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the Meeting for Sufferings of London in 1742 in explanation of the political situation. This body contained a large number of meinbers active in public life, and probably better represented the political aspirations of the Society than the Yearly Meeting, in which the country members from both Pennsylvania and New Jersey had the preponderating influence. Reference is made to the statements sent over by Governor Thomas's friends, and to the hold Friends had on the part of the community not affiliated with them religiously. Their reasons for retaining by proper means the power they had acquired, and the overwhelming support they received from the people, are clearly shown. The letter is a complete answer to the charges frequently made that by dubious methods for selfish purposes they thrust themselves into the Assembly.
We are truly thankful that it has pleased the Lord to dispose you to support us in the defence of our Christian privileges and civil rights, and though we are not covetous of power, yet being entrusted with many valuable privi. leges which induced our predecessor's to transport them. selves into this then wilderness country, and having by the Divine blessing on their endeavours cultivated and im. proved the saine, and we now enjoying the fruits of their labours, believe it to be our indispensible duty as far as lies in our power to prevent our posterity's being de prived of these advantages, and notwithstanding a few un. steady persons under our name were induced by the in.
terest of some men in power to join with others (of whom Nome were persons not lawfully qualified or entitled to be concerned) in a petition to the King which contains un. just and groundless insinuations against us, we can assure you that the people in general, and especially the most religious and considerate of those not of our Society are very much dissatisfied with the conduct of those men, and 80 averse to any change of our Constitution, that they would readily join in any mcasures that may be necessary to disappoint the authors of this attempt on our privileges, and to shew their divposition to have the administration continued, as it has hitherto bcen, principally in the hands of Friends, of which we think a more plain proof need not be offered than that in the most remote county of this Province at the last Election, all the Representatives returned to serve in the Assembly were of our Society; and although those in the Opposition to Fricuds were very active, yet of 1150 Freeholders that voted (in which number were not above 20 Friends) they could prevail with scarce 200 to join with thein.
As we are not willing to say anything more at present than we conceive absolutely necessary, we refer you to our Friend Richard Partridge, who is more particularly in. structed in such matters as we supposc may be enquired into in the further consideration of these affairs. We shall conciude with observing that the situation and constitu. tion of this Province is particularly adapted the disposi. tion of Friends and of many others of the religious inhabitants in like manner principled against bearing arms, and we are willing to depend on that good Providence which has hitherto protected us, and we trust will always preserve us, as we are patiently and humbly resigned to the Divine Will, in which disposition our worthy ancestors eurmounted the many difficulties and cxercises they were long engaged in, and we have faith to believe our sincere concern to maintain their testimony will likewise be blessed with an happy issue, altho' we have with sorrow to observe that we meet with great opposition from the immediate descendants of our first worthy Proprietor,
whosc zealous labours in defence of our principles were very eminent in times of the grentest danger.
London Friends promised aid as desired, and in 1742 the Yearly Meeting replics : “The kind assistance you have been pleased to afford in the affair to which your epistle alludes we gratefully acknowledge, and make no doubt of the continuance of the same beneficent disposition toward us as occasion may require. And we humbly trust that the same Almighty Power which supported our worthy ancients in much greater trials and liath hitherto favored us will make a way through the present difficulties and enable us as we abide faithful to maintain our Christian testimony for the gospel of peace.”
In 1744 they strengthened their testimony by cndorsing a minute adopted in London “ against persons professing with us carrying of
for defending their ships, persons and goods, and in being concerned in privateering or as owners of ships going with letters of Marque” “Also to signify to them (subordinate meetings) the unanimous sense of this Meeting that all professing with us bo cautioned and carnestly admonished against purchasing of prize goods, knowing them to be such, as a practice altogether inconsistent with our principles."
Little appears on the Meeting records bearing on the political situation till 1755, when war was already in operation and the pressure on peace practices and other Quaker rights and privileges was becoming stronger. In the spring of this year, just before Braddock's defeat, the Quarterly Meeting again addressed their English brethren. It will be noticed that this is a defence, in some respects an unanswerable one, justifying the attitude of the Quakers in the Assembly. Hints are thrown out that they may have to give up their places, but the sentiment on this subject was evidently not quite ripe. There was still hope that by judiciously following their past course of action their influence in the State might be preserved without a compromise of principle. Events soon to follow showed the fallacy of this hope.
118 to engage your concern and assistance than to make you acquainted with the dificulties we are now under and the advantages we may reasonably expect from your ex. erting yourself for us at this juncture.
We have on some former occasions been obliged to in. form you that the inclinations and views of our present Proprietaries seem to be so essentially changed from those which their truly honourable Father had, that they for some time past have appeared disposed to abridge, and we fear to deprive us of many of those liberties and privileges which we derive from the original concessions and charter on which this Government is founded. This we apprehend proceeds very much from their not bearing in mind that the first settlers of this Province were men of interest and reputation in their native country, and were principally induced to remove from thence with the prospect of en. joying and securing to their posterity that liberty of con. science which they preferred to every temporal considera. tion. For the sake of this they adventured with their families and substance to undertake a long and dangerous voyage and to cultivate this then a wilderness country, not without a large share of difficulty and hardship, to the diminution of their estates and the imminent danger of their lives. That they were not inconsiderate nor weak men nor such whom necessity or misconduct had forced from their former bomes is very evident not only from the knowledge some yet living had of their conduct and characters, but from the circumspection, prudence and religious consideration, of which they have left valuable testimonials in the concessions, laws and first frame of government settled and agreed upon between them and our worthy Friend William Penn in England.
We are sensible that a great share of merit and esteem is due to the memory of that great good man whose ben. evolent and disinterested love of mankind has engaged the veneration of all wise and good men among us. Yet we are likewise desirous it should be frequently remem. bered that these advantages and immunities we enjoy were
From the Quarterly Meeting of Friends held at Philadel. phia the fifth day of the fifth month, 1755.
To our Friends and Brethren of the Meeting for Suffer
ings in London:
The foundation of our dependence on and connection with each other being that brotherly love and fellowship by which our Lord and Master distinguished His disciples from the world, we trust nothing more is necessary from