Description

    The Quaker's response to the Non-Importation Agreements

    (Society of Friends) Printed Circular Letter, two pages, 8.5" x 13", Philadelphia, September 1, 1769. (Evans #11266) An amazing piece of Quaker history, a set of statements by the Society of Friends in London and Philadelphia concerning their reaction to the non-importation agreements. The recto reprints a statement by the "...Meeting for Sufferings, In London the 10th Day of the Third Month, 1769, To Friends in the several Provinces in North America..." The London meeting of the Society of Friends warns their brethren in the colonies: "In Seasons of Difficulty, we cannot be unmindful of any Part of the Body, and the present troubled State of Affairs in America, has, for some Time past, affected us with no small Degree of Concern for our Brethren there... following the very weighty Advice of our honourable Elder George Fox.. viz. 'Whatever Bustles and Troubles, Tumults and Outrages, Quarrels and Strife arise in the World, keep out of them all, concern not yourselves with them, but keep in the LORD's Power, and peaceable Truth, that is over all such Things...'" The meeting reinforces Fox's statement noting "...we cannot but earnestly recommend it may be universally spread amongst Friends every where in North-America..." On the verso, the broadside contains the text "From our Meeting for Sufferings held at Philadelphia, for Pennsylvania and New-Jersey..." reinforces the sentiments from Fox in London. They warn their brethren in "...these and the adjacent Provinces... against promoting or joining in any Measures proposed for the Support of our civil Liberties, which, on mature Consideration, may appear not to be dictated by the Wisdom from above, which is pure, peaceable and gentle... Should any now so far deviate from ...[the] Practice of faithful Friends at all Times... we must declare that we cannot join with such, and that we firmly believe a steady uniform Conduct, under the Influence of that Spirit, will most effectually tend to our Relief from every Kind of Oppression... We therefore seriously exhort all carefully to guard against being drawn into Measure which may minister Occasion to any to represent us a People departing from the Principles we profess... ever bearing in Mind the deep Obligation we are, and have been under, to the King and his Royal Ancestors, for the Indulgence and Lenity granted to our Predecessors, and continued to us..." The intensifying conflict between Britain and her North American colonies caused deep divisions among Quakers, many of whom were deeply sympathetic to the cause but constrained by their beliefs. As a body, they supported reconciliation even after armed conflict erupted in 1775. Quaker attempts at neutrality in the conflict led to suspicion from both Patriots and Loyalists. Some chose to fight, including Clement Biddle who organized the "Quaker Blues". Most who chose this route were disowned by the Society of Friends. Slightly irregular margins, usual folds, light foxing, else Very Good condition. A rare and significant item. From the Henry E. Luhrs Collection.


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    Auction Dates
    February, 2006
    20th-21st Monday-Tuesday
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