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respective meetings to be punctual in the payment of quit-rents and other monies due from them to the Proprietors, to remove any just cause of reflection on us in this particular."
The deliberations and differences among the Friends of Pennsylvania were helped to an ending by the action of their London brethren. They had been at all times willing to respond to the request of the colonial Quakers for advice and assistance. The petition of the Philadelphians adverse to the Assembly's course of action, and the accounts true and false as to the defenceless condition of the Province which had been sent to London, had made many enemies, and measures were on foot to drive all Quakers from Government places. The London Friends got on the track of these movements and undertook to do what they could to neutralize them. The whole matter is explained in the report of Dr. Fothergill to the Meeting for Sufferings.
At a Meeting for Sufferings the 9th of 4th month, 1756.
their proceedings therein to the Meeting, and request their farther direction in the affair.
The Committee having received undoubted Informa. tion that measures were concerting by some persons of Infuence here, which would very much affect our friends in Pensilvania, & occasion some material alterations in the present frame of Government in that Province, de. puted several Friends to wait upon a Nobleman in high station, in order to request his advice & favourable Inter. position.
He acquainted Friends who waited upon him that he discovered a general & strong prepossession excited against 118 as a people both here and in America, chiefly he be. lieved from the repeated accounts transmitted hither of the distressing situation of affairs in that Province, which were too readily credited by all ranks and ascribed to the principles and Conduct of the Society. That even those in considerable Stations, who had been our firm Friends on various occasions now seemed to be so far influenced as to be either wavering in their opinion, or disposed to join in the popular cry against us: and that from the present appearance of things such seemed to be the temper of many that no measures however disadvan. tageous to us, could be offered to either house, which would not at least meet with a Strenuous support.
Nevertheless that he and a few more from a thorough knowledge & approbation of our principles and Conduct in divers particulars; and from a consideration of the in. justice it would be, to exclude those from any share in the Legislature of a Province, who had so highly contributed to it's present value & reputation, were desirous that we ourselves if possible, should apply a remedy, rather than leave it to be done by the public, who from the disposition they were in, seemed inclined to the severest, a Clause for totally excluding our Friends in Pensilvania & other parts of America from having seats in any Provincial Assembly by imposing an Oath having actually been part of a bill now before Parliament, That as the majority of the present Assembly were of our Profession who from their
John Fothergill, from the Committee on the Pensilvania affair, brought in a report, which was read, and is as fol. lowo:
To the Meeting for Sufferings:
The Committee appointed to consider the present state of affairs in Pensilvania, Submit the following account of
known principles could not contribute to the defence of the Country now grievously harrased by the Indians under French Influence in a manner that most people here and even many in Pensilvania thought necessary it seemed but common justice in our Friends to decline accepting a trust which under the present Circumstances they could not discharge, and therefore advised that we should use our utmost endeavours to prevail upon them neither to offer themselves as candidates nor to accept of seats in the Assembly during the present commotions in America.
That if we could give any reasonable hopes this advice would be complyed with, he for one would endeavour to prevent any violent measures from being taken at the presept.
But that as much depended on this complyance he earnestly recommended we should not trust to Letters only, or the most pressing advices, but that even some proper persons should be deputed to go over on this occa. sion.
For should any disaster befall the Province and our Friends continue to fill the Assembly, it would redound to the prejudice of the Society in general, and be the means perhaps of subverting a constitution under which the province had so bappily Hourished.
He farther recommended it to us, to wait upon some other principal persons in high stations, and endeavour to prevail upon them to join in suspending the resolutions which might have been formed either for a present or a total exclusion.
The Friends acknowledged their grateful sense of his regard & strenuous interposition on their behalf, and on making this report to the Committee it was agreed in pursuance of this advice to wait upon some other persons in high stations on the same account.
In conversation with those to whom the Committee applied they found it was the general opinion that either an immediate dissolution of the present assembly, or a Test to incapacitate any of our profession from setting therein, or both were absolutely necessary to preserve the
Province from inevitable ruin: and We also found that
The friends appointed among other things represented that we were satisfied many of our Friends who now sat in that assembly, accepted of seats therein with some reluctance & would cheerfully resign them whenever the country thought other representatives could more effec. tually contribute to its benefit & security, for which reason we apprchended it would be no difficult matter to induce most if not all of our Society to resign their Stations especially as this might be the means of preventing so dan. gerous an innovation upon the present Frame of Govern. ment of that Province.
Upon the whole, we have reason to expect that thro' the kind interposition of Providence and the favourable disposition of those in power, nothing will be attempted in Parliament this Sessions.
But it is fully expected that our Friends will not suffer themselves to be chosen into assembly during the present disturbances in America.
And as the committee have engaged that our utmost endeavours shall be used with our Friends in America, to fulfil these expectations,–We are of opinion that an Epistle should be forthwith drawn up and sent to our Friends in Pensilvania, fully to inform them of the sentiments of the Publick concerning them of the danger they have so narrowly escaped, & the means pointed out for their avoid. ing it for the future.
And that in pursuance of the advice given us, two or more proper Friends should be engaged to go over to Pen. silvania, in order the more fully to explain the present state of affairs, and what is expected from Friends in those parts.
And we are likewise of opinion that proper acknowledg. ments should be made in behalf of the Society to those persons in high stations, who manifested 80 much lenity and regard to us on this occasion and the same times to acquaint them, that no endeavours on our part will be wanting, to influence our Friends in Pensilvania, to con.
duct themselves in such a manner as to merit the confi. dence reposed in the Society.
And farther the Committee is not without hopes, that their seasonable & diligent application to persons in power may have been the means of strengthening their favour. able dispositions towards us, & has furnished various op. portunitys to remove many prejudices respecting the con. duct of affairs in Pensilvania.
The Meeting for Sufferings and the Yearly Veeting adopted the recommendations of this report, and sent letters to Philadelphia practically recapitulating it. To insure its favorable reception, they sent over John Hunt and Christopher Wilson to use their personal influence in the same direction.
Prior to their arrival, the six members of the Assembly led by James Pemberton had resigned. These resignations were probably the result of conscientious conviction. Those which followed were influenced by a desire to satisfy the demands of London and Philadelphia Year ly Meetings.
Under date of Eleventh month, 1756, James Pemberton writes to Samuel Fothergill, who had returned to his home in England, a letter narrating the turn affairs had taken :
The business which detained me from accompanying thee on shipboard, I mean that of resigning in the As. sembly, was completed pretty readily, though afterward