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his first voyage to America, speaks also in strong terms upon the point in question.
“ But agriculture,” says he, “is especially in my eye.
my children be husbandmen and housewives. This occupation is industrious, healthy, honest, and of good example. Like Abraham, and the holy ancients, who pleased God, and obtained a good report, this leads to consider the works of God, and nature of things that are good, and diverts the mind from being taken up with the vain arts and inventions of a luxurious world.” And a little further he says, of cities and towns of concourse be
The world is apt to stick close to those who have lived and
wealth there. A country-life and estate I like best for
my children. I prefer a decent mansion of a hundred pounds a year to ten thousand pounds in London or such-like place, in the
way of trade.”
To these observations it
be added, that the country, independently of the opportunity it affords for calmness and quietude of mind, and the moral improvement of it in the exercise of the spiritual feelings, is peculiarly fitted for the habitation of the Quakers, on account of their peculiar love for the animal-creation. It would afford them a wide range for the exercise of this love, and the improvement of the benevolent affections. For tenderness, if encouraged, like a plant that is duly watered, still grows. What man has ever shown a proper affection for the brute-creation, who has been backward in his love of the human race ? CHAPTER IV.
Trade-Trade seldom considered as a question of
morals—but Quakers view it in this light-prohibit the Slave-trade-privateering--manufactories of weapons of war -- also trade where the revenue is defrauded_hazardous enterprises fictitious paper-insist upon punctuality to words and engagements — advise an annual inspection of their own affairs-regulations in case of bankruptci.
I stated in the last chapter that some of the Quakers, though these were few in number, were manufacturers and mechanics ; that others followed the sea ; that others were to be found in the medical
profession, and in the law; and that others were occupied in the concerns of a rural life. I believe, with these few exceptions, that the rest of the Society may be considered as engaged in trade.
Trade is a subject which seldom comes under the discussion of mankind as a moral question. If men who follow it are honest
and punctual in their dealings, little is thought of the nature of their occupations, or of the influence of these upon the mind. It will hardly however be denied by moralists, that the buying and selling of commodities for profit is surrounded with temptations, and is injurious to pure
benevolent or disinterested feeling; or that, where the mind is constantly intent upon the gaining of wealth by traffic, it is dangerously employed. Much less will it be denied, that trade is an evil, if any of the branches of it through which men acquire their wealth are productive of mischief either to themselves or others. If they are destructive to the health of the inferior agents, or to the morality of the persons concerned in them, they can never be sanctioned by christianity.
The Quakers have thought it their duty, as a religious body, to make several regulations on this subject. In the first place, they have made it a rule, that no person, acknowledged to be in profession with them, shall have any concern in the slave-trade.
The Quakers began to consider this subject, as a christian bodly, so early as in the beginning of the last century. In the year 1727, they passed a public censure upon this trade. In the year 1758, and afterwards in the year 1761, they warned and exhorted all in profession with them “to keep their hands clear of this unrighteous gain of oppression.". In the yearly meeting of 1763 they renewed their exhortation in the following words: “We renew our exhortation, that friends every where be especially careful to keep their hands clear of giving encouragement in any shape to the slave-trade; it being evidently destructive of the natural rights of mankind, who are all ransomed by one Saviour, and visited by one divine light, in order to salvation: a traffic, calculated to enrich and aggrandize some upon the misery of others, in its nature abhorrent to every just and tender sentiment, and contrary to the wholo tenor of the Gospel.” In the same manner, from the
from the year 1763, they have publicly manifested a tender concern for the happiness of the injured Africans; and they have not only been vigilant to see that none of their own members were concerned in this impious traffic, but they have lent their assistance with other Christians in promoting its discontinuance.