Book/Printed Material Image 1 of ... The testimony of the people called Quakers, given forth by a meeting ... held at Philadelphia the twenty-fourth day of the first month, 1775 [And subsequent documents, 1776-1777. Philadelphia] John Dunlap .
PHILADELPHIA , September 7.
The TESTIMONY of the People called QUAKERS, given forth by a Meeting of the Representatives of said People, in Pennsylvania and New-Jersey, held at Philadelphia the twenty-fourth day of the first Month. 1775.
HAVING considered with real sorrow, the unhappy contest between the legislature of Great Britain and the people of these Colonies, and the animosnies consequent thereon; we have by repeated public advices and private admonitions, used our endeavours to dissuade the members of our religious society from joining with the public resolutions promoted and entered into by same of the people, which as we apprehended, so ?ue now find have increased contention, and produced great discord and confusion.
The Divine principle of grace and truth which we profess, leads all who attend to its dictates, to demean themselves as peaceable subjects, and to discountenance and avoid every measure rending to excite dissatisfaction to the King, as supreme magistrate, or to the legal authority of his government; to which purpose many of the late political writings and addresses to the people appearing to be calculated, we are led by a sense of duty to declare our entire disapprobation of them—their spirit and temper being not only contrary to the nature and precepts of the gospel, but destructive of the peace and harmony of civil society, disqualify men in these times of difficulty, for the wise and judicious consideration and promoting of such measures as would be most effectual for reconciling differences, or obtaining the redress of grievances.
From our past experience of the elemency of the King and his royal ancestors, we have grounds to hope and believe, that decent and respectful addresses from those who are vested with legal authority, representing the prevailing dissatisfactions and the cause of them, would avail towards obtaining relief, ascertaining and establishing the just rights of the people and restoring the public tranquility; and we deeply lament that contrary modes of proceeding have been pursued, which have involved the Colonies in confusion, appear likely to produce violence and bloodshed, and threaten the subversion of the constitutional government, and of that liberty of conscience, for the enjoyment of which, our ancestors were induced to encounter the manifold dangers and difficulties of crossing the seas, and of settling in the wilderness.
We are, therefore, incited by a sincere concern for the peace and welfare of our country, publicly to declare against every usurpation of power and authority, in opposition to the laws and government, and against all combinations, insurrections, conspiracies, and illegal assemblies: and as we are restrained from them by the conscientious discharge of our duty to Almighty God, “by whom Kings reign, and Princes decree justice,” we hope through his assistance and favour, to be enabled to maintain our testimony against any requisitions which may be made of us, inconsistent with our religious principles, and the fidelity we owe to the King and his government, as by law established; earnestly desiring the restoration of that harmony and concord which have hitherto united the people of these provinces, and been attended by the divine blessing on their labours.
Signed in, and on behalf of the said meeting.
JAMES PEMBERTON, Clerk at this time.
The Quakers in Pennsylvania, much alarmed at the present distracted proceedings of the Colonies, in the opposition making to the authority of the Parliament of Great Britain, foresee the most fatal consequences both to themselves and the parent country, have thought it necessary to address their brethren in the adjacent provinces, and have published the following Epistle, declaring their disapprobation of the measures prosecuting for obtaining redress, and earnestly requesting all of their communion to avoid joining in such measures as are totally inconsistent with their religious principles.
An Epistle from the Meeting for Sufferings, held in Philadelphia for Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the 5 th day of the first Month, 1775.
To our Friends and Brethren in these and the adjacent Provinces.
DURING the troubles and commotions which have prevailed, and still continue in this once peaceful land, much seasonable and weighty advice hath been frequently communicated, and particularly by our late yearly meeting, exhorting friends in every part of their conduct, to act agreeable to the peaceable principles and testimony we profess; which we fervenly desire may be duly attended to and put in practice; yet as some public resolves have been lately entered into, with the concurrence and approbation of some members of our religious society, the nature and tendency of which are evidently contrary to our religious principles, our minds have been deeply affected with affliction and sorrow, and we have in much affection and brotherly love been engaged to use our endeavours to convince these our brethren of their deviation; in the discharge of which duty, so far as we have proceeded, we have had the evidence of peace.
And, dear Friends, we are now constrained in the renewings of true love, to intreat and exhort all, with humility and reverence, to bear in mind, that our real welfare and preservation, on the foundation of our religious fellowship and communion, depends on our faithfully adhering to the doctrines and precepts of our Lord Jesus Christ, who expressly declared, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence.” John xviii. 36. Which ever since we were a people, we have publickly professed should be religiously observed by us as the rule of our conduct.
As divers members of our religious society, some of them without their consent or knowledge, have been lately nominated to attend on and engage in some public affairs, which they cannot undertake without deviating from these our religious principles; we therefore earnestly beseech and advise them, and all others, to consider the end and purpose of every measure to which they are desired to become parties, and with great circumspection and care to guard against joining in any for the asserting and maintaining our rights and liberties, which on mature deliberation, appear not to be dictated by that “wisdom which is from above, which is pure, peaceable, gentle, and full of mercy and good fruits” James iii. 16.
“Every instance of conduct inconsistent with our christian profession, tends to violate the testimony we ought to maintain of the sufficiency of that divine principle of light and grace; by a steady attention to which, our ancestors were led, in times of great commotion and difficulty, to an humble patient waiting for that relief and liberty, which after a time of deep suffering was granted them.”
And as they were often engaged with christian fortitude and freedom to remonstrate to those who were in power, whenever under sufferings, they could safely do it, without fear of being reproached for any part of their conduct having ministered just occasion of offence; or for having ever been concerned in any kind of conspiracies, or combinations against the government under which they lived.
“Should any now so far deviate from their example, and the practice of faithful friends at all times since, as manifest a disposition to contend for liberty by any methods or agreements contrary to the peaceable spirit and temper of the gospel, which ever breathes peace on earth and good will to all men;” as it is the duty, we desire it may be the care of friends in every meeting where there are any such, speedily to treat with them, agreeable to our christian discipline, and endeavour to convince them of their error; in which labour let all be done in true charity and brotherly love, and the effect will be happy to those who receive it in the same spirit. This religious care steadily maintained, will clearly testify the sincerity of our desires “to guard against being drawn into measures which may minister occasion to any to represent us as a people departing from the principles we profess; and will like wise excite such, who has been so incautious as to enter into engagements, the terms and tendency of which they had not duly considered, to avoid doing any thing inconsistent with our principles;” and constantly to remember, that to fear God, honor the king, and do good to all men, is our indispensible duty.
And dear Friends,
In a degree of that divine love which unites in christian communion and fellowship, we tenderly salute you, desiring that we may more diligently press after, and seek for an establishment on that rock, against which the gates of hell shall never prevail, that we may be supported steadfast, when storms and tempests, which for the trial of our faith and the more thoroughly purging us from those things which are of a defiling nature, are permitted; for the Lord, whom we desire to serve, tenderly regards his depending children, and all his chastisements are in mercy directed to redeem and preserve them from evil.
Signed in, and on behalf of said Meeting, by
JOHN PEMBERTON, Clerk.
The Ancient Testimony and principles of the people called Quakers, renewed, with respect to the King and Government; and touching the commotions now prevailing in these and other parts of America, addressed to the people in general.
A RELIGIOUS concern for our friends and fellow subjects of every denomination, and more especially for those of all ranks, who in the present commotions, are engaged in public employments and stations, induces us earnestly to beseech every individual in the most solemn manner, to consider the end and tendency of the measures they are promoting; and on the most impartial enquiry into the state of their minds, carefully to examine whether they are acting in the fear of God, and in conformity to the precepts and doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ, whom we profess to believe in, and that by him alone we expect to be saved from our sins.
The calamities and afflictions which now surround us should, as we apprehend, affect every mind with the most awful consideration of the dispensations of Divine Providence to mankind in general in former ages, and that as the sins and iniquities of the people subjected them to grievous sufferings, the same causes still produce the like effects.
The inhabitants of these provinces were long signally favoured with peace and plenty: Have the returns of true thankfulness been generally manifest? Have integrity and godly simplicity been maintained, and religiously regarded? Hath a religious care to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly, been evident? Hath the precept of Christ, to do unto others as we would they should do unto us, been the governing rule of our conduct? Hath an upright impartial desire to prevent the slavery and oppression of our fellow men, and to restore them to their natural right, to true christian liberty, been cherished and encouraged? Or have pride, wantonness, luxury, profaneness, a partial spirit, and forgetfulness of the goodness and mercies of God, become lamentably prevalent? Have we not therefore, abundant occasion to break off from our sins by righteousness, and our iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; and with true contrition and abasement of soul, to humble ourselves, and supplicate the almighty preserver of men, to shew favour, and to renew unto us a state of tranquility and peace?
It is our fervent desire that this may soon appear to be the pious resolution of the people in general, of all ranks and denominations; then may we have a well grounded hope, that wisdom from above, which is pure, peaceable, and full of mercy, and good fruits, will preside and govern in the deliberations of those who, in these perilous times, undertake the transaction of the most important public affairs; and that by their steady care and endeavours, constantly to act under the influences of this wisdom, those of inferior stations will be incited diligently to pursue those measures which make for peace, and tend to the reconciliation of contending parties, on principles dictated by the spirit of Christ, who “came not to destroy men's lives, but to “save them.” Luke ix. 56.
We are so fully assured that these principles are the most certain and effectual means of preventing the extreme misery and desolations of wars and bloodshed, that we are constrained to intreat all who profess faith in Christ, to manifest that they really believe in him and desire to obtain the blessings he pronounced to the, makers of peace, Mat. v. 9.
His spirit ever leads to seek for and improve every opportunity of promoting peace and reconciliation, and constantly to remember that as we really confide in him, he can, in his own time, change the hearts of all men in such manner, that the way to obtain it, bath been often opened contrary to every human prospect or expectations.
May we, therefore, heartily and sincerely unite in supplications to the father of Mercies, to grant the plentiful effusions of his spirit to all, and in an especial manner to those in superior stations, that they may with sincerity, guard against and reject all such measures and councils, as may increase and perpetuate the discord, animosities, and unhappy contentions which now sorrowfully abound.
We cannot but with distressed minds, beseech all such in the most solemn and awful manner, to consider that, if by their acting and persisting in a proud, selfish spirit, and not regarding the dictates of true wisdom, such measures are pursued as tend to the shedding of innocent blood; in the day when they and all men shall appear at the judgment-seat of Christ, to receive a reward according to their works, they will be excluded from his favour, and their portion will be in everlasting misery. See Mat. xxv. 41. 2 Cor. v. 10.
The peculiar evidence of divine regard manifested to our ancestors, in the founding and settlement of these provinces, we have often commemorated, and desire ever to remember, with true thankfulness and reverent admiration.
When we consider—That at the time they were persecuted and subjected to severe sufferings, as a people unworthy of the benefits of religious or civil society; the hearts of the King and rulers under whom they thus suffered, were inclined to grant them these fruitful countries, and entrust them with charters of very extensive powers and privileges.—That on their arrival here, the minds of the natives were inclined to receive them with great hospitality and friendship; and to cede to them the most valuable part of their land on very easy terms.—That while the principles of justice and mercy continued to preside, they were preserved in tranquility and peace, free from the desolating calamities of war; and their endeavours were wonderfully blessed and prospered, in that the saying of the wisest of Kings, was signally verified to them, “when a man's ways “please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Pro. xvi. 7.
The benefits, advantages and favour we have experienced by our dependence on, and connection with, the Kings and government, under which we have enjoyed this happy state, appear to demand from us the greatest circumspection, care and constant endeavours, to guard against every attempt, to alter or subvert that dependence and connection.
The scenes lately presented to our view, and the prospect before us, we are sensible, are very distressing and discouraging; and though we lament that such amicable measures, as have been proposed, both here and in England, for the adjustment of the unhappy contests subsisting, have not yet been effectual; nevertheless, we should rejoice to observe the continuance of mutual peaceable endeavours for effecting a reconciliation; having grounds to hope that the divine favour and blessing will attend them.
“It hath ever been our judgment and principle, “since we were called to profess the light of Christ “Jesus, manifested in our consciences unto this day, “that the setting up, and putting down Kings and governments, “is God's peculiar prerogative; for causes “best known to himself; and that it is not our business “to have any hand or contrivance therein; nor to be “busy bodies above our station, much less to plot and
About this Item
- ... The testimony of the people called Quakers, given forth by a meeting ... held at Philadelphia the twenty-fourth day of the first month, 1775 [And subsequent documents, 1776-1777. Philadelphia] John Dunlap .
- Other Title
- Philadelphia, September 7
- Contributor Names
- Friends, Society of.
- Created / Published
- Philadelphia, 1777.
- Subject Headings
- - United States--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia
- - Printed for the same setting of type as pages 2 and 3 of Dunlap's Pennsylvania packet; or, General advertiser, Sept. 9, 1777, but with colophon at end: Printed by John Dunlap.
- - Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML.
- - Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 144, Folder 32b.
- 25 x 40 cm.
- Call Number/Physical Location
- Portfolio 144, Folder 32b
- Source Collection
- Broadsides, leaflets, and pamphlets from America and Europe
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- Library of Congress Control Number
- Online Format
- online text
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- Printed for the same setting of type as pages 2 and 3 of Dunlap's Pennsylvania packet; or, General advertiser, Sept. 9, 1777, but with colophon at end: Printed by John Dunlap. Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 144, Folder 32b.
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- Friends, Society Of.
- Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. Meeting for Sufferings
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Chicago citation style:
Friends, Society Of. ... The testimony of the people called Quakers, given forth by a meeting ... held at Philadelphia the twenty-fourth day of the first month,And subsequent documents, 1776 to 1777. Philadelphia John Dunlap 1777. Philadelphia, 1777. Pdf. https://www.loc.gov/item/2006566657/.
APA citation style:
Friends, S. O. (1777) ... The testimony of the people called Quakers, given forth by a meeting ... held at Philadelphia the twenty-fourth day of the first month,And subsequent documents, 1776 to 1777. Philadelphia John Dunlap 1777. Philadelphia. [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/2006566657/.
MLA citation style:
Friends, Society Of. ... The testimony of the people called Quakers, given forth by a meeting ... held at Philadelphia the twenty-fourth day of the first month,And subsequent documents, 1776 to 1777. Philadelphia John Dunlap 1777. Philadelphia, 1777. Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2006566657/>.