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The places of all these Friends were filled by members of other religious denominations, and Quaker control over and responsibility for the Pennsylvania Assembly closed with 1756 and was never resumed.
The circumstances which led up to this action within the Society of Friends will be detailed in the next chapter.
house."* In the same fall several other Friends declined re-election, and after the next House assembled four others, Mahlon Kirkbride, William Hoyl, Peter Dicks and Nathaniel Pennock, also resigned. “Understanding that the ministry have requested the Quakers, who from the first settlement of the Colony have been the majority of the Assemblies of this Province, to suffer their seats during the difficult situation of the affairs of the Colonies to be filled by members of other denominations in such manner as to perform without any scruples all such laws as may be necessary to be enacted for the defence of the Province in whatever manner they may judge best suited to the circumstances of it; and notwithstanding we think this has been pretty fully complied with at the last election, yet at the request of our friends, being willing to take off all possible objection, we who have (without any solicitation on our part) been returned as representatives in this Assembly, request we may be excuscd, and suffered to withdraw ourselves and vacate our scats in such manner as may be attended with the least trouble and most satisfactory to this honorable House.”+
• Votes of Assembly, Vol. IV., page 564. + Votes of Assembly, Vol. IV., page 826.
THE LAST DAYS OF QUAKER CONTROL OF THE
So far as any records show there was only one opinion on the subject of war among those authorized to speak in the first century of the existence of the Society of Friends. There was nothing to call out any vigorous restatement of peace doctrine in Philadelphia during the early decades of the eighteenth century. Running through the history we find it accepted as an established fact not needing forinal confirmation that Quakerism and peace were indispensably and logically associated.*
In the fall of 1739 the Yearly Meeting Saw the storn coming. A committee was appointed to draw up a paper eshorting Friends to continue in peace principles “ and in no manner to join with such as may be for making warlike preparations, offensive or defensive, but on all occasions to demean themselves in a Christian and peaceable manner, thereby to demonstrate to the world that our practices, when we are put to the trial, correspond with our principles.”
The next year, in view of the complaint made to the King by Governor Thomas and luis friends, they appointed a committee “to state the occasions for it to the Friends of thic Meeting for Sufferings * in London, and request their assistance as occasion may require.”
An interesting minute of the Yearly Meeting occurs in 1741 :
A letter from our friend, James Logan, directed to Robert Jordan and others, the Friends of this meeting, being offered, it was delivered to Samuel Beston, Robert Jordan, Anthony Morris, John Bringhurst, Jacob Howell and Caleb Raper, who were appointed a committee (as is usual in like cases) to peruse the same and report whether
* One can only wonder what troubled the Burlington Friends so early as 1682.
“At our mens Monthly meeting held in Burlington in yo House of Robt Young ye 4th of ye 10th month :
“In yo behalf of truth & yo Blessed name of yo Lord yo which we make a profession of thought meet to write to our friends of ye monthly meeting of Upland. & marcus Hook y they together with William Penn would be pleased to give this meeting an Account Concerning yo report of y preperation for War wch. God in his mercy hath Giren us a Testimony a gainst ye we may Know what Satisfaction they Can give ye Meeting therein. Sam' Jennings & Robt. Stacy to Draw up a paper to y meeting Con Cearning it."
The Meeting for Sufferings, so called because it was originally formed to investigate and relieve the sufferings of Friends in times of persecution, was the executive body of the Yearly Meeting. A number of its members were influential at court, and on many occasions rendered in. raluable service to their Philadelphia brethren.
Lust Duys of Quaker Control of Assembly. 229
tion, they reported that the letter contained matters of a military and geographical nature, it was by no means proper to be read to the general meeting, but some per: sons who understood those matters might be desired to consider and answer it. Robert Strethill singly declared that considering the letter came from one who was known to have had abundance of experience, was an old member, and had a sincere affection for the welfare of the Society, he was apprehensive, should this letter be refused a read. ing in the meeting, such a procedure would not only disgust hiin, but the body of Friends in England, especially as it might be supposed to contain several things that were intended for the good of the Society at these fickle and precarious times. But John Bringhouse plucked him by the coat and told him with a sharp tone of voice, “Sit thee down, Robert, thou art single in the opinion," etc.*
it is fitting to be read here or not ; who withdrew for some time, and being returned reported, that the subject matter of the letter related to the civil and military affairs of the gorernment, and in their opinion was unfit to be read in this meeting. The meeting concurring in opinion with the committee, therefore, it was not read here, of which the clerk is desired to acquaint the Friend who sent the same.
We have a contemporary account of the same proceeding in a letter from Richard Peters to John Penn. The writer not being a Friend got his information second-hand, and made a few errors. The names of the committee are not all correct, and the “ expedient " to stifle the letter was but the common practice in all papers addressed to the meeting. Of course also no parliamentary motions were made. It is quite likely the coat-tail incident is true. If so it shows the smallness of the support James Logan had in the mecting
The Yearly Meeting being held the week before the gen. eral election, Mr. Logan, by his son William, sent them a letter wherein he is said to enlarge on the defenceless state of the Province, and of the ill consequences that may ensue to men of their principles procuring themselves to be re. turned to the Assembly, but his good design was eluded by the following expedient. Some members moved that a committee might be appointed to peruse the letter and to report whether it contained matters proper to be communicated to the meeting at large ; accordingly Robert Jordan, John Bringhouse, Ebenezer Large, John Dillwin and Robert Strethill were appointed to inspect the epistle and report whether it contained matters which were fit for the meeting to take into consideration. On examina
In the letter Logan says he has always held defensive, but not offensive, war to be lawful. But it is not his purpose in now speaking to prove this, for he recognizes that the unlawfulness of all war is an avowed and well-understood principle of Friends. All government is founded on force, and a militia is necessary to secure the country from attack.
The whole system of judges, sheriffs, etc., implies force, and it must have drilled and armed backing to make it effective. The Friends of Pennsylvania, at a liberal estimate, do not include more than one-third of the people, and the others have a right to laws
Pennsylvania Magazine," Vol. VI., page 403. The whole of Janies Logan's letter is printed here.