bowden, vol. i. p. 68. 


service, and Robert Fowler was left with only two men 
and three boys to man his ship for the voyage. At 
Portsmouth, however, he succeeded in completing his 
crew, though the old sea-captains there remarked that 
they would not go to sea in such a small vessel if Fowler 
would give it to them. Fowler s " log " tells us in curious 
metaphorical language that while they were waiting at 
Portsmouth, " some of the ministers of Christ went on 
shore and gathered sticks, and kindled a fire and left 
it burning," which means that they made converts and 
started a meeting there. " At South Yarmouth again 
we went ashore and in some measure did the like," i.e. 
left more sticks burning. An interesting letter from 
William Robinson to Margaret Fell sent from Portsmouth, 
refers to the kindling of this fire, and indicates that two 
more Friends were expected for the voyage. They were 
probably Joseph Nicholson and his wife who reached 
New England later. 1 The letter says : 

"I thought it meet to let thee know that ye ship that 
carries friends to new ingland, is now riding in Portsmouth 
harbour : we only stay for a faire winde : ye two friends : ye 
man and wife, which thou tould me off when I was at Swarthmore, 
I heare nothing of their cominge to London as yet. 

" Robert Hotchin is with me at this place for we came heather 
this afternoon to have a meeting at this place seinge ye wind is 
at present contrary, but we intend if the Lord permitt to returne 
back again to ye ship to-morrow." 2 

Finally, about the middle of June, " leaving all hope 
of help as to the outward," the little vessel struck out 
on its course. " The Lord caused us to meet together 
every day," the quaint narrative says, " and He Himself 
met with us, and manifested Himself largely unto us, so 
that by storms we were not prevented [from meeting] 
above three times in all our voyage," and in these 
meetings they believed that they had definite " openings " 
as to how to steer the ship. 

On one occasion, as they " were taking counsel of the 

1 There is an entry in the Kendal accounts in June 1657 of expenses "for 
Joseph Nicholson and his wife for New England." 

2 Swarthmore Collection, iv. 126. 


Lord, the word from Him was, Cut through and steer 
your straightest course and mind nothing but me. " At 
another time when they believed themselves beset by men 
of war, Humphrey Norton, who seems to have been the 
" oracle " of the party, had a revelation in the morning 
that " they were nigh unto us that sought our lives " but 
with it came the assurance : 

"Thus saith the Lord, ye shall be carried away as in a mist. . . . 
Presently we espied a great ship making toward us, but in the 
very interim, the Lord God fulfilled his promise wonderfully to 
our refreshment." "Thus it was all the voyage," the log 
continues. "The faithful were carried far above storms and 
tempests, and we saw the Lord leading our vessel as it were a man 
leading a horse by the head, 1 we regarding neither latitude nor 
longitude [stc], but kept to our Line [i.e. our Light] which was 
and is our Leader, Guide, and Rule." 

Two openings of great comfort were granted to the 
little group which assured them that they were being 
guided toward the land they sought. The first inward 
sight came, as the narrative puts it : 

"When we had been five weeks at sea, when the powers of 
darkness appeared in the greatest strength against us, having 
sailed but about three hundred leagues, Humphrey Norton, 
falling into communion with God, told me that he had received 
a comfortable answer, and that about such a day we should land 
in America, which was even so fulfilled." 

The other opening came a little before land was sighted : 

" Our drawing had been all the passage," the account says, 
"to keep to the southward, until the evening before we made 
land, and then the word was, Let them steer northwards until 
the day following, and soon after the middle of the day there 
was a drawing to meet together before our usual time and it 
was said to us that we should look abroad in the evening ; and 
as we sat waiting before the Lord, they discovered land." 

They found that they were " in the creek which led 
between the Dutch Plantations and Long Island, whither 
the movings of some Friends called them." 

1 This was a common figure to express complete Divine guidance. William 
Edmundson says that he was brought to a place where he was needed, by the 
good hand of God, as a horse is led by the bridle." 


" The power of the Lord fell much upon us and an irresistible 
word came unto us, That the seed in America shall be as the 
sand of the sea. It was published in the ears of the brethren, 
which caused tears to break forth with fulness of joy." 

Robert Hodgson, Richard Doudney, Sarah Gibbons, 
Mary Wetherhead, and Dorothy Waugh, were put on 
shore at New Amsterdam (now New York City), 
" whither they had movings," and the rest of the party 
passed on towards Newport, meeting their closest danger 
in the passage through Hell-gate a danger which, the 
" log " says, was revealed in a vision both to the master 
of the vessel and to Robert Hodgson, several days before. 
The little band of " apostles " finally arrived safely at 
Newport, the 3rd of August. 

It is evident that these spiritual Argonauts took 
themselves very seriously. The Lord "led their ship, 
as a man leads a horse by the head," and He steered 
their vessel " as He did Noah s Ark to the hill Ararat" 
Every danger was "opened" to them in advance, and 
they were landed where they wished to be. One sees 
at once that we are dealing here with " enthusiasts " and 
not with every-day matter-of-fact voyagers. They had 
no question that they were " sent," that they were "guided," 
that they were the Lord s prophets, and in this faith we 
shall see them meet their dangers and carry through their 
commission. This Fowler document, like many another 
writing of the Friends in this earliest period, contains 
many occurrences of a semi-miraculous sort. They are 
carried away from their enemies in a mist, and they are 
told how to steer even when they know little or nothing 
of latitude and longitude. Religious literature furnishes 
many illustrations of the way in which a group of persons 
living on the verge of ecstasy, and exalted by enthusiastic 
faith, read the miraculous into ordinary happenings, and 
are unaware of actions which they themselves perform 
in a kind of subconscious state. There is no necessary 
reason to conclude that this " log " is consciously improved 
by the writer of it ; it is almost certainly a naive but 
honest account written by an enthusiast, who is so sure 


of the Lord s leading that he unconsciously belittles his 
own knowledge of nautical affairs. 

Humphrey Norton s account of his own "conversion 
experience " gives us a pretty good glimpse of the type of 
persons we have before us. He says, speaking of his 
" convincement and call " : 

" In my distress when gross darkness covered me I heard 
a cry that Light was broken forth and that there was a measure 
of it given to every man, but so dark was I and so grossly blind, 
that what this Light was I knew not ; nor amongst all professors, 
priests nor others, had I ever heard it spoken of, nor preached 
for salvation. Then called I to question all that ever I had read 
or heard, to the last tittle of my old belief. . . . My desire to 
live justly and to enjoy God, set me to inquire after this new Light 
and what effect it had amongst such as did believe in it. I heard 
that it did convince of sin ; and, being believed in, obeyed and 
followed, led out of all manner of uncleanness. Then said I 
in my heart, if so, it should not want following, for I was weary 
of my sin, yea I loathed my life." "And believing in this 
Light ... I have obtained mercy, peace with God, redemption 
from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, have been made an heir 
to His kingdom, a member of His body, a minister of His Spirit, 
and an inheritor of His Eternal rest, blessed forever." l 

Rhode Island was the most favourable and receptive 
spot in North America for them to light upon. It had 
been preparing, as we have seen, through a score of years 
for exactly the seed that was now to be sown. Here at 
last was a little corner of the earth consecrated to 
freedom of belief and worship, where one could follow his 
inward Light without fear of dungeon or gibbet. A 
letter from Rhode Island was sent in 1658 to John 
Clarke, the Agent of the Colony, to secure a charter from 
the English Government, urging him to plead " that we 
may not be compelled to exercise any civil power over men s 
consciences, so long as human orders in point of civilisation 
are not corrupted and violated." The letter continues : 

" We have now a new occasion . . . because a sort of people 
called by the name of Quakers have come amongst us, and have 
raised up divers who seeme at present to be of their spirit. . . . Wee 
have found noe just cause, to charge them with the breach of 

1 The Ensign, pp. 2-3. 


the civill peace, only they are constantly goeinge forth amongst 
them about us and vex and trouble them in poynt of religion 
and spirituall state, though they returne with many a fowle scarr 
in their bodies for the same." l 

Anne Hutchinson herself was dead, but those who 
had shared her views and had gone into exile with her 
were admirable material for a Quaker meeting. Mary 
Dyer, Anne Hutchinson s closest friend in her hour of 
hard trial, had just returned from England to her home 
in Rhode Island, having had her first taste of Boston 
jail on her landing. While in England she had become 
" convinced " of the truth of the Quaker message, had 
thrown in her lot with the new Society, and had already 
been recognised as a minister of that faith. She was 
thus a dynamic Quaker nucleus to begin with. Some of 
the foremost families among the founders of the Rhode 
Island Colony William Coddington, Joshua Coggeshall, 
son of John, Nicholas Easton and his son John, and 
Walter Clarke, son of Jeremiah Clarke, an original 
founder, appear to have accepted the Quaker faith as 
soon as they heard it, and at once became pillars in the 
first Quaker meeting in the New World. With them 
came over to Quakerism, it would seem, a large number 
of the inhabitants of the island, and the pilgrims from the 
Woodhouse must have thought that their dream of a 
" seed like the sand of the sea-shore " was well on its 
way to be realised ! 2 Only four years from the time of 

1 Colony Records of Rhode Island, vol. i. pp. 396-397. 

2 Callender in his Historical Discourse says : "In 1657 some of the people 
called Quakers came to this Colony and Island ; and being persecuted and 
abused in the other Colonies, that together with the opinions and circumstances 
of the people here, gave them a large harvest ; many, and some of the Baptist 
Church [of which Callender was a member] embraced their doctrines and 
particular opinions, to which many of their posterity, and others, still 
adhere." p. 118. 

John Rous, 7th Nov. 1657, writing from Rhode Island, challenged Governor 
Endicott to arrange for a meeting with the Massachusetts officials for a free 
discussion of the Quaker faith, and he asks Endicott to send his answer to 
Nicholas Easton who was thus already a convinced Friend. Ensign, p. 59. 

Peterson says, in his History of Rhode Island, under date of 1656 (it should be 
1657): "This year some of the people called Quakers came to this Colony, 
being persecuted and abused in the other Colonies, and many of the principal 
inhabitants embraced their doctrines, among whom were William Coddington, 
Nicholas Easton and his two sons, Philip Shearman, Adam Mott, and many 
others (p. 36). 


the landing of these " Argonauts " at Newport, an annual 
meeting was established on the island, to which the 
Friends, springing up in scattered parts of New England, 
largely through their labours, came year after year a 
meeting which, under the name of " The Yearly Meeting 
for Friends in New England," has had a continuous 
history to the present day. 1 

The cordial reception which the settlers on Rhode 
Island gave the Quakers, and the formation here of a 
base of operations and a quiet retreat from the storms of 
persecution, at once aroused the Puritan colonies. They 
had formerly refused to admit Rhode Island as a member 
of the Union of New England colonies, but now they 
showed themselves eager for co-operation in the face of 
common danger which menaced their peace, if not their 
spiritual empire. On the I2th of September 1657 
the Commissioners of the United Colonies, " being in 
formed that divers Quakers are arrived this summer at 
Rhode Island which may prove dangerous to the 
Colonies," " thought meet to manifest their minds " in a 
letter to those in authority in Rhode Island. 

" We suppose," they wrote, " you have understood that 
last year a companie of Quakers arrived in Boston upon 
noe other account than to disperse theire pernicious 
opinions," and then they recount how by " prudent care " 
they have seen to it that " all Quakers, Ranters, and such 
notorious heretiques might be prohibited coming among 

1 There seems no uncertainty about the year in which this meeting was 
established. George Bishop says: "About that time [i.e. 1661] the General 
Meeting at Rhode Island, about sixty miles from Boston, was set up and 
you [the inhabitants of Boston], made an Alarm that the Quakers were 
gathering together to kill the people and fire the town of Boston ! " New 
England Judged, p. 351. John Burnyeat also gives valuable testimony in his 
Journal. He writes : "I took shipping for Rhode Island, and was there at their 
Yearly Meeting in 1671 which begins the ninth of the Fourth month (June, new 
style) every year and continues much of a week, and is a General Meeting once a 
year for all Friends in New England." Burnyeat s Journal (Barclay s reprint), 
p. 196. George Rofe appears to have been the "beginner" of this Yearly 
Meeting. He was in New England in the summer of 1661 and he writes from 
Barbadoes of that visit : " We came in [i.e. landed] at Rhode Island, and we 
appointed a General Meeting for all Friends in those parts, which was a very 
great meeting and very precious, and continued four days together and the Lord 
was with His people and blessed them. There is a good seed and the seed 
will arise." George Rofe to Richard Hubberthorne, A.R.B. Collection, No. 62 
(Devonshire House, London). 


us " and that " such as arise from amongst ourselves " 
shall be " removed." " But," they continue, " it is by 
experience found that meanes will fall short without 
further care by reason of your admission and receiving 
of such, from whence they may have opportunity to 
creep in amongst us, or meanes to infuse and spread 
their accursed tenates to the great trouble of the 
colonies, if not to the subversion of the lawes professed 
in them." " To preserve us," this is their appeal, " from 
such a pest, the contagion of which within your colony 
were dangerous, we request that you take such order 
herein that your neighbors may be freed from that 
danger, that you remove those Quakers that have been 
receaved, and for the future prohibite their cominge 
amongst you." l 

The Rhode Island answer, signed by Benedict Arnold, 
President of the Colony, I3th October 1657,15 a dignified 
refusal to swerve from the settled policy of toleration. 

"Our desires are," they say, "in all things possible, to 
pursue after and keepe fayre and loveing correspondence and 
entercourse with all the colonys," and they add that they will 
return all persons that " fly from justice in matters of crime " 
" but as concerning these which are now among us, we have no 
law among us whereby to punish any for only declaring by words, 
their mindes and understandings concerning the things and ways of 
God, as to salvation and an eternal condition." . . . "And as to 
the dammage that may in likelyhood accrue to the neighbor 
collonys by theire being here entertained, we conceive it will 
not prove so dangerous as the course taken by you to send 
them away out of the country as they come among you." 2 

This letter, above quoted, was sent by the " Court of 
Trials." Five months later the General Assembly of the 
colony sent a Letter to Governor Endicott of Massachusetts 
to be imparted to the Commissioners of the United 
Colonies in which the principle of freedom is again as 
stoutly asserted : " Freedom of conscience we still prize 
as the greatest hapines that man can posess in this 
world." Quakers, they say, as all other people who 

1 Records of the Colony of Rhode Island, \. 374-376. 
2 Ibid. i. 376-378. 


come to Rhode Island, must be subject to all civil duties 
and preserve peace and justice, and if the aforesaid 
Quakers fail in these respects " to the corruptings of 
good manners and disturbinge the common peace and 
sosieties " 

" We shall present the matter unto the supream authority of 
England, humbly craveing their advice and order, how to carry 
ourselves in any further respect towards these people soe that 
therewithall theire may be noe damadge or infringement of that 
chiefe principle in our charter concerninge freedom of consciences, 
and we alsoe are soe much the more encouraged to make our 
addresses unto the Lord Protector, for that we understand there 
are or have beene many of the foresayed people suffered to live 
in England ; yea even in the heart of the nation." l 

It was thus settled from the start that the Quakers 
were to be absolutely safe in Rhode Island, if nothing 
could be urged against them except peculiarity of 
religious opinions, and the time was not far distant when 
they were to become the actual rulers of the Colony, as 
we shall see. But, as the Letter from the " Court of 
Trial " of Rhode Island says, the Quakers were not 
satisfied to stay where there was no opposition. 2 

This was, however, not because they liked opposition 
and enjoyed a fight, but because they believed that they 
had come over to America under a commission from the 
Most High to sow their seed of truth in the soil of 
Massachusetts. They rejoiced in the spread of truth on 
the safe island in the Narragansett, and they were glad 
to see the " seed " spring up there, but they were 
especially thankful for a safe base of operations for the 
more strenuous campaign for which they had come over ; 
and it was just because this " campaign " was proving 
effective that that Letter from the Commissioners of the 
United Colonies was written. 

A Letter of John Copeland s, written a week after the 
Woodhouse came into Newport, says : 

1 Records of the Colony of Rhode Island, i. 378-380. 

2 We finde that in those places where these people aforesaid, in this Colony 
are most of all suffered to declare themselves freely, and are only opposed by 
arguments in discourse, there they least of all desire to come." Op. cit. p. 377. 


" Christopher Holder and I are going to Martha s Vineyard 
in obedience to the will of our God, whose will is our joy. 
Humphrey Norton is at present in Rhode Island, Mary Clark 
is waiting to go toward Boston ; William Brend is towards 
Providence. The Lord God of Hosts is with us, the shout of a 
King is amongst us ; the people fear our God ! " x 

Mary Clark had come over under a " special moving " 
to bear her testimony in Boston. She was, as Bishop 
tells us, "the mother of children, having a husband in 
England whom she left, being moved to come unto you." 2 
She delivered her message, but it was answered by twenty 
stripes of a three-corded whip, " laid on with fury," then 
with twelve weeks of prison silence, and then she was 
sent out of the jurisdiction in winter season, probably 
back to Rhode Island. 3 A little later she went to her 
death by shipwreck. 

Holder and Copeland were to have more visible fruit for 
their labour. They went, as planned, to Martha s Vineyard 
where they met only stern rebuff from the white settlers, 
though the Indians were kind to them, took them in, saying, 
" you are strangers and the Lord has taught us to love 
strangers," 4 and finally carried them in their canoes to the 
mainland of Massachusetts. The travellers started now 
directly on foot through the woods for Sandwich, which, 
like Newport, was receptive soil for their truth, partly 
owing, perhaps, to the quiet work of Nicholas Upsall 
who had spent the preceding winter there in exile. 6 

1 Quoted from Bov/deristfistory of Friends in America, vol. i. p. 67. William 
Robinson was apparently labouring in Rhode Island though he is not mentioned. 

2 New England Judged, p. 50. See also Besse s Sufferings, vol. ii. p. 181. 

8 Mary Clark was the first Quaker woman in America to suffer whipping for 
her religious views. She had many followers, however. 

4 Norton s Ensign, p. 22. 

8 A magistrate of Plymouth Colony calles Nicholas Upsall the instigator 
of all this [Quaker] mischief." History of Bamstable County, p. 169. I am 
convinced that there were a number of centres in the Plymouth Colony where 
there were "seekers" and where there was no loyal support for the existing 
system. There is in existence a Letter from the Governor and Magistrates of 
Massachusetts which supports this view. It is dated 2nd Sept. 1656, and was 
written to the Commissioners of the United Colonies, telling of the arrival of Quakers 
who are " fitt Instruments to propogate the Kingdome of Sathan," and urging the 
"beloved Brethren and Naighbors of the collonie of Plymouth" to make 
preparation for guarding against "such pests." The Letter says that there is a 
great lack in Plymouth Colony of " a due acknowledgement of and encouragement 
to the Minnesters of the Gosspell." There has been apparently "a crying downe 


" Their arrival," Bowden says, " was hailed with feelings 
of satisfaction by many who were sincere seekers after 
heavenly riches, but who had long been burdened with a 
lifeless ministry and dead forms of religion." l Sandwich 
was a town of Plymouth Colony and if it had its " sincere 
seekers," it also had its proportion of persons who stood 
for the status quo. Humphrey Norton has given us a 
lively account of the commotion : 

" Great was the stir and noise of the tumultuous town, yea, 
all in an uproar, hearing that we, who were called by such a 
name as Quakers, were come into those parts. A great fire was 
kindled and the hearts of many did burn within them, so that in 
the heat thereof some said one thing and some said another ; 
but the most part knew not what was the matter." 2 

The two Quaker missionaries, after two trips to the 
town of Plymouth, one of them a forced trip, and after 
being " conveyed six miles " toward Rhode Island by a 
constable who hoped in vain that they would not come 
back were finally arrested " as extravagant persons and 
vagabonds," and conveyed fifty miles in the direction of 
Rhode Island, with a threat of being whipped, if they ever 
returned, which thing they were pretty certain to do ! 
They had made only a short visit in the town of Sandwich, 
but the results of it were great. A number of the 
leading townspeople were convinced by this first visit 
and were henceforth ready to risk goods and lives for 
their new views of truth, a risk they were very soon 
called to face. One of the magistrates of the town 
writing the year following December 1658 says that 
the Quakers " have many meetings and many adherents, 
almost the whole town of Sandwich is adhering towards 
them." 8 The records show that seventy- five persons 
were presented in court during that year for attending 
" meeting," and this in spite of the fact that there was a 
fine of forty shillings placed upon every person who 

of minnestry and rainnesters" and the Letter declares that the way to meet this 
"new engine of Sathan " is to "reinstate a pious orthodox minnestry" 
Plymouth Records, vol. ii. p. 156. 

1 Of. cit. i. 71. 2 Ensign, p. 22. 

8 Letter of Justice James Cudworth, printed in Besse, ii. p. 191, and in New 
England Judged, p. 168. 


allowed a Quaker meeting in his house and a fine of ten 
shillings for every " hearer " who attended, " yea and if 
nothing be spoken at the meeting, as it sometimes falls 
out ! " x 

The extent of the " convincement " comes to light 
in a passage from Cotton Mather s Life of Rev. 
Samuel Newman : " How many straits he underwent in 
that dark day when he was almost the only minister 
whose invincible patience held out under the scandalous 

1 See Cudworth s Letter. The first law against the Quakers in the Plymouth 
Colony was passed in 1657 and is an interesting "relic." It is as follows: 
"Whereas there hath severall psons come into this Gov r ment comonly called 
Quakers whose doctrines and practises manifestly tends to the subversion of the 
foundamentals of Christian Religion, Church Order and Civill peace of this 
Gov r ment as appeers by the Testimonies given in sundry depositions and 
otherwise. It is therefore enacted by the Court and the Authority thereof that 
noe Quaker or pson comonly soe called bee entertained by any pson or psons 
within this Gov r ment under the penaltie of five pounds for every such default or 
bee whipt ; It is also enacted by this Court and the Authority therof that if any 
Rantor or Quaker or pson comonly soe called shall come into any towne 
within this Gov r ment, and by any pson or psons bee knowne or suspected to bee 
such the pson so knowing or suspecting him shall forthwith acquaint the 
Constable or his deputie of them on paine of Presentment and soe liable to 
cencure in Court whoe [i.e. the magistrate] forthwith on such notice of them or 
any other Intelligence hee shall have of them shall dilligently endeavor to 
apprehend him or them and bring them before some one of the majestrates whoe 
shall cause him or them to bee comitted to Goale, there to be kept close 
prisoners with such victualls onely as the Court aloweth untill he or they shall 
defray the charge both of theire Imprisonment and theire Transportation away ; 
Together with an engagement to returne into this Gov ment noe more or else to 
be continewed in close durance till further orders from the Court. And forasmuch 
as the meetings of such psons whether strangers or others proveth disturbing to 
the peace of this Gov r ment. It is therefore enacted by the Court and the 
Authority thereof that henceforth noe such meetings bee assembled or kept by 
any pson in any place within this Gov r ment under the penaltie of forty shillings a 
time for every speaker and ten shillings a time for every hearer that are heads of 
families and forty shillings a time for the owner of the place that pmits them soe 
to meet together ; and if they meet together att theire silent meetings soe called 
then every pson soe meeting together shall pay ten shillings a time and the owner 
of the place forty shillings a time." Plymouth Records, vol. xi. pp. 100-101. In 
1658, it was decreed : " Noe Quaker or Rantor or any such corrupt pson shall 
be admitted to be a freeman." "All such as refuse to take the oath of 
fidelitie as quakers shall have noe voat or shall be imployed in any place of 
trust" (ibid. p. 100). In 1659 it was declared " that many persons in Plymouth 
Colony are being corrupted by reading Quaker books, writings and Epislles 
which are widely distributed, " it was therefore decreed that all such books shall 
be seized (ibid. p. 121). In 1660, it is noted that the Quakers "have bine 
furnished with horses and thereby they have made speedy passage from place to 
place poisoning the Inhabitants with their cursed tennetts," it is therefore decreed 
that " if any one shall furnish them with a horse or horse kind, the same shall be 
seized on for the use of the government" (ibid. p. 126). In June 1661 it was 
decreed that " Quakers and such like vagabonds" shall "bee whipt with rodds 
soe it exceed not fifteen stripes " and made to depart the government " (ibid. 
pp. 129-130). 


neglect and contempt of the ministry which for a while 
the whole country of Plymouth was bewitched into ! " 

It appears from Justice Cudworth s Letter that the 
Court had just imposed fines amounting to one hundred 
and fifty pounds on the new Quaker disciples, and yet they 
steadily increased in number. A poor man, himself lame, 
father of seven or eight children, had his two cows taken 
from him for attending meeting. " What are you going 
to do now ? " the marshal! asked, as he drove away the 
cows. " God who has given me these will still provide 
for us," was the poor man s answer, and he stood by his 

One of the most dramatic incidents of the period was 
the convincement of Isaac Robinson and his influence in 
the formation of a Quaker centre in Falmouth. He was 
a son of the famous " Separatist " pastor, John Robinson. 
In 1659 the General Court of Plymouth sent Isaac 
Robinson and three others to attend Quaker meetings 
in order to endeavour to " reduce them from the error 
of their ways." 1 Instead of convincing the Quakers 
of error, he himself became convinced of their truth, 
embraced their doctrines and was dismissed from civil 
employment in the Colony. He was faithful to his 
father s advice to "expect the breaking out of more 
light ! " Finding life now uncomfortable in his old home 
he, with thirteen others, sailed around the cape to the 
Succoneset shore, where he built the first house in 
Falmouth and became a leader of the Quaker group in 
this town. 

The beginning was thus made. Almost simultaneously 
two Quaker meetings sprang into being, one in Newport 
and the other in Sandwich, and when Christopher Holder 
and John Copeland returned to Newport they had the 
satisfaction of feeling that there were at least two live 
centres in the new land. Holder and Copeland had 
hardly left the Plymouth Colony when another Woodhouse 
passenger, Humphrey Norton, appeared there and carried 

1 Records of Plymouth Colony, xi. p. 124. It is an interesting fact that one 
of John Winthrop s sons, Samuel, joined Friends. 


forward the work the other two had begun. He, too, was 
soon in the hands of the authorities, and was charged 
with holding the doctrine of a Light within sufficient for 
salvation. His answer was that the Scriptures say that 
" the Grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared 
unto all men," and they also say that this " Grace is 
sufficient." " This little grain," the Ensign says, " stopped 
the lion s mouth." Norton was thereupon conveyed fifty 
miles toward Rhode Island, and as he went out of the 
Colony, William Brend came in, to continue the work. 
The latter, together with John Copeland and Sarah 
Gibbons, who joined him, soon formed a very live Quaker 
circle in the town of Scituate. They won to their cause 
a noble-minded magistrate named Timothy Hatherly, but 
notwithstanding his friendship they were given a cruel 
scourging before they got away from the Colony. 1 

After an unusually terrible experience in New Haven, 
where he was flogged and branded with an H, Humphrey 
Norton went once more into Plymouth Colony. 2 Before 
going forth on this second expedition to the country of 
the Pilgrims, Norton passed through a profound inward 
experience of God s " call " to Plymouth, attended with 
an overwhelming sense that sufferings were awaiting him 
there. John Rous, who had recently arrived from 
Barbadoes, 3 was his companion on this perilous journey. 
They reached Plymouth the first of June 1658, and were 
immediately arrested and imprisoned. The examination 
of their doctrines failed to show them to be "heretics," 
though Governor Prince called them " Papists and Jesuits 
and inordinate fellows," but they were finally brought 

1 It is a persistent tradition that the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony did not 
persecute other Christians who differed from them in faith. If they had not been 
powerfully urged to take extreme measures to guard their heritage perhaps they 
would have given the freedom which they came to seek. But any one who believes 
that they did not persecute would soon have that idea expelled by reading either 
Norton s Ensign or Bishop s New England Judged. One is sorry to discover 
that John Alden was one of the magistrates who took part in the harrying of the 
Quakers in Plymouth Colony. 

a He tells us that, during this New Haven ordeal when the spectators thought 
he was being killed, he so felt the Presence of the Lord that he was as if covered 
with balm." Ensign, p. 51. 

1 John Rous, William Leddra, and Thomas Harris came together to New 
England from Barbadoes near the end of 1657. 


under sentence for refusing to take an oath a very 
common trap for catching a Quaker when no criminal 
charge could be established. For this fault they were 
scourged, though the people thronged about them to 
shake their hands and as usual they advanced their cause 
by their sufferings for it. " This persecution," writes John 
Rous, " did prove much for the advantage of truth ; for 
Friends did with much boldness own us openly in it, and 
it did work deeply with many." It must have done so, 
for the whole southern part of Massachusetts was, as we 
shall see, honeycombed with Quakerism by the year 1660. 



NEARLY simultaneously with the invasion of Plymouth 
Colony and of Newport by the Quaker missionaries, 
William Brend, the veteran missionary of the Woodhouse 
party, had been proclaiming his Truth in the city of 
Providence and the surrounding regions. Roger Williams, 
though heroically devoted to liberty of thought and 
speech, was by mental constitution and temperament 
impervious to the message of the Friends. He was by 
natural bent of mind unmystical, and he had no sympathy 
with the idea of inward personal revelations. He was as 
ready as any of the great theologians of Massachusetts to 
give his reasons for the hope that was in him, and he stood 
possessed of a very definite set of doctrines and practices, 
which were to his mind essential to a right conception of 
Christianity, but, like Gamaliel and unlike most of his 
contemporaries, he was willing to allow others to try their 
faith undisturbed. 

There were others in the Providence community, 
however, who were already predisposed to the Quaker 
Truth. The most important person in the prepared circle 
at Providence was Catherine Scott, a sister of Anne 
Hutchinson. She was the wife of Richard Scott, a man 
of considerable standing and influence in the colony at 
the head of Narragansett Bay. The Quaker missionaries 
always seem guided by an unerring instinct to prepared 
families like this one of Richard Scott s, and here in this 
home the first conquests to the new faith in Providence 
were made. We shall hear later of the heroic mettle of 
the women of this household. 



The next locality to be selected for missionary effort 
was the town of Salem. Like Newport and Sandwich 
this historic town already had a little company of 
spiritually-minded people who were dissatisfied with a 
" covenant of Works," and who longed for the day-dawn 
and for the arising of the Day Star in their hearts. There 
is a remarkable passage in a letter written in 1657 from 
Barbadoes by Henry Fell to Margaret Fell of Swarthmore 
Hall, in which he mentions Plymouth Colony and Salem 
as two places where a spiritual " seed " can easily be 

"In Plimouth patent," he says, "there is a people not soe 
ridged as the others at Boston and there are great desires among 
them after the Truth. Some there are, as I hear, convinced 
who meet in silence at a place called Salem. Oh truly great is 
the desire of my soule towards them and the love that flows out 
after them dayly, for I see in the Eternal Light the Lord hath a 
great worke to do in that nation." l 

There is an interesting passage bearing on this Salem 
group, in Cotton Mather s Magnalia : 

" I can tell the world that the first Quakers that ever were in 
the world were certain fanaticks here in our town of Salem, who 
held forth almost all the fancies and whimsies which a few years 
after [Mather thinks Quakerism began in England in 1652] were 
broached by them that were so called in England, with whom yet 
none of ours had the least communication" * 

There had been influences at work in Salem for a 
score of years which tended to form such a group as 
that here revealed. Roger Williams, though only a lay- 
preacher, had been chosen minister of the Salem Church 
in 1 63 1, and, after a period of similar service in Plymouth 
Colony, had been invited back to Salem as minister in 
1634. Though not a mystic and not encouraging faith 
in inward guidance, yet he was a powerful advocate 
of " independency " in religion the absolute separation 
of religion from State control and he insisted that every 
act of religion should be a personal matter, belonging 

1 Letter in Swarthmore Collection, i. 66. 

2 Magnalia (Hartford ed. of 1853), ii. 523. 


within the private domain of the worshipper himself. He 
was utterly opposed to tithes or to any forced support of 
religion. That he had many supporters in Salem is 
beyond question, and there can be no doubt that his 
powerful personality and his vigorous exposition carried 
many members of the Church out of the ruts of orthodoxy. 
There were, too, many immigrants in Lynn and Salem 
who were of the " Seeker " type, others who held the 
position of the Anabaptists, persons who had come thither 
expecting to find freedom for their " seeking " and for 
their independent views. One of the most prominent 
persons of this type was Lady Deborah Moody, who was 
forced to migrate to Long Island, where we shall again 
meet her. 1 Many of her sympathisers went with her, 
but many also remained behind and quietly cultivated 
their freer and more liberal form of religion. In such 
ways and under such influences there had developed in 
this stronghold of orthodoxy a fellowship of persons who 
were in positive dissent from the established form of faith 
and practice, and who were ready to follow the lead of the 
Quaker messengers. 

It is a mystery how the news of this " spiritual circle " 
in Salem got to Barbadoes in 1657, for no Friends had 
yet been there, but it is probable that Mary Fisher and 
Ann Austin heard of it while they were in Boston and 
carried the report back with them. In any case, it was 
true ; and as soon as Christopher Holder and John 
Copeland had accomplished their first piece of work in 
Plymouth Colony "where there were desires after the 
truth" they started out from Rhode Island (which Henry 
Fell, in the above-mentioned letter, says the Puritans called 
" the island of error ") for the more hazardous enterprise 
in Salem, where the little group of "convinced wor 
shipers" were waiting for encouragement. They seem 
to have sought out in secret the persons who were favour 
ably inclined to their message before they made their 
risky appeal to the Salem public. Humphrey Norton says 
that they told their little group of listeners "the things 

1 Book II. chap. i. 



which they had seen and heard and their hands had handled 
of the word of life" which means that they did what all 
true religious leaders do, they endeavoured to transmit an 
experience rather than to discourse on abstract doctrines, 
and he tells us further that " the Word was soon ingrafted 
in their hearers," so that in a short time they, too, became 
" possessors of the same experience and fellow-sufferers 
with their teachers ! " - 1 

But they were not content to do their work in a corner. 
They hoped, somewhat vainly as the sequel showed, that 
they could carry conviction in a public address. 
Christopher Holder, " moved of the Lord," as Bishop tells 
us, rose on Sunday morning, in Salem Meeting (2ist Sep 
tember 1657) "after the priest had done," to speak a few- 
words in the line of the latter s " message." Speaking in 
public after the minister had finished was a common 
practice and a recognised privilege in Puritan times, 
but it was a bold proceeding for a Quaker to under 
take in the home town of Endicott ! He had hardly 
started when he was seized by the hair and " his mouth 
violently stopped with a glove and handkerchief thrust 
thereinto with much fury by one of the church members, 
a commissioner." 2 

The two visitors were taken to Boston on Monday and 
there received thirty stripes apiece with a three-cord 
knotted whip, which cut their flesh so cruelly that a woman 
spectator (for such things were done in public) fell in a 
faint. They were then put in a bare cell, with no bedding, 
and kept three days and nights without food or drink, 
and in addition were imprisoned nine weeks, in New 
England winter weather, with no fire. And by a special 
order of the Governor and Deputy-Governor, though there 
was no existing law to give warrant for it, the prisoners 
were severely whipped twice each week, the first punish 
ment consisting of fifteen lashes and each successive one 
being increased by three lashes. 3 As this order was issued 

1 Norton s Ensign, p. 60. a New England Judged, p. 50. 

s The law of I4th October 1656 provided that Quakers coming into the 
jurisdiction of Massachusetts should be committed to the house of correction and 
at their entrance should be severely whipped. 


when two weeks of the imprisonment had passed, the 
total number of lashes endured by these long -suffering 
men at this time would be three hundred and fifty-seven ! 

When the glove and handkerchief were being thrust 
into Holder s mouth, Samuel Shattuck, apparently one of 
the " dissenting circle," pulled away the hand of the 
commissioner to keep Holder from being choked. He 
was at once arrested as a " friend of Quakers," taken to 
Boston, and put under bond not to go to any meetings of 
the Quakers and to answer at the next Court. It was 
soon found that the Quaker visitors had been entertained 
in the home of Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick, who 
were evidently the leaders of this little " circle " in Salem. 
They, too, were taken to Boston. The husband was 
turned over to the authorities of his Church to be dealt 
with, but Cassandra was imprisoned seven weeks and 
then fined forty shillings for having in her possession a 
" paper on Truth and the Scriptures " which her guests 
had written. This " paper " was almost certainly " a 
Declaration of Faith and Exhortation to obedience," 
issued by Christopher Holder and John Copeland, and 
signed also by Richard Doudney, who had meantime 
found his way into Massachusetts and had been arrested 
because " his speech betrayed him " and made his hearer 
judge him a Quaker disciple. He was thus joined again 
with his fellow-travellers Holder and Copeland, and was a 
signer of the " Declaration on Truth and the Scriptures." 

This is the earliest formal Declaration of Faith issued 
by any of the Quaker messengers either in the Old or the 
New World. It is a strikingly orthodox document, and 
approaches as nearly as possible to the theological views 
then in vogue in the Churches. 

"We do believe," it declares, "in the only true and living 
God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . who at sundry 
times and in divers manners, spake in time past to our fathers 
by the prophets, but in these last days hath spoken unto us by 
His Son . . . the which Son is that Jesus Christ that was born 
of the Virgin ; who suffered for our offenses, is risen again for 
our justification, and is ascended into the highest heavens and 
sitteth at the right hand of God the Father : Even in Him do 


we believe, who is the only begotten Son of the Father, full of 
grace and truth. And in Him do we trust alone for salvation ; 
by whose blood we are washed from sin. [We believe in] the 
Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth that proceedeth from the Father 
and the Son, by which we are sealed and adopted sons and 
heirs of the Kingdom of heaven, by which Spirit the Scriptures 
of Truth were given forth. . . . The Scriptures we own to be 
a true declaration of the Father, Son and Spirit, in which is 
declared what was from the beginning, what was present and 
was to come." 

The writers of this document were evidently en 
deavouring to disarm their theological opponents by 
showing that they were " sound " on the fundamental 
tenets of universal Christian belief, and they shrewdly put 
these points of agreement in the foreground of their 
Declaration, and only at the end of the paper touched 
upon their own peculiar doctrine of " the Light which 
showeth you the secrets of your hearts and the deeds 
that are not good." " While you have the Light," they 
say in conclusion, " believe in the Light that you may be 
children of the Light, for, as you love it and obey it, it 
will lead you to repentance, bring you to know Him in 
Whom is remission of sins. . . . This is the desire of our 
souls for all that have the least breathing after God, that 
they may come to know Him in deed and truth and find 
His power in them and with them." * 

If this Declaration was prepared, as appears, to be a 
conciliatory document and to quiet the opposition, it was 
a complete failure. Another paper, written " against the 
persecuting spirit, with a warning against those who 
indulge in it" a paper no longer extant was issued 
about the same time by the three Friends, and was 
peculiarly resented by the ministers of the Colony. In 
fact it was the discovery of that paper which brought the 
extra lashes, before mentioned, on the prisoners in the 
Boston jail. But even the possession of the conciliatory 
document proved a criminal offence in the case of 
Cassandra Southwick, for, as we have seen, she was kept 

1 This Declaration was first brought to light by Goold Brown the grammarian, 
and is printed in full in Bowden i. 91-92. 


seven weeks a prisoner and was fined forty shillings " for 
having and owning to the truth of the Paper the strangers 
had written." 

The Southwicks, " a grave and aged couple," together 
with some of their friends, revolting from this spirit of 
persecution, now withdrew entirely from the Church 
services in Salem, and met on " First-days " in each others 
houses for " quiet waiting on the Lord." l The Southwicks 
were apprehended, catechised on "the sufficiency of the 
Light within," which they admitted, and were put in the 
House of Correction. They were thereafter constantly 
harried and fined to the verge of poverty, and finally 
banished from the Colony. After their banishment two 
of their children, Daniel and Provided, having no estates 
to cover their fines, were ordered to be sold into slavery, 
though no shipmaster could be found to execute the order. 2 

The Christian spirit of these Salem Quakers comes 
out beautifully in a Letter which they wrote from their 
prison in Boston : 

" For our part, we have true peace and rest in the Lord in 
all our sufferings, and are made willing in the Power and Strength 
of God, freely to offer up our lives, in this cause of God for 
which we suffer, yea, and we do find, through Grace, the 
enlargement of God in our imprisoned estate, to Whom alone we 
commit ourselves and families, for the disposing of us according 
to His infinite wisdom and pleasure, in whose Love is our Rest 
and Life."* 

It is evident that the converts to Quakerism in the New 

1 Besides the Southwicks and Samuel Shattuck, Joshua Buffum and wife and 
son Joseph, John Small, John Burton, Edward Harnet, Nicholas Phelps (whose 
home was in Ipswich), Edward Wharton, Samuel Gaskin, John Daniels, Joseph 
Pope and wife, Anthony Needham and wife, George Gardner, Thomas Bracket, 
Henry Trask and wife belonged to this Salem circle (see Annals of Salem ii. 
399 and New England Judged, pp. 56-64). Besse also speaks of twelve persons, 
unnamed, who were fined for not attending Church and presumably joining with 
Friends. Besse ii. 188. 

2 The details of the attempted sale of the two Southwick children are given in 
Besse ii. 197 and in New England Judged, pp. 107-112. Whittier has told 
the incident in his "Cassandra Southwick." The order to sell Daniel and 
Provided Southwick " to any of the English nation at Virginia or Barbadoes" is 
in the Records of Massachusetts Colony, vol. iv. part i. p. 366. 

3 There is ground for a suspicion that Cassandra Soutbwick and some others 
of the Salem group were inclined to adopt extreme ascetic views regarding the 
marriage relation. She seems to have held the opinion that to have children 
after the flesh was to fall from the higher life in the Spirit. See Joseph 


World immediately rose to the heroic spirit and the complete 
confidence in God and their Cause which characterized 
the Quaker " apostles " who came among them. After 
the arrest of Holder, Copeland, Shattuck, and the South- 
wicks in September 1657, a new law against Quakers 
was passed, I4th October 1657, defining the punishment 
which was to be meted out to the persons who are 
called " the cursed sect of Quakers." x It inflicted a 
fine of one hundred pounds on any one who should bring 
a Quaker into the Colony ; forty shillings for every hour 
that any one should entertain or conceal a Quaker, and it 
provided that any Quaker returning after having once 
suffered should, if a man, have an ear cropped ; for a 
second offence the other ear, and for a third have his 
tongue bored with a hot iron ; if the offender was a 
woman she was to be severely whipped and on the third 
offence to have her tongue bored. 

By May of 1658, the eleven who came over in the 
Woodhouse, and in addition John Rous, William Leddra, 
and Thomas Harris of Barbadoes, and Mary Dyer of 
Rhode Island, were all at work in New England. 2 Thomas 
Harris made his way to Boston, where he was arrested, 
flogged, and imprisoned. William Brend and William 
Leddra pushed on to Salem, where they held a meeting 
in the woods, but were surprised and carried off. William 
Brend, though the oldest of the band of missionaries, was 
called to pass through the most cruel sufferings that were 
meted out in Boston to any prisoner. The tale is too 
awful to tell in detail, but the inhumanity can be judged 
from the fact that one incident in his round of torture 
consisted of one hundred and seventeen blows on his bare 
back with a tarred rope. He was found dying " his 
body having turned cold " and " his flesh having rotted " 

Nicholson s Letters to Margaret Fell. Swarthmore Collection, iv. 107-108. 
Major Hawthorne of Salem reported that he had heard "Consander Southteck" 
say that she was greater than Moses, for Moses had seen God but twice, and 
then only His back parts, but that she had seen Him three times face to face ! 
Massachusetts Archives, vol. x. p. 264. 

1 Records of Massachusetts Colony, vol. iv. part i. p. 398. 

2 In August six of the missionaries left New England for Barbadoes. They 
were William Leddra, Thomas Harris, William Brend, Robert Hodgson, Sarah 
Gibbons, and Dorothy Waugh. 


and a physician was hurried in to treat his mangled 
body and implored to save his life, for the magistrates 
were now thoroughly frightened by the impression which 
their brutality was making on the citizens of Boston. 
John Norton, however, was still stout in his remorseless 
attitude, saying of William Brend : " He endeavoured to 
beat the gospel ordinances black and blue, and it was but 
just to beat him black and blue." 1 ^ When John Rous 
and Humphrey Norton heard what their aged friend was 
passing through they felt impelled to go to Boston. Upon 
their arrival they went to hear John Norton s sermon. 
One could hardly expect them to appreciate it. Here is 
John Rous account of the visit to the Church : 

" Humphrey Norton and I were moved to go into the great 
meeting-house at Boston upon one of their lecture days, where 
we found John Norton their teacher set up, who, like a babbling 
Pharisee, ran over a vain repetition near an hour long. When 
his glass was out he began his sermon, wherein, among many 
lifeless expressions, he spake much of the danger of those called 
Quakers, a flood of gall and vinegar instead of the cup of cold 
and refreshing water ! How often hungry souls have been 
deceived by him I leave to that of God in their consciences to 
judge." 2 

Humphrey Norton adds to the reader : " Thou mayest see 
the husks on which the New England priests feed their 
flocks ! " They were almost immediately arrested, 
imprisoned, and flogged. Rous has left an account of one 
week s tale of suffering : 

" On the Second-day (Monday) they whipped six Friends 
[Salem colonists who had attended the meeting] ; on the Third-day 

1 The Ensign, p. 78. 

8 Ensign p. 55. The Magistrates had enjoined Rev. Mr. John Norton to 
prepare a document to manifest the evill of theire [the Quaker] tenets and the 
dainger of theire practices," and to answer their writings by which "divers of 
weak capacities are deceived. " Records of Massachusetts Colony, vol. iv. part i. 
p. 348. Norton s "Declaration" was published in 1659 under the title "The 
Heart of New England Rent at the Blasphemies of the present Generation." He 
tries to prove that the Quakers are offspring of the Miinster fanatics, and he says : 
"The Wolf which ventures over the wide sea, out of a ravening desire to prey 
upon the sheep ; when landed, discovered, and taken hath no cause to complain, 
though for the security of the flock he be penned up, with that door opening into 
the fold fast shut, but having another door purposely left open, whereby he may 
depart at his pleasure, either returning from whence he came, or otherwise 
quitting the place." 


of the week the gaoler laid William Brend .... neck and heels, 
as they call it, in irons, as he confessed, for sixteen hours ; and 
on the Fourth-day the gaoler gave W. B. 117 strokes with a 
pitched rope : on the Fifth-day they imprisoned us, and on the 
Seventh-day we suffered. The beating of W. B. did much work 
in the town, and for a time much liberty was granted, for several 
people came to us in the prison, but the enemy, seeing the forward 
ness and love in the people towards us, plotted, and a warrant 
was given forth that if we would not work we should be whipped 
once in every three days, and the first time have fifteen stripes and 
the second time eighteen, and the third time twenty-one. So 
on the Second-day was a se ennight after our first whipping, four 
of us received fifteen stripes apiece, the which did so work 
with the people that on the Fourth-day after we were released, so 
we returned to Rhode Island." 

In his letter already quoted, which he dates " from 
the Lion s den called Boston prison," 3rd September 
1658, John Rous gives a graphic review of the work which 
had so far been accomplished in the face of a most 
vigorous and relentless persecution : 

" Truth is spread here above two hundred miles, and many 
in the land are in fine conditions, and very sensible of the power 
of God, and walk honestly in their measures. And some of the 
inhabitants of the land, who are Friends, have been forth in the 
service, and they do more grieve the enemy than we, for they 
have hope to be rid of us, but they have no hope to be rid of 
them. We keep the burden of the service off from them at 
present, for no sooner is there need in a place, but straightway 
some or other of us step to it, but, when it is the will of the 
Father to clear us of this land, then will the burden fall on them. 
The Seed in Boston and Plymouth Patents is ripe, and the weight 
very much lies on this town, the which being brought into sub 
jection to the Truth, the others will not stand out long. The 
Seed in Connecticut and Newhaven Patents is not as yet ripe, 
but there is a hopeful appearance, the gathering of which in its 
time will much redound to the glory of God. We have two 
strong places in this land, the one at Newport in Rhode Island, 
and the other at Sandwich, which the enemy will never get 
dominion over, and at Salem there are several pretty Friends in 
their measures. . . . There are Friends, few or more, almost 
from one end of the land to the other that is inhabited by the 
English." i 

1 Letter of John Rous to Margaret Fell, 3rd September 1658. Swarthmore 


Sarah Gibbons and Dorothy Waugh had, in the early 
spring of this same year, accomplished an almost im 
possible journey. They travelled on foot from Newport 
" in great storms and tempests of frost and snow " 
what we should call March blizzards all the way to 
Salem. " They lodged in the wilderness day and night 
through which they cheerfully passed to accomplish the 
will and work of God to their appointed place, where 
their message was gladly received." l They had two weeks 
of undisturbed labour among those who " gladly received 
their message," and then they "felt moved" to try 
Boston, where they received the usual barbaric whipping 
which " tore their flesh," and they then were allowed to 
go away again to Rhode Island, which to the Friends of 
that period was the "habitation of the hunted-Christ, 
where we ever found a place of rest when weary we 
have been." 2 

A still more astonishing journey was made in the 
summer of 1658 by Josiah Coale and Thomas Thurston, 
the latter of whom had been in the party of eight that 
landed in Boston in 1656. They came over from 
England to Virginia, where they published their message, 
and then travelled all the way on foot from Virginia to New 
England " through uncouth passages, vast wildernesses, 
uninhabited countries, deemed impassable for any but the 
Indians." " For outward sustenance," writes Josiah 
Coale " we knew not how to supply ourselves, but without 
questioning or doubting, we gave up freely to the Lord, 
knowing assuredly that His presence was with us ; and 
according to our faith so it was, for His presence and love 
we found with us daily." 3 They touched the hearts of 
the wild Susquehanna Indians, who not only gave them 
" courteous entertainment " but also accompanied them to 
the Dutch Settlement in New Amsterdam and nursed 
Thomas Thurston through a dangerous illness. 4 Through 
such hardships they came, because they too felt " the fire 
and the hammer " in their souls. Josiah Coale was one of 

1 The Ensign, p. 15. 2 The Ensign, p. 69. 

8 Josiah Coale s Letter to George Bishop. Bowden, i. 123. 
4 New England Judged, p. 29 ; and Besse ii. 196. 


the finest spirits among the entire band of " publishers of 
Truth" in the colonies. He was born about 1633, "of a 
highly respectable family," near Bristol, and, like so many 
of his generation, he passed through a deep travail of soul 
before he found peace. He had revolted in his youth from 
formal religion, and he nowhere could find anything which 
answered to his heart s need. " How to come into the 
way of life," he says, " I was still a stranger." At length, 
under the ministry of John Audland and John Camm in 
Bristol in 1654, he found " the way of life," and gave him 
self up into God s service, to follow whithersoever he might 
lead. " He baulked no danger," wrote William Penn of 
him, " and he counted nothing too dear for the service of 
his Lord." He possessed a rare and unusual gift in ministry, 
and at his best he powerfully carried conviction. When 
the occasion called for it his speech was " like an ax, a 
hammer, or a sharp piercing sword," and then again it 
became " soft and pleasant, like streams of immortal life 
running through him." In prayer he was favoured with 
surpassing grace and power, and often seemed transported 
as he pleaded for the Light to break upon souls who were 
in the dark. l During his brief period of labour in New 
England he devoted himself especially to the Indians in 
Martha s Vineyard and in Plymouth Colony. He had 
lived much among the Indians on his long journey, and 
he had in a peculiar way the key to the Indians hearts. 
They loved him, trusted him, and " had true breathings to 
know his God." As soon as he turned from the Indians 
" to sound the day of the Lord " among the colonists he 
met a different reception. He was dragged from a 
Friend s house in Sandwich and was committed to prison, 
where he appears to have remained until his departure 
from the Colony. 

Christopher Holder, John Copeland, and John Rous 
were the first to suffer under the law of October 1657. 
After his release from the terrible imprisonment recorded 
above, Christopher Holder took passage for the West 

1 See William Penn s "Testimony Concerning Josiah Coale," Introduction to 
Coale s Works (1671). 


Indies ; where he probably spent the winter, 1 but he 
continually felt " the fire and the hammer " within him, 
and was eager to be back where his friends were risking 
their lives and where he knew he was needed. In 
February 1658, he sailed from Barbadoes by way of 
Bermuda for Rhode Island, and after a period of labour in 
this safe field he put out again with his old-time com 
panion, John Copeland, to face the dangers of the stern 
Massachusetts law. They were arrested in August 1658 
in the town of Dedham and brought before Governor 
Endicott in Boston, who said, " You can be sure that your 
ears will be cut off." John Rous, who meantime had 
been labouring in Rhode Island, and had returned to the 
field of danger, was seized about the same time and was 
brought to trial with the other two. " There was a great 
lamenting for me by many when I came again," he says, 
" but they were not minded by me. I was much tempted 
to say I came to the town to take shipping to go to 
Barbadoes, but I could not deny Him who moved me to 
come hither, nor His service, to avoid sufferings." After 
a frivolous examination in theology, they were sentenced 
to lose an ear apiece. 

Among those who came to be spectators of the 
execution of this barbaric sentence was Catherine Scott 
of Providence " a grave and sober ancient woman of 
good breeding, education and circumstances, of unblame- 
able conversation." 2 She was, as we have seen, a sister of 
Anne Hutchinson, 3 and had been the first to become a 
Friend in Providence, and she had come to Boston to 
show her sympathy with the sufferers. She was the 
mother of many children, all of whom became Friends, 
for as John Rous beautifully expressed it, " the power of 
God took place in all her children." Her daughter Mary 
was later to become the wife of Christopher Holder. 
Because Catherine Scott made too free critical comments 
on the execution of the ear-cropping, she was given ten 
stripes and was told, in words heavy with sinister meaning, 

1 A letter from Peter Evans mentions service by Holder in St. Christopher 
and Nevis during the winter of 1658. Swarthmore Collection, iii. no. 

2 New England Judged, p. 94. 3 See Winthrop i. 352. 


that " if she came hither again there was likely to be a 
law to hang her." Her brave answer was : " If God calls 
us, woe to us if we come not. I have no question that 
He whom we love will make us not count our lives dear 
unto ourselves for His name s sake." " We shall be as 
ready to take away your lives as you will be to lay them 
down," was the ominous reply of Endicott. 1 

At the General Court of Massachusetts, held the I pth 
of October 1658, the final step was taken to end, if 
possible, the " inroads " of " this pernicious sect." Whip 
pings, fines, ear-croppings, and imprisonment had proved 
utterly futile. Still the Quakers came just as though 
they were wanted. When John Rous and Humphrey 
Norton heard of William Brend s terrible sufferings, they 
started at once for Boston, as we have seen, because they 
could not eat or sleep for their desire " to bear their part 
with the prisoners of hope, for a testimony of Jesus." 2 
What could be done with such men ? Neal was right 
when he said : " Such was the enthusiastic fire of the 
Quakers that nothing could quench it." 8 

The only thing left to be tried was the penalty of last 
resort death. The clergy of the Colony, especially John 
Norton, must be held primarily responsible for this 
extreme law of i658. 4 It was passed with much 
difficulty, and was carried in the House of Deputies by a 
majority of only one, and was from the first unpopular in 
general with the lay citizens. 5 The law, largely composed 
of railing and abuse against the Quakers, contained this 
clause : " And the said person, being convicted to be of 
the sect of the Quakers, shall be sentenced to banishment, 
upon pain of death" 6 It was now to be settled whether 
anything could " quench their enthusiastic fire." 

1 New England Judged, p. 95. 2 Ensign, p. 79. 

8 Neal, History of New England, i. 306. 4 See New England Judged, p. 86. 

5 A few citizens were in favour of stern measures. See Petition in Massa 
chusetts Archives, x. 246. 

6 This law is to be found in full in Records of Massachusetts Colony, vol. iv. 
part i. p. 345. The first official recommendation of the death penalty was made 
at the meeting of the Federal Commissioners of the United Colonies, held in 
Boston in the autumn of 1658, with Endicott presiding. A resolution was passed 
denouncing the Quakers as blasphemers, and recommending the several colonies, 
which they represented, to pass laws making it a capital offence for banished 
Quakers to return. 


The native leaders of the Salem group were the first 
to receive sentence under the capital law. After two 
years of almost constant persecution, the chief members 
of the new society were banished from the jurisdiction of 
Massachusetts by Order of the General Court held the 
nth of May 1659.* 

Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick found their way 
to Shelter Island, near the eastern end of Long Island, 
which was a safe refuge for persecuted Friends, for it was 
owned and governed by Nathaniel Sylvester, a Friend. 
Here they peacefully lived in their new-found faith for 
a brief period, and quietly finished their earthly course. 
Joshua Buffum, another of the group, moved to Rhode 
Island, while Samuel Shattuck, Nicholas Phelps, and 
Josiah Southwick made their way to England through 
Barbadoes. They appear to have landed in Bristol in 
February 1660, where they found themselves once more 
in a storm centre of persecution. William Dewsbury has 
given us a vivid picture of the scene. On the 7th of 
February a meeting was held at the house of Edward 
Pyott in Bristol while a great mob filled the streets 
around, storming to break up the meeting which, in spite 
of the noise and fury, was " precious in the life of the 
Lord who filled His tabernacle with His glory in which 
Friends parted with joy in the Lord." In the evening 
the mob attacked the house in which the banished 
Friends were staying, and where William Dewsbury was 
spending the evening with them. The news had just 
arrived of the martyrdom of William Robinson and 
Marmaduke Stephenson (soon to be recounted), and the 
little group of Friends were sitting bowed with grief 
while the mob raged outside. Dewsbury says : 

" We were bowed down before our God, and prayer was made 
unto Him, when they knocked at the door. It came upon my 
spirit it were the rude people, and the Life of God did mightily 
arise, and they had no power to come in till we were clear before 
our God. Then they came in setting the house about with 
muskets and lighted matches, so after a season of time they 

1 Records of Massachusetts Colony, voL iv. part i. p. 367. See also ibid. p. 349. 


came into the room where I was, and Amor Stoddard with me : 
I looked upon them when they came into the room [and] they 
cried as fast as they could well speak, we will be civil, we will 
be civil. I spake these words, see that you be so. They run 
forth of the room and came no more into it but run up and 
down in the house with their weapons in their hands, and the 
Lord God, who is the God of His seed . . . caused their hearts 
to fail and they pass[ed] away, and not any harm done to any 
of us." 1 

The next day the Friends visited George Bishop, 
whose home was in Bristol, making their way through the 
mob who were " struck at their hearts by the majesty of 
God and stood gazing upon us." One can easily imagine 
the author of New England Judged seizing this opportunity 
to get at first hand the details of the sufferings of which 
he was to be the historian. 

For a brief time there was a solemn pause before the 
Massachusetts law was put to a supreme test, but there were 
heroic spirits quite ready for the worst the law could do. 
Every Friend in the ministry in America had undoubtedly 
read and had been moved by George Fox s remarkable 
Epistle written from Launceston Prison, an Epistle which 
shows in the writer the highest marks of spiritual leader 
ship : 

" Let all nations hear the sound by word or writing. Spare no 
place, spare no tongue nor pen, but be obedient to the Lord God ; 
go through the work : be valiant for the truth upon earth ; and 
tread and trample upon all that is contrary. . . . The ministers 
of the Spirit must minister to the spirit that is in prison, which 
hath been in captivity in every one, that with the Spirit of Christ 
people may be led out of captivity up to God, the Father of 
spirits, [may] do service to him, and have unity with him, with 
the scriptures and one with another. ... Be patterns, be 
examples in all countries, places, islands, nations, wherever you 
come, that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of 
people, and to them ; then you will come to walk cheerfully over 
the world, answering that of God in every one." 2 

The unconquerable spirit of the leader had infused itself 

1 Letter of Dewsbury to Margaret Fell (Swarthmore Collection, iv. 134) ; and 
Letter of A. Parker to Margaret Fell (Swarthmore Collection, i. 169). The date 
of Dewsbury s letter is fixed by internal evidence. 

2 Journal, i. 315. 


into the entire band of " publishers," and they were sure in 
the end to defeat the law makers. In September 1659 
William Robinson, Marmaduke Stephenson, Mary Dyer, 
and a little girl of eleven years, named Patience Scott, 
daughter of Richard and Catherine Scott of Providence, 
were apprehended as Quakers. This child of eleven had 
come on foot from Providence, under a definite " moving 
of the Lord," as she believed, " to bear her testimony 
against the persecuting spirit." William Robinson was a 
Woodhouse voyager. Marmaduke Stephenson was a 
Yorkshire farmer who was on a religious mission in 
Barbadoes when he heard of " the law to put the servants 
of the living God to death," and he heard within himself 
" the word of the Lord, saying Go to Boston. " l He 
was one of a party of eight Friends who at this crisis 
formed a second apostolic expedition to the American 
colonies. 2 Mary Dyer was the wife of William Dyer of 
Newport, and a type of person whose fire was not likely 
to be quenched by the terror of statutes ! Nicholas Davis 
of Plymouth Colony had come to Boston on business 
about the same time and, being a Quaker, was caught in 
the same drag-net. The little girl from Providence proved 
mighty in her childish wisdom, and " confounded the 
lawyers and doctors," but she was declared to have " an 
unclean spirit " and was turned over to her family as too 
young to come under the law. The other four were 
banished "on pain of death the I2th of September 
1659." Nicholas Davis returned home, and so, too, for 
the moment did Mary Dyer. The other two started 
directly for Salem and went about the work to which 
they felt called, travelling as far as New Hampshire. 
The same day Christopher Holder was seized in Boston, 

1 Letter from Boston prison, in New England Judged, p. 133. 

2 See letters of Henry Fell, Peter Pearson, Robert Malins, Peter Cowsnocke, 
and Philip Rose in the Swarthmore Collection. Peter Cowsnocke was from the 
Isle of Man, and with Philip Rose and Edward Teddes, both Warwickshire 
Friends, seems to have been lost at sea on the passage from Barbadoes to Rhode 
Island. (Henry Fell to Fox, Swarthmore Collection, iv. 182 ; Nicholson to 
Margaret Fell, 3rd April 1660, Swarthmore Collection, iv. 107 : and record 
cited in William White s Friends in Warwickshire, p. 23). Henry Fell, Robert 
Malins from Bandon, Ireland, Ann Cleaton, Marmaduke Stephenson, and Peter 
Pearson, another Yorkshireman, were the other five of the party. 


when on his way to England, was kept in prison two 
months, and then banished " on pain of death." l 

While he was still in prison, Mary Dyer came to 
Boston in company with Mary Scott and Hope Clifton 
of Providence, and five days later William Robinson and 
Marmaduke Stephenson, having returned from their 
eastern journey, were apprehended. With these men 
there were a number of other Friends who had been 
" convinced," and who came up with them to Boston, 
" moved of the Lord," as the old account has it, " to look 
your bloody laws in the face and to accompany those 
who should suffer by them." 2 

In this strange group of volunteers were Daniel Gould 
of Newport, Robert Harper of Sandwich, William King, 
Hannah Phelps, Mary Trask, Provided Southwick, and 
Margaret Smith of " the first fruits " of Salem, and Alice 
Cowland, who brought linen with her to wrap the dead 
bodies of those who were to be martyred ! 8 

It is easy for us, at this comfortable distance, in an 
ordered society in which one believes what he wants to 
believe or peradventure believes nothing at all to say 
that these Friends walked of their own accord into the 
lion s den, that they knew the teeth of this new law would 
bite, and that they should have remained in safe territory. 
That is undoubtedly true, but it indicates a superficial 
acquaintance with the spirit of these Quakers. There are 
persons, or at least there once were, who find all their 
life-values altered and all their utilitarian calculations 
shifted by an inner impulsion which says irresistibly, 
" thou must ! " These Friends loved their lives and their 
homes as much as others did they would have preferred 

1 The death sentence is to be executed in case he be found within this 
jurisdiction three daies after the next shipp now bound thence to England be 
departed from this harbor." Records of Massachusetts Colony, vol. iv. part i. 

P- 39i- 

2 New England Judged, p. 119. William Robinson in a letter to George 
Fox says : " The Lord did lay it upon me to try their law." 

* These Friends were confined for two months and were then sentenced to 
receive the following punishments : Daniel Gould thirty lashes ; Robert Harper 
and William King fifteen each ; Margaret Smith, Mary Trask, and Provided 
Southwick ten each. Alice Cowland, Hannah Phelps, Mary Scott, and Hope 
Clifton were delivered over to the Governor to be admonished. 


the life of comfort to the hard prison and the gallows 
rope if they could have taken the line of least resistance 
with inward peace, but that was impossible to them. 
They were as sensitive to the call of duty as the musician 
is to the power of harmony ; they could no more ignore 
what seemed to them " the movings of the Lord " than a 
creator of beauty can ignore the laws of his art. They 
were not gifted with psychological analysis, and they did 
not raise the question whether these " calls " and " mov 
ings " were due to "auto-suggestion," or were actually 
from the mouth of God. They had learned to obey the 
visions which they believed were heavenly, and they had 
grown accustomed to go straight ahead where the Voice, 
which they believed to be Divine, called them. 

They were commissioned to plant the truth in Massa 
chusetts, and they " could not do otherwise " in this crisis 
than go up and " look the law in the face." Their course, 
I admit, was not " rational," in the narrow sense of 
rational, but the great life of loyalty and sacrifice never 
runs in any narrow groove of " pure " rationality. It 
cannot be explained and plumbed by utilitarian formulae, 
for life is always richer than any crystallised rules and 
concepts about it ; but it turns out in the sweeps of 
history that to die for a truth, to be loyal to vision even 
on the gallows, is as rational a course as that of the 
compromiser who saves his neck and puts up with half a 
truth ! 

In any case there can be no question that these 
banished Quakers who came back believed that they were 
" moved " to do so, and were convinced in their minds 
that the God who led them into danger would use their 
deaths to advance the truth more than their lives could 
advance it. It was plainly in this faith that they came. 

Here is William Robinson s testimony : 

"On the 8th day of the 8th Month, 1659, in the after part 
of the day, in Travelling betwixt Newport in Rhode Island and 
Daniel Gould s house, with my dear Brother, Christopher Holder, 
the Word of the Lord came expressly to me, which did fill me 
immediately with Life and Power, and heavenly Love, by which 



he constrained me, and commanded me to pass to the Town of 
Boston, to lay down my life, in his Will, for the Accomplishing 
of His Service, which He had to be performed at the Day 
appointed. To which heavenly voice I presently yielded 
Obedience, not questioning the Lord how He would bring 
the Thing to pass, since I was a Child, and Obedience was 
Demanded of me by the Lord, who filled me with living 
Strength and Power from His heavenly Presence, which at that 
time did mightily Overshadow me, and my Life at that time did 
say Amen to what the Lord required of me, and had Commanded 
me to do, and willingly was I given up from that time, to this 
Day, to do and perform the Will of the Lord, whatever became 
of my Body; for the Lord had said unto me, thy Soul shall 
rest in Everlasting Peace, and thy Life shall enter into Rest, for 
being Obedient to the God of thy life. I was a Child, and 
durst not question the Lord in the least, but rather was willing 
to lay down my Life, than to bring Dishonour to the Lord ; and 
as the Lord made me willing, dealing Gently and Kindly with 
me, as a Tender Father by a Faithful Child, whom he dearly 
Loves, so the Lord did deal with me in Ministering his Life 
unto me, which gave and gives me Strength to perform what the 
Lord required of me ; and still as I did and do stand in need, 
he Ministered and Ministreth more Strength, and Virtue, and 
heavenly Power and Wisdom, whereby I was and am made 
strong in God, not fearing what Man shall be suffered to do 
unto me." l 

Marmaduke Stephenson s testimony is of like import 
and is withal a beautiful account of a simple, guileless 
man s call to stern duty : 

"In the beginning of the year 1655, I was at the Plough in 
the east parts of Yorkshire in Old England, near the place 
where my outward Being was, and as I walked after the Plough, 
I was filled with the Love and the Presence of the Living God 
which did Ravish my Heart when I felt it ; for it did increase 
and abound in me like a Living Stream, so did the Love and 
Life of God run through me like precious Ointment, giving a 
pleasant Smell, which made me stand still ; and as I stood a little 
still, with my Heart and Mind stayed on the Lord, the Word of 
the Lord came to me in a still small Voice, which I did hear 
perfectly, saying to me, in the Secret of my Heart and Conscience, 
I have Ordained Thee a prophet unto the Nations. And at 

1 Written in Boston Gaol, igth of 8th month, 1659, in Bishop s New England 
Judged, pp. 127-129. 


the hearing of the Word of the Lord I was put to a stand, being 
that I was but a Child for a Weighty Matter. So at the time 
appointed, Barbadoes was set before me, unto which I was 
required of the Lord to go, and leave my dear and loving Wife 
and tender Children ; For the Lord said unto me immediately 
by his Spirit, That he would be a Husband to my Wife, and as 
a Father to my Children, and they should not want in my 
Absence, for he would provide for them when I was gone. And 
I believed that the Lord would perform what he had spoken, 
because I was made willing to give up myself to his Work and 
Service (with my dear Brother), under the Shadow of His Wings, 
who hath made us willing to lay down our Lives for His own 
name Sake. So, in Obedience to the Living God, I made 
preparation to pass to Barbadoes in the 4th month, 1658. So, 
after some time, I had been on the said Island in the Service 
of God, I heard that New England had made a Law to put the 
Servants of the Living God to death, if they returned after they 
were sentenced away, which did come near to me at that time ; 
and as I considered the Thing, and pondered it in my Heart, 
immediately came the Word of the Lord unto me, saying, Thou 
knowest not but that thou mayst go thither. But I kept this 
Word in my Heart, and did not declare it to any until the time 
Appointed. So, after that, a Vessel was made ready for Rhode 
Island, which I passed in. So, after a little time that I had 
been there, visiting the Seed which the Lord hath Blessed, the 
Word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Go to Boston, with 
thy Brother, William Robinson. And at His Command I was 
Obedient, and gave up myself to do His Will, that so His Work 
and Service may be accomplished; For, he had said to me, 
That he had a great Work for me to do; which is now come 
to pass : And for yielding Obedience to, and obeying the Voice 
and Command of the Everlasting God, which created Heaven 
and Earth, and the Fountains of Waters, Do I, with my dear 
Brother, suffer outward Bonds near unto Death. And this is 
given forth to be upon Record, that all people may know, who 
hear it, That we came not in our own Wills, but in the Will of God. 
Given forth by me, who am known to Men by the name of 

But who have a new Name given me, which 

the World knows not of, written in the 

book of Life. 1 

Written in Boston-prison 

in the 8th Month, 1659." 

1 New England Judged, pp. 131-133. 


Mary Dyer wrote in a similar strain : 

" I am by many charged with the guiltiness of my own blood, 
in my coming to Boston. But I am therein clear and justified 
by the Lord in whose will I came. ... I have no self -ends, the 
Lord knoweth, for if my life were freely granted by you, it would 
not avail me, so long as I should daily hear or see the sufferings 
of these people, my dear brethren and seed, with whom my life 
is bound up, as I have done these two years. ... It is not my 
own life I seek (for I choose rather to suffer with the people of 
God than to enjoy the pleasures of Egypt) but the Life of the 
seed which I know the Lord hath blessed. . . . Do you think 
you can restrain those whom you call cursed Quakers from 
coming among you, by anything you can do to them ! God 
hath a Seed here among you for whom we have suffered and yet 
suffer and the Lord of the harvest will send more laborers 
to gather this seed. In love and in the spirit of meekness, 


These three were brought before the General Court on 
the 1 9th of October and asked why they had come. 
" In obedience to the call of the Lord," was their answer. 
Governor Endicott was plainly embarrassed, and, hesitat 
ing to take the final step, he sent the prisoners back to 
the jail. The next day after the morning sermon which 
had called loudly for extreme measures with this " cursed 
sect," 2 the prisoners were called and given this sentence : 
" Hearken, you shall be led back to the place from whence 
you came and from thence to the place of execution, to 
be hanged on the gallows till you are dead." " The will 
of the Lord be done," was Mary Dyer s response. " Take 
her away, Marshall," called the Governor. " Yea, joyfully 
shall I go," answered the unmoved woman. 8 

The execution was set for the 27th. As the time 
approached the thoughtful people, those who loved free 
dom and had suffered in Old England for their own bold 
views, began to revolt in spirit against the violence and 
cruelty about to be enacted. Many were " amazed and 

1 New England Judged, pp. 288-291. a Ibid. p. 120. 

8 The death sentence of these three Friends is given in Records of Massachusetts 
Colony, vol. iv. part i. p. 383. The court ordered That the Rev. Mr. Zackery 
Simes and Mr. John Norton repair to the prison and tender their endeavours to 
make the prisoners sensible of their approaching danger and prepare them for 
their approaching end." Ibid. p. 383. 


wondered," in the quaint language of the day, " the thing 
struck among them." A multitude of citizens flocked 
about the prison on the morning of the execution, and 
" William Robinson put his head out of his window 
and spoke to the people concerning the things of God," 
and they listened with serious attention. 1 An officer 
endeavoured to disperse the crowd, but finding that he 
was unable to do it, he rushed to the prison " in a fret 
and heat, furiously hurling some of us down stairs, and 
shut us up in a low dark cub where we could not see 
the people." 2 Then there breaks out this fine account of 
the last moments together, written by one who was in 
the company : 

" Shut up in this dark and solitary place we sat waiting upon 
the Lord. It was a time of Love, for though the world hated us 
and despitefully used us, yet the Lord was pleased in a wonder 
ful manner to manifest His supporting Love and kindness to us 
in our innocent suffering. And especially the two Worthies 
[Robinson and Stephenson] who had near finished their course 
bore themselves with a heavenly cheerfulness and they spake 
many sweet and heavenly sayings of comfort." 3 

Lest the victims might speak and stir up the people 
again, drums were beat as they marched to the gallows. 
They did try to speak, but the drums made such a din 
that the people heard only the words, " This is the day of 
your visitation." But their faces spoke in spite of the 
drums, for " glorious signs of heavenly joy and gladness 
were beheld in their countenances." They walked hand 
in hand, with Mary Dyer in the middle. " Are you not 
ashamed to walk thus between two young men ? " asked 
the coarse official. " No," replied the exalted woman, 
" this is to me the hour of the greatest joy I ever had in 
this world. No ear can hear, nor tongue can utter and 
no heart can understand the sweet incomes and the 
refreshings of the Spirit of the Lord which I now feel." 4 

The doomed men, on the steps of the gallows, gave their 
last brief call to the people to follow the Light of Christ, 

1 " Daniel Gould s Narrative" in New England Judged, p. 476. Gould was 
a fellow- prisoner. 2 Ibid. p. 476. 

8 Gould s Narrative, ibid. pp. 476-477. * New England Judged, p. 134. 


and the two men sealed their faith with their lives. At 
the last moment Mary Dyer, her arms and legs already 
bound and her face covered with a handkerchief, loaned 
for the purpose by her old pastor of the Boston Church, 
the Rev. Mr. Wilson, was " reprieved." The sudden 
" reprieve " of Mary Dyer was in reality a piece of acting : 
there had been no intention of actually hanging her. 
John Winthrop, Jr., Governor of Connecticut, had pleaded 
with the magistrates of Boston, " as on his bare knees," 
not to hang the Quakers ; Governor Temple of Acadia 
and Nova Scotia had offered to take them away from 
Massachusetts and to provide for them at his own 
expense ; finally Mary Dyer s son, William Dyer, had 
begged for his mother s life. 

Under these circumstances the Court decided not to 
hang the condemned woman. The Colonial Records for 
1 8th October 1659 contain this order: 

" It is ordered that the said Mary Dyer shall have liberty for 
forty-eight hours to depart out of this Jurisdiction, after which 
time, being found therein, she is to be forthwith executed And 
it is further ordered that she shall be carried to the place of execution 
and there to stand upon the Gallows with a rope about her neck 
until the Rest be executed ; and then to return to the prison and 
remain as aforesaid." x 

She stubbornly refused to accept her life, if the law 
was still to remain against "the suffering seed." She 
was, however, set on horseback and carried away toward 
Rhode Island. After a short stay at home, she went on 
a religious visit to Shelter Island in Long Island Sound. 
We get one glimpse of her from John Taylor, who was 
labouring in Shelter Island at the time of this visit. He 
says : 

"One who came to Shelter Island was Mary Dyer. She 
was a comly woman and a grave matron and even shined in the 
Image of God. We had several brave meetings there together 
and the Lord s power and presence was with us gloriously." 2 

But " the fire and hammer " were in her soul and she 

1 Records of Massachusetts Colony, iv. part i. p. 384. 
2 Memoir of John Taylor, p. 21. 


could not stay away from " the bloody town of her sad 
and heavy experience." 

" She said," John Taylor tells us, " that she must go 
and desire the repeal of that wicked law against God s 
people and offer up her life there." She arrived in 
Boston the 2 1st of May 1660. "Are you the same 
Mary Dyer that was here before ? " asked Endicott. " I 
am the same." " You will own yourself a Quaker, will 
you not ? " " I own myself to be reproachfully so called." 
Then followed the expected sentence. 1 " This is no more 
than what thou saidst before." " But now," said the 
Governor, " it is to be executed." " I came," she said 
solemnly, " in obedience to the will of God at your last 
General Court, desiring you to repeal your unrighteous 
laws of banishment on pain of death ; and that same is 
my word now, and earnest request, although I told you 
that if you refused to repeal them, the Lord would send 
others of His servants to witness against them." 

Her husband, one of the foremost citizens of Rhode 
Island and a founder of the Aquidneck Colony, pleaded for 
his wife s life. 2 She was offered her life, as she stood on 
the ladder of the gallows, if she would return home. " Nay 
I cannot," was her firm answer. "In obedience to the 
will of the Lord God I came and in His will I abide 
faithful to death," She was asked if she would like one 
of the Elders to pray for her, and she answered in the 
simplicity of her spirit, " Nay, first a child, then a young 
man, then a strong man before an Elder," and then with 
words about her " eternal happiness " she went to meet 
the Saviour " in whose image she shined " even here 
below. 3 

The only other capital execution was that of William 
Leddra of Barbadoes 4 a strange place, we should think 
to-day, to furnish to the city of Boston a martyr for 

1 The sentence is given in Records of Massachusetts Colony, vol. iv. part i. p. 419. 
a See William Dyer s letter to Governor Endicott in Roger s Mary Dyer, pp. 


* John Taylor s testimony is : " She has gone into Eternal life and glory 
forever." Op. cit. p. 22. 

4 He was a native of Cornwall, England, but had for some time made his 
home in Barbadoes, where he had been an " approved minister." 


spiritual religion. He had already, like his aged friend 
William Brend, suffered almost unspeakable torture from 
whippings and hard prison experiences " in the bloody 
den," as Bishop calls it and had been banished on 
pain of death. He returned and was re-imprisoned in 
December 1660. He was chained to a log of wood and 
kept all winter in " the miserable cold " of an unheated 
prison. The charges against him were sympathy with 
those who had been executed, refusal to remove his hat, 
his use of thee and thou in fact, the crime of being a 
Quaker. When he saw that he was to be sentenced under 
the Act of October 1658, he appealed as an English subject 
for a trial under the laws of England, but his appeal was 
refused. He was then urged to recant, and was promised his 
life if he would " conform." " What," he answered, " act so 
that every man who meets me would say, this is the man 
that has forsaken the God of his salvation ! Remaining 
unshaken, he was sentenced to death, the date set for the 
execution being the I4th of March. 1 

He died in the same triumphant spirit which 
characterised his companions in martyrdom. 

" I testify," he wrote shortly before his death, " in the fear of 
the Lord and witness with a trembling pen, that the noise of the 
whip on my back, all the imprisonments, and banishments on 
pain of death, and the loud threatenings of a halter did no more 
affright me, through the strength and power of God, than if they 
had threatened to bind a spider s web to my finger. ... I desire, 
as far as the Lord draws me, to follow my forefathers and brethren 
in suffering and in joy. My spirit waits and worships at the 
feet of Immanuel." 2 

On the day before he went to death, he wrote a 
beautiful and tender letter to " the Little Flock of Christ," 
in which he said : 

"The sweet influences of the Morning Star, like a flood, 
distilling into my habitation [a dark cold room, "little larger 
than a saw-pit," where he was still chained to a log] have so 
filled me with the joy of the Lord in the beauty of holiness 
that my spirit is as if it did not inhabit a tabernacle of clay, but 

1 New England Judged, p. 317. a Ibid. pp. 296-297. 


is wholly swallowed up in the bosom of eternity from whence it 
had its beginning. ... As the flowing of the ocean doth fill 
every creek and branch and then retires again toward its own 
being and fulness, leaving a savour behind, so doth the Life and 
Power of God flow into our hearts making us partakers of His 
Divine Nature, therefore let this Life alone be your joy and 
consolation." x 

He died as a martyr should, in calm faith, with noble 
bearing. The spectators bore witness that " the Lord did 
mightily appear in the man." 2 

As Mary Dyer s lifeless body hung from the gallows 
and swung in the wind Humphrey Atherton of Boston 
pointed to it and said in jest "She hangs there as a flag ! " 
Like many things said in jest on historic occasions, the 
word was literally true. She did hang as a flag she was 
a sign and a symbol of a deathless loyalty and it was a 
sign which the wayfaring man could read. Her death 
showed, as did also the deaths of the other martyrs, that, 
whether right or wrong in their fundamental beliefs, a 
people had come to these shores who were not to be turned 
aside by any dangers or terrors which mortal man could 
devise, who were pledged to loyalty to the voice of God 
in their souls and ready to follow it, even though it took 
them to the hardest suffering and death. Every martyr 
was, thus, in truth a flag. 

1 An " Epistle to the Society of the Little Flock of Christ," in New England 
Judged, pp. 299-302. 

8 From a letter written by Thomas Wilkie of Barbadoes. Bowden s History, 

i- 3i5- 

Joseph and Jane Nicholson of Cumberland, England, fell under the provisions 
of the capital law and they were in prison in irons when Mary Dyer was hung, but 
for some reason for fear that their execution would excite the common people of 
Boston, Joseph Nicholson says they were allowed to go free. Joseph Nicholson 
wrote The Standard of the Lord lifted up in New England, London, 1660. 

Edward Wharton of Salem was fellow-prisoner with William Leddra through 
all his last imprisonment and barely escaped with his life. For saying that Robinson 
and Stephenson were wickedly killed and that the guilt of their blood was greater 
than he could bear, he was whipped with twenty lashes and fined twenty pounds. 
Early in the year 1660 he was arrested in his house for being a Quaker and brought 
before Governor Endicott. He was kept nearly a year in prison, through the 
winter, being in the same cub " with William Leddra, and at the Court which 
sentenced Leddra to death, Wharton was banished on pain of death, and given 
ten days to leave the jurisdiction. He stayed in Boston and attended his friend to 
the gallows and caught his lifeless body as it fell from the scaffold, and with three 
other brave Friends he gave the body burial. He then went quietly to his home 
and wrote to the authorities of Boston that he was there and expected to stay 
there ! New England Judged, pp. 315-325 and p. 342. Besse, ii. 220-221. 



WHILE these Friends were thus joyously dedicating their 
lives to purchase freedom to worship God, and to win the 
privilege of holding the faith which to their souls seemed 
true and spiritual, their fellow-believers in England were 
putting forth every exertion in their power to stop " the 
vein of innocent blood " which was flowing in Boston. 

George Fox, an extraordinarily sensitive, sympathetic, 
and even telepathic person, had been deeply moved by the 
sufferings of those who were in some measure his disciples. 
He says : 

"When those were put to death (in New England) I was in 
prison at Lancaster, and I had a perfect sense of their sufferings 
as though it had been myself, and as though the halter had been 
put about my own neck, though we had not at that time heard 
of if." 1 

Christopher Holder and his companions, John Copeland 
and John Rous, were now in England, visible " witnesses," 
with their cropped ears, of the way the bearers of the 
gospel of inward Light were treated in the Puritan 
Colony. Samuel Shattuck, Josiah Southwick, and 
Nicholas Phelps of Salem, banished from their home for 
espousing the cause of the Quakers, were also in England 
bearing their testimony. In 1659 Humphrey Norton 
told his powerful story of suffering and wrongs. 2 This 
was followed in 1660 by The Standard of the Lord 

1 Fox s Journal, i. 507. Fox is probably incorrect here in regard to the date 
of his experience. News of the martyrdom of Robinson and Stephenson reached 
England in February 1660 (see Dewsbury s account and A. Parker s letter to 
Margaret Fell, Swarthmore Collection, i. 169), while Fox was not imprisoned in 
Lancaster until May 1660. * The New England Ensign. 



lifted up in New England, written by Joseph Nicholson, 
who with his wife had extensively laboured and greatly 
suffered in New England ; and the next year came the 
first edition of George Bishop s book, packed with an 
array of atrocious persecutions his New England Judged, 
a copy of which King Charles II. read. It is said that 
the King was reading in Bishop s book the account of a 
Friend s appeal from the cruel course of the Colony to 
the privileges of the laws of England, and came upon 
Major-General Denison s slighting remark on authority 
and procedure in England. Denison, it seems, had met 
the Quakers claim of a right to appeal to the English 
government for justice with the scoffing remark that it 
would do no good if they did. " This year," he said, 
"you will go and complain to Parliament, and the next 
year they will send out to see how it is, and the third 
year the government will be changed ! " J i.e. nothing will 
be done. The King was deeply impressed by this 
passage, and noted the difference between this language 
and the humble tone of the address from New England 
on the occasion of his accession. He called his courtiers 
and read the passage to them, and added : " Lo, these 
are my good subjects of New England, but I will put a 
stop to them ! " 2 In addition came a very concrete list 
of sufferings which was presented to the King in the form 
of a Petition signed by the men who had been banished 
from Massachusetts. The list contained the following 
items : 

1. Two honest and innocent women stripped stark naked 
and searched in an inhuman manner. 

2. Twelve strangers in that country, but freeborn of this 
nation, received twenty-three whippings, most of them with a 
whip of three cords with knots at the ends. 

3. Eighteen inhabitants of the country, being freeborn 
English, received twenty-three whippings. 

4. Sixty-four imprisonments " of the Lord s people," amount 
ing to five hundred and nineteen weeks. 

5. Two beaten with pitched ropes, the blows amounting to 
an hundred and thirty-nine. 

1 New England Judged, p. 82. 2 Sewel s History, i. 492. 


6. An innocent old man banished from his wife and children, 
and for returning put in prison for above a year. 

7. Twenty-five banished upon penalties of being whipped, or 
having their ears cut, or a hand branded. 

8. Fines, amounting to a thousand pounds, laid upon the 
inhabitants for meeting together. 

9. Five kept fifteen days without food. 

10. One laid neck and heels in irons for sixteen hours. 

11. One very deeply burnt in the right hand with an H after 
he had been beaten with thirty stripes. 

12. One chained to a log of wood for the most part of twenty 
days in winter time. 

13. Five appeals to England denied. 

14. Three had their right ears cropped off. 

15. One inhabitant of Salem, since banished on pain of 
death, had one-half of his house and land seized. 

1 6. Two ordered sold as bond-servants. 

1 7. Eighteen of the people of God banished on pain of 

1 8. Three of the servants of God put to death. 1 

19. Since the executions four more banished on pain of 
death and twenty-four heavily fined for meeting to worship God. 2 

To offset these vivid portrayals of wrongs endured, 
the authorities in Massachusetts presented their side of 
the case. They had sent a Petition to King Charles, 
soon after his accession, expressing their loyalty to his 
government and hope of his favour to their Colony. 
" May it please your Majesty," they wrote, " in the day 
you happily know that you are king over your Brittish 
Israel to cast a favourable eye upon your poore 
Mehibboseth," i.e. Massachusetts Colony. In this address 
they took occasion to defend themselves for their treat 
ment of the Quakers, by making the latter out to be a 
type of persons not fit to live on the earth. " They are 
open blasphemers," the address says, "open seducers 
from the glorious Trinity, the Lord s Christ, the blessed 
gospel, and from the Holy Scriptures as the rule of life. 
They are open enemies to the government itself as 
established in the hand of any but men of their own 
principles. They are malignant promoters of doctrines 

1 William Leddra was executed after this was written. 
2 Besse s Sufferings, \. pp. xxx. -xxxi. 


directly tending to subvert both our church and state." 1 
In addition to this Petition to the King the Court of 
Massachusetts sent an address to Parliament and instruc 
tions to its London Agent, Leverett, to do his utmost to 
prevent an action which would tie the hands of the 
colonial authorities from acting in their own way with the 
Quakers. 2 Richard Bellingham also wrote a pamphlet 
setting forth the necessity of suppressing the Quakers. 
" There is more danger," he declared, " in this People to- 
trouble and overcome England than in the King of the 
Scotts and the Popish Princes of Germany." 8 

After serious consultation among Friends in England 
it was decided to lay the Quaker sufferings before the 
Privy Council, and it was arranged for Edward Burrough 
to prepare an Address to the King " Some Considera 
tions," it is modestly called presenting the true situation 
and urging him to use his power to stop the persecution 
now going on in his Colony. He refutes point by point 
the charges in the " Petition and Address of the General 
Court " of Massachusetts. He denies that Quakers have 
ever been " impetuous or turbulent," that they have ever 
" lifted up a hand or made a turbulent gesture " against 
any authority either in Church or State, or that they have 
ever been " found with a carnal weapon about them," or 
that they had committed any crime, " saving, that they 
warned sinners to repent." Those who have gone to 
death in the Colony have been " martyred for the name 
of Christ," solely for a " difference in judgment and 
practice concerning spiritual things." He insists that these 
sufferers went to New England because they were " moved 
of the Holy Spirit" to go, and that those who have died 
there have died " for a good conscience " which was the 
simple truth. 

When the news of William Leddra s execution reached 

1 Printed in Records of Massachusetts Colony, vol. iv. part i. pp. 450-453. 
Quoted also in Edward Burrough s Some Considerations Presented unto the King 
of England Being an Answer unto a Petition and Address of the General Court of 
Boston in New England." Works of Edward Burrough (London, 1672) pp. 

2 Hutchinson Collection, p. 329. 

8 Quoted in Howgil s Popish Inquisition, Works, p. 259. 


the Friends in England, Edward Burrough sought an 
interview in person with the King. He said to the 
King, " There is a vein of innocent blood opened in thy 
dominions which will run over all, if it is not stopped." 
To which the King at once replied, " but I will stop that 
vein." " Then stop it speedily," said Burrough, " for we 
know not how many may soon be put to death." " As 
speedily as ye will. Call the Secretary and I will do it 
presently." 1 The secretary came and a mandamus was 
prepared on the spot. Edward Burrough pressed that it 
be despatched with haste. " But I have no occasion at 
present to send a ship thither," answered the King. " If 
you care to send one you may do it," and he gave Burrough 
the privilege of naming the messenger to carry the man 
damus. Burrough at once named Samuel Shattuck, the 
Salem Quaker who had been banished from the Colony 
on pain of death ! and the King appointed him as his 
royal messenger. 

The Friends then chartered a ship of Ralph Goldsmith, 
himself a Quaker, and agreed with him for three hundred 
pounds to sail in ten days for Boston with the King s 
messenger and missive. 2 

The colonists were warned in advance by the colonial 
agent, Leverett, that the Quakers had brought their 
grievances to the notice of the King, and there was an 
ominous impression in the minds of many that they had 
much to fear from the new sovereign, who was known to 
have no sympathy with the theological or political ideals 
which were the very pillars of the New England common 
wealth. It seemed wisest to bow somewhat to the 
threatening storm, and so an order was issued by the 
colonial authorities, permitting all Quakers then in prison 
" to depart and go for England." 3 This order released 
twenty-seven Quakers who were at the time in Boston 
prison, most of whom were " convinced " colonists, though 
the list included some newly arrived Quaker " publishers " : 
Elizabeth Hooton, Joan Brocksoppe, Mary Mallins, 

1 See Sewel s History, i. 473. 

2 This account is taken from Fox s Journal, i. 507-509. 

8 Records of Massachusetts Colony, vol. iv. part i. p. 433. 


Catherine Chattam, and John Burstow and Peter Pearson, 
who had already done extensive missionary work in the 

Meantime another Friend was being doomed to death 
and was in imminent danger of execution. This was 
Wenlock Christison. His origin and antecedent history 
are unknown. He suddenly appears in New England 
leaving no clear trail behind him. He always claims to 
be a British subject and he once directly implies that 
he has come from England. Harrison, in his valuable 
monograph,! thinks that Christison was of Scottish descent 
and that the blood of the Covenanters flowed in his veins. 
At any rate he was possessed of martyr-fibre. He first 
comes to public notice as one among many Friends who 
were thrown into prison in Boston, I3th December 1660. 
He had just come from Salem and was evidently moving 
about from place to place, as the way opened for him to 
perform religious service. He was arrested, and banished 
on pain of death. After his release he visited Plymouth 
Colony, where he was imprisoned fourteen weeks, in cold 
winter weather, "tied neck and heels together," flogged 
" with twenty-seven cruel stripes on his naked body," and 
deprived of his Bible and clothes " waistcoat, two other 
coats, hat and bag of linen " to the value of four pounds 
for prison fees. This was for "coming into one Colony 
when he was banished from another." 

Being at length released, he returned to Boston and 
suddenly appeared before the Court, precisely as they 
were pronouncing sentence of death on William Leddra ! 
The magistrates were " struck with a great damp " when 
they saw another man " unconcerned for his life come to 
trample under the law of Death." " For a little space of 
time, there was silence in the Court, but recovering from 
the swoon, one of the Court cried out, Here is another, 
fetch him to the bar. " 2 

Then followed this dialogue : " Is your name Wenlock 
Christison ? " 

1 Harrison s Wenlock Christison and the Friends in Talbot County, Maryland 
(Baltimore, 1878), p. 16. 

2 New England Judged, p. 319. 


" Yes." 

" Wast not thou banished on pain of death ? " 

" Yes, I was." 

" What dost thou here then ? " 

" I am come to warn you, that you shed no more 

It was hoped that Leddra s death would awe him into 
submission, and on the day of that Friend s execution 
Christison was given an opportunity to renounce his views 
and so save his life. " Nay," was his reply, " I shall not 
change my religion, nor seek to save my life. I do not 
intend to deny my Master, and if I lose my life for 
Christ s sake I shall save it." 

His brave manner and saintly bearing made a profound 
impression on some of the magistrates, and Governor 
Endicott had difficulty in securing a capital sentence. 
For two weeks there was a stern division in the Court, 
and " a spirit of confusion." A determined minority stood 
out against " the bloody course," and urged a change of 
policy. Governor Endicott was so incensed by the 
opposition that he struck his fist on the table and 
declared, " I could find it in my heart to go back home " 
\i.e. to England]. " Record those who will not consent I 
thank God I am not afraid to give judgment." He then 
pronounced the sentence of death to be executed on I3th 
June 1 66 1. 1 Then the calm, unmoved victim spoke 
these solemn words : " The will of the Lord be done. 
In the will of God I came amongst you, and in His 
counsel I stand, feeling His eternal power, that will uphold 
me to the last gasp. Be it known unto you all, that if 
you have power to take my life from me, my soul will 
enter into everlasting rest and peace with God ; and if 
you have power to take my life from me, the which I 
question, I believe, you will never more take Quakers 
lives from them. Note my words : Do not think to 

1 Richard Russell was one of the magistrates who refused to give his consent 
to the prisoner s death, and the whole Court was much moved by the receipt at 
this very time of Edward Wharton s letter saying that though banished on pain 
of death he was at his home in Salem and intended to remain there, about his 
occupation. See Besse, ii. 223, and Sewel, i. 488-490. 


weary out the living God by taking away the lives of His 
servants. What do you gain by it? For the last man 
you put to death) here are five come in his room} And if 
you have power to take my life from me God can raise up 
the same principle of life in ten of His servants and send 
them among you in my room" 

He was not called upon, however, to suffer his penalty, 
and he lived to see his predictions fulfilled. Just before 
the time appointed for his hanging an order was granted 
for his release and for the liberation of a large number 
of Friends as related above. The release was due to the 
desire to propitiate those who were using the Quaker 
persecution as a ground for royal interference, for the 
magistrates realised that only by most delicate diplomacy 
could they preserve satisfactory relations with the mother- 
country, though they hardly suspected the humiliation 
which Goldsmith s ship was bringing them. 2 

Ralph Goldsmith, though buffeted in the early part of 
his voyage with heavy storms, brought his ship across 
in six weeks and anchored in the harbour on a " First- 
day." The people of the city flocked on board to ask 
for letters but were told that no letters would be delivered 
on " First-day " ! They reported on shore that the ship 
was loaded with Quakers, some of them persons banished 
on pain of death. 

Samuel Shattuck tells it in his own quaint way as 
follows : 

"When wee came into Boston harbour many came on ship 
board for Newes and Letters ; But were somewhat struck in 
Amaze when they saw what wee were. When wee came on 
shoar," Shattuck continues, " wee found all very still and a very 
great calme ; the moderate sort (as I met them) Rejoiced to see 
me and some of the violent wee met as men chained and 
bowed down and could not look us in the face." 3 

1 The five newly arrived " publishers of truth." 

2 There is an entry in the Massachusetts Colonial Records which appears 
to be a letter from Wenlock Christison signifying his willingness to depart from 
that jurisdiction if he is granted his freedom, adding, " I know not yt ever I 
shall com into it any more." (Massachusetts Archives, x. 273). He did, 
however, continue to labour within that jurisdiction and was various times after 
wards arrested and punished. (See New England Judged, pp. 433, 440, 457, 
and 467). s Aspinwall Papers, part i. p. 160. 



So they passed on to the home of the Governor and 
asked for admission to his presence. As they insisted 
that they could deliver their message only to the Governor 
himself, they were ushered into his presence, Samuel 
Shattuck wearing his hat. Endicott in anger ordered 
the hat taken off, which was done by a servant. Where 
upon Shattuck produced his credentials as a royal messenger 
and showed the mandamus. The Governor at once 
uncovered and ordered the Quaker s hat to be given back 
to him, and then he read the mandamus which was as 
follows : 


" Trusty and well-beloved, we greet you well. Having been 
informed that several of our subjects among you, called Quakers, 
have been and are imprisoned by you, whereof some have been 
executed, and others (as hath been represented unto us) are 
in danger to undergo the like ; we have thought fit to signify 
our pleasure in that behalf for the future, and do hereby require, 
that if there be any of those people called Quakers amongst 
you, now already condemned to suffer death or other corporal 
punishment ; or that are imprisoned, and obnoxious to the like 
condemnation, you are to forbear to proceed any further therein ; 
but that you forthwith send the said persons (whether condemned 
or imprisoned) over into their own kingdom of England, together 
with their respective crimes or offences laid to their charge ; to 
the end such course may be taken with them here as shall 
be agreeable to our laws and their demerits. And for so doing, 
these our letters shall be your sufficient warrant and discharge. 

" Given at our Court, at Whitehall, the 9th day of September 
1 66 1, in the i3th year of our reign. 

"To our trusty and well-beloved John Endicott, Esq., and 
to all and every other governor or governors of our plantations 
of New England, and of all the colonies thereunto belonging, 
that now are, or hereafter shall be ; and to all and every the 
ministers and officers of our plantations and colonies whatsoever, 
within the continent of New England. 

" By his Majesty s command, 


1 This incident is happily and beautifully told by Whittier in The King s 
Missive." Whittier s poem provoked severe criticism from the Rev. Dr. George 
E. Ellis, on the ground that the poem was historically inaccurate, and consider 
able discussion ensued. The substance of the discussion is given in Pickard s 
John Greenleaf Whittier, pp. 775-785. 


It was an extremely trying order and a humiliating 
situation. To send the prisoners to England was plainly 
out of the question, and the order was imperative that 
they should " proceed no further," either with death 
sentences or with " other corporal punishment." " We 
shall obey his Majesty s commands," was the Governor s 
laconic decision as he turned to Samuel Shattuck, and 
this order was issued : 

" To William Salter, keeper of the prison at Boston, you are 
requested, by authority and order of the General Court, to release 
and discharge the Quakers who at present are in your custody. 
See that you do not neglect this. By order of the Court. 

" EDWARD RAWSON, Secretary." 1 

As a result of this order a large release of prisoners was 
made, among them the venerable Nicholas Upsall who 
had lain in the prison of his own city for two years. 
John Chamberlein, who had been convinced of the Quaker 
truth at the gallows, when Robinson and Stephenson were 
executed, was also among those who were liberated, and 
the Friends gathered at his house for their meeting of 
rejoicing, Chamberlein s house being at this period the 
regular meeting-place of the Friends in Boston. Shattuck s 
letter, already quoted from, gives a fresh impression of 
the joy and triumph which the new turn of affairs brought 
to the long-suffering band : 

" The coming of our ship is of very wonderfull service, for the 
Bowells of the moderate sort are greatly refreshed throughout the 
Country, and many mouths are now opened, which were before 
shutt and some of them now say, Its the welcomest ship that 
ever came into this Land." 

The authorities of the Colony had, as we have seen, 
anticipated royal interposition and had already changed 
their policy of dealing with the Quakers, but none the 
less this " missive " from the King marks an epoch in the 
history of colonial Puritans. They might congratulate 
Charles the Second and ask him to " cast favourable eyes 
on poore Mehibboseth," but in their hearts they knew 
that a dangerous turn of the tide had set in, and that the 

1 Eesse, ii. 226. Sewel, i. 492-496. 


enemy of their faith and of their ideals was now their 
sovereign. They no longer had behind them the great 
moral and spiritual England of the Commonwealth, and 
they were never again to have an entirely free hand in 
working out their lofty vision of a New England, which 
in their dreams was to be a New Jerusalem a Republic 
of the saints of God. They had fought their Armageddon 
and it was a drawn battle. It was now unmistakably 
evident that the Colony must henceforth be shared with 
these unwelcome Quaker guests. The founders of it 
had used their extreme measures to keep the Colony 
immune and they had failed. Their own people were in 
revolt against their system of expulsion and extermination, 
they saw ten Quakers coming for every one who was 
killed, and now one of these same Quakers, banished on 
pain of death, had come boldly in as the inviolable 
messenger of an anti-Puritan king. " Give Mr. Shattuck 
his hat ! " " The King s command shall be obeyed ! " 
were two sentences which must have cost brave old 
Endicott profound pain. 

There was a momentary lull in the storm of persecu 
tion, but it was only a temporary relief and no surrender, 
for so long as John Norton remained the guardian of 
orthodoxy, and so long as John Endicott was left as the 
representative embodiment of the Puritan ideal, there 
could be little peace for the Quaker, with his claim 
of an inward Light, even though there were a danger 
that King Charles might occasionally be stirred to call 
a halt, and to show that he meant what he said in the 
Declaration of Breda. 1 

On the constitutional point of transferring their 
prisoners to England to be tried the colonists did not 
yield an iota, and in the weighty deliberations which 
followed upon their duties to the King they showed 
a good measure of the spirit which swept through New 
England again more than a hundred years later. They 
declared that their "patent" was the foundation of the 

1 We do declare liberty to tender consciences, and that no man shall be dis 
quieted or called in question for differences of opinion in matters of religion." 


rights of the Colony, and they asserted that "any im 
position prejudicial to the country, contrary to any just 
laws of ours not repugnant to the laws of England, is an 
infringment of our right " ; and they further declared that, 
" it may well stand with the loyalty and obedience of 
subjects to plead with their princes against all such as 
shall endeavour the violation of their privileges." 1 But 
from this time forward frequent interferences occurred 
on the part of the King. It is true that he informed 
the Massachusetts officials, through their agents, that 
Parliament had made sharp laws against the Quakers, 
and "we are content you should do the like," 2 but in 
the same letter the King insists that all public officers in 
the Colony shall be chosen without reference to their 
religious opinions and profession, and royal commissions 
after this date more than once called a halt on Quaker 
persecution, as we shall see. It is with some humiliation 
that we are compelled to thank Charles II. for the first stay 
of persecution, since interferences by a royal prerogative 
later endangered the colonial charters and attempted to 
thwart the democratic experiment of the colonists in every 
way possible, but the harried Quaker took his temporary 
relief without much compunction ! For the moment, 
however, the relief was slight. 

The old law inflicting banishment on pain of death 
had already been altered, before the King s " missive " 
came, and a new law had been drawn up designed to be 
more effective and at the same time not so obnoxious to 
the Home Government, or so revolting to the people. 
This new law, passed the 22nd of May 1661, was the 
atrocious " Cart and Whip Act." It began with the 
statement that the Court was " desirous to try all means, 
with as much lenity as may consist with our safety, to 
prevent the intrusion of the Quakers," followed with the 
usual amount of vigorous description of the persons so 
named. It was then enacted that any person " not giving 
civil respect by the usual gestures, or by any other means 

1 Records of Massachusetts Colony, vol. iv. part ii. p. 35. 
a Colonial Papers, a8th June 1662. 


manifesting himself to be a Quaker, shall ... be stripped 
naked from the middle upwards and be tied to a cart s 
tail and whipped through the town, and from thence 
immediately conveyed to the constable of the next town, 
towards the borders of our jurisdictions, and so from 
constable to constable till they be conveyed through any 
of the outwardmost towns of our jurisdiction." If " such 
vagabond Quaker " returns, he is to be whipped out again, 
and so on for three times. The fourth time he is to be 
branded on the left shoulder with the letter R and 
whipped out of the Colony. Then, if finally the said 
Quaker proves to be "an incorrigible rogue and enemy 
of the common peace," he is to suffer, if there is anything 
left of him, under the old law of I658. 1 Some of the 
Friends who were liberated from prison when the change 
of policy was initiated, were punished under this new law. 
Peter Pearson and Judith Brown were selected, among 
the prisoners in custody when the Act was passed, to be 
the first examples of its cruelty. They had both been 
banished and had returned " to look the law in the face," 
and probably for this reason they were chosen to suffer 
at the cart-tail. They received twenty stripes on their 
naked backs as they went through Boston on their way 
out of the " jurisdiction." All the other Friends set free 
at this great " delivery " were ordered to be driven out of 
the territory by a guard of soldiers. John Chamberlein 
was whipped nine times at the cart s tail " because he 
suffered a meeting at his house," 2 and was liberated a 
second time by the King s missive. George Wilson, also 
a native citizen, was whipped with Chamberlein through 
three towns, the executioner using for the purpose an 
ingeniously cruel whip which tore the flesh in barbarous 
fashion. 3 Josiah Southwick and Nicholas Phelps had 
returned from their banishment in the autumn of 1661. 
Phelps, whose constitution had been undermined by what 
he had undergone, died soon after his arrival. Southwick, 
with almost excessive Quaker frankness, appeared before 

1 Records of Massachusetts Colony, vol. iv. part ii. p. 2. 

8 Aspinwall Papers, part i. p. 161. * Besse, ii. 324. 


the authorities and announced his return to his country. 
He was apprehended and whipped through Boston, 
Roxbury, and Dedham, and then carried fifteen miles 
and left in the wilderness. The next morning he 
fearlessly returned to his home in Salem, having told 
his torturers that he " cared no more for what they could 
do to him than for a feather blown in the air." l 

The terrible " Cart and Whip Act " was re-enacted, 
in slightly modified form, the 8th of October 1662, and 
under this law some of the most harrowing tortures were 
inflicted. 2 Two instances, both of which are historically 
too important to be omitted, will suffice, and many of 
the details can be spared. The first instance is the case 
of Alice Ambrose, Mary Tomkins, and Ann Coleman. 

These three Friends, about whose earlier history little 
is known, had come from England, probably in the summer 
of 1662, with a sense of a call to pioneer service in the 
Colonies. Their chief interest to us lies in the fact that 
they were " the first publishers " of the Quaker message 
in what later came to be a great Quaker centre, namely, 
the Piscataqua region particularly the country about 
Dover and Portsmouth, New Hampshire and also in the 
region which they call " the Province of Mayn." 8 

Edward Wharton, of Salem, one of the foremost of 
the native Quaker ministers of the early period, and 
George Preston, also of Salem, with two of the English 
women, Alice Ambrose and Mary Tomkins, made their 
way to Dover, and took up their headquarters in an inn 
there, where they received many inquirers, made many 
convincements, and solidly established their truth in the 
minds of a group of the Dover people, though they came 
into violent collision with the ministers of the town, 
especially with one whom they call " priest Rayner." 
They found here in Dover a prepared group ready for 
their views, much like the groups which had existed in 

1 New England Judged, p. 356. 

2 Records of Massachusetts Colony, vol. iv. part ii. p. 59. 

3 These women were not actually the first Quaker missionaries to reach the 
Piscataqua region, as William Robinson and Marmaduke Stephenson had already 
been there in 1659 (see Bishop, p. 117), though we have no details of their work. 


Newport, Sandwich, and Salem. There had come to the 
Piscataqua region, at an earlier time, some who were 
unwelcome in Massachusetts because of their too free 
religious views. There were survivors of the great 
Hutchinson controversy still living in the region, and 
the ministry of the famous Hansard Knollys, the third 
minister to come to the Dover church, had led many in 
the direction of Anabaptist ideas. The result was that 
the little band of " publishers " left behind, as they pushed 
farther eastward, a goodly number of believers in their 
way of life. From Dover they crossed over the Piscataqua 
river into the Province of Maine, by invitation of Major 
Shapleigh, a magistrate and leading citizen in the town 
ship of Kittery, evidently in the part since set off as the 
township of Eliot. " He was an enquiring man," Bishop 
tells us, 1 a seeker, and he " kept a priest in his house " and 
had a room set apart for public worship. Under the 
ministry of his new guests he and his wife were " con 
vinced of truth," and became " obedient " to their new 
light, and " truth got great dominion in the hearts of the 
people there," which means that a Quaker meeting was 
begun in the Province of Maine. After a thorough 
canvas of that region the four Friends returned to 

Later in the year, as winter was approaching, the two 
women, with Ann Coleman as companion, decided to 
revisit those who had " received the truth in Piscataqua 
river." They had not been long in Dover before the 
magistrates were stirred up by one of the ministers the 
" priest Rayner," who had disputed with them on the 
former visit to apply the " Cart and Whip Act " to the 
visitors. The following order was issued by a deputy- 
magistrate named Walden : 

" To the constables of Dover, Hampton, Salisbury, Newbury, 
Rawley, Ipswich, Wenham, Lynn, Boston, Roxbury, Dedham ; 
and until these vagabond Quakers are carried out of this jurisdic 
tion. You and every of you are required, in the King s 
Majesty s name, to take these vagabond Quakers, Ann Coleman, 

1 New England Judged, p. 363. 


Mary Tomkins, Alice Ambrose, and make them fast to the cart s 
tail, and driving the cart through your several towns, to whip 
them upon their backs, not exceeding ten stripes apiece on 
each of them, in each town, and so convey them from constable 
to constable till they come out of the jurisdiction." 1 

It was in the heart of a northern winter when these 
women were stripped to the waist and tied to the cart to 
trudge under the lash through these eleven towns, the snow 
lying " half-leg-deep," as they passed through Hampton ; 
but we are told that "the presence of the Lord was so 
with them, in the extremity of their sufferings, that they 
sang in the midst of them to the astonishment of their 
enemies." 2 Deliverance came unexpectedly in Salisbury, 
for Walter Barefoot asked to be made deputy-constable, 
and taking the matter into his own hands fearlessly set 
the women free. 3 

The women went straight back toward Piscataqua 
river, revisited Major Shapleigh on the way, and then 
came into Dover, where they again endured treatment 
too cruel and barbarous to be told in detail. 4 

The other extraordinary application of " the Cart and 
Whip Act" is the case of Elizabeth Hooton. She was 
the first woman " convinced " by Fox s preaching in 
England, and she was the first woman to manifest a gift 
for public ministry. She went through many dreadful 
persecutions in England, and finally laid down her life in 
the island of Jamaica. 5 She was at the time of her New 
England suffering advanced in years, and had made her 

1 This is dated at Dover, 22nd December 1662, and is signed by Richard 
Walden, though Bishop says that priest Rayner " drew it up. When Alice 
Ambrose was asked her name she said, "My name is written in the Lamb s 
book of Life." "Nobody here knows that book," answered Walden. New 
England Judged, p. 366. 

2 New England Judged, p. 367. 

3 Bishop says that John Wheelwright, "an old priest," advised the constable 
to go on with the whipping, p. 368. 

4 Besse, ii. 228. New England Judged, pp. 370-374. 

8 In Devonshire House Portfolio, No. 3, there are many papers by Elizabeth 
Hooton, to the priests about 1651, to Cromwell, to the Mayor of London, and a 
number to the King. Portfolio 3, 27 gives her sufferings in New England ; 3, 35 
is a lamentation for Boston in New England ; 3, 36 a lamentation for Boston and 
Cambridge in New England ; 3, 39 a threatening letter to the rulers of Boston ; 
3, 40 lays open cruelty in New England at Boston, Cambridge, Salem, etc.; also 
3, 42 and 3, 43 ; 3, 45 gives passages on New England. 


way to Virginia from Barbadoes, and had travelled all the 
way from Virginia through incredible hardships to Boston, 
where she was at once thrust into prison. Being released 
from prison she was conveyed to the limit of the Colony 
and left in the wilderness, making her way as best she 
could to Rhode Island. She went from there to Barbadoes 
and took ship again for Boston ! Here she was taken by 
the constable and put on ship for Virginia, and after 
suffering for the faith there, she returned to England, but 
only for the purpose of carrying out her original plan 
to preach in New England ! 

She now procured from the King a special license to 
permit her to build a house in America, and with the 
King s document sailed for Boston. Here she applied 
for liberty to build a house for herself to live in and for 
Friends to meet in. The privilege was stoutly refused, 
and this unwearied woman next started for the Piscataqua 

At Hampton she was imprisoned. At Dover she was 
put in the stocks and kept four days in prison. Then she 
made her way back to Cambridge, where she was locked 
up in " a close, foul dungeon," and kept two days and 
nights without food or drink. A Friend, for there were 
by this time convinced Friends in almost all the New 
England towns, hearing of her sufferings, brought her 
some milk for which he was fined five pounds. An order 
was next issued for whipping this poor woman out of the 
jurisdiction, though she showed the King s document 
granting her the privilege of owning a house wherever 
she would in the Colony. She was tied to a post in 
Cambridge and given ten lashes with a three corded 
knotted whip. Then she was taken to Watertown, where 
she received ten lashes more. On a cold, frosty morning 
she was brought into Dedham, where, tied to a cart, the 
tortured body had ten lashes more. Torn and bleeding 
after a long day s journey she was left at night in the 
woods, and by what seemed to her friends a miraculous 
preservation she arrived next day at the town of Rehoboth 
(now the town of Seekonk) and made her way to Newport. 


Notwithstanding this usage, to us seemingly unendur 
able, Elizabeth Hooton returned to Cambridge, where, after 
being " abused by a wicked crew of Cambridge scholars," 
she was whipped again, first in the town of Cambridge, 
and then from constable to constable through three 
towns toward Rhode Island. Again she went back to 
Boston and endeavoured to give her message. She was 
this time taken to the House of Correction and given ten 
stripes, and then whipped at a cart s tail through Roxbury, 
Dedham, and Medfield, and left, at the end of her whipping, 
in the woods. She got to a town where there were 
Friends who refreshed her, and, with indomitable per 
sistence, she went back to Boston ! She was again 
whipped out of the town and threatened with death if she 
returned. We are told that " her inward consolations did 
so abound that she was able to bear all her afflictions in 
holy triumph, and in humble meekness she declared that 
she was willing, for the love she bore the souls of men, 
to suffer all and more for the seed s sake." l 

Whether this sort of insistent importunity be judged 
holy boldness or fanaticism will depend largely, I suppose, 
upon the point of view "the psychological climate" 
of the person judging. This woman, it is plain, was 
" possessed " with a conviction of duty, and she believed 
that the way to break down the odious laws and the 
system of enforcing conformity was to impress the public 
with the inhuman character of the system, and to show 
the magistrates the utter futility of the laws for accom 
plishing their purpose, and she put the law and the 
system to this extreme test. The entire story of what 
was suffered on the tender bodies of men and women in 
the effort to break down the system of intolerance and to 
secure free worship cannot be told here in detail. I have 
made a complete list of all the sufferers and what they 
underwent, but it is too bulky to print here. 

1 Besse, ii. 228-231; New England Judged, pp. 410-418. Elizabeth Hooton 
had still further sufferings in Boston, Salem, and Braintree, and on one occasion 
travelled on foot seventy miles to reach Rhode Island. She was in Boston at 
the time of Governor Endicott s death and attended his funeral, where she 
probably tried to speak (see Bowden i. 259). She died in the island of Jamaica 
in 1671. 


The strain was in some instances too great for human 
nerves to bear, and a few persons to us, with our know 
ledge of hysteria, suggestion, and auto-suggestion, sur 
prisingly few lost their mental balance and did things 
which belong properly to the list of fanatical acts. In 
1663 Thomas Newhouse entered a church, and broke 
two empty bottles, crying out as he did so that thus 
those who persecuted Friends should be dashed in pieces. 
Thomas Newhouse appears to have been mentally un 
settled. He became " lost to truth " and was disowned 
from the Society of Friends. 1 

In 1 66 1, Catherine Chattam, another victim of harsh 
persecution, appeared in Boston clothed in sackcloth and 
ashes as a sign of troubles which the Lord would bring 
upon that persecuting city. 2 

There are two pitiful cases of women who were driven 
over the verge of sanity by the fury of the persecution 
which their families endured. The first of these was 
Lydia Wardel of Hampton. She was " a chaste and 
tender woman of exemplary modesty," but, harrowed by 
the treatment which was inflicted on her husband, and 
still more by the stripping and scourging of women which 
she had seen, she felt driven to appear unclothed in the 
congregation at Newbury. She yielded to the obsession 
and appeared as " a naked sign." The poor woman should 
have received wise medical treatment. Instead, both she 
and her husband were outrageously whipped. 8 

The other case was that of Deborah Wilson, wife of 
Robert Wilson of Salem and sister of Joshua Buffum and 

1 See William Edmundson s Journal, p. 61. Dr. Ellis in his Massachusetts 
and its Early History, p. 114, has related how two Quaker women, Sarah Gibbons 
and Dorothy Waugh, entered John Norton s church in Boston in 1658, and broke 
two bottles " as a sign of his emptiness. " This incident is probably apocryphal. 
The two women did enter the church and "speak a few words," whereupon they 
were arrested and kept three days in jail without food. (New England Judged, 
p. 58. ) None of the early authorities mention the bottles. See interesting note 
in Hallowell s Pioneer Quakers, p. 73. 

8 It must be remembered that both the Puritans and the Friends were diligent 
readers of the Hebrew prophets, and they, especially the Friends, made much of 
these "signs," which the prophets often felt called upon to "act" in person. 
Catherine Chattam was unmercifully whipped for this "acted sign," and passed 
through a severe illness from the strain, but she appears to have wholly recovered. 
She afterwards became the wife of John Chamberlein of Boston. 

8 New England Judged, pp. 376-377 


Margaret Smith. She, overwrought by the sufferings of 
her family, had a similar obsession, and felt constrained 
to walk through the town of Salem as " a naked sign." As 
a punishment she was tied to a cart by the side of her 
mother and her sister Margaret Smith, and the three were 
whipped through the town, while her husband, " himself 
not altogether of her way, followed after, clapping his hat 
sometimes between the whip and her back." l 

Margaret Brewster, in 1677, was, as she claimed, 
" raised up as one from the dead, and came from a sick 
bed " " to bear a testimony and be as a sign to warn the 
bloody town of Boston to end its cruel laws." With 
her hair about her shoulders, ashes on her head, her face 
coloured black, and sackcloth on her upper garments, she 
came, attended by two other women, on Sunday morning 
into the Rev. Mr. Thatcher s meeting-house. 

" She came and stood in the Old South Church, 

A wonder and a sign, 
With a look the old-time sibyls wore 

Half-crazed and half-divine." 2 

It was a misguided act, no doubt, but no modern reader 
who studies the case in full can fail to conclude that her 
persecutors, who insisted that she " took on the shape of 
the devil," and who whipped her at the cart s tail from 
the Old South Church through the town of Boston, were 
at least as " misguided." 8 

Sad enough these instances of hysterical tendencies 
undoubtedly are, but no modern historian would think 
seriously of citing them as proof that the Quakers were 
lawless, immodest, or fanatical. That they could stand 
such inhuman treatment for ten years a veritable reign 
of terror and keep calm and unmoved, and have only 
these few instances of hysteria and misleading impressions, 
speaks well for the character of their sanity and restraint. 
There is, so far as I know, no instance, in the list of 
sufferings, of any Quaker who " recanted," or who even 

1 New England Judged, pp. 383-384. 

2 Whittier s " In the Old South Church," which deals with this episode. 
8 For Margaret Brewster s trial see Besse, ii. 261-265. 


gave up his practice of the unimportant Quaker 
" testimonies," such as wearing the hat and saying " thou," 
in order to win his freedom or to spare himself torture. 
Not only is the story unsullied by lapses of cowardice, it 
is further an unbroken record of noble bearing toward the 
instigators and inflicters of their torment. They did 
undoubtedly believe that the judgments of Heaven were 
to fall on their persecutors, and it is possible that they 
enjoyed the prospect they were human ; but in any case 
they reviled not, they did not murmur, they raised no 
hand or threat. They forgave and even prayed for their 
torturers, and literally fulfilled the words of their Master 
" Love your enemies." l 

1 Governor Endicott died in March 1665, and in May of that same year the 
royal commissioners commanded the General Court of Massachusetts to allow 
Quakers to attend to their secular business without molestation. In 1675, 
however, a law was passed prohibiting Quaker meetings in the Colony, and in 1677 
constables were ordered to make diligent search for such meetings and to break 
open any door where peaceable entrance is denied them." This second brief 
period of persecution marks the end of the persecution of Quakers as such in 
New England, Margaret Brewster being the last woman to suffer whipping. 



IN the early seventies of the seventeenth century there 
came in New England a new period of Quaker expansion 
the greatest since the first "invasion" in 1657. This 
expansion was due primarily to the visit of George Fox, 
the founder of the Society. He sailed from England in 
the ship Industry the I 2th of August 1671, in company 
with William Edmundson, Thomas Briggs, John Rous, 
John Stubbs, Solomon Eccles, James Lancaster, John 
Cartwright, Robert Widders, George Pattison, John Hull, 
Elizabeth Hooton, l and Elizabeth Miars, and he landed in 
Barbadoes the 3rd of October after a perilous voyage. At 
the time of his arrival Fox was in broken health, too 
ill and weak to walk for any distance. During his three 
months of heavy labour in the island he steadily gained 
in physical power and in conquering spirit. Convince- 
ments were made, meetings were settled, and those in 
authority in the island were impressed with the message 
and the spiritual ideals of the Friends. Fox wrote at 
this time his famous Letter to the Governor of Barbadoes, 
in which he endeavoured to clear the Quakers " from 
scandalous lies and slanders," and to show that they held 
the essential doctrines of orthodox Christianity. This 
Letter has frequently been cited as a Declaration of Quaker 
faith. It is not that, however, for it deals only slightly 

1 Elizabeth Hooton wrote in 1670 to Margaret Fox, who was then in prison : 
" I have a great desire to see thee, if thou could but come to thy husband before 
he go : so the Lord give thee some liberty that thou may see him. . . I know 
nothing but I may go with him ; it hath been much on me to go a great while, 
and to do the best that is required for him. " 


and feebly with the distinctive truth of the Quaker message ; 
it is rather what it claims to be a document written to 
clear Friends of slander and heresy on points of catholic, 
i.e. universal, Christianity. 1 

From Barbadoes the party of publishers crossed 
over to Jamaica, where, during seven weeks of strenuous 
labour, a great convincement of people was made. Here 
Elizabeth Hooton, who had come to care for Fox on 
his journey, suddenly, almost without a warning illness, 
passed away in peace. From Jamaica Fox sailed, in 
the teeth of a tempestuous storm, to the shore of Mary 
land, and after a period of labour there, which will be 
reviewed in a later chapter, he made his way overland 
to New England, arriving at Newport the 3Oth of May 
1672. On arrival, he writes, "We had two very good 
meetings, and many justices, with the governor [Nicholas 
Easton], the deputy-governor and captaine, and all was 
satisfyed, and som of them said they did not think there 
had been such a man in the world." 2 Fox was enter 
tained by the governor, Nicholas Easton, who travelled 
with him extensively during his stay in the Colony. The 
Yearly Meeting of 1672 was a memorable time. Not 
only was Fox there, but also John Burnyeat, John 
Cartwright, George Pattison, John Stubbs, James Lancaster, 
and Robert Widders all eminent ministers from abroad 
were in attendance. The governor and the deputy- 
governor sat in the sessions, and the people flocked in from 
all parts of the island and the country round about, and 
Friends were " so knit and united " that it required two 
days for leave-taking when the meetings were over. 
" And then," Fox says, " being mightily filled with the 
presence and power of the Lord they went away with 
joyful hearts to their various habitations in the several 

1 The Letter is printed in the Journal, ii. 155-158. This visit of Fox and 
his companions resulted in a very large increase of Quakerism in Barbadoes and 
in the other West Indies. Some impression of the size of the Society in 
Barbadoes can be gained from the fact that the Quaker fines between the years 
1658 and 1695 amounted to ^11,000. There were at the high water period of 
Quakerism in the island five meeting-houses there. See Journal of Friends 
Historical Society, v. 43. 

a I am quoting from a MS. Journal of Fox s American travels r now in the 
Bodleinn Library (MS. Bodleian Addition A 95, f. 16). 


colonies where they lived." l There are many indications, 
in Friends journals and in other contemporary documents, 
that Ranters abounded in many parts of the Colonies 
during the seventeenth century. Fox found them in 
considerable numbers in Rhode Island, and he laboured to 
make them see that he had no sympathy with their 
moral and spiritual chaos. " I had a great travell," the 
MS. Journal says, "on my spirit concerning the ranters, 
for they had been rude at a ffriends meeting where I 
was not at, and I apoynted a meeting amongst them, 
and I knew that the Lord would give me power over them, 
and He did!" 

During his stay in Newport, Fox wrote a letter to 
the magistrates and officers of the Colony which shows 
the practical bent of his mind and the breadth of his 
social and civic interests. He declares that there is a 
law of God which voices itself in every man and reveals 
the principle of conduct toward others. He then 
recommends the Legislature to pass " a law against 
drunkenness and against them that sell liquors to make 
people drunk," 2 and "a law against fighting [probably 
duelling] and swearing." He urges them to " look into all 
your ancient liberties and privileges your divine liberty, 
your national liberty, and all your outward liberties which 
belong to your commons, your town, and your island 
Colony." He recommends " that you have a market once 
a week in your town and a house built for that purpose ; " 
" that some one be selected in every town and place in all 
your Colony to receive and record all your births, 
marriages, and them that die." " Mind that which is for 
the good of your Colony and the commonwealth of all 
people stand for the good of your people which is the 
good of yourselves." " Stand up for the glory of God, that 
it may shine over your Colony ; take off all oppression in 
your Colony, and set up justice over all in your Colony," 

1 Journal, ii. 169. The Colonies represented would be Rhode Island, 
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Province of Maine and New York especially 
Long Island. 

2 This is one of the first suggestions ever made in America to prohibit the 
sale of intoxicants by legal enactment 



" and stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made 
you free, in life, glory, and power." l 

It was at this time that Quakerism was planted on the 
western shore of the bay, in Narragansett. Fox writes : 

" We went to Narragansett, about twenty miles from Rhode 
Island, and the Governor, Nicholas Easton, went with us. We 
had a meeting at a Justice s house, where Friends had never had 
any before. 2 It was very large, for the country generally came 
in j and people came also from Connecticut and other parts 
round about, among whom were four Justices of the Peace. 3 
Most of the people had never heard Friends before ; but they 
were mightily affected with the meeting, and there is a great 
desire amongst them after the Truth." 4 

This seed became a great tree, for this western shore of 
Narragansett Bay proved good soil for the message of 
the Inward Light, and produced many powerful ministers 
and intellectual leaders of the Society. 

Another interesting episode of this period was the 
theological collision with Roger Williams, the founder of 
Providence. Fox and the governor with a retinue of 
Friends went up by water from Newport to Providence, 
where, according to Fox, " God s blessed seed was exalted 
and set above all." The account of the Providence visit, 
as given in the MS. Journal, is very quaint : " I had a 
lardge meeting and a great travell." " The people here 
were above the priests in high notions," but they " went 
away mightyly satisfyed, and said they had never heard the 
like before." 6 His second meeting was held in " a greate 
barne which was soe full of people, yt I was extremely 
soaked with sweat, but all was well." 

These two meetings and the fame of Fox s preaching 
powerfully stirred Roger Williams. He was now an old 

1 This letter is in the archives of the Rhode Island Historical Society, at 
Providence. It is printed in The Friend ( Phila. ), vii. 55 (1833). 

8 This was almost certainly Jireh Bull s house. See Hazard s College Tom, 
p. 9. 

3 Jireh Bull, Samuel Wilson, and William Heferman were the justices of 
Narragansett (ibid. p. 9). 

4 Journal, ii. 171. The MS. Journal says that this meeting was the i3th 
of July. 

5 He mentions that there came to the meeting a woman who was bad and 
skoffed, but she went away and was struck sick." 


man, but the fire of his youthful days rekindled in him 
when he heard how the Quakers were spreading their 
doctrines among the people, and how the multitudes were 
flocking after the apostle of Inward Light. 1 He had 
attended the Yearly Meeting at Newport in 1671, where 
he endeavoured to have some public discourse with Friends, 
but he was " stopt," he tells us, " by the sudden praying of 
the governor s wife," and when he stood up again he was 
" stopt by John Burnett s [Burnyeat who was in Newport 
in 1671] sudden falling to prayer and dismissing the 
assembly." 2 He kept away from Fox, when the latter 
was holding his great meetings in Providence, for " having 
once tried to get public speech in the Assemblies of 
Friends," he was resolved " to try another way and to offer 
a fair and full Dispute." 

Thereupon he drew up fourteen propositions which he 
sent to the deputy-governor, John Cranston, for him to 
deliver to George Fox. The Deputy Governor, however, 
for some unknown reason, kept them in his possession 
until the 26th of July, when it was found that George Fox 
had left Newport. Roger Williams claimed that this 
delay was made by a collusion with Fox : " in the Junto 
of the Foxians at Newport it was concluded for Infallible 
Reasons that his Holiness G. Fox should withdraw." 
" He knew that I was furnished with artillery out of his 
own Writings. He saw what consequences would roll 
down the mountaines upon him. . . . and therefore this old 
Fox thought it best to run for it and leave the work to his 
Journeymen and Chaplains to perform in his absence." 3 
Any one who knows the traits and character of George 
Fox knows that whatever else happened he did not " run 
away " " for fear of the consequences which would roll 
down upon him ! " He himself declares, in the New 
England Firebrand Quenched the " Firebrand " being 
George Fox s name for this " apostle of soul liberty " 

1 Williams says (in his George Fox Digged Out of his Burrowes ) that he had 
" long heard of the great name of George Fox" and had " already read his book 
in folio " ( The Great Mystery of the Great Whore). 

8 George Fox Digged Out of his Burrowes, edited by J. Lewis Diman (pub 
lications of the Narragansett Club), vol. v. p. 19. 

3 George Fox Digged Out of his Burrowes. 


" I neither saw nor ever heard of any propositions from 
Roger Williams, nor did I go away in fear of him or them." 
Fox, having spent two months in Rhode Island, had 
started on his return journey south before Roger Williams 
challenge was delivered to him. His friends "the 
Foxian Junto," as Roger Williams calls them went 
forward to arrange for the great debate. John Stubbs, 
John Burnyeat, "and six or seven others," went to the 
home of Williams in Providence to arrange the pre 
liminaries. " Their salutations," Roger Williams quaintly 
says, " were in silence when they came and when they de 
parted drink being offered and accepted by some." 1 
The date fixed upon for the opening of the " debate " was 
August 9, 1672, and the place chosen was "the Meeting 
House of the Quakers" in Newport, though to satisfy 
some who objected to having the " discussion carried away 
from the home town," it was arranged to have seven pro 
positions debated in Newport and seven in Providence. 
The champion against the Quakers, now more than three 
score and ten, rowed by boat thirty miles to meet his 
opponents. " God graciously helped me," he says, " in 
rowing all day with my old bones so that I got to 
Newport toward the midnight before the morning 
appointed." Meantime, to supply the place left by the 
departure of Fox, William Edmundson opportunely arrived 
in Newport, an apostle of Quakerism from Ireland, and one 
of the foremost of the early Quaker missionaries who came 
to colonial America. There were now three Quaker 
debaters against the doughty old man who, however, felt 
himself quite equal to the battle. 2 Governor Nicholas 
Easton attended the debate, and " maintained the civill 
peace ! " The fourteen propositions, as drawn up by 
Roger Williams, were a"s follows : 

1 George Fox Digged Out, p. 35. 

8 This is Roger Williams characterisation of his opponents : "John Stubbs, 
learned in the Hebrew and Greek, I found him so" ; " John Burnet [BurnyeatJ 
of a moderate spirit and an able speaker" ; and W. Edmundson, who proved to 
be the chief speaker, a man not so able nor so moderate as the other two " " a 
stout, portly man of a great voice, he would often vapour and preach long, and 
when I had patiently waited till the gust was over, and began to speak, he would 
stop my mouth with a very unhansome clout of a grevious interruption," "a 
pragmatical and insulting soul. " See George Fox Digged Out, p. 38. 


" I. The People called Quakers are not true Quakers accord 
ing to the Holy Scriptures. 

II. The Jesus Christ they profess is not the true Jesus 

III. The spirit by which they are acted is not the Spirit of 

IV. They doe not own the Holy Scriptures. 

V. Their Principles and Professions are full of contradictions 
.and hypocrises. 

VI. Their Religion is not only an Heresy in matters of wor 
ship, but also in the Doctrines of Repentance, Faith, etc. 

VII. Their Religion is but a confused mixture of Popery, 
Armineanisme, Socineanisme, Judaisme, etc. 

VIII. The People called Quakers (in effect) hold no God, no 
Christ, no Spirit, no Angel, no Devil, no Resurrection, no 
Judgment , no Heaven, no Hell, but what is in man. 

IX. All that their Religion requires (externall and internall) 
to make converts and proselites, amounts to no more than what 
a Reprobate may easily attain unto and perform. 

X. The Popes of Rome doe not swell with and exercise a 
greater Pride than the Quaker spirit hath expresst and doth aspire 
unto, although many truly humble souls may be captivated 
amongst them, as may be in other religions. 

XI. The Quakers Religion is more obstructive and destruc 
tive to the conversion and Salvation of the Souls of People than 
most of the religions this day extant in the world. 

XII. The sufferings of the Quakers are no true evidence of 
the Truth of their religion. 

XIII. Their many Books and writings are extremely Poor, 
Lame, Naked, and sweld up with high Titles and words of 
Boasting and Vapour. 

XIV. The Spirit of their Religion tends mainly (i) to reduce 
Persons from Civility to Barbarisme. (2) To an arbitrary Govern 
ment and the Dictates and Decrees of that sudden spirit that 
acts them. (3) To a sudden cutting off of People, yea of Kings 
and Princes opposing them. (4) To as fiery Persecutions for 
matters of Religion and Conscience as hath been or can be 
practiced by any Hunters or Persecutors in the world. " l 

The debate naturally attracted great crowds, and was 
as popular and interesting to the people of that period as 
a great athletic contest would be now. It seems to have 
won many new adherents to the Quaker faith it certainly 
was felt to be a triumph by those already of the Quaker 

1 Fox Digged Out of his Burrowes, pp. 4, 5. 


faith, but, looked at calmly and critically from the point 
of view of our century, it appears a tilting against 
windmills on both sides. The two books l which record 
the " spiritual battle " are full of antiquarian interest, but 
they are a melancholy monument to the bitterness of 
these seventeenth century theological wars, and there is 
pitifully little in them and apparently as little in the 
debate which raises into permanent view the grace of 
saintliness, the beauty of holiness, or the persuasive sweet 
ness of the divine Light in men. 2 

Two of these " debaters " were instrumental in carry 
ing Quakerism into many new fields in New England, 
and in more firmly establishing it where it was already 
planted John Burnyeat and William Edmundson. John 
Burnyeat, a gentle spirit and a powerful preacher, had 

1 George Fox Digged Out of his Burrowes (Boston, 1676), and A New England 
Firebrand Quenched, by G. F. and John Burnyeat (London, 1678). 

2 William Edmundson s account of the debate gives an interesting though 
thoroughly prejudiced glimpse of the affair (Journal, pp. 65-66) : 

" After some Days Travel by Narragansett and those Parts, I came to Rhode 
Island, where I met with John Burnyeat, John Stubbs, and John Cartwright, where 
one Roger Williams an old Priest and an Enemy of Truth, had put forth 
Fourteen Propositions (as he called them) which he would maintain against any 
of the Quakers that came from Old England, and challenged a Dispute of seven 
of them at Newport in Rhode Island and the other seven at Providence. 

I join d with Friends in answering this Challenge, at the Time and Place 
appointed for the Dispute, which was to be in Friends Meeting-House at Newport ; 
thither a great Concourse of People of all Sorts gather d. When those Propositions 
(as he called them) came to be discoursed of, they were all but Slanders and 
Accusations against the Quakers ; the bitter old man could make nothing out, but 
on the contrary they were turn d back upon himself : he was bafled and the People 
saw his Weakness, Folly and Envy against the Truth and the Friends. 

There were many prejudic d Baptists would fain have help d the Old Priest 
against Friends ; but they durst not undertake his Charge against us for they saw 
it was false and weak. So the Testimony of Truth in the Power of God was set 
over all his false Charges, to the great Satisfaction of the People. 

" When this Meeting was ended, which lasted three Days, John Stubbs and I 
went to Providence, accompanied with many Friends, to hear the other seven 
Propositions, which lasted one Day. John Burnyeat and John Cartwright going 
another way in Truth s Service. Now at Providence there was a very great 
Gathering of People, both Presbyterians, Baptists and Ranters. Roger Williams 
being there, I stood up and told him in Public, We had spent so many Days at 
Newport, where he could make nothing out agreeable to his Challenge ; but on 
the contrary manifested his Clamour, rash and false Accusations, which he could 
not prove against us, that I was not willing to spend much time in hearing his 
Clamour and false Accusations, having other service for the Lord, therefore 
would only spend that Day. So he went on, as he had done at Newport at Rhode 
Island. We answered to all his Charges against Friends and disprov d them." 
As further illustration of the lack of " grace and sweetness " in this debate I quote 
Roger Williams estimate of Edmundson : "A flash of wit, a face of Brass, and a 
Tongue set on fire from the Hell of Lyes and Fury ! " 


been brought into the Society of Friends in 1653 through 
the ministry of George Fox. 

"This blessed man, George Fox," Burnyeat writes, "directed 
me unto the light and appearance of Jesus Christ my Saviour in 
my heart, so that I came to know Him and the glory of the 
Father through Him. Notwithstanding all my high professions, 
from my youth, of an imputed righteousness, by which the guilt 
of my sin would not be charged upon me, but imputed to Christ 
and His righteousness imputed to me, I now came to see that 
there was need of a Saviour to save from sin as well as of the 
blood of a sacrificed Christ to blot out sin. All my pretence 
and hopes of justification through an invented notional faith were 
now seen to be but a Babel Tower or an Adam s fig-leaf apron, 
and as I learned to know Christ s voice and to follow Him, He 
gave me eternal life and manifested His grace in my heart." * 

He first visited New England in 1666, where he 
had extended service, visiting all the meetings in the 
Colonies, as far north as " Piscataway," 2 which included 
the meetings both in New Hampshire and Maine. He 
covered the same field of service again in 1671, 
having once more had " blessed service in Piscataway," 
and having also attended the Yearly Meeting in Newport 
that year. He was back a third time in 1672, having 
travelled on horseback with George Fox all the way 
from Tredhaven Creek in Maryland. Fox says affection 
ately : " He travelled with me from Maryland through 
the wilderness, and through many rivers and desperate 
bogs, where they said never Englishman nor horse had 
travelled before ; where we lay out at nights, and some 
times in Indian houses, and many times were very hard 
put to it for provisions, but the Lord by His Eternal arm 
did support us and carry us through all dangers." 8 
Before the great debate with Roger Williams, Burnyeat 
had "debates" with "the Elders of the Church" at 
Scituate, Mass., where " an abundance of people " met in 
an orchard, and again in Boston, where " several of note " 

1 Condensed from Burnyeat s account in his Journal (reprint of Truth 
Exalted"), pp. 149-158. 

2 Journal, pp. 189, 190. 

3 Burnyeat s Journal, p. 144. 


came to the meeting, and he " had a blessed season to 
open things to the people." 

With two other English Friends, George Pattison and 
John Cartwright, he went on to " Piscataway," where the 
Quaker Society was greatly expanded and more solidly 
established " all things were settled in sweet unity." 
On his way back he found an incipient schism in Salem, 
but " in dread power of the Lord," he powerfully 
exhorted the meeting to follow the mind of the Spirit and 
keep in unity. On his return to Rhode Island, Burnyeat 
broke new ground in Warwick, Rhode Island, " where no 
Friends had been before," and " several were convinced 
and did own the truth." Here he " had to do with one 
Gorton and his company," who, he says, " called them 
selves Generalists, for they were of the opinion that all 
should be saved. But they were in reality Ranters." 
Burnyeat is here somewhat colouring his judgment with 
prejudice, and he does not do Samuel Gorton justice, 
though some of the Gortonians may have been, as he says, 
" filthy, unclean spirits." Gorton was a man of real vision, 
and, with all his peculiarities, was dedicated to the truth. 
Dr. Ezra Stiles has recorded the following enthusiastic 
testimony of Gorton s last disciple, John Angell : 

" The Friends had come out of the world in some ways, but 
still were in darkness or twilight ; Gorton was far beyond them, he 
said, on the highway up to the dispensation of light. The Quakers 
were in no wise to be compared with him ; nor any man else can 
[be compared with him] since the primitive times of the Church, 
especially since they came out of Popish darkness. He said 
Gorton was a holy man ; wept day and night for the sins of blind 
ness of the world ; his eyes were a fountain of tears, and always 
full of tears a man full of thought and study. He had a long 
walk cut through the trees or woods by his house, where he 
constantly walked morning and evening, and even in the depths 
of the night, alone by himself, for contemplation and the enjoy 
ment of the dispensation of light. He was universally beloved 
by all his neighbours, and the Indians who esteemed him, not 
only as a friend, but one high in communion with God in 
heaven." 1 

1 Collection Rhode Island Historical Society, ii. 19. 


In any case a large number of the Gortonians soon 
after became Friends and " were very loving." l Burnyeat 
next undertook the task, in which many before him and 
many after him failed, to plant Quakerism in Hartford 
and other towns of the Connecticut Colony. * There 
were no prepared groups here with which to make a 
beginning, and, though John Winthrop of Connecticut 
was personally very kindly disposed to Friends, and was 
intimate with William Coddington, the Colony as a whole 
was impervious to the Quaker message. 

William Edmundson arrived in New England on his 
first missionary visit just in time to lead the great debate 
with Roger Williams, and he tells us that it proved " a 
seasonable opportunity to open many things to the people 
appertaining to the Kingdom of God and Way of 
Eternal Life and Salvation. The meeting [debate in 
Providence] concluded in prayer to Almighty God, and 
the people went away satisfied and loving." 8 

He next went on and extended the spiritual conquests 
in Warwick among Gorton s people, already begun by 
Burnyeat " the Lord s power was largely manifested, and 
the people were very loving, like Friends." He had 
" refreshing times " in Newport, Narragansett, Scituate, 
Sandwich, and Boston, and then sailed for Ireland. He 
came back for a more extended missionary work in 1675, 
coming from Barbadoes in a yacht, with " a good 
comfortable passage " of three weeks. It was " the 
perilous time " of King Philip s War, and " Indians 
lying hid in bushes shot men down as they travelled." 4 
Whether connected with the terrible uprising led by King 
Philip or not, a fierce Indian war broke out in the north 
eastern section of New England, and the years 1675 and 

1 Burnyeat, p. 211. 

2 For an account of this undertaking see his Journal, pp. 212-216. 

3 Edrmmdson s/oarwa/, p. 67. William Edmundson was born in Westmorland 
in 1627, and had fought under Cromwell in the Parliamentary army. In 1652 he 
settled in Ireland for purposes of trade, but on a business trip to England the next 
year he heard George Fox and James Nayler preach, and was convinced " and 
seized upon by the Lord s power. " He became from that time one of the 
foremost exponents of the new faith in Ireland, and, as we shall see, was one of the 
leading publishers of Quakerism in Virginia and North Carolina. 

4 Ibid. p. 77. 


1676 were crowded with tragic events for this region 
the Piscataqua country being one of the centres of 
hostility. William Edmundson, at the very height of the 
trouble, struck out for the country " eastward, towards 
Piscattaway," where " by reason of the war it was danger 
ous travelling." " However," he says, " I committed my 
life to God who gave it, and took my journey " going 
by way of Sandwich, Boston, and Salem. After holding 
meetings on the New Hampshire side of the Piscataqua 
which he calls " Piscattaway " he crossed over by boat 
into Maine, where he had " large and precious meetings," 
and " much ground was broken " in the southern end of the 
Province of Maine. While he was staying in the home 
of " Nicholas Shapley " [Major Shapleigh] " a man of 
note in that country," a pioneer Quaker of the Piscataqua 
region " fourteen lusty Indians, with their heads trimmed 
and faces painted," came to the house. William Edmundson 
" discoursed with them " and discovered that they "intended 
mischief in their hearts, but the Lord calmed them down, 
and they went away without doing any harm." 1 

As he came back through the Massachusetts towns, 
" travelling with his life in his hands," many were 
convinced by his preaching, especially in Marblehead and 
Reading. Most of the people, wherever he came in those 
parts, were, he tells us, " in Garrisons for fear of the 
Indians, except Friends." He held an extraordinary 
meeting in a garrison house in Reading, where, he says, 
"my lieart being full of the Power and Spirit of the Lord, the 
Love of God ran through me to the people ! " His listeners 
were broken into tears by the demonstration of the Spirit 
which awakened their consciences, and an old man rising 
up took the speaker in his arms, and thanked God that 
the message had found him. The people asked with 
naivete", what the difference was between their ministers 
and their visitors. Edmundson s answer, which sounds like 
Anne Hutchinson s charge, was : " Your ministers are satis 
fied with talk about Christ and the Scriptures ; we are not 
satisfied without the sure, inward experience of God and 

1 Journal, p. 79. 


Christ, and the enjoyment of the comforts which the 
Scriptures promise and which believers in primitive times 
enjoyed." After many successful meetings in Massa 
chusetts, where people were " tender and loving " as he 
told his message, he sailed from Boston to Newport, and 
soon followed up John Burnyeat in another unsuccessful 
attempt to spread Quakerism in Connecticut. 1 

One of the most important events in what I have been 
calling " the second expansion " of Quakerism in New 
England, was the planting of it in the island of Nantucket. 
The first settlers of the island were in close sympathy 
with Friends and were, at heart, in intimate accord with 
their message, though they had not become actual 
members of the Society. The real pioneer of the little 
island-colony was Thomas Macy, who embarked from 
Salisbury, Mass., in a small boat in 1659, in company 
with Edward Starbuck, Isaac Coleman, and probably 
James Coffin, and sailed round the Cape to Nantucket. 
Macy had been a man of influence in Salisbury. He was 
a Baptist of the seeker-type and frequently " exhorted " 
in public. He came into collision with the authorities 
for preaching without ordination, and again for entertain 
ing Quakers in violation of the law of i657. 2 The 
reason assigned for his migration was his desire to follow 
his conscience, and to get free from " the tyranny of the 
clergy and those in authority." Tristram Coffin, father 
of the James mentioned above, soon joined the settlers on 
the island, and became their first chief magistrate. The 
settlement was composed of persons of liberal spirit and it 
grew rapidly. In 1673 Richard Gardiner and his wife, 
being persecuted in Salem "for attending Quaker 
meeting," moved to Nantucket Stephen Hussey, son of 
Christopher, who was one of the original purchasers of 
the island, became a " convinced Quaker " during a sojourn 
in Barbadoes, and John Swain appears also to have been 
a Quaker before there was a meeting on the island. 8 But 

1 See Journal, pp. 83-93. 

8 Pike s The New Puritan (1879) pp. 35 and 54 seq. See also Coffin s 
History of Newbury. Whittier has told Macy s story in his poem " The Exiles." 
* See Thomas Story s Journal (1747), p. 353. 


the real creation of the Quaker Society in Nantucket was 
due to the ministry of three noted men Thomas Chalkley, 
John Richardson, and Thomas Story between the years 
1698 and 1704. 

Thomas Chalkley, 1 then a young man and on his first 
visit to America, came by sloop to the " Isle of Nantucket " 
in 1698. He spent "several days" on the island, where 
" people did generally acknowledge the truth and were 
tender-hearted." Two hundred came to hear him, though 
" it was never known before that so many were together 
on the island." He made a deep impression on his hearers, 
and had the satisfaction of seeing Nathaniel Starbuck, an 
important citizen, " convinced." 2 John Richardson, a 
native of Yorkshire and a man of very interesting character, 
soon followed after, and carried the spiritual work, begun 
by Thomas Chalkley, much farther on. He came by 
sloop with Peleg Slocum from Newport, and the Nantucket 
settlers crowded to the shore, " possessed with great fear " 
that the sloop was French, loaded with arms and men, 
come to take their island, for war was raging between 
England and France. They were greatly relieved to 
hear that their visitors " came in the love of God to hold 
meetings among them." The visitors went directly, by a 
kind of homing instinct, to the house of Nathaniel Starbuck, 
who was " in some degree convinced of the truth." Here 
they found " Mother Mary Starbuck whom the islanders 
esteemed as a judge among them, and little of moment 
was done without her." The "prophet" in Richardson 
came immediately into play, and he saw that here was 
the pillar for the building of a new Church. " At the 
sight of her," he writes, " it sprang into my heart, To this 
woman is the everlasting love of God." It was soon 
arranged that the proposed meetings should be in her 
house. 8 

1 Thomas Chalkley was born in Southwark, London, in 1675. He moved to 
Philadelphia in 1701, and from that time to the end of his life in 1741 he was 
closely identified with Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. He was a great traveller, a 
powerful minister, and his Journal is important for this period of American history. 

8 Thomas Chalkley s /0*r<z/ (1751), pp. 19, ao. 

8 She was the wife of Nathaniel Starbuck, sen., her maiden name being 
Mary Coffin. 


The first meeting was held in a " large and bright 
rubbed room, with suitable seats or chairs, the glass 
windows being taken out of their frames and many chairs 
placed without very conveniently." Before the meeting 
began, John Richardson had been walking up and down 
in the woods " under a very great load in spirit" When 
it gathered, "the mighty power of the Lord began to 
work," and as John Richardson records, "the Lord s 
heavenly power raised me and set me on my feet as if 
one had lifted me up " ; whereupon he proceeded to 
" open and deliver things." " For most of an hour," he 
continues, "the great woman [Mary Starbuck] fought and 
strove against the message, sometimes looking up into 
my face with a pale and then a more ruddy complexion ; 
but the strength of the truth increased, and the Lord s 
mighty power began to shake the people . . . and when 
she could no longer contain she submitted to the power 
of truth and lifted up her voice and wept" Not only 
was " the great woman " won, but " the inhabitants of the 
island were shaken and most of the people convinced of 
the truth." And when the meeting came to a close, 
"they sat weeping universally," and could not disperse. 
" After some time Mary Starbuck stood up, held out her 
hand, spoke tremblingly, and said, All that ever we have 
been building, and all that ever we have done, is pulled 
down this day ; and this that we have heard is the 
everlasting truth. " " She, and as many as could be seen, 
were wet with tears, and the floor was as though there 
had been a shower of rain upon it" * 

Nobody can read John Richardson s account of his 
visit on Nantucket without feeling that there was a power 
attending his speaking of a very novel and unusual sort, 
and his presence and his words seem to have had an 
extraordinary transforming effect upon the people. He, 
however, did not take any steps toward the organization 
of a " society " out of those who were " convinced." That 
step was taken by Thomas Story in the summer of 1704. 
Story was one of the most remarkable publishers of 

1 An Account of the Life of John Richardson (1783), pp. 84-94. 


Quakerism in the first half of the eighteenth century, a 
powerful debater, always ready to accept the challenge of 
any Quaker opponent, a moving minister when the Spirit 
opened a message within him, and a too voluminous 
writer, whose style at rare intervals is clear, vivid, and 
marked with beauty. He visited again and again all the 
settlements of Friends in the American Colonies, and he 
took a large part in the eighteenth century expansion of 
Quakerism. On his extended travels through New 
England he found his way to Nantucket He at once 
saw, as John Richardson had done, the peculiar gifts and 
graces of Mary Starbuck, and he realised the power for 
service which lay in her. She was, he says, " A wise, 
discreet woman, well read in the Scriptures, in great 
reputation throughout the island for her knowledge in 
matters of religion, and an oracle among them on that 
account, insomuch that they would not do anything 
without her advice and consent" l 

After holding a number of meetings on the island 
Thomas Story had a powerful " concern of mind," which 
took away his sleep, that a permanent meeting ought to 
be established in Nantucket, and his thoughts turned to 
Mary Starbuck as " the chief instrument " for maintaining 
it She received the suggestion with " great gravity, and 
it became her concern," and the meeting was accordingly 
started in the home of Mary Starbuck, where the neigh 
bours of the island met, week by week, " to wait on the 
Lord." z The meeting thus begun had a steady growth, 
and by the opening of the nineteenth century Nantucket 
was one of the great centres of Quakerism in America. 
Edmund Peckover, of England, visited Nantucket on his 
travels through New England in 1743. He found on 
the island " a brave, weighty, solid people, living pretty 
much in love and unity together." He reports three 
hundred families there, and estimates that two hundred 
and fifty of them are frequenters of the Quaker meeting. 
He says that the meeting-house holds fifteen hundred 

1 Journal, p. 350. 
s Nantucket Monthly Meeting was established the 26th of May 1708. 


persons, " and it was very full when we were there." 
" They have seven or eight Public Friends." l Samuel 
Fothergill, who was on Nantucket in 1755, says that 
more than fifteen hundred attended the meeting which 
he held there most of them professors of truth. He 
adds that "the richest part of the inhabitants [of the 
island] embraced the principles of truth from conviction ; 
the others thought the expense of maintaining a priest 
would be too heavy for them and have turned Quaker to 
save money ! " 2 

It is not possible, within the space at command, to 
speak of the other contributors, of whom there were 
many, 3 to the spread of Quakerism in the New England 
Colonies in the eighteenth century. Something, however, 
must be said, though briefly, of the extraordinary work 
and influence of the Fothergills father and son and of 
two or three other " publishers " of special historical 
importance. The two Fothergills, John and Samuel, 
were highly endowed, broad in their intellectual outlook, 
refined and gentle in breeding, possessed of the best 
culture of their time, and withal delicately responsive to 
celestial currents, so that through them the New England 
Friends and their neighbours became partakers of the 
maturest fruits of the spiritual life of that period. John 
Fothergill came from his English home three times in 
1706, 1722, and 1737 traversing each time the entire 
circle of Quaker communities from Newport to the 
Piscataqua region. In 1722 he reports two thousand 
persons at the Newport Yearly Meeting at which there 
was " a demonstration of the Eternal power of God and 
a confirmation of many souls." 4 His final visit occurred 
when " the Great Awakening " in New England was in its 

1 Journal of Edmund Peckover, printed in Journal of Friends Historical 
Society (London), i. 95-109. He says that the inhabitants of Nantucket cleared 
20,000 pounds sterling from their catch of " Sperma Ceeti whales" during 
their last fishing season (p. 106). 

2 Fothergill s Memoirs, p. 107. H. B. Worth, in his Quakerism on Nantucket 
(1896), estimates that in 1794 half the population of the island, then amounting to 
5600 inhabitants, attended the Friends meeting. 

8 No less than 576 " public Friends" visited Nantucket meeting for the pur 
pose of ministering, between the years 1701 and 1780. 
4 Life and Travels of John Fothergill (1753), P- I S I - 


first stages. His son Samuel came after the " Awakening " 
had run its full course, and he was admirably, almost 
perfectly, fitted by nature and grace to " speak to the 
condition " of the serious, seeking souls who had been 
first highly wrought up by the revival, and then left 
somewhat stranded by the back ebb which succeeded the 
high tide of religious emotion. 

One of the primary ideas which the Leaders of " the 
Great Awakening," especially Jonathan Edwards, had 
insisted on was the fact of the immediate contact of the 
Holy Spirit with the human soul, and the necessity of 
a change wrought thus directly upon the soul by this 
influence. The soul must be touched by the Holy Spirit, 
Edwards had urged, or it cannot be saved. The energising 
will of God must act upon it and move it to a passionate 
desire for salvation. Under the powerful preaching of 
Edwards and Whitefield there were many evidences of 
immediate divine influence, but involved with the move 
ment there was such intense emotion, such high-wrought 
enthusiasm, such vivid appeals to the imagination, that 
many distressing phenomena, of the sort usually occurring 
at times of high nervous tension, broke out, and, as 
intimated above, when the long revival period had run its 
course, there came a serious spiritual ebb and a positive 
reaction. 1 

It was at this critical moment that the distinguished 
English minister, Samuel Fothergill, arrived in Newport, 
where fifteen years before George Whitefield had begun 
his wonderful tour of the New England towns. Fother- 

1 While the work of Whitefield was at its height, the Friends of Rhode 
Island received a most peculiar challenge to try their religion with Moses Bartlett, 
who styled himself a real Christian. " His letter was as follows : "To the 
Quaker Ministers in this town and Colony : There is a wonderful Reformation in 
Connecticut Colony among the Presbyterians, where the everlasting gospel is 
preached ; but I have heard some of you blaspheme against it abominably ; but 
I desire you to Dispute me in order to vindicate your Orders, which you call 
Friends Orders, for they are antiscriptural, and so consequently of the Devil ; You 
shall have the liberty to pick out as many able men as you please, if it be as many 
as there was Prophets of Baal ; only I will have the same measure of time as 
you ; and we will have it all written. It may be you will ask what People I 
am of? To which I answer, you may call me a Presbyterian if you please, 
but I call myself a real Christian." Printed in Arnold s History of Rhode 
Island, ii. 138. 


gill s coming the result of ten years of deep travail of 
spirit was a happy event for the religious life of New 
England. He, too, believed with all his profound being, 
that the Holy Spirit of God was in immediate relation 
with the lives of men. He believed, no less definitely 
than Edwards did, that the important changes in human 
lives are due to the work of God within, but he insisted 
that the energising will of God worked in all men and 
not alone in an elected few, and that the choice which 
brings salvation is a human choice. With him this great 
truth that the soul has immediate contact with God had 
passed from the stage of intense enthusiasm, which always 
goes with its discovery, to a stage of calm and dignified 
power due to the penetration of his personality with this 
inward light and grace. He was a glowing exhibition, as 
he stood before the great throngs that came to hear him, 
and as he moved quietly among men in his daily walk, of 
a type of life which demonstrates beyond all arguments 
the incoming of the divine into the human. 

The divine favour which attended his ministry in 
Rhode Island "brought the deepest reverence upon my 
soul," he writes, " and tears of joy and comfort " from the 
people, and " the Great Name spread itself afresh." l He 
visited all the Quaker centres, and broke new ground in 
the Province of Maine, going as far as Casco Bay. He 
writes of this eastern visit, " Truth has opened my way 
in several places where no Friends lived, and my heart 
has been bowed with reverence to observe and feel the 
openness and visitation of love and life. The people 
flock into meetings in crowds and behave with great 
solidity." The effect of his preaching and the impression 
he made is well shown in his modest account of his great 
public meeting in Boston, held almost exactly a hundred 
years from the time of the arrival of those first unwelcome 
Quakers : 

1 He says that the number of people at New England Yearly Meeting at the 
time of his visit was very great, it being in attendance the largest Yearly Meeting 
in the world. Memoirs, p. 188. Edmund Peckover says that the attendance in 
1743 was not less than 5000. "I never was at so large a meeting before a 
most solemn, weighty, awful time. People from 150 miles to the eastward came 
toil." Journal Friends Historical Society, i. 102. 



" znd of 8//fc Month. I dropped my pen yesterday under a 
weighty concern to appoint an evening meeting in this place, 
and upon its being mentioned to the magistrates, they cheerfully 
offered either one of their own places of worship, or the Town- 
hall, saying that our own house was too small to accommodate 
the people who inclined to come in. I found more freedom to 
accept their offer of the hall, and had a very large meeting in 
the evening, at which were present about two thousand people, 
and amongst them nearly all the magistracy of the place, several 
of their ministers and principal people : it was a time, I believe, 
never to be forgotten ; the power and the wisdom of Truth was a 
canopy over the meeting, and I believe the Truth itself gained great 
ground ; let every part of the gain, glory, and profit be ascribed 
to that excellent Name in and from which all wisdom and 
strength proceed. One of their ancient professors said pretty 
loud, at the close of the meeting, I thank God that I have 
once heard the Gospel of life and peace preached in its purity 
as it hath been this day. " 

Samuel Fothergill s visit to the meetings of the Friends 
in the Province of Maine marks an epoch in the develop 
ment of Quakerism in that section of the country. There 
had been a few scattered Friends in the Province since 
the visit of Alice Ambrose and Mary Tomkins to Kittery 
in 1662, when a meeting was formed in the Eliot section 
of this township. The town records of Scarboro, Maine, 
state that Stephen Collins and Sarah Mills were fined in 
1665 for refusing to support the minister of the town, 
and in 1671 Moses Collins and Sarah Mills were whipped 
for being Quakers 1 the only instance of whipping a 
Quaker in the Province of Maine. 

A meeting was begun in Falmouth, now Portland, 
the Casco Bay of Fothergill s account, about 1 740. The 
Rev. Mr. Smith, Congregational minister in the church 
at Falmouth, records in his diary, 3Oth July 1740, this 
memorable fact : " The Church kept a day of fasting and 
prayer on account of the spread of Quakerism " ; and 22nd 
July 1745, he records that there are "many strange [i.e. 
foreign] Quakers in town." 2 This group of Friends at 
Falmouth was visited in 1743 by the English minister, 

1 Collection of Maine Historical Society, iii. 71 and 154. 
2 Ibid., vii. 221. 


Edmund Peckover and his companions. " We went," he 
writes, " about seventy miles farther [from Dover, New 
Hampshire] by the seaside to a place called Gascoe Bay 
[should be Casco Bay] where a few Friends are settled. 
They have got a meeting both First days and Week-days. 
I believe there are not fewer than thirty who come pretty 
constantly to meetings and, I think, have three or four 
who appear in public testimony." * 

A third meeting within the Province of Maine owed 
its origin to a remarkable visit of the Pennsylvania Quaker, 
John Churchman. He made a tour of New England in 
1742, and went as far east as Kittery, where he found a 
" tender people," probably the group composing the Eliot 
meeting. As he lay in bed at a Friend s house he felt a 
" call " to a new field. In his own quaint language he 
tells the story : 

"On third day morning, as I lay in bed, I felt my mind 
drawn towards the north-west, which was an exercise to me; 
for I had before thought myself at liberty to return towards 
Boston. I arose about sun-rise, and asked the friend where I 
lodged whether any Friends lived at a distance on that quarter, 
for that I had a draft that way ? He answered, No, and asked 
how far I thought to go. I told him it did not seem to me to 
be more than ten miles. He said there was a people about 
eight miles distant, which he supposed was the place to which I 
felt the draft. I desired him to send a lad with a few lines to 
some person that he knew, to inform them that a stranger would 
be glad to have a meeting among them at the eleventh hour of 
that day, if they were free to grant it ; which he did, and with 
his wife went with me : so that we got to the place near the 
time proposed, and found a considerable gathering of people, 
that I wondered how it could be in so short a time, not more 
than three hours warning. They were preparing seats, by laying 
boards on blocks in a pretty large new house, and soon sat down 
in an orderly manner. I went in great fear and inward weak 
ness ; and at the sight of such a gathering of people, and none 
of our profession among them, except the friend and his wife 
who accompanied me, and two others who joined us in the way, 
my spirit was greatly bowed, and my heart filled with secret cries 
to the Lord, that He would be pleased to magnify His own power ; 

1 Journal Friends Historical Society, L 103. 


and, blessed for ever be His holy name ! He heard my cry, and 
furnished me with wisdom and strength to declare His word to 
the people, among whom there were some very tender seekers 
after the true knowledge of God ; and the doctrine of truth 
flowed freely towards them, the universality of the love of God 
being set forth, in opposition to the common predestinarian 
notion of election and reprobation. When the meeting was 
over I felt an uncommon freedom to leave them, for they began 
to show their satisfaction with the opportunity in many words. 
So speaking to the friend that went with me, we withdrew and 
went to our horses ; and I immediately mounting, beheld the 
man of the house where the meeting was held running to me, 
who, taking hold of the bridle, told me I must not go away 
without dining with them. I looked steadfast on him, and told 
him that I did believe this was a visitation for their good, but I 
was fearful that they, by talking too freely and too much, would 
be in danger of losing the benefit thereof, and miss of the good 
that the Lord intended for them ; and my going away was in 
order to example them to go home to their own houses, and 
turn inward, and retire to that of God in their own hearts, which 
was the only way to grow in religion. So I left him and returned 
with my friend Joseph Eastes and his wife." l 

This was apparently the beginning of Quakerism in 
the township of Berwick. The fourth group was formed 
in the town of North Yarmouth (now Harpswell) in 1751, 
and from this settlement it spread out into new regions 
north and west. In Historical Collections of Maine is 
preserved this interesting petition to Governor Shirley in 
1756, from the citizens of Merryconege Neck, in the 
Province of Maine : 2 

" The Inhabitants of the Neck, Being desirous of the good 
Welfare and Increase of this Place, most humbly beg, etc. The 
Parish is But a New Settlement and there are many Opinionists 
[a footnote explains that they are Quakers] settled among us 
which is a Great Damage to ye Parish ; and we have been at very 
Great charges of late respecting some Public Affairs, and those 
Opinionists will not in the least Strive for the Promotion of Sd 
Parish or in ye least Pay Precinct Charges." 3 

1 Gospel Labours of John Churchman, p. 73. 

8 The upper part of Merryconege Neck adjoined the township of Brunswick, 
and the lower part joined North Yarmouth. 

* Collection of Maine Historical Society, xiiL 42. 


These new groups were visited in 1757 by William 
Reckitt, an English travelling friend. He says : 

" We went to Barwick and had several meetings there ; travelled 
through the woods to Casco, where we had an opportunity with 
Friends and such as attend their meetings. We crossed the 
Bay to Small Point, and in our return had a meeting upon a 
Neck of land called Meryconeague." 1 

About 1771 most of the Friends who formed the 
little society in Harpswell moved to the Plantation pf 
Royaltown, which afterwards became the township of 
Durham, and a Quaker centre of great future promise 
sprang up here. Another group was formed during the 
sixties of that century in the town of Windham. 

The great expansion of Quakerism in Maine was, 
however, due to the work of David Sands, a minister 
from the Colony of New York. He was, like most of the 
missionaries who have figured in this history, a man of 
rare sensitiveness to inward impressions, loyally obedient 
to intimations of duty, quick to feel what ought to be 
done with a given situation, and withal possessed of much 
of that indefinable influence which we call spiritual power. 
To him more than to any other one individual we must 
attribute the spread of Quakerism through the great 
county of Kennebec, in the south-central part of Maine, 
where it has since flourished. 

He spent two years and six months on his first tour, 
starting in the spring of 1777. Much of the time he was 
travelling in wilderness country, carrying his axe to clear 
his way as he went, going frequently on foot and "endur 
ing great hardships." 2 Like most of these itinerant 
ministers who were the real creators of New England 
Quakerism, he went first to the well-organised centres, 
such as Newport and Nantucket, where he visited not 
only meetings but every family of Friends. Then he 
pushed on to the newer, less organised centres at 
Falmouth and Windham, and finally he struck out on 
foot into wilderness regions, making for the scattered 

1 Reckitt s Life and Labours (London, 1776), p. 113. 
2 See Journal of David Sands (1848), p. n. 


settlements which were being formed in the beautiful and 
fertile Province of Maine. " We had many meetings," he 
says, " while passing through a wilderness country and 
found many seeking minds." 

"I have spent part of the fall and most of the winter," he 
writes his wife in 1779, "amongst a people not of our profession, 
many of whom received me very kindly and also my message, 
which made them feel near to me, and their hearts and houses 
are open to receive Friends. I have an untrodden path to tread 
where no Friends before have travelled in the work of ministry. 
I have passed through many towns where there are no religious 
meetings of any sort. The Lord has led me through the wilder 
ness land ; He has preserved me through the cold ; in sickness 
and health and through every trial, of which I have had many. 
In that love which time or distance cannot change I salute 
thee." ] 

As a result of these patient labours of David Sands 
and his powerful ministry, often strikingly appropriate to 
the situation, there was formed a chain of new meetings 
in the belt of the country fringing the Kennebec River, 
and the close of the Revolutionary War, that is to say 
the close of the Colonial Era, thus marks the high-water 
point of Quaker expansion in New England. 

These visiting, itinerant ministers or missionaries have 
been spoken of as "the real creators of New England 
Quakerism." So, in a sense, they were. But the 
statement is only partially true. The true source of its 
strength and power lay, from the very beginning, in the 
character of the native material out of which the meetings 

1 Journal, p. 25. The following letter from Joseph Wing, a companion to 
David Sands on a later visit, gives a good idea of their difficulties : " Sometimes 
traveld from 12 to 17 miles between houses and had the advantage of a foot 
parth with marked trees to Gide us. Sometimes got but two meals a Day and 
them were Corse tu ; There were Walks Not very pleasant to the Natural part, 
but so it is, and it is Not best that we should have Smooth things all the time : 
we had once to lay in the bottom of a Small bote and coverd us with our Sales, 
once laid on the beach by the side of a Fier and had our Saddle bags to lay our 
heads on and our Great Coats and Misketers to Cover us, and once Expected to 
have laid in the woods without the advantage of Fier or victuals and had Come 
to a Conclusion in what manner it should take place, but Jest before Daylight left 
us we saw a lite which proved to be a hous to our great joy and Satisfaction So 
the Great Master is pleased at times to try us with the Site of Danger and then 
from time to time doth preserve us from it : in this Dessolate Wilderness there 
was many kinds of Wild Varmants which had been known to pray upon people." 
Bulletin of Friends Historical Society, Philadelphia, vol i. No. 3, p. 113. 


were builded. Those who were attracted by the message 
of the itinerant preachers were already prepared in advance 
for a spiritual type of religion. They were, as so many 
of these Journals intimate, already dissatisfied with form 
and ceremony, out of sympathy with the legal aspect of 
religion and " seekers " after a life inwardly fed and 

Mary Starbuck, " the great woman," who seemed to 
John Richardson and Thomas Story divinely prepared to 
be the " pillar " of a Quaker Meeting in Nantucket, was no 
solitary example. Wherever Quakerism took root and 
grew there were persons of this prepared type already 
there, and they formed the nucleus of the local " Society." 
David Sands found in the Maine woods at Vassalborough 
a man named Remington Hobby, who was a person of 
strong native traits and capacities, solid in judgment, 
inclined to a religion of inward reality, and waiting for a 
spark to kindle him to the fusing-point. He, under the 
personal influence and message of David Sands, became 
the " live centre " of the new Society in that region. 
Something like that occurred in each locality where the 
message became an organising force. But the one 
dynamic person, important enough to be named as the 
" live centre," was only one among many of like traits and 
character. The reason that these " little societies " in the 
new world were novel and extraordinary was that they were 
composed of remarkable persons, prepared by years of 
experience for a type of religion which called in an 
unusual degree for individual responsibility and personal 
initiative, and which dispensed with adventitious helps 
and brought each member into the apostolic succession. 
There were no doubt many who were commonplace in 
endowments and power, and whose religion was in the main 
perfunctory, but there was at the centre of all the 
meetings which I have closely studied a group of persons 
who had a live religion, and who knew how to share their 
spiritual gains with the group to which they belonged. 
They, as much as their distinguished visitors, were the 
creators of New England Quakerism. 



THE Quakers were, as the preceding chapters have 
shown, a mystical people, holding as a primary article of 
their faith that the Divine Spirit, or Eternal Christ, is an 
actual Presence in the human soul, at first appearing as 
a judging or condemning Principle, and later, through 
the conformity and obedience of the individual, as an 
illuminating, inspiring, and guiding inward Spirit. This 
mystical principle sounded to the ears of their opponents 
like a dangerous leaven of wild disorder, a seed of 
Ranterism which, when grown, would topple down the 
pillars of Church and State. It seemed to mean that 
individual caprice and subjective whim were to be crowned 
and mitred, and that moral chaos was to come again. 
Something very different, however, actually happened 
something quite worth study. The most interesting 
contribution of the Quakers is their success in constructing 
and maintaining a type of social religion in which the 
claim of a divine Light, lighting the individual soul from 
within, was united with a thoroughly ordered and practical 
group-life quite unique in the history of Christianity. 

From the very first the central feature of their religion 
in the New England Colonies was " the meeting " the 
meeting for worship. This was a peculiarly august 
gathering. The people composing it were plain ordinary 
men and women, who yoked their own oxen, ploughed 
their own fields, wove their own cloth, and washed their 
own dishes. Many of them drove in their wagons several 
miles to attend it, and through the early period they 



risked arrest and heavy fines in many parts of the Colony 
whenever they gathered with their neighbours for this 

In the early stage of the movement the meetings of 
every sort were held in dwelling-houses, and we have here 
an interesting repetition of the custom which prevailed in 
the early apostolic Church. Recent scholars have shown 
that wherever Christians went they had " house churches," 
for which purpose some well-to-do member furnished his 
house. 1 So, too, did the early New England Friends, and 
the gatherings were invariably held in the large living 
room of some prosperous colonist, for instance in the home 
of William Coddington in Newport, of John Nowland in 
Sandwich, of Edward Wanton in Scituate, and of John 
Chamberlein in Boston. 2 

But, however plain and marked with toil these Friends 
might be, and however imminent the danger of persecution 
might be, in " the meeting " on First day morning they 
felt themselves in heavenly places. They were moved 
and animated, quickened and possessed with a common 
faith that God was with them in their meeting, and that 
they were admitted behind the veil into the holy of holies. 
The silence was intense, for it was living and dynamic, 
and they believed that there in the hush, in their humble 
group, the great God of the Universe was preparing a 
mouthpiece for His word, and that when the seal of 
silence was broken and utterance should come, it would 
be the prophetic word of the Lord. There were tears of 
joy and rapture on many faces as they sat in stillness, and 
a tremulous movement often swept over the company, 
making the name of " Quaker " not altogether in 
appropriate. 3 

1 Friends appear sometimes to have called their meetings " Churches. The 
following minute is from the Records of Rhode Island Monthly Meeting for 
6th July 1688 : "This Meeting thought fit to write to ye Chirch of Friends in 
Plymouth, to remind them to bring in their sufferings to ye next Yearly Meeting." 

8 The Yearly Meeting was held in William Coddington s house until his death, 
and Quarterly Meeting was held for years in Edward Wanton s house. Meeting 
houses were built in Newport and in Sandwich as early as 1672 and 1673, DUt 
they were small structures, and larger meetings were still for some years held in 
private houses. 

8 I am drawing for my account on the early Journals of Friends. 


The speaking, when it came, was somewhat rhythmical 
and rapturous, loaded with emotion. It was closely 
interwoven with a tissue of Scripture texts and phrases, 
bearing mainly on the central idea that God had now 
come to visit His people, to give them the Day Star 
experience in their hearts, and to be a present Guest in 
their midst. Suddenly the voice would drop, the cadence 
disappear, and the speaker would give, in genuine simplicity, 
some personal experience which had been granted to him. 
There might be many such " exercises " from the group, 
all bearing a common tinge and as though forged in a 
common experience. If a minister "from abroad" were 
present, as often was the case in these early days, the 
" word " would be more likely to come as a discourse of 
interpretation, instruction, and edification from him, and 
the listeners, believing implicitly that the visitor was sent, 
would be deeply attentive to what he opened to them 
and powerfully impressed by it. As some one knelt to 
pray all hats were removed, for they were generally worn 
at other times ; all stood, and the person on his knees, 
with trembling frame and tremulous voice, uttered what 
seemed to him the common need of the meeting as in the 
stillness it had surged up into his responsive soul. " The 
meeting" was thus not a place for venting individual 
whim and personal caprice. It was the time when 
many individuals were merged and baptized into a 
living group, with a common consciousness of a divine 
Presence, and the utterances which were given were 
expected to be " in the common life," and it was an 
occasion of profound feeling, of lofty joy, and of real 

Each locality produced its little school of " prophets," 
doubtless often of crude and commonplace intelligence, 
but with some evidence of anointing and able to utter the 
" word " for the group. It was a bold experiment to 
dispense utterly and completely with the ordained priest, 
the professional minister, and to assume that all men were 
potentially near enough to God to be their own priests, 
but these Friends actually tried it. It gave those who 


formed the group an extraordinary sense of spiritual 
dignity and a no less important consciousness of responsi 
bility. A person was no longer an atom, a mere individual, 
to be " lost " or " saved " by a system ; he was bound in, 
vitally and organically, into the life above and the life 
below a branch of God s true Vine and a member of a 
spiritual society of persons, each co-operating for the 
good of all, and each a possible channel of grace for 
the rest. 

The most important feature of " the meeting " was the 
powerful sense of reality which pervaded it the peculiar 
conviction which possessed the members of the group that 
they had found God. They were no longer hearing about 
Him and about His covenants and dispensations in past 
ages ; their own hearts were burning as they partook of 
the bread which He broke for them and as they drank at 
what seemed to them the wells of eternal life. It was 
this assurance of reality, this exalting experience, which 
more than anything else propagated primitive Quakerism. 
The arguments " about " the Inward Light were much on 
a level with arguments " about " covenants both moved 
in the realm of " conceptions," but the man who had felt 
his soul fed in such a meeting was "convinced," with a 
permanent conviction. 

Another influence which powerfully tended to foster 
common ideals, and to unify the group in spirit and aim, 
was the unbroken stream of itinerant ministry from the 
mother Society and from the Societies in the other 
Colonies. The minutes of the meetings show an amazing 
list of these visitors. When one remembers the difficulties 
of travel, the expense in time and money, the primitive 
sort of entertainment which was possible at this period, 
the element of sacrifice looms very large in this story of 
travel which must for ever remain unwritten. But the 
point of importance at the present moment is the formative 
influence of these unique travellers. They believed, and 
their listeners believed, that they were " divinely sent 
messengers." They came into the homes of the native 
Friends and supplied them -with the facts, the news, the 


personal drama, of the wider Society of which they formed 
a fragment. By word of mouth those of all sections 
heard of the progress of events, the issues before the 
Society, the spread of " Truth " as they called it, 1 and they 
learned to know, in their isolated spot, the main problems 
of the whole movement, which they thus in some measure 
shared. These travellers visited every region, however 
remote, and they were thus the bearers of ideas and ideals 
which formed a common stock of thought and aspiration, 
and without knowing it the native ministers shaped their 
message and formed their manner of delivering it under 
the unconscious suggestions supplied by their visitors, so 
that the Quaker in Dover and the Quaker in Sandwich 
were almost as alike in inward tissue as they were out 
wardly in cut of coat ! 

But the greatest socialising influence, and next to the 
meeting for worship the most creative feature of the 
Quaker organisation, was " the meeting for business." In 
the earliest stage " the business meetings " were not 
clearly differentiated, as they later came to be, into 
Monthly, Quarterly, and Yearly Meetings. At first, and 
for some years, all meetings under these various names 
were primarily enlarged meetings for worship and 
ministry a sort of " general meeting " drawing attenders 
from a wider territory than the local " First day Meeting." 
The " business " was at first rather meagre, and consisted 
mainly of accounts of sufferings endured and reports of 
what was being done to spread the " Truth." 2 The novel 
feature of all these meetings, from lowest to highest, was 
the group-spirit which prevailed in them. Each individual 
Quaker believed in divine illumination and spiritual 
guidance the Light of Christ within him was the 
beginning and end of his faith. But it was plain to 
them all that individuals sometimes erred and missed the 

1 Even the horse which carried the ministers from place to place was called 
Truth s horse. " 

8 I find a minute of Duxbury Monthly Meeting as late as 1698 to this effect : 
We have agreed that the Monthly Meeting which is held at the house of Robert 
Barker in Duxbury shall be a meeting for business as it is elsewhere among 
Friends." Evidently before this it had been a general meeting for worship and 
extension. This was later called Pembroke Monthly Meeting. 


Guide, or, as an ancient minute says, " ran out of their 
measure and brought death instead of life ! " It would 
not do all the sound Quaker leaders knew this to call 
men to follow their inward Light, and then to treat them 
as atoms and leave them to go their individual way 
according to the suggestion of inward impulse, which 
might be from above and might also be from below. 
They went to work with fine insight and with wise 
instinct to mass their guidance and to make their 
spiritual wisdom a corporate affair. Every religious meet 
ing they held was supposed to be held in the Light of 
Christ, and the exercises of it were supposed to move 
in response to the will of the Spirit, and each member 
found his own particular part and place by being organic 
with the whole. So, too, with the " business " of monthly, 
quarterly, and yearly meetings. Each decision was reached 
by taking the "sense" or "judgment" of the whole 
meeting, and each such conclusion was supposed to be 
under divine guidance, and was arrived at only in the 
unity of the body. From first to last the group was 
the unit> and the individual found his life and his 
leading in the Life and Light of the formative spiritual 

Loosely organised local meetings for business were 
held as early as 1658 in Sandwich and Newport, a little 
later in Scituate, Duxbury, 1 Salem, and Lynn, with 
others following soon after, but no meeting records 
survive for a date earlier than 167 3.* The Quarterly 

1 There is on record an order of the court held in Duxbury in 1660 : Whereas 
there is a constant monthly meeting of Quakers from divers places in great number, 
which is very offensive and may prove very prejudicial to the government, and as 
the most constant place for such meetings is Duxburrow, they have ordered 
Constant Southworth and William Paybody to repair to such meetings, together 
with the marshall or constable of the town, and use their best endeavours by 
discourse and argument to convince or hinder them. " Records of Plymouth Colony, 
vol. xi. p. 130. 

2 The Records of American meetings were undoubtedly begun at the suggestion 
of George Fox. This is the first entry in the Sandwich Book of Records : " At a 
man s Meeting kept at Will. Allen s house ye 25th day of ye 4th mo. [June, 
by our modern calendar] 1673. At wch. Meeting it is concluded yt. for ye 
future a man s Meeting be kept ye first sixth day of ye week in every month, 
and for Friends to come together about ye eleventh hour." The Rhode Island 
Records begin in 1676. The following Monthly Meetings were established in 
New England in the Colonial period : 


Meeting, as its name implies, was held four times in the 
year, and in the earliest period it was a distinctly religious 
meeting. 1 

It massed together in a definite community the 
Quaker forces spread over a large area of country, and it 
was held mainly for the purpose of propagating the 
Quaker message "the Truth," as they insisted. There 
was often a distinguished visitor or visitors present, and 
those who came were likely to hear the Friends interpre 
tation of Christianity powerfully presented. It was also 
the custom to read on these occasions epistles containing 
a message of Truth from other meetings, or from some 
prominent Friend who had formerly visited them and had 
" a concern for their advancement in the Truth." It was, 
too, quite the custom to hold special meetings for 
"youth," at which epistles, or passages from Friends 
writings were read and advice " in the way of life " given. 2 
These Quarterly Meetings gradually developed into 
meetings for the transaction of business, and matters 
concerning the wider life of the Church, too weighty to be 
settled in a local monthly meeting, came up here for 
consideration. The building of meeting-houses and the 
raising of money for extensive relief would come before 

Sandwich in 1658 : Records begin 

Rhode Island in 1658 : Records 

begin 1676. 
Pembroke before 1660 : Records 

from 1676. 
Salem, date of origin unknown : 

Records begin 1677. 
Dartmouth, 1699. 

East Greenwich, 1699. 

Hampton (later Amesbury), 1701. 

Dover, 1701. 

Nan tucket, 1708. 

Providence and Smithfield, 1718. 

Swanzea, 1732. 

South Kingstown, 1743. 

Yarmouth, Maine, 1761. 

Westport, 1766. 

1 After the Quarterly Meeting differentiated into a distinct business meeting, 
there were three Quarterly Meetings in the colonial period, as follows: (i) 
Sandwich Quarterly Meeting, which began at least as early as 1680 and originally 
was composed of Sandwich and Pembroke Monthly Meetings. (2) Rhode 
Island Quarterly Meeting, which was established in 1699, and was originally 
composed of Rhode Island, Dartmouth, and Kingstown Monthly Meetings. (3) 
Salem Quarterly Meeting, which was established in 1705 and was originally 
composed of Salem, Hampton, and Dover Monthly Meetings. 

2 I find on the Monthly Meeting Records for Newport this minute under date of 
izth mo. 14, 1692 : " It is agreed that all our public Meetings be at our Meeting 
houses as formerly were held. Our Quarterly Meeting was for the reading of 
Friends epistles ; but there is now a Meeting once in six weeks for that service." 
The Quarterly Meeting also prepared, "as way opened for it," epistles to be sent 
to other Quarterly Meetings. I find distinct reference to this service in the 


the Quarterly Meeting. 1 There is a record of an extra 
ordinary Quarterly Meeting held in Sandwich, " in Wm. 
Allen s house," in 1703, with representatives from meet 
ings reaching all the way from Rhode Island to Dover, 
New Hampshire. 2 

The reader who has imagination will easily see the 
social importance of these gatherings. Friends from 
these widely sundered regions, persons of different social 
standing, of all stages of education and spiritual experience, 
thus came together, generally for a two days meeting- 
were entertained at the homes in the locality where the 
meeting was held, interchanged ideas, and formed, almost 
without knowing it, a " group-consciousness " which played 
a powerful r61e in the life of the Society. More 
important than the " youths meetings " in their formative 
influence over the children were these social visits and 
these Quarterly Meeting dinners, when the house was 
filled to bursting with Friends from other sections of the 
Colony. 3 

Still higher in its scope and more constructive in its 
functions was the Yearly Meeting, and this again was still 
more significant for its influence in the formation of 
" group-consciousness " and of social ideals. As with 
the other meetings, the Yearly Meeting was at first a 
large General Meeting for worship and preaching, and for 
an impressive massing of the Quaker forces. The first of 

1 Where the need was extensive the case was brought up to the Yearly Meet 
ing, as will be seen from the following minute of the Yearly Meeting of 1697 : "It 
was proposed to this Meeting the necessity of poor Friends to the Eastward [New 
Hampshire and Maine, I presume] for some relief : this Meeting did collect ye sum 
pff ten pounds, and did order ye same by ye hands off Samuel Collings to Matthew 
and Richard Estes to be distributed by ym. 

" Itt is desired by this Meeting yt ye ffriends appointed to write to ffriends in 
England doe also write to ffriends in Long Island, East and West Jersey, and to 
Philadelphia, conserning ye necessytie off poor ffriends to ye Eastward, and desire 
their assistance to help relieve them." 

2 The following localities sent representatives : 

Rhode Island Meeting. 
Salem and Lynn 

Sandwich Meeting. 
Greenwich , , 
Hampton ,, 

8 As late even as 1784 there were only three Quarterly Meetings for business 
established. They were (i) Rhode Island, which was held in turn at Smithfield, 
Dartmouth, Swansea, and Greenwich ; (2) Salem, held at Falmouth in Maine, 
Dover, Hampton, Salem ; (3) Sandwich, held at Nantucket, Long Plain, Falmouth 
in Massachusetts, and Sandwich. 


these Yearly Meetings was held at Newport, Rhode Island, 
in 1 66 1. It seems to have been called at the suggestion 
of an English Quaker, named George Rofe, who was at 
that time on a religious mission to this country. He 
writes to his friend Richard Hubberthorne in 1661 : 

"We came in at Rhode Island, and we appointed a General 
Meeting for all Friends in those parts, which was a very great 
meeting and very precious, and continued four days." l 

This meeting was so large that, according to Bishop, 
the Boston officials, " made an alarm that the Quakers 
were gathering to kill the people and fire the town of 
Boston ! " It steadily grew in importance and in numbers, 
and soon came to be the great event in the Quaker year. 
From far away Piscataqua at one extreme, and from Long 
Island at the other, the Friends flocked to Newport, for 
until 1695 the Quakers on Long Island came to Rhode 
Island to Yearly Meeting. 2 By 1743 it was attended by 
five thousand Friends, and the attendance continued very 
large throughout the century. Similar Yearly Meetings 
were held for many years in different sections of New 
England as well as at Newport, so that nearly all com 
munities where Friends abounded had a large annual 
visitation. 8 But the Newport Yearly Meeting was " the 

1 Letter of George Rofe to Richard Hubberthorne, i8th November 1661, in 
the A. R. B. Collection, No. 62, Devonshire House Portfolio. 

2 " It is also agreed yt ye Meeting at Long Island shall be from this time a 
Yearly Meeting, and yt John Boune and John Rodman shall receive all such as 
shall come to ye Yearly Meeting in Long Island, and correspond with ffriends 
appointed in London." Minute of New England Yearly Meeting for 1695. 

3 I find the following Yearly Meetings in existence under date of 1693 : 

" Duxberry Yearly Meeting of Worship begins ye furst 6th day in every 8th mo. 

"Salem, ye generall Meeting of Worship begins ye first and second days of 
every 7th month. 

1 Piscattua ( Piscataqua) Yearly Generall Meeting of Worship begins ye 7th 
ffirst day after Salem Meeting. 

Dartmouth Yearly Generall Meeting of Worship begins the 4th sixth day in 
every 8th month. 

"Warwick Yearly Generall Meeting of worship begins and is appointed ye 
second ffirst day in every 3d mo th . 

Providence Yearly Generall Meeting of Worship begins ye last ffirst day of the 
5th mo th . 

" 4th mo. 14, 1695. There shall be kept a Meeting at Lin [Lynn], ye third 
day next after ye Yearly Meeting at Salem is over." 

Samuel Bownas says : They [the Friends of New England] have in almost 
every place once a year a General Meeting which they call a Yearly Meeting, and 
by this popular abundance more people come together in expectation of something 


child of promise " and soon outstripped and gradually 
swallowed up the others. 1 

Definite arrangements were made in 1699 for Repre 
sentatives to the Yearly Meeting from the Quarterly 
Meetings, and from this time on the legislative and con 
structive aspect of the Yearly Meeting became more 
pronounced, and less emphasis was put upon it as an 
occasion for worship and ministry. 2 

The Monthly Meeting, beginning as we have seen in 
a very unassuming fashion, soon expanded in importance, 
and came to have a profoundly formative social influence 
over the life of the individual members, and it absorbed 
into the corporate body of the meeting the functions of 
" cure of souls " and guardian of morals usually delegated 
by the Churches to a priest or an ordained clergyman. 
From the earliest period of the systematic Monthly 
Meeting it was the custom to read, in a solemn way, 
a set of " Advices," embodying the religious ideals of 
the Quaker founders, and setting forth the type of " walk 
and conversation " which befitted a Friend. 3 To these 

extraordinary to be met with." Life and Travels of Samuel Bownas (London, 
1761), p. 149. 

1 I find a record of a Yearly Meeting at Sandwich as late as 1756, and this 
curious minute arranging for the holding of Providence Yearly Meeting : 

6th mo. ii, 1761. " By epistle from Rhode Island Quarterly Meeting, inform 
ing us they have Providence Yearly Meeting altered to begin at Warwick the sixth 
day before the fourth First day of ye 8th month, and at Providence the Seventh 
day following, and at Smithfield on First day. For divers reasons offerde at this 
Meeting it is agreed that said Meeting for the future be altered agreeable to 
their request." 

2 " Itt is agreed by order and consent of this Meeting, yt the second day of 
the week be for the business and service of the Meeting for the future, according 
to the antient order of Truth amongst us, and not for public worship, and yt two 
ffriends from each Quarterly Meeting, and where no Quarterly Meeting two or 
more from each Monthly Meeting, to attend ye service of ye Yearly Meeting till 
business is ended, and as many other sober friends as hath freedom. " Yearly 
Meeting Minutes for 1699. 

The meeting of the ministers, as a meeting apart, began in 1700 under the 
following minute : 

4th mo. 17, 1700. " It is agreed upon by this Meeting yt ye sixth day morning 
of ye Yearly Meeting before ye public Meeting for Worship begins be for ye future 
for Friends of ye Ministry to meet together, and such other sober Friends as hath 
freedom. " 

3 The following minute of Sandwich Monthly Meeting for Eleventh month, 
8th, 1680, indicates that the "Advices" were at this time read four times a year. 
They are called "The testimonies of Truth s concern." At this Meeting it is 
ordered yt the testimonies of Truth s concern are to be read four times in a year 
at our Monthly Men and Women s Meeting." 



" Advices " there was added, at least as early as the year 
1700, a set of definite "Queries," the reading of which 
was intended to furnish the members an occasion for 
inward silent " confessional." 1 The " Queries " called for 
an examination of the life from at least a dozen moral 
and spiritual view-points, and tended to present a concrete 
moral ideal for the daily life at home and in business 
occupations. When the " Advices " and " Queries " were 
read the Friends " of light and leading," especially visiting 
Friends from abroad, used the opportunity for imparting 
counsel and advice upon practical matters of life among 
men. There can be no question that all this, presented 
as it was with religious atmosphere and with all minds in 
a peculiarly receptive attitude, worked with deep suggestive 
power and tended to produce a common moral type. 
But the Monthly Meeting did not stop with public 
" Queries," and with its admirable method of " group 
suggestion," it brought positive pressure to bear to mould 
the lives of the individual into the moral fashion which 
the group approved. For this purpose there were " Over 
seers," who visited the homes and kept a careful watch 
over the lives of the members. 

There was, as we should expect, a tendency to make 
conduct conform to rather stiff and rigid standards, for 
the Friends to a large degree shared the Puritan ideals in 
regard to " Christian manners in the world." Then, too, 
in addition to their scrupulous guardianship over morals, 
they were always as zealous to maintain certain " testi 
monies " which were the badges of their " peculiarity " as 
a people of the Lord. They were as keen and watchful 
for deviations from these " testimonies " as the Puritan 
elders were over deviations from sound theology, for that 
larger liberty which leaves the individual entirely with 
his own conscience with his personal sense of what is 

1 I find this minute in the Records of the Yearly Meeting for 1701 : " Twelve 
Queries were made at the Quarterly and Monthly Meetings and sent to the 
Yearly Meeting." Before this time a set of Queries prepared by George Fox had 
been extensively used. I find this entry in the Sandwich minutes under date of 
1673 : "I* was ordered that Jedediah Allen pay John Fowler 5 sh. for copying 
G. ff. Queries. " The custom of preparing set answers to the Queries " began 
in I7SS- 


right for him had not yet come. The " minutes " of all 
types of meetings, from their origin, indicate a highly 
developed moral sensitiveness, and, all interwoven with this, 
there appears an excessive concern over things which 
were in the class of the ceremonial, i.e. things which had 
a function only as they helped form a " peculiar people." * 

One of the matters which most profoundly concerned 
these Friends was the guardianship of the marriage of 
their members. They refused from the very beginning 
to allow any member to be married by what they called 
" a priest," for this seemed to them to be the very essence 
of sacerdotalism. They adopted a simple ceremony by 
which the bride and groom pledged themselves in marriage 
" before the Lord and in the presence of Friends " ; and 
after enduring many hardships they won from the courts 
the decision that this form of marriage was legal. As 
the idea developed that Friends were " a peculiar people 
of the Lord," there naturally went with it a disapproval 
of the marriage of a Friend with " a person of the world." 
This soon became a fixed idea, and the monthly meeting 
records contain a host of minutes which report " dealings " 
with members who have deviated in this all -important 
matter of marriage. 

In regard to the prevailing " vices " of the times 
Friends appear generally to have taken an advanced 
position. When lotteries were looked upon by almost 
all Christian people as at least tolerable institutions, and 

1 I give two illustrations of the way meetings " watched up " their members on 
matters of daily life : The overseers inform this Meeting that two Friends have 
allowed fiddling, dancing, and playing at cards in their houses, for which they 
decline to condemn the offence to Friends satisfaction. Therefore this Meeting 
doth appoint Joseph Gifford and Barzellai Tucker to labour with them and make 
report to the next Monthly Meeting." "This Meeting having considered the 
answers of the several Quarterly Meetings relating to the extravigant and 
unnecessary Perry Wiggs, and a concern remaining on the minds of Friends for 
preventing the same prevailing among us Do conclude, and it is the judgment 
of this Meeting that all Friends who suppose that they have need of wiggs, ought 
to take the advice and approbation of the visitors [i.e. overseers] of their respective 
Meetings before they proceed to get one. And it is the tender advice, and 
brotherly request of this Meeting that all be careful to observe the same, and not 
in a careless or overly-minded cutt of their hair (which is given for a covering) to 
putt on a wigg or indecent capp which has been observed of late years to be 
a growing practice among too many of the young men in several parts, to the 
troubel of many honest Friends, it plainly appearing (in some) for an imitation 
and joyning with the spirit and fashion of the world." 


were being used by churches and educational institutions 
as a beneficial provision for raising funds for the work 
of the Lord, New England Friends, " in the light of 
Truth," saw that they were pernicious, and refused to 
allow their members to profit by them. This minute from 
Dartmouth Meeting shows the prevailing sentiment among 
Friends as early as 1759. 

" Whereas we understand that there has been a practice of 
late amongst our younger set of people of making lotteries which 
we think to be of very hurtful consequence, therefore, it is the 
advice of this Meeting for all under our care to be careful not to 
be in such practice, and that all Friends belonging to this 
Meeting endeavour to suppress the same." l 

At a time when the use of spirituous liquors was an 
almost universal custom, Friends were nevertheless very 
sensitive on the subject. They began, from the first of 
their existence as a people, to insist on a clean, temperate 
life for their members. The Minutes of all the monthly 
meetings from 1673 down contain many items like 
this : 

" A Friend of Richmond Meeting hath taken strong liquor 
to excess, a committee is appointed to labour with him." 

"A complaint was brought against a Friend for excessive 
drinking, this meeting appoints two Friends to discourse with 
said Friend." 

" The overseers inform that a Friend hath suffered too much 
liberty in his tavern which tends to bring a reproach on Truth, 
wherefore Joseph Tucker and Abraham Tucker are appointed to 
labour with him." 2 

1 A little later horse-racing was included in the list of "vices" which could 
not be tolerated as the following minute shows : 

" 2/15/1762. Whereas we understand that horse-racing is a prevailing practice 
therefore the Meeting doth conclude to make a minute against all such practices. 
And if Friends are found guilty of any such practice they are liable to be dealt 
with as offenders." 

2 I find in the Records of the Yearly Meeting for 1784 a minute on the 
subject which seems to me a noble paper for the eighteenth century to have 
produced. The excessive use of Spirituous liquors of all kinds has for a long 
time been seen by our Society to be a practice tending to lead from calmness and 
innocency to the many evils which are the consequences of intemperance, and 
a concern having arisen for the spreading of this Testimony, not only to the 
disuse of distilled spirituous liquors amongst us except as a medicine, but that 
others also may by our example be encouraged to restrain its use within the 
limits of Truth, we recommend to all Friends everywhere, carefully to look at 


Fidelity to one s word of promise was held to be 
a most sacred obligation, and every Friend was expected 
to make righteousness in trade and dealing " an affair of 
honour." Every book of Monthly Meeting Records has 
many minutes similar in spirit to the following : 

" There was a complaint brought up that a Friend refuses to 
fulfil a promise he made two years ago respecting performing of 
his proportion of work on the high ways, therefore, in con 
sequence of said complaint we do appoint John Gifford, 
Benjamin Tripp, and Peleg Huddestone to inspect into said 
complaint, and if they find the Friend refuse to fulfil his promise 
agreeable to said complaint, to labour with said Friend to fulfil 
it, so that Truth and the professors thereof may not suffer on 
that account any longer." 

" There was brought a complaint to this Meeting against 
a Friend for refusing to come to a settlement in a division of 
a fence in the line between him and another Friend, therefore 
we do appoint Nicholas Haviland and James Soule to labour 
with said Friend to do what they shall think reasonable in the 
case after they have informed themselves the circumstances 

" The overseers informed that there is a bad report concern 
ing two members salting up beef, and exposing it for sale, which 
was not merchantable ; and they have made some inquiry, and 
do not find things clear, therefore this Meeting appoints a 
committee to make inquiry." 

Under no consideration or provocation might a Friend 
take an oath, either as an " expletive " to relieve his 
mind, or as a judicial sign that he was about to tell the 
truth and nothing but the truth, for he was under a sacred 
obligation to make his ordinary word as true as a bond. 
In Rhode Island this was an easy matter, as the statutes 
of that Colony always made provision for an affirmation 

the motives of being concerned therewith not only for using, but distilling, 
importing, trading, or handing out to others, who from habit may have acquired 
a thirst, and inclination after it, tending to their hurt ; we tenderly advise all 
such as are concerned therein, to centre down to the principle, leading to universal 
righteousness, and as we apprehend a continuance in such practices, will in this 
day of light weaken the hands not only of those individuals concerned to further 
the reformation, but tend greatly to obstruct Society from holding up a standard 
to this important Testimony, as becometh our holy profession. We entreat, 
therefore, those who have begun well, and made advances in the way towards 
their own peace, that as soon as may be, they forbear the said practices that a line 
may in due time be drawn, and the standard be raised and spread to the nation. 


instead of an oath, but this provision was not made in 
Massachusetts until 1759. 

Friends felt that it was even more important to keep 
the Society absolutely clear of everything that belonged 
to warfare, or which encouraged fighting with what were 
known as " carnal weapons," for the Quaker had no 
objection to any warfare which he could properly call 
" spiritual " ! This " concern " ran up against a deep- 
seated natural instinct, and it entailed, of course, a harvest 
of difficulties, particularly in the early days of Indian 

During the French and Indian War of Queen Anne s 
reign Friends were subjected to very severe sufferings, 
and stringent measures were taken to force them at this 
time to do military service. 1 

At the time of the Louisburg Expedition in the campaign 
of 1758-59 the Quakers in Massachusetts were forced to 
hire men to go as substitutes ; and when they refused to 
pay for substitutes, as they generally did, their property 
was distrained to cover the amount. Moses Farnum of 
Uxbridge, Massachusetts, in 1759 headed a petition to 
the Legislature setting forth that the sums assessed 
against the Quakers were greatly in excess of the actual 
amounts paid for their substitutes. On investigation this 
was found to be true, and large sums were returned to the 
Friends who had suffered. 2 The difficulty of being a 
" consistent Friend " in the critical period of the Revolu 
tionary War was, of course, even greater, for now the 
Quaker testimony came into violent collision with the 

1 The following minute of the Yearly Meeting for 1712 gives a glimpse of the 
situation :- 

"4/12/1712. At our Generall Yearly Meeting held at Portsmouth. Peter 
Varney and John Kenny were imprisoned ye 8th day of 5th month 1711 to go 
in ye expidition to Canada, and remained under confinment until ye 8th month 
1711 being under ye command of Sydrach Walton who suffered them not to be 
abused during the time of their voyage as per account brought into this meeting. 

John Terry and Moses Tucker were likewise imprisoned to go on ye said 
expidition to Canada, and being in hopes of getting discharged went to Boston, and 
after much labour thereabouts were nevertheless sent as prisoners to the castle at 
Boston, and from thence conveyed by force on board Transport under ye command 
of Major Roberton, whose hard usage was such that one of ye above Ffriends (John 
Terry) died within twenty-four hours after their return to Boston, as may be seen 
by a particular account thereof presented to this Meeting." 

8 See Provincial Laws of Massachusetts, xvi. 488 and 521. 


fundamental instinct of patriotism. There was, however, 
no parley on the part of the Meetings principle was 
principle and no man could remain a Friend if he 
participated " in the spirit of war." Even so blue-blooded 
a Friend as Nathanael Greene of Rhode Island a patriot 
of the patriots had his name expunged from the list of 
members for the offence of " taking arms." It was when 
the colonies were face to face with this war with the 
mother country in 1775 that New England Friends first 
organised a meeting distinctly called " The Meeting for 
Sufferings," composed of delegates from all sections and 
designed to deal with the difficulties likely to arise from 
the approaching catastrophe of war. 1 

The work of oversight was not confined to moral and 
spiritual matters. It touched the whole of life. The 
most important aspect of it from a social point of view 
was the care bestowed upon those who were in trouble or 
in financial straits. It belonged to the sacred " honour of 
Truth " that no Friend should be allowed to suffer want, 
or should be compelled to receive support from the town 
ship. The amount of time which some of these capable 
and practical Friends must have spent in looking after 
the needs of poor members gives one a very wholesome 
respect for the sincerity of their Christianity. 2 In times 
of general calamity, widespread suffering, or the havoc of 
war, the Meetings which were less exposed raised large 
sums of money for the relief of suffering Friends and for 
others. This outreaching relief work was carried on 
throughout the entire period of this history ; but it finds its 
best illustration in the effort of Friends to relieve the 
sufferings which resulted from the siege of Boston during 

1 This Meeting for Sufferings eventually took on a great variety of functions, 
and managed the important public affairs of the Society in the interim between 
Yearly Meetings. 

2 This Minute will illustrate what was happening in every Quaker community : 
And whereas there has been a great charge arisen upon a man Friend by reason 
of his lameness, and Doctor s charges, we think it our duty to see into the affair, 
and order Abram Tucker, Isaac Smith, and Peleg Russell to see what ye charge 
is, and what way he is to pay it." 

We cannot find that the man Friend can do anything valuable towards pay 
ing the Doctor for curing his leg. The charge is ^15, 143. lawful money which 
this Meeting hath concluded to pay." 


the Revolutionary War. An appeal was made to Friends 
in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to join in these extensive 
relief measures, and the extraordinary sum of nineteen 
hundred and sixty-eight pounds sterling was expended 
under the care of a committee of the Meeting for Suffer 
ings. This committee visited General Washington and 
General Howe, explaining that their mission was visiting 
the fatherless and widows, feeding the hungry, clothing 
the naked, without distinction of sects or parties. The 
Generals would not allow the Friends to pass through the 
lines into the city of Boston, but arrangements were made 
for them to send in their funds to be distributed by 
Friends who were shut up in the besieged city. The 
members of the committee then took up in person the 
laborious task of relieving the distress as a kind of 
eighteenth century Red Cross Society in the towns 
about the city, where multitudes of people " were in want 
of victuals, wood, and clothing." In Salem, for instance, 
the Friends, in company with the Selectmen of the town, 
went from house to house and distributed their relief 
through the very streets along which Quakers had been 
whipped a hundred years before. There stands on the 
Records of the town of Salem for 1775, and again in 
1776, a "vote of thanks" to the Friends for their 
generous relief in this time of need. 1 The towns which 
were visited and relieved in like manner, were Lynn, 
Marblehead, Charleston, Medfield, Bolton, Lancaster, 
Marlborough, Sudbury, Weston, Woburn, Reading, 
Sherbdrn, Holliston, Northbury, and Waltham, and 
through these towns many of them towns through 
which Quakers had been whipped working in company 
with the Selectmen, the Friends, with personal painstaking 
care, dispensed their gifts of love. 2 

One of the most stubborn fights in the spiritual war 
fare of the New England Quakers was for freedom to 
worship God as their own hearts dictated, a privilege 
now common to all Anglo-Saxon peoples, and also for 

1 See Annals of Salem, ii. 399. 

a The full accounts of this work are given in the Records of The Meeting for 


freedom from supporting any system of worship which 
their consciences did not approve. The privilege to 
worship in their own way and in their own gatherings 
was won at terrific cost, as we have seen, but it was 
comparatively quickly won. It was discovered by an 
overwhelming demonstration that the denial of the 
privilege could be maintained only by the extermination 
of the sect, and thus there was no rational alternative but 
to yield. The other privilege, the privilege of exemption 
from tithes for the support of the established ministry, 
was won only by a long, hard fight, but when it was won 
it was won for everybody. 

From the first Friends refused to pay the Church 
"tithes," which they called "priests rates," for they 
insisted that " spiritual ministry " must be without money 
and without price. They were imprisoned for their 
refusal, and they were furthermore subjected to a 
capricious seizure of goods, roughly estimated by the 
authorities to equal in value the amount of the tithes. 
Cows, horses, pigs, farm produce, wearing apparel, house 
hold silver, wagons, implements of all sorts were carried 
away, while the poor family looked helplessly on and saw 
themselves stripped to pay for a ministry which supported 
itself by such methods ! l The Meetings, with their 
splendid group spirit, made these losses a corporate 
matter and all shared, as far as they could, the sufferings 
of each. The Meetings rose to the crisis and year after 
year raised great sums to cover the losses of Friends 
both at home and in remote sections. 2 But they did 
not stop with passive resistance to the tithe system. 
They laboured for three-quarters of a century by every 

1 This minute from Dartmouth Monthly Meeting will illustrate the sort of 
distraints which were endured : 

4/2/1725. The accounts of some sufferings of Peleg Slocum, and John Tucker 
having their creatures taken away off their Islands (called Elizabeth Islands) by 
distraint by John Mayhew, constable of Chilmark, was presented to the Meeting. 

" Taken from Peleg Slocum eighty sheep for the Priests rate and towards the 
building of a Presbyterian Meeting house, ye said sheep were sold for ^34. 

And taken from John Tucker on ye like occasion one horse sold for 10, IDS. 
and one heifer sold for 2, ios., demand was for 7, 155. 4d." 

2 I give three Minutes from the Yearly Meeting to illustrate this corporate 
action : 

" 4/11/1730. The amount of sufferings brought up from the Quarterly Meet- 


method known to their intelligence, or "revealed by 
the mind of Truth " to get the tyranny abolished by 
statute. 1 

In the year 1678, four prominent Friends, Edward 
Wanton, Joseph Coleman, Nathaniel Fitsrandal and 
William Allen, presented to the General Court of 
Plymouth, "conscientiously and in all tenderness," their 
reasons why they could not "give maintenance to the 
established preachers." " We suppose," they say, " it s 
well enough known that we have never been backward to 
contribute our assistance in our estates and persons, 
where we could act without scruple of conscience, nor in 
the particular case of the country rate . . . until this late 
contrivance of mixing your preachers maintenance there 
with," which, in short, they declare they cannot under 
any circumstances pay. They thereupon undertake at 
some length to prove from the New Testament that 
" settled maintenance upon preachers " is contrary to the 
gospel. Whether their exegesis carried weight with the 
Court or not, their concluding remark must have occasioned 
some serious reflection : " We request, for conclusion, you 
will please to consider whether you may not prejudice 
yourselves in your public interest with the King (you your 
selves having your liberty but upon sufferance) if you 
should compel any to conform in any respect to such a 
church government or ministry as is repugnant to the 
Church of England. We leave the whole to your serious 

ing are as followeth : For Priests rates taken from Friends in Salem Quarterly 
Meeting ,118, us." 

" 4/ 1 i/i 73 1 . Friends Sufferings from Rochester, Massachusetts, for priests rates 
23, 175. Friends suffering from Salem for Priests rates ,10, 175. 6d. " 

"4/8/1732. Friends sufferings from Priests rates in Kittery in the County of 
York and Province of Maine i$< IDS." 

1 The work of petitioning the governing authorities at home and abroad went on 
year after year with admirable persistence. Here is an interesting minute of the 
year 1708 : "It being proposed under the consideration of this Meeting the 
detriament yt may attend Friends by an act past in the Massachusetts Provence 
in the year 1706 joining the Priests rate to the Province tax [making it extremely 
difficult for Friends to escape paying it] this Meeting doth desire, or order, 
Richard Borden and Thomas Cornell Jr. in behalf of said Meeting to inform the 
Governor thereof by way of writing, requesting his relief therein, otherwise to 
signify to him that they shall address the Queen [ Queen Anne] in that matter ; 
and said Cornell to sign the same in behalf of the Meeting, being clerk thereof ; 
and Joseph Wanton, and Richard Borden are appointed to do said writing to ye 
Governor and speal [spell] the same. " 


consideration." l The writers of this document evidently 
remembered the " King s missive." 

A half-century later, in 1724, the English King, 
through his council, did finally declare himself in no 
uncertain words on this matter of " maintenance of 
ministers," and this second missive, this time from George 
I., though not as dramatic as the famous one from 
Charles II., hastened the end of persecution for refusal to 
pay church rates. Appeal to the King had been made 
in 1724 by Thomas Richardson and Richard Partridge 
on behalf of Joseph Anthony, John Sisson, John Akin 
and Philip Taber, Quaker assessors of Dartmouth and 
Tiverton, who had been imprisoned in New Bristol jail for 
refusing to collect taxes to support the ministry. 

Their case was argued before the Privy Council and 
the following significant decision was rendered at a Court 
held at St. James , the 2nd day of June, 1724, and 
attended by the King s Most Excellent Majesty, His 
Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, the Archbishop of 
Canterbury, and thirteen other members of the Court. It 
was as follows : " His Majesty in Council is graciously 
pleased ... to remit the additional taxes of ;ioo and 
72, us. which were to have been assessed on the towns 
of Dartmouth and Tiverton [for the maintenance of Pres 
byterian ministers who are not of their persuasion]. 2 And 
His Majesty is hereby further pleased to order that the 
said Joseph Anthony, John Sisson, John Akin, and Philip 
Taber be immediately released from their imprisonment, 
on account thereof, which the governor, lieutenant- 
governor, or commander-in-chief for the time being of His 
Majesty s said province of Massachusetts Bay, and all 
others whom it may concern are to take notice of, and 
yield obedience thereunto." 8 

These persistent efforts, made year after year to secure 
relief from these "rates," finally bore fruit, and the 

1 The Hinckley Papers, pp. 18-20. 

z This clause is in the report of the Privy Council which was approved by the 

3 The Petition and the decision of the Privy Council, with the King s message 
are given in full in Cough s History of the Quakers (Dublin, 1790). iv. 218-226. 


colonial government of Massachusetts passed a law in 
1746 giving Friends temporary exemption from all 
charges for the maintenance of ministers. The Yearly 
Meeting appointed a committee in 1 747 to petition the 
General Court of Massachusetts to make this law 
perpetual. They succeeded for the moment in getting 
only another temporary act of exemption, which, however, 
very soon became a permanent law ; and from this time 
on the subject disappears from the minutes, and the 
Quaker enjoyed his own meeting in peace and kept his 
cows and his silver spoons for his own use ! 

The next great contest into which the Friends threw 
their energies was a more unselfish cause and one which 
was grounded distinctly in humanitarian principles 
I mean the conflict against human slavery. The 
Narragansett Bay country was the region where negro 
slavery most " flourished " in New England. Ships sailed 
from Newport to the coast of Guinea and brought back 
live freight which was sold among the prosperous colonial 
farmers along the fertile shores of the Bay. 1 There were, 
too, slaves in many other parts of the New England 

There was little or no moral sentiment in the colonies 
against slavery in the seventeenth century, and Friends 
fell in with the custom, as others did, with few apparent 
scruples. They were, however, from the first awake to 
the fact that black people were human, and deserved 
proper treatment as human beings, though they evidently 
did not see, before the middle of the eighteenth century, 
that slavery per se must go. 2 

1 See Caroline Hazard s College Tom (Boston, 1893) p. 25. 

2 These minutes from Sandwich Monthly Meeting are interesting as illustrating 
the way the meeting dealt with inhumanity to slaves : 

" S/S / 1 ? 11 - Whereas a woman Friend hath given over to hardness of heart 
to such a degree she hath been not only consenting but encouraging the unmerciful 
whipping or beating of her negro man servant, he being stript naked, and hanged 
up by the hands, in his master s house, and then beating him, or whipping him 
so unmercifully that it is to be feared that it was in some measure the occasion of 
his death that followed soon after, the which we do account is not only unchristian 
but inhuman for which cause we find ourselves concerned to testify to the world 
that we utterly disown all such actions, and perticularly the Friend above 

" 10/17/1711. A paper being presented to this Meeting from the Friend who 


The enlightened members, even in the first quarter of 
the eighteenth century, " felt a weighty concern " to have 
the Society "cleared" of what seemed to them an evil r 
and their influence was great enough to get the matter 
well before the Yearly Meeting at Newport, and to get 
this minute adopted in 1717: 

"A weighty concern being on this Meeting concerning the 
importing and keeping slaves. This Meeting therefore refers it 
to the consideration of Friends everywhere to waite for ye wisdom 
of God how to discharge themselves in that weighty affair, and 
desires it may be brought up from our Monthly and Quarterly 
Meetings to our next Yearly Meeting, and also yt merchants do 
write their correspondents in the islands and elsewhere to dis 
courage their sending any more [slaves] in order to be sold by 
Friends here." 

Again in 1727 the Yearly Meeting rose to a more 
direct and positive position, indicating that the moral tide 
had risen during the decade. The minute of this date 
declares : 

"It is the sense of this Meeting, that the importation of 
Negroes from their native country and relations is not a com 
mendable nor allowable practice and that practice is censured 
by this Meeting." 

Thomas Hazard of South Kingstown, Rhode Island. 
generally called " College Tom," seems to have been one 
of the first Friends to awake to the evil of slave-holding, 
though he was brought up in the very atmosphere of it. 
He was sent, while still in his youth, by his father to 
Connecticut to buy cattle to stock the farm upon which 
at his marriage he was to settle. While there he fell in 
with a friend of his father s, a deacon of the Church, 
who invited him to his home. The deacon in conversation 
made the chance remark that " Quakers were not Christian 
people." The young Quaker, fresh from college, was 
ready for a hot argument, and was marshalling in his 
mind the arguments of attack when all his heat was 

was disowned for unmercifully beating her Negro, wherein she desires to come 
into unity with Friends, and ye sense of this Meeting is that she should wait until 
Friends have a sense that she is still to be accepted, and Eleazer Slocum and 
William Soule are appointed to give her ye mind of the Meeting." 


suddenly dampened by the deacon s reason for his bold 
statement " they are not Christians because they hold 
their fellow-men in slavery ! " The Quaker youth had 
no more to say ; but the stray shot took deep effect and 
the son came back to his father with altered views on the 

" College Tom s" father was at this time about 1730 
one of the largest slave-owners in New England, and 
he vigorously objected to his son s new ideas, threatening 
to disinherit him if he persisted in the view ; but the 
conscientious son remained unmoved, and cultivated his 
farm with free labour. 1 He seems also to have quietly 
propagated his ideas, for we learn that his intimate friend, 
Jeremiah Austin, soon after this freed his one slave 
inherited from his father. 

Meantime the spirit of opposition to slavery was 
steadily growing throughout the Quaker groups scattered 
over the New England colonies, and Yearly Meeting 
minutes of 1743 and 1744 indicate that the "inner eye" 
was getting clearer in many a Quaker breast. 

"4/9/1743. It being represented by the Quarterly Meeting 
of Rhode Island that the practice of keeping slaves is a matter 
of uneasiness to many concerned Friends, and the minutes 
formerly made by this Meeting being also considered. It is 
agreed by this meeting that we request by our Epistles to the 
Yearly Meeting of Friends in Pennsylvania an account of what 
they have done in that matter." 

"4/7/1744. By the Epistle we have received from Phila 
delphia concerning slaves, this Meeting is encouraged to revive, 
and recommend to Friends the careful observation of the minute 
of this Meeting made in 1717 concerning that matter, and that 
they also refrain from buying them when imported, and to make 
return by the epistles from the several Quarterly Meetings how 
the same is observed." 

1 See College Tom, chapter iii. A law was enacted in the Rhode Island 
colony in 1729 allowing a master to manumit a slave provided said master should 
give a security of jioo that the manumitted slave should not become a public 
charge. Bishop Berkeley during his stay in Rhode Island became deeply interested 
in the negro slaves and urged that they should be baptized, using these enlightened 
words : Let me beseech you to consider them not merely as slaves, but as men 
slaves and women slaves, who have the same frame and faculties as yourselves, 
and have souls capable of being made happy, and reason and understanding to 
receive instruction. " Updike s History of Narragansttt Church, pp. 176, 177. 


In 1747 New England was visited for the first time 
by that saintly Quaker from Mount Holly, New Jersey, 
John Woolman, whose sensitive soul was already burning 
with love for his dark-skinned friends in slavery. He 
visited " among Friends in the colony of Rhode Island " 
and probably came into personal relation with Thomas 
Hazard, as Updike calls the latter John Woolman s 
friend. One of the earliest documents against slavery in 
New England, and certainly one of the quaintest ever 
written, is a letter of Richard Smith of Groton, Connecticut, 
to South Kingstown Monthly Meeting of which he was a 
member. He declares that " the Lord by his free Goodness 
hath given me a clear sight of the cruelty of making a slave 
of one that was by nature as free as my own children" and 
to turn his " clear sight " into practice he concluded : 

"I hereby declare that now that my Negro garl Jane hath 
arived to eighteen years of age she shall go out free from 
bondage as free as if Shee had been free born, and that my 
Heirs, Executors or Administraters shall have no power over 
her or her postirity no more than if she had been free born." 1 

To his straightforward, downright Letter Richard 
Smith added a curious postscript which contains another 
item of his experience : 

" Now my Friends to tell you plainly, some years befor this 
my intent was to have bought Some Negro Slaves for to have 
Done my work to have Saved my hiring of help. But when I 
was about buying them I was forbiden by the same Power that 
now Causes me to set this Garl at Liberty, for the matter was 
Set befor me in a Clear manner more Clear than what mortal 
man Could have Done and theirfore I belive it is not write for 
me to Shrink or hide in a thing of So Create a Consarnment as 
to Give my Consent to do to others Contrary to what we our 
Selves would be willing to be don unto." 2 

1 Records of Greenwich Monthly Meeting. 

2 The Monthly Meeting entered this minute : This meeting received a paper 
of Richard Smith as his testimony against keeping slaves and his intention to free 
his negro girl, which paper he hath a mind to lay before the Quarterly Meeting, 
all which is referred for further consideration." The matter did not receive 
much attention at the time, and meeting after meeting passed without definite 
action, but Richard Smith s "testimony" was good leaven, and soon the whole 
lump was permeated with it. 


Three years after this testimony in 1760 came the 
epoch-making second visit of John Woolman, now fully 
alive to his Divine mission in behalf of the slave. He 
writes : 

"We had five meetings in Narragansett [the section covered 
by Greenwich Monthly Meeting] and went thence to Newport 
on Rhode Island. ... In several families in the country where 
we lodged, I felt an engagement on my mind to have a conference 
with them in private concerning their slaves ; and through Divine 
aid I was favored to give up thereto. ... I do not repine 
at having so unpleasant a task assigned me, but look with 
awfulness to Him who appoints to His servants their respective 
employments." 1 

The crisis of his visit came at the time of his return 
to Newport for Yearly Meeting, after having completed 
extensive travels over New England, reaching "eighty 
miles beyond Boston eastward." His own quaint way of 
telling the story is most impressive : 

"Understanding that a large number of slaves had been 
imported from Africa into that town, and were then on sale by 
a member of our Society my appetite failed, and I grew out 
wardly weak, and had a feeling of the condition of Habakkuk, 
as thus expressed, When I heard, my belly trembled, my lips 
quivered, 1 trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of 
trouble. I had many cogitations, and was sorely distressed. I 
was desirous that Friends might petition the Legislature to use 
their endeavours to discourage the future importation of slaves, 
for I saw that this trade was a great evil, and tended to multiply 
troubles, and to bring distresses on the people for whose welfare 
my heart was deeply concerned. But I perceived several 
difficulties in regard to petitioning, and such was the exercise of 
my mind that I thought of endeavouring to get an opportunity 
to speak a few words in the House of Assembly, then sitting in 

" This exercise came upon me in the afternoon on the second 
day of the Yearly Meeting, and on going to bed I got no sleep 
till my mind was wholly resigned thereto. In the morning I 
inquired of a Friend how long the Assembly was likely to continue 
sitting, who told me it was to be prorogued that day or the next. 
As I was desirous to attend the business of the meeting, and 
perceived the Assembly was likely to separate before the business 

1 Journal, p. 161. 


was over, after considerable exercise, humbly seeking to the 
Lord for instruction, my mind settled to attend on the business 
of the meeting ; on the last day of which I had prepared a short 
essay of a petition to be presented to the Legislature, if way 
opened. And being informed that there were some appointed 
by that Yearly Meeting to speak with those in authority on cases 
relating to the Society, I opened my mind to several of them, 
and showed them the essay I had made, and afterwards I opened 
the case in the meeting for business, in substance as follows : 

" I have been under a concern for some time on account of 
the great number of slaves which are imported into this colony. 
I am aware that it is a tender point to speak to, but apprehend 
I am not clear in the sight of Heaven without doing so. I have 
prepared an essay of a petition to be presented to the Legislature, 
if way open ; and what I have to propose to this meeting is that 
some Friends may be named to withdraw and look over it, and 
report whether they believe it suitable to be read in the meeting. 
If they should think well of reading it, it will remain for the 
meeting to consider whether to take any further notice of it, as a 
meeting, or not. After a short conference some Friends went 
out, and, looking over it, expressed their willingness to have it 
read, which being done, many expressed their unity with the 
proposal, and some signified that to have the subjects of the 
petition enlarged upon, and signed out of meeting by such as 
were free, would be more suitable than to do it there. Though 
I expected at first that if it was done it would be in that way, 
yet such was the exercise of my mind that to move it in the 
hearing of Friends when assembled appeared to me as a duty, for 
my heart yearned towards the inhabitants of these parts, believing 
that by this trade there had been an increase of inquietude 
amongst them, and way had been made for the spreading of a 
spirit opposite to that meekness and humility which is a sure 
resting-place for the soul ; and that the continuance of this trade 
would not only render their healing more difficult, but would 
increase their malady. Having proceeded thus far, I felt easy 
to leave the essay amongst Friends, for them to proceed in it 
as they believed best 

"The Yearly Meeting being over, there yet remained on my 
mind a secret though heavy exercise, in regard to some leading 
active members about Newport, who were in the practice of 
keeping slaves. This I mentioned to two ancient Friends who 
came out of the country, and proposed to them, if way opened, 
to have some conversation with those members. One of them 
and I, having consulted one of the most noted elders who had 
slaves, he, in a respectful manner, encouraged me to proceed to 



clear myself of what lay upon me. Near the beginning of the 
Yearly Meeting, I had had a private conference with this said 
elder and his wife, concerning their slaves, so that the way 
seemed clear to me to advise with him about the manner of 
proceeding. I told him I was free to have a conference with 
them altogether in a private house ; or if he thought they would 
take it unkind to be asked to come together, and to be spoken 
with in the hearing of one another, I was free to spend some 
time amongst them, and to visit them all in their own houses. 
He expressed his liking to the first proposal, not doubting their 
willingness to come together ; and, as I proposed a visit to only 
ministers, elders, and overseers, he named some others whom he 
desired might also be present. A careful messenger being 
wanted to acquaint them in a proper manner, he offered to go 
to all their houses, to open the matter to them and did so. 
About the eighth hour the next morning we met in the meeting 
house chamber, the last mentioned country Friend, my companion, 
and John Storer being with us. After a short time of retirement, 
I acquainted them with the steps I had taken in procuring that 
meeting, and opened the concern I was under, and we then 
proceeded to a free conference upon the subject My exercise 
was heavy, and I was deeply bowed in spirit before the Lord, 
who was pleased to favour with the seasoning virtue of truth, 
which wrought a tenderness amongst us ; and the subject was 
mutually handled in a calm and peaceable spirit. At length, 
feeling my mind released from the burden which I had been 
under, I took my leave of them in a good degree of satisfaction ; 
and by the tenderness they manifested in regard to the practice, 
and the concern several of them expressed in relation to the 
manner of disposing of their negroes after their decease, I 
believed that a good exercise was spreading amongst them ; and 
I am humbly thankful to God, who supported my mind and 
preserved me in a good degree of resignation through these 
trials." l 

This tender soul, by his gentle spirit and his words 
which seemed given him from above, moved many 
Friends to a higher moral level. The advance is very 
apparent in the minute of the Yearly Meeting adopted 
this year : 

" We fervently warn all in profession with us, that they be 
careful to avoid being in any way concerned in reaping the 
unrighteous profits of that iniquitous practice in dealing in 

1 Journal, pp. 163-165 and 166-168. 


negroes. We can do no less than, with the greatest earnestness, 
impress it upon Friends everywhere, that they endeavour to keep 
their hands clear of this unrighteous gain of oppression." 

A clause was added to the Queries at this same Yearly 
Meeting, asking if Friends who hold slaves " treat them 
with tenderness, impress God s fear in their minds, promote 
their attending places of religious worship, and give those 
that are young, at least, so much learning that they may 
be capable of reading," it being taken for granted that no 
Friend was to buy any new slaves. From this date 
onward the light spread rapidly, and the Society went to 
work with zeal, doubtless sometimes exhibited in harsh 
and narrow ways, to clear its skirts not only of traffic in 
slaves, but of ownership of them as well. 

Shortly after John Woolman s visit, Greenwich Monthly 
Meeting brought its member, Samuel Rodman, " under 
dealing " " on account of his buying a negro slave," and 
passed judgment against his act. The advice of the 
Quarterly and Yearly Meetings was asked in the matter, 
and both these meetings confirmed the Monthly Meeting 
in its " Sence and Judgment," which was " that there 
ought to go out a publick Testimony and Denial of 
Samuel Rodman " ; he was accordingly disowned. 1 

In 1769 Greenwich Monthly Meeting sent a request 
to the Yearly Meeting, through the Quarterly Meeting, 
that the " Query " of 1760 should be so changed as " not 
to imply that the holding of slaves was allowable." As 
is the custom with Friends, such a weighty proposal, 
affecting the affairs of many members, would receive most 
careful consideration, and a conclusion would be arrived 
at only as " the way of Truth " opened. The first step 
was to appoint at the Yearly Meeting in 1769 a com 
mittee of eleven, made up of the leading men of the 
Society, to collect information, and to visit all slave-holding 

1 I find this minute on the Records of Newport Monthly Meeting for 
7/29/1761 : "A Friend appeared in this meeting and condemned his conduct in 
importing of Negroes, and selling some, and hopes he shall be more careful for 
the future, and desires Friends to put it by, which is taken for satisfaction." The 
famous case of continued dealing with Joshua Rathbun, beginning in 1765 and 
covering eight years, is given at length in Caroline Hazard s Narragansett Friends 
Meetings, pp. 144-152. 


Friends in the territory of the Yearly Meeting to " dissuade 
them from the practice of keeping slaves." The report of 
this committee, given in 1771, is a valuable document, 
and shows pretty clearly the prevailing state of mind. It 
is as follows : 


" We have pretty generally visited the members belonging to 
the Yearly Meeting who are possessed of negroes as slaves, 
and have laboured with them respecting setting such at liberty 
that are suitable for freedom. Our visits mostly seemed to be 
kindly accepted, some Friends manifested a disposition to set 
such at liberty as were suitable ; some others not having so clear 
a sight of such an unreasonable servitude as could be desired, 
were unwilling to comply with the advice ; a few others, whom 
we have with sorrow to remark were mostly of the elder sort, 
manifested a disposition to keep them still in a continued state 
of bondage." 

Two years later, in 1773, the Meeting faced the 
question of the " Query " in this plain and straightforward 
fashion : 

" In regard to the Query from Rhode Island Quarterly Meeting 
proposing the freeing of all slaves, it is our sense and judgment 
that Truth not only requires the young of capacity and ability, but 
likewise the aged and impotent, and all in a state of infancy and 
nonage, among Friends to be discharged and set free from a state of 
slavery that we do no more claim property in the human race as we 
do in the brutes that perish" 

Under this decision of the supreme legislative body 
of New England Friends, the subordinate meetings now 
went to work everywhere to carry out the spirit and 
principle of 1773, and the records for the next ten years 
contain numerous minutes of " dealing " with Quaker 
slave-owners, showing in every case that the only way 
for a Friend owning a slave to avoid disownment was to 
" give the negro a manumission to Friends satisfaction." 
The most celebrated case of " dealing " in New England 
was that of Stephen Hopkins, a member of Smithfield 
Monthly Meeting. He had been governor of the colony 
of Rhode Island for nine annual terms. He was easily 
the foremost citizen of his colony, but he owned one slave 


woman and would not set her free. This is what the 
meeting did with the case : 

"The matter concerning Stephen Hopkins holding a negro 
woman as a slave was considered, and as he still refuses to set 
her at liberty, though often requested, this meeting puts him from 
under their care, and appoints Moses Farnum and George 
Comstock to draw up a paper of denial against him, and bring 
to next Monthly Meeting." 1 

As soon as the machinery was well in motion for the 
removal of every trace of human slavery from the Quaker 
group, positive efforts were at once inaugurated to bring 
influence to bear in shaping legislation in the direction of 
abolition. In 1774 this minute was adopted at the 
Yearly Meeting : 

" This Meeting, manifesting a concern that the liberty of the 
Africans might be fully restored, we appoint our Friends Thomas 
Hazard, Ezekiel Comstock, Thomas Lapham, Jr., Stephen 
Hoxie, Joseph Congdon, Isaac Lawton, and Moses Farnum, 
a committee to use their influence at the Generall Assembly of 
the Colony of Rhode Island, or with the members thereof, that 
such laws may be made as will tend to the abolition of slavery, 
and to get such laws repealed as in any way encourages it." 2 

And in 1787 a powerful memorial was sent from the 
Yearly Meeting to the General Court of Massachusetts, 
urging that as that commonwealth had been " the first on 
this continent to constitutionally abolish slavery " in its 
domain, so it should now formulate legislation to prevent 
its citizens from engaging in " the unrighteous traffic " in 
slaves, " manifesting thereby," they say, " your endeavours 
that the great revolution of this country, founded on a 
declaration against invasion of civil liberty, may not be 
tarnished by suffering your subjects to continue a traffic 
which perpetuates slavery." A boy born in 1807, the 
descendant of ancestors who had taken part in this slow 

1 "Drawing up a paper of denial" is a euphemism for "disowning," i.e. 
expulsion from membership. As Stephen Hopkins went out of the Quaker 
Society his friend Moses Brown of Providence came in, and as a preparation to this 
step freed all his slaves. See Augustine Jones Moses Brown : A Sketch. 

2 Rhode Island Legislature passed an Act that very year, 1774, by which the 
enslaving of negroes was for ever prohibited. Stephen Hopkins was the author 
of this famous Bill. 


Quaker uprising against the wicked custom of enslaving 
men, was above all others to sound the trumpet against it 
in the nineteenth century, and was to stand in the front of 
the moral battle for freedom John Green leaf Whittier. 

Friends have always emphasized the importance of 
education, and wherever Quakerism flourished the school- 
house followed close after the " meeting-house," while in 
some notable instances there has been one building for 
both. The first minute on education which I have found 
in New England is on the Records of Newport Monthly 
Meeting under date of twelfth month 24th, 1684: 

" Upon request and desire of Christian Loddwick to have the 
use of the Meeting House in Newport for keeping of a school, 
Friends, upon consideration and desire to do him good, do 
grant it and are also willing to give him what encouragement 
they can." l 

The course taken by the Newport Friends was a very 
usual one in any Quaker community. For the first 
hundred years of their history the New England Friends 
had only these local schools for the " guarded education " 
of their children, but in the seventies of the eighteenth 
century there appears to have been a powerful awakening 
to the need of broader education and for a more adequate 
educational system. A large committee of broad-minded 
men was appointed at the Yearly Meeting of 1779, and 
the Quarterly Meetings were asked to appoint co-operat 
ing committees of " solid Friends," who after the usual 
careful and weighty deliberation, carried on for three years, 
recommended the establishment of a central school for 
the entire Yearly Meeting, one of its functions being the 

1 There are two further minutes which throw interesting light on the history of 
this school : 

12/26/1711. " The Friends appointed to lay out as much land as might be 
thought suitable for to set a school-house on, made report that they have laid 
out a certain piece of land adjoining to Sam. Easton s land containing sixty feet 
fronting upon the lane and eighty feet deep. " 

6/26/1718. "The proprietors of the school-house in Newport have freely 
surrendered and given up their rights in said School-house to the Monthly 
Meeting to be continued by said Meeting for a school-house, and that said 
Meeting pay to the several proprietors what they have advanced more than their 
subscriptions within one year s time with reasonable interest. The money 
advanced by the several proprietors which is to be paid by this meeting is 


preparation of teachers for the local communities. It was 
a difficult matter to fix upon a satisfactory location, but 
finally Portsmouth, R.I., was selected as the favoured place. 
The school was accordingly opened there in 1784, being 
the first Yearly Meeting School established in America. 
Isaac Lawton was selected to be the " master " of it, and 
he accepted the position in the " trust that he will receive 
seventy-five pounds per year to keep the school." l The 
price of board was arranged to be four shillings per week 
for children under fourteen, and " four and six for those 
above." The hoped-for funds for this important venture 
did not materialize, and in 1788 the school came to a 
speedy close of its career. 2 

Friends came into collision at so many points with the 
Churches of what they call the " Presbyterian system " 
that there was little opportunity for them in colonial days 
to co-operate with their Christian neighbours in New 
England in moral and philanthropic undertakings. The 
result was that they felt themselves forced to discover 
their own peculiar moral activities and their own humani 
tarian efforts. Quite naturally, at first they were specially 
absorbed in the work of winning their own emancipation 
from what appeared to them the tyranny of those who 
made laws for them, but as fast as they won their freedom 
they took up the fight on behalf of other peoples who were 
oppressed and hampered, and they proved to be good 
leaders of what seemed at the time " lost causes " and 
" forlorn hopes." Their primary concern, as I have 
already implied, was the formation of a " peculiar people." 
This aim, to my mind, always hampered them, limited 
their scope, and narrowed their field of public usefulness, 
but as I am endeavouring to give a faithful historical picture, 
I must dwell for a little, in concluding this chapter, upon 
their zealous labours to construct their own " beloved Zion." 

They were the bearers of a religious message which in 

1 This extravagant fee was soon dropped to fifty pounds ! 

2 Through the persistent efforts of Moses Brown of Providence, one of the 
main creators of this Portsmouth school, and by the assistance of his generous 
gift, the school was revived in 1819, located at Providence, and has had a famous 
history and has rendered great service to the cause of education. 


essence and idea contained much that was permanent and 
universal. They showed a real genius for feeling out the 
great elemental truths of Christianity and for avoiding the 
scholastic formulations which were doomed, sooner or 
later, to have " mene " written on them. While others 
were still speculating over the " decrees " and " schemes " 
of a divine Sovereign, they were living in a joyous 
consciousness of a divine Father who was, and is, and 
will be the inward Spirit and Life and Light of all who 
strive and aspire. They no doubt often talked about 
their conception of God in narrow and somewhat for 
bidding terminology, but wherever one comes upon their 
great central idea, adequately expressed, in epistle, sermon, 
or autobiographical journal, he finds a glimpse, at least, 
of an ever new yet ever old truth, that God is immanent, 
self-revealing, and eternally redeeming the race, and 
working His Life into the lives of men. 1 But the 
moment one leaves this central doctrine and turns to the 
efforts which were made to maintain peculiarities, the 
" genius " appears lacking, and the movement seems to 
be caught in a back-wash. There was, no doubt, a real 
call in the middle decades of the seventeenth century for 
a vigorous and uncompromising campaign against sham 
and hollowness, and for a protest against fashions and 
forms of etiquette which were a burden to the life, and 
which buried the person under a rubbish of meaningless 
mannerisms. The Quaker uttered that protest with a 
commendable fearlessness, and he had a straightforward 
way of calling things by their plain names and of bringing 
the naked truth to the front. That was good service ; 
and so, too, was his steady insistence on human equality 
and the potential nobility of every man. 

1 Here are two sample passages from epistles which were read in all their 
meetings : "Be careful and labor in the peaceable gospel, to settle, stay, and 
establish peoples minds in the holy principle of Life and Light . . . and where 
there is the least budding or breaking forth of Life let it be nourished and 
encouraged." London Epistle of 1672. "And now, dear friends, who profess 
and possess that which is above all religions, ways, and worships in the world, 
our desire is that you may outstrip and exceed the world in virtue, in purity, in 
chastity, in godliness, and in holiness ; and in modesty, civility, and in righteous 
ness and love, so that your sober life may appear to all and may answer that of 
God in all. " Epistle of George Fox to New England Friends in 1684. 


But it is an unmistakable fact that the principle soon 
fell to a subconscious level, and the " testimonies," which 
probably had their origin in vitality, as a graphic method 
of uttering human principle, became an end in themselves 
and were finally cherished as the badges of a peculiar 
people. The use of " thee " and " thou " was initiated 
from a sincere desire to emphasize the equality of men, 
for the plural " you " was used only in addressing persons 
of dignity and standing ; but the use of " you " rapidly 
became universal custom, and whatever principle may have 
attached to "thou" disappeared, and the New England 
Quaker of the eighteenth century could give no reason for 
this peculiar language. The hat " testimony " came to be 
even more devoid of significance and rationality. There 
may have been some point once in keeping covered 
because of a desire not " to give to men an honour which 
belonged to God," but the custom of wearing the hat 
before magistrates and in religious assemblies soon became 
only a " custom." It ceased to have an inner meaning, 
and it proclaimed no important truth, as one realises at 
once when he reads the explanations which were given 
for it. When we remember that almost nothing cost 
so much in suffering as did this refusal to " uncover " 
we can only wish the life had been staked on a greater 
issue. 1 

The refusal to take an oath was in a higher region of 
principle the determination that there should be but one 
standard of truth-telling. But the significance of even this 
testimony was much blurred by the failure to exhibit its 
living import and by the tendency to treat it as a " com 
mand." It was, again, a great drop when the Quaker passed 
from his primitive call to simplicity of life and freedom 
from the yoke of fashion, and took the dangerously easy 
method of adopting a garb, which soon came to be 

1 It is evident that the Quaker converts in New England at once adopted this 
badge. Humphrey Norton gives us this interesting passage about the case of 
William Shattuck of Boston, who is here speaking for himself: "After I was 
convinced by the Light of the Lord in me I was brought to their court, and 
entering with my hat on, John Endicott looking on me with great disdain said, 
Art thou come to this?" Ensign, p. 65. 


another peculiar badge and a mark of " spirituality." 1 
These things have, no doubt, been often defended, and 
they were pursued in unmistakable sincerity ; but they 
plainly drew attention away from the real spiritual 
message, they quickly became ends-in-themselves, and as 
they rose in importance, the propagation of spiritual 
religion as a way of living for all men as men declined. 
One reads to-day with melancholy and a sense of sadness, 
of the vast labour and pains which these good people 
bestowed on these " fences," and one wishes that the same 
zeal had been bestowed in expanding their central living 
truth of an indwelling and Emmanuel God who is un- 
weariedly at work making a divine kingdom out of men 
like us ! But while we speak with regret of the excessive 
activity directed to the cultivation of customs, in their 
very nature bound to arrest spiritual development, we can 
review with enthusiasm the persistent efforts which these 
same people made to emancipate the minds and bodies of 
their fellow-men in New England and elsewhere, and one 
is profoundly impressed with the conviction, as he goes 
through their journals and epistles, that they had dis 
covered the supreme secret how to find God and enjoy 
Him in the pathway of this our earthly life. 

1 The importance of these badges appears in very early documents. An 
Epistle of 1697 says : " Friends everywhere, keep to plainness in speech, habit, 
and dealing, and keep to our testimony in calling the months and days by 
Scripture names and not by heathen." 



THE first opportunity for a Quaker experiment in govern 
ment came to the Friends in Rhode Island, where for 
more than a hundred years, with temporary fluctuations 
of their influence, they had an important share in the 
direction of the affairs of the colony. 

The Colony of Rhode Island was founded, as we have 
seen, by a group of men who came into sharp collision 
with the religious system of the Puritan Colony of 
Massachusetts. Some of them were compulsory exiles, 
and some of them were voluntary exiles, from the mother 
Colony of Massachusetts, because they were highly 
resolved to be free themselves and to set other men s 
souls free from all ecclesiastical tyranny. 1 The leading 
persons in the group Coddington, Coggeshall, Easton, 
the Clarkes, Hutchinsons, Dyers, and Bulls had already 
arrived at a type of religion in many respects like that 
of the Quakers, and those who joined themselves to 
that movement, just beyond the middle of the seven 
teenth century, adopted the new name with hardly a 
change of idea, ideal, or practice. Coddington (b. 1601, 
d. 1678) was the foremost man of the group. 2 He was 

1 The history of this controversy is told in Chapter I. 

2 In the Preface of his Demonstration of True Love, written To the Rulers of 
the Colony of Massachusetts " in 1672, Coddington says : "I was entrusted in 
the first settling [of the Massachusetts Bay Colony] and with the chiefest in all 
public charges [i.e. affairs] even before Boston was named or any house therein. 
I builded the first good house, in which the governor now dwells. I having 
spent much of my estate and prime of my age in propagating Plantations, and 
now come to the last period, the seventieth year of my age ; in discharge of my 
conscience toward God and in tender love and due respect to all, I write, as I 
have done, to warn you of your general calamity, upon which I parted from you, 
that persecuting spirit let loose ; and I rest yours in love, W.C." 



judge of the Portsmouth Colony until Newport was 
founded, and then he was chosen judge of that Colony. 
When the two Colonies of Portsmouth and Newport were 
united under one government he was successively chosen 
Governor from 1640 to 1647. When the four Colonies 
of Providence, Newport, Portsmouth, and Warwick were 
united in one government under the charter of 1647, 
John Coggeshall was chosen first President. William 
Coddington was, however, elected to this office in 1648, 
but was afterwards suspended from office, apparently 
because of his over-zealous efforts to bring the Colony into 
the New England Confederacy, which he felt was the 
necessary step for the fulfilment of the larger destiny of 
the Colony on the Narragansett. Soon after this he went 
to England with large designs in his mind. He was 
nursing the dream of a great island Colony in Narragansett 
Bay, and his two attempts in 1644 and 1648 to bring 
the Colony into the New England Confederacy had been 
with the aim to safeguard and strengthen the infant state. 
These attempts had failed. He now embarked for 
England with a still bolder dream in his mind, to make 
the Narragansett islands play the r61e in America which 
the British islands had played in the old world ! He 
assiduously cultivated the friendship of Sir Harry Vane, 
formerly his friend in the days of Vane s governorship, 
dining frequently with him ; seeking also the assistance of 
his old theological opponent Hugh Peters, now a man of 
large influence. Finally, in spite of the opposition of 
Edward Winslow of Plymouth, Coddington secured, 
through the British Council of State and the Committee 
of Admiralty, a patent, signed April 1651 by Lord 
President Bradshaw, making him proprietor of the islands 
" Aquidnet " [otherwise Rhode Island] and " Quinunagate " 
[otherwise Conanicut] and Governor for life. 

This act of Coddington s was, to say the least, a rash 
act, a profound blunder, and the colonists of Rhode Island 
and Providence Plantations denied his authority and sent 
John Clarke, a man of great parts, a genuine apostle of 
soul liberty and a wise diplomatist, to England to get the 


Coddington charter annulled. 1 In 1656 Coddington, in 
honourable and manly fashion, retreated from his mis 
taken course. He was never a traitor, as Turner assumes, 2 
and wrote a letter engaging to submit " with all his 
heart " to the lawful authority in the Colony, he having 
already in 1652 signed a paper surrendering all claim to 
anything more than his own share of the island of 
Aquidneck. 8 From this time to his death he was 
prominent in the affairs of the Colony, and, as we shall 
see, steadily received the mark of public confidence, and 
was raised to the highest office in the gift of the people. 
Weeden, in his valuable volume, 4 declares that Coddington 
was " a man of substance materially and mentally. Judge 
Durfee considers that the well-organised judiciary of the 
island betokens the presence of some man having not 
only a large legal and legislative capacity, but also a 
commanding influence. It was probably Coddington. 
It is more than doubtful whether Rhode Island could 
have attained a stable government without Coddington s 

Nicholas Easton (b. 1592, d. 1675) built the first 
house in Newport. He was one of the nineteen signers 
of the Aquidneck Colonial " Contract," and his is the 
second name on the " Agreement " of the Newport 
Colony. He and John Clarke were appointed in 1639 
to correspond with Sir Harry Vane upon the state of 
affairs in the new Colony. He was elected " Assistant " 
from 1640 to 1644. He was President of the Colony 
in 1650, 1651, and 1654, and he was thus prepared for 
the larger services to which he was called in his distinctly 
Quaker period. 

Sometime between 1657 and 1660 the evidence 
seems to point to the former date as the time 
Coddington, Nicholas Easton, John Easton, Joshua 

1 Roger Williams went with Clarke as representative of the mainland towns. 

- See article by Henry E. Turner, hostile to Coddington, in Rhode Island 
Tracts, No. 4. 

8 See Colony Records of Rhode Island, \. 327. He was that year elected a 
commissioner to the General Court, which would not have happened if the people 
of Newport had not believed in his integrity. 

4 Weeden s Early Rhode Island (N.Y., 1910), p. 64. 


Coggeshall (son of John who had died in office in 1647), 
Walter Clarke, Caleb Carr, and many other leading 
citizens of the island-colony, joined the Quaker movement 
with their families, and at once gave the persecuted people 
the support of their names and their influence. It is 
interesting to note that their affiliation with the religious 
movement, so unpopular everywhere else, had from the 
first no detrimental effect upon the political career of the 
men who joined the Quaker meeting at Newport. 
Nicholas Easton and his son John Easton were both 
elected commissioners to the General Court of Rhode 
Island and Providence Plantations in 1660, and Nicholas 
was chosen Moderator of the Court that year, and John was 
made Attorney-General, a position to which he was many 
times elected until 1674, when he was raised to a higher 
office. The following year, 1661, Caleb Carr was elected 
Treasurer- General of the Colony, and he likewise continued 
to hold a prominent place in the affairs of the Colony 
until he was finally chosen Governor in 1695. 

Nicholas Easton was the first Quaker to be raised to 
the governorship of the Colony, he having been already 
five times Deputy-Governor, beginning with the year I666. 1 
His term of office as Governor extended from 1672 to 
1674. It was his lot, as it was also that of the later 
Quaker Governors, to come into public prominence at the 
critical time of war. This period, from 1666 to 1674, 
when Easton was almost continuously in public office, 
was disturbed by two wars between England and Holland, 
and the Colonies which were within easy reach of the 
Dutch in New Amsterdam were continually harassed 
with anxiety, even though not actually involved in 
border warfare. The first Dutch war of Charles II. s reign 
began in 1664, and was ended by the Peace of Breda in 
1667. The second war began in 1672 and was ter 
minated in 1674, permanently settling New York as 
English territory. The wars between the mother-country 
and the continental nations were complicated by alliances 

1 The Great Charter of Rhode Island, secured from King Charles the Second, 
had gone into operation in 1663. 


of Indian tribes against the English colonists, and the 
Rhode Island Quaker officials must many times have had 
their consciences severely tested in these periods when 
preparation for war was forced upon them. Left to them 
selves the Rhode Island colonists could have maintained 
peace, for their Indian policy was wise, humane, and 
enlightened, and gained for them the confidence and 
love of their Indian neighbours. 1 But they were a tiny 
part of a larger political system. They could not live 
unto themselves. They received their Charter from the 
English Government, and they were of necessity involved 
in the schemes and quarrels of the mother-country as 
well as in the expanding movements of the Colonies 
surrounding them, and, try as they might to keep their 
domain in peace, they found themselves dragged into the 
grinding millstones of war. 

The Quaker officials in the Rhode Island Colony were 
in every instance devoted to the maintenance of peace. 
They exerted themselves to the utmost to keep the 
Colony out of actual war ; but they seem to have settled 
it as their policy to stay in office, when they were put 
there by the people, even though they found themselves 
compelled, by unavoidable conditions and circumstances, 
to perform public acts of a warlike nature. When they 
found that the great current of events could not be forced 
to take the course which in their vision seemed the ideal 
one, they faced the stubborn conditions that existed and 
did the best they could with them. They discovered, 
what all practical workers discover, that the achievement 
of great ends and high ideals can be won only by slow 
stages and by graceful bends around obstacles which are 
for the moment immovable. There has always been in 
the Society of Friends a group of persons pledged 
unswervingly to the ideal. To those who form this inner 
group compromise is under no circumstance allowable. 

1 One of the significant acts of Nicholas Easton s administration as Governor 
was the order that one-half of the jury which was to try an Indian for murder 
should be composed of Indians, and that Indian testimony should be received 
on the same basis as the testimony of Englishmen. See Arnold s History of Rhode 
Island, i. 367. 


If there comes a collision between allegiance to the ideal 
and the holding of public office, then the office must be 
deserted. If obedience to the soul s vision involves eye 
or hand, houses or lands or life, they must be immediately 
surrendered. But there has always been as well another 
group who have held it to be equally imperative to work 
out their principles of life in the complex affairs of the 
community and the State, where to gain an end one 
must yield something ; where to get on one must submit 
to existing conditions ; and where to achieve ultimate 
triumph one must risk his ideals to the tender mercies 
of a world not yet ripe for them. John Woolman, 
the consummate flower of American Quakerism in the 
eighteenth century, is the shining type of the former 
principle, and the Rhode Island governors are good types 
of the other course. 

Nicholas Easton was the first to face this hard issue 
of war, and his policy, distinctly at variance with that 
later pursued by the Pennsylvania Quakers, was followed 
by all the Quaker governors of Rhode Island. 

By act of the General Court the I3th of May 1667, 
he was appointed chairman of a committee to make a 
rate for the levying of ^150 for the defence of Newport 
against a common enemy, and for " mounting the great 
gun," " in order to prevent such mischiefs and miseries 
as may happen for the want of the same." l It appears 
from the Records that the Quaker Deputy-Governor did 
not help to " mount the great gun," as it was mounted 
by the military men of the Colony. 2 

Just before Nicholas Easton was raised to the governor 
ship the Colony was believed to be in imminent danger 
of aggressive attack, as the following record of the General 
Court shows : 

" August 31, 1671. There being a great necessity to put the 
Colony in a posture of defence att this time, wherein there are 
soe apparent grounds to expect some treacherous designes and 

1 Colony Records of Rhode Island, ii. 197. Daniel Gould, John Gould, and 
Peter Easton, all Friends, were on this committee. 
8 Ibid. 


practices from the Indians, itt is therefore ordered, that the 
Towne Councills and Councills of Warr, of each respective towne 
on the Island, shall meete at Mr. Geo. Lawton s dwelling-house 
in the bounds of Portsmouth, on Tuesday, the fifth day of 
September, now next insueing, at nine of the clock in the fore 
noon, then and there to consider of some wayes and means for 
secureing the inhabitants and their estates in these times of 
imminent danger." l 

That was surely a difficult time for the infant state, 
and it was a hard crisis for the beginning of a Quaker 
administration. The new " administration " was, however, 
prevailingly Quaker. Nicholas Easton was Governor, 
John Cranston, Deputy-Governor, 2 John Easton, son of 
Nicholas, was Attorney-General, and Joshua Coggeshall, 
John Easton, and Peter Easton were assistants. One of 
the first acts of the Council under this Quaker administra 
tion looked toward preparation for the military defence 
of the Colony, though here again we have no way of 
knowing what part, active or passive, the Quaker members 
actually took. The Act reads : 

" Whereas, wee have received speciall order from his Majestic 
for the Proclamation of Warr against the Dutch, and the puttinge 
this Collony into a posture of defence, this Councill doe recom 
mend and doe order and empower the Magistrates, together with 
the Captain, Lieutenant, and Ensigne of the respective townes, 
or the major part of them, to take care, order, and putt the 
inhabitants of each towne into the best posture of defence may 
be, for the maintaininge the King s interest in this Collony ; and 
to that end, to act and order to the best of their discretion, until 
the Generall Assembly or Councill take further order; and 
especially to take care for powder, shott, and ammunition, and 
to inquire after and secure what may be found in the Collony." 8 

At the election of 1673, when the war was at its 
height, when the Colony was in feverish anxiety, and when 
the coolest heads were needed in counsel, Easton was 
again elected Governor, William Coddington was chosen 
Deputy-Governor, and Walter Clarke, one of the foremost 

1 Colony Records of Rhode Island, ii. 409. 

2 John Cranston was not a Friend in membership though he attended the 
Yearly Meeting in 1672. See Fox s Journal (edition 1901) ii. 168. 

3 Colony Records of Rhode Island, ii. 463. 



members of the Newport meeting, was added to the list 
of assistants. 

The Dutch succeeded in recapturing New York on 
the 3<Dth of July 1673, and this caused much commotion 
in Newport. A special session of the General Assembly 
was called to provide for the defence of the Colony, and 
many military measures were passed. The following Act 
would certainly put a peace-loving Quaker in a hard 
dilemma : 

"Voted, forasmuch as there seemeth a present danger by 
reason of the Dutch forces, whoe the 30th of July last tooke 
New Yorke, and may unhappily assault and fall upon us, as a 
ready provision and fittings against such said danger : 

"It is enacted, that authority is given to the Governor, and 
in his absence to the Deputy-Governor, and major part of the 
assistants, for the time beinge (at any time when the Generall 
Assembly is not sittinge), to nominate, appoint, and constitute 
such and soe many commanders, and military officers as to them 
shall seeme requisite for the leadinge, conductinge, and trayninge 
up the inhabitants of the said Plantation in martiall affaires." 

And it was further enacted : 

"that the Governor or, in his absence, the Deputy-Governor, 
[both Quakers] and all the Assistants on this Island, if the 
Dutch or any other public enemy shall, in open hostility against 
the King, assault it or fall upon his subjects here ; then all of 
them, if able and in health, shall in all time of danger be with 
or as neere as may be convenient to the eldest Captaine in 
chiefe [John Cranston] to give to him speciall and perticular 
directions as the danger shall then occasion, for the safety of the 
whole ; and the Governor, or Deputy-Governor, and all the 
Assistants on the Island that shall be able, shall with the first 
information, allarm, or knowledge of the approach or invasion 
of the said enemy come together and be ready in the most 
convenient place to consult and agree how for the best safety 
and best loyalty to answer any summons such said enemy may 
send to them." l 

The Assembly thereupon proceeded to draft a pension 
law for the " reliefe of souldiers that lose their limbs and 
the reliefe for the relations whose dependency was on 

1 Colony Records of Rhode Island, ii. 489. 


such as are slayne " one of the earliest American pension 
laws. In the next Act the hand of the Quakers is plainly 
seen. They had been unable to stop the occasion of the 
present war, and they were powerless to prevent the war 
like preparations for the defence of those who believed 
in the propriety of war, but they now made full provision 
for the relief of tender consciences. This Act of exemp 
tion from military duties for conscience sake, passed the 
1 3th of August 1673 the first Act of the sort ever 
passed in America, is a very curious and quaint document 
full of odd Scripture texts and allusions, but it is too long 
to be given in full. 

The Act declares that " the inhabitants of this colony 
have a conscience " against requiring taking an oath, 
" how much more," it adds, " ought such men forbear to 
compel their equal neighbors against their consciences to 
trayne to fight and to kill." 

" Bee it therefore enacted, and hereby it is enacted by his 
Majesty s authority, that noe person (within this Collony), that 
is or hereafter shall be persuaded in his conscience that he 
cannot or ought not to trayne, to learne to fight, nor to war, nor 
kill any person or persons, shall at any time be compelled against 
his judgment and conscience to trayne, arm, or fight, to kill any 
person or persons by reason of or at the command of any officer 
of this Collony, civil nor military, nor by reason of any by-law 
here past or formerly enacted ; nor shall suffer any punishment, 
fine, distraint, pennalty, nor imprisonment, who cannot in con 
science traine, fight, nor kill any person nor persons for the 
aforesaid reasons." : 

At the next general election William Coddington was 
chosen Governor, and John Easton Deputy -Governor, 
while Peter Easton filled both offices of Attorney-General 
and Colonial Treasurer. Shortly before his election to 
the governorship Coddington had built himself a great 
house in Marlborough Street. It was spacious and 
adapted for the entertainment of many visitors. In the 
great room of this house the Quaker meeting of Newport 
was held for many years, and at the time of George Fox s 
visit the Yearly Meeting was held there, and in this house 

1 This Act is in the Rhode Island Colony Records, ii. 495-499. 


Coddington entertained the Governor of Massachusetts, 
Richard Bellingham, on his memorable visit to Rhode 
Island. 1 Soon after the election which freed him from 
the responsibility of public office, Nicholas Easton passed 
away full of years and having achieved the highest honours 
his Colony had to bestow. He had helped form the 
infant settlement in Newbury, Massachusetts ; he had 
built the first English house in Hampton ; he had bravely 
followed his light in the trying days which parted the 
Puritan colony into two religious groups, and he had been 
in the front line of the pioneers of religious freedom on 
Rhode Island. He had built the first house in Newport, 
the first windmill on the island ; and he had been among 
the first to throw in his lot with the new-born Quaker 
Society. He had been the constant companion of George 
Fox in his two months of labour in New England, and 
he had finished the course of an eventful life by piloting 
his Colony through two administrations complicated by 
the problems of imminent war. 

During Easton s period of public service the Colony 
was swept by a cyclonic disturbance of internal contention. 
The colonial records describe it as "an uncomfortable 
difference of which there seemed to be no peaceable 
composure " ; as " dangerous contests, distractions, and 
divisions among our ancient, loving, and honoured neigh 
bours, the freemen of the town of Providence, by which 
the town is in an incapacity of transacting its own affairs," 
making " a breech in the whole." 2 This bitter quarrel 
had broken out over William Harris claim of ownership 
to extensive lands stretching up the Pawtuxet River and 
other streams. Harris was a strenuous man of affairs, 
" pertinacious in temperament," and inclined to be a local 
storm-centre. His opponents, in the pamphleteering 
manner of the times, called him " a fire-brand," " a 
salamander always delighting to live in ye fire of con- 

1 Did I not entertain Richard Bellingham and his company nine or ten days 
in my house on Rhode Island ? " A Demonstration of True Love, p. 15. The 
first Friends Meeting- House in Newport was already built in 1672, but many of 
the meetings were still held in Coddington s house. Stephen Gould, who saw 
this house torn down, has left a very interesting sketch of its history. 

8 Rhode Island Colony Records, ii. 289-293. 


tention," " a raging sea casting forth mire and dirt ! " l 
He, in turn, called them the Roger Williams faction 
and the Fenner party " the makers of poysonous 
plaisters against our rights in lands and laws." So fierce 
was the storm that a special session of the General 
Assembly was called, and two Newport Quakers, John 
Easton and Joshua Coggeshall, were " chosen and author 
ised " to call a Providence town meeting in the name of 
the General Assembly, superintend the choice of officers, 
and bring civil order out of the chaos a delicate and 
difficult task which was in the end successfully carried 
through. 2 

As Coddington began his administration news came to 
the Colony that peace was established between England 
and Holland, and the strain and anxiety of war seemed 
happily over. One disturbance disquieted the Colony. 
There were visible signs that Rhode Island was to have 
difficulty in establishing its rightful claim to the Narra- 
gansett country on the west shore of the Bay a region 
for many years in hot dispute. One of the new Governor s 
first acts was to proceed with his council to the district in 
dispute and to establish there the township of Kingstown 
(now called Kingston), which was incorporated by the 
General Assembly as the seventh town of Rhode Island. 
After one peaceful term of office William Coddington was 
re-elected, but the days of peace and calm were over, and 
his second term of office was destined to see the fiercest 
storm of Indian war which the New England Colonies 
ever experienced the contest known in history as " King 
Philip s War." 

This war was the natural outcome of the irresistible 
collision of two races, two civilisations, incompatible with 
each other. The collision came at this particular crisis 
because the Indian cause just then happened to be 
embodied in a great natural leader of men in the person 
of the Indian chief, King Philip, son of Massasoit. Philip 

1 Rhode Island Historical Society Collection, x. 78. 

3 Lott Strange and Joseph Torrey were added to the committee of two for 
Counsel and Advice," Records, ii. 293. Harris himself became a Quaker after 
George Fox s visit to the Colony. 


believed that he had been greatly wronged by the 
English, especially those of Plymouth Colony, and he saw 
no hope of gaining the old time rights, privileges, and 
conditions of Indian life, except by a master stroke at 
the life of the English settlers. 

It was always the Quaker way to endeavour to prevent 
war by removing the occasion for it, and the Quakers in 
authority at this crisis made a vigorous trial of their 
method. As the sky was darkening with ominous clouds 
of war, five men, with John Easton, the Deputy-Governor 
of the Colony of Rhode Island, at their head, rowed up 
to King Philip s headquarters at Mount Hope a pro 
montory jutting into Narragansett Bay to try counsel 
and persuasion with him in order to bring about, if 
possible, an arbitration of the difficulties. 

The five visitors all came to the council unarmed, and 
Philip laid aside his weapons for the occasion, though his 
warriors, about forty in number, were armed ; and Easton, 
who wrote the only account of this famous conference, 
says : " We sat veri friendly together. We told him our 
bisness was to indever that they [the Indians] might not 
receve or do rong." l " We told them," the narrative 
continues, " that our desire was that the quarrel might be 
rightly decided in the best way, not as dogs decide their 
quarrels." The Indians "owned that fighting was the 
worst way, but they inquired how right might take place 
without fighting. We said by arbitration. They said 
that by arbitration the English agreed against them, and 
so by arbitration they had much rong." 2 " We said they 
might chuse a Indian King and the English might chuse 
the Governor of New Yorke, that neither had case to say 
that either wear parties to the difference. They said they 
had not heard of this way. We were persuaded that if 
this way had been tendered they would have accepted." 8 

Philip then proceeded to spread before them a long 
list of Indian grievances. Philip said : " Their King s 
father [Massasoit], when the English first came, was a 

1 Easton s Narrative (Hough edition), p. 7. This narrative is a marvellous 
specimen of seventeenth-century spelling ! 

Ibid. p. 8. 3 Ibid. p. 10. 


great man and the English as a littill child. He con 
strained the other Indians from ronging the English, and 
gave them corn and shewed them how to plant it and was 
free to do them ani good." " But their King s brother 
[Alexander], when he was King came miserably to dy, 
being forced to court, and as they judged poysoned." 
" Another Greavance was, if 20 of their onest Indiands 
testified that a Englishman had dun them rong it was 
nothing, but if one of their worst Indians testified against 
any Indian, or their King, when it pleased the English, it 
was suficiant." Finally Philip complained that the 
English were " eager to sell the Indians lickers [liquors] 
that most Indians spent all in drynknes and then raved 
upon the sober Indians ! " 1 

The visitors pleaded all day for arbitration, but there 
seemed no practical way of bringing it about, for the five 
counsellors were incapable of convincing the Indians that 
they could bring the other Colonies to their peaceful view, 
and Easton concludes his Narrative, written while the 
war was in progress, with the sectarian remark : 

" I am persuaded of New England Frists [ministers] they are 
so blinded by the spirit of Persecution and [so eager] to maintain 
their hyer [hire] that they have been the case [cause] that the law 
of Nations and the Law of Arems have been violated in this 
War [war was begun without any formal declaration]. The war 
would not have been if ther had not bine hyerlings." 2 

Upon the very heels of this conference the storm 
broke with fury upon the inhabitants who lived along the 
shores of the bay. 8 The Quakers of Rhode Island held 
the view throughout the conflict that it was an unnecessary 
war, and might have been avoided if the other Colonies 
had shown Philip fair treatment, but in any case the 
innocent were involved with those who were responsible 
for the calamity, and the mainland of Rhode Island came 

1 Easton s Narrative (Hough edition), pp. 12, 13. z Ibid. pp. 30, 31. 

3 King Philip s war began 24th June 1675, the Easton Conference occurred 
1 7th June. The Narragansett Indians were most kindly disposed toward the 
Friends on the Island. The Indian chief Pessicus told the Newport magistrates 
that his heart was affected and sorrowed for the English, but "he could not rule 
[i.e. overrule] the young Indians nor persuade the other chiefs." 


in for a heavy share of the suffering. It was the Quaker 
policy to make the Island a safe city of refuge, and to 
bring the outlying inhabitants thither. 1 Providence and 
Warwick sent urgent appeals for military assistance, and 
the General Assembly of 1676 answered them through a 
committee of six, of which the Quakers, Walter Clarke, 
Joshua Coggeshall, and Caleb Carr were members, as 
follows : 

" After searious debate and well weighings of your hazardous 
and present condition, wee declare that wee finde this Collony is 
not of ability to maintaine sufficient garrisons for the security of 
our out-Plantations. Therefore, we thinke and judge it most safe 
for the inhabitants to repaire to this Island, which is the most 
secureist. Newport and Portsmouth inhabitants have taken 
such care that those of the Collony that come, and cannot 
procure land to plant for themselves and families, reliefe may be 
supplied with land by the townes ; and each family soe wantinge 
a Hbertye, shall have a cow kept upon the commons ; butt if 
any of you think yourselves of abillity to keepe your interest of 
houses and cattell, and will adventure your lives [by staying 
where you are] we shall not positively oppose you therein ; but 
this the Assembly declares as their sense and reall beliefe con- 
cerninge the premises, that those that soe doth make themselves 
a prey, and what they have as goods, provisions, ammunition, 
cattell, etc., will be a reliefe to the enemy at their pleasure, 
except more than ordinary Providence prevent, therefore we 
cannot but judge them wisest that take the safest course to 
secure themselves, and take the occasion from the enemy." 2 

There exists a very odd letter, signed by Walter 
Clarke, written 28th January 1676, which further indicates 
the Quaker policy. It is in answer to an appeal for 
assistance from Providence. Clarke endeavours to 
quiet " the discontent of spirit " which prevailed in 
Providence toward the Newport authorities, " as if they 
were not worthy to live," by explaining that " the weal of 
the Colony " would have been attended to if the weather 

1 Drake s Old Indian Chronicle says, "Rhode Island now became the 
common /oar, or place of refuge for the distressed, " p. 224. A minute of the 
executive council of New York of this date says that Great Numbers of the 
people flock t to Rhode Island from their habitations destroyed, insomuch that 
the inhabitants [of the island] are very much straitened by their numbers, and 
will quickly want provisions. " 

a Colony Records of Rhode Island, ii. 532-535. 


had not " obstructed " the execution of orders for defence. 
He further offers the explanation, certainly not very 
satisfactory to the sufferers, that if the " Administration " 
had furnished soldiers to protect " the out-inhabitants " and 
their property, the people would have been " damnified by 
the charge for wages, ammunition, and diet ! " " The 
island," he says, " has expended eight hundred pounds to 
provide for the security and provision of those who are 
there ; and all who cannot be secure where they are " had 
best be transported hither," " for we are not of ability to 
keep soldiers under pay." " Sorrows are to increase," he 
thinks, and to have soldiers to pay and care for would 
only add to the troubles of the already heavy times. He 
warns them not to appeal for help to the other Colonies, 
for they will in the end " make a prey of you " there 
was apparently no help left for the suffering "out- 
inhabitants," but to wait for the salvation of the Lord ! 
This curious sentence was perhaps meant to be a comfort : 

" I have done to the uttermost of my ability for your good 
and shall do, yet we know the Lord s hand is against New 
England [evidently Massachusetts and Plymouth] and no 
weapon formed will prosper till the work be finished, and the 
wheat [the Rhode Island saints !] must be pulled up with the 
tears [tares] and the innocent suffer with the guilty ! " 1 

On the 1 2th of April the same year, Walter Clarke 
wrote again, in a somewhat more encouraging vein, with 
less religious comment and with more practical direction : 

" Only this for your present encouragement : we well approve 
your advice and willingness to maintain a garrison, and have 
agreed to bear the charge of ten men upon the Colony s account, 
till the succeeding authority take further order, 2 and that you 
may take four of our men to strengthen you, or if it be wholly 
by yourselves, we, as abovesaid, will bear the charge of ten of 
them, and after the election, if those concerned see cause, and 
the Colony be of ability to do it, I shall not obstruct, if it be 
continued all the year. Be pleased to dispatch our ketch. 3 I 

1 Clarke s letter is printed in Staples Annals, p. 167. 

2 General election was about to occur, at which the writer of the letter, 
Walter Clarke, was elected Governor. 

8 A " ketch" was a strong two-masted vessel, generally carrying guns. 


have no more to you but my kind love and desire of your peace 
and safety as my own. WALTER CLARKE. 1 

A carefully planned attack was made on the Indians 
by the colonial forces at South Kingston, near Tower Hill, 
in the winter of 1675. It was a fierce engagement, 68 of 
the English being killed and 150 wounded. The 
wounded were brought across to the Island, where they 
were kindly cared for. Drake s Old Indian Chronicle 
says that " Governor William Coddington received the 
wounded soldiers kindly, though some churlish Quakers 
were not free to entertain them until compelled by the 
Governor. 2 Coddington at this time wrote a letter to the 
Governor and Council of Massachusetts in a Postscript to 
which he contrasts the way the Quakers have treated the 
suffering soldiers of Massachusetts with the way the 
people of Boston have treated, and are treating, the 
Quakers there. The letter itself is very laconic : 

"The Governor and Councell of ye Massachusetts and 
Committee of ye United Colonies writing to us do give us 
thanks for transporting their soldiers and Provisions, and that 
sloops transported their wounded, and desired us to lett out 
100 or 200 Souldiers, we answered you denying soe to do and 
gave you our Grounds." 

The Postscript, for which the letter was evidently 
written, deals with a contemporary Boston proclamation 
for a day of humiliation, in which proclamation was given 
a list of Puritan " sins " that had brought this war upon 
the nation as a judgment. The curious catalogue of sins 
included : neglect to catechise the young, excess in 
apparel, wearing of long hair, rudeness in worship, such 
as, for example, the practice of leaving the church before 
divine service had ended, and the recent neglect to suppress 
the Quakers and their meetings. To show that the 
proclamation was no empty call to repentance, a law was 
simultaneously passed imposing a fine of five pounds 

1 Staples Annals, p. 167. 

a Old Indian Chronicle (Boston edition, 1867), p. 211. These Quakers 
believed the war thoroughly unjust, and desired to withhold from all acts which 
might seem like taking part in the war, though in declining to nurse wounded 
soldiers they were surely pushing their scruples too far. 


upon every person who should attend a Quaker meeting, 
with imprisonment at hard labour upon bread and water. 1 
Of this proclamation and law Governor Coddington, 
with grim humour, writes in his Postscript : 

" There is come to our Hands certain Lawes or Orders of ye 
3rd November 1675 set forth by ye authority of your generall 
Assembly of ye Massachusetts, your secretaries Hand being to 
them, wherein you say you have apo stated from the Lord with a 
great backsliding : To which I do consent ; so great [as] hardly 
to be paralleled, all things considered. We were a people 
prfessing ye Feare of ye Lord in England against Bishops and 
Ceremonies in tender Love to all that prfessed Godliness, and 
so departed from the land of our Nativity, declaring the Ground 
of our Removall into N.E. viz. to seek out a Place for our 
Brethren where we might enjoy the Liberty of our consciences 
that ye sons of wickedness might vex us no more. 

" How well this hath bin performed by you, let your printed 
Lawes declare and this amongst the Rest : Our houses are 
open to receive your wounded and all in distress, we have 
prpared a Hospitall for yours, but you a House of Correction for 
all that repaire to our Meetings. Your ministers with us have 
not been molested, ours with you have been persecuted. Is 
this a time for you to establish Iniquity by a Law will not the 
Lord be avenged on such a Nation as this that sets up Ministers 
that are not made Ministers by ye power of an endless Life, 
but of ye Letter that kills, and not ye spirit that gives Life, and 
a Worship that is not in Spirit and Truth set [up] by Christ 
above 1600 yeares agoe; we cannot come to you without 
departing from ye Lord as you have done, therefore desiring 
your return to ye Power that made you, ye true Light that is in 
you. This is written by one who above 45 yeares past was one 
of you and now is one that desires your true Good both Eternall 
and temporall, as I did when I was with you and am yours in 
Love. W. C." 2 

As a result of the great suffering occasioned through 
out the Colony of Rhode Island by the progress of the 

1 Colony Records of Massachusetts, v. 59. 

2 Easton s Narrative, Appendix, pp. 132-135. A still more interesting piece 
of Coddington correspondence is a letter under date of 22nd December 1675, 
from Governor Andros of New York, charging the Governor of Rhode Island with 
having seized powder and arms from a ship bound to the port of New York. 
There is, unfortunately, no answer extant to this letter, which I give herewith : 
" Hon. Sir, This is by a sloop bound to yor parts not to omitt noe good oppor 
tunity, though there bee nothing new, but that I heare that you stopped a vessel 
bound to this place, on ace. of some Powder and Arnies in her, which (as re- 


war both Warwick and Providence were burned to the 
ground the General Assembly, at its meeting in April 
1676, roused itself to military preparation in response to 
the urgent calls of the non-insular inhabitants. It was 
voted that " there appears absolute necessity for the 
defence and safety of this Colony," and that " for the 
orderly mannagings of the millitia this Assembly doe agree 
to chose a major to be chiefe Captaine of all the Collony 
forces." John Cranston was chosen to be the major, 
with commission to use his " utmost endeavor to kill, 
expulse, expell, take and destroy all and every the 
enemies of this his majesty s collony," which commission 
is signed by Governor Coddington. 1 The Assembly 
thereupon sent John Easton and George Lawton, both 
Quakers, " with all convenient speed," to Providence with 
full power " to determine whether a garrison or garrisons 
shall be kept there at the charge of the Colony and the 
place or places where they shall be kept and whether at 
all." They decided on one garrison with seven men and 
a commander. 2 

At the summer election of 1676, Walter Clarke, in 
spite of his somewhat halting " Quaker war-policy," was 
chosen Governor, though major John Cranston was 
associated with him, as Deputy-Governor, to take charge 
of military affairs. 3 The Colony was in a sorry plight 
when the new administration began. The war was 

presented) would not only reflect on mee and the magistrates of this government 
but on his Royall Highnesse and the King himself whose commissions I have. 
I cannot give creditt to this report, not having heard from yorselfe or colony of 
it, which I am confident I should, yet being told mee by sufficient men I pray I 
may, etc. E. ANDROSS." Easton s Narrative, pp. 130-131. 

1 See Colony Records, ii. 537-539. 

a Colony Records, ii. 545. The commander was Captain Fenner, and his 
commission was signed by Walter Clarke, the next Quaker Governor. 

3 William Edmundson, who visited Newport at this time, says : Great troubles 
attended Friends by Reason of the war, which lay very heavy on places belong 
ing to that Quarter without the Island, the Indians killing and burning all before 
them ; and the People who were not Friends were outrageous to fight ; but the 
Governor being a Friend (one Walter Clarke) could not give commissions to 
kill and destroy men." Edmundson s Journal (ed. 1715), p. 82. At the end of 
the war the Magistrates of Plymouth wrote to the King their opinion of Quaker 
Governors in war time : The truth is the authority of Rhode Island being 
all the time of the warr in the hands of Quakers, they scarcely showed an English 
spirit, either assisting us, their distressed neighbors, or relieving their own planta 
tions upon the Mayne." New England Papers, xxxiii. 5. 


brought to an end by the mid-summer of 1676, when 
Philip was hunted to his death in the swamps by 
Mount Hope near the scene of Easton s arbitration 
conference, but the non-insular towns of Rhode Island 
were almost wiped off the map. Every house but one 
between Providence and Stonington was destroyed, and 
most of the territory outside the islands was like a desert. 1 
The new Governor was fortunately relieved from the 
actual din of war, but he found himself loaded with many 
problems which the war had left in its wake. One of the 
problems was the treatment of the defeated Indians. 
The other Colonies sold their captives as slaves. To 
Rhode Island belongs the signal honour of having 
inaugurated a more enlightened policy. An Act of the 
Assembly was passed that " no Indian in this colony 
be a slave." Some of the leaders who were captured 
were brought to Newport, and tried by court-martial 
and shot. Three Quakers, the Governor, John Easton, 
and Joshua Coggeshall, were members of the court, 
but apparently they did not attend the session, owing 
to their conscientious scruples against capital punish 
ment. 2 

Governor Clarke took the first opportunity of peace to 
discharge the garrison at Providence, to which he had 
consented only because of the overwhelming force of 
popular demand. It was restored, however, by the 
succeeding Governor, Benedict Arnold, who was a non- 
Quaker. About this time a plague of some sort, a very 
deadly epidemic, broke out and ravaged the Island. 
William Edmundson, the Quaker traveller, has given us 
our only account of it. He says : 

1 Drake says that there was only one house left standing in Warwick, three 
in Providence, and none in Pawtuxet (Old Indian Chronicle, p. 244). The 
scholarly editor of Callender s Historical Discourse thinks that the sufferings of 
the Colony and the lack of union in matters of defence were not owing only to 
the religious principles of the gentlemen then at the head of our administration." 
He points out that there are still in existence commissions signed and sealed by 
the Quaker Governor and the Quaker Deputy-Governor directing Benedict Arnold, 
jun. , "to go in an armed sloop to visit the garrisons at Providence. " The 
Deputy-Governor gave solemn evidence that he was not against giving com 
missions that are for the security of the King s interests in this colony." Op. cit. 
note, p. 134. 

2 See Easton s Narrative, pp. 173-190. 


" Whilst I staid at Rhode Island, the heat of the Indian war 
abated, for King Philip, in that war of the Indians, was killed 
and his party destroyed and subdued. Presently a sickness 
came which proved mortal and took many away, few families 
but lost some, in two or three days sickness. Many Friends 
died, yet I constantly visited sick families of Friends, although 
the smell of the sickness was loathsome, and many times I could 
feel all the parts of my body as it were loaden with it, so that 
I would say to sick families, // was much I did not carry their 
sickness away, I was so loaden therewith. After sometime it seized 
upon me with such violence that I was forced to keep my bed 
at Walter Newberry s in New-Port." 1 

In addition to the problems of restoring the devastated 
province, now swept also by plague, and the problem of 
the treatment of the Indians of the Colony, the Governor 
had to face again the aggressions of Connecticut on the 
Narragansett territory. Three Rhode Island citizens who 
were engaged in restoring their desolate homesteads in 
Narragansett were seized by Connecticut officers and 
carried prisoners to Hartford. Appeal was made to 
Governor Clarke, and he and his council wrote immediately, 
demanding their release, and threatening reprisal if it was 
refused. 2 This affair, however, went over to the new 
administration, for at the election of 1677 the Quakers 
went out of office and the war-party triumphed. One of 
the first acts of the new Assembly was a Militia Bill 
which struck at the provision for Quaker exemption. 
This Bill still insisted that there should be " free liberty 
of conscience for the reall worship of God," but it 
declared that 

"Some under pretence of conscience hath taken liberty to 
act contrary, and make voyde the power, strength, and authority 
of the millitary soe necessary to be upheld and maintained, that 
the civill power (in which the whole freedome and priviledges of 
his Majesty s subjects are kept and preserved) cannot without 
it be executed, and have soe far acted therein, that this his 
Majesty s Collony at this time is in effect wholly destitute of the 
millitary forces for the preservation thereof, and inhabitants 

1 Edmundson s Journal, p. 82. 

2 Arnold s History of Rhode Island, i. 425. 


therein, and may thereby be made a prey unto the weakest and 
meanest of his Majesty s enemys." l 

The Act proceeds to provide for an efficient militia 
into which all freemen are subject to draft : 

"Provided, alwayes, and this Assembly doe hereby declare, 
that it is their full and unanimous resolution to maintaine a full 
liberty in religious concernments relateinge to the worship of 
God, and that noe person in inhabitinge within this jurisdiction 
shall bee in any wise molested, punished, disquieted, or called in 
question for any differences of opinion in matters of religion, 
whoe doe not actually disturbe the civill peace of the Collony." 2 

Benedict Arnold, who had served the Colony twelve 
times as Governor, and who was generally chosen when 
the Quakers were not in office, died before his term of 
office expired, and William Coddington, now an old man, 
was selected to take the vacant place, but he did not live 
to finish out the term, being on his deathbed when the 
Assembly met, ist October 1678, and dying two days 
later " a good man, full of days," as Callender says, 
" he died promoting the welfare and the prosperity of 
the little commonwealth which he had in a manner 
founded." 8 

At the time of his death the Island colony, in which 
he had been the chief figure, was five times as wealthy as 
the other plantations in Rhode Island, 4 and was forging 
ahead with the promise of becoming one of the busiest 
ports on the American coast, and one of the leading 
centres of wealth and culture in the new world. The old 
Governor had done much to make this development 
possible, and Rhode Island owes him a large debt, even 
though Judge Durfee s epigram upon him is in some 
measure true : " He had in him a little too much of the 
future for Massachusetts, and a little too much of the 
past for Rhode Island." 5 

At the next election, and for five years running, 
Walter Clarke was chosen Deputy-Governor, and during 

1 Colony Records, ii. 567. 2 Ibid. p. 571. 

8 Historical Discourse, p. 52. 4 Weeden s Early Rhode Island, p. 97 

5 Judge Durfee s Historical Discourse, p. 16. 


this period John Easton, Caleb Carr, Peter Easton, and 
Henry Bull, all of whom were Quakers, were almost 
continuously in public service in one office or another. 
William Coddington, son of the old Governor, filled the 
governorship from 1683 until just before his death, which 
occurred in 1685. This period, from the close of King 
Philip s war to the coming of Andros soon to be 
described was a time of fierce controversy for the 
integrity of the Colony, as Connecticut, Plymouth, and 
even New Hampshire were all laying claims to the 
territory of the mainland of Rhode Island a controversy 
too long and complicated for this chapter. 

When the junior Coddington found himself too ill 
to accept office again in 1685 a fine old Quaker 
gentleman, one of the original founders of Aquidneck, 
Henry Bull, was elected Governor. 1 It was plain to 
everybody during this year that stormy times for the 
Colony were coming on, and at the next May election 
Walter Clarke, who had been continuously in office for 
many years, was elected Governor, and three Quakers, 
John Easton, Walter Newberry, and Edward Thurston, 
were chosen assistants. Soon after election the storm 
broke. The Assembly was informed in June of 1685, by 
a writ of quo warranto z " from his gracious majesty King 
James II., by the hand of Edward Randolph, Esq., 
secretary for the New England colonies," that the charter 
of the Colony was " vacated," and that Rhode Island was 
annexed to Massachusetts, " under his Majesty s laws and 
government." Randolph s task in the Colonies had been 
for some years to collect information which would furnish 
adequate ground to annul the charters and bring the 
whole of New England under the direct control of the 
Crown, and upon his so-called " information " the King 
now began to put into operation his large plans for an 
extensive royal colony. 

1 He was one of the sympathizers with Anne Hutchinson, and was " disarmed " 
as a signer of " the petition." He married Nicholas Easton s widow Ann. He, 
too, like Coddington, had a famous house in Newport in which meetings were 
often held a house which is still standing. 

* It was one of the charges in the quo warranto that the Governor, Deputy- 
Governor, assistants, deputies, and other officers were vnder no legal oaths. 


The Rhode Island Assembly saw that resistance was 
in vain, and " voted not to stand suit with his majesty," 
but they prepared " a humble address," asking that their 
ancient privileges and liberties might be preserved. 1 This 
General Assembly, which was the last one to be held 
until 1690, made provision for the separate towns of the 
Colony to govern themselves, while the central colonial 
administration was annuled. Each town was authorized 
to hold an annual meeting of five days, or longer, and to 
manage all matters pertaining to the life and prosperity 
of the local civic community. 2 

In June 1686, Sir Edmund Andros, formerly Governor 
of New York, was commissioned Governor of the united 
Royal Colony, and almost upon entering upon his ad 
ministration, Andros wrote, " in his Majesty s name," 
demanding the surrender of the charter of Rhode Island, 
but Walter Clarke did not " feel way open," to send the 
precious document of their liberties, and it remained in 
his house. He and another prominent Friend, Walter 
Newberry of Newport, were selected to be members of 
Governor Andres s Council for New England, 3 and they 
attended the first meeting of the Council in Boston, 
3Oth December 1686, when they took affirmation, refusing 
to swear. Governor Andros at this time demanded the 
delivery of the charter. The Rhode Island members 
answered that, " Twas at the Governor s house in Newport, 
and that it should be forthcoming when sent for, but in 

1 Rhode Island Colony Records, iii. 190. The Friends sent a special address to 
the King, in which they " humbly prostrated themselves before him," and begged 
that their views in regard to oaths and war might be respected. Printed in 
British State Paper Office (New England), vol. iv. p. 419. 

2 Rhode Island Colony Records, iii. 191. 

3 Randolph wrote to the authorities in England, 3151 March 1687 : " Our 
council, consisting of twenty-six persons, has in it but three persons who are of 
the Church of England. The rest are Quakers, Anabaptists, and either members 
or followers of the congregational churches. You may from thence make your 
estimate at what rate his Majestie s interest can be carried on." Randolph 
Correspondence (Prince Pub.), vi. 218. Walter Clarke was able to be of con 
siderable service on the council to Friends, working particularly for the principle 
of voluntary contribution for the support of ministry in place of compulsory rates. 
See Randolph Papers, ii. 19. Randolph himself wrote a vigorous letter to 
Governor Hinckley of Plymouth, calling him to sharp account for the "arbitrary, 
illegal, and unheard of " methods of compelling Quakers to support the established 
ministry. Randolph Correspondence, iii. 267. 



regard to [i.e. on account of] the tediousness of the bad 
weather it could not be brought ! " l 

Each request for surrender was put off by temporising 
methods, until finally Andros appeared in person with his 
troops, returning from his fruitless charter " hunt " in 
Connecticut, and demanded the Rhode Island charter then 
and there. Walter Clarke, its custodian, was ready for 
him since he had anticipated such a visit. The story is 
well told in Theodore Foster s unpublished manuscript : 

" In the month of November 1687 Sir Edmund Andros came 
to Newport from Hartford attended by his suite and more than 
sixty regular troups in order to possess himself of the charter. 
Governor Clarke, who had it in possession, on hearing of his 
arrival, sent it to his brother with orders to have it concealed in 
some place in the knowledge of his secretary, with instructions 
that the Governor himself should not be informed where it was. 
Governor Clarke then went to wait on Sir E. Andros and invited 
him to his house, and so contrived the business that though there 
was a great parade of searching for it, it could not be found 
while Sir Edmund remained in Newport. After his departure 
it was returned to Gov. Clarke, who kept it, until the reorganisa 
tion of the government in 1689 when he [Clarke] was again 
elected to the office of Governor. His usual caution prevented 
him from accepting the office, and induced him to refuse to 
deliver up the charter until after the election of Henry Bull, and 
on order of the sheriff to take him into custody and confine him 
in prison on which he sent the charter to Gov. Bull." 2 

The " fall " of Andros came with the success of the 
English Revolution, closing the Stuart regime and bringing 
in William and Mary. When the news reached Newport 
that the government of " usurpation " was at an end, 
Walter Clarke wrote a letter to the freemen of the Colony, 
informing them that the Government under which they 
had been " subservient is now silenced and eclipsed," and 
calling them to meet at Newport on the day designated 
in the precious charter for elections, " there to consult and 
agree on some suitable way in this present juncture." 3 

1 Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, N.S. xiii. 242. 

8 Foster Papers relative to the History of Rhode Island, i. 337, in the 
Providence Historical Society. 

3 This letter, in Walter Clarke s handwriting, is in vol. iv. of the Foster 


In accordance with this " call " the freemen of the colony 
met at Newport ist May 1689, and adopted an address 
indefinitely, " to the present supreme power in England," 
" being ignorant," they say, " of what titles should be given 
and also not so rhetorical as becomes such personages." 1 

Andros had reported that the " Quaker Grandees of 
Rhode Island," who had royally entertained him when he 
was Governor of New York, "had imbibed nothing of 
Quakerism except its indifference to forms," and that they 
cared nothing for the restoration of the old government. 2 
But the outburst of joy which was manifested at the fall 
of Andros disproved his estimate. The Newport Assembly 
declared their " gratitude to the good Providence of God 
which had wonderfully supported their predecessors and 
themselves through more than ordinary difficulties and 
hardships," and they take it to be their duty " to lay hold 
of our former gracious privileges, contained in our charter," 
and then by a unanimous vote the old officers were con 
firmed. Walter Clarke, with excessive Quaker caution, 
hesitated to return to the functions of his interrupted 
office until he knew what the character of the new 
English government was to be, and what colonial policy 
it was to adopt. 3 

For ten months there was no central executive govern 
ment, the meeting of the Assembly called for October by 
Governor Clarke having been prevented by heavy storms. 
At the Assembly in February 1690, Clarke still declined 
to serve as chief magistrate. Christopher Almy was 
elected and also declined. " It was then," as Bancroft 
says, " that all eyes turned to one of the old Antinomian 
exiles, the more than octogenarian, Henry Bull ; and the 
fearless Quaker, true to the light within, employed the 
last glimmerings of his life to restore the democratic 
charter of Rhode Island." 4 Governor Bull was succeeded 
in office at the end of one term by John Easton, son of 

1 Rhode Island Colony Records, iii. 268. 2 Ibid. iii. 339. 

3 Walter Clarke s course at this time is hard to fathom, though he seems to 
have had a settled policy and the people appear to have been with him for he was 
soon again the colonial leader. 

4 History of United States, ii. 448. 


Governor Bull s old friend, Nicholas Easton. He, too, as 
his father before him, had had an almost continuous career 
in public office, and he was trained in all the intricacies of 
colonial affairs. He had been among the leaders of the 
colony in the dark days of King Philip s war, and he now 
came to the highest office in his colony when another 
serious war was devastating both continents the French 
and Indian War of William and Mary s reign. The 
colonies were harried both on the coast and on their 
inland borders. It was, oddly enough, during the 
administration of this Quaker that the first naval victory 
of Rhode Island was won. A fleet of seven French ships 
descended on the Narraganset coast and did much 
damage to the defenceless shore, when suddenly they were 
met by two sloops manned with Rhode Island freemen 
under command of Captain Thomas Paine, who furiously 
attacked the enemy, killed or wounded half their force, 
and drove them off to sea. 

One of the fiercest contentions during Easton s term 
of office was over the control of the militia. Massachusetts 
and Plymouth had been united under a royal Governor, 
Sir William Phipps, whose commission gave him the 
command also of the militia of Rhode Island. This 
commission was vigorously challenged by the authorities 
at Newport on the ground that their precious colonial 
charter gave them power over their own militia. During 
the winter of 1693, Sir William came in person to Rhode 
Island and read his commission to Governor Easton. 
When the reading was over, the imperturbable Quaker 
quietly replied that when the Assembly met, if it had 
anything further to say, he would write. It was not easy 
to overawe such colonial governors. The question of the 
control of the militia was fought out at great length, the 
colonists ably holding their position, until finally Queen 
Mary " surrendered " and wrote to Governor Phipps 
withdrawing his control of the Rhode Island militia. 1 At 
the same time the Queen asked Rhode Island to furnish 

1 The documents of this controversy are printed in Rhode Island Colony 
Records, iii. 285-300. 


forty-eight men to aid in the defence and security of the 
colony of New York. 

The actual demand for these " men " came in a request 
from the Governor of New York in the administration of 
Caleb Carr another Quaker politician of long experience 
who succeeded Governor Easton in 1695. Governor 
Carr, like all the other Quaker Governors, disliked 
extremely to get drawn into affairs beyond the home 
field ; and he was, too, conscientiously opposed to adopting 
any actual war measure. He urged that there were great 
difficulties in the way of supplying the desired " men " 
and asked of the Governor of New York that his colony 
might furnish " some other reasonable assistance in com 
putation of said forty-eight men." This request was 
denied, and the " men " were demanded ; but again new 
reason was found why they could not be sent just then ! 
Meantime Governor Carr died in office and the old 
custodian of the charter, Walter Clarke, came back into 
the governorship, with his old Quaker companion, Walter 
Newberry, as an assistant. The ancient demand for troops 
for New York came up again with increased urgency. 
Governor Clarke replied that the colony had no " men " to 
spare. " They had themselves," he wrote, " forty miles 
of sea-coast, with three inlets and no forts, therefore all 
the soldiers the colony possesses are too few for our 
defence, and furthermore Massachusetts has detained 
several of our towns, further incapacitating the colony." l 
The " men " never went to New York ! 

There is a letter in the British State Paper Office, 
signed by W. Clarke, dated i/th September 1702, which 
declares that the charter of Rhode Island " granted by 
Charles II. of blessed memory placed the sole power of the 
militia in us" and the letter significantly adds : " We 
conceive it our duty to continue the militia as formerly 
until we receive further order." 2 

A new trouble now broke out upon the colony of Rhode 
Island. There came at this time a radical change in the 

1 Rhode Island Colony Records, iii. 316. 
2 Record office, C.O. 5. 1302. 


plan and method in the Home Office in London of 
administering the British Colonies, and with the change 
came also a thorough and searching investigation of the 
internal affairs and procedure of the colonies. The 
" investigation " was carried on under the oversight of 
Edward Randolph, who had already become notorious in 
the colonies as a collector of " information." The main 
charges against the colony of Rhode Island were that its 
officials were not under oath, that the laws of the colony 
were not published and were badly kept, that the British 
acts of trade and navigation were disregarded, and that 
little or no effort was made to suppress piracy at that 
time a prevailing evil. 1 It was even charged that Rhode 
Island had become, through the leniency of the Quaker 
rule, a nest for " pirates, smugglers, and sea-robbers," and 
this condition was attributed to " the remissness or con 
nivance of such as have been or are Governors." 2 

Meantime Jahleel Brenton, who had gone to England 
in the interest of colonial affairs, returned with a com 
mission to administer to Governor Clarke an oath of 
obedience to the acts of trade, and with a commission 
also to establish in Rhode Island a court of Admiralty. 
The Governor, as a Quaker, would not take any oath ; 
and so he refused to take this oath, even though demanded 
by his sovereign. But he went still further in his bold 
ness. He positively refused to allow the court of 
Admiralty to be established, because he held, in the spirit 
of the colonists of 76, that it was an invasion of colonial 

Edward Randolph gives this interesting glimpse into 
the situation, reporting his visit to Newport. He writes 
that he found all the colonists planting tobacco, and he 
continues : 

" As the governing power is in the hands of the Quakers and 
Anabaptists, neither Judges, Jurys nor witnesses are under 

1 This was the period of Captain Kidd. 

2 Rhode Island Colony Records, iii. 326. 

3 Walter Clarke, planting himself squarely on the rights of the charter and 
refusing to allow royal interference, is one of the beginners of the movement 
toward Independence. 


any [sworn] obligation, so that all things are managed ace. to 
their will and interest [!]. An attempt being made by Mr. 
Brenton to erect a court of Admiralty under the commission from 
England, Governor Walter Clarke would not allow it, telling the 
assembly , then in session, that it would utterly destroy their charter, 
which empowered the colonists themselves to establish such a court 
with the proper officers." * [The italics are mine.] 

On this issue, actuated by the highest motives of 
loyalty to the rights of the colony, Walter Clarke went 
out of office, stubbornly refusing to yield an iota from 
the rights of the charter which he had saved for the 

Samuel Cranston, not a Quaker, but a nephew of 
Walter Clarke, and in hearty sympathy with the Quaker 
policy, was put in as Governor and served continuously 
until his death in 1727, Walter Clarke being Deputy- 
Governor with him continuously from 1700 to his death in 
1 7 1 4- 2 Randolph s " investigations " read very much like 
the partisan newspaper investigations of the present day ; 
and one can find here in 1698 partisan charges of "graft" 
quite similar to those we read to-day. Randolph 
declares that the Quaker political " machine " has for 
a long time been growing rich and fat off its connivance 
in piracy ! Two pirates, he says, were recently captured 
in Newport and about 1500 in gold and silver taken 
from them. They were put in prison : 

" But about two days after they were admitted to bail, by the 
Governor (I am informed), one of the Governor s uncles being 
their security. By which means they have opportunity given 
to escape, leaving their money to be shared by the Governor and 
his two uncles, who have been very great gainers by the pirates who 
have frequented Rhode Island. Walter Clarke, the late Governor 
and his brother [Weston] now the Recorder of the place, have 
countenanced pirates and have enriched themselves thereby [!]." 3 

1 Randolph Papers (Prince Pub.), ii. 152. 

2 Randolph informed the Home Office in 1700 that Cranston is the present 
Governor but theQuakers have the sole administration of the government. A similar 
report was made the year before : Mr. Cranston was one of the demi-Quakers 
only put in to serve the Quakers." See Palfrey s History of New England, iv. 236. 

3 To the Board of Trade, soth May 1698, Rhode Island Colony Records, 
iii. 339- 


He admits, in a postscript, that the two pirates are to 
have a trial, but he says that he expects that they will be 
acquitted. He adds that he learns that the people are 
with Walter Clarke in his refusal to take orders sent from 
England, inconsistent with their charter privileges, and he 
understands that they are raising money to send Clarke 
to England to represent the colonial case. 1 

Here, with the close of Walter Clarke s career in 1714, 
ends the first period of Quaker influence in the colony. 
Clarke had been four times elected governor, and twenty- 
three times deputy-governor, dying in the office to which 
he had been fifteen times successively elected. From the 
beginning of the colonial government under the charter of 
1663, Friends were continuously in office, of one sort or 
another, occupying the governorship nineteen terms and 
being a potent force in the Assembly. John Easton, 
Caleb Carr, and Walter Clarke were among the foremost 
spiritual leaders of the Quaker society during the period 
of their political activity. Easton and Clarke were 
ministers of the gospel and frequently went forth on 
public religious service. They were constantly involved 
in issues of the most complex and difficult sort, and they 
seem through all the shifting currents to have kept true 
to what they believed was the path of duty and at the 
same time to have kept the confidence of the people. 
They were perhaps not great statesmen, but they were 
brave forerunners of the American idea that the colonists 
should govern themselves, and they deserve to be drawn 
out of the oblivion into which they have somewhat fallen, 
if for nothing else, for their devotion to the principle 
that gave birth to the American nation and on which its 
political life rests to-day. 

The second period of Quaker influence in Rhode 
Island politics began with the rise of the Wanton family 
in the early years of the eighteenth century and ended 
with the disownment of Stephen Hopkins in 1774. It 

1 Brigham, in his Rhode Island, p. 160, declares that "actual complicity 
between the colony as a government and the pirates, as so often charged, was 
never shown by any letter or report submitted to the English authorities." 


was throughout most of this period more an individual 
influence than a group influence. In 1 700 half the white 
population of Newport were Quakers, 1 but as the century 
progressed other cities in the colony, especially Providence, 
rapidly grew in population and influence so that the 
Quakers no longer held their proportion to the whole 
number of the inhabitants of the colony. They continued, 
however, to produce men of light and leading ; and they 
were yet for many years to have a large place in the 
administration of the colony which they had done much to 
foster in its formative period. 

Edward Wanton was one of the foremost figures of the 
New England Society of Friends in its early days. He 
had been an officer of guard in Boston on the occasion of 
the execution of the first Quaker martyrs, and he was 
deeply moved by their innocence and heroic bearing. He 
came home from the execution greatly changed, saying 
as he unbuckled his sword : " Mother, we have been 
murdering the Lord s people, and I will never put a sword 
on again." 2 

He thereupon took every opportunity which offered to 
inform himself of the Quaker faith, and sometime before 
1 66 1 he had openly avowed himself a Friend. He moved 
to Scituate, in Plymouth colony, in 1661, and started a 
very important venture in shipbuilding. He was from 
the first the leading person in the Quaker group of 
Scituate, and his house was the home of the meeting and 
headquarters for all visiting Friends, he himself being the 
foremost minister in that region. He died in 1716, as 
the historian of his town remarks : 

"With faculties unblurred, mind clear, piety fervent, faith 
unwavering and active as he nearer approached its realisation, 
from which he could often review his past life and with soul- 
stirring eloquence and deep sympathy exhort all to stand fast in 
the faith." 

His oldest son, Joseph, moved to Tiverton, Rhode 
Island, in 1688, and started there a branch of the ship- 

1 Annals of Trinity Church, p. 10. 
* Deane s History of Scituate, Massachusetts, p. 372. 


building business. He was much like his father in large 
ness of view, in hospitality, and in his deep interest in 
the Quaker Society. Both he and his wife (Sarah 
Freeborn) were public ministers, and they entertained in 
princely fashion, being also noted far and wide for their 
benevolence and charity. 

Two other sons, William (born in 1670) and John 
(born in 1672), moved to Newport and established there 
a branch of the shipbuilding industry about 1704. 
They were men of large business capacity and rapidly 
acquired great wealth for those times, and soon came to 
have a very commanding part in the colonial government. 
William was not a Friend during his public career, though 
he evidently never lost his love for his father s faith, 
to which he swung back toward the end of his life. He 
broke away from the Society of Friends in his youth to 
marry Ruth Bryant, whose parents were as much opposed 
to Quakerism as William s family was to Presbyterianism, 
the creed in which Ruth had been reared. There is a 
tradition that William one day said : " Ruth, let us break 
away from this unreasonable bondage. I will give up my 
religion and thou shalt give up thine, and we will go to 
the Church of England and to the devil together." " 

Both the brothers who came to Newport had a military 
strain in their blood, and in the period of youth they 
performed dashing naval exploits, chasing and capturing 
pirates and privateers, and taking an active part in the 
famous naval expedition of 1709 against the French in 
Canada. 2 Two of William s vessels were used for the 
Canadian expedition, and he was on the committee to 
select officers for the Rhode Island ships. He was almost 
continuously in some public office between 1704 and his 
death in the governorship in 1733, to which he was twice 
elected, having previously been Speaker of the Assembly 
for seven years. A short time before his death he 

1 History of Scituate, p. 374. 

2 There is a current story that the good Quaker father once said : "It would be 
a great grief to my spirit to hear that you had fallen in a military enterprise, but 
it would be a greater grief to hear that you were cowards." History of Scituate, 
P- 374- 


solemnly remarked : " My father s God is my God and I 
shall die in the faith of the Quakers." l The Wantons 
were at the height of their financial and social position 
when the famous philosopher, George Berkeley, came to 
Newport with large plans for planting a great college in 
the New World, and they frequently entertained him. 
" The Quakers with their broad-brimmed hats, came and 
stood in the aisles " to hear him preach on Sundays, 2 and 
after the Church service was over the philosopher was 
accustomed to go home to dine with William Wanton. 

John swung back to his father s faith much earlier 
in life than his elder brother, and from about 1712 he 
became a pronounced Friend in faith and practice. He 
early developed a powerful gift in ministry, and devoted 
much of his time to religious service, preaching both in his 
home Meeting at Newport and travelling far and wide to 
deliver his messages when he felt called to go forth. His 
biographer says : 

" He was a powerful and eloquent preacher. No eloquence 
like his, it is said, had been heard in New England. Multitudes 
flocked to his preaching wherever it was known he was to be 
present. He travelled extensively in New England and southerly 
as far as Pennsylvania in which missionary tours he gathered 
multitudes to the Society of Friends." 3 

He was considered the wealthiest man in the colony ; 
his manners were refined, and, though a minister of the 
Society, he wore " a bright scarlet cloak lined with blue ; " 
his mind was well cultivated ; his spirit was generous ; he 
was very popular ; and he had great ability for public 
service in colonial affairs. His political career began in 
1712, the year of his positive affiliation with Friends. 
He was elected that year a Deputy to the General 
Assembly and successively until 1721 when he was chosen 
Deputy-Governor. He was continuously Deputy-Governor 
from 1729 to 1733 when he was elected Governor to fill 
the place made vacant by his brother s death. He served 

1 " History of the Wanton Family," by J. R. Bartlett, in Rhode Island Hist. 
Tracts, No. 3, p. 33. 

2 Annals of Trinity Church, p. 10. 

3 Rhode Island Hist. Tracts, No. 3, p. 49. 


the colony as Governor for seven successive terms, finally 
dying in office as his brother had done. 

Like many Quaker Governors before him he was called 
upon to steer the colony through a serious war this time 
the war between Spain and the mother country in which 
the colonies were deeply involved. 1 An act was passed 
by Rhode Island in 1 740 putting the colony in a state of 
defence and providing for the enlistment of soldiers to 
serve in the West Indies. Governor Wanton, now a 
prominent Quaker minister, was put in a most delicate 
and difficult situation. He was obliged as Governor to 
issue military commissions and to perform many duties of 
a warlike nature which looked like inconsistencies and 
which brought him under a fire of criticism from the 
authorities of the Quaker Meeting. He, however, took 
the course which his predecessors in office had taken, 
that as a public officer his first and clearest call was the 
performance of those duties which the colony had laid 
upon him, and on the performance of which the life and 
welfare of the colony rested. He met the committee of 
Friends unmoved, listened to their charge of inconsistency, 
and replied that he clearly felt it right to fulfil his 
obligations as the executive of the colony, one of those 
same obligations being the protection of the inhabitants 
of the colony. " I have endeavoured," he added, " on all 
previous occasions, as on this, to do my whole duty to 
God and to my fellow-men, without doing violence to the 
law of my conscience, but in all concerns listening to the 
still small voice of divine emanation and being obedient 
to it." 2 

The only other Quaker Governor from the Wanton 
family was Gideon, son of Joseph of Tiverton and 
grandson of Edward of Scituate. Gideon Wanton was 
Treasurer of Rhode Island from 1732 to 1744, and he 
was Governor of the colony at the time of the famous 
expedition against Cape Breton in the war with France. 
As Governor he was called upon to furnish troops for the 

1 War between Great Britain and Spain was declared in 1739. 
2 Rhode Island Hist. Tracts, No. 3, p. 55. 


enterprise, and he complied with the call as his uncles had 
done in similar straits. 

Another interesting character, whose colonial services 
stretched over a period of forty years, and whose influence 
upon the destiny of the colony was at times greater than 
that which a Governor could wield, was Richard Partridge, 
foreign agent of the colony in London. He was the son 
of William Partridge, who was for several years Governor 
of New Hampshire, and was born in I683, 1 probably in 
the town of Newbury, where his father was a prominent 
member of the Church. He moved to England in his 
early manhood, joined the Society of Friends, and was for 
fifty years an acceptable and edifying minister of the 
Gospel, counting among his personal friends the leaders 
in the Quaker Society on both sides of the Atlantic. 2 He 
was appointed foreign agent for Rhode Island in June 
1715, "to transact," as his commission says, "for this 
colony all its concerns beyond seas, to represent this 
colony before the king and council or otherwise as the 
affairs of the colony shall require, and he shall be allowed 
for his salary 40 per annum." 3 He immediately proved 
his fitness for the delicate diplomatic tasks entrusted to 
him, for at the autumn session of 1715 the Assembly 
voted him its thanks for " powerfully exerting himself and 
using his utmost efforts for excepting the colony of Rhode 
Island out of the Bill of the House of Commons for 
regulating the charters of the American colonies." 4 He 
was always called upon in times of war to arrange the 
quotas and contributions which Rhode Island was to 
furnish, and on a number of occasions he was asked to 
act for other colonies than Rhode Island. His wisdom 
and far-sighted judgment appear in all his diplomatic 
undertakings. The way in which he handled the veto 
question of 1731 is one interesting illustration. The 
Governor of Rhode Island had vetoed an important Bill 
and had thus aroused a stormy opposition. His right of 

1 New England Historical and Genealogical Register, xiii. 265. 

2 Thomas Story calls him " my long acquainted friend Richard Partridge." 
Journal, p. 683. 

3 Rhode Island Colony Records, iv. 187. 4 Ibid. iv. 200. 


veto was challenged, and he decided to ask the officers of 
the crown to pass upon the rights of veto granted to the 
colonial governor by the charter. Partridge at once saw 
that it would be dangerous for the colony to raise this 
question and to call the attention of the crown to the 
extensive privileges granted in the Rhode Island charter. 
" Such a course," he wrote, " will prove of ill consequence to 
the colony." l 

Always on the watch for what would affect the rights 
and privileges of his colony, he anticipated the danger 
lurking in certain proposed measures regulating trade in 
the West Indies. He wrote to the Governor of Rhode 
Island : 

" The West India gentlemen are not quiet ; they have begun to 
work through a Bill for encouraging trade with the sugar colonies 
which will be disadvantageous to the Northern Colonies." 2 

This refers to the famous " Molasses Act," or " Sugar 
Act." The neighbouring colonies were notified of the 
impending danger, and were asked to join Rhode Island 
in opposing the Act ; and the entire case for the northern 
colonies that were especially affected was put in Partridge s 
hands. He presented a vigorous Petition to the Board of 
Trade, in which he claimed that the proposed Act involved 
a violation of the rights of the colonists as Englishmen since 
it imposed taxes on citizens who were not represented in 
Parliament? This is a direct announcement of the 
principle which was formulated in the Declaration of 
Independence and which was fought out in the Revolu 
tionary War. The opposition effort was not wholly 
successful, but an unpublished letter from Partridge says : 
" By my efforts the Bill has been made vastly different 
from what it was originally drawn." 4 

1 Letter in Foster Papers, ii. 147. There is also a valuable collection of 
Partridge Letters in the John Carter Brown Library. 

2 Ibid. ii. 149. 

3 I have searched the British Record Office in vain for this Petition which is 
referred to in Arnold s History of Rhode Island, ii. 124, but I have found a 
letter from the Proprietors of Pennsylvania, undoubtedly transmitted by Partridge, 
which declares that the proposed Sugar Act takes from his Majesty s faithful 
subjects in North America that liberty and freedom of commerce which is their 
birthright yet unrestrained ! " Public Record Office C.O. 5, No. 13. 

4 This Letter is in the Rhode Island State Library. 


In 1752 an order of the King was passed which 
seemed to the Governor of Rhode Island to threaten the 
liberties of the colony. He wrote to Richard Partridge : 

" Use all your efforts to prevent anything being done to lessen our 
charter privileges. You will understand how much uneasiness 
the very thought of losing our liberties creates in the inhabitants 
of this colony and how much dependence they must necessarily 
have on you, who have been so long their agent and whom they 
look upon by principle as well as interest so much a friend of 
liberty. You will exert yourself to the uttermost." x 

One of his difficult diplomatic tasks was that of 
securing from Great Britain financial compensation for 
the colony s expenses in connection with the expedition 
against Cape Breton. He finally succeeded in getting an 
appropriation of 6 332:12:10, which was precisely 
the amount which the colony claimed. It was, however, 
quite another matter to squeeze the actual money out of the 
Treasury, but, to use his own phrase, he " left no stone 
unturned." It was in appreciation of such unswerving 
fidelity and painstaking effort that the colony wrote to 
him officially in 1756 : 

" The long experience the colony hath had of your diligence 
and faithfulness in their service leaves no room to doubt of your 
doing all in your power in this affair [the Crown Point Expedition] 
for their interests, and as you have hitherto been generally 
successful in your undertakings on their acct. so they hope you 
will bring this business to a happy issue for you and them." 2 

In 1759, Partridge was compelled by age and feeble 
ness to resign his position as agent, and the same year 
he died. 3 

No other Quaker in American history, with the excep 
tion of William Penn, has achieved such a distinguished 
political career or has contributed so much to the develop 
ment of our national life as Stephen Hopkins of Rhode 

1 Rhode Island Colony Records, v. 359. 

2 Letter in Rhode Island Historical Manuscripts, vi. 23. 

3 Richard Partridge was also employed by the London Meeting for Sufferings 
as their parliamentary agent, for which service he received 40 annually and 
expenses. (See Minutes of the Meeting for Sufferings, vol. xxx. pp. 83, 194, 320 
and passim. ) 


Island. He was in a true sense one of the " makers " of 
the American nation. He was born in Massapauge, now 
known as South Providence, in March 1 707, though his 
early years were passed in Chapsumscook now Scituate. 
His mother, Ruth Wilkinson, was a birthright Friend, a 
woman of large culture and of marked spiritual gifts, 
daughter of Samuel Wilkinson who was noted for his 
" erudition in divine and civil law, historical narrative, 
natural and politic." 1 In 1726 Stephen Hopkins married 
Sarah Scott, great-granddaughter of Richard and 
Catherine Scott, the first Quakers of Providence. His 
bride was of unbroken Quaker ancestry, back to these " first 
Quakers," but they were not " married in Meeting," as 
Stephen Hopkins at this time was not a " member of the 
Society." He, however, " joined Meeting" about 1755, near 
the time of his second marriage, which occurred in Quaker 
Meeting and was by Quaker ceremony. 2 The Friends 
Meeting was frequently held in Stephen Hopkins home, 3 
and it is the testimony of those who knew him that : " In 
the simplicity of his demeanour, the hearty frankness and 
calm dignity of manner which were characteristic of him, 
he reflected no unworthy credit on the training of his 
Quaker mother." 4 

Like most of the great leaders in the formation of the 
nation, Stephen Hopkins had a long apprenticeship in local 
affairs. He first " found " himself and his political 
principles in the colonial Town-meeting, being chosen 
" moderator " (i.e. presiding officer) of the Town-meeting 
when he was twenty-four. He was continuously in township 
service until he was called to higher colonial and federal 
spheres of activity. He was still in his youth when he 
became a citizen of Providence and in this larger Town- 

1 Updike s Narragansett Church, i. 54. It has been pointed out that 
in Ruth Wilkinson s home there was "a circulating library," containing the 
best literature available at the time, one of the earliest circulating libraries in 
Rhode Island and probably in the colonies. (See Rhode Island Hist. Tracts, 
No. 19, pp. 46-47-) 

2 See Historical Collection of the Essex Institute, ii. 120. The Quaker 
marriage certificate is in the Roberts Collection at Haverford College. 

3 See Letter of Moses Brown to Robert Wain (1828). 

4 W. E. Foster s "Stephen Hopkins, a Rhode Island Statesman" (in Rhode 
Island Hist. Tracts, No. 19), p. 58. 


meeting he was again and again often in great crises 
chosen moderator. He went to the General Assembly 
when he was twenty-five, and was a member of this body 
continuously for six years. He had also an important 
judicial training and a distinguished career on the Bench, 
rising to the highest judicial place in the gift of the 
Colony. He was elected Governor in 1755, the year he 
became a Friend, and between that date and 1768 he 
served in the governorship nine terms, through one of the 
stormiest political contests in the history of Rhode Island, 
and he finally declined to accept further nomination as 
Governor in order to end the political fight which had 
lasted with much heat for ten years, since he saw the 
importance of having the Colony united for the greater 
conflict which was now coming into sight upon the 
horizon. During these years of judicial and political 
activity he had, with his lifelong friend Moses Brown, 
been contributing his great powers to the commercial and 
intellectual expansion of the city of Providence, for it was 
at this period that Providence forged forward to its 
prominent place among the colonial cities. " He was," 
as Chief-Justice Durfee has said, " a man of extraordinary 
capacity, omnivorous of knowledge, which his energetic 
mind rapidly converted into power ; and wherever we see 
the colony or any parts of its people moving in ways 
higher than the average, there we are sure to find 
Stephen Hopkins prominent in the movement." x 

He was first chosen for intercolonial service in 1746 
during the second Spanish War, when he was selected 
one of the commissioners from Rhode Island to meet 
with those from the other Colonies to consult for the 
defence and safety of the country. Again in 1754 
during the " French and Indian War " he was a delegate 
to the famous colonial Congress held in Albany, at 
which Franklin proposed a plan of union, and he was 
commissioner in the colonial Congresses of 1755, 1757, 
and 175^- He was one of the first to see clearly the 
principle of the unconstitutionality of taxation without 

1 Rhode Island Hist. Tracts, No. 19, p. 124. 


representation. He had reached his insight of this 
principle at least as early as 1756, as the following 
passage, taken from a deposition of Job Almy in a 
lawsuit between Stephen Hopkins and Samuel Ward, 
plainly indicates : 

" I dined," the deposer says, " at Mr. Jonathan Nicholas , 
Innholder at Newport, March 1756, where were present Stephen 
Hopkins, Esq., then Governor of this colony and President of 
the said Court [the Superior Court], Wm. Richmond, Esq., 
another of the Justices of said Court, and Mr. John Aplin, with 
some other gentleman. And as in conversation I was blaming 
Mr. Aplin (who was my attorney) for not insisting on the late 
Act of Parliament wherein it is expressly declared that no Bills 
of public credit would be a legal tender for any money debt, the 
said Stephen Hopkins with some warmth replied : What have 
the King and parliament to do with making a law or laws to 
govern us any more than the Mohawks have? And if the 
Mohawks should make a law or laws to govern us we were as 
much obliged to obey them as any law or laws the King and 
parliament could make. At the same time the said Stephen 
Hopkins further said that as our forefathers came from Leyden 
[i.e. the Pilgrims] and were no charge to England, the States of 
Holland had as good a right to claim us [tax us ? ] as England 

As soon as news reached America that Parliament 
was considering a proposition to lay taxes on the 
Colonies, Stephen Hopkins began a remarkable series of 
articles in the Providence Gazette, of which he had been 
one of the founders, on the Rights of the Colonists. 
These articles of his went deeper into the foundation 
principles of self-government and the true safeguards of 
liberty than any documents which had up to that time 
appeared in the colonies. The substance of these papers 
was gathered up in an important pamphlet and laid 
before the General Assembly of Rhode Island in 1764, a 
year before the Stamp Act was passed, and this document 
was put into general circulation, and was very widely read 
throughout the Colonies, and became one of the creative 
documents in shaping the course of American history. 

1 The Law Reporter for 1859, vol. xxii. p. 338. 


Already, in this early paper, Stephen Hopkins taught the 
colonists to think in terms of country. 

As soon as news of the actual passage of these Acts of 
colonial taxation reached Rhode Island, Governor Hopkins 
called a special session of the General Assembly, and he 
was the leader in the great Town-meeting of Providence 
which formulated a draft of instructions to the General 
Assembly. 1 It even surpassed in boldness the resolutions 
adopted by the House of Burgesses of Virginia under 
the eloquence of Patrick Henry, and it ended with the 
downright assertion : 

"The inhabitants of this colony are not bound to yield 
obedience to any law or ordinance designed to impose any 
internal taxation whatever upon them other than the laws and 
ordinances of the General Assembly." 2 

Parliament, under the storm of opposition, repealed 
the Stamp Act, but asserted its right to tax the Colonies, 
and emphasized the right by the imposition of a tax on 
certain imports. A Town-meeting was called in Provi 
dence to propose a plan for avoiding this tax. A 
committee, of which Stephen Hopkins was a member, 
drew up a resolution that only home-produced articles 
should be used while this tax was in force. These 
resolutions are in the handwriting of Moses Brown. 3 As 
the storm of hostility against the mistaken course of the 
mother-country grew in violence, Rhode Island, always a 
liberty-loving Colony, became one of the most intense 
storm centres of opposition. It was from the city of 
Providence that the party of " patriots " headed by John 
Brown, the brother of Moses Brown, sallied out and 
burned the King s ship GaspJe, stationed in the Bay to 
enforce the revenue acts ; and as the storm gathered still 
darker, it was the Town-meeting of Providence, in which 
Stephen Hopkins was the foremost person, that made the 
first formal and official proposal for a Continental 
Congress, and Rhode Island was the first Colony to elect 
delegates to that congress, Stephen Hopkins being one of 

1 Hopkins was chairman of the committee which formulated this document. 

2 Staples Annals of Providence, pp. 210-213. 3 Ibid. p. 217. 


the delegates. 1 In 1776, with trembling hand, trembling 
not from fear but from advancing palsy, he signed the 
Declaration of Independence, toward which he had been 
for more than a decade steadily moving and leading the 
people. 2 

This chapter of Quaker political history is far from a 
complete account of the part which the Quakers took in 
the colonial politics of Rhode Island. It has dealt only 
with the leaders ; but the unnamed people behind the 
leaders are always at least as important a factor as the 
leaders themselves, and there was always a large group 
of Quakers around each Quaker leader. This deeper 
history of the people themselves cannot be written. This 
chapter, furthermore, of necessity has treated the Quaker 
factor quite too much in isolation. The Quakers were 
not a class apart a peculiar order of humanity. They 
were simply men like other men, sometimes peculiarly 
dressed and using somewhat odd speech, but a part of a 
larger whole and owing much of their political success to 
the non-Quaker element with which they worked. They 
had then, as we have now, narrowness, greed, corruption, 
and misrepresentation to face. Conditions were no more 
angelic then than in the present year of grace, and these 
adherents of the inward Light were throughout their 
political career on the " perilous edge." Every issue had 
its practical complications, its mean aspects. No claim is 
here made that these " heroes " were always wise, or 
always right, or always great, but they are a fair 
illustration of our best common people, doing their duties 
with fearless spirit, uniting religion with practical daily 
life, exhibiting loyalty in the hard field of politics, and 
never bartering for selfish ends " the priceless jewel of 
their soul." 

1 When the order came to arrest the "patriots" who burned the Gaspie 
and send them to England for trial Stephen Hopkins, then Chief-Justice of the 
colony, said : " I will neither apprehend any person by my own order, nor suffer 
any executive officers in the colony to do it." Weeden, Early Rhode Island, 

P. 336- 

* He was, however, at the time of signing the Declaration no longer a member 
of Meeting for reasons given in the preceding chapter. 






" NEW YORK " was a part of the Dutch Colony of New 
Netherlands when the Quaker " invasion " of the Colonies 
began. The Dutch had passed through their baptism of 
fire in one of the most heroic struggles in history, and 
had, at great cost, won their religious freedom. They 
had before most peoples gained the tolerant attitude. 
They had furnished, in their home-land, an asylum to the 
harried English Separatists ; and they had long been 
accustomed to the " lay-type " of Christianity, embodied 
in the Mennonite Anabaptists, who had, before George 
Fox, advanced many of the ideas and peculiarities of the 
Quakers. The Proprietaries of New Netherlands had 
expressly directed that all forms of religion should be 
tolerated in the Colony. 1 It would have been a natural 
prediction, therefore, that Quakerism would flourish 
undisturbed in the Dutch Colony, but on the contrary it 
spread here, as in the Puritan Colonies, only in the face of 
stern opposition. 

Long Island, however, presented a prepared soil for 
the new religious seed, something like that which we have 
seen in Rhode Island, Sandwich, and on the island of 
Nantucket. Though under the Dutch Government, many 
of the towns on the island were settled by English 
colonists, a large number of them being persons who had 
left Massachusetts in order to secure greater religious 

1 The settlers of Maspeth (Newtown) on Long Island, to cite a particular 
instance, were induced to come to the Dutch territory on the promise of civil 
and religious freedom. Ecclesiastical Records of New York, i. 138. 



freedom. We have seen how the religious teaching of 
Anne Hutchinson prepared the way for the spread of 
Quakerism on Rhode Island and at other places in New 
England ; so, too, it was in large measure due to the 
religious influence and leadership of another woman that 
the towns of Long Island were prepared for the Quaker 
message which came to them in 1657. This woman 
was Lady Deborah Moody. 

Her maiden name was Deborah Dunch, and she 
belonged to a distinguished family, her father, Walter 
Dunch, having rendered good service to his country in the 
reign of Elizabeth. She married Sir Henry Moody of 
Garesden in Wiltshire, but was left a widow in early life. 
She showed, even in her English period, great independ 
ence of mind and a determination to follow fearlessly 
her own light. This independent spirit soon brought her 
into collision with the Court of the Star-Chamber ; and 
being an intimate friend of the Winthrops, she resolved to 
migrate to Massachusetts to secure the freedom which 
she despaired of gaining at home. She settled in Lynn 
about 1640 and purchased an extensive estate called 
" Swampscot," l but was hardly settled there on her 
beautiful cliff farm before her liberal views brought her 
into trouble with the Salem Church. The Court pro 
ceedings, under date of December 1642, report that 
" Lady Deborah Moody, Mrs. King, and the wife of John 
Tillton were presented for houldinge that the baptising of 
Infants is noe ordinance of God," 2 in other words a 
group of Anabaptists was forming in Lynn with Lady 
Moody as its spiritual leader. Winthrop gives an in 
teresting glimpse of her " heresy " : 

" The Lady Moodye, a wise and anciently religious woman, 
being taken with the error of denying baptism to infants was 
dealt with by many of the elders and others, but persisting still 
and to avoid further trouble, etc., she removed to the Dutch 
against the advice of all her friends. Many others, infected 

1 Letchford, in 1641, says : " Lady Moody lives at Lynn but is of the Salem 
Church. She is a good lady but almost undone by buying Master Humphries 
farm Swampscot." 

2 Newhall s History of Lynn (Boston, 1865), p. 204. 


with anabaptism, removed thither also. She was after ex 
communicated." 1 

As Winthrop intimates, she refused to accept the 
offered theological direction, insisted upon her right to 
live in the faith which seemed to her true, and once more 
migrated to secure the privilege of freedom. She moved 
to Long Island and purchased a large estate at Gravesend, 
and with her migrated also a large number of the Lynn 
settlers, " infected," as Winthrop says, " with Anabaptism." 
A Petition to the General Court in 1645 refers to this 
migration as follows : 

" Those fewe able persons which were with and of us it s not 
unknowne how many of them have deserted us, as my Lady 
Moody." 2 

Three years before Lady Moody s pilgrimage to 
Gravesend, forty families from Lynn had planted a Colony 
on Long Island with large guarantees of freedom and 
with the design to build up there a Church " gathered and 
constituted according to the minde of Christ, for," they 
say, " wee do ffreely lay down our power at the ffeete of 
Christ," 3 and throughout this decade there were frequent 
migrations from Lynn to the Long Island towns, so that 
in Flushing, Gravesend, Jamaica, Hempstead, and Oyster 
Bay there were many persons who had deserted Lynn to 
find religious freedom, and who shared with Lady Moody 
the advanced and liberal ideas which in that generation 
were gathered up under the name of " Anabaptism." A 
characteristic entry in the Massachusetts Records for 
1643 says : 

" Rev. Mr. Walton of Marblehead is for Long Island shortly, 
there to set down with my lady Moody, from under civill and 
church ward, among ye Dutch." 

The ecclesiastical records of New Amsterdam make 
the fact very plain that many of the English inhabitants 
of these Long Island towns were not kindly disposed 
toward the prevailing orthodox Calvinism, but on the 

1 Winthrop s History of New England, ii. 148. 
2 History of Lynn, p. 214. . 8 Ibid. p. 194. 


contrary were either of the Anabaptist or of the Seeker 
type. In 1653 the Director-General of the Colony com 
plained that magistrates on Long Island were being 
selected without regard to their religion, and especially, 
he says, "the people of Gravesend who elect libertines 
[free-thinkers] and anabaptists." 1 Three years later 
William Hallett was banished from the Province of New 
Netherlands for allowing conventicles and gatherings 
in his house at Flushing, and William Wickendam, a 
cobbler by trade, was also banished for having taken the 
leading part in these house meetings, which seem to have 
been meetings for worship after the manner of the small 
dissenting sects. 2 In 1657, the year the Quakers arrived 
on Long Island, two of the leading Dutch ministers in 
the Colony, Joannes Megapolensis and Samuel Drisius, 
both keen in the scent of heresy, wrote to the Classis of 
Amsterdam a full account of the religious condition in 
New Amsterdam. They reported the people at Gravesend 
to be Anabaptists of the Mennonite type. " The majority 
of them," they say, " reject the baptism of infants, the 
observance of the Sabbath, the office of preacher, any 
teachers of God s word. They say that thereby all sorts 
of contentions have come into the world. Whenever 
they meet, one or the other reads something to them." 
" At Flushing," the report says, " many persons have 
become imbued with divers opinions. They absented 
themselves from the sermon and would not pay the 
preacher [Francis Doughty] his salary. 8 Last year a 
troublesome fellow, a cobbler from Rhode Island came 
there saying he had a commission from Christ " [evidently 
William Wickendam]. At Middleburg, a part of Newtown, 
the people are said to be mostly Independents who have 
an unordained preacher " who does not serve the sacra 
ments." At Hempstead "the people listen attentively 
to the sermons of Richard Denton, a pious, godly, and 

1 Colonial Documents of New York, xiv. 235. 

2 Ecclesiastical Records of New York, i. 361-362. 

8 The salary of Francis Doughty was to have been six hundred guilders, but it 
was never paid ; and it was found, when the minister sued for his salary, that 
Wm. Lawrence s wife had destroyed the contract by " putting it under a pye." 


learned man," but when he began to baptize children, 
" many persons rushed out of the church ! " 1 Such, then, 
was the spiritual condition of the Long Island towns when 
the first messengers of Quakerism came thither to make 
convincements. There was already in existence here a 
type of religion which was independent of ordained 
ministers, which regarded the sacraments as unnecessary 
and which welcomed the common man who came with a 
direct commission. They were by the bent of their minds 
open to the word of the preachers of the inward Light. 
In fact, one Quaker seems to have been raised out of their 
own group even before any messengers came. This was 
Richard Smith. He had been to England on a visit in 
1654, had apparently come under the influence of William 
Dewsbury, 2 and had returned a convinced Friend, so 
that he was the first Quaker in the American colonies. 
When the eight Friends came out from England in 1656 
on their missionary journey to New England, they halted 
either at New Amsterdam or on Long Island and picked 
up this Richard Smith on their way and took him with 
them on their bold venture. He was hurried back to 
Long Island by ship that he might not contaminate or 
infect any body by a land journey ! 3 

" The spiritual Argonauts " who came in the ship 
Woodhouse, with Captain Fowler in 1657, were the first 
Quakers known to have landed in New Amsterdam, now 
New York city. Five of the eleven, Robert Hodgson, 

1 Ecclesiastical Records of New York, i. 393-399. 

8 Francis Ellington s Tract, A True Discovery (London, 1655). 

* This was Richard Smith of Southampton, Long Island, and not, as Bowden 
(vol. i. p. 310) assumes, the famous trader of that name who in 1641 "erected 
a house of trade and entertainment " in the Narragansett country. This latter 
Richard Smith never became a Friend. He settled at Maspeth, on Long Island, 
about 1645 and remained there a few years (see Riker s Annals of Newtown), but 
he was back in Narragansett by 1649. The Records of Southampton for October 
1656 furnish one piece of information about Richard Smith the Quaker : " It is 
ordered by the General Court that Richard Smith, for his unreverend carriage 
toward the magistrates contrary to the order, was adjudged to be banished out of 
the town, and he is to have a week s liberty to prepare himself to depart ; and if 
at any time he be found after this limited week within the bounds of the town he 
shall forfeit twenty shillings. It is ordered by the General Court that Richard 
Smith for his unreverend carriage to the magistrate was judged to pay the sum of 
5 pounds to be levied immediately upon the goods and chattels of the said Richard 
Smith." He is in the same Records called "an emissary of Sathan, a Quaker." 


Richard Doudney, Mary Wetherhead, Dorothy Waugh, 
and Sarah Gibbons, stopped in the Dutch Colony while 
the rest went on to Rhode Island. Captain Fowler, before 
the Woodhouse left the port of New Amsterdam, with 
Robert Hodgson, paid a visit to Governor Stuyvesant and 
found him " moderate both in words and actions." His 
" moderation " was, however, soon changed. The next 
day Mary Wetherhead and Dorothy Waugh preached to 
the people in the streets of New Amsterdam, and the 
effect of this novel sight upon the Dutch inhabitants was 
instantaneous and pronounced. They had no desire to 
see their womenfolk catch this odd custom of preaching 
in the streets, and they soon had the two women in " a 
noisome, filthy dungeon " a more than usually vile jail 
even for the seventeenth century ; and after eight days 
they brought them out of the dark hole, and sent them 
with their hands tied behind them to that " sewer of 
heretics," Rhode Island, to join their companions. 

The two ministers already quoted, Joannes Megapolensis 
and Samuel Drisius, wrote to the authorities in Amsterdam 
an interesting account, though considerably coloured, of 
this invasion : 

"On August 6th (or izth) a ship came from the sea to this 
place, having no flag flying from the topmast, nor from any 
other part of the ship. . . . They fired no salute before the fort. 
When the master of the ship came on shore and appeared 
before the Director-General, he rendered him no respect, but 
stood with his hat firm on his head as if a goat (!). ... At last 
information was gained that it was a ship with Quakers on board. 
. . . We suppose they went to Rhode Island for that is the 
receptacle of all sorts of riff-raff people and is nothing else than 
the sewer of New England. They left behind two strong young 
women. As soon as the ship had departed, these [women] 
began to quake and go into a frenzy, and cry out loudly in the 
middle of the street that men should repent, for the day of 
judgment was at hand. Our people not knowing what was the 
matter ran to and fro while one cried fire and another some 
thing else. The Fiscal seized them both by the head and led 
them to prison." x 

1 Ecclesiastical Records of New York, i. 399. 


The other three members of the party who remained 
behind made a tour of Long Island, where they found 
many hearts ready for their message, especially in the 
towns of Gravesend, Jamaica, and Hempstead. Hodgson 
concluded to stay in Hempstead for a larger service, while 
his two companions went on through the island and across 
to Rhode Island, and upon him fell a baptism of persecu 
tion of a peculiarly furious sort. Hodgson had invited the 
inhabitants of Hempstead to a meeting in an orchard on 
a certain " First-day," and as he was pacing back and 
forth in quiet meditation among the trees of the orchard 
waiting for meeting to begin, he was " violently seized " 
by a local magistrate named Richard Gildersleeve who 
took him as a prisoner to his own house. The officer 
left his prisoner and went to the morning religious service. 
When he returned he found a company gathered and 
Hodgson preaching to them ! He was thereupon moved 
to the house of a magistrate and still the people came 
" to hear truth." Word was now sent to Governor 
Stuyvesant, who despatched a sheriff and jailer with a 
guard of twelve musketeers to bring the prisoner to New 
Amsterdam. They pinioned Hodgson and left him 
closely bound for a whole day while they hunted out the 
persons who had entertained him. Two women were 
finally arrested on this charge, one of whom had two 
small children one a babe still on the breast. They 
were placed in a cart, to the tail of which Hodgson was 
tied, and thus they journeyed through an entire night 
to Brooklyn ferry, and so across to New Amsterdam. 1 
The women were soon set free, but Robert Hodgson was 
sentenced to a fine of a hundred guilders, or hard labour 
at a wheelbarrow with a negro for two years, " in order to 
suppress the evil in the beginning." As Friends always 
did do, he refused to pay the fine. He was brought out 
and chained to the wheelbarrow, but feeling himself 
innocent of any violation of law, he refused to work. 

1 There is a Dutch account of Hodgson s arrest and punishment preserved in 
Ecclesiastical Records of New York, i. 410. This account gives the distance 
Hodgson was carried as twenty-one English miles. 


He was thereupon beaten almost to death with a tarred 
rope, then chained to the barrow, and left in the hot sun 
all day. The next day he was again brought out, chained 
to the barrow, and ordered by the Governor in person to 
work. Proving unyielding, he was next tied up by the 
hands with a heavy log of wood hung on his ankles and 
whipped on his bare back, and then thrust into a dungeon 
" too bad for swine." As news of his sufferings got 
abroad, a humane Englishwoman got into the prison to 
see him, washed his stripes, and told her husband of his 
desperate condition. The husband offered the officer in 
charge one of his oxen if he would release the Quaker. 
Others also came forward and offered to pay the fine. 
Hodgson declined to accept liberation on this principle, 
as he was innocent His sufferings, however, made such 
a deep impression on the liberty-loving Dutch people 
that powerful influences were brought to bear on the 
Governor, who finally set him free without any payment at 
all, and Hodgson passed on to join his friends in Rhode 
Island. 1 

This brief and hampered presentation of Quakerism 
on Long Island was remarkably effective, and resulted in 
the rapid formation of Quaker groups. The people were 
in an expectant state, with spirits prepared for the new 
message and the new manner of life, and they accepted 
the Quaker faith almost by whole communities. If we 
may trust Gerard Croese, an inaccurate though con 
temporary Dutch historian, Lady Moody almost at once 
became a Friend. " There was at Gravesend," he says, 
" a noble lady, the countess of Mordee who turned 
Quaker." " She gave the people of this Society," he 
continues, " the liberty of meeting in her house, but she 
managed it with such prudence and observance of time 
and place that she gave no offense to any stranger or 
person of any other religion than her own, and so she 
and her people remained free from all molestation and 

1 The accounts of this episode are found in Bishop s New England Judged, 
p. 213 ; Sewel s History, \. 398 ; Bowden s History, i. 312 ; Brodhead s History 
of New York, i. 636. 


disturbance." l The first convincements were made almost 
entirely among her friends and sympathisers. The Tiltons, 
the Townsends, the Farringtons, the Thornes, the Feakes, 
and a number of other families had probably been her 
associates in Lynn and had come to Long Island at the 
time of her migration. As soon as persecution came 
upon the new movement the first local heroes came out 
of this prepared group. Governor Stuyvesant was the 
instrument of this early persecution, but, as nearly all 
the authorities imply, he was urged and almost pushed 
to it by influence from Massachusetts. When once he 
had undertaken the course of suppressing the invading 
" heresy," he pursued it with the tenacity native to his 
race and disposition. The first step against the move 
ment was the proclamation of a law imposing a fine of 
fifty pounds upon any colonist who entertained a Quaker 
even for one night, and providing for the confiscation of 
any ship which should import a Quaker into the Colony, 2 
and at the same time an old, somewhat dormant law 
against conventicles was revived. 

Henry Townsend of Flushing was the first person 
to suffer under this new system of extermination which 
the Governor had inaugurated. He was found guilty of 
violation of the conventicle law and was heavily fined, 
but he absolutely refused to pay his fine though he found 
the prison into which he was thrown extremely " irksome." 
His wife, however, " moved by the cries of her small 
children," gave the authorities two young oxen and a 
horse for her husband s release. 3 The inhabitants of 
Flushing were profoundly stirred by this invasion of their 
liberties. They gathered in a public meeting, expressed 
their disapproval of the acts of persecution, and drew up 
a remonstrance which was signed by thirty-one men and 
sent to the Governor, the signers of which included the 
town clerk Edward Hart, who wrote the document, and 

1 Croese, General History of the Quakers, translated (London, 1696), ii. 157. 
*Lady Moody was intimate with Governor Stuyvesant, which fact no doubt pro 
tected her meetings. She, however, died in 1663 soon after the movement began. 

2 Laws and Ordinances of New Netherlands, i. 439. 
8 Bishop, pp. 218-219. 


the sheriff, Tobias Feake. The remonstrance declared 
that the patent, or charter, of their town " grants liberty 
of conscience without modification," and that the signers 
intended to stand by their precious rights regardless of 
what it might cost them in suffering. They say in 
straightforward fashion : 

" Right Honourable, you have been pleased to send up unto 
us a certain command that wee should not receive or entertaine 
any of those people called Quakers. . . . For our parte wee cannot 
condemn them, neither can wee stretch out our hands against 
them. . . . Wee desire in this case not to judge least wee be judged, 
neither to condemn least wee be condemned, but rather let every 
man stand or fall to his own. Maister, wee are bounde by the 
Law to doe good unto all men, especially to those of the House 
hold of faith ; and though for the present wee seem to be un- 
sensible of the law and the Lawgiver; yet when death and 
the law assault us, if wee have not our Advocate to seeke, who 
shall plead for us in this case of conscience betwixt God and 
our soules ? The powers of this world can neither attack us 
nor excuse us ! " x 

A number of these thirty-one signers had come from 
Lynn to Long Island in pursuit of the precious privilege 
of religious liberty ; others on the list were English 
Separatists who, like the Pilgrim Fathers, had lived in 
Holland to escape oppression and had migrated from 
there to the New World under promises of freedom. 2 
They knew what freedom was worth and they were 
resolved to have it, even " though death and the law 
assault" them. 

" I do not know," John Fiske says, " whether Flushing has 
ever raised a fitting monument to their memory. If I could 
have my way I would have the protest carved on a stately 
obelisk with the name of Edward Hart, town clerk and the 
thirty other Dutch and English names appended, and would 
have it set up where all might read it for the glory of the town 
which had such men for its founders." 3 

The vengeance of the Governor fell with severity upon 

1 The Remonstrance is given in full in Ecclesiastical Records of New York, 
i. 412. 2 See Thompson s Long Island, ii. 69. 

8 Dutch and Quaker Colonies, i. 235. 


the signers of the remonstrance, especially upon those who 
held official positions, and the town of Flushing was 
deprived by the Governor of its right to hold Town- 
meetings, but the Governor s course did not crush the 
spirit of these earnest men who insisted on " the excellent 
order and custom of the Fatherland " ; it rather hastened 
the formation of a Quaker society in the neighbourhood. 1 
A contemporary record says that " most of the inhabitants 
of Flushing are Quakers, who rove about the country 
from one village to another, corrupting the youth." 
Domine Megapolensis and Drisius report in 1658 : 

" The raving Quakers have not settled down, but continue 
to disturb the people of this province. Although our govern 
ment has issued orders against these fanatics, nevertheless they 
do not fail to pour forth their venom. There is but one place 
in New England where they are tolerated and that is Rhode 
Island which is the sewer of New England. Thence they swarm 
to and fro sowing their tares." 2 

Among those who " swarmed " into Long Island in this 
early period must be mentioned Thomas Thurston and 
Josiah Coale who passed through Long Island on their 
foot-journey from Virginia to New England. They were 
" much refreshed " to find in the towns of Long Island 
" some Friends in the Truth," 3 and there seems already 
in 1658 to have been quite a nucleus of Quakers in 
several towns. 

The next year, 1659, a quaint and interesting Friend, 
named John Taylor, from York, England, made a tour of 
the island. He writes : 

" It came into my heart to go and visit the people of Long 
Island and to seek the lost. And it pleased the Lord so to order 
my way, that I found in several towns and villages a pretty many 

1 John Tilton and his wife Mary, the wife of Joseph Scott, and the wife of 
Francis Weeks were among those who had to endure hard persecutions. Nine 
Quakers were in the jail in New Amsterdam at one time. "Goody Tilton, wife 
of John Tilton, was charged with the crime of having, like a sorceress, gone from 
door to door to lure and seduce the people, even young girls, to join he Quakers. " 
Her husband was charged with having permitted Quakers to quake at his house 
in Gravesend." Thompson s Long Island. 

2 Eccleiiastical Records of New York, i. 433. 

3 Letter of Josiah Coale to George Bishop, 1658. Bowden, i. 18. 



fine, sober people that feared God and were convinced of the blessed 
Truth. They did receive me and my testimony readily with 
gladness. Many meetings of the people were settled under the 
teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ, our free Teacher, at 
Gravesend, Seatancott, 1 Oyster Bay, Hemsted, and other places, 
sometimes in the woods and wilderness." 2 

Another island now comes into prominence in the 
history of Quakerism, " Shelter Island," near the east end 
of Long Island, between Gardiner s Bay and Peconis Bay. 
It was originally named " Farret s Island," but was 
purchased by three citizens of Barbadoes, Thomas Rous, 
Constant and Nathaniel Sylvester, and an Englishman 
named Thomas Middleton. They paid sixteen hundred 
pounds of sugar for the island. The Sylvesters bought 
out Rous share in 1662, and by the payment of one 
hundred and fifty pounds, " one half in beef and the other 
half in pork," the owners got their island exempted 
for ever from taxes and military duty. 8 Nathaniel 
Sylvester, who finally came into possession of the island, 
was a Quaker, and he proceeded to make his island a real 
" shelter " for harried Friends. John Taylor landed on this 
island on his way out from England, and he spent some 
time on it in 1659. He speaks as though there were 
already many Friends on the island. Beside those 
already there, " several Friends," he says, " came from 
other parts in New England." " We had several brave 
meetings there together, and the Lord s Power and 
Presence was with us gloriously." 4 

George Rofe, an Englishman, gives us our next 
glimpse through Quaker eyes of the Dutch colony. He 
sailed in 1 66 1 " in a small boat with only two Friends," 
from Maryland, and came into the port of New 
Amsterdam. He writes : 

1 "Seatancott" must mean Setauket, whose inhabitants in 1659 petitioned 
the General Court of Hartford for jurisdiction, and many of them came later to 
Matinecock as Quakers, for example, the Underbills, the Cocks, and others. 

2 Memoir of John Taylor (London, 1710), p. 18. 

3 Brodhead, op. tit. ii. 106. 

* Memoir of John Taylor, p. 22. Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick came 
to Shelter Island in 1659 to escape their unbearable persecutions in Salem. 


" I had good service among both Dutch and English. I was 
in the chief city of the Dutch, and gave a good sound, but they 
forced me away ; and so we had meetings through the islands in 
good service." l 

The little society in Flushing soon found a yeoman 
leader in one of its own members, John Bowne, " the 
blameless Bowne," as Bancroft calls him. He had 
immigrated from Derbyshire, first to Boston and then to 
Long Island where in 1656 he married Hannah Field, 
who became attached to the new Society in Flushing, 
and took the risks of going to the meetings, which at 
first were held in the woods to escape the notice of 
those who were hostile. John Bowne out of curiosity 
went with his wife to a meeting, was impressed with 
the spiritual reality of the movement, and invited the 
Friends to hold their meetings in his house a fine 
dwelling-house erected in 1661 in the eastern end of the 
village near two magnificent oak trees. He soon allied 
himself positively with the new venture and became a 
member of the Society. 

It was quickly reported that the Bowne house had 
become a " conventicle " for Quakers, and the owner was 
arrested, fined 25, and threatened with banishment on 
non-payment. The threat, as usual, made no impression. 
At the end of three months, during which Bowne had lain 
in prison, an Order was passed in Council to transport 
him, " if he continues obstinate and pervicacious," from 
the province, " for the welfare of the community, and to 
crush as far as it is possible that abominable sect who 
treat with contempt both the political magistrates and the 
ministers of God s holy Word, and endeavour to undermine 
the police and religion." He did continue " pervicacious," 
and was transported by the ship Gilded Fox to Amsterdam. 
Upon landing he laid his case before the Directors of the 
West India Company, and as soon as their liberty-loving 
spirits were wakened they gave him satisfaction " they 
spoke no word tending to the approval of what had been 
clone against Quakers." 

1 A.R.B. Collection (Devonshire House), No. 62. 


They wrote a letter to Stuyvesant, not quite as 
dramatic in its delivery as the " King s Missive " in 
Massachusetts, but absolutely effective for its purpose. 
The substance of the message was : 

" It is our opinion that some connivance is useful, and that 
the consciences of men ought to remain free and unshackled. 
Let every one remain free as long as he is modest, moderate, and 
his political conduct irreproachable." l 

Soon after his return as a free man, John Bowne was 
walking the street of Flushing and met the Governor. 
The chief magistrate " seemed much abashed for what he 
had done," but showed his manliness by saying, " I am 
glad to see you safe home again." The straightforward 
Quaker acknowledged his greeting and added, " I hope 
thou wilt never harm any more Friends." 2 And he never 
did. Bowne s victory had, as moral victories generally do 
have, far-reaching consequences. He not only won his 
personal freedom, but he called forth from the Directors 
of the Colony a proclamation of the principle of complete 
religious toleration, " The consciences of men ought to 
remain free and unshackled." But that was not all. When 
the next year the Colony was conquered by the English, 
an article establishing " liberty of conscience in divine 
worship and church discipline " for all Dutch subjects was 
put in the articles of agreement surrendering the territory. 
In 1664, the year the Colony passed into English control, 
the " Duke s law " provided that " no person shall be 
molested, fined, or imprisoned for differing in judgment 
in matters of religion," and from that time on the 
principle was recognised throughout the Colony as a 
fundamental right, though in practice it was still occasion 
ally violated. 3 

1 Ecclesiastical Records of New York, i. 530. Bowden s History (i. 324-325) 
gives the correspondence in full. 

2 Bishop, p. 423. 

3 There were sporadic attempts to harry the Quakers throughout the seventeenth 
century, always in the interests of the Established Church. I have found this 
interesting letter from Richard Gildersleeve, constable, to Governor Andros of 
New York : 

RIGHT HONORABLE Whereas your honor was pleased to lay some command 


The Colony became English territory by the terms of 
surrender in 1664, and was organised as a British Colony 
with a Governor from the mother country. It was re 
conquered by the Dutch in 1673, but with the settlement 
of peace in 1674 it was restored to the English. The 
little groups of Friends in the Colony were in this 
transition period much expanded, and entered upon a 
new stage of their development, as a result of the visits 
of important missionary Friends. The first of these 
constructive visits was that of John Burnyeat, who makes 
the first mention we have of a permanent organisation of 
the Friends on Long Island. He writes : 

"I arrived at New York the 2yth day of Second month 
[April old style] 1671, and from New York I went to Long 
Island, and visited Friends on the island and other places there 
away [probably Shelter Island], and was with them at their half- 
year s meeting at Oyster Bay." * 

Burnyeat was back again for extended work at the 
end of six months, when he visited all the meetings on 
the island, and attended again the Half- Year s Meeting at 
Oyster Bay. 2 

" The Lord s power broke in upon the meeting, and Friends 
hearts were broken, and there were great meltings among us. 
Friends were comforted and the seed and life reigned over all." 3 

upon mee for the prevention of Quaker Meettings within our towne of Hemstead, 
which accordingly I have done to the best of my power by forewarning Captain 
John Seman. Being sick and not able to go myself, I sent two overseers to fore 
warn him that he should not entertain any such meeting att his house, yett nott 
withstanding his answer was that he tooke no notice of the warning, and proceeded 
to have and had a very great meeting the lastt Lordsday being the 28th of this 
instant Hopping these few lines may find your honors favorable acceptance, and 
render mee excusable, and thatt your Honor will be pleased to take it in to your 
serious consideration for the ffuter pruention of the like : nott troubleing your 
Honor any further I remain Your Honors Humble seruantt Richard Gildersleeve, 
Hemstead, May 26, 1679." Ecclesiastical Records of New York, i. 723. 

1 Journal of John Burnyeat, p. 196. This Oyster Bay Half- Year s Meeting 
was until 1695 a part of New England Yearly Meeting. 

2 He found the Long Island Friends at this time somewhat divided, as a 
result of the influence of a party in England opposed to George Fox and the 
system of organisation which was being put into operation. The contention 
was increased at this time because Burnyeat had brought with him a copy of 
Fox s Book of Advice and Discipline, and the Ranters produced their "Book" 
in opposition. See Journal, pp. 197-198. 

8 Journal, p. 198. 


On his way south, Burnyeat held a meeting in New 
York City, which is the first mention I have found of 
a Quaker meeting held on Manhattan Island. 

At the next gathering of the Oyster Bay Half- Year s 
Meeting, in April of 1672, the great founder himself, 
George Fox, was present, having travelled from Maryland 
by forced marches " earnestly pressed in spirit " to get 
to Long Island in time for it. Fox writes : 

"The Half year s meeting began on First day of the week 
and lasted four days. The first and second days we had public 
meetings for worship, to which people of all sorts came. On 
the third day were the men s and women s meetings wherein the 
affairs of the church were taken care of." l 

He found, as Burnyeat had the year before, some " con 
tentious spirits " who were making trouble. He met 
them face to face to consider their objections and com 
plaints, and " the Lord s power broke forth gloriously, and 
the Truth of God was exalted and set over all." 2 

On his way back from New England Fox visited 
Shelter Island. He had a famous meeting with the 
Indians on the little island. 

"I had a meeting," he writes, "with the Indians, at which 
were their king, his council, and about a hundred Indians more. 
They sat down like Friends and listened attentively. After 
meeting they appeared very loving, and confessed that what was 
said to them was Truth. Next First-day we had a great meeting 
on the island, to which came many people who had never heard 
Friends before. . . . They were much taken with the Truth." 3 

After a very stormy passage he got to Oyster Bay, 
where he had " a very large meeting," and, in company 
with Christopher Holder and James Lancaster, he went 
across the Sound, " to the continent," as he calls it, and 
held a meeting at Rye, at that time in " Winthrop s 
territory " (i.e. in Connecticut) ; then to Flushing, " where 
we had a very large meeting, many hundreds of people 
being there, some of whom came about thirty miles to 

1 Fox s Journal, ii. 167. 

2 Ibid. ii. 168. There are evidences in all the Journals of the period that 
there were many Ranters to be found in the Colonies as there were also in 
England. * Ibid. ii. 172. 


it. A glorious and heavenly meeting it was," and, finally, 
" three precious meetings " at Gravesend. 1 

This work was immediately followed up and carried 
farther by the great colonial missionary of Quakerism, 
William Edmundson. His Journal for 1672 says : 

" I took passage by sea [from Maryland] and about ten days 
after landed at New York where no Friends lived. We lodged 
at a Dutch woman s house who kept an inn. I was moved of 
the Lord to get a meeting in that town, for there had not been 
one there before. 2 I spoke to the woman of the house to let 
us have a meeting. She let us have a large dining-room and 
furnished it with seats. We gave notice of it and had a brave, 
large meeting! Some of the chief officers, magistrates, and 
leading men of the Town were at it ; very attentive they were, 
the Lord s power being over them all. Several of them appeared 
very loving after the meeting. The woman of the house and 
her daughter, both being widows, both wept when we went 
away." 3 

Edmundson followed the regular Quaker route through 
Long Island eastward, finding " many honest, tender 
Friends " in the towns, and having a memorable visit with 
the Friends on Shelter Island, from whom he " parted in 
the sweet love of God " for New England 

On his return journey, having " set all the town [of 
Hartford] a-talking of religion," he crossed to Long 
Island. Here he found an outbreak of Ranterism : 

" Friends were much troubled in their meetings with several 
who had gone from Truth and turned Ranters. They would 
come, both men and women, into Friends meetings, singing and 
dancing in a rude manner which was a great exercise [annoyance] 
to Friends. We staid sometime and had large and precious 
meetings, at several places. Many of the Ranters came to the 
meetings and the Lord s power was over them and chained them 
down. Some of them were reached and brought back to the 
Truth." 4 

1 Fox s Journal, ii. 174. 

2 Edmundson is wrong in this statement, as Burnyeat had held one in the 
city before this. 

3 Edmundson s Journal, p. 64. 

4 Ibid. p. 92. These Ranters apparently did not stay chained, for 
Thomas Chalkley, writing in 1698 of his visit to Long Island, says: " I met with 
some of the people called Ranters who disturbed our meeting. I may say as 
the apostle Paul did, that I fought with beasts there ! " CbaXkley s Journal, p. 22. 


As has already been said, there was, at least in all the 
northern Colonies, in the seventeenth century a large and 
dangerous sprinkling of Ranters. They did not originate 
from the Quakers, as they ante-dated the latter by some 
years. They were a part of a widespread, though some 
what chaotic movement in England, 1 and there was an 
out-cropping of the same tendency in America. Among 
the groups of Anabaptists, Seekers, and so-called 
" Antinomians," wherever they appeared, there formed 
a radical wing composed of those who were less stable 
mentally, less organized morally, and less under the social 
direction of the groups to which they belonged. The 
Friends, with their lack of ecclesiastical authority, and 
with their doctrine of the Light within, were almost certain 
to suffer from the Ranter propagandism, and the move 
ment did pick off some of the members who were 
ill-balanced and easy subjects of fanaticism. The Quaker 
leaders had powerfully proclaimed the possibility of 
complete salvation from sin, and it was only to be 
expected that some emotional Quakers, especially such 
as had a strain of hysteria, would make extravagant 
claims. One illustration of this Ranter tendency will 
suffice, taken from the Annals of Newtown, Long Island. 

"There resided at the English Hills in Newtown several 
individuals holding the religious opinion of the Quakers. 
Among them was Thomas Case, who assumed the office of 
preacher, and at his house the faithful were wont to convene for 
worship. He set up a new form of Quakerism, and labored with 
great zeal to promulgate his views, not unfrequently continuing 
his meetings many days in succession. Inspired with a fancied 
holiness of his character and office he asserted that he was come 
to perfection and could sin no more than Christ, and he maintained 
that when he should die he would rise again the third day." 2 

This " new sort of Quakerism," as this chronicler calls 
it, ran into a wild fanaticism, and these " half-Quakers " 
were dealt with vigorously in 1675 by the town authorities. 

1 See my Studies in Mystical Religion, the chapter on Seekers and 

a Annals of Newtown, pp. 93-95. 


They were also vigorously dealt with by the Quaker 
meeting itself, as the following minute of Westbury 
Quarterly Meeting indicates : 

"At a Quarterlie Meeting ye 3th day of ye 6th mo. 1675, 
We ye people of God, being weightily meett in ye feare and dread 
of ye Lord, being much conserned in our Spirits considering a 
people that is arisen in this day which calleth themselves by ye 
name Friends. These people oppose and denye ye truth of our 
Lord Jesus and speak evill of his way and people, wherefore we 
ye people of God, being seriously meett together in ye name and 
feare of ye Lord, felling ye out-running of those people to be as 
a weight vpon vs, we, in obedience vnto god and his blessed 
truth, doe vnanimusly signify 6 our dislike of yt spirit they are 
guided by and give forth our testimonies against it. 

Whereas those people being risen in ye pretence of ye truth 
in this western part of Long Island and some upon ye main, who 
call themselues young Friends or new friends, the leading persons 
of them being Thomas Case, Garsham Lockwood, Lydia fibster, 
Elizabeth Cleave, with many others against whom we bear 
testimony for their confused practices, and have openly denied 
their Spirit of delusion by which they are led and guided, yet 
the presisting in and by ye deluding spirit and dark power wch 
opperates in them has bretrayed many into ye same snare wherein 
they become the country s discourse, wherefore we are nessecitated 
for ye baring of ye precious truth and for ye renouncing aspera- 
tions yt may arise of us cleare from owning their way or evill 
practices to be in or by ye Spirit or power of God, and do giue 
forth our public testimonies to all yt may see ye same, yt we 
utterly deny them and all yt joyned in those confused practices, 
and ye spirit and power by wch they are led and guided." l 

Two official reports of this period throw some light on 
the place which the Quakers held in the estimation of 
the Government. The first extract is from the Report of 

1 Minutes of Westbury Quarterly Meeting. The following letter from 
Edward Taylor to Increase Mather may possibly throw a glimpse of light upon 
these " new Quakers," though it is more probable that the incident reported is a 
fiction of the imagination of minds always on the watch for signs of witchcraft 
and for signs that the Quakers were objects of divine disapproval. Edward 
Taylor writes, January 22, 1683 : " At Mattatuck, about 16 miles S.W. from 
Farmington, about 10 o clock at night, there was seen by about 6 or 7 men a 
black streake in the skie like a rainbow. . . . About the same time it was 
credibly reported with us that the Quakers upon Long Island were on the Lord s 
day to have a horse race, and the riders mounted for the race were dismounted 
again by the All Righteous offended Judge striking them with tortuering pains 
whereof they both &K&." Massachusetts Historical Society Collections, Part iv. 
voL viii. p. 630. 


Governor Andros on the religious condition of the Province 
of New York in 1678, and the second extract is from a 
similar Report made by Governor Donegan in 1687 : 

" There are here Religions of all sorts, one church of England, 
several Presbiterians and Independents, Quakers and Anabaptists 
of several sects, some Jews, but Presbiterians and Independents 
most numerous and substantial." l 

"Here bee many of the Church of England; few Roman 
Catholick ; abundance of Quaker Preachers^ men and women ; 
especially Singing Quakers, Ranting Quakers." * 

One of the most memorable and historically important 
of the many missionary visits to Long Island for the 
purpose of extending Quakerism was that of Samuel 
Bownas of England, a young man of twenty-five at the 
time of his visit in 1702. He appointed a meeting, soon 
after his arrival, at Hempstead in a great barn and it was 
attended by a crowd of people. At the instigation of 
George Keith, formerly a leading exponent of Quakerism, 
but at this time a bitter opponent of Friends, 8 who had 
followed Bownas from Philadelphia in order to block his 
work, a warrant was sworn out, charging Bownas with 
" speaking lies and reflections against the Church of 
England " in his sermon at Hempstead. When the High 
Sheriff, accompanied by a posse of men " armed with guns, 
swords, pitchforks, clubs and halberts " came to arrest the 
prisoner, the Half-year s Meeting was in session at Flushing 
(29th November 1702), and Samuel Bownas was sitting 
in the ministers gallery. The Sheriff marched up the 
aisle, pulled out his warrant, and said "You are my 
prisoner." After some parley the Sheriff consented to 
wait till meeting was over, and his men piled up their 
motley arms at the door and all sat down in the Quaker 
meeting. The " silence " at first astonished the officers of 
the law, but as they were beginning to whisper that Bownas 

1 Governor Andros 1 Report on the Province of New York in 1678. Doc. Hist. 
New York, \. 92. 

z Ibid. L 186, Governor Donegan s Report on the Province in 1687. The 
"Singing Quakers" and "Ranting Quakers" naturally made an impression, 
though they were certainly few in number. 

* For an extended treatment of Keith, see Book V. Chapter II. 


was frightened by the show of force, he felt " the Word 
like a fire and stood up and had a very agreeable service." 
At the close of the meeting the Sheriff gave him an 
extension of liberty until the Half- Year s Meeting was 
concluded, at the last gathering of which " near two 
thousand people " were present. 

At the hearing before the Justices, Bownas was asked 
to give 2000 bail or be committed to the common 
jail. His answer was, " If the bail were fixed at three 
half-pence I would not give it" One of the Justices 
thereupon took him to his own house for the night, and 
the next day he was committed to jail for three months, 
at the end of which time he was brought before the court 
of Oyer and Terminer, Chief Justice John Bridges presiding. 
The grand jury refused to bring a true bill against Bownas. 
The judge was thereupon very angry with them and 
endeavoured to compel them by threats of imprisonment 
and fine, but one of the jurors boldly answered : " You may 
hang us by the heels if you please, but if you do the 
matter will be carried to Westminster Hall ; for juries, 
whether grand or petty, are not to be menaced with 
threats, but are to act freely." l The browbeating continued 
over to the next day, but the men remained unmoved and 
stood for the privilege of juries. Whereupon the judge 
declared in wrath, " As justice cannot be come at here, 
I will send the prisoner to London chained to the deck of 
a man-of-war." 

As Samuel Bownas was sitting alone, wondering what 
the issue of his case would be, an old man named Thomas 
Hicks, who had been chief-justice of the province, came 
to see him, took him in his arms, and with tears in his 
eyes said, " The Lord has used you as an instrument to 
put a stop to arbitrary proceedings in our courts of justice. 
There has never been so successful a stand made against 
it as at this time. You need not fear ; they can no more 
send you to England than they can send me." 

The prisoner was, however, confined, by order of the 

1 The judicial decision in the Bushnell case, which arose out of the trial of 
Penn and Mead, had settled the law that no jury could be fined for its verdict. 


judge, in a small room made of logs, where he was kept 
until October 1703, and then set free because the jury 
again refused to find a bill against him. He had supported 
himself in prison by making shoes ; getting his bread, he 
says, " with my own hands, as was agreeable with Paul s 
practice." Having been held a close prisoner almost an 
entire year, he received " a kind of triumph " on his 
release, and "visited every corner of the island, and had 
very large and open meetings." He had an odd dream 
at Cowneck : 

"I dreamed," he says, "that an honest Friend was fishing in 
a large stone cistern, with a crooked pin for a hook, a small 
switch stick for rod, and a piece of thread for line ; and George 
Fox [who died twelve years before] came and told me that there 
were three fishes in that place, and desired me to take the 
tackling of the Friend since he lacked the skill to handle the 
matter. Then, methought, the Friend gave me the rod, and the 
first time I threw in I caught a fine fish. George Fox then bade 
me try again, for there were two more in the place. I did and 
took up another. He bade me cast once more. I did and took 
the third. Now, said George, there are no more there ! " 

The next day at meeting Bownas had forgotten the 
dream as though it had not been. A Friend rose and 
spoke for a little on universal grace. As soon as he 
stopped, Bownas, with " his heart full of the matter," took 
up the same subject and landed his fish : " We had a 
blessed meeting and the dream came true ! " * 

Thomas Story s Journal is a valuable source of in 
formation on the condition and growth of Quakerism in 
New York. 2 He visited New York City for the first time 
in 1 699, having " a small meeting " there. He gives us 
the interesting information that he " fell in opportunely 
with a Yearly Meeting at Westchester on the main, 
about twenty miles from New York." s He found a good 
many Ranters still in evidence on Long Island, one of 

1 A meeting was soon after established there. The Bownas incidents are told 
in his Life and Travels (London, 1761), pp. 61-95. 

2 Journal of Thomas Story. 

3 Ibid. p. 177. This was evidently not a Yearly Meeting for church affairs, 
but a General Meeting for the purpose of expanding Quakerism. 


whom " hooted like an owl and made a ridiculous noise 
as their manner is ! " l He had " glorious meetings " in 
most of the Long Island towns ; he speaks of a " Quarterly 
Meeting " at Westbury and one in New York City, and 
he held a great meeting by appointment at Westchester, 
" across the sound," to which " an abundance of people 
came from as far as Horseneck." " The people," he says, 
" were very still and affected with the testimony of 
Truth." 2 

While they were at Newtown, a part of the present 
city of Brooklyn, report reached him of the " pestilential 
fever" which was then raging in Philadelphia. He and 
his companion, Roger Gill, were eager to go to their 
" distressed friends " in Philadelphia, but felt called before 
leaving to hold a meeting in New York City, where " the 
people seemed to have good understandings generally." 
The meeting was appointed at the request of Thomas 
Story, and was held in the house of Thomas Roberts, " a 
convinced man in the heart of the city." " The room 
was large, and all about the doors and windows were full 
of people," but Thomas Story got no chance to speak. 
" I had," he says, " a great weight and exercise on my 
mind, but Roger Gill stept in between and took up most 
of the seasonable time, till my spirit almost sunk under 
the load ; and while it was working up the second time 
after he sat down, Samuel Jenings stood up and took the 
rest [of the time] ; and then I totally fell under it, and 
was greatly oppressed in spirit, though I bore it un discerned 
by any ! " 3 He came back from Philadelphia before the 
end of the year (1699), and had another meeting in the 
same house "... the concern having remained in secret," 
i.e. on his mind. This meeting was large and he delivered 
himself of his " concern," and was " fully clear and easy." 4 
In 1702 he had "a glorious meeting in the new meeting 
house " at Westbury. " Many hundreds of Friends and 
abundance of other people were there. The meeting 
being over, there came over the Plains with us at least 

1 Journal of Thomas Story, p. 220. 2 Ibid. p. 221. 

3 Ibid, p. 222. * Ibid. p. 243. 


100 horse to their several habitations." ] In 1703 he was 
at a meeting in Westchester, " which was more open 
than usual in that place." Toward the end of 1704 he 
went to New York City, having heard that Lord Cornbury, 
the Governor of the Colony, was going to arrest him if he 
ever came into that jurisdiction again. " I was," he says, 
" at the Sheriff s house several times, but the Lord preserved 
me free to the service of the blessed Truth." 2 

The Journal of James Dickinson gives a good picture 
of conditions in 1698 : 

"We crossed Amboy ferry in two canoes, which the water 
men lashed together to carry our horses over. Next day we 
went to Elizabeth-town [New Jersey], took boat for New York, 
and were all night upon the water, being exposed to wind and 
storm : it rained all night and we had no shelter, for the boat 
was filled with wood and we sat upon it. About break of day 
we got to New York where we staid a little ; then passed over 
in a canoe to Long Island, and travelled up and down, laboring 
in the work of the gospel ; and had good service for the Truth. 
Several were convinced, particularly a captain in the army and a 
justice of the peace, who were afterwards called before the 
Governor of New York ; and because they could neither swear 
nor fight any longer, they laid down their commissions, having 
received the Truth in the love of it. In New York City many 
hearts were deeply affected and tendered, both among the Dutch 
and English, and the Lord s power was over all." s 

Thomas Chalkley, the great Quaker traveller in the 
first half of the eighteenth century, was one of the fore 
most instruments in the expansion of New York 
Quakerism. He had already visited Long Island near 
the close of the seventeenth century " fighting beasts " 
there, but his important visit came in 1704. He 
travelled by horse and canoe from North Carolina, 
having narrow escapes from rattlesnakes, and 

" Lodging like good Jacob on his way to Padan Aram. Very 
sweet was the love of God to my soul as I waked, and the dew 
of the everlasting love refreshed me." 4 

I Journal of Thomas Story, p. 256. z Ibid. p. 370. 

II Journal of James Dickinson, in " Friends Library," vol. xii. p. 393. 
4 Journal of Thomas Chalkley, p. 38. 


" So we travelled on to New York and Long Island, where we 
had divers meetings, as at Flushing, Westbury, Jerusalem, Jerico, 
Bethpage, Matinicook, and also at West Chester on the main" l 

On his return journey Thomas Chalkley had large 
and powerful meetings again through Long Island. A 
still more constructive tour was made by Thomas 
Chalkley through the New York meetings, especially on 
Long Island, in 1724. Much new ground was broken, 
and many " were convinced of the Principle of Truth." 
He visited Westchester again, and held a meeting at 
Newtown which was so large that the meeting-house 
could not contain the people. He held a meeting with 
" those few Friends at New York the quietest meeting I 
ever had there ! " 2 

Edmund Peckover visited Long Island in 1743. He, 
however, gives only one or two concrete pictures of the 
actual state of things there then. He attended the 
Yearly Meeting at Flushing that year, and he says that 
" the Top Sort of people for many miles round about the 
country were there." He reports but few Friends in New 
York City, but the yellow fever was raging at the time of 
Peckover s visit, and he did not see the city in its normal 
conditions. 8 William Reckitt visited the meetings 
through this region in 1758, and his report indicates that 
a decline had set in on Long Island. " Lukewarmness 
and indifference much prevailed," he says. Again, he 
makes the comment that " at Oister Bay there had been 
a large meeting, but now it was much declined." * 

The last account which I shall give of conditions 
in the Colony in the eighteenth century shows that 
crystallisation was settling down upon Quakerism, and 
that the period of expansion was over. It is from the 
Journal of John Griffith of England, who visited the New 
York meetings in 1765 : 

"Quarterly Meeting at Flushing (2 2nd of Fifth Month) was 
small, and things, as to the life of religion, were felt to be very 

1 Journal of Thomas Chalkley, p. 39. 2 Ibid. pp. 118-120. 

3 For Peckover s Journal see Journal of Friends Historical Society, vol. i. pp. 
95-109. 4 William Reckitfs Life, pp. 120-121. 


low, a painful gloominess having spread itself through a want of 
living concern in many of the members . . . the vital part of 
religion seemed to be much obstructed." 1 

Griffith s Journal introduces us to a number of new 
meetings, which had been established by migration and 
expansion, like a chain of forts, running north from Long 
Island Sound, parallel to the Hudson, between the river 
and the Connecticut line, but he sees almost everywhere 
the marks of deadness : 

"We went to New Milford meeting [in the Edge of 
Connecticut] on Firstday the 3rd of Eighth month. I had 
nothing to offer in the way of ministry. After meeting we 
ascended to the Oblong, and a long ascent it was, to the summit 
of the hill, called Quaker Hill [on the New York side of the 
line]. We had a very large meeting at a commodious house 
built by Friends on that hill. They who attended were 
generally professors of the truth, and mostly plain and becom 
ing in their outward garb ; yet, alas ! when they came to be 
viewed in the true light they appeared dry and formal, many, I 
fear, having clothed corrupted nature with a form of religion, 
and in a plain dress sit in their religious meetings like dead 

"We had a large meeting at the Nine Partners [East of 
Poughkeepsie] and we had a painful afflicting meeting at 
Oswego. On First day, the xoth of Eighth month, we were at the 
Oblong meeting again ; my travail through the entire meeting 
was in suffering silence. We had meetings [travelling south] at 
Peach-Pond, North Castle, Purchase, Mamarineck, and West 
Chester. On Firstday the i yth we were at two meetings in the 
city of New York. I had a good deal of satisfaction among 
Friends in this city, and I hope there is a growth in best things.""* 

Our next chapter will show this Quakerism of New 
York more from the inside, and we shall see what it 
was as its own records reveal its activities. The material 
for the present chapter has been drawn almost entirely 
from outside sources, especially from Public Records and 
the Journals of visiting ministers. 

We have seen these little societies of Friends spring 
up and grow in the towns of Long Island, in New York 

1 Journal of John Griffith (London, 1779), p. 393. 
8 Ibid. pp. 408-411. 


City, and northward along the chain of hills back of the 
Hudson. We have seen them confronted, first by the 
fierce hostility of an established religion ; next by the 
more subtle danger of Ranterism, which picked off the 
fringe of less stable members ; and, finally, we have seen 
these groups facing the subtlest of all enemies to religion, 
the tendency to cool off, stagnate, and become the 
crystallised reproduction of an ancestral faith. There was, 
however, from the beginning to the end of the period a 
real spring of vitality which will appear more clearly in 
the next chapter. Their own estimate of their condition, 
made in 1680, is on the whole sound and true : 

"Through patience and quietness," the New York Friends 
wrote to London Yearly Meeting, "we have overcome in and 
through the Lamb, and we have found of a truth that the Lord 
takes care of his people. Our testimonies go forth without any 
hindrance and return unto us not wholly empty, but have their 
fruitful workings both upon Dutch and English nations. In a 
sense of this our hearts rejoice in the Lord for that His holy light 
of life breaketh through the darkness as the dawning of the day." 

There is nothing better in this world of ours than a 
people living in and practising the faith that the holy 
light of life is breaking through the darkness as the dawn 
ing of the day ! 



THE external husk of any religious movement is obvious 
and describable, the inner core is indescribable, and is 
missed by all except those who are initiated. The garb 
and language, the external peculiarities, and the odd " testi 
monies " of the Colonial Quakers struck most observers. 
The novel experience, the fresh sense of God which had 
come to them, was what the casual onlooker failed to 
understand, and yet this was in reality the only thing 
that mattered it was the inner core. 

The meeting for worship which was held for the very 
purpose of cultivating this fresh sense of God was thus 
the heart of the whole Quaker system. All religions 
which move men profoundly and make them able to 
endure the world s crucifixions have some method of 
bringing God and man together in a face to face experi 
ence. The Quaker method was extremely simple, but, at 
its best, powerfully effective. It called for no material 
apparatus and it made use of no sacred symbols. It 
consisted alone of the hushing of the noise and din of the 
outer activities of life. Its supreme and central axiom 
was the faith that God is Spirit amd so as near the human 
spirit as air is to the breathing lungs or sunlight to the 
living plant. But as this spiritual relationship is a personal 
matter it calls for a peculiar attitude of will, or, in the 
language of an earlier time, a certain condition of heart. 
God, the Quaker assumed, did not need to be brought 
nearer ; man alone needed to be adjusted and made 



appreciative. He could no more find God when he was 
full of himself and of the world, than one can enjoy 
beautiful music with his mind crowded with the whirr 
of factory wheels. He must be hushed and attuned. 
Just this hushing and attuning was the service of the 
meeting for worship. Those who formed the nucleus of 
the Quaker group were thoroughly tired of theological 
arguments and of sermons which began and ended on the 
level of logic or " knowledge about." They wanted a 
new approach. They were eager for a direct " knowledge 
of acquaintance " an experience which made their hearts 
burn with a sense of the Divine Presence, and they found 
this in the meeting for worship. 

We know to-day much more than they did of the 
psychology of corporate silence, and there can be no 
doubt that there is a " borderland " state of consciousness 
produced by unbroken silence in which the deepest 
strata of the self come into function in ways not usual 
to the normal consciousness. If it is true, as I believe, 
that the Divine and the human are conjunct, then it is 
further true that the corporate silence is an admirable 
preparation for spiritual correspondence. But, in any 
case, it is beyond question that these meetings for 
worship made those who participated in them feel sure 
that they had been meeting and communing with God, 
and they were, therefore, very dynamic occasions, and the 
members believed that they had found, in the hard 
surroundings of pioneer life, a real " upper room " religion. 

In its earliest stage on Long Island, as everywhere 
else in the colonies, Quakerism was primarily a method of 
worship. Its organisation was very slight indeed. Those 
who found a new life in the meetings for worship risked 
reputation, goods, and life to go to them, and, in doing so, 
they were thereby Quakers. Certain marked habits, which 
had almost unconsciously formed in the Quaker groups, 
would naturally be quickly taken up, such as the use of 
"thou and thee" in speech, the refusal to conform to 
fashion in dress, the scruple about oaths, and the care to 
avoid everything that had to do with war. There formed, 


too, gradually of course, a certain disposition, or mental 
" atmosphere," which characterised a Quaker of the inner 
circle as much as his dress or speech did. Its leading 
feature was a bloom of joy which came into the life with 
assurance of salvation and confidence in the love of God. 
There were, no doubt, Quakers of hard faith and stern 
face, but the tone of character which goes with conscious 
ness of fellowship with God was the usual mark. 

Little by little, here as in the other colonies, the 
organisation took on shape and grew defined. The 
influence of George Fox upon the formation of the 
colonial meetings in the early period is everywhere clearly 
evident, and the earliest Records generally open with an 
epistle from him. The earliest minute in the New York 
Records runs : 

"At a men s Meet ye 23 day of 3d month 1671. It was 
agreed yt ye first dayes Meetings be on one day at Oyster bay 
and another day at Matinacock ; and ye weekly Meeting to begin 
about ye first houre in ye afternoon. It was allso agreed ther 
shall bee a Meeting keept at the wood edge [Westbury] the 25 
of the 4th month and soe every 5th first Day of the week." l 

This is the earliest extant minute of a Friends 
meeting in America and is probably the earliest one 
written on the continent. John Burnyeat who attended 
this meeting in 1671 brought with him a minute-book 
which George Fox had sent to Long Island Friends by 
his hand. The above minute is followed by a letter of 
advice from George Fox which begins with his usual 
salutation, " In the Truth of God which changes not 
in whom is my love." He then reminds his distant 
Friends that " there hath been [among them] a stoppage 
of ye truth and power of God," and that they need to 
be " searched to ye bottom " and so " come into ye 
sanctified life" and for this purpose he calls for a 
careful examination of the persons who claim to be 
Friends, and a winnowing of those who walk unworthily 

1 This Book of Minutes was discovered in a garret at Flushing in 1868 and is 
in the vault in the Meeting House at Rutherford Place, New York, John Cox, 
junior, custodian. 


and are in " the rotten principle of ye ranters." He 
urges further a careful collection of the list of sufferings 
endured in "the plantation." From this time on, the 
organisation, for purposes of order and for purposes of 
relief, gradually progressed. 1 

There is an interesting link of connection between the 
Long Island Friends and those in New England to be 
found in an epistle of Advice from the latter to the former 
in 1679 : 

" Dear friends, ye know that the Lord God of heaven hath 
appeared and manifested His mighty power which hath reached 
unto thousands and hath redeemed many out of nations, tongues, 
kindreds, and peoples to be a peculiar people, and hath taught us 
by His holy Spirit to denie ye customs, fashions and words of ye 
world. ... It lieth upon us, ye people of God assembled 
together at ye Men and Women s Meeting in Road Island, to 
stir up ye minds in one another that ye principles of ye blessed 
truth be allwaise stood in and continued for that God over all 
may be honoured and his people preserved in purity and good 
order in ye truth that changeth not, that soe they may be 
preachers of Righteousness unto ye world in their words and 

The " Advice " which follows this salutation is an 
interesting revelation of the things which seemed to the 
early Friend of greatest moment No Friend is to " walk 
disorderly in anything " ; nor to live in any way " not 
according to Truth " ; " nor to oppress or defraud any 
man in his dealings " ; no one is to " weare needless 
attire " and all Friends are to " indever to bring up 
their children to use plaine language and weare plaine 
and deasent cloathing and demeane them in all things 
according to ye truth which we make profession of." 2 

At this earliest stage the records do not sharply mark 
off one type of meeting from another " a men s meeting " 

1 John Bowne, John Tilton, Samuel Spicer, and Samuel Andrews, who were in 
the list of Friends addressed in the Epistle, were the leaders in the group of Long 
Island Quakers. John Feake, Hugh Cowperthwait and Anthonie Wright may 
also be mentioned among those of largest influence. 

2 "Given forth at a Generall Man and Women s Meeting at William 
Coddington s at Road Island ye I2th of ye 4lh mo. 1679." First Book of 
Records of Flushing Monthly Meeting. 


may be a " monthly meeting," or a " quarterly meeting," or 
a " half-years meeting." Little by little, however, two 
types did differentiate, and there were formed Flushing 
Monthly Meeting and Westbury Quarterly Meeting which 
in the spring and autumn sessions was frequently called, 
though not officially, " Oysterbay Half Years Meeting " 
all of which " belonged " to New England Yearly Meeting 
until 1696, when New York Yearly Meeting was estab 
lished as an independent body. 1 

The two Monthly Meetings composing Westbury 
Quarterly Meeting appear to have been established, and 
regularly held by the year 1682, as the following minutes 
of the Quarterly Meeting held in 6th month 1682 
indicate : 

" Ffriends of ye Monthly Meeting of New York and Gravesend 
[Flushing Monthly Meeting] doe agree yt ye Monthly Meeting is 
to be keept at Yorke two months following & ye jd at Gravesend, 
the first Meeting at Gravesend to be YE FIRST FOURTH day in 
the 6th mo. & soe sucksesifly." 

" Friends at this Meeting hath left unto ye consideration of 

1 It was set off from New England Yearly Meeting by the following minute : 

" At a Generall Yearly Meeting at ye house of Walter Newberry s in Road Island 
ye i4th daye of ye 4th mo. 1695. ... It is Agreed yt [that] ye Meeting at Long 
Island Shall Bee from this time a Yearly Meeting and yt John Bowne and John 
Rodman shall take care to Receive such papers as shall come to ye Yearly 
Meeting in Long Island and Corespond with Friends Appoynted in London. ..." 
The first session was on 3rd month [May] 29, 1696, and it has met every year 
since in the latter part of the same month. 

"At the Yearly Meeting at our Meeting house in flushing ye 3oth ye 3d mo. 
1696 Henry Willis and Hen Coperthwaite are by this Meeting desired to get a 
release for ye title of our Meeting house and Land belonging and bring it to our 
next Meeting." 

This was the first session of what is now called New York Yearly Meeting. 
It was then generally called the Yearly Meeting held at Flushing. 

By the following minutes of the Yearly Meeting it appears that Westbury 
Quarterly Meeting was held three times in the year and that the Yearly Meeting 
took its place in the fourth quarter. 

Whereas this Meeting is now Concluded to be a Yearly Meeting and not a 
Quarterly one it is Thought Proper that the order of the state of Meetings or 
anything else from the Monthly Meetings of Flushing and Westbury be first 
carryed into the Quarterly Meeting at Westbury in the Twelfth Month and from 
thence Recommended unto this Meeting until Friends see cause to order it 
otherways. " 

Westbury Quarterly Meeting was composed of two Monthly Meetings : 
Flushing Monthly Meeting (later called New York), and Westbury Monthly 
Meeting, established in 1682 and held at Oyster Bay, Matinecock, Hempstead, and 


Friends at ye Monthly Meeting at Oyster bay ye sattling of ye 
Meeting of Friends at ye farms & at woodedg whether it be 
conventient or not for them to be in two settled Meetings or not." 

The " farms " was the early name of Jericho and 
" Wood edge " was Westbury. 

The following Minute settles still more definitely the 
jurisdiction of Flushing Monthly Meeting : 

"The 2oth day of ye 3d mo. 1684 : Then agreed by Friends 
at this Meeting yt ffriends at Yorke, Gravesend, and Flushing 
and Westchester, ye Kills, and Newton doe all belong unto one 
Monthly Meeting to remain at Gravesend at ye 4th mo. 
Quarterly Meeting and soe to continue by their own appointing 
wt place they see convenient after." 

It was always held at Flushing from 1695 till 8 mo. 
6, 1742 then Flushing and Newtown until 6 mo. 1st, 
1768 then Flushing, Newtown, and New York until 
II mo. i, 1780, after which it was not held at Newtown. 
The name was changed to the Monthly Meeting of Friends 
of New York 7 mo. I, 1795. 

The plan for the holding of the Quarterly Meeting was 
marked out as follows in 1686 : 

" At our Quarterly Meeting at Jericho on Long Island this 
27th day of ye 12 mo. 1685-6 : By Joynt Consent of said men 
and women s Meeting for regulating our Quarterly Meeting for 
most Conveniency it is thought fitt and Vnanimously Agreed for 
the futur ye said Meetings shall be at such times and places as 
here Vnder Nominated. 

" Vizt : Att Flushing a Quarterly Meeeting the last first day 
of the third month. Att Oyster Bay the last 7th and ist day of 
the Sixth month. Att Flushing the last 7th and ist day of the 
ninth month. Att Jericho the last 7th and ist day of ye 12 
mo. Att Westchester a Yearly Meeting for worship the last first 
day in ye 4 mo. Att ye Kills the last first day of the 5 mo. 
Att Jameca ye last first day of ye 7 mo." l 

The important " business " of all these meetings in 
their primitive period was (i) dealing with persons who 
got entangled in " the ranting spirit " which swept Long 
Island in the seventies and to the end of the century ; 

1 Quarterly Meeting Records. 


(2) guarding the high moral standard which the Friends 
had set themselves to maintain, and (3) preserving the 
peculiar Quaker " testimonies." 

A specimen minute under each of these heads will 
indicate how these internal problems were met. The first 
is a minute concerning a certain Thomas Phillips who 
had developed " a ranting spirit " : 

"And now, dear friends, this may let you understand yt a 
few months since there arrived at this island one Thomas 
Phillips who as he sd was formerly a liver at Oyster Bay, he 
being a hatter by trade, who when he was here in sum small 
time sought to thrust himself amongst Friends, he being as we 
afterwards perceived in need of money. But some of ye Friends 
w th whome he first came acquainted not liking his discourse, he 
setting up ye Ranting Spirit and its followers who goe vnder ye 
name of new friends, a Friend now living in this Island (by name 
John Brown who formerly was banished to some of those parts 
and had some knowledge of those people) did desire to speak 
with him believing that he was one of them in their spirit wch. 
he in five words persaued soe, and warned him to come out of 
it. But he still frequented our Meetings and growing more 
subtil and crafty, did frequently in company of some weak 
Friends, as their manner is, beguile them." 

He was finally induced to " give forth a paper," con 
demning his errors, " but it was much too short in several 
respects," and so did not satisfy the Monthly Meeting, 
which proceeded to give its testimony against all " dis 
orderly ways " of life, and a call to its members to " walk 
in the everlasting way of holiness the King s highway 
and to be kept by the Lord alwaise of sound judgment 
and right understanding in things that are of greatest 
weight and concernment." * 

The way Friends followed up the doings of their 
members and scrutinised their reputations is well illustrated 
by this Minute sent from Westbury Quarterly Meeting to 
Friends in the Island of Jamaica : 

" ffrom our Quarterly Meeting at Flushing ye 3oth day of ye 
6th mo. 1678: We having been informed at this Meeting by 

1 First Book of Records under date 5th mo. 29, 1680. 


our friend Rob. Story yt one John Inyon, a marchant in New 
York, exclaimed against Friends after this manner : saying the 
greatest cheats in the world goe under the name of Quakers. 
His reason being demanded he said he consigned a vessell to 
one William Shattlewood and to another man in Jemica which 
he called Quakers, and he saith they will give him no account 
of his concerns [consignments]. These are to desire Friends to 
examine ye matter and write to us, if any Friends have received 
anythings we would have them give an account how disposed of, 
that we may have something to answer him. These with our 
deare love." l 

Dorothy Farrington s " case " is an illustration of the 
third type of " business " : 

"The 8th of ye loth mo. 1676: At a men and women 
Meeting in ye house of Matthew Prior at Killingworth [later 
called Matinecock] it was agreed on in ye Meeting that such 
as could find anything upon them shall go vnto Dorety 
ffarington of flushing and speake unto her in love and in ye 
meekness to know whether she will owne judgment for her 
walking and acting contrary unto ye truth in taking a husband 
of ye world and not in unity of Friends." 2 

There is a very fine early minute explaining to the 
Governor of the Colony why Friends cannot help build 
the fort in New York harbour, and this minute well 
presents the way in which the Friends put their testi 
monies before those in authority : 

"To ye Gouernor of New Yorke. 

" Whereas it was desired of ye country that all who would 
willingly contribute towards repairing ye fort of New Yorke 

1 First Book of Records under date 6th mo. 30, 1678. 

2 First Book of Records. A bill concerning marriages was passed by the 
Legislature in 1684 which provided that "nothing in this Act Shall be Con 
strued or intended to prejudice the Custome and manner of marriages amongst 
the Quakers, but their manner and forme of marriages shall be judged Lawful ; pro 
vided they Admitt of none to marry that are restrained by the law of God contained 
in the five books of Moses." 

Here is a humble apology from Daniel Lawrence which is quite of the 
common type: " To the Monthly Meeting at Flushing ye 3rd 5th mo. 1716. 
Friends in as much as I have made profession of ye Blessed truth with you which 
would preserued and kept me out of the many Euils that are in the world but I 
must say that with sorrow of hart I haue giuen way to An ary Spirit and too much 
joyning myself in fellowship with men of libertine spirits and alsoe in that insuit- 
able frame of minde made sute upon account of marriage with one that was not 
a Friend or Friend s child the which actions I doe with censerity condemn and 
hoop for time to come to be more carefull and sircumspect so 1 shall subscribe 
myself your friend who desires to doe well and hue in vnity with friends for time 


would give in their names and summes ; and we whose names 
are under written not being found on the list. It was since 
desired by ye High Sheriff yt we would giue our reasons unto 
ye Gouernor how willing and ready we have been to pay our 
customs as County raytes and needful towne charges and how 
we haue behaued our Selues Peaceibly and quietly Amongst our 
Neighbours ; and are ready to be seruisable in anything which 
doth not Infringe upon our tender consciences but being in 
measure Redeemed of warres and stripes we cannot for conscience 
sake be concerned in vpholding things of yt nature as you your 
selves well know. It hath not not been our practice in Old 
England since we were a people ; and this in meekness we 
declare. In behalfe of ourselves and our ffriends, loue and good 
will vnto thee and all men. 




"Slushing ye 3oth of ye loth month 1672." 

Westbury Quarterly Meeting was the only quarterly 
meeting in the colony until the year 1745, when Purchase 
Quarterly Meeting (often called " Oblong Quarterly 
Meeting " and sometimes " the Quarterly Meeting on the 
Main ") was established. It was the only quarterly 
meeting " on the main " within the period of this 
history. 1 It was composed of Purchase Monthly 
Meeting and Oblong Monthly Meeting. Purchase 
Monthly Meeting was established June 9, 1725, and 
was the first monthly meeting " on the main " the third 
in the Province and was in its early period generally 
called the " Monthly Meeting for Westchester." 2 Oblong 

1 Nine Partners Quarterly Meeting was established nth month, i3th, 1783. 

2 The opening Minute reads as follows : 

"Whereas our last Yearly Meeting at Flushing did consent and appoint a 
Mounthly Meeting to be held at Westchester for this county of Westchester, 
accordingly we are met to hold our Mounthly Meeting this gth day, 4th month, 
1725. Being present the most part of Friends of Westchester, of Mamreneck 
and Rye. " 

It would seem to have been generally held at the Meeting-house at Westchester 
till 7th month 12, 1728, then "at the house of Josiah Quinby" at Mamaroneck 
till roth month n, 1739, when the meeting-house was built in Mamaroneck. 
It was held for the first time at Purchase in 3rd month 1742, and thereafter 
for some years twice at Mamaroneck and once at Purchase, preceding each 
Quarterly Meeting, and later was held every other time at Chappaqua till that 
was set off as a separate Monthly Meeting in 1785. 


Monthly Meeting was set off from Purchase Monthly 
Meeting, and was established in 1744. In 1769 a 
monthly meeting was set off from Oblong and established 
as "Nine Partners Monthly Meeting," and in 1778 
Saratoga Monthly Meeting (later called Easton) was 
established, which brings us to the end of the period 
covered in this volume." l 

1 For exhibiting to the reader the localities in which Quakerism took root I add 
a list of the local, or " Preparative," meetings established up to the year 1780 : 

FLUSHING MEETING dates from 1657, though it was perhaps not a regular 
congregational meeting until 1662. 

WESTBURY MEETING (first called the Meeting at Woodedge) goes back into 
the sixties though the first official mention is 4th month 25, 1671. 

MATINECOCK MEETING was probably a regular congregational meeting in 
the sixties, though the first mention on the Records is 1671. 

JERICHO MEETING (in the earliest accounts called the "Farms Meeting") 
dates also from the sixties. 

Cow NECK MEETING also has a long period without official Records, but is 
first officially named in 1702. 

NEW YORK CITY MEETING cannot be definitely dated, but is first officially 
settled in 1681. 

NEWTOWN MEETING (sometimes called " the Kills," and sometimes Maspeth) 
has a long unrecorded period, but is first officially named in 1682. 

WESTCHESTER MEETING goes back to 1684, but was officially established 
as a Preparative Meeting in 1716. 

MAMARONECK MEETING established as a meeting for worship 1711, as a 
Preparative Meeting in 1728. 

PURCHASE MEETING, originally part of Westchester Meeting, but made an 
independent Preparative Meeting in 1742. 


CHAPPAQUA MEETING was allowed in 1745, and a few years later was made 
a Preparative Meeting. 

NINE PARTNERS MEETING (Meeting for worship first called "Crumelbow" 
in 1742) established a Preparative Meeting in 1744. 

NEW MILFORD MEETING (a meeting for worship probably as early as 1733) 
established as Preparative Meeting in 1777. 


PEACH POND MEETING (a meeting for worship as early as 1760) established 
a Preparative Meeting in 1779. 

POUGHQUAIG (sometimes spelled " Appoughquage " and sometimes " Poquage" 
was a meeting for worship in 1771) established a Preparative Meeting 1773. 

EAST HOOSAC MEETING (in Western Massachusetts) was begun as a meeting 
for worship in 1774. and became a part of Saratoga Monthly Meeting about 
1775. It was established a Monthly Meeting in 1778. 

AMAWALK MEETING established a Preparative Meeting to be held once a 
quarter in 1774 a meeting for worship some years earlier, probably in 1766. 

CREEK MEETING established as a Preparative Meeting of NINE PARTNERS 
Monthly Meeting in 1776 a meeting for worship in the house of Jonathan Hoag 
in 1771. 

SARATOGA MEETING, a meeting for worship in 1774, a Preparative Meeting 
in 1776. 

CORNWALL MEETING, a meeting for worship in 1773 a Preparative Meeting 
in 1777. 

MARLBOROUGH MEETING, a meeting for worship in 1776, a Preparative 
Meeting in 1783. 


The most illuminating glimpse we get into the actual 
life of Quakerism in this Colony in its early period is 
offered us in an Epistle which these Friends sent to 
London Yearly Meeting in 1701. There is no " doctrine " 
in it, and no attempt is made to analyze the religious 
condition of the Colony but a brief extract will show that 
there did prevail at this date a fairly live type of 
Christianity in the Quaker group. It reads : 

"Dear Friends in our Lord Jesus Christ: In that Love 
which comes from God and in which we are united, we dearly 
salute you in true brotherly kindness. We signify unto you the 
prosperity of Truth amongst us to the Joy of our Souls. The 
Lord is giving an increase daily to Friends and many are added 
to the number of the Lord s people, and the people round about 
where Friends dwell increase in love to Friends and frequently 
come to Friends meetings especially when the Lord sends His 
servants [in the ministry] to visit us. We pray our gracious and 
merciful God that we may walk worthy of his Love and that the 
Lord may continue his tender regard to us in sending His 
servants filled with His power and wisdom. The government is 
kind to Friends and we enjoy our liberty." 1 

These " servants of God filled with power and wisdom " 
did continue to come, as the writers of this Epistle prayed, 
and there is an amazing list of such itinerant ministers on 
the records of the various meetings. In fact the one 
weakness which comes out clearly in this Epistle is the 
indication of the poverty of the native ministry and the 
dependence for ministry on visitors from abroad. There 
was no effort whatever made to develop ministry within 

" for Friends who live remote from Amawalk. " 

There were also "house" meetings "allowed" at the following places: An 
"allowed meeting" at Hempstead every five weeks beginning in 1765; at 
Huntington, allowed by WESTBURY MONTHLY MEETING in 1732 ; at Rockaway 
allowed by WESTBURY MONTHLY MEETING in 1739 ; at Setauket allowed by 

3/3/1744. "The Monthly Meeting of the Oblong desired the approba 
tion of this Meeting in settling a Visitation. Meeting at Salisbury to be kept at 
Joshua White s twice in a year, one on the 3d day of the week before ye 
Monthly Meeting at ye Nine Partners in the 3d month, and the other on the 
3d day of the week before said Monthly Meeting in the 7th month, which this 
Meeting having had under consideration doth approve of." (Minutes of 
Purchase Quarterly Meeting. ) 

1 Yearly Meeting Records for 1701. 


the body. It was looked upon as something wholly in 
the inscrutable will of God, who conferred or withheld 
His gifts as He would. This ignoring of the human 
element was one of the most costly blunders which 
Friends made, not only in New York but everywhere else, 
and there is no question that the sporadic character of the 
ministry was a forbidding aspect to most persons outside 
the membership. An attempt was made in a feeble way 
in 1 704 to meet this condition of weakness. 

It was decided by action of the Westbury Quarterly 
Meeting, November 25, 1704, that a meeting should be 
held every three months for " all who minister in public 
speaking in meetings for worship " and that " faithful 
Friends out of each meeting be joined with them." This 
came to be called " the meeting for ministering Friends," 
and was primarily designed for the " encouragement " of 
the development of gifts. If some plan had here been 
matured for the cultivation and development of " spiritual 
gifts" the story of Quakerism would have been very 
different. But the policy of timidity prevailed, and the 
meeting of ministers gradually and somewhat uncon 
sciously became the guardian of " soundness " and the 
defender of ancient standards, rather than the nursery of 
vital ministry. It was composed naturally of those who 
were far past middle life, who had travelled away from 
the enthusiasm and creative power of youth, and who 
could not think or act in fresh and constructive ways. 
The result was that " the meeting of ministering Friends " 
became a solid force for the status quo, and did little or 
nothing for a genuine development of fresh and vital 
ministry. Such ministry did arise occasionally out of the 
meetings themselves, as we shall see, and sometimes a 
powerful voice appeared, but the development of a " gift " 
was not because of the preparation made for its develop 
ment, but rather notwithstanding the obstacles which 
existed. 1 There were, it is true, special meetings held for 

1 I find considerable evidence that " the meeting of ministering Friends " was 
occupied largely with checking rather than encouraging. There are many 
minutes like the following : 

" At a Meeting of Ministering ffriends at ye house of Samuel Bowne in 


" youth," but they were " youth s meetings " only in name, 
for all the members attended them, and the point of 
difference between them and ordinary meetings seems 
to have been that the youth were urged to " be faithful." 

Gifts did, however, appear and develop in spite of the 
neglect of methods to cultivate them. In 1745 a boy 
was born at Cow Neck on Long Island and named David 
Sands. He educated himself, studying often by firelight, 
and grew up a diligent, eager-minded, spiritually-inclined 
youth. As he was entering early manhood he attended 
a Friends Meeting at which Samuel Nottingham, an 
English minister, spoke, and the message reached his 
spirit and powerfully impressed him. He became an 
attender of the Quaker Meetings on the Island and later 
in New York City, and found in them what his spirit 
was seriously seeking a religion which seemed to him 
real. He soon moved to the country and joined in 
membership in the meeting at Nine Partners, where he 
often broke the silence with simple messages. His words 
were felt by the little group of Friends with whom he 
belonged to be full of life, and little by little, as he obeyed 
his Light, his power to interpret the spiritual meaning of 
life enlarged. By the time he had reached his thirtieth 
year he was recorded a minister, and almost immediately 
began his remarkable travels through New England, 
expanding the sphere of Quakerism wherever he went. 
Later he travelled extensively in Great Britain and on the 

(flushing z8th 9 mo. 1712, ffriends at this meeting, having wayed ye inconvenience 
of some coming amonge us from other parts without certificates and appearing in 
publick to preach, hath appointed John Rider and Robert Heald out of (flushing 
Meeting, and William Willis and Henry Cock out of Westbury Monthly Meeting, 
to inquire of all such for a certificate as they shall think need may Require." 

" At a meeting of Ministering ffriends held at ye house of ye Widdow Willis es 
at Jereco, Robert Heald Declared at this meeting that he was sorry and Troubled 
for his accompanying his sister Charety Willet in going home with her to her 
new Dwelling She being married the day before out of ye unity of ffriends ; ye 
said Robert declaring his sense of it was not well, with wch ye Meeting was 

firom our Meeting of Ministering ffriends and Elders ye 2510 of ye 3 mo. 
1728 at the Meeting house in fflushing, this Meeting having considered this 
complaint that hath been made from Westchester County of Richard Rogers 
appearing in publick preaching in their said Publick Meetings to their Grief. 
This Meeting hath advised him by this present Instrument to forbear for the time 
to com so to appeare in Publick until ffriends have unity." 


Continent of Europe, speaking under diverse and often 
difficult circumstances with much penetration and insight, 
and exhibiting a very simple and genuine life of real 
religious experience. The few glimpses that are given in 
his Memoirs of his interpretation of inward religion show 
that he had a sure grasp of the seed-principle of the 
founders of Quakerism. He says that though we live 
far separated in time from the miracles of the apostolic 
period, we lack in no sense a convincing evidence of the 
divine character of Christianity, since there is an internal 
testimony to the Gospel of Christ in the heart of every one 
that receives it the Spirit of God witnesseth with our 
Spirits, the changed heart becomes the house of God, 
revelation proves to be a present and continuous fact, and 
the soul has its own altar within. 1 

This case of the normal and effective spiritual develop 
ment of David Sands is by no means an isolated case ; 
such instances of the blowing of the Spirit as it listed are 
fairly frequent, but the fact remains that David Sands 
himself was, throughout his life, hampered by the way in 
which his human development was neglected, and by the 
lack of adequate method ior the cultivation of what in his 
case was a very remarkable gift. 

If the Friends did not always handle their internal 
affairs with what seems to us at this far date to have 
been "wisdom," they had, at any rate, a sure insight 
when they attacked moral issues. The most massive 
moral problem, here, as in the other colonies, was slavery, 
and as soon as the evils of the system impressed the 
consciousness of Friends they grappled manfully with the 
issue first clearing their own skirts and then endeavour 
ing to cleanse the country itself. The awakening to a 
consciousness of the evil did not come until after the 
middle of the eighteenth century. 2 The " awakening " 
was almost certainly due to the visit of John Woolman 
a " beloved disciple " of liberty whose conscience was as 

1 Memoirs of David Sands (1745-1818), London, 1848. 

2 The Half Year s Meeting on Long Island, I4th October 1684, appointed 
John Bowne and Wm. Richardf/on to raise money "on cheap terms" to supply 
to John Adams part payment for a Negro man that he hath lately bought. " 


sensitive to social evils as mercury is to temperature. 
He travelled among the Friends of New York Colony in 
1 760, and there came a powerful moral uprising against 
the evil of slave-holding almost directly after that date. 
The sentiment was at least well developed by the middle 
of that decade. Flushing Monthly Meeting dealt in 
1765 with Samuel Underbill for the "misconduct of 
being concerned in importing negroes." He made the 
following apology which was accepted : 

"Whereas I have sometime past contrary to Friends Principles 
been concerned in the importation of Negroes from Africa, 
which has caused some uneasiness in my mind, I think I can 
now say I am sorry I ever had any concern in that Trade, and 
hope for the future I shall conduct myself more agreeable to 
Friends principles in any such matters ; I am your friend, etc. 

A similar apology came from a Friend in New York 
City two years later, the record of which is as follows : 

"At a Monthly Meeting held at Flushing the yth of ye 5th 
mo. 1767. A few lines was read in this Meeting from Thomas 
Burling, son of James Burling deceased, acknowledging he had 
taken a Negro boy in the West Indies for a bad debt and therein 
did condemn the practice of trading in negroes and was sorry 
for the breach of unity made thereby which this Meeting 
accepts." J 

The country Friends were travelling rather faster than 
the Friends who were living in the environment of the 
city, and the next step in advance was taken by the 
meetings in Dutchess county. Friends were, by this 
time, pretty generally agreed that it was wrong to buy or 
import slaves, but in 1767 Oblong Monthly Meeting 
raised the question whether it was "consistent with a 
Christian spirit" to hold a person in slavery at all. This 
question impressed the members as being in the life, and 
it was carried up to the Quarterly Meeting for maturer 
judgment. It was thoroughly, or, as Friends say, 
"weightily" considered at Purchase Quarterly Meeting, 

1 Both these incidents are taken from the Records of Flushing Monthly 


held in the Oblong, May 2, 1767, and this Minute was 
adopted : 

" In this meeting the practice of trading in Negroes, or other 
slaves, and its inconsistancy with our religious principles was 
revived, and the inconsiderable difference between buying slaves 
or keeping them in slavery we are already possessed of, was 
briefly hinted at in a short Query from one of our Monthly 
Meetings, which is recommended to the consideration of 
Quarterly Meeting, viz. If it is not consistant with Christianity to 
buy and sell our fellow-men for Slaves during their lives, and their 
posterity after them, whether it is consistant with a Christian Spirit 
to keep these in Slavery that we have already in possession, by 
purchase, gift, or other ways" 

This " Query " from the Quarterly Meeting came up 
for consideration in the Yearly Meeting, May 3Oth of the 
same year, and was " left for consideration on the minds 
of Friends until next Yearly Meeting." At the next 
Yearly Meeting (May 28, 1768) a committee, consisting 
of John Burling, Thomas Seaman, John Cock, Isaac Doty, 
Matthew Franklin, Thomas Franklin, Samuel Bowne, Jr., 
Thomas Dobson, and Daniel Bowne, was appointed to 
formulate an answer. These men were not yet quite 
ready for the speed at which the country Friends were 
travelling, and they produced a conservative, but at the 
same time a very clear-sighted, report, which was adopted. 
It was as follows : 

"We are of the mind that it is not convenient (considering 
the circumstances amongst us) to give an answer to this Querie, 
at least at this time, as the answering of it in direct terms 
manifestly tends to cause divisions, and may introduce heart 
burnings and strife amongst us which ought to be avoided, and 
charity exercised, and persuasive methods persued, and that 
which makes for peace. We are, however, fully of the mind 
that Negroes as rational creatures are by Nature born free ; and 
when the way opens liberty ought to be extended to them ; and 
they not held in bondage for self ends. But to turn them out 
at large indiscriminately (which seems to be the tendency of the 
Querie) will, we apprehend, be attended with great inconveniency 
as some are too young and some too old to procure a liveli 
hood." * 

1 Minutes of New York Yearly Meeting for 1768. 


It was the unvarying custom of Friends in the 
colonial days not to take any new step which could not be 
taken in unity. That involved fairly slow progress, but 
it also meant that the corporate body was behind a 
movement when it was positively launched. In 1771 
the Yearly Meeting decided that Friends who owned 
slaves should not sell them as property, except with the 
consent of their Monthly Meetings, and a solid committee 
was appointed to visit all persons in the Society who held 
slaves, to see if the freedom of these slaves could be 
secured. This method of investigation was speedily 
adopted by the subordinate meetings as well, so that by 
1776 all the monthly meetings in the colony were 
investigating the individual cases of slave-holding, and 
were labouring to eliminate it absolutely. It was decided 
further at the Yearly Meeting that year (1776) that 
meetings should not receive services nor accept 
financial contributions from any Friends holding slaves, 
and from that time on the Monthly Meetings adopted 
the practice of disowning from membership those belated 
Friends who had not yet got their consciences awake to 
the evil of owning persons. 

From the outbreak of the Revolution Friends began 
to concentrate their efforts to secure better conditions for 
those who had been slaves, and to work first for the 
limitation and then for the abolition of the slave trade in 
the country at large. The part which Friends took in 
the great struggle for emancipation does not concern us 
here, but it is a fact of historical importance that when the 
separation of the colonies from the mother country was 
finally accomplished, Friends themselves were free and 
clear of slave-holding. 1 

1 The Meeting for Sufferings of New York sent this following Petition to the 
Governor, Senate, and Assembly of the State in 1784 : 

The Petition of the Meeting for Sufferings representing the People called 
Quakers of the same State : 

" Respectfully sheweth 

That our minds being impressed with an ardent concern for the general good 
of our fellow-creatures, and that all may enjoy their natural and unalienable rights 
without distinction, we believe it to be our duty to address you on behalf of the 
poor Negroes, who have long been a people under great oppression, many of 
them originally torn from the land of their nativity ; and brought into this and 


Here as everywhere else in the American colonies the 
Revolutionary War brought Friends face to face with 
issues which profoundly tested their principles of peace 
and which necessarily somewhat sifted the Society. 
The Meeting for Sufferings in this Province was established 
in 1758 and this Meeting dealt with many difficult 
questions, rising out of the war. The tendency of the 
Society in New York seems to have been one of sympathy 
with the old order of things, though every possible effort 
was made to keep the meetings from being implicated on 
either side. In 1775 the Committee of Safety for the 
Colony of New York requested a complete list of male 
Quakers between sixteen and sixty. Friends " felt 
uneasy " to make the list, and the Meeting for Sufferings 
refused the request. The Minute reads : 

"We are of the mind that we cannot comply, consistent with 
our religious principles. We hope you will not consider such 
refusal as the effect of an obstinate disposition, but as it really 
is a truly conscientious scruple." 

"In the trying situation of outward affairs," when all 
occupations were interrupted, the Meeting for Sufferings 
recommended that a "stock for relief" be raised and set 
apart for helping Friends who were in distress and straits. 
In 76 a requisition was made by the military officers of 
the colonial forces that Friends should give a bond of 
security to endeavour to keep their cattle from falling into 

other parts of America, and sold into slavery. Numbers of whom, with many of 
their offspring, are yet continued in a state of bondage. And as there is a Law 
subsisting which operates to the discouragement of many of the conscientious 
and well-disposed inhabitants of this state, against liberating their slaves, and no 
Legislative provision yet made for those who have been set at liberty from 
Religious motives. We therefore with submission intreat that ye may afford 
them such relief as you in wisdom may see meet, believing the entire abolition 
of Slavery a matter worthy of the most serious attention of the Legislative Body. 
And tho we think it needless to use arguments to gain the assents of your minds 
to this great truth that all mankind without distinction have equally a natural 
right to freedom, yet we would take the liberty in this case to call your attention 
as fellow believers in Christ, to that excellent rule laid down by him, that what 
soever ye would that men should do unto you do ye even so unto them. 

"With due respect we subscribe ourselves 

"Your real friends 

" Signed by order, and on behalf of said Meeting held in New York i4th i2th 
mo. 1784, 

"EDMD. PRIOR, clerk." 


the hands of the English troops. The advice of the 
Meeting for Sufferings was " that Friends do not comply 
with this requisition." 

In 1777 Governor Tryon informed the Meeting for 
Sufferings that some Quakers had incurred the displeasure 
of the authorities by being " too busy and active in the 
present commotions," and to offset this activity he proposed 
that the Society of Friends should raise a sum of money 
to provide the troops with stockings and other necessities. 
The answer of the Meeting is calm and dignified but 
very positive. It is as follows : 

" We may inform the Governor that it is with sorrow we may 
acknowledge the deviation that hath appeared in some under 
our name, notwithstanding a care which hath been extended in 
our collective capacity to caution and advise our Members in 
these respects. But apprehending that the proposed contribution 
is manifestly contrary to our religious Testimony against war & 
fightings which as a Religious body we have uniformly maintained 
ever since we were first distinguished as such. We are therefore 
under a necessity of declining a compliance therewith, Very 
sincerely acknowledging our obligation to the Governor for his 
friendly disposition heretofore manifested toward us we can at 
the same time assure him that our motives in thus declining his 
proposal are purely conscientious." 

In 1781 certain Friends were appointed by the 
Yearly Meeting to visit the meetings on Long Island, and 
were " stopped by military men," at the order of General 
Washington. A committee was appointed thereupon to 
visit General Washington in person and explain to him 
the peaceful nature of the " concern," but he still refused 
to let them pass. During the hard closing months of 
the New York campaign, Friends once more issued a 
document to the membership, " affectionately recom 
mending the members of the Society that they be careful 
to cherish in themselves and in one another their tender 
scruples against contributing to or in any wise giving 
countenance to the spirit of war, and that they preserve a 
conduct uniformly consistent with our peaceable principles 
and profession." 


When the war was over and the new order established, 
Friends loyally accepted it, but they were themselves 
deeply affected by the fires through which they had 
passed. Those who had believed that it was right to 
fight in a great emergency had been sifted out of the 
Society, and those who were left were furnace-tested 
peace men and pledged henceforth to maintain "con 
sistency to the profession." The Revolution was an 
epoch period for the Society not only in issues of peace 
and war, but for the reformation of ideas in all matters of 
vital policy. The purging of slavery was, no doubt, the 
beginning of the new moral awakening among Friends. 
The hard crisis and the stern siftings of the Revolution 
further touched the moral quick, and from this epoch the 
leaders of the Society were consecrated with a new zeal to 
the business of preparing a people of the Lord. The 
Revolution was followed by a decided expansion of the 
territory of Quakerism in the state of New York, and by 
a revival of education within the Society. During the 
eighties there arose a demand for schools from every 
section, and from this time dates the birth of the Quaker 
ideal for a carefully educated membership. All local 
meetings were recommended "to use their exertions in 
endeavouring to promote schools for the education of the 
rising generation." The definite plan for a school in 
New York City was formulated in 1781, and was sent to 
London in the hope of securing from England a Friend 
competent to teach the proposed school. The plan is an 
interesting revelation of educational conditions at that 
time. It is as follows : 

" Our Yearly Meeting for this Province held at Westbury on 
Long Island taking into consideration the expediency of our 
Youth being properly instructed in the use of learning under the 
tuition of a sober discreet Friend recommended the same 
through the Quarter to the Monthly Meeting. And we being 
impressed with a like concern, well knowing the importance of a 
suitable Education to Society as well as to individuals, take the 
liberty to request the aid & assistance of your Meeting to furnish 
us as soon as may be convenient with a young man, unmarried, 
a member of our Society, of exemplary life and conversation, a 


very good writer, well versed in Arithmetic, and a competent 
Knowledge of English Grammar. To such a one this Meeting 
will engage to give annually the sum of 200 currency or 
;i 1 2, i os. od. sterling, and we will allow him ^42 sterling for his 
passage to this city where he will reside. A school house will 
be found him at our expense, but his board and all other 
expenses he must meet himself. We apprehend the board may 
at present cost him about ^100 currency or ^58, 55. od. sterling 
not more. The number of scholars probably about forty. We 
would not wish to debar him from keeping an evening school 
which if he inclines to, the money from thence arising will be a 
perquesite to himself. But the money arising from the scholars 
taught in the day time will go toward defraying the above 
expenses." l 

Great things not only for Friends but for the education 
of New York City sprang from these feeble beginnings, 
for the school thus organised became in time the first 
public school in New York City, and is now the Friends 
Seminary in that City. The period just beyond the 
Revolution was one of worldly prosperity for Friends, 
and they were to the front in commercial undertakings 
in the growing metropolis, but they did not win their 
success by compromise. At the close of our period 
there were probably about a thousand Friends in the 
City, 2 and they were an eminently respectable group of 
people, with strict requirements of moral behaviour and 
with lofty ideals of spiritual religion. 

1 From the Minutes of New York Monthly Meeting 7/11/1781. In 1787, the 
teacher had every alternate seventh day off, but had to furnish the ink and 
firewood 1 

2 There were by actual count 1826 Friends in New York City in 1830. 





IN New England the Quaker societies were formed 
mainly out of persons who were already profoundly 
religious, but dissatisfied with the rigid theology which 
prevailed about them ; and the persecution which rained 
like fire on the apostles and adherents of the inward light 
came from the men who were consecrated to the task of 
building in the New World a Puritan City of God, with 
the Bible for its Magna Charta. In New York the 
nucleus of each Quaker group was, as it had been in New 
England, a company of persons already in revolt from 
the religious system about them, but earnestly seeking 
real Bread for their souls. The persecution, here, too, 
fierce indeed, but not motived to the same extent as in 
Massachusetts by the conviction that utter extirpation of 
the heresy was the only hope for the colony, came from 
the Dutch magistrates and was administered in the 
interests of civil order rather than for the protection of an 
established church. In the southern colonies, to a very 
much greater extent than in the North, Quakerism, 
especially in the Carolinas, drew its material from the 
unchurched classes and gathered in persons of no definite 
religious affiliation. The persecution which was meted 
out in these colonies was, with a few exceptions in 
Virginia, comparatively mild and was inflicted in the 
interests of the established [English] Church. 

The first attempt to propagate the Quaker message in 
the southern colonies, so far as our records and Journals 



furnish information, was made by Elizabeth Harris of 
London, who came out on this hazardous mission in 1656, 
about simultaneously with the arrival of Mary Fisher and 
Ann Austin in Boston. 1 It has generally been supposed 
that her religious labours were in Virginia, and that the 
first persons won to Quakerism in the South were residents 
of this colony, but it seems practically certain, from the 
evidence at hand, that Elizabeth Harris " convincements," 
at least those of which we have definite information, were 
made in the colony of Maryland, though she may have 
performed some labour of which we have no accounts in 
Virginia as well. 

Gerard Roberts, writing to George Fox in July 1657, 
says : 

"The Friend who went to Virginia [evidently Elizabeth 
Harris] is returned in a pretty condition. There she was gladly 
received by many who met together, and the Governor is 
convinced." 2 

The person here called "the Governor who is con 
vinced " is perhaps Robert Clarkson. Thomas Hart of 
London, referring to Robert Clarkson in a letter to 
Thomas Willan and George Taylor in 1658, says, "I 
suppose this man is the governor of that place," i.e. the 
place visited by E. Harris. 8 Now Robert Clarkson was 
beyond any question a citizen of Maryland. He was 
never " governor " of the colony, but he was a member of 
the General Assembly, or House of Burgesses, from Ann 
Arundel County, 4 and the correspondents have probably 
used the word " governor " in a loose and untechnical 

1 There occurs an interesting reference to Elizabeth Harris in John Stubbs 
letter to George Fox in connection with the Battledore : Here is [in London] 
Elizabeth Harris who sometimes goes forth to steeple-houses in sackcloth and she 
hath much peace in this service ; there was some seemed rather to be against it, 
which troubled her a little. She spoke to me with many tears about it several 
weeks ago, and I said I thought I might write to thee about it, and she desired I 
might. After she had been at Cambridge, it came to her she must go to 
Manchester the sixth month. And so she would be glad to have a line or two 
from thee about it before she go, as soon as can be, the time draws near of her 
passing." Crosfield MSS. (1660) Devonshire House. 

8 Swarthmore Collection, iii. 127. 

8 Swarthmore Collection, iv. 197. 

4 Archives of Maryland, i. 382. 


sense. They have also been vague and hazy in their 
colonial geography, and have probably used the word 
" Virginia " for this general section of the great, more or 
less unknown, New World. 

The most concrete information which we possess 
about the success of Elizabeth Harris labours and the 
locality reached by her is a Letter written by this "con 
vinced governor," Robert Clarkson. His letter is written 
from Severn under date of January 14, 1658 [Old Style, 
Eleventh Mo. 1657], and reads as follows: 

" Elizabeth Harris, Dear Heart, I salute thee in the tender 
love of the Father, which moved thee toward us and I do own 
thee to have been a minister by the will of God to bear the 
outward testimony to the inward word of truth in me and others. 
Of which word of life God hath made my wife a partaker with 
me and hath established our hearts in His fear, and likewise Ann 
Dorsey in a more large measure ; her husband I hope abides 
faithful; likewise John Baldwin and Henry Caplin; Charles 
Balye abides convinced and several in those parts where he 
dwells. 1 Elizabeth Beasley abides as she was when thou was 
here [apparently " convinced "]. Thomas Cole and William Cole 
have both made open confession of the truth ; likewise Henry 
Woolchurch, and many others suffer with us the reproachful 
name [of Quaker]. William Fuller abides convinced. I know 
not but William Durand doth the like. 2 Nicholas Wayte abides 
convinced. Glory be to God who is the living fountain and 
fills all that abide in Him. 

" The two messengers thou spoke of in thy letters have not 
yet come to this place ; we heard of two come to Virginia in 
the fore part of the winter, 3 but we heard that they were soon 
put in prison, and not suffered to pass. We heard further that 
they desired liberty to pass to this place, but it was denied them, 
whereupon one of them answered, that though they might not 
be suffered, yet he must come another time. We have heard 
that they are to be kept in prison till the ship that brought them 
be ready to depart the country again, and then to be sent out of 

1 The Charles Bayly mentioned here helped John Perrot in 1661 to secure 
release from his confinement in Rome and became one of his extreme followers in 
the schism which is discussed farther on in this chapter. 

2 William Durand was one of Cromwell s Commissioners for the government 
of Maryland and was Secretary of the Commission. He may possibly have been 
the person referred to as " governor." 

8 Probably Thomas Thurston and Josiah Coale. 


the country. We have disposed of the most part of the books 
which were sent, so that all parts where there are Friends are 
furnished and every one that desires it may have benefit of them ; 
at Herring Creek, Rhoad River, South River, all about Severn, 
the Brand Neck, and thereabouts the Seven Mountains and 
Kent. . . . With my dear love I salute thy husband and the rest 
of Friends ; and rest with thee in the Eternal Word which abideth 
forever. Farewell, ROBERT CLARKSON." * 

It is evident that the writer of this letter was not in 
Virginia. He has heard of the arrival of two Friends in 
Virginia, but he says, " they have not come to this place," 
and he adds that " they desired liberty from their prison 
in Virginia to pass to this place." Robert Clarkson was, 
as has been shown above, an inhabitant of the colony of 
Maryland. In 1662 he was arrested and brought before 
the court of Ann Arundel County for having violated the 
military act of that colony and was fined five hundred 
pounds of cask-tobacco. 2 He had thus at that date 
plainly become a Quaker. William Durand was also a 
citizen of Maryland. Thomas and William Cole and 
Henry Woolchurch, mentioned in the above letter, were 
also Maryland Friends. Severn is a well-known Maryland 
region, and all the places named where the books were 
distributed are familiar localities not far remote from the 
present city of Annapolis. Therefore, in spite of the fact 
that Bowden and Janney 3 and most other writers on 
Quaker history have located Elizabeth Harris " convince- 
ments" in Virginia, between the Rappahannock and 
York Rivers, I am forced to the conclusion that we are 
here dealing with the origin of Quakerism in the colony 
of Maryland. 4 

Sometime in 1657, Josiah Coale, of Bristol, and Thomas 
Thurston,a Quaker preacher, from Gloucestershire, England, 
already known to us for their labours in the Northern 
Colonies, landed in Virginia, having come, as one of them 

1 The original, which I have somewhat shortened, is in Swarthmore Collection 
iii. 7. 

a Besse, ii. 381. 

8 Janney s History of the Friends, (1860) i. 431. 

4 For a similar view see M lllwaine s The Struggle of Protestant Dissenters for 
Religious Toleration in Virginia (Johns Hopkins Studies, vol. xii.), p. 20. 


writes, because they " were made sensible of the groaning 
of the oppressed seed in that place." l So far as we know 
they were the first to plant the Quaker " seed " in this 
great southern colony. They seem to have spent six 
months or more in Virginia some of this period perhaps 
being wasted in prison 2 and they were evidently very 
successful in reaching the people, since there are many 
evidences from this time forward of the widespread 
prevalence of Quakers in several parts of the colony. 

We have seen already that the incipient movement was 
somewhat interrupted by the arrest and imprisonment of 
the visitors. We must now examine briefly the methods 
which were contrived in Virginia for suppressing the tide 
of new religious thought which was sweeping as it proved, 
irresistibly into this Episcopalian colony. As little as 
in Massachusetts had there formed in the minds of the 
Virginia colonists any adequate idea that religious tolera 
tion was a virtue. The early laws of Virginia insist with 
much iteration on uniformity. The earliest danger to 
uniformity in the colony came from the immigration of 
adventurous Roman Catholics, and the first anti-tolera 
tion laws were therefore framed against these. In 1642 it 
was decreed that " no popish recusants shall at any time 
hereafter exercise the place or places of secret counsellors, 
register or comiss : surveyors, sheriffs, or any other publique 
place, but be utterly disabled" 3 The Act further provides 
that any one holding office and refusing to take " the oath 
of allegiance and supremacy " shall be dismissed from said 
office, and fined 1000 pounds of tobacco. The following 
year it was enacted that " all ministers whatsoever which 
shall reside in the collony are to be conformable to the 
orders and constitutions of the Church of England, and 
not otherwise to be permitted to teach or preach publickly 
or privately. And the Governor and Counsil do take care 
that all nonconformists, upon notice of them, shall be 
compelled to depart the collony with all convenience." 4 

1 Letter of Josiah Coale to Margaret Fell. Bowden, i. 342. 

3 We learn this fact from Robert Clarkson s letter. 

1 Hening s Statutes at Large of Virginia, i. 268-269. 

4 Hening, i. 277. 


When the Quakers first disturbed the religious 
uniformity of the colony these laws grown innocuous 
with time were revived and set into operation to meet 
the novel situation, but they were soon found to be 
inadequate for the trouble in hand, and the lawmakers 
grappled anew with the emergency. 1 In the spring of 
1660 a definite Act was passed against Quakers as such, 
and the wording of the Act implies that the objection to 
Quakers was not primarily based on doctrine, but on the 
supposition that they were a menace to the stability of 
social life and civil government. The Act is entitled " An 
Act for Suppressing Quakers," and reads : 

"Whereas there is an unreasonable and turbulent sort of people, 
commonly called Quakers, who, contrary to the law, do dayly 
gather together unto them unlawfull Assemblies and congregations 
of people teaching and publishing lies, miracles, false visions, 
prophecies, and doctrines, which have influence upon the com 
munities of men, both ecclesiastical and civill, endeavoring and 
attempting thereby to destroy religion, lawes, communities, and 
all bonds of civil socitie, leaving it arbitrarie to every vaine and 
vitious person whether men shall be safe, laws established, 
offenders punished, and Governors rule, hereby disturbing the 
publique peace and just interest : to prevent and restraine which 
mischiefe: it is enacted that no master or commander of any 
shippe or other vessel do bring into this collonie any person or 
persons called Quakers, under penalty of ;ioo to be levied 
upon him and his estate, etc. That all Quakers as have beene 
questioned or shall hereafter arrive shall be apprehended where 
soever they shall be found, and they be imprisoned without 
baile or mainprize till they do adjure this country or put in 
security with all speed to depart the collonie and not to return 
again. And if any should dare to presume to returne hither 
after such departure to be proceeded against as contemner of 
the lawes and magistracy and punished accordingly, and caused 
again to depart the country. And if they should the third time 
be so audacious and impudent as to returne hither to be 
proceeded against as ffelons. That noe person shall entertain 
any of the Quakers, . . . nor permit in or near his house any 
Assemblies of Quakers in the like penalty of ;ioo. 

1 It should, however, be stated that this earliest attempt to frustrate the work 
of Quaker missionaries was in the Commonwealth period, when the Puritan 
influence was strongest. 


" And that no person do presume on their peril to dispose or 
publish their books, pamphlets, or libells, bearing the title of 
their tenets and opinions." l 

In 1662, under an Act to prevent the profaning of 
Sunday, new measures were levelled against them. The 
Act provides that : 

" Quakers who, out of nonconformity to the Church, totally 
absent themselves, are liable to a fine of 20 for every month s 
absence from Church. And all Quakers, for assembling in 
unlawful assemblies and conventicles, shall be fined and pay, 
each of them, there taken, 200 pounds of tobacco for each time." 2 

In the same year it was decreed that as there are in 
the colony " many persons who, out of aversenesse to the 
orthodox established religion, or out of new fangled 
conceits of their owne heretical inventions, refuse to have 
their children baptized," they shall be fined 2000 pounds 
of tobacco for every refusal half to go to the informer. 8 

These laws, however, though they were vigorously 
applied, proved utterly ineffectual. Quaker ministers 
continued to come as though they were wanted, and the 
people were " convinced " as though it were the popular 
course. The fact of the increase of Quakerism is proved 
not from partisan Journals, but from Colonial Records. 
In March 1662 it is declared that " persons called Quakers 
do assemble themselves in greate numbers in several parts 
of this colony," and they are charged with " maintayning 
a secret and strict correspondency among themselves," 
and of holding " dangerous opinions and tenets." It is 
thereupon enacted, evidently in imitation of the English 
Conventicle Act, that for separating from the Established 
worship, and for assembling to the number of five or more 
in religious worship not authorised by the laws of Virginia, 
a fine of 200 pounds of tobacco shall be imposed on each 
person, with banishment from the colony for the third 
offence. A fine of 5000 pounds of tobacco was imposed 

1 Hening, i. 532-533. 2 Hening, ii. 48. 

8 Hening, ii. 165. This statute implies that there were Anabaptists in the 
colony as well as Quakers, for the latter not only objected to the baptism of infants, 
but of adults as well. 


" for entertaining Quakers to teach or preach in their 
houses." All fines were to be remitted if the Quaker 
would give security that he would " forbeare to meete " 
in such assemblies in the future. 1 

The most objectionable feature of this anti-Quaker 
legislation was the provision that a proportion of the fine 
in some cases a half of it should go to the informer, 
and this mean incentive was offered to induce neighbours 
to spy on each other, and to report violations of uniformity. 
The colonial records show that there was considerable 
suffering under these laws, and Besse has preserved the 
story of one case of brutal persecution, namely, the 
imprisonment at Jamestown of George Wilson of England, 
and his companion, William Cole of Maryland. They 
were thrown into an intolerable dungeon "a nasty, 
stinking prison " where Wilson " laid down his life " and 
the story of the sufferings in this prison is so dreadful that 
it is hardly printable in detail, but the spirit of love and 
forgiveness and the triumphant note which breathe 
through their communications are most impressive. " For 
all their cruelty," writes Wilson, " I can truly say, Father, 
forgive them, they know not what they do, " 2 and the 
biographer of William Cole says : " Through his ministry 
many were established in the truth, and though he was 
much decayed in his body by his cruel imprisonment, and 
never recovered from it, he felt the living presence of the 
Lord with him." 8 

This persecution was imposed and these anti-Quaker 
laws passed in spite of royal instructions in favour of 
religious liberty. Charles II. wrote to Governor Berkeley 
in 1662 : 

" Because wee are willing to give all possible encouragement 
to persons of different persuasion in matters of Religion to 
transport themselves thither with their stocks; you are not to 
suffer any man to be molested or disquieted in the exercise of his 
Religion^ so he be content with a quiet and peaceable enjoying 
it, not giving therein offense or scandall to the Government" 4 

1 Hening, ii. 181-183. 2 Besse, ii. 381 ; Bishop, p. 351. 

8 Piety Promoted, \. 80-8 1. * Neill s Virginia. Carolorum, p. 392. 


"But notwithstanding enactments against the Quakers," 
writes Neill, " their travelling preachers persisted in going to out 
of the way places, without money and asking for none, yet 
preaching a gospel of peace and good will, as far as they under 
stood the teaching of Christ. Their cheerful endurance of 
hardship, with their plain teaching, attracted the attention and 
aroused the consciences of rude frontiersmen, who, hitherto, had 
no one to care for their souls, and Quaker meetings multiplied." l 

The first Quaker missionaries in Virginia were, as we 
have seen, Josiah Coale and Thomas Thurston. They 
travelled northward, labouring as they went, especially in 
Maryland, and so on, by an almost unimaginable wilder 
ness journey, to New England, where they took their 
share of the vials of the Puritan medicine for Quakers. 
Thurston, however, was soon back in Virginia, where he 
had another period of imprisonment. On his release he 
appears to have carried many colonists into the Quaker 
movement, for Josiah Coale, writing from New England 
to Margaret Fell, tells her that Thomas Thurston is in 
Virginia, and says : " The living power of the Lord goes 
along with him, and there is like to be a great gathering." 2 

Three of the Woodhouse voyagers, William Robinson, 
Christopher Holder, and Robert Hodgson, did missionary 
work in Virginia in 1658 probably Humphrey Norton 
was there in 1659 and as happened wherever these 
enthusiastic souls went, there were marked results of their 
preaching and personal labour. William Robinson says 
in an extant Letter : " There are many people convinced, 
and some in several parts are brought into the sense and 
feeling of truth." 8 Josiah Coale was back in the colony 
in 1660, and wrote of his visit to George Fox in these 
encouraging words : " I left Friends in Virginia generally 
very well and fresh in the truth. I believe I shall be in 
Virginia again." 4 

George Rofe, an English Quaker who had a long list 
of imprisonments behind him, contributed in 1661 to the 

1 Neill s Virginia Carolorum, p. 296. 

z Letter in Bowden, i. 343. 

8 Letter of William Robinson, 1659, quoted by Bowden, i. 346 

4 Coale s Letter in A.R.B. Collection, No. 44. 


spread of Quakerism in Virginia. Our only account of 
his visit is in a letter of his to Stephen Crisp : 

" God hath prospered my soul according to my desire and 
hath blessed His work in my hands; and hath made me an 
instrument of good to many through these countries. . . . The 
truth prevaileth through the most of all these parts [Barbadoes], 
and many settled meetings there are in Maryland and Virginia 
and New England . . . through all which places I have travelled 
in the power of the Spirit and in the great dominion of the 
truth, having a great and weighty service for the Lord." 1 

There was a large convincement to Quakerism in 
Lower Norfolk County, and the County records show that 
the Friends of this region had much to suffer. Under 
date of June 27, 1663, Governor Berkeley appointed a 
commission to see that " the abominate seede of ye 
Quakers spread not," and he urges the gentlemen named 
on the commission to have " an exact care of this pestilent 
sect of ye Quakers." z 

But already before this urging came from the Governor 
the desire for a share of the fines was pushing the sheriffs 
to activity. There are many entries like the following : 

"June 10, 1 66 1. Whereas Mr. John Hill, high-sheriff, hath 
given information and presented Benjamin Forby for admitting 
and suffering Quakers at his house being contrary to ye lawes of 
this country, ye said Forby is taken into custody to be tried for 
breaking the lawes against such people." 8 

"December 20, 1662. The High Shreive of the County did 
take divers persons who were at an unlawful meetinge with those 
commonly called Quakers They were fined 200 pounds of 
tobacco each person, of whom there were twenty." 4 

"May 3, 1663. Twelve persons were arrested at the house 
of Richard Russell, and Russell was fined ;ioo for entertaining 
and permitting the meeting, half of which went to the informer, 
William Hill, High Shreive. The i2th of November, twenty- 
two persons called Quakers were arrested at Richard Russell s 
house where John Porter, junior, was speaking. The preachers 

1 Crisp Collection of MSS. No. 102. There were many other labourers in 
this field of whose work we possess few or no details. Mention should be made 
of Elizabeth Hooton, Joan Brocksoppe, Joseph Nicholson, John Liddal, and 
Jane Millard. 

* Lower Norfolk County Antiquary, iii. 78. 

* Ibid. iii. 105. 4 Ibid. iii. p. 141. 


were fined 500 pounds of tobacco, the entertainer of the 
meeting 5000 pounds, and each attender 200 pounds." l 

"November 20, 1663. Nine people commonly called 
Quakers were seized for holding an unlawful assembly aboard ye 
Shipp Blissinge, riding at anchor in the southern branch of the 
Elizabeth River. John Porter, junior, was speaking. They 
were all fined 200 pounds of tobacco." 2 

Some of the prominent Friends of this Elizabeth River 
region had been the actors in a strange lawsuit a few 
years before they became Friends. In 1659 Ann Godby 
a person often arrested in the sixties as a Quaker was 
charged with " casting slander and scandall on the good 
name and creditt of Nicholas Robinson s wife, terming her 
a witch." Ann was proved guilty of the charge, and her 
husband was fined 300 pounds of tobacco for the freedom 
of his wife s tongue. John Porter, junior, was one of the 
Justices in the suit. Three years later Ann Godby was a 
staunch Quaker, and John Porter, junior, was the foremost 
Quaker " minister " in the county. Whether Nicholas 
Robinson s wife came into the new Society or not I 
cannot prove, though I find that many Robinson women 
did. 8 

It seems impossible, in this world of conflicting views, 
to have any movement for the illumination and spiritual 
enlargement of men which is not more or less blocked and 
hampered by the blunders, the littleness, and the selfish 
ness of persons who are one-sided, and who push some one 
aspect of the " truth " out of balance until it turns out to 
be misleading " error." Every apostolic undertaking is 
more or less marred by some misguided Hymenaeus or 
Philetus " whose word eats like a gangrene." * John 
Perrot, originally " a man of great natural parts," and who 
was inspired in 1660 with the conviction that he was 
divinely sent to Rome for the conversion of the Pope, 
became the instrument of confusion and schism in Virginia, 
and nearly wrecked the work so well begun in the colony. 
There was evidently a strain of insanity in him, but even 

1 Lower Norfolk County Antiquary, iii. pp. 79-110. 2 Ibid. iii. p. 109, 

8 Ibid. iii. p. 36. a Tim. ii. 17. 


his very unusual psychic traits only made him more 
captivating and influential with the simple-minded people 
who were impressed that he exhibited "greater spirituality" 
than did the other exponents of Quakerism. He pushed 
the testimony against form and ceremony to the absurd 
extreme of " nihilism " there were to be no forms, not 
even the " form " of holding meetings for worship ! 
Details of his visit in Virginia are lacking, but the corre 
spondence and Journals of travelling Friends bear witness 
to what they call " the leaven of his unclean spirit." " He 
has done much hurt," write in 1663 Mary Tomkins and 
Alice Ambrose, two persecution-tried missionaries, who 
visited Virginia in 1662, "and he has made our travels 
hard and our labours [in Virginia] sore. What we have 
borne and suffered concerning him has been more and 
harder than all we have received from our enemies." * 

It has been shown that the first " convincement " to 
Quakerism in the South was in Maryland under the 
ministry of Elizabeth Harris, who gathered a large group 
of Friends about Severn and Kent. This beginning was 
soon followed up by the work of Josiah Coale and 
Thomas Thurston, who visited many sections of this 
colony on their travels to New England in 1658. They 
appear to have found considerable response to their 
message, and there were many colonists who were ready 
to hazard everything for what powerfully appealed to 
them as the truth. 2 

The Records of the Governor and Council of Mary 
land furnish our main clues to the success of their under 
taking, and to the suffering which it involved. 3 The 

1 Letter of Mary Tomkins and Alice Ambrose to George Fox (Swarthmore 
Collection, iv. 239) What they actually received from their "enemies" the 
authorities of Virginia was the infliction of thirty-two lashes apiece from a nine- 
corded whip, they being pilloried " in an uncivil manner," with seizure of all 
their goods and expulsion from the colony. New England Judged, p. 439. 

2 They were entertained in Maryland by Richard Preston and William Berry, 
both of whom were prominent men in the colony. Berry s home was at Chop- 
tank, and he became a leading man and a preacher among the Friends. 

8 The Provincial Assembly of Maryland had adopted an Ordinance of 
Toleration in 1649. It was, however, not effective in practice. This change of 
attitude in the matter of toleration was largely due to the influence of the new 
Governor of the colony, Governor Fendall. 


first entry about Quakers in the Colonial Records of 
Maryland is under date of July 8, 1658. It is in a 
minute of the proceedings of the Council, or Upper 
House, held at Patuxent, and it reports the " alarm " 
felt by " the increase of the Quakers." 1 

Under the same date (July 8, 1658) appears this 
entry : " Upon information that Thomas Thurston and 
Josiah Coale had refused to subscribe the engagement by 
the Articles of 24th March [involving an oath] a warrant 
was issued to the Sheriffs to bring them to Court." 2 

July 1 6, 1658: "Upon information that Thomas 
Thurston was in prison and Josiah Coale was at Anne 
Arundel seducing the people and dissuading the people 
from taking the engagement [on account of the oath] 
ordered the Sheriff of Anne Arundel to take the body 
of Josiah Coale and Thomas Thurston." The warrant 
states that " all who are of their Church or Judgment do 
refuse to subscribe the engagement." 8 

July 22, 1658: It is recorded that William Burges 
and Thomas Meares refused to take the oath as com 
missioners and justices of the peace, " pretending that it 
was in no case lawful to swear." 4 As they had both 
formerly taken the oath without any compunctions, it 
is evident that they had come under Quaker influence. 
When the case of these justices came up for action, 
Michael Brookes of Calvert County joined them in the 
refusal to swear, and the three were fined. 5 Thomas 
Meares appears later in the colonial records as a full- 
fledged Quaker. 6 

July 23, 1658: The Council took into consideration 
" the insolent behaviour of some people called Quakers," 
who " stood covered " in presence of the Court, " refused 
to subscribe the engagement," and exhibited principles 
which " tended to the destruction of the government." 
They were given their choice of subscribing the engage 
ment by the 2oth of August, or to " depart the Province 
on paine due to rebels and traitors." 7 

1 Archives of Maryland, iii. 347. a Ibid. iii. 347. Ibid. iii. 348. 

4 Ibid. iii. 351. 6 Ibid. iii. 358. * Ibid. iii. 394. 7 Ibid. iii. 352. 


On his return from New England, Thomas Thurston 
engaged again in religious work in Maryland, and again 
came into collision with the authorities. Under date of 
July 23, 1659, this record appears : 

"It is well known in this province that there have bin 
several vagabonds and persons known by the name of Quakers 
that have presumed to come into this province, as well dissuad 
ing the people from complying with the military discipline in 
this time of danger [there was at the time an armed contest 
between the Baltimore faction and the Clayborne faction ], 
as also from giving testimony [under oath] or being [sworn] 
Jurors or bearing any office in the province." 

Such persons are ordered whipped from constable to 
constable until they reach the bounds of the province. 1 
Eleven days later (August 3, 1659), Thurston was "for 
ever banished this province," on pain of being whipped 
thirty-eight lashes, and then sent out of the province. It 
was decreed the same date that " any person presuming 
to receive, harbour, or conceal the said Thomas Thurston " 
should be fined 500 pounds of tobacco. 2 

Besse furnishes a long list of persons presumably 
persons " convinced " of Quaker principles who suffered 
under the Maryland government in 1658 for refusing to 
fight, or to take an oath, or for entertaining Quakers. 
This list contains thirty names, which probably indicates 
the number of adult males who had become Friends in 
the colony in i658. 3 The fine for entertaining a Quaker 
missionary was 3, 153. 

This colony was also visited, as Virginia was, by 
William Robinson, Christopher Holder, and Robert 
Hodgson in 1659, and as happened everywhere "a large 
convincement " resulted from their labours. Josiah Coale 
came through Maryland a second time, for a visit of ten 
weeks, in 1660, and, under the influence of the Restora 
tion in England, he found "the spirit of persecution 
chained down for a season." He reports "precious 
meetings " and " the Lord s precious presence and love 

1 Archives of Maryland, iii. 362. 2 Ibid. iii. 364. 

8 Besse, ii. 378-380. 


amongst us in our assemblies." l The " chaining " of 
the spirit of persecution did not last long, for Coale 
was apprehended and banished soon after this letter was 
written, and prosecutions for refusal to swear and fight 
are frequent. 2 An important letter from Coale, written 
from Virginia, Feb. 3, 1661, says: "As concerning 
Friends in the Province of Maryland, I left them generally 
very well and fresh in the truth, though I found them not 
so ; for through judging one another and clashing amongst 
themselves they were even become as dry branches and 
there was little savour of life amongst them." 8 

George Rofe soon followed on after Josiah Coale, 
and he reports, under date of 1661, finding "many 
settled meetings in Maryland," and he says that he 
"travelled in the power of the Spirit and in great 
dominion of the truth, having a great and weighty service 
for the Lord." 4 We have too few data to enable us to 
present in any impressive way the actual internal life of 
the new society at this early stage of its career, but it 
is evident that Friends in this region at this period were 
in constant jeopardy in body and goods, 5 though there 
is abundant evidence that they were valiant in spirit, 
and ready to suffer to any limit for their loyalty to their 
light It should, however, be noted that the persecution 
which came upon them in Maryland at this early stage 
of their history, was motived, not by intolerance of their 
religious teachings or sectarian bigotry on the part of the 
authorities, but by the sincere though mistaken concep 
tion that the Quakers were hostile to government, and 
were inculcating views that were incompatible with a 

1 MS. Letter of Josiah Coale to George Fox, 1660. A.R.B. Collection, 
No. 53. 

8 There is a curious case of the prosecution of John Everitt who ran from 
his colors when prest to goe to the Susquehanna Fort, pleading that he could 
not bear arms for conscience s sake." He is to be " kept in chaynes and bake 
his own bread " until the jury is impanelled. Archives of Maryland, iii. 435. 

8 Josiah Coale to Margaret Fell, Crosfield MSS. in Devonshire House. 

4 Crisp Collection of MS. No. 102. 

5 One case, that of Peter Sharpe, a physician who owned an island in the 
Choptank River, will suffice. He held a note against Adam Staples for 1700 
pounds of tobacco. Because Sharpe refused to take the oath of engagement, 
Staples petitioned the Court to annul the Note, which the Court did. Besse, ii. 380. 


well-ordered civil regime. They were supposed to be 
disrespectful to magistrates, revolutionary in design, 
aiming to annul courts and undermine all means of 
forceful defence. 

As soon as the solid people of the colony discovered 
the real nature of the new religion which was getting a 
foothold in Maryland, there came to be a general attitude 
of respect toward it. This change of attitude was largely 
due to the coming of three great leaders of the movement 
the men who were the real " founders " of Quakerism 
in the Southern colonies John Burnyeat, George Fox, 
and William Edmundson. Burnyeat was the first of the 
three in the field. He arrived in Maryland in April 
1665, coming from Barbadoes, the "nursery" of Western 
Quakerism, and he spent the entire summer in the 
province of Maryland, travelling and labouring in the 
ministry, holding " large meetings in the Lord s power " 
" Friends were greatly comforted and several were con 
vinced." l At the end of the summer he went down into 
Virginia, where he found much havoc wrought in the 
little Society by the " bewitchment " of John Perrot, who 
with his quietistic notions had led Friends to " forsake 
their meetings " and to become " loose and careless." 
Burnyeat appears to have turned the tide and saved the 
day : " Friends were revived and refreshed, and raised 
up into a service of life through the Lord s goodness 
and renewed visitation." 2 He was back in Virginia in 
1671, with Daniel Gould of Rhode Island for his com 
panion, and he now "found a freshness of life among 
them. They had grown up to a degree of their former 
zeal and tenderness. I found a great openness in the 
country and had several blessed meetings. I advised 
them to have a men s meeting [for Church business] to 
settle things in good order and to keep things sweet." 3 

1 Burnyeat s Journal, p. 187. The sad episode "sore exercise," he calls it 
of his visit in Maryland was the "fall" and defection of Thomas Thurston, who 
had been a valiant pioneer in the early planting of Quakerism in all the colonies. 
He was, in an evil moment, caught and carried away by the spurious spiritu 
ality " of Perrot s teaching, and became " lost to the truth " and " a vagabond as 
to his spiritual condition." 

2 Ibid. pp. 188-189. * MM- P- T 99- 


He spent the spring of 1672 in Maryland, doing the 
same kind of constructive work as he had done so 
successfully in Virginia. In April he appointed a meeting 
at West River, Maryland, for all Friends in the province 
the birth-date of Baltimore Yearly Meeting, the second 
to be organised in America and it was " a very large 
meeting which continued for several days." Meetings for 
men and for women were organised for the transaction 
of business and " for the blessed ordering of the Gospel." l 
" Through the good Providence of the Lord," George 
Fox landed in the Patuxent (West) River just in time to 
attend this General Meeting. He had spent six weeks 
in the passage from Jamaica to Maryland a voyage so 
boisterous and full of hazard that they all " admired the 
Providence of God who preserved them." Fox notes 
with much satisfaction that " many people of considerable 
quality in the world s account " were at the great Mary 
land Meeting. " There were five or six Justices of the 
Peace, the Speaker of their parliament or Assembly, one 
of the Council, and divers others of note." z This marks 
the turning-point, and from that time on Quakerism 
was considered an eminently respectable religion in Lord 
Baltimore s province. Fox held another large meeting 
at the Cliffs north of the Patuxent. 8 He arrived there 
soaked with water, his boat having capsized when he 
was in a great perspiration, having " come very hot out 
of a meeting before," but "the Lord s power preserved 
[him] from taking hurt," and " many people came to 
the meeting and received the truth with reverence." Fox, 
with a large band of helpers, including John Burnyeat, 
" went over by boat to the Eastern shore " of the 
Chesapeake, where they had "a large and heavenly 
meeting," with " several persons of quality and two Justices 
of the Peace " at it He held an extraordinary meeting 
with the " Indian Emperor, his kings and their cocka- 
rooses," telling them that "God was raising up his 
tabernacle of witness in their wilderness country." 

1 Journal, pp. 199-200. 
* Fox s Journal, ii. 161-163. * Ibid. p. 165. 


On his return journey from New England a journey 
crowded with toil and peril and dramatic happenings 
Fox arrived in Maryland again toward the end of 
September 1672 wet and weary, and "dirtied with getting 
through bogs," and held a large meeting near St Michael s, 
where there were already many Friends. Here a judge s 
wife came to the meeting and declared : " She had rather 
hear us once than a priest a thousand times ! " In 
October a great General Meeting " for all Maryland " was 
held at Tredhaven Creek on the eastern shore. The 
meeting lasted five days the first three days being for 
worship and preaching and then two for church business. 
" Several magistrates with their wives, many Protestants 
of divers sorts, and some Papists and persons of chief 
account in the country," were at the meeting. "It was 
thought there were a thousand people, and there were so 
many boats passing on the river that it was almost like 
the Thames ! One of the Justices said he never saw so 
many people together in that country before. It was a 
very heavenly meeting, the presence of the Lord was 
gloriously manifested, Friends sweetly refreshed, people 
generally satisfied, and many convinced." l For a month 
following, Fox was pushing on from meeting to meeting, 
almost living in a boat, often " wet and weary with 
rowing," but having " good service," " very large meetings," 
giving " a thundering testimony to the truth," convincing 
" Justices and other persons of quality," and " seeing the 
truth reach into the hearts of the people beyond words." z 

The 5th of November, with Robert Widders, James 
Lancaster, and George Pattison, he sailed away for 
Virginia, having won to his cause a very large number of 
persons of "upper rank," as he calls them. He landed 
at a " place called Nancemond, about two hundred miles 
from Maryland." The region of Fox s activity in Virginia 

1 Fox s Journal, ii. 179. 

8 Ibid. pp. 180-183. Among the places now visited by Fox was Severn (now 
Annapolis) where there was such a crowd that " no building would hold them." 
Three Friends, William Cole, William Richards, and John Gary, writing in 1674 
for the meeting to Friends in Bristol, England, say : " Much people there be in 
our country that come to hear the truth declared . . . and many by it are 
convinced." Bowden, vol. i. 381. 


was the strip of country lying between the James River 
and the North Carolina border. He found isolated 
Friends scattered through the district. " Officers and 
magistrates " came to his meetings which were " precious." 
Men s and women s meetings for business were established. 
A large meeting, too greatly attended for any house to 
contain the people, was held at Pagan Creek, and " the 
sound of truth was spread." He went on south, through 
a "plashy" country, "full of great bogs and swamps," 
" wet to the knees, lying abroad at night in the woods." 
At Somerton he found a woman who " had a sense of 
God upon her," and who arranged for the little party to 
sleep on mats before her fire. Proceeding on they struck 
Bennett s Creek (which he calls " Bonner s ") and paddled 
into the Chowan River (then called the Macocomocock), 
and down this river by canoe into the regions bordering 
on Albemarle Sound. 

Fox s own account of this journey is quaintly told in 
the manuscript Journal of the American visit. 

"We passed in a canoe downe the creek to Mattocomake 
River and came to Hugh Smithick s [Smith s] house and people 
of the world came to see us (for there were no Friends in these 
parts). Wee went to Nathaniell Batts house ; he was formerly 
Governor of Roanoke and is most commonly known by the 
name of Captaine Batts ; he is a rude, desperate man who has 
great command over yt countrie, especially over ye Indians." 

But as Fox had been preceded in this country by 
William Edmundson, and as the latter was the real pioneer 
in the Carolinas, I shall turn aside to describe Edmundson s 
path-breaking visit. He was with Fox at the Patuxent 
General Meeting in 1671, and when the latter travelled 
north, Edmundson turned south, visited Virginia, holding 
" powerful meetings," " settling men s minds in the truth," 
establishing "a men s meeting for discipline," and then 
started off south with two Friends as companions. 

" It was," he writes, " all wilderness and no English inhabitants 
or padways, only some marked trees to guide people ; the first 
day s journey we did pretty well, and lay that night in the woods, 
as we often used to do in those Parts. The next Day being wet 


Weather we were sorely soyled in Swamps and Rivers, and one 
of the two that were with me for a Guide, was at a stand to 
know which way the Place lay we were to go unto : I perceiving 
he was at a Loss, turn d my Mind to the Lord, and as He led 
me, I led the Way. So we travel d in many Difficulties until 
about Sun-set ; then they told me, They could travel no further ; 
for they both fainted, being weak-spirited Men : I bid them stay 
there, and kindle a Fire, and I would ride a little farther, for I 
saw a bright Horrizon appear through the Woods which Travellers 
take as a Mark of some Plantation ; so rode on to it, and found it 
was only tall Timber Trees without Underwood : But I perceived 
a small Path, which I follow d till it was very dark, and rain d 
violently ; then I alighted and set my back to a Tree, till the 
Rain abated : but it being dark, and the Woods thick, I walked 
all Night between the Trees: and though very weary, I durst 
not lie down on the Ground, for my Cloaths were wet to my 
Skin. I had eaten little or nothing that Day, neither had I 
anything to refresh me but the Lord. In the morning I return d 
to seek my two Companions, and found them lying by a great 
Fire of Wood : I told them how I had far d ; he that should 
have been the Guide would have perswaded me that we were 
gone past the Place where we intended ; but my Mind drew to 
the Path which I had found the Night before : So I led the way, 
and that Path brought us to the Place where we intended, 
viz. Henry Phillip s House by Albemarle River. 

" He and his wife had been convinc d of the Truth in New 
England, and came there to live, who having not seen a Friend 
for seven Years before, they wept for Joy to see us : yet it being 
on a First Day Morning when we got there, although I was 
weary and faint, and my Cloaths all wet, I desired them to send 
to the People there-away to come to a Meeting about the middle 
of the Day, and I would lie down upon a Bed, and if I slept too 
long that they should awake me. Now about the Hour 
appointed many People came, but they had little or no Religion, 
for they came and sate down in the Meeting smoking their 
Pipes ; but in a little time the Lord s Testimony arose in the 
Authority of His Power, and their Hearts being reach d with it, 
several of them were tender d and received the Testimony. 
After Meeting they desir d me to stay with them, and let them 
have more Meetings." 1 

The colonists in this region, with the exception of 
Henry Phillips and his wife, were not Friends, and appar 
ently, Edmundson says, "had little or no religion," *>. 

1 Edmundson s Journal, pp. 58-59. 


they had no organised religion, no church, no ministry, 
though " their hearts were open " and they were eventually 
gathered in in large numbers into the Society of Friends. 
A Justice of the Peace named Francis Toms, who lived 
three miles from Phillips house, " received the truth with 
gladness," and, at a meeting in his house, several more 
" had a sense of the power of God, received the truth and 
abode in it" 1 

On his return to Virginia a return journey more 
full of peril and difficulty than one ordinarily finds 
even in these biographies of the Quaker pioneers, every 
where crowded with incidents of extraordinary endurance 
Edmundson continued his work of organising and 
strengthening the meetings for discipline throughout the 
sections of Virginia where there were Friends. He visited 
the Governor, Sir William Berkeley, but he found him 
" pevish and brittle." z He, however, succeeded better with 
some of the other officials of the colony. Justice Taverner 
and " several other persons of note " came to his meetings. 
Major-General Bennett and Colonel Dewes were " reached 
by the witness of God." This major-general, who had 
" a great estate," desired to contribute to the expenses of 
the Society, and finally became a member of it " He 
was a brave, solid, wise man. He received the truth and 
died in it." 8 

When Fox arrived in the Albemarle country of North 
Carolina in 1672 he found a little Quaker nucleus there 
as the result of William Edmundson s work. The little 
band of Quaker missionaries, led by Fox, found a man on 
their travels, living on the banks of the Chowan river, who 
was named Hugh Smith, to whose house " people of other 
professions " came to see and hear the travellers. Farther 
down the river they found a " captain," who was " very 
loving," and who lent them his boat, as they were very 

1 Edmundson s Journal, p. 60. 

2 When Edmundson related to Major-General Bennett that the Governor was 
"brittle and pevish," the General asked, "Did he call you dog or rogue!" 
When Edmundson answered that he did not, the General said, "Then you took 
him in his best humor ! " 

3 Edmundson s Journal, p. 63. 


wet by the water " splashing " into the little canoe. With 
the captain s boat they started off for the Governor s house 
at Edenton, but they found the water so shallow that " the 
boat would not swim." " We were fain to put off our 
shoes and stockings and wade through the water some 
distance. The Governor, with his wife, received us 
lovingly." l A doctor at the Governor s house " would 
needs dispute," and he denied that " the light and Spirit 
of God " was in every one, declaring that it was not in 
Indians. " Whereupon," says Fox, " I called an Indian 
and asked him whether or not when he lied or did wrong 
to any, there was not something in him that reproved him 
for it. He said that there was such a thing in him that 
did so reprove him and make him ashamed. So we 
shamed the doctor before the Governor and people." 2 
The Governor kept them all night, and treated them very 
" courteously." The party from here went by Sound, 
about thirty miles, to the house of Joseph Scott, who was 
" a representative of the country." The people in these 
parts were " tender and much desired meetings." Four 
miles farther on another meeting was held, to which the 
Governor s Secretary came, " the chief Secretary of the 
Province," who was already " convinced." On their way 
back they visited the house of the Secretary of the colony, 
had an illustration of " the great power of God who carried 
them safely twenty-four miles in a rotten boat, the water 
being rough, and the winds high," and held a precious 
meeting at Hugh Smith s. They were eighteen days in 
North Carolina, and Fox felt that they had " made an 
entrance of truth upon the people " there. 3 They arrived 
on the nineteenth day of their travel, "exceedingly wet 
and dirty," at Somerton in Virginia, and lay that night in 
their clothes by the fire at the home of the woman who 
" had a sense of God upon her," and on the morrow they 
had a " good meeting " with the people about Somerton 
who " had a great desire to hear." 4 

The territory covered by this early missionary activity 

1 Fox s Journal, ii. 185. a Ibid. ii. 185. 

Ibid. ii. 1 86. * Ibid. ii. 187. 


of Edmundson and Fox in North Carolina comprises 
the three present counties of Chowan, Perquimans, and 
Pasquotank. The increase from these " beginnings " was 
evidently rapid, for Governor Henderson Walker, writing 
to the Bishop of London in 1703, says : " George Fox . . . 
did infuse the Quaker principles into some small number 
of the people, which did and hath continued to grow ever 
since very numerous," l and William Gordon, writing to 
the secretary of the Society for the Propagation of the 
Gospel in 1709, says: "There are few or no dissenters 
in this Government but Quakers. . . . Some of the most 
ancient inhabitants, after George Fox went over, did turn 
Quakers." 2 This missionary effort along the Albemarle 
was the first organised effort of any kind to carry the 
religion of Christ into North Carolina. No Episcopal 
minister had yet come to the colony, and no dissenting 
ministers appeared in this field before Fox and Edmundson. 
They were, therefore, in more senses than one, " path- 
breakers," as they pushed through the southern wilderness 
and answered the " great desire " of the people. 8 

George Fox spent a short time in Virginia, having 
" many large and precious meetings, to which a great 
many magistrates, officers, and other high people came." 
" The people were wonderfully affected," " the power of 
the Lord was gloriously seen and felt," and " a victory 
was got over the bad spirit which was in some " evidently 
the remaining leaven of the Perrot movement which died 
hard. 4 Having finished " the service that lay upon him " 
in Virginia, Fox set sail in " an open sloop " for Maryland. 
The voyage was unusually tempestuous ; they were a 
good deal of the time " completely wet " and almost frozen 
with cold, for it was in January. Part of the time Fox 
himself sat at the helm and steered the sloop, but as soon 
as they reached the Patuxent the " precious meetings " 

1 Colonial Records of North Carolina, i. 571. 

2 Ibid. pp. 708-710. 

8 For further evidence that the Quakers brought the first message of Christianity 
to North Carolina see Dr. Weeks s Religious Development of North Carolina, 
Baltimore, 1892. 

4 Journal, ii. 187-188. 


began again, and the people were " convinced." This 
third visit of Fox to Maryland (covering the period from the 
3rd of January to the 2ist of May 1673) was probably the 
most effective and constructive work of his entire American 
tour. He was at the very height of his efficiency as a 
preacher and organiser. His physical endurance seemed 
unlimited. He was almost continuously in a boat when 
not holding a meeting, often rowing himself. He held 
meetings in barns, in tobacco houses, in Friends houses, 
and in the wigwams of the Indians the weather being 
mostly too cold for out-door meetings. He had as usual 
an eye for public officials and "high people," and the 
meetings of this period saw the convincement of "a 
great many people of account in the world " justices, 
magistrates, majors, captains, and " divers others of 
considerable account in the government." Just before 
sailing for England he attended another great General 
Meeting for the whole of Maryland, at which " many 
things were opened for edification and comfort," and the 
organisation was put into permanent working condition. 
" Parting in great tenderness, in the sense of the heavenly 
life," Fox sailed away for Bristol, leaving behind a strong 
group of Friends stretching, with some breaks, from the 
coast of New Hampshire to Albemarle Sound in the 
Carolinas, and having accomplished a piece of colonial 
missionary labour which, so far as I know, no visitor to 
America in colonial times paralleled. 1 From a letter 
written in 1674 by three Virginia Friends to Bristol 
Monthly Meeting in England, we learn that George Fox s 
labours had borne great fruit. " Our meetings are at this 
time more than doubled, and a large convincement is 
upon many who as yet stand off" \i,e. do not join in 
membership]. 2 

In 1676-77 the Southern colonies received another 
extensive visit from William Edmundson, whose wilderness 
travels on this visit reach about the climax of hardship 

1 In the MS. Journal of Fox s American journey he estimates that he travelled 
16,149 miles. 

2 Bowden, i. 356. 


and difficulty. One sample of the sort of thing he went 
through will perhaps be sufficient : 

" It was very cold, foul weather [on the Patuxent river], sleet 
and snow, and we were all day and most of the night before we 
got to the place intended. When we got to shore I could neither 
go nor stand, except as two bore me up, one by each arm, I had 
such pains and weakness in my back and groins with piercing 
cold. . . . We were forced to stay three nights on a small island, the 
weather being foul and stormy. We had no shelter but the open 
skies, the wet ground to lie on. This augmented my cold and 
pain, but the Lord bore up my spirit, and enabled me to bear it." 1 

He found the " affairs of truth " a good deal out of 
order in Virginia " there were many unruly spirits to 
deal with, but I had good service and success." It was 
the period of the Bacon Rebellion, and the " country was 
in great trouble," but " Friends kept clear." 

Then follows in the Journal a notable passage that 
reveals the spirit in which these Quaker missionaries did 
their work : 

" Now I was moved of the Lord to go to Carolina, and it was 
perilous travelling, for the Indians were not yet subdued, but did 
mischief, and murdered several. The place they haunted much 
was in that wilderness betwixt Virginia and Carolina ; scarce any 
durst travel that way unarmed. Friends endeavoured to dissuade 
me from going, ... so I delayed some time. In the meantime I 
appointed a meeting on the north side of the James River, where 
none had been, and there came several Friends a great way in 
boats. There came also the widow Holland s eldest son, with 
whom I walked near two miles the night before the meeting, 
advising him about some disorders in the family, and so we 
parted ; . . . but before morning a messenger came to tell me that 
the young man was dead. Then the word of the Lord came to 
me, saying : All lives are in my hand, and if thou goest not to 
Carolina, thy life is as this young man s; but if thou goest, I 
will give thee thy life for a prey. . . . The next day I made ready 
for my journey, but none durst venture with me, save one ancient 
man, a Friend." 2 

He had "many precious meetings" along the Albemarle, 
revisited his old Friends who were convinced on the former 
visit, saw "several turned to the Lord," and found the 

1 Journal, pp. 97-98. * Ibid. pp. 99-100. 



people generally " tender and loving." " There was no 
room," he writes, "for priests [i.e. paid ministers], for 
Friends were finely settled, and I left things well amongst 
them " and the old soldier in both kinds of warfare 
turned his face homeward, never again to help " settle 
truth s affairs " in the colonies where he had laboured so 
faithfully to plant Quakerism. 

There was another period of Quaker suffering in 
Virginia between 1675 and the accession in 1680 of 
Lord Culpepper to the Governorship, who was inclined to 
spare the Quakers. Under date of I $th June 1675, the 
record states that " The Hon ble Governor being informed 
that there are several conventicles [of the Quakers] in 
Nansemond county, it is ordered by this court that they 
be proceeded against according to the laws of England 
and this country," and the Justices of the lower counties 
of Virginia were instructed to make strict inquiry, and to 
proceed against any person who meets in a conventicle. 

There are, too, definite entries of fines against persons 
who have refused to have their children baptized, or who 
have " suffered meetings of Quakers at their houses," or 
who have been " living as man and wife without legal 
marriage," i.e. who have married according to Friends 
rules. 1 The Friends in Maryland endeavoured to assist 
their suffering brethren in Virginia during this period, 
and under direction of the Meeting at Tredhaven, in 
December 1690, William Berry and Stephen Keddy 
undertook the service of relieving the sad state and 
condition of the Church in Virginia. 2 

For a hundred years after the first planting of Quaker 
ism in Virginia, Maryland, and the Carolinas that is, 
from the middle of the seventeenth to the middle of the 
eighteenth century it continued to grow and expand 
with some eddies and backwashes. There was here, as in 
New England, an almost unbroken succession of itinerant 
preachers who year after year visited all the Quaker 
centres in their rounds and often broke new ground and 

1 Weeks, Southern Quakerism and Slavery, pp. 43-45. 
2 Janney, History of Friends , ii. 359. 


so formed new centres. Whenever a prominent Friend 
migrated to a pioneer locality he carried his Quakerism 
with him as he did his household stuff, and his house was 
likely to become the centre of a new Quaker church. 
The itinerant ministers in their travels found their way to 
the homes of these isolated Friends, and on their arrival a 
meeting was sure to be appointed for the neighbourhood, 
and if " convincements " were made, as generally happened, 
the " circle " would increase and become a " meeting." 
The Journals of these itinerant workers show the steady 
increase of the Quaker Society during the century, as I 
have indicated. The most important of these Journals 
for tracing the growth and life of the Society are those of 
Thomas Story, Thomas Chalkley, Samuel Bownas, John 
Fothergill, and John Richardson. A few illustrations from 
Thomas Story s Journal will be sufficient to show the 
type of work done by these travellers at the close of the 
seventeenth century, the date of the following itinerant 
service being 1698. Thomas Story and his companion 
Roger Gill sailed up the York River, Virginia, the 
nth of February, and held their first meeting at the 
house of Edward Thomas " a Friend who was zealous 
for Truth " at Bangor House on Queen Creek : " Several 
who were not Friends were tendered, and this was the 
first fruit of our ministry in this country." On the I5th, 
a meeting was held sixteen miles from Bangor House, at 
Daniel Akehurst s on Warwick River " a good meeting." 1 
Next day they were at Martin s Hundred at the house of 
Robert Perkins. On the 2ist, a meeting was held at 
Scimmins [spelled many ways in the Journals } in York 
county, " where no meeting had been before," and " John 
Bates and his wife were convinced of Truth" a very 
important " convincement." The next day Story was 
back at Bangor House where William Clayborn, captain 
of the militia, grandson of the famous Colonel Clayborn, 
was won to the Quaker cause. " At the foot of Queen s 
Creek," Thomas Gary and Miles Gary and their families 
" were comforted, having been lately convinced." Across 

1 We shall hear of this Daniel Akehurst later as a man of note. 


the James River at Chuckatuck, Thomas Story visited the 
old Massachusetts hero of persecution, " our ancient Friend 
John Copeland, the first of those who had their ears cut 
in New England for the testimony of Truth." " At my 
request," Story says, " he showed us his right ear ! " The 
Friends of the neighbourhood came in and they had 
together "a tender season of God s love." Meetings 
followed at Derasconeck, Western Branch [of James 
River], " where several confessed Truth"; Southern Branch, 
" where the Grace of God was plentiful, the people were 
tendered, and the meeting was in the dominion of Truth " ; 
and at Barbican, "the last meeting in Virginia toward 
Carolina." In this town was a "priest \i.e. established 
minister] who, being taken with an infirmity in his tongue 
and limbs, had not preached much for five years, and the 
people, being just to their own interest, paid him only 
as often as he exercised his faculty ! They gave him a 
hogshead of tobacco for every sermon, but no sermon no 

From here the travellers (Nathan Newby of Virginia 
going as companion) passed down into North Carolina, 
"through a wilderness, there being no house in all that 
way ; we ate bread and cheese and drank of the brook." 
At the head of Perquimans Creek they came to the house 
of Francis Toms, " who was one of the Provincial Council " 
evidently William Edmundson s convert. They had a 
large meeting, " several persons of note " attending, after 
which they were entertained by the lieutenant-governor 
of the colony. Prominent Friends mentioned in this 
region are Thomas Simons, Henry White, Gabriel Newby, 
Stephen Scott, and Anne Wilson. 

On his northward passage through Virginia, Thomas 
Story had very successful meetings in the old centres and 
in some new ones, and we get a good glimpse of the wide 
extent of Quaker influence. " At Pagan Creek," he writes, 
" we had a large assembly, most of whom were not Friends, 
and the power of the Lord was gloriously with us." The 
visitors were in most places " treated with beer and wine," 
or " had a little cyder " or " punch made of drams, sugar 


and nutmeg in horn cups," nobody yet having any 
scruple about such things. The places mentioned where 
meetings were held are Chuckatuck, Elizabeth River, 
Elizabeth Town, Southern Branch, Levy Neck, Lion s 
Creek, Burleigh (where James John was the leading Friend), 
Curies, Black Creek, Mattapany River, Powmunky Neck 
(where Captain Clayborn had his plantation, " in a wilder 
ness region every way " and where " several were tendered "). 
At Hickory Neck, where no meeting had ever been before, 
a large gathering was held " some people were tendered 
though a few persons were airy ! " At York City they 
held " the first meeting of Friends that had been there " 
"the people were rude and senseless of good." At 
Pocoson, " where there had never been a meeting before," 
there was a " divine shining of the Light." At Kickatan, 
" things of great moment were opened," and " the daughter 
of that unhappy apostate, George Keith " was brought to 
" gentle tears " and hope was raised " that she might be 
restored to the Truth." At a great meeting at Remuncock 
" many persons of note in those parts " attended, among 
them Major Palmer, Captain Clayborn, and Dr. Walker, 
" all of whom were sedate and some broken." 

His travels in Maryland were not so extensive as in 
the colonies farther south, since he had the opportunity 
of attending the Yearly Meeting for Maryland where he 
met most of the Friends of that Colony. 

It was held on the Western Shore, and was " very full " 
and for two days " peaceable," " the good presence of the 
Lord in it," but on the third day there occurred a furious 
discussion with two " priests," and all the issues between 
the established church and the Quakers were threshed 
over. Naturally Thomas Story felt that " the invisible 
Truth came over their lofty and self-confident heads," and 
he reports with satisfaction that "several Justices who 
were present expressed their sentiments altogether in our 
favour." l We learn from Story s Journal that the " only 

1 A good illustration of the popular interest which was aroused by such dis 
cussions appears in Story s account of his next visit to the Western Shore a year 
later. A priest " came to the meeting for a discussion. He was on horseback ; 
Thomas Story stood on a bench outside the meeting-house, a large company 


ministering Friend at that time in all those parts " [the 
Western Shore of Maryland] was Anne Galloway, who 
was " an honest, innocent, lively, and honourable Friend 
in the Truth who was everywhere acceptable in her 
service." l 

Samuel Bownas gives one or two interesting glimpses 
of Southern Quakerism in the eighteenth century, the 
date of his visit being 1726. 

" The Yearly Meeting in Maryland," he says, "is held four days, 
three for worship and one for business. Many people resort to 
it and transact a deal of trade one with another, so that it is a 
kind of market or change, where captains of ships or planters 
meet and settle their affairs; and this draws abundance of 
people of the best rank to it ! " 2 

He gives a valuable passage for the light it throws on 
colonial travel : 

" I met a Friend from London, his name was Joshua Fielding, 
who had visited Virginia and South Carolina, and had travelled 
by land about five hundred miles in three weeks, mostly alone, 
a difficult and hazardous attempt, but he got through safe though 
he had no provision but what he carried with him, and met 
with but about four or five houses or plantations in all the five 
hundred miles travel [from South Carolina to Virginia] which 
obliged him to lodge in the woods frequently. Having a small 
pocket-compass it was his guide, when sun and stars were hid 
from him." 8 

It was through just such faith and pluck and tireless 
effort that Quakerism was planted in this long stretch of 
coast from the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake to 
Charleston, South Carolina. 

Edmund Peckover, who travelled extensively through 
the Southern Colonies in 1742, gives many interesting 
glimpses of life and religious conditions as they were at 
this time. He is on the whole impressed with tendencies 

gathered round, when to the discomfiture of the priest a woman shouted : "You 
refused to baptize my five children, unless I would give a hogshead of tobacco 
for each one of them. Now I don t care one farthing for your baptism." The 
service " ended in divine peace and consolation." Story, p. 229. 

1 I have drawn my information from pp. 153-176 of Thomas Story s 
Journal, edition of 1747. 

2 Bownas s Journal, p. 140. * Ibid. p. 139. 


toward decline in spiritual life and power of Quakerism in 
Maryland. He laments that many worthy Friends in the 
Choptank region of Maryland have recently died and 
that " many of their offspring come very far short of them " 
few even keep up " the outward appearances " ; but he 
prophesies that " a good visitation hangs over their head." 
Spiritual affairs are, he thinks, " at a low ebb " in the 
other parts of Maryland the offspring of the "antient 
worthies " are as " gaudy and fine in their apparel as any 
who go under our name either at London or Bristol!" 
He finds a much more encouraging state of affairs in 
Virginia "a good visitation has been extended to the 
inhabitants of those parts " ; Friends " are growing in the 
Best Sense and have several ministers among them." l 
He was, too, favourably impressed with North Carolina. 
He found five meeting-houses in the compass of thirty 
miles with large meetings and " many solid, weighty, good 
Friends." " Six or seven hundred persons attend these 
meetings, and there are nine or ten persons gifted in 
ministry, with more developing." 2 

During the last half-century of the colonial period 
roughly from 1725 to 1775 there occurred a large and 
very influential migration of Friends from Pennsylvania 
and colonies farther north, especially from Nantucket in 
New England, to the Southern Colonies. It is difficult to 
discover the reasons for this extensive shifting of popula 
tion in a country not at all thickly settled, but it was 
probably due in the last analysis to economic reasons. 
In any case it was this migration of solid Quaker families, 
building a chain of flourishing meetings across Maryland 
and Virginia and down into North Carolina, that began a 
new epoch for Quakerism in these colonies, and prepared 
the way for the powerful migration of Quakers to the 
west during the next century. 

The movement began with the migration of a group of 

1 The places visited in Virginia by Peckover were Caroline, Cedar Creek, 
Swamp Meeting, Black Creek, Wain Oak, Surry, Pagan Creek, West Branch, 
Nansemond, Chuckatuck, Blackwater, Notaway, Burleigh, Warwick, Curies, 
and Genitee. 

8 Journal of Friends Historical Society, \. 96-99. 


Friends from Salem, New Jersey, and another group from 
Nottingham, Pennsylvania, to the country along the 
Monocacy River, a tributary of the Potomac, in Mary 
land. Sometime before 1730 a meeting, called " Mono- 
quesy," was formed in this region, near the present village 
of Buckeystown. This was the first migration of Friends 
toward the west and away from the navigable waters, a 
movement which has ever since continued. In 1732 
a migration southward was undertaken by Alexander 
Ross and a company of Pennsylvania and Maryland 
Friends, who secured from the Governor and Council of 
Virginia one hundred thousand acres of land for a colony 
on Opequan Creek, another tributary to the Potomac. 
This led to the formation of two meetings, Opequan and 
Providence, which were formed into Hopewell Monthly 
Meeting in I735. 1 In 1745 Fairfax Monthly Meeting 
was established in what was then Fairfax County, but 
now Loudoun County. 2 From this beginning the move 
ment spread southward, frequently increased by large 
migration from Pennsylvania, until there were twenty 
meetings for worship, five monthly meetings, and one 
quarterly meeting in this section of Virginia. A south 
ward movement continued, and from the middle of the 
century onward meetings sprang up in the south-central 
counties of Virginia. One of the most interesting episodes 
of this Quaker expansion in Virginia during the middle 
years of the eighteenth century, was the formation of a 
Quaker centre at Lynchburg, due to the pioneer work of 
Charles Lynch and his wife (Ann Terrell) of Cedar Creek 
Meeting. They were married in 1755, and pushed out 
from home to settle a large tract of unoccupied land in 
the beautiful region about the present city of Lynchburg. 
The Indians broke up the little meeting which Lynch 
and his wife started ; but, undaunted, the devoted pioneers 
took the meeting to their own house, and went bravely 
and tactfully to work to change the attitude of the 

1 This was for some years called Opequan Monthly Meeting. 

2 All the Meetings mentioned above belonged, until 1789, to Chester Quarterly 
Meeting in Pennsylvania. 


Indians from one of hostility to one of peace and 

The same current of migration pushed farther on, and 
brought fresh streams of Quakerism into North Carolina. 
It was this influx of families from the north that builded 
the Quaker meetings in Alamance, Chatham, Guilford, 
Randolph, and Surry counties, and gave Quakerism in 
the south and west future promise and increased spiritual 
power. One of the most important Quaker settlements 
which this migration brought about was that at New 
Garden in Guilford County. It was begun about 1750, 
and the monthly meeting of that name was established 
in 1754. Between 1754 and 1770, eighty-six Friends 
became members of this monthly meeting by migration to 
this section of North Carolina. Of these, forty-five came 
from Pennsylvania, thirty-five from Virginia, one from 
Maryland, and four from north-eastern North Carolina. 1 

The migrations from Nantucket were of later date, 
and were even more numerous. The first date in the 
minutes of New Garden Monthly Meeting for the latter is 
1771. After that time the records abound in names ever 
since then familiar in the annals of North Carolina Yearly 
Meeting, and also in those Yearly Meetings of the West 
which were largely composed of Friends, who, during the 
anti-slavery agitation and the distressing period just 
before the Civil War, emigrated to the free soil beyond the 
Ohio River. Within a period of five years there were no 
less than forty-one certificates from Nantucket in New 
Garden Monthly Meeting alone, and other Friends settled 
within the limits of Cane Creek Monthly Meeting. Many 
of these were young unmarried men, who were seeking to 
improve their fortunes. The island of Nantucket was 
crowded, two-thirds of its population being Friends and 
its hardy sons were ready for adventure and pioneer life. 
In many instances they secured the latter without a 
corresponding increase in estate, and moved on into 

1 Weeks s Southern Quakerism and Slavery, p. 105. For further details of 
this migration see Weeks, op. cit. pp. 96-108 ; Janney s History of Friends, iii. 
248-249 ; and Life and Labours of William Reckitt. 


South Carolina and Georgia to found settlements and 
meetings which have entirely vanished. The minutes 
abound in declarations of intentions of marriage, and 
these Nantucket men were soon united with daughters of 
Pennsylvania, and from these two sources in the main is 
the birthright membership of North Carolina Yearly 
Meeting derived. There was also some admixture of Welsh 
and German blood. This migration came simultane 
ously with what is known as the Scotch- Irish migration. 
Through this channel the strong Presbyterian element 
which has since existed in Central Carolina was introduced. 

These two influences, in many respects diverse, were 
thus simultaneously established on Southern soil. They 
continued to exist side by side with little friction until the 
outbreak of the Civil War. At that time the question of 
slavery forced an antagonism which the War of the 
Revolution did not engender. The Scotch- Irish were 
ready to fight. The Friends maintained their principle 
of peace, and abstained from participation in politics, 
contenting themselves with the rigorous insistence upon 
the rules of discipline, educational and business affairs, 
leaving the others pretty much in political authority. 

There is little definite light available on the early 
settlement of Quakerism in South Carolina. The first 
public document referring to the coming of the Quakers 
to the Southern Colony is a letter written by Lord 
Shaftesbury, June 9, 1675, to Andrew Percivall on the 
Ashley River. The letter is as follows : 

" There is coming in my Dogger [small ship], Jacob Waite 
and too or three other familys of those who are called Quakers. 
These are but Harbengers of a great number that intend to 
follow. Tis their purpose to take up a whole colony for them 
selves and theire Friends. I have writ to the Governor and 
Councell about them and directed them to set them out 12,000 
acres. I would have you be very kind to them and give them 
all the assistance you can in a choice of place or anything else 
that may conduce to theire convenient settlement. For they 
are people I have great regard to and am obliged to care of. I 
am your affectionate friend, SHAFTESBURY." l 

1 Collections of Historical Society of South Carolina, v. 464. 


Some letters from John Jennings of Barbadoes to 
Edward Mayo and Jonathan Fitts of South Carolina, 
written 1679, have recently come to light, showing that 
the Barbadoes Quaker had sent five slaves to the Carolina 
Quakers. He asks his correspondents to return one of 
the " negromen," and to sell the rest for " Porke or 
Tobacco or bills of exchange," though he says, " if I had 
been sensible of what I now am [sensible of] I should not 
a sent them to that place." l 

In 1 68 1 George Fox, by epistle, endeavoured to bring 
the Friends in South Carolina into organic relation with 
the North Carolina Friends. He wrote : 

"If you of Ashley River [S.C.] and you of Albemarle [N.C.] 
had once a year, or once a half-year, a meeting together some 
where in the middle of the country, it might be well." 2 

But the distance between the two settlements and the 
difficulties of travel made a union of forces impossible. 
We get a slight glimpse of these Charleston Friends in 
1713 from Thomas Chalkley s Journal : 

" After a month at sea " [in passage from Philadelphia] he 
writes, " it pleased God that we arrived at Charleston in South 
Carolina. We had a meeting there and divers others afterwards. 
There were but few Friends in this province, yet I had several 
meetings in the country. The people were generally loving, 
and received me kindly. . . . The longer I staid the larger our 
meetings were." 3 

He visited the Governor, who said that he " deserved 
encouragement" in his mission. 

As the country grew in population Friends about 
Albemarle Sound gradually pushed south, and a chain of 
meetings was formed down the coast of North Carolina. 
Core Monthly Meeting was established in 1733 in 
Carteret County, and Falling Creek Monthly Meeting 
was set up in what is now Lenoir County in 1748. 
Weeks says that by the middle of the eighteenth century 
there were probably Quaker Meetings for worship in 

1 Journal of Friends Historical Society, vii. 65-66. 
2 Bowden, L 413. 3 Journal, p. 80. 


Hyde, Beaufort, Craven, Carteret, Jones, Bladen, and 
Lenoir counties, 1 so that the great gap between the 
Quaker settlements in the two Carolinas was fast closing 
up. But Quakerism never flourished in the great Southern 
Colony. Mary Peasley (afterwards Mary Neale) and 
Catherine Peyton (afterwards Philips) visited Charleston 
in 1753, and found a group of Friends there "who walk 
in the sight of their own eyes and the imagination of 
their own hearts, without being accountable to any for 
their conduct." 2 

Samuel Fothergill was at Charleston in 1755, and 
he writes : " I am here amongst a poor handful of 
professors, and I believe I must visit all their families." 3 

But there was one Quaker in South Carolina who did 
not " walk in the sight of her own eyes, nor in the light 
of her own imagination," and she was no mere " professor." 
This was Sophia Hume, a native of the Province, a grand 
daughter of Mary Fisher of Boston fame, a person of some 
refinement and culture, and a woman of very unusual 
religious experience, who, in 1747, issued An Exhortation 
to the Inhabitants of South Carolina* The book was 
written under a powerful sense of compulsion " I would 
not have you imagine that any consideration less than the 
Favour of God could have prevailed on me to appear in 
print " and she believed unmistakably that she was utter 
ing a divinely-given word, and not " the productions of 
an enthusiastick brain." I shall give her message in a few 
words to show what the best Friends of this period held 
to be essential. 

" There is one truth," she says, " on which all I have 
to say to you greatly depends, namely, that all mankind 
have within them a measure and manifestation of the 

1 Southern Quakers and Slavery, p. 87. 

- Memoir of Catherine Philips (1797), pp. 63-101. 

3 Memoirs of Samuel Fothergill, p. 173. Friends were even less successful in 
spreading their truth in Georgia. Samuel Fothergill went into Georgia, and be 
remarks that George Whitefield hurried to get there ahead of him to save the 
flock," but there was little permanent result from Fothergill s visit. A Quaker 
settlement was, however, made in the Colony in 1758 near Augusta, and another 
settlement was made in what is now M Duffie county in 1770. For details see 
Weeks s Southern Quakers and Slavery, pp. 117-124. 

4 First edition printed in Philadelphia by Benjamin Franklin in 1748. 


Light, Spirit, or Grace of God, so that salvation is a 
matter of personal obedience." 1 Then comes her own 
testimony : " I myself have through the Grace of God 
and the obedience of faith witnessed the Peace of God 
myself, and am greatly concerned for the inhabitants of 
my native country to have this same Peace." 2 She 
declares her belief that it is possible by strict obedience 
to the inward Guest and Guide of the soul to walk in the 
light, and she wisely says that the true test of guidance is 
the discovery that our actions promote peace, goodwill, 
charity, and benevolence in the neighbourhood, " for such 
actions proceed from no other than God." 3 She says 
" the first day s work of the new creation in my soul was 
that happy season when God opened my eyes, and 
appeared in the Beauty of Holiness to my soul." 4 She 
insists rightly that the reason the heavenly Jerusalem 
does not come in our age is that Christians are no longer 
sensible of the presence of God, no longer have the Gospel- 
Power, do not live in the Eternal Spirit, and substitute 
words and outward services for Spirit and Life. 5 And 
she drives home to her " friends and neighbours " in fact 
she says that she has come back from England under 
"the constraint of the Almighty" to tell them that 
" Religion is a heart-work, the battle is an inward one, 
nothing counts but victory over sin, nothing but the 
inward possession of the Love of God. God visits you, 
the Voice of the Spirit calls you. Obedience will bring 
the Light and Truth into your inward parts, and you 
may be the Redeemed of the Lord." 6 

It is a simple little book, with some chaff, but with 
some real wheat in it, and it gives a clear idea of the type 
of preaching which was heard in all the meetings of the 
South as the itinerant messengers came among them. 

1 Substance of pp. 5-7. a P. 10. * P. 17. 

4 Condensed, pp. 22-23. 8 ^P- 140-141. P. 156 seq f 



THE little groups of Friends which began to form in 
Maryland in 1656, in Virginia in 1658, and in North 
Carolina in 1671, gradually developed here as elsewhere 
into organised meetings for worship and for "truth s 
affairs." At first the meeting for worship, where the 
little local group gathered in the living faith that God 
was a real presence among them, was almost the whole 
of Quakerism. Those who were newly " convinced " 
quietly marked their change by a severer simplicity of 
outward life, by the unvarying use of " thou " and " thee," 
instead of " you " for a single person, by refusal to remove 
the hat as a mark of etiquette or honour, by the absolute 
omission of every kind of oath, and by attendance of the 
meeting for worship twice each week at the home of some 
leading Friend in the Community. 

For the first dozen years in Maryland and Virginia 
the organisation of the Society was a very slender affair. 1 
No central meeting was held in either Colony prior to 
1672, and the local meetings for business were irregularly 
held, and dealt with but few matters, such as the suffer 
ings of members subjected to persecution, the marriage of 
members, the needs of poor families, the times and places 
of holding meetings, and exercised perhaps some general 
oversight over the " walk and conversation " of those who 
constituted the " meeting." 

1 For example, Burnyeat found in 1665 that under the influence of John Perrot 
Friends in Virginia had quite forsaken their meetings, and did not meet together 
once in a year." Burnyeat s Journal, p. 188. 



The earliest attempts at organisation of the Society in 
these colonies were made by Josiah Coale and George 
Rofe, both of whom were men of the constructive type ; 
but the work of systematic organisation was finally carried 
through by John Burnyeat, George Fox, and William 
Edmundson. Burnyeat began his constructive work in 
the two colonies in 1665, but he carried it much farther 
in 1671-72. He travelled through the Virginia towns 
where there were Friends in the autumn of 1671, and 
advised them to hold a men s meeting for business 
affairs. In the following spring he performed the same 
service in Maryland, and arranged a General Meeting for 
the Colony at West River to be held in April, which George 
Fox, opportunely landing from Jamaica, attended. In 
the summer of 1672 William Edmundson found affairs 
unsettled and out of order in Virginia, and he appointed 
" a men s meeting for settling Friends in the Way of 
Truth s Discipline," and, upon his return from North 
Carolina a few weeks later, this appointed men s meeting 
was held for settling the affairs of the Society. 

Edmundson writes : 

" The Lord s Power was with us in the Men s Meeting, and 
Friends received Truth s Discipline in the Love of it, as formerly 
they had received the Doctrine of Truth. Before I left those 
Parts Friends desired another Men s Meeting ; so we appointed 
another." l 

This proved to be a very large meeting, and was 
occupied with " the affairs of the Church " : " to provide 
for poor widows and fatherless children : to take care that 
no disorders were committed in the Society, and to see 
that all lived orderly according to what they professed." 2 

These accounts show plainly enough that previous to 
this time the organisation was of the loosest character, 
business meetings being held only at the call of some 
travelling Friend with a constructive turn of mind. 
George Fox continued this organising work, " wonderfully 
opening " to the people the use and value of meetings for 
Church affairs ; and when he sailed for England he could 

1 Journal, p. 60. a Ibid. p. 62. 


honestly say that " Friends in those parts are well 
established in the Truth." 

The earliest official document from Friends in Mary 
land is an epistle from the General Meeting for the 
colony held at West River, June 6, 1674, and addressed 
"to the Men s Meeting of Friends in Bristol," England. 
The epistle is largely occupied with homily, but there are 
a few living passages in it which reveal the condition of 
these people who have formed themselves into a Society. 
" We truly desire," they say, " to tread and walk in the 
blessed truth." " Much people there be in our country," 
the epistle states, " that comes to hear truth declared, 
which in its eternal authority is over all and many there 
be that by it are convicted." * 

No minutes of any Quaker meeting in Maryland are 
extant for a date earlier than 1677, the first surviving 
minute being that of a Men s Meeting held at the house 
of Wenlock Christison on the Eastern Shore of the 
Chesapeake, March 24, 1677. Christison is the old 
hero who had braved the dangers of missionary activity in 
Massachusetts and had been condemned to die on the 
Boston gallows, but was finally released and given his 
life. He settled, not long after his " escape," at Tredhaven 
in Talbot County, and became one of the leading person 
alities and one of the foremost influences in the Maryland 
Society ; but his heroism and his distinction as an apostle 
who had suffered much did not raise him above the 
judgment of his fellow-members. He had been valiant for 
the truth in Boston, and had steered his course straight 
on through all the wiles of the enemy, but evidently he 
had succumbed to the attraction of some woman " not of 
the Society." The Men s Meeting in July held at his own 
house " took him under dealing " : 

" Att our Mans Meeting at Wenlock Christison s house ye i4th 
of 5th mo. [July] 1677, Wenlock Christison declared in ye 
meeting that if ye world or any particular person should speak 
evilly of ye Truth or reproach Friends concerning his proceedings 

1 The original copy is on the Bristol Minutes. It is printed in Bowdeii, i. 


in taking his wife, that then he would give further satisfaction 
and clear ye Truth and Friends by giving forth a paper to 
condemn his hasty and forward proceedings in ye matter, and 
he said that were ye thing to do again he would not proceed so 
hasty, nor without consent of Friends." 

For many years the General Meeting for the Colony, 
consisting both of " a Men s Meeting " and " a Women s 
Meeting," were held alternately at half-year periods on 
the Western Shore and the Eastern Shore. Monthly 
Meetings were also held dating probably from the time 
of Fox s visit, at the localities where there were large 
numbers of Friends. The Minutes of the Men s Meeting 
for 1679 held on the Western Shore received reports 
from several local meetings of the Monthly type, as 
follows : Severn, South River, West River, " The Cliffs," 
Herring Creek, Patuxent, Muddy Creek, Accomack, 
Anamessicks, Munny, Choptank, Tuckahoe, Betties 
Cove, Bay Side, and Chester River. Quarterly Meet 
ings began in Maryland, as far as the records indicate, 
in 1679. One was organised that year for the Western 
Shore "to be kept at Aun Chew s house at Herring 
Creek for the easing of the Monthly Meeting and Half 
Years Meeting, so that they may not be so much con 
cerned with outward matters." l Another Quarterly 
Meeting was established on the Eastern Shore, probably 
the same year, as the first official reference to it occurs 
under date of 1/ November 1679. 

The earliest minutes contain interesting information of 
the way the meeting funds were raised and expended. 
All the funds of these meetings in the primitive days 
were in terms of tobacco. In 1677 the Friends of the 
Eastern Shore " thought it fitt and meet " to gather a 
" stock " or general fund, " for the service of Truth," 
"every Friend being left to his freedom what to give," 
and for the care of the poor, for which purpose the 
members contributed 8650 pounds of tobacco. A similar 
fund was raised for the Western Shore and "kept at 
John Gary s for the service of Truth." Eighteen hundred 

1 Minutes of Men s Meetings, 4th July 1679. 



pounds of tobacco out of this latter fund were used to 
purchase " a shallop for Friends service," as a boat 
furnished the readiest method of travel to and from 
meetings along the shores of the Chesapeake. All the 
meetings of every type were held in the homes of members 
during the first twenty years of the history of the Society. 
The first meeting-house built in the Colony was at Betties 
Cove on the Eastern Shore, and by the minutes of a 
Men s Meeting held at Wenlock Christison s in 1678 it 
appears that this house was at that time still unfinished, 
for it was then decided to " loft it," and to " partition it 
with falling windows hung on hinges," but for a long time 
even after this Friends continued to hold "house- 
meetings " in most localities of Maryland. 

In Virginia there were no regular, settled meetings 
" for the affairs of Truth " before the visits of Fox and 
Edmundson. The General Meeting for the entire Colony 
was begun at the suggestion of George Fox in 1673. 
Fox s letter to the scattered Friends of the Colony is a 
brief and lucid expression of the true idea of a Quaker 
meeting : 

" Meet to geather in the power and wisdom of God and keep 
a mans meeting and see that all who proffeseth the Lord and 
Glorious Gospel of Christ Jesus may walk in it and stand by 
Righteousness and holiness as becomes the house of God, and stand 
for Gods glory and his name, so that all that doe proffes his Name 
may nott dishonor it nor cause his name to be blasphemed, nor his 
gracious truth to be evill spoken off, and see that nothing be lacking 
amongst ffriends meetings; and see that you all be as one famyly 
together in the house of God." l 

The earliest monthly meetings in the Colony go back 
to about the same date as the central General Meeting 
1673, though no official accounts appear from this 
primitive stage. Chuckatuck Monthly Meeting was 
certainly in existence in 1683, and Curies (later called 
Henrico) was established in 1698. White Oak Swamp 
Monthly Meeting was established in 1 700 and Nansemond, 

1 Minutes of Lower Virginia Meeting. 


Pagan Creek, Surry, Wain Oak, and Warwick have 
records dating from I7O2. 1 

The first Quarterly Meeting in the Colony was Lower 
Virginia Quarterly Meeting which was established at 
least as early as 1696. It was known, as most of these 
Virginia Meetings were known, under many variant 
names. Upper Virginia Quarterly Meeting dates from 
1700, and in 1706 the Lower Quarterly Meeting was 
divided, forming a new one occupying the middle section 
of the Quaker region under the name of Chuckatuck. 

North Carolina Yearly Meeting was organised in 
1698, as appears from a minute of the Quarterly Meeting 
held at the house of Henry White the 4th of June 1698 : 

" It was unanimous agreed by friends . . . that on the last 
seventh-day of the 7th month in Every yere to be the yerely 
meeting for this Cuntree at the house of ffrancis tooms [Toms] 
the Elder, and the second day of the weke following to be seat 
apart for business." 

The Quarterly Meeting at which this action was taken 
was Eastern Quarterly Meeting which was established 
probably in 1681 for Friends in Pasquotank, Perquimans, 
and Northampton Counties. The earliest monthly meeting 
record for this Colony is that of one held at the house of 
Francis Toms in 1 680, though according to the usual 
custom of Friends there were probably meetings " for the 
affairs of Truth" much earlier than this. By the year 

1 I give as complete a list of Virginia Monthly Meetings as I have been able 
to make out : 

Black Water Established 1757 

Caroline (sometimes called Cedar Creek) . ,, 1739 

Chuckatuck . . . Known to be in existence as early as 1683 
Curies (later called Henrico) .... Established 1698 

Denby ........ ,, 1716 

Fairfax . ,, 1744 

Hopewell . 
Isle of Wight 

Pagan Creek 
South River 
Wainoak . 
Warwick . 

Records under this name begin 1767 
,, 1702 

i, ,. ,, 1702 

Established 1757 
,, 1702 

White Oak Swamp (probably a variant name for some other 
Monthly Meeting) Dates from about 1700 


1700 there seem to have been three monthly meetings 
in this Colony : one at the house of Francis Toms in 
Ferquimans County ; one at the house of Jonathan Phelps, 
also in Perquimans ; and one in Pasquotank. l 

The most impressive feature of these various meetings, 
stretching in a long chain of Quaker settlements from 
the Chesapeake on the North to Charleston on the South, 
was their watchful care over the outer and inner life of 
the membership what the Friends of that time called 
" the walk and conversation." The paternalism of this 
early Quakerism would with difficulty be endured to-day, 
but it fitted the needs of that period well ; and it produced 
results in social morality and in individual character 
which could hardly have been surpassed under any freer 
methods. The quiet ministry to the necessities of the 
poor members, as it was managed by the Quaker Meeting, 
cannot be too highly praised. Every effort was made to 
assist the needy to help themselves and, where this was 
manifestly impossible, the administration of charity was 
handled in a most private and unobtrusive way. " Great 
care and serious weighing" was bestowed upon the 
estates, condition, and education of orphans committed to 
the oversight of Friends. By a minute of Maryland 
Yearly Meeting for 1678, provision was made that one 
person in every local meeting should be chosen to see 
that no orphan is abused, nor his estate wasted, and that 
proper opportunities for his education are supplied. The 
Women Friends, always alive to formative influences, 

1 I give the following list of the other Colonial Monthly Meetings in the 
Carolinas, compiled from the appendix of Weeks Southern Quakers and Slavery : 
Bush River . . . Founded 1770 

Cane Creek, N.C. 
Cane Creek, S.C. 
Carver s Creelc 
Contentnea . 
Core Sound . 
Deep River . 
Dunn s Creek 
Falling Creek 

Fredericksburg (later called Water e) 
New Garden 
Rich Square 



took up the subject of education at their Half Year s 
Meeting in Maryland in 1679, and adopted this quaint 
minute which probably bore some fruit : 

" We takeing it into serious Consideration Consuming our 
Childrens going to Scolle hath thought meett in ye wisdoum of 
god to giue ocation to all ffriends that those that are scoole 
masters may be Exhorted to teach their Children in ye practice 
boath in words, ways and actions wh beComes ye Blessed truth, 
and that we cannott, neither will, allow them to practice any of 
ye worlds liberty in any manner of practice wch ye truth alowes 
not, and alsoe its desired that ffriends be diligent to provide 
ffriends and scripture Boocks, and if possible to have a ffriend 
to be scool Master or Mistress. 

" This being presented to our brethren of ye Mens Meeting at 
ye time aforesaid they had Unity with it." 1 

A similar " serious Consideration Consuming Childrens 
going to Scolle " appeared in all the other Quaker sections, 
and led to the establishment of a great many small 
schools for the " guarded " education within rather severe 
limits of the children of the membership. 

The meetings followed up their distant members, and 
exercised a paternal care over those who moved into 
towns where there was no meeting for them to attend. 
If a member was going on a journey far from home, 
he was supplied with an indorsed document from his 
meeting, which introduced him to Friends in the places to 
which he was going, and prepared the way for him as he 
travelled. A few concrete minutes will illustrate the 
manner in which these matters were handled. The first 
one is the case of a Friend who had moved from Mary 
land to Virginia, and had consulted his meeting for advice 
whether he should stay or return. The Minute reads : 

"William Kuton very honestly applies to this Meeting for 
advice in order to his staying or removing from Rapahanock 
[Va.] Inasmuch as there is no ffriends meeting there but 
himself, he signifyeth that he finds something stirring in his 
heart with love of god to the people, and by himself hath not 
freedom to remove. He desires that if the Meeting do judge 

1 Minutes of Women s Half Year s Meeting for 1679. 


it meet he should stay, they would take care that he may be 
visited on all opportunities that present, and that ffriends 
would acquaint travelling ffriends of that same, that so if 
possible the desire of his heart may be answered concerning 
that people. The Meeting approveth of what ye ffriend hath 
proposed, and doe advise that his request may be answered by 
ffriends on both shores as opportunity offereth." 

The following minute from the year 1686 is a good 
illustration of the care taken for journeying members : 

" Humphry Emerton laid before this Meeting his intention of 
a voyage for England about his outward concerns. This Meeting 
desires first to know the willingness of his wife, and in order 
thereto hath appointed Richard Harrison to discourse with her," 

and forthwith a document suitable to introduce him was 

When a Friend went out on a religious visit " a 
minute of unity" like the following was given to open 
the way for his message and service : 

"Our well beloved Friend and sister Anne Galloway laid 
before this Meeting, that she finding some drawings in the love 
of God to visit Friends in some parts of Pennsylvania, desired 
some lines by way of certificate of their unity with her. And 
whereas our beloved Friend Samuel Galloway hath informed 
this Meeting that he hath an intention of accompanying his 
wife in her intended journey (if extraordinary occasion prevents 
not) desires that he may have a few lines by way of certificate of 
Friends unity with him." 

Even as early as 1705, Friends in Maryland began 
to be disturbed by the excessive use of tobacco and 
spirituous liquors, and there are frequent minutes about 
this " concern of Truth." The earliest minute which I 
have found on the subject, under date of 1705, will 
indicate the way they dealt with the difficulty : 

"This Meeting having a weighty sense upon their minds 
concerning the immoderate use of Tobacco, does advise that all 
may forbear the abuse of the same, and that those friends that 
are appointed to give accompt of the state of the Meeting they 
belong to may forbear the excess of smoking themselves, and 
also caution and advise all friends against the immoderate use of 


the same, and that they give accompt to the Monthly Meeting 
what progress they have made therein." l 

The Friends in Maryland were troubled for many years 
by the sale of liquors in the near neighbourhood of the 
meeting-house at the time of their Yearly Meeting. The 
occasion was seized upon by " the world s people " as a 
good time to "transact trades," and, to the scandal of 
Friends, the meeting-place was made " a kind of market or 
change where the captains of ships and the planters met 
and settled their affairs." The Friends were pleased to 
have " the abundance of people from the country round 
about " flock in, but they were also determined to " prevent 
ye buying of drink at the time of Yearly Meeting," and 
thereupon they addressed the government of Maryland 
"for ye prevention and suppressing of the evil practice 
with the evil consequences attending it." 2 Their appeal 
was in due time effective, for an Act was passed in 1725, 
preventing the sale of liquors in booths within one mile 
of the Quaker meeting-house in Talbot County, or within 
two miles of the meeting-house near West River in Ann 
Arundel County. 3 

Virginia Friends took the position, as Friends else 
where did in the early stage of moral awakening on these 
matters, that liquor-drinking must be done, if at all, in 
moderation. The Yearly Meeting of 1704 expressed in a 
minute the advice that members of the Society " do 
keep out of unnecessary providing of strong drink, and 
do keep in Christian moderation at times of births, 
burials, or marriages." 4 One of the most amusing minutes 

1 Minutes of the Yearly Meeting for 1705. 

2 Minutes of Yearly Meeting for 1711. 

3 Bacon s Laws 1725, chapter 6. 

4 It was not until 1782 that Virginia Yearly Meeting took action prohibiting 
the distillation of liquor by their members : 

The Meeting being deeply concerned at this time to endeavour to remove 
from amongst us such things as appear to be an evil tendency, and as the 
distilling spirits from grain is believed to be wrong, Friends are therefore hereby 
prohibited using grain of any sort in that manner ; and if any should continue so 
to do, such ought to be treated with as disregarding the unity of the body. And 
as trading in spirituous liquors, and frequent, and unnecessary use thereof hath 
also appeared to have many bad effects ; Friends are therefore advised against 
these practices. " 


on the subject of moderation came from North Carolina, 
where Friends were urged to " use tobacco with great 
moderation as a medison and not as a delightsome 
companion ! " l 

There was, however, a strange mingling of the large 
and the little, the important and the petty, in the paternal 
care which these meetings exercised. The moral and the 
merely ceremonial ran blurringly together. Dress, speech, 
and marriage with a companion " of the world" early 
came to be questions of first importance. In 1700 the 
Women s General Meeting for Maryland decided " under 
waity consideration, in the wisdom of God " to hold three 
times a year " a private meeting of the solidest women 
Friends to wait upon the Lord and to inspect into the 
most waitiest affairs of Truth " these " waitiest affairs of 
Truth " being mainly matters of dress and marriage. A 
minute of this " private meeting," dated 1708, declares : 

" It Lies very Waityly uppon us to Desir all friends Profesing 
truth to be very Carefull to keep out of all Imytations of 
Fashghons which the world Runs into : Butt to keep to Plain 
ness of Speach and Plainness in Dress in our Selves, and our 
Children ; Labouring in our Selves and with them to be clothed 
with ye meak spirit of Jesus as such as are waighting for his 

Similar minutes come from every section of Quakerdom 
throughout the entire colonial period from the time when 
meetings for business affairs were organised. The follow 
ing specimen minute from the North Carolina Records has 
a peculiarly nai ve flavour : 

"Friends are advised against wearing coats and other 
garments made after the new and superfluous fashions of the 
times, and no Friend is to wear a wig, but such as apply to the 
monthly meeting giving their reasons for so doing." 

But the subject of overwhelming importance was that 
of marriage, for it had early become a fixed idea with 
Friends that there should be no mixed marriages, i.e. 
marriages with persons " not of the Society." We have 

1 Quoted from Weeks s Southern Quakerism, p. 128. 


already seen how the Meeting on the Eastern Shore of 
the Chesapeake compelled its foremost member, Wenlock 
Christison, to apologise for his " hasty marriage," and it 
allowed no one to deviate " from good order " in this 
matter. As an illustration of the care taken even when 
both bride and groom were Friends, the following minute 
is of interest : 

" Att a Halfe Years Womens Meeting at the house of John 
Pitt ye 3rd of ye 5 mt. 1678. 

" Obadiah Judkins Lay d a matter of maradge before us with 
Obedience Jenner and wee taking itt into Consideration, she 
Coming lately from England, thought it Requisite that they 
should stay till a Certificate can be secured, and in ye meantime 
they should dwell asunder." 

There are many such entries as this of the year 1687: 

"We are informed of a yong ffriendly woman dwelling at 
Choptank [Maryland] that is married to one of ye world and 
after ye manner of ye world ; ye care and consurn of which is 
referred to ye womens meeting on ye Eastern Shore." 

The women Friends of Maryland made a most drastic 
proposal in 1691 to force the children of the meeting to 
live up " to the testimony of Truth." 

" Itts the Sence of this Meeting that when Parents that have 
Children that Marries against and Contrary to their Parents 
mind, and shall give them any part of their outward Estates it is 
encouragement for others to take the like disobedient Course and 
it is of bad Consequence, and this Meeting Advice is that all 
Friends that may be Concerned in like Case doe Refrain from 
giving such Rebellious Children any part of their outward Estates 
that soe such like Spiritts in Friends children may be discouraged 
and not encouraged." * 

By means of an extensive epistolary correspondence, 
beginning from the earliest organisation of the Society in 
America, the Friends, withdrawn from the rest of the 
" world," kept in constant rapport with each other. So 
long as George Fox lived, he wrote frequently to the 

1 This attitude toward "rebellious children" was adopted by the Men s 
Meeting both in Maryland and in Virginia. 


meetings in the colonies, and after his death his wife 
continued the correspondence. 

A minute of the Yearly Womens Meeting at West 
River in 1 699 reports : 

"An Apistle from our Dear friend Margaret fox from the 
Quarterly Meetting att Lancaster, In Old England was read in 
our Meeting and ffriends haueing True Unity with ye same and 
Desireing wee may Eye the great Love of Oure God in this and 
all things agreeable to his blessed truth to ye end of our Dayes, 
Doth appoint Eliz. Talbott, and Ann Galloway to Write and 
answer to the aboue Said Apistle and to send itt by the first 
opportunity In behalf of Said Meetting." 

The Yearly Meetings, both for men and for women,, 
all over the world sent Epistles to each other, and it was 
quite usual for the lower or subordinate meetings to send 
similar Epistles if special occasions called for such action, 
or " if something rose freshly in the minds of any as a 
living message." One of the most amusing incidents in 
this widespread intercourse of love and fellowship was 
the sending of two hogsheads of tobacco from the women 
Friends of Maryland to the women of London in 1678. 
The minute of this " concern " says : 

" We hauing Reseaved many Episels from our dear friends in 
London and of late a Prcell of Boocks as a token of true love to 
our women s Meetting here in Maryland, it is agreed upon at 
this our generall Meetting to wright a Lett r . from ye womens 
Meetting hear in Maryland to ye Womens Meetting in London 
and to send it with two hhd. of tobacco, and it is agreed upon 
that Eliz. Larance and Alice Gary doe take Care to prouide one 
hhd. for ye Western Shore, and Madgdelin Stevens and Sarah 
Thomas to privd one hhd. for ye Eastern Shore, and if possible 
they be sent together, and Margarett Berry is desired to wright 
ye Letter to ye womens Meetting in London." 

By the opening of the eighteenth century the Friends 
were one people throughout the world, though there was 
absolutely no bond but love and fellowship. There was 
no visible head to the Society, no official creed, no- 
ecclesiastical body which held sway and authority. But 
instead of being an aggregation of separate units the 


Society was in an extraordinary measure a living group. 
Friends had suffered together and they were baptized 
into one spirit. Wherever any Friend was in trouble the 
world over, all Friends, however remote, were concerned, 
and were ready to help share the trouble if it could be 
shared. The way in which Friends bore each other s 
burdens is well illustrated by a passage in an epistle to 
George Fox from the Half Year s Meeting in Maryland 
in 1683 : 

" There are many Friends in this province who find a concern 
laid upon them to visit the seed of God in Carolina, for we 
understand that the spoiler makes havoc of the flock there : so 
here are many weighty Friends intending to go down there on 
that service." 1 

Every meeting took care of its own poor, and had a 
permanent poor-fund always ready. There is no unifier 
like love, and nothing creates the group-spirit as does the 
fellowship-interest. Nowhere except in the primitive 
Church has there been a more amazing interchange of 
fellowship, a more spontaneous itinerancy, than among the 
Friends. Harnack says : 

" At a time when Christianity was still a homeless religion, 
the occasional travels of brethren were frequently the means of 
bringing churches together, which otherwise would have had no 
common tie." 2 

A living interest in the collective Church of Christ, he 
points out, throbbed with intensity through each particular 
Church, and the men of spiritual vision and leadership 
contributed themselves to the whole Church. So it was, 
too, in the formative period of Quakerism. The greatest 
and the best of the entire Society made their way from 
meeting to meeting, and from house to house even into 
the cabin of the settler on the frontier and they wove 
an invisible bond, stronger than the infallible decrees of 
Councils, which held the whole body together as an 
integral unit. Hospitality with the Quaker was not a 
virtue, it was an unconscious habit. His house was wide 

1 Quoted from Bowden, i. 385. 

2 The Mission and Expansion of Christianity, i. 179. 


open to every Friend who passed that way, and, especially 
on great meeting-days, there were practically no limits to 
the hospitality of board or bed. 

" Differences," disputes, and controversies between 
Friends were not taken into court, but were settled in 
meeting by the family method. However complex and 
complicated the affairs at issue might be, the meeting 
grappled with them, and brought order out of chaos. 
For example, two Friends in Virginia in 1749 had a 
financial difference, which the Monthly Meeting considered 
would, if continued, have " pernishous consequences to the 
trooth and its prosperity." The meeting took up the case, 
and induced the contenders to refer their controversy to 
the judgment of three Friends. It was thus settled 
satisfactorily, " brotherhood between them was preserved, 
and scandal was prevented." l There are hundreds of 
similar arbitrations on the various minute books, and 
generally, if not always, the meetings proved able to 
settle the affair in dispute, and preserve brotherhood. 

The simplicity and artlessness of these colonial 
Friends appear in almost all their methods as a few 
samples will show. In 1702 Virginia Friends had "a 
deep and weighty sense" that the affairs of the Church 
could be improved, " if but one person should speak at a 
time," and the Yearly Meeting gave " wholesum counsil " 
to meetings everywhere to practise this plan of procedure, 
" which will be," the minute of advice says, " a sweet 
savour, we doubt not ! " 2 

In 1724 Thomas Pleasants asked to be released from 
the duties of clerk to his monthly meeting, "since it hath 
pleased the Lord to give him a few words to speak in the 
assemblies of God s people." A touchingly simple effort 
to advance " the truth " appears in a letter from two rural 
Friends in Henrico county, Virginia, in 1701. 

" Friends, wee thought to acquaint you that we are willing to 
have a First<lay Meeting at our house, hoping it would be for 
the glory of the Lord, and the prosperity of his blessed Truth." 

1 Minutes of White Oak Swamp Monthly Meeting, 1749. 

2 Minutes of Virginia Yearly Meeting for 1702. 


One of the earliest corporate activities of Friends in 
the Southern colonies was directed toward the achievement 
of religious freedom, because their very chance of survival 
as a religious people hung upon the attainment of such 
freedom. The system of Church uniformity weighed most 
severely in Virginia. Nowhere except in Massachusetts 
was the pressure so heavy, and, in the form of distraints 
for tithes, it was continued long after the New England 
Quakers were living in peace. The kind of persecution 
to which all Friends in Virginia were subjected in the 
eighteenth century may be seen in the laconic report of 
Thomas Jordan to his Monthly Meeting in 1700 on his 
sufferings : 

"Six weeks Imprisonment for being Taken Att A Meeting in my 
own house and Released by the Kings Proclamation ; again taken 
at a meeting at Robert Lawrence, and bound ouer to the Court 
of Nansemond, and, for refusing to swear according to their will 
and against the Command of Christ, was sent up to Jamestown 
a Prisoner upwards of ten months. Presently After John Blake 
tooke away my 3 servants And left my wife in a Distressed 
Condition with A young Child sucking at her Breasts that to 
help her selfe the Child did hurt Itt selfe with Crying, wch. 
servants were kept about nine weeks and then returned again 
by the Governors order. Taken by Distress by Jno. Blake, bed 
Sheriff of Nansemond County : Two feather bedes and three 
feather Boalsters and furniture to them with other goodes wch. 
did amount to 3967 Pounds of Tobbacco, also a servant man 
that had 3 years to serve. Taken by distress by Thomas Godwin 
Sherieff : Ten head of Cattells and delivered to Wm. Stinton of 
James Towne." 

Robert Jordan has left his own account of his sufferings, 
which will touch the reader with sympathy for this defender 
of the American idea that religion and religious contribu 
tions are matters for the individual conscience to settle : 

" Being committed to prison, I was first placed in the debtor s 
apartment, but in a few days was removed into the common side, 
where condemned persons are kept, and for some time had not 
the privilege of seeing anybody, except a negro who once a day 
brought water to the prisoners ; this place was so dark that I 
could not see to read even at noon, without creeping to small 
holes in the door ; being also very noisome, the infectious air 


brought on me the flux, so that, had not the Lord been pleased 
to sustain me by his invisible hand, I had there lost my life ; the 
governor was made acquainted with my condition, and I believe 
used his endeavors for my liberty ; the commissary visited me 
more than once under a show of friendship, but with a view to 
ensnare me, and I was very weary of him. I wrote again to the 
governor, to acquaint him with my situation, and so, after a 
confinement of three weeks, I was discharged, without any 
acknowledgment of compliance, and this brought me into an 
acquaintance and ready admittance to the Governor, who said 
I was a meek man." l 

" Destraints for priest s wages," as Friends called these 
forced contributions, lasted in Virginia until the adoption 
of the Bill of Rights at the opening of the Revolutionary 

The sixteenth section of this famous Bill, which was 
drafted by Patrick Henry, embodied this noble principle 
for which the Quakers had wrought and fought for a 
hundred years, and for which they suffered imprisonment 
and annual loss of goods : 

" Religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the 
manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and 
conviction, not by force and violence, and therefore all men are 
equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the 
dictates of conscience ; and it is the mutual duty of all to practice 
Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each other." 2 

This principle was put into practical effect in October 
of the same year by the definite enactment that all laws 
prescribing punishment " for maintaining any opinions in 
matters of religion, forbearing to repair to Church, or the 
exercising of any mode of worship whatever" should be 
repealed, and a universal exemption is made from all 
levies, taxes, and impositions for the support of the 
church or its ministers. 8 

The struggle to secure relief from military exactions 
was not so soon over, and it was in all the Southern 

1 Memorials (Philadelphia, 1787) quoted from Weeks, p. 151. 

2 Hening, ix. 112. 

* Hening, ix. 164, 312, 387, 496. The Church, however, was not dis 
established in Virginia until 1799, though more than two-thirds of the inhabitants 
of the Colony were dissenters when the Bill of Rights was adopted. 


colonies a prolific source of suffering. In an enactment 
of the Virginia legislature in the year 1666 it is noted 
that " divers refractory persons refuse to appeare upon the 
dayes of exercise [of the militia] and other times when 
required to attend upon the publique service," and a fine 
of one hundred pounds of tobacco is imposed for such 
neglect. 1 

A minute of Henrico Monthly Meeting under date of 
5th July 1729 shows what happened when the fine was 
not paid, and also what Friends considered was " for the 
honour of Truth." 

" Our Friend Tarlton Woodson having related to this Meeting 
his case of having had a horse wrongfully seazed by the sheriff 
for a Melishey fine, for not bearing arms according as the Law 
directs, and desires of this Meeting advice whather he may sew 
[sue] the sd. auficer for not acting according to Law. This 
Meeting after deliberate concideration think it may redound 
more to the honour of Truth to suffer wrong patiently than to 
take a remedy at Law." 

By an act of 1738 Friends were exempted from 
military service, but were required to furnish a substitute, 
which, for their conscientious ideas, was no relief at all, 
and the records for the next quarter of a century are full 
of accounts of distraints for military fines, 2 and the period 
of the French and Indian war was a time of very great 
suffering on the part of Friends in Virginia as well as 
everywhere else. Under the law of 1756, providing that 
every twentieth man should be drafted for the war, seven 
young Friends were carried to the frontier. They appear 
to have remained faithful to " the Truth " in their hard 
trial, and the Virginia Epistle to London in 1757 reports 
that the young men are now released from imprisonment. 

1 Hening, ii. 246. 

2 Minutes of this type can be found in every Record Book : 

For not bearing arms Thomas Pleasants 500 Ibs. tobacco, 
ti , , Ephrim Gartrite 500 ,, ,, 

ii ii .1 John Crew, for 300 ,, ,, 

a mare worth .... (> o o 
11 i> ,, John Lead, a bedd and pair of sheets 

worth . . . j6 o o 

i, I* ii Thomas Ellyson, for 500 Ibs. tobacco 

a man (i.e. slave) worth . -^900 


A law which furnished some relief was passed in 1766. 
This exempted Friends from "exercising" at musters, 
and they were released from the general requirement to 
provide a set of arms. The militia officer of each county 
was required to prepare a list of all male Quakers of a 
military age, and no person was exempted unless he could 
prove that he was a bona fide Quaker. In time of actual 
war, however, the Quaker was still liable to be drafted, 
though he could furnish a substitute or pay a fine of ten 
pounds sterling. 1 

The meeting records show many entries like the 
following : 

" At our monthly meeting held at the Western Branch in Isle 
of Wight County in Virginia the 27th of the 6 month 1757 : 

" The overseers of each meeting are desired to collect the 
names of each of their members that are liable by a late act of 
assembly to be enlisted in the militia against our next monthly 
meeting, that a list may be given to the Colonel or chief 
commanding officer of each county as by Act of assembly 
directed ; and have the indulgence granted by the same." z 

At the beginning of its colonial history North Carolina 
possessed a very large measure of religious freedom. In 
the earliest charter granted by King Charles II. to eight 
of his favourites in 1663, and extended in 1665, toleration 
of dissenters was provided for, though it was assumed 
that the Church of England would be the Church in the 
Carolinas. The terms offered to the settlers at Cape 
Fear in 1665 show an unusual breadth of toleration for 
that century : 

"No person . . . shall be any ways molested, punished, 
disquieted, or called in question for any differences in opinion or 
practice in matters of religious concernment, but every person 
shall have and enjoy his conscience in matters of religion 
throughout all the province." 8 

1 Hening, viii. 241. 

s The difficulties on account of military requirements were by no means at an 
end in 1767. The Friends had much to suffer during the Revolution, and fines 
for refusal to train in the militia were imposed for many years after the Colony 
was a state. 

3 Colony Records of North Carolina, i. 80-8 1. 


Locke s Fundamental Constitution for the Carolinas 
provided that any seven persons agreeing in any religion 
should be constituted " a Church or profession to which 
they shall give some name to distinguish it from others," 
and this Fundamental Constitution provided that no 
person of one faith should disturb or molest the religious 
assemblies of others, nor persecute them for opinions in 
religion or for their ways of worship. 1 Everything possible 
was done by the proprietors to invite dissenters to come 
to the new colony, and Friends were not slow to take 
advantage of the open door. The Established Church 
did absolutely nothing in the colony and had no minister 
there before 1 700. For a quarter of a century Quakerism 
was the only organised form of Christianity in the colony, 
and, as Weeks says : 

" When the eighteenth century dawned, the Quakers, by their 
thorough organization and by their earnest preaching, by their 
simple and devoted lives, by their faithfulness and love, had 
gathered into their fold many men and women who primarily 
belonged to other denominations. They became Friends and 
remained faithful to their new-found form of belief." 2 

During this period of freedom, Quakerism had, as the 
next chapter will show, a large and influential share in 
shaping the political development of the Colony, and the 
story of the struggle for freedom from tithes and from 
bearing arms during the eighteenth century will be told 
in that chapter. 

Most of the travelling Friends who visited the Southern 
colonies in the eighteenth century and even earlier 
felt a strong concern against the ownership of slaves, 
though it was not until 1760 that this subj ect really 
gripped the consciences of the Friends who lived in these 
colonies. 3 It seems to us now somewhat amazing that a 

1 This Fundamental Constitution drawn up by John Locke is printed in the 
Colony Records of North Carolina, i. pp. 187-207. 

2 Religious Development in North Carolina, p. 32. 

3 A Minute of Maryland Half Year s Meeting of Women Friends for 1678 
shows that even at this early period the Quaker women were sensitive in the 
matter of a true and kindly treatment of the children of the negro race, and that 
they considered it important to have their own children trained in courtesy toward 
and reverence for others. The minute is dated June 18, 1678, and reads : 

We are informed of a ffriend s Children that belonged to West River Meetting 



man so enlightened and so sensitively conscientious as 
Wenlock Christison a man who was ready to die for his 
faith could have bought and sold slaves, but such is the 
fact. He owned a number of white slaves, evidently 
immigrants sold for debt, but there is also evidence that 
he bought and owned negroes ; for a minute of Tred- 
haven Monthly Meeting, under date of September 27, 
1 68 1, informs that "one Diggs" has sued the executors 
of Wenlock Christison, concerning some negroes sent by 
Wenlock Christison out of Barbadoes to this country," 
and three years later William Dixon, who married 
Wenlock Christison s widow, asks the advice of the 
Monthly Meeting about " selling a negro his freedom." 
This attitude toward the existence of slavery seems to 
have gone on pretty much unchanged until the time of 
the visit of Samuel Fothergill of England (1754) and 
John Woolman s second visit (1757) both well-beloved 
disciples of liberty. Fothergill, who was deeply stirred 
on the subject, wrote : " The price of blood is upon that 
province [Maryland] I mean their purchasing and 
keeping negroes in slavery." Of North Carolina he 
writes, " Friends have been a lively people here, but 
Negro-purchasing comes more and more in use among 
them." 1 Woolman s first journey through Maryland and 
Virginia was in 1746, of which he writes, with his usual 
sensitiveness : 

" Two things were remarkable to me in this journey : first, in 
regard to my entertainment. When I ate, drank, and lodged 
free-cost with people who lived in ease on the hard labour of 
their slaves I felt uneasy ; and as my mind was inward toward 
the Lord, I found this uneasiness return upon me, at times, 
through the whole visit. Where the masters bore a good share 

that they are very badly and Corruptly Educated concerning the importance of 
strict justice being duly attended to on account of the Affricans and their Posterity 
formerly in Slavery, in regard to Christian instruction, Education, and Treatment 
towards the Youth of that race, as well as the circumstances of those more 
advanced in years, which it is desired may have place amongst us, and the weight 
of the subject rests on the mind of friends, now assembled, that when we return to 
our several Meetings we may be enabled to impress on the minds of our Brethren 
and Sisters a close consideration of what may be called for at our hands in regard 
to this People, in consequence of our high profession of Justice and Equity." 
1 Memoirs, pp. 282 and 283. 


of the burden, and lived frugally, so that their servants were well 
provided for, and their labour moderate, I felt more easy ; but 
where they lived in a costly way, and laid heavy burdens on 
their slaves, my exercise was often great, and I frequently had 
conversation with them in private concerning it. Secondly, this 
trade of importing slaves from their native country being much 
encouraged amongst them, and the white people and their 
children so generally living without much labour, was frequently 
the subject of my serious thoughts. I saw in these southern 
provinces so many vices and corruptions, increased by this trade 
and this way of life, that it appeared to me as a dark gloominess 
hanging over the land ; and though now many willingly run into 
it, yet in future the consequences will be grievous to posterity. 
I express it as it hath appeared to me, not once, nor twice, but 
as a matter fixed on my mind." 

At the time of his visit in 1757 he found himself 
constrained by his conscience not to accept free entertain 
ment in Friends homes where there were slaves, and on 
leaving such homes he put money in the hands of his 
host, asking him to distribute it among the negroes. He 
took great pains to make Friends see the evil effects 
spiritually, morally, socially, and economically from slave 
labour, prophesying, with clear insight, that if Friends 
" prefer their outward prospects of gain to all other 
consideration, and do not act conscientiously toward their 
fellow-creatures, I believe the burden will grow heavier 
and heavier. 1 He urged more care in the education of 
negroes and greater endeavours to guide them in moral 
and religious matters, " as souls for whom Christ died," 
and at Virginia Yearly Meeting he was deeply disturbed 
in spirit to note that, in adopting the Query of Philadelphia 
Yearly Meeting, " Are there any concerned in the im 
portation of negroes, or in buying them after they are 
imported ? " they had changed it to read : " Are any 
concerned in the importation of negroes or buying them 
to trade in ? * He spoke strongly against this change. 
He wrote a beautiful epistle to the new Meetings in what 
he calls " the back settlements of North Carolina " New 
Garden and Cane Creek in which he says : " To rational 

1 Journal, p. 104. 


creatures bondage is uneasy, and in tender and most 
affectionate love I beseech you to keep clear from 
purchasing any." l 

From this time on there are frequent minutes dealing 
with the care of slaves, gradually advising against the 
purchase of them, and finally making it " a disownable 
offense " to purchase a slave. Maryland Friends at their 
Yearly Meeting in 1760 had a weighty consideration " of 
their duty in the matter of holding slaves," and there was 
" some uneasiness felt about the propriety of buying 
negroes." The Meeting for that year limited itself to an 
advice against " importing." The year following (1761), 
however, it adopted this minute : 

" At a Yearly Meeting held at West River last Spring relating 
to Negroes a weighty exercise revived in this Meeting, and a 
solid conference was held thereon, and wholesome exhortation 
to attend to the mind of Truth, after which this Meeting con 
cludes that Friends should not in any wise encourage their 
importation by buying or selling those imported, or other slaves, 
and that those that have them by inheritance or otherwise should 
be careful to train them up in the principles of the Christian 
religion." 2 

From the time of this awakening the feeling gradually 
grew among Friends that it was inherently wrong to hold 
slaves at all. Maryland Yearly Meeting of 1772 adopted 
a minute " discouraging the iniquitous practice of holding 
slaves " and advised that Monthly Meetings do extend 
their care and assistance to those who remain possessed 
of these people, in brotherly affection and Christian tender 
ness, labouring in the ability that may be afforded for 
their relief." 

1 The account of this important visit of Woolman through the South occupies 
chapter iv. of the Journal. 

3 There had been an official care shown in North Carolina as early as 1740, 
when the Yearly Meeting recommends to those holding slaves to use them as 
fellow-creatures and not to make too rigorous an exaction of labour from them." 
Even as early as 1722, Virginia Yearly Meeting asked the Query: "Are all 
Friends clear of being concerned in the importation of slaves, or purchasing them 
for sale ? Do they use those well they are possessed of, and do they endeavour 
to restrain from vice, and to instruct them in the principles of the Christian 
religion ? " Weeks, p. 201. 


Five years later the Friends of Maryland came to this 
vigorous conclusion, that : 

" should any of the members of our Religious Society remain so 
regardless of the advices of this Meeting from time to time 
communicated, as to continue to hold mankind in a state of 
slavery the subscription of such for the use of the Society ought not in 
future to be received, and in order that Truth s testimony may be 
clearly maintained against this oppressive practice, our several 
Quarterly and Monthly Meetings are earnestly enjoined to 
extend their help and assistance to such in profession with us, 
as have hitherto neglected to do justice to that oppressed people, 
and if any should continue so far to justify their conduct as to 
refuse or reject the tender advice of their brethren, it is the 
solid sense and judgment of this Meeting that their continuing 
in this oppressive practice is become so burdensome, that such 
persons must be discontinued from our Religious Society." 1 

Similar minutes appear in the records of Virginia and 
North Carolina with a very similar ripening of anti- 
slavery sentiment. In 1767 Western Branch Monthly 
Meeting in Virginia took this tentative position : 

" It is the Judgment of this meeting that no Friends for the 
future doe purchase any slaves without first applying and have 
the consent of the Monthly Meeting, except it be for securing 
of such debts as cannot otherwise be got." 

Sentiment developed so rapidly that the Yearly Meet 
ing of 1768 adopted this conclusion : 

" The subject of negroes, being brought before the Meeting, 
and duly and weightily considered, it appears to be the sense of 
the Meeting, and accordingly is agreed to, that in order to 
prevent an increase of them in our Society, none of our members 
far the time to come shall be permitted to purchase a negroe, or any 
other slave, without being guilty of a breach of our Discipline, and 
accountable for the same to their Monthly Meeting." 

This strenuous action produced considerable opposition, 
and the subject came up again in the Yearly Meeting of 
1772, with much the same result : 

" The sense of this Meeting being requested upon the minute 
of 1768, prohibiting the purchase of Negroes, whether or not 

1 Minute of Baltimore Yearly Meeting for 1777. 


the Monthly Meetings ought to disown such as do purchase 
[Negroes] which matter having been duly and weightily con 
sidered, it is the unanimous sense of this Meeting, that if any 
professing themselves members of our Society, shall purchase a 
Negro, or other slave, with no other view but tJieir own benefit or 
convenience^ and knowing it to be contrary to the rules of our 
Discipline, the Monthly Meeting to which they belong ought to 
testify their disunion with such persons, until they condemn their 
conduct to the satisfaction of the Meeting." 1 

One of the most prominent opponents of slave-holding 
that America produced in the eighteenth century was 
Warner Mifflin, who was born in Accomack county, 
Virginia, in 1745. He determined in his youth never 
to be a slave-holder, but he became possessed of slaves 
through his wife, Elizabeth Johns, and he also received 
some from his father. He, however, soon returned to the 
conviction of his youth, and by the year 1775 he had 
unconditionally emancipated all the slaves who belonged 
to him. From that time until his death in 1798 he 
assiduously laboured to promote emancipation ; but as 
he had in early life moved into Delaware, the story of 
his splendid efforts toward freedom does not belong to 
this chapter. 2 

In North Carolina a minute was adopted in 1772 
advising Friends not to buy negroes except of Friends, 
or to prevent the separation of husband and wife, or 
parent and child, or with the approval of the Monthly 
Meeting, and in 1776 the Yearly Meeting earnestly and 
affectionately advised Friends to " cleanse their hands of 
slaves as soon as they /possibly can," and further, " any 
member of this meeting who may hereafter buy, sell, or 
clandestinely assign for hire any slave in such manner 
as may perpetuate or prolong their slavery" was to be 
disowned. 3 

From the period of the war of the Revolution it was 

1 Owing to the fact that it was against the law of the Colony to manumit a 
slave Friends in Virginia found it difficult to free the slaves they owned, and they 
endeavoured in vain in 1770 to get this law repealed. 

8 See Life and Ancestry of Warner Mijflin, compiled by Hilda Justice 
(Phila., 1905). 

* Weeks, p. 208. 


clearly settled in all the Southern Colonies that no Friend 
was to buy a slave, and that as fast as possible those 
negroes owned by members of the Society should be 
given their freedom and provided for. From this time, 
too, a feeling of responsibility for the education of the 
negroes grew upon Friends, and there are many minutes 
in the Records of the last quarter of the eighteenth 
century providing for the enlightenment of the coloured 

This chapter has dealt only slightly with the deeper 
aspect of the religion of these Quakers in the South the 
essence and heart of their religion, their personal experience 
of life with Christ. They did not, during the period we 
have been studying, produce many great interpreters of 
the fundamental Quaker idea, they added very little to 
the prophetic literature of the movement, and they have, 
therefore, left scant material for the formation of an 
estimate of their inward power. The voluminous Records 
of their meetings and the Journals of their visitors, how 
ever, leave the impression with the reader that they 
formed, in their various localities, live centres of an 
efficient spiritual religion. There was considerable re 
iteration of their central doctrine of the inward Light too 
often presented, perhaps, in rather dull fashion, with too 
little psychological insight of its meaning and too little 
of the warm and tender message of the Light revealed in 
the concrete Person of Galilee and Jerusalem. There was, 
it is certain, too much of the scribal concern over dress, 
speech, and " testimonies " grown sacred with age. But 
there was, nevertheless, something very real and vital in 
these Quaker groups. They kept alive a true democracy 
in which all persons were spiritually equal, they exhibited 
a congregation governing itself and uttering itself through 
the members themselves, even the simplest. They showed, 
too, in their meetings for worship an overwhelming sense 
of the real presence a hush and awe of spirit before the 
God of the outer and inner universe. 

Almost all the Journals of the itinerant ministers 
inform us that they found in their travels among the 


people at large religion at a low ebb, but there was kept 
alive in these Quaker centres a type of religion which was 
in some sense quickened with streams from the living 
Fountain, and which produced real flower and fruit in 
spiritually ordered lives what Fothergill calls, "a lively 
remnant in this land," " purified hearts in which the word 
of the Lord God grows." * They were more sensitive, I 
think, than their neighbours to the meaning of social 
evils, and they were more intensely concerned to be in 
harmony with the will of God. They failed, where so 
many others have failed, by building little tabernacles 
over their mounts of vision, by trying to keep for them 
selves a Light meant for the race, and by failing to grasp, 
intelligently, their principle of religion, which became to 
them a kind of fetish, untranslatable to the world about 
them ; but they did bless the world by producing here 
and there, now and then, specimens of personal lives, 
penetrated by the Spirit of Christ, radiant with His Light, 
taking upon themselves the burdens of the world and 
living in a busy and material world as though they knew 
that their main business here was to help to bring in the 
kingdom of peace and love and brotherhood. In so far 
as they did that, they succeeded. 

1 Samuel Fothergill s Memoirs, p. 166. 



WHEREVER the Quakers, in the early colonial period, 
found avenues open for political activity they entered 
them by a sort of natural instinct. There were in this 
creative stage of Quakerism, no scruples against a political 
career. On the contrary, the foremost Friends felt a 
profound responsibility laid upon them to work out their 
principles of the Light within, in the fields of political 
life. Rhode Island and Pennsylvania furnish the most 
massive illustration of this statement, for these colonies 
offered the best conditions, but the same tendency appears 
everywhere where the Quakers were numerous the 
tendency to put their ideas into actual operation. In fact, 
John Archdale, Governor-General of the Carolinas, is one 
of the most interesting figures in the entire list of public 
Quakers, and for a brief period this great colony of the 
Restoration seemed likely to have its career and destiny 
shaped by Quaker statesmen. 

Maryland and Virginia presented but slender oppor 
tunities for Quaker activity in public life, and the story 
of political activity in these two colonies is soon told. 
The early " convincements " in Maryland included a 
number of public men. William Durand, who was 
"convinced" by Elizabeth Harris in 1656/7, was a 
member of Cromwell s commission for the government of 
Maryland, and was the secretary of that commission. 1 
He seems soon after apparently at the Restoration to 
have moved to Carolina and to have settled a plantation 

1 Archives of Maryland, \. 339, 355. 


on the Roanoke, and the George Durand conspicuous in 
early Carolina history was apparently his son. 1 

Another of Elizabeth Harris s converts was Robert 
Clarkson, who served his colony for some time in the 
House of Burgesses as member from Ann Arundel County. 

Thomas Meares and William Burges were two im 
portant public servants of the colony who became Quakers. 
They frequently appear in the Records of the colony as 
judicial commissioners, justices of the peace, and members 
of the Assembly, and in 1657 they both refused to take 
the oath of office, declaring that it was " not lawful in any 
case to swear," though they had formerly done so without 
compunction. These two above named members of the 
Assembly from Ann Arundel County, and Michael 
Brookes for Calvert County, were fined, October 6, 1657, 
for refusing the oath. 2 Thomas Meares appears again as 
a member of the Assembly in 1663, and Michael Brooks 
also figures in the Records as a member, in spite of the 
difficulty over the oath, and he was put forward for 
positions of trust and public service. 3 Dr. Peter Sharpe 
is another of the early Quakers in Maryland who was 
prominent in public life and political activity. He, too, 
was entrusted by the Assembly, of which he was a 
member, with important colonial matters. 4 Thomas 
Taylor was " convinced " by George Fox s preaching in 
1673. He was at the time Speaker of the Lower House 
and one of the most influential men in public affairs. 
He went to hear Fox preach at William Cole s house on 
the Western Shore and was so impressed that he drove 
seven miles the next day to attend another meeting at 
Abraham Birkhead s house. Here at a " blessed meeting " 
the Speaker was " convinced," and he seems to have 
stayed " convinced," for a little later a meeting was held in 
his house. 5 He continued for many years in legislative 

1 See Neill s Virginia Carolorum, p. 306. 

2 Archives of Maryland, iii. 358. 

3 Ibid., i. 359, 362. 

4 Ibid. , i. p. 362. Peter Sharpe left in his will, "for perpetual standing a 
horse for the use of Friends in the ministry ! " See Davis s Day Star, p. 78. 

6 Fox s Journal, ii. 182 and 194. 


service. His name occurs seventy-one times in the 
Records of the Assembly between 1666 and 1676, and 
he was also a member of the Governor s Council. 

William Berry, too, a leader in all the affairs of the 
new Society, a hospitable entertainer of travelling Friends, 
a liberal subscriber to the funds of the meeting, was for 
some years a deputy in the Assembly, beginning his term 
of service in 1674. He was frequently selected for 
important committee work, and appears to have enjoyed 
the trust and confidence of the colonial officials. 1 

The most interesting Quaker in politics in this colony 
was, however, the old persecution-tried pioneer of Quaker 
ism, Wenlock Christison of Talbot County, who had sat 
in the shadow of the Boston gallows. He settled in 
Maryland probably in 1670. In that year Dr. Peter 
Sharpe transferred a piece of land, containing one hundred 
and fifty acres one of the finest sites on the Chesapeake 
Eastern Shore to Wenlock Christison " in consideration 
of true affection and brotherly love," and " also for other 
divers good causes and considerations." In 1673 another 
Friend, John Edmondson, also " out of brotherly love," 
gave him a hundred acres more, adjoining his " Peter 
Sharpe farm," while a third Friend, Henry Wilcocks, 
presented him with "a serving-man," named Francis 
Lloyd. 2 He was thus a well-provided citizen. His house 
was the place of assembly for the Friends meetings 
and he was the foremost Quaker minister in the colony. 8 

His first public service on record was to prepare, with 
three other Friends, one of them being William Berry, a 
petition to the Governor, the Council, and the Assembly 
for the passage of an Act allowing the substitution of an 
affirmation for an oath. It was an able, straightforward 
document, and was referred to Lord Baltimore, " who hath 
formerly had Intentions of Gratifieing the desire of sd 

1 See Archives of Maryland, ii. passim. 

2 See Samuel A. Harrison s Wenlock Christison (Baltimore 1878), pp. 52-54. 

3 Peter Sharpe, in his will, left forty shillings apiece to Friends in ye 
ministry, viz. Alice Gary, William Cole, Sarah Mash [Marsh], if then in being ; 
Winlock Christeson and his wife, John Burnett [probably Burnyeat] and Daniel 
Gould [Burnyeat s companion]." Davis s Day Star, p. 78. 


people called Quakers." It was, however, finally decided 
that it would be " utterly unsafe to make a Law in this 
Province to exempt the people thereof from testifying 
upon oath." l Christison and his friend John Edmondson, 
both of Talbot County, were chosen deputies to the 
Assembly in 1678. What they did about the oath of 
office we have no way of knowing, but they were at all 
events enrolled as members of the Lower House the 2ist 
of October i678. 2 Christison at once received important 
appointments to service for the House and was, strangely 
enough, selected to serve on a Committee of six to prepare 
an " Act for the Security and Defense of the Province " 
and for drawing up the " necessary articles of Warre ! " 3 
There is no way of discovering what this peace-loving 
Quaker did on the military Committee, though the 
Records plainly show that he accepted the appointment, 
and that he received nine hundred pounds of tobacco from 
the colony for his service as a deputy. 4 In 1681, the 
Records of the Lower House announce a vacancy in 
the representation from Talbot County due to the death 
of Wenlock Christison. 5 His fellow-member, John 
Edmondson, had a much longer term of service, and was 
throughout his period of service on important standing 
committees. September 6, 1681, William Berry and 
Richard Johns, both apparently at the time members of 
the Lower House, introduced another petition urging the 
privilege of affirmation, which they presented so effectively 
that the House adopted the following Resolution : 

"If the Rights and Privileges of a freeborn Englishman, 
settled on him by Magna Charta and often confirmed by 
subsequent Parliaments, can be preserved by yea and nay in 
wills and testaments and other occurients, the Lower House 
may do well to prepare such a Law." 6 

The Friends followed up this favourable action by 

1 Archives of Maryland, ii. 355. 2 Ibid., vii. 7. 

3 Ibid., vii. 19. 4 Ibid., vii. 87. 

6 Ibid., vii. 134. The actual "Act of Security and Defense" was not drawn 
up until after Christison s death. See Ibid., vii. 143. 
8 Ibid. , vii. 153. 


presenting a paper giving six reasons for a modification 
of the law on oaths. In their dignified address, taking 
up the reference to Magna Charta, they said : " We are 
Englishmen ourselves, and freeborn, although in scorn 
commonly called Quakers, and therefore so far from desiring 
the least breach of Magna Charta, or of the least privileges 
belonging to a freeborn Englishman, we had rather suffer 
many degrees more than we do (if that were possible) 
than willingly admit the least violation of those ancient 
rights and liberties which are our birthright. And had 
we not been full well assured that our sufferings may be 
redressed and our request granted without violating 
Magna Charta in the least degree we would not have 
desired it ! " If William Berry and John Edmondson 
and Richard Johns wrote that document they were good 
men to represent the Society of Friends in Maryland. 
The Bill passed the Lower House but did not at that 
time receive Lord Baltimore s approval. 1 He, however, 
issued a proclamation in 1688 making an oath unneces 
sary in testamentary cases, for which act the Quarterly 
Meeting at Herring Creek sent him an address of appre 
ciation, and in 1702 Friends were entirely relieved of 
the oath. 

It was during the session of the Assembly in the 
autumn of 1681 that Lord Baltimore announced to both 
Houses that " moved by the frequent clamours of the 
Quakers," he was resolved henceforth to publish to the 
people the Proceedings of all the Assemblies 2 surely a 
distinct right of the people. In 1682 the Lower House 
voted that " no member whatsoever be at any time during 
the sitting of this House, admitted with his hatt on ! " 8 
This was presumably directed against the Quaker members, 
and yet in spite of this vote, two years later, in a speech 
before the Assembly, Lord Baltimore reproves certain 
members " for rudely presuming to come before his Lord 
ship with their hats on," which would indicate that there 
were a number of Quakers still in the House. 

1 See Neill s English Colonies in America, pp. 305-306. 
1 Archives of Maryland, vii. 221. " Ibid., vii. 353. 


There were, too, many members of the Society of 
Friends at this time occupying judicial positions in the 
colony. In Talbot County in 1685 three out of the ten 
judges of the county were Quakers William Sharpe, 
William Stephens, one of Fox s " convincements," and 
Ralph Fishbourne, a prominent member of the meeting. 

This Quaker activity was not allowed to pass un 
challenged. The " practical politicians " of the time 
circulated a report against the Friends who were in the 
Assembly, charging that these Quaker members were the 
cause of " the leavyes [i.e. taxes] being raised soe high ! " 
The Monthly Meeting thereupon appointed a committee 
" to treat with Lowe [the politician who made the charge] 
for ye clearing of Friends and ye Truth ! " l " Truth " 
was, for the time being, " cleared," but the feeling steadily 
grew in " the Society " that it was safer to keep out of 
politics, and Maryland Friends in the eighteenth century 
contented themselves with sending petitions to the legisla 
ture instead of sending members to it, a change of policy 
which was a distinct loss to the colony and a still greater 
loss to the Society itself. 2 

The opportunities for public service on the part of 
Friends in Virginia were very meagre. There were, how 
ever, a number of men in official station who threw in 
their lot with the Quakers, and as a result found them 
selves relegated to private life. John Porter is an 
interesting instance of this. The story is laconically told 
in the Colonial Records for September 12, 1663 : 

" Whereas Mr. John Hill, high sheriff of Lower Norfolk, hath 
represented to the House that Mr. John Porter, one of the 
burgesses of that county, was loving to the Quakers and stood 
well affected toward them and had been at their meetings, and 
was so far an Anabaptist as to be against the baptising of children; 
upon which representation, the said Porter confessed himself to 
have been and to be well affected to the Quakers, but he con 
ceived his being at their meetings could not be proved, upon 

1 Minute of i4th October 1677. 

8 In this particular Friends were in line with the early Christians. Tertullian 
says (Apol. xxxviii. ) : " Nothing is more alien to us than politics." 


which the oaths of allegiance and supremacy were tendered to 
him which he refused to take, whereupon it is ordered that the 
said Porter be dismissed this House." 1 

John Porter, junior (who, oddly, was the brother of the 
above-mentioned John Porter, senior), was Justice of the 
County Court of Lower Norfolk, and tried a witch case in 
1659, and had been High Sheriff of the county in 1656. 
He was " convinced " as a Quaker in the early sixties, 
and became the foremost preacher of that section of the 
colony. He was again and again arrested for preaching, 
and was once sentenced to be transported from the colony. 
Quite naturally he ceased to hold public office. John 
Bond (probably a Quaker) was declared " unfit to be 
continued a magistrate and incapable henceforth of any 
publique trust or employment because of his factious and 
schismatical demeanour? 2 

The most interesting glimpse we get of Quakers in 
public life at this period comes from a section of the 
colony which was claimed both by Virginia and Maryland. 
As soon as the Virginia Assembly passed its Act of 1660 
against the Quakers, those who were living on the eastern 
shore of Virginia petitioned the Governor of Maryland to 
grant them the privilege of moving up into the limits of 
his colony. The Governor of Maryland appointed three 
commissioners, John Elzy, Randall Revell, and Stephen 
Horsey to arrange for the settlement of such persons as 
wished to come over into his Province, assigning to them 
" any parts below the Choptank River," 3 and a large 
number accepted the opportunity, as we are informed that 
there were in May 1662 "fifty tithable persons seated at 
Monokin and Anamessicks " [on the eastern shore south 
of Nanticoke River 4 J. 

Colonel Edmund Scarborough, who was one of the 
original commissioners for the transfer of these settlers, 
for some reason turned his service over to the Governor 
of Virginia and became the agent of the latter colony for 

1 Hening, Statutes at Large, ii. 198. This was John Porter, senior. 

2 Hening, ii. 39. 

8 Archives of Maryland, iii. 469. * Ibid., iii. p. 452. 


collecting the rents of the Anamessick settlers on the 
claim that they still belonged to Virginia. " Wee lye," 
the settlers write to the authorities in Maryland, " between 
Sylla and Charibdis, not knowing how to get out of this 
Labarinth." I While this somewhat momentous issue was 
being settled by the two colonies, Colonel Scarborough, 
" with forty horsemen for pomp and safty," arrived at 
Anamessicks on a Sunday morning (October 11, 1663) 
to force the issue. Here he found, he says, " some 
contemptuous Quakers and a foole in office " [evidently 
Stephen Horsey, a Quaker and the Agent of the colony 
of Maryland.] 

Colonel Scarborough well illustrates the usual official 
attitude toward Quakers in the early period of their history, 
and his description is coloured both with humour and 
spleen. He arrested Stephen Horsey because he would 
not acknowledge the authority of Virginia, and he put 
the " broad arrow " on his door. He continues : 

" Wee went to ye house of Ambrose Dixon, a Quaker, where 
a boat and two men, belonging to Groome s shipp, and two 
running Quakers were, also George Johnson and Thomas Price, 
Quakers." He found there " a certain Hollingsworth, merchant 
of a northern vessel [William Hollingsworth of Salem, Massa 
chusetts], who presented his request for liberty to trade, which I 
doubted [i.e. suspected] was some plott of ye Quakers." 

"Stephen Horsey," he continues, "ye ignorant yet insolent 
officer, a cooper by profession, who lived in ye lower parts of 
Accomack [belonging to Virginia] once elected a burgess by ye 
common crowd and thrown out by ye Assembly for a fractious 
and tumultuous person, a man repugnant to all gov mt, of all 
sects yet professed by none, constant in nothing, but opposing 
church government, his children at great ages yet unchristened. 
He left the lower parts [i.e. Accomack] to head rebellion at 
Annamessecks. George Johnson, ye proteus of heresy ... is 
notorious for shifting, schism atical pranks. Thomas Price, a 
creeping Quaker, by trade a leather dresser, whose conscience 
would not serve to dwell amongst the wicked and therefore he 
retired to Annamessecks where he hears much and says nothing 
els but that he would not obey government, for which he also 
stands arrested. Ambrose Dixon, a caulker by profession, that 

1 Archives of Maryland, iii. p. 474. 


lived long in ye lower parts [i.e. in Accomack] was often in 
question for his quaking profession, removed to Annamessecks 
where he is a prater of nonsense. A receiver of many Quakers, 
his house is ye place of their resort [i.e. their meeting-place]. 
Henry Boston, an unmannerly fellow, stands condemned for 
slighting and condemning the laws of the county, a rebell to 
gover mt and disobedient to authority . . . hath not subscribed 
[i.e. to the oath.] These are all, except two or three loose 
fellows who follow the Quakers for scrapps, whom a good whip 
is fittest to reform." 1 

Stephen Horsey " the ignorant, insolent officer " 
became one of the first judges of the new county, organised 
by the government of Maryland, and he was also the first 
sheriff of the county, a man of solidity, trustworthiness, 
and large public service. Henry Boston " the un 
mannerly fellow " and George Johnson " the proteus 
of heresy " were both selected as county Judges ! 
George Fox visited the Anamessick region in 1673 
and added many new members to the little Society, the 
nucleus of which had migrated thither from the Accomack 
strip in Virginia. 

A provision was made in 1705 by the Legislature of 
Virginia which granted the Quakers of that colony the 
privilege of affirmation, but the time had already then 
gone by for them to take up political activity and then, 
too, they still remained in the thought of their Episcopal 
neighbours a people apart a peculiar sect 2 

There was at least one interesting exception to the 
aloofness of the Virginian Quakers from the responsibilities 
of public life. Charles Lynch, the founder of Lynchburg, 
and the pillar of Quakerism in that region of the colony, 

1 Neill s Virginia Carolorum, p. 302. This region became in 1666 a part of 
Somerset County, Maryland. 

2 The provision referred to is found in "An Act for establishing the General 
Court and settling the proceedings therein." Section 31 reads: "Provided 
always, That the people commonly called Quakers, shall have the same liberty 
of giving their evidence, by way of solemn affirmation and declaration, as is 
prescribed by one Act of Parliament, Septimo et Octavo Gulielmi Tertii Regis, 
intituled An act that the solemn affirmation and declaration of the people called 
Quakers shall be accepted instead of an oath, in the usval form ; which said Act 
of Parliament, for so much thereof as relates to such affirmation and declaration, 
and for the time of its continuance in force, and not otherwise, shall be, to all 
intents and purposes, in full force within this dominion." Hening, iii. 298. 



was asked, in the critical period of the early sixties in the 
eighteenth century, to become a member of the Colonial 
Assembly. At first he declined because he felt that such 
a public position would be inconsistent with the require 
ments of his Quaker faith. As the storm increased, how 
ever, and the colonial crisis plainly grew imminent, he 
yielded, and in 1 764 went as member from his county to 
the Virginia House of Burgesses. He was a member 
when Patrick Henry delivered his famous speech which 
heralded independence, and he remained a member until 
the colony became a state. He was, however, eventually 
disowned by his Meeting for his complicity with warlike 
activities, though he continued until the end of his life to 
attend Quaker meetings. 

As soon as we turn to North Carolina we are in 
another type of social and political world. Here the 
only organised form of religion which existed before the 
eighteenth century was that of the Society of Friends. 
King Charles II., in his first Charter to the Proprietaries 
of the colony, granted in 1663, gives "full and free 
license and liberty and authority " to tolerate all persons 
in the colony who, " in their judgment and for conscience 
sake, cannot conform to the liturgy and ceremonies [of 
the Church], or take and subscribe the oath." 1 That 
same year [1663] Sir John Colleton, one of the Proprietors, 
wrote to the Duke of Albemarle, another Proprietor, inform 
ing him the Carolina colony can be " planted and settled " 
only on a basis of " liberty of conscience," without that 
privilege, he declares, " settlers will not goe." 2 The result 
was that the Proprietors issued in August 1663 this 
" declaration and proposal to all that will plant in 
Carolina " : 

" We will grant, in as ample manner as the undertakers shall 
desire, freedom and liberty of conscience in all religious or 
spiritual things, and to be kept inviolably with them, we having 
power in our charter so to do." * 

1 Colony Records of North Carolina, i. 32. 

1 Ibid. i. 34-35. 3 Ibid. i. 45. 


And the Fundamental Constitution, drafted by John 
Locke, contained this enlightened article : 

"No person whatsoever shall disturb, molest, or prosecute 
another, for his speculative opinions in religion, or his way of 
worship." l 

Here then was an "open door" for the Quaker who 
desired to make his principles prevail in the affairs of the 
colony, and here, too, was forming throughout the last 
quarter of the seventeenth century a very live and 
aggressive band of Quakers, who saw themselves for once 
in a region where their type of Christianity had no rival. 
The influence of Friends in the colony dates from the 
visits of Edmundson and Fox in 1672. The Governor 
[Carteret] and his wife received George Fox " lovingly," 
and accompanied him through the wilderness, and in the 
home of Joseph Scott, a deputy in the Assembly, the 
Quaker missionaries held a " precious meeting." The 
" chief secretary of the colony " was already a convinced 
Friend at the time of Fox s visit, having been reached 
apparently by Edmundson. 

" For three weeks," writes a North Carolina historian, " Fox 
lingered among these people of the forest, whom he described 
as tender and loving and receptive of the truth, holding meetings 
to which they flocked. The seed fell on good ground. The 
faith of the zealous evangelist, who appealed so effectively to the 
consciences of his hearers, took firm root in Albemarle. No 
other religious meetings were held calling the people into 
communion, and at once ministering to their human needs, 
and satisfying their spiritual longings. It was in sympathy with 
the solitude of their surroundings and the quietude of their 
daily life." z 

Francis Toms, Christopher Nicholson, and William 
Wyatt, three of the leading men of the colony all three of 
whom held their land under the Great Deed of the Lord 
Proprietors had become Quakers by the year 1673, and 
had meetings held in their houses. 

1 Section 109, Colony Records, i. 204. 

8 Ashe, History of North Carolina (1908), i. 109. 


In 1677 the colony passed through a mild revolution, 
known in history as " Culpepper s Rebellion," undertaken 
and carried through with the aim of securing colonial self- 
government " a government by our own authority, and 
according to our own model." 1 One of the foremost 
leaders of the little revolution was George Durand, who 
became attorney-general of the colony in 1679. The 
prevailing opinion among those who have described this 
Rebellion has been that Durand was a Quaker, but that 
seems improbable. Fox never mentions him, and there are 
no contemporary evidences that he was in membership 
with Friends. 2 Friends did their best during this crisis 
to keep from being entangled on either side in a move 
ment which involved bloodshed, though Timothy Biggs, 
the deputy collector of customs apparently a Quaker 
was unduly aggressive in favour of the status quo, even 
suggesting to the Proprietors that a ten-gun vessel would 
have a marked influence in restoring order ! The official 
utterances of the Society, however, declared Friends to be 
" a separated people, standing single from all seditious 
actions," and in their petition to the Lords Proprietors in 
1679 they ask for protection from "the heads of the 
sedition who now sit in Parliament," i.e. in the colonial 
legislature. 8 

John Archdale first comes into connection with the 
Carolinas by the purchase of Sir John Berkeley s share in 
the proprietorship of the colony for his minor son, Thomas 
Archdale, about 1680. His name is first mentioned in 
the colonial records on March 26, 1 68 1, when he com 
missioned Daniel Akehurst formerly of Virginia to 
be his deputy. 4 He had, however, already had a long 
apprenticeship in colonial affairs, having served from 1 664 
to about the end of that decade as agent for Sir Ferdinando 
Gorges, Governor of Maine. 6 He was not at this time a 
Quaker, but became one soon after his return to England, 

1 Colony Records, i. 228. * See Weeks, op.jcit. pp. 33-34. 

1 Colony Records, i. 250-253. 
* South Carolina Historical Collection, i. 104. 

8 The National Dictionary of Biography makes Archdale brother-in-law to 


probably in the early seventies. 1 He seems to have been 
reached by Fox himself, for in a letter, written in 1686 to 
the Quaker founder, he says : 

" I desire to be had in remembrance by thee, having faith in 
the power that was by thee, in this last age of the world, first 
preached, and [which] convinced me ... and separated me 
from my father s house." 2 

Soon after he became a Proprietor, he came over to 
America, and settled in the colony at least we find him 
there in the winter of 1683, for the new appointee for 
Governor, Seth Sothel, received instructions (dated 
December 14, 1683) to consult with John Archdale in 
making his official appointments. The instructions order 

" That he doe forwith, with the advice of Mr. Archdale, choose 
four of the discreatest honest men of the county who were no 
way concerned in any of the said disturbances to be Justices of 
the County Court, and also an able man so qualified to be sherrif 
of the county, that there may bee a Court of impartiall persons 
for the tryall of all actions that have relation to the late disorders 
that those injured may have right done them according to Law." s 

During a part of the years 1685 and 1686 Governor 
Sothel was out of the colony, and John Archdale 
temporarily performed the duties of the governorship, 
evidently to the great satisfaction of the colonists. It 
was during this period of colonial service that he wrote 
the letter to George Fox, already referred to. He 
complains in the letter that opportunities for intercourse 
between the colony and Great Britain are meagre, though 
the colony produces many exportable commodities. " The 
country produces plentifully all things necessary for the 
life of man, with as little labour as any I have known. 
It wants only industrious people, fearing God." He gives 
an interesting account of the way he has dealt with the 
Indians, and brought them into peaceful conditions " I 

1 Isaac Milles, who was vicar of Chipping Wycombe parish from 1674 to 1681, 
expresses his regret that John Archdale has turned Quaker, because " he is the 
chief gentleman of the village. " 

8 Letter in Bowden, i. 416. 

8 Colony Records, i. 346. There are, too, other orders to consult John 
Archdale. See especially Colony Records, i. 346, 350, and 351. 


look upon their outward civilising," he says, " as a good 
preparation for the Gospel, which God in his season, 
without doubt, will cause to dawn among them." He is 
impressed with the spread of the Quaker faith, which, 
undoubtedly, his presence in the colony had done much 
to advance, but his reference to it is in these simple, 
unostentatious words : " The growth of the Divine Seed 
in these parts is an encouragement to all that witness it." 1 
He apparently returned to England sometime during 
the year 1686 ; to come back a decade later with greatly 
enlarged powers. Between the years 1686 and 1695 
i.e. the period of Archdale s absence in England the 
affairs of the colony were in a troublous condition. Sothel 
became impossible either as Governor or Proprietor, and 
was forced out of the country, but none of the men who 
tried to direct affairs was possessed of wisdom or prestige 
enough to quiet the disturbances, or to settle the issues 
which were embroiling the different sections of the great 
colony. 2 The Proprietors were finally aroused to the 
urgency of the situation by a letter from Governor Smith, 
who was vainly trying to bring the colony into order, 
calling upon the Proprietors to send over one of their 
number. 3 The colonists suggested that Lord Ashley was 
the " proper person for such a worke," but " his circum 
stances would not admitt of his absence from England, 
though his heart and affections were intirely inclined 
hither." It was then that Archdale was summoned to 
the task. To quote his own words : " Ye Proprietors 
were pleased to look upon mee as one that would be 
impartiall in examining into ye causes [of discontent], 
and thereby bee ye more capable of judging equally ye 
parties concerned in ye differences " ; and furthermore 

1 Bowden, i. 415-416. 

8 Carolina was divided into the North and South Colonies about 1688, though 
still under one proprietorship. 

* In his opening speech to the Assembly in South Carolina Archdale said : 
The occasion of my coming hither was . . . that there came various letters 
from Carolina, signifying ye great discontent and division ye people were under, 
but especially one . . . wherein it was signified that ye heates and animosities 
amongst you was growne almost irreconcileable, and that, except a proprietor did 
speedily come over, there was no hopes of any reconciliation amongst you." 
This address is printed in full in Historical Collection of South Carolina, ii. 102. 


his appointment had " the encouragement of several 
Carolinians then in England." l 

The official appointment of Archdale was made by 
Lord Craven, Palatine 2 of the Carolinas, and was as 
follows : 


one of the Landgraves and 
Governour of Carolina. 

"Whereas it is agreed by ye Lords Proprietors of ye said 
Province that the Palatine should name ye Governour, I out of 
the Trust and confidence I have in ye Wisdom, Prudence, 
Integrity and Loyalty of you John Archdale, Esqr., Doe hereby 
nominate, Constitute and Appoint you ye sd. John Archdale to 
be Governour and Commander-in-Chief of Carolina, with full 
power and authority to doe Act and Execute all such Jurisdic 
tions and Powers as by virtue of ye Rules of Government and 
Instructions given by myself and ye rest of ye Lords Proprietors 
of ye sd. Province a Governour is to doe and Exercize. And you 
are to follow such instructions as are herewith given you or that 
you shall hereafter from time to time receive from myself and 
ye rest of ye Lords Proprietors of ye said Province and thus to 
continue during my Pleasure. Given under my hand and Scale 
this z8th day of November 1694. 

"CRAVEN, Palatine." 3 

This document is, however, only the official certificate of 
his appointment, for the Proprietors had already, on the 3 ist 
of August of the same year, " constituted and appointed " 
" our trusty and well - beloved John Archdale, Esqr., 
Governour of our whole province of Carolina, reposing 
special trust in ye courage, loyalty, and prudence of ye 
sd. John Archdale." They had given him very large and 
comprehensive power : 

1 From Archdale s Speech in the South Carolina Assembly. 

8 The Palatine was the highest order of nobility in Locke s Constitution for the 

8 From the Archdale Papers in the Roberts Collection at Haverford College. 
I find from the British State Paper Office for October 17, 1694, the Governor s 
salary was ^200 per annum. 


"Wee do hereby further Impower, constitute and apoint 
you our sd. Governour to be Admirall, Capt. Generall and 
Commander-in-chief of all ye forces raised or to be raised both 
by sea and land within our sd. Province and over them to 
appoint a Lieutenant General, or Lieutenant Generals, Vice 
Admirall or Vice Admiralls both of South and North Carolina " 

with further extensive power of appointment and with 
far-reaching authority over internal affairs. 1 

The new governor sailed almost immediately upon his 
appointment, landed in New England, visited Boston, 
Plymouth, Rhode Island, and travelled by land to his 
province, arriving in North Carolina June 25, 1695. 
His daughter, who was married to Emanuel Lowe, 
resided in Albemarle, and here, among his own people, 
organising the troubled affairs of the northern colony and 
adding new life and power to the Quaker meetings along 
the Sound, he remained about six weeks. On his arrival 
he had found Thomas Harvey probably a Quaker 
acting as deputy governor, and when he departed to go 
to the Southern Colony, he left Harvey in charge of the 
administration in North Carolina. 2 Archdale arrived in 
Charleston, South Carolina, early in August, and set him 
self to work to get at the seat of the colonial troubles. 
In his own account he says : 

"When I arrived I found all matters in great confusion and 
every faction apply d themselves to me in hopes of relief. I 
appeased them with kind and gentle words and as soon as 
possible called an assembly." 8 

There was much hard feeling and jealousy between 
dissenters and churchmen, and between moderate church- 

1 These instructions are in the British State Papers Office for North Carolina, 
and are printed in Colony Records of North Carolina, i. 389-390. 

2 When Thomas Story came to North Carolina in 1699 he had letters to 
Thomas Harvey who received him and entertained him (Journal, p. 157), and it 
appears further that Harvey did not take an oath as Governor, since Governor 
Nicholson of Virginia refused to recognise his authority to appoint commissioners 
to settle the boundary between North Carolina and Virginia on the ground that 
the Governor was not under oath in office (Ashe, i. 150). Daniel Akehurst, a 
Quaker, was at this time Secretary of the Colony, and Francis Toms was an 
assistant. See Colony Records, i. 413. 

* Archdale s " Description of Carolina, " written in 1707, printed in Historical 
Collection of South Carolina, ii. 85-120.] 


men and high churchmen, and in forming his Council 
Archdale endeavoured to " mix " his forces. He gives 
this quaint account of his plan : 

"Although my power was very large, yet I did not wholly 
exclude the High-Church party out of the essential part of the 
government, but mixed two moderate church-men to one High 
Church man in the Council whereby the Balance of Government 
was preserved peaceable and quiet in my time." x 

The choice of the Assembly was left with the people, 
and it met for official business August 17, 1695. The 
Governor was not required to take an oath, but gave 
affirmation to the following engagement : 

"Alt a Councill Held at Charles Towne the i?th day of 
August Anno Domi. 1698: And Psent the Rt. Hono ble . John 
Archdale Esqr., Governor. 


Dep 1 ? 8 . RICHARD : CONANT. Esqrs. 

This day the R l . Hono ble . John Archdale Esqr., Governor, in 
open Councill Tooke the following oaths or declarations accord 
ing to the forme of his profession. 

You being Governor doe solemnely promise and Ingage that 
you will govern according to the Lords Proprs. Instructions and 
Rules of Government and as the Law Directs : you will Dis 
tribute equall Justice without delay to the Rich and poore : The 
Secretts of the Council you will keep, In all things you shall 
endeavour to discharge the Trust reposed in you on behalfe of 
the Lords for the good of the people according to your power 
and the best of your understanding. This you declare according 
to the forme of your profession. 

You shall well and truely to the best of yo r Skill, use your 
utmost endeavour to cause the severall Clauses contained in the 
Acts of Parliament Called an Act for the Encouraging and 
Increasing of Shipping & navigation, passed or made in the 
twelfth yeare of the Reigne of our Late Soveraigne Lord King 
Charles the Second; And the Acte of Parliament Called an 
Act for the Encouradgement of Trade, passed or made in the 

1 Historical Collection of South Carolina, ii. 113. 


fifteenth yeare of our saide Late Soveraigne Lord King Charles 
the Second. This you declare according to the forme of your 

I doe solemnely promise to beare faith and true allegiance 
To King William. 

A True Coppy taken from the Records and 
examined this iyth day of August 1695, 
P. J no ., Dep tv . Secty." l 

He, thereupon, addressed the Assembly explaining 
why he had been "endued with such considerable power 
of trust," and promising " faithfully and impartially " to 
" answer their expectations." " And I appeal," he says, 
" to that of God in your consciences." " I shall endeavor 
to heale all ye differences amongst you, to reconcile all 
persons." " I hope you will heartily joine to carry on 
ye public good," and " by ye good settlement of this 
hopefull colony, posterity will have cause to blesse God." 
Finally he urged speedy action toward the reasonable 
and honorable ordering of all things because of the un 
certainty of life " my own mortality and that of others " 
" I hope these considerations will quicken you." 2 

Archdale s expectations were more than fulfilled. He 
proved to be, not a crude compromiser, but a genuine 
pacifier, because he possessed, in an extraordinary measure, 
the genius for putting his finger on cardinal issues, and 
for penetrating through the husks of controversy to the 
inner core of righteousness. When he proposed his solu 
tion of an issue, it generally satisfied all parties concerned, 
because it was seen to be wise and fair. 

In their humble address to the governor at his leave- 
taking, " the commons " expressed their thanks for his 
" prudent, industrious and indefatigable care and manage 
ment." They declared that he had " worked for the 

1 From the Archdale Papers in the Roberts Collection. The following amusing 
account of Archdale s scruples appears in the Report of William Gordon, repre 
sentative in North Carolina " of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel." 
Mr. Archdale uncovered his head to hear a foolish woman make an unaccount 
able clamour before meat, at his own table, but when he subscribed the oath 
[affirmation] to be taken for putting in execution the laws of trade he did it with 
his hat on, which is an error no Barclay has made an apology for I " Colony 
Records, i. 708. 

2 Address to the Assembly. 


peace, welfare, tranquility, plenty, prosperity, and safety 
of the colony," and they assure him that he has " removed 
all former doubts, jealousies, and discouragements of us 
the people." l 

Archdale had four main problems to solve: (i) To 
establish harmony and peace among the colonists them 
selves ; (2) To reconcile them to the jurisdiction and 
authority of the Proprietors ; (3) To establish a colonial 
policy toward the Indians, and to regulate traffic with 
them ; (4) To secure an amicable basis of relationship 
between the English colonists and the Huguenot refugees 
who were being discriminated against. In the first two 
matters, he was, for the time being, entirely successful 
" he has removed all former doubts, jealousies, and dis 

He was peculiarly qualified to succeed with the 
Indians, and he is one of the finest embodiments of 
the Quaker attitude toward these native peoples. He 
insisted that Indians should be treated as persons, and 
should be protected in their elemental rights. One of 
the first Bills which he drafted was an Act to prevent 
debauching Indians. It reads : 

"It is enacted. that every person which shall give, or any 
other way dispose of any rum or brandy, or any sorte of spirrits 
to any Indian or Indians . . . shall forfeit for every time he 
shall dispose of any such liquors as aforesaid the summe of 
twenty pounds." z 

He himself has left a very happy illustration of the 
effect of a kindly policy toward the natives. He says 
that during his administration he made a treaty of 
friendship with a coast tribe of Indians. Not long after, 
a company of adventurous immigrants from New England 
were shipwrecked on the same coast, and, finding them 
selves surrounded by Indians, expected to be murdered. 
They entrenched themselves as well as they could, and 
prepared to defend their lives. The Indians tried in 
every way to declare their attitude of friendship, but the 

1 Historical Collection of South Carolina, ii. 104. 

2 Statutes of South Carolina, ii. 109. 


stranded immigrants would not trust them, until they 
were forced, by the exhaustion of their provisions, to 
throw themselves on the mercy of the Red men. These 
received them with great civility, furnished them with 
provisions, and helped them to send a delegation to 
Charleston for relief. 1 

His attempts to settle the Huguenot difficulties were 
less successful, though the solution was in sight before he 
left the colony. The crux of the difficulty was that the 
English settlers refused to allow the French French- 
English animosity being then very quick and keen to 
sit in the Assembly or to vote for its members. Archdale 
found that he could not grant the French these privileges 
of citizenship without losing the goodwill of the English 
colonists, and he yielded for the moment. But he urged 
the English to treat their alien neighbours in the spirit of 
friendship, and to temper all their dealings with them 
with " levity and moderation." He carried on a friendly 
correspondence with the Huguenots, and he prepared the 
way for their complete naturalisation. A letter from the 
Proprietors to him says that they are glad to hear that 
the Assembly is inclined to grant naturalisation to the 
French ; 2 and soon after his return an Act was passed, 
which provided that "all aliens of what nation soever, 
which now are inhabitants of South Carolina shall have 
all rights, privileges, and immunities which any person 
born of English parents within this province has." 8 

He oversaw the construction of improved public roads. 
He prepared the first Act on record in South Carolina 
for the regulation of the liquor traffic, 4 and he also 
prepared a beneficent measure for the administration of 
charity, and for the care and relief of the poor. 6 Many 
complications had arisen over the inadequate methods 
of " granting " lands and of collecting quit-rents. He 
brought about a readjustment of methods, which greatly 
relieved the old settlers, and which encouraged new 

1 Historical Collection of South Carolina, ii. 108. 

2 In British State Paper Office under date of September 10, 1696. 
8 Statutes of South Carolina, ii. 131. 

4 Ibid. ii. 113. 6 Ibid. ii. 116. 


immigrants to come in. He worked out a plan for 
protecting the colonists round Cape Fear against kid 
nappers, and he insisted on kindness toward mariners 
who were shipwrecked on the coast. He was so far 
tolerant of other faiths than his own that he took up 
friendly relations with the Catholic Spaniards of Florida. 
Four Indians, converts of the Spanish priests, were 
captured by Carolina Indians and exposed for sale as 
slaves. Archdale ransomed them and sent them to the 
Spanish Governor at St. Augustine. " I shall manifest 
reciprocal kindness," wrote the Spaniard, and he was 
true to his promise. 1 Settlers from New England were 
attracted to this " American Canaan," as Archdale calls it, 
and they recognised that the Southern colony now " stood 
circumstanced with the honour of a true English govern 
ment, zealous for the increase of virtue, as well as outward 
trade and business." 2 

When the Quaker Governor had finished his term of 
service and was returning to England, the representatives 
of the freemen of the colony expressed to him their 
profound appreciation of his great work among them, 
and declared, " By your wisdom, patience, and labor you 
have laid a firm foundation for a most glorious super 
structure." 3 

One of the most immediate after-fruits of his sojourn 
was the passage of an Act, March 10, 1697, which granted 
liberty of conscience to all colonists " except only 
papists " " All Christians which now are or hereafter 
may be in this province shall enjoy the full liberty of 
their conscience." 4 Archdale himself did not receive 
such broad and enlightened treatment. Soon after his 
return to England he was elected to Parliament as 
member from the borough of Chipping Wycombe, but 
being unable, for conscientious reasons, to take the oath, 
he was refused his seat. 

Before sailing from America he revisited North 

1 Historical Collection of South Carolina, i. 120. 

3 Letter preserved in Historical Collection of South Carolina, ii. 105. 

* Ibid. ii. 104. 4 Statutes of South Carolina, ii. 



Carolina, and travelled through the province with James 
Dickinson who was there on a religious visit. 1 He 
reconfirmed the appointment of Thomas Harvey as 
governor of the northern colony, and so far won the 
regard and confidence of the colonists that they wrote 
officially to the Proprietors of him : " It was his greatest 
care to make peace and plenty flow amongst us." 2 

This " American Canaan," however, was not long to 
remain in "peace." In 1700, the first minister of the 
Church of England arrived in Albemarle, and from that 
time on, a strong party formed in the colony determined 
to make life difficult for all who would not " conform." An 
act was passed in 1701 which practically established the 
Church in the colony. The dissenters who were mainly 
Quakers rallied themselves at the next election, and 
got control of the Assembly. Governor Walker who 
succeeded Harvey and who was determined to make 
North Carolina a Church of England colony, wrote to 
the Bishop of London in October 1703 : 

"I beg leave to inform you that we have an Assembly to sit 
on the 3rd of November next ; above one-half of the Burgesses 
chosen are Quakers, and have declared their designs of making 
void the Act for establishing the Church." 3 

The Act was, however, annulled by the Proprietors them 
selves, but the issue was still very much alive. 

In 1704 Rev. John Blair came to the colony as the 
first representative of the " Society for the Propagation of 
the Gospel in Foreign Parts." He found the Quakers 
" the most powerful enemies to Church government," and 
he found in the colony a large number of persons who 
would have been Quakers " if the demand for purity of 
life had not been too great for them." 4 

The report of William Gordon (made in 1709), plainly 
shows that the Quaker influence in politics at the beginning 
of the century was very great. He says : 

1 Friends Library, xii. 396. 

9 John Archdale s will, dated 1713, is preserved in Portfolio 14, Devonshire 

* Colony Records, \. 572. * Ibid. \. 600 


" They [the Quakers] were made councillors and grew powerful, 
for the council granting commissions, in a short time they had 
Quaker members in most of their courts ; nay in some the 
majority was such. They were very dilligent at the election of 
members of the Assembly, so that what by themselves, the 
assistance of several unthinking people and the carelessness of 
others, they carried it so far that no encouragement could be 
obtained for ministers [of the Church]." l 

This Report of William Gordon, though full of pre 
judice and hostility to the Quakers, gives some light on 
their numbers in North Carolina. He says : 

"As to their number, they are at this time but about the 
tenth part of the inhabitants; and if they were more, they 
would be but the greater burden, since they contribute nothing 
towards its defence." . . . "The Quakers in the precinct of 
Perquimans are very numerous, extremely ignorant, insufferably 
proud and ambitious, and consequently ungovernable." ..." The 
next precinct is Pasquotank, where as yet there is no Church built ; 
the Quakers are here very numerous ; the roads are, I think, 
the worst ; but it is closer settled than the others, and better 
peopled in proportion to its bigness. In their way of living they 
have much the advantage of the rest, being more industrious, 
careful and cleanly." 2 

In 1 704 South Carolina passed an act " for the 
establishment of worship according to the Church of 
England" and the "Vestry Act" of North Carolina, 
which was passed soon after, appears to have virtually 
disfranchised all dissenters in that colony. 3 Edmund 
Porter, a representative Friend, was sent to England to 
present the complaints of the dissenters and to secure 
relief, and the old governor, John Archdale, soon after, 
wrote his " Description of Carolina " to express his protest 
against the attempted limitation of religious freedom in 
the two colonies. 

Troubles, however, increased. By an Act of Parlia 
ment (1704) all persons holding public office were required 
to take an oath of allegiance to the new Queen, Anne. 
The oath was administered by Governor Daniel to the 

1 Gordon s Report, Colony Records, i. 708-715. 

2 Colony- Records, pp. 708-715. 

* Act is described in Gordon s Report, Colony Records, i. 708-715. 


Quakers in the Council and Assembly of North Carolina, 
and, on their refusal to take it, they were thrown out of 
office, and also dismissed from all courts of justice. Porter, 
the Quaker " ambassador " from the colony, seems to have 
succeeded in his mission to the extent of securing a 
change of governors. Thomas Cary, supposed to be in 
sympathy with dissenters, and himself a son-in-law of 
Archdale, was selected for the new governor. He proved, 
however, to be a hollow reed, for he, too, administered 
the oath, which again cleared the Assembly of Quakers, 
and a fine was imposed on any person who should act 
officially without taking the oath. This time, John 
Porter, a man of great determination and large influence, 
was sent to England as the agent of the colony to secure 
relief from these new grievances. Such matters moved 
slowly in those days, and Porter needed patience, but he 
finally, in 1707, secured a suspension of the laws imposing 
oaths, and also an order suspending Cary as governor. 1 
John Porter, on his return, with consummate political 
skill, won over Cary to the dissenters side, and got him 
chosen president of the Council, and so ex-officio governor. 
The Quaker party was now a prominent influence in the 
control of affairs. A strong reaction against the Cary 
government set in, and in 1710 Edward Hyde was selected 
by the Proprietors to be governor of North Carolina. He 
decided to force the Quakers out of the Council and the 
Assembly, and Gary s government was declared a " usurpa 
tion." Cary and John Porter were seized but escaped, 
and a tiny " rebellion " followed in which one man was 
killed. The real issue was the principle of religious 
liberty, but the Quakers were not active in the rebellion, 
and did not sympathise with the methods adopted by 
Cary and Porter, however much they were consecrated in 
spirit to the principle at issue. 2 But, though the Quakers 

1 Colony Records, i. 709. 

a Cary was, as said above, a son-in-law of Archdale, but he was apparently 
not a " member of meeting," nor probably was John Porter. Emanuel Lowe, 
however, another son-in-law of Archdale, and an active participant in the 
" rebellion," was a "member." He was "dealt with" by the Yearly Meeting 
for "having acted divers things contrary to our ways and practices." See 
Southern Quakerism and Slavery, p. 166. 


were not directly responsible for the fiasco, it ended un 
favourably for them. It marked the end of their political 
influence. One Quaker, William Borden, was elected a 
member of the Assembly from Carteret County in 1747, 
and presented himself to take " affirmation," but the 
affirmation was denied him, and a new election for his 
successor was ordered. 1 Henceforth, during the colonial 
period, Quakerism was a quiet spiritual force, apart from 
public affairs, and concerned with the formation of an 
inward life and the creation of a peculiar people. 

1 Colony Records, iv. 885-887. 

2 A 






" My friends, that are gone or are going over to plant and make outward 
plantations in America, keep your own plantations in your hearts with the 
spirit and power of God, that your own vines and lilies be not hurt." GEORGE 
FOX, Epistles. 

THE causes of Quaker emigration to the American 
colonies are not so much to be sought in the desire to 
escape from persecution, as in the idea which took shape 
in the mind of William Penn, to show Quakerism at 
work, freed from hampering conditions. Here, too, may 
be seen the guiding hand of the founder himself. Ten 
years before the " Holy Experiment " was tried in 
Pennsylvania, George Fox and his companions several 
of whom were men of the true pioneer spirit traversed 
that part of the colonial wilderness destined to be the 
Quakers refuge from the increasing storm of persecution 
which followed the Restoration. The latter was doubtless 
a contributing cause, but the impulse to emigrate came 
as much from within the sect itself, as from the outside 
pressure of circumstances. The idea was not a new one. 
As a matter of fact, effort in the direction of Quaker 
settlements in the middle colonies of America was made 
nearly twenty-five years before William Penn came to 
Pennsylvania. The coast from Maine to Florida being 
already apparently in possession of other adherents of the 
King, the Quakers turned their first attention inland with 
a proposal which came to naught, but which has escaped 
the attention of most historians except Bowden. 

Josiah Coale, an interesting Gloucestershire Friend, 



visited America within a year after the three pioneer 
women, Elizabeth Harris, Mary Fisher, and Ann Austin, 
and appears to have penetrated farther west among 
the Indians of the interior than any one else. His 
second visit in 1660 was under commission from the 
English Friends to treat with the Indians of the 
Susquehanna for the purchase of lands. 1 The absence of 
an influential arbitrator familiar with savage customs, as 
well as the violence of the tribal wars then being waged, 
prevented further steps being taken at that time by Josiah 
Coale, who returned home without having accomplished 
his purpose. The liquid syllables of the Susquehanna 
long had an alluring sound to English ears, for one 
is reminded of the " Pantisocracy " of a century later, 
when the same region for a time offered a refuge for 
bruised literary and democratic hearts after the French 
Revolution, until that too proved vain, and Wordsworth s 
sonnet to the " Degenerate Sons " of Pennsylvania 
expressed his chagrin when his financial speculations fell 

So early as 1630 the white man was in New Jersey, 
called, according to Indian tradition, " Scheyichbi." The 
"New Albion" settlement of Sir Edward Plowden, the Irish 
nobleman, and the Dutch occupancy of the lower Delaware 
in 1632, together with the Swedish undertaking at the 
instance of Gustavus Adolphus carried out in 1637, were 
followed by several companies of settlers, who, after the 
complete destruction of more than one village and fort, 
succeeded in establishing themselves in the neighbourhood 
of the Dutch and Swedes near New Castle, and on the 
Jersey side of Delaware Bay. Before 1663 an occasional 
Puritan, Baptist, or Quaker appears to have drifted over 
from the New England colonies in search of a less 
restricted religious atmosphere, and to have found the 
tolerant Dutchman a congenial companion. In this year 
a group of New Englanders settled on the Raritan river, 
and soon there were villages at Piscataway, Woodbridge, 
and Newark, the latter under the spiritual guidance of 

1 Coale s Letter is in the A. R. Barclay Collection, No. 53 (1661). 


Abraham Pierson, who with his followers in 1666 had 
rebelled at the prospect of annexation to Massachusetts, 
and had left New Haven and the theocratic rule of the 
" Saints," to found a home in a more democratic 
community. A few New England names still survive 
among the descendants of Quakers who, in this early 
period, came from Massachusetts to New Jersey, where 
the meeting at Shrewsbury grew to great importance. 
Before 1675, the enormous tract of intervening country 
between these settlers and those on the lower Delaware 
formed a great wilderness, untrodden by white man, 
except the occasional trader, who followed the Indian 
trail leading from "Achter Koll" (Back Bay) now 
Newark Bay, to the Delaware at the Falls. This was 
the "Upper Road." The "Lower Road" branched off 
five or six miles from the Raritan river, made a sweep to 
the east, and struck the Delaware at what is now 
Burlington. Traces of this trail, known for over a 
hundred years as the " Burlington Path," could until 
recently be distinctly seen. There were one or two 
primitive inns en route by 1695, and the province 
appropriated ten pounds annually for repairs to these 
"highways," which; so late as 1715, were only passable 
for horsemen or pedestrians. 

It was along the southern branch of this trail that 
George Fox travelled in 1672, to visit the Quakers of 
New England, Long Island, and East Jersey. On his 
way east, Fox tells us that they had difficulty in procuring 

"They were hard to get," he says, "and very chargeable. 
Then had we that wilderness country to pass through, since 
called West New Jersey, not then inhabited by English, so that 
we have travelled a whole day together, without seeing man or 
woman, house, or dwelling-place. Sometimes we lay in the 
woods by a fire, and sometimes in the Indians wigwams or 
houses. We came one night to an Indian town and lay at the 
king s house, who was a very worthy man. Both he and his 
wife received us very lovingly, and his attendants (such as they 
were) were very respectful to us. They laid us mats to lie on, 
but provision was very short with them, having caught but little 


that day. At another Indian town, where we stayed, the king 
came to us and he could speak some English. I spoke to him 
much, and also to his people, and they were very loving to us." l 

The Quaker invariably met with similar treatment 
from the savages, who were always kind when unprovoked. 
Fox was on his way to the General Meeting in Rhode 
Island, that memorable occasion when : 

" The glorious power of the Lord which was over all, and His 
blessed truth and life flowing amongst them, had so knit and 
united them together, that they spent two days in taking leave 
one of another, and of the Friends of the Island, and then, being 
mightily filled with the presence and power of the Lord, they 
went away with joyful hearts to their various habitations." 2 

Returning by way of Flushing and Gravesend, at each 
place finding Quaker settlers, Fox and his companions, 
among whom were William Edmundson and Robert 
Widders, came to Richard Hartshorne s at Middletown, the 
"twenty-sixth of Sixth month," 1672. He describes the 
bad bogs and swamps they had to cross before reaching 
Shrewsbury, where, on the first day, " they had a large 
and precious " meeting. Men s and women s meetings 
were held, to which came Friends " out of most parts of 
New Jersey. They are building a meeting-house in the 
midst of them, and there is a Monthly and General 
meeting set up, which will be of great service in those 
parts." While at Shrewsbury the accident befell John 
Jay, the Barbadoes planter, who was also in the party. 
Thrown from his horse with violence, he fell upon his 
head, and was taken up for dead by his companions. 
But Fox, with the ready common sense of the experienced 
traveller, found his neck not broken but dislocated. 

"I took his head in both my hands," says Fox in relating 
the incident, " and setting my knees against a tree, I raised his 
head and perceived there was nothing out or broken that way. 
Then I put one hand under his chin and the other behind his 
head and raised his head two or three times with all my strength 
and brought it in. I soon perceived his neck began to grow 
stiff again, and then he began to rattle in the throat and quickly 
to breathe." 3 

1 Journal, ii. 166. 2 Ibid. , ii. 160. * Ibid. , ii. 176. 


With returning consciousness he was carried into the 
house and laid by the fire, when Fox ordered bed and a 
warm drink to be administered ; " and the next day we 
passed away (and he with us, pretty well)," riding sixteen 
miles ! 

Fox set off from Middletown on the return journey, 
the " 9 of 7 mo.", travelling forty or fifty miles a day. 

"At night, finding an old house which the Indians had 
forced the people to leave, we made a fire and stayed there at 
the head of Delaware Bay. Next day we swam our horses over, 
about a mile, at twice, first to an island called Upper Dinidock 
[Matiniconk] and then to the mainland, having hired Indians to 
help us over in their canoes." l 

The vacant dwelling which sheltered the party was the 
house, built in the Swedish fashion, of a Dutchman, Peter 
Jegou, who had received a tavern licence from Governor 
Carteret in 1668. The Indians plundered and drove him 
away for some offence in 1670; his neighbours apparently 
in alarm deserted the two other houses of which 
we have record at that point. George Fox landed at 
Bristol, England, in 4th mo. 1673, where his wife and 
other members of his family joined him. With them 
came William Penn and his wife Gulielma. A short stay 
with London Friends followed, when there was an 
interesting house-party at Rickmansworth, where Penn s 
young wife was hostess, their wedding having occurred a 
few months before. As soon as Fox left Penn s hospitable 
roof, he was followed and taken for his eighth and last 
imprisonment It is not too much to infer that this visit 

1 Journal, ii. 177. "Mattinagcom" or "Matiniconk," now Burlington 
Island. The Indian name for island was Tiniconk or Tenacong. At the time 
Fox crossed the Delaware, this island was known as Upper Tineconk, to dis 
tinguish it from Lower Tineconk, upon which now stands the city of Burlington, 
close to the east shore of the river. It is easy to see how George Fox mistook 
the unfamiliar Indian name. Editors of his Journal have further confounded the 
name with the island [or "Tenacong"] of Tinicum, named and settled by the 
Swedes, near Chester, Pennsylvania. Comparison with early authorities on 
the subject shows Fox s account to be very accurate, near the head of the Bay " 
meaning, undoubtedly, near the head of navigation. It took him two days 
travel over seventy miles of bad roads and a "desperate river" to reach New 
castle, which would not have been the case had he crossed at Tinicum. [See 
Benjamin Ferris, History of the Original Settlements on the Delaware ; Jasper 
Bankers and Peter Sluyter, Journal of a Voyage to New York, 1679 ; Record of 
the Court at Upland, Pennsylvania, 1676-1681, etc.]. 


of Fox, with his report fresh from the Friends in America, 
must have made a great impression upon William Penn, 
then a young man of eight and twenty. 

The peaceful conquest of New Netherland by the 
English in 1664 gave its royal proprietor, the Duke of 
York, the great province lying between the " North " or 
Hudson and the " South " or Delaware rivers. This, for 
loyal service, was at once granted by the impoverished 
Duke to two men of influence at Court John, Lord 
Berkeley, Baron of Stratton, a brother of Sir William 
Berkeley, Governor of Virginia, and in 1674 Ambassador 
to France ; and Sir George Carteret, a turbulent and 
interesting man, companion of Samuel Pepys, who 
frequently mentions him in his famous diary. The old 
Norman family of de Carteret of St Ouen, in the island 
of Jersey, was prominent for many generations in history. 
The present representative had gallantly defended Jersey 
against the Roundheads, and was the last Commander to 
lower the King s flag. In compliment, therefore, to him, 
the province received the Latin name for the island, 
" Nova Caesarea," but the vernacular was from the first 
preferred by the people, and except on early seals, 
documents, etc., the new acquisition was known as New 
Jersey. Sir George was sixty-one years of age at this 
time, a member of the Privy Council of Charles II., and 
Vice-Chancellor of the Household. As the representative 
of the owners, Philip Carteret, a relative of Sir George, 
was sent out, and in 1668 the first Assembly convened 
at Elizabethtown. Such, however, were the dissensions 
as to the veto power of the Governor, the adjustment of 
quit-rents, and the taxation of the colonists, that it was 
seven years before another Assembly could be called 
which was other than illegal. A slight period of Dutch 
rule was followed in 1674 by permanent English 
possession, the right to legislate independently having 
meantime been demanded by the people. The Treaty of 
Westminster 1 necessitated the bestowal anew of the 

1 Signed gth February 1674, when the Prince of Orange made over the Dutch 
possessions to King Charles II. 


province by the King upon the Duke of York, by whom 
were disregarded the claims alike of those who held title 
under him, and under Berkeley and Carteret. Amid the 
technicalities that followed, Sir George Carteret demanded 
and obtained from the Duke a separate grant of East 
Jersey, with a division line loosely drawn from Barnegat 
Bay on the coast, to just below Rancocas Creek on the 
Delaware ; both the Jerseys remained under the ad 
ministration of Sir Edmund Andros, Governor of New 
York until 1680, when Carteret discomfited Andros at a 
special Court of Assize, thus securing the independency 
of both the Jerseys. In 1674 Lord Berkeley had become 
a very old man, and his finances, as one result of the 
quit-rent quarrel, had materially shrunk. Disheartened by 
the situation, he determined to sell, preferably to the 
Quakers, and this became their opportunity. In March 
of that year he conveyed the whole of the vast estate to 
two Quakers John Fenwick, a Buckinghamshire yeoman, 
and Edward Byllynge, a merchant of London, for the 
sum of one thousand pounds ! 

This moment marks the entrance of the Quaker into 
the affairs of government in the middle colonies, following 
the example of Rhode Island, where the Quakers had 
long been the administrators of the law and of the King. 
It was by no accident that this purchase took place within 
a short time after the return of George Fox to England 
from America, and Bowden is doubtless right when he 
says that the property was acquired for the benefit of the 
Society at large. Fenwick was a litigious old Crom- 
wellian soldier recently converted to Quakerism, and the 
details of a dispute between him and his partner cannot 
here be recited. The actual facts at this distance of time 
are hazy, and are only vaguely referred to in two or three 
letters 1 from William Penn, written while the latter was 
acting as arbitrator. The quarrel resulted in a division 
of the property, one-tenth being awarded to Fenwick, 
while complications in business soon forced Byllynge to 

1 Three of these are quoted by Bowden, History of Friends in America, 
\. 391, from the Harleian MSS. in the British Museum. 


assign his nine-tenths in trust for his creditors to William 
Penn, Gawen Lawrie, and Nicholas Lucas, all of them 
Quakers. Subsequently, Fenwick s tenth also came under 
their control. 

The idea of emigration to England s western possessions 
had been rapidly maturing in the minds of the leading 
Quakers, led doubtless by William Penn. Penn had 
been associated with John Locke, the philosopher, in 
drawing up a theory of government for Carolina, and 
Berkeley and Carteret were both already proprietors of 
the southern colony when they became owners also of 
the Jerseys. The part taken by William Penn in the 
settlement of New Jersey has never yet received due 
recognition from any historian. No sudden inspiration 
led him to ask of Charles the grant for Pennsylvania in 
liquidation of the debt of the crown to his father. George 
Fox made his report to him in 1673, and when, in the 
following year, his friend and neighbour John Fenwick, 
near Rickmansworth, besought his aid as arbitrator, he 
was obliged to give attention to conditions in the new 
country. His trusteeship for Byllynge immediately after, 
necessitated further acquaintance with the situation. It 
is not too much to assert that these services as arbitrator 
and trustee were the immediate causes leading to his East 
Jersey proprietorship, and ultimately to the settlement of 

The " Concessions," etc., signed by Berkeley and 
Carteret were drawn up by a group of men, not one of 
whom was familiar with the country or its inhabitants for 
whom they legislated. The terms were liberal, and the 
laws tolerant, but the whole was based upon theory. 
The second " Concessions and Agreements of the Pro 
prietors, Freeholders, and Inhabitants of West Jersey, in 
America " gave to the spirit of liberty a wider range than 
had heretofore been the case in any record of Anglo-Saxon 
organic law. These Concessions are dated 3rd March 
1676 (O.S.), after the return from America of Coale, 
Burnyeat, Fox, and Edmundson all men of intelligence 
and experience, who, we know from their journals, reported 


the character of the country and the situation of the 
settlers then beginning to come in, to William Penn and 
his advisers. Lucas and Lavvrie were business men, 
little versed in statecraft, and Penn himself was at this 
time but thirty-two, The making of constitutions was a 
fashionable amusement. It had occupied Penn s friends, 
Locke and Algernon Sidney, chiefly as a means of 
illustrating their theories of freedom and philanthropy. 
But the Quakers had known persecution, and it had 
taught them and their leaders the value of personal 
freedom, and of liberty of conscience. The Concessions 
were placed for signature by the subscribers, (who did not 
all sign at once) in London, and were probably later taken 
to Yorkshire, as the grouping of signatures would lead 
one to fancy, for the same purpose. Then, as though 
with a sigh of relief, Penn and his partners wrote to the 
most prominent Quaker in the Jerseys, Richard Hartshorne 
at Middletown, from London, 26th June 1676-. 

"We have made concessions by ourselves, being such as 
Friends here and there (we question not) will approve of. ... 
There we lay a foundation for after ages to understand their 
liberty as men and Christians, that they may not be brought in 
bondage but by their own consent, for we put the power in the 

There breathes in the great charter for New Jersey, 
whose anonymous author is beyond doubt William Penn, 
a spirit of religious and political freedom that is even more 
marked than when, seven years later, he came to draw up 
the famous " Frame of Government " for his own 

It will be noticed that East Jersey remained the 
property of Sir George Carteret alone, while West Jersey 
thus became a Quaker colony. The Quakers at once 
set about publishing and distributing literature inviting 
their people to emigrate to the new country, some of 
these pamphlets being so enthusiastic in character that 
the conscientious Penn issued a caution lest the unpre 
pared find the expected paradise too great a wilder 
ness. He and his partners in the trust, in their 


cautionary address, after stating the facts of the purchase, 
continue : 

" The ninety parts remaining are exposed for sale on behalf 
of the creditors of Edward Byllynge. And forasmuch as several 
Friends are concerned as creditors as well as others, and the 
disposal of so great a part of this country being in our hands, 
we did in real tenderness and regard to Friends and especially 
the poor and necessitous, make Friends the first offer, that if 
any of them, though particularly those that, being low in the 
world, and under trials about a comfortable livelihood for them 
selves and families, should be desirous of dealing for any part or 
parcel thereof, that they might have the refusal. This was the 
real and honest intent of our hearts, and not to prompt or 
allure any out of their places, either by the credit our names 
might have with our people throughout the nation, or by 
representing the thing otherwise than it is in itself." 

It was, therefore, with a pretty clear idea of the real 
facts, and with full understanding of difficulties ahead of 
them, that the first Quaker emigration to West Jersey 
began, when, in 1675, John Fen wick sailed with a number 
of Quakers in the ship Griffin, from London, landing at 
a spot, which, from the " delightsomenesse of the land," he 
called Salem. Nearly all were Quakers, and they at once 
began holding meetings, a monthly meeting being set up 
the next year after their coming. Meantime, Penn and 
his associates were rapidly selling off portions of the 
Byllynge estate, and a number of Quakers who were the 
latter s creditors accepted lands in liquidation of the debt. 
Thus were acquired the properties held in such familiar 
names in modern times as Hutchinson, Pearson, Stacy, 
and many others. 

The next year, 1677, was made the second important 
effort at colonisation, when the ship Kent, from London 
made the Delaware safely in October of that year, 
landing her passengers, numbering two hundred and 
thirty, at Raccoon Creek. The departure of so large a 
group of Quakers at one time attracted public attention 
in England, and was observed with interest by the King, 
who took his yacht in the Thames to see the unusual 
sight. Greeted by his loyal subjects, he asked if they 


were all Quakers, and gave them his blessing. Upon 
landing, the settlers, acting under the instructions of Penn 
and his colleagues, proceeded at once to the site of what 
is now Burlington, which, it will be remembered, was the 
spot where Fox had swum his horse across five years 
before, and which, with the keen eye of the experienced 
and observant explorer, he had recorded in his journal. 
Here a town was laid out, and the company being equally 
divided between London and Yorkshire Friends, it fell to 
the latter to give it a name, and Bridlington or Burling 
ton was chosen, from the town of that name whence many 
came. The home-sick longing for familiar English names 
accounts for the disappearance of most of the beautiful 
Indian local names throughout the middle colonies. 
Interesting details of the settlement and apportionment of 
land are given by Smith. 1 The Quakers " treated with 
the Indians about lands," and purchases were made from 
the natives, but as the settlers had not goods sufficient for 
all they had bought, the land was not occupied until it 
was fully paid for. Herein they followed precedent, for 
to the Dutchman is due the credit of giving the Indians 
full value for what lands they occupied or claimed. It 
was not money that was lacking. The supply of trinkets, 
jews harps, and brass buttons gave out. An example of 
one purchase will suffice for the rest. 

"30 matchcoats, 20 guns, 30 kettles, and one great one, 30 
pair hose, 20 fathom of duffields, 30 petticoats, 30 narrow hoes, 
30 bars of lead, 15 small barrels of powder, 70 knives, 30 Indian 
axes, 70 combs, 60 pair tobacco tongs, 60 scissors, 69 tinshaw 
looking-glasses, 120 awl-blades, 120 fish-hooks, 2 grasps of red 
paint, 120 needles, 60 tobacco boxes, 120 pipes, 200 bells, 100 
Jews harps, 6 anchors rum." 

Soon after the settlement made at Burlington, another 
ship from London brought within the year seventy more 
passengers, who divided between Burlington and Salem, 
and another from Hull brought one hundred and fourteen 
more. Next year, in 1678, in the Shield from Hull, 
came over a hundred more settlers, followed closely by a 

1 Samuel Smith, History of New Jersey, p. 98, 2nd edition. 


London craft whose name is not known. Fully eight 
hundred Quakers joined and settled in the new colony 
within the first eighteen months, many of them persons 
of large property and wide influence ; while up to the 
year 1681, at which time William Penn was negotiating 
for the purchase of Pennsylvania, upwards of fourteen 
hundred had found their way to the new province. 

Sir George Carteret s death in 1679 necessitated the 
sale of East Jersey by his widow to pay his debts. The 
opportunity was again seized by the watchful Penn and 
his associates, who, pleased with the success of their first 
effort at colonisation, after a slight delay, purchased the 
eastern province. In February 1681 it was conveyed to 
William Penn and eleven other Friends. These immedi 
ately joined with them twelve others as owners, among 
whom were Robert Barclay, the Earl of Perth, Lord 
Drummond, and several other prominent Scotchmen, not 
Quakers. These twenty- four proprietors formed a 
" Council of Proprietors," that for East Jersey being 
appointed in 1684, and that for West Jersey in 1687. 
These together were established as the original Council of 
Proprietors, which, upon the accession of Queen Anne, in 
1702, unconditionally surrendered the right of govern 
ment for the united province of New Jersey into the royal 
hands, the acceptance of which surrender was one of the 
first official acts of that eventful reign. This unique body 
retained, however, its proprietary rights, and exists to-day, 
with quaint ceremonies of proclamation on the street 
corners of Burlington and Gloucester, to effect an 
occasional sale or transfer of the few unclaimed lands on 
the New Jersey coasts of which they are still the rightful 
owners. The organisation is the oldest existing pro 
prietary body in America. 

The choice of Governor for the newly purchased 
Quaker territory fell upon Robert Barclay of Ury, author 
of the " Apology," who accepted the trust, but never came 
out, and Thomas Rudyard was made his deputy. Upon 
the latter s death soon after, Gawen Lawrie took his 
place. The attention of the Scotch, who were then and 


shortly after suffering in the Cameronian wars, was directed 
to the lands in East Jersey by their countrymen of power 
and influence, who followed the example of the Quaker 
owners of the western division in the distribution of much 
literature setting forth the advantages of emigration. 
They were very far from coming to similar conditions 
to those in West Jersey, there being at this date nearly 
five thousand inhabitants already settled in the eastern 
division. A large number of Scotch and Quakers came 
into Monmouth county in the next few years, the former 
being of the " Auld Kirk " Covenanters and Presbyterians. 

Among the Scottish Quakers was George Keith, whose 
presence in the Jerseys was soon to become a matter of 
no slight importance in the history of Quakerism. Born 
in 1638, of the Keiths of Keith Hall, Aberdeenshire, he 
took his M.A. at the University of Aberdeen in 1662, 
about which time, in the heat and fire of his youth, he 
left the rigid form of Presbyterianism in which he had 
been brought up, to embrace the doctrines of Quakerism. 
He was a surveyor and mathematician, but seems to have 
given up most of his time to preaching, which, together 
with his share in the famous discussion of Quakerism in 
1675 at the University of Aberdeen, in company with 
Alexander Jaffray and Robert Barclay, occasioned one of 
several imprisonments. Various theories have been 
advanced as to the object of his emigration to America ; 
the chief reasons given are his choice by Barclay to run 
the " Province Line," and his selection as master for William 
Penn s new school in Philadelphia. It is no more 
necessary to seek for an ulterior motive in the case of 
Keith than in that of any of the other Friends who went 
to America to improve their fortunes and to live in peace. 

Keith s intimate acquaintance with the Barclays was 
doubtless a large factor in his determination to emigrate. 
The provincial records show that in 1684 he arrived with 
his wife Anna, his daughters Anna and Eliza, an 
apprentice named Richard Hodkins, and two maid 
servants, Mary Smith and Christian Ghaine. Robert 
Bridgman, a merchant, came with him and "imported 

2 B 


himself." Keith was shortly after made Surveyor- 
General of East Jersey, and joined Andrew Robeson, who 
held a similar office for the Western division, in 1686 in 
running the famous " Province Line," which, after two 
centuries of dispute, was in 1886 finally confirmed by a 
special board of commissioners. The tracts of land taken 
up by Keith in Monmouth county, near Freehold, where 
he first settled, were gradually disposed of in lots to 
various purchasers, and he removed in 1689 to 
Philadelphia, to take up once more his calling of school 
master, which he had been pursuing in Edmonton, 
England, at the time of his determination to emigrate. 
Between this date and that of his expulsion from the 
Society for schism by the Yearly Meeting at Burlington 
in 1692, his history belongs to that of Pennsylvania 
Quakerism. His next appearance upon the soil of New 
Jersey is as the accredited agent for the newly created 
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign 
Parts, in which capacity he laid the foundation stone of 
St Mary s Episcopal church in Burlington, in 1703, and 
was instrumental in establishing Episcopalianism upon a 
sure basis in the Jerseys, at the cost of many converts 
from Quakerism. 

Connected with the Keith controversy were the two 
printers, Daniel Leeds of West Jersey, and William 
Bradford of Philadelphia. The latter removed to New 
York early in the history of the schism, but it is supposed 
that for a short time, his press was set up at Burlington. 
Leeds s " Allmanack " was suppressed by the meeting, and 
he himself forced to make an acknowledgment for his 
statements, which, the Friends said, " evinced a froward 
spirit." He became on intimate terms with the " Mystics " 
in Germantown, approved and published their astrological 
predictions, and finally joined the " Christian Quakers," as 
the Keithian separatists preferred to call themselves. 

Thus came the Quaker settlers into the fertile lands 
of the Jerseys. Many hardships had to be endured, but, 
thanks to an abundant and bountiful return for their first 
efforts in the field, they were spared nearly all the suffer- 


ing and sorrows which, in a more unfriendly climate, fell 
to the lot of the Pilgrims in Massachusetts. Many 
enthusiastic letters home, from which it is a temptation to 
quote, still exist in praise of the new country. " I like 
the place well," said one, " it s like to be a healthful 
place, and very pleasant to live in." "It is a country," 
writes another, " that produceth all things for the support 
and sustenance of man." " Whatever envy or evil spies 
may speak of it, I could wish you all here," declared a 
third. 1 Not lightly did they speak. Many of the little 
company had lain in loathsome English gaols, and many 
of their sufferings may be found described by Besse. 2 
They had proved their faithfulness ; had borne their 
persecutions patiently ; they had declared, as had Penn 
for them, that they were not fleeing to escape trials that 
they were called upon longer to endure. Justified by 
their years of hardship, now they longed for the wider 
outlook which provided a secure home for their children 
in the future. " I wish," wrote one of the number 3 years 
after, " I wish that they that come after may remember 
these things." " The settlement of this country," says 
another witness, "was directed by an impulse on the 
spirit of God s people, not for their own ease and 
tranquillity, but rather for the posterity which should be 
after them." 4 It was not commercialism which established 
them so firmly in the new country. The trading spirit, 
strangely enough, has never yet sufficed for effectual 
colonisation. Men of good estate, their English homes 
were not left without a sigh. 

"O remember us," they write, "for we cannot forget you. 
Many waters cannot quench our love, nor distance wipe out the 
deep remembrance. . . . Though the Lord hath been pleased 
to remove us far away from you, as to the ends of the earth, yet 
are you present with us. Your exercises are ours, our hearts are 
dissolved in the remembrance of you." 

1 S. Smith. History of Nova Caesarea, or New Jersey, where various letters are 
given more at length. 

2 J. Besse, Sufferings of the Quakers, 2 vols. folio. 

8 Mary Murfin Smith, who came as a child with her parents. Drowned in 

4 Thomas Sharp, Newtown Monthly Meeting Records. 



THE Friends first care was to settle meetings. These, 
both at Salem and Burlington, like the services of the 
first comers to Virginia, were held in tents made of the 
sails of their ships. They next met in their own dwell 
ings, and the early minutes of most of the meetings of the 
Jerseys begin in a private house, before any record can 
be found of a meeting-house. Very soon, however, there 
was an effort to build suitable accommodation for the 
increasing numbers. The original meeting for the 
middle colonies appears to have been at Shrewsbury, 
where one was settled as early as 1670, and where 
George Fox mentions the building of a meeting-house 
going on at the time of his visit in 1672. These 
Quakers were from New England, the first child born in 
the settlement in 1667, according to an old authority, 
having been Elizabeth, daughter of Eliakim Wardell, 
who, with his wife Lydia, in 1665 had been cruelly and 
publicly scourged for the appearance of the latter almost 
unclothed as a " sign " before the Puritan congregation in 
the meeting-house at their New England home in 
Hampton. They would seem to have taken refuge in 
East Jersey, where Bowden l refers to their residence two 
years later. Doubtless meetings had existed in the 
Jerseys a few years before. The meeting began at Salem 
in 1675, and the next year the monthly meeting was set 
up, being held for some time in the dwelling house of 
hewn logs belonging to Samuel Nicholson. Bowden calls 

1 Bowden, History of Friends in America, i. 405. 


attention to the fact, which is impressive, that several of the 
American meetings were organised in the interval between 
the first proposal of monthly meetings by Fox at Durham, 
1653, and their regular establishment in England thirteen 
years later. 

Seven months after the landing at Raccoon Creek, a 
Monthly Meeting was set up at Burlington. The minutes 
begin with the following preamble : 

" Since by the good Providence of God, many Friends with 
their families have transported themselves into this Province of 
West New Jersey, the said Friends in these upper parts have 
found it needfull, according to our practice in the place wee came 
from, to settle Monthly Meetings for the well ordering the affairs 
of ye Church it was agreed that accordingly it should be done, 
and accordingly it was done the i5th of ye 5th mo 111 . 1678." 

Many small meetings were held in scattered planta 
tions not many miles removed from each other, since the 
" going," according to early minutes, was too bad in 
inclement weather to allow Friends to journey far. Very 
willingly the different settlements aided each other in 
clearing roads, and the old colonial highway, still known 
as the " Salem Road," was laid out by ten men from 
Salem and ten from Burlington, at the people s expense. 

The first meetings in Burlington were held at the 
house of Thomas Gardiner. From here the Monthly 
Meeting, under date "7th of ye I2th mo. 1680," sent 
what Bowden asserts to have been the earliest recorded 
epistle addressed to London Yearly Meeting by any 
meeting in America. Care for the spiritual welfare of 
their savage neighbours and provision for their poorer 
members are evident from the early minutes ; but the 
necessity for proper certificates as to the character of the 
new-comers who so soon appeared, made the presentation 
of proper credentials, particularly in cases of marriage, of 
paramount importance. No less than thirteen couples in 
the first three years presented themselves with that object 
before the meeting in Burlington. Hence the following 
document was sent to London. 


"To our Dear Friends and Brethren at the Yearly Meeting at 

" DEAR FRIENDS AND BRETHREN Whom God hath honoured 
with his heavenly presence and dominion, as some of us have 
been eye witnesses (and in our measures partakers with you) in 
those solemn annual assemblies ; in the remembrance of which 
our souls are consolated, and do bow before the Lord with 
reverent acknowledgment to him, to whom it belongs forever. 

" And, dear friends, being fully satisfied of your love and care 
and zeal for the Lord and His truth, and your travail and desire 
for the promotion of it, hath given us encouragement to address 
ourselves to you, to request your assistance in these following 
particulars, being sensible of the need of it, and believing it will 
conduce to the honour of God and the benefit of His people ; 
for the Lord having, by an overruling Providence, cast our lots 
in these remote parts of the world, our care and desire is that 
He may be honoured in us and through us, and His dear truth 
which we may profess may be had in good repute and esteem 
by those that are yet strangers to it 

" Dear Friends, our first request unto you is, that in your 
several counties and meetings out of which any may transport 
themselves in this place, that you will be pleased to take care 
that we may have certificates concerning them ; for here are 
several honest and innocent people that brought no certificate 
with them from their respective Monthly Meetings, not foreseeing 
the service of them, and so never desired any, which for the 
future, in cases of which defect, we do entreat you who are 
sensible of the need for certificates, to put them in mind of 
them ; for in some cases where certificates are required (and 
they have none), it occasions a great and tedious delay before 
they can be had from England, besides the hazard of letters 
miscarrying, which is very uneasy to the parties immediately 
concerned, and no ways grateful or desirable to us ; yet in some 
cases necessity urgeth it, or we must act very unsafely, and 
particularly in cases of marriage in which we are often concerned. 

" So if the parties are single and marriageable at their coming 
away, we desire to be satisfied of their clearness or unclearness 
from other parties, and what else you think meet for our know 
ledge. And if they have parents, whether they will commit 
them to the care of Friends in general in that matter, or appoint 
any particular person in whom they can trust. And if any do 
incline to come that do profess truth yet walk disorderly, and so 
become dishonourable to truth and the profession they have 
made of it, we desire to be certified of them and it by some 
other hand (as there are frequent opportunities from London of 


doing it) for we are sensible that here are several that left no 
good savour in their native land from whence they came, and it 
may be probable that more of that kind may come, thinking to 
be absconded in this obscure place ; but, blessed be the Lord, 
He hath a people here whom He hath provoked to a zealous 
affection for the glory of His name, and are desirous that the 
hidden things of Esau may be brought to light, and in it be 
condemned ; for which cause we thus request your assistance as 
an advantage and furtherance to that work ; for though some 
have not thought it necessary either to bring certificates them 
selves or require it of others, we are not of that mind, and do 
leave it to the wise in heart to judge whence it doth proceed ; for 
though we desire this as an additional help to us, yet not as 
some have surmised, that we wholly build upon it, without 
exercising our own mediate sense as God shall guide us. Some, 
we know, that have been otherwise deserving, have been unad 
visedly denied their impartial right of a certificate and very 
hardly could obtain it, merely through the dislike of some of 
their undertaking in their coming hither, which we believe to be 
an injury ; and though we would not have any should reject any 
sound advice or counsel in that matter ; yet we do believe that 
all the faithful ought to be left to God s direction in that matter ; 
most certainly knowing by the surest evidence that God hath had 
a hand in the removal of some to this place, which we desire 
that all who are inclined to come hither, who know God, may 
be careful to know before they attempt it, lest their trials become 
insupportable to them, but if this they know, they need not fear, 
for the Lord is known by sea and land the shield and strength of 
them that fear him. 

"And dear Friends, one thing more we think needful to 
intimate to you, to warn and advise all that come professing of 
truth, that they be careful and circumspect in their passage. 

" So, dear Friends, this, with what further you may apprehend 
to tend to truth s promotion in this place, we desire your assist 
ance in, which will be very kindly and gladly received by us, 
who are desirous of an amicable correspondence with you, and 
do claim a part with you in the holy body and eternal union, 
which the bond of life is the strength of, in which God preserve 
you and us, who are your friends and brothers." 

Here follow signatures of thirty-seven Friends. 

" From our Men s Monthly Meeting, in Burlington, in West New 
Jersey, the ;th of the Twelfth Month, 1680." l 

1 Bowden, History of Friends in America, i. 402, et scq. 


At the monthly meeting held in 3 mo. 1681, it was 
determined to establish a Yearly Meeting, to begin in the 

6 mo. following. Notice to this effect was widely circulated, 
and the transactions of the meeting, to which came Friends 
from New England, Long Island, and as far south as 
Maryland, occupied four days. Few particulars of their 
business remain. Here the Yearly Meeting continued to 
be held until the meeting-house was finished which was 
ordered to be built in 1682. Thomas Gardiner died in 
1694. The establishment of a Quarterly Meeting was a 
part of its action, as the first minute of that meeting shows : 

" Whereas, the Yearly Meeting saw it necessary yt there 
should be Quarterly meetings kept in several places in this 
Province of West New Jersey, and yt this Quarterly Meeting of 
Friends for Burlington and ye Falls should be held at ye house of 
William Beedle [Biddle] in Mansfield (being pretty near ye middle 
of Friends belonging to it) at ye times hereafter mentioned, viz., 
upon ye last second-day of the 9 mo. ; last second-day of ye 
1 2 mo. ; last second-day of ye 3 mo. ; and ye last second-day of 
ye 6 mo. ; and to begin at ye loth hour, which said conclusion 
of ye Yearly Meeting ye Friends of this meeting are satisfied 

"29 of 9 mo. 1681." 

The second yearly meeting for the Jerseys met in 

7 mo. (September) 1682. In the interval a large ship 
had come to the Delaware shore, and landed three 
hundred and sixty more settlers, thus greatly augmenting 
their numbers. But most important was the information 
they brought that William Penn and a large company of 
Friends were about to sail for the same neighbourhood. 
Penn landed from the Welcome at Newcastle in 
October 1682, and attended the Yearly Meeting at 
Burlington in 1683. At this meeting it was proposed to 
hold a Yearly Meeting for all the North American 
colonies, but the proposition fell through. In it may be 
clearly seen the guiding hand of William Penn. 1 

The first meeting-house in Burlington was ordered to 
be built in 1682, but was delayed for several years. It 

1 Monthly Meetings were established at Shrewsbury, 1670 ; at Salem, 1676 ; 
at Burlington, 1678 ; at Newtown, 1681. 


was a curious little octagonal building, with no means of 
heating, and seems to have been copied in architecture by 
Penn s colony in their first house soon after. Several 
examples of this octagonal style of building for places of 
worship and for schools used by the Dutch and the 
Quakers still exist in northern New Jersey and in 
Delaware County, Pennsylvania. The great increase in 
the size of the Yearly Meeting, to which belonged the 
Friends from Long Island to Maryland, including the 
rapidly growing town of Philadelphia twenty miles below, 
in 1696 necessitated for this early house at Burlington a 
brick addition, capable of being warmed in winter by huge 
fire-places. Here were held the town-meetings, the school, 
and the Court, and on the doors were nailed up all public 
notices, whether a royal proclamation, the required banns 
for a marriage, or the cattle brand assigned to each 
planter. 1 

Sometimes a great Indian conference drew the savages 
to the town. The Yearly Meeting of 1685 especially con 
sidered the Indians, and in 1686 the meeting minutes 
desire the Indian interpreters to be notified to attend the 
meeting up the river proposed to be held for the Indians 
by Thomas Budd and Robert Stacey. 

The close of the seventeenth century saw a marvellous 
growth of Quakerism in New Jersey, attracting much 
attention in England. The economic and social life of 
the two divisions of the province differed as much as did 
their natural features. The influence of Puritan New 
England was as marked in East Jersey as was the more 
benign and peaceful, not to say indifferent, attitude of the 
English Quakers in West Jersey. In the former, trade on 
a smaller scale flourished, as was to be expected of a 
Puritan, Dutch, and Quaker alliance. The intense ardour 
of the Calvinist produced a note of individualism, whose 
outcome was democracy, expressed in the town-meetings 
held in Quaker meeting-houses, its religious aspect laying 
the foundations of Presbyterian ism in New Jersey. The 

1 An interesting census for 1699 shows the number of West Jersey Freeholders 
who were Quakers to be 266 in a total of 832. The report (New Jersey 
Archives, ii. 305) quotes the 566 others as " Christians," in distinction ! 


Quaker of West Jersey, naturally a Conservative, clung 
closely to his English and sectarian institutions, and, 
joining acre to acre, observing the custom of primogeniture, 
and insisting rigidly on the ecclesiastical law which com 
pelled his young people to marry within the pale of their 
membership, he built up gradually a great land-owning 
class which brought many thousand acres into compara 
tively few hands. Puritan influence is shown in the 
difference in the administration of law, thirteen classes of 
crime being punishable by death in the eastern division, 
and none in West Jersey, which did not permit capital 
punishment Differences of manners, nomenclature, 
traditions of commerce, and legal custom are traceable 
even to-day, and Dutch and Scotch imprints remain in 
Bergen (now Hudson) and Monmouth counties, as evident 
as the old English inheritances in West Jersey, where 
farmers leases to this hour expire on Lady Day, 25th 
March, and where eggs may still be bought by the score, 
as in old Yorkshire. In East Jersey, the town-meeting 
was the political factor to be reckoned with and the town 
the unit of activity. In West Jersey, the county was 
the unit, and the resemblance between the western 
province and Virginia is as clear as that between East 
Jersey and the Puritan home whence came its people. 
William Penn s personal influence was much more felt in 
West than in East Jersey. Many a time Governor Penn, 
in the brief period of eighteen months which rounded out 
his residence at his " palace " at Pennsbury, stopped at 
Burlington in his barge on his way up and down the 
Delaware. Sometimes he came to the fairs, which were 
an important social feature of the day, so important that 
when Monthly Meeting fell on fair day, in Burlington or 
Salem, it was adjourned until the fair was over, as on 
"ye 4th of ye 8 mo. 1697, Ordered at this meeting that 
our next Monthly Meeting be deferred one week longer 
than the usual Day, because the fair falling on that day 
ye Meeting should be." Semi-annual fairs were held in 
spring and autumn, and these market days were kept up 
until the Revolution. In 1729 they became an abuse, 


and the Monthly Meeting at Burlington petitioned the 
Assembly to remedy their evil effects. 

William Penn was in England during the culmination 
of the Keith controversy, but his advice was sought 
regarding the disturbances of Keith s followers, who were 
organising separate meetings at the time of his second 
visit. Their doctrines had been promulgated by Daniel 
Leeds and William Bradford, the printers, and several 
prominent men had joined Thomas Budd in secession. 
Another element occasionally felt was the " mystic " 
society at Germantown and on the Wissahickon, whose 
apostles occasionally came into meetings, and after one 
invasion at Burlington, ascended the Court House steps, 
and from there harangued the people. 

The social life of the Quakers in the Jerseys was 
unique. The prominent Friends in both colonies, although 
chiefly in the western, were Governors, Councillors, and 
members of Assembly. They were great planters, and 
merchants on a large scale, sending their vessels, built on 
the Delaware, to China and the West Indies. Perth 
Amboy in East Jersey, and Cohansey (Bridgeton) and 
Burlington in West Jersey, were the ports of entry. Great 
activity began before the end of the century in the 
exchange of ministers between London and the American 
colonies. All of these were obliged to cross New Jersey 
on their travels between New England and the south. 
The Wardells and Richard Hartshorne, at Shrewsbury and 
Middletown respectively, were the earliest resident Quaker 
ministers of whom we have record. Samuel Jenings, John 
Skein, 1 Thomas Olive, all of them Governors ; William 
Peachy, 2 Thomas Gardiner, William Cooper, George 
Deacon, Edward Barton, Elizabeth Day, Jane Seaton, 

1 John Skein, born in Scotland, at Aberdeen. Imprisoned 1676, and suffered 
distraint for fines imposed because he refused to give bond not to attend meet 
ings (Besse, ii. 516). Emigrated to West Jersey 1678, where he was Governor 
for two years. He died in 1687, a useful and much respected man. A minister 
with an " edifying testimony." Smith, History of New Jersey, 1765. 

2 William Peachy, who, says Proud (History of Pennsylvania, i. 158), with 
Thomas Olive, was the " first among Friends in West Jersey who had a public 
ministry." He was from London, but had been imprisoned with his young wife 
in Bristol, where she died. He arrived in West Jersey in 1677 on the Kent, 
was elected to the Assembly in 1682, and died in 1689 at Burlington. 


Mary Smith (widow of Daniel), Peter Andrews, and 
Abraham Farrington were all early preachers of Quakerism 
in West Jersey, the last two dying in England on religious 
visits abroad. 

It is not surprising that several of the most distinguished 
Quakers, whose influence told .greatly in both Church and 
State, emigrated to America just before or immediately 
after William Penn, and were all from the neighbourhood 
of Rickmansworth. Thomas Ellwood appears to have 
been untouched by the spirit of emigration ; but his 
friends, John Archdale and Samuel Jenings, of High 
Wycombe and Aylesbury respectively, left an indelible 
impress upon the affairs of two great provinces. 

The minute from their home meeting of Coleshill for 
Samuel Jenings and Ann, his wife, and their children, is 
dated "26th day of ye 3d. mo. 1680," and states that 
they " have lived in these parts many years ; have walked 
Conscientiously and honestly Amongst us Agreeable to 
ye profession and testimony of Truth." It is signed by 
sixteen men, among whom are the names of Thomas 
Olive, Thomas Ellwood, and John Archdale. Samuel 
Jenings came out in the official capacity of Deputy- 
Governor for Edward Byllynge, who at first declined to 
relinquish the prerogative of government along with 
territorial rights to purchasers. Governor Jenings 
reached the Delaware in the late summer of 1680, and 
six weeks after sent a letter addressed to William Penn, 
Edward Byllynge, or Gawen Lawrie, to apprise them of 
his safe arrival, and to convey the welcome information 
that the duties exacted illegally by the Governor of New 
York had been removed. He wrote : l 

" DEAR FRIENDS, This may give you an account of mine and 
my families safe arrival in New Jersey, with all the rest that came 
with us. I might say something concerning our passage at sea, 
but I waive it for want of time, and in fine may observe all was 
well ; for which I bless God ; and the Lord keep us all sensible 
of it, with the rest of his mercies for ever. 

"Dear friends, about six weeks since, we arrived in the Delaware 

1 Smith s New Je rsey, p. 124. 


river, where I expected to have met with a combat in the denial 
of customs. In our passage at sea I had communicated to all 
that had any considerable cargo on board the opinion of council 
concerning any illegal demand thereof, with what else I thought 
might be for their information ; which thus far prevailed that 
most if not all concerned, seemed resolved to deny the paying 
of custom here ; having paid all the King s duties in England. 
In good time we came to anchor in Delaware, where one, Peter 
Alrick, came aboard, and brought a handsome present to our 
commander, and sent for me into the round-house, where they 
both were, and Peter told me he had nothing to say to us relating 
to customs ; he had no commission for it, nor did he know of 
anybody that had ; so we had all our goods safely landed after 
this unexpected easy manner. 

" In pursuance of the trust committed to me after my arrival, 
I acquainted those nominated in the commission with me of it ; 
but in a short time after I received your letters, giving an account 
of a new grant obtained, wherein the customs are taken off, a 
free port confirmed and the government settled on Edward 
Byllynge ; which, I doubt not, will be very acceptable to every 
honest man ; but as yet I have not had time to let the people in 
general know it. And now, seeing the ports are made legally 
free, and the government settled, I would not have anything 
remain as a discouragement to planters. Here are several good 
and convenient settlements already, and here is land enough and 
good enough for many more." SAMUEL JENINGS. 

"New Jersey, the xyth October 1680." 

Samuel Jenings took up land and settled at Burlington. 
The following year he called together the first West Jersey 
Assembly, and agreed with them upon certain fundamental 
points of government. The Assembly dissolved on the 
28th of ninth month, having passed in addition thirty-six 
laws, many of which were later on repealed. The tact of 
Governor Jenings, who was thoroughly acceptable to the 
settlers, avoided open rupture, and quieted the prevalent 
discontent. To silence the protests of all parties, whose 
resentment was increasing against Byllynge, Jenings was 
chosen, and duly elected Governor by the representatives 
of the people in the Assembly of 1683. He was thus 
empowered to act independently of Byllynge s appointment. 
He and the council elected at the same time all of them 
Quakers, with one exception gave their solemn promise 


in lieu of an oath of office. 1 The Governor s salary was 
the right to take up six hundred acres of land above the 
Falls of the Delaware. 

When the provinces were united under one Royal 
Governor, in the person of Lord Cornbury, the Queen s 
cousin, who arrived in 1703, Samuel Jenings was elected 
Speaker of the Assembly. In this position he was called 
upon to silence the voice of controversy, the Assembly 
supporting him loyally in his valiant opposition to the 
unjust demands of the brutal and licentious governor. 
This culminated in the famous remonstrance of the 
Assembly of April 5, 1707. Repeatedly stopped in his 
reading of the paper by Lord Cornbury s ejaculations of 
"Stop!" "What s that?" etc., he quietly paused and 
then resumed, with dignity repeating what he had 
previously read, laying greater emphasis than before 
upon the points which he desired to bring out, and 
quite undaunted by the evident anger of Her Majesty s 
representative : 

"We cannot but be uneasy," he deliberately read, "when 
we find by the new methods of government our liberties and 
properties so much shaken that no man can say he is master of 
either, but holds them as tenant by courtesy and at will, and 
may be stript of them at pleasure. Liberty is too valuable a 
thing to be easily parted with." 

Upon the departure of the House, Lord Cornbury, 
with emotion, turned to those about him, and exclaimed, 
" Jenings has impudence enough to face the Devil ! " z 
The reply of the Assembly to the Governor s answer 
which concluded with the words, " I was going to give 
you some wholesome advice, but I consider it will be but 
labour lost, and therefore shall reserve it for persons who, 
I hope, will make a right use of it ! " showed their 
adherence to the Quaker customs by the insertion of the 
following note, frequently appended to other official 
documents : 

" Divers of the members of this Assembly being of the people 

1 Smith, History of New Jersey, p. 164. * Ibid., p. 295. 


called Quakers do assent to the matter and substance, but make 
some exception to the stile." 

When the people of New York added their voice in 
remonstrance to the evil proceedings of Cornbury, the 
Queen ordered his withdrawal. 

In the affairs of the meeting Samuel Jenings appears 
in innumerable capacities as a church-officer. During the 
height of the Keith controversy he took an active part, 
exhorting to wisdom in individual cases ; assisting the 
Friends in Philadelphia on behalf of William Stockdale 
and Thomas Fitzwater, the particular objects of George 
Keith s attacks ; publishing a fair setting forth in defence 
of the Quakers in his pamphlet, known as " The State of 
the Case Considered," etc. ; and finally in the latter part 
of 1693 sailing for England on behalf of Friends in 
America, where at London, together with Thomas Duckett 
and William Walker, 1 he laid the true facts before London 
Yearly Meeting. The result was the disownment of Keith 
by the Yearly Meeting of London in 1695, following the 
action taken at Burlington in 1692. In 1702, after 
George Keith returned to America as an officer of the 
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign 
Parts, he appeared at Burlington and endeavoured to 
draw the Quakers into controversy, and succeeded in 
attaching a number of the less loyal to the Church of 
England. The new arrivals challenged the Quakers to 
meet them, and reply to their charges at a public meeting 
in the town-house at Burlington, which the Friends 
quietly declined. Soon after, the clerical gentlemen went 
so far as to invade the Quaker meeting, this being one of 
the offences so often attributed to the Quakers themselves. 
A letter from the rector of the recently founded church in 
that place to George Keith, dated New York, October 20, 
1705, says : 

" Mr. Sharpe was very jealous to bring ye Quakers to stand a 
tryal; he carried one of ye Bombs (an attack published at 
this time) into their meeting, and read a new challenge I had 

1 The latter died while in England. Bowden, History of Friends in America, 
P- 52- 


sent them to answer what they had printed; but all in vain. 
Samuel Jenings stood up and said, Friends, let s call upon God. 
Then they went to prayer, and so their meeting broke up." 

Samuel Jenings held office as Speaker of the Assembly 
until the year before his death, which occurred in 1709 
at his home, " Greenhill," in Burlington, and he was 
interred in the Friends graveyard in that place. A fine 
tribute to his character is paid by the historian Smith, 
whose father knew Governor Jenings well. 

" He was early an approved minister among (the Quakers)," 
says Smith, " and so continued to his death. Common opinion, 
apt to limit this sphere of action, will, however, allow general 
rules to have their exceptions, as instances now and then, though 
perhaps but rarely, occur, where variety of talents have united 
in the same individual, and yet not interfered. Such, the account 
of those times (strip d of the local uncertainties of faction and 
party), tell us, was the circumstance with regard to Jenings. His 
authority, founded on experienc d candour, probity, and abilities, 
enlarged opportunities, rendered him not in one capacity or in 
one society only, generally useful. . . . With a mind form d to 
benevolence and acts of humanity, he was a friend to the widow, 
the fatherless, and the unhappy. Tender, disinterested, and 
with great opportunities, [he] left but a small estate. Abhorring 
oppression in every shape, his whole conduct discovered a will 
to relieve and befriend mankind, far above the littleness of party 
or sinister views. His sentiments of right and liberty were formed 
on the revolution establishment, a plan successfully adapted to 
the improvement of a new country, or any country. He was, not 
withstanding all this, sometimes thought stiff and impracticable, 
but chiefly on account of his political attachments. Yet there 
were instances where better knowledge of his principles, and the 
sincerity with which he acted, totally effaced those impressions, 
and left him friends where none were expected. Much of his 
time . . . was long devoted to the publick with a will to be 
useful. West Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, after the 
surrender, for near twenty-eight years successively, were repeated 
witnesses of his conduct in various capacities. He studied peace 
and the welfare of mankind. . . . He just lived long enough to 
see (the country) emerging from an unpromising state of litigation 
and controversy to more quiet than had been known for many 

He remembered his old friend and neighbour, Thomas 


Ellwood, in England, by leaving a bequest to him of 
twenty pounds to buy " my long - acquainted, worthy, 
and endeared friend a gelding or otherwise as he shall 
think fit." 

Thomas Olive (or Olliffe) of Wellingborough in 
Northamptonshire, was a convert to Quakerism by the 
preaching of William Dewsbury in 1655. He was 
imprisoned in 1665 under the Conventicle Act, and in 
1666 had sixty pounds of cloth seized and taken from 
him. 1 He came out to the Jerseys as a London 
Commissioner in the ship Kent in 1677, and was the first 
Speaker of the Colonial Assembly, holding office several 
years. In 1684 he became Governor. While Justice of 
the Peace for the district of Burlington he gained the love 
and esteem of all his countrymen. 

"He had," says Smith the historian, "a ready method of 
business, often doing it to good effect in the seat of judgment 
on the stumps in his meadows ; he contrived to postpone sudden 
complaints until cool deliberation had shown them to be justly 
founded, and then seldom failed for accommodating matters 
without much expense to the parties." 

Thomas Olive died in 1692? 

Too much emphasis cannot be laid upon the im 
portant part taken in the political affairs of New Jersey 
by the Quakers of the earlier period. Their staunch 
integrity and courageous defence of their actions in every 
thing that involved a sense of duty to the public, is 
beyond praise, and undoubtedly was an important factor 
in forming the government of the state upon present 
lines. Three Quaker governors have been named. In 
May 1696 the legislature selected as King s Attorney 
(Prosecutor of the Pleas) George Deacon, a Quaker 
arrival on the Willing Mind, who came to the Delaware 
in the winter of 1677, and who held office in various 
capacities. In 1696 Benjamin Wheat 8 served in the 

1 Besse, Sufferings of the Quakers, i. 534-536. 

2 Thomas Olive s salary as Governor was 20 per year ! 

8 Benjamin Wheat with another Friend furnished the handsomely designed 
pine table, upon which the meeting at Burlington transacted its business, and 
which is still in use. 

2 C 


same position, and was followed, two years later, by 
Thomas Gardiner, son of the Thomas Gardiner at whose 
house the early meetings were held. There were no 
regularly admitted lawyers at the New Jersey Bar before 
1702, and the "Rules of the Supreme Court" show that 
from 1704 to the date of the Declaration of Independence, 
only two chief-justices, out of eight that held the office, 
were licensed attorneys of the province. 1 Of twenty-two 
associate justices, only three were regularly admitted, and 
of the three, two, only on the day they were elevated to 
the bench ! English standards, of course, governed the 
practice of law, and the Supreme Court was modelled on 
the Court of Queen s Bench, and set up in 1704. Less 
concerned with the technicalities of the courts than with 
the administration of substantial justice, the old Quaker 
idea of righteousness in dealing with rights of property 
owners and with offenders may well have laid the founda 
tions of a system which to-day makes " Jersey Justice " 
proverbial in the United States. 

There were many Quaker Justices of the Peace ; 
lenient and fair-minded as a class, these occasionally 
meted out severe punishments, as when in 1682 Governor 
Jenings and Justices Cripps and Stacey ordered a runaway 
pair who added lies to their crime, at " the tenth hour in 
the morning," to be " whip d on their naked bodies," the 
man thirty stripes and the woman thirty-five," he " paying 
the ffees." 

In East Jersey, marriages had been regulated accord 
ing to the practice of the Scotch Kirk, requiring the 
publication of banns three times, the Governor s licence, 
and consent of parents. Equally stringent in West 
Jersey were the marriage customs, where the House made 
no legislative regulations, but where the Quaker meetings 
saw to it that no laxness crept in, or if it did, that it met 
with proper punishment. When disagreements occurred, 
reconciliation was recommended, as when, some time 
before 1694, a quarrelling pair were summoned before the 
Quaker justices at Burlington and asked if they would live 

1 F. B. Lee, New Jersey as Colony and State, i. 312. 


peaceably together. Mary agreed and so did Thomas, 
he stipulating that Mary " will acknowledge that shee 
hath scandalized him wrongfully." To this the woman 
consented, adding an expression eternally feminine, " but 
saith shee will not own that shee hath told lies of him to 
her knowledge ! " At this point the negotiations naturally 
come to a standstill. " But after some good admonitions 
from ye Bench," says the record, " they both p mise they 
will forgett and never mention what unkind speeches or 
Actions have formerly past betweene them Concerninge 
each other." l 

After the Crown took over the government in 1702, 
the granting of marriage licences was placed in the 
hands of the Governor, and the Church of England 
was established. The nonconforming members of the 
Assembly, however, for a long time opposed the passage 
of England s ecclesiastical regulations of marriage. 

A Women s Yearly Meeting was held in 1681. From 
this time on, there was an increasing number of English 
Friends in the ministry who crossed the ocean to visit 
the American Colonies. James Dickinson paid three 
visits to the Jerseys in 1691, 1696, and 1714, when, 
he says, " some of the meetings were the largest I had 
ever been at. People flocked so to them that several 
hundreds were forced to stand without doors, the meeting 
house being not large enough to contain them." At 
Burlington Yearly Meeting " the Lord owned us with 
His living presence, and we had a glorious season to 
gether. The meeting held five days and there was such 
a concourse of people that we held two meetings at once, 
one in the Court House and the other at the meeting 
house." 2 The annual meeting of ministers, which was 
held at the house of Samuel Jenings in Burlington, was 
in 1698 attended by William Ellis, of England, who is 
a rare instance of an intelligent visitor who took notes 
on the spot a custom which we may well wish had been 
followed by others. Upon this deeply interesting occasion, 

1 F. B. Lee, New Jersey, etc. \. 324. 
8 Journal of J. Dickinson. 


which lasted from the I7th to the 23rd of 7 mo. (O.S.), 
much time was taken up in the careful perusal of papers 
presented for publication for which the judgment of the 
meeting was sought, and without whose authority their 
dissemination was impossible. Pamphlet wars were then 
the fashion upon every topic of public interest, and every 
body rushed into print at the smallest provocation. At 
this time the meeting set its approval upon Caleb Pusey s 
answer to Daniel Leeds s " News of a Trumpet Sounding 
in the Wilderness," a late heretical pamphlet with the 
usual allegorical title, which sympathised with George 
Keith. The Yearly Meeting which immediately followed 
at the same place stated, in its epistle to London : 

" We may in truth say through the large mercy and the wonder 
ful goodness of our God, we have had very blessed and heavenly 
meetings. The presence of the great God overshadowing us, 
many living and powerful testimonies were delivered" 

All the letters of visiting Friends at this time give 
evidence of great growth in the meetings. Thomas 
Chalkley, who came over just before, mentions a very 
large meeting which he held under the trees at Crosswicks, 
West Jersey, where the convincement took place of 
Edward Andrews, who, he says, was " mightily reached," 
and who built up the Society in the neighbourhood of 
Little Egg Harbour. 

The Salem Friends at the end of the seventeenth 
century formed a flourishing settlement, with a large and 
growing meeting. Into this more southern community of 
the Jerseys there arrived in the year 1700 from England, 
a young girl of only eighteen, who came out to occupy 
a plantation on land taken up some years previously by 
her father, a London Quaker merchant, who had invested 
in the scheme with his friend, William Penn. After 
going so far as to send out mechanics to build him a 
dwelling, he had, for reasons now unknown, altered his 
mind and remained at home. His daughter, upon 
hearing her father s proposal to sell his New Jersey 
property, felt a drawing towards America, and that it 


was her duty to settle there herself. This feeling was 
sympathised with and shared in when, with much emotion, 
she made it known in family conclave, and the result was 
that John Haddon made over to his daughter Elizabeth 
the lands which he had taken up. Under the care of 
a widowed friend and two faithful menservants, this 
Quaker daughter of wealth came to the unbroken 
wilderness, followed by the blessings and prayers of her 
God-fearing family. The instance is unique in Quaker 
records. In the pleasant town of Haddonfield to-day, 
pilgrimages are made to Haddon Hall, where, after a 
most picturesque courtship, Elizabeth married John 
Estaugh, and where forty years of married life were 
spent. John Estaugh died on a preaching tour in 
the Island of Tortola, where his brick tomb may still be 
seen. Of Haddon Hall, only the old brew-house now 
remains, with its latch-string still out, as when Elizabeth 
there made her many simples and remedies for the sick 
of the entire settlement, who all came under her care. 
The present house stands where the original stood, burned 
to the ground years since in a disastrous fire. But the 
old yews which she planted still flourish in a green old 
age in the garden which she laid out so long ago. 

At the close of the century, in 1 699, Philadelphia had 
an awful visitation of yellow fever, which broke out in 
June, just before the time of Yearly Meeting, and in 
eight weeks had carried off several hundred people. The 
Friends in the Jerseys were consulted as to the propriety 
of postponing the meeting, or holding it elsewhere, and 
the subject engaged the attention of the meeting of 
ministers and elders, which preceded the regular meeting. 
Thomas Story and his companion Roger Gill were 
present, and the former tells us : l " The testimony of Truth 
went generally against the adjournment or suspension, 
and the Lord s presence was greatly with us to the end. 
Friends were generally much comforted in the divine 
truth and the fear of the contagion was much taken 
away." It was at this Yearly Meeting that Roger Gill 

1 Life of Thomas Story. 


prayed that " if the Lord would accept his life as a 
sacrifice, he freely offered it up for the people." He 
went immediately after to Burlington, and was taken 
upon his return with the dread disease from which he 
died shortly after, and the journals of the time note that 
the ravages of the fever almost immediately ceased. 

Although still in the midst of political disturbance 
which, however, was lessening somewhat, only to break 
out on the coming of Lord Cornbury there was a 
remarkable degree of prosperity in the conduct of the 
Quaker meetings. They appropriately noted in the 
meeting at Burlington in 1698, in a minute which 
fittingly closes the century : 

" Whereas, it was the way of the world to forget God, yet the 
Lord had gathered us, His people, to Himself, that we could not 
forget Him ; for though we came poor and empty together, yet 
the Lord in His wisdom, and goodness, and love, met us with 
a full hand, to comfort and strengthen us, that we might not 
faint in our minds, but be renewed in our strength." 



THE Friends of Pennsylvania began to hold annual 
meetings immediately after their arrival with William 
Penn, but as a Yearly Meeting was already well organised 
by the Friends of the Jerseys, and the two settlements of 
Philadelphia and Burlington were but twenty miles apart, 
it was agreed in 1684 that for the future, the meetings 
should be held alternately at the two places an arrange 
ment which continued for seventy-five years. There was 
an agitation in 1711 toward changing the Yearly Meeting 
permanently to Philadelphia, but the time had not come, 
and the minute speaks for itself: 

"At our Monthly Meeting ye 7th of ye nth mo. 1711. The 
minute of the Yearly Meeting was read at this meeting in Relation 
to Removing of ye Yearly Meeting to Philadelphia, which this 
meeting are all in general against, but would have it kept in its 
common course as it hath been used & in ye same place and ye 
same time both as to worship & Business & with the same 
authority as formerly." 

But Philadelphia was rapidly growing, and settlements 
in Pennsylvania and Delaware (then the " Three Lower 
Counties ") drew the centre of the Quaker population to 
the south. Agitation was revived in the middle of the 
century, and in 9 mo. 1 760 the Yearly Meeting removed 
permanently to Philadelphia. The change from the sixth 
to the ninth month was made in 1755 ; from this to the 
fourth month, which is the present time, in 1798. 

In 1701, John Richardson came to America, and 
upon his second visit in 1731, he records his satisfaction 


at the enormous growth of the meetings in the interval. 
John Fothergill s three visits were made in 1706, 1721, 
and 1736^^6 last continuing for three years, during a 
period of great sensitiveness to spiritual teaching throughout 
the country. In 1703 Samuel Bownas, although but 
twenty-seven years of age, made a remarkable impression 
upon the American meetings. Appearing at the time 
when George Keith was preaching in the Jerseys as a 
missionary clergyman of the Church of England, he 
earnestly attacked the latter s attempts to lead away the 
Quakers, often with marked success. Both were men of 
great ability. They became pronounced rivals, and did 
not hesitate to denounce each other. For a severe 
snub administered to him while in Maryland, Keith con 
trived to have Bownas seized and imprisoned as he crossed 
the Jerseys, and for nearly a year detained upon the 
accusation that he " spoke against the Church of England " 
then the established church in the Jerseys and New 
York. Upon the release of Bownas, he visited nearly all 
the New Jersey meetings, where he " found the Truth 

In 1704 all "public meeting-houses" were ordered 
recorded in the archives of New Jersey, and it is unfortunate 
that the list of deceased Friends since the settlement of 
Burlington sent up to the Yearly Meeting from subordinate 
meetings should not now appear to exist. In this year 
the meeting at Burlington issued a certificate for one 
hundred and twenty-two of its members, pursuant of 
the " Act of Assembly for Settling the Militia of the 
Province," declaring these male members to be of " Ye 
Society of ye people called Quakers," and willing to 
"receive ye benefit of ye favour expressed to ye said 
People " who, for conscience sake, could not bear arms 
and were, therefore, exempted from service. Rumours of 
war were numerous. Some Spanish and Indian runaways 
from a vessel in the Delaware roused a widespread report 
that the French were at Cohacksink. Four young men, in 
making their acknowledgment to the meeting at Burlington 
naively gave their reasons for taking up arms in defence : 


" That it seemed best for those that had guns to take them, 
not with a design to hurt, much less to kill, man, woman, 
or child ; but we thought that if we could meet these 
runaways, the sight of the guns might fear them ! " No 
less a person than James Logan, William Penn s secretary, 
had shortly before made an acknowledgment which was 
read at the Quarterly Meeting at William Biddle s house 
in i mo. 1702, for going with the Sheriff and an armed 
posse to the " Reed Islands of the Delaware." 

All through the French and Indian wars there were 
sufferings and distraints for the New Jersey Quakers who 
were one with their Philadelphia Friends of the Yearly 
Meeting in the action taken on the subject of war. The 
results of disturbances on the frontier of Pennsylvania 
came closely home to them as officials of the Yearly 
Meeting, and met with sympathy upon their part The 
proportion of New Jersey Quakers in the Yearly Meeting 
may be gathered from the fact that in 1730 and for years 
after, as many as thirty or thirty-five representatives were 
annually sent from Burlington Quarterly Meeting to attend 
the Yearly Meeting. 

" It equally concerns men in every age," wrote John Woolman, 
in speaking of the war tax of 1755, "to take heed to their own 
spirit. ... It requires great self-denial and resignation of ourselves 
to God to attain that state wherein we can freely cease from 
fighting when wrongfully invaded, if, by fighting, there were a 
probability of overcoming the invaders. Whoever rightly attains 
to it does in some degree feel that spirit in which our Redeemer 
gave his life for us." 

In 1757 (August) orders came by night to the officers 
of Burlington County, directing them to draft the militia 
for the relief of the English at Fort William Henry, New 
York. A general review was held, and soon after, three 
times as many were called for, to be in readiness at any 
moment for marching orders. A considerable number of 
the young men who were Friends were thus drafted into 
the army. John Woolman reflects upon the circumstance, 
and sees in it " a fresh opportunity to see and consider 
the advantage of living in the real substance of religion, 


where practice doth harmonise with principle." Some of 
the young Quakers left home and remained away until 
the trouble was over. Others agreed to go as soldiers. 
Still others expressed a " tender scruple " against all war, 
and after holding council with John Woolman, who en 
couraged them in it, informed the captain that they could 
not bear arms for conscience sake, nor could they hire 
any to go in their place, being " resigned as to the event." 
They finally obtained permission to return home, with the 
warning to be ready when called upon to march. They 
were not obliged to serve, the fort being taken and 
destroyed by the French. In April 1758 John Woolman 
was the reluctant host of a soldier who was quartered upon 
him for lodging. He refused the payment to which he 
was entitled, " having admitted him," Woolman told the 
officer, " into my house upon a passive obedience to 
authority. I was on horseback when he spake to me, 
and as I turned from him he said he was obliged to me, 
to which I said nothing ; but thinking on the expression, 
I grew uneasy, and afterwards, being near where he lived, 
I went and told him on what grounds I refused taking 
pay for keeping the soldier." 

No history of Quakerism in New Jersey can be 
complete without due regard to one who is not only the 
most conspicuous of his own community, but is as well the 
best known American-born Quaker of colonial times. 

When Charles Lamb recommended his readers to 
" get the writings of John Woolman by heart, and so 
learn to love the Quakers," he voiced the feelings of other 
cultured and sympathetic minds whose experience of life 
nevertheless differed widely from anything Quaker. Men 
like Henry Crabbe Robinson and William Ellery Channing 
to name but one on each side of the ocean submitted 
to the spell which yet lingers about the pages of one of the 
most pure and gentle souls that ever committed its tender 
thoughts to paper. The fifty-two years which formed the life 
of Woolman he was born at Mount Holly, New Jersey, 
in August 1720, and died in York, England, 7th October 
1772 were an important period in the world s history, 


as well as that of the Quaker Church. The philosopher 
may trace in Woolman the culmination of that intense 
sensitiveness to the breathings of the Divine spirit which 
marked the best element of Quakerism at a time when it 
was seeking diligently, even if ineffectually, to perform an 
impossible task to live a life of perfect service, while 
withdrawn from contact with all external influences. 

Bred most simply in a social atmosphere which was, 
perhaps, the most exclusively conservative of any within 
the Quaker pale, the simple and unlettered youth had 
opportunity in his country life and ample leisure to allow 
a reflective spirit and an intelligent mind to follow their 
own bent The life of Woolman, whose love of mankind 
has only been equalled at rare intervals in the world s 
history, produced two very important results. One of 
these was due to his personal labours, the other, with less 
visible immediate effect, is only to-day reaching the wider 
world. The first was his successful effort in rousing an 
anti-slavery sentiment and promoting the abolition move 
ment ; the second, the wonderful influence exerted in the 
world of letters and religion by his very remarkable 
Journal and ethical essays. 

The number of slaves held in the province of New 
Jersey in the middle of the eighteenth century was large. 
In one Quarterly Meeting alone there were eleven 
hundred owned by Friends. The evil had increased 
with the growth of the settlements and the need for 
more servants. Early Quaker movements towards aboli 
tion instituted by Fox in Barbadoes, by Edmundson in 
Maryland and Virginia, by the Mennonites, or " German 
Quakers," at Germantown, and by various isolated bodies 
of Friends in the more enlightened subordinate meetings 
of Pennsylvania and New England, had all been without 
important results upon the main body of comfortable and 
prosperous Friends who were slave-holders. It was not 
that they were knowingly cultivating a revolting and 
indefensible practice. The laws of Great Britain and of 
the colonies countenanced the trade, and most people 
were persuaded that to treat a slave well, and to teach 


him the doctrines of Christianity, even while holding him 
in bondage, was the kindest method possible with a 
member of the inferior race. The Quakers would seem 
to have been the first people able to see through the 
mists of social prejudice, and, in the light of absolute 
justice, to discern the dangers to society at large, which 
lay at the root of a prevalent and corrupt social custom. 

The necessity for preparing a bill of sale for a negress, 
during Woolman s apprenticeship, in the year 1742, first 
brought home with a shock to the young man s mind the 
true meaning of the situation. From that moment to his 
dying day, his life had but one object to free the slave. 
He at once set out, like a wise reformer, to discover the 
true facts, and in tears and sorrow were they revealed to 
him. In 1756 he made his first journey to the South. 
This was followed by various other and similar journeys 
and the Indians were also included in his solicitude. 
The Indian conferences at Burlington and Easton were 
held in the summer of 1758, at a time when Woolman 
was under a special exercise on the subject of negro 
bondage. His many and often successful private efforts 
to ameliorate the condition of the negroes had attracted 
general attention among the Friends to the subject. 
London Yearly Meeting in that year in its epistle 
condemned the unrighteous traffic ; and New England 
Yearly Meeting placed upon its discipline the Query 
against slavery : 

"Are Friends clear of importing negroes, or buying them 
when imported, and do they use those well, where they are 
possessed by inheritance or otherwise, endeavouring to train 
them up in principles of religion ? " 

The culmination of all of Woolman s earlier efforts 
came in the Yearly Meeting which met at Philadelphia in 
1758. In that meeting for a long time John Woolman 
sat, bowed in silence, unmindful of other important matters 
which claimed the attention of Friends. When, finally, 
the subject of slavery was introduced, and advice was 
given to "wait"; that eventually a "way would be 


opened " ; and procrastination and delay were the order 
of the hour, it almost seemed to the agonized servant of 
the Lord that the meeting was engaged in a justification 
of slavery. He rose, and these were his solemn words : l 

" My mind is led to consider the purity of the Divine Being, 
and the justice of His judgments, and herein my soul is covered 
with awfulness. I cannot forbear to hint of some cases where 
people have not been treated with the purity of justice, and the 
event has been most lamentable. Many slaves on this continent 
are oppressed, and their cries have entered into the ears of 
the Most High. Such are the purity and certainty of His 
judgments, that he cannot be partial in our favour. In infinite 
love and goodness he hath opened our understandings from one 
time to another, concerning our duty towards these people, 
and it is not a time for delay. Should we now be sensible of 
what he requires of us, and through respect to the private 
interests of some persons, or through a regard to some friend 
ships which do not stand upon an immutable foundation, 
neglect to do our duty in firmness and constancy, still waiting 
for some extraordinary means to bring about their deliverance, 
God may by terrible things in righteousness answer us in this 

This appeal moved the hearts of the large assembly to 
a sense of their neglected duty. Sympathetic discussion 
followed, and finally the Truth triumphed over all opposi 
tion, and the first committee then appointed began its 
actual aggressive work. More than any other one man, 
Woolman aided the English-speaking nations to throw 
off the disgrace of slavery ; and although so late as 1800, 
there were still 12,442 slaves held in New Jersey, of 
these, thanks to the labours of John Woolman, almost 
none were held by Friends. Instead, a few might be 
found in each of the colonies who were received into 
membership with the Society, notably the famous sea- 
captain, Paul Cuffee, of Massachusetts. 

John Woolman s personal influence had far-reaching 
social and moral effects. The humility and self-abase 
ment of the author of the journal are, however, so great, 
that the reader unfamiliar with contemporary history 

1 Woolman s Journal, Whittier s Edition, 1871, p. 18. 


might well fail to understand the importance of the move 
ments there recorded. Fear of exceeding the standard 
of extreme humility which he had set for himself has 
lost to us from his Journal any reference to great events 
in which he was an actor. Unfortunately, no mention of 
himself occurs with any adequate description of his part 
in affairs. The world to-day is swamped with strenuous 
literature in which the personal element is conspicuous. 
Possibly, however, had this quality appeared in his works, 
we might not have been able, with Henry Crabbe 
Robinson, to call the Journal " a perfect gem." Its 
flavour of purity and grace might be altogether absent, 
had he given us more of himself. As it is, a soul 
singularly full of " sweetness and light " transfers to the 
printed page those exquisite moral qualities which breathe 
forth like the perfume of a flower. All other passions 
to which ordinary mortals are prone are in Wool man 
swallowed up in the passion of love to mankind. 

Woolman s ethical essays make an appeal even more 
appropriate to our own day than to his own. Their 
scope may be imagined from the subjects he treats : 
" On Pure Wisdom and Human Policy," " On Labour," 
"On Schools," "On the Right Use of Outward Gifts," 
" On the True Harmony of Mankind," " On the Example 
of Christ," " On Merchandizing," " On Divine Admonitions," 
" On Loving Our Neighbours as Ourselves," " On a 
Sailor s Life," " A Word of Remembrance and Caution 
to the Rich." Do not these seem timely topics for dis 
cussion in a Christian spirit to-day ? " To labour," says 
Woolman, " for an establishment in Divine love, where 
the mind is disentangled from the power of darkness, is 
the great business of man s life." 

The Journal nowhere betrays any selfish solicitude for 
his own well-being, either spiritually or physically, and 
his close searchings of soul are only as he feels himself 
to be one with all mankind. In the essays may be 
clearly discerned a singular detachment of spirit from 
everything sordid or worldly. He wrote as one who 
" had seen in the Light of the Lord that ... he that is 


omnipotent is rising up to judgment, and will plead the 
cause of the oppressed," and he adds, " he commanded me 
to open the Vision? The mystic finds expression in such 
passages as these, and the following : 

" I have frequently found a necessity to stand up, when the 
spring of the ministry was low, and to speak from the necessity 
in that which subjects the will of the creature, and herein I was 
united with the suffering seed, and found inward sweetness in 
these mortifying labours." 

A desire had for some time been upon Woolman s 
mind to visit Friends in England, and in 1772 he landed 
at London, and straightway made haste to the meeting 
of ministers and elders, which had then been sitting for 
less than an hour. It was the 8th of June, and the only 
thing he tells us of his soul-trying experience at this first 
appearance among his English brethren is that " his 
mind was humbly contrite." A New Jersey Friend, how 
ever, was the medium through whom Whittier obtained 
the actual facts, which the former had from an English 
Friend who could verify them. The vessel reached 
London on the fifth day of the week. Coming in hastily 
and unannounced, the stranger Friend, just out of the 
vessel s steerage quarters, with a correspondingly dis 
hevelled toilet, which was in itself peculiar in its undyed 
homespun and grey-white beaver hat, naturally created 
some apprehension. Even the certificate which he 
presented as a credential from Friends in America did 
not suffice to quiet the alarm ; and a Friend suggested 
that possibly Woolman s submission to this apprehended 
service might be accepted, and the stranger now feel 
at liberty to return to his home. Greatly affected by 
this reception, John Woolman sat silently in tears, 
awaiting further guidance. After a time he rose and 
respectfully stated that he could not feel himself released 
from his prospect of ministry, yet the unity of Friends 
was necessary, and this being withheld, he preferred to 
support himself. He stated his familiarity with his trade, 
and desired employment in his own business. 

The " wise simplicity " of the stranger touched Friends 


greatly, and when, in the silence that followed, Woolman 
again rose with a Divine message upon his lips, all hearts 
were moved, and he was owned and confessed by his 
brethren, and passed forth to his brief labours. Four 
months later, at York, on the 7th of October 1772, John 
Woolman died of smallpox. Friends everywhere paid 
the highest tribute to his character and labours, his 
saintly life and example. His Journal is a classic, not 
alone for Quakers, but for all the world. These modern 
days, with the search for Truth in the abstract, should 
be even more sympathetic than his own to the teachings 
of Woolman. Students of religion, of philosophy, and of 
social science may alike find in him inspiration and aid. 

" For since those miraculous days 

When marvellous wonders were rife ; 
When the blind gaz d with joy, and the dumb sang with praise, 

And the dead were restored unto life 
I know not of one whom my heart could allow 
More worthy the name of Apostle than thou." 





HISTORY shows an honourable course pursued by the 
settlers in the difficult problem of how to handle the 
Indian. Peaceable under friendly rule, he became a 
fiend when aroused by real or fancied ill-treatment. 
Strict justice demanded and received at the hands of the 
Quakers full remuneration for the lands obtained from the 
Indian tribes of New Jersey, and efforts were made to 
Christianise these red brethren very soon after the 
Quaker settlements began. William Penn at one time 
held a theory that the Indians belonged to the Ten Lost 
Tribes of Israel. Samuel Smith, the historian, thought 
the idea a delightful solution of a difficult problem ; and 
Elias Boudinot s Star of the West elaborates it further. 
However that may be, the Indian in the seventeenth 
century was a very present menace to safety, and the 
Quakers adopted the wise course. 

The tribe of the Delaware or Lenni-Lenape Indians 
who were scattered throughout the Jerseys, although at 
no time very numerous, were frequently called into council 
by the Quakers. Confused by the dissensions among 
other Christian bodies and unable to comprehend an 
altruistic faith, the Indians had yet a crude system of 
justice among themselves, and it is quite possible that the 
absence of complicated machinery, combined with the 
evident spirit of justice conspicuous among the Quakers, 
obtained for the latter a better hold on the savage nature 
than was the case with other religious denominations. In 
any case, the control was not very permanent, and the 

401 2 D 


missionary efforts of the Quakers were only a degree less 
unorganised than had been those of the Dutch and 
Swedes before them. The quarter-century from the 
Dutch cession to the English until the surrender of the 
government of the united provinces to the Crown in 1702, 
covers the period when the intercourse between the whites 
and red men was most marked. This was chiefly for 
purposes of trade. New Jersey enjoyed greater freedom 
from Indian disturbances and outbreaks of war than other 
colonies. In the purchase of lands, all titles had to be 
cleared of Indian ownership in both the Jerseys. Thus 
the Indian claims had been nearly or quite extinguished 
by the period of the Revolution. At no time was the 
Indian on a political equality with the white man, 
although West Jersey Quaker equity permitted a mixed 
jury of Indians and English when the interests of the 
former were involved. The Indian, despite certain 
benevolent enactments of the Legislature, remained in a 
position of servitude, cut off from any industrial privileges 
or rights. Severe penalties were laid upon any persons 
outside of the province of East Jersey who traded with an 
Indian ; l while in West Jersey, a policy of indifference 
left the helpless savage largely to himself. The Quakers, 
however, continued throughout the colonial period to hold 
meetings for the Indians, and set aside certain portions of 
their meeting-houses for Indians and negroes, both of 
whom were held as slaves. The wilder nature of the 
American Indian, however, prevented satisfactory domestic 
service. The interesting Indian conference at Burlington 
in the late summer of 1758 was followed shortly after by 
a very large and important Indian conference of the Six 
Nations at Easton, Pennsylvania, on the upper Delaware. 
The Governors of both the provinces, together with the well- 
known Indian interpreter, Conrad Wieser, and others were 
present. At this time deeds were obtained by which the 
Indians, for the sum of one thousand pounds, surrendered all 
claims on lands in New Jersey with the exception of a small 
reservation. This a matter both of charity and pro- 

1 F. B. Lee, New Jersey as Colony and State, i. 69. 


tection, the first Indian reservation ever established in 
the United States was located at " Edgepelick " or 
Brotherton (now Indian Mills), among the pine barrens 
of Burlington County. Here the Indians of New Jersey 
were settled on three thousand acres which maintained 
them and their descendants until 1802, when they were 
transported, first to New York State, then to Green Bay, 
Wisconsin, and finally, in 1832, to Indian Territory. At 
this time the New Jersey legislature, for the sum of two 
thousand dollars, purchased the remnant of land, and 
thus, with a measure of justice, obtained clear title to the 
entire province. 

Just before this reservation was established, Samuel 
Smith, for years Treasurer of the province and a leading 
Quaker, had drawn up a Constitution (1757) for the 
" New Jersey Association for Helping the Indians " an 
organisation exclusively Quaker. It aided the Brotherton 
Indians substantially, and did effective service in a field 
in which Quaker philanthropy has always been pro 
minent A good example of the cordial relations between 
English and Indian in a Quaker community is described 
in the account of the death of King Ockanickon, at 
Burlington in I68I. 1 The old chief, on his death-bed, 
sent for his nephew, lahkursoe, and addressing him as 
" Brother s Son," told him of his selection as King in 
succession. " This day," said the dying man, " I deliver 
my heart into your bosom. I would have you love what 
is good, and keep good company. Be plain and fair with 
all, Indians and Christians." Thomas Budd, one of the 
proprietors, was present, and listened to the exhortation 
of the old man with emotion. After he had continued 
for some time until too exhausted to speak further, 
Thomas Budd took the opportunity to remark that there 
was a great God, who created all things ; that He gave 
man understanding of what was good and bad, and after 
this life rewarded the good with blessings, and the bad 
according to their doings. Ockanickon replied, " It is 
very true, it is so. There are two ways, a broad and a 

1 Smith, History of New Jcricy, pp. 148-150. 


straight way ; there are two paths, a broad and a straight 
path. The worst and the greatest go in the broad, the 
best and fewest in the straight path." The old chief died 
shortly after, and was attended to his grave in the Friends 
graveyard in Burlington with great solemnity by a large 
gathering of silent Indians, and by the English settlers to 
whom he had always been a true friend. 

A long journey to the Susquehanna to visit the Indians 
at Wehaloosing was undertaken by John Woolman with 
one companion in 1763. To go was to take his life in 
his hands. He set out in May of that year, and the 
quaint narrative gives us glimpses of the dangers by 
the way. From the outset Woolman underwent much 
spiritual travail. He even disregarded the friendly warn 
ing of a deputation of Philadelphia Friends who arrived 
at Mount Holly late on the night before the journey. 
An express rider had reached Philadelphia, with word of 
an uprising at Pittsburg, where the Indians were on the 
warpath, and had slain some of the English. Certain 
elderly Friends in Philadelphia thought it right to give 
Woolman a word of warning, and sent. an able-bodied 
deputation post-haste. Every one in the town was abed 
and asleep when they arrived, and Woolman had already 
taken leave of his neighbours. They rode to the tavern, 
and despatched a messenger to call Woolman from his 
bed. He appeared at once, received the message, and 
returned to bed without telling his wife until next 
morning, when, he writes, she was greatly distressed at 
the news, and they had " an humbling time." Never 
theless, so great was his assurance of protection, that he 
departed in the fear of the Lord. Israel and John 
Pemberton set him on his way to his friend Samuel 
Foulke s in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where he joined 
four Indians a man and three women who were return 
ing to the Wyoming Valley, after a business trip East, 
and who had agreed to act as guides. 

At this point, Woolman met another test. He writes : 

" Here my friend Benjamin Parvin met me, and proposed 
joining me as a companion we had before exchanged some 


letters on the subject, and now I had a sharp trial on his 
account. As the journey appeared perilous, I thought if he 
went chiefly to bear me company, and we should be taken 
captive, my having been the means of drawing him into these 
difficulties would add to my own afflictions. So I told him my 
mind freely, and let him know I was resigned to go alone. But 
after all, if he really believed it his duty to go on, I believed his 
company would be very comfortable to me. It was indeed a time 
of deep exercise, and Benjamin appeared to be so fastened to the 
visit that he could not be easy to leave me. So we went on." 

They soon struck into the wilderness, and their camp 
the first night was pitched upon the banks of the Lehigh, 
in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Walking about at sunset, 
Woolman reflected upon the horrors of war, whether 
among these children of the woods or civilised nations. 
Upon the sides of the great forest trees, peeled for the 
purpose, were drawn in red and black paint rude repre 
sentations of Indians on the warpath, going and returning 
from battle, with others suffering horrid deaths. They 
were on a familiar Indian trail, often used by the savage 
warriors, and as Woolman studied these fierce Indian 
histories, his soul was moved to reflect on the afflictions 
which " a fierce, proud spirit produceth in the world." He 
meditated on their fatigues in hard mountain travel ; on 
their misery and distress when wounded far from home ; 
on their unnecessary bruises and weariness in thus chasing 
one another over rock and stream ; on the restless, 
unquiet mind of all those who live in the spirit of war 
and hatred ; and on the inheritance transmitted to their 
children, and he yearned to tell the whole human race 
the message of peace and love which he so fully believed 
was his. The next rainy day, as he sat in his tent, he 
was led to reflect upon the nature of the exercises which 
attended him. 

" Love was the first motion, and thence arose a concern to 
spend some time with the Indians, that I might feel and under 
stand their life and the spirit they live in, if haply I might 
receive some instruction from them, or they might be in any 
degree helped forward by my following the leadings of Truth 
among them." 


The dangers of the way increased. One Indian with 
whom Woolman talked, produced a tomahawk which he 
had kept concealed under his coat. He made no use of it, 
however, and sat down to a friendly pipe, when conversation 
became general. The hatchet, Woolman said, had a very 
" disagreeable appearance," but it was only intended for 
readiness in case of attack. On June 17 they reached 
their destination, and as the afternoon shadows stretched 
over the mountains, the first person whom they saw was a 
modest old Indian woman, with a Bible in her hand, who 
addressed the guide, and then the strangers, telling them 
she had heard of their coming. This rejoiced their hearts, 
and they sat on a log while the conch-shell was blown to 
call the people together. Going into a house near the 
town, they found some sixty persons awaiting them in 
silence. Woolman addressed them, and a few interpreted 
for others, and he greeted them from their white brethren, 
nafvely showing these dark savages his certificate from 
the Monthly Meeting, which he endeavoured to explain. 
The difficulties of the Delaware tongue increased his 
labours, and as the days went on, and the spirit of good 
will was evident, he frequently dispensed altogether with 
an interpreter. Once, feeling his mind covered with the 
spirit of prayer, he assured the interpreters that if he 
prayed aright, God would hear him without their aid, 
and the " meeting ended with a degree of divine love." 
An old Indian named Papunehang a " tender man," 
says Woolman appreciated the spirit and atmosphere of 
the meeting, even if he did not comprehend the words, 
telling the interpreter afterwards, " I love to feel where 
words come from." 

The little town of forty houses, the largest thirty feet 
long and eighteen feet wide, standing compactly together 
for protection, received the care and solicitude of John 
Woolman for the remainder of his stay. On the 2Oth of 
June he felt at liberty to return home, which he reached 
by the end of the month. Thankfulness at having 
accomplished his task and finding his family well caused 
him to check his joy, lest the feeling might seem selfish 


in being " glad overmuch " ! A minute stands on the 
books of his meeting : 

" ist of 8 mo. 1763. Our friend John Woolman being re 
turned from his visit to some religiously disposed Indians up 
Susquehannah, informed the last meeting that he was treated 
kindly, and had satisfaction in his visit." 

Burlington, headquarters of Quakerism in New Jersey, 
was but five years old when the Assembly of 1682 passed 
an act "to encourage learning for the better education of 

This act set aside a valuable tract of land in the 
Delaware opposite Burlington known as Matiniconk 
Island, to "remain to and for the use of the town of 
Burlington ... for the maintaining of a school for the 
education of youth." 

The revenues from a part of this land, cared for by a 
committee known as the " Island Managers," are still 
devoted to the original purpose. This is probably the 
oldest trust fund of an educational character now existing 
in the United States. 

Thomas Budd, one of the most prominent Quakers of 
the time, and author of an interesting pamphlet, Good 
Order Established in Pennsylvania and West New 
Jersey, in a comprehensive plan of education which was 
largely adopted, urged compulsory education at the 
" publick Schools " for a period of seven years. " Schools 
should be set up in all towns and cities with persons of 
known honesty, skill, and understanding, chosen by the 
Governor and Assembly, to teach in them." He would 
have the children taught "true English and Latin . . . 
and fair writing, arithmetic, and book-keeping." 

The first mention in the meeting minutes of a school 
for Friends occurs in a minute of the Monthly Meeting 
of Burlington for " 7th of I ith mo. 1705." 

"It is the request of some Friends of Burlington to this 
meeting that they may have the privilege of allowing a school to 
be kept in this meeting-house in Burlington, which request is 
answered by this meeting." 


Schools were speedily set up in the country neighbour 
hoods of the adjoining Quaker counties, being often held 
in the meeting-houses, and while no high degree of learning 
was reached, a fair average for the day was maintained, 
with the exception of certain isolated settlements, where 
both educational and religious interests suffered greatly. 
That a high standard of intellectual attainment was reached 
by the more cultivated Quakers may at once be perceived 
when we recall the evidences of wide reading and liberal 
views shown in the correspondence and literary work of the 
leading Quakers of the early eighteenth century. Closely 
in touch with the activities of the Society in religious 
matters, they maintained with England a lively corre 
spondence, both with the leading Friends and some of the 
literary men of the day in London. Among these were 
the Morrises, Smiths, Kinseys, Coxes, and Dillwyns, of 
Burlington, which always maintained its position as the 
chief town and centre of culture in the Jerseys. The 
Yearly Meeting had been transferred to Philadelphia 
when the Quaker revival of learning came at the end 
of the eighteenth century. The War of the Revolution 
startled the Friends into an appreciation of their pre 
carious position. Shutting themselves up within their 
defensive walls of discipline in the effort to strengthen 
themselves, they disowned all offenders against the 
sentiment of conservatism urged by the newly created 
" Meeting for Sufferings," and began to teach a " guarded 

In 1720 we find the meetings in correspondence with 
all the meetings at home and abroad, and still growing in 
numbers, although more slowly. Some of the Friends 
of the second generation had begun that movement to 
the lands in the West which later became so great ; and 
when, in 174.2, Edmund Peckover attended Burlington 
Yearly Meeting, he noted that while not many who had 
started West had been of " much note," when arrived 
there they developed greatly in a spiritual sense, as they 
were thrown more upon their own resources, and promised 
to build up good and lively meetings. The list is a long 


one of those who came to refresh their American brethren 
from the old home, but there were already growing up 
within the circle of the meetings certain ultra-conservative 
tendencies which were detrimental to the best spiritual 

The following very interesting remarks stand appended 
to a minute of the Meeting of Ministers and Elders, of 
which John Woolman was Clerk, for Burlington and 
Chesterfield Monthly Meetings, under date five years 
before his death. In the absence of statistics for that 
period, the list he gives is valuable, and is our only record 
of these officers of the meeting. The writer s comment 
was not intended for public perusal, but was a simple 
expression of his feelings on making the list. 

MEETING, DATED 2 MO. 22nd, 1767. 

1. John Sykes 

2. Joannah Sykes 

3. Josiah Foster 

4. John Butkher 

5. Mary Bunting 

6. Samuel Sattertwaite 

7. Thomas Buzby 

8. William Morris 

9. Daniel Smith 

10. Joseph Burr 

11. Jane Burr 

12. Jacob Andrews 

13. Josiah White 

14. Daniel Doughty 

1 5. Edith Doughty 

1 6. Joseph Noble 

17. Edward Cathrel 

1 8. Rachel Cathrel 

19. Elizabeth Woolman 

20. Elizabeth Bordon 

21. Katherine Kalender 

22. Ebenezer Mot 

23. William Lowrie 

24. Benjamin Field 

25. Edward Whitcraft 

26. Anthony Benezet 

27. Joyce Benezet 

28. Sarah Newbold 

29. Hannah Bickerdike 

30. Elizabeth Shinn 

31. John Smith 

32. Peter Worral 

33. Susannah Worral 

34. Benjamin Jones 

35. Elizabeth Jones 

36. Thomas Middleton 

37. Patience Middleton 

38. Elizabeth Smith 

39. Mary Brown 

40. Jane Smith 

41. Sarah English 

42. Amos Middleton 

43. Samuel Worth 

44. Joseph Horner 

45. Samuel Gaunt 

46. Meribeth Fowler 

47. Anthony Sykes 

48. Peter Harvey 

49. Mary Harvey 

50. Mary Buzby 

51. John Sleeper 

52. Caleb Carr 

53. Katherine Wetheril 

54. Asher Woolman 

55. Esther Atkinson 

56. Elizabeth Hatkinson 

57. Sarah Woolman 

58. Abner Woolman 

59. John Woolman 

60. William Jones 

"The 22, 2 mo. 1767 this list was entered in This Book and 
the persons above named are, I believe, now living. As, looking 
over the minutes made by persons who have put off this Body, 
hath sometimes revived in me a thought how ages pass away ; so 
this list may possibly revive a like thought in some when I and 
the rest of the persons above named are entered in another state 
of Being. The Lord who was the guide of my Youth hath in 
Tender mercies helped me hitherto. He hath healed me of 


wounds ! He hath helped me out of grievous entanglements ! 
He remains to be the strength of my life, to whom I desire to 
devote myself in Time and Eternity. JOHN WOOLMAN." 

The period when John Woolman was most engaged 
in the ministry is a striking one in the history of the 
Church. Social and religious conditions on both sides of 
the Atlantic were undergoing great changes. As a rule, 
the Quakers, although perhaps unconsciously, felt the 
influences pervading all classes of society ; and the fresh 
breath of what has since been known as the " Great 
Awakening" swept even into the quiet atmosphere of the 
Quaker meeting. One of the great leaders among the 
English Friends was Samuel Fothergill, who followed a 
few years later directly in the footsteps of Whitefield. 
The latter, in 1739, passed like a ghostly whirlwind over 
the Jerseys, holding meetings in the open air, and on the 
steps of the Court House in Burlington. Not once, but 
many times, did the strange preacher vehemently exhort 
his hearers to a holier life, and many were his converts. 
His ministrations could not have been without a certain 
influence upon the Society of Friends, and indeed, through 
his indefatigable efforts, there were many converts to 
Methodism, albeit Whitefield was no longer a follower 
of Wesley. 

John Woolman was a youth of eighteen at the time of 
Whitefield s first visit, and the religious excitement in the 
very air must have told upon him. Be that as it may, he 
very soon became the most striking figure among the 
Quakers of New Jersey, or, indeed, of America. Just at 
the time when, with his highly ethical and spiritual views 
of the conduct of life, he was seeking to arouse Friends 
from the religious indifference into which over-attention 
to the letter of the law had led them, Samuel Fothergill 
arrived from England. He was the son of that John 
Fothergill who had made three visits to America, the last 
extending from 1736 to 1739. His preaching was 
forceful, and it is worthy of note that at this period near 
the middle of the century, Whitefield, Woolman, and the 
Fothergills, father and son, were all labouring in their 


respective fields with great effect. Whitefield and Wool man 
died within three years of each other. 

Samuel Fothergill landed in 1754. He was a man of 
remarkable influence and ability, with a gift for organisation 
and a breadth of view singularly calculated to advise 
wisely in the perplexed time when he visited the colonies. 
Remarkable results followed his two years in America. 
The Indian frontier wars were at their height, and he 
encouraged Friends to withdraw from activity in the 
legislative bodies of the provinces, rather than compromise 
their distinguishing testimonies. To him the Society owes 
much of the movement which revived and enforced the 
discipline in London in 1760, with an immediate effect 
upon all the American meetings. 

The mutterings of the Revolutionary War were now 
beginning to be heard. English Friends continued to 
visit America, often in the endeavour to strengthen the 
hands of the brethren, although few of them, except Dr. 
Fothergill, brother of Samuel, and one or two others who 
gave careful study to the situation and kept in corre 
spondence with the colonial Quakers, could understand 
the very difficult position in which the latter found 
themselves. Among the last to come over was Elizabeth 
Robinson, from Yorkshire, who, in a visit to the family 
in Philadelphia where young Thomas Scattergood of 
Burlington was serving his apprenticeship, was the means 
of awakening him to a sense of his spiritual needs, and he 
became a well-known minister. Between 1775 and 1785 
no English Friend crossed the Atlantic for service as a 
preacher, the difficulties being too great. The meeting at 
Burlington in 1775 notes the reading of the caution 
issued by the Meeting for Sufferings, advising " close 
adherence to the principles of Quakerism in these times 
of commotion." The Quarterly Meeting minutes for 
ii mo. 24, 1777, state that twenty-six Representatives 
from the preceding Quarterly Meeting of Ministers and 
Elders had been prevented from attending Yearly Meeting 
because " hindered from crossing the River (Delaware) by 
military men stopping the boats on this side, on account 


of the British Troops being in possession of the city of 
Philadelphia." Germantown also was occupied by General 
Howe, who had taken possession of the town in September. 
The Friends at Trenton, New Jersey, were obliged to meet 
in private houses, their meeting-house being occupied by 
soldiers ; and when, one day, the Burlington Friends came 
in to the town to Monthly Meeting, they discovered that the 
militia had occupied the house for quarters during the night. 

The Friends suffered much throughout the war, certain 
neighbourhoods in New Jersey feeling particularly the 
sorrows of the time. Both armies moved through New 
Jersey, General Howe s army causing much damage in 
the " Quaker " counties of the state. Distraints on the 
part of the Americans were heavy, one Friend with a wife 
and child near Mount Holly being obliged to flee, when 
their home was plundered ; another with eleven children 
was stripped of all his property by both contending armies. 
Through the Meeting for Sufferings, English Friends 
contributed generously to the aid of their persecuted 
brethren, one of the Friends referred to receiving fifty and 
the other seventy-five pounds in this way. 

Private journals and correspondence of the time show 
how the subject of national independence was moving 
Friends in New Jersey. Their position was trying, and 
speedily became most grave. Many young men yielded 
to the impulse, which also drew away some of the 
older ones, to enlist in the cause of the Americans 
Sympathising epistles came from London, and during the 
struggle which followed, despite trials consequent upon a 
position of neutrality among people alive with the spirit 
of warfare, they steadily maintained their principles and 
profession, although at the expense, in many cases, of the 
confiscation of goods and property. To all inquirers they 
replied, as one meeting stated in a special minute : 

"We, the people called Quakers, ever since we were dis 
tinguished as a Society, have declared to the world our belief 
in the peaceable tendency of the Gospel of Christ, and that 
consistent therewith we could not bear arms, nor be concerned 
in warlike preparations." 


When the hostilities were over, came sufferings in the 
effort of readjustment, the price paid for neutrality. 
Prosperity in material things smiled at last upon the 
Friends ; but never again were they to see and experience 
the power and freshness so marked in the earlier days. 
They had received with almost the last breath of George 
Fox his thought and blessing in one of his dying ex 
pressions the charge to his companions, " Mind poor 
Friends in America." 






THE persecution of the Friends in England had varying 
results, depending on the character and circumstances of 
the victims. To the man of nerve and conscience it 
taught a more close and fearless adherence to his station 
and its duties. When the Conventicle Act of 1664 was 
passed, an Act intended to break up all forms of worship 
except those of the established church, George Fox wrote 
to his followers : 

" Now is the time for you to stand, you that have been public 
men (ministers) and formerly did travel abroad ; mind and keep 
up your testimony, go into your meeting-houses as at other 

He himself went to London " where the storm was 
about to begin." When he heard that there were stocks 
prepared for him at Evesham he went there and had " a 
glorious meeting." Such was usually the conduct of the 
leaders. They never flinched or fled almost at times 
they seemed to court persecution, and enjoy it. William 
Dewsbury said : " I never played the coward but as 
joyfully entered prisons as palaces, and in the prison-house, 
I sang praises to my God and esteemed the bolts and 
locks upon me as jewels." They fought it out on this 
line and in the end conquered, but many times the issue 
seemed doubtful, the conflict interminable, and the reward 
hardly worth the suffering. To many it seemed that they 
could do more good by attempting to establish a godly 
commonwealth in America than by undertaking the 

417 2 E 


seemingly impossible task of reforming the intolerant 
institutions of England. So when William Penn opened 
the way, many thousands were immediately ready to take 
advantage of the offer. 

It was not, however, a new idea with Penn in 1681. 
Twenty years before, George Fox had commissioned 
Josiah Coale to seek such a home in the new world, and 
during the intervening time many longing eyes had turned 
in that direction. William Penn tells us : 

"This I can say that I had an opening of joy as to these 
parts [the American Colonies] in the year 1661 at Oxford twenty 
years since." 

This was when he was a student of seventeen. Whether 
he referred to this as a dream of youth to found an ideal 
state, a reflection from his studies or the temper of his 
associates, or, as the word " opening " was commonly used 
by the Friends of the time, a divine revelation, we shall 
not know. But when the opportunity came in the Jerseys 
to make this dream something of a reality, he quickly 
embraced it, and wove into the fabric of the government 
there his advanced ideas of civil and religious liberty and 

There was, however, not a clear field. The real Quaker 
preserve had not been found. At the best it would 
be a mixed experiment, but it gave him a foretaste and 
a clear conception of better things which might follow. 

The opportunity came in 1681. No other than 
William Penn could have embraced it. Two considera 
tions came to his aid. One was his great influence 
at court, an influence gained in spite of his religious 
peculiarities, and his open opposition to the libertinism of 
the Stuarts, gained as the result of his father s high station 
and services, his own most gracious but not obsequious 
manners, the quickness of his intelligence, and the respect 
felt for his ability and character. The Duke of York, 
afterwards James II. was his own and his father s friend, 
and a long list of titled associates loyally aided his 


The other consideration was a claim he had upon the 
crown for ; 16,000 due his father s estate for a loan 
and interest This he proposed to relinquish in return 
for a lordly province in America, and Pennsylvania came 
into his hands. To this the Duke of York added what 
is now Delaware. The boy s dream was to be realised 
and the Quaker hopes brought to fruition. 

The royal ignorance of geography made trouble in 
years to come. The King meant to give Penn three 
degrees of latitude and five of longitude, but the former 
was impossible between Maryland and New York, and 
the southern boundary was a source of contest with Lord 
Baltimore for many years, and kept Penn in England 
when he wanted to be among his settlers. 

He sent over his cousin William Markham to receive 
the fealty of the few settlers along the western bank of 
the Delaware Swedes and Dutch and a few Quakers who 
had straggled over from New Jersey and settled opposite 
Burlington, at Tacony and on the Schuylkill, and at 
Upland (now Chester). 1 Markham was also to arrange 
for the purchase of land from the Indians, to select the 
site of Philadelphia, and to lay out the town. 

William Penn was Governor of the new state, and had 

1 Dankers and Sluyter, two Dutchmen, travelled through these Delaware 
Settlements in 1679-80. With no friendly hand they depict the character of these 
first Quakers along the Delaware. On igth November 1679, at Burlington, " We 
went into the meeting of the Quakers who went to work very unceremoniously 
and loosely. What they uttered was mostly in one tone and the same thing, and 
so it continued until we were tired out and went away. " They describe them as 
" most worldly of men," as an evidence of which they found a copy of Virgil 
on the table of one, and also a book of van Helmont s. " Most of them are 
miserably self-minded in physical and religious knowledge." 

When they got down to Tinicum, an island in the Delaware River below 
Philadelphia, In the evening there arrived three Quakers, of whom one was their 
great prophetess, who travels through the whole country in order to quake. She 
lives in Maryland and forsakes husband and children, plantation and all, and goes 
off for this purpose. She had been to Boston and had been arrested by the authori 
ties on account of her quakery, . . . They sat by the fire and drank a dram of 
rum with each other and in a short time after began to shake and groan so that 
we did not know what had happened and supposed they were going to preach 
but nothing came of it." 

They found at Upland two widows who were at variance and whom the 
"prophetess" was trying to reconcile. "One of these widows named Anna 
Salters lived at Tokany and was one of those who, when a certain person gave 
himself out as the Lord Jesus and allowed himself to be carried around on an ass, 
shouted Hosanna as he rode over her garments, for which conduct he was arrested, 
his tongue bored through with a hot iron and his forehead branded with a B for 


power to form its constitution and laws subject to the 
consent of the settlers. He was also owner of the land, 
and could sell it to whom and on what terms he chose. 
But he made it cheap, as there was plenty of it, and he 
must have settlers. 

He himself landed at New Castle, Delaware, on the 
27th of October 1682 in the Welcome. There had been 
a wearisome voyage of nine weeks, and of the hundred who 
sailed thirty died of small-pox on the ocean. By easy 
stages he went to Upland (which he now called Chester), 
to the hospitable home of Robert Wade, and then to 
Philadelphia, where he landed at the foot of Dock-Creek. 
Tradition says that the Indians met him there, and that 
he gained their confidence by joining them in their feast 
of roasted acorns and excelling them in jumping. He 
called together the assembly at Chester, which in a three 
days session adopted a constitution and a body of 

Friends came rapidly into the province. It need not 
be assumed that it was release from penalties alone 
which brought these godly people to Pennsylvania. Before 
Penn left England he had published Some Account of 
the Province of Pennsylvania. It was an advertisement 
for settlers, an analysis of the social and political condi 
tions of England, and how these conditions would be 
bettered for the colonists by emigration. He told of the 
noble river which fronted the province, the many square 
miles of good land, the great forests, the wild animals, 
the furs, the possible productions of the country, in 
tempting terms. 

Then he explained how the government would be free 
and democratic, without religious or political disabilities. 
He further urged that there would be place there for 

blasphemer. She was not only one of these but she anointed his head and feet 
and wiped them with her hair." This refers to the Bristol [England] episode of 
James Nayler a score of years before. 

Our travellers speak highly of Robert Wade and his wife, the pioneer Friends 
of Pennsylvania who had come from Salem to Upland in 1675. They were 
" the best Quakers we have seen " and " could not endure " Anna Sailers. 

These early days of venture and suffering brought out the crudity as well as 
the heroism of some of the Friends. 


mechanics and tradesmen of all sorts, younger brothers 
without means, and " men of universal spirits " who wanted 
to work out the problems of good government. 

Many of all sorts came solid Friends who had 
endured the horrors of English prisons with a kindly 
spirit to all the world, men of education and means 
seeking larger estates, renters who wished to be land 
owners, millers, handicraftsmen of many kinds, adventurers 
for gain, some fairly good and some criminal. But at 
first the better elements were in large preponderance and 
in absolute control. They entered into the spirit of the 
enterprise, did their best to support the institutions which 
their governor and proprietor placed before them, and 
were melted together in their simple but solemn religious 

For the most of them it was a happy exchange from 
the social and political rigours of England. Here was a 
country at their hands, to be owned for a trifling yearly 
rental, a government in which they were partners, no 
disabilities to trouble them, no classes to shame them. 
Some of them had their heads turned by the sudden 
access of power, and they became, as William Penn 
expressed it, " too governmentish," too democratic, too 
inclined to find little grievances, too in appreciative of 
what they had gained. 

The work began promptly : 

" At a monthly meeting of the 8th of gth month (November) 
1682; at this time Governor William Penn arrived here and 
erected a city called Philadelphia, about half a mile from 
Shackamaxon where . . . meetings were established." l 

At the same time farmers were pressing into the 
country from Chester, Philadelphia and Bristol, taking up 
the plots they had purchased in England from rough 
maps. The work of surveying went on rapidly, but there 
must have been much neighbourly consideration to allow 
all to locate so peacefully. 

Only two boat loads of immigrants came to Pennsyl- 

1 Watson, Annals of Philadelphia, \. 140. 


vania in 1681 one from London and one from Bristol. 
But in 1682 the stream fairly began. Many reached the 
country before Penn. Twenty-three vessels sailed up the 
Delaware during the year, and these probably brought 
2000 passengers. We hear nothing of any men of 
prominence in these early days except Friends. The 
first legislature was made up of Friends and of Swedes 
and Dutch who were already in the country. 

The Pennsylvania Friends represented nearly all 
parts of the British Isles. Many came from Yorkshire 
and the midland counties of England. London and 
Bristol and their neighbourhoods sent their contingents, 
and Wales a small army. Later many came from the 
north of Ireland, converted from Presbyterianism by 
William Edmundson and his friends. The eastern 
counties, where Puritanism was the strongest, contained 
fewer Friends. Their restless spirits had gone to New 
England. Penn s acquaintance along the Rhine brought 
in the Mennonites and kindred sects, and the province 
in these early days grew rapidly, and with harmonious 
elements. But we must study something of the character 
of the great leader before we can understand the state 
that he founded and the religious body for whom and 
with whom he worked. 



WITH William Penn as a founder of a state, this history 
has to do only indirectly. There is little doubt that the 
democratic character of the ideas which he at the first 
advocated so enthusiastically produced its effect upon the 
development of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. After the 
partisan struggles of the first thirty years of colonial 
history, when he was assailed with harsh and bitter 
criticism, had passed away, a more just appreciation of 
his services gradually found place. This grew, after his 
death, into a profound and loyal respect. Friends vied 
with each other in quoting his religious and political 
tenets, as authorities which they held in ever increasing 

He wrote easily and he wrote voluminously. He 
pondered deeply upon many phases of theological and 
governmental theory, and presented his thoughts in 
printed form. He wrote too easily and under too varied 
impulses, and, like such writers, it is often hard to 
reconcile his statements with each other. The general 
trend both of his theological and political views is, how 
ever, so evident and so abundantly and happily expressed 
that they became in time the basis of the government of 
Pennsylvania and the expressions of the doctrine and 
policy of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. They were 
followed too literally and had the odour of too great 
sanctity. For what with him were only means and 
expedients, became, under his less broad-minded followers, 
ends and fixed principles. 



To appreciate subsequent history, a critical estimate 
of this remarkable man, whose qualities shine more 
highly with each succeeding investigation, becomes a 
necessity. His biographers have copied from each other, 
and perhaps too carelessly accepted tradition as to 
particular events which have not stood the test ot closer 
examination ; but enough of well authenticated facts, 
letters of himself and of judicious friends, epistles on 
religion and government, and the undisputed actions of 
his public and private career, exist from which to frame 
an estimate of his strength and weakness. 

Hepworth Dixon and others seem to have effectually 
answered Macaulay s charges to his discredit. It is 
unfortunate, however, that they are embalmed in that 
historian s brilliant style and perennially interesting 
volumes. Where a score read the attack but one knows 
of the defence, and so the misstatements will for ever be 
renewed and believed. 

There are, however, certain weaknesses of Penn s 
character, not seriously discreditable to him, but which 
detract something from the universal praise often accorded 
him. He was a poor judge of character. His Deputy- 
Governors were often most unfortunate selections. Black- 
well, an old Cromwellian soldier, honest and moral, had 
no appreciation of the Quaker character with which and 
over which he was to govern. He was, as he admitted, 
" unequally yoked " and " unfeignedly gave thanks to 
God " when he was recalled. Evans, a young libertine, 
swollen with a puerile self-conceit, offended in every way 
his best friends and made endless troubles for Penn. 
Gookin, severe and unyielding, with a stubbornness 
lapsing into insanity, was an unquestioned misfit. The 
better judgment of Penn s widow saved the day for the 
family after this succession of failures. 

It is true the problem was a hard one. A Friend 
would not perform the duties which involved certain 
military declarations and offices ; these they were quite 
willing that others should undertake, but against them 
their own consciences rebelled. The Deputy-Governor must, 


therefore, not be a Friend. He must, however, be accept 
able to them, appreciating their spirit and respecting their 
scruples, for by virtue both of numbers and character 
they controlled the situation. They were to be his 
partners, not his subordinates, and with the extravagant 
idea of their rights and privileges which some of them had, 
they were no easy partners to work with. The ideal 
Governor must not only be self-respecting, but tactful ; 
not only a strict moralist, but tolerant of differing 
standards ; not only faithful to Penn s interests, but 
appreciative of the people s liberties. Not one of Penn s 
choices, with the possible exception of Thomas Lloyd, 
possessed all these qualities, and bitterly the proprietor 
paid the price of his poor judgment in thirty years of 
governmental confusion and financial loss. 

The account of Penn s relations to his knavish steward 
is not pleasant reading for his friends. Ford was a 
Friend and a business man of ability. Penn placed all 
his affairs in Ford s hands and dismissed his care of them. 
Full of great schemes of philanthropy, his influence 
eagerly sought for suffering Friends and suitors of all 
kinds, this is not a matter of wonder. But when the 
fraudulent nature of his doings was known to Penn, or 
might easily have been known, he still allowed matters to 
proceed, heaping up claim upon claim till the province 
became mortgaged and his friends had infinite difficulty 
in untangling the complicated fraud. At first it was 
misplaced confidence, which any busy man might have 
fallen into. Then lest the plight which had happened to 
him should injure the Holy Experiment, he allowed it to 
proceed and kept it quiet, thus piling up untold suffering 
and trouble and a term in the debtor s prison for himself, 
and much vexation and expense for his friends, which an 
earlier, vigorous exposure might have avoided. There 
was nothing dishonest or illiberal in his course, only a 
suggestion of a lack of downright positiveness in 
extricating himself honourably from an unfortunate 

The question of military resistance was the great 


difficulty in a Quaker state, which finally wrought the 
downfall of the body which opposed it. Prior to the 
downfall, the Friends had, in many cases, held their 
places by pursuing what seems like a doubtful course, 
going further than strict consistency would approve. 
Penn himself was not quite clear of some equivocation 
in the matter. As we have seen, he appointed non- 
Quaker deputies to perform acts which he and no other 
Friend would consider consistent with their profession ; 
to " be stiff with our neighbours upon occasion " as he 
once said. 

This may be defensible, for liberty of the individual 
conscience was their great claim. But when Penn 
recovered his right to govern his province in 1693, it was 
the result of a promise that he would faithfully transmit 
to the Assembly all kingly commands for military aid, 
which " he doubted not " that body would honour. It did 
not honour the first communication he made in compliance 
with this implied contract, and Penn must have known 
that it would not and that he would not urge it to. 

Fortunately the trouble was only ephemeral, and no 
one called for a literal enforcement of the condition, but 
this hardly acquits Penn of something like hedging in his 
dealings with the Crown, a stroke of diplomacy very 
venial in that day, but not quite consistent with an open 
and perfectly transparent character. 

These, then, seem to be the weak spots in Penn s 
record, an inability to judge men and a certain timidity 
in dealing with difficult situations, when his larger plans 
would be thereby endangered. More than this can 
hardly be fairly charged against him. These were the 
causes of the most of his troubles. Good deputies and 
bold strokes to rid himself of the webs of chicanery his 
personal and political enemies had woven around him 
would have kept the temper of the colonists sweet and 
loyal and his own actions free to carry out his plans. 
When he went to jail for a matter of conscience, every 
one of his friends must have felt a thrill of pride as he 
declared : " My prison shall be my grave before I will 


budge a jot, for I owe obedience of the conscience to no 
mortal man." But when he sent out his frantic appeals 
to Logan to gather in his dues, and allowed his friends to 
raise a subscription to pay off the indebtedness he had 
unwittingly contracted, when he lay months in Fleet 
prison waiting for his creditors to come to terms, there 
must have been a loss of respect among those who 
looked to him for leadership, even though these were 
recognised as under the circumstances right and necessary 
things to do, and to be the result of no moral obliquity 
on his part. 

The other side of Penn s character is more pleasing to 
contemplate, and is so much more impressive that the 
flaws seem insignificant. He was profoundly and sincerely 
religious, and his personal life was far above the ordinary 
vices of his age. This was questioned probably but once. 
When a persecuting Judge suggested that the early career 
of the prisoner had been guilty of some of the sins 
against which he was declaiming, Penn indignantly denied 
it and challenged any one to prove that by word or deed 
he had, even in his more thoughtless youth, ever offended 
against the standards of a strict morality. The Judge 
was rebuked by a fellow judge, who admitted the truth of 
Penn s denial and told his associate that he had gone too 
far. The truth of the declaration may well be admitted. 
Only purity of life, or arch hypocrisy, could be the basis 
of such beautiful precepts of morality and piety as we 
find in his writings, and the latter alternative will hardly 
be claimed by any one. 

The wisdom of many of his Fruits of Solitude, the 
fervent appeal to the reader at the beginning of No Cross, 
No Crown, the fitting and eloquent eulogy on George 
Fox, and many others which will occur to any readers of 
his works, could hardly be the product of a character 
which had ever suffered a moral relapse. Nor is there 
evidence that the validity of his inspired ministry or the 
profound respect and influence accorded to his preaching 
was questioned by his rather exacting collaborators in the 
Gospel among Friends. It is no proof of this that 


crowds flocked to hear him l in England when he was 
expected to be present at a meeting, for this is the meed 
of every preacher who has for the time being the 
popular ear. 

A better evidence is the judgment of friends expressed 
in private correspondence. Isaac Norris writes in 1701, 
just as Penn was leaving the province the second time : 

" The unhappy misunderstandings in some and unwarrantable 
oppositions in others have been a block to our plenary comforts 
in him, and his own quiet ; but these things are externals only. 
Our communion in the church sweetens all, and our inward 
waitings and worships together have often been a general 
comfort and consolation ; and in this I take a degree of satisfac 
tion, after all, that we part in love ; and some of his last words 
in meeting yesterday, were that he looked over all infirmities and 
outwards, and had an eye to the regions of spirits, wherein is our 
surest tie ; and in true love, there he took his leave of us." 2 

Again in 1 707, when the proprietor was in the darkest 
days of his difficulties with the Fords, Isaac Norris writes : 

" The more he is pressed, the more he rises. He seems of a 
spirit fit to bear and to rub through difficulties, and after all, as 
thou observes, his foundation remains. " 8 

William Penn was one of those choice beings whose 
soul was attuned to Divine harmonies, and whose power 
could be felt by kindred spirits in the life of Christ 
When he was coming to Pennsylvania in 1699, he 
received three certificates from his Friends in England, 
one from " the Second -day s Meeting of Ministering 
Friends," in London, one from the Friends in Bristol, 
where he had resided for a considerable time, and one 
from the Monthly Meeting of Horsham. They are all 
most appreciative. The last tells of 

" Our unity and communion with him. . . . He had been a 
holy and blessed instrument in the hands of the Lord, both in 

1 Thomas Story writes in 1697 of meetings in Dublin : " Great was the resort 
of people of all ranks and professions to our meetings, chiefly on account of our 
friend William Penn, who was ever furnished by the truth with matter fully to 
answer their expectations. Many of the clergy were there and the people with 
one voice spoke well of what they heard." 

2 Penn and Logan Correspondence. 8 Ibid. 


his ministry and conversation [conduct] and hath always sought 
the prosperity of the blessed truth and peace and concord in the 
Church of Christ ; and both walked among us in all humility, 
good sincerity and true brotherly love to our great refreshment 
and comfort." 

There was some adverse sentiment. In Pennsylvania, 
this had, to a large extent, a political basis, and was led 
by David Lloyd and Griffith Jones, both probably 
estimable men, but whose extreme demands created a 
partisan feeling that extended into the meeting. 1 These 
men were correspondents and in sympathetic relations 
with William Mead and Thomas Lower, who are spoken 
of in the letters of the day 2 as representing the 
opposition party. George Whitehead is often associated 
with them. 

This opposition from within was largely due to Penn s 
supposed aristocratic tendencies and possible departure 
from a proper simplicity in his relations with the courtly 
influences among which he moved, and also to the Ford 
question and the doings of Evans as deputy-governor. 
It was later swallowed up by the prevailing and warmly 
expressed regard, as these matters were seen to be 
perfectly consistent with his profession and exalted 
character. After 1710, both the personal and political 
antagonism ceased in Pennsylvania, and those who had 
been considered as opponents lost their influence. The 

1 " Our meetings for business are now so much injured by some young forward 
novices and a few partisans of D. Lloyd, still a close member, that the more 
sound and ancient Friends do not venture upon anything there that concerns the 
government, expecting a separation upon it whenever it is taken in hand. 
According to present appearances of things, a separation will in time be unavoid 
able, and that after Friends (in England) have taken notice of proceedings here, 
nothing less than a general purge will ensue. J. Logan, 4 mo. 28, 1707." 

8 There is a short communication held between thy opposites among Friends 
there and that corrupted generation here. G. Whitehead has wrote a most affec 
tionate letter to Griffith Jones. He expresses himself as thy friend, but we know 
how he is linked with the Mead and Lower Party. I believe George is mistaken 
in Griffith, and knows not that he is not received in unity with Friends." 

James Logan to William Penn, 6 mo. 10, 1706. 

" They address such on this side the water (England) who are judged by them 
to be not in the best understanding with him." 

Isaac Norris to Joseph Pike, i mo. (March) 18, 1707. 

"Write a close letter to Friends concerning D. Lloyd insisting on that 
remonstrance and his directing letters to thy enemies." 

James Logan to William Penn, 12 mo, (February) 1709. 

See Penn and Logan Correspondence. 


English opposition, always less well defined and based 
on more shadowy grounds, seems also to have disappeared 
about the same time. So that, cleared of his financial 
troubles, his colony loyal, and his enemies evanescent, he 
spent the last two years of his vigorous life in a serene 
atmosphere of success and triumph. The stroke that 
then deprived him of his mental power, but left his 
spiritual faculties unimpaired, brought him universal 
sympathy and appreciation. 

Mentally, Penn was one of the great men of his times. 
It was a day of young men. The great preachers were 
nearly all under thirty, but this might be consistent with 
ordinary intelligence. Penn was more than a great 
popular preacher. He was a man of great thoughts and 
far-seeing plans and definite and courageous convictions 
based on learning and experience and study. He was 
ready for Oxford at fifteen. He was but twenty-three 
when the germ of the principle of universal toleration 
seems to have taken possession of him, apparently evolved 
from within, which in time became the great enthusiasm 
of his life. At the same age he began to preach. The 
first of his religious works came a few years later, 
and No Cross, No Crown immediately followed. The 
erudition displayed by one so young was a surprise to 
friends and enemies alike. Thus, at the age when the 
average American youth is finishing college, Penn had 
collected a wonderful store of knowledge, could command 
an effective English style, and was a master of theological 
argument of a most serviceable quality. 

His development was continuous. His work on con 
stitutions prior to his American experiment betrays the 
thoughtful student of the best that had been written in 
the past. He always had great conceptions and projects. 
In 1693 he published his scheme for "An European 
Dyet, Parliament or Estates," to which disputes between 
nations should be referred. All the great Powers were 
to be represented. The advantages of such a court, 
and the means to make its decisions acceptable, in order 
to avoid wars, were presented with great wealth of 


argument and illustration. The Hague tribunal was 
there in embryo. 

Three years later, he published a plan for the union 
of the American Colonies. Two representatives of each 
province were to meet in New York to arrange matters 
of common interest. They were to settle questions 
concerning commerce, the return of criminals, and 
" consider ways and means to support the union and 
safety of these provinces against the public enemies." 
This was probably the first suggestion of the movement 
which culminated about a century later in the Federal 
Constitution and Union. 

But the greatest, and at the same time, most practical 
conception was the foundation of Pennsylvania itself. 
That there were errors in detail, none can doubt An 
absentee landlord, even though liberal, can hardly avoid 
criticism and opposition, and such was William Penn to 
his Colony. His forceful presence would undoubtedly 
have composed faction and removed difficulties, and it 
was his full purpose to have lived permanently in 
Pennsylvania. The idea of a Commonwealth devoted 
to liberty and peace drew out the best powers of a 
comprehensive and enthusiastic intellect. There was no 
room in Europe, but in the great unoccupied expanse of 
the New World he would carry out his ideals with a 
selected community in sympathy with them, of a serious 
and honest sort, to whom he would transfer the govern 
mental power and realty rights he had purchased of 
the Crown, reserving only such moderate share of each 
as security for the future and family interests would 
justify. It was a glorious conception and a no less 
glorious opportunity, and we find him continually temper 
ing his natural ardour by considerations of duty to God 
and man, as the seriousness of the task and the risks 
of failure pressed themselves upon him. 

There was, too, in his composition a good share of 
fighting spirit. He was to have difficulties, but he never 
quailed. The temper which declared that he would never 
yield a jot, even though he died in prison, served him in 


good stead in other contests. " Can my wicked enemies 
yet bow ? They shall, or break, or be broken in pieces 
before a year from this time comes about, and my true 
friends rejoice," he declared in a crisis with Lord Baltimore. 
"If lenitives will not do, coercives must be tried," he 
announced in another emergency. It was only this 
determined vigour which carried him through the vast 
heap of difficulties among which he struggled. 

The whole of Penn s life indicates the power of his 
personality. Where he was