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case 60 fully before you, is that, as there are some among you whose stations and circumstances will entitle them to a free conference with our Proprietaries; We earnestly desire your engaging such in this necessary service. The attempt must be allowed to be laudable, and if it succeeds, undoubtedly rewardable, the making of peace having a blessing annexed to it by the Author of every blessing.
Were a sense of the satisfaction resulting from the hearty concurrence and union of their Friends in promot. ing their interest sufficiently impressed on the minds of our Proprietaries, we cannot but think they would remove from their Councils and favours all such who would separate them from us, and then whatever difference of sentiments might sometimes happen we sbould hope to find them really disposed to maintain the liberties and priv. ileges we are justly entitled to, and to promote universal peace and good will among us. The people of this Province in general, and Friends in
more particular manner, have interested themselves Dearly, and exerted their interest vigorously in the support of the rights of the Proprietaries on several occa. sions, some of which your meeting has been acquainted with, and we doubt not the same affection and respect still subsists in the minds of Friends in general, to whom it will be extremely pleasing to see that harmony restored by which our mutual welfare might be promoted.
voices exercised the prevailing influence in the meetings for business. On the other were the disciples of Logan, who being manifestly out of sympathy with well-established Quaker views, urged the necessity of vigorous defence, caught the surrounding warlike spirit, and with personal service and money aided Franklin and the militia. Between the two stood the “Quaker governing class,” who controlled the Assembly, who, while admitting and commending the peaceable doctrines of Friends, considered their own duty accomplished when they kept aloof from personal participation and supplied the means by which others carried on the war. This third section was the product of long experience in political activity. To these men and their predeceg
was owing the successful administration for decades of the best governed colony in America. They were slow to admit any weakness in their position, but it was becoming increasingly evident that it was untenable. There was actual war, and they were, while not personally responsible for it, indeed while opposing vigorously the policy which had produced it, now a component part of the government which was carrying it on. Would they join their brethren in staunch adherence to peace princi
We shall conclude this with the salutation of true love and respect, and remain your Friends and Brethren.
Signed by appointment on behalf of our said Meeting.
The winter of 1755-6 was one of difference and perplexity among Philadelphia Friends. On the one side were the men of spiritual power, whose
ples, and thus give up their places in the stato as John Bright did afterwards when Alexandria was bombarded ? Would they join Franklin, their associate in resisting proprietary power, and throw aside their allegiance to the principles of William Penn, whom they professed greatly to honor ?
The question was answered differently by different ones as the winter and spring passed away. Pressure was strong on both sides. The Governor writing to London says : “ The Quaker prcachers and others of great weight were employed to show in their public scrmons, and by going from house to house through the Province, the sin of taking up arms, and to persuade the people to be casy and adhere to their principles and privileges." This was an enemy's view of a conservative reaction which was going on within the Society, which was tired of compromises, was willing to suffer, and could not longer support the doubtful expediency of voting measures for others to carry out, of which they could not themselves approve.
We have seen how in the early winter the Assembly rebuked what they considered the impertinence of the protest of a number of important members of the Meeting against a war tax.
The Meeting mildly emphasized the same difference in their London epistle of 1756 :
The scene of our affairs is in many respects changed since we wrote to you, and our late peaceful land involved in the desolations and calamities of war. Had all under our profcssion faithfully discharged their duty and main. tained our peaccable testimony inviolate we have abun. dant sense to believe that divine counsel would have been afforded in a time of so great difficulty; by attending to which, great part of the present calamities inight have been obviated. But it hath been manifest that human contrivances and policy have been too much depended on, and such measures pursued as have ministered cause of real sorrow to the faithful; so that we think it necessary that the same distinction may be made among you an is and ought to be here between the Acts and Resolutions of the Assembly of this Province, tho' the majority of them are our Brethren in profession, and our acts as a religious Society. We have nevertheless cause to admire and acknowledge the gracious condescension of infinite goodness towards us, by which a large number is preserved in a steady dependence on the dispensations of divine Provi. dence; and we trust the faith and confidence of such will be supported through every difficulty which may be per. mitted to attend thein, and their sincerity appear by freely resigning or parting with these temporal advantages and privileges we have heretofore enjoyed, if they cannot be preserved without violation of that testimony on the faith. ful maintaming of which our true peace and unity de. rends.
We have an excellent opportunity to view the internal condition of affairs among the Friends in the letters of Samuel Fothergill, brother of the noted Dr. Jolin Fothergill. He was making a religious journey through the Aincrican col
onies, having already traversed all the southern and northern provinces, and reached Philadelphia shortly after Braddock's defeat, where he remained all through the following winter and spring. His letters were private, principally to his wife and sister, and are evidently the unstudied impressions made by his personal observation and experience.* He first attended the Yearly Meeting, which
very large and to great general satisfaction.” He did not approve of the doings of the Assembly. “As the Assembly for the Province have in some respects, I think, acted very inconsistently with the principles they profess, I had a concern to have an opportunity with such of them as are members of our Society, being twenty-eight out of thirty-six ; and they gave some Friends and me an opportunity this morning to relieve our spirits to them.”
He is first inclined to think they have hopelessly compromised their principles. “All the hardships of last winter, though very great, were nothing in comparison with the anguish of spirit I feel for this backsliding people, though there are, and even in the Assembly, a number who
remember with humble trust and confidence the everlasting Protector of His people."
“Our cpistle from Philadelphia to the monthly meetings meets with a different reception as the people differ ; the libertines, worldlyminded and opposers of the reformation in themselves, cavil and rage, but the sced is relieved and the honest-hearted strengthened."
Matters, however, improved during the winter. He
Ile writes in the spring : “The love of power, the ambition of superiority, the desire of exemption from suffering, strongly operate with many under our name to continue in stations wherein they sacrifice their testimony and are as salt which hath lost its savor. But as it now appears that we can scarcely keep the truth and its testimony inviolate and retain those places, many stand up on the Lord's side and declare they have none on earth in comparison with the God of their fathers."
He does not have any respect for the line of forts. “Many thousand pounds of the Province's money have by the Assembly's committee been laid out in erecting forts upon the frontiers and placing men in them ; a step as prudent, and likely to be attended with as much success, as an attempt to hedge out birds or the deer. . . In contempt and mockery of the attempt eleven
• "Demoirs of Samuel Fothergill." By George Crosfield, page 214, et seq.