Robert Smith.

The Friend : a religious and literary journal (Volume 16) online

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tice ; which labours of love have by some been
kindly received, and they have complied so far
as to give those they had in bondage their
liberty, by instruments of writing given under
their hands and seals ; but there are others
who still persist in holding them as slaves,
notwithstanding the repeated care and labour
of Friends extended towards them."

Upon turning to the minutes of the Monthly
Jleetings composing Bucks Quarter, it appears
that at this time there were no slaves held in
Buckingham, or in Wrightstovvn IMonthly
Meetings; that in Middletown four members
persisted in holding slaves, three of whom
were afterwards disowned for that offence ;
• and that in the Falls Monthly Meeting, al-
though many had been set free, others were
still detained in bondage. These were subse-
quently emancipated; and it does not appear
that more than one member was disowned by
that meeting, for refusing to comply with the
discipline in this particular.

At the Monthly Meetings of Salem, held in
the Eighth and Eleventh months, 1777, the
committee reported two cases of slaves, whose
owners were not willing to sot them free ; and


that two girls had been sold for such a num-
ber of years, and under such circumstances,
as to render their cases little better than
slaves. The individual who had made this
sale was brought to see its iniquity, and in the
First month tbilowing, a report was made that
one of them was released ; but it does not ap-
pear that Friends were able to procure the
discharge of the other from her purchaser.

The success of these labours is noticed in
the minutes of the Yearly Jl^etings of 1779,
1780 and 1781 ; and as the minute of 1781 is
the last on record upon this subject, which
speaks of slaves being still owned by our
members, it is probable that before the suc-
ceeding Yearly Meeting they had all been

As the Society dwelt under the religious
exercise which had been brought over it by
the participation of its members in this griev-
ous sin, a concern spread for making repara-
tion to the slaves themselves for their la-
bour ;* and for promoting the religious welfare

• As a specimen of the religious care of Friends in
this particular, we select tlie Ibllowing case.

A FricnJ became uneasy respecting tlie sil nation of
« coloured man, who bad been set free by his fullier
yome 3'ears before, but had received no compensation
for the time he served alter he was twenty-one years ol
age ; and he mentioned the subject to the Monthly
Aleetiiig of Friends of New Garden, Pennsylvania, o(
which lie was a member. At this meeting, held the
7th of Eleventh month, 1778, five Friends were ap-
pointed to advise and assist in the case, and in tlie
Third month following, they made a rcpoil, which was
satisfactory to the meeting, and for aught that appears,
to the parties also. I'he report is in substance as fol-
lows, viz. : —

" Agreeably to our appointment, we have several times
met and considered the case committed to us, respect-
ing the uneasiness mentioned by T. W., concerning the
negro formerly possessed by his father, and having
carefully inquired into the circumstances, do find that
W. VV., about sixteen years ago, set free from a state
of slavery the said negro named Ceesar, on condition
that he would behave liimself justly and honestly, and
also that he would lay up, or deposit in his, or some
other safe hand, the sum of three pounds yearly, that in
case he should be sick or lame, he might not be charge-
able to his said master's estate. In consequence of the
said condition, the said Ccesar had laid up forty-two
pounds, which appears to us to be his just properly, and
all the heirs of W. W. who are arrived at full age, (ex-
cept one, who resides in Virginia,) cheerfully agree to
let him have it. But as the said Caesar informs us that
he has no present uso or necessity for the said money,
he agreed to have it deposited in the hands of J. F.,
and proposed to advise with him, when any occasion
occurred fur applying it; with which wc were well

" It also further appears that said Ccesar served his
said master in the capacity of a slave, something more
than ten years after he was twenty-one years of age ;
and upon careful inquiry, we find he was tenderly used
during said time, and nursed in the small-pox, which
he had very heavily, and it was long belbre he recover-
ed ; so that we have reason to believe, it took at least
one year to defray the expense thereof. These things
the said Csesar fully acknowledges, and further informs
that his said master allowed him sundry privileges
during the said term, whereby he made for himself at
leasV five pounds a year, besides being well clothed and

" After considering all the circumstances of his case,
we are unanimously of the mind, that the further sum
of five pounds a year, for the nine years he was in usual
health, ought to be allowed him out of the iaid estate,
which the heirs now present, and of age, also agree to ;
and it is agreed, with the said Ctesar's free consent, to
be deposited with the other sum.

• And as the instrument of writing by which the said

of them and their descendanls. In reference
to these subjects, the following report of a
committee was adopted, and sent down to the
subordinate meetings by the Yearly Meelina

" A committee being appointed to review
the several accounts now sent, of the labour
which hath been e.-?tended to fulfil the advice
given last year, for promoting the religious
instruction of those negroes who have been
set free, and their offspring, and for assisting
and advising them in their temporal concerns;
and if any further matter occurred to them to
be necessary to animate Friends to a continu-
ance of care in this weighty affair, to propose
it, in order that our religious duty to that long
oppressed people may be fully discharged,
made a report in writing, which being several
times read, and duly considered, is unitedly
approved, and recommended to the care of
Quarterly, Monthly, and Preparative Meet-
ings, in order that Friends may be conscien-
tiously concerned to discharge their Christian
duty in the weighty matters recommended ;
and to send an account to the meeting next
year, how this pious work goes forward.
The report being in substance nearly as fol-
lows : —

" Agreeable to our appointment, we have
deliberately considered the reports brought up
from the several quarters, and find that au
increasing concern for the real good of these
people, appears to take place, there being but
a small number detained in bondage within
the compass of our Yearly Meeting. Under
a thankful sense of Divine favour in opening
the hearts of many, and making way for the
deliverance of these poor captives, we feel a
tenderness for those w ho are continued by any
among us in bondage, and are renewedly con-
firmed in judgment, that where fervent, close
labour remains to be ineffectual, our testimony
for the cause of truth and righteousness should
be held up by Monthly Meetings, and they
proceed to clear themselves of this iniquitous

" We arc united in judgment, that the state
of the oppressed people who have been held by
any of us, or our predecessors, in captivity
and slavery, calls for a deep inquiry and close
examination, how far we are clear of with-
holding from them, what under such an exer-
cise may open to view as their just right, and
therefore we earnestly and afleclionately in-
treat our brethren in religious profession, to
bring this matter home, and that all who have
let the oppressed go free, may attend to the
further openings of duty.

" A tender Christian sympathy appears to
be awakened in the minds of many who are
not in religious profession with us, who have
seriously considered the oppressions and dis-
advantages under which those people have
long laboured ; and whether a pious care ex-
tended to their offspring is not justly due from
us to them, is a consideration worthy our

VV. W. declared the said Ca?sar free, is condiliona), and
we apprehend not sufficient to secure his freedom, the
heirs aforesaid have executed a raanuniisMon suited to
the occasion.
"77iu(imoii(/i6(A,1773." $


serious and deep altenlion ; or if this obliga- " should believe himself called to every work
tion did not weightily lay upon us, can bene-; in which he engages," so that though outward
volent minds be directed to any object more, circumstances, or particular inclination, may
worthy of their liberality and encouragement, appear to be the influencing cause why one
than that of laying a foundation in the rising, becomes a physician, another a merchant,
generation for their becoming good and useful j another a lawyer, and another a minister,
men? remembering what was formerly en- 'each should, nevertheless, "feel that it is a
joined, ' If thy brother be waxen poor, and, Divine Instructor who is marking him out for
fallen in decay with thee, then thou shalt 'a physician, a lawyer, a merchant, or a minis-
relieve hira ; yea, though he be a stranger, or tier," the author goes on ; " nor can I so far

a sojourner; that he may live with thee.'
Lev. XXV. 35.

" Under a fervent concern that our Christian
testimony respecting this exercising subject
may spread, and fasten on the minds of Friends
generally, we earnestly recommend a close
attention to former advices, and particularly
that of last year; and that Quarterly and
fllonthly Meetings may be encouraged to a
continued care for the instruction of these
people in schools, and in the principles of the
Christian religion."

These meetings were not slack in perform-
ing the duties to which they were thus called.
In all of them, as far as appears, committees
were appointed, and funds provided to assist
the free people of colour with their advice,
and to secure the education and religious in-
struction of their children. Religious meet-
ings were frequently appointed for them, and
are reported to have been held to good satis^
faction; and these labours are continued to
be noticed on minute for many years subse
quent to this period.

CTo be continucii.)

For " Tile Friend.

In common with the writer on the " War
Prayer," in the last number of" The Friend
I was not a little grieved to find that any one
claiming to be a minister of the gospel of
peace, could be induced by the desire of popu-
larity, or any other motive, to inculcate a spi-
rit so diametrically opposed to the religion of
the iMasler whtim he professes to serve.

But palpably inconsistent as it is, yet such
a course cannot be a matter of surprise, inas-
much as it is but the legitimate fruit of the
principles inculcated by those who would
" seem to be pillars" in " the church," in and
by which the officiator was " ordained."

In a work recently republished in this city,
entitled " The Kingdom of Christ," written by
Frederick Denison Maurice, " Chaplain of
Guy's Hospital," we find the following senti-
ments. This work, which originally appeared
in the form of " Letters to a Member of the
Society of Friends," is designed to prove that
there is a spiritual society or kingdom upon
earth, which, however, the author seems to
think is monopolized by the episcopal church,
80 culled. It abounds in strange contradic-
tions, but contains much clever reasoning,
though too often from false premises.

After striving to maintain the position which
lays at the threshold of their churchmanship,
that every infant after it is baptized, " is taken
under the guardianship and education of God's
Holy Spirit," and that consequently every
individual who has submitted to that rite,

yield to prejudices and feelings which I
respect, and which 1 would not wish to re-
move from the mind of any Quaker till I can
show him what I conceive is the truth which
they pervert, as not to carry this principle a
step farther, and to maintain that every sol-
dier of really brave and gentle heart has been
led to reflect on the preciousness of national
life, and the duty of vpholding it even at the
cost of individual life, awful as that is, and
has been taught

Online LibraryRobert SmithThe Friend : a religious and literary journal (Volume 16) → online text (page 152 of 154)